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TO 4,000 HOMES





Guillen could be facing opponent

A medical first Commissioners begin process to attract dialysis center to the area By MIKE HERRERA IV THE ZAPATA TIMES

The Zapata County Commissioners Court took the first step Monday in the devel-

opment of the area’s first dialysis center. During its last regular meeting of the year, the court voted to authorize Precinct 1 Commissioner Jose Vela to

proceed with researching the facility. “That was the only thing I placed on the agenda for this month,” said Vela. “I got the okay to spearhead this.” Dialysis is a medical procedure performing the natural functions of the kidneys, functions like removal of waste

and excess water. Various maladies that reduce the kidney’s ability to execute these functions make dialysis a requirement to stay alive. Though precise numbers are hard to come by, Vela estimates 50 Zapatans regularly



Before a federal court in San Antonio redrew state House redistricting maps, it looked like Webb County Commissioner Jerry Garza would make a run for higher office against Eagle Pass Democrat Tracy King. By the time he filed to run Tuesday, it was clear he would be facing state Rep. Ryan Guillen, another incumbent Democrat with even closer ties to Webb County. After the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay of Texas state House, Senate and congressional maps Friday night, it was not exactly clear whom Garza would face in his pursuit of higher office. The high court’s decision to enter the legal fray over redistricting in the state — a hearing will take place Jan. 9 — has caused confusion for a number of Texas campaigns just as they were beginning to take shape. It’s not clear if elections will be allowed to proceed under the new courtdrawn maps, the legislative maps that drew myriad legal challenges from minority groups, or another map entirely. But should the matchup proceed between Garza and Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, it will likely come down to personalities and political organizing by two candidates who share many local allies and legislative priorities. “I was surprised that he would challenge such an effective incumbent,” said state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo. “Commissioner Garza has done a very good job as commissioner — an excellent job. But so have (Reps.) Tracy King and Ryan Guillen (in Austin).” Garza said last week, however, that he would make an issue of Guillen’s vote for the Republican House redistricting plan, which drew Webb out of District 31 and did not create another seat in the Rio Grande Valley. Both have local support, but Zaffirini said what would matter most is who actually gets voters to turn out for the primary election for the district, which includes parts of Laredo, rural Webb



Photos by Ulysses S. Romero | Laredo Morning Times

TOP: Carlos and Jorge Ledezma pose for a photo during the Second Annual Villarreal Elementary Noche De Fiesta at the Zapata County Pavilion on Thursday evening. BOTTOM: Hundreds of people look on as Villarreal Elementary students perform during the Second Annual Noche De Fiesta.


Ciudad Mier returning to former peacefulness ASSOCIATED PRESS

CIUDAD MIER, Mexico — Schoolchildren once again chatter and scamper across the town plaza where drug gang gunmen last year torched the police station and left the remains of a dismembered man. By night, townsfolk play volleyball across the plaza from the station, whose charred stone fa-

cade has been repaired. The plants are trimmed and streets that once echoed with gunbattles are quiet and clean. Ciudad Mier again is starting to look like it deserves its tourism promotion as a “magical town.” But most businesses are shuttered and there aren’t many cars on the streets, which are often patrolled by Army trucks. The mayor estimates that about

a third of Mier’s 8,000 people have not returned. Most are still terrified by nine months of gang battles, killings and disappearances that caused them to flee a year ago. “When we live through an experience in the flesh, people keep that image,” said Mayor Alberto Gonzalez Peñ. “And sometimes it’s difficult to erase.”

The confidence in Mier, or lack of it, has become a test of President Felipe Calderón’s latest strategy in pacifying territory that had been overrun by drug gangs in a conflict that has killed roughly 40,000 people nationwide. A battalion of 653 soldiers arrived in October and paraded through the streets behind a military band when Mexico’s

army opened its first “mobile barracks,” to safely house troops trying to re-establish control in violent areas. Many residents waved at the soldiers and held signs expressing thanks. The Mexican Defense Department said then the new troops would “without doubt generate confidence and



Zin brief CALENDAR






There will be a performance of “Cinderella” at the Zapata High School auditorium at 3 p.m. Admission is $2. Performances for elementary school students are scheduled for Monday at 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Joy for Toys is set for 6 p.m. at the Zapata County Pavillion. The event is a combination Christmas donation and concert. Donations that will be accepted include toys and warm clothing. Ciudad Juarez, Neuma and Future Glory are scheduled to play. The event is sponsored by Ministerios Aguilavision. Memorial Bells of the First United Methodist Church will present the third annual Christmas Concert in the sanctuary at 1220 McClelland St. at 4 p.m. today. The handbell ensemble will present both sacred and secular carols. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted to cover concert-related expenses. For more information, contact the church office at 722-1674. From 3 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. today, the Laredo Little Theatre, 4802 Thomas Ave., will stage “A Christmas Carol.” Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children.

Today is Saturday, Dec. 17, the 351st day of 2011. There are 14 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Dec. 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright of Dayton, Ohio, conducted the first successful manned powered-airplane flights near Kitty Hawk, N.C., using their experimental craft, the Wright Flyer. On this date: In 1777, France recognized American independence. In 1830, South American patriot Simon Bolivar (seeMOHN’ boh-LEE’-vahr) died in Colombia. In 1925, Col. William “Billy” Mitchell was convicted at his court-martial in Washington of insubordination for accusing senior military officials of incompetence and criminal negligence; he was suspended from active duty. In 1939, the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee was scuttled by its crew, ending the World War II Battle of the River Plate off Uruguay. In 1957, the United States successfully test-fired the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time. In 1961, an arson fire at a circus in Niteroi (nee-tuhROY’), Brazil, killed 323 people. In 1975, Lynette Fromme was sentenced in Sacramento, Calif., to life in prison for her attempt on the life of President Gerald R. Ford. (She was paroled in Aug. 2009.) In 1979, in a case that aggravated racial tensions, Arthur McDuffie, a black insurance executive, was fatally injured after leading police on a chase with his motorcycle in Miami. (Four white police officers accused of beating McDuffie were later acquitted, sparking riots.) In 1981, members of the Red Brigades kidnapped Brig. Gen. James L. Dozier, the highestranking U.S. Army official in southern Europe, from his home in Verona, Italy. (Dozier was rescued 42 days later.) In 1986, Eugene Hasenfus, the American convicted by Nicaragua for his part in running guns to the Contras, was pardoned, then released. Ten years ago: Marines raised the Stars and Stripes over the long-abandoned American Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Gunmen raided Haiti’s National Palace, killing at least ten people in an attack the government described as a failed coup attempt (opponents accused the government of staging the attack to clamp down on dissent). Today’s Birthdays: Rock singer-musician Art Neville is 74. Actor Ernie Hudson is 66. Political commentator Chris Matthews is 66. Comedian-actor Eugene Levy is 65. -andblues singer Wanda Hutchinson (The Emotions) is 60. Actor Bill Pullman is 58. -director-writer Peter Farrelly is 55. Actor Sean Patrick Thomas is 41. Actress Claire Forlani is 40. Actress Sarah Paulson is 37. Actress Marissa Ribisi is 37. Actor Giovanni Ribisi is 37. Actress Milla Jovovich 36. Singer Bree Sharp is 36. Actress Jennifer Carpenter is 32. Actress Shannon Woodward is 27. Actress Vanessa Zima is 25. Actor-singer Nat Wolff is 17. Thought for Today: “A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things.” — “Poor Richard’s Almanack.”

MONDAY, DEC. 19 The Four Seasons Christmas Angels visit Fidel & Andrea Villarreal Elementary School at 9 a.m. in the school library. The Zapata High School theater departments presents the “Disney Cinderella Kids” at the Zapata High School auditorium. Contact the school for show time. The Laredo Public Library invites parents to bring their children to enjoy entertainment and holiday activities over Christmas break. Today’s event, Make a Christmas Card, runs from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the library’s children’s department, 1120 East Calton Road. Children must not be left unattended. For more information, call Diana Gallegos at 795-2400, extension 2247.

TUESDAY, DEC. 20 The Zapata Middle School PTO will meet at 6 p.m. in the school gym. The Student Council Talent Show will take place in the cafeteria at Fidel & Andrea R. Villarreal Elementary School. Admission is $1. The Laredo Public Library invites parents to bring their children to enjoy entertainment and holiday activities over Christmas break. Today’s event, Make a Christmas Ornament, takes place in the children’s department, 1120 E. Calton Road, from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Children must not be left unattended at the library for these or any other activities. For more information, call Diana Gallegos at 795-2400, extension 2247.

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 21 The Laredo Public Library invites parents to bring their children to enjoy entertainment and holiday activities over Christmas break. Today’s event, Make a Christmas Craft, takes place in the children’s department from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Children must not be left unattended at the library. For more information, call Diana Gallegos at 7952400, extension 2247. The Laredo Public Library Scene of the Crime Mystery Book Club invites the public to its book discussion at 6 p.m. today in the first-floor conference room of the Laredo Public Library, 1120 E. Calton Road. The book discussed will be “Eve,” by Iris Johansen. The book is about a person who helps families cope with missing children, and how she deals with the evidence related to her own missing child. “Eve” is available for checkout at the Laredo Public Library. For more information, contact Pam Burrell at the Laredo Public Library at 7952400, extension 2268. Laredo Community College alum and pianist Carlos Abraham Flores will perform live on piano a medley of traditional Christmas music from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. today inside the Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Fine Arts Center theater at LCC’s Fort McIntosh campus. Admission is free.

THURSDAY, DEC. 22 Winter Break begins for the Zapata County Independent School District. Break ends Wednesday, Jan. 4. The 2011 Blue Santa event will take place from 9 a.m. through noon at the Zapata County Courthouse. The Laredo Public Library invites parents to bring their children to enjoy entertainment and holiday activities over Christmas break. Today’s event, Watch a Christmas Movie, takes place from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Children must not be left unattended at the library. For more information, call Diana Gallegos at 7952400, extension 2247.

Photo by Gabe Hernandez/The Monitor | AP

Donna Tijerina talks about her sons, Nicholas Tijerina, 13, during a news conference on at McAllen Medical Center in McAllen. Nicholas was one of two students who were shot by a stray bullet while trying out for the basketball team Monday at Harwell Middle School in Edinburg.


McALLEN — A 13-year-old, one of two shot while trying out for their middle school basketball team on an outdoor court, is unable to move his legs, his doctor said Friday. Nicholas Tijerina, a student in the seventh grade at Harwell Middle School northeast of Edinburg, has been stable and talking, but it’s too soon to know the lasting effects of Monday’s shooting, said Dr. Mark Lieser, a trauma surgeon at McAllen Medical Center. “He has been awake and alert and stable the entire time and that bleeding … appears to have stopped,” Lieser said. “He’s in remarkably good spirits and he’s having an ice cream sundae for breakfast this morning.” Nicholas was in a temporary basketball court when he was shot Monday. The other boy is reportedly in stable condition.

The bullet entered Nicholas’ chest, went through his liver and through one of the bones of his spine before lodging in the soft tissue of his back, Lieser said. “It was probably a pretty high-velocity round, which even if it didn’t go right through the spinal cord went right next to it, and it’s just the energy from that bullet is going to cause some damage to the spinal cord,” he said. Investigators have questioned three men who were found on adjacent ranchland after the shooting. Two were practicing target shooting about a half mile from the school. A third was an illegal immigrant with an assault rifle who was trespassing on the property. The target shooters were released, but are still under investigation. The other man in custody. Investigators didn’t know if any of them fired the shots, but hoped to have ballistic test results next week.

N Texas man gets 55 years North Texas teen charged on 8th DWI conviction in juvenile center death FORT WORTH — A North Texas man has been sentenced to 55 years in prison after his eighth conviction for drunken driving. The Tarrant County district attorney’s office said 54-year-old Michael Smith was sentenced on a felony DWI charge Friday, a day after he was convicted by a jury.

Perry double dips state salary and pension AUSTIN — Texas Gov. Rick Perry is a double-dipper, collecting a salary and retirement benefits simultaneously. A personal financial disclosure form that presidential candidates are required to file shows that Perry is collecting his $7,700 monthly state pension. That is allowable under state law, using a complicated formula. Perry’s salary as governor is roughly $133,000.

FORT WORTH — A North Texas teen has been charged in the strangulation death of a boy at a juvenile detention center where both youths were held. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Friday that the 14-yearold Parker County youth faced juvenile charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in 14-year-old Jordan Adams’ death.

Houston building evacuated after shift HOUSTON — A four-story office building in Houston was evacuated after one of the structure’s columns shifted, scaring people inside and causing minor damage. Houston Fire Department Assistant Chief Herbert Griffin says between 75 and 100 people vacated the building after they heard a sound Friday morning and felt the structure shift.

Rally in Athens to back nativity scene ATHENS — Ministers and other backers of a Christmas nativity scene outside an East Texas courthouse have announced plans to rally today. Pastor Nathan Lorick of First Baptist Church in Malakoff says attendees are being asked to show attitudes of peace and love. County officials this month received a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The group asked that the nativity scene be removed and seeks to put up its own banner.

