Five stories that have North Texas talking: a federal program arms some Texas schools with military rifles; North Dallas was a traffic nightmare Monday afternoon; Mineral Wells is running out of water; and more.
At least 10 Texas public schools have received surplus military equipment, such as M-14 rifles, armored plating and military vehicles. They got the equipment from the federal government’s 1033 Program. KERA’s Doualy Xaykaothao reports that’s not sitting well with some educators and civil rights groups. “The NAACP, with nearly two dozen other groups around the country, is asking the Department of Defense to stop sending military weapons to school districts and police departments. Brennan Griffin, with the non-profit Texas Appleseed, says schools have already been over-criminalized --- and minor misbehaviors often disproportionately affect students with disabilities and students of color.” Aledo in North Texas is among the districts that have received equipment. The Allen ISD superintendent says his district didn’t renew its requests to receive surplus military weapons and is in the process of returning the five rifles it got last year. The Texas Tribune has more. And read more from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
- Traffic at the George Bush Turnpike and Dallas North Tollway interchange was a nightmare Monday afternoon. For several hours, an overturned rig was hanging from an overpass and blocking westbound lanes on the Turnpike, with traffic exiting at Preston Road. Northbound and southbound lanes on the Tollway near the interchange were closed for several hours. The accident occurred shortly before noon. A trailer, carrying a directional boring machine, overturned during transport. Engineers secured the equipment and are trying to figure out how to safely remove it. It's believed the equipment weighs about 40,000 pounds. Fuel spilled onto the roadway below. Read more from KERA News.
- Frisco police say they discovered a note and pills next to one of two people found dead in the same home where their 10-year-old son was discovered months earlier. In documents released Monday, Frisco police described what they found in the home of Sumeet and Pallavi Dhawan earlier this month. Police say they found Pallavi Dhawan floating face-up in the backyard pool, and Sumeet in a downstairs bedroom. A note and pills were found next to Sumeet Dhawan's body, though police would not describe the note or what type of pills. Pallavi Dhawan was being investigated for murder in the death of her 10-year-old son, Arnav. Authorities found Arnav's body wrapped in cloth in a bathroom. [Associated Press]
- Officials in Mineral Wells say if the water level in the lake that serves as the city's main water supply keeps dropping then they only have enough water to last until June. Lake Palo Pinto is 14 percent full and officials are stretching the supply by combining it with Brazos River water. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that other communities in the region also are contending with severe shortages. The Palo Pinto County towns of Gordon and Mingus have a four-month supply. National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Huckaby says the Possum Kingdom Lake area, 75 miles northwest of Fort Worth, is "ground zero" for the Texas drought. Mineral Wells officials are reviewing options for another water supply, such as tapping into Lake Mineral Wells or constructing a pipeline to Weatherford. [Star-Telegram via Associated Press]
- The Midlothian ISD school board says it will keep two religious plaques uncovered. WFAA-TV reports that a few weeks ago, the plaques near the front of two elementary schools were covered. “The district had received a letter of concern from the Freedom from Religion Foundation, which said the markers were unconstitutional. … After the community staged a large protest and rallied in support of the plaques, and a Facebook page also picked up thousands of followers in just a couple of days, the district decided to uncover the plaques. A legal showdown with the Foundation is expected, although no formal lawsuit has yet been filed.” Scores of residents packed Midlothian ISD’s school board meeting Monday night, wearing “We Are Midlothian” blue T-shirts and supporting the decision to keep the plaques uncovered.
Photo credit: Aledo Police/Fort Worth Star-Telegram