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Leading Off (4/15/15)

Probation Officer Admits Role in Violent Drug Ring. Selena Ball pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Ball, 30, of DeSoto, was in what’s being described as a “romantic relationship” with an inmate she was assigned to monitor. If not reporting serious probation violations, and facing up to 20 years in prison as a result, is your idea of romance.

Double Murder Suspect Killed in DeSoto. Colby Robinson was wanted in connection with two murders in Portland. He was spotted at a 7-Eleven. Then there was a chase. Then Robinson was pronounced dead at the scene.

Watauga Girl Escapes Kidnapping. “I was screaming, trying to get out and everything,” the girl said. She apparently chipped her tooth on the car door as she got away. Police are still looking for the suspect.

Johnny Football Attends Local Baseball Game. Looks like Johnny Manziel is out of rehab and back to sitting in prominent seats at sporting events. And the Rangers won.

Pay Your Taxes. It’s that day. I’m sorry. Here’s some free stuff.

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Why Rajon Rondo Fights With His Coaches (and Teammates, and Teachers, and Kids in the Hospital)

Baxter Holmes used to cover the Boston Celtics for the Boston Globe, which is where he first met Rajon Rondo. Not long ago, Holmes moved to Los Angeles and took a job with ESPN, ostensibly covering the Lakers, but also doing other things.

Other things like this new, lengthy profile of Rondo for ESPN: The Magazine. The story starts with Kevin Garnett describing a fight Rondo had with former Celtics coach Doc Rivers. (Garnett had to carry Rondo out of the room to keep him away from Rivers.) Holmes also talked to several other coaches who’ve worked with Rondo at various stages of his career, along with former teachers, trainers, a slew of former teammates, and Rondo’s personal statistician. (I’ve been meaning to get one of those.) They all describe a smart but caustic man, bored easily when he isn’t adequately challenged, and quick to dismiss anyone he doesn’t think is smart enough, which seems like most people.

The story gets into the specifics of the on-the-court spat between Rondo and Mavs coach Rick Carlisle earlier this season. There’s also a brief reference to Rondo’s now-famous Connect Four predilections:

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Glenn Beck Now Sells Women’s Clothing

If you’ll recall, last year I spent some time with Glenn Beck. We talked about a lot of things, including the empire of businesses he’s building in North Texas. And while he was already making movies, producing radio and television shows, writing and publishing books, and selling clothes (and accessories) to men, one thing he wasn’t doing — not until now anyway — was making women’s clothes.

According to a press release, the clothes are manufactured in Texas, with Beck “overseeing every step of the clothing design process including fabric selection, stitching, buttons, etc.” The nice people at The Blaze sent over a few shots from the new all-denim line.

Judge for yourself:

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Leading Off (4/8/15)

Ellis County Firefighters Charged With Sexual Assault Involving Chorizo. Five were charged with what looks like a hazing-related assault, and one was charged with videotaping it. There are more details in this story, and all of them are unpleasant.

Second Death in a Week at Argyle High School Construction Site. The first one was Thursday, when some heavy metal framework collapsed, killing a 36-year-old construction worker. Yesterday, it seems a 21-year-old man fell off of a trailer. Work on the new athletic facility was halted.

Dallas Police Front Desk Officers Make A Lot in Overtime. Chief Brown says it’s part of a budgetary balancing act. The 11 officers assigned to work security at police headquarters made a combined $330,000 in overtime pay last year. In other Dallas public employee bonus news: 58 executives at Parkland will not get their fourth quarter bonuses for 2014. The scene looked like this.

Local Fake Navy SEAL Arrested in Puerto Rico. Carlos Luna-Gonzalez was arrested last November in Weatherford, then jumped bail and fled. He was picked up yesterday, far away. Mostly I included this story because Parker County sheriff Larry Fowler (a character Zac may have invented) knows how to give a good sound bite.

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Leading Off (4/1/15)

Truck Crashes Into Store, Killing Woman. Fort Worth police arrested the 19-year-old driver on suspicion of intoxication manslaughter. The crash happened around 2:00 p.m. yesterday and left seven other people injured. Investigators said the truck was traveling between 80 and 100 miles per hour when the driver lost control and slammed into a Star Food Mart, killing a 24-year-old mother.

Second Suspect Surrenders in Deadly Butt Lift Case. Bond for Alicia Clarke was set at $25,000. Clarke is the alleged partner of Denise “Wewe” Ross, who turned herself in and bonded out of jail last week.

Susan Hawk Doesn’t Talk About Troubles to Law Students. Instead of getting into her personal issues or the troubles she’s faced in the last week at the office, the Dallas District Attorney told a class of SMU law students: “I know when you stand on the truth, you never fall down.” I don’t have any problem with her not going into this stuff right now, in a forum like that. A better forum would be a profile in D Magazine.

Tony Romo Says DeMarco Murray Asked Him to Take a Pay Cut. Romo also said he’d do it: “I would take $5 million less if it meant getting him back.” Easy for him to say, with Murray safely signed away in Philadelphia. I wonder, though, if this statement might lead to some awkwardness in the future, seeing as how a certain wide receiver is looking for a lucrative longterm deal.

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Leading Off (3/18/15)

Crazy Kidnapping Drama Ends in Haslet. Nathanial Tillery allegedly assaulted Kevin Garcia, a 55-year-old convenience store clerk in College Station, then stole Garcia’s truck — after loading Garcia’s unconscious body into the bed. The saga ended just before 1:30 p.m. yesterday when Police and Texas Rangers arrested Tillery in Tarrant County.

Lying Officer Could Be a Problem for Prosecutors. This is a bizarre story. A self-proclaimed “resident expert” on DWIs, Sgt. Stephen “Tiny” Baker of the Dallas Police Department, insists he pulled over a car in 2012 because he saw the car run a red light. This, despite video evidence that it was, in fact, Baker, who ran the red light. Experts say this could put at risk other cases in which Baker testified. He’s on administrative leave pending investigation.

Oswald Cutout Bothers People at JFK Memorial. Yep. It’s a cutout.

The Cowboys Could Sign Greg Hardy. Here is a story about how the Cowboys might soon finalize a deal with defensive end Greg Hardy, who had 26 sacks in his last two full seasons in Carolina. Here is an excerpt from a protective order filed by Hardy’s ex-girlfriend:

“On May 13, 2014, Greg Hardy attacked me in his apartment. Hardy picked me up and threw me into the tile tub area in his bathroom. I have bruises from head to toe, including my head, neck, back, shoulders arms, legs, elbow and feet. Hardy pulled me from the tub by my hair, screaming at me that he was going to kill me, break my arms and other threats that I completely believe. He drug me across the bathroom and out into the bedroom. Hardy choked me with both hands around my throat while I was lying on the floor. Hardy picked me up over his head and threw me onto a couch covered in assault rifles and/or shotguns. I landed on those weapons. Hardy bragged that all of those assault rifles were loaded.”

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Leading Off (3/11/15)

Parker Rice Apologizes. We told you about Rice yesterday. The family of Levi Pettit, the other expelled OU student seen on the recent racist chant video (and a former golf standout at Highland Park), also issued an apology. “It was wrong and reckless,” Rice said in a statement issued through his father.

Why Haven’t Police Released Dash-cam Video of Grapevine Shooting? The District Attorney has reportedly asked that the video, taken moments before an officer killed an unarmed Mexican citizen, not be made public. I don’t understand the logic here. No matter what’s on that video, the public should see it, no?

Eddie Ray Routh Transferred to Correctional Psychiatric Facility. It appears the recently convicted killer of American Sniper Chris Kyle was transferred to the Jester IV unit, outside of Houston. Dr. Phil also spoke with Routh’s parents not long ago.

