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TO 4,000 HOMES




More delinquencies paid Commissioners told collections increase by $25,000 over past year By RICARDO R. VILLARREAL THE ZAPATA TIMES

The Zapata County Commissioners Court heard a report Monday stating the firm that collects delinquent tax accounts for the county increases collections. A report presented by Gustavo Martinez, representing Linebarger Goggan Blair and Samp-

son, LLP, the firm which collects on delinquent tax accounts for the county, stated that for the fiscal year ending 2012, revenues of more than $670,000 reflected an increase of almost $25,000 over the previous year. “That’s two years in a row that we have increased production,” Martinez said. The court voted to approve the renewal of contracts with

the firm for its continued services of collecting delinquent taxes, court fines and fees. In other business, Museum of History director Hildegardo Flores provided an update on the facility. He said about 1,500 people have visited the facility since it opened in July 2011. Most of the visitors are Winter Texans as well as school groups, Flores said. He added the mu-

seum will soon be receiving a $25,000 grant from the Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Foundation. Also approved by the court was a motion to submit an application for a highway marker in Zapata County to the Texas Department of Transportation identifying U.S. Highway 83 as a “Texas Vietnam Veteran Memorial Highway,” designated as

such by the state legislature. A resolution supporting immigration reform was read by the administrative assistant for County Judge Joe Rathmell, Audelia “Auddy” Hernandez, and was approved by the court. Precinct 1 Commissioner Jose Vela on a previous occasion explained how counties




Men: Zetas owned load



Photo by Gerald Herbert | AP

Passengers from the disabled Carnival Lines cruise ship Triumph board charter planes at Louis Armstrong International Airport in Kenner, La., on Friday. Passengers finally were on the move Friday: some checked into hotels while others hopped on buses or jumped on charter flights home.

Passengers finally off of broken, smelly cruise ship By JAY REEVES AND BRENDAN FARRINGTON ASSOCIATED PRESS

MOBILE, Ala. — Passengers finally escaped the disabled Carnival cruise ship Triumph and

were on the move Friday: some checked into hotels while others hopped on buses or jumped on charter flights home after five numbing days at sea on a cruise liner paralyzed by an engineroom fire.

The vacation ship carrying some 4,200 people docked late Thursday in Mobile to raucous cheers from passengers weary of overflowing toilets, food shortages and foul odors. “Sweet Home Alabama!” read

one of the homemade signs passengers affixed alongside the 14story ship as many celebrated along deck rails lining several levels of the stricken ship. The


Charges were dropped on two men detained southwest of Freer on Feb. 6 accused of smuggling a load of people that belonged to Los Zetas, a ruthless Mexican cartel known to operate along the Texas-Tamaulipas, Mexico, border. Luis Antonio Figueroa Jr. and Fernando Teniente Jr. initially faced charges of bringing in and harboring illegal immigrants on their Feb. 6 arrest. Court records show prosecutors on Thursday submitted a motion to dismiss the criminal complaint filed Monday against Figueroa and Teniente. U.S. Magistrate Judge Guillermo R. Garcia signed the motion to dismiss the charges against Figueroa and Teniente on Friday. On Feb. 6, U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Freer area spotted a black Jeep Cherokee and a Blue Dodge Nitro west of Callaghan Road along U.S. 59. A complaint states both vehicles slowed down by El Gato Creek. This led agents to believe both vehicles had



Group once wanted background checks By DAN FREEDMAN HEARST NEWSPAPERS

WASHINGTON — The National Rifle Association was for background checks before it was against them. In 1999, right after the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado, the NRA’s CEO, Wayne LaPierre, told a congressional panel that “it’s reasonable to provide mandatory instant background checks for every sale at every gun show. No loopholes anywhere, for anyone.’’ Fast forward 14 years to

another Capitol Hill appearance, this time to testify on gun-control measures in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., mass shooting. Asked to reconcile his 1999 testimony with NRA’s thumbs-down position on expanding background checks to private transactions at gun shows and elsewhere, LaPierre declared it wouldn’t do “any good to extend the law to private sales between hobbyists and collectors.” He called the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System

The only people who will be checked are law-abiding, normal, sane, decent Americans.” NRA CEO WAYNE LAPIERRE

(NICS) “a failure.” NICS permits federally licensed firearms dealers to check prospective gun buyers’ qualifications. And last week in a fiery

call to arms after President Obama’s State of the Union address, LaPierre said that while universal background checks “sounds like a reasonable, good idea,’’

they would be ineffective against criminals who steal weapons or get them on the black market. “The only people who will be checked are lawabiding, normal, sane, decent Americans,’’ LaPierre said. “It will (be) our names — the names of good people — that will be put into a massive database, subject to potential federal registration and abuse of privacy.’’ Since the contrast between LaPierre’s acquiescent 1999 statement and his current finger-pointing surfaced in a Super Bowl ad

funded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns, NRA watchers have struggled to explain what some characterize as a flip-flop. Was it really a “gotcha’’ moment? Or politics as usual for the nation’s premier gun-owners group with over four million members? The NRA’s long history of traversing the fault lines of background checks stretches back to the original Brady bill, which was named after Ronald Rea-



Zin brief CALENDAR






El Centro de Laredo Farmers Market is from 9 a.m. to noon at Jarvis Plaza in historic downtown Laredo. This month there will be a juggling act for the kids and live music performed by There Be Dragons. For more information, call 956-523-8817. Laredo Community College’s Fun Fest and Musical is from noon to 5 p.m. at the Fort McIntosh Campus, next to Maravillo Gym. There will be live entertainment, fun activities food and more. For more information, contact Monica McGettrick Walters at 7215140 or

Today is Saturday, Feb. 16, the 47th day of 2013. There are 318 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Feb. 16, 1968, the nation’s first 911 emergency telephone system was inaugurated in Haleyville, Ala., as the speaker of the Alabama House, Rankin Fite, placed a call from the mayor’s office in City Hall to a red telephone at the police station that was answered by U.S. Rep. Tom Bevill. On this date: In 1804, Lt. Stephen Decatur led a successful raid into Tripoli Harbor to burn the U.S. Navy frigate Philadelphia, which had fallen into the hands of pirates. In 1862, the Civil War Battle of Fort Donelson in Tennessee ended as some 12,000 Confederate soldiers surrendered; Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s victory earned him the nickname “Unconditional Surrender Grant.” In 1868, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was organized in New York City. In 1923, the burial chamber of King Tutankhamen’s recently unearthed tomb was unsealed in Egypt by English archaeologist Howard Carter. In 1937, Dr. Wallace H. Carothers, a research chemist for Du Pont who’d invented nylon, received a patent for the synthetic fiber. In 1945, American troops landed on the island of Corregidor in the Philippines during World War II. In 1959, Fidel Castro became premier of Cuba a month and a half after the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista. In 1961, the United States launched the Explorer 9 satellite. In 1977, Janani Luwum, the Anglican archbishop of Uganda, and two other men were killed in what Ugandan authorities said was an automobile accident. In 1987, John Demjanjuk (dem-YAHN’-yuk) went on trial in Jerusalem, accused of being “Ivan the Terrible,” a guard at the Treblinka Nazi concentration camp. (Demjanjuk was convicted, but the conviction ended up being overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court.) In 1988, seven people were shot to death during an office rampage in Sunnyvale, Calif., by a man who was obsessed with a co-worker, who was wounded in the attack. (The gunman, Richard Farley, is under sentence of death.) In 1998, a China Airlines Airbus A300-600R trying to land in fog near Taipei, Taiwan, crashed, killing all 196 people on board, plus six on the ground. Ten years ago: More than 100,000 people demonstrated in the streets of San Francisco to protest a possible U.S. invasion of Iraq. Michael Waltrip raced past leader Jimmie Johnson to win the rain-shortened Daytona 500 for the second time in three years. Today’s Birthdays: Actor LeVar Burton is 56. International Tennis Hall of Famer John McEnroe is 54. Olympic gold medal runner Cathy Freeman is 40. Singer Sam Salter is 38. Actress Elizabeth Olsen is 24. Actor Mike Weinberg is 20. Thought for Today: “The heart may think it knows better: the senses know that absence blots people out. We have really no absent friends.” — Elizabeth Bowen, Irish-born author (1899-1973).

SUNDAY, FEB. 17 Laredo Theatre Guild International presents “Romeo and Juliet” at the TAMIU Center for Fine and Performing Arts Theater at 3 p.m. The play sets a new-age ambiance in its own world. Regular admission is $15 and senior citizens or students with IDs get in for $10. For more information, call 319-8610.

FRIDAY, FEB. 22 A One-Act Play tournament will be held at Zapata High School. Details will be announced.

SATURDAY, FEB. 23 The Zapata County Fair Association Junior Pageant will take place from 3 p.m. through 5 p.m. at the ZHS auditorium. For more information, call Raquel Martinez at 236-4838.

SUNDAY, FEB. 24 The Zapata County Fair Association’s Queen’s Contest will take place from 2 p.m. through 5 p.m. at the Zapata High School auditorium. For more information, call Nina Gutierrez at 2903301.

THURSDAY, FEB. 28 The Texas A&M International University Lamar Bruni Vergara Planetarium will show “Laser Mania” at 7 p.m. and “Laser U2” at 8 p.m. General admission is $5 for children/TAMIU community (with ID) and $6 adults. For more information, call 956-3263663.

FRIDAY, MARCH 1 The Texas A&M International University Lamar Bruni Vergara Planetarium will show “Laser Retro” at 6 p.m. and “Classic Rock Laser” at 7 p.m. General admission is $5 for children/TAMIU community (with ID) and $6 adults. For more information, call 956-326-3663.

SATURDAY, MARCH 2 The Zapata County Fair Association’s Trail Ride will start at 7 a.m. at the Bustamante Roping Arena and will end at 5 p.m. at the county fairgrounds. For more information, call Dora Martinez at 285-7794.

THURSDAY, MARCH 7 Today is the first day of the three-day 41st Annual Zapata County Fair, which begins at 8 a.m. at the Zapata County Fairgrounds. A battle of the bands will be featured. For more information, Chamber of Commerce or


Photo by Eric Gay | AP

Dozens of couples take part in a group wedding on the steps of the Bexar County Courthouse steps, on Thursday in San Antonio. Each Valentine’s Day the Rev. Joe Sullivan performs weddings for free on the steps of the courthouse.


SAN ANTONIO — Susie Herrera wiped away tears. Her husband, Louis, looked nervous, then smiled. Standing at the top of the stairs outside the historic 1892 Bexar County Courthouse in downtown San Antonio, they joined dozens of other couples Thursday in what’s now a more than two-decade-long tradition in the Alamo city — free marriage on Valentine’s day. “It’s different,” Herrera, 44, acknowledged, saying she and her 64-year-old husband decided two weeks ago to get married. “We had plans to get married but decided to go ahead and do it this way.” The Rev. Joe Sullivan, pastor of the city’s All Believers Church who’s presided over these free nuptials for 24 years, advised the

Trial wrapping up in case of kidnapped boy

White Stallion Energy suspends coal project

2 hospitalized after bus, car collision in Houston

SAN AUGUSTINE — Closing arguments have been set for Tuesday in the East Texas trial of two women accused of kidnapping a Houston boy when he was 8-months-old and hiding him for eight years before he was found. Krystle Tanner and mother Gloria Walker have been charged with kidnapping and injury to a child in the 2004 disappearance of Miguel Morin, now 8.

BAY CITY — A coal-fired power plant that ran into opposition over concerns that it would use immense amounts of public water will not be developed, an energy company announced Friday. The White Stallion Energy Center said it was suspending work on the 1,200-megawatt power project in Matagorda County.

