Leading Off (4/16/14)

Charges Dropped Against Pig Blood Executive: I was going to explain this a little more, but this SEO-friendly Morning News headline should do the trick: “Criminal charges dropped against Dallas slaughterhouse executive; charges remain against company, another executive for pig blood and toxic chemicals found in Trinity tributary.

Teen Killed in Hit-and-Run Following Police Chase: Ethan Vasquez was a 13-year-old with a big smile, a seventh-grader at an Uptown gifted-and-talented school. On Tuesday morning in the M Streets, on his way to school, a stolen minivan crashed into a car driven by his mother. Ethan was killed, and his mother is in critical condition at Baylor Medical Center. The driver and passenger of the stolen minivan fled on foot.

Gubernatorial Candidates Continue to Find Tiny Things to Talk About: Just yesterday, Wendy Davis criticized Greg Abbott’s education platform, the PPP released its latest poll numbers (Abbott is still ahead, markedly, and ahead with female voters), Abbott released his tax forms/Davis filed for an extension, and we found out Davis is having outpatient neck surgery. Only seven more months, folks!

Mavs Fight For Seventh Seed Tonight: The Mavs take on the Grizzlies, for the right to not have to play the Spurs in the first round of the playoffs. Both teams lost all four games they played against San Antonio this season; the Mavs are 2-1 against Oklahoma City (the two-seed as of this typing), while the Grizz went 1-2 against the Thunder. If the Mavs lose and end up playing the Spurs, though, it would make my inclusion of this bizarre sandwich conversation video between Spurs reserve Matt Bonner and Geto Boy Bushwick Bill seem less odd.

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Leading Off (4/9/14)

Garland ISD Corruption Scandal Leaves Teachers In The Lurch: An internal investigation revealed that a former human resources manager recruited hundreds of teachers from overseas by promising them green cards, then allegedly funneled them to residences owned by his stepson and required them to seek legal advice at a firm where his stepdaughter works. On overseas teacher recruiting trips, Victor Leos allegedly spent none of his own money, and sometimes hired up to 30 teachers during a trip. The teachers came in on H1-B visas, some of which are set to expire soon. Astounding statistic alert: over a decade, Garland ISD filed 642 H1-B applications on behalf of prospective teachers. Peer districts Grand Prairie ISD and Mesquite ISD filed 17 and 23, respectively.

25 Arrested in Dallas Child Prostitution Sting: Kindly show yourselves to hell.

Hutchins Mayor, Nine Others Indicted: The charges allege that Mayor Artis Johnson and eight former and current city public works employees cooked up a scheme where they stole scrap from the city, then sold it to recyclers. The $25,000 scam—yes, that’s all—was topped off when one of the employees went to pick up payment from the recycler in his city uniform. You read that entire sentence correctly. That ninth city employee? She was indicted because she used city credit cards to buy “various food items” for herself.

Dirk Joins NBA All-Time Scoring Top Ten: With a midrange jumper over Jazz forward Jeremy Evans, Nowitzki passed Oscar Robertson for tenth all-time on the NBA’s scoring list. He’s now 250 points away from ninth-place Hakeem Olajuwon, the only foreign-born player to have a greater career—so far–than Dirk. Barring anything crazy in the next couple seasons, he’ll probably finish his career sixth on that list, between Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O’Neal. Also last night, former Mav Steve Nash (you should click that link) passed Mark Jackson for third on the all-time assists list. This all makes for a pretty decent “What If?” conversation.

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Leading Off (3/31/14)

Big D Reads Kicks Off: Subbing in for Cristina today, as she’s hopping on and off DART trains, handing out free copies of S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. So if you’re at Mockingbird Station, the West End station, or Union Station this morning, grab a copy and read with us. Then download the Big D Reads app, and come to some of our events. Or don’t read with us, and throw the book to a kid. Actually, read with us and buy a copy of a book for a kid. Thanks.

A Year After Kaufman County Killings, A Community Tries to Move On: Twelve months ago, we all looked for connections between the murder of three Kaufman County residents and the Aryan Brotherhood. Those connections never arrived, and now Eric and Kim Williams are awaiting a capital murder trial for the deaths of Mike and Cynthia McLelland and Mark Hasse. After the killings, I spent some time in Kaufman for a story. I found the people to be resilient, if a bit (understandably) terrified. The DMN captured a lot of those feelings in a well-written piece.

Irving Mom Charged With Manslaughter After Crash Kills Two Sons: Just…Jesus. Don’t drink and drive.

Final Four Set: North Texas is about to be inundated with Badgers, Gators, Huskies, and Wildcats. (As a Wisconsin grad, really poor timing by Daglas today missing Leading Off.) Now the question: do I root for UConn? They beat my alma mater in overtime in the first round, then beat our top rival in the second round. Other consideration: my best man went to UConn. Please discuss.

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Dallas, Houston, and Fort Worth Mayors Announce Support For High-Speed Rail

“This innovative project is a game changer for transportation between the two engines that drive job creation throughout Texas,” Mayor Mike Rawlings said. “Not only will high-speed rail significantly reduce travel times and traffic congestion for Dallas and Houston area residents, but it will also create new, high-paying jobs and stimulate economic growth.”

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Former SMU Basketball Standout NOT Found Buried Off NY Beach

Update to a story from a few minutes ago, “Former SMU Basketball Standout Found Buried Off NY Beach.” Turns out it’s not that Quinton Ross. Let’s blame this one on the NYPD. Or the New York Post. Or us.

Takeaway: Quinton Ross (the one from Kimball, and SMU, and the Mavs) was not found in a trash bag in Queens. We regret regurgitating that storyline.

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State Rep. Jason Villalba, to Lt. Gov. Candidates: ‘Illegals Are People’

“Friends, these ‘illegals’ are people. They are human beings who love their little ones just as much as you and I love our little ones. They want a better life for their families and they want their children to have a better life than they have had.”

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Santiago Calatrava Ordered to Pay €3 Million For Faulty Design, Continues Run of Being Awesome

Calatrava covered the opera house with thousands of tiny mosaic tiles, using a technique made famous over a century earlier by Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona. But the Valencia authorities threatened to sue Mr. Calatrava last month after chunks fell off in high winds.

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