Dallas Councilwoman Jennifer Gates, left, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, center, and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins were on hand Thursday to answer questions from the press regarding Ebola in Dallas.
“Reporters can be part of the problem or part of the solution,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said during a press conference on the Ebola virus today (Thursday, Oct. 2) at Dallas County Commissioners Court.
Judging by the questions, the members of the press gathered for the press conference are determined to be part of the problem when it comes to spreading panic and misinformation.
First, the foremost expert on Ebola in this country who has experience treating the disease in Africa is in Dallas working at Presbyterian Hospital.
Second, 10 people from the Centers for Disease Control are in Dallas. Half are working in the community and half in the hospital doing “tracing.” Their job is to trace contact between Mr. Duncan, the Ebola patient at the hospital, and people he was in contact with.
During the press conference, Rawlings indicated that members of the media are paying residents of Duncan’s apartment complex to live in their apartments so they can be first there if someone else in the household gets sick.
Idiotic questions from the media included asking Dallas Health and Human Services Director Zach Thompson what protective gear he was wearing when he visited with Duncan’s family. Thompson tried to explain that no one in the family is showing any symptoms and therefore no one in the family is contagious, even if they have been exposed to Ebola and come down with the illness later.
Ebola has a two-to-21 day incubation period. When the patient is not showing symptoms, the virus can’t be transmitted.
County Judge Clay Jenkins explained Duncan’s apartment has been cleaned by a company that sanitizes hospitals and has experience working with blood infected with HIV. That seemed to go over the heads of most of the reporters at the press conference as well.
Another reporter wanted to know what hospital would take the next Ebola patient. Jenkins said all hospitals in Dallas have been working to prepare to take another Ebola patient but that didn’t satisfy Dallas media. Why wait til the last minute? Why don’t you know?
Jenkins tried to explain that in all probability, the patient would be taken to Presby, but if a patient walked into Parkland or another hospital those hospitals are prepared, too.
The patient would probably go to Presbyterian because that’s the hospital closest to Duncan’s family’s apartment. And Ebola isn’t going to suddenly show up in Oak Cliff. The virus doesn’t spread that way. It takes direct contact with bodily fluids from someone showing symptoms.
But no one in Dallas media would listen to that. They shouted down Thompson and Jenkins, with the county judge ending the press conference by explaining he had other meetings to get to. He had a job to do.
“We have a job to do too,” shouted one female reporter — I couldn’t see who she was or what station she was with.
She’d do her job better if she stopped panicking and looked up how Ebola spreads.
Brace yourselves for tonight’s coverage on the news. It’s going to make Dallas look like the entire city is in mass hysteria.
The 75238 zip code area is in the northeast part of Dallas, bordered primarily by East Northwest Highway, Skillman Street, Forest Lane and Jupiter Road.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, there have been 15 confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in humans this year. Of those, eight have been West Nile fever, and seven have been the more severe West Nile neuroinvasive disease. Both of the Dallas County cases have been West Nile fever.
There has been one confirmed case of West Nile fever this year in each of the following counties: Brazoria, Ellis, Parker, Tarrant and Travis. Both Galeveston County and Liberty County have confirmed one case each of neuroinvasive West Nile.
Montgomery County, north of Houston and just west of Lake Conroe, has confirmed five cases of neuroinvasive West Nile and one case of West Nile fever this year.
DSHS recorded 183 human cases of West Nile Virus last year. Of those, 113 were the more severe neuroinvasive West Nile. The virus killed 14 people in Texas in 2013.
The city of Dallas protocol calls for targeted ground spraying in areas where West Nile has been confirmed in mosquitoes and in areas where trapping has indicated a significant increase in the number of mosquitoes with the potential to carry the virus.
City officials said that existing traps near where the infected person lives have not tested positive for West Nile. Still, they said, the city will expand surveillance and place an additional trap near the location in an effort to get more information.
