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Roundup: Texas Unemployment Rate Up Slightly

The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, dedicated on May 2, 1997
Wally Gobetz (cc) flickr

By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX – The Texas unemployment rate has edged up slightly to 8.5 percent for August as the state lost jobs for the first time this year.

The Texas Workforce Commission said Friday the jobless rate increased from 8.4 percent in July, and the state lost 1,300 total nonfarm jobs.

Commission Chairman Tom Pauken says Texas "continues to feel the pressures of a stagnant national economy." The national unemployment rate is at 9.1 percent.

Pauken says an uptick in private sector jobs was offset by losses in government positions.

Midland maintained the lowest local unemployment rate at 4.8 percent. The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area still has the highest rate at 12.6 percent, although that's down from the revised July figure of 13.1 percent.

Recalled Cantaloupe Distributed In North Texas

The Dallas county health department says some of the Colorado cantaloupes linked to a bacterial illness have been shipped to North Texas. Following is the information released late Friday:

Press Release:

Dallas County Health and Human Services officials are advising Dallas County residents not to consume Rocky Ford cantaloupes shipped from Jensen Farms because they could have possibly been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium that can cause severe illness.

The potential health threat prompted the recall of the cantaloupes from Jensen Farms in Colorado, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

At least 22 illnesses in the United States have been linked to Rocky Ford cantaloupe from Jensen Farms, including at least two people from Texas. No cases of listeriosis in Dallas County have yet been confirmed to be linked to this multistate investigation.

Shipments of these particular cantaloupes were made between July 29, 2011 and Sept. 10, 2011 and distributed to 17 states, including Texas.

It has now been confirmed that some of the recalled Jensen Farms cantaloupes have been distributed to Dallas-area retailers within the last month.

A distribution list has not yet been released.

Residents are being advised to immediately discard any Rocky Ford cantaloupe shipped from Jensen Farms that may have recently been purchased. It is also recommended that even if some of the cantaloupe has been eaten without causing illness, the rest should also be discarded immediately.

These cantaloupes can be identified by a green and white sticker that reads: Product of USA-Frontera Produce-Colorado Fresh-Rocky Ford-Cantaloupe or a gray, yellow and green sticker that reads: Jensen Farms-Sweet Rocky Fords.

For cantaloupe without a sticker, consumers should call the retail store where they purchased the fruit to find out where the product was shipped from. Texas-grown cantaloupes have not been linked to the illnesses and were not included in the recall.

A person with listeriosis typically has diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms, followed by fever and muscle aches.

Severe cases of listeriosis can be life-threatening. Following an infection, symptoms will usually develop within three weeks.

Anyone who has recently consumed Rocky Ford cantaloupe and developed these symptoms should seek medical attention.

Pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems have a greater risk of illness after being exposed to foods contaminated with listeria.

Texas regents to huddle on the Bug 12's future

The University of Texas regents will meet next week to discuss the future of the Big 12 Conference.

The regents on Monday will discuss "appropriate action regarding ... athletic conference membership."

The meeting will come on the same day that University of Oklahoma regents are meeting on the topic of conference affiliation. Oklahoma has indicated it is deciding whether to leave the Big 12 after being approached by multiple conferences.

Texas officials flew to Oklahoma last weekend to try to convince the Sooners to stay. Texas A&M has announced its intention to join the Southeastern Conference.

The Big 12 lost Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-12) over the summer.

Stamp honors political trailblazer Barbara Jordan

Former U.S. Rep. Barbara Jordan of Texas now has her own postage stamp. It's the 34th in the post office's Black Heritage series.

Jordan served three terms in Congress and in 1976 was the first woman and the first African-American to deliver a keynote address at a Democratic national convention. She described Americans as "a people in search of a national community" and said Americans were attempting to create a society "in which all of us are equal."

The new forever stamp was issued in Jordan's hometown of Houston and is on sale nationwide.