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TO 4,000 HOMES





Construction spat

State hit on voter turnout

District claims problems with 4 schools in lawsuit By ALDO AMATO THE ZAPATA TIMES

Zapata County Independent School District is taking a construction firm to trial next month claiming the company did shoddy work on four of the district’s elementary schools. In spring 2012, ZCISD filed a lawsuit against Satterfield & Pontikes, saying the company did subpar work on constructing two elementary schools with pavilions — Zapata South

and Fidel & Andrea Villarreal — and the gyms at Zapata North and Arturo L. Benavides. ZCISD is seeking $16 million in damages. Additional defendants include Bill Reiffert and Associates Inc., Robert E. Martinez and Jorge D. Perez, of Perez Consulting Engineers. Juan Cruz, of Laredo-based J. Cruz and Associates, which represents ZCISD, said the case is set to go to trial Jan. 13

in Zapata County. “We are looking forward to our day in court,” he said. Satterfield & Pontikes could not be reached for comment Friday. Claims of negligence listed in the lawsuit include: Failure to construct the projects in accordance with the plans and specifications Failure to implement and install specified components and materials Failure to properly seal

openings of the projects, resulting in vermin roosting in the classroom heating, ventilation and air conditioning returns Failure to meet bare minimum construction standards Substituting without authority materials with cheaper and lower quality materials and failing to properly credit ZCISD for the lower-cost items (Aldo Amato may be reached at 728-2538 or



Photo by Brad Doherty/The Brownsville Herald | AP

A tractor removes trees and brush to restore the prairie around the Bahia Grande, a part of the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, on Thursday. Overgrown vegetation around the bay has significantly altered the habitat of the aplomado falcon, a bird of prey that is endangered in the United States.

Project brushes aside brush for endangered falcon By TY JOHNSON THE BROWNSVILLE HERALD

BROWNSVILLE — Jonathan Moczygemba looks out over the grass prairies of the Bahia Grande wetland area and smiles the way most homeowners look out over their freshly cut lawns. The land, a part of the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, isn’t his, but as a wild-

life biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, he has developed a deep respect for the once barren basin. “I feel like this is what it should look like,” he says as he scans a portion where controlled burns two years ago have restored the plains to their grassy equilibrium. The Brownsville Ship Channel dredging in the 1930s and later construction of Highway

48 slowly transformed the bay from a wetland rich with life into acres of mudflats before the USFWS and others began a project in the mid-2000s to flood the bay, restoring its capacity for vegetation and marine life. But resetting the impact of decades of development at the 11,000-acre reserve has proven to be more complicated than simply flooding the bay, as overgrown vegetation around the

bay has significantly altered the habitat of the aplomado falcon, a bird of prey that is endangered in the United States. Although globally the falcons are classified as a species of least concern, South Texas — where all of the American birds are located — is estimated to have only 28 breeding pairs left.




AUSTIN — Civil rights activists accused Texas officials last week of not enforcing laws designed to drive voter turnout, while records show that if the first elections under the state’s new voter ID law angered or confused many people, they’ve not complained to the state in force. A report from the Texas Civil Rights Project shifted the dispute over voting rights from whether people would be turned away on Election Day to whether residents are given enough opportunities to simply register to vote. The Austin-based group said a survey of public schools showed districts failed to give eligible students voter registration forms at least twice a year as required by law. It also accuses the state of doing little to promote voter registration opportunities. “It makes the point that the system in Texas is lackadaisical at best,” said Jim Harrington, the group’s executive director. The report comes more a month after Texas held its first election under a voter ID law passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2011. A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court this summer gave the state the go-ahead to finally implement the law. A challenge in federal court has been set for trial in September 2014. Republicans have rebuffed criticism of the law’s potential to disenfranchise by pointing to higher-than-typical turnout last month for an off-year election. Data from state elections officials indicate the state hasn’t been inundated by complaints, either. For the November election, 14 voters submitted complaints to the Texas secretary of state’s office that required a written response from a state attorney, according to figures obtained by The Associated Press. That’s just one more complaint more than the last off-year election in 2011, though twice as many as in 2009. State figures also show elections attorneys logging 10 “informal” complaints this year, less than half of the 24 logged in 2011. Alicia Pierce, spokeswoman for the secretary of state’s office, said the agency had not yet reviewed the report released Monday. But she said the agency was “always willing to work with interested groups to improve the voter registration process.” Pierce also said her office is not an enforcement agency and can’t compel other agencies to take action. Among those criticized in the report is the Texas Education Agency over promoting voter registration in schools. Secretary of State John Steen announced last week he would step down in January after a year on the job. His office touted a more than 60 percent spike in turnout from the last constitutional amendment election in 2011 to this year, when a high-profile referendum on spending $2 billion from the state’s Rainy Day Fund for water was on the ballot. Harrington said the full impact of the voter ID law won’t be seen until the general election in 2014. “We don’t know what the jam-up is going to be,” he said.


Pickup kills five students waiting at bus stop SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Five high school students died after being hit by a pickup truck occupied by armed civilians who were involved in a chase, according to Tamaulipas authorities Wednesday. The Tamaulipas attorney general’s office said the incident took place near Reynosa at 12:30 p.m. at kilometer 209 of the ReynosaSan Fernando highway, in front of high school 56, also known as Rodolfo Treviño Castillo school,

The incident took place near Reynosa at 12:30 p.m. at kilometer 209 of the Reynosa-San Fernando highway, in front of high school 56, also known as Rodolfo Treviño Castillo school. as the students were waiting for a bus to take them to their homes. Authorities added that an adult woman and a child were injured, and are in stable condition. The students were identified as

Margarita Arraiga Cruz, 15, Rosario de los Ángeles Álvarez Hernández, 15, Josecil Castro Castro, 14, Juan Carlos Castillo Arizmendi, 13, and Gerardo Martínez Cruz, 13. A public ministry investigator

discussed the results of his investigation. Two armed civilians in a fourdoor, 2005 red Chevrolet Silverado driving at a high rate of speed during a chase lost control of the vehicle, skidding towards the bus

stop near the shoulder of the road where the five students were waiting for a bus. In addition to striking the students, the pickup struck two vehicles parked outside of the school, injuring Sandra Reyes Garza, 31, and Areli Fernandez, 5. Both were inside one of the vehicles struck by the pickup. The investigator said evidence did not indicate who was chasing the gunmen. (Translated by Mark Webber of the Times staff.)


Zin brief CALENDAR




Monday, Dec. 23


Zapata County Commissioners Court meeting. 9 a.m. Zapata County Courthouse. Call Roxy Elizondo at 7659920.

Today is Saturday, Dec. 21, the 355th day of 2013. There are 10 days left in the year. Winter arrives at 12:11 p.m. Eastern time. Today’s Highlight in History: On Dec. 21, 1913, what’s regarded as the first newspaper crossword puzzle was published in the New York World. Created by journalist Arthur Wynne, it was billed as a “Word-Cross Puzzle.” On this date: In 1620, Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower went ashore for the first time at present-day Plymouth, Mass. In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln signed a congressional act authorizing the Navy Medal of Honor. In 1879, the Henrik Ibsen play “A Doll’s House” premiered at the Royal Theater in Copenhagen. In 1910, 344 coal miners were killed in Britain’s Pretoria Pit Disaster. In 1937, Walt Disney’s first feature-length animated cartoon, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” had its world premiere in Los Angeles. In 1942, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Williams v. North Carolina, ruled 6-2 that all states had to recognize divorces granted in Nevada. In 1945, Gen. George S. Patton died in Heidelberg, Germany, of injuries from a car accident. In 1958, Charles de Gaulle was elected to a seven-year term as the first president of the Fifth Republic of France. In 1968, Apollo 8 was launched on a mission to orbit the moon. In 1971, the U.N. Security Council chose Kurt Waldheim to succeed U Thant as Secretary-General. In 1976, the Liberian-registered tanker Argo Merchant broke apart near Nantucket Island, off Massachusetts, almost a week after running aground, spilling 7.5 million gallons of oil into the North Atlantic. In 1988, 270 people were killed when a terrorist bomb exploded aboard a Pam Am Boeing 747 over Lockerbie, Scotland, sending wreckage crashing to the ground. Ten years ago: The government raised the national threat level to orange, indicating a high risk of terrorist attack (it was lowered back to yellow on Jan. 9, 2004. Five years ago: A multifaith ceremony was held to mark the reopening of Mumbai, India’s Oberoi hotel three weeks after it was targeted in a militant rampage. One year ago: The National Rifle Association said guns and police officers in all American schools were needed to stop the next killer “waiting in the wings,” taking a no-retreat stance in the face of growing calls for gun control after the Newtown, Conn., shootings that claimed the lives of 26 children and school staff. Today’s Birthdays: Country singer Freddie Hart is 87. Actor Ed Nelson is 85. Talk show host Phil Donahue is 78. Movie director John Avildsen is 78. Actress Jane Fonda is 76. Actor Larry Bryggman is 75. Singer Carla Thomas is 71. Musician Albert Lee is 70. Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas is 69. Actor Josh Mostel is 67. Thought for Today: “The time will come when Winter will ask us: ’What were you doing all the Summer?”’ — Bohemian proverb.

Tuesday, Dec. 24 Kiwanis Club of Laredo’s weekly meeting. Noon to 1 p.m. Holiday Inn Civic Center, The Covey Lounge. New members are welcome. Contact Memo Cavazos at 337-2266 or

Thursday, Dec. 26 Laredo Border Slam Poetry spoken word competition. 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Second and fourth Thursdays of each month. Gallery 201, 513 San Bernardo Ave. Three minutes to perform, two rounds, five random judges from the audience. Cash and quirky prizes. $2 suggested donation at the door. Email or visit

Monday, Dec. 30 Laredo Parkinson’s disease support group’s monthly meeting. 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Last Monday of each month. Laredo Medical Center, Tower B, First Floor Community Center. Provides information and support for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease and for their primary caregivers. Contact Richard Renner at 645-8649, 7245619 or

Saturday, Jan. 4 Used book sale, hosted by First United Methodist Church. 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 1220 McClelland Ave. Hardback books are $1, paperback 50 cents, and magazines and children’s books 25 cents.