Convicted sex offender charged in death of boy LUFKIN — Investigators say a convicted sex offender has been accused of the fatal beating of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son while she was at work. Kerry Woodard of Lufkin is held without bond on a capital murder charge. — Compiled from AP reports

AROUND THE NATION Early rally fades; stock market down for the week


An early rally faded on the stock market Friday, leaving indexes down about 3 percent for the week as worries resurfaced about a breakup of the euro. The Dow Jones average closed down 2.42 points Friday at 11,866.93. It had been up by 99 points after Italy won a confidence vote on austerity measures. It turned mixed around midday as Fitch warned that it might downgrade the debt of Italy, Spain and four other countries that use the euro.

Obama says support for Israel ‘unshakable’ WASHINGTON — Defending himself sharply against Republican attacks, President Barack Obama told a Jewish group Friday that his administration has done more than any other in support of Israel’s security, and

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In this Dec. 12 photo, Jeremy and Latasha Lucas pay off the rest of their layaway at the Kmart in Grand Rapids, Mich. The layaway-paying Secret Santa Craze that began in Grand Rapids has quickly spread across the country. he declared his support for Israel to be “unshakable.”

‘Barefoot Bandit’ pleads guilty in Wash. court COUPEVILLE, Wash. — Col-

ton Harris-Moore, who gained notoriety as the “Barefoot Bandit” while evading police during a two-year crime spree pleaded guilty Friday to dozens of state charges that could keep him in prison for the next decade. — 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






Jorge ‘Eddie’ Martinez announces bid for court JORGE E. “EDDIE” MARTINEZ: Eyes election to Precinct 3 seat.


Known around town as “Eddie,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Jorge E. Martinez has announced that he is seeking reelection to the Zapata County Commissioners Court. Though appointed to the post in 2009, Martinez feels he’s contributed enough to warrant another chance to serve. “We’ve modernized the existing infrastructure, particularly parks,” said Martinez, adding that he was one of the commissioners who advocated for greater cleanliness. “We’re having a mandatory trash pickup for all citizens.” To explain his focus on cleanliness, Martinez said the environment is one of his prize issues. He considers ecotourism important and sees proper maintenance of the town’s natural resources as important in promoting it. “We’re trying to beautify the Bravo Park. We have birdwatchers from

all over the country,” he said. “We’re also working on a project at the boat ramp. That’s going to improve.” Upgrading the public boat ramp has been a much talked-about project in Zapata for some time, and Martinez said it’s important for the continued promotion of perhaps the county’s bestknown resource, Falcon Lake. Besides potential ecotourism, the improvements to these natural resources, said Martinez, attract new business, which is another goal of his. “I want to attract new companies, new industries. When you’re thinking of moving to the community, you look at (cleanliness). The HEBs, Walmarts probably look at those issues as well,” he said. If reelected, Martinez said he plans to address

Siesta Shores, a censusdesignated place in Zapata County that has its own water district. “We want to get into some type of communication with them,” he said. “We can eventually annex the system over there. We have a beautiful and new water plant. I oversaw the completion of it, and it certainly has the capacity to provide a whole lot more water. “In the Siesta Shores area, they really have a need for county water. As time goes by, one of my visions is to include all those communities in the surrounding area. They’re part of Zapata now.” A certified public accountant who worked in Laredo for eight years and now practices in Zapata, Martinez said his drive to serve the community comes from a simple fact. “This is home to me,” he said. (Mike Herrera IV can be reached at 728-2567 or

Police: Boy had pellet gun By CÉSAR G. RODRIGUEZ THE ZAPATA TIMES

Authorities say a student was in possession of a pellet gun on Zapata High School premises Tuesday afternoon. Initially, deputies responded to the school for a reported unlawful carrying of a firearm incident at 1:58 p.m. Sheriff ’s Sgt. Mario Elizondo said a juvenile was identified as the alleged offender. Elizondo said a school official reported the juvenile. However, it is unclear what led to the seizure. A sheriff ’s office report was not immediately available for public release. Norma G. Garcia, superintendent of

schools, states in an email that the “firearm” turned out to be an air pellet gun. She added a hearing is scheduled for Monday. “I will reserve any more comments until after the hearing,” she states in the email. “Any incidents of this nature are not taken lightly at (Zapata County Independent School District) and are dealt with accordingly.” She does not state time and location of the hearing in her email, citing the protection of the student’s privacy. Elizondo added investigators are looking into the incident. (César G. Rodriguez may be reached at 728-2568 or

Courtesy photo

These students were named Stars of the Week for Dec. 12. Bottom row from left, Brianda Garza, Kimberly Cabrera, Lionel Vazquez, Karime Guzman; second row from left, Pedro Gonzalez, Ashley Mendoza, Juan Camarillo, Leyda Sarmiento, Margot Wheeler, Dominic Vela, Devanhi Guillen; third row from left, Evelyn Lara, Raul Valadez, Xavier Rodriguez, Cynthia Guerra, Joelyynn Pena Gilberto Gonzalez, Rodolfo Valadez; top row from left, Naian Garza, Jamily Pichardo, Agapito Cabrialez, Brenda Thatcher, Randy Mendez, Adan Jonguitud and Erik Santos.

THE BLOTTER ACCIDENT A motor vehicle accident was reported at 2:53 a.m. Dec. 10 about one mile north of Chihuahua on U.S. 83. A 35-year-old man told deputies he veered off into a ditch due to water on the road. The vehicle had minor damages and the man walked away unharmed.

ASSAULT Raul Angel Garza, 33, was arrested and charged with assault at about 3 a.m. Dec. 9 in the 900 block of Laredo Avenue. The man was taken to Zapata Regional Jail. Shortly after, the man was released for a future court appearance. Aleida Castillo-Moran, 21, was arrested and charged with assault at about 8:30 p.m. Dec. 9 after deputies responded to a reported “aggressive female” in the 1100 block of Carla Street. The woman was taken to the Zapata County Jail and later released for court appearance. Omar Garcia Jr., 27, was arrested and charged with assault at about 1:30 a.m. Dec. 10 in the 1500 block of U.S. 83. Deputies took him to the Zapata Regional Jail, where he was later released

for time served. Raul Angel Garza, 33, was arrested and charged with assault and interference with an emergency call at about 11:30 a.m. Dec. 11 after deputies responded to a domestic dispute in the 900 block of Laredo Avenue. The man was held at the Webb County Jail on a combined $40,000 bond. A sexual assault was reported at 2:14 p.m. Monday in the 5000 block of Lopez Lane. An investigation is ongoing. Deputies responded to a fight in progress at 4 p.m. Monday at Zapata Middle School. One juvenile was detained and charged with assault. The alleged offender was referred to juvenile probation.

BURGLARY A 38-year-old man reported at 9:03 a.m. Dec. 9 in the 5300 block of Victoria Lane that an air compressor was stolen from his company’s vehicle. The item was valued at $325. A 35-year-old man reported at noon Dec. 9 in the 5200 block of Grande Lane that someone stole a 32-inch plasma television and a computer with speakers, among assorted items. The items stolen

had a combined value of more than $1,000.

DEAD DOG Deputies responded to a call reporting an aggressive pitbull at 9:15 a.m. Monday in the 400 block of Lincoln Street in San Ygnacio. Complainants told deputies that their dog was killed by a pitbull. Animal control was called out to the scene to pick up the pitbull.

DEER ACCIDENT A 36-year-old man reported at 5:15 a.m. Wednesday that he struck a deer near Columbia Ranch. A sheriff’s incident report states his F150 pickup sustained damages worth $500. No one was harmed.

DWI Juan Carlos Solis Jr., 24, was served with a warrant Wednesday. He was charged with driving while intoxicated for an incident that occurred Dec. 11 around 3 a.m. in the 1900 block of Fresno Street. Deputies say Solis’ blue GMC truck struck at chain-link fence. Solis was held on a $3,000 bond at the Zapata Regional Jail.







No payroll could hurt seniors MCCLATCHY-TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE


s 2011 draws to a close, how fitting that Congress is fighting over money — again. Late Wednesday, a push to extend a payroll-tax break and unemployment benefits stood in the way of a crucial budget bill to fund the government’s operations. Democrats wanted to cover the cost of those initiatives with tax increases, Republicans with spending cuts. In their rush to head home for the holidays, members of neither party want to discuss how continuing this year’s cut in the payroll tax and extending long-term jobless pay would add to our already enormous national debt. Here’s why: The payroll taxes that otherwise would be paid into Social Security only would be recouped years later, and that’s under the most optimistic scenarios. Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk told the Chicago Tribune editorial board Wednesday that both parties’ proposals would add to U.S. borrowing — and move up the date when the most recent federal debt limit is exceeded.

The future Kirk’s main concern: Social Security already is imperiled — unable to properly benefit future generations unless it is reformed. Maybe a oneyear cut in the payroll tax for 2011 made some sense. But continuing to cheat the program of the routine revenues on which it is structured inevitably endangers its ability to meet its obligations. And filling any shortfall in these Social Security revenues by borrowing still more billions is beyond foolhardy. It’s also the same sort of we’ll-gladly-pay-later-forentitlement-spending-today that has put many nations of Europe in severe debt crises. The dispute over the payroll-tax bill is claiming most of the headlines this week, but it’s only part of the pre-Christmas puzzle: Both parties reached an agreement this week on the roughly $1 trillion spending bill, but Senate Democrats, urged on by President Obama, won’t pass it. They want to pressure House Republicans to accept, yes, the

Democratic version of the payroll-tax cut. In this exchange of playground belligerence, Republicans have accused Democrats of holding the budget bill hostage, thus risking that ol’ debbil, a government shutdown. And Democrats have accused Republicans of trying to finagle a spending bill, then skip town for the holidays without negotiating a compromise payroll-tax cut. So far, in other words, nothing constructive at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue. Just a lot of squabbling — and a dangerous perception from members of both parties that Americans can continue to underfund Social Security.

Looking at debt Any deal that invites more federal borrowing is a luxury the United States cannot afford. It would, though, fit Washington’s pattern of refusing to get a grip on the dangerous nexus of spending and debt. All year long, the nation’s leaders have squandered opportunities to begin taming that debt. While they’ve bickered, the national debt has surpassed $15 trillion. Beyond Social Security, obligations for Medicare and Medicaid continue to threaten those systems as well. And additional cuts loom for the nation’s credit rating, in the aftermath of a historic downgrade from one rating agency in August.

Nothing produced The problems are urgent, the solutions evident but unable to gain any traction in Congress and the White House. The president’s SimpsonBowles deficit commission, the Senate’s Gang of Six, the congressional supercommittee — oodles of good ideas, but no reconciling the federal government’s unsustainable spending with its insufficient revenues. Gutsy leadership? Willingness to lose political advantage? Willingness to lose elections? Nah. Instead of statesmanship, we get gamesmanship, brinkmanship and one-upmanship. Plus the very real threat of an extended tax cut that will only shortchange Social Security and worsen our debt.

Don’t ban cells in vehicles yet


Moms do it all except sleep By PETULA DVORAK THE WASHINGTON POST


was the week before Christmas when inside the house, mom pulled another allnighter, scaring off the poor mouse. The stockings needed washing, the bills must be paid and the quarterly earnings report had to be made. You think all is quiet on the new-fallen snow? Not if there’s an overscheduled supermom anywhere in sledding distance. While visions of sugarplums dance in everyone else’s heads, these moms knock out the dishes, memos, emails, bills, baking, permission slips, holiday show costumes and even the gardening. Check. Check. Check. This time of year, pulling the midnight shift is all about survival. ”I may be exhausted when I finally get to bed. But it feels so good to have a checklist cleared at 2 a.m.,” says Vicki Leonardo, a marketing executive with Verizon. When the streets of Bethesda, Md., are quiet, Leonardo is hemming a skirt for choir or blasting emails for the school auction. Take a look at your inbox. Those 3 a.m. time stamps are nothing but robo-ads and frenetic moms. It begins when the kids are infants. Getting up at 11 p.m., then 1 a.m., then 3 a.m., then pulling a full

day at the office becomes routine. By the time you can sleep through the night (last week was the first time for us, I think), you are used to being up anyway. So why not vacuum or fold some laundry? And no, this isn’t about insomnia. These aren’t Lunesta candidates. ”Oh, no. If I ever lay down, I’m out,” says Leonardo, who is raising three kids. ”This is just about not having enough time to do everything there is to do.” I get where she’s coming from. I’ve become the weirdo planting tulip bulbs at 1 a.m., to the light of the harvest moon and the stares of partiers staggering home. Same scenario last week, hanging the Christmas lights at 3 a.m. Cheers, neighbors! The night crew at the 24-hour Safeway is really fun to hang out with, too. Across America, women who have broken barriers in the daylight hours — working in traditionally male jobs or assuming management roles — are still bearing the burden of their gender at night, getting up to mother and make house like it is 1949. Sarah Burgard, a sociology professor at the University of Michigan, studied time patterns of women between 2003 and 2007 and found that even when both parents work the same hours during the day, moms pull the graveyard shift at home.

