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TO 4,000 HOMES





$8M settlement

Mexico sets security plan

Details of negligence in school construction released By PHILIP BALLI THE ZAPATA TIMES

A lawsuit filed by Zapata County Independent School District in spring 2012 against a construction firm ended in an $8 million settlement. ZCISD filed the suit against Satterfield & Pontikes Construction, Inc., claiming the company did subpar work on four of the district’s elementary schools. The district initially sought $16 million in damages. The construction firm included 15 parties, including Satterfield & Pontikes and the general contractor, architect, design consultants and various subcontractors and

trade contractors involved in the design of the elementary schools. Additional defendants included Bill Reiffert and Associates Inc., Robert E. Martinez and Jorge D. Perez, of Perez Consulting Engineers. The trial began Jan. 13 in Zapata County and ended two weeks later when the settlement was reached. The Zapata Times, under the umbrella of parent publication The Laredo Morning Times, requested the settlement records from ZCISD shortly thereafter; however, the district asked the Texas attorney general’s office for a ruling on whether the information could be disclosed to the public. In a recent ruling, the office said the information was

public record. The settlement was in the amount of $8.12 million and each member of the construction firm has agreed to pay a specific amount of the settlement. “The district is pleased with the outcome and looks forward to the remediation of the schools in question,” said Juan Cruz, of Laredobased J. Cruz and Associates, which represents ZCISD. Defendants were accused of doing shoddy work on constructing two elementary schools with pavilions — Zapata South and Fidel & Andrea Villarreal — and the gyms at Zapata North and Arturo L. Benavides. Claims of negligence listed in

the lawsuit included: Failure to construct in accordance with plans and specifications Failure to implement and install specified components and materials Failure to properly seal openings of the projects, resulting in vermin roosting in the classroom heating, ventilation and air conditioning returns Failure to meet bare minimum construction standards Substituting without authority materials with cheaper and lower quality materials and failing to properly credit ZCISD for the lower-cost items (Philip Balli may be reached at 728-2528 or


SAVING THE ASTRODOME Agency may designate as landmark ASSOCIATED PRESS

HOUSTON — Efforts to protect the Houston Astrodome from demolition have taken a new turn, with a Texas agency looking at designating it as a “state antiquities landmark.” After voters last year failed to approve a referendum that would have authorized up to $217 million in bonds to turn it into a giant convention and event center, the Astrodome seemed likely headed for the scrap heap. The stadium has been closed since 2009 and various ideas over the years to refurbish it — from water park to sports memorabilia museum — have gained little traction. But efforts to save the so-called Eighth Wonder of the World gained momentum after an advisory committee of the Texas His-

File photo by David J. Phillip | AP

In this file photo the Houston Astrodome is illuminated during the evening. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett is holding a “stakeholders meeting” today with various groups and individuals to discuss recent developments about the Astrodome. torical Commission voted late last month to recommend that the Astrodome get the antiquities designation. The commission is expected to make a final decision during its meeting on July

30-31. If the Astrodome is designated a state antiquities landmark, any proposals to alter or demolish it would have to be approved by the commission, making it more dif-

ficult to tear it down. “There are an awful lot of people who love that building who would do anything for it,” said



REYNOSA, Mexico — Mexico’s top security official says military commanders will lead a new security plan for the border state of Tamaulipas, where dozens of people have been killed in drugrelated violence this year. Interior Secretary Osorio Chong said Tuesday that the state will be divided OSORIO CHONG into four regions, each with an army or navy officer in charge of implementing the federal government’s security plan. Chong says federal forces will also man five new checkpoints on highways connecting the capital city of Ciudad Victoria to the cities of Reynosa and Tampico and will patrol 24 hours in urban areas. Fighting between the Gulf and Zetas cartels has made Tamaulipas one of Mexico’s most violent states. Bloodshed has risen in recent weeks after calming somewhat since 2012. On May 6, the chief of investigations for the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas died a latenight gunbattle that also killed four gunmen, the state government said. Top state police investigator Salvador de Haro Munoz was killed in the state capital, Ciudad Victoria, after authorities went to investigate a local home that was apparently being used as a safe house by a criminal gang. At least 16 people died May 1 in another series of gun battles in that state.


Pedophile teacher abused scores of children By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN & TAMI ABDOLLAH ASSOCIATED PRESS

He was one of the most beloved teachers in the small world of international schools that serve the children of diplomats, well-off American expatriates and local elites. He was often the first to arrive in the morning, and the last to leave each day. He led students on class trips to exotic places, treating them to cookies and milk at bedtime. That was the public persona of William Vahey, carefully crafted over four decades — until a maid cleaning his home in Nicaragua stole a 16-gigabyte memory drive. There, in photograph after photograph, was evidence that the model teacher had molested scores of adolescent boys, possibly far more, in a career spanning 10 schools on four continents. The FBI said last month at least 90 boys were in the images


on the memory drive. The bureau said Tuesday that it has now “been contacted by several hundred individuals from around the globe wishing either to reach out as potential victims or provide information in the ongoing investigation.” The discovery of a man the FBI regards as one of the most

prolific pedophiles in memory has set off a crisis in the closeknit community of international schools, where horrified parents are being told their children may have been victims of a favorite teacher, and administrators are scurrying to close teacher-vetting loopholes revealed by Vahey’s abuses. “With the sheer volume, the sheer number of incidents in which this man molested, it surprises me that somehow this was not picked up by someone,” said John Magagna, the founding director of Search Associates, the world’s largest international school recruiting firm. “I don’t know what went wrong.” Apparently not even Vahey’s victims knew they had been molested. The double-cream Oreos that he handed out at bedtime on the overnight trips were laced with sleeping pills — enough to leave the boys unconscious as he touched them, and posed them for lewd photographs.

Vahey, a 64-year-old native of West Point, New York, attempted suicide in Nicaragua after his maid stole the drive. He survived, but killed himself on a second try, stabbing himself to death in Minnesota on March 21 and leaving hundreds of former students wondering if they were abused. The agonized father of a student in Caracas, Venezuela, said his son, like many others, would rather not find out, but the boy cannot forget one fact. “He ate the cookies, too,” said the father, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect his son’s identity. “Everyone on those trips did.” There were decades of missed opportunities to expose Vahey. An early California sex-abuse conviction didn’t prevent him taking a series of jobs working with children. Colleagues and supervisors failed to question why he was so often with boys overnight. And at least twice, boys fell mysteriously ill while under his care and there was no investi-

gation into Vahey’s role. In 1969, Vahey, the son of a decorated World War II pilot, was arrested on child sexual abuse charges after police said he pinched the penises of eight boys, ages 7 to 9, at an Orange County high school where he gave swimming lessons. Vahey, then 20, told authorities he had started touching boys without their consent at age 14, when he fondled a sleeping teen on a Boy Scout camping trip. He said he touched the genitals or anuses of sleeping boys four more times before the arrest. The psychiatrist diagnosed Vahey with an “inadequate personality,” but added that the disorder did not predispose him to sexual offenses dangerous to others. The court even allowed Vahey to start work as a public school teacher’s aide after his arrest. Vahey pleaded guilty to a single charge of lewd and lascivious



Zin brief CALENDAR




Wednesday, May 14


1964 Zapata High School Class 50th reunion. Dinner at The Steak House on Wednesday, June 25. Call Dora Martinez at 324-1226 or Ninfa Gracia at 500-5219. “The Great Salt Challenge” class, Lesson 2. Noon to 1 p.m. First United Methodist Church, 1220 McClelland Ave. Focuses on sodium in diet, daily consumption limits, how to read a food label and strategies for reducing salt intake. Three lessons. Meets every Wednesday in May. English. Free.