75238 Zip Code
According to a press release from the city: “The city’s mosquito control program is continually evolving to address the threat of the West Nile Virus. Public information and outreach is extensive, using television, radio, billboards, brochures and community meetings. A webpage at www.dallascityhall.com is dedicated to WNV information, including links to videos developed to educate the public on WNV prevention.
“Additionally, the city is proactively identifying sources of mosquito breeding by responding to 3-1-1 standing water, stagnant pools and water conservation complaints. However, it is important that residents do their part by taking the necessary precautions to avoid exposure to the virus.”
The best defense against contracting West Nile is not get bitten by a mosquito. And city and state health officials urge everyone to reduce outdoor activity during the evening and nighttime hours, and when you are outside, cover your arms and legs and use a mosquito repellent.
The best way to keep from getting bitten by a mosquito is to keep the little buggers from breeding in the first place. Get rid of standing water in places like dirty swimming pools, stagnant ponds, pet watering dishes, birdbaths, potted plants, old tires, empty containers, toys and clogged rain gutters and French drains. Get rid of the standing water and do it fast, because mosquitoes can grow from egg to adult in as little as seven days.
If you see standing water that you are unable to get rid of yourself , call 3-1-1 to report it to city officials. For more information on mosquito control, visit www.dallascityhall.com.
LGBT activist Patti Fink was among the Dallas area Democrats who turned out Monday night for a rally for Wendy Davis and a phone bank for the Democratic slate of candidates. She graciously shared some of her photos with Dallas Voice.
State Rep. Roberto Alonzo and Sen. Wendy Davis with Dallas County Democratic Party Chair Darlene Ewing
Phone bank workers
Dallas City Councilmember Phillip Kingston, in the white shirt, House District 107 candidate Carol Donovan, right, and others at the rally
Wendy Davis working the phones with other volunteers
Dallas Tavern Guild Executive Director Michael Doughman has announced that the Family Pride Zone will not return to the Festival in Lee Park this year. The Tavern Guild is the organization that produces the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade — Dallas’ annual LGBT Pride parade — each year and the festival held immediately following the parade.
“The Family Pride Zone at the Festival in Lee Park last year was an absolute social success and the community responded very positively to its presence as a part of Dallas Pride. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a great financial success,” Doughman said in a letter to sponsors who had already signed up for the Family Pride Zone this year. “Due to that fact and the lack of sponsorship dollars for 2014, we have had to cancel all plans for a Family Pride Zone at the 2014 Festival in Lee Park.”
Doughman went on to say DTG officials considered the Family Pride Zone “a valuable and exciting new growth piece to Dallas Pride,” and added that organizers “are not abandoning the concept and plan an aggressive sponsorship campaign for next year to garner funding to produce the Family Pride Zone in 2015.”
He said that any sponsorship fees for Family Pride Zone 2014 that have already been paid will be refunded.
The Family Pride Zone, held last year for the first time, was a section of Lee Park set aside as an alcohol-free, family-friendly area designated specifically for families with younger children. Doughman noted that Dallas Pride was the first Pride celebration in Texas to establish such a space.
For information on being part of Family Pride Zone 2015, email Doughman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 214-358-4006.
Weather permitting, the city of Dallas will be spraying for mosquitoes in the 75230 zip code tonight and Tuesday night between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., in response to a mosquito pool near the 6600 block of Brookshire Drive testing positive for West Nile Virus.
The area to be sprayed is bounded, in general, by Azalea Lane on the north, Tulane Boulevard on the west, Airline Road on the east and Walnut Hill on the south side.
The insecticide being used is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. Still, those in the described area during the spraying should avoid contact with the spray by staying indoors. Anyone caught in their vehicle while trucks are actively spraying should stay in their vehicles with the AC on and the windows up until the trucks have passed and the spray is no longer visible. If you get the spray on you, wash thoroughly with soap and water.
City officials said the spray breaks down quickly in the presence of sunlight and has no residual effects.
