Leading Off (7/23/2014)

Brad had tickets to the Jay Z-Beyonce show last night. So he asked me to fill in for him this morning.

Plano Man Arrested for $56,000 In Unpaid Tolls. What’s 50 grand to Robert Walter Dupree? Can you please remind me? According to the NTTA, it’s more than 2,110 passes through a toll station without paying. First they had to find him. He was arrested for failing to use his signal in The Colony. No word on how hard he may have bawled.

Migrant Children Not Showing Up to Immigration Hearings. If you grew up with holes in your Zapatos, you’d be celebrating the minute you thought those days were behind you. Which might explain why 18 of the 20 children whose cases were scheduled yesterday in federal court missed their hearings. It’s also possible the children never received proper notice. What kinds of facts are those?

Plano Thanks Residents for Conserving Water…with Water. Calling it a “water holiday” is kind of a beautiful lie. Apparently it was mostly “stale” water the city needed to get rid of anyway. And only lawns with odd-numbered addresses got the extra watering. The other residents are finding that keeping all that green grass pretty hurts. But, as someone once said, perfection is a disease of a nation.

Cowboys Legend Dies. Robert Newhouse, Jr. played 12 seasons with the Cowboys, all in the Landry era. He was irreplaceable as a blocker for Tony Dorsett, but he was also the first running back to throw a touchdown in a Super Bowl. He died yesterday, after a long battle with heart disease. He was 64.

Full Story

Brantley Hargrove Lands Book Deal with Simon & Schuster

I want to say something funny here. I want to poke fun at Brantley’s affinity for “cat facts,” or his life in “the bubble,” or his fear of ghosts, or his inexplicable desire to climb–and then jump off of–things he shouldn’t. But no. Today we celebrate.

It’s official: Simon & Schuster will publish D contributor Brantley Hargrove’s forthcoming book about famed storm chaser Tim Samaras and the gigantic tornado–the widest ever recorded–that killed him. The book, tentatively titled The Storm is likely to come out some time in early 2016. It grew out of the reporting Brantley did for this Dallas Observer story last year. I know David Patterson, his agent, is very excited. So is Brantley, though he knows he has a formidable task in front of him.

Full Story

Leading Off (4/30/14)

Veterinarian Accused of Keeping “Euthanized” Pets Alive, Using Them for Blood Transfusions. The accusations against Lou Tierce are disturbing. In theory, something like this might save the lives of some other, healthier pets. Maybe even a lot of them (a 170-pound dog has a lot of blood). But if that were your dog or cat being abused–the one you said goodbye to and thought was dead–you might want to see that doctor taken to a terrifying place, locked in a cage, and involuntarily drained of a few pints every so often.

Ex-Dallas Police Officer Indicted for Shooting Mentally Ill Man. Last October, Cardan Spencer stepped out of his squad car and shot a man in the street. Then he claimed the man had come at him aggressively with a knife. Then video of the incident surfaced. Then Spencer was fired. And now he’s facing unspecified criminal charges, the second former Dallas officer indicted in less than a week for an on-duty shooting. (The most recent one before that was in 1973.)

Arlington Police Looking for Man Who Groped Teens. The guy police are searching for, someone may have attacked six women since January, apparently drives a dark Honda sedan that looks like this.

Full Story

Leading Off (3/11/14)

Stars Game Postponed After Player Collapses On Bench. Moments like this put professional sports in perspective. As it happens, when the news about Rich Peverley broke last night, I was having dinner with a surgeon who sometimes serves as the emergency physician at Stars games. Which means I got to hear elaborate explanations of the procedures Peverley likely went through in the offseason, when doctors discovered an irregular heartbeat, and some of the treatment he might have received in the emergency room last night. The latest reports say Peverley is conscious and in stable condition. 

Details Emerging in Murder of Wylie Teen. Yesterday Cristina mentioned the two Wylie teenagers arrested after they told police they were “burying a body,” later identified as a fellow student at Wylie East High School. Today brings news that the victim was choked to death, that the crime may have planned for days, and that the motive could have had something to do with a romantic dispute. The DMN isn’t naming the two minors charged in the case, but WFAA is.

