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TMC wants to leave Laredo
Couple fined for not displaying handicap placard ‘A misuse of “That is a different situation if Division to speak with a hearing offiBy Andrea Castañeda someone can prove they are qualified, cer. Ronald provided proof of his taxpayer dollars’ he was legal to park there. He has the handicap placard that allows him to TH E ZAPATA T IME S
Ronald Currington is legally allowed to park in handicap designated spots but forgot to display his placard and was met with a fine of $500. Currington and his wife, Joyce were in Laredo for doctors’ appointments in early November when they stopped at Walmart before heading back home to Zapata. Joyce said her husband was tired from sitting for two hours at the doctor’s office and he simply forgot to hang the handicap placard. After the couple discovered the $500 fine they went to the Parking Enforcement
park in disabled zones. While he tried to reason and contest the citation Joyce said “they got kind of hostile with him” at the parking enforcement office. Ronald has had a handicap placard since 2010 and his wife said this is the first time he has forgotten to put it up. Joyce explained that they cannot leave the placard hanging because it is against the law to drive with it on. She said she understands that people are fined for being illegally parked in handicap spots.
U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar scolded Tuesday one of the country’s largest providers of education to migrant families, saying they would relocate their headquarters from Laredo to San Antonio by “cutting critical services and local jobs.” “In 2015, (Teaching and Mentoring Communities) and its board of directors were determined to relocate with questionable justification, which
Fined continues on A11
TMC continues on A11
By Judith Rayo THE ZAPATA TIME S
Court at Law judge arrested
placard, he just forgot, that’s a big difference from parking illegally,” Joyce said. According to the Curringtons the secretary would not let Joyce go in with her husband and they were told that the hearing officer would handle the matter with the cardholder only, even after Joyce said Ronald is legally blind. Ronald tried to contest the citation by showing proof of his handicap placard but said he was met with the same response that it was for
CONVINCING TRUMP THAT BORDER TRADE IS GOOD
Allegedly solicited loan By César G. Rodriguez and Taryn T. Walters TH E ZAPATA T IME S
Webb County Court at Law II Judge Jesus “Chuy” Garza was arrested Thursday for allegedly asking an attorney for a loan in exchange for appointing her to represent the Carlos Y. Benavides Jr. estate in a civil dispute. The $3,000 loan was for Christopher Casarez, one of Garza’s court coordinators, prosecutors allege. Casarez died by suicide last year, according to Laredo police. An indictment returned by a grand jury Wednesday charged Garza with one count of gift to a public servant by a person in his jurisdiction. The offense is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. Garza, alongside his attorney, turned himself in at about 3 p.m. at the Webb County Jail. Garza He posted a $2,500 bond about 30 minutes later, Sheriff Martin Cuellar said. “The charges in this case stemmed from a joint investigation involving the Texas Attorney General’s Office, the Texas Rangers and the FBI,” said Special Agent Michelle Lee, a San Antonio-based spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Lee, the Attorney General’s Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety declined further comment on the case, citing pending litigation or investigations. Garza’s attorney, Oscar O. Peña, said in a statement that his client maintains his innocence. “He intends to investigate the state’s claim and he looks forward to defending himself and putting this matter behind him,” Peña stated. “This is a difficult time for the judge, his family and his friends, but he has faced many challenges in his life and he intends to face this one too.” $3,000 loan The indictment alleges that in January 2015, Garza solicited a $3,000 loan from local attorney Shirley Mathis. The loan was intended for Casarez, the indictment states. Garza was the presiding judge in a lawsuit involving the estate of Carlos Y. Benavides Jr., for which Mathis was the guardian. Mathis did not respond to requests for comment from The Zapata Times. She told the San Antonio Express-News, “I’m sorry, I cannot speak with you,” and hung up when asked for comment. Judge continues on A11
Rebecca Blackwell / AP
A man walks past signs advertising money transfer services and loans outside a business in Mexico City. President-elect Donald Trump threatened to block billions of dollars in U.S. remittances to force Mexico to pay for his proposed border wall.
5 million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Mexico By Alfredo Corchado DALLAS MORNING NEWS
EXICO CITY — Mexican and U.S. business leaders are quietly strengthening coalitions from America’s heartland to Texas to persuade a skeptical Donald J. Trump to maintain strong ties between the two countries. The president-elect has sent ambiguous signals over future and past trade deals and building a wall, or perhaps just a fence along the border with Mexico. The plan is to make the case that Mexico is not China and should be treated not
“You will see a powerful binational coalition forming ... That’s what I have been watching take place over the past 20 years and I’d be surprised if that’s not happening again.” James Hollifield, director of the Tower Center at SMU
as an adversary, but as an ally on matters ranging from economic to cultural integration, with security the critical glue binding both sides, business and policy leaders on both sides of the border said. “You have powerful people from Mexico talking, drinking, having dinner with very powerful Texas
people,” said James Hollifield, director of the Tower Center at Southern Methodist University, or SMU, and a founding member of the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center. “These guys and gals have known each other for years,” he said. “They will push this agenda. You will see a powerful binational
coalition forming between these two countries. That’s what I have been watching take place over the past 20 years and I’d be surprised if that’s not happening again.” Nearly 5 million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Mexico, with more than $400 billion in goods and services crisscrossing the border. Of that figure, $179 billion is between Texas and Mexico. Over the years, the two countries have set up supply chains that snake across the countries, often along the Interstate 35 corridor, carrying manufactured goods, including cars, assembled in Trade continues on A11
Zin brief A2 | Saturday, January 14, 2017 | THE ZAPATA TIMES
AROUND THE NATION
TODAY IN HISTORY
MONDAY, JANUARY 16
ASSOCIATED PRE SS
Chess Club. Every Monday, 4-6 p.m. LBV-Inner City Branch Library, 202 W. Plum St. Compete with other players in this cherished game played internationally. Free instruction for all ages and skill levels. Chess books and training materials are available.
Today is Saturday, Jan. 14, the 14th day of 2017. There are 351 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History: On Jan. 14, 1967, the Sixties’ “Summer of Love” unofficially began with a “Human Be-In,” a gathering of tens of thousands of young people for a counterculture event at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18 Book Room open. 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Widener Book Room, First United Methodist Church. Public invited, no admission fee.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 21 Harry Potter Book Club. 3 p.m. McKendrick Ochoa Salinas Branch Library, 1920 Palo Blanco. Free and family friendly. Children and adults are welcome. United ISD 6th Annual 5K Run, Walk and Health Fair. Registration will be from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at the SAC, 5208 Santa Claudia Lane. Special ceremony dedicated to Adriana Rodriguez and Karina Villarreal will be held at 8:30 a.m. with the race at 9 a.m. Fee is $25 and includes a goody bag, T-shirt, and certificate of completion. Medals will be awarded to the top male and female winners in each age division. All proceeds to benefit United ISD students with scholarships to college. For more information call, 956-473-6201 or visit www.uisd.net
Teresa Crawford / AP
Attorney General Loretta Lynch speaks during a news conference accompanied by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Friday.
CHICAGO POLICE VIOLATED RIGHTS
MONDAY, JANUARY 23 Chess Club. Every Monday, 4-6 p.m. LBV-Inner City Branch Library, 202 W. Plum St. Compete with other players in this cherished game played internationally. Free instruction for all ages and skill levels. Chess books and training materials are available.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25 Book Room open. 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Widener Book Room, First United Methodist Church. Public invited, no admission fee.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 26 Villa San Agustin de Laredo Genealogical Society. 3-5 p.m. St. John Neumann Parish Hall. Meet and greet membership drive. The speaker’s subject is “How I Traced My Family Roots.” Open to the public. For more information, contact Sylvia Reash at 763-1810. Greens of Guadalupe Rummage Sale donations drive. 4-7 p.m. Our Lady of Guadalupe Church hall, 1700 San Francisco Ave. Call Birdie at 286-7866 to arrange for a different delivery time. Spanish Book Club. 6-8 p.m. Joe A. Guerra Public Library - Calton. For more information, contact Sylvia Reash at 763-1810.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 27 Greens of Guadalupe Rummage Sale donations drive. 4-7 p.m. Our Lady of Guadalupe Church hall, 1700 San Francisco Ave. Call Birdie at 286-7866 to arrange for a different delivery time.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 28 United ISD Zumba Master Class event. Registration at 8 a.m. at the United 9th Grade Campus (gym), 8800 McPherson Road. Zumba class to be held from 9 to 11 a.m. and will be taught by elite Zumba instructors from the city. Fee is $20 and includes a goody bag and T-shirt. All proceeds to benefit United ISD students with scholarships to college. For more information call, 956-473-6201 or visit www.uisd.net. Greens of Guadalupe Rummage Sale donations drive. 4-7 p.m. Our Lady of Guadalupe Church hall, 1700 San Francisco Ave. Call Birdie at 286-7866 to arrange for a different delivery time.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 29 Greens of Guadalupe Rummage Sale donations drive. 4-7 p.m. Our Lady of Guadalupe Church hall, 1700 San Francisco Ave. Call Birdie at 286-7866 to arrange for a different delivery time.
MONDAY, JANUARY 30 Chess Club. Every Monday, 4-6 p.m. LBV-Inner City Branch Library, 202 W. Plum St. Compete with other players in this cherished game played internationally. Free instruction for all ages and skill levels. Chess books and training materials are available. Greens of Guadalupe Rummage Sale donations drive. 4-7 p.m. Our Lady of Guadalupe Church hall, 1700 San Francisco Ave. Call Birdie at 286-7866 to arrange for a different delivery time.
CHICAGO — The Justice Department on Friday laid bare years of civil rights violations by Chicago police, blasting the nation’s second-largest department for using excessive force that included shooting at people who did not pose a threat and using stun guns on others only because they refused to follow commands. The report was issued after a yearlong investigation sparked by the 2014 death of a black teenager who was shot 16 times by a white officer. The federal investigation looked broadly at law enforcement practices, concluding that officers were not
Freezing rain causes accidents, closures in southern Plains ST. LOUIS — A thick glaze of ice covered roads from Oklahoma to southern Illinois on Friday amid a winter storm that caused numerous wrecks, forced school cancellations, grounded flights and prompted dire warnings for people to stay home. Winter storms are typically associated with heavy snowfall, but the one hammering the
sufficiently trained or supported and that many who were accused of misconduct were rarely investigated or disciplined. Asked about the investigation’s future, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said talks between the city and the government would go on regardless “of who is at the top of the Justice Department.” Officers endangered civilians, caused avoidable injuries and deaths and eroded community trust that is “the cornerstone of public safety,” said Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division. — Compiled from AP reports
southern Plains and Midwest dumped freezing rain, a condition even harder for road crews to treat. A slick roadway was suspected in a fatal wreck in Missouri, where long stretches of Interstate 44 and Interstate 55 were ice-covered. More freezing precipitation was expected in parts of the nation’s central corridor throughout most of the holiday weekend. “There’s no mystery to driving on ice,” Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Al Nothum said. “It’s impossible to do.
You have to slow your speed down.” Hundreds of schools were closed, including several college campuses. St. Louis closed all city operations as it braced for its worst ice storm in at least a decade. Several Missouri prisons halted visiting hours. The weather atmosphere was so turbulent that thunder rumbled as freezing rain fell in Joplin, Missouri. Forecasters issued ice storm warnings for the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles. — Compiled from AP reports
AROUND THE WORLD Czechs ready for fake news ahead of elections PRAGUE — A new Czech unit to combat fake news is preparing to combat disinformation campaigns ahead of two key elections, an official said on Friday. Eva Romancovova, who coordinated the creation of the Center Against Terrorism and Hybrid Threats at the Interior Ministry, said it has been working on “a fairly large project to protect the upcoming elections in the Czech Republic.” “We don’t have information that the elections are threatened, but the news coming from abroad, even from our neighboring countries such as Germany, is very alarming,” Romancovova told The Associated Press during an interview at the ministry. “And it would be very naive to think that Czech Republic, being in an election year, would be spared
Petr David Josek / AP
Eva Romancovova answers questions to The Associated Press during an interview in Prague, Czech Republic, Friday.
of such a campaign and such attacks.” Czechs will choose lawmakers in October and the new president early in 2018. “Our method of operation is that we select information that we get from our international partners and from media outlets and pick all possible scenarios of threats to the elec-
tions,” Romancovova said. “And we judge if the Czech Republic has countermeasures to them.” A team of 15 experts monitors traditional and social media to quickly rebut misinformation, possibly from proRussian sources, which has a potential to radicalize public opinion or cause panic. — Compiled from AP reports
On this date: In 1784, the United States ratified the Treaty of Paris ending the Revolutionary War; Britain followed suit in April 1784. In 1814, the Treaty of Kiel ended hostilities between Denmark and Sweden, with Denmark agreeing to cede Norway to Sweden, something Norway refused to accept. In 1900, Puccini’s opera “Tosca” had its world premiere in Rome. In 1927, the Paramount silent romantic comedy “It,” starring Clara Bow (who became known as “The ‘It’ Girl”), had its world premiere in Los Angeles. In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and French General Charles de Gaulle opened a wartime conference in Casablanca. In 1952, NBC’s “Today” show premiered, with Dave Garroway as the host, or “communicator.” In 1954, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio were married at San Francisco City Hall. (The marriage lasted about nine months.) In 1963, George C. Wallace was sworn in as governor of Alabama with the pledge, “Segregation forever!” — a view Wallace later repudiated. Sylvia Plath’s novel “The Bell Jar” was published in London under a pseudonym less than a month before Plath committed suicide. In 1969, 27 people aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, off Hawaii, were killed when a rocket warhead exploded, setting off a fire and additional explosions. In 1975, the House Internal Security Committee (formerly the House Un-American Activities Committee) was disbanded. In 1989, President Ronald Reagan delivered his 331st and final weekly White House radio address, telling listeners, “Believe me, Saturdays will never seem the same. I’ll miss you.” In 1994, President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed an accord to stop aiming missiles at any nation; the leaders joined Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk in signing an accord to dismantle the nuclear arsenal of Ukraine. Ten years ago: President George W. Bush, facing opposition from both parties over his plan to send more troops to Iraq, said on CBS’ “60 Minutes” that he had the authority to act no matter what Congress wanted. Five years ago: Rescue workers scrambled aboard the stricken Costa Concordia cruise liner, seeking to help some 4,200 passengers a day after the ship ran aground and tipped over off Italy’s Tuscan coast; the death toll from the tragedy eventually reached 32. One year ago: During a Republican presidential debate in North Charleston, South Carolina, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz clashed over the Texas senator’s eligibility to serve as commander in chief and the businessman’s “New York values.” Today’s Birthdays: Blues singer Clarence Carter is 81. Singer Jack Jones is 79. Actress Faye Dunaway is 76. Actress Holland Taylor is 74. Actor Carl Weathers is 69. Singer-producer T-Bone Burnett is 69. Movie writerdirector Lawrence Kasdan is 68. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Maureen Dowd is 65. Rock singer Geoff Tate (Queensryche) is 58. Movie writer-director Steven Soderbergh is 54. Actor Mark Addy is 53. Fox News Channel anchorman Shepard Smith is 53. Rapper Slick Rick is 52. Actor Dan Schneider is 51. Actress Emily Watson is 50. Actor-comedian Tom Rhodes is 50. Rock musician Zakk Wylde is 50. Rapper-actor LL Cool J is 49. Actor Jason Bateman is 48. Rock singermusician Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) is 48. Actor Kevin Durand is 43. Actress Jordan Ladd is 42. Actor Ward Horton is 41. Retro-soul singer-songwriter Marc Broussard is 35. Rock singermusician Caleb Followill (Kings of Leon) is 35. Actor Zach Gilford is 35. Rock musician Joe Guese (The Click Five) is 34. Actor Jonathan Osser is 28. Actor-singer Grant Gustin is 27. Thought for Today: “If you want to inspire confidence, give plenty of statistics — it does not matter that they should be accurate, or even intelligible, so long as there is enough of them.” — Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), English author (born 1832, died this date in 1898).
