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Commissioners eye projects for revenue Port-of-entry, 8-liner ordinances could help county’s budget By LORRAINE L. RODRIGUEZ THE ZAPATA TIMES

While Commissioners Court is willing to save money to alleviate the budget deficit, the commissioners are also willing to invest in larger development projects to bring in revenue. Commissioners Court is also keeping a close eye on ongoing projects and the departments responsible for them. One of the larger development projects considered by the court in the last regular Commissioners Court meeting Monday is a port of entry in Zapata. “Its only time we start looking into other avenues,” said Commissioner Jose E. Vela. Raba-Kistner Consultants, Inc. gave a presentation on the long process to begin construction on a port of entry in Zapata during the meeting. The port of entry would mean great possibilities for economic growth, said Senior Vice-President Steve Jones, Raba-Kistner Consultants, Inc. The county would need a

feasibility study and permits, and would have to notify appropriate agencies in both the United States and Mexico, Jones added. The mayor of Guerrero was present at the meeting and shared a few words with the court and the public. “This is the most important project for our region,” he said in Spanish. “A new bridge represents a grand opportunity to transcend in history.” Another future project is the construction of a hospital with emergency medical services. The project has been under consideration for many years but has been on hold due to lack of funding. After requesting updates on some ongoing projects, Commissioners Court was briefed on the progress of the Museum of History, the Advance Education Center, and the CACST Health Clinic. Repairs are needed on the roof and the floor of the museum, Vela said. Also, County Judge Joe Rathmell disapproved the front doors of the museum. “The doors were not suitable for our needs,” Rathmell said.



Photo by Ulysses S. Romero | The Zapata Times

ABOVE: Enrique and Norma Cantu mourn their son Private First Class Ira Benjamin Laningham IV at their home. BELOW: The Zapata County Courthouse flies flags at half-mast Tuesday afternoon in honor of PFC Ira Benjamin Laningham, who died on Jan. 7 in Afghanistan supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Mom remembers ‘Ben’ Laningham’s life, service By DENISE BLAZ

$500 license fee could provide county revenue Commissioners also hope to deter more from opening in area




efore he enlisted in the Army, Pfc. Ira Benjamin “Ben” Laningham IV, 22, would lend his musical services, playing taps during Veterans Day or Memorial Day in his tiny hometown of Zapata. On Jan. 7, Laningham died of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device and a smallarms firefight ensued in Logar Province, Afghanistan.



One of the top items Commissioners Court discussed at the last regular meeting Monday was taxing eight-liner businesses in Zapata County $500 a year to bring in more revenue and to deter new businesses from opening. The commissioners passed an ordinance to regulate the machines and to collect the fee during the meeting. It goes into

effect Feb. 1. “I believe we need to regulate the amusement eight-liners and that’s what we’re doing with the ordinance,” said County Judge Joe Rathmell during discussion of the measure. “If you want to have this type of business these are the rules you have to abide by.” According to the court, the county needs to find additional revenue sources with the recent change in natural gas production and the decrease in mineral valuations. “That has brought us to look for other avenues to replace this very important income source,” Commissioner Jose E.



Zin brief CALENDAR






The Villa San Agustin de Laredo Genealogical Society and The Laredo Public Library invite its membership and the general public to its monthly meeting, where Hector Farias, Jr., PhD, will give a presentation on “Colonel Santos Benavides: Unparalleled Cavalry Warrior.” The meeting will be held Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. in the HEB Multi-Purpose Room of the Laredo Public Library, located at 1120 East Calton Road. For more information, contact Bibi Garza-Gongora at 723-8419. El Centro de Laredo Farmer’s Market is from 9 a.m. to noon today at Jarvis Plaza, in Downtown Laredo. From 8 a.m. to noon at Casa Blanca State Park, high school students have the opportunity to volunteer for community service hours. Students will help clean up around the shoreline and the park area.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 19 The Gateway City Book Lovers’ Club will be ringing in the new year at its January meeting by having a potluck dinner, celebrating the beginning of its fifth year and welcoming any new members who are interested in joining us in the new year of 2011. Also, the first book discussion of the year will take place at this meeting on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Laredo Public Library 1st Floor Conference Room. Members will delve into “The PostAmerican World” by Newsweek magazine editor Fareed Zakaria. For more information about the book club or this month’s selection, contact Pam Burrell at (956) 795-2400, x2268 or via email at

THURSDAY, JAN. 20 Nixon High School is hosting a blood drive from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 2000 Plum. Blood donor requirements are as follows: anyone who is 16 years old weighing 120 pounds (with parental consent form), or at least 17 years old weighing 110 pounds, and in good general health can donate blood. Identification required. call 1-800-2925534 for more information.

FRIDAY, JAN. 21 Laredo Medical Center is hosting a blood drive from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1700 East Saunders. Blood donor requirements are as follows: anyone who is 16 years old weighing 120 pounds (with parental consent form), or at least 17 years old weighing 110 pounds, and in good general health can donate blood. Identification required. call 1-800-292-5534 for more information.

FRIDAY, JAN. 28 Big River Outfitters will be hosting their quarterly musical fundraiser today from 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., poolside at the Rio Grande Plaza Hotel, One South Main Avenue. Proceeds will benefit Laredo’s Animal Shelter. Bands include La Mata, The Shazz, The Archer Crab and a host of musical guests, in addition to open mic. Caffe Dolce is donating cupcakes.

TUESDAY, FEB. 1 Les Amis will have its monthly luncheon at 11:30 a.m. at the Holiday Inn at 800 Garden St. The honorees are Maria Eugenia Garcia, Olivia C. Garcia, Velia Herrera, Mary Lou Soliz, Yolanda Gonzalez and Olga Hovel. The hostesses are Viola Moore, Frances Madison and Ma. Teresa Ramirez.


Photo by Pat Sullivan | AP

In this Feb. 25 file photo, refineries and chemical plants release steam near the Houston Ship Channel. Texas and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are fighting over permitting and other bureaucratic issues, a battle that environmentalists, state regulators and the EPA agree puts human health and the environment at risk.


DALLAS — Despite a heated dispute between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Texas on how to regulate pollution, coal-fired power plants and oil refineries aren’t likely to face delays as the agency takes over greenhouse gas permits in the state, an EPA official said Friday. Al Armendariz, an EPA regional director, said businesses may have questions since the state continues handling permits for other areas. Officials have estimated that 167 projects would be affected by the new permits, required since Jan. 2 for large businesses that release greenhouse gases and are building new facilities or making major renovations. “It would be preferable for the state to operate (the greenhouse gas permits), but I

don’t anticipate delays,” he told The Associated Press during a break in a daylong EPA public hearing in Dallas. “Our staff is ready to start issuing permits.” A federal appeals court ruling this week allows the EPA to issue greenhouse gas permits directly to Texas industries, a decision made by the agency after the state refused to comply with the new Clean Air Act regulations. Texas, the only state refusing to comply, has more oil refineries, chemical plants and coal-fired power plants than any other state — and leads the nation in greenhouse gas emissions and industrial pollution. Texas is suing to stop the EPA from implementing the new greenhouse gas regulations, accusing the Obama administration of overstepping boundaries and meddling in states’ rights.

2 county officials indicted Company had wrong ID on in nursing case City Hall photo KERMIT — Two top officials have been indicted on charges stemming from the criminal prosecution of two whistle-blowing nurses. Winkler County Sheriff Robert Roberts and County Attorney Scott Tidwell were each indicted Thursday on two counts of misuse of official information, two counts of retaliation and two counts of official oppression.

DALLAS — A photography studio is taking the blame for a misidentified mayoral picture hanging at Dallas City Hall. A visitor to city hall said the photo, in honor of former Mayor Woodall Rodgers, wasn’t him. Rodgers served as mayor from 1939 to 1947. He died 1961. Relatives of a construction company magnate confirmed he was the person in the photo.

Brownsville teen accused Texas burial for 2 Vietnam of killing ex-girlfriend vets shot down in 1969 BROWNSVILLE — A Cameron County grand jury has indicted a youth over the August stabbing death of his 17-year-old former girlfriend. Javier de la Rosa Jr. remains in custody on a capital murder charge. Police say de la Rosa, now 17, was a minor at the time of the attack. A judge has ruled that de la Rosa will be tried as an adult.

DALLAS — Two Vietnam War veterans whose remains were identified decades after they were shot down were buried. Air Force Col. James Dennany was 34 when his plane was shot down over Laos in 1969. . Robert Tucci, 27, of Detroit, was the pilot. Dennany, who was born in Mattawan, Mich., was the weapons system officer.

Man pleads in double homicide BEAUMONT — A 29-year-old member of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas has pleaded guilty to federal charges related to an August 2007 double homicide. Charles Cameron Frazier, of Nacogdoches, pleaded guilty to committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity. Frazier admitted that he had participated in two murders.

Woman questions $10 fee, dead Ike-sculpture tree GALVESTON — A woman wonders why a no-fee tree when it was alive now requires a $10 payment as a Hurricane Ikekilled oak made into a sculpture. City officials say the licenseto-use fee applies because the sculptures are designed. A spokesperson said the fee does not distinguish placement of one object from another in the right of way. — Compiled from AP reports

AROUND THE NATION Obama to ease Cuba travel restrictions

Veterans Helping Veterans will meet in the Laredo Public Library, 1120 E. Calton Road, from noon to 2:30 p.m. today and Feb. 19 and March 5 and 26. Meetings are confidential and for military veterans only. For more information, contact George Mendez at 794-3057 or or Jessica Morales at 794-3091 or League of United Latin American Citizens No. 7 will host the 16th annual gala dance Noche de Cabaret from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. today in the Laredo Civic Center Ballroom, 800 Garden St. Tickets are $20 per person or $200 for a table of 10. LCC President Juan Maldonado will be honored with the Higher Education Award. The event will feature Grupo Premier de los dos Laredos. For tickets or more information, call 949-7685, 206-1098 or 753-6656.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — President Barack Obama plans to loosen Cuban travel policy to allow students and church groups to go to the communist country, the administration announced. Students seeking academic credit and churches traveling for religious purposes will be able to go to Cuba. Americans will be allowed to send as much as $500 every three months to Cubans who are not part of the Castro administration and are not members of the Communist Party. Also, more airports will be allowed to offer charter service.

To submit an item for the calendar, send the name of the event, the date, time, location and contact phone number to

FORT WASHINGTON, Pa — Johnson & Johnson said Friday it is recalling nearly 47 million packages of Tylenol, Sudafed and other nonprescription drugs

Company recalls nonprescription drugs

Today is Saturday, Jan. 15, the 15th day of 2011. There are 350 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Jan. 15, 1961, a U.S. Air Force radar tower off the New Jersey coast collapsed into the Atlantic Ocean during a severe storm, killing all 28 men aboard. (The structure was known as “Texas Tower 4” because of its resemblance to an oil platform.) On this date: In 1559, England’s Queen Elizabeth I was crowned in Westminster Abbey. In 1777, the people of New Connecticut declared their independence. (The tiny republic later became the state of Vermont.) In 1844, the University of Notre Dame received its charter from the state of Indiana. In 1929, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta. In 1943, work was completed on the Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Department of War (now Defense). In 1947, the mutilated remains of 22-year-old Elizabeth Short, who came to be known as the “Black Dahlia,” were found in a vacant Los Angeles lot; her slaying remains unsolved. In 1967, the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League defeated the Kansas City Chiefs of the American Football League 35-10 in the first AFL-NFL World Championship Game, retroactively known as Super Bowl I. In 1971, the recently completed Aswan High Dam in Egypt was dedicated during a ceremony attended by President Anwar Sadat and Soviet President Nikolai Podgorny. In 1981, the police drama series “Hill Street Blues” premiered on NBC. In 2009, US Airways Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger ditched his Airbus 320 in the Hudson River after a flock of birds disabled both the plane’s engines; all 155 people aboard survived. Ten years ago: Presidentelect George W. Bush marked the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday at an elementary school in Houston, where he promised black Americans: “My job will be to listen not only to the successful, but also to the suffering.” Wikipedia, a webbased encyclopedia, made its debut. Five years ago: After a seven-year journey, a NASA space capsule, Stardust, returned safely to Earth with the first dust ever fetched from a comet. Michelle Bachelet (bahcheh-LET’) was elected Chile’s first woman president. Kuwait’s longtime ruler, Sheik Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah, died; he was succeeded by the crown prince, Sheik Saad Al Abdullah Al Sabah. Today’s Birthdays: Actress Margaret O’Brien is 74. Actress Andrea Martin is 64. Actor-director Mario Van Peebles is 54. Actor James Nesbitt is 46. Alt-country singer Will Oldham (aka “Bonnie Prince Billy”) is 41. Actress Regina King is 40. . Rapper/reggaeton artist Pitbull is 30. Thought for Today: “I refuse to accept the idea that the ‘is-ness’ of man’s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the ‘ought-ness’ that forever confronts him.” — Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968).

