Five stories that have North Texas talking: More Texans signing up for Obamacare; Guns on Sixth Street during SXSW; Sing the national anthem at AT&T Stadium; and more.
More Texans have signed up for Obamacare, but numbers still not meeting expectations. Data released from the Department of Health and Human Services show approximately 87,500 Texans signed up for health insurance through the federal marketplace in February, bringing the total number so far to about 295,000 people. That number still only represents a fraction of the estimated 6 million uninsured Texas residents. According to census numbers, Texas leads the nation in uninsured residents in percent to the state's total population. Eligible residents still have until the end of this month to sign up for coverage using the national health insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act. The Obama administration hopes to sign up 6 million people, which still leaves a gap of about 1.7 million enrollees to make up by the end of March. Both the Texas Tribune and the Dallas Morning News break down the numbers and look at the challenges the program still faces.
- Activists Plan To Carry Guns On Sixth Street During SXSW. The Austin chapter of the group Come and Take It Texas have organized a late morning march along Sixth Street while openly carrying rifles, shotguns, and other firearms that are allowed by Texas law. An organizer told KUT that Infowars, a conservative news site, asked the group to organize the march. An article on Infowars says the march is in response to a SXSW panel titled “Disrupting the Gun Lobby With Digital Organizing.” But the organizer interviewed by KUT denies the march is in response to anything at the festival.
- Keller’s police department have started announcing the location of speed traps via Facebook and Twitter. While the tactic might seem like some counter-intuitive trap for drivers, Keller police are quick to explain on their Facebook page that it’s actually an attempt to lower accidents. The post states, “In Keller, Texas, traffic enforcement is about public safety, not revenue. So with that in mind, and in the spirit of transparency, KPD followers will get a heads up on officers looking for speeding, seat belt violations, illegal turns and more.” According to a press release on the city’s website, Keller saw a 27 percent rise in traffic accidents and 13 percent increase in traffic citations in 2013 from the year before. A follow up Facebook post says recent conversations with “a very large police department in the region” have been positive. Is it too optimistic to think that Fort Worth or Dallas could follow suit?
- Your dream of singing the national anthem at AT&T stadium could come true. Admittedly, that scenario might be a nightmare for some, but the Dallas Opera is offering this rare opportunity to anyone who wants to sing the national anthem at AT&T Stadium before its live simulcast of The Barber of Seville on April 11. To enter the opera’s Oh Say Can You Sing? competition, aspiring singers simply sign up online and post a video of themselves singing the national anthem. But take note, it has to be a cappella. Finalists will be decided by Dallas Opera staff and, throwing in a little bit of American Idol populism into the mix, the public will get to vote on the winner.
- Dallas Arts Week returns for a second year. The City of Dallas Cultural Affairs Commission is designating the week of April 5 - 13 as Dallas Arts Week, and promises more than 80 separate arts and culture events hosted throughout the city. Highlights mentioned in a press release include a premiere by the Undermain Theatre company, a special exhibition at the Latino Cultural Center, and a retrospective of Dallas artist David Bates at the Nasher Sculpture Center. KERA’s Art&Seek is encouraging the public to take to social media to share their experiences, and will list all the events in a special calendar section.