Concern for the Mental Health of Dallas Cops, Feds Lambast Private Prisons, and More: The Week's News In Review
News in the rear view may be closer than it appears.
We know you're busy. So here's a roundup for those news junkies who missed out and now need their Friday fix.
Is DPD Ready For the Psychological Damage of July's Deadly Ambush?
The mental health impact caused to police by last month's deadly ambush may take a long time to reveal itself. The Observer talks to DPD's Deputy Medical Director to hear how their response plan to trauma had to be scaled up "for something that was previously unheard of."
Dallas City Council Divided on Housing Equity, United in Wanting Austin to Butt Out
The Dallas City Council Housing Committee may not agree on the best way to disperse affordable housing throughout the city, but none of them wants Texas state lawmakers in Austin to tell the city of Dallas what to do.
Deep Ellum Doesn't Dig D2
Some in Deep Ellum feel they haven’t been given the same say as property owners downtown in the path of the line called D2. On Monday night, community organizations put on the neighborhood's first public meeting about it.
Lake Lewisville Dam Repairs Nearly Complete, But More is Needed
As rain deluges the area, it's hard not to think of the slides afflicting a critical dam in North Texas. Officials say the repairs are still underway, and more are planned for the future.
"Even though the park board went through this elaborate public ritual of agreeing on a contract for turning Fair Park over to a private entity, the whole ritual starts again a few weeks from now when the City Council does the same thing all over again. From scratch."
- Jim Schutze, from When Council Gets Done, Fair Park Could Belong to Putin for All We Know
From the Horse's Mouth
DFW Airlines Tank in Fed Stats
The U.S. Department of Transportation issues reports charting the efficiency of airlines, and our homegrown carriers probably can't be pleased with 2016 so far. According to stats issued on Wednesday, American Airlines came in dead last (of 12) for on-time arrivals, with 72.4 percent of flights arriving as scheduled so far this year. Southwest Airlines ranked 9th with 74.3 percent arrival times. Southwest can at least be proud that they ranked second for fewest complaints in 2016, but these stats were compiled before Southwest's July 20 computer system failure.
The Week In Mosquito-Bourn Disease
Dallas County is currently tracking two nasty diseases carried by mosquitoes. The county confirmed three more cases of Zika this week, upping the number to 28. All caught the virus while traveling. Zika may get all the media attention, as the new kid on the disease block, but Dallas County reported its 21st and 22nd case of West Nile Virus on Thursday. Rid your yard of standing water and apply bug repellent, officials advise.
Aerial Spray Against Mosquitoes Might Have Hidden Risks
Pesticide companies are able to get their products approved by the EPA without what many researchers would agree is adequate evidence that their products are safe. At issue: the way chemicals in the sprays interact with other chemicals, something that is poorly understood.
U.S. Department of Justice Lambasts Private Prisons
This week the Department of Justice released its "Review of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Monitoring of Contract Prisons" and says the government plans to end its use of private prisons. Texas has dozens of these privately run facilities. "We found that in a majority of the categories we examined, contract prisons incurred more safety and security incidents per capita than comparable Bureau of Prisons institutions," the report said. Among other details, the report tallied 28 percent higher inmate assaults on each other, more contraband and twice as many attacks on staff.
In response to the claims, some companies told DOJ that the increase in violence is caused by an influx of criminal aliens detained there, many of which have ties to organized crime. "The Office of Inspector General reports that 90 percent of the inmates in the contract facilities are Mexicans," wrote Scott Marquardt, president of one of the prison companies, in a response included in the report. "The normal practice is to disperse groups as much as practical to weaken any Security Threat Groups operating in a facility. Any difference in incident rates would be far more attributable to this factor." His company, Management & Training Corporation, owns the Willacy County Correctional Center in Raymondville, Texas, where riots broke out over conditions in 2015. In 2011 the facility earned attention from the TV show Frontline, which uncovered more than a dozen allegations of sexual abuse by guards.
This tweet from Aug. 18 is full of stats, saying what we all know about Texas weather.
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