Residents are also encouraged to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Stay inside as much as possible at dusk and later into the evening. When you are outside, make sure your arms and legs are covered and use a mosquito repellent. Officials also encouraged residents to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds by getting rid of pools of standing water. This can include swimming pools that are not kept clean, stagnant ponds, pet watering dishes, birdbaths, potted plants, old tires, empty containers, toys and clogged rain gutters and French drains. And do it quickly: Mosquitoes can grow from egg to adult in as little as seven days.
To report standing water or mosquito problems Dallas residents should call 3-1-1. For additional information on Mosquito Control click here.
The Queer Index is a survey of the 35 most LGBT-friendly cities in the U.S., based on 32 publicly available data and 16 “lifestyle metrics.” The top three are pretty much what you’d expect: Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco. But how does Dallas fare?
Not so well, actually. Our hometown didn’t even crack the top 35 — and neither did Texas city Houston and Arizona’s Phoenix (all three are in the top 10 population cities in the U.S.). Indeed, the city farthest south on the list was Denver, Colo. — hardly a stalwart of ol’ Dixie.
Rounding out the top 10 are Des Moines, Iowa (No. 4), Chicago (5), Seattle (6), Albany, N.Y. (7), Rochester, N.Y. (8), Denver (9) and Madison, Wisc. (10).
Of course, the metrics themselves are fairly arbitrary. For instance, one of the 16 “key lifestyle metrics” is “availability of hookups;” a separate one is “availability of casual sex.” I’m not sure “sluttiness” and “friendliness” are comparable, but there you have it.
There were some interesting statistics, such as the highest percentage of single lesbians are in Memphis, that Boston has the highest number of anti-gay hate crimes and that more than 2,000 same-sex “casual encounters” are posted on Craigslist every day in NYC alone.
The survey was undertaken by a new media company called Vocativ; you can read the entire index here.
Downed trees and flashing traffic lights slowed commutes in Oak Lawn this morning after Thursday’s storm.
City crews were out working around the area after Oak Lawn received more than 3 1/2 inches of rain accompanied by winds up to 70 miles per hour. Parts of Turtle Creek Boulevard were still closed Friday because of debris blocking the road. Portions of the street flooded for a short time as the stream rose out of its banks.
The board of trustees for the city’s Employees’ Retirement Fund brainstormed ideas Tuesday morning about the best approach to make the pension plan equal for LGBT retirees.
The Dallas City Council passed a comprehensive equality resolution last month directing the city manager to evaluate areas in city employment where disparities for LGBT employees exist. Among them, were the pension plans.
Under the current plan, opposite-sex spouses receive lifetime benefits when their spouses die, but same-sex spouses are treated as designees, and their benefits run out after 10 years.
The ERF board spent half an hour discussing the resolution, as well as the state’s constitutional marriage amendment and the Texas Family Code, both of which prevent the state from recognizing same-sex marriages.
Jillian Michaels at SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium on April 4. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)
Jillian Michaels, out trainer on The Biggest Loser, brought her “Maximize Your Life” tour to Dallas this weekend. As expected, she was spunky, uplifting and demanding all at once, dishing out some tough love in the areas of eating, workout and life habits — all while continuing to tell the audience at SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium that Dallasites are so nice. It’s our Southern charm, to be sure.
While the program got off to a late start with traffic delays because of the Final Four in town, the program ran about two hours, giving attendees a quality show that even included a brief Q&A at the end.
While this writer went in looking for motivation in various areas of her life, Michaels told the audience halfway through she couldn’t give them motivation; instead, everyone had to find his or her own internal motivation as external motivation eventually wavers and success wanes. Message received.
But it was an inspiring show with Michaels’ own personal experiences and some Biggest Loser highlights revisited. By the end of the night, she left us wanting more and waiting for the next tour.
If you bought a VIP ticket, photos from the meet and greet can be found here. And if you scroll through them, you’ll find a cameo appearance from finance guru Suze Orman, who was in town and stopped by for a photo.