Rep Larry Gonzales Resigns From Texas House

first_imgBob Daemmrich for the Texas TribuneState Rep. Larry Gonzales, R-Round Rock, gathers a group of bipartisan House members to admonish the Senate for stalling bills May 28, 2017, the day before the end of the 85th session.State Rep. Larry Gonzales, R-Round Rock, is resigning early, saying “it’s time to get on with the next phase of my life.”Gonzales, a member since 2011 and a Capitol staffer before that, had already decided this would be his last term and didn’t file for re-election this year. His resignation, effective on Thursday, sets up a special election for the remainder of his term.That might take place on the same day as the November general elections. There’s a precedent: State Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, quit earlier this year and was appointed to a judicial position; the special election for what’s left of his term will take place in November.During his term in the House, Gonzales chaired the Sunset Advisory Commission and served on several House committees, notably the budget-writing Appropriations Committee.“I first walked into the Texas State Capitol in 1991, a young, eager intern ready to learn as much as I could and help make Texas the beacon of what good state government should be,” Gonzales said in a statement. “Twenty-seven years later … I’m happy with everything we have accomplished.”Still, he said, “it’s time to move on.”“My little family needs me,” he said. “I’ve missed a lot.”Gonzales’ departure leaves just two Hispanic Republicans in the 150-member Texas House: J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville, who is seeking another term, and Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, who was defeated in the Republican primary and is serving out his term.Republican Cynthia Flores and Democrat James Talarico will be on the ballot for a full term in House District 52 in November; candidates can file for the stub term as soon as Gov. Greg Abbott calls a special election and sets a date. Flores has Gonzales’ support.In a statement Wednesday, Talarico praised Gonzales as “a fierce advocate for commonsense legislation” and said he’d “work every day to live up to his example.”“In divisive times, Rep. Gonzales resisted the tides of partisanship and fought for real solutions to the problems facing our community,” Talarico said. “There are few politicians left like him who put people over politics.”Emma Platoff contributed to this report. Sharelast_img read more

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Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission Launches Scholarship Program for Future Engineers

first_imgThe Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission is asking the region’s future engineers for innovative ways to protect the area’s source water. The authors of the top two solutions will earn the annual Counihan/Starks Engineering Scholarships and priority consideration in WSSC’s paid summer internship program. Utilities, environmental groups and government agencies alike agree that protecting source water and maintaining superior water quality is a shared responsibility of critical importance. Students are asked to identify the biggest threat to our water and provide perspectives on how best to resolve that threat. Named in honor of current Commissioner Gene W. Counihan and former Commissioner Joyce Starks, the scholarships are awarded annually to college students who reside in WSSC’s service district and are enrolled in an accredited program at a college or university that leads to an engineering degree. Students can be enrolled in a school outside of the sanitary district, but must permanently reside in either Prince George’s or Montgomery County, Maryland. Up to two new scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each may be awarded and winners are eligible for additional awards of $1,000 each year for up to four consecutive years. “The Counihan/Starks Engineering Scholarship Program seeks to support area students’ academic endeavors in the field of engineering and at the same time allows WSSC to build a pipeline of talent,” Counihan said in a statement. “This is an opportunity to encourage [our] future engineers to consider the water and sewer industry and to remind everyone that WSSC employs a range of attractive positions from civil and structural engineers to inspectors… We hope these students will want to come back and make their careers at WSSC. ” For more information, visit: www.wsscwater.com.last_img read more

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A Tribute to Phyllis Hyman

first_imgRecording artist Shang will perform late singer Phyllis Hyman’s hits at a “Tribute to Phyllis Hyman” at the Howard Theatre on May 16 at 7 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.thehowardtheatre.com.last_img

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Post Freddie Gray Death Baltimore Panel OKs 200K to Boost Police Van

first_imgBALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore officials have approved spending $200,000 for equipment police say will improve the safety of the department’s vans.The Board of Estimates voted Wednesday to authorize the funds for new compartments in 13 existing vans and 10 more the police department is purchasing.The issue of safety in police transport vans gained wide attention after the death of Freddie Gray a week after his neck was broken during a van ride.The new design aims to create more space and includes seats accessible from the side of the van. It also adds bumpers on seats to keep prisoners from sliding and straps prisoners can hang onto to while handcuffed.last_img

