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Ousted Gay Texas Council Member Sues Over Recall Defeat

November 20, 2018
Categories: 

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.

Author: Josh.Clark
Posted: November 20, 2018, 11:28 pm
Military Christmas

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Texas Military Bases Partnering With 'Trees For Troops' Organization

November 20, 2018
Categories: 

DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - Several military bases in Texas are partnering with "Trees for Troops."

Trees For Troops is a national organization that donates live Christmas trees to military families.

Navy Senior Chief Mark Watts says, last year, they delivered more than 17,000 trees.

The trees will arrive at Naval Air Station-Kingsville and Naval Air Station Join Reserve Base in Fort Worth next week.

They'll also be shipped to Fort Bliss, Fort Hood, Joint Base San Antonio, NAS Corpus Christi, and the Coast Guard field office in Galveston.

There are several ways you can get involved. Of course you can donate money, but you can also help while you're doing your online shopping. When you go to Smile.Amazon.com and select Christmas Spirit Foundation as your charitable organization, Amazon will donate a portion of your purchases.

Author: Jeff.Burkett
Posted: November 20, 2018, 7:18 pm
Gina Ortiz Jones

(AP Photo/File)

Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones Concedes 23rd Congressional District Race To Republican Will Hurd

November 20, 2018
Categories: 

By Chris Fox

AUSTIN (KRLD) - After almost two weeks since the mid-term elections, the Texas 23rd Congressional race is finally over. San Antonio Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones has conceded to Republican Will Hurd.

On election night Hurd declared victory. The election then tightened as the remaining ballots were counted. At one point, Ortiz Jones was even leading the race before Medina County corrected a vote reporting error. Ortiz Jones then pursued the counting of provisional, military and mail-in ballots saying, “This is about making sure that every vote is counted. Just because you again voted provisionally does not mean you should be denied the ability to have your ballot cured and counted.”

Her fight to extend the recount efforts ended after a judge rejected her attempt for a 48-hour extension to count any additional provisional ballots.

On Monday morning (November 19) Ortiz Jones conceded the race to her Republican opponent.

“Our campaign was based on the belief that everyone is equal - equally deserving to be heard at the ballot box and served in our communities. We worked hard to make this a reality, understanding this is the only path toward the more perfect union that our founders envisioned.

While we came up short this time, we ran a race of which we can be proud. I remain committed to serving my community and country, and I wish Will Hurd the courage to fight for TX-23 in the way in which our district deserves.”

Hurd responded with a statement thanking Ortiz Jones.

"I want to thank my opponent and her supporters for engaging in the democratic process. To thrive, our democracy needs a vigorous competition of ideas, and whether you voted for me or not, I will need your help. I also want to thank my family, friends and staff for all their help and support. To the residents of TX-23, thank you for giving me something that hasn't happened in over a decade, the privilege of representing you for a third term. I will continue fighting for you every day in Congress."

Author: Josh.Clark
Posted: November 20, 2018, 4:58 pm
Courtroom

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Judge Bars US From Enforcing Trump Asylum Ban

November 20, 2018
Categories: 

HOUSTON (AP) — A federal judge barred the Trump administration from refusing asylum to immigrants who cross the southern border illegally.

President Donald Trump issued a proclamation on Nov. 9 that said anyone who crossed the southern border between official ports of entry would be ineligible for asylum. As the first of several caravans of migrants have started arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, Trump said an asylum ban was necessary to stop what he's attacked as a national security threat.

But in his ruling Monday, U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar agreed with legal groups that immediately sued, arguing that U.S. immigration law clearly allows someone to seek asylum even if they enter the country between official ports of entry.

"Whatever the scope of the President's authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden," said Tigar, a nominee of former President Barack Obama.

The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately comment on the ruling, which will remain in effect for one month barring an appeal. In issuing the ban, Trump used the same powers he used last year to impose a travel ban that was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court.

If enforced, the ban would potentially make it harder for thousands of people to avoid deportation. DHS estimates around 70,000 people a year claim asylum between official ports of entry. But Tigar's ruling notes that federal law says someone may seek asylum if they have arrived in the United States, "whether or not at a designated port of arrival."

"Individuals are entitled to asylum if they cross between ports of entry," said Baher Azmy, a lawyer for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which sued the government alongside the American Civil Liberties Union. "It couldn't be clearer."

