If It’s Broke, Just Fix It: No Huge Changes In Store For Big Tex | KERA News

If It’s Broke, Just Fix It: No Huge Changes In Store For Big Tex

Oct 25, 2012

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Same ol' boy howdy, Butler Building gets a makeover for "SoYoung," temperatures drop and more.

Big Tex worshipers have rallied $1,570 so far on the fundraising site CrowdTilt -- and one 5-year-old in Montana sent a dollar bill in the mail -- to help the giant regenerate with a novel upgrade.

But when Tex is back, he’ll look much like he did before the fire. State Fair spokesperson Sue Gooding told Eric Aasen of The Dallas Morning News that it’s not like BT hadn’t changed a bit since 1952, anyway. And why toy with the recognition that spurred so much emotional response?

State Fair officials, who call Big Tex their Mickey Mouse, want to improve the tallest talking Texan without changing his essence.

“When you look at the first Mickey Mouse drawings and what Mickey Mouse looks like now, there have been improvements, but we know it’s still Mickey Mouse,” Gooding said.

-- Lyndsay Knecht

Eyesore no more: This drawing shows the Butler Brothers Building as it will be after renovations.
Credit Altera Development

Old Butler Brothers Building Will Anchor 'SoYoung' Neighborhood 

Alterra development company is turning the long-vacant Butler Brothers Building on South Ervay and Young Street into apartments, retail, and an extended stay hotel, probably a Hilton.

For more than a decade, the century-old, nine-story building next to Dallas City Hall has sat silent and alone on the southeast side of downtown. The makeover includes removal of the crumbling fake stucco exterior to reveal the original brick – which developers say is in great shape.

The 250 large residential units will be completed by the end of 2014; the hotel in early 2015.

Developers believe the resurrected Butler Brothers Building will anchor new downtown development in the area near the Farmers Market. They’re calling the neighborhood "SoYoung" – south of Young Street.

-- BJ Austin

Dude! Chill Out

Heat-wearied fans of fall are taking their annual hopeful glimpses at the weather map and seeing one of those beautiful cold fronts sweeping across the Plains. Snow in Kansas before Halloween? A forecast low of 37 degrees tomorrow night in Dallas?

Ah, Autumn... (Just be glad you aren’t on the East Coast, where that cold front’s threatening to hook up with Hurricane Sandy and spawn a Halloween-horror superstorm. Sorry, that’s a SUPER STORM!)

-- Rick Holter   

Missing Cash Case Solved: The Baggage Handler Did It

Just last week we reported about the search for a bundle of brand-new uncirculated $100 dollar bills. $20,000 dollars (of a larger $3.2 million shipment) vanished between Dallas and the Federal Reserve in East Rutherford, N.J.
After the report, we here at the High Five were madly speculating about the missing moolah: “Was organized crime responsible? An inside man at the Fed? Maybe the courier service?”

Nope, nope and nope; It turns out that it was Alex Price, a Philadelphia baggage handler for US Airways who admitted to taking the cash.

Mr. Price initially denied any wrongdoing, until the FBI gave him a lie detector test. Afterward, he admitted to taking the bills, led agents to the $20,000 stash in his wife’s car, and was arrested.

FYI: The new $100 bills have improved security features to prevent counterfeiting, not theft.

-- Justin Martin

Chugging Energy Drinks Is Scary. But Just How Dangerous Is Caffeine?

The parents of a 14-year old girl in Maryland who died after drinking two cans of Monster energy drink in 24 hours have sued the manufacturer. The wrongful death lawsuit comes while the Food and Drug Administration investigates whether five deaths since 2009 were linked to the caffeine-laden beverage.

The stories have again raised questions about the dangers of what so many rely on for a quick pick-me-up. Dr. James Bibb, a neuroscientist with UT Southwestern Medical Center, talked to me about the pros and cons of caffeine for a KERA Health Checkup early this year.

-- Sam Baker