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North Texas Mumps Outbreak May Be Linked To Recent Cheerleading Contests

The outbreak of mumps in North Texas may be linked to recently held cheerleading competitions.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: this database of objects found at the border could help identify perished migrants; meet the man who painted Deep Ellum; revisit our 20 most popular stories this year; and more.

The Texas Department of State Health Services is sending letters to attendees of four cheerleading competitions in North Texas, warning they may have been exposed to mumps. KXAS reports that the department is warning attendees of competitions in November and December in Dallas, Frisco and Arlington that those contests could have been the originator of some of the cases in the state's worst outbreak of mumps in years.

So far, 11 cases of the mumps have been linked to the outbreak associated with the competitions, according to KXAS. The number of mumps cases in North Texas has jumped to more than 50 in recent weeks with cases reported in Johnson, Dallas, Collin, Denton and Tarrant counties. Learn more about mumps from this Vital Signs interview. [The Associated Press, KXAS, KERA News]

  • For people who perish crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, everyday items they left behind may be the only way to identify them. The Texas Observer has created “I Have A Name,” a database of these items — a beat-up sneaker, a ring, a stuffed animal — that correspond with cases of unidentified and deceased migrants. “The idea is to create a small, searchable database where relatives can go to find photos of personal items associated with their missing loved one,” NPR reports. As for the human remains, most cases in the project were found in mass graves in Sacred Heart Cemetery in Falfurrias, Texas. They are now stored at Texas State University awaiting identification. [Texas Observer, NPR]


  • You’ve probably seen artist Frank Campagna’s work without knowing it. Those jungle murals on the Cafe Brazil on Elm Street? Those are his. The one with a giant black -and-white TV showing a T-Rex attacking a robot? That’s his, too. He’s done much more for Deep Ellum than just define its appearance. He opened one of the area’s first, unlicensed punk clubs, started his own gallery and helped establish a counseling clinic in Deep Ellum after losing his son to suicide. Learn more about Campagna in the latest Artist Spotlight. [Art&Seek]


  • Simone Biles has been named AP Female Athlete of the Year. In a vote by U.S. editors and news directors announced Monday, the 19-year-old from Spring, Texas received 31 votes out of a possible 59 votes. She was recognized for her outstanding performance at the Olympic Games this summer in Rio de Janeiro, where she won five medals. Biles became the fifth gymnast to win the honor, joining Olga Korbut in 1972, Nadia Comaneci in 1976, Mary Lou Retton in 1984 and Gabby Douglas in 2012. The AP Male Athlete of the Year will be announced Tuesday. [The Associated Press]

  • A lot’s happened this year — but there were several stories folks kept coming back to in 2016. Visitors to this year frequented our list of 39 things to do in Texas before you die, the presidential debate posts with NPR's live fact-checking tool, and a story that answers the question: Why are there so few basements in North Texas? But, of course, that's not all. Here's the list of the 20 most popular stories on our website this year. [KERA News]