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Sheriff: Woman Arrested after Admitting to Killing Daughter

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 2:16 am

stacieparsonsmugATHENS — An East Texas woman has been 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 has been booked into the Henderson County Jail on a single charge of capital murder with no bond.

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Sheriff Says Deputy’s Arrest Led to Recent Arrests of Six Others

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 2:15 am

kimbrick_jonesTYLER — The 2013 arrest of a Smith County deputy for drug trafficking led to the recent arrests of six other people. KETK reports the seizures and arrests were a byproduct of Kimbrick Bernard Jones’s arrest for selling meth from a patrol car. Sheriff Larry Smith said Jones (pictured) cooperated with the FBI and sheriff’s office as they continued to investigate criminal activities. Following his sentencing, they were able to pinpoint alleged suppliers and traffickers of meth involved. The six were indicted in federal court last week. Smith’s office also seized meth, firearms, and a large piece of land off County Road 3104 where illegal horse racing was reportedly taking place. Deputies searched four residence on more than 100 acres of land in rural Smith County.

The following individuals’ indictments were reported July 16:

Omar Bonifacio Bonilla, aka “Pelon,” 32, of Tyler;
Renault Lansing Kay, aka “Nault Pete,” a/k/a “Chocolate,” 47, of Tyler;
Jessica Maria Bonilla, 31, of Tyler;
Joel Orlando Bonilla-Loya, 36, of Tyler;
Guillermo Rivera-Bonilla, 58, of Tyler;
Sheena Shavette Perry, 31, of Tyler.

Six federal arrest warrants and four federal search warrants in the Tyler and Gladewater areas were a result of the joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Smith County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Texas Racing Commission.

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Former Hospital Chief’s Fraud Conspiracy Trial Begins

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 2:15 am

tariq mahmoodTYLER (AP/Staff) – The fraud conspiracy trial of Dr. Tariq Mahmood began Monday in Tyler. Federal prosecutors say in court records that hospitals operated by the Dallas businessman improperly billed Medicare 80 percent of the time and continued the fraudulent billing even after being warned by government auditors. Details of the prosecution’s case against Mahmood recently were disclosed in court filings. The Dallas Morning News reports that indictments contend he conspired to submit more than $1.1 million in false billings to enrich himself even as his hospitals in East Texas and elsewhere lacked funding to operate effectively. Mahmood previously pleaded not guilty to health care billing fraud and aggravated identity theft counts. He faces more than two decades in prison if convicted on all 15 fraud counts.

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Baby Dies at Angelina County Home

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 2:14 am

crimescene-coronerHUNTINGTON (AP) — Officials say a 2-month-old girl has died at an East Texas home as the woman with whom she was living ran an errand and left several other adults to watch the baby. The Angelina County Sheriff’s Department says an autopsy was scheduled on the infant, whose name wasn’t immediately released. Sheriff Greg Sanches says an initial review indicates the baby apparently died of natural causes. Sanches says the woman in whose care the child was entrusted had to pick someone up Saturday and left the sleeping child in the care of several family friends at a home near Huntington. One of the adults checked on the girl, noticed she wasn’t breathing and called 911. Child Protective Services has been notified.

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Fire Destroys Longview Warehouse, Contents

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 2:13 am

mopacfire0721LONGVIEW — The Longview Fire Department responded to a major fire at a warehouse on Mopac Road Monday afternoon. KETK reports that when officials arrived on scene, the structure was engulfed in flames and collapsed. According to fire officials, the building was used to store extra clothes, hangers, and other storage equipment for Webco’s store displays. Longview Fire Marshal Johnny Zackary said the Miracle Tabernacle church was also keeping about 70 oak pews inside the building. All contents inside the structure, as well as the structure itself, were lost. The cause is undertermined at the moment, but nothing appears to be suspicious about the fire, according to Zackary. No injuries were reported.

