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Farmers Branch Ends Lengthy Legal Battle Over Immigration Rental Ordinance

City of Farmers Branch

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Farmers Branch ends its legal battle over controversial immigration rental ordinance; the NRA says it made a mistake in criticizing Texas open-carry supporters; an East Texas woman used a dead catfish to hit her sister-in-law; and more.

Farmers Branch’s eight-year legal battle to force renters to prove they were in the country legally is over. The City Council on Tuesday voted to settle the suit and pay $1.4 million to the lawyers who have opposed various versions of the controversial immigration rental ordinance. The Dallas Morning News reports: “Attorneys had sought $3.1 million, but that was reduced after mediation. About $600,000 of the settlement came from a donation by real estate magnate Trammell S. Crow. The rest already has been figured into the city’s budget.” Farmers Branch Mayor Bill Glancy told The News the ordinance helped reduce the rate of uninsured drivers in car accidents and the amount of defaults on hospital bills. KERA News reported back in March that the U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal to review the Farmers Branch ordinance, which effectively ended the lengthy legal battle.

  • A National Rifle Association executive says it was a mistake to criticize Texas gun rights advocates who have been carrying military-style assault rifles in public places around the state. Last week, the NRA posted an item on its blog in which it said Texas open-carry supporters who have worn rifles in public are “weird” and “downright scary.” They want to legalize open-carry handguns in Texas. The NRA criticism attracted national attention. Chris Cox, NRA’s chief lobbyist, was interviewed on an NRA show Tuesday night. Posting the criticism "was a mistake," he said. "It shouldn’t have happened. I’ve had a discussion with the staffer who wrote that piece and expressed his personal opinion.” Read more on the issue here.

  • A domestic disturbance call at an East Texas home includes a police report that a woman used a dead catfish to smack her sister-in-law in the face. Lufkin police on Tuesday said nobody has been charged amid conflicting stories from a husband, his wife and his sister. Sgt. Mike Shurley says no one was hurt in Sunday's incident. Investigators are trying to determine what sparked the fight. Officers were summoned after a woman allegedly used a fish to slap her sister-in-law in the face, the brother and sister argued and he asked his sibling to leave. Shurley says the sister called police to report being assaulted. Shurley says the man was detained on an outstanding traffic warrant but was no longer in custody Tuesday. His name wasn't immediately released. [Associated Press]

  • Dan McCoy knows the health care system inside and out. He’s a doctor, and chief medical officer of the biggest insurer in Texas, Blue Cross Blue Shield. But even he couldn’t imagine what would happen after his dad fell and fractured his hip. His dad, Bill McCoy, died shortly after he fell. One of every five seniors who breaks a hip will die within a year. McCoy wants his dad to be more than a statistic. "I know from being an observer in that system that we could have done better," he said. "I may be a part of that problem. I’m part of the system. … There was no captain of the ship. We had a model where no one had a relationship. No one knew my dad’s medical history.” McCoy is the focus of Chapter 5 of The Broken Hip, a two-month KERA News Breakthroughs series that explores the issues surrounding this serious medical issue. Catch up on the series here.

  • The new AMC cable TV drama Halt and Catch Fire takes place in 1980s Dallas – and Sunday’s premiere was underwhelming ratings-wise. KERA’s Stephen Becker reports: “The show follows a former IBM executive, who teams up with an engineer to reverse engineer the first IBM PC, hoping to break into the soon-to-be lucrative home computer world. Chris Cantwell, a Plano native, created the series.” Sunday’s show brought in 1.2 million viewers, 900,000 fewer viewers than when Turn premiered in April, even though Turn didn’t receive quite the promotional splash, The Hollywood Reporter says. But … AMC posted the Halt and Catch Fire pilot on, Tumblr and on-demand, the “widest preview net the cable network has cast to date.” So time-shifting could help boost the initial ratings report. Catch up on Stephen’s interview with Cantwell here.
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.