Five stories that have North Texas talking: Blue Bell could face an $850,000 fine for its listeria outbreak last year; Gov. Abbott defended the family of a fallen Muslim soldier; details regarding the Dallas shooter's past have emerged; and more.
Blue Bell’s listeria outbreak of 2015 will continue to hang over its head for at least another 18 months. The 109-year-old, Brenham, Texas-based ice cream company has 30 days to pay a $175,000 fine to the Texas Department of State Health Services. But, the company might have to add a couple scoops to that sum if it can't comply with state requirements for the next 1.5 years, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
The crisis halted production last spring and forced Blue Bell to recall millions of gallons of ice cream. Even more, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration linked the company’s products to 10 cases of listeria — three of which were deadly. Over the course of the year, the beloved ice cream slowly returned to the shelves and seemed to be in the community’s good graces, at least.
Other Blue Bell-buying states like Oklahoma and Alabama, as well as the FDA, have not announced other fines against the company. However, multiple lawsuits still await the company’s attention. [Austin American-Statesman]
- Gov. Greg Abbott came to the defense of a fallen Muslim soldier’s family currently clashing with Donald Trump. At the Democratic National Convention last week, Khizr Khan delivered an emotional speech regarding his late son Humayun, a U.S. army captain killed in Iraq in 2004, saying Trump had “sacrificed nothing and no one.” Trump retaliated saying Khan had “no right” to criticize him and speculated that the soldier’s mother was quiet throughout her husband’s speech because she wasn’t “allowed” to speak, The Texas Tribune reported. In response, Gov. Greg Abbott, like many Republican leaders, have stressed the need to respect Gold Star families. [The Texas Tribune]
"The service and devotion of Gold Star families to America cannot be questioned. Captain [Humayun] Khan, like many heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice, will be forever remembered for their service in protecting the freedoms we cherish in America."
- A Rio-bound Texan will represent the United States in three-day eventing, an equestrian sport. Clark Montgomery of Bryan, Texas learned to ride from his uncle, a cattle rancher, and at age 7, he went to a camp in Kerrville, specializing in English-style riding classes, according to Texas Standard, He’s lived and trained on the East Coast, Europe and England since 1999. This weekend, Montgomery will compete against men and women in three-day eventing — the “triathlon of equestrian sports” that includes: dressage, cross-country and show jumping — during the 2016 Olympic Games. [Texas Standard]
- The military recently released details about Micah Johnson, the 25-year-old gunman, who killed five Dallas police officers on July 7. The information doesn’t point to a motive behind Johnson’s downtown Dallas ambush, but charges against the former Army veteran reveal bizarre behavior. NPR reported: “According to a 2014 military investigation, Johnson stole underwear from an unnamed female service member and repeatedly sexually harassed her. In his sleeping bag, the military found grenade launcher ammunition and prescription medication belonging to a fellow soldier.” Read the full document (with redactions) requested by NPR through the Freedom of Information Act. [NPR]
- The City of Arlington will spray for mosquitos in select areas today after confirming six samples that tested positive for West Nile Virus. Crews have been working all summer to prevent mosquitos with routine surveys and trapping, but further action is needed. The city will spray in six different areas around town, including Douglas Court and Jake Langston Park from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A few ways residents can prevent mosquito bites: dress in long-sleeve, loose-fitting clothing outdoors, drain standing water (ideal breeding ground for the bugs) and spray insect repellant containing DEET. [City of Arlington]