Five stories that have North Texas talking: Wendy Davis marks the filibuster anniversary; the Wichita Falls drought is very bad; Van Cliburn the movie; and more.
- A piano-playing actor has been chosen to play Van Cliburn. Deadline reports: “Ansel Elgort, hot off the male lead of Augustus Waters in The Fault In Our Stars, has signed to play the title role in Van Cliburn, a feature that is being mounted by Temple Hill partners Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen along with Crystal City Entertainment in association with The Johnson Group. … The film is based on the Howard Reich book Van Cliburn, and Elgort will play the pianist in his formative years when, at age 23 in 1958, he emerged from out of nowhere to win the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow.” Elgort can pay the piano, Deadline says. Cliburn died in February 2013. He was 78.
- On this day one year ago, Wendy Davis entered the national spotlight after her 13-hour filibuster in the Texas Capitol over new Texas abortion restrictions. The state senator from Fort Worth became the darling of Democrats – and last October she launched a run for Texas governor. But she’s behind in the polls – Republican Greg Abbott is ahead by 12 points. This afternoon in Austin, Davis is holding an event to mark the anniversary. The Houston Chronicle reports: “The anniversary is a double-edged sword for Davis, the filibuster’s face, but also for [lieutenant governor candidate Leticia] Van de Putte and the rest of a Democratic Party eager to reignite the passion of last summer but unable to afford to alienate moderates in a state that still opposes abortion.” The Texas Tribune says: “Davis and her followers are trying to use the anniversary of the filibuster to rekindle the excitement they generated a year ago, to attract new, like-minded voters to the polls and to convert voters who have a two-decade habit of putting Republicans into the state’s top offices.”
- The forecast is grim for drought-stricken Wichita Falls. State and federal climatologists warned at a public forum Tuesday that the city will likely continue experiencing unnaturally hot, dry weather for a decade or longer. Discussions have included financial resources available for residents of the Red River Valley near the Oklahoma border. State climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon has said the Texas drought is “historic.” The Texas Water Development Board says water supplies for Wichita Falls have dropped below a quarter of their capacity and are on a trajectory to run dry by 2016. The city may have to treat salt water or build a pipeline to a distant aquifer. KERA’s Shelley Kofler recently traveled to Wichita Falls to explore how the city wants to rely on recycling toilet water to address the water shortage. [The Associated Press]
- Starting in March, Texas drivers will no longer be required to have an inspection sticker on their windshield. But vehicles will still be required to get the once-over. Department of Motor Vehicles Director Whitney Brewster told a Senate panel this week that separate stickers will no longer be needed for the inspection and auto registration. A single sticker will be proof of both. The Houston Chronicle reports an owner must complete the inspection — which includes state vehicle safety and emissions tests — within 90 days of when the registration expires. Drivers will eventually have to show proof of a valid inspection to renew their vehicle registration. Officials say Texas will save about $2 million with the change, primarily in oversight and sticker costs. [The Associated Press]
- A fracture just inches away from the hip is becoming more common. Pelvic fractures can be just as devastating as hip fractures, and often take longer to heal. Learn how a broken pelvis brought one North Texas family closer together. Yu-ying Lee, who’s 91, bounced back from a broken pelvis thanks in part to a supportive family. That’s the focus of Chapter 8 of The Broken Hip, a two-month KERA News Breakthroughs series that explores the issues surrounding this serious medical issue. Catch up on the series here.