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TO 4,000 HOMES





Safety tips for the holidays

On the lookout

Residents given tips to keep homes, safe while they’re away By LORRAINE L. RODRIGUEZ THE ZAPATA TIMES

The holidays can be a joyful time with family and friends, even a time of relaxation and time away from home, but burglars are lurking and waiting for their lucky breaks. That is why the Zapata County Sheriff ’s Office is encouraging residents to secure their properties, especially during the holidays. Residents are encouraged to contact the sheriff ’s office if they will be away from their homes for more than a day, Sergeant Mario Elizondo said. “They can leave a contact number or if they have an alarm they can provide the company so we can speak to them directly,” Elizondo said. “They should also notify trustworthy neighbors and family members so they can go by the house to check in.” Some other safety tips include leaving a light, a T.V. or a radio on, and have a neighbor or family member pick up newspapers, Elizondo said. “Habitual or veteran burglars go casing houses, especially during the holidays,” Elizondo said. “Burglars casing houses will look at a stack of newspapers that have not

been picked up as a sign of a resident not being home.” During the holidays burglars expect to find presents and other valuables at their disposal, especially when a Christmas tree is set in front of a window, Elizondo said. “They know there are presents so windows and doors should be locked,” Elizondo said. “Call back to your house and let it ring a couple of times and hang up. Don’t make it seem like you are not at your house.” A burglary happens in less than three minutes, Elizondo said. “They break a window and take as much as they can take in a minute or two,” Elizondo said. The sheriff ’s office has recovered unwrapped gifts and other valuables, Elizondo added. “That’s what they look for, easy cash like that,” he said. “People get stuck with a $100 broken window and no gifts and whatever else they took.” Zapata County is populated by winter Texans who are usually gone for six months out of the year and often fall victim to their homes being burglarized and don’t realize it until they return, Elizondo said. “There’s no way of us knowing,” Elizondo said. For winter Texans and other local residents, the sheriff ’s office provides ‘round-the-

Sheriff seeks vandal of deputy’s car By CÉSAR G. RODRIGUEZ THE ZAPATA TIMES

Courtesy photo

Authorities are asking for the community’s help to find the person responsible for the damages on this 2006 Mustang. To provide information on the case call Crime Stoppers at 765-8477. Callers may remain anonymous and may be entitled to a reward of up to $1,000.

The Zapata County Sheriff ’s Office is asking the community’s help in solving a vandalism case deputies say may be a retaliation. Deputies responded to a criminal mischief call Sunday in the 100 block of Carla Street by the Falcon Lake Nursing Home.






Villarreal students put on talent show By LORRAINE L. RODRIGUEZ THE ZAPATA TIMES

Before taking the Thanksgiving holiday off, Villarreal Elementary School Student Council members and officers showed off their talent by singing and dancing in front of the entire student body and staff. The talent show consisted of 14 acts, including two large dancing groups and 12 solo or small groups of all ages, said Victoriana Gallegos, Villarreal reading interventionist and Student Council sponsor. Student Council members had wanted to put on the show since the beginning of the year, Gallegos said. “I agreed and we’ve been practicing the past month,” Gallegos said. The Student Council consists of members and officers from third through fifth grades, Gallegos said.

“We let students be the leaders of the school and I try to portray that to them,” Gallegos said. “When they came with the talent show idea I really wanted to put it on even though I knew it was going to be hard work, but I really wanted to show them that they are important and take their ideas into consideration. We just went for it and had a lot of fun.” One of the large groups consisting mostly of student council members performed “DJ Got Us Falling in Love,” a song by Usher and choreographed by Gallegos, she said. The other large group performed “I Like It,” by Enrique Iglesias and choreographed by cheerleading sponsor Vicky Garza, Gallegos said. Before the performance individuals and groups had to choose a song to be approved


Photo by Cuate Santos | The Zapata Times

Zapata County hosted a Thanksgiving luncheon for its employees Wednesday at the Zapata County Community Center. Among those in attendance were, from left, Duvleza Orengo, Fire Chief Juan Meza, Nellie Trevino and Mari Gutierrez.

County offers appreciation luncheon By LORRAINE L. RODRIGUEZ THE ZAPATA TIMES

Zapata County employees gathered Wednesday for a Thanksgiving luncheon provided by the county in appreciation for their hard work all year. “We don’t do this every year, but this is another way for the public officials to show gratitude to all the county employees,” Zapata County Judge Rosalva Guerra said. “We are grateful for the hard work they do for the county.”

The county sponsors a Thanksgiving luncheon every other year, Guerra said. “We don’t do this every year, but the employees were asking for it,” Guerra said. During the luncheon, county employees sat on several tables surrounded by their co-workers, colleagues, and friends while enjoying their Thanksgiving lunch, donated by Justice of the Peace Fernando Muñoz. While eating turkey and all the trimmings, county employees listened to a few words of encour-

agement by Captain Aaron Sanchez of the Zapata County Sheriff’s Office and by Audelia Hernandez, the county judge’s secretary. Sanchez made the county employees aware of what is going on in the community and Hernandez gave a presentation on the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program, Guerra said. “Many county employees don’t know this program is available to them and that (they’re income



Zin brief CALENDAR






Veterans Helping Veterans will meet in TAMIU’s Western Hemispheric Trade Center, Room 126, from noon to 2:30 p.m. today, Dec. 11 and Dec. 18. Meetings are confidential and for military veterans only. Contact George Mendez at 794-3057 or, or Jessica Morales at 794-3091 or

MONDAY, NOV. 29 The creative works of several Laredo Community College students are on display as part of the art exhibit, Hecho en LCC II, now through Friday, Dec. 10 at the Yeary Library on the Fort McIntosh Campus. The exhibit may be viewed Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and weekends from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, call 721-5280.

TUEDAY, NOV. 30 Texas A&M International University’s Center for the Fine and Performing Arts will host a Fall Piano Studio Recital, today from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the CFPA Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public. Contact Dr. Gechter at 326.2639 or e-mail .

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 1 A Tony Award-winning musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” is coming to Laredo Community College this spring. The Laredo Community College’s Opera Workshop is holding auditions from 7 to 9:30 p.m. today for the upcoming production, slated for performances March 3-6 at LCC. Contact the LCC performing arts department at (956) 721-5330 or Joseph Crabtree at

THURSDAY, DEC. 2 Laredo Community College ushers in the Yuletide season at 7 p.m. during the annual Holiday Celebration and Posada in front of the Yeary Library courtyard on the Fort McIntosh Campus. Bring the entire family. Admission is free and open to the public. Call 721-5350. Laredo elementary schools will sing and perform traditional Christmas carols at the Laredo Public Library at 1120 E. Calton Ave. from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Free hot chocolate and cookies while they last. Admission is free.

FRIDAY, DEC. 3 Today is the NavidadFest Parade and Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. The parade kicks off at 6 p.m. from the Burlington Coat Factory parking lot and heads south on San Bernardo Ave. to the Laredo Civic Center, where Christmas performances, a Mexican pastorela, food booths, free rides for children and, of course, the official City of Laredo Christmas Tree Lighting will take place, ending at 11 p.m. Entrance is free for the whole family.

SATURDAY, DEC. 4 A book sale will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. today in the Widener Room, First United Methodist Church, 1220 McClelland Ave. The public is invited, and there is no admission fee. PETCO will be celebrating the season by having the annual “Photos for Santa with Pets” photo session at the PETCO store at 5410 San Bernardo Ave. between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.. All pets are welcome. Border Region MHMR will have a toy drive benefiting children ages 317 participating in the Child, Adolescent & Parent Services (CAPS) Program. The toy drive will take place at the Walmart at 5610 San Bernardo Ave. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Donations of unwrapped toys will be most appreciated. Contact Kathleen Seitel by email at

SUNDAY, DEC. 5 Memorial Bells of the First United Methodist Church, under the direction of Linda Mott, will present a Christmas Concert entitled "Ring, Sing Noel" at 4:00 p.m. in the sanctuary at 1220 McClelland. This event is free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted to help defray concert-related expenses. For more information, call the church office at (956) 7221674 or email at To submit an item for the calendar, send the name of the event, the date, time, location and contact phone number to

Photo by Larry Kolvoord/Austin American-Statesman | AP

Tom DeLay leaves the courtroom at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center on Wednesday, in Austin. DeLay — once one of the most powerful and feared Republicans in Congress — was convicted Wednesday on charges he illegally funneled corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002.


HOUSTON — The conviction of Tom DeLay, once one of the most powerful Republican wheelers-and-dealers in Congress, marks the beginning of a lengthy appeals process that will seek to cleanse the name and the record of the former House majority leader. DeLay’s lead attorney, Dick DeGuerin, expressed confidence on Friday the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Austin will rule in his favor because it has in the past. Add to that a varied assortment of available arguments, and DeGuerin and law experts say they’re convinced this is only the start of what will become a precedent-setting case. "This is the first and only time that a prosecution like this has ever taken place in Texas. It’s totally unprecedented, and we believe we’re right," DeGuerin said.

DeLay was convicted Wednesday of illegally funneling corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002. He faces up to life in prison on the money laundering conviction, and two to 20 years for the charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering. DeLay resigned due to the indictment and a separate federal investigation into his ties to former disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Some legal experts argue that such unprecedented cases immediately raise the interest of the appellate courts. Others, however, note that Texas’ conservative, largely Republican appellate courts do not have a strong record of siding with defendants. "Statistically, he is going to be fighting an uphill battle," said Philip H. Hilder, a former prosecutor, now a Houston attorney. The courts could see it as a "partisan fight" though, Hilder said.

ID remains elusive for last known Ike victim

Police: Thanksgiving visitor shot at home

Tree farm has ‘first Noel’ since Ike

GALVESTON — Galveston County’s last known victim from Hurricane Ike remains unidentified more than two years after the storm. The woman was found 16 days after Ike made landfall on Sept. 13, 2008. People on all-terrain vehicles discovered the decomposed body on the shore of Pelican Island.

HOUSTON — A Houston homeowner fatally shot a visitor after the acquaintance was kicked out of the home and then forced his way back in. The man allegedly became belligerent about 2 a.m. Thursday and assaulted the homeowner. The homeowner removed the man and locked the door. The man stood outside yelling before allegedly breaking a front door window and reaching inside to unlock the door. He was shot once in the chest after opening the door and charging toward the homeowner.

LUMBERTON — Jay and Beckie Kelley worry their former Christmas tree farm customers will stick to decorating artificial trees this season. Bozeman’s Christmas Tree Farm reopens today, after Hurricanes Ike and Rita destroyed most of its trees. The Kelleys said people ask when they can get their tree.

Man has heart attack, dies after pit bull incident TYLER — An East Texas man died after suffering a heart attack when he tried to help his mother-in-law stave off an attack by pit bulls. The mother-in-law intervened when the pit bulls attacked her two dogs Thursday, but was bitten by one of the pit bulls. The dog was stabbed and killed by her son-in-law, who later had a heart attack while the woman was being treated.

Twins killed in Waco fire WACO — Twin Central Texas brothers have died in a fire that destroyed a portable building where they were sleeping. The boys died five days short of their third birthday. The children’s mother and boyfriend were in a mobile home nearby.

