Imperial Cleaning

US marks 9/11 with somber tributes, new monument to victims

The former secretary of state charges the ad is defamatory, has sent a cease and desist letter, and threatened to sue.

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Collier, a Houston-based certified public accountant, was previously in Abilene in early August, part of a five-candidate public forum at the Paramount Theatre featuring senate candidate Beto O'Rourke.

Over the phone Friday, Collier called out Patrick's record. Collier said the Legislature, with Patrick at the head of the Senate, saw property taxes increase 4 percent, 6 percent, 7 percent and 7 percent these last four years. But the state has tried to hide this, he said. Since announcing my departure as chancellor of the great Texas Tech University System, my wife, Terri, and I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support we have received. Serving in that role is the highlight of my decades of public service.

I will forever look back with pride in the steps we took to make it one of the premier institutions of higher education in the nation. There is abundant and warranted speculation on the actions of the board of regents that led to my decision to retire. At the proper time, I will engage in those discussions. But, in the meantime, know my gratitude and devotion to Texas Tech remain great, as is my respect for the board of regents who have such a critical role in moving the system forward and meeting the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Times are good around the System. Each of our component institutions is led by innovative and dynamic presidents. Enrollment is growing, and student credentials are rising. The System is financially strong with bond ratings that place us in the top 20 in the nation. Texas Tech University recently added one of the top plant molecular biologists in the world as a National Academy of Sciences member, Dr.

Luis Rafael Herrera-Estrella, who will lead research in plant genomics. The Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in Lubbock leads the nation in graduate satisfaction and now graduates more health care professionals than any other health-related institution in Texas.

Angelo State, after having a record fundraising year, has established a program in civil engineering and will soon establish a new program in mechanical engineering. Texas Tech and Angelo State have outstanding leadership in their athletic programs and many of our teams are excelling with national rankings.

The philosophy of sustained philanthropy has succeeded. And the future is bright with the new initiatives like the veterinarian school in Amarillo, the dental school in El Paso and the Mental Health Institute. Each of these initiatives serve to advance our national prominence and will address the needs of the people of this region, the nation and the world.

Students returning to school a few weeks ago likely noticed new security features at their campuses. More locked doors and secure entrances where visitors must be buzzed in. Fewer fire alarms that can be pulled by anyone. A new police presence on some campuses, and unbeknownst to students, a growing number of armed employees trained to take out anyone who opens fire on a school.

Even as districts harden buildings against the distant but dreadful possibility of a school shooting, however, many campuses are hurting for the most valuable resources needed to keep kids safe. Based on the recommendations of the American Counseling Association, Texas schools should have one counselor for every students. We average one counselor per students.

School districts should have one licensed school psychologist for every 1, students. We average one school psychologist per 2, students. Schools should have one social worker for every students. We average one social worker per 7, students. More than a third of Texas high school students have reported feeling so sad or hopeless for at least two weeks that they stopped doing their usual activities. One in eight Texas high schoolers said they tried to take their own life.

Schools have the opportunity to help those students, and could save lives by doing so, but they need to have enough trained experts on campus to help troubled teens. With many districts already financially strapped, it is imperative for the state to step forward with the money to provide these resources.

A state pension fund wants to tap into the soaring demand for downtown office space with a new ,square-foot tower next to the University of Texas campus and the Capitol Complex. Contractors for the Employees Retirement System of Texas will break ground later this year or early next on a nine-story building at E. Tenants could move in by late Jansen, Mark Emerick and John Barksdale are marketing the spec office building.

The mid-rise ERS tower is considered a separate project than the nearby transformation of the Capitol Complex, an effort spearheaded by the Texas Facilities Commission that is already underway and seeks to make the area around the Texas State Capitol more walkable and better integrated with the rest of downtown.

It speaks to the pension fund's level of confidence that commercial real estate prices will continue to rise in Austin, making this a viable investment for the many retirees it supports. Instead of just building a new structure for its employees, the retirement system opted for greater density.

That more closely aligns with efforts to renovate the Capitol Complex, Jansen said. A federal grand jury demanded a multitude of Weslaco City Commission records dating back to , indicating that an investigation may still be underway by the FBI, according to documents obtained by The Monitor last month. A grand jury issued the subpoena, requesting the city turn over conflicts disclosure statements submitted by former and current city of Weslaco commissioners, mayors, employees and vendors in addition to commission meeting agendas and video recordings from Jan.

Commissioners were able to award the contract and avoid the competitive bidding process because the need was deemed an emergency on grounds the city needed to increase water production to keep up with demand.

Cuellar declined to answer questions by phone in May about whether he had been interviewed by the FBI. The subpoena, though, does not list Cuellar or anyone else by name. While the scope of the records provided to the FBI in response to the subpoena is broad, it signals an indictment could be on the horizon. Grand juries indict, or formally charge, individuals if evidence and interviews provide probable cause to indicate a crime was committed.

