Texas reports record number of new COVID-19 cases with 8,258
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas reported its highest daily increase in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases Saturday with 8,258, as hospitalizations continued to climb. Texas began mandating face coverings Friday on the orders of Gov. Greg Abbott. The mask order came as Texans entered the Fourth of July weekend. The order is the most dramatic about-face the Republican governor has made as he retreats from what stood out as one of the swiftest reopenings in America. Texas health officials say the total number of reported cases is now at 191,790. Health officials also report 33 additional deaths, for a total of 2,608.
TEXAS POLICE SHOOTING-IRVING
Police: Texas officers fatally shoot man who shot his wife
IRVING, Texas (AP) — Police in a Dallas suburb say they shot and killed a man after he reportedly shot his wife and opened fire on the officers. Irving police say they responded to a call before 10 a.m. Saturday from a woman who said her husband shot her. Officers found the man in the backyard of a neighboring property. Police say they announced themselves while entering the backyard, and then both the man and the officers began shooting. The man was pronounced dead at the scene and the woman was taken to a hospital. The officers were not hurt. An investigation is ongoing.
UW-Milwaukee lecturer under fire for Guillen remarks
MILWAUKEE (AP) — A University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee lecturer is under fire for making comments about the death of U.S. Army soldier Vanessa Guillen. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Betsy Schoeller, a former Wisconsin Air National Guard officer, commented on Facebook about Guillen’s death, saying sexual harassment is the price of admission for women in the military. Guillen has said her sergeant was sexually harassing her and planned to report it. She went missing in April at Fort Hood. Her remains were found Tuesday. UW-Milwaukee student Emily Cruz started a petition on Friday to fire Schoeller.
Report: Texas conservative wanted Guard to ‘kill ’em’
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A conservative power broker told Texas’ governor to have National Guard troops “shoot to kill” amid protests last month against racial injustice and police brutality. The Texas Tribune reports that Steve Hotze left that message in a voicemail to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s chief of staff on the weekend of June 6. Hotze acknowledged the comment in a Facebook post Saturday, writing “it’s not about race.” Republican Sen. John Cornyn called the voicemail “absolutely disgusting and reprehensible.” Abbott’s office declined to comment to the Tribune and did not immediately respond to a public records request for the voicemail.
Musk visits Tulsa as site for new Tesla plant is considered
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Tesla CEO Elon Musk has made a visit to Tulsa, which is being considered as a site for the automaker’s new U.S. assembly plant. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said on social media Saturday that he’d had a “great” visit with Musk in Tulsa Friday. He included photos of himself and others talking with Musk under a tent on the proposed site. Oklahoma’s Secretary of Commerce Sean Kouplen attended the meeting and told the Tulsa World that the site is on a hill that overlooks downtown. Tesla has reportedly picked Tulsa and Austin, Texas, as finalists for the new factory.
DOD says soldier from Texas died in accident in Afghanistan
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Defense Department says a 21-year-old soldier has died in a vehicle accident while serving in Afghanistan. Spc. Vincent Sebastian Ibarria, from San Antonio, Texas, died as the result of a vehicle rollover accident on Friday in Farah, Afghanistan. The incident is under investigation. Ibarria was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York.
BC-US-ECONOMIC MOOD IN SUN BELT
Across Sun Belt, hopes for economy give way to renewed fears
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — For residents across America’s Sun Belt — business owners and workers, consumers and home buyers — the past three months have delivered about the scariest ride in memory. With coronavirus cases surging through the region, it’s far from clear whether the stops, starts and bumps in the economy are over. Or are they new normal? Will the Sun Belt remain gripped by doubt and uncertainty for months or years? What is clear is that no one feels able to relax and assume the best. No one, not even the top experts, can say when a vaccine or an effective treatment might be in sight.
Willie Nelson’s July Fourth picnic is virtual in virus era
SPICEWOOD, Texas (AP) — Willie Nelson’s annual Fourth of July Picnic is going ahead this year, but to reduce concerns about the coronavirus the event will be virtual. Fans can tune in to the nearly 50-year-old music bash Saturday via livestream. Other performers include Sheryl Crow, Ziggy Marley, Steve Earle and Nelson’s fellow Texas-based singers Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen and Kinky Friedman. Some of the artists will be at Nelson’s Luck Ranch in Spicewood, northwest of Austin. Others will stream live from elsewhere. Nelson’s event started in 1972 and has been held most years since, moving around Texas and occasionally outside the Lone Star State.
As Texas reverses course on masks, GOP digs in on convention
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas began mandating face coverings Friday on the orders of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who says some people “are not comprehending the magnitude” of the coronavirus outbreak. Texas reported more than 7,500 confirmed new cases Friday and hospitalizations continued to trend upward. Despite Abbott’s mask order and appeals for the public to stay home, leaders in his party say the Texas GOP Convention will go on in Houston later this month. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is now signaling the city might step in if the party doesn’t reconsider.
Mexican soldiers kill 12 gunmen in city on border with Texas
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s military says soldiers patrolling in the border city of Nuevo Laredo across from Texas came under fire from drug cartel gunmen, then killed 12 of their attackers in a gunbattle. The Defense Department says three army patrol trucks were hit by gunfire Friday, but no troops were hurt. The gunmen are believed to belong to the Cartel of the Northeast, a split-off of the old Zetas cartel. The department said one of the attackers’ burned-out pickups was left at the scene, and eight assault rifles and two .50-caliber sniper rifles were found. Nuevo Laredo has been the scene of bloody gunfights in recent years.