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BC-TX--Texas Enterprise Digest, TX

December 24, 2018

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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FOR IMMEDIATE USE:

CLOSED CHURCH-HOUSTON

HOUSTON _ During the Christmas season, the aromas of hot chocolate and tamales would mingle with the sounds of mariachis and hymns praising Our Lady of Guadalupe within the walls of the nearly 80-year-old St. Stephen Catholic Church near downtown Houston. But since May 2016, the church has stood silent, after the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston ordered the building closed as St. Stephen parish was combined with a neighboring church. Some parishioners appealed, taking their case to Rome and the Vatican’s highest court, which in April ruled in their favor. However, the wish of parishioners to be back inside their church in time for Christmas celebrations and Mass won’t be granted. The archdiocese has said it won’t be reopened until a review is done on the building’s condition. By Juan A. Lozano. SENT: 800 words, with photos. SENT on Monday.

YE--STORY OF THE YEAR

The depths of Larry Nassar’s depravity began to emerge some 15 months before the calendar flipped to 2018 _ when reports of his sexual abuse first appeared in news stories that would eventually lead to a trial and, ultimately, to the doctor’s imprisonment. But it was January 2018, when more than 150 female athletes testified at Nassar’s sentencing hearing for convictions on child-porn and sex-abuse charges, that marked a turning point in a crisis that has inflicted untold damage. Nassar’s crimes and the chaos they provoked _ turnover at Michigan State, the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics, to say nothing of the trauma wrought on the victims _ was the Story of the Year in balloting by Associated Press members and editors. By Eddie Pells. SENT: 900 words, with photos. Moving on news & sports lines. SENT on Monday.

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WEEKEND MEMBER EXCHANGES/MOVED IN ADVANCE:

FOR USE Sunday, Dec. 30, and thereafter:

EXCHANGE-BATTLING SEX TRAFFICKING

LAKE JACKSON, Texas _ When Billy Cain found out his coworker and close friend of 10 years was contacting his children and talking to them in a sexually inappropriate way, he said he felt shocked and guilty. How could someone he trusted do this to his children without his knowledge? The Facts reports at the time, the successful video game developer had started searching for a way to use virtual reality technology _ or VR _ to educate people. After his personal disaster, he made teaching people about sex trafficking his first project. By Elizabeth Parrish, The Facts. SENT IN ADVANCE: 720 words, pursuing photos.

EXCHANGE-HOUSTON-FITGERALDS-CLOSING

HOUSTON _ Ryan Chavez stood on the side of the stage at Fitzgerald’s talking to some other sound engineers about the end of an era. The Houston Chronicle reports this was back in 2014, when he was working sound for Run the Jewels, a rap duo that would soon move from playing the likes of Fitzgerald’s to bigger venues, and Chavez knew the November show would be one of the last great ones he worked at Fitz, a venue that opened in 1977, turning a two-story 1920s structure into a live-music hub in Houston. Now the club is closing after a Dec. 31 gig. By Andrew Dansby, Houston Chronicle. SENT IN ADVANCE: 2,670 words, pursuing photos. Moving on news, entertainment & sports lines.

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FOR USE Monday, Dec. 31, and thereafter:

EXCHANGE-AUSTIN-BUILDING BOOM

AUSTIN _ It’s hard to imagine now, but picture this: In the early 2000s, only about 4,000 people lived in downtown Austin and not much was open after dark. Back then, skeptics viewed developers’ vision of turning downtown into a lively vertical neighborhood as more of a pie-in-the-sky dream than a realistic goal. The Austin American-Statesman reports but two decades later, that’s precisely what has come to pass. By Shonda Novak, Austin American-Statesman. SENT IN ADVANCE: 2,340 words, pursuing photos. Moving on news & business lines.

EXCHANGE-CORNERSTONE ASSISTANCE NETWORK

TYLER, Texas _ Military veteran Shane Kerr doesn’t mind getting dirt under his fingernails or ending his day with a sore muscle or two. The Tyler Morning Telegraph reports it’s apparently a small price to pay for financial stability and the dignity of a hard day’s work. Kerr, 39, is a new face around The Home Depot, having landed employment with the corporation after a prolonged period of personal and financial struggles. The Marine Corps veteran and career pipeline worker is among a growing list of success stories coming out of East Texas Cornerstone Assistance Network. By Jacque Hilburn-Simmons, Tyler Morning Telegraph. SENT IN ADVANCE: 1,300 words, with photos.

^The AP, Dallas

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