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Poll: Will You Die of the Ebola Virus?

Yesterday’s news about the first case of Ebola confirmed in the United States — right here in Dallas — understandably sparked tremendous interest among our readers. My favorite social media gallows-humor remarks were “We’re No. 1!” and “Big Things Happen Here!”

But how afraid are you, really?

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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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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 (9/26/14)

Wylys Must Pay More than $300M in SEC Case. In May, a jury found that brothers Sam and Charles Wyly, founders of Irving-based Michaels Stores Inc., were guilty of fraud. They were found to have hidden their holdings in offshore trusts and to have engaged in illegal trading. On Thursday, a federal judge ruled that Sam and the estate of Charles (who died in 2011) must pay $187.7 plus interest, which could bring their total obligation to between $300 million and $400 million. The Wylys had argued their total net worth is only $119 million and that any punishment greater than that amount would bankrupt them. Tough, said the judge.

Need to Borrow Millions? Gov. Perry Can Help. You don’t even need to ask. The Texas Enterprise Fund, which the governor’s office oversees, even awarded $170 million to recipients who never officially applied for it. That’s just one of a number of troubling findings in a state audit report released Thursday.

UT Dallas Repaid State $4.3 Million. The university’s calculation error related to employee benefits is similar to the same one recently discovered at UNT, which has to repay almost $76 million. Maybe the Texas Enterprise Fund can help them out?

Enterovirus-D68 Cases Confirmed in Dallas County. Ten cases of the respiratory illness have been detected in children, which has symptoms much like those of the flu or a cold. Wash your hands regularly. Hand sanitizer is powerless against it, apparently.

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99% Invisible on the Scheme to Make Dallas a Seaport

The great podcast 99% Invisible just did an episode about our city’s admittedly harebrained idea to establish Dallas (a city 300 miles from the ocean, 700 miles via the Trinity River) as an important seaport on the Gulf of Mexico. I’d heard much of this before, but I hadn’t realize that our incongruously massive freeway bridges over the river are massive specifically to let ships pass under:

In a series of fits and starts over the next 55 years, the Port of Dallas project kept moving forward. In anticipation of the imminent navigability of the Trinity River, new freeway bridges constructed over the river were built extra tall to allow sea-going vessels clearance underneath. But by the time the money and political clout was ready to finish the project once and for all, Dallas didn’t really need a seaport. The new DFW airport would do just fine.

So the city of Dallas moved their river from the center of town to a walled-off floodplain for a Port of Dallas which never came to pass, and for years the diverted river festered; it became a place to dump sewage, and trash, and even dead bodies. No one went there on purpose.

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Why Texas Rangers Fans Need to Root Against the Rangers This Weekend

The Texas Rangers have been having a lousy season. That much you know because you checked out on baseball season back in July, when the team (beset by injuries) collapsed to the bottom of the standings. You probably also heard something about manager Ron Washington resigning because he cheated on his wife.

Fans could take some solace this season in the fact that the Rangers weren’t just playing mediocre baseball — they were terrible, laying claim to the worst record in all of MLB. That meant they were in line to get the No. 1 pick in the 2015 first-year player draft because those selections are awarded to teams in reverse order of their win-loss records from the previous season.

At the time of Washington’s departure, the Rangers’ record stood at 53-87, a .379 win percentage that made them a safe bet to finish with 100 losses, the standard measure in MLB for separating bad seasons from god-awful ones.

Then interim manager Tim Bogar took over, and it all fell apart.

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: The Devil, Doyle Davidson, and Dena Schlosser

It’s hard not to have a visceral reaction to reading about what Dena Schlosser did to her own child one morning in 2004. While the sound of hymns filled her Plano apartment, she went to the kitchen, got out a 9-inch knife, walked to baby Maggie’s crib, and cut off her daughter’s arms.

She believed that God wanted her and Maggie to go to heaven.

In his June 2006 article, one of the 40 greatest stories ever published in D Magazine, Paul Kix wrote about the church at which Schlosser worshipped — Water of Life in Plano — and of the domineering pastor whose influence, particularly in pushing for prayer rather than medication and blaming mental illness on demonic possession, may have contributed to a worsening of the postpartum psychosis Schlosser was suffering at the time of her crime.

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Folio Honors D Magazine Visionaries

Folio is a magazine industry publication, and next month it’s recognizing what’s called the Folio: 100, media’s “most innovative entrepreneurs and market shaker-uppers.” If you peruse the list of honorees, you’ll see folks from many top national titles and brands, largely big-shots out of New York City.

Scroll on down to the group categorized as “Visionaries” though, and right there at the top you’ll find our own D Magazine Partners president Christine Allison and chairman/editor in chief Wick Allison.

All of us who are lucky enough to work here recognize what a unique company this is. Christine and Wick aren’t afraid to take chances and to give any promising idea a shot. They’re always looking for a new angle on this business and early on recognized the need to transform what was once a single-title paper-and-ink business into a still-expanding digital enterprise.

I asked Christine what this means to her:

“It’s an honor, to be sure, but we couldn’t do what we do in any other city. To be acknowledged nationally is a big nod to Dallas and our incredible staff.”

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