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Another Cliffhanger: A Huge Crack In Lake Whitney Cliff Threatens Another Mansion

Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The house on a cliff over Lake Whitney was intentionally set on fire last summer.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: a new crack in a Lake Whitney cliff; a proposal to allow high school seniors to graduate without passing a standardized exam; the State Fair announces its theme; and more.

The crack is back. There’s a huge crack in a cliff overlooking Lake Whitney – and a home could be doomed. Sound familiar? You might recall another Lake Whitney cliff crack generated national headlines last summer when a house teetering on a cliff was intentionally set on fire. Regarding the new crack, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it’s “very concerned with public safety," KXAS-TV (NBC 5) reports.WFAA-TV talked with Steve Mellgren, who has a lakefront home. The house of his next-door neighbor was the one set on fire last summer. Mellgren told WFAA the crack is “getting larger … it’s getting wider … it’s getting deeper.” He told the station that recent rains have created new splits in the ground. Relive last summer’s drama here.

KXAS-TV (NBC 5) has aerial video:

  • The Texas Senate has approved allowing thousands of high school seniors to graduate this year despite failing one of the standardized exams needed to earn a diploma. Amarillo Republican Sen. Kel Seliger's bill offers an alternative graduation plan to an estimated 28,000 class of 2015 seniors who failed to pass one of five required statewide exams in algebra I, biology, English I and II and U.S. history. The plan approved Tuesday would create committees to consider a student's other academic factors, like attendance and grades. Members could vote to exempt that student from testing requirements. Seliger sprinted the bill through the Senate, hoping it could take effect in time for eligible students to graduate this spring. It must still clear the House, though, and be signed by Gov. Greg Abbott. [Associated Press]

  • The State Fair of Texas has announced its theme for this fall: “Passport to Texas.” This year’s fair starts Friday, Sept. 25 and runs through Sunday, Oct. 18. Learn more about the fair at The fair is one of the things we listed on KERA’s Texas bucket list: 39 things you should do in Texas before you die. Explore that list here.

  • For kids a half-century ago, a cancer diagnosis was usually a death sentence. Today, eight of 10 children diagnosed with cancer will likely survive. Still, cancer can rob a kid of childhood. In Growing Up After Cancer, a new KERA Breakthroughs series, follow the journey of one North Texas boy and his family. Explore the series here.

  • Join KERA for a preview screening of Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies. It happens at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the KERA studios in Dallas. KERA reporter Lauren Silverman will lead a conversation with producer and director Barak Goodman. The documentary airs on PBS later this month. And get a behind-the-scenes look at KERA's new Breakthroughs series, Growing Up After Cancer. Thursday’s event is free, but RSVPs are required. RSVP here.

Cover photo: Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram

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.