Find a back issue

Making Dallas Even Better

Leading Off (11/25/15)

Parkland Workers Can’t Be Held Liable in Patient’s Death. In 2011, George Cornell died in restraints at the psych emergency room. It’s one of the incidents that brought about some of the recent changes at the hospital. A lower court initially ruled that the hospital executives and workers couldn’t claim immunity from a civil-rights lawsuit brought by his family. Now a federal appeals court decided otherwise, because it is almost impossible to hold government employees accountable when they screw up.

Attorney Owes Accident Victim $700,000. Diana Bernal was in a car accident in 2009 and won a settlement, but was never told about it. When she tried to contact her attorney, Richard Jaramillo, he didn’t respond. A judge recently ruled that Jaramillo owes Bernal $776,000. Bernal, still recovering from her injuries, says she doubts she’ll ever see the money.

North Texas Spends More on Christmas. We go out more, we shop more, we spend more on gifts. We also, according to this Deloitte survey, spend more on ourselves. Nearly half of the North Texans surveyed said they planned on buying themselves something.

Heavy Rain Expected on Thanksgiving. The weather psychics say we should expect a lot of bad weather over the holiday weekend. Please be safe.

Leading Off (11/18/15)

Hillary Clinton Comes to Dallas. She attended a $1,000-per-plate fundraiser before a rally where she gave a speech that took swipes at both Bernie Sanders (on healthcare) and Greg Abbott (on a lot of things). On Texas taking in Syrian refugees, she said: “We can’t act as though we’re shutting the doors to people in need without undermining who we are as Americans.”

Zoo Wants 18 Elephants from Swaziland. The Dallas Zoo says the animals face “certain death” in Africa, and has applied for permits to bring them to the U.S. They say moving the elephants is vital to the survival of the nearly extinct black rhino.

Aryan Brother Kingpin Gets Life in Solitary Confinement. Tarrant County prosecutors were pushing to get James Byrd moved to a state prison — as opposed to federal prison — where policy allows for prisoners to be held in solitary confinement on the basis of gang affiliation. Prosecutors also say Byrd once stabbed a man 37 times in the face, and that isn’t even close to the most disturbing thing he’s accused of doing.

Police Looking for Woman Suspected of Robbing Two Banks. Both robberies happened within a week or so in October, and both banks are in Oak Cliff. She apparently has a scar on the right side of her face that begins at her lip and ends at her hair line, which will probably factor into a nickname if she robs more banks.

Jeff Banister is the AL Manager of the Year. It went down pretty much exactly as Jason predicted a week ago, for mostly the same reasons.

Gov. Abbott Isn’t Racist. In the Aftermath of Paris, He’s Scared

Greg Abbott wants to lock the doors. Liberals are wrong to think that Governor Abbott is posturing. When Abbott, a good, Christian man, announced that Texas is closed to Syrian refugees, he wasn’t just out to score political points, although the sentiment will obviously be popular here. He wasn’t just trying to get attention or exploit a tragedy. Abbott is trying his best to protect the people who already live in Texas. This doesn’t prove that he’s a racist. It proves that he’s scared.

And he should be. The stories coming out of Egypt and Lebanon and Paris—where terrified concert goers ran and had to take shelter in the apartments of strangers—are utterly horrific. If he takes the terrorists at their word—and he should—they will strike again, and again after that, and after that, too, and the targets could be anyone or anything: concerts, stadiums, crowded markets. Innocent couples out to dinner. Children in the streets. People who just want to enjoy a Friday night with their friends. There will be more death, and Abbott, a devoted man, doesn’t want that for the people of Texas. That’s not wrong.

Read More

Leading Off (11/11/15)

Anachronistic Bandit Terrorizes Fort Worth Horse Riders. Fort Worth police are looking for a man who has been hiding along riding paths, then jumping out and sticking up riders at gunpoint. Police say the suspect has struck at least four times in the last two months. Two men have been shot during the robberies. “It sounds like he has no care for anybody,” said one of the victims.

Arlington Says No to New Fracking. The city council there voted last night to deny a new oil and gas lease to Vantage Energy, the company responsible for a spill in April that involved tens of thousands of gallons of fracking water leaked into local creeks and sewers. Council members were apparently most bothered by the fact that it took the company two hours to call 911 after the spill.

Charles Barkley Thinks You Should Give Greg Hardy a Chance. “I believe that there are way too many black men we’ve just thrown away,” the basketball legend wrote for Bleacher Report. “Shouldn’t we get him some help, instead of kicking him out of the NFL? Shouldn’t we do everything possible to prevent it from happening again?”

