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Leading Off (9/17/14)

State Fair to Host American Idol Auditions: I’ve heard Zac’s version of Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison,” and Mooney’s version of, um, some David Allan Coe song? I think that’s what it was? I don’t remember, it was after a Christmas party and we were at The Goat. Anyway, American Idol auditions will come to the State Fair September 26, 27, and 28. 

Arlington Woman to Be Executed Tonight: Lisa Ann Coleman is expected to be the first Tarrant County woman executed in more than 30 years. A: Afghanistan, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, United Arab Emirates, United States, Yemen. Q: What is a list countries that still use the death penalty?

Following Cruel Prank, Grand Prairie Kids Make Right: Just read this.

Atheists Protest Rowlett Council Meeting: They’re upset that they’re not in the mix to perform the invocation before council meetings. “We believe we have a solid policy in place and we’re sticking to the policy,” said Mayor Todd Gottell. Only one person knows the right answer. (It’s God. Or G*d. No no-god. Okay, maybe this is pretty complicated.)

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North Texas Gets TIGER Grant to Study Schools, Transportation

The feds announced their annual divvying up of TIGER grants today, and North Texas once again finds itself in the mix, albeit for one of the smallest amounts granted.

The $210,00 grant will help “create a regional program and implementation plan to promote connections and coordination between transportation agencies, local governments, and schools.” The benefit, according to the U.S. DOT:

There are very high pedestrian and bicyclist accidents within a half mile radius of schools in the region. The project seeks not only to improve critical aspects of bicycle/pedestrian access to schools, but also will advance community health, environmental quality, and economic vitality as communities’ accessibility to schools and school-related activities is increased. The proposal will target an awareness-building campaign to communities found to be most vulnerable to bicycle/pedestrian crashes in the Dallas region.

Bicycles! Community safety! Education! What could be wrong with this?

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Leading Off (9/10/14)

Men Arrested For Assault of 15-year-old: These guys deserve to spend a lot of time away from society.

Tutor Company Charged With Bilking $2.5 Million Out of Dallas, Fort Worth ISDs: $2.5 million? Maybe these tutors should’ve taught the districts’ accountants a little something about mathematics ohhhhhh! Boom! Roasted! Lined em up and knocked em down!

Jerry Jones Sued For Sexual Assault: Remember last month, when a couple of uncouth photos of Jerry Jones popped up? Well one of the women in those photos is suing Jones for sexual assault, claiming he fondled her genitals and forced her to touch his penis, among other things. She’s suing for more than $1 million.

Eric Dickerson Trashes SMU Football: “If they don’t want to do anything, just kill the program.” “I guarantee there are some high schools around the country that could beat them. There’s no doubt. They just don’t have the talent.” “You ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.” Good job, good effort.

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Leading Off (9/3/14)

Prime Prep Hearing Date Set: Deion Sanders and crew now have until Nov. 12 to figure out how to save their flailing charter school. “We will be prepared for the hearing,” said Superintendent Ron Price, literally saying the most basic thing possible when called by a reporter.

Southlake Teen Urges Classmates to Forgo Mums: Someone had to explain the concept of homecoming mums to me a few years ago, and the conversation ended when my jaw unhooked, fell to the floor, then scrounged around looking for loose change to put in some far-away savings account for a mythical child that someday may have to pay for a mum. Destiny Rose had similar thoughts about the ostentatious tradition, and donated the money she would’ve spent on a mum to a charity buying holiday dinners for South Dallas residents. She’s urging classmates to do the same, as am I.

Former Cowboy Josh Brent Suspended 10 Games Following Jail Time: I’m sure no one has any thoughts on this one, so moving on…

Woman Charged After Leaving Grandchild in Hot Car: The Crowley woman was arrested for felony child endangerment after leaving the child in the car for more than an hour. This is awful, yes. But please read Gene Weingarten’s Pulitzer-winning story about this phenomenon before commenting.

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Leading Off (8/27/14)

John Wiley Price Trial Date Pushed: When I wrote Leading Off on Monday, I said (despite a planned 2015 start) Price’s trial wouldn’t start until at least 2016. Then I bet everyone $100. It’s smart that none of you took me up on that offer.

Lawsuit: Day Care Duct Taped Child to Mat: I don’t have children. I also don’t think this is the best way to handle nap time. Hold up, what? The day care also withheld water from kids so they didn’t have to change as many diapers, and hit kids? Duct-taping seems almost middle-of-the-road now. For the record: “Heart2Heart offered no comment on the lawsuit.”

Public School Covers Up Religious Plaques: Because, you know, it’s not really kosher to make Muslim, Jewish, or atheist students walk past a sign that mentions the “Holy Christian Church” and implores students to “give God alone the glory.” How did this fly for the past 17 years?

Dallas County Sheriff’s Deputy Indicted on Sexual Assault Charge: “A new detective was going through files and realized [this 2006 case] hadn’t been filed so he notified us,” said Dallas County DA Office spokeswoman Debbie Denmon. “Since the case was never filed with our office, we knew nothing about it.” Bureaucracy wins again!


