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Police ID Valley man with grenades
Should the people decide fate of parlors? By JULIAN AGUILAR THE TEXAS TRIBUNE
In Laredo, electronic gambling machines and the parlors that house them are akin to the reptile’s tail that grows back after being cut off. In 2007, the city’s former police chief and two other high-ranking officers were convicted of federal conspiracy charges after taking bribes from operators of the amusement centers. The officers knew many establishments were paying out more than the state-allowed limit of $5 in cash or prizes, and they accepted payments to let it continue. The city cracked down, seizing cash and
REP. RICHARD RAYMOND, D-LAREDO: Put it to a vote and let the people decide. machines, known there as “maquinitas,” or eight-liners. Now the makeshift casinos — most tucked into nondescript strip malls — are back. In truth, some never left. Their resurgence is due to their popularity, says state Rep. Richard Peña Raymond, D-Laredo, who has offered a solution: Let the people decide. Raymond has filed legislation that would put the issue to voters, similar to the way municipalities decide where liquor is sold.
“I have a lot of people that have come to me on this, from law enforcement to owners to people that play and pastors who don’t like it,” Raymond says. The proposed legislation would initially shut down the centers, and then allow voters to petition to reopen them via popular vote. A separate bill would determine the prize amount. About 40 establishments have permits to operate as amusement centers, a city official says. Carlos Maldonado, Laredo’s current police chief, is not weighing in on the issue, preferring instead to let the Legislature decide.
See GAMBLING PAGE 10A
By CÉSAR G. RODRIGUEZ THE ZAPATA TIMES
Zapata County sheriff ’s officials put a name to the face of the man accused of having 30 hand grenades and three assault rifles in the back of his car last week. Deputies identified him as Ricardo Herrera Jr., 32, of Edinburg. He is being charged with 30 counts of possession of a prohibited weapon. Herrera was taken to the Zapata Regional Jail, where he
RICARDO HERRERA JR.: Edinburg man found with 30 grenades in car. was held in lieu of a $9 million bond as of Wednesday afternoon. A deputy patrolling a southern area of the county along U.S. 83 pulled a Dodge Neon over. Officials say the man, identified as Herrera, gave consent to the deputy to inspect the vehicle.
See ID PAGE 10A
DOUBLE THE GIFT-GIVING FUN Santas host community event By LORRAINE L. RODRIGUEZ THE ZAPATA TIMES
miles lit up the faces of many Zapata children through the collaborative efforts of Zapata County Justice of the Peace Anna Guerra and Border Patrol agents when the children were handed gifts by not one, but two Santas at the annual Blue Santa Toy Drive in front of the county courthouse. “It’s great seeing their faces. They’re so happy,” Guerra said. While Guerra, dressed as Blue Santa, was handing out gifts, Border Patrol agents and the Border Patrol Green Santa showed up with more gifts. “It was a great surprise to have the Border Patrol Green Santa Claus come help Blue Santa give out gifts to the children,” Guerra said. Guerra sponsors the Blue Santa Toy Drive annually and was glad to see other agencies, like Border Patrol, join the charitable event this year, she said. A long line of families waited for their turns to receive gifts from the Blue Santa and the Green Santa.
Approximately 300 children showed up with their parents to receive gifts and have a chance to have their picture taken with Santa Claus, Guerra said. After receiving their gifts, children were able to take a picture with the Santa of their choice and to get into another line to receive bags of school supplies, cookies, candies, and Christmas movies from the Zapata County Sheriff ’s Office’s 911 program, said Capt. Aaron Sanchez. Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Warden Sam Padgett also joined the event and helped other agencies in their efforts to hand out gifts and put a smile on each child’s face. “(Texas) Parks and Wildlife always comes and help us with anything we do,” Sanchez said. Most toys were donated by Zapata County officials, employees, and other members of the community, Guerra said. The Border Patrol Green Santa handed out gifts donated by other Border Patrol agents, said Ramiro Cerillo, the
See HOLIDAY PAGE 10A
Photo by Danny Zaragoza | The Zapata Times
ABOVE: Ram Cerillo, right, stands guard as Eddie Hernandez receives his gift from the Border Patrol’s Green Santa in front of the Zapata County Court House on Wednesday morning. RIGHT: The Blue Santa greets the Border Patrol’s Green Santa as he makes a surprise appearance at the Zapata County Courthouse on Wednesday morning during the toy giveaway.
Zin brief CALENDAR
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2010
TODAY IN HISTORY
SATURDAY, DEC. 26 Registration is now underway for French and Italian courses through Jan. 19. The courses are offered by Texas A&M International University’s Division of International Programs, International Language Institute and begin Monday, Jan. 25, 2010. For more information, visit http://www.tamiu.edu/dip/ili/
TUESDAY, DEC. 28 The Laredo Public Library would like to invite parents to bring their children to enjoy some fun-filled holiday story time, arts and crafts and other holiday activities over the Christmas break. Simply stop by the Laredo Public Library Children’s Department, located at 1120 East Calton Road at 2:30 p.m. today and make a New Year’s Eve hat; the events are free and open to the public. Please do not leave children unattended at the Laredo Public Library for these or any other activities. For more information, please contact Diana Gallegos at 795-2400, x2247. Invest in yourself. Spring registration is underway at Texas A&M International University. TAMIU offers more than 70 undergraduate, graduate or doctoral degrees. The Spring 2010 schedule is now online at schedule.tamiu.edu. Classes begin Tuesday, Jan. 19.
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 29 The Laredo Public Library would like to invite parents to bring their children to enjoy some fun-filled holiday story time, arts and crafts and other holiday activities over the Christmas break. Simply stop by the Laredo Public Library Children’s Department, located at 1120 East Calton Road at 2:30 p.m. today to celebrate with a New Year’s Eve activity; the events are free and open to the public. Please do not leave children unattended at the Laredo Public Library for these or any other activities. For more information, please contact Diana Gallegos at 7952400, ext. 2247.
THURSDAY, DEC. 30 The Laredo Public Library would like to invite parents to bring their children to enjoy holiday story time, arts and crafts and other holiday activities over the Christmas break. Simply stop by the Laredo Public Library Children’s Department, located at 1120 East Calton Road at 2:30 p.m. today and watch a New Year’s Eve movie; the events are free and open to the public. Please do not leave children unattended at the Laredo Public Library for these or any other activities. For more information, please contact Diana Gallegos at 795-2400, ext. 2247. Texas A&M International University’s Women’s Basketball team plays against Texas A&M – Kingsville University at 2:30 p.m. in Austin. For more information, call 326-2891 or visit GoDustdevils.com.
FRIDAY, DEC. 31 Epoco de Oro will have its New Year’s Eve dance from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. today in the Laredo Civic Center Ballroom, 2400 San Bernardo Ave. Tickets are $25 at the door.
TUESDAY, JAN. 4 The Alzheimer’s support group will meet Tuesday Jan. 4, at 7 p.m. in meeting room 2, building B of the Laredo Medical Center. The support group is for family members and caregivers taking care of someone who has Alzeimer’s. Texas A&M International University TexPREP is now accepting 2010 applications beginning today, through Feb. 11 at 4 p.m. Texas Prefreshman Engineering Program (TexPREP) is an opportunity for local and area middle and high school students to be exposed to college-level mathematics, science and engineering studies. This year’s program will be held from May 31 through July 22. For more information, contact Julissa Garza at 3262700, e-mail email@example.com, or visit offices in the Student Center, room 118.
THURSDAY, JAN. 6 Texas A&M International University will hold an Alternative Certification Program Information Session on Thursday, Jan. 6 at in room 104 of Bullock Hall 104. Contact Idinia Dominguez at 326-3098, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org To submit an item for the calendar, send the name of the event, the date, time, location and contact phone number to email@example.com
Photo by Harry Cabluck | AP
In this Feb. 5, 2009, file photo, Judge Charlie Baird presides over a court hearing in Austin. A Texas appeals court on Tuesday halted an inquiry into whether a man convicted of arson was wrongly executed, saying Baird abused his discretion by not recusing himself or referring a motion for his recusal to another judge.
Court: Judge was wrong By JEFF CARLTON ASSOCIATED PRESS
DALLAS — A Texas appeals court halted an inquiry Tuesday into whether a man convicted of arson was wrongly executed, saying the presiding judge acted improperly by not ruling on a motion for his recusal. In a 2-1 decision, the Third Texas Court of Appeals ruled that Judge Charlie Baird "abused his discretion" by not recusing himself or referring a motion for his recusal to another judge. Baird presided over an October hearing into whether Cameron Willingham was wrongly executed for setting a 1991 fire that killed his three daughters — a 2year-old and 1-year-old twins. Although Willingham was executed in 2004, many of the nation’s foremost fire experts, some of whom testified in October, now say the blaze was accidental. Some of
Willingham’s surviving relatives and attorneys from the Innocence Project are trying to clear Willingham’s name and get the state to acknowledge he was wrongly executed. The recusal issue must be resolved before the hearing into Willingham’s possible innocence can continue. A complicating factor is Baird’s retirement at the end of the year. The judge did not immediately respond to a message left by The Associated Press. The ruling is the latest setback for antideath penalty advocates trying to prove Willingham’s innocence. If he were exonerated, it would mark the first time an official in the nation’s most active death penalty state has formally declared someone was wrongfully executed. Last month in a different case, a DNA test on a single hair cast doubt on the guilt of a Texas man who was put to death in 2000.
Population surge gives Texas 4 new House seats
2 hurt in small helicopter crash near Hemphill
Texan pleads guilty, will forfeit grenade launcher
AUSTIN — New census figures allow Texas to add more congressional clout than any other state, but a redistricting fight was already brewing Tuesday in a state where Republicans dominate the Legislature but Democrats have traditionally been favored among Hispanics, who represent much of the population surge.
HEMPHILL — The Department of Public Safety says two men from Center have been hurt in the crash of a small helicopter into a shallow part of the Toledo Bend Reservoir. DPS says the accident happened Wednesday about 14 miles south of Hemphill.
CORPUS CHRISTI — A Corpus Christi-area man has pleaded guilty to two weapons charges and will forfeit a grenade launcher and more than 11,000 rounds of ammunition. Jeremy Charles Davenport of Odem will be sentenced March 9 and faces up to 10 years in prison on each count.
Texans arrested in Iran funds investigation SAN ANTONIO — A McAllen doctor and his attorney wife face arraignment Jan. 4 in Portland, Ore., after being charged with secretly sending more than $1.8 million to Iran in funds meant for a children’s charity. Dr. Hossein Lahiji, 47, and Najmeh Vahid, 35, were arrested Tuesday by the FBI in San Antonio on fraud and conspiracy charges related to violating the U.S. trade embargo on Iran.
Texas mom gets life over death of adopted son, 13 MARSHALL — A Northeast Texas woman has been sentenced to life in prison over the 2008 starving and beating death of her adopted son. The victim was 13-year-old Samuel Hudson. A jury deliberated nearly two hours Wednesday before convicting 47-year-old Cynthia Hudson of capital murder. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty, so State District Judge Ralph Burgess sentenced Hudson to life in prison without parole.
Chisum wants GOP members to choose next speaker AUSTIN — A GOP legislator from Pampa who wants to be Texas House speaker says he’ll ask fellow Republicans to meet next month and choose the chamber’s leader. Rep. Warren Chisum on Tuesday announced he and 10 colleagues will call for a meeting of the chamber’s GOP caucus on Jan. 5. —Compiled from AP reports
AROUND THE NATION
Today is Saturday, Dec. 25, the 359th day of 2010. There are 6 days left in the year. This is Christmas Day. Today’s Highlight in History: On Dec. 25, 1990, the World Wide Web, the system providing quick access to websites over the Internet, was born in Geneva, Switzerland, as computer scientists Tim BernersLee and Robert Cailliau (KAH’-yoh) created the world’s first hyperlinked webpage. On this date: In 1066, William the Conqueror was crowned king of England. In 1776, Gen. George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River for a surprise attack against Hessian forces at Trenton, N.J. In 1818, “Silent Night,” written by Franz Gruber and Father Joseph Mohr, was performed for the first time, at the Church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorf, Austria. In 1926, Hirohito became emperor of Japan, succeeding his father, Emperor Yoshihito. (Hirohito was formally enthroned almost two years later.) In 1931, New York’s Metropolitan Opera broadcast an entire live opera over radio for the first time: “Hansel and Gretel” by Engelbert Humperdinck. In 1941, during World War II, Japan announced the surrender of the British-Canadian garrison at Hong Kong. In 1989, ousted Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu (chow-SHES’-koo) and his wife, Elena, were executed following a popular uprising. Former baseball manager Billy Martin died in a traffic accident in Fenton, N.Y. In 1991, Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev went on television to announce his resignation as the eighth and final leader of a communist superpower that had already gone out of existence. In 1995, singer Dean Martin died at his Beverly Hills home at age 78. In 2006, James Brown, 73, the “Godfather of Soul,” died of heart failure in Atlanta. Ten years ago: A fire in central China killed 309 people inside an unlicensed disco. Today’s Birthdays: Singer Tony Martin is 97. Actor Dick Miller is 82. Author Anne Roiphe is 75. Actress Hanna Schygulla (SHEE’-goo-lah) is 67. Rhythm-and-blues singer John Edwards (The Spinners) is 66. Actor Gary Sandy is 65. Singer Jimmy Buffett is 64. Pro and College Football Hallof-Famer Larry Csonka is 64. Country singer Barbara Mandrell is 62. Actress Sissy Spacek is 61. Former White House adviser Karl Rove is 60. Actress CCH Pounder is 58. Singer Annie Lennox is 56. Reggae singer-musician Robin Campbell (UB40) is 56. Country singer Steve Wariner is 56. Singer Shane MacGowan (The Pogues, The Popes) is 53. Baseball Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson is 52. Former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers Christina Romer is 52. Thought for Today: “Were I a philosopher, I should write a philosophy of toys, showing that nothing else in life need to be taken seriously, and that Christmas Day in the company of children is one of the few occasions on which men become entirely alive.” — Robert Lynd, British essayist (1879-1949).