Texas grand jury clears accused deputy MINDEN, La. — A Texas grand jury cleared a sheriff ’s deputy of charges he molested a 6-year-old girl in the 1990s. Robert Booth’s daughter said the Nueces County District Attorney told her father, 63, on Nov. 18 the charges were thrown out. Booth was arrested in June and charged on two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child. — Compiled from AP reports

AROUND THE NATION San Diego drug tunnel had railcar, tons of pot


SAN DIEGO — U.S. authorities say more than 20 tons of marijuana was seized in connection with a cross-border tunnel that was equipped with a rail car — the second discovery of a major underground drug passage in San Diego this month. The passage ran 2,200 feet from Tijuana, Mexico, to San Diego. Three were arrested in the United States and five in Mexico.

Mother, 2 kids stabbed to death in Ohio; man hurt COLUMBUS, Ohio — Police say a mother and her two children were found fatally stabbed in their apartment after family reported that she hadn’t shown up for Thanksgiving or work. Officers found the three victims Friday afternoon and a man still alive with stab wounds.

Today is Saturday, Nov. 27, the 331st day of 2010. There are 34 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Nov. 27, 1910, New York’s Pennsylvania Station officially opened as it became fully operational with regular through train service from the Pennsylvania Railroad. On this date: In 1701, astronomer Anders Celsius, inventor of the Celsius temperature scale, was born in Uppsala, Sweden. In 1901, the U.S. Army War College was established in Washington, D.C. In 1909, author, poet and critic James Agee was born in Knoxville, Tenn. In 1939, the play “Key Largo,” by Maxwell Anderson, opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theater in New York. In 1942, during World War II, the French navy at Toulon scuttled its ships and submarines to keep them out of the hands of German troops. In 1953, playwright Eugene O’Neill died in Boston at age 65. In 1970, Pope Paul VI, visiting the Philippines, was slightly wounded at the Manila airport by a dagger-wielding Bolivian painter disguised as a priest. In 1978, San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and City Supervisor Harvey Milk, a gay-rights activist, were shot to death inside City Hall by former supervisor Dan White. In 1983, 181 people were killed when a Colombian Avianca Airlines Boeing 747 crashed near Madrid’s Barajas airport. In 1989, a bomb blamed on drug traffickers destroyed a Colombian Avianca Boeing 727, killing all 107 people on board and three people on the ground. Ten years ago: A day after George W. Bush was certified the winner of Florida’s presidential vote, Al Gore laid out his case for letting the courts settle the nation’s long-count election. Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s Liberal Party won a third straight majority in the House of Commons. One year ago: Tiger Woods crashed his SUV outside his Florida mansion, sparking widespread attention to reports of marital infidelity. Former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced daughter Chelsea’s engagement to longtime boyfriend Marc Mezvinsky. Today’s Birthdays: Actor James Avery is 62. Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow (Film: “The Hurt Locker”) is 59. TV host Bill Nye (“Bill Nye, the Science Guy”) is 55. Actor William Fichtner is 54. Caroline Kennedy is 53. Academy Awardwinning screenwriter Callie Khouri (Film: “Thelma and Louise”) is 53. Rock musician Charlie Burchill (Simple Minds) is 51. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is 50. Rock musician Charlie Benante (Anthrax) is 48. Rock musician Mike Bordin (Faith No More) is 48. Actor Fisher Stevens is 47. Thought for Today: “Nothing is more despicable than a professional talker who uses his words as a quack uses his remedies.” — Francois Fenelon, French theologian (1651-1715).

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Fans line up to meet pop star Justin Bieber at Barnes & Noble bookstore on Fifth Avenue in New York City on Friday.

Marine stabbed by suspected shoplifter AUGUSTA, Ga. — A U.S. Marine collecting toys was stabbed when he helped stop a suspected

shoplifter. The man was seen on surveillance cameras Friday putting a laptop under his jacket. A Marine collecting toys for “Toys For Tots” stopped the man, who then stabbed him. — 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





Christmas parade set for Wednesday By LORRAINE L. RODRIGUEZ THE ZAPATA TIMES

Courtesy photo

The Zapata County Juvenile Probation Department and the Zapata County Sheriff’s Office visit Villarreal Elementary to provide students with information on bullying. Pictured, from left to right, are Angel Garza, Marshall Davidson and presenters Roger Miller and Myrna Bustamante.

THE BLOTTER ACCIDENT Police responded to an accident at 2:41 p.m. Nov. 20 at 9th Avenue and US Highway 83. Police responded to an accident involving damages at 4:04 p.m. Nov. 21 at US Highway 83 and El Paraiso.

ASSAULT Police responded to an as-

sault causing bodily injury call at 4:29 p.m. Nov. 20 in the 300 block of Gonzalez Street. Police responded to an assault causing bodily injury call at midnight Nov. 21 in the 1900 block of Bravo. Police responded to an aggravated assault call at 5 a.m. Nov. 21 at 13th and Medina. Police responded to an assault causing bodily injury call

at 8:02 a.m. Nov. 21 in the 2500 block of Carla Street.

BURGLARY Police responded to a burglary of habitation call at 6:25 p.m. Nov. 19 in the 300 block of Third Street. in the 130 block of Flores Street. Police responded to a burglary of vehicle call at 4:22 a.m. Nov. 21 in the 2500 block of

Brazos Street. Police responded to a burglary of building call at 9:26 a.m. Nov. 21 in the 1600 of Medina Avenue.

THEFT Police responded to a theft call at 4:44 a.m. Nov. 20 at an Exxon station in the 1300 block of US Highway 83.

Zapata County Chamber of Commerce readies for the annual Christmas parade and lighting of the plaza, inviting the community and surrounding communities to participate in the spirit of giving by donating toys to the less fortunate during the holidays. “We had a good turnout last year, and hope to have a better turnout this year,” said Jose F. “Paco” Mendoza Jr., the chamber’s president and chief executive officer. “We look to improve it every year and increase participation from the community.” Last year, more than 250 toys were collected, said Celia Balderas, the chamber’s membership services coordinator. “We ran out of toys. Hopefully, we have more this year,” Balderas said. The Chamber of Commerce staff also handed out 400 bags of candy to children last year, Balderas added. “It was overwhelming, the expression on the kids’ faces,” she said. “I would like to see it again this year.” The event will take place Wednesday. The parade will line up at 5:30 p.m. at the corner of 17th

It was overwhelming, the expression on the kids’ faces” CELIA BALDERAS, CHAMBER MEMBERSHIP SERVICES COORDINATOR

Street and Hidalgo Boulevard. The parade will start at 17th Street and will head south on US 83 and end on 6th Avenue at the County Plaza, according to a Zapata County press release. This year the event will include carolers, entertainment, pictures with Santa, hot cocoa, and food booths. Entertainment will be provided by Ultimate Sound of Zapata and Steve Sanchez and his wife, Blanca, will dress up as Mr. and Mrs. Santa, Balderas added. Border Patrol, Texas Parks and Wildlife, the Hawk band, and other organizations have also confirmed their participation in the event, Balderas said. (Lorraine L. Rodriguez may be reached at (956)7282557.)







It’s rags to riches to rags for Irish W

hat we need now is another Jonathan Swift. Most people know Swift as the author of “Gulliver’s Travels.” But recent events have me thinking of his 1729 essay “A Modest Proposal,” in which he observed the dire poverty of the Irish and offered a solution: Sell the children as food. “I grant this food will be somewhat dear,” he admitted, but this would make it “very proper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the children.”

Satirist needed OK, these days it’s not the landlords, it’s the bankers — and they’re just impoverishing the populace, not eating it. But only a satirist — and one with a very savage pen — could do justice to what’s happening to Ireland now. The Irish story began with a genuine economic miracle. Eventually, though, this gave way to a speculative frenzy driven by runaway banks and real estate developers, all in a cozy relationship with leading politicians. The frenzy was financed with huge borrowing on the part of Irish banks, largely from banks in other European nations.

Banks in trouble Then the bubble burst, and those banks faced huge losses. You might have expected those who lent money to the banks to share in the losses. After all, they were consenting adults, and if they failed to understand the risks they were taking that was nobody’s fault but their own. But, no, the Irish government stepped in to guarantee the banks’ debt, turning private losses into public obligations. Before the bank bust, Ireland had little public debt. However, with taxpayers suddenly on the hook for gigantic bank losses, even as revenues plunged, the nation’s creditworthiness was put in doubt. So Ireland tried to reassure the markets with a harsh program of spending cuts. Step back for a minute and think about that. These debts were incurred, not to pay for public programs, but by private wheeler-dealers seeking nothing but their own profit. Ordinary Irish citizens are now bearing the burden of those debts. Or to be more accurate, they’re bearing a burden much larger than the debt — because those spending cuts have caused a severe recession so that in addition to taking on the banks’ debts, the Irish are suffering from plunging incomes and high unemployment.

Confidence sought There is no alternative, though, say the serious people: all of this is necessary to restore confidence. Strange to say, however, confidence is not improving. On the contrary, investors have noticed that all those austerity


measures are depressing the Irish economy — and are fleeing Irish debt because of that economic weakness.

Painful reform Now what? Last weekend Ireland and its neighbors put together what has widely been described as a “bailout.” What really happened, though, was that the Irish government promised to impose even more pain, in return for a credit line that would presumably give Ireland more time to, um, restore confidence. Markets, understandably, were not impressed as interest rates on Irish bonds have risen even further. Does it really have to be this way? In early 2009, a joke was making the rounds: “What’s the difference between Iceland and Ireland? Answer: One letter and about six months.” This was supposed to be gallows humor. No matter how bad the Irish situation, it couldn’t be compared with the utter disaster that was Iceland. At this point, however, Iceland seems, if anything, to be doing better than its near-namesake. Its economic slump was no deeper than Ireland’s, its job losses were less severe and it seems better positioned for recovery. In fact, investors now appear to consider Iceland’s debt safer than Ireland’s. How is that possible?

Money talks Part of the answer is that Iceland let foreign lenders to its runaway banks pay the price of their poor judgment, rather than putting its own taxpayers on the line to guarantee bad private debts. As the International Monetary Fund notes — approvingly! — “private sector bankruptcies have led to a marked decline in external debt.” Meanwhile, Iceland helped avoid a financial panic in part by imposing temporary capital controls — that is, by limiting the ability of residents to pull funds out of the country. Iceland has also benefited from the fact that, unlike Ireland, it still has its own currency; devaluation of the krona, which has made Iceland’s exports more competitive, has been an important factor in limiting the depth of Iceland’s slump. None of these heterodox options are available to Ireland, say the wise heads. Ireland, they say, must continue to inflict pain on its citizens — because to do anything else would fatally undermine confidence. But Ireland is now in its third year of austerity, and confidence just keeps draining away. And you have to wonder what it will take for serious people to realize that punishing the populace for the bankers’ sins is worse than a crime; it’s a mistake.


