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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.

Arlington, TX – [There is sound here of people milling around the museum and talking.]

 

Mesquite, TX – (Children are playing and squealing on a playground.)

Suzanne Sprague, Reporter: Cascade Park is now Westlake Village. Raw sewage no longer flows through the grounds. The security gate has been fixed. Everyone has a new air conditioner. And there's a brand new playground for the dozens of children who call these apartments home.

(Here, more sound of children on the playground)

Dallas, TX – (Music from the television show "Dragnet" is playing)

Suzanne Sprague, KERA 90.1 Reporter: Okay. It might sound a little cheezy, but this is your welcome to the "Scene of the Crime" exhibit. Black and white photographs fill two rooms at the Photographs Do Not Bend gallery with sobering images from the world of crime. Gallery owner Burt Finger spent more than a year putting this exhibit together.

Burt Finger, Gallery Owner: About two years ago, I was at a photography sale and found this photograph.

Dallas, TX – MBIENCE: jet bridge]

Bill Zeeble, KERA 90.1 reporter: This is a prototype: only one of two automated jetways in the world that links customers to the plane's front door, and also to the plane's back door.

John Chaussee, Southwest Airlines Operations Security Director: It's an audible alarm, when the entire bridge is in motion to let everybody know down here on the ramp that the bridge is in motion and be mindful of it.

Fort Worth, TX – Bill Zeeble, KERA 90.1 reporter: FAA officials readily declare U.S. aviation the safest in the world. 600,000 pilots perform 68 million takeoffs and landings every year, at 464 airports where a million people are authorized to operate ground vehicles. There were only about 320 runway incursions last year, some in bad weather. But pilots, like this 16-year veteran who did not want his name or company mentioned, say many could've been avoided.

Dallas, TX – Ray Williams III, brother of Mary Richardson: We are relieved that justice was served.

Bill Zeeble, KERA 90.1 Reporter: Ray Williams, Mary Williams Richardson's oldest brother, spoke for the family who'd waited in the 6th floor court room all week, and through the weekend, for the decision.

Williams: I saw no remorse at any time from him. That's a disturbing revelation. We feel sadness for his family and know it wasn't their fault.

Dallas, TX – [A whirring sound is heard.]

Stephen Myers, SMU mechanical engineering student: When you push forward, it pushes the wheel forward; and when you pull back, the rear gearing mechanism forces the wheel forward as well.

Dallas, TX – Suzanne Sprague, KERA 90.1 Reporter: Each year in Tarrant County, the lives of some 2,000 children are painstakingly investigated and analyzed. These are the children state officials have reason to believe are abused or neglected. And if Child Protective Services deems their home is unsafe, then these children can be removed by the courts.

Dallas, TX – Suzanne Sprague, KERA 90.1 Reporter: When the 1996 Telecommunications Act became law, the local phone service market exploded with new carriers. So when you make a phone call, you may start out on a Southwestern Bell line but end up on the network of one of its competitors. All the phone companies had to negotiate a way to determine who would absorb the costs for such a call. They came up with something called reciprocal compensation. Bill Maddox with Southwestern Bell explains.

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Latest from NPR

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/.

The Appeal Of Florida, Land Of Storms

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

Think

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.