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Poll: Will Texas Rangers Fans Welcome Back Josh Hamilton?

Late Friday, news broke that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are so tired of having underperforming slugger (and relapsed drug addict) Josh Hamilton on their roster that they were practically willing to give him away. They’d pay $68 million of the remaining $83 million on his contract, and the Texas Rangers could just have him if they picked up the rest of the tab. No need to send any player back in return, not even some A-ball scrub.

That report ended up being inaccurate. The move will cost the Rangers, according to Evan Grant, at most $6 million over the next three years. It’s all expected to be finalized today.

This is unbelievable deal for the Rangers. If Hamilton turns out to be a complete disaster, they’re on the hook for very little money. If he does just as well as he has during his two underwhelming years with the Angels, he’ll be well worth what they’ll be paying for him.

His old Texas teammates are happy to have him back. But will the fans be? Hamilton struggled mightily at the end of his last season with the Rangers, and when he signed with LA of A he said that Dallas isn’t “a true baseball town.”

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Dallas Theater Center’s Steven Walters Talks Football, the Aqua Buddha, and Air Sex

There was a technical mishap in the midst of yesterday’s recording of D Magazine‘s EarBurner podcast. I think we’re all far too mature to resort to placing blame in this matter, but suffice it to say that you may notice a hiccup during the proceedings if you’re not just half-listening to the show while jogging or changing your oil. A prestigious No-Prize to the first listener to correctly identify the spot.

Our guest was actor/playwright/perpetually disappointed sports fan Steven Walters, a member of Dallas Theater Center’s resident company who is appearing in the production of Colossal that runs through May 3. Our critic, Lindsey Wilson, loved it. I have no idea what any other local writers thought of the show, nor what scenes said writers may have written about that aren’t actually in the play, nor does it matter. You should go.

Listen below.

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Leading Off (4/24/15)

Early Dallas ISD STAAR Results Disappoint. District eighth-graders taking the state’s reading test performed worse than last year’s students, while the fifth-grade passing rate increased slightly.

3 DISD Trustees Really, Really Want to Fire Mike Miles. On Thursday, Joyce Foreman, Elizabeth Jones, and Bernadette Nutall tried, and failed, to replace board president Miguel Solis because they’re unhappy that Solis has put off scheduling a board meeting to discuss the performance of the district superintendent until after the May election.

What the Cluck, Arlington Council? The city, you’ll remember, helped foot the bill for JerryWorld and got its own suite in return. Over the past five years, at nearly every event, two-thirds of the tickets have been used by the mayor, council members, and their spouses — to the surprise of no one.

Molina High Teacher Arrested For Student Relationship. Mary Todd Lowrance, 49, had confided her indiscretion to a co-worker.

Million-Dollar Lake Palestine Home Collapsing. In the ongoing battle between man and nature, nature scores another win.

Ralph Strangis Quits Dallas Stars. The popular broadcaster has decided to move on to “new challenges” after a 25-year career with the team.

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Leading Off-ish (4/23/15): The Zac-is-on-Vacation Edition

Dallas-Fort Worth Earthquake Risk Has Tripled.  That’s just since 2008, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Granted, the risk is still pretty low, and we have yet to experience any catastrophic seismic activity. Yes, the energy production business — pumping chemicals and wastewater into the faults — is to blame.

Central Expressway in McKinney Temporarily Closed Due to Flooding. St. Delkus promised us a deluge, but thing were pretty light around my place in Oak Lawn. Meanwhile, the Collin County suburbs are being punished by our creator for their insolence?

Dallas Cop Fired For Sex With Teen, Prostitutes. Jorge Guzman had an inappropriate relationship with a teenager in the Dallas Police Explorer Program.

Plano ISD Will Stop Locking Unruly Children Away. Sounds like a sensible policy change.

We Should All Just Go Work For Southwest Airlines. The carrier has posted a record $453-million first-quarter profit.

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Oil and Gas Wells to Blame For More North Texas Earthquakes

Today a new study was released in the journal Nature Communications that determined the causes of the unusual seismic activity (earthquakes) around Azle (northwest of Fort Worth) in November-December 2013, which Brantley Hargrove wrote about in the May 2014 issue of D Magazine.