Arrests follow an indictment. The FBI does not confirm or comment on investigations, agency spokeswoman Michelle Lee previously said. Stretching nearly 1, miles from the Colorado Rockies to the salty Gulf of Mexico, the Rio Grande has been the stuff of Southwestern lore, sustained entire cultures and nourished wildlife in an otherwise unforgiving part of the planet.

Yet this summer it nearly stopped flowing from Colorado into New Mexico. The muddy water that does flow into Texas is something of a mirage, released from reservoirs or even imported from faraway basins.

The problem is compounded by the techniques that farmers and cities have developed to get around such water shortages: When rivers run low, they can tap into deep aquifers or pump water from hundreds of miles away. All of which raises a tough question for a technologically advanced country like ours. It sustained tens of thousands of Native Americans: The Spanish named the lower stretch Rio Palmas, for its thickets of palms.

The Spanish farmed corn, chick peas and sweet onions while watching bald eagles snag five-pound fish from the water. American settlers in the Southwest called it the Rio Grande, and operated paddle wheelers on its southern stretches. But with the turn of the last century came hydroengineering across the arid American West.

Colorado, New Mexico and Texas divvied up the water with a compact in ; the United States and Mexico followed, in a treaty. Life-giving water was reduced to mere debits and credits in an accounting ledger.

Ever since, the river has been tamed, dammed, channeled and diverted into aqueducts, canals and ditches. Lawns, orchards and alfalfa bloom in the sandy, alluvial soil. Today, however, there is less snowpack than ever, and the river is still hamstrung by obligations that are nearly a century old. Ten years ago, the global economy teetered in the face of a classic financial panic, the most dangerous type of financial crisis.

In a financial panic, investors lose confidence in all forms of credit, retreating to the safest and most liquid assets, like Treasury bills. The prices of risky assets collapse, and new credit becomes unavailable, with dire consequences for workers, homeowners and savers. The seeds of the panic were sown over decades, as the American financial system outgrew the protections against panics that were put in place after the Great Depression. Depression-era safeguards, like deposit insurance, were aimed at ensuring that the banking system remained stable, but by more than half of all credit flowed outside banks.

Financial innovations, like subprime mortgages and automated credit scoring, helped millions to buy homes, but they also facilitated unwise risk-taking by lenders and investors. Most dangerously, trillions of dollars of risky credit were financed by uninsured, short-term funding.

This made the financial system vulnerable to runs — not by ordinary bank depositors, as in the s, but by pension funds, life insurance companies, and other investors.

A Balkanized and antiquated regulatory system made identifying these risks difficult and provided policymakers with limited authority to respond when the panic erupted.

The underlying performance of the broader economy before the crisis was troubling as well. Productivity growth was slowing, wages were stagnating, and the share of Americans who were working was shrinking.

That put pressure on family incomes even as inequality rose and upward social mobility declined. The desire to maintain relative living standards no doubt contributed to a surge in household borrowing before the crisis.

Although we and other financial regulators did not foresee the crisis, we moved aggressively to stop it. Acting in its traditional role as lender of last resort, the Federal Reserve provided massive quantities of short-term loans to financial institutions facing runs, while cutting interest rates nearly to zero. The Treasury Department stopped a run on money market funds by providing a backstop for investors.

The Treasury also managed the takeover of the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and worked with the Fed to try to prevent the collapse of large, systemically important financial firms. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation guaranteed bank debt and protected depositors. But the powers of the regulators alone proved inadequate. Congressional action made it possible for two presidents, one Republican and one Democratic, working with regulators, to prevent the collapse of the financial system and avoid another Great Depression.

Most importantly, Congress provided capital to the banking system, allowing for the normalization of credit flows. Congress also provided support for housing and mortgage markets and authorized a powerful fiscal stimulus. The economy began to grow again in mid, and the funds deployed by Congress were recovered with substantial profit to the taxpayer. Companies can have unconventional chief executives, but not eccentric accounting. Tesla, the electric-car maker, on Friday disclosed that its chief accounting officer had resigned and was leaving just weeks after his arrival.

Those headlines only added to the turmoil that has surrounded Tesla this year. Musk started and ultimately aborted an ill-conceived attempt to take Tesla off the public stock market. For much of , the company has struggled to hit production targets for the Model 3, the lower-priced car whose sales are supposed to finally make Tesla consistently profitable. Tesla, which has seen its cash stockpile shrink in recent quarters as its debt has grown, is entering a crucial period in which there can be no qualms about its financial statements.

Much rides on Tesla hitting certain financial goals. Musk said last month that he expected the company to be profitable, under generally accepted accounting principles, in the last two quarters of this year.

In less precise terms, Tesla also said it expected to show positive cash flows. Its executives have at times also made predictions about its automotive gross margin, which measures how much revenue is left after subtracting the costs closely associated with producing cars.

