Five stories that have North Texas talking: Romo and company make a ton of money; remembering the one-year anniversary of the West explosion; the latest on Ted Nugent; and more.
- Ann Weisgarber, a Texas author who just published her second novel, The Promise, will talk at 7 p.m. Thursday at Barnes & Noble, 7700 West Northwest Highway, Dallas. The Promise takes place in Galveston in 1900, when a hurricane killed thousands. She says she was inspired by an abandoned, dilapidated house on the rural end of Galveston and by an interview she conducted when writing an article for a local magazine. The Promise was recently named one of the nominees for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, a competition in the United Kingdom. Weisgarber has also written The Personal History of Rachel Dupree.
- We already knew Tony Romo makes a lot of money. But did you know the Dallas Cowboys quarterback ranks No. 14 on a list of the 25 highest-paid athletes worldwide? ESPN The Magazine issued the list, which shows Floyd Mayweather Jr., the boxer, in the No. 1 spot, earning $73.5 million a year. Romo earns $26.5 million a year. Endorsements aren’t included. In Major League Baseball, Texas Rangers’ Prince Fielder makes $24 million. In the NBA, Dallas Mavericks’ star Dirk Nowitzki earns $22.7 million. On the list of highest-paid NFL players, Romo ranks No. 6.
- Thursday marks the one-year anniversary of the day when West, Texas, changed forever. A massive explosion at a fertilizer plant killed 15 people. A memorial service, called West 4-17 Forever Forward, takes place at 7:30 p.m. at the West Fair and Rodeo Grounds. A moment of silence will be observed at 7:51 p.m., marking the time of the explosion. KERA’s Doualy Xaykaothao sat down with D Magazine’s Zac Crain, who is Facebook friends with just about half the city, and grew up just 500 yards from the fertilizer plant. NPR’s Wade Goodwyn recently visited West. “The widespread destruction in the town has raised questions about what, if any, new state laws should be passed to ensure that another chemical plant doesn’t explode where people live,” Goodwyn reported. Shortly after the blast, KERA’s Courtney Collins reported on nursing home employees who shielded their residents from the blast and pulled people from the rubble. She also wrote about her impressions of the town. “I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the people of West and their love for life and one another since I left there Thursday afternoon. The explosion at the fertilizer plant rocked the entire town. People were killed and injured. Homes were shattered. Residents lost their jobs and everything they owned. But that cold reality is clearly no match for the stunning warmth of spirit that colors the community.”
- Did a bunch of police show up at Gun Barrel City’s only gay bar because it’s a gay bar? No, the owner tells the Dallas Observer. The bar, Garlow’s, was targeted because “we’re the No. 1 bar. We attract everybody,” owner Michael Slingerland told the Observer. On April 5, drag night at Garlow’s, police pulled into the parking lot and pulled over motorists for not using their turn signals. The police chief didn’t return a call from the Observer. Slingerland, who was arrested for public intoxication, said the police presence “was a fishing trip to see who’s been drinking and who hasn’t.”
- Emails show that plans for a Ted Nugent concert in East Texas were canceled after the shock rocker drew criticism for calling President Barack Obama a “subhuman mongrel.” The Longview News-Journal reported that emails between Longview city officials show the concert was canceled a week after Nugent made headlines for divisive remarks that surfaced while he campaigned with Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott. Nugent apologized for the Obama slur. But a few days later, a city official sent an email to employees saying that the Longview city manager’s office had ordered the concert canceled because of the comments. Longview paid $16,250 to end contract negotiations. [Associated Press]