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Houston, We Have A Problem: Tropical, Deadly Dengue Fever Is In Space City

A new study says the deadly dengue fever, a mosquito-borne illness, has re-emerged in Houston.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: A former Detroit mayor could serve his prison sentence in Texas, Dallas’ mayor apologizes to the mother of Santos Rodriguez, and Houston, we have a new problem: dengue fever.

A new study says the deadly dengue fever, a mosquito-borne tropical illness that isn’t common in the United States, has re-emerged in Houston. The Houston Chronicle reports that a study by the Baylor College of Medicine shows the virus has been transmitted in Houston, the first evidence the disease so prevalent in the developing world has spread to a major U.S. city in large numbers. Dengue fever is thought to have been eradicated from the United States in the 1950s. There is no vaccine or treatment for the virus. Dengue symptoms resemble West Nile Virus. DDT ended dengue fever in the 1950s, but mosquitoes returned after the insecticide fell out of favor, the Chronicle reports. Asian tiger mosquitoes, which are aggressive and carriers of the dengue virus, are now rampant in Houston.

  • Forty years later, an apology: Four decades after a Dallas police officer shot 12-year-old Santos Rodriguez in the head, Mayor Mike Rawlings met with his mother to apologize. Bessie Rodriguez told The Dallas Morning News that Thursday’s meeting was “pretty good” and that the mayor told her he “felt honored” to meet her. “She is a strong, witty woman that anyone would be proud to have as a mother,” Rawlings said in a statement. “I promised her that I will do everything in my power to ensure we have nothing but the best officers working for our police department, so that no one else has to experience what she has endured for the past 40 years.” The lunch meeting happened on Thursday across the street from where Rodriguez was killed. Last month, Rawlings apologized for the killing at an event about race relations in Dallas. Over the summer, KERA’s Lauren Silverman reported on the 40th anniversary of the shooting.

  • Prison time in Texas for Kilpatrick: Kwame Kilpatrick, the disgraced former Detroit mayor who moved to North Texas, has been sentenced to 28 years in prison for corruption that turned city hall into a pay-to-play parlor. He will likely serve his prison sentence in Texas. Kilpatrick was convicted earlier this year of two dozen crimes, including racketeering conspiracy, bribery and extortion. There was evidence of shakedowns, kickbacks and strong-arm tactics to reap tens of thousands of dollars and other benefits from people who wanted city business. The sentence was a victory for prosecutors, who had recommended Kilpatrick serve at least 28 years. In 2008, while Kilpatrick was in jail, his family moved to Southlake, where they lived in a swanky suburban mansion – a lifestyle that infuriated people in Detroit since he still owed restitution. Later, the family moved to Grand Prairie.

  • SMU acquires another rare painting: The Meadows Museum at SMU has acquired a late portrait by Francisco de Goya. The portrait of his grandson was painted in 1827, just months before the painter died. The painting will be unveiled today at 10:30 a.m. The portrait of Marino Gaya hasn’t been seen by the public for years – it’s been in a private collection since the 1950s. KERA Art&Seek’s Jerome Weeks has more. It’s one of about a dozen portraits known to have been painted by Goya in the last eight years of his life. Jerome reports that the painting fits well with the Meadows’ collection of Spanish art — in particular, the five earlier Goya paintings the museum already owns, plus first-edition sets of his major prints. Its style is characteristic of Goya’s later paintings – with its softer contours.

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.