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Leading Off (7/31/15)

AG’s Ties to McKinney Tech Company Probed. Ken Paxton’s relationship with Severgy, a self-proclaimed “innovation engine,” appears to be under investigation as part of the Collin County grand jury’s look at whether the Texas attorney general should be indicted on felony charges over his admitted securities violations. Severgy has been involved in its own legal troubles in the past, accused of fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Paxton owns at least 10,000 shares of the company.

Fort Worth Bike Cop Kills Man. In the early morning hours of Friday, the policeman shot a guy who was brandishing a handgun during an altercation between two large groups outside the Ojos Locos Sports Cantina in the city’s downtown. The man later died at a nearby hospital, and the officer has been placed on routine administrative leave while the incident is investigated.

Parkland Sues Four Builders. A lawsuit filed earlier this week claims that contractors delivered faulty work in the construction of its new central utility plant. The project is intended to provide water and emergency power for the new $1.3 billion county hospital that opens in August. Reps for the builders say that Parkland’s legal team is just providing cover for the leadership failures of Parkland officials.

Dog Missing in Ellis County. Yes, this story got actual airtime on a local newscast in the country’s fourth-largest television market last night.

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Leading Off (7/30/15)

Rangers Trade For Cole Hamels. The deal for the Phillies ace might be too late to get them in the playoffs this season, but it sets up the team well for 2016. In exchange, they gave up Matt Harrison and a package of prospects, most notably catcher Jorge Alfaro. There is a lot of cash involved, too, so the commissioner’s office hasn’t approved the deal yet. So I guess there is a chance to Rangers could still get DeAndre Jordaned. Yes, we’re saying that now.

Dallas Man Sentenced to 15 Years For Sex Trafficking. LaDestro Douglas was pimping out underage runaways, and got what he deserved. This has been a signed editorial comment by Zac Crain.

Zoo Employees Mourn Kipenzi. Yeah, this still punches me in the gut.

Duncanville Teen Arrested After Video Shows Him Beating Up Other Teens. A few lessons here: 1) Don’t assault other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person. 2) Don’t have someone film you assaulting other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person. 3) If you don’t have someone filming you assaulting other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person, assume someone is filming you assaulting other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person. 4) Definitely do not — and I really can’t stress this enough — post or let anyone post that video of you assaulting other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person, to any social media. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, whatever. Actually, you can post it to LinkedIn.

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Dallas Is a Flaming Pig

An alert FrontBurnervian sends along a chart from Marriott that tracks the “off season” in vacation spots around the world. Our FrontBurnervian notes: “It’s interesting to see the icons assigned to represent these destinations. Montreal: Maple Leaf. Portland: Bicycle. Australia: Kangaroo. Dallas: Flaming Pig.”

I hereby move that we take down the Pegasus from its spot high atop the Magnolia Hotel and replace it with the iconic Flaming Pig.

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Leading Off (7/10/15)

Violent Crime Up in Dallas. Through the first half of 2015, the total number of murders, rapes, aggravated assaults, and robberies is up 10 percent. No one has a firm explanation for the spike, but police say they are flooding high-crime zones with more manpower to try to stem the tide.

Bush and Clinton Play Nice. Though former presidents George W. and Bill each have a family member vying to win the White House in 2016, they shared the stage last evening to celebrate the graduation of the first class of Presidential Leadership Scholars at the Bush Presidential Center:

“Last night my granddaughter spoke to me in Mandarin,” Bush said, before the crowd, and Clinton, erupted in laughter.

Sounds like it was an easy room.

Former Morning News Editor Takes UNT Gig. Bob Mong, who retired from our local daily newspaper in May, is apparently already sick of spending more time with his family. He’s been named the lone finalist for the presidency of the Dallas campus of the University of North Texas. The current president, Ronald Brown, is being promoted to run the university system’s health care programs, including the newly announced medical school in Fort Worth. I’ll always remember how Mong took the time to write me a short note of praise for a column I’d written for the group of community news sections I once ran at the DMN. He understood that it means a lot to know the guy in the big office on the other side of the building is actually reading your stuff, especially when it’s not the stuff on the front page. He was extremely kind and supportive of our team’s work — not to mention a surprisingly good softball player. Big congrats to him.

Blind Alligator Removed From the Trinity in Fort Worth. “Nuisance Alligator Hunter” is not a new Animal Planet series. It’s something someone can be licensed to do, someone like Chris Stevens, who was called in to catch a 10-foot-2-inch reptile that showed up in the river near the city’s downtown after heavy rains in June. The animal was safely moved to a nature preserve.