Fixing crops to feed the world A

s we all prepare to gain a few pounds over Thanksgiving, I promise not to be a buzz kill wagging my finger about starva ... well, never mind. You see, this is that rarest of birds: a happy column about hunger. And our hero, appropriate for this season, is a high-tech and heroic version of the vitamin-packed, orange-fleshed sweet potato. Along with a few other newly designed foods, it may help save hundreds of thousands of children’s lives each year. If there’s any justice in the world, statues may eventually be erected of this noble root, the Mother Teresa of the dinner plate. But, first, the back story. We think of starvation as a shortage of calories, but researchers are finding that the biggest reason people die of malnutrition is simply lack of micronutrients. Without enough zinc, children die of diarrhea. Without enough iron, children are anemic and women die in childbirth. Without enough vitamin A, small children often go blind or die. More than onethird of African preschoolers lack vitamin A, and hundreds of thousands die as a result. (Americans get enough vitamin A because of a more varied diet and


fortified foods.) UNICEF and other aid organizations like Helen Keller International have been working frantically to distribute vitamin A capsules and iron and zinc supplements in poor countries, or to fortify foods with minerals and vitamins. But it’s a long, hard slog. A vitamin A capsule costs only a couple of cents, but delivering the capsules to remote villages can cost as much as $1 each. So a decade ago scientists began experimenting with this approach: What if they tinkered with crops so that they naturally contained iron, zinc or vitamin A? That’s where our hero, the sweet potato, comes in. Orange sweet potatoes on our Thanksgiving tables are full of beta carotene, which the body turns into vitamin A. But our sweet potatoes don’t grow well in Africa. Africans eat an estimated 7 million tons of sweet potatoes a year, but theirs lack vitamin A. So scientists cross-bred sweet potatoes until they came up with vitamin Arich orange varieties that

grow well in Africa. Hardbitten health specialists go weak-kneed over them. More than 170,000 Ugandan and Mozambiquan families are now growing these sweet potatoes. And the sweet potato is just the first of a number of crops that have been bred or engineered to address micronutrient deficiencies. This mix of agriculture and nutrition is called biofortification, and it’s one of the hot words in the global poverty lexicon. Also in the works are rice and wheat packed with zinc, pearl millet and beans with iron, bright orange corn and golden cassava that give people vitamin A. These crops are in various stages of testing by Harvest Plus, a nonprofit based in Washington. The alliance is financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank, aid agencies from Canada, Britain and the United States, and the aim is to produce cheap seeds in the public domain. “Biofortification is slow, but it has a huge impact in the end,” said Howarth Bouis, director of Harvest Plus. One of the questions, though, is this: Will rural Africans want to eat orange sweet potatoes? Iron and zinc don’t change the color or taste of foods, but foods that produce vitamin A are

often an unearthly orange. While the crops backed by Harvest Plus are all conventionally bred, other crops have been genetically engineered. The best known is “golden rice”: Scientists plucked genes from daffodils and corn to come up with rice that produces vitamin A. Gerard Barry of the International Rice Research Institute said it is now in trials and, if widely accepted around the world, could be a huge step in reducing child deaths and blindness. There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical. No battle against poverty goes smoothly, or as planned. And the European left’s sad hostility to scientific tinkering with crops may slow acceptance of biofortification. If that hostility gains ground, it will be harder to save children from blindness and death. But, so far, the science is promising. It may turn out that one of the best ways to save children’s lives, or to save women in childbirth, doesn’t involve doctors but rather high-tech seeds. Children have been dying for lack of vitamin A, iron and zinc for thousands of generations. These new seeds may finally help end the scourge of starvation in this century, on our watch. And that’s a special reason to give thanks.

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







COMING UP Costumbre to accompany Emilio The upcoming Return of Emilio Navaira concert just added another band to the lineup. Grupo Costumbre will play alongside Emilio and Los Palominos at the Laredo Energy Arena on Saturday, Dec. 11. A local opening band will also be announced soon. Norteño/Tejano group Costumbre was formed by Zapata High School graduate Manuel Edgar Luján and Mexican native José Zamora Jr., debuting with the release of a self-titled album Oct. 5, 1999. Costumbre returned in 2001 with “Déjame Ser,” featuring Billboard’s Hot Latin Track “Y Ya Después.” Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations, including the LEA box office.

Fight Fest at Civic Center Photo by Edward A. Ornelas | San Antonio Express-News

Los Tigres Del Norte’s Jorge Hernandez, left, and his brother Hernan Hernandez perform during the 59th Annual San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo at the AT&T Center in 2008. The band returns to Laredo on Friday, Dec. 17. Tickets start at $45.

Los Tigres del Norte return to Laredo By EMILIO RÁBAGO III THE ZAPATA TIMES

Just a week after The Return of Emilio Navaira, the Laredo Energy Arena will host norteño/corrido legends Los Tigres del Norte for another dance/ concert. E11even Promotions, led by Laredoan Roy Granados, is presenting Los Tigres, along with Celso Piña, Control, Sonora Dinamita and Adrian Perez y Origen. The concert at the LEA starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17. According to an LEA release, no norteño act is more renowned than Los Tigres del Norte — a group of Mexican-American brothers based in California. Los Tigres began its recording career in the early 1970s and has enjoyed widespread acclaim for four decades, especially

from the Mexican-American segment. Celso Piña from Monterrey, Nuevo León, is a notable Mexican singer, composer and accordionist. His popularity stems from songs such as “Cumbia Sobre el Rio” and “Cumbia Poder.” La Sonora Dinamita, a Colombian cumbia group, was one of the first cumbia groups to reach international success and is credited with helping to popularize the genre throughout Latin America. Specializing in norteño music, Control (aka Grupo Control) is a regional Mexican group based in Houston. Control bills itself as Los Reyes de la Cumbia. Adrian Perez Y Origen is four years into its creation. The group of talented young locals wishes to conquer the public with its music. They are now promoting their second al-

bum and hope to succeed in Mexico and the U.S. “We are very excited to bring such a great lineup to the Laredo Energy Arena with a dance atmosphere,” said Granados, CEO of E11even Promotions. “I invite all of Laredo to come out and dance the night away.” Arena floor tables will be available for this event, with prices at $450, $550 and $650 for a table of 10. Individual table seats will be at $45, $55 and $65, plus facility fees. A special $45 standing GA floor area will be available. Individual tickets for arena bowl seating will be available at $35 for lower bowl, and $25 upper bowl (facility fee not included). Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations, including the LEA box office. (Emilio Rábago III may be reached at 728-2564 or

The Laredo Civic Center will host Mixed Martial Arts fighting on Thursday. Dubbed Fight Fest, the MMA fights will feature Laredoan Sonny Luque against Elias Marks in the main event bout. Also fighting will be Victor O. vs. Rafael Lopez, George C vs. Peter Ruiz, Danny L. vs. Jonathan W., Alex vs. Ruben and Danny Cervantez vs. Davis Mc. Tickets are $15 and doors open at 6 p.m. The event is being presented by Triple-A Promotions and Cage Fitness. For more information, call 235-2706.

‘Guitarras de Navidad’ is Thursday For the ninth consecutive year, guitar strings will strum in artistic unison for the annual “Guitarras de Navidad” at Texas A&M International University. Set for Thursday at 8 p.m. in the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts’ recital hall, the concert features the TAMIU Classical Guitar Ensemble, directed by Gilberto D. Soto. Co-sponsored by the Women’s City Club, “Guitarras de Navidad” is free and open to the public. For more information, call 326-3046.

Dance for LIFE next weekend The Laredo International Fair and Exposition will have a dance featuring the

Courtesy photo

GIVING UP HER CROWN: Laredoan Chelsea Nicole Morgensen, the 2010 Miss Texas Teen USA, above, will crown a new winner Sunday at the Hilton Post Oak in Houston. Three area girls are competing for the 2011 title this weekend. They are Kassandra Flores, Miss Central Laredo Teen USA and a senior at Zapata High School; Destiny Bailey, 17, Miss Laredo Teen USA; and Daniella Rodriguez, 14, Miss Gateway City Teen. sounds of La Tropa F and Tex-Mex Kadillaks. The event, set for Saturday, Dec. 4 at the LIFE Downs, will feature a variety of foods and is a fundraiser for the upcoming LIFE Fair. Tickets are $8 presale and are available at Kelly’s Western Wear, Mike’s Western Wear and Casa Raul. Tickets will be $10 at the door. LIFE grounds is located off U.S. 59. For more information, call Hector Esparza at 771-5389 or 722-9948.

Randy Rogers Band returns in January Country artist Randy Rogers and his band will back in Laredo at the Casa Blanca Ballroom. The band is scheduled to perform Saturday, Jan. 22. The Randy Rogers Band has opened shows for the likes of Willie Nelson and The Eagles, and has been featured on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and “Late Show With David Letterman.” The band’s two previous albums debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes Country chart and in the Top 5 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. Tickets are $15 presale and available at — The Zapata Times


Agenda en Breve




SÁBADO 27 DE NOVIEMBRE LAREDO — Lleve a su familia al Festival Navideño Anual del Planetario Lamar Bruni Vergara de TAMIU. Las puertas abren a las 11 a.m.; “Holiday Music Magic” se presentará a las 12 p.m. y 3 p.m.; una película navideña a la 1 p.m., 4 p.m. 6 p.m. y 8 p.m. Las presentaciones musicales serán a las 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. y 5:30 p.m. También estará Santa Claus tomándose fotos con los niños. NUEVO LAREDO — Hoy se presenta el cuento teatralizado “Alicia en el País de las Maravillas” a las 3 p.m. en Estación Palabra. Entrada gratuita. NUEVO LAREDO — Padiversa presenta “Lazy Town” en el teatro principal del Centro Cultural en dos funciones, 4 p.m. y 6 p.m. Este evento tiene costo de entrada. NUEVO LAREDO — Hoy se presenta la obra teatral “Como el Maíz” en el parque Silao de la Colonia Las Torres a las 6 p.m. Entrada gratuita.

DOMINGO 28 DE DICIEMBRE NUEVO LAREDO — Domingos Familiares de Museo presenta “Érase Una Vez…” en el Museo de Historia Natural a las 4 p.m. Entrada gratuita.

LUNES 29 DE NOVIEMBRE LAREDO — Los trabajos creativos de varios estudiantes del Laredo Community College se mostrarán en la exhibición “Hecho en LCC II”, a partir de hoy y hasta el viernes 10 de diciembre en la Biblioteca Yeary del Campus Fort McIntosh. La entrada es gratuita y abierta al público en general.

MARTES 30 DE NOVIEMBRE LAREDO — Hoy es el Recital de Piano de Estudio de Otoño de 7 p.m. a 8 p.m. en el Recital Hall del Center for the Fine and Performing Arts de TAMIU. El evento es gratuito y abierto al público en general. LAREDO — Dos grupos de mariachi y un grupo de primaria se unirán durante “Viva! El Mariachi En Concierto” en el Laredo Community College a las 7:30 p.m. en el teatro Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Fine Arts Center del campus Fort McIntosh Campus. Entrada general es de 5 dólares. Las ganancias se destinarán a becas estudiantiles y futuras producciones.

