Category: State News
AUSTIN (AP) — Gov.-elect Greg Abbott is again vowing to sue the Obama administration for lifting the threat of deportation from millions of immigrants living illegally in the United States. The Dallas Morning News reports that Abbott called the president’s executive action “the epitome of lawlessness” while appearing on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. As Texas attorney general, Abbott has sued the Obama administration about 30 times, mostly over environmental regulations and the White House’s signature health care law. He and outgoing Gov. Rick Perry said last week that Texas would likely sue Obama over immigration. Abbott said Sunday that Obama’s order violated the U.S. Constitution. He said it dispensed “with the immigration law as it currently exists and is rewriting that law.”
AUSTIN (AP) — Two Texans have been selected as Rhodes Scholars. A Rhodes Trust release Sunday said University of Texas senior Sai P. Gourisankar and Abishek K. Kulshreshtha, a senior at Brown University in Rhode Island, were selected. Both will attend the prestigious program at Oxford University in England beginning next fall. Gourisankar is from Atlanta and Kulshreshtha is from Grapevine. They were among those chosen from 877 students who earned endorsements from their colleges and universities. At Oxford, Gourisankar plans to do master’s work in mathematical modeling and scientific computing, and in mathematical and theoretical physics. Kulshreshtha plans doctoral work in theoretical physics.
AUSTIN (AP) — Powerful thunderstorms have flooded low-lying roads in Austin and knocked out power to thousands in San Antonio. Downpours throughout the day and night Saturday brought as much as five inches of rain and hail to some parts of Central Texas. Farther south, most of San Antonio saw the heaviest rains and strong wind gusts in the evening. The Austin American Statesman reports that the fire department rescued three people unhurt from a flooded vehicle in South Austin on Saturday. San Antonio officials reported two downed power lines and 150 power outages that affected nearly 12,000 homes. But the fast-moving line of storms largely cleared out before dawn. Both Austin and San Antonio were left dry and windy, with highs temperatures near or in the 80s expected for Sunday.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Elvira Cisneros, a longtime San Antonio community leader and mother of former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros, has died after a long illness. The San Antonio Express News reports that the 90-year-old Cisneros died early Saturday. She immigrated to San Antonio from Mexico with her family at age 2, and met her future husband, George Cisneros, while he and her brother were serving at the city’s Randolph Air Force base during World War II. The couple had five children. The oldest, Henry, was mayor from 1981 to 1989 and later served as President Bill Clinton’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Elvira Cisneros’ community leadership included roles in the Alamo Area Council of Governments, the Avenida Guadalupe Association, AVANCE and Project Learn to Read. Funeral arrangements were pending.
HOUSTON (AP) — Four workers killed by poisonous gas during a recent Texas chemical leak were trapped inside the pesticide plant for an hour before 911 was called, and no one told dispatchers what substances were inside. The Houston Chronicle reported Sunday that the DuPont plant in La Porte typically housed as much as 250 tons of highly flammable methyl mercaptan. But it also contained at least some methyl isocyanate. That’s the same chemical that escaped a Bhopal, India, pesticide plant in 1984, killing more than 2,200 people in the world’s worst industrial accident. On Nov. 15, DuPont’s shift supervisor Jody Knowles gave no details about the presence of methyl isocyanate and methyl mercaptan in a 911 call to the fire department. Knowles also attempted to downplay risk to the general public.
IRVING (AP) — A magnitude-3.3 earthquake has shaken North Texas. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake occurred about 9:15 p.m. Saturday and was centered about 2 miles beneath east Irving, and 6 miles northwest of Dallas. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. The USGS said it was at least the fourth earthquake recorded in Irving in the last two months, the Dallas Morning News reported. Small earthquakes have become more common recently in Texas and Oklahoma. Last month, the Texas Railroad Commission amended rules for disposal well operators amid concerns that high-pressure injections can trigger earthquakes. Geologists say earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 to 3.0 are generally the smallest that are felt by humans and that damage is not likely as a result of quakes below magnitude 4.0.
IRVING (AP) — A travel group predicts about 3.6 million Texans will head out this week to celebrate the long Thanksgiving period. AAA Texas expects holiday travel Wednesday through next Sunday will be the highest volume since 2007 and about 5 percent more than last Thanksgiving. Travel is described as going 50 miles or more away from home. Automobile travel will continue to be the primary mode this Thanksgiving in Texas. About 3.3 million people are expected to hit the road. Air travel is second, with about 235,000 Texans likely to catch a flight. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport projects more than 2.25 million Thanksgiving holiday passengers through Dec. 2. The airport reporting period began Thursday. AAA Travel nationally projects about 46.3 million Americans will take a trip for the Thanksgiving holiday.
WACO (AP) — A Central Texas man has been sentenced to 40 years in prison after his infant son suffered 17 broken bones while in his care. Juan Francisco Medina Ortiz of Hillsboro was convicted of felony injury to a child and two counts of felony aggravated assault. Ortiz was sentenced Friday in Waco for the August 2012 abuse involving his then 2-month-old son. Doctors testified the baby had injuries consistent with beatings, such as yanking and twisting motions. All of the injuries were discovered when the child was being treated for a broken arm. Authorities say the boy had to undergoing months of physical therapy as part of his recovery. Ortiz was also fined $100,000.
AUSTIN (AP) — State Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt is leaving the Texas House to become general counsel of the state Department of Agriculture. The Austin American Statesman reports that the Lexington Republican will report directly to Agriculture Commissioner-elect Sid Miller. Miller is a former Texas House Republican himself, and said Friday he tapped Kleinschmidt because of his experience as a property rights attorney and rancher. Kleinschmidt has represented Bastrop, Caldwell, Gonzales, Karnes and Lee counties in the House since 2009. He won re-election earlier this month with 61 percent of the vote. Miller said Kleinschmidt’s last day in the House will be Jan. 14, the day after the 2015 legislative session begins. He plans to begin his new post that same day.