Around 3,000 people from the first of the caravans have arrived in Tijuana, Mexico, across the border from San Diego, California. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Monday that it closed off northbound traffic for several hours at the San Ysidro crossing. It has also installed movable, wire-topped barriers, apparently to stop a potential mass rush of people.

As of Monday, 107 people detained between official crossings have sought asylum since Trump's order went into effect, according to DHS, which oversees Customs and Border Protection. Officials didn't say whether those people's cases were still progressing through other, more difficult avenues left to them after the proclamation.

DHS has said it wants asylum seekers at the southern border to appear at an official border crossing. But many border crossings such as San Ysidro already have long wait times. People are often forced to wait in shelters or outdoor camps on the Mexican side, sometimes for weeks.

ACLU lawyer Lee Gelernt said that some people seeking asylum cross between official ports because "they're in real danger," either in their countries of origin or in Mexico.

"We don't condone people entering between ports of entry, but Congress has made the decision that if they do, they still need to be allowed to apply for asylum," he said.

Author: Jeff.Burkett
Posted: November 20, 2018, 12:16 pm

Drivers wait to cross the Mexico-U.S. border from Tijuana, Mexico, Monday, Nov. 19, 2018. The United States closed off northbound traffic for several hours at the busiest border crossing with Mexico to install new security barriers on Monday, a day after hundreds of Tijuana residents protested against the presence of thousands of Central American migrants. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

US Closes Busiest Mexico Border Crossing for Several Hours

November 20, 2018
The Associated Press
Categories: 

TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — Many Central American migrants camped in Tijuana after crossing Mexico in a caravan said Monday that a protest over the weekend by residents demanding they leave frightened them and left them even more anxious while they try to get into the United States.

The angry protests have been fed by concerns raised by President Donald Trump's month-long warnings that criminals and gang members are in the group and even terrorists, though there is no evidence of that.

About 500 people demonstrated in an affluent section of Tijuana on Sunday against the caravan. Dozens of protesters then marched to an outdoor sports complex near downtown where 2,500 migrants are staying, sleeping on dirt fields and under bleachers after arriving at the border city a week ago.

Dulce Alvarado, 28, from Lempira, Honduras, said she was stepping out of a corner grocery near the complex carrying her 2-year-old son when she was surrounded by the demonstrators chanting "Get out!" and "We don't want you here!"

"I was very scared," Alvarado said.

A Tijuana police officer saw them in the crowd and helped them get out and behind police tape marking off the block where the sports complex is located. The protest eventually ended peacefully. On Monday, a Mexican holiday, streets were quiet with many businesses near the complex closed.

Tensions have built as nearly 3,000 migrants from the caravan poured into Tijuana in recent days after more than a month on the road — and with many more months likely ahead of them while they seek asylum in the U.S. The federal government estimates the number of migrants could soon swell to 10,000.

Mexico's ambassador to the U.S., Geronimo Gutierrez, told reporters Monday that the situation is a "wake-up call" for the U.S., Mexico and Central America that could force the region to work together to address the difficult issue of immigration.

U.S. border inspectors are processing only about 100 asylum claims a day at Tijuana's main crossing to San Diego. Asylum seekers register their names in a tattered notebook managed by the migrants themselves that had more than 3,000 names even before the caravan arrived.

For most of this city of 1.6 million, the arrival of thousands of Central Americans is not noticeable. Most migrants stay within a three-block radius of the sports complex that faces the towering metal walls topped with barbed wire at the U.S.-Mexico border.

But many residents fear with the passage of time their presence will take its toll and crime could go up. Since 2016, thousands of Haitians who also tried to get to the U.S. ended up settling here, while at the same time, Tijuana has taken in thousands of Mexicans deported from the United States.

Tijuana also has been struggling with drug violence and some say they do not want the caravan bringing more problems.

Sandra Lucia Montanez, 28, a Tijuana psychologist, said news reports last month of Central Americans storming Mexico's southern border fed the fears. But, she said, it's important that Tijuana not forget it is a city of migrants.

"Almost no one here is from Tijuana," Montanez said. "We have to help the neediest ones. They come from countries with a lot of poverty. Honduras is worse off than Mexico."

The United States has dramatically increased border security in preparation for the caravan's arrival, closing lanes at ports of entry to place cement barriers topped with razor wire that can be quickly moved to block passage should there be a mass number who try to force their way into the country.

But the lane closures have also made it harder for cross-border residents to go back and forth into the U.S. to work and shop. The San Ysidro port of entry is one of the world's busiest border crossings, with more than 40,000 vehicles and 34,000 pedestrians using it daily.

On Monday, U.S. authorities closed off northbound traffic for several hours and closed a pedestrian lane at the crossing to install more security barriers, after a tip that people were gathering in Tijuana to rush the border checkpoints.

"Waiting until a large group of persons mass at the border to attempt an illegal crossing is too late for us," said Pete Flores, director of field operations for Customs and Border Protection in San Diego.

Demonstrators at Sunday's protest complained that some migrants have been aggressive, yelling insults at U.S. Border Patrol agents and climbing walls and getting into fights at Tijuana's Pacific beach.

But Tijuana police officer Victor Coronel, who has overseen security outside the sports complex where the migrants are staying, said those fears are based on the bad behavior of only a handful of migrants.

"The problem is that there has been bad information circulating on social media, with videos of two or three migrants acting badly, climbing the wall or grabbing food in stores," said Coronel, adding that most are poor people simply trying to find work.

Coronel said he hopes as time passes, many will opt to go home or find jobs in Mexico and integrate into society.

Lesbia Navarro, 36, stayed inside the stadium with her four children ages 3 to 16 as they listened to the shouts and insults from the protesters Sunday.

"We only want to be here awhile, until we can get into the United States to work," said Navarro, of Choloma, Honduras. "We don't want to cause anybody problems."

The Tijuana protests came amid what may be a hardening of positions in some northern Mexican states against the migrants. In Jalisco state, which the caravan passed through on its way to Tijuana, officials said they would no longer open shelters, citing problems with fights involving migrants last week.

Instead, the state will provide water, some food and escorts at nine points along the main highway through the state to help ensure the migrants don't have to stop.

Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum has called the migrants' arrival an "avalanche" that the city is ill-prepared to handle, calculating that they will be in Tijuana for at least six months as they wait to file asylum claims. 

Gastelum has appealed to the federal government for more assistance to cope with the influx — while more migrants continue to head to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump used Twitter on Sunday to voice support for the mayor. He wrote that like Tijuana, "the U.S. is ill-prepared for this invasion, and will not stand for it. They are causing crime and big problems in Mexico. Go home!"

He followed that tweet by writing: "Catch and Release is an obsolete term. It is now Catch and Detain. Illegal Immigrants trying to come into the U.S.A., often proudly flying the flag of their nation as they ask for U.S. Asylum, will be detained or turned away."

___

Stevenson contributed from Mexico City. Associated Press writer Marcos Aleman in San Salvador contributed to this report.

___

This story has been corrected to show that Alvarado was coming out of a store near a sports complex, not a stadium.

AP Editorial Categories: 
Author: ap.content
Posted: November 20, 2018, 6:12 am

In this Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, photo firefighters and investigators look over a vintage World War II P-51D Mustang aircraft after a deadly crash in Fredericksburg, Texas. (Billy Calzada/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)

WWII Pilot Killed in Vintage Airplane Crash in Texas

November 19, 2018
The Associated Press
Categories: 

FREDERICKSBURG, Texas (AP) — The 93-year-old passenger who was killed when a World War II-era fighter aircraft crashed in South Texas had been a WWII pilot, according to group that arranges fighter plane rides for veterans.

The P-51D Mustang had just participated in a flyby 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 Vincent Losada, 93, of San Antonio.

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

"Cowden was a civilian, but he had the highest respect for our nation's servicemen and women, more than anyone else I have ever known," his friend, Kayla Segerstrom, told the San Antonio Express-News.

Ward's plane, named Pecos Bill, was taking part in ceremonies Saturday organized by the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg. The day included a battle re-enactment showcasing WWII equipment and weapons.

Chris Arntz, an Army veteran who attended the program with his wife and daughter, told the Express-News that Ward's plane had just flown over the crowd when it appeared to nose dive beyond a tree line.

"I told my wife, 'I'm pretty sure that plane just crashed,'" said Arntz, explaining that there was no loud explosion or any other indication of a crash as the program continued uninterrupted. He learned later upon returning home that his suspicion was correct.

The plane crashed into the parking lot of a nearby apartment complex, damaging vehicles. No one on the ground was hurt.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating.