JUEVES 2 DE DICIEMBRE LAREDO — Hoy a las 7 p.m. es la Celebración Navideña y Posada del Laredo Community College frente a la Biblioteca Yeary del Campus Fort McIntosh. La entrada es gratuita y abierta al público en general. LAREDO — Texas A&M International University presenta “Guitarras de Navidad” a las 8 p.m. en el Center for the Fine and Performing Arts Recital Hall. El evento es gratuito y abierto al público en general.

VIERNES 3 DE DICIEMBRE LAREDO — Hoy es el Desfile NavidadFest a las 6 p.m. por San Bernardo Ave., iniciando en el estacionamiento de Burlington Coat Factory hasta el Laredo Civic Center (2400 San Bernardo Ave.), donde habrá presentaciones artísticas, una pastorela, juegos para niños y el encendido del Árbol de Navidad oficial. Entrada gratuita. LAREDO — Texas A&M International University presenta “Ballet Folklórico’s 2010 Las Posadas Concert” a las 7 p.m. en el Center for the Fine and Performing Arts Theatre. La entrada es de 5 dólares y gratis para niños de 10 años de edad y menores. LAREDO — Hoy se presenta la Pastorela cómica “Ya nos llevó la…. Diabla” con el Grupo Misiva de Guadalajara, a las 8 p.m en el Centro Cívico de Laredo (2400 San Bernardo).

SÁBADO 4 DE DICIEMBRE LAREDO — Hoy es el encuentro HEB Holiday Bowl en el SAC a partir de las 10 a.m. El partido de fútbol de bandera tiene costo de 5 dólares la entrada ó un juguete sin envolver. Habrá diversas actividades, concursos y premios. Invitado especial estará la leyenda de los Vaqueros de Dallas, Drew Pearson.

MÉXICO — El gobierno federal anunció el miércoles el envío de miles de efectivos para reforzar la seguridad en el noreste del país, una de las zonas más afectadas en 2010 por la violencia del narcotráfico. El vocero del gobierno federal en materia de seguridad, Alejandro Poiré, informó que la Operación Coordinada Noreste se aplicará en los estados fronterizos de Nuevo León y Tamaulipas, donde los narcotraficantes están enfrascados en una cruenta lucha tras la ruptura entre los carteles del Golfo y Los Zetas. La operación aumentará el número de efectivos militares y de agentes federales, cuya misión será reforzar la presencia de la autoridad e impedir el reagrupamiento de los grupos del narcotráfico tras varios golpes que les han sido asestados. El anuncio fue realizado en la capital mexicana en presencia de todos los miembros del gabinete de seguridad y de los gobernadores de Nuevo León y Tamaulipas, aunque no se informó el número específico de efectivos que habrá en la zona. Horas antes, la Policía Federal anunció la captura de Carlos Montemayor, alias “El Charro” e identificado como el suegro y sucesor del presunto capo de las drogas recientemente detenido Edgar Valdez Villarreal, alias “La Barbie”. Montemayor fue detenido el martes junto con dos presuntos cómplices. La violencia atribuida al crimen organizado ha dejado más de 28.000 asesinados desde diciembre de 2006, cuando el presidente Felipe Calderón lanzó la primera ofensiva contra el narcotráfico. En 2010, una cantidad im-

Foto de cortesía | Gobierno de Tamaulipas

El Gobernador de Tamaulipas Eugenio Hernández Flores habla tras el anuncio del envío de más fuerzas federales al noreste de México. De izquierda a derecha, el vocero de la policía federal Alejandro Poré, el Procurador General Arturo Chavez, el Secretario General de la Defensa Gen. Guillermo Galván Galván, el Gobernador de Nuevo León Rodrigo Medina de la Cruz, el Secretario de Gobernación José Francisco Blake, el Secretario de la Armada Adm. Mariano Francisco Saynéz Mendoza y el Secretario de Seguridad Pública Genaro García Luna, en la Ciudad de México, el miércoles. portante de asesinatos han ocurrido en el noreste. El secretario de Gobernación, Francisco Blake, responsabilizó al crimen organizado “de la violencia que se vive en el país” y dijo que la Operación Coordinada Noreste buscará no sólo capturar a los cabecillas de los grupos criminales, sino a desmantelar sus redes logísticas, operativas y financieras. El gobierno federal ya mantiene operaciones coordinadas en otras zonas del país, como en Chihuahua, donde se localiza Ciudad Juárez, la localidad más golpeada por la violencia. El anuncio se dio un día después de que una encuesta de la empresa Mitofsky señaló que por primera vez desde que el gobierno del presidente Felipe Calderón lanzó en diciembre de 2006 su es-

trategia contra el crimen organizado, una mayoría de mexicanos considera que los operativos contra el narcotráfico han sido un fracaso. Poiré dijo que el noreste de México significa una zona estratégica para el crimen organizado, con 900 kilómetros de frontera con Estados Unidos y 420 kilómetros de costa en Tamaulipas. Señaló que los factores geográficos “han hecho de la zona una ruta codiciada por las organizaciones criminales para el tráfico de drogas y personas, y también para la recepción de recursos financieros ilícitos y armamento hacia territorio mexicano”. El gobierno federal ha dado diversos golpes en los últimos años al narcotráfico en el noreste, aunque uno de los mayores ocurrió a

Presidenta del DIF Estatal rindió Informe ESPECIAL PARA TIEMPO DE ZAPATA

CD. VICTORIA, México — Más de 400 desayunadores escolares, un CRIT Teletón, 18 Centros Mejores Familias, 11 Centros de Desarrollo Familiar, 27 guarderías y estancias Mi Casa DIF, así como 45 Centros de Atención Infantil Comunitarios, son parte del recuento de seis años del trabajo de corazón que realizó la Presidenta del Sistema DIF Tamaulipas, Adriana González de Hernández en el marco de su sexto informe de actividades. González resaltó la ampliación y remodelación del Centro de Rehabilitación y Educación Especial(CREE) que implementó un sistema Telerehabilitación que brinda servicio a 26 municipios; el programa PASAF que aseguró el alimento diario en los hogares de mayor necesidad con la entrega de casi cinco millones de despensas, así como 80 comedores COPUSIS en localidades rurales que sirvieron más de 14 millones raciones alimentarias. Agregó que estas acciones permitieron el crecimiento y superación de los niños, jóvenes, abuelitos y de las personas con capacidades diferentes. El momento emotivo ocurrió cuando González recordó a Rodolfo Torre Cantú, a quien distinguió “como artífice del éxito obtenido en estos seis años de trabajo en bien de los que más necesitan”. “No puedo dejar de agradecerle, en un día tan importante para mí y de grandes satisfacciones, porque muchos de estos logros fueron gracias a sueños que compartimos juntos”, dijo ella. Torre Cantú era candidato a la Gubernatura de Tamaulipas cuando fue acribillado cerca de Ciudad Victoria. González hizo entrega a Laura Graciela de la Garza Torre y a su hijo Rodolfo, el primer ejemplar de las memorias del DIF. En el ejmeplar destaca el programa Salud Integral de la Mujer con el que se da un trato especial a la detección oportuna del cáncer cervicouterino y mamario, por lo que se au-

principios de noviembre cuando infantes de marina abatieron a Ezequiel Cárdenas Guillén, uno de los líderes del Cartel del Golfo. Pero en la zona se registró la peor masacre en la historia reciente del país cuando 72 migrantes centro y sudamericanos fueron asesinados en Tamaulipas en un hecho atribuido a Los Zetas. La violencia también ha llevado a decenas de familias a huir hacia lugares más seguros. El gobernador de Tamaulipas, Eugenio Hernández, dijo que si bien desde hace décadas su estado ha sido “estratégico” para los criminales, “a últimas fechas ha sido más complicada la situación” por el escalamiento de los enfrentamientos entre los carteles de las drogas y contra las autoridades.

Asignan fondos para 2011 TIEMPO DE ZAPATA

Foto de cortesía | Gobierno de Tamaulipas

La Presidenta del Sistema para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia de Tamaulipas Adriana González de Hernández presentó su sexto y último informe de actividades, el miércoles en el Centro Cultural Tamaulipas, de Ciudad Victoria, México. mentó tres veces la cantidad de unidades, tanto fijas y móviles para contar actualmente 33 debidamente equipadas para realizar los estudios de cáncer en todo el territorio y que ha permitido atender 300 mil mujeres con lo que creció la esperanza de vida de las tamaulipecas. Para asegurar el registro de todos los menores tamaulipecos, se implementó el programa Al Momento de Nacer, Regístrame, esquema por iniciativa de la Presidenta del DIF Estatal se presentará ante la Cámara de Diputados para que todos los niños que nacen en México sean registrados desde el momento de su nacimiento. González aseguró que a seis años de distancia deja un modelo que impulsa la unidad e integración de los hogares, así como las bases para el pleno desarrollo de la mujer y una sólida protección para los adultos mayores. Ella aseguró que con el programa “Vive Diferente” se pudo llegar a mil 340 localidades en la que habitan más de 68

mil familias, las cuales recibieron servicios de salud, alimentación, educación, mejoramiento de viviendas y respaldo a sus proyectos productivos, entre otros beneficios; quehacer al que se sumaron 25 dependencias gubernamentales organizaciones civiles y voluntarios. “Para orgullo de los tamaulipecos, estos logros institucionales, nos permitieron recibir el reconocimiento internacional en el Foro Iberoamericano y del Caribe sobre Mejores Prácticas, realizado en la ciudad de Medellín, Colombia”, dijo González. Destacó que con el programa Lánzate a Vivir, estrategia integral de este gobierno en la prevención y combate de las adicciones, se abrieron 18 Centros de Atención Nueva Vida donde se les atiende con información preventiva o tratamiento ambulatorio y recientemente con la inauguración del Centro de Internamiento y Rehabilitación Lánzate se cuenta ya con un espacio de tratamiento primario, recaídas y prevención de éstas.

CD. VICTORIA, México — Tamaulipas tendrá un presupuesto superior a los ocho mil 500 millones de pesos para el ejercicio fiscal en el 2011, según autorización del Presupuesto de Egresos de la Federación por la Cámara de Diputados. De acuerdo al dictamen aprobado en sesión, Tamaulipas recibirá más recursos para infraestructura carretera, recursos hidráulicos, agricultura y educación, así mismo se lograron asignaciones para el fortalecimiento de las áreas metropolitanas del norte del estado. Dentro de los principales rubros en la asignación de los recursos destacan los 3,463 millones 920 mil pesos para el sector agropecuario. En Infraestructura carretera se aprobaron más de 2,000 millones de pesos; en Recursos Hidráulicos se etiquetaron para el estado, mas de 896 millones de pesos. También se logró un incremento en el presupuesto de mil millones de pesos para iniciar con la obligatoriedad de la Educación Media Superior. “En este rubro de educación media superior, el estado ejercerá durante el 2011 un presupuesto de mil 376 millones de pesos, a los cuales se suman otros 31.5 millones de pesos para cultura”, indica un comunicado de prensa. Para la atención de la salud se autorizó un monto de 156 millones 770 mil pesos. Al fondo Metropolitano del Ramo 23 “Provisiones Salariales y Económicas” se destinó una inversión de 66 millones 580 mil pesos, con los cuales se efectuarán diversas obras en el área metropolitana de Reynosa-Río Bravo y la zona conurbada de MatamorosValle Hermoso. Resalta la creación y asignación al estado de la cantidad de12 millones 510 mil pesos para el Fondo para la Accesibilidad al Transporte Público para Personas con Discapacidad, así como el Fondo de Pavimentación y Espacios Deportivos para municipios por 33 millones 400 mil pesos. En materia de desarrollo social 334 millones de pesos y en seguridad pública 150 millones de pesos para sistemas penitenciarios, entre otros fondos asignados en el dictamen de la Comisión de Presupuesto y Cuenta Pública para Tamaulipas.



