Last Night’s Winner Is Debatable, But The Biggest Loser Gets Some Love | KERA News

Last Night’s Winner Is Debatable, But The Biggest Loser Gets Some Love

Oct 4, 2012

Updated: The return of Fired Big Bird; getting middle schoolers on track and a TCU QB on pause.

Discussion continues over whether Governor Romney’s authoritative manner earned him a win in Denver last night, as the first presidential debate yielded a thick trade of facts to check. But there’s no question who took the biggest hit: Big Bird.

“I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I love Big Bird,” Romney told moderator Jim Lehrer. “I actually like you too, but I’m going to stop borrowing money from China to pay for things we don’t need.”

Sympathizers for the nurturing PBS icon turned out in fervent support: the @FiredBigBird Twitter account drew more than 26,000 followers since Romney called him out at the first half-hour mark.

And if things weren’t rough enough for the long-torsoed hero -- beloved to social media savvy new voters, who gulped hours of “Sesame Street” as children -- the account is now suspended. We’re checking into this presently.

Updated, 12:56 PM: Suspension has been lifted on @FiredBigBird. Still no word about the cause of censor.

Check out a recap by NPR’s Mark Memmott, who live-blogged the debate last night.

-- Lyndsay Knecht

Part Two Of “Texas Graduate” Series Begins In The Middle

One in four Texas kids drops out of school. Let that sit for a minute.

Educators and researchers are pouring resources into new ways to solve this problem, and we’ve launched a project to follow the new findings and the kids they’ll impact.

We’re used to hearing about the importance of preschool interventions and special attention for at-risk high school kids when taking on the dropout rate. KERA’s Bill Zeeble continues our “Texas Graduate” series today by looking at the Middle School Matters project by the George W. Bush Institute, which suggests classes on college-ready skills and pairing mentors with tweens who need creative hooks -- read: golf lessons -- to develop good associations with school.

Hear students from East Dallas’ Ann Richards Middle School size up some of these tactics.

-- Lyndsay Knecht

Horned Frog Gets Pulled From Play

ESPN reports TCU starting quarterback Casey Pachall has been suspended from the team. He was arrested early this morning on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. The incident comes after his roommate, former  TCU linebacker Tanner Brock,was taken into custody last year as part of a sizable drug bust at the school.

Pachall himself failed a drug test just before Brock was arrested, but didn’t miss any games as a result. He did, however, attend a drug and alcohol awareness program mandated by TCU.

-- Lyndsay Knecht

“Extinct” Spider Halts Texas Road Project

The arachnid without eyes hadn’t been seen in 30 years. Officials thought the species was extinct.

The ‘Braken Bat Cave meshweaver spider’ recently re-appeared near a highway underpass project in San Antonio, and that surprise put the brakes on the entire project.

The super-rare species had only been spotted in Texas, and initially only in one cave in Bexar County.

From the Houston Chronicle:

“The entire area where the Braken Bat Cave meshweaver was found two weeks ago could be a spider habitat. Biologists have identified 19 cave features, which look like holes, while working on the underpass project.”

“George Veni first identified the spider in 1980 in northwest Bexar County…. but the cave where Veni found it was later filled, and now is covered by a residential development. The spider hadn't been seen since.”

It looks like TxDOT is now going to have to work with numerous federal agencies in the future to redesign the roadway. No date yet on when that will happen.

KSTX in San Antonio is keeping its gaze on the spider and has the latest.

-Justin Martin

Art of Glass, At Night

Who knew the Chihuly glass had such a night life?

Aside from minor damage during the somewhat-recent hail storms, the sprawling Chihuly exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum weathers-on and looks quite stunning…. but at night?

Yes, if you didn’t realize, the fine folks at the Dallas Arboretum have evening viewing sessions.

Many Texans are apparently reveling in its sparkle. A big thanks to the user on Reddit for taking notice and linking to an impressive photo feed.

The exhibit runs through October, so there’s a bit more time to make plans.

-- Justin Martin

For more updates, follow us on Twitter @KERANews.