QUOTE OF THE DAY
“If you come visit my house to see the problem sidewalk my mom says she will give me money to take you to get gelato. We walk or ride bikes there from our house. If you want to ride your bike, bring your bike. Do you have a bike? Or my mom can drive us there. Or we can walk.”
—Eight-year-old Sophie Blitz in a letter to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, according to KTRK. Turner took Blitz up on her generous gelato offer. The mayor met with her on Friday afternoon to inspect the troublesome sidewalks that were keeping her from safely riding her bike around her neighborhood. And yes, they really ate gelato.
Revenge Of The Nerds
Thousands of Texans in sixteen cities across the state took to the streets on Saturday as part of a nationwide March for Science, according to the Dallas Morning News. Marchers’ motivations varied—some marched simply to advocate for the return of fact-based logic and evidence in science, and others directly protested some of President Donald Trump’s policies that have targeted scientific research, education, and environmental protection. According to the Washington Post, there were marches in more than 600 cities on six different continents, and the movement was even “cheered on” by scientists in Antarctica. Closer to home, Texans came out in huge numbers for the marches, which coincided with Earth Day. According to the Houston Chronicle, about 15,000 attended a massive rally in Houston, which comes as no surprise considering the city’s medical hub and close ties to NASA. But the crowd size still surpassed the expectations of march organizers, who figured about 10,000 folks would show up. “The turnout has been astronomical,” Madison Logan, one of the event’s directors, told the Chronicle (pun hopefully intended). “It shows that Houston cares.” Austin cares too: 10,000 marchers descended on the Capitol, chanting and carrying signs that were appropriately nerdy, including an “I (heart) science” poster complete with an anatomical heart, and ones that read “Science U Been Gone I Can’t Breathe For the First Time” and “Ozone You Didn’t!”, according to the Austin American-Statesman. More than a dozen other Texas cities participated, including San Antonio, Dallas, Denton, Fort Worth, Lubbock, and Amarillo.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Springtime For Skeeters
Mosquito season is fast approaching, and the Rio Grande Valley could be in prime position for a Zika outbreak. According to the Guardian, researchers are concerned that the region’s impoverished colonias in particular are ideal breeding grounds for mosquitos. “Sprawling settlements limit the effectiveness of spraying, standing water is common, and many houses lack window screens or air-conditioning,” the Guardian describes. As the Guardian notes, most of the Zika attention last year was focused on outbreaks in South Florida, but the Valley had its share of the mosquito-borne virus too. Brownsville, for example, was designated a Zika “cautionary area” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and in the final two months of 2016 the city saw six cases of local transmission. The Texas Department of State Health Services already issued a Zika alert this month, recommending pregnant women in six Valley counties be tested in their first and second trimesters. Zika is linked to microcephaly, a birth defect that causes an abnormally shrunken head.
Enjoy Your Flight
Another day, another airline dealing with an in-flight controversy. First it was United— an incident earlier this month left a man bloodied and beaten after he declined to “voluntarily” give up his seat. United promptly followed up that incident by booting a couple bound for their wedding off of their flight in Houston. The latest episode in airplane disasters involved a stroller, a bawling young mother, a feisty flight attendant, and a Texan who was ready to brawl. According to the WFAA, it all went down on a Dallas-bound American Airlines flight as passengers were boarding in San Francisco. Eyewitnesses said a flight attendant wrestled a stroller from a mom as she attempted to store it in an overhead bin. Another passenger began filming the confrontation. As the camera rolled, Tony Fierro, of Dallas, stood up for the distraught woman, telling the flight attendant, “Hey bud, you do that to me and I’ll knock you flat!” The flight attendant responded, “Hit me, bring it on.” At one point the Texan and the flight attendant were face-to-face before having to be separated, but no punches were thrown. One CNN commentator called Fierro a hero.
State Representative Victoria Neave is fasting in protest of a so-called sanctuary cities bill. According to the Dallas Morning News, Neave’s last “meal” was a communion wafer she had during Sunday Mass at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in downtown Dallas. That’ll have to hold her over until Wednesday, when the Texas House is set to debate legislation that would ban local governments and universities from implementing “sanctuary” policies that limit cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration agencies. “I want people to know how terrible this law is,” Neave, a Democrat who represents District 107—which includes parts of Dallas, Mesquite and Garland—told the Morning News. Neave criticized the bill, saying that it would actually make cities less safe because it would lead to a chilling effect on immigrant communities, leaving them too afraid of deportation to report crimes or testify.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
Texas is locked in a court battle with an Oklahoman over the custody of bibles that were launched into space Associated Press
Texan lawmakers are prepping for a federal government shutdown showdown Texas Tribune
Rick Perry’s got a lot of nuke stuff to do now Houston Chronicle
HIV and syphilis cases have risen dramatically in McLennan County so far this year Waco Tribune-Herald
An investigation into a teenage bullying crisis in Galveston County Galveston Daily News