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Leading Off (2/27/15)

Winter Is (Still) Coming. The forecast calls for snow this morning, freezing rain tomorrow.

Trustees Interrogate Dallas ISD Staff on Hiring. For more than three hours the board put questions to administrators over whether they told the truth about the purpose of $6.4 million approved in October for the hiring of teachers. Some believed the superintendent’s explanation, some did not.

And the Hits Keep Coming For DISD. The Morning News reports that Texas Education Agency investigators found 60 district employees had not been fingerprinted and that an additional 120 had been fingerprinted but not in the correct way. Proper fingerprinting is necessary to conduct criminal background checks. Furthermore, according to the TEA report, Superintendent Mike Miles submitted a statement saying that DISD was in compliance with fingerprinting requirements even though an internal district audit had indicated otherwise.

Lancaster Police Release Report on Dez Bryant Incident. Rumors of an incriminating video featuring the Dallas Cowboys receiver led to media requests for information about what happened in that Walmart parking lot in 2011. According to the cops, there was no offense committed, and they have no video of what occurred. Could there be any less news in this news?

Mockingbird Pedestrian Bridge May Finally Get Built. The project, providing a path for pedestrians and cyclists over the six-lane street, is a key link in the plan to extend the Katy Trail. City officials have said construction should begin this fall.

Congressman Pushes For Chris Kyle to Get Medal of Honor. Republican Roger Williams of Cleburne introduced a bill Thursday proposing the late American Sniper receive the prestigious award for his Iraq War exploits. He’s probably got a better shot at this than he did the Best Picture Oscar, anyway.

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Leading Off (2/25/15)

Eddie Ray Routh Convicted of Murdering Chris Kyle. The jury in Stephenville found him guilty as charged last night. Kyle’s wife, Taya, left the court during closing arguments and wasn’t present for the verdict. Routh will spend the rest of his life in prison. Expect video and audio from the trial to be released soon.

Wintry Mix Sux. More than one area child woke up this morning and said, “Where the heck is my 2 to 4 inches of snow? Huh, Pete Delkus?! It’s falling now, but it ain’t stickin.

Mysterious Booms Remain Mysterious. Yesterday what sounded like a series of bomb explosions were heard from Grand Prairie to Southlake. No one is certain what caused the noises, but the leading contender is demolition activity at a National Semiconductor plant in Arlington.

Southwest Airlines Grounds 128 Uninspected Planes. About 90 flights were canceled yesterday. The FAA says it’s working with both Southwest and Boeing “to evaluate a proposal that would allow the airline to continue flying the planes until the inspections are completed over the next few days.”

Fort Worth Didn’t Disinfect Drinking Water Last Week. The city has been cited by The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which is a thing. About a quarter of the water processed during a 24-hour period didn’t meet required standards.

Rajon Rondo Benched. The Mavs beat the Raptors last night, but the did it without the services of Rondo for the last 20 minutes of play. Rick Carlisle benched him after a “profanity-laced shouting match” about play-calling duties. At one point, an assistant coach had to step between the two men to keep them from yelling in each other’s faces. Instant analysis: this isn’t good.

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Leading Off (2/20/15)

Killer Believed Chris Kyle Was a ‘Pig Assassin.’ A psychiatrist testifying for the defense said Eddie Ray Routh was schizophrenic and suffering delusions about man-pig hybrids taking over the world at the time he shot Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield.

Irving Strengthens Smoking Ordinance. But some restaurants are grandfathered out of the new restrictions.

911 Operator Helps Save Drowning Toddler. A Lewisville grandmother called after finding her 18-month-old granddaughter in the pool. The child is apparently doing well. Meanwhile another Lewisville family suffered a horrific loss after an unhinged door fell on a 2-year-old girl, killing her.

Woman Gets $109 Bill For Half-hour Trip to DFW. A Toll Tag glitch caused the mistake, which the airport initially refused to rectify with a refund, since it was reported to them more than 45 days after the incorrect charge was made.

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Leading Off (2/16/2015)

Fatal Shooting On Lower Greenville. Orlando Pulido, 26, was shot multiple times early Sunday morning in the parking lot behind OT Tavern. The suspect is still at large.

Dirk Dunks. During the All-Star Game. It is adorable.

So-Called “Evening Burglar” Caught. Remember that rash of burglaries, committed by a particularly speedy thief (or thieves) that spread from Plano to Allen to Dallas? Police caught two suspects in the act Friday, you guessed it, evening. Now that the important news has been dispensed with, I would like to point out that this criminal nickname lacks panache. That said, good inter-agency police work!

