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UPDATE: Mayor Calls Tower-Nasher Flap 'A Game Of Chicken'

Jerome Weeks

Five stories that have North Texas talking: The Nasher's middle man leaves, high-speed roadrunning, FDA’s big mistake and more.

Updated at 2:35 p.m.: Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings says he doesn’t blame Tom Luce for stepping out of the middle of the dispute between the Nasher Sculpture Center and the shiny new Museum Tower condos next door.

“He’s disappointed. But he’s got other things to do,” Rawlings tells KERA about Luce, who'd been appointed to mediate the dispute. “And he’s smart enough to realize that you can’t dance with people when there’s a game of chicken going on.  All right?  Let people go their sides, think about what they want to do and come back. I don’t blame him for this decision."

The Nasher says the sun's glare off the 42-story glass tower is frying the grass in the sculpture garden and raising temperatures inside the museum.

Experts for the Dallas Police and Fire Pension Fund, which owns the tower, toured the museum yesterday and described the Nasher's claims as “pure bunk and pseudoscience” as well as “sheer nonsense.”

Art&Seek's Jerome Weeks is following the back and forth.

-- BJ Austin

Sammy Hagar CAN Drive 85 Today In Texas

If only circa-1984 Sammy Hagar were in Texas today. He might’ve been whining “I Can’t Drive 55” then, but starting today, he could rev all the way up to 85 p.m. -- at least on a stretch of the Texas 130 toll road near East Austin.

Gordon Dickson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram explains the science that led to the nation’s highest speed limit. To start:

The first step in the speed study was for the pair of state employees to conduct a "trial run" of the 19-mile stretch. Darren McDaniel, a speed zone engineer for the department's Austin district, was given the task of driving the length of the road in a department pickup. Carol Rawson, director of the state's traffic operations division, sat in a passenger seat and took notes on McDaniel's speed.

McDaniel purposefully avoided looking at his speedometer and focused instead on driving at a speed he felt comfortable with -- most of the time, he was going 80 to 82 mph.

Real potential for a memorable day on the job there. It’s kind of like that session of driver’s ed when the instructor made you stop at 7-11 for a Big Gulp of choice and practice driving whilst sipping. Because, you know, “they’ll do it anyway.”

-- Lyndsay Knecht

FDA: That Facilities List We Published? Totally Wrong, Sorry

The nationwide meningitis outbreak took a confusing turn in Texas this week.

The FDA published a list on Monday of Texas facilities that received recalled drugs from the New England compounding pharmacy linked to the meningitis outbreak.

And it turns out that most places listed by the FDA as having the recalled drugs didn’t actually have the drugs… and two facilities that had the drugs were listed as NOT having them.

Confused yet?

Apparently a few hours after being posted, the FDA scrambled to remove the list. The kicker is in the statement provided to WFAA:

“….The FDA told News 8 their list came directly from the New England Compounding Center….”

Hospitals are still calming patients, and have said when the smoke clears, they’ll be going to the FDA for answers.

-- Justin Martin

UTA One Step Closer To World (Research University) Domination

UT Arlington gets a $25 million research boost in its quest to compete with others in the UT system to become a Tier One University -- on par with the state’s flagship UT Austin, Texas A&M, and Rice (a private school.)

UT’s Board of Regents okayed $7.5 million from the Permanent University Fund (PUF) to help create the Institute for Research Technologies at UT Arlington. Japan’s Shimadzu Scientific Instruments will kick in another $18.5 million worth of equipment. Shimadzu is considered a world leader in scientific and environmental equipment.

UT Arlington President James Spaniolo said the funding will “dramatically enhance research opportunities” for faculty and students. The new Institute should also promote additional collaboration within the UT system.

Could the partnership really make UT Arlington a “global leader in scientific discovery?” That’s the stated goal.

-- Bill Zeeble

At Reunion, Cheryl Strayed Remembers Days of Being ‘Wild’

In college, a classmate handed me a printed copy of Cheryl Strayed’s Love Of My Life with no disclaimer -- just “it’s worth your time.” It was a smack in the gut. Not since Liz Phair’s painful tell-alls on Exile in Guyville had I experienced a woman’s voice so brave in its willingness to be vulnerable. (The essay, about the death of Strayed’s beloved mother and how her response in grief wrecked her marriage, is seriously not safe for work. But you can find it here if/when appropriate.)

Strayed dealt with that second round of tragedy -- divorce -- by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail alone in 1995, burning books along the way to make her pack lighter. She wrote a book about it: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, which landed at #1 on the New York Times Non-Fiction Bestseller list. Our own Krys Boyd talked to her about the 1100-mile journey recently on ‘Think.’  

The author, who’s now settled in Portland with a husband and two kids, appears tonight at the Hyatt Regency Reunion Tower with Dallas writer Sarah Hepola.

-- Lyndsay Knecht