The State of Texas: Listeria Concerns Force Another Blue Bell Recall
Plus: Texas’s improper teacher-student relationships hits an all-time high, Greg Abbott threatens to pull Texas out of the federal refugee resettlement program, and the driver of a dangling car shares his story.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I’ll see you sometime next week one day and say, ‘How about those Redskins?’ I’m definitely gonna pull for them when they play Dallas because I hate Dallas.”
—Columbia, South Carolina police officer Michael Blackmore to a suicidal man sitting on the railing of a bridge. According to the Dallas Morning News, the officer was able to talk the man out of jumping by discussing their mutual hatred of America’s Team.
Blue Bell ice cream issued a recall of two of its flavors on Wednesday, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Cookie Two Step, due to concerns that the delightful desserts could maybe also contain listeria, a potentially fatal bacteria, according to a Blue Bell press release. You may recall that this isn’t the first time Blue Bell has had to pull its products off the shelves due to listeria hysteria (which at this point could probably be a new Blue Bell flavor). Last year, the beloved Texas creamery headquartered in Brenham issued a large recall and stopped production entirely for several months after a listeria outbreak infected at least ten people, resulting in three fatalities. Blue Bell seemed to finally be getting back on track—and getting its products back on shelves—when it issued this latest voluntary recall. According to the Houston Chronicle, the new bad batch of flavors was concocted in the Sylacauga, Alabama plant, and about 2,000 cases containing the tainted ingredients were supplied by a third-party company, Aspen Hills, Inc., which is based in Iowa. Blue Bell’s press release says the pulled products weren’t distributed in Texas, but they did make it to ten states throughout the South, from Louisiana to Alabama to Florida, Georgia, and Virginia. There haven’t yet been any reported cases of listeria linked to this recall, according to the Chronicle.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
New High, New Low
Texas’s improper teacher-student relationship plague is showing no signs of slowing down. According to the Austin American-Statesman, the 2016 fiscal year saw 222 such investigations opened by the Texas Education Agency, an 80 percent increase since 2008 and about 34 more total investigations than last year. This is the eighth straight year that the amount of these cases has climbed, and this year saw the biggest increase yet. Unsurprisingly, investigators are completely swamped—according to the Statesman, the seven-member squad has a staggering 1,110 open cases. In an effort to balance the case backlog, the agency is asking the Legislature for a bigger budget in order to hire more investigators. “We can always use more help,” Doug Phillips, the director of investigations at the TEA, told the Statesman. Phillips suggests social media may be to blame for the upward trend, telling the Statesman that nearly every case seems to involve “some sort of texting or Snapchatting with kids.”
Texas sent a letter to the Office of Refugee Resettlement on Wednesday, threatening to leave the U.S. refugee resettlement program unless it approves the state’s proposed plan requesting that the federal government only send refugees who are certifiably “not a threat” to Texas, according to the Texas Tribune. In a press release, Governor Greg Abbott criticized the federal refugee screening process and called for the office to “completely overhaul a broken and flawed refugee program that increasingly risks American lives.” The threat comes on the heels of President Barack Obama’s promise to increase the nation’s refugee intake. According to the New York Times, state officials say the federal government plans on increasing Texas’s portion of refugees by 25 percent next year. Of course, the threat to pull out of the program is technically meaningless. The feds can just bypass the state and provide funding and services to the non-profits already tasked with resettling refugees in Texas, and state governments don’t have the ability to prevent refugees from resettling anywhere.
Over The Edge
In one of the most terrifying scenes imaginable, an SUV ended up dangling precariously from cable lines outside the ninth story of a downtown Austin parking garage earlier this month (here’s the video). The driver somehow lived to talk about it, and he shared his story on Wednesday. According to KVUE, William O’Connor was just looking for a parking spot before heading into Gold’s Gym when, suddenly, he plowed through a concrete barrier and steel bars and got hooked on cables nine stories above the ground. “There were thoughts going through my head like, ‘I can’t believe this is how I’m going to die,’” O’Connor told KVUE. It remains unclear what caused the accident. The 23-year-old said he hadn’t been drinking or doing any drugs, and he said he wasn’t using his phone at the time (the police are still investigating the incident). A bystander came to O’Connor’s aid, coaxing him to get out of the car, and O’Connor managed to unfasten his seatbelt and crawl out of a window to safety without jarring the car loose. When a Jello-legged O’Connor made it down the stairs and stepped outside, he saw a huge group of people staring up at the dangling metal death trap, phones recording. What a time to be alive!
WHAT WE’RE READING
The State Fair of Texas will feature an edible soda cup bankrolled by Mark Cuban Dallas Morning News
Some parents in Argyle think two books assigned at school are inappropriate for their kids Denton Record-Chronicle
An army vet in Killeen badly needs a kidney KCEN
A mom in Fort Worth claims she just gave birth to her third set of twins KDFW
You must watch this Houston-area high schooler shake about fourteen would-be tacklers in a 28-second punt return ESPN