Five stories that have North Texas talking: Worst traffic spots in Texas listed in new study; $400,000 worth of sorority pins stolen in inside job; Texas Revolution is center of upcoming History Channel series; and more.
New report highlights worst traffic corridors in Texas. The top 15 worst (nicely laid out in the Houston Chronicle) all sit around Dallas, Houston, and Austin. INRIX, a company that sells traffic solutions to cities, created the report, which covers metropolitan areas of North America and Europe. The three traffic corridors in Dallas that made the top 15 (or is it the bottom 15?) were I-35E Southbound from Mockingbird to I-30, I-35W Southbound from Park Glen to TX-12, and I-35W Northbound from I-30 to Western Center. Unsurprisingly, the worst times to drive on these stretches were Fridays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., with averages of around 50 hours of delay per year. Happy Friday everyone!
- The History Channel rounds up some Hollywood big guns for a new mini-series on the Texas Revolution. Texas Rising is the latest History Channel scripted dramas, after the network’s successes with Hatfield & McCoys, The Bible, and Vikings. The Hollywood Reporter says the 8-hour mini-series will focus on the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of the Texas Rangers. The ensemble cast includes Bill Paxton as Sam Houston, Ray Liotta as a survivor from the Alamo, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a veteran Texas Ranger. The official description of the series comes straight out of an old Hollywood western poster: “Crushed from the outside by Mexican armadas and attacked from within by ferocious Comanche tribes -- no one was safe. But this was a time of bravery, a time to die for what you believed in and a time to stand tall against the cruel rule of the Mexican General Santa Anna. “
- Arlington couple accused in $400,000 sorority pin heist. Revelations abound in this story for much of the public, who are probably not familiar with the rituals of the Tri Delt sorority, the victim of the theft. Apparently Tri Delt sisters are entrusted with fancy pins made of gold and encrusted with diamonds which are returned, upon their death, to the Tri Delt headquarters in Arlington. Thousands of these pins had been “preserved” at the sorority offices. WFAA reports that a routine check at the end of February revealed more than 2,000 pins worth $400,000 had been stolen. A police investigation led them to one of the sorority’s employees, who is suspected of working with her husband to break into the storage area. The pair have been arrested and are awaiting trial. Unfortunately the police department have only been able to recover a few hundred of the stolen pins so far.
- Spooky radio stories take the stage as Welcome to Nightvale comes to Dallas. Granted, Welcome to Nightvale is not really a radio show, but a storytelling podcast where the stories take the form of a community radio broadcast. The creative minds behind this popular podcast (which consistently ranks in the top 10 podcasts on iTunes) are bringing their live tour to the Lakewood Theater tonight. The program has attracted a cult following and writers Jeffrey Cranor (who grew up in Mesquite) and Joseph Fink have managed to sell out every single show. Set in the mysterious town of Nightvale with a revolving lineup of peculiar characters, the tone is a mix of funny, scary, weird, and touching all at the same time. No description does it justice, but the creators’ own take gives a hint of what to expect if you’ve never listened before: Twice-monthly community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff's Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events. Turn on your radio and hide. Maybe KERA can borrow that tagline? The Dallas Observer has a good interview with the writers where they touch on how they turned Night Vale into a live show and why they keep the town’s location a mystery.
- Fan-funded ‘Veronica Mars’ movie opens this weekend. Rob Thomas, the creator of the television series and part-time Texas resident, raised more than $5 million on Kickstarter to bring his cult show to the big screen. The CW canceled the show in 2007 after 3 seasons. Still, fans would not let the show die, and helped Thomas reach his initial $2 million goal in 11 hours. Texas Monthly profiles Thomas and the long journey getting the movie funded and made. He touches on his short time at TCU, where he was on a football scholarship, but got distracted by the local music scene. “I was spending all my free time in Deep Ellum new-wave and punk clubs rather than with my football teammates,” he said. Even if the 'Veronica Mars' movie doesn’t top the box office, Thomas has already proven that there’s another way to get movies made in Hollywood.
'Veronica Mars' trailer:
The TV series opening: