More Early Voters In Tarrant; Way More Hispanic Voters In Texas | KERA News

More Early Voters In Tarrant; Way More Hispanic Voters In Texas

Nov 5, 2012

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Election eve, new amusement park in Fair Park, veterans live to tell and more.

Swing state status be darned: Early voters in Tarrant County nailed a daily record with 53,603 votes cast on Friday, outdoing last election’s storied mobilization.

And along with that upswing, record turnout is projected for Hispanic Texans this time around. The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials estimate that there will be 17.1 percent more Hispanic voters in Texas than in 2008.

The polarizing issues of small business and immigration make the Hispanic voting bloc an especially important one, whether in states that could actually swing the presidential vote or -- in Texas’ case -- in places where state and local campaigns could be more affected. Diane Smith of the Fort Worth Star Telegram explores these dynamics with Tarrant County voters.

If you're desperate for something concrete to speculate on re: Obama versus Romney as the eve of the election, play that game with NPR’s scorecard for battleground states.

-- Lyndsay Knecht

Surf’s Up! Fair Park’s Endless Summer

For all the tears shed about Big Tex’s fiery (but temporary) demise last month, Fair Park itself is in its annual offseason slumber. Patrick Kennedy wrote a column for D Magazine in June about how the unused space and deserted parking lots are wasteful and feed danger to some of Dallas’ diciest neighborhoods.

Well, here’s the city’s answer: Fair Park is getting an amusement park called Summer Adventures, opening this spring. And the Dallas Observer’s Eric Nicholson reports you’ll be able to train for those escape-South Dallas-to-North Shore-summers there via a FlowRider surf simulator.

-- Lyndsay Knecht

‘Glory Denied’ Served With Veterans’ Voices

The story of America’s longest-held POW lives as a book, an opera, and now a discussion tonight called “Glory Denied: Coming Home from Modern Conflict” serves to liberate more stories of returning veterans and the challenges they face. Tom Philpott, who wrote the book about Col. Jim Thompson, is on the panel alongside Tom Cipullo, who composed the opera, and soldiers who lived to tell about war. Art&Seek has all you need to know about the event.

It all happens at Tarrant County College South Campus tonight. Reserve seats here.

-- Lyndsay Knecht

City Wins Big Standoff Over Tiny Plot

For more than 30 years, the City of Dallas has tried like heck to get Hazel McClain and then her daughter Carolyn to sell a tiny little parcel of land that now sits on the front lawn of the Omni Hotel. The battle spent two years in court.

The family finally conceded, reports Robert Wilonsky of the Dallas Morning News.  The agreed-upon price:  $405,000.

-- Lyndsay Knecht

Another Huge Effort For A Very Small Thing

A woman from New York who calls herself the “Butterfly Lady” will arrive in San Antonio on a Southwest Airlines flight today with a monarch butterfly who is late to migrate. Maraleen Manos-Jones noticed the butterfly missed the bus when it became too cold to fly south, the AP reports, and she requested a special permit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to carry the fragile creature over state lines due to this special circumstance.

The first question my boss Rick Holter asked, and what you’re no doubt wondering: How is the butterfly being transported on the plane? Business class? In a birdcage? (Rick’s guess.) From the AP story:

She will carry the butterfly on the plane herself, packed in a glassine envelope with a damp piece of cotton, inside a Tupperware container, packed inside yet another container outfitted with an ice pack to keep the butterfly cool and calm.  That container will go into a bag, padded with layers of newspapers and towels.

-- Lyndsay Knecht

And today, at least, the High Five is not enough. Here's No. 6:

Florence Shapiro's Looking For A Job. Or Is She?

Could outgoing State Sen. Florence Shapiro, from Plano, be headed to the George W. Bush Institute at SMU?

Shapiro, a Republican, is retiring from the Senate in January. For years she chaired the Senate Education Committee. After last year’s announcement that she was leaving, she was hired by Dallas-based Academic Partnerships as vice president for corporate communications.

At a recent education conference at SMU, Shapiro told KERA she no longer worked there, saying it involved a lot more PR than she had expected.

When asked if a position at the Bush Institute might now be in her future, Shapiro told KERA it might be. 

-- Bill Zeeble