Five stories that have North Texas talking: A 3-foot, 175-pound male calf was born May 14 at the Dallas Zoo; AT&T is expanding internet access in South Dallas; a 12-year-old Austinite is competing in a barbecue championship on Food Network; and more.
A male African elephant calf was born on May 14 to Mlilo (pronounced “ma-LEE-lo”), one of the five elephants imported from Swaziland in March, the Dallas Zoo announced Tuesday. The baby elephant, currently nameless, stands about 3 feet tall and weighs 175 pounds, according to a press release.
Fourteen-year-old Mlilo seemed like she was pregnant upon her arrival in Dallas although all tests were inconclusive, according to the press release. “The small risk of moving a potentially pregnant animal was far outweighed by the certain death she and her calf faced in Swaziland,” Dallas Zoo CEO Gregg Hudson said in the release.
The transfer of the five elephants (plus a dozen others split between Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Wichita’s Sedgwick County Zoo) from the 15,000-acre reserve in Swaziland to the six-acre habitat in Dallas, has been challenged with protests and even a lawsuit from animal rights activists and groups throughout the past several months. The animals were moved because of depleting resources, aggressive poaching and overcrowding, KERA News reported in April.
Zoo officials are not sure when the public will get to see the calf, so until then, here’s a video of the mother and baby interacting for the first time. Read more about the new arrival.
- Mayor Mike Rawlings’ GrowSouth initiative. D Magazine reported: “The company’s GigaPower fiber network is now available to tens of thousands of homes, apartments and small businesses in the region, which is south of the Trinity River and Highway 30. AT&T plans to nearly double the availability of the service in Southern Dallas in the next 12 months.” GrowSouth was introduced by Rawlings in early 2012. Read more about the initiative’s 10-Point Plan. [D Magazine]
- Researchers in Harris County have another disease to test mosquitoes for this summer — Zika. A year-round team of 50 people (plus two dozen more in the summer) “set traps, sort mosquitoes by species and conduct lab tests for five viruses: St. Louis encephalitis, West Nile, dengue and chikungunya” and now, Zika, Houston Public Media reported. Even though Zika virus has monopolized attention this year, West Nile poses the biggest threat in the area. “ Zika — as well as dengue and chikungunya — is transmitted by the Aedes mosquitoes and has not been found in Harris County mosquitoes,” according to the article. Read more on how the mosquito hunters test the bugs once they're back in the lab. [Houston Public Media]
- A 12-year-old from Austin is competing to be the top barbecue chef in the country. Yes, Carter Hull will fire up the grill against kids his own age, but he’s been cooking and sharpening his skills since he can remember, he told Texas Standard. “The secret to barbecue is just do what you’re comfortable with – it’s just basically: Be you, but a piece of meat.” Hull competed against seven other young chefs on Food Network’s Kids BBQ Championship, which premiered Monday night. He prepared a grilled chicken delicious enough to make the top two in the challenge and avoid elimination, according to a show recap. You can catch Hull Monday at 7 p.m. for next week’s double-whammy — hot dogs and hamburgers. [Texas Standard, The Food Network]
- Architecture critic says Texas Rangers stadium should be in Dallas, despite planned upgrades to Arlington facility. The City of Arlington announced Friday its plan to build a new $1 billion ballpark that would include a retractable roof and air conditioning. Mark Lamster, architecture writer for The Dallas Morning News, recently weighed in saying the roof is an improvement, but the new facility shouldn’t be in Arlington, partly because of the lack of public transit. On the SportsDay podcast, “Ballzy”, Lamster said, “Last year, when they made the playoffs and they put the skyline on the T-shirts, they put the Dallas skyline on the T-shirts. They don't call themselves the Arlington Rangers. They call themselves the Texas Rangers. They should be in Dallas, they should have moved to downtown Dallas.” Listen to the podcast. [SportsDay]