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“Government Grant” Phone Scam Targets East Texas

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 2:12 am

Better Business BureauTYLER — The Better Business Bureau Serving Central East Texas is warning the public to be extremely wary of phone calls claiming to come from bogus government grant agencies. BBB has received calls from residents concerning unsolicited telephone grant offers that are nothing more than an attempt to clear bank accounts. East Texas consumers have been receiving phone calls telling them they have been awarded a grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. But the caller says in order to get the grant, you’ll need to provide bank account and other personally identifying information. Ultimately, consumers do not receive any grant money, and may lose their own money in the process.

“Government agencies do not make phone calls to individuals to solicit funds or financial information”, said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas. “There is an application process for all government grants. If you have not submitted an application for a grant, you will not be awarded one.”

Visit if you would like to apply for a grant. Mills says this website provides all of the federal grant opportunities, including different types of grants, rules for applying, and how to track your submissions. You can report those who pretend to hand out grants on the government’s behalf to 1-800-447-8477.

BBB provides additional tips for dealing with this scam:

• Government grants have to be applied for in order to receive. You must apply for government grants in order to be eligible to receive the benefits. If you did not apply for a grant, you will not be eligible to receive the funds.
• The government doesn’t call you to contact you for such matters. The government will not notify you of your eligibility over the phone. The government notifies grant recipients through mailed letters or e-mails based on your submitted grant application.
• If you get one of these calls, just hang up. You may be tempted to call back, but this will only give the scammer another opportunity to steal your information.

• Don’t give out your personal information to someone you don’t know. Never give out your bank account numbers, date of birth, credit card number or Social Security number to an unsolicited caller or anyone you don’t know.
• There are no fees for government grants. According to, the FTC points out you shouldn’t have to pay fees for a “free” government grant.
To help prevent these types of calls, BBB encourages consumers to sign up for the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call Registry by calling 1-888-382-1222 or visiting If you are unsure if a business or a phone call is legitimate, please verify at or call 903-581-5704.

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County Road 112 Closed for Bridge Repair

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 2:11 am

Road Closed2TYLER — Smith County Road 112 is closed for bridge repairs. The project, which started Monday, is expected to last up to three weeks. The closure only applies to the portion of CR 112 located between County Road 131 and County Road 129 in the southern half Smith County. Drivers should utilize an alternative route for the duration of this project.

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Asphalt Enhancement Project Underway

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 2:10 am

TYLER — Roadwork on South Broadway Avenue from Erwin Street to Fourth Street is underway. The existing asphalt surface will be removed and replaced with new asphalt. To minimize inconvenience to the public, all work will be done at night between the hours of 7:00pm and 6:00am, according to officials. During this time, the road will periodically be closed to through traffic. Drivers are advised to seek alternate routes during this time. All work is expected to be complete before August 5, weather permitting.

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Perry Sending National Guard to Texas Border

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 2:09 am

National GuardAUSTIN (AP) — Governor Rick Perry says he’s deploying as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border after growing tired of “lip service” from the federal government. Perry said Monday that the National Guard will provide additional support to a state-funded border surge that is costing an additional $1.3 million a week. Much of the area has been overwhelmed in recent months by tens of thousands of unaccompanied children illegally entering the U.S. Perry says criminals are exploiting the situation for human and drug trafficking. More than 3,000 Border Patrol agents currently work in the region. The deployment of the National Guard is expected to unfold over the next 30 days. Democrats and some Texas border sheriffs are criticizing the plan as an ill-conceived militarization..

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Pilot Dies in West Texas Plane Crash

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 2:07 am

FAABLACKWELL (AP) — A pilot has been killed in the crash of his single-engine plane in rural West Texas. The Texas Department of Public Safety on Monday identified the victim as Weldon Pat Oden, 71, of Blackwell. Trooper Fred Biddle says the wreckage was discovered Sunday night about 7 miles west of Blackwell in Nolan County. Biddle says plane took off about midday Sunday from a nearby private airstrip. Relatives reported Oden missing after he never returned from the flight. Officials believe Oden earlier had been working on his plane, a Kitfox. Federal Aviation Administration authorities are trying to determine what caused the crash near Blackwell, about 50 miles southwest of Abilene.