Lake Dallas Mayor Resigns Without Explanation. Tony Marino stepped down as the top elected official in the small Denton County city last night, just a few weeks after the shady shenanigans in which he and the city manager/police chief seemed to have engineered the ouster of a newly elected city council member who’d been critical of them. Marino’s replacement, Mike McCaleb, vowed to bring the “wounded” city back together, descending from the dais to address those in attendance:

McCaleb began to cry. “I’m a big baby, too,” he said. “My sister used to accuse me of having a bladder behind my eyes.”

Many residents laughed at his joke.

Sounds like it was an easy room.

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Leading Off (6/12/15)

Dallas High School to be Redeveloped. Jack Matthews, the developer behind the Omni Convention Center Hotel and active in the South Side neighborhood, has announced plans to purchase and convert to other uses the 6-acre school complex on the east side of downtown that’s been empty since 1995. The first phase is expected to create office space.

Big Shots Sign the McBridge. Margaret McDermott, the 103-year-old widow of the founder of Texas Instruments, was among those on hand Thursday for a ceremonial placing of signatures onto pieces of steel that will be used in the arches of her namesake bridge. The structure, which will replace the existing Interstate 30 bridge when it’s completed in 2017, is the second so-called “signature bridge” for Dallas designed by Santiago Calatrava. Which is why they held a signing ceremony, I guess?

Football Players Quit After Coach Makes Son QB. Nine members of the Mineral Wells High School team complained to the school board Tuesday that head coach Gerald Perry tapped his son Tristan to be quarterback without allowing another student a shot at earning the role. The next day the coaching staff reversed the decision, and the students agreed to put their pads back on, though they’d maybe be better off clinging to their outrage until after two-a-days.

Creepy Letters From “Jesus” Spook East Dallas Residents. The hand-scrawled notes, which use Bible references to preach that the end of the world is near, were left at several homes.

Black Bear Wanders Around Corinth. Some bright guy thought it was a good idea to bring the young wild animal home with him from Oklahoma. After it was spotted running about his neighborhood, the cub is being transferred to a ranch in Pilot Point.

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Leading Off (5/29/15): Floods Submerge Dallas-Fort Worth

Dallas Under Water. Over night a huge, slow-moving storm dumped heavy rain across DFW, officially making this the wettest May on record in these parts. The previous high mark was 13.66 inches, and we’re likely still not done for the month. Don’t try to drive through flooded roads.

Much more, and other news, after the jump…

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The Dallas Zoo’s Harrison Edell Talks Giraffe Birth and Kilts on D Magazine Podcast

We were all a little disappointed that Harrison Edell, the senior director of living collections at the Dallas Zoo, didn’t show up at the Old Monk yesterday with a lemur on his back, or a falcon on his arm, or a tarantula atop his head, or toting some manor of fauna. Instead he was merely a mightily entertaining interview subject on the latest EarBurner podcast.

A couple of corrections/clarifications for this week’s show, which also features impressions of Dallas City Council members Vonciel Hill Jones, Sheffie Kadane, and Tennell Atkins:

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The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Prison: I Tried To Eat a Mouse But It Didn’t Work

Three weeks ago, I was sentenced to prison, which in some ways was a great relief, as federal prison is said to be much nicer than the jail holding units and temporary detention centers where I have spent the last two and a half years of my life. And, really, I feel like I’ve done the whole “jail thing” by this point and can thus sort of cross that off my list. Now I’m jotting down all the touristy activities I hope to accomplish during my “real” prison sentence:

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Poll: How Long Should Dogs Be Allowed to Bark?

Right now Dallas pet owners risk a citation if they allow their dogs to bark continuously for as long as 15 minutes. Yesterday the City Council’s Quality of Life Committee discussed lowering that limit to only 5 minutes, though and assistant city attorney warned that could result in a spike of complaints that code enforcers could have difficulty keeping up with. Councilman Rick Callahan suggested making it 10 minutes, and Councilwoman Sandy Greyson agreed that might be the “magic number.” What do you think?

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Leading Off (2/6/15)

Don’t Drive Interstate 35E to Denton This Weekend. At least not after 8 p.m. Saturday night, or all-day Sunday. The highway’s main lanes will be shut down in Corinth to take out a bridge as part of a major expansion project.

‘Frontier Disney’ Fraud Trial Starts Monday. Thomas W. Lucas Jr. is accused by federal authorities of having told investors he had inside information about plans the Walt Disney company had to build a theme park and resort near Celina. He allegedly tricked them into spending millions to buy land near the purported site, from which he pocketed sales commissions. Though it’s hard to imagine investing even $5 with this guy.