HOUSTON — Authorities say two people were taken to the hospital after a car hit a school bus in a Houston intersection. Houston police spokeswoman Jodi Silva says the driver of the car was hospitalized with lifethreatening injuries following the Friday morning accident. One student was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Federal jury convicts 2 of heroin distribution AUSTIN — A federal jury has convicted two men who were among more than a dozen people involved in a heroin-trafficking ring in Central Texas. Authorities say 68-year-old Jose Pardo of Austin and 45-yearold Jorge Carrillo of Lockhart were found guilty Thursday of heroin distribution. They each face 10 years to life in prison.

Performances by Zamoralez, Solido and Kevin Fowler highlight Day Two of the Zapata County Fair.

SATURDAY, MARCH 9 The Bass Champs South Region Fishing Tournament will take place from 7 a.m. through 3 p.m. Performances by the battle of the bands winner, Los 5 De Zapata, Siggno and Pesado highlight Day Three of the Zapata County Fair.

THURSDAY, MARCH 21 The four-day Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament – Falcon Slam – begins at 7 a.m. at the Zapata County Public Boat Ramp. For more information, go to

SATURDAY, JUNE 1 The Bass Champs South Region Fishing Tournament is set for 7 a.m. through 4 p.m. at the Zapata County Public Boat Ramp. Submit calendar items by emailing with the event’s name, date and time, locations and purpose and contact information for a representative. Items will run as space is available.

couples to “practice forgiveness.” “It is a healing process,” he said. “It’ll give you good nights.” He also warned them the ceremony was “not an annual renewal. This is forever.” Sixty-five couples married at midnight. About three dozen more took their vows at midmorning Thursday and more arrived for group ceremonies set throughout the day. Some, like Stephanie Corpus, 24, of San Antonio, wore wedding dresses. “It was more than I expected,” she said happily after the 20-minute ceremony marked by the sounds of trucks, buses and motorcycles in busy downtown and an airplane overhead. A man in chef ’s garb passed out restaurant fliers. “I thought it was great, awesome,” her new husband, Eric, 25, beamed. The couple has known each other for three years.

Federal agent is charged with solicitation AUSTIN — State authorities say they’ve arrested a federal agent in Central Texas for using the Internet to arrange a sexual tryst with an underage girl. The attorney general’s office announced Friday that 50-yearold Forrest William Johnson was charged with a felony count of online solicitation of a minor. Johnson worked for U.S. Customs and Border Protection at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Deputy constable kills suspect in Harris County HOUSTON — A deputy constable shot and killed a man during a confrontation inside a Harris County convenience store following a high-speed chase. Capt. Jon Moore of the Pct. 3 Constable’s Office says the man fatally shot Thursday had earlier eluded deputies during a chase in which the man’s car reached speeds of about 100 mph. — Compiled from AP reports

AROUND THE NATION Records show inner workings of Legion PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Documents detailing the fundraising practices of a disgraced Roman Catholic religious order called the Legion of Christ were released Friday, showing how the organization took control of an elderly woman’s finances and persuaded her to bequeath it $60 million. The records shed light on the inner workings of a secretive congregation placed under Vatican receivership after the Holy See determined that its founder was a spiritual fraud.

Hanford nuclear tank in Wash. is leaking liquids OLYMPIA, Wash. — The longdelayed cleanup of the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site became the subject of more bad news Friday, when Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced that a

CONTACT US Publisher, William B. Green........................728-2501 Business Manager, Dora Martinez ...... (956) 324-1226 General Manager, Adriana Devally ...............728-2510 Adv. Billing Inquiries ................................. 728-2531 Circulation Director ................................. 728-2559 MIS Director, Michael Castillo.................... 728-2505 Copy Editor, Nick Georgiou ....................... 728-2565 Managing Editor, Mary Nell Sanchez........... 728-2543 Sports Editor, Adam Geigerman..................728-2578 Spanish Editor ........................................ 728-2569 Photo by Jacquelyn Martin | AP

President Barack Obama meets with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Friday.

radioactive waste tank there is leaking.

Mo. man freed on bond before murder retrial CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — A Mis-

souri man, Mark Woodworth, whose conviction in the 1990 slaying of a neighbor was recently overturned by the state Supreme Court was freed on bond Friday as the state prepares for a third murder trial in the case. — 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





Raquel Esquivel Solis, 39, was arrested and charged with assault at about 4:45 p.m. Feb. 7 in the 1400 block of Kennedy Street. She had a $10,000 bond at the Zapata County Jail. An assault was reported at 6:59 p.m. Feb. 7 in the 600 block of Diaz Avenue. Mario H Garza III, 21, was arrested and charged with assault shortly after midnight Feb. 10 in the 1000 block of Villa Avenue. He was given a $10,000 bond at the Zapata Regional Jail. A 26-year-old man reported at 2:19 a.m. Feb. 10 in the 600 block of Zapata Boulevard that someone assaulted him. Deputies responded to a domestic dispute at 1:57 p.m. Tuesday at 13th Street and Roma Avenue. A 37-year-old man reported that a person he knows attempted to assault him with a motor vehicle.

Jaime J. Garcia, 51, was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated at about 1:45 a.m. Feb. 8 at Texas 16 and Ninth Street. He had a $5,000 bond at the Zapata Regional Jail.

BURGLARY A home was reported burglarized at 5:55 p.m. Feb. 7 in the 2000 block of North Siesta Lane. A burglary of a habitation was reported at 1:34 p.m. Feb. 9 in the 5400 block of Victoria Lane. A burglary of a vehicle was reported at 7:55 p.m. Thursday in the 800 block of Diaz Avenue.

CHILD INDECENCY An indecency with a child case was reported at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 100 block of U.S. 83. Investigators are looking into the case. An indecency with a child case was reported at 3:05 p.m. Tuesday in the 400 block of East Street. The case is being investigated.

MIP On Feb. 9, deputies cited David Garcia, 17; Mario Alberto Gonzalez, 20, and Gilberto Pompa, 18, for minor in possession of alcoholic beverage at about 11 p.m. at Fourth and Miraflores streets.


Theft prompts help plea By CÉSAR G. RODRIGUEZ THE ZAPATA TIMES

Zapata County sheriff ’s investigators are asking for the community’s assistance in a burglary of a habitation case reported Feb. 7 in the Siesta Shores subdivision. A man called authorities at 5:55 p.m. Feb. 7 in the 2000 block of North Siesta Lane to report that his residence was broken into, said sheriff ’s

Sgt. Mario Elizondo. He said that several items were reported missing. Items stolen included two circular saws, a red Skillsaw and a silver Craftsman. Each power tool had an estimated cost of $75, Elizondo said. Burglars also stole an electric drill and a tool pouch, deputies say. Burglars also made it out with 30 bags of plastic fishing worms and three cases of crank baits. These items were valued at $400, according to Eli-

Deputies: 2 burglaries attempted

PUBLIC INTOXICATION Javier Salinas, 25, was arrested and charged with public intoxication at about 3:15 a.m. Monday at Fourth Street and Villa Avenue. He was later released for court appearance. Clarissa A. Garcia, 24, was arrested and charged with public intoxication at about 12:45 a.m. Friday at Seventh Street and Villa Avenue. She was taken to the Zapata County Jail.


THEFT Courtesy photo

A 53-year-old man reported at 6:33 p.m. Feb. 9 in the 5400 block of Cuellar Lane that someone stole a 30-foot ladder, a fishing rod and reel, and a tool box from his vehicle. All property stolen had an estimated value of $700. The case remains open. A 41-year-old man reported at 5:01 p.m. Tuesday in the 100 block of Madison Avenue that someone stole a battery from an LCA oilfield Services tractor. The battery was valued at $200. A 23-year-old man reported at 3:10 p.m. Wednesday in the 400 block of Ocampo Avenue that someone stole his hunting rifle. The firearm was valued at $150.

zondo. Sheriff ’s officials said the total property stolen had a value of $750. “Any information and tips on any of these burglaries can be directed to the investigative department at the sheriff ’s office,” he said. People with information on the case are asked to call the sheriff ’s office at 765-9960. (César G. Rodriguez may be reached at 728-2568 or

Winners from the Villarreal Elementary School chess tournament on Feb. 2 are, from left, Manuel Rodriguez, Laredo; Ismael Arambula, Villarreal; Fernando Rodriguez Villarreal; Elsa Angelica Alvarez, Villarreal; and David Chapa, North Elementary.

Villarreal chess winners announced THE ZAPATA TIMES

Fidel & Andrea R. Villarreal Elementary School hosted its second annual chess tournament on Feb. 2. Students from both Zapata County and Laredo ISDs participated. William Lane is the school’s

chess club sponsor and he practices with his students every Friday. Every year chess club membership increases and this year Lane has recruited his youngest members yet. ZCISD students from first grade through high school compete in various tournaments throughout the year.

Deputies say some burglars wanted to break into a couple of businesses along U.S. 83 but they could not, a Zapata County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said Friday. Deputies were dispatched to the 1900 block of U.S. 83 for an attempted burglary of a building call. Sheriff’s Sgt. Mario Elizondo said the suspects attempted to pry open the Round-Up Liquor Shack and Tina’s Restaurant. Both are located near the Veleño Bridge. Investigators noticed the same modus operandi. Elizondo said in both establishments, the burglars attempted to forcibly enter through the businesses’ rear doors. Despite failing to gain access, the suspect did leave damages. Reports for burglary of a building were filed. Elizondo said evidence was collected at the scene. The evidence was sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Lab. Members of the public can call the sheriff’s office at 765-9960 to provide information on the case. All callers may remain anonymous. (César G. Rodriguez may be reached at 728-2568 or






Message is still one of hope, love Last Monday, like most in our community, I awoke to the surprising revelation that our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has tendered his resignation effective Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. Rome time. I was filled with mixed emotions at the news. At first, I was saddened that His Holiness would no longer serve as the successor to St. Peter in a way that only he could — as a loving shepherd of his flock, as an unparalleled scholar and as a man who served God with humility. Nearly 86 years old, the pope cited being tired of body and mind for his resignation. Pope Benedict XVI is a faithful servant of God and offers his resignation under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And it is the Holy Spirit who will now guide the cardinals in the selection of our next pope. As I do every morning, I offered a special intention for Pope Benedict XVI during my daily prayers. I also prayed for the ensuing Conclave of Cardinals, which will soon be electing a new pope. And it was during this time that I also listened with my heart. I realize that the Holy Spirit is working through our Holy Father to encourage us to walk through the door of faith that has opened wide during this Year of Faith. I recognized how blessed we are to have Pope Benedict XVI serve


as our shepherd. I recalled and gave thanks to God that we had the opportunity to witness his travels to the United States and Mexico. During his visit to Washington D.C., our Holy Father visited the White House as the leader of state. However, it was his visit to Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium and St. Patrick’s Cathedral as well as Guanajuato in Mexico as the shepherd of the Catholic faith that reverberated with a message of hope throughout these great republics. This marks an important moment in our lives. Nearly 600 years have passed since a pontiff has relinquished the chair of St. Peter. We are all witness to a great act of humility out of concern for the future of the universal church. As bishop of the Diocese of Laredo, I invite all Catholics and all people of good will to join us in continued prayer for the good health of Pope Benedict XVI. We also offer our prayers that the Holy Spirit, always present in the Church, enlighten the Conclave to select a worthy successor to St. Peter and one who is prepared to lead us through the challenges of today’s world. — Todo Con Amor.


