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After Listeria Outbreak, Blue Bell Closes Its Creameries For Intensive Cleaning

Bill Coatney
Blue Bell Creameries says it will close all three of its creameries in Texas, Oklahoma and Alabama for cleaning and training.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Blue Bell is scrubbing down its creameries following the listeria outbreak; a food fight at the Colonial golf tournament; a documentary explores the Kilgore College Rangerettes; and more.

The fallout from the Blue Bell listeria outbreak continues. The Associated Press reports: Blue Bell Creameries says it will close all three of its creameries in Texas, Oklahoma and Alabama for intensive cleaning and employee training in response to listeria illnesses linked to its ice cream. In a statement Thursday, the Brenham-based creamery said the program comes after a thorough review of its operations and discussions with an expert microbiologist. The creameries will be closed next week and possibly into the following week. Ice cream produced this week will be used for testing and gathering baseline data and won't be sold to the public. Blue Bell announced a complete recall of all of its products Monday after its ice cream was linked to 10 listeria illnesses in four states, including three deaths, and listeria was found in several of the company's products. [Associated Press]

  • A Houston-area high school says it will no longer ask girls to submit a photo of them wearing their prom dress before the night of the dance. Principal Ben Ibarra of Eisenhower High Senior School said the policy to pre-approve dresses came after parents became upset that their children were turned away at the door for wearing dresses deemed inappropriate. He said dress code violations for girls include exposed midriffs, short dresses or bikini tops. Boys weren't required to submit photos because Ibarra said the school hadn't previously had problems with their attire. The Houston Chronicle reports an hour after it contacted the school district about the policy, it was removed from the school website. Ibarra said the policy has since been halted. [Houston Chronicle/Associated Press]

  • There’s a food fight happening at the Colonial golf tournament. Mac Engel with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has the details: “The most famous chef in Fort Worth is not being asked to cater our fair city’s most popular party this year. Mr. Tim Love, who catered the 2014 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, is not coming back for the 2015 version, May 18-24. … Last year’s inaugural efforts by Love’s company at Colonial were deemed such a disaster that, despite the man’s close relationships with many of the people who run the tournament, he is not coming back. There is no route around the uncomfortable truth that the 2014 Colonial was absolutely brilliant entertainment with the exception of the food and booze services. … That said, Tim Love should not have been fired after just one year. The man deserved another crack at this to correct the mistakes that were made on his first run at Colonial.” Read more here. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

  • A new documentary explores the Kilgore College Rangerettes. KERA’s Stephen Becker reports: “The Rangerettes have performed at presidential inaugurations, New Year’s Day parades and events across the globe – all in their signature red, white and blue uniforms. A new documentary looks at the history of the world’s first drill team and follows high-kicking hopefuls who hope to continue the tradition. Sweethearts of the Gridiron screens at the Angelika Film Center on Saturday afternoon at 4:30.” Listen to Stephen’s Big Screen conversation here.

  • Learn about the man whose name adorns the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas. Jerome Weeks reports for KERA’s Art&Seek: “Back in the 1980s, Morton H. Meyerson had little experience with city politics or construction. But for a decade, he led a committee to build the concert hall that would one day bear his name. Last fall, Art&Seek marked the 25th anniversary of the Meyerson Symphony Center with a series called Secrets of the Meyerson. This week, we hear from the man many credit with keeping the complex project moving forward.” Listen to that story here.

Photo: Bill Coatney/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.