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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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Texas’ Goat Population Is Doing Awesome

If anyone was worried, the Washington Post is here to help. My new favorite person, Christopher Ingraham, has mapped every goat in the United States, as per the USDA’s 2012 Agricultural Census. This map—one dot equals 500 goats—is fantastic.

For one thing, total goat population, if all the goats were stuffed into one united goat state under “Please Don’t Eat Us,” would outnumber the people population of Wyoming, Vermont, D.C., and North Dakota. People are, somehow, googling “goat recipes” enough that it returns 19.3 million results. There are 3.2 million YouTube videos that, again, somehow involve goats. But where are the Pinterest stats? Come on.

Here’s the part that has to do with Texas:

You’ll find commercial goat farms operating in 2,996 of the country’s 3,143 counties. Of the top ten goat-producing counties, 8 are in Texas and two are in Arizona. In Sutton County, Texas, goats outnumber people 14-to-1. In Edwards County, also in Texas, the ratio is 22-to-1. All in all, goats outnumber people in 21 U.S. counties, all but one of which are in Texas.

In light of all this, and if, indeed, goats are everywhere, Apple should probably set about fixing a massive, recently-noted injustice. There are two camel emojis and only one goat emoji. Equal emojis for all.

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Leading Off (1/12/2015)

I Am Really Super Sorry, Cowboys Fans. This catch-not-a-catch thing is…infuriating. Until next season.

Former Mavericks Center Roy Tarpley Dies. He was 50. No cause of death was listed by the medical examiner, according to reports.

Everyone Wants To Make Sure Their Homeowners Insurance Covers Earthquakes. Not a terrible idea, I guess, since while I was very busy tuning in to the Golden Globes, I felt yet another one. It registered a 2.5. Probably the ghost of Texas Stadium is just extra-mad about the Cowboys loss.

Boy Injured in 2009 DWI Case Dies. This one was already a sad case. Abdallah Khader, 8, was in a near vegetative state for almost six years. The driver of the vehicle that struck the car Khadar was riding in, Stewart Richardson, is a repeat offender and, per WFAA, holds the  distinction of waiting for trial in a Tarrant County jail longer than any other currently-incarcerated inmate.

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Fair Park Fire Displaces Nearly 40

In 2000, you might recall a tornado ripping through Fort Worth. I was at my aunt’s house that evening, had gone to bed early, and snoozed through the whole thing.

Somewhat closer to home, last night I had the strange experience of sleeping next door to a five-alarm fire. I live in Fair Park. I went to sleep at 2 am, which is why when I woke up at a little past 3 am because my bed was shaking and sirens were wailing and my neighbor was pounding on my door, it felt like I was in some sort of weird red and orange and blue dream. That’s also possibly why, after poking my head out in to the hall and not really seeing anything, I went back to sleep. In retrospect, I should have done a little more investigating. When I woke up again, my power was out, my building smelled like badly burnt toast, and I couldn’t leave to get to work—firefighters were still parked outside my garage and the air was thick with smoke. The fire started at a warehouse, 4100 Commerce, and spread toward my building, which, thankfully, is fine. My neighbors in 4130 Commerce are not so lucky. The units are uninhabitable.

Justin Terveen, cityscape photographer extraordinaire who apparently lives nearby, got a photo of the fire—it’s huge. Anyway, what I am saying is, I’m glad everyone made it out alive. Firefighters are awesome and brave and I’m crazy grateful they contained the fire. And I need to rethink my sleeping patterns.

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Leading Off (12/15/2014)

Female Marathon Winner Doesn’t Get to Break Her Own Tape. Shitaye Gemechu of Ethiopia lead the whole 26.2 miles, and then she got passed up by a relay runner who mistakenly crossed the finish line meant for Gemechu. Gemechu’s time was 2:46:46—20 minutes under her personal best. The female runner-up was 22-year-old Jessica Harper from Southlake, and Sunday marked her first marathon.  The overall winner was Kimutai Cheruiyot, with a time of 2:17:10.

4-Year-Old Boy Missing After Mother Killed. Maria Isabel Romero Medina, 27, was found dead in the Denton insurance office where she worked Saturday night. An Amber Alert was issued for her son, and police are looking for the boy’s father, Ricardo Lara Martinez, in connection with his abduction as well as her death.

Tyson Chandler Rejects a Shoe. I’m going to attempt to write something else sports-related without royally screwing it up. Golden State Warrior Marreese Speights lost his shoe near the end of the third quarter. Teammate Stephen Curry tried to toss it to him. Tyson Chandler whacked the shoe out of bounds. 

