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TO 4,000 HOMES




Sequester woes Congressman: Cuts hurt security, economy By JULIÁN AGUILAR THE TEXAS TRIBUNE

Rep. Pete Gallego on Thursday sent a letter to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and Majority

Leader Eric Cantor urging lawmakers to end sequestration cuts that he said are reducing manpower and security on the border. “A lawmaker cannot be pro-sequester while also

purporting to be pro-national security or supportive of a strong economy,” wrote Gallego, D-Alpine, whose district includes 800 miles of the Texas-Mexico border and five ports of en-

try. “We must work for a solution to address the senseless cuts that hurt our border, our economy and our country.”



Photo by John Albright/San Antonio Express-News | AP

State Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, has urged lawmakers to end sequestration cuts that he said are reducing security on the border.



Pope Francis is seen on the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, on Wednesday.

Argentines celebrate ‘slum pope’ Poor people remember how new pope helped enrich their lives By LUIS ANDRES HENAO Photo by Ulysses S. Romero | Laredo Morning Times

La Grande International Trail Ride queen waves at the crowd during the annual Zapata County Fair Parade on U.S. Highway 83 last Saturday morning.

Dance teams, bands and floats enthrall many By RICARDO R. VILLARREAL THE ZAPATA TIMES

A steady wind from the southeast kept participants and spectators holding onto their hats as the 41st annual Zapata County

Fair parade made its way down U.S. 83 last Saturday morning. Government officials led the show, followed by horseback riders, dance teams, bands and floats. Many of the participants

tossed out candy and handed out beads to the crowd as vendors offered candied apples, cotton candy, soft drinks and balloons. Among the hundreds of spectators lining both

sides of the street were O.J. Martinez, his wife, Velma, and their family, Corina, 16, Nicolas, 8, and Joaquin, 6. Originally from Falfurrias, O.J. Mar-



BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — For more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide, he’s Pope Francis. For Argentina’s poorest citizens, crowded in “misery villages” throughout the capital, he’s proudly known as one of their own, a true “slum pope.” Villa 21-24 is a slum so dangerous that most outsiders don’t dare enter, but

residents say Jorge Mario Bergoglio often showed up unannounced to share laughs and sips of mate, the traditional Argentine herbal tea shared by groups using a common straw. People here recall how the Buenos Aires archbishop ditched a limousine and would arrive on a bus to their little chapel; how he sponsored marathons and carpentry classes, consoled



Man pleads not guilty in pot case By CÉSAR G. RODRIGUEZ THE ZAPATA TIMES

Courtesy photo

Federal agents discovered bundles of marijuana inside a Dodge and on the pickup’s bed. Mario Alberto Ambriz, 34, pleaded not guilty to charges in federal court on Thursday.

LAREDO — A man accused of transporting 463 pounds of marijuana from Roma to Zapata pleaded not guilty Thursday in federal court in Laredo. Mario Alberto Ambriz, 34, waived his presence at arraignment but he did enter his not guilty plead in a written waiver, according to court records. An indictment filed March 5 charged Ambriz with conspiracy to possess

Ambriz abandoned his vehicle … and ran toward the brush. with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana and possession with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of

marijuana. Ambriz has a final pretrial conference set for 1 p.m. April 15 in Courtroom 2C before U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Scott Hacker. Jury selection has been tentatively scheduled for April 22. Ambriz’s charges stem from Feb. 15, when U.S. Border Patrol agents spotted Ambriz driving a red Dodge pickup and heading north on U.S. 83, approximately three miles



Zin brief CALENDAR






The Second Annual 5-K Run, Walk & Roll for Rehab is from 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at North Central Park. Early registration fee is $15 for adults and $10 for the half-mile kids run; registration fee the day of the event will be $20. All proceeds will provide therapy services to the patients at the Ruthe B. Cowl Rehabilitation Center. The first 100 registered participants will receive a free T-shirt and goodie bag while quantities last. Laredo Farmers Market is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Jarvis Plaza in Downtown Laredo. Th market will have extended hours and a Best Cilantro Recipe Contest, with prizes awarded and the winners published. There will be cooking demonstrations, live music, Capoeira performers, food and a selection of Laredo-grown fruits, vegetables, baked goods, lavender products, plants and organic soaps. The market is open to the public.

Today is Saturday, March 16, the 75th day of 2013. There are 290 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On March 16, 1968, during the Vietnam War, the My Lai (mee ly) Massacre of Vietnamese civilians was carried out by U.S. Army troops; estimates of the death toll vary between 347 and 504. On this date: In A.D. 37, Roman emperor Tiberius died; he was succeeded by Caligula. In 1521, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reached the Philippines, where he was killed by natives the following month. In 1751, James Madison, fourth president of the United States, was born in Port Conway, Va. In 1802, President Thomas Jefferson signed a measure authorizing the establishment of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. In 1850, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel “The Scarlet Letter” was first published. In 1912, future first lady Pat Nixon was born Thelma Catherine Ryan in Ely, Nev. In 1926, rocket science pioneer Robert H. Goddard successfully tested the first liquidfueled rocket, in Auburn, Mass. In 1935, Adolf Hitler decided to break the military terms set by the Treaty of Versailles (vehr-SY’) by ordering the rearming of Germany. In 1945, during World War II, American forces declared they had secured Iwo Jima, although pockets of Japanese resistance remained. In 1972, in a nationally broadcast address, President Richard M. Nixon called for a moratorium on court-ordered school busing to achieve racial desegregation. In 1983, radio and television star Arthur Godfrey died in New York at age 79. In 1988, Protestant extremist Michael Stone launched a one-man gun-and-grenade attack on an Irish Republican Army funeral at Milltown Cemetery in Belfast, Northern Ireland, killing three of the mourners. Ten years ago: Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein warned that if Iraq were attacked, it would take the war anywhere in the world “wherever there is sky, land or water.” President George W. Bush gave the United Nations one more day to find a diplomatic solution to the standoff. American activist Rachel Corrie, 23, was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer while trying to block demolition of a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip. Today’s Birthdays: Comedian-director Jerry Lewis is 87. Country singer Ray Walker (The Jordanaires) is 79. Movie director Bernardo Bertolucci is 72. Game show host Chuck Woolery is 72. Singer-songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker is 71. Country singer Robin Williams is 66. Actor Erik Estrada is 64. Actor Victor Garber is 64. Actress Kate Nelligan is 62. Country singer Ray Benson (Asleep at the Wheel) is 62. Rock singer-musician Nancy Wilson (Heart) is 59. Golfer Hollis Stacy is 59. Actress Isabelle Huppert is 58. Actor Clifton Powell is 57. Rapper-actor Flavor Flav (Public Enemy) is 54. Rock musician Jimmy DeGrasso is 50. Thought for Today: “Until we lose ourselves there is no hope of finding ourselves.” — Henry Miller, American author (1891-1980).

SUNDAY, MARCH 17 SCAN will host bingo from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Christ Church Episcopal, 2320 Lane St.

TUESDAY, MARCH 19 A Freshstart Smoking Cessation session is from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at SCAN’s office, 2387 E. Saunders, Suite 1. This is an evidence-based support program from the American Cancer Society that is used to motivate individuals to quit smoking. The session is free of charge to the public. It is recommended that participants attend all four sessions available. Space is limited, so call to reserve a space. For more information and to register, call Veronica Jimenez at 956-724-3177.

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 A Freshstart Smoking Cessation session is from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at SCAN’s office, 2387 E. Saunders, Suite 1. This is an evidence-based support program from the American Cancer Society that is used to motivate individuals to quit smoking. The session is free of charge to the public. It is recommended that participants attend all four sessions available. Space is limited, so call to reserve a space. For more information and to register, call Veronica Jimenez at 956-724-3177.

FRIDAY, MARCH 22 The Texas A&M International University Lamar Bruni Vergara Planetarium will show “Lamps of Atlantis” at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Matinee show is $4. General admission is $4 for children and $5 adults. For more information, call 956-326-3663.

SATURDAY, MARCH 23 Learn to build, buy and beautify homes at the NeighborWorks Second Annual Home Fair Expo, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Laredo Energy Arena. There will be free workshops, giveaways and activities for kids. For more information, contact Raul Ugalde at 956-712-9000 or The Texas A&M International University Lamar Bruni Vergara Planetarium will show “Zula Patrol: Under the Weather” at 3 p.m. and “Lamps of Atlantis” at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Matinee show is $4. General admission is $4 for children and $5 adults. Premium shows are $1 more. For more information, call 956-326-3663.

TUESDAY, MARCH 26 The Laredo Community College Health Sciences Open House is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Lopez Nursing Building and Ruben Garcia Allied Health Center at the Fort McIntosh campus. Visitors can meet with health science faculty and students, as well as visit the new nursing simulation lab and learn more about the various health science programs. For more information, call 721-5262. A Freshstart Smoking Cessation session is from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at SCAN’s office, 2387 E. Saunders, Suite 1. This is an evidence-based support program from the American Cancer Society that is used to motivate individuals to quit smoking. The session is free of charge to the public. It is recommended that participants attend all four sessions available. Space is limited, so call to reserve a space. For more information and to register, call Veronica Jimenez at 956-724-3177.

Photo by Pat Sullivan | AP

A pair of whooping cranes walk through shallow marsh water looking for food near the Aransas Wildlife Refuge in Fulton in this 2011 photo. Texas’s attorney general is seeking a stay of a federal court order which would guarantee the birds fresh water in their Texas habitat.


HOUSTON — Texas asked for an emergency stay of a U.S. court order temporarily barring water permits for a river system supplying cities, power generators and petrochemical plants to ensure enough water reaches the last migratory flock of whooping cranes. The bird was believed to be extinct until a flock of 15 survivors was found on a stretch of coastal marsh in the 1940s. There are about 500 whooping cranes alive today, with a flock of about 250 birds that migrates between Texas and Canada. That flock is the only self-sustaining wild population. U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack in Corpus Christi, Texas, March 11 blocked state regulators from approving new permits for the Guadalupe, San Antonio or Blanco rivers “until the state of Texas provides rea-

sonable assurances to the court that such permits will not take whooping cranes in violation of the Endangered Species Act.” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott called the ruling flawed and asked Graham to stay her order while the state appeals “to prevent unnecessary economic hardship” for the communities and industrial water users in the river basin. The cranes share a coastline with the world’s largest concentration of refineries and petrochemical plants, which stretches to the Louisiana border. The judge determined that mismanagement by Texas water regulators resulted in the deaths of 23 endangered cranes in 2009. She ordered the state to devise a water-sharing plan that accommodates water rights while allowing enough fresh water to reach the coastal marsh.

Doctor sentenced for role in Medicare scheme

Police: DWI officer fired for driving drunk

Nuclear weapons plant, feds look at worker issues

HOUSTON — A federal judge has sentenced a physician to five years in prison for participating in a Medicare fraud scheme that pulled in more than $20 million from false claims. Ben Harris Echols, 63, of Houston also was ordered Friday to pay restitution of $2.9 million. He was convicted in December of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and six counts of false statements relating to health care matters.

