Dallas County: 12th West Nile Death | KERA News

Dallas County: 12th West Nile Death

Health officials say a woman her 80’s who lived in Irving is the 12th death from West Nile virus in Dallas County.

The four DFW metro counties report nearly 700 human cases of the mosquito-transmitted virus.

Denton County is gearing up for aerial spraying. Tuesday, the County Judge will announce which cities have approved spraying from the air. A preliminary list shows Flower Mound, Sanger, Ponder and Trophy Club among cities opting “in”.

Ground spraying continues in many communities. Dallas trucks spray the White Rock area and southwest Dallas Monday night.

Dallas County plans ground spraying in Sachse Monday, with Lancaster Tuesday night.

BJ Austin, KERA News

Dallas Mayor: Turn Off The Sprinklers

Dallas City Council members want to start preparing NOW for next year’s West Nile virus season.

At a West Nile update, Mayor Rawlings assured the council that a pro-active response will be in place by next summer. In the meantime, Rawlings says people need to wear insect repellant and drain standing water where mosquitoes may breed – even small amounts generated by lawn sprinklers.

“I hope we don’t have sprinklers on out there,” said Rawlings. “We don’t need sprinklers now, okay. I’ve turned my sprinklers off. We’ve had so much rain. Everybody, just turn off your sprinklers for a while, okay? I mean seriously. Go over there, there’s that little on-off switch.”

City officials say they are ramping up a ground campaign to drain standing water, as well as continue ground spraying, probably for the next month.

BJ Austin, KERA News

DFW Red Cross Gets Ready For Isaac

The DFW Red Cross is getting ready for possible evacuees as tropical storm Isaac moves closer to the Louisiana coast.

The Dallas Command Center at Red Cross headquarters has been activated. Volunteers are attending conference calls and making phone calls to be sure that Red Cross manpower is in place to respond here or in the east Texas area to assist evacuees.

Several Dallas Red Cross crews are in Longview waiting to move into Louisiana as Isaac makes landfall.

BJ Austin, KERA News

FEMA Officials From Denton Waiting For Isaac

FEMA Region 6 – based in Denton – is mobilizing for Isaac. Pre-staged supplies are in place at various locations in Louisiana ahead of the storm.

A Region 6 Incident Management Assistance Team is in Baton Rouge, ready to respond with supplies that include water, cots, and blankets.

Seven years ago this week, when Hurricane Katrina hit, FEMA was sharply criticized for a late, ineffective response.

BJ Austin, KERA News

Williams named new head of Texas Education Agency

Tea party activist and former Railroad Commission Chairman Michael Williams has been named Texas' top education official.

Gov. Rick Perry tapped Williams on Monday to succeed Robert Scott, who stepped down in July after 5 years heading the Texas Educational Agency. Scott had made headlines after suggesting that the state's standardized testing requirements had become a "perversion" of their original intent.

Williams served as Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights under President George H.W. Bush.

He was appointed to the Railroad Commission in 1998 and subsequently elected three times. But he left his post last year, considered running for U.S. Senate and instead became one of 10 Republicans vying for the GOP nomination in the 25th Congressional District.

Williams was defeated in the May 29 primary.


Back to school for most Texas public students

The summer break has ended for millions of students in public schools across Texas.

Classes began Monday for the fall term.

The largest district in Texas expects more than 203,000 students on its campuses. The Houston Independent School District has 279 schools.

Other large districts across Texas also held their first day of school, including Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin, Brownsville, Laredo, El Paso and Lubbock.

Education officials estimate about 5 million Texas children are enrolled in public schools.