Texas education official says schools will reopen in fall
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath says public schools will be open in the fall but there will be flexibility for parents who want to keep their children at home. Texas already allows campuses to hold summer school with social distancing guidelines. Details of a broader re-opening will be released next week. The announcement Thursday comes as Texas faces record highs of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Morath says state officials believe it will be safe to return to school. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott ordered schools closed March 19, sending more than 5 million students into distance learning programs.
Video: Suspects doused Houston bar with liquid before blast
HOUSTON (AP) — Authorities say they’re looking for at least four individuals who doused chairs and tables at a Houston bar with a flammable liquid, leading to an explosion that heavily damaged the bar and surrounding homes but caused no serious injuries. In surveillance video released Thursday by Houston Fire Department arson investigators, the unidentified males can be seen carrying 5 gallon containers and pouring the liquid over furniture on a deck outside Bar 5015 early on June 12. Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña says the suspects were trying to burn down the bar but instead caused an explosion that caused $750,000 in damage.
$68 million tax breaks may go to put Tesla plant to Austin
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — An Austin-area school district is considering offering more than $60 million in tax incentives to attract a proposed Tesla “gigafactory” to Central Texas. Tesla revealed the Del Valle Independent School District proposal in an application filed Thursday with the Texas comptroller’s office. The district would offer Tesla $68 million in property tax breaks over 10 years to build on a 2,100-acre site just off Texas 130 on Austin’s southeastern outskirts. Travis County commissioners are considering a separate tax incentive package. Austin is competing with Tulsa, Oklahoma, to become the city to host the plant that builds Tesla’s electric pickup truck.
Austin city leaders weigh cutting 100 police vacancies
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Austin would cut 100 police officer vacancies and postpone the graduation of its July cadets as part of a broader effort to overhaul its police department. City Manager Spencer Cronk on Thursday sent a memo to the City Council in which he proposed several changes to how the police department should operate. Among other things, he proposed creating a team to lead the city’s police reform efforts that would be made up of city leaders focused on safety, health, environment and culture. The council voted last week to eliminate the police vacancies and to not hire additional officers until after the next fiscal year, at the earliest.
How black history is taught in schools faces new scrutiny
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A national conversation on racial injustice is bringing new scrutiny to how African American history is taught in schools around the country. In Oklahoma, new standards are going out to schools on how to teach the events surrounding the 1921 massacre of as many as 300 people in a prosperous black business district of Tulsa. There is no national curriculum or set of standards for teaching black history in America. Only a small number of states, including Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Mississippi and New York, have laws requiring that black history be taught in public schools.
Police: Man arrested in Florida for shooting 8 at Texas bar
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Police say federal agents in Florida have arrested a man charged in a shooting outside a Texas bar that injured eight people. San Antonio police say U.S. Marshals arrested 37-year-old Jenelius Crew Thursday morning as he left a hotel in Miami. Police say detectives obtained warrants for his arrest Wednesday on eight counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The charges stem from a shooting last Friday in the parking lot of a large San Antonio bar called Rebar. Police say the man was part of a group that had been turned away because they were too inebriated.
AP Explains: Juneteenth marks day last enslaved people freed
Juneteenth commemorates when the last enslaved African Americans learned they were free 155 years ago. Now, with support growing for the racial justice movement, 2020 may be the year the holiday reaches a new level of recognition. Juneteenth is a blend of the words June and 19th. It’s the day in 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform the last enslaved black people they were free after the Civil War. Juneteenth celebrations began the next year in Galveston and eventually reached other states. While the coronavirus pandemic is moving many celebrations online, states, cities and companies are moving to make the day an official holiday.
Video shows 6 American oil executives jailed in Venezuela
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan officials have released a video of six American oil executives jailed in a Caracas prison for over two years. Relatives of the men on Thursday appealed for their release. One inmate speaking in the video says they are being treated well. The Associated Press couldn’t independently confirm their conditions. Relatives say they fear for the men’s health amid the coronavirus pandemic. Venezuelan authorities lured them to Caracas from the Houston-based CITGO headquarters in late 2017, when they were arrested. Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza says Venezuelan law guarantees the men’s right to health measures against COVID-19.
Who they are: Six DACA recipients rejoice over court ruling
PHOENIX (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has kept alive, for now, the Obama-era program that allows immigrants brought here as children to work and protects them from deportation. The high court on Thursday ruled that the Trump administration attempted to end the program improperly when it announced it was rescinding it in 2017. Since then, only people who were already enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program have been able to stay on board, and no new applicants have been accepted. About 650,000 people have DACA protections. Here are six from around the country.
American Airlines bans man who refused to wear face mask
DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines has banned a man for not wearing a face covering on a plane. The airline said Thursday that the man was removed from a plane in New York earlier this week for ignoring crew members’ request to wear a mask. It’s among the first such incidents since airlines promised this week to step up enforcement of their mask-wearing rules. The man, conservative activist Brandon Straka, recorded some of the incident and noted in a video posted on Twitter that there is no federal law requiring passengers to wear face masks. That is true. American and most other airlines imposed the rule last month, with exceptions allowed for young children, people with medical conditions, and passengers who are eating or drinking.
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