RACIAL INJUSTICE-PROTEST ARREST
Two men charged with rioting at Texas Capitol amid protest
Two men have been arrested and charged with rioting and committing other crimes at the Texas Capitol during demonstrations. The Texas Department of Public Safety says officers arrested 18-year-old Gerald Govan Brown Saturday. Police found 22-year-old Darius Deshawn Berkley already being held in an Austin jail on unrelated charges. Police say Brown is charged with crimes including criminal mischief-destruction of public monument and attempt to take a weapon from a peace officer. Berkley is jailed on charges of rioting and obstruction or retaliation. His lawyer did not respond to a request for comment. Brown was not listed in jail records.
Group of Texas bar owners sues to reopen amid pandemic
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A group of Texas bar owners filed lawsuits Monday seeking to overturn Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s order that closed their businesses to help contain the spread of the coronavirus in Texas. Abbott has pinpointed the re-opening of bars last month as one of the sources behind a dramatic spike in new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations. The lawsuits allege Abbott’s order violate the state constitution. Abbott hasn’t said when he might allow them to reopen. The University of Texas released return-to-school plans for the fall, including a mask requirement in campus buildings.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-TEXAS ELECTION
Face shields, gloves, wipes: Texas votes as virus rages
PLANO, Texas (AP) — Voting is underway in Texas as the state tries to contain surging numbers of coronavirus cases. Early voting for primary runoffs began Monday as the state reported nearly 6,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, which was a new daily high for the state. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott had postponed the primary runoffs to July back in March when the state had only a few dozes cases. The runoff election is July 14 and will decide the U.S. Senate nominee to run against Republican incumbent John Coryn.
SUPREME COURT-BORDER WALL
Supreme Court declines to hear border wall challenge
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is leaving in place a decision that rejected environmental groups’ challenge to sections of wall the Trump administration is building along the U.S. border with Mexico. The high court on Monday declined to hear an appeal involving construction of 145 miles of steel-bollard walls along the border in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. Environmental groups had challenged a federal law that allows the secretary of Homeland Security to waive any laws necessary to allow the quick construction of border fencing. Environmental groups argued that violates the Constitution’s separation of powers. But a lower court dismissed the case.
RACIAL INJUSTICE-CONFEDERATE FLAG
Confederate flag losing prominence 155 years after Civil War
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The Confederate battle flag is losing its place of official prominence in the South 155 years after the end of the Civil War. Mississippi’s Republican-controlled Legislature voted Sunday to remove the Confederate emblem from the state flag. Other states took action previously. NASCAR, meanwhile, has banned the rebel banner from its car races. The flag with the familiar X design is still visible along Southern highways and in some stores. It’s far from being banished in the region. But even flag supporters are surprised by the speed with which change is taking place amid a national debate over racial inequality.
Prosecutor resigns after post seems to link protests, Nazis
HOUSTON (AP) — A longtime top Houston area prosecutor has resigned after posting a meme on Facebook that appeared to equate Nazis with people who have been participating in protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Kaylynn Williford, who was head of the trial bureau at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, had last week posted the meme. In a statement Monday, Williford says she never intended for her post to be offensive and has worked to defend victims and the wrongfully accused. Various area attorneys had questioned whether the post was derogatory of the Black Lives Matter movement and if it might be racist.
Astronaut says losing mirror on spacewalk was ‘real bummer’
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The commander of the International Space Station says losing a mirror during last week’s otherwise successful spacewalk was “a real bummer.” NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy said Monday he has no idea how the small mirror on his left sleeve came off. He says the band for the mirror is on pretty tight, and it may have caught on a metal attachment as he exited the airlock Friday. He’ll use a spare for Wednesday’s spacewalk, the second of four to replace old station batteries. The crew, meanwhile, is closely following the pandemic news back on Earth. The virus is hitting Houston _ their home _ especially hard.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-CONTACT TRACING
Tracking coronavirus cases proves difficult amid new surge
HOUSTON (AP) — Health departments around the U.S. that are using contact tracers to contain coronavirus outbreaks are scrambling to bolster their ranks amid a surge of cases and resistance to cooperation from those infected or exposed. With too few trained contact tracers to handle soaring caseloads, one hard-hit Arizona county is relying on National Guard members to pitch in. In Louisiana, people who have tested positive typically wait more than two days to respond to health officials — giving the disease crucial time to spread. Contact tracing tracks people who test positive and anyone they’ve come in contact with. It was challenging even when stay-at-home orders were in place, but it’s exponentially more difficult now.
Prosecutors: Woman burned home in attempt to destroy records
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Prosecutors allege that a woman burned down her $1.6 million suburban Fort Worth mansion while trying to destroy documents from her husband’s health care clinic as authorities were investigating the couple for fraud. A seven-count federal indictment, filed June 17, charges Mark and Melissa Kuper with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and health care fraud aiding and abetting. Court records show they were arrested and both pleaded not guilty Monday. The couple is accused of submitting more than 100,00 claims to federal health care programs for “sham” physical therapy, psychotherapy and pain management services from 2014 to 2017. The fire happened in October 2017.
RACIAL INJUSTICE-BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor to review statues, buildings over links to slavery
WACO, Texas (AP) — Baylor University regents are creating a panel to consider whether any statues, buildings or other tangible tributes on the Waco campus reflect a racist past. The regents adopted a resolution Thursday that recognizes that most of the university’s founding fathers were slaveholders, racists and white supremacists when the school was founded in 1845. Those founders promoted Confederate causes and the fight to preserve the institution of slavery. The resolution denounces racism as inconsistent with the school’s Christian mission and seeks racial conciliation. Therefore, they created the committee to identify any visible campus honors to the school’s racist past.