But the double shift takes its toll on future earnings and career development for midnight moms, according to the projections in Burgard’s study. Plus, a lot of us hate having to juggle and multi-task so much. The Washington Post’s Janice D’Arcy wrote about the American Sociological Association’s big multi-tasking study, which came out last week. It concluded that women multi-task more but that we don’t like doing it because it creates a mental bouillabaisse of legal briefs, child foot-wart appointments, client emails, vomit stains, dog poop, A/C repair guys, summer camp forms, new underpants, the cost-analysis report and Mrs. Johnson’s holiday gift. (She’s allergic to nuts.) To get it all done, Staci Temple Otto was wearing herself to a nub, up all night cleaning out closets at her Alexandria, Va., home or doing laundry or answering work calls. She’s one of the IT brains at the Latham & Watkins law firm, and on the side, she taught infant swim classes. If it wasn’t lawyers calling her at all hours with tech issues or housework keeping her up, it was the 15 moms of her little swim students who wanted to talk about class. ”And they responded and wanted to talk at midnight. They were all keeping the same hours as I

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

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

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


A federal recommendation that use of hand-held devices by motorists be banned makes sense — up to a point. Texting or surfing the Internet while driving are extremely dangerous. But the National Transportation Safety Board also urged bans on use of hands-free and hand-held cellphones in vehicles except — inexplicably — phone devices installed in some new vehicles by manufacturers. Those restrictions would generate strong resistance from the public and be difficult to enforce. Politically, it would be tough to impose a blanket restriction on devices used by so many people even while highway travel, overall, is safer. But distracted driving is an increasing problem. Some states have already moved in the direction of tougher restrictions. In view of the findings, states should do more to further reduce the rate of fatalities.

was,” Otto marveled. She’s been trying to put the brakes on the midnight mania, lower the expectations and get some sleep. ”I realized that no matter how much I stayed up at night, there was never enough time to get it all done,” she said. Quality time with homework, the siren call of the BlackBerry, the rise of cupcake compulsion and scrapbook fever, that blasted Elf on the Shelf — the drive to make everything just a little more special for the kids is turning us into maniacs. We’re making more stops than Santa. And he gets to sleep for the other 364 days. Mom gets to do it all over again, every day. The midnight habit isn’t even the exclusive domain of moms who work outside the home. I’ve had plenty of email chats with stay-at-home mom friends who are up at 4 a.m., savoring the quiet of the house and a cup of coffee that is sipped, not gulped. No one is there to judge us, ask us for moremoremore or tell us it’s mineminemine. We listen to our audiobooks so we can talk to our smart, single friends, we Clorox the shelves so the house is as clean as Mom’s and we edit that report until it’s perfect. And then those morning birds begin to sing, dawn breaks and, once again, we belong to everyone else.


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.






Concert, toy ‘Bog of Cats’ on stage tonight drive set for Pavillion By MIKE HERRERA IV THE ZAPATA TIMES


“Life changing.” That’s the way organizers are describing a concert and toy collection at the Zapata County Pavillion on Sunday evening. “It’s a family oriented event. Being that it’s the first one, it’s going to be the beginning of lifechanging experience,” said Eddie Garza, president and founder of Ministerios Aguilavision. Garza said Joy for Toys is meant to put smiles on peoples’ faces who are going through tough times in this holiday season. Instead of an entrance fee, organizers are asking for donations in kind, such as toys and winter clothing. Those gifts will be distributed in rural areas of Zapata, Laredo and Rio Grande City on Wednesday and Thursday. Garza added Ministerios Aguilavision is a Christian ministry working under the motto “One vision. One goal. One desire. Save lives.” The concert is the first of its kind in Zapata, according to Garza. Heading up the lineup is Fuego Líquido, a Ciudad Juarez band rising up in the charts with its alternative style. Garza said the band is upcoming in South and Central America, Mexico and now the United States. Laredo’s Neuma and Hebbronville’s Future Glory bands are opening the

Show focuses on J. Lewis By LYNN ELBER ASSOCIATED S PRES

LOS ANGELES — Gregg Barson is a documentarian, not a comedian. But when Jerry Lewis let him know that more than a dozen people were waiting in line to tell his story, Barson offered a persuasive punch line. “Yeah, but they’re not me,” was Barson’s comeback, followed by a momentary quiver of fear that he’d gone too far with the veteran star. “He said, ‘I like that. You know why? Because you remind me of me,”’ Barson recalled. That chutzpahfueled exchange led to “Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis,” debuting at 7 p.m. Saturday on Encore. The film focuses on what makes the 85-year-old — and still working — Lewis tick as a performer and filmmaker. Those looking for dish on his family life or breakup with stage and screen partner Dean Martin or abrupt departure from the Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon he’d nurtured for six decades won’t find it here. Barson, who describes himself as “in heaven” when he caught a Lewis film on TV as a youngster, said his intent was to focus on Lewis’ career from vaudeville on and his contributions to comedy and movies.

acts. Two guest speakers are scheduled to share their testimony during the concert: Karla Garza, whose marriage has been restored, and Maria Zavala, a young woman healed of cancer despite in spite of the fact that doctors didn’t give her much hope to live. “There’s a God to ask him for our needs,” Garza said. Organizers want to emphasize sending out a positive message of hope, love and peace to the community of Zapata. “God has put in our heart to look out for Zapata,” Garza said. “God has a big purpose for Zapata.” Garza invites the community to stop by the concert and donate for a good cause. The event starts at 6 p.m. at the Zapata County Pavillion on Sunday. Those who wish to donate toys and/or winter clothing can call Garza at 956500-2040 for more information. (César G. Rodriguez may be reached at 7282568 or

Imago Theatre presents “By the Bog of Cats,” starting at 8 p.m. today at the LCC Martinez Fine Arts Center. Unique for Laredo in tone and scope, this production sets out to break new ground to help drama students breach new frontiers. “Our show is pretty ambitions,” said director Marco Gonzalez. “We’re trying a lot of stuff that I don’t think has been tried in Laredo.” Taking a break from working on the lighting to speak with The Zapata Times, Gonzalez said the show will include dancing and live music, with one actress playing the violin on stage. He hoped one of the planned features goes through. “I’m still waiting on approval for the acrobats,” he said. With a background in film and fresh off appearing in the Laredo Theater Guild International’s production of “The Foreigner,” Gonzalez is culling from different performing arts to tell the dark story of “By the Bog of Cats,” written by Marina Carr. It’s the story of gypsy-born Hester Swane, whose life traveling the bogs of rural Ireland has left her rooted deeply in the land. After her lover and the father of her illegitimate daughter

Courtesy photo

“By the Bog of Cats,” starts at 8 p.m. today at the LCC Martinez Fine Arts Center. It’s a fundraiser for the J.W. Nixon High School Drama Club. decides to marry into money and respectability, Hester embarks on a campaign of revenge. “It’s a complex play,” added Gonzalez, “and one that stretches our performers to their limits.” One particular challenge for this cast of 13 was nailing the Irish accent, which Gonzalez describes as much harder than British accents. “We listened to recordings to get the vowels right. We compared it to the American accents. It is

difficult. Sometimes you start to sound Australian, but I think we’re getting it down,” he said. All proceeds from the production will benefit the J.W. Nixon High School Drama Club, which is trying to raise nearly $60,000 so it can perform at the Edinburg Festival Fringe. A Nixon graduate, Gonzalez heard the club was invited and volunteered Imago Productions to put on a benefit play. Added Gonzalez: “My love for theater began at

Nixon.” The cast includes two Nixon students: Andrea Garcia as Josie Kilbride and Alejandro Diaz as Young Dunne. Stephanie Solis Schnyder plays Hester Swane, and Christopher Lee Daniels plays her lover, Carthage Kilbride. The show starts at 8 p.m., and general admission tickets are $15, or $10 with a student ID. (Mike Herrera IV can be reached at 728-2567 or


Agenda en Breve


LAREDO 12/17 — El South Texas Food Bank invita a ayudar en la campaña de boteo para recaudar fondos en varios cruceros de Laredo, de 8 a.m. a 2 p.m. 12/17 — “Saturday Story Hour” del Club de Maestros de TAMIU presenta “Christmas” en la Biblioteca Pública de Laredo, 1120 E Calton Road, a las 2 p.m. Para niños de 3 a 8 años de edad, acompañados de un adulto. 12/17 — Baile de Navidad con Grupo Intocable, Grupo Violento y Banda “La Kineña” a partir de las 8 p.m. en Life Downs Indoor Pavilion. Boletos a la venta en: Casa Raul Western Wear, El Meson de San Agustin, San Ramon Music Shop, Club Cue, y Casa de Música Guadalupe. 12/18 — Proyecto “Ven por un juguete” presenta “Novis, la única esperanza” a la 1 p.m. en Laredo Energy Arena. Se regalarán 15,000 juguetes. Entrada gratis. Informes al (956) 712-1171 y 712-1172. 12/18 — Concierto Navideño a las 4 p.m. en First United Methodist Church, 1220 calle McClelland. Entrada gratuita, aunque se aceptan donaciones. 12/19 — Vigilia y servicio de oración para honrar a quienes sirven en las fuerzas armadas y a quienes han dado su vida sirviendo a la nación, hoy a las 6:30 p.m. en North Central Park. 12/19 — El equipo de baloncesto femenil de TAMIU recibe a Grace College a las 6 p.m. Costyo: 5 dólares general y 3 dólares para estudiantes. 12/21 — El Club de Libros de Misterior “Escena del Crimen” invita a la discusión de grupo a las 6 p.m. en la Sala de Conferencias del 1er. Piso de la Biblioteca Pública de Laredo, 1120 E Calton Road. El libro a discutir es: “Eve” de Iris Johansen. 12/28 — “Disney’s Phineas and Ferb: The Best LIVE Tour Ever!” hoy en Laredo Energy Arena a las 4 p.m. y 7 p.m. Costos varían de 16.25 dólares a 42.25 dólares. 12/29 — George Lopez se presentará en Laredo Energy Arena. Boletos: 40.50 dólares a 60.50 dólares.



Inicia Navidad Segura

NUEVO LAREDO, MX 12/17 — ITCA y Laberintus Teatro invitan a la lectura dramatizada de la obra “Rapaz” de Luis Eduardo Torres a las 7 p.m. en el Teatro Lucio Blanco de la Casa de la Cultura, Lincoln y Chimalpopoca. 12/17 — Escuche al dueto de Alberto y Anaí a las 6 p.m. en Cafebrería, El Libro Café, en Coahuila 2449, esquina con Reynosa. Evento gratuito. 12/17 — Clausura del programa “Palabras a la Calle” con el grupo Green High de hip-hop, a las 10 a.m. en la Plaza 1ro de Mayo. Evento gratuito. 12/17 — Bazar de Arte en la Sala Gabriel García Márquez de Estación Palabra, a las 12 p.m. 12/17 — Festival Infantil Navideño (cuentos y actividades) en el área infantil de Estación Palabra a las 2 p.m. 12/17 — Pastorelas para chicos y grandes a partir de la 1 p.m. en Estación Palabra. Evento gratuito. 12/17 — Concierto Navideño de la Centenaria Banda de Música Municipal, dirigida por Leonel Barberena Aislain, a las 8 p.m. en la Catedral del Espíritu Santo. Cooperación: 1 juguete, 1 cobija. 12/17 — Presentación del disco “Pa’ Mundo” de Umano Aché en el Hotel Camino Real a las 7 p.m.



Foto por Delcia Lopez | Associated Press

Elementos de la Guardia Nacional en la frontera entre Estados Unidos y México podrían ser reducidos a la mitad durante el 2012, según una fuente federal.


WASHINGTON — El gobierno de Estados Unidos tiene la intención de reducir el número de efectivos de la Guardia Nacional desplegados en la frontera con México, dijo esta semana el vocero de un congresista norteamericano. Cuando ésta reducción ocurra, la nueva tarea de esos efectivos será sobrevolar la zona. En la actualidad, unos 1.200 efectivos ayudan a los agentes de la Patrulla Fronteriza a detectar a personas que intentan cruzar la frontera ilegalmente, así como a contrabandistas de drogas y de seres humanos. La oficina del representante republicano Michael McCaul dijo que esa cifra se reducirá aproximadamente a la mitad. McCaul se opone a la reducción de la fuerza. Un funcionario federal conocedor de la nueva estrategia dijo que la fuerza reducida concentrará sus esfuerzos en la vigilancia aérea. La fuente habló bajo la condición de no ser identificada antes del anuncio del plan. El vocero del Departa-

mento de Defensa, teniente coronel Robert L. Ditchey, dijo que aún se elaboran los detalles sobre la futura presencia de la Guardia Nacional en la frontera. En tanto, Mike Rosen, portavoz del congresista republicano por Texas Michael McCaul, dijo que un funcionario del gobierno federal le dijo al legislador que las reducciones se iniciarán el año próximo, pero sin aclarar cuántos elementos serán retirados de la tarea fronteriza. Los efectivos restantes permanecerán emplazados posiblemente hasta finales del 2012 y se concentrarán en recabar información de inteligencia, indicó Rosen sobre el cambio de estrategia comunicado a McPaul. El presidente Barack Obama ordenó el año pasado la instalación de las tropas en la frontera para apoyar a la Patrulla Fronteriza sorteando el cruce ilegal de inmigrantes y el ingreso de traficantes de personas. El primer contingente de los 1.200 efectivos llegó a California, Arizona, Nuevo México y Texas en agosto del 2010 en una misión con aproximadamen-

te un año de duración. A principios del 2011, Obama aumentó el tiempo de esa fuerza en la frontera. Los soldados de la guardia no tienen facultades de detención y la mayor parte del tiempo la han pasado escudriñando los 3.200 kilómetros (2.000 millas) de frontera y alertando las actividades sospechosas a los agentes fronterizos. El despliegue presente es el segundo de ese tipo en la frontera sur. Del 2006 al 2008, por una orden del entonces presidente George W. Bush, varios miles de soldados participaron sobre la frontera mexicana en la llamada “Operation Jumpstart”. La intención era liberar a la Patrulla Fronteriza de su función sobre la seguridad en la frontera mientras el organismo contrataba a miles de nuevos agentes. Cuando Bush ordenó el despliegue había alrededor de 11.000 agentes en la frontera sur. Ahora hay más de 18.500 miembros de la Patrulla Fronteriza. Por ahora se desconoce los motivos de Obama para ampliar el plazo del despliegue y luego reducir el número de los efectivos.


