Archive for Real Estate

Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold faces more claims of abusive behavior from former aide

AP

A third former top aide has accused Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold of crude, abusive behavior, CNN reported Wednesday.

One of the Corpus Christi congressman’s former communications directors, Michael Rekola, described a work environment so hostile that he said he required counseling and medical treatment.

He described "screaming fits of rage, slamming fists on desks and castigating aides," CNN reported.

He has offered to provide the House Ethics Comittee with "examples of sexually inappropriate comments" and discuss Farenthold’s "emotionally damaging" and "intimidating" behavior.

Rekola said he’d been subjected to lewd comments, including remarks about his fiancee shortly before his marriage. He said he left his job soon after Farenthold made those comments in 2015.

The congressman denied the comments, CNN said.

But Elizabeth Peace, another former communications director who has accused Farenthold of inappropriate behavior, said she was a witness to the remarks about Rekola’s fiancee.

"Every staffer in that area heard it," she said. "It was the most shocking thing I’d heard him say at that point."

Earlier this week, Peace backed up another former aide’s accusations that Farenthold engaged in inappropriate sexual banter with his staff.

The first accuser — Lauren Greene, who also once served as Farenthold’s communications director — received an $84,000 settlement after suing him in 2014 for sexual harassment, gender discrimination and a hostile work environment.

Farenthold has maintained his innocence and recently vowed to repay taxpayers for the settlement, which was covered with money controlled by Congress’ Office of Compliance.

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If Congress doesn’t fund children’s health insurance, Texas officials have an idea

The New York Times

AUSTIN — If federal funding doesn’t come through, Texas may have found a way to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program a few more weeks.

Texas agencies are considering an accounting trick to leave more money in the program. By not taking matching money from the federal government for kids who used to be enrolled in CHIP but are now covered by Medicaid, Texas can stretch the remaining federal funds for CHIP.

The tactic isn’t a long-term solution. Texas House Speaker Joe Straus wrote a letter asking state Health and Human Services Commissioner Charles Smith to support the option as a “temporary bridge.”

“While I am cautiously optimistic regarding federal efforts, I do want to ensure that the state is prepared to move quickly and prudently should Congress fail to act in a timely manner,” Straus wrote.

Spokeswoman Carrie Williams confirmed that the Health and Human Services Commission has discussed possible ways to extend CHIP with the Legislative Budget Board, including forgoing the federal match funding for a few months.

“We’re all working together to assess contingency funding options and analyze the risks they may carry for state taxpayer dollars if federal funding doesn’t come through in time,” Williams said in an email. “We’re open to exploring options and doing what’s best for Texas under the direction of state leadership. We’re hopeful that federal funds will be made available to carry the program through February, and that Congress renews the program soon.”

Congress allowed CHIP funding to expire Sept. 30. Since then, the commission has requested an extra $90 million from the federal government to keep CHIP through February.

The commission has signaled that it feels confident that additional money will be approved but is waiting for written commitment from the federal Centers of Medicare and Medicaid, expected by Saturday, before mailing CHIP cancellation notices to families.

For Texas kids enrolled in CHIP, the federal government matches 92 percent of the money the state puts in — a much higher rate than the 56 percent funding match for those enrolled in Medicaid. The higher match funding for CHIP goes to Medicaid to cover Texas children who switched from CHIP to Medicaid.

If the state uses the accounting trick, Medicaid will temporarily lose some of its support, but Texas would be able to reclaim the money retroactively if Congress reauthorizes CHIP funding.

Anne Dunkelberg, associate director of the Center for for Public Policy Priorities, a center-left think tank, said this method could result in a significant amount of funding for CHIP because its match rate is dramatically higher than for Medicaid.

“It’s wonderful to see creative thinking going on about how we can postpone what will be a tremendous waste of state money and effort and tremendous stress for 400,000 children,” said Dunkelberg, a former state Medicaid official. “If we can use creative but legitimate financing methods to make the money stretch further, it would be huge.”

As of August, CHIP covered 402,500 children in Texas and nearly 35,000 women. Dallas County has 50,000 kids enrolled in the program.

