Texas Cities Wooing Amazon With Diversity, Arts, Sunshine

DALLAS (AP) — Economic incentives are expected to be major selling points for a number of Texas cities making pitches to Amazon for the Seattle-based company’s second headquarters and the estimated 50,000 jobs that would come with it.

Formal proposals are due to the company Thursday.

The Associated Press recently spoke with business leaders around Texas to find out why they believe their respective cities would provide the best fit for Amazon.

Here’s a look at their responses:

AUSTIN:

Mike Berman, a spokesman for the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, says the region is especially appealing to Amazon because it’s the kind of place where everybody can fit in.

“Austin is cool and innovative and extremely accepting and diverse,” he said.

Amazon already has a large presence in the area, including about 3,000 workers at a distribution center in nearby San Marcos, Berman said. Amazon also recently purchased Austin-based Whole Foods.

But beyond a vibrant economy and a growing population of qualified workers — it’s a great place to live, Berman said.

“It’s an exceptional quality of life. Live music, festivals, sports, parks, lakes, biking. We’re a big foodie friendly community,” he said. “It’s a very active and easy-going lifestyle, 300 days of sunshine, very pleasant.”

DALLAS:

Kourtny Garrett, the CEO of Downtown Dallas Inc., cited the area’s business climate as a draw for Amazon, plus the low cost of living and the region’s light rail system.

“Downtown Dallas is a completely new destination over the last decade. We’ve had over 110 percent residential growth, we have a very strong base of young, educated talent and an environment that is culturally rich and fun,” Garrett said.

The downtown Dallas area has about 200 restaurants, plus the largest urban arts district in the country, Garrett said. The Dallas Museum of Art is on the west, the Klyde Warren Park area to the north, One Arts Plaza is the eastern anchor and then on the south side the Arts District extends to the Ross Avenue and San Jacinto corridors.

“I think the recreational aspects of Dallas are often overlooked,” Garrett said.

She cited the Trinity River Audubon Center, numerous trails and four signature parks — with four more planned over the next five years.

HOUSTON:

Bob Harvey, president & CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership, praised community and individual efforts following Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall Aug. 25 in Texas and dumped record rainfall that swamped parts of Houston.

“I think the world saw Houston at its best in the local recovery efforts,” Harvey said. “People did see a community that’s unique in its ability to respond to an emergency.”

Those are the kind of people Amazon might want to hire, “people you might want on hand,” Harvey said.

Coastal communities are having to react to a pattern of increased rainfall and more severe tropical disturbances, with Houston making commitments to improve its infrastructure and storm surge protection, he said.

Harvey also noted Houston’s quality of life built on “being a fun city” with affordable housing and a reputation for diversity. Professional sports, great restaurants and an appealing nightlife add to the attraction, he said.

The area boasts a STEM-educated and technical workforce, along with a concentration of 58 medical institutions — billed as the largest medical center in the world — and two medical schools, Harvey said.

“At the end of the day, Texas is a business-friendly state, a great place to locate a growing business,” he said.

SAN ANTONIO:

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff on Oct. 11 announced the area was no longer bidding for the Amazon project, saying the public process was creating a bidding war among states and cities.

The letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos also says media reports suggest that San Antonio might not have been on the company’s “short list.”

“It’s not that we wouldn’t love to have Amazon select San Antonio. Any city would. We know that Amazon and San Antonio are culturally compatible and that we both have eyes strategically set on the future — smart growth, municipal resiliency, and connectivity are areas we plan for and invest in today. If Amazon follows the approach that it took in Seattle by building a massive urban campus to support 50,000 employees, the company’s impact could accelerate our plans in a transformative way,” the letter said.

“We’ve long been impressed by Amazon and its bold view of the future. Given this, it’s hard to imagine that a forward-thinking company like Amazon hasn’t already selected its preferred location. And if that’s the case, then this public process is, intentionally or not, creating a bidding war among states and cities,” according to the letter.

“Sure, we have a competitive toolkit of incentives, but blindly giving away the farm isn’t our style,” the letter on behalf of San Antonio and Bexar County said.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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J. Lo & A-Rod Raise $26 Million For Puerto Rico Disaster Relief

NEW YORK (AP) – Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez have raised $26 million for Puerto Rico disaster relief, with another $9 million raised by a benefit show.

The two hosted “One Voice: Somos Live!” on Saturday with Marc Anthony.

Lopez says that amid “swirling negativity dividing our country,” the outpouring of support for Puerto Rico following the devastating hurricane was gratifying.

