Five stories that have North Texas talking: UT-Austin is really good at quidditch; the Trinity toll road takes center stage this week; the creator of “Austin City Limits” has died; and more.
The University of Texas at Austin is really good at running with broomsticks between their legs. It’s called quidditch – any Harry Potter fan knows it’s a sport featured in J.K. Rowling’s famous series. But the novels inspired some college kids to make it a real sport. And now there’s US Quidditch, which organizes the World Cup – that’s a big event featuring college quidditch teams from across the country. And, over the weekend, the Longhorns won -- again. The Daily Texan reports: “The Longhorns are Quidditch World Cup champions for the third-straight year. Texas defeated Lone Star Quidditch club 120–90 to finish off a comeback and leave Quidditch World Cup 8 victorious.” In fact, lots of Texas teams play quidditch. Texas Monthly reports: “Almost as astounding as the sport’s explosive growth is Central Texas’s now total domination of it. Five of the eight teams that made the quarterfinals for last year’s World Cup—UT, Baylor, Lone Star, Texas A&M, and Texas State—were from the area; three of them—UT, A&M, and Texas State—played in the semifinals.” One Texas State player told Texas Monthly that the state’s football culture is one reason for quidditch’s popularity.
- The controversial Trinity toll road takes center stage this week. Later today, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will unveil new design recommendations for the project, made by a team of designers and urban planners he put together. On Thursday, Dallas City Council members will discuss the toll road. The Dallas Morning News has more details: “This week’s meetings will unveil another version of the road, one born from an amorphous collection of conversations among longtime project supporters that came as public opposition to the current, large-scale version of the toll road grew last year. This new vision will have to remain in the large version’s footprint within the levees, something unlikely to appease project critics who say the high-speed road is inhospitable to adjacent parks.”
- Last year, 21,000 inmates were released in Huntsville. NPR’s John Burnett reports on what happens to them after they get out: “For most of them, their gateway to the free world is the Huntsville Greyhound station. Monday through Friday, the glass doors swing open on the front of the Civil War-era, red-brick prison they call ‘The Walls.’ The inmates exit and shuffle along the sidewalk, some smiling, some pensive, shouldering potato sacks full of belongings. Most of them don't have loved ones waiting, so they continue walking the two blocks to the bus station — single file, out of habit.” Read more here. [NPR]
- The creator of “Austin City Limits” has died. Bill Arhos was 80. KUT, the NPR station in Austin, reports about the creator of the longest-running music program in the country: “While working as a producer at KLRN (now KLRU) in October 1974, Arhos partnered with Paul Bosner and Bruce Scafe to produce the first show in the concert series, which featured Willie Nelson. “He was a real character, known and loved not just in Austin but throughout the PBS system. The idea for Austin City Limits was not just his alone, but he brought it to life, and he kept the show going and growing through some difficult times,” said Austin City Limits producer Terry Lickona in a written statement.” Learn more here.
- Seems like almost everyone in North Texas has done a remix of the Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk video. Students at A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School danced in January – a video that’s gotten more than 12 million views. A Denton teacher’s Uptown Funk video in March (timed to state STAAR tests) went viral. Now the Dallas Museum of Art is getting into the act with Art Ball Funk. The video features lots of bold-faced names in Dallas. [h/t KERA’s Stephen Becker]