FORT WORTH — Police officials have fired a DWI enforcement officer whose arrest in January on suspicion of drunken driving came amid a string of similar charges against officers. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports a disciplinary letter filed Thursday indicates Nicolas Ramirez’s firing took effect earlier in the week. Ramirez, 32, was off-duty when his vehicle was spotted by an officer drifting off the road.

AMARILLO — Officials say they are working to improve workerrelations at the facility that assembles and disassembles nuclear weapons, after reports workers feared retaliation for reporting safety issues. The head of an agency that monitors safety at weapons facilities found ‘troubling’ a review that said some plant workers at Pantex believe they will be retaliated against if they report safety concerns.

Prisons install cell-blocking equipment

Man’s sentence extended for beating fellow inmate

Lawmaker wants to end cities’ bag bans

BEAUMONT — The state prison system is turning to electronic weaponry to combat the smuggling of cellphones to inmates. Final testing starts next week at the first of two Texas Department of Criminal Justice prisons where equipment has been installed to block calls to and from unauthorized phones.

DALLAS — A member of the Aryan Brotherhood is facing an extended prison sentence after admitting beating another inmate he believed to be gay. The FBI says 27-year-old John Hall was sentenced Thursday to nearly six years, which will be added to the sentence he’s currently serving in federal prison.

FORT WORTH — A Republican from rural North Texas wants to put an end to Texas cities banning plastic bags. State Rep. Drew Springer has filed a bill that would make all plastic bag bans invalid. Springer says bag bans create a “hidden social tax. — Compiled from AP reports

AROUND THE NATION Md. lawmakers vote to repeal death penalty ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland lawmakers approved a measure abolishing the death penalty on Friday and sent the bill to Gov. Martin O’Malley, who has long supported banning capital punishment. The House of Delegates voted 82-56 for legislation already approved by the Senate. The vote represented a major win for the Democratic governor, who has pushed for the death penalty’s repeal for five years. He is also widely believed to be weighing a presidential bid in 2016.

NDakota close to banning abortions at 6 weeks BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota on Friday moved one step closer to adopting what would be the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, with law-

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In this 2009 photo, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman announces that he will run for the U.S. Senate, in Lebanon, Ohio. Portman is now supporting gay marriage and says his reversal on the issue began when he learned his son Will, at left, is gay. makers sending the governor measures that could set the state up for a legal battle over the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized the procedure. The North Dakota Senate approved two anti-abortion bills Friday, one banning abortions as

early as six weeks into a pregnancy and another prohibiting the procedure because of genetic defects such as Down syndrome. If the governor signs, North Dakota would be the only state in the U.S. with those laws. — 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




Deputies find Zapata man arrested in Webb marijuana in youth’s car By CÉSAR G. RODRIGUEZ THE ZAPATA TIMES


Zapata County sheriff ’s deputies detained a 15-year-old juvenile March 6 after authorities found more than 350 pounds worth of marijuana in his Chrysler passenger vehicle. Sgt. Mario Elizondo said the juvenile, of Rio Grande City, was charged with possession of marijuana, a seconddegree felony. He was referred to juvenile authorities. Information leading to

the detention was not immediately available. Deputies detained the juvenile on U.S. 83 North near the Arroyo Dolores Creek area when the Chrysler he was driving veered off the roadway. Deputies extracted 30 bundles from inside the car and the trunk of the vehicle. Elizondo said the marijuana weighed 355 pounds. It had an estimated street value of $71,000. (César G. Rodriguez may be reached at 7282568 or

Webb County sheriff ’s deputies arrested a Zapata man Tuesday on U.S. 83 in southern Webb County for allegedly possessing 61 baggies of synthetic marijuana ready for distribution. Orlando Javier Rocha, 25, faces charges of possession of a controlled ROCHA substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a prohibited substance in a correctional facility. Rocha has an address in Zapata in the 100 block of First Street. He was held at the Webb County Jail on a $75,000 bond. A Webb County deputy pulled over a red Ford Mus-

THE BLOTTER ACCIDENT Roberto Saldivar Jr., 18, was arrested and charged with assault, family violence at about 6:45 p.m. March 9 in the 5300 block of Mission Lane in the Siesta Shores Subdivision. He was released from the Zapata Regional Jail for time served.

ASSAULT Maria del Socorro Mendoza, 34, and Maria R. Sanchez, 29, were arrested and charged with assault last week at the Zapata County Fair grounds at 23rd Avenue and Glenn Street. Both women were given time served. Nelzon R. Villa-Galvan, 19, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of marijuana at about 1 a.m. Sunday in the 200 block of Sixth Avenue. He had a $115,000 bond at the Zapata Regional Jail. Deputies responded to a

fight in progress involving several adults at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday in the 700 block of Villa Avenue. No arrest was reported. Investigators are following up on the case. Isaac Solis Jr., 29, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon at about 1:30 a.m. Monday in the 300 block of Gonzalez Street. Solis had a $35,000 bond at the Webb County Jail.

DWI Carlos O. Navarro, 45, was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated, refusal, at about 3 a.m. March 8 at Fourth Street and Texas 16. He had a $5,000 bond at the Zapata Regional Jail.

HIT AND RUN A hit-and-run accident was reported at 2 a.m. March 8 at East 21st Avenue and Fresno Street.


Travis Sweet, 20, was arrested and charged with minor in consumption of alcohol at about 2:30 a.m. March 8 at the intersection of Second Street and Ramireño Avenue. He was released for future court appearance.

PUBLIC INTOXICATION Alfredo Marchan-Herrera, 48, was arrested and charged with public intoxication at about 10:30 p.m. March 9 at the Zapata County Fair grounds. He was fined $300. Adrian Gonzalez, 49, was arrested and charged with public intoxication at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday at the intersection of First Street and Bandera Avenue. He was released for future court appearance.

Courtesy photo

Shown are the 61 baggies of synthetic marijuana Webb County deputies seized after a traffic stop involving Orlando Javier Rocha. tang for a traffic violation at about 8:20 p.m. Tuesday on U.S. 83 near ManganaHein Road. Rocha was coming into Laredo from Zapata. Deputies said they found 60 baggies inside the car. Deputies took Rocha to the Webb County Jail. During the booking process, correctional officers allegedly found an additional

baggie on Rocha. In total, 61 baggies of synthetic pot were seized. That’s 64.6 grams with an estimated street value of $1,292. Synthetic marijuana produces experiences similar to marijuana and is marketed as a “legal alternative,” the National Institute on Drug Abuse website states.

“This traffic stop resulted in the seizure of a serious drug. Synthetic marijuana is considered more dangerous than marijuana because of the harmful hallucinogenic chemicals it contains,” Sheriff Martin Cuellar states in a news release. Sheriff ’s Assistant Chief Pete Arredondo said synthetic marijuana tends to be highly addictive. Compared with normal marijuana, Arredondo said synthetic pot could be dangerous because of the mixture of chemicals it contains. He added that deputies in Webb County do not see synthetic marijuana seizures as often as they do regular pot. The mixture of substances makes possessing synthetic marijuana a felony, Arredondo said. (César G. Rodriguez may be reached at 728-2568 or







New pope stresses reaching out The Catholic Church in North Africa was in crisis at the beginning of the fourth century. The Roman emperor Diocletian had persecuted the Christians, and many bishops and priests had collaborated with the regime. Priests had turned over Christian believers to the pagan magistrates. Bishops had surrendered Holy Scriptures to be burned in the public square. An air of corruption and lewdness hung over the church. Two rival reform movements arose to restore the integrity of Catholicism. Those in the first movement, the Donatists, believed the church needed to purify itself and return to its core identity. The mission of the church, in the Donatist view, was to provide a holy alternative to a unclean world. The Donatists wanted to purge the traitors from the priesthood. After they pruned their membership, the Donatists wanted to close ranks to create a community of committed believers. They would separate themselves from impurity, re-establish their core principles and defend them against the hostile forces. The Donatists believed that, in those hard times, the first job was to defend Christian law so it wouldn’t be diluted by compromise. With this defensive posture, the Donatists would at least build a sturdy ark for all those who wanted to be Christian. This Donatist tendency — to close ranks and return defensively to first principles — can be seen today whenever a movement faces a crisis. There are modern-day Donatists in humanities departments, who pull in as they lose relevance on campus. You can see them in the waning union movement: people who double down on history and their selfconscious traditions. You can see them in the current Roman Catholic Church, which feels besieged in a hostile world. You can identify the modern-day Donatists because they feel history is flowing away from them, and when they gossip it’s always about intra-community rivalries that nobody outside their world could possibly care about. In the fourth century, another revival movement arose, embraced by Augustine, who was Bishop of Hippo. The problem with the Donatists, Augustine argued, is that they are too static. They try to seal off an ark to ride out the storm, but they end up sealing themselves in. They cut themselves off from new circumstances and growth. Augustine, as his ma-


gisterial biographer Peter Brown puts it, “was deeply preoccupied by the idea of the basic unity of the human race.” He wanted the church to go on offense and swallow the world. This would involve swallowing impurities as well as purities. It would mean putting to use those who are imperfect. This was the price to be paid if you wanted an active church coexisting with sinners, disciplining and rebuking them. In this view, the church would be attractive because it was hungering and thirsting for fulfillment. Far from being a stable ark, the church would be a dynamic, everchanging network, propelled onto the streets by its own tensions. This second tendency is also found in movements that are in crisis, but it is rare because it requires a lack of defensiveness, and a confidence that your identity is secure even amid crisis. Like most of the world, I don’t know much about Pope Francis, but it’s hard not to be impressed by someone who says he prefers a church that suffers “accidents on the streets” to a church that is sick because it self-referentially closes in on itself. It’s hard not to be impressed by someone who stands by traditional Catholic teaching, but then goes out and visits Jeronimo Podesta, a former bishop who had married in defiance of the church and who was dying poor and forgotten. It’s hard not to be impressed by someone who rebukes those priests who refuse to baptize the children of single mothers. It’s hard not to be impressed by someone who seems to feel a compulsive need to be riding the buses, who refuses to live in the official residences, who sends his priests out to the frontiers and who once said he would die if locked away in the Vatican. I’ll leave it to Catholics to decide if Francis is good for the church. The subject here is how do you revive a movement in crisis. The natural instinct is to turn Donatist, to build an ark and defend. The counterintuitive but more successful strategy is to follow Augustine, to exploit a moment of weakness by making yourself even more vulnerable, by striking outward into complexity, swallowing the pure and impure, counterattacking crisis with an evangelical assault.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR POLICY The Zapata Times does not publish anonymous letters. To be published, letters must include the writer’s first and last names as well as a phone number to verify identity. The 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-calling 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.