Because such financial benchmarks are derived from inputs that investors often cannot see, Tesla must have their trust. But with the sudden exit of Mr. Musk said in a tweet on Aug. Morton could not be reached for comment. In this conservative state, which has not supported a Democratic presidential candidate in more than a half-century, a grass-roots campaign to expand Medicaid is building considerable momentum as Election Day approaches.

If it wins approval here, it could happen almost anywhere. Two other conservative states, Idaho and Nebraska, will also vote that day on Medicaid expansion proposals.

The states, if the measures pass, will join more than 30 others that have expanded Medicaid under the health care law. In all three states, advocates are trying to outflank Republican lawmakers who have blocked expansion efforts. The Utah push is five years in the making. State politicians and advocates have tried repeatedly, by one means or another, to expand Medicaid.

Herbert, a Republican, and his team have spent countless hours in negotiations with the Obama and Trump administrations. In , the State Senate passed a bill, but it never reached the floor of the State House of Representatives.

Now, supporters of expansion are cautiously optimistic. Opinion polls suggest that 60 percent of Utah adults favor it. Advocates are energetic and well organized, knocking on doors and speaking frequently at public events. Opponents are lying low, but plan to make their case more forcefully before Election Day. On a recent Sunday, a big blue banner hung inside First United Methodist Church here in Ogden, urging people to vote for the ballot measure.

Kim James, the pastor, whose sermon cited examples from the Gospel of St. Did you pay your co-payment and your deductible?

Dunnigan, a Republican who is co-chairman of the Health Reform Task Force in the State Legislature, said he would not vote for the Medicaid ballot measure, but he added: There is very little organized opposition.

But he said the daily drama and tumult surrounding the White House are a distraction from many key issues facing the country, including its involvement in ongoing wars and cybersecurity concerns. Last week, Sasse raised the issue of becoming an independent when he responded on Twitter to an Iowa woman who said she left the Democratic Party because she dislikes both the major parties.

And he said his disillusionment was directed at the entire political system, not just the GOP. And neither of these things are really worth getting out of bed in the morning for. In a report Sunday in the New Yorker, six women alleged incidents of sexual harassment and assault between the s and early s that included forced oral sex, exposing himself without consent and the use of physical violence and intimidation to silence them, Ronan Farrow reported.

The article followed a similar New Yorker report from July featuring six other women. The women also claim CBS has perpetuated a culture of downplaying accusations and fostering a hostile environment. Multiple news organizations reported Sunday that Moonves, who had been negotiating terms for his departure, will step down imminently.

He would be the most prominent entertainment and media figure unseated by claims of sexual harassment in the wave of MeToo allegations rocking the industry. In a statement to the New Yorker, Moonves, who is also chairman of the CBS board, said three of the encounters were consensual, but he denied the others. What is true is that I had consensual relations with three of the women some 25 years ago before I came to CBS. And I have never used my position to hinder the advancement or careers of women.

Anyone who knows me knows that the person described in this article is not me. Bannon, Milo Yiannopoulos and Sebastian Gorka sound off on multiculturalism, radical Islam, free speech on college campuses and other issues. State attorneys general are emerging as a new regulatory threat to the U. State officials are raising risks for companies such as Facebook Inc. Tensions have been simmering for months, but they surfaced publicly last week when the Justice Department said U. But recent comments by several of the state attorneys general suggest they are actively exploring an antitrust investigation and hope to enlist Washington.

Twenty years ago, Microsoft Corp. So far, the current generation of internet giants have largely avoided antitrust enforcement action in the U. And yet, the U. Several Trump administration agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission, are examining the industry, and Mr. Trump himself recently railed against the internet giants and has attacked behemoths like Amazon. Last week, lawmakers in Washington held the latest in a series of hearings this year into a range of tech issues, including alleged Russian hacking, privacy and user data and criminal activity.

A persistent theme was the question of regulating big tech. He has given several speeches discussing competition in the digital space and laying out potential frameworks for any antitrust challenges. The FTC is to begin a series of hearings this week to consider competition concerns in the internet economy, among other issues. The unprecedented agreement would have seen both committees pledge to not use stolen or hacked material as candidates and incumbents campaign this fall.

That comes after U. On Friday, Republicans said they withdrew from the deal after Democrats broke an agreement to not discuss the negotiations publicly until a pact was sealed. Democrats scoffed that Mr. Hurricane Florence is on track to hit the East Coast as a major storm later this week. Florence was about miles southeast of Bermuda as of 5 a. The storm had maximum sustained winds of mph and was moving west-northwest at about 9 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.

The center of the hurricane was forecast to move between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday and approach the southeastern coast of the US on Thursday as a Category 3 storm or higher, according to the hurricane center. It warned people at the coast and inland from South Carolina into the mid-Atlantic region to closely monitor the storm's progress and ensure they had their hurricane plan in place.

Large swells generated by Florence are already affecting Bermuda and portions of the East Coast and will continue this week. It would be the first Category 3 or higher storm to hit the East Coast since Jeanne struck Florida in Vice President Mike Pence says he's " percent confident" that no one on his staff was involved with the anonymous New York Times column criticizing President Donald Trump's leadership. More than two dozen high-ranking administration officials have denied writing the column.

