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Sen. John Cornyn Promotes New Bill to Address Border Crisis

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 3:53 pm

johncornynSenator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX 28) have each introduced bills in their respective houses of Congress that they together are calling the “Humane Act.” The bill is intended to close a loophole in a 2008 law that treats illegal immigrants from other countries differently than illegal immigrants from Mexico. According to Senator Cornyn, the law requires immigrants from countries other than Mexico to be released to a relative in the United States pending a hearing on a date in the future as set forth in a notice to appear. Most of those appearance obligations are never kept by the illegal immigrants, according to Senator Cornyn, resulting in de facto legal admission into the country. The bill that Sen. Cornyn and Rep. Cuellar have introduced would effectively modify that 2008 law so as to require detention of illegal immigrants, including unaccompanied children, and a speedy trial to determine the disposition of each case. The bill faces stiff headwinds in the Democratically-controlled Senate according to Sen. Cornyn.

KTBB’s Paul Gleiser spoke with Sen. Cornyn. That interview is available below.

Listen to the full interview:

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Sheriff’s Office Reviewing Policy on Case Submissions

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 3:55 pm

thumb_Larry-SmithTYLER (Staff/AP) — Sheriff Larry Smith and the Smith County Sheriff’s Office Command Staff are in the process of reviewing incidents in which inmates were released on personal recognizance bonds. According to a news release, these inmates were released due to their cases not being filed with the District Attorney’s Office in time to indict. Officials say each case file will be reviewed at the Sheriff’s Office as well as any Sheriff’s Office communications to or from the District Attorney’s Office.

From this time forward, the Criminal Investigation Division of the Smith County Sheriff’s Office will provide both Chief Deputy Robert Carlson and Sheriff Smith a carbon copy of any email correspondence with the District Attorney’s Office, according to the news release. Sheriff Smith says he has contacted the District Attorney’s Office advising of this policy. Smith reports he has also asked that the District Attorney’s Office please include Chief Carlson as well as the Sheriff in any email correspondence regarding outstanding cases.

Sheriff Smith reiterated, “There is no substitution for open and concise communications. It is of the utmost importance especially in dealing with law enforcement business involving victims as well as suspects. The life and liberty of both depend upon the local investigative and prosecutorial entities doing their job, doing it expeditiously, thoroughly, constitutionally and above all fairly.” Smith says all Sheriff’s Office arrests are being tracked and misdemeanor cases are being required to be filed with the District Attorney’s Office within 30 days, with all felony cases to be filed within 45 days of incarceration.

It was reported over the weekend that eight people jailed on felony charges, including violent crimes, have been freed from the Smith County Jail after Smith failed to present evidence to a grand jury within 90 days of their arrest. The Tyler Telegraph reported Sunday that according to documents it obtained through an open records request the suspects were released on their own recognizance between November 2013 and June 30. Another 13 could have been released but were held after additional charges were brought or due to federal retainers. Among those who have been released are a 56-year-old accused of shooting three people during a disagreement and two others charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

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Suspect in Triple Fatality Released on Bond

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 3:50 pm

shelbytaylormug3HENDERSON — The woman accused of killing a woman and her two children in an alleged drunken driving incident has been released on bond. According to the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office, Shelby Taylor, 22, of Henderson, was set free after posting a $501,000 bond on Friday. KETK reports the suspect was facing a 2013 DWI accusation, among other charges, before the fatal crash occurred. The Rusk County District Attorney’s Office has filed three manslaughter charges against her for the deaths of Rudra Patel, 5, Trisha Patel, 12, and Heena Patel, 43. The father, 42-year-old Ketanbhai Patel, survived the crash.

According to DPS, an oil field truck, driven by Taylor, was headed southbound in the northbound lane of 259 near the Gregg and Rusk County line when it collided with a van. Trooper Jean Dark stated Kentanbhai attempted to avoid the crash, but he was not able to dodge the truck in time. The suspect also had a passenger in the truck with her who was identified as Sarah Furlong, 21. Taylor faces three manslaughter charges and a DWI charge in the deadly wreck near Kilgore. The case remains under investigation.