TUESDAY, JANUARY 31 Greens of Guadalupe Rummage Sale donations drive. 4-7 p.m. Our Lady of Guadalupe Church hall, 1700 San Francisco Ave. Call Birdie at 286-7866 to arrange for a different delivery time.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1 Book Room open. 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Widener Book Room, First United Methodist Church. Public invited, no admission fee. Greens of Guadalupe Rummage Sale donations drive. 4-7 p.m. Our Lady of Guadalupe Church hall, 1700 San Francisco Ave. Call Birdie at 286-7866 to arrange for a different delivery time.
AROUND TEXAS Texas teacher gets 10 years for sex with 13-year-old HOUSTON — A Houstonarea middle school English teacher was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison for having a long-term sexual relationship with a 13-year-old student who impregnated her. Alexandria Vera, 24, pleaded guilty last year to aggravated sexual assault of a child and was hoping to avoid prison and
CONTACT US just get probation. State District Judge Michael McSpadden said his sentence was intended to send a message and make an example of her because he’s aware of too many similar cases. “We want our educators to teach our students,” the judge said. “We want them to keep their hands off the students.” Vera taught English in the Aldine Independent School District in north Houston in 2015 when she met the student. Prosecutors said the boy’s
parents didn’t object to their relationship and Vera told an investigator they were “very supportive and excited” when she disclosed her pregnancy. She aborted the pregnancy after a child welfare investigator questioned her, according to court documents. McFadden said the boy and his mother wrote him letters that tried to put some of the blame for the relationship on the boy. — Compiled from AP reports
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The Zapata Times
THE ZAPATA TIMES | Saturday, January 14, 2017 |
LOCAL & STATE
Job openings for jailers at Zapata Sheriff’s Office
Obama ends special Cuban immigrants’ policy FROM STAFF AND WIRE REP ORT S
TH E ZAPATA T IME S
The Zapata County Sheriff’s Office is hiring. Authorities posted on their Facebook on Jan. 5 that they are looking for people interested in serving the community as jailers.
Authorities said they have four openings. The positions will available until filled. Applicants must pass a drug test and physical. Applications are available at the Zapata County Sheriff’s Office. For more information, call the Sheriff’s Office at 956-765-9961.
Texas Rural Schools Task Force to host regional forums S P ECIAL T O T HE T I ME S
Commissioner of Education Mike Morath recently announced that the Texas Rural Schools Task Force will host a series of regional forums across the state in January and February. Created by Commissioner Morath in 2016, the Texas Rural Schools Task Force is charged with identifying current challenges and best practices for rural school districts statewide. “Rural school districts across our state face many educational challenges unique to their size and region,” said Commissioner Morath. “These regional forums will provide an opportunity for task force members and area superintendents to share insights and seek opportunities for innovation in the areas of teacher recruitment, teacher retention, resource allocation, use of technology, as well as parent and community engagement” The Texas Rural Schools Task Force met twice in Austin in 2016, with additional meetings set for 2017. Task force members will develop final recommendations
to be shared with Commissioner Morath later this year. Regional forums with area superintendents are scheduled for Abilene (Jan. 17), Waco (Jan. 19), Corpus Christi (Jan. 23), Kilgore (Jan. 25), Van Horn (Feb. 10), Uvalde (Feb. 13) and Lubbock (Feb. 15). Members of the Rural Schools Task Force were selected to participate based on outstanding student achievement and a willingness to innovate. The superintendents and school districts on the task force include: 1 Bloomburg ISD – Brian Stroman (ESC Region 8) 1 Bronte ISD – Tim Siler (ESC Region 15) 1 Center Point ISD – Cody Newcomb (ESC Region 20) 1 1 Channing ISD – Robert McLain (ESC Region 16) 1 Cisco ISD – Kelly West (ESC Region 14) 1 Community ISD – Roosevelt Nivens (ESC Region 10) 1 Ezzell ISD – Lisa Berckenhoff, (ESC Region 3) 1 Era ISD – Jeremy Thompson, (ESC Region 11) 1 Flatonia ISD – Beverly
Mikulenka (ESC Region 13) 1 Floydada ISD – Gilbert Trevino (ESC Region 17) 1 Fort Hancock ISD – Jose Franco (ESC Region 19) 1 Mineola ISD – Kim Tunnell (ESC Region 7) 1 Moody ISD – Gary Martel (ESC Region 12) 1 Ricardo ISD – M.T. “Vita” Canales (ESC Region 2) 1 Roma ISD – Carlos Guzman (ESC Region 1) 1 Sabine Pass ISD – Kristi Heid (ESC Region 5) 1 Seymour ISD – John Baker (ESC Region 9) 1 Snook ISD – Brenda Krchnak (ESC Region 6) 1 Stafford Municipal School District – Robert Bostic (ESC Region 4) 1 Terlingua Common School District – Bobbie Jones (ESC Region 18) According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, Texas has more than 2,000 campuses classified as being in rural areas. Nationally, Texas has more schools in rural areas than any other state. More than 20 percent of campuses in Texas are in rural areas.
President Barack Obama is ending the so-called “wet foot, dry foot” policy that allows any Cuban who makes it to U.S. soil to stay and become a legal resident — a unique fast track that allowed tens of thousands of Cubans to stream through the border in recent years while other undocumented immigrants, primarily from Central America, were detained and ordered to go before immigration judges to seek asylum. The Cuba policy, put in place in 1995, gave the migrants special treatment not available to other immigrants, a result of the long Cold War standoff between communist Cuba and the United States. “Effective immediately, Cuban nationals who attempt to enter the United States illegally and do not qualify for humanitarian relief will be subject to removal, consistent with U.S. law and enforcement priorities,” Obama said in a statement released Thursday night. “By taking this step, we are treating Cuban migrants the same way we treat migrants from other countries.” Obama began to normalize relations with Cuba in 2014 and opened an embassy in Havana a year later. Driven by fears that the thawing relations would signal an end to the special treatment, thousands of Cubans fled to the U.S., often in arduous journeys that took them through Central America and Mexico. The migrants typically crossed to Texas from Nuevo Laredo, simply
Bob Owen / San Antonio Express-News
Cuban migrants fill out paper work before going through U.S. Immigration in Laredo on Feb. 25, 2016.
walking across the international bridge into downtown Laredo, where they were greeted by volunteers who’d give them shelter as they made arrangements to relocate in the U.S. Not everyone in Laredo was happy with the arrangement. U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, said Thursday that when he spoke to customs officials in December, they still were seeing as many as 100 Cubans a day. For almost a year, Cuellar has been pushing for an end to the U.S. policy, which he said gave Cubans “preferential treatment.” “I think that all immigrants should be treated the same, and why should we be giving the Cubans this special preferential treatment?” he asked. “This is something we welcome, this is something that should have been done a long time ago.” Mirtha Benitez Vega, 44, fled Cuba because she said the government violated its people’s human rights and kept them in poverty. She crossed into the U.S. in Laredo in February and is living in New Jersey. Of Obama, she said, “He betrayed us.” “I wasn’t persecuted, but I was a victim of the
system,” Vega said. “I didn't have freedom of expression. I didn't have freedom of religion. I didn't have opportunities.” Since October 2012, more than 118,000 Cubans have presented themselves at ports of entry along the border, statistics published by the Homeland Security Department show. During the 2016 budget year, which ended in September, a five-year high of more than 41,500 people came through the southern border. An additional 7,000 people arrived between October and November. Obama is using an administrative rule change to end the policy. Donald Trump could undo that rule after becoming president next week. He has criticized Obama’s moves to improve relations with Cuba. However, ending a policy that has allowed hundreds of thousands of people to come to the United States without a visa also aligns with Trump’s commitment to tough immigration policies. San Antonio Express-News staff writer Jason Buch contributed to this report.
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A4 | Saturday, January 14, 2017 | THE ZAPATA TIMES
Do markets work in health care? Believe it or not, we’re not really going to have to spend the next four years wading through wonky drudgery of Russian spy dossiers and hotel sex cameras. At some point we’re going to have a thrilling debate over the most scintillating question in health care policy. The Republicans are going to try to replace Obamacare. They’re probably going to agree to cover everybody Obama covered, thus essentially granting the Democratic point that health care is a right. But they are going to try to do it using more market-friendly mechanisms. As you know, the American health care system is not like a normal market. When you make most health care decisions you don’t get much information on comparative cost and quality; the personal bill you get is only vaguely related to the services; the expense is often determined by how many procedures are done, not whether the problem is fixed. You wouldn’t buy a phone this way. The Republicans are going to try to introduce more normal market incentives into the process. They are probably going to rely on refundable tax credits and health savings accounts so everybody can afford to shop for their own insurance and care. This would still be nothing like a free-market system — it would still be a highly regulated, largely public benefit — but it would rely more on consumer incentives. The crucial question is: Do market incentives work in health care? This is really two questions. The economic one: Would market mechanisms improve quality and reduce costs? The psychological one: Do people want the extra cognitive burden of shopping for health care, or would they rather offload those decisions to someone else? Most progressives say markets don’t work. They point back to a famous essay the economist Kenneth Arrow wrote in 1963, which is the same year the Beach Boys had a huge hit with “Surfer Girl.” Arrow argued that there are several features that make health care unlike normal markets. People’s needs for health care are unpredictable, unlike food and clothing. The doctor-patient relationship is unique and demands a high level of trust, empathy and care. Providers know much more about medicine than patients do, so the information is hopelessly asymmetric. Patients on a gurney can’t really make normal choices, and pay-
ment comes after care, not before. These are all solid points, especially the doctor-patient one. But health care has become less exceptional over time. The internet and other mechanisms help customers acquire a lot more information. Sophisticated modeling helps with unpredictability in a bunch of fields. We put our lives in the hands of for-profit companies all the time. I spent part of my week learning from an aviation mechanic how hard manufacturers work to prevent pieces of metal from shredding through the cabin if an engine explodes. Airplanes are ridiculously safe. Proponents of marketbased health care rely less on theory and more on data. The most fair-minded review of the evidence I’ve read comes from a McKinsey report written by Penelope Dash and David Meredith. They noted that sometimes market forces lead to worse outcomes, but “we have been most struck by health systems in which provider competition, managed effectively, has improved outcomes and patient choice significantly, while at the same time reducing system costs.” There’s much research to suggest that people are able to behave like intelligent health care consumers. Work by Amitabh Chandra of Harvard and others found higher-performing hospitals do gain greater market share over time. People know quality and flock to it. Furthermore, health care providers work hard to keep up with the competitors. When one provider becomes more productive, the neighboring ones tend to as well. There are plenty of examples where market competition has improved health care delivery. The Medicare Part D program, passed under President George W. Bush, created competition around drug benefits. The program has provided coverage for millions while coming in at 57 percent under the cost of what the Congressional Budget Office initially projected. A study of Indiana’s health savings accounts found the state’s expenses were reduced 11 percent. The policy case for the Republican plans is solid. Will they persuade in this psychological environment? I doubt it. David Brooks is a columnist for the New York Times.