CONTACT US Publisher, William B. Green........................728-2501 Business Manager, Dora Martinez ...... (956) 324-1226 Chief Accountant, Thelma Aguero .............. 728-2553 General Manager, Adriana Devally ...............728-2510 Retail Adv. Manager, Raul Cruz................... 728-2511 Classified Manager, Jesse Vicharreli ........... 728-2525 Adv. Billing Inquiries ................................. 728-2531 Circulation Director ................................. 728-2559 MIS Director, Michael Castillo.................... 728-2505 Editor, Diana Fuentes ................................728-2581 City Editor, Mary Nell Sanchez .................. 728-2543 Sports Editor, Dennis Silva II......................728-2579 Business Journal Editor, Sean Bowlin.......... 728-2529 Entertainment Editor, Emilio Rábago III ....... 728-2564 Online Editor, Julie Daffern ....................... 728-2565 Photo by Seth Wenig | AP

New York City Schools Chancellor Cathie Black meets with teachers at a Brooklyn school on Jan. 3. A spokeswoman said Black was making a joke Thursday when she suggested overcrowded schools could be solved with birth control. manufactured at a Pennsylvania facility that has already been subject to a series of massive recalls, battering the company’s household brand. The latest recall affects certain lots of Tylenol, Benadryl and Sudafed products because of insuffi-

cient cleaning procedures, though the company does not believe that quality was impacted. The company also recalled certain lots of Rolaids tablets because they do not include certain labeling information. — Compiled from AP reports

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




Man leads deputies on Presentation gives chase near San Ygnacio port-of-entry process Maryland man charged with evading arrest By CÉSAR G. RODRIGUEZ THE ZAPATA TIMES

Officials say a man from Maryland was on medication when he led deputies on a chase that stretched out for a few miles in the San Ygnacio area early Wednesday. Fausto Alberto Castillo, 33, was arrested and charged with evading arrest with a motor vehicle. Deputies responded to a call of a possible drunk driver around midnight in Ramireño on U.S. 83,

FAUSTO A. CASTILLO: On medication, he was charged with evading arrest. south of San Ygnacio. Sgt. Mario Elizondo said deputies caught up with a Chevrolet pickup and signaled a traffic stop. The truck, bearing Maryland license plates, stopped and deputies checked on the driver. Elizondo said the man seemed to be under the influence. A further investigation showed the driver, identified as Castillo, was on medication. Reports did not specify the type of medication Castillo took. Castillo then made a sudden move. “During the investiga-

tion, he jumped back to the vehicle and drove away from the deputies,” Elizondo said. Castillo drove northbound on U.S. 83. He lost control of his pickup and hit an embankment, causing the vehicle to jump the embankment and hit a stop sign near a rest area north of San Ygnacio, Elizondo said. “He almost flipped over,” he added. Castillo was not harmed during the incident. Deputies took him to Zapata Regional Jail, where he was held in lieu of a $5,000 bond. (César G. Rodriguez may be reached at 7282568 or

THE BLOTTER ASSAULT Diego Camarillo, 17, was arrested and charged with assault causing family violence at 4:34 p.m. Jan. 7 in the 1900 block of Diaz Avenue. He was taken to Zapata Regional Jail, where he was held in lieu of $10,000 bond. Deputies responded to a fight in progress at 11:11 p.m. Jan. 8 in the 1800 block of Delmar Street. Joe Rodriguez III, 35, was arrested and charged with assault causing family violence. Rodriguez was taken to Zapata Regional Jail and released to appear in court later. Deputies responded to an aggravated assault call at 2:32 a.m. Jan. 10 in the 2200 block of Glenn Street. An 18-year-old man told deputies that someone in a black passenger car attempted to drive him off the roadway.


Jorge Javier Jasso, 25, was arrested and charged with assault, evading arrest and resisting arrest at 7:32 a.m. Jan. 9 in the intersection of Elm Street and 10th Avenue. The man was taken to Zapata Regional Jail, where he was held in lieu of a $17,000 combined bond.

POSSESSION A deputy conducted a traffic stop on a black truck at 9:14 p.m. Jan. 10 at Second Street and Texas 16. An incident report states Alberto Garcia Jr., 39, was arrested after being found in possession of a white powdery substance believed to be cocaine. He was charged with possession of a controlled substance and transported to Zapata Regional Jail. He was held in lieu of a $5,000 bond. Jose Lauro Macias-Moreno, 21, was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 12 in the vicinity of 13th

Street and Zapata Avenue. He was taken to Zapata Regional Jail, where he was held in lieu of a $5,000 bond.

THEFT Deputies responded to a theft call at 7:40 p.m. Jan. 8 at the Dollar General Store, 1104 Texas 16. An incident report states the complainant knows the person who stole 16 packages of beef jerky. The alleged offender walked out the store and left the area in a 1995 Chevrolet Lumina with Texas license plates.

TERRORISTIC THREATS A juvenile was detained and charged with terroristic threat at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 7 at Zapata Middle School, near the corner of 17th Avenue and Carla Street. The teenager was turned over to juvenile personnel.


Plans to construct a port-of-entry in Zapata County resurfaced in the last Commissioners Court meeting with a preliminary presentation by a consulting firm advising the court of the necessary steps to take. Raba-Kistner Consultants, Inc. gave a brief presentation on the long process the county would have to follow in order to begin the large but beneficial project. The county has not hired the consultants but will consider them when they are ready for a feasibility study, Rathmell said. “They would walk us through the process if we decide to pursue this in the future,” Rathmell said. “It’s not something we’re going to do right away.” Past county administrations considered the portof-entry project and have held off for many years due to the lack of funding, said County Judge Joe Rathmell. “It’s a very expensive proposition and the county would not be able to do it on its own with the permits and the construction,” Rathmell said. “It’s way out of our means right now, but the presentation was a starting point.” Raba-Kistner Consultants, Inc. Senior Vice-President Steve Jones advised the court that they would have to speak with the administrations from both the United States and Mexico. “Both sides of the river have to be in favor,” Rathmell said.

We’ve been very isolated and the bridge would allow our residents and the residents of Mexico to see each other.” COUNTY JUDGE JOE RATHMELL

Shortly after Jones advised the board to contact Mexican officials the Mayor of Guerrero, Mexico, stood and addressed the court and gave them a few words of encouragement. “This is the most important project for our region,” he said in Spanish. “A new bridge represents a grand opportunity to transcend in history.” The court said it looks forward to working with him soon in a project that will benefit both their communities. “It was encouraging that he approved of what we’re trying to do, so I guess we have a partner now,” Rathmell said. Zapata is one of the few counties that doesn’t have a border crossing. “We’ve been very isolated and the bridge would allow our residents and the residents of Mexico to see each other,” Rathmell said. “There would be more traffic coming through our quiet community,” Rathmell added. The potential is there and the possibilities are endless, Rathmell said. “It would increase jobs, revenue, and trade with our sister city,” Rathmell said. The court is aware of

the risks border cities with port-of-entries experience, but it believes the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. “Anything associated with port-of-entries we’d be exposing our residents to,” Rathmell said. Besides more traffic, the court is also aware of the security concerns Mexico has and the possibility of the violence spilling into Zapata, Rathmell said. “The potential negative would be increased drug activity and security concerns, but there’s still so much more good than the bad,” Rathmell said. Some residents may have a problem with expanding Zapata, the small community they call home, Rathmell said. “There are just some people that would like to keep it a quiet and peaceful town,” Rathmell said. “We’ll have to weigh our options.” Since the decrease in natural gas production and mineral valuation, the county has lost a variable amount of revenue. The court has been adamant about finding other sources of revenue to replace the lost revenue. (Lorraine L. Rodriguez may be reached at (956)7282557.)







Ben Laningham’s friend remembers the human being he was To the editor: After the initial shock, the first breakdown on Saturday night and a litany of sobs, screams rants and anger at the universe, I began a lonely vigil in New Haven. I saw the Defense Department press release that had one of my closest friends in the universe listed as Pfc. Ira B. Laningham IV. I Googled his name in restless anxiety: Every new article, video or blog post gave me another attempt at comprehending what my mind did not want to believe. It was not helpful, mostly because amid the pictures, articles, videos and condolences, they seemed detached from who he had been as a human being. I do not ever recall calling him Ira. I called him Ben. Most of us did. In death, that bit of him seems lost. I want to remember. We need to remember. What will we remember? He can become a blank slate, where we can project the easiest of categories and the most convenient of characteristics. Nary a word said about the things that caused all his loved ones multiple anxieties throughout his life. This does not do him justice. Forgetting his flaws does indignity to his memory: It belittles his greatness because for all of those who loved him, his flaws were never remotely close to matching the awesomeness of his virtues. The occasional irresponsibility, the sometimes-present narcissism and his frustrating lack of tact were never obstacles to loving him: they simply made him a human being. His positives were simply magnif-

icent. Those we want to remember. They are ours to remember. I will never forget his passion for life, or the simple way in which he brought joy to every room and an off-beat sense of humor to every conversation. Even so, they pale in comparison to his greatest virtue: His magnanimity in forgiveness was simply beyond the capability of most human beings. He forgave. From the smallest transgressions to the ones that should not be forgiven, he forgave. I’m not sure where it stemmed from — perhaps his attempt to love everyone around him. I never deserved forgiveness for some actions, yet that too was granted. The most important lessons I never learned in a classroom. Four years of Yale could not teach me to love, to forgive, to understand or appreciate; Ben did, even if I was a bad student many times. Ben contained multitudes. He was a hero, husband, son, brother, classmate, coworker and friend. He participated in a variety of activities, each illustrating for us a little part of who he was. No one can remember all of them. As a community, we each contribute to remembering him whole. We cannot recreate him, but we honor him each time we remember, each time we tell a story, each time we relearn what it is to live life without him. Remember him. Signed, Fernando Reyes Yale Class of 2010 New Haven, Conn.


Capital punishment faces the end NEW YORK TIMES


leven years after gross injustice compelled a moratorium on capital punishment in Illinois, the state legislature has concluded that the only way to guard against execution of the innocent is to outlaw the death penalty. Gov. Pat Quinn, who has sent mixed signals in the past, should quickly sign the legislation into law. Former Gov. George Ryan declared the moratorium in 2000 in the face of a running scandal of faulty trials that cost innocent inmates their lives. Three years later, Ryan stunned the nation by commuting 167 death row felons to life terms and calling for a hard look at the business of state-sanctioned death. (Ryan subsequently went to prison for statehouse corruption, but the flaws of capital punishment remained clear, as dramatically confirmed now by the legislature.)

Reforms Under prodding from outside investigators, the state has had to free 20 inmates from death row since 1987. It has also enacted some commendable reforms. These included mandatory taping of interviews with homi-

cide suspects — a measure that followed tales of torture in notorious Chicago precinct houses. But other vital reforms to clean up forensic lab abuses and stagemanaged witness identifications were rejected. And for all the official study, caution and reforms of the past decade, the legislature found the system still riddled with risk and doubt.


