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Leading Off (7/29/15)

Dallas Zoo’s Baby Giraffe Died. Kipenzi was born in April, with millions of people watching. She died yesterday, after running into something in the exhibit as the zookeepers were shifting the herd into the barn for the night. “It’s never easy to lose an animal that you know and have worked with,” said Harrison Edell, the zoo’s senior director of living collections. “It’s especially difficult when it’s an unexpected death and it is very much like losing a family member. It’s a rough day.” Katie, Kipenzi’s mother, stood guard over the calf’s body. Damn.

Mayor Rawlings “Deeply Concerned” About Upcoming Sex Expo. He said he is worried “that our playing host to this convention might send regarding our city’s position on the sexual exploitation of women.” That would be the same city where Backpage.com started. (By the way, I wrote about the 2008 Exxxotica expo in Miami. It gets pretty crazy, and concern is warranted.)

Video of Reporter Confronting Woman Who Stole His Identity Goes Viral. Fox 4’s Steve Noviello, the station’s consumer reporter, got the chance to confront a woman who used his credit card number to book a hotel room. It’s delightfully awkward. Now the video is working its way around the internet.

Grand Jury Hearing Case Against Ken Paxton. Special prosecutors allege that the state attorney general violated securities laws. Those prosecutors have apparently been presenting that case to a Collin County grand jury this week.

Plano Teen Still Missing. The car Jeorgina Gonzalez was last seen in was found abandoned yesterday in Garland, but there is no trace of the teenager. She was last seen with a couple: Saul Cenobio Lopez and Nohemi Lemus Guerrero (aka Nohemi Lopez).

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Leading Off (7/22/15)

Dallas Police Officer Fired After Sexual Assault Arrest. Chief David Brown fired Senior Corporal Ryan Ramirez yesterday after Ramirez was charged in Kaufman County with aggravated sexual assault of an 8 year old.

Armed Civilians Guard Military Recruiters in Cleburne. Most of the men and women carrying guns, gear, and flags identify themselves as veterans. They say they are there to protect the active service members from an incident like last week’s shooting in Chattanooga. Apparently there are 15 to 20 groups like this organized around the country.

Addison Woman Arrested for Killing Newborn. Police in Addison arrested Luz Aurora Granadosreyes, 25, and charged with capital murder of child under the age of 6.

Jordan Spieth Flew Home with Zach Johnson, Drank from Cup. Really though, everything he does is great. Look at these pictures. Say you don’t love him.

Tony Romo Sues NFL. He’s part owner of “The Fan Expo,” which organized a fantasy football event at the Venetian in Las Vegas. Players scheduled to attend included: Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray, Odell Beckham Jr., and Rob Gronkowski, The NFL somehow canceled the event, and Romo’s group wants more than a million dollars.

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Leading Off (7/15/15)

Farmersville Residents Do Not Want a Muslim Cemetery. This story basically sounds like a Daily Show bit waiting to happen. A choice quote: “We used to grow onions here. We sure enough don’t want to be growing bodies.” And this, from the same story: “Some are threatening to dump pigs blood and put pigs heads on a post so Muslims won’t buy the land.”

Australian Man Accused of Stalking, Raping Woman He Met in Uptown. The details of this case are pretty nightmarish. A woman says a man she met in an Uptown bar “started making unwanted advances,” then jumped into her Lyft ride before assaulting her. Police found him “unconscious” in her bed.

Local Parents Lose Custody After Waco Biker Incident. After he was arrested at Twin Peaks, Rob Bucy and his wife, Marilyn, lost custody of the 5-year-old girl they were in the process of adopting. Marilyn was ordered to pack the girl’s bags and toys and stuffed animals and deliver her to a stranger at the airport — and they are forbidden from contacting the girl. All because he was a member of a biker club that was involved in a massive shootout that left nine people dead.

Deron Williams Signs with the Mavs. No, he’s not a giant center that led the league in rebounding. But he’s from here, and he was really good not long ago, and he isn’t costing the team much. So there’s that.

