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Weapons at school more likely than adults think

Photo: www.wach.com

Students who are higher academic achievers, have a greater attachment to their school and know of at least two security measures are much more likely to report a gun or knife on campus, according to a report by three Dallas researchers.

About 34 percent of 3,022 students surveyed had reported seeing or knowing about a weapon in school to an authority figure in the prior three months.

“This is happening more than adults realize,” said Nadine Connell, assistant professor of criminology at the University of Texas at Dallas and an author of the study.

The study provides schools with ways to improve student reporting of weapons. It said they should highlight the number of security measures in place. They should also focus on programs that improve school climate, since students who are more attached to their schools were more likely to report weapons.

“We have to find ways to make sure students are going to inform the adults who can then take proper precautions necessary,” Connell said. “Many of the problems that students encounter cannot be dealt with unless adults are informed.”

High-school students at 10 schools in New Jersey took the online survey anonymously. The New Jersey Department of Education provided funding for the study through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program.

Most of the students indicated they would tell an authority figure about a gun or knife at school. But they were more likely to tell parents or family members than principals, who can react faster.

“Unfortunately, in the event that students wait too long to contact authorities (for instance, by calling parents or family first), preventive efforts may not be relayed to the school until it is too late,” the study states.

Connell said it’s possible that principals are not as accessible because they are busy. She also said that some students might shy away from the attention that talking to a principal could bring.

Students also were unaware of many of the security measures at their campuses. All schools that participated used seven security measures listed in the study, including locking doors during the day and requiring visitors to sign in. But only 7.9 percent of students believed that their school used all the safety measures.

Other findings in the study include:

•Girls were more likely than boys to report a gun.

•Students who have seen a weapon in school had a decreased likelihood of reporting.

•21 percent of students said they would not tell their principal about a gun or knife on campus.

•76 percent of students said they would report a knife to a school official; 88 percent would report a gun.

•97 percent of students believed that their school had several security measures in place.

Connell said that statistics show that violent crime by young people has been decreasing for more than two decades. But she said there has been more attention on school violence because of events in recent years. In 2012, a gunman killed 26 children and staff members before taking his own life at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

“We thought it was really important to get a better understanding of some of the factors that are contributing to the violence that does exist,” Connell said.

Dallas ISD is among districts that reviewed their safety protocols in the days following the Newtown shootings. The districts looked beyond the standard measures of using metal detectors and school resource officers to keep kids safe.

DISD trustees approved up to $4.65 million in safety upgrades last year.

Read more….

By Tawnell D. Hobbs

thobbs@dallasnews.com

Nurse’s discharge leaves one with Ebola in U.S. : Amber Vinson diagnosed with virus about 2 weeks ago

David Goldman / AP Photo

(CNN) — A nurse’s release Tuesday from an Atlanta hospital leaves a single person in the United States now battling Ebola, though she and others — including President Barack Obama — stressed the fight against the deadly virus isn’t over.

“While this is a day for celebration and gratitude, I ask that we not lose focus on the thousands of families who continue to labor under the burden of this disease in West Africa,” said 29-year-old Amber Vinson.

About two weeks ago, Vinson became the second nurse from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas to get the virus while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who began showing Ebola symptoms after arriving in Texas and died of it there. She and Nina Pham — the other Dallas nurse who was discharged from a National Institutes of Health facility in Maryland on Friday — are differ from the handful of other U.S. Ebola cases in the United States because they caught the disease in America, rather than contracting it in West Africa.

Vinson’s diagnosis came amid a wave of national concern about the prospect Ebola could spread in the United States, especially after it became known she’d flown on two commercial flights after treating Duncan.

Yet there was no such alarm Tuesday. Instead, Emory University Hospital’s Dr. Bruce Ribner declared Vinson “has recovered from her infection with Ebola virus, and she can return to … her community and to her life” without any concerns about infecting anyone.

Ebola outbreak: Get up to speed

Standing behind a lectern in a gray suit, Vinson thanked God as well as those at the Atlanta hospital, where she arrived October 15. She also voiced appreciation for Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, two Americans who got Ebola in Africa and were treated at Emory, for their contributions of plasma for people in the United States struggling with the disease.

Dr. Craig Spencer is now the only person in the United States being treated for Ebola. The 33-year-old was admitted to Bellevue Hospital in New York City after developing a fever on Thursday, six days after returning to the United States and over a week after leaving Guinea, where he worked for Doctors Without Borders.

Timeline of Spencer’s activities after returning home

Even without more cases, Ebola remains a hot topic of conversation around the country. That includes a debate about whether anyone should be allowed into the United States from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, or at least whether health care volunteers and others coming from those Ebola-ravaged nations should be quarantined for three weeks upon arrival.

President Barack Obama said Tuesday that “monitoring and movement guidance” for those returning from the region should be “sensible,” so long as it is based on science and doesn’t unnecessarily prove an obstacle to those who risk their lives and livelihoods to head overseas to help those in need.

“We don’t want to discourage our health workers from going to the front lines and dealing with this in an effective way,” Obama said. “…”We don’t just react based on our fears. We react based on facts.”

Obama: We can’t react ‘based on our fears’

U.S. focused on West Africa

Ribner, from Emory, said that his hospital has learned “a great deal” from treating four Ebola patients.

Read more…

By Greg Botelho, Jason Hanna and Ashley Fantz, CNN

Clothing With Bodies Matches Missing Texans’

Photo: AP File

Clothing found with four slain bodies near the border city of Matamoros appears to match that of three siblings from Texas who disappeared in the area more than two weeks ago with a fourth person, a state prosecutor said.

Oscar Fuentes Fierro, assistant prosecutor for the state of Tamaulipas, confirmed on Wednesday that the clothes matched a description given by Pedro Alvarado, father of the three missing residents of Progreso, Texas.

Parents of the missing youths say witnesses reported they were seized on Oct. 13 by men dressed in police gear.

Authorities said late Wednesday it could take 24 to 48 hours for DNA tests to confirm if the bodies are those of Erica Alvarado Rivera, 26, and brothers, Alex, 22, and Jose Angel, 21, who were last seen in El Control, a small town near the Texas border west of Matamoros.

They had been visiting their father in Mexico and disappeared along with 32-year-old Jose Guadalupe Castaneda Benitez, Erica Alvarado’s boyfriend.

Alvarado told The Associated Press on Thursday that he had not been allowed to see bodies and had not been told of a match.

Mother Raquel Alvarado said witnesses saw armed men seize her two sons and daughter, who has four children aged 3-9.

The mother said Erica Alvarado drove her black Jeep Cherokee across the border Oct. 12 and dropped it at her father’s house in El Control. She visited her boyfriend there and the next morning called her brothers to ask them to bring the Cherokee to a roadside restaurant where the couple was eating. The three siblings planned to return to Progreso together from there.

When Alex and Jose Angel Alvarado arrived to pick up their sister, they saw men “pushing their sister and her boyfriend and hitting her,” Raquel Alvarado said.

Witnesses said the brothers tried to intervene, but they were taken away by armed men who identified themselves as part of Grupo Hercules, a recently formed police security unit for Matamoros city officials, and were traveling in military style trucks. Alvarado said witnesses also saw federal highway police, “but no one did anything.”

The Matamoros mayor’s office and a spokeswoman for the city did not respond to requests for comment, though Mayor Leticia Salazar has said in radio interviews that she is cooperating with the investigation.

As night fell Wednesday, Martha Hernandez, who had raised Castaneda, waited outside state police offices in Matamoros for any word on his whereabouts. She said no one had told her that four bodies had been found.

Hernandez said a friend who saw Castaneda and the Alvarados being picked up also told her the Hercules unit was responsible, and she expressed anger at Salazar, who formed the unit, which sometimes patrols in military-style camouflage.

“We will keep searching,” she said. “They can’t just disappear. We are going to be like in Guerrero.”

Hernandez was referring to the southern state of Guerrero, where 43 teachers college students disappeared Sept. 26 at the hands of police…..

Read more. 

By CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN Associated Press

Houston mayor drops bid to subpoena pastors’ sermons

File photo

Subpoenas issued to five Houston pastors demanding all sermons and correspondence dealing with homosexuality, gender identity and the city’s Equal Rights ordinance have been withdrawn, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor announced at a Wednesday press conference.

“After much contemplation and discussion, I am directing the city legal department to withdraw the subpoenas issued to the five Houston pastors who delivered the petitions, the anti-HERO petitions, to the city of Houston and who indicated that they were responsible for the overall petition effort,” said Mayor Annise Parker in remarks covered by television station KPRC.

My column on the issue sparked a bit of national outrage – well – a lot of national outrage. To be honest it was a full-scale hullabaloo. City Hall was deluged with telephone calls, letters, emails – along with hundreds of Bibles and sermons. More than 50,000 supporters signed a petition.

The only way to stop the bullying is to allow the good people of Houston the right to vote on that nondiscrimination ordinance.

Nevertheless, the mayor still seems hell-bent on defending the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance – a piece of legislation that will in part give grown men who identify as women the right to use the restrooms of their choice.

“It is extremely important to me to protect our Equal Rights Ordinance from repeal, and it is extremely important to me to make sure that every Houstonian knows that their lives are valid and protected and acknowledged,” Parker said. “We are going to continue to vigorously defend our ordinance against repeal efforts.”

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The subpoenas were issued in response to a lawsuit filed related to the so-called bathroom bill. An overwhelming number of religious groups were opposed to a provision of the law that would allow men who identify as women to use the restrooms of their choice.

Critics gathered 50,000 signatures to petition the city to put the issue on the ballot. But the city attorney threw out the petitions – alleging there were not enough legitimate signatures.

Erik Stanley, an attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom, represented the five pastors. He said he was gratified the mayor withdrew the subpoenas.

“She really had no choice but to withdraw the subpoenas,” Stanley told me. “She was roundly criticized from the right and the left – from all across the nation.”

Stanley said the mayor’s actions were a violation of the First Amendment and an abuse of power.

“They were only intended to intimidate and to bully pastors into silence,” he said of the subpoenas. “It sent a terrible message to the faith community in Houston and across the country.”

Pastor Steve Riggle was one of the ministers who was subpoenaed.

“You don’t mess with the pulpits,” he told me.

His opinion of the mayor remains unchanged.

“You are not a little dictator to do whatever you want – and that’s what we have right now in Houston, Texas,” he said. “It’s important that everybody keep their eye on what’s happening here.”

The Family Research Council is hosting a nationally-simulcast rally at Riggle’s mega-church on Sunday. Thousands are expected to attend “I Stand Sunday” in person and more than 2,500 churches and home groups have signed up to air the simulcast.

The event includes messages from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Duck Commander Phil Robertson, and yours truly – among others.

“This is what bullies do when people stand up to them,” said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. “They back down.”

Perkins told me the response to “I Stand Sunday” has been overwhelming.

“Americans realize this agenda is not simply about equal rights,” he said. “It’s about elevated sexual behavior above religious freedom. Americans are tired of being bullied by the left.”

And let’s be honest, folks – that’s exactly what’s been happening in the Lone Star State. Christians are getting bullied by Houston’s mayor and city attorney.

And the only way to stop the bullying is to allow the good people of Houston the right to vote on that nondiscrimination ordinance.

“This is about political intimidation,” Perkins said. “And that intimidation continues as long as the citizens are denied the right to vote on this ordinance.”

Randy White, the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Katy said his congregation is prepared to fight.

“They will stand for any kind of removal of pulpit freedom,” he told me. “The pastor, the church, the congregation has got to be able to speak their mind on issues.”

White delivered an impassioned sermon about religious liberty that went viral online.

“I will not turn over a jot or a tittle,” he announced from the pulpit. He warned that turning over any sermons to the government is the “first step towards totalitarianism.”

But he warned that the fight is not over in Houston.

“We haven’t won,” he said. ‘The citizenry of Houston is still denied the right to petition and to vote on this matter,” he said.

And quite frankly, I’m not sure Houston’s mayor will allow them to vote.