Licensed to pass the detectors By KEN HERMAN COX NEWSPAPERS


USTIN — The Tucson tragedy — be it the product of overheated political rhetoric or plain ol’ freelance loon — unfortunately underscores the wisdom of installing metal detectors at the entrances to the Capitol. The Arizona shootings also underscore the nonsense of allowing holders of concealed handgun licenses to bypass the metal detectors and carry their concealed handguns into the building. Why anybody needs a handgun in the Capitol is beyond me. I guess self-defense could come up, but I’m OK with leaving my protection to the trained professionals in the building. Some might think I’m delusional, but I find it a comforting delusion. As we learned in Arizona, people who legally carry concealed handguns suddenly can go rogue, as Sarah Palin might say. Statistically, it’s the overwhelming exception, which is why I support the right to carry concealed handguns, with certain restrictions on where you can carry. I’d put the Capitol on the off-limits list. But it is not. In fact, there is an express lane that allows CHL holders to skirt the metal detectors. And that is why, har-

Temporary stop Fifteen inmates are now on death row under the open-ended moratorium as prosecutors continue to pursue capital punishment. Most recently, two condemned men convicted on the basis of confessions were exonerated by DNA evidence. Quinn said last fall that he supported the moratorium as well as capital punishment “applied carefully and fairly.” Illinois’s own experience has shown why that is not possible. Most modern nations, and 15 states in this country, have rightly abandoned the barbarism of state executions. The sanctity of human life and the honor of the state require Quinn to lead Illinois beyond its wrenching history of wrongful death-row convictions.

boring no intention of ever owning a gun but with no ill will toward people who do, I recently completed the 10-hour CHL course. I like bypassing metal detectors, especially when I’m toting a backpack jammed with gizmos that properly attract close inspection. Lots of folks who frequent the Capitol have gone the CHL route to bypass metal detection. Many lobbyists took time out from summering in Nantucket to return to Texas to take the course. I was among nine journalists who recently took it at Cabela’s, that vast wonderland of ammo and camo in Buda. Our CHL instructor was Mike Cox. Instructor Mike was friendly, supportive, informed, funny and really helpful in preparing for the 50-question written exam. We began by discussing why we want CHLs. We acknowledged it involved Capitol entry. Mike told us he is an NRA activist who said his wife him tells him “no soap box” when he teaches the course. Mrs. Cox, please know that Mike often succeeded in avoiding the soap box during our class, save for a few slipups. We learned that former Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle is a “communist,” the Mothers Against Drunk Driving are “hysterical women,” the

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is “the morality police” and the Texas Municipal League is a “Nazi-type organization”. Under it all was a solid message. We were learning, Mike told us, not how to shoot to kill but how to “shoot to live.” He could not have been more serious and effective in hammering home the awesome responsibility we accept when we load a weapon. Shortly after noon, we headed to the shooting range at Mike’s place for our proficiency exams. He did a great job in ensuring safety and inspiring confidence among a bunch of notebook-wielding journalists with little to no firearm experience. I last had fired a weapon at summer camp. Each of us fired 50 rounds; 20 from three yards, 20 from seven yards and 10 from 15 yards. Maximum score is 250. Passing is 175. “You’ve got a perfect score,” Mike told me after my shots from two nearer distances. I wilted at longer range and wound up with 243 points. I remain confident the errant shots came from the Dallas Morning News’ Wayne Slater, who, to my left, was clearly jealous of my dead-eye prowess. Thanks to Mike, we all passed the shooting and 50question written tests (per-

fect score for me on the latter, thanks for asking). Mike has taught the course to lots of folks whose primary interest might be swift Capitol entry. Here’s a Friday tweet from Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs: “Happy Birthday to Mike Cox of My staff and I had a great time at your place last week, thank you.” Having passed the course, I’m now in the filling-outforms process. On Friday, I went to get my fingerprints taken. When the technician called up the screen of folks with Friday appointments, I noticed the name of a journalist friend with whom I took the course. I also saw my barber’s name. Maybe he’s getting a Concealed Hairdryer License. Soon, I expect to be certified as proficient to carry a concealed handgun. Truthfully, here’s about all I feel proficient to do: If I’m attacked, and if the attacker will stop about three yards from me, and if he will stand really, really still, and if he will give me enough time to go buy a gun and some ammo, and if he will remind me how to load the ammo into the gun, he’s a dead man. And, of course, I’ll be able to bypass the Capitol metal detectors. (E-mail:

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Agenda en Breve SÁBADO 15 DE ENERO La Sociedad Genealógica Villa San Agustin de Laredo y la Biblioteca Pública de Laredo invitan a su reunión mensual donde Hector Farias, Jr. dará una presentación sobre “Colonel Santos Benavides: Unparalleled Cavalry Warrior” a la 1 p.m. en la Sala de Usos Múltiples HEB de la biblioteca, 1120 East Calton Rd. LAREDO — El equipo de baloncesto femenil de Texas A&M International University recibe a Oklahoma Panhandle State University a las 2 p.m. La entrada general es de 5 dólares. Visite para más información. LAREDO — Laredo Theatre Guild International (LTGI) junto con TAMIU presenta “Agnes of God” en el teatro experimental Sam Johnson del Center for the Fine and Performing Arts hoy a las 3 p.m. y 8 p.m. Entrada general es de 15 dólares, precio especial para estudiantes y adultos mayores. LAREDO — El equipo de baloncesto varonil de Texas A&M International University recibe a St. Edward’s University a las 4:30 p.m. La entrada general es de 5 dólares. Visite para más información.




Alerta ante frente frío TIEMPO DE ZAPATA

Hasta el miércoles por la tarde habían sido activado 118 albergues en 38 municipios de Tamaulipas, ante la presencia del frente frío número 20. El Gobierno del Estado reportó que se habían albergado a 182 personas hasta el miércoles por la noche. Los mecanismos interinstitucionales fueron activados para que, además de abrir los albergues se les entregara a las personas con cobijas, se les brinde atención médica y proporcione alimentos. En la coordinación participan el gobierno estatal, federal y municipales, además de los Sistemas para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia locales. “Mi recomendación a las instituciones participantes

DIÓDORO GUERRA: Dijo que se respetará criterio de padres de familia. primero es salvaguardar la vida de las personas mediante la activación de las medidas preventivas necesarias durante esta temporada invernal”, dijo el Gobernador Egidio Torre Cantú. Hasta el miércoles, el reporte de los municipios era el siguiente: 60 en Nuevo Laredo; 40 personas en Miquihuana; 25 en Madero; 20 en Jiménez; 12 en Tampico; 12 en Matamoros; siete en Mante; tres en Reynosa; uno en Victoria; uno en Llera y uno en San Fernando. Los refugios cuentan con medicamentos que lleva personal del Sector Salud.

Nuevo Laredo

En el caso de Nuevo Laredo, ahí se ubicó un refugio temporal en el crucero de Gutiérrez y Luis Caballero, en la Colonia Hidalgo. A los 60 albergados se les dotó de cobijas, colchonetas y alimentos. Jesús Vargas Castro, de 60 años, dijo que en el albergue encontró comida y atención. “Hoy comí pan, picadillo, sopa de arroz y frijolitos”, dijo Vargas. “Tienen vacunas para nosotros de igual forma contamos con áreas para descansar y asearnos”. Durante la noche del miércoles, autoridades de EU deportaron a 90 personas por el Puente Internacional N° 2, de las cuales 60 fueron canalizadas a las diferentes terminales de autobuses para retornarlos a sus lugares de origen, y 30 fueron enviadas refugio lo-


Clases En tanto, ante las bajas temperaturas el Secretario de Educación en Tamaulipas, Diódoro Guerra Rodríguez, reiteró que “los padres de familia podrán decidir si envían o no a sus hijos a clases cuando el termómetro marque 5º C o menos”. Las clases nunca fueron suspendidas y se otorgaron a quienes pudieron asistir. El permitir el criterio a los padres tiene como propósito proteger a los estudiantes, dijo Guerra, En caso de asistir a clases, la Secretaría de Educación recomienda asistir a la escuela con ropa adecuada para la temporada invernal, así como suspender las actividades al aire libre cuan-


DOMINGO 16 DE ENERO LAREDO — Laredo Theatre Guild International (LTGI) junto con TAMIU presenta “Agnes of God” en el teatro experimental Sam Johnson del Center for the Fine and Performing Arts hoy a las 3 p.m. y 8 p.m. Entrada general es de 15 dólares, precio especial para estudiantes y adultos mayores.

JUEVES 20 DE ENERO WBCA invita a la Commander’s Reception a las 7 p.m. en Laredo Energy Arena. Se requiere invitación.

VIERNES 21 DE ENERO LAREDO — WBCA y la Laredo Webb County Bar Association invitan a la Noche de Agave, Cata de Tequila, de 8 p.m. a 12 p.m. en Paseo Real. Costo 100 dólares por persona.

México reporta 34.612 muertes ASSOCIATED PRESS

Foto de cortesía | Gobierno de Tamaulipas

Ciudad Mier será de las primeras zonas del estado en recibir el apoyo de un programa emergente de rescate. Entre las áreas a atender se encuentra el campo. TIEMPO DE ZAPATA

Con el objetivo de reactivar la economía rural de la zona ribereña fue creado el programa “Estrategias de Comunidades Seguras Frontera Chica del Estado de Tamaulipas” con recursos de 23.1 millones de pesos. Ciudad Mier recibirá los recursos de manera inmediata. Se trata de un plan conformado por el Gobierno de Tamaulipas y dependencias federales tras la primera reunión mensual de la Comisión Intersecretarial del Consejo Estatal del Desarrollo Rural Sus-

Determinaron aplicar recursos de inmediato al municipio de Mier ante la demanda de apoyos de los productores. tentable. La Secretaría de Desarrollo Rural y la Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación (SAGARPA) determinaron aplicar recursos de inmediato al municipio de Mier ante la demanda de apoyos de los productores cuyos recursos coordinará la Comisión Intersecretarial. Los recursos también

serán complementados con la gestión de más de 800,000 pesos que Torre canalizó para el sector ganadero de Mier dentro del programa Activos Productivos. El Secretario de Desarrollo Rural Jorge Alberto Reyes Moreno aclaró que el resto de los municipios recibirán apoyos económicos para lograr su reactivación, previa evaluación

de daños ocasionados en sus unidades de producción. En esta Comisión Intersecretarial participan la Comisión Nacional de Zonas Áridas (CONAZA), el Fondo Nacional de Apoyo para las Empresas en Solidaridad (FONAES), la Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales y la Secretaría de Economía.


SÁBADO 22 DE ENERO LAREDO — Hoy es la 16ta edición del Menudo Bowl, Cook-off, organizado por Laredo Crime Stoppers en LIFE Fairgrounds de la Carretera 59. La entrada es de 5 dólares por adulto; niños de 12 años y menores entran gratis. El estacionamiento también será gratuito. Más información en el 724-1876.

JUEVES 27 DE ENERO LAREDO — Los Harlem Globetrotters se presentan hoy a las 7 p.m. en la Laredo Energy Arena. Adquiera sus boletos en la taquilla de LEA.

Por otra parte se han creado filtros sanitarios a la entrada de los planteles para identificar a quienes presenten cuadros respiratorios como catarro, tos, fiebre o malestar general, y en casos especiales se sugerirá a los padres de familia que sus hijos guarden reposo en casa, debiendo recibir atención médica e incorporarse a clases en cuanto se recuperen, indica un comunicado de prensa. También se está promoviendo el lavado frecuente de manos, en particular después de toser o estornudar, así como el uso de pañuelos desechables para cubrirse boca y nariz.


MIÉRCOLES 19 DE ENERO LAREDO — El Gateway City Book Lovers’ Club se reunirá hoy de 6 p.m. a 7:30 p.m. en la Sala de Conferencias en el Primer Piso de la Biblioteca Pública de Laredo. Se hablará del Mundo PostAmericano por el editor de la revista Newsweek Fareed Zakaria.


Calderón: se viven tiempos difíciles

MARTES 18 DE ENERO LAREDO — Oscar Gomez, director del Programa de Tecnología Radiológica del Laredo Community College presenta una nueva exhibición “Inner Seascapes” a partir de las 10:30 a.m. de hoy en la Biblioteca Senadora Judith Zaffirini, del Campus Sur de LCC. LAREDO — Juego de Hockey, los Laredo Bucks reciben a Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees a las 7:30 p.m. en Laredo Energy Arena.

do las condiciones atmosféricas no sean las apropiadas.

Foto de cortesía | Gobierno de Ciudad Mier

El Presidente Municipal de Ciudad Mier, Alberto González Peña tuvo a su cargo el banderazo de inicio de la obra de interconexión de red de agua potable cabecera municipal, el 11 de enero. La obra tiene por objetivo abastecer de agua a Ciudad Mier sin contratiempos.

