<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Dallas-Fort Worth News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Tue, 21 Oct 2014 05:21:38 -0500 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 05:21:38 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Debris Lingers Weeks After North Texas Storm]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 22:54:35 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Dallas+storm+cleanup.jpg

The cleanup continues nearly three weeks after an early October storm swept through North Texas, knocking out power to thousands and downing trees and limbs at a rate approaching that of the ice storm from December 2014.

"I think this storm, at the end of the day, will be similar to that storm in terms of tonnage," said Kelly High, director of sanitation for the city of Dallas.

High said Monday that his crews have been working 12-hour days, six to seven days a week, since Oct. 2 when a powerful squall tore through the metroplex.

In addition to the regular dumping sites for storm debris in the city, Dallas has opened a temporary site, off Plano Road and northeast of Interstate 635, where sanitation workers and private contractors can take downed trees and fallen tree limbs to be ground into sawdust.

Bulk trash pickup in the city is done all month on a rotating basis, depending upon where one lives in the city.

As it turns out, the areas hardest hit by the early October storm are in Northeast Dallas, which are largely slated to have bulk pickup done during the third and fourth weeks of the month.

"I understand when those piles are sitting in front of your house it doesn't seem like we're doing much, but I assure you we're working very hard," High said.

It is a similar scene in some Fort Worth neighborhoods, where piles of limbs and brush built up along the curbs.

In east Fort Worth, the White Lake Hills neighborhood was scheduled to have its bulk trash and storm debris hauled off last week, between Oct. 13 and 17.

"[But] here it is," said Rich Fox, of the debris pile still sitting at the edge of his property. "One neighbor got hers picked up, but everybody else, there's a few more houses where I still see brush."

A special section on the city of Fort Worth website's home page is dedicated to "Storm Cleanup." In that section, it states that the city is "making collection of tree and yard debris a priority."

The site makes mention of piles "roughly the size of a Volkswagon Bug" requiring a phone call to the city so as to allow a better understanding of the collection needs.

In Arlington, sanitation workers are trying to keep up with what has become a demanding schedule since the storm hit, according to Reggie Lewis, with the city of Arlington's office of communications.

A concern for the workers has been the size of many of the individual debris piles, Lewis said, which are to be no more than four feet tall.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Bluebonnets Are Back: JCPenney Field Reseeded]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 19:31:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Plano+bluebonnets+Liz+Alexander.jpg

The fading bluebonnet field outside JCPenney's Plano headquarters was reseeded this weekend, a month after a photographer from Allen launched a campaign to restore the iconic "sea of blue" she missed.

JCPenney footed the bill to seed seven acres of the flowers on its Plano campus, after Liz Alexander's fundraising effort raised enough money to seed just one. She is now working with the city of Allen to use the money she raised to seed a one-acre field somewhere in that city.

"When you first see that field, you're just in awe of it," Alexander said last month, when she launched her effort. "It's just this sea of blue. I mean, literally everywhere you can see. You can see it from miles away, this huge blue field."

Alexander had been visiting the bluebonnet field for years, but she said her visit this spring was disappointing.

"This year, in 2014, there was nothing," she said. "It was literally just tall green grasses, and I think maybe 12 bluebonnets. And the red and pink poppies didn't come back either."

She had teamed up with the nonprofit group Forever Bluebonnets to raise the money needed to reseed the field, which is open to the public. Last month, she had said  JCPenney would plant the seeds, at the cost of $750 per acre.

Time had been running out to make the bluebonnets bloom in 2015, because the seeds must be planted this fall.

Photo Credit: Liz Alexander]]>
<![CDATA[Plano Considers Re-Zoning Land at Haggard Farm]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:47:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Plano+Texas+field+water+tower.jpg

The Plano Planning and Zoning Commission will consider re-zoning small tracts of land relating to the Haggard Farm development on Monday.

Two pieces of land, eight and 10 acres respectively, will be considered for re-zoning to mid-rise residential.

The entire project, which is more than 300 acres in size, would develop the entire site sitting near the Dallas North Tollway and Spring Creek Parkway in West Plano into a massive mixed-use project, including office, commercial and residential space.

Earlier this fall, Plano P&Z voted to table the developer's initial request after an outpouring of citizen feedback from nearby neighborhoods.

The developer eventually withdrew the initial rezoning request for further review.

Steve Lavine, who lives in the nearby Avignon Windhaven neighborhood, organized a group of neighbors to attend meetings and place blue "No to Re-zoning" signs in their front yards.

Lavine said that while the tabling of the request is a small victory, he's still concerned the areas earmarked for residential use in the Haggard project will lead to an overly dense population in urban-style living units, like apartments and condominiums.

"I think we won a battle, but I'm hoping we don't have a war to fight," Lavine said. "I think that it's very possible that this will become an absolutely amazing development, and that's what we're hoping for."

There is no timetable currently for the developers and land owners to submit a master plan for the site.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[$3.7M Project to Widen Busy Mansfield Road]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:21:02 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Debbie+Lane+Mansfield.jpg

East Debbie Lane is a two-lane road that can be frustrating at times for many drivers in Mansfield, but a multimillion dollar widening project now underway is aiming to fix that.

As general manager at BFF Grill & Sports Bar in Mansfield, Trevor Dawson does a lot of driving along East Debbie Lane.

"It literally backs up from the light [at Matlock] all the way to us," said Dawson. "So it takes about five minutes, 10 minutes to get through the light sometimes."

With new housing developments and stores popping in that same area, traffic is only expected to increase. That's the why the city of Mansfield felt that now was the time to do something about it.

This week, crews will begin widening the road to four lanes between Matlock Road and Mansfield's eastern border.

It's the final stretch of Debbie Lane that has not already been widened.

The $3.7 million project is expected to take a year to complete.

"Getting this section completed is an important milestone," said Belinda Willis, spokesperson for the city of Mansfield.

During construction, the speed limit will be reduced to 25 mph through the entire work zone. And at times, traffic will diverted onto different lanes.

"Alternate routes would probably be a good idea," said Willis. "I know for some people that won't be possible. We just ask you to be patient."

Dawson said the end result will be worth it for his business and the city, so patient is exactly what he'll be.

"It's going to help a lot," said Dawson. "I can't wait."

The project is being paid for with bond money and a grant from Tarrant County.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Killed in Head-On Crash Near Sanger High School]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 21:43:14 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Generic+Police+Lights+bar.jpg

One person has died after a head-on collision Monday afternoon in Denton County.

The crash was reported just before 4 p.m. along Farm to Market Road 455 near Sanger High School.

Investigators said a Hyundai Accent was traveling west along FM 455 when, for an unknown reason, it crossed into the oncoming eastbound lanes and struck a Mitsubishi Endeavor SUV.

The driver of the Hyundai was prounced deceased at the scene, and two young children riding in the car were injured.

One child was transported by air ambulance to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, while the other child was taken to Denton Regional Medical Center.

Sanger firefighters extricated the driver of the Mitsubishi, who was trapped inside the SUV, and the driver was transported by air ambulance to the Medical Center of Plano in serious condition.

The condition of the two children in the Hyundai was not released.

The crash remains under investigation by the Texas Highway Patrol.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Christina Morris Reward Raised to $25,000]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:24:12 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/christina-morris.jpg

The reward for a 23-year-old woman missing since Aug. 30 has been raised to $25,000.

Surveillance video from The Shops at Legacy in Plano shows Christina Morris walking with a man identified by family members as a friend of Morris' from high school.  The pair can be seen walking through a parking garage, after which Morris was never seen again.

Plano police have said their detectives have questioned that man, as well as several other people, and that no one has emerged as a person of interest or a suspect in Morris' disappearance.

A reward of $10,000 had been offered by Crime Stoppers for information leading to the arrest and indictment of a suspect, if it's determined a crime has occurred.  On Monday, that reward was increased by an anonymous donor to $25,000.

Police said Monday that there have been no new developments in the case and that the investigation into Morris' disappearance is still being investigated as a missing person case.

The search for Morris has covered several square miles, and volunteers have worked on foot, on horseback and on ATVs as well as searching by unmanned aircraft.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Lewisville Police Investigating Recent Attacks]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 21:48:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Lewisville+TX+suspect.jpg

Lewisville police say a woman was pulled under a bridge and attacked earlier this month, and it's not the first time it's happened in recent months.

Police got a report of a woman walking home near State Highway 121 and Southwest Parkway on Oct. 9 at about 9:50 p.m. when a man pulled her under the Timber Creek Bridge in an attempted assault.

The victim struggled with the attacker and was pulled further under

At that point, she told police, she screamed, and when the man heard people on the bridge above he took off on foot.

The woman was treated for minor injuries at the scene and helped police produce a sketch of the attacker, who is described as a Hispanic man between 20 and 30 years old with a muscular build.

Police said at least one other time in recent weeks a woman was pulled beneath the bridge and attacked, but they've gotten reports of several other assaults in the area of Highway 121 and Timber Creek in the past 60 days.

Police Lt. Scott Haynes of the Criminal Investigations Division said they've gotten few details of the attackers from victims, but most describe someone similar to the man described in the most recent case.

Haynes also said it's unclear what the man's intentions are, but he said the attacks appear random and they are treating the cases very seriously as to avoid the situation escalating.

Several residents living in the neighborhood say the area sees heavy foot traffic from nearby apartments and hotels to the restaurants, stores and bars along that stretch.

Many said they received alerts about the most recent crime and are keeping a much closer eye on their surroundings as a result.

Haynes recommended people remain cautious and vigilant when walking in the area, especially as Daylight Savings Time draws nearer and the sun starts going down earlier.

Police ask anyone with information in the attacks to call them at 972-219-8477(TIPS).

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas County Starts Testing for Ebola]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 23:02:27 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Blood-Test-Generic.jpg

Dallas County health officials began conducting their own tests for Ebola this weekend, days after the Pentagon gave them the green light in a move they say could help them react as quickly as possible to possible cases of the virus.

Dallas County technicians in the Biosafety Level 3 Lab suited up in full protective gear to test blood samples Sunday from two people on the current Ebola contact list. Those tests both came back negative.

The tests were conducted two days after the Defense Department approved a measure to let Dallas County Health and Human Services test for the virus, with oversight from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of State Health Services.

"Time is of the essence. You want to get fast results," Dallas County Health and Human Services' director Zachary Thompson said. "Do a fast test, get it turned around and get that information to the medical providers."

Before, blood samples had to be driven to the state lab in Austin for testing. Now, Dallas County can get test results in just four to six hours.

Thompson explained that while Ebola testing is not limited to those on the Ebola contact list, any patient must meet the existing criteria to be suspected of having the virus. A doctor must request a test, too.

