Five stories that have North Texas talking: the dress code drama in Duncanville continues; Allen ISD is shutting down its $60 million stadium this fall; Texas A&M will help fight a devastating coffee disease; and more.
- Three of the jurors who gave an East Texas man a life sentence for killing a rich widow say they’re not happy he’s being released early. The jurors spoke to the Longview News-Journal days after Bernie Tiede was let out of prison for the murder of 81-year-old Marjorie Nugent. The killing and the reaction of the town of Carthage were profiled in the movie “Bernie,” which drew new attention to the case. Prosecutor Danny Buck Davidson agreed Tiede should go free after new evidence emerged that he was abused as a child. But jury foreman Jessie Jacks said the case seemed cut and dry to him, and adds, “Him getting out under these circumstances, I don’t think is right.” Another juror calls Tiede’s release “unjust.” [Associated Press]
- Duncanville students are invited to sound off Tuesday afternoon about the district’s controversial dress code. Superintendent Alfred Ray called the meeting, scheduled for 3:15 p.m. at Duncanville High. The meeting comes after 170 high school kids were suspended last week. The school code requires tucked-in shirts with collars, non-sagging pants, belts and closed-toe shoes. But some students say the dress code hadn’t been enforced all year. Principal Andre Smith, disagrees. He says officials have high expectations for their students. Last week, the superintendent defended the school’s decision on YouTube – watch that here. [KERA News/Associated Press]
- The Allen High School football team won’t be playing at the $60 million Eagle Stadium this fall due to structural problems that will take time to repair, district officials announced. Nelson Forensics, consultants hired by the district, identified “design deficiencies” in the stadium’s elevated concourse. Those deficiencies fail to meet building codes and reduce the safety and strength of the concourse, the district says. Allen will play its home football games in Plano this fall. Allen ISD announced in February it was shutting down the stadium after extensive cracks were found in the building’s concrete. Nelson Forensics is studying the stadium cracks and will report back to the district in June. Read more here.
- Early voting is underway for the May 27 runoff elections. There are several heated races, including the Republican lieutenant governor runoff featuring David Dewhurst and Dan Patrick. Republican voters will also decide whether Rep. Dan Branch of Dallas or State Sen. Ken Paxton of McKinney should win the GOP nomination for attorney general. KERA 90.1 FM will air a 30-minute election special at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Catch up on the various races and view sample ballots on the KERA News elections page.
- Texas researchers are joining the U.S. government in stepping up efforts to help Central American farmers fight a devastating coffee disease — and hold down the price of your morning cup. Raj Shah, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, on Monday announced a $5 million partnership with Texas A&M University’s World Coffee Research center to try to eliminate the fungus. Experts say the fungus called coffee rust has caused more than $1 billion in damage across Latin American region. The fungus is especially deadly to Arabica coffee, the bean that makes up most high-end, specialty coffees. Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama and Costa Rica have all been hard hit. [Associated Press]