The Beetles Invade D/FW Airport. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency there announced Thursday that they’ve intercepted destructive Khapra beetles in passengers’ luggage five times in recent months and have stopped more than 70 of the creatures from entering the homeland since 2013. The insect can reportedly destroy supplies of grain, which makes me think they’re like a less cuddly version of tribbles. Lock up the quadrotriticale. (That joke would kill at Dallas Comic Con Fan Days this weekend.)

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Leading Off (1/23/15)

High-Speed Rail Line Likened to Berlin Wall. Judging by the responses we’ve seen in the comments of previous articles about the possibility, Dallas residents seem generally excited about the prospect of a high-speed rail line being built that will mean Houston is just 90 minutes away by train. But WFAA spoke with several Ellis County landowners who are none too excited about their property being divided by the project.

Prime Prep to Merge With Another School. The struggling charter academy, co-founded by former NFL star Deion Sanders, will reportedly hook up with another Oak Cliff campus, Triple A Academy. It’s not clear whether Triple A’s recent 117-10 basketball win had anything to do with the decision.

Cowboys Fan Sues NFL For $88 Billion. Terry Hendrix is upset about the officials’ reversal of Dez Bryant’s catch during this year’s playoff game against the Green Bay Packers, claiming damages for the league’s “negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and also reckless disregard.” The hand-written lawsuit was filed on Wednesday. Also of note, Hendrix is incarcerated in a Colorado correctional institution.

Dogs Mysteriously Disappearing in Wise County. And there’s “not one shred of physical evidence that proves the dogs were taken.” Has the pet rapture begun?

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Meet Elise, Our Receptionist: What’s Up With the Bird?

Elise is our receptionist. If you were to call D Magazine (214-939-3636), whether you were wanting to buy an ad or lodge a complaint with an editor, Elise is the person you’d talk to first. Let’s say you are a stranger who just shows up uninvited at 9 o’clock on a Monday morning after a holiday break and asks to meet with me, Tim Rogers, then, when informed I am in a meeting, responds, “I’ll wait,” and takes a seat in our lobby until I, at length, come out and greet you, at which point you tell me you’ve come to D Magazine because, in your words, you “want to know what’s going on” — again, that process would begin with Elise.

She’s an interesting person, Elise. So we thought we’d launch a semi-regular FrontBurner feature designed to help you to get to know her better. We’re calling it “Meet Elise, Our Receptionist.” In this installment, she talks about her pet. She has a bird.

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Deep-Pocketed Black Rhino Killer May Not Get to Kill Endangered Rhino After All

You remember this story, right? The one that inspired a Colbert Word segment? The one about the guy who laid out a cool $350K at a Dallas Safari Club auction for a rare opportunity to shoot an endangered black Rhino and haul it back to the United States, stuff it, stick it somewhere in their home, and then brag to his friends about what a massive, Hemingway-esque trigger finger he has? That guy.

Well, that guy was Corey Knowlton, a international hunting consultant whose resume boasts of a Super Slam of wild sheep and the big five in Africa. And while, thanks to his success at the Dallas Safari Club auction, Mr. Knowlton does possess a permit to shoot and kill an endangered black rhinoceros, his little hunting expedition may not go off as planned after all. That’s because he needs another permit to haul the massive rhino carcass back to the United States.

Last spring, he applied for a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that would enable him to import the rhino’s body following the hunt in Namibia. But he’s still waiting to hear back.

The agency is applying extra scrutiny to Knowlton’s request because of the rise in poaching, said spokesman Gavin Shire.

If the permit is denied, the safari club plans to refund Knowlton’s money that was pledged to a rhino conservation fund in the southwestern African country.

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Nina Pham’s Dog Doesn’t Have Ebola

My favorite part about this morning’s press release from the city of Dallas is that they didn’t feel any need to explain who Bentley is on first reference. He’s become a one-name celebrity, like Madonna or Beyonce:

On Monday, October 21, samples from Bentley were sent to a lab to be tested for Ebola. The test results show that Bentley has tested negative for the virus. Specimen collection will be conducted again before the end of the 21-day quarantine period. Bentley will be monitored for a full 21-day period, similar to people exposed to the Ebola virus.

The City of Dallas Animal Services is overseeing Bentley’s care in partnership with the Texas Animal Health Commission, Texas A&M University and the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Nina Pham, Bentley’s owner, continues to be cared for at the National Institutes of Health, NIH, in Maryland. The City of Dallas and DAS are communicating daily updates to Nina on the testing throughout the process.

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