Reserve saves trees but not butterflies By MARK STEVENSON ASSOCIATED PRESS

ZITACUARO, Mexico — This small patch of mountain fir forest is a model of sorts for the global effort to save trees and fight climate change. The problem is that saving trees has not saved the forest’s most famous visitors: Monarch butterflies. Millions of Monarch butterflies migrate here from the United States and Canada every year, but their numbers declined by 75 percent last year alone, apparently because of changing weather and vegetation patterns. The Monarch butterfly reserve shows how complex the battle against climate change has become, as the world prepares for a United Nations climate conference in Cancun next week. The conference is expected to focus in part on how best to preserve forests, with questions about who should pay and how to treat communities that already live in the jungles and forests of developing countries. Forest preservation is

the goal of a popular U.N.sponsored program known as REDD, or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, which garnered more mentions than any other program approved at the last climate meeting in Copenhagen. The hope is for developed nations to pay poorer ones $22 billion to $38 billion per year to help them preserve forests. “It is not a hypothetical idea or theory,” said Mexican Environment Secretary Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada of the program. “It’s working in many countries around the world. What we really require is ... that it convert into an agreement at Cancun.” The Monarch butterfly reserve is an example both of how the program could work, and of its limitations. The reserve in the mountains west of Mexico City benefits from international help, such as payments to communities to preserve trees and alternative income projects. The deforestation rate there is down by about 95 percent. Fernando Solis Martinez, 54, is the head of a

Photo by Dario Lopez-Mills | AP

A worker waters a patch of pine seedlings at a reforestation project in San Juan Xoconusco, Mexico on Nov. 5, part of the wintering grounds of the Monarch butterfly in the mountains west of Mexico City. The Monarch butterfly reserve is a link between developed and developing nations — the butterflies migrate to Mexico from the United States and Canada. The wintering grounds have benefited from international help, like payments to communities to preserve trees and alternative income projects that helped cut the deforestation rate here by about 95 percent. communal-property commission that takes care of jointly owned land inherited from Indian ancestors in San Juan Xoconusco, a village within the 33,482-acre reserve. He oversees the watering and replanting of oyamel fir seedlings at the

village’s tree nursery. The 120,000 seedlings will be distributed throughout the reserve come June, when the rains return, to replace areas cut or washed away in severe storms. Set up three years ago with help from the World

Wildlife Fund, the nursery is part of a mix of projects — payments from the government and contributions from private companies; a scheme for collecting sap and selling it to turpentine manufacturers; sales of woven pine-needle artisan-

ry, and hopes for a tourist operation — that could provide income streams for future generations. It is not paradise; most residents of Xoconusco still have to work for about 120 pesos ($10) per day at flower hothouses down in the valley, and illicit loggers are a constant threat. Most communities send patrols of 10 men into the mountains every day to listen for the distant sounds of chainsaws. But despite the challenges, the program appears to be working. Gabriel Colin Camacho, 37, the new head of communal lands in the village of Crescencio Morales, has started to turn around that community’s reputation as one of the worst areas for deforestation in the reserve. Now he says most of his neighbors realize that a steady stream of government payments would end if the forest disappears. “Before, we saw the forest as nothing more than money, that we could take without any considerations,” he said. “You could say that we were fools, because we sold the wood for less than it was worth.”


Photo by Matt York | AP

Lorenia Ton-Quevedo packages human skelatal remains for shipment to Virgina for positive identifiication Friday, Oct. 16, at the Mexican Consulate office in Tucson, Ariz. Ton-Quevedo visits morgues in the area to go through the personal effects of migrants whose remains are discovered in the desert in order to identify them and get them returned to their families.

US-Mexico project IDs border-crossing victims By NAFEESA SYEED ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON — Lorenia Ton visits the morgues of southern Arizona searching for clues among the unclaimed bodies and belongings of people who tried to cross the desert. Sometimes it’s a phone number written inside pantlegs, or a piece of paper sewn into a backpack. Other times there are family photos, images of saints, or love letters. “Sometimes we cannot find anything,” says Ton, whose job at the Mexican consulate in Tucson involves helping identify the remains and return them to Mexico. To confirm the IDs, the consulate sends DNA samples to Bode Technology Group Inc., a private lab in

Lorton, Va., outside Washington, as part of a project that has brought closure to dozens of families and countless relatives on both sides of the dangerous border. During one trip in April, Ton came across a body recently discovered by a hunter. Found with the dead man were his tennis shoes, a belt, a couple of dollars and pesos, a wallet, a baseball cap and voter identification card. Ton had a name: Agustin Gutierrez Ortiz, 34. Jesus Gutierrez Ortiz, 37, who lives in Bradley Beach, N.J., described his brother as a hardworking father of two who left their hardscrabble town of La Natividad in the state of Oaxaca to help his family. He reported the younger Gutierrez Ortiz missing to Mexican authorities in June 2009, and Bode

confirmed the worst a year later. “I always asked God that he be alive, but in my heart I felt that he was dead because he was in the desert,” Gutierrez Ortiz says in Spanish. “If I could have flown into the desert ... to look for him I would have.” The lab has made at least 47 positive identifications since the program began a couple of years ago. Many other cases are pending as the number of people who try to cross the border illegally has grown. The number of deaths along the border hit a peak of 492 in 2005 and had been declining, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. But last year, the agency recorded 422 deaths, up from 390 the previous year. Most deaths are attributed to the heat.

WASHINGTON — ’Tis now the season at the White House. A day after celebrating Thanksgiving, the White House shifted into Christmas mode on Friday as Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha accepted the gift of an 18-1/2-foot Douglas fir from Pennsylvania as the official White House Christmas Tree. The tree was hauled through the White House gates by horse-drawn carriage and presented to the Obamas by Christopher Botek. It was grown on his family’s Christmas tree farm in Lehighton, Pa. — the second time the farm has supplied the White House with its official tree. Botek’s parents presented a tree in 2006, during the George W. Bush years. Botek, who brought his wife and two daughters to the White House, said he was honored to hand over the fir. “It doesn’t get any bigger than this for us as

Photo by Charles Dharapak | AP

The official White House Christmas tree, a Douglas fir from the Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Leighton, Pa., arrives on the North Driveway at the White House in Washington, on Friday. Christmas tree growers,” he said. Mrs. Obama and her daughters walked around the carriage to inspect the tree and the first lady bent over to take in the fragrance. She asked her daughters for their opinions and they gave the tree a unanimous thumbs-up. “We’ll take it,” Mrs. Obama exclaimed. The tree will go on display in the Blue Room and

is typically the main attraction for the thousands of people who stream through the mansion in December for holiday parties and public tours. White House staffers and volunteers will decorate it. Botek earned the right to donate a tree by winning a National Christmas Tree Association contest. White House staff then visited the winner’s farm to choose the official tree.



Turmoil, contagion fears sweep Europe By BARRY HATTON ASSOCIATED PRESS

LISBON, Portugal — Europe struggled mightily Friday to keep the debt crisis from engulfing country after country. Portugal passed austerity measures to fend off the speculative trades pushing it toward a bailout and Ireland rushed to negotiate its own imminent rescue. As Portugal and Spain insisted they will not seek outside help, creating an eerie sense of deja-vu for investors, Europe braced for what seems inevitable — more expensive bailouts. The Portuguese Parliament approved an unpopular debt-reducing package, including tax hikes and cuts in pay and welfare benefits. But while that helped to avoid a sharper deterioration in bond markets, the sense among analysts was that the move had only bought a little time. Adding to the pressure, Ireland’s major banks were hit with credit downgrades — one to junk bond status — as speculation mounted that the EU-IMF bailout of Ireland, to be revealed within days, would require investors to take losses, a possibility earlier denied by officials. “This confusing ’pea-

soup’ of indecision, vacillation and disunity by the EU is beginning to create unnecessarily seismic waves of fear in international bond and money markets,” said David Buik, markets analyst at BGC Partners. Yields in fiscally weak eurozone countries remained near record highs Friday, stocks slumped across the board and the 16-nation euro lost another 0.8 percent on the day to trade at $1.3241, just off two-month lows. Portugal’s high debt and low growth have alarmed investors, but the government insists it doesn’t require an international rescue — a line ominously reminiscent of claims by Greece and Ireland before their massive rescues. Analysts say markets need more reassurance from EU leaders that the rot can be stopped in Portugal before spreading to Spain, the continent’s fourth-largest economy — a scenario that would threaten the 16-nation euro currency itself. The financial crisis took a step in that direction this week, as it increasingly becomes apparent that bond investors will not be pacified by austerity measures but want weak countries’ public finances to be

Photo by Victor R. Caivano | AP

A broker works at the Stock Exchange in Madrid on Friday. Madrid’s Ibex 35 bourse continued its weeklong downward trend, dipping 1.89 percent by mid-afternoon. plugged once and for all. Greece, which accepted a bailout six months ago, and Ireland are still far from being able to return to international debt markets. Ireland wallowed in political turmoil Friday, frightening investors with the prospect of a power vacuum even as it must pass its bailout and austerity plan. Prime Minister Brian Cowen saw his hold on

Oil hovers below $84, recovers from dip By JOSHUA FREED ASSOCIATED PRESS

Oil prices recovered somewhat on Friday after dipping earlier in the day on growing concerns about Europe’s debt crisis. Benchmark oil for January delivery fell 10 cents to $83.76 per barrel. Prices had dipped below $83 earlier as traders focused on debt woes in Europe. Portugal’s parliament approved a debt-reduction package and Ireland’s banks suffered a string of credit downgrades. Investors are worried that the pain will spread to Spain, the continent’s fourthlargest economy, and threaten the 16-nation euro. Jim Ritterbusch, president of energy consultancy Ritterbusch and Associates in Galena, Ill., said the recovery in oil prices as the day went on “was pretty impressive given the twomonth lows on the euro, and the selling on the stock market. That’s tell-

They’re all developing into the mix here to conjure up ideas of stronger oil demand down the road,” JIM RITTERBUSCH, PRESIDENT OF ENERGY CONSULTANCY RITTERBUSCH AND ASSOCIATES

ing us that fundamentals are gradually improving” for oil, he said. Recent economic news has been coming in better than expected, including Wednesday’s consumer sentiment and jobless numbers. “They’re all developing into the mix here to conjure up ideas of stronger oil demand down the road,” he said. China’s energy consumption has led growth in global oil demand this year, but investors are worried that recent measures aimed at containing infla-

tion will undermine its economic expansion. China’s gross domestic product growth, which has averaged about 10 percent a year for the last five years, will likely slow next year to between 8 percent and 9 percent, Capital Economics said in a report. In other Nymex trading, heating oil was about flat at $2.32 a gallon. Natural gas rose 1.1 cents to $4.399 per 1,000 cubic feet. In London, Brent crude dropped 30 cents to $85.80 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

power slip another notch, as his ruling Fianna Fail party lost a special election for a long-empty seat in parliament. The winner vowed to force Cowen from office before he can pass an emergency 2011 budget being demanded as part of the international rescue. Dublin still negotiated the final details of an $113 billion EU-IMF rescue package, which is expected to be presented within

days. Bonds yields rose to a new euro-era high of 9.19 percent, up from 9.02 percent the day before, as investors dumped Ireland’s debt. The New York-based Standard & Poor’s credit rating agency said it was lowering Anglo Irish Bank six notches to a junk-bond B grade. It also cut the ratings on Bank of Ireland one notch to BBB+, and downgraded both Allied Irish

Banks and Irish Life & Permanent one notch to BBB. The agency said Ireland “may be forced to reconsider its current supportive stance toward Anglo’s unguaranteed debt.” “There really is a serious question as to whether Anglo Irish Bank should even have a banking license,” said Constantin Gurdgiev, a finance lecturer at Trinity College Dublin. Portugal’s Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira dos Santos acknowledged that some in Europe didn’t agree with his government’s refusal to consider a bailout. “There are those among our (EU) partners who think the best way to ensure the euro’s stability is to push and force those countries which are most in the spotlight to accept assistance,” he said Friday. The European Commission, the European Central Bank and the German government all denied they were pressuring Portugal to take financial aid. Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates said after Parliament approved the 2011 spending plan that the country had “no alternative at all” to the belt-tightening. “We must make this effort,” Socrates said.

