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Leading Off (6/29/2015)

Two Small Earthquakes In Irving This Weekend. They were tiny (a 2.3 early Saturday morning, a 2.1 early Sunday morning), so you will be forgiven if you did not feel them. In case you were wondering, I could not be more thrilled that my hometown has been officially dubbed “earthquake country.”

Texas AG Ken Paxton Says State County Clerks Who Have “Religious Objections” Can Refuse To Issue Marriage Licenses To Same-Sex Couples. S-i-g-h.

Lewisville’s Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Racks Up Second DWI. Greg Tierney was arrested after driving eastbound on I-35.

Jogger Finds Body in Oak Cliff Alley. The body appears to be of a teenage boy, dead of an apparent gunshot wound. A jogger found him on West Brooklyn Avenue around 7:30 am. He has not yet been identified.

Cowboys May Have Used Drones Illegally. Whoops. Apparently, the team might not have gotten the correct FAA waiver to film practices via drone. It’s cool, though. The Cowboys probably won’t have to pay a fine.

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After SCOTUS Decision, Jack Evans and George Harris Go Get Their Marriage License

If you recall, we wrote about Jack Evans and George Harris, a wonderful couple in their 80s who have been fighting for marriage equality in Dallas and beyond since the early ’60s, in our 40th anniversary issue. They founded what would become the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce, and started The Dallas Way, a project aimed at presenting the history of the GLBT community in Dallas. They were married in March of last year, but the marriage wasn’t recognized here. Evans and Harris have been together for some 55 years.

Minutes ago, to my utter delight, I saw their photo come across Twitter as they joined a growing line for marriage licenses at the Dallas Records Building, hours after the SCOTUS decision legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states.

Congratulations to Jack and George, congratulations to all.

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Leading Off: 6/22/2015

Jordan Spieth Wins U.S. Open. That green Masters jacket was not enough for him. He wanted a gigantic trophy, too. Congrats to Dallas’ own.

Thousands Show Up For Surprise $1 Concert at House of Blues. The concert, part of J. Cole’s “Dollar and a Dream” tour, was announced on Twitter around 4 pm, HOB staff announced a sellout around 5:30 pm. The Dallas Police Department shut down the streets around the venue to contain the very determined 2,000+ crowd. So, if, like me, you got stuck in traffic around downtown this evening, now we know who to blame.

Science Continues To Prove Recent Earthquake Activity Is Caused By Fracking. So pesky. Remember the recent SMU study that already reached this conclusion? A new paper from researchers with the University of Colorado and the U.S. Geological Survey was just published in the journal Science (what a coincidence) that further supports SMU’s finding, concluding “that the entire increase in earthquake rates in Texas and nearby states was associated with fluid injection wells.”

Flooded Grapevine Lake Causes Problems. Coppell, Lewisville, Grapevine, and Flower Mound all have plans in place for the evacuation of low-lying areas, as runoff from the lake caused road closures.

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Leading Off (6/15/2015)

Shoot Out At Dallas Police Headquarters. Since it was all over local and national news, I feel like it’s safe to assume you heard about the situation that developed very early Saturday morning. But just in case: Shots were first fired outside the DPD’s headquarters, across from the Southside on Lamar residences, around 12:30 am, which led to a chase and stand off between the suspect and police down the highway in Hutchins. The suspect, James Boulware, was driving an armored vehicle, and police say he appears to have acted alone. Luckily, no officers were injured or killed; Boulware was killed sometime after negotiations for his surrender were cut off. However, Boulware had rigged several explosives near DPD headquarters, which led the evacuation of Southside on Lamar, and police say that Boulware’s van was also rigged. From beginning to end, the confirmed death of the shooter, the ordeal lasted 12 hours. The DPD posted on update on their blog on Sunday regarding the officers involved as well as ongoing issues, like clean up and crime scene processing.

City Council Runoff Race Decides Open Seats. WFAA reports that Casey Thomas won in District 3, beating Joe Tave. In District 7, Tiffinni Young won, beating Kevin Felder. In District 10, Adam McGough beat Paul Reyes. In District 8, Erik Wilson beat Dianne Gibson.

Dallas Could Get A New TV Show. Well, sorta! Some folks down in Austin decided recently that providing incentives for the film and television industry in our state wasn’t a priority, which is insane. However, Dallas is pretty close to enticing a USA show called Queen of the South, based on a hit Telemundo show, to film the show where it’s set: right here. However, the City Council does need to approve a $150,000 “economic incentive,” which would be worth it, since local spending is an estimated $18 million for the first season alone.

Brace Yourselves For More Bad Weather. And for everyone you know to post more annoyed screenshots of the bleakness staring back at them from their phone’s weather app. Storms are brewing.