Budget could face big cuts By GREG SARGENT THE WASHINGTON POST

House Speaker John Boehner’s remarks to reporters Thursday included a comment that makes clear the GOP approach to the sequester is so unserious that no deal looks even remotely possible: “I’ll tell you the same thing I told my Republican colleagues at our retreat," said Boehner, ROhio, according to The Hill. “The sequester will be in effect until there are cuts and reforms that put us on a path to balance the budget in the next 10 years." So, House Republicans are not only willing to let the sequester hit, but the only acceptable replacement will be a plan that wipes away the deficit in 10 years — all without new revenue? Let’s consider what this means. Eliminating the deficit in 10 years with no new revenue would require deep cuts to the federal government. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently concluded that doing so would require across-theboard cuts of one-sixth to one-third of spending on government programs. Then there’s timing. There is simply no chance that House Republicans will produce such a budget by March 1, when the sequester is scheduled to

take effect. Wiping out the deficit in 10 years with no new revenue would be at least as bad as the Paul Ryan plan — probably worse — yet even that plan was loaded with unspecified cuts and other big question marks. Meanwhile, the plan that Senate Democrats unveiled Thursday to try to avert the sequester has a roughly 50-50 split of spending cuts and new revenue via the closing of loopholes for the wealthy and corporations. In a nutshell, Democrats want the sequester to be averted through a mix of roughly equivalent concessions by both sides. But Republicans are so eager to avoid raising even a penny of new revenue that they would sooner present this as a choice between the sequester — which they themselves say will gut defense and tank the economy — and radically downsizing the government. The argument here is supposed to be that Senate Democrats will have to agree to something that, from their perspective, is significantly worse than the sequester — balancing the budget in 10 years with no new revenue — or we’re stuck with the sequester. Surely this drives home just how profound the imbalance has become between the two parties’ handling of this issue.


Solon pushes the idea to train youth to shoot legally AUSTIN — State Rep. James White wants to add triggernometry to the electives that can be offered in Texas high schools. It’s right there in his House Bill 1142, which would allow, not mandate, “a public school elective course on firearm safety, training and history.” We’re talking shooter’s ed, kind of like driver’s ed. And just like it’s a good idea to train up a kid who’s going to legally drive, maybe it’s a good idea to train up a kid who’s going to legally shoot. A good number of us urban Texans seem to have difficulty with the notion, but firearms usage (as in hunting and target shooting) is a legal activity with deep roots in many families. And I’m not sure why a school district should not be allowed to decide that a firearms safety course is a wise use of time and money. “The purpose of a course under this section is to teach the history and importance of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and to teach respect for and proper use of firearms,”


HB 1142 says. You got something against teaching the “history and importance” of any part of the U.S. Constitution? Done properly, I don’t. Under White’s bill, the course also would have to include firearms safety and maintenance instruction, hunter safety and “training in the use of firearms, including the safe use of common firearms such as pistols, revolvers, rifles and shotguns.” The righteously horrified among you are asking why in the world we’d put firearms in the hands of high school kids? White, a former teacher, says there are already lots of dangerous activities at public schools, including welding, auto mechanics and chemistry. And he recalled that as an ROTC cadet at a Houston high school, he was on the marksmanship squad. Like lots of legislation, it’s easy to chide HB 1142, which, also like lots of leg-

islation, has a long, precarious path to travel before becoming law. White wants to make sure you know he’s not trying to force the course on any district. It’s a local decision, he said, to be pursued by districts that see this as “congruent with the values” of their constituents. Under HB 1142, the course would have to be taught by either a “qualified handgun instructor” or “a peace officer ... employed by a local law enforcement agency.” FYI, Texas Education Agency spokeswoman Debbie Ratcliffe says school districts now can offer such a course as a “local elective credit.” She notes, however, that districts “might encounter challenges” presented by state law barring weapons at schools and schoolsponsored activities. I note, however, that the penal code has an exemption for weapons possessed “pursuant to written regulations or written authorization of the institution.” East Texan White, RHillister, is an interesting guy. He’s a second-term legislator who surprised lots of folks by winning that second term. The

2011 redistricting process paired him in a district with Rep. Mike “Tuffy” (I don’t make this stuff up) Hamilton, a five-term GOP rep from Lumberton. You might think the five-termer would have an advantage over the onetermer. And, stereotypes being what they are, you also might think that in an East Texas GOP primary a white guy named Tuffy might be a favorite over a black guy named White. But White took 54.5 percent of the vote in beating Hamilton, and there was no Democrat in the general election. White’s hometown of Hillister is an unincorporated community eight miles south of Woodville. Depending on where his political career takes him, he could become Hillister’s most famous son, a title I now bestow on somebody who will be remembered by basketball fans of a certain age. Anybody else remember Zelmo Beaty? If so, you are nodding appreciatively and you will feel old when I tell you he’s now 73. As I recall, ol’ Zelmo was a pretty good shooter. (E-mail:

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phone number IS NOT published; it is used solely to verify identity and to clarify content, if necessary. Identity of the letter writer must be verified before publication. We want to assure our

readers that a letter is written by the person who signs the letter. The Zapata Times does not allow the use of pseudonyms. Letters are edited for style, grammar, length and civility. No name-call-


ing or gratuitous abuse is allowed. Via e-mail, send letters to or mail them to Letters to the Editor, 111 Esperanza Drive, Laredo, TX 78041.





Photo by Kino Lorber, Inc. | AP

This undated photo shows Adeeb and Phil participating in a protest against the Israeli settlements in a scene from the documentary film, “5 Broken Cameras,” co-directed by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi.


LOS ANGELES — The Oscar-nominated features “5 Broken Cameras” and “How to Survive a Plague” represent documentaries in the truest, purest form of the word: They capture a spark, a moment in history, and they make us feel as if we were there, too. Both films were shot by regular people who happened to be witnessing an uprising. They’re by amateur photographers who had the foresight to record everything — long before such a practice became the norm with the advent of the iPhone and YouTube — from the mundane moments of their daily lives to scenes of violence, upheaval, death and eventually some sort of victory. They’re very different films from very different directors on very different topics. “5 Broken Cameras” is a collaboration between Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat and Israeli director Guy Davidi featuring years of footage Burnat shot in his occupied village of Bil’in, a place that became a sort of symbol for nonviolent resistance. Each of the five cameras was destroyed in the midst of protests or gunfire. But it also includes daily events in the life of this husband and father of four; he actually bought the first camera in 2005 for the reason so many parents do, to record the first smiles and steps of his youngest son, Gibreel. “Plague” is a collection of archival footage from the late 1980s and early ‘90s, as members of the New Yorkbased AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) fought to find a cure for the

disease as it quickly spread and claimed millions of lives. Director David France, who was in the middle of many of these boisterous planning meetings and theatrical demonstrations, culled through thousands of hours of footage from about two dozen different sources. Burnat of “5 Broken Cameras” said he’d always intended to make a movie, but initially figured it would be something private to show to family and friends. He felt it was his responsibility to depict the fight for territory through his own eyes. “Many films were made about Palestine and the subject but the story was being told by people who live outside. They didn’t feel this feeling, this relation between the person and the land and how to live, how to survive in this situation under occupation,” Burnat said. He watched his brothers get arrested and friends get shot by Israeli military, and even though he knew it was dangerous to venture into it all with his camera, “this is the situation, this is our life, our daily life,” Burnat said. “At the same time, I was thinking for my kids, the future of my kids, to make this for them. My goal is to show the world and to spread the film and to change people, to change the situation. So this was important for me.” Burnat sought out Davidi, who shaped the film and wrote the narration, because he knew him as an Israeli peace activist. Together, the two aimed to craft a documentary with no political slant. Davidi spent a year and a half editing from 900

hours of footage that Burnat and a few others had shot before bringing in French editor Veronique Lagoarde-Segot to help fine-tune the narrative. He said the naturalistic, intimate look of “5 Broken Cameras” isn’t as effortless as it may appear. “People have a lot of appreciation for a film that looks like it was heavily thought, it was planned, it looks spectacular with nice, big cameras, and in our film we actually try to make it simple,” he said. That included ruining some of the footage to make it appear even more authentically raw. The people whose video appears in “How to Survive a Plague” similarly wanted to share their story with the world. France said the photographers had a number of motivations, from filling in the gaps of traditional media reporting to documenting when police were excessively rough during demonstrations to capturing quiet moments with loved ones before they died. The result: France often had the benefit of coverage of the same event from several angles. “It was a true witnessbearing,” said France, who spent two years cutting the film. “You also see in those scenes how comfortable people were on camera because the cameras were always present, which was only made possible by a true revolution in home video. They were not these tiny, handheld things but for the first time it was affordable to ordinary people to record things in that way. The camcorder came out in 1982, you had HIV in 1981 and by 1987 those tools were being used broadly.”

Zapata County Independent School District Entity Number: 141503 REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS Telecommunications and Internet Access for E-Rate Funding Year 2013 (7/1/13-6/30/2014) Form 470# 254150001102994 Date of Issue: 1-18-2013 Proposal Closing Date: 02-14-2013

Proposal must be received on or before February 14, 2013 by 4:00 p.m. Zapata County I.S.D., 702 E. 17th Street, P.O. Box 158, Zapata, Texas 78076. Bids that are received after the deadline will be returned unopened to the bidder. Please see full RFP for details. Zapata County ISD is soliciting proposals for Telecommunications and Internet Access. All bidders must read and abide by the Eligible Services List on the Schools and Libraries Web site. Proposals must be comprehensive, itemized and have a valid SPIN issued by USAC. Bidders must refer to full RFP posting for details. The Zapata County Independent School District Form 470 can be viewed on the Universal Service Administrative Company website, As per USAC rules and regulations, Form 470 must be posted for at least 28 days. After this period, Z.C.I.S.D. will meet and decide based on an evaluation matrix on a vendor that is most advantageous to the district.

Please visit to view RFP in its entirety or for contact information for questions regarding this RFP.

CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — A Missouri man whose conviction in the 1990 slaying of a rural neighbor was recently overturned by the state Supreme Court was freed on bond Friday as the state prepares for a third murder trial in the case. Mark Woodworth, 38, walked out of the Livingston County jail at midday Friday, hours after a judge’s order releasing him on a $50,000 bond. He repeatedly said he was overwhelmed by the prospect of freedom. “It’s an awesome feeling. I thank everybody for all the support,” Woodworth said after leaving the jail, where nearly 100 friends, relatives and wellwishers braved the cold to greet him. Woodworth hugged many in the crowd and said they had lifted his spirits during his imprisonment. “They’ve kept me going,” he said. “I’m speechless.” Woodworth has been serving a life sentence in the fatal shooting of Cathy Robertson, the wife of his father’s farming partner. His latest conviction was thrown out in January when the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that state prosecutors failed to provide Woodworth’s attorneys with copies of letters that cast doubt on Woodworth’s guilt. After the Supreme Court’s ruling, Attorney General Chris Koster quickly announced he would try Woodworth again. Woodworth was 16 when Robertson was killed and her husband shot several times while the couple

Photo Kelley McCall/file | AP

Mark Woodworth was freed on bond Friday while he awaits his third trial in the 1990 fatal shooting in a rural Missouri home. slept in their house directly across a county highway from the Woodworth home. Lyndel Robertson survived the attack. He initially told friends and police that he suspected his oldest daughter’s abusive ex-boyfriend as the shooter, but he later testified that he never actually identified the shooter. The letters cited by the state Supreme Court in overturning Woodworth’s conviction were between a Livingston County judge, state and local prosecutors and Lyndel Robertson. A letter written by one prosecutor, Doug Roberts, said Lyndel Robertson “was adamant that we charge another young man.” But Roberts also said he didn’t have solid evidence to charge Woodworth and asked to be removed from the case because the judge and Lyndel Robertson were pressuring him to file charges. Details of the letters were first reported by The Associated Press in 2009. After the county prose-

cutor declined to charge Woodworth, Livingston County’s presiding judge, at Robertson’s request, asked the state to take the case. The attorney general appointed special prosecutor Kenny Hulshof, an assistant attorney general who would later serve six terms in Congress and win the Republican nomination for governor but whose courtroom conduct has been questioned in two murder cases. Woodworth was first convicted in 1995. He was then briefly released on appeal but convicted by a second jury four years later in a case handled by another state prosecutor. Bob Ramsey, Woodworth’s attorney, said the low bond bodes well for Woodworth’s chances of acquittal. “I don’t want to try to read the judge’s mind, but it’s reflective of his recognition that there were a lot of problems with this case,” he said. Assistant Attorney General Ted Bruce testified that the state did not oppose Woodworth’s release.

