Five stories that have North Texas talking: Tesla is looking at Dallas County for a possible gigafactory, but faces competition; new TEXpress lanes set to open in I-35 this weekend; a new study shines a light on sexual assault at universities; and more.
California-based electric carmaker Tesla Motors is looking at 700 acres of land in southern Dallas County for a $5 billion battery factory, the Dallas Business Journal reports. But there’s some stiff competition. San Antonio has also been on Tesla’s radar as a site for its battery factory. Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico are also trying to woo the carmaker as well. Tesla opened its first store in Dallas last month, even though it can’t sell its cars in Texas because state law doesn't allow direct sales from a car company to a consumer.
- A new study is out on sexual assault at universities, and the results might be surprising. The report found more than 40 percent of schools have not conducted a single sexual assault investigation in the past five years. U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, commissioned the study in hopes of bringing attention to the issue. Earlier this year, former President Jimmy Carter told KERA’s vice president of news, Rick Holter, about unreported sexual abuse when he worked at Emory University. SMU is also one of 55 colleges currently under investigation over its handling of sexual assault cases.
- The second batch of TEXpress lanes will open this weekend. The managed toll lanes will vary in price from 65 cents to $1.65 to start, and this section runs for 3.6 miles. Dia Kuykendall with the LBJ Express Project tells BJ Austin the new segment will lift drivers over the chronically congested I-35E/I-635 interchange.
- Happy birthday to us! On July 11, 1974, KERA hit the radio airwaves as the first public radio station for North Texas. Bob Ray Sanders, now a columnist at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and Lee Cullum actually pulled the switch that launched KERA radio. The coverage area initially included Dallas, Fort Worth and Denton suburbs, but has since expanded to include Wichita Falls, Tyler, and Sherman. For a little throwback, take a listen to some of the original KERA-FM jingles and explore some KERA history. Sanders reminisces on KERA's early days, and recalls a time where he was skeptical of public radio succeeding in North Texas. Coincidentally, Dallas-based convenience store franchise 7-Eleven is also celebrating its 87th birthday with free Slurpees.
- Did you know Steve The Pirate from the 2004 movie Dodgeball is actually from Frisco? Actor and Frisco native Alan Tudyk talked to entertainment outlet The A.V. Club about some of the roles that have defined his career. His acting resume includes supporting roles in A Knight’s Tale, Firefly, and Disney’s Frozen. His talent for improvisation helped him land the role in Dodgeball, but Tudyk says that audition went against much of what he learned at Juilliard.