AP Editorial Categories: 
Author: ap.content
Posted: November 19, 2018, 4:58 pm

An anti-migrant demonstrator is surrounded by the press as she argues with a woman during a protest against the presence of thousands of Central American migrants in Tijuana, Mexico, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. Protesters accused the migrants of being messy, ungrateful and a danger to Tijuana; complained about how the caravan forced its way into Mexico, calling it an "invasion," and voiced worries that their taxes might be spent to care for the group as they wait possibly months to apply for U.S. asylum. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

Mexican Protesters Chant 'Out!' At Migrant Caravan Camped In Tijuana

November 19, 2018
The Associated Press
Categories: 

TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — Hundreds of Tijuana residents congregated around a monument in an affluent section of the city south of California on Sunday to protest the thousands of Central American migrants who have arrived via caravan in hopes of a new life in the U.S.

Tensions have built as nearly 3,000 migrants from the caravan poured into Tijuana in recent days after more than a month on the road, and with many more months ahead of them while they seek asylum. The federal government estimates the number of migrants could soon swell to 10,000.

U.S. border inspectors are processing only about 100 asylum claims a day at Tijuana's main crossing to San Diego. Asylum seekers register their names in a tattered notebook managed by migrants themselves that had more than 3,000 names even before the caravan arrived.

On Sunday, displeased Tijuana residents waved Mexican flags, sang the Mexican national anthem and chanted "Out! Out!" in front of a statue of the Aztec ruler Cuauhtemoc, 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) from the U.S. border. They accused the migrants of being messy, ungrateful and a danger to Tijuana. They also complained about how the caravan forced its way into Mexico, calling it an "invasion." And they voiced worries that their taxes might be spent to care for the group.

"We don't want them in Tijuana," protesters shouted.

Juana Rodriguez, a housewife, said the government needs to conduct background checks on the migrants to make sure they don't have criminal records.

A woman who gave her name as Paloma lambasted the migrants, who she said came to Mexico in search of handouts. "Let their government take care of them," she told video reporters covering the protest.

A block away, fewer than a dozen Tijuana residents stood with signs of support for the migrants. Keyla Zamarron, a 38-year-old teacher, said the protesters don't represent her way of thinking as she held a sign saying: Childhood has no borders.

Most of the migrants who have reached Tijuana via caravan in recent days set out more than a month ago from Honduras, a country of 9 million people. Dozens of migrants in the caravan who have been interviewed by Associated Press reporters have said they left their country after death threats.

But the journey has been hard, and many have turned around.

Alden Rivera, the Honduran ambassador in Mexico, told the AP on Saturday that 1,800 Hondurans have returned to their country since the caravan first set out on Oct. 13, and that he hopes more will make that decision. "We want them to return to Honduras," said Rivera.

Honduras has a murder rate of 43 per 100,000 residents, similar to U.S. cities like New Orleans and Detroit. In addition to violence, migrants in the caravan have mentioned poor economic prospects as a motivator for their departures. Per capita income hovers around $120 a month in Honduras, where the World Bank says two out of three people live in poverty.

The migrants' expected long stay in Tijuana has raised concerns about the ability of the border city of more than 1.6 million people to handle the influx.

While many in Tijuana are sympathetic to the migrants' plight and trying to assist, some locals have shouted insults, hurled rocks and even thrown punches at them. The cold reception contrasts sharply with the warmth that accompanied the migrants in southern Mexico, where residents of small towns greeted them with hot food, campsites and even live music.

Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum has called the migrants' arrival an "avalanche" that the city is ill-prepared to handle, calculating that they will be in Tijuana for at least six months as they wait to file asylum claims. Gastelum has appealed to the federal government for more assistance to cope with the influx.

Mexico's Interior Ministry said Saturday that the federal government was flying in food and blankets for the migrants in Tijuana.

Tijuana officials converted a municipal gymnasium and recreational complex into a shelter to keep migrants out of public spaces. The city's privately run shelters have a maximum capacity of 700. The municipal complex can hold up to 3,000.

At the municipal shelter, Josue Caseres, 24, expressed dismay at the protests against the caravan. "We are fleeing violence," said the entertainer from Santa Barbara, Honduras. "How can they think we are going to come here to be violent?"

Some from the caravan have diverted to other border cities, such as Mexicali, a few hours to the east of Tijuana.

Elsewhere on Sunday, a group of 200 migrants headed north from El Salvador, determined to also find safety in numbers to reach the U.S. Edwin Alexander Gomez, 20, told AP in San Salvador that he wants to work construction in New York, where he hears the wages are better and the city is safer.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who sought to make the caravan a campaign issue in the midterm elections, used Twitter on Sunday to voice support for the mayor of Tijuana and try to discourage the migrants from seeking entry to the U.S.

