Fox Business: Walmart Not Interested in Buyout of Whole Foods Market


A corporate executive with Walmart told Fox Business this week that the world’s largest retailer has no interest in buying Whole Foods Market.

The decision comes as Amazon, a giant e-commerce company, is looking to buy the brick and mortar stores for $13.7 billion.

Since the news broke, some analysts have speculated that Walmart would seek a deal, as well. However, the company said that they were comfortable about their place in the global market.

Other analysts have speculated that Kroger might enter the fray.

Shares of Whole Foods Market traded above that of Amazon at one point, but later fell slightly on the news that Walmart was not interested.

Environmental Protection Agency Provides Brownfields Grant and Assistance to Vermont Communities


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently celebrated three recipients of Brownfields grants in Vermont. This year, Vermont entities received $700,000 for assessment and cleanup of Brownfield sites. These communities are among 172 across the country to receive EPA Brownfields funding.

  • Island Holdings LLC will receive $200,000 for cleanup at the Robertson Paper Mill in Bellows Falls. This site used to be a paper mill, foundry and machine shop and it is contaminated with petroleum, asbestos, heavy metals, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons and arsenic. This grant will be used to help clean up the property, preparing it for future reuse.
  • The Brattleboro Museum and Arts Center is getting $200,000 for cleanup at 11 Arch Street in Brattleboro. This site was formerly used as an electric power generating station and substation, machine shop and grist mill, and is contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals, perchloroethene, and PCBs. This cleanup grant will contribute to the cleanup of contamination, which will help get the site on the right track for future redevelopment.
  • The Bennington County Regional Commission is getting $300,000 for assessment grants that will be used to conduct up to seven environmental site assessments, and prepare three or four cleanup plans. Environmental assessments are important first steps to cleanup and re-development. They help to evaluate site conditions so that plans can be made for future reuse.

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Governor Abbott Applauds Rep. Goldman, Sen. Hancock’s Intention To Author Mail-In Ballot Fraud Legislation


In the upcoming special legislative session, Rep. Craig Goldman and Sen. Kelly Hancock will author legislation to crack down on mail-in ballot fraud. This is one of 20 items that Governor Abbott previously announced will be added to the special session agenda. Governor Abbott issued the following statement applauding Rep. Goldman and Sen. Hancock for taking on this issue and making it harder for this crime to be committed.

“The right to vote is sacred in this country, and ensuring the integrity of the ballot box is one of the most fundamental functions of government,” said Governor Abbott. “I prosecuted countless cases of mail-in ballot fraud as Attorney General, but the problem continues to exist today. I applaud Rep. Goldman and Sen. Hancock for their commitment to strengthen penalties for those who undermine the integrity of our elections. I look forward to working with them and members of both chambers to ensure mail-in ballot fraud legislation reaches my desk.”

“Protecting the integrity of our elections is of the utmost importance,” said Rep. Goldman. “That is why I am proud to work alongside the Governor during the special session and sponsor legislation that will put an end to mail-in ballot fraud.”

“In North Texas, we have a real problem with mail-in ballot fraud—as evidenced by the massive investigation underway at the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office,” said Sen. Kelly Hancock.  “We must address this problem and that’s why I will file legislation during the special session to crack down on mail-in ballot fraud”.

Texas Legislature Special Session to Look at Abortion, Women’s Health


In the upcoming special legislative session, Sen. Lois Kolkhorst Rep. Cindy Burkett, Rep. Shawn Thierry and Rep. Armando Walle will file legislation to extend the maternal mortality task force. This is one of 20 items that Governor Abbott previously announced will be added to the special session agenda. Governor Abbott issued the following statement applauding Sen. Kolkhorst and Reps. Burkett, Thierry and Walle for addressing this important issue in the upcoming special session.

“Pregnancy-related deaths are a devastating tragedy that leave many Texas families broken,” said Governor Abbott.

That is why extending the maternal mortality task force to find solutions is of vital importance this special session. I am grateful to Sen. Kolkhorst, Rep. Burkett, Rep. Thierry and Rep. Walle for leading the charge in the legislature, and am confident that with their leadership, we can begin taking the necessary steps to address this pressing issue and further protect women in Texas.