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Leading Off (6/8/2015)

McKinney Police Officer On Leave After Video Of Pool Incident Surfaces. Friday evening, McKinney Police responded to calls from residents and a private security guard about a disturbance at a community pool within the Craig Ranch residential subdivision. A total of 12 officers eventually arrived on the scene, and a video that surfaced later shows officers seemingly targeting only the black teenagers who were at the pool. Corporal Eric Casebolt, the officer in the video who manhandles a 14-year-old girl, shoving her face in to the grass, pulling her hair, and finally sitting on her back to hold her down, is the one of administrative leave. (This is also the same officer who pulls a gun on two black teenage boys, but two other officers stop him, so he goes back to attacking the girl.) Special shout out to the white adult male in the jean shorts who hovers by the cop for the entire thing and says and does absolutely nothing.

Three Pedestrians Killed Early Sunday. The incidents were all unrelated. One was in Northwest Dallas, and Dallas Police have charged  36-year-old Alejandro Hernandez-Vazquez with intoxication manslaughter. Another was in east Oak Cliff, where a woman was found dead after being struck by a car traveling westbound on McVey Avenue. The driver did not stop. Finally, the third was a man who was attempting to stop his car from being towed around 3:50 am. He fell, and was run over by the tow truck.

Bikers Protest in Waco. Nearly 1,000 attended the All For 1 Rally and protest against the Waco Police Department and judges, three weeks after the deadly shootout between rival gangs at Twin Peaks. Of the some 170 bikers arrested, more than 100 are still incarcerated. Supporters and protesters, who remained peaceful, say that most of the bikers behind bars are innocent.

DART Shooter Remains at Large. A gunman shot two fellow passengers late Friday night after one of these people made eye contact with him. Luckily, the two survived.

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Leading Off (5/27/2015)

17-Year-Old Charged With Strangling 16-Year-Old Ex-Girlfriend. Rachel Jean Wiest was in 10th grade; Jacob Lee Boyd was in 11th. They both attended Nimitz High School in Irving. They were at a friend’s house on Memorial Day, discussing their relationship. They argued. After that, police say, he choked her to death.

Runway at DFW Airport Reopened After Nearby Sinkhole Causes Shutdown. I really thought, after reading so many Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books as a kid, that quicksand was going to play a much larger role in my life than it has thus far. News of this 25-foot by 25-foot sinkhole out at DFW Airport, created after a section of storm drain dislodged, is about the closest I’ve gotten.

Body of Trinity River Kayaker Found In Discharge Pool. Joshua Reed of Fort Worth, along with five others, was kayaking in a restricted area Saturday evening when water released from the Eagle Mountain Dam overtook their vessels. The five others, which included a 6-year-old girl, were eventually rescued; Reed was found dead Sunday.

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Leading Off (5/25/2015)

We Live In Seattle Now. The weekend was marked by heavy rain and more flooding. Meanwhile, two tornadoes were confirmed in Dallas County early Sunday morning, one that moved into Farmers Branch, and another in Irving.

Theatre Three Founder Jac Alder Has Died. Our former critic, Lindsey Wilson, and I heard the news Friday evening just shortly before walking into the New Works Festival’s main stage show at Kitchen Dog. It’s an enormous loss for the theater community.He died of respiratory failure, but had been battling cancer. Over on Art & Seek, Jerome Weeks has a thorough tribute to Alder’s life and work.

Frackquake Investigators Receive Oil And Gas Funds. In this next round of budget votes, lawmakers will probably appoint the Bureau of Economic Geology as the official investigating body tasked with researching the recent rash of Texas earthquakes. According to the News, the Bureau of Economic Geology gets “roughly half its funding from the oil and gas industry.” Okay, sure. No problem.

It’s Memorial Day. Our headquarters are closed in observance of the holiday honoring the men and women of our armed forces who died in service. Have fun, be safe.

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Leading Off (5/18/2015)

Trinity River Levels Approach Moderate Flood Stage. The river is expected to rise to 39 feet, thanks to all the drought-mitigating rain we’ve had. Dallas County’s drought officially began five years ago, so this beautiful fullness is something we haven’t seen in awhile. It’s pretty all right.

Biker Brawl In Waco Leaves Nine Dead. The Twin Peaks where Sunday’s deadly altercation went down was known to police as a hangout for rival gangs. As many as 100 weapons were recovered from the scene, and at least five different biker gangs were involved. In addition to the casualties, another 18 people were injured.

George W. Bush Speaks At SMU Commencement. And he made a funny about the presidential prospects of “C” students. But seriously, congrats to all the graduates.

Wrong-Way Crash On I-635 Kills Mother, Injures Two Children. Crystal Nuncio, a 28-year-old mother of two who had worked as a dispatcher for the Garland Police Department for nine years, was driving her kids to a caretaker before her shift Sunday morning when a Tahoe going the wrong way on I-635 slammed into her SUV. She died at the scene; both children, a 10-year-old and a 9-month-old, were taken to the hospital with injuries. The driver of the Tahoe is believed to have been intoxicated.