Dallas Bids for 2016 Republican Convention. After a snow delay, the city will make its presentation on March 21. The convention would bring at least 40,000 visitors and upwards of $200 million in economic impact, plus the guarantee of some solid Daily Show segments. We’re up against Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Denver, Phoenix, Cleveland, and Columbus, Ohio. At some point, I expect Zac to produce something hilarious ranking each city’s strengths, possibly referencing the letters WKRP.

Full Story

How Colten Moore Celebrated Winning Gold at the Winter X Games

If ever a family deserved to celebrate, it was the Moore family last night. As mentioned earlier, Colten Moore (the good one) returned to the site of his brother’s fatal crash and won Winter X Games gold. Cheering him on in 8-degree weather were his parents, grandfather, girlfriend, and 60 or so of his closest aunts, uncles, cousins, and longtime family friends. They waved Texas flags and wore custom-made shirts featuring several of Colten’s trending hashtags: #RideforCaleb and #MooreGold. And most of them began to cry as Colten hit one incredible trick after another, then rode to the top of the tallest hill on the course, stopped, and pointed to the sky. The story was the lead of SportsCenter, and ESPN commentators called it the greatest moment in X Games history.

Full Story

SMU Student Writes Nice Story About Michael J. Mooney

The SMU student newspaper has made some waves nationally over the last week, thanks to a well-intended but misguided op-ed about rape victims. Lost in that shuffle was another story, by a 19-year-old journalism student named Jehadu Abshiro. The headline, “Writer discusses reporting on doctor who treated Kennedy,” makes it sound like the story will be […]

Full Story

Spirit Airlines Flight from DFW Explodes, Lands Safely

A Tuesday flight from Atlanta to DFW Airport from DFW, headed to Atlanta, had an “emergency situation” that this reporter describes as an engine exploding. The flight returned to the airport and landed safely, but before that passengers were texting loved ones (and filming without turning their phones sideways). Part of one message read, “…I love […]

Full Story

How the State Fair Nearly Lost the Texas Star Ferris Wheel

All the talk over the last year was about the loss–and rebirth–of Big Tex. (Something we’ll all regret if/when he eventually comes to life and attacks.) But apparently the State Fair nearly lost another icon, the 212-foot-tall Texas Star. Central Track has the story here, and it includes some interesting information about the ride’s history […]

Full Story

Is There a Bubble Hockey Table in Dallas?

Yes, that’s what it’s called. Bubble hockey. It’s also apparently called “rod hockey” and “table hockey.” All funny sounding, but that’s not the point. You know the type of game I mean. Not air hockey. The International Bubble Hockey Federation site says there is only one table in Texas, at Woody’s Tavern in Fort Worth. But […]

Full Story

Poll Shows Majority of Texans Favor Legalizing, Taxing Marijuana

A recent poll by the Marijuana Policy Project, an advocacy group, found that a large majority of Texas voters favor either the decriminalization of pot or outright legalization and regulation (taxation). The poll, conducted September 27-29, surveyed 860 randomly selected Texas voters over the phone and found that 58 percent supported making marijuana legal for […]

Full Story

Ron Paul Fan Site Goes After High School in Denton Over Textbook’s Second Amendment Definition

Texas has plenty of well-known textbook-related controversies. But this week the Daily Paul, an officially unaffiliated site popular among fans of Ron Paul, has a post encouraging readers to call Guyer High School, in Denton, and ask administrators-slash-complain about the AP History textbook. On page 102, the book apparently defines the ungrammatical second amendment this […]

Full Story

Ebook About Chris Kyle and Satan, American Sniper in Hell, Disappears from Amazon.com

The day after Chris Kyle was killed in February, a short ebook appeared on Amazon.com. It was called American Sniper in Hell, and the author was listed as “Lou Cipher.” The premise, according to the description, had something to do with the just-slain sniper meeting Satan in Hell. I only know about this ebook because […]

Full Story