Zapata County Independent School District Entity Number: 141503 REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS Internal Connections for E-Rate Funding Year 2013 (7/1/13-6/30/2014) VES Form 470 # 489910001103230 • ZMS Form 470 # 247400001103072 ZNE Form 470 # 760460001103223 • ZSE Form 470 # 903980001103204 ABE Form 470 # 141360001103251 • Date of Issue: 1-18-2013 Proposal Closing Date: 02-14-2013

Proposal must be received on or before February 14, 2013 by 4:00 p.m. Zapata County I.S.D., 702 E. 17th Street, P.O. Box 158, Zapata, Texas 78076. Bids that are received after the deadline will be returned unopened to the bidder. Please see full RFP for details. Zapata County ISD is soliciting proposals for Internal Connections. Site 1: Zapata North Elementary Replacement Campus 502 E. 17th Ave.; Site 2: Zapata South Elementary, 500 Delmar St., Zapata, Texas; Site 3: Arturo Benavides Elementary, 301 Lincoln St., San Ygnacio, Texas Site 4: Fidel and Andrea Villarreal Elementary, 805 Mira Flores Ave., Zapata, Texas Site 5: Zapata Middle School, 702 E. 17th Street, Zapata, Texas All bidders must read and abide by the Eligible Services List on the Schools and Libraries Web site. Proposals must be comprehensive, itemized and have a valid SPIN issued by USAC. Bidders must refer to full RFP posting for details. The Zapata County Independent School District Form 470 can be viewed on the Universal Service Administrative Company website, As per USAC rules and regulations, Form 470 must be posted for at least 28 days. After this period, Z.C.I.S.D. will meet and decide based on an evaluation matrix on a vendor that is most advantageous to the district.

Please visit to view RFP in its entirety or for contact information for questions regarding this RFP.




Firm eyes $1.3 billion costal plant By WILL WEISSERT ASSOCIATED PRESS

Photo by Pat Sullivan | AP

Auboni Champion-Morin talks with her husband Fernando Morin before a status hearing in juvenile court Thursday, in Houston. The Morin’s infant son vanished eight years ago and was recently found to be safe.

Trial ends in kidnapped boy case ASSOCIATED PRESS

SAN AUGUSTINE — Closing arguments have been set for Tuesday in the East Texas trial of two women accused of kidnapping a Houston boy when he was 8 months old and hiding him for eight years before he was found. Krystle Tanner and her mother, Gloria Walker, have each been charged with kidnapping and injury to a child in the 2004 disappearance of Miguel Morin, now 8. If convicted, they face up to life in prison. Testimony in the case began Monday and wrapped up Thursday. Neither Tanner, 27, nor Walker, 51, testified in their defense. Both are free on bond. During the trial this week in San Augustine, about 140 miles northeast of Houston, prosecutors have tried to show jurors

Tanner and Walker repeatedly lied to authorities about the boy’s identity. Authorities say Tanner, who used to baby-sit Miguel, took the boy from his Houston apartment complex when he was a baby. They say she and her mother moved the boy from homes in Central and East Texas to avoid detection, keeping him out of school and renaming him Jaquan. After Tanner’s newborn son in April 2010 tested positive for marijuana, authorities began investigating her and later determined that she had the missing boy. Tanner and Walker were arrested in March 2012. San Augustine County sheriff ’s Chief Deputy Gary Cunningham testified this week that during his investigation, Tanner lied about who the boy was, saying he was the son of a woman in a nearby town. After her

arrest, Tanner indicated her mother had instructed her to make up a name for Miguel or “she would be in trouble,” he said. KTRE-TV of Lufkin reported Thursday that defense attorneys said Miguel was not kidnapped but was sold by his biological mother to Tanner for $200. On Thursday, Jennifer Kauffelt, a Houston police officer with the special crimes division-sex crimes unit, testified the investigation was closed in 2005 because the boy’s parents were uncooperative and there were conflicting statements about whether Miguel had been taken. Kauffelt said she thought this was not a kidnapping case but one about interference with child custody because she believed the boy’s parents and Tanner had an agreement related to his custody. The television station reported earlier this week

that the boy’s mother, Auboni Champion-Morin, told jurors her son was taken by Tanner. She testified that Houston police did not keep in touch with her about the case. Cunningham testified there was significant evidence showing this was a case of kidnapping and not about a custody dispute. After being found, Miguel was placed in foster case. A judge in Houston last month placed the boy with his four siblings, who are being taken care of by a Houston-area couple, Junita and Joseph Auguillard. The Auguillards have been taking care of Miguel’s siblings for nearly 10 years under an agreement they have with the boy’s parents. Miguel has been told about the true identity of his parents and his siblings, and he has been having weekly joint therapy sessions with his parents.

AUSTIN — International energy pipeline giant Tenaris SA said Friday it plans to build a $1.3 billion Gulf Coast manufacturing facility that will bring 600 new jobs and better supplying operations to Texas’ oil- and natural gas-rich Eagle Ford Shale region. Gov. Rick Perry said Tenaris, the world’s No. 1 producer of steel tubing for the oil industry, is receiving $6 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund, a pot of money meant to attract outside firms and businesses to the state. The company’s North American headquarters is based in Houston. The Republican governor said he helped convince the company to choose Texas as it expands its U.S. workforce, noting he met with Tenaris leadership during an economic development trip to Italy last year and during a Formula 1 race in Austin two months later. “The most profound statement about our favorable economic climate comes when companies like Tenaris make an investment of this size in our state,” Perry said in a statement. “That says that not only is Texas the best place to grow your business now, but they’re confident that we’ll remain that way moving forward.” Perry joined Tenaris executives and local elected officials south of Houston in Bay City, where the facility will be built, as part of the announcement.

The 1 million-squarefoot plant is set to open in 2016. It will feature a seamless pipe mill, heat treatment and premium threading facilities, and is expected to eventually produce 600,000 tons of pipe annually. “With this investment, we will strengthen our local production and service capabilities to address the growing demands of the energy industry,” German Cura, Tenaris’ president of North America, said in a statement. Incorporated since 2002 in Luxembourg and with hubs in Italy, Argentina and elsewhere around the globe, Tenaris has around 27,000 employees worldwide. Perry’s office oversees the Texas Enterprise Fund, which was created in 2003 by the Legislature and has been used to convince firms including Apple Inc. to expand in Texas. Projects financed by the fund have to be approved by the governor, lieutenant governor and the Texas House speaker. The governor said the fund has now invested more than $493 million and helped close the deals on projects generating more than 66,300 new jobs and $18.6-plus billion in capital investment statewide. But it hasn’t come without controversy. Some Republicans have branded the Texas Enterprise Fund as corporate welfare, while Democrats note it has yet to undergo an independent audit in the decade since it was created.


Agenda en Breve LAREDO 02/16— Laredo Main Street invitan al Mercado Agrícola de Laredo, de 9 a.m. a 12 p.m. en Plaza Jarvis. Habrá una presentación con malabares, y música en vivo con There Be Dragons. 02/16— Festival “Fun and Musicale se realiza de 12 p.m. a 5 p.m. en el Campus Fort McIntonsh ubicado al lado del Gimnasio Maravillo. Ofrecerán juegos, música, comida y diversión. Evento gratuito. 02/16— LTGI presenta “Romeo y Julieta”, dirigida por Marco Gonzalez y producida por Joe Arciniega, a las 8 p.m. en el Teatro del Center for the Fine and Performing Arts de TAMIU. Costo: 15 dólares, general; y 10 dólares, estudiantes y adultos mayores. Otra función el domingo a las 3 p.m. 02/16— Delta Psi Alpha invita a presenciar “Los Monólogos de la Vagina” (en español) a las 8 p.m. en el aula 236 del Centro Estudiantil de TAMIU. Costo: 10 dólares. Donaciones beneficiará al Programa S.A.S.I. (Sexual Assault Service and Information) en Laredo. Otra función el domingo a las 8 p.m. 02/17— Christopher Marks interpretará un Recital para Órgano a las 3 p.m. en el Center for the Fine and Performing Arts Recital Hall de TAMIU. Entrada gratuita. 02/20— En el marco de la serie de escritores “Voices in the Monte”, la poeta y educadora Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie visita el Aula 236 del Student Center Room en TAMIU, de 11 a.m. a 6 p.m. El trabajo de Tallie se enfoca en las mujeres, creatividad y el poder sanador del arte. Entrada gratuita. 02/20— Imaginarium of South Texas presenta “Introduzca a una Niña al Día de Ingeniería”, de 12 p.m. a 2 p.m., a fin de conocer ramos de carreras STEM (Ciencia, Tecnología, Ingeniería y Matemáticas). El museo se encuentra a un costado de la tienda Dillard’s dentro del Mall del Norte. 02/20— El club de libros de misterio “Escena del Crimen” presenta la lectura de “The Witch of Babylon” de D.J. McIntosh, de 6 p.m. a 7 p.m. en la Sala de Conferencias del Primer Piso de la Biblioteca Pública de Laredo, 1120 E. Calton Road. 02/20— El club “gateway City Book Lover’s” presenta “Me, Who Dove into the Heart of the World” de Sabina Berman, de 7 p.m. a 8 p.m. en la Sala de Conferencias del Primer Piso de la Biblioteca Pública de Laredo, 1120 E. Calton Road. 02/22— ‘Laredo Goes Red for Women’ ofrecerá una CPRa las 8 a.m., en el Departamento de Salud de la Ciudad de Laredo, 2600 avenida Cedar.

NUEVO LAREDO, MX 02/16— Festival Infantil dedicado al Amor y la amistad, en Estación Palabra, a las 2 p.m. 02/16— Festival ’’Los amorosos’’, se llevarán a cabo lecturas literarias, tocarán músicos locales y habrá exposición de fotografías. Se expondrán obras inspiradas en el poema ’’Los amorosos’’ de Jaime Sabines, a las 2 p.m. 02/17— El grupo de teatro Laberintus invita a ver la puesta en escena de “Historia del otro lado” en el teatro del Seguro Social, a las 12 p.m. Costo: 20 pesos. 02/22— Exhibición de Reliquias Sagradas de Buda y otros Maestros Budistas, de 6 p.m. a 8 p.m. en el Espacio Cultural de la Antigua Aduana “Sergio Peña”. Son bienvenidos personas de todas las creencias.





