5 things Houstonians need to know for Thursday, December 23

Here are the things to know for Thursday, December 23:

1.4 people injured in fire at ExxonMobil Baytown, officials say

Authorities are investigating after four people were injured in a fire at the ExxonMobil Baytown complex on Thursday.

The fire started around 1 a.m. at the refinery located in the 5000 block of Baytown Drive.

Locals told KPRC 2 that they heard a loud “boom” when the incident occurred.

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2. Man Charged After Injuring Trespasser at Southeast Houston Laundromat, Police Say

A washateria employee is charged with shooting an intruder inside a washateria in southeast Houston on Tuesday afternoon.

Robert M. Le, 31, an employee of Fuqua Washateria located at Block 11000 Fuqua Street, has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

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Police said Corey Laine, 25, allegedly violated the laundromat. When Le tried to ask Laine to leave, Laine ran and allegedly ran over Le’s mother, who suffered a minor injury, police said.

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3. Pause on student loan payments extended until May 1

The Biden administration on Wednesday extended a moratorium on student loans that allowed tens of millions of Americans to defer paying their debts during the pandemic.

As part of this action, payments on federal student loans will remain suspended until May 1. Interest rates will remain at 0% during this period and debt collection efforts will be suspended. These measures have been in place since the start of the pandemic, but were due to expire on January 31.

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President Joe Biden has said financial recovery from the pandemic will take longer than employment resumption, especially for those with student loans.

“We know that millions of student loan borrowers are still facing the impacts of the pandemic and need more time to resume payments,” he said in a statement, adding that he was an issue that he and the vice president both “care deeply about.”

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4. Texas has the highest proportion of uninsured residents in the country. Another wave of COVID-19 puts them at risk.

Much of the past two years has seemed surreal to the staff at Centro De Salud Familiar La Fe, a federally licensed health center in El Paso. Apparently overnight, the women’s health center turned into a coronavirus unit. They started offering COVID-19 testing and then, whenever they could, vaccine pop-ups. They made public service announcements and went door to door, encouraging people to get vaccinated.

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But despite the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, some things came as no surprise, like how hard it hit their low-income and uninsured clients.

“This area has been suffering for a long time,” said spokeswoman Estela Reyes-López. “We’re not getting the funding we need. We don’t have the medical providers we need. … The situation with the coronavirus only exacerbated things that were already happening.

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5. Vacation warning: traveler says vehicle was stolen from IAH garage

Terminal C’s high-tech fleet of roaming security robots could not foil a car theft last Sunday in the garage of Terminal C at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

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“When we got off the elevator, three of these robots were charging at the charging station,” said Kelle Daigle, the latest victim of auto theft.

Daigle’s 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT was last tracked near a dead end road before GPS equipment was apparently removed from the vehicle.

“The guys told us they had a lot of vehicles that got stolen there,” Daigle said.

The Houston Police Department said vehicle break-ins are more common than outright vehicle thefts.

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