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Supermoon To Rise Over Dallas This Weekend

DALLAS, TX — Those looking for free entertainment in Dallas this weekend might be able to find it right in their own back yards. Starting at 5:51 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3, the last Supermoon of 2017 will take its place in the sky above the U.S.

The moon will be most visible during moonrise. Weather permitting, the spectacle will last until 8:07 a.m. Monday.

The last Supermoon of the year is sometimes referred to as the "Cold Moon," but Dallasites need not worry about getting too cold. Sunday’s forecast calls for a high of 75 degrees and a low of 63 degrees. The only weather concern North Texans should have is clouds, as the forecast calls for partly cloudy skies and light rain.

It’s called a Supermoon because of its large appearance in the sky. Because the moon circles Earth in an oblong orbit, it gets closer to the blue planet at certain points in the year — sometimes more than 30,000 miles closer than regular. As a result, the moon will appear 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than usual.

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Watch Now: Last Supermoon Of The Year This Weekend

Associated Press file photo — The super moon rises, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016, in Ascain, south western France. Monday’s supermoon, a phenomenon that happens when the moon makes a close pass at the earth, is the closest to earth since 1948. (AP Photo/Bob Edme)

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Terry Glenn dead at 43 after car crash near Dallas

Former NFL wide receiver Terry Glenn died Monday after a one-vehicle rollover accident near Dallas that left his fianc?e slightly injured, officials said. He was 43.

Glenn died shortly before 1 a.m. at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, according to the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office. Irving (Texas) police are investigating the cause of the wreck at 12:18 a.m. on eastbound Highway 114, said Chelsey Jones, a police department spokeswoman.

Glenn, a former star at Ohio State who lived in the Dallas area, was driving when the vehicle left the highway, struck a concrete barrier and rolled, authorities said. Glenn was ejected. Jones said his fianc?e was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Her name and further details weren’t released. Jones had no immediate information on whether the couple wore seatbelts.

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Glenn played parts of 12 seasons in the NFL — six with the New England Patriots, five with the Dallas Cowboys and one with the Green Bay Packers. He made the Pro Bowl in 1999 as a member of the Patriots and finished his career with 8,823 yards and 44 touchdowns.

Former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who was Glenn’s teammate with the Patriots and Cowboys, said Glenn turned a corner as he got older.

"He was one of those guys that just grew up in the worst possible environment, and he told me at one point he had a hard time trusting people because everybody he ever trusted either betrayed him or died and so he kept to himself," Bledsoe told ESPN’s Todd Archer. "But as he got older, he really started to open up. When I was with him there at the end of our careers in Dallas, he really started to allow himself to trust people and started to turn a corner and become a happy person. Then with his retirement he was making a big impact on the world.

"The last time I talked to him, he just sounded like he was genuinely happy and in such a good place, and really, finally, totally overcoming those demons from the way he grew up. He was living a long and fulfilled life, and that makes it just such a horrible tragedy seeing what he overcame and then for his life to end too soon."

Glenn was selected by the Patriots with the seventh overall draft pick in 1996 and helped New England reach the Super Bowl later that season. He had four seasons with over 1,000 receiving yards, two with the Patriots and two with the Cowboys.

Patriots coach Robert Kraft said in a statement that the franchise is "shocked and deeply saddened by today’s news."

"Terry was one of the most gifted receivers we have ever had," Kraft said. "For so many Patriots fans, his rookie season will be remembered as one of the most impactful in franchise history. After a disappointing 6-10 finish in 1995, we drafted Terry seventh overall, and in his first year, he helped propel the Patriots to an AFC Championship and Super Bowl appearance. One of my favorite memories came when we hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional playoff game. It was my first home playoff game as an owner and just the second home playoff game in our history. It will always be remembered for the fog that filled Foxboro Stadium that day. Yet, on the first play from scrimmage, Drew Bledsoe threw a deep pass that disappeared in the fog and reappeared 53 yards downfield in Terry Glenn’s hands. We scored on the next play and ended up winning 28-3. Our thoughts and prayers are with Terry’s family, his former teammates and friends who mourn his loss."