Tensions in Europe, the Koreas boost dollar ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK — The dollar jumped Friday as a major credit rating agency downgraded the debt of Ireland’s banks and investors worried that Portugal would become the third European country to need a bailout this year. Tensions also escalated in Asia as North Korea warned that U.S. and South Korean military maneuvers put the region on the brink of war. The sabre rattling drove investors to seek safety in the U.S. dollar. The U.S. currency tends to benefit during periods of international turmoil. The euro, used by 16 European countries, fell to $1.3237 in late trading Friday from $1.3368 late Thursday, earlier dipping below $1.32 for the first time since Sept. 21. The British pound dropped to $1.5602 from $1.5760. The dollar also jumped above 84 yen for the first time since late September. In late trading in New

Ireland on Sunday asked for a massive loan from the EU and the IMF, as Greece did in May. York, it was worth 84.07 yen, up from 83.57 yen. Ireland on Sunday asked for a massive loan from the EU and the IMF, as Greece did in May. Investors are anxious that other countries, chiefly Spain and Portugal, will also have to seek aid as their borrowing costs soar. The Portuguese Parliament on Friday approved tax increases and cuts in government spending to help bring its finances in line. Officials denied that they would need a rescue. But borrowing costs hit a euro-era high Friday as investors remained wary. “Press reports that Portugal is being pushed to request an aid program have been denied by officials, but the way things are going, it seems like it’s

only a matter of time before Portugal succumbs,” said Brown Brothers Harriman analyst Win Thin in a research note Friday. Meanwhile, Standard & Poor’s cut debt ratings on three Irish banks, sending Anglo Irish Bank down to junk grade, amid speculation that a bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund could inflict heavy losses on senior bondholders. In other trading Friday, the dollar rose to 1.0199 Canadian dollars from 1.0094 Canadian dollars and gained to 1.0030 Swiss francs from 1.0002 Swiss francs. Thursday was the first time the dollar had been above parity — meaning it was worth more than 1 Swiss franc — since Sept. 21.




TALENT Continued from Page 1A

Alleged gang members aim weapons during a police operation at the Complexo de Alemao slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Friday. Military armored vehicles continued Friday carrying police and navy soldiers into the heart of gang strongholds. Photo by Silvia Izquierdo | AP

SAFETY Continued from Page 1A clock checks of premises if notified that residents will be out of town, Elizondo said. “There’s not a problem with us sending a patrolman on a daily basis,” Elizondo said. Leaving a contact number with the sheriff ’s office is very important in case there is property damage, Elizondo added. “We would have someone to call and the faster we get notified, the faster we can catch the burglar,” Elizondo said. “It’s hard for us to get evidence, footprints and fingerprints, when a burglary happens and we don’t get notified until a week later after the family returns.” There is no set average of burglaries in Zapata County, however, the number does increase during the holidays, Elizondo added. “We have thefts regarding ornaments outside like an inflatable snowman, since they don’t fasten down easily,” Elizondo said. “You’d be surprised what they take. Some of those decorations are

CAR Continued from Page 1A Deputies met with another deputy, who told them his 2006 Ford Mustang had been vandalized while parked at his residence. According to Sgt. Mario Elizondo, deputies noticed the windshield of the vehicle had been smashed with what appeared to be a baseball bat. Deputies also noticed a broken passenger window, damages to the hood, a broken side mirror and a smashed head lamp. Elizondo added that two tires were also damaged. Anyone with information about the case should call the sheriff ’s office at 7659960. People may also call Crime Stoppers at 765-8477, where all callers may remain anonymous and may qualify for a reward of up to $1,000. (César G. Rodriguez may be reached at 728-2568 or

worth more than $80.” A burglar will take anything he can resell, Elizondo added. Other holiday safety tips include keeping Christmas trees watered and away from curtains, Elizondo said. “When a Christmas tree catches fire is because they are too dry,” Elizondo said. “Make sure to keep wires away from animals, cats and dog, because they can chew on them.” Often enough house fires also happen because residents leave heaters and candles unsupervised, Elizondo said. “People keep them on even when they leave the house,” Elizondo said. “There have been a few tragic times and people have lost their homes.” One of the biggest misconceptions in a household is that someone else will watch the candle or the incense, Elizondo added. People should also consider travel safety, Elizondo said. “If you travel be careful,

don’t rush and leave with plenty of time,” Elizondo said. “Watch the traffic and get sleep before traveling.” People should also mind their pets and have someone watch them or call the animal shelter to hold them for them, Elizondo added. All burglaries and accidents are avoidable, Elizondo said. “Don’t make yourself a victim and practice basic house security everyday,” Elizondo said. “Be mindful of your surroundings and if you leave the house, even to go to the store or the neighbors, secure your front door.” Zapata is a small town with friendly people, but times have changed, Elizondo said. “If you get out of your car to buy a pack of gum lock your car,” he said. “There are people we don’t know have moved to the town, so don’t take it for granted this isn’t Mayberry.” (Lorraine L. Rodriguez may be reached at (956)7282557.)

by Gallegos, she said. “Once I gave them the thumbs up they had to practice at home,” Gallegos said. “Yesterday, Monday, they had to present what they were going to do the day before the show to see how they were doing and after that they were on their own and they did a really good job.” The day of the performance the performers were not letting their nerves get the best of them, Gallegos said. “As soon as I walked in they were saying, ‘Are we ready, are we gonna go, I’m getting nervous, I can’t feel my legs, and my knees are weak,’” Gallegos said. “So they were really nervous but excited at the same time.”

The day before the performance both Gallegos and the performers were slightly more nervous as they forgot the choreography, she said. “I think they were just thinking about having to perform in front of people,” Gallegos said. “Once it came down to it they were so excited that they just did and they had a blast and they did a really good job. I’m so proud of them.” Since the talent show ran in the morning and afternoon, Gallegos received plenty of comments from the staff and parents, she said. “I got really good comments this morning,” Gallegos said. “One of our teachers told me she was really happy that the

kids did great and that her kids were really excited.” Parents also enjoyed the girls’ performances, Gallegos said. Most of the groups were girls, she added. “We had mostly girls on stage, but we had one solo artist, David Chapa, performed to Pitbull,” Gallegos said. “He did such a good job and some parents were commenting that he was really confident.” Chapa is a third grader at Villarreal and sergeant-at-arms for the Student Council, Gallegos added. “I was really proud of him,” Gallegos said. (Lorraine L. Rodriguez may be reached at (956) 728-2557.)

LUNCHEON Continued from Page 1A taxes will be computed) for free,” Guerra said. An 18-minute slide show recapping all Zapata County projects followed the presentations, Guerra added. Immediately following the slide show was a presentation full of laughs by comedian and motivational speaker Happy Guerrero.

Overall the luncheon represented a sense of unity, Guerra said. “We never get together and this is the only time all the county employees come together and can be proud to work for the county.” Mirna Bustamante, a clerk at the Zapata County Museum of History, found the luncheon inspirational

and joyful, surrounded by her friends whom she called her family. “I enjoyed it and the food was delicious,” Bustamante said. “I was around my friends for Thanksgiving. They are a part of my family, too, because we work together.” (Lorraine L. Rodriguez may be reached at (956)7282557.)



Sports&Outdoors COWBOYS

’Boys fall short Thursday’s loss still shows improvement By JAIME ARON ASSOCIATED PRESS

ARLINGTON — Seeing his defense shredded easily and his offense flub a screen and a shotgun snap — all before the first quarter even finished — Jerry Jones had to be wondering what happened to all the improvements interim coach Jason Garrett had brought to the Dallas Cowboys. Then came the second half and evidence of the new life Garrett has

pumped into the club. The offense started making big plays and little ones, piling up points on nearly every drive. The defense helped by slowing Drew Brees and getting the ball back without giving up many more points. The special teams provided everything from a long field goal to a forced fumble to a bizarre drop-kicked punt. All told, a pair of 17-point deficits became a fourth-quarter lead. Although the Cowboys ended up losing to the New

Orleans Saints, their rally Thursday could be considered another step in the right direction in Garrett’s bid to remain in charge. “The obvious thing to me as a coach is our team continued to fight,” Garrett said. “Ultimately, we are not into moral victories. ... But I think, overall, the effort, the fight, all that stuff is what we want. We just have to clean up some of the things.” At 3-8, Dallas has felt the sting of losing enough this season to be numb to it.

But the last few losses had been blowouts, a totally different feeling. Garrett had gotten them used to winning again. Add in the circumstances surrounding this game — the rally, playing on Thanksgiving, facing the Super Bowl champs — and the mournful mood was understandable. “I don’t know if I have played in a game that is so emotional and come out on this end,” tight end Jason



Photo by Jose Yau | AP

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Jon Kitna (3) is sacked by New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith (91) forcing a fumble during the football game against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday in Arlington.



In this photo taken on Tuesday, city council member Bob Bradley, one of five council members who belong to the Men’s Golf Association, heads toward the scenic 16th hole overlooking Lake Travis. of the Lago Vista golf course in Lago Vista, Texas. The community of Lago Vista in northwest Travis County is in the business of operating two public golf courses. The city’s golf budget is bigger than its administrative, police and court spending combined.