"You just can’t call us up and do Ebola testing,” Thompson explained. "A physician has to request the Ebola testing to our lab."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Brad Keselowski, Fans Play Video Games on 'Big Hoss' at TMS]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:56:51 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Brad+Keslowski+TMS.jpg Fresh off his victory at Talladega, NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski came to Texas Motor Speedway, where fans could play video games on the giant video screen, Big Hoss.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[CDC Unveils New Ebola Gear Guidelines]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 21:55:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP377346880200.jpg

Health officials have released long-awaited new guidelines for how health workers should gear up to treat Ebola patients, calling for protective garb that covers their bodies entirely and for trained monitors to supervise them as they put on and remove it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the long-anticipated updates Monday evening. Health workers have been pushing for new standards since two Dallas hospital nurses were diagnosed with the disease this month after treating an Ebola patient.

The guidelines call for face shields, hoods, boot covers and other garb that leave no part of the body exposed. They also call for a trained monitor to supervise the donning and doffing of protective wear. And they call for repeated training and practice.

The CDC guidance was expected as early as Saturday, but its release has been pushed back while it continues to go through review by experts and government officials.

Health workers had been pushing for the guidance since the nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas were infected. They had treated an Ebola-infected patient named Thomas Eric Duncan — the first person diagnosed with the virus in the U.S.

Exactly how the two nurses were infected is not clear, said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden during a Monday night teleconference with reporters.

"We may never know exactly how that happened, but the bottom line is, the guidelines didn't work for that hospital," Frieden said.

The new guidelines include:

—Use of protective garments, hoods, face shields, double gloves, face masks or respirators and other protective equipment to cover every square inch of a health worker's body.

—A call for health workers who may be involved in an Ebola patient's care to practice repeatedly and demonstrate proficiency in donning and doffing gear before ever being allowed near a patient.

—Placement of a trained hospital employee to supervise all aspects of care in an Ebola patient's room and watch that all health workers put on and take off gear correctly.

Duncan's infection and subsequent death led to the monitoring of about 50 people who came in contact with him before he entered the hospital and dozens of health care workers who cared for him after his admission.

Some good news this week: The 50 in the initial contact group have passed a 21-day observation period and no longer are deemed at risk for coming down with the dreaded disease.

Youngor Jallah spent the past three weeks confined to her small apartment with her children and boyfriend, fearing they had contracted the deadly Ebola virus from her mother's fiance.

But with the household emerging symptom-free from the incubation period, Jallah's family members are now trying to resume their lives - replacing the personal belongings incinerated in a cleanup at her mother's home, and overcoming the stigma of the Ebola scare that has gripped Dallas.

On Monday, Jallah beamed as she sent her children back to school with clearance from the Dallas County health department tucked into their backpacks. Her mother emerged from her own confinement and started looking for a new place to live.

"We were sitting here traumatized," Jallah told The Associated Press on Monday. "We just thank God we never came down with the virus."

Jallah's mother's fiance, Thomas Eric Duncan, was the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. He died Oct. 8.

Health officials said Monday about 50 people have passed the incubation period safely. Others who are still being monitored include health care workers who treated Duncan as well as those who cared for two nurses who had treated Duncan and also became infected.

There are now about 120 people in Texas being monitored for symptoms, with their wait period ending Nov. 7, said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. He said the number may fluctuate.

There are also about 140 people being monitored in Ohio because of contact or potential contact with nurse Amber Vinson, Ohio officials said. Vinson, who cared for Duncan in Texas, flew from Dallas to Cleveland on Oct. 10 and flew back Oct. 13.

An Ebola patient who was being treated in Atlanta since early September was released from Emory University Hospital on Sunday after he was determined to be free of the virus and no threat to the public. Hospital and health officials never released his name, in keeping with his family's wish for privacy.

Health officials said they were relieved as the monitoring period ended for many, and after a cruise ship scare ended with the boat returning to port in Texas and a lab worker on board testing negative for the virus.

After Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola, Troh, her 13-year-old son, Duncan's nephew and a family friend were ordered by a Dallas court to stay inside the apartment among Duncan's used linens. Five days later they were evacuated to a four-bedroom home in an isolated corner of a 13-acre gated property owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas, southwest of downtown.

Except for a few plastic bins filled with personal documents, photographs, trophies and a Bible, the apartment was stripped down to the carpeting and the contents were incinerated.

The city of Dallas announced Monday it is coordinating with a local church and donors to provide Jallah's mother, Louise Troh, with funds to pay for six months of housing. Once she chooses a location, nonprofits will assist the family with furniture, linens and other household items, the city said.

"We want to restore what's lost but more than that, we want to give her a running start on her new life," said Troh's pastor, George Mason of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas.

While health workers cleared Jallah of having Ebola, the disease's stigma lingers — including among fellow Liberians, she said.

"If they see me at the store, they run away," she said.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Suspected Indiana Serial Killer Has Texas Connection]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:00:37 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Darren-Vann.jpg

Police investigating the slayings of seven northwestern Indiana women whose bodies were found over the weekend said Monday they believe it is the work of a serial killer, and that the suspect has indicated there could be more victims going back 20 years.

The Lake County prosecutor's office on Monday charged 43-year-old Darren Vann of Gary, Indiana, in the strangulation death of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy. Her body was found Friday night at a Motel 6 in nearby Hammond.

Gary officials were expected to charge Vann later this week in the deaths of six more women, whose bodies were found Saturday and Sunday. Hammond Police Chief John Doughty said at a news conference that Vann confessed to Hardy's slaying and gave police information that led to the other bodies in Gary, including three on the same block.

Vann was a convicted sex offender in Texas, where he pleaded guilty to raping a woman in 2009 and was released from prison in July 2013.