"I was pretty close with Terry," Belichick said. "His rookie season was my first year here in ’96, so I had a lot of interaction with him and other people that were involved in his life and his upbringing separate from the Patriots. Terry’s a very smart individual. Had, obviously, a lot of physical skill and talent. Could do a lot of things on the football field very naturally. And I think was, deep down inside a good person with good intentions and a good heart. Obviously, it’s a very unfortunate passing and a sad day."

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement that Glenn "was a gentle and kind hearted young man."

"We are all terribly saddened by this news of his passing," Jones said. Too young and too soon. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his loved ones and all of the people who were touched by his life."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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How SMU’s big brain tackles everything from cancer research to finding what works in Dallas schools

Staff Photographer

Scientists looking for ways to improve chemotherapy narrowed millions of drug interactions down to three compounds with the help of a supercomputer at Southern Methodist University.

Meanwhile, a community psychologist in the university’s education school uses it to analyze academic results to identify what programs are having an impact in Dallas ISD students.

Being a data-driven university is key to SMU providing blockbuster research that leads to discoveries and designs impacting the Dallas community and the world at large, SMU president Gerald Turner said Monday.

“Information technology and data science are critical to the future of any 21st-century business and to the future of Dallas,” Turner said. “Data drives our economy.”

Turner spoke to area leaders about the progress SMU has made over its first 100 years. As he talked about what’s next for the university, he said SMU’s major commitment is to grow data-related initiatives in every discipline at the school that will help focus projects and produce more dynamic research.

In the past five years, SMU has invested about $85 million in data curriculum and in a supercomputer now known as ManeFrame II.

A high-speed supercomputer helps researchers study complex issues by processing massive amounts of data. SMU’s computer has tackled issues ranging from cyber security to cancer.

For example, researchers were able to narrow down drug compounds to find out which can overcome resistance to chemotherapy. They then used a Minecraft-like game to simulate treatment to further identify what works.

Turner said SMU’s supercomputing power is among the top 20 of the nation’s universities.

The university already offers 13 graduate degrees related to data science and plans to be one of the first in the nation to offer a bachelor’s when it does so next fall.

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Dallas reporter responds after Facebook user body shames her, and we’re applauding

Beauty standards for women have long informed who gets a platform. It’s why thin, long-legged and predominantly white bodies are all over magazine covers, runways and our TV screens while the many women who don’t pass muster are often rendered culturally invisible.

When someone who doesn’t fit this norm, who doesn’t slide into this pre-determined mold, battles through such barriers to actually become visible, there’s often someone out there who feels the need to attempt to tear them down.

That’s exactly what happened when one viewer posted a body-shaming message on Facebook about a new traffic reporter, Demetria Obilor, working for Dallas’ Channel 8. Jan Shedd wrote the following now-deleted post Wednesday:

Has anyone seen Channel 8’s new morning traffic reporter? Her name is Demetria Obilor & she’s a size 16/18 woman in a size six dress and she looks ridiculous . . . I understand that when I watch Channel 8 I’m going to get biased reporting and political correctness, but clearly they have taken complete leave of their senses. I’m not going to watch Channel 8 anymore.

The post went viral, but not because Twitter users agreed with Shedd’s statement. "Jan is big mad. Don’t be like Jan," wrote one Twitter user in a post that has been retweeted tens of thousands of times.

Jan is big mad. Don’t be like Jan. pic.twitter.com/ytAKJHMXBy

— Mother of Draggings (@fabfreshandfly) November 3, 2017

Even Chance The Rapper joined in the conversation.

BIIIIIIG MAD https://t.co/E9yzWbU9m8

Others addressed the racist undertones of Shedd’s comments.

This is precisely how women of color are treated in the workplace wearing the same exact shit the white girls have on. pic.twitter.com/kAhRs0zX9B — Nik (@HoneyBadger10) November 3, 2017

Shedd posted another message claiming that the "racist mafia" were harassing her and that she didn’t even notice that Obilor is black.

