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Cowboys fans relish return of ‘America’s Team’ magic

Photo: Jason Janik/Special Contributor

ARLINGTON — How long has Cleburne’s Rick Springer been a Cowboys fan? Since, oh, about 10 or 11 U.S. presidents ago.

And with five Super Bowl titles and the legends of quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman bejeweling his memories, you could say Springer’s expectations — and those of other longtime Dallas fans — are a little high.

“I want to see them in the Super Bowl,” said Springer, a retired supermarket manager who was at Sunday’s game with son Brian and grandson Cameron of Fort Worth. “They’ve been gone too long.”

Those dreams will live on for at least another week after the Cowboys beat the Detroit Lions in a hard-fought wild-card playoff game at Arlington’s AT&T Stadium.

With 2:32 left in the game, the Cowboys completed a slow but steady comeback with an 8-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tony Romo to receiver Terrance Williams, and the stands erupted in a roiling sea of white towels.

“It’s about time!” said Amy Lopez, who along with husband Rolando made the 10-hour drive from Edinburg to see the game. “We’re gonna be in Arizona!”

The fervor had been building for days and came to a simmer outside the stadium where kids tossed footballs and tailgating fans traded high-fives, undeterred by the frigid 34-degree temperatures.

“Y’all goin’ down!” a man in a Jason Witten jersey yelled at a Lions fan, who simply shrugged.

Others weren’t so sure. “God, I hope the Cowboys pull this off,” one fan said to his companion.

When the doors finally opened, the whooping and hollering crowds rushed in as if it were a Black Friday sale, hungry for the post-season experience that had eluded the team since 2009.

“It’s awesome, bro,” said Roy Lopez of Houston, who runs a bus service to Cowboys games and transported 52 fans to Sunday’s matchup. “It’s actually very emotional for a die-hard fan.”

Among those fans was Galveston DJ Roland Martinez, whose cellphone home screen features a glossy image of a Cowboys cheerleader. He’d worn a team poncho to the game.

“I’ve been a fan since before they were 1-15,” he said, referring to the Cowboys’ dreadful 1989 season.

Many fans see in this year’s team a return of the magic that defined America’s Team in the 1990s, and in Romo, running back DeMarco Murray and receiver Dez Bryant a mirror image of the legendary Cowboys trio of Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.

“This is getting to be at the same level,” said Homero Ramirez Sr., who along with son Homero Jr. had made the journey to the game from Zapata, nearly 500 miles south. “It’s back again.”

Troy Butler, who runs barber shops in Lewisville and Denton, was also ready to draw comparisons.

“I never thought I’d see the triplets reincarnated this soon,” he said.

The slow rebuilding process instilled by…….read more here.

 

Waco meteorologist shot outside TV station released from hospital

Photo: www.newsradioklbj.com

TEMPLE, Texas — A Central Texas meteorologist who was shot earlier this month outside his television station has been released from a hospital.

Plano native Patrick Crawford was treated for three gunshot wounds: one to his abdomen and two others from shots that grazed him, including one to the head. He was treated at a hospital in Temple, about 65 miles north of Austin.

KCEN-TV News Director Jim Hice confirmed Monday that Crawford had been discharged from the hospital.

Crawford, the morning weathercaster at KCEN, near Waco, was……read more here.

The Dallas Morning News

Voting rights fight looms over Latino clout in Texas city

Photo: File/The Associated Press

PASADENA — When the movie Urban Cowboy made this refinery town famous in 1980, the honky-tonk Gilley’s was booming and wannabe cowpokes from the white Houston suburbs flocked here to drink and dance. Houston was the big city, but Pasadena was for kicks.

Today Pasadena is a mostly working-class Hispanic suburb that looks as hard-ridden in some pockets as the mechanical bull that bucked John Travolta. Gilley’s burned down years ago. Now a federal lawsuit accuses the town’s white council members of leading a discriminatory plan to turn back the clock.

Pasadena is preparing to change the makeup of its city council in a way that city leaders hope fosters new development, but that some Hispanics say dilutes their influence. The case could become a test of the Supreme Court ruling last year that struck down most of the federal Voting Rights Act, giving cities in many Southern states new latitude to change election laws affecting minorities without first getting federal approval.