On Tuesday a group of clergy met with Houston’s mayor. Afterwards, some of those ministers met with Pastor Riggle. They relayed a portion of the private conversation they had with the mayor.

“She told them, ‘I’m not going to let the citizens of Houston vote on my civil rights,’” Riggle said.

Friends — that is a very chilling statement.

And it’s just more that whenever you see the word “nondiscrimination”…..read more.

 

By Todd Starnes

Perfect Timing: How Malcontent Wiseasses Tried to Prove a Point About Politics and Ended up Charged as Felons

Photo: Houston Press News

White conservatives who tweaked an election in The Woodlands were just what Greg Abbott needed to prove he doesn’t prosecute only minorities for voter fraud.

Adrian Heath heard the jury on that October morning loud but not clear.

The foreman exhaled the word “guilty,” and Heath felt its jarring weight in his head and his stomach as he stood in a Montgomery County ­courtroom.

Heath was now a felon, convicted by the state of Texas for voter fraud, a charge pushed by the voting enforcement unit of state Attorney General Greg Abbott‘s office.

Adrian Heath never thought he'd end up a convicted felon for getting involved in a local election.

Marco Torres
Adrian Heath never thought he’d end up a convicted felon for getting involved in a local election.
Attorney General Greg Abbott has pledged to fight voter fraud in Texas.

Texans For Greg Abbott
Attorney General Greg Abbott has pledged to fight voter fraud in Texas.
Tom Curry (center) is flanked by Pete Goeddertz and Bill Berntsen.

Tom Curry (center) is flanked by Pete Goeddertz and Bill Berntsen.
A website, Montgomeryvoterfrauds.com, popped up accusing Heath and others of voter fraud before they were even charged in the case.

A website, Montgomeryvoterfrauds.com, popped up accusing Heath and others of voter fraud before they were even charged in the case.

What he couldn’t quite figure out was just how he had become a convicted criminal. At 56 years old, the Australian immigrant and naturalized U.S. citizen had never been in a criminal court in his life. Now he faced two years in prison, with a judge scheduled to hand down his sentence on January 30.

In May 2010, Heath, along with nine of his fellow suburban neighbors from in and around The Woodlands, gathered at a Residence Innhotel inside the confines of the Woodlands Road Utility District, a 2,475-acre taxing body that is connected to The Woodlands by a coalition of developers, lawyers and well-to-do local insiders. The group included a retiree, a homemaker, a tile contractor, a salesman and an oil-equipment technician.

Heath and his friends claimed residency inside the district despite staying only two nights at the hotel. They did so to elect three of their colleagues in order to usurp the incumbent balance of power in the district. They believed the district was running up public debt and wanted to stop that.

Heath and his colleagues figured they were standing up for their rights, hoping to be part of a system that was imposing taxes indirectly on them in a commercial area in which they did much of their shopping and dining. And they were certain that their group was working within the very blurry lines of state law regarding residency and voting.

The law they followed says that the voter residency requirement can be determined “by the voter,” as Randall Dillard, a spokesman for the Texas Secretary of State’s office, stated in February 2010.

Dillard’s statement was repeated like a mantra among Heath and his pals in the weeks leading up to the election. They succeeded in getting their own candidates in office by changing their voting registration residences in April 2010.

But as in a scene gone wrong in a caper movie, in June 2010, a district judge ruled the election and the group’s part in it invalid and tossed the results.

That might have been the end of it, with a few malcontented wiseasses fruitlessly trying to prove a point.

Instead, as it turned out, the troublemakers had picked a very bad time to make their stand.

One of the first things Abbott did when he was elected attorney general in 2002 was to enhance the office’s voter fraud division, saying that for too long, Texas had turned a blind eye to the white-collar crime. In the years since, his troops had focused on South Texas, admittedly a historic hotbed of election abuse, but the result was that while prison sentences were rare, they almost always involved minorities, Democrats and those in lower economic groups.

The Woodlands group was composed of white self-described conservatives, middle-class and above. How much better for Abbott, now running for governor, to prove that he was not biased. Heath became convinced that Abbott thought convicting the Woodlands voters would give his candidacy a boost. In fact, Heath says, that’s what state Rep. Steve Toth, a Republican lawmaker from Montgomery County, essentially told him one day.

