Five stories that have North Texas talking: a big day for a Dallas-themed movie; when it comes to plastic bag bans, how green will Dallas get?; Texas tests out drones, and more.
- The Oscar buzz continues for “Dallas Buyers Club.” The film earned six Oscar nods this morning, including a nomination for best film. In addition, Matthew McConaughey earned a nomination for actor in a leading role, while Jared Leto was nominated for actor in a supporting role. The film also earned nominations for film editing, original screenplay and makeup and hairstyling. The film portrays a Dallas electrician and hustler, Ron Woodroof, an HIV positive man in the 1980s who helps AIDS patients get the medication they need. “Dallas Buyers Club” was a big winner Sunday night at the Golden Globes. McConaughey won his first Golden Globe as lead actor in the film, as did Leto for supporting actor in the film. McConaughey plays Woodroof, who decides to fight the death sentence the disease promised to those who contracted it in the 1980s. McConaughey dropped about 40 pounds for the role. KERA explored the movie in a recent “The Big Screen” segment. NPR featured Woodroof in this story.
- What’s it like being a redhead looking for love? A documentary that explores the topic is playing at the Dallas Angelika tonight. Scott Harris, a University of Texas at Austin grad, directed, produced and stars in the film called “Being Ginger.” (In Britain, a redhead is a “ginger.”) KUT, the public radio station in Austin, interviewed Harris: “The premise of “Being Ginger” is a redhead – Harris – looking for love. Harris says he wanted to make the documentary because of some of the strange, even disturbing experiences he’s had that were based solely on his hair color.”
- Could funding for public art be cut in Fort Worth? The City Council this week discussed a proposed change to the 2014 bond package that would reduce funding for public art. A city ordinance requires that 2 percent of a bond package be dedicated to public art, but city staff recommends that just 1 percent of bond funds directed toward transportation projects go toward public art, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. For other projects, 2 percent would go toward public art. The change would reduce public art funds in the package from $5.84 million to $3.58 million. The money would be used toward transportation grant matches, park improvements and a levee at the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge, the Star-Telegram reports. Council members raised some concerns. A briefing on the public art process is scheduled for Jan. 28. The council is scheduled to vote on the bond package in February.
- Researchers from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi have sent a drone more than a half mile into the air as part of test flights for the federal government. An unmanned aerial vehicle known as an RS-16 took off Wednesday from a gas-propelled catapult at the Kenedy Foundation Ranch in South Texas. The drone headed up to nearly 3,000 feet over the Gulf Coast. About 90 minutes later the drone safely returned, skidding to a stop on its belly on a sandy dry lake bed. Texas is among six states designated by the Federal Aviation Administration to develop test sites for drones. [The Associated Press]
- At the moment, an all-out ban on single-use plastic bags in Dallas appears unlikely. City Council members discussed potential restrictions on bags Wednesday. The issue could return to the council in March, The Dallas Morning News reports. The Dallas city attorney’s office will propose a fee on disposable carryout bags, an option favored by city staff. Council member Sandy Greyson said: “For the retailers, if it’s between a ban or a fee, they will go with a fee. For the environmentalists, if it’s between the status quo and a fee, they will go with a fee. How often do we come up with an issue that’s this divisive and find a compromise?” Council member Dwaine Caraway countered: “If we’re going to protect the environment and celebrate green initiatives, then we can’t be kinda green or sorta green or mint green. Green is green.”