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Texas Legislature to Look at Restricting Municipal Annexation in Special Session


In the upcoming special legislative session, Rep. Dan Huberty and Sen. Donna Campbell will author legislation to reform and restrict the municipal annexation process. This is one of 20 items that Governor Abbott previously announced will be added to the special session agenda. Governor Abbott issued the following statement applauding Rep. Huberty and Sen. Campbell for tackling this issue in the upcoming special session.

“Cities abusing their authority with forced annexation practices is nothing more than a form of taxation without representation,” said Governor Abbott. “Cities that annex property without the approval from those affected is piracy by government, and it must end. I am grateful for the leadership of Rep. Huberty and Sen. Campbell to reform this unfair practice, and I look forward to working with them and members of both chambers to ensure this legislation reaches my desk.”

“Across Texas, we have seen years of tax abuse through forced municipal annexation,” said Rep. Huberty. “Forced annexation threatens the property rights of Texans, subjecting them to higher taxes and regulations that they did not consent to when they purchased their property. Last session, HB 424/SB 715 would have permitted property owners to have a say in whether or not their property could be annexed by these municipalities, consenting to the higher tax rates in these areas. In Texas, we have to remember that cities do not have a right to vote; citizens do. This bill would have prohibited taxation without representation that currently exists in some of the major metropolitan areas in Texas and allowed voters to have more control over their property.

“Our nation was founded on the right to determine who governs us, yet current law allows cities to determine who they will govern,” said Sen. Campbell. “This is backwards and it’s why we need annexation reform. I applaud Governor Abbott for guaranteeing Texas citizens the right to vote as part of the annexation process, bringing greater accountability to local governments and limiting the appetite of big cities to tax, spend, and expand with no end in sight.”

Concho Valley Local News: San Angelo Residents Begin Cleanup After Storms

downloadResidents all over San Angelo were in cleanup and recovery mode as they attempted to get back to normal after a severe thunderstorm left hundreds of residents without power.

Trees and power lines were knocked down, and several businesses were damaged.

Minor injuries were reported, and there were no reported fatalities.

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Deputy Secretary-General stresses value of NATO-Serbia Partnership in Visit to Belgrade

Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller underlined that NATO remains committed to the Western Balkans and to building a strong partnership with Serbia during a visit to Belgrade on Friday.

Ms. Gottemoeller is visiting Serbia for the inauguration ceremony of President Aleksander Vučić.

Meeting with President Vučić, the Deputy Secretary-General highlighted that Serbia is key for regional stability in the Western Balkans. The two leaders also discussed cooperation between the Alliance and Serbia, as well as the security challenges facing the Western Balkans. The Deputy Secretary-General welcomed Serbia’s offer to host NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) exercise in 2018. She stressed that Serbia is making important contributions to regional and international security.

The Deputy Secretary-General will also meet with the Prime Minister-designate, Ana Brnabić, and Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ivica Dačić.

NASA News: NASA-Funded CHESS Mission Will Check Out the Space Between Stars

CHESS payload being integrated with sounding rocket

Deep in space between distant stars, space is not empty. Instead, there drifts vast clouds of neutral atoms and molecules, as well as charged plasma particles called the interstellar medium — that may, over millions of years, evolve into new stars and even planets. These floating interstellar reservoirs are the focus of the NASA-funded CHESS sounding rocket mission, which will check out the earliest stages of star formation.

CHESS — short for the Colorado High-resolution Echelle Stellar Spectrograph — is a sounding rocket payload that will fly on a Black Brant IX suborbital sounding rocket early in the morning of June 27, 2017. CHESS measures light filtering through the interstellar medium to study the atoms and molecules within, which provides crucial information for understanding the lifecycle of stars.

“The interstellar medium pervades the galaxy,” said Kevin France, the CHESS principle investigator at the University of Colorado, Boulder. “When massive stars explode as supernovae, they expel this raw material. It’s the insides of dead stars, turning into the next generation of stars and planets.”

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Face of Defense: Veterinarian Reflects on Unconventional Career Journey

Just out of high school and unsure of what to do with his life, a young Ohio man went to a bus depot, handed a ticket agent almost all of the money in his pocket, and said with a smile, “I’ll go wherever this takes me.” So begins James “Nick” Koterski’s unconventional journey to becoming an Army colonel.

Landing in New Orleans, he spent the rest of his cash on a good meal. Shucking oysters nights and on weekends to earn money, he worked toward an undergraduate degree from the University of New Orleans, and eventually completed his doctorate of veterinarian medicine in 1989 from Louisiana State University.

Koterski worked in a regular clinical practice for a few years. “It wasn’t for me,” he said, so he found a food inspector position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A couple of years later, a colleague in the Army Reserve suggested that his adventurous nature would make him a good fit for the Army.

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Military & Defense: Norway Approves 1-Year Extension for U.S. Marine Training

Norwegian Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide announced June 21 that U.S. Marines will continue rotational training and exercises in Norway through 2018, U.S. European Command said in a news release.

“Our Marines in Norway are demonstrating a high level of cooperation with our allies,” said Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Niel E. Nelson, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa. “The more we train together alongside one another the stronger our Alliance becomes.”

Nelson said the decision to extend the presence of the Marine rotational force in Norway is a clear sign of the U.S. and Norwegian commitment to NATO and the strong partnership between our two countries on defense and security.

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A powerful storm cell ripped through San Angelo this evening, causing major damage to several businesses and causing power outages throughout the city.

The roof off of the Shannon Medical Center Downtown was blown off onto the nearby sidewalk, the Alon gas station at the Sherwood Way/Beauregard split, and the roof of a Stadium Park business was blown off.

Shannon has said that no patients at the hospital were hurt, but that it is diverting all new patients to other hospitals.

Downed trees and downed power lines were also reported. A railroad crossing signal on Knickerbocker Road was also damaged.

We will be updating this story as more developments become available.

Texas Universities: Long-Forgotten Love Letters Inspire SMU Student Filmmaker

Jessica Cole had a simple wish for her grandmother on that summer evening in 2015 – she wanted a challenging day for Sybil Gregory to end on a good note. Jessica’s efforts brought a light to her grandmother’s eyes, and came to life in film as the SMU film and media arts major’s senior thesis.

At age 97, Sybil was living with the effects of dementia and could no longer manage alone. Jessica and her parents had recently moved to Nacogdoches, Texas from Palmer, Alaska, to help with her care.

Jessica now slept in the middle bedroom in her grandmother’s house, amid shelves filled with books, framed photos and ancient knick-knacks. Tucked on the tallest shelf was a wooden cigar box filled with packets of faded letters tied with string, written to Sybil by her late husband, Weldon. The oldest of the 70 letters dated to 1936.

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Texas Universities: University of Texas at Austin Unveils Free, Digital Edition of The Collections

UT Collections

The University of Texas at Austin has released a digital edition of The Collections, the first encyclopedic account of the university’s repository of cultural artifacts. With more than 170 million objects, the university outpaces the largest collections in America and rivals many in variety and importance. The full 720-page volume is published at Available for free download, the broad distribution of the e-book and searchable PDF enables worldwide access to the university’s distinguished collections.

“This is the first time a publication of this kind has been produced by a public university,” said Andrée Bober, the book’s editor and director of the university’s public art program, Landmarks. “By making it available for free and online, we are putting the collection before a greater public. It’s our hope that this digital edition will increase awareness of these materials and inspire other universities to make their collections known.”

The book, released in print in January 2016, spotlights more than 80 collections — some familiar and others virtually unknown outside their fields of research — acquired since the university’s inauguration in 1883. It reveals the scale and diversity of the holdings by bringing these materials together for the first time, offering a new perspective on collections at public universities. The Collections offers an account of all the university’s irreplaceable artifacts, introducing each collection by outlining its history, highlighting its strengths and suggesting its educational function.

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Texas Universities: Angelo State University Ranked Nationally for Freshmen Student Aid


Angelo State University has been ranked among the nation’s “Top 250 Public Colleges that Offer Freshmen the Most Financial Aid” by The Student Loan Report, a news and information guide dedicated exclusively to college student loans and financial aid.

ASU is ranked No. 189 in the nation, which puts ASU in the top 30 percent of the 620-plus public four-year colleges in the U.S. for freshman financial aid.

“Financial aid” for The Student Loan Report’s rankings is defined as the average financial aid package awarded to need-based, degree-seeking, full-time freshmen. Data for the rankings was provided through the Peterson’s Financial Aid Data Set.

