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Leading Off (8/1/14)

City and Klyde Warren Park Talk of Closing Olive. And they didn’t tell their neighbors yet. They swear they were going to. Why wasn’t that stretch of the street closed when they built the park?

Fort Worth Doctor With Ebola Returns to the U.S. Kent Brantly was in West Africa offering humanitarian aid when he contracted the deadly virus. CNN has used the pandemic as an opportunity to scare the bejesus out of its viewers by pointing out that Ebola is “only a plane ride away.”

Immigrant Kids Won’t be Housed in Dallas County. County Judge Clay Jenkins announced as much after the federal government said that the tide of refugee children from Central America has slowed significantly.

Dallas ISD Won’t Tell Investigator Why He’s Being Investigated. Jeremy Liebbe was placed on paid leave and escorted from his office two weeks ago, but his lawyer says he still doesn’t know why. Sources told the Morning News it’s because of the way he went about conducting an investigation of his own supervisor.

Toddler Falls Over Railing at the AAC. The 2-year-old was watching the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus with her family when she tumbled from the 200 level to the Plaza level below. She was hospitalized in critical condition.

Another Day With a High in the 80s. Yes, you still live in North Texas.

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Big Fire Near Trinity Forest Continues To Burn

On Wednesday, a large fire consumed a good portion of the land near Big Spring, not far from where the new horse park and golf course will be built near the Trinity Forest. According to the Save Pemberton’s Big Spring Facebook page, nine fire trucks were called to the scene — and the fire has sparked up again today. Speculation is that it was arson. You’ll find some pictures of the damage on that page, too.

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Why Is the Air We Breathe Getting Worse?

The Texas Tribune yesterday published a story that you should read — but only if you live in North Texas and if you breathe air. It only matters to that group of people. Here’s the top-line summary: though we are still way above where the federal government wants us on ozone, for years our levels had been dropping. In 2008, as you can see from the above chart generated from research done at UNT, that trend reversed itself. And the rise in ozone levels has accelerated fastest in parts of North Texas where the most drilling is done. It’s an important story. It’s not that long. Please read it — again, though, only if you live here and breathe air.

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Dallas Weather Forecast: DUCK!

Nothing much happening in downtown Dallas right now, except for a bunch of clouds. But — holy hell — up north in Denton and Cooke counties today’s heavy rains have already arrived and it sounds like chaos, with highways shut down and roads flooded.

WFAA says we’re going to several rounds of rain through tomorrow. So a downpour is coming your way later today, if it hasn’t reached you already.

Be careful out there.

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Dallas Confirms Season’s First Positive West Nile Test

Not in a person — in a mosquito pool near the 6600 block of Brookshire Drive in North Dallas. The city is planning to spray insecticide tonight and tomorrow between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. in the area bounded by Azalea Lane on the north, Tulane Boulevard on the west, Airline Road on the east, and Walnut Hill Lane on the south. From the city’s release:

While the insecticide is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for treatment, residents in the above areas should avoid contact with the spray by staying indoors. Persons inside a vehicle while trucks are actively spraying should remain in their vehicles with the windows up and the air conditioner on until the trucks pass and the spray is no longer visible. Persons out during the scheduled spraying time should be alert for trucks and should not follow them. Residents who come in contact with the spray are advised to wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water. The spray breaks down quickly in the presence of sunlight and has no residual effect.

Zac’s mosquito source could not be reached for comment.

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Leading Off (6/6/14)

Tests Prove Fracking Contaminated Parker County Water. The Texas Railroad Commission’s findings earlier this year concluded that the amount of methane in one man’s well was under the federally allowed limit, but a UT-Arlington scientist ran his own test and found the methane levels dangerously high. Not only that, but the evidence indicates the methane almost certainly came from gas in the Barnett Shale. The Railroad Commission stands by its report.

Synthetic Marijuana Bust Involves Ridglea Theater. The feds have busted the owners of the Gas Pipe chain of head shops for the manufacture and distribution of K2, or “spice.” DEA agents seized cars, a house, businesses, and nearly $3 million in the operation. Caught up in the mess is the historic Fort Worth theater, which documents claim was purchased with money from the sale of the illegal substance.

County Vows to Take Guns From Domestic Abusers. On the Sunday the Morning News reported on how officials haven’t been enforcing state and federal laws that should keep guns out of the hands of those convicted of domestic abuse or subjects of protective orders. On Thursday, officials vowed to institute ways to impose the law as they should. Score one for the fourth estate.