The Austin Police Department issued a statement Monday saying it would review missing persons and cold cases to determine if there could be a link to Vann, and asked anyone with information to come forward.

Doughty said police have no specific indication that any slayings have occurred in another state, and the Gary slayings appeared to have happened recently. He said Vann is cooperating with investigators in the hope of making a deal with prosecutors.

"It could go back as far as 20 years based on some statements we have, but that has yet to be corroborated," Doughty said.

The Texas Department of Public Safety listed his risk level as "low" on its sex offender registry. He did not register in Indiana.

Court records in Travis County, Texas, show that Vann served a five-year prison sentence, with credit for the 15 months he was in jail awaiting trial, after pleading guilty in 2009 to sexually assaulting a woman at an Austin apartment two years earlier.

The woman told police that she went to Vann's apartment, where he asked if she was a police officer. After she told him no, he knocked her down and began to strangle and beat her, hitting her several times in the face and telling the woman he could kill her. He then raped her.

Vann allowed the woman to leave and she called police the next day.

Indiana authorities said Hardy, the woman Vann is accused of strangling, was involved in prostitution and had arranged to meet him at the Motel 6 through a Chicago-area website. Police were called by someone who attempted to reach Hardy and "was provided suspicious text responses that she believed to be from the suspect while he was still inside the motel room."

Police said they took Vann into custody Saturday afternoon after obtaining a search warrant for a home and vehicle in Gary.

They found the body of 35-year-old Anith Jones of Merrillville, Indiana, on Saturday night in an abandoned home. She had been missing since Oct. 8.

Five more bodies were found on Sunday in other homes, said Doughty, who identified two of the women as Gary residents Teaira Batey, 28, and Christine Williams, 36. Police have not determined the identities of the other three women, including two whose bodies were found on the same block where Jones' body was found on Saturday.

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said only Jones was reported missing, perhaps indicating that Vann "preyed on individuals that might be less likely to be reported missing."

Hardy's mother, Lori Townsend, said police told her that Vann asked that Hardy to perform a certain sex act, and "when she said `no' and put up a fight, he snapped and strangled her."

"This man is sick," Townsend said from her home in Colorado.

Hardy graduated from high school in late 2013 and planned to go to college to study music, Townsend said.

"She was full of life. She lit up a room with her smile and her beauty," she said. "And she had a voice like a songbird."

Gary, once a thriving steel town of 178,000 where thousands worked in the mills, has been struggling for decades. Its population has shrunk to just over 78,000 and its poverty rate hovers around 40 percent. Thousands of homes are abandoned, many with weeds choking broken sidewalks -- often on the same streets where other homes are tidy and well-kept.

On Monday, people in Gary tried to make sense of the tragedy.

"That's devastating," said Jay Jackson, 25, a health care worker visiting a woman a few houses from where one of the bodies was found. "All we can do is pray for the city and hope for recovery."

Tarm reported from Chicago. Associated Press writers Tom Davies in Indianapolis, Jim Vertuno in Austin, Texas, and Tammy Webber in Chicago contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Hammond Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Nina Pham Remains in Fair Condition]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 23:10:17 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/pham-dog.jpg

Dallas nurse and Ebola patient Nina Pham is still in fair condition at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, officials there said Monday.

Her condition has not changed since Friday, they said.

Pham, who contracted Ebola after caring for patient Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, was flown to Maryland on Thursday to be treated at the taxpayer-funded hospital.

Pham was listed in fair condition Friday after NIH staff assessed her following her transfer Thursday night from Dallas, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' Laboratory of Immunoregulation.

She had been listed in good condition in Dallas before her transfer, but Fauci said the change in status shouldn't be understood as Pham's condition worsening.

"She's not deteriorating. I cannot tell you at this particular time why we have said fair, because of patient confidentiality, but she is quite stable now and resting comfortably," said Fauci.

Last week Fauci said they fully intend to have Pham walk out of their hospital and will do everything they can to make sure that happens.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[TX DPS Opening Saturdays to Provide Election IDs]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:03:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/texas-voter-id-eic.jpg

Whether you plan to vote early or on Election Day, you'll need identification if you plan to cast a ballot. Those without an ID can obtain a free Election Identification Certificate at select driver's license offices through Saturday, Nov. 8.

To be given a ballot, voters will need to either show one of the following forms of identification: a state-issued driver's license, state-issued identification card, a current U.S. passport, DPS-issued CHLs, Military IDs, a U.S. citizenship certificate that has a photo or an EIC.

The Texas DPS will open select driver's license offices on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for EICs only. Select offices in Dallas, Denton, Tarrant and Collin counties are taking part — click here to see a statewide list. The EICs can also be obtained at any of the state's 220 driver's license offices during regular business hours throughout the year.

The state said most Texas residents already have an acceptable form of photo ID and will not need or qualify for an EIC. To qualify, a person must not have any of the acceptable forms of ID listed above.

To qualify for an EIC, an applicant must meet the following conditions:

  • Bring documentation to verify U.S. citizenship and identity.
  • Be eligible to vote in Texas (Bring a valid voter registration card or submit a voter registration application through the Texas Department of Public Safety).
  • Be a Texas resident.
  • Be 17 years and 10 months or older.

Once completed, the EIC receipt an individual receives will include their photo and can be used for voting until the permanent card is delivered by mail.

EICs are valid for six years; those given to citizens over 70 years of age will not expire. Cards are only used for voting and not for identification.

Those with EIC's will still need to register to vote.  To check your status as an active voter, visit the Texas Secretary of State's website here.  

If you are not a registered voter, it's too late to register for this midterm election.

