Five stories that have North Texas talking: A 79-year-old retired Texan ate at his 757th Whataburger store in Brownsville Tuesday; Southwest returns to normal after canceling around 1,000 flights in two days; a Senator from Dallas wrote an open letter, “Questions from a Black Man”; and more.
Karl Hoepfner, a 79-year-old retiree from Rockport, Texas, visited his 757th Whataburger store on Tuesday in Brownsville. His mission to patronize every restaurant in the Texas-born burger chain started in 2012 with his wife, two years after they won Whataburger’s Biggest Fan Contest.
Together, Karl and Carol visited all of the stores through 2013 — more than 730 Whataburger restaurants in 10 states, according to The Monitor, a newspaper in McAllen. But Carol’s health worsened as Whataburger kept adding stores over the years. She died of cancer in February at age 77, married to Karl for 59 of those years.
After the couple racked up more than 22,000 miles in 16 months traveling to various Whataburgers, the company bought a van for them, complete with a “WB1FAN” license plate. Karl still drives it. And, the company provided Hoepfner a list of new locations that have been built since Karl and Carol’s last visit together so he can keep going. [The Monitor]
- Southwest Airlines has had a rough week, canceling about 1,000 flights in two days. Due to a system-wide network outage, Southwest had to cancel nearly 700 flights Wednesday and about 335 more Thursday as the company “rearranged its schedule to help restore its network operations to normal,” The Dallas Morning News reported. The network outage was prolonged by the back-up system also failing. Southwest installed a new router and rebooted 400 servers, which took 12 hours, according to the Morning News. The company issued an apology, and customers will be able to re-book their flight for no cost within the next two weeks or receive a refund or travel credit. [The Dallas Morning News]
- State Sen. Royce West from Dallas wrote an open letter to America on race, “Questions from a Black Man.” His first question: “Why are you afraid...of ME?” West says he decided to write the letter after listening to the perspectives of other black men, according to Texas Standard. “I think we need to have this discussion,” he says. “Perceptions tend to become reality. Whether perception is real or not really doesn’t matter.” West hopes the letter will start a conversation among Texans, especially with their African-American friends, he told Texas Standard. Read the full letter, posted on Royce’s Facebook page, below: [Texas Standard]
- Petra Kelly, a talented, respected, in-demand North Texas musician, isn’t fiddling around. The UNT grad and Denton-based violinist has played her part in several bands, collaborating with The Migrant, Brian Lambert, Clint Niosi, American Werewolf Academy, The Earthling Soundtrack and TrebucheT to name a few since the mid-2000s. Her passion for music makes her work-life both busy and non-traditional but well worth it, she said. Kelly’s the subject of this week’s Artist Spotlight, a weekly conversation between a North Texas artist and Art&Seek. The project will build week by week over the next year. [Art&Seek]
- Sen. Ted Cruz was booed off the stage at the Republication National Convention Thursday, but he’s not apologizing. Cruz didn't endorse his former competitor Donald Trump, at a time when the party’s trying to rally around him. "I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my family," said Cruz, who added he would not be "a servile puppy dog" to the Trump campaign, NPR reported. Cruz is positioning himself for a 2020 run, but does not encourage supporters to write his name on their ballots this fall. [NPR]
Other than a small group of people who have suffered massive and embarrassing losses, the party is VERY united. Great love in the arena!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 21, 2016