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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
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Current location: Bryan, Texas
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About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Kenai Peninsula school district employees vote to strike

A week after contract negotiations with the school district hit a standstill, peninsula educators and staff have voted to strike.

In a Facebook post published Wednesday night, the Kenai Peninsula Education Association reported that more than 75% of certified staff voted “yes” on a walkout.

The move comes a week after the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and two education associations — the Kenai Peninsula Education Association and Kenai Peninsula Educational Support Association — were unable to come to a bargaining agreement.

For over a year, contract negotiations have snagged on the rising cost of health care. A previous agreement effective through June 2018 remains in use for employees without contracts.

Read more: https://www.homernews.com/news/school-district-employees-vote-to-strike/

Dunleavy calls for state budget, while senators discuss separate PFD bill

Gov. Mike Dunleavy called on lawmakers on Wednesday to send the state budget to his desk.

He also wants permanent fund dividends to be calculated based on the formula set in state law, which would make them roughly $3,000.

“The clock is ticking,” Dunleavy told reporters. “Alaskans are waiting for a budget. And Alaskans are waiting for a decision that hopefully will follow the calculations that we’ve talked about for the PFD. I’m not sure what another week — or two or three weeks — is going to do to change that.”

Wednesday was the 15th day of the special session, which can last up to 30 days. Neither the Senate nor the House of Representatives have work scheduled for the rest of this week.

Read more: https://www.alaskapublic.org/2019/05/29/dunleavy-calls-for-state-budget-while-senators-discuss-separate-pfd-bill/

Alaska Legislature prepares to sue governor over school funding

The Alaska Senate and House of Representatives voted Tuesday to allow the Legislative Council to sue to force Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration to distribute school funding in July.

Lawmakers say they hope a lawsuit won’t be needed. Lawyers for the Legislature and administration differ on whether a law passed last year provided funding for next school year.

House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, a Dillingham independent, said legislators want to avoid using education funding as a political football.

“We think education in Alaska deserves to rise to the top and shouldn’t be subject to the whims of the budgeting process and the Legislature,” Edgmon said.

Read more: https://www.alaskapublic.org/2019/05/28/alaska-legislature-prepares-to-sue-governor-over-school-funding/

Update: Former Southwest Research Institute Employee Awarded $550,000 In Retaliation Lawsuit

SAN ANTONIO -- Southwest Research Institute was fined $410,000 for firing a female employee in an act of retaliation because she filed sex discrimination complaints against the company. A jury found in favor of Mary Ellen Johnson — who was terminated after 12 years with SwRI — in the federal trial that began in San Antonio April 1.

In the final judgment filed May 25, the judge ordered the research organization pay out more that $550,000 and send a letter rescinding a negative incident report they filed on Johnson with the Defense Department. Her lawyers argued the report jeopardized Johnson’s ability to get security clearances and employment in the future.

“And essentially what happens is you’re blacklisted, or blackballed in the industry and unable to get another job,” said Colin Walsh, one of Johnson’s attorneys.

Walsh said there’s no guarantee that the new letter will negate the incident report.

Read more: https://www.tpr.org/post/update-former-southwest-research-institute-employee-awarded-550000-retaliation-lawsuit

Lawsuit Claims GEO Guards Illegally Separated 13 Fathers And Sons

A San Antonio non-profit that provides legal services to immigrants is suing the private prison company that runs Karnes County Residential Center. The lawsuit claims the company's employees illegally separated detained immigrant fathers and their sons, causing extreme emotional distress.

The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, or RAICES, and two private law firms claim 13 immigrant fathers and sons were separated at the border in June 2018. They were then reunited under a federal district court order, only to be illegally separated again two months later.

RAICES Director of Litigation Manoj Govindaiah said the migrant fathers are suing GEO, the prison company that runs Karnes and employs its guards on behalf of the federal government, for the second separation. Govindaiah says not only was it illegal, it was unnecessarily forceful.

“They dragged several of the dads from their rooms with such force that in a couple of situations the dads’ shoes were pulled off by the dragging,” Govindaiah said. “They used plastic, zip-tie handcuffs on the dads to force them out of their rooms and into a separate holding area.”