Early voting ends Oct. 31.  Election Day is Nov. 4.

Photo Credit: AP, Texas Department of Public Safety]]>
<![CDATA[Presbyterian Nurses: "This Could Happen to Any Hospital"]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:13:57 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cole-edmonson-presby-crop.jpg

Top nurses at the Dallas hospital where two nurses fell ill treating the nation's first Ebola patient spoke out for the first time Monday, affirming their pride in their hospital amid scrutiny and vowing to reaffirm the public's trust.

"The reason we're here today is to make sure people know that Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital is still a great hospital, an excellent hospital," chief nursing officer Cole Edmonson said at a brief news conference in front of the hospital Monday afternoon, flanked by nurses he called part of a "proud family."

"We're proud to tell people that we work here," he added."We will reaffirm your trust in Presbyterian."

"We are experts in our field, and we don't want to be judged by this one incident," emergency department nurse Julie Boling said, overcome by emotion. "This could happen to any hospital."

The nurses gave their well-wishes to their two coworkers who remain hospitalized in isolation for Ebola, after they contracted the disease treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed in the U.S. He died Oct. 8.

Amber Vinson is being treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, the same hospital where Fort Worth's Dr. Kent Brantly and American aid worker Nancy Writebol were successfully treated, and her coworker Nina Pham is being treated at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland.

On Monday, health officials' efforts to contain Ebola's spread cleared a key hurdle when four dozen people were being cleared from the watch list.

<![CDATA[Vets Test Nina Pham's Dog for Ebola Virus]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:49:46 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Bentley-Thumb-101914.jpg

A team of specially-trained veterinarians started testing Ebola patient Nina Pham's dog, Bentley, for the virus.

Dallas Animal Services has been carrying for Bentley in isolation. To date he has been healthy and still shows no symptoms of the virus.

The City of Dallas tweeted new pictures Sunday of Bentley playing with the vet.

The veterinarians started testing Bentley's waste for signs of Ebola virus Monday.

Bentley will remain in isolation until Nov. 1. He's being monitored for a full 21-day period, similar to humans who've been exposed.

No word on when Pham will be released from the National Institutes of Health in Maryland.

Dallas Animal Services said anyone interested in donating to Bentley's care should write a check and send it to 1818 N. Westmoreland Road, Dallas, TX 75212, to the attention of Dr. Cate McMannus, and tag it "Bentley" on the memo line.

<![CDATA[Fort Hood Hug Lady Receives Yellow Rose of Texas]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 19:25:10 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/fort-hood-hug-lady.jpg Whenever troops deploy from or return to Fort Hood, 82-year-old Air Force veteran Elizabeth Laird's assembly line of hugs is waiting.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Mavs' Starting Five Gets Rave Reviews in Debut]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:18:58 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457402746.jpg

Call it a smashing debut.

Mavs’ head coach Rick Carlisle played his starting five for the first time in the preseason Friday night in Cleveland, and it turned out to be a pretty tantalizing appetizer. The Mavs host the Grizzlies tonight in the home exhibition finale. But if they need to hang their hat on a pre-season game, the win over the Cavaliers will do just fine.

With Jameer Nelson, Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler on the floor together, the Mavs dominated LeBron James in Cleveland in front of owner Mark Cuban and Browns’ quarterback Johnny Manziel. Dallas made its first five 3-pointers, scored 37 first-quarter points, befuddled the Cavaliers with their zone defense and basically sent a message to bring on the regular season.

As Cleveland rested James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love down the stretch, the 108-102 final score was meaningless. But the fact that Dallas’ first unit provided a glimpse of its offensive potential was mouth-watering to say the least.

Parsons and Nelson scored 19 points apiece, Nowitzki added 16 and the Mavs served further notice that their offense will be among the best in the NBA this season.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Simple Mistakes Lead to Identity Thief]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 11:56:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Dave+Lieber+102014.jpg The Dallas Morning News Watchdog columnist Dave Lieber takes a look at the simple mistakes that can lead to identity theft if you're not careful.]]> <![CDATA[Dallas Police Locate Missing Woman]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:31:19 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/DeeAnnGreen1.jpg

Dallas police said they located a woman who went missing early Monday morning.

Dee Ann Green, 43, had last been seen on foot in the 2100 block of Prichard Lane between 1 and 4 a.m. Monday, according to police.

Police said Green might have been a danger to herself or others.

There is no word yet on where police found her.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Hearing to Update State's Response to Ebola]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:34:28 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/121580052.jpg

The Texas House of Representatives Committee on County Affairs will host a press conference Monday morning to provide an update on how the state prepares for Ebola.

Health officials will meet at 10 a.m. and receive an update on Texas' response and preparedness for the current Ebola virus outbreak.

Officials will also discuss how prepared Texas counties, agencies and hospitals are for a future outbreak of any potential diseases like Ebola or swine flue that could affect Texans.

In addition, the committee will cover the state's population growth and its impact as well as current issues the state's jails face.

Photo Credit: Getty Images for Red Bull]]>
<![CDATA[4 Children Cleared for Ebola Back in School]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 19:00:36 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ll-hotchkiss.jpg

Four of the five children just removed from the Ebola watch list headed back to their Dallas elementary schools Monday, as school officials promised to make them feel welcome in class following their three-week quarantine.

"We want the students to feel that it is school as normal, that they are not being singled out," said Dallas Independent School District's superintendent Mike Myles.

The names of the five children, cleared Monday after showing no signs of the virus for 21 days, have not been released, but officials say their classmates likely know who they are anyway. They don't want the five children to feel ostracized.

