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November 21, 2018 - 12:00 am


Ousted gay Texas council member sues over recall defeat

DALLAS (AP) — An openly gay former councilman in a small Southeast Texas town is suing after he was defeated in a recall election, an effort that surfaced after nude photos of him were anonymously sent to city hall.

Cross Coburn was ousted as a councilmember in Groves, Texas, which is 92 miles (148 kilometers) east of Houston, during a recall election earlier this month. The lawsuit filed Nov. 14 in a state court says three residents have reported their signatures were forgeries on a recall petition. It came after screenshots of nude photos from Coburn on a dating application were sent to city hall.

The litigation asks the court to declare the election invalid due to fraud and forgery in the petition. Coburn says the recall targeted him because of his sexuality.

Groves is a small town located southeast of Beaumont.


The Latest: Ex-MSU president is 5th charged in Nassar probes

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Former Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon is the fifth person other than Larry Nassar to be charged during investigations of his sexual abuse of women and girls.

The 71-year-old Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police in Michigan about a 2014 campus probe of a complaint filed against Nassar by a patient. Her attorney Lee Silver calls the charges "completely baseless" and says there is not a "shred of evidence" to support them.

Simon stepped down under pressure in January but remains on faculty. The school says she is taking an unpaid leave of absence.

She is the third current or former campus official other than Nassar charged by the Michigan attorney general. Two former USA Gymnastics officials are facing charges in Texas.


Judge: March deadline to decide on Houston-area remains

SUGAR LAND, Texas (AP) — A Houston-area judge has set a March deadline to decide whether century-old remains believed to be those of African-American prisoners should be reburied in a nearby historic cemetery or remain at a school construction site where they were uncovered last spring.

State district Judge James Shoemake determined Monday that more community feedback is needed before a decision is made on the 95 remains found on land owned by the Fort Bend school district.

School officials want to rebury the remains in the Old Imperial Farm Cemetery, which holds bodies believed to be from Texas' notorious convict-leasing system during the decades after the Civil War, where state prisoners were contracted out to perform cheap labor.

Archeologists who exhumed the construction site in June believe the remains are prisoners who were part of the convict-leasing system.


Police: Texas girl, 6, strangled baby brother as dad shopped

HOUSTON (AP) — A Houston man has been charged with child abandonment after his 6-year-old daughter strangled her 1-year-old brother with a seat belt when he left them alone in a car.

Adrian Dreshuan Middleton was charged Friday in the May 20 killing in Houston. A criminal complaint says the 26-year-old father told investigators he parked outside a thrift store, left the air conditioner on, gave the children water and snacks, and played a movie while he went shopping for clothes.

Surveillance video shows Middleton in the store for almost 1½ hours. When he returned, his daughter was crying in the back seat. She told investigators she was playing with her brother but got angry when he wouldn't stop crying, so she wrapped the seatbelt around him. She thought he had fallen asleep.


Colorado Springs baseball team named Rocky Mountain Vibes

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — The minor league baseball team that moved from Helena, Montana to Colorado Springs has a new name — the Rocky Mountain Vibes.

Team officials announced the mascot would be a s'more with his hair on fire named Toasty Vibes.

Colorado Springs lost its Triple-A Sky Sox baseball team to San Antonio, Texas, and gained the Rookie level team from the Pioneer League, which led to the re-naming.

General manager Chris Phillips announced the new name Monday, joining other minor league teams with quirky names such as Akron RubberDucks, the Albuquerque Isotopes, the Modesto Nuts and the Montgomery Biscuits.

The Vibes are considering having fire pits around the stadium for fans to toast marshmallows.


Additional $280M issued in BP oil spill restoration grants

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Four gulf states are getting another $280 million in restoration grants from the BP oil spill of 2010.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation says Monday that Louisiana is getting $161 million to restore barrier islands and a headland in the Terrebonne Basin. Florida's getting $53 million, including $16 million to protect coastal forest and wetlands along the Lower Suwanee River and Big Bend coast.

Nearly $49 million will go to Alabama, including $22.5 million for artificial reefs. Texas will get $19 million, including $6 million to protect 575 acres of coastal habitat.

The foundation is getting $2.5 billion over five years for restoration projects. The money's from criminal damages paid by BP PLC and drilling company Transocean Deepwater Inc.

Monday's grants bring the total so far to $1.3 billion


The Latest: Appeal on asylum ruling will be filed

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says an appeal will be filed on the decision by a judge to bar the Trump administration from refusing asylum to migrants who cross the southern border illegally.

Speaking in San Diego, Nielsen said it would be filed as soon as possible. She said the ruling was "dangerous" for the country.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders railed against the California court that issued the ruling. The judge sided with civil rights groups that filed a lawsuit on the new regulations saying immigration law clearly states any migrant can claim asylum no matter how they arrived in the country.

Sanders said the administration would take "all necessary action" to defend the decision to refuse asylum to people who cross between borders.


The Latest: GOP Trump critic Rep. Hurd re-elected in Texas

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — One of President Donald Trump's few Republican critics in Congress has won re-election in a Texas swing district.

Will Hurd is a former CIA officer. He accused Trump this summer of "standing idle on the world stage" and being manipulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He also opposed Trump's border wall. The race was a test of his independent reputation in a district that stretches along the U.S.-Mexico border and was carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones said Hurd's reputation for standing up to Trump isn't backed up by his record. Her loss is a blow for Democrats who saw the district as one of their best chances to help win back the House in the midterms.

Ortiz Jones conceded the close race on Monday, nearly two weeks after the election.


WWII pilot killed in vintage airplane crash in Texas

FREDERICKSBURG, Texas (AP) — A group that organizes vintage fighter plane rides for veterans says a passenger who was killed when a World War II-era aircraft crashed in South Texas had been a WWII pilot.

The P-51D Mustang was participating in a flyover Saturday when it crashed in Fredericksburg, about 70 miles (110 kilometers) north of San Antonio. The pilot was also killed.

Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Orlando Moreno on Monday identified the pilot as 73-year-old Cowden Ward Jr. of Burnet and his passenger as 93-year-old Vincent Losada of San Antonio.

Freedom Flyers posted on Facebook that Ward was flying an "honored passenger, a WWII B17 pilot" when he crashed. The group says Ward often flew veterans in his plane, which was deployed in World War II and Korea.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are investigating.


Coast Guard investigates oil pipeline spill in Louisiana

DULAC, La. (AP) — The Coast Guard says it is investigating the cause and impact of a small oil spill in a Louisiana marsh.

A news release Tuesday said a controlled burn Monday got rid of nearly 1,700 gallons of oil that had escaped from a pipeline near Dulac. The line is owned by Texas Petroleum Investment Co.

The Coast Guard says it was notified of the spill Nov. 15, and a cleanup company put a floating barrier around the spill and sorbents onto the oil the same day.

The fire was set to get rid of an estimated 1,680 gallons of crude remaining in the marsh. It burned about three hours.

The Coast Guard says the impact to wildlife and the environment has not yet been determined.

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