Kurt Eichenwald Thinks Hillary Clinton’s Email Woes Are a “Fake Scandal.” The Dallas writer begins his Newsweek column thusly: “When it comes to the teapot tempest that is the Hillary Clinton email imbroglio, the real controversy isn’t about politics or regulations. It’s about journalism and the weak standards employed to manufacture the scandal du jour.”

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Parker Rice, the OU Frat Kid in That Racist Video, Is From Dallas

The Dallas Morning News has an interesting story about the troubled history Sigma Alpha Epsilon, the fraternity at the center of the recent firestorm over that viral racist chant video, has in the state of Texas.

But the Daily Mail has a story about the kid in the video. Apparently his name is Parker Rice, and he graduated from Jesuit in Dallas. From the Mail story:

One former high school classmate who identified Parker Rice as one of the leaders of the chant told Daily Mail Online: “In my honest opinion, he was following his frat brothers. I don’t believe he is a racist, just wanted to fit in. It’s fraternity culture. You do what the elders do so you fit in. He truly is a nice guy, but I do question things now.”

The student, who did not want his name used also said: “We have a strong sense of brotherhood at Jesuit and that’s why many won’t say anything about Jesuit but there were other Jesuit grads on that bus chanting.”

“At school he was a football player, he was the funny guy that seemed to never take anything serious. I saw him as a follower who was afraid to step out of his friend group because of fear of not being accepted. He was privileged but most of the kids at Jesuit were.”

Rice is likely one of the two students recently expelled over the video.

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Leading Off (3/4/15)

Eddie Ray Routh Asking for a New Trial. Attorneys for the man convicted of killing Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield have also filed a motion to overturn the recent verdict. This is surprising to nobody who has been paying attention.

Protesters Swarm Grapevine City Hall. This is in response to a Grapevine officer killing a 31-year-old unarmed Mexican citizen last month. This Star-Telegram story says that Domingo Garcia, who is representing the family of the dead man, “asked that a videotape of the shooting be released and that the officer be terminated.”

Teacher Recorded Saying Not Great Things in Class. A DISD student secretly recorded her middle school teacher cussing a lot, and at one point, talking about the size of his junk. Perhaps the most disturbing part of this story though, is where the principal’s first response was apparently to ask the parent to destroy the evidence. Not a good look.

Winter Is Coming, Again. It’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when. But regardless of when the weather rolls in, the highways might be backed up anyway.

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Leading Off (2/25/15)

Eddie Ray Routh Convicted of Murdering Chris Kyle. The jury in Stephenville found him guilty as charged last night. Kyle’s wife, Taya, left the court during closing arguments and wasn’t present for the verdict. Routh will spend the rest of his life in prison. Expect video and audio from the trial to be released soon.

Wintry Mix Sux. More than one area child woke up this morning and said, “Where the heck is my 2 to 4 inches of snow? Huh, Pete Delkus?! It’s falling now, but it ain’t stickin.

Mysterious Booms Remain Mysterious. Yesterday what sounded like a series of bomb explosions were heard from Grand Prairie to Southlake. No one is certain what caused the noises, but the leading contender is demolition activity at a National Semiconductor plant in Arlington.

Southwest Airlines Grounds 128 Uninspected Planes. About 90 flights were canceled yesterday. The FAA says it’s working with both Southwest and Boeing “to evaluate a proposal that would allow the airline to continue flying the planes until the inspections are completed over the next few days.”

Fort Worth Didn’t Disinfect Drinking Water Last Week. The city has been cited by The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which is a thing. About a quarter of the water processed during a 24-hour period didn’t meet required standards.

Rajon Rondo Benched. The Mavs beat the Raptors last night, but the did it without the services of Rondo for the last 20 minutes of play. Rick Carlisle benched him after a “profanity-laced shouting match” about play-calling duties. At one point, an assistant coach had to step between the two men to keep them from yelling in each other’s faces. Instant analysis: this isn’t good.

