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Poll: Should Dallas Put Fluoride in Its Water?

It’s tough sometimes to know which “experts” we’re supposed to believe, especially when scientific consensus also has a way of changing its collective mind as researchers learn more. It can be confusing to mere lay-folk like you (most of you, anyway) and me.

For years we’ve heard that fluoride in our drinking water is an absolute good and has promoted dental health for decades. But now, as Tim noted last week, scientists have concerns about the chemical’s neurotoxic effects. These concerns have been raised to the Dallas City Council, which will vote Jan. 28 on a contract to continue fluoridating the city’s water supply. Should they continue the practice?

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In Fluoride Debate, Steve Blow Lays Bare His Less Than Beautiful Mind

We’ve had some fun recently with Steve Blow’s substandard work. First John Neely Bryan skewered him. Then Zac, not having seen Mr. Bryan’s post, had a go at Blow. (It was interesting that they both hit on the same satirical concept; for my money, Bryan executed it better.) But essentially Blow’s point was: “cool kids in town” (his phrase) don’t want to build a toll road in the Trinity floodway. “Sensible adults” know better. Sensible adults understand that we need more tolled highways ringing downtown Dallas. His folksy argument made no sense. And his use of a derogatory term for people like esteemed architect Bob Meckfessel reveals prejudice.

Today Blow brings us another noteworthy column.

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Will Jacqueline Buckingham Anderson Bring Her ‘Practice’ to the Crow Collection?

The Crow Collection of Asian Art just announced the creation of a Wellness Institute, to be directed by Jacqueline Buckingham Anderson, “a recognized advocate in the field of wellness and lifestyle medicine,” and the wife of Dallas Museum of Art director Maxwell Anderson.

The institute is designed to host sessions related to health and wellness, meditation, tai chi, family yoga, and “other practices.” Does that mean that Mrs. Anderson will spread the gospel of her own peculiar “practice,” which we got a sneak peek of in 2013? We can only hope.

Here’s the full press release:

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Clay and Mike: Bryan Burrough’s Tale of Two Dallas Leaders

As Tim alluded to yesterday, Dallas’ handling of the Ebola crisis has just been put into perspective for a national audience, thanks to Bryan Burrough’s thoroughly reported piece in the new Vanity Fair. Burrough’s lengthy story puts a generally heroic shine on the response by local officials. And it offers a refreshingly frank, behind-the-scenes look at the actions of two powerful local politicians, both Democrats, who someday may aspire to higher office. My initial impression was that the piece portrays County Judge Clay Jenkins as some sort of steely Superman, while Mayor Mike Rawlings comes off as, well, considerably less effective.

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Moss Haven Elementary Students Sing ‘We Are The World’ to Fight Ebola

As the Advocate notes, some youngsters over at Moss Haven Elementary in Lake Highlands have produced their own remake of “We Are The World,” the well-intentioned all-star tune we all were made to get thoroughly sick of thanks to its constant play on MTV in 1985.

The Moss Haven video is part of an effort to raise $5,000 for Doctors Without Borders to help fight the Ebola epidemic.

If you have anything snarky to say after watching it, what kind of monster are you?

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Tower at UT Southwestern Medical Center To Be Named After Kern Wildenthal

You might call it yet another attempt to atone for past injustices. Today, word comes that Regents of The University of Texas System voted unanimously to name a major research tower at the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas after Dr. Kern Wildenthal, the UTSW president from 1986-2008. Wildenthal, you might recall, was dragged by his heels through the mud in a series of Dallas Morning News stories about his expense accounting. Thursday’s action involving the new C. Kern Wildenthal Research Building on the north campus, the Regents said, was taken to recognize Wildenthal’s “extraordinary accomplishments” as both dean of the medical school and president of UT Southwestern. Last year, the Regents also appointed Wildenthal to the honorific title of President Emeritus of the institution. Now, cue the anonymous commenters sure to enjoy vilifying the guy one more time …

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Baylor CEO Allison Takes Aim At Federal Response To Ebola

“This is a failure on the national level, a big failure,” said Allison, the head of the state’s largest nonprofit health system. “Ebola was known for years. If they would’ve addressed it when it needed to be addressed it could’ve been stopped, frankly, in my opinion, in West Africa. The CDC was not handling this well; they’ve dropped the ball and it fell back on Presbyterian Dallas.”

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Leading Off (10/31/14)

Last Day of Early Voting. Dallas County Republicans got off to a strong start, but Democrats are scrambling to close the gap. In the most closely watched county race, district attorney Craig Watkins has been outspent by GOP challenger Susan Hawk. If you care about the outcome, get to the polls.

Bentley to Reunite With Nina Pham. The former Ebola patient/nurse’s dog has tested negative for the virus, and will be returned to Pham on Saturday. He’s been kept in quarantine since Pham’s apartment was decontaminated by health officials.

Last Man Seen With Missing Woman Says He’s Being Harassed. Enrique Arochi made the rounds of the local newscasts to publicly state that he had nothing to do with the disappearance of Christina Morris. Arochi was the last person spotted with Morris, who has not been seen since Labor Day weekend at the Shops at Legacy in Plano. He says he’s lost his job as a result of the police investigation into the case and that he’s being harassed by friends and family of Morris, who have been protesting outside his parents’ home.