The benefit show included performances by Demi Lovato, Ricky Martin, Mary J. Blige and Gwen Stefani.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Baltimore Workers Remove “Fatberg” Of Grease From Sewer Pipe

BALTIMORE (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — A “fatberg” that may have taken beyond half a century to grow below Baltimore has been removed.

CBS news station WJZ reports the city’s Public Works department used a camera, pressure washer and truck-mounted industrial vacuum to clear the mass of curdled grease, wet wipes and other waste.

Pat Boyle with the Baltimore City Department of Public Works says it’s all those things besides sewage that caused the problem. “Anything you might cook, grease, butter, mayonnaise, anything your grandmother said don’t put down the drain.”

Workers resorted to the strategy Monday after they’d begun scraping pieces off last month.

The notorious glob was found clogging up to 85 percent of a 24-inch pipe near Penn Station. It’s blamed for causing more than 1 million gallons of sewage to overflow into the Jones Fall stream. It’s the culmination of objects caked along a pipe’s walls that shouldn’t go down drains.

Boyle says, “We can’t treat our toilets like our trash cans.”

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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With ALCS Tied 2-2, Astros Turn To Keuchel For Game 5

NEW YORK (AP) – The Houston Astros heated up their bullpen in a hurry, but it didn’t make any difference. Not on this night, not in a ballpark that kept pulsating with every pitch.

No matter who manager A.J. Hinch signaled for, the New York Yankees would not be stopped. Somehow, the Astros squandered a late four-run lead and fell 6-4 Tuesday, and now find themselves tied at two games apiece in the AL Championship Series.

At least Hinch’s next move is an easy call: Bring on the beard.

Dallas Keuchel will take the mound Wednesday in Game 5, with Houston hoping he can extend his remarkable run against the Yankees.

“Obviously this next game, Dallas Keuchel, he’s pretty good at getting deep in the game,” Hinch said. “We’ll hand the ball to this bullpen with the lead tomorrow feeling good about it, if that’s the case.”

Keuchel is prepared for a nice pregame reception, too. Bronx cheers, mostly.

“You get boos against the Evil Empire at the home turf, it makes you feel good just because you’re doing your job correctly,” Keuchel said, hours before Houston blew a tremendous chance to move within one win of the World Series.

Keuchel has been almost automatic against the Yankees, especially in October.

The lefty ace pitched seven shutout innings and struck out 10 to win Game 1. The 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner capped off that season by throwing six scoreless innings to win the Wild-Card game at Yankee Stadium .

Overall, he has a 1.09 ERA in 57 2/3 innings against the Yanks. Oh, and he hasn’t given up a home run in that span.

“We expect Dallas to be Dallas tomorrow,” said Joe Musgrove, one of three ineffective Houston relievers in the loss.

Musgrove, Chris Devenski and Ken Giles all struggled after Aaron Judge’s leadoff homer in the seventh made it 4-1 and finished starter Lance McCullers Jr. Nine of the first 13 batters who faced the Houston bullpen reached base as the decibel level kept climbing.

“I think you’re always confident when Dallas is on the hill,” McCullers said. “I don’t really think it matters on what team we’re facing or his past success or non-success against a team.”

“If he’s right, and he’s been looking awesome pretty much all season, we feel very confident with him on the hill,” he added. “We have Game 5 here tomorrow, hopefully win that one, go back home with a 3-2 lead and finish it up at home.”

Keuchel will oppose Masahiro Tanaka in a rematch of the opener, won by Houston 2-1 at Minute Maid Park.

“I mean, that’s always in the back of your head. You know he’s pitching tomorrow. When he pitched Game 1, I knew he was pitching Game 5,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

“We haven’t done a whole lot off of him in the starts we’ve seen off him,” he said. “Hopefully, seeing him twice in one series, our guys are able to adjust a little quicker.”

With his bushy beard, Keuchel is easily recognizable around town, be it Houston or New York. No different during this trip to the Big Apple.

“People always are going to have choice words for you. So I fully expect that,” he said.

“There’s two joys that I really take pride in, and that’s when I’m warming up in the visitors’ bullpen and getting heckled by fans because they’ve had some beverages,” he said. “Usually there’s a funnel cake or like a hot dog, which smells really good.”

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Cubs Trail Dodgers 3-0 In NLCS After Darvish Dominates

CHICAGO (AP) – Kyle Schwarber had fans roaring, thinking the Chicago Cubs just might be ready to tighten the NL Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Turns out, his home run in the first inning was about all they had to cheer.

Yu Darvish shut down Chicago after Schwarber went deep, putting the Cubs on the verge of being swept in the NLCS for the second time in three years after Tuesday’s night’s 6-1 loss.

