Five stories that have North Texas talking: Alcohol for the good of man in Houston and Austin, the Carnival Triumph saga's "Sweet Home Alabama" postlude, Texas as the nation's political ground zero and more.
Two Texas bars are taking the charge “drink to a cause” literally. The Original OKRA Charity Saloon in Houston gives 100 percent of what it makes after operating costs to charities. It’s part of a national “philanthropub” trend reported on by the AP.
The White House, a bar in Austin’s new Rainey Street district with a less straightforward concept, is another example. Patrons can stuff cash into scores of donation boxes – and buy a cup with a mixer before receiving alcohol in it for free, basically.
TABC is investigating that bar after the owner was arrested on charges of selling without a permit.
- Five days of filthy, hungry sailing are over for more than 4,200 Carnival passengers who hoped to holiday in Cozumel and instead got stranded off the coast of Mexico due to a fire on board the ship. There are reports of people kissing the ground and singing “Sweet Home Alabama” upon arrival via tug boats in Mobile. It’s safe to say that for many who endured the Triumph’s fail, boats will not be the mode of leisure travel henceforth. “I’m just so blessed to be home,” said Kendall Jenkins, 24, crying and wearing a bathrobe to keep warm. “I don’t want to hear the word ‘cruise’ ever again.” [NY Times]
- Is Texas the “ground zero” of politics in the U.S.? A thick list of data points Politico’s Jonathan Martin suggests as much. We’re a the center of the immigration debate, we’ve got 36-year-old George P. Bush under our sleeve, and we have the poster children for Republicans’ fear of being “primaried” as Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Senate Republican, clings to fresh new Sen. Ted Cruz. [Politico]
- Former Dallas TV anchor Rebecca Rodriguez has stepped into the Communications Chief role at DISD. The former WFAA and KTVT staple left Arlington ISD for the job, though reports still refer to her journalism career on first reference before mentioning that part. [Dallas Morning News]
- People aged 15-24 make up half the 19.7 million sexually transmitted infections passed around annually, according to a new report released by the CDC on Valentine’s Day. This disporportion isn't new, of course. But one of the authors, Catherine Satterwhite, said lack of access to healthcare and insurance is a major factor. Salon’s Katie McDonaugh calls out Texas for its contributions there via the Texas Women’s Health Program’s ban of Planned Parenthood.