Today is Wednesday, May 14, the 134th day of 2014. There are 231 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On May 14, 1948, by the current-era calendar, the independent state of Israel was proclaimed in Tel Aviv. On this date: In 1643, Louis XIV became King of France at age four upon the death of his father, Louis XIII. In 1796, English physician Edward Jenner inoculated 8year-old James Phipps against smallpox by using cowpox matter. In 1804, the Lewis and Clark expedition to explore the Louisiana Territory as well as the Pacific Northwest left camp near present-day Hartford, Illinois. In 1863, Union forces defeated the Confederates in the Battle of Jackson, Mississippi. In 1900, the Olympic games opened in Paris, held as part of the 1900 World’s Fair. In 1913, the Rockefeller Foundation was founded in New York. In 1942, Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait” was first performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. In 1961, Freedom Riders were attacked by violent mobs in Anniston and Birmingham, Alabama. In 1973, the United States launched Skylab 1, its first manned space station. (Skylab 1 remained in orbit for six years before burning up during re-entry in 1979.) In 1988, 27 people, mostly teens, were killed when their church bus collided with a pickup truck going the wrong direction on a highway near Carrollton, Kentucky. (Truck driver Larry Mahoney served 9 1/2 years in prison for manslaughter.) In 1994, the West Bank town of Jericho saw its first full day of Palestinian self-rule following the withdrawal of Israeli troops, an event celebrated by Palestinians. Ten years ago: Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper published a front-page apology after photographs supposedly showing British forces abusing Iraqi prisoners turned out to be fakes. Five years ago: A pair of spacewalking astronauts installed a new piano-sized camera in the Hubble Space Telescope. One year ago: In an op-ed appearing in The New York Times, Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie said she’d undergone a preventive double mastectomy after learning she carried a gene that made it extremely likely she would get breast. Today’s Birthdays: Opera singer Patrice Munsel is 89. Photo-realist artist Richard Estes is 82. Former Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., is 72. Rock singer-musician Jack Bruce (Cream) is 71. Movie producer George Lucas is 70. Actress Meg Foster is 66. Movie director Robert Zemeckis is 63. Rock singer David Byrne is 62. Actor Tim Roth is 53. Rock singer Ian Astbury (The Cult) is 52. Rock musician C.C. (aka Cecil) DeVille is 52. Actor Danny Huston is 52. Rock musician Mike Inez (Alice In Chains) is 48. Fabrice Morvan (ex-Milli Vanilli) is 48. Actress Cate Blanchett is 45. Thought for Today: “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” — Dorothy Parker, American author, humorist, poet (18931967).

Thursday, May 15 Grief support group. Noon to 1:30 p.m. First United Methodist Church, 1220 McClelland Ave. Free and open to public. Contact Patricia Cisneros at 722-1674 or Los Amigos Duplicate Bridge Club. 1:15 p.m. to 5 p.m. Laredo Country Club. For more information, contact Beverly Cantu at 727-0589.

Saturday, May 17 1964 Zapata High School Class 50th reunion. Dinner at The Steak House on Wednesday, June 25. Call Dora Martinez at 324-1226 or Ninfa Gracia at 500-5219. J.W. Nixon’s Class of 1989 selling tickets for 25th reunion. 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. 317 E. Calton Road #1. $25 per person for event on Friday, July 25 at Life Fair, Branding Iron; and $25 per person for event on Saturday, July 26 at Embassy Suites.

Sunday, May 18 The St. Patrick Catholic Church Men’s Club steak plate sale, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on church grounds, 555 Del Mar Blvd. $5 per plate. Proceeds to scholarships. For information call (956) 324-2432.

Tuesday, May 20 “The Calling” series of Bible talks. 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Laredo Church of Christ Chapel, 1505 Calle del Norte, Suite 340. Contact Miguel Zuñiga at 286-9631 or mglzuñ

Wednesday, May 21 1964 Zapata High School Class 50th reunion. Dinner at The Steak House on Wednesday, June 25. Call Dora Martinez at 324-1226 or Ninfa Gracia at 500-5219. “The Great Salt Challenge” class, Lesson 3. Noon to 1 p.m. First United Methodist Church, 1220 McClelland Ave. Focuses on sodium in diet, daily consumption limits, how to read a food label and strategies for reducing salt intake. Three lessons. Meets every Wednesday in May. English. Free.

Thursday, May 22 Grief support group. Noon to 1:30 p.m. First United Methodist Church, 1220 McClelland Ave. Free and open to public. Contact Patricia Cisneros at 722-1674 or Los Amigos Duplicate Bridge Club. 1:15 p.m. to 5 p.m. Laredo Country Club. For more information, contact Beverly Cantu at 727-0589. Foster Care Festival. 6 p.m. 1708 Victoria St. Live music, face painting and informational booths on local foster care agencies. Free and open to public. Contact Alexis Herrera at 7278691 or

Photo by IHA | AP

Rescue workers gather at the entrance of the mine after an explosion and fire at a coal mine in Soma, in western Turkey, on Tuesday. An explosion and fire at a coal mine in western Turkey killed at 17 miners Tuesday and left up to 300 workers trapped underground, a Turkish official said.

Hundreds trapped in mine By SUZAN FRASER ASSOCIATED PRESS

ANKARA, Turkey — An explosion and a fire Tuesday killed at least 17 workers at a coal mine in western Turkey and trapped another 200 or more underground, the country’s disaster agency said as it launched a massive rescue operation. A power distribution unit exploded Tuesday afternoon at a mine in the town of Soma, local official Mehmet Bahattin Atci told reporters. The town is 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Istanbul. Turkey’s disaster and emergency management agency also said about 20 people had been rescued from the site so far, 11 of them with injuries. Television footage showed people cheering and applauding as some trapped workers were helped out of the mine. One wiped

Prosecutor: Pistorius should get evaluation PRETORIA, South Africa — The chief prosecutor in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius on Tuesday asked that the doubleamputee runner be placed under psychiatric evaluation after an expert witness testified that he had an anxiety disorder. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel noted that a psychiatrist for the defense had testified that the disorder she diagnosed in Pistorius may have played a role in his fatal shooting of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home on Feb. 14, 2013. The prosecutor has acknowledged that an evaluation of Pistorius’ state of mind at a government facility could mean the trial, which began March 3, will be delayed. Judge Thokozile Masipa ordered an adjournment and said she would rule on Nel’s request on Wednesday morning. Nel questioned why the defense decided to ask Dr. Merryll Vorster, a psychiatrist, to testify

away a tear on his jacket, another smiled and waved at onlookers. The accident occurred during a shift change so the exact number of trapped workers was not known. Atci had said the blast left between 200 to 300 miners underground but the disaster agency later gave the number as “more than 200 workers.” “Evacuation efforts are underway. I hope that we are able to rescue them,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in televised comments. The death toll was expected to rise. The disaster agency said authorities were trying to arrange for a cold air depot to temporarily store the dead. Rescuers were pumping fresh air into the mine and rescue teams from neighboring regions rushed to the area, said Energy Minister Taner Yildiz.

on behalf of the Olympic runner. He has suggested that the trial is not going well for Pistorius and that his lawyers are floating the idea that a disorder contributed to Steenkamp’s shooting and that therefore Pistorius bears less responsibility for her death. Pistorius says he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he shot her through the closed door of a toilet cubicle. Prosecutors say he killed her in anger after an argument. Pistorius’ chief lawyer, Barry Roux, said at the start of defenseled testimony that the double amputee’s vulnerability and disability was at the center of his case of a mistaken killing. He said Pistorius should not be sent for 30 days of psychiatric evaluation and that he wanted to call another witness to continue testimony.

