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Tarrant Reports Seventh West Nile Death

The number of deaths from West Nile virus continue to rise in North Texas. Tarrant County reported its seventh related death Wednesday afternoon.. The patient was a Hurst resident, in his 70’s, who had additional health problems.

Health officials say anyone can contract the mosquito borne illness but people age 50 and older are at a higher risk. They recommend people experiencing flu-like symptoms and a moderate to high fever of 102 degrees check with a physician.

Officials also say they're convinced this will be the worst year for West Nile virus deaths and severe illnesses since the disease hit America's shores in 1999.   So far, 1,405 serious illnesses and 119 deaths have been reported across the country, the bulk of them in Texas.

Yesterday, the sixth death from West Nile was announced in Tarrant County, a Fort Worth resident in his late 70’s. Also yesterday, Dallas County officials confirmed the 15th death from the mosquito-transmitted illness, a 60 year old man in Grand Prairie.

It's only September and infections are expected to continue into October, even though the height of the mosquito season is over. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts the numbers will surpass the 2002 record of nearly 3,000 severe cases and 284 deaths.

Magazine Lists Best Texas School At 17

The best a Texas university could do was 17 in the U.S. News and World Report’s University rankings for 2013. That school was Rice, in Houston.

The best North Texas university was SMU, ranked 58th. The school says that’s four slots better than last year, thanks in part to an improved quality of student, the retention of those students, and graduation rates.

SMU’s Stephanie Dupaul says it’ll take more hard work to break into the top 50.

Dupaul: It takes improving everything across the campus and everything nationally. But also it takes a lot of information getting out there to change the reputation of your school. and so it’s not just making your school better, it’s also making sure everyone knows that your school is better.

Other Top-100 Texas Universities included UT Austin, A&M, College Station, Baylor in Waco, and Texas Christian University. The Fort Worth school ranked 92.


Bill Zeeble, KERA News
Report: Texas cop fired dozens of shots in chase

A Garland police investigation has found that one of its officers fired at least 41 shots during a high-speed chase that ended with a 25-year-old man's death.

Police initially said the suspect's truck rammed the squad car Aug. 31, and the officer feared for his life.

But a Tuesday report says dashboard camera video shows the officer rammed the truck driven by Michael Vincent Allen, who never tried to assault the officer or return fire.

Investigators say other officers didn't fire a shot during the chase that ended in nearby Mesquite.

The officer is now on extended leave with restricted-duty status, and his police weapons have been taken away. The officer's name hasn't been released.

Mesquite authorities will submit their investigation to the district attorney.


American Airlines: Traffic flat, revenue figure up

The parent of American Airlines says traffic barely changed in August compared with a year ago, but a key revenue measure rose more than at other carriers.

Fort Worth-based AMR Corp. said Tuesday that passenger revenue per available seat mile, a closely watched statistic of pricing power, rose 4.1 percent last month, reflecting the benefit of several fare increases this year.

The same figure rose 4 percent at Delta Air Lines Inc., 2 to 3 percent at Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co. and 1 percent at US Airways Group Inc. It declined 0.5 to 1.5 percent at United Continental Holdings Inc.

AMR last November filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.


Military trainer in Texas acquitted of sex assault

An instructor swept up in a sex scandal at an Air Force training base in Texas has been acquitted of sexually assaulting a boot camp graduate.

Staff Sgt. Kwinton Estacio, an instructor at Lackland Air Force Base, faces the lesser charge of wrongful sexual contact after a military judge ruled Tuesday there isn't enough evidence to support a sexual assault charge.

Estacio pleaded guilty to other violations Monday, but pleaded not guilty to sexual assault. The San Antonio Express-News reports that a jury will deliberate the sexual contact charge Wednesday.

The airman faces up to 14 years in prison. He had faced up to 43 years before the sexual assault acquittal.

Military prosecutors have investigated more than a dozen instructors at the base in San Antonio, and charged six.


Irving man gets 10 years in fake hit case

An Irving man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in what his attorney says was a plea deal in a fake hit man case.

Sengchann Xayasith of Irving was sentenced after pleading guilty Monday to solicitation of capital murder.

Defense attorney Rose Anna Salinas says Xayasith has a history of drug addiction, didn't intend to kill anyone and just wanted money. Salinas said Wednesday there was never an intended target.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports Xayasith told undercover officers he was a hit man and would carry out a killing for $15,000.

Xayasith was arrested last September in a drug investigation. Police say Xayasith agreed to kill a man he believed was a crime lord. Nobody was hurt.