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Texas Biz: H&M to Celebrate Grand Opening at The Parks at Arlington Mall

H&M, one of the world’s largest fashion retailers, will celebrate its grand opening at The Parks at Arlington mall early next month.

The nearly 20,000-square-foot store will be located on the lower level of the mall near Macy’s. The Arlington store joins H&M’s 35 locations across the state.

The grand opening celebration is scheduled for noon Thursday, July 6. The Parks mall is offering the first 300 shoppers in line at H&M an “Access to Fashion Pass,” which is valued between $10 and $300. Other surprise offers will also be available.

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Metroplex Local News: Essay Contest Winner Asks for Donations to Help Homeless Animals on Her Birthday

Braith Norton celebrated her birthday doing what she loves – helping animals while spending time with friends and family at Arlington Animal Services.
Norton chose Animal Services as the party destination for her ninth birthday. Rather than gifts for herself, she requested donations for the homeless animals. Norton’s dream birthday came true when party guests brought a whole cart loaded with much-needed supplies for the shelter.

Not only is Norton passionate about animals, she is also a talented writer. Earlier this year she was one of 12 students to pen winning essays in this year’s Animal Essay Contest. The City received more than 1,300 essay entries from students in third through sixth grade.

Animal Services hosted this VIP birthday celebration with an exciting scavenger hunt, a tour of the facility, and some fun Photo Booth time. The Norton family supplied sandwiches, fruit and cake relished by all in attendance.

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Farm & Ranch: USDA Authorizes Emergency Grazing in Drought-Stricken Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota

2000px-us-deptofagriculture-seal-svgSecretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today authorized emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.

All or parts of these states are experiencing severe or extreme drought conditions – indicated as categories D2 and D3 on the U.S. Drought Monitor.

“Due to reduced availability of forage, ranchers in the hardest hit locations have already been culling their herds,” said Perdue. “Without alternative forage options like grazing CRP lands, livestock producers are faced with the economically devastating potential of herd liquidation.”

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Closing Bell Friday: U.S. Department of Commerce Makes $30 Million Available to Assist America’s Coal Communities


To support locally-driven efforts in coal country to spur job growth, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross today announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has published a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) making $30 million in funds available to assist coal communities through the 2017 Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC 2017) initiative.

“The Trump administration is working every day to help America’s coal industry, its workers, and their communities,” said Secretary Ross. “This funding is one element of a government-wide effort to restore American jobs, and renew the areas hardest hit by misguided regulations.”

Since taking office, President Trump and his Administration have reversed regulations that have drastically squeezed the American energy sector, eliminated constricting energy restrictions that would have shackled the United States’ economy under the Paris climate change accord, blocked the EPA’s and other agencies needless war on coal, and, in conjunction with Congress, acted swiftly to roll back many of the burdensome regulations and laws which have strangled many American communities.

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AG Paxton: Recent Texas Relocation Report Shows Californians Top List of Those Flocking to Texas

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today released his assessment of the recent Texas Relocation Report, a study by the Texas Association of Realtors. In the report, Texas ranked second among states adding new residents from other states, based on the influx and outflow of people. Leading all states with the number of transplants to Texas was California. In 2015, the number of people leaving California for the Lone Star State was 65,546.

“The data in this report came as no surprise to Texans, especially those who have transplanted from California,” said Attorney General Paxton. “I talk to people almost every day who made the trek from California to Texas, and without fail, they tell me their move is due to either greater job opportunities, much lower-priced housing, an escape from a left-coast political climate, or just a better quality of culture and life.”

In the study, Texas ranked second among all states for the largest inflow of residents. In 2015, 553,032 people moved to Texas. Only Florida had more people moving to their state. As for states with the largest resident outflows, California and New York topped that list. California lost 643,710 people, edging out New York by nearly 200,000 residents looking to move elsewhere.

Crime & Justice: Crips Gang Member Sentenced to Eight Years for Racketeering Conspiracy in Nebraska


Today, a violent member of the Omaha-area Crips Gang was sentenced to eight years in prison, and five years of supervised release, for participating in a racketeering conspiracy involving acts of violence including attempted murder and assaults and drug distribution, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Robert C. Stuart of the District of Nebraska.