Wednesday, Jan. 8 I Can Cope Class, sponsored by American Cancer Society and Doctors Hospital of Laredo. Classes offered second Wednesday of each month. 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Doctors Hospital Cancer Treatment Center Lobby. For people with cancer and their family and friends. Guest speakers include professionals in the field of cancer management. Free. Contact Diana Juarez at 319-3100 or

Thursday, Jan. 9 Laredo Border Slam Poetry spoken word competition. 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Second and fourth Thursdays of each month. Gallery 201, 513 San Bernardo Ave. Three minutes to perform, two rounds, five random judges from the audience. Cash and quirky prizes. $2 suggested donation at the door. Email or visit

Monday, Jan. 13 Zapata County Commissioners Court meeting. 9 a.m. Zapata County Courthouse. Call Roxy Elizondo at 7659920.

Wednesday, Jan. 15 Laredo Toastmasters evening meeting. 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Public speaking and leadership are focus. Held every third Wednesday of each month. Contact Humberto Vela at 7403633 or

Thursday, Jan. 23 Laredo Border Slam Poetry spoken word competition. 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Second and fourth Thursdays of each month. Gallery 201, 513 San Bernardo Ave. Three minutes to perform, two rounds, five random judges from the audience. Cash and quirky prizes. $2 suggested donation at the door. Email or visit

Monday, Jan. 27 Laredo Parkinson’s disease support group’s monthly meeting. 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Last Monday of each month. Laredo Medical Center, Tower B, First Floor Community Center. Provides information and support for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease and for their primary caregivers. Contact Richard Renner at 645-8649, 7245619 or

Submit calendar items at or by emailing with the event’s name, date and time, location and purpose and contact information for a representative. Items will run as space is available.

Photo by Ben Noey Jr./The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, file | AP

Cars drive past the scene of a fatal wreck on Sunday, June 16. Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Thursday called on a state Senate committee to study sentences for intoxication manslaughter cases after a North Texas teen received probation for a wreck that killed four people, triggering state and national outrage.

Official wants tougher sentences By NOMAAN MERCHANT ASSOCIATED PRESS

DALLAS — Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Thursday called on a state Senate committee to study sentences for intoxication manslaughter cases after a teenager received probation for a wreck that killed four people. Dewhurst said he wants the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice to review how probation sentences are issued in adult and juvenile cases of intoxication manslaughter. While he did not call for an end to probation in certain intoxication manslaughter cases, Dewhurst said he wanted to make sure that intoxication manslaughter sentences “include appropriate punishment levels,” his office said in a statement. His announcement came about a week after 16-year-old Ethan Couch was given 10 years’ probation after a June wreck in North

Texas that left four people dead and two severely injured. Prosecutors in Tarrant County wanted a maximum of 20 years in prison for Couch. State District Judge Jean Boyd sided with Couch’s attorneys, who said justice would be better served if the teen was placed in a pricey California rehab facility. One defense expert during sentencing argued Couch’s parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility — a condition he termed “affluenza.” If Couch violates the terms of his probation, he could be sent to prison for 10 years. The Tarrant County district attorney’s office, which prosecuted Couch, is now pushing Boyd to sentence Couch to jail time on two lesser counts of intoxication assault in connection with the wreck. But prosecutors have said that there is likely no way for them to appeal the probation sentence.

‘Blue Santa Claus’ delights Valley children

Federal aid coming after fall storms in Texas

More lakes may be included in mussel fight

PALMHURST — Children in the Rio Grande Valley are being greeted by a blue Santa Claus. The Monitor newspaper in McAllen reports that Officer Joseph Swindle of the Palmhurst Police Department greeted local elementary school students Thursday. The police department gave all of the 650 children at the school a gift with the help of toy drives.

AUSTIN — President Barack Obama has ordered federal aid to help state and local recovery efforts in areas of Central Texas hit with severe storms and flooding in late October. Obama on Friday declared a major disaster exists in the area. Federal funding will now be available to state and eligible local governments and some nonprofit organizations on a costsharing basis.

AUSTIN — State officials fighting the spread of invasive zebra mussels want the public’s input on a proposal to require that people in 30 more counties drain all boats operating on public water after use. A release from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on Thursday said the 30 counties are in Central and North Texas. Earlier this month, permanent requirements for boaters were implemented in 17 counties.

Burglar picks prosecutor’s house WACO — Nine hours after his release from prison, Jonique Ramon Webster was back in custody again for trying to burglarize a Central Texas prosecutor’s home. Webster was given 40 years in prison Thursday for the June incident. Webster has several prior convictions on his record and won’t be eligible for parole for 10 years.

Mars candy’s Waco plant to get $12M in upgrades WACO — The Texas plant that makes most of America’s Starburst, Skittles and Snickers candies is getting some upgrades. Mars Chocolate North America is spending $11.7 million to improve its candy-making plant in Waco. The Waco Tribune-Herald reports that the city will give Mars about $190,000 in tax breaks over the next five years.

Ice storm also hits North Texas greenhouses FORT WORTH — The winter freeze that hit North Texas earlier this month wreaked havoc on not just roads and schools, but dozens of greenhouses. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that it found more than 50 greenhouses destroyed or damaged. — Compiled from AP reports

AROUND THE NATION Police say they thwarted attack at Colorado school TRINIDAD, Colo. — Police say they thwarted a plan by two teenagers who wanted to shoot students and teachers at a southern Colorado high school. Police Chief Charles Glorioso says the department’s school resource officer got a tip Thursday that two boys, ages 15 and 16, planned to carry out the attack at Trinidad High School after winter break. Because of the warning, extra security was in place at three Trinidad schools Thursday. The teens were arrested Friday. Glorioso says they planned the attack for a month and ahalf.

Man held in attack at US-Mexico border SAN YSIDRO, Calif. — A 39year-old man has been arrested after authorities say he tossed a


Photo by Mark Mulligan/The Herald | AP

Fourteen-year-old Ralph Jackson, left, helps two of his younger brothers, Joseph, 7, and Teddy, 7, sled down a hill at Sen. Henry M. Jackson Park on Friday, in Everett, Wash. lit Molotov cocktail at Customs and Border Protection officers at the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego. Agency spokeswoman Angelica De Cima says the incident occurred Wednesday after the man, a U.S. citizen, crossed the border

and approached the vehicle lanes at the San Ysidro (ee-SEE-droh) Port of Entry. Authorities say the incendiary device landed about a yard south of an inspection booth. No one was injured. — Compiled from AP reports

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Charters face June closure ASSOCIATED PRESS

Photo by Nick Ut | AP

Brothers Redmond O’Neal, left, and Patrick O’Neal leave court after a jury determined an Andy Warhol portrait of Farrah Fawcett belongs to their father, actor Ryan O’Neal, in Los Angeles, on Thursday. Jurors voted 9-3 in O’Neal’s favor. Their verdict will allow the actor to keep the portrait in his beachside home, where he has said it remains a powerful reminder of his decades-long relationship with Fawcett. Fawcett died in June 2009 and left all her artwork to her alma mater, the University of Texas. The “Charlie’s Angels” star left nothing to O’Neal, her longtime companion.

Unemployment dips in Nov. Every major industry added positions, according to statistical information ASSOCIATED PRESS

AUSTIN — The unemployment rate in Texas dipped to 6.1 percent in November, representing its lowest level in nearly five years, state labor officials said Friday. The Texas Workforce Commission released jobless figures for last month, showing a slight drop from the 6.2 percent recorded for October. The November figure represents the fourth straight month the rate has fallen. The nationwide jobless rate was 7 percent, down

from 7.3 percent in October. Employment in Texas rose by 28,700 positions in November, adding to the increase of more than 274,000 jobs from last year. The numbers do not include farm-related jobs. “We’ve been the national epicenter for all kinds of job creation for over a decade, and all indications are that won’t change anytime soon,” Gov. Rick Perry said in a statement released by his office. Commission Chairman Andres Alcantar said the private sector in Texas added 20,500 jobs, representing

growth of 2.8 percent. Trade, transportation and utility industries added the most positions, but every major industry in Texas added jobs over the year. Six out of 11 recorded annual growth rates at or above 2 percent. Richard Fisher, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, praised the state’s economic growth in his annual update on the Texas economy Thursday. “Above all, Texas is a state of mind where people are ready to work and get things done for the better-

ment of their families, communities, cities and beyond,” Fisher said. He said job creation in Texas has significantly outpaced employment growth nationally for the past 23 years. He added that export growth in Texas has increased more than 70 percent since 2009. Midland had the lowest statewide unemployment rate at 2.9 percent, followed by Odessa at 3.5 percent. The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area had the state’s highest rate at 10.3 percent, followed by BrownsvilleHarlingen at 9.5 percent.

DALLAS — Six charter schools across the state are being ordered to close their doors due to a history of underperformance. The Texas Education Agency announced it will revoke six charters in June, pending an appeals process. The Dallas Morning News reported that the schools are American YouthWorks in Austin, Jamie’s House Charter School in Houston, Honors Academy in Dallas, Koinoinia Community Learning Academy in Houston, Richard Milburn Academy in suburban Houston and Azleway Charter School in Tyler. John Dodd, superintendent of Honors Academy in Dallas, which has 775 students on seven state campuses, said he planned to appeal. Honors has had three straight years of poor academic ratings, but Dodd said Honors was working with TEA to improve the situation. “We’re asking TEA to continue to let us do what we’re doing, because it’s working,” Dodd told the newspaper. Charter schools are privately run with tax dollars, but required to meet certain standards to continue operation. A new law requires TEA to shut down charter schools if they do not meet academic benchmarks for three straight years, the newspaper reported. “Schools that aren’t meeting the needs of kids, whether traditional or charter, ought to be closed down,” said David Dunn, executive director of the Texas Charter Schools Association. But officials at the schools targeted say

they’re doing their best to serve students and don’t deserve to be shuttered. Parc Smith, CEO of American YouthWorks in Austin, takes older students who have dropped out of traditional high schools. YouthWorks’ students are an average of 18 years old. The school missed state financial standards the last three years by not hiring the right managers to oversee its finances, the Austin American-Statesman reported. “This is not the kind of school they want to close down,” said Parc Smith, the schools’ CEO, according to the newspaper. “We are working with the folks who weren’t making it at any school and we’re getting them to graduate in significant numbers.” In East Texas, Azleway Charter School faces possible closure for not meeting academic standards during the 2010-11 school year and financial standards during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, the Tyler Morning Telegraph reported. Gary Duke, CEO of Azleway Inc., told the newspaper that he would also request a review of the state’s decision. Duke said many of the school’s students have learning disabilities or other issues that make it difficult for them to learn. He acknowledged that the school did not properly monitor its funding in previous years, leading to insolvency, but said Azleway was trying to eventually meet TEA standards. “It’s a very unfortunate situation for the kids because we want to provide them with the best educational system that we can,” Duke told the Telegraph.








