After West Nile and Chikungunya, DFW Now Has the Measles -- and It's Softball's Fault

Categories: Environment, News

Sue Clark
A case of the left one has been confirmed in the DFW area. Not so with the right one.
Last week, the first Dallas resident came down with West Nile fever. It's news, but it's also to be expected. The virus has been in Texas since 2002, and every summer carries the potential for cases (and lots of spraying). Even though West Nile's 2012 summer was unprecedented, the virus is preventable. Use repellant, wear pants and long sleeves, put screens on your windows; you'll be OK.

On Tuesday, though, health officials announced a Dallas County resident had contracted the chikungunya virus. It's the seventh case in the state, according to state health officials, but the first in DFW. The mosquito that spreads chikungunya is a cousin to the West Nile carrier. So far, the people infected have imported the virus from foreign countries to the states, but the virus could potentially spread here.

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One Man, One Bike, One Camera: Jose Vela's Dallas Cop Block Aims to Guard the Guardians

Categories: News

Dallas Cop Block
Jose Vela started Dallas Cop Block after he felt an officer unfairly gave his wife a ticket.
The first incident that set Jose Vela on the path to having front and rear dash cams installed in his car happened in 2009. He was visiting his old man in Alamo, and his 7-year-old son, who has Down syndrome, wandered off. Vela and his wife searched but couldn't find him. They called the police. Eventually, a resident discovered Vela's son and phoned it in. The family was reunited, but, Vela told Unfair Park, not until the police threatened to arrest him and his wife. Nothing came of it, but Vela learned to be wary of police officers.

The second incident came a couple years later when his wife tried to pick up a friend from Love Field. She thought she saw her friend, so she pulled into a passenger loading area. It wasn't her friend, but an officer saw her and told her she needed to move, Vela said. She couldn't pull out because of the passing traffic. Vela said that's when the cop became angry and wrote his wife a ticket for refusing to leave.

Vela decided to strike back.

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Dallas Gets First West Nile Case of the Season

Categories: News

Enrique Dans
The city will begin "targeted" spraying this weekend.
Well, it's officially that time of year again. A Dallas resident in the Preston Hollow area has been diagnosed with West Nile fever, according to a city press release.

"Nothing has changed as far as our mosquito surveillance is concerned," Dallas County Health and Human Services public information officer Erikka Neroes told Unfair Park. She added the the county's surveillance practices are effective.

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Multiple Bodies Found Inside Abandoned Funeral Home

Categories: News

Not the entrance to the funeral home with the dead bodies inside.
Nine dead bodies were found in an abandoned Fort Worth funeral home Tuesday morning. According to The Dallas Morning News, the owner of the building asked the home's operators to leave two weeks ago. But workers told police the home hosted a service on Saturday, according to WFAA.

The police didn't tell WFAA whether the bodies were refrigerated, but the News reported that the electricity and air conditioning were still on inside the building.

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Police Chief David Brown Wants to Do Away with Dallas' Race-Based Police Associations

Categories: News

Thumbnail image for DAL_People_David_Brown.jpg
Can Turkyilmaz
David Brown wants to work with one police association, not four.
There are four major police associations in Dallas, each with its own slice of the force and its own interests. The Dallas Police Association is the biggest and oldest in Dallas, around since 1959. The Dallas Fraternal Order of Police is part of a nationwide organization that represents more than 300,000 officers.

The Black Police Association of Greater Dallas began in 1975, in response to black officers being treated unfairly and a lack of blacks being hired on the force, association president Cletus Judge told Unfair Park. Since then, the association has advocated for the rights of black officers. The Dallas Latino Peace Officers started under similar circumstances and has a similar mission.

But now Police Chief David Brown wants these four separate organizations to become one.