A new tax break for golf clubs and fitness classes? By Matt Kempner THE ATLANTA JOURNAL -CONSTITUTION
Our folks in Washington want to pay Americans to sweat (or do something that at least has the potential to create sweat). Planning to buy a new golf putter? Ka-ching! That could be a tax write-off. So could paying for a fitness club membership, registering for a road race, signing the kids up for a baseball travel team, hiring a yoga instructor and participating in bunches of other activities. In the next few weeks, members of Congress are expected to reintroduce the PHIT Act (Personal Health Investment Today Act). The bill, which has been proposed for several years and has growing bi-partisan support, would expand the federal definition of a medical care tax deduction to include purchases for physical fitness. People who set aside pre-tax wages in things like health care spending accounts and flexible spending accounts could use up to $2,000 of it a year for health club fees, instructional materials and equipment that “is utilized exclusively for participation in fitness, exercise, sport, or other physical activity programs.” (Wondering where they’ll draw the line on what qualifies? Golf cart fees? Table tennis equipment?) You won’t be shocked to learn that the sporting goods and fitness club industries love the idea. I’m sure they can smell the money. The broader argument from supporters is that the write-offs will lower cost barriers of physical fitness activities, which
will help more people to get in shape, encourage healthy habits and reduce obesity. All of which sounds great. But some experts — and regular folks I spoke with outside a suburban Atlanta fitness club — voiced doubts about how reasonable it is to connect all those dots. Tax-loophole blubber I like claiming tax breaks. But do you have that nagging feeling that Washington would be creating more tax-loophole blubber that will mostly benefit people already on the fitness bandwagon? Marty Hill, a former executive headhunter who owns the Sweet Science Fitness Boxing Club in Doraville, Georgia, hadn’t heard of the bill before I called him. But, man, he likes the idea. “This is fantastic!” he told me. Price is a big barrier for potential customers, he said, even for people he suspects could easily afford his rates, which can average $125 a month and include up to four or five classes each week. “People are looking for deals,” he said. So he often offers short-term discounts, hoping people will stay long term. “Incentives are really big deals in the fitness industry,” Hill said. Companies like Under Armour, Adidas, Reebok, Everlast, Life Fitness, Mizuno and Franklin have been among the backers of the bill. The Sports & Fitness Industry Association doesn’t know how much business will go up if the bill becomes law, said the organization’s lobbyist, Bill Sells. (Beautiful name for the job, right?) But, he said, such a write-off should help
families in an era when informal play outdoors has largely been replaced by organized sports that carry a cost. Support from Georgia In the last couple of years, more than 100 members of Congress signed on to House and Senate versions of the bill, including Georgia’s Sen. Johnny Isakson and U.S. Reps. Rick Allen, Austin Scott, John Lewis, David Scott and Hank Johnson. Versions of the legislation have been around since 2007, Sells said. “Nothing happens real fast in Washington.” He declined to predict chances of passage this session. But supporters hope for a fresh opening if Donald Trump and Congress chop up and replace the Affordable Care Act and in the process consider ways to expand private health spending accounts. The last iteration of the PHIT Act already included wording to sidestep potential hot-buttons, like looking like a write-off for the rich and exclusive. Fees for fitness facilities that are private clubs owned by members don’t qualify. Nor do facilities that offer golf, sailing, riding or hunting. Also, expenses for most clothes and shoes wouldn’t qualify because they are often worn even by people who have no intention of sweating. But items such as cleats, ski boots and some uniforms could make the cut, Sells said. This is a slippery slope, which I delighted in testing. Would golf cart fees qualify? I asked. “Tough one,” Sells said, though he added that even players who ride carts have to walk across the fairways,
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DOONESBURY | GARRY TRUDEAU
which is exercise. Table tennis? “I play table tennis and break a sweat,” Sells said. “Now if you said pool, I’ve never broken a sweat playing pool.” Bowling? “The answer I got back is, ‘Do you want to tell demographics their activity doesn’t qualify?’” Ah, politics. “That is for the IRS to decide,” Sells told me of some items. Using taxes for fitness There are bigger questions about whether the bill is an effective and efficient way to use tax dollars to boost fitness and health. Why does government need to jump in when many employers already subsidize health club memberships for employees or offer gift cards or reduced insurance premiums for employees who log lots of steps on pedometers? Studies show the impact of these employer fitness programs tends to be small — many participants would have been active anyway — and the costs often outweigh savings from reduced health care costs, said Soeren Mattke, the managing director of RAND Health Advisory Services. He told me he suspects the effect of the PHIT Act would also be modest. Ron Goetzel, who directs the Institute for Health and Productivity Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, also questioned the act’s potential effectiveness. Tax breaks are nice, but the pull of the couch is strong. Which is a shame. “Physical activity is probably the cheapest medicine in America,” Goetzel said.
THE ZAPATA TIMES | Saturday, January 14, 2017 |
A6 | Saturday, January 14, 2017 | THE ZAPATA TIMES
During Mardi Gras season, tradition takes the (king) cake By Rebecca Santana ASSOCIATED PRE SS
Al Drago / New York Times
House Speaker Paul Ryan walks toward the House floor for a vote at the Capitol in Washington, Friday.
In early GOP win on health care repeal, Congress OKs budget By Alan Fram and Andrew Taylor A S S OCIAT E D PRE SS
WASHINGTON— Ascendant Republicans drove a budget through Congress on Friday that gives them an early but critical victory in their crusade to scrap President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. The vote trains the spotlight on whether they and Donald Trump can deliver on repeated pledges to not just erase that statute but replace it. Demonstrating the GOP’s willingness to plunge into a defining but risky battle, the House used a near party-line 227-198 roll call to approve a measure that prevents Senate Democrats from derailing a future bill, thus far unwritten, annulling and reshaping Obama’s landmark 2010 law. The budget, which won Senate approval early Thursday, does not need the president’s signature. “The ‘Unaffordable’ Care Act will soon be history!” Trump tweeted Friday in a dig at the statute’s name, the Affordable Care Act. Trump takes the presidential oath next Friday. The real work looms in coming months as the new administration and congressional Republicans write legislation to erase much of the health care law and replace it with a GOP version. Republicans have internal divisions over what that would look like, though past GOP proposals have cut much of the existing law’s federal spending and eased coverage requirements while relying more on tax benefits and letting states make decisions. Friday’s vote was preceded by debate that saw hyperbole on both sides and underscored how the two parties have alternate-universe views of Obama’s overhaul. Democrats praised it for extending coverage to tens
of millions of Americans, helping families afford policies and seniors buy prescriptions, while Republicans focused on the rising premiums and deductibles and limited access to doctors and insurers that have plagued many. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said the health care law was “so arrogant and so contrary to our founding principles” and had not delivered on Obama’s promises to lower costs and provide more choice. “We have to step in before things get worse. This is nothing short of a rescue mission,” Ryan said. “Our experimentation in Soviet-style central planning of our health care system has been an abject failure,” said freshman Rep. Jodey Arrington, R-Texas. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Ryan was peddling “mythology” and said the GOP was moving toward worsening health care for consumers. “They want to cut benefits and run. They want to cut access and run,” she said of Republicans. “This is a sad day in the history of this country as Republicans begin the process of destroying health care in America,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., arguing that the GOP has no replacement in hand. “All you have is smoke and mirrors, and the American people are getting ready to get screwed.” Nine Republicans joined all voting Democrats in opposing the budget. The budget’s approval means Senate Democrats won’t be allowed to filibuster the future repealand-replace bill — a pivotal advantage for Republicans. They control the Senate 52-48, but it takes 60 votes to end filibusters, or endless procedural delays that can scuttle legislation.
NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans is a city strong on traditions, and few inspire as much passion as the king cakes of Mardi Gras season. Do you eat Haydel’s, Gambino’s or Randazzo’s? Fillings and toppings or oldschool simplicity? Do you nibble before the Jan. 6 start to the season, or is that sacrilegious? To see folks’ devotion for the ring-shaped confection, look no further than an early morning at Manny Randazzo King Cakes in suburban Metairie. Despite frigid weather and rain, the line began forming a half-hour before the 6:30 a.m. opening on Jan. 6. “To me, it’s the best in the city,” said Drew Boston, 23. “It just depends on what you like. What kind of cake you want, what kind of icing you want, what kind of toppings you want.” Boston takes the cakes to his mother in Baton Rouge on the weekends — she’s loyal to the Randazzo brand. Until Mardi Gras ends Feb. 28, king cakes are everywhere. People bring them to the office. Lawyers ship them to clients. Families eat them watching the parades. Neighborhood bars serve them — nothing goes better with beer than dough, cinnamon and frosting. Rules are a big part of the king cake tradition — but for every one, there’s probably an exception. Among the traditions: Jan.
Gerald Herbert / AP
King cakes for sale line the display case in La Boulangerie bakery in New Orleans, Friday.
6 kicks off the season because it commemorates the day the three kings visited baby Jesus, and it marks the start of Carnival season. The cakes usually disappear after Fat Tuesday. And inside, there’s a favor — most often a tiny plastic baby. The person who gets it is supposed to buy the next king cake. The cakes are generally colored with the New Orleans Mardi Gras tri-color of purple, green and gold. King cakes can be found as “rosca de reyes” in many Spanish-speaking countries and “galette de rois” in France. Still, few places take the tradition as seriously as New Orleans, where everyone seems to be wiping the signature colored sugar from their mouths. Here, it’s not just eating king cake that’s important; it’s the kind of king cake you pick. Everyone has a favorite, from locals to natives who’ve long moved away. They wax poetically about Haydel’s frosting, McKenzie’s simplicity or Cake Cafe’s
bold apple goat cheese. Todd Duvio’s family moved away years ago but hand carried four king cakes on the return flight to California after Christmas. “My household is very split on king cakes,” he said. “One of my sons is strictly Manny Randazzo’s, and he will not eat anything else. ... My wife likes Haydel’s.” Many bakery preferences have been around for decades. Jackie-Sue Scelfo, a Gambino’s Bakery spokeswoman, says it’s often based on what people were brought up on, what Mom and Grandma ate. “The people from here, I find they are very loyal — whether it’s their bakery or their bank,” she said. McKenzie’s, a longtime New Orleans bakery chain, inspired that kind of loyalty with a fairly simple king cake with no fillings, brushed with simple syrup and sprinkled with colored sugar. The cake is so popular it sort of came back from
the dead: McKenzie’s went out of business, but bakery chain Tastee Corp. bought the recipes. Tastee started selling the oldschool McKenzie king cake around 2003 or 2004. “People were coming from all over: ‘Is it true? Is it true?”’ said David Simoneaux, president of Tastee. “I think it is just the simplicity of it. I think it just brings back a lot of memories.” Still, new bakeries and king cakes gain devotees every day. And people who are new to New Orleans feel passionately, too. Maggie Scales, executive pastry chef for the Donald Link Restaurant Group, moved to the city six years ago, knowing nothing of king cakes or the rush surrounding them. Now she oversees a pastry empire that includes traditional French-style king cake (two layers of puff pastry with almond cream in the middle and none of that American colored sugar), a more New Orleans-style king cake in an oval shape, and the Elvis king cake which is as decadent as the king himself. She’s even experimented with a peanut butter and jelly king cake. But for her and many others in New Orleans, you don’t experiment with one king tradition: timing. “Jan. 6. That’s when you can officially have your first slice of king cake, and it’s a huge day,” she says. “People have been asking since the beginning of December, and I have held true to Jan. 6.”
Police: Woman kidnapped as newborn 18 years ago is alive; fake mother charged By Jason Dearen and Russ Bynum ASSOCIATED PRE SS
WALTERBORO, South Carolina — Stolen from a hospital just hours after she was born, an 18-yearold woman finally learned her true identity and was reunited Friday with her birth family, by video chat. The woman she thought was her mother was charged with her kidnapping. Thanks to DNA analysis, the 18-year-old now knows her birth name: Kamiyah Mobley. She’s in good health, but understandably overwhelmed, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said at a news conference. Police arrested Gloria Williams, 51, in Walterboro, South Carolina, where Mobley was raised in a small house with white
Will Dickey / The Florida Times-Union via AP
Velma Aiken, the paternal grandmother of Kamiyah Mobley, gets a congratulatory hug on Friday.
vinyl siding and black trim, about 200 miles from the hospital where she was born. She will be extradited to Florida on charges of kidnapping and interference with custody, authorities said. In Jacksonville, the young woman’s birth family cried “tears of joy” after a detective told them their baby had been
found. Within hours Friday, they were able to reconnect by video chat. “She looks just like her daddy,” her paternal grandmother, Velma Aiken of Jacksonville, told The Associated Press after they were able to see each other for the first time, on FaceTime. “She told us she’d be here soon to see us.”
Mobley was only eight hours old when she was taken from her young mother by a woman posing as a nurse at University Medical Center. A massive search ensued, with helicopters circling the hospital and the city on high alert, and thousands of tips came in over the years, but she had disappeared. All that time, Kamiyah’s neighbors in Walterboro knew her as Gloria William’s daughter, Alexis Manigo. “She wasn’t an abused child or a child who got in trouble. But she grew up with a lie for 18 years,” Joseph Jenkins, who lives across the street, told the AP. Some months ago, the young woman “had an inclination” that she may have been kidnapped, the sheriff said.
‘Exorcist’ author William Peter Blatty dead at 89 By Hillel Italie A S S OCIAT E D PRE SS
NEW YORK — Novelist and filmmaker William Peter Blatty, a former Jesuit school valedictorian who conjured a tale of demonic possession and gave millions the fright of their lives with the bestselling novel and Oscarwinning movie “The Exorcist,” has died. He was 89. Blatty died Thursday at a hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, where he lived, his widow, Julie Alicia Blatty, told The Associated Press. The cause of death was multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, she said. Inspired by an incident in a Washington suburb that Blatty had read about while in college, “The Exorcist” was published in 1971, followed two years later by the film of the same name. Blatty’s story of a 12-year-old-girl inhabited by a satanic force
spent more than a year on The New York Times fiction best-seller list and eventually sold more than 10 million copies. It reached a far wider audience through the movie version, directed by William Friedkin, produced and written by Blatty and starring Linda Blair as the young, bedeviled Regan. “RIP William Peter Blatty, who wrote the great horror novel of our time,” Stephen King tweeted Friday. “So long, Old Bill.” Even those who thought they had seen everything had never seen anything like the R-rated “The Exorcist” and its assault of vomit, blood, rotting teeth, ghastly eyes and whirlwind headspinning — courtesy of makeup and special effects maestro Dick Smith. Fans didn’t care that Vincent Canby of The New York Times found it a “chunk of elegant occultist claptrap,” or that the
Courtesy / Warner Bros.
William Peter Blatty is shown at Georgetown University in Washington around 1980.
set burned down during production. They stood for hours in freezing weather for the winter release and kept coming even as the movie, with its omnipresent soundtrack theme, Mike Oldfield’s chilly, tingly “Tubular Bells,” cast its own disturbing spell. From around the world
came reports of fainting, puking, epileptic fits, audience members charging the screen and waving rosary beads, and, in England, a boy committing murder and blaming “The Exorcist.” The Rev. Billy Graham would allege that the film’s very celluloid was evil. “I was standing in the
back of a theater in New York at the first public press screening of the film, too nervous to sit down,” Blatty told IGN.com in 2000. “And along came a woman who got up in about the fifth or sixth row. A young woman, who started walking up the aisle, slowly at first. She had her hand to her head. And then I could see her lips moving. She got close enough, and I could hear her murmuring, ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”’ Named the scariest movie of all time by Entertainment Weekly, “The Exorcist” topped $400 million worldwide at the box office, among the highest at the time for an R-rated picture. Oscar voters also offered rare respect for a horror film: “The Exorcist” was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and received two, for best sound and Blatty’s screenplay. Imitations, parodies and sequels were inevitable, whether the
Leslie Nielsen spoof “Repossessed”; the four subsequent “Exorcist” movies (only one of which, “The Exorcist III,” involved Blatty) or a stage version performed in 2012 at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. “When I was writing the novel I thought of it as a super-natural detective story, and to this day I cannot recall having a conscious intention to terrifying anybody, which you may take, I suppose, as an admission of failure on an almost stupefying scale,” Blatty told The Huffington Post in 2011. Blatty returned to the “Exorcist” setting in “Legion,” which he adapted into “The Exorcist III.” He also revised a novel from the 1960s, “Twinkle, Twinkle, ‘Killer Kane’”; renamed it “The Ninth Configuration” and wrote and directed a 1980 film version that brought Blatty a Golden Globe for best screenplay.