U.S. Soccer Association Wants to Ban Headers for Kids. Citing concussion risks, the Frisco-based organization wants to ban headers for kids 10 and under, and limit them through age 13. Experts say it’s not the heading, per se, that causes the danger, but rather the risk of two heads colliding. (Disclosure: I had two diagnosed concussions playing soccer as a teenager. I wouldn’t recommend it.)

Stars and Mavericks Both Lose to Terrible Teams. A late third-period goal gave the last-place Toronto Maple Leafs the win over the first-place Stars. The middling Mavericks were never really in the game against the previously winless New Orleans Pelicans. Not a great showing.

Leading Off (11/4/15)

DISD Bond Plan Passes. Voters yesterday backed the $1.6 billion bond package. That means nine new schools, more than 300 new classrooms, bigger cafeterias, better science labs, more debate as to where money is needed most. Michael Hinojosa was quoted saying: “I love this city. I love this district. I just want to say thank you. This is a great day for this city.” Highland Park, Mesquite, Richardson, and Allen also passed bonds while McKinney’s proposal failedExpert analysis on the way.

Debate Over Zoo’s “No Guns” Policy. A lawyer from Houston filed a complaint against the Dallas Zoo and its “no guns” sign, noting that the zoo is on city property. A 2003 law states that concealed handgun licensees can carry guns on most property “owned or leased by a government entity.” It’s not clear how any of this would be affected by another new proposed law that would require all prehensile zoo animals to carry assault rifles.

Duncanville Teen Reports Attempted Abduction. This is scary. A 15-year-old girl told police that a man stopped a car and grabbed her by the arm. She says she screamed and kicked until she had the chance to run away. Police are looking for witnesses and video.

Two Bodies Found. One was found in the Trinity Watershed. One was found in an Oak Cliff dumpster. There’s no more information out from either investigation.

Thieves Casually Walk Out with ATM. Two men walked into a gas station in West Oak Cliff last night, put a chain around the ATM, and drove off with it. Police called the theft “bold.” Of course, opening those things can be tough.

Read More

Check Out This Insane Video From Poo-Pourri

If you’ll recall, last year I wrote a story about Suzy Batiz, the woman who created Poo-Pourri, produced a commercial that went viral, and made a crap load of money. We called the feature “Queen of the Can,” and it gave me the chance to reference a Shakespearean fart joke and for Tim to edit into the text phrases such as: “dropping the kids off at the pool,” “knitting a brown sweater,” and “releasing the Kraken.”

Well the Poo-Pourri people are trying to re-capture that viral magic with an insane dance video about some of the places you could use the company’s products. Back is Bethany Woodruff, the red-haired Scottish actress who won so many hearts with her poop talk. And back are the strange and mostly funny references to defecation, like “butt trumpet” and “code brown.” The video was conceived by the Poo-Pourri staff, based in Addison, and directed by Cameron Duddy, most famous for directing the “Uptown Funk” video.

The new Poo-Pourri ad went up this morning. The first comment on YouTube was: “How high am I?”

Watch it for yourself:

Read More

Leading Off (10/28/15)

Reporter Mentioned in Patti Stevens’ Suicide Note Writes About It. Among the things Patti Stevens left when the grieving widow killed herself was a note to the DMN‘s Naomi Martin. In the handwritten note, Stevens listed out her own education. Martin tries to make sense of it.

Bodies Found Inside Burning Vehicle. Firefighters found two bodies in a burning SUV on the east side of Fort Worth. Sgt. Jeffrey Dunn of the Fort Worth Police said this on the TV last night: “All we can tell about the bodies is that do appear to be human.” Three weeks ago, another body was found in a burning car less than two miles from there.

Officer Accused of Calling in Sick, Going to Strip Club. Dallas Police are not identifying the rookie officer who allegedly called in sick before having what sounds like an epic ’80s-movie adventure of a night. First the officer and some friends went to the Club V Live strip club. (Where rapper T.I. reportedly spent $30,000 recently.) Then the rookie officer got in a fight. Then the fight continued at the gas station across the street. Then he and a friend got shot. Then, instead of going to one of the many hospitals in Dallas, he drove to Irving and apparently gave the hospital there a fake name. The fact that we are now hearing about this story (and I’m calling dibs on the longform version) means it’s safe to say the officer did not make it back into bed in time to get away with the whole thing.