Parents picking up their children as school let out at L.L. Hotchkiss Elementary on Monday had mixed feelings about the possible lingering Ebola risks.

Some told NBC 5 they pulled their kids from school for a few days when they learned that a classmate may have been exposed, but now they feel better.

“I don’t have any worries. It has been long enough,” one mother said.

Another, however, wasn't as confident. "I am very concerned," she said.

Officials had said earlier in the day that the cleared children would return to school Tuesday, but after they were cleared, four of them returned earlier than expected.

“We had asked that they return to school tomorrow just to make sure everything is coordinated well, but they showed up today, and that is fine. We didn’t want to turn them away. They are cleared, and what cleared means is they don’t have the virus,” Myles explained.

Although the other four children cleared headed back to class Monday, the son of initial Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan's fiancee Louise Troh did not go to back to Tasby Middle School, though he too was cleared.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[1 Dead After Vehicle Rolled in Grand Prairie]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:43:42 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/gp-fatal-wreck.jpg

Authorities said they're investigating a wreck that left one person dead in Grand Prairie early Monday morning.

Grand Prairie Police Department officials said a vehicle rolled several times and came to rest on its roof on the shoulder of eastbound Interstate 20 near Texas 161.

One person was found dead at the scene, but no other injuries were reported.

Southbound Texas 161 was closed for a short time, but I-20 remained open in both directions.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Frisco to Hold Town Hall Meeting]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:44:14 -0500

Frisco officials will host a town hall meeting at City Hall Monday evening to cover several issues pertinent to residents.

Representatives are schedule to discuss a proposed bond package, special election, road construction and emergency preparedness at 6:30 p.m. at the council chambers at the George A. Purefoy Municipal Center at 6101 Frisco Square Boulevard.

City department representatives will staff 'information stations' beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the atrium.

Residents who cannot attend the meeting are encouraged to participate by dialing 888-409-5380 toll free. Registered voters will receive a phone call Monday night, inviting them to join the meeting.

At 7 p.m., staff will brief residents on the Nov. 4 special election, which is a bond election under consideration to help meet the city's future needs related to roads, public safety and facilities as well as year-round emergency preparedness for everything from severe weather to fire prevention.

Residents will be able to ask questions in person or by phone after staff presentations.

Town hall meetings last about two hours and are typically held three times each year.

<![CDATA[Texas State Fair Comes to a Close]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 23:27:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Amanda-State_Fair_10p_1200x675_345049155992.jpg NBC5's Amanda Guerra reports on the highlights of the 2014 Texas State Fair.]]> <![CDATA[Dallas Judge: Treat Ebola Contacts with 'Dignity, Respect']]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 04:46:19 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/judge-clay-jenkins.jpg

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said four dozen people being cleared off the Ebola watch list Monday should be treated with "dignity and respect" and welcomed back into the community.

“There’s zero risk than any of those people on the list have Ebola,” Jenkins said. “We have to believe in science. It’s what separates us from other mammals."

At midnight, 43 people showing no sign of the Ebola virus fell off the list and another five are expected to fall off sometime Monday. All of them either had direct contact with index patient Thomas Eric Duncan, or the ambulance that carried him to the hospital. The additional 75 health care workers who cared for Duncan will clear their 21-day monitoring period on Oct. 29.

Jenkins singled out five children who are returning to school after missing about three weeks, and requested help from Dallas-area parents to ensure they are treated with respect. He said that Duncan's fiancee, Louise Troh, was worried about how her middle-school aged son would be treated, and he agreed with the concerns. He will return to Tasby Middle School Tuesday morning.

“Middle schoolers are some of the most ferocious and scariest animals on the planet,” Jenkins said.

For 21 days, Troh, her 13-year-old son and her two nephews were isolated from the world. They were ordered into quarantine at a property in Oak Cliff as health officials watched for any signs of them having the Ebola virus.

“You can imagine what it’s like for anybody living under that threat and the tension of everyday,” said Catholic Diocese of Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell.

Their temporary house at the Catholic Conference and Formation Center was a single story, four bedroom home that sits in a gated community owned by the Catholic Diocese of Dallas.

“They feel relieved and happy,” said Farrell. “But deep down they’re still worried.”

Jenkins and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings personally asked Farrell if the church could help after the county had to move the family from The Ivy Apartments where Troh lived. The apartment contained many contaminated items from Duncan.

“Naturally, I had to think about the consequence of doing this,” said Farrell. “But it was in my heart all of the time that I was going to do something.”

It took the bishop 15 minutes to make a decision. The family was moved and remained out of sight from the world during their quarantine.

But now one challenge is over and another one begins.

“I would hope that the whole community would kind of understand and bring them back into the community and be kind and compassionate and accepting to these people who have suffered in this way,” said Farrell.

Troh lost most of her property at her apartment that had to be destroyed because they were contaminated.

According to a press release from the City of Dallas, Troh will find an apartment or home of her choice within her budget in the next few weeks.The first six months of her lease will be funded by the church and local philanthropists. The organizations will also provide money for new clothes and personal items. Non-profits will assist with furniture, linens and kitchenware for her new residence.

Jenkins added that the way people handle the reintegration process could show the city as a “beacon for how others can deal” with such adversity when “the next Ebola case happens to America.”

"The world is watching Dallas,” he said.

43 Removed from Ebola Contact List

The 43 people who were on the watch list after coming in contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, who died Oct. 8, before he was put in isolation have shown no signs of contracting the virus.

