Five stories that have North Texas talking: showing support for Irving mosque; the Chinese love Texas real estate; UT-Arlington’s basketball team attracts national attention; and more.
About 100 demonstrators rallied in front of an Irving mosque over the weekend in a show of support for the mosque a week after armed protesters appeared there. The demonstration Saturday in front of the Islamic Center of Irving came days after the posting on Facebook of names and addresses of dozens of people who registered to speak against a proposed ordinance banning foreign law. Those listed were called Muslims and "Muslim sympathizers" by organizers of an armed protest outside the mosque last weekend. Critics said the ordinance targeted Muslims unfairly. David Wright, lead organizer of last week's demonstration, told The Associated Press that he and his supporters decided not to attend Saturday's rally despite what he called its "message that allows Islam to grow and spread its influence." Imam Zia Sheikh, who leads the Islamic Center of Irving, said in a statement: “It’s very heartwarming to see the outpouring of support – we are overjoyed about the fact that we’ve received hundreds of emails of sympathy and support.” [Associated Press/KERA]
- The Chinese love Texas – and Texas real estate. The New York Times reports on how Chinese money is entering the U.S. via real estate – and a lot of it is in Texas. “In fast-growing Plano, a northern [Dallas] suburb, the number of people born in mainland China swelled to nearly 6,000 in 2010, from 3,600 in 2000 — and the group has since expanded. The area is such a popular destination that this spring American Airlines began operating a direct flight to Beijing, the airline’s second nonstop from Dallas to a mainland Chinese city, after Shanghai. … ‘I chose Dallas because the unique culture of the city was evident on my first visit and has since impressed me with every return visit,’ [developer Zhang Long] said in a statement. ‘Compared to other U.S. metropolitan areas, Dallas presents numerous prospects for all walks of life, drawing people from across the country and globally.’” [New York Times]
- UT-Arlington’s basketball team is gaining momentum. KERA’s Gus Contreras reports: “A University of Texas basketball team is making waves nationally — and it's not the one based in Austin. The UT-Arlington Mavericks beat mighty Ohio State and Memphis on their respective courts — and, on Tuesday, the Mavs take their road show to the home of the Longhorns. UT-Arlington isn’t known as a college sports powerhouse in Texas. So what happens when the team wins two of the biggest games in program history?”
- A $1 million home in Palo Pinto County features an extensive bunker. WFAA-TV reports: “The bunker is accessed through a secret door and a steep set of stairs that leads to a living space complete with a kitchen, bathroom, bunk beds, and enough storage space to provide food for a dozen people for 10 years. Currently, there is enough ready-to-eat and dehydrated food to fill two separate storage rooms. [Listing agent Dee Dee] Jordan said almost all of it will be included as part of any sale. There is also a periscope, a nuclear and biological chemical filter system, a propane tank, back-up generators, and solar panels. ‘They [owners] have one of these in every home they have, and it's their belief they want that type of security,’ Jordan explained.” [WFAA-TV]
- Franklin Barbecue in Austin gets more national publicity. This time, it’s CBS News: “At the famous Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas the lunch line starts at 5:30 AM on a typical day, and everyone here comes prepared to wait, especially for the smoking beef brisket. The owner, Aaron Franklin, greets the faithful at the door. The James Beard Award winner says all good Texans barbecue, but nobody does it quite like him. Everyone here orders by the pound. ‘We had a couple of hours today so we decided we could afford to sit in line,’ said customer Kellie Lawloss. ‘Anywhere else, we wouldn't be willing to wait in line, but it's Franklins.’” Back in October, KERA's Think team toured the barbecue hotspot. [CBS News]
The Associated Press contributed to this report.