Texas Fights Air-Quality Standards Because Lower Ozone Levels Can Kill People

Categories: Politics, Science

Wikimedia Commons/Turn 685
TCEQ: Sure it looks bad, but it's not like you're going to leave your air conditioning.
Here's the good news: Dallas-Fort Worth ozone levels for the first this year dropped below the federal standard of 84 parts per billion. The bad news: the 84-ppb standard the area has just now met for the first time is from 1997. The current standard is 75 ppb, well below DFW's 81 ppb mark. Worse still, most scientists consider the newer standard too high and say people exposed to that much ozone are at increased risk of asthma, heart disease and lung disease. For years, scientists and public health advocates have been pushing for a limit closer to 60 ppb.

Predictably, Texas disagrees, and not just on the grounds that tougher restrictions will eat into economic growth. As the Texas Tribune>reports, one of the state's top environmental regulators argues that lower ozone levels could actually kill people.

"I haven't seen the data that says lowering ozone will produce a health benefit," Michael Honeycutt, the agency's chief toxicologist told the Tribune. "In fact, I've seen data that shows it might have a negative health benefit."

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How Awful Is Your Street: A Searchable Database of Dallas Road Conditions

Flickr/Alan Stanton

Dallas has terrible streets. Ask any driver who hasn't been rendered prematurely senile by the constant jostling over disintegrating pavement or any cyclist who's survived a run-in with a man-eating pothole. Hell, ask City Hall, which estimates that it will take three-quarters of a billion dollars to get the city's roads back in decent shape. When you couple aging infrastructure with a long-standing municipal propensity to value shiny new hotels and bridges over nuts-and-bolts governance, this is what happens.

This ground has been well trod, and bitching about the general crappiness of the city's streets is a tired and unsatisfying exercise. But what if Dallasites could bitch about street crappiness with mathematical precision? To not only say, "Sweet Jesus, the potholes on Garland Road sure do suck," but to quantify the precise amount of suckiness those potholes contain.

See also: Dallas Streets Keep Getting Worse and Worse

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Ebola in Dallas: October 21

Categories: Healthcare

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Scanning electron micrograph of Ebola virus budding from the surface of a Vero cell
With 17 days until the last person in direct contact with one of Dallas' three Ebola patients finishes monitoring, here's the latest:

The condition of the patients:
Amber Vinson's mother, Debra Berry, discussed her daughter's condition on Good Morning America early Tuesday. Mom says Vinson remains weak, but is doing OK and focused on getting better. Berry told the morning show that it's been difficult for her and her family to comprehend her daughter's situation.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Nina Pham has been upgraded from fair to good condition by doctors at the National Institutes of Health. Bentley, her dog, gave his first sample to be tested for Ebola this morning. He has shown no symptoms and still appears to be a very good boy.

Perry announces procedure for potential future Ebola cases:
Governor Rick Perry announced Tuesday that any future Ebola cases will be treated at UTMB Galveston or at Methodist Richardson. Patients in Richardson would see UT Southwestern doctors and have their lab work done at Parkland's lab. WFAA's Janet St. James also reports that Parkland will provide a 50-person unit for quick Ebola response. Perry says the new setups will be ready in the next 24 hours. The new facilities are part of a plan by the newly formed Texas Task Force on Infectious Diseases, led by Dr. Brett Giroir.

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Our British Texan Discovers the Dallas Stars and Falls Madly in Love with Weird-Ass Hockey

Categories: Sports

Mike Mezeul
This man is exactly how I feel about the Dallas Stars.
Two years ago, when I arrived in the States from the UK, I had a very vague idea of what ice hockey was. I was, though, sure that it was one of the most far-fetched sports out there. While most sports are played on the sort of easily accessible field we can all find and involve a ball, hockey is played on a smooth sheet of ice, with sticks, a goaltender dressed up to look like Aaron Rodgers in that awful State Farm commercial and a comically tiny goal that itself can slide around the ice.

