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Planned Parenthood Sues Texas Over Exclusion

Citizens gathering in the Congress Ave District of Austin on Thursday, March, 13, 2012 to participate in the "Don't Mess with Texas Women" rally.
Gustaf Alstromer
(cc) flickr
Citizens gathering in the Congress Ave District of Austin on Thursday, March, 13, 2012 to participate in the "Don't Mess with Texas Women" rally.

Planned Parenthood is suing the state Health and Human Services Commission in federal court. It’s asking the court to enter a preliminary injunction that would stop the state from cutting Planned Parenthood funding that comes through the state’s Women’s Health Program.

Lawyer Pete Schenkkan represents Planned Parenthood.

Schenkkan: "We’ve told the court we need that order by April 30 because the Texas agency has said it’s going to start cutting off Planned Parenthood centers from the Women’s Health Program beginning on April 30. And that means Texas women are going to start losing those services on or after- shortly after April 30."

The Women’s Health Program provides family planning and preventative health services to more than 130,000 low income women. Planned Parenthood is the largest provider, but Texas is barring Planned Parenthood’s preventative health centers from the program because the organization has separate centers that provide abortions.

The lawsuit claims it’s unconstitutional for the state to exclude Planned Parenthood from the women’s program and that the action also violates Texas state law.

The federal government has also cut Medicaid funding to Texas over the issue.

Stephanie Goodman with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission says the state is on firm legal ground. She says federal law gives states the right to establish criteria for Medicaid providers.

Shelley Kofler, KERA News

Arlington Mayor On Murder For Hire Plot

Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck has high praise for the FBI after the arrest of a strip club owner in a murder for hire plot. Cluck and a lawyer working for the city were the targets.

Cluck: "The FBI did a spectacular job on this case. I was briefed on it first thing Monday morning. If they had been able to carry out their plans, it would have had a significant outcome."

Mayor Cluck says 34 year old Ryan Grant is apparently “very angry” over the city’s plan to permanently close his club, Flashdancer Cabaret. City officials call it a haven for crime.

A federal affidavit says Grant complained he would lose $800,000 dollars if his license to operate were revoked, as the city intended. The document says Grant offered $10,000 for each murder.

BJ Austin, KERA News

Dallas Firefighter Arrested For Bank Robbery

A Dallas firefighter is under arrest for bank robbery.

Jesus Ventura, on administrative leave for shooting a gun inside a fire station, was arrested Tuesday afternoon after the robbery of a Chase Bank on Sylvan Avenue.

Federal officials say Ventura told a teller, “I’m sorry to do this to you, I really am. Give me all the money.”

Investigators say the teller was afraid Ventura had a gun in his backpack and gave him the money. Ventura pushed a $20 bill underneath the glass and told the teller, “Here’s a tip for you.”

Police arrested Ventura a short time later after the attempted robbery of a nearby convenience store. He did not have a gun in his backpack, just the bank’s money.

BJ Austin, KERA News

Cotton Bowl Facelift Approved

The Cotton Bowl in Fair Park is in for another makeover. Dallas City Council members Wednesday approved a plan to borrow $25 million dollars to improve the press box, install a section of air-conditioned club seating, and upgrade the concourses and concessions.

Mayor Mike Rawlings says Dallas must make the improvements to keep alive the tradition of Texas OU weekend at the State Fair.

Mayor Rawlings: "People come to have fun, to have a beer, to see the pigs, to ride the rides and you don’t get that at any other football game in America."

Texas OU also pumps more than 20 million dollars into the local economy each year.

The current contract with the schools expires in 2015. City officials expect the renovations will keep the game in the historic Cotton Bowl through 2020.

Renovations should be complete by next year’s Red River Rivalry.

BJ Austin, KERA News

Ron Paul continues 'town hall' tour of Texas

Republican presidential contender Ron Paul continues his three-day "town hall" tour of Texas with an event in Fort Worth.

The Southeast Texas congressman began the Texas tour with a "town hall" event on the Texas A&M University campus in College Station on Tuesday night. After Wednesday night's event at Fort Worth's Will Rogers Memorial Auditorium, Paul wraps up his tour with a Thursday night "town hall" event at the Main Plaza of downtown San Antonio.

Paul and conservative rival Newt Gingrich are vowing to stay in the GOP presidential race after Rick Santorum dropped out Tuesday pushed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney closer to the nomination. Gingrich and Paul say there's still time left for voters to pick a more suitable alternative to face President Barack Obama in November.


Court says Texas sperm donor owes no child support

For four years, a North Texas bodybuilder and former police officer has waged a court battle in California against a woman who sued him for support of children born to her from sperm he donated.

Only recently did an appeals court in California overturn a lower-court ruling that held 47-year-old national bodybuilding champion Ronnie Coleman, of Arlington, responsible for supporting twins born from his donated sperm.

But the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that after an April 2008 court order directed him to pay child support, Coleman paid thousands of dollars in child support. That stopped only when California's 2nd District Court of Appeals in Los Angeles overturned that order March 19.


Retired Texas legislator Truan dead at 76

Carlos Truan, a South Texas businessman who spent more than 30 years as a legislator, has died.

Rene Truan said Wednesday that his 76-year-old father had a history of heart disease. His son says Truan died Tuesday night of natural causes while working at his Corpus Christi insurance office.

He was elected to the Texas House in 1968, and to the state Senate in 1977.

Truan pushed for bilingual education in public schools and was known for pursuing strict ethics reforms. He retired from the Legislature in 2002.

Truan was born in Kingsville. He received a business administration degree from Texas A&I University and for decades worked in the insurance industry.

He's survived by his wife, four children and five grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are pending.


Officials believe Texas man killed sister, self

Authorities say a woman found slain at her North Texas home apparently was killed by her brother who then committed suicide.

The Ellis County Sheriff's Office says the siblings shared a house with their father, who has Alzheimer's disease.

Justice of the Peace Jackie Miller Jr. said Wednesday that the father was at the home near Venus, about 30 miles southwest of Dallas, when the killings happened Sunday morning.

Miller says 49-year-old Diane Stallings was strangled and beaten. Authorities believe 47-year-old Doil McAnally Jr. then fatally shot himself.

Miller says the father apparently was unaware of the deaths. The woman's boyfriend discovered the bodies several hours later.

Authorities are trying to determine why the siblings apparently argued.

Other relatives are caring for the father.


Garland woman shot, left at hospital, spouse dies

Police say a man from Garland has committed suicide after shooting his wife in the che st and driving her to a hospital.

Medical City Dallas officials on Wednesday said the family has asked that no additional information be released on 29-year-old Ana Porto of Garland.

Garland police say 32-year-old David Espinosa of Garland died Tuesday night.

Witnesses told police about a disturbance in a coffee shop parking lot in which a man shot a woman and forced her into his pickup, then drove away.

Police began to notify hospitals. Minutes later a pickup pulled up to the emergency room of Medical City Dallas and the seriously injured woman sought help.

A Dallas police officer found Espinosa in his truck and with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Espinosa died in the hospital.