Five stories that have North Texas talking: Barry Switzer pulls a fast one on reporters; late “Jeopardy!” contestant wins $103K; lawsuit over Capitol nativity scene proceeds; and more.
There’s been a lot of buzz about who’s going in and out of Trump Tower during the presidential transition. Former Dallas Cowboys head coach Barry Switzer used that to his advantage during a recent trip to New York City. Switzer visited the President-elect’s Fifth Avenue skyscraper last week to check out the action. On his way, he stopped to speak with reporters and threw them off by saying he had met with Trump, who he’s known for more than 20 years, according to The Associated Press. And when he was leaving the building, it looked like he was getting off the elevator after visiting someone, but in reality, he had just gone to a Starbucks in the building. "I thought most of them knew when I told them he was making me Secretary of Offense," Switzer said. He had a good laugh about the prank he pulled on reporters. "Got to watch out for fake news these days," he said. [The Associated Press]
- An Austin woman who died of cancer before her appearance on "Jeopardy!" won more than $103,000, some of which she donated to cancer research. Cindy Stowell's run ended when she finished second in her seventh appearance that aired Wednesday, The Associated Press reports. The 41-year-old woman taped the episodes in August and September while battling Stage 4 colon cancer. She died Dec. 5. "Jeopardy!" says Stowell was sent advance copies of her first three episodes and watched them in the hospital. The show says it also expedited Stowell her prize money. The Cancer Research Institute says Stowell donated some of the winnings to the nonprofit. [The Associated Press]
- A lawsuit is moving forward against Gov. Greg Abbott over his order to remove a satirical nativity scene from the Texas Capitol last year. The Texas Tribune reports: “A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the Wisconsin-based group behind the exhibit, raised valid questions about free speech rights when it sued Abbott earlier this year.” The display shows a cardboard cutout of America’s founding fathers and the Statue of Liberty looking down at the Bill of Rights in a manger. “Abbott, writing to the preservation board once the exhibit had gone up, denounced it as a ‘juvenile parody’ intended to offend Christians.” [The Texas Tribune]
- Dallas has a big homelessness problem — here are six ways the city could fix it by 2021. The Dallas Commission on Homelessness recently published a 51-page report recommending strategies to tackle the city's significant homeless issue. The city's homeless population has been on the rise -- and homeless camps have popped up around Dallas. In May, less than a week after officials closed Tent City, a homeless encampment under Interstate 45, Mayor Mike Rawlings and other community leaders created the commission.The 40 members of the ad hoc group were tasked with analyzing the city’s system of addressing homelessness and comparing that with best practices carried out in other cities. Here’s what they concluded. [KERA News]
- Do you have a favorite holiday movie that you watch year after year? Most often, the holiday plays itself a supporting character, like in the Jimmy Stewart classic “It’s A Wonderful Life.” And the different emotions felt around the holidays really drive films like the ensemble romantic comedy, “Love Actually.” The Big Screen takes a bite from several holiday films — from “Holiday Inn” with Bing Crosby and “Meet Me In St. Louis” with Judy Garland — in this week’s podcast. [The Big Screen]
The Associated Press and The Texas Tribune contributed to this report.