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Leading Off (3/23/2015)

Ted Cruz Is Officially Running For President. After majorly spoiler alert-ing this announcement on every single news organization and social media platform known to man, including Yahoo Groups, Sen. Ted Cruz will make the actual announcement today, though not from Texas. He’ll do it from Liberty University in Virginia. He’s the first GOP candidate to jump in.

Yoga Does Not Work For Everyone. As Nancy Duarte evidently found when she misplaced her zen and tried to burn down Sunstone Yoga on Mockingbird Lane Saturday night.  The studio suffered minimal damage.  Per the Morning News, “a witness, Phineas Bennett-Lovari, said the woman was lighting matches and pieces of paper and throwing them into the air, yelling, ‘I’m going to burn this [expletive] down. I don’t care if I go to jail.'” Duarte was arrested and charged with arson.

Arlington Might Get An MGM Grand Hotel. The city would not confirm, but sources told the Star-Telegram that a “convention-class” hotel with at least 750 rooms was in the works for a site near Globe Life Park.

Uptown Definitely Getting A Dream Hotel. Dallas is one a few cities with Dream Hotels in the works, as the boutique brand is adding six new properties. It will be on McKinney Ave. near Bowen Street. The plans were delayed while developers worked with residents to address parking and noise concerns.

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Leading Off (3/16/2015)

Ponies Headed to NCAA Tournament. SMU beat UConn to clinch a spot. Thanks, Larry Brown. Yay, sports.

Pedestrian Killed In Hit-And-Run in Lake Highlands. David Benton, 55, was killed crossing the street at Skillman and Walnut Hill Lane Sunday morning when he was struck by a vehicle. The driver, identified as Angel Lopez-Gil, kept going, dragging Benton’s body, and then parked his damaged vehicle and fled on foot. A witness to the accident followed him, and police were able to make the arrest a few blocks away.

Pedestrian Killed By TRE In Irving. This was not a good weekend, you guys. Apparently, a woman ventured on to the tracks Saturday afternoon while the crossing gate arms were still down and was waiting for a westbound freight train to pass while walking south on Nursery Road. She did not see the TRE coming from the east.

Teenager Arrested In Death Of Iraqi Immigrant. Nykerion Nealon, 17, was arrested Friday in connection with the death of Ahmed Al-Jumaili, the Iraqi immigrant who was murdered while he was taking pictures of the snow. Police say that it was not a hate crime—Nealon was allegedly looking for a person who he claimed shot at his girlfriend’s apartment 30 minutes before when he randomly came across Al-Jumaili and his family while carrying an assault rifle. Why does a 17-year-old even have access to an assault rifle? This is insane.

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The New York Times Is Streaming Strike: The Greatest Bowling Story Ever Told

You may recall that Michael J. Mooney’s story, “The Most Amazing Bowling Story Ever,” inspired a short documentary about the night amateur bowler Bill Fong threw strike after strike. Filmmaker Joey Daoud read the story when it first came out and wrote to Mike immediately. Lest you think the praise for this Mooney classic had run its course, it was recently the subject of the Nieman Foundation’s Annotation Tuesday. You can read the story with his writerly notes here.

Anyway, I got to see the film, Strike: The Greatest Bowling Story Ever Told, last year at the Dallas International Film Festival. It’s great, and I’m not biased or being paid by Mooney to write all this. But starting to today, you can screen it on nytimes.com as part of their Made With Kickstarter series.

Go forth and watch.

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Leading Off (3/9/2015)

There Was Another Earthquake Saturday Night, And Guess Where The Epicenter Was. If you said anything that did not at least near-rhyme with “Flexas Titanium,” we’re sorry, you have reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer is service. The magnitude was 2.3 for those keeping score.

Police Still Seeking Suspects In Last Thursday’s Murder Of An Iraqi Refugee. This story is sad and depressing and very troubling. Ahmed al-Jumaili had only recently arrived in Dallas, where he was reunited with his wife after staying behind in Baghdad last year to to try and save more money despite escalating violence there. He was shot outside his family’s apartment early Thursday morning, after he went outside to take pictures of the snow. The shooters fled, and al-Jumaili died at Presby. The police released a video of the suspects on Saturday. Vox has a longer piece on the shooting, which is recommended reading.

