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Mexican Drug Trade Is Clear Threat to Texas Safety, State Says


Five stories that have North Texas talking: Drug cartels loom over the Lone Star State, famine and feast define religion in DFW, the Mavs are itching to shave and more.

It isn’t exactly pleasant reading. The Texas Department of Public Safety just released its Public Safety Threat Overview for 2013 and you’ll find every imaginable type of crime and chaos enumerated there. But DPS took great care to highlight Mexican drug cartels as the clear top threat when it comes to organized crime in the state. According to the report, six of the eight major cartels currently have command networks operating within Texas, moving drugs as well as people into the U.S. The cartels also transport cash, weapons and stolen vehicles back to Mexico.

After the cartels, state-wide prison gangs are second most worrisome, especially when it comes to profits from human trafficking and drugs. Beyond the criminal realm, the report details other threats that include natural disasters, major industrial accidents and emerging infectious viruses like West Nile.

  • Struggling U.S. factories are getting a shot in the arm, thanks to the potential of inexpensive, American drilled natural gas. And because of Texas’ shale wealth and wide open spaces, the Lone Star state is smack dab in the middle of the resurgence. For example, in Freeport, Texas, Dow Chemical Co. has hired hoards of construction workers for a major expansion project. The end result will be about 600 new jobs. In Baytown, a Houston suburb, Chevron Phillips is investing $5 billion to expand existing facilities there. [NPR]

  • Holy Week in North Texas includes a significant amount of missionary and service work, and this Maundy Thursday is no exception. Starting this afternoon, kids in the River Oaks United Methodist Church youth group will embark on a “30 hour famine.” This national faith based effort is held on various days throughout the year, but the River Oaks group wanted to tie it in to Holy Week. Students won’t break their fast until after 10 p.m. Friday Night. In the meantime, they’ll build cardboard shelters to sleep in so they can really connect with homelessness and hunger. They’ll also spend Good Friday serving the homeless in Tarrant County.

  • It may not be your Bubbe’s brisket, but the Jewish Community Center of Dallas says all are welcome at tonight’s Kosher Passover BBQ. Show up at 6 p.m. for the aforementioned brisket as well as chicken, veggies and dessert. Can’t make it out tonight but sick of your take on kosher eating? The JCC has announced the winners of its Passover Recipe Contest, so check out these formulas for Matzah Toffee and Passover Fried Chicken.

  • Will Dirk Nowitzki rest a clean shaven cheek on his pillow after tonight’s Pacers game? He and his teammates certainly hope so, and they’re bringing the tools with them to make that happen. Nowitzki as well as O.J. Mayo, Chris Kaman, Vince Carter and other Mavs vowed not to shave until the team’s record climbed back to .500, and a win tonight will get them there. They’re apparently feeling pretty good about their chances, because they’re stashing a beloved barber, simply referred to as Omar, in the locker room during the game. He’ll be waiting with clippers if all goes well. [Dallas Morning News]
Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.