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DMN Sets Twitter Goal for Its Reporters

Jeffrey Weiss used to cover religion for the Morning News until they killed that beat. Now he covers regional education issues. He has been a reporter for more than three decades. And he needs your help. On Tuesday, here’s what he wrote on Facebook:

I’m shamelessly trolling here for Twitter followers. The DMN has set a goal of 1K per person. I’m not there. I like FB a lot better than Twitter. But when the company sets a goal, to hear is to obey. I’m a sporadic Tweeter. I don’t post much just to kibbitz. Curated, if you will. So I won’t fill up your Tweet stream. If you have a mind, I’m at @jeffreyweissdmn

As of this morning at 9:52, Weiss had only 808 followers. Please, people, if you can find it in your hearts to follow him, it sure would help. Thank you. Also, Tod Robberson has only 724. He could use a little love. Oh, and James Ragland has 307.

UPDATE (11:28) Someone at the paper just passed me an interesting Twitter memo that was sent to DMN staff. It was sent Tuesday by Michael Landauer, whose title is digital communities manager:

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Leading Off (2/24/15)

Yesterday Was a Mess, Today Isn’t Much Better, and Snow Is on the Way. There were hundreds of accidents on the roads yesterday. An American Airlines plane even slid off a taxiway at DFW. Today, as you already know if you have kids, most school districts are again closed. Then more fun: a winter storm watch kicks in at midnight. We’re looking at 2 to 4 inches of snow come Wednesday morning. So yeah. Enjoy all that family time. Hope you stocked up on booze and Netflix.

Developer Cancels Plans for Indoor Ski Resort in Grand Prairie. Details are sketchy, but the $215 million planned Grand Alps Resort and Hard Rock Hotel has pulled out of Grand Prairie. But don’t fret, folks. The developer says they are just looking for another spot in North Texas. Oh, and the $3.5 billion DreamVision Mountain DreamScape Texas is still planned for Fort Worth. It’ll have indoor skiing. So you’ll be able to ski inside in North Texas soon enough, probably.

Ron Washington Can’t Get a Job in the Majors. The Baton Rouge Advocate caught up with the former Rangers skipper. He says he has contacted some teams about getting work but hasn’t gotten a response from them. “This is the first time I haven’t been at a spring training since I left high school [in 1970],” Washington told the paper. “I’m dealing with each and every day trying to find peace with being out of the game right now and just enjoy my family.”

Three DISD Trustees Call for Meeting To Discuss Firing Mike Miles. Can you guess the three?

Terri Hodge Is Back in Politics. In 2010, she was caught up in the Don Hill investigation and admitted to federal income tax evasion, a felony. She’s out of prison now. And she’s working for U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, the woman who essentially stole money from her poor constituents and funneled it to her own grandchildren and nephews. Simply amazing.

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Mayor Mike Rawlings: ‘I Didn’t Back Out of Tuesday’s Debate’

Marcos Ronquillo’s campaign has issued a release saying they are “disappointed as Rawlings pulls out of Tuesday’s debate.” You can read the full thing, below. I caught Rawlings at his personal office a bit ago. He was headed in to City Hall. He assured me that he is insane and that only insane people should be on the road right now. “Tim!” he said. “Please don’t leave your kitchen in East Dallas! You’d be a fool to try to drive to your office!” I swear to you, Wick, that’s exactly what he said. In any case, Rawlings said he never agreed to participate in tomorrow’s debate. His position all along, he said, has been that he won’t do any of these events until we know exactly who is running; the filing deadline is February 27. He called the release from Ronquillo’s camp “just politics.”

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DMN Screws DISD With Ad Placement

As Liz mentioned in Leading Off, Sunday’s paper brought us a long front-page story about DISD hiring too many teachers and then misinforming the board about the matter. An alert FrontBurnervian sent along the image above, pointing out how funny it is that the jump of that story landed across from a full-page DISD ad seeking teacher applicants. If I were in charge of buying ads for the district, I would demand a make-good.

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Mayor Mike Rawlings Dodges Topic of Trinity Toll Road

Take a minute to read this post by Jim Schutze. It’s about Councilman Philip Kingston getting kicked out of a breakfast meeting because, it appears, Mayor Mike Rawlings didn’t want him asking questions about the proposed Trinity toll road. Here’s the upshot: Rawlings has decided that he is not going to debate anyone on the toll road. He told Schutze: “I have made it real clear to people who have asked me that I am not going to debate the tollway situation.” And: “There is nothing on the ballot that the citizens are voting about.” So he’s not going to debate anyone on the toll road because we’re not voting on the issue. He couldn’t be more wrong.