Confession is season’s focus This Lenten season, The Light is On for You! Two weeks ago, the Diocese of Laredo, through the Office of the New Evangelization, launched a diocesan-wide initiative aimed at welcoming back and strengthening the faith life of Catholics. The Light is On for You campaign focuses on the Sacrament of Reconciliation, or as it is commonly referred to, Penance or Confession. Why this campaign and why during the season of Lent, you ask? In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI


Emeritus announced a Year of Faith, that began Oct. 11, and ends Nov. 24. One of the themes for the Year of Faith is the New Evangelization. The New Evangelization begins with a personal conversion and that we are called to deepen our own faith in order to better share it with others. Conversion to Christ, then, is the first step. And yet, before a person can share Christ with others, he or she must first experience Christ in his or her

own life. The New Evangelization is about promoting a personal encounter with Christ for all people, wherever they are in their faith journey. Conversion begins with a renewal of your relationship with God by receiving His forgiveness. This Lent, The Light is On for You at every Catholic Church in the seven-county area comprising the Diocese of Laredo so that you may experience God’s mercy and forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It’s never too late to start. On Wednesday, The Light is On for You at every Catholic Church in the Diocese of Laredo between the hours of 7 p.m. through 8:30 p.m. And if it’s been a while

since your last confession, don’t worry. All the parishes have received a brochure, available in English and Spanish, on “How to Give a Good Confession.” The pamphlet includes an Examination of Conscience, the Ten Commandments and the Act of Contrition. For those who are computer savvy, you can print it from the Diocese of Laredo website under the Evangelization Ministry page. Visit to print the brochure or to learn more about the Light is On for You campaign. In this Lenten season and in this Year of Faith, we are called to holiness and to renew our commitment to live as children of the Light. — Todo Con Amor.


GOP tops in minority winners AUSTIN — There’s nothing Texas Republicans enjoy doing more than reminding Texas Democrats that the state GOP has put more blacks and Hispanics into statewide office than the Democrats have. This chaps Democrats, just like the fact that it was a Republican president (the first one) who abolished slavery and it was many Democrats (Southern ones) who fought civil rights legislation. The Texas GOP recently brought up the facts about Texas minorities in statewide office in a response to the latest attempt by Texas Dems to end their statewide election losing streak dating back to 1994. The effort is called Battleground Texas and the Democrats’ goal is to turn Texas blue by 2016. They might have a better chance of turning the UT Tower maroon. Steve Munisteri, the former boxing manager who’s now the Texas GOP chairman, meted out some sage advice for the non-Texas Dems who moved here to run Battleground Texas. Among my favorites: “Don’t


sit cross-legged while wearing spurs” and a reminder about pre-consumption dehusking of tamales. But I’m sure the last one on the list is the one that most sticks in the craws of Democrats, whose party is the traditional home of a solid majority of the state’s black and Hispanic voters: “Texas Republicans have elected more minorities to statewide office in the past 19 years than Democrats did after controlling the state for over 100 years. The list includes Al Gonzales, David Medina, Eva Guzman, Wallace Jefferson and Dale Wainwright to the Texas Supreme Court, Elsa Alcala to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Victor Carrillo and Michael Williams to the Texas Railroad Commission. And, Texas’ first U.S. senator of Hispanic descent, Ted Cruz.” (For some reason, the list left out Tony Garza, who be-

came the first Hispanic Republican elected to Texas statewide office when he won a Railroad Commission seat in 1998.) It’s true that some of the folks on the list initially got their statewide jobs through gubernatorial appointments to fill vacancies (and Carrillo was voted out of office in a GOP primary), but facts are facts and the GOP is right on this one. Here’s the complete list of Hispanic or black Democrats elected to statewide positions in Texas: Raul Gonzalez, Texas Supreme Court, first elected in 1984; Morris Overstreet, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, first elected in 1990; and Dan Morales, attorney general, first elected in 1990. Gonzalez, like some of the GOP minorities who won statewide races, initially was a gubernatorial appointee. Morales, after leaving office, did time in federal prison. Overstreet’s 1990 victory made him the first black elected to Texas statewide office. He did so by beating a black incumbent, Louis Sturns, who had been appointed by Gov. Bill Clem-


ents to fill a vacancy. (The late Lena Guerrero, an Austin Democrat, was appointed to the Texas Railroad Commission by Gov. Ann Richards in 1991 but was ousted in 1992.) The GOP record in electing minorities to statewide office in Texas cannot be discussed without mentioning the challenge some Hispanics have faced in GOP primaries. Railroad Commissioner Carrillo lost in the 2010 primary to relative unknown David Porter. In 2002, Supreme Court Justice Xavier Rodriguez, who’d been appointed by Gov. Rick Perry, was defeated in the primary by Stephen Smith, an unknown who spent almost nothing on his race. The primary losses by Carrillo and Rodriguez to relative unknowns with non-Hispanic names have been fuel for the notion that Texas Republicans, in downballot races that attract lesser attention, are not prone to back Hispanics. That’s something they’re working on as the state’s Hispanic population continues its march toward becoming a majority.



Zapata man, four others face sentencing By CÉSAR G. RODRIGUEZ THE ZAPATA TIMES

LAREDO — A Zapatan known to be a cocaine dealer in the area and four of his drug runners are expected to be sentenced to federal prison this week in federal court in Laredo. Jose Daniel Mercado pleaded guilty Jan. 4 to one count of the superseding indictment that charges him with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. His sentencing is scheduled at 9 a.m. Friday in Courtroom 3B before U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña. Mercado faces five to 40 years in prison, according to his plea agreement docu-

ments. Four people — Angel Javier Cuellar, Martin Emilio Pacheco, Lucia Guadalupe Hinojosa and Magda Ramos — identified as the cocaine runners in court records are also expected to go before Saldaña to be sentenced. Cuellar, Pacheco, Hinojosa and Ramos pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute less than 500 grams of cocaine last year. In a superseding indictment filed No. 26, prosecutors dropped conspiracy and cocaine possession charges on Leonardo Cortez and Javier Molina Balderas on Nov. 27. In September 2010, the Federal Bureau of Investiga-

tion learned that Mercado “was known to be the biggest cocaine dealer in the area and had been steadily selling up to one kilogram of cocaine per week in small personal-use amounts for several years,” according to Mercado’s plea agreement documents. The FBI conducted 13 controlled drug buys from Mercado from Sept. 23, 2010, to March 4, 2011. Amounts varied from 2.7 grams for $100 to 68 grams for $2,000. Agents alleged that during the investigation, Cuellar, Pacheco, Hinojosa and Ramos delivered the cocaine for Mercado. (César G. Rodriguez may be reached at 728-2568 or

Background checks expansion gets OK By KRISTEN WYATT ASSOCIATED PRESS

DENVER — A landmark expansion of background checks on firearm purchases was approved Friday by lawmakers in Colorado, a politically moderate state that was the site of last year’s mass shooting at a Denver movie theater. The bill previously passed the state Senate and now heads to Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is expected to sign it into law within two weeks. Earlier this week, Colorado lawmakers approved a 15-round limit on ammunition magazines. It is also awaiting the expected approval of the governor. The bill passed Friday expands cases when a $10

criminal background check would be required to legally transfer a gun. Republicans opposed the bill, calling it an undue burden on law-abiding gun owners. “We know for a fact that whatever law we pass, criminals won’t care,” said Republican Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg. The vice president praised passage of the bill. “Congrats to Colorado House and Senate for passing universal background checks,” read a tweet sent by the office of Vice President Joe Biden. It was followed by another tweet referring to the theater shooting that read, “The families of Aurora deserved a vote and got one. Now U.S. Congress must act too.”

Congress is also considering a number of new firearm restrictions. Colorado is the first state outside the East Coast to significantly ratchet back gun rights after the theater and school shootings. Colorado’s gun debate was being watched closely because it’s considered a swing state with both a gun-loving frontier past and an unfortunate history of mass shootings, including the 1999 Columbine High School attack. “Are we going to stop all criminals from getting guns? No,” said Democratic Rep. Beth McCann, a sponsor of the background checks bill. “But are we are going to put a barrier there, make it more difficult for them? Yes.”



Workers at Newton battles an auction center of fed probe By KEN RITTER



AMARILLO — Officials say they are working to improve workermanagement relations at the Panhandle facility that assembles and disassembles nuclear weapons, after reports that workers feared retaliation for reporting safety issues. The head of a watchdog agency that monitors safety at U.S. nuclear weapons facilities found “troubling” an energy department review that said some plant workers at Pantex believe they will be retaliated against if they report safety concerns, the Amarillo GlobeNews reported Friday. Peter Winokur, chairman of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, said at a meeting Thursday that nuclear safety must be paramount at Pantex. Board members met with top National Nuclear Security Administration and senior Pantex officials to discuss the results of the energy department’s review. “The nuclear explosive safety program must ensure the prevention of a main charge high-explosive detonation or an unintended nuclear detonation,” Winokur said. Neile Miller, NNSA’s acting administrator, said the agency took the energy department’s review seriously and is developing an action plan to correct issues raised by workers and the

board. “The results were sobering,” she said of the review. In 2011, the board learned about an incident when warhead disassembly work proceeded beyond authorized operations, a serious safety issue that also sparked an internal investigation by B&W Pantex, the plant contractor. As part of its probe, the contractor surveyed personnel in its nuclear explosives safety division. According to the survey, “eight out of 10 employees believe it is a career-limiting move to raise concerns.” Last year, the DOE’s Office of Enforcement and Oversight did an independent review of the plant’s safety culture. The agency’s review came about after two plant worker stold safety board staffers “about perceived retaliation for raising a safety concern.” The report said Pantex’s senior management needed to work to gain the respect and trust of workers. John Woolery, B&W Pantex general manager, said a member of management did not listen in 2011 when employees expressed safety concerns. The work should have been suspended, he said, until concerns were resolved. Pantex, located about 17 miles northeast of Amarillo, dismantles retired nuclear bombs and modifies weapons for the U.S. atomic arsenal.

LAS VEGAS — The sign may read “For Sale” outside the sprawling southeast Las Vegas estate that Wayne Newton dubbed “Casa de Shenandoah.” But Newton’s wife, Kathleen McCrone Newton, said Friday that even if a bidder snatches up the property at auction May 31, the “Mr. Las Vegas” crooner and his family have no intention of moving out. “We stay here until we choose to leave. We have that right,” Kathleen Newton told The Associated Press. “Even if at some point the property gets sold, it gets sold with us here.” She said a lease with a partnership that purchased the nearly 40-acre property for $19.5 million in June 2010 will let the couple and their 10-year-old daughter stay in the gold-trimmed opulent main house. The mansion, featuring 17th century antiques and keepsakes from performers like Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Bobby Darin, was to have been the featured attraction in a “Graceland West” attraction commemorating the career of the 70-year-old “Mr. Las Vegas” crooner. But those plans have crumbled. Kathleen Newton’s sister, Tricia McCrone, lives in another home on the property. Newton’s 92-year-old former longtime personal secretary, Mona Matoba, lives in a third. An exotic menagerie including Newton’s penguins, swans and Arabian horses also stay, Kathleen Newton said. Well, maybe not, said Joseph Wielebinski, a Dallasbased lawyer representing the property owner, CSD LLC, in a bitterly contested Chapter 11 reorganization. “We have teed up that issue for resolution by the judge,” Wielebinski said. “It is anything but certain

Photo by Jerry Henkel/Las Vegas Review-Journal | AP

Cockatoos Elliott, left, and Lulu are seen at Wayne Newton’s Casa de Shenandoah in Las Vegas. Even if Casa de Shenandoah sells, the Newtons say their lease lets them stay in three homes on the property. whether the Newtons remain on the property or not.” The Newtons don’t own the Casa de Shenandoah property anymore, Wielebinski said. While Newton certainly owns his famous Arabian horses, he doesn’t own the irrigated green pastures where they graze. The court will have to decide if he owns the barns where they’re kept. And leases can be broken during bankruptcy reorganization. “This is a business divorce. Everything is contested,” Wielebinski said. U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Bruce Markell in Las Vegas is poised during hearings March 29 and April 8 to rule on questions about who owns what. The judge last month approved letting CSD sell animals including two sloths, several wallabies and more than 100 birds including swans, a crowned crane, macaws and love birds for $27,300 to a wildlife center in northern Oregon.