CD. VICTORIA, México — Con la finalidad de atender y garantizar la seguridad de los vacacionistas, incluyendo el retorno de miles de paisanos a México por Tamaulipas, a partir de este fin de semana fue reforzada la vigilancia en las carreteras de la entidad. El Gobierno del Estado también puso en marcha el operativo especial “Navidad Segura 2011”, en el que en coordinación con el Ejército Mexicano, Policía Federal Preventiva y Policía Estatal, se redoblará la vigilancia en los principales municipios de Tamaulipas. “Navidad Segura” tiene como objetivo evitar que los ciudadanos sean víctimas de despojos en su persona, en sus pertenencias y en sus domicilios en estas fiestas decembrinas. Mónica González García, Secretaria de Desarrollo Económico y Turismo (SEDET) dijo que en coordinación con los tres órdenes de gobierno, se instrumentó un programa especial que garantiza un buen trato a los visitantes a Tamaulipas en estas fechas de diciembre, especialmente los paisanos que aprovechan el periodo vacacional navideño y de Año Nuevo para visitar a sus familias en diferentes Estados de la República. González García dijo

que personal del área permanecerá atento para garantizar la atención y ayuda a los ciudadanos tamaulipecos y los que tengan necesidad de cruzar el territorio estatal. Por su parte, Rafael Lomelí Martínez, Secretario de Seguridad Pública (SSPE), señaló que se incrementará al doble el patrullaje y presencia de elementos de seguridad estatales, en coordinación con la Policía Federal Preventiva y elementos de la Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional y MarinaArmada de México. Precisó que adicionalmente se reforzará la vigilancia en las zonas urbanas para garantizar la seguridad de las viviendas de aquellos tamaulipecos que salgan a vacacionar durante la temporada navideña, buscando inhibir los robos domiciliarios. Con “Navidad Segura” se ha redoblado la vigilancia en las zonas céntricas de los principales municipios de Tamaulipas, especialmente en bancos, cajeros y centros comerciales, tomando en cuenta que la mayoría de los trabajadores han empezado a recibir sus aguinaldos. Adicionalmente se reforzó la vigilancia en aeropuertos, terminales de autobuses y centros comerciales, ante el sustancial incremento de vacacionistas.

Adicionalmente se reforzó la vigilancia en aeropuertos, terminales de autobuses y centros comerciales.


Empieza a formarse grupo ESPECIAL PARA TIEMPO DE ZAPATA

CD. VICTORIA, México — Se realizó el Campeonato Estatal Selectivo correspondiente a la disciplina de atletismo con rumbo a la Olimpiada Nacional 2012. Más de 350 atletas de los diferentes municipios se dieron cita en el estadio Marte R. Gómez. Ellos se esforzaron en obtener las mejores marcas y tiempos para conseguir un puesto en la selección estatal que nos representará en la etapa regional a realizarse en Monterrey, Nuevo León del 15 al 19 de febrero. Destacó la actuación de los representantes de Ciudad Victoria que obtuvieron un total de 24 primeros lugares, seguido de los seleccionados de Madero con 23; Nuevo Laredo se quedó con 18 primeros puestos, Matamoros con 15, mientras que Tampico y Valle Hermoso cosecharon 13 y 10 primeros lugares, respectivamente. La delegación de Reynosa se alzó con siete, ciudad Mante con cinco y Jaumave y Ciudad Mier, dos primeros lugares cada uno. Entre los resultados más destacados de las tres jornadas, se encuentran los dos primeros lugares obtenidos por la triple medallista de oro de la Olimpiada Nacional 2010 y originaria de Ciudad Madero, Sara Elizabeth Reyes Rodríguez, quien en esta ocasión se ubicó en el primer peldaño de las pruebas de salto de

altura con marca de 1.70 metros, y 100 metros con vallas con 15”41 dentro de la categoría juvenil mayor femenil. Por su parte, el matamorense y medallista de oro de esa edición de la ON, Hugo César Ramírez Olvera se llevó el primer puesto en la prueba de salto de altura con una marca 2.10 metros dentro de la categoría juvenil mayor varonil. La deportista Dania Amaris Aguillón Ramos originaria de Ciudad Mier, obtuvo los primeros lugares tanto en la prueba de 100 como de 200 metros de la categoría juvenil menor femenil con tiempos de 12”29 y 26”74, respectivamente. Kathya Margarita Velázquez García de Nuevo Laredo, se alzó con el primer lugar de la prueba de lanzamiento de jabalina con una distancia de 29 metros y en los 400 metros planos al detener el cronómetro en 1:00.87. También en la categoría juvenil mayor, pero en la rama femenil, Yesenia Guadalupe Ruz Balli, de Valle Hermoso se quedó con la primera posición de las pruebas de lanzamiento de disco con una distancia de 32.70 metros, cabe recordar que esta atleta se llevó la medalla de oro en la Olimpiada Nacional 2011, así como la presea áurea de los III Juegos Deportivos Escolares Centroamericanos y del Caribe que se realizaron en la capital de Panamá.

Foto de cortesía | Gobierno de Tamaulipas

El Gobernador de Tamaulipas, Egidio Torre Cantú, segundo de izquierda a derecha, recibió a las campeonas nacionales de básquetbol de la Liga Telmex Nájera 2011. Con Torre, el director general del ITD, Enrique de la Garza Ferrer, una representante del equipo no identificada y el entrenador Pedro Ramos Licón.

Tamaulipas campeón nacional de basquetbol TIEMPO DE ZAPATA

CD. VICTORIA, México — Diez jóvenes tamaulipecas conquistaron el Campeonato Nacional de Básquetbol de la Liga Telmex Nájera 2011. Es la tercera final nacional consecutiva que disputa Tamaulipas, ganando en el 2009 y ahora en este año, venciendo en el partido decisivo al Estado anfitrión, Guanajuato. Las jóvenes tamaulipecas que obtuvieron el campeonato son: Narda Valeria Salceda Jiménez, Nohemí López Argüello, Leslie Daniela Guerrero Contreras, Brenda Zapata Sierra, Daniela Terán García, Daniela Soto Gómez, Zyanya Cas-

tillo Bernal, Carolina Torres López, Quetzali Luque Espinoza y Ana Iliana Vielma González. Salceda Jiménez, López Argüello, Guerrero Contreras, Zapata Sierra, Terán García y Soto Gómez fueron convocadas a la Selección Nacional Juvenil Mayor. Las jóvenes tamaulipecas entregaron al Gobernador de Tamaulipas Egidio Torre Cantú la copa que las acredita como campeonas nacionales de la Liga Telmex Nájera 2011. “Los tamaulipecos podemos presumir ahora que tenemos jugadoras protagonistas, aunque al final de cuentas el trabajo de todos es muy importante”, expre-

só Torre Cantú en la Sala de Juntas de Palacio de Gobierno. Junto a las campeonas asistieron su entrenador Pedro Ramos Licón y el director general del Instituto Tamaulipeco del Deporte (ITD), Enrique de la Garza Ferrer. Torre felicitó a cada una de ellas, conminándolas además a continuar superándose en lo académico y en lo deportivo, con el objetivo de superar metas y proyectos que permitan continuar consolidando a Tamaulipas en el escenario nacional. El campeonato nacional se realizó del 8 al 12 de diciembre en Moroleón, Guanajuato.



Retired general drops out of Senate race By CHRIS TOMLINSON ASSOCIATED PRESS

AUSTIN — Retired Lt. Gen. Ric Sanchez, the sole major Democratic candidate in the race to replace Republican U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, said Friday he is dropping out of the Texas race because of “pressing personal challenges” and a lack of funds. In an email to supporters Friday afternoon, San-

chez thanked those who had encouraged him to run but said he needed to put his family first. “I am very grateful for the strong support and encouragement I have received from supporters across the country and the wonderful Texans I have met in every part of our great state,” Sanchez said. “However, pressing personal challenges, coupled with the recent loss of our home due to fire and lag-

ging fundraising numbers make a statewide election campaign impractical for me at this time.” While the Republican field to replace Hutchison is extremely crowded, Sanchez was the only major candidate from the Democratic party. Hutchison announced earlier this year that she is retiring. Many Democratic strategists hoped that Sanchez, who was born in the Rio

Grande Valley, could marshal votes from the state’s growing Hispanic population. But many liberals felt he was a flawed candidate because he was the commanding general in Iraq when the abuses against Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison took place. The official filing period for prospective candidates ends Monday. But because of ongoing litigation over political redistricting in


SEATTLE — Inadequate supervision and training have led Seattle police officers to grab weapons such as batons and flashlights too quickly and to escalate confrontations even when arresting people for minor offenses, the U.S. Justice Department said Friday. The department launched an investigation last spring following the fatal shooting of a homeless Native American woodcarver and other reported uses of force against minority suspects. The probe was aimed at determining whether Seattle police have a “pattern or practice” of violating civil rights or discriminatory policing, and if so, what they should do to improve. Federal investigators determined Seattle police have engaged in excessive force that violated federal law and the Constitution. They did not find discriminatory policing, but the report acknowledged that many community members believe the department does show bias. “Our findings should serve as a foundation to reform the police department and to help restore the community’s confidence in fair, just and effective law enforcement. The problems within SPD have been present for many years and will take time to fix,” said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the civil rights division. The Department of Justice is currently conducting 20 investigations of police departments across the country and the use of force is a prominent issue in most of them, Perez

Texas, the filing period will reopen after a federal court approves a final district map, likely in late January, and will remain open until Feb. 1. A new Democratic candidate could emerge once the courts decide the districts for the Texas House, Texas Senate and U.S. Congress. If the court’s decision hurts Democratic chances for Congress, some of those politicians might consider switching

State’s jobless rate falls again to 8.1 percent ASSOCIATED PRESS

Photo by Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times | AP

Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez and U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan hold a news conference on Friday on the Department of Justice’s investigation of the Seattle Police Department. said. He was optimistic about Seattle’s chances of improving, based on his experience in other cities. He mentioned Los Angeles as an example of a city that had much worse policing problems than Seattle 12 years ago and has since been transformed. In interviews and a department-wide email, Seattle Police Chief John Diaz disputed the findings of the Justice Department report. “I want to make this clear,” Diaz said during an interview with The Seattle Times. “The department is not broken.” Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said the police department has already started making reforms in response to the issues raised in the report. The public is concerned about

use of force and possible bias in the police force, McGinn acknowledged, adding that the police chief and his officers take those concerns very seriously. “We will be looking closely at the specifics the Department of Justice has raised and how we can have the best possible police force,” he said. The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington and 34 other community groups called for the inquiry after a Seattle officer shot and killed the woodcarver, John T. Williams, in 2010. Video from Officer Ian Birk’s patrol car showed Williams crossing the street holding a piece of wood and a small knife, and Birk exiting the vehicle to pursue him. Off camera, Birk quickly

shouted three times for Williams to drop the knife, then fired five shots. The knife was found folded at the scene, but Birk later maintained Williams had threatened him. Birk resigned from the force but was not charged. A review board found the shooting unjustified. A man holding a “Justice for John T. Williams” sign at Friday’s news conference said he was mildly encouraged by the Justice Department’s findings. “There are certain things a lot of us have known for years, especially minorities,” said Nicholas Polimenakos, who added he has been a concerned citizen of Seattle since 1983. He and another sign holder also identified themselves as members of the Occupy Seattle movement.

to the Senate race. No Democrats hold statewide office in Texas, and the predominantly Republican state is unlikely to elect a Democrat to the U.S. Senate in 2012. But Democratic leaders had hoped to run at least a mildly competitive candidate to force Republicans to spend money on the Senate race. The Texas Democratic Party had no immediate comment Friday evening.

