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DPS: Survivor of fatal Nome crash dies

NOME -- DPS reports that all three occupants of 1992 Chevrolet van that crashed in Nome have died. Two occupants died yesterday at the scene.

The third occupant, Lennise Gutierrez died early this morning from injuries sustained in the crash.

The driver of the vehicle, Rodney Jerome Watkins, 35, of Richmond, TX, was identified Tuesday night.

DPS says the second male victim who died yesterday was David Rust, 57 of Dayton.

The van was traveling on Hwy 90 in Nome when it when for unknown reasons it veered off the highway and struck a tree.

DPS Trooper Stephanie Davis said "Due to the tragic deaths of all occupants involved in this crash, it is unlikely that DPS Troopers will uncover the factors that contributed to this fatal crash."

Thousands of children crossed US-Mexico border in October

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Nearly 5,000 unaccompanied immigrant children were caught illegally crossing the U.S. border with Mexico in October, almost double the number from October 2014, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data.

Also, in the figures released Tuesday, the number of family members crossing together nearly tripled from October 2014 — from 2,162 to 6,029.

The numbers spiked despite expectations of lower numbers due to the colder winter months coming, better enforcement along the border and efforts by Mexican authorities to stem the stream of Central American migrants to the U.S. Though tens of thousands of women and children from Central America were caught at the border in summer 2014, it had dropped by nearly half during the 2015 federal fiscal that ended Sept. 30.

The 4,973 unaccompanied children caught at the border last month is the highest number that Washington, D.C.-based think tank Washington Office on Latin America has recorded for October since their records began in 2009, said Adam Isacson, a border expert and senior analyst.

The high numbers buck the typical trends of crossings peaking in spring then declining through summer and fall, Isacson said. But there was an uptick in families and children crossing in July, and the numbers have stayed over 4,000 each month since.

"Rather than a big jump, it's been a steady burn," he said. "I think we are almost in crisis mode with this many months of sustained arrivals."

Most children and families trying to cross the border in October were from El Salvador. Increased violence in the tiny country, which averaged 30 murders a day in August, is likely partly to blame, Isacson said. Previously, Guatemala had the most families and children apprehended at the border.

While the Rio Grande Valley remains the center of migration flows in Texas, immigrants are starting to venture farther west. The number of unaccompanied children caught in Del Rio sector jumped from 120 to 237, while 187 children were apprehended in the remote Big Bend area, up from just 13 a year ago.

According to internal intelligence files from the Homeland Security Department, most families interviewed told Customs and Border Protection officials that smugglers decided where they would try to cross. 

They reported that the cost ranged from about $5,000 to cross the border near Matamoros or Reynosa, Mexico, across the border from the Rio Grande Valley, but was about $1,500 to $2,000 to cross near Ciudad Acuna, across the river from Del Rio.

The administration was caught off guard by the sudden surge of children and families in 2014 and made several efforts to curb the flow of people crossing the border illegally, including media campaigns in Central America to scare people out of attempting the dangerous journey.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement this week that the campaigns are still in place and highlight that "those attempting to come here illegally are a top priority for removal."

Immigrant families caught illegally crossing the border between July and September told U.S. immigration agents they made the dangerous trip in part because they felt they were likely to succeed, according to the intelligence files. Immigrants spoke of "permisos," or passes, that they believed would allow them to remain in the United States.

Which major retailers are (and are not) open Thursday for Black Friday

Whether you intend to be the first one in the door for the Black Friday sales, or just want to know who's opening early so you can boycott them, the hours for major retailers are easy to find.




The Web site lists the following top retailers as opening at 6 pm on Thursday:


At 5 pm Toys R Us starts its Black Friday sale along with Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Sears, Kohls, Macy's, Conn's and Office Depot.


