Category: State News

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Two Die at West Texas Wastewater Treatment Plant

EL PASO (AP) Fire crews have recovered the body of a man from a West Texas wastewater treatment plant and are working on recovering a second body from the facility. El Paso Fire Department spokesman Carlos Briano gave no details on how the men were trapped at the Bustamante wastewater plant or if they drowned. Briano said the two weren’t employees of the El Paso Water Utility but contractors. He didn’t say what type of work they were doing at the plant. Briano said fire-rescue crews responded to a call to rescue two men from the plant, but upon arrival the crew discovered that it was to be a recovery effort. The fire department dispatched 12 units to the plant located in southeast El Paso.

Man Condemned in Prison Guard’s Death Loses Appeal

Robert Pruett2AUSTIN (AP) Death row inmate Robert Pruett has lost an appeal at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Pruett is sentenced to die for the 1999 slaying of a Texas corrections officer. The state’s highest criminal court on Wednesday upheld a lower court’s finding that the results of palm print and DNA tests asked by the 35-year-old inmate are inconclusive. Pruett was set to die last May but received a reprieve to appeal his trial-court ruling that the testing outcome wouldn’t have changed the jury verdict. He awaits lethal injection for the fatal stabbing of Dan Nagle, a corrections officer at the McDonnell Unit near Beeville where Pruett already was serving 99 years for a Harris County slaying. Evidence showed Pruett was angry about a disciplinary report from Nagle.

South Texas Woman Gets 61 Months for Benefits Scam

gavelMCALLEN (AP) A 37-year-old San Antonio woman has been sentenced to more than five years in prison for falsely claiming over $200,000 in unemployment benefits. Alejandra Resendez received her 61-month prison sentence Wednesday. She was also ordered to pay $176,130 in restitution to the Texas Workforce Commission and serve two years of supervised released upon after she completes her sentence in federal prison. She pleaded guilty to two counts each of mail fraud and identity theft in May. Resendez, who worked for a security company, was convicted of stealing customer data to sign people up for jobless benefits and then keeping the money. She admitted to receiving $204,188 in benefits and spending it on household bills and vacations to Disney World and Las Vegas. Investigators say the scheme ran from mid-2010 until early 2013.

Former First Lady Laura Bush Visits Texas School

Laura BushMESQUITE (AP) Former first lady Laura Bush has visited a Mesquite middle school that received a $7,000 library grant from her foundation. Founded in 2002, Bush’s charity gives out grants every year to school libraries across the nation. The Dallas Morning News reports the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries was based in Washington, D.C. before it moved to south to join the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Officials say the foundation’s transition will complement the center’s efforts. The center’s policy arm, the George W. Bush Institute, has education as one of its top priorities. The former first lady says her foundation’s mission is simple: help schools expand their libraries to increase students’ love for reading. She sat next to students in a classroom at Wilkinson Middle School on Tuesday.

Pond Liners Used Against Lake Waco Zebra Mussels

zebra musselsWACO (AP) Pond liners are being used to try to stop zebra mussels from spreading at a Central Texas lake that supplies water to Waco. The Waco Tribune-Herald reports city crews and divers on Tuesday unrolled sheets of pond liner and covered the lake floor at the Ridgewood Country Club boat ramp. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on October 1 announced the infestation at the boat ramp. Department monitoring of Lake Waco found no evidence that invasive mussels, which can clog water intake systems, beyond the boat ramp area. Zebra mussels were confirmed in Texas in 2009 at Lake Texoma and have spread to several other lakes. Boaters on all Texas lakes and rivers are required to drain and clean their watercraft to help stop the spread of zebra mussels.

Odessa High School Evacuated after Gas Line Hit

Odessa High SchoolODESSA (AP) A West Texas high school was evacuated after a construction crew punctured a gas line in an accident that sent eight people,four students and four teachers, to the hospital. Odessa High School closed for the day following the gas line accident late Wednesday morning near the main building on campus. Ector County Independent School District spokesman Mike Adkins said a total of eight people went to the hospital, either by ambulance or by private vehicle, as a result of the leak. All were treated and released. Odessa city spokeswoman Andrea Goodson says the contractor was hired by the district and the gas line is operated by Atmos Energy. Atmos Energy spokeswoman Brandi Price says the repairs were completed and the area was reopened by Wednesday afternoon..

Police: Two Dead in Houston Hospital Shooting

Ben Taub HospitalHOUSTON (AP) Police say a man walked up to a female co-worker in a Houston hospital pharmacy and shot her fatally before turning the gun on himself. The incident happened Wednesday afternoon at the Ben Taub Hospital pharmacy, which is situated in a building separate from the main hospital. According to a witness and surveillance video, the man approached the woman from behind at her cubicle work station, shot her, then shot himself. Police say both died at the scene, but no other injuries were reported. Houston police spokesman John Cannon says witnesses reported the man may have made advances on the woman recently. It was unclear if she had spurned those advances.

Treasure Hunter Helps Texan Locate Lost Class Ring

GALVESTON (AP) An amateur treasure hunter has found a North Texas man’s 1977 class ring that was lost during a summer trip to Galveston. The Galveston County Daily News reported Wednesday that a notice posted this week with the newspaper helped lead to the jewelry. Skip Jones of Bonham in August was vacationing with family near Pirates Beach. He was swimming in the Gulf of Mexico when his University of Houston ring slipped from his finger. Jones put up signs, searched the beach and then tried the newspaper notice. Clyde Longworth, who’s a lawn worker and Galveston Island Treasure Club member, saw the posting. Longworth used a metal detector to locate the gold ring under water and in the sand. Jones plans to give Longworth a thank-you check for the ring.

Judge Indicted in Army Depot Fraud Case Suspended

Red River Army DepotTEXARKANA (AP) A Northeast Texas judge and businessman indicted in an alleged billing scheme involving the Red River Army Depot has been suspended without pay. The Texarkana Gazette reported Wednesday that Patrick James was suspended by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. James is running unopposed next month to retain his seat as Bowie County Precinct 7 justice of the peace. He’s also a municipal judge in Hooks. A federal indictment unsealed October 1 names James and six others on charges of conspiracy to defraud the government and theft of government property or money. James, who owns Hooks Tire Service, and the others pleaded not guilty and are free on bond. An attorney for James said Wednesday that they’ve received the suspension order. Jason Horton declined further comment on the investigation.

Family: Doctors Don’t Detect Ebola in Nurse’s Body

Amber Joy VinsonCOLUMBUS (AP) The family of a Texas nurse who flew to Ohio and was diagnosed with Ebola says doctors no longer detect the virus in her body. A family statement released Wednesday through a media consultant says officials at Emory University Hospital and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention couldn’t detect Ebola in Amber Vinson as of Tuesday evening. Doctors usually do two tests a day apart before saying they can’t detect the virus. It’s unclear how many tests Vinson has had. The statement says Vinson’s mother spoke to her Wednesday and Vinson has been approved for transfer from isolation. Vinson is being treated at Emory, near Atlanta. Emory officials won’t comment on her status. Vinson helped care for a Liberian man with Ebola who died at a Dallas hospital Oct. 8. Another nurse there also became infected. Read the rest of this entry »

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