And Pence said his staff has nothing to do with it. I'm percent confident that no one on the vice president's staff was involved in this anonymous editorial. I know my people," Pence said on "Face the Nation. President Trump is doing for the people of this country. I know their character. I know their dedication and I am absolutely confident that no one on the vice president's staff had anything to do with this.

Both releases are said to have infuriated Trump, who unleashed a string of attacks on Woodward's credibility and dismissed the celebrated author's book as a "work of fiction. Perry would be the most senior U. Moscow and Washington are at odds over U. Trump has said he wants to improve ties, but his administration is considering imposing new sanctions on Moscow, as is the U.

Perry will hold talks with his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak on Sept. But the Democratic Raimondo hit for the academic cycle: She boasts degrees from Harvard, Yale, and Oxford. Before she entered politics, she worked in venture capital in Boston. Then, she squeaked into office with a mere She lost Smithfield, too. Raimondo has never really built on her small base of support—summer polling has her approval rating just a little above 40 percent. But first, the incumbent faces a tough primary, and the vote is next week.

He wants to reinstate the annual cost-of-living increases for retired government workers, for example, that had been bleeding the state dry for decades. In other words, his is an anti-reform candidacy in many regards. After his defeat, Brown went on to Global Zero, an advocacy group that campaigns against nuclear weapons. The former secretary of state charges the ad is defamatory, has sent a cease and desist letter, and threatened to sue. For months now, the focus of Campaign , rightly, has been on control of the House.

All the metrics continue to point to a midterm election in which Democrats could seize control of that chamber. But for sheer drama and unpredictability, the contest for control of the Senate could be the place to look. The House is no slam-dunk for the Democrats, but most Republicans following the campaigns are genuinely worried and probably right to be that way.

The overall environment is difficult for the GOP because of President Trump and because of the location of the competitive races; suburban areas as one example. There are so many Republican-held seats at risk and very few Democratic seats in similar danger that Democrats have multiple paths to pick up the 23 they need to flip the chamber. The Senate is and has been a different story. If the terrain that will determine control of the House more generally reflects the breadth of the country, the campaign for the Senate is largely playing out in the heart of Trump country.

Republicans are only defending nine of the 35 Senate seats up in November. They have to play far less defense than the Democrats. Second, many of the most competitive Democratic-held seats are in states Trump won easily in The range of possibilities in the Senate is not at all the same as in the House.

No one questions whether Democrats will gain seats in the House in two months. The question is how many: In the Senate, Republicans could, narrowly, lose control of the chamber or they could end up bolstering their slender two-seat majority. The state of the races offers few definitive clues as to what is coming. Almost everywhere you look the contests are tight. Florida features one of the premier Senate races of the cycle and probably the costliest, pitting Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson against Rick Scott, the term-limited Republican governor.

Florida is the perennial swing state: Trump won the state by a percentage point in Barack Obama carried it by three points in and then by just a point in his reelection. Bush won it by disputed votes in and then delivered what amounts to a landslide in the vernacular of Florida presidential results, a five-point victory in Marsha Blackburn 48 percent for Bredesen, 46 percent for Blackburn.

Dean Heller and Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen are also judged to be in a race that is a virtual toss-up. The Democratic primary elections of have brought an end to an era of deference by liberals to establishment leaders in Washington and the states, as an emboldened coalition of women, young people and racial minorities claimed ownership of the party and steered it to war against President Trump.

In key races, they have also replaced elected leaders with newcomers who look and sound like the diverse, youthful base that the party relies on in presidential elections but that asserts itself sparingly in midterm elections and down-ballot primaries.

Should that mood of insurgency prevail on Election Day, it could set the stage for an even more tumultuous phase of redefinition next year: A liberal base that feels validated after November may be unlikely to heed calls from party leaders to pick their battles in the new Congress, or to approach the race with sensitivity to more conservative sections of the country.

The next presidential primaries could become a climactic test for the awakened Democratic base, with women and candidates of color holding an appeal others might struggle to match.

Meehan, a former member of Congress from Massachusetts, a state rocked on Tuesday by primary upsets, said Mr. Trump had helped fuse once-fractious Democratic constituencies into a powerful alliance for primary season. Meehan, now the president of the University of Massachusetts, likened it to earlier moments of political realignment, when ethnic groups like Italian-, Irish- and Greek-American voters learned to work together in the middle of last century.

Meehan, who predicted Democrats would face more contested primaries in the coming years. The Democratic culture shift has been most pronounced in an array of densely populated Eastern states, where entrenched leaders have long worked to restrain the revolutionary policy aspirations of the left, and where local political machines have imposed a system of rigid hierarchy and incumbents often serve for life. Effectively leaderless since Mr.

The president decided the entire White House staff was working against him, running their own agenda, not his or that of the nation. Poll ratings had plummeted, with job approval in the 30s.

