Five stories that have North Texas talking: Texas prisons have banned more than 15,000 books but “Mein Kampf” isn’t one of them; delinquencies are taking a toll on millions of Texans; scientists are tattooing turtles in Central Texas; and more.
It’s the end of an era, albeit just over two weeks. Former Gov. Rick Perry was booted from the 23rd season of “Dancing with the Stars” Tuesday night. Perry and his partner danced the paso doble Monday night and were pitted against Carrollton native and ‘90s one-hit wonder, Vanilla Ice. Not to mention the first presidential debate was going on that night — another competition he exited early just over a year ago. The Texas Tribune reports: “Perry danced the paso doble in matador garb, and even burst into a solo stomp. Perry and Ice tied, but the tiebreaker threw immunity to Ice on Monday night, jeopardizing Perry on Tuesday night.” Perry, who was dancing to veterans issues, still has his spirits, though. He partially participated in the dancing competition to sharpen his skills before his daughter’s wedding next month. [The Texas Tribune]
- Texas prisons have banned more than 15,000 books including "Friday Night Lights" but not "Mein Kampf." Coincidentally, it’s Banned Books Week. Before it was published this month, “Wolf Boys: Two American Teenagers and Mexico’s Most Dangerous Drug Cartel” a nonfiction book by Dan Slater was banned by the Texas prison system for having information about criminal activity, The Guardian reports. Slater says Texas prison system’s policy for banning books seems arbitrary. Texts banned in the state's jails include a collection of Shakespeare’s sonnets, “World War II: An Illustrated History of Crisis and Courage” by Bob Dole and “Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope” by Jenna Bush. [The Guardian]
- In 2015, Texans owed $4.55 billion in child support, and that number doesn’t include delinquent payments. Delinquencies, like unpaid child support, old phone bills and back taxes are accounts that have fallen behind. Programmer Angelo Collins of Fort Worth is currently chipping away at $6,000 of child support payments because he took a year for school in 2014. “I had to kind of regroup myself and mentally prepare myself to put things back in order,” he says. Learn more about delinquencies and how Collins is slowly but surely moving a mountain of debt in KERA’s final chapter of “One Crisis Away: Drowning In Debt.” [KERA News]
- “By the end of this story three guys get bitten by turtles, and a turtle gets a tattoo.” Self-described as “turtle nerds,” a group of scientists have been swimming in the creeks and lakes of Central Texas to tag and microchip area turtles for track the local population. KUT reports: “The divers haul in massive amounts of turtles in from the creek, pouring them into buckets, coolers and little blue recycling bins. The idea is to return here over time to see how the turtle population changes.” Why tattoos? Normally, the scientists would cut a notch in the shell to mark turtles they’ve microchipped, but for some species, a notch would injure them. [KUT]
- French artist Pierre Huyghe known for his ambitious, elaborate and unconventional works, won the 2017 Nasher Prize. Jeremy Strick, director of the Nasher Sculpture Center, says the nine members of the Nasher jury were attracted to the 54-year-old artist’s works precisely because they redefine sculpture in a variety of ways, Art&Seek reports. An example: The Nasher has previously exhibited one of Huyghe’s aquariums — such as “Zoodram,” which has a crab living inside a hollow copy of Constantin Brancusi’s famous sculpture, “Sleeping Muse.” Huyghe will accept the $100,000 Nasher Prize in a ceremony in Dallas on April 1, 2017. [Art&Seek]