The sinister forces that are supposed to be vanquishing Christmas, in what is called the “War on Christmas,” are in retreat. In fact, they are celebrating it. Across secular Europe the creches are on display and decorations adorn street lamps. In most towns and villages, the central square is transformed into a Christmas market with a skating rink and stalls selling good things to eat and, even better, to drink. A million amplifiers blast carols in many languages. More traditional carolers go door to door. Across the United States, Christmas fever has been building, like the strains of Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero,” since Thanksgiving. It is humanity’s greatest festival, a wonderful collective indulgence, a surrender simultaneously to our profound and trivial selves. The “War on Christmas” is an argument advanced by commentators on Fox Cable News that centers on skirmishes over the First Amendment. Fox actually publishes on the Internet a map of sites where it believes the forces opposed to Christmas are in hand-to-hand combat with the defenders of the Baby Jesus. Really! The crux of the argument from the “war” people is that Christmas is a religious celebration that has been taken over by the ungodly. In fact, historically, it is an ungodly festival that was taken over by Christianity. It was a pagan festival that became a Christian festival and adjusted to the lands where it spread — and to the religious intensity of the time. There is no mention of snow in the Bible; but thanks to Northern and Eastern Europeans, snow is part of Christmas. In hot Africa and India, shop windows are decorated with cotton wool and children sing “Good King Wenceslas” with the acceptance that snow is part of their Christmas, too. Yes, people who have never seen snow can dream of a white Christmas. That is just part of the great cultural snowball that is Christmas. There is a silliness attending those who persist in believing that forces of atheism, secularism, and all the other religions, especially Islam, are out to rip the religious soul out of Christmas. Not quite. In Islam, Jesus is a prophet and a messiah and to be a believer, you must accept him. Others love the story of the nativity without accepting it as a threat to their beliefs. One of the joys of Christmas is that it is such a wondrous bundle of beliefs, cultural agglomerations and ethnic inclusions that to strip out any of them is to do violence to the best time of year all over the world. Charles Dickens’ masterpiece “A Christmas Carol” may embody the Christian spirit, but it features ghosts; Father Christmas comes from a union of German and Nordic mythology with the first Christian saint, Nicholas, who was known for his gifts to the poor. The old man who lives at the North Pole is now a global figure of many ethnicities. There is an Indian version, a Turkish version and a Brazilian version of him. Christmas is a festival of many splendors: decorations, from Russian icons to tinsel made in China; flora, from fir trees and mistletoe to ferns, in tropical climes; food, from German stollen to Mexican bacalao; music, from Bach to Broadway. Much of the argument nowadays is about Christmas greetings, “Merry Christmas” versus “Happy Holidays.” My father, who read the King James Bible every day, had never read the U.S. Constitution, never heard of the separation of church and state, and who lived all his life in British Africa, used to say, “Season’s Greetings” or “Compliments of the Season.” His argument was that “not everyone is a Christian, but everyone has Christmas.” Quite so. Merry Christmas. (Llewellyn King’s email is


Candy maker gets a sweet treat


AUSTIN — I’ve done a little digging and it looks like I’ve come upon a bit of subterfuge by the Austin City Council. (What would you people do without me?) State law requires that agendas for meetings of governmental bodies be specific and accurate. There can be no action on anything that wasn’t properly posted in advance. Way down at the end of the agenda for the Dec. 12 council session was a notice of the panel’s intent to present a proclamation for Lammes Candies “to be presented by Council Member Laura Morrison and to be accepted by Pam Teich and Lammes Candies employees.” You’re not an official Austinite, and may not be legally entitled to vote here, if you don’t know about Lammes Candies, a family-owned business that’s been satisfying sweet teeth since 1885. The company deserves to be proclaimed. But, as Lammes’ President Pam Teich told me, the whole proclamation thing was a scam, albeit one with laudable purpose. “Shhh,” she told me in advance. “It’s a secret — at least to Mildred.”

Mildred is Mildred Walston. I told you about her back in September 2012. She’s been working at Lammes, now part time, for 73 years. I challenged readers to come up with anyone who’s worked for any Central Texas company longer than Walston, 91, has been at Lammes. Crickets. “It’s about time the City Council did something that no one can deny is appropriate,” Teich told me in her heads-up about the surprise proclamation for her beloved employee. Walston stood with Teich at the meeting as Council Member Laura Morrison began extolling the unassailable virtues of candy, specifically the type made by Lammes. “It’s fair to say that every day in Austin, Texas, is a good day to eat candy, and especially around the holidays, it’s a good day to eat candy,” Morrison said. She mentioned two key dates in Lammes’ history — when it opened on Congress Avenue in 1885 and the one in 1940 when “a youngster named Mildred Walston” was hired. “After 73 years of working at Lammes, Mildred is the matriarch,” Morrison said, recounting Walston’s amazing tenure, which continues. The proclamation, which noted that Walston “in true ecological Austin style” is known for “culling paper clips from the discarded shipping orders and

This lady right here has taught me a lot about business, about life, about relationships, more about those than I have learned anywhere else.” --“Shhh. It’s a secret — at least to Mildred.” CANDY COMPANY PRESIDENT PAM TEICH

using the sugar from the lemon drop case to sweeten coffee,” declared Dec. 16 to 23 as Mildred Walston Week. (Also approved was a proclamation honoring Lammes’ special place in the city’s history.) Walston, characteristically modest, declined to speak. Her boss, however, is unburdened by stage fright. “Mildred, just come stand by me,” Teich said, wrapping her right arm around Walston. “Just come stand by me. I feel better when you stand by me.” “This lady right here has taught me a lot about business, about life, about relationships, more about those than I have learned anywhere else,” Teich said, adding: “Mildred has had me laugh, Mildred has had me in tears and, most of all, Mildred

has had me think about how to treat people, how to treat customers.” Turns out Walston has had Teich in more than laughter and tears. “The most unique tidbit is that Mildred has diapered most of the presidents of Lammes Candies,” Morrison said. Congrats to Lammes and its most famous employee. In their honor, and despite what your dentist might recommend, by the power vested in me as a guy who types for a living, I hereby authorize all Austinites to enjoy one (or more) of Lammes’ famous Longhorns candies. I’m sure Walston wants you to. And this is her week. Ken Herman is a columnist for the Austin American-Statesman. E-mail:

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Soldier’s body back after Korean War death ASSOCIATED PRESS

LOS ANGELES — Sixty-three years after Army Sgt. 1st Class Joseph E. Gantt went missing in action during the Korean War, his remains were returned to his 94-year-old widow in a solemn ceremony at Los Angeles International Airport before dawn Friday. Clara Gantt wept as she stood in the cold before the flagdraped casket that was carried from a jetliner by military honor guard.

“He told me if anything happened to him he wanted me to remarry. I told him no, no. Here I am, still his wife,” she told reporters. Joseph Gantt was reported missing in action on Nov. 30, 1950, while serving with Battery C, 503rd Field Artillery, 2nd Infantry Division, according to the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office in Washington, D.C. According to the office, elements of the 2nd Infantry Division were attacked by greater

numbers of Chinese forces near the town of Kunu-ri, North Korea. The division disengaged and withdrew, fighting its way through a series of Chinese roadblocks. Numerous U.S. soldiers were reported missing that day in the vicinity of Somindong, North Korea. After a 1953 exchange of prisoners of war, returning U.S. soldiers reported that Gantt had been injured in battle, captured by Chinese forces and died in a POW camp in early 1951 from malnutrition and lack of medi-

cal care. His remains were only recently identified. Information on when they were found was not immediately available from the missing personnel office. “Sixty-some odd years and just receiving his remains, coming home, was a blessing and I am so happy that I was living to accept him,” Clara Gantt said. Burial with full military honors is scheduled for Dec. 28 in Inglewood, Calif. Gantt joined the Army in 1942 and served in the South Pacific during World War II. He and

Clara met on a train from Texas to Los Angeles and were married in June 1948. He was then sent to Korea as a field medic. Gantt was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor, a Purple Heart and other honors. Nearly 7,900 Americans are still unaccounted for from the Korean War. According to the Defense Department, modern technology allows identifications to continue to be made from remains turned over by North Korea or recovered from that nation by American teams.


GRANTS PASS, Ore. — An experiment to see if killing invasive barred owls will help the threatened northern spotted owl reverse its decline toward extinction is underway in the forests of Northern California. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Friday that specially trained biologists have shot 26 barred owls in a study area on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation northeast of Arcata, Calif. They plan to remove as many as 118 barred owls from the area, keeping the 55 known barred owl nesting sites open over the next five years to see if spotted owls increase, said Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Robin Bown. Contractors go to an area that barred owls are known to be in, play a digital caller to attract them, and shoot the birds with a shotgun. The service is spending $3.5 million over six years to remove 3,600 barred owls from sites in Oregon, Washington and California. Barred owls migrated from the East in the 1950s and have become the single biggest threat to spotted owl survival. Major cutbacks in logging in old growth forest that spotted owls prefer as habitat have not turned around their population decline. Scientists want to see if removing competition from the more aggressive barred owl will make a difference. Barred owl removal at research sites in Oregon and Washington state is set to begin next fall. By then, the group

Photo by Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group | AP

Nailah Winkfield, mother of Jahi McMath, speaks to reporters with her husband Martin Winkfield in front of Children’s Hospital Oakland in Oakland, Calif. McMath remains on life support.

