Five stories that have North Texas talking: Texas loves goats; Gov. Perry says farewell – for now; it’s Girl Scout cookie time; and more.
Texas is Goat Country. That’s according to The Washington Post, which analyzed USDA Agricultural Census data. “Of the top ten goat-producing counties, 8 are in Texas and two are in Arizona. In Sutton County, Texas, goats outnumber people 14-to-1. In Edwards County, also in Texas, the ratio is 22-to-1. All in all, goats outnumber people in 21 U.S. counties, all but one of which are in Texas. While our national goat herd shrunk somewhat between 2007 and 2012 -- from 3.1 million to 2.6 million -- taking a longer view the trend in goat production tends upward. Back in 1982, for instance, the U.S. produced only 1.7 million goats.”
- The poorest county in Texas? Starr County, along the Texas-Mexico border. It’s just west of McAllen. Starr County is actually one of the poorest counties in the country. That’s according to 24/7 Wall St.’s review of the poorest county in each state in the U.S. It’s based American Community Survey data. The county median household income is $24,927, compared to nearly $52,000 for the state. The poverty rate is 39 percent, while the unemployment rate is 15 percent. 24/7 Wall St. reports: “Nearly 40% of residents did not have health insurance during the five years through 2013; a majority of children were estimated to be living in poverty over that period; and 15.4% of the workforce was unemployed in 2013.” Also, only 8.6 percent of county residents had at least a bachelor’s degree.
- Gov. Rick Perry gave a farewell speech Thursday – and called for more bipartisanship at the Texas Capitol. Perry called for political compromise, hinting he's trying to cast himself as more centrist ahead of an expected 2016 presidential run. His uncharacteristically moderate tone may have to do with the emergence of another likely Republican White House hopeful, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. "There is room for different voices, for disagreement," a loose and forceful Perry told a joint session of the Texas Legislature, which greeted him with a long standing ovation. "Compromise is not a dirty word if it moves Texas forward." Read a recap here – and watch a video of his remarks. [Associated Press]
- It’s time for Girl Scout cookie sales. Soon, your friendly Girl Scouts will knock on your door and try to make a cookie deal with you. The Dallas Morning News reports: “To usher in this sweet time of year, the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas are handing out free cookies on Friday, Jan. 16 at the Union Station DART stop. Anyone can get freebies from 6-8 a.m. A bag will include either: a Samoa (the caramel-coconut-chocolate one) or a Rah-Rah Raisin (an oatmeal cookie with raisins and Greek yogurt-flavored chunks).”
- The Dallas Opera’s next season will feature two world premieres. Jerome Weeks with KERA’s Art&Seek reports: “The Dallas Opera revealed that its 2015-2016 season will include Becoming Santa Claus. It’s an original holiday fantasy by American composer Mark Adamo, who’s best known for the operas Lysistrata and Little Women. It’s long been known the company was already going to debut Great Scott, a major new work by Jake Heggie, the composer of Moby Dick. The rest of the company’s season will include the Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein musical Show Boat and Jules Massenet’s masterpiece Manon. Current Dallas Opera subscribers can renew now. Otherwise, season subscriptions will go on sale in April.” Learn more at Art&Seek.