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Bond Set at $2 Million in Four-Year-Old’s Death

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 3:51 pm

stacieparsonsmugATHENS — Bond has been set at $2 million for an East Texas woman who was arrested after authorities say she admitted to killing her four-year-old daughter. According to the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, Stacie Marie Parsons, 25, of Athens, walked into the Athens Police Department around 8:45 Monday morning and told police she had murdered her young daughter. The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office responded to her home in the 410 block of Martin Luther King Drive and found Parsons’s child deceased with head and chest trauma. Officials tell KETK the alleged murder took place at a bridge on County Road 1500. Parsons remains the Henderson County Jail on a single charge of capital murder.

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Missing Teen Sought

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 4:44 pm

hannahlongviewLONGVIEW — The Harrison County Sheriff’s Office is asking for help finding a missing Longview teenager who was last seen Sunday. Jay Webb, administrative lieutenant of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office, said Tuesday that Hannah Nicole Barker, 15, is believed to have run away from her home on Peggy Ruth Road. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report Peggy Ruth Road is in a part of Longview that reaches into Harrison County. “She just apparently crawled out of a window at her residence,” Webb said. “Her mother went to check on her and she wasn’t there.” Barker is described as being 5-feet 1-inch tall and weighing 100 pounds. She has brown hair and green eyes, according to Webb. Anyone with information about Barker’s whereabouts is asked to call the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office at (903) 923-4000.

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Wood County Man Indicted in Sexual Abuse Cases

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 4:58 pm

joshuatutorwoodcoWOOD COUNTY — A Yantis man was indicted recently for the alleged sexual abuse of two girls, ages 14 and 12. KETK reports the incidents happened about a month apart. On April 3, a Wood County deputy responded to a report of a sexual assault at the Yantis school, according to an Wood County arrest affidavit. Friends of the 12-year-old assaulted told police the victim said Joshua Michael Tutor, 20, had sexual relations with her on the playground. The mother also showed a string of text messages between her and the suspect. In the texts, the suspect admits to sexual activity, according to officials.

On April 4, the mother reported to authorities her daughter stated the two had sex at a nearby playground and she had been pressured into the act. On the same day, Tutor appeared at the Wood County Sheriff’s Office and admitted to having sex with the child at the Yantis school playground, according to authorities. He also recognized the teen was underage and knew it was wrong, according to the affidavit.

In a separate incident on May 12 at around 1:30 a.m., the Alba Police Department pulled over a vehicle driven by Tutor. A 14-year-old was also in the vehicle with him. The girl reportedly stated she sneaked out of her home and was picked up by the suspect. The teen also reportedly told the officer the two of them had hung out at Lake Fork. The following day, detectives interviewed the teen about the prior night’s events. The girl told investigators she was inappropriately touched and thought Tutor was trying to have sex with her, according to officials. He also had tried to kiss her, the victim reportedly stated. Officials say after she denied Tutor, they left to take the teen home. Tutor was charged with one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child and solicitation to commit sexual assault of a child. His bail totals $125,000.

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One Killed, Three Hurt in Weekend Crash near Longview

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 3:51 pm

HARRISON COUNTY — Three people are recovering from injuries sustained in a head-on collision that killed one person over the weekend about two miles north of Longview in Harrison County. KETK reports that at 9:27 a.m. on Saturday, an SUV headed north on FM 2208 crossed the center line and smashed into a truck driving south. The driver of the SUV was identified as Janice Wilkinson, 62, of Colmesneil. She was taken to a Longview hospital in stable condition. Two other passengers in the SUV were injured, one fatally. Bobby Wilkinson, 64, of Colmesneil, was pronounced dead at the scene by Justice of the Peace Precinct 4 Nancy George. He was taken to the Meadowbrook Funeral Home in Marshall. Sharron Smith, 61, of Colmesneil was transported to a local hospital in stable condition. The driver of the truck, 19-year-old Cayden Ferrill, was treated and released from a Longview hospital. All four passengers were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.