“Toth said……read more of the story.

By Steve Miller

Same sex marriage: coming to a retirement plan near you.

Photo: money.cnn.com

In a few weeks, the Houston-Galveston Area Council of local governments is set to consider disregarding state law on traditional marriage and award retirement benefits to same-sex couples.

Attached is the documentation from the October 21st H-GAC Board or Directors Meeting. (H-GAC is a council of governments in the Houston area made up of 13 counties and the cities within those counties.)  See item 5B, “Retirement Plan Revision”.   This revision would recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Listen at 1:53 audio link http://www.h-gac.com/agendas/board/documents/October%202014/Item%205.mp3

The revision would bring the H-GAC retirement plan into compliance with the IRS-Revenue Ruling 2013-17 and Notice 2014-19 regarding determination of married persons.  These issuances require that two individuals who are legally married in any jurisdiction, regardless of gender, have protected marital rights and those rights supersede any local law restrictions that are based on the gender of the persons. http://www.h-gac.com/agendas/board/documents/October%202014/fi-Retirement-Plan-Revisions-Ruling-2013-17.pdf

If we, as freemen, do not draw the line here against the political correctness, moral decline, and government fiat in this country, our children will inherit the bonds of moral slavery.  What will you say when they ask, “What did you do?” and “Why did you not stand?”

If you wish to stand and voice your opinion on this matter, you may attend the next meeting and do just that.  The HGAC Board of Directors Meeting is November 21, 10:00 a.m. at 3555 Timmons, Houston, Texas 77027 on the second floor.  Prior to the meeting you may sign-up for three minutes of public comment, to express your view to your elected H-GAC board member before they vote this in. (http://www.h-gac.com/about/board/board-of-directors-members.aspx)

Here are 4 things you do to help!

1. Pray for God’s guidance for you on this issue.

2. Fast for God’s intervention on this issue.

3. Attend the November 21st meeting and comment.

4. Pass this email on and repeat.

For more information, please contact Galveston County Commissioner Ken Clark at clarkken@juno.com.

NYT/CBS/YouGov poll shows Wendy Davis down by double digits — among women

(AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Erika Rich)

If this is an outlier, it’s certainly an entertaining one. According to an eight-day survey conducted by YouGov along with its media partners CBS and the New York Times, Republican Greg Abbott has an eighteen point lead in the Texas gubernatorial race, 53/35, over Democrat Wendy Davis. Davis trails Abbott by 24 points among men, but now surprisingly trails by double digits among women as well, 37/49 — nearly a majority of women in opposition to the female candidate. Abbott leads by more than a 2:1 margin among independents as well, 58/25. When leaners are added in, Abbott wins a majority of women, 52/40, and has a 20-point lead overall, 57/37.

Texas, which once was the focus of rebuilding efforts for Democrats, appears like a setback for Democrats instead. They’ve lost women, if this poll is accurate, and may not be holding onto their usual edge among Hispanics. Davis only has a narrow 46/39 lead in that demographic, and that narrows slightly to 49/43 when leaners are included. Among “others,” presumably Asian voters, Abbott has a double-digit lead without leaners (49/37) and with them (52/37).  John Cornyn puts up similar numbers in the Senate tracking poll against David Alameel.

One of the more intriguing questions that the midterm will answer will be just how accurate the YouGov polls turned out to be. Usual polling partners CBS and the NYT teamed up with YouGov this year to expand their reach on midterm contests, and the results have been provocative, to say the least. Ashe Schow points out the contrast between this poll conducted over the last two weeks in Texas and others conducted prior to the stretch run — even those conducted by YouGov:

Of course, one should keep an open mind about this poll, considering the difference between the number of Democratic women and Republican women polled was — unsurprisingly — 12 points. This poll, conducted between Oct. 16 and Oct. 23, is also wildly different from past polls by the same groups, which showed a much closer divide among women.

The previous poll from this group, conducted between Sept. 20 and Oct. 1, found Davis leading among women — 46 percent to Abbott’s 41 percent. She still trailed Abbott overall by 13 points.