SMU Mustangs Win First Conference Title Since 1993. The Ponies beat Tulsa 67-62, with Markus Kennedy leading the team with 16 points.

Longtime KSCS Radio Personality Terry Dorsey Dies. He had just retired from the station in December of last year. He died Saturday night of a sudden illness on his farm in Illinois.

This Is The Most Dallas Thing Ever. Somebody rented a Bird Bird-infused Lambo (of course), drove it on the Tollway (of course), wrecked it after hitting a wall (of course), and then abandoned it on the shoulder (OF COURSE) late Saturday night. Even more fantastic: the luxury car rental company claiming the Lamborghini is Farmers Branch-based “Exotic Skittles,” because nothing says “luxury” like candy available in Fun Size. Personally, and sticking to the candy theme, I would have gone with “Exotic Green-Tea Kit Kats You Can Buy In Japan, But Also At That Grocery Store In Carrollton.”

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Leading Off (3/2/2015)

Nina Pham Is Suing Texas Health Resources. As if you could forget, Pham is the Presby nurse who was among those who treated Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, and then contracted Ebola herself. She announced her intent to file a suit today against Presby’s parent company, Texas Health Resources, on Saturday in a Dallas Morning News story complete with lots of photos of Pham and her adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bentley. The suit alleges negligence on the part of the hospital—a failure to develop policies, train staff, and provide proper protective equipment—as well as invasions of privacy.

This Weather Is Unpleasant. On Saturday, two people were killed and a third injured when their SUV slid off an icy I-30 overpass in Fort Worth and into a creek. Despite one nearly 70-degree day, there will be more danger-making sleet and storms this week, so do be careful.

Lucky Dog Books Will Vacate Davis Street Storefront. Another one bites the dust, ish. Owner John Tilton, who was unable to keep up with his rent and had been partially paying for months, mentions that he is looking at other possibilities in Oak Cliff. He and his wife have another Lucky Dog in East Dallas. A new Common Desk, the co-working space, will move into the space.

Toyota Is Polling Its Employees To See How They Feel About Moving To North Texas. The process will last a year, and “the surveys won’t specifically ask employees in California, Kentucky and New York to commit to the move.” The first one to respond with this should get a raise, probably.

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First Look At Flora Lofts, Now Part of 29-Story Arts District High Rise

Back in 2013, Peter wrote about the Bob Meckfessel-led La Reunion TX proposal for 39 affordable artist lofts in the Arts District, built on the site of the parking lot next to Museum Tower on Flora Street. At the time of the proposal, the going rate for those lofts would be $360 to $790 each, and the artists would have to apply and meet certain income standards.

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ESPN’s Interview With the Von Erichs Airs Friday

According to Kevin Von Erich on Twitter, ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 interview with the famous Texas wrestling family, which has been in the works for at least a year, will see the light.

Prior to catching that on SportsCenter, re-visit the magazine’s 1988 cover story about the Von Erichs’ professional triumphs and personal tragedies.

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Leading Off (2/23/2015)

North Texas Braced For A Taste Of East Coast Misery. Dallas ISD and many others are closed. DFW Airport has preemptively cancelled flights. Road crews have been out since 6 pm last night. Sleet forecasts have increased. Everybody stay safe.

DISD Over-Hires General Education Teachers, Causes Internal Panic. DISD started the school year off back in August with just 16 vacancies, something superintendent Mike Miles hailed as a triumph. Then, in October, executives, in a move that sounds just a tad like a usually trustworthy teenager asking to spend the night at a friend’s house in order to go to a party when they know it’s against the rules even though nothing bad will happen, asked the board to approve another $6.4 million to pay for 165 more school positions that included 137 more teachers. The reason they gave was unexpected student enrollment. Turns out, according to a pile of instant messages obtained by the News from September, DISD had actually hired too many teachers with general education certificates who couldn’t teach subjects like math, science, or a foreign language. Now the question is, was the board misled? My prediction is locked in Neil Patrick Harris’ briefcase.

New Maverick Amar’e Stoudemire Makes Impressive Debut. He scored 14 points in 11 minutes during Sunday night’s game. And the Mavs won, 92-81.

American Sniper Wins One Oscar. It was for sound editing. Taya Kyle was in attendance.

