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Houston mayor, others help residents after deadly blast

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston’s mayor and others say they'll work to provide aid for residents whose homes were damaged after a massive explosion at a warehouse that killed two workers and injured 20 others. Mayor Sylvester Turner on Saturday walked through impacted neighborhoods and spoke with residents who were cleaning up after Friday’s explosion. Dozens of volunteers helped residents board up windows and put up tarps on damaged roofs. The cause of the blast at a business that makes valves and provides thermal-spray coatings for equipment is under investigation. Cleanup and repair efforts continued Sunday.


Texas man pinned between vehicles after fight with wife

HOUSTON (AP) — Authorities say an argument between a couple ended with the husband being pinned between two vehicles when his wife lost control of her car as she tried to get away from her spouse after he assaulted her and her father. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez says the couple was arguing around 2 a.m. Sunday when Dimas Romero-Santana assaulted his father-in-law. When his wife tried to leave the scene in her car, Romero-Santana reached into the vehicle and pulled her hair, causing his wife to lose control and pin him against another vehicle.  Romero-Santana, who is hospitalized in stable condition, has been charged with two counts of assault.


Child dies in Texas after vehicle rolls back, striking her

CYPRESS, Texas (AP) — Authorities say a 3-year-old Houston-area girl died Saturday after her parent's vehicle was left in neutral in the driveway and rolled back, striking the child. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said on Twitter that the child was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The home is in Cypress, located just northwest of Houston. Gonzalez said it appears the child's parent had arrived home and started unloading the vehicle, which had inadvertently been left in neutral, when it rolled back.


3-year-old girl shot in gunfight during West Texas drug raid

MIDLAND, Texas (AP) — A 3-year-old girl has been shot in a gunfight between police and 16-year-old male suspect during a drug raid at a West Texas house. The Texas Department of Public Safety says Midland police officers were serving a search warrant at a house near Hogan Park in eastern Midland Wednesday night when a gunfight ensued with the teenage suspect that wounded the child. DPS Sgt. Oscar Villarreal said Friday that the girl was in stable condition at a hospital and the teen was taken into custody. It was unclear if they were related, and Villarreal had no further information on the child.


Ex-gymnastics coach gets 50 years in prison for sex assaults

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A 53-year-old former gymnastics coach has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for sexually assaulting young female gymnasts in North Texas and Oklahoma. Skipper Crawley, of Kemp, Texas, pleaded guilty in a state district court in Fort Worth to four counts of aggravated assault of a child. Crawley was an instructor at Sokol Gymnastics in Fort Worth when three girls reported that he had sexually assaulted them during practice. He fled after he was charged in August 2018, but was arrested in Indiana. Then more gymnasts Crawley had trained in Oklahoma came forward to say he had also molested them.


Early voting means 2020 primary is already here for millions

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Iowa caucuses haven't yet happened, but millions of Americans are already free to vote. Many of the Super Tuesday states that hold primaries on March 3 offer early voting. That gives campaigns a chance to bank votes before results in the first four voting contests can reshape the trajectory of the race. Early voting began in person last week in Minnesota. California, Colorado, North Carolina and Texas are expected to see a strong early voting turnout, either by mail or in person, when it opens next month.


Dems pick Whitmer, Escobar for Trump State of Union response

WASHINGTON (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will deliver the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Feb. 4. Rep. Veronica Escobar of Texas will deliver the Spanish-language response. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer made the announcement Friday. They praised Whitmer for her efforts to ensure clean drinking water in communities across Michigan, which was scarred by the 2014 water crisis in Flint. Escobar, of El Paso, attended a protest rally in August ahead of Trump's visit to the city after a mass shooting at a Walmart killed 22 people. Police said the gunman specifically targeted Mexicans.


Galveston repeals gun regulations to avoid city lawsuit

GALVESTON, TX (AP) — Gun regulations in Galveston that once prevented gun shops and shooting ranges to be located near schools and places of worship are no longer in effect. The Galveston City Council unanimously voted to approve the amended land-use regulations on Thursday after it received a letter from the Texas Attorney General's Office asserting that the city's restrictions violated state law. Gun shops will now be treated the same as any other commercial retail entity. Shooting ranges will also no longer be required to limit noise to a certain decibel level.