Five stories that have North Texas talking: the NBA honors Arlington’s Isaiah Austin; Texas Democrats are gathering in Dallas for their convention; SMU’s Meadows Museum announces it will display rare artworks next year; and more.
- The NBA made Isaiah Austin a ceremonial draft pick Thursday. He’s the Baylor basketball star from Arlington who learned just a few days ago that his career is over due to a genetic disorder. Predraft testing revealed that Austin has Marfan syndrome, which affects the body’s connective tissue. ESPN reports: “The crowd at Barclays Center rose to its feet as Austin, sitting in the waiting area with most of the first-round picks, hugged family members and put on a generic NBA cap. He went up to the stage and posed with [Commissioner Adam] Silver, just as all the drafts picks do when they are called.” Austin called it a “tremendous blessing.” Austin said: “It’s really been a tough week for me, and it’s been really rough. I’ve just had a tremendous amount of support from everybody around the world, telling me they’re praying for me and everything. I can’t thank everybody enough.” Read more about Austin and Marfan syndrome.
- Texas Democrats are gathering in Dallas for their state convention. Women will be the focus. So will immigration reform. In an interview with KERA, Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa spoke about how his party plans to mark a contrast with Republicans, who held their state convention in Fort Worth earlier this month. State Senator Wendy Davis is the Democratic gubernatorial candidate; her Democratic Senate colleague, Leticia Van de Putte, is running for lieutenant governor. But Davis is running 12 points behind Republican Greg Abbott – and Democrats haven’t won a statewide race in Texas in 20 years. The convention comes after Wednesday’s one-year anniversary of Wendy Davis’ 13-hour filibuster over new abortion restrictions.
- A trio of frogs is returning to Greenville Avenue. Three of the original Six Frogs Over Tango sculptures are coming back Friday. They used to be perched on top of the ‘80s nightclub Tango, which is now a Taco Cabana. The Dallas Morning News reports that Taco Cabana has bought the three frogs, which had been at the Carl’s Corner truck stop on Interstate 35 in Hill County. The other three are at a Chuy’s in Nashville, The News said. An ‘80s-themed party was scheduled for Thursday night at Taco Cabana. A unveiling is set for 9 a.m. Friday.
- A Dallas restaurant was featured in The New York Times – not for a restaurant review, but for how it monitors its employees. Bread Winners Café uses surveillance to monitor employee behavior. It’s part of a story about how companies examine what employees are doing to increase sales and lower turnover. But many worry about the invasion of privacy. At Bread Winners, Jim Sullivan began as a waiter and was told he was being watched. “The digital sentinel, he was told, tracked every waiter, every ticket, and every dish and drink, looking for patterns that might suggest employee theft,” The Times reported. “But that torrent of detailed information, parsed another way, cast a computer-generated spotlight on the most productive workers.” A manager watches via a live video feed.
- SMU’s Meadows Museum has announced it will display more than 100 rare artworks next year. The Dallas Morning News reports that the artworks have never been displayed outside Spain. The News reports: “’Treasures from the House of Alba: 500 Years of Art and Collecting’ spans a stunning range of works, brimming with paintings by Goya and Rubens, 16th century tapestries by Willem de Pannemaker and 19th century furniture created for Napoleon III. … The pieces have resided, some for as long as five centuries, in the Alba family’s private collections, in their three major palaces, in Madrid, Salamanca and Seville.” See the photos here.