Explorer: Shipwreck off Haiti may be Santa Maria PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A shipwreck off northern Haiti may be the remains of Chris-

topher Columbus’ flagship vessel the Santa Maria, an explorer said Tuesday, though experts expressed caution about a discovery that was far from confirmed. Explorer Barry Clifford said evidence that the wreck is the Santa Maria, which struck a reef and foundered on Christmas Day in 1492, includes stones that appear to have come from Spain or Portugal and what looks like a 15th century cannon that was at the site during an initial inspection but has since disappeared. Clifford says he has asked the Haitian government to preserve the area around the wreck. Salim Succar, a special adviser to Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, said the government will do “all that is needed” to protect the site. If the ship is the Santa Maria, it would be the oldest known European shipwreck in the socalled New World and a find of major archaeological significance. But scientists say it’s far too early to make any such declaration since there is likely to be very little left of the vessel. — Compiled from AP reports

Saturday, May 24 1964 Zapata High School Class 50th reunion. Dinner at The Steak House on Wednesday, June 25. Call Dora Martinez at 324-1226 or Ninfa Gracia at 500-5219.

Monday, May 26 Zapata County Commissioners Court meeting. 9 a.m. Zapata County Courthouse. Call Roxy Elizondo at 7659920. Monthly meeting of Laredo Parkinson’s Disease Support Group. 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Laredo Medical Center, Tower B, First Floor Community Center. Patients, caregivers and family members invited. Free info pamphlets available in Spanish and English. Call Richard Renner (English) at 645-8649 or Juan Gonzalez (Spanish) at 2370666.

Tuesday, May 27 “The Calling” series of Bible talks. 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Laredo Church of Christ Chapel, 1505 Calle del Norte, Suite 340. Contact Miguel Zuñiga at 286-9631 or mglzuñ

AROUND THE NATION West Virginia mine had history of safety problems WHARTON, W.Va. — Two miners who were killed on the job Monday night worked in a coalfield that had so many safety problems federal officials deemed it a “pattern violator,” a rare designation reserved for the industry’s worst offenders. Brody Mine No. 1 was one of only three mines last year to earn the label that regulators have put greater emphasis on since the 2010 Upper Big Branch explosion that killed 29 miners. The company said the workers were killed during a severe coal burst, where high-speed coal is shot at anyone in the way.

Clay Aiken wins NC Dem congressional primary RALEIGH, N.C. — “American Idol” singer Clay Aiken won what had been a hotly contested Democratic primary for a North


Photo by Associated Press

A U.S. Army honor guard arrives at the gravesite of Army Pvt. William Christman, who was the first military burial at the cemetery, marking the beginning of commemorations of the 150th anniversary of Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., on Tuesday. Carolina congressional seat according to a final, unofficial vote count that was posted Tuesday, a day after the accidental death of his closest rival. Aiken will face Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers in November in the GOP-leaning dis-

trict where Mitt Romney won nearly six in 10 votes in 2012. On Monday, second-place finisher Keith Crisco, 71, died after falling at his home. The results will become official after review. — Compiled from AP reports

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SUBSCRIPTIONS/DELIVERY (956) 728-2555 The Zapata Times is distributed on Saturdays to 4,000 households in Zapata County. For subscribers of the Laredo Morning Times and for those who buy the Laredo Morning Times at newsstands, the Zapata Times is inserted. The Zapata Times is free. The Zapata Times is published by the Laredo Morning Times, a division of The Hearst Corporation, P.O. Box 2129, Laredo, Texas 78044. Phone (956) 728-2500. The Zapata office is at 1309 N. U.S. Hwy. 83 at 14th Avenue, Suite 2, Zapata, TX 78076. Call (956) 765-5113 or e-mail




‘Click It’ campaign set to start SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Texas Department of Transportation Laredo District this week launched its annual Click It or Ticket press conference to commemorate the 13th annual seat-belt safety education and enforcement campaign. From May 19 to June 1, state and local law enforcement officials will increase their efforts to ticket drivers and passengers not wearing seat belts, according to a TxDOT release. “It’s simple: Wearing a seat belt can save your life,” said Melisa D. Montemayor, administrator for TxDOT Laredo District. “Seat belt use remains the single most important step you can take to protect yourself in the event of a crash.” Present at Monday’s conference were the district attorney for Webb and Zapata counties, Laredo Police Department, Webb County Constables, Webb County Sheriff Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, Laredo Independent School District campus police and local representation from TxDOT’s Traffic Safety Division. This year, the campaign will slightly differ. TxDOT has reached out to every law enforcement agen-

Courtesy photo

File photo by Cuate Santos | The Zapata Times

Area law enforcement and public officials pose for a group photo after the “Click It or Ticket” press conference Monday morning at the TxDOT Laredo office.

Anglers observe the National Anthem as they prepare for the second day of the 2009 FLW-Stern Series Fishing Tournament.

cy and judicial partners, all in an effort to further increase seat belt usage among Texans to well over 90 percent while minimizing traffic deaths and preventing serious injuries. Everyone in a vehicle, no matter their age or where they are seated in the vehicle, must be properly restrained. Unbelted drivers and adult passengers can face fines and court costs of up to $200. Children younger than 8 years old must be in a child safety seat or booster seat, unless they are taller than 4-feet-9inches. Fines issued to drivers for

unrestrained children in their vehicle can be as high as $250 plus court costs. While 9 out of 10 Texans buckle up, too many drivers and passengers continue to risk injury or death by not using seat belts, according to TxDOT. In 2013, of all people killed in vehicles in Texas, 45 percent were reported as not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. In 2013, almost half — 46 percent — of pickup truck drivers killed in Texas in a traffic crash were not wearing a seat belt.


Photo by Cuate Santos | The Zapata Times

Martin High School students Patricia Garcia, left, Kassandra Zapata and Rocio Martinez get up close and personal with a horse from the Border Patrol’s Horse Patrol on Tuesday morning, as they participated in the Law Enforcement Expo at Uni-Trade Stadium. Several law enforcement officials educated the public about their offices.

Lake hearing open to public SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

State Reps. Ryan Guillen and Tracy King will jointly host a field hearing in Zapata on Friday to discuss issues related to the declining bass population in Falcon Lake. The hearing is also open to the public for oral and written testimony. Members of the committee and guests will meet at 1:30 p.m. at Room 128 in the Zapata Technical and Advanced Education Center, 605 N. U.S. Highway 83. Falcon Lake Reservoir, located in Starr and Zapata counties, has had a historically strong largemouth bass population and has received global recognition as a prime fishing location for the species. However, in recent years the bass population in Falcon Lake has declined. The issue was first brought to light by local fishermen, who have attributed blame to the overpopulation of alligator gar in the lake. Since then, legislators have been working with the Falcon Lake community and the Parks and Wild-

life Commission to identify solutions to the issue, according to a news release. The purpose of the field hearing is to provide a forum for expert and public input in an effort to examine what the state can do to replenish the bass population. “Helping restore the bass population to Falcon Lake is a top priority,” said Guillen, who is chairman of the Committee on Culture, Recreation & Tourism. “By opening a working dialogue between the fishermen, local authorities, and the TPWD Inland Fisheries Division, we hope to make further progress toward a coordinated response to this crisis.” The hearing will feature invited testimony from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Inland Fisheries Division, including Director Dr. Gary Saul, Chief of Management and Research Dave Terre, and Chief of Information and Regulations Ken Kurzawski. The event marks the Committee on Culture, Recreation, and Tourism’s second field hearing this year.