Zfrontera THE ZAPATA TIMES | Saturday, January 14, 2017 |
RIBEREÑA EN BREVE
ESTACIONAMIENTO PARA DISCAPACITADOS
CONDADO DE WEBB
PAGO DE IMPUESTOS 1 Desde diciembre, los pagos por impuestos a la propiedad de la Ciudad de Roma deberán realizarse en la oficina de impuestos del Distrito Escolar de Roma, localizado en el 608 N. García St.
Dan multa de 500 dlls
CONFERENCIA 1 La Sociedad Genealógica Nuevo Santander invita a la conferencia impartida por Mauricio Javier González, quien tiene raíces en San Ygnacio. Él es el autor del libro “Un Encuentro con el pasado en San Ygnacio, Texas”, entre otros libros. El evento se llevará a cabo el día de hoy a las 2 p.m. en el salón del Museo de Historia del Condado de Zapata, ubicado en 805 N US-Hwy 83. Pida informes en el 956-765-8983
Ronald Currington está legalmente autorizado para estacionarse en los lugares designados pero olvidó colgar su letrero y fue multado con 500 dólares. Currington y su esposa, Joyce estaban en Laredo para visitas con el doctor a principios de noviembre cuando se detuvieron en WalMart antes de regresar a su casa en Zapata. Joyce dijo que su esposo estaba cansado por haber estado sentado por dos horas en la oficina del doctor y él simplemente olvidó colgar el anuncio de discapacitado. Después, la pareja descubrió la multa de 500 dólares cuando fueron a la División de Control de Estacionamiento para hablar con una oficial de audiencia. Ronald proporcionó prueba de su placa de discapacitado que le permite estacionarse en zonas para personas con discapacidad. Mientras trataban de razonar y contestar la notificación Joyce dijo “ellos fueron algo hostiles con él” en la oficina de control de esta-
BOYS & GIRLS CLUB 1 La organización Boys & Girls Club invita a su evento Clays for Kids Skeet Shoot & Cook-Off en su décima edición, que se celebrará el sábado 28 de enero. Para registrarse o para mayores informes visite el sitio bgcazapata.com o llame a Mark Alvarenga al (956) 3375751.
Residente autorizado olvida colgar letrero Por Andrea Castañeda TIEMP O DE ZAPATA
LABORATORIO COMPUTACIONAL 1 La Ciudad de Roma pone a disposición de la comunidad el Laboratorio Computacional que abre de lunes a viernes en horario de 1 p.m. a 5 p.m. en Historical Plaza, a un lado del City Hall. Informes en el 956-849-1411.
cionamiento. Ronald ha tenido un anuncio de discapacidad desde el 2010 y su esposa dijo que esta es la primera vez que él ha olvidado colgarlo. Joyce explicó que ellos no pueden dejar el anuncio colgando porque es contra la ley conducir con así. Ella dijo que entiende que se multe a personas que se estacionan ilegalmente en esos lugares. “Ésa es una situación diferente si alguien puede demostrar que está calificado, él legalmente podía estacionarse ahí. Él tiene la placa, simplemente lo olvidó, hay una gran diferencia de estacionarse ilegalmente”, dijo Joyce. De acuerdo a los Currington, la secretaria no permitió a Joyce entrar con su esposo y se les dijo que la oficial de audiencia manejaría el asunto solamente con el portador de la placa, aun después que Joyce dijera que Ronald es legalmente ciego. Ronald trató de contestar la notificación mostrando la prueba de su placa de discapacidad pero dijo que se encontró con la misma
respuesta que fue por no mostrarla y que tendría que pagar la multa. Ronald continuamente declaró que él no puede pagar los 500 dólares de multa pero se le dijo que podía hacerlo en pagos. “Dije que no puedo pagar 50 dólares al mes y la mujer contestó que podía pagar entonces 30 dólares”, dijo Ronald. “Dije no puedo pagar siquiera 25 dólares y pedí hablar con mi esposa pero la mujer dijo que solo haría tratos con el propietario de la placa de discapacidad”. Ronald dijo que después se le pidió firmar un papel y después de decir que no podía leer porque era legalmente ciego, Ronald dijo que nunca le ofrecieron leerlo para él y solo le dijeron que firmara. “Ella no dijo de qué se trataba pero era acerca de estar de acuerdo en pagar 30 dólares al mes. No me lo leyeron. Pensé que era un acuerdo acerca de que no podía pagarlo y le dije que estaba legalmente ciego y ella no permitió que mi esposa entrara”, dijo Ronald. Rogelio Fernández,
supervisor de la división de control de estacionamiento en Laredo, dijo que aunque existe la ordenanza de la ciudad, Laredo debe tener algún tipo de regulación pero que no puede hacerse menos de lo que el estado requiere. “Creo que el estatuto estatal para una violación a los espacios para personas discapacitadas, es mínimo de 500 dólares y el máximo es de 850 dólares. Estamos aplicando el mínimo que permite el estado”, dijo Fernández. Fernández dijo que la oficial de la audiencia no ha estado desestimando ninguna cita pero está permitiendo planes de pagos mensuales. Una última opción para la pareja es ir a la corte municipal ya que tiene el derecho de apelación. Los Currington tendrían que pagar hasta 500 dólares en una fianza para apelar la notificación, a lo que ellos dicen que tampoco podrían pagarla. Joyce dijo que ha estado tratando de ponerse en contacto con el alcalde y el administrador de la ciudad. Ella dijo que no ha tenido suerte en recibir una respuesta.
CIUDAD DE ROMA
DONAN COBIJAS A ADULTOS MAYORES
MUSEO EN ZAPATA 1 A los interesados en realizar una investigación sobre genealogía de la región, se sugiere visitar el Museo del Condado de Zapata ubicado en 805 N US-Hwy 83. Opera de 10 a.m. a 4 p.m. Existen visitas guiadas. Personal está capacitado y puede orientar acerca de la historia del Sur de Texas y sus fundadores. Pida informes en el 956-765-8983. GRUPOS DE APOYO 1 El grupo de apoyo para personas con Alzheimer se reunirá en su junta mensual, a las 7 p.m., en el Laredo Medical Center, primer piso, Torre B en el Centro Comunitario. Las reuniones se realizan el primer martes de cada mes en el mismo lugar y a la misma hora. 1 El grupo Cancer Friend se reúne a las 6 p.m. el primer lunes del mes en el Centro Comunitario de Doctors Hospital. Padecer cáncer es una de las experiencias más estresantes en la vida de una persona. Sin embargo, los grupos de apoyo pueden ayudar a muchos a lidiar con los aspectos emocionales de la enfermedad. 1 Grupo de Apoyo para Ansiedad y Depresión Rayo de Luz. En Centro de Educación del Área de Salud, ubicado en 1505 Calle del Norte, Suite 430. El grupo se reúne de 6:30 p.m. a 7:30 p.m. en 1505 Calle del Norte, Suite 430, cada primer lunes de mes.
El regidor de la Ciudad de Roma, Ramiro Sarabia, hace entrega de una cobija durante la visita que miembros del Ayuntamiento realizaron a los Centros de Cuidado del Adulto Mayor en la ciudad para entregar cobijas donadas por empleados de la ciudad. Foto de cortesía | Ciudad de Roma
Buscan homologar precio de gasolina E SPECIAL PARA TIEMP O DE ZAPATA
MIGUEL ALEMÁN, México — Considerando que será necesario el esquema de beneficios para los expendedores de gasolina en la frontera chica porque los puede colocar en una desventaja frente a los precios del vecino país y los obligaría a un manejo financiero que pondría en riesgo sus negocios, la alcaldesa Rosa Icela Corro Acosta, coincidió con el Gobernador de Tamaulipas Francisco Javier Garcia Cabeza de Vaca, en buscar la manera de que se expenda la gasolina más barata en la Región Ribereña. Para tal efecto Corro Acosta, se reunió este
Foto de cortesía | Gobierno de Miguel Alemán
La alcaldesa de Miguel Alemán, México, se reunió el jueves con empresarios de gasolineras para discutir la homologación del precio de la gasolina en la región de la Frontera Chica.
jueves con los empresarios gasolineros de Ciudad Miguel Alemán, buscando siempre la manera de que se expenda gasolina más barata en esta frontera, solicitando
a los expendedores agilizar su postura ante las autoridades correspondientes para contar con una “Homologacion Fronteriza” que no perjudique tanto el bolsillo de los
automovilistas. El Honorable Cabildo de este municipio en todo momento manifestó su apoyo total a la postura de la alcaldesa quien solo busca el bienestar ciudadano para conservar la tranquilidad en temas como el gasolinazo que inquieta directamente a los habitantes de nuestra localidad. La alcaldesa confía en que para los próximos días se dé a conocer la expedición de la gasolina homologada en la zona ribereña, tal y como se a venido planteando ante la Secretaria de Hacienda y Crédito Publico, ante la necesidad de un ajuste en el Impuesto Especial sobre Productos y Servicios.
Acusan a juez de regalo a servidor público Por César G. Rodríguez TIEMP O DE ZAPATA
El Juez de la Corte del Condado No. 2, Jesús “Chuy” Garza, fue arrestado el miércoles por alegatos acerca de que aceptó un préstamo de un abogado local participando en un caso que él presidía, se establece en una declaración jurada. Una acusación presentada el miércoles acusaba a Garza de regalo hacia un servidor público por una persona en su jurisdicción, un delito menor Clase A que se castiga con un año de cárcel o una posible multa de 4.000 dólares. Garza, al lado de su abogado, se entregó alrededor de las 3 p.m. en la Cárcel del Condado de Webb. Garza pagó una fianza de 2.500 dólares alrededor de 30 minutos después, de acuerdo al alguacil Martín Cuéllar. “Los cargos en este caso derivaron de una investigación conjunta en la que participó la Oficina del Fiscal General de Texas, los Texas Rangers y el FBI”, dijo la agente especial Michelle Lee, coordinadora de medios para el Buró Federal de Investigaciones en San Antonio. El abogado local Oscar O. Peña emitió un comunicado diciendo que fue contratado para representar a Garza. “El juez Jesús Garza mantiene su inocencia. Él planea investigar la demanda del estado y defenderse a sí mismo para dejar este asunto en el pasado”, declaró Peña. Peña dijo que Garza es un miembro respetado de la barra de abogados local que ha dedicado más de 31 años al servicio público. Dijo que el caso estaba en sus “etapas iniciales”. Préstamo La acusación establece que Garza solicitó un préstamo de 3.000 dólares a la abogada local Shirley Mathis para su administrador de la corte Christopher Cásarez mientras que Garza presidía un juicio en el caso de una propiedad de Carlos Y. Benavides Jr., del cual Mathis era la defensora judicial. Mathis no resondió a solicitudes para comentarios de parte de Laredo Morning Times. Cásarez fue coordinador de la corte para Garza. Fue contratado por el condado en el 2002. Cásarez se suicidó el 11 de diciembre, de acuerdo a un reporte de la policía de Laredo.
La reportera de LMT Judith Rayo contribuyó con este reportaje
A8 | Saturday, January 14, 2017 | THE ZAPATA TIMES
ENTERTAINMENT Six more charged in Kardashian West jewelry heist in Paris By John Leicester A S S OCIAT E D PRE SS
PARIS — Hailing the “remarkable work” of French police, Paris prosecutors on Friday announced preliminary charges against six more suspects in the armed jewelry heist of Kim Kardashian West. That brings the total number of people charged so far in the probe to 10. All but one of the suspects are men, including at least one previously known to police for robbery and money forgery. Robbers are believed to have forced their way into the apartment where Kardashian West was staying during Paris Fashion Week in October. They allegedly tied up the reality TV star and stole more than $10 million worth of jewelry. Authorities are now looking at a possible inside job. The preliminary charges filed Friday against six suspects ranging in age from 29 to 72 covered an array of alleged crimes. They included: armed robbery in an organized gang; kidnapping; criminal association; illegal possession of firearms — including a Kalashnikov rifle — and ammunition; use of forged papers and a fake identity, and complicity. Preliminary charges — the first in the case — were also filed against four other people on Thursday. Paris prosecutors have identified the 10 suspects only by their first names and surname initials and their dates of birth. Those charged Friday were:
1 Aomar A., 60; faces preliminary charges of armed robbery in Kardashian an organized gang, kidnapping, criminal association, illegal possession of ammunition, using a fake identify and false papers. 1 Pierre B., 72; preliminary charges of armed robbery in an organized gang, kidnapping and criminal association. 1 Didier D., 61; preliminary charges of armed robbery in an organized gang, kidnapping, criminal association and illegally possessing a Kalashnikov rifle. 1 Francois D., 54; preliminary charges of armed robbery in an organized gang, kidnapping, criminal association and possession of false papers. 1 Harminy A., 29; preliminary charges of armed robbery in an organized gang, kidnapping and criminal association. 1 Christiane G., 70. The only woman among the 10 was handed preliminary charges of complicity in armed robbery and kidnapping, criminal association and the illegal possession of ammunition. On Thursday, Kardashian West’s sister, Khloe Kardashian, welcomed the filing of charges as a “kind of closure” and denounced the robbery as “a disgusting act.” Rich or poor, nobody deserves “anything to be taken from them,” she told The Associated Press.
Chris Pizzello / AP file
In this April 7, 2014, file photo, Toby Keith performs at an All-Star Salute to the Troops in Las Vegas.
