Five stories that have North Texas talking: Lawmakers approve shooting feral hogs from the hot air balloons; the Morning News publishes correction 40 years later; plants are tax-free this weekend; and more.
Texas lawmakers have approved a new way of tackling the growing feral hog population: shooting them from hot air balloons.
House Bill 3535 requires the state to license hot air balloon hunting to shoot hogs and coyotes. It passed the Senate Wednesday night and now goes to Gov. Greg Abbott for his consideration.
Texas has an estimated two million feral hogs that cause millions of dollars in damage to crops every year, according to The Associated Press. They breed quickly and don’t have many predators, allowing the population to boom.
The state already allows the shooting of the hogs from helicopters, which has proven to be an expensive and unsuccessful method. Hot air balloons are quieter and more stable. Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller successfully got the “pork-chopper” bill through the Legislature in 2011. [The Associated Press, Texas Tribune]
- McKinney and Frisco are two of the fastest-growing cities not just in the state but also the country. That’s according to population growth measured between July 2015 and July 2016 by the U.S. Census Bureau. Of the top 15 fastest-growing cities in the country, six are in Texas. Being suburban communities, they grew the fastest because they started out smaller than urban areas, KUT reports. In terms of raw increase in population, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and Austin are all in the top 10. [KUT, The Texas Tribune]
- Four decades ago today, The Dallas Morning News erroneously called Chewbacca a “Wookie.” On Thursday, the 40th anniversary of the original Star Wars' release, editors addressed the dark truth of their past, publishing a correction: "Our review of the original Star Wars, which appeared in The Dallas Morning News on May 26, 1977, incorrectly referred to Chewbacca as a 'Wookie.' The correct spelling, of course, is 'Wookiee.' We regret the error and apologize to the seven-foot-tall hairy alien biped community." [The Dallas Morning News, NPR]
- A Dallas actress who has had success on “Breaking Bad” is struggling with her theater at home. Tina Parker plays “Francesca,” lawyer Saul Goodman’s secretary in the hit AMC television series and its spinoff, “Better Call Saul.” When she’s not filming, she’s serves as the co-artistic director at Kitchen Dog Theater in Dallas. The theater company is currently hopping from venue to venue because it doesn’t have the money to renovate a million-dollar former tile showroom in the Design District that it purchased last year. [Texas Monthly]
- Plants and other products that conserve water are tax free through Memorial Day. Technically, all plants are tax free Saturday through Monday, but horticulturists encourage residents to select native plants to maximize water efficiency. Soil, compost, mulch and other water efficient products like rain barrels qualify during the tax holiday, too. Explore Texas A&M AgriLife Research’s database of plants ideal for North Texas’ environment. Also, any EPA WaterSense-labeled product is tax free. [KERA News]