Five stories that have North Texas talking: what will happen to the beautiful downtown Fort Worth post office?; the Cedar Hill mayor reflects on his stepson’s death from addiction; get ready for "Downton Abbey," and more:
Azle residents sounded off Thursday night at a public meeting about the earthquake swarm – and they’re angry. There was booing and hooting. Residents complained about the ground shaking and damage to their homes as about 30 earthquakes have hit areas in and near Azle since November. There’s no official reason for the quakes, but many residents pointed to oil and gas drilling in the Barnett Shale as the cause. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported: “‘Something is going on. Stop drilling and see what happens,’ said Victoria Ball of Azle, a recommendation that drew applause and cheers from the audience.” The meeting was organized by Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter. The commission regulates the oil and gas industry. The agency is studying the issue, Porter told reporters. "It feels like a semi-truck hitting your house with a bomb going off," one man said, according to WFAA-TV. "I'm serious." StateImpact Texas reported: One man asked if the Texas Railroad Commission can be trusted to address issues surrounding the earthquakes. StateImpact Texas has more on the Azle meeting here. Residents expressed concerns about cracked foundations, sinkholes, shifting propane tanks and pipelines, the cost of earthquake insurance and what the quakes could mean for groundwater. Catch up on KERA’s earthquake coverage here – including a look at how geophysicists are placing monitoring boxes around the region to track earthquakes, as well as research that shows that injection wells from drilling might be to blame for the quakes. Also, on Thursday, NPR’s All Things Considered aired a report on the recent rise in Oklahoma earthquakes.
- The Cedar Hill mayor reflects on his stepson’s death from addiction. Rob Franke’s stepson, Joshua Slaven, had long struggled with addiction – smoking pot, drinking, PCP and heroin. On Christmas Eve, he showed up high to his family home. Franke told him to leave. Slaven, 31, headed to a neighboring home, using a tree branch to break a window. An armed homeowner confronted him, warning him of his gun. Slaven wouldn’t leave, and the homeowner fired.Franke spoke with many media outlets, including The Dallas Morning News. Columnist Jacquielynn Floyd writes: “Slaven’s harrowing death underscores the family’s trauma, but the road that led there is a well-traveled one. ‘This story happens a lot to people who aren’t mayors. It happens all the time,’ Franke said. It’s an exhausting drama of love, betrayal, redemption, frustration, good intentions and dismal failures. It’s a catalog of chaos bitterly familiar to the loved ones of longtime addicts.”
- In downtown Fort Worth, the U.S. Postal Service has taken another step toward leaving its landmark Lancaster Avenue post office. The move could ultimately lead to the building’s sale, but not its demise, says Andy Taft, president of Downtown Fort Worth Inc. The building is too valuable, Taft told KERA’s Bill Zeeble. The post office, an official Texas landmark, opened in 1933. It stands next to Interstate 30, and is one of three iconic structures in the neighborhood on the southern edge of downtown. The closure is part of the Postal Service’s plan to cut billions from its budget nationwide. Citizens have 30 days to comment on the plan. Fort Worth officials have thought about converting the building to a city hall, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
- Time’s running out to see a spectacular exhibition in Fort Worth. “Mexico: Inside Out: Themes in Art Since 1990,” a landmark exhibition at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, ends Sunday. The exhibition includes work from 23 artists living in the country to look at everyday life there. Andrea Karnes, curator at the Modern, talked about the exhibition on KERA’s “Think” in September. KERA’s Stephen Becker reported on “Mexico: Inside Out” in September.
- Do you have “Downton Abbey” fever? The show returns to KERA-TV, Channel 13, at 8 p.m. Sunday. Garden & Gun has offered its top 10 list of “reasons why we love ‘Downton Abbey.’” “The series is tailored for a Southern audience–fabulous interiors, beautiful hunt scenes, and a love of land that strikes a chord with us here in Dixie,” the magazine reports. Among the reasons: “Lady Mary is like a British Scarlett O’Hara: beautiful, spoiled and determined. Let’s just hope she leaves the drapery on the windows.” And then there’s this: “No one loves—or plans—a wedding like we do in the South. Except maybe the British.” KERA’s Bill Young, our British TV guru, says: “You REALLY know you’ve arrived when you make it in an issue of Garden & Gun magazine.” Bill chronicles TV over the pond on the Tellyspotting blog. By the way, which “Downton Abbey” character are you – Mrs. Patmore? Thomas? Or how about Violet? Take this quiz. Explore the world of Downton Abbey on PBS’ website – we didn’t see any spoilers. But we did see this: a preview of a scene from Sunday’s debut. Here it is: