$600K taken from safe at Osteen's megachurch
HOUSTON (AP) - Police say $600,000 in checks and cash has been stolen from the Houston megachurch led by Pastor Joel Osteen (OH'-steen).
Police spokesman Kese (KEES) Smith says $200,000 in cash and $400,000 in checks were stolen from a safe sometime between 2:30 p.m. Sunday and 8:30 a.m. Monday.
No arrests have been made.
In a statement, Lakewood Church said the money and checks taken, as well as some envelopes with credit card information, was limited only to funds given during this past weekend's services.
Church officials say there's no data breach and the stolen funds are insured. Credit card information was in donation envelopes.
Church officials declined further comment Tuesday.
More than 40,000 people attend weekly services led by Osteen, whose televised sermons reach nearly 100 countries.
Woman sentenced in husband's burning death
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A woman convicted of arson in the bathtub burning death of her husband has been sentenced by a Central Texas jury to 20 years in prison.
Travis County jurors reached their decision Tuesday in the punishment trial of Shriya Patel (pah-TEHL'). She had faced a sentence of five years to life in prison for the April 2012 incident that killed 29-year-old Bimal Patel.
Jurors deliberated two days before acquitting the 27-year-old woman of capital murder Monday but finding her guilty of first-degree arson. A capital murder conviction would have meant life imprisonment without parole.
Prosecutors say she lured her husband to the tub, poured gasoline on him and set him on fire. Her attorney says the man wanted to kill himself and made her help.
Nearly 300,000 Texans get new health insurance
HOUSTON (AP) - Fewer than 90,000 Texans bought health insurance in the new federally subsidized marketplace in the past month, leaving thousands uninsured with just weeks left before open enrollment ends March 31.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says Tuesday that 295,025 Texans have bought insurance on the marketplace since Oct. 1, when enrollment began. That means just over 87,400 people have signed up since mid-February when the department reported just over 207,400 had enrolled.
Texas has the highest rate of uninsured in the nation, nearly one in four, and a GOP governor, Rick Perry, who is vocally opposed to President Barack Obama's signature program. But Florida, which also has a high number of uninsured and a GOP governor who opposes the program, has had more people enroll.
GOVERNOR'S RACE-EQUAL PAY
Abbott, Davis trade verbal barbs on dueling issues
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas' gubernatorial candidates are trading verbal barbs over dueling issues.
Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis insisted Tuesday that her opponent won't commit to solidifying gender pay equality into state law.
And Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott fired back that Davis' law firm may have profited from her work in the Legislature.
Davis co-sponsored a 2013 bill ensuring Texas law mirrored the 2009 federal Lilly Ledbetter Act's gender wage protections. But outgoing Gov. Rick Perry vetoed it, saying federal statues made similar state law repetitive.
Davis argues that her measure allowed women more flexibility to sue in state courts and avoid more-expensive federal discrimination cases.
Abbott has refused to say if he'd veto a similar state Ledbetter Act as governor. Instead he's questioning public-sector clients Davis' Fort Worth law firm represents.
Texas schools balk at state calculator requirement
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Local school officials say efforts to equip students with new technology are being impeded by a state directive that they must purchase costly calculators for eighth-graders.
School districts are eager to invest in iPads and other mobile devices for students. Administrators could then download a $15 application that works as a calculator.
But the Austin American-Statesman reports (http://bit.ly/1nhnMWc ) the state requires a graphing calculator that costs $100 a piece.
The state for now won't allow schools to use the app in lieu of the calculator because of test security concerns.
Administrators contend the state directive could slow efforts to personalize instruction if districts must redirect dollars away from "one-to-one" initiatives to supply the graphing calculators, which are required for next year's State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness.
ELECTRICITY GRID-WINTER SHORTFALL
Cold snap knocks Texas electric generators offline
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - January's polar vortex knocked several important coal-fired electricity plants offline, and the Sierra Club says the loss of power shows the need for more wind turbines and energy conservation programs.
The temperature did not drop as low as it did in 2011, when the ERCOT grid resorted to rolling blackouts due to lack of power. But the Sierra Club said Tuesday that the failures of traditional power plant while wind power persisted show the danger of relying only on coal and gas generators.
ERCOT, which runs the grid that serves most Texans, issued an after action report detailing the failure of six coal-fired plants to meet the grid's needs on Jan. 6. Frozen instruments was the most cited problem for why they shut down or failed to produce as expected.
Scripps publisher takes helm at second Texas paper
ABILENE, Texas (AP) - The publisher of the San Angelo Standard-Times will expand his duties by taking on the same role at the Abilene Reporter-News.
Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps Co. announced Tuesday that Jeff DeLoach takes the helm of the Reporter-News immediately. He replaces Dave Hedge, who announced his resignation just last week.
The Reporter-News says (http://bit.ly/1cuhkqc ) DeLoach was named publisher in San Angelo in 2009 and worked to transform that paper into a multi-platform media company.
DeLoach previously worked as vice president of circulation at the Scripps-owned Corpus Christi Caller-Times. He came to also oversee advertising sales during his time there.
He also worked for nine years at another Scripps paper, the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn.
The Texas Daily Newspaper Association in 2011 named him the state's "newspaper leader of the year."
Mich. woman accused of murder arrested in Dallas
DALLAS (AP) - Federal authorities say a woman wanted for murder in Michigan has been apprehended in Dallas after she used her car to ram law enforcement vehicles pursuing her.
Twenty-three-year-old Michelle McIntosh was arrested Monday on a murder charge and is being held at the Dallas County jail. U.S. Marshals Service Chief Deputy Trent Touchstone says officers tracked her to a Dallas location and moved to block in her car. She backed into one vehicle and then surged forward to strike another, clearing a path to speed away.
Touchstone says the ensuing pursuit ended when McIntosh pulled over and surrendered.
She's wanted in Flint, Mich., for an April shooting outside a club that left a man dead.
Touchstone says McIntosh likely was drawn to North Texas because she has friends in the area.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.