Local News

Leading Off (9/15/21)

A little COVID hope, county commissioners clash over pay raises, and a construction company and the state attorney general sue school districts

Hospital Official ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About COVID Outlook. Steve Love, the president and CEO of the DFW Hospital Council, said COVID hospitalizations across the region are beginning to plateau, and the number of cases in Dallas County are beginning to decline. He hopes that means hospitalizations may begin to decrease in the next 10 days to two weeks, but warned that not every North Texas county may see a reduction. Dallas County reported a three-day new case total of 3,885 and 16 new deaths, including a man and woman in their 20s. Booster shots may be on the way. Meanwhile, AG Ken Paxton is suing school districts that have required students to wear masks in schools.

For Second Year Running, No Raise for Elected County Officials. At a specially called meeting yesterday, County Commissioner John Wiley Price suggested giving employees a 3 percent cost of living salary bump, and Commissioner J.J. Koch countered with a 2 percent offer. Price’s proposal didn’t pass and Koch’s didn’t receive a second motion, and so the procedural deadlock meant no one got a raise. Now a committee of elected officials and and grand jurors will decided on whether county employees who have filed salary grievances will receive a pay raise.

Construction Company Sues Arlington ISD Over Unpaid Winter Storm Repairs. Robert Jordan Construction says the district failed to compensate them for $1.2 million in repairs related to last February’s winter storm. District officials claim they never entered into a contract with the construction company, which seems weird to me. Did they do the work or not? The district is claiming immunity from the lawsuit, and Robert Jordan has taken their complains to YouTube, posting a seven minute video about their complaint. The lawsuit may take years to resolve.

Texas Fails Foster Children. Around 400 Texas children are spending nights in makeshift foster care facilities like Child Protective Services offices and hotels because of what a federal judge described as the state’s “poor planning and chronic neglect of some of society’s unluckiest children.” The state blames a new federal policy that enforces stricter oversight of foster care facilities with poor health and safety records. However, other states enforcing similar new standards of care have not had the same level of bed shortages that Texas has seen. Most of the children who have been left without access to foster care facilities tend to be older teenager who have bounced around between homes for years, and many have struggled with psychiatric disorders.

Nasher Sculpture Center Awards $100K to Iranian-Born Artist. The sixth Nasher Prize was awarded to Nairy Baghramian, whose work, Nasher director Jeremy Strick told the DMN, speaks to a “feeling a vulnerability, a fragility — of physical threat” as well as “a sense of dependence on others,” which jurors found particularly resonant during our time of COVID.

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