MÉXICO — Un total de 34.612 personas murieron en hechos de violencia relacionados con el narcotráfico en los cuatro años que pasaron desde que el presidente Felipe Calderón le declaró la guerra a los cárteles de la droga, según datos que presentó el miércoles el gobierno federal. Las muertes violentas relacionadas con el narcotráfico subieron un 63% en 2010, cuando hubo 15.273. En 2009, hubo 9.616 asesinatos de este tipo. La tasa de homicidios subió en la primera mitad del año, pero luego se estabilizó y declinó un 11% en el último trimestre, dijo el vocero federal de temas de seguridad, Alejandro Poiré, al presentar una base de datos sobre los crímenes relacionados con el narcotráfico. “Efectivamente, 2010 ha sido un año de extrema violencia”, dijo Calderón en la reunión de organizaciones de lucha contra el crimen en que se presentó el sistema. “Todos estamos conscientes de que atravesamos tiempos difíciles en materia de seguridad”. El gobierno dijo que en cuatro años hubo 30.195 ejecuciones, 3.075 muertes en tiroteos entre bandas criminales y 527 en ataques contra las autoridades. Los cárteles mexicanos se disputan diferentes regiones del país con altos niveles de violencia desde que Calderón lanzó su ofensiva contra ellos poco después de asumir el cargo el 1 de diciembre de 2006. Calderón dijo que gran parte de las muertes del año pasado fueron parte del enfrentamiento entre la banda de los Zetas y su antiguo aliado, el Cartel del Golfo. Tanto el presidente como otros funcionarios destacaron que cerca de la mitad de los asesinatos fueron en tres estados norteños: Chihuahua, Sinaloa y Tamaulipas. El presidente dijo que los 31 gobiernos estatales deben contribuir más a la limpieza de las fuerzas de seguridad locales y a la lucha contra el crimen, ya que el federal hace su parte.




Sofia Whitcombe began her day with the startling realization that she might not be exactly who she thought she was. “My whole life, I thought I was a Capricorn,” the 25year-old publicist said. “Now I’m a Sagittarius? I don’t feel like a Sagittarius!” It felt, she said, like a rug had been pulled from under her feet. “Will my personality change?” she mused. “Capricorns are diligent and regimented, and superhard-working like me. Sagittarians are more laid back. This is all a little offputting.” People reacted on social networks Friday to the “news” that the stars have shifted alignment, astrologically speaking. No matter that the astronomy instructor who started it all in a weekend newspaper interview said, it was an old story — very old; 2,000 years old, actually — and that astrologists were insisting it wouldn’t change a thing. The story had traveled around the blogosphere like, well, a shooting star. Some seemed angry. “I believe it’s a zodiac scam,” said Jose Arce, a 38year-old from Fort Lee, N.J., who runs a body shop. “I’ve known myself to be a Sagittarius, I believe, since I was born. So to come up now

Photo by Darren Hauck | AP

Sammy Limon, an apprentice tattoo artist at Atomic Tattoos, shows off his Pisces-inspired tattoo that is still in progress at Atomic Tattoos, on Friday, in Milwaukee. A Minneapolis astronomy professor said Friday that he’s stunned by the attention he’s getting for suggesting the signs of the zodiac are all wrong. with some new sign? It’s unacceptable!” But others weren’t so ready to curse the stars. Kathy Torpey always felt like she was “a Scorpio trapped in a Sagittarian body” — emotional and creative, she said, more than competitive and intellectual like Sagittarians. So on Friday, even though she pays little heed to horoscopes, Torpey said she was thrilled to discover that she may have always been a Scorpio, after all. “You have no idea what relief and joy I felt after hearing the wonderful news of the zodiac chang-

es,” wrote the 43-year-old mother of two from Willow Grove, Pa., in an e-mail, tongue-in-cheek to be sure. “Up until now, I felt like my whole life has been a lie!” Astrologers across the country reported a wave of calls, e-mails or website hits from clients. “People are more attached and loyal to their signs than they thought,” said Eric Francis, editor of, who said he had had 25,000 hits on his site since midnight. “It’s interesting how many people are panicking their sign is wrong.”

Astounded by all the kerfuffle was the man who started it, astronomy instructor Parke Kunkle. In an interview Sunday in the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, Kunkle had explained the Earth’s wobbly orbit means it’s no longer aligned to the stars in the same way as when the signs of the zodiac were first conceived, about 5,000 years ago. That means, Kunkle said, that when astrologers say the sun is in Pisces, it’s really in Aquarius, and so on. “Astronomers have known about this since about 130 B.C.,” Kunkle

told The Associated Press Friday in his office at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College, his phone ringing constantly, as it had since the article came out. (One person had even demanded: “Give me my sign back.”) “This is not new news. Almost every astronomy class talks about it.” New news or old, most people had never heard it before. And one of the more fascinating elements of the story was talk of a new sign altogether. By the reckoning of Kunkle and other astronomers, astrologers are not only a

month off in their zodiac signs, but they are neglecting a 13th constellation, Ophiuchus (Ooh-FEE-yewkus) the Serpent Bearer, for those born from Nov. 30 to Dec. 17. According to myth, Ophiuchus became a healer when he killed a snake and another appeared with an herb in his mouth that revived the dead one, said Amy Sayle, an astronomy educator at the Moorehead Planetarium at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Mary-Iris Taylor, a writer in St. Louis, had seen the story of Kunkle’s zodiac on TV, but Friday she read a link a friend had posted on Facebook and realized she was an Ophiuchus. And what, she wondered, did that mean? “I’d just like to know what I’m supposed to be like now,” she said. “As a Sagittarius, I was supposed to be the life of the party — at least, that’s what I wanted it to mean,” she laughed. “Now what?” According to many astrologists, she shouldn’t worry. Linda Zlotnick, an astrologer for 32 years in St. Paul, Minn., said she and fellow astrologers have long known of the issue raised by Kunkle, but that the most commonly used zodiac — tropical — isn’t affected by it. Zlotnick said the sidereal zodiac, which isn’t as widely used, is based on the constellations.

GOP: Anti-immigration stance hurts party By LAURA WIDES-MUÒOZ ASSOCIATED PRESS

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Republican speakers at a conference on reaching Hispanic voters urged the party to tone down its rhetoric on immigration and to take up comprehensive reform in Congress, warning that the party could lose ground with the country’s increasingly diverse citizenry if it doesn’t. “(Hispanics) will be the swing voters as they are today in the swing states. If you want to elect a center-right president of the United States, it seems to me you should be concerned about places like New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Texas, places where but for the Hispanic vote, elections are won and lost,” said former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who co-chaired the conference organized by the new Hispanic Leadership Net-

Photo by Wilfredo Lee | AP

Former U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart gestures as he speaks on Friday, during a Republican gathering at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Fla., to improve the party’s outreach to Hispanic voters. Diaz-Balart said Republicans can’t be the majority party if they are perceived to be against immigration. work. But those gathered at the South Florida conference seemed split over whether the GOP’s lack of Hispanic support is simply because of the party’s tone, or if there’s a more

substantive problem with the GOP’s policies. “If you think it’s about tone, you have missed the point,” independent columnist Ruben Navarette told the audience of more than 300 at the Biltmore

Hotel in the Miami suburb of Coral Gables. Other speakers blamed a liberal bias in the media and a few extreme voices in the party. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, the Florida Republican who

retired from Congress this year and has long championed immigration reform, suggested Republicans need to work their tone and message. “The decibels have to be lower,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how good our policy positions are, if we are perceived as being antiimmigrant, we cannot be the majority party.” Diaz-Balart also urged congressional leaders to quickly take up a comprehensive immigration bill that a bipartisan group of legislators has quietly worked on for months. Diaz-Balart promised the new proposal would address previous concerns about people in the country illegally earning residency before those who follow the rules. “It solves many impossible-to-solve issues,” he said, “including making sure people waiting legally get preference.” The daylong conference

is the latest of several new Republican efforts to reach out to Hispanics, who have voted overwhelmingly for Democrats in recent presidential elections. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a possible 2012 presidential candidate, announced a similar effort in Washington, D.C., last month with his Americanos group. The conservative Heritage Foundation also now has a Spanish website, Meanwhile, Alfonso Aguilar, former President George W. Bush’s first citizenship and immigration czar, runs the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles. The Hispanic Leadership Network is backed by former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, whose American Action Network funneled more than $30 million in campaign funds to Republicans in about 30 congressional races last year.



Gripping murder mystery LTGI presents ‘Agnes of God’ at TAMIU’s Sam Johnson Theatre this weekend “The baby was discovered in a wastepaper basket with the umbilical cord knotted around its neck. The mother was found unconscious by the door to her room ...” With those words, court psychiatrist Doctor Martha Livingstone describes a crime that was believed to be committed by the mother, Agnes, a young novice nun who insists that the birth was the result of a virgin conception. Doctor Livingstone, assigned the case to determine Agnes’ sanity, runs into strong and curious conflict from Mother Miriam Ruth, the Mother Superior of the convent. Is Agnes a murderer, guilty of infanticide? Is she a victim? Or is she something else entirely? The Laredo Theatre Guild International (LTGI), in cooperation with Texas A&M International University, will present John Pielmeier’s gripping murder mystery “Agnes of God.” The play continues its run at TAMIU’s Center for the Fine and Performing Arts’ Sam Johnson Experimental Theatre today and Sunday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Directed by Vernon Carroll, stage managed by Laurence Wensel, and produced by Linda L. Howland, “Agnes of God” is the second play in LTGI’s second season and the first of the season to be presented in this unique 100-seat intimate venue. “This wonderful and important theater space lets us grab the audience by the throat, metaphorically speaking only, of course,” chuckled director Vernon Carroll. “I have played in this venue as an actor (in 2008’s “The Best Man,”) and directed (2009’s “Doubt”) in it. The actors are at times mere feet from the audience, and we are so close to them they can hear, see, and feel every nuance and thought that we have, as we do it. It is a special way to

COMING UP Boxing event at Civic Center Los Dos Laredos Boxing Productions will present several bouts at the Laredo Civic Center on Saturday. Promoted by Hernan Ferreyro, the brother of local well-known boxer Hector, the event will showcase several local talents, including Eduardo “Eddie Ramirez” in the six-round main event. He will face Ramiro Torres of San Antonio. The event, dubbed “Boxing’s Young Guns,” will also include the first professional female boxer from Laredo, Christina “Mandy” Fuentes, in a rematch against Maria Ruiz of Houston. Five other matches are scheduled. Tickets are $8 general admission, and people can sit anywhere. Ringside tickets are $30 and doors open at 6 p.m. For more information, call Ferreyro at 337-2720.


Lingerie show at Tab’ooh North

Photo by Ulysses S. Romero | The Zapata Times

Martha Louis Livingstone, left, potrayed by Carllyn Walker, smokes a cigarette as Agnes, played by Mara Lorena Lopez, speaks to her during a rehearsal for “Anges of God” at the Sam Johnson Theatre at TAMIU. experience theater for everyone.” “Agnes of God” features a trio of very different women thrown together in circumstances that challenge their individual perceptions and beliefs. Portraying Doctor Martha Livingstone will be Carllyn Walker, who was seen in this same theater last January as Sister Aloysius in Doubt, plays at the other end of the faith spectrum, this time as the atheist who believes that her religion is within her own mind. “Playing Dr. Livingstone is a stretch for me. As a believer of God, I have to completely empty my mind of those thoughts because the Doctor is completely void of that belief. She is a strong woman who believes that she can accomplish miracles with her mind. Like

her, I too am strong, but I believe that God is the author and finisher of our faith.” Carllyn most recently directed the LTGI second season opener, The Lion in Winter. As the Mother Superior, Dee Dee Diaz holds firmly to the mystery and power of the church, as she attempts to maneuver her young novitiate through very complex legal and psychiatric challenges. “This role has been quite a challenge for me, particularly because it has been 30 years since I’ve played a major role in theater and the fact that the character of Mother Superior that I portray, is very different from who I really am. Unlike the confrontational nature of Mother Superior, I am much more easygoing.” Dee Dee was recently seen in

LTGI’s The Sound of Music, which also featured her daughter Andrea as one of the von Trapp children. Rounding out the cast is Mara Lorena Lopez playing the title role, the enigmatic and ethereal Agnes. Lopez is making her LTGI debut, but she is not a theater novice. Tickets will be available for advance purchase at Foster’s, 202 Del Mar Boulevard, Suite 101; Blue Top, at 101 Hillside Rd., No. 11; and at the TAMIU Bookstore. Tickets are $15 and $10 for students with valid ID and Senior Citizens. For more information, call 319-8610 or visit


Tab’ooh North, 201 W. Del Mar Blvd., will host a lingerie fashion show on Saturday at 8 p.m. The intimate clothing store welcomes couples and women to take a sneak peak at the store’s collection. They will also have items available for purchase ahead of Valentine’s Day for private shopping. For more information, call 222-8787.

