Local News Headlines–6/19/13

Much of the state funding cut from Texas A&M by the legislature two years ago is being restored.  That news was part of a budget message given by University President Bowen Loftin to the Faculty Senate earlier this month.  Loftin says lawmakers restored about two-thirds of the cuts made for the current biennium that comes to a close September 30.Loftin says administrators are crunching numbers for next year’s budget, including what may be possible in giving merit pay raises.  Loftin says A&M will receive more than $2-million in state money to help pay for nearly $10-million the university absorbs when veterans and dependents take advantage of benefits under the Hazelwood Act.

The Bryan school board has filled one of its two remaining openings for principal with an internal promotion given at this week’s meeting.  The new principal at DavilaMiddle School is Shannon McGehee.  She has been with the district 12 years, most recently at RudderHigh School as an associate principal. Yet to be filled is the principal’s slot at SamRayburnMiddle School.

The Brazos County District Attorney and his top deputy are headed halfway around the world.  CountyCommissioners yesterday approved the request for a week-long trip in the Philippines.  D-A Jarvis Parsons says he and Brian Baker going overseas saves the cost of bringing 12 to 15 Filipino citizens here.  It’s all part of the upcoming capital murder trial of Gabriel Hall.  The now 20-year-old is accused of killing a College Station man and the attempted murder of his wife during a burglary of the victim’s home in October of 2011.  Hall’s defense lawyers filed paperwork in district court indicating Hall was born in the Philippines and claims he suffered poverty, abuse, and neglect during the first six years of his life.  Defense lawyers also say both of Hall’s parents and at least one of his siblings have criminal records.  Hall also spent five years in a Filipino orphanage, and his lawyers say they have had trouble finding out the identities and locations of his housemates who they want to question.  The D-A’s trip request to commissioners does not identify who they will be interviewing, other than they were sought by Hall’s lawyers.

And, the College Station city council invites you to buy cemetery space before rates go up later this year.  That was the closing thought following the council’s recent vote on the future fee schedule for the parks and recreation department, including the two city cemeteries.  There was no action on James Benham’s idea to discount cemetery space based on how many years you have lived in College Station.  The ten percent increase, which begins October first, is the latest move to make cemetery fees cover operational costs.