5 things to know: Friday

5 things to know: Friday

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'Plan While You Can' while drinking on Spring Break

LUBBOCK, Texas - Colleges and universities will be going on Spring Break over the next few weeks, so LPD, DPS and TxDOT are ramping up efforts to prevent drinking and driving. 

Around this time last year, TxDOT documented 410 drunken driving incidents, 48 of those crashes led to serious injuries and killed 20. TxDOT's 'Plan While You Can' campaign kicks off and urges people to arrange for a ride home before picking up a drink.

Texas A&M graduate Houston Sutton knows far too well the ramifications of driving drunk.

"It affects more people than anyone can ever imagine. It's not just you and the victim, or you and the person you hit. It's your family, it's their family, it's your community, it's your friends. It's a ripple effect that never ends."

LPD and DPS echo the sentiment.

"During last year's Spring Break alone, there were four alcohol-related crashes in Lubbock, one of those resulted in a fatality. As we all know, one life lost is just too many. Especially when it is 100 percent avoidable," LPD Assistant Chief Jon Caspell said.

Even if you don't crash, you're still looking at stiff penalties when they catch you.

"A DWI can cost a driver up to $17,000 in fines and fees, jail time, and you can lose your license. It can also affect your future job prospects. It's not worth it," TxDOT District Engineer Steven Warren said.?


DPS offers free active shooter training

LUBBOCK, Texas - When it comes to having a plan, troopers say every business or public building needs an active shooter plan and they will train you for free.

State troopers hold an Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training seminar to train more than 100 officers and civilians in response tactics.

Those officers will return to their communities between Amarillo and Midland and provide that same training to anyone who wants it.

"We want to get people out of the mindset that something bad is not possible, that it could happen," DPS Lt. Bryan Witt said. "We don't want people to live in fear, we want them to live in confidence that they can survive an actor shooter encounter."

The training involves how to build and practice a response plan focusing on three response types: avoid -- which is just to run away; deny -- or barricade yourself or the shooter; and fight back.

"You have to do something when an active shooter comes in," he said. "If you do nothing, that's what the active shooter wants you to do. They don't expect the public to come in and actually do something."

If your business, school, hospital, church or any entity wants this kind of training from DPS, Lt. Witt says he'll get you in touch with somebody who can provide it.


Texas teacher's group against arming educators

LUBBOCK, Texas - President Trump's plan to arm teachers is already implemented in Texas. More than 100 districts across the state allow staff to conceal carry.

That runs contrary to the beliefs of the Texas State Teachers Association, a lobbying organization for Texas educators, whose leadership says putting guns in the classroom is not wise. 

"There are just so many variables that can happen," Lauren Kern said. "What if it accidentally gets accessed or if there's a fight that breaks out between students and they get ahold of that gun. You never know what's going to happen and I personally, as a teacher, would not want to step in and make the decision to use a gun or not."

Kern says schools around the region already do a great job protecting students and that money spent training teachers on how to shoot an armed intruder would be better served elsewhere in the classroom.

"We go into this profession to teach kids, to help teach future generations, to help kids learn and so not that we don't want to keep our kids safe but that's a huge responsibility on teachers and our association feels like more money should be spent on counseling and mental health issues versus arming teachers.

No action has been taken on nationwide teacher carry.


Congress struggles to adapt to Trump's shift on guns
  
WASHINGTON (AP) - Action on gun legislation has skidded to a halt in Congress after President Donald Trump's stunning shift on gun policy left some in his party confused and scrambling to figure out what to do next.
  
Republicans squirmed over Trump's call for stricter gun laws after the assault on a Florida high school, while Democrats seized on the opening to reach beyond a modest measure gaining traction in Congress. They unveiled a more ambitious priority list, with expanded background checks and even a politically risky ban on assault weapons.
  
Without a clear path forward for any legislation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shelved the gun debate, for now, saying the Senate would turn next week to other measures.


Severe Nor'easter flooding targets Central U.S. and East Coast

(AP) - Flooding continues to be a threat across the central part of the U.S. on Thursday, as the same storm system threatens to target the Northeast with heavy rain and strong winds to end the week.

The National Weather Service issued flood warnings in northern parts of Alabama and Mississippi as heavy rainfall continues to cause widespread flooding of rivers and tributaries across the area. In Alabama, police in the Birmingham suburb of Hueytown said high winds knocked down trees and power lines.

Several cars got stuck in high water in the Dallas area as the storm system moved through, with one rescue captured from a television news helicopter.

Further east, forecasters said the Tennessee River could crest almost 5 feet above flood level in Florence, Alabama, inundating some low-lying areas by early Friday.

The weather service says this has been the rainiest February ever recorded in Memphis, Tennessee, with rainfall totaling 11.7 inches as of Wednesday afternoon. Half of that rainfall occurred in just the past week.

While the coast is expected to mainly see heavy rain and wind, interior sections could see heavy snow with some areas over upstate New York getting up to two feet.

Emergency officials in Massachusetts are monitoring expected high tides as the storm creeps near, and are expecting dangerous conditions by Friday in addition to "very significant coastal flooding."

In the coast town of Scitutate, town officials are offering sand bags for businesses and mobilizing boats and trucks in the event of rescues.

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