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Ebola Case Confirmed in Dallas

Tim mentioned in Leading Off that a patient at Presbyterian Hospital was being tested for Ebola. It’s being reported just now that the case has been confirmed. This is the first confirmed case of the disease in the United States.

The Texas Department of State Health Services said the patient recently traveled to West Africa and developed symptoms days after returning to Texas. The adult was admitted into isolation Sunday at Presbyterian. Health officials notified the public Monday night and the results of the test, which was conducted in Austin, confirmed Ebola Tuesday afternoon.

Hang tight, everybody. We’re not all going to die. This is how people get infected by Ebola:

When an infection does occur in humans, the virus can be spread in several ways to others. Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with

  • blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, feces, vomit, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola
  • objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus
  • infected animals

Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, food. However, in Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats.

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Laray Polk on the State of Bookstores in Dallas

Last week, prompted by an Observer cover story that bemoaned the state of the bookstore scene in Dallas, we had ourselves a productive conversation about letters. Laray Polk took some time to think about it and then sent me a note to share her thoughts. Laray has written for the magazine. She’s an artist. And she wrote a book with Noam Chomsky. With that introduction, here are her smart words, which she sent under the title “Tough Love From The Himalayas”:

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Pop-Up Store Called Unbranded To Open in Deep Ellum

We’ve written in the magazine about Matt Alexander, founder of Need, and Bryan DeLuca, founder of Foot Cardigan. The two are joining forces to launch something called Unbranded in November. You’ll be able to buy pants there. And socks. And maybe a photograph. Plus, you’ll be able to hang out and drink beer and get some work done on your laptop. There might be mimes or jugglers. Folks need only apply to practice their art or sell their craft in the space. I am thinking of applying to be the in-house sword swallower. Just need to learn how to swallow swords. Anyway, here’s the full release:

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Will Automated Cars Revolutionize Urban Transportation?

As we bicker back and forth about tearing down roads, building toll roads, managing sprawl, creating density, improving public transit, and all the hot button issues that will affect mobility in DFW — and therefore dictate what kind of city Dallas evolves into — changes are afoot that may throw all of our assumptions about the future out the window.

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Apparently, the ‘Apparently’ Kid Is Headed to the State Fair of Texas

On Monday’s episode of Ellen DeGeneres’ daytime talk show, she had Noah Ritter — the 5-year-old Pennsylvania boy whose local TV news interview at a county fair went viral this summer. It was his second appearance, and as my wife and I were watching it last night (it’s her TiVo season pass, not mine), he was so delightful to watch that I remarked that Ellen ought to send him around the country as a roving reporter.

Ellen agreed with me, as right at the end of the interview (jump to about the 11-minute mark in this video) she announced that she’s sending Noah to report on the State Fair of Texas. The show was likely taped late last week, so keep an eye out for the kid roaming around Dallas and Fair Park.

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Leading Off (9/30/14)

Keller ‘Black Widow’ Convicted of Murdering Husband. The jury delivered its verdict shortly before 6 p.m. yesterday. Punishment phase for Michele Williams begins today. If you have never heard of this case, Claire St. Amant can fill you in. She has covered the Keller Black Widow like no one else.

Spooked Steer Goes Rogue, Nearly Kills Thousands on State Fair Midway. Am I overstating what happened? Yes. Yes, I am. But so, too, is the one State Fair employee who had to be treated for anxiety.

Ebola Case in Dallas? Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital has isolated a patient who is being tested for Ebola. This patient’s symptoms and travel history made the docs cautious. We should know more today from the Centers (not Center) for Disease Control and Prevention.

Highland Park ISD Reverses Decision on Banned Books. All’s well that ends well. The kids got themselves several real-world lessons in the process, not just about literature but about community activism, about how the media work.

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Are We Witnessing The Fall of the House of Michael Morris?

As Liz mentioned in Leading Off, a planned toll road connecting Garland to Greenville has sparked a statistical feud between the Texas Department of Transportation and the North Central Texas Council of Governments. Last week, when 1,500 people showed up at a public meeting in Rockwall in opposition to the proposed road, one citizen brought to light the fact that the numbers the NCTCOG used to justify their new toll road are dramatically larger than traffic predictions made by TxDOT. If you want to dig into how much larger they are and why, read the well-reported DMN story. What interests me is what this current standoff reveals about how our region’s transportation policy is made.

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Leading Off (9/29/14)

There Are So Many Tires In The Trinity River. Tons, in fact. And until recently, the job of removing them was left to volunteer groups. Now, a Dallas-based company called Good Earth Inc. has a city contract that will pay out $850 per ton, with a cap at $2.8 million over three years. They have pulled 114 tons of rubber thus far.

City Pension Funds For Same-Sex Spouses Stalled. The City Council has taken steps to protect LGBT municipal employees by adopting resolutions that call for equal treatment and to amend personnel rules with language prohibiting discrimination. However, city pension benefits for these employees and their spouses are still in flux, because Texas does not recognize same-sex marriages.

World’s Biggest Passenger Jet Lands at DFW Airport. The double-decker A380, which is almost 8 stories tall and can carry 500 passengers, begins scheduled service this week. It’s so massive that the airport had to make about $4.5 million in renovations to accommodate it. Should you feel like flying in something I find fairly terrifying, you can go to Sydney, Australia on Qantas, or Dubai on Emirates.

TxDOT v. NCTCOG. In a charming battle of bureaucratic acronyms, the North Central Texas Council of Governments is using high traffic estimates to justify a toll road that would stretch from Garland to Greenville, through Dallas, Collin, Rockwall, and Hunt counties. The Texas Department of Transportation’s forecasts are much lower. There’s other stuff going on, too, like the fact that NCTCOG’s estimates for population growth in Rockwall and Hunt counties is significantly higher than state estimates. Anyway, just read this.

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