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Plano Will Release Thousands Of Mosquito-Eating Fish To Fight Potential Viruses

The goal of the mass-release is to reduce the number of mosquitos and the potential spread of viruses like Zika and West Nile.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Plano will release the fish in a large pond this afternoon; more people are arrested for student loan debt in Houston than any other major city; a Texas Senator fears for the U.S. electric grid; and more.

As summer approaches, Zika has become a concern and priority across the state, even though mosquitos carrying the virus have not been detected in Gulf Coast states like Texas and Florida thus far. Hours from the coast, even North Texas cities are starting to prepare.

The City of Plano Environmental Health Department will release thousands of mosquitofish in a large pond behind the Oak Point Nature and Retreat Center at 1:30 p.m. today.

The goal of the mass-release is to reduce the number of mosquitos and the potential spread of viruses like Zika and West Nile, according to a press release.

Mosquitofish, also known as Gambusia affinis, feed on mosquito larvae and can be placed in a variety of freshwater habitats. “The fish are often placed in areas that were previously devoid of them, to control mosquito populations. This type of biological control intentionally uses natural predators to achieve desired reductions in the mosquito population,” according to the release.

While fewer mosquitos means fewer bites, the best defense is knowledge and preparedness. Read more about the right repellants, choice of clothing and time to stay indoors. [NPR] 

  • Dallas challenges its outdated stereotypes with cultural treasures that only residents know and appreciate. In an article for Thrillist, Zac Crain of D Magazine identifies the cliches associated with the city, but he provides significantly more substantial evidence combating Dallas’ general reputation — lots of money without lots of culture. The issue, however, is getting people to change their tune. Crain said, “The city’s younger generation is no longer terrified about how the rest of country and world thinks about us, but it maintains the can-do spirit born during those lean post-assassination years. We still try shit. That’s what Dallas has always done.” Read more from “Dallas Is a Cosmopolitan City — Get Used To It, America”. [Thrillist]
  • Houston is the only major city where people are being arrested for outstanding student loan debt. In February, seven U.S Marshals arrested Paul Aker at his Houston home for his nearly three-decades-old student loan debt. There were 25 similar arrests in 2015, but only in Houston, an investigation by Fusion discovered. According to Texas Standard, “They found that all of these arrests could be traced back to one man: Judge Lynn Hughes. He’s the United States District Judge for the Southern District of Texas, who’s made headlines before for his less-than-delicate words aimed at prosecutors. The Reagan-appointed judge wanted to make sure that those people that were delinquent on their loans would show up in his court and took measures to make sure they did.” Read more. [Texas Standard]
  • Do current official state symbols accurately represent Texas? Does Texas even need a “state squash”? Should the chuckwagon be the official state vehicle? Cowboy culture, bluebonnets and pecans seem to monopolize the list, while some equally telling cultural icons are left out, like the great-tailed grackle instead of the mockingbird for state bird. Texas Monthly proposed several revisions to Texas’ large and lengthy collection of state symbols “after a long, diligent review of our state-sanctioned activities, food and drink, plants and animals, and minerals.” Learn what Texas pride could mean with a little tweaking. [Texas Monthly]
  • Energy shockwaves from outer space pose an apocalyptic threat to North America, and Texas should start preparing on behalf of the world. Or so says one state senator. Sen. Bob Hall of Edgewood assembled a two-day summit last week in the Texas Capitol’s extension to discuss threats to the U.S. electric grid. Basically, if a nuclear missile detonated in space above North America, shockwaves would descend and fry all of our electronic devices, The The Texas Tribune reported. “Electromagnetic pulse (often abbreviated EMP) and related phenomena have long been a fascination and fear of a doomsday faction of the Republican Party, and raising awareness of the threathas been one of Hall’s priorities since the electrical engineer and U.S. Air Force veteran joined the Legislature in 2015.” Read more. [The Texas Tribune]