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Posted: Nov 27, 2012 2:31 AM

Updated: Nov 27, 2012 2:31 AM

HOUSTON TO TULSA-PLANE CRASH

Plane crashes in Texas; no apparent survivors

WELLS, Texas (AP) A twin-engine Cessna 421 en route from West Houston Airport to Tulsa Riverside Airport in Oklahoma has crashed, and a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman says there appears to be no survivors.

Air traffic controllers lost contact with the aircraft about 9:30 p.m. Monday. FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford says in a news release that the aircraft had been trying to avoid weather near Cherokee County in East Texas when it vanished from radar.

Lunsford says it is not clear how many people had been aboard the airplane. Searchers discovered the aircraft's wreckage in a field near Wells, Texas, late Monday evening.

Lunsford said FAA investigators will join National Transportation Safety Board officials to probe the cause of the crash.

HABITUAL DRUNKEN DRIVER

Man gets life for 8th drunken-driving conviction

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas (AP) A 45-year-old Texas Hill Country man is going to prison for at least 30 years after receiving his eighth conviction for drunken driving.

A jury in New Braunfels has sentenced Cornelio Garcia-Mata of New Braunfels to life imprisonment. Comal County District Attorney Jennifer Tharp said Monday that he must serve at least 30 years of that sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

The Comal County jury delivered the life sentence Nov. 16 at the request of prosecutors.

Tharp says Garcia was driving erratically late the afternoon of Feb. 26 on Interstate 35. Tharp says he was stopped with the aid of civilians and tests revealed a .446 percent blood-alcohol level. That's 5 times the legal threshold for drunken driving in Texas.

BORDER SHOOTING-TRIAL

Relatives of killed immigrant seek damages

EL PASO, Texas (AP) A federal judge is expected to rule Friday in a lawsuit filed against the U.S. government by the wife of a man killed by a Border Patrol agent.

Jose Alejandro (ah-lay-HAHN'-droh) Ortiz Castillo (ka-STEE'-yoh) was shot by agent Brian Ernest Ault in August 2007. The shooting happened as Ortiz and three others tried to enter the United States illegally in El Paso.

Border Patrol officials told the El Paso Times then that Ault arrested one of the border-crossers and that Ortiz picked up a rock to assault him. They also said Ortiz had been arrested 28 times between 1999 and 2002 for illegal border crossings.

The wrongful death lawsuit calls the shooting unnecessary and unjustified. Calls to the U.S. attorney's office and Ortiz's widow's lawyers weren't returned Monday.

SCHOOL BUS-MARIJUANA

More security for West Texas schools in drug case

VAN HORN, Texas (AP) A West Texas school district has tightened security after nearly 500 pounds of marijuana turned up on a bus hauling student athletes.

The superintendent of the Culberson County-Allamoore Independent School District says a letter will be mailed Tuesday to parents. Marc Puig (pwig) says the plan includes an enhanced checklist for buses, better security at vehicle barns and coordinating safety with neighboring school districts.

The Drug Enforcement Administration said Monday that no one has been arrested over the Nov. 19 discovery of the duffel bags of marijuana in the cargo area of a bus transporting Van Horn basketball players.

The students were heading home after games in the border city of Presidio. The driver noticed the bags during a stop at a convenience store in Marfa.

HAGMAN-SERVICES

Private memorials for 'Dallas' star Larry Hagman

DALLAS (AP) "Dallas" actor Larry Hagman will be remembered this week during private, invitation-only services in Dallas and Los Angeles.

The television actor known for starring as slick oilman J.R. Ewing on "Dallas" and Maj. Tony Nelson on "I Dream of Jeannie" died Friday of complications from cancer. He was 81.

Hagman's personal manager John Castonia said Monday that the memorial services will celebrate the Fort Worth native's life. He declined to provide details.

Hagman had been filming the new edition of "Dallas" for the TNT network.

Hagman was diagnosed in 1992 with cirrhosis of the liver and acknowledged he drank heavily for years. In 1995, a malignant tumor was discovered on his liver and he underwent a transplant.

Hagman became an advocate for organ donation and anti-smoking efforts.

TEXAS SUPREME COURT

Perry taps chief of staff for Texas Supreme Court

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Gov. Rick Perry has appointed his chief of staff to the Texas Supreme Court.

Jeffrey Boyd will join the state's highest civil court Dec. 3 and finish a term that expires at the end of 2014.

He replaces Dale Wainwright, who resigned Sept. 30 to join Bracewell & Giuliani LLP in Austin.

Boyd became Perry's chief of staff last year and was previously the governor's general counsel.

In 2004, Perry named his then general counsel, David Medina, to the Supreme Court. Medina lost a re-election bid during the Republican primary in July.

The general counsel helps the governor review death-penalty cases.

Perry has overseen 253 executions and commuted one sentence granting life in prison to a death row inmate who drove the getaway car during a robbery and murder.

TEXAS-OPEN RECORDS

Senate comm. considers tighter open records law

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Witnesses told a Senate Committee Monday that Texas' open records law should be tightened and clarified to reduce lawsuits.

Freedom of information advocates said the Legislature could improve on one of the best public information acts in the country, but should make sure to provide more information, not less.

One source of recent litigation is whether a public official must share e-mails sent from a private account talking about government business. The attorney general's office said they must, but the city of Lubbock and a Bexar County commissioner are fighting that decision in court.

Contractors are also fighting to keep information about their government work private, representing more than a third of the lawsuits over the public information act in Texas.

Senators said they would consider new laws next year.

BRYAN-BONES

Suspicious bones found in Bryan were from animal

BRYAN, Texas (AP) Investigators in Central Texas say some bones dug up from a vacant lot have turned out to be animal remains.

Bryan police on Monday announced the results of the excavation and testing that started in mid-October.

The area was excavated for several days in an effort to determine whether the remains were human and from the 1960s.

Police say an anthropologist who examined the bones has determined the remains are from an animal and the investigation has been closed.

BOOKS-NOLAN RYAN

Nolan Ryan to serve up beef cookbook in 2014

NEW YORK (AP) A new book by baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan will be a bit of a sizzler.

The game's all-time strikeout king is also a longtime Texas rancher and has compiled dozens of his favorite recipes for "The Nolan Ryan Beef Cookbook." Little, Brown and Co. announced Monday that the book is scheduled for May 2014.

The 65-year-old Ryan also plans to work in a few baseball stories, from his years pitching for the New York Mets, California Angels and other teams to his current job as CEO and president of the Texas Rangers. His previous books include the memoirs "Miracle Man" and "Throwing Heat."

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