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Police: Man Wanted in Robbery Considered “Armed and Dangerous”

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 3:51 pm

nickelberrylpdLONGVIEW — Longview Police are looking for 25-year-old Vontrequel “Trey” or “Tre” Nickelberry. According to KETK, he is the suspect in an aggravated robbery that occurred May 10 in the 1000 Block of Young St. Police say Nickelberry is considered armed and dangerous. If you have any information on the whereabouts of Nickelberry, you are asked to call police immediately or contact Gregg County Crimestoppers at 903-236-7867 to remain anonymous.

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Medical Code Workers Testify against Texas Doctor

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 3:54 pm

tariq mahmoodTYLER (AP) – Some medical workers responsible for treatment billing codes say they felt pressured by a Dallas-area doctor to allegedly falsify data to get more money from Medicare. Testimony continues in the Tyler health care fraud trial of Dr. Tariq Mahmood, who’s denied wrongdoing. Federal prosecutors say the hospital chain owner conspired to submit more than $1.1 million in false billings. The Dallas Morning News reports Norma Longley testified Monday that she balked at changing billing codes for Renaissance Hospital Terrell patients. Longley says Mahmood insisted diagnoses by other doctors be altered to reflect more expensive treatments. She later discovered her codes for Medicare reimbursements were altered. Cynthia Kennemer Plumlee testified she was fired after refusing to let Mahmood be “involved” in reviewing patient codes. She cited professional ethics.

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Harassment Complaint Leads to Prostitution Arrest

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 3:53 pm

pearson,josephLONGVIEW — Police in Longview say a prostitution arrest was made following a harassment complaint. Police were dispatched Tuesday morning to a suspicious vehicle in the area of the 2900 block of Lynn Street. When officers arrived they were told by the victim that the suspect, later identified as 34-year-old Joseph Pearson of Daingerfield, had been continually harassing him since April, 2013.

Over the past year Pearson had allegedly placed calls to prostitutes asking them to go to an address in the 2900 block of Lynn Street to perform sexual acts. Each time the victim in this case would be approached by females, sometimes accompanied by males, arriving at his home to have sex for money, according to law officers. At one point he had reportedly even been threatened by at least one of these unknown individuals. After speaking with the involved parties, police located Pearson in the 700 Block of Swancy Street and he was arrested without incident for solicitation of prostitution and harassment, both misdemeanors.

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Government Arrests 192 on Immigrant Smuggling Charges

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 3:58 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Homeland Security Department says it has seized more than $625,000 and arrested 192 people in a crackdown on human smuggling along the Mexican border in South Texas. The government’s crackdown, called “Operation Coyote,” is another front in the Obama administration’s ongoing effort to slow the flood of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children and families caught crossing the border illegally in South Texas this year. The operation took place over the last month. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says 501 immigrants in the country illegally have also been taken into custody as part of a 90-day operation targeting smuggling groups. ICE says the money was seized from 228 bank accounts held by suspected human- and drug-smuggling groups.

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Ground Broken on Fort Hood Memorial

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 3:59 pm

thumb_forthoodKILLEEN (AP) – Ground has been broken in Killeen for a memorial to the victims of the 2009 Fort Hood shootings. Organizers are still taking donations for the more than $400,000 memorial pavilion and bronze sculptures honoring the 13 people who were killed. More than 30 people were wounded in the attack.

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Cartel Associates Get 1-Year Sentence for Bribery

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 4:18 pm

thumb_dept-justice-sealAUSTIN (AP) – Federal prosecutors say two Mexican citizens have been sentenced to one year and one day in prison for attempting to bribe a federal judge. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement Tuesday that drug cartel associates Francisco Agustin Colorado Cebado and Ramon Segura Flores each must also pay a $10,000 fine. Both defendants and Francisco Antonio Colorado Cessa, the father of Francisco Agustin Colorado, pleaded guilty in March to attempting to offer a $1.2 million bribe to the judge in exchange for a reduced sentence for the elder Colorado, who’s now serving 20 years for laundering drug money by purchasing race horses. Prosecutors say the judge did not participate in the scheme. Paul Nugent, Segura’s attorney, says the defendants are scheduled to be deported following their release.

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Real Estate Heir Accused of Urinating on Candy

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 4:26 pm

HOUSTON (AP) – A New York City real estate heir who admitted killing his neighbor a decade ago in Texas is facing a new charge in Houston that accuses him of urinating on candy at a drug store. Authorities say 71-year-old Robert Durst was arrested Sunday after arguing with store employees. They say he was charged with criminal mischief after urinating on at least $100 worth of candy. His attorney, Chip Lewis, said in a statement Tuesday that they will address the allegations in court. In 2001, Durst was arrested as a fugitive and admitted killing his neighbor and dumping the remains in Galveston Bay. He claimed self-defense and was acquitted of homicide charges. Durst’s family runs The Durst Organization, a privately held billion-dollar real estate company that owns several New York skyscrapers.

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3 Hurt in Home Explosion Near Willis, Cause Sought

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 4:28 pm

WILLIS (AP) – Three adults have suffered severe burns in a Central Texas house explosion that leveled the home. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office says the fiery blast happened before dawn Tuesday at a home near Willis. That’s about 40 miles north of Houston. Montgomery County Fire Marshal Jimmy Williams says it could be weeks before investigators determine a cause for the explosion that was felt several miles away. Williams says two men and a woman suffered severe burns and were transported to a hospital. Their names and further details on their conditions weren’t immediately released. Williams says investigators are trying to determine if any nearby homes in the unincorporated area were damaged.

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Lawmakers Trash, Give Away Mail from Warren Jeffs

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 4:27 pm

thumb_warren_jeffs_1SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – More letters from Warren Jeffs, the imprisoned leader of a polygamous sect, have streamed into the mailboxes of Utah legislators in recent months. Lawmakers say they don’t know why there’s been an uptick. The letters from Jeffs call for repentance and arrive via mail, sometimes bound in hardcover. Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, a Republican from Sandy, says most legislators toss the letters without reading them. Woods Cross Republican Sen. Todd Weiler says he gives the mailings to Capitol visitors as souvenirs and once sent the book on to a GOP auction. Jeffs is in prison in Texas, where he is a serving a life sentence for sexually assaulting underage girls he considered brides. Members of his church, a radical offshoot of mainstream Mormonism, believe polygamy brings exaltation in heaven.

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Mikolas pitches Rangers past sloppy Yankees 4-2

Posted/updated on: July 21, 2014 at 11:39 pm

Miles Mikolas didn’t need to look into the batter’s box to know who was stepping in with the bases loaded in the fifth inning. The roaring crowd said it all.

Listening to more than 45,000 New York Yankees fans try to urge Derek Jeter to get one more big hit motivated the young right-hander.

Mikolas got Jeter to ground into a double play, then pitched smoothly into the eighth inning Monday night to lead the Texas Rangers to a 4-2 victory.

“That’s a big situation, a big jam to get out of,” Mikolas said. “It almost makes me as a pitcher want to compete a little harder, let the fans down.”

Mikolas (1-2) slapped his glove and pumped his fist twice while letting out a shout of approval as he left the field. Then he retired his final seven batters.

Mikolas’ mom, fiance, sister and stepdad led a group up from Florida to see him win for the first time since Aug. 21, 2012, with San Diego. Mikolas won twice in 25 relief appearances for the Padres that year. He’s had little success this season, coming in with a 10.05 ERA in three starts.

“I think that really relaxed him,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said of the double play.

