The State of Texas: First Case of Zika-Related Birth Defect Reported In Texas
Plus: UT’s gun policy comes into focus, Congressman Ted Poe has cancer, and Baylor announces its new athletic director.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“My brother and I were sitting on the sidewalk with a guy we just met playing Pokemon when three guys walked toward us and said, ‘Do you have any green?’ and we said ‘No.’ Then he noticed we had our phones and said, ‘Give me your stuff.'”
—Eric Aranda, of Garland, to the Dallas Observer. Aranda got mugged while playing Pokemon Go. a game that lets you virtually search for Pokemon creatures in the real-life world around you, on your phone. Aranda admitted that he probably wouldn’t have been on such a “shady” block had he not been so intent on catching them all.
Texas has had its first reported case of a baby born with microcephaly, a birth defect linked with mosquito-borne virus Zika that causes an abnormally shrunken head. According to the Texas Tribune, the Texas Department of State Health Services announced on Wednesday that the baby’s mother, who contracted Zika in Colombia, gave birth in Harris County a few weeks ago. Tests confirmed that the baby had Zika. State officials have been preparing for the arrival of Zika for quite some time now, dolling out mosquito spray and millions of dollars to counties across the state, while also pushing for more federal funding despite a deadlocked Congress that has been unable to pass a Zika-related bill. As of Thursday, there have been 59 reported cases of Zika in Texas, but none have been transmitted by mosquitos in the state—all were infected elsewhere. This probably won’t be Texas’s last case of Zika-related microcephaly as the disease inevitably makes its way up from Latin America. “We’re in for a long summer, I’m afraid,” the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor and Texas Children’s Hospital told the Houston Chronicle. According to the Chronicle, microcephaly can cause “seizures, developmental delays with speech or motor function, intellectual disability, feeding problems, and hearing and vision problems.”
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Gun control advocates at the University of Texas at Austin had a small victory in the fight against the looming open carry law that will go into effect starting August 1. According to the Texas Tribune, UT Systems regents passed new regulations that will allow university faculty to decide whether their offices will be gun-free zones or not. That option comes as a small consolation for UT-Austin’s gun control crowd, after the regents voted down a contentious rule that would have banned chambered rounds for semiautomatic handguns, according to the Austin American-Statesman. University President Gregory Fenves supported the chambered round ban, arguing that prohibiting people from carrying around loaded guns would limit the risk of an accidental discharge. The vote answered most of the remaining campus carry policy questions for UT-Austin, besides how it will police gun-free zones and how it will notify people when and where you can and can’t carry. At this point, UT-Austin’s Are Guns Allowed Here? map must look a little like swiss cheese. Places guns aren’t allowed so far: dorms, certain offices, labs containing potentially dangerous chemicals, daycare centers, and sporting events. Places where you can pack: classrooms, pretty much everywhere on campus that wasn’t listed before.
Texas Congressman Has Cancer
Texas Congressman Ted Poe announced on Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with leukemia and will be starting treatment to fight the disease. According to a statement on Poe’s website, the Republican will be focusing on his treatment at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston this summer. “It is my intention to beat cancer and have a full recovery and continue to represent the people of Texas,” Poe said in the statement. “Thank you in advance for your thoughts and your prayers. The Good Lord will fix this, I believe. And that’s just the way it is.” According to the Texas Tribune, Poe is a pretty popular guy in Congress. First elected in 2004, the Tribune writes that Poe “is known to make playful bets over local sports teams with Democrats and to work with the opposition on low-profile, nonpolarizing legislative issues.” Congress will begin an extra-long recess later this week, which will last for most of the summer.
Baylor University named its new athletic director on Wednesday, filling another key slot that had been vacant since the university made sweeping changes to its leadership. The fallout from an independent investigation that was extremely critical of the university’s handling of sexual assault cases included the removal of the university’s president, football coach, and AD. The new guy in charge of Baylor Bears athletics is Mack Rhoades, who served in the same position for the University of Missouri. As the Waco Tribune-Herald notes, Rhoades is no stranger to controversy. Last year, Mizzou football players held a boycott to protest the university’s handling of race-related issues, and softball players played much of last season “in protest” against Rhoades while he conducted an internal review of the program. Rhoades spent a little more than a year at Mizzou before returning to Texas, where he had a good run as vice president of athletics at the University of Houston. He replaces Ian McCaw, who resigned in May along with former president Ken Starr and fired head football coach, Art Briles.
WHAT WE’RE READING
The lost city of Atlantis, Texas-style Wide Open Country
Dan Patrick will participate in a nationally televised panel on race tonight Texas Tribune
At least 810 people have died in jail since Sandra Bland’s death last year Huffington Post
In a brief interview outside a Torchy’s Tacos, Art Briles vowed he will coach again next year KCEN
A 102-year old woman in Arlington just re-upped her driver’s license KHOU