PSA: There’s A Chuck Jones Exhibit At The Fort Worth Museum Of Science And History. I caught this fantastic traveling exhibit when it was at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria. I only just realized that it had traveled here. If ever in your life you derived joy from Bugs Bunny or Daffy or Roadrunner or Elmer Fudd, you must go. It’s a really wonderful look into Jones’ mind and talent.

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FrontBurner Freebie: Two Tickets to Kitchen Dog Theater’s Hooch & Pooch Party

Imagine you are Kate, and I am Leo, and I am asking you from atop a gilded staircase if you want to go to a real party. This one does not include doomed third class passengers hooting along to an Irish polka, but it does feature fine company (theater people are fun), drinks (beer from Deschutes, vodka from Dripping Springs), and decidedly Titanic-era jams (the theme is a “’90s-style rave”).

But seriously, Kitchen Dog’s yearly fundraiser, Hooch & Pooch, is great. Which is why we here at D sponsor it. I went last year and had a blast. This year, I have a pair of tickets to give away. It’s this Saturday, Feb. 21, at 8 pm at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary. Go here to enter. The item you’re registering to win is Hooch & Pooch tickets.

I’ll pick and email the winner on Thursday at 5 pm, near, far, wherever you are. Except you should probably be near.

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Leading Off (2/16/2015)

Fatal Shooting On Lower Greenville. Orlando Pulido, 26, was shot multiple times early Sunday morning in the parking lot behind OT Tavern. The suspect is still at large.

Dirk Dunks. During the All-Star Game. It is adorable.

So-Called “Evening Burglar” Caught. Remember that rash of burglaries, committed by a particularly speedy thief (or thieves) that spread from Plano to Allen to Dallas? Police caught two suspects in the act Friday, you guessed it, evening. Now that the important news has been dispensed with, I would like to point out that this criminal nickname lacks panache. That said, good inter-agency police work!

Dallas Stars’ Tyler Seguin Injured. The team’s leading scorer will be out three to six weeks after taking a hit to the knee during Friday’s game against Florida. This is not great news for the Stars’ playoff hopes. Meanwhile, two other players, Ales Hemsky and Patrick Eaves, were also injured. Eaves got hit in the cheek with a puck. Yee-ouch.

The News Creates Open Records Request Website. This is interesting. The DMN‘s latest project is aimed at helping the public make and track open records requests to state agencies subject to the Texas Public Information Act.

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Dallas Police Water Rescue Caught on Body Camera

Last August, the Dallas Police Association pushed for the department and the district attorney’s office to provide all uniformed cops with body cameras. The DPD field-tested lapel cameras in 2014, with an original plan to equip up to 2,500 cops. These cameras have already proved useful in officer-involved shootings. But here we have something different.

According to the DPD blog, a man lost control of his car last Friday night near 5800 Military Parkway and plummeted 50 feet into a creek. As his vehicle flooded with water, officers from the department’s Southeast Crime Response Team (CRT) Unit were able to pull him out through the window. The body cam video was released as part to the DPD’s efforts to “enhance public safety and transparency.” Fortunately, the cops were nearby and able to respond when a witness called it in.

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Leading Off (2/9/2015)

DPD Officer Dies In Apparent Murder-Suicide. The officer’s name was Larry Tuttle. A police statement indicates that a woman, who is still unnamed, shot him, then herself. A six-year-old child was seen exiting the apartment where the bodies were found, making this story entirely tragic.

St. Vincent Wins a Grammy. Since y’all don’t live under rocks, you know that St. Vincent, aka Annie Clark, is a musician who grew up in Dallas. She was once a member of the Polyphonic Spree. And Sunday night, she won the Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album  for her self-titled album, produced and recorded here by John Congleton. Could not be happier about this.

Prime Prep No Longer Exists, But Problems Persist. After the Jan. 30 closing of its campuses, parents have scrambled to enroll their children elsewhere. But thanks to Prime Prep’s lousy record keeping, many students are showing up at other schools with incomplete or outdated files. This means more testing for these affected students in order to determine where they should be placed. Plus, there’s the whole mystery of the missing computers, massive debt, several lawsuits, and a TEA investigation.

Klyde Warren Park Mega-Fundraisers Honored. Sheila and Jody Grant, who were a driving force behind the park over Woodall Rodgers from the beginning, will receive the Linz Award in April. Now in its 86th year, the award is “given annually to a Dallas County resident in honor of civic service or humanitarian efforts.”

