Court refuses to order Houston to host Texas GOP gathering
HOUSTON (AP) — The Texas Supreme Court has upheld Houston’s refusal to allow the state Republican convention to hold in-person events in the city due to the coronavirus pandemic. The court on Monday dismissed an appeal of a state district judge’s denial of a temporary restraining order sought by the state Republican Party. Shortly after the ruling, GOP leaders said they would call a meeting of the party’s executive committee to “finalize our path forward.” A separate court hearing was ongoing Monday in Harris County, where Houston is located, in which a different judge was hearing the party’s arguments to allow the convention to go forward. The state GOP convention was scheduled to begin Thursday at Houston’s downtown convention center.
Houston leaders call for city lockdown amid virus case surge
HOUSTON (AP) — Top officials in Houston are calling for the city to lock back down as area hospitals strain to accommodate the onslaught of patients sick with the new coronavirus. Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo say a stay-at-home order is needed to cope with the surge of COVID-19 cases. Both are Democrats. Hidalgo said Sunday that a stay-at-home order is needed “until the hospitalization curve comes down.” But the decision over a lockdown rests with Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. He has so far resisted this step, saying it should be a last resort.
TRUMP-PRIVATE BORDER WALL
Trump rips private Texas border wall built by his supporters
HOUSTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has criticized a privately built border wall in South Texas that’s showing signs of erosion months after going up, saying in a tweet that he thinks it was “only done to make me look bad,” even though it was built after a months-long campaign by his supporters. The group that raised money online for it promoted itself as supporting Trump during a government shutdown that began in December 2018 because Congress wouldn’t fund a border wall. Trump’s tweet tweeted Sunday came after ProPublica-Texas Tribune report that found the riverbank has started to erode.
2 officers, suspect killed in Texas border town shooting
MCALLEN, Texas (AP) — Authorities say two police officers were shot and killed Saturday by a suspect who later fatally shot himself in a South Texas border town after responding to a domestic disturbance call. McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez identified the slain officers as 45-year-old Edelmiro Garza and 39-year-old Ismael Chavez. Garza was an officer with the police department for more than eight years while Chavez had over two years of experience. Police say the officers first met with two people who reported assaults that took place inside a nearby home on the south side of the city. The alleged shooter, whom police identified as 23-year-old Audon Ignacio Camarillo, opened fire when officers attempted to enter the home.
Virus spread, not politics should guide schools, doctors say
As the Trump administration pushes full steam ahead to force U.S. schools to resume in-person education, public health experts warn that a one-size-fits-all reopening could drive infection and death rates even higher. They’re urging a more cautious, flexible approach, which many local governments and school districts are already pursuing. There are too many uncertainties and variables, they say, for back-to-school to be back-to-normal. Dr. Tom Frieden is former head of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He says curbing COVID-19 activity in communities is the single most important thing that can be done to keep schools safe.
Average US gas price up 2 cents over 2 weeks to $2.24/gallon
CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline increased by 2 cents over the past two weeks, to $2.24 per gallon. That’s 59 cents below the average pump price from a year ago. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey says the increase comes as crude oil prices rise. The highest average price in the nation for regular-grade gas is $3.20 per gallon in the San Francisco Bay Area. The lowest average is $1.79 in Houston. The average price of diesel is $2.54, down a penny from two weeks ago.
COVID-19 continues its grim record-setting pace in Texas
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The new coronavirus continues to cut its record-setting swath through Texas as state officials reported a record 10,351 new cases for the day Saturday. That brought the total cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, to just over a quarter-million dating to the start of tracking in early March. A record 10,083 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized, while 99 new fatalities were reported Saturday. The total is second only to the record 105 reported Thursday. Harris County has the most active cases with almost 27,000, with Dallas County coming in a distant second with 12,996.
Coronavirus deaths take a long-expected turn for the worse
NEW YORK (AP) — The number of deaths per day from the coronavirus in the U.S. had been falling for months, and even remained down as some states saw explosions in cases. But now a long-expected upturn has begun, driven by fatalities in states in the South and West. Over the past two weeks, data shows daily reported deaths increased in 27 states. Researchers now expect deaths to rise for at least some weeks, but some think the count probably will not go up as dramatically as it did in the spring. Meanwhile, the number of New Yorkers hospitalized with the coronavirus has fallen to the lowest point since mid-March. And Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are reopening Saturday.
FEDERAL DEATH PENALTY-HISTORY-Q&A
Q&A: US government not as prolific an executioner as states
CHICAGO (AP) — President Donald Trump’s administration wants to restart federal executions this month, 17 years after the last one. Executions carried out by federal authorities have stopped, restarted and stopped again for long stretches since the first one in 1790, when U.S. marshals hanged a mariner in Maine for fatally shooting the captain of a slave ship. The federal government has never been a prolific executioner, putting to death just a few hundred people since the 1700s. States, meanwhile, have executed more than 15,000 people. The vast majority of executions in recent decades have been by lethal injection. That’s the only method authorized for federal executions.
Housing construction steady in New Mexico’s oil region
HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — The crash of the oil business and the economic decline that has followed the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t stopped construction for the housing shortage in the heart of New Mexico’s oil region. The Hobbs News-Sun reports Hobbs, New Mexico, is seeing new construction with three major developments, and building continues to grow through the pandemic. On top of the lots and homes being sold, multiple companies are trying to meet the need for apartments. Real estate agents say that despite the oilfield crash, the region still has a housing shortage.
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