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State News

Couple Who Ran Texas Boarding Home Indicted for Trafficking

Posted/updated on: August 20, 2019 at 4:33 pm

BURNET, Texas (AP) – A couple who ran a boarding home for boys in Central Texas are accused by authorities of forcing four underage boys into labor and have each been indicted on a charge of trafficking of people. Forty-nine-year-old Gary Wiggins and 34-year-old Meghann Wiggins were indicted Aug. 6 and arrested days later in Alabama. Their attorney, Austin Shell, tells Austin television station KEYE that the couple waived extradition in order to return to Texas and fight the charges. Authorities last year removed eight boys from the now-closed Joshua Home, located on 10 acres near Bertram, northwest of Austin. Officials say it purported to be a home for troubled boys. Gary and Meghann Wiggins were booked into Burnet County jail Sunday. They were each released Monday on a $100,000 bond.


Texas Man Suspected in Twin’s Death Arrested in SC

Posted/updated on: August 20, 2019 at 4:32 pm

JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (AP) – A man wanted in Texas for the murder of his twin sister has been arrested in South Carolina. WCIV-TV reports U.S. Marshals and Charleston County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested 58-year-old David B. Conditt around 12:30 a.m. Monday at Limehouse Boat Landing on Johns Island. The U.S. Department of Justice, in a news release, says Conditt was asleep on the dock when authorities surrounded and arrested him. Federal marshals say Conditt was wanted by the Haltom City Police Department in Tarrant County, Texas, for the murder of his twin sister. Investigators say Conditt beat and stabbed his sister to death at her home following an altercation on Aug. 15 Conditt was taken to the Charleston County Detention Center, where he’s being held pending extradition back to Texas.


The Latest on a Coordinated Ransomware Attack Affecting Texas Cities

Posted/updated on: August 20, 2019 at 4:48 pm

DALLAS (AP) — Officials say some of the 22 Texas cities that were targeted by a coordinated ransomware attack have recovered and are operating normally. The Texas Department of Information Resources made the announcement on Tuesday in a news release in which it also lowered the number of cities that were attacked from 23 to 22. A department spokesman declined to provide more detail. Authorities believe all of the attacks originated from a single source. The state has not identified the affected cities or said whether any of the agencies have paid a ransom. The FBI and other federal agencies are involved. Officials in at least two cities – Borger and Keene – have said they were among those targeted. … Read the rest of the article…


NASA Testing Urban Drone Safety Over Corpus Christi

Posted/updated on: August 20, 2019 at 4:46 pm

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) – NASA is flying drones over a southeast Texas city to test the safety of the unmanned devices in a dense urban environment. The tests this month in Corpus Christi are part of a four-year project with the Federal Aviation Administration to develop a national drone traffic management system. NASA said in an Aug. 9 news release that the drones are flying at altitudes between 200 and 400 feet. It says a city presents obstacles that can reduce line of sight and hinder communication. Urban weather conditions can hamper flight, and cities often lack safe landing options. NASA spokesman Darryl Waller said Tuesday that the agency is gathering and reviewing data with the aim of addressing these issues. He says the Corpus Christi testing has gone well and will conclude Friday.


US Official Calls Tent Court for Asylum Seekers ‘Impressive’

Posted/updated on: August 20, 2019 at 4:44 pm

MCALLEN, Texas (AP) – A top U.S. immigration official says the South Texas tent courtrooms where thousands of migrants forced to wait in Mexico will be given asylum hearings by video are “very impressive.” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services acting director Ken Cuccinelli spoke to reporters Tuesday, a day after he visited a tent in Brownsville, near the U.S.-Mexico border. The U.S. government has expanded its Migrant Protection Protocols to Texas across from Mexico’s Tamaulipas state, which the State Department warns Americans not to enter. Cuccinelli says the tent has a “spectacular videoconferencing facility” where migrants will appear before judges based elsewhere. Advocates have expressed alarm about the dangers migrants face in Tamaulipas and their uncertain access to lawyers, as well as the difficulty of presenting asylum cases over video.


2 Inmates Escape from East Texas Jail, Perimeter Fence Cut

Posted/updated on: August 20, 2019 at 4:45 pm

LIBERTY, Texas (AP) – Officers using tracking dogs are searching for two inmates who escaped from an East Texas jail through a perimeter fence that had been cut. The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office says 44-year-old Clay Sterling Harvey of Nederland and 23-year-old Chance Marshall Hunt of Beaumont were discovered missing Tuesday morning. Capt. Ken DeFoor says a fence on the jail’s east side was found cut and appeared to be the escape route. Investigators didn’t immediately provide additional information about the damaged fence. Records show Harvey was being held on a drug-related charge and a parole violation count. Hunt was charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, a burglary-related count and unlawfully carrying a weapon. The jail in Liberty is about 35 miles northeast of Houston.


Houston School Trustees Reject State Review as One-Sided

Posted/updated on: August 20, 2019 at 4:32 pm

HOUSTON (AP) — Attorneys for the Houston Independent School District have rejected a state review that recommends ousting all trustees as a one-sided investigation lacking credible evidence. The Houston Chronicle reports an amended lawsuit filed Friday says the Texas Education Agency violated the rights of board members and did not fully investigate allegations of wrongdoing. The review found some trustees in the state’s largest public school district violated the Texas Open Meetings Act, inappropriately influenced vendor contracts and made false statements to investigators. Lawyers for HISD, with about 209,000 students and more than 280 schools, denied the allegations. HISD attorney David Campbell says TEA intends to punish the district by replacing elected trustees with an unelected board of managers. The TEA didn’t immediately file a response to the district lawsuit.