 

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Leading Off (2/2/2015)

Xerox Building Comes Down. It’s making way for the Uptown Sam’s Club we’ve written some words about previously.

Former SMU Law Dean Arrested For Prostitution. John Attanasio was the school’s dean for 25 years, until his contract was not renewed in 2013. He’s still a professor of law at the university. He was arrested early Sunday.

DISD Human Resource Exec Forced To Resign. Carmen Darville was investigation for “failure to conduct background checks, unethical conduct, retaliation, and conflicts of interest,” according to WFAA. She resigned Thursday, apparently due to the leak of internal messages between herself and another HR director, Jose Munoz, who has also resigned. There are conflicting reports as to what superintendent Mike Miles knew about her behavior, and when.

Happy Groundhog Day. Six more weeks of winter? Our furry pal will let us know. Today is also a D Magazine holiday, so you’ll forgive us if posting is light. I have a long-overdue date with the fifth season of Justified.

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Leading Off (1/26/2015)

Twitter Bomb Threats: Textbook Definition Of Not Awesome. This weekend, some monster (or monsters) decided to make air travel even more of a nightmare by tweeting a bomb threat at an airline carrier. This caused Delta flight 1061 from Los Angeles to Orlando to be diverted to DFW Airport Sunday afternoon, where it was grounded and evacuated. Two other planes, a JetBlue and a SkyWest, were evacuated in Seattle.

Filing For Local Elections Starts Wednesday. Three board seats are up for election in DISD, including the one held by Elizabeth Jones, the subject of a bi-weekly “what in the world is this lady talking about” series over on Learning Curve.

Money For Earthquake Research? The Lege is considering it, per the Texas Tribune. It’s an item in Speaker Joe Straus’ budget proposal—$2.5 million for a seismic monitoring program.

A Significant Play For Dallas Theater Center Opens Friday. Yes, I am using this space to plug a thing I did for the January issue. But I have a couple good reasons. The official opening of Stagger Lee, written by SMU Meadows Prize recipient and DTC playwright-in-residence Will Power, is the Center’s first fully self-produced premiere of a new musical. It’s also huge—an 18 person cast. Overall, it’s a big investment for the DTC, and it redoubles a commitment to new work, to diversity, and to an ongoing conversation about race in this country. I sat in on a rehearsal, and some of the music I heard gave me chills. I interviewed Power, who is fascinating and talks a mile a minute. And check out KERA’s big interactive piece on the making of the show. Impressive stuff.

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Leading Off (1/19/2015)

Muslim Conference In Garland Draws Protesters. The conference, held at a facility operated by Garland ISD, was put on by Sound Vision, a Chicago-based Islamic organization. Per NBC, it was met by thousands of protesters and counter-protesters. The title of the conference was “Stand With the Prophet Against Terror and Hate.” Meanwhile, the prize for Most Predictable Use of Craft Supplies went to the white lady in the hideous sweater with the “Go Home and Take Obama With You” sign.

Dallas Safari Club Will No Longer Auction Off The Chance To Kill An African Elephant. The donor of the hunt withdrew the gift to the club, and therefore, murdering one of this planet’s largest animals for fun is off the table. However! You can still try for the chance to spend 14 expensive days in Mozambique attempting to kill an adult male leopard.

A Painful Cinematic Pun Happened In The Headline Of This Article. Also, the Lakewood Theater might become an Alamo Drafthouse. Alamo Drafthouses in Dallas are basically useless to me unless Rob Thomas promises to bring the cast of his next TV project, whatever that is, to one, so I have no opinion on this tidbit.

Another Earthquake in Irving. Speaking of places with an Alamo Drafthouse, there was one of those little earth wigglers on Saturday. A 2.2. How cute.

American Sniper Is Breaking MLK Weekend Box Office Records. The movie, which is based on Texas sniper Chris Kyle’s memoir and has inspired mostly ambivalent-to-blistering reviews, has made more than $90 million in its first weekend in wide release. That’s a lot for an R-rated drama, and a lot for a movie set in Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s also a lot for a Clint Eastwood film, believe it or not. I haven’t seen it, but I have read Michael Mooney’s story about the man. Anyway, happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, everybody. I think I’ll go see Selma.

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