Gas pump prices rise above $3
NEW YORK — The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline topped $3 on Thursday. It’s the first time that the average retail price has been above $3 a gallon at Christmas. The pump price rose about a cent and a half a gallon overnight, to $3.01, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. That’s 14 cents more than a month ago and 43 cents higher than a year ago.
Stocks flat after mixed economic reports NEW YORK — Mixed economic reports led to a flat opening for Wall Street Thursday. The Commerce Department said Americans spent 0.4 percent more in November. Analysts forecasted a 0.5 percent bump, following an increase of 0.7 percent in October.
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A TSA officer checks passengers personal belongings at the X-ray machine at Miami International Airport in Miami, Thursday, Dec. 23.
Obama, Medvedev hail nuclear treaty ratification HONOLULU — President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (dihMEE’-tree med-VYEH’-dyev) are
hailing the Senate’s ratification of a nuclear arms pact between their nations as a historic event. The two leaders spoke by phone Thursday, a day after the Senate ratified the New START treaty. —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 thezapatatimes.net
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2010
County hears grant update By LORRAINE L. RODRIGUEZ THE ZAPATA TIMES
After nearly losing a $1 million grant reimbursement from the Economic Development Administration due to not meeting grant requirements, Zapata County Commissioners Court held a special meeting Thursday to receive an update from Economic Development Center president Peggy Umphres-Moffett. Umphres-Moffett acquired the federal grant for the construction of the Advance Education Center that has nearly been completed and is expected to open for the first day of instruction on Jan. 3. In a previous Commissioners Court meeting, Umphres-Moffett broke the news about the near loss of the federal grant reimbursement due to miscommunication between her and project coordinator Mario GonzalezDavis and the lack of progress reports from the construction company. That same week Zapata County Judge Rosalva Guerra held a special meeting to hear from Umphres-Moffett, Gonzalez-Davis and the steering committee, which is responsible for the Advance Education Center. In that meeting, Guer-
ra, Commissioners Eddie Martinez and Norberto Garza, the steering committee, and other responsible parties were updated on overlooked grant requirements. Guerra also clarified every responsible party’s duties for the Advance Education Center project. Umphres-Moffett has now confirmed that all required documentation has been submitted to the EDA and the county is waiting for approval before a reimbursement can be made, Commissioner Jose E. Vela said. Also at the meeting, commissioners approved a memorandum of understanding with the Economic Development Center to identify specific duties for all employees, Vela said. “Since we are funding the agency, we want to know what they are doing and before we didn’t have enough information on it,” Vela said. “We had our attorney identify the duties so we can have better control of the activities and things they do.” Commissioners also approved the appointment of members for the EDC, Vela added. (Lorraine L. Rodriguez may be reached at (956)7282557.)
Anniversary celebration By LORRAINE L. RODRIGUEZ THE ZAPATA TIMES
Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, the Zapata Retired School Employees Association met at a local restaurant last month for the regular monthly meeting to listen to Rep. Ryan Guillen discuss the Texas Retirement System for school employees. “He gave us information on the state retirement system for teachers,” said historian Edna Umphres. “There is a division for retired teachers and the state helps fund that.” The organization recently changed its name to include all retired school employees and not only retired teachers, Umphres said. “Before the name didn’t sound like it was open to
I don’t know what happened, but it’s going again.” HISTORIAN EDNA UMPHRES
everyone,” she said. The organization has about 40 members and holds monthly meetings September through May, Umphres said. “We’ll have various speakers to keep educating ourselves and to keep knowledge of what is happening in the community,” Umphres said. Members also contribute many hours of volunteer work around the community, Umphres added. The officers are president Avon Hatfield, vice president Dahlia Lopez,
second vice president Cruz Torres, secretary Mary Morales and treasurer Ana Ramirez, as well as others, Umphres said. In the last meeting, several officers and members were recognized. Umphres, Torres and Oswaldo Ramirez received a service award recognition. Hildegardo Flores, Ph. D., was recognized for most volunteer hours for the year and Humberto Gonzalez were recognized for most steps — also known as distance walked
for the year — Umphres added. The organization has been going strong for the past few years but was disbanded some years back, Umphres said. “I don’t know what happened, but it’s going again,” she said. The organization focuses on two main goals, starting with supplying books for children classroom by classroom and school by school, Umphres said. A school librarian recommends classrooms that have the most need, Umphres added. The second goal is to award two graduates with college scholarships, Umphres said. “Those are our main projects,” Umphres said. “We started helping small children and worked up to the high school.”
THE BLOTTER ASSAULT An assault on a public servant was reported at 11:09 a.m. Dec. 17 at the Zapata Regional Jail.
BURGLARY A burglary of a habitation was reported at 9:40 p.m. Dec. 17 in the 400 block of Falcon Shores Drive.
ILLEGAL DUMPING An illegal dumping was reported at 10:28 a.m. Monday in the 5400 block of Betty Lane in the Siesta Shores subdivision.
INCIDENT A complainant called deputies around noon Dec. 19 from San Ygnacio to report a lost wallet.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2010
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Brother has surprising collection W
ASHINGTON — Last Christmas I got a jolt. I learned that my brother Kevin collects creches. They were all over his house, crammed onto every mantle, table, counter, lawn and closet — 17 in all, including the little plastic stable my mom put over the fireplace when we were little. I was perturbed. I knew Kevin, a salesman, was a fanatical guardian of the word Christmas, as opposed to the pagan, generic “holiday,” but I had no idea that he had such a monomaniacal hobby. Maybe I was scarred by reading “The Glass Menagerie” as a teenager. But, books and records aside, collections always struck me as vaguely creepy. I had shuddered for years as my sister accumulated clowns and “Don Quixote” objects. And the porcelain baby collection of an older cousin actually made me feel queasy.
Obsessive I wondered why Kevin was so obsessive about creches. Was it a way to stay close to our late mother? An homage to our old church, Nativity? As a child, he treated St. Joseph, the shepherds and the three kings as action figures, staging smack downs. “The shepherd had an advantage because he was holding the lamb, and he could use it as a weapon,” Kevin recalled fondly. I also remembered that he got very upset one year when St. Joseph was stolen from the outdoor nativity scene at Nativity, and he fretted over why Christ’s stepfather disappeared from the New Testament so abruptly.
St. Joseph Could that make him hoard a houseful of St. Josephs — and send his three sons to a college named St. Joseph’s? I was curious enough about the manger mania that when he told me he’d been invited to the Friends of the Creche annual convention in New Haven one weekend in November, I asked if I could go, too. Touring the creche display at the Knights of Columbus hall, we met collectors who had 300, 500, even 600 creches, the kind who might put an addition on the house just to display their stables.
Inadequacy Kevin began to feel inadequate with a mere 15. Bonnie Psanenstiel, a heavyset 52-year-old nurse from Owensboro, Ky., told me that she has 500 sets packed into her “nativity meditation room,” even though “I’m not really into religion.” She got her first, which was hand-carved out of olive wood, on a high-school trip to Morocco and spent four years baby-sitting and cleaning houses to pay it off. She’s most attached to the set given to her by a woman she helped when she was a rape-incest
counseling volunteer. “We used to sit by the Mississippi River and just talk,” Bonnie said as she started to cry. “She would slowly gather up some of this Delta clay, and she made me a set.”
Renewal She believes nativities represent “renewal.” The Rev. Tim Goldrick, the gregarious pastor of St. Nicholas Church in Fall River, Mass., said his grandfather told him it was a Portugese-Azorian tradition that the man of the house set up the creche. He begged to put up their Woolworth’s set. For years, the priest kept hundreds of creches in milk crates in his guest room, which precluded actual guests. “There was no room in the inn,” he said wryly.
Moving When he transferred from his last parish, he called a mover and explained that he owned no furniture but did have a lot of Christmas decorations. “It took three men two days to box them up and ship them,” he said. Mike Whalen, 61, of Clinton Township, Mich., the president of the creche society and proud owner of 400, said he doesn’t know of creche fixations causing any marital battles. “There’s a lady from California whose husband is Jewish, and he’s very involved,” Whalen said. “He came up with an Excel system to organize things.” Rita Bocher of Wynnewood, Pa., does the society’s newsletter. In the ’80s, doing market research for the Franklin Mint, she had to research creches. “I thought nobody collects nativities,” she said. “Turned out, I was totally wrong.” Now she has 700 subscribers around the world.
Her favorite She saw her favorite in a German museum. It was a prequel, showing the Magi getting ready to go on their trip, ordering around servants, gathering gifts. Goldrick explained to Kevin that St. Joseph might have disappeared so abruptly all those years ago from the belief that if you bury a St. Joseph statue in the yard, you can sell your house quicker. (A tradition that has revived with the recession.) I couldn’t fight the fanatics, so I joined them. At the convention I bought a Cape Cod creche made by Nathaniel Wordell of South Chatham, Mass. Mary’s a mermaid; the Wise Men are a crab, a crocodile and a sea horse. The “livestock” are a frog, a turtle and starfish. Joseph has a trident. Sadly, it did not draw my brother and me closer. “That is sacrilegious,” Kevin said, staring in horror. “The Virgin Mary does not have a tail.”
Lame ducks see triumph W
ow, we’re getting a new nuclear arms control treaty for Christmas. I know some of you were hoping for iPads. But still, big news. Good work, White House! Thank heavens we got rid of our former president, Barack Obama, who couldn’t even get the trade agreement he went all the way to South Korea to sign. Our current president, Barack Obama, would never let that happen, and, in fact, came up with a really excellent trade agreement with the South Koreans just the other day. “Administration officials have bent over backwards to try to solve every problem that’s come up,” said Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, one of the Republicans who reached across the aisle to get the New START treaty with Russia ratified. The treaty, which needed a two-thirds vote, was actually approved 71-26. The Democrats did not have to go scrambling madly around looking for one last vote. And even the opponents were winners since they got to spend more than a week beating up on the Russians, revisiting the golden days when life was simple and wars were cold.
‘Serial cheaters’ “They cheat. They are serial cheaters,” said Sen. James Risch of Idaho, the author of my favorite unsuccessful amendment to
the treaty. It would have made the nuclear-reduction program contingent on the return of four American Humvees the Russians picked up during their conflict with Georgia. Risch hauled out blowups of one of the enslaved military vehicles, shouting: “You can watch your property right here being towed away by the Russians! Back to Moscow!” If the former Red Menace wants to “hold hands and sing ‘Kumbaya,”’ he added, “Well, that is fine. But give us back our stolen military equipment.” When was it that the singing of “Kumbaya” became a shorthand for weenieness? “Kumbaya” is an excellent campfire song, especially for groups that border on tone-deafness and don’t know the words to anything. I remember singing it in Girl Scout camp with friends who emerged unscathed and became conservative Republicans. Some may be writing letters protesting the New START treaty at this very moment. Please, give “Kumbaya” a break. But I digress. Nothing, not even Humvees in chains, was going to stop the progress of what has recently become known as the “hard-charging lameduck Congress.” It is a perfect image, with its suggestion of a flock racing along in the clumsiest
manner possible but still stumbling over the finish line. “When it’s all going to be said and done, Harry Reid has eaten our lunch,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who called the hard-charging lame duck “a capitulation in two weeks of dramatic proportions.” This is the rapidly evolving new hyper-partisan Lindsey Graham, who was so ticked off at the fact that the Senate was devoting a mere eight days to the treaty that he told the anti-treaty obstructionist Jon Kyl of Arizona: “I want to apologize to you for the way you’ve been treated by your colleagues.”
