Five stories that have North Texas talking: Whole Foods sells rabbit meat, but not in Texas; T-shirts feature Gov. Perry’s mugshot; a look back at the first day of school; and more.
Rabbits have long been cute and cuddly – and they’re starting to appear on dinner plates. Austin-based Whole Foods is generating controversy for selling rabbit meat at select stores across the country. There have been protests around the U.S. in recent weeks. Earlier this month, House Rabbit Society staged demonstrations at dozens of Whole Foods, Reuters reports. Rabbit meat isn’t sold at Whole Foods’ stores in Dallas-Fort Worth or Texas, a spokeswoman told KERA. “Whole Foods, which offers about half of its 373 U.S. stores the option of selling rabbit, said it … has no plans to stop selling the meat,” Reuters says. More than 17,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org that asks Whole Foods to stop selling rabbit. Whole Foods says it’s developed standards based on four years of study to address “welfare issues in rabbit production.” Rabbits are becoming more popular on dinner plates, The Los Angeles Times reports. “In an era when game meats and nose-to-tail eating are redefining fine dining as food sport, rabbit is both familiar and exotic enough to appeal,” the Times says. KUT, Austin’s NPR station, explores the controversy. In other Whole Foods news, the company will no longer accept personal checks in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas starting Labor Day, The Dallas Morning News reports.
- Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins’ spending of government funds is being questioned yet again. WFAA-TV reports he spent more than $18,000 in state asset forfeiture funds last year to pay his legal bills – and some are questioning whether that’s legal. John Helms, a former federal prosecutor, told WFAA that it “pushes the envelope” and that the DA’s office should have gone to the attorney general for its opinion. The DA’s office said Watkins has “broad discretion” over using the forfeiture funds and he did “nothing illegal or improper.” The legal bills came after Watkins was in court and was held in contempt for “refusing to answer questions about allegations that his office indicted an oil heir in order to benefit a friend and longtime political benefactor.” News of the $18,000 expenditure comes after WFAA first reported that Watkins used $50,000 from the asset forfeiture fund to pay a settlement over a car accident that he caused while driving a county-owned vehicle. The Dallas Morning News reports that Watkins' office spent more than $32,000 on "outside counsel in the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2013."
- Gov. Rick Perry’s smiling mugshot ricocheted across the internet last week – and now it’s on a T-shirt. RickPAC, the governor’s political action committee, is selling the shirt, which features Perry’s mugshot and says he’s “wanted” for “securing the border and defeating Democrats.” The back of the shirt features an earlier mugshot of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg. She had been arrested for drunken driving. The shirt says she’s “guilty” of “driving while intoxicated and perversion of justice.” The shirt is yours for $25. Read more from KERA News.
- Monday was the first day back at school for most North Texas students. A team of KERA reporters hit the streets to capture the big day. Stella Chavez explored what it was like for refugee families in Dallas. Doualy Xaykaothao profiled pre-Kindergarten in Fort Worth. Bill Zeeble featured a homeless teen heading back to class. And Dianna Douglas chased after an energetic new principal at Fort Worth’s Polytechnic High. Here’s a look back at the sights and sounds of day No. 1. And the teachers are nervous, too – we profiled a teacher who’s not new to teaching but is new to Dallas.
- Lake Highlands’ St. Vincent gets more publicity, this time from across the pond. British GQ spoke with the singer, aka Annie Clark. She told GQ about a good book with a North Texas connection: “I just read a book called Love Me Back by a woman from Dallas, Texas called Merritt Tierce. It's excellent. It's fiction but it seems to be cut pretty close to her life: she talks about her life in the food service industry (which sounds like it could be a very boring premise) but it's an awesome book. It's especially poignant for me reading it because I knew every restaurant she was talking about in Dallas: they remind me of a time in my life. I remember when you were 14 and you'd used to go to [Chili’s] to hang out on a Friday night and think it was very wild. All the tchotchke Americana on the walls: amazing!”