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Texas Man Dies after Snorkeling in Hawaii Islet

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 2:04 am

Molokini isletHONOLULU (AP) — A 50-year-old Austin, Texas, man has died after he got into trouble while snorkeling at Hawaii’s Molokini islet. Three others were stranded on rocks. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser says the snorkeler who died Sunday off Maui was identified as Mark Strickert. The Coast Guard says the operator of the vessel, Double Scoop, notified authorities that one of their snorkelers was unresponsive and three others were stranded on the rocks in a surf zone. The Coast Guard responded in a rescue boat. The Maui County Fire Department also responded. Responders administered CPR to Strickert, who was pronounced dead. A 23-year-old female crew member was taken to Maui Memorial Medical Center in critical condition. A 48-year-old woman was taken to the hospital in good condition for treatment of scrapes.

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East Texas Fugitive Apprehended in Honduras

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 2:02 am

Matthew CherryBEAUMONT (AP) — Authorities say federal agents have apprehended a man in Central America who’s wanted in East Texas on charges that include indecency with a child. Jefferson County sheriff’s Deputy Rod Carroll said Monday that Matthew Cherry, 31, was arrested in an island community off the north coast of Honduras. Sheriff’s officials say Cherry was wanted for failing to register as a sex offender and two counts of indecency with a child. Agents with the U.S. Marshals Service were acting on a tip when they took Cherry into custody Saturday. Carroll says Cherry fled the country about two years ago to avoid prosecution. Officials contend he was preying on children in Honduras. Cherry is scheduled to be transported to Houston later this week and then taken to Jefferson County.

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Prosecutors Seek Death for Police Officer’s Killer

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 2:00 am

Harlem Harold Lewis IIIHOUSTON (AP) — Prosecutors are presenting their case for a death penalty for a 23-year-old man convicted of capital murder in the Christmas Eve killings two years ago of a Houston-area police officer and an auto body shop owner. The punishment phase of the trial of Harlem Lewis III continues for a second day Tuesday in Houston. Meanwhile, attorneys for Harlem Lewis III say they intend to present experts to testify that Lewis has an IQ of 76, barely above mental retardation range. Defense attorney Patrick McCann aims to convince the Harris County jury to imprison his client for life without parole. Jurors deliberated about two hours Friday before finding Lewis guilty of the deaths of Bellaire officer Jimmie Norman and auto body shop owner Terry Taylor.

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Man Gets 16 Years for Injuring Officer

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 1:59 am

Kevin BaldittSAN ANTONIO (AP) — A Texas man has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for a car crash that caused a San Antonio police officer’s leg to be amputated. A state district judge delivered the punishment to Kevin Balditt, 27, on Monday. Balditt pleaded guilty in April to intoxication assault of a public servant, which is a second-degree felony. Officer Michael Thornton had stopped to help a group with a flat tire one morning in January 2011. He was walking back to his patrol car when Balditt’s car slammed into him. Thornton was pinned between the two cars and was nearly flung over a guardrail along the elevated highway. Thornton’s right leg was amputated about 3 inches below his knee. He now wears a prosthetic and serves in the department’s DWI unit.

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Police: Man Posed as Vet to Treat Pets

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 1:57 am

Wilfredo Gutierrez-fake vetHOUSTON (AP) — Houston police say they arrested a 26-year-man who posed as a veterinarian to charge customers for vaccinations and other treatment for their pets. Investigators said in a news release Monday that Wilfredo Gutierrez was arrested last week and charged with unlawful practice of medicine. Harris County court records show Gutierrez pleaded guilty to the charge and was jailed for two days. He remains in the county jail on a separate charge of possession of a controlled substance, with bond set at $35,000. Police say Gutierrez was using business names like DogSmart Veterinary Services to enter people’s homes to treat their pets. Authorities say they’re concerned that many pets supposedly given vaccinations are in fact not protected from disease.

