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Future Of Texas Based Federal Helium Reserve Up In The Air


Five stories that have North Texas talking: National helium shortage tied to reserve in Amarillo, SMU task force calls for change on campus, high school thespians snag theater gold and more.

A global helium shortage could worsen this fall when a major supply of the stuff is set to terminate. Most of us associate helium with balloons, but it’s actually used in everything from MRI machines to lasers. The United States started stockpiling helium in a federal reserve outside Amarillo during World War I to compete with Germany’s inflatable aircraft efforts.

In 1996, Congress decided the federal government should bow out of the helium business and let private industry handle it. Congress passed a law that would effectively end the helium program this October, but the private sector hasn’t caught up with demand. Proposed legislation would carve out time for private companies to find steady sources of domestic helium. [NPR]

  • SMU Students Demand Fundamental Change: An SMU task force formed in the wake of a several campus assaults released a report yesterday calling for a new university values statement. More education and prevention programs, additional sexual assault counselors, and better ways to report crimes were also at the top of the list. SMU will try out a good citizenship class in the fall that might become mandatory. According to the Dallas Morning News, five SMU students reported sexual assaults in 2012. One sexual assault and one attempted sexual assault have been reported in 2013.

  • Kyle On Coyote Alert: Animal Control officers in a community just south of Austin are urging pet owners to secure their fences and keep an extra close eye on their four-legged friends. Three small pets in the City of Kyle have been attacked in the last month. Officials suspect coyotes, but Animal Control and the Hays County Game Warden aren’t ruling out bobcats or even birds of prey. They’re using motion activated game cameras to find the animals. [KUT]

  • High School Triple Threats Take Center Stage: High school students from Denton to Waco, Aledo to Rockwall and everywhere in between flooded the Music Hall at Fair Park last night for the second annual DSM High School Musical Theatre Awards. Fifteen awards and seven scholarships were presented. McKinney North High School nabbed the most hardware winning four awards including Best Ensemble, Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Plano Senior High School took the Best Musical trophy for Curtains and leading man Cameron Wenrich also got the best actor nod. Best Actress went to Dakota Ratliff as Audrey in Ryan High School’s Little Shop of Horrors.

  • Final Jeopardy! Reminder: A young UT Southwestern patient battling brain cancer takes on America's Favorite Quiz Show® today. Baylor student Taylor Roth is beating the odds medically and plans to take that same spirit of perseverance to Alex Trebek and her Jeopardy! opponents. To hear more of Taylor’s story, click here. You can also visit this site to find out where and when Jeopardy! airs in your community.
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.