Unrepentant His New START-supporting fellow Republicans appeared quietly unrepentant. Perhaps they were afraid that if they said anything in response, Graham would continue his evolution into awfulness right there on the Senate floor and start gnawing on the ankles of elderly legislators. Good work, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry. We appreciate the way you’ve evolved from one of the world’s worst presidential candidates into an extremely useful senator. Unlike some unsuccessful presidential candidates we could name. Good work, Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the lone Republican who stuck with the treaty through thick and thin
and never mutated into a scary new entity. Good work, Sen. Harry Reid, the majority leader. Unlike your hapless predecessor, Sen. Harry Reid, the majority leader, you’ve had legislation shooting off to the White House like angry birds in that video game. Unemployment compensation! Gay rights! Food safety! Judicial appointments! Arms control! Health care for 9/ 11 responders!
Compromise But let’s admit it. Nothing would have gotten done if Obama hadn’t swallowed that loathsome compromise on tax cuts for the wealthy. If he’d taken the high road, Congress would be in a holiday war. The long-term unemployed would be staggering into the new year without benefits. The rest of the world would look upon the United States as a country so dysfunctional that it can’t even ratify a treaty to help keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists. The people who worked at ground zero would still be uncertain about their future, and our gay and lesbian soldiers would still be living in fear. It’s depressing to think that there was no way to win that would not have involved giving away billions of dollars to people who don’t need it. But it’s kind of cheery to think we have a president who actually does know what he’s doing.
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SATURDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2010
THE ZAPATA TIMES 5A
NL prison has troubled past By JASON BUCH SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS
Photo by Bogdan Stamatin/Mediafax Foto | AP
Adrian Sobaru, an electrician at the national television station throws himself from a balcony in Romania’s Parliament, Thursday, just as the prime minister began to speak ahead of a no-confidence vote. Sobaru suffered fractures to the face, and other non lifethreatening injuries, according to a hospital official.
New bill to give relief to farmers SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
The tax bill recently signed by President Barack Obama includes relief for farmers and ranchers interested in protecting their property with conservation easements, reports Blair Fitzsimons, executive director of the Texas Agricultural Land Trust (TALT). The extension of Bush-era tax cuts includes an extension of a conservation easement tax incentive for tax years 2010 and 2011, retroactive to Jan. 1. Between 2006 and 2009, the tax incentive allowed family farmers, ranchers, and other moderate-income landowners to get a significant income tax benefit for donating a conservation easement on their land. Under this scenario, a landowner may deduct the value of a conservation easement against 50 percent of adjusted gross income and carry the deduction forward for 16 years. Landowners who make their living from agriculture may take the deduction against 100 percent of their income. The enhanced tax incentive for conservation easements expired at the end of 2009, and TALT has since been working with other agricultural land trusts from around the
country to get it re-instated and made permanent. “TALT saw strong demand for conservation easements when this incentive was in place,” Fitzsimons said. "TALT today holds easements on almost 100,000 acres — all attributable to the enhanced tax incentives." A conservation easement is a negotiated agreement between a landowner and a qualified easement holder, which is typically a land trust. The landowner willingly places restrictions on the property but retains title, and can sell, bequeath, transfer and continue to farm or ranch as before. In addition to income tax benefits, a conservation easement has estate tax benefits by reducing the value of the property, and therefore the estate tax liability of one’s heirs.
The Mexican border prison where more than 140 inmates slipped out a side door last week has a history of cartel operatives acting with impunity within its walls. Speaking in Nuevo Laredo on Monday, Tamaulipas state Gov. Eugenio Hernández said 41 of the prison’s guards have been arrested and are under investigation in connection to the escape, the Mexican media organization Grupo Reforma reported. The warden of the prison, Centro de Ejecución de Sentencias No. 2, known by its acronym CEDES, is missing. The escape was orchestrated by the Zetas drug cartel to supplement ranks that have been stretched by their expansion efforts and thinned by a war against their former allies, the Gulf Cartel, said Gary Hale, the former head of intelligence for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Houston field division and owner of intelligence and security firm Grupo Savant. The prison break itself was orchestrated by Orlando Monsivais Treviño, 28, a nephew of Zeta second-in-command Miguel “El 40” Treviño Morales, Hale said. But this is just the latest in a string of acts that shows the prison is largely controlled by criminal elements, he said. “There’s been a bunch of retribution killings from inside the prison,” Hale said. “There’s been kidnappings inside the prison. It’s almost run like a separate city inside itself. There’s a lot of ‘criminal justice,’ in quotations, being adminis-
tered inside the prison.” In the last two years, at least three high-profile accused cartel members have been killed inside the prison. The first, Jesus Gonzalez III, was a U.S. citizen accused of being a Zeta sicario, or hit man.
Facing extradition Gonzalez was arrested in January 2009 in Nuevo Laredo on kidnapping charges, but was facing extradition to the U.S. where he was accused of working for a crew of hit men who reported to Treviño Morales. The prosecution of Gonzalez’s cohorts in Laredo had brought down heat on the Zetas and had put his boss’ name in the news. Gonzalez was stabbed to death in the prison three days after his arrest. In April 2009, Gabriel Jalomo Rodriguez, an accused Sinaloa hit man who had served a short prison stint in the U.S. before being extradited to Mexico, was stabbed to death in the Nuevo Laredo prison. Jalomo was facing charges related to the 2005 killing of a Nuevo Laredo police commander during the Sinaloa Cartel’s bloody war with the Zetas, then still part of the Gulf Cartel, for control of the area. He had also been accused of taking part in a hit on a Zeta operative in Laredo, but those charges were dropped. Four accused kidnappers who Mexican authorities said had been impersonating Zetas were killed inside the prison in October 2009. Then, in September of this year, Jose Luis “El Tubi” Carrizales, an accused Sinaloa Capo who had just beat kidnapping charges in the western Mexican state of Jalisco, was transferred to the penitentiary in Zetaheld Nuevo Laredo. Within hours of arriving in the prison, Carrizales was stabbed to death. It’s hard to tell who exer-
cises more control in the prison, the Zetas or the Gulf Cartel, which split from each other earlier this year, Hale said. Both have had a strong presence in Nuevo Laredo. “If there’s collusion with the prison warden then you can safely say it was Zetacontrolled or heavily influenced by the Zetas,” he said. The state of Tamaulipas last week issued a news release blaming the prison break on the large number of cartel members charged with federal crimes it has to hold in its correctional facilities.
Government criticism The news release came in response to a statement from the federal government criticizing the state for allowing a string of prison breaks along its border with Texas. Mexican President Felipe Calderón followed up this week, making political hay out of the escapes. Calderón’s term expires in 2012 and his National Action Party will be challenged by Hernández’s Institutional
Revolutionary Party for control of the presidency. In a radio interview Monday, Calderón blamed the rival party for the prison breaks. The inability of PRI-controlled Tamaulipas to keep cartel members in prison is undermining the government’s efforts against organized crime, he said. “They let more than 300 (prisoners) out onto the street,” Calderón said, according to Reforma. “So when does it end? I arrest them, and they let them go.” The Zetas are orchestrating prison breaks to recruit hardened criminals, some of whom are already part of the organization and some whose loyalty the cartel gains by freeing them, Hale said. With 141 new members on the street, the Zetas will likely be trying to find them vehicles at a time when hundreds of thousands of Mexicans living in the U.S. are returning home for the holidays, he said. (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
6A THE ZAPATA TIMES
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2010
Luis Salazar, Jr.: Idolizing the King By EMILIO RÁBAGO III THE ZAPATA TIMES
Growing up, young Luis Salazar Jr., overheard a lot of his dad’s 1960s and 1970s music collection. By the time he was 7 years old, he developed an affinity for the one-and-only, Elvis Presley. Salazar’s fondness for Elvis’ music, voice, on-stage presence and persona was so strong that he asked to dress up as the artist for Halloween almost every year. Now 16 and a junior at Lyndon B. Johnson High School, Salazar has taken his admiration to another level — impersonating the “King of Rock and Roll” at several events in Laredo, complete with elaborate costumes and live singing. “People have told me that my voice sounds similar to his,” Salazar said recently. And it’s his voice that has garnered the kinda bulky Salazar several gigs around town, on stages big and small, including local restaurants, elementary schools and adult day care facilities. Salazar, who goes by the name “Laredo’s Own Elvis Impersonator,” has memorized lyrics for about 20 to 25 Elvis songs, plus some Christmas themed and religious songs. Among his personal favorites are “Fol-
low That Dream” and “That’s All Right Mama.”
son is setting an example for the youth,” said Esthela.
Dedication to the community
Salazar has performed at local competitions and landed gigs at biker rallies and festivals, such as the Laredo Sister City Festival at the Laredo Energy Arena, but it’s some of the special, smaller gigs that earn him satisfaction. When his grandmother was admitted to La Retama No. 2 nursing home, Salazar was touched by the elderly people living there and asked to perform for them. His mother Esthela, who acts as his manager, lined up gigs for him. “I like seeing the smiles on their faces,” he said. “It’s my way of telling them that they are not alone.” “I got used to singing to everybody. I get excited when people clap for me,” Salazar, the singer, said. During his Christmas break from school, the Salazar family — he travels with his parents, a younger brother and a 6-year-old sister, all of whom wear red “Team Elvis” shirts — has been spending time at nursing homes, lifting the residents’ spirits.
Photos by Ulysses S. Romero | Laredo Morning Times
Luis Salazar’s and his family, father Luis Sr., sister Kelsey, mother Esthela and brother Joseph all support his musical aspirations. His mom, Esthela, serves as his manager and routinely styles his hair, which took him about five months to grow. His dad, Luis Sr., is the performer’s spokesman and animador, while Joseph, his 15-year-old brother, selects and DJs his music. He also takes care of the equipment. His sister Kelsey, 6, helps by providing water and towels during performances. Together they travel everywhere, including most gigs scheduled in Laredo. Some years ago, the family saved up to take Salazar to Elvis’ Graceland Mansion in Memphis, Tenn. A scrapbook the family carries depicts them at the mansion, as well as museums in Las Vegas.
One closed door opens another After decades of working long hours as a manager at a local Church’s restaurant, Luis Sr. was abruptly let go earlier this year. It was a devastating blow to the family, but somehow they have managed to stay upbeat and the incident has allowed the family to spend more time together. “We gotta keep on going. There’s light at the end of the tunnel,” Luis Sr. said. “I like the fact that my
In August, after learning from a ¿Qué Pasa? story that American Idol would host auditions in Austin, the family decided to take a road trip. “We were in line from 3 a.m. until 4 p.m.,” the elder Luis recalled with excitement. “There were 7,500 people there.” Salazar made it past the first and second rounds of the preliminary auditions, only to be cut in the third round. Carrying around newspaper clippings from the Austin American- Statesman and the San Antonio Express-News, the family explained the thrilling event. “We got to see the judges: Steven Tyler, Randy Jackson and Jennifer Lopez,” Esthela said. “We got to talk to Jennifer Lopez and she even said ‘say hello to everyone in Laredo.’” The trip was made possible with the assistance of several people in Laredo, such as Madeline Lopez Es-
coto and Martha Narvaez of Narvaez Flower & Gift Shop, who made monetary donations. The mayor’s wife, Yolanda Salinas, loaned the family a professional-looking Elvis costume, which Salazar wore at the auditions.
Live performances Besides his regular gigs at local businesses, Salazar has some other events lined up. You can check him out at January’s UETA Jamboozie Festival, where he’ll be on stage between 5 and 6 p.m. They’ve also confirmed an appearance at the LCC Fun Fest, which is part of the Washington’s Birthday Celebration and held at Laredo Community College. His show-biz skills are getting polished every day, as was evident when the interview ended. His last words were the patented “Thank you, thank you very much,” in a deep tone. If you would like to contact Salazar, you can reach Luis Sr. at 326-0880. (Emilio Rabago III may be reached at 728-2564 or email@example.com)
SÁBADO 25 DE DICIEMBRE DE 2010
Agenda en Breve LUNES 27 DE DICIEMBRE LAREDO: AVISO: El crucero de Lyon y Tilden cerrará al tráfico a partir de hoy y reabrirá el 29 de diciembre. Se realizarán trabajos en las alcantarillas del crucero. Se suplica manejar con precaución y obedecer las señales.
MARTES 28 DE DICIEMBRE LAREDO — La Biblioteca Pública de Laredo invita a vivir actividades de acuerdo a la temporada durante las Vacaciones de Navidad en el Departamento Infantil de la biblioteca ubicada en el 1120 E. Calton Road, a las 2:30 p.m. El día de hoy el programa es: Elabora un sombrero de Año Nuevo.
MIÉRCOLES 29 DE DICIEMBRE LAREDO — El Show Mágico de Mickey tendrá dos presentaciones el día de hoy en la Laredo Energy Arena, a la 1 p.m. y las 4 p.m. Adquiera su boleto en Ticketmaster y la taquilla del LAE LAREDO — La Biblioteca Pública de Laredo invita a vivir actividades de acuerdo a la temporada durante las Vacaciones de Navidad en el Departamento Infantil de la biblioteca ubicada en el 1120 E. Calton Road, a las 2:30 p.m. El día de hoy el programa es: Celebra con una actividad de Año Nuevo.
PF: Cae ‘El Negro’, 2010: México un presunto sicario asesta golpes a narcos ASSOCIATED PRESS
MÉXICO — La Policía Federal detuvo a un presunto líder de un grupo de sicarios del cartel del Golfo en Tamaulipas, uno de los lugares más afectados por la violencia del narcotráfico. La Secretaría de Seguridad Pública federal (SSP) informó el miércoles en un comunicado que el hombre, identificado como Martín Armando Briones Muñiz y/o Eduardo Flores Borrego, estaba presuntamente al mando de 32 sicarios que tenían como función eliminar a miembros de grupos rivales. El hombre, alias “El Negro”, fue capturado junto con dos presuntos cómplices el viernes en la municipalidad fronteriza de Reynosa por la Policía Federal, que depende de la SSP, aunque apenas ahora se dio a conocer la detención. La SSP señaló que el grupo de “El Ne-
gro” operaba en distintos puntos de Tamaulipas y está vinculado con diversos enfrentamientos. Presuntamente cobraba “fuertes cantidades de dinero” por asesinar a los miembros del cartel rival de Los Zetas, aunque no se precisó ningún monto. A los detenidos se les incautaron tres armas largas, una granada, cientos de cartuchos útiles, radios y dos vehículos. El noreste de México, incluyendo Tamaulipas, es una de las zonas que en 2010 ha padecido una de las peores olas de violencia atribuidas al crimen organizado y que en todo el país ha dejado más de 30.190 asesinados desde el comienzo del actual gobierno en diciembre de 2006. Las autoridades atribuyen la violencia en el noreste al rompimiento de una alianza que por años mantuvieron los carteles del Golfo y Los Zetas.
CONSTRUYEN 300 SESENTA GRADOS
JUEVES 30 DE DICIEMBRE LAREDO — La Biblioteca Pública de Laredo invita a vivir actividades de acuerdo a la temporada durante las Vacaciones de Navidad en el Departamento Infantil de la biblioteca ubicada en el 1120 E. Calton Road, a las 2:30 p.m. El día de hoy el programa es: Mira una película de Año Nuevo.
VIERNES 31 DE DICIEMBRE LAREDO — Época de Oro tendrá su baile de Fin de Año de 9 p.m. a 1 a.m. de hoy en el Salón de Baile del Laredo Civic Center, del 2400 San Bernardo Ave. Los boletos tienen costo de 25 dólares en la puerta. Foto de cortesía | Gobierno de Tamaulipas
SÁBADO 1 DE ENERO LAREDO — Hoy a las 8 p.m. se presentan en concierto Intocable, Duelo, así como Adrian Perez y Origen, durante el baile de Fin de Año en la Laredo Energy Arena. Los precios varían desde 25 dólares hasta 450 dólares, con mesa o sin mesa incluida.
El Gobernador de Tamaulipas Eugenio Hernández Flores tuvo a su cargo el vaciado del primer colado de cemento para el proyecto de inversión ’300 Sesenta Grados’, el lunes en Nuevo Laredo. La empresa es la primera obra a construirse dentro del recién inaugurado Parque Industrial PYME y Logístico ‘Tecnologis’. ‘300 Sesenta Grados’ desarrollará la espuela de ferrocarril para realizar los trasbordos que se hacen del tren al transporte carretero, explicó Hernández.
Sigue lucha pro animales POR LORRAINE L. RODRIGUEZ TIEMPO DE ZAPATA
JUEVES 6 DE ENERO LAREDO — Texas A&M International University llevará a cabo una Sesión Informativa de su Programa de Certificación Alternativa en el aula 104 de Bullock Hall. Llame a Idinia Dominguez al 326-3098 ó escriba a firstname.lastname@example.org para más información.
MARTES 11 DE ENERO LAREDO — Hal’s Landing inicia hoy el segundo año de “una campaña de recaudación de fondos al mes” en beneficio del South Texas Food Bank (6510 Arena Road), de 7 p.m. a la medianoche. La música estará a cargo de Jus-B-Cuz. La entrada general es de 10 dólares por persona. Adquiera sus boletos llamando al (956) 726-3120 ó (956) 324-2432.
JUEVES 27 DE ENERO LAREDO — Los Harlem Globetrotters se presentan hoy a las 4 p.m. y 7 p.m. en la Laredo Energy Arena. Adquiera sus boletos en la taquilla de LEA.
SÁBADO 29 DE ENERO LAREDO — Hoy es el Regreso de Emilio Navaira, en Concierto, en la laredo Energy Arena, a las 8 p.m. Más información en el 523-7736.
El Filósofo de la India, Mahatma Gandhi manejaba bien las palabras y lo dijo de la mejor forma cuando expresó: “La grandeza y progreso moral de una nación se pueden juzgar por la manera en que sus animales son tratados”. Audelia Hernández, una residente de Zapata, no es Gandhi pero tiene una pasión por animales desde que era niña y siempre está intentando encontrar una manera para ayudarlos, dijo ella. “Uno no necesita ser residente de Zapata para ver los efectos de mascotas abandonadas en las calles, transeúntes también pueden percatarse de lo efectos”, dijo Hernández. “Lo que otras personas ven es el reflejo de nuestra comunidad”. Hernández ha tenido mascotas desde que era niña y está agradecida por que le hayan afectado su vida de una manera positiva, dijo ella. “El ayudarles es mi manera de pagarles por tanto amor incondicional que me brindaron”, dijo Hernández. Los animales, al menos los domésticos, dependen de las personas para sobrevivir, añadió Hernández. Recientemente, Hernández vigorosamente intentó
ingresar al Desafío Pepsi (Pepsi Challenge) para ayudar a construir un refugio de animales en el Condado de Zapata con poco éxito y ahora tendrá que esperar hasta marzo cuando lo pueda intentar de nueva cuenta, dijo ella. El Proyecto Pepsi le ayudaría a financiar la expansión del edificio de control de animales actual o la construcción de un edificio nuevo para un refugio de animales por separado, dijo Hernández. El condado actualmente no cuenta con un refugio para animales y depende solamente de los empleados y servicios de control de animales para mantener la población creciente de mascotas callejeras. Mascotas callejeras recorren por las calles y cuando son levantados cuentan con menos de una semana, aproximadamente 72 horas para ser adoptados o serán sacrificados de manera humanitaria. La única otra opción para mascotas callejeras en Zapata, si no son levantadas, es el hambre y las enfermedades mientras vagan corriendo el riesgo de ser heridos o hasta terminar muertos, dijo Hernández. “Me rompe el corazón. Las mascotas callejeras a veces le pertenecen a alguien y sólo quieren ser queridos”, dijo Hernández.
El Departamento de Control de Animales ha comprobado que es más difícil el adquirir fondos, de lo que Hernández originalmente pensaba, ella ahora ha sugerido al Director de Control de Animales, Guillermo Saenz, considerar convertirse en una organización sin fines de lucro. “He buscado fondos en muchos lugares y desafortunadamente no hay fondos disponibles para refugios bajo una entidad gubernamental”, dijo Hernández. “A través de mis investigaciones he descubierto que existen cantidades ilimitadas de fondos para organizaciones no lucrativas”. Subsidios específicos para refugios de animales pagarían por comida y útiles, añadió Hernández. Para que el control de animales se pueda convertir en un refugio de animales sin fines de lucro Saenz tendría que reunir a un grupo de voluntarios para formar el fideicomiso del refugio, dijo Hernández. “Necesitamos tres o cuatro personas que estén dispuestos a voluntariamente a dirigir el refugio de animales”, dijo Hernández. “Cambios como los que queremos lograr tardan tiempo”, dijo Hernández. “No se ganó Zamora en un hora así que debemos seguir adelante”.
POR E. EDUARDO CASTILLO ASSOCIATED PRESS
MÉXICO — Con un gobierno que sostiene que su estrategia contra el narcotráfico da resultados, México llega al final del 2010 con un preocupante futuro: los golpes asestados al crimen organizado no redujeron la violencia y la expectativa de algunos es que continúe en aumento. En 2010 las autoridades lograron algunos de sus mayores éxitos en cuatro años de combate al narcotráfico con la captura o muerte de grandes capos de la droga e importantes decomisos. Sin embargo, el 2010 fue también el año con el mayor número de asesinatos atribuidos al crimen organizado desde que en diciembre de 2006 el presidente Felipe Calderón lanzó una ofensiva sin precedente, apoyada con miles de soldados. El panorama lleva a analistas a pensar en un inquietante futuro, aunque Calderón afirmó en diciembre que al final de 2010 los crímenes dejaron de incrementarse “e incluso parece que empezarían a declinar”. “Es verdad que hay capturas muy importantes de capos, abatimientos muy importantes de capos, incautación de cantidades impresionantes de armas, pero también es verdad que la violencia está creciendo, que están creciendo el secuestro y la extorsión”, señaló a la AP Luis de la Barrera, presidente del Instituto Ciudadano de Estudios sobre Inseguridad, una asociación que analiza la percepción social de la inseguridad. “Es paradójico”, afirmó. Aunque para el plagio y la extorsión no hay números claros sobre su incremento, para los asesinatos atribuidos al crimen organizado la estadística oficial es elocuente: 62 en diciembre de 2006, el primer mes del gobierno de Calderón; 2.837 el año 2007; 6.844 en 2008, y 9.635 en 2009. En el 2010, hasta el fin de noviembre, los crímenes ya sumaban 12.456. Según recuentos de medios mexicanos, los asesinatos fácilmente superarán los 10.000 en 2010 y son más de 30.100 desde el inicio del gobierno de Calderón, el 1 de diciembre del 2006. Y mientras prácticamente a diario se suman muertos, a lo que algunos llaman el “ejecutómetro”, el gobierno sostiene que la violencia se explica particularmente por las luchas que mantienen los carteles de las drogas tras los golpes que les han infligido las autoridades. La autoridad considera “erróneo” decir que todo México está sumergido en una espiral violenta, pues sólo 162 de los 2.456 municipios del país concentran un 80% del total de asesinatos. También ha dicho que la tasa de homicidios por cada 100.000 habitantes, muestra a un México con menores niveles de crímenes que en otros países: mientras aquí es de unos 14, en Brasil la tasa es de unos 25 y en Colombia unos 37. Si bien en la mayoría de las localidades mexicanas la gente sale, camina, compra o va a trabajar normalmente, cada tanto se suman nuevos hechos en distintas zonas del país que por su brutalidad copan las informaciones de prensa. En enero, en la fronteriza Ciudad Juárez se registró una masacre de 15 jóvenes sin nexos con la delincuencia. Al menos otras cuatro más ocurrieron en 2010.
En agosto fueron asesinados 72 migrantes en Tamaulipas, mientras que en sólo una semana de octubre se registraron tres masacres, sin aparente conexión entre sí: 14 personas fueron acribillados en una fiesta de cumpleaños en Ciudad Juárez; 13 drogadictos fueron asesinados en un centro de rehabilitación en la también localidad fronteriza de Tijuana, y 15 personas murieron tiroteadas en un autolavado en el estado de Nayarit. A finales de junio, fue asesinado Rodolfo Torre, el candidato favorito al gobierno de Tamaulipas, a escasa una semana de las elecciones. Para algunos analistas, el incremento de la violencia estaría relacionado con la estrategia oficial misma. “El discurso oficial sigue subrayando que lo importante es desarticular las organizaciones por arrestos, decomisos, lo cual es el mecanismo que está sirviendo para generar violencia, porque fragmenta organizaciones y genera mercados más competitivos, y en los mercados informales la competencia significa más violencia”, dijo a la AP Eduardo Guerrero, un consultor en temas de seguridad.Guerrero destacó que una virtual impunidad favorece a los delincuentes. Archivos obtenidos este año por la AP mostraron que entre diciembre de 2006 y septiembre de 2009 el gobierno arrestó a 226.667 sospechosos de delitos relacionados con el narcotráfico, y se les abrió proceso a menos de una cuarta parte de ellos. Sólo 15% recibió sentencia, pero no se informó cuántos fueron declarados culpables. Guerrero propuso, por ejemplo, acusar a los detenidos no sólo de crímenes federales, sino de varios delitos menores que garanticen que pasarán por lo menos varios meses en la cárcel. Para De La Barreda, la propuesta de Guerrero suena buena como idea, “pero no tenemos las policías los ministerios públicos que permitiera ese objetivo”. Algunos de los principales golpes del actual gobierno ocurrieron en 2010: en julio fue abatido Ignacio “Nacho” Coronel, uno de los jefes del cartel de Sinaloa; en agosto fue detenido Edgar Valdez Villarreal, alias “La Barbie” y uno de los mayores capos buscados por el gobierno; en noviembre murió Antonio Ezequiel Cárdenas Guillén, alias “Tony Tormenta” y uno de los líderes del Cartel del Golfo, y en diciembre Nazario Moreno, líder del cartel de La Familia. Además, en octubre se decomisaron 134,2 toneladas de marihuana en Tijuana, la mayor incautación de esa droga. Erubiel Tirado, especialista en seguridad de la Universidad Iberoamericana, dijo percibir una estrategia encaminada más a descabezar a las organizaciones que a desarticular sus estructuras. “Cuando se detecta a un capo, lo que dicen los cánones es no ir a matarlo, sino infiltrarlo... descubrir la radiografía y en un momento dado dar el golpe”, dijo a la AP. Una encuesta de la empresa Mitofsky señaló en noviembre que por primera vez en lo que va del gobierno una mayoría calificó de fracaso las operaciones contra el crimen organizado. Y para el 2011, Tirado se muestra pesimista: “el próximo año no podemos visualizar más que se siga moviendo el ’ejecutómetro’ con más de 30.000 muertos”.
8A THE ZAPATA TIMES
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2010
Board hears residence case By TAMMY WEBBER ASSOCIATED PRESS
Photo by Patrick Semansky | AP
In this Dec. 21, commercial shrimper Isadore Creppel Jr., stands outside of a community center at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Port Sulphur, La. Creppel, who has been out of work since the BP PLC oil spill, said he couldn’t afford to buy Christmas gifts.
For spill victims, a glum holiday By BRIAN SKOLOFF ASSOCIATED PRESS
PORT SULPHUR, La. — Even before the Gulf oil spill, Jennifer Reddick was just getting by, living paycheck to paycheck as she tried to support six children on the $400 a week she made working part time as a deckhand and shrimp net maker. Then BP’s well blew out off the coast of Louisiana, scaring away tourists and shutting down fishing. Now she has no work and no money to buy her children toys or new clothes this Christmas. Charities are providing what they can, but it’s hard for Reddick to take handouts. “It was never easy before, but we could make it,” said Reddick, 30, of Buris, a small fishing town along the Mississippi River. “I couldn’t even afford Christmas this year for the kids.” For many people along the Gulf Coast, there won’t be much holiday cheer this Christmas. It’s been more than five months since the well was finally capped after spewing millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf. Many shrimpers and oystermen are catching and selling only a fraction of previous hauls. Business owners who saw a summer of lost revenue are still struggling to pay their bills, and many had to lay off workers to make it through the slow winter months. The Coastal Heritage Society of Louisiana has seen requests for help double. Many are coming from people who had never asked for assistance before. “Even after Katrina, it wasn’t like this,” said Joannie Hughes, who along with Vickie Perrin has fanned out across the region to deliver Christmas dinners and toys to 112 families. Perrin said the economic effect is just starting to ripple through communities, from fishermen to grocery stores and restaurants. “It’s like throwing a pebble into a pond. And we’re only on the first few ripples,” she said. The Second Harvest Food Bank has also seen a huge increase in families seeking first-time food assistance. Since May, the group has distributed more than 1 million pounds of food in 12 Louisiana parishes, the equivalent of 844,760 meals, to families hurt by the spill, said spokeswoman Leslie Doles. That’s in addition to the more than 9 million pounds of food delivered to poor people in those parishes during the same months, largely to families who would have needed assistance anyway. After the spill, many people found temporary jobs on oil cleanup crews, but those operations are winding down. Some who lost money because of the spill are still waiting for their first payment from a $20 billion fund set up by
BP to compensate victims, while others have been paid only a fraction of what they claim they lost. The program has paid more than 168,000 claimants some $2.5 billion. More than 467,000 claims have been filed. Recreational fishing guide Mike Helmer received money from the BP fund to cover his summer of losses, but business is still down more than 50 percent, and he is struggling with whether to accept a final payout from the company that would require him to sign away his right to sue later. “It’s a gamble because we just don’t know what next year will be like, or the year after that,” Helmer said. “So it’s not a real good bet.” For him, Christmas just brings more worries. He is trying to keep the holidays as close to normal as possible for his wife and two children, but the stress of not knowing whether he will even be in business in the coming years is wearing him down. “There’s just a lot of things in the back of my mind,” Helmer said. “We’re not in the poverty line yet, but it’s the future that worries us.” Isadore Creppel Jr., 57, a shrimper in the town of Venice, has been supporting himself as a fishermen since he was 16. He has weathered hurricanes and economic downturns for years and always bounced back and provided. But now the bills are piling up. He has been out of work since the spill and said he couldn’t work for BP on cleanup because of his asthma.
CHICAGO — Chicago election officials heard challenges to Rahm Emanuel’s bid to be Chicago mayor on Thursday after a hearing officer recommended the former White House chief of staff ’s name should appear on the February ballot because he never intended to permanently move away from the city. More than two dozen people have challenged Emanuel’s candidacy, contending he didn’t meet a one-year residency requirement because he left Chicago to work for President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C. He quit his job as Obama’s top aide and moved back to Chicago in October after Mayor Richard M. Daley announced he wouldn’t seek a seventh term. The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners was expected to make a ruling on the residency question Thursday, though any outcome is likely to be appealed to the courts.
Terminating residency Election board hearing officer Joseph Morris said early Thursday that evidence showed that Emanuel had no intention of terminating his residency in Chicago, left the city only to work for President Barack Obama and often told friends he intended to live in Washington for no more than two years. At the beginning of Thursday’s meeting, the three-member board opened the floor for some of the more than two dozen objectors to react to Morris’ recommendation. "The recommendation turns the law of residency on its head," said veteran elections lawyer Burt Odelson, one of the lead objectors to Emanuel’s candidacy. He said Morris’ recommendation was "disappointing." Another objector, Lora Chamberlain, argued that the decision was "very simple" — that since Emanuel didn’t physically
Photo by Paul Beaty | Associated Press
In this Tuesday, Dec. 14, photo, Rahm Emanuel testifies before the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners during a hearing challenging his residency to run as Mayor in Chicago. Emanuel can run for Chicago mayor although he spent much of the last two years living in Washington while working for President Barack Obama, the board ruled Thursday. move back to Chicago until last fall, he was not legally allowed to appear on the ballot. "That was still 6 1/2 months short of what was necessary," Chamberlain said. "Please, just be true to the law."
Elections board The elections board is made up of two Democrats and a Republican. They are not bound to accept the recommendation of Morris, a Republican who maintains his own private law practice in Chicago but has worked for years as a hearing officer for the board. “The hearing officer is sort of like an Italian traffic signal — it’s a mere suggestion. He is basically giving his opinion,” Paul Green, a political scientist at Roosevelt University in Chicago, said before the ruling was issued. Emanuel is part of a crowded field of more than a dozen candidates,
including former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, former school board president Gery Chico, City Clerk Miguel del Valle and state Sen. James Meeks, the pastor of a South Side mega church. Since returning to Chicago in October to run for mayor, Emanuel has enjoyed strong name recognition in the race and already has run several television ads. A recent Chicago Tribune/WGN poll showed Emanuel as the only candidate in double digits with more than 30 percent support, although 30 percent remained undecided.
Abandoned residency In his recommendation, Morris wrote that the question wasn’t whether Ema-
nuel established residency in Illinois in 2010, but whether he abandoned it. Morris said he found no evidence that Emanuel had done so, arguing that “the touchstone of continued residence is the intention of the resident, and not the physical fact of ‘having a place to sleep.”’ Morris also noted that Emanuel was born and married in Chicago, owns a home in the city where he still keeps valuable possessions, has an Illinois driver’s license and voted in Chicago in every election between 1999 and February 2010. “Illinois law expressly protects the residential status and electoral rights of Illinois residents who are called to serve the national government,” Morris, a Republican attorney in private practice in Chicago, wrote in his 35-page ruling.
The ruling Morris’ ruling, issued just before 2 a.m. Thursday, came after a marathon three-day hearing last week in which Emanuel was grilled by a long parade of objectors to his candidacy, many of whom represented themselves and veered off into questions that had little to do with Emanuel’s place of residence. The serious, at times strange hearing explored the contents of the basement of Emanuel’s home where he said he left many prized family possessions, including his wife’s wedding dress — further proof he always intended to return to Chicago, he and his lawyers argued. The comments by objectors at Thursday’s meeting also strayed from the strict residency issue the board was addressing, as they did at last week’s three-day hearing overseen by Morris.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2010
THE ZAPATA TIMES 9A
Idolisa Bustamante ZAPATA — Idolisa Bustamante 70, passed away on Monday, Dec. 20, 2010, at Laredo Medical Center. Ms. Bustamante is preceded in death by her parents, Roman (Maria) Alaniz; brothers, Julio Alaniz, Ruben Alaniz, Israel Alaniz; and a sister, Magda Alaniz. Ms. Bustamante is survived by her sons, Amador (Veronica) Bustamante, Ruben Bustamante; daughters, Bertha Cuellar and Idalia B. (Hugo) Castillo; grandchildren, Melinda, Marissa Cuellar, Celina (Ricardo) Del Bosque, Amador Bustamante, Jr., Roberto Bustamante and Juan Daniel Rodriguez; great-grandchild, Mia Sarahi Del Bosque; brothers, Alejandro Alaniz, Anibal Alaniz, Javier Alaniz, Eliud Alaniz; sister, Nancy A. Hernandez; and by numerous nephews, nieces, and friends. Visitation hours were held on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010, from 6 to 9 p.m.
with a wake at 7 p.m. at Rose Garden Funeral Home. A chapel service was held on Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010, at 9 a.m. at Rose Garden Funeral Home. Committal services followed at Bustamante Cemetery. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.rosegardenfuneralhome.com Funeral arrangements were under the direction of Rose Garden Funeral Home Daniel A. Gonzalez, Funeral Director, 2102 Highway 83 Zapata, Texas.
Going’s good for most travelers By WARREN LEVINSON AND GEOFF MULVIHILL ASSOCIATED PRESS
NEW YORK — Fair weather helped make the holiday sojourn a not-sopainful experience in much of the country Thursday, even with more people on the move than last year, but travelers’ luck might be running out. A storm was expected to bring snow and ice to parts of the heartland Friday, deliver a rare white Christmas to Nashville on Saturday, and perhaps sock swaths of the Northeast on Sunday. “People that are going to Grandma’s house,” said
Bobby Boyd, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Nashville, “need to get going.” Eric and Tatiana Chodkowski, of Boston, were driving Thursday with their kids, ages 2 and 4, to see relatives in New York. They said forecasts for snow on Sunday made them wonder whether they’d make it back then, as planned. They deemed the roads congested but manageable Thursday, and most people found the nation’s airports to be the same way. Planes took off into windy but accommodating skies at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.
EPA taking over greenhouse gas permits By JEFF CARLTON ASSOCIATED PRESS
DALLAS — The Environmental Protection Agency is taking the unprecedented step of directly issuing air permits to industries in Texas because of the state’s refusal to comply with new greenhouse gas regulations going into effect Jan. 2. The EPA on Thursday announced it will issue Clean Air Act Permits for greenhouse gas emissions in Texas beginning in January. The agency said in a
statement that it prefers if states remain the permitting authorities but that "officials in Texas have made clear ... they have no intention of implementing this portion of the federal air permitting program." A spokesman for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality did not immediately return a message. The nation’s largest oil refineries are in Texas, which also is home to more coal-fired power plants than any other state.
Photo by Wally Santana | AP
South Korea K-1 tanks fire live rounds during the largest joint air and ground military exercises on the Seungjin Fire Training Field in mountainous Pocheon, 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the Koreas’ heavily fortified border, South Korea Thursday, Dec. 23. South Korean fighter jets dropped bombs and tanks fired artillery Thursday as the military staged its largest air and ground firing drills of the year in a show of force a month after North Korea’s deadly shelling of a front-line island.
Korea war rhetoric rises By JEAN H. LEE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SEOUL, South Korea — One month after a deadly exchange of artillery fire, the two Koreas ramped up their rhetoric Thursday, with South Korea’s president pledging unsparing retaliation if attacked again and a top North Korean official threatening a “sacred” nuclear war if provoked. South Korean troops, tanks and fighter jets put on a thundering display of force as President Lee Myung-bak visited with soldiers at a base near the border, while North Korea’s elite marked a key military anniversary by lashing out at the South for encouraging war.