Dez Bryant Says He’ll Hold Out If There’s No Deal Today. The reported offer is more than $12.8 million per year. Bryant is reportedly asking for a long-term deal worth closer to $16 million per year. He says that if a deal isn’t done by this afternoon, he could miss training camp and possibly regular season games, and the player’s association might file collusion charges. Apparently the Cowboys are skeptical.

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Leading Off (7/8/15)

Police Kill Armed Sex Offender in North Oak Cliff. If you were in Bishop Arts for a late lunch yesterday and heard a barrage of bullets, that was the sound of four officers killing a registered sex offender a few blocks away. Police said they were trying to arrest 59-year-old Joe Cody on an unidentified parole violation. Cody was allegedly armed, but it’s not clear if he fired his weapon.

Time Warner Ordered to Pay Irving Woman $229,500. Araceli King told the cable company in a seven minute recorded phone call that she was receiving nonstop robocalls for a customer she didn’t know. The calls continued anyway — at least 153 times. A judge in New York ordered the company to pay King, calling Time Warner’s behavior “particularly egregious.”

Video Shows Dramatic Police Rescue. On July 1, Fort Worth officer Kellie Whitehead heard a man in Lake Como screaming for help. She took off her gun belt, secured it in her vehicle, then jumped into the water and pulled the man to safety. Both Whitehead and the man she saved are in good health.

Granbury Man Could Face Charges Under New “Upskirting” Law. So, this is pretty creepy. Apparently when witnesses confronted the man about sliding his phone under the dresses of strangers, he started shaking and deleting images, and reportedly said: “Don’t do this, please, I’m with my family.”

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Did Bass Pro Shops Steal a T-shirt Idea From The Lodge?

Michael Precker, the writer-in-residence (and manager) at The Lodge, sent me the two images you see here. One is a t-shirt that Bass Pro Shops sells. The other is a t-shirt The Lodge, one of our city’s most well-known gentleman’s clubs, has been selling for four or five years. Precker says his boss, Dawn Rizos, the generous owner of The Lodge, came up with the original concept and a bartender named Bryan drew it.

I called and emailed the media relations people at the Bass Pro Shops headquarters, in Springfield, Missouri, to ask when they started selling their version of the shirt. So far I haven’t heard back. The company website says it’s “new.” Here’s the description:

Is your wife or girlfriend nagging you again about your “honey do” list? We can help. Pick up our Bass Pro Shops® Problem Solved Fishing T-Shirt. This short-sleeve funny T-shirt sports front screen-printed graphics with a 2-panel story. In the first, a woman yells and shakes her finger at her man. In the second, the man sits in his boat, fishing and smiling. Problem solved!

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Leading Off (7/1/15)

John Wiley Price’s Co-defendant Will Plead Guilty. Christian Lloyd Campbell filed court papers saying he will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, and he could testify against Price. In exchange, Campbell is looking at a recommended sentence of no more than three years in prison.

Another Controversial Video Involving the McKinney Police. Stop me if this sounds familiar: There’s a video of a police officer in McKinney drawing his gun and yelling at unarmed young black men. Some people think the officer was abusive, while other people (including his fellow officers) think he did a fine job.

Grapevine Volleyball Coach Charged With Drugging and Sexually Assaulting Teens. Damian Merrick owns the Grapevine Volleyball Club. He’s accused of giving teenage girls marijuana and assaults in a parking lot and a hotel room. It looks like Merrick has already been scrubbed from the club’s website.

Gay People Will Soon Be Able to Get Married in Granbury. Wonderful detail alert: The Hood County clerk who posted a statement explaining why she wouldn’t be issuing same-sex marriage certificates — and then another statement, later, explaining that yes, her office will actually issue them soon, even though she doesn’t like it — is named Katie Lang.

Rangers Activate Josh Hamilton. He joined the team in Baltimore for the first time since being sidelined with a strained hamstring and had two hits in last night’s win. The Rangers sent rookie sensation-turned-mortal Joey Gallo down to the minors, where he will likely distinguish himself like an eagle in a league of pelicans.