MÉXICO — México ha solicitado a Estados Unidos ajustar las prioridades de su plan de cooperación antidrogas para que los recursos se concentren en programas de prevención social de la violencia más que en cuestiones policiales o militares, como sucedió en la anterior administración, informó el jueves el subsecretario de Prevención de la Secretaría de Gobernación, Roberto Campa. En un encuentro con la prensa extranjera, Campa dijo que hace unos días hubo un encuentro entre funcionarios mexicanos y estadounidenses para analizar la Iniciativa Mérida, como se le conoce al plan de cooperación antidrogas, y cómo podría adaptarse a las nuevas prioridades de México que busca poner la prevención en el centro de su es-

trategia de seguridad. El funcionario dijo que de los 1.900 millones de dólares autorizados por el Congreso estadounidense para la Iniciativa Mérida, sólo un 2% fueron destinados programas de prevención y el resto a cuestiones de seguridad. La Iniciativa Mérida fue acordada con Estados Unidos en 2007, durante el gobierno de Felipe Calderón que hizo del combate al narcotráfico su prioridad. El gobierno del presidente Enrique Peña Nieto anunció esta semana un plan interno que busca privilegiar la aplicación de programas sociales sobre las operaciones policiales y militares para enfrentar la violencia y el crimen. Campa dijo que esperan tener resultados de ese plan, el cual dará prioridad a los jóvenes, en un periodo de entre 12 y 18 meses. “Cuando hemos conversado de

este tema con las autoridades norteamericanas (estadounidenses), nos han dicho que las prioridades se definían a partir de un acuerdo; lo que hemos planteado es que hoy las prioridades del Gobierno de México han cambiado”, dijo el funcionario. “Sin ignorar la importancia que tiene la parte de fuerza, las cuestiones que tienen que ver con policía, con procuradurías, con cárceles, con sistema de justicia, necesitamos entender que la otra parte, el capítulo social, que es la segunda rueda de este carro, también es importante”, añadió. Desde antes de llegar al poder, Peña Nieto dijo que ajustaría la estrategia de seguridad que había aplicado la administración de Calderón y que priorizó las operaciones anticrimen a partir de un amplio despliegue militar y policía, en medio de críticas de opositores

por no haberse traducido en una baja de la violencia. El gobierno de Peña Nieto estima que en el periodo de la administración de Calderón (2006-2012) hubo unos 70.000 asesinatos atribuidos al crimen organizado. Entre diciembre y enero, los primeros dos meses de este gobierno, las autoridades han dicho que hubo 2.243 asesinatos del crimen organizado. Con Peña Nieto volvió a la presidencia el Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), que ya había gobernado por siete décadas el país hasta 2000. Calderón pertenece al conservador Partido Acción Nacional (PAN). El nuevo plan para prevenir la violencia y el crimen, implica una inversión de 118.000 millones de pesos (unos 9.200 millones de dólares) por parte de nueve secretarías del gobierno federal.




Hedrick asegura siguió reglas POR SARAH MOORE BEAUMONT ENTERPRISE

Foto por Eduardo Verdugo | Associated Press

El artista mexicano Pedro Reyes posa detrás de un instrumento musical hecho con armas confiscadas, en su taller en la Ciudad de México. El instrumento suena como un bajo.

Artista mexicano hace música con armas POR MARK STEVENSON ASSOCIATED PRESS


ÉXICO — Las armas han causado muchas muertes en el norte de México, pero ahora están haciendo música. Martillos mecánicos repican contra cargadores de munición de fusiles de asalto. Cañones de armas recortados en diferentes largos retumban como marimbas. Partes de pistolas golpean platillos de metal, como si fueran baterías, para crear sonidos rítmicos y sincopados. “Es importante considerar que muchas vidas se perdieron con esas armas, es como si una especie de exorcismo estuviera ocurriendo”, dijo el escultor Pedro Reyes al describir su proyecto en un correo electrónico a The Associated Press. Cuando los instrumentos se tocan “la música ahuyenta a los demonios que encierran y también es un réquiem por las vidas

perdidas”. Para el proyecto titulado “Disarm” (desarme en inglés), Reyes dijo que pudo elegir sus instrumentos de entre 6.700 armas que fueron entregadas o confiscadas por el ejército y la Policía en Ciudad Juárez, habitada por unos 1,3 millones de personas y que tuvo un promedio de 10 asesinatos diarios durante el peor momento de su oleada violenta. En 2010, Ciudad Juárez, fronteriza con El Paso, Texas, tuvo una tasa de homicidios de cerca de 230 por cada 100.000 habitantes. La tasa nacional en Estados Unidos fue de 4,8 ese año. “Lo dramático es que esto es sólo la punta del iceberg de todas las armas que diariamente el ejército tiene que destruir”, dijo Reyes en una entrevista mientras mostraba en su estudio algunos de sus instrumentos controlados por computadora que producían una música entre el pop industrial y las marimbas. Reyes cobró notoriedad en

2008 por un proyecto llamado “Palas por Pistolas” en el que fundió 1.527 armas para hacer el mismo número de palas y plantar el mismo número de árboles. Su nuevo proyecto comenzó el año pasado con una llamada telefónica en la que le ofrecían una nueva oportunidad para trabajar con las armas confiscadas. “Generalmente las entierran o las destruyen, pero alguien que trabaja en el gobierno dijo: ’¿No te gustaría hacer una escultura con este metal?’’’, dijo. La violencia por el narcotráfico ha costado más de 70.000 vidas en México en los últimos seis años y el tráfico de armas ha sido uno de los puntos más controversiales de este conflicto. Muchas de las armas que usan los cárteles de las drogas entran de contrabando a México desde Estados Unidos. “El ejercicio de transformación que vemos en las armas, es el que nos gustaría ver en la sociedad”, dijo Reyes.

BEAUMONT — El propietario de una casa de empeño en esta ciudad, demandado por vender un arma utilizada en una emboscada en 2011 contra agentes federales en México, dijo que es un empresario respetuoso de las leyes, quien no hizo algo malo. El Agente del Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Jaime J. Zapata, falleció y su colega del ICE, Victor Avila Jr. fue baleado en múltiples ocasiones el 15 de febrero del 2011, cuando miembros de una organización de tráfico de drogas emboscaron su SUV en San Luis Potosí, México. JJ’s Pawn shop es uno en la amplia lista de acusados, incluyendo el gobierno de EU, citado en la demanda, que fuera presentada el martes en Brownsville. Jim Hedrick, propietario de JJ’s Pawn Shop, dijo en una entrevista que él es un “seguidor de las reglas” y que si él tiene razón para creer que una compra tiene intenciones criminales, “No se las vendería”. De acuerdo a la demanda presentada por Avila y los padres de Zapata, Mary y Amador Zapata, un arma estilo AK-47 semi-automática utilizada en el ataque, fue comprada por Robert Riendfliesh del JJ’s Pawn Shop en Beaumont en agosto del 2010. Hedrick dijo que sentía empatía con los padres de Zapata, por la pérdida de su hijo, pero dijo que su queja estaba con el gobierno, y no con él. “Hemos hecho todo de acuerdo con el procedimiento y no hemos hecho nada ilegal”, dijo él. Riendfliesh, un intermediario, quien recibió un pago para comprar las armas por un traficante de armas quien entonces ilegalmente las llevó hacia México, también fue citado en la demanda. El traficante acusado, Manuel Barba de Bay City, también fue citado. Barba se encuentra actualmente en una prisión federal. Riendfliesh, un veterano del Ejército de la guerra de Irak, compró un total de 10 AK-47 en JJ’s Pawn Shop para Barba. La petición de 39 páginas detalla múltiples actos ilegales de negligencia.


Empresas abren puertas a universitarios ESPECIAL PARA TIEMPO DE ZAPATA

MIGUEL ALEMÁN, México — La Universidad Politécnica de la Región Ribereña (UPRR) firmó convenios específicos de colaboración con ocho empresas de la zona fronteriza de Tamaulipas. Algunas de las empresas que se signaron el convenio fueron: Soriana, CEYCOMEX, Agencia Aduanal Olagué, Hospital Integral de Miguel Ale-

mán, Comercializadora BAESVA, Concretos la Ribereña, M.A. Edificaciones, Impulso al Comercio S.C, y Mueblería La Principal. UPRR ratificó así su compromiso por ofrecer a sus alumnos espacios del sector productivo, donde puedan desarrollar sus conocimientos mediante prácticas y estancias profesionales. Los empresarios se mostraron comprometidos

por participar en el desarrollo profesional de los estudiantes de la UPRR, coincidiendo en que la vinculación entre ambas partes vendrá a beneficiar los procesos educativos de los jóvenes universitarios y también el desarrollo productivo de sus empresas. Sonia Mercado Rodríguez, rectora de la Universidad, señaló que la finalidad de estos convenios es ofrecer más espacios para

que los alumnos de la UPRR de las carreras de Ingeniería Industrial, Ingeniería en Tecnologías de la Información y Licenciatura en Administración y Gestión de Pymes, puedan realizar sus estancias (prácticas profesionales) en las empresas. “A través de la práctica, los alumnos podrán conocer otras realidades profesionales poniendo en uso las destrezas adquiridas”, dijo Mercado. “Sumado

también (está) la posibilidad de que refuercen sus conocimientos en diversas áreas funcionales, procesos y productos de las empresas”. Mercado agradeció el apoyo y la confianza manifestados por los representantes al facilitar sus empresas para que los alumnos de la universidad realicen sus estancias. “Son jóvenes responsables, con deseos de superación”, concluyó Mercado.



Falcon yields 13.4 pounder SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech | AP

A simulation of asteroid 2012 DA14 approachs Earth from the south as it passes through the Earth-moon system, on Friday.

Asteroid misses, meteor hits By MARCIA DUNN ASSOCIATED PRESS

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A 150-foot asteroid hurtled through Earth’s backyard Friday, coming within an incredible 17,150 miles and making the closest known flyby for a rock of its size. In a chilling coincidence, a meteor exploded above Russia just hours before the asteroid zoomed past the planet. Scientists the world over, along with NASA, insisted the meteor had nothing to do with the asteroid since they appeared to be traveling in opposite directions. The asteroid is a much more immense object and delighted astronomers in Australia and elsewhere who watched it zip harmlessly through a clear night sky. “It’s on its way out,” reported Paul Chodas of NASA’s Near-Earth Object program at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. Asteroid 2012 DA14, as it’s called, came closer to Earth than many communication and weather satellites orbiting 22,300 miles up. Scientists insisted these, too, would be spared, and they were right. The asteroid was too small to see with the naked eye even at its closest approach around 1:25 p.m. Zapata time, over the Indian Ocean near Sumatra. The best viewing locations, with binoculars and telescopes, were in Asia, Australia and eastern Europe. Even there, all anyone could see was a pinpoint of light as the asteroid buzzed by at 17,400 mph. As asteroids go, this one is a shrimp. The one that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was 6 miles across. But this rock could still do immense damage if it ever struck, given its 143,000ton heft, releasing the energy equivalent of 2.4 million tons of TNT and wiping out 750 square miles. By comparison, NASA estimated that the meteor that exploded over Russia was tiny — about 49 feet wide and 7,000 tons before it hit the atmosphere, or one-third the size of the passing asteroid. As for the back-to-back events, “this is indeed very rare and it is historic,” said Jim Green, NASA’s director of planetary science. While the asteroid is about half the length of a football field, the exploding meteor “is probably about on the 15-yard line,” he said. “Now that’s pretty big. That’s typically a couple times bigger than the normal influx of meteorites that create these fireballs,” he said in an interview on NASA TV. “These fireballs happen about once a day or so, but we just don’t see them

because many of them fall over the ocean or in remote areas. This one was an exception.” As the countdown for the asteroid’s close approach entered the final hours, NASA noted that the path of the meteor appeared to be quite different than that of the asteroid, making the two objects “completely unrelated.” The meteor seemed to be traveling from north to south, while the asteroid passed from south to north — in the opposite direction. Most of the solar system’s asteroids are situated in a belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, and remain stable there for billions of years. Some occasionally pop out, though, into Earth’s neighborhood. NASA scientists estimate that an object of this size makes a close approach like this every 40 years. The likelihood of a strike is every 1,200 years. The flyby provides a rare learning opportunity for scientists eager to keep future asteroids at bay — and a prime-time advertisement for those anxious to step up preventive measures. Friday’s meteor further strengthened the asteroidalert message. “We are in a shooting gallery and this is graphic evidence of it,” said former Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart, chairman emeritus of the B612 Foundation, committed to protecting Earth from dangerous asteroids. Schweickart noted that 500,000 to 1 million sizable near-Earth objects — asteroids or comets — are out there. Yet less than 1 percent — fewer than 10,000 — have been inventoried. Humanity has to do better, he said. The foundation is working to build and launch an infrared space telescope to find and track threatening asteroids. If a killer asteroid was, indeed, incoming, a spacecraft could, in theory, be launched to nudge the asteroid out of Earth’s way, changing its speed and the point of intersection. A second spacecraft would make a slight alteration in the path of the asteroid and ensure it never intersects with the planet again, Schweickart said. Asteroid DA14 — discovered by Spanish astronomers only last February — is “such a close call” that it is a “celestial torpedo across the bow of spaceship Earth,” Schweickart said in a phone interview Thursday. NASA’s deep-space antenna in California’s Mojave Desert was ready to collect radar images, but not until eight hours after the closest approach given the United States’ poor positioning for the big event.

