Five stories that have North Texas talking: Version of Farm Bill in House could reshuffle food stamp guidelines, St. Mark’s photography students use school work to support Granbury, kids are aiming low at the library and more.
The U.S. House is considering a version of the Farm Bill that could have a major impact on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP for short). Most people know it as food stamps. According to the Texas Food Bank Network, This particular version of the bill would adjust eligibility requirements which would likely result in about 171,000 Texans being dropped from the program. Enrollment in SNAP is based on things like income and assets.
The Texas Food Bank Network has come up with a county-by-county estimation of how many people would lose benefits. Upwards of 18,000 Dallas County residents could be kicked off and more than 10,000 people in Tarrant County stand to lose benefits. Click here to see the full list. [KUT]
- More Border Patrolling Drones?: A U.S. congressman from Texas says it’s a good, but expensive, idea. The immigration bill now under consideration by the U.S. Senate calls for drones to fly all day, every day, something that isn’t happening right now. Rep. Henry Cuellar is co-chairman of the Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus. And while he wants to amp up the drone program, he acknowledges the steep price tag. "For all those folks that've been emphasizing border security, keep in mind that it's going to come at a cost," he says. "And we've just finished cutting $3 billion from Homeland Security under sequester." [NPR]
- Marksmen Show Flash Of Philanthropic Genius: May 21 was supposed to be an important date for St. Mark’s School of Texas photography students. Their final critique was scheduled for that day, but as tornado warnings pressed in on North Texas, classes and the critique were cancelled. Summer was just a breath away, but according to the Dallas Morning News, rising senior Max Wolens wasn’t ready to give up the ghost. He suggested a public photography show instead, with all proceeds earmarked for Granbury tornado relief. He and ten classmates will sell 100 prints Thursday night at Banks Fine Art gallery in the Dallas Design District.
- Harry Potter In Lieu Of Proust: It’s great that book series like The Hunger Games get kids reading, but some experts say, students are stuck at that level of literature. A study by Renaissance Learning confirms that after late middle school, students no longer increase their reading difficulty level. And teachers are guilty too. Research shows that a century ago, most high-school students were assigned books at the ninth or 10th grade level. Last year, the average reading level was sixth grade. With summer reading on the to-do list for many North Texas students, just how challenging are their assignments? Here are a few examples. Pre AP English II students at Hillcrest High School in Dallas are tackling Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451.” AP English students at Southwest High School in Fort Worth will read “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger and “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder. We’ve linked each book to its Accelerated Reader profile so you can see how Renaissance Learning measures their level of difficulty. [NPR]
- Mariachi Punk Scores With NPR Music: A San Antonio band called Piñata Protest has snagged a coveted spot on the 50 Favorite Songs of 2013 (So Far) list. NPR music spotlights the song “Volver, Volver” and quips “Attitude stands in for experience — and does just fine.” Piñata Protest is a bilingual, accordion fronted quartet that fuses Tex Mex and punk. The band is self-described as Selena meets Slayer, or if you prefer, a mash-up of The Ramones and Ramon Ayala. If you want to catch them live, they’ll be in Fort Worth on Aug. 9 at the Live Oak Music Hall. You can listen to the recorded version of “Volver, Volver” here. Check out a live performance below.