And the poll before that, conducted between Aug. 18 and Sept. 2, found Davis losing women voters by just 1 point.

There may be a good explanation for the shift in October. This survey took place just a few days after Davis launched what may be the worst campaign ad of the cycle, accusing Abbott of profiting off of his disability and implying that his identity as a a handicapped person was not authentic. In the middle of the survey period, Davis personally attacked Abbott as someone opposed to interracial marriage, which had to be news to Abbott’s Latina wife. The stink of desperation hung all over this survey period, and women may have been more offended than men at Davis’ tactics.

At least in terms of its top-line figure, the YouGov poll doesn’t appear to be that much of an outlier. The current RCP average (with this poll included) is 51.6/37.4 Abbott, but only one poll in the last two months show Davis within single digits — and that was taken in the middle of September, long before ...read more.

BY ED MORRISSEY

Guess How Many Bibles Have Arrived at the Office of the Houston Mayor After She Subpoenaed Pastors’ Sermons

Americans have sent Bibles to Houston Mayor Annise Parker. (Image: KHOU11-TV)

Houston Mayor Annise Parker has received a flood of Bibles — somewhere between 500 and 1,000 according to a spokesman for the mayor’s office — after the city subpoenaed the church sermons of five local faith leaders opposed to the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which the mayor signed in May.

“This is more dangerous than anything I’ve ever seen,” Glenn Beck said last week after interviewing one of the five subpoenaed religious leaders. “This is not about equal rights. … This is about shutting people down.”

Steve Riggle, the pastor of Grace Community Church in Houston, told Beck that the city not only demanded his sermons, but anything he had said about Mayor Parker in 17 different forms of communication.

“People of faith are under attack,” Beck said. “Our churches and our institutions, our pastors, our preachers, our priests, our rabbis are under attack.”

Beck, in addition to former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R), encouraged Americans across the country to stand in support of the subpoenaed religious leaders by flooding the mayor’s office with religious texts.

“Go find the best sermons you can find on religious liberty and send them to city hall in Houston,” Beck said.

Read more here….

By Erica Ritz

SUBPOENA THIS: Hundreds Of Bibles Sent To Houston’s Lesbian Mayor’s Office

Photo: Screen shot of Click2Houston story

Now that’s funny.

HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Annise Parker acknowledged Monday that her office had received Bibles from across the country following a protest campaign launched by former Republican presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee.

“I know we’ve received some and they’re collecting them in the office but I don’t know how many that might be,” Parker said.

A spokesperson with the mayor’s office later stated that somewhere between 500 and 1,000 Bibles had been shipped to the mayor so far.

“I would like to ask every pastor in America, send her your sermons,” Huckabee said on his Fox News show on Oct. 20. “Everybody watching the show ought to send her a Bible.”

Huckabee and others have voiced opposition ….

Read more: Click 2 Houston

COLLEGE FOOTBALL RANKINGS

Photo: espn.go.com

College football is in a new era. The BCS age is over and done with. The computers and numbers are gone.

The new College Football Playoff era has brought in a committee of 12 members, who all have to agree on the top 25 teams in the nation, unanimously each week.

On Tuesday, the committee released its first rankings of the year.

Here’s the Top 25:

 

  1. Mississippi State (7-0)
  2. Florida State (7-0)
  3. Auburn (6-1)
  4. Ole Miss (7-1)
  5. Oregon (7-1)
  6. Alabama (7-1)
  7. TCU (6-1)
  8. Michigan State (7-1)
  9. Kansas State (6-1)
  10. Notre Dame (6-1)
  11. Georgia (6-1)
  12. Arizona (6-1)
  13. Baylor (6-1)
  14. Arizona State (6-1)
  15. Nebraska (7-1)
  16. Ohio State (6-1)
  17. Utah (6-1)
  18. Oklahoma (5-2)
  19. LSU (7-2)
  20. West Virginia (6-2)
  21. Clemson (6-2)
  22. UCLA (6-2)
  23. East Carolina (6-1)
  24. Duke (6-1)
  25. Louisville (6-2)

By: Brett O’Connor

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