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Associated Press

Posted on February 26, 2014 at 5:06 AM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 26 at 6:05 AM


Portraits by Bush to be exhibited at library

DALLAS (AP) — Portraits painted by former President George W. Bush will be featured in an exhibit at his presidential library this spring.

The exhibit titled "The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy" will open in early April at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas.

The exhibit exploring relationships Bush formed with other world leaders will feature more than two dozen portraits by Bush that have never before been exhibited. Bush, who left office in 2009, has taken up oil painting in recent years.

Artifacts, photographs and personal reflections will also be on display.

The George W. Bush Presidential Center, which includes the library and museum, opened last year on the campus of Southern Methodist University.


Defense opens in Austin cop-killing trial

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — It's now defense attorneys' turn to counter prosecutors' efforts to obtain a death sentence for a man convicted of capital murder in the slaying of an Austin police officer.

Brandon Daniel's attorneys will begin presenting evidence Wednesday to the Travis County jury, a day after prosecutors rested their case.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Their last witness Tuesday was the sister of Officer Jaime Padron (HEYE'-may pah-DRONE'), the slain officer. Linda Diaz testified to his dedication to service to his family and the community.

Padron was shot to death April 6, 2012, while answering a disturbance and shoplifting call at a Wal-Mart.

Daniel has acknowledged that he was under the influence of the anti-anxiety drug during the shooting.


Newborn abandoned in Houston trash bin

HOUSTON (AP) — Police say they've found the mother of a newborn child who was discarded in the garbage bin of a Houston apartment complex.

The 16-year-old girl is not being identified and was taken Tuesday to a hospital for observation. No immediate charge has been filed against her.

A maintenance worker taking out the trash Tuesday morning at the complex in southeast Houston notified police after hearing a noise and finding the newborn in a trash bag.

Police say the infant was breathing when taken to a Houston hospital. The child's condition is unknown but is expected to survive.

The Houston Chronicle reports the infant was found with part of its umbilical cord still attached.

No other information was immediately available from authorities.


South Texas medical school dean to visit region

MCALLEN, Texas (AP) — A psychiatrist and founding dean of the new School of Medicine at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley is to meet with South Texas students, faculty and community members.

Dr. Francisco Fernandez will start Wednesday in the Valley with a news conference at the Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen. Then, he'll visit the UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville campuses to meet with faculty and students.

Fernandez is a professor and chairman of psychiatry and neurosciences at the University of South Florida College of Medicine in Tampa. The expert on the brain's relationship to behavior was named last month to lead the medical school at the newly formed UT-Rio Grande Valley.

The school will be the first of its kind in the fast-growing, medically underserved border region.


US border agents seize Mexico-bound ammo

McALLEN, Texas (AP) — Agents of the U.S. Border Patrol have seized more than 36,000 rounds of ammunition found in an abandoned sport utility vehicle near the Mexican border. That's according to the federal agency's statement Tuesday. The Border Patrol says agents in its Rio Grande Valley Sector made the rare find while acting on an anonymous tip to suspicious activity near the Rio Grande.

According to the authorities, agents were searching the Rio Grande City area, across from Camargo, Mexico, when they saw eight people swimming back to Mexico on Monday. The agents followed footprints north to the vehicle and found dozens of cardboard boxes containing ammunition for automatic rifles.

The Mexican government has been pressuring the United States to stop the trafficking of U.S. weapons, which it says has been fueling Mexico's bloody drug wars.


East Texas hospital to close as losses mount

(Information in the following story is from: Longview News-Journal, )

LINDEN, Texas (AP) — An East Texas hospital will close after its parent company incurred more than $12 million in operating losses since it acquired the facility nine years ago.

Good Shepherd Health System has announced the shtdown of Good Shepherd Medical Center Linden. The 25-bed hospital is about 150 miles east of Dallas. Two health centers owned by Good Shepherd, one in Linden and the other in nearby Hughes Springs, also will close by the end of April.

About 100 employees will lose their jobs.

The Longview News-Journal reports ( ) that Longview-based Good Shepherd runs other medical centers in Longview and Marshall. Another hospital operates northeast of Linden in Atlanta.

The Linden hospital averages fewer than five patients occupying its beds, and only about one person per hour visits the emergency room.


2 motorists killed in West Texas head-on collision

AMARILLO, Texas (AP) — Two people were killed on a West Texas highway when a vehicle crossed the center line and struck an oncoming car head-on.

Texas Department of Public Safety Senior Trooper Daniel Hawthorne says 23-year-old Jorge Avalos was traveling north of Pampa on Tuesday morning when his Dodge Stratus veered into oncoming traffic. His vehicle struck a Chrysler four-door driven by 50-year-old Sharon Sweat of Mobile, Ala. Both died at the scene.

It wasn't clear was caused Avalos, a Pampa resident, to cross the center line.

Pampa is about 55 miles northeast of Amarillo.


Man charged in Houston death, body in burned home

HOUSTON (AP) — An ex-neighbor has been charged in the December fatal stabbing of a 72-year-old woman whose body was found in her burned Houston-area home.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office says 21-year-old Ethen Drake has been charged with capital murder. Investigators believe he stole cash and drugs from Caroline Stagner and then set her house on fire.

Stagner's body was discovered Dec. 13 by firefighters. Authorities say the victim's discarded pill bottles labeled with her name were discovered about three blocks from her home and near where the suspect's parents still live.

An affidavit released Tuesday says Drake was arrested in Gladewater where he faces similar charges of taking pills and money from a home and setting it on fire. He was arrested last month and faces being returned to Harris County.


Drop in water use may trigger Austin rate increase

(Information in the following story is from: Austin American-Statesman, )

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — It appears Austin residents may become victims of their own success at conserving water as city officials now are considering increases in water rates to ensure the system remains in the black.

The Austin American-Statesman reports ( ) the city faces a dilemma: Residents aren't buying enough water to allow the Austin Water Utility to generate enough revenue.

The utility sustained a $10 million loss in water sales in the first few months of this fiscal year. It recorded a $27 million loss in sales last fiscal year.

Officials say correcting the shortfall could require higher "drought rates." A new rate structure could be proposed this summer. One idea is to have rates rise as the lakes that supply Austin's water shrivel, a concept similar to one Dallas has adopted.