New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 5, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas
Sunday, March 5,1995 ■ Herald-Zeitung ■ 3 AMNT CONTRIBUTE TOAN I.R.A. BEFORE WF TALK
State and National News
High mercury levels found in Caddo Lake
HOUSTON (AP) — Caddo Lake, the state’s only large natural lake, will undergo more testing this month to determine the level of mercury contamination in fish.
The treasured far East Texas lake, a lush network of meandering bayous and quiet coves, was slapped with a state health advisory in late January because of elevated mercury levels found in some fish.
“Caddo Lake is a real jewel to us,” said Andrew Labay, a pollution biologist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “It’s very pristine. Every
body is scratching their heads as to where the mercury is coming from.” Mercury also was found in fish in five other East Texas lakes, including Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend reservoirs, but not in large enough amounts to warrant any advisories.
More tests also will be conducted at those lakes, once they’ve checked out Caddo, state officials said. Testing is to begin in two or three weeks.
Although officials say there is no reason to panic or to stop fishing at Caddo, they arc concerned about the discovery in what is considered one
of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in Texas, with some 70 species of fish and an array of plant life.
Named after the Caddo Indians who once lived in the area, the swamp-like lake sprawls across 26,800 acres in Texas and Louisiana and is the only natural lake of any size in the Lone Star State. Spanish moss drapes the many cypress trees, creating a mysterious, even haunting effect.
Officials don’t know the mercury’s origin, but possible sources include the atmosphere and local runoff. Labay said potential airborne sources include
coal-burning plants, smelters and municipal incinerators.
Mercury emitted into the air could be carried over to Caddo and deposited in the lake through rain. Then, by way of the food chain, it could be consumed by fish.
It also could be a natural phenomenon.
“We just don’t know,” said Kirk Wiles, assistant director for the Texas Department of Health’s seafood safety division.
Fire strikes theater where Oswald was arrested
DALLAS (AP) — Six weeks after a grand reopening, the movie theater where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested in connection with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was partially gutted by a fire.
A five-alarm five early Saturday collapsed part of the roof and destroyed the screen of the 64-year-old Texas Theatre, one of several local landmarks and museums dedicated the Nov. 22,1963, assassination.
The fire began around 2:50 a.m. and was out by daybreak. It did not reach the seating area of the 1,080-seat theater, although about two feet of water pooled on the floor of the pit area in front of the screen.
No injuries were reported, although there was significant water and smoke damage throughout the building, located in the Oak Cliff neighborhood.
The damage, however, was "not irreparable,” said Battalion Fire Chief Mike Jones.
In the lobby of the theater are glass cases containing newspaper headlines about Oswald’s arrest, maps of his reported escape route and other memorabilia.
Several citizens were chasing Oswald down a street near the theater after the body of Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit was found beside his police car.
Oswald was then spotted running into the theater. He was arrested a few minutes later after a dozens of officers surrounded the building Oswald’s name and the infamous date are painted in white on the seat where he took in a matinee after the assassination.
Close calls common at Dallas airport
DALLAS (AP) — Nervous about a series of near-crashes, federal regulators say they will no longer allow air traffic controllers to squeeze commuter plane departures into short gaps between arriving jets on the same runway after dark.
The Federal Aviation Administration imposed the temporary ban on Friday, four days after reviewing a near-crash at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
An American Airlines MD-11 jumbo jet flew as low as 50 feet over a Lone Star Airlines’ commuter plane that was preparing to depart Monday from the same mn way. There were 68 people on the jet and IO aboard the smaller plane.
Regulators said the incident, the fourth nighttime close call on a runway nationally since September, closely mirrored the circumstances of a 1991 crash in Los Angeles that killed 34 people.
In that accident, a US Air jetliner cleared to land came down on a Sky-
west Airlines’ commuter plane.
FAA spokesman John Clabes called Friday’s order for the temporary ban “fairly drastic and unusual.”
“Obviously, we’ve got a situation that needs to be corrected,” Clabes said.
The previous practice, which was an efficiency move, called for a smaller plane to taxi onto the runway immediately after a jet lands, but in front of another jet that still may be several miles from the airport.
The so-called “taxi into position and hold” procedure would normally enable controllers to maximize increasingly busy runways.
In the practice, the smaller plane is cleared to take off as soon as the first jet is clear of the runway.
Under the FAA order, controllers nationwide will undergo more training during the next two weeks. The agency will also examine ways to make the practice, which will still be used during the daytime, safer.
National Transportation Safety
Board investigators determined that in the Dallas-Fort Worth incident, tower controller cleared both planes to be on the runway at the same time without following proper procedure.
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