Kellie Caron, curator at the Zoological Wildlife Conservation Center in Rainier, Ore., didn’t list penguins among the animals she said she expects to be taking in. She said the animals involved in the sale belonged to CSD, not the Newtons. The breakup is complicated by the structure of the June 2010 land purchase deal around which the Wayne Newton tourism attraction would have been built. Wayne and Kathleen Newton, through a business entity called Sacred Land LLC, own 20 percent of their bankrupt landlord, CSC LLC. Lacy and Dorothy Harber of Texas, through DLH LLC, own 70 percent of the property ownership entity. CSD Management LLC, made up of project manager Steven Kennedy and his partner, Geneva Clark, have a 10 percent stake. There is also intense acrimony between the parties. The two sides traded allegations of fraud, mismanagement, animal abuse and

sexual harassment even before the case reached bankruptcy court. Newton lawyer J. Stephen Peek alleged during a breach of contract hearing last summer in state court there had been death threats. One thing that Newton attorney Bryce Kunimoto and Charles McCrea Jr., an attorney representing the Harbers, agreed upon Friday was that nothing was certain. “Though CSD will probably disagree, the Newtons have a right under the lease to remain on the property,” Kunimoto said. McCrea said the Newtons may be able to remain in the three houses if they want. “But they will not have control over the entire ‘Casa de Shenandoah’ property, only that portion occupied by the houses,” he said. “The Newtons may decide they don’t want to stay in the houses because they will have little say on what may be developed around them.”


Agenda en Breve LAREDO 03/16— El Mercado Agrícola el Centro de Laredo se realizará de 9 a.m. a 2 p.m. en Plaza Jarvis, en el centro de Laredo. El mercado presentará el Concurso de la Mejor Receta de Cilantro. Habrá cocina, demostraciones, música en vivo, demostraciones de capoeira, frutas, vegetales, productos de lavanda, plantas y jabones orgánicos. 03/16— Jornada Sabatina es hoy de 9 a.m. a 1 p.m. en el Consulado General de México en Laredo, 1612 calle Farragut. Se ofrecen servicios para trámites de pasaportes, matrículas consulares, o asistencia consular en el ámbito de protección. 03/17— Serving Children and Adults in Need (SCAN) invita a participar en el Bingo para Recaudación de Fondos San Patricio 2013, de 4 p.m. a 7 p.m. en Christ Church Episcopal, 2320 calle Lane. Las ganancias se destinarán a programas que tienen mínimos recursos financieros. 03/20— Los clubes “Scene of the Crime” y “Gateway City Book Lovers” se reúnen hoy, a las 6 p.m. y 7 p.m., respectivamente, en la Sala de Conferencias del Primer Piso de la Biblioteca Pública de Laredo, 1120 E. Calton Road. Se analizan los libros, “Seven Days” de Deon Meyer; y, “The Round House” de Louise Erdrich returns. No hay cuotas y nuevos miembros son bienvenidos. 03/21— Seminario gratuito del Small Business Development Center (SBDC) con el tema “Entendiendo el Crédito y Presupuesto” de 9 a.m. a 11:30 a.m. en el aula 03 del Western Hemispheric Building de TAMIU. Puede inscribirse llamando al 3262827 o 206-8319. 03/21— La Banda de Rock con Violoncello ‘Break of Reality’ ofrecerá concierto a las 7:30 p.m. en el teatro Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Fine Arts Center en el Campus Fort McIntosh de LCC. Costo: 10 dólares, adulto; 5 dólares, estudiantes y adultos mayores. 03/22— Planetario Lamar Bruni Vergara de TAMIU presenta: Lamps of Atlantis a las 6 p.m. y 7 p.m. Costo: 4 dólares y 5 dólares. 03/22— Dallas Black Dance Theatre (DBDT) se presenta en Center for the Fine and Performing Arts Theatre de TAMIU con “Beyond Borders” a las 7:30 p.m. Evento gratuito.

NUEVO LAREDO, MX 03/16— Brigada de Atención Psicológica a las 9 a.m. en Maclovio Herrera No. 2032, 2do. Piso. Organizan la Asociación de Psicólogos de Nuevo Laredo y el Comité Municipal de Participación Ciudadana. Evento gratuito. 03/16— “Leo, Luego Existo” presenta la lectura de ‘Relámpagos de Agosto’, de Jorge Ibargüengoitia, con la cantante, bailarina actriz mexicana Cecilia Toussaint, a las 6 p.m. en Estación Palabra Gabriel García Márquez. 03/19— Se realizará jornada oftalmológica en Maclovio Herrera 2032, segundo piso, de 9 a.m. a 2 p.m. Servicio para detectar cataratas únicamente. 03/19— Colectivo Moviendo Conciencia presenta la exposición artística “Esencia de nostalgia” de 6 p.m. a 9 p.m. en el lobby del teatro del IMSS, Belden y Reynosa. Entrada gratuita. 03/19— Proyecto Teatro presenta “Esencia de nostalgia” de Miguel Angel Cedano, a las 7 p.m. en el Teatro del IMSS, Belden y Reynosa. Costo: 20 pesos.





WASHINGTON — Expertos solicitaron al Congreso que una reforma migratoria permita reducir los dos años y medio que actualmente deben esperar los residentes permanentes en Estados Unidos para reunirse con sus consortes e hijos menores de edad. Demetrios Papademetriou, presidente del Instituto de Política Migratoria (MPI por sus siglas en inglés), dijo al comparecer ante el subcomité de inmigración de la cámara baja que la solución es muy simple. “Ajustar las partes relevantes de la fórmula migratoria concentrándose en el principio fundamental tras esa parte del sistema: Mantener juntos a los miembros más cercanos de las familias, esposos e hijos menores de edad”, indicó. “Entre los países industrializados, Estados Unidos es el único con límites numéricos o listas de espera para esposos e hijos de residentes permanentes”, dijo Papademetriou. “Incluso Alemania, que no fue hasta hace poco amigable a los inmigrantes, los esposos e hijos se reúnen al residente permanente de manera inmediata”. La ley actual concede automáticamente residencias permanentes a consortes e hijos menores de edad de ciudadanos estadounidenses sin imponer un límite de cuántas pueden emitirse cada año. Pero solo hay 88.000 tarjetas ver-

Entre los países industrializados, Estados Unidos es el único con límites numéricos o listas de espera para esposos e hijos de residentes permanentes”. DEMETRIOS PAPADEMETRIOU, PRESIDENTE DEL MPI

des disponibles cada año para las parejas e hijos menores de edad de aquellos residentes permanentes que contraen matrimonio, lo que mantiene actualmente a 220.000 personas a la espera de que concluya el trámite fuera del territorio estadounidense, dijo el presidente del comité judicial de la cámara baja, el republicano Bob Goodlatte. El también republicano Trey Gowdy, presidente del subcomité de inmigración, dijo que los países con más ciudadanos en lista de espera para reunirse en Estados Unidos con parientes portadores de la tarjeta verde son México (40), República Dominicana (11%), Cuba (6%) y Haití (5%). “Algunos consideran que los esposos e hijos menores de edad de los residentes permanentes deberían ser considerados igual que los parientes inmediatos de ciudadanos estadounidenses, y por lo tanto deberían recibir la tarjeta verde inmediatamente”, dijo. “Otros creen que la situación ac-

tual es correcta, que la espera de algunos años es un precio justo a pagar por el beneficio de una tarjeta verde, que permite la naturalización. Y otros creen que la respuesta correcta está en el medio”, indicó Gowdy sin precisar su preferencia. La legisladora Zoe Logfren, principal demócrata en el subcomité de inmigración, indicó que la ley actual establece que ningún país reciba más del 7% de las residencias permanentes disponibles cada año. Logfren indicó que dos años y medio es mejor que la espera de cinco años necesaria en 2009, pero “definitivamente no es aceptable. ¿A cuál estadounidense servimos al separar a un esposo de su esposa o a una madre de su hijo?”. El legislador republicano Raúl Labrador dijo estar a favor de aumentar la capacidad de visas para reducir el periodo actual de espera, pero se preguntó si “¿hay alguna categoría de visas que ya no debamos tener? Tenemos que decidir qué es lo más conveniente para los

intereses de Estados Unidos”. Clarissa Martínez-De-Castro, directora de Asuntos Migratorios del Consejo Nacional de la Raza (NCLR por sus siglas en inglés) advirtió que “NCLR apoya la inmigración por motivos económicos porque de hacerse bien puede ayudar a fortalecer nuestra economía. Pero debemos ser cuidadosos de no buscar mejoras en esta área debilitando la inmigración por motivos familiares”, advirtió Restricciones inapropiadas a la inmigración por vínculos familiares puede “mantener a las familias separadas, promover la violación de la ley al no haber otra opción, y retrasar la integración y éxito de inmigrantes en nuestro país”, agregó. El senador republicano Lindsey Graham, integrante de un grupo bipartidista de ocho senadores que redacta un proyecto de ley de reforma migratoria, dijo que esa propuesta tal vez limite sustancialmente las residencias permanentes para parientes de ciudadanos estadounidenses. Graham se mostró a favor de eliminar las residencias permanentes para hijos casados y hermanos de residentes permanentes, una categoría que actualmente tiene menor prioridad. Logfren señaló que actualmente en esa categoría se encuentran 750.000 mexicanos que son hermanos de residentes permanentes, pero que solo se otorgan 4.555 visas al año a cada país.