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Grapevine Charity GRACE Needs Help After Fire

One day when I was 7 and in elementary school, the apartment building where I lived burned down. The fire was started when the kid who lived upstairs was playing with matches, and it spread fast. We lost just about everything: clothes, furniture, even the dishes in the cabinets. All of my toys and video games were gone, and the few stuffed animals my mom tried to save were singed and smelled like smoke for years. I can still remember seeing my little piggy bank, melted into a strange new shape, with the small amount of money I’d collected sealed inside forever.

There were a lot of groups that helped us, including several churches and some of the teachers at school. But no organization helped more than Grapevine Relief and Community Exchange, better known as GRACE. They helped with food and clothing and furniture and dishes and, the thing that fixed most permanently in my 7-year-old brain: toys. Nothing grand, but when you have nothing, anything is great. And they gave me a new (to me) piggy bank.

I mention all of this because now GRACE needs help. Last week two men started a fire that destroyed the donation center, took out months worth of donations, and caused more than $75,000 in damages. Grapevine Craft Brewery (maker of the controversially delicious Sir William’s English Brown Ale) has already stepped in to help raise funds. (With beer!) But they need more help. There’s an event this Saturday at the GRACE facility in Grapevine, where you can drink beer, eat barbecue, and listen to music, all while helping an organization that has helped a lot of people. You can also donate through this GoFundMe page.

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Some Things We’ve Learned in the Trial of Chris Kyle’s Killer, Eddie Ray Routh

We had a debate here about whether I should be down in Stephenville, covering the trial of Eddie Ray Routh, the man who killed Chris Kyle and Kyle’s friend Chad Littlefield. Part of me wishes I was there, because I’m obviously very interested in the story. (The part of me that sees the massive media presence, though, is happy I’ve got other things that need finishing.) But I’ve been following the coverage. And through the first few days of testimony we’ve learned some interesting new information. Here’s a quick rundown:

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Leading Off (1/30/15)

Fort Worth Officer Involved in Shooting. The officer is in stable condition after surgery on his abdomen. The suspect, a 40-year-old man with a reported history of mental illness, is dead.

Arlington Swingers Club Shutdown for Zoning Violations. Neighbors say it’s a sexual-oriented business. The city stresses that nobody found any criminal activity, though some of the parties had upwards of 200 guests. The “host” says he isn’t running a business because he only asks for donations ($80 for couples, $20 for single ladies), and he vows to keep “Eutopia” open.

Dallas Woman Convicted of Kidnapping Son. Erica Lonzetta Dominque abducted her son during a fight with the boy’s father, then drove the boy to an embankment and reportedly told him: “This is it for us. … You’re going to have to get killed.” (Side note: Sarah Mervosh is one of the best reporters at the DMN and her coverage of this story is proof. I dare you to read her description of the 6-year-old boy testifying against his mother and not get emotional.)

“Everest” Opera Opens Tonight. It tells the story of the men trapped on the mountain in the famous 1996 climbing disaster, including Beck Weathers, the Dallas man who at one point was left for dead in the blizzard.

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Tea Party-Supported Giovanni Capriglione Called ‘Turncoat’ By Local Tea Party

Giovanni Capriglione is a State Representative from Southlake. In 2012 he was elected with heavy Tea Party support. Now he’s being called a “turncoat” by the president of the Arlington Tea Party. In this video, you’ll hear just how mad Capriglione has made Joshua Finkenbinder. (The definition of “turncoat” is printed across the bottom of the screen.)

This is because Capriglione said he’d vote for Joe Straus, a Republican from San Antonio, to become Speaker of the House, and not Scott Turner, a Tea Party favorite from Rockwall. Straus has been called “The Harry Reid of Texas.”

Capriglione has said in the past that he’s worked with Turner, “broken bread” with him, and thinks of him as a brother, but that Turner “doesn’t have the depth on policy.”

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