Five stories that have North Texas talking: A big weekend for a Dallas-themed movie; Greg Abbott's personal connection to the Texas gay marriage case; Allen ISD is closing its palatial stadium due to cracks; and more.
How will “Dallas Buyers Club” do at the Oscars on Sunday? The film has earned six Oscar nods, including a nomination for best film. Matthew McConaughey is up for a nomination for actor in a leading role, while Jared Leto is in the running for actor in a supporting role. The film also earned nominations for film editing, original screenplay and makeup and hairstyling. The film portrays a Dallas electrician and hustler, Ron Woodroof, an HIV positive man in the 1980s who helps AIDS patients get the medication they need. “Dallas Buyers Club” was a big winner at the Golden Globes. McConaughey plays Woodroof, who decides to fight the death sentence the disease promised to those who contracted it in the 1980s. McConaughey dropped about 40 pounds for the role. The public radio show “The Takeaway” explored the movie this week in its “Real People/Best Pictures” series – the show interviewed William Waybourn was the president of the Dallas Gay Alliance in the 1980s. Woodroof was a volunteer there, and also received services through the center's clinic. Waybourn discussed Woodroof and the movie. On Thursday, KERA’s “Think” discussed all things Oscar. NPR recently reported on the process of making the movie – it was a long, complicated process. Last fall, NPR reported on Woodroof’s days in Dallas.
- What does Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott have in common with Mark Phariss, one of the plaintiffs who sued the state to challenge its gay marriage ban? They were law school classmates. They knew each other. Phariss tells KERA they were good friends. And now the attorney general and Phariss, an attorney who lives in Plano with his long-time partner, are on opposite sides of Texas’ brewing battle over gay marriage. Phariss told KERA that during law school at Vanderbilt, he discussed politics over dinner with Abbott and his wife. Phariss is a Democrat, Abbott a Republican. Abbott said in a statement: "Cecilia and I were, indeed, friends with Mark Phariss. We remember Mark from our law school days and his early days as a lawyer in San Antonio. … There are good, well-meaning people on both sides of this issue. This shows that Americans can in fact debate substantial issues without being disagreeable."
- One in three North Texans can’t weather a financial storm that lasts 90 days. The problem's known as asset poverty, and it doesn't discriminate. A job loss, health emergency, even legal trouble is enough to plunge a third of our friends and neighbors into financial distress. KERA's series One Crisis Away is following four North Texas families on the financial edge. On Thursday night, KERA hosted a free public forum that explored asset poverty. We livestreamed the event -- we've posted the video here. The discussion will air as a special on KERA-13 in March.
- The Allen school district is closing its $60 million football stadium after extensive cracks were found in the building's concrete. School officials said Thursday that Eagle Stadium in Collin County would stay closed until at least June and possibly into the upcoming school year. Eagle Stadium opened two years ago amid heavy fanfare and national attention for its price tag and splashy facilities. It seats 18,000 and features a 38-foot wide high-definition video screen. Cracks were found in the concrete of the stadium concourse.
- Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services Secretary, is visiting Dallas once again Friday to announce local efforts underway to enroll people to get healthcare coverage through the Affordable Care Act. On Saturday, Rock Enroll, an event geared toward young adults, takes place at CitySquare in downtown Dallas. There will be DJs and food trucks. It takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Leta Andrews, the 76-year-old coach of the Lady Pirate basketball team at Granbury High School, is retiring at the end of the school year. Her career spans 51 years. Andrews scored 1,416 victories. She took 14 teams to the state tournament. Andrews became the winningest high school basketball coach ever on Dec. 7, 2010, Granbury ISD says. Learn more about Andrews. WFAA recently profiled her. “As I look back at my career, I’ve been very blessed that I had the opportunity to teach girls here in Granbury to love basketball the way I loved basketball in Granbury,” Andrews told WFAA.