Some are starting even earlier. At 4 pm Thursdays the doors are scheduled to swing open at Old Navy


The there are the really early startes:  At 7 am Thursday Family Dollar welcomes shoppers in.  Walgreens opens an hour laters at 8 am. along with Gander Mountain and Radio Shack


Among the stores that won't be open on Thanksgiving are Sams Club, Marshalls, Neiman Marcus, Barnes & Nobles, Harbor Freight, Pier 1 Imports, and Petsmart, Petco, Bed Bath and Beyond, Hobby Lobby, Home Depot, Lowes and T.J. Maxx


Didn't find the store you were looking for in this list?


Check out these sites:   


30 Stores That Refuse to Stay Open on Thanksgiving.


Or google "Stores opening hours Thanksgving"   or "Stores closed Thanksgiving"



President: No credible terror threats in U.S. ahead of Thanksgiving weekend

WASHINGTON, D.C. - There are no credible threats from terror groups heading into the Thanksgiving weekend, President Barack Obama said, attempting to reassure Americans Wednesday afternoon.


Click here to learn more about what President Obama said.


"Right now we know of no specific evidence of a credible threat against the Homeland," Obama said.


The President Wednesday met with his national security team to be briefed on the "posture" of homeland security following the attacks on France and other international conflicts.


He said the country's counter-terrorism, intelligence and law enforcement arms were "working overtime" to protect the American people.

President approves requests for disaster help to individiuals in 15 counties

AUSTIN -- President Obama today granted a request for Individual assistance for 15 counties affected by October's flood, Governor Greg Abbott says.

The Presidential Disaster Declaration will aid Texans as they continue to recover and rebuild, Abbott said.  The declaration also grants loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The request was made on Friday.

"I want to thank the President and FEMA for their swift response to Texas’ request for a federal disaster declaration," said Governor Abbott. "Texas looks forward to working with its FEMA partners to ensure those in need receive the assistance necessary to start rebuilding their lives."

The counties which qualify for Individual Assistance are Bastrop, Brazoria, Caldwell, Comal, Galveston, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Hays, Hidalgo, Liberty, Navarro, Travis, Willacy, and Wilson Counties.

Individual Assistance can including Temporary Housing, Lodging Expenses reimbursement, financial assistance for repair or replacement and permanent or semi-permanent housing construction.

Other assistance in addition to housing needs can be found on this FEMA page.

The SBA says businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.

The SBA can also lend additional funds to businesses and homeowners to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private nonprofit organizations of any size, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. EIDL assistance is available to businesses regardless of any property damage.

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Interest rates can be as low as 4 percent for businesses, 2.625 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 1.875 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.
To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, victims must first call the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at (800) 621-FEMA (3362). 
As soon as Federal-State Disaster Recovery Centers open throughout the affected area, SBA will provide one-on-one assistance to disaster loan applicants. 
Additional information and details on the location of disaster recovery centers is available by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955. 

Three trends for the holidays

NEW YORK (AP) -- The holiday season is upon us. Here's what shoppers can expect if they're heading out to stores at any point during the holiday shopping season:




Yet again, trend experts say there's no single item that's emerging as a must-have for the holiday season.


Sure, in the world of toys, anything "Star Wars" is faring well as well as a slew of robotic pets like robotic toy bears from Mattel's Fisher-Price and an interactive unicorn from Hasbro. But there's no runaway hit.


In fashion, jeans are making a comeback this holiday season, which should help perk up teen retailers' business, and athletic-inspired clothing like yoga pants remain popular. But overall, there's nothing that's making shoppers run to stores.


"You have a democratic influence. Nobody dictates trends," said William Taubman, chief operating officer at Taubman Centers Inc., which operates more than 20 malls in the U.S.




Heavy sweaters and winter coats are piling up at department stores and specialty chains heading into the Black Friday weekend.


Unseasonably warm weather and a shift in changing shopping habits toward experiences like spas have limited shoppers' appetite for such clothing. So plenty of stores like Macy's, Nordstrom and Dick's Sporting Goods say they plan to further mark down excess goods.


Tom Clarke, managing director at AlixPartners and co-head of the retail practice, expects retailers will step up discounting this weekend beyond what's planned to take advantage of the crowds in the stores.