Trailing by one with none on and two outs in the sixth, Texas got run-scoring singles from Geovany Soto, Rougned Odor and Shin-Soo Choo to go ahead in only its third win in 17 July games.

Adrian Beltre drove in the Rangers’ first run with a fielder’s choice in the third inning on one of New York’s five errors — three by starting pitcher Shane Greene (2-1).

“It was an ugly game on our part,” manager Joe Girardi said.

Second baseman Brian Roberts and Jeter, the shortstop, made the other errors for the Yankees, who had not committed five in a nine-inning game since Aug. 20, 1998, against Minnesota.

Mikolas yielded two runs, including Jacoby Ellsbury’s homer, and four hits in a career-high 7 1/3 innings to outlast Greene in a matchup of 25-year-old pitchers getting a shot because of injury-wrecked rotations.

“I felt once he kind of got rolling, once he got some confidence, especially in an environment like this, you can get rolling,” Roberts said of Mikolas.

Joakim Soria gave up a single to Kelly Johnson and plunked pinch-hitter Brian McCann with a pitch before getting Yangervis Solarte to fly out for his 17th save.

Winners of only five of their last 25 games, the Rangers then broke through against Greene in his first appearance at Yankee Stadium.

Soto struck out with runners on first and third in the second — they were there thanks to two poor throws to first base by Greene — but came through with the tying hit in the sixth, a single to left after Jake Smolinski singled and Jim Adduci walked.

“He was still throwing the ball well,” Girardi said when asked why he left Greene in so long. “He gave up a broken-bat bloop hit over the third baseman’s glove. It’s not like they were hitting him hard.”

Matt Thornton relieved and gave up consecutive run-scoring hits to Odor and Choo.

Playing the outfield for the first time since the All-Star break because of left ankle trouble, Choo snapped an 0-for-22 skid with a third-inning double.

Green was charged with four runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. He had given up just two runs total in his first two career starts.

Carlos Beltran put New York ahead with a sacrifice fly in the first after Jeter walked, advanced to second on a balk and third on Ellsbury’s single.

Ellsbury homered leading off the fourth to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. It was the seventh straight time he reached base after going 4 for 4 with a walk in a win over Cincinnati on Sunday.

Game notes

Rangers C Soto left after the top of the sixth with tightness in his right groin. He said he will see how it feels Tuesday before deciding if he can play. Smolinski bruised his left foot and was lifted for a pinch hitter in the ninth. … Rangers RF Alex Rios (sprained right ankle) missed his second straight game. Washington said Rios looked much better and could play before the series ends Thursday. … Injured Yankees LHP CC Sabathia (knee) turned 34. … Up next: The Rangers plan to activate RHP Nick Martinez (1-6) from the DL to start Tuesday against the Yankees. He has been out since July 2 with discomfort on his left side. Rookie RHP Chase Whitley (4-3) starts for New York.

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Mavericks summer league recap

Posted/updated on: July 21, 2014 at 11:41 pm

By Bryan Gutierrez | ESPNDallas.com

GriffinGarrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty ImagesEric Griffin’s Vegas high-wire act earned him a one-year deal with the Mavericks.

LAS VEGAS — With 10 days in the desert now complete, here are some passing thoughts on players of intrigue who made noise one way or another for the Dallas Mavericks in Las Vegas during summer-league play.

Yuki Togashi
The 5-foot-8 Japanese guard is a perfect fit for the Texas Legends, Dallas’ NBA Development League affiliate. The diminutive prospect certainly has game, but is clearly limited due to his small frame. He will have to fight an uphill battle, much like former Dallas point guard J.J. Barea did, if he wants any shot at making an NBA roster. Togashi made it clear after the Vegas finale that he will not play in Japan and hopes to be selected in the D-League draft. Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson is a co-owner of the Legends, so it’s a relatively safe bet to assume that Togashi lands in Frisco, Texas.