“Clearly it was racism,” Ornaldo Ybarra, one of two Hispanics on Pasadena’s council, said of the planned council changes. The campaign for a new voting system “was meant to scare Anglos, and it was effective,” he said.

In Pasadena, which is roughly 60 percent Hispanic, voters approved a ballot measure that replaces two of the eight council seats, all representing districts, with at-large seats, a move that Hispanic leaders say will negate the clout arising from their growing population numbers. The new format was proposed by the mayor, who is white, in July 2013, one month after the high court decision.

The mayor and supporters counter that the new format will bring more participation by all Pasadena residents because they’ll have……more here. 

FROM WIRE REPORTS

 

Barbecue businesses in Texas wrestle with high beef prices

Photo: Tom Fox/Staff Photographer

Barbecue lovers, we have a brisket problem.

Demand for cattle has been stronger than expected, which means beef prices have gone up. As a result, your favorite barbecue restaurant in Texas has probably been straining to sell brisket at its current price. Some have even raised prices to match market demand.

And it’ll be three or four years before beef prices come down, estimates Texas A&M professor and economist David Anderson. He and about 20 barbecuerestaurant owners attended at a first-of-its-kind meeting in December in a basement on Texas A&M’s campus, discussing the state of beef, pork, poultry and prices in Texas.

Brisket was really the buzzword. Properly smoked brisket is the crown jewel of Texas barbecue – and in fact, employees at the Ohio-based non-profit Certified Angus Beef (CAB) joke that “brisket could be the state flag of Texas,” said Mark McCully, vice president of production at CAB.

The “brisket problem,” as Texas food writer Robb Walsh explained it, is that in addition to prices rising to an average of $3.25 per pound (for wholesale according to the Texas Beef Council), suppliers are selling inconsistent cuts of meat to pitmasters.

And in barbecue, consistency is everything.

To prove this brisket inconsistency, Texas A&M associate professor and meat specialist Davey Griffin showed us two cuts during last week’s town hall meeting. One was 11.5 pounds, the other 12.5. But these briskets were not created – or butchered – equally.

One was long and lean, about 1/3 of which had meat so thin, pitmasters said they’d have to cut it off or risk selling brisket tough as a hockey puck. That’s not what you think of when you think about tender, moist Texas brisket, and neither does Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn, who was also in attendance.

The second cut was better, according to the barbecue owners, but perhaps not ideal. It was covered in fat – too much, said some, and it would need to be trimmed before it landed on the smoker.

“We’re trimming a lot more fat, and losing money,” said Wayne Kammerl, owner of the Brisket House in Houston.

Texas A&M distinguished professor Jeff Savell, one of the world’s leading barbecue experts and the one who organized this meeting of the minds, said he’s seen barbecue owners “cheated” in their cuts of meat recently.  (Restaurant owners still have to pay for the parts of the brisket they end up trimming off.)

“There’s no sense in seasoning and cooking brisket that won’t become brisket,” says Wayne Mueller, owner of Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, Texas.

“It’s almost like taking a $5 bill and tearing it up,” Savell says.

So what does this mean for you, the barbecue consumer? Pitmasters are getting creative with their menus.

At Louie Mueller, for instance, some brisket fans go for the Fritos pie or baked potatoes, which are filled with chopped beef. For Russell Roegels, owner of the brand-new Roegels Barbecue Co. in Houston, he offers specials to entice customers to try several varieties of meat. Those specials are…..read more here.

Agents seize more than 680 pounds of marijuana

Photo: File 

ESCOBARES – U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Rio Grande Valley Sector seized 10 bundles of marijuana weighing more than 680 pounds Tuesday, according to a news release.

Rio Grande City agents observed numerous individuals moving north from the Rio Grande carrying…….read more here.

The Monitor/ STAFF REPORT

 

Immigration surge, corruption, tragedy and progress: The RGV’s top 10 stories of 2014

Photo by Gabe Hernandez/gabrielh@themonitor.com

If 2015 sees as much news as the past year did in the Rio Grande Valley, there will be plenty more for the Monitor to cover.

