Category Archives: State News

Editor’s Corner – World Weary and Confused: The Crazy Times We Live In

Well, crap. Just when the “ordinary world” was emerging again, my county (Tarrant) has made it (basically) a law that people who go into any business must wear face masks.

Of course, it’s up to the store owners/managers to ask patrons to leave if they don’t have protection, but from what I have seen, most folks have been cognizant about the state order and have complied, whether it be a bandana or a cute Pikachu face mask. And I have also seen some pretty offensive masks. We can’t leave out the rebels! Fortunately, most of their messages are directed toward the virus, as in, “F*ck COVID.” But I have also seen political messages on some masks that make me sigh with exhaustion.

Where do these people get their energy to keep this constant stream of hate going? Whether it’s COVID or race relations, people have to be tired. I volunteer for the local NAACP and they are saying, “We are just tired.” So am I.

I call it, “world weary.” Even keeping my parameters (no voluntarily watched TV news) has lost its luster; it seems that I’ll hear about news one way or another, whether I want to or not. Yes, I am depressed.

I do have a couple of college degrees in psychology, but it’s rather hard to diagnose or help yourself. We are too close to our thoughts, feelings, biases, etc. to point out to ourselves what the heck is up. The best giveaway for me personally is isolating myself, not doing anything I used to like to do and sleeping a lot, as an escape. No, it’s NOT my first rodeo. I experienced suicidal depression after the birth of my daughter (postpartum depression). Obviously, I didn’t carry out my plan (or did I? I could be a ghost writer! Haha…total Dad joke).

With basically zero income right now, getting constant calls from, “I’m determined to get blood from you, Turnip,” and a depressed spouse, I’m not surprised I’ve gotten back into that black pit o’ depression.

Confusion also adds to these feelings. Who to believe? Expert X is saying one thing and Expert Y is saying another. I hate to disrespect our Federal Government, but….WHAAAAAT? One thing on Monday morning, the opposite on Monday night. I wish people would quit lying (or twisting the truth) to us. I feel like Austin Powers in that scene where he gets stuck in a golf cart, trying to turn around in a narrow hallway. Bump, bump, bump.

It IS in my control as to how long I stay down here in the pit.. Hopefully, I will start to feel more balanced soon, after walking the local track every day, eating healthier, blah, blah. I don’t feel like doing any of it. And I can’t help but wonder if there is more to the story that the general public is not privy to. I just read that 90-something percent of the COVID tests are giving false positives. But is that true? And if it IS true, what does that mean for the general population?

How are you feeling about this stage of the pandemic? What are your coping mechanisms?

Let the Bidding Begin: Dishing Out Relief Auction to Benefit Texas Restaurants

DALLAS, April 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Texas Restaurant Association (TRA), the leading business association for Texas’ $70.6 billion food service industry, has teamed up with Dallas-based digital marketing firm Lux214 Media Group to fund the TX Restaurant Relief Fund through a week-long online auction.

The auction consists of exclusive chef and food experiences, gift certificates, products, memorabilia, and much more. All proceeds from the auction will benefit the TX Restaurant Relief Fund, which was established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has created a challenge of catastrophic magnitude for the restaurant industry. In Texas, the pandemic has caused 688,000 job losses, $80 billion in lost sales revenue, and has caused 34% of Texas’ 50,000 restaurants to close since March 15.

“Our team is working hard to put critical funds directly into the hands of the Texas restaurant communities’ most vulnerable population, independent restaurant owners, which in turn will help to save the jobs of the workers they employ,” said Dr. Emily Williams Knight, TRA President and CEO. “Restaurants in Texas are facing a catastrophe unlike we’ve ever seen. We are inspired by their determination and appreciate the support from our partners as we work to save restaurants.”

The auction is open to everyone – industry and the general public – and will also accept direct donations. The online auction can be seen at DishingOutRelief.com.

The bidding began Wednesday, April 29 at midnight and will end on Wednesday, May 6, at midnight. Items up for bidding range in price from $25 to $20,000. Items up for bidding include:

  • Wolfgang Puck autographed chef jacket
  • 5 course private dinner for 10 by Chef Stephan Pyles
  • Courtside Dallas Mavericks tickets and photo with player
  • Dinner party for 10 with Chef Kent Rathbun at private residence
  • Front Burner home dinner party experience with Chefs from Ida Claire, Mexican Sugar and Whiskey Cake
  • A year’s supply of Vital Farms Eggs
  • Lucchese Bootmaker gift card for $500
  • A private in-home wine tasting presented by Court of Master Sommelier Certified Professional
  • Tickets to sporting events
  • Gift Cards
  • Much more

“This is a cause that hits really close to home for me,” said Donna Tanner, co-founder of Lux214 Media Group and an executive in the restaurant industry in Texas for more than 30 years. “When the opportunity presented itself for our firm to help, we jumped at the chance. The money raised in this auction is going to pump some much-needed life into a multi-billion-dollar industry in Texas that desperately needs it.”

