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The Flu Is In Full Force: Across North Texas, Cases Climbing As More Deaths Are Reported


Five stories that have North Texas talking: the death toll from the flu is climbing; a legendary Fort Worth mayor has died; Lake Highlands native St. Vincent has released a new song; and more.

The flu is in full force across the region. Denton County has reported its first flu deaths of the season. Health officials say both were in Carrollton: a young girl with underlying medical conditions and a man in his 70s, also with health problems. Also on Monday, the Dallas County flu death toll rose to 17 – eight were reported by hospitals, while nine more were confirmed from autopsies conducted by the medical examiner’s office, The Dallas Morning News reported. Also Monday, Garland reported two flu-related deaths. Texas health officials say flu activity is “widespread” across the state, indicating increased flu-like illness in at least half of the state’s regions. In addition, the intensity of influenza-like illness is classified as “high.” North Texas health officials expect flu activity to remain high for the next several weeks, and say it’s not too late to get a flu shot. The state’s health department encourages everyone six months old and older to get a flu vaccine. “The vaccine changes each year to protect against the strains of flu researchers expect to be circulating, so people need to be vaccinated for each flu season,” the department says.

  • Fort Worth is remembering former mayor Bob Bolen as a visionary who created the framework for what the city has become today. Bolen, 87, died at his home Monday morning, leaving behind a long list of achievements that earned him the title, “people’s mayor.” He helped launch Alliance Airport and brought the Federal Bureau of Engraving and Printing to the city. Bolen served as mayor from 1982 until 1991, longer than any other. KERA’s Shelley Kofler has more on Bolen’s life.

  • The Texas Longhorns’ new coach, Charlie Strong, started work Monday with an introductory news conference on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. KERA's BJ Austin reports: Strong takes over for Mack Brown, forced out after more than a decade. And he made it clear, he’s not bothered by talk that he was not the first choice. “I could have been the 15th choice, and I’m so happy to be head football coach here,” Strong said. “Twenty, 15, it doesn’t matter. Whatever choice I was, I’m the head football coach.” Strong, 53, makes the move after four years at Louisville, capped by two Big East conference championships. He is the first black coach to lead the Longhorn football program.

  • Lake Highlands native St. Vincent, aka Annie Clark, has released a new song: “Digital Witness.” It’s from her latest album, the self-titled St. Vincent, is scheduled to be released in late February. "I wanted to make a party record you could play at a funeral," she’s been quoted as saying. Vulture describes the track as “spastically funky and bleak enough to soundtrack minimum at a cool Shiva.”Smithsonian magazine profiled Clarkin December’s edition: “When she wants to entice the listener into dreamland, she relies not on production tricks but on chords that are as pleasurable as they are narcotic. When she wants to snap the listener awake again, she doesn’t need a quick twist of the volume knob because the disturbing quality of the off-kilter harmony and rhythm are rousing enough. In bringing sophisticated composition to the indie-rock movement, Clark has created a new kind of music, one that seduces with craft and bites with surprise.”

Here's the song:

KXT has been playing another of her new songs, “Birth in Reverse:”

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.