ATHENS — Falcon International Reservoir joined the Toyota ShareLunker action on Thursday, Feb. 7, with a 13.4pound entry into the ShareLunker program. Isaac Denson of Monahans was fishing in two to three feet of water when the big bass hit about 11:30 a.m. The fish was 26.5 inches long and 20 inches in girth. The fish was weighed and held for pickup at the official Toyota ShareLunker Weigh and Holding Station at Falcon State Park. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department staff from the A.E. Wood State Fish Hatchery in San Marcos picked the fish up and took it to San Marcos, where it is awaiting the results of DNA testing. If the fish is pure Florida largemouth, it will be taken to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens and held for spawning; otherwise, it will be returned to the lake as quickly as possible. The fish is the fifth entry of the season into the Toyota ShareLunker program, following entries from Lakes Austin, Fork (two entries) and Dunlap. The largest entry of the season to date is Richard Scibek’s 16.04-pounder caught from Lake Fork on Feb. 2. The angler who catches the largest entry of the season is named Angler of the Year and receives a prize package from G. Loomis consisting of a G. Loomis GLX854C jig and worm rod, a Shimano Chronarch 200E7 casting

Courtesy photo

Isacc Denson of Monahans caught Toyota ShareLunker 541 from Falcon International Reservoir on Feb 7. The fish was 26.5 inches long and 20 inches in girth. reel and a spool of Power Pro super-braid fishing line. If the Angler of the Year is a Texas resident, he or she also receives a lifetime fishing license. Anyone legally catching a 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass from Texas waters, public or private, between Oct. 1 and April 30 may submit the fish to the Toyota ShareLunker program by calling the ShareLunker hotline at 903-6810550 or paging 888-784-0600 and leaving a phone number including area code. Fish will be picked up by TPWD personnel within 12 hours. ShareLunker entries are used in a selective breeding program at TFFC in Athens. Some of the offspring

from these fish are stocked back into the water body from which they were caught. Any lake producing an entry into the program receives a share of the fingerlings, whether the fish from that lake spawns or not. Anglers who enter fish into the program receive a free replica of their fish, a certificate and ShareLunker clothing and are recognized at a banquet at TFFC whether their fish spawns or not. For complete information and rules of the ShareLunker program, tips on caring for big bass, a list of official Toyota ShareLunker weigh and holding stations and a recap of last year’s season, see http://

relunker. The site also includes a searchable database of all fish entered into the program, along with pictures where available. Information on current catches, including short videos of interviews with anglers when available, is posted on The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible by a grant to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation from Gulf States Toyota. Toyota is a long-time supporter of the Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, providing major funding for a wide variety of education, fish, parks and wildlife projects.

FIREARMS Continued from Page 1A gan’s press secretary, James Brady, who was seriously wounded in the 1981 assassination attempt against the president. Sales of guns to felons and the mentally ill had been illegal since 1968, but there was no mechanism for firearms dealers to check customers. After the assassination attempt, Brady and his wife Sarah founded an organization now known as the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence to push a background-check system through Congress. The NRA mounted full resistance, spending millions to convince gun owners that the bill, which required a five-business-day waiting period while police checked a buyer’s qualifications, would threaten Second Amendment rights. But even though the NRA succeeded in stalling the bill, strategists realized that a Democraticcontrolled Congress eventually would approve it. So while the NRA battled it frontally, its lobbyists fought a quieter rearguard action to neutralize the measure. What emerged when Congress finally approved the Brady act in 1993 was a compro-

mise: The five-day waiting period would go forward, Washington would send $200 million a year to states to help them computerize criminal records, and a completely computerized check system — NICS — would be up and running by 1998. “The NRA was smart enough to see the handwriting on the wall,’’ said Richard Feldman, an NRA lobbyist against the Brady law in the early days who now is president of the Independent Firearm Owners Association. “It wasn’t so much about liking it as it was liking it better than the alternative.’’ Ultimately, Feldman said, “the Brady campaign got their bill, even if it was our bill!” The NRA continued to fight the Brady law in court, battling the provision requiring police to do manual background checks prior to the NICS computerized system going online. They won a victory in 1997 when the Supreme Court said the requirement was unconstitutional. But the court refused the NRA’s bid to scuttle Brady entirely. NRA officials grudgingly accepted NICS when it started providing instant

background checks in 1998. But, despite LaPierre’s post-Columbine statement, they continued lobbying against it around the edges. The NRA pushed the Justice Department of President George W. Bush to destroy background checks within 24 hours — even though the GAO found that quick disposal risked letting mistaken gun-purchase approvals go uncorrected. With a nod from Congress, the 24-hour destruction rule went into effect in 2004. Despite a rough start, NICS has matured into a dependable way for firearms dealers to check customers’ backgrounds, with most queries answered in less than a minute. Since 1998, NICS has processed 162.9 million requests and issued approximately a million denials. Its database contains nine million records. States have been slow to submit mental health records, with 17 states submitting 10 records or fewer to NICS as of October 2011, according to a Government Accountability Office report. But the same report noted an eight-fold in-

crease in states inputting mental health records between 2004 and 2011. Their mantra now: NICS needs a major overhaul and fix-up before expansion can be considered. “Let’s fix the system so it has all information in it before we talk about expanding it,’’ said NRA public affairs director Andrew Arulanandam, pointing out that federal prosecutions of backgroundcheck violators are rare and mental-health record problems continue. Asked why NICS couldn’t be expanded to include unregulated gun transactions at the same time fixes are made, Arulanandam said: “Based on the current state of NICS, it is clear we can’t walk and chew gum simultaneously. That’s why the focus needs to be on fixing.’’ Gun-rights advocates say the position reflects the NRA’s business model. “It’s a classic move by the NRA to change the subject, and divert attention from the fact we can fix the system, and close loopholes,’’ said Dennis Henigan, a Brady veteran until last year who briefly served as the organization’s president.




LAREDO — Jose A. Baltazar, 93, passed away Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, in Zapata. Mr. Baltazar is survived by his children, Joe A. (Cynthia) Baltazar Jr. of Sugarland, and Gloria (Francisco) Cabello of Laredo; grandchildren, Brian Baltazar, Steven Baltazar of Sugarland, Selina (Nicolas) Gomez, Grizelda Ramirez, Vanessa A. (Ricardo Juarez) Cabello and Adriana A. (Gilberto Salazar Jr.) Cabello; and great-grandchildren, Alexsandra Gomez, Deidra Gomez, Julián Andrés Gomez, Isabella Gomez, Amanda Ramirez, Emma Ramirez, Alyssa Salazar and Gilberto Salazar III. The family will receive guests Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, at Fred Dickey Funeral and Cremation Services

in Laredo from 9 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. Vigil service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Interment will follow at the Calvary Catholic Cemetery. Full military honors will be provided by American Legion Post 59 and flag-fold presentation by the United States Army. Funeral service arrangements are under the care of Fred Dickey Funeral and Cremation Services, 4502 Thomas Ave., Laredo, TX 78041. For more information, please call 956-7233611. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at

SILVESTRE BUSTAMANTE JR. Silvestre Bustamante Jr., 70, passed away Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, at Laredo Medical Center in Laredo. Mr. Bustamante is preceded in death by his daughter, Wanda I. Vargas; parents, Silvestre and Maria Luisa Bustamante; father-in-law, Teofilo J. Vela; sister, Ana Maria Bustamante; brother, Jose Luis Bustamante; uncles, Tito Bustamante and Ramon Bustamante; and godmother, Manuela (Pedro) Vela; and by other family members. Mr. Bustamante is survived by his wife, Guadalupe V. Bustamante; children, Silvestre Bustamante III, Myrna (Santiago) Hernandez, Eduardo (Dora) Bustamante and Ana (Rudy) Bravo; grandchildren, Almicar Vargas, Arlina Vargas, Celeste Bustamante, Leobardo Jr. (Irasema) Solis, Selma (Oziel) Martinez, Marco A. Bustamante, Santiago Hernandez, Eduardo Bustamante Jr., Silvestre Bustamante, Cesar J. Bustamante, Anita Bravo, Rudy Bravo III and Javier R. Bravo; greatgrandchildren, Joaquin Solis V, Leobardo Solis III, Kayla Solis, Emily Martinez, Oziel Martinez Jr., Ivan Martinez and Camillo Martinez; brother, Bernardo (Lydia) Bustamante; sisters, Blanca (Aureliano) Salinas, Minerva (Andres) Arambula and Maria Concepcion (Oscar) Villarreal; sister-in-law, Maria De Los

HELEN GOLD Helen Gold, 89, a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, passed away Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2013, at Falcon Lake Nursing Home in Zapata, Texas. Ms. Gold resided in Zapata for the past 21 years. She was a member of the Eastern Star. Previously she and her husband, Gerald, lived in Lake Saganaw on the Gun Flint Trail, Grand Marais, Minn. They were small business owners in Anoka, Minn., while residing in Maplewood, Minn. Ms. Gold is preceded in death by husband, Gerald H. Gold; parents, Elmer and Bethel Seppala; son, Tom Gold; and brothers, Dick and Joe Seppala.

Ms. Gold is survived by her children, Jerry (Patricia) Gold, Larry (Linda) Gold, Virginia (Bill) Rangitsch and Margret (Roger) Girard; nine grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; three great-greatgrandchildren; and by numerous other family members. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Rose Garden Funeral Home. Daniel A. Gonzalez, funeral director, 2102 N. U.S. 83 Zapata.

COUNTY Continued from Page 1A along the U.S./Mexico border are unifying in issuing proclamations to go on record in support of immigration reform. The resolution discussed how the issue impacts the areas of economics, labor, education, law, and social work. “This is something that all of the border counties are doing. There was an official in El Paso who sent us a copy of their resolution and they wanted to see if we could get all the border areas to support it. I think it’s something that we need to look into because the immigration problem as it stands now is not getting any better,” Vela said. In a related matter, County Attorney Said Alfonso Figueroa said his law firm is working with people who are in need of advice and services. He said referrals were welcome. (Rick Villarreal may be reached at 728-2528 or

COURT Continued from Page 1A

Angeles Bustamante; brothers-in-law, Teofilo (Antonia) Vela Jr. and Armando (Elvira) Vela; and sister-in-law, Leticia (†Francisco) Paredes; and by numerous other family members and friends. Visitation hours will be Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. with a rosary at 7 p.m. at Rose Garden Funeral Home. The funeral procession will depart Monday, Feb. 18, 2013, at 9:30 a.m. for a 10 a.m. funeral Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. Committal services will follow at Bustamante Cemetery. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Rose Garden Funeral Home, Daniel A. Gonzalez, funeral director, 2102 N. U.S. 83 Zapata.

dropped off illegal immigrants. Authorities alleged Teniente, a U.S. citizen, was the driver of the Jeep Cherokee. Upon a vehicle stop, agents noticed the vehicle’s back seat was lowered. “This is a common tactic used by smugglers to transport undocumented migrants,” a complaint reads.

