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Stay Away From Mexico For Spring Break, Texas DPS Warns

Texas officials recommend avoiding Mexico for spring break. Perhaps you want to visit South Padre Island instead?

Five stories that have North Texas talking: stay away from Mexico for spring break; a rabbi who performed a same-sex marriage leads the Texas House in prayer; a look at suspension rates for Dallas ISD minority students; and more:

The Texas Department of Public Safety is warning students to avoid Mexico for spring break due to drug-related violence. DPS says the Mexican government has made great strides battling drug cartels. But the public safety agency for Texas also urged travelers to avoid Mexico, based on the unpredictable nature of drug cartel violence. DPS in past years has raised similar concerns about spring break travel south of the border. DPS Director Steven McCraw says troopers are preparing for an increase of highway traffic as more students and families take time off for spring break. [Associated Press/KGBT-TV]

  • An Austin rabbi has led the Texas House in prayer a week after he performed the state's first and only same-sex marriage -- catching staunch opponents of marriage equality off-guard. Rabbi Kerry Baker on Wednesday cautioned state representatives to pay special attention to those who are marginalized and treat all members of the community equally. He said, "It's not enough to do what is good for the majority, but to do what is good for all of us." Neither House Speaker Joe Straus nor Republican Rep. Cecil Bell, who has filed a bill to prohibit county clerks from issuing same-sex marriage licenses, were aware that Baker presided over a lesbian marriage last week. On Tuesday, Bell excitedly celebrated the 10-year anniversary of Texas' same-sex marriage ban with a birthday cake. [Associated Press]

  • A new report examines suspension rates for minority students versus white students in Dallas ISD and other districts across the country. The Dallas Morning News reports: “About a quarter of black students in middle school and high school in Dallas ISD were suspended in the 2011-12 school year, according to a new report. In comparison, 6 percent of white students in secondary schools and 9 percent of Latino students in those grades were suspended. The findings for DISD were included a report by the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA. The report — “Are We Closing the School Discipline Gap?” — examined the student discipline gaps among racial groups.” The report states that Dallas ISD has “disturbing suspension rates, despite a significant overall reduction in out-of-school suspensions.”

  • The Dallas Architecture Forum presents Monica Ponce de Leon, architect and dean of the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture tonight. It’s happening at 7 p.m. the Horchow Auditorium at the Dallas Museum of Art. The forum says she is “one of the leading female voices” in U.S. architecture. She launched her own design practice in 2011 and has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Northeastern University and the Rhode Island School of Design. A complimentary reception starts at 6:15 p.m. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $5 for students with ID. Visit the forum’s website for more details.

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.