Five stories that have North Texas talking: dissecting fracking in Denton; Stevie Ray Vaughan is inducted posthumously into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; a very bumpy flight from Seoul to North Texas; and more.
An American Airlines jet heading for Dallas-Fort Worth encountered severe air turbulence on Tuesday after taking off from Seoul, South Korea. It prompted an unscheduled landing in Tokyo after 14 people asked for medical attention, the Associated Press reports. The Fort Worth-based carrier says four passengers and a crew member on Flight 280 needed hospital treatment, but none of those injuries are life-threatening. American says there were 240 passengers on board the Boeing 777-200 and 15 crew members. Officials say the remaining passengers won't continue their travel to DFW until Wednesday and were taken to hotels to spend the night. A beverage cart flew into the aisle. Trash was thrown about and broken plates covered the floor. “I’ve flown millions of miles – this is the worst I’ve ever seen,” one passenger said on WFAA-TV. Passenger Marc Stanley, a Dallas attorney, posted pictures to his Facebook page. “Not a particularly enjoyable flight from Seoul to DFW,” he wrote. “Hit insane turbulence for almost an hour and had to turn back. … One flight attendant took out an exit sign.” [Associated Press/KERA] Here’s video that shows the turbulence from NBC’s “Today”:
- Eric Williams, a former North Texas justice of the peace, has been sentenced to death for capital murder in what prosecutors described as a revenge plot that left three people dead. The Rockwall County jury deliberated for about 2 1/2 hours Tuesday on punishment for Eric Williams before being sequestered for the night. Williams was found guilty Dec. 4 in the shooting death of Cynthia McLelland. He is also charged, but has not been tried, in the deaths of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and assistant prosecutor Mark Hasse. Read more here. [Associated Press]
- Dallas’ very own Stevie Ray Vaughan is among the new class of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Associated Press reports: Other inductees include Green Day, poet of the New York underground Lou Reed, and "Lean on Me" singer Bill Withers. Vaughan, the blues guitarist, was a 1980s prodigy for his work with band Double Trouble on songs like "Pride and Joy" and "Texas Flood." He died in a 1990 plane crash. Vaughan, Reed and Paul Butterfield are being honored posthumously. Inductees are chosen by a vote of more than 700 artists, historians and music industry representatives. The 30th annual induction ceremony will be held at Cleveland’s Public Hall in April. Public tickets go on sale Thursday. [Associated Press]
- How was Denton able to ban fracking? The Texas Tribune explores the matter in an in-depth story: “State lawmakers, the oil and gas industry and national environmental groups have become acutely aware of Denton, home to two universities, 277 gas wells and now, thanks to a rag-tag group of local activists, Texas’ first ban on fracking. … ‘If Denton wasn’t followed by two little letters — TX — no one would give a hill of beans about it,’ says Chris Faulkner, chief executive of Breitling Energy in Dallas. Breitling has no direct financial interests in Denton, but Faulkner is among those in the industry who fears Texas could see more urban drilling communities ‘run amok.’” Read more here.
- Gov. Rick Perry may have a building a named after him. The Texas Tribune reports: “The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents will meet on Thursday to consider renaming a historic building on the flagship College Station campus after a famous alumnus: Gov. Rick Perry. According to filing with the secretary of state's office, the regents will vote on whether to rename Texas A&M's generic-sounding Academic Building the ‘Governor Rick Perry '72 Building.’ They will also consider a resolution honoring Perry for his "outstanding dedication and service" as the longest-serving governor in Texas history.” See pictures of Perry during his A&M days here.
Note: We have updated the item about Eric Williams in light of a jury sentencing him to death Wednesday morning.