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DISD “Sickout” Falters

DISD board meeting when trustees approved longer day with no extra pay.


The  teacher “sick out” called for today by an anonymous Dallas teacher never materialized, according to the DISD. 

The district says 13 percent fewer teachers called in sick or took a personal day today compared to the average.

Rena Honea, president of the Alliance AFT teacher group  warned members could be fired if they took part. She said she was proud teachers showed up in class, but acknowledged concerns that led to the walkout call.

Honea:  The treatment that teachers and employees of the district are receiving and have received in the last two to three years is absolutely unacceptable. To continue doing things to the employees and not with them causes reactions, frustration and anger like we saw when the "sick out" was called for.

Honea said she’s meeting with board members, hoping to reverse the vote that extended teacher work days 45 minutes without extra pay. That policy triggered the walkout call.

On his blog, the teacher who suggested the "sick out" called it a failure. He hoped for a better response, but said at least teacher issues surfaced. Honea said it’s time to end teacher fear and intimidation, and comments like “we can get others to take your place," or “just be glad you have a job.”

Honea said teachers can’t be productive if they’re  always looking over their shoulder.

Bill Zeeble KERA news

Dr. Roy Says He’s Not Guilty

The attorney for Rockwall Doctor Jacques Roy says the doctor denies the charges brought against him yesterday when federal officials arrested him and six who worked under him.

Prosecutors say Roy and the others defrauded the government out of nearly $375 million through illegal Medicare and Medicaid claims made through Roy’s company Medistat.


Texas AG and Others Won’t Oppose Honda Deal

Four more state attorneys general say they won't oppose a class-action settlement between Honda Motor Co. and owners of its hybrid cars over inflated claims of fuel efficiency.

Attorneys general for Iowa, Massachusetts, Texas and Washington said Wednesday they will sit on the sidelines. California said the same earlier today.

A San Diego judge reluctantly gave the five states a two-week extension to file objections to the settlement. They announced their decisions just hours before the deadline.

The states wanted more time after a Los Angeles woman won nearly $10,000 this month in small claims court. That's much more than the couple hundred dollars that the settlement is offering nearly 200,000 owners of Civic hybrids spanning from the 2003 to 2009 model years.


Last “Chicken Ranch” Madam Dies

The last madam of the infamous Chicken Ranch, the Texas brothel that inspired the movie "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" has died in Phoenix. Edna Milton Chadwell was 84.

Her nephew said she died Saturday. She had been in the hospital since an October car accident.

Nephew Robert Kleffman says Chadwell began working at the Chicken Ranch in 1952. About three years later, Chadwell became the manager. In 1962, she bought the establishment from Jessie Williams, commonly known as Miss Jessie, and ran it until it was closed in 1973.

Chadwell did not like the movie that made the Chicken Ranch famous, saying the only truth in it was that there was whorehouse in the town.


A North Texas man turned 108 today, on Leap Day.

The Rev. Eugene Florence joked that his secret to living so long is staying away from liquor. He also says he never gets mad and drinks plenty of water.

Florence was a pastor at a Fort Worth church until about 10 years ago. He kept preaching and speaking to groups until several years ago.

His relatives say he loves listening to baseball games on the radio and playing dominoes.

Florence earned a master's degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1951. But it was segregated then and didn't allow black students to receive master's degrees. So in 2004 when Florence was 100, the Fort Worth seminary awarded him the master of divinity degree.


Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.