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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says he wants to close the gap between rich and poor. In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Obama proposed refinancing at lower interest rates on some mortgages, forcing colleges to keep tuition down and higher taxes for the wealthy. In the GOP response, Gov. Mitch Daniels says Obama has resorted to “extremism” to divide Americans. Today the President will set off on a three-day tour of politically crucial states, with his first stop in Iowa, where he will visit a conveyor belt plant.

Gabrielle Giffords
Jonathan Gibby, getty images

Giffords Resigns

WASHINGTON — Making it official, Gabrielle Giffords has resigned from the House with a standing ovation from her colleagues, more than a year after she was gravely wounded by a would-be assassin. The Arizona congresswoman formally resigned after a series of tributes from her colleagues. She’s stepping down to focus on her recovery from a gunshot wound to the head.

 

Interest Rates to Remain Low

WASHINGTON - Interest rates will remain low for at least the next two years. In a statement today the central bank said the earliest date for any likely increase in its benchmark interest rate would be in 2014. The Federal Reserve has never gone this far to assure consumers and businesses that they’ll be able to keep borrowing cheaply. The record –low rates are still needed to help boost an economy that’s improving but slowly.

Parking Garage for Downtown Tyler

TYLER - A much needed parking garage in downtown Tyler will soon become a reality. The Tyler City Council this morning took the first step by authorizing Walker Parking Consultants/Engineers to design the structure. The consultants recommend building a multi-level parking garage that would accommodate 300 to 400 spaces . The parking garage would be bordered by Locust Street to the north, Fannin Avenue to the east, Elm Street to the south and Bois D’ Arc Avenue to the west.

Couple on Trial for Capital Murder Plea Not Guilty

Lopez,Simon
Smith County

 

TYLER – Two people who are jailed in connection with the death of a 1-year-old boy appeared in a Smith County courtroom yesterday and each entered not guilty pleas. Simon Lopez, 27, and Emma Torres, 19, are charged with capital murder in the 2010 death of Torres’ son. Prosecutors have not said whether or not they will seek the death penalty.

 

Barbara Bush Speaks in Tyler

Barbara Bush
by Dave Goldman

 

TYLER – Former First Lady Barbara Bush, who was the guest speaker at Tuesday’s Literacy Council of Tyler luncheon at Harvey Convention Center, encouraged the community to help educate others by volunteering. Mrs. Bush who started The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy more than 20 years ago told the crowd, “Every person who learns to read is a great victory.” At the conclusion of her speech, Mrs. Bush was presented with a special gift, a library named in her honor. The Bush Library will be located at the Tyler Salvation Army’s Center of Hope.

Man Shows Up Unannounced at Bush’s House

DALLAS – A man who showed up outside the Dallas Home of former President George W. Bush was questioned and released after the Secret Service spokesman said the man had a gun in his vehicle. The man said he wanted to see the former president. The Bushes were not at home and it’s unclear how the man entered a gate located on the former President’s street.

School Lunches to Get Healthier

WASHINGTON — School lunches are about to get healthier. First lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are announcing today that most school meals will have less sodium, more whole grains and more fruits and vegetables as sides. Pizza still will be on the menu, but it will be made with healthier ingredients.

More Prescriptions Getting Attention

WASHINGTON — Diseases long-ignored by drug companies are getting a lot more attention thanks to a combination of scientific innovation and business opportunity. The pharmaceutical industry won approval to market a record number of new drugs for rare diseases last year because of commercial benefits like longer patent protection.

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