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Leading Off (6/24/15)

Police Call Missing Hurst Woman’s Disappearance “Suspicious.” Norma Shultz, 72, went missing on May 19. Her husband reported her absence to the police nearly a week later. Shultz’s daughter says her stepfather hasn’t been able to answer any of her questions. Police say they haven’t received any tips.

Lots of Thoughts of the Resignation of Mike Miles. A few places have timelines of the three years Miles has been in charge of DISD. Here’s an editorial lauding his accomplishments. And also, in the same publication, Steve Blow saying Miles was never a good fit in the first place.

Local News Outlet Finds Local Store Selling Confederate Flags. Even after Walmart and Amazon announced that they will stop selling Confederate merchandise, and Sears announced both that it still exists and that it will stop selling Confederate stuff, WFAA found a Dallas store that is still selling the Confederate flag. The place that has the nerve to sell this incredibly controversial flag is — get this — a flag store.

Rain Brings Out Alligators and Snakes. There are also more nutria and turtles. Deer too, apparently. Most of the sightings have been in Lewisville or in Tarrant County.

Mavericks Might Trade Monta Ellis. The incredibly dynamic shooting guard is owed $8.7 million for the one year remaining on his contract. It’s also possible that Ellis will opt out and test the free market. The Mavs have made it clear they have big plans for the off-season.

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Leading Off (6/17/15)

Lots of Rain Coming. The weather psychics are using words like “drenching” and “brief tornadoes” and “test the limits of North Texas lakes.” More floods. More phone alerts. This is not good. Also, a nine-foot alligator was spotted at Lake Lewisville.

Woman Accused of Using Racial Slur at McKinney Pool Says She Didn’t. Yesterday Tracey Carver, one of the white women seen fighting in this video, gave her first public statement since the now-famous incident. She says she’s been hiding out in California. She also hired famous attorney Gloria Allred. Short version of Carver’s story: she’s a totally innocent victim, doing the right thing at all times, and she is owed an apology.

Nurse Pleads Guilty in Gigantic Medicare Fraud. Pat Akamnonu admitted that her home health company billed the Medicare system for more than $43 million in care that was unnecessary or unfulfilled, according to the U.S. attorney. She’s looking at up to 10 years in prison.

Rangers Win With Walk-Off Homerun. While other sporting events were happening elsewhere, Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos stepped to the plate with the score tied 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning. Three pitches later, the game was over. The Rangers are two and a half games back from the Astros, but Houston has other issues to worry about.

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Leading Off (6/10/15)

Eric Casebolt Resigns From McKinney Police Department. The entire resignation consisted of two words: “I resign.” The 10-year veteran of the department will keep his pension and benefits, but could still face criminal charges. McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley said yesterday that Casebolt was “out of control” on Friday night. Charges against the only person arrested at the party have been dropped. Plenty of people are pleased. Others are disappointed the officer didn’t apologize. And some, who think of Casebolt as a hero, are disappointed he resigned at all. (If you haven’t seen this yet, here is a former police officer explaining what Casebolt did wrong, and the difference between “warriors” and “guardians.”)

Four Dallas Officers on Leave After Suspect Dies. On Monday, four officers responded to calls that 25-year-old Ross Anthony was banging on car windows and running through traffic. One officer used a Taser. Police say paramedics at the scene provided Anthony immediate medical attention. He was eventually taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. Probably not the last we’ll hear about this.

An Adoption Decades in the Making. This is a nice story. A 92-year-old Dallas mom officially adopted the 76-year-old woman she’s thought of as her daughter for more than 60 years. “I wanted her to be mine,” said Muriel Clayton. “And she is!”

The Texas Rangers Are Good. Yesterday the Rangers visited former manager Ron Washington in Oakland and won 2-1, moving their record to 31-27. The team is in second place in the AL West, two games behind the Astros. Also, Juan Gonzalez and Jeff Russell are headed to the club’s Hall of Fame.

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Leading Off (6/3/15)

Frisco High School Students Walk Out to Support Principal. When students heard last week that principal Sylvia Palacios would be reassigned to the district’s alternative school, they took to Twitter with the hashtag #savesylvia. Yesterday, a few hundred took to the street, all in an effort to convince the superintendent to keep Palacios in her current position. Sounds like something straight out of Lean on Me.