Tiesto tickets go on sale today Ranked No. 1 in the world for several years, DJ/producer Tiesto is making a return to South Padre Island during Spring Break. In Laredo, tickets go on sale Saturday, Jan. 15, exclusively at the tdk store inside Mall del Norte. General admission tickets

start at $30 and VIP tickets are $75. Tiesto, from the Netherlands, will perform Friday, March 18, at Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark. For more information, call tdk at 753-2489.

Menudo Bowl set for Jan. 22 The 16th annual Crimestoppers Menudo Bowl is set for Saturday, Jan. 22, at the Laredo International Fair and Exposition grounds. The event will feature food, merchandise, motorcyle rides, a team roping contest, a children’s area, live music and, of course, plenty of menudo to be tasted. The menudo cook-off contest kicks off at 11 a.m. and the menudo tasting starts at 1 p.m. Yearly, tens of teams cook up some of the besttasting menudo and a people’s choice award is given out. Other categories are showmanship, media/ sponsor and open division. If you would like to enter the contest, the deadline to apply is today. Admission is $5 at the door and free for children 12. For more information, call 724-1876.

Randy Rogers Band concert on Jan. 21 The Randy Rogers Band returns to Casa Blanca Ballroom on Friday, Jan. 21. “Burning the Day” is the Randy Rogers Band’s newest album, released last August. It was the second-most downloaded album on iTunes (all genres), just under pop superstar Katy Perry. The album was also No. 2 on Billboard’s Country Albums chart and sold 29,000 units its first week. Presale tickets are $15 and available at Casa Raul Western Wear South. The concert and dance starts 8 p.m. — The Zapata Times



Fed judge called fair jurist, family man By GILLIAN FLACCUS ASSOCIATED PRESS

TUCSON, Ariz. — The federal judge killed in the Arizona shooting rampage was known for an immigration ruling that got him death threats, but on Friday he was remembered as a man devoted to his family, his basset hounds and his Irish-Catholic heritage. U.S. District Judge John Roll had stopped by a supermarket meet-and-greet for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday when he was killed, along with five others. Giffords, recovering from a gunshot wound to the head, was still in critical condition, but progressing. Documents released Friday showed that shooting suspect, Jared Loughner, 22, bought bullets at a Walmart, posted “Goodbye friends” on the Internet and took photographs of himself partially clothed and holding a gun. Roll’s funeral Friday came amid tight security, as police officers and SWAT team members patrolled the neighborhood around St. Elizabeth Ann Seton church. About a dozen coach buses brought judges who knew Roll over the years. The speakers focused less on Judge Roll and more on John Roll, tender

Photo by Morry Gash | AP

Norma Itule holds a rose on the street outside the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church before the funeral of U.S. District Judge John Roll on Friday, in Tucson, Ariz. Dozens of dignitaries including former Vice President Dan Quayle are attended the funeral of the federal judge slain during the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. and at times goofy, and largely hidden from those he served. “It made it personal,” said Carol Bahill, 61, whose husband knew Roll from his undergraduate and law school days at the University of Arizona. “You do feel like you knew something

about him personally.” The news media were barred from the event at the request of Roll’s family and for security reasons. The Associated Press interviewed mourners, such as Bahill, as they left the service and got an account of the funeral.

Roll’s older brother, Ed, told mourners that his family moved to Arizona from Pittsburgh when Roll was a child because their mother’s health was failing and doctors thought the weather might help. When Roll’s mother eventually died, of a heart

condition, the future judge was just 15. Her death deeply affected him and he changed his middle name from Paul to his mother’s maiden name of McCarthy “to keep that part of the family alive,” Bahill said. His brother said he

stepped in as Roll’s de facto parent, driving him to school and chaperoning him on some dances. Bahill said she appreciated gaining more insight into the private life and personality of Roll. His funeral comes a day after the youngest victim, Christina Taylor Green, was eulogized, also at the same church. Members of Roll’s family, including his sons and five grandchildren, participated in the funeral Mass and speakers also included a childhood friend, his chief clerk and a colleague on the federal bench. The service ended with a rendition of “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.” Dignitaries attending included Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer as well as Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl. Former Vice President Dan Quayle brought a handwritten message from former President George H.W. Bush, who appointed Roll to the bench in 1991, said spokesman Adam Goldberg. Before Jan. 8, Roll, 63, was known for the death threats he received after his ruling in a bordercrossing case two years ago. He needed 24-hour protection after he said 16 illegal immigrants could file a civil rights claim against an Arizona border rancher.

Stock markets hurt by Old pics of sister-in-law lead to modern child porn case global inflation concerns By MARK SHERMAN




MILAN — Inflation worries weighed on world markets as the trading week drew to a close on Friday, but strong U.S. bank earnings helped Wall Street rally. China’s move to tighten lending, a move to counter inflation, was accompanied by a U.S. report that consumer prices rose 0.5 percent last month, the largest gain since June 2009. The day before, European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet had warned about inflation risks in Europe, causing the 17-nation currency to rally. After gaining most of the day, the euro shed 0.12 percent to $1.3344 late Friday — the prospect of higher interest rates, even months away, tends to boost a currency. Stocks were shaken by the news. Even the successful eurozone bond auctions a day earlier failed to buoy European indexes. “Although the week could have been catastrophic had the news from Portugal, Spain and Italy not been quite as upbeat, the air of caution that’s settling in is certainly warranted,” IG Markets’ Ben Potter said. European indexes traded down all day Friday, before a mixed closing. Britain’s FTSE was 0.36 percent lower at 6002.07 while Germany’s DAX was closed up by 0.01 percent at 7,075.7. The CAC-40 in Paris closed up 0.21 percent to 3,983.28. Wall Street opened narrowly mixed after the government said prices and retail sales rose in December, but JP Morgan Chase and other banks later drove it higher. JP Morgan reported a 47 percent increase in fourth-quarter profits. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 31 points, or 0.2 percent, to 11,762. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 5, or 0.3 percent, to

Photo by Richard Drew | AP

Trader John Lotti works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. 1,289. Oil prices fell to $91.02 a barrel as traders weighed whether demand in a slowly recovering U.S. economy will be enough to push crude above $100 soon. The dollar rose against the yen at 82.85. Japan’s stock average closed down 0.9 percent at 10,499.04 after Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s Cabinet resigned and a new government was put in place in a bid to revive the economy. Investors were taking profits after the Nikkei closed at an eight-month high on Thursday, and the dollar’s fall under the 83-yen line hurt exporters. South Korea’s Kospi rose

0.9 percent to 2,108.17, the third time this week that it has reached a record high. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.1 percent to 4,801.50 and those in India and the Philippines also rose. Indexes in Taiwan, Singapore and New Zealand fell. Chinese shares closed lower before the central bank announced it had raised the amount of money that banks must keep on reserve for the seventh time in a year.

WASHINGTON — In retrospect, Gary Peel’s first mistake on the road to his conviction on child pornography charges was the affair he began in 1974 with his sister-in-law. She was 16 at the time. It probably also was not a good idea to take nude pictures of her. Or keep them for three decades. And it certainly was not advisable to try to use the pictures to blackmail his ex-wife, the woman’s sister, into redoing their divorce settlement. Especially because his ex-wife had gone to authorities, who recorded the blackmail attempt on tape. The photos led to Peel’s conviction for possession of child pornography, a conviction that Peel, once a successful lawyer, now is asking the Supreme Court to overturn. The justices met Friday to consider accepting new appeals, including Peel’s, but didn’t announce any decisions. “This is a child pornography case that does not involve a child,” Peel’s lawyers told the court in their brief. They are claiming violations of the First Amendment and of the Constitution’s bar against ex post facto convictions for violating laws that were not in place when an alleged crime occurred. In the first place, they argue, the age of consent in Illinois was 16 in 1974, which they say means Peel’s affair did not violate state law.

There also was no federal child pornography statute at the time. It was enacted in 1978 and, after being amended, now applies to sexual depictions of children younger than 18. The Justice Department is urging the court to reject the appeal. Peel “is being punished for his possession of child pornography in 2006,” Solicitor General Neal Katyal said in a court filing. In addition, the government disputes the affair between Peel and the woman was legal at the time. The court does not even need to consider any of those issues now, Katyal said, because the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago has ordered the trial judge to redo Peel’s prison sentence and throw out a bankruptcy fraud or obstruction of justice conviction that went along with the child pornography charge. Peel had been sentenced to 12 years in prison. The 7th Circuit upheld the child pornography conviction, dismissing ques-

tions about whether prosecutors proved that Peel recalled in 2006 that the woman in the photographs was 16 at the time they were taken. “He had known her since she was in fourth grade,” Judge Richard Posner said in describing contacts between them, “and years later had represented her in her divorce proceeding.” Peel, now in his mid-60s, was a prominent lawyer in Illinois’ Madison County, northeast of St. Louis. He and Deborah Peel divorced in 2003 and, beset by financial difficulties, Peel filed for bankruptcy in 2005. A short while later, he approached his ex-wife, acknowledging the affair and telling her about the photographs. Peel said he might make them public if his ex-wife did not let him out of his financial obligations. He showed her the originals at a meeting that was being recorded by federal agents.



High-tech fence put to rest By SUZANNE GAMBOA ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Friday ended a high-tech southern border fence scheme that cost taxpayers nearly $1 billion but did little to improve security. Congress ordered the hightech fence in 2006 amid a clamor over the porous border, but the project yielded only 53 miles of protection. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the lesson of the multimillion-dollar program is there is no “one-size-fitsall” solution for security. Napolitano said the department’s new technology strategy for securing the border is to use existing, proven technology tailored to the terrain and population density of each region of the nearly 2,000-mile U.S-Mexico border. That would provide faster technology deployment, better coverage and more bang for the buck, she said. Although it has been well known the virtual fence project would be dumped, Napolitano informed key members of Congress Friday that an “independent, quantitative, science-based review made clear” the fence, known as SBInet, “cannot meet its original objective of providing a single, integrated border security technology solution.” The fence, initiated in 2005, was to be a network of cameras, ground sensors and radars that would be used to spot incursions or problems and decide where to deploy Border Patrol agents. It was supposed to be keeping watch over most of the southern border by this year. Instead, taxpayers ended up with about 53 miles of operational “virtual fence” in Arizona for a cost of at least $15 million a mile, according to testimony in congressional hearings. Sen. Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said the SBInet concept was unrealistic from the start. Napolitano’s decision “ends a long-troubled program that spent far too much of the taxpayers’ money for the results it delivered,” said Lieberman, I-Conn. The high-tech fence was developed as part of a Bush administration response to a demand for tighter border security that arose amid immigration debate in Congress. The Bush administration awarded Boeing a three-year, $67 million contract. Then-Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said at the time

Alicia Ch. Muñoz Alicia Ch. Muñoz, 67, passed away Monday, Jan. 10, 2011, in McAllen. Ms. Muñoz is preceded in death by her husband Fernando Muñoz; parents Alfonso (Teresa M.) Chapa; and brothers Miguel Angel Chapa, Roel Chapa and Javier Chapa. Ms. Muñoz is survived by her children Judge Anna M. (Rudy) Guerra, Judge Fernando Jr. (Ana Maria) Muñoz, Fidel Alfonso Muñoz and Alma Arianna Muñoz (Juan Arturo Garcia); grandchildren Jessica Ann (Conrad) Hein, Militza Ann Guerra, Ayacel Anahi Muñoz, Fernando Muñoz III, Leonardo Javier Muñoz, Adelina Vega and Ryan Vega; great-granddaughter Janessa Kayleen Hein; brothers Melecio, Armando, Alfonso, Roehl and Angel; sisters Dora Chapa, Magda Lopez, Norma Chapa, Alma Garcia and Blanca Chapa; and by numerous nephews, nieces, other relatives and friends. Visitation hours were held Wednesday, Jan. 12,

2011, from 5 to 9 p.m. with a rosary at 7 p.m. at Rose Garden Funeral Home. The funeral procession departed at 9:15 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011, for a 10 a.m. funeral Mass at San Pedro Mission in Lopeño. Committal services followed at Falcon Cemetery. Condolences may be sent to the family at Funeral arrangements were under the direction of Rose Garden Funeral Home, Daniel A. Gonzalez, funeral director, 2102 Highway 83, Zapata.

