Five stories that have North Texas talking: North Texas has a low risk of earthquakes in 2017; you can’t light up in Dallas parks anymore; it’s Texas Independence Day, y’all; and more.
Earthquakes haven’t been rumbling through North Texas like they were just a couple years ago, and that trend is likely to continue in 2017, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The agency published a report Wednesday detailing a forecast for seismic activity this year — where quakes will occur and how strongly they’ll shake the ground — in the central and eastern U.S. The agency has linked the area’s uptick in earthquakes from the past several years to oil and gas operations, like hydraulic fracturing. So has the Environmental Protection Agency. A study from UT-Austin and SMU said the same thing.
Last year, no earthquakes with a magnitude greater than 2.7 — the level at which you can feel the ground shaking — happened in the metroplex. The decreased rate and strength of North Texas earthquakes in 2016 may be related to decreased oil and gas production, involving wastewater injection, according to the report. And that’s why the chance of experiencing a damaging quake in North Texas has dropped to less than 1 percent for 2017. However, some experts caution against making too much of the short-term dip — read more from The Dallas Morning News. [USGS, The Dallas Morning News]
- On this day, back in 1836, the Texas Declaration of Independence was adopted at Washington-on-the-Brazos. To celebrate Texas Independence Day, the KERA News staff came up with a list of quintessential Texas experiences – 39 things you should do in the Lone Star State before you kick the bucket. One thing you can only do this spring: Wade into a field of bluebonnets off the side of the highway or in a scenic field. It’s a Texas tradition, especially for the kids. As for the evergreen activities: Eat Tex-Mex, visit world-class museums, soak in small-town charms and more. [KERA News]
- The reason parents can’t find all-natural, chemical-free nightgowns for their kids goes back to the mid-1940s. KERA’s Lauren Silverman reports: “The so-called “cowboy chap” scandal helped launch a new law — the Flammable Fabrics Act of 1953 — aimed at making children’s clothes flame resistant. In response, companies started adding chemicals to clothes to keep them from catching fire. The problem was that for decades, they added some pretty dangerous ones.” These days, if you’re looking for all-natural cotton pajamas, you’ll have to go underground. Read more in the latest Breakthroughs story. [KERA News]
- March is Women’s History Month. KUT in Austin is partnering with the Ruthe Winegarten Foundation to bring you a daily feature spotlighting a historic woman, movement or group of women in Texas. Wednesday, KUT dug into the history of African-American women’s suffrage. “When women won the right to vote in 1918, prejudice in the form of poll taxes, white primary laws and the Ku Klux Klan still deprived black women of their right to vote.” Women fought the opposition for decades, edging their way into the political sphere, but it wasn’t until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that black Texans gained full access. [KUT]
- As of Wednesday, public parks in the City of Dallas system are smoke-free. A smoking ban was adopted by the Dallas City Council in November. Smoking will be permitted at the six city-owned golf courses, Elm Fork Shooting Sports facility and other city parks and facilities managed by private partners, including the Dallas Zoo, the Dallas Arboretum, Lee Park and Fair Park during the State Fair of Texas, according to a press release. To inform citizens of the change, there’s temporary signage in parks and other park properties across Dallas. People smoking in Dallas parks will face a fine up to $200, if caught. [KERA News]