Five stories that have North Texas talking: The countdown to the State Fair of Texas begins; TCU fired its basketball coach of nearly four years; SXSW apologizes for asking a Muslim presenter to remove her hijab for a badge photo; and more.
The State Fair of Texas will celebrate its 130th year as a cultural mainstay. The theme for this year, “Celebrating Texas Agriculture,” harkens back to the fair’s 1886 origins as a livestock exposition, according to the State Fair announcement.
— State Fair of Texas (@StateFairOfTX) March 14, 2016
Here’s a statement from the State Fair on the theme:
Acknowledging the significance of farming and ranching in Texas’ past, present and future, the Fair continues to promote agricultural growth through its large number of learning initiatives. From its interactive exhibits explaining how Texas agriculture touches our everyday lives and how food gets from farm to table, to the variety of competitive livestock events and leadership contests for youth throughout the state, the Fair encourages all visitors to learn more about agriculture. The 2016 theme serves to recognize agriculture and its relevance to both the Fair and the state of Texas as a whole. “Celebrating Texas Agriculture” focuses on educating guests about all the ways agriculture impacts the community, as well as our day-to-day routines.
Dallas Business Journal reported: “Last year’s theme, ‘Passport to Texas,’ offered fair-goers a “road trip” through the state with new Texas-themed signage and flags, Lone Star themed floats and music during the nightly Starlight Parade and information on Texan travel destinations. The fair racked up a record $52 million in food and ride coupons in 2015, a $10 million hike over its earnings in 2014.”
There are only 199 days until this year’s event, which will run from Friday, Sept. 30 through Sunday, Oct. 23 at Fair Park in Dallas. Until then, watch Big Tex dance —
- TCU basketball coach Trent Johnson was fired Monday, four days after season ended. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported: “Athletic director Chris Del Conte said in a statement that Johnson is “a man of unbelievable integrity” but improvement is needed in the program, which began playing this season at renovated Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena. The school said a search is ongoing to find a replacement for Johnson, who had two years left on a contract he signed upon arrival in Fort Worth.” The next coach will be TCU’s 22nd in men’s basketball. Read about Johnson’s record at TCU since his April 2012 hire. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
- Evan Smith, editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune, had tons of questions he didn’t get to ask President Obama in their SXSW Interactive interview on Friday. Smith talked to Obama about technology’s role in civic engagement. Here’s a recap of the discussion. In the hourlong discussion, Smith had planned to use two-thirds of it to stay on topic and then the last third to open it up to vetted questions sent in by regular citizens, Smith said in a post. But then Obama went to Torchy’s and the session started late. The unasked questions span open carry, the current presidential campaign and environmental disaster. Read all 10.
- A U.S. Olympic fencer and SXSW presenter was asked to remove her hijab for her badge photo. Ibtihaj Muhammad spoke on Saturday as part of the panel on “The New Church: Sport as Currency of American Life,” but she unfortunately gained more attention for a hiccup on the conference’s end. As a part of SXSW’s policy, badge photos should be void of distracting garments, like hats or sunglasses — not religious wear.
I was just asked to remove my hijab at SXSW Registration for my ID badge.. I can't make this stuff up #SXSW2016
— Ibtihaj Muhammad (@IbtihajMuhammad) March 12, 2016
The festival responded with remorse for the incident:
“It is not our policy that a hijab or any religious head covering be removed in order to pick up a SXSW badge. This was one volunteer who made an insensitive request and that person has been removed for the duration of the event. We are embarrassed by this and have apologized to Ibtihaj in person, and sincerely regret this incident.”
Read more. [Texas Monthly]
- New clues have surfaced in nearly 20-year case of missing UNT student and single mother. In July 1997, on the day of a school field trip to the Denton Police Department, Kelli Cox disappeared, baffling police, friends and family. According to The Dallas Morning News, the case has gained new traction: “Investigators developed evidence pointing toward an Oklahoma truck driver, a sex offender with a long history of violence against young women. They learned that he was traveling along Interstate 35 near Denton around the time Kelli went missing.” The sex offender has indicated to police that Cox’s remains are in a horse pasture on Houston’s southeast side, and excavations are under way. Read more. [The Dallas Morning News]