Palm Sanctuary is one of the last By LYNN BREZOSKY SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS

Photo by U.S. Customs and Border Protection/file | AP

This undated picture provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows a prototype of a tower for a virtual fence along the U.S.-Mexico border at a test facility in Playas, N.M. The Obama administration on Friday ended a high-tech southern border fence scheme that cost taxpayers nearly $1 billion but did little to improve security. the department was “looking to build a 21st century virtual fence.” But the fence had a long list of glitches and delays. Its radar system had trouble distinguishing between vegetation and people in windy weather, cameras moved too slowly and satellite communications also were slow. Although some of the concept is in use in two sections of Arizona, the security came at too high a cost. DHS and Boeing officials have said that the project called for putting together the first of its kind “virtual fence” too quickly by combining offthe-shelf components that weren’t designed to be linked. Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, top Democrat of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the committee held 11 congressional hearings on the fence project and commissioned five reports by the Government Accountability Office, which blasted the project. Thompson, who chaired the committee until Republicans took

over the House this month, called the project a grave and expensive disappointment. Last January, Napolitano suspended spending on the project beyond work on two phases of the fence in Arizona. She ordered a study to determine whether SBInet could be fixed so it worked effectively and fulfilled its original goal. She also asked for a study to come up with lower cost, equally effective alternatives. She used $50 million meant for the fence to buy other technology and Border Patrol vehicles. Boeing was the contractor for SBInet. Despite the problems, the Homeland Security Department granted Boeing a second one-year option on a threeyear contract to work with the department for maintenance and upkeep of the two Arizona sections that are operational. That agreement continues through September. Some technologies from the project, such as stationary radar and infrared and optical sensor towers,

will be used in future border security that will largely rely on mobile surveillance systems, unmanned aerial vehicles, thermal imaging devices and tower-based remote video surveillance systems. Money that was provided in an interim spending bill for the high-tech fence will go to the proven technologies. The agency said in a report that it does not intend to use the existing Boeing contract to buy other technology systems for future southwest border security. It also said it will conduct “full and open competition” for elements in the new border security plan. The Homeland Security Department has been studying other areas of the southern border to decide what technology and other resources would best beef up security in those areas. An initial proposal of technology needed to monitor three sectors — El Paso, which includes New Mexico; San Diego and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas — was to be done by this month.

BROWNSVILLE — Jimmy Paz is 69 now, but he well remembers how he and his boyhood pals would follow “Tarzan” matinees with a bicycle trip to their own jungle forest on the banks of the Rio Grande. Sustained by mayonnaise jars full of water and paper bags full of tortillas, they hunted in the thick foliage for elephants and alligators to a live soundtrack of rustling palms and chattering chachalacas. “We never saw them, but we were sure we heard them,” Paz said. It’s the same enchantment Paz hopes to see again in the faces of schoolchildren brought through the Sabal Palm Sanctuary, a 527-acre tract that is the last large stand of the subtropical palm species in the United States. Faced with money problems and the uncertainties posed by the Department of Homeland Security’s border fence, Audubon Texas in May 2009 closed the sanctuary. The wetlands recreated to mimic what was once natural flooding of the Rio Grande began to dry up. The visitors center gathered dust. Pieces of roofing began falling away. But thanks to an agreement with the Gorgas Science Foundation of Brownsville, the sanctuary reopened Jan. 3 and Paz re-

turned as manager, although for now unpaid. By Jan. 4, a representative from a local school was on site arranging a visit. “For school kids, it’s a magical experience,” Paz said during a walk through one of the sanctuary’s three miles of nature trail. “ An armadillo bustled across the path. A longbilled thrasher sang out from the brush. Coyote scat dotted the ground, rich, Paz explained, with an enzyme needed to make sprout the dung’s semi-digested palm seeds. Palm forests once dominated the lower Rio Grande delta, so much so that the Spanish explorer Alonso de Pineda called the river “Rio de las Palmas.” It’s estimated as many as 40,000 acres of millennia-old palm forest once lined the river, only to be leveled as farming took hold of the region around the turn of the 20th century. When the Rio Grande became the new border, Frank Rabb described as a “rancher, farmer, land promoter, politician, intriguer, and wheeler-dealer,” established what became an elegant plantation property and riverboat landing. The plantation house, completed in 1892, became for Rabb a place to sit on the wrap-around porch and watch the river — the region’s “highway” before the railways came in.



COURT Continued from Page 1A Given where Zapata is located, the museum doors have to be hurricane-proof, the judge said. “Other doors were selected by the architect and will be installed as soon as the judge approves them,” said project coordinator Mario Gonzalez-Davis. Rathmell will wait on an official progress report by the architect before approving the hurricaneproof doors, he said. The county is still waiting on a $1 million federal grant reimbursement for the construction of the AEC. Zapata County Economic Development Center President Peggy UmphresMoffett assured the court the money is on its way. “The final review has been completed and funding is coming,” UmphresMoffett said. “Safety violations still need to be completed on the county’s part and a timeline is still not sure, but it will be paid.” The court also reviewed the progress of the CACST Health Clinic the county purchased a few months ago. A lien release is still pending from the Internal Revenue Service, Commissioner Eddie Martinez said. After discussing where county expenditures are being made, the court discussed how to bring in more revenue while controlling the eight-liner businesses that have boomed in Zapata County the last few years.

SOLDIER Continued from Page 1A

In executive session, the court discussed the county health clinic fund account, a demand letter and potential litigation with the consultation of an attorney. In order to bring in more revenue and control the eight-liner businesses, the court hired consultant Hector Uribe to help with an ordinance and the licensing of the machines. The County Commissioners passed that ordinance Monday. It goes into effect Feb. 1. The county plans to collect a fee of $500 per machine per year from eightliner business owners. The Code Enforcement Department will be given the task of regulating and enforcing the businesses, Rathmell said. Also at the meeting, the county is looking into recording and broadcasting regular meetings for public access. The technology is already in place. Brian Martinez, executive clerk for the county judge, said the problem is with the bandwidth. The court will now consider expanding the bandwidth to hold large files, as people would have to download two- or threehour long video footage. Another option would be to create a link, said Treasurer Romeo Salinas. The cost for the expansion of bandwidth is approximately $500 a year, Salinas added. Making their meetings

available over video makes the court more accountable, commissioners said. “We need to keep our court transparent,” Vela said. “I agree,” Martinez added. In other business, the court was approached by South Texas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (STCADA) Executive Director Romeo Rodriguez about the ongoing issue of heroin use, overdoses, and deaths among adolescents. Zapata County Independent School District and Serving Children and Adolescents in Need (SCAN) have joined STCADA in its effort to establish drug awareness and prevention programs to eliminate and/or reduce the number of incidents. “We’re going to take a very aggressive approach,” Rodriguez said. “We need to take an active approach on prevention.” The organizations would like the county to join in the effort and the court agreed to get involved. “We need to get involved and get to the bottom of what is going on,” Vela said. “Something needs to be done about getting these pushers.”

Other approved items include rescinding the pay incentives for the tax collector/assessor’s department and the requirement that any proposed county pay increases be presented during the county budget process only. The court also approved a total of 20 members for the Zapata County Historical Commission to serve the required two-year terms with the addition of Laura E. Ramirez, Ana Katrina Ramirez, and Jose Luis Elizondo. Lastly, the court approved a resolution opposing the application with the Texas Railroad Commission for a commercial surface disposal facility permit by Texas Energy Services L.P., c/o Gordon and Lawton, Inc., to utilize land treatment and land farm cells and drilling fluid disposal pits in San Ygnacio. “We are not in support of that,” Rathmell said. In executive session, the court discussed the county health clinic fund account, a demand letter and potential litigation with the consultation of an attorney. The court did not take action on those items. (Lorraine L. Rodriguez may be reached at (956)7282557.)

8-LINER Continued from Page 1A Vela said. Most cities or counties do not allow eight-liner businesses; however, Laredo is one city that has allowed them to exist with a yearly permit tax of $250. The county will charge a $500 per machine fee to

discourage eight-linter owners from opening their businesses in Zapata County, Rathmell said. “(Commissioners Court) felt that would be a reasonable amount,” Rathmell said. “It’s not an obscene amount, it’s an

amount that will make these business owners think twice.” The revenue supplied by the permit fee will be used for the code enforcement department to control illegal dumping in the county and also to help the ani-

mal control department, as well as other county issues, Rathmell said. “It’s going to help with issues that affect our daily lives,” Rathmell said. (Lorraine L. Rodriguez may be reached at (956)7282557.)

“When my uncle died, he was a Vietnam veteran and Ben played taps” said his mom, Norma Cantu, as she was surrounded by family in her Zapata home Jan. 11. “He always wanted to play because he said they were heroes, and now they’re going to be playing for him. He would play it and it gave me chills, he would put his heart in it. I would say, ‘You have to make that trumpet cry,’ and he would.” Arriving from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, with his casket being accompanied by his newly-wed wife, Pfc. Stephanie Armendariz-Laningham, the fallen solider touched base in McAllen over the weekend. Funeral services are scheduled to be held Monday, with visitation to be held from 3 to 9 p.m. A rosary is scheduled to be held at 7 p.m. Monday. A funeral procession will depart at 9:45 a.m. from Rose Garden Funeral Home for a 10 a.m. Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church on Tuesday. Interment will follow with a procession to continue to Mission, where he will be buried with full military honors at Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery. “He just wanted to be in the military so much,” said Cantu, about his son’s vision, he held

since he was a young boy. “When he graduated from high school he wanted to leave and I talked him out of it. I ordered him to go to college …He came home one day and he said, ‘Mom, I’ve tried it your way, but what would you say if I joined the Army?’ And, I said, ‘OK, we’ll go talk to the recruiters.’ But he said, ‘No, mom, I joined the Army.’ I was really proud of him for following his dream.” Following his older brother’s example, his brother, Joseph “Joey” E. Cantu, also enlisted in the Army. “We had been talking about joining the Army for a long time,” said his brother. “We always said we were going to do it. But when I found out he enlisted, at first I felt like he had done something without me. But I was proud of him; it was a decision he made all his own.” Laningham, a graduate of Zapata High School, joined the Army in 2009. He was deployed to Afghanistan in October and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, at Fort Polk. La. “He always had a smile on his face,” said his mother. “He loved being a solider. What better way for him to rest?” (Denise Blaz may be reached at 728-2547 or






Courtesy Photo

Brandi King and the Zapata Lady Hawks have had a dominant run through the district season so far.

On top of district Lady Hawks soar on King’s wings to 5-0 start By CLARA SANDOVAL ZAPATA TIMES

After missing the playoffs last year, the Zapata Lady Hawks’ basketball team has been on a mission to get into the postseason picture. The Lady Hawks have made a strong showing five games into

the district season. Currently Zapata has a perfect 5-0 record in District 31-3A play behind the strong play of senior Brandi King. “I always tell the girls that they have what it takes,” Zapata coach Clyde Guerra said. “They



Falcons take aim at traditional power Green Bay must dispatch Atlanta to bring Lombardi home

Photo by Jeff Tuttle | AP

After scoring a 25-yard touchdown, Baltimore Ravens running back Willis McGahee does a tomahawk chop during the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in Kansas City, Mo. Derrick Mason joins in.