As America’s voters careen from one congressional election to the next, each increasingly discouraging, this might be a good opportunity to take a breath and consider what all that voting has wrought. To be clear, these elections are discouraging only if we expect more out of those we send to Washington than not-just-no-buthell-no bickering, stonewalling and obfuscation. It doesn’t take a select committee on Benghazi, more acrimony over Obamacare or just another threat of government shutdown to bring out the worst in our legislating class. Those are the big headlines, sure, but our men and women of lawmaking prove repeatedly and with great gusto that they can stalemate anything into nothingness. Short of naming a new post office, nothing passes through Congress without the bitterest fight to the death. Our latest example is a little line item that has held a spot in the Internal Revenue Service Code for more than three decades, even though it technically has been a “temporary” tax credit the entire time. Congress has reauthorized the Research and Experimentation Tax Credit more than a dozen times. The credit allows businesses to reduce their tax burden for certain research and development expenses. Even when it expires, as it did again Dec. 31, Congress has reinstated it in time for the next tax season. Straightforward and simple? Please. This time,

House Republicans sought to make the credit permanent and pushed through a vote Friday to do just that. The problem, as most Democrats see it, is that this means a $156 billion deficit hole over 10 years because Republicans refused to offset the extended credit with spending cuts or other tax increases. So the GOP, screaming the loudest, most dire warnings about the debt and deficit, wants different rules from the ones it has used to bludgeon Democrats repeatedly on program spending. For instance, Democrats note, this package of tax credits would balloon the deficit far more than the simple extension of unemployment benefits that Republicans opposed, supposedly on principle. What’s fair is fair, and Democrats are right to point out GOP hypocrisy. Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer, the House minority whip, grabbed the moral high ground and fired away at the majority: “This takes no courage to put on the floor or to vote for. None. Zero. Zip. Tax cuts are easy to vote for. Paying for what you buy is difficult to vote for.” The White House, even as it says it supports extending the R&D tax credit, has promised a veto of the House GOP action, presuming it makes it through the Democraticcontrolled Senate, which it won’t. The larger point is the important one: Principle doesn’t mean doing what’s convenient or necessarily popular, and trust and cooperation seldom occur in the absence of two parties operating from principle.


Climate must be addressed THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS

It’s been hard to convince all of America that the world’s climate is changing. Some skepticism still lingers about the science among conservatives and government agencies like the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. But a Pew poll in October indicated that the public now accepts that global climate change is a reality, that it already is having catastrophic consequences and that some sort of action is necessary. So Americans probably won’t find many surprises in last week’s White House report on global climate change, which was accompanied by flashy online graphics, videos and studies outlining strategies for reducing the substantial ways humans make the problem worse. The biggest challenge America and the rest of the world face is how to take action quickly and uniformly enough to make a difference before it’s too late. The Obama administration outlined a number of steps it is taking to curtail greenhouse-gas emissions, make cars and buildings more energy efficient, and tighten pollution standards. Those are all laudable steps, especially considering the outsized percentage of global emissions that come from

this country. But it’s nowhere near enough. The U.S. alone cannot solve a problem that covers the world and requires action by other governments that don’t necessarily share the West’s fervor for urgent action. India and China are more concerned with creating jobs and maintaining economic growth than worrying about their environmental impact. Roughly 65 percent of China’s energy consumption comes from coal-fired power plants — a major source of greenhouse-gas pollution. Brazil has trouble balancing the world’s demand for curtailed deforestation with its own need for arable land for food self-sufficiency. When the great industrial nations were spewing vast amounts of carbon, methane and fluorinated gases into the air to build their economies at the height of the industrial age, no one raised concerns about the environmental cost. Now that many developing nations are on the cusp of prosperity, they’re being told to cut back. From their perspective, these demands are unfair. So it’s hardly surprising that they’re balking. That’s the inconvenient truth. America, even with cooperation from Canada, Europe and Australia, cannot fight global climate change alone.



When CNN first released excerpts of disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s sit-down with anchor Anderson Cooper, one of the odder moments in the highlight reel was Sterling’s criticisms of Magic Johnson as a role model. The full interview revealed the reason: Sterling thinks Johnson is an embarrassment because of his sexual history and the fact that he is HIV positive. That is an ugly, retrograde sentiment that shames people who contracted the virus because of their sexual history. And Sterling also profoundly misunderstands the ways in which Johnson’s HIV diagnosis actually led him to make enormous contributions. Johnson has not just been a role model to the “children of Los Angeles” Sterling said should be his focus, but also an ambassador who changed America’s understanding of his disease. When Johnson revealed his HIV status in 1991, many Americans still thought that the disease was limited to gay men, and in particular to white gay men, even as the virus jumped populations. Johnson alluded to that in his remarkable news conference announcing his diagnosis and his retirement from the Lakers. “We think, well, only gay people can get it, it’s not going to happen to me,” Johnson said, explaining his decision to focus on HIV and safe sex education and advocacy, which he would do

through his Magic Johnson Foundation. “And here I am, saying it can happen to anybody, even me, Magic Johnson.” In coming out, Johnson provided a radically different image of what it meant to live with HIV. He was African American, heterosexual, married (he emphasized his relief that his wife had tested negative) and outwardly healthy. “My strength is fine; I can work out and do everything a normal person can do,” he said, urging his fellow NBA players to get tested and to learn their statuses. Johnson himself said he got tested only because he needed to as part of the process of purchasing a life insurance policy. In his coming-out press conference, Johnson ceded the stage to a group of doctors, giving them an opportunity to explain to sports reporters the medical consensus on how to treat HIV and the prognosis for survival. Despite his retirement, Johnson would come back to play professional basketball again, being named MVP of the All-Star Game in 1992 and playing on the Dream Team in the Olympics that same year. It was a remarkable illustration of what life with HIV could be. He did not do it alone, and without the support of his league and teammates, either. Professional sports sometimes get a bad rap for lagging on social issues: Michael Sam’s selection by the St. Louis Rams in this year’s NFL draft will finally make him the first openly gay athlete in that league. Johnson’s case provided a reminder of how sports can

lead, rather than follow. Such was Johnson’s power as a player that he enlisted the NBA to support him in his announcement. Lakers teammate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was by Johnson’s side at his press conference, and then-NBA commissioner David Stern was also on the dais, speaking at length after Johnson ceded the stage. “He asked for the support of his teammates, the Lakers, and the League, and I think what the doctor has said is true. Everyone has said this is a very courageous, heroic person, and a heroic act,” Stern told reporters. “I think what this means to the NBA is another one of our really, idols, and attention-getters has indicated that he’s human, something has happened to him that can happen to everybody.” That did not mean that Johnson’s return to basketball after his admission went smoothly. Utah Jazz star Karl Malone told reporters that he thought the routine small injuries players experienced during games put them at risk for HIV transmission as long as Johnson was on the floor (he later apologized). Other players and general managers, to whom the New York Times granted anonymity, also suggested that he was a health risk on the parquet. But in rejoining the league, Johnson’s presence forced the league to develop protocols to treat players’ minor routine injuries safely. Stern supported his comeback. And the NBA Players’ Association emphasized that sports conduct was not a transmission vec-

tor. At his press conference in 1991, Johnson emphasized that he would not be forced out of basketball, even if he could be only a highly visible fan, though he hoped to be an owner someday. “It has happened,” he said at the time. “But I’m going to deal with it, and my life will go on, and I will be here enjoying the Laker games and all the other NBA games around country. Life is going to go on for me, and I’m going to be a happy man.” At the news conference, Lakers doctor Michael Mellman told reporters that simply by revealing his status, Johnson had made an important impact. “He is not a person who is invisible,” Mellman said. “And because of his presence, because of his potential impact on society, with a situation which is not only serious, but for which we are all at risk, I think he should not only be commended, but held as a modern-day hero. And I hope that we in our activities, and the impact that it has on us, reflect that. This is a very, very special person and a very, very special admission.” That announcement alone would have been significant. But Johnson’s career as an advocate, and his determination to live his life in defiance of what the public believed to be true about HIV, began with his 1991 press conference rather than ending there. In the decades since, Johnson has become not just a happy man, but an important one. I doubt Donald Sterling can say the same about himself today.