That's good news for shoppers, but bad news for stores whose profit margins will be squeezed. In fact, fourth-quarter profits are expected to be up 1. 4 percent on average for the 119 retailers Retail Metrics LLC tracks. That's down from the anticipated 3.7 percent growth just a month ago.


But many are left with no choice but to discount.


As Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren recently told analysts; "We're not selling lumber so I can't carry the lumber over to 2016 and sell it at the same price next year. We're selling fashion apparel, so we're going to mark that inventory down."



Prices are climbing for toys as manufacturers pack lots of technology into them. Deborah Weinswig of the Fung Business Intelligence Center says in a recent report that prices of what the company considers the top 20 expected toys was nearly 36 percent higher than last year, with the average price of $64.99.


And there are plenty of toys that cost $100 or more, observed Toys R Us CEO Dave Brandon. He cited Fisher-Price's Smart Bear, which has a suggested price of $99.99, as an example.


Jim Silver, editor-in-chief of TTPM, an online toy review site, says there's a limited selling window for the pricier toys. Parents save the most expensive ones as gifts and buy them in December.


Bryant Feliz, the father of a five-year-old girl, says he likes the diverse assortment of toys in the stores, but he doesn't like the prices.


"At what costs should we be paying for our own kids' enjoyment?" he said


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Watch President Obama speak live to nation about holiday security

IMAGE, File: President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sunday, Nov. 22, in Southeast Asia. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama will brief the public on the nation's homeland security posture heading into the holiday season.

Watch President Obama speak live on CBS

Obama will speak from the White House after meeting with his national security team in the Situation Room.

The White House has said there is no credible and specific intelligence indicating a plot in the U.S. similar to the deadly Nov. 13 attacks in Paris. However, the White House says Obama wanted to review efforts to monitor threats and evaluate security procedures heading into the busy holiday travel season.

Houston-area man gets life sentence in Texas 'stand your ground' retrial

HOUSTON (AP) -- A jury has sentenced a Houston-area man to life in prison for killing his neighbor during an argument over loud music.

The Harris County jury sentenced Raul Rodriguez Tuesday in state district court in Houston. The jurors previously rejected Raul Rodriguez's self-defense claim under Texas' "stand your ground" law, finding him guilty of murder Friday in the death of 36-year-old elementary school teacher Kelly Danaher.

Rodriguez's attorney argued that he feared for his life. Prosecutors alleged Rodriguez provoked Danaher, lured him outside and shot him while recording the incident on his cellphone. That video was shown to the jury.

It was second time Rodriguez was convicted of murder for the 2010 slaying. He served two years of a 40-year term when a Texas appeals court overturned his 2012 conviction.

Post Office offers return letters from Santa Claus

(KRXI) -- Parents, you might not want your kids to read past this point.



The U.S. Postal Service said in a statement that it will help prove the existence of Santa by "delivering" a reply to a child's letter, complete with a North Pole postmark.


To get a response, the Post Office recommends the following steps:

  1. Have your child write a letter to Santa and place it in an envelope addressed to: Santa Claus, North Pole.
  2. Later, when alone, open the envelope and write a personalized response.
  3. Insert the response letter into an envelope and address it to the child.
  4. Add the return address: SANTA, NORTH POLE, to the envelope.
  5. Ensure the envelope is affixed with a First-Class Mail stamp, such as a recently issued Charlie Brown Christmas stamp.
  6. Place the complete envelope into a larger envelope preferably a Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope with appropriate postage, and address it to:

North Pole Postmark


4141 Postmark Drive

Anchorage, AK 99530-9998


Letters must be received no later than Dec. 15. The USPS also recommends sharing the experience on social media with #LettersFromSanta.


The U.S. Post Service also included tips for writing letters:


To save paper, write on the back of your child's letter. If you keep them together, your child will also be able to recall what he or she wrote.

When responding as Santa, make the response as personal as possible by highlighting your child's accomplishments over the past year. For example, helping around the house, receiving good grades in a particular subject at school or participating in community service activities.

This is a great activity for Thanksgiving that the whole family can enjoy, including parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and other caregivers.

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