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Governor Abbott Submits Opportunity Zone Designations To The U.S. Treasury Department

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By lauren.mccanse@gov.texas.gov Governor Greg Abbott has submitted the state’s Opportunity Zone designations to the U.S. Treasury Department to encourage long-term investment in eligible Texas communities. Governor Greg Abbott has submitted the state’s Opportunity Zone designations to the U.S. Treasury Department to encourage long-term investment in eligible Texas communities. The Opportunity Zone program was created by the 2017 federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and will encourage businesses to develop and invest in low-income communities in Texas. The submissions by Governor Abbott to the federal government will attract billions in investment and economic growth to cities across Texas.

“This program will help highlight areas of Texas that are prime for business investment, and it will serve to bring more opportunities to hardworking families across the entire state,” said Governor Abbott. “As we continue to recover after Harvey, these Opportunity Zone designations will also provide a much needed boost for local communities impacted by the storm. With the potential for billions in new investment, I look forward to our state continuing to flourish, bringing further growth and opportunity to the people of Texas.”

Each state may designate up to 25 percent of its eligible low-income census tracts as Opportunity Zones. After an extensive analysis of Texas’ eligible tracts, and using a multi-step process to identify eligible areas in particular need due to chronic unemployment, lower population density, and significant economic disruptors such as natural disasters within the past two years, Texas designated 628 census tracts in 145 counties as Opportunity Zones.

See the complete list the state’s Opportunity Zone designations.

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Source:: Office of the Governor


Mudslides, flash floods threaten Southern California two months after deadly storm

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iStock/Thinkstock(MONTECITO, Calif.) — Heavy rain has Southern California on alert for flash flooding and mudslides on Thursday, two months after deadly mudslides in Montecito.

About 2.5 inches of rain have fallen in Ventura County, and 2 inches in Santa Barbara and Montecito.

Rainfall rates could be as high as an inch per hour, potentially causing mudslides and rockslides.

In Santa Barbara County, 30,000 people were told to evacuate, including residents of Montecito.

The Jan. 9 storm in Montecito killed 21 people, left two children missing and destroyed many homes.

Dave Zaniboni of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department described the aftermath of the January mudslide as a “battlefield” and “unrecognizable.”

“I’ve been doing this for 32 years, and I’ve never seen anything just so tragic in my life,” he told ABC News on Wednesday.

The “monster storm” on Jan. 9 “dropped a half-an-inch of rain in 15 minutes and an inch of rain in half an hour,” Zaniboni said. “And that’s what caused the debris flow.”

The area is now expecting a bigger storm, but it will be over a longer period of time, which eases the debris flow, he said.

Extra troops have been brought in, including the National Guard.

“This is the biggest storm we’ve had since Jan. 9,” Zaniboni said.

“Because this storm is so widespread and so long in duration, we’re concerned about any heavy cells, any thunderstorm that might center over these mountain areas,” Zaniboni said. “Right now, they’re doing a great job as far as the creeks and stuff go. They’re funneling all the water off the mountains, and the creeks are running clear.”

“Since Jan. 9, the Army Corps of Engineers has been in here working hand in hand with Santa Barbara County Flood Control,” he said. “They’ve been working around the clock and got all of those debris basins and all those creeks clear.”

The rain will continue all day and get lighter by later Thursday afternoon and evening.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


Clear backpacks among changes coming for Stoneman Douglas students

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iStock/Thinkstock(PARKLAND, Fla.) — When Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students return from next week’s spring break, they will be required to use only clear backpacks at school, the superintendent said.

Each student will be given a clear backpack at no cost, Superintendent Robert Runcie said in a letter Wednesday.

Students and staff must also wear ID badges at all times at school, he said.

These changes, among others, come in the wake of some reported incidents at the school after last month’s massacre.

On Tuesday, a Stoneman Douglas student was arrested for allegedly making a threat on Snapchat, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.

On Monday, an officer allegedly fell asleep while in a marked patrol car on the school’s campus, authorities said. The officer was suspended with pay, pending an internal affairs investigation.

Two students were also arrested this week in separate, unrelated incidents for allegedly bringing in knives to Stoneman Douglas, authorities said.

And the suspected gunman’s brother, Zachary Cruz, was arrested on Monday for allegedly trespassing on school grounds, according to police.

After these incidents, more than 700 students stayed home from school on Wednesday, ABC affiliate WPLG-TV reported.

The superintendent’s letter on Wednesday did not mention any connection between these reported incidents and the new security measures.

Beyond the backpacks and IDs, there will now be eight Florida Highway Patrol troopers to help secure entry points at the school after Gov. Rick Scott’s request for extra protection.

Moreover, the district is “exploring options for consolidating points of entry for students and staff to include utilizing metal-detecting wands and potentially installing permanent metal detectors,” Runcie said.

“The safety and security of our students and employees remain our highest priorities,” he said. “While we cannot change the heartbreaking and senseless act of violence at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, by working together, we can change the future.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


East Coast digs out from fourth nor'easter in three weeks

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ABC News(NEW YORK) — In the wake of the East Coast’s fourth nor’easter in three weeks, five states from Virginia to New York are left with more than a foot of snow. Some residents on Long Island are waking up to nearly 20 inches of snow.

