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Making Dallas Even Better

Leading Off (5/25/16)

ARLINGTON CITY COUNCIL SIGNS OFF ON A NEW BALLPARK. The council approved the $1 billion plan that would give the Texas Rangers a new stadium. However, the next step is to convince voters to spend $500 million to keep the team in Arlington. Opponents have asked why the current stadium, which opened in 1994, needs to be replaced.

POLICE FIND AN ALLIGATOR BEHIND A SOUTH DALLAS MIDDLE SCHOOL. The nearly 7-foot-long reptile was captured near Steam Middle School around 2 a.m. Wednesday morning. An officer, who was patrolling the area, stopped after spotting what he thought was a log. It’s possible the alligator came from one of the area’s nearby creeks.

THE BATHROOM SAGA CONTINUES. State Attorney General Ken Paxton may file a legal challenge to President Barack Obama’s directive that instructs schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity. This could affect Fort Worth ISD’s newly established guidelines that would accommodate transgender students. Paxton has scheduled a 2 p.m. news conference in Austin.

STATE SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATE WHO THINKS OBAMA IS A FORMER GAY PROSTITUTE LOSES. Thankfully, Mary Lou Bruner, a retired teacher who suggested Obama might have been a “gay prostitute” in his youth, lost the Republican nomination last night by more than 10,000 votes. Bruner drew national attention earlier this year for her Facebook commentary which included claims such as “Islam is not a religion” and that Noah’s ark carried baby dinosaurs. Lufkin school board President Keven Ellis won the nomination and will face Democratic candidate Amanda Rudolph in the fall.

DALLAS ZOO WELCOMES ELEPHANT CALF. The calf was born May 14 to one of the five Swaziland elephants that arrived in Dallas in March and is the first African elephant calf born in the United States in nearly two years. The 3-foot, 175-pound calf hasn’t been named yet but is bonding with his mother. In January, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service granted the zoo a permit allowing the zoo to bring over the elephants from Swaziland–a move that was contested by animal advocacy groups. It’ll be a few months before the public can meet the calf so–until then– this video will have to suffice.

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Leading Off (5/24/16)

Susan Hawk in Houston indefinitely. The Dallas County District Attorney, who returned to the Menninger Clinic in Houston due to severe depression, doesn’t have a return date set yet. She was treated there last year before resuming her work in Dallas. Messina Madson, Hawk’s top prosecutor, will deal with daily office goings-on in the meantime.

Loose dogs captured in Oak Cliff. The loose dog problem continued when two dogs allegedly bit a man in east Oak Cliff yesterday morning. Police and animal control officers ended up capturing the dogs after fending the dogs off themselves.

High-speed internet coming to southern dallas. AT&T is aiming to bring high-speed internet to southern Dallas neighborhoods, which will help residents and businesses become more connected. Executives from AT&T are announcing the plan at a press conference this morning at Dallas City Hall. Mayor Rawlings says this shows that major companies are now concentrating on southern Dallas.

Dallas bachelorette JoJo Fletcher begins her journey to find love. The 25-year-old’s season premiered last night. It entailed a man riding in on a horse dressed as a unicorn, a guy wearing a kilt, another guy dressed as Santa Claus, and, obviously, alcohol-fueled antics. Good luck, JoJo.

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Dallas Zoo Wallabies Pick New Joey’s Name

I don’t know if your morning has been as miserable as mine has been so far, but if so, I suggest watching the above video of wallabies at the Dallas Zoo. I’m not the most animal-friendly of people, but I found it strangely soothing.

What’s happening in the video? From the zoo:

Our wallaby joey is no longer nameless! In mob-style fashion, we let our wallaby joey’s Australian mob pick his moniker by eating one of two labeled cakes. The choices: “Burnum” after Australian aboriginal activist, or “Pedy” for Coober Pedy in South Australia. The mob has spoken. And eaten and hopped… they really just hopped a lot. Here’s our sweet Pedy on his naming day!

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Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez Statement on Deadly Dog Attack (Revised)

Last night Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez issued an official statement about the death of Antoinette Brown, who was mauled by a pack of loose dogs last week. Gonzalez’s 463-word statement was drafted in bureaucratese, a language in which he is fluent.