Obilor closed the controversy by posting a video message to Twitter, thanking her many supporters and asserting her agency. "This is the way that I’m built," she with a welcome measure of pride. "This is the way I was born. I’m not going anywhere." She added, "If you don’t like it, you have your options."

Addressing the haters, showing love to my ppl 💗 and thank you @chancetherapper 💯 pic.twitter.com/ks2cTSuLLe

— Demetria Obilor (@DemetriaObilor) November 3, 2017

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Texas sheriff’s office sports pink badges for breast cancer awareness

Law enforcement in Odessa, Texas sported hot pink badges this month when putting away criminals.

Police from the Ector County Sheriff’s Office paid for the badges out of pocket in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

A spokesperson for ECSO said its officers are proud to show off their support and that feedback from the community has been terrific.

When asked if pink firearms lay in store for next October, the Ector County Sheriff’s Office said the gesture would be a little more costly, "but never say never."

According to the Centers for Disease, roughly 20 out of 100,000 women in Texas die due to breast cancer each year.

Above: See things health experts warn can give people cancer.

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Mike Leach hires firm to dig up dirt on ‘weasels’ at Texas Tech

SportsPulse: USA TODAY’s college football reporter Paul Myerberg breaks down the hottest headlines from week 8.

USA TODAY Sports

(Photo: Orlando Jorge Ramirez, USA TODAY Sports)

Washington State football coach Mike Leach has escalated his feud with Texas Tech after hiring an investigator to dig up information about school officials, including phone records of the Tech board of regents.

Dolcefino Consulting, a firm in Houston, is working on behalf of Leach to help him put pressure on Tech to pay him what he says he’s owed for the 2009 football season — about $2.5 million. Leach remains Tech’s winningest coach but was fired after the 2009 season, when the Red Raiders finished 9-4.

The firm is led by Wayne Dolcefino, a former investigative reporter for a TV station in Houston.

“We’re going to get into their stuff, OK?” Dolcefino told USA TODAY Sports Monday.

Dolcefino said it’s time for “hardball” with Tech. That includes making public-records requests that seek evidence of waste, fraud and abuse.

“If they want to be weasels and not pay the guy, then they won’t pay him,” Dolcefino said. “But we’re going to look under every nook and cranny. We’re starting with phone records.”

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL:

Amway Coaches Poll: Notre Dame surges into top 10; Alabama stays No. 1

Dolcefino declined to say what Leach is paying him but noted his firm charges up to $235 per hour. He’s set up a website, paycoachleach.com, that asks viewers to sign a petition supporting the cause. Dolcefino also held a press conference Saturday in Lubbock outside of Tech’s football stadium.

Tech declined comment Monday on Leach’s recent salvo but previously noted the courts have ruled against him on the matter. Tech also has asserted that it paid Leach what he was owed according to his contract.

Leach coached at Tech for 10 years and now is in his sixth year at WSU, where’s he’s led the Cougars to a 7-1 record and a No. 16 ranking in the Amway Coaches Poll.

Leach said in a text message Monday that he is seeking information on where the money went, details on how he was fired and more.

"Also, what other corruption exists there that contributes to Tech cheating people out of money?" Leach said.

The feud stems from December 2009, when Tech fired Leach for legal cause, saying he mistreated a Tech player, Adam James, who was suffering from a concussion. Leach disputed this, sued the university and later obtained records and deposition testimony from witnesses to shed light on what happened and support his case.

But he never got his day in court to air it out. His case was thrown out after Tech claimed sovereign immunity as a state institution, which protected it from being successfully sued for damages.

With no further legal recourse, Leach is hoping to compel Tech to pay him through other means. He has used his Twitter account and other forums this year to wage his campaign against sovereign immunity and Tech. Now this.

"It is indisputable that they owe the money, whether the state of Texas will let them snake out of it or not," Leach said in a text message. "How many other people has Tech cheated over the years? By exposing these abuses of power, maybe we can get the sovereign immunity law in Texas changed and me and others can get paid."

The petition to pay him at Change.org had nearly 1,000 supporters as of Monday evening.

