AUSTIN (AP) – Texas on Monday began relaxing some coronavirus restrictions, including allowing restaurants to let more people inside. Gov. Greg Abbott announced the changes last week. Bars though still remain closed indefinitely and a mask mandate is still in place. Under the new orders, restaurants and retail shops that until now have only been allowed to operate at half capacity were allowed to open up to 75% starting Monday in most of the state. The Texas Department of State Health Services on Monday reported 1,742 new coronavirus cases and 24 more deaths due to COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.
HOUSTON (AP) – Tropical Storm Beta made landfall on the upper Texas coast on Monday night. The storm made landfall about 5 miles north of Port O’Connor, Texas, with maximum winds of 45 mph, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. Beta was the ninth named storm that made landfall in the continental U.S. this year. That tied a record set in 1916, according to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach. This was the first time a Greek letter named storm made landfall in the continental U.S. Forecasters ran out of traditional storm names on Friday, forcing the use of the Greek alphabet for only the second time since the 1950s. The biggest unknown from Beta was how much rainfall it could produce.
BELTON (AP) – Final autopsy results show the July drowning of a Fort Hood soldier at a lake near the U.S. Army base in Central Texas was an accident. TV station KVUE reported Monday that final results from the Southwest Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas supported initial reports from the Bell County Sheriff’s Office that Pvt. Mejhor Morta had drowned. Sheriff’s deputies were called to Stillhouse Hollow Lake near Belton on July 17 just after midnight when fishermen in found a body in the water at the base of a dam. It was identified as 26-year-old Morta. A congressional investigation is underway after more than 28 soldier deaths at Fort Hood this year.
WASHINGTON (AP) – A woman suspected of sending an envelope containing the poison ricin, which was addressed to the White House, has been arrested at the New York-Canada border. She is also suspected of sending similar poisoned envelopes to law enforcement agencies in Texas. Law enforcement officials tell the AP the woman was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and is expected to face federal charges. Officials say the letter addressed to the White House was intercepted at a government facility that screens mail addressed to the White House and President Donald Trump.
HILLTOP LAKES (AP) – Texas officials have released the identities of four people from Louisiana who authorities say were killed when their single-engine airplane crashed in a Texas pasture while attempting an emergency landing. The crash happened Sunday morning near the airport in Hilltop Lakes, about 120 miles northwest of Houston. Officials with Texas’ Department of Public Safety on Monday identified all four victims who were aboard the aircraft. Leon County Sheriff Kevin Ellis tells The Eagle newspaper that the plane was attempting to make an emergency landing and was in radio contact with the Federal Aviation Administration at the time of the crash. Flight records show the plane was headed to Natchitoches, Louisiana.