Calif. mom tells of tonsil surgery tragedy By TERRY COLLINS ASSOCIATED PRESS Photo by Don Ryan/file | AP

A northern spotted owl is seen near Camp Sherman, Ore., on May 8, 2003. The owl is threatened by the invasive barred owl. Friends of Animals hopes to persuade a federal judge to issue a court order stopping the experiment. A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, Calif., argues the permits for killing barred owls issued under the Migratory Bird Act are invalid. The research does not benefit the barred owl, said Friends of Animals attorney Michael Harris. It is not unusual to kill one species to help a threatened or endangered one. Cormorants and sea lions are regularly killed to help salmon. Bown said blood and ge-

netic samples are taken from each barred owl that is killed, and the frozen carcasses are sent to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, where they are available for further research. Among other things, scientists are checking the barred owls for toxins from prey contaminated with rat poison put out by illegal marijuana growers to protect their crops. Scientists hope to get a better picture of whether the rat poison is killing spotted owls, which eat similar prey. Scientists rarely get a dead spotted owl they can test for toxins.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A rural eastern New Mexico county clerk and her deputy resigned Friday rather than abide by a state Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage, officials said. Roosevelt County manager Charlene Webb confirmed that Clerk Donna Carpenter and Deputy Clerk Janet Collins announced their resignations Friday morning. Webb declined to say why they quit. But county commissioners said it was in protest of Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling declaring it unconstitutional to bar same-sex couples from getting marriage licenses. Commissioner Bill Cathey said the two had made it clear they would quit “rather than be associated with that.” Webb says the clerk’s office is closed until the commission meets Monday to hire a replacement. Carpenter doesn’t have a current phone listing, and there was no answer Friday at a listing for Collins. Roosevelt is a rural, conservative county along the Texas-New Mexico border. Its county seat is Portales, a town of about 12,000. Cathey said Carpenter’s resignation was no surprise. “She told us in the past that’s what she would do,” he said. “... I am personally very disappointed in the decision of the judges, and I

don’t blame our clerk for doing what she did.” Still, he said he was confident the commission would be able to appoint a replacement on Monday who would follow the court’s order. Meantime, other rural counties began issuing gay marriage licenses following the Thursday ruling, which came after county officials asked the high court to clarify the law and establish a uniform state policy on gay marriage. In northwestern New Mexico, the San Juan County Clerk’s Office gave its first marriage license to a same-sex couple Thursday afternoon, the Farmington Daily-Times reported. Three hours later, Aztec women Luciana Velasquez and Deann Toadlena were married under Christmas lights at Orchard Park in downtown Farmington. “We’ve been waiting for seven years. It’s the best day of my life,” said Toadlena, who plans to change her last name to Velasquez. “Everything I wanted was given to me today.” Historically, county clerks in New Mexico have denied marriage licenses to same-sex couples because state statutes include a marriage license application with sections for male and female applicants. However, the state’s more populous counties this fall began issuing licenses on their own and in response to lower court rulings. A few rural counties also followed suit, but most of the

smaller counties were awaiting a final decision from the high court. Despite the ruling, gay marriage opponents are vowing the fight is not over. State Sen. William Sharer, a Farmington Republican, said he will ask the Legislature in January to put to voters a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage. “If they are saying it is unconstitutional, we need to make it constitutional,” he said. It’s unclear how much traction Sharer’s proposal, which bucks a growing national tide toward legalizing gay marriage, will have come January. New Mexico is the 17th state to recognize the unions. The Democratic-controlled Legislature repeatedly has turned down proposals for a constitutional amendment to allow voters to decide whether to legalize gay marriage. And Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican who has opposed same-sex marriage, said she would have preferred to see voters, not the courts, decide the issue. She urged New Mexicans to “respect one another in their discourse” and turn their focus to other issues facing the state. “As we move forward, I am hopeful that we will not be divided, as we must come together to tackle very pressing issues, like reforming education and growing our economy, in the weeks and months ahead,” Martinez said.

OAKLAND, Calif. — After her daughter underwent a supposedly routine tonsillectomy and was moved to a recovery room, Nailah Winkfield began to fear something was going horribly wrong. Her 13-year-old, Jahi McMath, was sitting up in bed, her hospital gown bloody, and holding a pink cup full of blood. “Is this normal?” Winkfield repeatedly asked nurses. With her family and hospital staff trying to help and comfort her, Jahi kept bleeding profusely for the next few hours then went into cardiac arrest, her mother said. The girl was declared brain dead on Dec. 12. Now, the hospital wants to disconnect her life support, the family says, but their lawyer Christopher Dolan has refused permission and is trying to keep Jahi on a ventilator through the holidays while the family obtains another opinion on her condition and reviews medical records. A court hearing was set for Friday. Hospital officials said they couldn’t discuss the case because the family hasn’t given them permission to do so. In a statement late Thursday, Dr. David Durand, the hospital’s pediatrics chief, wrote of Jahi’s case: “We are unable — without the family’s permission — to talk about the medical procedure, background or any of the details that are a part of this tragedy. “We implore the family to allow the hospital to openly discuss what has occurred and to give us the necessary legal permission

— which it has been withholding — that would bring clarity, and we believe, some measure of closure and deeper understanding of this medical case,” the doctor added. In an interview at Children’s Hospital Oakland on Thursday night, Winkfield described the nightmarish turn of events after her daughter underwent tonsil removal surgery to help with her sleep apnea. She said that even before the surgery, her daughter had expressed fears that she wouldn’t wake up after the operation. To everyone’s relief, she appeared alert, was talking and even ate a Popsicle afterward. But about a half-hour later, shortly after the girl was taken to the intensive care unit, she began bleeding from her mouth and nose despite efforts by hospital staff and her family. While the bleeding continued, Jahi wrote her mother notes. In one, the girl asked to have her nose wiped because she felt it running. Her mother said she didn’t want to scare her daughter by saying it was blood. Family members said there were containers of Jahi’s blood in the room, and hospital staff members were providing transfusions to counteract the blood loss. “I don’t know what a tonsillectomy is supposed to look like after you have it, but that blood was unnormal for anything,” Winkfield said. The family said hospital officials told them in a meeting Thursday that they want to take the girl off life support quickly. “I just looked at the doctor to his face and I told him you better not touch her,” Winkfield recalled.

Hospitals do a barrage of sophisticated tests to determine brain death, said Dr. Cristobal Barrios, an associate professor and a trauma and critical care surgeon at the University of California, Irvine. He is not involved in Jahi’s care and spoke about general hospital protocols. The tests include touching a patient’s cornea to elicit a blink, moving a breathing tube to stimulate a gag reflex, tickling the back of the throat to bring on a cough, and applying pressure or pain. If the patient fails to respond to all of those tests, doctors remove the breathing tube for a few minutes. If there is any brain activity, the patient should begin breathing within a few minutes, he said. In some cases, doctors will also draw a blood sample, add radioactive tags and re-inject it into the body to track where it flows. If the blood doesn’t flow to the brain, Barrios said, there is no brain activity. Generally, two teams of specialists must run the tests and determine independently that the patient is brain dead, he said. At UC Irvine, those evaluations must take place 12 hours apart if the patient is a child. It’s not unusual for family members to resist a diagnosis of brain death, Barrios said. While the hospital is not obligated to keep life support going after that diagnosis, Barrios has left brain dead patients hooked up for up to five days while family members move toward acceptance, he said. “I understand why sometimes for families it’s devastating and confusing,” he said.


Agenda en Breve LAREDO 12/21— El Laredo Community College tanto campus Fort McIntosh como Sur estarán cerrados a partir de hoy y hasta el 5 de enero. 12/21— Se efectuará el “Hoop Shorts For Tots” de 10 a.m. a 7 p.m. en NE Hillside Rec. Center. Cuota por participante: un juguete o un alimento no perecedero. Primer lugar se llevará una camiseta y una medalla. 12/21— El equipo femenil de baloncesto de TAMIU se estará enfrentando a UA Fort Smith a la 1 p.m. en el Kinesiology-Convocation Building. Admisión general 5 dólares y gratuito para estudiantes de TAMIU con credencial vigente. 12/21— El equipo de baloncesto masculino de TAMIU se enfrentará a UA Fort Smith a las 3 p.m. en el Kinesiology-Convocation BuildingAdmisión general 5 dólares y gratuito para estudiantes de TAMIU con credencial vigente. 12/21— Se estarán distribuyendo sábanas y cobijas a adultos de la tercera edad, de 2 p.m. a 4 p.m. en Regent Care Center, en 7001 McPherson. 12/22— Se efectuará el “Hoop Shorts For Tots” de 10 a.m. a 7 p.m. en NE Hillside Rec. Center. Cuota por participante: un juguete o un alimento no perecedero. Primer lugar se llevará una camiseta y una medalla. 12/23— Continúa la inscripción para el semestre de primavera en Texas A&M International University a través de la página Para más información puede llamar al 326.2250. 12/23— La biblioteca Radcliffe Killam y las oficinas de Texas A&M International University estará cerradas a partir de del hoy y hasta el 1 de enero. En caso de cualquier emergencia puede llamar a la policía de la universidad al 326-2100. 12/24— Se reunirá el Kiwanis Club of Laredo a la 1 p.m. en Holiday Inn Civic Center. Miembros nuevos son bienvenidos. Para más información puede llamar a Memo Cavazos al 337-2266 o en 12/26— Se realizará la competencia de Laredo Border Slam Poetry de las 9 p.m. a las 11 p.m. en galería 201, ubicada en 513 avenida San Bernardo. Para participar deberá llevar un poema de tres minutos, y presentarlo ante jurados de la audiencia. Más información escribiendo a 12/30— Se reunirá el grupo de apoyo para pacientes con Parkinson de Laredo a las 6:30 p.m. en el Laredo Medical Center, en la Torre B, en el primer piso del Centro Comunitario. Durante la reunión se dará información sobre esta enfermedad, así mismo apoyo a los familiares y pacientes. Para más información puede llamar a Richard Renner al 645-8649, 724-5619 or 645-8649, 724-5619 o escribir a

NUEVO LAREDO, MÉXICO 12/21— Se presentará una gala de ópera y zarzuela, con Héctor Gamaliel, a las 7 p.m. dentro de la sala Sergio Peña en la antigua aduana, ubicado en Narciso Mendoza 1257, en el sector centro. 12/22— La Centenaria Banda Municipal, estará presentando un Concierto Navideño, a las 8 p.m., en la Catedral del Espíritu Santo, ubicada en Nayarit 2531 en la colonia Madero.





