Dallas to spray some areas for West Nile virus
DALLAS (AP) - Health authorities in North Texas will begin spraying for West Nile virus after detecting a "significant" increase in the type of mosquito that primarily carries the virus.
The city of Dallas will spray from trucks beginning Monday evening and continuing through early Wednesday morning. Neighborhoods being targeted are ones where tests have shown a rise in the species of female mosquito most likely to transmit the virus.
Crystal Woods, division manager for mosquito control for the city, says there are no confirmed cases of West Nile in either the city or Dallas County. But she says officials are spraying to stem any outbreak.
The program is meant to kill airborne mosquitoes. It's the first time this year the city is spraying.
Residents are encouraged to stay indoors when the spraying is done.
COURTING CONNECTICUT'S GUNS
Texas Gov. Perry courts Conn. gun makers on tour
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Texas Governor Rick Perry has come to Connecticut in search of gun manufacturing and other jobs while talking up the importance of competition.
Perry met privately with gun manufacturers and other businesses at a downtown Hartford restaurant on Monday. He told reporters it's part of his state's drive to compete for jobs.
Gun manufacturers say they're considering leaving Connecticut after Governor Dannel Malloy signed new gun restrictions into law following the killings of 20 children and six educators at a Newtown school.
Malloy made an unscheduled stop to welcome Perry and offer what he called "Yankee hospitality."
Perry said his visit to Connecticut and New York is not intended to boost his profile for another run at the Republican presidential nomination. He says 2016 will take care of itself.
Texas Democrats complain about ethics vetoes
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas House Redistricting Committee has rejected proposed changes to the state's political maps, pushing any final votes to a meeting of the full House later this week.
Lawmakers returned to the special legislative session in Austin on Monday to consider adopting a redistricting plan drawn by a federal court in San Antonio.
The court intended for the state to use those maps only for the 2012 election. But after losing its case in Washington, Attorney General Greg Abbott asked the Legislature to make the temporary maps permanent.
Democratic lawmakers representing minority districts suggested several changes to the temporary maps to avoid any future court cases. But the Republican majority on the committee rejected all the proposals.
Minority groups complain that the temporary maps deny their communities full political representation.
Coastal insurance group expects profits
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The state-supervised non-profit insurer for coastal counties is expected to shore up its finances by the end of the year, the group told a Texas House panel Monday.
Pete Gise, who handles The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association's finances, says that after being in debt since 2012, the agency projects it will see its first profits by the end of the year.
The association also told the House Insurance Committee that it will have money to pay out pending claims from Hurricane Ike in 2008.
The agency recently settled $135 million worth of lawsuits which claimed TWIA didn't pay policyholders for legitimate damages caused by Hurricane Ike.
Lawmakers: Put dangerous chemical site info on Web
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - There are 16 fertilizer plants in Texas like the one that exploded in West, but authorities say they aren't clear if any are near schools or residential centers.
Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw told lawmakers Monday that he wasn't aware if the state had looked at other fertilizer plants for proximity to things like schools.
The April 17th explosion killed 15 people in West, a rural farming community. A school, nursing home and apartment complex nearby were all damaged.
Members of the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee told McCraw and other officials they'd like to see a state Website where the public can easily find where these facilities are located.
They said a model could be online services showing where registered sex offenders live.
More than 1,000 911 calls received night of blast
WACO, Texas (AP) - Authorities say the 911 center that scrambled emergency response to the fatal fertilizer plant explosion in the town of West received more than 1,000 calls the evening of the blast.
Waco police, whose dispatchers handle emergency calls from nearby West, said Monday that calls the night of April 17th were received between 7:30 p.m. and midnight. The number of 911 calls that night does not include dozens of others phoned into other police and fire lines.
The explosion killed 15 people, most of them first responders, and injured some 200 others.
Dispatchers working the night of the blast were honored Monday at the National Emergency Number Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. They're credited with handling frantic radio traffic, coordinating response with the command post in West, and directing numerous agencies that provided assistance.
CALL CENTER LAYOFFS-AUSTIN
OneWest Bank to lay off 725 Texas workers
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Executives with OneWest Bank have announced that more than 700 workers will lose their jobs as the company is acquired as part of a $2.53 billion deal.
The Austin American-Statesman reports today that the majority of the 725 employees work at a call center.
OneWest Bank is being acquired by Atlanta-based Ocwen Financial Corporation, which announced last week that it's purchasing mortgage servicing rights from OneWest. It's the latest in a string of acquisitions by Ocwen of companies that collect payments on subprime mortgages.
A letter of notification to the Texas Workforce Commission indicates the layoffs are scheduled to begin August 31st. About 150 employees will be retained at the Austin facility, which serves as headquarters for OneWest's home loan business. The bank is based in Pasadena, California.
Authorities identify 4 killed in North Texas wreck
RENDON, Texas (AP) - Authorities have identified four people killed in a massive wreck in North Texas that left at least six others injured.
The wreck was triggered around midnight Saturday when a disabled SUV on the side of the road was struck by another vehicle. The Tarrant County Sheriff's Office said Monday there were four vehicles involved, with eight people packed in 1 of them.
Alsbury Baptist Church in Burleson previously said 43-year-old youth pastor Brian Jennings was killed after stopping to assist the driver of the SUV. Also killed were the SUV's driver, 24-year-old Breanna Mitchell of Lillian; 42-year-old Hollie Boyles; and 21-year-old Shelby Boyles. Sheriff's officials could not confirm the relationship between the Boyles women. The wreck occurred close to their home near Rendon, 15 miles southeast of Fort Worth.
Sheriff's spokesman Terry Grisham has said authorities believe alcohol was likely a factor in the wreck.
Court says pre-Miranda silence can be used
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court says prosecutor can use a person's silence against them in court if it comes before he's told of his right to remain silent.
The 5-4 ruling comes in the case of Genovevo Salinas, who was convicted of a 1992 murder. During police questioning, and before he was arrested or read his Miranda rights, Salinas did not answer when asked if a shotgun he had access to would match up with the murder weapon.
Prosecutors in Texas used his silence on that question to convict him of murder, saying it helped demonstrate his guilt. Salinas appealed, saying his Fifth Amendment rights to stay silent should have kept lawyers from using his silence against him. Texas courts disagreed, saying pre-Miranda silence is not protected from use by prosecutors.
Ventura wants 'American Sniper' lawsuit to proceed
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura is asking a judge to allow his defamation lawsuit against slain "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle to go forward with Kyle's widow as the defendant.
In the book, Kyle claims he punched Ventura in 2006 over remarks slandering U.S. troops. Ventura says the remarks and the alleged incident at a San Diego, California bar never happened.
Ventura's attorneys argued in federal court Monday that he has the right to restore his reputation, and Kyle's estate will continue to profit from book sales.
Kyle's attorneys say if the case proceeds, it will paint Ventura as someone who has no feelings for widows of war heroes.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan took the arguments under advisement.
Iraq War veteran Eddie Ray Routh is charged in the February killings of Kyle and a friend at a Glen Rose, Texas gun range.
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