Five stories that have North Texas talking: Other states get guns on campus and face insurance woes - not so for Texas; the curious, record-breaking pig longevity in DFW; an East Texas identity thief's family realizes they have no idea who she really was and more.
About 30 school districts in Texas have armed their employees this year. Dubravka Romano, director of the Texas Association of School Boards’ risk management fund, told the NY Times that schools there were not charged extra in insurance costs for having guns on campus. The rest of the country is not having such an easy time. Teachers or administrators in Kansas, South Dakota and Tennessee were allowed to carry guns as of last week. But the insurance provider for almost all of Kansas’ school districts is declining coverage to schools that opt in, for example.
Meanwhile, districts like Harrold Independent in far North Texas can even switch providers and save money while letting employees carry guns. Superintendent David Thweatt says there’ve been no gun-related incidents since the district adopted the precaution all the way back in 2007. “The only time we’ve had to use a firearm,” he said, “was to shoot at a wild pig.” [NY Times]
That’s 91 In Pig Years: A 21-year-old pig from Garland who takes pain relievers for arthritis and is all but blind could trough the Guinness world record for oldest pig. Potsie would inherit the title from a fellow North Texan swine: far North Dallas potbelly Oscar, who made it to 21 years and 13 days before he died in 2010. Potsie has technically already beat Oscar, but his owners held the required public event Sunday as part of the formal record-claiming process. [Dallas News]
Think You’re Smooth, “Don Draper?” Meet “Lori Ruff:” The true identity of a woman who changed her name in a Dallas court in 1988 remains unknown to her husband and his family after her suicide. Lori Ruff, as she was known, claimed she was 41, and lived near Longview. Decades before she became a mysterious and increasingly unhinged mother, she had stolen the identity of Becky Sue Turner, a two-year-old who’d died in a fire. A Seattle investigator is trying to figure out who this woman really was – it’s thought she has ties to the Northwest. Seattle Times readers who think they can plot a point on the woman’s byzantine past are commenting in droves. Writer Maureen O’Hagan explained her quest to help crack the case recently via On The Media. [Seattle Times]
Abortion Limits Saga Marches On: It’s abortion legislation supporters’ turn to demonstrate at the capitol today, as a Texas Senate committee takes up Senate Bill 1. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of TLC’s 19 Kids will join the Heidi Group in rallying support for that bill and House Bill 2, which would ban abortion at 20 weeks and require clinics to adopt ambulatory surgical center standards. Groups that oppose the rules will answer with a march tonight. Carol Everett of the Heidi Group says the pro-life camp is equipped to “stop the horrors going on in Texas.” “We are going to win this battle,” she tells KUT’s Veronica Zaragovia. “We’re the only ones having babies." [KUT in Austin]
Finally, A Use For Galveston’s Nasty Seaweed: What could those disgusting piles of seaweed on Galveston’s beaches good for, besides getting between your toes at the shore and keeping beach time at a sun-safe minimum? Apparently, staving off damage from severe weather. Galveston Island Park Board of Trustees and Texas A&M University want to use the roughage to beef up sand dunes that could keep Galveston’s inland safer come storms and high tides. It’s part of a larger effort to use natural materials as buffers along the Gulf Coast. [AP via NPR]