AUSTIN — The unemployment rate in Texas has declined for the second month in a row and was down to 8.1 percent in November, the state’s employment agency said Friday. That’s an improvement over October’s 8.4 percent and still below the national jobless rate of 8.6 percent, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. In November, 20,800 nonfarm jobs were added in Texas, bringing total employment to an estimated 10.6 million positions last month. “The Texas economy continued to grow as the private sector added 22,700 jobs in November,” Commission Chairman Tom Pauken said in a statement. Nine of 11 major industries added jobs in November with leisure and hospitality out front with 5,600 new positions. Commissioner Ronny Congleton called the growth in so many major industries encouraging, “good news.” The financial activities industry expanded its payroll by 4,800, while manufacturing added 3,900 positions. But construction and government continued to shed jobs last month with cuts of 2,200 and 1,900, respectively. Unemployment rates are adjusted for seasonal trends in hiring and firing, which most economists believe give a more accurate

picture of the job market. Without the seasonal adjustment, the jobless rate in Texas fell to 7.5 percent in November from 8.0 percent in October. Midland maintained the lowest local unemployment rate at 4.1 percent. The Brownsville-Harlingen area had the highest rate at 11.2 percent, although that’s down from the revised October figure of 11.9 percent. Local figures are not seasonally adjusted. The preliminary local jobless rates for November, with revised October numbers in parentheses, were: —Abilene 6.2 (6.8) —Amarillo 5.1 (5.6) —Austin-Round RockSan Marcos 6.6 (7.1) —Beaumont-Port Arthur 10.3 (10.8) —Brownsville-Harlingen 11.2 (11.9) —College Station-Bryan 5.8 (6.2) —Corpus Christi 7.1 (7.5) —Dallas-Plano-Irving 7.5 (8.1) —El Paso 9.6 (10.2) —Fort Worth-Arlington 7.3 (7.8) —Houston-Sugar LandBaytown 7.6 (8.1) —Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood 7.9 (8.4) —Laredo 7.2 (7.7) —Longview 6.4 (6.8) —Lubbock 5.5 (6.0) —McAllen-EdinburgMission 11.0 (11.5) —Midland 4.1 (4.5) —Odessa 5.3 (5.7) —San Angelo 5.7 (6.3) —San Antonio-New Braunfels 7.0 (7.5) —Victoria 6.4 (6.8) —Waco 7.1 (7.6)


JOB POSTING Position: Agriculture Science Teacher Salara Schedule for Classroom Teachers & Full Time Librarians: $41,000.000 $58,920.00 Minimum Maximum Minimum Duty Days: 187 Days Minimum Requirements: Valid Texas Teaching Agriculture Certificate; Bachelor’s degree from accredited university; at least one year of student teaching or approved internship; in addition, individuals in core academic subject areas must meet the highly qualified teacher requirements as per No Child Left Behind Act. Special Knwledge/Skills: Ability to employ strategies that lead to student academic succuess; treat allpeople aith dignity and respect; demonstrate ability to work effectively and harmoniously with administrators, other teachers, students, parents and other staff; knowledge of assigned subjects; general knowledge of curriculum and instruction; ability to instruct students and manage their behavior; and strong organizational, communication and interpersonal skills.

DEADLINE FOR APPLYING: MONDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2011 Human Resources Department 17th & Carla Streets P.O. Box 158 - Zapata, TX 78076 (956) 765-6858 • Fax (956) 765-5940 Website: We consider applicants for all positions without regard to race, color, national origin, age, religion, sex, marital or veteran status, the presence of a medical condition, disability or any other legally protected statue. EOE




Iraqi admits guilt in court By BRUCE SCHREINER ASSOCIATED PRESS

Photo by Erik S. Lesser | AP

Robert Champion Sr, left, his wife, Pam, right, and their attorney Christopher Chestnut are seen Nov. 28, in Lithonia, Ga. They plan on filing a civil lawsuit over the hazing death of their son.


ORLANDO, Fla. — A Florida A&M University drum major was severely beaten in a hazing incident last month and died within an hour, the state medical examiner said Friday in declaring his death a homicide. Robert Champion, 26, had bruises to his chest, arms, shoulder and back and internal bleeding that caused him to go into shock, which killed him, the office said. Champion’s Nov. 19 death and the severe beating of another band member during a hazing ritual three weeks earlier have brought new scrutiny to a culture of hazing within the Tallahassee school’s famed Marching 100. State and local authorities are investigating Champion’s death. Any death involving hazing is a third-degree felony in Florida, but so far no charges have been filed. Three male band members were arrested in a separate probe into the recent beating of a female member whose thigh bone was broken. Witnesses told 911 that Champion was vomiting before he was found unresponsive aboard a band bus outside an Orlando hotel after the school’s football team

lost to rival Bethune-Cookman. The report by Dr. Sara Irrgang described Champion as “previously healthy” showing “no evidence of natural disease” except for a slightly enlarged heart. Immediately after the hazing, Champion complained of thirst and fatigue, then loss of vision and signs of shock, the report said. The toxicology report was negative for drugs and alcohol and there was no injury to the organs. Champion’s father, Robert Champion Sr., said he knew his son had been hazed. “We just need to figure out what we need to do now to get the hazing under control,” Champion told The Associated Press from his home in suburban Atlanta. The family’s attorney, Christopher Chestnut, said the autopsy confirmed the family’s worst fears: “Justice needs to be swift and immediate.” “We’re not calling for dismantling of the band,” he said. “There needs to be high-level scrutiny. The students are adults, but they’re young adults.” Champion’s name was repeatedly invoked during FAMU’s winter graduation ceremony Friday by Narayan Prasad, a faculty and board member.

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — An Iraqi man who had claimed he was innocent of terrorism-related charges did an abrupt aboutface Friday, pleading guilty to trying to funnel weapons and cash to al-Qaida operatives in his home country. Waad Ramadan Alwan, 30, appeared in federal court in this south-central Kentucky college town to plead guilty to conspiring to attack American soldiers in Iraq, conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to terrorists. Alwan was arrested in May in Bowling Green and had previously pleaded not guilty to charges in an indictment that also named fellow Iraqi Mohanad Shareef Hammadi. Alwan’s attorney, federal Public Defender Scott Wendelsdorf, declined to comment after the hearing. “Today in open court, Waad Alwan admitted to engaging in terrorist activities both here in the United States and in Iraq,” U.S. Attorney David J. Hale said in a statement. “He acknowledged he had built

Photo by Alex Slitz/Daily News | AP

Waad Ramadan Alwan, right, arrives at a federal courthouse for a detention hearing Friday, in Bowling Green, Ky. Alwan, 30, pleaded guilty to conspiring to attack American soldiers in Iraq and to use a weapon of mass destruction and to attempting to provide material support to terrorists. and placed numerous improvised explosive devices (IEDs) aimed at killing and injuring American soldiers in Iraq, and he admitted that he tried to send numerous weapons from Kentucky to Iraq to be used against American soldiers.” Hale said the joint efforts of federal and local law enforcement had thwarted “the ongoing intentions of an experienced terrorist.” “The guilty plea today sends a strong message to

anyone who would attempt similar crimes that they will face the same determined law enforcement and prosecution efforts,” he said. Alwan, appearing in an orange jail jumpsuit and wearing leg irons, pleaded guilty to all 23 counts in the indictment against him with an interpreter seated next to him. Alwan nodded and quietly told the interpreter he understood the charges and possible penalties. He faces a possible sen-

tence of 25 years to life in prison when he is sentenced April 3. Alwan pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals abroad, conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals abroad, distributing information on how to make and use improvised explosive devices, attempting to provide material support to terrorists and conspiracy to transfer, possess and export Stinger missiles.

Arctic drilling gets fed approval By DAN JOLING ASSOCIATED PRESS

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell received federal approval Friday for drilling exploratory wells in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s northwest coast but with conditions that raised concerns with the state’s congressional delegation. Approval by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management came with the catch that Shell must lop 38 days off the short summer open-water drilling season to make sure it has time to cope with a spill or a wellhead blowout before sea ice

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moves in. “While today’s news that BOEM has issued conditional approval for Shell’s Chukchi leases might seem welcoming at first glance, the devil is in the details,” Alaska’s lone U.S. representative, Don Young, said. Both Alaskans and petroleum companies that have invested billions are looking for certainty and progress, he said. “Unfortunately this ‘conditional’ approval won’t bring much of either,” Young said. Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith said the company is evaluating conditions outlined in the approval, including the stipulation

that potentially limits the drilling season. “We are concerned this unwarranted restriction could severely impact our ability to deliver a complete Chukchi program,” Smith said in written comments. Shelf Gulf of Mexico Inc. proposes a multiyear exploration drilling program in the Chukchi beginning in July. The plan proposes drilling up to six wells in the Burger Prospect about 70 miles off the coast in water about 140 feet deep. Exploratory drilling is strongly opposed by groups that want to keep large-scale industrial development out of the Arctic Ocean.





File photo | AP

U-2 spy plane pilot Francis Gary Powers speaks to the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington on March 6, 1962.

Late Cold War pilot to get Silver Star By DOUGLAS BIRCH ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON — The Air Force will award a Silver Star posthumously to Francis Gary Powers, the pilot whose spy plane was shot down in 1960 over the Soviet Union in a defining moment of the Cold War. The Air Force determined that the U-2 pilot showed “steadfast loyalty” while under harsh interrogation in Soviet prisons. In a report obtained by The Associated Press, it cited his “sustained courage” and gallantry despite “cajolery, trickery, insults and

threats of death.” Powers was swapped for a Soviet spy in February 1962 at Berlin’s Glienicke Bridge. He died in the 1977 crash of a traffic helicopter he was flying in Los Angeles. His son, Francis Gary Powers Jr., of Midlothian, Va., requested that his father be considered for the medal. He said the Air Force confirmed this week that it plans to award it. In the aftermath of the downing, some people criticized Powers for not committing suicide using a toxin-tipped needle he was given before the flight.

WASHINGTON — Newt Gingrich overlooked a couple of years of red ink when he asserted Thursday night that he balanced the budget for four years as House speaker. And in claiming sole credit for the achievement, he glossed over the fact that budgets are not a one-man show: There was a Democratic president in town, too. In the last debate before the leadoff Iowa Republican presidential caucuses, Gingrich persisted in repeating a claim he has made often in the campaign, sometimes more accurately than others. Here and there, other candidates, too, reprised misstatements or partial truths from the string of debates and from the stump. Mitt Romney once again declared he has spent his life in the private sector, ignoring his years as governor and political candidate. A look at some of the claims in the debate and how they compare with the facts: GINGRICH: “I balanced the budget for four straight years, paid off $405 billion in debt — pretty conservative.” THE FACTS: In the 1996 and 1997 budget years, the first two years he served as speaker of the House of Representatives, the gov-

Photo by Chris Carlson | AP

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney takes a question during a rally at Missouri Valley Steel in Sioux City, Iowa, on Friday. ernment actually ran deficits. In 1998 and 1999, the government ran surpluses. Two more years of surpluses followed, but Gingrich was gone from politics by then and had nothing to do with them. Moreover, the national debt went up during the four years Gingrich was speaker. In January 1995, when he became speaker, the gross national debt was $4.8 trillion. When he left four years later, it was $5.6 trillion, an increase of $800 billion. To be sure, Gingrich did not single-handedly deepen America’s debt, just as he didn’t balance any budgets on his own. He was a driving force,

along with Democratic President Bill Clinton and figures in both houses of Congress, in the economic setbacks and advancements of that time. ——— ROMNEY: “I spent my life, my career, in the private sector.” THE FACTS: This is true — except for four years as Massachusetts governor, recent years running for president in the 2008 and 2012 elections, a few years running the Olympics and the time he put into his failed run for a Senate seat in 1994. In essence, Romney has devoted himself to political endeavors since his successful run for gover-

nor in 2002, and has been pursuing the presidency for five years. A month after his term as governor ended in 2007, he announced his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. After John McCain defeated him for the nomination, Romney devoted himself to building a political network, helping Republican candidates raise money, and writing a book that set the stage for his second run for president. Indeed, Romney, who made his fortune as founder of the investment firm Bain Capital, has not held a private-sector job with a regular paycheck for more than a decade.

Poll: Most Americans want payroll tax extension By LAURIE KELLMAN ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON — Most Americans want Congress to vote to continue the payroll tax reduction, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll that comes as Democrats and Republicans wrestle over whether to extend the cut through 2012. It’s the latest instance in which lawmakers on Capitol Hill have allowed partisan sniping to hold up action that polls show most Americans support, like ending the Bush tax cuts or adding a surcharge on millionaires. The dragged-out debate over whether to extend an expiring payroll tax reduction is one of many developments that have kept voters furious with their leaders all year. On the brink of the 2012 presidential and congressional elections, virtually all Americans are

disappointed and frustrated with the political scene and nearly 6 in 10 say they are angry, the AP-GfK survey showed. “It seems like there are parties that only want to get their agenda done,” said liquor store owner James Jacobsen, 47, of East Hartford, Conn. “They’re catering to special interests and not Americans. They are not representing the individual American.” Nearly 6 in 10 respondents say they want Congress to pass the extension, according to the poll. Letting the payroll tax break expire would cost a family making $50,000 about $1,000. Yet, Republicans and Democrats are rejecting each other’s proposals and trying to make law from what’s left, a tactic they’ve used all year on debates over the budget and the nation’s debt. The stalemates have caused a decline in

confidence so severe that 15 percent of all adults and 32 percent of political independents say they don’t trust either party to manage the budget deficit. Retired postal worker Larry Collier wishes Congress would get on with what help it can give — an assurance to 160 million American workers that their payroll tax cut will be extended through 2012. What really galls him is the inequality: The same Congress hesitating to keep taxes low for working

Americans also is hesitating to raise them on the wealthy. Congress this year ignored President Obama’s proposal to let expire tax cuts on the richest and impose additional taxes on those who make more than $1 million, though polls showed most people supported those policies. “Those millionaires wouldn’t even miss that money,” Collier, of Pace, Fla., said, noting that he voted for George W. Bush and is now a Democrat. Economic discontent has

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spilled over into the political sphere all year and could influence the 2012 presidential and congressional elections. Occupy Wall Street and other protests against inequality have grabbed some attention from politicians, with Democrats the most supportive. Last week, a group of demonstrators camped out on the National Mall, crashed stately holiday parties and marched on Capitol Hill, demanding that Congress extend the payroll tax and insurance for

the long-term unemployed. On the payroll tax deduction, 58 percent of respondents said they want Congress to extend the break, while 35 percent want it to expire. Democrats and independents are the strongest supporters of continuing the tax cut, while Republicans were evenly divided. But the difference is more partisan than ideological: Conservatives supported an extension, 54 percent to the 42 percent who prefer to let the reduction expire.



OBITUARIES MARCELA ‘MARCY’ GONZALEZ On Friday, Dec. 2, 2011, at 10:37 p.m., surrounded by all her loving family, Marcela “Marcy” Gonzalez, 32, a devoted mother, loving daughter, caring sibling and loyal friend went to join our Lord after a very brief, courageous battle with cancer. Marcy cherished the gifts of life through her love of traveling and the beach. Above all, her main purpose in life was her family. She is survived by her beloved son, Sebastian Alexander Rodriguez of Laredo; parents: Luis Justo and Martha Gonzalez; brothers: Luis Justo (Karla) Gonzalez III of Laredo, Roberto Carlo (Claudia) Gonzalez of Round Rock and Jesus Jaime Gonzalez of Brownsville; sister, Martha Sylvia (Raul) Gonzalez of Laredo; and maternal grandparents: Isaias and Felicitas Garza of Laredo; as well as aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and numerous friends who will miss her loving smile and loveexpressing way of letting everyone know that her love was always there for anyone that came in touch with her. “An angel on earth has passed and left us full of memories of an existence guided by her pure love and joy. Those of us who were privileged to know Marcy will see her through her son Sebas-

Jurors can’t agree on $1B lawsuit By PAUL FOY ASSOCIATED PRESS

tian’s ever-present smile and loving heart. Marcy will forever be remembered as a warm-hearted person with an irresistible smile. She entrusted everyone with unconditional love.” Family received friends and guests on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Fred Dickey Funeral & Cremation Services. A celebration of life was held at 7 p.m. Friends can express condolences to the family on-line at Funeral service arrangements have been entrusted to the funeral directors at Fred Dickey Funeral & Cremation Services, 4502 Thomas Ave., Laredo, TX 78041, 956723-3611.

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal jury on Friday failed to reach a verdict in a Utah company’s $1 billion antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft Corp. in a case so important to the computer giant that it put Bill Gates on the stand for two days last month. Novell Inc. sued the software giant in 2004, claiming Microsoft duped it into developing the once-popular WordPerfect writing program for Windows 95 only to pull the plug so Microsoft could gain market share with its own product. Novell says it was later forced to sell WordPerfect for a $1.2 billion loss. The trial began two months ago with jurors getting the case on Wednesday. After much confusion, and some perplexing questions from the panel, they told U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz they were deadlocked by early Friday evening. He repeatedly asked them if they could keep trying. “This has been a very long and expensive case,” Motz told the panel.

More time Novell attorneys pleaded with Motz to give the panel just one more day. In the end, however, the 12 jurors told the judge they were “hopelessly” deadlocked, and they later told lawyers a single holdout refused to vote in Novell’s favor. “He had strongly held views about the technical evidence and refused to budge,” Novell attorney Jeffrey Johnson said. Jurors offered no comment after the trial. Novell was left with little to show for a decade of effort, but the company said it will seek to retry the case with a new jury.

HOUSE Continued from Page 1A County and Zapata and Starr counties. Colin Strother, a campaign strategist for U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar and other Texas Democrats, said the race would be “basically Webb County versus Starr County — who can get the votes out. “Right now, I would say it’s a tossup,” he said. Garza, who has never run a countywide campaign, will have to win over voters he has not represented in West and South Laredo, as well as Zapata and Starr counties. But under the court-drawn map, Webb would become even more important to the district after Duval County was cut. “I expect to spend a lot of time talking and interacting with folks in the district,” Guillen said. The two candidates will have little time to reconnect with voters or introduce themselves for the first time. Unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes, the primary election will take place March 6 — in fewer than 90 days. Both candidates said in interviews that the Legislature should look to reverse the billions in cuts schools saw after this year’s biannual session. Faced with a $27 billion budget deficit last legislative session, the Legislature made across-the-board spending cuts, including $4 billion less for Texas schools.

“It’s a different challenge (on the border from what) you see in other parts of the state,” Garza said. “The resources need to be given to school districts to be able to deal with those challenges.” Guillen said he supports fixing the state’s recurring budget deficit to do just that. He also said the House Culture, Recreation and Tourism Committee, which he chairs, will study how drought and wildfires — perhaps the biggest issue in Texas this year — have affected tourism and recreation. Garza, meanwhile, points to the Commissioners Court’s creation of the county fire department. Similar though those priorities may be, Garza said he would target Guillen on both redistricting and missed votes on other issues. “Any representative who doesn’t even put up a fight to try to keep their district or parts of their district … I think sends a very bad message,” he said. The House approved the map by a vote of 92-52. Guillen was one of three Democrats to cast an aye vote. “Had I voted against the plan instead of for it, I would be voting against representing people that I currently represent, and so that is not what I was going to do,” he said. Zaffirini and a majority of Senate Democrats voted for that chamber’s redistricting plan to avoid plans

drawn by the all-Republican Legislative Redistricting Board. Guillen added that his record representing Webb County is clear; he’s worked to secure funds for projects such as the Cuatro Vientos interchange in South Laredo. He also said he carried — and passed — a bigger legislative agenda than any other House member. Guillen said negotiating legislation in some cases prevented him from casting votes but added that he cast votes 97 to 98 percent of the time. Strother said that as the issues in the race are defined, it will become one of the most closely watched primaries in the state. “You don’t often see competitive primaries for state representative against an incumbent,” he said. “It’s fairly rare.” Garza will start with fewer financial resources than the incumbent based on the latest semiannual reports submitted. But the last five months have provided significant time for fundraising, and he noted that he was outspent in his last two election victories. Matt Glazer, executive director of liberal advocacy group Progress Texas, said a vigorous primary campaign would benefit voters. “Competitive elections mean more folks come out to the polls and make their voices heard,” he said. “Texas has been a state where folks don’t tend to come out.”

DIALYSIS Continued from Page 1A travel out of the county for dialysis. To receive this service, many drive 50 miles to Laredo. Maria Guzman, a medical assistant at Zapata Medical Center, said the center compiled a list of dialysis patients about a year ago. At the time, they came up with 25. She said it’s a fair bet the number has increased, and she sees people “all the time” who need the service. “My niece is on dialysis,” added Guzman. “She goes by private vehicle out of town.” Transportation for medical services can certainly pose a hardship for dialysis patients. Few know this better than Luis Lopez. As owner of Pro Care Ambulance Services, Lopez said he regularly drove at least 13 Zapata residents to Laredo to get dialysis until changes to Medicare a year and a half ago made it more difficult for them to qualify for the free ride. These days, he still takes three. “About half the people I’ve ever driven for dialysis had diabetes,” said Lopez. “Some of them had high blood pressure.” Though it wouldn’t be great for his business, Lopez as a citizen appreciates the idea of a dialysis center. “Really, it’s going to be very good for the patients because of the time and expense it will save them,” he said. While the expenses add up for teacher Rudy Bustamante, it’s the time that’s the killer. “I lose six days out of my life a week. Six days out of being around grandkids, to be on the machine for three hours and 45 minutes,” said Bustamante, who’s been on dialysis since 2009. “Then the hour to drive over and drive back. You’re looking at six or seven hours I have to spend every other day going to Laredo to dialyze.” Bustamante called the court’s move “great news” and credited Vela for supporting this issue over the years. “This will greatly improve my quality of life,” he said. “I can get some time back.” Vela plans to invite an engineer with experience in designing dialysis facilities to speak to the court in January. He also continues to research and even scout locations.

That was the only thing I placed on the agenda for this month. I got the okay to spearhead this.” PRECINCT 1 COMMISSIONER JOSE VELA

As far as funding goes, one interaction Vela had with an anonymous philanthropist spurred him to put the item on the agenda in the first place. “This person told me they saw the need, and if the county wanted to do it, they’d give us a donation of $350,000,” he said. Though he concedes the benefits of such a facility, Lopez offers one caution. “Having it here is a risk because the nearest hospital is still in Laredo. I’ve seen patients’ blood pressure drop because of the transfusion. If they go for dialysis in Laredo, the hospital is five minutes away. What if it happens in Zapata?” Also at the monthly meeting, the court nixed a proposal to tax goods-intransit now that amendments in state law effectively subject more goods to the tax. After hearing tax attorney Gustavo Martinez explain the changes to the legislation, commissioners asked County Tax Assessor-Collector Luis Lauro Gonzalez for his input. Gonzalez told The Zapata Times it would be a source of new revenue if the county had warehouses keeping such goods. If approved, the tax would have affected the owners of the goods-intransit, products kept within the bounds of taxing entity but owned by an outside party and bound for an outside destination. “Our county does not have any warehouses of that nature,” Vela said. “It’s not like we have factories or any goods to tax.” (Mike Herrera IV can be reached at 728-2567 or



CIUDAD MIER Continued from Page 1A

Photo by J. Scott Applewhite | AP

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and other Senate Democrats emerge from a closed-door negotiation on the payroll tax cut extension and other measures Friday night at the Capitol in Washington.


WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate plans to vote tomorrow on two-month extensions of a payroll tax cut, expanded unemployment benefits and a provision preventing doctors from having their Medicare reimbursements cut. The bipartisan agreement is a scaled-back version of a $202.4 billion yearlong extension of the expiring laws passed by the House of Representatives on Dec. 13. The cost of the legislation, estimated at more than $30 billion, will be offset by raising guarantee fees that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac charge to home mortgage lenders. The bill will include language aimed at forcing President Barack Obama to decide within 60 days whether to approve TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL oil pipeline. Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York called it a Pyrrhic victory for Republicans because the Obama administration won’t agree to build the pipeline if

forced into a decision. “It’s an agreement I can recommend to my conference,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said of the overall deal. “I’m very optimistic that we’re going to have good Republican support for the package.” The agreement means that workers won’t see their payroll taxes increase by 2 percentage points come January, giving Obama a partial victory. The president has been traveling around the country promoting the tax cut, arguing that without it there would be a tax increase of $1,000 for someone making $50,000 that would hurt the economy. The deal is a significant victory for the American people and the economy, White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement. An administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the administration hadn’t changed its earlier stance that it would reject the application for Keystone if forced to act within a 60-day window.

calm” and restore normalcy in the area. Similar posts are being planned elsewhere across the violent north. So far, though, the army has brought security, not confidence. Everybody knows the soldiers are not supposed to be there forever. Mier sits along a road linking territories controlled by feuding drug gangs, the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel, and it has become an example of Calderón’s “clear and hold” strategy for using troops to suppress violence and restore calm, said Samuel Logan, managing director of the Southern Pulse risk-analysis firm specializing in Latin American organized crime. He says that approach is unsustainable because a temporary army presence cannot substitute for permanent civilian policing. Now entering his final year in office, “Calderón has to do something,” Logan said. “And he’s going to find himself in a pinch between getting something done on one end, which would mean more of these mobile barracks and, on the other, proving that he is pushing for a more permanent solution vis-a-vis increased training for the police force.” Mexico has increasingly turned to troops to take on law enforcement because repeated cleanup crusades have failed to cure the corruption and lack of professionalism that plagues the country’s police forces, which are often infiltrated by organized crime. When Gonzalez tries to coax his citizens back from Texas cities across the Rio Grande and other Mexican towns, he tells them Mier was an intensive-care patient when they left, but now is walking under its own power. Little by little, a phrase used by nearly everyone in Mier these days, the town is recovering, he said. Those still here now gather in the park or plaza in the evenings, feeling safety in numbers under the protective gaze of soldiers. But they don’t stroll in the streets. And the edges of town remain eerily unpopulated. People there feel exposed. They’re not comfortable identifying themselves to strangers and one quietly assured a reporter that the narcos are still watching. Founded as an agricultural settlement in 1753, Mier is known to