Raised fears For both countries, the rallying cries and military maneuvers mainly seemed designed to build support at home. But they raised fears anew of all-out war on a peninsula that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson called a “tinderbox” after returning from a visit to the North Korean capital this week. The two Koreas and their allies called a truce in 1953 to end three years of devastating war, but violence has flared up from time to time, most recently in the disputed waters off their west coast. North Korea does not recognize the maritime line drawn by U.N. forces, and the territorial dispute in the Yellow Sea has erupted into dead-
ly naval skirmishes. In March, a South Korean warship went down in the western waters, killing 46 sailors. And a month ago, South Korean live-fire drills in nearby waters triggered a North Korean artillery shower on Yeonpyeong Island that killed four South Koreans, the first attack on a civilian area since the Korean War. Caught by surprise, Seoul since has beefed up its rules of engagement and has staged military drills, including joint exercises with U.S. troops, meant to remind the North of its superior firepower. The South even carried out provocative artillery drills from Yeonpyeong Island on Monday in a bold dare to the North to retaliate.
Christian group On Wednesday, rifle-toting marines ringed a hillside near the border where a Christian group lit a steel tower dressed up as a twinkling Christmas tree — a structure easily visible from atheist North Korea. Notes left on participants’ chairs advised them to take cover and seek shelter if attacked. The drills continued Thursday, with tanks firing artillery and fighter jets dropping bombs at training grounds in Pocheon, some 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the North. The boom of cannons echoed throughout the valley and the hills erupted in smoke during the brief but dramatic exercise.
There was a theatrical quality to the exercises: dozens of schoolchildren in bright yellow jackets were shuttled to the site to watch from bleachers.
Front-line President Lee Myungbak met with troops manning a front-line army base in the east on the type of morale-boosting visit more commonly seen in the North. He vowed to retaliate if attacked again. “I had thought that we could safeguard peace if we had patience, but that wasn’t the case,” he told the troops, according to his office. Any surprise attack will be met with an “unsparing” response, he warned. After days of showing restraint, North Korea condemned the drills as a “grave military provocation.” Defense chief Kim Yong Chun said North Korea was prepared to launch a “sacred war” and poised to use its nuclear capabilities to defend itself. Kim said in Pyongyang that the military would deal “more devastating physical blows” if its rivals violate North Korean territory by even a millimeter. He also threatened to “wipe out” South Korea and the U.S. if they start a war, the official Korean Central News Agency reported. North Korea is believed to have enough weaponized plutonium for at least a half-dozen atomic bombs, and also has revealed a
uranium enrichment program that would give it a second way to make nuclear weapons. After negotiating for years with its neighbors and the U.S. on dismantling its nuclear program in exchange for aid and concessions, Pyongyang walked away from the talks in 2009. China, North Korea’s only major ally and the impoverished nation’s main benefactor, has pushed for a resumption of the disarmament talks as a vehicle for dialogue. “The current situation remains highly complicated and sensitive,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters. “We appeal to the relevant parties to keep calm, exercise restraint, and adopt responsible attitudes and do more to ease the situation and safeguard peace and stability on the peninsula.”
A warning Richardson warned in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday that violence could flare anew if the South continues its drills and the North abandons its stated intention of refraining from retaliation. “The situation is still a tinderbox. There’s still enormous tension, enormous mistrust and I believe diplomacy is what is needed to get us out of this tinderbox,” he said in New Mexico after returning from a private trip to Pyongyang.
10A THE ZAPATA TIMES
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2010
GAMBLING Continued from Page 1A
ID Continued from Page 1A
Photo by Nick Ut | AP
A car is caught in a mud flow on Thursday Dec. 23, 2010 along a street after a major storm swept through Highland, Calif., about 65 miles east of Los Angeles. Estimates of storm damage to homes, roads, levees and bridges in vast San Bernardino County have reached at least $10 million.
Storm lashes California, leaves polluted water By NOAKI SCHWARTZ ASSOCIATED PRESS
LOS ANGELES — Many California residents who endured flooding, mudslides and evacuations during a weeklong onslaught of rain must now clean up or even rebuild — and could face the prospect of not being able to spend Christmas at home. The storm’s push across the West left a muddy mess across Southern California and the threat of avalanches in Nevada, where Clark County officials urged residents of Mount Charleston, near Las Vegas, to leave after snow slides near two mountain hamlets. The inland region of Southern California east of Los Angeles was emerging as among the hardest-hit areas, especially San Bernardino County, where a sea of mud damaged 70 homes in the community of Highland. Ibeth Garcia and her family returned Thursday to a home surrounded by mud 4 feet deep to retrieve Christmas presents and
clothes left behind when they fled a dirty torrent. “We left with just our shoes, cell phones and car keys,” said Garcia, 26. “We didn’t have time for anything else.” They found just a light coating of mud inside the house and considered themselves lucky, as some of their neighbors’ homes were uninhabitable. Damage in the region largely occurred in counties south and east of Los Angeles County. San Bernardino County authorities said the preliminary damage estimate there was at least $10 million and would likely increase. Many motorists were rescued from swamped cars during the days of rain, but one driver was killed. The body of Angela Wright, 39, of Menifee was recovered from a car that was swept off a flooded road near Canyon Lake in Riverside County, the coroner’s office said. While the rain had given way to only partly cloudy skies Thursday, the danger
was not over for foothill residents living below wildfire-scarred hillsides. “The ground is so saturated it could move at any time” and the threat will remain for several weeks, said Bob Spencer, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. More than 200 homes were ordered evacuated for more than 24 hours in La Canada Flintridge and La Crescenta, suburbs of Los Angeles below steep hillsides that burned in 2009 and where mudslides inundated homes and backyards in February. Evacuations ended Wednesday night. Despite the return of sunshine Thursday, officials said Californians may want to resist the urge to head to the ocean. The rain washed trash, pesticides and bacteria into waterways and prompted health warnings. Four beaches were closed in Northern California’s San Mateo County, and another 12 miles of beach were offlimits because of sewer overflows.
According to reports, the deputy found 30 grenades under the spare tire in a compartment. The deputy also found three high-power firearms — two SKS assault rifles and one AK-47. Deputies say a further investigation also led to the seizure of more than 150 pounds of marijuana in McAllen. Officials said Herrera drove from the Valley and headed north. An exact location was not available. The Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives bureau and the Laredo Police Department bomb squad helped out in the case. (César G. Rodriguez may be reached at 7282568 or email@example.com)
Jose E. Baeza, the police department’s spokesman, says the authorities are doing their best to curb the illegal activity but the parlors continue to proliferate. “They are taking thousands and thousands of dollars from people,” Baeza says. The manpower it takes for a sting also works in the operators’ favor, he says: An officer must pose as a player, establish trust and gather evidence, all for a misdemeanor gambling charge. The office of Isidro “Chilo” Alaniz, the district attorney of Webb and Zapata counties, has had 14 successful operations that led to forfeitures or raids in two years, he said. But he admits the resources could be better spent on crimes with harsher penalties. Many people “are willing to risk the penalties,” Alaniz says. “It’s a slap on the wrist.” The current
They are taking thousands and thousands of dollars from people,” JOSE E. BAEZA, POLICE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN
system also invites more serious crimes, he says, like money-laundering for larger criminal organizations. Alaniz also favors putting the issue to a vote — with one caveat. “I am a proponent of increased penalties” if the voters approve the measure, he says. “It could have a more deterring effect."
HOLIDAY Continued from Page 1A agent-in-charge for Zapata. As Nancy Contreras, a resident of Zapata, waited in line with her mother and two nieces, she couldn’t help but talk to her nieces about Santa Claus and the gifts they were about to receive. She was told about the event by another family member, Contreras said. “My mom woke us up and told us we’re getting presents for the kids,” she said. “My nieces were excited to see Santa Claus.” Contreras, now 14 years old, admitted her belief in Santa Claus died years ago, but she still makes an effort for her young nieces who still believe. “The event is pretty cool, but Santa Claus
While Guerra, dressed as Blue Santa, was handing out gifts, Border Patrol agents and the Border Patrol Green Santa showed up with more gifts. doesn’t catch my attention anymore,” she said. “My dream was killed in the fifth grade.” Another woman, Yulis Toral, also a resident of Zapata, waited in line with her two young boys to receive gifts. “They get excited to get a gift from Santa Claus,” Toral said in Spanish. Guerra said her motivation to continue the event
annually is seeing the childrens’ smiles and hearing them say they love Santa, she said. “Seeing their wish lists and them hugging you while they say I love you is really showing us appreciation and that is why I do what I do,” Guerra said. (Lorraine L. Rodriguez may be reached at (956)7282557.)
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2010
ON THE WEB: THEZAPATATIMES.COM
Courtesy photo | AP
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones speaks during a break in the NFL football owners meeting in Fort Worth on Dec. 15.
’Boys continue to find popularity despite disappointing season By JAIME ARON ASSOCIATED PRESS Photo by Sharon Ellman | AP
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee is attended to after suffering a concussion against the Washington Redskins during the first half on Sunday in Arlington.
Cowboys slide is greatest failure of 2010 By BARRY WILNER ASSOCIATED PRESS
It’s cold, windy, maybe snowy outside, and your football team stinks. Hardly a way to enjoy the end of the NFL season. That’s how folks feel in Minneapolis and Cincinnati and Denver. Take away the bad weather and the feelings aren’t any brighter in Dallas, Charlotte and Phoenix. Disappointment abounds in
those cities — and throw in Nashville, Houston, Miami and San Francisco, where there were big hopes for 2010 when everybody kicked off in sunshine and balmy breezes 31/2 months ago. For every flop, there’s an ascension, though, and the smiles fans expected to wear in the cities above now are being sported by people who root for the Bears, Bucs, Jaguars, Chiefs and even the Rams
at 6-8. The NFL’s biggest failures and success stories, and why their seasons went that way: THE GOOD No team has risen toward the NFL’s elite in more stunning fashion than the Bears. Chicago was considered a .500 or worse squad heading into 2010, a likely third-place finisher in the NFC North — if the Bears could hold off the Lions.
Then Lovie Smith turned his personal hot seat into a torrid team whose defense and special teams have been so formidable that mistakes by the offense generally have not been critical. Having a healthy Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs at linebacker has been critical, and the secondary has developed nicely. Doubters will be vocal when the playoffs begin and
See BAD SEASON PAGE 2B
ARLINGTON — Although Jerry Jones calls this season “a huge disappointment” for his Dallas Cowboys, it sure hasn’t hurt the bottom line. Based on attendance, television ratings and merchandise sales, the blue star on the shiny silver helmet remains the gold standard in the NFL and perhaps all of pro sports. It’s hardly even close. Love them or hate them, everyone pays attention to the Cowboys, in good times and bad. Their enduring popularity in a season that opened with visions of becoming the first team to play in the Super Bowl at home,
then cratered midway through when they were 1-7 and fired their coach, proves that no matter the circumstance this franchise remains “America’s Team.” “I don’t know of any other team that would’ve gone through what they went through and provided the ratings punch the Cowboys did,” said Fred Gaudelli, producer of “Sunday Night Football” on NBC. “Dallas is way on top of the mountain.” Wins and losses are all that matter to fans, and that’s foremost to folks in the front office, too. But they also monitor the financial standings, and that’s where the Cowboys
See COWBOYS PAGE 2B
Courtesy photo | AP
In this undated photo provided courtesy of OhioStateBuckeyes.com, Ohio State football players, from left, Mike Adams, Daniel Herrion, DeVier Posey, Tyrelle Pryor and Solomon Thomas are shown. All five were suspended by the NCAA on Thursday for the first five games of next season for selling championship rings, jerseys and awards and receving improper benefits. All five can still play in the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas.
Photo by Harry Harris | AP
The late New York Yankees principle owner George Steinbrenner watches a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles from his Yankee Stadium box on Sept. 12, 1983, in New York.
