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The Astrodome, The ‘Eighth Wonder Of The World,’ Turns 50 Today

Ron Kikuchi

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Astrodome marks the big 5-0; Bob Schieffer announces his retirement at TCU; go barefoot at the Belmont this summer; and more.

Today, the Houston Astrodome marks the big 5-0. The "Eighth Wonder of the World" stands in limbo empty years after its baseball and football tenants moved to newer homes. City officials haven't decided whether to tear it down after voters rejected a referendum to approve $217 million in bonds for a refurbishment. Mickey Mantle homered in the April 9, 1965, exhibition between the New York Yankees and Houston Astros that opened the building — though the Astros won that day. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett tells the Houston Chronicle that annual maintenance on the building still costs $166,000 and that "just leaving the Dome in place to deteriorate has never been an option." The Chronicle has an in-depth look at the Astrodome’s 50 years. [Associated Press]

  • Bob Schieffer, the longtime CBS newsman, announced his retirement Wednesday night at the place where it all started: TCU. “Because this is where my professional career began, this is where I wanted all of you to be the first to know: This summer I am going to retire,” Schieffer said at TCU’s Schieffer College of Communication, The New York Times reported. “I’m one of the luckiest people in the world because as a little boy, as a young reporter, I always wanted to be a journalist, and I got to do that. And not many people get to do that, and I couldn’t have asked for a better life or something that was more fun and more fulfilling.” Here’s video of his emotional announcement:

  • The Texas House passed a pre-K bill Wednesday. The Texas Tribune reports: “Despite a rocky start — and multiple efforts by Tea Party-backed lawmakers to derail it — key early education legislation endorsed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott overwhelmingly passed the Texas House Wednesday. An almost five-hour debate ended with a fierce denunciation of conservative interest groups’ influence on policymaking from the bill’s author, state Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston. ‘We should not to be beholden to a conservative group…or any outside interest group,’ he said, shortly before the chamber approved House Bill 4 on a vote of 129 to 18. ‘We are the House of Representatives, we should make these decisions.’ The legislation would give about $130 million in additional funding to school districts that adopt certain curriculum and teacher quality standards in their pre-kindergarten programs, as well as a ‘parent engagement plan.’” [Texas Tribune]

  • The 9th Dallas International Film Festival opens Thursday night at the Majestic Theater. Stephen Becker, part of KERA’s Big Screen, reports: “Films will also screen at the Angelika Film Center, Klyde Warren Park and other venues across town over the next 11 days. This week, we talk about the films we’re most looking forward to, which may be the first time Blythe Danner, Evel Knievel and Dirk Nowitzki have all been mentioned in the same discussion.” Check out this week’s Big Screen at Art&Seek.

  • Get ready for Barefoot at the Belmont. Our sister station, KXT 91.7 FM, has announced the lineup for Barefoot, which marks its sixth year. (You get to listen to great bands at the Belmont Hotel with the downtown Dallas skyline in the background.) Tickets go on sale starting April 22. The lineup includes: Knox Hamilton with Daniel Markham on May 7; Israel Nash with The Roomsounds on May 21; Kaleo on May 28; Bobby Patterson with The Jack Kerowax on June 4; Leon Bridges with Gollay on June 18; Rhett Miller with Salim Nourallah on July 2; Son Little with The O’s on July 16; and Tor Miller and Holly Miranda on July 30. Learn more at

Photo credit: Ron Kikuchi/Flickr

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.