Leaks were a common occurrence as staffers hyped their own policy positions, even brazenly floating them in trial balloons. The president was on edge, feeling helpless amid the chaos.

His reelection looked like a fantasy. There was an independent counsel investigation examining all his business dealings. The attorney general was cursed all day long inside the White House for a crazy investigation.

Even the first lady faced a grand jury. In response, the president convened covert meetings in the White House residence at night with outsiders during which the real policy and communications decisions were made, bypassing most of the official government operations.

Big decisions like announcing a balanced budget and going after the tobacco industry were made in secret, with staff mystified where it was all coming from. Almost the entire White House staff would eventually be turned over.

On a good day, the White House is a totally crazy place with swirling intrigue, backstabbing, leaks, and books by departing staffers. The stakes are the highest in the world and so, typically, are the tensions. Many of the staff have ideological agendas and have been raised entirely in politics, often coming from Capitol Hill with little experience outside of government.

History has an uncanny way of repeating itself. Aides have felt they know better than their leaders since Joseph and the Pharaoh. New presidents, particularly outsiders, face a hostile and controlling group of Washington elites who believe they own the place over mere elected officials who come and go.

Arriving from Arkansas, the Clintons were as alien to Washington as the Trumps. They faced many of the same problems of runaway staff, investigations, and chaos in the White House. He made deals with the new Republican majority on welfare reform, a balanced budget and immigration reform. While triangulating in the Beltway, he reached out to the broad swath of America that wanted an end to partisan rancor and to get things done.

He chose pragmatism over ideology, and so did the public. The result was the last sustained period of unity, peace, and prosperity in our nation. Property tax bills always go up, but nowhere quite like in Bedford. The acre Bedford Boys Ranch park is one of the largest and nicest greenbelts in Northeast Tarrant County, and Bedford plans to upgrade it.

But Bedford is raising the tax rate even as home appraisals also go up — a double whammy. Council members will discuss a rate as high as 58 cents. This city is living out some consequences with our inability to fund basic needs. Banks, hospitals and businesses went up around the interchange of two major state highways. In , after McWhorter led a voter-initated tax rollback, city leaders shut down the public library for several days until a North Richland Hills insurance company made a donation.

Last year, dozens of residents protested the planned opening of a brewhouse and brewpub. Even now, some residents are fighting any plan for urban loft apartments.

Yet Bedford badly needs young, upscale residents and shoppers and sales tax dollars. Lupe Valdez climbed onto a forklift for a photo op that could either help define her candidacy for governor or make her look ridiculous in a Michael Dukakis way. He's the former Massachusetts governor who famously allowed news coverage of him wearing a helmet in a M1 Abrams tank during his presidential race against George H.

For Valdez the danger is not campaign blunders, it's that nobody is watching her low-key race for governor against incumbent Republican Greg Abbott. The contest for governor is usually the marquee matchup in Texas' midterm elections. But this time around, the contest between Abbott and Valdez is being described by some analysts as the least anticipated governor's race in Lone Star State history and one that is already over.

Lacking the money, star power and organization of another statewide Democratic candidate, U. Senate hopeful Beto O'Rourke, Valdez has been relegated to piecing together a campaign on the fly.

Meanwhile Abbott, a one-term incumbent with a big lead in the polls, has the luxury of using his resources to energize voters for other Republican candidates. That could thwart Democratic Party efforts to win in competitive legislative districts, including several in North Texas.

I don't think anybody saw that it would be so conclusive so soon," said veteran Republican political consultant Bill Miller. The race is already over and it's a dream situation for Abbott. Still, strategist Matt Angle said Valdez, who is campaigning on her ability to relate to average Texans, has a life story that sells better than that of Abbott.

People who know her are pulling for her. She's an earnest person who contrasts well with Abbott, a professional politician. Dallas police identified the officer who killed year-old Botham Jean in his own home late Thursday as Amber Guyger, but they had yet to charge her late Saturday.

Renee Hall's handling of the shooting's aftermath and her decision to call in state investigators. This is a tough situation," Rawlings said at a news conference at Paul Quinn College.

We will find out exactly what happened. The Police Department withheld the officer's name until after 8 p. Guyger's attorney declined to comment. Guyger was off duty but still in uniform after working a shift when she arrived Thursday night at the South Side Flats, police said. She told police she mistakenly thought Jean's apartment was her own and fatally shot the PricewaterhouseCoopers employee. Guyger, a Dallas officer since November , wasn't injured.

Authorities said more police arrived within four minutes after the shooting was reported. Jean was pronounced dead at Baylor University Medical Center. Police had said Friday that they were seeking an arrest warrant for manslaughter in Jean's death.

When Allison Jean's son had an idea, he told her, "Mom, I have a proposal. And it's all documented. He had another proposal — even as a young child — to improve the church choir. Botham wanted the singing to be perfect. Hundreds of mourners gathered Saturday for a prayer vigil at Dallas West Church of Christ to remember the year-old Jean, who was killed Friday by an off-duty Dallas police officer who said she mistakenly tried to enter his Cedars apartment believing it was her own.

