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A Texas City Will Allow Police Officers To Use Station For Bible Study


Five stories that have North Texas talking: more immigrant children coming to North Texas; former state lawmaker Chris Harris has died; Dallas Zoo gets a mystery donation; and more.

A dispute over whether police in Beaumont can hold a voluntary Bible study in a department building has been resolved, with city officials deciding the study can continue. The Beaumont Enterprise reports that the city previously had told officers to stop the Bible studies they've held once or twice a month at the police station for the last two years. City Manager Kyle Hayes had said "city buildings are for public purposes and to conduct city business," so "city policy prohibits all non-business activities." But on Saturday, Hayes called it a misunderstanding and said the city will allow the officers to hold their Bible study in the police department's conference room. Briscoe Cain, an attorney representing the four officers who lead the Bible study, said police officers don't lose their constitutional right to freedom of religion "when they enter the workplace." [Associated Press]

  • More immigrant children are heading to North Texas. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports: “About 200 more immigrant children are coming to North Texas by the end of the month, federal Health and Human Services spokeswoman Andrea Helling said Sunday. Johnson County Sheriff Bob Alford said he was notified Friday by the U.S. Health and Human Services that the children would be coming to Camp Arrowhead between Cleburne and Glen Rose. HHS notified the wrong people — Camp Arrowhead’s mailing address is in Cleburne, but the camp is in Somervell County. Helling didn't have an exact date for their arrival, but said the children are ages 12 to 17 and are Central Americans from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.” Hundreds of immigrant children arrived in Ellis County earlier this month and Rockwall County over the weekend. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

  • A former state lawmaker from Tarrant County has died. The Texas Tribune reports:Chris Harris, a smart, gruff and accomplished former state legislator from Tarrant County, died early Saturday morning, according to state Rep. Charlie Geren, a friend and former colleague. Harris was 67. Harris, an attorney specializing in family and business law, served in the Texas House for three sessions starting in 1985 before winning a spot in the state Senate, where he served from 1991 to 2013.” [Texas Tribune]

  • The mother of the so-called “affluenza” teen is missing. The Dallas Morning News reports: “The mother of the teenager whose ‘affluenza’ defense spared him jail time after he killed four people while driving drunk has been listed as a missing person, authorities say. Authorities have said they think Tonya Couch is with her son, who is suspected of violating his probation. The U.S. Marshals Service joined the search for 18-year-old Ethan Couch, who recently failed to check in with his probation officer. The marshals are offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information on Couch’s whereabouts. Authorities have said they fear he may have left the country with his mother, who was added to a list of missing persons Sunday, a spokeswoman with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office said.” [The Dallas Morning News]

  • The Dallas Zoo got a mysterious donation. The zoo passes along some details: “Dressed in suits and Santa hats, two men representing the local donor delivered a generous donation Wednesday: a $10,000 cashier’s check, along with a special gift for each of the zoo’s employees.”  Gregg Hudson, Dallas Zoo president and CEO, said in a statement: “We spread joy to the guests who walk through our gates every day, and to have it returned in such a generous and humbling way is quite meaningful.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.