Kissing Bugs in North Texas Carry Deadly Disease. Welcome to your new nightmare: “Little did she know then, she had just met a kissing bug. So named because it attacks exposed skin — sometimes near the mouth or eyes — while you’re sleeping. You may get swelling at the site of the bite, or you may not know what happened. But the kissing bug can carry something called Chagas disease, a potentially deadly condition, which attacks the heart. It may be decades before the damage is done. But much like mosquitoes and West Nile, not every kissing bug carries Chagas disease, sometimes called the ‘silent killer.'”

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Nina Pham Is Ebola-Free. Is She a Hero?

News this morning is that the first Dallas nurse to contract Ebola is now free of the virus and will be discharged from the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center today. This is, of course, great news.

Over on the Morning News site, Rudy Bush opines that Pham, along with the other Ebola nurse/patient, Amber Vinson, and sergeant-of-arms of the Canadian Parliament Kevin Vickers, who killed a terrorist gunman, should give us hope for western civilization:

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Nina Pham’s Dog Doesn’t Have Ebola

My favorite part about this morning’s press release from the city of Dallas is that they didn’t feel any need to explain who Bentley is on first reference. He’s become a one-name celebrity, like Madonna or Beyonce:

On Monday, October 21, samples from Bentley were sent to a lab to be tested for Ebola. The test results show that Bentley has tested negative for the virus. Specimen collection will be conducted again before the end of the 21-day quarantine period. Bentley will be monitored for a full 21-day period, similar to people exposed to the Ebola virus.

The City of Dallas Animal Services is overseeing Bentley’s care in partnership with the Texas Animal Health Commission, Texas A&M University and the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Nina Pham, Bentley’s owner, continues to be cared for at the National Institutes of Health, NIH, in Maryland. The City of Dallas and DAS are communicating daily updates to Nina on the testing throughout the process.

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Highland Park ISD to ‘Deep-Clean’ Its Schools

Park Cities People reports:

Highland Park ISD just released a memo on behalf of superintendent Dawson Orr saying that the school district will commence a deep-cleaning of each campus this weekend and into next week. Custodial staff will also “step up” daily cleaning measures.

“We have checked the CDC guidelines for recommended cleaning products and the commercial grade anti-viral disinfectants currently in use on every campus exceed those recommendations,” Orr said in the memo.

In the spirit of rumor control, the district wished to emphasize that no member of the Bradfield Elementary community was on the Frontier Airlines flight with Ebola patient Amber Vinson — a parent and student did fly from Cleveland to Dallas on Oct. 13, but on a different plane.

You’ll remember that earlier there was some minor hysteria within the Bubble about the risks posed by County Judge Clay Jenkins, who came into contact with acquaintances of deceased Ebola patient Thomas Duncan and whose children attend the district’s Armstrong Elementary.

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Dallas: ‘City of Hate’ vs. ‘Plague City’

We like to poke fun at Dallas’ perennial striving to be “world class.” It’s a symptom of a kind of self-regarding, aspirational character that is not unique to Dallas, but which does manifest itself in this city in a particular way. Most newer, up-and-coming cities share a sense of wanting to prove their worth. But Dallas’ history has shaped this sensibility in its own way. Entrepreneurialism is the city’s birth right; social status is engrained as one of its highest civic values. But our scars, too, have contributed to the particular substance of our striving, self-conscious attempts to be regarded as great.

As we spent considerable ink exploring last year during the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination, the scars left by those terrible events affected Dallas in a particular way. Not every city could have been branded a “city of hate;” that was the result of the particular cultural and political soup that was simmering here at the time.  But also, not every city would have internalized that reputation – and its shame and sense of remorse – with quite the same measure of wounded-ness. Those wounds have taken decades to get over, and they have also contributed to the desire and drive to make Dallas a great city.

In the days following the Ebola breakout, I couldn’t help but think about the assassination.

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Leading Off (10/17/14)

The Latest on Ebola. Nurse Nina Pham was transferred to the National Institutes of Health in Maryland Thursday evening, with news copters following her trip every step of the way from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital to Love Field, onto the plane and then off the plane to the NIH clinic. Just before she left Dallas, a video of her speaking with her physician was recorded and released to the public at her request. In it, she expresses her love for the Presby staff. Meanwhile, Dallas County leaders didn’t declare an emergency situation during their meeting yesterday, but they are requiring all health care workers exposed to Ebola to sign a document promising to avoid public transit and public places. If the workers don’t sign the “voluntary” agreements, orders will be issued restricting their movement. And, at the national level, President Obama called Gov. Rick Perry and vowed to offer Texas and Dallas all the help it needs in confronting the disease.

Superintendent Urged to Apologize to Trustee. At a meeting during which Mike Miles was seeking to explain his actions in response to what he termed a “crisis” at Dade Middle School, some in attendance pushed for the super to say he was sorry for having had district trustee Bernadette Nutall removed from the Dade campus on Monday. He did not.

Housing Prices Continue to Rise. The supply of available Dallas homes remains absurdly low, so the market values keep rising sharply, and now I’m feeling pretty screwed for not having jumped on the bottoming out a few years back.

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Mayor Rawlings Learns How to Be Humble in the Face of Ebola

Jim Schutze and I recorded a podcast yesterday afternoon in which we discuss the city’s reaction to the Ebola crisis (and DISD stuff). It’s very timely. It’s also sitting in the trunk of my girlfriend’s car, somewhere in her office parking garage. Since I won’t be able to get the pod up until tomorrow, here’s an example of one item we discussed: How officials have learned to temper their confidence, and how doing so actually inspires more confidence in the public.

Remember what Mayor Mike Rawlings said eight days ago:

Rawlings said that he remains [..]

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