Eric Griffin
The high-flying standout earned himself a non-guaranteed, one-year contract with the Mavs over the weekend after separating himself from the pack with his athletic play on both ends of the floor. In a sense, his athleticism is reminiscent of forward Shawn Marion; the comparison is particularly apt on offense in that a coach won’t have to draw up plays for either forward. On the other end, Griffin is a solid help-side defender, closing up real estate to the opposition in a hurry. Griffin impressed the cast in Las Vegas; he’ll have to do the same with the likes of owner Mark Cuban and coach Rick Carlisle if he wants to make the 15-man roster. If he doesn’t, he’ll join the Texas Legends. Don’t be surprised if forward Ivan Johnson also earns an invite to training camp.

Bernard James
Sources told ESPNDallas.com’s Tim MacMahon that the Mavs are expected to re-sign James. Nelson said he believes James’ play in Vegas has garnered interest around the league and that the Mavs are at the top of the list. James did not play in the team’s final game in Vegas, and Nelson was quick to note that it wasn’t because the team had reached an agreement with the center. Rather, Nelson said, it was an opportunity for James to get a “well-deserved” break for his summer-league efforts. Assuming the sides reach a mutually beneficial deal, James should return to fill out the back end of the roster.

[+] EnlargeRick Ledo
Jack Arent/NBAE/Getty ImagesA 15-point, nine-assist summer-league finale showcased Ricky Ledo’s developing chops.
Ricky Ledo
Ledo’s summer-league performance had plenty of highs and lows. The swingman, 21, ended his run with an impressive all-around performance in the Mavs’ Vegas finale, scoring 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting and adding a game-high nine assists. (The rest of the players on both teams combined for only 11 assists.) Ledo is still probably another season away from being a rotational player at the NBA level, but the coaching staff was pleased with his effort in Las Vegas. He will just need to continue trending in the right direction.

Gal Mekel
After dealing with a knee surgery and subsequent setback to his calf late last season, Mekel said his conditioning was much better by the end of his Vegas stint. His goal will be to continue adapting to the speed of the NBA game and working on his shooting mechanics. Mekel left the team over the weekend to be with his family in his native Israel. While there, he will join the Israeli national team, which has begun its training camp and will start international play in August. Mekel plans to stay there until early September, then return to Dallas to prepare for training camp.

Greg Smith
The 6-foot-10, 250-pounder will replace DeJuan Blair as the banging backup. The Mavs hope Smith can create some constructive chaos — much as Blair did — on the defensive end. Smith will have to prove that his knees are healthy and able to endure the beating of an 82-game season. If he’s able to make it through, Dallas might have an intriguing big-man combination.

Richard Jefferson/Rashard Lewis
For the league minimum, you could certainly do a lot worse than acquiring both Jefferson and Lewis. Both are expected to provide perimeter shooting and bench depth for Dallas. The departures of Vince Carter, Blair and Wayne Ellington took a bite out of said depth, a Mavericks’ strength in recent seasons. Based on Carlisle’s reserve options going forward, there very well could be stretches of games in which either Jefferson or Lewis don’t see time on the floor.

Devin Harris
The Mavs will hope that Harris doesn’t suffer an injury setback like he did last summer, when he lost half of the regular season. Dallas will need Harris ready to go, because the team is still dealing with relative instability at the point-guard position. Given his chemistry with Brandan Wright, it’s very possible that Harris will come off the bench, leaving Raymond Felton as the starting point guard.

Chandler Parsons
The Mavs were able to strike a deal with Parsons as the summer league was in its opening stages. Making his first address to the Dallas media last week, it’s quite apparent that the forward has a chip on his shoulder after coming over from the Houston Rockets. It will be quite interesting to see how Carlisle decides to use the versatile Parsons. It’s safe to assume that Parsons and Dirk Nowitzki will create a rather formidable two-man game. At 25, one must wonder whether, assuming he continues to mature and develop as a player, Parsons could become the new face of the Mavericks. Time will tell.