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Organization Tries to Bring Baltimores Penn and North Back from Brink

first_imgMaria Thompson, President of Coppin State University, was on hand to announce the Coppin’s Science and Technology Center. (Courtesy photo)Last April, the CVS standing atop the MTA metro Station at Penn North Plaza became a nationally televised symbol of Baltimore’s chaotic unrest in the wake of Freddie Gray’s detainment by Baltimore police and subsequent death.  But on MLK Day 2016, the drug store and Plaza served as markers of hope as organizers of Baltimore’s Innovation Village announced the new project from a platform at the Plaza.A contingent of politicians, public figures, university officials and community activists came to lend their support to a partnership seeking to revitalize West Baltimore.  “Innovation Village represents a strong community collaboration that fuels an ambitious agenda by West Baltimore residents who have resolved to do great things,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to about 100 west Baltimore residents who stood in the cold to hear some good news about their community.The Baltimore Innovation Village is a cooperative effort sponsored by the Mount Royal Community Development Corporation (MRCDC) in collaboration with Coppin State University and the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) as well as other community and business partners.  Founded on the model of community-driven improvement, Baltimore joins cities such as Boston, Philadelphia and Detroit in utilizing Innovation Districts in an attempt to restore urban areas plagued by long standing blight and neglect.   Richard May, one of three co-founders of Innovation Village stressed that Innovation Village is an effort initiated by residents of the West Baltimore community and for the good of the West Baltimore Community.“We addressed the issue of gentrification right at the beginning” said May. ”We do not agree with a displacement model at all.  The greatest advantage that these neighborhoods have is that they have a soul.  They have a cultural underpinning” May said.The Innovation Village initiative hopes to attract businesses and entrepreneurs that can help stabilize the more economically vulnerable West Baltimore neighborhoods. “We have sought out conscious developers with a commitment to the community and we will turn as many existing residents as are interested into entrepreneurs”, said May.  Innovation Village’s goal is to stabilize existing West Baltimore communities while reinvigorating the heritage and culture that made West Baltimore home to nationally known artists and pioneers such as Billie Holiday and Thurgood Marshall.  “The more residents that become entrepreneurs, the more stable communities become” he said.The anchor institutions selected for the project, Coppin State University and the Maryland Institute College of Art were based on the community asset model utilized by MRCDC.  “The opening of Coppin’s Science and Technology Center will strengthen innovation in West Baltimore;   Innovation Village leverages the resources of our community and taps into the talents of many to create entrepreneurial and economic opportunities that ultimately benefit all of Baltimore,” said Maria Thompson, President of Coppin State University.A steering committee will be appointed from the community to develop a 90 day plan to move the innovation District forward. The Innovation District spans close to 7 miles from Druid Hill Park on the North end to MLK Boulevard on the South and from Mondawmin Mall on the West to Penn Station on the East. Brioxy and Dovecote Cafe are two of the new businesses launched by the Innovation Village. Startup Soiree will host its kickoff even on January 27th followed by the Innovation Village’s formal grand opening reception on Jan. 30th.last_img read more

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Mosby Faces Relentless Racist Attacks