TRA has set a goal to raise a minimum of $10 million for the fund and Lux214 Media group hopes that this auction will help them reach that goal and support as many of Texas’ independently owned restaurants as possible. The objective is to provide immediate relief by getting the money to restaurants quickly.

“It is critical that people from all across Texas come together in solidarity to help in this time of crisis,” said Chef Stephan Pyles. “It is not only crucial for the economy in our great state, but for our culture. The funds we raise from this auction will make a significant impact on saving the restaurant industry in Texas, and by doing so, will be saving our culture and unique traditions.”

Governor Abbott Temporarily Allows For Appearance Before Notary Public Via Videoconference For Real-Estate Instruments

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AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott has suspended a statute concerning appearance before a notary public to acknowledge real-estate instruments such as mortgages. This suspension temporarily allows for appearance before a notary public via videoconference when executing such documents, avoiding the need for in-person contact during the COVID-19 pandemic. The conditions that will apply whenever this suspension is invoked can be found here.

“Texas is providing flexibility in the notarization process by way of this temporary suspension to ensure Texans can continue to stay home as much as possible to keep themselves and others safe,” said Governor Abbott. “Allowing for appearance before a notary public via videoconference will aid in our continued efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protect public health.”

This suspension will remain in effect until the earlier of May 30, 2020, or until the March 13, 2020 disaster declaration is lifted or expires. Documents executed while this suspension is in effect, and in accordance with its terms, will remain valid after the termination of this suspension.

Texas businesses can begin reopening Friday. Here are answers to key questions about the governor’s plan

By  and 

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(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Some businesses in North Texas will reopen this week because Gov. Greg Abbott has announced he’ll let his executive order requiring Texans to stay at home expire Thursday.

His three-phase plan to reopen the state will begin Friday, when malls, restaurants and movie theaters can reopen if they follow certain procedures.

Here are some answers to common questions about phase one of the governor’s plan.

Read more from The Dallas Morning News…

Where do construction workers factor into COVID-19 restrictions?

[We know we said no more virus posts, but this is an angle we hadn’t considered, and thought that you, or your friends and family, may be interested. – S]

by: 

downloadAUSTIN (KXAN) — KXAN continues to field questions about construction workers at job sites, especially in light of Tuesday’s stay-at-home orders in the city of Austin and Williamson County. [Many counties in DFW are facing the same restrictions]

First, the state’s Department of Licensing and Regulation does not regulate construction workers, but noted that whether construction is allowed is up to the local agency and its order.

Emily Tuttle, a spokeswoman with the city of Austin, told KXAN commercial construction is not allowed with Tuesday’s order, with some exceptions.

“Under the Order signed this morning, there will be no commercial construction, except in the limited exception where it’s constructing essential and critical assets. (See Ex B, 2p). Construction will be allowed for public works and residential purposes if it meets the other criteria, like affordable housing, etc.  Several City of Austin capital improvement projects are categorized as critical infrastructure under the public works clause and will continue construction. Crews are continuing to use best practices for sanitizing, distancing, etc.”

Read more from KXAN…

DEA-led operation nets more than 600 arrests targeting Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación

NEWS RELEASE

DEADALLAS – The Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration today announced the results of Project Python, a DEA-led multilateral interagency operation encompassing all global investigations and related disruption activities targeting the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG).

This announcement marks the successful conclusion of six months of investigative and enforcement activity targeting CJNG, culminating in large scale arrests throughout the country within the past week. Project Python has resulted in the arrests of more than 500 CJNG associates, 350 indictments, as well as significant seizures of money and drugs.

“Project Python is the single largest strike by U.S. authorities against CJNG, and this is just the beginning,” said Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon. “This strategic and coordinated project exemplifies DEA’s mission: to disrupt, dismantle, and destroy drug trafficking organizations around the world and bring their leaders to justice. Today, DEA has disrupted CJNG’s operations, and there is more to come as DEA continues its relentless attack on this remorseless criminal organization.”

“Project Python marks the most comprehensive action to date in the Department of Justice’s campaign to disrupt, dismantle, and ultimately destroy CJNG,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Criminal Division. “When President Trump signed an Executive Order prioritizing the dismantlement of transnational criminal organizations, the Department of Justice answered the call and took direct aim at CJNG. We deemed CJNG one of the highest-priority transnational organized crime threats we face. And with Project Python, we are delivering results in the face of that threat for the American people.”