Dirk Nowitzki
Dallas’ star continued to show that he is one of a kind by agreeing to a deal that was lower than expected — three years, $25 million — to remain in Dallas. The 36-year-old turned down max offers from the Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers to show how committed he is to the only NBA organization for which he has played.

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Conditioning test for Cowboys

Posted/updated on: July 21, 2014 at 11:40 pm

By Todd Archer | ESPNDallas.com

IRVING, Texas — Before the Dallas Cowboys head to Oxnard, California, for training camp on Tuesday, the players in the area will be able to take the team’s conditioning test at Valley Ranch on Monday.

Speaking on WWLS in Oklahoma City last week, backup quarterback Brandon Weeden said Jason Witten made the request that players take the test on Monday. The players have to run 20 sprints of either 40, 50 or 60 yards and within different time frames depending on position groups. Skill players have to run 60 yards in eight seconds. Linemen have to run 40 yards in six seconds and those in between have seven seconds to cover 50 yards.

After 10 sprints, the players get a three-minute break.

If a player does not complete the conditioning test, then he could start the year on the physically unable to perform list. Once he passes the test, he will be eligible to practice. Last year, a handful of players, including Jay Ratliff, did not pass the test. Ratliff remained on PUP and was eventually cut last October in a nasty divorce.

For those players not in the area or meeting the team in Oxnard, they will take the conditioning test on Wednesday. It’s not clear if newly-signed players like Rolando McClain, Uche Nwaneri and Dallas Walker will be required to take the test immediately since they joined the team after the offseason program ended.

The Cowboys are scheduled to land at Naval Base Ventura County at Point Mugu on Tuesday afternoon and will sign autographs for the military and their families before heading to their headquarters at the River Ridge Residence Inn.

The Cowboys first practice will be Thursday.

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Big 12 chief rips NCAA, says ‘cheating pays’

Posted/updated on: July 21, 2014 at 11:40 pm

By Jake Trotter | ESPN.com

DALLAS — Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby says “cheating pays” in the NCAA these days and doesn’t foresee things getting much better in the future.

During his annual state-of-the-league address from Big 12 media days Monday, Bowlsby slammed the NCAA, notably the enforcement wing of college sports’ governing body.

“Enforcement is broken,” he said. “The infractions committee hasn’t had [an FBS] hearing in almost a year, and I think it’s not an understatement to say cheating pays presently. If you seek to conspire to certainly bend the rules, you can do it successfully and probably not get caught in most occasions.”

Bowlsby added that he didn’t think cheating was necessarily rampant in college sports. But he painted a bleak outlook for the future NCAA.

“We certainly are operating in a strange environment in that we have lawsuits,” he said, “plus we have the [O'Bannon v. NCAA] lawsuit. I think all of that in the end will cause programs to be eliminated. I think you’ll see men’s Olympic sports go away as a result of the new funding challenges that are coming down the pipe. I think there may be tension among and between sports on campus and institutions that have different resources. It’s really unknown what the outcomes will be.”

Bowlsby, however, came to the defense of the collegiate model, which has come under criticism. He argued against the unionization of college athletes, noting that in his opinion, “student-athletes are not employees.” He also said it wouldn’t be fair to pay football players but not female student-athletes.

“It is hard to justify paying student-athletes in football and men’s basketball and not recognizing the significant effort that swimmers and wrestlers and lacrosse players and track athletes all put in,” he said. “Football and basketball players don’t work any harder than anybody else; they just happen to have the blessing of an adoring public who is willing to pay for the tickets and willing to buy the products on television that come with the high visibility.

“We have both a legal obligation and a moral obligation to do for female student-athletes and male Olympic sports athletes just exactly what we do for football and basketball student-athletes. I don’t think it’s even debatable.”

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Strong offseason fueling Brandon Weeden

Posted/updated on: July 18, 2014 at 10:44 am

By Todd Archer | ESPNDallas.com

IRVING, Texas – Brandon Weeden’s bid to be the Dallas Cowboys’ No. 2 quarterback in 2014 got a lot easier when the club decided to release Kyle Orton.

