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Thanks to Changing Demographics, Soccer Goals Replace Baseball Diamonds In Plano

Plano plans to tear up four diamonds in a local park and replace them with soccer fields.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Baseball is fading in Plano, the Dallas Cowboys welcome a new addition: sculpture, could Texas become Drone Central?, and more.

In Plano, soccer goals are replacing baseball diamonds. Plano’s demographics are changing, which means something surprising is happening: Baseball seems to be a smaller part of the suburb’s culture. The Dallas Morning News reports that over the last 15 years, the decline has been dramatic. In 1998, 8,836 residents played baseball in leagues that used Plano city fields. By 2013, that number had dropped to 2,535, even though the city’s population grew more than 20 percent during that time. Plano city officials plan to tear up four diamonds in a local park in the next year. They will be replaced with soccer fields -- soccer is growing locally. “Who would have thought that in Texas and America, baseball would become less popular?” Parks Director Amy Fortenberry told The News.

  • Art with your football?: The Dallas Cowboys have added the first outdoor sculpture to its art collection at AT&T Stadium. It’s Anish Kapoor’s Sky Mirror, a 35-foot-diameter concave mirror made of polished stainless steel. It stands nearly three stories tall in the center of the stadium’s east plaza. “Sky Mirror will offer a dazzling experience of light and architecture, presenting viewers with a vivid inversion of the expansive Texas sky,” the Cowboys said in a news release. It’s going to be unveiled Friday night at an invitation-only celebration. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his wife, Gene, will join Kapoor at the program. The Jones family launched the Dallas Cowboy Art Collection in 2009 with 13 commissioned artworks installed in prominent locations around the stadium. Now the collection includes 56 works of art. Kapoor became known in the 1980s for his geometric or biomorphic sculptures made using simple materials such as granite, limestone, marble and plaster. KERA’s Art&Seek toured the stadium collection back in 2011. 

  • Could Texas become Drone Central? There’s a move to turn the skies over Texas into one of the world’s leading drone test sites. KUT Radio in Austin spoke with Ron George, a senior research development officer at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, and one of the planners of a new drone development center. George has proposed that a portion of Texas become a test site for unmanned aircraft systems testing, certification and research. He's suggesting South Texas and a portion of the Texas panhandle, because they have the clearest airspace over the least populated areas, KUT reports.

  • Big Money at Red River Rivalry for Texas politicians: Saturday’s big game at the Cotton Bowl isn’t just a big deal to Longhorn or Sooner fans or the State Fair of Texas – it’s a big deal for Texas legislators. More than 30 of them are hoping to cash in on the game by raising a lot of money. The Texas Tribune reportsthat the annual football game between the University of Texas and Oklahoma University is becoming a fundraising hotspot for lawmakers in both parties. Why? They can rely on plenty of deep-pocketed donors to be in Dallas for game-day festivities. 

And here's your Bonus Item!

  • A puppy reunion: Arlington police have reunited a family with the puppy stolen from their home in a burglary more than four months ago. The family and the English bulldog named Maggie were reunited last week. Scott Hancock told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Maggie's return home has gone well. Arlington police were surprised to find Maggie still with the suspect, who was arrested after an officer recognized his vehicle from previous burglary reports and made a traffic stop. During the stop, they found two stolen iPads, including one traced to the Hancock family. Officers searching the suspect's apartment recovered stolen weapons, televisions, computers, jewelry, coins -- and Maggie.
Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.