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More West Nile Deaths Prompt Call For Aerial Spraying

Sean McCann
(cc) flickr
Culex mosquitoes lay their eggs on the surface of fresh or stagnant water.

Denton County is reporting its first death from West Nile Virus. Health officials say the patient was in his 90’s and had underlying health issues. He lived in Denton.

Ellis County is also reporting its first West Nile death.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area has more human West Nile cases than any region in the U.S.

But, Dallas County Commissioners are not on-board with a call for aerial spraying for mosquitoes. The Dallas County Medical Society is asking for the escalation of mosquito control after 130 West Nile virus cases and seven deaths.

Commissioners, at their meeting today, voiced support for the County Health Department’s integrated approach, which includes targeted neighborhood spraying using trucks and public education on prevention.

Dallas County Health Department director Zack Thompson says he rejects aerial spraying because there is no data about unintended health consequences of the blanket spraying of a large urban area. He says people are better able to avoid the spray in smaller, announced, nighttime ground spraying.

Thompson says county officials and the city of Dallas are launching an escalated approach to neighborhood truck-spraying. He says a recent test showed spraying on three consecutive nights significantly decreased the mosquito population. Dallas has the most West Nile cases in the county, and most of those are north of I-30. County and city officials meet this afternoon to plan the upgraded, overnight spraying.

BJ Austin, KERA News

DCMS recommends immediate aerial spraying for West Nile Virus

US seeks $162M in fines against AMR, American Air

Federal safety regulators are seeking up to $162.4 million in fines against American Airlines and its affiliates for alleged violations of U.S. safety standards going back several years.

Many of the investigations had not been disclosed until the Federal Aviation Administration filed documents describing them to the federal court handling the bankruptcy case of American and parent AMR Corp.

The documents underscore the scope of the FAA's concern about the maintenance program at American, the nation's third-largest airline. They come to light just as American tries to fix labor and financial problems and hopes to turn itself around in bankruptcy protection.

American says it never operated unsafe planes. The airline says it's been working with federal officials for several years to improve training and oversight in its maintenance operations.


Fort Worth man gets life for deliveryman slaying

A North Texas man has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for a 2010 crime spree that left a deliveryman dead.

A judge in Fort Worth on Tuesday accepted the plea deal from Jose Ramos Jr.

Ramos pleaded guilty to capital murder in the June 29, 2010, fatal shooting and robbery of Ruben Martinez outside a Fort Worth convenience store.

Ramos still faces a capital murder charge in the slaying hours later of Nancy Weatherly of Godley during a robbery.

A jury in March convicted Mark Anthony Soliz of killing Weatherly and sentenced him to death.

Ramos on Tuesday also pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery, burglary and deadly conduct during the crime spree. He received two life prison terms and a 20-year sentence, to be served concurrently.


Texas doctors object to abortion counseling rule

Texas medical groups object to a proposed rule for the state Women's Health Program that would ban abortion counseling, calling it a "gag order" on doctors.

The Dallas Morning News reported Tuesday that the Texas Medical Association and other groups complain the proposed rule is so burdensome that doctors won't want to participate in the program, regardless of whether they oppose abortion.

The rule bans doctors in the program from providing abortion counseling and extends to other doctors in their practice and patients who are not in the women's health program. Texas Medical Association President Dr. Michael Speer says it violates doctors' free speech rights.

A spokeswoman for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission said officials will carefully review the objections raised by the TMA.


Ceremonial anchor dedicated at Fort Worth park

An anchor meant to salute a new warship named for a North Texas city has been dedicated at a park.

The ceremony Monday honored the USS Fort Worth, which will be commissioned Sept. 22 in Galveston.

An anchor manufactured in 1933 and used on several naval ships has been placed at Veterans Memorial Park in Fort Worth. The anchor was acquired by officers at Naval Air Station Fort Worth.

U.S. Rep. Kay Granger of Fort Worth says the anchor will represent a bond with the ship and the crew.

The vessel will be based in San Diego.


Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.