Five stories that have North Texas talking: Concern about climate change varies across the state; Duncanville High students are struggling financially; Ethan Couch is back in the news; and more.
Texas is vulnerable to climate change but residents are split on how much to worry about it, according to new data released by Yale University. In an article Tuesday, The New York Times compiled the data into six maps, illustrating current public opinion on climate change. The map of Texas shows the percentage of adults by county who are at least somewhat worried about global warming.
In general, South and West Texas plus the Gulf Coast are more concerned about climate change than the rest of the state. While the politics vary across those regions, they share one thing. The Times says: “They have felt the brunt of shifting weather patterns, including rising temperatures, coastal hurricanes and western droughts so long and severe that some West Texas towns now recycle wastewater for drinking.”
There are pockets in Central and East Texas as well as the Panhandle where residents are more concerned, including state’s large cities — Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. The state’s overall percentage of adults worried about global warming is 57 percent. But, how much or often Texans discuss climate change is less than the national average — explore that map. [The New York Times]
- About 70 percent of students at Duncanville High are considered economically disadvantaged — students like Rykeyia Branch. The senior divides her time among classes, a part-time job and managing the school’s softball team. “I wanted to be someone on the field,” she said. “I didn’t want to be in the stands.” But she came to terms with cheering for others. “I don’t want to be selfish,” she said. She can’t afford to be. The 17-year-old carries a lot of responsibilities and knows what it’s like to struggle. But she has her the support of her teammates to get through “hard times” at home. Learn more in KERA’s American Graduate series. [KERA News]
- Texas A&M University’s first openly gay student body president takes office in April. Bobby Brooks is a junior majoring in economics at the College Station campus. He was elected by students as the university's 74th student body president on March 9, The Texas Tribune reports. In an interview with A&M’s student newspaper, The Battalion, Brooks says he "was fulfilling the dream I had been building since my freshman year.” In the interview, Brooks outlined his three main goals for the university: boosting Texas A&M’s academic reputation, improving student services and increasing campus diversity and inclusion. [The Texas Tribune, The Battalion]
- Lawyers for Ethan Couch have appealed to the Texas Supreme Court to try to release the 19-year-old from jail. Couch was given 10 years' probation after killing four people in a 2013 drunken-driving wreck in Tarrant County. He later violated his probation. A defense expert used the term "affluenza" in arguing during the sentencing phase of the teenager's trial that he was coddled into a sense of irresponsibility. The motion filed Friday on behalf of Couch argues that a judge had no authority to sentence the teenager to nearly two years in jail after his case was moved from juvenile to adult court. [The Associated Press]
- The Dallas Zoo is expecting a pretty big package by the end of the month. Big — as in a 5,000-pound hippo. Adhama from the Los Angeles Zoo is coming to Dallas to live in the new 2.1 acre, $14 million hippo exhibit, WFAA reports. The big guy — the first hippo at the Dallas Zoo in 16 years — will be joined by a female hippo from Albuquerque. “Dallas zookeepers have traveled to LA to begin Adhama’s training, and logistics for his arrival have been planned for more than a year,” WFAA reports. If all goes well between the two hippos, the zoo is hopeful for a new addition in about nine months. [WFAA]