Five stories that have North Texas talking: SMU NCAA Tournament Hopes Dashed; Surprise concert for SXSW crash victim; Printing presses at Star-Telegram roll for last time; and more.
SMU's NCAA tournament hopes dashed this year. Despite one of the best basketball seasons in decades, Southern Methodist University’s Mustangs won’t be playing in this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Coach Larry Brown had led SMU to a 23-9 season, beating four ranked teams for the first time since the 1950s. Many fans and pundits had expected the Mustangs to win an at-large bid in the tournament. The team had been ranked 25 in the Associated Press poll going into the selection process, and even higher in other rankings. Both Yahoo! Sports and USA Today said SMU’s absence was one of the biggest snubs. In the Friday Conversation with Larry Brown, he praised his players for the monumental season. “I kind of felt everything was in place if we did our part, but the fact that we’ve been able to play well and be lucky enough to recruit some really quality kids and get some good transfers, it gave us the chance to be good,” he told KERA’s Rick Holter. It’s not the end of the road for the Mustangs, the team will have the number one seed in the National Invitation Tournament.
- Farmers and cities battling in court over water in Texas. The New York Times has a front page story about the growing fight over water in Texas and other western states between cities and farmers in the midst of drought. While conditions have improved in the Dallas-Fort Worth area since the recent droughts, much of the rest of the state remains in poor condition. State regulators have shown more deference to businesses and residential needs by cutting off water access for many farmers in order to satisfy the demands of thirsty cities that continue to see a flood of new residents. Now farmers, like Texan Frank DeStephano, are suing the state in court to get more water rights. “I understand cities need water, people need water, but it kind of gets to me how agriculture is pushed to the back of the line,” DeStephano told the newspaper. “We’re on pins and needles wondering when the next call is going to be made. It’s hard enough to make a living without things like this.” Texas voters approved Proposition 6 in the last election, which will take money from the state’s rainy day fund to finance water projects across the state.
- Teen injured by SXSW Car Crash gets surprise concert while in hospital. One of the few bright spots to come out of the terrible incident from last week at the South By Southwest festival was captured in an Austin hospital by KUT. 18-year-old Mason Endres suffered a number of serious injuries, including a cervical spine fracture, when a driver plowed his car into her and dozens of other people last week on a busy street that had been barricaded for SXSW festivities. injured. On Sunday morning, the band Jared & The Mill stopped by Endres’ hospital room to give her a private concert before the band headed back to Phoenix. The band told KUT they appreciated how Endres had been one of their big supporters in the past and they wanted to play for her since she could not make their SXSW show. For Endres, it was a welcome pick me up after some painful days convelescing. "Oh my gosh … seeing them … I felt so great today," Endres told KUT. "I think just the sheer excitement of everything has gotten me through today. Like today I felt better than I ever imagined I thought I would feel in the hospital." Two victims died in the SXSW car incident while seven others remain hospitalized, including two teenagers from Fort Worth. Police have charged suspect, Rashad Owens, with capital murder.
- The sailor from an iconic World War 2 photo died in Benbrook. Although many men had claimed to be the sailor kissing the nurse in Time’s Square from the Life Magazine photo, a Houston forensic scientist was able to confirm in 2007 that Texan Glenn Edward McDuffie was the actual man. The Dallas Morning News reports McDuffie died last week at the age of 86 in Benbrook, where he had lived since 2009 after moving from Houston. In an interview with the AP about the photo, McDuffie had recounted he was changing trains when he found out Japan had surrendered, and then saw the nurse. “She saw me hollering and with a big smile on my face. … I just went right to her and kissed her,” he told the AP. His daughter told the Morning News that he would tell that story for years but could never prove it until the forensic scientist confirmed it. “He was very excited to have finally gotten the recognition he felt like he deserved, because he could never get it confirmed,” his daughter told the newspaper.
- Star-Telegram presses roll for the last time. The Fort Worth paper is not stopping its print edition, at least not yet. But Sunday night was the last time it would be printing its own paper, which it had pretty much done continuously since 1906 according to Executive Editor Jim Witt. Rival Dallas Morning News will be contracted to do the printing, as it does for other publications like The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. The Star-Telegram, like almost all major newspapers, is reacting to trends in the industry. With more readership moving online and print revenue plunging, there’s less justification to keep costly printing presses running. The paper covered it’s own printing press’ demise, but, somewhat ironically, it included this online video of interviews with some of the workers who have spent decades working the presses.