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Leading Off (8/25/14)

School Starts Today: This is your annual reminder that school zones (and their expensive tickets) also restart today. And after last year’s troubles with third-party student transportation companies, Dallas ISD has 180 mini buses on the road. They’re blue, and look like hotel shuttles. You should not pass them. (See above warning.)

McKinney Avenue Trolley Extension Delayed Again: If you’ve ever been to our office downtown, you know it sits at the foot of the McKinney Avenue Trolley line. Well, former foot. The line extension now pushes it down St. Paul, near the DART line. Anyway, the construction’s been a mess for a couple of years now. And it seems like we’ll all have to wait until December for it to all clear up.

John Wiley Price Trial Delayed: Until September 2015. But nobody actually expects it to even start by then, right? Standing bet: $100 down, it doesn’t start until January 2016.

Cocaine Found in Tamales: This was in Houston, but how could you not click on that story?


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Leading Off (8/20/14)

Gov. Rick Perry Booked. And I have to say: bravo on the mugshot. Confident, a bit wily. Just an all-around A+ effort. After his photoshoot, he went to get ice cream.

Affluenza Teen’s Father Arrested for Posing as Officer. Ick. I hate typing out affluenza. But that’s why this is in the news, so here goes. Frederick Couch was arrested Tuesday after allegedly posing as a reserve officer at the scene of a disturbance call. Couch’s 16-year-old son, Ethan, killed four people while driving drunk last year. Couch the Elder apparently had a fake badge and ID card in his car. Seems like that household’s got a real lock on everything.

Weekend Storms Did Little to Help Lake Levels. “Overall, the district’s lakes are in considerably worse shape than a year ago.” Well, this is wildly reassuring.

Man Found Guilty in Plot to Kill Wife. “Attempted capital murder” is probably the scariest charge after “actual, real-deal capital murder.” A Denton County jury found John Howard guilty of just that Tuesday, after he hired someone to try and kill his wife. After trying unsuccessfully for years to find a hitman to kill his wife, he eventually found one. That person botched the effort, though, and Nancy Franklin survived.

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Mapped: Where Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz Spend Their Time on the Road

A couple weeks ago, the Sunlight Foundation did what can only be described as the Lord’s work. It took every U.S. Senate expenditure and transformed it from a worthless PDF to a searchable, sortable spreadsheet. It has everything. Staff retreats, photographer sessions, the salaries of the seven barbers who cut taxpayer-subsidized hair. Everything.

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Leading Off (8/13/14)

“I’m Pissed Off at America,” Says Doug-e-stan Founder: Douglas LeGuin is sitting in jail, charged with seven counts of aggravated assault on a public servant. Those counts stem from his luring of police and fire officers to the North 40 Lane subdivision off Frankford Road, booby-trapping a house with propane, then shooting at the officers. “I seceded from the nation,” LeGuin told a police dispatcher. “This is Doug-e-stan right here.” All shooting and booby-trapping aside….Doug-e-stan? Doug. Come on. You could’ve even just used LeGuin, if you wanted to keep it familial. It would’ve sounded like a French colony. Now it’s just Doug-e-stan, which sounds like what Kevin James might’ve called his garage on King of Queens.

Weatherford Police Continue Search for Flag-burner: [Puts on deerstalker hat]: look for the kid with the NIИ logo Sharpied into his physics notebook, the one who’s got nothing else to do on a Monday night two days before school starts again. I don’t think we’re looking for a hardened criminal. [Removes deerstalker hat.]

Cowboys, Raiders Fight During Practice: Wait, I should’ve said “Cowboys, Raiders, and Random Fan Fight During Practice,” because, bizarrely, that’s what happened. The fight started when Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne tackled a Raiders player; there was supposed to be no tackling at the practice. Raiders players rushed to their teammate’s defense, and so did a fan. The fan hit Claiborne twice with his hand, and once with a helmet. A good joke: “Get that man a Cowboys jersey!!!!”

Pet Buffalo Shot to Death: Her name was Precious and she was beautiful and someone trudged 400 yards through the brush to shoot her. Teddy Roosevelt would not be pleased.

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Leading Off (8/6/14)

Dallas Man Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography Charges. For Second Time: Bye, Timothy Rinehart. See you never.

Toll Road Drivers to Get Refund: The North Texas Tollway Authority racked up $171,000 in incorrect charges stemming from a billing error on the new DFW Connector. More than 40,000 drivers were charged for using the road during a supposed free period. The NTTA will return the money.

Fort Worth Child Injured After Firing Gun: The kid is 4. Opposing Second Amendment camps: converge!

Lawmakers Still Skeptical of Fertilizer Regulations: The draft legislation is proposed by state Rep. Joe Pickett, a Democrat from El Paso, and it would create an advisory group to make recommendations to the Texas Department of Insurance. A previous version of the bill laid out specific rules for ammonium nitrate storage, and outlined penalties for facilities in non-compliance. According to the Tribune: “Those proposals drew strong resistance in April from some Republican members of the committee, who worried that new regulations and fines would put too many burdens on small businesses and local fire departments.” Quick idea: maybe you don’t house ammonium nitrate if you can’t properly ensure its safety and the safety of the community around it.

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