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BC-TX--Texas Enterprise Digest, TX

February 21, 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.

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STAFF/MEMBER STORIES:

MOVING ON Saturday, Feb. 16:

FLOOD CONTROL-HARRIS COUNTY

HOUSTON _ The Houston area is in line to receive a $320,000 federal grant to study the feasibility of constructing deep underground tunnels to move stormwater to the Houston Ship Channel without overburdening the area’s bayous. The Houston Chronicle reports the grant, from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, could be used by the Harris County Flood Control District for a four-month review of whether such tunnels could help control floodwaters. The research is part of the district’s 2018 flood bond program, which voters approved last August. UPCOMING: 300 words, with photos.

MOVING ON Sunday, Feb. 17:

EAGLE FORD SHALE-STUDY

VICTORIA, Texas _ Researchers at two California universities are studying the fiery flares that pock-mark drilling sites in the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas. The researchers from the University of Southern California and San Francisco State University are using satellites to see how much flaring occurs in the region instead of relying solely on data provided the state by the oil and gas industry. The researchers have counted 43,887 oil and gas flares in the region from 2012 to 2016. Now, they want to count how many pre-term births and babies with low birth rates happened in the region, compared to the rest of the state. UPCOMING: 400 words, photos.

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FOR IMMEDIATE USE:

ELECTION 2020-O’ROURKE-BORDER POLITICS

EL PASO, Texas _ When President Donald Trump visited Beto O’Rourke’s hometown to argue that walling off the southern border would make the U.S. safer, the former Democratic congressman and possible 2020 presidential hopeful was ready. As the president filled an El Paso arena with supporters, O’Rourke helped lead thousands of his own on a protest march past the barrier of barbed-wire topped fencing and towering metal slats that separates El Paso from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. By Will Weissert. SENT: 990 words, photos. Moved Monday.

ELECTION 2020-TRUMP THE PUNDIT

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. _ Kamala Harris had the best campaign roll-out. Amy Klobuchar’s snowy debut showed grit. Elizabeth Warren’s opening campaign video was a bit odd. Take it from an unlikely armchair pundit sizing up the 2020 Democratic field: President Donald Trump. In tweets, public remarks and private conversations, Trump is making clear he is closely following the campaign to challenge him on the ballot. Facing no serious primary opponent of his own _ at least so far _ Trump is establishing himself as an in-their-face observer of the Democratic Party’s nominating process — and no will be surprised to find that he’s not being coy about weighing in. By Zeke Miller. SENT: 970 words, photos. Moved Monday.

ELECTION 2020-DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION

WASHINGTON _ Leaders in three major cities are in a last-minute scramble to win the 2020 Democratic National Convention, an event that could funnel millions of dollars into the local economy and put them at the center of the political world for one week next summer. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez is choosing among Houston, Miami and Milwaukee. In recent weeks, some Democrats have privately suggested Milwaukee would get the nod, and a sense of finality set in once the DNC in December paid what were billed as the last visits to each city before a decision was made. By Bill Barrow. SENT: 970 words, photos. Moved Tuesday.

ELECTION 2020-COURTING FRESHMEN

WASHINGTON _ Elizabeth Warren gave a nod to the first two Native Americans elected to Congress. Sen. Jeff Merkley got a moment on-camera with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. And virtually all of the Democrats who would be president have reached out to freshman Rep. Joe Cunningham in early-voting South Carolina. His victory over Katie Arrington, a Trump-supported Republican, flipped a House seat in a district the president won by nearly 13 percentage points in 2016. Cunningham has received no formal request for an endorsement, his spokeswoman said. Cunningham is widely viewed as aligned with former Texas Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke, in part because a key aide who helped Cunningham pull off his upset has signed up as O’Rourke’s state director. By Laurie Kellman. SENT: 1,100 words, photos. Moved Tuesday.

VENEZUELA-JAILED

HOUSTON _ A faint voice comes through the crackled phone line. On the other end, Tomeu Vadell, speaking from a military counterintelligence prison in Venezuela’s capital, asks his daughters in Louisiana whether they’ve gone to church and says he plans to spend his Sunday doing pushups to keep his body and spirit intact. The call ends abruptly after two minutes, leaving Cristina and Veronica Vadell wondering when they’ll next hear from their dad, who along with five other executives from Houston-based Citgo has spent 15 months jailed in Venezuela on what their families say are trumped-up corruption charges. By Joshua Goodman and John L. Mone. SENT: 1340 words, photos, video. Moved on general and financial news services. Moved Tuesday.

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WEEKEND MEMBER EXCHANGES/MOVED IN ADVANCE:

FOR USE Sunday, Feb. 24, and thereafter:

EXCHANGE-BLACK COWBOYS

RICHMOND, Texas _ Early in the 1950s, Hall of Fame bull rider Willie Thomas was forced to ride a bull for 15 seconds, further risking his safety to tire it out because white officials refused to blow the whistle for the African-American rider at the customary eight-second mark. That was just one of many racial indignities black rodeo riders suffered through, including having to enter and exit through animal chutes and being forbidden from winning many cash prizes, en route to Thomas’ countless victories. Thomas, 89, grew up on A.P. George Ranch in the 1930s. The George Ranch Rodeo in Richmond recently spotlighted Thomas and his brother, James, to honor Texas’ oft-overlooked black cowboy legacy. By Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle. SENT IN ADVANCE: 660 words, photos. Moved on general and sports news services.

EXCHANGE-SUPER READER

ODESSA, Texas _ When he’s not in his role as executive director of the Education Partnership of the Permian Basin or chief people officer at the Sewell Family of Companies, Adrian Vega has an alter ego called El Super Lector (super reader). The Odessa American reports as El Super Lector, Vega makes monthly appearances at Blackshear, Burnet, Alamo STEAM Academy elementary schools in Odessa and Sam Houston Collegiate Prep in Midland through the Education Foundation of Odessa’s Bookworms program. Volunteers read a book aloud to students at the campuses and the students get a copy of the books. By Ruth Campbell, Odessa American. SENT IN ADVANCE: 1,100 words, photos.

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FOR USE Monday, Feb. 25, and thereafter:

EXCHANGE-TRAFFICKING VICTIMS-SHELTER

SAN ANTONIO _ The underage victims of sex trafficking in San Antonio now have a new place to heal and overcome their trauma, thanks to a partnership between Roy Maas Youth Alternatives and a number of local donors. The San Antonio Express-News reports La Puerta Emergency Shelter _ puerta means door in Spanish _ has opened on a busy street on the North Side, adding to RYMA’s existing complex of shelters and services for homeless, runaway and abused or neglected youths. By Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje, San Antonio Express-News. SENT IN ADVANCE: 600 words, photos.

EXCHANGE-DRONES-STUDENTS

SWEENY, Texas _ As technology advances faster than ever, how kids prepare for careers changes, too. While most high schools are expanding their reach through specific career and technical education programs such as video game programming, one teacher at Sweeny Elementary School thought career prep could start even earlier _ with drones. “I bought my daughter a drone last year for Christmas and she loved it immediately,” said Matthew Way, STREAM lab teacher at Sweeny Elementary School. “I started thinking in my mind of a way to incorporate drones with the students’ learning because I knew it would engage them.” By Elizabeth Parrish, The Facts. SENT IN ADVANCE: 520 words, photos.

^The AP, Dallas