Trump wrote that like Tijuana, "the U.S. is ill-prepared for this invasion, and will not stand for it. They are causing crime and big problems in Mexico. Go home!"

He followed that tweet by writing: "Catch and Release is an obsolete term. It is now Catch and Detain. Illegal Immigrants trying to come into the U.S.A., often proudly flying the flag of their nation as they ask for U.S. Asylum, will be detained or turned away."

___

Guthrie reported from Mexico City. Associated Press writer Julie Watson contributed to this story from Tijuana and Marcos Aleman contributed from San Salvador.

AP Editorial Categories: 
Author: ap.content
Posted: November 19, 2018, 12:12 pm
Man in handcuffs

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Man Who Fled Texas During 2008 Murder Trial Caught In Mexico

November 18, 2018
The Associated Press
Categories: 

EDINBURG, Texas (AP) — A man who disappeared on the last day of his 2008 murder trial has been captured in Mexico and returned to Texas, authorities said.

Hidalgo County prosecutors said in a news release Friday that 35-year-old Oscar Davila Rodriguez was returned to the U.S. Wednesday. The statement didn't include details about how or where he was captured.

"The tireless work of dedicated law enforcement on both sides of the border ensured that justice was served," Criminal District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. said in the news release.

Oscar Davila Rodriguez was free on $100,000 bond during his murder trial in the 2005 killing of his 19-year-old ex-girlfriend, Nydia Maldonado. Authorities say he broke into her home in McAllen, stabbed her multiple times and strangled her.

Though Rodriguez failed to appear for the last day of his trial, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison. The trial was in Edinburg, which is about 15 miles from the Texas-Mexico border.

Assistant District Attorney Michelle Puig, who served as lead prosecutor on the case, said Rodriguez' capture will bring closure to Maldonado's family. "Justice will finally be served and will give peace to Nydia and all those who loved her," Puig said.

The 2008 trial was the second time Rodriguez was found guilty of killing Maldonado. Rodriguez, who was free on bond throughout his first trial because he had no criminal record, was convicted in 2007 and sentenced to 55 years in prison. He remained free when a judge threw out that murder conviction because a witness mentioned a polygraph test that was supposed to have been barred from evidence.

Author: ap.content
Posted: November 18, 2018, 9:29 pm
Ambulance

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2 Dead In Vintage World War II Fighter Crash In Fredericksburg

November 18, 2018
Categories: 

FREDERICKSBURG (AP) — A privately-owned vintage World War II Mustang fighter airplane that had participated in a flyover for a museum event crashed into the parking lot of a Texas apartment complex Saturday, killing the pilot and a passenger, authorities said.

Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Orlando Moreno confirmed the two people on board had died in the crash in Fredericksburg, but he did not identify them.

The aircraft was destroyed and several vehicles in the parking lot damaged, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said. Photos from the crash site showed pieces of the plane on top of parked vehicles. There were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths on the ground.

The P-51D Mustang fighter was returning after performing a flyover during a living history show at the National Museum of the Pacific War, museum director Rorie Cartier told The Associated Press in an email. Fredericksburg is home to the museum . The museum said on Twitter that one of those in the plane was a military veteran.

"We are extremely saddened by the unfortunate accident this afternoon that claimed the lives of two wonderful people. We express our deepest condolences to the families of both on board," Cartier said.

The Mustang was first built by North American Aviation in 1940 and was used by the U.S. military in World War II and the Korean War.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA said they would investigate.

Author: Jeff.Burkett
Posted: November 18, 2018, 3:29 pm
Meteor

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Meteor Spotted Over Texas Thursday Night

November 16, 2018
Categories: 

DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - A lot of people are talking about a bluish-green ball of fire that streaked across the Texas sky Thursday night.

Most believe it was a meteor.

The American Meteor Society said it has received more than 70 reports so far about the fireball. Many of them came from the Austin area, but folks in DFW, Houston, Louisiana and Oklahoma also said they saw it. 

The Leonid meteor shower happens this weekend, but experts said there's no way to know if this was part of that.

Video of Meteor in the Sky Over Southwest Austin Texas Nov 15 2018!
Tags: 
Author: Jeff.Burkett
Posted: November 16, 2018, 5:03 pm