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Question for the Group: What Should We Call Our Podcast?

Looks like Zac and I will attempt a podcast. Without getting too heavy into the details, it’ll be kinda like FrontBurner (actual Dallas-related content mixed with time-wasting foolishness). About six years ago, a fellow named Adam McGill and I attempted something like this. We called it FrontBurner For Your Ears. A woman named Charity Beaver was once a guest. But I digress. We did the thing without buying any equipment, using instead a free service called Blog Talk Radio, which relies on telephones to record sound. The audio quality was not top notch (to say nothing of the content). This time we’ve invested some money. We’ve got microphones. And even a microphone stand.

So I throw it to you, dear content consumer. What should we call this thing? Keep the name FrontBurner For Your Ears? Something snappier? Anything in particular you’re interested in hearing?

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The Most Clear and Present Danger to DISD: Bernadette Nutall

If you read the Morning News, you might think that former U.S. Attorney Paul Coggins investigated DISD trustee Bernadette Nutall and determined that she did nothing wrong. Really, you should read that story. Because then you’ll be able to appreciate a post that Eric just put up on LearningCurve that lays out what has actually happened here. Eric’s post is not short. Gird your loins before you click. But it’s worth the effort. After reading it, I can’t help but wonder if Nutall is the single biggest problem at the district. She is simply amazing.

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Leading Off (2/17/15)

Amar’e Stoudemire Is Damn Near a Mav. Eddie Sefko says Stoudemire is “99.9 percent committed to joining the Mavericks.” I’m sure Zac will be along in a bit to tell us what we should think about this near-certain development, but I’d like to say, for now, on the record, that I am 99.8 percent committed to this blog. Start getting excited.

Should We Pay DISD Board Members? Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins thinks so. Maybe as much as $60k. It’s such a small price to pay to attract a better field of candidates. I’d honestly like to hear one good argument why this shouldn’t happen. (Meantime, Tawnell Hobbs and Matthew Haag are doing a victory lap over that whole HR scandal. Which I suppose they deserve.)

Eddie Ray Routh Confession Played in Court. “At the beginning of the 90-minute taped confession, Routh can be heard muttering about his soul and talking to several ‘Chrises.’ At one point, he said talking to Kyle was like ‘talking to the wolf.’ ” Just sadness.

More Details Emerge on Murder of Cop. Before she killed Officer Larry Tuttle and then herself, Otto Thomas said he was abusing her. Her journals paint a different picture of what was going on, suggesting that Thomas was a woman who “lost track of reality.”

8-Year-Old Golfer Is Better Than Tiger. I’m exaggerating a little. But just watch this.

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More Nature Destroyed in Trinity Watershed

Ben Sandifer had a couple hours to kill Sunday, so he went traipsing around down in the McCommas Bluff Nature Preserve. He found some tracks of heavy vehicles and followed them to the disturbing scene you see above. The “before” photo was taken in April 2014. The “after” picture was taken February 8. This place has been destroyed. It’s a county preserve. Ben has called around to all the various agencies — Trinity Watershed, Water Utilities, he even called John Wiley Price — but he hasn’t gotten an answer yet as to who did this and why. Read Sandifer’s blog to learn more about the sensitive area and what’s at stake (such as one of about 100 known trout lily colonies in the State of Texas).

Remember last year when Trinity Watershed Management officials apologized for their incompetence and invited a bunch of folks out to see their horrible stewardship of the land and promised it wouldn’t happen again? Yeah, well. So much for that.

“A half acre here, an acre there disappears,” Sandifer says. “Suddenly you don’t have anything left.”

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A Little History for the Dallas Citizens Council and Alice Murray

Alice Murray, president of the Dallas Citizens Council, recently wrote a piece in support of the Trinity toll road. Peter did a pretty thorough job destroying her weak arguments. One point that Murray tried to make was this: DFW Airport, DART, Victory Park, and Klyde Warren Park were all big public improvement projects that wise leaders supported and naysayers fought. Never mind that DART is one of the worst performing public transit systems in the country and Victory Park was a huge financial failure. Murray’s point is that wise leaders, like the sort who belong to the Dallas Citizens Council, will carry the day.

This got artist, author, environmentalist, and sometime D Magazine contributor Laray Polk thinking. Because she remembers that in the early 1970s, the Dallas Citizens Council supported turning the Trinity River into a navigable canal that would bring ships from the Gulf to the port of Dallas. Oh, and James Hoffa’s people were part of the deal. Laray reminds us:

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