Nixon, Watergate in FBI’s Steinbrenner files By FREDERIC J. FROMMER ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON — Newly released documents show Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox expressed "extreme interest" in a 1970s criminal investigation of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner for illegal campaign contributions. Then-FBI Director Clarence M. Kelley echoed Cox’s concern in an Aug. 16, 1973 memo to the bureau’s Cleveland office, saying agents needed to make
sure the probe received "the same, immediate and preferred handling" as other criminal cases then growing from the Watergate scandal. The memos were included in a 400-page release Thursday of Steinbrenner’s FBI file. Most of the material focused on the Watergate-era federal probe that led to the shipbuilding magnate’s 1974 conviction for illegal contributions to disgraced President Richard M. Nixon. There are scant references to Steinbrenner’s later pardon by President
Ronald Reagan and nothing on his turbulent career as the Yankees’ "Boss." The Associated Press and other news organizations requested the file under the Freedom of Information Act following Steinbrenner’s death in July. "The office of the Special Prosecutor has indicated extreme interest in this matter and requests that the interviews be conducted as soon as possible, and as nearly at the same time as possible," Kelley wrote in
See STEINBRENNER PAGE 2B
Buckeye violations found Five players caught breaking NCAA rules By RUSTY MILLER ASSOCIATED PRESS
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor and four other Buckeyes were suspended by the NCAA for the first five games of next season for selling championship rings, jerseys and awards, and receiving improper benefits from a tattoo parlor. All can still play in the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas. Along with Pryor, running back Daniel Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey, offensive lineman Mike Adams and defensive end Solomon Thomas must sit out and repay be-
JIM TRESSEL: OSU head coach said school will appeal suspensions. tween $1,000 to $2,500 to charity. Pryor must repay $2,500 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring, Fiesta Bowl sportsmanship award and his 2008 gold pants, a trinket given to players who are a part of a team which beats rival Michigan. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said the school will appeal the suspensions. “While we believe sanctions should be rendered, we do believe they are severe,” he said Thursday at a news conference. “We do believe we can give mitigating circumstances for the NCAA to consider.” The NCAA did not suspend the players for Jan. 4
Sugar Bowl against the eighth-ranked Razorbacks because the “student-athletes did not receive adequate rules education during the time period the violations occurred.” “These are significant penalties based on findings and information provided by the university,” Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs, said in the release. Lennon said a game was added on to the usual four-game penalty “because these student-athletes did not immediately disclose the violations when presented with the appropriate rules education.” Pryor is the team’s star, while Herron is the leading rusher and Posey is the second-leading receiv-
See BUCKEYES PAGE 2B
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2010
Yankees pay $18 million luxury tax By RONALD BLUM ASSOCIATED PRESS
NEW YORK — The New York Yankees lowered spending on players by $12 million this year, cutting payroll by $5 million and slashing their major league-leading luxury tax by more than $7 million. New York was hit with an $18 million luxury tax Tuesday by Major League Baseball. The tax was New York’s lowest since 2003 and down from $25.7 million last year, when the Yankees won the World Series. “Atta baby. And right now we’re in the $170s,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said, looking ahead to his 2011 payroll. Season-ending payroll information and the tax was sent to teams Tuesday
While the Yankees are stocked with high-salaried veterans, Cashman has mixed in young players in recent years such as Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Brett Gardner. and obtained by The Associated Press. Boston is the only other team that will have to pay. The Red Sox, who missed the playoffs this year, exceeded the payroll threshold for the first time since 2007 and owe $1.49 million. According to the collective bargaining agreement, the Yankees and Red Sox must send checks to the commissioner’s office by Jan. 31. Red Sox president Larry Lucchino declined comment. Since the current tax began in 2003, the Yankees have run up a bill of $192.2
million. The only other teams to pay are Boston ($15.34 million), Detroit ($1.3 million) and the Los Angeles Angels ($927,000). New York’s payroll was $215.1 million for the purpose of the luxury tax, down from $226.2 million, and the Yankees pay at a 40 percent rate for the amount over the threshold, which rose from $162 million to $170 million. Boston’s luxury-tax payroll was $176.6 million, and the Red Sox pay at a 22.5 percent rate. “We’re doing a better job of managing our payroll and managing our de-
cision-making as we enter the free-agent market,” Cashman said. “Our payroll doesn’t necessarily have to live at that level, but it’s nice to know that our owners are committed to allow us to get there if we need to.” To compute the payroll, Major League Baseball uses the average annual values of contracts for players on 40-man rosters and adds benefits. The Yankees failed to land free-agent pitcher Cliff Lee despite being given permission from ownership to make a $150 million, seven-year offer. Lee agreed to a $120
million, five-year deal with Philadelphia. “We weren’t going to exceed where we were this past year, but the bottom line is that now that the Lee thing has declared itself, it would be hardpressed for us to get up to that level,” Cashman said. While the Yankees are stocked with high-salaried veterans, Cashman has mixed in young players in recent years such as Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Brett Gardner. “You need a strong farm system that prevents you from being desperate in the free-agent market,”
Cashman said. “You don’t want to be desperate in the free-agent market, because you’ll get slaughtered.” New York’s payroll under the conventional method of calculation — salaries and prorated shares of signing bonuses — dropped from $222.5 million in 2008 to $220 million last year to $215.1 million this season. Boston’s payroll rose by $30.2 million to $170.7 million. The $44.4 million between the Yankees and Red Sox was larger than the payrolls of San Diego ($43.7 million) and Pittsburgh ($44.1 million). After moving into Target Field, Minnesota’s payroll also went up by $30 million, leaving the Twins 10th in the majors at $103 million. Cincinnati increased its payroll by $9.8 million to $82.5 million.
BUCKEYES Continued from Page 1B er. Adams is a starter at left tackle and Thomas a top sub on the defensive line. A sixth player, linebacker Jordan Whiting must sit out the first game of the 2011 season and pay $150 to a charity for the value of services that were discounted by
the tattoo artist because he was a Buckeyes player. “We as coaches feel the buck stops here,” coach Jim Tressel said. “We’re the ones who need to make things even more crystal clear.”
Smith said Ohio State was not “explicit” in instructing players about the sale of apparel, awards and gifts. Adams must repay $1,000 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring. Herron must repay $1,150 for selling
BAD SEASON Continued from Page 1B the Bears could be an underdog at home even if they earn a bye, because the Eagles, Saints, Falcons and Giants seem to have more supporters. That shouldn’t taint what has been a terrific turnaround season. Two other coaches supposedly needing to prove themselves this year were Raheem Morris in Tampa and Jack Del Rio in Jacksonville. Must be something about the sunshine, but both have done admirable jobs with so-so rosters. The Bucs have the league’s youngest team, one filled with playmakers such as WR Mike Williams, DT Gerald McCoy, CB Aqib Talib, RB LeGarrette Blount and QB Josh Freeman. That certainly bodes well, even if Tampa hasn’t defeated an opponent with a winning record this year. Not only have the Jaguars been in contention in the AFC South — albeit a weakened division in 2010 — but they haven’t been blacked out all season. Maybe that’s their biggest achievement. Maurice Jones-Drew has emerged as a superior running back, the unheralded trio of TE Marcedes Lewis and WRs Mike Thomas and Mike Sims-Walker have combined for 19 touchdowns receiving, and the defensive has some ris-
ing stars in Terrance Knighton, Jeremy Mincey and Tyson Alualu. St. Louis, meanwhile, could become the first sub.500 division winner in league history. The Rams have become competitive in Steve Spagnuolo’s second year as coach with a vastly improved defense led by youngsters DE Chris Long, LB James Laurinaitis and CB Bradley Fletcher. Helped by superb RB Steven Jackson, top overall draft pick Sam Bradford has been better than anyone could expect from a rookie quarterback throwing to an obscure group of receivers. How many people know Danny Amendola? Well, he leads the Rams with 75 receptions, more catches than Calvin Johnson, Greg Jennings or Brandon Marshall. More names to get accustomed to among the winners reside in Kansas City: Dwayne Bowe, Matt Cassel, Jamaal Charles, Branden Albert, Tamba Hali and Eric Berry. Todd Haley will get strong consideration for coach of the year. THE BAD Cincinnati won the AFC North and swept its six divisional matchups in 2009. This year? The Bengals blew a great chance for the top overall draft pick last Sunday by doing some-
thing strange: winning. They are 3-11 after tying a team record by dropping 10 in a row. Coach Marvin Lewis is a goner. Jeff Fisher, with by far the longest tenure of any coach with the same franchise, also might want out of Tennessee after the Titans fell from 5-2 to 6-8 and QB Vince Young became disruptive. Former Titan Albert Haynesworth was disruptive all season in Washington, where Mike Shanahan’s first year has been filled with disappointment and turmoil. Now, Shanahan has created a quarterback controversy. Shanahan protege Gary Kubiak could be out of a job in Houston, where expectations were the Texans would get their first playoff berth. Instead, they have one of the league’s leakiest defenses and a penchant for making horrendous plays at the worst time. San Francisco had designs on its first playoff since 2002, then began the season 0-5 amid communication problems and underachievement. Even with two of the NFC’s best players, LB Patrick Willis and RB Frank Gore, the Niners are a nonentity. Tony Sparano should survive in Miami, but explain how a team can be as good as anyone on the road — the Dolphins are 6-1 —
his football jersey, pants and shoes for $1,000 and receiving discount services worth $150. Posey sold his 2008 Big Ten ring for $1,200 and also received discount services.
and go 1-6 at home. And can they possibly lose this week to the Lions, whose last road victory before their win this past Sunday at Tampa seemingly came with Bobby Layne at quarterback? THE UGLY We are talking hideous here. Arizona, a Super Bowl loser after the 2008 season and NFC West winner in 2009, couldn’t replace retired quarterback Kurt Warner or defensive defectors Karlos Dansby and Antrell Rolle, and traded receiver Anquan Boldin. The Cardinals’ QB follies were among the biggest jokes in the NFL. Carolina showed no interest in re-signing coach John Fox — watch him show up quickly in another job in 2011 if he wants — and then the team showed no interest in the season. Jerry Jones trumpeted his Cowboys’ chances for playing in a Super Bowl they are hosting. He was blowing the wrong horn. All of Josh McDaniels’ bad decisions and poor rapport with just about everyone cost him his coaching spot in Denver, and saw the Broncos sink to the depths of the league. But for all-time ugly, need we say more than the Minnesota Vikings and Brett Favre?
Continued from Page 1B
the memo on the investigation into Steinbrenner and his American Ship Building Co. Among other things, the FBI was investigating whether company employees were told they would be reimbursed by the company for campaign contributions, a violation of campaign finance laws. Steinbrenner was indicted the following year and vowed to prove his innocence in court. But in August 1974, just two weeks after Nixon resigned in the Watergate scandal, the Yankees owner pleaded guilty to two charges in the case and was fined $15,000. American Ship Building Co. employees told FBI officials in signed statements that they received bonuses around the same time they made donations to Nixon’s campaign. The payments varied from $2,800 to $3,500, according to an Aug. 30, 1973 report by the Cleveland office of the FBI. But the employees claimed the donations "were all of their own desires and in no way were motivated or solicited by George M. Steinbrenner or any other company officials . those interviewed stated that they would have made contributions to the Nixon campaign regardless of the receipt of their bonuses." One charge that Steinbrenner later pleaded guilty
to involved a conspiracy to funnel corporate campaign contributions to politicians. The other accused Steinbrenner of making a "false and misleading" explanation of a $25,000 donation to Nixon’s campaign and trying to influence and intimidate employees of his shipbuilding company to give that false information to a grand jury. Steinbrenner could have faced up to six years in prison for the guilty pleas. Steinbrenner bought the Yankees in 1973, but baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn suspended him for two years, calling Steinbrenner "ineligible and incompetent" to have any connection with a baseball team. "Attempting to influence employees to behave dishonestly is the kind of conduct which, if ignored by baseball, would undermine the public’s confidence in our game," Kuhn wrote in a 12page ruling. The suspension was later reduced to 15 months. Reagan pardoned Steinbrenner at the end of his final term in office. Steinbrenner told the New York Times in 1988 that he felt badly about the conviction and was willing to bear responsibility for the crimes, but said they happened because he didn’t understand what the campaign finance act required of him.
it featured a segment on Jones. “Any time you have a football personality like Jerry Jones on your broadcast, you can expect some extra football fans in addition to your normal audience tuning in,” show spokesman Kevin Tedesco said. “While Jones may not have been the only factor in the large audience, he was certainly a key one.” How many other owners would even get a “60 Minutes” segment? Across all networks, six of the 14 most-watched NFL games this season have involved the Cowboys. The Michael Vick-led Eagles are the only team to get close, making four of the top 14. This weekend, the Cowboys-Cardinals game on Christmas night probably won’t crack that list because it is being shown on NFL Network. Still, it’s a safe bet it will be the most-watched game on the league-owned channel. Another reasonable guarantee is there will be plenty of blue in the crowd in Arizona, a reminder of all the
souvenirs the Cowboys sell. From April 1 to Dec. 3, the Cowboys were second to the Pittsburgh Steelers in overall sales on NFLShop.com. Among individual player jerseys sold through the site, the Cowboys were the only team with two players among the top 12 and three among the top 18. Jones said the Cowboys are responsible for one in every four pieces of NFL merchandise sold since 1975. So, what did this season really cost them? The lost profit from a home playoff game or two is about it. Sure, some season-ticket holders, suite owners or advertisers could back out, but other folks would be lining up to take their place. “In my mind, if you keep working, good things will happen,” Jones said. “Even though (fans) could be critical of how I do it, how we’re structured, I know they believe that we’re one of the top teams. ... I want that interest, not apathy. I do think the reason that’s there is because they know that I’ll do whatever I can do (to win).”
