QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I want to say thank you, and we have a lot of think about going forward, but we’ll see what happens. Until then I’m just going to keep listening to Bob Dylan.”
— Tony Romo in a video on Thursday. The departing Cowboys quarterback posted a message to fans on Instagram, with Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin'” playing in the background. At one point, Romo’s wife, Candice, makes a cameo: “Babe, enough with the sad music.”
Federal authorities have linked a suspect to the blaze that burned down a mosque in Victoria earlier this year, according to the Victoria Advocate. As of now, 25-year-old Marq Vincent Perez has only been charged with possession of fire-starting devices in an unrelated incident, but he is currently being held without bond after U.S. Magistrate Judge B. Janice Ellington decided that there was evidence of his involvement in a “hate crime.” Perez was arrested on March 3 for possessing “multiple commercially available pyrotechnic devices that were taped together” that were used in a January 15 incident in which he tried to set a car on fire. But at a hearing on Thursday, prosecutors presented evidence that he was involved with the mosque fire. A confidential informant admitted to burglarizing the mosque with Perez, once on January 22 and again on January 28, when Perez started the fire. Perez’s lawyer, Mark Di Carlo, emphasized that his client has not been charged in connection to the mosque blaze. The testimony is currently under investigation, but this is the first time that authorities have indicated that the fire, which was ruled an arson last month, could possibly be a hate crime. According to the Houston Chronicle, M.J. Khan of the Greater Houston Islamic Society warned the community against trying the suspect in the court of public opinion. “It would be wrong for us to jump to conclusions or create any kind of biases in our minds about this person,” he said. Although devastating for the mosque members, the January fire sparked an outpouring of support. Locally, a synagogue, three Christian churches, and the owner of a vacant building offered space for the mosque members to hold prayer services, and a GoFundMe campaign to rebuild the place of worship raised $1 million.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
The driver of a charter bus that crashed in Biloxi, Mississippi, on Tuesday was following GPS directions rather than the route that the company, Diamond Tours, provided, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The bus was carrying Central Texas senior citizens, many from a senior center in Bastrop, on a casino tour when it appeared to stall on train tracks. After several minutes a train collided with the bus, killing four people and sending 35 others to the hospital. The Biloxi crossing has apparently been problematic for other long vehicles because of the steep inclines on either side of the tracks. Last March, another tour bus got stuck on the tracks, but passengers were able to safely evacuate; and two months ago a train ran into a soft drink delivery truck after it was stranded in the same spot. Twelve of the seventeen people who were taken in at the Singing River Health System in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, have been released from the hospital, according to the Statesman.
Jerry Jones Trolls Us All
Contrary to widespread reports anticipating the move, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones didn’t release quarterback Tony Romo on Thursday, according to the Dallas Morning News. And now, sports media is tripping all over itself trying to get inside Jones’s head. The Morning News says that a “trade should still be considered something of a long shot,” adding that the Houston Texans, who just traded beleaguered quarterback Brock Osweiler to the Cleveland Browns, weren’t interested in trading for Romo. Meanwhile, ESPN listed both Houston and the Denver Broncos as potential trading partners for the Cowboys, noting that Romo is “expected to be traded rather than released.” So, in short, Romo is still on the Cowboys roster as of Friday morning, though no one expects him to stay on it. And how, exactly, he’ll be whisked out of Dallas is anyone’s guess. For now, we have a feeling that Jones is just watching the chaos unfold.
Just days after the Texas Senate unanimously passed a bill seeking to curtail the spate of inappropriate student-teacher relationships, three more examples of the “statewide plague” have surfaced in the news. Earlier this month, a teacher at East Central High School in San Antonio resigned amid allegations of a relationship with a student. The district confirmed to the San Antonio Express-News on Wednesday that Alicia Lair, an English teacher at East Central, has resigned after being placed on administrative leave. In Carrollton, a teacher at R.L. Turner High School was arrested on Thursday morning, accused of using hidden cameras to film female students in “various states of undress.” He is facing six counts of invasive visual recording, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. And in Waco, a teacher at Methodist Children’s Home—which provides residential care, foster care, and other services to youths—was arrested, accused of exchanging illicit text messages with a student, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
Anybody want a $25,000 street taco? San Antonio Express-News
“The Rise, Then Shame, of Baylor Nation” The New York Times
The warring factions inside of Texas’s Republican party Texas Tribune
Trump could get Texas’s high-speed train on track. McClatchy
Here are the biggest fish caught off of the Texas coast. Houston Chronicle