Five stories that have North Texas talking: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick deleted “man reaps what he sows” posts on Facebook and Twitter after Orlando shooting; a panel will decide today whether to scrap the STAAR exam; if you’re considering adopting a cat, now’s the time; and more.
A gunman opened fire around 2 a.m. EST Sunday at Pulse, a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 people and injuring 53. It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
At 5 a.m. CST Sunday, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick posted a bible verse, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows" on Facebook and Twitter. That set off a social media storm. Patrick, of course, got an even bigger reaction last month when he called for the resignation of Fort Worth school superintendent Kent Scribner for allowing transgender students using the bathroom of their choice.
This time, social media critics accused Patrick of posting the verse In response to the LGBT nightclub shooting. The posts were deleted around 11 a.m.
Patrick's advisor Allen Blakemore said Sunday afternoon that the tweet "was not done in response to last night's tragedy. The post was designed and scheduled last Thursday." Patrick and his team post bible verses most Sunday mornings at 5 a.m.
Have a blessed Sunday! pic.twitter.com/NIzuckIG2w
— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) May 29, 2016
The Texas Tribune reported: "The social media posts were widely condemned online as insensitive. The Texas Democratic Party called on Patrick to 'apologize immediately.'" Patrick released a full statement explaining the situation. Here's an excerpt:
"Some wanted the post pulled down and others did not. Let me be clear, I didn’t pull down the FB post & tweet because God’s word is wrong. His word is never wrong. Taking down his word would be like tearing a page from the Bible because we didn’t like what God was telling us. I took it down to stop the hateful comments and the misinformation being spread of God’s message to all of us- straight or gay."
Read more about the Orlando shooting. [NPR, The Texas Tribune]
- Students who failed state-required exams this year will continue onto the next grade, due to logistical and technical difficulties during administration. Usually fifth and eighth graders and high schoolers have to pass the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STARR) exams in order to move up or graduate, but Education Commissioner Mike Morath waived that requirement. The Texas Tribune reported: “Problems first surfaced in March, when school districts reported problems with online tests that caused students to lose answers. The computer glitch impacted more than 14,000 exams.” A panel will meet today to decide whether to scrap the exam altogether. Read more. [The Texas Tribune]
- Texas game wardens are the subject of a new Animal Planet program called “Lone Star Law.” Texas Parks and Wildlife hopes the show will help recruit newcomers to the line of work that ranges from flood rescues to poaching investigations. Texas Game Warden Wei Wei Lin, who appears in multiple episodes of the show, told Texas Public Radio “she's pleased how Animal Planet was able show how varied game wardens working terrain can be in a state like Texas where there are mountains, streams, canyons, rivers, an ocean, and a desert all in one state.” Lin hopes the “Lone Star Law” shows the diversity of the job, landscape and law enforcement within Texas Park and Wildlife. “[It’s] not just a bunch of men working out there, it’s also a bunch of women.” Lone Star Law airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on Animal Planet. [Texas Public Radio]
- North Texas animal shelters are having trouble keeping up with high number of incoming stray cats. For shelters and animal rescues, kitten season is a stressful time. Resources and supplies like food, money and space for the hundreds of unwanted kittens born in the spring are thin, and euthanizations to curb overpopulation increase, Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. Shelters like the Humane Society of North Texas depend on foster care, especially for kittens too young to be adopted, and adoptions to provide permanent homes, opening up the limited shelter space. The annual crisis would be best avoided if owners spayed and neutered their pets. Learn how you can foster or adopt. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
- The U.S. flag flown on the boat that led the first American troops onto Utah Beach on D-Day was sold on Sunday for $514,000 at auction in Dallas. The 48-star flag sports one bullet hole, “blamed on a German machine gun,” according to Heritage Auctions, a Dallas-based auction house. Online bidding began two weeks ago and ended Saturday night with a top bid of $125,000, and live bidding started from that amount on Sunday, according to The Associated Press. Heritage told AP that the boat's skipper, Lt. Howard Vander Beek of Cedar Falls, Iowa, kept the flag up until his 2014 death. [The Associated Press]