Revelan saldo de seis personas sin vida tras enfrentamiento entre civiles y elementos de la Secretaria de la Defensa Nacional, anunciaron autoridades mexicanas el jueves por la noche. El Grupo de Coordinación Tamaulipas, integrado por fuerzas de seguridad estatales y federales, registró un enfrentamiento en el municipio de Matamoros entre ci-

viles armados y elementos de la Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional, dejando como saldo seis agresores muertos no identificados. El enfrentamiento se produjo a la 1:40 p.m. en un punto conocido como Brecha 10, cerca del ejido Revolución, entre los municipios de Valle Hermoso y Matamoros. En ese lugar, los elementos del Ejército Mexicano realizaron un operativo especial en atención a una denuncia ciudadana sobre la

presencia de varios vehículos sospechosos. En el recorrido por la brecha, fueron sorprendidos y atacados por civiles armados, lo que llevó a los militares a repeler la agresión, dando muerte a seis de los implicados, mientras otros más lograron darse a la fuga. En el lugar de los hechos un Agente del Ministerio Público Federal aseguró 11 armas largas, un fusil Barret .50’ (para francotira-

dores), un lanzagranadas, dos granadas de mano, cientos de cartuchos útiles de diferentes calibres, cargadores, equipo táctico y otros objetos más, así como una camioneta pick-up GMC Sierra modelo 2007, color negra; una camioneta Chevrolet Tahoe modelo 2002, color blanca; una camioneta pick-up Chevrolet Avalanche modelo 2009, color verde y una camioneta pick-up Toyota modelo 2008.




Mueren 5 estudiantes por atropello TIEMPO DE ZAPATA

Foto de cortesía | Gobierno de Tamaulipas

El Secretario de Salud de Tamaulipas, Norberto Treviño García Manzo, junto con otras autoridades de salud y del estado, activaron la Campaña de Navidad “Invierno Seguro 2013”.

Evitarían accidentes durante Navidad TIEMPO DE ZAPATA

Dio inicio la Campaña de Navidad “Invierno Seguro 2013”, en las 12 Jurisdicciones Sanitarias del Estado de Tamaulipas, México, anunciaron autoridades el jueves. Con el propósito de crear conciencia y prevenir accidentes que comprometen gravemente la integridad física y patrimonial de la población, el Secretario de Salud de Tamaulipas, Norberto Treviño García Manzo, activó en Ciudad Victoria y de forma simultánea en las 12 Jurisdicciones sanitarias del estado, la Campaña de Navidad “Invierno Seguro 2013”. En la campaña participaron las 43 instituciones que integran el Consejo Estatal de Prevención de Accidentes

(COEPRA). “Quedarse dormido al volante, conducir cansado o en estado de ebriedad, hablar o enviar mensajes por celular al manejar, no utilizar el cinturón de seguridad, no usar el casco los motociclistas o ciclistas o escuchar música con los auriculares mientras se conduce, son algunas de las razones por las que cientos de individuos pierden la vida en accidentes de tráfico”, dijo el funcionario. Treviño García Manzo destacó que al ser temporada decembrina una época de reuniones familiares es fundamental evitar la manipulación y uso de juegos pirotécnicos, fogatas, agua o líquidos en ebullición y otros artefactos como luces navideñas, que generen calor

ya que son la principal causa de quemaduras, evitar encender leña en habitaciones cerradas. Durante el inicio del tercer operativo de prevención de accidentes, el funcionario insistió en su llamado a no conducir bajo los efectos del alcohol, utilizar siempre el cinturón de seguridad, el casco protector para motociclistas y el asiento porta-infantes, además de no distraerse con teléfonos, pantallas y música a alto volumen. “Con pequeñas acciones se pueden evitar grandes tragedias; a la población no le cuesta nada seguir algunos consejos y tomar ciertas medidas que, a pesar de ser pequeñas, pueden ser muy significativas para todas las familias”, subrayó.

Se registró la muerte de cinco estudiantes de secundaria tras ser atropellados por civiles armados involucrados en una persecución, anunciaron autoridades del estado de Tamaulipas el miércoles. La Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado de Tamaulipas comunicó que el miércoles 18 de diciembre se registró la muerte de cinco estudiantes de secundaria que fueron atropellados por civiles armados, en el municipio de Reynosa. En el suceso, una mujer adulta y una niña menor de edad resultaron lesionadas. Fueron reportadas en condiciones estables. El incidente se registró a las 12:30 p.m. en el kilómetro 209 de la carretera Reynosa-San Fernando, frente a la escuela Secundaria número 56, conocida también como “Rodolfo Treviño Castillo”, cuando un grupo de estudiantes se encontraban esperando la llegada de un transporte público para trasladarse a sus casas. Los estudiantes que perdieron la vida fueron identificados como Margarita Arraiga Cruz, de 15 años de edad; Rosario de los Ángeles Álvarez Hernández, de 15 años; Josecil Castro Castro, de 14 años; Juan Carlos Castillo Arizmendi, de 13 años y Gerardo Martínez Cruz, de 13 años. Los primeros reportes revelaron que “dos civiles armados que tripulaban una camioneta pick-up Chevrolet Silverado color roja, modelo 2005, de cuatro puertas, en su intento por escapar de elementos del Ejército Mexicano que los perseguían, debido a la alta velocidad perdieron el control del vehículo, el cual derrapó e impactó a los cinco estudiantes que esperaban sobre el acotamiento de la carretera la llegada de un transporte urbano”, según un comunicado de prensa. “Después se impactaron contra dos vehículos estacionados a las afueras de la secundaria, provocando lesiones a Sandra Reyes Garza, de 31 años de edad y a Areli Fernández, de 5 años. Ambas se encontraban en el interior de uno de los vehículos chocados por los civiles armados, quienes lograron darse a la fuga. Sin embargo una investigación posterior y constancias que obran en la averiguación previa del caso, indicaron que no existen elementos que permitan determinar que los delincuentes hayan sido perseguidos por personal militar, señalan las autoridades del estado de Tamaulipas.


Indican decremento de desempleo en país POR CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON — El desempleo disminuyó o permaneció inalterado en todos los 50 estados de Estados Unidos en noviembre, indicio de que la situación laboral está mejorando a nivel nacional. El Departamento del Trabajo informó el viernes que las empresas añadieron puestos de trabajo en 43 estados y los recortaron en sólo siete. California, Texas e Indiana tuvieron los mayores aumentos. La disminución en las tasas de desempleo por estado se debe en parte a una robusta contratación a nivel nacional en los últimos cuatro meses. Las compañías estadounidenses añadieron en promedio 204.000 empleos entre agosto y no-

Foto de archivo por David Goldman | Associated Press

El Sargento de la Fuerza Aérea de EU Thomas Gipson, a la derecha, muestra su currículo a Ralph Brown, de dirección y de análisis de programa para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades. viembre, una mejoría sustancial comparado con la situación a comienzos de año. La tasa de desocupación nacional disminuyó el mes pasado a 7%, un nivel que

no se había visto desde hace cinco años. Sin embargo, la menor tasa de desempleo se debe en parte a que mucha gente ha dejado de buscar trabajo, por lo que no son con-

sideradas dentro de la cifra de los desempleados. Por ejemplo, la tasa de desempleo en Carolina del Norte disminuyó a 7,4% en noviembre comparado con 8% en octubre, pero esa

mejoría se debió porque mucha gente que no tenía empleo dejó de buscar. En realidad las empresas en Carolina del Norte eliminaron 6.500 puestos de trabajo el mes pasado. Nevada y Rhode Island reportaron las más altas tasas de desempleo, con 9% cada uno. La de Nevada bajó en comparación con la de 9,3%, pues se crearon 9.500 puestos de trabajo. En Rhode Island se crearon 1.400 puestos de trabajo, con lo que la tasa de desempleo bajó en comparación con la de 9,2% el mes pasado. Michigan e Illinois tuvieron las siguientes peores tasas de desempleo: 8,8% y 8,7% respectivamente. La tasa de desempleo más baja está en Dakota del Norte, con 2,6%, seguida con Dakota del Sur con 3,6% y Nebraska con 3,7%.




‘Copters help battle gangsters Former drug czar dies at 79 By MARK STEVENSON ASSOCIATED PRESS

MEXICO CITY — Two government helicopter gunships opened fire on 10 vehicles fleeing a luxury beach condo complex during this week’s gun battle at the Gulf of California resort of Puerto Penasco, Mexican authorities said. New details emerged about the raging gun battle that ensued after federal forces tried to capture a reputed top lieutenant of the Sinaloa drug cartel who was staying at a beachfront villa. Mexico’s federal police said late Thursday that two government Blackhawk helicopters fired on at least 10 vehicles as they tried to flee the complex with drug cartel operator Gonzalo Inzunza. The vehicles were hit by gunfire in the Wednesday battle and were “left useless, causing the assailants to disperse.” Five presumed cartel gunmen were killed in the battle. Police found 14 sniper or assault rifles at the scene, which one federal official confirmed were of heavy caliber. Two federal officers were wounded in the gunfight. The bullet-ridden, burned-out vehicles were left just outside the complex, which federal police did not identify. But Puerto Penasco city spokesman Cristobal Garcia confirmed Friday that the shootout actually began inside the Bella Sirena complex, where Inzunza was staying at a beachfront villa. The resort has units for both sale and rent, but it

was unclear if the reputed capo owned or was renting the unit in which he was staying. Garcia insisted that “these are not people who live in Puerto Penasco ... perhaps they were here on a holiday.” But federal police said Inzunza, 42, “has set up his center of operations in Puerto Penasco,” to run drug-trafficking networks that stretched through at least seven other states, from the Caribbean coast state of Quintana Roo in Mexico’s southeast to Baja California in the country’s northwest. They said Inzunza “had a personal relationship with Ismael (“El Mayo”) Zambada,” long viewed as the No. 2 leader of the Sinaloa cartel, after Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. Inzunza’s body was not found at the scene, and federal officials said they believed the fleeing gunmen took his dead or wounded body with them, as cartel gunmen sometimes do with fallen gang members or leaders. Federal police said late Thursday that an analysis of blood stains found in the vehicles show that Inzunza was among those killed or wounded. Drug cartel shootouts at Mexico’s beach resorts generally have been rare, though some have been reported in the past in the Pacific coast resort of Acapulco. Prosecutors in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz said Friday they had found seven bodies dumped on a beach just south of the seaside city of Veracruz. They did not provide identities or a cause of death.

In the past, top drug traffickers have sometimes been caught, killed or almost caught at beach resorts, but they appear to have largely left resorts and their tourists alone. No foreigners, visitors or residents were harmed in the Puerto Penasco raid. Raul Benitez, a security expert at Mexico’s National Autonomous University, said Inzunza, who had a 3million-peso ($230,000 reward) on his head, may have chosen Puerto Penasco not for the sun and sand but because it is located about an hour from the U.S. border. The resort is located in Sonora state, which has been relatively free of the drug violence that has plagued other northern border states. The Sinaloa cartel may have chosen the Sonora-Arizona area as a base because other border areas are under the control of rival cartels or feeling the effects of government crackdowns, authorities said. “It appears that this guy (Inzunza) was opening a very important border (trafficking) corridor,” said Benitez. “Puerto Penasco is an area with a lot of movement, a lot of traffic, and it’s perfect for setting up a corridor to sell cocaine, heroin or marijuana and ship it into the United States,” Benitez said, noting the government “is shutting off the other big corridors in Texas and California.” “The Sonora corridor was the one left for the Sinaloa cartel, and the federal government is trying to prevent Sinaloa from setting down roots there,” Benitez said.

Arrested traffickers on list By E. EDUARDO CASTILLO ASSOCIATED PRESS

MEXICO CITY — Mexican prosecutors have revealed the names of 69 top drug traffickers arrested or killed in the last year from a group of 122 most wanted capos that was drawn up at the start of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s term a year ago. The government had previously refused to say who was on the list, but provided some details to The Associated Press after the news organization filed a freedom of information request. The files name 60 drug cartel leaders who were captured since December 2012 and nine others killed by authorities. Prosecutors refused to identify the 53 capos still at large, saying they don’t want to tip off the suspects. The files show that the hyper-violent Zetas cartel was the most targeted


gang, with 23 leaders arrested and four killed in the 12 month period. The best-known name on the list is top Zeta’s leader Miguel Trevino Morales, who was arrested in July. For an administration that has gone out of its way to downplay its pursuit of specific cartels and their leaders after the previous government was accused of provoking more violence with its head on attack on the drug gangs, the documents provide a rare look at what contin-

ues to be a full-bodied assault on organized crime. There are at least a dozen distinct drug gangs operating in the country, including several groups named in the papers which had been littleknown before. These include the so-called Western Cartel, which prosecutors said operates in the northern states of Coahuila and Durango. Those states were traditionally territories dominated by the Sinaloa Cartel of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who remains at large, but Sinaloa has suffered splits and turf battles with the Zetas in the area. Sinaloa was the third-most targeted cartel on the list, with seven members arrested and two killed. The second most-targeted was the Western Cartel, which saw 17 of its alleged members since Peña Nieto took office. Security expert Jorge Chabat said Thursday it

was not unusual for Mexican gangs to split or form new groups. “Criminal gangs are like businesses, they are always undergoing transformations, and just as there are breakaways from big corporations, there is always somebody who wants to start their own company or become independent,” Chabat said. The arrest of over half of the high-value targets that prosecutors say they have designated in Peña Nieto’s first year in office may seem like a great deal of progress, but Chabat cautioned that it’s not all the new administration’s doing. “It’s not surprising,” Chabat said. “Since the final years of the administration of (former President Felipe) Calderon the Mexican government has focused on fighting the Zetas because they are the most violent in regards to society in general.”


MEXICO CITY — Gen. Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, a Mexican drug czar disgraced by his arrest and conviction for aiding a powerful drug cartel, died Thursday after a long bout of prostate cancer, his lawyer said. He was 79. Gutierrez Rebollo had been sick for more than two years at a military hospital in Mexico City and died of complications from the cancer, including respiratory failure, lawyer Javier Marban Corral said. The general, who was one of the highest-level officials to ever have been convicted of drug-trafficking in Mexico, was hailed as a seasoned general of “impeccable integrity.” But his celebrated career, which peaked when President Ernesto Zedillo appointed him head of Mexico’s anti-drug agency, crumbled two months later when police arrested him in February 1997. He was found to be living in a luxury apartment owned by cocaine kingpin Amado Carrillo Fuentes, also known as the “Lord of the Skies.” Gutierrez Rebollo was first convicted of drug trafficking, racketeering and corruption and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Later, prosecutors got an additional 31 years tacked on for delivering military firearms to drug traffickers. However, in 2011, a court reduced his sentence again to 40 years and gave him back his military title. The case was such a scandal in the late 1990s and early 2000s that he inspired the character of the Mexican drug czar in Steven Soderbergh’s 2000 film “Traffic.” “He was the first highranking general to be captured in the war on drugs in Mexico,” said Raul Benitez, a security expert at Mexico’s National Autonomous University. “It was a message for all soldiers ‘to be careful of getting involved with cartels.’ He was a prestigious general.” He was not the last highranking official to fall from grace. Another drug czar, Noe Ramirez, was charged with organized crime after he was arrested in 2008 as


part of former President Felipe Calderon’s sweeping effort to root out corruption. A judge ordered Ramirez’s release from a maximum-security prison earlier this year, arguing the main witness in the case lied and that prosecutors might have fabricated evidence.

Claims innocence To Gutierrez Rebollo’s last day, the general maintained he was innocent. He repeated accusations that he was prosecuted for political reasons, having exposed drug ties of the thenpresident’s father-in-law. Marban said his client had been notified the night before his death that he could serve his remaining sentence under house arrest because of his health and old age. “He had plans to spend Christmas eve with his family. He was hopeful,” Marban said. Gutierrez Rebollo married twice and had four children and three grandchildren. The general’s son has said he will file a posthumous appeal seeking to have the general acquitted of the charges. Security expert Benitez said Gutierrez Rebollo became a symbol of Mexico’s fight against corruption, a way for the country to show the U.S. it was deeply engaged in weeding out corrupt officials despite their high ranks. “There was little his defense could do. There was a lynch mob mentality,” Benitez said. “No general would like to die like he did, accused of drug trafficking after being isolated for years in a prison. Nobody wants to die like that.”





KANO, Nigeria — Islamic religious authorities married 1,111 couples at a mass wedding aimed at combating rising rates of divorce, births out of wedlock, and the number of impoverished widows and divorcees forced to make a living on the streets in Muslim northern Nigeria. Thursday’s wedding in Kano city comes as the Hisbah Board responsible for Shariah law has been clamping down. Thousands have been arrested in recent months for improper dress, selling alcohol, prostitution and indecent mixing of the sexes. At one recent ceremony, a bulldozer crushed 240,000 bottles of beer. “The high rate of divorce is a worrisome situation resulting in adultery, prostitution and the births of children out of wedlock, and has become dangerous to society,” Deputy Gov. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje said at the ceremony at the main mosque of Kano, Nigeria’s second city. It is not clear if the stronger implementation of Shariah is connected to charges by extremists waging an Islamic uprising centered in northeastern Nigeria that northern governments are failing to enforce the law. Kano has had several terrorist attacks, most recently multiple bombings planted around bars serving alcohol in the city’s Christian quarter that killed at least 24 people in July (before alcohol sales were banned). Last year, an assassination attempt on the emir of Kano, a revered Muslim leader who has spoken out against extremism, killed his driver and three bodyguards. And nine women in a polio vaccination drive were executed in drive-by shootings. The mass marriages also are seen as a way of wedding bachelors who cannot afford the cost of an individual marriage and may resort to prostitutes. Millions of young Nigerians cannot afford the dowries required by customs for both Christians and Muslims, as

AP photo/file

A hearse carrying former village chief Wu Renbao’s coffin leads a motorcade leaving Huaxi village for his funeral in Jiangyin city March 22. Photo by Muhammad Giginyu | AP

Nigerian Muslim brides attend a mass wedding in Kano, Nigeria, on Thursday. Religious authorities married 1,111 couples at the event. well as the costs of many gifts and ceremonies leading up to a marriage. “Poverty is the major setback to people getting married, while divorce is becoming rampant,” said Aminu Ibrahim Daurawa, commandant general of Kano’s Hisbah board. There are no figures on divorces, but some analysts say as many as 50 percent of marriages in northern Nigeria end in divorce. There were calls at the ceremony for laws to make divorce more difficult, though it was unclear how that would line up with Shariah law that allows a man to divorce his wife simply by saying three times “I divorce you.” Grooms married at the mass ceremonies are not allowed to divorce without the permission of the Hisbah, and then they can be subjected to a fine of 50,000 naira ($313). While most marry happily, and officials match-make with a choice of partners for those who don’t already have one, some are given little choice. Arrested prostitutes are given a choice of joining in a mass wedding or going to jail. “If our operatives (the religious police) arrest prostitutes, we normally give them an option to marry,” said Aisha Atiku, planning director of the Hisbah board. “If they agree, we will include them. But if they disagree, we cannot force them (into mar-

riage).” Thirty-five willing participants were barred from Thursday’s ceremony because they were found to be pregnant or infected with the HIV/ AIDS virus, officials said. Divorced or widowed women in northern Nigeria often are left destitute, thrown out of their homes by the husband or his family members, and sometimes even lose custody of their children, according to Dorothy Aken’Ova, a human rights advocate in Minna, in central Nigeria. Her International Center for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights has gone to court to help widows reclaim their children and goods. But she said that most women do not know their rights, and often Islamic law is adulterated with traditional practices that favor men. Many of the destitute women are forced to prostitute themselves or beg on the street. Also Thursday, Kano’s government banned streetbegging. For the mass wedding, the state government paid a token dowry of 10,000 naira (about $65) for each bride and gave them household utensils. Grooms were given white brocade robes for the ceremony topped by scarlet hats, with brides in matching red outfits. Some 4,461 couples have been wedded en masse in the past 18 months, Ganduje said.

