Five stories that have North Texas talking: Cost of living far exceeds poverty guidelines nationwide, according to the Economic Policy Institute's family budget inventory; sales-tax-free weekend comes early this year; anonymous donor posts $500,000 bond for Texas teen's release and more.
The Economic Policy Institute updated its nifty family budget calculator. You can customize the estimates to show what a “secure yet modest existence” costs in different parts of the country for different family makeups, but one thing is the same across the board: families in 2013 need more than double the amount stated in federal poverty line specs to get by.
The numbers for one parent and one child in the Dallas area tell it: $46,880 a year is the total for necessities like housing, child care ($586 a month!), food and transportation. For perspective, full-time work at the federal minimum wage will earn a family with one adult $15,080 a year. [The Atlantic Cities]
- So! Spiff Up Cheap And Early For Back-To-School: Lunchbox season is already a month away, with (light) sweater season soon after. And back-to-school prep comes early this year for intrepid shoppers, as the Texas’ yearly break from sales tax on clothing and school gear is August 9-11. (Last year, it was Aug. 17.) Items priced at under $100 are game. [KUT]
Empathetic Anon Gives $500,000 For Texas Teen’s Release: After enduring a reportedly violent five months in jail for referencing a school shooting as he trash-talked about the game League of Legends on Facebook, Justin Carter is out. An anonymous donor posted $500,000 to get 19-year-old Carter released and back to his parents’ place near New Braunfels, where he’ll await a trial on a felony terroristic threat charge. NPR’s Elise Hu talked to Carter’s attorney, Don Flanary, about that bond amount. This is what he said:
"I have been practicing law for 10 years, I've represented murderers, terrorists, rapists. Anything you can think of. I have never seen a bond at $500,000.”
Carter told CNN “people should be very careful about what they say” on social media platforms. [NPR]
- After Eating Cake To Mark End Of Perry Era, Democrats Stand At Fork: The Dallas County Democrats quite literally put on party hats and ate cake after they heard Gov. Rick Perry announce this week that he wouldn’t seek a fourth term. But there’s undeniably serious – and perhaps more – work ahead for Democrats in Texas who want to turn the state blue after the news. 2014 is poised to flash just as red as this year … and the two decades prior. The last time a Democrat won a statewide office: 1994. But Sen. Wendy Davis has said she’ll decide within the next few weeks whether she’ll throw her hat in for governor. If she doesn’t and no other suitable Democrat does, she says, she’ll be “very disappointed.” [Texas Tribune]
- Leaving Sex In The City Behind For Mid-Life Teamwork In A Texas Town: Where's Brooke Shields been? In the fictional town of Burning Bush, Tex., playing basketball for the empowerment of menopausal woman everywhere. In the film Hot Flashes, Shields' character Beth rallies other mid-life friends, like closeted lesbian Ginger (Daryl Hannah), to form a basketball team to save a mobile breast cancer screening unit in danger and form strong bonds needed to navigate other stage-of-life woes (divorce, desire to escape, lost desire for other things, etc.) Coincidentally, you can catch our Vital Signs segment on real-deal hot flashes Monday on KERA's Morning Edition. The movie opens on the East Coast this weekend; watch the trailer here for a chuckle: