- Associated Press - Saturday, January 18, 2014

A man arrested after warning drivers of a police speed trap argues for free-speech rights. Burglars help a woman recover her long-lost high school ring. And Redskins and Rebels are being kicked out of some Texas schools. These are a few of the happenings across Texas in this week’s edition of Lone Star Brites:

SPEED TRAP WARNING

FRISCO, Texas - A suburban Dallas man faces legal trouble for holding a sign warning drivers about police targeting speeders.

Ron Martin is claiming Frisco police violated his free-speech rights when police arrested him for holding a sign that read “Police Ahead” while standing in the median of a busy avenue.

Frisco’s sign ordinance says a person holding a sign must be on private property. But Martin contends the law regulates business signs and doesn’t apply to him.

Martin made his initial court appearance Wednesday and has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of violating a sign ordinance.

He told WFAA-TV in Dallas (http://bit.ly/Li41Nq) his intention was only to urge motorists to drive more slowly.

CLASS RING RETURNED 20 YEARS LATER

ARLINGTON, Texas - A burglary investigation has led to a Fort Worth woman getting back the high school class ring she lost 20 years ago.

Arlington police on Friday returned the Boswell High School ring to Shelly Ragland, who lost it at an amusement park.

The finders ended up keeping the ring, but it was stolen during a recent burglary. Detectives investigating residential burglaries arrested two suspects last month and recovered the ring and other stolen property.

Police used the ring’s inscription of “Shelly K. Rhodes” to trace the ring back to Ragland, whose maiden name was Rhodes.

BANNED SCHOOL MASCOTS

HOUSTON - The Houston school board has voted to ban the use of any race or ethnic group as a school mascot or nickname, starting next school year.

The policy approved Thursday night will force changes in the team names of the Lamar High School Redskins, Westbury High School Rebels, Hamilton Middle School Indians and Welch Middle School Warriors.

Each school will be in charge of choosing its new mascot and retiring its old one.

WORSHIPPERS THWART ROBBERY

ODESSA, Texas - Some worshippers at a West Texas church have been credited with chasing and catching two suspects after a purse was snatched during the service.

Odessa police say one of the fleeing men allegedly pulled a knife but nobody was hurt after the robbery last Sunday at Sherwood Baptist Church.

Odessa police say the suspects apparently were in the last pew when one grabbed the purse. The bag has been returned intact to the woman. Both suspects were arrested.

TRUCKER DRAGS DONKEY

CONROE, Texas - A Houston-area man has been sentenced to five years in prison for dragging a donkey behind his vehicle.

A Montgomery County jury on Wednesday sentenced 30-year-old Marc Saunders of Splendora, who earlier was convicted of animal cruelty in the 2012 incident.

Investigators say a donkey named Susie Q wandered away from her owner’s home and Saunders offered to help return the animal. Investigators believe Saunders drove slowly and the animal walked behind the vehicle but then he sped up and the donkey was dragged.

The owners later found the severely injured donkey in a ditch. The animal survived.

An attorney for Saunders says he never intended to hurt the donkey.

ILLEGAL ALLIGATOR TRANSPORT

BEAUMONT, Texas - A Southeast Texas hunting guide has been sentenced to three years of probation for illegally transporting an alligator carcass.

Prosecutors in Beaumont on Tuesday announced the penalty for 49-year-old Steve Barclay of Kennard.

Investigators say Barclay in May 2008 witnessed a client shoot and kill three alligators, which are listed as a threatened species. Prosecutors say Barclay knew that Texas law limits hunters to one alligator per hunter per season.

Officials say Barclay transported one of the alligators killed in Leon County to a taxidermy shop in Grapeland.

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