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Rio Grande Drownings Spike After Enforcement Surge

Doualy Xaykaothao
U.S. Border Patrol officers monitored the Texas-Mexico border last summer.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: the Susan Hawk DA fallout continues; Fort Worth clears out a homeless camp; the Texas music bucket list; and more.

There’s been a spike in drownings along the Rio Grande since October. The Associated Press reports: “Immigrants, desperate to avoid detection at a time of increased patrols, are choosing more dangerous and remote crossings into South Texas. The Border Patrol has responded by expanding its search-and-rescue teams to monitor the area, particularly weed-choked irrigation canals where many of the bodies are being found. ‘... Encompassing some 320 miles of river, one sector has already seen at least 16 drownings in nearly six months, nearly a third of them in the canals. The tally is only five short of the number of deaths reported from October 2013 to September, when a historic surge of immigrant women and children were crossing into South Texas." [Associated Press]

  • Fort Worth city officials cleared a homeless camp over the weekend – and skeletal human remains were found. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that homicide detectives are investigating and that the remains were taken to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office. “The makeshift camp was roughly in the 1900 block of East Vickery Boulevard at South Riverside Drive. About 50 homeless people were living there on private property,” the Star-Telegram reports. The city razed the campsite following The city razed the campsite Saturday after complaints from the property owner and area residents, the newspaper says. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

  • The fallout continued over the weekend following Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk’s disclosure that she once got help to stop taking a prescription drug. Hawk issued a statement Friday saying a doctor had prescribed her medicine for a back condition, and that she got help to stop taking it more than a year-and-a-half ago. “I decided I did not want to take it any more, and I got help to quit taking it, and haven’t taken any since,” Hawk said. The statement comes after The Dallas Morning News reports that friends and colleagues of Hawk said she “spent a month at a rehab center for prescription drug use" during her campaign for DA in late 2013. The News reported over the weekend that “staffing turmoil at the highest levels of her office threaten to overshadow the early good will she had established.” [The Dallas Morning News]

  • What do folks in Times Square think about U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who’s running for president? The Texas Tribune’s Jay Root asked folks in this video:

  • Do you have a Texas music bucket list? The Dallas Observer has put together a list of the 50 “most essential Texas music experiences.” The items include the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in Carthage; the Floore’s Country Store in Helotes; the Kerrville Folk Fest; the Buddy Holly statue and West Texas Walk of Fame in Lubbock; the Selena memorial in Corpus Christi; and Gruene Hall. There are many more. [Dallas Observer]