News Headlines–4/4/2013

Opposing parties to a proposed private landfill west of Easterwood Airport are meeting behind closed doors. Closed door mediation began yesterday and continues today. The mediation follows a public hearing yesterday morning, which lasted less than 20 minutes because there was no public testimony. All those in attendance who were against the landfill and eligible to speak were represented by a lawyer involved in the mediation process. Opponents had asked the City of College Station, whose extra-territorial jurisdiction includes the proposed landfill, to become an interested party. That was not done, according to Mayor Nancy Berry after consulting with their lawyers. Mediation is the latest step in a process that began in February and is expected to last until January. Another public hearing before the judge will take place as early as the second half of August. The mediation will also involve attorneys representing the applicant and the Texas Department of Environmental Quality.

There is proposed state legislation intended to train people to recognize developing mental illness. Senator Charles Schwertner, who is a physician and surgeon, says the voluntary program is called “mental health first aid”. Schwertner says teachers are among others who can benefit from the training. Schwertner says mental illness also affects jails and emergency rooms among other things. Schwertner says the Senate finance committee has beefed up funding for mental health, and with this program local agencies would conduct the training.

And, the Dean of the Bush School at Texas A&M is returning to Aggieland. University officials say Ryan Crocker will resume his duties august 1st. Crocker left two years ago to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan. He left that post last may, citing health reasons. Crocker has been teaching at Yale according to that school’s website. The acting Dean of the Bush School, Andrew Card, will continue in that position through July. After that, Provost Karan Watson says she looks forward to keeping Card and his wife Kathleen fully engaged at A&M.