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Couple Who Ran Texas Boarding Home Indicted for Trafficking

Posted/updated on: August 20, 2019 at 4:33 pm

BURNET, Texas (AP) – A couple who ran a boarding home for boys in Central Texas are accused by authorities of forcing four underage boys into labor and have each been indicted on a charge of trafficking of people. Forty-nine-year-old Gary Wiggins and 34-year-old Meghann Wiggins were indicted Aug. 6 and arrested days later in Alabama. Their attorney, Austin Shell, tells Austin television station KEYE that the couple waived extradition in order to return to Texas and fight the charges. Authorities last year removed eight boys from the now-closed Joshua Home, located on 10 acres near Bertram, northwest of Austin. Officials say it purported to be a home for troubled boys. Gary and Meghann Wiggins were booked into Burnet County jail Sunday. They were each released Monday on a $100,000 bond.


Texas Man Suspected in Twin’s Death Arrested in SC

Posted/updated on: August 20, 2019 at 4:32 pm

JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (AP) – A man wanted in Texas for the murder of his twin sister has been arrested in South Carolina. WCIV-TV reports U.S. Marshals and Charleston County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested 58-year-old David B. Conditt around 12:30 a.m. Monday at Limehouse Boat Landing on Johns Island. The U.S. Department of Justice, in a news release, says Conditt was asleep on the dock when authorities surrounded and arrested him. Federal marshals say Conditt was wanted by the Haltom City Police Department in Tarrant County, Texas, for the murder of his twin sister. Investigators say Conditt beat and stabbed his sister to death at her home following an altercation on Aug. 15 Conditt was taken to the Charleston County Detention Center, where he’s being held pending extradition back to Texas.


The Latest on a Coordinated Ransomware Attack Affecting Texas Cities

Posted/updated on: August 20, 2019 at 4:48 pm

DALLAS (AP) — Officials say some of the 22 Texas cities that were targeted by a coordinated ransomware attack have recovered and are operating normally. The Texas Department of Information Resources made the announcement on Tuesday in a news release in which it also lowered the number of cities that were attacked from 23 to 22. A department spokesman declined to provide more detail. Authorities believe all of the attacks originated from a single source. The state has not identified the affected cities or said whether any of the agencies have paid a ransom. The FBI and other federal agencies are involved. Officials in at least two cities – Borger and Keene – have said they were among those targeted. … Read the rest of the article…


NASA Testing Urban Drone Safety Over Corpus Christi

Posted/updated on: August 20, 2019 at 4:46 pm

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) – NASA is flying drones over a southeast Texas city to test the safety of the unmanned devices in a dense urban environment. The tests this month in Corpus Christi are part of a four-year project with the Federal Aviation Administration to develop a national drone traffic management system. NASA said in an Aug. 9 news release that the drones are flying at altitudes between 200 and 400 feet. It says a city presents obstacles that can reduce line of sight and hinder communication. Urban weather conditions can hamper flight, and cities often lack safe landing options. NASA spokesman Darryl Waller said Tuesday that the agency is gathering and reviewing data with the aim of addressing these issues. He says the Corpus Christi testing has gone well and will conclude Friday.


US Official Calls Tent Court for Asylum Seekers ‘Impressive’

Posted/updated on: August 20, 2019 at 4:44 pm

MCALLEN, Texas (AP) – A top U.S. immigration official says the South Texas tent courtrooms where thousands of migrants forced to wait in Mexico will be given asylum hearings by video are “very impressive.” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services acting director Ken Cuccinelli spoke to reporters Tuesday, a day after he visited a tent in Brownsville, near the U.S.-Mexico border. The U.S. government has expanded its Migrant Protection Protocols to Texas across from Mexico’s Tamaulipas state, which the State Department warns Americans not to enter. Cuccinelli says the tent has a “spectacular videoconferencing facility” where migrants will appear before judges based elsewhere. Advocates have expressed alarm about the dangers migrants face in Tamaulipas and their uncertain access to lawyers, as well as the difficulty of presenting asylum cases over video.


2 Inmates Escape from East Texas Jail, Perimeter Fence Cut

Posted/updated on: August 20, 2019 at 4:45 pm

LIBERTY, Texas (AP) – Officers using tracking dogs are searching for two inmates who escaped from an East Texas jail through a perimeter fence that had been cut. The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office says 44-year-old Clay Sterling Harvey of Nederland and 23-year-old Chance Marshall Hunt of Beaumont were discovered missing Tuesday morning. Capt. Ken DeFoor says a fence on the jail’s east side was found cut and appeared to be the escape route. Investigators didn’t immediately provide additional information about the damaged fence. Records show Harvey was being held on a drug-related charge and a parole violation count. Hunt was charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, a burglary-related count and unlawfully carrying a weapon. The jail in Liberty is about 35 miles northeast of Houston.


Houston School Trustees Reject State Review as One-Sided

Posted/updated on: August 20, 2019 at 4:32 pm

HOUSTON (AP) — Attorneys for the Houston Independent School District have rejected a state review that recommends ousting all trustees as a one-sided investigation lacking credible evidence. The Houston Chronicle reports an amended lawsuit filed Friday says the Texas Education Agency violated the rights of board members and did not fully investigate allegations of wrongdoing. The review found some trustees in the state’s largest public school district violated the Texas Open Meetings Act, inappropriately influenced vendor contracts and made false statements to investigators. Lawyers for HISD, with about 209,000 students and more than 280 schools, denied the allegations. HISD attorney David Campbell says TEA intends to punish the district by replacing elected trustees with an unelected board of managers. The TEA didn’t immediately file a response to the district lawsuit.



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