SEMANA SANTA Ciudades están listas para recibir turistas TIEMPO DE ZAPATA

Varias secretarías del gobierno de Tamaulipas se han coordinado a fin de recibir a los turistas durante la Semana Santa (Semana Mayor). Con ésa razón se han instalado 40 puestos de auxilio, aclaró Mónica González García, Secretaria de Desarrollo Económico y Turismo. “Se mantiene una estrecha comunicación con Cruz Roja, Salud, Protección Civil, Ángeles Verdes y grupos voluntarios”, dijo González. “El objetivo es ofrecer al turista una estancia placentera en nuestros destinos, especialmente de sol y playa, así como el turismo de naturaleza”. Durante el 2012, Tamaulipas tuvo una afluencia superior a 1 millón 300 mil visitantes, con un registro de

más de 237.000 vehículos, de los cuales cerca de 1 millón fue de turismo de playa, según estadísticas del Gobierno de Tamaulipas. El turismo rural registró más de 412.000 visitantes y se recibió en el estado a 194 autobuses charters de diversos estados de la República Mexicana. “En el 2012 rebasamos la meta que teníamos en un 36 por ciento, destacando casi en su totalidad el turismo carretero, cuyo 50 por ciento se hospedó en algún hotel de Tamaulipas “, dijo González. “De esta cifra, un 39 por ciento era procedente de Nuevo León y un 16 por ciento del Distrito Federal y del Estado de México”. Entre los atractivos que ofrece Tamaulipas, se encuentra el servicio de tranvía Tampico- Miramar, la Feria de la Familia en

Foto de cortesía | Gobierno de Tamaulipas

Uno de los principales atractivos de Tamaulipas son las playas. Las mismas se encuentran listas para recibir a visitantes en Semana Santa. Tampico; el Festival del Mar en Matamoros; y, actividades para la familia, con grupos musicales y actividades deportivas en playa Carbonera de San Fernando; el evento Señorita La Pesca y actividades en el

campo tortuguero en La Pesca; el evento Primavera en El Cielo en Gómez Farías; huapangueada y muestra artesanal en Tula; la quema del Chamuco en Mante; la huapanguera y certamen Señorita Río en


Llera; La Feria del Taco y Mitote Turístico en Nuevo Laredo, entre otras. González concluyó diciendo que los municipios han respondido al llamado de ofrecer un trato amable al turista.



Foto de cortesía | U.S. Senate Photographic Studio-

El Senador John Cornyn (R-TX) se reunió con el Gobernador de Texas, Rick Perry, en su oficina en Washington. Ambos discutieron la medida del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional, tras que el Director de ICE testificara que se dejaron en libertad a 2.228 inmigrantes ilegales, e igualmente discutieron la necesidad para que el gobierno federal fortalezca los esfuerzos de seguridad en la frontera.

WASHINGTON — Reembolsos que suman más de 917 millones de dólares pudieran estar esperando a un estimado de 984.400 contribuyentes que no presentaron una declaración federal de impuestos por ingresos para el 2009, anunció el Servicio de Impuestos Internos (IRS por sus siglas en inglés). Sin embargo, para reclamar el dinero, una declaración del 2009 debe ser presentada al IRS a más tardar el lunes, 15 de abril de 2013. El IRS calcula que la mitad de los reembolsos para el 2009 son aproximadamente de más de 500 dólares. Algunas personas pudieran no haber presentado una declaración debido a que tuvieron muy pocos ingresos y no se requería presentar una declaración de impuestos aunque tuvieron impuestos retenidos de su paga o efectuaron pagos estimados trimestrales. En los casos en que una declaración no fue presentada, la ley brinda a la mayoría de los contribuyentes la oportunidad de reclamar un reembolso con una ventana de tres años. Si no se presenta una declaración para reclamar un reembolso dentro del plazo

de tres años, el dinero se convierte en propiedad del Tesoro de EU. La ley requiere que la declaración tenga la dirección apropiada, sea enviada y tenga el sello postal con fecha del 15 de abril. No hay multas por presentar tarde una declaración que califica para un reembolso. El IRS recuerda a los contribuyentes que solicitan un reembolso del 2009 que sus cheques pudieran ser detenidos si no han presentado declaraciones de impuestos para el 2010 y 2011. Además, el reembolso se aplicará a cualquier monto que sea adeudado al IRS o su agencia de impuestos estatal, y pudiera ser usado para reducir la manutención de un niño que no haya sido pagada o deudas federales vencidas tales como préstamos estudiantiles. Al no presentar una declaración, las personas se arriesgan a perder más que el reembolso de impuestos retenidos o pagados durante el 2009. Además, muchos trabajadores de ingresos bajos y moderados pudieran no haber reclamado el Crédito Tributario por Ingresos del Trabajo (EITC). Más información en o llamando a la línea gratis 800-829-3676.




SAN ANTONIO — ATF agents here knew Harmon Chester Strunk Jr. as a “gun-show groupie” who bought hundreds of guns at bargain prices from elderly people and sold them for a handsome profit. His favorite sales outlets were newspaper classified ads and ubiquitous gun shows, where private sellers displaying tables full of weaponry bump up against federally licensed dealers to feed the Lone Star state’s seemingly insatiable appetite for guns. Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives tracked Strunk’s buying and selling and found out he wasn’t particular about his customers. Federal law prohibits sales to convicted criminals, but agents learned that youthful gang members — “gang-bangers” — actually sought Strunk out. Agents sent in a convicted felon to buy from Strunk as part of an undercover sting. They arrested Strunk soon thereafter on charges of selling a weapon to a felon and selling without a license. Appearing before U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia in February where he received a 10-year-sentence, Strunk, 59, an Army veteran, insisted he did nothing illegal. In the aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., massacre, the focus on gun shows mostly concerns the effort by gun-control advocates to close the “gun show loophole” — the fact that unlike sales by federally licensed dealers, private transactions at shows and elsewhere do not require background checks. Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote approved a universal background check measure by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. But what stands out about the Strunk case is not the background-check issue, but rather that the ATF — the gun lobby’s perennial whipping boy — pursued it at all, given the political firestorm that erupted on Capitol Hill over previous gun-show investigations. ATF got its knuckles rapped by a Republican-dominated House Judiciary subcommittee in 2006 when a gun show promoter, two gun sellers and a private investigator hired by the National Rifle Association accused agents of unduly harassing patrons at gun shows in Richmond, Va. Lawmakers and witnesses said agents intimidated patrons, targeted women and minorities as “straw purchasers” — who illegally buy guns on behalf of others — and were overzealous in checking gun buyers’ addresses for possible ATF paperwork violations.


Photo by Rick Bowmer | AP

Ken Halterman, holds an AK-47 with a 75-round clip during a gun show on March 3, in Sandy, Utah. The focus on shows mostly concerns the effort by gun-control advocates to regulate private transactions, which do not require background checks. Michael Bouchard, then ATF assistant director in charge of field operations, acknowledged that some of the agents’ investigative techniques at eight gun shows in Richmond in 2004 and 2005 were not “consistent with ATF’s best practices.” But he insisted the investigations were justified by the fact that more than 400 guns sold at Richmond gun shows between 2002 and 2005 were connected to criminal activity. The gun-show operations “reduced violent crime and made the streets of Virginia and America safer,” Bouchard told lawmakers. A 2007 Justice Department Inspector General’s report exonerated ATF and concluded that the agency’s 202 gun-show-related operations nationwide over the previous three years were based on “intelligence from a variety of sources indicating that illegal activity was occurring or was about to occur at a specific gun show.” The 202 investigations represented 3.3 percent of the estimated 6,000 gun shows held during this period, the IG report concluded. The report found that 11 of the operations were conducted by ATF’s Houston division (which also has field offices in San Antonio, Beaumont and Laredo). Several of those were in the Rio Grande Valley, targeting gun-show purchases intended for Mexican drug cartels across the border. The operations netted ATF Houston division agents 17 convictions and 196 weapon seizures between 2004 and 2006, the report concluded. Six gun-show operations were conducted by the San Francisco

House group eyes immigrant legislation By ERICA WERNER ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of House members working in secret on a comprehensive immigration bill is nearing completion and has met with party leaders to brief them, aides said Friday. A spokesman for Republican House Speaker John Boehner said that Boehner had a good talk Friday with Republicans in the group and that the lawmakers have made real progress. The group’s four Democrats met Thursday with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Pelosi’s spokesman said she’s optimistic about the prospects for reform. The group had hoped to release their bill around the time of the State of the Union last month, but now an aide says they will aim for early April, once Congress returns from a two-week recess. That’s the same timeline that a negotiating group in the Senate is on. The Senate group has gotten more attention because House GOP leaders are expected to wait to see what if anything the Senate passes on immigration before taking any action on the issue. A sweeping immigration bill is a tougher lift in the Republican-controlled House because of the conservatives who dominate the Republican conference, and members of the House immigration group have been struggling to write a bill that can have broad appeal. It remains unclear how they will handle a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country.

division. The New York and Boston divisions, which cover all of New York and New England, did none. ATF issued a “reminder” to agents on gun-show etiquette early in 2006, but agents still had a green light to investigate suspects involved in gun shows. Even so, a subtle message ricocheted through ATF to avoid gunshow-related probes of non-specific illegal activity, according to two former agents. “It was never formalized, but any time one of your peers is dragged before Congress, and there’s an inspector general report, you get the feeling that it would just hurt your career,” said David Chipman, who retired last year after 25 years in ATF and now serves as a consultant for Mayors Against Illegal Guns. “The lesson is there’s no big reward if it goes well compared to the downside risk.” Although the vast majority of gun shows attract ordinary firearms enthusiasts who enjoy exchanges with those who share a common interest, they also are junctures for guns that end up in criminal hands. An ATF spokeswoman said the agency pursues all leads, even those that point to gun shows. “We always try to stay ahead of trafficking schemes while respecting the individual rights of citizens to bear arms,” said the spokeswoman, Ginger Colbrun. ATF now requires all its field offices to man booths at two or more gun shows a year, Colbrun said. The aim is to educate licensed firearms dealers, private sellers and patrons on federal gun stat-

utes and licensing requirements. Among other things, agents stress the legal distinction between licensed sellers, who are “engaged in the business” of selling firearms for profit, and private sellers who engage in “occasional sales” from a “personal collection” or as a “hobby.” A private individual — someone like Strunk — who derives a substantial portion of his income through gun sales without a license is subject to prosecution. In San Antonio since 2008, only two show-related ATF investigations have resulted in prosecutions. In addition to Strunk, agents arrested Celerino ”Cele” Castillo III of Pharr, Texas, in 2008 for using a straw purchaser he met at a gun show in San Antonio to buy firearms that he resold. Castillo, 63, a decorated Vietnam veteran and former Edinburg police officer, worked for 12 years in the Drug Enforcement Administration. Of 32 guns he obtained and resold, 23 were FN Five-seveN pistols known in Mexico as ”matapolicias” or ”cop killers,” because they can fire armor-piercing ammo. Prosecutors alleged Castillo provided them to others who smuggled the weapons to cartels. In an interview, Castillo disputed most of the accusations. “I made a major mistake, and I have great remorse for this,” Castillo said. “I did it to supplement my income, and ... I am paying the price for it.” He said he simply followed the practice of other sellers at gun shows he attended. He served 37 months in prison.

