BC-TX--Texas News Digest 1 pm, TX
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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HOUSTON _ Authorities on Thursday ordered people to stay indoors for several hours after high levels of benzene were detected in the air near a petrochemical storage facility outside of Houston where a fire sent a black pillar of smoke into the air for days. Firefighters on Wednesday extinguished the blaze at the Intercontinental Terminals Company in Deer Park, which started Sunday and destroyed several large tanks that contained gasoline and chemicals used in nail polish remover, glues and paint thinner. They continued to spray foam on the site Thursday to try to prevent flare-ups. The shelter in place order was lifted at around noon on Thursday after authorities said several readings showed the air quality had improved. By Juan A. Lozano and David Warren. SENT: 740 words, with photos, video. Developing.
_ PETROCHEMICAL-FIRE-TEXAS-THE LATEST
McALLEN, Texas _ Waves of desperate families are trying to cross the U.S. border with Mexico almost hourly and entering an overtaxed government detention system. The Border Patrol says about 66,000 people crossed the border illegally in February, including 36,000 parents and children. That’s an all-time monthly high. Feeding and caring for the migrants has fallen almost entirely on the Border Patrol, a single law enforcement agency. The agency announced this week that it would start releasing some families in far South Texas with notices to appear in immigration court due to overcrowding in its facilities. By Nomaan Merchant. SENT: 1,190 words, with photos, video.
REDRAWING AMERICA-IMBALANCE OF POWER
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. _ Democrats won more votes, regained control of the U.S. House and flipped hundreds of seats in state legislatures during the 2018 elections. It was, by most accounts, a good year for the party. Yet it wasn’t as bad as it could have been for Republicans. That’s because they may have benefited from a built-in advantage in some states, based on how political districts were drawn, that prevented deeper losses or helped them hold on to power, according to a mathematical analysis by The Associated Press. States that had consistently sizable Republican advantages in both congressional elections included Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Alabama and Texas. By David Lieb. SENT: 1,380 words, with photos.
BUMP STOCK BAN
BOISE, Idaho _ David Lunsford is an avid gun owner with a firing range on his Texas spread. With bump stocks about to be banned by the U.S. government, he grudgingly decided to sell off his and let someone else figure out what to do with them. The 60-year-old Lunsford has at one time owned six AR-15 rifles that he built from kits, as well as a World War II German submachine gun. The bump stock — the attachment used by the killer during the 2017 Las Vegas massacre to make his weapons fire rapidly like machine guns — will become illegal on Tuesday in the only major gun restriction imposed by the federal government in the past few years. By Lisa Marie Pane. SENT 1,040 words, with photos.
AROUND THE STATE & NATION:
BERLIN _ More than 300 U.S. soldiers arrived Thursday in Germany from their base in West Texas in the first test of a new American strategy to rapidly deploy U.S.-based troops to Europe to bolster the NATO deterrent against possible Russian aggression. The soldiers, from the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Armored Division, based in Fort Bliss, were part of a group of 1,500 to arrive this week in Berlin via charter aircraft, and are on their way to Poland for maneuvers with local forces. The Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and other equipment they will be using are being brought in from a pre-positioned location in the Netherlands. By David Rising. SENT: 620 words, with photos.
GLF--GEORGE W BUSH-HOLE-IN-ONE
DALLAS _ Former President George W. Bush has made a hole-in-one at a Dallas course that will soon host his institute’s Warrior Open honoring wounded U.S. military personnel. A photo posted Wednesday on Bush’s Instagram account shows the beaming 43rd U.S. president holding a golf ball on the par-3 12th green of Trinity Forest Golf Club. SENT: 130 words, pursuing photo. Moving on news & sports lines.
_ CONFEDERATE WAR MEMORIAL-DALLAS-BILLBOARD _ A highway billboard in North Texas features Confederate flags and a cartoon-like character of a soldier in a gray uniform urinating on an image of the Dallas skyline, where leaders have voted to remove Confederate memorials. Pursuing photos.
_ DROWNED BOY-SENTENCE _ A man who drowned his 6-year-old nephew north of Seattle has been sentenced to more than 18 years in prison for the death of the child who was visiting from Kerrville, Texas.
SPOT MEMBER EXCHANGE:
EXCHANGE-LAWN MOWER DOCTOR
SAN ANTONIO _ At a time when a single broken part can relegate even the most expensive home appliance _ a clothes washer, refrigerator or lawn mower _ to the dust bin, Ralph Bryan is fighting the good fight against such planned obsolescence. And he’s doing it with that oldest of old school strategies: the house call. The San Antonio Express-News reports Bryan is the self-proclaimed Lawn Mower Doctor, driving his battered 1994 Chevy van to homes across the city to tune up and repair not only mowers, but other gas-powered tools such as chainsaws, generators, string trimmers and more. By Richard A. Marini, San Antonio Express-News. SENT: 1,620 words, with photos.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. _ No. 2 seed Kentucky heads into the NCAA tournament with another group of fabulous freshmen and sophomore PJ Washington, who has been nursing a sore left foot. The Wildcats take on No. 15 Abilene Christian, which is making its first NCAA appearance. By Paul Newberry. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos. Game starts at 6:10 p.m. CDT
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