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Texas Celebrates ‘John Wayne Day’ On Actor’s 108th Birthday

Wikipedia/20th Century Fox/eBay
John Wayne in "The Comancheros."

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Texas honors John Wayne; updates on the flooding in Houston and Austin; White House contenders are coming to Texas; and more.

Wearing a brown plaid coat worn by John Wayne in 1945's "Flame of Barbary Coast," Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick declared Tuesday a day to honor the quintessential screen cowboy. An avid collector of movie memorabilia, Patrick wore the coat as he presided over the Senate Tuesday. He declared it John Wayne Day in Texas to mark the Hollywood legend's 108th birthday and named the actor an honorary Texan. Senators told Wayne's visiting children and grandchildren of their love for movies including "True Grit," ''The Searchers," and "Rio Bravo." Sen. Judith Zaffirini, whose district is near the set of Wayne's 1960 movie "The Alamo," quoted her favorite Wayne-ism: "Talk low, talk slow, and don't say too much." Wayne’s son, Ethan Wayne, talked with Texas Standard, the statewide radio newsmagazine, about his dad’s career. “The Alamo,” which John Wayne directed, was “near and dear to him – it took him about 10 years to get finished,” his son said. “He had deep roots in Texas, and he had kind of a Texas mindset.” [Associated Press/Texas Standard]

  • Houston continues to deal with the aftermath of heavy flooding. KUHF, Houston’s public radio station, reports: “Four deaths were confirmed Tuesday as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster for Harris County following flash flooding that left many areas under water.” Two bodies were found in Brays Bayou. Another victim was found inside a pickup truck. “Mayor Annise Parker also declared a state of disaster for the city. She said rainfall over the last several weeks and torrential rainfall Monday night caused the bayous to rise early Tuesday, flooding areas across Houston. The areas most affected include Meyerland, White Oak and Buffalo Bayou.” [KUHF]

  • Austin’s dealing with the heavy flooding, too. KUT, Austin’s public radio station, reports on how Wimberley is trying to pick up the pieces: “The community in Wimberley is finding some sort of normalcy after record flooding over the weekend. Seven homes there were destroyed, and 1,400 were damaged. But even before the waters had receded, community members started looking for ways to help their neighbors. … The city's been growing recently, and more people with economic challenges have moved there. They're the ones that older Wimberley residents are worried about. They're also concerned about the town’s younger residents: Many schoolchildren in Wimberley were directly affected by the destruction caused by the weekend’s record flooding.” [KUT]

  • White House contenders are flocking to Texas over the next few weeks to gather up some campaign cash. The Texas Tribune reports: “The series of fundraisers highlights the perennial dash for campaign cash in Texas, more hectic than usual ahead of the 2016 election thanks to a crowded GOP field and several candidates — declared or otherwise — who can claim strong ties to the Lone Star State. First up in the latest round of rainmaking is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's fundraising juggernaut, which hits Houston on Wednesday. Bush's sons — Jeb Jr. and George P., the Texas land commissioner — will headline a reception aimed at young professionals that will benefit their dad's Right to Rise super PAC, according to an invitation. Many of the hosts, who include Jeb Bush's nephew Pierce, have ties to Maverick PAC, the group George P. Bush started to mobilize young conservatives.” [Texas Tribune] 

  • Fort Worth is one of the country’s most underrated cities. That’s according to BuzzFeed, which asked its Facebook fans for their thoughts. Fort Worth ranked No. 29 on the list of 34 underrated cities “you’ll actually want to move to.” One BuzzFeed Fort Worth fan said: “We always get lumped in with Dallas, but we have all the big city charm with more of a small town feel. From West 7th’s amazing atmosphere to the stock yards and Billy Bob’s, Fort Worth is oozing with culture. There’s awesome food pretty much everywhere, and there’s almost always some sort of great event like Main Street Arts Festival or Mayfest.” Houston ranked No. 12. Minneapolis was ranked the most underrated city. Detroit ranked No. 2. Charlotte was third. [BuzzFeed]

Photo: Wikipedia/20th Cenutry Fox/eBay

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.