State’s prisons install cell-blocking gear By MICHAEL GRACZYK ASSOCIATED PRESS

BEAUMONT — The nation’s largest state prison system is turning to electronic weaponry to combat the persistent headache of illegal cellphones smuggled to inmates. Final testing starts next week at the first of two Texas Department of Criminal Justice prisons where equipment has been installed to block calls to and from unauthorized phones. The equipment, known as a managed access system, also diverts text messages, emails and Internet log-in attempts from contraband phones. It should be in full operation at the Stiles Unit outside Beaumont and the McConnell Unit near Beeville next month. The two prisons together hold some 5,000 inmates and historically have been the worst of the more than 100 Texas prisons when it comes to cellphone smuggling. The goal is to make cellphones useless, or at least not worth the risk of extended prison time or reduced privileges, said Michael Roesler, senior warden at the Stiles Unit. “If the cellphone becomes the proverbial paperweight, the reward of taking a chance of losing their good time, their status, their class, their parole possibility, is too great a risk for them to hang on to,” he said. Contraband phones have been a problem in prisons around the country. Prison administrators consider them security threats, used by inmates to plan and coordinate escapes, run illicit businesses and threaten and harass crime victims or authorities. In South Carolina, a correc-


tions officer in charge of keeping contraband out of the prison where he worked was shot at his home in 2010 in a plan devised by inmates using smug-

gled phones. Five years ago in Texas, a death row inmate made threatening calls to a state senator, prompting an unprecedented governor-ordered lockdown of the entire 150,000-inmate prison system to sweep for contraband. Late last month, several gang members at the McConnell Unit were arrested after trying to sell stolen vehicles to Mexican drug cartel members in a scheme coordinated with illegal phones. The investigation also netted 17 former corrections officers accused of selling phones and drugs to prisoners. Overall, Texas corrections authorities seized 630 cellphones from inmates in 2011 and 738 last year, including 110 from Stiles. “It’s something we take very seriously,” said Tommy Prasifka, deputy director of the agency’s institutional division. “We’ve worked very hard to come up with ideas, constantly looking at better ways, whether it’s technology or utilizing searches and shakedowns.” In California, where nearly 120,000 inmates make it the second-largest state prison population behind Texas, a managed access system went into use in November at the Avenal State Prison. Nearly 4,800 unique devices and 1.13 million communication attempts were detected in the first month, said Dana Si-

mas, spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. “We’ve had so many incidents related to inmates with cellphones, from organizing criminal gang activities, harassing victims,” Simas said. “Those kinds of serious incidents can occur when someone has a cellphone that can’t be monitored by us.” Charles Manson, arguably the state’s most notorious inmate, has been caught at least twice with phones. Texas officials say they have had less of a problem than California in part because California, blaming cost considerations, does not subject employees entering prisons to metal detector searches. It’s not clear why Stiles and McConnell have more contraband cellphones than others, Texas officials said, although they noted the prisons also have more disciplinary problems among inmates. “I think a lot of it depends on location of the facility, plus the type of offender,” Prasifka said. The managed access systems that are being installed won’t interfere with 911 calls. The “brain” of the new system, locked in a closet a few steps from the warden’s office, consists of two electronic boxes a bit bigger than two large microwave ovens, filled with blinking lights and wires and a couple of rows of boxes that resemble CD cases. The apparatus connects with a similar single box of electronics in the individual prison buildings. Those boxes receive signals from unobtrusive, plastic squares mounted in the buildings.

WASHINGTON — A colleague of the late conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart is asking a federal court of appeals to throw out a defamation case brought against him by former government employee Shirley Sherrod, saying the lawsuit violates the blogger’s right to freeBREITBART dom of speech. Sherrod was ousted from her job as an Agriculture Department rural development official in 2010 after Breitbart posted an edited video of Sherrod, who is black, supposedly making racist remarks. She sued Breitbart, his employee Larry O’Connor and an unnamed defendant for defamation and emotional distress after USDA officials asked her to resign and the video ignited a racial firestorm. Sherrod’s lawyers say the unnamed defendant is the person whom they believe passed the video on to Breitbart. Breitbart died unexpectedly a year ago, and his status in the case is unclear as his family does not appear to have notified the court of an estate that can be sued. The case argued before the court of appeals Friday is one of the first high-profile federal lawsuits to test the freedom of speech rights of bloggers. Backed by large news organizations including the New York Times Co., Washington Post Co. and Dow Jones & Company, Inc., who have filed friend-of-the-court briefs in the case, O’Connor’s lawyers argued to have the case dismissed under a District of Columbia statute that aims to prevent the silencing of critics through lawsuits. A federal district court judge rejected their motion to dismiss, citing jurisdictional issues, prompting the appeal. The lawyers told the court of appeals that O’Connor and Breitbart, before he died, stood by the content, saying the blog post was opinion. “What happened here is what happens in journalism every day,” said Bruce Brown, a lawyer for O’Connor. Sherrod’s lawyers disagree and say dismissal under the District of Columbia statute would violate their right to a trial. The video on Breitbart’s website turned out to be edited, and when Sherrod’s full speech to an NAACP group earlier that year came to light, it became clear that her remarks about an initial reluctance to help a white farmer decades ago were not racist but an attempt at telling a story of racial reconciliation. Once that was obvious, Sherrod received public apologies from the administration — even from President Barack Obama himself — and an offer to return to the Agriculture Department, which she declined. Sherrod’s 2011 lawsuit says the incident affected her sleep and caused her back pain. It contends that she was damaged by having her “integrity, impartiality and motivations questioned, making it difficult (if not impossible) for her to continue her life’s work assisting poor farmers in rural areas” even though she was invited to return to the department. The video was posted amid friction between the NAACP and the tea party movement, each of which were accusing the other of having racist elements among their ranks. Breitbart said at the time the video showed the NAACP condoning racist comments from a government official.



DAMIANA PRESAS Damiana Presas, 62, passed away Friday, March 8, 2013, at University Hospital in San Antonio. Ms. Presas is preceded in death by her parents, Calixto and Isabel Presas; brothers, Martin Bernabe Presas, Calixto Presas and Jesus Presas; sister, Maria Petra Sanchez; brothers-inlaw, Enrique Villarreal and Oscar Sanchez; and nephews, Enrique Villarreal Jr. and Agustin Sanchez, Jr. Ms. Presas is survived by her sisters, Francisca (Eduardo) Gutierrez, Cira Villarreal, Josefina (Ramiro) Guerrero, Julia Luisa Sanchez and Azucena Isabel Presas; sisters-in-law, Francisca G. Presas and Elida H. Presas; and brother-in-law, Agustin Sanchez; and by numerous nephews, nieces and friends. Visitation hours were Monday, March 11, 2013, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. with a rosary at 7 p.m. at Rose Garden Funeral Home. The funeral procession departed Tuesday, March 12, 2013, at 9:30 a.m. for a 10

a.m. funeral Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. Committal services followed at Zapata County Cemetery. Funeral arrangements were under the direction of Rose Garden Funeral Home, Daniel A. Gonzalez, funeral director, 2102 N. U.S. 83 Zapata.

COURT Continued from Page 1A south of the town of Zapata. Court records state Ambriz reduced speed when he drove by the agents’ location and tried to hide. Ambriz accelerated as agents began to follow him. When they activated their emergency lights, Ambriz abandoned his vehicle, jumped a gate and ran toward the brush. Shortly after, he was apprehended.

Agents discovered several bundles of marijuana inside the Dodge and on the pickup’s bed. The contraband had a street value of $371,120. Ambriz had been offered $500 to drive the marijuana from a warehouse in Roma to Zapata, according to court records. (César G. Rodriguez may be reached at 7282568 or

PARADE Continued from Page 1A tinez said he has been bringing his family to the festivities since he moved to Zapata 10 years ago. “We get here early, park and eat at the restaurant here and then wait for the parade,” he said. Corina said she looked forward to getting some candy and going to the carnival afterward. Zapata native Nora Presas was there with around 20 family members, including her in-laws and grandsons. She said the main reason she came out to watch the parade was

to see family members who were in it. As if on cue, one of her nephews promenaded by on horseback as part of the 4H Club. “Juan,” she yelled and waved and he shyly waved back. Many of the spectators, it seemed, had someone they knew in the parade, as the calling out of names was frequently heard. Presas agreed with the statement made by some of the organizers of the fair that many of the area

families reunited during this time. “Yes, that’s true. I just saw my niece, who lives in Orange Grove,” Presas said. Three ladies sitting in lawn chairs were Winter Texans from Missouri. They were all named Pat. Two of them were seasoned spectators of the parade. One of them said she was usually on one of the floats, while the third Pat said she had never been to the parade before. John, husband of one of the Pats, said they enjoyed

coming to the fair and all its events. “We’re all just kids at heart, don’t you know?” said one of the ladies. Other events were scheduled throughout the day at the Zapata Fairgrounds, among them, the selling of fair arts, crafts and food entries, dance performances, the livestock auction, the jalapeño eating contest, the grito contest and street dances. (Rick Villarreal may be reached at 728-2528 or

BORDER Continued from Page 1A The letter describes the effects the required 5 percent mandatory cut under sequestration will have on components of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, including the U.S. Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection. The reduction in work hours is equivalent to the department losing 5,000 Border Patrol agents and 2,500 CBP officers. The cuts not only affect security, Gallego insists, but also increase wait times at ports and hurt trade with Mexico. The country is Texas’ largest trading partner and the country’s third-largest trade partner overall. The automatic budget cuts, which could total as much as $1.2 trillion over 10 years, took effect March 1 after Congress failed to reach agreement on how to curb federal spending.

So far, Republicans aren’t buying Democrats’ claims about the severity of the cuts. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said last week on the Senate floor that Democrats are “fearmongering” and suggested the Obama administration needed a fact-checker. “Now is the time for governing, not for delivering more partisan stump speeches,” he said. “After all, the American people didn’t send us here to kick and scream over a 2.4 percent budget cut. They sent us here to make some hard decisions that are necessary to ensure longterm fiscal health and long-term economic prosperity.” Last fiscal year, CBP processed about 25 million containers, seized more than $100 million in illicit cash and prevented about 4.2 million pounds of ille-

gal narcotics from entering the country, according to Gallego’s office. “Furthermore, CBP’s National Targeting Center and Immigration Advisory Program prevented over 4,000 high-risk individuals from boarding flights destined to the United States — a 32 percent increase from the previous year,” he wrote. Gallego’s office said he has fielded calls from anxious constituents who have received furlough notices that warn of a pay cut as large as 30 percent. Officials in the CBP’s Del Rio sector estimated that an agent’s decrease in pay could range from $525 to $860, depending on his rank. For some agents, it means as much as a 30 percent reduction. “Sequestration will make it extremely challenging — and in many

cases impossible — for employees to meet their mortgage payments, pay their healthcare expenses, plan for retirement, or help their children attend college,” Gallego wrote. “To be blunt, these families are at risk. After years of service, CBP employees deserve more from their country’s leaders.” On Thursday, one of Gallego’s Democratic colleagues, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar of Laredo, sent out a statement condemning the cuts, citing a U.S. Department of Commerce study that states that each minute of delay at the nation’s five busiest southern ports, which include Laredo, Hidalgo and El Paso, cost about $116 million in economic output. Last year alone, more than $229 billion in trade passed through the Laredo customs district.

