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  • Greg Bostwick says a late season freeze is likely
  • Texas Republicans want flexibility in the Medicaid program
  • West Orange-Cove ISD  picks one finalist for Superintendent
  • Jasper Police believe a small device can have a big impact

Transportation board considers reopening Buddy Holly crash

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa (AP) — The National Transportation Safety Board is looking into a request to reopen the investigation of the Iowa plane crash that killed musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson.

The Civil Aeronautics Board ruled in 1959 that the most likely cause of the crash was pilot error. Snow was listed a secondary cause.

The Globe Gazette reports that the board has agreed to consider another investigation after receiving a letter from New England pilot L.J. Coon. He contended that there were other issues involving weight and balance calculations, the rate of the plane's climb and descent, fuel gauge readings and the passenger-side rudder.

"You have gotten our attention," the NTSB said in a letter to Coon. "Let us do our due diligence in order to give you a proper answer."

A board spokesman tells The Associated Press that all requests to reconsider past investigations are handled in the same fashion to determine if the case warrants reopening. An initial response to Coon's information will take about two months. It could then take up to a year to decide if the petition will be granted.

Gary W. Moore, who wrote a book about Holly, believes that the Civil Aeronautics Board made the right decision when it blamed the Feb. 3, 1959, crash on errors by pilot Roger Peterson, who also died. The plane crashed into a farm field in Clear Lake less than four minutes after takeoff from the Mason City Municipal Airport.

"I think that what they are going to find is its pretty simple," Moore said. "The pilot was unqualified to fly in those conditions and he lost control of the airplane."

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Texas Republicans want Medicaid flexibility, not expansion

By WILL WEISSERT, Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Texas Senate Republicans have sent a letter to President Barack Obama, demanding that their state be allowed to make sweeping changes in how it administers the Medicaid program.

At a news conference Monday announcing the letter, Sen. Charles Schwertner said Medicaid's rising costs were unsustainable. He likened the joint federal-state program providing health care for the poor and disabled, to "gold-plated handcuffs."

Schwertner said that means it is funding overburdened by federal mandates. But Schwertner also said that unless Texas is allowed to institute "commonsense, conservative reforms," then expanding the program under the White House's signature health care law "is simply not worth discussing."

Continuing to reject a key component of the health care law, though, may make it hard for Texas to negotiate Medicaid concessions with the Obama administration.

West Orange Cove schools name Rickie Harris lone finalist for top spot

WEST ORANGE -- The West Orange– Cove CISD Board of Trustees met in a special called session this afternoon and announced Rickie Harris as the finalist for the position of WOCCISD Superintendent.Harris has been a public school educator since 2001.

He is currently an assistant principal in the Cedar Hill school system. He has experience as a High School Principal, a coordinator of Alternative Programs, a biology teacher, and a coach in the Cedar Hill, Itasca, Hillsboro, and Wilmer-Hutchins public school systems.

Additionally, he has coached football at the collegiate level.He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and a Master’s degree in School Leadership, both from Abilene Christian University. He also holds a Superintendent’s Certificate from the State of Texas.

Pete Amy, President of the WOCCISD Board of Trustees, said, “I am very excited about bringing Mr. Harris to our District. He already has an entry plan developed and is ready to put it into place upon his arrival. He will also bring a great deal of enthusiasm."

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Silvia Martinez for her leadership during this interim. She has kept the District on course during the time we have been searching for a superintendent,” Amy said.

Harris and his wife, Shalawn, have two children.

Boil Water Notice issued for Kirbyville

KIRBYVILLE - - The Kirbyville Public Water System has issued a Boil Water notice effective immediately because of a line leak and loss of pressure in the system.  


The notice is for customers to on the west side of Hwy 96 South and the south side of the the main are that lost water ( Second Ave., Ray Fussell, MLK, Hebo, Charlsie, 82 West and 96 South), to boil their water prior to consumption.


To insure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking and for making ice should be boiled and cooled prior to consumption. 


The water should be brought to a vigorous, rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes.  In lieu of boiling, you may purchase bottled water or obtain water from some other suitable source. 


When it is not longer necessary to boil the water, the water system officials will notify you that the water is safe for consumption.  The rescind notice will be issued in the same manner as this Boil Water notice.


If you have questions regarding this matter, you may contact Tony Stark at 409-622-9369 or call City Hall at 409-423-6191.




Jefferson County residents can claim cash, set up college savings accounts at March 11 event

JEFFERSON COUNTY -- Jefferson County residents may have money waiting for them in the state's Unclaimed Property database, and they'll have an opportunity to search for it at an upcoming event hosted by the Texas Comptroller's office and Jefferson County Treasurer Tim Funchess.