In the past year, we’ve seen a wave of migration that brought reporters from around the world to McAllen to cover the story. Hidalgo County’s once popular sheriff saw his power crumble to the point that he’s now in a Florida prison cell. Bursts of prolonged gunfire gripped a La Joya neighborhood in July.

With all the negative stories came promise, as well.

Continued progress on uniting the region’s two public universities into one with its medical school moved forward. And confirmation that a launch pad will be built near Brownsville will send rockets into space in the coming years.

So as we start this new year, let’s look back at the Monitor’s top 10 stories of 2014.

1.       IMMIGRANT INFLUX

The last year’s top story dominated national broadcasts and headlines throughout the summer of 2014, when tens of thousands of unaccompanied children and other Central American families — mainly from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras — flooded into the Rio Grande Valley.

Unlike most immigrants smuggled into the U.S. illegally, this wave of migration mostly surrendered to Border Patrol agents or other law enforcement upon their arrival, thinking that President Barack Obama had granted a “permiso” allowing them to stay. New arrivals were allowed to be released, but only with a “promise to appear” notice for their immigration court hearing, typically several months away.

The Valley, particularly McAllen, has been the epicenter of the migration, as the area is the shortest route for migrants to traverse Mexico from Central America.

Catholic Charities set up an immigrant assistance center that continues to operate in downtown McAllen. In need of donations and volunteers, the center at Sacred Heart Church provides immigrants with a shower, clean clothes, food and basic medical attention before they board buses elsewhere in the country.

2.       SHERIFF LUPE TREVIÑO’S DEMISE

Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño prided himself on being visible and accessible to his constituents. But by late summer, that visibility came in a federal courtroom as he learned how long he would be sent behind bars.

Elected to a third term in 2012, Treviño abruptly resigned in March amid a federal investigation that had already enveloped Jose Padilla, one of his trusted commanders, and his chief of staff, Maria Patricia Medina.

Focusing on illicit campaign donations from Tomas “El Gallo” Gonzalez, a convicted Weslaco drug trafficker who worked under the guise of a produce brokerage, federal prosecutors charged Treviño with money laundering in April. The same day Treviño appeared to hear his charge in U.S. District Court in McAllen was the day he pleaded guilty.

In August, Treviño went before U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez, who sentenced him to five years in prison. The former sheriff has since appealed his sentence, arguing the judge did not base the punishment on evidence or what had been agreed upon with prosecutors.

3.       SPACEX COMING TO VALLEY

What perhaps was the Valley’s worst-kept secret finally came out of the shadows in August.

SpaceX, the space exploration company owned by billionaire Elon Musk, finally announced after years of speculation and regulatory hurdles that it had chosen Boca Chica Beach as its spot to build its rocket launch site.

The $100 million project came with $15 million in incentives from the state and more from local governments, hopeful that the site will be a game-changer in the types of high-paying jobs for well-educated people that had in the past eclipsed the Valley.

Construction broke ground in September, with work to continue throughout this year.

4.       NEW UNIVERSITY LEADERS MEET MASCOT CONTROVERSY

With a new university came a new president and a new mascot — and a new controversy.

In April, the University of Texas Board of Regents named Guy Bailey as the sole finalist for UT Rio Grande Valley — leading to the resignation of Robert Nelsen, who’d served as president of UT-Pan American and had interviewed for the job.

The announcement came months after regents had named Francisco Fernandez as the inaugural dean of the new university’s medical school.

Progress has been swift on the union of the UTPA in Edinburg and UT-Brownsville, with naming of key administrators and donations coming throughout the year.

But the most contentious choice for a key university player came not from an actual person. Rather, it was with the Vaquero — the mascot Bailey announced would represent the new university.

The choice caused an uproar among UTPA students and alumni, demanding the beloved Bucky the Bronc remain as the mascot.

The situation reached an impasse, with Bailey insisting he would not back off of his decision to choose a new mascot for a new university.

In August, UT-RGV is set to enroll its first class.

5.       LONGTIME DISTRICT ATTORNEY RENE GUERRA DEFEATED

Hidalgo County voters ousted DA Rene Guerra in the March primary, choosing Ricardo Rodriguez, a former district judge, to oversee the county’s criminal prosecutors for the first time in 32 years.