Allison Jean arrived Saturday in Dallas to bury her son, but also to share his story. She had plenty of company Saturday as friends recounted the roles Jean had played in their lives.

When John Turner married his wife Jillian in , Botham Jean was there — not just as a face in the crowd, and not just as a groomsman. To hear the Turners tell it, he was an integral part of the whole ceremony from start to finish.

He helped pick up," Jillian Turner said. John Turner said Botham even "picked out what I wore. Sometimes it's worth taking a look at an old subject through a new lens.

For example, to understand why there's a chronic construction labor shortage in Texas, think one word: Immigrants make up about 41 percent of the construction trades in Texas, or close to twice the share of immigrants in the U.

Factor in the perfect storm of slowed immigration from Mexico, Hurricane Harvey reconstruction and the white-hot construction market in North Texas, and the outcome is predictable. Demand continues to outpace supply, and we all are paying a price.

Now before you say that's business nirvana, think again. Tighter labor markets pose a risk to overall economic growth. We're in this conundrum largely due to flawed immigration policy.

Immigrant workers have replaced U. Chaotic immigration policy has reduced the supply of workers in relation to construction demands. In and , over , new immigrants nationwide joined the construction labor force annually, peaking at about The housing crisis trimmed that to about Texas is at the epicenter of this decline, experiencing major shortages of skilled drywall installers, painters, carpenters, electricians, bricklayers, roofers and a host of other construction occupations.

Builders estimate that Texas needs at least , more workers statewide — including up to 38, in North Texas, twice as many as two years ago — just to meet the demand for new construction. We aren't advocating illegal immigration or a return to the industry's unspoken "don't ask, don't tell" policy that allowed builders to exploit unauthorized immigrants. But here's the economic reality: Uncertain immigration policy is hurting you in the pocketbook.

And houses that should be built but aren't act "as a drag on new starts," Robert Kramp, director of research and analysis for commercial real estate firm CBRE, recently told The Dallas Morning News. Markets work best when supply and demand are near equilibrium. Our economy needs a vibrant construction industry and a functioning immigration policy that meets the demands of the marketplace. You'll likely hear a lot about mental health in the coming days as the country recognizes National Suicide Prevention Week.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among to year-olds, and Texas ranks last in per-capita funding for people with mental illness. Those statistics are alarming, and make no mistake, they are a referendum on the systems and individuals expected to serve and protect our society's most vulnerable citizens, our children.

As two individuals dedicated to improving the lives of children, we ask ourselves daily, what are we doing to address this crisis? How are we coming together as a community, and as health care providers, parents and educators, to show these children they are not alone in this fight?

This innovative program connects students with licensed behavioral health specialists via telemedicine in the school setting, addressing common behavioral health issues in student populations including depression, anxiety, self-esteem and lack of coping skills. Following consent from their parent or guardian, students can receive a videoconference psychosocial assessment at school using a tablet device. They can be referred to the program by their teachers or counselors. In addition to these telemedicine evaluations, Children's Health also provides a robust referral process and case management follow-up.

This program is currently in 14 North Texas middle and high schools, and it's making a difference. To date, in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District pilot program conducted during the academic year, students who participated in virtual visits demonstrated a 29 percent improvement on their patient-centered goal ratings.

In Humble, Cruz used a speech before hundreds of supporters at the Tin Roof BBQ to warn that his re-election bid is tight and he cannot afford for Republicans to be complacent in the face of record turnout expected from Democrats. He talked about how tax cuts are stimulating the economy and conservative judges being appointed to the Supreme Court and other courts. After reminding the crowd that some polls have shown him just one point behind Cruz, he implored the audience to push harder and make sure there are no regrets the day after the Nov.

Being in Harris County, both candidates spent considerable time talking about Hurricane Harvey and the recovery. Cruz said despite the tragedy, Texans united regardless of party and helped one another. He touted his work to pass tax cuts for Hurricane Harvey victims that allowed people to use their retirement funds to pay for home repairs without additional penalty.

But the El Paso congressman, relying heavily on social media and constantly traveling the state, has suddenly turned the race into one of the closest in the nation. Polls have shown Cruz with a narrow lead within the margin of error. But Cruz also has a home-field advantage, having grown up in Houston and with his family still living in the area.

Ron Reynolds turned himself in to the Montgomery County jail on Friday to begin serving a prison sentence for barratry, or "ambulance chasing," according to jail records. Reynolds was found guilty in November of engaging in a scheme to illegally solicit potential clients for his law firm. He was sentenced to one year in jail, but had been out on an appeal bond since then. In November , a Texas appeals court upheld the conviction of Reynolds, noting that there was sufficient evidence to convict Reynolds and that the trial judge did not violate any rules relating to the introduction of evidence.

Montgomery County jurors found that Reynolds worked with convicted felon Robert Valdez to get client referrals to his personal injury law firm.

