SAN ANTONIO (AP) – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is scheduled this week to consider restricting the commercial fishing of menhaden, a baitfish that sport fishermen want to protect because of its role in the marine ecosystem.
Any change would mostly affect Omega Protein, a Houston-based company that dominates the industry nationwide and uses a fishing practice that vacuums menhaden out of the water.
Most of the 1.2 billion pounds of menhaden harvested annually from the Gulf of Mexico comes from Louisiana waters. Texas accounts for about 50 million pounds a year, the department said.
The fish are ground into fishmeal for the livestock and aquaculture industries. They're also used to make omega-3 fish oil dietary supplements.
Chicken pox cases up despite vaccine
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Texas recorded a 41 percent increase in cases of chicken pox from 2005 to 2007, despite an eight-year-old requirement that children be vaccinated before they can enter kindergarten.
Texas enacted the vaccine requirement for the 2000-2001 school year, but has not mandated a booster for children between the ages of 4 and 6.
A federal advisory committee recommended last year that children get the second dose, after an initial dose at age 1. Texas Department of State Health Services officials said they will study the booster this spring to decide if it too should be required in schools and day care centers.
San Antonio pediatrician Dr. Dianna Burns said she has started seeing a few cases of the virus this season, which normally lasts from late winter through spring. She said most parents agree when she offers the booster.
Corpus Christi police officer killed in car wreck
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) — A 25-year-old police officer died in a car wreck early Sunday while he was responding to an assault report, police said.
Matthew Thebeau was apparently trying to avoid a motorcycle that was going out of control when his patrol car struck the middle barrier of Crosstown Expressway, witnesses told police.
Police Chief Bryan Smith said Thebeau's car slid along the barrier for about 50 yards and then struck a light pole and a beam supporting a sign. The officer was ejected from the car and was struck by at least one car.
Thebeau was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Smith said.
Bush spiritual adviser endorses Obama
HOUSTON (AP) – An influential Houston minister who has long been a spiritual adviser to President George W. Bush says he will endorse Barack Obama's bid for the presidency.
The Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, senior pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church, said Saturday that he's backing the Illinois senator because of Obama's "character, confidence and courage."
Obama, a Democrat, is electable and "would do a wonderful job to bring people together to pursue a common vision we all have," said Caldwell, who said his support is personal and not connected to his role as pastor of the 14,000-member church.
However, Caldwell told his congregation that Obama may pay a visit to his church.
Caldwell, whose relationship with the president began when Bush was governor of Texas, introduced Bush at the 2000 Republican National Convention and gave the benediction at both of his inaugurations.
Caldwell said he called Bush to inform him of his decision to support Obama and that the president was "OK" with it, adding that the minister's presidential choice would not affect their relationship.
Information from: Houston Chronicle, www.chron.com
Couple want legislator tested for STDs after alleged holiday kiss
HOUSTON (AP) – A Houston woman and her husband want a state lawmaker tested for sexually transmitted diseases after they claim he forcibly kissed the woman at a holiday party.
Nathaniel and Krysynthia Rido made the accusations against state Rep. Borris Miles in a lawsuit filed in state district court on Friday.
Miles' spokesman, Donald Fields, said in the Houston Chronicle's Saturday online editions that Miles was not immediately available for comment because he was in Memorial Hospital with pneumonia. Messages left at Miles' offices by The Associated Press were not immediately returned on Sunday.
"It was extremely serious," Fields told the newspaper. "For three days it was very, very serious."
The Harris County District Attorney's Office has been looking into a complaint that Miles entered a hotel ballroom without an invitation, confronted guests, displayed a pistol and forcibly kissed another man's wife.
The Ridos' lawsuit contends Miles acted in a "depraved, unconscionable and reckless manner, leaving in his wake shame, embarrassment and mental trauma."
Krysynthia Rido said she fears AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases because she was exposed to "Miles' unwanted bodily fluids." She wants the court to order Miles to undergo blood tests for sexually transmitted diseases.
The suit also accuses Miles, 42, of assault and battery and asks for compensatory and punitive damages.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that some STDs can be transmitted orally. Its Web site says AIDS cannot be transmitted through casual kissing.
Miles represents District 146. He is facing a Democratic primary challenge from former state Rep. Al Edwards.
Historic marker dedicated for Janis Joplin's childhood home in Port Arthur, Texas
PORT ARTHUR, Texas (AP) – Janis Joplin's laugh still rings in the memory of a childhood friend.
At a gathering to dedicate a historic marker in front of one of the singer's childhood homes, Monteel Copple recalled her friend's laugh as they tried to keep their skirts in place while hanging upside down on the school's monkey bars.
"I can remember her giggle," Copple told those gathered Saturday for the dedication of the Texas State Historical Marker.
Saturday would have been Joplin's 65th birthday. She died of a drug overdose on Oct. 4, 1970.
Joplin rose to fame during San Francisco's 1967 "Summer of Love" with the band Big Brother and the Holding Company, gaining acclaim when she performed her version of blues singer Big Mama Thornton's "Ball and Chain" at the Monterey International Pop Festival. She later recorded such hits as "Piece of My Heart" and "Me and Bobby McGee."
Joplin was 4 when her family moved into the house that now has the marker. The family moved out in 1975. Her first childhood home was torn down in 1980.
Alicia and David Sanchez and their 8-year-old son now live in the house. As they helped pull a Texas flag off the marker, some people in the crowd shouted "We love you, Janis."
Fans still come by the house, said Alicia Sanchez, 48. When she moved into the house about 10 years ago, she didn't know anything about its former occupants.
"One day I just saw a TV crew out here shooting and I thought 'What's going on,'" she said. "I asked what they were doing and they told me that she (Joplin) used to live here. And then I started having people knock on my door asking to see my house."
She doesn't let strangers inside, but said she doesn't mind people taking pictures in the front yard.