Five stories that have North Texas talking: School’s out a little longer for Harmony School of Nature students, Tarrant County measles outbreak is traced to a large church, compared to the rest of the country, auto buffs in Texas get a break on spending and more.
Kids may be cheering, but parents are most likely shaking their heads. Today should have kicked off the 2013-2014 school year at Harmony School of Nature, a charter school in southern Dallas. But yesterday school officials posted an update on their website, postponing the first bell to this coming Monday. Here’s an excerpt of the message as it’s currently posted: “Due to construction related issues, we will be postponing the first day of school until Monday, August 26, 2013. The office will not be open tomorrow.” You can read the whole thing here.
According to the Dallas Morning News, the extended summer vacation comes because the school failed city safety inspections. Interim Assistant City Manager Theresa O’Donnell says problems at the school are so extensive that it could take weeks to make the necessary repairs. She says the most serious issues relate to the fire code, things like fire exits and smoke evacuation systems. “None of that is in order,” O’Donnell says. “Their sprinkler heads are missing where they should be, the smoke evacuation system doesn’t work.”
- Tarrant County Measles Outbreak Started At Church: The Eagle Mountain International Church in Newark is now considered to be the origin point for most of the confirmed 10 cases of measles in Tarrant County. According to NBC DFW, a person who visited the congregation a few weeks ago and had recently taken a mission trip to Indonesia, Tokyo, Germany, and Paris is believed to have started the outbreak. The church has confirmed nine cases of measles within the congregation. Tarrant County officials say seven of the 10 cases of measles were not vaccinated against the disease.
- A Spotlight On DACA, One Year In: The Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative (DACA) is a two-year program that allows undocumented youth to work. Applicants must be under 31 and must have essentially grown up in the United States. DACA is not a path to citizenship, but during those two years, the permit protects you from deportation. There’s only a year left in the program, and KUT’s Joy Diaz explores what could happen when that time is up. She profiles two ideal candidates, Manuel Ramirez and his sister Elizabeth.
- Texas Is Semi-Cheap Terrain For Motorists: When you factor in fuel, fees, car insurance and repairs, most people shell out $3,201 a year on their vehicle. But Texans only pony up about $3,078 annually. A new study by Bankrate.com says Texas is the 31st most expensive state for vehicle ownership, several comfy spots below the national average. Alaska wins the bargain basement award; owning a car there will only cost you $2,227 per year. Georgians, on the other hand, can expect to spend a steep $4,233 on their wheels each year.
- Grasshopper Leaps Up, Over, And Sticks The Landing: We’ve told you about the wildly innovative Grasshopper before, a “reusable rocket” that blasts off, hovers and lands back where it started. The company SpaceX is responsible and uses Texas as its development site as it tinkers with Grasshopper’s range of possibility. Earlier this month, the rocket marked another milestone, sideways flight. It flew 800 feet in the air, traveled 300 feet sideways, and then returned demurely to earth. Don’t believe us? Check out the video below. [New York Times]