The snow, which tore through on Wednesday, is heading north, dropping some more snow in New England before it heads out. Gusty winds will continue throughout the day.

The storm has shuttered schools in all of the Northeast’s major cities. Public schools in New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., were closed on Wednesday, while public schools in Boston are closed Thursday.

In Washington, D.C., federal offices were closed on Wednesday, and on Thursday, the government is opening on a two-hour delay.

Here are some of the snowfall totals as of 6 a.m. ET:

— Bay Shore, New York: 19.3 inches (the highest so far)

— Washington, D.C.: 4.1 inches

— Baltimore Airport: 4.7 inches

— Philadelphia Airport: 7.6 inches

— New York City’s Central Park: 8.2 inches

— Berks County, Pennsylvania: 15.5 inches

— Frederick County, Maryland: 16.5 inches

— Staten Island, New York: 13.8 inches

More than 88,000 customers — mostly in New Jersey — were left without power Thursday morning.

More than 4,400 flights were canceled within, into or out of the United States on Wednesday, and more than 600 flights have been canceled so far on Thursday, according to aviation data services company FlightAware.

Meanwhile, a new storm is forming in the Dakotas. It’s expected to move into the Ohio Valley and Virginia by the end of the week. A winter storm watch has already been issued for 11 states along the projected path of that system.

That snowstorm is expected to spread into Minnesota on Friday evening.

By Saturday morning, heavy snow will stretch from Minnesota to Kentucky.

Later, on Saturday night, snow will be moving into Appalachia.

More than 6 inches may accumulate from the Dakotas into western Virginia.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


March for Our Lives falls on 20th anniversary of Arkansas school shooting

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Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images(PARKLAND, Fla.) — Thousands of demonstrators are expected to turn out Saturday for March for Our Lives events across the country in support of school safety, spearheaded by the survivors of last month’s Parkland, Florida, school shooting.

What many of the participants may not realize is that Saturday is also, coincidentally, the 20th anniversary of one of the deadliest school shootings of its time.

But for Mitch Wright, whose wife was the middle school teacher shot to death at the Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Arkansas, on March 24, 1998, the timing of the march is not so much a coincidence as an act of God, he said.

The March date caught him off guard, Wright told ABC News, because “no one, really, outside our area really realizes what the 24th represents.”

Back in 1998, the Jonesboro attack was the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, with four students and a teacher, 32-year-old Shannon Wright, killed and 10 others injured.

Now, 20 years later, the numbers have continued to rise.

There have been eight deadlier school shootings in the past two decades — including those at Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook and Marjory Stoneman Douglas — and there have been three others that have had the same number of fatalities as Jonesboro.

“The history behind these in the last 20 years, it’s kind of like this — you get a lot of coverage, you get a lot of lawmakers who are typically really adamant about making changes, making promises, and they typically jump ship kind of quick, as soon as the NRA starts pulling their strings,” Wright, 52, said.

Parkland comparisons

There are stark commonalities in the aftermath of so many school shootings, including the stories of the victims who died young or the acts of selfless teachers. But another similarity between the Jonesboro and Parkland shootings stands out to former federal agent David Chipman.

In the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, for instance, suspect Nikolas Cruz, 19, allegedly pulled the fire alarm at the school and then started firing his AR-15 style weapon at students in the hallway.

A notably similar scene unfolded at Westside Middle School 19 years and 11 months earlier. Jonesboro shooters Andrew Golden, then-11, and Mitchell Johnson, then-13, pulled the fire alarm after lunch and stood outside the door where they knew students would be fleeing. Then they opened fire.

“The way in which they did it — pulled the fire alarm and then lay in wait for kids to leave the school — it’s certainly a cautionary tale for people who are planning to improve school security today,” said Chipman, who now works as a senior policy adviser at gun violence prevention advocacy group Giffords.

As for Wright, the slain Jonesboro school teacher’s husband, he said he has never watched any coverage of these school shootings. “I can’t,” he said.

But that was before the Parkland shooting unfolded before his eyes on Feb. 14 when he found himself at an airport surrounded by televisions showing the breaking news.

“I’m stuck watching this, so I’m seeing all this take place and I don’t really know what’s going on,” Wright said.

Facing the anniversary

The start to every year is difficult for Wright because March 24 looms.

“When January comes around, it’s like ‘OK, here it comes,'” he said, adding, “March — you start feeling it.”

“The shooting in Florida really opened the floodgates a whole lot quicker than they normally do. It’s been real tough this week,” Wright said.

Wright is “hopeful” about the new wave of activism that the Parkland students are leading, he said, adding that he’s happy about the March for Our Lives events, especially the one set to take over Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.

“I would love to go to D.C. and see those kids march. It would be nice,” he said.

A trip to the nation’s capital doesn’t seem like it will be in the cards for Wright, though. He said he typically spends the day with his and Shannon’s 22-year-old son, who was 2 at the time of the shooting, doing something such as playing golf “to try and escape everything.”

As for the students in Jonesboro, who happen to be on spring break this week, there is a March for Our Lives event scheduled at Jonesboro High School on Saturday, and the community last week hosted its annual memorial motorcycle ride that raises funds to maintain the garden dedicated to the victims of the 1998 shooting.

“It boils down to this: You just don’t want another family to go through this. It doesn’t matter what anniversary it is,” Wright said. “They’re still gone, and it still hurts.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


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