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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: 85,684

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

UConn student painted swastika near Jewish campus center during Passover, charged with hate crime

UConn student painted swastika near Jewish campus center during Passover, charged with hate crime, police say

A 21-year-old UConn student was arrested Thursday and charged with a hate crime one month after a swastika was found spray-painted on the side of a chemistry building on campus during Passover and directly across the street from UConn Hillel.

Kristopher Pieper was charged with third-degree intimidation based on bias and third-degree criminal mischief, UConn police announced Thursday afternoon.

An arrest warrant affidavit details how investigators traced Pieper back to the crime using campus security camera footage, wireless internet records and his use of his student access card to enter buildings the night of the incident.

“We are grateful to UConn Police for their efforts, which, along with our clearly articulated values as an institution, help to demonstrate that hateful acts such as these will never be tolerated at UConn,” university President Thomas Katsouleas wrote in a message to students and staff before the announcement. “Every member of our community — students, faculty, staff, alumni, and guests — deserves to feel safe and respected at UConn. Anyone who violates that principle goes against the values this university exists to uphold.”

Read more: https://www.courant.com/breaking-news/hc-br-uconn-anti-semitic-graffiti-arrest-20210429-4yfkfey5dfhr7noulbpywmytyy-story.html

'Capacity catastrophe': Texas' big outsourcing of foster care tested by system's woes

AUSTIN — Though the foster care system in Texas has been rocked by a growing shortage of beds and increasingly pointed critiques by a federal judge, leading providers are urging the GOP-led Legislature to double down on a regional privatization approach.

The private providers are advocating brisk rollout of “community based care,” in which one non-state entity is ceded virtual control of a geographic region, even as citations and official rebukes pile up on the two nonprofits in charge of the push in San Antonio and Fort Worth.

Troubles are mounting in both cities, the only urban demonstrations so far of the community based care model that is likely to be imposed on Dallas late next year – assuming there are willing bidders.

The upheaval in San Antonio this week has capped a year of mounting apprehension for advocates of the new approach for purchasing foster-care beds. Community based care involves delegating authority to an area’s lead vendor and, eventually, eliminating the jobs of Child Protective Services workers and shifting case management to private-agency workers.

Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2021/04/30/capacity-catastrophe-texas-big-outsourcing-of-foster-care-tested-by-systems-woes/

Authorities say they won't seek charges after investigating allegation that a lobbyist drugged a

Authorities say they won't seek charges after investigating allegation that a lobbyist drugged a Texas Capitol staffer

by Cassandra Pollock, Texas Tribune

The Texas Department of Public Safety and Travis County District Attorney’s Office said Thursday “that there is not enough evidence to support” an allegation that a lobbyist used a date rape drug on a Capitol staffer and that “no crime occurred in this instance.”

“DPS has conducted a thorough investigation following allegations of drugging of a Capitol staffer by a lobbyist,” the joint statement said. “Together, we have concluded that ... criminal charges are not appropriate.”

The statement did not name the lobbyist, and officials have not offered further details — including the names of anyone allegedly involved — since DPS confirmed it was investigating the allegation, as first reported by the Austin American-Statesman.

Earlier this week, though, after DPS confirmed it was investigating the allegation, Bill Miller, a co-founder of the prominent Austin-based HillCo Partners, told The Texas Tribune that one of its employees was "a person of interest" in the investigation.

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2021/04/29/texas-lobbyist-drugged-charges/

Updates after more than 90 people found inside SW Houston home

HOUSTON — Houston police said dozens of people were found inside a home in Southwest Houston on Friday.

According to police, initial reports are that more than 90 people were found inside the home in the 12200 block of Chessington Drive, which is just off the Beltway near Highway 69.

The Houston Police Department tweeted that the incident was initially reported as a kidnapping but they believe it could involve human smuggling.

HPD said it would provide more updates Friday afternoon.

Read more: https://www.khou.com/article/news/local/watch-live-updates-after-more-than-90-people-found-inside-sw-houston-home/285-abac5c5f-ef0c-45da-9d9f-408ad5e539d3

Bill Preventing Background Checks For College Students Advances

A bill that would prohibit institutions of higher learning from asking about a student’s criminal history during the application process is awaiting action in the House after being approved by the Judiciary Committee.

The bill would prohibit colleges and universities from considering a previous criminal history when making the decision to enroll a student in a class or a degree program. It would also prevent using it to determine their eligibility for financial aid, grants or scholarships.

The bill also creates the Postsecondary Prison Education Program Office which would approve colleges and universities to operate prison education programs at correctional facilities throughout the state and oversee grant programs and other ways of educating students who are incarcerated.

The bill originated in the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee.

Read more: https://ctnewsjunkie.com/2021/04/26/bill-preventing-background-checks-for-college-students-advances/

Senate votes to repeal CT's religious exemption to mandatory vaccinations

A measure repealing Connecticut’s religious exemption from mandatory school vaccinations is headed for Gov. Ned Lamont’s desk, after the Senate gave final passage to the bill in an evening vote Tuesday over the objections of several Republicans and thousands of protestors who gathered outside the state Capitol.

Senators voted 22 to 14 in favor of the proposal after nine hours of debate. The vote broke mostly along party lines, with just two Democrats, Sens. Cathy Osten and Dennis Bradley, voting against it.

Gov. Ned Lamont has pledged to sign the bill, which would not force children to be inoculated but would bar students who refuse vaccines on religious grounds from attending public and private schools in Connecticut.

“This proposed legislation is bad policy, it is poorly devised, and it will have significant and far reaching negative consequences,” said Sen. Rob Sampson, a Republican from Wolcott. “Most importantly, it is fundamentally wrong, immoral, and I would say even anti-American.”

Read more: https://ctmirror.org/2021/04/27/as-senate-debate-heats-up-on-religious-exemption-bill-protestors-gather-in-opposition/

Aliera, Trinity HealthShare agree to stop marketing plans in Connecticut

The health care sharing ministry and the group that sells its plans will also pay the state $50K

The Aliera Companies and a health care sharing ministry whose plans it promoted, Trinity HealthShare, have agreed to stop marketing in Connecticut, the state Insurance Department announced Tuesday.

The agreement comes 16 months after the department issued a cease and desist order against Trinity and Aliera, saying they illegally advertised their plans as health insurance in the state. Insurance Commissioner Andrew Mais accused the organizations of “misleading consumers and trying to avoid insurance regulation.”

The deal does not affect current ministry members, but it bars the groups from marketing their plans to new customers.

“We are seeing entities in the marketplace misleading consumers and trying to avoid insurance regulation,” Mais said Tuesday. “Consumers need protection from these practices, and the department will provide that. It is important for consumers to be cautious when they purchase health coverage or have questions or concerns. The department is always willing to verify licensing and answer questions from consumers.”

Read more: https://ctmirror.org/2021/04/27/aliera-trinity-healthshare-agree-to-stop-marketing-plans-in-connecticut/

Financial penalties ordered for Eversource, United Illuminating for storm Isaias response

Eversource and United Illuminating failed to fully prepare for and respond to Tropical Storm Isaias last year, according to state utility regulators who reduced the companies’ ability to recoup costs.

The decision adopted unanimously Wednesday by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority also could lead to the imposition of civil penalties. PURA chairwoman Marissa P. Gillett said the authority will move immediately into the next phase of its proceedings and that action could happen as soon as next week.

And while the authority did not announce specific financial data, the utilities — which can challenge this ruling in Superior Court — stand to lose millions of dollars.

“We stand by our response in Storm Isaias as we know our thousands of employees showed skill and dedication in restoring power to customers as quickly as possible,” Eversource spokeswoman Tricia T. Modifica said afterward. “There are many areas for improvement that we are already addressing, and we continue to work in good faith with our communities, customers and regulators to improve our performance. Today’s decision deserves careful consideration and review, and we are committed to moving forward in the best interest of our customers.”

Read more: https://ctmirror.org/2021/04/28/financial-penalties-ordered-for-eversource-ui-for-storm-isaias-response/

About 20 hospitalized after Pawtucket chemical spill

A chemical spill at a Pawtucket manufacturing facility resulted in multiple hospitalizations on Thursday.

It occurred at ZOLL Medical, a company that manufactures medical devices, located at 525 Narragansett Park Drive.

In a statement released that night, ZOLL Medical said employees "reported feeling unwell" around 4:30 p.m.

"As a precaution, the building was evacuated and approximately 20 employees were taken by ambulance to area hospitals," the company said. "None showed symptoms that were life-threatening."

Read more: https://www.providencejournal.com/story/news/2021/04/29/pawtucket-chemical-spill-sends-several-hospital/7404684002/

First witnesses testify in Correia trial, tracing rise from shoe salesman to mayor of Fall River

Testimony begins this week in the trial of Jasiel Correia, the former mayor of Fall River accused of taking $600,000 in bribes from marijuana companies and defrauding investors in a company he founded before taking office.

Correia’s attorney, Kevin Reddington, offered a first glimpse of the defense’s strategy during opening arguments on Monday, pounding the table and challenging the government to find a single document where Correia promised investors he would not draw income from his startup SnoOwl. The company’s stated intention was to build an app that would connect business owners with social media users looking for local promotions and discounts.

Reddington said Correia openly used SnoOwl’s bank account for personal expenses because they were a legitimate form of compensation.

“You can see every expense that was made,” Reddington said. “He wasn't hiding anything.”

Read more: https://thepublicsradio.org/article/first-witnesses-testify-in-correia-trial-tracing-rise-from-shoe-salesman-to-mayor-of-fall-river
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