“This is a simple deal,” Dolcefino said. “They owe him the money. Everybody who does business with Texas Tech should worry that if Texas Tech decides they don’t want to pay, they just won’t pay. We’re going to stay around as long as Mike wants us to, and the only way they make us go away from our investigation is to work it out and pay him.”

Last week, Leach said certain Tech officials were “outright crooks.” He has said his beef is with them, and not Tech fans or the people of Lubbock. “Texas Tech is a fantastic place with fantastic people, with a few notable exceptions,” he told USA TODAY Sports earlier this year.

Leach’s 2009 contract with Tech says that if he were fired “for cause,” then the university’s “sole obligation” is to pay him his base pay of $300,000 and other performance incentives. Leach says that cause wasn’t proven in court and was false.

Leach says he received the $300,000 in base pay but not the $1.6 million he was owed in “guaranteed” income, or the $800,000 retention bonus that was due to him if he was the school’s coach on Dec. 31, 2009. Tech fired him a day earlier, but Leach says that bonus was “six years in the making” and due that year.

Leach spoke to USA TODAY Sports earlier this year about why he won’t let up on this cause.

Best of college football Week 8

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Texas Truck Driver Pleads Guilty To Smuggling Deaths Of 10 Undocumented Immigrants

Truck driver James Matthew Bradley Jr. arrives at the federal courthouse for a hearing in San Antonio in July 2017.

A 61-year-old truck driver has pleaded guilty to two counts of human smuggling leading to the deaths of 10 unauthorized immigrants in San Antonio earlier this year.

James Matthew Bradley Jr. pleaded guilty to one count of transporting aliens resulting in death and one count of conspiracy, according to a statement released by the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas. Bradley faces up to life in prison.

He was the driver of an 18-wheel tractor-trailer parked behind a Walmart store just after midnight in San Antonio on July 23. A police officer responding to a call by a Walmart employee found 39 immigrants at the scene, some standing, others lying in the rear of the trailer. Eight people died in the sweltering and airless trailer. Nearly 30 people were hospitalized, and two more people later died.

The immigrants told investigators that they estimate that at one point up to 200 people had been inside the trailer without food or water during transport. Investigators were unable to determine what happened to the scores of others who had been in the trailer.

Bradley initially told federal investigators that he didn’t know what cargo he was carrying and only discovered the dying occupants after he had stopped for a bathroom break.

"Today’s admission of guilt by Mr. Bradley helps to close the door on one of the conspirators responsible for causing the tragic loss of life and wreaking havoc on those who survived this horrific incident," said Shane M. Folden, special agent in charge, homeland security investigations in San Antonio, in the statement.

Folden called the incident a "glaring reminder that alien smugglers are driven by greed and have little regard for the health and well-being of their human cargo, which can prove to be a deadly combination."

A co-conspirator, 47-year-old Pedro Silva Segura, has been indicted on several counts including two counts of transporting undocumented aliens resulting in serious bodily injury and placing lives in jeopardy and two counts of conspiracy. Segura, described by authorities as a Laredo, Texas, man living in the U.S. without legal permission, was indicted last month.

Bradley will be sentenced in January 2018.

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Dallas Keuchel likely to start Game 1 of ALCS for Astros

BOSTON – Justin Verlander’s 40-pitch relief appearance in the Astros’ ALDS-clinching 5-4 victory on Monday made Dallas Keuchel the clear frontrunner to start Game 1 of the ALCS on Friday.

As the team celebrated its ALCS berth in the visitors’ clubhouse at Fenway Park, Hinch wasn’t ready to definitively declare a Game 1 starter but acknowledged the obvious.

"We’ll see who we play first," Hinch said, "but most likely Dallas."

Keuchel would be pitching on six days’ rest after his ALDS Game 2 start against the Red Sox. Verlander, who pitched 2 2/3 innings Monday, could then start Game 2 of the ALCS on Saturday on regular, four days’ rest.

Keuchel, who had a 2.90 ERA in 145 2/3 innings in the regular season, pitched 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball in his ALDS Game 2 start against the Red Sox.

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