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Wildfire victims go back ASSOCIATED PRESS

FRITCH — Karla Burgin knew her father’s home had been destroyed by a wildfire in the Texas Panhandle that burned more than 150 buildings and forced evacuations, but she was eager to get inside Tuesday to see what might be left. Her father is safe, staying with friends 30 miles south in Amarillo, and crews were combing through the area burned by the fire that began Sunday. Burgin said father built his home in Fritch for him and wife — a place that was everything to him now. Burgin’s mother died two years ago. Her father told her, “Now I’m 72 years old and I don’t have anything,” Burgin recalled. No smoke was apparent Tuesday in blue skies above the small town of about 2,100 residents. Lower temperatures and wind speeds, and higher humidity were helping those dealing with hotspots in the fire ar-

ea, where authorities estimate about 156 structures were destroyed in the blaze. Texas A&M Forest Service spokesman Troy Duchneaux said the fire was 75 percent contained Tuesday. Most of the town’s population was forced to evacuate. Sheriff’s deputies were preparing to escort some residents whose homes may have burned so that they can retrieve medication and important documents. They also will be allowed to see if their pets might be nearby, though they will not be allowed to go searching for their animals, Hutchinson County Sheriff Don Johnson told residents at a community meeting Tuesday. “It’s immediate needs,” he said. Duchneaux said residents whose homes were spared by the fire may be able to return later in the day after emergency and utility crews finish assessing damage and searching for potential victims.

Among the structures destroyed in the fire that started Sunday are 89 homes, all north of Texas 136, which is the main road through Fritch. Duchneaux said authorities have attributed the death of one person from an apparent heart attack Sunday to the fire, though details haven’t been released. The wildfire was the first large fire this year in the Texas Panhandle. The region is in the most severe stage of drought after months of well-below rainfall totals and fire officials earlier this year warned wildfires could be worse in the area than in other parts of the state. Burgin, whose own home in Fitch was spared by the fire, said she hopes to salvage her parents’ wedding photos and ones of her when she was a child. She said losing her father’s home still feels like a dream. “You need to see it before it feels real,” she said.

Photo by Chris Ray/Texas Department of Public Safety | AP

In this Sunday photo provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety, a wildfire burns near Fritch, in the pandhandle. The wildfire has led to evacuations and road closures and has destroyed dozens of homes.





Johnny Clipboard Browns tell Manziel he’s their backup

File photo by LM Otero | AP

Texas defensive tackle Chris Whaley signed a free-agent deal with Dallas after being undrafted.


CANTON, Ohio — As the crowd of football fans bowed their heads before Browns owner Jimmy Haslam spoke, a priest delivering the invocation asked for a special blessing for new quarterback Johnny Manziel. He may need more than divine intervention. “Father, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a prayer like that,” Haslam told the clergy man. “I’m not sure what Brian Hoyer thought of that either.” Speaking for the first time since the Browns landed Manziel, Texas A&M’s playmaking quarterback in the NFL draft, Haslam made it clear that Johnny Football will have to earn everything he gets and won’t jump Brian Hoyer on the depth chart just because he has a Heisman Trophy, celebrity friends or fame. “He’s not the starter,” Haslam said of Manziel. Haslam spoke Monday to a packed room of 500 — most of them hardcore Cleveland fans, who wanted to know how the Browns’ boss felt the team did in the three-day draft. Cleveland’s biggest move was picking the polarizing Manziel with the No. 22 overall pick in the first round. His selection has brought a buzz to the Browns and sparked sales of season tickets and No. 2 jerseys. And while Haslam is thrilled at the pick, he said the Browns — starting with first-year coach Mike Pettine — have told Manziel not to expect any preferential treatment. “We were very frank with him that ’You’re the backup quarterback. This is a hardworking, blue-collar town. This isn’t Hollywood,”’ Haslam said. “We want you to come in here, work hard and work as hard as anybody on the team. He’s not the starter. Brian Hoyer is our starting quarterback. Johnny is the backup.” Haslam called Manziel “ultra-competitive” and feels the 21-year-old will come to training camp with the right attitude. He knows Manziel wants to prove he can succeed in the pros. “I think you’ll find a guy that’s really hard-working, a serious guy that doesn’t want to be a three-yearin-the-league flash-and-out who makes a lot of money on endorsements,” Haslam said. “He’s a football player. He was a little upset he went 22. He was a little upset he was the second quarterback picked. I think he comes in with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder and

Cowboys keep Chris Whaley in Texas ASSOCIATED PRESS

Photo by Tony Dejak | AP

Cleveland told its first-round selection Johnny Manziel he would have to win the starting quarterback job this season. wants to show the people he’s about winning games and not about all the other ’stuff,’ if you will.” Following the speech, Haslam also denounced a report that the Browns originally submitted Lousiville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s name on the draft card at No. 22 before changing it to Manziel’s. “That’s crazy. That’s nuts,” Haslam told The Associated Press. Earlier, Pettine shot down the same report at the team’s charity golf outing in Aurora. “It’s absolutely false,” Pettine said. “I heard that story too. It’s beyond laughable.” Haslam also tried to clear up any misconceptions that he was the one who orchestrated the pick of Manziel. Haslam complimented general manager Ray Farmer for staying “unbelievably disciplined” during the draft and said it was the GM’s choice — not his — to move up and take Manziel. “I thought it was very important we take a quarterback this year, because Brian Hoyer — great guy, great leader — hasn’t played that much and is coming off an injury. “So I thought it was important to take a quarterback. We picked the top-rated quarterback on our board when he was available. That was sole-

ly Ray’s call, not my call. Soley Ray’s call, not my call. OK?” Haslam was careful not to comment directly on the fluid situation involving Pro Bowl wide receiver Josh Gordon. ESPN reported on Friday that Gordon is facing a one-year ban from the league for failing another drug test. Gordon was suspended two games last season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy but still led the league in yards receiving. Haslam said Gordon is making strides, and the third-year player has the Browns’ support. “Josh is 22 years old, OK?” he said, “and all of us need to think back to when we were 22 or think back to when our kids were 22, OK? Josh is learning and growing and improving as a person. He’s learning how to work hard. He’s learning how to be a professional. Josh is a smart young man. “All of us have made mistakes when we were that age. We’re counting on Josh being a good football player for the Browns for a long time to come. We have all spent a lot of time talking to Josh and I’m not going to comment on the situation, but I’ll say this, I’ve been very pleased with his professional growth over the last year and the way he handles himself.”

NBA owners meet over Sterling ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK — NBA owners discussed Donald Sterling’s CNN interview and the plans to terminate his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday in the third meeting of the advisory/finance committee. A day after Commissioner Adam Silver repeated his desire to force Sterling to sell quickly, the committee met via conference call. League spokesman Mike Bass said owners reviewed the status of the charge for termination of the Clippers’ ownership. Silver or an owner has to formally charge Sterling in writing with violating Article 13 of the NBA’s constitution. A hearing would then be held and require a three-fourths vote of the board of governors to force Sterling to sell the team he has owned since 1981. Sterling criticized Magic Johnson in the interview that aired Monday, his first public comments since Silver banned him for life and fined him $2.5 million for making racist comments. Silver apologized to Johnson in a statement, adding that owners were working “as expeditiously as possible” on the process for removal. Bass said the committee also dis-

Photo by Mark J. Terrill | AP

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, left, is hoping to get owners to force Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell his team after racial comments involving Magic Johnson, right. cussed the media appearance of Shelly Sterling, who said she wants to keep her share of the franchise even if her estranged husband is forced to give up his. The NBA has said that wouldn’t be possible. The 10-member committee was also briefed on the hiring of Dick Parsons as the Clippers’ interim CEO, and his meeting with team employees Monday.

Minnesota owner Glen Taylor chairs the committee that includes Miami’s Micky Arison, the Lakers’ Jeanie Buss, Oklahoma City’s Clay Bennett, New York’s James Dolan, Boston’s Wyc Grousbeck, San Antonio’s Peter Holt, Phoenix’s Robert Sarver, Indiana’s Herb Simon and Toronto’s Larry Tanenbaum. The committee plans to reconvene next week.