See also:
- An Englishman discovers Texas barbecue
- An Englishman discovers big, scary guns

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NCTCOG Acknowledges Public Criticism, Drops Private Toll Road Idea

Categories: Transportation

Mark Haslett
From the beginning, the private toll road that would run parallel to Interstate 30 seemed like a sure thing, no matter how many people who lived in the way who said they didn't want the road.

"I think that maybe the ship has already sailed, and all these meetings out there, the public comments, it's putting a check in the box," Lavon's Mayor Chuck Teske says in last Thursday's cover story. "I really don't think they care what the residents out here think."

Late last Friday, however, local transportation planners suddenly seemed to care what the residents thought. The North Central Texas Council of Governments announced in a press release Friday afternoon that it is no longer recommending the toll road proposal be included in the Mobility 2035 plan, a key document that outlines where federal transportation money is going to go.

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The Observer Needs a Copy Editor (But You Knew That Already, Amiright?)

We have an immediate opening for a copy editor. Until we find one, we'll continue to let commenters correct our terrible spelling and grammar while we try and fail not to get defensive about it. It's the Observer way.

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Trinity Trust's Plan for River Amenities Is a Vivid, Impossible Fever Dream

The Trinity Trust
Are the three in black and white stripes together, or what?
Say what you will about boring stuff like feasibility -- as surrealist art the latest renderings of potential park-like amenities between the Trinity River levees are pretty damn amazing.

Tragically, the solar-powered water taxis we've all grown to love from earlier sales pitches for the Trinity project are gone, but the latest conceptual images for the lakes near downtown include jugglers, zip lines and a water "spray park." Presumably, the water for the spray park -- like the water for the lakes -- wouldn't come from the river itself because, you know, disease. But in any case, the renderings Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan and the Trinity trust showed a City Council committee on Monday were incredible. By that we mean not credible.

At least that's how some City Council member saw it.

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Ebola in Dallas: Your Post-Weekend Update

Categories: Healthcare

U.S. Army
American troops head to a new front line in Africa.
Here's a roundup of the (mostly good) Ebola news from over the weekend:

The condition of the patients:
Amber Vinson is still being treated at Emory University hospital in Atlanta. She remains in stable condition. Over the weekend, her family issued a statement asking for privacy and disputing claims that she was acting irresponsibly when she flew from Cleveland to Dallas with a low-grade fever:

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Presby's Nurses Announce Support for the Hospital But Secrecy Remains

Categories: Healthcare

Emily Mathis
Despite comments on Monday in support of the hospital, nurses remain silent on what exactly happened when Ebola came to Presbyterian.

On Monday afternoon, dozens of nurses, doctors and other healthcare employees convened at the front entrance of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital to discuss the recent controversy about how the hospital handled the Ebola outbreak. Despite definitive comments in support of the hospital, Presby's nurses remained tight-lipped on what actually happened during Thomas Eric Duncan's care.

See also: Presbyterian's Nurses Are Pushing Back on the CDC and Hospital Over Handling of Ebola

"Today we want our community and our country to know that the nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian are so proud of our hospital and proud of what we do," said Dr. Cole Edmonson, chief nursing officer at the hospital. "There are a lot of questions being asked about what happened. And I can't answer those today. A number of reviews are underway."

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Cowboy Joseph Randle Gets an Underwear Endorsement Deal for Stealing Underwear

Categories: Sports

Dallas Cowboys
Steal some underwear, get some free underwear. Circle of life.
In a move that's a bit like Fiskars hiring Michael Irvin as a spokesman , MeUndies, a Los Angeles-based underwear company, is bringing on Cowboys backup running back Joseph Randle to sell $20 pairs of boxer briefs.

Randle, who is making $495,000 this season, was arrested last Monday for absconding with $39.50 worth of Polo underwear and an $84 tester bottle of Gucci Guilty Black cologne from a Frisco Dillard's. Randle told police he took the items because he didn't want to take the time to pay, which is somehow both the dumbest and most sensible explanation for stealing something.

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