Gregory Bahati, aka “Pooh Bear,” aka “Murk 2x,” 22, of Omaha, Nebraska, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Joseph F. Bataillon after he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity, one count of threatening violence in aid of racketeering, and one count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.

According to the plea agreement, Bahati admitted to conspiring to conduct and participate in the affairs of the Omaha-area chapter of the Crips, known as the “40th Avenue Crips” and “44th Avenue Crips,” through a pattern of racketeering activity. As part of the plea agreement, Bahati admitted to personally committing acts of violence and distributing cocaine for the gang in furtherance of the racketeering conspiracy. According to the plea, these acts of violence included the assault of an individual for making statements disrespecting the gang and threatening violence with a gun toward another victim.

Crime & Justice: Victoria, Texas Man Charged with Hate Crime in Burning of Mosque


A federal grand jury in Victoria, Texas, has returned a three-count superseding indictment against Marq Vincent Perez, 25, for allegedly burning the Victoria Islamic Center on January 28, 2017.

Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez made the announcement along with Acting Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Wheeler II of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner of the FBI and various state and local law enforcement agencies.

Perez was previously indicted for possession of an unregistered destructive device for an incident that occurred on January 15, 2017. The superseding indictment returned today now charges him with a hate crime – damage to a religious property as well as use of a fire to commit a federal felony in relation to the arson at the mosque.

Perez was initially arrested and charged March 3, 2017, in connection with an attempt to blow up a car with a destructive device. At a detention hearing held the following week, court heard evidence linking Perez to a January 22, 2017, burglary of the Victoria Islamic Center as well as a January 28, 2017, burglary and arson of the same mosque. Perez is in custody pending further criminal proceedings.

If convicted, Perez faces up to 20 years in federal prison for the hate crime. He also faces up to 10 years for possessing an unregistered destructive device. If convicted of use of a fire to commit a felony, the penalty is a consecutive and mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison. All of the counts also carry a potential $250,000 penalty

Crime & Justice: New York Man Arrested for Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIS


Saddam Mohamed Raishani, a/k/a “Adam Raishani,” 30, of the Bronx was arrested last night at John F. Kennedy International Airport (“JFK Airport”) in Queens, New York.

Raishani was charged by a criminal Complaint earlier today with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (“ISIS” or the “Islamic State”), a designated foreign terrorist organization. Raishani is expected to be presented later today before Magistrate Judge James L. Cott in Manhattan federal court.

Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana Boente, Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim for the Southern District of New York, Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. of the FBI’s New York Field Office, and Commissioner James P. O’Neill of the NYPD made the announcement.

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Crime & Justice: MS-13 Member Sentenced to 160 Months in Prison for Racketeering-Related Charges


Today, an MS-13 gang member was sentenced to 160 months in prison and three years of supervised release for conspiring and attempting to murder on behalf of the gang.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Stephen Schenning of the District of Maryland, Special Agent in Charge Andre R. Watson of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Chief James Tom Kemp of the Greenbelt Police Department; Chief Hank Stawinski of the Prince George’s County Police Department; and Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks made the announcement.

“Transnational criminal organizations like MS-13 cannot continue to devastate our communities and our children. They must be stopped. Today’s sentencing sends a warning to all gang and cartel members: we are coming for you,” said Attorney General Sessions. “This outcome shows how strong cooperation between federal, state and local law enforcement can help us win the fight against violent gangs. I applaud the efforts of the fine Assistant U.S. Attorneys and all the dedicated men and women who brought this violent criminal to justice.”

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GOP Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz Issues Statement Regarding Senate’s Health Care Reform Package for Americans

Capitol Hill

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) released the following statement regarding the Better Care Reconciliation Act, introduced today by the U.S. Senate:

“Four months ago, I joined with a group of five other senators with very different perspectives on health care policy – representative of the full spectrum of the Republican Party – for the sole purpose of working together to fulfill our commitment to voters to reduce premiums and provide better, more affordable healthcare. Over time, this group expanded to include committee chairs, Senate leadership, and then the entire conference. We carefully deliberated, with the common goal of crafting a bill that can pass and that actually fixes the problems Obamacare has wrought.

“While I have not yet had the opportunity to fully review the draft legislative text itself, there are components that give me encouragement and there are also components that are a cause for deep concern.

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