El Gato Creek Agents checked by El Gato Creek and found four illegal immigrants from Mexico hiding underneath a culvert. All people were detained and taken to the Freer Border Patrol checkpoint. Meanwhile the Dodge Nitro was seen driving toward Laredo on U.S. 59. Agents stopped it and identified the driver as Figueroa, a U.S. citizen. A complaint alleges the back seat had dried-up mud on it. A K-9 unit alerted agents to the odor of smuggled humans inside the Dodge Nitro, the complaint states. “Figueroa then freely and willingly admitted to dropping off undocumented immigrants near El Gato Creek area,” according to court records. He was

also taken to the Freer station. In post-arrest interviews, Figueroa said two friends he identified as Joe Fragoso and Jose asked him if he would move illegal immigrants up north for money. “Figueroa claims that Joe Fragoso has ties with the Zetas Organization. Fragoso had informed Figueroa that this load belonged to the Zetas,” a complaint states.

No payment Figueroa said he did not receive the $300 he was supposed to for his service. Figueroa picked up seven illegal immigrants from a Laredo home near the intersection of North Arkansas Avenue and Lyon Street, the complaint states. Teniente states that two identified in court records as Chino and Borrado told Teniente to follow the Dodge Nitro driven by Figueroa. Teniente said a friend called him to say Chino needed drivers to move illegal immigrants up north. (César G. Rodriguez may be reached at 728-2568 or

SHIP Continued from Page 1A ship’s horn blasted several times as four tugboats helped it to shore at about 8:15 p.m. Zapata time. Some gave a thumbs-up sign and flashes from cameras and cellphones lit the night. “It was horrible, just horrible” said Maria Hernandez, 28, of Angleton, tears welling in her eyes as she talked about waking up to smoke in her lowerlevel room Sunday from the engine-room fire and the days of heat and stench that followed. She was on a “girls trip” with friends. It took about four hours for all passengers to disembark. Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen said passengers had three options: take a bus straight to Galveston to retrieve cars parked at the ship’s departure port, take a bus to New Orleans to stay at a hotel before a charter flight home or have family or friends pick them up in Mobile. As if the passengers hadn’t endured enough, one of the buses broke down during the two-hour ride to New Orleans. Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen said the passengers got on another bus and made it safely to New Orleans. Gulliksen said up to 20 charter flights would leave New Orleans later Friday to take guests who stayed in hotels there to their final destinations. Nearly 2,000 passengers arrived at a New Orleans Hilton in the wee hours, and by dawn many were headed out again to fly to Houston. They then had to get a connecting flight home or chartered bus back to their cars in Galveston. “It just feels so good to be on land again and to feel like I have options,” said Tracey Farmer of Tulsa, Okla. “I’m just ready to see my family. It’s been harder on them than us I think because they’ve been so worried about us. It’s been extremely stressful for them.” Buses arrived at the Port of Galveston on Friday morning after an eight-hour drive from Mobile. Port of Galveston police said they expected as many as 800 people by bus. Some people faced a long drive home once they arrived in Galveston. “It’s going to be a very long day,” said Dwayne McAbee, who had a six- to seven-hour drive from Galveston to his home in Fort Worth. In Mobile, tugs pulled the ship away from the dock Friday, moving it down a waterway in the direction of a shipyard where city officials said it will be repaired. Gulliksen said the damage assessment was ongoing and the company did not yet have a timetable for the repairs. Several cranes were stationed alongside the ship and smoke could be seen spewing from its generators. Only hours earlier, weary passengers streamed down the gangplank, some in wheelchairs. For 24-year-old Brittany Ferguson, of Texas, the worst part was not knowing how long they would be at sea. “I’m feeling awesome just to see land and buildings,” said Ferguson, who was in a white robe to keep her warm during cold nights. As the ship pulled up, some aboard shouted, “Hello, Mobile!” Some danced. “Happy V-Day” read one of the homemade signs made for the Valentine’s Day arrival and another, more starkly: “The ship’s afloat, so is the sewage.” Taxis waited for people, and motorists on Interstate 10 stopped to watch the exodus of passengers. Some still aboard chanted, “Let me off, let me off !” It took six grueling hours navigating the 30-mile ship channel. At nearly 900 feet in length, it was the largest cruise ship ever to dock at Mobile. Galveston is the home port of the ill-fated ship, which lost power in an engine-room fire Sunday some 150 miles off Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. A team of six investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board was in Mobile to look into what caused the engine room fire, NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said Friday. The NTSB was working with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Bahamas Maritime Authority, which will serve as the primary investigative agency. The Bahamian government was taking the lead because the Triumph is a Bahamian-flagged vessel and it was in international waters at the time of the fire, Holloway said. Still, the NTSB could take information from the probe and use it to make recommendations for improving cruise ship safety, he said. Carnival CEO Gerry Cahill apologized at a news conference and later on the public address system as people disembarked. “I appreciate the patience of our guests and their ability to cope with the situation. And I’d like to reiterate the apology I made earlier. I know the conditions on board were very poor,” he said.







To the playoffs Zapata enters playoffs as No. 1 seed By CLARA SANDOVAL

game for seeding purposes. Zapata beat Lyford, 75-64, to take the No. 1 spot into the postseason. Against Lyford, Zapata featured a balanced attack led by senior Kristina De Leon — who poured in 28 points to lead all scorers. Aly Jo Gutierrez, Isela Gonzalez, Tere Villarreal and Roxy Galvan had 10 points each. “It was the burst we needed to take us into the play-


The Zapata Lady Hawks slid into the playoffs as the No. 1 seed after beating Lyford in a seeding game last Friday. Zapata squeezed by Lyford in the first round of district play but could not duplicate that success in the second round, losing to the Lady Bulldogs and forcing the

offs with renewed motivation,” Zapata coach Hector Garcia said. “We are looking forward to fighting hard the rest of the way.” Zapata faced Devine in Alice on Friday night in the area championship.

Softball The Lady Hawks opened the season against Laredo

Cigarroa on the road, hoping to start with a victory. Instead, they lost a close game, 3-2. Cigarroa (1-0) was led on the mound by pitcher Clarissa Medina — who picked up the win and went 2 for 4 at the plate, producing a double and a RBI. Zapata moved on to the Mission Tournament this


Photo by Karen Warren | Houston Chronicle

Houston pitcher Erik Bedard is one of a few new faces in Astros camp this season.



Astros spots up for grabs Houston has many positions to fill in the spring ASSOCIATED PRESS

Photo by Tony Gutierrez | Associated Press

Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki will not be a participant in All-Star weekend, the first time he has not been invited in 14 years.

Nowitzki not invited to All-Star weekend By SCHUYLER DIXON ASSOCIATED PRESS

DALLAS — Dirk Nowitzki waffles between frustration and resignation in probably his toughest season since he was a rookie in 1999.

He was deprived of a realistic chance to defend the franchise’s first championship last year, and then the Dallas Mavericks star had to sit out 27 games to start his 15th season after the first knee surgery of his career.

A 12-year playoff streak is in jeopardy and Nowitzki will have plenty of time to ponder the team’s chances over All-Star weekend. The 7-foot German is missing the NBA’s midseason showcase — just down Interstate 45 in

Houston, no less — for the first time since a babyfaced beanpole was getting a rude introduction to the league 14 years ago. “Basically, my whole career I went,” said Nowitz-

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The training camp of the Houston Astros is a land of opportunity. That’s what happens to a team that puts together consecutive seasons with the worst record in the major leagues. And after another winter of trading veterans and their contracts to load up on prospects, the Astros believe they are truly starting a new era as they prepare for Saturday’s first full-squad workout of spring training. “It’s a great opportunity,” said pitching prospect Alex White. “This is a really young team and we’re going up from where we’re at.” They don’t figure to go too far up in the American League West this season, but the measure of their progress will come a year from now, according to new manager Bo Porter. “As you look at our roster, we don’t have many established major league players. That’s why there is so much opportunity available,” Porter said. “When we stand here at this time next year, I want that number of established players to be greatly increased, and a limited amount of competition as far as who will fill those starting roles.” Competition will be abundant this spring — at third base, shortstop, first base, all over the outfield and all throughout the pitching staff after starters Bud Norris, Lucas Harrell and Jordan Lyles. The Astros, who have Major League Baseball’s smallest payroll, did sign some veterans over the winter, including first baseman/DH Carlos Pena and left-handed pitcher Erik Bedard, both aged 34, outfielder Rick Ankiel (33), and pitchers Jose Veras (32) and Philip Humber (30). More typical of the players competing for roster spots here are pitchers like White and Brad Peacock, highly regarded right-handers



Cruz: Name on PED report ‘shocking’ ASSOCIATED PRESS

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Texas Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz said Friday it was “shocking” and “depressing” to see his name came up in connection with a Florida clinic now at the center of Major League Baseball’s latest drug investigation. Cruz, however, said he could not shed any light on why his name is reportedly in the records of Biogenesis of America LLC, a now-closed anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables, Fla. The Miami New Times reported last month that it

obtained records detailing banned substances purchases by several players, including Cruz, the 2011 AL championship series MVP. “I want to speak and I want to talk, but my lawyer told me I cannot say anything right now,” Cruz said. “I want to be honest, but this is currently under investigation by Major League Baseball and I can’t really make any comment on it. As soon as it is done, I will talk. I want to comment, but I can’t, sorry.” Cruz said he has not yet met with any MLB investi-

gators, but would cooperate with them. Cruz, who is represented by Seth and Sam Levinson of ACEs, said he was contacted by his agents the day before the New Times article was published. “It was shocking, really depressing,” Cruz said. “It can really hurt you.” He acknowledged it could be difficult in spring training until there is a resolution of the investigation. He said he plans to play for the Dominican Republic next month in the World Baseball Classic;


File photo by Mark J. Terrill | Associated Press

Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz’s name was on a report from The Miami New Times connecting athletes to performance enhancing drugs.





JOHANNESBURG — Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius, who made sporting history by becoming the first double amputee sprinter to compete in the Olympics, was charged with murder Thursday after a woman was fatally shot in his home in Pretoria, according to South African police officials. The development stunned a nation that had elevated Pistorius to iconic status because of his ability to overcome acute adversity and represent South Africa’s achievements on the world stage. Confirming the charges, police officials said they planned to oppose Pistorius’ expected application for bail at a court hearing scheduled for Friday. Police had initially said he would appear in court later Thursday. South African and other media quoted associates of the victim as identifying her as Reeva Steenkamp, a model whose Twitter page described her as a “cover girl” and a law school graduate. Steenkamp and Pistorius had frequently been seen together at society events, and South African media identified her as his girlfriend, giving them the aura of a golden couple beloved by the society pages and photographers. Pistorius, 26, won two gold medals and a silver at last year’s Paralympic Games in London. In the 2012 Olympics, he reached the 400-meter semifinal and competed in the 4x400 meter relay. Known by the nickname Blade Runner, he races using carbon fiber prosthetic blades. Early Thursday morning, police responded to a report of gunshots in the upscale housing complex where Pistorius lives, said Col. Katlego Mogale, a police spokeswoman. When they arrived, they found paramedics treating a 30-year-old woman for gunshot wounds. The woman was pronounced dead and a 26-year-old man was taken into custody, Mogale said.