In his time, Guerra, 69, has been one of the county’s most prominent, and, perhaps, polarizing figures, overseeing several high-profile cases that took down other county officials in his time.

Rodriguez, a member of the politically powerful Palacios family of Edinburg, is set to take office New Year’s Day.

6.       McALLEN CITY COMMISSIONER SCOTT CRANE DIES

McAllen City Commissioner Scott Crane died unexpectedly in December of what his brother described as a massive heart attack after the McAllen Marathon. News of Crane’s sudden death at age 50 shocked the region.

Thousands attended a memorial service for the late commissioner, who was an avid runner and described as instrumental in organizing the marathon, which celebrated its second year.

The day of Crane’s death — Dec. 14 — McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said a special election to replace Crane on the commission could be held as early as May 2015. The city plans to re-visit the issue in January, spokesman Teclo Garcia said Wednesday.

7.       HIDALGO COUNTY JUSTICE OF THE PEACE CONVICTED

What could be Hidalgo County’s next prominent corruption scandal came to light in November, after Justice of the Peace Ismael “Melo” Ochoa resigned and was indicted in the 370th state District Court on bribery charges.

Key to Ochoa’s case was Julio Davila, a bail bondsman employee accused of bribing the judge to reduce bond amounts for defendants after their arraignments. Davila, facing federal charges himself, was described in court as the middleman between “El Gallo” Gonzalez and the former sheriff.

No other charges in the case have been filed, but Ochoa already pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation in December.

8.       HIDALGO COUNTY PROPOSITION FAILS

A countywide referendum on the November ballot that would’ve brought a hospital district to fund the UT-RGV medical school and a portion of local hospitals’ indigent care expenses failed.

The hospital district would have added an initial 8 cents per $100 of valuation to county property taxes.

Supported by most of the county’s legislative delegation, commissioners court, hospital leadership and others, the campaign nonetheless lacked a true point person. Anti-tax activists, meanwhile, got a jolt from Mission Mayor Beto Salinas, who consistently and vehemently criticized the proposition as a money-and-power grab.

State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, is expected to tweak the statute affecting a potential future hospital district during this year’s legislative session. Then, proponents of a hospital district — a vehicle that is employed to maximize federal tax dollars in every other county in Texas with a medical school — could give a referendum another try sometime in the next two years.

9.       SHOOTOUT GRIPS LA JOYA NEIGHBORHOOD

A capital murder suspect and reported gang member wounded two Edinburg police officers on a…….read more here.

By JARED TAYLOR AND JACOB FISCHLER | STAFF WRITERS

 

 

RER is Broadcasting Live At the Tea Party Patriot’s ‘Texas, Our Texas’ – 3.0 Training Event!

On Saturday, January 10th, Raging Elephants Radio Broadcast Activist are broadcasting their shows LIVE from this training in Houston.

Meet your favorite RER personality, and be a part of the action! Please say you will join the ‘herd’ and take part in this valuable training!

All registration information, plus the event details, are listed in the below statement from Tea Party Patriots:

Make A Difference in 2015 & 2016!

The work of grassroots activists like you goes on!  We are bringing powerful Tea Party training for Grassroots Leaders and Activists to Houston on January 9th and 10th!

Friday, January 9th – Registration and Social 5pm -7pm
Saturday, January 10th – Main Event 8am – 5pm

Reserve your seat for the “Texas, Our Texas” training today!

The training will be at the Houston Marriott West Loop in their newly refurbished meeting facilities. Our speakers and trainers will discuss strategies that will help us continue to develop as Tea Party activists. We will provide advanced training that will help you – group leaders and individual activists – strengthen your game.  Although the results from the 2014 mid-terms were encouraging we cannot rest on our laurels.  We hope you will set aside this time to meet new friends and strategize with grassroots activists about how to take it to the next level at the school board, county, municipal and state levels!

Please reserve your seat by Monday, January 5th!