After knocking out Los Angeles last fall on the way to their first World Series championship since consecutive titles in 1907 and 1908, hopes of another parade are just about dashed.

“Tomorrow is a Game 7. We have three or four Game 7s in a row coming up right now,” manager Joe Maddon said.

Jake Arrieta will try to keep the series going when he opposes Dodgers lefty Alex Wood on Wednesday night. Arrieta can become a free agent this winter, so it might be his final start for Chicago. And unless the Cubs get their offense and struggling bullpen in order, the season could come to a close.

Chicago has been in tough spots before, rallying from a 3-1 deficit to beat Cleveland in seven games for the World Series title last year. The Cubs also pulled out a wild victory at Washington in Game 5 of the Division Series this month after failing to close out the Nationals at Wrigley Field.

“I don’t think there’s any need to change anything,” said Kris Bryant, who had two hits after going 1 for 8 through the first two games of the series. “I think we can even play more loose because … no one’s expecting us to come back except the guys in this room.”

It was Bryant who asked “why not us?” after the Cubs won Game 5 to send the 2016 World Series back to Cleveland and start their historic comeback. It will take another epic effort to knock off Los Angeles, particularly the way they are hitting.

The Cubs are batting .160 with four extra-base hits through three games.

“Of course we expected more,” Maddon said. “It’s somewhat surprising. I don’t want to use the word disappointing.”

Batting second, Schwarber hit an opposite-field drive to left-center for a 1-0 lead in the first.

“Hey, whenever you jump out to an early lead, you want that to be the momentum,” Schwarber said. “Any way that you can get the crowd into it — the players are enjoying it, I’m enjoying it, whatever it is — you want that to be momentum.”

Darvish took the Cubs and the crowd right out of it, holding Chicago to one run and six hits in 6 1/3 innings. Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks couldn’t match him.

The right-hander gave up four runs and six hits, including solo homers to Andre Ethier and Chris Taylor. It was his second straight shaky start after outpitching Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg in a dominant effort to win Game 1 of the NLDS.

Los Angeles led 3-1 with runners on first and second and none out in the sixth when Carl Edwards Jr. — erratic in the playoffs after a strong season — relieved Hendricks and walked Austin Barnes with one out. Joc Pederson flied out and Edwards walked Darvish on four pitches. After Taylor struck out to end the rally, boos came ringing from the Wrigley Field stands.

Struggling reliever Mike Montgomery gave up two more runs in the eighth. With runners on first and second, pinch-hitter Charlie Culberson struck out, only for the pitch to ricochet off catcher Willson Contreras’ arm for a passed ball that allowed Logan Forsythe to score. With runners at the corners, Kyle Farmer followed with a sacrifice fly.

“That’s a great ballclub over there,” Cubs shortstop Addison Russell said. “They’re doing things right.”

The Cubs could be on the way out, after barely squeezing past Washington. They experienced more drama on their way out west after that draining series.

Their cross-country flight to Los Angeles made an unscheduled stop in Albuquerque because Jose Quintana’s wife, Michel, experienced an irregular heartbeat. The team remained on the ground for five hours to change pilots.

Quintana joined his teammates in Los Angeles on Friday night and started Game 1 the following night.

The Cubs could be excused for feeling a bit drained. Though Schwarber shot down that idea, saying, “We’re not running out of gas at all,” Russell notices some signs of fatigue.

“I wouldn’t say we’re running out of gas,” he said. “I would just say some things here and there are a little bit fatigued. But we put the right guys out there every single day.”

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Multiple Injuries From Shooting At Maryland Office Park

EDGEWOOD, Md. (AP) — A sheriff’s office in northeastern Maryland says it is on the scene of a shooting at an office park.

The Harford County Sheriff Office’s tweets that multiple injuries are reported at the Emmorton Business Park in Edgewood.

No other details were immediately released.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Gymnast McKayla Maroney Alleges Sexual Abuse By Team Doctor

DALLAS (AP) – Olympic medalist McKayla Maroney says she was molested by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar from the time she was 13 to her retirement from the sport last year.

The 21-year-old posted a lengthy statement on Twitter on Wednesday that detailed the allegations of abuse. She says the abuse began at one of her first team training camps and also occurred before events at the 2012 Olympics. She and her teammates won gold for the U.S. in London and Maroney took an individual silver medal on the vault.

Nassar is in prison in Michigan after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography. He is awaiting trial on separate criminal sexual conduct charges and has been sued by more than 125 women alleging abuse.

His lawyers and USA Gymnastics didn’t immediately return requests seeking comment Wednesday.


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