“The DEA Dallas Field Division joins our brothers and sisters nationwide to take the fight to the CJNG. Project Python is another example of leveraging our resources, partnerships, and expertise, to destroy the distribution networks operating in North Texas and Oklahoma,” said Dallas DEA Special Agent in Charge, Eduardo A. Chávez.

The Justice Department and its law enforcement partners are committed to fulfilling the President’s Executive Order 13773 to identify, interdict, disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations. The department designated CNJG as one of the top transnational criminal groups targeted as part of carrying out this executive order, and DEA instituted Project Python as part of this ongoing effort. 

CJNG is one of the fastest growing transnational criminal organizations in Mexico, and among the most prolific methamphetamine producers in the world. It is responsible for a significant proportion of drugs entering the United States, and elevated levels of violence in Mexico. With methamphetamine abuse and overdose deaths on the rise, Project Python aims to disrupt CJNG’s ability to distribute methamphetamine and other drugs throughout the United States by attacking the group at all levels. 

Federal law enforcement has taken a number of steps to degrade CJNG’s ability to operate in the United States. Today, the Justice Department and DEA announced a superseding indictment on charges of alleged continuing criminal enterprise against Nemesio Ruben Oseguera Cervantes, also known as “El Mencho,” the undisputed leader of CJNG. Last month, El Mencho’s son, Ruben Oseguera Gonzalez, also known as “Menchito,” and second in command of CJNG, was extradited from Mexico to the United States on charges of alleged drug trafficking and firearm use in relation to drug trafficking activities. On Feb. 26, 2020, El Mencho’s daughter, Jessica Johanna Oseguera Gonzalez, was arrested in the United States on financial charges related to her alleged criminal violation of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.

Additionally, DEA has worked with its interagency partners to apply further pressure to CJNG. The U.S. Department of Treasury has designated El Mencho as a “specially designated narcotics trafficker” pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, and the U.S. Department of State has issued one of the largest narcotics rewards ever – $10 million – for information leading to the arrest of El Mencho.

In our [the DFW] area, 6 indictments have been secured against CJNG associates, and DEA has made 12 arrests and executed 8 search warrants related to Project Python.

The efforts highlighted in the more than 600 arrests nationwide are illustrative of the significant reach the CJNG has in manufacturing, importing, and distributing a wide array of illegal narcotics within the United States and the negative impact on the fabric of our local communities. The proceeds from the local distribution of these narcotics are repatriated back to Mexico and further fuel transnational organized crime organizations such as the CJNG. The Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners will continue to vigorously fight this scourge against the United States. 

The Department of Justice’s multi-agency Special Operations Division, federal prosecutors from the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section of the Department’s Criminal Division, the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs and Office of Enforcement Operations provided invaluable support to this operation.

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Dallas detective who was handcuffed to Oswald when he was shot dies at 99

By FOX4News.com Staff

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(L – R): Leavelle, Oswald and Ruby

The Dallas police detective who was handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald when Oswald was shot has passed away, family members confirm.

Jim Leavelle was handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald when Jack Ruby shot him.

Leavelle was transferring Oswald to the Dallas County jail on November 24, 1963, just two days after President John f. Kennedy’s assassination.

Read more from Fox 4…

Texas’ Driver Responsibility Program ends next month – what you need to know

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(Source: Rachel Zein, The Texas Tribune)

After years of failed attempts to eliminate it, the Driver Responsibility Program will end on Sept 1, 2019. A measure signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott in June, House Bill 2048, shutters the 16-year-old program that left more than 1 million people unable to keep or renew their driver’s licenses. Lawmakers from both chambers and parties criticized the program for adding additional annual fees — ranging from $100 to $2,000 depending on the offense — on top of the price of traffic tickets.

Read more from KLTV…

Kids’ lemonade stands legal in Texas after Gov. Greg Abbott signs bill

By FOX4News.com Staff

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Your neighborhood lemonade stand operated by a smiling child is no longer illegal in Texas.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill on Monday that blocks cities or HOAs from creating rules that would stop kids from selling nonalcoholic drinks, like lemonade, on private property.

“Here is a common sense law,” Abbott said.

Read more from FOX4News…

The Winning Sand Sculpture of the 2019 Texas Sand Sculpture Festival

liberty-crumbling-by-damon-langlois-1Damon Langlois has been awarded 1st Place for his incredible sand sculpture, “Liberty Crumbling”, at the 2019 Texas SandFest. The 23rd annual Texas SandFest drew 35,000 people to Port Aransas, Texas and is recognized as the largest native-sand sculpture competition in the United States.

Texas SandFest’s mission is to give back to the community by raising funds for local charities and scholarships for high school students. This year they raised $355,000 and have raised $1,261,750 for charities in the last 8 years.

To see all of the winners from this year’s competition click here.

Read more from Twisted Sifter…