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Texas Wind Farms Are Killing Eagles, Study Says


Five stories that have North Texas talking: Wind turbines are killing bald and golden eagles, Lance Armstrong is free to lie in his memoirs, Texas is a top responder for wheelchair accessible playground database and more.

Wind farms in 10 states, Texas included, are responsible for killing 65 golden and bald eagles in the last five years, according to new research. While that has conservationists very concerned, government biologists say the number is probably much higher. Because certain farms were excluded from this new study and because companies report eagle deaths voluntarily, there’s no way to know the exact figure.

Most of the deaths were golden eagles struck by wind turbines, but at least one bird was electrocuted by a power line. Turbines can be as tall as 30-story buildings and while the spinning rotor blades seem to move slowly, they can reach speeds up to 170 mph at the tips, creating tornado-like vortexes. [AP via NPR]

  • Boat, Rinse, Repeat: The fight against zebra mussels may intensify across North Texas. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Council is proposing a 17 county ordinance that would enforce boat cleaning and draining after a spin around the lake. Right now, that only applies to infested lakes in NoTex which include Texoma, Ray Roberts, Lewisville, Bridgeport, Eagle Mountain Lake and Lake Worth. According to the Dallas Morning News, Wildlife officials say this proposal would create a “buffer zone” around infested areas to slow the movement of zebra mussels. The invasive species showed up in Texas in 2009. Zebra mussels clog pipes, attach to boats and disrupt the food chain.

  • Fact Or Fiction? Judge Says, Either Way’s OK: A federal judge has ruled the Plano native Lance Armstrong is permitted to lie in his memoirs. A group of readers sued the cyclist after he admitted to doping earlier this year. They claim they never would have purchased his books if they had known he lied about using performance enhancing drugs. But U.S. District Judge Morrison England says Armstrong is shielded by the First Amendment. "The content of the Armstrong books is not an advertisement for a product; rather, the statements are Armstrong's account, albeit partially untruthful, of his life and cycling career." [NPR]

  • Extreme Makeover, School Edition: It was a dream combination for students at Dallas’ Atwell Middle School yesterday. Head to the Perot Museum for an all-day field trip, and return to a sparkling, spruced up school building. Close to 500 volunteers spent the day cleaning, painting and redecorating the school as part of “Freedom Day”, the day of service to honor the victims of 9-11. KERA’s BJ Austin tagged along for the extreme makeover. Students at Atwell got to see the big reveal first thing this morning.

  • Leveling The Playing Field: NPR asked listeners and online readers to help staffers with an ambitious project over the past few weeks: cataloguing accessible playground across America. People submitted hundreds of suggestions, and Texans were some of the top responders. The Lone Star state was second only to Ohio when it came to contributing; in fact ten playgrounds were added in Houston alone. You can search the guide here or add an entry if you see an omission. 
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.