Leading Off (10/21/15)

Forney Student Arrested After Threat. Authorities there say they thwarted a plot to shoot up the school yesterday. A 15-year-old student was charged with exhibition of a firearm. The district put up a note on Facebook saying the situation is resolved and classes will continue today as scheduled. Some parents are keeping their kids home anyway as a precaution.

Police Looking for Suspect in Zoe Hastings Death. Someone was seen talking to a woman matching her description at a drug store. The man was seen getting into the minivan where her body was later discovered, and police believe the minivan later hit a speed limit sign on Peavy Road.

Wife of Slain Engineer Tells Nightmare Story. Dave Stevens was the runner killed by a former Texas A&M football player at White Rock Lake last week. His wife, Patti, told her story to the DMN’s Naomi Martin. It’s heartbreaking.

Ahmed Will Move to Qatar. Less than a day after meeting the President, Ahmed and his family announced they are leaving the country to enroll the boy in the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development. Surely this is the last we will hear about Ahmed.

Dez Bryant Might Play This Week. The star wide receiver hurt his foot six weeks ago. Now Jerry Jones says he might be ready to play again. He probably won’t be though.

CBS Bans Ads for the Movie Truth

As Zac mentioned a few days ago, the people at Entertainment Weekly did not love Truth, the new movie about Dan Rather and Mary Mapes, and what happened with “Memogate.” Well, the people at CBS really don’t love it.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the network refuses to air ads for the movie. A CBS spokesperson (who is depicted in the film) had this to say:

“It’s astounding how little truth there is in Truth,” said Gil Schwartz, longtime chief spokesman for CBS Corp. “There are, in fact, too many distortions, evasions and baseless conspiracy theories to enumerate them all. The film tries to turn gross errors of journalism and judgment into acts of heroism and martyrdom.”

I’ve seen the movie. It’s based on Mapes’ book, and it tells the story from her perspective. But I’d hardly characterize the film the way CBS has. Plenty of people will see the movie and side with Mapes and Rather, and think CBS was quick to condemn the story because executives put corporate interest and politics ahead of truth-telling. But plenty of people with no prior knowledge of the events will see this movie and think that reporters got overzealous, and that there were serious journalistic issues. Presented with the same facts, different people see different things. That’s the nature of truth in modern America. It’s kind of what the movie is about.

Leading Off (10/7/15)

Superintendent Returns. Old is new again in DISD. In a 6-1 vote, district trustees named Michael Hinojosa superintendent yesterday, four years after he left the job. Also, Brett Shipp has a look at the questionable spending of some marketing money the district allocated.

Traffic Returns. The City of Dallas apologized yesterday for the way traffic was handled downtown during the filming of 11/22/63. They say they didn’t have enough police officers on-hand. Filming — and traffic — will continue today.

Greg Hardy Returns. His four-game suspension for domestic violence now over, the defensive end addressed the Dallas media for the first time yesterday. He deflected questions about the horrific incident that led to his suspension, joked that he’s hoping Tom Brady’s wife brings a sister this Sunday, and talked a lot about God. He said his only regret was “not being there for his teammates.”

The Heat Returns. I hope you enjoyed the brief window of potential hoodie weather. The sun will be back today with a vengeance.

Seattle Seahawks Player Blames Matthew Stafford for JFK Assassination

Sure you’ve probably seen the traffic downtown today. As Tim mentioned in Leading Off, James Franco and Stephen King are making a movie about this thing that happened here a while back where a President got killed. D Magazine has written about that thing a little. It’s the kind of event football players who were not born yet blame on other football players who were not born yet.

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford grew up in Dallas. He graduated from Highland Park. Last night his team lost to the Seattle Seahawks. The victory was especially sweet for Michael Bennett, a defensive end on the Seahawks who told reporters that he had been holding an insane grudge against Stafford. Bennett, whose brother Martellus used to play for the Cowboys and says plenty of strange things himself, went all 1963, saying, “I don’t like Matt Stafford much. He’s from Dallas. They killed the President (JFK). … I hold it against him.”

People are funny.

Leading Off (9/30/15)

NCAA Comes Down Hard on SMU Basketball. The team is banned from post-season play this year, and coach Larry Brown will miss nine games. The program will also lose nine scholarships over three years. All this stems from a lengthy academic fraud investigation. It is the third college program Brown has led to what ESPN is calling an “unplanned March vacation.”

Susan Hawk Released from Treatment. The embattled Dallas County district attorney has been released from the facility where she was seeking treatment for what she called a “serious episode of depression.” She is expected to return to work tomorrow.