Police Chase Ends with Two Dead in Italy. It started around 8:30 p.m. yesterday. That’s when, according to a DPS spokesperson, “the suspects assaulted the Italy officer, injuring him, and stole the Italy Police Department Chevrolet Tahoe.” Then there was a spike strip, a negotiation over the police radio, and an apparent suicide inside the Tahoe, before the second suspect was shot and killed by police. An investigation is underway.

Incredibly Awful News Involving Two 14-Year-Old Girls. A lawsuit alleges that a local attorney raped a 14-year-old sex trafficking victim — after promising to take her to a shelter. The details in this story are horrific. Same for this story, about a 14-year-old in Pleasant Grove who was impregnated by a family member, then beaten by other family members in an effort to abort the baby. I’m not even going to write what police say happened next.

Joey Gallo Makes Impressive Big League Debut. Last year Grantland called Texas Rangers prospect Joey Gallo “The Most Interesting Man in the Minors.” Last night, in his Major League debut, Gallo had a home run, four RBIs, and ended up a triple short of the cycle, immediately making him one of the most interesting men in the majors.

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Leading Off (6/1/15)

Lake Lewisville Goes Over 100 Year Flood Mark. The lake is now 537 feet deep above sea level, and despite the sun yesterday, waters continue to rise. The state should be getting some federal storm aid soon, but that’s complicated.

DISD Dismisses 85 Employees. This is an awkwardly self-promotional story from WFAA, but the bottom line seems to be: 85 district employees were let go because of a $10 million budget mistake I don’t completely understand.

Allen ISD’s Stadium Will Reopen for Graduation. You’ll recall that, a few years ago, the district spent $60 million to build a nice new football stadium. (Tim forced me to sneak into the luxury suite when it opened.) Then the stadium had to close for $10 million-plus in new repairs. Well, this Friday the gates will open once again.

Josh Hamilton Is Incredible. There’s no way of knowing why exactly the Angels decided to send Hamilton back to the Rangers, a division rival, while also paying most of his very expensive salary. But we’re glad they did. This weekend, in his first home series back with the good guys, he had one multi-homerun game, and one game-winning, walk-off pinch hit. The moment was so exciting, a few players doused an unsuspecting reporter with Gatorade.

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Leading Off (5/20/15)

Storms Bring Floods and Tornadoes. There were dozens of reported tornadoes across North Texas and Oklahoma last night. At least one building in Mineral Wells collapsed. And there was “significant damage” reported in Runaway Bay.

Five Dead Bikers Were From North Texas. The dead men range in age from 19 to 47. It will likely be weeks before we know who may have been killed in the original fight and who may have been killed by police. You can see all 171 mug shots of the men arrested here. Zac will be along later with a list of his favorite biker nicknames. (My choice: “Gimmi Jimmy.”)

Former Birdville ISD Student Sues District Over Christian Prayers. Isaiah Smith, 20, claims he suffered years of bullying in the North Richland Hills school district, including anti-gay slurs and having baseballs thrown at him. He says it’s related to the Christian invocations used to start every school board meeting.

That Controversial Black Rhino Hunt Is Over. You’ll recall a few years ago the Dallas Safari Club auctioned off the chance to kill an endangered black rhino. The winner, Corey Knowlton, bid $350,000. (Stephen Colbert mocked the whole thing pretty viciously.) Well, Knowlton eventually got his rhino. And CNN’s Ed Lavandera was along for the trip.

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Grapevine Releases Dash Cam Video of Police Shooting

On February 20, Rubén García Villalpando was shot and killed on the side of Highway 121 by a Grapevine police officer named Robert Clark. For months, activists and family members of the dead man have asked that the dash cam video from that night be released to the public.

Now that a grand jury has declined to indict Clark, the video has been released. Sort of.

Grapevine police put together this video, with footage from the dash cam mixed with the Grapevine police chief explaining what happened, from the perspective of law enforcement. It appears that Villalpando drove away from the officer despite sirens and lights, including weaving through cars on the highway. Then once he did pull over, he disobeys the officer’s orders to stay in the car. He tells the officer, in English, to kill him. Then approaches the officer despite at least 20 orders to move back and stay by the car.