IRVING — Former Texas defensive tackle Chris Whaley and running back Ben Malena of Texas A&M are among 24 undrafted free agents signed by the Dallas Cowboys. Whaley followed the same path to the NFL as new teammate Henry Melton. Both were recruited to Texas as running backs and became defensive linemen. Melton signed with the Cowboys as a free agent after starting for Chicago. Malena was one of the running backs behind quarterback Johnny Manziel with the Aggies. The Cowboys signed five offensive linemen, four defensive backs and three linebackers. They added a fifth quarterback in West Texas A&M’s Dustin Vaughan. With nine draft picks, Dallas is adding 33 rookies to the roster. The Cowboys released six veterans to make room for them. Browns extend Haden for $68 million CLEVELAND — The agent for cornerback Joe Haden tells The Associated Press the Cleveland Browns have signed the Pro Bowl cornerback to a five-year, $68 million contract. Agent Drew Rosenhaus said Monday that Haden’s deal includes $45 million in guaranteed money. The agreement surpasses the total value of the fouryear, $57 million extension Richard Sherman signed with the Seattle Seahawks last week. One of the AFC’s top corners, Haden made his first Pro Bowl last season, his fourth with Cleveland. The Browns have not yet announced the signing. Signing Haden to a long-term deal was a priority for Cleveland in this offseason. During the draft, the team selected Oklahoma State cornerback early in the first round to play opposite Haden. Pro Bowler Hardy jailed CHARLOTTE — Charlotte Mecklenburg police say Panthers Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy has been arrested for assault on a female and communicating threats. Police say in a press release Hardy turned himself in Tuesday and was transferred to the custody of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff ’s Office. The Panthers released a statement Tuesday saying, “We are very disap-

pointed to learn of the allegations involving Greg and are concerned for all parties as we continue to investigate.” Hardy signed the team’s franchise tag tender in March and will make $13.116 million this season if he doesn’t sign an extension before July 15. Hardy’s agent Drew Rosenhaus declined comment to The Associated Press. The 25-year-old Hardy has 26 sacks over the past two seasons with the Panthers, including a franchise-tying 15 in 2013. Jags take away Blackmon’s locker JACKSONVILLE — The Jacksonville Jaguars have taken another step toward parting ways with suspended receiver Justin Blackmon. The Jaguars removed Blackmon’s name plate from atop his locker, the latest indication that he has no future with the franchise. General manager Dave Caldwell hinted during the draft that the team will cut Blackmon when and if he gets reinstated. The 2012 first-round draft pick is suspended indefinitely for repeated violations of the league’s substance-abuse policy. Owner Shad Khan weighed in after the team’s state-of-the-franchise presentation Tuesday. Khan said Blackmon’s situation is “an absolute tragedy. I have a hard time expressing. I’m a parent myself. I met with his parents. I think he’s such a talented guy, the best years ahead of him. But after a while it’s out of your control.” Full house present for Sam ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Rams have never introduced a rookie class with such a commotion. A half-dozen TV trucks lined a crammed parking lot at Rams Park on Tuesday, an hour before the team’s two first-round picks were due at the podium. The star attraction, former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, was scheduled to talk later, grouped with five others taken in the sixthand seventh rounds of Saturday’s draft. Unlike your garden-variety, seventh-round pick, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team also was scheduled for a solo session. Sam puts on the pads later in the week when the team holds a rookie minicamp, normally a low-key event also sure to attract outsized attention.


Agenda en Breve ZAPATA 05/14— La Clase 1964 de Zapata High School se reunirá para celebrar los 50 años de haber graduado el miércoles 25 de junio en el Steak House. Interesados en asistir a la cena pueden solicitar informes con Dora Martínez al (956) 324-1226 o con Ninfa Gracia al (956) 500-5219.

LAREDO 05/14— El Gran Reto de Sal, una clase semanal con enfoque del sodio en la dieta. Continúa a las 12 p.m. hoy, el 21 de mayo y el 28 de mayo. Las clases serán en inglés, y gratuitas en First United Methodist Church, 1220 McClelland. 05/15— Grupo de Apoyo ante el Duelo se reúne de 12 p.m. a 1:30 p.m. en First United Methodist Church, 1220 McClelland. Si necesita apoyo es bienvenido a unirse al grupo, de forma gratuita. 05/15— Estación Palabra presenta “Locomotora Literaria”, a las 3 p.m. 05/15— Programa “Jueves de Teatro” presenta la obra “Intratable”, de la compañía Caletre, en el teatro Lucio Blanco, dentro de las Casa de la Cultura a partir de las 7 p.m. 05/16— Se realizará el evento “Explore Day”, en el Imaginario del Sur de Texas, ubicado dentro del Mall del Norte, de 12 p.m. a 2 p.m. 05/16— La generación de 1989 de JW Nixon, estará vendiendo boletos para la reunión 25, en 317 de Calton Road #1, de 2 p.m. a 5 p.m. Costo por persona es de 25 dólares. 05/16— Planetario Lamar Bruni Vergara de TAMIU presenta “Stars of the Pharaohs” a las 6 p.m.; y “Destination Saturn” a las 7 p.m. Costo: 5 dólares, adultos; 4 dólares, niños. 05/16— Don Omar se presenta en concierto en Laredo Energy Arena, a las 8 p.m.

NUEVO LAREDO, MX 05/14— Se realizará Taller de Reciclaje y Conciencia Ambiental en el Polivalente INFONAVIT a las 11 a.m. Entrada libre. 05/14— Cine Club “Carmen González” proyectará “La Loca”, en el auditorio de Estación Palabra a las 6 p.m. Entrada gratuita. 05/16— Evento “Serenata para Ti” en el Centro Cívico, a partir de las 4 p.m. Entrada libre. 05/16— Maquila Creativa presenta la exposición “De la Calle al Salón”, a partir de las 5 p.m. Entrada gratuita. 05/16— Proyección de la película “Fallaste Corazón” a en Maquila Creativa a las 5 p.m. Entrada libre. 05/17— Estación Palabra presenta “Bazar de Arte” a las 12 p.m. y “Festival Infantil”, a las 2 p.m. Eventos gratuitos. 05/17— Exposición Plástica alusiva a Cuco Sánchez, en la Galería de la Casa de la Cultura a partir de las 12 p.m. Entrada gratis. 05/18— Grupo de Teatro Laberintus A.C. presentará la puesta en escena “Invisible”, una adaptación de Damián Aviña del libro clásico “El Principito”, a las 12 p.m. en el Teatro del IMSS, entre Reynosa y Belden (sector centro. Obra es para toda la familia. Costo 20 pesos. 05/18— Programa “Domingo de Teatro Universitario” presenta “La Piedra de la Felicidad”, de la compañía Teatropolis, en el teatro Lucio Blanco en la Casa de la Cultura a las 5 p.m. Entrada libre. 05/18— Concierto “Tributo a Cuco Sánchez” en la Plaza Hidalgo, a las 6 p.m. Entrada gratuita.





