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AP-TX--Texas News Digest 1 pm, TX

September 19, 2018

Good afternoon! Here’s a look at AP’s general news coverage in Texas at this hour. Questions about coverage plans are welcome and should be directed to the Dallas AP at 972-991-2100, or, in Texas, 800-442-7189. Email: aptexas@ap.org

Reminder: This information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change. Expected stories may not develop, or late-breaking and more newsworthy events may take precedence. Advisories and digests will keep you up to date. All times are Central.

For up-to-the minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at newsroom.ap.org

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TOP STORIES:

BORDER AGENT ARRESTED-WOMEN KILLED

LAREDO, Texas — Janelle Ortiz dreamed of becoming famous. Melissa Ramirez imagined a day when the street wasn’t home and drugs not her preoccupation. Claudine Anne Luera just ached to see her children do better than she had. All the women, bound by difficulties in life, met an eerily similar death: Shot in the head and left on rural Texas roadsides in killings police say came at the hands of a U.S. Border Patrol agent whose reasons are unknown. By Susan Montoya Bryan and Matt Sedensky. AP Photos. AP Video. 1,000 words.

3D GUN-LAWSUIT

DALLAS — An affidavit accuses the owner of a Texas company that makes untraceable 3D-printed guns of paying $500 cash to have sex with a female under 17. The affidavit filed Wednesday in state district court in Austin accuses 30-year-old Cody R. Wilson of sexual assault of a juvenile. It says he met his alleged victim through the website SugarDaddyMeet.com. Wilson hasn’t responded to a phone message. Jail records indicate he’s not in custody. By Ryan Tarinelli. SENT: 120 words. UPCOMING: 400 words, with photos.

BALLISTIC VESTS-FIREFIGHTERS

DALLAS — Houston officials will spend up to $1.4 million to purchase ballistic vests for firefighters as they join a growing number of cities buying the vests to better protect firefighters who are more often encountering active-shooter or other deadly situations. Houston Fire Chief Sam Pena said in a statement Wednesday that, “We must now also consider protection against violent acts.” Houston joins a growing number of fire departments — Boston, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh among them — that have purchased the vests. John Montes with the National Fire Protection Association says firefighters and paramedics in many cases no longer wait for police to defuse a deadly situation before entering. By David Warren. UPCOMING: 650 words.

OF NOTE:

TROPICAL WEATHER-TRUMP

HAVELOCK, N.C. — President Donald Trump sought to offer comfort Wednesday to families who suffered losses in Hurricane Florence, declaring “America grieves for you” as he arrived in North Carolina to survey damage left by the powerful storm. The president traveled south as the region continues to grapple with the aftermath of a storm that North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said was “epic.” Trump’s trip to Texas last year after Hurricane Harvey battered the Houston area generated blowback for his failure to meet with victims of the storm. Four days later, he returned — and urged people at a Houston shelter to “have a good time.” By Catherine Lucey. SENT: 740 words, with photos, video.

With:

— TROPICAL WEATHER-TRUMP-THE LATEST

— TROPICAL WEATHER-WHERE’S HOME. By Russ Bynum and Gary D. Robertson. SENT: 830 words, with photos.

AROUND THE STATE & NATION:

FBN--EDUCATOR-BLACK QUARTERBACKS

HOUSTON — Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien and quarterback Deshaun Watson are firing back at an East Texas school superintendent who wrote : “You can’t count on a black quarterback,” in the comment section of an online news article where he was criticizing Watson. O’Brien says it’s “amazing that B.S. exists in this day and age.” By Kristie Rieken. UPCOMING: 600 words, with photos. NOTE: Moving on sports & news lines.

DEADLY ROSE DISEASE

NEW ORLEANS — An incurable rose disease once hailed as a possible way to eradicate an invasive plant is causing major damage to the nation’s $250-million-a-year rose business. Dr. David Byrne of Texas A&M University is leading a $4.6 million multistate project to study the virus and the wind-blown mite that spreads it, and to find roses that aren’t susceptible. He says one rose producer spent $1 million getting rid of rose rosette disease, and some smaller nurseries have had to destroy 10,000 plants. The virus has been found in at least 30 states. In Texas, the Fort Worth Botanic Garden removed 2,000 plants. The virus recently spread in northwest Louisiana. By Janet McConnaughey. SENT: 760 words, with photos.

IN BRIEF:

— PONZI SCHEME-3 CHARGED — Federal prosecutors in Maryland say three men, including two from Texas, are facing charges in a $364 million investment scheme that entrapped more than 400 victims nationwide.

SPOT MEMBER EXCHANGE:

EXCHANGE-BLUE BELL-EXPANSION

AUSTIN, Texas — Three years after a health scare that nearly spelled the end of the line for a beloved Texas brand, Blue Bell has rebounded — and is, in fact, growing and expanding. The Austin American-Statesman reports the Brenham-based company, which got its start 111 years ago, shut down production for a time in 2015 and recalled 8 million gallons of ice cream after reports of listeria started coming in. In all, 10 people fell ill. Three died. During the shutdown, the company deep-cleaned its three plants — in Texas, Alabama, and Oklahoma — replaced some equipment and reworked procedures. Texas regulators, as of this year, closed an enforcement agreement with Blue Bell that allowed operations to resume with expanded monitoring. By Gary Dinges and Sebastian Herrera, Austin American-Statesman. SENT: 1,200 words, pursuing photos.

SPORTS REFER:

BBA--RAYS-RANGERS

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday afternoon wrap up their series with the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. UPCOMING: 600 words, with photos. NOTE: Game started at 1:05 p.m. CDT.

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