The actual shooting takes place just out of frame. It seems like non-lethal force could have been an option, and other officers have made news by not killing people in similar circumstances. But by most standards, this looks justified. When Villalpando started moving toward Clark, the officer was probably too far away to use a Taser and already had his gun drawn. When Villalpando got close enough, Clark fired twice.

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Leading Off (5/14/15)

Head Shop Owners Arrested Over K2 Sales. Last summer DEA agents seized cash, cars, and synthetic marijuana from the Gas Pipe and its owners. Yesterday, those owners, Gerald “Jerry” Shults and his daughter, Amy Lynn Herrig, were arrested and charged with conspiring to sell the substance known as K2. Both Shults and Herrig are in federal custody and deny the allegations.

Van Mayor Criticized for Golfing. The city of Van was devastated by a tornado a few days ago. So people are pretty upset that mayor Dean Stone missed a scheduled press conference yesterday to play golf. Not a great look.

Some Places Have More Home Burglaries Than Others. The fine folks at our local CBS affiliate put together a map of the which zip codes in North Texas have the most home burglaries. Bad news for the people in East Fort Worth, Southeast Dallas, and East Plano.

District Attorney Will Hold Town Hall Meeting in Pleasant Grove. In anticipation of tonight’s forum, the Dallas Morning News put out a long-ish story rehashing the paper’s editorial complaints about Susan Hawk, which have more to do with her not answering the paper’s questions about her time in rehab than any specific policies or cases. There’s mention of what seems like a minor car accident and an unfiled financial report, and there are no fewer than 12 references (not counting the headline) to Hawk not answering questions or not commenting for the story. This is what it looks like when newspaper reporters don’t get the interview they were hoping for.

Oh Man I Miss Ron Washington. The former Texas Rangers manager, who resigned last Fall, has apparently been helping out with the University of New Orleans baseball team, in his hometown. Yesterday the 62-year-old Washington was spotted in the UNO dugout wearing a bright orange shirt that read MY BUCKET LIST: 1. Beer 2. Ice. In other news, the Rangers beat the Royals.

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Leading Off (5/6/15)

White House Investigating Possible ISIS Link in Garland Shooting. As Jason told you yesterday, ISIS is claiming credit for the attack this weekend in Garland. A White House spokesman said it was too early to say if the Islamic State was involved. Sen. Ted Cruz, ever the Obama fan, says federal officials should have intercepted the gunmen before they reached the anti-Muslim event in Garland. Meanwhile, the mother of one of the gunmen says she’s glad her son didn’t kill anyone. And a reporter remembers living next door to the same gunman.

Grand Jury Will Review Grapevine Police Shooting. In February Ruben Garcia Villalpando was shot and killed by a Grapevine police officer along the side of the road. The district attorney hasn’t released video of the shooting, saying it might compromise a criminal investigation. But the Lewisville police have released video from an arrest in December 2014, when Garcia Villalpando’s blood alcohol level was .30, nearly four times the legal limit to drive. Though clearly inebriated, he is also calm and cooperative. The CBS I-Team also looked into the background of Robert Clark, the officer who shot Garcia Villalpando. Clark was an officer at DFW for less than a year when he quit, and wasn’t hired at least one other force because of “deception and lack of moral turpitude.”

UNT Basketball Player Found Dead in Dorm. Eboniey Jeter was a 6’0 redshirt sophomore forward. She was discovered in her Mozart Hall dorm room yesterday morning. Her cause of death is still pending.

Carbon Monoxide Leak in South Oak Cliff. Several ambulances were deployed. At least five people were transported to the hospital, though officials believe the conditions are not life-threatening. The main suspect: a boiler room leak.

Domestic Abusers Must Turn Over Guns. Officials began confiscating firearms from convicted batterers yesterday in what is being called the most comprehensive program of its kind in the state — and possibly the country. So far, there doesn’t seem to be any opposition.

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