State Briefs

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Student sent home for tribute to friend

FREEPORT, Texas – A high school senior was sent home by officials after he shaved the message “RIP Amir” onto his head as a tribute to a friend who had recently died. Marcus Flannel, 17, was sent home and told not to return to Brazosport High School until he removed the message. He did so and returned to school the next day so he could play in an evening football game, said his mother, Lynn Tolbert. The haircut was a tribute to Amir LeJuan Player, a 14-year-old Brazoswood High School student who died Oct. 9 after a pickup basketball game. Preliminary autopsy reports indicate asthma was the cause of death, The Facts, Brazoria County’s daily newspaper, reported Saturday. Even though her son changed his hairstyle, Tolbert said she did not agree with the school telling him to do so. “That’s a memorial to a young man that meant a lot to my son and a lot of other kids in this area,” she said. “It was my son’s way of expressing that he’s going to miss his friend, and that’s it.”

Bus crash victims mourned at packed services

ELDORADO, Texas – Kennith and Betty Richardson died just the way they lived – together. Married for 58 years, the World War II veteran and his wife never strayed far apart. He would always sit on the front row at the First Baptist Church, while she sang in the choir. “That’s about as far away as they ever got,” the Rev. Andy Anderson recalled in the first of three funerals at the West Texas church that lost five members this week in a bus crash. “Passing from this life together is the only way they would have wanted it,” Anderson said. “They walked into heaven holding hands.” The Richardsons’ closed caskets, his draped with a U.S. flag and hers covered with flowers, sat side by side at the front of the sanctuary packed with about 300 mourners.

Doctors pleased with twins’ progress

DALLAS – Formerly conjoined Egyptian twins Ahmed and Mohamed Ibrahim are moving their limbs, opening their eyes and responding to voices, and are continuing to show improvement following last week’s surgery to separate them, doctors said. Surgeons inspected the skin grafts on Mohamed’s temples and found that no further graftings were needed, said Dr. James A. Thomas, chief of critical care services at Children’s Medical Center Dallas. Ahmed had a brief seizure Friday night that was resolved with treatment. His sedation medications were decreased to see if he becomes more alert, Thomas said. The 2-year-olds were in critical but stable condition and continue to have more fevers and remain on antibiotics.