Researchers from SMU, the University of Texas at Austin, and the U.S Geological Survey determined that activities related to oil and gas operations in the area, as the Morning News notes, are responsible for “shifting faults below Dallas-Fort Worth that have not budged in hundreds of millions of years”:

The scientists zeroed in on an unusual mechanism behind the quakes: workers pushing liquid into the ground on one side of a fault and sucking gas and groundwater from the other side of the fault.

“The combination of these activities seems to have triggered the earthquakes, and that was a real surprise to us,” said Matthew Hornbach, a geophysicist at SMU and a lead author of the paper.

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The Dallas Zoo’s Harrison Edell Talks Giraffe Birth and Kilts on D Magazine Podcast

We were all a little disappointed that Harrison Edell, the senior director of living collections at the Dallas Zoo, didn’t show up at the Old Monk yesterday with a lemur on his back, or a falcon on his arm, or a tarantula atop his head, or toting some manor of fauna. Instead he was merely a mightily entertaining interview subject on the latest EarBurner podcast.

A couple of corrections/clarifications for this week’s show, which also features impressions of Dallas City Council members Vonciel Hill Jones, Sheffie Kadane, and Tennell Atkins:

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Leading Off (4/17/15)

Trinity Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Is Quickly Sedated. Despite Tuesday’s declarations by consultants whom toll road proponents themselves commissioned  — namely that there’s no good reason for putting a highway through a potentially great park — support on the Dallas City Council for the federally-approved design known as Alternative 3C seems not to have softened. At a long work session on Thursday afternoon, toll road opponents moved to drop the massive project entirely and to seek federal approval instead for a low-speed, meandering road whose primary purpose would be to provide access to the adjacent park (just what Mayor Mike Rawlings’ dream team recommended.) But that proposal was roundly rejected, 10-4, and instead the same majority voted to proceed with planning for 3C. There was also an attempt by Councilman Philip Kingston to call a vote that would have forced each member to declare his or her support for (or opposition to) 3C. This irritated toll road proponents, who maneuvered around it with their own amendment to Kingston’s proposed amendment. Rawlings made another of his public pronouncements (about the Dream Team proposal) designed to sound like he’s keeping an open mind: “We have just met this beautiful, in my case, lady, and I’m not ready to get married today.” But he then seemed to show his cards when he put Vonciel Jones Hill — whose dedication to plopping a mega-highway next to the river is unwavering — in charge of seeking public input on the proposals under consideration. “It’s like putting the fox in charge of the hen house,” said former councilwoman Angela Hunt. Reminder: May 9 is Election Day.

 A Lot of Words About Dez Bryant. He recently fired one advisor, who had close ties to the Dallas Cowboys, and engaged the services of another management company. What does this mean for Bryant’s relationship with the team, which is still waiting for him to sign his contract for next season? Yeah, that’s the question.

Man Detained For Watauga Abduction Attempt. Police have found a person of interest in the failed kidnapping Mike mentioned in Wednesday’s “Leading Off.”

Sex Offender Escapes Fort Worth Halfway House. Charles Sprague is suspected in a kidnapping and robbery in North Richland Hills on Wednesday. He’s been added to the Texas 10 Most Wanted Sex Offenders list.

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Grapevine High Students Apologize For Racist Rap

It’s a pretty awful string a words out of the mouth of a dumb Grapevine High School student, recorded two years ago, as the Daily Kos reports:

Two white female students at Grapevine High School in Grapevine, Texas recorded and released a song with dangerous and offensive lyrics about black, Latino, and Asian-American students. As the anger boils out of control in the school, the staff was forced to send the email below to parents.

Here’s the NSFW audio:

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Explore #OutdoorDallas, Win a Prize

Have you been outside this afternoon? Yeah, me neither. I’ve been stuck at D Magazine World Headquarters while an absolutely perfect day of Dallas weather taunts me from beyond the windows. I’d much rather be out on a trail somewhere, enjoying the great outdoors, just as the April issue of our print product implores.

We all should be playing hooky, come to think of it. And now we’ve got a way in which al fresco play could pay off. Just share a picture on social media — Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. — using the hashtag #OutdoorDallas. We’ll pick the best that we see between now and the end of next Wednesday, April 21.

The winner will receive a $200 gift certificate to Saint Ann Restaurant and Bar. So go. Get out of here. Your boss will understand.

