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Rodger Mallison Star-Telegram

Tarrant County Is A Political Anomaly: A Big, Urban, Republican County

President-elect Donald Trump was propelled to our country's highest office, in part thanks to Tarrant County. That fact alone is unusual. Fort Worth and its suburbs make up the only metropolitan county in Texas that still votes Republican. Nationwide, just two of the nation’s 20 largest urban counties voted for the incoming president. Politicians and observers point to a range of factors that make Tarrant County an outlier to the national trend.

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The High Five

KERA takes a look at five stories that have North Texas talking — buzz from DFW and across the state.

Dallas, TX – Bill Zeeble, KERA 90.1 Reporter: In the dry, hot heart of Arizona lies the 372,000 acre Gila River reservation, home to the Native American Pima tribe. The local hospital, some telephone polls, and the occasional low-rise building interrupt the pale, flat desert vista of green, single story-tall cactus. Conditions appear so barren and harsh, one might conclude things haven't changed here for thousands of years, which is about as long as Native Americans have lived here.

Dallas, TX – Bill Zeeble, KERA 90.1 Reporter: In the dry, hot heart of Arizona lies the 372,000 acre Gila River reservation, home to the Native American Pima tribe. The local hospital, some telephone polls, and the occasional low-rise building interrupt the pale, flat desert vista of green, single story-tall cactus. Conditions appear so barren and harsh, one might conclude things haven't changed here for thousands of years, which is about as long as Native Americans have lived here.

Dallas, TX – Bill Zeeble , KERA 90.1 Reporter: 17 year-old Andrew Martinez lives in the heart of San Antonio's Hispanic barrio with his mom, an aunt, and diabetes.

Andrew Martinez: The whole family's diabetic in this household.

Dallas, TX – Kurt Hubler, KERA 90.1 Reporter: When the R-S-R smelter first opened at Singleton and Westmoreland in the late 1930?s, it provided material used in ammunition for World War Two, by removing lead from automotive batteries. But residents like Patricia Stevens, now the President of the Westmoreland Heights Neighborhood Association, say growing up next to the facility was a battle in itself.

Dallas, TX – [Ambient sound of hyperbaric chamber]

Bill Zeeble, KERA 90.1 Reporter: 16 million people in this country have diabetes. While two-thirds know it, the rest - five and a half million - don't. It's called "the silent killer."

Margaret Eckerd, insurance employee and diabetic: I was just discovered to have the diabetes.

FORT WORTH – Suzanne Sprague, KERA 90.1 Reporter: When you walk into the Wayne Thiebaud exhibit, the first painting you'll see is a still life of cakes. They're 17 of them. All on simple cake stands. Exhibition organizer Stephen Nash of San Francisco describes Thiebaud's technique as "gooey," with paint almost dripping off the canvas.

Stephen Nash, Chief Curator of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco: Well, he is like a pastry chef in a way where he's actually decorating the cakes and pies with frosting, so to speak.

DALLAS – Virginia Whitehill, Activist and Grandmother: Jill, look at this. This is the woman who made - Grace Murray Hopper - made the modern computer possible.

FORT WORTH – Kenneth Barr, Mayor, City of Fort Worth: Motion by a vote of six to one. [Clapping]

DALLAS – [Ambient sound of Buddhists chanting]

Suzanne Sprague, KERA 90.1 Reporter: Devout Buddhists in Dallas begin each morning with 90 minutes of devotional meditation. They dress in black robes and sit on tiny platforms while incense and the steady beat of a spiritual chant fill the air.

[More chanting]

Dallas, TX – Suzanne Sprague, KERA 90.1 Reporter: The speakers' list at yesterday's public hearing read like a "Who's Who" of Dallas community leaders. The heads of the League of Women Voters, the Chamber of Commerce, several private hospitals, and the Greater Dallas Community of Churches all turned out in support of Parkland's 31% tax increase. Ron Steinhart is chairman of the Dallas Citizens Council.

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Latest from NPR

A Superbug That Resisted 26 Antibiotics

28 minutes ago

"People keep asking me, how close are we to going off the cliff," says Dr. James Johnson, professor of infectious diseases medicine at the University of Minnesota. The cliff-side freefall he's talking about is the day that drug-resistant bacteria will be able to outfox the world's entire arsenal of antibiotics. Common infections would then become untreatable.

Last week, physicists at the National Institute for Standards and Technology reported they'd cooled an object to a million times colder than room temperature. It was a record for the super-difficult science of super-cooling.

In this field, researchers inch ever closer to — but never reach — the state of absolute zero temperature. It's a science that has some very cool (pun very much intended) applications including ultra-sensitive gravity wave detectors for "hearing" distant black hole mergers.

In an article last month on state goals for 2017, China's Xinhua news agency reported, "China has lifted 700 million people out of poverty through more than 30 years of reform and opening-up," while aiming to "lift" 10 million more in the coming year.

The number of people 60 and older with student loan debt has quadrupled in the past decade, and older Americans now represent the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. student loan market, according to a new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

As of 2015, more than 2.8 million Americans over 60 had outstanding student loan debt — up from some 700,000 in 2005.

A Nigerian military strike on a camp for internally displaced persons in northeast Nigeria has killed dozens of people, according to Médecins Sans Frontières.

Teams from MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders, said in a statement that they've counted 52 dead and 120 wounded as a result of the strike on the camp in Rann. They're treating the injured and preparing to evacuate patients from the camp.

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Our Most Popular Stories

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Here Are 39 Things You Should Do In Texas Before You Die

Texas Independence Day is March 2. (On that day, back in 1836, the Texas Declaration of Independence was adopted at Washington-on-the-Brazos.) So, to celebrate, the KERA News staff figured we’d come up with a list of quintessential Texas experiences – a bucket list of things you should do in the Lone Star state before you kick the bucket.

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In-Depth Interviews

History, science, politics, books and more with KERA's Krys Boyd.

Vital Signs

KERA's ongoing series on common health issues.