File photo by Anja Niedringhaus | Associated Press

South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius, a paralympic superstar, was charged with the murder of his girlfriend who was shot inside his home in South Africa. Mogale would not comment on a possible motive for the shooting. “A case of murder has been opened,” she said before police said they had formally charged Pistorius. Reports from local media said that Pistorius told police that the shooting was an accident and that he had mistaken the victim for an intruder. But speaking to reporters in Pretoria, another police spokeswoman, Brig. Denise Beukes said those reports had taken her by surprise. She also said that police had responded previously to complaints of a “domestic nature” at the runner’s home but declined to give further details. South Africa has one of the world’s highest rates of violent crime, and break-ins by armed robbers are relatively common. Legal handgun ownership is also common, with some restrictions. Pistorius’ father, Henke Pistorius, said in a telephone interview from South Africa: “I wasn’t there; I have too much respect for Oscar to speculate. I have no clue what happened. The only person who can make any statement will be Oscar himself.” Asked if his son’s relationship had been troubled, Henke Pistorius said, “Not as far as I know. But I don’t discuss my son’s relationships. I have in


fact not met the lady. I don’t know.” He said that his son had “been in an excellent frame of mind” and had been training, but did not know whether he planned to try to compete at the world track and field championships in August in Moscow. Adele Kirsten of Gun-Free SA, an anti-gun violence organization, said that whatever the motive, the shooting was an avoidable tragedy. “The idea that you have a gun to protect your family against intruders, the data doesn’t bear that out,” Kirsten said. “What it tells us is that having a gun in your home puts you and your family at risk of being shot.” In the Paralympics last September, Pistorius won individual gold, when he successfully defended his Paralympic 400-meter title. He had lost his 100- and 200-meter titles, but was part of the gold medal-winning 4x100 meter relay team. He came second in the 200-meter race. After that contest, Pistorius damaged his reputation among his followers by criticizing the winner, Alan Oliveira of Brazil, raising questions about the length of the winner’s blades. Pistorius later apologized and praised the gold medalist in the 100-meter race, Jonnie Peacock of Britain.

HOUSTON — Gary Payton, Tim Hardaway and Mitch Richmond were among 12 finalists announced Friday for election into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Former Houston Cougars coach Guy Lewis, current Louisville coach Rick Pitino and UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian also are finalists for the 2013 class. The others included former NBA stars Maurice Cheeks, Spencer Haywood and Bernard King, longtime North Carolina women’s coach Sylvia Hatchell and five-time WNBA All-Star Dawn Staley. Boston Celtics great Tom Heinsohn, already inducted as a player, is a finalist in the coaching category. The announcement of the finalists kicked off All-Star Weekend in Houston. The 2013 class will be announced at the Final Four in April. Brazilian great Oscar Schmidt, former NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik, former ABA star Roger Brown, sixtime All-Star Richard Guerin and Edwin Henderson, a black player from the early part of the 20th century were directly elected for induction. Longtime Bucks announcer Eddie Doucette and writer John Feinstein

were recipients of the Curt Gowdy media awards and former college coach George Raveling was honored with a lifetime achievement award. The careers of Payton, Hardaway and Richmond overlapped in the 1990s and early 2000s and they practiced together in California each summer. They were reunited on Friday, now first-time finalists for Hall of Fame election. “To actually be sitting next to the guys and being a finalist is awesome,” Richmond said. “I think we’re better friends now than we were then, because back then, we were really going after each other.” Payton was the most decorated of the three, a nine-time All-Star who earned the nickname “The Glove” for his defensive prowess. He ended his career ranked fourth in career steals (2,445). Hardaway was a fivetime All-Star and averaged at least 20 points in four consecutive seasons. He ranks 13th in both career assists (7,095) and 3point field goals (1,542). He and Richmond were teammates along with Chris Mullin in Golden State, a high-scoring trio that became known as Run TMC. It was quickly broken up when Richmond was traded to Sacramento in 1992.

NOWITZKI Continued from Page 1B

Continued from Page 1B weekend where they opened with Harlingen South — a 5A playoff team last year. Zapata had a hard time containing Harlingen South’s bats, losing 9-0 to open the tournament. Freshman pitcher Selissa Lopez was credited with the loss. On offense Nayda Mercado and Daniella Martinez were able to rake two hits each, but failed to produce any runs.

Golf Former Zapata golf sensation Tony Gutierrez has taken his craft to Texas A&M International University in Laredo and recently competed at the Jack Brown Memorial. In the opening round, Gutierrez ended the first day with a 79-85 before finishing off with an 86 for a three-day total of 250. Gutierrez placed 26th overall in his first action as a Dustdevil golfer. The Dustdevils will head to San Antonio on Sunday for the University of Incarnate Word Invitational. TAMIU will have two more tournaments including the Midwestern State Invitational and Letourneau University Invitational in March before heading to the Heartland Conference Tournament in Dallas on April 22-23.

ki, a 3-point competition participant in 2000 and 2001 before playing in 11 straight All-Star games. “It’s the only thing I know. So this will be something different.” Nothing’s been the same since Nowitzki hoisted the trophy and later butchered the singing of “We are the champions” on a hot summer day in 2011. If it seems like more than a year and a half since Dallas beat Miami, here’s why. The Mavericks had to wait two extra months to raise the banner because the NBA lockout delayed opening day until Christmas. Dallas owner Mark Cuban said the new labor deal forced him to dismantle major pieces of the title team, and what was left got blown out in the opener by the Heat. Nowitzki wasn’t in shape when the season started and the Mavericks got swept in the first round by Oklahoma City. After free agent guard Deron Williams spurned Dallas in the offseason and Jason Kidd defected to the New York Knicks, the Mavericks had to put together another collection of potential short-timers. Nowitzki’s right knee flared up in training camp, and Dallas was in trouble when it became clear that surgery less than two weeks before the season was the only option. “When we started this season, we also thought we’d have Dirk the whole time,” Cuban said. The losses didn’t stop when Nowitzki returned, and he eventually took a shot at his owner when he said after one game that championships can’t be built on hope. It was a reference to Cuban’s stance that the Mavericks needed financial flexibility for roster upgrades, which fans took to mean pursuing free agents such as Williams, Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.

CRUZ Continued from Page 1B teammates Adrian Beltre and shortstop Elvis Andrus are among Rangers players expected to miss some of camp to participate in the tournament. “I don’t worry at all,” Cruz said about the investigation. “I know it’s going to come good so hopefully it’s done right and quick as possible.” Cruz hit .260 with 24 home runs, with careerhighs 45 doubles and 90 RBIs in 159 games last season. He has hit at least 22 home runs the past four years. “We’re just taking it day-by-day,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “There’s nothing much we can do really. We expect he’s going to be our right fielder. If some-

NBA Hall of Fame finalists announced

thing comes up that impacts that, we’ll deal with that at that point. “Hopefully, the process speeds up and we get it out of the way and we focus on the year. I’m not overly concerned from a club’s standpoint. It’s an open investigation at this point. We’re kind of in a wait-and-see mode, but we’re going to support Nelly in the process.” Daniels met with Cruz before the team worked out Friday. “I think he would generally like this to be a little further down the line,” Daniels said. “I don’t think he likes having a ’no comment.’ I think he would like to be able address it a little bit more, but I understand why he

can’t.” The Rangers have had to address sticky issues the past few years. Late during the 2009 season, Washington offered to resign after admitting to using cocaine once and failing a drug test. Outfielder Josh Hamilton had a relapse with alcohol last year. Hamilton, the fivetime All-Star and former AL MVP, is now with the Angels. “We’ve been through a lot and we’ve dealt with some different things over the years,” Daniels said. “You don’t ever want to deal with these things, but they do come up. It’s a reality of the game, society and the industry. We just have to let it play out.”

Photo by Tony Gutierrez | Associated Press

Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks are 10 games below .500 on the season. Nowitzki let the word “trade” slip when he was venting, but said later he wasn’t asking for one. Cuban made it clear to his star anyway: He wasn’t trading him, now or ever. Their relationship was too good, Cuban said, and besides, the owner said Nowitzki had to go through the tough times with him. “Dirk crushes me every time he opens his mouth and then he comes in the locker room and just laughs at me,” Cuban

said. “It’s kind of a sport.” Whenever the 34-year-old Nowitzki frets about whether the Mavericks can be title contenders again before he retires, he reminds himself that he does have one ring and really doesn’t want to play anywhere else. The Mavericks fell 10 games below .500 earlier this season for the first time since Nowitzki’s second year, and they’re 4 1/2 games behind the final playoff spot in the Western Conference at 23-29. Still, Nowitzki is pushing hard in practice to get himself all the way back from surgery. It’s hard to know whether he’ll get there, and if he does, what his scoring role will be. It’s likely Nowitzki won’t be Dallas’ leading scorer for the first time since 2000 — it probably will be O.J. Mayo. Although he’s been a steady scorer, Nowitzki has led Dallas in points just six times in 23 games since returning. “Moving-wise, I’m decent, I just don’t have the touch,” said Nowitzki, who had never missed more than nine games in a season. The modest recovery pace doesn’t reflect the rehabilitation work that Dallas coach Rick Carlisle sees between games. “It’s hard to go through surgery in a season and then come back and get back to the level that you’re used to, especially if you’re a player of his magnitude,” Carlisle said. “I still think he’s going to get better and feel better.” There were clear signs of progress for Nowitzki before the break. It took him five games to get into double figures in scoring. His first start two games later was his first 20-point outing, and he was more consistently making the one-legged fade-away shots that helped carry Dallas to a title.

ASTROS Continued from Page 1B in their mid-twenties who were traded both this winter and last winter. “I kind of had that feeling (of betrayal) the first time, but now I know it’s a business and it’s about looking forward,” said White, who was rated by Baseball America as Cleveland’s No. 2 pitching prospect before being traded to Colorado. The Rockies traded him to the Astros on Dec. 4. Peacock, who pitched five years in the Washington organization, was listed as Oakland’s No. 1 pitching prospect as recently as Feb. 4 when he left his Florida home for spring training in Arizona. “I got the phone call in Mississippi so I had to turn around and come back to Florida,” he said. “I was definitely going to have to prove myself over there, just like I have to do here. So it’s the same thing — a friendly competition. I’m very excited.” And that’s the idea. “I think there’s a lot of excitement about the opportunity to make the club,” said general manager Jeff Luhnow. “We

have 61 players in camp and I think all 61 feel like they could make the club. “I think that’s exciting. There’s definitely a vibe between the new look, the new colors, the new environment, a lot of new faces. There’s an energy that I can sense. It’s palpable. I think people understand now what the plan us, and how they fit in. There seems to be a lot of genuine enthusiasm and energy around it.” Porter will address the entire team for the first time Saturday morning. “It will be about the change that has taken place in the organization, about embracing the change, about the opportunity that stands before all of us and accepting that opportunity and moving forward,” he said. NOTES: Relief pitcher Hector Amrbiz sprained his left ankle covering first base and is wearing a boot until the swelling goes down . . . Friday’s workouts were cut short by cool weather . . . The Astros’ first exhibition game will be against the Philadelphia Phillies at Clearwater on Feb. 23.



HINTS | BY HELOISE PLANNING FOR SPRING-CLEANING Dear Readers: Who really likes CLEANING, especially the deep cleaning that we all need to do once in a while? To make it a little easier, let’s start the planning process. Read on for some Heloise Hints on making upcoming springcleaning easier: Get everyone involved. Select a date when everyone is available, then make a list and assign a cleaning task to each family member. Remember that even small children can do small things. Set out a box for items to be donated or saved for a garage sale. Get cleaning products together. Put them in a cleaning-supply carrier or plastic tub to easily take from room to room. Vinegar is always in my carrier! It is my favorite cleaner and can be used on just about everything. Vinegar is a cheap alternative to expensive cleaners. Every household should have a bottle or two of vinegar on


hand. I have a pamphlet that includes many of my money-saving uses for vinegar. To receive a copy, send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (66 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. This pamphlet will save you from the get-go, because you won’t have to buy other cleaners. Always read label directions on all other cleaners. DON’T let kids handle the strong stuff. — Heloise PET PAL Dear Readers: Jack and Carol Brown of Gatesville, Texas, sent a photo of their cat, Samantha, sleeping on the printer/scanner! Seems like a lot of cats do this. To see sleeping Samantha, visit and click on “Pets.” — Heloise





DAILY CRYPTOQUOTES — Here’s how to work it:




The Zapata Times 2/16/2013  

The Zapata Times 2/16/2013