Five stories that have North Texas talking: North Texas student involved in racist fraternity video to apologize; Texans water their lawns too much; Bell Helicopter is cutting jobs; and more.
The former University of Oklahoma student featured in a racist chant that was captured on video will make his first public remarks since the incident sparked national headlines. The Dallas Morning News reports that Levi Pettit, a Highland Park High School grad, is scheduled to make a public apology later today. That’s according to Anastasia Pittman, an Oklahoma state senator and chair of the Oklahoma Black Caucus. Pittman says Pettit will join her at 4 p.m. at Fairview Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. Before the apology, she told The News "he will spend an hour behind closed doors talking with pastors and politicians and African-American leaders. Pittman says Pettit and his family reached out to her. She says the Pettits have also met with her pastor in Oklahoma City.” Read more here. [The Dallas Morning News]
- You might want to take it easy with your sprinkler system. The Texas Tribune reports: “Even Texans with the greenest of lawns water them too much, many landscape experts say. And if everyone would turn on the sprinklers only twice a week — still probably more than necessary — the water savings would be significant, according to a report from the Sierra Club released Tuesday. In the Dallas and Houston regions, about 52 billion gallons of water per year could be saved just by cutting back lawn watering, the report says. That's enough to supply almost half a million Austin-area homes for a year. And the numbers include lawns with St. Augustine grass, among the thirstiest of choices for a green lawn.” [Texas Tribune]
- The recent death of a Dallas woman who had received buttocks injections at a salon follows other fatal cosmetic procedures that authorities say were caused by people who either weren't licensed or who injected substances not approved by federal regulators. Thirty-four-year-old Wykesha Reid died in February after receiving an injection from two salon workers who police say were not licensed. Legal cosmetic procedures can be expensive, so some turn to black-market substances not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Federal officials say it's unclear how many complaints stem from illicit procedures, but deaths have been reported from California to Pennsylvania. In December, a South Texas woman was sentenced to three years in prison for injecting at least 30 women with liquid silicone. One died and another was hospitalized. [Associated Press]
- Bell Helicopter is cutting jobs. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the company is “trimming 315 more jobs, most of them in Fort Worth, as it continues to adjust to reduced production of the V-22 Osprey. [The company said] that the reduction in force will affect both management and non-management employees, including some union members. The company has also suspended all external hiring. In a message to employees, Bell’s President and CEO John L. Garrison attributed the cuts to ‘significantly lower V-22 production, the reduced demand across the global commercial rotorcraft industry and our customers’ continued demand for cost concessions.’” [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
- Muslim music is blossoming in Texas, NPR says. “Austin is … home to its own music scene year-round — and one of its more unusual groups is tapping into a sound that has nothing to do with indie rock or hip-hop. They're called Riyaaz Qawwali," NPR reports. "Qawwali is a tradition that stretches back about 700 years, going from Persia into what is now India and Pakistan. And it's what the members of Riyaaz Qawwali started out playing at their very first show nine years ago at their college, the University of Texas at Austin. Qawwali is traditionally Muslim. Riyaaz Qawwali, as a group, is not. Not even close.” Read more here. And, while you’re at it, catch up on KXT Radio’s SXSW coverage. [NPR]