Five stories that have North Texas talking: Texas has spent about $500 million on indoor facilities for high school football; Texas wins $5 million to combat Zika; how Neiman Marcus came to be; and more.
This time of year, The Grinch can take many forms. On Saturday at a mall in Amarillo, it was a 56-year-old pastor. David Grisham took a video of himself telling kids waiting in line to see Santa Claus that they were just going to see a “man in a suit” because old Kris Kringle doesn’t actually exist. Not surprisingly, kids looked on in confusion and some parents started to get angry at Grisham, but he simply told them to stop “lying to their children.”
Grisham leads the religious fundamentalist group, Repent Amarillo. The Dallas Morning News reports in the past he has made headlines for trying to boycott the City of Houston after Annise Parker — the city’s openly gay mayor — was elected and an abortion clinic was built in the city. And in 2010, he tried to burn a Quran in Amarillo's Sam Houston Park, “but was foiled by a shirtless skateboarder named Jacob Isom, who swiped the Quran from him at the last moment and told him, ‘Dude, you have no Quran!’”
Apparently the negative response from the weekend won’t deter Grisham from spreading his Christmas message at other malls in Texas before the big day. [The Dallas Morning News]
- Over the past two decades, Texas communities have spent about $500 million on 144 indoor practice facilities for high school football, according to The Dallas Morning News. Repeat, that’s just indoor facilities. “School districts build them to stay competitive. Coaches want them for their convenience. But critics worry about Texas’ massive public-school debt, and a widening chasm between rich and poor schools.” And Texas has the most in the country. Plainview ISD opened the state’s first indoor practice facility in 1971. Since 2000, the number of buildings in Texas has increased by 140 percent. [The Dallas Morning News]
- Texas won a $5 million Centers for Disease Control grant to combat the Zika virus. In a statement Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott said the money was awarded as part of supplemental Zika funding approved by Congress to increase preparedness and response efforts. The grant comes three days after state health officials confirmed four more cases of Zika in Texas that were likely transmitted by mosquito bites. Abbott said the Texas Health Department has dedicated $18 million to combating Zika and implementing a state preparedness plan — though counties are being required to cover many Zika-related costs themselves, The Associated Press reports. [The Associated Press]
- The state of Texas outline on the I-20 median in far southwest Dallas was removed Monday. The symbol was removed by the Texas Department of Transportation over safety concerns, NBC DFW reports. "Over the years the feature had become such a popular attraction for photos that drivers carved a dirt pathway into the grassy area between Mountain Creek Parkway and Spur 408, ignoring several ‘Keep Off Median’ signs on the highway's shoulder.” Built as a Boy Scouts project at least a decade ago, the Texas symbol will be turned over to the City of Grand Prairie. [NBC DFW]
- The New York Times explains how Paris came to Dallas — the origin story of Neiman Marcus. Herbert Marcus opened the department store in 1907 with his sister and her husband. Stanley, one of Marcus’ four sons, became his successor, but he didn’t follow exactly in his father’s footsteps. He was more a curator than a retailer. “God, for Stanley Marcus, was in the details. It was the details that transformed him into a pioneering figure in the history of American retail and the details that made Neiman Marcus, the store he took over from his father, into an international arbiter of taste.” Read more about Stanley Marcus. [The New York Times]