Trump’s inaugural concert to feature Toby Keith By Nancy Benac ASSOCIATED PRE SS
WASHINGTON — Donald Trump’s inaugural welcome concert next week will feature country star Toby Keith, singer Jennifer Holliday and actor Jon Voight, organizers announced Friday. The names add some celebrity flavor to an inaugural lineup that so far has been noticeably short on star power, with organizers insisting that Trump himself is the celebrity in chief for this inaugural. Also performing at Thursday’s “Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration:” southern rockers 3 Doors Down, The Piano Guys, Lee Greenwood, DJ RaviDrums and The Frontmen of Country, featuring Tim Rushlow, Larry Stewart and Richie McDonald. Trump himself also
will speak at the concert at the Lincoln Memorial, which organizers said “will serve as a tribute to one of our greatest attributes, the peaceful transition of partisan power.” The celebrity wattage for Trump’s inaugural festivities doesn’t rival that of Barack Obama’s inaugurations, which attracted A-listers including Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Alicia Keyes, Kelly Clarkson, Eva Longoria and Jennifer Hudson, among others. But Trump has insisted that’s how he wants it, saying the swearing-in festivities should be about the people not the elites. Holliday is best known for her Tony-winning role in “Dreamgirls” on Broadway. Greenwood, whose signature song is “God Bless the U.S.A.,” has performed for past GOP presidential inaugurals. Voight has been a
vocal Trump supporter. Several prominent entertainers have declined invitations to perform at the Trump inaugural. Those set to perform at Trump’s Jan. 20 swearing-in ceremony include singer Jackie Evancho, the Radio City Rockettes and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Evancho, who has caught some criticism for agreeing to perform at the inaugural, said she hoped her performance will “bring people together.” “I hope to just kind of make everyone forget about rivals and politics for a second and just think about America and the pretty song that I’m singing,” Evancho said in an interview to air Sunday on “CBS This Morning.” The 16-year-old singer rejected the idea she was tacitly accepting Trump’s agenda or intolerance for
LGBT rights by agreeing to perform. Her sister, Juliet Evancho, was born Jacob and is transgender. Juliet Evancho told CBS that her sister was “singing for our country and it’s an honor for her to be singing in front of so many people.” “I feel that’s really where I look at it,” Juliet said. “And that’s where I’m going to leave it right now.” Thursday’s “welcome celebration” is a free concert that also will feature fireworks and military bands. It will be available for live broadcast. Prior to that concert, a separate “Voices of the People” program at the Lincoln Memorial will feature groups from around the country that applied to take part in the inauguration, such as high school bands, Cub Scouts, local choirs and pipe and drum groups.
THE ZAPATA TIMES | Saturday, January 14, 2017 |
Personalized IRS letters nudge uninsured to get coverage By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar A S S OCIAT E D PRE SS
WASHINGTON — If you haven’t signed up for health insurance, you may soon be getting a not-too-subtle nudge from the taxman. The IRS is sending personalized letters to millions of taxpayers who might be uninsured, reminding them that they could be on the hook for hundreds of dollars in fines under the federal health care law if they don’t sign up soon. It’s an unusual role for a revenue-collection agency. Fines are one of the most unpopular parts of the 2010 health overhaul, and there’s a high likelihood they’ll get repealed by Republicans, even if other parts of “Obamacare” survive. The administration is counting on IRS reminders to help sign up as many people as possible before open enrollment ends Jan. 31. That’s soon after officials hand off President Ba-
rack Obama’s signature program to a Trump administration committed to “repeal and replace.” Letters bearing the IRS logo will be sent to an estimated 7.5 million people who either claimed an exemption from the law’s requirement that most Americans carry health insurance, or who paid a penalty for being uninsured during the 2015 tax year. The coverage requirement was included in the law as a way to get healthy people into the insurance pool, helping to keep premiums in check. The penalty for this year could be $2,085 or more, depending on family size and income, says one draft version of the IRS letter. Another draft takes a somewhat different approach, leaving a blank space for the IRS to provide an individualized estimate of what the particular uninsured taxpayer might owe. The drafts were ob-
Carolyn Kaster / AP file
If you haven’t signed up for health insurance this year, you may be getting a nudge from the taxman.
tained by The Associated Press. Although the administration has made no secret of the IRS role in open enrollment this year, officials have not responded to requests for copies of the actual letters. Republicans say the whole thing is a waste of money. The campaign will cost about $4 million, say congressional aides.
“People receiving these letters have already made up their minds about Obamacare when they applied for an exemption or paid a penalty,” said House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas. “They don’t want stock letters. They want better health care choices and lower costs.” Supporters of the health care law say research has shown that
many people who remain uninsured are still unaware that they can go to HealthCare.gov and qualify for government subsidies to help pay their premiums. Those subsidies were designed as tax credits, bringing the IRS into the picture. The IRS letters make the pitch: “Most people who enroll in a plan through HealthCare.gov can find plans for $75 a month or less after financial help,” the letters say. “At HealthCare.gov, you can compare plans to find one that meets your needs and budget.” While such low-cost plans are available, many people actually pay more, and the $75 figure doesn’t take into account deductibles and copayments. The average monthly premium last year for HealthCare.gov customers was $106, after financial help, according to the government. The administration has not released a comparable premium estimate for
this year. Insurers raised their sticker prices significantly, but the law’s subsidies should cushion the impact for most HealthCare.gov customers. About 800,000 letters went out after Thanksgiving, and an additional 6.7 million are going out now, according to congressional aides. Last year about 6.5 million people paid fines for being uninsured, averaging $470, according to recent IRS data. The amount is generally deducted from a taxpayer’s anticipated refund. The fines started small in 2014, but are now fully phased in, starting at about $700. The administration has a goal of signing up 13.8 million people for coverage this year and is looking for a strong finish to open enrollment season. Although the Affordable Care Act has reduced the nation’s uninsured rate to a historic low, it remains politically divisive.
Takata agrees to guilty plea, will pay $1 billion for hiding air bag defect By Tom Krisher, Dee-Ann Durbin and Ed White A S S OCIAT E D PRE SS
DETROIT — Takata Corp. has agreed to plead guilty to a single criminal charge and will pay $1 billion in fines and restitution for a years-long scheme to conceal a deadly defect in its automotive air bag inflators. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit announced the deal Friday, hours after it unsealed a six-count grand jury indictment against three former Takata executives who are accused of executing the scheme by falsifying and altering test reports that showed the inflators could rupture. Takata inflators can explode with too much force, spewing shrapnel into automobiles. At least 11 people have been killed in the U.S. and 16 worldwide because of the defect. More than 180 have been injured. Under the deal, Takata will pay a $25 million criminal fine, $125 million to individuals injured by
the air bags and $850 million to automakers that purchased the inflators. A federal judge will be asked to appoint attorney Kenneth Feinberg to distribute restitution payments. Payments to individuals must be made soon. Money due to automakers must be paid within five days of Takata’s anticipated sale or merger. Takata is expected to be sold to another auto supplier or investor sometime this year. “Automotive suppliers who sell products that are supposed to protect consumers from injury or death must put safety ahead of profits,” said Barbara McQuade, the U.S. Attorney in Detroit, whose office worked on a two-year investigation into the company. “If they choose instead to engage in fraud, we will hold accountable the individuals and business entities who are responsible.” The Justice Department was criticized for failing to charge any individuals in earlier high-profile
Kazuhiro Nogi / Getty file
This file photo taken on Nov. 4, 2015 shows Japan’s Takata Corp President Shigehisa Takada at a press conference in Tokyo.
cases against automakers General Motors and Toyota. Now it’s done so twice in one week. Prosecutors disclosed the indictment of six Volkswagen executives Wednesday when they announced a settlement of a criminal probe into the German car company’s emissions-cheating scheme. On Friday, prosecutors unsealed a Detroit federal grand jury indictment of three former Takata executives, Shinichi Tanaka, Hideo Nakajima and
Tsuneo Chikaraishi. All were suspended by the company last year. Takata, based in Japan, has its U.S. headquarters in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills, Michigan. According to an indictment, as early as 2000 the trio falsified and altered reports to hide from automakers tests that showed the inflators could rupture or otherwise fail to meet specifications. They were charged with six counts of conspiracy and wire fraud. Takata was charged sep-
arately with one count of wire fraud. All three worked in Japan and at Takata’s U.S. operations. “Defendants commonly referred to the removal or alteration of unfavorable test data that was to be provided to Takata customers as ‘XX-ing’ the data,” the indictment says. In June 2005, Nakajima said in an email that “they had no choice but to manipulate test data, and that they needed to ‘cross the bridge together.”’ Tanaka served as executive vice president of inflator global operations, while Nakajima was director of engineering in the automotive systems laboratory and Chikaraishi was chief of JapanAsia inflator operations, according to prosecutors. All three are now in Japan, and McQuade said her office will work with authorities there to extradite them to the U.S. for trial. “Extradition is not automatic. It is discretionary with Japan,” she said. But she added that her office has had success in extraditing Japanese executives in automotive parts
price-fixing cases. As of 2015, Takata was the second-largest supplier of air bags in the world, accounting for 20 percent of the air bags sold. The government said Takata had minimal internal controls and failed to notice its executives’ misconduct for years. It alleged that Takata falsified test data to deceive automakers that used its inflators in their vehicles. Once senior Takata executives did learn that employees had falsified air bag reports, in 2009, they failed to take disciplinary action against those employees until 2015. McQuade said Takata wanted to make profits on air bags “knowing that they were creating a risk for the end user, soccer moms like me who drives around in my Ford Edge with my kids, who at any moment could get involved in a fender-bender and send a metal projectile into my face,” McQuade said. “The risk that they allowed to happen is really reprehensible.”
A10 | Saturday, January 14, 2017 | THE ZAPATA TIMES
INTERNATIONAL Vatican seeks youth input for meeting
Troops surround site as Ivory Coast negotiates mutiny deal By Isidore Kouadio and Robbie Corey-Boulet ASSOCIATED PRE SS
By Nicole Winfield A S S OCIAT E D PRE SS
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is reaching out to young people for the next round of churchwide consultations, soliciting their direct input for an upcoming meeting of the world’s bishops on the plight of young Catholics today and their faith. The Vatican on Friday issued the preparatory document for the 2018 synod, which comes as the Catholic Church is still reeling from the fallout from the last synod and Francis’ controversial outreach to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. Organizers insisted young people will actually be involved in the upcoming synod process, which consists of bishops meeting behind closed doors for two weeks to develop recommendations for a future papal document. The Vatican plans to put a questionnaire on a future Vatican website, www.sinodogiovani2018.va, to solicit input from ordinary youths to help form the basis of a draft text. Monsignor Fabio Fabene, undersecretary of the office organizing the meeting, said the answers would be evaluated “scientifically” to weed out responses that aren’t serious. In addition, young Catholics would be invited to attend the synod and offer their testimony, but without any right to vote on the final text. Another questionnaire is being sent to priests, bishops and cardinals around the world, but some of the locationspecific questions immediately raised eyebrows about preconceptions going into the meeting. American prelates, for example, were asked to discuss how they respond to situations of extreme violence among young people, including gangs, jail, drug addiction and forced marriage. European prelates were merely asked how they respond to young people who feel excluded from the political and economic system and whether intergenerational bonds still exist. Asian bishops were asked how they can better use the “language” of sport, media and music in their ministry to young people. Francis has sparked a mini-revolution in the church by hinting at a flexible approach to letting civilly remarried Catholics receive Communion.
BOUAKE, Ivory Coast — Soldiers in Ivory Coast’s second-largest city surrounded the residence where officials were negotiating a deal to end an army mutiny, as gunfire was also reported in the commercial capital of Abidjan on Friday night, raising fears the crisis was far from over. An Associated Press reporter in Bouake, in central Ivory Coast, saw hundreds of soldiers converge on the home of a local official where the
talks were taking place, and some fired their weapons into the air. Inside, a government delegation led by Defense Minister Alain-Richard Donwahi was meeting with representatives of soldiers who kicked off the mutiny a week ago, re-igniting security worries in the world’s top cocoa producer and Africa’s fastestgrowing economy. Beginning at around 9 p.m. Friday night, sporadic gunfire could be heard coming from a military camp in the residential Cocody district of Abidjan, said resident Emmanuel Assouan, who
Drug lord told to pay $1M in DEA agent’s murder By Maria Verza ASSOCIATED PRE SS
MEXICO CITY — A Mexican judge has ordered a drug lord convicted in the 1985 killings of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent and a government pilot to pay relatives of the victims nearly $1 million in compensation. The Federal Judicial Council announced the ruling Friday in a statement. It did not name any of the parties involved. But a
judicial official confirmed that the order is directed at Ernesto “Don Neto” Fonseca Carrillo, cofounder of the Guadalajara cartel, for the case of the kidnapping, torture and killing of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Fonseca was transferred from prison in July at age 86 to serve the remaining nine years of his sentence under house arrest.
lives nearby. “A barricade was erected by soldiers at the entrance to the camp. The shots are continuing to intensify,” Assouan said. The African Development Bank, which has its headquarters in Abidjan, sent out an alert advising staffers to stay home, citing reports of gunfire at the camp in Cocody as well as at a different military camp in the central Plateau district. Last week’s mutiny quickly spread to cities throughout the country including Abidjan before President Alassane Ouattara announced Jan. 7 that
Sia Kambou / Getty
Ivory Coast General Sekou Toure shakes hands with military commanders in Bouake on Friday.
a deal had been reached and that he would consider the soldiers’ demands. The soldiers are seeking unpaid bonuses, higher pay, faster promotions and improved living conditions. However, the details of the deal were not made public, and it was unclear whether all soldiers would accept them. On Friday, a military official with knowledge of the negotiations said the government was resisting paying bonuses of nearly $20,000 each for an un-
specified number of soldiers. The official spoke on condition of anonymity, saying he was not authorized to give his name. Ouattara and some other Ivorians have expressed frustration with the soldiers’ tactics. Before the talks began Friday, soldiers fired weapons to disperse a protest by civilians in Bouake who were angry that the standoff had disrupted economic activity in the city, said Fanta Kourouma, a Bouake resident.
