AP News: June 20, 2017


Lawyers: Trump administration may back Texas immigration law

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Attorneys trying to halt a Texas law that would crackdown on “sanctuary cities” say the U.S. Justice Department has asked to weigh in on the case.

Luis Vera is a lawyer with the League of United Latin American Citizens. Vera believes the notice sent Monday to parties in the case including his group signals the administration of President Donald Trump will back the Texas law signed in May by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

A Justice Department spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Texas law takes effect in September and would let police ask people about their immigration status during routine stops. It also threatens elected officials with removal from office if they don’t cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

A court hearing is scheduled for next week in San Antonio.



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.



10-foot alligator roped, wrangled off East Texas ranch

HAWKINS, Texas (AP) — A Texas rancher lassoed a 10-foot alligator and wranglers crawled atop the thrashing reptile’s back after it got a little too close to the landowner’s cattle.

Bystanders shot video of the recent takedown near Hawkins, a town about 100 miles (161 kilometers) east of Dallas.

Byron South of Convergent Hunting Solutions says he got a call from the landowner, Hal Conover, after the alligator broke into a pen where he was weaning calves. Game wardens were also summoned.

South told The Associated Press that Conover was able to throw a rope around the reptile. The video later shows two men atop the gator as it thrashes and bites one man’s hand. The man suffered minor injuries.

The alligator was eventually loaded into a trailer and hauled to a wildlife park.



Texas cities mark Juneteenth with parades, family events

DALLAS (AP) — Communities across the state have celebrated Juneteenth with flags, food and historic remembrances of when Texas slaves learned they were free.

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.

Organizers say more than 200 people attended a prayer breakfast Monday in Galveston at the Ashton Villa, site of the city’s Juneteenth monument.

A family festival was planned Monday in Dallas at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center.

Juneteenth parades were held Saturday in a number of cities, including Austin, Fort Worth, Houston, San Angelo and San Antonio. A health and wellness fair was held at the Abilene Convention Center. A Juneteenth Family Festival in Corpus Christi included public readings.



Amazon’s Whole Foods deal set to quicken grocery evolution

NEW YORK (AP) — Grocers trying to compete with the threat of a combined Amazon and Whole Foods will have to make changes.

They’ll need to make their stores more appealing, leverage their locations to offer delivery and do a better job of collecting shopper data.

They may also need to seek innovative partners of their own.

Amazon’s planned $13.7 billion acquisition of the organic and natural foods grocer signals a massive bet that people will opt more for the convenience of online orders and delivery or in-store pickup.

It’s not yet clear what specific changes are in store at either Amazon or Whole Foods, since the two companies are saying little about their plans.

But even before the deal was announced, grocers were scrambling to adapt to shifting habits.



Study: Oil, gas drilling connected to pollution, earthquakes

(Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com)

HOUSTON (AP) — A new study by a nonprofit science organization says oil and gas drilling in Texas is linked to pollution and earthquakes.

The Houston Chronicle reports that The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas study found drilling in shale pollutes the air, erodes soil and contaminates water. The disposal of millions of gallons of wastewater causes earthquakes.

The group began its analysis of the environmental and social impacts of drilling and hydraulic fracturing two years ago. It created a task force of attorneys, geologists, seismologists and engineers, including representatives from oil companies and an environmental group.

The study also found fracking is spreading rapidly across Texas. Fracking is where a high-pressured concoction of water, sand and chemicals is used to free oil and gas from dense shale rock.



Tropical storm warning issued for Louisiana’s Gulf Coast

MIAMI (AP) — A tropical storm warning has been issued for a section of Louisiana’s coast as a weather system approaches from the Gulf of Mexico.

The warning is in effect from Cameron, Louisiana, to Intracoastal City.

The system’s maximum sustained winds early Tuesday are near 40 mph (64 kph). The U.S. National Hurricane Center says some slight strengthening is possible before the system reaches the coast, either late Wednesday or Wednesday night.

As of 5 a.m. Tuesday, the system is centered about 305 miles (490 kilometers) south-southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River and is moving northwest near 8 mph (13 kph).

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Bret is moving along South America’s northern coast. Its maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph (64 kph) with weakening expected to begin later in the day.



Whole Foods CEO calls deal with Amazon ‘whirlwind courtship’

NEW YORK (AP) — Whole Foods CEO John Mackey says the deal to be acquired by Amazon was the result of a “whirlwind courtship.”

Mackey spoke at a town hall with Whole Foods employees after the deal was announced late last week, according to a transcript of the talk filed Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mackey said mutual friends set the companies up on a “blind date” in Seattle about six weeks ago, and executives immediately hit it off.

Mackey said, “It was truly love at first sight.”

Whole Foods has been pressured as a key sales figure has declined. The company has blamed the struggles on the wider availability of organic and natural food at traditional retailers, and said it is working on efforts like a loyalty program to improve sales.



Police shoot suspected gunman dead after armed confrontation

DALLAS (AP) — Dallas police say officers shot and killed a domestic violence suspect who confronted the officers at his front door with a gun.

A police statement says the episode began about 5 p.m. Monday when an active shooter was reported in a neighborhood in the Pleasant Grove district of southeastern Dallas. The caller reported that a man known to her had fired multiple shots into her home.

When the officers arrived, the heard through the open front door a disturbance involving the suspect, a woman and a crying baby. When one officer ordered the man to come to the door, the suspect came armed with a handgun, prompting the officer to open fire.

The 28-year-old gunman died at a hospital. The woman in the house also was hospitalized with injuries.



Boy, 13, killed in crash while at wheel of pickup truck

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — Police are investigating what a 13-year-old boy was doing when the pickup truck he was driving crashed into a house in Galveston, killing him.

The incident happened early Sunday when Galveston police received a report of a suspicious driver on the island city’s Seawall Boulevard. Officers tried to stop the truck, but it sped away.

Shortly thereafter, a witness stopped the officer to report seeing the truck crash into a house. The officer arrived to find the truck upside down and the 13-year-old driver the lone occupant. The boy died a short time later at a Galveston hospital.

No other injuries were reported.