Five stories that have North Texas talking: A lion attack at the Dallas Zoo, how Texas has changed since the JFK assassination, a Twinkie-eating contest, and more:
A young female lion at the Dallas Zoo died Sunday after a male lion attacked her in front of shocked visitors. A lion bit Johari on her neck at 2:15 p.m. in what zoo officials called a sudden attack. She died quickly. Johari was 5. The lions seemed to be playing at first – but then a male lion, either Denari or Kamaia, turned on the lioness. The other four lions were removed from their exhibit, which was closed for the rest of the day. It’s not clear why a lion turned on one of its own. One zoo official said he hasn’t seen this type of incident happen in his 35 years in the zoo industry. Zoo keepers called her “Jo-Jo.” She was playful and was the first to find surprises in the lion exhibit, such as pumpkins or watermelons. She often groomed her sisters, Lina and Josiri. She had just celebrated her fifth birthday with a frozen cake. Zoo officials say that Lina and Josiri will be back in their habitat today. Read more from KERA News. And read what the zoo's Facebook fans have to say about Johari.
- Texas’ political future is in Tarrant County. Tarrant is the largest reliably Republican county in Texas and ground zero of Democrats’ efforts to turn the state blue, the Texas Tribune reports. “The county, home of the Dallas Cowboys and Texas’ fifth- and seventh-largest cities, Fort Worth and Arlington, has become a focal point in the state’s political future,” the Tribune reported. Jim Riddlesperger, a political science professor at Texas Christian University, told the Tribune: “Houston, Dallas, Austin, El Paso, San Antonio — all of these are blue; they’re all Democratic areas. Fort Worth is the last holdout Republicans have of the big cities.”
- How Texas changed, and changed the nation, since JFK: Texas wasn't exactly a backwater in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, but it wasn't the economic and political powerhouse that it has become today. NPR reported over the weekend about Texas’ growing influence over the past 50 years. NPR reported: “Throughout the 20th century, Texas played an outsized role in American politics, with several Texans serving in top leadership roles such as speaker of the House. But Texas is now enjoying the type of influence wielded by Virginia after the nation's founding, or that Ohio had in the 19th century, or California in the 20th, as the birthplace of presidents. There are new prospects seemingly every cycle. As the only megastate that reliably supports Republicans for president, it's no surprise figures such as Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Rick Perry have found Texas to be a good launching pad, as the two Presidents Bush did before them.”
- All-you-can-eat Twinkies: The Truck Yard in Dallas held a Twinkie eating contest over the weekend. Chris Schafer won first place by devouring 19 Twinkies, while Guy Efune was close behind with 18, The Dallas Morning News reports. Watch people stuff their faces with the treat here.