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News Ticker: March 28

All the news that's fit to blog
Brandon Watson, 3:30pm, Thu. Mar. 28, 2013
photo by usda.gov
The Texas House quenches its thirst, Big Tex gets laryngitis, and an Austin apartment goes up in smoke. Public health is on the News Ticker.

• While it may be true that Texas leads the nation in clinical medical trials, the numbers are a little misleading. When you deduct the various experimental fillers used to keep Rick Perry from disintegrating into the picture of Dorian Gray, it's really not all that impressive.

• A new AT&T survey shows that almost half of adults text while they drive. Thankfully, only a very small percentage (cough, cough) file full blog posts.

• Which may be why a certain reporter's Instagram photos tagged #austinpublichealth have been rejected by Austin Health and Human Services Department.

• According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, only 1.4% of Texas is not in drought. But chin up, although those lucky few may still have water for their begonias, all that extra moistness is going to attract disease-carrying mosquitos. It's always good to look on the brighter side.

• Speaking of drought, the Texas House approved HB4 yesterday - which creates a bond fund to finance community water infrastructure projects. Only two Republicans voted against it -- perhaps confused by somebody calling it a "rainy day fund."

• Meanwhile, the Senate was busy debating toll roads. Terri Hall of Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF, get it?) called tolls roads "highway robbery." Maybe we can expect to see him among the 207 comics vying to be the "Funniest Person in Austin." Yuk, yuk.

• The State Fair of Texas has parted ways with Bill Blagg, the man who supplies the voice of Big Tex. Perhaps he burned too many britches.

• The APD is saying that yesterday's apartment explosion may have been drug-related. While exciting, it still did not make up for the excruciating wait for the Breaking Bad finale.

• The Dallas Museum of Art has received a $17 million endowment to expand its collection of pre-1700s European art. It won't help them get Salvator Mundi but they may be a step closer to owning Ecce Homo.

• Today's depressing moment comes from the Austin Zoo, whose invite for Homer the Goose's 25th birthday bash says: "Come meet Homer the formerly homeless Goose, while you can! We just got word he has cancer."

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