first_imgBaltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby quickly became a prominent national symbol of the fight for law enforcement reform in America after she officially took the SA’s chair in January 2015.Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby discusses the almost non-stop racist attacks aimed at her since she indicted the six Baltimore police officers connected to the death of Freddie Gray, during the inaugural episode of The AFRO First Edition w/Sean Yoes, video podcast. (Photo by Taya Graham)Yet, the mantle of reformer she has consciously taken on seems to have been augmented recently as her office has grappled with repeated cases of officer misconduct within the Baltimore Police Department (BPD).“Misconduct by police that has led to dropped cases, overturned convictions and interrupted prosecutions of a startling depth, has waylaid prosecutors with hundreds of hours of review and dozens of court motions to clean up charges still pending,” my colleague Stephen Janis wrote recently in the AFRO article, “State’s Attorney Mosby: Nearly 900 Cases Tainted By Police Misconduct.” Mosby’s work even garnered praise from USA Today in an opinion piece Sept. 30.“On Tuesday, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced her office’s decision to dismiss a large number of drug cases in response to troubling police body-camera footage…that have been or will be dropped since this issue first emerged over the summer. Mosby’s decision should be neither surprising nor controversial. The fact that it has been both, indicates that too many people in our nation still don’t fully appreciate the role prosecutors must play if we want to effectively combat police misconduct and restore community confidence in our criminal justice system.”However, praise for Mosby, especially from the law enforcement community was almost non-existent just months into her tenure. On May 1, 2015, in the tumultuous wake of the death of Freddie Gray and the subsequent uprising, she did what no prosecutor of a major city had done in many years; indicted police officers for alleged brutality. When she indicted all six officers connected to Gray’s death, she incurred the wrath of the Fraternal Order of Police, their supporters and legions of hate spewing, mostly anonymous internet trolls. And the attacks have been relentless.“It was definitely something I did not anticipate…four months into my term it was kind of a precursor to what we see on a regular basis right now on Twitter. But, this happened immediately after I charged the officers,” Mosby said during the inaugural episode of, “The AFRO First Edition” video podcast that launched Oct. 9.“I had a group, an organization called, “Red Nation Rising,”…on Twitter I was being blasted. I was getting death threats…and hate mail to my office. I can remember one incident where they described vividly how my husband would be killed coming outside of our house, in an obituary…and how when we would call for the police, no one would show up,” Mosby added.“It was definitely something I did not anticipate. I can remember one note was, `You racist, ni–er bi–h.’ And I said, the irony of that.”Indeed, it is the White supremacist triple play; the subhuman reduction of a Black woman to a “ni–er,” and a “bi–h,” while simultaneously making her “the racist” in the equation, the embodiment of the prurient race fantasy churning in the bowels of Trump’s America. Mosby said she quickly had to learn not to take the attacks personally.“That’s something we can kind of laugh at now because we’re accustomed to it, but when I was going through it what I had to learn how to do, and rather quickly, is not to internalize it. And to understand that it wasn’t about me individually, about Marilyn Mosby, but about what Marilyn Mosby represents,” she said.Ultimately, what Mosby represents is an attack against the status quo and the power structure of the U.S. criminal justice system that is inherently racist and sexist (as a Black woman Mosby represents about one percent of prosecutors who are women of color nationally).Who she represents are the people of Baltimore and the disproportionate percentage of those residents engaged with the criminal justice system are mostly poor and mostly Black. Mosby said for them, the uprising of April 2015 did not happen in a vacuum.“When we look at our city, which is in one of the richest states in the country, Baltimore’s population…24 percent of Baltimore’s population lives in poverty, 35 percent of children live below poverty. We have 18,000 vacant houses…the number of liquor stores that inundate our community…on top of the discriminatory policing practices against African-American men, and the violence that plagues our communities. I understood the emotions that were attached to the uprising,” Mosby said.“And on May 1st (2015)… I did my job. And for the first time…in a long while you had accountability across the board.”Sean Yoes is the AFRO’s Baltimore Editor, and host and executive producer of The AFRO First Edition w/Sean Yoes on the AFRO’s Facebook page.last_img
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Indiana GOP Leaders Call on AG to Resign Amid Groping Claims