Valdez would get police reports from crashes, contact drivers who weren't at fault and refer them to Reynolds, according to prosecutors. Reynolds would then pay Valdez. The Missouri City Democrat has served as a state representative since January He graduated from Texas Southern University with a degree in public affairs.

After the ruling in November, Reynolds said that he would continue to appeal his conviction. In one corner, jokes are flying back and forth in Chinese. Frustration with Donald Trump is being discussed in Hindi in another section of the room.

A few seats over, a plea to get out the vote is being delivered in Malay. Pete Olson in one of the most diverse congressional districts in the nation. Once a week, dozens of campaign volunteers from Fort Bend, Brazoria and Harris counties assemble on the third floor of a nondescript office building in Sugar Land to call potential voters in more than a dozen languages. On the walls are reminders of outreach efforts planned for the Nepalese, Salvadoran, Sri Lankan, and Turkish communities, among dozens of others.

Olson won his re-election by 19 percentage points over Democrat Mark Gibson. Then, District 22 had , residents. But it has grown more than any congressional district in Texas, swelling to more than ,, according to the U. And foreign-born residents make up a sizable part of that growth. According to Census data, one-quarter of the residents of the district are foreign-born — the second-highest percentage in the state, behind the neighboring 7th Congressional District in Houston.

More than , residents of District 22 identify as Asian, nearly 20 percent of the population. No other district in Texas comes close. The statewide average is about 4.

The district is 25 percent Hispanic and 14 percent black. Bodman, a chemical engineer and businessman, also was deputy secretary of both Treasury and Commerce in the Bush administration. He was energy chief in Bush's second term, from to Bush said in a statement that he and former First Lady Laura Bush were saddened by Bodman's death, adding: He later chaired an energy advisory board at the University of Texas.

With the Legislature set to convene in four months, conservative Republican lawmakers said Friday that the fight is not over on transgender-friendly bathrooms and same-sex marriage. Speaking at an Austin forum sponsored by Texas Values, a Christian public policy advocacy group that is influential in GOP circles, the lawmakers said the issues were too important to leave unsettled after their favored bills were defeated in the legislative session.

Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, author of unsuccessful bills to limit transgender-friendly bathrooms and locker rooms in public schools and government buildings last year. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, said the time is ripe to advance legislation to protect people and businesses opposed to gay marriage and other policies because of deeply held religious beliefs. The rapid pace of conservative judges appointed by President Donald Trump, combined with a June decision by the U.

Supreme Court that said governments cannot be hostile to religious practice, should give social and religious conservatives confidence heading into the legislative session that begins in January, Krause said. The pending retirement of House Speaker Joe Straus, a moderate Republican who has thwarted several conservative priorities, should help as well, he said. The forum sold out with participants, organizers said. The fight over transgender bathrooms, however, was one of the most contentious issues last legislative session, producing several all-night committee hearings, numerous rallies and protests, and vigorous debates on the Senate floor.

It also inflamed a long-simmering feud between Lt. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate and made curtailing transgender-friendly bathroom policies a high priority, and Straus, who said the bathroom bill was an unnecessary and mean-spirited distraction.

When the House killed the Senate-passed bill, Patrick retaliated by holding up essential legislation, forcing a special legislative session. The issue arose again in March, when state Rep. But Star would quickly become intimately familiar with this piece of federal legislation. Star was regularly raped, beaten, threatened and forced into sexual relationships with other inmates. What makes these experiences even more difficult to comprehend is the fact that prison staff were aware of the abuse — and did nothing to prevent it.

Prison rape is a national problem. Recently released data show that there were 24, allegations of sexual victimization in prisons, jails, and other adult correctional facilities in Forty-two percent were perpetrated by staff members. Unfortunately, Texas leads the nation in sexual assault allegations. In fact, five of the 10 most sexually violent prisons in the country are right here in Texas.

Star knows firsthand the structural and interpersonal violence that exists inside prison facilities across Texas; it is represented in the degradation, humiliation and violence that mark the 15 years Star spent behind prison walls. For example, one important part of PREA is to establish emotional support services for incarcerated survivors after a sexual assault. Prisons do not provide an environment conducive to any therapeutic interventions, and PREA relies on outside rape crisis centers to provide these services at no cost.

At no point during those 15 years was Star offered counseling, rape crisis services or other mental health care. Instead, Star was ridiculed and humiliated by staff who were supposed to be protectors. Often, Star was placed in solitary confinement as a shield from violence that the prison system allowed to proliferate.

After 15 years, Star was granted parole and moved back to Central Texas. Although no longer subjected to the daily abuse of prison life, the emotional and mental anguish had just begun as Star returned to society after 15 years of institutional violence.

More than anything, Star wanted to help others left behind, friends who are still undoubtedly enduring the same abuses. Ending prison rape is going to take more than just legislation; it will take advocates, community members and corrections professionals to work together to address this issue.

