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June 12, 2018 - 12:00 am


Money to 'harden' schools draws backlash after shootings

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — An alliance of U.S. education groups is expressing shock that the Trump administration would let schools buy metal detectors and extra police through a program Congress has used to defend its response to school shootings.

A spending bill this spring included $1.1 billion for a wide-ranging Education Department block grant. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wants schools to use the moneys to "harden" campuses after a gunman killed 10 people at a high school near Houston.

An Education Department spokeswoman says schools can use the money to pay for metal detectors and police. That comes as a surprise to a coalition of national education and counseling groups that says those purchases isn't what Congress intended.

Law enforcement officials told Texas lawmakers this week that metal detectors would be ineffective.


Texas hospital: 4 from Guatemala volcano critical, 2 good

(Information from: Houston Chronicle,

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — A Southeast Texas hospital treating six Guatemalan children severely burned when a volcano erupted last week says four of the children are in critical condition and two others are in good condition.

The six were flown by military plane to Shriners Hospital of Galveston on June 7, four days after the Volcano of Fire eruption. The hospital's chief of staff, Dr. Steven Wolf, says the children face months and possibly years of recovery.

The Houston Chronicle reports hospital officials have declined to identify the children, no older than 16, or the nature of their injuries. When the children arrived, officials said they were taken to the pediatric intensive care unit for treatment of life-threatening burns.

The eruption has killed at least 110 people and left about another 200 missing.



The Latest: Protesters push for SBC to adopt reform measures

DALLAS (AP) — About two dozen protesters gathered outside the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention are pushing for three changes to church operations.

They say they want more inclusion of women's voices in the SBC and a database to record and track those accused of misconduct. They also want seminarians and others trained on how to address domestic violence.

Carol Shelton of Fort Worth says domestic violence and sexual abuse have been given little attention because the victims are normally women.

Michael Maschenik, pastor of Unity Baptist Church near Macon, Georgia, counters that a database would be redundant from the ones kept by authorities. He says no one in the SBC supports or condones abusive behavior.

The two-day annual convention that began Tuesday will include consideration of a draft resolution co-signed by dozens of SBC leaders to repudiate any rhetoric or behavior that dishonors women.


Texas judge rejects new trial in woman's illegal voting case

(Information from: Fort Worth Star-Telegram,

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A Texas judge has denied a new trial for a woman previously sentenced to five years in prison for voting in the 2016 presidential election when she was ineligible because she was on probation.

Judge Ruben Gonzalez rejected Crystal Mason's petition in a ruling Monday. Gonzalez is the same judge who sentenced Mason in March.

Mason's attorney, Alison Grinter, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that they will appeal the decision.

Civil rights groups that filed a brief in support of Mason say the state law that led to her conviction is trumped by federal statute that allows a person to cast a provisional ballot in a federal election.

Mason is a former tax preparer who was previously convicted in 2012 on charges related to inflating refunds for clients.



Ex-FBI agent in El Paso gets probation for passport fraud

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — An ex-FBI agent in West Texas must serve four years of probation for lying about personal information in 2014 while seeking a passport.

Federal prosecutors on Tuesday announced the penalty for Rhonda Lynn Chesser Lindstrom. She earlier was convicted of making a false statement while applying for a passport. A judge also found Chesser Lindstrom obstructed justice and ordered six months of home confinement.

Prosecutors say Chesser Lindstrom, while an FBI agent in El Paso, appeared at a passport agency with a Louisiana birth certificate issued in 2011. The document said her birth date was Aug. 26, 1977. Her Maryland driver's license had that same birth date.

A passport worker noticed the birth certificate appeared to have handwritten changes. Officials later determined Chesser Lindstrom's birth date was Aug. 26, 1976.


Man facing 2nd murder charge for wreck while intoxicated

HOUSTON (AP) — A man accused of killing a 17-year-old girl while driving while intoxicated in Houston has been charged with a second murder after the teenager's father died of injuries suffered in the crash.

Authorities arrested 27-year-old Edy Lopez-Hernandez after his vehicle slammed in a Houston family's car at an intersection.

Britney Baez was killed in the May 27 collision. Her father, Mario, died later of his injuries, prompting the new charge against Lopez-Hernandez. He's also charged with intoxicated assault with a vehicle. Mario Baez's wife and another daughter were not seriously hurt.

He's set for a court appearance Wednesday.

Court records also show Lopez-Hernandez is being held on an immigration detainer.


Texas inspectors find series of violations at youth shelters

(Information from: Houston Chronicle,

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — State regulators found approximately 150 health violations at more than a dozen shelters across Texas housing children taken into custody while attempting to cross the border illegally.

The Houston Chronicle reports violations over the last two years include inadequate supervision, lack of timely medical care and children given medicine to which they were allergic.

The shelters are operated by Southwest Key Programs, which runs 16 of the 35 shelters in Texas that contract with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Southwest Key housed nearly 2,600 children last month.

The inspection reports offer a rare glimpse inside shelters housing children who were either separated from their parents by authorities or who attempted to cross the border alone.

A Southwest Key spokeswoman says the violations amount to less than 1 percent of the standards that were reviewed by regulators.



George H.W. Bush becomes 1st US president to turn 94

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine (AP) — George H.W. Bush is celebrating his birthday in Maine as the first former U.S. president to turn 94.

Bush is relaxing in Kennebunkport on Tuesday, eight days after being released from a hospital where he was treated for low blood pressure.

Chief of Staff Jean Becker said several of his children are with him, including former President George W. Bush.

Another son, Neil Bush, used his dad's birthday Tuesday to call for people to volunteer and "to become a point of light."

The Central Intelligence Agency also marked the birthday by releasing declassified material related to Bush's tenure as director.

Bush is in Maine without his wife of 73 years, who died in April. Barbara Bush would've turned 93 last Friday.


Domino's on streets, not for pizzas but to fix potholes

MILFORD, Del. (AP) — The saying goes that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but what if the road was paved with pizza?

News outlets report national delivery-based pizza chain Domino's is aiming to make commutes around the country a little less hellish, by helping to repair potholes.

The company's "Paving for Pizza" program has launched in four test cities: Athens, Georgia; Bartonville, Texas; Burbank, California and Milford, Delaware.

Milford's public works director, Mark Whitfield, says an abnormally harsh winter left the city with more potholes than usual. Milford received a $5,000 grant, which covered the repair of 40 potholes.

The city used their own crews, who stenciled Domino's logo and "Oh, yes we did" on the first few repairs.

Domino's is soliciting nominations for more cities.


Hurricane Harvey-damaged dog park reopens in Houston

HOUSTON (AP) — A Houston dog park heavily damaged by Hurricane Harvey has reopened to the delight of some canine owners and their pets.

Johnny Steele Dog Park reopened Monday after months of repairs. The 2-acre city-operated dog park is a $1.6 million facility within one of Buffalo Bayou Park's lowest areas.

Harvey hit South Texas on Aug. 25, leading to heavy rain that swamped parts of Houston. Officials say Johnny Steele Dog Park had about 30,000 cubic yards (22,936 cubic meters) of silt, blamed on Harvey, that had to be removed.

Park officials say design modifications since Harvey should help alleviate future flooding.

The complex also now has separate entrances for big and small dogs, with all animals having access to a pond, where some pets splashed about on Monday.

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