Man Last Seen With Christina Morris Arrested. If you remember, Christina Morris is the young woman who disappeared from the Shops at Legacy on August 30. She was last seen walking in the parking lot with a man in the wee hours of the morning. That man was later identified as Enrique Arochi, who was arrested by Plano police Friday and charged with aggravated kidnapping, in part due to DNA samples collected earlier in the investigation. Previously, he has maintained he did not know where Morris went after they parted ways. There is still no sign of Morris.

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Leading Off (12/8/2014)

Jordan Spieth Wins at Isleworth. Spieth, who is 21, dominated the Tiger Woods-hosted Hero World Challenge. He won by a record-setting 10 strokes. 9:37 Update: Look, if there’s a sport I know less about than football, it’s golf.

How is the US Airways/American Airlines Merger Going? Very well, according to CEO Doug Parker, one year later. However, milestones for 2015 include the pesky merger of frequent flier programs, as well as booking systems.

Three Families Robbed at Gunpoint in One Night. This all happened on Saturday evening in Allen, within a little over an hour. Police are also investigating a fourth home invasion Friday night in Coppell that played out similarly. The families were tied up and held at gun point by one of the robbers, while others searched the house for money and valuables.

No College Football Playoffs For TCU. Or Baylor. The two schools end regular season play as the Big 12 co-champions. I am gathering that people are upset about a few things here.

Two Charged With Murder of Fort Worth Woman. I mentioned this story last week. Ashlea Harris was found dead in her burning Fort Worth apartment building after working a late shift at Hulen Mall on Black Friday. Two men have been arrested for her murder. These two men were also arrested in connection with an $18,000 theft from the American Eagle store where Harris worked.

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Leading Off (12/1/2014)

Dallas Police Officer Arrested in Highland Park. For allegedly driving drunk and then attempting to flee on foot.

Man Shot By Dallas Police Officer Suing for $10 Million. In other, not-so-flattering news for the DPD, Kelvion Walker, the unarmed man shot by then Senior Corporal Amy Wilburn late last year, has amended his lawsuit against the city to ask for at least $10 million. His lawyers say that depositions from high-ranking officials, including Chief David Brown, support their claim that Wilburn, who has since been fired and indicted on a felony charge, acted wrongly.

Woman Found Dead in North Dallas Apartment. The 20-year-old woman, Erika Mong, did not show up for Thanksgiving dinner with her family, and was later found dead of an apparent gunshot wound. The police have not yet released a description of a suspect.

Woman Found Dead in Fort Worth Apartment. Sorry for the repetition, but this was a sad holiday weekend, especially for these women and their families. In this instance, police were alerted to the apartment because it was on fire, a fire that was kept small by a sprinkler system. Fort Worth Police have said that she did “not die of natural causes.” The victim, Ashlea Harris, had worked until 3 am at Hulen Mall for Black Friday before returning home.

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Leading Off (11/24/2015)

Governor-Elect Promises Lawsuit Over Immigration Action. On behalf of all Texans, Greg Abbott will probably sue the Obama administration for his executive order lifting the threat of deportation for millions of immigrants living in the United States illegally. This is not new territory for Abbott, since he’s sued President Obama some 30 times in his previous life as Texas attorney general.

Two Earthquakes in Two Days. On Saturday, a 3.3 magnitude earthquake registered near the site of the old Texas Stadium. On Sunday, a 2.5 magnitude earthquake occurred south of Highway 183 beneath Loop 12. It’s too bad we don’t have any idea what might be causing these quakes, since there have been seven in the last two months.

After Crash Kills Five Family Members, Terrell Teen’s Ticket Dismissed. This sad story, first mentioned in this forum last week, does not get too much better. However, the teenage driver, a 16-year-old boy who apparently fell asleep at wheel of the family’s SUV while en route to Florida for a vacation, was originally ticketed for careless driving. The crash killed five of his relatives. The judge dismissed the misdemeanor charge, saying that the boy had been punished enough, and there was no need to add to his pain.

Cowboys Coach and Governor Chris Christie Make Friends. This photo of New Jersey governor Chris Christie and Cowboys coach Jason Garrett is great. Garrett might be smiling, or laughing—I can only tell so much from the crinkled eyes. Could this be Christie’s “lose or I’ll engineer a monster traffic jam and trap you here forever” face? The world may never know. Anyway, the Cowboys beat the Giants. I am pleased.