COWBOYS Continued from Page 1B really dominate. They are the No. 1 team in the nation’s No. 1 sport, valued at $1.8 billion by Forbes and at or near the top in other major fiscal categories. The astounding part is that they’ve maintained that glow despite this being their 15th straight season without winning the Super Bowl, or even reaching the championship game. It is the longest drought in franchise history. “The Arizona Cardinals have had more success lately than the Dallas Cowboys, but there isn’t anyone who follows the industry that would want the Cardinals’ brand over the Cowboys’ brand,” said Marc Ganis, president of Chicago-based consulting company Sports Corp. Ltd. “That’s in large part because Jerry Jones is one of the great marketers sports has ever seen. He finds ways to keep the Cowboys relevant, part of the national conversation.” His latest feat was building a $1.2 billion stadium that’s the most luxurious in the country, perhaps the
world, and luring the upcoming Super Bowl to North Texas for the first time. With the Cowboys coming off a division title and a rare playoff victory — their first since 1996 — Jones steered the national conversation toward whether his club would be in the big game. The Cowboys became a chic pick, which is why the pratfall was so devastating, although only in a football sense. “In sports marketing, you generally like to keep expectations low and exceed them. That makes fans feel great and keep coming back,” Ganis said. “Jerry marches to different beat. It’s part of what makes him unique. ... Missing those high expectations has not damaged the brand. It’s the opportunity that was lost. One season of the kind Jerry was hoping to have this year would have had benefits for at least another decade.” It’s hard to imagine the Cowboys having a stronger hold over the public. They’re already the
league’s No. 1 drawing card both at home and on the road. They are the only team that has played in front of a sold-out crowd every game this season. They wrapped up their home schedule last weekend, averaging 87,047 fans per game. That is down only 3 percent from last season, a phenomenal feat considering the 2009 total was boosted by an NFL-record crowd of 105,121 in the debut of Cowboys Stadium, another 100,621 for the regular-season finale, and the team won the division. The size of the stadium, and the fact they sell $29 standing room tickets, helps those totals. But that’s not the case when they go on the road, and they still pack ’em in. With two games left, they had lured an average of 74,246 fans per away game. Their TV figures are equally overwhelming. Most-watched NFL game this season? Cowboys-Saints on Thanksgiving, seen by 31.9 million viewers. Mostwatched Sunday night game? Cowboys-Eagles, seen by 25.7 million. The NFL
and NBC had the chance to move that game, but they knew what they were doing by leaving it right where it was. It became the mostwatched game in the fiveyear history of “Sunday Night Football.” “You can never go wrong having the Dallas Cowboys on,” said Gaudelli, who has been producing NFL games for 21 years for various networks. “John Madden used to have a saying, ’When in doubt, the Cowboys.’ I think that still holds true.” In the five-year history of NBC’s prime time show, the Cowboys have been featured 16 times, matched only by the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts deserve the spotlight. They have Peyton Manning, winner of multiple MVP awards, and have reached the Super Bowl twice in that span. The Cowboys have Tony Romo, dater of multiple celebrities, and have won a single playoff game over the same span. The Cowboys are such a ratings magnet that “60 Minutes” drew its most viewers of the season to that point (17.6 million) the night
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2010
THE ZAPATA TIMES 3B
HINTS BY | HELOISE NEW TOY Dear Heloise: My grandson came up with a new nocost toy for our dog. He took a 16-ounce empty water bottle and removed the cap. Then he put the bottle into an old sock and knotted the end of the sock. The dog loved it, and the crunchy sound kept him busy. It lasts about three to four days -- by then, he gets it flat, and it’s time to change bottles. -Brandon Williams in Rancho Cordova, Calif. CLEANING THE BIRD CAGE Dear Heloise: I would like to share a simple hint for those of us who have parakeets. Their soft, puffy feathers tend to fly all over and end up out on the floor. I take clear packing tape (about 2 inches wide) and lay strips along the lowest part of the
cage wires with the sticky side facing in. The sticky side traps most puffy feathers and some seed hulls. Simply lift off and apply new strips as needed. Makes a huge difference! -- Judi B. in Balch Springs, Texas CATS AWAY Dear Heloise: My neighbor’s cats get into my plants. I put mothballs in the flower beds and flowerpots, and this helps to keep the cats out. The squirrels were eating my iris bulbs, so I put mothballs around those, too. It worked -- the mothballs kept the squirrels out of my bulbs! -B.H. in Mississippi
DAILY CRYPTOQUOTES — Here’s how to work it:
DENNIS THE MENACE
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Tension in Washington McNabb feels slighted by HC Shanahan ASSOCIATED PRESS
ASHBURN, Va. — Donovan McNabb’s agent says the “tension” between the quarterback and Washington coach Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is due to McNabb’s suggestions for improving the Redskins’ offense. Fletcher Smith said in a statement Thursday that the Shanahans have made comments that go beyond disrespectful and that were “unprecedented for a sixtime Pro Bowl quarterback such as Donovan.” McNabb, who has declined requests for comment this week, was benched before last Sunday’s game against Dallas and told by Mike Shanahan that he would not play for the remainder of the season. Smith said in the statement that the Shanahans — “both Mike and more specifically Kyle” — have made the quarterback’s relationship with Washington difficult to maintain. He also said Washington used his client’s suggested changes against Dallas. “I believe there is tension between Donovan and Kyle that’s rooted in the fact that Donovan has suggested modifications to Kyle’s offense based on intricacies Donovan has learned in his NFL career,” Smith wrote. “For example, Donovan has asked all year that the team run more screen passes to help manage the pass rush more effectively. Ironically, Kyle decided to employ Donovan’s suggestions after he unceremoniously benched him on Sunday.” The Redskins did not respond to requests for comment on Smith’s statement. The 34-year-old McNabb was listed as the No. 2 quarterback during the Redskins’ 33-30 loss to Dallas. McNabb said he felt “disrespected” by the way he was benched and demoted. “Everything was handled awkwardly,” he said Tuesday on his weekly radio show on ESPN980, “somewhat to a disrespect to me and to the team.” McNabb was benched
Pacquiao to fight Mosley May 7 By GREG BEACHAM ASSOCIATED PRESS
Photo by Tim Sharp | AP
Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb stands on the sidelines before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday in Arlington. only once in 11 years with Philadelphia, and he’s already doubled that total with the Redskins in less than one season. Shanahan yanked McNabb for Rex Grossman in the final two minutes against Detroit in October with the game on the line, then offered several strange excuses for the decision. Smith said the benching of his client has been part of what he described as a “difficult season” for McNabb. “Donovan is coming off a Pro Bowl season in 2009 where he threw for 3,500 (plus) yards on 60 (percent) completions, with a TD:INT ratio of more than 2:1,” Smith wrote. “He also led his team to the playoffs with an 11-5 record, and that’s what he hoped to accomplish in Washington. “This year, Donovan was on pace to set the Redskins all-time passing yards mark before being benched.” Earlier this season Mike Shanahan said he felt Grossman had a better grasp of the team’s twominute offense, then said McNabb lacked the “cardiovascular endurance” to run a fast-paced drill be-
cause of nagging hamstring injuries. Kyle Shanahan said McNabb had been tipped off in advance that the team might go with Grossman; McNabb said he hadn’t. Then the Redskins gave a McNabb a five-year contract extension worth up to $78 million — though the quarterback is only guaranteed to receive an extra $3.5 million this season. The deal contains a clause that allows the Redskins to cut McNabb before next season with no further financial obligation. McNabb has expressed a desire to return to Washington next season, and Shanahan said he would be willing to have McNabb as a backup — a pairing that seems hard to imagine. Smith left the door open in his statement, saying McNabb has taken the high road during the circus-like atmosphere. “Donovan has maintained a high level of professionalism on and off the field,” Smith said. “He is determined to continue his relentless commitment to win and looks forward to the opportunity wherever that may be!”
Peterson eager to return to play By JON KRAWCZYNSKI ASSOCIATED PRESS
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — There are only two games left in the Minnesota Vikings’ miserable season and Adrian Peterson is hobbling around with a painful thigh bruise. With the playoffs out of reach, why risk further injury to the team’s most dynamic player? Why not sit him for the final two weeks and make sure he is ready to go next season? Peterson doesn’t see it that way. The Vikings may be 5-9 and going nowhere fast, but he wants to be out there with his teammates until the bitter end. “It’s been a roller coaster season. It hasn’t gone the way we planned,” Peterson said on Thursday. “But I love to play this game. That’s why I do what I do. I definitely don’t think that way about it. If I can play, I’ll definitely be out there on Sunday.” Peterson injured his left thigh two weeks ago when he collided with quarterback Tarvaris Jackson on a handoff. He missed the game against Chicago on Monday night, the first time he’s sat out since missing two games with a knee injury his rookie season in 2006. “It’s nothing like a torn ligament or anything like that,” Peterson said. “I don’t feel like I can do any further damage to it. It’s basically just a quad. Muscles are just tight. Pushing it will probably help it
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2010
Photo by Ann Heisenfelt | AP
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) leaves behind Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams (95) on a 13-yard gain during the second quarter in Minneapolis on Dec. 5. stretch a little more.” Peterson did some running in practice on Thursday for the first time this week and interim coach Leslie Frazier said he has improved dramatically over the last several days. If he cannot play, rookie Toby Gerhart will get the bulk of the work. The Vikings lost 40-14 to the Bears and have been outscored 61-17 in the last two weeks, showing signs that some are packing it in and thinking about the offseason. Peterson is not among them. He practiced on a limited basis Thursday and said he hopes to play Sunday night.
The star running back has been one of the few bright spots for the team in such a trying season. He has rushed for 1,149 yards and 11 touchdowns and appears to have solved his fumbling problem. After leading the NFL with 16 fumbles over the previous two seasons, Peterson has not lost one yet this year in 280 touches. “That’s a story that’s not been written about enough, the kind of year he’s having, even though our team is not having a great year,” Frazier said. “But Adrian, he is having a Pro Bowl season, there’s no question about it.”
Manny Pacquiao plans to fight Sugar Shane Mosley in his next bout May 7 in Las Vegas. Promoter Bob Arum told The Associated Press on Tuesday night that the deal will be done after Mosley’s lawyers approve the final paperwork for the WBO welterweight title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Arum says Pacquiao chose the bout because Mosley is the most accomplished and famous boxer in the field of candidates, which included Juan Manuel Marquez and welterweight champion Andre Berto. “He’s the most recognizable name, and it’s a difficult fight for him,” said Arum, who met with Pacquiao in the Philippines last week. “People are also saying, ’Well, why hasn’t he fought an African-American fighter?’ He’s doing that, but mostly it’s because Mosley is the biggest name.” Pacquiao also realizes a potential superbout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. is likely still impossible because of the Mayweather family’s various legal troubles. Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs) is on top of the boxing world after trouncing Antonio Margarito in a one-sided decision in Texas on Nov. 13. The 32-yearold Filipino congressman has won 13 straight fights while claiming world titles in an astonishing eight weight classes, most recently taking the WBC 154-pound belt with his win over Margarito. Arum realizes he could have trouble selling a fight against a nearly 40year-old opponent who will be nearly 21/2 years removed from his last victory when he faces Pacquiao, but he believes Mosley’s skill and speed
Photo by Bullit Marquez | AP
Manny Pacquiao contemplates his answer during an unscheduled news conference at his mansion in General Santos, in the southern Philippines, on April 26. will challenge Pacquiao. “That was obviously a negative, but Shane Mosley is capable of doing great things,” Arum said. Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs) is near the tail end of a remarkable career that began in 1993. The former three-division champion has won just two of his past five fights, getting walloped by Mayweather in an unanimous decision last May before fighting to a dull draw with Sergio Mora on Sept. 18. The deal further cements Mosley’s acrimonious split from Golden Boy, Oscar De La Hoya’s promotional company. Mosley was a founding partner in Golden Boy, but he has cut ties with the organization since his draw with Mora last September, even refusing to answer phone calls from Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer. Mosley apparently was angry that Golden Boy pushed Marquez, the talented Mexican champion, as Pacquiao’s next opponent. Golden Boy and Top Rank, Arum’s promotion, are involved in a bitter rivalry. The companies have become unwilling to match any of their fighters against each other, which likely proved to be an insurmountable obstacle for Golden Boy’s Marquez. Pacquiao and Marquez
have fought twice before, with a draw in 2004 and a split-decision win for Pacquiao in 2008. Both fights were thrilling contests that easily could have been decided for Marquez, who has been campaigning for a third bout since moments after their second fight ended. After straying to suburban Dallas for his victories this year over Joshua Clottey and Margarito in cavernous Cowboys Stadium, Pacquiao is eager to return to Las Vegas, where his fights always attract thousands of fans eager to pump gambling money into Nevada’s struggling gaming industry. “It’s great to do a promotion where I can sleep in my own bed,” Arum said. Mosley didn’t immediately return a call to his cell phone.