Father Arrested for Shooting Stepson. There aren’t a lot of details yet, but apparently a 59-year-old man shot his 30-year-old stepson during an argument in Haltom City.

Rangers Snap Three-Game Losing Streak. Cole Hamels allowed six runs, the most since joining the Rangers, but the team held on against Detroit to win 7-6. The “magic number” is down to four.

Leading Off (9/23/15)

Irving Mayor Tells Glenn Beck There’s More to Clock Story. Beth Van Duyne appeared on The Blaze to say that “the other side of the story is not coming out” about the now-famous clock incident. She also doesn’t like the President’s reaction. They speculated whether someone put Ahmed up to this, to test for weak points in Irving security. Beck asked: “Any doubt in your mind that this is really kind of the final throes of weakening us to the point to where we don’t ask any questions, to be ready for final confrontation? Total confrontation?”

Investigators Looking into Waxahachie Explosion. Neither Atmos nor the fire department will say what they believe caused the giant house explosion that injured three and damaged several homes earlier this week. Apparently AT&T confirmed the company has been working in the area. Neighbors have been given the green light to return, but they would understandably like to know what made a nearby house explode.

Neighbors Ban Together to Take Down Alleged Burglar. The Munger Place neighborhood had been having a lot of car break-ins and garage thefts. Yesterday someone saw a 16-year-old boy opening car doors. There was a pursuit. There were punches. I sure hope they have the right guy. Otherwise the pile up that followed would have been pretty awkward. From a neighbor: “At that particular time all of the neighbors just piled on top of him and once the neighbors piled on top of them he had it because somebody was sitting out of his behind somebody was putting a leg on his arm he couldn’t move it all.”

Dallas Cowboys Trade for Matt Cassel. After the tragic injury to Tony Romo, the Cowboys made a move for another quarterback. Cassel is probably best known for being an adequate fill-in for Tom Brady seven years ago. He’s played on a few teams since then, most recently the Bills. He’s expected to back up Brandon Weeden, who was until yesterday the only other quarterback on the roster.

NBC Reporter Demonstrates How to Break a Car Window

North Oak Cliff has experienced a lot of broken car windows recently. Someone has been throwing bricks and rocks at parked cars. There have been at least 10 incidents in the last two weeks, and some of the damage is pretty expensive.

NBC’s Ben Russell had a report last night about the vandalism. And it started with a solid demonstration. (See above.)

It’s not clear who owns the window he shatters, or where he is when he does it, but I bet he was a little nervous before the live shot. Just think of how viral this video would be if he had missed, or if the glass didn’t break.

Read More

Leading Off (9/16/15)

Irving Freshman Arrested for Making a Clock. This story is in turns hilarious and infuriating. Ahmed Mohamed is the kind of kid who makes his own radios and repairs his own go-kart. On Monday, he built a clock and brought it to school. That’s when the trouble started. Despite the fact that Ahmed told his teachers — then administrators, then police — that it was a clock, the not-as-smart-as-a-ninth-grader adults responded badly. After being interrogated by four officers, Ahmed was taken out of school in handcuffs, an officer on each arm. He was taken to a juvenile detention center and finger printed, and suspended from school for three days. Because some adults in Irving didn’t understand why a high school freshman would make a clock. I have a feeling this will not be the last we hear of Ahmed’s story.

Homeland Security Agents Raid Trophy Club House. They arrested a 28-year-old man named Jayce Craft as part of an investigation into alleged child exploitation. Craft lives with his parents, who run a Montessori school in Southlake.

Fort Worth Girl Suffers Three Heart Attacks. Irma Rodriguez, a sixth grader, was rushed to the hospital last week after collapsing in school. She reportedly had three heart attacks at the hospital, where she is now on life support. The girl will need a heart transplant, but her family is having trouble finding a hospital that will perform the operation. In the words of Irma’s uncle: “It’s been very tough.”

Fatal Shooting in Downtown Garage. There are almost no details coming out about a fatal shooting at the corner of Harwood and Elm just before 9 p.m. last night. The DMN says it may have been a suicide.

Woman Attacked Outside Dallas World Aquarium. An actress visiting Dallas from Los Angeles says she was punched in the head by a man trying to steal her purse as she exited the aquarium yesterday. She got up and chased the man, and eventually he was arrested. This is further proof that the Dallas World Aquarium is a bad place and you shouldn’t go there.

Rangers Take Over First Place. A Mitch Moreland sacrifice fly gave the Rangers a 6-5 win over the Astros last night, and pushed the team into first place in the AL West. Since 1969, only five other teams have taken a division lead this late in the season.