FRANCES Continued from Page 1A single mothers and washed the feet of recovering drug addicts; how he became one of them. “Four years ago, I was at my worst and I needed help. When the Mass started he knelt down and washed my feet. It hit me hard. It was such a beautiful experience,” said Cristian Marcelo Reynoso, 27, a garbage collector trying to kick a cocaine addiction through the church’s rehab program. “When I saw the news on the TV, I began screaming with joy, and look, I’m still trembling,” Reynoso said. “El Chabon (The Dude) is so humble. He’s a fan of San Lorenzo (the soccer club), like me. You talk to him like a friend.” Long after he became a cardinal in 2001, this “prince of the church” wore a simple black T-shirt with a white collar. For many at the slum’s Caacupe Virgin of the Miracles Church, it’s nothing short of a miracle that their friend is the pope. “He was always part of our slum,” housewife Lidia

Valdivieso, 41, said after praying while resting her palm on a statue of St. Expeditus, patron saint of urgent and impossible causes. Her 23-year-old son has cerebral palsy and is learning carpentry at the church’s technical school. “When I heard the news I couldn’t believe it. Having a ‘papa villero’ (slum pope) is the most beautiful thing that can happen to us. I still remember him going on long walks through our muddy streets or talking to our children,” Valdivieso said. Inside the concrete block chapel, there’s a painted message commemorating Bergoglio’s inauguration, and another big painting of Pope John Paul II, but no sign of Benedict XVI whatsoever. Near the altar, there’s a large black-andwhite poster of Carlos Mugica, an iconic Argentine slum priest who was killed in 1974 by a right-wing death squad intent on eliminating the “liberation theology” he preached.

Bergoglio never favored liberation theology because of its alliances with armed leftist guerrilla movements in the 1970s. But he has done much to follow in Mugica’s footsteps, sponsoring all sorts of outreach programs in Argentina’s slums. This can be messy work, obliging priests to challenge drug dealers for the slumdwellers’ allegiances, and putting their beliefs, even their lives, at risk. Sometimes compromises must be made. Just a few steps from the chapel, melted candles stand in a red shrine to the pagan folk hero Antonio “Gauchito” Gil, a 19th century outlaw revered among Argentina’s poor for sharing his stolen bounty with the poor. Many Argentines are as likely to pray for miracles from “Gauchito” as they are from authorized Catholic saints, but Bergoglio didn’t object to the shrine’s presence next to his chapel. “For more than 20 years he came here. He’s always

been close to us and his impact on this slum is huge,” said the parish priest, Lorenzo “Toto” de Vedia. Cameras followed Bergoglio once as he washed the feet of 12 young men at a rehab center. “Then he kept coming back, taking confession and counseling them,” Vedia said. On the priest’s desk lay a newspaper with a huge, one-word headline: “FRANCISCO.” “You can tell that the church is going to change,” Vedia said. “The fact that he chose the name Francisco says it all. It says: ‘Let’s stop messing around and devote ourselves to the poor.’ That was St. Francis’ message and now ‘Francisco’ can live it.” In his first appearance at St. Peter’s Square, the first Latin American pope bowed to the crowds and asked for their blessing. Back in Argentina, his friends in the slums recognized the gesture as the same sort of humility that won their hearts. In the 13th century, St.

Francis of Assisi made it his mission to respond to the poor and show that through simplicity and love, a stronger foundation for the church could be built. Pope Francis’ “mission is now to go on a pilgrimage to all lands, to walk with the people, to lead a church that walks,” said Mercedes Trovato, 24, a youth volunteer who wore a wooden cross around her neck. The pope’s sister, Maria Elena Bergoglio, said she is very confident that the pomp and protocol of the Vatican won’t dent his lifelong humility. His message to Argentines to spend their money on charities instead of for trips to Rome to see his installation in the Vatican on Tuesday is a strong sign that he won’t change, she said. “That message ... makes me feel like he is still on the same path, that he hasn’t been affected — for the moment, at least,” she said in an interview with The Associated Press at her home 25 miles west of downtown

Buenos Aires. “There is no worse poison than power.” She added that her brother’s preference “is for the poor, the weakest, the old, children.” “He has a clear preference for the poor,” she said. Nor did he ever express a desire to become pope, she said. “We would challenge him about it and he would say, ‘Oh, please!’” Bergoglio’s friends say he’s fundamentally shy. He hardly ever grants media interviews, preferring to speak from the pulpit. But he did agree to chat recently with Jaidr Flores, a 22year-old host on the parish’s Radio FM La 96. “He was hesitant at first. But I convinced him, and at the end of the interview, he started laughing and said: “You did it! You got me on air!”’ said Flores. “One day I went to visit him at his office and I was amazed to see how many pictures of the volunteers and recovered drug addicts from this community he had on his desk. He truly cares for us.”







Showing the world Photo by Gene J. Puskar | AP

Ed Reed met with the Texans after flying to Houston from Atlanta in the morning aboard team owner Bob McNair’s private jet.

Texans try to woo Reed to sign Houston gives Super Bowl safety all-star treatment on Thursday By CHRIS DUNCAN ASSOCIATED PRESS

HOUSTON — The Houston Texans gave safety Ed Reed the star treatment on Thursday while losing another key player in free agency. The 34-year-old Reed met with the Texans at Reliant Stadium after flying to Houston from Atlanta in the morning aboard team owner Bob McNair’s private jet. The move was tweeted by the team and then Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips

tweeted that he was meeting with the Ravens veteran in his office, too. But no deal was finalized Thursday night and meanwhile, outside linebacker Connor Barwin became the second Texans free agent to sign with Philadelphia this week, joining tight end James Casey. Houston also cut receiver Kevin Walter and Detroit signed free agent safety Glover Quin, paving the way for the Texans to go after Reed,

Profar plans to exhibit himself on WBC stage By EVAN GRANT MCCLATCHY-TRIBUNE

PHOENIX — Jurickson Profar has made all the right decisions this spring. The biggest decision, however, he’ll have to trust the Rangers.

When the decision was about his career vs. representing his country, he chose his career. When presented with the choice again this week, there really was no decision to make. He’s shown


Photo by Gregory Bull | AP

Netherlands second baseman Jurickson Profar, right, smiles after completing a double play.





Courtesy photo

Zapata’s Lady Hawks Leanna Saenz, Jessenia Garza, Krysta Lozano, Leann Hughes, Myra Garcia, Andrea Reyes, and Kaity Ramirez have all pushed each other to success on the course.

Zapata’s girls create competition on team By CLARA SANDOVAL THE ZAPATA TIMES

Photo by LM Otero | AP

The Zapata girls’ golf team is exactly where coach Clyde Guerra Jr. envisioned them after

last year’s stellar performance. Zapata already claimed the the Falfurrias Tournament title early in the season and took the Zapata Invita-

tional title recently. Current junior and defending district individual champion, Leanna Saenz, is getting back on track and is looking stronger than ever after

her other extra curricular activities have slowed down. “Leanna is starting to pick up her game,” Guer-


The Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (39) was the jewel in the team’s free-agency class last year, signing a five-year, $50.1 million deal.

Free agents fizzle for Cowboys Last year’s troubles educate this year’s front office in Dallas By CHAREAN WILLIAMS MCCLATCHY-TRIBUNE

The Dallas Cowboys have gotten little out of the $24.75 million in guarantees they gave seven free agents last year. The Cowboys, after a flurry of moves Monday, are barely under the salary cap. The money they have isn’t enough to do much of anything in free agency. That isn’t a bad thing. This time last year the Cowboys were being laud-

ed for their franchise-record seven free-agent signings worth $24.75 million in guaranteed money. In the year since, they’ve proved, yet again, that good football teams are built through the draft, not free agency. Here are how the seven free agents fared for the Cowboys in 2012: S Brodney Pool Pool barely made it to training camp before he was released. He failed his




Here the San Antonio Spurs are again, running roughshod over the NBA and putting off their collective obituary for another year. They’re at the top of the Western Conference again, and it feels like they’ve been there forever. While everyone keeps waiting for Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Gregg Popovich to just give up already, they keep coming back, keep fortifying the supporting cast around them and keep winning. “That’s a championship team right there,” Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah said after the Bulls lost in San Antonio earlier this month. “They do all the little things. Play together, de-

Photo by Bahram Mark Sobhani | AP

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) is fouled on a shot attempt by Dallas Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo during the first half Thursday in San Antonio. fensively, everybody’s on the same page. They make very little mistakes. You’ve got to give credit where credit is due.”

They’ve won at least 50 games in every season of Duncan’s long career, aside from the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season, when they

went 37-13 and captured the first of their four championships. They haven’t been as flashy as the Lakers. They haven’t been as hip as the Heat. What they have been is relentless and unyielding in the face of a clock that keeps ticking. Sure, there are vulnerabilities. Parker, who was putting together an MVP-caliber season, is out for at least another two weeks with a sprained left ankle. Ginobili has been bothered by a sore hamstring for much of the year and they’ve had more players start a game this season than any other team in the league. They’ve also had a few eye-opening losses — Phoenix at home, a 30point loss to Portland and a





ZAPATA Continued from Page 1B ra said. “She was overwhelmed with extracurricular activities. She’ll be fine when district comes around.” Saenz also has some healthy competition from her teammates, as Guerra has not settled on a top five players for his team. Leann Hughes won the Zapata Invitational on Feb. 18. “It is always good to have girls motivating each other,” Guerra said. Also making a strong move toward regular playing time are

Jessenia Garza, Krysta Lozano, Myra Garcia, Andrea Reyes and Kaity Ramirez. “They are all hard workers who are relentless on the golf course,” Guerra said. “They are never satisfied with their success; they always want to get better.”

Freshmen A core of freshmen have made noise for the Lady Hawks, as the

team welcomes Reyes, Garcia and Ramirez to the team with open arms. The trio found success at the middle school level, where it dominated and came home with hardware from most of the tournaments they attended. Guerra was able to coach all three at the middle-school level and knew what they brought to the table when they entered Zapata High. “I’m extremely proud if this freshman class,” Guerra said. “They are always striving to get

RANGERS Continued from Page 1B

Photo by Gregory Bull | AP

Netherlands second baseman Jurickson Profar, left, throws to first in Peoria, Ariz. the Rangers all he needs to show in the first month of spring training. Going off to the World Baseball Classic for an extended weekend to play for legitimately high stakes can be nothing but beneficial. And so, it wasn’t surprising that Profar nearly danced around camp all week. Early in camp, he was solemn and maybe even a bit sullen after deciding not to join many of his friends on the Netherlands roster, but he had a job to do. When presented with a second chance after a month of going about his work, it’s almost as if he had been freed. “This is an honor, and it’s going to be fun,” Profar said Thursday morning. “Playing on the big stage; I’m really looking forward to it.” “When he decided to stay in camp, he made a huge decision,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “Now, he’s got quite an opportunity. If the team hadn’t advanced, I think he would have just kept moving on.

But he’s got a right to be excited now. He will help them.” When he returns, though, the decisions will be out of his hands. The Rangers must be the ones to decide whether he can help the team from the start of the 2013 season as a bench player or if he should go to Triple-A Round Rock and play every day. To this point, Profar has had a solid, if unspectacular, spring. Though he’s hitting only .222 for 36 at-bats, (the most at-bats on the team entering Thursday), he had upped his on-base percentage to .349 thanks to seven walks. All spring, it has seemed Profar was headed to Triple-A to start the season, barring an injury or a bombshell of a trade. When he gets back from the WBC, it is unlikely the scenario will have changed. And no matter what Profar does in the WBC or in the final days of spring training, this is one decision he can’t make on his own.


