Five stories that have North Texas talking: Deceased people apply to vote in Dallas County; Merritt Tierce lands “Orange is the New Black”; Austin man commutes via kayak; and more.
Dallas County elections officials say at least 17 people listed as deceased applied for a ballot to vote in last month's municipal elections.
Toni Pippins-Poole, Dallas County’s elections administrator, told WFAA-TV this week that no ballots were issued and the matter was sent to the district attorney's office for review.
County authorities are trying to determine how ballots were requested by deceased people or who was behind it. State law requires county clerks and the Texas secretary of state's office to notify elections officials of deaths so that names can be removed from voter rolls.
Dallas county prosecutors already are investigating 700 mail-in ballots that were sequestered after officials flagged them as suspicious, the Associated Press reports.
Runoff elections in Dallas County are Saturday. [WFAA, The Associated Press]
- North Texas novelist Merritt Tierce had less than a weekend to prepare for her new job writing for “Orange is the New Black.” As The Dallas Morning News reports, the former Denton resident has had an interesting career since her 2014 debut “Love Me Back” confirmed her status as one of the most promising writers in American literature in the past decade. Since then, she has written for various publications, landed artist residencies, and when money was tight, delivered mail. Now, she’s in Hollywood writing for the sixth season of the hit Netflix series. [The Dallas Morning News]
- Among the U.S. Senators who grilled James Comey was Texas Republican John Cornyn. The fired FBI director testified Thursday about the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and his relationship with President Trump. As the Texas Tribune reports, Cornyn spent much of his time questioning Comey “about a 2016 incident in which former President Bill Clinton spoke with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, just as the Justice Department was investigating his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, over her use of an unofficial email system.” [Texas Tribune]
- In order to win the Cliburn competition, pianists must master a brand new finger-busting composition. Every four years, the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition commissions an original work that all 30 contestants must play. This year, the distinction went to 56-year-old pianist and competition judge Marc-Andre Hamelin from Canada. He’s the first non-American to compose for the competition. Hamelin’s work, titled “Toccata ‘L’homme armé,” is a five-minute piece based on a 500-year-old French song. [Art&Seek]
- Two days a week, this Austin man opts for his kayak instead of his car to get to work. After years of sitting in daily traffic, Jason Dzubinski bought a kayak. He travels in the inflatable vessel for the 10 minutes across Lake Austin and then takes a long hike “through some of the city’s most desirable lakeside neighborhoods, clad in a rash guard shirt, a wide-brimmed hat and black compression socks,” KUT reports. The whole commute takes about an hour and a half. Seems crazy, but Dzubinski says he’s lost weight, gained energy and found peace. [KUT]