AP News: June 19, 2017

GEORGE P BUSH

APNewsBreak: George P. Bush seeking re-election in Texas

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — George P. Bush is seeking re-election as Texas land commissioner next year, hoping to continue running a little-known but powerful agency in a state where his political-dynasty family has been prominent for decades.

Bush unveiled a campaign website early Monday, and was emailing supporters.

His grandfather, President George H.W. Bush, was once a Texas congressman and his uncle, George W. Bush, left Texas’ governorship for the presidency.

Bush was elected land commissionership in 2014 — the first Bush to win an election on his first try.

After his father, Jeb, left last year’s presidential race, Bush broke with his relatives and campaigned publicly for then-candidate Donald Trump.

The land commissioner’s office regulates oil exploration on Texas’ 13 million acres of public land. Bush also has overseen a $450-million remodel of the Alamo.

 

JACKPOT RIGGING SCANDAL

FBI missed rigged jackpot in 2006 before lottery scheme grew

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A 2006 inquiry by the FBI into a lottery won by a Texas judge failed to uncover a jackpot rigging conspiracy that would continue for years.

The FBI opened an inquiry into Fayette County Justice of the Peace Tommy Tipton after an informant reported that Tipton had $450,000 in consecutively marked bills that he was trying to exchange.

Tommy Tipton told the FBI that his odd behavior was legal: He had won the Colorado lottery but was trying to hide the winnings from his wife.

The FBI believed him and closed its case. But investigators failed to uncover that Tipton’s older brother, Eddie, was a lottery programmer who had built the computer that picked the winning combination.

Eddie Tipton has been linked to rigged jackpots in four more states.

 

RED RIVER DROWNING

10-year-old Texas girl drowns in Red River in Oklahoma

IDABEL, Okla. (AP) — The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says a 10-year-old Texas girl drowned in the Red River in southeastern Oklahoma.

An OHP report says the girl from Texarkana, Texas, was not wearing a personal flotation device while wading in the river south of Idabel about 6 p.m. Saturday.

The report says she apparently slipped and went under water, and never resurfaced.

Her body was found about three hours later more than 200 feet from where she disappeared.

The girl’s name has not been released.

 

TEXAS-MCRAVEN’S FUTURE

Military hero McRaven having trouble as Texas chancellor

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — American military hero Bill McRaven is running into political problems in Texas.

The retired Navy Admiral and former special operations leader, who planned the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, now faces an uncertain future as chancellor of the University of Texas System.

After multiple clashes with lawmakers and a new makeup of the Board of Regents he works for, McRaven’s three-year contract expires at the end of the year and it’s an open question as to whether he’ll be back.

A tenure that started with promise has turned into a fight with state lawmakers over some of his plans for the system’s future. McRaven has said he’s waiting to hear from the Board of Regents to see if he’ll return. Regents are expected to discuss his future at two meetings this summer.

 

JAPAN-US NAVY COLLISION-THE LATEST

The Latest: US Navy chief promises full probe of collision

YOKOSUKA, Japan (AP) — The sister of a U.S. Navy sailor who grew up in Connecticut and was killed in a collision between a destroyer and a container ship off Japan is describing her brother as “selfless.”

Twenty-five-year-old Ngoc T Truong Huynh was one of seven sailors killed aboard the USS Fitzgerald on Saturday.

Lan Huynh told WVIT-TV on Sunday the family is coping as best they can.

She says they moved to Connecticut was Huynh was in eighth grade. She and her brother graduated from Watertown High School. He also attended Naugatuck Valley Community College before joining the Navy in 2014. The family moved to Oklahoma a short time later.

Lan Huynh says her brother always “had the brightest smile.”

Connecticut’s governor has ordered flags to fly at half-staff in Huynh’s honor.

 

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR’S RACE-COLLIER

Mike Collier kicks off bid for Texas lieutenant governor

ROUND ROCK, Texas (AP) — A Texas Democratic Party’s former finance chairman and a failed state comptroller candidate has formally launched his challenge of Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

Mike Collier made his 2018 lieutenant governor campaign announcement Saturday at a rally in Round Rock, near Austin.

Collier, who’s an accountant from Houston, was 2014’s Democratic nominee for comptroller, but lost to Republican Glenn Hegar.

Collier has for months said he planned to challenge Patrick, a former conservative talk radio host who was has used the lieutenant governorship to push the Texas Senate farther right.

A Democrat hasn’t won statewide office in Texas since 1994.

Some conservatives say Patrick could challenge Gov. Greg Abbott in next year’s GOP primary, but Patrick insists he’ll seek re-election — making him that race’s overwhelming favorite.

 

HOUSTON-EMANCIPATION PARK

Houston’s Emancipation Park rededicated after $34M upgrades

HOUSTON (AP) — Emancipation Park in Houston has been praised for its continuing relevance following a nearly $34 million restoration of what for years was the city’s only public park open to blacks.

Rededication ceremonies were held Saturday at the property bought more than 140 years ago by ex-slaves for $800. Houston acquired the park in 1918 amid racial segregation lasting until the 1960s.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner praised the dream that established the park in 1872 as a site to also celebrate Juneteenth, commemorating the abolition of slavery. On June 19, 1865, federal troops arrived in Galveston to declare Texas slaves free more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

The updated park includes a new fitness and recreation complex, a new swimming pool and improved walking and picnic areas.

 

MEN EVACUATED

US Coast Guard evacuates 2 men in need of medical aid

(Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard has medevaced two men it rescued off coasts of Texas and Louisiana.

The Times-Picayune reports that the Coast Guard says a 62-year-old and 44-year-old were rescued in two separate incidents on Saturday and Sunday.

The Coast Guard says the older man was on a fishing vessel 12 miles (19.3 kilometers) south of Grand Isle on Saturday when a 45-foot response boat crew arrived on-scene around 6:30 p.m. He suffered from prolonged flu-like symptoms and is in stable condition at a Galliano hospital.

Authorities say that at 7:50 a.m. on Sunday, a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter hoisted the younger man off a 60-foot tank ship 120 miles (193.1 kilometers) southeast of Galveston. He is hospitalized in stable condition after experiencing stroke-like symptoms.

 

DEADLY WRECK-HUNTSVILLE

3 from Oklahoma family killed in Texas traffic accident

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — Investigators say three relatives from Oklahoma died when their SUV bound for Houston rolled in a three-vehicle Central Texas wreck.

The Texas Department of Public Safety says the accident happened early Saturday on Interstate 45 just south of Huntsville. Sgt. Richard Standifer (STAN’-dih-fer) says two other people in the SUV and a car driver were hurt.

Standifer says a car following the SUV struck the larger vehicle. The SUV then hit an unoccupied vehicle left along I-45, rolled and killed three passengers.

Those victims were 17-year-old Sonia Perez, 27-year-old Maria Alvarado and 58-year-old Maria Revera De Alvarado, from Bixby, Oklahoma. Details weren’t immediately available on how they were related.

The SUV driver and another passenger were seriously hurt and taken to hospitals. The car driver was treated at the scene.

 

BEEVILLE-TRIPLE SLAYING

Suspect acquitted in 2015 triple slaying in Beeville

BEEVILLE, Texas (AP) — Authorities say the first of three suspects to be tried over a 2015 triple slaying in South Texas has been acquitted.

A Bee County jury on Friday found Presciliano “Pres” Martinez not guilty of capital murder.

Prosecutors say the case involves the September 2015 deaths of Barry Garcia, Marc Fuentes and Rosalinda Posada.

Investigators say the victims were found shot at a home in Beeville. The two men died at the scene. Posada died at a hospital in Beeville, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Corpus Christi.

Officials say two other suspects, Felix Perez and Jesse Munoz, await trial on capital murder charges.

A prosecutor didn’t immediately return messages Saturday.