Five stories that have North Texas talking: Texas Giant accident raises concerns over park safety, why you need a drink with that cigarette, cakes coming out of ATM machines, and more.
UPDATE 10:47 A.M: The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s office website has identified the victim as 52-year-old Rosa Ayala-Goana, despite previous reports stating her name as Rosy Esparza. According to the website's report, she suffered multiple traumatic injuries.
A local woman’s fatal fall from The Texas Giant rollercoaster on Friday is raising concerns about staffing and safety issues at Six Flags. The Dallas Morning News talked to several park guests about their concerns.
Stephanie Hudson of Arlington told the DMN about her family’s experience in January, when a restraint on the Runaway Mine Train came loose. Hudson’s daughter had to be held down by her father during the final descent, and she says complaints to park management fell on deaf ears.
The park will conduct its own internal investigation on the Texas Giant accident. Arlington police won't be looking into the case because it's being treated as an accident. According to some witness reports, the victim, Rosy Esparza, expressed worry about her safety restraint to an employee shortly before the ride started.
- NPR Investigates Regional Bias; Texas Sticks Out: NPR is often accused of regional bias and favoring the East and West Coasts, despite the network’s goal of “looking and sounding like America.” So a team of librarians, data whizzes, and NPR Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos investigated. They pored over NPR stories from 2006-2011 and used 2010 census date to come up with this report. The news wasn't great for the Lone Star State: Only .59 Texas-related stories aired nationally per 100,000 people in the state -- that's less than half the overall national average of 1.33. The state also averaged 148 stories annually and was featured in 888 stories over the course of five years.
- Rats Prove Why You Need a Drink With That Cig: A team of researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine wondered why smokers are more likely to drink. So they gathered a bunch of rats together and threw them miniature cocktail parties after serving them whiffs of nicotine. It turns out that the drop in dopamine in the brain affected the way rat smokers felt the effects of alcohol, so rats could knock back a lot of alcohol without feeling anything. [NPR]
- 'Cake Middleton' And Cupcake ATMs: In sweeter news, a Houston cake designer constructed an edible life-sized model of Kate Middleton and the future royal baby out of pound cake and Rice Krispies. ABC News reports that the Nadine Moon, owner of Who Made The Cake, is trying to ship the cake to the royal palace. Great timing to, Kate's currently in labor. In Dallas, dozens of patrons lined up Saturday for the debut of North Texas' first (and the nation's third) "cupcake ATM." The gizmo, which runs beside the Sprinkles shop near Preston and Northwest Highway, operates 24 hours a day, or until it runs out of it 400-'cake supply. At $4 a pop, they're not for the faint of wallet. But our own Rick Holter reports that he's kinda sweet on the dark chocolate.
- “Big Rick” Makes His Home at Pecan Lodge: Dallas BBQ hangout Pecan Lodge has seen a surge in patrons since it won a top spot on Texas Monthly’s “Top 50” BBQ list. To keep up with demand, owners Justin and Diane Fourton unveiled a new smoker, appropriately named “Big Rick” for Diane’s late father (not KERA's Rick Holter). So what’s the verdict on the new smoker? The Texas BBQ Posse is giving Big Rick some high praise.