historians as the site of an assault by more than 250 Texas militiamen in December 1842. The Mexican army took most prisoner and 17 were executed after drawing black beans from a pot in a lottery to determine who would die. Until recently, Mier was a picturesque town about halfway along the Texas border between Laredo and Brownsville with a few well-preserved colonial-era buildings. The town was surrounded by ranches famed for dove and deer that drew hunters from both sides of the river. Those ranches are also lucrative drugsmuggling routes. In February 2010, gunmen attacked the police station and seized several officers. Violence peaked that November with days of near-constant fighting and hundreds of townsfolk fled to the country’s first drug war refugee shelter in the nearby city of Miguel Aleman. Two weeks later, Calderón’s administration announced it would send more troops to reassert government authority in the states of Tamaulipas, where Mier is located, and Nuevo Leon. Some of those forces are now at the new mobile barracks. It sits in a clearing of scrub land near the cemetery south of town and is surrounded by a high fence and a wide, cleared perimeter. A few lowslung buildings surround a pole flying a large Mexican flag. The army says that the entire base can be picked up and reassembled quickly elsewhere, but the buildings’ solid walls give an impression of permanence. A second mobile barracks is being built in the Tamaulipas city of San Fernando, where 193 bodies have been found on a ranch in 26 mass graves. Mexican authorities believe the dead were mostly migrants kidnapped from buses and killed by the Zetas. Less than a year before, 72 Central and South American migrants were killed there, also allegedly by the Zetas. On Mier’s north side, the last neighborhood out of town is littered with broken windows and piles of brush. Some of the fiercest fighting went on here among the 65 small, squat homes at a low-cost housing complex. Cinderblocks stacked high behind front-room windows are reminders of some residents’ futile

efforts at self-defense. Though built in just 2003, not a single home is inhabited today. Some residents fled to relatives’ homes or rentals in the city center, while others left Mier altogether. The homes have been so thoroughly looted and damaged, families would need a substantial amount to make them livable again. “We need the people that have money, the people that in Mier build things, the people that generate jobs, to come again to our city” Mayor Gonzalez said. The talk of Mier recently was the imminent reopening of the restaurant at the Hotel Asya on the freshly paved Alvaro Obregon Avenue. Many hope it will bring back jobs and offer a much-needed dining option. Just a block up the street, business at a small company that supplies bottled water to homes and businesses is up 20 percent over last year, said owner Jesus Gomez. Still, that’s only half what it was before violence struck and twisted the lives of the citizens. “We didn’t leave the house,” Gomez said. “You wanted to drink, hang out, you had to do it at home. Now, he said, he can go out with friends until midnight without worrying. Past a state police bunker behind city hall, Alvaro Obregon Street meets the main plaza, where schoolchildren cluster around benches during lunch and a vendor sells tacos from a streetside stand. In the evenings, the town sets up volleyball nets in the plaza in front of city hall. On Thursday nights, it shows movies there. A splash of color comes from a newly reopened flower shop along the plaza, where bear-shaped flower arrangements of white chrysanthemums sit alongside yellow spider mums, sunflowers and small white daisies. Arturo Hernandez recently moved from another border city, Piedras Negras, to open the shop for his father-in-law. He wasn’t around for last year’s violence, but he feels it. As he scraped thorns from red roses, Hernandez said he quickly noticed that there were few stores of any kind open in Mier. “Since I’ve been here, yes, there have been sales, but when there’s a funeral. ... For gifts, no.”



Sports&Outdoors Sorry ’Boys, and hello Texans! T

he Houston Texans are quickly becoming my favorite professional football team in Texas. They have continued to improve and this year won a division title, something the Dallas Cowboys have not been able to accomplish even with all the high price super stars that fill their roster. When Houston got a team back a little over ten years ago after the departure of the Houston Oilers to Tennessee, no one really expected much out of this relatively new franchise. Dallas and the Cowboys have always been the favorite team in Texas and even parade the name “America’s Team” around like a wet rag. The Cowboys’ fan base was beyond compare to that of the Texans, but that tide is starting to turn. Every passing year Houston puts not only more a competitive team on the field, but also now a team that is savoring their first play-off berth with three games left in the season. The Texans managed this historic feat despite all the injuries to their roster in some key positions. If someone had told me at the start of the season


Rough Knight

that the Texans would be crowned AFC South Division Champions without outside linebacker Mario Williams, starting quarterback Matt Schaub, backup quarterback Matt Lienart or the often injured wide receiver Andre Johnson, I would have asked them what kind of green stuff they have been smoking. The Texans have been able to hold the fort without those players and even did the impossible, make the play-offs and be crowned the division champions in the process. Every year in Dallas the talks swirl around winning the Super Bowl and the expectations are high, but reality quickly sets in with each passing game. The Dallas Cowboys are a rollercoaster and take their fans on a wild ride in which the lows always seems to last longer than the highs. The Texans had a rough start at the inception of their franchise, but they have slowly climbed out of the cellar



Barry Bonds sentenced

Hawks fall to St. Augustine Knights, 44-38

30 days house arrest, no prison, will appeal



SAN FRANCISCO — Barry Bonds will remain free while he appeals his conviction for giving misleading testimony before a grand jury. A federal judge handed Bonds a sentence of 30 days of house arrest, two years of probation and 250 hours of community service on Friday — then delayed the sentence pending an appeal likely to take a year or more. U.S. District Judge Susan Illston also put on hold a $4,000 fine against Bonds for his obstruction of justice conviction arising from a grand jury appearance eight years ago. Prosecutors wanted the home run king to spend 15 months in prison. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parrella argued that home confinement wasn’t punishment enough, “for a man with a 15,000 square foot house with all the advantages.” Bonds lives on a nearly two-acre estate in Beverly Hills. Parrella called the sentence a “slap on the wrist” and the fine “almost laughable” for a former baseball superstar who made millions of dollars during his career. Parrella had sought 15 months in prison, disagreeing with the judge’s

Photo by Clara Sandoval | The Zapata Times

The Zapata Hawk’s Andy Gonzalez (5) goes for a jump shot against the Martin Tigers on Dec. 7. Gonzalez and his Hawks lost to the St. Augustine Knights Tuesday night despite a strong defensive effort and several takeaways by Gonzalez during their basketball game in Zapata.

Photo by Paul Sakuma | AP

Former San Francisco Giants baseball player Barry Bonds leaves the federal courthouse in San Francisco after a hearing about his perjury trial.

conclusion that the crime was “aberrant” behavior for an otherwise law-abiding Bonds who has donated money and time to charities. “The defendant basically lived a double life for decades,” argued Parrella, who said Bonds tested positive for steroids and amphetamines during his playing days. “He had mistresses throughout his marriages.” Illston said none of that had any bearing on Bonds’ sentence. She agreed with a probation department report that called Bonds’ conviction and “aberration” in his life. She said she received “dozens” of letters in support of Bonds and discussing how he has given money and time “for decades” to charitable causes. Illston also said she had to remain “consistent” and give Bonds a sentence similar to those meted out


The Zapata Hawks’ pre-season record does not indicated the hard work they put in their season and the vast improvements they made on the court with each passing game. The Hawks stayed close to St. Augustine Tuesday night, but couldn’t overcome the Knights’ of-

fense and dropped a 44-38 decision in a non-district contest. Zapata falls to 1-11 on the season, but has a few more opportunities before they hit the district opener. Senior Epi Martinez has been keeping the Hawks afloat and had another outstanding game as he razzle-dazzled his way into 15 points for Zapata. The Hawks never led in the

game but were able to keep the Knights with in striking distance. St. Augustine never led by more than a few points thanks to Zapata’s zone defense. Zapata unleashed a variety of defensive styles that gave the Knights headaches. They started the game with a 3-2 zone defense that slowed the Knights for the



Lady Hawks sneak by Port Isabel By CLARA SANDOVAL THE ZAPATA TIMES

Zapata wanted to start off on the right foot when they hit the district season, and the Lady Hawks were able to accomplish just that when they squeezed past Port Isabel, 40-35, in the opening district game. “Overall, I think we did very good throughout the game, but we need to take care of the ball and work our offense a little more,” said Zapata coach Hector Garcia Jr. “It was a very close game. We did struggle in the third quarter with our offense, which led P.I. back into game.” Port Isabel was tabbed as one of the district’s favorite teams to win it all during the preseason, so the victory Tuesday night gave Zapa-

Over all, I think we did very good throughout the game, but we need to take care of the ball and work our offense a little more.” ZAPATA COACH HECTOR GARCIA JR.

ta a boost. “It’s very important to be 1-0, especially against Port Isabel, which (is) one of (the) top teams the our district,” Garcia said. Zapata (1-0 District 32-3A, 9-4 overall) was led by a pair of athletes that have been steady for the Lady Hawks on both ends of the court. Senior Shelby Bigler was a workhorse in the paint for the Lady Hawks with her

relentless play to grab rebounds Bigler had a double-double for Zapata scoring14 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. “She the one that controls our offense and defense,” Garcia said. “Anytime we need points she the first ask for the ball and she delivers. She a great athlete especially in the paint.” Junior Kristina De Leon chipped in with ten points

and recorded 12 rebounds to back Bigler’s performance. Also getting into the scoring action was Estella Molina with three points, Jackie Gutierrez (two points), Celia Rathmell (four points) and Liana Flores with two points. All season long, Garcia has been striving to polish Zapata’s zone defense. Port





Photo by David Kohl | AP

Less than three games into his NFL career, the Houston Texans’ rookie quarterback T.J. Yates has already made history by helping lead the Texans to the playoffs.

Yates off to a bold beginning By CHRIS DUNCAN ASSOCIATED PRESS

HOUSTON — T.J. Yates led kids on a shopping spree around a sporting goods store this week as a pack of cameramen recorded his every move. Nearby, at the Houston Texans’ merchandise store, patrons asked clerks when the “Yates” jerseys would hit the racks. It’s T.J. time in Houston. Pressed into action following injuries to Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart, Yates led the Texans to their first postseason berth last Sunday. He also became the first rookie quarterback in at least 20 years to lead game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime in each of his first two starts. “Winning the last couple of games has been a wild experience,” Yates said, “just coming from where I was earlier in the season and all the stuff that’s happened to this team. It’s happened so fast, and how we’ve been able to keep it going, to keep winning. It’s been awesome.”

The Texans (10-3) play Carolina (4-9) on Sunday, with home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs within reach. And Yates has proven to his coaches and the team’s long-suffering fans that as long as he’s the quarterback, any goal seems possible. Last week in Cincinnati, Houston trailed 19-10 in the fourth quarter before Yates engineered two 80yard scoring drives in the final 5 1/2 minutes. His 6yard touchdown pass to Kevin Walter with two seconds left tied it, and Neil Rackers’ extra-point kick gave Houston a 20-19 victory. “Well, obviously a winning performance,” Houston coach Gary Kubiak said. “You don’t, as a quarterback in this league, go 80 (yards) twice. He took us 80-plus yards for the field goal and he took us 80 to win the game only the road. That’s exceptional, what he did.” A week earlier, Yates orchestrated a 19-play, 85yard touchdown drive for the decisive score in the fourth quarter of a 17-10 win over Atlanta.

Photo by Jack Dempsey | AP

The Denver Broncos’ quarterback Tim Tebow runs during an NFL game between the Denver Broncos and the Chicago Bears in Denver, Sunday.


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos haven’t been to the playoffs since 2006, so they’re in no position and certainly no mood to judge the quality of the opponents they’re dispatching with all this last-minute magic. They’re 7-1 since Tim Tebow took over and started engineering a series of outrageous second-half comebacks. Those opponents, though, have a combined record of 39-52. With Tom Brady and the powerful New England Patriots (10-3) coming to town Sunday, the Broncos (8-5) see this as a chance to prove they’re not just a curiosity but a contender. “Yeah, well, we need to prove it to ourselves,” star cornerback Champ Bailey said. “We’ve played against some teams that were kind of struggling. We’d like to go put it together against a topquality quarterback like Brady.” It’s not just Tebow who’s facing what could be his toughest test since he started the final three games last season and then supplanted an ineffective Kyle Orton in October after a 1-4 start. Denver’s dominant defense, which has two hiccups — against the multifaceted Lions and Packers, faces another formidable challenge in the Patriots, led

FOOTBALL Continued from Page 1B and their faithful fans have been there from day one. For the past few years, Dallas has had trouble making it out of their own division, which has resulted in finger pointed that starts with team owner Jerry Jones, who has to blame someone for his horrible picks in the NFL draft. Jones has to find reason for why the Cowboys don’t make the play-off and someone has to take the blame. Last year, former coach Wade Phillips was the fall man, fired after a 1-7 start. The Texans made Jones look like a mockery when they decided to hire Phillips as part of their staff. I guess someone else’s trash became another one’s treasure with Houston benefiting immensely.