THE ZAPATA TIMES | Saturday, January 14, 2017 |
FROM THE COVER
GOP looks to high court to stop ‘Californiazation’ of Texas A S S OCIAT E D PRE SS
AUSTIN, Texas — Republican lawmakers who decry the “Californiazation” of Texas are hoping court action will end single-use bag bans in at least a dozen Texas cities while stemming other local laws that they believe erode individual and economic liberties. The conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation held a gathering Thursday where organizers said the Texas Su-
JUDGE From page A1 Peña said the case against his client is in its “initial stages.” “I have not yet had access to the state’s report of investigation, but I believe that it will be made available to me very soon,” he said in the statement. “With respect to the County Court-at-Law No. 2’s case docket, Judge Garza will voluntarily work on options to ensure that pending cases are efficiently and expeditiously processed in a way that will not be affected by this event, will not cause delay, and will maintain the public’s confidence in the judicial process,” Peña said. Civil dispute Mathis was appointed permanent guardian of the wealthy Carlos Y. Benavides Jr.’s estate in 2013, court records state. Litigation involving Benavides and his estate has spread across two trial courts, three mandamus proceedings, seven appeals to the Fourth Court of Appeals and five prior petitions for review, according to court
FINED From page A1 failure to display and he would have to pay the fine. Ronald continually stated that he could not afford the $500 fine but was told he could pay in installments. “I said I can’t afford to pay $50 a month and the woman replied that I could do $30 instead,” Ronald said. “I said I can’t afford to even pay $25 and asked to speak with my wife but the woman said she would just deal with the card owner.” Ronald said he was then asked to sign a paper and after saying he could not read it because he was legally blind, Ronald said they never offered to read it to him and told him just to sign. “She didn’t say what is was but it was agreeing to pay $30 a month. They wouldn’t read it to
TMC From page A1 would result in a loss of over 100 local jobs,” a statement from Cuellar’s office states. “The move was halted when ... Cuellar notified the Administration of Children and Families, the federal agency which administers the Head Start program, that funding the relocation would put TMC above the 15 percent legal limit for administrative cost.” This year, the board of directors is again trying to relocate headquarters. In an attempt to circumvent the federal administrative cost limit, they have included a new budget item to relocate — paid for by cuts to critical services and jobs, Cuellar said. Internal disagreement within TMC about the budget item has resulted in the nonprofit organization failing to submit its yearly $64 million federal grant application on time, putting its entire funding in jeopardy, according to Cuellar. TMC rejects this allegation, and said in a statement Friday that they submitted their application in a timely manner. “That is not the right thing to do for our children and I consider it a misuse of taxpayer dollars,” Cuellar said. “Head Start centers are where thousands of children receive critical services and, as a member of the House Committee on Appropriations, I can tell you
TRADE From page A1
preme Court could ultimately rule to eliminate bag bans. The title of the gathering, “The Californiazation of Texas: Plastic Bag Bans,” appeared to be inspired by a 2015 speech by then-Gov.-elect Greg Abbott condemning a patchwork of local rules that he said erode “the Texas model” — such as bag bans in Austin and Laredo, and Denton’s prohibition against fracking, which was later overruled. The bans on single-use bags
are aimed at curbing litter and driven by environmental concerns, the Austin AmericanStatesman reported. But conservatives, with the support of the bag industry, have argued the Legislature must step in because such bans are an affront to liberty. “Is the state Legislature going to become the City Council of Texas?” asked Robin Schneider of Texas Campaign for the Environment, which supports bag bans like Aus-
tin’s. A state appeals court in August tossed out Laredo’s ban on store-provided checkout bags. The ruling applied to the 32 South Texas counties in the San Antonio-based court’s district. Parties in the case have appealed to the all-Republican Supreme Court and conservatives hope a ruling will end bag bans statewide. In its ruling, the 4th Court of Appeals said Laredo’s bag ban was pre-empted by a state law.
records. The latest litigation is a petition for review, requested by Mathis, with the Texas Supreme Court. On Jan. 6, attorney Baldemar Garcia filed an order discharging Mathis as the estate guardian. Court records indicate Garza’s signature remains pending on the order.
support the family has received from the community. “My family and everybody that knows my brother knows that in the 32 years he’s been on the bench, he has been the most decent and ethical person you will ever meet,” Garza said. “The charges are frivolous and he intends to see it through so justice can prevail.” Garza said the community knows that his brother is incapable of breaking the law. “Even though it’s a bad thing in the eyes of the public, it makes the family stronger and brings us closer,” he said. Webb County Judge Tano Tijerina released a statement regarding Garza’s arrest. “Because it is an ongoing investigation, I will reserve any comment for a more appropriate time,” he stated. “In the meantime, like all those accused, Judge Garza is entitled to due process and we will therefore allow the justice system to run its course.”
and family cases, most commonly divorce and paternity suits. The court also operates a DWI program, instituted in 2013 by Garza, that is targeted at providing alcohol and drug treatment services for individuals — 18 years and older — who have been arrested twice or more for driving while intoxicated and have alcohol use or alcohol and drug use disorders operates under Garza’s court. “Judge Garza has helped resolve over 92,000 cases that have passed through his court while always respecting and protecting people’s right to due process — it is now my privilege to protect his,” said Garza’s attorney, Peña. In his 2014 bid for re-election, Garza spent more than $70,000 on his campaign and triumphed over Linda GarzaMartinez with 54 percent of the vote. Before becoming a judge, Garza served six years as justice of the peace and one year as a municipal court judge.
Death by suicide Casarez was hired by the county in 2002. He died by suicide Dec. 11, according to a Laredo Police Department report. At approximately 1 a.m., the Laredo Fire Department responded to an attempted suicide in the 100 block of Lake Carnegie Court. Casarez was found unresponsive in his bedroom closet. Police said he had a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Reaction Garza’s brother, Ricardo Garza, a Laredo ISD school board member, said Thursday he appreciates the love and
Garza’s tenure Garza has served as County Court at Law II since 1993. The court handles only civil
TZT staff writer Judith Rayo contributed to this report
me. I thought it was agreeing I couldn’t pay it and I told her I was legally blind and she wouldn’t let my wife in,” Ronald said. According to Texas law it is a violation to park in an accessible parking space without displaying the appropriate plate or placard, even if a driver or passenger of the vehicle has a disability. Rogelio Fernandez, Laredo parking enforcement division supervisor, said although a city ordinance does exist, Laredo must have some type of regulation but cannot do less than the state requires. “According to our hearing officer right now we are going by state statutes. If they failed to display (the appropriate placard or license plate) they are liable to a citation,” Fernandez said. “I believe the state statute for handicap violation, minimum is $500 and the maximum is $850. We’re staying on
the minimum that the state allows.” Fernandez said the hearing officer has not been dismissing any citations but is allowing monthly payment plans. A last option left for the couple is to go to municipal court as they have the right to appeal. The Curringtons would have to put up $500 for a bond in order to fight the citation, which they said they also cannot afford to do. Joyce said she would understand a reduced fee for forgetting to display the placard and has been trying to get in contact with the mayor and the city manager. She said she has had no luck in receiving a response. The couple continue their efforts in trying to get somebody to work with them. Since the incident the couple has updated their license plates to ones that display the handicap symbol. “This is something that has
been coming up quite often. It’s not just about us, it’s about everybody,” Joyce said. “Something definitely needs to be brought up about it.” According to the City of Houston eGovernment website, if a person is fined for parking in a handicap spot, within 30 days of the citation issue date, they can email, mail or fax a copy of their placard, identification of the placard owner and a statement explaining why the placard was not displayed. A hearing officer will then review the citation for dismissal. Similarly in San Antonio, if you received a ticket for a disabled parking violation, they advise you to bring your placard or evidence of your disabled plate with you. According to the City of San Antonio government website, holders of a disabled placard or plate may be eligible for reduced fines or fees.
firsthand that when Congress allocates funds to an organization like TMC, we expect that organization to spend those federal dollars wisely and work to expand services, not cut them. “I call on the TMC board of directors to drop this unnecessary relocation strategy so that we can protect local jobs and preserve service levels. They operate 62 Head Start centers in Texas and seven other states and administer the Migrant Seasonal Head Start program and I have long been one of their biggest supporters but putting federal funding at risk is unacceptable.” Cuellar said he will ask the Administration of Children and Families to audit the TMC grant application once it is submitted. “I will, furthermore, request that dollars that do not benefit the parents or the children be disallowed,” he said. “This unnecessary attempt by TMC means fewer kids and fewer families will receive these critical services, and I will not stand for that.” Founded in 1971, TMC, formerly known as the Texas Migrant Council, operates the Head Start programs that serve children of migrant workers and assist working-class families with workforce and subsidized childcare programs. TMC interim CEO Lorie Ochoa said the board of directors approved to research locating a new building in San Antonio.
“The TMC board of directors have a responsibility that the program is running at the optimal level using the resources in an accountable manner,” she said. By relocating to San Antonio, Ochoa said TMC will have access to many grants from various nonprofit entities. She said relocating the corporate office will not impede services. “Relocating to San Antonio means the Laredo community will lose the corporate footprint TMC has had for many decades,” she said. Ochoa said TMC is not completely leaving Laredo, adding that the regional office and staff will stay behind. The relocation is pending approval from the Head Start Office. A grant application submitted asks for a $6 million decrease in TMC’s budget. Each year, TMC has to apply for a grant to fund its programs. To apply for the grant, TMC must submit an updated proposal and a budget narrative. The reduced budget proposal comes after TMC has not served a targeted number of children and families, Ochoa said. She said TMC used to serve about 6,400 children. Currently, it serves about 5,100, she said. To operate with a reduced budget, Ochoa said vacant positions were eliminated and that some employees will be affected as well. A proposal asks for cuts to 18 positions, half of them vacant slots, Ochoa said. Employees affected by these
cuts are located in Ohio, Indiana and Texas. A TMC policy committee council must accept the proposal. The board of directors and the committee will meet Saturday with a facilitator to further discuss the matter. Ochoa said some of the reasons the policy committee, comprised of parents and community members, did not approve the proposal is because of budget cuts. “TMC is about providing the highest quality education to children and services to family,” she said. “Some individuals misconstrue the primary focus. “I would like for everyone to keep their jobs but we have to do much with less and that means making very difficult decisions.” Martin Castillo, president of the policy council, said he voted against the proposal because it did not address the needs of children and migrant families. He said the federal grant should be used to address and improve services to families. “I didn’t see that in the grant proposal,” he said. Instead, Castillo said the grant addressed the relocation to San Antonio. “It shouldn’t be used for that purpose,” he said. A 90-day notice will be given to employees who would be affected by the relocation. TMC said it will partner with Texas Workforce Solutions to help individuals find employment.
both countries. Cars built in places like Arlington crisscross the United States and Mexico border, including Silao, Guanajuato, at least eight times during production, according to a study by the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute. “This relationship is not optional,” said U.S. Ambassador Roberta Jacobson. “And this relationship isn’t just about economics, or cultural ties, but security too.” The timing in Mexico is critical. The country of more than 120 million is facing uncertain times, and Trump’s ascent can either mean a slower growth rate or recession. During the presidential campaign, Trump referred to Mexicans as “rapists” and criminals, drug dealers — “although some, I assume, are good people,” he said. He promised to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, which would curtail more than $22 billion in annual remittances into Mexico. And he also wants to renegotiate trade deals, including the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, that over the past 22 years has woven an infrastructure of new industries stretching from Mexico, the United States to Canada. Since the late 1980s, Mexico has shifted from a close, privately held economy into one of the most open in the world, hedging its bets on trade agreements, including NAFTA in 1994. Today, the average Mexican has about one-third of his income from jobs tied to trade. Trump has also threatened a trade war with Mexico by slapping 35 percent tariffs on cars and auto parts imported from Mexico. His most applauded pledge was to build a wall with Mexico and have the Mexican government pay for it, leading supporters to chant “build that wall.” But since his election, Trump has seemed to back off his promises. “What shocked so many of us during the presidential campaign was not that a candidate could describe Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists or that he would threaten a trade war with Mexico,” said U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, whose district, which includes El Paso, has been transformed by trade. “What was shocking was that so many people throughout the country seemed to agree with those sentiments. The vilification of Mexico and the undervaluation in the U.S. of our bilateral relationship did not happen overnight. It will take many years to get it back on track.” In Mexico, “all possibilities are on the table,” said a senior Mexican official who was not authorized to speak publicly. That included bringing back former Finance Minister Luis Videgaray, who fell from grace as the mastermind of Trump’s lastminute, controversial visit to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico City last August. Videgaray promptly resigned amid the fury that ensued. But following Trump’s victory, Videgaray’s stock rose, and on Jan. 4, Peña Nieto named Videgaray as Mexico’s top diplomat. The U.S.-trained technocrat is known as a friend to key binational business leaders and has ties to some of Trump’s key people, including the presidentelect’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. (On Monday, Kushner was named a senior adviser to Trump.) The fiasco contributed to Peña Nieto’s worsening approval ratings — now in the low 20s — and fallout with the Democratic Party in the U.S. Mexico will need to “simultaneously engage the incoming (Trump) administration and rebuild ties with the Democratic Party,” said Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico’s former ambassador in Washington. “If NAFTA were to unravel, it would be the proverbial spanner in the works, one that will damage Mexico and the United States alike.” Other challenges for Mexico range from gasoline price hikes and shortages to more corruption, impunity in his administration, and renewed drug violence in regions, including Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso. In the first 10 months of 2016, more than 17,000 people were killed in Mexico, the highest 10-month tally since 2012. That has generated fears among citizens of a return of gangland mayhem that’s marred Mexico for more than 10 years.
A12 | Saturday, January 14, 2017 | THE ZAPATA TIMES
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Sports&Outdoors THE ZAPATA TIMES | Saturday, January 14, 2017 |
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE: HOUSTON TEXANS
Texans face big challenge on road against Patriots Anonymous / Associated Press file
Houston’s No. 1 ‘D’ meets Pats By Kyle Hightower A S S OCIAT E D PRE SS
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Houston Texans face an enormous challenge against the New England Patriots on Saturday night. The Texans are 1-7 against the Patriots. They are winless in New England all time, including a shutout loss earlier this season when Tom Brady was out because of a suspension. The Patriots enter the game as 15 1/2-point favorites over the visiting Texans — just the sixth time since 1966 that a team has been favored by at least 15 points in a playoff game. In the five previous occa-
Jose Carlos Fajardo / TNS
Texans running back Lamar Miller and Houston face the AFC’s top team Saturday playing in New England against the Patriots.
sions only one underdog — the New York Jets in Joe Namath’s Super Bowl guarantee — won the game. New England says it isn’t taking anything for granted in the divisional-round matchup against the NFL’s top-ranked defense. But how does Hous-
ton, which lost 27-0 in Week 3 to a Patriots team without Brady, go about beating a team that is one of the biggest favorites in playoff history? “The first thing that jumps out, you have to protect the ball. If you are going to beat the Patriots, especially in
Foxborough, you can’t have any turnovers,” Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler said. “If you have turnovers, you are giving Tom additional chances to score points. ... and that’s never going to be good for your football team.” That will be easier said than done against a Patriots defense that have been creating turnovers at a high rate during their seven-game win streak. New England’s defense went three straight weeks in the middle of the season without forcing a turnover, but had 14 of their 23 total takeaways over their final six games. The Texans turned it over three times in the first meeting. Two of the turnovers —fumbles on kickoffs — led to 14 points. But big favorite or not, Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower said he isn’t affected by outside distractions. “You all don’t have anyTexans continues on B2
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE: DALLAS COWBOYS
PLAYOFF HISTORY FOR COWBOYS, PACKERS DATES BACK DECADES Cowboys host Pack on Sunday By Genaro C. Armas A S S OCIAT E D PRE SS
GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers go way back, as in the 1967 NFL championship game played in such frigid conditions at Lambeau Field that it is known in league annals as the “Ice Bowl.” Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant has more recent memories, and they’re painful for reasons other than the cold. Two of the league’s marquee franchises share a postseason history that dates back five decades. They have met seven previous times in the playoffs , with Dallas holding a 4-3 edge going into the divisional round game on Sunday against the Packers at AT&T Stadium. While the teams may not be heated divisional rivals, Cowboys continues on B2
Anonymous / Associated Press file
Former Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr scores the game-winning touchdown against Dallas in the 1967 NFL Championship game known as the Ice Bowl.