Current Training Sessions on the Schedule:

  • How Do We Win Converts? Speaking the Language of Liberty in Texas
  • Media Training for Individual Activists and Group Leaders
  • Citizen Lobbying at the State and Local Levels
  • Exercising Your Civic Authority and Influencing Your Neighbors at the Door
  • Fundraising for Group Leaders and Boards
  • A special keynote address from Congressman Louie Gohmert

We have reserved rooms for $99/night + tax for you for the evenings of January 9th and 10th.  Please call 800-769-8815 to make your reservation. This block of rooms is being reserved under “Tea Party Patriots” until close of business on Monday, January 5th.

Please reserve your seat by Monday, January 5th!

See you in Houston on January 9th and 10th! Please email texasourtexas2015@gmail.com if you have any questions about this event. Click to reserve your seats today!

In liberty,

Camille Johnson, Tanya Robertson, George Rodriguez, and Suzanne Guggenheim
Texas State Coordinators
Maria Acosta
Grassroots Field Team, Tea Party Patriots
Jenny Beth Martin
Co-Founder of Tea Party Patriots

tpp_logo_240x100

Op-Ed: FREE Screening of “Wait Til It’s Free”

Welcome to 2015!  Wow!  Is it even possible that we’ve just rung in a new year?  I guess so, and with the new year also marks the beginning of Obamacare.  You remember Obamacare, right?  I mean, how could we forget it?  It seemed doomed from the beginning, starting with the drama surrounding its passage back in March 2010 to the Supreme Court decision to uphold the individual mandate as constitutional to the decision of Congress to fund multiple Continuing Resolutions with ‘hard-wired’ funding for the omnibus health care bill.  It’s faulty website launched in 2014 and appointing 16,000 IRS agents to handle its implementation and enforcement of purchase further proved what a mess it is. I mean, the government runs the Postal Service and it’s doing…fine…ahem.

The healthcare law has triggered skyrocketing premiums for all families across all income levels, proving that its official name of Affordable Care Act is a definite misnomer.  Let’s not forget a few of the dramatic bumps it had along the way to passage.  I love playing a game I call, “What’s My Line?”  of quotes from various office holders of what they said during that year and a half struggle.  My absolute favorite was the one from Alan Grayson, the Democrat from Florida that said since Republicans didn’t want it passed that the GOP wanted “..Americans to die and die quickly!”.  Yeah, pretty sad.

Other events during the negotiation process, which, if you remember, was going to be as transparent as a piece of rice paper AND were going to be televised on C-SPAN, we had the Corn-husker kick back and the second Louisiana Purchase. Don’t forget the Stupak amendment, which is the executive order he ‘negotiated’ with the president to protect the Hyde Amendment which was written to prevent tax-payer funded abortion, which in all reality, didn’t do anything.  But I digress….

So why am I bringing all of this up again?  Ever heard of a movie called, “Wait Till It’s Free”?  Here’s a description of the movie from their website:

“Wait Till It’s Free” is an entertaining and provocative look at the current healthcare crisis. This film takes a hard and honest look at the way we do healthcare in America by looking at every relevant aspect of modern medicine, from the escalating cost of health insurance to the move towards universal government healthcare. The film asks what kind of alternatives there are for families caught between expensive insurance-based coverage and the “Free” government solutions. The film explores the alternatives for individuals, churches, and families, and offers moving and enlightening stories about those that have chosen to follow innovative and independent approaches to healthcare.”

Notice the last two lines in the description:  “The film asks what kind of alternatives there are for families caught between expensive insurance-based coverage and the “Free” government solutions. The film explores the alternatives for individuals, churches, and families, and offers moving and enlightening stories about those that have chosen to follow innovative and independent approaches to healthcare.”  I think that’s what the GOP needs right now and has needed for some time–Alternatives.  Options.  Choices.

We’ve all discussed the repeal of Obamacare, haven’t we?  We’ve all heard campaign promises doled out by some GOP congressmen and women that they were going to repeal it and replace it, but with what, exactly?  This movie offers some viable replacement options.

What I’m even more hopeful about is that a pastor of a local church is actually orchestrating the viewing of this documentary.  We all know that politics and religion don’t normally mix, and I wanted to ask him about that.  His name is Pete Allison and he’s been kind enough to let me interview him and ask him about his decision to show the movie.

Kelly Horsley: “Why do you think it’s important to show this movie?”