Dallas Stars’ Tyler Seguin Injured. The team’s leading scorer will be out three to six weeks after taking a hit to the knee during Friday’s game against Florida. This is not great news for the Stars’ playoff hopes. Meanwhile, two other players, Ales Hemsky and Patrick Eaves, were also injured. Eaves got hit in the cheek with a puck. Yee-ouch.

The News Creates Open Records Request Website. This is interesting. The DMN‘s latest project is aimed at helping the public make and track open records requests to state agencies subject to the Texas Public Information Act.

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Some Things We’ve Learned in the Trial of Chris Kyle’s Killer, Eddie Ray Routh

We had a debate here about whether I should be down in Stephenville, covering the trial of Eddie Ray Routh, the man who killed Chris Kyle and Kyle’s friend Chad Littlefield. Part of me wishes I was there, because I’m obviously very interested in the story. (The part of me that sees the massive media presence, though, is happy I’ve got other things that need finishing.) But I’ve been following the coverage. And through the first few days of testimony we’ve learned some interesting new information. Here’s a quick rundown:

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Leading Off (2/13/15)

Guns to Fix What Ails Texas Education System. Apparently so, seeing as a Texas Senate committee voted Thursday to allow handguns to be carried on state university campuses, and Anna ISD is making plans to arm teachers at its high school.

Rats Broke Dallas Zoo Monorail. The train has been inoperative since last summer, the third time it’s been down for an extended period in as many years. The nonprofit that operates the zoo is planning a $3 million fix to the 25-year-old system, which has suffered repeated damage as rodents have chewed through the power cables.

Government Regulation Shutters Small Business. The organizer of the Eutopia swingers club — DFW’s newest Lifestyle Venue! —  says he’s decided to move his erotic parties out of Arlington rather than appeal the city’s order to cease operating out of a home there.

Video Shows Cop Car Driving Wrong Way. A woman captured cell phone footage of a Dallas Police cruiser reversing against the flow of traffic on the Central Expressway frontage road at Fitzhugh Avenue and posted it to the department’s Facebook page. The DPD asked for more details and has turned the matter over to a traffic supervisor.

New Revelations at Trial of Chris Kyle’s Killer. Michael J. Mooney, New York Times best-selling e-book author, will be along in a little while to weigh in on what we’ve learned so far.

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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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Dallas City Contractor Accidentally Destroys 170-Year-Old Tree

You can read the full release from the city, below. But here’s what happened: there stood a 170-year-old black willow tree at Stone Tables in White Rock Lake Park. On Monday, city staff learned that a contractor cut the tree down and ground its stump to nothingness. The tree was one of four champion trees on the state registry that stood in the Dallas parks system. According to the release: “The City intends to seek remediation from the contractor, and to prevent this type of occurrence from happening in the future.” The Germans had a law for dealing with people who killed trees:

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Leading Off (2/2/2015)

Xerox Building Comes Down. It’s making way for the Uptown Sam’s Club we’ve written some words about previously.

Former SMU Law Dean Arrested For Prostitution. John Attanasio was the school’s dean for 25 years, until his contract was not renewed in 2013. He’s still a professor of law at the university. He was arrested early Sunday.

DISD Human Resource Exec Forced To Resign. Carmen Darville was investigation for “failure to conduct background checks, unethical conduct, retaliation, and conflicts of interest,” according to WFAA. She resigned Thursday, apparently due to the leak of internal messages between herself and another HR director, Jose Munoz, who has also resigned. There are conflicting reports as to what superintendent Mike Miles knew about her behavior, and when.

Happy Groundhog Day. Six more weeks of winter? Our furry pal will let us know. Today is also a D Magazine holiday, so you’ll forgive us if posting is light. I have a long-overdue date with the fifth season of Justified.

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Ladar Levison Weighs in on Barrett Brown Case

An interesting loop is nearing completion. I’ve profiled Barrett Brown and Ladar Levison. Barrett has written about me. Now Ladar is writing about Barrett. We only need Barrett to write about Ladar and Ladar to write about me. Come on, guys! We can do it.

Okay, Ladar has a piece in the Guardian today that you should read. As of 9:49 a.m. Central Standard, the piece appears to link to the same cache of hacked Stratfor information that Barrett got busted for linking to. (!) But that’s not really the most interesting part of Ladar’s story.

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