Former Cowboys QB Roger Staubach with coach Tom Landry in 1979.
Staubach recalls when Landry installed shotgun By Howard Fendrich ASSOCIATED PRE SS
All these years later, Roger Staubach remembers quite clearly what his initial reaction was when Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry approached him about making the shotgun formation a recurring feature of their offense. "I thought he was crazy or something," the former quarterback said with a snicker during a telephone interview this week. "I mean, we're talking about 1975. Nobody used the shotgun." The Pro Football Hall of Fame — which counts both Staubach and Landry among its members — says San Francisco 49ers coach Red Hickey introduced a form of the shotgun offense to the sport in 1960, before abandoning it during the following season. But Landry's Cowboys get credit for bringing it back and popularizing it by positioning Staubach 5 yards behind the center. That set the stage for what today is the most popular way for NFL offenses to line up: 60 percent of plays this season began in the shotgun , up from 19 percent in 2006, according to data provided by TruMedia Networks. So how did it originate? According to Staubach, Landry (who passed away in 2000) figured he needed to try something to jump-start the Cowboys, who were coming off an 8-6 record, a third-place finish in the NFC East and had missed the playoffs for the first time in nine years. Landry and assistant Mike Ditka — who previously had played tight end for Dallas and would later lead the Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl title as a head coach — decided to use the shotgun formation on third downs and in 2-minute drills, because Dallas usually threw in those situations, anyway. "We had a rough year in '74. We weren't supposed to do anything in '75," Staubach recalled. "At first, we heard some criticism. The shotgun was really unique at the time." It also worked. "That's when it really came into vogue," said Herm Edwards, who played against Landry's Cowboys as a defensive back for the division rival Philadelphia Eagles in the 1970s and 1980s, then coached in the NFL. "It was a different look and, for a while, it messed up your way of looking at the quarterback's drop and defining that drop." Staubach went from a 52.8 completion percentage and 11 touchdown passes in 1974, to 56.9 percent and 17 TDs the next season while in the shotgun part of the Shotgun continues on B2
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Many credit Rooney Rule after tying record for minority hires By Barry Wilner ASSOCIATED PRE SS
Bill Wippert / Associated Press file
Former Bills offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn was hired as the next head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers. The NFL will have eight minority head coaches in 2017, tying the most for the beginning of one season.
The NFL will have eight minority head coaches in 2017, tying the most for the beginning of one season. With the hirings of Anthony Lynn by the Chargers and Vance Joseph by the Broncos, the eight minority coaches will equal the number in 2011. Five of those men — Marvin Lewis, Mike Tomlin, Jim Caldwell, Hue Jackson and Ron Rivera —
remain as head coaches, though Caldwell has switched from the Colts to the Lions, and Jackson went from the Raiders to the Browns. The Jets’ Todd Bowles is the other. The 49ers are the only team without a head coach. Robert Gulliver, the NFL’s chief human resources officer, cites the effectiveness of the Rooney Rule, which mandates that teams interview minority candidates for coaching and general
manager positions. That rule also has been extrapolated to include other NFL jobs. “The rule is firmly embedded,” Gulliver said Friday. “It makes us better.” Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy agrees. “To me, the Rooney Rule is doing what it is supposed to do,” Dungy said. “It’s not just to interview minority coaches, but to investigate every candidate and make a thorough list and high-
light the person who fits you. “If you explore it and take your time, you usually come out with a good candidate.” Perhaps most notable in the process this winter has been the rise to prominence of assistant coaches who might not have been among the prime candidates mentioned when the season ended. Lynn, Joseph and the Rams’ Sean McVay — the youngest head coach in Rooney continues on B2
B2 | Saturday, January 14, 2017 | THE ZAPATA TIMES
Astros avoid arbitration with three key players By Jake Kaplan H OUSTO N CHRONI CLE
The Astros settled Friday on one-year contracts with three of their seven arbitration-eligible players, including two franchise cornerstones in starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel and outfielder George Springer. Starting pitchers Collin McHugh and Mike Fiers, reliever Will Harris and infielder Marwin Gonzalez remained unsigned after Friday's noon deadline for teams and player agents to exchange desired salary figures. Cases that aren't settled in the coming weeks are heard in February by a threeperson panel, which then chooses one side's proposed figure or the other's. Under the terms of his deal Keuchel will make $9.15 million this season, the penultimate year he is under team control. The salary represents a $1.9-
million raise for the 29year-old lefthander, whose case for a higher salary in his second year of arbitration eligibility was hindered by his regression in 2016. The 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner had been projected by MLBTradeRumors.com to make $9.5 million through the arbitration process, which takes into account a player's previous seasons in addition to his most recent. Keuchel had a 4.55 ERA in 26 starts last year, missing the season's final five weeks because a shoulder injury. Keuchel is eligible for one more year of arbitration before qualifying for free agency following the 2018 season. The $7.25 million he made last year coming off his 20-win campaign set a record for a first-time arbitrationeligible starting pitcher. His health and performance will be pivotal to
28 for 304 yards and four touchdown passes in the 34-27 victory at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. The Packers went on to beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl. After joining the NFL as an expansion franchise in 1960, Dallas started a streak of 20 straight winning seasons in 1966.
COWBOYS From page B1 their postseason meetings often leave an impression. “I hope the Cowboys don’t spoil it, or I’ll be really (angry) if they do,” said former Packers offensive lineman Jerry Kramer. He was one of the blockers for Hall of Famer Bart Starr’s game-winning, 1yard quarterback sneak with 13 seconds left in the fourth quarter of Green Bay’s 21-17 win in the Ice Bowl. Each team has made 32 postseason appearances, tied with the New York Giants for most in NFL history. Dallas and Green Bay have unique owners. For the Cowboys, owner Jerry Jones is part-showman, part-personnel executive and part-spokesman. Dallas plays in a cavernous, modern stadium in a sprawling suburb. Green Bay plays in the league’s smallest market. Lambeau Field is the league’s longest-tenured stadium, situated in the middle of a blue-collar neighborhood. It’s the only publicly owned franchise in the NFL. “Part of it is, I don’t think the organizations could be more different. Their stadium and our stadium — ours is iconic, an older stadium. Their (stadium) is glitzy,” Packers president Mark Murphy said. “But I have tremendous respect for the Dallas organization and Jerry.” A look back at some postseason highlights of postseason between the teams:
ICE BOWL The temperature was minus-13 at kickoff on Dec. 31, 1967, when the Cowboys and Packers met at Lambeau in a classic NFL championship game . Cowboys equipment staff gave players a salve to rub on to keep warm, and put Saran Wrap around feet in an attempt to add another layer of warmth. There wasn’t much of a rivalry then because the Cowboys were still relatively new to the league, Kramer said, though the seeds of a rivalry were planted.
NEW YEAR’S DAY Fifty years ago on Jan. 1, the teams met in the 1966 NFL championship game, which took on new meaning since the winner would represent the league in the first Super Bowl against the AFL winner. Starr was 19 of
ROONEY From page B1 modern NFL history at age 30 — fall into that category. “When we created the Rooney Rule in 2002-03, what we were trying to do was give guys who otherwise got overlooked to get a fighting chance,” explained Cyrus Mehri, who co-wrote the Rooney Rule and has been a strong advocate of minority hiring in pro football, working closely with the Fritz Pollard Alliance. “This hiring cycle has been particularly special because of the guys who
the Astros' 2017 season. Springer, 27, will make $3.9 million next season his first seven-figure salary but $800,000 less than MLBTradeRumors.com's projection - in the first of the four years in which he is eligible for arbitration. In his first full healthy season in the major leagues last year, Springer batted .261 with 29 home runs and an .815 OPS. He played Gold Glove-caliber defense in right field - he was one of three finalists for the award, won by Boston's Mookie Betts and led the majors in plate appearances (744) while playing in all 162 games. Springer - like fellow outfielder Jake Marisnick - is eligible for four years of arbitration instead of the typical three because of his Super Two status, achieved by those ranking in the top 22 percent of major league service time among players who have
DALLAS DOMINATION The Cowboys dominated in the mid-1990s with a star-studded lineup led by the Hall of Fame trio of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin. Dallas hosted the Packers and another future Hall of Famer, quarterback Brett Favre, for three straight seasons, from 1993-95, all Cowboys victories. Kramer remembers a weekend in which he attended one of those playoff games and got frustrated by the brash and confident Cowboys. His anger boiled over in a radio interview. “There wasn’t anything about any of them that I liked,” Kramer recalled this week. He has become friends with former Dallas players, though his heart remains with the Packers. The loss in the 1995 NFC title game served as a learning experience for Green Bay. The Packers went on to beat New England in the Super Bowl in the 1996 sea-
have worked hard to get themselves in position to compete, two guys got selected, and now we are at the highest number of clubs that have” a minority head coach. “We are very happy about that.” If 2011 was a groundbreaking year — three other minorities finished that season in charge of teams, Mel Tucker in Jacksonville, Romeo Crennel in Kansas City, and Bowles in Miami — Gulliver, Dungy and Mehri are excited with how 2017 has begun. Already in place are minority general managers Rick Smith in Hous-
Bob Levey / Getty Images
The Astros avoided arbitration with three key players Friday including pitcher Dallas Keuchel, pictured, and outfielders George Springer and Jake Marisnick.
accrued between two and three years of service. Marisnick, also in his first time through arbitration, was the third player the Astros settled with Friday. The team's projected fifth outfielder will make $1.1 million this season, exactly the amount MLBTradeRumors.com had projected
son. “Every year, you got better, you learned from your mistakes,” former center Frank Winters said. “From a motivational point ... you tried to overcome those adversities, tried to learn from them and move forward.” They didn’t face the Cowboys in the playoffs that year after Dallas was knocked out by Carolina. The Packers returned to the Super Bowl the following season, losing to Denver. “I think the signature ‘win’ for the Packers was a loss, and that was the NFC championship in 1995 in Dallas,” former Packers linebacker George Koonce said. “That really prepared us and got us focused to really get us ready to win a championship.” OVERTURNED CATCH The Cowboys returned to Lambeau for a postseason game on Jan. 11, 2015. They left with a 26-21 loss after Bryant’s leaping, 31-yard catch to the Packers 1 on fourth-and-2 with 4 1/2 minutes left was overturned by officials. Cornerback Sam Shields had solid coverage. Coach Mike McCarthy saw otherwise and threw a challenge flag. Replays showed that Bryant bobbled the ball as he rolled into the end zone, with part of it touching the field. After reviewing the play, officials overturned the call, saying Bryant didn’t maintain control all the way to the ground. “Still to this day,” Bryant said when asked if fans still come up to him about the call. “Still to this day they (will) be like ... ‘I just want the world to know that Dez Bryant still caught it.”’ As for Bryant, that call is history . “It’s already erased ... I’m just thinking about this game,” Bryant said. “I can’t wait. It’s going to be a fun game Sunday.”
ton, Jerry Reese with the Giants, Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore, Sashi Brown in Cleveland, Reggie McKenzie in Oakland and Doug Whaley in Buffalo. Most encouraging to Gulliver is how the Rooney Rule is being adopted in other sports, businesses and, as of last week, apparently by the U.S. government. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) is planning to urge his fellow Democrats to adopt the “Rooney Rule.” In the Senate, Schumer wants to ensure that at least one minority applicant is considered for any open position.
the 25-year-old to receive. The Astros have gone to an arbitration hearing only once in general manager Jeff Luhnow's tenure. It occurred last February, when the team won its case over catcher Jason Castro, who made $5 million rather than the $5.25 million he sought. A week later, the team cut a
SHOTGUN From page B1 time. He grew to like the formation, but not necessarily for how it helped his throwing. Part of Staubach's game was running with the football. The shotgun allowed him to find lanes better as he surveyed the defense while looking straight ahead at the snap, instead of moving backward sideways after receiving a hike from the center.
TEXANS From page B1 thing to do with the game so what you all think doesn’t really matter,” Hightower said. “I mean you all aren’t in between the lines. So, no I’m not really — blocking out the noise is part of that.” Here are some other things to watch for in Saturday’s matchup: MILLER TIME Houston RB Lamar Miller returned against the Raiders after missing two weeks with an ankle injury. He finished with 73 yards and a touchdown, but was unhappy with his performance after averaging just 2.4 yards a carry after averaging 4 per run in the regular season. “This past game ... I was kind of rusty for not playing the last two weeks,” he said. “I’m just trying to get comfortable with everything. This week, I’m looking forward to the challenge.” Miller is in his first season with the Texans after spending his first four with the Dolphins. He has been a rare bright spot on a Houston offense that has struggled to move the ball and finished the regular season ranked 10th with 1,073 yards rushing. CLOWNEY’S CONTRIBUTION Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney’s breakout regular season helped Houston’s defense not only stay afloat, but it entered the playoffs ranked first in the NFL despite the loss of superstar J.J. Watt to season-ending back surgery after just three games. Clowney had 16
“The more diverse the Senate is, the better it can serve the American people,” Schumer said. “Expanding the diversity initiative, following the Rooney Rule, and dedicating ourselves to increasing diversity will be good for the Senate and for the country.” Within the NFL, Gulliver notes there are plenty more opportunities for diversity. “We continue to look for opportunities to build on the success of the Rooney Rule,” he said. “We’ve had a good dialogue with the Fritz Pollard Alliance and the commissioner, talked
deal with Evan Gattis on the day of the parties' scheduled hearing. McHugh, Fiers and Harris are each in their first year going through the arbitration process. Gonzalez is arbitration eligible for the third of four times because he qualified for Super Two status back in 2014.