first_imgBy BRIAN SLODYSKO, Associated PressINDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and the two GOP Statehouse leaders have called for Republican Attorney General Curtis Hill to resign amid what they say are credible claims that Hill drunkenly groped four women, including a lawmaker, at an Indianapolis bar.“Four women had the courage to step forward to report sexual harassment by the Indiana attorney general,” the Republican governor said in a statement Thursday night. “The findings of the recent legislative report are disturbing and, at a minimum, show a violation of the state’s zero tolerance sexual harassment policy.”This Aug. 9, 2017 photo shows Curtis Hill, Indiana Attorney General, during an event in Indianapolis. (Robert Scheer/The Indianapolis Star via AP)He said he agrees with GOP Senate leader David Long and Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma that Hill should resign and supports “a thorough investigation by the state’s inspector general.”Long and Bosma issued a joint statement Thursday evening, saying: “We believe that the women who came forward with accounts of inappropriate behavior by Attorney General Curtis Hill in the early hours of March 15, 2018, are telling the truth regardless of the attorney general’s denial of these allegations.”A spokeswoman for Hill did not respond to a message seeking comment Thursday evening.Two other Indiana Republicans — Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and Secretary of State Connie Lawson — later called on Hill to step down , with Crouch saying in a statement late Thursday that “sexual harassment should never be tolerated.”Lawson said in her statement that “Indiana deserves a safe work environment, which extends beyond the workplace. … Our state leaders are held to a higher standard and must behave in such a manner.”The call from high-level Republicans for Hill to resign comes after Democrats ratcheted up political pressure in an election year where female voters could make a big difference at the polls. Over the past week, Democrats have harshly criticized what they characterize as a lackluster Republican response to the allegations against Hill. A Statehouse rally calling for Hill’s resignation was being planned for Saturday.Hill has denied the groping allegations, which were lodged by the lawmaker and three legislative aides, and on Tuesday said he had no plans to step down. The accusations against him were included in a confidential legislative memo that was leaked this week to news outlets, including The Associated Press.Earlier Thursday, many Republicans either declined, or were reluctant, to comment on Hill. On Tuesday, Bosma and Long had said they had “no further public comment on the matter” but announced that they were launching an investigation into the leak of a memo outlining the allegations against Hill.The document, which includes details from interviews with six women, offers a picture of Hill carousing during a party at a bar in the early morning hours of March 15, shortly after this year’s legislative session came to a close.The lawmaker said Hill was “very intoxicated” when he slid his hands down her back, put them under her clothes and grabbed her buttocks, according to the memo. She told him to “back off” and walked away, but Hill again approached her, reached under her clothing and grabbed her again, according to the memo.Democrats say that meets the legal threshold for a sexual battery charge.Hill also gave a staffer a two-minute back rub, which made her uncomfortable, the memo states.Another staffer said Hill put his arm around her and slid his hand down her back. When she tried to remove his hand, she said he groped her buttocks, the memo states. He put his arm around a third staffer’s waist and “hugged” her close, according to the document.Hill has called the inquiry by legislative leaders into his conduct a “prejudicial investigation that is deeply troubling.”“At no time was my behavior inappropriate nor did I touch anyone in an inappropriate manner,” Hill said in a statement.Democratic Rep. Ed DeLaney said that if Hill doesn’t resign, the Legislature should impeach him.“I think there is an adequate basis and the law provides for that,” said DeLaney, a lawyer from Indianapolis. “I think he has no choice but to resign. But that doesn’t mean he will take that choice.”Another matter that remains unclear is the future of the investigation by GOP leaders into the leak of the memo.Both Bosma and Long previously called it an “egregious breach of confidentiality” and vowed that they were “investigating the source of this breach of employee confidentiality and will react accordingly if the source is discovered.”Hill, a staunch social conservative who is married, has been viewed as a rising star in the Republican Party. The former Elkhart County prosecutor, who is also an Elvis imitator, has visited the White House several times since President Donald Trump took office. In May, he warmed up the crowd at a rally Trump held in Hill’s native Elkhart.But Hill, who has cultivated a tough-on-crime reputation, also has a complicated relationship with fellow Indiana Republicans, particularly Holcomb, and this week found himself with few allies. In the past he vehemently criticized several policy initiatives Holcomb championed, including expanded needle exchanges to reduce the spread of infectious disease among drug users and a law legalizing the use of a cannabis-derived medicine that can reduce seizures but won’t get you high.last_img read more

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Singletons Death a Stark Reminder of Stroke Signs and Prevention

first_imgBy Dr. Janet SeabrookWhen I first heard that award-winning, Hollywood film producer John Singleton had been placed on life support, I immediately wanted to know: why? After all, I knew he was barely 50, so what could have possibly landed him in such a dire situation? Could it have been a heart attack or a freak accident? No. It was a stroke!Several months back, I wrote an article about men’s health and the importance of making sure that regularly scheduled doctor’s appointments for the men in our lives are a priority. Singleton’s untimely death has me back in that mindset with a specific emphasis on the signs of a stroke and measures that we can take to prevent one.What is a stroke? According to MayoClinic.org, “A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die.”It is important to remember that a stroke is a medical emergency that needs to be treated immediately. The sooner care is provided, the greater chance that less damage is done.Dr. Janet SeabrookThe good news is that more information is being circulated about how to identify stroke symptoms via Public Service Announcements, social media, radio/TV programs and community events such as health fairs.One of the most common ways to identify a stroke is using the acronym FAST as recommended by the National Stroke Association:F – FaceIf you think someone may be having a stroke, look at their face to see if one side is drooping.A – ArmsAsk the person to raise their arms. Check to see if one arm drifts downward.S – SpeechCheck to see if the person’s speech is slurred, hard to understand or strange.T – Time to Call 911If you observe any of the above signs, call for help immediately.Finally, let’s cover a few healthy lifestyle tips that can help lessen the potential of becoming a stroke victim:Healthy eating habits – It’s a no-brainer that adding healthier foods to your diet can help with the prevention of a stroke and countless other ailments. Make a conscious decision to eat more fruits and vegetables and consult with your doctor to develop a diet that is customized to your needs.Physical activity – Exercising at least 3 times a week is a great way to reduce the likelihood of a stroke. Take brisk walks or take an exercise class! Any movement is good!Monitor your levels – Keep an eye on your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. These numbers have a direct connection to the possibility of having a stroke. Regular doctor visits help you stay on top of your numbers!Reduce your stress levels – High stress situations can have an impact on your blood pressure, so try to avoid stressful situations as much as possible including on the job, at home and other environments where your presence is required.There are also hereditary traits that make some of us more susceptible to stroke than others. This is why it is important to know your family’s medical history and to make sure that your healthcare providers are also aware of any conditions that “run in the family.”Playing an active role in your wellness is one of the best ways to get ahead of or even prevent serious health conditions. Remember, your health matters!Follow Dr. Janet Seabrook on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for more information about health and wellness. Visit www.drjanetseabrook.com and sign up to receive regular updates and health information.This article originally appeared in the Chicago Crusader.___The opinions on this page are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the AFRO.Send letters to The Afro-American • 1531 S. Edgewood St. Baltimore, MD 21227 or fax to 1-877-570-9297 or e-mail to editor@afro.comlast_img read more