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‘The Last of a Breed': Grantland on Dale Hansen

Following the increasing nationwide, even worldwide, fame that WFAA sports anchor Dale Hansen has enjoyed for his “Unplugged” commentaries on Michael Sam and Greg Hardy, Grantland’s Bryan Curtis followed him around one recent evening as he drifted between bar and newscast and back again:

At 9:43 p.m., Hansen walked from the bar back to the Channel 8 studio to do the sportscast. “Let’s see how primed he is,” said Delkus, the weatherman. Hansen was no worse for the wear. He’d met a group of car dealers from San Antonio at the bar. He performed an old trick — telling them to watch the TV because he’d be on it in a few minutes. The men were stunned.

His performance — three and a half minutes, again to the second — was vintage Hansen. He blasted Alabama’s Nick Saban for giving an accused domestic abuser another chance and then releasing the player after a second incident, even though the accusation had been recanted. “The hypocrisy about second chances and the argument we all make mistakes ” he said.

The Channel 8 chyron said it was 10:28 p.m. The two anchors were still at the desk, awaiting the final segment, when Hansen unhooked his microphone, strode back out the studio doors, and returned to the bar.

“He’s the last of a breed,” said Bark, the former Morning News TV critic. “Once he goes, there won’t be anybody that will have the freedom to do what he does.” The way the digital frontier has absorbed Hansen’s voice feels oddly profound: a local sportscaster being celebrated via a medium he barely understands but whose passions and rhythms he knows better than just about anyone. Boom!

When Hansen got to the bar, he spread his arms wide and asked the car salesmen, “How’d I do, boys?”

Hansen’s new fans rose to their feet and began to cheer.

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Angela Hunt Explains When She’ll Run For Dallas Mayor

Former city councilwoman, and persistent fly in the Dallas Citizens Council’s ointment, Angela Hunt stopped by the Old Monk yesterday afternoon to chat with Tim and Zac on D Magazine’s EarBurner podcast about her future political prospects, recent setbacks for proponents of the Trinity toll road, the crane accident at the Dallas Museum of Art, and which television program most resembles her own law practice.

A few corrections and clarifications for listeners:

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Leading Off (4/10/15)

Jordan Spieth Blows 15th Hole at the Masters. He went with the hybrid instead of the 4-iron. Seriously? Sure, he finished 8-under par, one stroke shy of a tournament record, with a three-stroke lead after the first round at Augusta National, but the 21-year-old golfer from Dallas clearly still has a few things to learn. I mean, c’mon, dude’s lost two of his last three tournaments. How good can he be?

Rawlings Has Far More Money Than Ronquillo. Campaign finance reports for the first quarter of 2015 show that Mayor Mike Rawlings has raised $546,227 for his re-election effort while challenger Marcos Ronquillo has collected $101,957. All that cash to win a job that pays $80,000 a year.

Prosecutors Probing Jerry Jones’ World Trade Center Deal. The Dallas Cowboys owner’s company, Legends Hospitality, won the contract to operate the observation deck of One World Trade Center in 2013. That building is owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which is partly controlled by New Jersey Gov. (and Cowboys fan) Chris Christie. The Manhattan district attorney is investigating whether Jones’ and Christie’s friendship influenced the procurement process. As if we needed another reason to feel dirty when we see this.

Collin County DA Asks Texas Rangers to Investigate AG. Watch out, Ken Paxton. Walker may be coming for you.

Ellis County Fire Chiefs Arrested in Sex Assault Case. The two men were allegedly aware of the incident earlier this year that involved a volunteer firefighter violated by chorizo and a broom stick, and they worked to keep the matter quiet. They were suspended from duty on Thursday and face felony charges of tampering with a witness.

McKinney Teen Wasn’t Bullied. Fourteen-year-old Raymond Howell killed himself last week. Dozens of people rallied outside Boyd High School on Thursday to protest bullying, which some of the boy’s family members said contributed to his suicide. But police report they’ve found no evidence that Raymond was being harassed.

High Heels, Dog Urine Harming Downtown Parks. “It’s one of those only-in-Dallas things, I guess,” says Tara Green, president of Klyde Warren Park.

Opening Day at the Globe in Arlington. First pitch for Rangers vs. Astros is at 3:05 p.m. You’ll have to bring your own Blue Bell.

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