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Wed September 19, 2012
High Court Won't Stop Texas Voting Map
The Supreme Court is allowing Texas to use congressional districts that were drawn by a lower federal court for the November election.
The court declined without comment Wednesday a request from a Latino rights group to block use of those districts. The group said the districts discriminate against minorities.
The court-drawn map is intended for use only in this year's election.
The League of United Latin American Citizens said the map has the same flaws identified by federal judges in Washington who last month rejected political boundaries drawn by Texas lawmakers as discriminatory.
The interim congressional map was used in Texas' primaries in May and was devised to let the state hold elections while courts considered challenges to redistricting plans adopted by the Legislature following the 2010 census.
Slain Dallas woman's family sues over 911 call
The family of a Dallas woman who tried to call 911 and was later found slain inside her home has filed a lawsuit over the handling of her case.
Attorneys for the relatives of Deanna Cook filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Dallas and others Wednesday. The suit alleges that police were late responding to the call and relied on inexperienced officers who didn't properly investigate.
Cook called 911 on Aug. 17, and the call center sent two officers to her home. Police say it wasn't made clear there was an emergency. Officers knocked on the door, received no response and left.
Two days later, Cook's family found her dead in her bathtub. Her ex-husband is charged with murder.
Executive director of Dallas Arts District resigns
The founding executive director of the Dallas Arts District has resigned.
The district's governance committee Wednesday announced the resignation of Veletta Forsythe Lill, effective Nov. 1. The former Dallas City Council member has led the nonprofit arts group since 2009.
Lill says she's spent 15 years working for arts development and preservation in Dallas and wants more time with her family.
A search committee has been created to find a successor for Lill.
The 68-acre Dallas Arts District is the largest contiguous arts district in the country.
Killer of 5 at Dallas-area car wash set to die
The Texas parole board has rejected a clemency request from a convicted killer set to die this week for a robbery and shooting spree that left five people dead at a Dallas-area car wash 12 years ago.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles turned down the request from 40-year-old Robert Wayne Harris on Tuesday. He still has appeals before the U.S. Supreme Court to try to keep him from lethal injection Thursday evening in Huntsville.
Harris was condemned for the massacre at the Mi-T-Fine Car Wash in Irving in March 2000 a week after he'd been fired from his job there. He's never denied the crime.
He also was charged but never tried for the abduction-slaying of an Irving woman four months before the car wash killings.
2 wounded in night gunfire near Arlington school
Police are seeking a shooter after two people were wounded in a nighttime argument outside a North Texas school.
Arlington police say one victim was shot in the head during gunfire Tuesday evening near the playground of Glen Harmon Elementary School. The shooting happened hours after school let out.
Investigators are trying to determine what sparked the dispute involving several young adults.
Both victims were transported to a hospital. Police have not released their names and further details on their conditions.
Judge: Texas firm must pay disabled workers $1.4M
A judge says a Texas company that supplied mentally disabled workers to an Iowa turkey plant at wages of 41 cents per hour must pay the men $1.37 million in back pay.
Tuesday's ruling against Hill Country Farms is the third judgment against the firm after authorities in 2009 shut down a dilapidated bunkhouse in rural Iowa where the men had lived for decades.
U.S. District Judge Charles Wolle says the 32 men had been paid $65 per month to work full-time on a turkey processing line after Henry's improperly charged them for lodging and other expenses.
The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The U.S. Department Labor earlier won a $1.76 million judgment and Iowa Workforce Development obtained a $1.2 million fine.
Uneasy Peace at Dallas City Hall Over Judge Appointments
Dallas City Council members have approved a watered-down compromise in the dispute over removal of some municipal judges.
The compromise proposal created three new judge positions, and named three ousted judges who are suing the city.
Council member Vonciel Jones Hill said the lawsuit shouldn’t matter.
“The judges who sued, sued on the basis of improper process and impediment of the independence of the judiciary,” Hill said. “They should have.”
But Council member Angela Hunt said the lawsuit and its lead attorney who tries cases in municipal court are big problems.
“They’ve sued the city and they’ve hired the best traffic attorney in Dallas to represent them in court,” Hunt said. “How do we think that appears to people?”
Mayor Mike Rawlings agreed, and cast the deciding vote against appointing the three former judges. But later he cast the winning vote to put one of them back on the bench after assurances that Cheryl Williams won’t hear traffic cases.
The issue has split the council along racial lines, and sparked several rounds of bitter debate.
BJ Austin, KERA News
Denton CountyAir Attack on Mosquitoes Worked
Aerial spraying in Denton County killed a lot of mosquitoes.
Health officials say the air attack reduced the population of all mosquito types by 56 percent. The kill rate was even better for the Culex mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus: a 60 percent reduction.
Officials say the increase in new cases of West Nile declined after aerial spraying. But they say the good results cannot be attributed solely to the spraying. More information on the North Texas West Nile response will come in a report from the Centers for Disease Control expected this fall.
BJ Austin, KERA News
New West Nile Death In Collin County
Plano reports a second West Nile virus death. Health officials say the victim had the more serious neuroinvasive form of the mosquito-transmitted illness. That brings Collin County to three deaths and 72 cases.
Dallas County’s update puts human cases at 367.
On Wednesday, for the first time in two weeks Tarrant County did not report a daily increase in the number of human cases. The total remained at 259.
BJ Austin, KERA News