More importantly, current and former incarcerated survivors of sexual violence must be allowed a seat at the table.

Now, industry leaders say, they are starting to see results. The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce reported an increase in the number of life science companies in talks with the city and the number of companies that end up moving here since the opening of the medical school. The region now has more than life science companies, which the chamber defines as biologics, medical devices, diagnostics, pharmaceutical, contract research and others. And in , the chamber spoke to 32 companies who expressed an interest in working in Austin — more than double the number of companies expressing interest to the chamber the year before.

According to Joshua Baer, founder and CEO of downtown Austin startup accelerator Capital Factory, there are more health tech companies than any other industry vertical at Capital Factory. One of those companies is Advanced Scanners, which is aiming to use 3-D technologies for doctors performing brain surgeries. Before the Dell Medical School, it was difficult for smaller companies to get within the walls of UT. The discovery happened by chance. In July, while conducting a routine bridge check, an inspector from the Texas Department of Transportation noticed something odd.

It was nestled in a steep earthen embankment directly under the highway span in Frio County. It was the back of a human skull, along with a spine. Initially, the situation was treated by local authorities as a criminal matter, under the assumption that the bones could be connected to a cold case. But several days into the investigation, forensic investigators found an arrowhead in the pelvic region. The remains were also found alongside remnants of a Native American wood and clay structure.

Based on preliminary study, it was estimated that the remains were actually around 1, years old, according to TxDOT officials. The arrowhead was an Edwards point, thin and notched, peculiar to Texas in that period. The case returned to the purview of the state agency, which has a team of archaeologists on staff in its Environmental Affairs Division, to ensure that construction projects do not disturb ancient sites. This situation, though, was atypical. TxDOT archaeologists normally complete their work well before ground is broken on a project.

The discovery under the existing bridge was unexpected. State laws prevent publicizing the exact location of such sites, in an effort to prevent looting of culturally significant items. The remains were buried in the embankment under silt loam that eroded over time, Pletka said.

Forensic investigators from Texas State University disinterred the remains, removing most of the bones before the TxDOT archaeologists arrived at the site. For the time being, the university will store the remains at its facility. They appear to be in good condition, TxDOT officials said, but a gender has not been determined. The TxDOT archaeologists focused instead on learning as much as they could about the site. The team identified impressions of woven branches, which would have been covered in clay to form the roof.

Five days after a gunman killed 49 people at a Florida night club in , presidential candidate Donald Trump worked the crowd into a frenzy at a rally in the Woodlands. Local dealers say the slide is more acute in Houston, where the recent oil downturn and three straight years of major floods soaked up disposable income that otherwise might have gone to the gun trade. James Hillin, owner of Full Armor Firearms on the Katy Freeway, said he watched sales fall by half as customers lost jobs in the nearby energy corridor and then got hammered again after Hurricane Harvey inflicted billions in damage across the region.

The August sales drop was smaller than some analysts predicted, and less than the 9 percent year-over-year decline in July. Gun sales have historically jumped after mass shootings, driven by fears of new government restrictions on gun ownership. A typical December sees about 1. A corresponding rise in gun imports helped create a glut the U.

Nationwide, overall sales dropped 11 percent from to , from The school shooting in Santa Fe in May did not spur the rush to gun shops that traditionally follow such tragedies, Brauer said. With early voting beginning Monday for the Sept. Gallego hopes to take advantage of the name recognition from having served one term in Congress and 22 years in the statehouse to defeat Flores, who has never held elected office.

But questions about whether he resides in District 19 — and a GOP lawsuit challenging his place on the ballot — have dogged his candidacy. After media reports suggested that Gallego resided with his wife in the home she owns in Austin rather than in Alpine as he claimed, the Republican Party of Texas filed a lawsuit Aug. State law requires candidates to have lived in the district they seek to represent six months before an election. Gallego grew up in Alpine and represented the area in the Texas House.

The Beto O'Rourke campaign issued a statement Friday denying they requested to have the American flag removed from a Veterans of Foreign Wars post during a recent town hall meeting in Navasota. Dry told the newspaper, however, there were two requests made by the campaign that he denied. I didn't only say 'no,' I said 'hell no.

I can't believe any American would ask us to do that, and I don't know why he wanted them down or what was going to be put up instead. He said neither were wearing T-shirts promoting the candidate. According to Dry, a woman approached him while he was working in another room of the building and asked if the flags on the wall in the main room could be removed, and he told her no.

Levitan born April 6, is an American director , screenwriter , and producer of television comedies. Levitan was raised Jewish in Chicago , Illinois. He is a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. He moved to Hollywood in Levitan won the Humanitas Prize for writers whose work best communicates and encourages human values in for the Frasier episode titled "Breaking the Ice".

It is under this company that they produced their co-creations Back to You and Modern Family. Levitan is married to wife Krista. Krista was raised a Catholic. He and his family currently live in Los Angeles, California. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Steven Levitan Levitan in Archived from the original on

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