AUSTIN -- Officially, the Texas Youth Commission provides services to delinquent youths, ages 10 to 19, through programs and facilities that administer constructive training for rehabilitation.
The troubled agency has been through a series of leadership changes following allegations of sexual abuse by overseers and mismanagement.
Now, there will be a new leadership team. Gov. Rick Perry on September 2 announced the naming of Scott Fisher of Bedford chair of the Texas Youth Commission.
Fisher is senior pastor of Metroplex Chapel of Euless. He is a member of Texas Hospital Trustees and Tarrant County Hospital District Board of Managers. He is a past member of the Texas Ethics Commission and Texas Youth Commission Advisory Board.
Perry also appointed five members to the commission for terms to expire September 1, 2011:
• Joseph Brown of Sherman, criminal district attorney of Grayson County
• Larry Carroll of Midland, a past member of the TYC Advisory Board, who is executive director of the Permian Basin Community Centers for Mental Health and Mental Retardation
• Manson B. Johnson of Houston, pastor of Holman Street Baptist Church
• Rolando Olvera of Brownsville, Cameron County district judge
• David Teuscher of Beaumont, a licensed physician and orthopedic surgeon at the Beaumont Bone and Joint Institute.
Red snapper fishing results in fines
Red snapper reportedly is a main target of charter boats, and it is one of the most over-fished resources in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2003, a federal moratorium was placed on permits to limit access to the fishery in an effort to maintain sustainability of red snapper.
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's law enforcement arm and Texas Parks & Wildlife Department agents conducted a yearlong undercover operation that resulted in more than $100,000 in charges against Texas-based owners and operators of seven charter boats. Undercover agents and investigators documented violations on each vessel for operating without federal charter boat moratorium permits.
Since this moratorium, the only way to obtain a permit was to purchase one from an existing holder. This has raised the value of the permits, which are valued today between $8,000 and $10,000 according to NOAA authorities.
RRC gets funding for propane vehicles
Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams on Aug. 26 hailed news that grant money is coming to pay for 882 clean-burning propane fueled vehicles to be added to fleets operating at schools, state agencies and local government entities.
In May, the Railroad Commission - the state's energy agency - applied for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding through the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Cities grant program.
The Commission was awarded $12.6 million, with a match of $37.7 million from the grant participants, for the purchase of 245 propane school buses and 637 light- and medium-duty propane trucks, vans and cars. The total project is $50.4 million.
"Schools and local governments have shown tremendous interest in alternative fuels, Williams said. "This grant helps support their efforts and manage the initial cost of switching to a cleaner, domestically produced fuel. Clearly, these entities want to reduce tailpipe emissions from diesel exhausts and be responsible with taxpayers' dollars. As an added benefit, propane is domestically produced, so the schools and local governments are helping improve our energy security, too."
Texas to recover money in Medicaid fraud
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a coalition of state attorneys general and the U.S. Department of Justice announced the resolving of a Medicaid fraud investigation into pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc.
Texas' share will be $55 million of more than $1 billion recovered for state Medicaid programs and several federal programs.
According to investigators, Pfizer deceptively marketed its antipsychotic drug Geodon, its arthritis pain medication Bextra, which is no longer on the market, and 11 other pharmaceutical products.
The investigation revealed that Pfizer unlawfully promoted atypical antipsychotic Geodon for use by Medicaid-eligible children to treat numerous conditions, including attention deficit disorder and anxiety.