I’ve taken the liberty of revising the text. He is free to adopt any of my suggested changes as his own, royalty free:

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Leading Off (5/10/16)

Southern Dallas woman who was mauled by dogs has died. 52-year-old Antoinette Brown was mauled on Rutledge Street by a pack of dogs on May 2 and was bitten more than 100 times. She died last night after being removed from life support. This truly horrific attack is yet another indicator that Dallas needs to get its loose-dog problem under control.

Continental avenue bridge might actually be renamed for ron kirk. The proposal to name the Continental Avenue bridge for former mayor Ron Kirk is getting closer to fruition. Yesterday, the City Council’s Transportation and Trinity River Project Committee voted (unanimously, no less) to bring the proposal to the entire council May 25.

Frisco woman has zika virus. She traveled outside the United States and has tested positive for the virus, which is spread by infected mosquitoes. This is the first confirmed case for Collin County, while Dallas County has had six confirmed cases this year. Zika’s most common symptoms include fever, joint pain, rash, and conjunctivitis.

Stars win to force game 7. They pulled out a 3-2 win against the Blues, which means Game 7 will actually happen. It will be the first Game 7 here at home since 2000 and the first overall Game 7 since 2007.

Queen Bey is flawless at Arlington show. I didn’t even attend, but that’s just a given. Seems like the Formation Tour is her best one yet.

Leading Off (4/6/16)

FBI TO ADD MASTERMIND OF UPTOWN DENTIST’S SLAYING TO MOST WANTED LIST. Brenda Delgado has been on the run since September, shortly after her ex’s girlfriend, dentist Kendra Hatcher, was shot dead in a parking garage. The hitman and getaway driver she allegedly hired are behind bars, but authorities believe Delgado is hiding in Mexico. The FBI is now making her capture a priority.

NORTH TEXAS’ TOP CPS OFFICIAL LEAVES BROKEN SYSTEM. Jackie Freeman, the director of Child Protective Services in the Dallas region, announced her retirement yesterday. This comes after some grim reports: children spending the night in CPS offices due to the lack of foster homes, a 57 percent turnover rate among child-abuse investigators, and the likely preventable, fatal beating of a 4-year-old girl in Grand Prairie.

LOCAL MAN’S SON WINS WISCONSIN. Ted Cruz pulls ahead of Donald Trump in the Badger State’s primary. Cruz says the victory is a “turning point” in the Republican race, while Trump’s campaign released a statement calling Cruz a “Trojan horse, being used by the party bosses attempting to steal the nomination…”  On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton took to Twitter to congratulate Bernie Sanders on his win.

THE BOSS ROCKS DALLAS. Bruce Springsteen crowd surfed and played the entirety of his 20-song, 1980 album The River at American Airlines Center last night.

POLICE DOG TRACKS DOWN RUNAWAY TWEEN. This. This is why all dogs go to heaven.

Leading Off (3/25/16)

Dallas Zoo Reopens Monorail. The attraction, which carries visitors past portions of animal habitats not visible from elsewhere in the park, has been closed since August 2014 due to electrical troubles caused by rats chewing through power cables. After a $3 million overhaul, it’s back in service today.

Denton Minister Arrested For Protesting Execution. Pastor Jeff Hood drove to Huntsville to commit an act of civil disobedience as the state of Texas putting to death a murderer. “We’re sitting here in the middle of holy week — where Christians are celebrating beauty of the atonement of Jesus — and yet we are, still killing for the sake of atoning for evil, and that’s not very Christian,” Hood said. “How can we love our neighbor as yourself and kill them?”

Falcon Recovering in Hutchins. The rare bird was found injured at the corner of Mockingbird Lane and Central Expressway after last week’s hail storm. A band on its leg led the Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Center to learn that “Beatrix” is “something of a local celebrity” in Winnipeg, Canada, thanks to the Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. If Rogers can’t get the bird flying again within a few weeks, Beatrix may have to be returned to Canada via plane.

105-Year-Old to Throw Out Rangers First Pitch. Elizabeth Sullivan has been training for her big day, on April 6. “I’m thrilled to a peanut. Wouldn’t you be?” Sullivan said. I might be, yes.

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Law Man Walking: Nature Treks With Bill Holston

Sunday morning dawned clear and cool. I packed my day pack with a thermos of coffee and headed up to Spring Creek Nature Preserve in Garland. Jill and I had afternoon plans, which prevented us from attending church, so that freed time to hike early on Palm Sunday.

The sun was out as I hit the parking lot on Holford. I was happy to have worn a fleece, as the morning air was still cool.

