Five stories that have North Texas talking: it’s a baby boom at the Fort Worth Zoo; Rick Perry announces he’s running for president; another shake-up in the Dallas County District Attorney’s office; and more.
Two baby giraffes made their public debut at the Fort Worth Zoo this week. Willie and Waylon showed off for the crowds, exploring their exhibit, joining their older half-sister, Dilly. Willie was born April 28, weighing 121 pounds and measuring 5 feet, 10 inches. Waylon was born May 23, weighing 187 pounds and measuring 6 feet, 1 inch. Waylon is the largest giraffe calf in Fort Worth Zoo history. And what about their names? “The giant Zoo babies are named after two of Texas’ music giants, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings,” the zoo says on its Facebook page. The baby giraffes have been bonding with their moms – Brandy is Willie’s mom and Kala is Waylon’s mom. Captain is the dad to both Waylon and Willie. So Dilly, Willie and Waylon are half-siblings.
Here’s video of Dilly, who was born in January.
- Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced Thursday he’s running for president again. He made his speech in Addison. KERA’s Lauren Silverman reports: “Perry came to North Texas to toss his Stetson into a very crowded Republican ring. Perry aims to avoid the missteps that tripped him up last time. Perry stood surrounded by a group of veterans, as well as Taya Kyle, the widow of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle. He began his speech with the story of his childhood in Paint Creek, Texas. ... Perry will have to win a lot more than Texas. Four years ago, he had trouble convincing voters he was prepare. In a memorable “oops” moment, he forgot the name of a federal agency he wanted to abolish. Since then, Perry’s been meeting with policy experts, reading position papers trying to get up to speed national security, foreign policy and military affairs.”
- Hillary Clinton, who’s also running for president, was in Houston Thursday. The Houston Chronicle reports: “Calling for expanded ballot access in Houston Thursday, Hillary Rodham Clinton criticized Texas' controversial voter identification law and proposed automatic voter registration of citizens over 18. ‘What is happening is a sweeping effort to disempower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people and young people from one end of our country to the other,’ Clinton said at the historically black Texas Southern University, where she received a leadership award named after the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan.” [Houston Chronicle]
- There’s been another staff shake-up at the Dallas County district attorney’s office. WFAA-TV reports: “District Attorney Susan Hawk abruptly fired three more people this week: Her handpicked community relations manager and legislative liaison, a tenured investigator and a highly specialized digital forensic examiner. This latest round of forced departures is the most visible sign of continuing volatility at the DA's office under Hawk's leadership. Word of the firings traveled quickly in courthouse circles ... with many wondering if anybody's job is safe. In March, Hawk suddenly fired her second-in-command, Bill Wirskye, saying their personalities clashed. Hawk had already forced out Jennifer Balido, her administrative chief who had only been on the job for six weeks.” [WFAA-TV]
- One side effect of the Texas floods: More wildlife encounters. “People should be aware that snakes and other wildlife, including skunks and raccoons, may approach or enter yards and houses where they do not normally occur,” Andy Gluesenkamp, a herpetologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, said in a news release. “Over time, displaced wildlife will return to their usual habitats.” Texas Parks and Wildlife says to use common sense: Snakes and other animals may seek shelter in debris piles. “Recent storms also coincided with the time of year when newborn wildlife start showing up on the landscape,” the department says. “As flood waters recede, wildlife officials anticipate seeing more young wild animals unnecessarily being picked up by the general public and referred to game wardens or wildlife rehabilitators for treatment and rearing.” The most commonly referred animals? Baby birds and deer. Here are some tips from Texas Parks and Wildlife.