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BC-TX--Texas Enterprise Digest, TX

February 15, 2019

Here is the list of enterprise stories in Texas. If you have questions, please call Texas News Editor Kim Johnson at 972-991-2100 or, in Texas, 800-442-7189.

For access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477.



MOVING ON Saturday, Feb. 16:


HOUSTON _ A judge has ruled in favor of some Texas landowners balking at selling their property for a proposed high-speed rail project linking Houston and Dallas. The Houston Chronicle reports a judge this month decided that backers of the project did not have the authority to force some property owners in rural Leon County to sell or provide access to their land. Opponents of the rail project welcomed the ruling as a death knell for the Texas Central Railway project. UPCOMING: 300 words, with photos.

MOVING ON Sunday, Feb. 17:


CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas _ Construction to replace the Harbor Bridge in Corpus Christi is behind schedule and probably won’t open in April 2020 as planned. The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports officials with builder Flatiron/Dragados cited delays related to weather. Construction on the $930 million project reached a milestone in January with the first span put into place on the north side of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel. UPCOMING: 300 words, pursuing photos. Moving on news & business lines.




WASHINGTON _ Battling with one branch of government and opening a new confrontation with another, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency Friday to fulfill his pledge to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Bypassing Congress, which approved far less money for his proposed wall than he had sought, Trump said he will use executive action to siphon billions of dollars from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts for the wall, aides said. The move drew immediate bipartisan criticism on Capitol Hill and is expected to face rounds of legal challenges. By Alan Fram, Catherine Lucey and Zeke Miller. SENT: 1,050 words, with photos, video, audio. SENT on Friday. Developing.


The U.S. government has suddenly stopped force-feeding a group of men on a hunger strike inside an El Paso immigration detention center, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Thursday. The dramatic reversal comes as public pressure was mounting on ICE to halt the practice, which involves feeding detainees through nasal tubes against their will. Last week, the United Nations human rights office said the force-feeding of Indian hunger strikers at the facility could violate the U.N. Convention Against Torture. By Martha Mendoza and Garance Burke. SENT: 530 words. SENT on Thursday.


HOMESTEAD, Fla. _ Journalists were given a glimpse Wednesday of a newly expanded south-Florida detention facility where nearly 150 teenage migrants sleep in rows of bunk beds in a large windowless room. The sleeping area in a converted Job Corps building in Homestead, Florida, is just part of the growing detention center operated by a private company for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Comprehensive Health Services has hired 230 new employees and received 225 more children since December. Health and Human Services spokesman Mark Weber said none of the children were transferred from a controversial facility that shut down in January in Tornillo, Texas. By Adriana Gomez Licon. SENT: 850 words, with photo. SENT on Wednesday.


AUSTIN, Texas _ Texas’ election chief has apologized for releasing a botched list of 95,000 voters whose citizenship was called into question before being fully vetted. Texas Secretary of State David Whitley previously refused to acknowledge mistakes in the three weeks since his office gave prosecutors a voter list that included tens of thousands of U.S. citizens who were wrongly flagged. But in a letter to lawmakers Wednesday, Whitley said “more time should have been devoted” to vetting the names. President Donald Trump seized on the reports out of Texas to renew unsubstantiated claims of rampant voter fraud. By Paul J. Weber. SENT: 400 words, with photo. SENT on Thursday.


DALLAS _ A private prisoner transport company is shutting down after an MMA fighter accused in two killings escaped from one of its vans while being escorted to a jail in Texas. Texas Prisoner Transportation Services told Bell County officials in an email that it will “begin to wrap up its business affairs and cease operations” Sunday. CEO Ryan Whitten wrote that new insurance rates forced the business based in Thrall, Texas, to come to that decision. By Jake Bleiberg. SENT: 390 words, with photo. SENT on Monday.


WASHINGTON _ At some large U.S. universities, the vast majority of sexual assaults take place not in dorm rooms or anywhere else on school property but in neighborhoods beyond campus boundaries, according to data obtained by The Associated Press. Schools’ obligation to investigate and respond to those off-campus attacks could be reduced by the Education Department’s proposed overhaul of campus sexual assault rules. At the University of Texas in Austin, officials received 58 reports of sexual assaults on campus grounds since fall 2014 while fielding 237 involving private apartments, houses and other areas outside campus, according to data obtained through public records requests. Another 160 reports didn’t include locations. By Collin Binkley. SENT: 1,600 words, with photos. NOTE: Also abridged version, 970 words, with photos. SENT on Tuesday.


Minoo Sharifan came to the U.S. from Iran in the 1970s for graduate school, and like many others, wound up settling in America while a revolution upended her homeland and fractured relations with the U.S. The two countries remain bitter adversaries. Today, there are nearly a half-million people in the U.S. with Iranian ancestry. More than 40 percent live in California, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Beyond Southern California, other significant populations live in the New York and Washington metropolitan areas, and in Florida and Texas. By Amy Taxin. SENT: 1,050 words, with photos, video. SENT on Tuesday.


