The High Five
10:24 am
Fri June 14, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Leaves Texas High And Dry

Five stories that have Texas talking: Texas loses long court battle over water to Oklahoma, three more Texas counties become majority-minority, a UTD geologist finds Earth's secrets in jades and rubies and more.

If you need a refresher on the Red River compact that had nothing to do with football: Texas had been borrowing water from the Oklahoma source. An interstate water sharing agreement allowed that to happen, until Oklahoma passed laws banning Texas from tapping into its supply. The Tarrant Regional Water District sued. Yesterday, the Supreme Court sided with Oklahoma. So what will Texas do now in an emergency?

There are few options, SMU law professor Sarah Tran told Mose Buchele for State Impact. “Texas has the option of trying to negotiate with Oklahoma," she says. “Its going to have to pay a lot more. Or it’s going to have to think about ways of conservation or desalinization. Basically, Texas’s costs are going to rise.”

KERA's Shelley Kofler has been covering the back-and-forth between states, which has gone on in court for six years. She reports the board may have to look at reservoirs now, as the deal Tarrant was pursuing would have doubled North Texas' water supply.

  • New Census Numbers Reflect Texas' Growing Diversity: According to a new count by the U.S. Census, there are three more Texas counties where racial and ethnic minorities are now the majority: Terrell, Bell, and Hockley. Fifty-five other Texas counties share this status. The black population in Houston jumped by 20,000, which was the the largest increase in the country. [KUT in Austin]
  • Earth's Secrets Spelled Out In Jade And Rubies:  Scientists looking for clues to geological stumpers like the onset of plate tectonics have found some in the glimmering treasures produced by these events: jade and rubies. Robert J. Stern of the University of Texas at Dallas co-authored the study, which appears in the journal Geology. His team found jade-bearing deposits at the bottom of the Carribbean Sea that predate the surrounding rock by 30 million years. So the jade bits were likely remnants of a dying ocean that was there first - a snapshot of how plate tectonics formed what we now know as the Carribean Sea. Rubies, meanwhile, were found to have formed in newborn mountains. The kicker: no deposits of jade or rubies more than 600 million years old have been found. Earth is considered to be older than 4.5 billion years. So Stern's controversial belief is that plate tectonics have only been shaking things up for less than a billion years.  [NY Times]
  • Upon Gannett's Acquisition of Belo, WFAA-TV Nostalgia Abounds: News of WFAA-Channel 8's new ownership sent us raking through footage of the station's impactful moments - like its milestone breaking coverage of the JFK assassination. David Flick of The Dallas Morning News traces the station's history from its family-owned, humble radio beginnings in 1922 all the way to 1998, when WFAA became the first VHF station in the country to use high-definition on the regular, and beyond. The station's call letters stand for "Working For All Alike," and WFAA is known as a media nucleus of sorts for North Texas - the last locally-owned big commercial player. As for the future, we're standing by.

(Dallas native Terry Price was 3 years old in 1986 when Channel 8's Peppermint Place celebrated Texas' 150th birthday, teaching Price and countless others the word "sesquicentennial." He's now 30 and works as a musician in Nashville, opening for bands like Camera Obscura under the moniker Photo Ops. But he hasn't forgotten Mr. Peppermint -- and especially his sidekick, Muffin. Price still does his impression of the bear puppet voiced by Vern Dailey. Take a listen below.)

"Hey, Mr. Peppermint Pattie..."

  • Mike Modano Can Do A Lot Of Things, But Can He Rap? Former Dallas Stars captain Mike Modano is in the U.S. Hockey Hall Of Fame and all, but the swagger might not translate to the sound board. He took on a verse from 50 Cent's "In Da Club" for listeners of 105.3 The Fan. It's an extremely awkward take on the explicit song. Listen here if you dare. [Dallas Morning News]