"Teams weren't used to it, and they had to work to play against it. It was a real advantage," he said. "We weren't supposed to do anything that year. But the shotgun was a big part of having the success we had in 1975." And beyond: Dallas would reach the Super Bowl that season, starting a run of three appearances in four years in the NFL's championship game. "All of a sudden," Staubach said, "I fell in love with it." Slowly but surely, so did the rest of the league.
tackles for losses, 17 quarterback hits and six sacks during the regular season, but saved his biggest play for last week. The top overall pick in the 2014 draft had his first career interception in the win over the Raiders to set up Houston’s first touchdown in the 27-14 win. Clowney and outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus, who had two sacks on Saturday, talked about building on what they did against the Raiders this week. “I said: ‘We got to keep doing this as long as we’re going to keep winning these games. We have to go out here and make plays,”’ Clowney said. “He was like: ‘I know, man, I know.’ This week I told him it’s going to be on us again.” BLOUNT’S HEALTH Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount has taken a lot of pressure off Brady this season, rushing for a New England single-season record 18 touchdowns and career-high 1,161 yards. But he may not be at 100 percent after missing two straight days of practice with an illness. AMENDOLA RETURNS Brady’s receiving group is as healthy as it’s been in a long time thanks to the return of Danny Amendola to full participation in practice this week. Amendola sat out the final four regular-season games after suffering an ankle injury on Dec. 4. He said he’s had no setbacks since his return. “The playoffs is what you play for,” Amendola said. “It’s why everybody’s here. It’s what we’ve been waiting on all year. And we’re ready to go.”
about the opportunity not only to have a diverse candidate slate for coaches and GMs, but about the best practice to have multiple diverse candidates. We’ve talked about the best practices being applied to coordinator positions.” A year ago, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the extension of the rule for gender applying for senior level positions at the league office. The NFL has encouraged the 32 teams to consider that as a best practice, too. “Forty-five percent of our fans are women,” Gulliver said, “so it only
makes sense for women to be involved in all levels of our sport. It just makes us better as an organization.” Dungy, whose coaching tree includes such successes as Tomlin, Caldwell, Lovie Smith and Herm Edwards, was particularly uplifted by this year’s coaching hires. “The spirit behind the Rooney Rule is very good when the interview process is executed properly,” he said. “To foster diversity helps in a lot of ways, and in the NFL it allows you to get a better and deeper pool of people and then you can pick from it. It only adds to the quality of people hired.”
THE ZAPATA TIMES | Saturday, January 14, 2017 |
Dear Heloise: After surgery, my sheepskin slippers and one pair of special shoes were all my doctor would allow me to wear. In time, both were stinky. I use a fragrant deodorant soap to shower, so I had several new, unopened bars. I placed a fresh bar in each slipper. Now my shoes have a lovely fragrance. I thought others might be surprised, and this could reduce stinky footwear. -- Naomi in MN MAKEUP MOVE Dear Heloise: If you're like me, I first put on my makeup, then the top I'm wearing that day. I put my head in facing the back and then turn the top around, and put my arms in the sleeves. No makeup on my top all day! I do the reverse to remove the garment. I never miss your articles in the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader. -- Joy C., Ozark, Mo.
FRAMING SEEDS Dear Heloise: Several weeks after moving into a new apartment, I was stymied by what to hang on a long, narrow wall in the kitchen. While in the hardware store, I noticed seed packets, with photos so beautiful that they seemed to be painted. I bought eight of them, got small black frames and WOW! The wall looks spectacular! -Shannon B. in Dallas WARM WALKER Dear Heloise: On chilly mornings, I toss my sweatshirt in the clothes dryer for a few minutes. This helps me stay warm before I am warmed up. It works for hats, gloves and socks, too. -- John K. in New York
B4 | Saturday, January 14, 2017 | THE ZAPATA TIMES
A lot has changed since previous Atlanta-Seattle matchup By Paul Newberry A S S OCIAT E D PRE SS
ATLANTA — As with any rematch, there are certainly things that both teams learned about each other the first time around. Then again, so much will be different when the Atlanta Falcons host Seattle in an NFC divisional playoff game Saturday. Especially for the Seahawks. Seattle found a running game in its playoff opener, and quarterback Russell Wilson appears as healthy as he’s been all season. Yet the defense looks a lot less imposing without safety Earl Thomas, out for the season with a broken leg. Most significantly, this game will be at the Georgia Dome, costing the Seahawks perhaps the most imposing homefield advantage in the NFL. A 26-24 victory over the Falcons in Week 6 was at the Link. “We’ve got the best fans in the world,” said Wilson, no doubt mindful that Seattle is 8-1 at home this season but just 3-4-1 on the road. “We don’t take that for granted.” In addition to having the fans on their side for the rematch, the Falcons look a bit different on the field. The young defense, with as many as four rookie starters, has grown up considerably over the latter part of the season, even after a season-ending injury to its best cornerback, Desmond Trufant. Vic Beasley, in particular, established himself as one of the league’s most dominant pass rushers. “Both teams now are a better version of themselves than when we played back then,” said Falcons coach Dan Quinn, a former defensive coordinator in Seattle. The Atlanta offense has been on point all season. Led by quarterback Matt Ryan, one of the leading contenders for MVP, the Falcons (11-5) romped to the NFC
Paul Sancya / Associated Press file
Texas avoided arbitration with six players on Friday including closer Sam Dyson.
Rangers avoid arbitration with Dyson, 5 others ASSOCIATED PRE SS Elaine Thompson / Associated Press file
The Falcons and Seahawks match up Saturday in the NFC playoffs highlighted by Atlanta WR Julio Jones facing Seattle’s ‘Legion of Boom’ secondary.
South title and a firstround bye behind the league’s highest-scoring offense, averaging nearly 34 points a game. Ryan has been especially accurate on his deep throws, an area of vulnerability for the Seahawks without their star safety. In the first meeting, Thomas had one of just seven interceptions Ryan threw all season. “His accuracy is phenomenal,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “He puts it in all of the right spots.” Here are some things to watch for Saturday: POSTSEASON BLUES While Ryan is coming off the best season of his career, completing 69.9 percent for 4,944 yards and 38 touchdowns, his career mark in the playoffs is just 1-4. In an interesting twist, that lone postseason win came against Seattle during the divisional round four years ago, when he guided the Falcons to a last-second, 30-28 victory after the Falcons blew a 20-point lead. Ryan said the past won’t be a factor in this game. “I feel like I’m playing my best,” he said, “better than I ever have.” RUNNING WILD Seattle’s inconsistent run game got a big — and
surprising — boost out of Thomas Rawls in last week’s wild-card victory over Detroit. Rawls rushed for 161 yards, a franchise playoff record that caught everyone off guard after the running backs produced just two 100-yard games during the entire regular season and the Seahawks didn’t even rush for 100 yards as a team in the final three games. That 100yard mark is a big number. Under Carroll, the Seahawks have just one playoff victory when failing to reach triple figures on the ground. SPREADING IT AROUND Julio Jones had seven catches for 139 yards against Seattle during the regular season, and Atlanta fans are still seething about an apparent pass interference penalty on Richard Sherman that wasn’t called late in the game. While the Jonesvs.-Sherman matchup is sure to be a focal point, the Falcons have shown they can win even when opponents double up on their All-Pro receiver. Ryan has thrown TDs to an NFL-record 13 players, and the passing game is at full strength with the return of speedy receiver Taylor Gabriel and tight end Austin Hooper from injuries that kept them
out late in the season. WHERE’S JIMMY? It would be a good time to get tight end Jimmy Graham reacquainted with the Seattle offense. In Week 6, he had six catches for 89 yards and took advantage of openings in the middle of Atlanta’s defense. But over the past five games including the playoffs, Graham has just 11 receptions and one touchdown. He’s always played well against the Falcons going back to his days in New Orleans, totaling 55 receptions, eight touchdowns and five games of at least 80 yards receiving over 11 matchups. KEEP AN EYE ON HESTER Devin Hester returns to the Georgia Dome for the first time since being released by the Falcons. Signed before the playoffs to jumpstart Seattle’s return game, he had the last of his NFL-record 20 touchdown returns during a Pro Bowl season with the Falcons in 2014. He was released last summer after battling injuries, but Atlanta is mindful of his potential impact on special teams. “He’s had terrific history of making big plays, so we certainly know what Devin is capable of,” Quinn said.
ARLINGTON — The Texas Rangers avoided salary arbitration with six of their seven eligible players Friday, topped by closer Sam Dyson getting a $3 million raise after making just over the major league minimum last season. Dyson agreed to a $3.52 million contract after taking over as closer for the AL West champions about a month into the season and finishing third in the AL with 38 saves. The right-hander made $525,270 last season. Texas also reached deals with two other relievers, Jeremy Jeffress at $2.1 million and Tanner Scheppers at $975,000. Right-handed starter A.J. Griffin accepted a $2 million offer. Also agreeing to contracts were catcher Robinson Chirinos ($1.95 million) and infielder Jurickson Profar ($1,005,000). Jake Diekman is the remaining player eligible for arbitration. The lefty reliever is asking for $3.1 million, and the Rangers are offering $1.9 million. Diekman made $1.25 million last season, when he was 4-2 with a 3.40 ERA in 66 games. Dyson went 3-2 with a 2.43 ERA in 73 games, second-most in the AL. The 28-year-old was drafted by Toronto in 2010 and claimed off waivers by Miami three
years later. The Rangers acquired him at the trading deadline in 2015. Jeffress, who made $519,000 last season, came from Milwaukee with catcher Jonathan Lucroy in a deadline deal. The right-hander was away from the team for about a month, spending more than three weeks in a rehab clinic following his Aug. 26 arrest on a drunkendriving charge. He had a 2.70 ERA in 12 games with Texas. Scheppers missed most of last season because of left knee surgery, making 10 appearances in the final month. The right-hander made $900,000 last year. Griffin, who made $517,000 last season, was 7-4 with a 5.07 ERA in 23 starts after not pitching in the majors since 2013 because of right elbow surgery. Chirinos lost his job when the Rangers acquired Lucroy. The 32year-old, who has played in 261 games for Texas the past five years, hit .224 in 57 games in an injury-plagued season. Chirinos made $1.5 million last season. After missing two full seasons because of right shoulder issues, Profar hit .239 with five homers and 20 RBIs. He played all four infield positions, as well as left field and DH. He made $605,000 last season after avoiding arbitration.
Chiefs aim to get even for October loss to Steelers By Dave Skretta A S S OCIAT E D PRE SS
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Alex Smith endured watching film of the Kansas City Chiefs’ meltdown in Pittsburgh earlier this season “a bunch of times” this week, still trying to figure out where everything went wrong. As if he hasn’t relived it enough in his nightmares. Ben Roethlisberger threw five touchdown passes. Le’Veon Bell starred in his return from a three-game suspension. The Steelers scored 22 first-quarter points, led 36-0 before the Chiefs finally scored and they proceeded to route the eventual AFC West champions 43-14 that October night. “It’s been a long time,” Smith said, “so they’ve changed. Over the course of the season, they’ve progressed and gone a certain direction. There’s a lot they change week-toweek as well.” But the Chiefs (12-4) are a different team, too. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill has made a name for himself as one of the NFL’s most dynamic rookies, going from special-teams standout to offensive difference-maker. Top pass rusher Justin
Houston is also expected to be available after missing the first meeting while recovering from knee surgery. Oh, and this matchup with the Steelers (12-5) will be at loud Arrowhead Stadium rather than Heinz Field, and a spot in the AFC title game awaits the winner. “We got embarrassed in the first meeting,” Chiefs center Mitch Morse said, “and we had to come back and kind of take a step back and realize, ‘We’re a good football team.’ We had to understand where we were. We learned a lot from that game and we were able to take the next step.” Indeed, the Chiefs ripped off five straight wins after that loss in Pittsburgh, a stretch that turned around their season. They wound up overtaking Oakland for the division title on the final day of the regular season, earning a first-round bye and a home playoff game. The Steelers basically had a bye, too: They routed Miami last weekend to advance. “I think a postseason challenge on the road is one thing,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said, “but at a legendary venue like that is something else.
Don Wright / Associated Press file
The Steelers and Chiefs meet in the playoffs Sunday. Pittsburgh won 43-14 in October.
We’re excited about it. We respect it.” But they aren’t going to be intimidated by it. The Steelers have been in enough big games over the years that it takes more than a trip to Kansas City, where the Chiefs have not won a playoff game since the 1993 season, to leave them quaking in their cleats. Besides, they already beat the Chiefs in a laugher once this season. “If you need the ‘revenge factor’ in the playoffs to help you win, something is wrong with you,” Roethlisberger said. “You’re in the playoffs, so you need to throw everything out, whether you played them before or didn’t play them before,
personnel or whatever it is. You need to start fresh.” As the Chiefs and Steelers prepare to meet again Sunday night, here are some keys to the game: LACE UP YOUR SKATES The U.S. figuring skating championships are in Kansas City this weekend, and Arrowhead Stadium might make a mighty fine rink. Forecasts for Sunday call for a near-100 percent chance of freezing rain that could leave the turf, re-sodded just this week, with a thick glaze. The game was supposed to kick off at 12:05 p.m. Central time, but was moved to 7:20 p.m. so
stadium and road crews along with local and state authorities could ensure roads and parking lots were safe. “No weather is a part of our ball,” Tomlin said. “We don’t overanalyze that.”
more difficult than simply kicking away from him. “One return man, you have to put the ball in play,” Boswell said. “It also depends on weather. He is going to return. It’s just a matter of covering and tackling.”
BYE, BYE, BYE Chiefs coach Andy Reid has compiled a 16-2 record in the regular season after a week off, including a road win over Oakland this season. He was also perfect in three divisional playoff games in Philadelphia when his teams earned a firstround bye, including one season that ended in the Super Bowl. “I don’t know if there’s a secret,” he insisted. “I think everybody does it the same way.”
TURNOVER TROUBLE The Chiefs led the NFL with a plus-16 turnover differential this season, thanks mostly to 18 interceptions and 15 fumbles recoveries. They also scored 27 percent of their points off takeaways, one of the highest percentages in the league. They were minus-2 when they faced the Steelers in October.
OVER THE HILL By the end of the regular season, Hill had returned two punts and a kickoff for touchdowns, and scored six times through the air and three times on the ground. But he also had a 78-yard punt return touchdown against the Steelers brought back by a penalty. Tomlin called him “a weapon to be reckoned with,” but Steelers kicker Chris Boswell said dealing with Hill’s speed is
ROAD WEARY Much has been made of Roethlisberger’s Jekylland-Hyde home-road splits, but it’s more than just a talking point. He’s completed 71 percent of his passes for 320 yards per game with 20 TDs and five picks at home, and 59 percent for 238 yards per game with nine TDs and eight picks on the road. Not that the Chiefs wonder which version they’ll face Sunday. “He is who he is,” Chiefs safety Eric Berry said. “A great quarterback.”