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Ten Texas Mail Centers Among Hundreds Closing

Ron Doke (cc) flickr
Ron Doke (cc) flickr

By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX – Ten mail processing centers in Texas are among 252 nationwide that will close in a $3 billion money-saving move by the government.

The U.S. Postal Service said Monday that it seeks to move quickly to shut the processing units and slow first-class delivery, amid declining mail volume. The Postal Service is projected to have a record loss of $14.1 billion next year.

The agency in September announced the list of processing facilities being studied, including sites in Abilene, Austin, Beaumont, Bryan, Dallas, Tyler, Lufkin, McAllen and two facilities in Waco.

The agency on Monday said the cuts are now being finalized to close the processing centers, starting in April.

The cost of mailing a first-class letter goes up a penny, beginning Jan. 22, to 45 cents.

Perry mulls returning money from convicted donor

Rick Perry is mulling returning at least $80,000 in past contributions from a donor convicted of public corruption.

Perry spokeswoman Catherine Frazier says his presidential campaign "is looking into the situation and will take appropriate action."

Robert "Bob" Jones is former president of the National Center for Employment of the Disabled in El Paso, Texas.

The El Paso Times reported Sunday that Jones made contributions between 2002 and 2005 to Perry's campaigns for Texas governor.

Jones pleaded guilty in February to charges including fraud and bribery dating from schemes in 1998.

He also made donations to Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas.

The Times reported that those three have promised to return the contributions or donate them to charity.

Squatters occupy houses worth more than $8 million

One person moved into a dead neighbor's house. Another came from Memphis, Tenn., to Fort Worth to lay claim to a $2.7 million mansion.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports its study of Tarrant County documents shows that squatters have claimed and looted other people's houses with a total value exceeding $8 million.

They're exploiting a loophole in a state law that allows squatters to claim property if no owner is on hand to challenge the claim. Squatters are claiming houses they claim are abandoned by filing affidavits of adverse possession with county clerks.

Law enforcement officials say they're stumped by some of the squatters' schemes.

One Arlington man says a squatter moved into the house next door and looted it while the owner was in Houston having chemotherapy.

ID on Occupy Denton protester found dead

The University of North Texas says a man found dead at the Occupy Denton protest site on campus was not a student.

Organizers say a candlelight vigil has been set for Monday night to remember 23-year-old Darwin Cox, who was discovered dead Saturday afternoon.

UNT spokesman Buddy Price says police found no evidence of violence. Autopsy results are pending.

Occupy Denton spokesman Garrett Graham says Cox, who apparently was sick, had sought shelter with the protesters.

Graham also says the camp, with a handful of tents near a business district with bars, was dismantled Sunday since demonstrators allegedly had been harassed by some patrons.

Texas online editor walks into plane propeller

A Dallas-area woman has lost her hand after walking into the propeller of a small airplane following a flight to view Christmas lights.

A spokeswoman at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas says 23-year-old Lauren Scruggs of Plano was in serious condition Monday. She's founder and editor of LoLo Magazine.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the accident happened Saturday night at a private airport in the McKinney area, about 30 miles northeast of Dallas.

Family spokeswoman Janee Harrell says Scruggs had just gotten off the private plane after a trip to see holiday lights. Harrell told The Associated Press that Scruggs lost her left hand in the accident, plus suffered head, brain and shoulder injuries.

Harrell says the pilot wasn't hurt.

Light snow in Texas, some power outages

Some West Texas school districts have canceled classes due to snow and icy conditions making travel dangerous.

The National Weather Service says snow fell Monday in Abilene, Amarillo, Gainesville, Decatur, Lubbock and the Odessa area. The Odessa-based Ector County Independent School District and the Midland ISD called off school for the day.

Crews from electric provider Oncor worked to restore power to about 1,600 residential and business customers still without electricity Monday afternoon, mainly in West Texas.

Rainy conditions in the Dallas-Fort Worth delayed morning traffic.