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Waco Artist Arrested And Accused Of Vandalizing Prada Marfa Public Art

Five stories that have North Texas talking: The Prada Marfa has been vandalized; a man is accused of stealing from the widow of slain Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle; attention young accordion players; and more.

A Waco-based artist has been accused of vandalizing the Prada Marfa public art installation in West Texas. The Texas Department of Public Safety says Joseph Magnano was arrested Tuesday near Wichita Falls on a criminal mischief warrant, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported. The Jeff Davis County Sheriff's Office said the building near Valentine, about 35 miles northwest of Marfa, was found plastered with paint and posters on March 11. The site opened in 2005 designed to appear like a retailer of expensive Prada shoes and handbags. Since then, vandals have targeted the site numerous times. Marfa Public Radio has been following the story.But some are suggesting that Prada Marfa was designed to "deteriorate and suffer abuse" -- Glasstire explores that issue. KERA executive producer Jeff Whittington talked with Marfa Public Radio's Travis Bubenik about the latest developments:  

  • A man who worked private security for the widow of slain Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle is accused of stealing her credit card and making more than $6,000 in charges, Midlothian police documents show. WFAA-TV reports: “Spencer Coursen faces two counts of credit or debit card abuse, a state jail felony punishable by up two years in prison. Taya Kyle told authorities that Coursen was hired as private security for a book tour for several months last year. She said that during that time, he had access to the home and stayed there on occasion.” Chris Kyle was killed last year at a Texas gun range. Many considered Kyle a hero for the lives he saved in Iraq, but when he appeared on KERA’s ‘Think’ in 2012, he described himself as a normal guy. "I’m no different than everybody else; I just did a different job,” Kyle said. “I’m your average, every day, next door guy.”

  • Air Force One is in Fort Worth for a paint job. One of the president’s planes landed at Meacham International Airport in Fort Worth Thursday. The aircraft has undergone a year’s worth of maintenance, a Boeing spokeswoman told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The newspaper reports that workers will “refresh the unmistakable three-toned blue details and the lettering ‘United States of America,’ said Eric Sharman, deputy chief of public affairs for Joint Base Andrews, where the planes are stationed.”

  • The woman responsible for bringing an Islamic art collection to the Dallas Museum of Art was featured this week in The New York Times. The DMA hired Sabiha Al Khemir in 2012 to create an Islamic art program. For the next 15 years, the museum will be home to nearly 2,000 Islamic art objects. Al Khemir was an ideal choice to boost the museum’s Islamic art collection. “She had also produced the catalog for an Islamic art exhibition at the Louvre, taught at the British Museum, consulted for the Metropolitan Museum and produced TV documentaries in Britain, among other accomplishments,” the Times reports. She’s become a senior adviser at the DMA. “Nur: Light in Art and Science,” opens March 30.

  • Attention young accordion players! Texas Folklife presents the eighth annual Big Squeeze accordion contest for up-and-coming musicians at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Dallas Latino Cultural Center, 2600 Live Oak St. It’s open to Texas accordionists 21 years and younger. Contestants may register on site or in advance by calling Texas Folklife at 512-441-9255 or online. Various tryouts are being held around the state this spring. Nine finalists will be chosen from the various tryouts and will perform in Austin on April 26 – at that time, three grand prize winners will be selected: polka, zydeco and conjunto. The winners will perform at the annual Accordion Kings & Queens Festival in Houston in June. Learn more about the contest:

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.