Ravens, Steelers hope to cut each other out of playoff picture with victory By ALAN ROBINSON ASSOCIATED PRESS

PITTSBURGH — Looks like another winter classic in Pittsburgh. Some NFL rivalries are manufactured. Some ebb and flow depending on the teams’ records. Then there’s Ravens vs. Steelers, one that is as real as it gets. The games usually are meaningful, with an intensity that isn’t faked and a physicality that caused Pittsburgh wide receiver Hines Ward to label it the Black and Blue Bowl. The eighth meeting in three seasons between AFC North rivals that are alike in makeup and personality will leave the winner one victory short of the Super Bowl. The survivor of Sat-

While Baltimore is 7-3 in road playoff games, Pittsburgh is 8-0 — zero losses in 40 years — when it meets a division rival in the postseason. urday’s AFC divisional game meets the winner of Sunday’s Jets-Patriots game in the AFC championship game on Jan. 23. Yes, another big Ravens-Steelers game, only a month and 10 days since the last. Yet many in Baltimore and Pittsburgh couldn’t wait for it. “Both sides know when the whistle blows, you’re going to get what we got and we’re going to get what they got,” said Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis,

whose renowned nastiness fits perfectly into a rivalry where emotions run high and scores run low. “So, once again — I love to use this — here we go again.” The Ravens and Steelers tied with 12-4 regular-season records, but Pittsburgh earned a firstround bye based on its superior division record — one made possible by its improbable 13-10



Footnote: coach goes shoeless for charity





ATLANTA — Bart Starr. Lambeau Field. Ray Nitschke. Titletown USA. Reggie White. Heck, they even named the Super Bowl trophy after Green Bay’s most famous coach. Yep, the Packers are just oozing with tradition. The Atlanta Falcons? Not so much. “We’re fairly new on the block,” said Roddy White, the Falcons’ Pro Bowl receiver. “We’re still trying to prove ourselves. You’ve got to go out there and win playoff games. That’s what this league is all about.” The Falcons (13-3) are the top seed in the NFC playoffs heading into Saturday night’s divisional game against Green Bay (11-6). Atlanta merely needs to win two more games — both at the Georgia Dome, where the team is 20-4 over the last three seasons — to reach the Super Bowl for only the second time in franchise history. Up first, Atlanta will have to get by a franchise with a much more impressive resume over the long haul. The Packers have won a record 12 NFL titles, three more than

INDIANAPOLIS — For IUPUI coach Ron Hunter, the game on Saturday is all about the shoes. He’s taking his off to help collect more for the world’s impoverished children. It’s Hunter’s fourth annual shoeless home game. He will go barefoot against South Dakota State and endure sore feet for a few days for the sake of charity. “A day

any other franchise, a bounty that includes three Super Bowls victories. Compare that with the Falcons, who have managed just four division titles in 45 years and lost their lone Super Bowl appearance in 1999. In fact, Atlanta had never put together back-to-back winning seasons until its current run of three in a row. When it comes to star power, Green Bay is about as good as it

brated winning a conference tourney with a bellyflop in a suit, put another black mark on the courtside advertisement by kicking the scorer’s table. Try doing that without shoes. “Usually, I tell the players ’I’m going shoeless, so play hard.’ If I had gone shoeless today, I would have broken my foot,” said Hunter, with a laugh. He considers that a small price given what he has witnessed since 2008, his first shoeless game. Back then, he was imploring IUPUI fans to join him in going barefoot. Now others have joined the cause. Last year, more than 2,000 college, prep and AAU coaches went without shoes. Last Easter, nearly 1,000 pastors across America also preached in bare feet and some governors worked without shoes. This year, the North Carolinabased charity has already received commitments from more than 1,000 coaches, including John Calipari of Kentucky, Paul Hewitt of Georgia Tech, Bob McKillop of Davidson and Brad Stevens of Butler. “It took one man (Hunter) to



Photo by Jim Prisching | AP

Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers runs with the ball during the first half of a game in Green Bay, Wisc. on Jan 2. Today’s divisional playoff game in Atlanta will serve as a big stage for perhaps the two best young quarterbacks in the NFL.

doesn’t go by that I don’t do something for this cause,” Hunter said Thursday night, just minutes after beating North Dakota State 67-64. “You know, if I couldn’t do this, I’d never take another job. Thankfully, our chancellor here allows me to do it.” Going shoeless has never been easy for a coach known for pacing the sidelines, talking with players and officials and, yes, repeatedly stomping his feet. On Thursday night, the man who once cele-


Zscores “


FOOTNOTE Continued from Page 1B

say yes and that ripple effect has continued throughout the last three years,” said Todd Melloh, the Samaritan’s Feet spokesman. Hunter’s goal this year is to collect 150,000 pairs of shoes, 50,000 of which will go to Houston’s impoverished children during the Final Four. He did the same thing in Detroit and Indy the past two years. There has been some discussion about starting a similar tradition at the women’s Final Four. The NCAA has gotten involved, too, organizing the distribution of shoes and recruiting athletic directors and university presidents to help. This summer, Hunter is planning to spend five weeks overseas, handing out shoes. And the program seems to expand every year. For the first time in 2010, Samaritan’s Feet volunteers washed feet and gave shoes to Indy’s impoverished children on the

You know, if I couldn’t do this, I’d never take another job. Thankfully, our chancellor here allows me to do it.” RON HUNTER, IUPUI COACH

By FREDERIC J. FROMMER Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. On Monday, 12 more cities will take part in the activities. Celebrities ranging from poet Maya Angelou to television announcer and former NBA player Clark Kellogg, and musician Big Kenny of the country music duo Big & Rich are scheduled to participate. Jay Hein, the former White House director of Faith Based Initiatives, is also expected to help. “We’ve always washed the feet, and that’s what differentiates us,” Melloh said. “We believe the exchange between the recipient and the giver is an amazing exchange of love.”

Since the organization started in 2003, it has handed out more than 2 million pairs of shoes around the globe. Yet Hunter knows that’s still not nearly enough. The group says more than 300 million children worldwide go shoeless every day. In almost every interview, Hunter encourages people to experience life without shoes for a day. This year, Hunter has promised to go barefoot at any game where the opposing coach does the same. There have already been two takers — North Dakota State’s Saul Phillips and South Dakota State’s Scott Nagy. Unfor-

tunately, that doesn’t leave much time to recover between the games on Feb. 10 and 12. But Hunter, who is 3-1 all-time in barefoot games, isn’t worried about his feet or wins or losses. “I’ll always do it on Martin Luther King weekend, whether we’re home or away. And if we’re away, I’ll do it again at home another time,” Hunter said. “It’s really about losing your comfort level a little bit, and when I get off the plane in those countries and I see those kids, it’s like Christmas Day because their eyes just light up. You just can’t believe it.”

FALCONS PACKERS Continued from Page 1B gets. The franchise boasts 21 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and surely has at least one more on the way with Brett Favre, who actually began his career with the Falcons but was traded away in one of the game’s great personnel blunders. The Packers’ list of greats includes coach Vince Lombardi, whose influence on the game was so profound the NFL put his name on its championship trophy shortly after his death in 1970. No one has considered naming a trophy after anyone from the Falcons. Heck, the team has yet to send even one player to Canton; the best it can do is Eric Dickerson and Tommy McDonald, two Hall of Famers who played briefly for Atlanta late in their careers. And when it comes to coaches, the team with the odd-looking bird logo can’t come close to Lombardi or Curly Lambeau, who guided the Packers to their first six NFL titles in the 1930s and ’40s. OK, the Falcons did hire one of Lombardi’s assistants, Norb Hecker, as their first head coach in 1966. But his record was a very un-Vince-like 4-26-1, which pretty much sums up the divide between these two franchises. “That organization over there, they’ve been doing it for a long time,” Roddy White said. “They’ve pretty much got the Super Bowl trophy named after their squad and their coach. So, they’ve got a lot of good tradition. They’ve done a lot of good things in this league.” The Packers insist they’re looking forward, but there’s no doubt they’ve got an eye on their legacy. Green Bay hasn’t won a Super Bowl since the 1996 season. Longtime Packers such as receiver Donald Driver figure that’s long enough.

FTC tackles helmet safety, marketing

Even though he grew up in Georgia, Packers defensive lineman Jarius Wynn never really cheered for the Falcons. There wasn’t much reason, given their track record.

Photo by Dave Martin | AP

Atlanta Falcons punt return specialist Eric Weems (14) reacts after returning a punt for a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers in the first half at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Jan. 2. “We all know exactly what sits in front of us,” Driver said. “We want that trophy. It’s named after us. We need to get it back home, where it belongs.” Even though he grew up in Georgia, Packers defensive lineman Jarius Wynn never really cheered for the Falcons. There wasn’t much reason, given their track record. “It would have been REAL tough to be a Falcons fan,” Wynn said. He played his college ball for the Georgia Bulldogs, a team with plenty of history and titles. Still, it didn’t match up to what he found in Green Bay. “We had tradition, going back to Herschel Walker and winning the national

championship,” Wynn said of his college team. “But here, it’s a whole new level.” Thankfully for the Falcons, Saturday night’s game won’t be played in a history book. They’ve earned home-field advantage for only the second time and intend to take advantage of it. They won’t have to worry about Lombardi calling one of his famous sweeps. Or Starr sneaking into a frigid end zone for the winning touchdown. This game will be played indoors in the 72-degree comfort of the Georgia Dome, contested by players who weren’t even born when those guys were dominating pro football, in

front of a mostly red-clad crowd that has helped turn the Falcons into a virtually unbeatable squad on its own field. “None of that matters,” Falcons safety William Moore said. “When those lights come on, those players from the past ain’t playing that night. It’s just about who’s going to come out and play ball that night.” Atlanta has played some good ball ever since the new regime — general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith — took over in 2008. Quickly bouncing back from a miserable season in which franchise quarterback Michael Vick went to prison and coach Bobby Petrino abandoned the team after just 13 games, the Falcons made the playoffs as a wild card in Year 1 of what everyone figured would be a multiseason rebuilding job. Injuries scuttled a return trip to the playoffs in 2009, but the Falcons removed another stigma from their sad history by winning the final three games to go 9-7 — the first consecutive winning seasons for the franchise. Now, it’s three in a row, with the best record in the NFC for good measure. Anything less than a Super Bowl title will be considered a disappointment for a team loaded with offensive stars (White, quarterback Matt Ryan, tight end Tony Gonzalez, running back Michael Turner) and plenty of up-and-comers on defense. “That sure would look good on a banner in the Dome,” Moore said.


WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Federal Trade Commission says his agency is looking into marketing claims that some football helmets can help reduce concussions, responding to a senator who wants the FTC to investigate what he called "misleading safety claims and deceptive practices" in the sale of new helmets and reconditioning of used ones. "We agree that these are serious concerns, and will determine what action by this agency may be appropriate," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz wrote to Sen. Tom Udall, D.M. "Given the dangers that concussions pose for young athletes engaged in contact sports, it is essential that advertising for products claiming to reduce the risk of this injury be truthful and substantiated," he added. In the letter, obtained Friday by The Associated Press, Leibowitz said that issues involving serious health concerns — especially those for children and young adults — are a "high priority for the commission." He said the commission would look at several factors "in determining whether to take enforcement or other action." Leibowitz was responding to a Jan. 4 letter from Udall, who said he was “troubled by misleading marketing claims by Riddell, a leading helmet maker that supplies the official helmet to the National Football League.” He quoted Riddell’s website as saying that “research shows a 31 percent reduction in the risk of concussion in players wearing a Riddell Revolution football helmet when compared to traditional helmets." “Yet there is actually very little scientific evidence to support the claim," Udall

said, adding that the voluntary industry standard for football helmets doesn’t specifically address concussion prevention or reduction. The senator also mentioned another helmet manufacturer, Schutt Sports. At the time of Udall’s letter, Schutt Sports said it never claimed its helmets were "concussion reducing." On Friday, the company said it didn’t have anything to add in response to the FTC letter. Riddell, which had called Udall’s allegations "unfounded and unfair," had no immediate comment Friday. FTC spokeswoman Betsy Lordan said the commission could decide to launch an investigation, but wouldn’t confirm or deny one until it either closed the investigation without bringing charges, or announced it was bringing charges of deceptive advertising. Stephen Ross, a former FTC lawyer who now directs the Penn State Institute for Sports Law, Policy and Research, said the commission has several options if it decides to pursue action against companies, including a cease-and-desist order. In a statement, Udall said he was "pleased and encouraged that Chairman Leibowitz shares my serious concerns about misleading football helmet safety claims in advertising by sports equipment companies. This is a safety issue with the potential to impact every child that plays football." Last fall, Udall asked the Consumer Product Safety Commission to investigate whether safety standards for football helmets are adequate to protect young players from concussions. Concussion and other head injuries are receiving increased attention at all levels of sports, from the NFL on down to Pop Warner, the nation’s oldest and largest youth football organization.