In addition, Texans will have the opportunity to learn more about the state's prepaid college tuition program, the Texas Tuition Promise Fund (TTPF).

Unclaimed Property and TTPF representatives from the Comptroller’s office will help people search for unclaimed property online, fill out claim forms and answer questions about the TTPF program from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 11, in the Jefferson County Courthouse at 1149 Pearl St. in Beaumont.

Unclaimed property includes forgotten utility deposits or other refunds, insurance proceeds, mineral interest or royalty payments, dormant bank accounts and abandoned safe deposit box contents. The Comptroller estimates that one in four Texans has money waiting to be claimed.

"Texas has $4 billion in unclaimed property, and as Comptroller, one of my jobs is to get that money back in the hands of those who earned it,"said Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar. "I encourage Texans to search for their money online or contact my office to claim their rightful property."

The Comptroller's office reports that Jefferson County residents currently have more than $22 million waiting to be claimed.

The TTPF allows Texans to lock in the cost of undergraduate tuition and school-wide required fees at Texas public colleges and universities, protecting against future tuition inflation. A TTPF representative will be on hand to discuss the program and help interested attendees enroll. 

"Saving for a child's college education is one of the most important decisions a parent can make. As a parent three times over, I'm proud our state has the Texas Tuition Promise Fund, which can help Texans control the spiraling cost of college," Hegar said.

To search for unclaimed property at any time, or to view helpful how-to videos on the process, visit the Comptroller's unclaimed property website at For phone assistance, please call 1-800-654-FIND (3463).

For additional information on the TTPF, visit

US considers banning type of popular rifle ammunition

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration is considering banning a type of ammunition used in one of the most popular types of rifles because it says the bullets can pierce a police officer's protective vest when fired from a handgun.


The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is proposing the ban of some types of 5.56 mm rounds - or .223-caliber - used in widely available and popular AR-15-style rifles because the bullets can also be used in some new types of handguns. Other types of 5.56 mm rounds would still be legal to buy, own and fire from guns.


The rule change would affect only "M855 green tip" or "SS109" rounds with certain types of metal cores. People who already own the ammunition would be allowed to continue to legally own it, but manufacturers would not be allowed to produce, sell, import or distribute it.


In a letter to ATF Director B. Todd Jones last month, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., objected to the rule change, saying it would "interfere with Second Amendment rights by disrupting the market for ammunition that law-abiding Americans use for sporting and other legitimate purposes."


Armor-piercing handgun ammunition has been banned since 1986 as a way to protect police officers under the federal Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act. The rifle bullets now facing a ban were long considered exempt because they were used for sporting purposes, such as target shooting.


An ATF spokeswoman, Ginger Colbrun, said Monday the agency is considering eliminating the exemption now because of the production of so-called AR pistols that can fire the same cartridge. The agency is accepting public comment about the proposed change until March 16 at the email address APAComments(at), by fax or postal mail. Colbrun said it's unclear when a final decision will be made.


At issue is the material in the core of the bullets. As long as the bullet's core does not contain particular types of metal, including steel, iron or brass, the bullet would still be legally available.


Colbrun said 32 manufacturers make roughly 168 types of ammunition that can be used in the rifles and would remain legal.


The semi-automatic AR-15 rifle, a commercially available gun that resembles the military's M-16 rifle, has become wildly popular among gun enthusiasts in recent years.


It's also been the target of Democratic lawmakers who sought to ban the weapons after the 2012 shooting deaths of a dozen people at a movie theater in Colorado and 20 children and six adults at a school in Connecticut. Those efforts failed, but gun rights advocates, including the National Rifle Association, warned that the administration would continue a push to ban the popular guns.


NRA Institute for Legislative Action Executive Director Chris W. Cox said Tuesday "the NRA and our tens of millions of supporters across the country will fight to stop President Obama's latest attack on our Second Amendment freedoms."


ATF's proposed ammunition ban has been under consideration since 2011.



ATF's proposal:

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Man and woman with guns rob store in Orange

ORANGE - Police in Orange are searching for a man and woman who used guns to rob a store clerk.

Shortly after 9 p.m. Monday, the Orange Police Department received a call reported a robbery at 6892 FM 1130, Exxon Food Mart #2.

Witnesses describe the robbers as a man and woman, in dark clothing, both wearing cloths across their faces and both holding guns.

Orange Police officers responded to the area and began searching for the attackers but couldn't find them.


Officials: US report finds bias in Ferguson Police

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Justice Department investigation found sweeping patterns of racial bias within the Ferguson, Missouri, police department - with officers routinely discriminating against blacks by using excessive force, issuing petty citations and making baseless traffic stops, according to law enforcement officials familiar with the report.