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Spotify Reaches 87 Million Paid Subscribers

first_imgUPDATED: Spotify is up to 87 million paid subscribers, a 40% jump, the company announced in its third quarter earnings results today, and its total number of users is up 28% to 191 million. The company projected that its paid subscribers will be between 93 million and 96 million for the fourth quarter, while total monthly users will be between 199-206 million.“Growth continues to be healthy across our Family and Student plans, and the strong retention characteristics of this base continue to drive churn lower,” the company said.While its investment in China’s Tencent Music helped the company post its first-ever profit, it remains likely that the company will post another loss in the fourth quarter, and combined with slower-than-anticipated subscriber growth, the company’s stock dipped nearly 10% in the hours after the call. Popular on Variety By some accounts, Apple Music, which recently announced 43.5 million paid subscribers globally, has overtaken Spotify in that area in the U.S., although numbers are not publicly available.Revenue for Q3 was $1.54 billion, a 31% year-over-year boost, and ad-supported revenue rose 28% to $162 million. Operating loss was $6.8 million, up 92%. The bulk of the revenue came from premium subscriptions while a smaller percentage is from its ad-supported service.Spotify CEO/cofounder Daniel Ek and CFO Barry McCarthy spoke of the areas of growth the company is targeting, particularly podcasting. “We’re in the early days of podcast marketing,” Ek said. “Non-music content has an important place” in the company’s future plans.He also declined to comment on a question from a reporter about whether it is in the running to buy into Universal Music Group, which is expected to put up a stake for sale in the coming months.“I can’t make any comment on any deal negotiations at this point,” said Ek.Ek also spoke of the company’s recent upgrades in its Spotify for Artists program, saying that 67,000 artists have submitted music for inclusion in playlists (with 10,000 added), and references the Music Modernization Act, and said that the company controversial moves toward direct distribution of artists music is not the same as being a recording label.“We don’t view our strategy as being in opposition of our partners,” he said, claiming that its model means that “more artists can be successful and more labels can be successful. It’s not Spotify wins, labels lose.”Europe now accounts for 36% of its monthly average users, while North America has 31% and Latin America 22%.center_img ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15last_img read more

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Spotify Launches in the Middle East and North Africa

first_imgAs expected, today Spotify announced that it has launches its service in 13 new markets in the Middle East and North Africa, bringing the service to 78 markets in total. The new markets are United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories and Egypt.Spotify is launching in the territories with a fully Arabic user experience, offering music fans local and international music and locally-curated playlists, including Today’s Top Arabic Hits, Oriental Chill Vibes, and Arabic EDM. Users in the territories have both free and subscription models available.“I am super excited to share with you that, from today, Spotify is now available across the Middle East and North Africa,” said Cecilia Qvist, Spotify’s Global Head of Markets. “Spotify is launching in MENA with a full Arabic service, dozens of locally-curated playlists for every mood and moment, and access to a full catalog of millions of songs, for both our free and premium users. Music fans will also enjoy Spotify’s personalized music recommendations from day one, which will help them to enjoy, discover and share new music from both local and international artists simply and easily.” Popular on Variety Today also sees the launch of Spotify’s Arab Hub, as part of its Global Cultures initiative, following the recent launches of the Latin hub and Afro hub.center_img ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15last_img read more

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