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Leading Off (5/11/2015)

North Texas Sees More Severe Weather. I was driving very urgently back from Austin on I-35 yesterday and beat the storm moving into Italy and Hillsboro by about 20 minutes. I felt like the Millennium Falcon bursting out of the exploding wreckage of the Death Star. But seriously, the brief tornado that hit Denton did some damage, while the one that went through Cisco, about 100 miles west of Fort Worth, killed at least one person. Flooding is still a danger.

Mayor Mike Rawlings Wins Second Term. Rawlings won handily, beating challenger Marcos Ronquillo with three-quarters of the vote. Three sitting City Council members who support the Trinity tollroad won re-election, but Carolyn King Arnold and Mark Clayton, who ran as opponents of the tollroad, won crowded races in District 4 and District 9, respectively. Until the runoff election in June to decide the four remaining seats, the Council is split 6-6 on all things Trinity Parkway.

High-Speed Rail Plan At Risk. A last minute addition to the state budget bill, made by State Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown), would effectively kill the private plan for a high-speed rail line between Houston and Dallas by limiting the involvement of the Texas Department of Transportation in the project past the environmental study phase. Neither Mayor Mike or the new mayor of Arlington are pleased.

Irving Doctor Indicted In $5 Million Fraud Scheme. Dr. Hector Molina, of Molina Medical Housecall Services, and his associate, Blanca Mata, who is not a doctor, were charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and health care fraud. Allegedly, since 2012, Molina has been billing Medicare for home visits made by Mata (again, not a doctor) as visits he had made. Molina also billed for home visits he claimed he made in Dallas while he was out of the country. Happily, he has been found out.

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Leading Off (5/4/2015)

Two Dead After Shots Fired At Anti-Muslim Event In Garland. Every word in that sentence is rotten. The American Freedom Defense Initiative, essentially an anti-Muslim hate group, held a cartoon contest for drawings of the prophet Mohammad, which culminated in the event Sunday. According to CNN, “The group said it specifically picked the venue, a public school-owned facility, because it was host to a event denouncing Islamophobia in January.” Of course. Two men opened fire outside the venue, which is owned by the Garland school district, injuring a Garland ISD officer. Police shot the two gunmen dead. Their names haven’t been released, and because of the shooting, high school students won’t get to take their AP exams as scheduled today.

That Earthquake Sunday Morning Definitely Woke Me Up. I can exclusively report that this one was strong enough to disturb both me and my dishes. The magnitude was 3.2. I love the “guess where the epicenter was” game, so we’ll play that again.

Former Dallas Assistant Police Chief Killed in Corpus Christi. Floyd Simpson, a 25 year Dallas Police Department veteran who worked alongside then-chief David Kunkle before becoming Corpus Christie’s chief of police in 2012, died in a motorcycle accident Sunday evening.

City Councilman Scott Griggs Under Investigation For Coercion of a Public Servant. The case seems a bit dodgy, starting with the dump of this news at the end of the day Friday. City secretary Bilirae Johnson filed a complaint with the Dallas Police Department eight days after the alleged incident occurred. Griggs, allegedly upset about the way a posting about the April 16 Trinity River toll road meeting was or wasn’t handled, is accused of attempting to “stop Complainant Johnson from performing her duties by his use of profanity and threats.” I say “was or wasn’t,” since the agenda for the meeting was posted, per City Hall, before the alleged incident between Johnson and Griggs occurred. Supporters of Griggs say that the investigation is a scare tactic, because Griggs has been such a vocal opponent of the toll road.

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The Most Dangerous Book In Dallas Is Also The Most Lucrative

In the May issue, Peter Simek wrote about The Accommodation, Dallas Observer columnist Jim Schutze’s out-of-print book about the city’s racial divide that has seen a surge in black-market popularity among the young and civic-minded. You should read Peter’s story, and not just because it is both timely and contains a fascinating aside on how a certain embattled county commissioner came to possess the book’s copyright.

You should read it because it could make you rich. Well, richer. And only if you happen to have a copy of The Accommodation already in your possession, and only if you feel like divesting yourself of that copy. As we were finishing up the issue, I happened to mention to a longtime Dallasite and FrontBurnervian that the cheapest copy was selling online for $989. This Dallasite owned a copy in good condition. And because I am a triple threat of nice person, shrewd businesslady, and believer in the free market, I suggested she list it on Amazon. Yesterday, it sold to someone in the Park Cities for $599. She emails that “two other people posted books for about the price I’d listed when the issue came out—and they sold too.”

I can’t tell you where the copy that was in our office went. No clue. I am just saying that if I did know, drinks would be on me.