The report, which could be released as soon as Wednesday, marks the culmination of a months-long investigation into a police department that federal officials have described as troubled and that commanded national attention after one of its officers shot and killed an unarmed black man, 18-year-old Michael Brown, last summer.

It chronicles discriminatory practices across the city's criminal justice system, detailing problems from initial encounters with patrol officers to treatment in the municipal court and jail.

The full report could serve as a roadmap for significant changes by the department, if city officials accept its findings.

The Justice Department investigation found that black motorists from 2012 to 2014 were more than twice as likely to be stopped and searched as whites, even though they were less likely to be found carrying contraband, according to a summary of the findings.

The review also found that blacks were 68 percent less likely than others to have their cases dismissed by a municipal court judge. And from April to September of last year, 95 percent of people kept at the city jail for more than two days were black, it found. Of the cases in which the police department documented the use of force, 88 percent involved blacks.

Overall, African Americans make up 67 percent of Ferguson's population.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly before the report is made public.

The Justice Department began the civil rights investigation following the August killing of Brown, which set off weeks of protests. A separate report to be issued soon is expected to clear the officer, Darren Wilson, of federal civil rights charges.

The report provides direct evidence of racial bias among police officers and court workers, and details a criminal justice system that through the issuance of petty citations for infractions such as walking in the middle of the street, prioritizes generating revenue from fines over public safety.

The practice hits poor people especially hard, sometimes leading to jail time when they can't pay, the report says, and has contributed to a cynicism about the police on the part of citizens.

Among the report's findings was a racially tinged 2008 message in a municipal email account stating that President Barack Obama would not be president for very long because "what black man holds a steady job for four years."

The department has conducted roughly 20 broad civil rights investigations of police departments during the six-year tenure of Attorney General Eric Holder, including Cleveland, Newark, New Jersey and Albuquerque. Most such investigations end with police departments agreeing to change their practices.

Justice Department officials were in St. Louis on Tuesday to brief Ferguson leaders about the findings, a city official said.

Several messages seeking comment from Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson and Mayor James Knowles III were not returned. A secretary for Jackson said he is not doing media interviews.

Scott Holste, a spokesman for Gov. Jay Nixon, declined comment, saying he has not seen the report.

Ben Crump, the attorney for the Brown family, said that if the reports about the findings are true, they "confirm what Michael Brown's family has believed all along, and that is that the tragic killing of an unarmed 18-year-old black teenager was part of a systemic pattern of inappropriate policing of African-American citizens in the Ferguson community."


Jim Salter and Jim Suhr in St. Louis and Alan Scher Zagier in Ferguson contributed to this report.

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 

Southwest brings International flights back to Hobby Airport

HOUSTON -- Southwest Airlines will begin a new era in Houston when its first international flight into William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) lands on March 7, 2015.

That flight — from Queen Beatrix International Airport in Oranjestad, Aruba — is part of a service expansion announced by Southwest in December 2014. 

The airline soon will serve six destinations in Latin American markets thanks to a $156 million five-gate international concourse now under construction at Hobby Airport.

The completed project will increase capacity for all airport functions and add a Federal Inspections Services (FIS) facility to streamline U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) screening and baggage processing for arriving international passengers.

"This is an exciting first step in achieving our goal of establishing regional international air service at Hobby Airport," said Houston Aviation Director Mario C. Diaz. 

"We are making dramatic progress on the new international concourse building and have a definitive route map now available from the team at Southwest Airlines. The importance of strong connectivity with Latin America and the Caribbean cannot be overstated in Houston and these flights will undoubtedly strengthen those business and cultural ties."

Until that FIS facility is ready, service to Aruba is made possible by U.S. CBP pre-clearance procedures, which provide U.S. border inspection in certain foreign countries including Aruba. 

This allows Southwest customers arriving at Hobby Airport from Aruba to deplane without further CBP inspections into the domestic terminal, quickly claim baggage and depart the airport, or make seamless connections to many of the more than 40 domestic destinations Southwest currently serves nonstop from HOU.

The Hobby International Terminal project is the product of a partnership between Southwest Airlines and the City of Houston, which is preparing for the new facility with surrounding infrastructure improvements including a new 3,000-space parking garage, central utility plant and roadway improvements throughout the Hobby Airport area.

Once the new facility opens later this year, Southwest will offer nonstop options between HOU and four destinations in Mexico — Cancun, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, and San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos — as well as flights to San Jose, Costa Rica, and Belize City, Belize. 

Service to Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City, Belize, adds a second destination in Central America, a seventh country, and the 96th city on the Southwest route map.

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