American Airlines suspends flights to Venezuela


FORT WORTH — American Airlines is stopping flights to Venezuela because of safety concerns after the pilots’ union told its members to refuse to work the flights.

American was the last major U.S. carrier to fly to the troubled country. It flew daily to Caracas and Maracaibo from Miami.

The airline said Friday it temporarily stopped the flights and won’t operate to countries it doesn’t consider safe.

Late Thursday night, the president of the Allied Pilots Association directed pilots to refuse Venezuela assignments.

Daniel Carey noted that the State Department warns about crime and detention of American citizens. The U.S. pulled its last diplomats out of the country Thursday.

Other U.S. and many foreign carriers have stopped flying to Venezuela as the country’s economic and political situation has deteriorated in recent years.

Report: Hospital knew elevator needed upgrade before mishap

FORT WORTH — An examination reveals that a Forth Worth hospital knew an elevator was in need of upgrades two years before a nurse was seriously injured after the elevator continued to rise as she tried to step into it.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that elevator consulting firm Lerch Bates examined the maintenance of the elevators at John Peter Smith Hospital in April 2017.

Lerch Bates recommended the hospital make a full upgrade to elevator No. 29 by 2018. The hospital instead requested bids for work on two other elevators.

Elevator No. 29 then malfunctioned on Jan. 20, crushing Carren Stratford and causing her internal injuries.

Hospital spokeswoman JR Labbe says officials chose not to immediately upgrade elevator No. 29 because it was used less frequently compared to the other two.

Some Galveston residents unhappy with brighter street lights

GALVESTON — Some Southeast Texas residents have complained about brighter public street lines creating an unwelcome glare inside their homes.

The Galveston County Daily News reported Friday that the updated street lights in Galveston are light-emitting diode, or LED. Assistant City Manager Brandon Cook says the lights are more efficient, compared to older high-pressure sodium lights.

Cook says LED lights helped reduce Galveston’s electric bill by 40 percent. About 85 percent of the city’s lights have been converted to LED.

Resident Tim Dudley says the lights are “horrible” and brighten the inside of his house. Dudley says it’s difficult to use the stairs or his porch due to the incoming bright light.

The newspaper reports criticism by some residents has stirring a discussion that could influence Galveston’s master lighting plan.

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