Five stories that have North Texas talking: plans for a Muslim cemetery in Farmersville raises concerns; Bernie Sanders speaks in Dallas; in alligator country, the reptile gets respect; and more.
A proposal to bring a Muslim cemetery to a rural North Texas town has stoked fears among residents who are trying to convince community leaders to block the project. Farmersville is considering a 35-acre development request from the Islamic Association of Collin County. Residents showed up in force at a recent town meeting to oppose the cemetery, which would include an open-air pavilion and small retail area. Some fear the project would attract radical Muslims to a region of Texas where anti-Islam sentiment has grown over the last year. Farmersville is 25 miles from Garland, which was the scene of a deadly May shooting outside a cartoon contest lampooning the Prophet Muhammad. Mayor Joe Helmberger calls residents' worries unwarranted and says the cemetery will be approved if development standards are met. Khalil Abdur-Rashid, a spokesman for the Islamic association, said misinformation and confusion are fueling critics. Texas Standard, the statewide radio news magazine, has more details. [Associated Press]
- Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made a campaign stop in Dallas on Sunday. KERA’s Krystina Martinez reports: “That followed his appearance at an event in Arizona, where he was interrupted at the Netroots Nation conference. Though Texas has long been a Republican stronghold, Sanders made it clear from the beginning why he was visiting the Lone Star state. ‘The reason I am here is that I do know that this state is controlled by Republicans and I’m here with you to change that,’ he told the crowd.” Read more here.
- A Dallas billionaire is behind an effort to build a pipeline through Big Bend to Mexico. The Texas Tribune reports: The planned 42-inch-wide Trans-Pecos Pipeline [is] expected to stretch beneath 143 miles of Big Bend-area terrain, and begin carrying Permian Basin natural gas to Mexico in 2017. … A consortium of energy companies wants to pipe Texas gas into Mexico, now that the country has opened up its energy sector. The project's few vocal supporters say the pipeline will bring jobs to the region – even if almost all are temporary – and will spur more Texas drilling and yield a few million dollars in local tax revenue, too.” Kelcy Warren, a Dallas billionaire and CEO of Energy Transfer, is partnering with Carlos Slim on the project. [Texas Tribune]
- Experts say the shrimp and oyster harvesting business could be damaged after record Texas rainfalls in places like Galveston Bay. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted the 2015-16 catch of brown shrimp in Texas offshore waters would be 18 million pounds, about 30 percent below the average of more than 25 million pounds from 1960 to 2013. The Galveston County Daily News reports shrimp are expected to be smaller and harder to catch. Oysters, which thrive in higher salinity, were wiped out when the freshwater flowed into Galveston Bay. Lisa Halili, of Prestige Oysters, says it could be three years before the business recovers. [Associated Press]
- In Texas’ alligator country, the reptile gets respect. The Houston Chronicle reports on alligators in Texas in light of a man recently killed in an alligator attack in southeast Texas: “Millions of gators live in warm coastal areas from Corpus Christi up into the Carolinas. Always have, forever and ever. More than half a million are estimated to live in Texas, but reports of attacks of any sort are rare. As for deaths, how many have ever been recorded?” None – until the death of Tommie Woodward. “But for residents of Texas' alligator country - and Chambers, Jefferson and Orange counties in particular - it is as clear evidence as any that the ancient reptile is not merely accepted as a fact of life but fully accommodated.” [Houston Chronicle]