Texas Supreme Court justice recovers from COVID-19
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra Lehrman said Wednesday her symptoms while battling COVID-19 were “quite severe” but she has fully recovered. Lehrman is one of nine judges on the state’s highest court for civil law. She announced May 21 that she and her husband, Greg, tested positive for the coronavirus despite being diligent about following social distancing guidelines. She is the highest-ranking state official in Texas known to test positive for the coronavirus. Lehrman said she her husband will be donating blood plasma to help other patients.
Pence to visit Texas for ‘Freedom’ event at megachurch
DALLAS (AP) — Officials say Vice President Mike Pence will visit Texas later this month for a “Celebrate Freedom” event at a Dallas megachurch. Pence’s office says he will travel to Dallas on June 28 and will visit the First Baptist Church. The 14,000-member, Southern Baptist church’s pastor is Robert Jeffress, one of President Donald Trump’s leading allies among conservative evangelical Christians. The church’s event is described as “an annual celebration of America’s freedom and spiritual foundation.” This weekend, Pence is scheduled to attend Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He also spent time in Iowa this week, visiting a diner and speaking at a Winnebago facility.
Statue of Confederate soldier removed from Houston park
HOUSTON (AP) — Officials say a statue of a Confederate soldier has been removed from a downtown Houston park, and a second Confederate statue is expected to be removed soon. The “Spirit of the Confederacy” statue was removed late Tuesday from Sam Houston Park. Mayor Sylvester Turner said last week the statue will be housed in the Houston Museum of African American Culture. Officials say the second Confederate statue will be removed and temporarily placed in a warehouse. Many Confederate monuments have been damaged or brought down by demonstrators and removed by local authorities since the death of George Floyd, an African American man whose death led to worldwide demonstrations calling for changes to police practices.
SHOPPING MALL SHOOTING-TEXAS
1 wounded, 1 sought in Dallas shopping mall shooting
DALLAS (AP) — One person has been shot at a busy Dallas shopping mall, and police are still seeking a single suspect. Police Senior Cpl. Melinda Gutierrez says the shooting happened at the Galleria mall. The wounded person has been taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital. Their condition was not immediately known. The mall was evacuated, and no other shootings or injuries were reported. Dallas Police said on Twitter that there was “not an active shooter.” Stores at the mall are limited to admitting shoppers to half of their capacity because of the coronavirus pandemic. About three-quarters of the mall’s stores had opened as of June 1.
US Supreme Court halts Texas execution over clergy question
HOUSTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has granted a reprieve to a Texas inmate scheduled to die for fatally stabbing an 85-year-old woman more than two decades ago, continuing a more than four-month delay of executions in the nation’s busiest death penalty state during the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. Supreme Court blocked Ruben Gutierrez’s execution about an hour before he could have been executed. Gutierrez’s attorneys had argued his religious rights are being violated because the prison system won’t allow a chaplain to accompany him in the death chamber.
AMERICA PROTESTS-THE LATEST
The Latest: George Floyd’s brother speaks to UN council
The brother of George Floyd has made a heartfelt plea the U.N.’s top human rights body to launch intense international scrutiny of systemic racism and the killing of unarmed blacks by police. Philonese Floyd’s message by video to the Human Rights Council came as it contemplates an unprecedented bid sought by the Africa Group to create a Commission of Inquiry — the council’s most powerful tool of scrutiny — to examine and report on racism and violence against protesters by police in the United States. Floyd said, “I am my brother’s keeper. You in the United Nations are your brothers and sisters’ keepers in America — and you have the power to help us get justice for my brother George Floyd.”
Reward increased in case of missing Fort Hood soldier
KILLEEN, Texas (AP) — U.S. Army investigators have increased the reward for information about a missing Fort Hood soldier who was last seen in April. The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command says the reward is now $25,000 for information that leads to the whereabouts of Private First Class Vanessa Guillen. The 20-year-old soldier was last seen in a parking lot at Fort Hood on April 22. Investigators say her car keys, barracks room key, ID card and wallet were later found in an armory room where she’d been working, but there’s been no sign of her since.
COLD MURDER SOLVED
Officials solve 1991 rape, murder of teen in Florida Keys
KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — Officials say they’ve solved the 1991 murder case of a teenager who was raped and strangled with her bikini top on Valentine’s Day in the Florida Keys. The victim was finally identified as 18-year-old Wanda Deann Kirkum of Hornell, New York. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office says her killer was Robert Lynn Bradley, who was murdered a year later in Texas at the age of 31. Officials used DNA technology to identify both the victim and the suspect. The case became known as the “Valentine Jane Doe Homicide.” Kirkum was never reported missing. Both her parents are now dead.
Businesses, colleges plead with Trump to preserve work visas
BOSTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is expected to announce new restrictions on work visas, and businesses and universities are pleading for restraint. They say cutting off access to talented foreign workers will further disrupt the economy and stifle innovation. But Republicans in Congress, conservative groups and other influential immigration hard-liners have been calling for stronger action after Trump’s prior visa restrictions didn’t go far enough for them. The administration has yet to say which, if any, visas will be temporarily eliminated. But a relatively obscure work permit for foreign students called the Optional Practical Training program is among those drawing attention in recent weeks.
Breast cancer treatment advocate Betty Puskar dies at 80
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Betty J. Puskar, a longtime supporter of West Virginia University who helped establish a breast cancer treatment center, has died. She was 80. The university says Puskar died Sunday at her Morgantown home. The university did not disclose a cause of death. After seeking treatment for breast cancer in Houston in 1985, Puskar was determined to build a treatment facility in Morgantown. Her initial donation in 1994 helped establish the Betty Puskar Breast Care Center. Puskar served on the WVU Cancer Institute’s Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center board of advisors. She also founded a women’s professional golf tournament that was held in Morgantown for 17 years.