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Leading Off (4/27/2015)

First Tornadoes Of The Season Roll In. Dallas and Tarrant Counties were under a tornado watch for much of the night, but the really scary stuff seemed to skip us. Around 11 pm, WFAA’s Pete Delkus tweeted that North Texas was under a new tornado watch until 5 am, but the watch didn’t include Dallas-Fort Worth. However, at the time of typing, five confirmed tornadoes were spotted elsewhere, such as Glen Rose and west of Rio Vista. Hope everyone stayed safe last night.

Texas Railroad Commission Considers Shutting Down Azle Injection Wells. After SMU’s scientific report last week linking the wastewater injection wells to significant earthquake activity in Azle and Reno, the Railroad Commission has announced that it will hold hearings in June to determine the fate of XTO Energy and EnerVest Operating’s wells. The 27 earthquakes from  November 2013 to January 2014 “were in an area where no earthquakes had been reported or felt for 150 years, leading [the researchers] to link the quakes to nearby wells.” The spokespeople from both oil and gas companies agree that they are looking forward to the hearings, which, what a coincidence, me too. I can’t wait to hear how they try to spin this.

Steve Blow Is Part Neanderthal. Genetics told him so.

TCU Security Guard Arrested For Improper Photography. Alexander Marin, a security guard at TCU’s library, was fired and arrested after he was identified as the brazen creep who stuck a cell phone under the door of a stall in a women’s restroom and took photos of a student. He was also linked to two other incidents in the library. Ick.

Mavs Win! No sweep for the Houston Rockets. I am guessing this is a relief for the many Dallas sports fans I know, and even the ones I have yet to meet. Meanwhile, Jordan Spieth is getting some mileage out of that green jacket.


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Tesla Mobile Projection Vehicle Puts a Panda on the Meyerson

Okay, yes, the company has done other stuff to help the planet, too, like produce a beautiful electric vehicle people actually want to drive. Our photographer, Elizabeth, went out with the Tesla team around midnight last night to document this Earth Day-inspired project: mobile projections of animals in acute danger. It’s promotion for a film called Racing Extinction, which delves deep into the international wildlife trade, that screens Saturday and Sunday at Earth Day Dallas in Fair Park. The activists featured in the documentary use cameras hidden in water bottles and button holes to expose the lucrative markets that threaten species with extinction. A Tesla is, of course, also involved in the somewhat less covert operations as a way of attempting to get people to wake up and pay attention to world around them. The film, which premiered at Sundance this year, is directed by Louis Psihoyos, the man behind The Cove, a documentary about the Japanese dolphin trade that won an Academy Award in 2010. See it Saturday or Sunday, 2 pm and 6 pm.

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Leading Off (4/20/2015)

Stevie Ray Vaughan Inducted Into Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. The ceremony took place on Saturday in Cleveland, but for fans of the Oak Cliff guitarist and his band, Double Trouble, the induction was a long time coming.

Plano West Sports Star Arrested. Soso Jamabo, a senior running back who had signed with UCLA, was arrested in Kaufman County on a charge of evading arrest with a vehicle after he allegedly attempted to avoid a traffic stop Saturday evening. Police say they tried to pull him over after he exited Highway 175 at a high speed, and in response, Jamabo, driving a truck, sped up and ran a stop sign, turning on to State Highway 274. He eventually stopped. The three other people in the car with him were cited for minors in possession of alcohol and minors in consumption, but not arrested. Jamabo bonded out Sunday afternoon.

Rockets Beat Mavs In First Playoff Game. The score was 118-108. This is a fun quote from Houston Rockets player Corey Brewer, who was once a Maverick: “It feels good, especially playing against a former team,” said Brewer, who was sent to Denver in a salary dump when Dallas acquired Lamar Odom before the 2011-12 season.  “I think they traded me away for a bag of chips, so it’s always good to play against them.”

Did Someone Lose A Tortoise? The Sulcata tortoise is not inconspicuous, considering that it weighs more than your average dog. It was found near Ferguson Road and St. Francis, so if anyone in Casa Linda has lost a pet speed demon, call Dallas Animal Services and Adoption Center.

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Leading Off (4/13/2015)

Jordan Spieth Wins Masters. The 21-year-old Dallas native finished ahead of Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, and Rory McIlroy to nab the green jacket.

Thousands of People Watched Katie The Giraffe Give Birth. It’s a girl. And already six feet tall. Here are some photos of the as-yet-unnamed baby giraffe.

Gas Well Leak Prompts Evacuations in Arlington. Residents were displaced Saturday night while Halliburton-owned Boots & Co. attempted to seal the leak, which had something to do with the “flow back of pressurized fracking water” well into Sunday afternoon.

Major Crash On I-30 Kills Five Early Sunday Morning. It started as a minor accident in Fort Worth. Then an 18-wheeler carrying the Sunday edition of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram wrecked and caught fire. Nine cars and 17 people were involved. Be careful out there.

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