Government ventures into golf business By ERIC DEXHEIMER ASSOCIATED PRESS

AUSTIN — It’s a familiar story by now: A formerly high-flying private enterprise hits the skids. Desperate to avert financial calamity, the government bails out the business. Taxpayers become the new owners of a tanking enterprise. Ink runs red. But this is not the federal government’s multibilliondollar rescue of insurance giant AIG or automaker General Motors. It concerns the small northwest Travis County town of Lago Vista, which in the past three years has become the unexpected owner of two formerly private — and failing — golf courses. The taxpayer bailouts have left the city of 6,500 in an unusual financial position. Today, Lago Vista’s golf budget is bigger than its administrative, police and court spending — combined. “It’s an interesting community,” said City Manager Bill Angelo, “to say the least.” In rescuing the struggling businesses, the city is hoping to accomplish what private enterprise has repeatedly failed to do. During the past two decades, five different owners have tried, unsuccessfully, to operate the courses at a profit. Two have landed in bankruptcy court. “I will acknowledge that

at the moment the golf business is not a highly soughtafter business, and not a profitable business,” said Mayor Randy Kruger. Correct, said Greg Nathan, senior vice president of the Florida-based National Golf Foundation. A building boom in the 1990s and early 2000s has left too many courses chasing too few players. Thanks to the ailing economy, he added, rounds played nationally dropped 3.6 percent last year. Indeed, Lago Vista’s proposed 2010-2011 budget anticipates a $260,000 deficit on course operations; the city is borrowing from its utility fund to cover the gap. That’s in addition to the more than $3 million it already borrowed when it sold bonds and raided other accounts to buy the 36 holes. Yet city officials say that letting the courses fail would have been even more disastrous to the community. The city’s Master Plan goes out of its way to note the importance of golfing to Lago Vista’s economic wellbeing. Originally developed as a retirement community 40 years ago, the area still boasts few tax-paying businesses. Almost all its tax revenue comes from residential properties — many of them on or near the tended greens and scenic fairways of the two golf cours-


Photo by Bill Kostoun | AP

Houston Texans running back Arian Foster (23) stiff-arms New York Jets defensive end Mike Devito (70) during the football game at New Meadowlands Stadium on Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J.

Both teams look to rebound in Houston By CHRIS DUNCAN ASSOCIATED PRESS

HOUSTON — Vince Young won’t be celebrating another triumphant return to his hometown. In 2006, the former Texas star quarterback dashed through the Houston Texans’ defense for the winning touchdown for the Tennessee Titans at Reliant Stadium, his first NFL game in the city where he grew up. Young ripped off his helmet, ran toward a pack of fans wearing Longhorns gear and blew kisses to his family in the stands. He later called the moment one of the highlights of his career. Since then, he’s drawn as much attention for his negative behavior as his play. After this week’s blowup with Titans coach Jeff Fisher, it’s hard to gauge where Young’s future is headed. Fisher doesn’t expect Young to be on the sideline when the Titans (5-5) visit the Texans (4-6) on Sunday. Rookie Rusty Smith will make his first career start following a tumultuous week that began with Young tearing a flexor tendon in his right thumb in the loss to Washington. Young threw his pads into the

Just about every opposing quarterback has looked good against the Texans’ NFL-worst pass defense this season. stands after Fisher would not put him back in the game, and the two argued in the locker room afterward. Fisher said Young "wasn’t welcome" at Monday’s team meeting and was later placed on injured reserve. Young wasn’t traveling with the team to Houston, but Fisher said that’s standard procedure for players on the injured list. The Titans have dropped three in a row, but Fisher said Young’s situation hasn’t disrupted preparations for facing the Texans. "What we do on Monday is we meet and put the (previous) game in perspective, correct the mistakes, address any issues that took place, and then you move on," Fisher said. "And that’s what we’ve done." Young apologized to Fisher on Tuesday via text message, but that hardly seemed to repair the rift. Fisher said he didn’t send a text in response, and hinted he would’ve

preferred a face-to-face apology. "This issue has nothing to do with what’s going on this Sunday," Fisher said. "Our focus is on our next opponent that’s playing very well. This is a must-win game for both teams. That has no merit as far as what’s going on here." The Titans encountered a second crisis on Wednesday, when Fisher announced that offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger has been diagnosed with cancer and is expected to start chemotherapy treatment Monday. Heimerdinger will still call the plays on Sunday and guide the 6foot-5 Smith, one of Tennessee’s sixth-round picks last summer. Smith beat out Chris Simms for the No. 3 spot on the depth chart and moved up when backup Kerry Collins strained his left calf in the Titans’ 29-17 loss to Miami two weeks





N. Texas closes stadium today ASSOCIATED PRESS

DENTON — The college home of “Mean” Joe Greene, and the backdrop of the Fightin’ Armadillos with supermodel Kathy Ireland as their kicker, will be hosting its final game. North Texas (3-8) plays for the last time at 58-yearold Fouts Field on Saturday against Kansas State (6-5), whose coach Bill Snyder spent three seasons there early in his career. “I’m sure it will bring back some memories,” said Snyder, an assistant on Hayden Fry’s staff from 1976-78. “I coached at North Texas State when it was called North Texas State.” That was during a stretch when the Mean Green had a 26-7 overall record and lost only once at home — during a snow storm to Florida State and

More than anything, we just have to finish strong. These last two games have been a skid that none of us wanted to take,” QUARTERBACK COLLIN KLEIN

its first-year coach, Bobby Bowden, in 1976. Those were some of the successful days at North Texas, which is wrapping up its sixth consecutive losing season since winning four straight Sun Belt titles (2001-04). Coach Todd Dodge was fired last month after 31/2 miserable seasons (6-37) and replaced by offensive coordinator Mike Canales, who is 2-2 as interim coach.

Canales is a candidate to keep the job after this season. Other candidates include former TCU, Alabama and Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione, former Tulsa and Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe and former Iowa State coach Dan McCarney. Whoever gets the North Texas job will oversee the team’s move next season across Interstate 35 into a new, 30,000-seat stadium.

Kansas State is already bowl-eligible, but has lost its last two games. “More than anything, we just have to finish strong. These last two games have been a skid that none of us wanted to take,” quarterback Collin Klein said. “We have to stop the bleeding, get back on track and finish the season strong, not only for the bowl game, but for next year.” Before he was a Hall of Fame defensive tackle who played on four Super Bowlwinning teams with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Joe Greene was a three-year starter for North Texas (1966-68). It was during the 1966 season when fans, whose teams were known as the Eagles, adopted the Mean Green nickname, referring to the tenacious defense and the school color.

COWBOYS Continued from Page 1B Witten said. Receiver Roy Williams nearly sealed the win with a long catch and run. But he had the ball jerked away from behind at the end of the play, setting up New Orleans’ winning drive. “We had it, but just didn’t finish,” he said. “I didn’t finish.” Kicker David Buehler was equally deflated. His 59yard field goal try that would’ve tied it with 25 seconds left went wide left by about a yard. “It came down to me,” he said. “I’ve got to make that.” Jones didn’t speak to reporters afterward, his emotions probably still wobbly. Garrett, meanwhile,

didn’t look, sound or act like a guy who’d been through nearly four hours of incredible highs and lows, with the pressure of it all riding on him. He seemed amazingly calm for a 44-year-old, first-time coach who just lost for the first time after being oh-soclose to getting his career off to a 3-0 start. “We talk a lot about process and we all know that it’s a bottom-line business for everybody,” he said. “Hopefully the results will come our way. I’m proud of our football team today. We didn’t get it done and we’ve got to work to get it done. But if we continue to work in practice and play with

the intensity and enthusiasm and passion that we’ve been playing with, we will get some of these victories. And we’re going to start Monday morning.” He sure hopes so. Garrett’s next challenge is reviving that spunky spirit next Sunday when they go to Indianapolis to play the other team from last season’s Super Bowl, Peyton Manning and the Colts. Remember, the Cowboys had all sorts of close losses early in the season. Then they lost hope and started getting blown out. At 1-7, coach Wade Phillips was fired and Garrett was promoted from offensive coordinator. His marching orders

were to get the most out of what Jones still thought was a talented roster. Winning the first two games was impressive. But now that bubble has burst. The Cowboys are guaranteed not to have a winning season. If players slip back into old habits, that strong start to the Garrett era could be chalked up to beginner’s luck. “I’m not going to be down,” nose tackle Jay Ratliff said. “We fought, played our hearts out. We had a couple of bad breaks. But the emotion we had today, I’m not going to hold my head down. If we play like that every week and be consistent, we have a shot.”

TEXANS Continued from Page 1B ago. "We drafted Rusty particularly because of the type of things that he did in college," Fisher said. "He played in a pro-style offense and made all the throws. He’s a very accurate passer. He has a strong arm, (is) tall and sees well. He’s very intelligent." Smith is the third starter for Tennessee in as many weeks, and the Titans signed Simms on Tuesday to be his backup. Collins will be listed as the Titans’ No. 3 quarterback on Sunday. Just about every opposing quarterback has looked good against the Texans’ NFL-worst pass defense

this season. Houston has dropped four straight games, and the secondary has given up long passes in the final seconds to lose the past two. Last week, Mark Sanchez guided the New York Jets 72 yards in under a minute with no timeouts for the winning touchdown in a 3027 victory. Sanchez hit Braylon Edwards down the sideline for 42 yards to set up a 6-yard TD pass to Santonio Holmes with 10 seconds remaining. Texans owner Bob McNair said Wednesday the team is "underperforming" and the late collapses are no longer acceptable. "The team has got to re-

alize that during that crunch time, you’ve got to turn it up," he said. "The other team’s going to turn it up. If we don’t turn it up, we’re going to be on the short end of the stick." Houston has allowed at least two TD receptions in eight straight games and given up a league-high 13 receptions covering 40 yards or more. The Titans’ pass defense isn’t much better, giving up 258.7 yards per game to rank 26th. But the starting running backs might have more to say about the outcome than either secondary. Houston’s Arian Foster leads the NFL with 1,004 yards rushing and 1,382 to-

tal yards from scrimmage. Tennessee’s Chris Johnson is third in the league and second in the AFC in rushing with 968 yards rushing. Johnson, who’s made the Pro Bowl in each of his first two seasons and rushed for more than 2,000 years in 2009, says one of his goals this season is beating out Foster for the rushing title. "It’s very important to me," Johnson said. "I can’t worry about what he’s doing. I just got to keep worrying about myself and hopefully at the end I’ll be the leader. At the end of the day, I just worry about my job and just continue to put up numbers myself."