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Leading Off (3/18/16)

Van Cliburn Winner’s Daughters Killed. A 5-year-old girl and 1-year-old girl were found dead, and their mother found stabbed several times, at a home in Benbrook on Thursday. The children’s father is Vadym Kholodenko, who won the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2013. As of late last night, police were still waiting to speak with the mother, who was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, where she underwent surgery. Kholodenko and wife Sofia Tsygankova were in the process of divorcing and had not lived together as a couple since August. Kholodenko was scheduled to perform three shows with the Fort Worth Symphony this weekend. Police said they have not yet determined a suspect and that there were no signs of forced entry to the home.

McKinney to Vote on 12,000-Seat Stadium. The McKinney ISD board approved a $220 million bond proposition that will appear on the ballot May 7. The big-ticket item ($50.3 million) is a new football venue and events center near Central Expressway and State Highway 121.

Phil Romano, Emmitt Smith Lose Money in Bankrupt Company. The Dallas restaurateur and Dallas Cowboys legend are reportedly among the investors holding soon-to-be worthless shares of medical device company Palmaz Scientific, which hasn’t commercialized any of its technology.

Hail Kills 8 Birds at Fort Worth Zoo. Thursday morning’s storms claimed the lives of five flamingos, a pelican, an ibis and a swan chick.

Q&A With an Entomologist: Attack of the Mosquito Hawks!

They are everywhere in North Texas. Are they here to suck your blood? Do they mean us harm? What’s the deal with mosquito hawks? I called an entomologist to find out. Mike Merchant is a professor and extension urban entomologist with Texas A&M. He lives here. He knows a thing or two about bugs, and he runs a bug blog that you might enjoy. Here’s the deal:

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Leading Off (3/11/16)

Elephants Arrive in Dallas. Just 17 pachyderms will be coming to America from Swaziland. Dallas Zoo officials revealed that one of the original 18 died in December of an acute gastrointestinal condition. The death means that only five of the animals, which got to North Texas a little after midnight this morning, will stay in Dallas while the others are headed to Omaha, Nebraska, or Wichita, Kansas.

Trinity East Dispute in Court Today. Lawyers for Dallas will argue that the lawsuit filed by the energy company should be tossed because the city has immunity from the suit. For its part, Trinity East charges the city with breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, and fraud in denying the company access to land near the Elm Fork Golf Course for which it had hoped to obtain gas leases.

Captain America Robs Beauty Store. Plano Police say a man in a superhero sweatshirt — and his partner in an unimaginative black hoodie — may be connected to the burglaries of several ULTA cosmetics stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Dallas Police to Investigate Racist Facebook Post. Lt. Thomas Glover said the Black Police Association asked the DPD  to investigate after at least two officers made comments indicating their support of the posting of a picture reportedly snapped at an office party in Russia.

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Leading Off (2/19/16)

CITY OF DALLAS TO DISMANTLE ‘TENT CITY.’ Days after a homeless man was stabbed to death, city officials have made plans to break up the homeless encampment near Interstate 45 near Downtown Dallas. The makeshift area will come down in early May. Initially, the community was a temporary measure to house around 70 people but has swelled to more than 350 people.

RECYCLABLES DUMPED IN LANDFILL. Nearly one-fifth of recycling from 13 area cities ended up in landfills throughout a 21-month period, according to an audit by Waste Management. Flower Mound was the first city to come forward as an affected area. The company declined to release a list of the remaining cities, as representatives are still personally notifying officials with each city. Five Waste Management managers were fired in connection with the mishap.

JUDGE TO DECIDE PLACEMENT OF ETHAN COUCH’S CASE. A judge will decide today whether or not to transfer the “affluenza” teen’s case from juvenile to adult court after Couch turns 19 on April 11.

MEDICAL RECORDS OBTAINED IN JOHNNY MANZIEL CASE. Dallas police have retrieved medical records for the Cleveland Browns quarterback’s ex-girlfriend, who accused Manziel of hitting her after an argument at Hotel Zaza earlier this month. The records could verify the woman’s injury. Additionally, they could affect any future charges.

LEWISVILLE DOG FOUND 1,000 MILES AWAY FROM HOME. Snow White, a miniature Schnauzer, will be reunited with her family this week after she was found wandering the streets of Bristol, Tennessee. A microchip scan at the vet determined the distance between Snow White and her Lewisville home. The dog’s family has been searching for her since December.

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