District Expectations

The son

The Lady Hawks are the defending district champions, and are exactly where they want to be at this point of the season — with Guerra aiming to ensure they peak in April for the district meet. “I hope so, we want them to be playing their best golf in April,” Guerra said of his district prep-

For the first time since passing his love of golf to his son, Clyde III, Guerra finally gets to coach him at the high school level. “It’s a humbling experience for any parent, when your son or daughter work hard everyday to get better,” Guerra said. “He currently has a knee injury, but continues to work hard.”

SPURS Continued from Page 1B 24-point loss at Minnesota — in the last 10 days that have gotten everyone’s attention. “We’ve got to get things together and go back to who we were,” Ginobili said after the loss in Minnesota. “Because it’s happening too often now.” It’s always been about professionalism and precision in San Antonio. This year, there’s been some hunger and humility added, giving the team an edge that may serve it well when it tries to end a six-year title drought this postseason. That much was never more evident than on Tuesday when Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio sliced and diced them for a triple-double in the Minnesota’s convincing win. Sure Duncan and Kawhi Leonard were not playing, but that didn’t prevent Stephen Jackson — upset with the loss — from scoffing when asked about Rubio’s performance. “He’s all right,” Jackson huffed. “You know, I mean, I’m into winning championships. I’m not into guys playing all right, averaging 30 and 20 on sorry teams. I’m into winning championships. He got some upside, I’ll say that. But it’s all about winning to me. It’s not about what you do on your personal stats.” A banner hasn’t been raised on the River Walk since 2007. As dominant as they have been in the regular season, the Spurs have flamed out in the playoffs each year since then, including last year when they won 50 times in 66 games and won 20 straight through the end of the regular season and the first two and a half rounds of the postseason. Up 2-0 on Oklahoma City in the Western Conference finals and looking invincible, the Spurs lost four straight games to the younger Thunder to fall short again in the quest for their fifth title. Most teams would panic over the summer and make big moves to compensate. That’s not how the Spurs do business. Duncan, Ginobili and Parker all returned, with only minor tweaking of the roster around them. Richard Jefferson was out. Nando de Colo was in. Cory Joseph was

TEXANS Continued from Page 1B who’s fresh off helping the Ravens win the Super Bowl. Reed, a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, is the Ravens’ franchise leader in interceptions with 61 and his 1,541 return yards with those pickoffs is an NFL career record. He was the NFL’s top defensive player in 2004 after setting an NFL record for interception return yards (358), a mark broken by New Orleans’ safety Darren Sharper in 2009. Reed has scored 14 career touchdowns and is the only player in NFL history to score on a punt return, a blocked punt, interception and fumble recovery. He played in all 16 games during the 2012 regular season, recording 58 tackles and a team-high four interceptions. He was one of only two players on the Baltimore defense, along with cornerback Cary Williams, to start in all 16 games. Although he’s battled hip and neck injuries in recent years, Reed has played in all 16 games in all but three of his 11 seasons. The exceptions were 2005 (10 games), 2009 (12) and 2010 (10). The Texans are trying to make a major free-agent addition to their secondary for the second time in three years. When the lockout ended in the summer of 2011, Houston signed cornerback Jonathan Joseph and safety Danieal Manning. Houston’s pass defense improved from last in 2010 to third in 2011.


Photo by Billy Calzada | San Antonio Express-News

San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan (21) shoots as the Dallas Mavericks Elton Brand defends at the AT&T Center on Thursday. Duncan was fouled on the play. during secondhalf NBA action brought in from the NBDL to help when Parker went down and Leonard and Danny Green have continued to develop into promising perimeter threats. “They’re maturing right in front of our eyes,” Duncan said. “Kawhi and Danny are really picking up a lot of the slack.” It’s the Spurs way. An unparalleled scouting department led by general manager R.C. Buford does the drafting, searching far and wide for the right players to put around their three stars. “Our management staff, R.C. does a great job with his scouts showing us who is out there, who is available,” Popovich said. “And we all sit down and decide who we want to bring in. Once we bring them in, we do take a lot of time trying to develop them. “ The coaching staff, in particular assistant Chad Forcier, works with the new guys, smoothing out any rough edges and getting them up to speed on the system. And Duncan, Parker and Ginobili set the tone in practice

every day. “The role guys aren’t going to get much done if they don’t have the real talented guys to play with,” Popovich said. “It’s not going to work.” The job has been done in the regular season, over and over again since that last title. And it’s not like the Spurs have been slouches in the playoffs. They have twice reached the Western Conference finals in the last six years. But they’ve also been bounced in the first round twice. “Main thing for sure is getting players healthy and have the whole group playing. Then being more focused, more regular,” Ginobili said. This team does have issues to overcome, and not just on the roster. The Thunder will be steeled by their NBA Finals loss to Miami. The Clippers are dunking all over everyone. And just when they appeared to be sunk, the Lakers have come roaring back into the playoff picture. But the Spurs also have a rock solid foundation to stand on, forged over more than a decade of continuity. That breeds confidence, and lots of it.

COWBOYS Continued from Page 1B

Photo by Tony Gutierrez | AP Photo by Smiley N. Pool | Houston Chronicle

The Houston Texans gave safety Ed Reed the star treatment on Thursday while losing another key player in free agency. No matter what happens with Reed, the Texans will have to retool their group of linebackers before next season. Barwin signed a sixyear deal with the Eagles after spending his first four NFL seasons in Houston. A second-round pick (46th overall) in 2009, Barwin missed most of the 2010 season with a broken right ankle. He moved to outside linebacker when Phillips became the defensive coordinator and converted the Texans to a 3-4 defense. Barwin flourished in the new system in 2011, leading the Texans with 111/2 sacks. He had only three sacks in 2012. If the Texans can lure Reed, it would be another blow to the Ravens, who’ve been gutted since winning their second Super Bowl on Feb. 3. Baltimore traded receiver Anquan Boldin

to San Francisco for a sixth-round pick and linebacker Ray Lewis retired and joined ESPN. When free agency began, linebacker Paul Kruger signed with Cleveland and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe left for Miami. Baltimore also released safety Bernard Pollard, a former Texan, and Philadelphia signed Williams. Reed is represented by David Dunn, also the agent for Walter and Houston quarterback Matt Schaub. It probably helps Houston’s chances, too, that Reed was a college teammate at Miami with Texans star receiver Andre Johnson. Reed would fill a void created by the departure of Quin, who signed a fiveyear contract with Detroit. Quin was a fourth-round pick in 2009 and missed only one game in four seasons.

The Dallas Cowboys Brandon Carr (39) started all 16 games and played 1,011 plays, off the field for only 18 plays. He made 62 tackles, had 11 pass breakups and made three interceptions. conditioning test, and after eventually passing it, was taking snaps with the second-team defense when he was released early in camp. He did not play in the NFL last season. Pool cost the Cowboys only $100,000 in guaranteed money on a oneyear, $1.2 million contract. LB Dan Connor He arrived via a two-year, $6.5 million contract, including $2.7 million to sign, on the same day as Pool, brought in to compete with Bruce Carter for the starting job. Carter won the job, though Connor did end up starting eight games after Sean Lee and Carter both were lost to season-ending injuries. Connor played 340 plays and made 58 tackles. He was cut Monday. QB Kyle Orton The Cowboys signed Orton to a threeyear, $10.5 million deal, including a $5 million signing bonus. He was Tony Romo’s only backup last season and completed 9 of 10 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown, appearing in mop-up duty, 11 plays, in a blowout loss to the Chicago Bears. CB Brandon Carr He was the jewel in the team’s freeagency class, signing a five-year, $50.1 million deal. Of that, $26.5 million was guaranteed, including $10 million to sign. Carr started all 16 games and played 1,011 plays, off the field for only 18 plays. He

made 62 tackles, had 11 pass breakups and made three interceptions. Opposing quarterbacks targeted Carr 88 times and he allowed 51 catches for 786 yards and four touchdowns, according to STATS, Inc. RG Mackenzy Bernadeau He played every snap — all 1,107 — after signing a four-year, $11.5 million deal with $3.25 million in the form of a signing bonus. Bernadeau started two games at center when Phil Costa and Ryan Cook both were injured, and the other 14 at right guard. He could be tried at center this season, depending on what the Cowboys do this off-season. Bernadeau had two holding penalties and he allowed 6.5 sacks, according to STATS, Inc. LG Nate Livings He signed a five-year, $18.75 million deal that included $3.5 million to sign. The total guaranteed money was $6.2 million. Livings played 1,100 of 1,107 plays, starting every game. He was called for one holding penalty and allowed five sacks, according to STATS, Inc. FB Lawrence Vickers He signed a two-year, $2.4 million contact that included a $200,000 signing bonus. Vickers played 299 offensive snaps, getting 16 touches and 115 yards. The Cowboys had the fewest rushing yards in a 16-game season in team history with 1,265.



HINTS | BY HELOISE HINTS | BY HELOISE LIP BALM PUTS SMACK ON LAUNDRY Dear Heloise: Somehow I missed my husband’s cherry LIP BALM when checking pockets before doing laundry. Needless to say, it got washed and dried with a large load of dark laundry. You can only imagine the grease spots that are all over now. What do you suggest? — K.M., Greensboro, N.C. What greasy, icky stains those lip balms can make! Here’s the scoop from a major manufacturer of lip balms, so read on. This happens a lot! Post this column right next to the washing machine. First, treat each piece of clothing. Use dishwashing liquid that has a degreasing agent. Rub the liquid into the stains (yes, each piece of clothing) and then rewash in the hottest water that’s safe for the fabric. Let air-dry, and re-treat the spots, if necessary. A letter from Bridget in Washington offers another idea: “I know this will sound too good to be true, but I promise it works on washable garments. Any oil-based stain, even if it’s been


washed and dried, can be removed by rubbing the stain with any shampoo and then rewashing. (Heloise here: This is worth a try, especially since most hair shampoos are formulated to break down body oil. Put the shampoo on the oily stains, and either scrub with an old toothbrush or rub fabric together before putting in the washer. Let garment AIR-dry). Hopefully, one of these methods will help you. Laundry stains are part of life and can make laundry day so much harder! To make it easier, I have a very helpful pamphlet filled with hints about how to remove clothing stains, and it is a must for every household. Just send $5 for Heloise’s Handy Stain Guide for Clothing. Send a long, self-addressed, stamped (66 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Stain, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. If you added too much detergent and suds start bubbling over, just sprinkle plain ol’ table salt on the suds, and poof, they’re gone. — Heloise





DAILY CRYPTOQUOTES — Here’s how to work it:




The Zapata Times 3/16/2013  

The Zapata Times 3/16/2013

The Zapata Times 3/16/2013  

The Zapata Times 3/16/2013