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Robert E. Lee Statue In Dallas To Be Removed After Judge Tosses Restraining Order

An 81-year-old statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Oak Lawn's Lee Park can now come down. In a hearing Thursday, U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater ruled the statue's removal didn't violate First Amendment rights. He also said the Dallas City Council didn't break its own rules when it voted Wednesday to remove the statue.

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The High Five

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

Dallas, TX – Ambient sound of a sidewalk cafe.

Dallas, TX – Ambient sound of a Dallas City Council meeting, with Council members yelling at each other and the mayor banging a gavel on the table

Suzanne Sprague, KERA 90.1 Reporter: Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk said early in the day that if the ethics code debate were a horse race, all of the City Council's horses would run out of the gate and stop in their tracks.

Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk: We have a couple of members of the Council that want to use this as a way to say, "We have ethics. They don't. They're against it."

Fort Worth, TX – Suzanne Sprague, KERA 90.1 Reporter: For nearly two hours, patients of Tarrant County's public hospital system told of wading through a maze of confusing lines, of receiving the wrong prescriptions, and of sharing the few chairs and one bathroom at the new centralized pharmacy.

Fort Worth, TX – Ambient sound of a crowd gathering in a large hall.

Suzanne Sprague, KERA 90.1 Reporter: The Tarrant County Convention Hall was filled with vendors trying to sell Democrats anything from merchandise to ideas.

Sound from a videotape begins to play.

Sprague: At the booth sponsored by the Texas State Rifle Association, Executive Director Randy Gibson was screening a video about gun safety starring the cartoon character Eddie the Eagle.

Fort Worth, TX – Suzanne Sprague, KERA 90.1 Reporter: Texas Democratic Party Chairwoman Molly Beth Malcolm was elected in 1998, the same year her party was wiped clean from statewide offices.

Molly Beth Malcolm, Texas Democratic Party Chairwoman: What I think happened over the last decade is while Democrats were in the Legislature and they were working with the Republicans that were over there, the Republicans began to organize and jump out and pretend and take credit for things that they weren't doing.

Fort Worth, TX – Sam Baker, KERA 90.1 Morning Edition host: The 2nd International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs reaches its crescendo today and tomorrow in Fort Worth, as finalists play for top prizes. But, as 90.1's Bill Zeeble reports, the tension that accompanies typical music contests has given way to a more relaxed atmosphere.

Music fade

Dallas, TX – Sam Baker, KERA 90.1 Morning Edition host: The Dallas Stars stand on the brink of elimination tonight as they face the New Jersey Devils in game five of the Stanley Cup Finals. If the Devils win, they take the best-of-seven series. From the National Hockey League's perspective, though, the Stars have already scored a success of sorts, as 90.1's Bill Zeeble reports.

Dallas, TX – Sam Baker, KERA 90.1 Morning Edition host: Plans for the new Nasher Sculpture Garden and Center have been unveiled by award-winning landscape designer Peter Walker and architect Renzo Piano. 90.1's Bill Zeeble has more on the art space in downtown Dallas.

Dallas, TX – Sam Baker, KERA 90.1 Morning Edition host: Dozens of shareholder-activists lobbied the ExxonMobil board during its annual meeting yesterday. They hoped to change corporate policies on everything from global warming to gay rights. On every count, they failed, but say they won't give up. 90.1's Bill Zeeble has more.

Ambient sound of protestors chanting: When do you want ExxonMobil to protect America's Arctic? Now! When do you want Exxon to stop global warming? Now! And when...

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Latest from NPR

"We had a parent go by and check on the chickens. They were fine and Wilson the cat was ok too! I know many people are concerned. What a wonderful community we have."

For the staff of Wilson Montessori, a public pre-K-8 school in Houston, the days after Harvey meant tracking down members of the community via text, collecting donations for those in need — and reassuring students about the fate of the school's pets.

The disaster relief bill moving through Congress can't come too soon for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Officials confirm FEMA's cash box could be empty as early as this weekend, right around the time that Hurricane Irma is scheduled to slam into southern Florida, while southeast Texas and Louisiana are still drying out from the Hurricane Harvey.

The agency can "easily go through $200 million in a day" according to Elizabeth Zimmerman, a former associate administrator at FEMA, "just gearing up, responding and being prepared for a disaster that's coming."

North Korea's neighbor of Japan is growing more alarmed by Pyongyang's advancing nuclear program, especially after a North Korean missile flew over the Japanese island of Hokkaido last week. It's led many residents to rethink the threat, even though they acknowledge they're largely powerless in this high-stakes geopolitical tussle.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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History, science, politics, books and more with Krys Boyd.

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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 list of things you should do in the Lone Star State before you kick the bucket.

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One Crisis Away: No Place To Go

West Dallas has been on the financial edge for generations. And that's just now starting to change.