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Texas Man Travels Country to Buy Homeless Signs

Posted/updated on: July 22, 2014 at 1:55 am

homeless sign2ST. PAUL, MINN. (AP) — A Texas artist is traveling across the country purchasing signs from homeless people. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports Willie Baronet of Dallas stopped in the Twin Cities Tuesday as part of his month long cross-country trip through 24 U.S. cities. He paid $10 to $20 each for cardboard signs made by local homeless people. The artist hopes to raise awareness of homelessness by producing a documentary film and a book, as well as featuring the signs in future art installations and exhibits. Baronet has been purchasing signs for 21 years and estimates his collection to be around 700 signs. He said he bought his first sign in response to the guilt he felt when seeing a person asking for money on the street.

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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 |

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’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 |

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 |

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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Johnny Manziel’s No. 2 leads sales

Posted/updated on: July 21, 2014 at 12:14 pm

By Darren Rovell |

The NFL will announce on Monday that more Johnny Manziel No. 2 Cleveland Browns jerseys were sold on its official website during the first quarter of the league’s fiscal year than any other player’s jersey.

Manziel topped Super Bowl-winning Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (No. 2), San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (No. 3) and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (No. 4).

Only two jerseys of defensive players were in the top 10. The jerseys of Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and St. Louis Rams defensive end Michael Sam, the first openly gay man drafted, were fifth and sixth, respectively.

Aside from Wilson’s and Sherman’s, three other Seahawks jerseys finished in the top 25, the most of any team. The “12th Fan” jersey finished 10th, running back Marshawn Lynch was 11th and safety Earl Thomas was 20th on the list.

Notable rookies to crack the list besides Manziel and Sam included Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (No. 13), Houston Texans defensive end and top overall pick Jadeveon Clowney (No. 16) and Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (No. 18).

The best-selling teams are, not surprisingly, the Super Bowl champion Seahawks and the team they played in the NFC Championship Game, the 49ers. Thanks to Manziel, the Browns are now the third-most popular team in the league from a merchandise standpoint.

Since the league started keeping track in 1979, the Browns have finished the season at a franchise-best No. 3 in merchandise sales only once. That was in 1999, when the team came back into the league as an expansion franchise.

Manziel’s spot atop the jersey-sales list is the highest a Browns player has been since the league has kept track of individual players’ sales (2001). In 2007, Browns quarterback Brady Quinn went into the season with the No. 2 best-selling jersey behind San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson. Quinn finished the season at No. 17 in jersey sales.

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Strong offseason fueling Brandon Weeden

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

By Todd Archer |

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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Rod Marinelli wants habits formed in camp

Posted/updated on: July 21, 2014 at 12:10 pm

By Todd Archer |

IRVING, Texas — Every day in practice, the defense opens practice the same way. The players run over bags at full speed with coaches on either side, hollering encouragement.

Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli wants his defense to be fast and furious. The drill might seem monotonous, but Marinelli is trying to perfect habits.

Head coach Jason Garrett has called Marinelli a great speaker and his speech on habits is at the top. Marinelli said it is more than an oft-repeated coaching mantra: you are what you repeatedly do.

“It’s also the day to day grind of this thing and that’s what you have to be able to teach,” Marinelli said. “The habits are easy to understand in a classroom setting. It’s a whole different world when you’re come out there in the heat, in the pads and you’re trying to be able to keep doing the same things over and over but better.

“Tedious repetition of the simplest movements every single day. That is tough to do. That is really tough to do but that’s what you shoot for. In this system it’s really important because we’re based so much on fundamentals. The standard is us as coaches. We have to set the standard in terms of that because you see over the course of the year your drill work can start going downhill a little bit. You can’t allow [bad habits] to creep in on you. What happens is you get guys starting to get beat up and they can’t practice as well. … It sounds incredible but you lose them quick. You’ve just got to stay on them.”

Marinelli wants his guys to enjoy the grind, no matter how difficult.

“If we do it day to day, reps, reps, reps after reps, then it’s like branded in us and we do it in games,” defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford said. “It’s great. I believe in it. I know all the players believe in it.”

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Most Cowboys get set for conditioning test

Posted/updated on: July 21, 2014 at 12:12 pm

By Todd Archer |

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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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 21st July 2014

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