Defiance of Texas ban on mask mandates continues to grow
Defiance of Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates is continuing as another Texas school district announced plans to require students to wear face coverings and another county scored a legal victory in its efforts to issue such mandates amid a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations throughout the state.
Officials say COVID cases pushing Houston health care system to near ‘breaking point’
Houston area officials say the latest wave of COVID-19 cases is pushing the local health care system to nearly “a breaking point,” resulting in some patients having to be transferred out of the city to get medical care, including one who had to be taken to North Dakota.
The Latest: Navajo Nation extends "safer at home" order
That increased the state’s totals to 839,334 confirmed cases and 16,912 confirmed deaths. Ad___RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil accounts for a quarter of the daily coronavirus global deaths, more than any other nation. AdThere have been 12.4 million confirmed cases and more than 307,000 confirmed deaths in Brazil, second only to the United States. AdPakistan has reported 649,824 total confirmed cases and 14,158 confirmed deaths. The nation of 10.7 million had 1.5 million confirmed cases with 25,639 deaths.
George Floyd’s family members speak in Austin ahead of hearing about George Floyd bill
AUSTIN, Texas – Outside of George Floyd’s public memorial last summer in Texas, Republican Gov. Earlier this month in Congress, House Democrats passed the most ambitious effort in decades to overhaul policing nationwide under the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Like the legislation in Texas, the bill would ban chokeholds and address so-called qualified immunity that shields law enforcement from certain lawsuits. He quickly added that measures need to support law enforcement. Ad___Find AP’s full coverage of the death of George Floyd: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-george-floyd
MLB's Rangers in line to be first team back to full capacity
FILE - The Texas Rangers and Colorado Rockies line the foul lines of Globe Life Field before an opening day baseball game in Arlingtn, Texas, in this Friday, July 24, 2020, file photo. Greg Abbott’s order took effect allowing businesses in the state to operate at 100% capacity, Rangers CEO Neil Leibman said Wednesday that the team hopes to be at that for the April 5 opener against the Toronto Blue Jays. AdThe Houston Astros announced in January that they would allow fans to attend games at 25% capacity this season, which would allow about 10,300 fans. A team spokesman said it was “still being worked on" when asked about capacity on Wednesday. The Rangers' stadium hosted about 50 high school graduation ceremonies last summer, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in December and a college baseball tournament last month.
Workers worry about safety, stress as states ease mask rules
Tate Reeves decided to eliminate mask requirements, limits on seating in restaurants and most other binding restrictions. AdAlabama’s state health officer on Friday advised residents to keep following standard infection-prevention recommendations even though the governor is letting the state’s mask mandate expire next month. AdThe National Retail Federation, the largest retail trade association in the U.S., issued a statement Wednesday encouraging shoppers to wear masks. McDonald’s cook Cornejo, 43, said the end of Texas’ mask mandate next week alarms her because several of her co-workers already were lax about keeping their faces covered. Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, said individuals who wear masks still risk infection from unmasked shoppers and diners.
'Who is at fault?' Investigation into Texas blackout begins
state Rep. Todd Hunter, a Republican, demanded of witnesses during hours of testimony at the Texas Capitol. But energy executives, including those whose companies lavishly donate to Abbott and lawmakers, made clear that the fault is far wider. “How can a power plant be at the bottom of the list of priorities?” Morgan said. Ad“You-know-what hit the fan, and everybody’s going, ‘You’re turning off my power plant?'" Of Texas' power generators that were not operational during the storm, Magness said the freeze was responsible 42% of the failures.
Power failure: How a winter storm pushed Texas into crisis
As temperatures plunged and snow and ice whipped the state, much of Texas' power grid collapsed, followed by its water systems. As temperatures plunged and snow and ice whipped the state, much of Texas’ power grid collapsed, followed by its water systems. The community deserves answers.”___Around 2 a.m. Monday, the full measure of the crisis Texas faced began to be apparent. Most people did not yet know that Texas’ power grid had been on the brink of total failure. AdThe Texas grid isn’t walled off, but there are only a few, small interconnection points with the Eastern U.S. grid and Mexico.
US needs to brace itself for more deadly storms, experts say
It was also a harbinger of what social service providers and governments say will be a surge of increased needs for society’s most vulnerable as climate and natural disasters worsen. More than 100 million people live in areas under winter weather warnings, watches or advisories, and blackouts are expected to continue in some parts of the country for days. Climate change also is hurting military readiness. “The cost associated with addressing climate change and improving our infrastructure’s resilience is always going to be less than the cost of rebuilding or failing to act,'' Carper said. Modifying the turbines slightly to withstand freezing temperatures is one step needed to confront climate change, said Roy McCann, professor of electrical engineering at the University of Arkansas.
Some electricity restored in Texas, but water woes grow
Houston and several surrounding cities are under a boil water notice as many residents are still without running water in their homes. But the crisis was far from over in parts of the South, where many people still lacked safe drinking water. The next phase of the state’s disaster response will be to test drinking water from systems knocked offline by the cold. Power was cut to a New Orleans facility that pumps drinking water from the Mississippi River and generators were used until electricity was restored. Drinking water was made available at fire stations throughout Jackson and officials also planned to set up bottled water pickup sites.
US needs to brace itself for more deadly storms, experts say
It was also a harbinger of what social service providers and governments say will be a surge of increased needs for society’s most vulnerable as climate and natural disasters worsen. More than 100 million people live in areas under winter weather warnings, watches or advisories, and blackouts are expected to continue in some parts of the country for days. Climate change also is hurting military readiness. Ad“The cost associated with addressing climate change and improving our infrastructure’s resilience is always going to be less than the cost of rebuilding or failing to act,'' Carper said. Modifying the turbines slightly to withstand freezing temperatures is one step needed to confront climate change, said Roy McCann, professor of electrical engineering at the University of Arkansas.
Texas takes on Biden but Republicans keep distance from AG
FILE - This Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks in Washington, at a rally in support of President Donald Trump. That’s the real litmus test,” said Republican state Sen. Paul Bettencourt, who pointed toward the deportation lawsuit and challenges last year to mail-in ballot applications around his Houston district. Paxton's budget requests may yet force Republican lawmakers to consider the exodus from his office. Greg Abbott — who has previously said the accusations raise “serious concerns” — and Paxton did not respond to questions. He has pleaded not guilty to allegations that he defrauded investors in a tech startup before becoming attorney general.
Couple get month sentence in college bribery scandal
A business executive and his wife, a former journalist, were each sentenced to a month in prison Tuesday for paying $125,000 to rig their daughter's college entrance exams in a scandal involving dozens of wealthy and sometimes famous parents. They follow five other parents who have been sentenced so far, with prison sentences ranging from 14 days to five months. Meanwhile, the case's lead prosecutor said he plans to recommend longer prison sentences for "Full House" star Lori Loughlin and other parents contesting the charges against them. "Let's say she goes through to trial: If it's after trial, I think certainly we'd be asking for something substantially higher. The "Desperate Housewives" star was sentenced Sept. 13 after she admitted to paying $15,000 to rig her daughter's SAT score.chicagotribune.com