Daily Roundup
12:58 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

TCU Players Formally Charged In Drug Investigation

Three more TCU football players have been charged with felony marijuana delivery after a six-month sting.

Defensive tackle D.J. Yendrey, linebacker Tanner Brock and offensive tackle Ty Horn are among 14 people charged Thursday in the TCU drug investigation, bringing the total number charged to 23. 

All three are charged with delivering a quarter-ounce to five pounds of marijuana. Cornerback Devin Johnson was charged last month with three cases of delivering a quarter-ounce to five pounds of marijuana.

Convictions could mean up to two years in state jail for Brock, Horn and Johnson. Conviction could mean up to 10 years in prison for Yendrey, who's charged with delivering in a drug-free zone.

The four are accused of selling marijuana to undercover officers, sometimes arranging deals around practices.

AP

Penney Cuts 600 Workers, 13 Percent Of HQ Staff

J.C. Penney Co. says it has laid off 600 associates, or 13 percent of the staff at its headquarters in Plano, Texas, as the department store chain looks to streamline its operations amid a major reinvention of the business.

The department store chain also will eliminate 300 additional associates at the Customer Call Center when it closes the center July 1.

The moves come as its new CEO, former Apple Inc. executive Ron Johnson, is transforming every aspect of its business, from pricing to the brands it carries.

The company had hinted that cuts would come when it told investors in January that it planned to reduce layers of management at its headquarters. Before the layoffs, the company had 4,400 employees at its headquarters.

AP

Former Cowboys coach Avezzano dead at 68

Former Dallas Cowboys assistant coach Joe Avezzano has died.

Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple confirmed Thursday that Avezzano died in Italy. He was 68.

Avezzano had moved to Milan earlier this year to coach an Italian Football League team, the Milan Seamen. The team said on its website that Avezzano died of a heart attack Thursday. Attempts to resuscitate Avezzano were unsuccessful.

Avezzano coached the Cowboys' special teams during the team's heyday in the 1990s, which included three Super Bowl championships. He was named special teams coach of the year three times.

Avezzano also coached at Oregon State and was an assistant at Texas A&M.

AP

Three to be declared innocent of 1994 Dallas robbery

The Innocence Project of Texas says a man serving 99 years in prison for a 1994 purse snatching and two other men convicted of the crime will be exonerated.

A judge in Dallas on Friday is scheduled to formally declare the trio innocent.

Darryl Washington, Marcus Lashun Smith and Shakara Robertson were arrested in November 1994 and charged with aggravated robbery of an elderly person.

A jury convicted Washington and he was sentenced to 99 years. Washington remains in custody. Smith and Robertson accepted plea deals for probation.

The Innocence Project says witnesses erroneously identified the men.

A judge last month held a hearing where four other men confessed to the robbery. The judge agreed with prosecutors who reviewed the case and concluded that Washington, Smith and Robertson are innocent.

AP

DART announces emergency texts system for help

Public transit users in the Dallas area will have another way to summon help.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit patrons on Friday can begin texting to reach law officers. Riders are advised to send a short text message, with the keyword "dartpolice," to 41411.

DART officials on Thursday said the system is meant to assist customers who are hearing impaired or anyone witnessing a crime. No images or videos will be accepted. Standard data and text messaging rates may apply.

DART earlier this year responded to a series of violent incidents by putting uniformed officers on trains.

An officer was present in February at a DART station in Richardson when a man allegedly started a shootout that left a bystander dead. The gunman was killed exchanging fire with officers.

AP

Survey: Quarter of Texas children live in poverty

Texas has the second-highest birth rate in the nation and more than 25 percent of those children live in poverty.

That's according to the annual Kids Count survey released Thursday. The number of children in Texas rose by nearly 1 million between 2000 and 2010, and accounted for more than half of the U.S. child population growth.

But 39 percent of Texas mothers received no, or very late, prenatal care and the percentage of babies born underweight jumped 13 percent.

The study is conducted every year by the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities. The nonprofit and nonpartisan organizations advocate for solutions to poverty.

The study also reported that children without health insurance dropped from 20.8 percent in 2006 to 16.9 percent in 2009. High school drop-outs are also down.

AP

Retail gasoline prices in Texas up 2 cents

A travel group says retail gasoline prices in Texas have gone up 2 cents this week.

AAA Texas on Thursday reported the average price per gallon has reached $3.84.

Prices at the gas pump also rose an average 2 cents this week across the country, hitting $3.94 per gallon.

The Triple-A survey found that Dallas and Fort Worth have the most expensive gasoline, at $3.90 per gallon. Amarillo has the cheapest gasoline in the state, at an average $3.65 per gallon.

The association says tight supplies and refinery concerns continue to raise U.S. gas prices. Issues such as tensions with Iran have also contributed to higher retail gasoline costs.

AP

Rangers to dedicate statue of Shannon Stone

The Texas Rangers are scheduled to dedicate a statue of the Texas firefighter who died after falling over an outfield railing at a game in July.

Rangers President Nolan Ryan will dedicate the statue of Shannon Stone at the home-plate gate to Rangers Ballpark at Arlington on Thursday afternoon. The life-size statue was created by Central Texas sculptor Bruce Greene.

Stone was a 39-year-old Brownwood Fire Department firefighter who had the fatal fall last season while reaching for a ball from by Josh Hamilton. Stone had taken his 6-year-old son Cooper to the game in the hope of catching a ball.

The statue joins other sculptures at the Ballpark of Ryan and former Arlington Mayor Tom Vandergriff. The Rangers' season opener is scheduled for Friday against the Chicago White Sox.

AP