SAN FRANCISCO _ Google plans to invest more than $13 billion this year on new and expanded data centers and offices across the U.S. CEO Sundar Pichai announced the news in a blog post Wednesday , emphasizing the company’s growth outside its Mountain View, California, home and across the Midwest and South. Google will build new data centers in Nevada, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina and Virginia. Pichai estimated the construction of the new centers will employ 10,000 workers. By Rachel Lerman. SENT: 300 words, with photo. SENT on Wednesday.


NEW YORK _ Romantic partners who are also business partners can find there’s a lot of tough talk, listening, learning and compromising needed as they run a company, a personal relationship and often a family. Sometimes, working well together takes brutal honesty. Cynthia Smoot remembers struggling with her husband Randy for several years after she joined his advertising agency, Gangway Advertising, in 2008. Part of the problem was too much closeness _ being together 24/7 didn’t work. So, they transitioned from sharing a home office to two separate rooms in different parts of their house in Dallas. By Joyce M. Rosenberg. SENT: 1,000 words, with photos. SENT on Wednesday.


NEW YORK _ First-time documentary filmmakers Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler lugged their cameras to Central Park in New York one day to capture the last few people still passionate about roller skating. The activity seemed dead. Two young African-American skaters approached them and asked them what they were doing. “They said, ‘Skating’s not dead. It just went underground,’” Winkler recalled. Five years and 500 hours of footage later, they’ve emerged with the HBO film “United Skates,” a fascinating look at the rich African-American subculture of roller skating. Cities have different skate dance styles _ Baltimore has “Snapping,” Atlanta has the “Jacknife” and in Texas you do the “Slow Walk.” By Mark Kennedy. SENT: 790 words, with photo. SENT on Wednesday.



FOR USE Sunday, Feb. 17, and thereafter:


BEACH CITY, Texas _ Four days before Christmas, Beach City’s new mayor learned something worrisome: A company was seeking a permit to dredge near hazardous waste pits in the San Jacinto River. The Houston Chronicle reports the firm wanted to dump the potentially toxic sludge 15 miles away on a neighborhood lot next to the only park in Beach City, which stretches along the coastline south of Mont Belvieu and Baytown. At the time, Lasater was on his way to Arkansas to visit his father, who fell and had hip surgery. But the 15-day public comment period for the project was halfway over. The mayor and others got to work. By Emily Foxhall, Houston Chronicle. SENT IN ADVANCE: 1,700 words, with photos. Moving on news & business lines.


DALLAS _ They don’t pull out the fuzzy socks and flannel robes, but when it’s cold out, the Dallas Zoo has its own ways to keep animals cozy. The Dallas Morning News reports the zoo never lets the animals get too hot or too cold, by keeping an eye on the forecast and considering other factors, including the temperature ranges of each species’ natural habitats. Keepers also rely on care manuals that are shared in zoos across the country for guidelines about when animals should be inside. By Claire Z. Cardona, The Dallas Morning News. SENT IN ADVANCE: 740 words, with photos. Not for online use in the Dallas area.


MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. _ The city of Mountain Home now owns a brush truck, thanks in part due to the recently instituted Public Safety Tax and the Mountain Home Rural Fire Protection District. The truck is a brand new 2019 Ford F350 extended cab truck with custom outfitting by WildFire out of Alvarado, Texas. The truck is four-wheel drive and has a 300-gallon tank fitted to the one ton chassis. By Josh Dooley, The Baxter Bulletin. SENT IN ADVANCE: 529 words, with photo.


FOR USE Monday, Feb. 18, and thereafter:


TYLER, Texas _ The freedom to connect with her patients on an emotional and spiritual level is what drew family nurse practitioner Onissa Mitchell to Bethesda Health Clinic about four years ago. The Tyler Morning Telegraph reports so when a Tyler chapter of Black Nurses Rock began in 2016, Mitchell was similarly drawn to the organization’s mission to inspire and empower innovative leaders that will serve and educate vulnerable communities. By Augusta Robinson, Tyler Morning Telegraph. SENT IN ADVANCE: 690 words, with photos.


SAN ANTONIO _ The Alamo Music Center survived the Great Depression, the oil and housing bust in the 1980s and shifts in consumer spending that have forced the business to downsize and other music stores in town to close. This year, the family-run operation is turning 90. The San Antonio Express-News reports customers say their knowledgeable staff, local ties and extensive inventory have made the business a go-to for both first-time players and seasoned musicians. By Madison Iszler, San Antonio Express-News. SENT IN ADVANCE: 940 words, with photos. Moving on news, business & entertainment lines.

^The AP, Dallas