Rare Snowfall Turns South and Central Texas Into Winter Wonderland: Your Texas Roundup
Plus: Two state lawmakers face pressure to resign over new sexual harassment allegations, the U.S. House Ethics Committee is investigating sexual harassment allegations against U.S. Representative Farenthold, and three Dallas cops are indicted in the death of an unarmed man.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I’m in the hospital. Do you hear what I’m saying? I’m in the hospital.”
—Julie Thrift of Dallas, to a customer service rep from AT&T. According to the Dallas Morning News, Thrift was attempting to resolve a billing issue while she was in the early stages of labor.
Texans across the state got a taste of real winter on Thursday, with actual snow falling from Houston to Austin to San Antonio and even Laredo and Corpus Christi. The light flurry of flakes led to some iconic images, like a baby snowman in front of the Alamo or Kyle Field covered by a soft white blanket. While the snow (such that it is—no place was predicted to get more than three inches) temporarily transformed parts of Texas into a snowy cold-weather paradise, it’s not all good. The winter blast prompted several closures and delays. Austin ISD cancelled classes for Friday, while other districts in snow-stricken areas are facing delays of several hours. At one point, 82,000 were without power in San Antonio due to the inclement weather, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Temperatures are expected to rise back up to normal this weekend in most areas, so make your faint snow angels while you can.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
State Senators Borris Miles and Carlos Uresti face pressure to resign after a bombshell story in the Daily Beast revealed detailed and disturbing sexual harassment and assault allegations against the lawmakers from former staffers, interns, and reporters. On Thursday, Annie’s List, a political group which works to elect Democratic women, called on both men to step down. “As we know all too well, men like Borris Miles and Carlos Uresti have been asserting themselves upon others without their permission for millenniums,” Patsy Woods Martin, executive director of the Austin-based organization, said in a statement, according to the Texas Tribune. “What is new is that now we’re calling it out, taking these instances out of the shadows of shame and doubt that perpetrators, and their enablers, have foisted upon women.” Both men pushed back against the allegations, with Miles claiming he was targeted because of his success as a politician and Uresti calling the report “erroneous” and “unfounded.” Several Democratic lawmakers also called for official investigations into the allegations, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
A week after U.S. Representative Blake Farenthold of Corpus Christi was revealed to have spent $84,000 in taxpayer funds to settle sexual harassment claims made against him by a former staffer, the U.S. House Ethics Committee has opened a new investigation into the allegations after receiving additional information, according to Politico. The sexual harassment lawsuit was settled in 2015, after Farenthold’s former communications director Lauren Greene claimed she was routinely sexually harassed by Farenthold. The Office of Congressional Ethics cleared Farenthold at the time the allegations were first made, but now the Ethics Committee will look into the case. Greene’s attorney told Politico that Ethics Committee staff has called him twice in the past two days to schedule Greene to appear before the panel. The panel had attempted to interview Greene more than a year ago, but she declined to participate, hoping to move on with her life and put her time at Farenthold’s office behind her. But Greene’s comments to Politico this week about being “blackballed” in politics after first making the allegations have renewed the committee’s interest.
Three Dallas cops were indicted on Thursday in the death of an unarmed man who had called 911 for help, according to the Dallas Morning News. Dallas police Sergeant Kevin Mansell, Officer Danny Vasquez, and a third unnamed officer were each indicted on one count of misdemeanor deadly conduct by a Dallas County grand jury in connection with the death of Tony Timpa in Rockwall. Timpa called 911 for help in August 2016 while high on cocaine, telling the dispatcher that he suffered from anxiety and schizophrenia, was off his prescription medications, and feared for his safety. Timpa had been handcuffed by a private security guard and was unarmed, in shorts, and barefoot when police arrived. A lawsuit filed by Timpa’s family claims police body camera footage shows the officers mocking Timpa as he struggled to breathe, and that one of the officers kept his knee on Timpa’s back for more than fourteen minutes while Timpa repeatedly begged: “Don’t hurt me.” The officer kept his knee there until after Timpa lost consciousness, and they didn’t begin CPR until he had been unresponsive for several minutes. One of the officers is reportedly caught on camera saying, “I hope I didn’t kill him.”
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
Former governor Mark White’s son, Andrew, is running for governor Texas Tribune
A Houston bouncer was convicted of attacking Moses Malone Jr. because he disrespected James Harden on Facebook Houston Chronicle
Jerry Jones lost a heavyweight fight against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Dallas Morning News
A former priest was finally convicted of the 1960 murder of a former school teacher from McAllen McAllen Monitor
McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna faces accusations of buying cocaine Waco Tribune-Herald