Leach tries to get even with ESPN lawsuit By BETSY BLANEY ASSOCIATED PRESS

LUBBOCK — Former coach Mike Leach sued ESPN Inc. and a public relations firm on Wednesday, accusing them of libel and slander after he was fired by Texas Tech amid accusations that he mistreated a player suffering from a concussion. The suit filed in Texas district court claims the network’s coverage of Leach’s firing last year was “willful and negligent defamation” and that it failed to “retract false and damaging statements” it made from “misinformation” provided to ESPN by Craig James, the father of the Texas Tech player. Josh Krulewitz, spokesman for the network based in Bristol, Conn., said officials had not seen the lawsuit and declined comment. Leach attorney Ted Liggett said the former coach wants “to set the record” straight. “Mike Leach is adamant,” Liggett said. “Mike Leach wants his name cleared. His reputation has taken a severe hit and been tarnished.” The university fired Leach last Dec. 30, two days after suspending him amid allegations he mistreated Adam James. Leach has denied the claim. Adam James has said his coach twice ordered him to stand for hours while confined in a dark place during practice. On Wednesday, Liggett claimed that Adam James under oath said he thought it was “humorous” what Leach told him to do and that he didn’t think Leach should have been fired. The suit, which seeks undisclosed damages and retractions from ESPN and the PR firm, was filed now because the statute of limitations on slander and libel is one year. “On a daily basis we’re still seeing stories across the country” with accounts Leach claims are counter to the truth, Liggett said. “Mike Leach is looking forward to getting back into coaching — he’s said that on several occasions.” Leach was fired a few days before Texas Tech

The university fired Leach last Dec. 30, two days after suspending him amid allegations he mistreated Adam James. Leach has denied the claim. beat Michigan State in the Alamo Bowl, a game Craig James was slated to call as a broadcaster before he replaced by Mike Patrick. The suit identifies another broadcaster — Liggett said the mistake would be amended — and says he described Adam James to “an audience of millions” and declared: “There is Adam James, who is the young man who was actually punished for having a concussion.” Craig James is also a defendant in the lawsuit Leach filed against Texas Tech when he was fired. The university has appealed a ruling that Texas Tech waived its sovereign immunity protection by its conduct in Leach’s firing. A ruling is pending from the 7th Court of Appeals in Amarillo. In June, State District Judge William C. Sowder dismissed three top administrators — university system Chancellor Kent Hance, school President Guy Bailey, athletic director Gerald Myers — from that suit. The two sides earlier this week agreed that the three would not face future lawsuits over Leach’s firing. The libel suit also names Spaeth Communications as a defendant, claiming James hired the firm for “purposes of creating public opinion hostile to Leach.” Liggett said Spaeth was behind the Internet posting of a video Adam James shot while he stood in one of the dark places.

GOLF Continued from Page 1B es. “We have a lot of citizens surrounding the golf courses,” Kruger said. “So if this thing turned into a weed patch, a lot of citizens would suffer.” You could say golf in Lago Vista was too big to fail. “Necessity makes strange bedfellows,” said Angelo. “The city realized it didn’t have much of a choice other than to get into the golf business.” By turning to public money to rescue its ailing links, Lago Vista residents find themselves wrestling with a local version of a national paradox: How to reconcile their philosophical opposition to Big Government while at the same time demanding its tax dollars when a vital need hits close to home. Earlier this month, threequarters of Lago Vista voters who cast straight-party ballots selected Republicans. In 2008, Barack Obama received less than a third of the votes in the city’s largest precinct, compared with two-thirds in Travis County generally. “Lago Vista is one of the most conservative areas in all of Texas,” said an exasperated Patrick Dixon, a former City Council member and local leader of the

Libertarian Party who opposed the golf course acquisitions. “But if you think that Barack Obama is employing the wrong policies by bailing out GM and banks, you have to apply the same thinking locally. “Don’t complain about socialized medicine if you support socialized golf.” The seeds of the community that was to become Lago Vista were planted in 1969, when an Indiana company purchased several thousand acres of rolling hills on the shores of Lake Travis, divided them into about 11,000 home lots and began promoting the development as an ideal retirement center. Golf was an integral part of the plan from the beginning, and the first nine-hole course opened only two years later. The developers offered potential buyers several years of free play as an incentive, according to a history of the courses compiled by the Lago Vista Men’s Golf Association, which was formed in 1974. That same year, the Lago Vista Golf Course was expanded to 18 holes. A second course, the World of Resorts Country Club — later to become Highland Lakes Golf Course — was completed in 1978. It included an

I will acknowledge that at the moment the golf business is not a highly sought-after business, and not a profitable business,” MAYOR RANDY KRUGER

“upscale club house” and swimming pool. Descriptions of links-side life at the time depict a golden era of uncrowded fairways, cheap greens fees, jolly clubhouse gatherings and excellent dining. But during the past two decades, the courses have struggled. In 1989, the original developers sold the properties to Taiyo Corp., a Japanese company hoping to attract golf-crazy Japanese businessmen to Central Texas. Six years later, however, with that country’s economy foundering, the properties were turned over to a trustee, who eventually sold the courses to an Irving company called the Evergreen Alliance Golf Ltd. Citing lousy returns, Evergreen walked away in 2003. A year later, the Bank of America sold the two courses to a Colorado developer and his partner, a Dal-

las homebuilder. The new owners promised to turn the courses, which are open to the public, into swanky membersonly country clubs. Instead, Highland Lakes was shut down in early 2005 because, they explained, there wasn’t enough business to support two courses. Across town, the Lago Vista course wasn’t faring much better. “John Deere repossessed its leased mowers. Greens turned brown in late 2005 after a drought-plagued fall and winter of neglect,” the golf club history reported. A local member proclaimed the Lago Vista Golf Course as “the worst maintained in Central Texas.” In 2006, the Lago Vista Golf Course was purchased by its former turf managers, Jordan Eldredge and LaVergne Fairchild. “They were mowing the greens with weed-eaters,” Fairchild

recalled. “It was in deplorable condition.” Fairchild says the couple brought the course back to the brink of profitability by, among other things, promoting it to nonresidents, a strategy she said chafed Lago Vista’s old-timers. “They did not like outside play,” she said. “They wanted to play whenever they wanted to play. It’s like they wanted their own private golf course.” A year later, however, Eldredge and Fairchild declared bankruptcy, unable to meet a balloon payment. They emerged in February 2008 with a new investor and “ready to rock and roll,” Fairchild said. But only hours later, the city filed a condemnation petition to acquire the course through eminent domain. The reason for the confiscation, explained City Manager Angelo, was the city’s need to maintain its

right to spray its treated sewage effluent on the course. “Without the course, we’d have to go buy property elsewhere,” he said. “Or tell people not to flush their toilets.” Fairchild said the city already had a long-term contract for the effluent discharge on the property, so there was no need to force her to sell out. Kruger contends the contract didn’t apply if the course wasn’t operational. But Dixon, the former council member, points out that Lago Vista had recently purchased a large tract for spraying, only a small portion of which is being used. “The claim that we had to use eminent domain to take that golf course just didn’t make sense,” he said. Fearing a protracted legal fight, Eldredge and Fairchild caved, selling the course to the City of Lago Vista for $2 million in 2008. Angelo said the city has spent another $500,000 on repairs, upgrades and new equipment. “It’s going to be a struggle to set up,” said Angelo, who noted that several municipal projects have been put on hold. “I’m not making like this is going to be an easy task.”



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No. 4 Frogs look for perfection By TIM KORTE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Photo by John Bowersmith | AP

Texas Tech’s Dion Chidozie (23) tackles Weber State’s Bo Bolen as he runs into the end zone during their football game on Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock.

Red Raiders want revenge vs. Houston By BETSY BLANEY ASSOCIATED PRESS

LUBBOCK — Texas Tech players who lost to Houston last year circled Saturday on their calendars at the beginning of this season. Cougars quarterback Case Keenum scored on a 4-yard run with 49 seconds left in last year’s game to beat the Red Raiders, 29-28. Houston was playing as a ranked team for the first time in 18 years after knocking off then-No. 5 Oklahoma State two weeks earlier. “We walked away from that game last year feeling like we should have won,” said Texas Tech quarterback Taylor Potts, whose desperation, final-play pass to Lyle Leong in Houston was broken up. “A couple of plays here and there and the game would have turned out different, but it didn’t.” Keenum won’t be a factor this year, though. He went out with a season-ending knee injury in September. Instead, true freshman

David Piland will lead the Cougars (5-6, 4-4 C-USA) who are need a win to become bowl eligible. Piland has started the last seven games and threw for four touchdowns and a careerbest 467 yards in Houston’s 41-59 loss at Southern Mississippi last week. Cougars coach Kevin Sumlin said Piland is young and has handled well the pressure of stepping in for Keenum. “Has he been great? No,” Sumlin said. “Has he had great moments? Yes. He has had his good and bad moments out there. I think he has a done a really good job on what we’ve asked him to do.” Houston is 8-5 against the Red Raiders (6-5, 3-5 Big 12) in Lubbock. Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said getting bowl eligible after last week’s 64-21 win over Weber State will help this week. “I think the biggest thing for us is there is no pressure now, and if they have to win this one to get to six I am sure we will get their best effort,” he said.

“This is not just another game for them. This is a chance to play for another month and go to a bowl.” Tuberville said the memory of the loss last year is good motivation for his players. “When you lose a close game to an in-state team it brings back old memories,” he said. “Not that there is a revenge factor here at all. Whether we can win it or not, they want to go out and perform better than they did last year.” One of Texas Tech’s most prolific passers will be on the sidelines for the Cougars on Saturday. Kliff Kingsbury, who is second behind Graham Harrell in career yardage at Texas Tech with 12,429 yards, in his third year as Houston’s co-offensive coordinator. Potts said the offense is “totally different” since Tuberville’s become coach. “He has never really been a part of anything we have going on right now,” Potts said. “There is really no stealing of signs, plays, schemes or anything like that. I expect it to be just another hard fought game.”

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Coach Gary Patterson insists he’ll leave town with a smile Saturday if No. 4 TCU beats woeful New Mexico by a single point. Such a slim margin probably won’t be an issue, with the Horned Frogs favored by 44. Consider also that the nation’s top-rated defense is facing a freshman quarterback and TCU (11-0, 7-0 Mountain West) can cap an undefeated regular season with the league championship for the second straight year. Still, the question of comparison scores came up this week. Patterson was asked whether TCU needs to match Oregon’s 72-0 season-opening victory over New Mexico to impress college football pollsters. The Frogs are jockeying with Oregon, Auburn and fellow non-automatic qualifier Boise State for a ticket to the national title game. Patterson’s answer? His focus is to win this one, just like any other, and he’ll be satisfied if his team puts up one more point than New Mexico (1-10, 1-6). “If I think anything outside of that boundary, then I’m going to get myself in trouble, because I’m going to control what I can control,” he said. “For somebody to think that we’re so shallow at TCU that I’ve got to go up and beat New Mexico by x-amount of points to prove I have a good football team, that’s not going to happen.”

Photo by Mike Fuentes | AP

TCU running back Matthew Tucker (29) runs for yardage as San Diego State linebacker Logan Ketchum (31) misses the tackle during the college football game against TCU in Fort Worth last Saturday. TCU won 40-35. We already knew Patterson has a good team. The Horned Frogs demonstrated that with an unbeaten season, which earlier this month included a decisive 47-7 victory at conference heavyweight Utah and a come-from-behind 40-35 win over surging San Diego State. Going into their regular season finale, TCU’s seniors can become the most successful class in school history. One more victory pushes their four-year total to 43 wins. Yet the Frogs keep hearing criticism from outside the Mountain West that they

don’t play a tough schedule, and there’s even the possibility they could get dropped from the top five bowl games if Boise State passes them in the BCS standings. Sure, it’s a frustrating situation, but those things are beyond TCU’s reach. “I mean, we won every game. We went out and took care of business,” said Andy Dalton, the nation’s leader among active quarterbacks with 40 wins. “Our goal was to come in and be undefeated. That’s the only thing that we could do. We can only handle what we can control.”

The Zapata Times 11/27/2010  

The Zapata Times 11/27/2010

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