Five stories that have North Texas talking: Rare giraffe twins charm New Braunfels tourists, Austin-based Livestrong dropped by company that made it famous, experts say storm shelters held up in OK tornado and more.
If you’re of the opinion that there’s not much cuter than a baby zoo animal, make sure you’re safely seated before reading this next item. A rare set of twin giraffes was born in New Braunfels earlier this month. Calves Wasswa and Nakato were born at Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch and are reportedly only the second set of living twin giraffes born in the United States.
Wasswa weighed 95 pounds at birth and her brother Nakato was a hefty 125. There was some concern that mother Carol might not be able to adequately feed both twins, since they are so rare, so Nakato has been hand fed since birth. As you can see in the video below, both calves are thriving.
- Nike Cuts Ties With Livestrong: Less than 10 years after a little yellow bracelet became an international symbol for cancer survivors, the partnership that produced it is coming to an end. Nike announced yesterday that it is cutting ties with Lance Armstrong’s Austin-based charity Livestrong. Nike representatives say the 2013 holiday season will be its last to produce Livestrong apparel. Nike stuck by the Plano native and his charity for years despite accusations that the Tour de France champion used performance enhancing drugs. The relationship between Nike and Armstrong took a turn for the worse when the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a detailed report accusing Armstrong of leading a complex doping program. Nike dropped its personal sponsorship of Armstrong last October. [AP via NPR]
- Sturdy Shelters: An expert from the Debris Impact Test Facility at Texas Tech University says he’s found no evidence that any storm shelter failed during the Moore, Oklahoma tornado. The EF5 storm flattened homes and killed two dozen people when it ripped through town on May 20. Larry Tanner manages the Debris Impact Facility and told NPR’s Talk of the Nation that even above ground safe rooms performed very well in Moore. Tanner says those are sometimes the only shelter option if you live on rocky soil or on top of a high water table.
- Preventing Patient U-Turns: Two Texas hospitals are using a complex formula and targeted care to prevent readmissions. It’s a common problem, especially for seniors, but under the Affordable Care Act, hospitals will be penalized for readmitting too many patients. The formula developed at the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation in Dallas flags readmission risk factors like blood glucose levels and heart rate, but it also accounts for more subtle variables like a history of depression. KERA’s Lauren Silverman spoke to Texas Health Resources about how it will use this technology to stop patients from making return trips to the hospital.
- Last Chance Before Takeoff: Today is last call to behold the wonder that is Solar Impulse before it takes to the sky once again. After open houses this weekend filled up quickly, organizers decided to add one more this afternoon. The solar powered plane will be on display from 1 to 5 p.m. at DFW airport. You can sign up for a time slot here. Solar Impulse can fly day or night thanks to 12,000 solar panels. It has the wingspan of a jumbo jet, but only weighs as much as a small car.