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October 11, 2018 - 12:00 am

WEST TEXAS FLOODING

Crews find 2 of 4 bodies swept away in West Texas floods

JUNCTION, Texas (AP) — Emergency personnel have found the bodies of two of the four people swept away when raging floodwaters overtook a small city in West Texas.

Texas A&M Forest Service spokeswoman Christi Powers says the bodies were found Thursday on the banks of the Llano (LA'-noh) River more than 6 miles (9 kilometers) downstream from where they went missing. The search for the other two continues.

Heavy rains Sunday night caused the South Llano River to rise and submerge parts of Junction, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) west of Austin.

The three men and one woman were staying at the South Llano RV Park when the floods washed away several RVs and the park office.

Emergency crews were able to rescue dozens of other people using ropes, life jackets, boats and helicopters on Monday, including some who were plucked from the river and a tree.

ELECTION 2018-SENATE-O'ROURKE-LATINOS

O'Rourke's improbable Senate run still needs Latinos to win

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Democratic Congressman Beto O'Rourke of Texas still has work to do when it comes to energizing Latino voters in his race against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

O'Rourke needs a broad electorate in November to have a chance at pulling off one of the biggest upsets of the 2018 midterms. His path to victory includes getting more Latinos to the polls, which Texas Democrats have struggled to do for decades.

Texas ranks near the bottom in voter turnout. And while the state's booming Hispanic population is on pace to outnumber whites as early as 2022, voters with Spanish surnames accounted for fewer than 1 in 5 votes in 2016.

Cruz is Texas' first Hispanic senator and his father emigrated from Cuba. He says the values of the Hispanic community are conservative.

TAOS AIR SERVICE

Taos to begin direct charter flights to Texas cities

TAOS, N.M. (AP) — A new charter flight service will soon link the northern New Mexico tourist destination of Taos with Dallas and Austin.

Officials announced Thursday that Taos Air will begin Dec. 20, in time for what many hope will be a solid ski season across the region.

Taos Ski Valley Inc. is among the stakeholders in the venture, having purchased a 30-passenger plane. The company signed an agreement with Ultimate Jet Charters to operate the service in and out of the Taos Regional Airport.

The announcement also follows the airport's recent opening of a runway that resulted from a multimillion-dollar project that spanned years.

Taos Mayor Daniel Barrone says the community is committed to positioning the airport as an economic driver for Taos County and the rest of northern New Mexico.

GUN RANGE FAUX PAS

2 men banned from Texas gun range after selfie with firearm

(Information from: KTRK-TV, http://abclocal.go.com)

HOUSTON (AP) — Two men have been banned from a Houston gun range for life after one pointed an unloaded gun at the other while taking a picture.

Top Gun Range manager Kyle Harrison tells television station KTRK he was alarmed when he saw the one man point the handgun at himself then at his friend's head while he took a selfie. The safety officer broke it up and ejected the pair, and the gun range posted surveillance video of the incident on Twitter.

Harrison calls the act "a cardinal safety violation," adding that his children "know better than to do that, and they are two and three years old."

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BORDER-ABANDONED MIGRANT FAMILIES

Border officials alarmed by migrants abandoned in the desert

PHOENIX (AP) — Smugglers in recent weeks have been abandoning large groups of Guatemalan and other Central American migrants in Arizona's harsh Sonoran Desert near the border with Mexico — a trend Border Patrol officials say puts hundreds of children at risk.

Collectively, more than 1,400 migrants have been left by smugglers in the broiling desert — or in one case in a drenching thunderstorm — in remote areas since Aug. 20. There were 275 people in one group.

U.S. Immigration and Control Enforcement in Arizona began releasing hundreds of people Sunday to await court dates, saying it didn't have the capacity to hold an "incredibly high volume" of migrant families showing up at the border.

Republican Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona asked officials Wednesday to investigate the situation.

IMMIGRATION-SERVICE DISCHARGES

APNewsBreak: Army expelled 500 immigrant recruits in 1 year

The Associated Press has found that the U.S. Army discharged more than 500 immigrant enlistees over the course of 12 months who were recruited for their language or medical skills and promised a fast track to citizenship in exchange for their service.

The recruiting program was put on hold in 2016 amid concerns that recruits were not being screened sufficiently, and the Army began booting out those enlistees last year.

It had been unclear how many were discharged and why, but the Army's own list says 502 members enlisted under the program were discharged between July 2017 and July 2018.

"Refuse to enlist" was listed as the most common reason, but at least one recruit who was told he was discharged for that reason said it was not accurate.

KILLING BY POLICE

Police fatally shoot armed man outside Texas police station

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — Police in El Paso say officers fatally shot a man in the parking lot of a police station when the man arrived there with a handgun.

Police Sgt. Enrique Carrillo says the man was shot about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday after being confronted by officers. Carrillo says no officers were injured.

The dead man's name hasn't been released.

Carrillo said the man was linked to calls police received earlier Wednesday, but declined to provide details.

Texas Rangers are investigating the shooting.

DRY NEW MEXICO-RIO GRANDE

Rio Grande ruling challenged as drought persists

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Environmentalists are challenging a court ruling over whether water from the Rio Grande is properly accounted for and being used in beneficial ways as it flows through New Mexico's most populated region.

They say the state's top water manager needs to do more to reduce use in the Middle Rio Grande Valley, but irrigation officials say they're already doing the best they can as years of drought have strained resources.

The latest federal drought map shows the area of the U.S. being hit the hardest covers portions of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado. That includes the headwaters of the Rio Grande.

Officials say this was the one of the lowest spring runoff seasons in decades. Federal and local water managers have had to broker agreements to keep the river flowing in some stretches.

TEXAS GIRL-LIFE SUPPORT

Judge doesn't extend order keeping girl, 9, on life support

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A judge has denied a family's plea to extend a court order that has kept a 9-year-old North Texas girl on life support.

State District Judge Melody Wilkinson's ruling Wednesday means doctors at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth can disconnect Payton Summons from life support after 1:20 p.m. Monday.

Payton has cancer. Her tumor has grown to block her circulation and applies pressure to her lungs and heart. On Sept. 25, she suffered a cardiac arrest and it took an hour to restart her heart, but doctors say her brain shows no activity.

On Oct. 1 , Payton's parents obtained a 14-day temporary restraining order to allow them to seek out another hospital to keep the girl on life support, but none could be found.

COLLEGE CORRUPTION

Fixer says he made cash payment in college hoops scheme

NEW YORK (AP) — A government witness at a college basketball corruption trial claims he made a secret $40,000 payment to the inner circle of a North Carolina State recruit.

Thomas "T.J." Gassnola told a jury on Thursday that he delivered the cash to an assistant coach at the school in 2015. He said the coach was to give it to a personal trainer for the recruit, Dennis Smith Jr.

Gassnola has pleaded guilty in an alleged scheme to pay off top prospects' families to get them to sign with programs sponsored by Adidas.

A former Adidas executive, a former amateur league director and a business manager are on trial in a Manhattan federal court.

Smith spent one year at North Carolina State and now plays for the NBA's Dallas Mavericks.

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