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Leading Off (11/17/2014)

What Was That White Stuff, It’s Not Even Thanksgiving. It snowed, as per a particularly on-the-ball weather report, but it did not stick. More important, here is a photo of Delkus, conducting the flurries.

Temperature Drop Means More Rescued Cats. Aw. Even though my recent brush with cat ownership was like tugging impatiently at the devil’s coattails, this absolutely does not mean that these kitties are not deserving of warm homes. $15 adoptions will hopefully help.

Top Perry Advisor Has Three Alcohol-Related Offenses. Governor Perry’s office says it knew about Wayne Roberts’ record, which includes DWIs in 1990 and 2006, as well as a public intoxication charge in 2000. This is all the more relevant, however, since Perry is facing charges after attempting to force Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to resign after her 2013 DWI arrest.

Memorial Held For Thomas Eric Duncan. The service, held Saturday evening, was private, and took place more than a month after Duncan died of Ebola at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

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Leading Off (11/10/2014)

South Dallas Fund Comes Up Short. Apparently, mistakes were made in the way city funds were allocated, which means the fund, created in the late ’80s to encourage business development in South Dallas, is thousands of dollars short. The fund has also been plagued by allegations of mismanagement over the years.

American Airlines Flight Attendants Reject Contract. By just 16 votes. The airline, which merged with US Airways last year, and the union will enter binding arbitration.

White Supremacists Rally in Rockwall. They were protesting illegal immigration, if you can believe it. There was “yelling and finger pointing.”

Cowboys Go to London to Play Another Team From America. This is presumably one of those money-making ventures I hear so much about? Anyway, we won, beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-17; Dez Bryant was the star; and that concludes the Liz Sports Report. Go, us.

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Recent College Grads Still Not Choosing Dallas

The Dallas Morning News has the breakdown of a study from Portland-based think tank City Observatory. Short version: the idea of a move to our fair city is not met with praise hands emojis from recent college grads. Cities such as Austin, Denver, and Portland are easy draws, but the study (which uses Census data) indicates that 25-34 year olds also find Houston, San Antonio, and Los Angeles preferable to Dallas. Per the News:

From 2000 to 2012, the Dallas area was among a handful of metros that didn’t grow the young grad segment as fast as the total population, the study said. And the share of young residents with a college degree actually declined over the period. In 12 years, the number of college grads, ages 25 to 34, increased 20 percent in Dallas-Fort Worth. That compares with an average increase of 25 percent for the 51 largest metros, the study reported. Houston, Austin and San Antonio added young college grads twice as fast as Dallas over the same time.

Of course, the Census numbers are from 2012. The study tosses out a few reasons for the demographic’s aversion, once of which is a downtown still playing catch up.

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Leading Off (11/3/2014)

Nina and Bentley Forever. Nina Pham, the Dallas nurse who survived Ebola, and Bentley, her Cavalier King Charles spaniel, were reunited on Saturday morning after he was released from quarantine, and the scene could not have been cuter.

Frisco Has a Mosquito Problem. It’s thanks to the warmer weather we had leading up to this cold snap. The city is spraying after there was a positive test for West Nile.

Someone Bought the Rights to Name Baby Giraffe. The Dallas Zoo raised $50,000 by selling the rights to name the baby giraffe born at the zoo on October 29. All the funds will go to conservation.

Fisticuffs at Texas Motor Speedways. Two Nascar drivers, Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski, got in a punching match after Keselowski’s car hit Gordon’s, causing Gordon to fall behind and finish 29th. Another driver, Jimmie Johnson, actually won.

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Leading Off (10/27/2014)

Two x Two Fundraiser Smashes Records. The annual black-tie fundraiser, Two by Two for AIDs and Art, broke its record this year when an anonymous collector bid $2.6 million for a Wade Guyton painting, bringing the total take to $7 million. Half the money goes to the Dallas Museum of Art, and the other half to the American Foundation for AIDS Research. CeeLo Greene performed.

After Hugging President Obama, Nurse Nina Pham Back in North Texas. But she can’t have Bentley, her dog, back just yet. The dog will be released from quarantine on Nov. 1.

Former Penneys CEO Raises $30 Million For New Start Up. Ron Johnson is back, with a secretive e-venture called “Enjoy.” It’s meant to humanize the online shopping experience when it comes to buying “things that matter.”

Standardized Test Scores Are Out. The Morning News put together this interactive, where you can see how schools’ STAAR results improved, stayed the same, or declined between 2012 and 2014.

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