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Bomb Squad Called to Dallas Prep School After Explosive Class Project Found in Trash Can

Categories: News

Steve Rainwater
Kids at the 2010 robotics tournament held at the Hockaday campus. Robots are safer than acetone peroxide.
Terrorists like acetone peroxide because it's the rare explosive that doesn't contain nitrogen, the key ingredients bomb detectors search for. It's also cheap, easy to make at home and so unstable that sometimes people accidentally blow themselves up when they're still putting their bombs together.

As a British newspaper reported in a 2008 article about the substance: "In the occupied Palestinian territories, you can tell who the 'engineers' are: they are the ones covered in burn marks who might be missing fingers, or even a whole hand."

Which is all a long way of saying that acetone peroxide probably isn't the best substance to use for a children's science experiment.

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Flower Mound Mayor Tom Hayden Is Alienating Residents One Facebook Post at a Time

Tom Hayden
The Year of the Bible in Flower Mound is at its midpoint, and Mayor Tom Hayden says it's been more successful than he could have imagined. Since he delivered the proclamation at a Town Council meeting last December, more than a million people from 80 different countries have visited the Year of the Bible website (which, for the record, is operated by Calvary Chapel Flower Mound using no taxpayer dollars). Thousands more have sent Hayden emails and, while a few were angry, even threatening, they've been about 80 percent positive. If he had to do it over again he would. No hesitation.

Flower Mound residents, though, are learning that the Year-of-the-Bible speech wasn't a one-off thing. Hayden is a man whose political and religious opinions are stitched large on his sleeve and on his Facebook page.

"Just because I'm an elected official doesn't mean I don't have freedom of speech," he tells Unfair Park. "I haven't checked my First Amendment Rights at the door."

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You Can Find Out If You Live Near Explosive Chemicals Even If Texas Won't Tell You

Categories: News

Larry Goodwin
It looks pretty now, but call the factory office before you shack up next door.
When you buy a house, there are several factors to consider, like lot size, crime rates, and proximity to good schools and/or a decent bar or two. And, of course, whether or not your new home is within the blast zone of any explosive chemical plants.

That last factor is the rationale behind the federal Community Right to Know Act of 1986. But the Attorney General's office said recently that certain Tier II chemical information is no longer accessible to the general public. So do you have a right to know, or not?

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As Parkland Moves to Increase Minimum Wage, Clay Jenkins Pushes for Others to Join

Categories: News

Clay Jenkins West Nile press conference.jpg
County Judge Clay Jenkins wants to raise the minimum wage for county contractors to $10.25.
The worst-paid workers at Dallas County's Parkland Hospital make $8.78 an hour, a buck and change more than the federal rate of $7.25. But that's still not enough to live, hospital officials said this week, so they recommended increasing the base salary of entry-level positions to $10.25 an hour. If approved by the full hospital board, the increase would affect 230 employees.

"It brings our minimum base more in line with industry standards and it helps us recruit and maintain a higher caliber of staff at all levels inside Parkland," Jim Dunn, the hospital's executive vice president, said in a press release. (Officials declined to be interviewed.)

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Dallas Moms Descended on a Target Shareholders' Meeting, Hoping for an Open Carry Ban

Categories: Guns, News

Kathy Tran
Open carry advocates brought long guns into a Target recently, and now some moms are asking the store to crack down.
Toni Gallego knew what she was going to get her granddaughter for her birthday. She knew the store where she was going to get it, too. She shopped at Target all the time, buying formula and diapers. Then she saw the picture: long, black rifles in the big box store's toy aisle. The day before, she had dropped $160 there. She said she hasn't been back since.

Gallego, a retired educator, said she's never supported the use of guns. She hates that her two sons have them. Recently, she saw that Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, an organization that advocates for the sensible use of guns, was to host a "Stroller Jam" outside Target's shareholders' meeting. Come moms, with your strollers, and show Target it should prohibit open carry in its stores. With her granddaughter in a stroller, Gallego made her way to a shady corner of Ferris Plaza Park, across the street from Union Station in downtown Dallas, around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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