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I Paddled the Trinity River Rapids and Lived To Tell This Story

You are hereby invited to read a story, if you haven’t already, that I wrote for the June issue. The online headline is the SEO’ed (I guess) “How I Survived the Trinity Rapids,” but the print version headline, which I prefer, is “Here Be Dragons.” In ye olden tymes, that’s what mapmakers would write when they didn’t know the lay of the land (or ocean). Those were parts unknown. Places to be feared. That’s how I read Jim Schutze’s reporting on the Dallas Wave.

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Catch Laray Polk at CentralTrak on Thursday

You might recall Laray Polk’s name from the 2010 story she wrote for us about Harold Simmons and he stood to make millions by storing nuclear waste in questionable way. It was titled “Harold Simmons Is Dallas’ Most Evil Genius.” Well, Laray co-authored a book last year with Noam Chomsky (yes, that Noam Chomsky) called Nuclear War and Environmental Catastrophe. She’ll talk about the book Thursday at CentralTrak. Here’s how the evening is billed:

Topics in the book will be explored in relation to Texas as it has over time become a dumping ground for the country’s radioactive waste. The state has also become a convergent point for environmental activism over the controversial proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The discussion will include images of West Texas’ “Nuclear Alley” and acts of recent nonviolent protest in East Texas, followed by a Q&A.

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Leading Off (5/9/14)

Dallas Cowboys Pass on Johnny Manziel. The former Texas A&M quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner was still available when the team made its first-round pick — No. 16 overall. But despite the marketing bonanza that could’ve come from pairing Manziel with Jerry Jones in a Papa John’s commercial, the Cowboys selected Zack Martin, an offensive lineman out of Notre Dame. Johnny Football is taking his talents to Cleveland.

City to Award Love Field Gates to Virgin. According to WFAA’s sources, an announcement will be made today. City Manager A.C. Gonzalez made the call, which comes as no surprise, given the Justice Department’s stance on which carrier should get the gates the American Airlines is being forced to divest in order to have its merger with U.S. Airways approved.

Storms Flooded Streets, Downed Trees, Cut Power. Late Thursday, thousands of homes were still waiting for electricity to be restored. Though some places saw several inches of rain, officially (at D/FW Airport) the area got only a half-inch, leaving us still 8 inches below normal for precipitation this year.

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Inside the May 2014 Issue of D Magazine

I’ve never seen a debate grow quite like this. When we started brainstorming our May cover package, “The Next Dallas Boom,” we were under the impression that tearing down Interstate 345 would still be a fairly foreign concept to many. After all, how many people really dive into a transportation story with vigor? It’s not necessarily a page-turner, unless, of course, you can explain the possibilities. Because, at the end of the day, the whole conversation is really about the possibilities. We’ve got the potential for $4 billion in development opportunity at stake, for starters. There’s a 94 percent occupancy rate downtown, which demonstrates a pretty solid demand for new development. Oh, and then there’s the chance to reunite neighborhoods and reinvigorate neglected parts of the city. And the best part of the whole situation? Other cities have already laid the groundwork. So, we thought, if we can show how successful other cities have been, we could provoke conversation and interest in the topic at home.

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Leading Off (4/25/14)

Some Still Want to Build Trinity Parkway. The Morning News characterizes the crowd at last night’s final public hearing on building a $1.4 billion road in a floodway as “divided.”

Park Board Members Don’t Want You to Email Them. A new website for the Dallas Park and Recreation Board is scheduled to go live today. It was to have a feature providing the public the ability to contact any of the members. But some board members pushed back, fearing that they’d receive as many as 50 additional emails each month. So the site is launching without it.

Virgin America Lands a Plane at Love Field. And the air carrier has announced a news conference for today. The speculation is that it has something to do with Virgin’s desire to take over the two gates at the airport that American Airlines has to give up as part of the deal that led the Justice Department to approve its merger with U.S. Airways. But the city of Dallas, which has to approve which airline gets the gates, said that no decision has been made.

Nobody Let Krista Read This Story. It’s about a deputy sheriff getting fired, and it involves a dog and a gun.

The Pollen Vortex Is Trying to Kill Me. Today’s pollen count. I hate spring.

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Plastic Landscape Project Seeking New Home

In response to a comment made at a Dallas City Council meeting that went something like, “I don’t see any problem with plastic bags,” Michael Thomas of 1814 MAGAZINE launched the Plastic Landscape project. Twelve photographers were invited to participate by illustrating the impact of plastic shopping bags on the environment. With assignment in hand, our very own Elizabeth Lavin along with Jocelyn Meinster came up with photo No. 12. Prior to the 8-6 City Council vote today, in which a partial ban on plastic bags was passed, the photos hung briefly in City Hall. Now, Thomas is looking for a new home for the project. “This is a great way for people to actually see the problem and be able to share it with other people,” he says. “It’s an easy, simple way to be able to educate people, whether the ban had passed today or not.”

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