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DEAD CHILD-BORDER PATROL
Child's death highlights communication barriers on border
Shortly before a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl died in U.S. custody, her father signed a form stating that his daughter was in good health.
But it's unclear how much the man understood on the form, which was written in English and read to him in Spanish by Border Patrol agents.
The death of Jakelin Caal in Texas highlights the communication challenges along the U.S.-Mexico border as agents come in contact with an increasing number of migrants who speak neither English nor Spanish.
Her father's native language is the Mayan tongue known as Q'eqchi'. His second language is Spanish. It's unclear whether something was lost in translation or whether it would have made a difference in saving Jakelin. The case raises questions about the Border Patrol's use of English-only forms.
OCTOGENARIAN COLLEGE GRADUATE
Not into bingo, 84-year-old Texas woman gets college degree
RICHARDSON, Texas (AP) - After raising five kids and retiring at age 77 from her secretarial job, Janet Fein couldn't be blamed for finally relaxing, but that's not her.
Fein, now 84, went to back to school. And this week she'll accomplish a long-held goal when she graduates from the University of Texas at Dallas with a bachelor's degree. Fein says, "I didn't have anything to do in retirement and I didn't think that playing bingo was up to my speed."
Fein made it to class even after she had to start using a walker. Then her knees gave out, so she did a semester of independent study and took online classes to fulfill her degree requirements.
Fein's college adviser, Sheila Rollerson, says, "She did not give up in the midst of her challenges."
HURRICANE PROTECTION PLAN-TEXAS
Some Texas coastal residents opposing proposed storm barrier
GALVESTON, Texas (AP) - A proposed Texas coastal barrier is drawing backlash from some Gulf Coast residents and the state's land commissioner wants more time for property owners to voice concerns.
The plan is designed to protect the Texas coast from hurricanes with a barrier system of floodwalls, floodgates and seawall improvements. But hundreds of Bolivar Peninsula residents near Galveston are against it.
The Galveston County Daily News reports that residents fear a barrier would leave thousands of homes between a wall and the Gulf of Mexico.
The newspaper reports that a public hearing Saturday grew so crowded that security stopped letting people into the building.
Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush has called for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to consider more time for public comment and another meeting for Boliver residents.
Houston man accused of setting house fire with family inside
HOUSTON (AP) - Authorities say a Houston man intentionally set his house on fire while his wife and two young children were inside. The family escaped safely.
The blaze began early Sunday. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted that a man identified as 31-year-old Jimmy Lauder poured gasoline inside the home and set it on fire.
Authorities say the woman called 911 after a smoke alarm went off. The family got out of the house with the help of first responders.
Harris County Fire Marshal's spokeswoman Rachel Moreno says Lauder was charged with arson and child endangerment and booked into Harris County jail. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.
STATE LAWMAKER RETIRES
Veteran Texas Rep. Pickett, citing health issues, to retire
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Veteran Democratic lawmaker Joe Pickett says he will retire from the Texas House next month to address lingering health concerns.
Pickett said in a statement Saturday that he will retire Jan. 4 after 24 years as a state representative for El Paso.
Pickett says he learned prior to the last legislative session that he had cancer, for which he received treatment and had surgery. Complications from cancer and that initial surgery have developed in recent weeks and Pickett says, "My body and mind need a break."
He held more leadership positions during his career than any other lawmaker from the El Paso region, including two stints as chairman of the House transportation committee and chairman of defense and veterans affairs.
He was considered one of the state's leading policymakers on transportation issues.
Commission: Texas judge brought 'discredit' to the judiciary
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) - A state district judge who's facing criminal charges has been reprimanded by a state commission that criticized his conduct on the bench and says he inappropriately touched three women.
The State Commission on Judicial Conduct on Friday released the letters of reprimand against Judge Guy Williams.
The panel determined Williams' actions inside and outside the courtroom brought "discredit" to the judiciary.
Williams did not seek re-election in November and his term ends in January. The reprimand prevents him from serving as a visiting judge when his term concludes.
The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports that an attorney for Williams says he plans to appeal the commission's findings.
Williams was arrested in May on suspicion of public intoxication and resisting arrest. He was arrested again in November on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and unlawful carrying of a weapon.
CHILD DEAD-BORDER PATROL
Family of migrant girl disputes official story on her death
Lawyers for the family of a 7-year-old girl who died while in U.S. Border Patrol custody say she did not suffer from a lack of food or water before being picked up by authorities.
Their account disputes earlier information released by U.S. officials, who said the girl had not had anything to eat or drink for days.
Border Patrol officials did not immediately comment Saturday.
Jakelin Caal and her father were taken into custody Dec. 6 near Lordsburg, New Mexico, by Border Patrol agents. She began vomiting and later stopped breathing while being transported to a Border Patrol station. She died at a hospital.
A statement from the family's lawyers says her father, 29-year-old Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz, made sure his daughter had food and water as they traveled through Mexico.
New mural brings more waves to Corpus Christi
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) - Two artists are bringing more waves to a South Texas city along the Gulf of Mexico in the form of a large new mural.
The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports that Corpus Christi artists John Olvey and Kaleigh Glover recently unveiled their mural "City by the Sea" along the side of the Corpus Christi Trade Center. The pair spent eight days working on the 200-foot (61-meter) outdoor artwork, which features beach scenery with crashing waves and palm trees.
Olvey is a former national surfing champion who currently works in a variety of artistic mediums. Glover created The Art Project CC, where she helps businesses decorate with the help of local artists.
The artists have been planning the project since May.
Glover says she thinks the city "is on an upward slope of creative and beautiful aesthetics."
Texas judge rules health care overhaul unconstitutional
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - A federal judge in Texas has ruled the Affordable Care Act "invalid" on the eve of the sign-up deadline for coverage next year.
In a 55-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor ruled Friday that last year's tax cut bill knocked the constitutional foundation from under "Obamacare" by eliminating a penalty for not having coverage.
Supporters of the law immediately said they would appeal.
The White House applauded O'Connor's ruling, but said the law remains in place while appeals proceed. President Donald Trump tweeted that Congress should pass a new law.
Twenty Republican-led states brought the lawsuit. After Trump ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the health law, a coalition of ACA-supporting states took up the defense.
O'Connor is a conservative Republican appointee who previously blocked other Obama-era policies.
IMMIGRATION-TEEN DETENTION CAMP-O'ROURKE
O'Rourke, other Dems don't want tent city's contract renewed
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Rep. Beto O'Rourke and four other Democratic members of Congress have toured a remote tent city in West Texas where they say 2,700 immigrant teens are being held at a cost of roughly $1 million per day.
The lawmakers urged the nonprofit running the facility not to renew a federal contract that expires at the end of the year. That would effectively shutter the facility, which was supposed to be temporary but is expanding and taking on a permanent feel.
O'Rourke has been mentioned as a potential 2020 presidential candidate after nearly upsetting Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in deep-red Texas.
But he didn't mention White House aspirations after visiting Tornillo with U.S. Sens. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Tina Smith of Minnesota, and California Rep. Judy Chu.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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