Barring something unforeseen, Weeden, who signed a two-year deal in the offseason, will be Tony Romo’s backup. But Weeden does not look at the move as “weight off my shoulders.”

“Given the situation Kyle has been in in previous years in Dallas, he’s been the backup quarterback, so I think if he was there it would be one more obstacle I would have to kind of hurdle,” Weeden said. “But at the same time I can’t really get wrapped up in putting all of my attention on that. I need to do what I did in the [organized team activities] and continue to play well and get better. I think hopefully things will work out that way regardless.”

The Cowboys felt confident enough to jettison Orton, who skipped the entire offseason program and minicamp, in part because of what Weeden did in the spring. With Romo recovering from back surgery and being kept out of competitive drills and Orton missing, Weeden took all of the first-team snaps.

“I think the reps I got in the OTAs were kind of irreplaceable,” Weeden said. “If I was in a situation where God forbid something happened to Tony and I’m asked to play, those are the guys I’m going to battle with, so those reps I got were invaluable. I know I won’t get many of those in [training] camp, but fortunately I had 12 practices where I was able to get out with those guys. Now it’s, ‘Let’s get to work.’ I’m ready to get to California and get things rolling.”

Orton had the same benefit last year of taking all of the offseason snaps in 2013 as Romo recovered from surgery to remove a cyst from his back. When Romo hurt his back in Week 16 against the Washington Redskins, he was able to step into the season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles and play well. He completed 30 of 46 passes for 358 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, but a late turnover sealed the Cowboys’ loss.

“[Gavin] Escobar and [Jason] Witten are two totally different players. Dez [Bryant] and Terrance [Williams] are two totally different players,” Weeden said. “You kind of learn what certain guys’ strengths are and little nuances of what they do. That’s the thing more than anything. You kind of get a feel for what Dez likes on fades and all that stuff a certain way where Terrance might like it another way. You’ve got to learn what each guy likes. When you’re with so many new guys it takes time. You always want more time, but it’s nice to have the reps I did get there to get a head start.”

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QB David Ash cleared to practice

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 10:06 am

Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas quarterback David Ash has been cleared to participate in contact drills when the Longhorns return for training camp.

Ash missed most of last season with concussion symptoms and missed part of spring drills with a broken left foot.

Trainer Anthony Pass also cleared sophomore running back Johnathan Gray, who missed part of last season with an Achilles tendon injury. Senior linebacker Jordan Hicks, who had hip and Achilles tendon injuries the last two seasons, also has been cleared to practice.

Texas starts the season under new coach Charlie Strong on Aug. 30 at home against North Texas.

Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press

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Heart Health: Work as Hard for Your Heart as it Works for You


Did you know your heart is a muscle just like the biceps in your arm or the quadriceps in your legs? It’s considered to be the hardest working muscle in your body; beating more than 3.5 billion times during an average lifespan. And like any hard-working muscle, your heart needs a healthy diet, regular exercise, and a good night’s sleep to stay healthy. But what actually happens to this vital muscle over time when you have diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol? UT Health’s cardiologist, Dr. Dudley Goulden, answers questions about maintaining a healthy heart muscle in this post to HealthConnection. Go to the UT Health Connection website!

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Today in History for 22nd July 2014

- Historical Events 1901 - The British House of Lordsin its role as court rules that trade unions can be sued for actions of its members in the Taff Vale Case 1962 - 44th PGA Championship: Gary Player shoots a 278 at Aronimink GC PA 1967 - Carol Mann wins LPGA Supertest Ladies' Golf Open 1973 - 28th US Women's Open Golf Championship won by Susie Maxwell Berning 1983 - Poland's PM Januzelski lifts ma... Read more on HistoryOrb.com

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Low-Fat Recipes: Black Pepper Cookies

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"Cookies with black pepper."

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