GEORGETOWN -- The debate over removing the controversial Confederate soldier statue that stands outside the Williamson County courthouse has been going on for years.
It will receive a new focus after county commissioners and the county judge appoint a 15-member committee in January to study the monument erected in 1916 by the Daughters of the Confederacy.
The panel will study the statue's history and options for it in case commissioners decide to move it, said County Commissioner Russ Boles, who made the motion to form the committee.
The group will not provide an opinion on whether or not to move the statue, Boles said. Each member of the commissioners court will pick three people for the committee. Boles has not presented any criteria for their selection.
Read more: https://www.statesman.com/story/news/2020/12/31/new-focus-starts-williamson-county-confederate-statue-january/4092449001/
Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. has signed a 10th amended Emergency Management Order that includes reinstating curfews and limitations on gatherings.
The order states that no person under the age of 17 may be outside their residence between the hours of 10 p.m. through 6 a.m. unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. In addition, no person should be outside their residence between the hours of 12 a.m. and 5 a.m. unless seeking emergency assistance or engaged in essential travel.
The orders takes effect on Friday at 12:01 p.m. and will continue until Jan. 15, unless extended, modified or terminated early. The curfew begins at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.
Trevino states all bars and similar establishments must adhere to the 11 p.m. closing requirement ordered by Governor Greg Abbott.
Read more: https://www.brownsvilleherald.com/2020/12/31/cameron-county-judge-reinstates-curfews-limits-social-gatherings/
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Wednesday that he has sued the City of Austin and Travis County, a declaration that came a day after local leaders declared new restrictions for when restaurants and bars can serve customers during New Year's weekend.
Paxton filed a petition for temporary injunction and a temporary restraining order in Travis County District Court targeting orders made by Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Andy Brown. Citing an increase in COVID-19 cases, they announced that dine-in food and beverage service must be restricted indoors and outdoors from 10:30 p.m. to 6 a.m., starting Thursday and ending at 6 a.m. Sunday. The measure did allow drive-thru, curbside pick-up, take out, or delivery services.
Mayor Adler and Judge Brown do not have the authority to flout Gov. [Greg] Abbotts executive orders by shutting down businesses in Travis County and our states capital city, said Paxton in a statement. The fact that these two local leaders released their orders at night and on the eve of a major holiday shows how much contempt they have for Texans and local businesses."
Announcing the restrictions for Austin at a Wednesday morning news conference, Adler said the order which carries a maximum $1,000 fine but no jail time doesn't violate state regulations because its just an operational constraint. He added that the reason that we are doing this is because it focuses on the activity where people are together without wearing masks. Both the mayor and the county judge said they deemed the measure necessary given the increase of cases in the area.
Read more: https://www.kut.org/covid-19/2020-12-30/ken-paxton-sues-after-austin-bans-late-on-site-dining-for-new-years-weekend-amid-covid-19-surge
Source: Longview News-Journal
A judge in Tyler Congressman Louie Gohmerts lawsuit against Vice President Mike Pence has set a deadline for when Pence should respond to Gohmert and the other plaintiffs emergency request.
Gohmerts lawsuit, which was filed Sunday, states certain parts of the 1887 federal law, Electoral Count Act, are unconstitutional, and the litigation claims election fraud. The lawsuit would be withdrawn if Pence (and Congress) appoints President Donald Trump as president for a second term.
On Tuesday, plaintiffs in the case requested a shortened time for response and a scheduling order from the judge.
On Wednesday, District Judge Jeremy D. Kernodle, of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in Tyler, set Pences counsels response due date as Thursday by 5 p.m. He also set Gohmert and the other plaintiffs reply due date as Friday by 9 a.m., according to court records.
Read more: https://www.news-journal.com/news/local/east-texas-judge-sets-deadline-for-pence-in-gohmert-lawsuit/article_85e99afa-4afa-11eb-b768-1bad44060250.html
In the last week, Starr County is reporting they had 325 new cases of COVID-19 within one week and now the county hospital is nearly full, according to Starr County Health Authority Dr. Antonio Falcon.
The 325 new cases were from Dec. 21 through Dec. 28 and included 180 cases from Rio Grande City, 133 from Roma, three from La Grulla, three from Garciasville, two from Falcon Heights, one from Escobares, one from Santa Elena, and two from Salineño.
Of the 325, 71 of the individuals were 18 and younger while 254 were 19 and older.
Our numbers are probably going to go up before they do down, Falcon said during a news conference Wednesday.
The hospital is now very close to full, Falcon added, referring to Starr County Memorial Hospital. It wasnt that long ago that we only had two to three patients at a time and, as of yesterday, they had 12 patients and the emergency room now is reporting about half of their cases have COVID-related symptoms.
Read more: https://www.themonitor.com/2020/12/30/starr-county-hospital-nearing-covid-19-capacity/
HOUSTON Four people were killed at a Houston home Wednesday in what authorities said was likely a domestic violence shooting that included a man firing at police before turning a gun on himself.
Officers went to a home in the city's northeast around 3:15 a.m. after receiving a call saying a woman had been shot, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said at a news conference. The officers were met with gunfire and a SWAT team from the sheriff's office was then dispatched to the home.
