Five stories that have North Texas talking: Big trucks make big market gains, tips for an easy opening day visit to the Bush Presidential Center, Dallas reboot locks down air time for next year and more.
They’re shiny, flashy and expensive, and it looks like the American love affair with big pickups is on the rebound. We all know Texans can’t get enough of their trucks, but with 20 percent of all sales coming from within the Lone Star State, it looks like the relationship’s been made official. According to the Dallas Morning News, pickup sales got a leg up this year from better fuel economy. And because Texas has so many independent dealers, four-wheel drive enthusiasts can lock down good deals and cheaper monthly payments.
Pickup sales are up 18 percent this quarter and auto experts predict more of the same as the year wears on. Before the recession, auto manufacturers sold about 2.5 million pickups each year. Three years ago that number dropped to 1.3 million. But with sales climbing to 1.6 million last year and an upward trend on the horizon, the big pickup may have truly made a comeback.
- Taking Juveniles Out Of The Mix?: A human rights group says kids shouldn’t always be listed on public sex offender registries, and a Texas think tank agrees. Human Rights Watch just released a report that says harsh public registration laws often punish young people for life and do little to enforce public safety. Juvenile sex offenses cover the serious, like rape, but also include things like public nudity and “sexting.” Marc Levin with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank in Austin, says Congress should allow states to choose to place certain youths in a non-public registry for law enforcement only. Levin says Texas has only a public registry, and children as young as 10 can be placed on it. [AP via NPR]
- What Goes Up, Must Come Down: If you live near McGregor, Texas, own a folding chair and have a little free time, you might want to stake out SpaceX’s next “Grasshopper” launch. The private company is testing a rocket ship that behaves like an elevator. It takes off, rockets about 820 feet in the air, hovers for a moment, returns to the launch pad, and turns itself off. This NPR piece explains why developing this technology may be a big space program money saver one day. See the Grasshopper in action below.
- Eager To See The Bush Library? Plan Ahead: Heading to SMU with an empty stomach on a wing and a prayer today might not be the best way to explore the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Staff members say it’s best to plan ahead. While the library opens to the public this morning, buying tickets online will give you a set time to visit. Fifty walk-up tickets will be sold each hour, but those could go fast. If you’re planning to make a day of it, remember, Café 43 doesn’t open until Friday, so eat a snack before you go.
- No J.R., But Plenty Of Drama: Fans had to sweat it out for more than two weeks after the season finale, but the reboot of Dallas got the official green light for another season yesterday. The renewal guarantees a 15 episode third season that will debut in early 2014. If fan fiction and Tumblr blogs aren’t enough to sustain you until then, you can take a little piece of the late J.R. Ewing home with you. His belt buckle goes up for auction Sunday, but you can start bidding online now.