Axios Dallas

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Happy Friday! You've always been good enough.

🥶 Today's weather: Temps should warm to a toasty 45, but lows will drop near freezing.

🎵 Sounds like: "Happy Man"

🗳️ Situational awareness: Today is the last day for in-person early voting. Check out where to vote here.

Today's newsletter is a chaste 841 words — a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: UNT President responds to "intolerant" flyers targeting trans kids

A man talking into a microphone at a conference

UNT President Neal Smatresk. Photo: Isaac Brekken/Getty Images

UNT President Neal Smatresk said the last few days might have felt "particularly difficult for the transgender members of our community," as a result of what he called in a campuswide email "the intolerant views of a handful of campus members."

  • The email came days after a viral TikTok video of two students arguing over flyers reading "criminalize child transitions" distributed by Young Conservatives of Texas.

Why it matters: Gender-affirming medical care has become a popular issue among conservatives. This week, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Gov. Greg Abbott — who are both seeking re-election in the upcoming primary — called this type of medical treatment "child abuse."

  • Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot said he won't prosecute families for trans youth care.

Context: The flyers were for an event featuring Texas House candidate Jeff Younger, who lost a years-long battle for custody of his 9-year-old twins, one of whom is a transgender girl he refuses to call by her preferred name, per Courthouse News.

What they're saying: "Regardless of who we are or where we come from, we always will encounter people who disagree with us, or do not accept us," Smatresk wrote in the email. "Here on our campus, we honor our First Amendment rights, even when we don’t agree with others' opinions."

2. Dallas company funds solar projects to the tune of $120M

Illustration of hundred dollar bills as solar panels.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Dallas-based Aspen Power Partners is launching with $120 million in funding to support its focus on smaller scale solar developments, the company tells Axios' Alan Neuhauser.

Why it matters: As Texans fret over the stability of the power grid, this announcement is a sign of surging investor interest in solar power.

Context: Aspen focuses on so-called distributed solar and community solar projects.

  • Distributed solar generally describes projects like rooftop solar panels atop homes and businesses.
  • Community solar refers to slightly larger developments that may serve a neighborhood or other geographic area.

What they're saying: "Utility-scale solar and residential solar — from a business standpoint the returns have compressed along with the maturity," co-founder Jackson Lehr tells Axios.

  • "So one of the things we like, from a business standpoint, for less mature segments, is that there’s an opportunity to earn higher returns."

The big picture: Supply chain disruptions and interconnection delays last year hamstrung new installations of community solar, as well as the commercial and industrial segments of distributed solar.

Read more about the big money going to small(ish) solar companies.

3. Cornyn calls Dallas a "role model" for mental health response

Sen. John Cornyn talking with the police and fire chiefs

Sen. John Cornyn meeting with Dallas Fire Chief Dominique Artis and Police Chief Eddie Garcia. Photo: Courtesy of the Office of John Cornyn

Sen. John Cornyn says Dallas is a "role model" for other cities, for its response to mental health 911 calls.

Why it matters: Cornyn is working to reauthorize the Mental Health and Safe Communities Act, which would increase funding to crisis intervention units and mental health response teams in law enforcement.

  • The senator pointed to RIGHT Care as an example for others during a discussion Wednesday with the Dallas mayor, police chief and fire chief.

Context: In this fiscal year's budget, Dallas expanded RIGHT Care to each of the city’s patrol divisions to respond to mental health calls.

  • RIGHT Care, short for "Rapid Integrated Group Healthcare Team," started as a pilot program in 2018.

Details: A team that includes a behavioral health clinician, a paramedic and police officer respond to mental health calls. Before the program, those calls would be handled by as many as four police officers and a patrol sergeant.

  • People in crisis are "used to seeing police arrive. They're not used to seeing the face of a social worker," Kristin Peterson, the social work manager for RIGHT Care, said during the discussion Wednesday.

What they're saying: "When someone suffers from a mental health crisis, the last thing you want to do is slap handcuffs on them," Cornyn said during the event.

4. 📸 Pic of the day: Lighting up for Ukraine

The Dallas skyline, yellow and blue

Photo: Courtesy of Joseph Haubert

Dallas turned its skyline yellow and blue last night in solidarity with Ukraine. Cities all around the globe did the same thing.

Follow Axios' live updates. Read about Ukraine's overlooked Black population. See where Russian ground troops are closing in on Kyiv.

The perfect time is now

Count down to your new career by checking out our Local Job Board.

1. Marketing Transformation Manager at Accenture.

2. Account Development Executive at OpenText.

3. Cyber-Physical Security Specialist at BT.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

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5. 🗞 Burnt ends: Bite-sized news bits

Illustration of the Deep Ellum neon sign, which says "Burnt Ends" and "Axios" instead of "Deep Ellum" and "Texas."

Signing off on the news of the day. Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

💸 Gov. Abbott's campaign says he had no direct hand in setting energy prices during the 2021 winter storm, contradicting testimony this week from the former ERCOT CEO. (NBC5)

🚆 Some city leaders are frustrated after DART suspended rail service for a third straight day. (CBS DFW)

🏈 Troy Aikman might be leaving FOX Sports to join ESPN as lead analyst on "Monday Night Football." (The Athletic)

🚔 A Northlake police officer had to be cut from his vehicle after he was struck by an 18-wheeler on Interstate 35W in icy road conditions. (WFAA)

💬 Quote du jour
"Don’t tell him I like Peppermint Patty. So, I’m not gonna take it too offensively."
— White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, after learning that Sen. Ted Cruz likened her to one of Charlie Brown's friends. (DMN)

6. 🍋 One cocktail to go: Endless Summer

A photo of a yellow cocktail

Don't worry. There's sports on the TVs. Photo: Tasha "Sweet Summer Child" Tsiaperas/Axios

This week's drink adventure takes us to Deep Ellum … on a weeknight to avoid any mayhem.

What to order: Endless Summer — gin, yellow chartreuse, passion fruit, lemon

Where: Ebb & Flow, 2651 Commerce St. #100, Dallas

Cost: $14

Six word review: Frothy, sweet memory of warmer days.

🤔 Know a drink we should try? Hit reply, and tell us.

Our picks:

🎂 Mike is ready for the Erykah Badu Birthday Bash at The Factory this weekend.

🤣 Tasha is ready to belly laugh at Tig Notaro’s Dallas stop tonight.

Like remembering warmer days with us? Refer your friends to Axios Dallas, and get cool merch like stickers, totes, hats, T-shirts and more!