Five stories that have North Texas talking: Tracking Katharine the shark; Big Tex is America’s quirkiest landmark; Phil Collins is making a big donation to the Alamo; and more.
Katharine the great white shark continues to hang out in the Gulf of Mexico. And she could still be heading to Texas, but it seems she prefers the Florida panhandle. Data from the group Ocearch indicates electronic signals, or “pings,” from the shark in the gulf. As of Wednesday morning, she was hanging out near the Florida panhandle, essentially traveling in a circle over the past week. The 14-foot shark was tagged last August off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The tag sends a signal when the 2,300-pound shark comes to the surface. We told you last week that news reports indicated she had her eyes set on Texas, but Ocearch’s founder told ABC News he doesn’t think that’s going to happen. Ocearch’s founder says that if she doesn’t return to Cape Cod this summer, it might mean she’s pregnant. Katharine is on Twitter (of course). Her handle is Shark_Katharine. You can track her movements via Ocearch. On Twitter, one person noted her notoriety, saying Katharine is like the underwater Kim Kardashian. Another remarked: “One too many Mojitos got you swimming in circles. I should know. LoL FOCUS.” [KERA/The Associated Press]
- We all know Big Tex is loveable but a bit odd – and now he’s been named the country’s quirkiest landmark. After four weeks of online voting, he earned the most votes in the USA Today and 10Best contest. Any real Texan knows the history of the State Fair of Texas icon: He used to be a Santa Claus before heading to the fair, and has welcomed fair crowds since 1952; he burned down in 2012; he was rebuilt in time for the 2013 fair; he talks and says “Howdy, folks!” and he moves a bit. No. 2? A giant replica of a basket in Ohio. Other Texas classics made the top-10 list, including Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo and the Beer Can House in Houston. Read about the contest here. Learn all about Big Tex here. And there's more here.
- And then there were two. Dallas and Cleveland have been named the two remaining finalists to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. Denver and Kansas City are out of the running. A winner should be chosen in early August. Dallas says it already has more than $45 million of the $60 million lined up to host the convention -- more than that town in Ohio. Cleveland has commitments for about $25 million. Read more about the selection process from KERA News.
- DISD Superintendent Mike Miles wants a more generous contract. He wants a salary bump, a fully-vested retirement and the chance to consult, The Dallas Morning News reports. “Miles will make his pitch to the nine school board members during a meeting next month to hash out a possible new agreement,” The News said. “His three-year contract, which expires next summer, pays him a $300,000 salary, annual bonuses up to $200,000 and other perks.” Miles wouldn’t address contract specifics in an interview with The News, but said he wants a contract that would “reflect my commitment to the district.”
- Rocker Phil Collins is cleaning house at his home in Switzerland, and Texas history is about to benefit. Collins is scheduled to visit the Alamo on Thursday to announce that he is donating his collection of Texas Revolution artifacts to the former mission and fort. The Texas General Land Office manages the downtown San Antonio shrine to Texas' independence. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson tells the San Antonio Express-News that the 63-year-old singer-drummer wants to find a place for some of his material legacy and wants to keep his Alamo collection together. Patterson said some of the artifacts could be placed on display at the Alamo within a year. Patterson says Collins is said to have the world's largest private collection of Texas Revolution artifacts. [The Associated Press]