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Wed August 22, 2012
Southern Dallas County To Be “Sprayed” Wednesday and Thursday
Planes will drop mosquito spray on half-a-dozen cities in south Dallas County tonight and tomorrow night.
Duncanville, Ferris, Mesquite south of I-30, Rowlett, Seagoville, Sunnyvale and Wilmer will be sprayed starting a 9 pm.
Laura McGowan, with the aerial spraying company, says residents of cities NOT on the spray list may see the planes overhead – but don’t worry.
“Remember when the plane is making turns it is not spraying product anywhere. Even when you may see it overhead, the planes have shut-offs – on and off -- that are automatically programmed based on GPS to understand where they’re supposed to be applying and where they’re not.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins says a team from the Centers for Disease Control will arrive tonight. The experts will study the West Nile virus outbreak and the effectiveness of the spraying. He also says the CDC is sending about $3 million to the state to cover the cost of the aerial spraying so far.
BJ Austin, KERA News
WNV Aerial Spray Map 2012
CDC: Alarming Increase Seen In West Nile Cases
U.S. health officials say there's been an alarming increase in the number of West Nile cases across the country.
The Centers for Disease Control reports more than 1,100 infections. Three times more cases than usually seen at this point in the year.
About half are in Texas, which has at least 25 deaths.
The DFW area’s toll is 18, by far the most in the country.
The City of Dallas has ended aerial spraying of mosquitoes that can carry West Nile for now, but a number of southern cities in Dallas County have requested it.
Denton County Health Officials Want Aerial Mosquito Spraying
The Denton County Health Department is recommending the County Judge declare a West Nile Health Emergency and request aerial mosquito spraying from the state.
Denton County has 105 cases of West Nile, and one reported death. Health Department director Bing Burton says ground spraying and using larvacide in standing water has not contained the West Nile outbreak. He says aerial spraying over large areas could provide the boost Denton County needs to stem the growing number of cases.
BJ Austin, KERA News
Dallas Council Exempt From Ethics Training
Thirteen thousand city of Dallas employees will be headed to “ethics training” soon.
The City Council has approved a $400,000 program to help employees clearly understand the boundaries of business at City Hall.
But, the 15 City Council members are exempt. That does not make any sense to Council member Ann Margolin.
“The council is the ultimately leader of the city and it’s critical that we not exempt ourselves from this,” Margolin told colleagues. “And that we bring ourselves into this as leaders of the city. I just wanted to make that comment.”
Mayor Mike Rawlings says ethics one of his top priorities and he wants to see council members schooled at an upcoming retreat this fall.
BJ Austin, KERA News
2 Texas brothers indicted, same bank robbed twice
Two brothers have been charged with robbing the same North Texas bank twice.
Federal prosecutors in Dallas on Wednesday announced the indictment of 43-year-old James Robert Cleveland Butler and 45-year-old Johnny Charles Butler.
The siblings allegedly held up a Bank of America branch in Forney last Nov. 25 and again on May 18. Both were arrested following an Aug. 2 standoff at their home in Quinlan, about 25 miles northeast of Forney.
Each brother faces two counts of armed bank robbery and one count of possessing a firearm during a violent crime.
Johnny Butler is also charged with assault on a federal officer and discharging a firearm during a crime. Prosecutors say gunfire came from within the Butler home during the standoff. Johnny Butler was wounded before the pair surrendered.
Texas inmate set to die for killing 3 teens
A former auto mechanic who shot and killed three former housemates as they slept 14 years ago in Amarillo asks the U.S. Supreme Court to spare him from the Texas death chamber.
Convicted killer John Balentine is set to die Wednesday evening in Huntsville.
A reprieve for the 43-year-old ex-con from Arkansas would be his third in as many years. Last year, he came within an hour of lethal injection before justices stopped the punishment.
His attorney contends Balentine had poor legal help during his trial and early appeals and jurors weren't able to consider his childhood difficulties before they condemned him.
Judge: Fort Hood suspect can be forcibly shaved
A military judge says he has the right to order an Army psychiatrist charged in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage to be forcibly shaved before his murder trial.
Col. Gregory Gross says other defendants previously have been ordered to shave. He filed a response Wednesday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.
Last week that court delayed Maj. Nidal Hasan's upcoming court-martial while it considers his objection to being forcibly shaved.
The Army prohibits beards but Hasan has grown one to express his Muslim faith. Gross has banned Hasan from courtroom hearings, but said he will be forcibly shaved before the trial if he doesn't shave himself.
Hasan faces the death penalty if convicted in the attack on the Texas Army post that killed 13.
Watchdogs question plans for excess plutonium
Nuclear watchdogs are questioning a proposal to ship tons of plutonium to New Mexico, including the cores of nuclear warheads that would be dismantled at an aging and structurally questionable lab atop a major earthquake fault zone.
Opponents are voicing their opposition at a series of public hearings that opened this week on how best to dispose of the plutonium.
One plan being studied by the Department of Energy calls for the shipment of 7 metric tons from the Pantex plant in West Texas to Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and a Savannah River site in South Carolina for disassembly and processing into fuel for commercial nuclear reactors.
The plan also calls for another 6 tons of surplus plutonium to be buried at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, N.M.