|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - January 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Gov. Perry appeals FEMA decision to deny extension
Polk County Enterprise - January 2009
AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry on Dec. 19 appealed the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s decision to deny his request for an extension of Hurricane Ike relief. Perry had asked for 18 more months of 100 percent reimbursement of emergency protective measures, debris removal and other relief work related to the September hurricane. “The assistance I am requesting is similar to what Louisiana received following Hurricane Katrina and Texans deserve to be treated no less. “The communities devastated by this storm need this funding and need it now,” Perry said. Education progress ratings are in Seventy-five percent of Texas schools and 67 percent of Texas school districts met or exceeded the 2008 federal Adequate Yearly Progress standards, the Texas Education Agency reported Dec. 19. Those standards measure student graduation rates for high schools and districts; attendance rates for elementary schools; and passing rates and participation rates on state reading and mathematics tests for grades 3 through 8 and grade 10. Texas may gain seats in 2010 Texas stands to pick up as many as four seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, if population projections come true. Reallocation of the 435 U.S. House seats will be based on the 2010 decennial U.S. Census. TxDOT asks for freight ideas The Texas Department of Transportation says it is looking for innovative, environmentally sensitive ways to move freight across the state. On Dec. 19, TxDOT published a “Request for Information,” a document asking for suggestions on how to develop freight transport systems that minimize environmental impacts and technologies with low carbon emissions in particular. “Potential systems could include technology involving electromagnetic propulsion where the electricity is supplied by green technology such as wind or solar generation. Such systems could potentially operate on a rail or other fixed channel,” an agency release stated. TxDOT also asked for help with developing a business model to finance, develop and operate these systems. AG reaches ‘Airborne’ settlement The state of Texas, 31 other states, and the District of Columbia on Dec. 16 resolved their enforcement action against Airborne Health Inc. and its operators, Victoria Knight- McDowell and Thomas John McDowell. Under the multi-state agreement, Airborne is prohibited from continuing to claim that its dietary supplements cure or prevent certain diseases. Airborne’s cold prevention, sore throat and allergy remedies have not been recognized as approved drugs by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Texas Attorney General’s Office stated. Airborne marketed its products as over-the-counter remedies for illnesses. Because the FDA has not recognized Airborne’s dietary supplements as drugs, the company was charged with introducing unapproved drugs into commerce, which is a violation of the Texas Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The state’s enforcement action against Airborne involves a referral Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office received from the Texas Department of State Health Services. Agency releases YFZ report The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services on Dec. 22 released a report on its ongoing investigation of the polygamous YFZ Ranch near Eldorado. The findings are summarized as: “12 girls are confirmed victims of sexual abuse and neglect because they were married at ages ranging from 12 to 15. There were 43 girls removed from the ranch from the ages of 12 to 17 — which means that more than one out of every four pubescent girls on the ranch was in an underage marriage,” and “262 other children were subjected to neglect because parents failed to remove their child from a situation in which the child would be exposed to sexual abuse committed against another child within their families or households.” The complete 20-page report can be found at www.dfps.state.tx.us.