Una demanda presentada por el Zapata County Independent School District (ZCISD) durante la primavera de 2012 en contra de una firma de construcción concluyó en un acuerdo por 8 millones de dólares. ZCISD presentó la demanda en contra de Satterfield & Pontikes Construction, Inc., sosteniendo que la compañía realizó un trabajo mediocre en cuatro escuelas primarias del distrito. Inicialmente el distrito buscaba 16 millones de dólares en daños y prejuicios. La firma de construcción inclu-

yó a 15 partes, incluyendo a Satterfield & Pontikes y al contratista general, al arquitecto, el consultor de diseño y a varios subcontratistas y contratistas comerciales que contribuyeron al diseño de las escuelas primarias. Además entre otros acusados se incluye a Bill Reiffert and Associates Inc., Robert E. Martínez y a Jorge D. Pérez, de Perez Consulting Engineers. El juicio comenzó el 13 de enero en el Condado de Zapata y concluyó dos semanas después cuando se llegó al acuerdo. El acuerdo fue alcanzado por un monto de 8.120.000 millones de dólares y cada miembro de la firma

de construcción se ha comprometido a pagar una cantidad específica del acuerdo. “El distrito está satisfecho con el resultado y espera la rehabilitación de las escuelas en cuestión”, dijo Juan Cruz, de J. Cruz and Associates, con base en Laredo, quien representó a ZCISD. Los demandados fueron acusados de realizar un trabajo de mala calidad en la construcción de dos escuelas primarias con pabellones — Zapata South y Fidel & Andrea Villarreal — y los gimnasios de Zapata North y Arturo L. Benavides. Los reclamos de negligencia que se incluyen en la demanda son: No realizar la construcción

de los proyectos de acuerdo con los planes y las especificaciones No implementar e instalar los componentes y materiales especificados No sellar de manera adecuada las aberturas de los proyectos, resultando en el albergue de alimañas en las aulas de calefacción y ductos de aire acondicionado. Incumplir con los parámetros mínimos de construcción Sustituir, sin autorización materiales por otros más baratos y de menor calidad y no acreditar debidamente a ZCISD de los elementos de menor costo. (Localice a Philip Balli en 7282528 o en




Mueren cinco durante ataques TIEMPO DE ZAPATA

Foto de archivo por Cuate Santos | Laredo Morning Times

Un grupo de pescadores de caña son vistos en las aguas del Lago Falcón, en esta imagen de archivo, en una tarde soleada y con viento.

Tratan de aumentar población de robalo ESPECIAL PARA TIEMPO DE ZAPATA

AUSTIN – Dos representantes del estado estarán participando en una audiencia que ayudaría a solucionar la disminución de robalo que se ha presentado en el Lago Falcon. El Representante del Estado, Ryan Guillen (D-District 31) y el Representante del Estado, Tracy King (D-District 80), serán anfitriones de una audiencia que se celebrará el viernes 16 de mayo en el salón 128 de Zapata Technical and Advanced Education Center, ubicado en 605 de North U.S. Highway 83, en el Condado de Zapata. Con esta audiencia buscan solucionar la disminución de la población de robalo del Lago Fal-

cón. El Lago Falcón, ubicado en los condados de Starr y Zapata, ha tenido una población históricamente fuerte de robalo y ha recibido reconocimientos globales como un lugar de pesca principal de la especie. Sin embargo, durante los años recientes la población de robalo en el Lago Falcon ha disminuido. El problema salió a relucir por primera vez en manos de los pescadores locales, que han atribuido la culpa a la sobrepoblación depejelagartos o catán en el lago. Desde entonces, los legisladores han trabajado con la comunidad del Lago Falcon y con la Comisión de Parques y Vida Silvestre para identificar soluciones al

problema. El propósito de la audiencia es proporcionar un foro para que los expertos y la opinión pública contribuyan en un esfuerzo para examinar lo que el Estado puede hacer para reponer la población de robalo. La audiencia contará con la testimonio de invitados por parte de la División de Parques y Vida Silvestre de Pesca Continental de Texas, entre los que se incluye a Gary Saul, un Jefe de Gestión e Investigación de Dave Terre, y el Jefe de Información y Regulación, Ken Kurzawski. La audiencia también está abierta al público para emitir testimonios orales y escritos.Este evento será la segunda audiencia que realice el Comité de Cultura, Recreación y Turismo este año.



A México le sobran diputados federales. Reduciéndolos al máximo, obtendríamos grandes ahorros. Darles oportunidad de reelegirse es pura manía copiada del extranjero.

Modalidad Desde 1986 la cámara baja del congreso general de México se ha compuesto de 500 diputados. De ellos 300 de mayoría relativa y 200 plurinominales. El censo de 1980 contabiliza 67 millones de habitantes. El recuento de 2010 arroja 112 millones y medio de mexicanos. Conforme a dichos incrementos censales, hoy los referidos legisladores deberían sumar 840. Sin embargo el número de 500 permanece inmutable. En naciones, la densidad parlamentaria va de la mano con la demografía. La Carta Magna de 1917 se les adelanta con mucho. Por 7 décadas, la población determinaría la cantidad de diputados en México.

En 1977 este criterio se esfuma. El ojo está puesto en las diputaciones plurinominales.Sin ellas además carecerían de voz indirecta el 49 por ciento de ciudadanos que se niega a respaldar la candidatura mayoritaria. Resalta asimismo que como no requieren promocionar su imagen, los congresistas de representación difícilmente recurren al dinero ilícito.

Instalaciones El refrendo mexicano se vincularía a las urnas y al colegio electoral del congreso, que autocalificaba los comicios relativos. Posteriores restricciones buscaron en forma declarativa impedir que el caudillismo socavara las nuevas instituciones de la era posrevolucionaria. No obstante, el fin de la aludida reelección se tradujo en legisladores de rabona experiencia. La cámara baja experimenta luego repuntes sucesivos. Reunía alrededor de 200 butacas hacia 1970, que pasaron a 500 en la década siguiente.

Necesidad Justo entonces sobrevienen reformas que concretan la transición democrática y extienden la alternancia política hasta la silla presidencial. Si bien por sus insuficiencias esto genera desencantos, nada parece garantizar que el adelgazamiento de la cámara baja vaya a producir resultados plausibles. De achicarse la nómina menos legisladores van a repartirse el mismo presupuesto en mayores sueldos, compensaciones y viáticos. En sentido opuesto, incrementar los asientos parlamentarios obligaría a redirigir el gasto. Aparte, se multiplicarían las opciones electorales, incluidas las de ciudadanos sin partido, en provecho de la diversidad representativa. Estamos lejos de siquiera insinuar que todo marcha viento en popa. Habrá sin duda apreciaciones en cierto sentido y quienes sostengan puntos de vista diferentes. Mínimo, admitamos que los cambios deben mejorar las cosas.

Del 9 al 12 de mayo, el estado de Tamaulipas reportó una serie de incidentes violentos, donde un funcionario estatal se quitó la vida, cinco personas murieron en hechos violentos, una persona resultó lesionada, se reportó la muerte de uno de los fundadores del cartel de Los Zetas y se rescataron a tres personas que estaban privadas de su libertad. La Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado informó que el lunes, el jefe del departamento en la Secretaría de Finanzas, Ramiro Higuera Martínez, se disparó un tiro en la cabeza a las 10:40 a.m., dentro de su oficina, quedando gravemente hérido. Higuera falleció cuando era trasladado al Hospital General en Ciudad Victoria, México. Elementos de la Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional (SeDeNa) rescataron a tres personas que se encontraban privadas de su libertad, el lunes, en la calle 12 de Marzo esquina con Primera, en Matamoros, México. Las víctimas, quienes fueron localizadas dentro de una camioneta Chevrolet Tahoe, con placas de Texas, declararon que habían sido secuestradas el sábado. Tres civiles armados descendieron de la camioneta y uno empezó a disparar contra los militares. Él falleció cuando militares repelieron la agresión. Los otros dos sospechosos lograron escapar. El sábado por la tarde, hombres armados no identificados interceptaron un camión-pipa que llevaba material inflamable y lo atravesaron para obstruir el paso en la carretera Tampico-Valles, al sur de la entidad, prendiéndole fuego a la cabina, indica reporte del Gobierno de Tamaulipas. El incendio logró ser sofocado por bomberos de la ciudad. Más tarde, civiles armados dispararon contra personas que viajaban en una camioneta pick up Ford Ranger, color blanco, con placas de Tamaulipas, sobre la calle Pedro J. Méndez, entre Pachuca y Orizaba, en Ciudad Madero. Tomás Alejandro Núñez Cisneros, de 42 años de edad, perdió la vida. Otra persona resultó herida. El viernes, en Avenida Valles de la Colonia Framboyanes de Tampico, dos hombres murieron frente a un restaurante tras ser atacados a balazos por personas desconocidas que se desplazaban en un vehículo. Una de las víctimas fue identificada como Héctor Israel Luitín Hernández, de 35 años de edad. La otra persona tenía 20 años de edad. Un segundo hecho ocurrió en calles Francita y Catalina de la Colonia Petrolera, donde un hombre de 20 años murió tras ser balaceado por sujetos desconocidos que se desplazaban en un vehículo.