Pastor Allison: “It’s important to show this movie because people need to know that:

-Government medicine is detrimental to liberty and our health

-There were serious problems with our healthcare before Obamacare

-The out of control healthcare costs are the result of government medicine

-There are other options besides government medicine.

What people don’t know in this area can be very detrimental to their health.

Kelly Horsley: “We’ve often heard it said that politics and religion don’t mix.  What do you say to that?”

Pastor Allison: “To those who say that politics and religion should not be mixed, I would reply that it is impossible to separate them. Politics is, by definition, the practice of one’s religion or beliefs in the area of civil government. It’s a topic about which the Scriptures have much to say.”

Kelly Horsley: “I personally applaud your involvement and wish we would see more pastors and church goers involved in the political process.  What are some ways you think we could get the Evangelical voters out to the polls?”

Pastor Allison: “From my interactions with evangelical voters, there seem to be two predominate reasons many evangelical voters do not go to the polls. One group, probably the smaller of the two, doesn’t see anyone on the ballot for whom they can vote. They see little point in picking the lesser of two evils as they are still voting for evil (http://blog.dollarnoncents.com/2008/10/wasted-third-party-votes.html). The other group is just consistently living out their religion (or theology) which is that the kingdom of heaven has nothing to do with the civil magistrate. In essence, the world belongs to the devil; were just here to save as many souls as we can until we’re raptured away from this mess.

We’ll get more evangelical voters out to the polls when we have biblically qualified candidates on the ballot who are worth voting for and when we reach these voters with a more accurate gospel and they start working for what Christ taught us to pray for in the Lord’s Prayer – your will be done on earth even as it is already been done in heaven.”

Kelly Horsley: “The Pastors Council has a statistic that says that less than one out of three churchgoing citizens vote in each election, a fact of which we should be ashamed.  Do you agree that stat is something we need to change?

Pastor Allison: “The Pastors Council’s statistic, by itself, is not the issue. The evangelical vote has supported almost as many bad things as the liberal vote (e.g. unconstitutional wars of aggression, opposition to immigration, truncation of constitutionally contracted rights, legalization of abortion (http://blog.dollarnoncents.com/2014/04/why-not-constitutional-convention.html), though I grant that where the liberal vote is correct, it is often not for the right reason. Getting more evangelical voters to the polls won’t do any good if they vote in unbiblical or unconstitutional ways.”

On to the particulars of the event, the movie is showing Friday, January 17th at 7:00 PM at The Lone Star Convention and Expo Center.  Address is 9055 Airport Rd, Conroe, TX 77303.  This event is FREE and open to the public. The Director and Producer, Colin Gunn, will be present to discuss the film.

 

So, please make plans to join us!  I have a feeling that this is something that you won’t want to miss!

By Kelly Horsley

Kelly Horsely - Thumbnail

Sharyl Attkisson: CDC Is Tracking 1,400 Possible Ebola Cases in US Today (Video)

Photo: jandjranch

The left-leaning Politifact website came out with their “Lie of the Year” award this week. This year the liberal outfit announced the Ebola scare was the biggest lie of the year.

Of course, the Ebola scare was not a lie – Over 7,000 people have died from the disease and possibly many more. The WHO says the disease has a 70% mortality rate.

But facts rarely matter to leftist reporters with an agenda.

Today, investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson responded to Politifact.
Attkisson noted that the media coverage of Ebola vanished after the White House appointed a far left hack with expertise in revolutionary politics as Ebola czar.

Attkisson told Howard Kurtz on Media Buzz that the CDC is hiding suspected cases from the American public.

Infectious disease experts remain very concerned about the disease… A lot of the media coverage has gone from overtime to almost nothing since the administration has appointed an Ebola czar. And I don’t think that’s………more here.

by Jim Hoft

Commissioners Court OKs $1.9M body camera plan

Photo: James Nielsen, Staff

$1.9 million to equip HPD, sheriff’s deputies covered by seized asset

Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday unanimously approved District Attorney Devon Anderson’s plan to spend $1.9 million in seized assets to equip Houston police officers and Harris County sheriff’s deputies with body cameras.

Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday unanimously approved District Attorney Devon Anderson’s plan to spend $1.9 million in seized assets to….read more!

By Theodore Schleifer