Gonzalez said the SWAT team was eventually able to negotiate with the man to enter the home, but as team members were going inside they heard "a final gunshot." In the house, the officers found two dead women and two dead men, including a 49-year-old man who shot himself, he said.
Gonzalez said he believes the 49-year-old was the boyfriend of one of the women and that the other woman and man were her adult children. He also said one of the women who was ultimately shot is likely the person who called police. He did not identify any of them by name or give the ages of the other three.
Read more: https://www.texarkanagazette.com/news/texas/story/2020/dec/31/sheriff-four-dead-texas-domestic-violence-shooting/854532/
The pandemics toll on the nations health care system could be the perfect reason for Texas to reconsider expanding Medicaid coverage to include low income adults.
Economist Ray Perryman, president and CEO of The Perryman Group in Waco, points out that until now, Texas has been among 12 states that have steadfastly refused to expand Medicaid. The medical coverage for low-income residents is 90% funded by federal tax dollars. If Texas did expand coverage, it would bring billions of dollars into the state and about a million people could be insured
In the middle of this pandemic, so many people [are] losing health coverage, its just a really bad time to have billions of dollars sitting there for the taking and just walk away from it, Perryman said.
And those extra dollars could help stimulate businesses here in the Lone Star State, he said.
Basically what you find is a couple of things. Number one, billions of dollars in health spending that wouldnt occur otherwise, he said. And Texans dont pay any more taxes to get those dollars. And so that in and of itself generates a stimulus.
Read more: https://www.texasstandard.org/stories/during-a-pandemictexas-medicaid-expansion-worth-a-serious-look/
MINNEAPOLIS Imam Asad Zaman believes Michael Hari should be labeled a terrorist.
Hari, after all, masterminded the bombing of a place of worship. He appointed himself leader of an armed militant group that harbored anti-government sentiment. He rejected the ideology of American citizens and sought correction through violence.
"To me, it is not enough that Hari goes to prison," said Zaman. "I want to know where Hari got his money. And I want those people to also go to jail for 20 or 30 years."
Earlier this month, a jury found Hari guilty of orchestrating and helping carry out the 2017 bombing of Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center, a mosque in Bloomington. Zaman and other Muslim faith leaders in the Twin Cities are now calling on lawmakers to create a new statute specifically designating the crime of "domestic terrorism." The law, they say, would allow prosecutors to push for harsher penalties for homegrown attackers such as Hari and to pursue cases against co-conspirators who give them money, weapons or other forms of aid.
Read more: https://www.pantagraph.com/news/state-and-regional/prosecutors-say-minnesota-mosque-bombers-planned-attack-on-champaign-abortion-clinic/article_c64cfef2-599f-50df-8b64-e5d71c7dcd05.html
CONCORD, N.H. -- New Hampshire's Republican governor said Wednesday that he is canceling his outdoor inauguration ceremony next month because of public safety concerns - namely, armed protesters who have been gathering outside his home in the weeks since he issued a mask order.
"My first responsibility is ensuring the safety of my family and our citizens" Gov. Chris Sununu said in a news release. "For weeks, armed protesters have increasingly become more aggressive, targeting my family, protesting outside my private residence, and trespassing on my property - an outdoor public ceremony simply brings too much risk. We do not make this decision lightly but it is the right thing to do."
In consultation with Attorney General Gordon MacDonald, Sununu said, he and Senate President Chuck Morse, acting House Speaker Sherm Packard and the Executive Council will be sworn in during a small ceremony Jan. 7. It will be attended by leaders of both houses of the Legislature and will be virtually attended by all other members. Sununu will deliver his inaugural address at 7 p.m. that day.
Protesters started gathering outside Sununu's home in Newfields on Nov. 22 over his order, which had taken effect two days earlier, requiring masks to be worn in public spaces, indoors or outside, when social distancing isn't possible because of the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, local police issued summonses to nine people and arrested one of them under a new anti-picketing ordinance passed by the Newfields selectboard, on which Sununu's brother sits.
Read more: https://www.dailyherald.com/article/20201230/news/312309920/
(Arlington Heights Daily Herald)
Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, is accused of killing two people and injuring a third person during protests in Kenosha, Wis., this summer.
Rittenhouse was charged in August with multiple counts, including reckless and intentional homicide, endangerment and being a minor in possession of a firearm. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that prosecutors added violating curfew the night of the shootings to the list of charges on Dec. 28. The offense is a civil citation punishable by forfeiture.
Prosecutors allege Rittenhouse, who is white, left his home in Antioch and traveled to Kenosha after learning of a call for militia to protect businesses in that city on Aug. 25. Kenosha was in the throes of several nights of chaotic street demonstrations after a white officer shot Jacob Blake, who is Black, in the back, leaving Blake paralyzed.
Rittenhouse opened fire with an assault-style rifle during the protest that night, killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz. Rittenhouse has argued he fired in self-defense.
Read more: https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/2020/12/30/22206292/kyle-rittenhouse-kenosha-wisconsin
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