“Continuous vigilance in confronting this threat and the cooperation of those affected is what has brought us to this point, and we look forward to the day when the remaining individuals can also be removed from active monitoring,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry said.

The fight is not over, though. Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, two Dallas nurses who contracted the virus while caring for Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, remain hospitalized. Investigators said they don't know how or when they contracted the virus.

“They are blameless in this situation,” said Jenkins. “They are victims of Ebola. They are not at fault for contracting this disease in any way.”

All the other health care workers who cared for Duncan while in isolation are being monitored for 21 days. More than 70 of them will be closely watched until Oct. 29 as long as they continue to show no signs of having the virus.

“We cannot be relieved,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said. “We are still in a situation where we are cautious. We're cautiously optimistic, but we're still very cautious.”

Jenkins said with each day that passes, the chances of another health care worker contracting the virus from Duncan decreases. If no new cases of Ebola appear before Nov. 6, North Texas will no longer be monitored for the virus.

120 Possible Contacts Still Monitored

Around 120 possible contacts will remain on monitoring after the initial 48 are removed.

In addition to the health care workers, airline passengers have been notified of possible Ebola contact from nurse Amber Vinson before she was hospitalized while she traveled to and from Ohio.

A handful of people who sat within three feet of Vinson have been told to stay at home during the 21 day monitoring period.

NBC 5's Ken Kalthoff contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys 31, Giants 21: Whitt Watch Top 10]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:03:12 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/4575133801.jpg

The Cowboys are 6-1. I never expected to type that this season. And, admit it, you never thought you'd read it.  Here are the top 10 highlights from the game.

10. Nobody mentioned/noticed Jermey Parnell today. Which means Jermey Parnell – Doug Free’s stand-in – had a fantastic day.

9. At the game? Guy Fieri. A-Rod. Rascal Flatts. Roger Staubach. Apparently America’s Team is still America’s Team.

8. Wish I had a dollar for every time Fox’s Troy Aikman uses the word “job” to describe a play. As in, “Dez Bryant does a remarkable job in beating the press coverage.” By my count he uttered it 13 times this afternoon. I'd have like, $13.

7. Two horrible spots by the refs, in particular by the line judge – whose main job is to accurately spot the ball. There will be a day when football evolves to a better sport void of human estimations and archaic chain gangs. And during that first game we’ll all wonder how the heck we put up with the old system for all those years.

6. The Cowboys have four consecutive games with more than 400 yards of offense. Haven’t been able to say that since 1976.

5. Despite all the offense, play of the game was made by safety Barry Church. Cowboys’ defense couldn’t stop the Giants, until his stop-and-strip of tight end Larry Donnell.

4. Gavin Escobar just may be a player yet. Two more touchdown catches and a fantastic clearing block on DeMarco Murray’s crucial 3rd-and-1 conversion on the game-clinching drive. Rare that the Cowboys score 31 points and have such a dominant day with Jason Witten contributing only two catches for 27 yards.

3. Another 128 rushing yards for Murray. That’s a record seven consecutive games to start the season. And no fumbles. He’s not better than Jim Brown, but he’s now authored a better start to a season.

2. If Dan Bailey was a baseball pitcher, he’d be the best closer in the game. None of us had any doubts about his 49-yard field goal to seal the deal. Did we?

1. The Cowboys weren’t perfect against the Giants. But their game-winning drive was. After New York scored to make us all nervous at 28-21, the Cowboys didn’t give New York the ball back until it trailed by 10 with a minute left. Murray converted a 3rd-and-1. Dez made a key catch. And the 6-1 Cowboys closed a game like an elite contender should. Impressive.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Cowboy Works Hand-in-Hand With Son at Florida State]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 17:50:54 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Watkins_Mario_Edwards_WEB_1200x675_344926275941.jpg

Former Cowboys cornerback Mario Edwards got his post-NFL dream job two years ago as the director of player development at Florida State -- his alma matter.

Edwards works hand-in-hand with student athletes, as a mentor and life coach.

"I mean working with kids that are still at the age where you can mold and develop and when I come in kind of having instant credibility with them. So it kind if makes my job easier. I love it and I wouldn't trade it for anything else," Edwards said.

One of those athletes he works with is his son, Mario Edwards Junior -- a blue chip recruit at Denton Ryan, who is following in his father's footsteps, starting at Florida State.

The defensive end is entering his third year at Tallhassee and is expected to be an early first round pick in the 2015 NFL draft.

"There is no ceiling for him in my opinion. He has shown it each year. He's gotten better. And he still wants to get better. I mean, the sky is the limit for this guy," Edwards said.

Edwards said he stays out of Junior's way on campus so his son can grow on his own. Even though he won a national championship as a player, Edwards didn't pressure the young Seminole to play at Florida State.

He knew there was potential for his son to also win a title in Tallahassee.

"I said, if you go to Florida State I think by your second no later than your third year you will win another championship. So, his second year there he won a national championship. Dad seemed like a genius, like I know it all. I was just happy everything panned it the way he thought it would by he choosing Florida State," Edwards said.

And there's a chance the Edwards duo can win another. Florida State started its season at AT&T Stadium and they're determined to play in the title game there in January.

"There's one thing I can guarantee, and that we're going to start it in Dallas. We are going to need a lot of things to happen, a lot of luck and hopefully, hopefully we can finish it in Dallas," Edwards said.

<![CDATA[Statement: Vinson 'In No Way Careless' Before Ebola Diagnosis]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:39:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Amber-Vinson-1200x675.jpg

The family of Ebola patient Amber Joy Vinson released a statement Sunday, indicating the Dallas nurse had not been careless in the days preceding her diagnosis.

