Five stories that have North Texas talking: City of Keller has been tagged with wildlife graffiti; the Dakota Access pipeline is back on; Patrick and Abbott rally for school choice; and more.
The City of Keller hopes to catch a mystery artist who has painted three portraits near the Town Center. They want to find the artist so they can ask him or her to expand the existing work into a mural. The Dallas Morning News reports the Parks & Recreation Department staff first discovered a portrait of a doe in the tunnel under the Bear Creek Parkway along the Keller trail system earlier this month. An armadillo and a bird appearing to be painted by the same artist joined the doe last week under the tunnel.
One person questioned on the City of Keller’s Facebook post if he could paint anywhere he wanted as long as it was “pretty’. The City replied the decision not to cover these portraits would be a first in the parks department’s history. “Just as a police officer has discretion in giving a speeder a ticket or not, or an individual retains the right to ‘press charges’ or not against someone who has done something to them or their property, the city is doing the same in this case.” The portraits are graffiti, however, and warrant a Class C misdemeanor, equivalent to a traffic ticket. [The Dallas Morning News, City of Keller]
- President Donald Trump Tuesday gave the greenlight to two controversial pipelines, the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access. Work on the Dakota Access pipeline, a $3.8 billion project from Dallas’ Energy Transfer Partners, was halted in December near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. Activists protested the 1,172-mile oil pipeline for months fearing the route would contaminate local water supply and disturb sacred lands. NPR reports the Standing Rock Sioux said it will take legal action to fight Trump's decision. Supporters of completing the projects say the pipelines will lead to lower energy costs and create jobs. [NPR]
- “It's easy to kill a bill when no one gets to vote on it.” That’s what Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said during a rally at the Capitol Tuesday for school choice. The Texas Tribune reports: “Patrick is expected to file a bill advocating for education savings accounts, which allow parents to use taxpayer money for private and parochial school tuition, as well as other education costs. The education savings accounts are expanded versions of school vouchers, which use public money to pay for tuition costs.” Patrick hopes the House and Senate take a vote on his upcoming bill, and Gov. Greg Abbott hopes to sign the legislation. [The Texas Tribune]
The University of North Texas broke ground on a $70 million complex to house the College of Visual Art and Design Tuesday. The original campus art building opened in 1970, but the arts program outgrew it, Art&Seek reports. The new project renovates the original building and adds additional space for programs currently housed in many other campus buildings. The project includes space for classrooms, studios and a gallery — even a roof top garden to grow plants that fiber artists will use to dye materials. It is set to open in 2018. Corgan, a Dallas-based architecture firm, leads design on the project. Take a look at the plans for the new buildings. [Art&Seek]
- The U.S. Department of Transportation has chosen Texas as a testing site for self-driving cars. Texas was one of 10 regions selected from an applicant pool of more than 60. According to TxDOT, testing will take place on closed research proving grounds until a formal testing plan is developed. The Dallas Morning News reports: "In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, testing will take place around the UT-Arlington campus, Arlington streets, the Interstate 30 corridor and managed lanes. Locations in the Austin, Houston, San Antonio and El Paso areas will also be used." Here are the other nine regions chosen by the department of transportation. [TxDOT, The Dallas Morning News]