Five stories that have North Texas talking: This Addison-based agency throws birthday parties for homeless kids; Fort Worth police handed out holiday tofurkeys Wednesday; a TCU prof explains the science of whiskey; and more.
A beloved albino squirrel that roamed the University of North Texas campus died this week. Fondly called “Lucky,” the little guy was hit by a car on Highland Street in Denton Tuesday morning and died with the company of a “caring UNT staff member” by his side on his way to the vet, according to UNT’s Facebook post.
“According to the popular mythology surrounding Lucky, a student will earn an A on their exam if they see one of the white squirrels on campus the day of the exam,” The Dallas Morning News reports. The Lucky who died this week wasn’t the first albino squirrel living on campus. And there are many descendants of the original Lucky still frolicking around campus, UNT says. So, students taking final exams next semester may still have a chance at good fortune and good grades. [University of North Texas, The Dallas Morning News]
— UNTsocial (@UNTsocial) December 20, 2016
- The Birthday Party Project, an Addison-based agency, throws birthday parties for homeless children. In 2012, founder and event planner Paige Chenault was pregnant and thinking about the party she’d have for her newborn child. Then, she was reading a magazine article about homeless children and wondered if they were ever celebrated, according to The Dallas Morning News. Since then the project has put on 3,000 birthdays, with about 20,000 kids in attendance at the parties. The project hosts 31 parties monthly in a dozen U.S. markets, serving 12 North Texas locations alone. [The Dallas Morning News, The Associated Press]
- Fort Worth Police teamed up with PETA and Spiral Diner to hand out tofu turkeys. The police department received national attention in November when officers pulled over drivers to hand out not traffic tickets but rather Thanksgiving turkeys donated by Metro Ministries, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. After that, PETA reached out to the department to offer “tofurkeys” as a vegan-friendly option for the upcoming holiday weekend. Instead of pulling people over, the officers Wednesday offered the meatless delights to people patronizing the setup at the corner of Main Street and Third Street in downtown Fort Worth. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
— Fort Worth Police (@fortworthpd) December 21, 2016
- Meet the man believed to be the first black millionaire in Texas. William Madison McDonald, the son of a former slave, was born 150 years ago. “McDonald became an influential banker and a political force who helped shape Fort Worth at the turn of the 20th century, using his wealth and connections to help lift up his city’s African-American community,” KERA’s Christopher Connelly reports. “From basically the beginning of the 20th century, Bill McDonald’s imprint was on Fort Worth,” longtime North Texas newsman Bob Ray Sanders said. “He made his mark, and he kept making his mark, until the day he died.” [KERA News]
- There’s a science behind almost everything, including whiskey. Eric Simanek, a chemistry professor at Texas Christian University, and Rob Arnold, the head distiller at Firestone and Robertson Distilling Company, wrote the (international award-winning) book on it: “Shots of Knowledge: The Science of Whiskey”. The book includes about 60 illustrated essays, covering topics in whiskey production in a scientific and mathematical context, according to the TCU College of Science and Engineering. Simanek and Arnold joined host Krys Boyd on “Think” this week to talk about how grain and water combine to make bourbon, rye and scotch. [Think]