BBALL Continued from Page 1B are a very athletic team. I am just happy that they are practicing and playing games with great determination. I am very proud of our team.” In Tuesday’s district matchup against La Feria, the Lady Hawks got off to a slow start, managing only 11 points in the opening quarter and allowing the Lady Lions to stay close in the game. La Feria posed the most viable threat to the Lady Hawks, with sole possession of first place on the line. Zapata (15-4) utilized a combination of offensive explosiveness from King and a great defensive effort by the entire team to walk

away with a 58-39 victory. Zapata started to find its offensive rhythm in the second quarter, going inside to King and the sureshooting Selina Mata to start pulling away from La Feria. Mata connected on eight points, with the majority coming from the perimeter. La Feria had no answer for King who worked the glass and took advantage of her incredible leaping ability. The Lady Hawks played last night against La Grulla on the road to continue their quest for a district title. Read today’s Laredo Morning Times for results from the game.

RAVENS STEELERS Continued from Page 1B win in Baltimore on Dec. 5. The Ravens were within a couple of first downs of securing a 10-6 win, but Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu caused a Joe Flacco fumble that led to Ben Roethlisberger’s winning 9-yard touchdown pass with 2:51 remaining. Just like that, a season flipped. But Steelers coach Mike Tomlin cautions the Ravens are capable of “flipping the script” in a series that’s so close, each of the last four games was decided by three points. The combined score since 2003 is Ravens 302, Steelers 302. Still, the Ravens are 0-2 in the postseason in Heinz Field, where new sod was put down amid a series of snowy days that followed the NHL’s Winter Classic between the Capitals and

Penguins on Jan. 1. That was hockey in the rain. This will be football with snow flurries, temperatures in the 20s and emotions that will be super heated. Former Steelers linebacker Joey Porter proved that when he tried to climb aboard the Ravens’ bus and fight Lewis in 2003. So did Plaxico Burress and James Trapp when they fought on the field in 2002. So did the Ravens, who stood mocking an oft-sacked Ben Roethlisberger in 2006. Perhaps that wasn’t a good idea; Roethlisberger is 6-0 against them since then. The numerous injuries illustrate the physical nature of the rivalry. Porter’s dangerous hit on an unprotected Todd Heap in 2004 still infuriates the Ravens. Lewis ended running back

Rashard Mendenhall’s rookie season by breaking his shoulder in 2008. Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain’s helmet hit on Heath Miller last month caused a concussion and led to a $40,000 fine. In the same game, Haloti Ngata smacked Roethlisberger in the face, breaking the quarterback’s nose with a hit that cost him a $15,000 fine. “We’re similar styles, we’re physical and we try to impose our will on each other,” Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton said. “I think both teams try to see themselves as bullies.” For the Ravens, perhaps there’s a tinge of envy that the Steelers always seem to gain the upper hand when it matters; they are 2-8 against Roethlisberger. Ravens quarterback Joe Flac-

co, who threw two touchdown passes in a 30-7 wildcard dismantling of Kansas City last weekend, is 0-5 when he starts against Roethlisberger. While Baltimore is 7-3 in road playoff games, Pittsburgh is 8-0 — zero losses in 40 years — when it meets a division rival in the postseason. “Some stats you keep up with, some you don’t care about,” Lewis said. “I don’t care. We can’t pack a bag with 40 years on it and say, ‘Hey guys, look what we haven’t done in 40 years.’ Forget it.” The Ravens rebounded from last month’s loss to win their last five, with Heap — who missed nearly all the Dec. 5 game with a hamstring injury — making 10 catches against Kan-

sas City. Ray Rice was held to 52 yards in the two regular-season games, but is the only opposing back in 50 games to run for more than 100 yards against the Steelers’ league-leading rushing defense. There’s much to worry the Ravens, too, as the Steelers have won six of seven. Polamalu, bothered for weeks by a sore right Achilles’ tendon, is the healthiest he’s been since midseason. Roethlisberger, under constant pressure last month from linebacker Terrell Suggs, often uses his size and strength to extend plays that appear to have broken down. Wide receiver Mike Wallace, who will be playing in his first postseason game, has seven catches of 40-plus yards and

possesses the kind of speed the Ravens haven’t seen elsewhere. “He hit a gear that I didn’t even know existed in a human being on a little pop pass Ben threw to him (against Carolina),” Suggs said. “I was like, ‘Wow, that’s just amazing.”’ There’s often a ‘wow’ factor in Ravens-Steelers games. Ward knows he doesn’t want to experience the opposite feeling, especially given that, due to the NFL’s unstable labor situation, the loser won’t know when it will play again. “We know what’s at stake, and whoever wins this game will have to think about that loss all offseason,” Ward said. “It’s going to be physical. And it usually comes down to the fourth quarter.”



HINTS BY | HELOISE Dear Readers: Winter and COLD WEATHER mean outside pets need extra care. Here are some hints to keep in mind: Pet shelters and doghouses should be kept dry, and up off the ground. The doghouse should be the correct size for the dog; larger is not better. Fresh, clean water is a must; check it often so it doesn’t freeze. Outdoor pets need to consume more calories (to keep their energy up) than indoor pets. The best place for our furry friends in the winter? Ideally, indoors. — Heloise CAT BOX Dear Heloise: When preparing to evacuate for a hurricane, my daughter could not find enough pet carriers for her cats. My clever husband came to the rescue with a large, plastic storage bin with a lid. He drilled lots of air holes in the sides and the lid, and put the cats in their new “home.” The cats traveled quite safely and even


stayed in the boxes minus the lids upon arrival. We also keep bags of food, hay, fresh cedar shavings and bottled water in an emergency box for our other small pets. We are prepared! — Barbara in Texas If you live in a disasterprone area — whether hurricanes, floods, fires, earthquakes, mudslides or tornadoes — and have pets, you should be prepared with a “pets-to-go” tote. — Heloise FEEDING FISH Dear Heloise: When my family and I go away for vacation, our neighbors help us with feeding my fish. I got the correct portion of fish food and placed it in a cupcake liner. I set up seven of these, because we were gone for a week. This made feeding the fish very easy for my neighbors. — Jim in Newark, N.J.


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Former tennis champion Andre Agassi, right, sits with to his wife, former tennis champion, German born Steffi Graf, left, during a break in a mixed double tennis match test event on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, in London, on May 17, 2009.

Agassi auctions nude wife photo for charity ASSOCIATED PRESS

A video making the rounds on the Internet shows former tennis star Andre Agassi — tongue-incheek? — offering bidders at a charity auction in Taiwan a chance to see a nude photo of his wife, Steffi Graf. One newscast clip —

with nearly 20,000 views on YouTube as of Friday morning — shows Agassi holding a plate up for bids and telling the crowd at an event this month: “You pay more than $4,000, and I will show you a picture of my wife — on my phone — naked.” Later, a man — presumably the top bidder — ap-

pears next to Agassi. Hamming it up, Agassi motions to the man to relax and take deep breaths. Agassi then shows his phone to the man, who mugs for the cameras. It’s not clear what picture — Graf as a newborn? — really was on the phone, if there even was a photo at all.

Photo by Alastair Grant | AP

BEYOND OZ, AUSTRIA TRAVELED TO QATAR FOR ASIAN SOCCER CUP South Korea’s player Park Ji Sung, centre, is tackled by Australia’s player Sasa Ognenovski, number 6, during their AFC Asian Cup group C soccer match Australia against South Korea at Al Gharafa Stadium, in Doha, Qatar, Friday.


Photo by Kin Cheung | AP

Guilty plea in scalping plot By ROXANA HEGEMAN ASSOCIATED PRESS

WICHITA, Kan. — A former University of Kansas athletics official pleaded guilty Friday for his role a $2 million ticket-scalping scheme, shedding light on how authorities uncovered a scam that brought down seven other former university employees. Rodney Jones, the school’s former assistant athletic director, admitted his part in a conspiracy that began in 2005. The scheme unraveled last year, after the Internal Revenue Service noticed an inordinate amount of season tickets being sold by one broker whose checks for about $975,000 were cashed by Jones’ friend at the broker’s bank. Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Hathaway revealed at Friday’s hearing that investigators did a "trash pull" at the friend’s house and discovered all but one of an undisclosed number of ticket stubs were in consecutive order. The unidentified friend told agents who confronted him that he believed the basketball and football tickets had been lawfully obtained by Jones. Hathaway also told the judge that Jones converted cash from the ticket sales

Alleged doping may have violated USPS sponsorship

As part of the plea deal, Jones agreed not to contest a $2 million judgment against him, an amount that is to be paid jointly by all the defendants. into money orders in amounts of between $400 and $500 to avoid currency reporting requirements. The government contends Jones got the tickets from three other athletics department employees. Jones, 42, of Lawrence, was in charge of the Williams Educational Fund, the university’s fundraising arm that uses the sale of tickets to contribute to scholastic and athletic scholarships for students. Hathaway said Jones has cooperated since being confronted by investigators. His defense attorney, Gerald Handley, gave reporters a written statement before Friday’s court hearing that said Jones accepted responsibility for his role. "He deeply regrets his involvement in this episode. He apologizes to the university for his conduct," the statement read. "He has agreed to and is cooperating with the authorities to resolve the issues that are referred to in the indictment." Jones pleaded guilty to a

single count of conspiracy for illegal acts such as wire fraud, interstate transportation of stolen goods and obstruction in the collection of income taxes. He could face up to 20 years in prison when sentenced March 31, but will likely receive less under federal sentencing guidelines. Prosecutors have agreed to recommend a lighter sentence if Jones provides substantial assistance to investigators. U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown is not bound by that recommendation. As part of the plea deal, Jones agreed not to contest a $2 million judgment against him, an amount that is to be paid jointly by all the defendants. Brandon Simmons, the school’s former assistant athletic director for sales, and Jason Jeffries, the former assistant director of ticket operations, pleaded guilty in July to knowing about the ticket scam and failing to report it to authorities. They will be sentenced March 7. Five other former em-

ployees were indicted on a single conspiracy count in November. Former systems analyst Kassie Liebsch pleaded guilty to conspiracy this week. The remaining three defendants — former associate athletic director Charlette Blubaugh; her husband, Thomas, a consultant for the ticket office; and former associate athletic director Ben Kirtland — are set for trial in February.

LOS ANGELES — Newly released records show the United States Postal Service spent $31.9 million sponsoring Lance Armstrong’s team during the height of the rider’s Tour de France dominance. Financial records obtained by ESPN through a Freedom of Information request revealed the previously undisclosed amount of Postal Service spending from 2001 to 2004, when the federal agency heavily promoted the rider. Armstrong won the Tour each year from 1999 to 2005. ESPN reported on the records Friday. The sponsorship could become an issue in either a federal investigation into doping in professional cycling, or a federal whistleblower lawsuit that disgraced cyclist Floyd Landis has

reportedly filed against Armstrong. Landis has claimed Armstrong among others used performance-enhancing drugs, which — if found to be true — would have been a violation of their agreement with the Postal Service. Armstrong has repeatedly denied doping, and his attorneys have said there never was any wrongdoing regarding the USPS sponsorship. “Over the years, many different sponsors have seen — and continue to see — the benefits of associating with Lance and his cycling teams,” Armstrong spokesman Mark Fabiani said in a statement. Several Armstrong teammates and associates have appeared before a grand jury in Los Angeles that has been investigating pro cycling for months, but no charges have been filed.

The Zapata Times 1/15/2011  

The Zapata Times 1/15/2011