KATY (AP) — A Boston Marathon bombing victim from Texas recovering after part of her leg was amputated has been discharged from a Houston-area rehab facility. Rebekah DiMartino said Saturday that doctors say her prognosis is “great” and she looks forward to getting a prosthetic left leg. The 27-year-old DiMartino also says she hopes to compete in the 2015 Boston Marathon. DiMartino had surgery Nov. 10 at Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital to remove her left leg below the knee, due to lingering pain. She entered rehab Nov. 14 before going home Saturday to Richmond. Rebekah Gregory was watching last year’s Boston Marathon when bombs exploded. Her son and her then-boyfriend, Peter DiMartino, were also hurt. The couple wed last spring. A man charged in the bombing, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, awaits trial.
AUSTIN (AP) — A state board working to increase the percentage of Texas college graduates has made strides since 2000, but has work to do if 60 percent of residents are going to have earned at least associate degrees by 2030. The Austin American Statesman reports that the number of people enrolled in colleges and universities is rising thanks to plans implemented by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. But it’s failed to keep pace with Texas’ booming population. At Friday conference in Austin, board members discussed new benchmarks for a 2030 plan. Though they’ve not yet been set, they will include higher standards for Hispanic and black students. Scheduled for a board vote in July, the new plan will also seek to emphasize students graduating with high-paying jobs and lower debt.
TEXARKANA (AP) — A pre-dawn highway crash outside Texarkana has killed three college students. The Texarkana Gazette cites Arkansas State Police officials in reporting that the crash occurred around 1:40 a.m. Saturday on Interstate 30, just east of Texarkana. Few other details were immediately available. A statement on the website of Texas A&M-Texarkana said students Daniel Gonzalez and Nathaniel Rodriguez had been killed. Also killed was Sofia George, a Texarkana College student who the statement indicated had previously attended A&M-Texarkana. A university spokesman said Gonzalez and Rodriguez lived at the A&M-Texarkana dormitory. The ages and hometowns of the three victims were not provided. The university said it had counselors and staff on campus to provide grieving services.
EL PASO (AP) — Investigators say one man has been killed and another wounded in an overnight drive-by shooting in the Lower Valley section of El Paso. The El Paso Times reports that both men were outside a home on Mirasol Drive around 1:20 a.m. Saturday when a suspect inside a vehicle approached and fired several shots. A 38-year-old was struck, hospitalized and later died. The second shooting victim, age 28, is being treated for injuries at Del Sol Medical Center. The victims’ identities were not released. Police are still investigating and have made no arrests.
SUGAR LAND (AP) — Nobody has been hurt when a private jet slid off a runway and into a creek after landing at an airport near Houston. Authorities are trying to determine if rainy weather contributed to the accident Friday morning at Sugar Land Regional Airport. Two pilots safely exited the plane through a doorway. The tail of the Embrarer Phenom ended up in the water of Oyster Creek. Sugar Land spokeswoman Patricia Pollicoff says the jet landed safely but apparently ran out of runway. She says the plane slid off the runway while trying to make a turn to remain on the pavement. Federal investigators are trying to determine what happened. Details weren’t immediately available on the owner of the plane. The plane was removed from the creek Friday afternoon.
DALLAS (AP) — A museum that chronicles the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kenney in Dallas will receive more photos of media coverage of the tragedy. The Dallas Morning News will donate about 2,000 photos to The Sixth Floor Museum. The announcement came on the eve of Saturday’s 51st anniversary of the fatal shooting of JFK. The archive from The Dallas Morning News includes about 1,500 negatives and nearly 500 prints, in black and white. Some of the photos have never been seen by the public. The museum on Wednesday announced images are being donated from two photographers from other publications, including photos related to assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. Former Dallas Times Herald photographer Eamon Kennedy donated about 1,200 photographs. Ex-Fort Worth Press photographer Gene Gordon donated more than 400 images.
BEAUMONT (AP) — Five Beaumont men have been charged with murder after two people were fatally stabbed in what police call a drug deal and attempted robbery. Beaumont police on Saturday didn’t immediately release names of the two slain men. Police identified the suspects as 37-year-old Robert Cleveland Gallo, 35-year-old Monte Dewayne Gallo, 33-year-old Jeffrey Dewayne Zacharie, 42-year-old Terry Lynn Whittington and 39-year-old Jerald Charles Whittington. Jefferson County jail records show Zacharie and Jerald Whittington were being held on $2 million bonds. The others were held without bond. Police received a 911 call Friday about a wounded man in a church parking lot. He died at a hospital. Officers searched his home and found a body. Jail officials had no information on attorneys for the suspects or whether any are related.
AUSTIN (AP) — Ray Farabee, a longtime conservative Democratic state senator and former vice chancellor of the University of Texas system, has died at age 81. Multiple media reports say Farabee died at his Austin home Thursday. No cause of death was given. A successful Wichita Falls attorney, Farabee served 14 years in the Texas Senate until 1988. He later was the UT system’s general counsel and vice chancellor. Farabee first married Helen Rehbein in 1958. She died in 1988. Farabee then married Mary Margaret Albright in 1991. She died last year. As a senator, Farbee advocated for AIDS and organ transplant legislation, and improving Texas’ juvenile justice system. A memorial service is set for 2 p.m. Dec. 5 in the Senate Chamber. Private burial will be at Austin’s Texas State Cemetery.