The 29-year-old nurse had cared for Ebola victim Thomas Eric Dunan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas in late September. According to previous reports, Vinson had worn protective gear while handling Duncan's bodily fluids before his death.

Vinson flew from Dallas to Cleveland Oct. 10, two days after Duncan died, to visit her mother and fiancé and to plan her upcoming wedding, a health official said.

According to her family, she had been in contact with Dallas County Health Department officials, who asked her to report her temperature twice a day after fellow nurse Nina Pham was diagnosed with Ebola. Vinson's family said she asked officials if she could fly back to Dallas a day early and place herself in a 21-day quarantine at the hospital.

"She was told that this was the first request of its kind, but that the agency would consider the option," her family said in a statement. "Once again, Amber was assured that she should not be alarmed and prompted to continue self-monitoring."

She flew back to Dallas Monday, Oct. 13, reported a 100.3 degree fever the following morning and checked herself into Presbyterian Hospital, according to the family. Vinson was flown to Atlanta's Emory Hospital to receive more specialized care following her Ebola diagnosis on Oct. 15.

"Suggestions that she ignored any of the physician and government-provided protocols recommended to her are patently untrue and hurtful," the family statement reads. "Although the majority of the correspondences we have received since her diagnosis have been positive, we are troubled by some of the negative public comments and media coverage that mischaracterize Amber and her actions. To be clear, in no way was Amber careless before or after her exposure to Mr. Thomas Eric Duncan. She has not and would not knowingly expose herself or anyone else."

Vinson's family also said they have retained a lawyer from Washington, D.C., and have asked for privacy.

"The past several days have been the most trying our family has collectively ever faced," they wrote. "We remain intensely prayerful and optimistic about Amber’s condition and of the treatment she is currently receiving. Our prayers and thoughts also go out to Amber’s colleague, Nina Pham, and the Dallas and Ohio communities impacted by this tragedy."

Photo Credit: Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[Duncan's Fiancee: "We Have Lost So Much"]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:11:00 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/141001-thomas-eric-duncan-cropped-02_38940a433d65a2b3f4b944bdd2a083bf.nbcnews-fp-320-240.jpg

The first group of people exposed to Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to die from Ebola in the United States, will no longer be considered at risk for the Ebola virus at midnight on Sunday.

After three weeks of isolation or self-monitoring, 43 people — including Duncan's fiancee Louise Troh, her 13-year-old son and two nephews --- will be cleared and allowed to go on with their lives.

Troh released a statement through Wilshire Baptist Church Pastor Mark Wingfield on Sunday, just hours before she and her family are set to complete their 21-day quarantine.

"Our happiness is mixed with sadness at the same time. My beloved fiancé, Thomas Eric Duncan, who was also the father of my son, Karsiah Eric Duncan, did not survive with us. We continue to mourn his loss and grieve the circumstances that led to his death, just at the time we thought we were facing a happy future together," Troh said.

Wingfield said they've heard people blame Duncan's family for the Ebola situation in Dallas, but say Duncan would never have knowingly come to the U.S. from Liberia risking the spread of infection or knowing he was infected.

"They got caught in this situation unbeknownst to them and it's not that they've done anything wrong and it's very hard to understand when you're in their shoes, why anyone out there would try to place blame on them or on Eric, who they firmly believe did not know he was infected," said Wingfield.

Two nurses who treated Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital before his death on Oct. 8 are now being treated for Ebola.

"Our hearts also go out to the two brave women who have been infected by this terrible disease as they were trying to help him," Troh said.

"We are also aware of how much this has affected many other people of my city, Dallas, and my country, the United States of America, even as it has in the country of my birth, Liberia. We also know that many people who work in Presbyterian Hospital are hurting because of this tragedy. We pray that God will bring healing to all in our community soon," she wrote.

Troh said she and her family are asking for privacy once they're released from the quarantine.

Here's Troh's full statement:

Tomorrow, my family and I will complete the 21-day quarantine period we were required to undergo because of the Ebola virus in Dallas. We are so happy this is coming to an end, and we are so grateful that none of us has shown any sign of illness.

Our happiness is mixed with sadness at the same time. My beloved fiancé, Thomas Eric Duncan, who was also the father of my son, Karsiah Eric Duncan, did not survive with us. We continue to mourn his loss and grieve the circumstances that led to his death, just at the time we thought we were facing a happy future together. Our hearts also go out to the two brave women who have been infected by this terrible disease as they were trying to help him. We are also aware of how much this has affected many other people of my city, Dallas, and my country, the United States of America, even as it has in the country of my birth, Liberia. We also know that many people who work in Presbyterian Hospital are hurting because of this tragedy. We pray that God will bring healing to all in our community soon.

We thank all people of kindness who have prayed for us during this time, and we join your prayers now for others who are suffering too. We have lost so much, but we have our lives and we have our faith in God, which always gives us hope.

Even though the quarantine is over, our time of mourning is not over. Because of that, we ask to be given privacy as we seek to rebuild our home, our family and our daily living. We will not give any interviews at this time. I do have a story to tell, and I look forward to telling it in my own way at the right time.

At this time, I would like to give my thanks to Mayor Mike Rawlings and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins for all the help and kindness they have shown me in the last three weeks. These two men have cared about me as a person. The many people who work with and for them, and also the state health workers who have cared for us, have been angels from God who have kept our spirits up through all of this. And of course I want to thank all my family, the Liberian community, and my friends at Wilshire Baptist Church. I look forward to seeing you all soon.

All glory be to God.