Targeting funerals Fancy burials now on the list of what’s forbidden By GILLIAN WONG ASSOCIATED PRESS

BEIJING — China’s ruling Communist Party announced Friday that it is banning members from holding lavish funerals for their relatives as part of a drive against waste, corruption and pomp. The ban was contained in a party circular carried by state media that also said party members were forbidden from using funerals to collect condolence money from attendees. Such gifts are intended to defray costs, but often serve instead as bribes in exchange for favors. “Party members and officials should set an example with simple, civilized funerals,” the document said. It said party officials should cremate the bodies of their loved ones after death and avoid excessively large gravestones. Honoring the dead can be an extravagant affair in many parts of China, with ceremonies sometimes featuring professional mourners, uniformed marching bands and motorcades of limousines. The rituals are also increasingly a way to demonstrate rising social status and the accumulation of excess wealth and influence, but extravagant ceremonies have been criticized for highlighting

China’s burgeoning income gap. “Government officials take advantage of expensive funerals to take bribes, while those who offered money in bribes naturally seek returns,” said Hu Xingdou, a political economist at the Beijing Institute of Technology. “The public certainly feels angry about officials’ luxurious funerals. They may feel envious, and it also mirrors the gap between the rich and the poor.” The directive was the latest in an austerity campaign spearheaded by President Xi Jinping to cut through luxury, formality and waste among party and government officials that have alienated and angered many ordinary citizens. The party has already issued a five-year moratorium on the construction of new government buildings and banned the use of public funds for lavish banquets and expensive gifts such as moon cakes. Fancy funerals came into the spotlight in October when state broadcaster China Central Television reported that a village cadre held a funeral for his wife that included a 2-mile-long procession with a marching band and motorcade that stopped traffic for hours. It also raised suspicions about how a village official earning a humble salary was able to afford the extravagance.




Photo by Nobby Clark/Premier PR | AP

Charlotte Spencer, who plays Christine Keeler, is embraced by Alexander Hanson, who plays Stephen Ward, are seen at the dress rehearsal of the play “Stephen Ward” in London. Reviewers were largely seduced, rather than scandalized, by the latest musical from Andrew Lloyd Webber.

New musical seduces Critics like Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new production, a story about the famous 1960s British spy scandal By JILL LAWLESS ASSOCIATED PRESS

LONDON — Reviewers were largely seduced, rather than scandalized, on Friday by the latest musical from Andrew Lloyd Webber — surely the first in the impresario’s highly successful career to include an orgy scene. “Stephen Ward” tells the story of the Profumo Affair, a 1963 scandal that almost toppled the British government of the day. Its title character is the wellconnected London osteopath who introduced Britain’s war secretary, John Profumo, to a young model named Christine Keeler. When it emerged that Keeler had slept with both Profumo and a Soviet naval attache, the collision of sex, espionage and Cold War politics caused a sensation. Profumo resigned, while Ward was arrested, accused of pimping, tried and convicted of living off “immoral earnings.” He died from an overdose of sleeping pills before her could be jailed. The musical, which opened Thursday at London’s Aldwych Theatre, is Lloyd Webber’s first new show since the “Phantom of the Opera” sequel “Love Never Dies” in 2010. Book and lyrics are by Christopher Hampton and Don Black — the team that wrote Lloyd Webber’s “Sunset Boulevard.” Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph found the show “a delightful surprise,” fueled by “a bracing mixture of humor and indignation,” while the Daily Mail’s Quentin Letts said Lloyd Webber had produced “a powerful musical not about revolution but about defeat and decay.”

The Independent’s Paul Taylor has qualms about the “uneven” show and it’s “sometimes clodhopping lyrics,” though he said “Lloyd Webber’s eclectic score has its witty touches and the odd surge of poignancy.” Dominic Maxwell in the Times of London found this guide to the seamy side of early-60s Britain “so thick with events ... that it plays more like a lavishly scored Wikipedia entry than a fully-fledged drama” — though he said that made it “far too pacey to be dull.” Some of Lloyd Webber’s biggest hits, such as “The Phantom of the Opera,” are full of lush romance. “Stephen Ward” is far spikier, almost a polemical musical. The show sets out to spear hypocrisy, arguing that Ward was made the fall-guy for the scandal by an embarrassed and complicit Establishment. Offstage, Lloyd Webber has called Ward’s conviction a perversion of justice and backed a court challenge that is seeking to overturn it. Onstage, the play’s opening number, sung by Alexander Hanson as Ward, is “Human Sacrifice” — and that’s how the character sees himself. The anger is interspersed with a good deal of humor, creating an erratic but somehow endearing show that depicts a time when the strait-laced 1950s were about to give way to the swinging 60s, at least for the wealthy and wellconnected. An aristocratic orgy scene plays out to the jaunty song “You’ve Never Had it So Good” — the second line is: “You’ve never had it so often.” It is performed by an underwear-clad,

whip-toting ensemble with such good-natured British wink-and-nudge that it almost seems wholesome. Another scene, involving grandees chasing a scantily-clad woman, is like something out of Benny Hill’s slapstick TV series. Charlotte Spencer’s Keeler gives flashes of the vulnerable teenager — Keeler was 19 when she had her affair with Profumo — beneath the femme fatale image she was given by the press, and Charlotte Blackledge gives a sparky performance as her friend Mandy Rice-Davies. Hanson is a charismatic lead, but Ward’s true character and motives remain a mystery. Was he the genial hedonist he claimed to be, or something murkier? And the show only fitfully touches the emotions. Most critics agreed that the most moving song was “I’m Hopeless When it Comes to You” — sung wonderfully by Joanna Riding as the minor character of Profumo’s wronged wife. Standing on stage at Thursday’s curtain call, Lloyd Webber spoke emotionally of his pride in the show. It’s clearly a project close to his heart. It’s not an obvious hit. But neither, on first appearances, were shows based on supernatural melodrama, feline verses or the life of an Argentine politician — and those turned out to be “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Cats” and “Evita.”

NEW YORK — Ned Vizzini, a popular young adult author and television writer who wrote candidly and humorously about his struggles with depression, has committed suicide. He was 32. Vizzini jumped off the roof of his parents’ home in Brooklyn on Thursday, said his brother, Daniel Vizzini. New York City’s medical examiner’s office confirmed Friday that Vizzini took his own life and had sustained blunt impact injuries consistent with a fall. Daniel Vizzini said his brother had battled mental illness for much of his life and had “taken a turn for the worse” in recent weeks. Ned Vizzini’s autobiographical novel “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” was adapted into a feature film of the same name. A resident of Los Angeles in recent years, he was a prolific author of fiction and nonfiction and spoke around the country about mental health and the healing effects of writing. On his website, he recommended Andrew Solomon’s “The Noonday Demon” and the Dalai Lama’s “The Art of Happiness” to readers coping with depression. “At his signings, countless kids would approach him to say that he changed their lives — he gave them hope,” his longtime publisher, Alessandra Balzer of Balzer + Bray, said in a statement Friday. Balzer + Bray is an imprint of HarperCollins. John Green, Megan McCafferty and Sarah Dessen were among the authors mourning him on Twitter. In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, an emotional Judy Blume called him one of those people “who just touch your life in a certain way.” “I met him when he was a kid at some sort of get together that (New York City


Mayor Mike) Bloomberg was having,” she said. “And he was this incredibly lively young man and I told him, ‘I can’t wait to see what you do.”’ “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” praised by The New York Times as “insightful and utterly authentic,” was written in just a few weeks and published in 2006. Set in New York City, and 85 percent true, according to Vizzini, it told of an ambitious, but overworked high school student who considers jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge and ends up in a psychiatric ward. “So why am I depressed?” asks narrator Craig Gilner. “That’s the million-dollar question, baby, the Tootsie Roll question; not even the owl knows the answer to that one. I don’t know either. All I know is the chronology.” A couple of years before the book came out, Blume introduced Vizzini for a segment on the “Today” show. She was worried by how “subdued” he was compared to when she first met him. “And later, he wrote ‘It’s Kind of a Funny Story’ and when I read it, I knew that what had happened to the kid in the book happened to him,” Blume said. The movie version was released in 2010 and starred Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Roberts and Viola Davis. Vizzini’s other books include “Be More Chill” and “The Other Normals,” both

of which told of young people who feel like outsiders. This year, he and filmmaker Chris Columbus debuted a trilogy of young adult fantasy books, “House of Secrets.” The second installment had been completed and is scheduled for March. No decisions have been made about the third book, according to his publisher. Vizzini also was working on the NBC series “Believe,” a project co-created by J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuaron. His other TV writing credits include “Teen Wolf ” and “Last Resort.” A musical adaptation of “Be More Chill” has been in the works. Vizzini grew up in Brooklyn and attended one of New York City’s most competitive high schools, Stuyvesant, the basis for the school in “It’s Kind of a Funny Story.” He had many influences — from Miles Davis to Stephen King — and his writing gift became obvious. As a teenager, an essay he wrote about adolescence was published in The New York Times. “Although I’m still in the thick of my teenage years, I think I’ve learned a thing or two by now,” he wrote. “And as far as I can tell, being a teenager is just like being a kid, except that you’ve got five extra niggling concerns: sex, money, smoking, drinking and getting into college.” He did advance, to Hunter College, and by age 19 his first book had been released, “Teen Angst? Naaah ... A Quasi Autobiography.” Over the years, his work appeared in The New Yorker, Salon and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Asked once why he wanted to be a writer, he responded: “I knew that I wanted to be a writer because I wanted to do something that had the potential to outlast my own death.” He is survived by his wife and one son.


NEW ORLEANS — The music of rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame performer Fats Domino will “float” through the streets of New Orleans this Carnival season. Domino has been named honorary grand marshal of the Krewe of Orpheus, the star-studded Carnival club that traditionally parades the night before Mardi Gras. Although Domino won’t be riding in the March 3 parade, his eldest son, Antoine Domino III, is expected to ride on a float equipped with a piano and speakers to perform his father’s greatest hits, such as “Blue Monday,” “The Fat Man,” “Blueberry Hill” and “Walking to New Orleans.”

Other family members are expected to ride and throw coaster-size, gold-record doubloons and other Fats Domino-themed trinkets from the float. New Orleans artist Michael Hunt has designed a poster to commemorate the occasion. The posters will be autographed by Domino and available for purchase. Domino, 85, moving a little slow and his speech low, smiled for friends, family and a handful of news media who gathered Friday in his suburban New Orleans living room as he was honored by the Krewe of Orpheus with a medallion proclaiming him honorary grand marshal.

“I’m happy to do it,” he said, but added that he hasn’t changed his mind about riding on a float. “No way,” he said. Still, his son will play his music. “He should be all right,” Domino said with a smile. Domino has been asked to participate in Mardi Gras for years, but this is the first time he’s agreed. “It’s jaw-dropping,” said Michael Murphy, an officer for Orpheus. “It’s the biggest blessing that we could ever ask for. We are extremely honored.” Domino, known for his reclusive nature, rarely leaves his New Orleans home.





June 16, 1952 – Dec. 13, 2013 Roberto Elizondo Jr., 61, passed away Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, at Laredo Medical Center in Laredo, Texas. Mr. Elizondo is preceded in death by his parents, Roberto and Perta Elizondo; wife, Lydia Ortiz and a son, Daniel Ortiz. Mr. Elizondo is survived by his son, James R. Ortiz-Elizondo; daughter, Roberta Alvarado; grandchildren, Autumn Alvarado, Brianna Alvarado, Alijah Alvarado; brother, Eddie Elizondo; nephews, Eddie Elizondo Jr., Edward Elizondo, Mark Elizondo; nieces, Linda Elizondo, Maria Elizondo, Liza Michelle Elizondo and by numerous other family members. Visitation hours were held Monday, Dec. 16, 2013, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at Rose Garden Funeral Home. A funeral Mass followed at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic

Church. Committal services followed at Zapata County Cemetery. Funeral arrangements were under the direction of Rose Garden Funeral Home, Daniel A. Gonzalez, funeral director, 2102 N. U.S. Hwy. 83, Zapata.

EULALIO DOMINGUEZ JR. Aug. 6, 1934 – Dec. 16, 2013 Eulalio “Lalo” Dominguez Jr., 79, passed away Monday, Dec. 16, 2013, at Doctor’s Hospital in Laredo. Mr. Dominguez is preceded in death by his brothers, Raymundo and Manuel Jesus Dominguez; and sisters, Refugia Perez, Anita Martinez, Carolina Salinas, San Juana Cuellar, Lilia Dominguez and Elena Gonzalez. Mr. Dominguez is survived by sons, Eulalio Dominguez III and David Dominguez; daughter, Leticia Villarreal; grandchildren, Omar Jr. (Jennifer) Villarreal, Jesse (Melina) Villarreal, Lisa Marie Villarreal, Valerie Villarreal, Stephanie (Fabian) Islas, David Dominguez Jr.; 12 great-grandchildren and by numerous other family members. Visitation hours will be held Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at Rose Garden Funeral Home, followed by a 10 a.m. funeral Mass at

Previous uses of the land created areas of brush, Moczygemba said, which harbor avian predators that would be just as happy among the groves of mesquite trees anywhere else in the Rio Grande Valley. But for the aplomados, the coastal prairies are home. Between the draining and flooding of the area and grazing from cattle, the ecosystem in the area has been knocked off-kilter, leading to an increase in mesquites and a decrease of the wideopen grasslands the aplomados prefer for hunting. Moczygemba and Refuge Manager Boyd Blihovde have overseen new developments at the Bahia Grande reserve to restore the grasslands, usually through controlled burning and the use of chemicals to prevent the growth of brush, but the area remained fragmented by tiny forests of thick brush that broke the land into ter-

ritories too small to make aplomado couples comfortable. The birds prefer to have about 2,000 acres of uninterrupted grasslands for nesting. Peregrine Fund wildlife specialists said the recent work at the reserve had piqued the falcons’ interest in the area, noting the return of the birds for hunting purposes. “They’re starting to see aplomados there in areas where they haven’t seen in about five years,” he told The Brownsville Herald. But getting the falcons to stay would require more work, he said. And that’s when the Peregrine Fund really sunk its talons into the project. Friends of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge received a $75,000 grant from the group, with twothirds of the amount earmarked to improve the conditions of the grasslands at the reserve by removing the

brush that the falcons find so unsavory. Contractors from Georgia brought their massive brush-chewing machinery to the reserve and began grinding through the mesquites and other shrubs while leaving yucca plants, a favorite roosting spot for the birds. The remaining $25,000 is reserved for clearing brush on private land around the reserve, Moczygemba said, which will help enhance the efforts to restore the aplomado population in the area. The brush-clearing comes with a caveat, though: Landowners must maintain the area for a decade. Moczygemba said the intensity of maintenance needed would depend on specific conditions, but noted that it is arguably even more important than removing the brush initially. He said that while falcons may not immediately flock

back to the refuge when work finishes up there in the next month, it’s important to maintain optimal conditions for the aplomados in case they’re displaced. Since USFWS has no control over adjacent lands, he said, a wind farm or some other development could lead to the uprooting of the area’s few mating pairs. Without somewhere to go, it’s possible that the birds could leave the region forever. “If we weren’t doing this,” he said of the habitat restoration, “they wouldn’t come back.” Overall, the project will restore about 1,500 acres of habitat for the falcons, he said, far exceeding the grant’s 1,000-acre goal. And while that goal is a means to an end, Moczygemba said he won’t consider the project a success until the aplomados come back home to roost.

Medicaid expansion hoped for By JUAN A. LOZANO ASSOCIATED PRESS

Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. Committal services will follow at Zapata County Cemetery. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Rose Garden Funeral Home, Daniel A. Gonzalez, funeral director, 2102 N. U.S. Hwy. 83, Zapata.

Continued from Page 1A

HOUSTON — Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Friday she remains hopeful Texas will expand Medicaid coverage as part of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. But Democratic lawmakers who joined Sebelius in Houston to promote the health care law’s rollout said they expect Texas will continue to reject expansion and fight the law’s implementation in general, including through a proposal for new rules for “navigators” — workers trained to walk people through the enrollment process for insurance. “Texas has largest number of uninsured in the country,” Sebelius said. “Absent Medicaid expansion, there will still be millions of Texans that will not have affordable options for themselves and their families.” The state’s GOP-controlled Legislature opted not to create a state-run insurance marketplace, and Republican Gov. Rick Perry also declined to expand Medicaid to cover more of the working poor. About 14,000 Texans enrolled for insurance coverage in October and

November on the federal online exchange. Coverage under these new insurance policies was to begin Jan. 1. Texas has about 6 million people who are uninsured. Sebelius said her agency intends to continue discussing Medicaid expansion with Texas leaders. But she did not specify if there are any ongoing efforts on that front. “This is more empty rhetoric from the Obama Administration,” said Lucy Nashed, a spokeswoman for Perry, in a written statement. “The governor and Texas lawmakers have been clear that we are not interested in expanding Medicaid. If the secretary was interested in working with Texas, she would grant us the flexibility we need to implement meaningful reforms to our existing Medicaid program, rather than forcing more people into a failing system.” Perry directed the Texas Department of Insurance earlier this year to implement rules for navigators that he said would protect Texans, including requiring the workers to complete an additional 40 hours of state training, pass more exams and submit to regular background checks while on the job.

Some lawmakers and supporters of the Affordable Care Act have said the new rules for navigators are obstacles designed to fight the rollout of the health care law. Dozens of supporters of the health care law and nonprofits trained to help Texans purchase coverage packed a state meeting room in Austin on Friday and urged the insurance department to reject additional navigator oversight. The United Way of Tarrant County, which received a $5.8 million federal grant to build a navigator network, would potentially need another $145,000 to meet the additional state requirements, said Tim McKinney, the group’s president and CEO. Republican state Rep. Kenneth Sheets supports the new rules, saying additional oversight is needed to protect consumers from fraud while enrolling. Sheets said he’s not worried about the extra stress new requirements might put on navigators, who he says are currently unqualified and could act as political operatives. The agency could make its decision on the proposed rules as early as Jan. 7. The rules are supposed to be in place by March 1.

Judge strikes down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban By BRADY MCCOMBS ASSOCIATED PRESS

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge struck down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban Friday in a decision that brings a nationwide shift toward allowing gay marriage to a conservative state where the Mormon church has long been against it. U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby issued a 53page ruling Friday saying Utah’s law passed by vot-

ers in 2004 violates gay and lesbian couples’ rights to due process and equal protection under the 14th Amendment. Shelby said the state failed to show that allowing same-sex marriages would affect opposite-sex marriages in any way. “In the absence of such evidence, the State’s unsupported fears and speculations are insufficient to justify the State’s refusal to dignify the family relationships of its gay and lesbian

citizens,” Shelby wrote. It was unclear what the immediate effect would be, because the state can still appeal. The Utah attorney general’s office said it would issue a statement on the ruling later. The ruling comes the same week New Mexico’s highest court legalized gay marriage after declaring it unconstitutional to deny marriage licenses to samesex couples. A new law passed in Hawaii last month now allows gay cou-

ples to marry there. The ruling is the first on a state same-sex marriage ban since the Supreme Court last summer struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act, which stipulated that marriage was between a man and woman. During a nearly fourhour hearing earlier this month in Salt Lake City, attorneys for the state argued that Utah’s law promotes the state’s interest in “responsible procrea-

tion” and the “optimal mode of child-rearing.” They also asserted it’s not the courts’ role to determine how a state defines marriage, and that the Supreme Court ruling doesn’t give same-sex couples the universal right to marry. The lawsuit was brought by three gay and lesbian couples in Utah. One of the couples was legally married in Iowa and just wants that license recognized in Utah. Many similar court

challenges are pending in other states, but Utah’s has been closely watched because of the state’s history of staunch opposition to gay marriage as the home of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Peggy Tomsic, the attorney who represents the three couples, applauded Shelby’s courage in making the ruling. “We cannot capture in words the gratitude and joy plaintiffs feel,” Tomsic said in a statement.



The Zapata Times 12/21/2013  

The Zapata Times 12/21/2013

The Zapata Times 12/21/2013  

The Zapata Times 12/21/2013