by Brady, who’s thrown for 33 touchdown passes, 15 of them to big tight end Rob Gronkowski and nine to Wes Welker, who already has 100 catches. “He’s getting them all the ball,” said Broncos safety Brian Dawkins. “Nobody’s really starving for catches.” And so, the AFC Eastleading Patriots are feasting on opponents, putting up an AFC-best 31 points a game. That kind of firepower means the AFC West-leading Broncos’ notoriously slow-starting offense will have to keep pace, and given New England’s defensive shortcomings, this game could turn into a shootout. Only twice have the Broncos piled up points since Tebow took over in October. They put up 38 at Oakland and 35 at Minnesota. But six times they’ve failed to even score 20 points with Tebow starting. That’s why so many see this game as the Broncos’ best barometer yet. The Patriots have the pedigree the Broncos used to have when they, too, were a perennial playoff team. But Denver hasn’t punched its ticket to the postseason party since losing to Pittsburgh in the AFC championship game following the 2005 season. “Obviously New England has been a team that’s been in the playoffs for the last decade or whatever. So they’ve got a lot of players

who’ve been there,” Broncos pass-rusher Elvis Dumervil said. “They’re the team that’s always been in the playoffs. We want to establish ourselves as that team. This is a good challenge for us.” The Broncos have long been Brady’s bugaboo, beating him five times in six tries, including a 27-13 win on Jan. 14, 2006, when Bailey returned a game-changing interception 100 yards, helping hand Brady his first playoff loss and ending New England’s 10-game postseason winning streak and a shot at an unprecedented third straight Super Bowl title. “Considering how much they won the previous years, they were pretty much unbeatable,” Bailey said. “To get a play like that and to change the game, to get a win against a team like that, yes, it’s a special moment.” With the Patriots going in for the go-ahead score, Bailey stepped in front of Troy Brown in the end zone for the pick and sprinted down the sideline, only to get knocked out of bounds at the 1 by hustling tight end Ben Watson. “Yeah. I thought my guy Nick Ferguson — we all remember him — I thought if he looked inside and blocked that guy coming across the field, then I would have scored,” Bailey cracked. “But we still ended

BASKETBALL Continued from Page 1B

Phillips has proven to be a God send to the Texans. He has done a wonderful job despite missing Williams from the lineup. The Texans are a legitimate team that plays to the delight to their faithful fans. Dallas will always be a favorite of many people, but the Texans’ fan base is starting to grow in the Lone Star state. You can count me as one of them. I always like to root for the little guy. Dallas can keep all the hoopla associated with being “America’s Team,” in the mean time Houston will be Texas’ team. And they’re doing just fine picking up a division championship and a play-off berth while the other brother struggles. (Clara Sandoval can be reached at

first half of the game. In the second half, it was the Hawks 1-3-1 zone defense that started to bring the them within a few points of St. Augustine, but time wasn’t on Zapata’s side. Just as the Hawks were finding their footing and mounting a comeback, time ran out for them. “We started out with a 3-2 zone defense and finally switched a 1-3-1 defense which brought us closer, but we just ran out of time,” said Zapata coach Juan Villarreal.

Zapata continues to struggle in putting the ball in the basket consistently. Despite winning the battle in the paint, they failed to capitalize on many scoring opportunities that could have been the difference. “We did better on the boards and had plenty of shots, but they just did not going in for us,” Villarreal said. Villarreal noted the Hawks have improved and are starting to find chemistry, but still have other aspects of the game they

BONDS Continued from Page 1B to two other figures convicted of similar crimes in the same investigation. She also noted that most obstruction cases were more serious, and often involved violence being used against witnesses. “This sentence is an appropriate sentence for a conviction where there is no victim,” said Stuart Slotnick, a former prosecutor now in private practice. “And many question the seriousness of the charges and the motivation for the prosecution.” Well-wishers hugged the 47-year-old Bonds in the hallway outside the courtroom after the hearing was over. He declined to speak in court. A jury convicted Bonds in April of purposely answering questions about steroids with rambling non sequiturs

in an attempt to mislead a grand jury investigating sports doping in December 2003. Bonds’ trial jury failed to reach a verdict on three other charges accusing Bonds of lying when he denied taking performance-enhancing drugs and when he denied receiving injections from someone other than his doctor. Prosecutors in September dropped those deadlocked charges, giving up on another trial. His lead attorney, Allen Ruby, said Bonds will formally file a “notice of appeal” Friday. Major League Baseball’s career home runs leader, Bonds is the highest-profile defendant — and the last — to come out of the government’s investigation of the steroids distribution

up scoring on the next play.” This game doesn’t hold nearly as much significance, but in many ways it’s the most intriguing matchup at Mile High in years. The Patriots could clinch a playoff spot and inch closer to home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, which could prove the best salve for their defensive troubles. The Broncos could take a lot of pressure off themselves over the final two weeks of the season, with games against Buffalo on the road and at home against Kansas City. Bailey, the perennial Pro Bowl cornerback, will have his work cut out for him, covering either Welker in the slot or the Patriots’ two big tight ends in Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. “What makes them so tough is their size,” Bailey said. “I can keep up with them with my feet, but it’s just the pushing and the shoving and the ball placement. It’s tougher when you have a quarterback like Tom Brady, because he puts the ball where nobody else can get it.” Then, he might have to chase around Welker, the 5foot-9 dynamo who’s putting up big numbers himself. “It’s like night and day, but they’re all productive,” Bailey said. “We’ve got some tools that we’re going to use and hopefully they work.”

ring built around the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, founded by Victor Conte. Besides the seven-time MVP, 10 people were convicted of various charges. Six of them, including track star Marion Jones, were ensnared for lying to grand jurors, federal investigators or the court. Others, including Bonds’ personal trainer Greg Anderson, pleaded guilty to steroid distribution charges. Bonds was one of two former baseball superstars to stand trial in doping-related cases this year. The trial of pitcher Roger Clemens was halted after just two days in July because prosecutors used inadmissible evidence. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton has set a new trial for April 17.

need to work on before district play begins. “I see the improvement on the team, but I guess, as coaches, we expect more,” he said. “We have two weeks until we play our first district game and I hope that we can put it all together by then.” The Hawks will play the alumni game today and then head to the Falfurrias Tournament on December 27-28 before their last tune up. (Clara Sandoval can be reached at

HAWKS Continued from Page 1B Isabel got a taste of how good the defense can be they met the Lady Hawks on the court. Zapata’ 1-3-1 half court trapping zone defense disrupted Port Isabel’s offense and kept the Lady Hawks in the game as they forced the Lady Tarpons into many turnovers. The game see-sawed back and forth and, with two minutes left in regulation, Zapata was ahead by one point. The Lady Hawks then leaned on their free throw shooting when a barrage of fouls defined the final two minutes as the Port Isabel desperately attempted to get the ball back into their possession. Port Isabel put Zapata’s Jackie Salinas on the line several times, and Salinas was able to hit five of her six attempts to help the Lady Hawks win the game. The Lady Hawks’ next district game was Friday night against Progresso. (Clara Sandoval can be reached at sandoval.clara



HINTS | BY HELOISE Dear Readers: The winter months and cooler weather are here, and people will be using heaters and fireplaces a lot more. STATIC CLING is sure to follow! To reduce static cling, you need to replace the lost moisture in the air. Here are some Heloise helpful hints for doing so: Use a small tabletop fountain. The running water will replace moisture, and the sound is soothing. Use a cool-mist humidifier. Simmer a large pot of water on your stove to add moisture. Add some orange peels or a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a nice aroma. Check it often, and refill as needed. If you have clothes that cling, mist them with water from a fine-mist spray bottle. Just be careful. Silk and other fine fabrics should not be sprayed. These ideas and many more are in my latest book, “Handy Household Hints From Heloise.” Check my website, — Heloise PET PAL Dear Readers: Avalon in Grapeland, Texas, sent a picture of her cat, Sandy, lying in a baby carriage holding a bottle of milk! He has learned how to let the milk drip into his mouth. To see Sandy and our other Pet Pals, visit and click on “Pets.” — Heloise PICTURE-PERFECT Dear Heloise: So many of your readers ask you to reprint favorite recipes because they lost their copy that I want to share a great solution to this problem. I lost my French bread recipe! I was in a store with a friend, and she held up a pretty, framed picture for a kitchen or diningroom wall. It gave me the idea to frame my recipe if I


could find it. Well, I did find it! I printed a copy and decorated it with artwork, and now it hangs on my kitchen wall ... forever! This hint could make a family heirloom recipe even more precious. Beautifully framed, it could make a great Christmas gift for someone you know who really enjoyed the recipe. — A Reader, via email HANDY LEAF BLOWER Dear Heloise: I was tired of using a broom to sweep the large, wraparound porch on my Victorian bed and breakfast. One day, my husband was using his leaf blower on the lawn. I grabbed it and “blew off ” the porch. It was great, because I could use it on chair cushions and windowsills as well. Saves a lot of time and energy! Thanks for your great column. We read it in the Cecil Whig in Maryland. — JoAnn Dawson, via email CLEAN SWEEP Dear Heloise: I have learned so much by reading your column! To clean an eraser, I swipe it on a piece of heavy scouring pad that I keep handy in my pen-and-pencil cup. — Carol in Huntsville, Ala. Carol, here are other things that you can use: an emery board, fine sandpaper or a foot file! — Heloise Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to Heloise(at) I can’t answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.









AUSTIN — College football analyst Craig James has been granted time away from ESPN while he considers running for the U.S. Senate in Texas, ESPN said Friday. James requested that he not work his scheduled bowl game on Tuesday so he can concentrate on his decision, ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz told The Associated Press. The news fuels speculation that he is close to entering the Republican primary already crowded with candidates who have spent months raising money and gathering endorsements. James would be running for the 2012 Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison. A message left with James was not immediately returned. The deadline to file as a candidate is Monday. James, who appears on weekly game broadcasts for ESPN, was a star tailback at Southern Methodist University from 19791982 and later played for the New England Patriots of the NFL. He was recently embroiled in Texas Tech University’s decision to fire popular football coach Mike Leach in 2009 over allegations the coach mistreated James’ son, a Red Raiders player, after he sustained a concussion. James, 50, has been flirting with entering politics for more than a year. He has been a board member of the influential Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank in Austin, and recently founded Texans for a Better America to promote conservative policies Other candidates include Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert and former Texas solicitor

Photo by Rodger Mallison | AP

Aledo running back Johnathan Gray was named the Texas Associated Press Sports Editors Player of the Year Friday.


Photo by Geoffrey McAllister | AP

College football analyst Craig James has been granted time away from ESPN while he considers running for the U.S. Senate in Texas, an ESPN spokesman said Friday. general Ted Cruz. James, who lives in Celina north of Dallas, would likely be banking on name recognition from his work for ESPN and his ties to big-time college football in Texas to overcome his late start. That name recognition could also prove to be a disadvantage for James. Texas Tech fired Leach, the winningest coach in school history, after James complained to school administrators that Leach mistreated Adam James by twice ordering him to stand for hours confined in a dark place during practice after he got a concussion. Leach denies mistreating the younger James and has said Craig James

had called coaches trying to get his son more playing time. Leach also said he suspects an $800,000 bonus he was due on Dec. 31, 2009, was the reason he was fired. Leach sued the university and named Craig James as a defendant. The case is pending before the Texas Supreme Court. At SMU, James was a major part of the recordsetting “Pony Express” backfield with Eric Dickerson. The Mustangs won Southwest Conference championships in 1981 and 1982 but also were embroiled in several NCAA investigations. In 1987, the NCAA hit SMU with the so-called “death penalty,” shutting down the program for a

year after finding SMU had continued to pay players after promising in 1985 it would stop. SMU also chose not to play football in 1988. James was never directly implicated in the NCAA transgressions and he has consistently denied any involvement. After college, James was drafted by the Washington Federals in the USFL and signed with the Patriots before the 1985 season. He retired from football in 1989. As a businessman, James has been involved in ventures providing video content for the Internet as well as real estate holdings and development, according to the Texans for a Better America website.

DALLAS — Aledo’s Johnathan Gray probably won’t break the most hallowed record in Texas high school football. He’s leaving his mark on the sport anyway. Gray was named the Texas Associated Press Sports Editors Player of the Year on Friday, a day before he was to play his final prep game assured of being at least the second-most prolific running back in state history. The Texas-bound Gray enters Saturday’s Class 4A Division II championship game with 10,648 career yards. That trails only Kenneth Hall, dubbed the Sugar Land Express when he rushed for 11,232 yards for his Houston-area school from 1950-53. Gray would need 585 yards against Manvel at Cowboys Stadium to beat Hall’s record, but he has quite a few standards of his own, including a championship game mark of eight touchdowns when Aledo won its second straight state title in a 6934 victory against La Marque last year. The nominees for the player of the year award come from the 10 offensive and defensive players of the year on the five

APSE all-state teams, which are voted on by sportswriters statewide. “It’s one of those things that you have to give it to your teammates,” Gray said. “Without those guys, we couldn’t do it and I couldn’t do it.” Earlier this year, Gray surpassed Hall as the highest-scoring player in state history. Now, he’s more than 300 points clear of Hall and has more than 200 career touchdowns. He needs four touchdowns to break the state’s single-season scoring record set earlier this year by Devine’s Joseph Sadler. “Not many kids have done what this kid’s done in high school,” Aledo coach Tim Buchanan said. “He’s playing in I believe his 58th game, and he’s lost three of them.” Other finalists this year were: Lake Travis defensive back Dane Balazs; Tenaha quarterback Reginald Davis; Ben Bolt linebacker Ivan Gonzalez; Longview linebacker DeMarkus Lathan; Dallas Roosevelt defensive back Patrick Levels; Refugio quarterback Travis Quintanilla; Devine running back Joseph Sadler; Refugio defensive lineman Donald Trevino; and Spring Dekaney running back Trey Williams.

The Zapata Times 12/17/2011  

The Zapata Times 12/17/2011

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