Fundador Galdino Mellado Cruz, considerado uno de los fundadores de Los Zetas, falleció el viernes, durante un choque armado en Reynosa. En el mismo encuentro falleció un militar, reportó el gobierno federal. Mellado era conocido por sus alias “El Mellado” y/o “Z-9”, y autoridades dijeron que fue uno de los fundadores del cártel que nació con una treintena de exintegrantes de las fuerzas especiales mexicanas y que se constituyó como brazo armado del cártel del Golfo hasta que se separó de este grupo, de acuerdo a un reporte de la Associated Press.




HUNTSVILLE — A federal appeals court halted a convicted Texas killer’s scheduled execution Tuesday so his attorneys can pursue appeals arguing he’s mentally impaired and ineligible for the death penalty. Robert James Campbell, 41, would have been the first U.S. inmate executed since a botched execution in Oklahoma two weeks ago. His two appeals challenged the state’s plan to use a drug for which it will not reveal the source, as was the case with drugs used in Oklahoma, and claims of mental impairment. “I am happy. The Lord prevailed,” Campbell said from a cell just outside the Texas death chamber in Huntsville. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals halted his punishment about 2½ hours before he could have been taken to the death chamber, saying Campbell and his lawyers haven’t had a fair opportunity to develop the mental impairment claims. The appeal before the 5th Circuit contended Campbell isn’t mentally competent for execution because he has a 69 IQ. Courts generally set a 70 IQ as the minimum threshold. Campbell’s attor-

CAMPBELL neys, who went to the U.S. Supreme Court with last-day appeals, filed a petition to the high court even before the 5th Circuit ruled on the mental impairment issue. Campbell was set to die for killing a 20-year-old Houston bank teller. His lawyers also made an issue of the drug to be used in the execution and the source not being identified. Like Oklahoma, Texas won’t say where it gets its execution drugs, saying it needs to protect the producer’s identity to prevent threats by death penalty opponents. Unlike Oklahoma, which used a three-drug combination in the April 29 botched execution of Clayton Lockett, Texas uses a single dose of the sedative pentobarbital to kill inmates. During Lockett’s lethal injection, the inmate’s vein collapsed, prompting Oklahoma

prison officials to halt the procedure. Lockett later died of a heart attack. The investigation is ongoing, but Oklahoma authorities have suggested the trouble started with Lockett’s vein rather than the drugs. Campbell’s attorneys, however, are among several arguing the incident demands greater execution drug transparency. Lockett writhed and grimaced after the lethal injection was administered, and corrections officials did not realize not all the drug had entered his body for 21 minutes. Campbell’s attorneys say Lockett’s failed execution proves what many inmates have argued since states turned to made-to-order drugs: that the drugs put the inmates at risk of being subjected to inhumane pain and suffering. “This is a crucial moment when Texas must recognize that death row prisoners can no longer presume safety unless full disclosure is compelled so that the courts can fully review the lethal injection drugs to be used and ensure that they are safe and legal,” said attorney Maurie Levin. Texas’ attorneys say Campbell’s claims are speculative and fall “far short” of demonstrating a significant risk of severe pain.

“The Constitution does not require the elimination of all risk of pain,” argued Ellen Stewart-Klein, an assistant Texas attorney general. Campbell’s execution would be the eighth this year for Texas, which kills more inmates than any other state, and the fourth in recent weeks to use the compounded pentobarbital. Texas invoked confidentiality in late March when it obtained a new supply of pentobarbital to replace a stock that had reached its expiration date. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late Monday rejected an appeal on the drug secrecy issue, saying mere speculation wasn’t enough to prove claims Campbell could be subjected to unconstitutionally cruel pain if executed with drugs from Texas’ unidentified provider. Campbell was convicted of capital murder for the 1991 slaying of Alexandra Rendon, who was abducted while putting gas into her car, robbed, raped and shot. “This was not a shoot and rob and run away,” Rendon’s cousin, Israel Santana, said. “The agony she had to go through.” Rendon, who had been making wedding plans, was buried wearing her recently purchased wedding dress.

ASTRO Continued from Page 1A Cynthia Neely, a Houston writer and producer who along with Ted Powell, a retired chemical engineer, submitted the antiquities designation application earlier this year. But Harris County Judge Ed Emmett isn’t as excited about the potential antiquities designation. Emmett will hold a meeting Wednesday with stakeholders who have expressed interest in the Astrodome’s future to discuss this and other developments. Joe Stinebaker, Emmett’s spokesman, said the county judge doesn’t want the Astrodome demolished, but Emmett believes the antiquities landmark designation could make it more difficult to attract investors who want to refurbish the stadium. Emmett has said any ideas for the Astrodome will have to be paid through private sector funding. “He’s opposed to anything that ties the county’s hands, which this does in no uncertain terms,” Stinebaker said. Opened in 1965, the Astrodome hasn’t been home to a sports team since 1999 and has been closed to all events since 2009. While still struc-

turally sound, the iconic stadium had fallen into disrepair. Stadium seats, pieces of AstroTurf and other Astrodome items were sold to the public late last year. The stadium’s most prominent use in recent years was as a shelter for Louisiana residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In January, the National Park Service added the Astrodome to its National Register of Historic Places. While this federal designation was mostly honorary, it was needed for the state antiquities designation to proceed. Neely said she believes the antiquities designation will not “create a monument that sits there and does nothing.” The designations at the state and federal level will qualify the Astrodome for grants and tax incentives that can help pay to revamp the stadium, she said. “Up to now, they have waited on a white knight to ride in, hand them a bunch of money and take this problem off their hands,” Neely said. “That is not going to happen. But there may be a lot of knights that can help them.”

PEDOPHILE Continued from Page 1A behavior. He received a 90-day jail sentence and five years’ probation, with a condition that he should be supervised in the company of males younger than 16 during that time. After two years on probation, he was allowed to leave the country unsupervised following college graduation in 1972. Such leniency was common at the time, said Dan Scott, a retired detective sergeant who worked for 26 years with the Los Angeles Sheriff ’s Department office that investigates child abuse. “Nobody

went after sex offenders.” Vahey was required to register as a sex offender and update his address whenever he moved, but he never updated his information after the first time he registered and authorities didn’t pursue the matter. When the state registry was put online in 2004, his name wasn’t included because authorities discovered he was no longer living in California. Vahey began his international teaching career with a year at the American School in Tehran, the first in a series of stays around

the Middle East and Europe. He taught history, social studies and related subjects in Lebanon, Spain, Iran again, Greece and then Saudi Arabia, almost always to middle school students. When Vahey went on to the American Nicaraguan School with glowing references, his wife stayed in London. That weekend, after Vahey’s maid was fired for stealing, he stopped leaving the house, said Rafael, a caretaker who declined to give his last name. In early March of this year, the

maid reappeared and handed the USB drive to Doll, saying she should take a look. Its folders were marked with the names and dates of school trips dating to 2008: “Panama Trip,” ‘‘Costa Rica Trip,” ‘‘Basketball Trip” and “Spring 2013.” Doll clicked on the last folder, where she found photos of unconscious boys, many between the ages of 12 and 14. Some had their pants off, with a man’s hand touching their testicles or anus. Other boys were posed together in positions suggesting oral sex.

Doll confronted Vahey, who told her that he had given the boys sleeping pills, adding: “I was molested as a boy, that is why I do this. I have been doing this my whole life.” By March 14, the school told parents Vahey had resigned. The teacher traveled to Luverne, Minnesota, where some of his family live, the latter in a nursing home. He checked into a hotel where he fatally stabbed himself in the chest with a knife. He left a note apologizing to his family.

The Zapata Times 5/14/2014  

The Zapata Times 5/14/2014