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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 85,759

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

3 fraternity pledges cited in theft of rare tree from UW Arboretum in Madison

Police in Madison have cracked the case of the conifer crooks who stole a rare tree from the University of Wisconsin Arboretum in November.

After a tip Monday, investigators zeroed in on three UW-Madison students who ultimately confessed to harvesting the tree while pledging to the Chi Phi fraternity, which has not been recognized by the university since 2015.

According to University of Wisconsin-Madison police, the men admitted to buying a saw, renting a trailer and cutting and removing the tree.

When the vandalism was discovered Nov. 9, investigators also found a 12-foot section had been cut from a nearby Compact White Fir and left behind by the thieves.


Lovicott said when the students realized after the theft the tree was a rare 25-foot tall Algonquin Pillar Swiss Mountain Pine Tree, planted in 1981, and that university police were investigating the theft, they "destroyed" the tree and got rid of the evidence somewhere about 30 miles from Madison.

Read more: https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/crime/2021/03/26/3-students-cited-cutting-down-rare-pine-uw-madison-arboretum/7012565002/

Former Columbus mayor pleads guilty to bank fraud in real estate development case

COLUMBUS, Wis. (AP) — The former mayor of Columbus has pleaded guilty to bank fraud charges in federal court.

Michael Eisenga was accused of fraudulently obtaining a nearly $7 million loan for a grocery store development in Columbus.

“Unfortunately, it’s all true, your honor,” Eisenga, 49, told U.S. District Judge William Conley at a virtual plea hearing Thursday.

“What I did, your honor, was I created a fake lease showing that there was a lease between a third-party grocery chain and the LLC that owned the grocery store building,” Eisenga said. “And I used that to obtain financing from Alliant Credit Union. I knew at the time that I did that that the lease was a false lease and that I did not, in fact, have a lease with that grocery store chain.”

Read more: https://dailyreporter.com/2021/03/26/former-columbus-mayor-pleads-guilty-to-bank-fraud-in-real-estate-development-case/
(Milwaukee Daily Reporter)

Pollution concerns lead to bottled water for French Island

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said Thursday that the state will provide free bottled water to about 4,300 residents of French Island in La Crosse County due to concerns about groundwater pollution from PFAS “forever chemicals” that have been linked to causing cancer and a wide array of other illnesses.

The chemicals were first detected in French Island wells in 2014. The contamination has been traced to several plane crashes at La Crosse Regional Airport, where PFAS- containing firefighting foam was used, as well as routine yearly testing of foam by the airport. The chemicals are believed to have spread into groundwater from near the airport on the northern part of the island to its southern half.

Tests have revealed at least 184 private wells around the airport contain some level of PFAS and of those 61 exceed the state’s PFAS standard for the chemical, said Darsi Foss, administrator of the Department of Natural Resources Division of Environmental Management.

The state Department of Natural Resources said Thursday that it was working with other state agencies to provide bottled water to all residents on the island. The city of La Crosse has been providing bottled water only to residents within an investigation area, even as those outside the area have been requesting bottled water for months.

Read more: https://dailyreporter.com/2021/03/26/pollution-concerns-lead-to-bottled-water-for-french-island/
(Milwaukee Daily Reporter)

Two KXL protesters in South Dakota face criminal charges

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A pair of people protesting the Keystone XL pipeline are facing criminal charges in South Dakota.

Construction on the long-disputed oil pipeline planned by Canada-based TC Energy halted in January as President Joe Biden revoked its permit on his first day in office, but a small group of protesters plan to maintain an encampment on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation nearby the pipeline route until all pipeline infrastructure is removed, the Rapid City Journal reported.

The protest group says the pipeline is being built on unceded treaty land and will cause environmental damage. However, residents of Philip, a nearby town, said they were disappointed the pipeline permit was canceled because it would have brought a temporary economic boost.

Two of the protesters, Oscar High Elk and Jasilyn Charger, face criminal charges from confrontations with law enforcement, TC Energy workers and local residents. Charger faces a misdemeanor charge for allegedly trespassing on property and attaching herself to a pump station last year.

Read more: https://dailyreporter.com/2021/03/29/two-kxl-protesters-in-south-dakota-face-criminal-charges/
(Milwaukee Daily Reporter)

Dallas Rep. Colin Allred taking short paternity leave to take care of newborn son

Rep. Colin Allred, D-Dallas, will be taking a short paternity leave from Congress to help his wife, Alexandra Eber, take care of their newborn son.

His son, Cameron Eber Allred was born late Sunday night, said spokesman Joshua Stewart. Allred took a similar leave in 2019, for the birth of his first child, Jordan, who is now two years old. Allred will be on leave from Congress for about a month, Stewart said.

“Family is so important and I will continue working so all parents have the opportunity to be with their new baby during this special time,” Allred said in a statement. “Being there for your partner and newborn during this critical period leads to better outcomes for kids, dads and their partners, and men taking paternity leave promotes equality for working moms.”

Allred, who has been a strong advocate for paid family leave, added that the pandemic “only further underscored the need for all Americans to have access to paid family leave.”


Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2021/03/29/dallas-rep-colin-allred-taking-short-paternity-leave-to-take-care-of-newborn-son/

Texas lawmakers push for police reforms in response to Botham Jean shooting

Austin -- Allison Jean visited Austin for the second time on Monday. Her first trip was with her son Botham, who was in town for work. The second visit was in his memory, as she and Texas lawmakers pushed for a bill in response to Botham’s death at the hands of a former Dallas police officer.

Many wore masks emblazoned with “Bo’s Law” as Allison Jean stood among a group of supporters at the Texas Capitol.

“Initially in the aftermath of Botham’s death, I felt stronger than I feel,” Allison Jean said. “I’m tired. And I realize that there’s a lot to fight for. I’m happy that I’m not fighting alone. These initiatives are really important for us. They don’t bring Bo back, which is ultimately what we want, but they certainly can assist another person.”

In October 2019, Amber Guyger was found guilty of murder in the September 2018 fatal shooting at Botham Jean’s apartment. Guyger testified she went inside Jean’s apartment believing it was hers and thought Jean was an intruder. She was in uniform, having recently finished a shift for the Dallas Police Department.

Read more: https://www.star-telegram.com/news/politics-government/article250291145.html

NASA in the process of retiring ISS in favor of private space stations

NASA is making plans to support a new generation of space stations to take over for the International Space Station (ISS) when it retires.

The space agency is considering having ISS partners develop new commercial space stations for future low Earth orbit missions (LEO), according to Elizabeth Howell with Space.com.

Phil McAlister, director of commercial spaceflight development at NASA headquarters, described why it's necessary to think beyond the ISS.

"ISS is an amazing system, but unfortunately it won't last forever; it could experience an unrecoverable anomaly at any time," McAlister said.

Read more: https://www.chron.com/news/space/article/NASA-supports-new-space-stations-16061387.php

Ban on renter evictions during COVID-19 pandemic is extended

Source: AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is extending a federal moratorium on evictions of tenants who have fallen behind on rent during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday moved to continue the pandemic-related protection, which had been scheduled to expire on Wednesday. The moratorium is now extended through the end of June.

The ban, initially put in place last year, provides protection for renters out of concern that having families lose their homes and move into shelters or share crowded conditions with relatives or friends during the pandemic would further spread the highly contagious virus, which has killed more than 545,000 people in the United States.

To be eligible for the housing protection, renters must earn $198,000 annually or less for couples filing jointly, or $99,000 for single filers; demonstrate that they’ve sought government help to pay the rent; declare that they can’t pay because of COVID-19 hardships; and affirm they are likely to become homeless if evicted.

Read more: https://www.chron.com/news/article/Ban-on-renter-evictions-during-COVID-19-pandemic-16061413.php

Former Mexican politician pleads guilty to money laundering in areas including San Antonio

In a high-profile case that dragged on for years as he avoided arrest by both U.S. and Mexican authorities, the former governor of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas has pled guilty to one count of money laundering.

Tomás Yarrington Ruvalcaba entered a guilty plea in court Thursday, eight years after he was hit with a 53-page indictment, as reported by Jason Buch of the San Antonio Express-News.

The U.S. government accused Yarrington of taking bribes from the Zetas drug cartel while he was in office, actively taking part in their drug trafficking operations and laundering bribe money in the United States.

In the end, Yarrington admitted to using Texas real estate transactions, including investing in property in San Antonio, to launder millions in bribes he received from individuals and companies who wanted to do business with Tamaulipas. But he did not admit to taking bribes from drug traffickers.

Read more: https://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/article/Former-Mexican-politician-pleads-guilty-to-money-16057149.php

Black lawmakers, NAACP and students push back on UT-Austin's "The Eyes of Texas" report, urge school

Black lawmakers, NAACP and students push back on UT-Austin’s “The Eyes of Texas” report, urge school to lose the song

by Kate McGee, Texas Tribune

Members of Texas’ Legislative Black Caucus have joined the fight to rid the University of Texas at Austin of its alma mater song, “The Eyes of Texas” — with several members bringing their case directly to President Jay Hartzell on the issue, a state lawmaker said Monday.

State Rep. Ron Reynolds, D-Missouri City, was joined at the Texas Capitol by religious leaders, state and local NAACP chapter presidents, and UT-Austin students for a press conference to condemn the university for its decision to keep the song. The group took issue with a recent university commissioned report that found the song was likely performed in blackface when it premiered in 1903, but ultimately concluded that the song was not “overtly racist.”

“According to the committee report, they believe they can redefine what the song stands for by acknowledging its history,” said Anthony Collier, student body president at the University of Texas School of Law. “You can’t redefine racism. Acknowledging racism is fine, but it’s far from sufficient. It’s not enough to acknowledge racism. We must abolish racism.”

The song has become a dividing line between the UT-Austin community since last summer, when students and a group of athletes released a list of demands in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Among the demands was a call for UT-Austin to discontinue singing the song because it premiered at a university minstrel show where students likely wore blackface and performed skits that perpetuated racist stereotypes of Black people.

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2021/03/29/ut-austin-eyes-of-texas/
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