Five stories that have North Texas talking: Texas is trying to lure Sriracha to the Lone Star State; Plano officials to vote to approve Toyota’s big move; changing attitudes about football in Texas; and more:
- Today, Texas officials are on an important mission – they want the company that makes the Sriracha hot sauce to expand its operations to the Lone Star state. A delegation is in California Monday to meet with Huy Fong Foods, Inc., the producer of the popular product. State Rep. Jason Villalba, a Dallas County Republican who happens to be a huge fan of Sriracha, sent a letter to Huy Fong, extending an invitation to move to Texas. The California plant that makes the sauce produces a strong odor. Neighbors aren’t happy. Huy Fong had to shut down part of its operation after the city of Irwindale, Calif., filed suit. The matter attracted headlines nationwide. The company says it isn’t interested in moving out of California, but could be open to expanding, NPR reports. The Texas Tribune reports: “[Villalba will be] joined by state Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, who represents the district where most of the chili peppers needed for the sauce are grown. San Antonio or a nearby city could be a good fit for the factory’s location. … State Rep. Hubert Vo, D-Houston, will also be in the delegation. Vo speaks Vietnamese, the native language of Huy Fong Foods founder and chief executive David Tran.”
- The city of Plano is scheduled to vote on an agreement with Toyota on Monday that moves the automaker’s U.S. headquarters to the Dallas suburb. The city proposes a 100-acre reinvestment zone and a 10-year, 50 percent rebate on property taxes. The Dallas Morning News reports that in exchange, Toyota will agree to occupy at least 1 million square feet of office space and have up to 3,650 by Dec. 31, 2018. Toyota announced last month that it was moving its U.S. headquarters from California to Texas. Gov. Rick Perry said that Texas offered the company $40 million in incentives from the taxpayer-funded Texas Enterprise Fund. Toyota plans to break ground in Plano this year. [Associated Press]
- Voters on Saturday overwhelmingly approved major city and school bond packages and re-elected some familiar faces in North Texas municipal elections. KERA’s Stella M. Chavez has a wrap-up: Frisco ISD voters approved a $775 million bond package that includes plans for 14 new schools, building renovations and technology upgrades. Voters in other cities also decisively passed spending plans. Arlington gets $663 million for schools — that’s the biggest bond package ever in Tarrant County. And Fort Worth OKed $292 million in city bonds. On the Dallas school board, Miguel Solis gets to keep his District 8 seat. In District 6 – Carla Ranger’s seat – Joyce Foreman and Bertha Bailey Whatley are headed for a June 21 runoff. In Irving, Mayor Beth Van Duyne handily defeated longtime rival Herb Gears.
- Dallas officials said they expected to decide by last Friday which airline gets two gates at Love Field that American Airlines must give up since its merger with US Airways. But the city says it will take more time to make a decision. On Friday, the city said on Twitter: “At this time, a decision has not been made and we will provide an update as soon as more information is available.” The city also said that the city manager and city attorney continue to review and consider “all the relevant information” regarding the gates. The U.S. Justice Department says Virgin America should get the gates to increase competition at Love Field, where Dallas-based Southwest is the dominant carrier. In the meantime, Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, stars in this YouTube video — a love letter to Dallas Love Field. Southwest is fighting back with a “What’s LOVE got to do with it?” campaign. [Associated Press/KERA]
- There are changing attitudes about football in football-crazy Texas. The New York Times reports that in the East Texas town of Marshall, the school board approved plans to “shut down the district’s entry-level, tackle-football program for seventh graders in favor of flag football. There was little objection.” The Times continues: “No one here considers the decision the beginning of the end of scholastic football in Texas. The sport remains wildly popular, and recreational tackle leagues are open to 5-year-olds. But because it is happening in Texas, an otherwise small move to end a seventh-grade tackle program reflects how the issue of brain trauma has begun to affect the football landscape. … Recent research has indicated that players as young as 7 sustain hits to the head comparable in magnitude to those absorbed by high school and adult players.”