Read more: https://www.tpr.org/post/lawsuit-claims-geo-guards-illegally-separated-13-fathers-and-sons

Rural Broadband Advocates Upbeat After Session That Saw No Cash

Three of the five bills dealing with expanding broadband in Texas are either waiting on the governor’s desk or are already in effect. The results have proponents optimistic.

The 86th legislature filed more than 7,300 bills between the two houses, so getting excited about five on one topic may be absurd. But when it comes to broadband, community leaders and advocates have been waiting a long time to see it gain steam.

“We’re finally seeing some. I don’t know if it’s light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re finally getting to the tunnel,” said David Cleveland, executive director of the East Texas Council of Governments, a 14-county wide swath of Texas.

“Clearly the education is getting through and now it’s a matter of momentum going behind this,” he said.

Read more: https://www.tpr.org/post/rural-broadband-advocates-upbeat-after-session-saw-no-cash

First Border Barrier In Starr County Approved

Starr County in the Rio Grande Valley is getting its first border barrier. It will stretch 3 miles long and cost more than $43 million.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, awarded the construction contract to Kiewit Infrastructure West Company. The barrier will be 18 to 30 feet tall, according to a CBP statement. The contract also includes road construction, detection technology and lighting installation.

During a call last week, a CBP official said the steel bollard wall will be built on federal land between the cities of Salineño and Escobares.

The CBP official also said about 50 more miles of border wall is expected to be built in the county. The money is coming from Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations, and construction for the three-mile project is expected to begin in August.

Read more: https://www.tpr.org/post/first-border-barrier-starr-county-approved

With shelter closed, Killeen homeless more visible

Three men are living underneath the Interstate 14 overpass at the intersection of South W.S. Young Drive and East Central Texas Expressway in Killeen.

Two of the men, Richard Alice and Kent Porter, are not Killeen residents but are passing through on their way to another state. Alice said they have been in Killeen for about five months. Alice is an Army veteran and Porter is an Air Force veteran.

Porter told stories of his childhood and both he and Alice said their faith in God is what gets them through.

Porter had high praise for motorists who pass by the busy intersection near the Killeen Mall. He said that the people of Killeen are “beautiful people.” He told a story of a lady who handed them $100 and told them to check in to a local motel to take a shower. Porter also said they strive to help other homeless people whenever they receive excess food or money from passers-by.

Read more: http://kdhnews.com/news/local/with-shelter-closed-killeen-homeless-more-visible/article_f6594140-8266-11e9-a7ab-e3718642048c.html

Follow-up: Former county employee loses appeal over stolen fajitas

The 13th Court of Appeals affirmed the five-decade sentence a former juvenile detention center employee received for stealing more than $1 million worth of fajitas over nine years.

On April 20, 2018, visiting Judge Manuel Bañales sentenced 54-year-old Gilberto Escamilla to 50 years in prison after the former Darrell B. Hester Juvenile Justice Center food services administrator pleaded guilty to theft by a public servant in an amount greater than $200,000.

The Cameron County District Attorney’s Office Special Investigations Unit arrested the man in 2017 after a Labatt Food Service driver called the detention center to let employees there know that their 800-pound delivery of fajitas, which are not on the menu, had arrived.

The value of the fajitas totaled $1,251,578. That figure doesn’t include brisket, pork chops, sausage and chicken that Escamilla also admitted during court hearings to stealing and selling to people and restaurants.

Read more: https://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/local/former-county-employee-loses-appeal-over-stolen-fajitas/article_2dee9894-819f-11e9-be70-4fd885b88c8f.html

Earlier threads:
Follow-up: Fajita case seeks appeal; Man claims he received ineffective counsel - Dec 2018

Man sentenced to 50 years for fajita theft appeals - May 2018

Former Cameron County employee sentenced to 50 years for fajita theft - Apr 2018

Cameron County DA's office looks into missing $1.2M of fajita purchases - Oct 2017

Jimmy Kimmel Live - Trump & Kim Jong Un Lash Out at Joe Biden

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