Five stories that have North Texas talking: There are tons of fireflies in Texas thanks to last year’s rain; Mark Cuban could play for either team when it comes to the vice presidency; watch two journalists rappel down the Reunion Tower; and more.
There are noticeably more fireflies blinking in Texas, particularly in the center of the state, than usual. Last year’s wet conditions were ideal for fireflies to lay their eggs because “the larvae need moisture as they grow underground for at least a year before emerging,” Wizzie Brown, an entomologist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, told KUT.
“That could go against a national trend,” according to KUT. “There’s no hard data on this, but a lot of researchers think lightning bug numbers are declining in most of the country.
In order to help the population grow, you should keep your lawn a little longer, turn off outdoor lights in order not to confuse the bugs and consider not spraying pesticides, Fitchberg State University's Dr. Chris Cratsley with citizen-science project FireFly Watch told KUT. “If people follow those tips, and if downpours continue, we might see more lightning bugs a year from now.” Listen to the story. [KUT]
- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban would consider being the vice president to Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. On Sunday’s Meet the Press, the 57-year-old billionaire entrepreneur and reality television star said Clinton would have “to go more to center” for him to work with her. On the program, Cuban told host Chuck Todd that serving as Trump’s running mate would also be a possibility because his campaign has opened doors for non-traditional candidates. If Trump approached Cuban on the subject, he said: “I'd be, like, ‘OK, Donald. That's great. Let's talk about it. But we're both going to have to dig in and really look and understand the issues so we can come up with solutions.’” Read more from The Texas Tribune. [The Texas Tribune]
- Chance Hawkins of Fort Worth just turned 18, and he has to start planning his future. Most males with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, like Hawkins, don’t live beyond age 25, but he faces something all high school juniors in The Class of ‘17 do — the pressure of deciding what’s next after graduation. Although he lives with a rare genetic disorder, “he doesn’t dwell on what he can’t do,” said KERA’s Stella M. Chávez, who’s been reporting on Hawkins since he was in ninth grade. Read the latest on Hawkins and watch a day in his life below. [KERA News]
- An immigration facility for transgender detainees will be opened southwest of Dallas in November. The building, currently under construction in Alvarado, Texas, will contain 36 beds for transgender people, Officials at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Monday. The Associated Press reported: “Advocates say transgender immigrants often face challenges in detention facilities such as higher rates of sexual assault, an inability to get hormone replacement treatments and guards unfamiliar with gender identity issues. Federal guidelines instruct detention staff to ask incoming detainees about their chosen gender identity and make accommodations based on their preference.” The Texas facility would be the second federal unit of its kind in the U.S. The other, in Santa Ana, California, houses about 30 transgender people. [The Associated Press]
- Two journalists from The Dallas Morning News rappelled down the 56-story Reunion Tower. Thrill-seekers were invited to participate in the Shatterproof Challenge, organized by Shatterproof, “a national non-profit, hosts wild rappelling events all over the country to raise awareness for addiction as a disease,” GuideLive reported. Anyone that was able to raise a minimum of $1,000 for the organization had the opportunity to take the plunge on May 21. Hundreds of people participated in the event with the option of descending from the 10-story Hyatt Regency, KXAS reported. According to GuideLive, “The Dallas dive down Reunion Tower made history as the highest building this group had ever rappelled.” Don’t watch this, if you’re scared of heights. [GuideLive, KXAS]