Leading Off (8/22/14)

Another Shooting by a Dallas Cop. It’s the fourth involving the city’s police force in the last two weeks. Dallas officers have shot 10 people so far this year, and seven have died — one of those was unarmed. (Compare that number to 12 in all of 2013.) Thursday night’s incident took place near the Dallas VA Medical Center. The man who was shot reportedly had himself shot a woman in the jaw.

State Allows Waste Control Specialists to Bury More Radioactive Waste. Dallas’ most evil genius may no longer be in charge of the company, but his vision for bringing byproducts of nuclear power plants to a site in West Texas lives on. The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality has approved changes that will allow WCS to accept triple the amount they could previously.

TCEQ Cites XTO For Stealing Water. The state agency says the company, which is owned by Exxon Mobil, took almost 1.4 million gallons of water to which it was not entitled, which it used for fracking.

Cowboys Linebacker Suffers Career-Ending Injury. DeVonte Holloman left Saturday’s preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens with a spinal injury, and doctors are advising that he never again play football.

Cowboys to Break Ground on Frisco HQ. Construction will kick off Friday, and the team expects to officially move from Valley Ranch to its new home for the 2016 season.

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American Family Association Doesn’t Like New RadioShack Commercials

The American Family Association is not known for its sense of humor, to say the least (Google tries to autofill a search for the organization with “american family association hate group”). So it is with a complete lack of surprise that we report that the AFA is not altogether thrilled with RadioShack’s latest, somewhat sexually charged ad campaign.

“The RadioShack ads are immature, juvenile, and downright distasteful,” the AFA said in a release. Which, honestly, is the best part and how I assume — or hope, I guess — the agency pitched the campaign.

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MIT’s Knight Science Journalism Program Rips DMN Story on Creationists

One of the great things about working for Genome, a Plano-based national medical science magazine, was getting to know science writers around the country. Because said writers know I live in Dallas, I got several WTF emails after the Dallas Morning News last week published this gee-whiz profile of the Institute for Creation Research, which tries to marry biblical tales with science. (As Dallas Observer writer Amy Silverstein notes, the institute is trying to gild the lily, because the Internet is already full of awesome papers that claim to prove biblical factuals.) The questions these science writers asked can be summarized thusly: Why would a reputable paper suggest that the institute’s members, who are essentially writing King James fan fiction, are in any way practicing science?

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Only 19 Percent of Dallas Cops Live in Dallas

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight site took the recent troubles in Ferguson, Mo., as a reason to look at how often police officers don’t live in the very community they’ve been hired to serve and protect.

Among the nation’s 75 cities with the largest police forces, on average 60 percent of cops live where they work. Laredo, Texas, has the highest percentage, with 94 percent of its officers Laredoans. On the other end of the spectrum, in Miami the number is only 7 percent.

Dallas is down near the bottom of the list, with 19 percent calling the big city home. In some cities there is a disparity between the numbers of white and non-white officers who are also residents, but that doesn’t seem to be a large gap in Dallas, which claims only 21 percent of black officers and 26 percent of Hispanic officers.

By contrast, Fort Worth can boast a higher percentage than Dallas of officers living within its limits, 43 percent, but it comes with a big difference among the races: 64 percent of black officers and 56 percent of Hispanic officers with only 31 percent of white officers.

I wonder what the breakdown would look like among all city employees.

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Leading Off (8/21/14)

Fort Worth Doctor Who Contracted Ebola Virus Leaving Atlanta Hospital Today. I doubt anyone expected Dr. Kent Brantly’s story to go this way when he came down with the virus while working at a missionary clinic in Liberia. He’s leaving for some R&R with his family at an undisclosed location, which I’m sure will have Alex Jones or someone spinning a doomsday conspiracy.

Jury Deliberations Begin in Hit-and-Run Teacher Case. Whether or not the jury finds former Grand Prairie teacher Tammy Lowe guilty of manslaughter (she’s already pled guilty to failing to stop and render aid) in the death of 6-year-old John Raidy, she’s probably got a pretty unhappy life ahead of her.

Local Protesters March For Michael Brown in Downtown Dallas. A couple hundred people marched down Main Street and gathered at Main Street Garden chanting for justice for Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old shot and killed in Ferguson, Missouri, almost two weeks ago. Also, the quote in that link should read “I feel like what went on in Ferguson with Mike Brown is a travesty [italics mine],” said Jonathan Copeland — not “tragedy,” as it currently says. Slight but important difference.

Dallas Cowboys Now Worth $3.2 Billion. So good luck getting Jerry Jones to do anything anyone wants.

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Will CPRIT Be Perry’s Achilles Heel?

Disclosure upfront: Despite thinking Zac’s series on Gov. Rick Perry is hilarious, I sort of like Perry, not least for his ability to make “enlightened” types see red. That said, I can’t help thinking that the governor’s defenders in the Travis County dust-up—including David Axelrod and Alan Dershowitz—are underestimating one aspect of the case.

That is, the implication that Perry vetoed the public integrity unit funds because the unit was investigating funny business at the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, one of Perry’s “signature accomplishments.”

That might be seen as a stretch—if the governor didn’t have a history of bigfooting in this manner. Remember how he delayed investigation of the Willingham arson case by replacing several members of the Texas Forensic Science Commission just before a key presentation? Just seems like the CPRIT angle might strike Jane and Joe Six-Pack as a little more troubling than Perry’s defenders are letting on.

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Leading Off (8/20/14)

Gov. Rick Perry Booked. And I have to say: bravo on the mugshot. Confident, a bit wily. Just an all-around A+ effort. After his photoshoot, he went to get ice cream.

Affluenza Teen’s Father Arrested for Posing as Officer. Ick. I hate typing out affluenza. But that’s why this is in the news, so here goes. Frederick Couch was arrested Tuesday after allegedly posing as a reserve officer at the scene of a disturbance call. Couch’s 16-year-old son, Ethan, killed four people while driving drunk last year. Couch the Elder apparently had a fake badge and ID card in his car. Seems like that household’s got a real lock on everything.

Weekend Storms Did Little to Help Lake Levels. “Overall, the district’s lakes are in considerably worse shape than a year ago.” Well, this is wildly reassuring.

Man Found Guilty in Plot to Kill Wife. “Attempted capital murder” is probably the scariest charge after “actual, real-deal capital murder.” A Denton County jury found John Howard guilty of just that Tuesday, after he hired someone to try and kill his wife. After trying unsuccessfully for years to find a hitman to kill his wife, he eventually found one. That person botched the effort, though, and Nancy Franklin survived.

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Leading Off (8/19/14)

Body Found Hanging From Tree in Northwest Dallas. It is horrible to have to hope that suicide is the explanation. Any other story about this situation would be hard to handle.

Frisco Considers Changing Alcohol Law. My apologies. I live in Dallas. When I head to Frisco, it is usually to catch an FC Dallas match. So I had no idea that the city cuts off alcohol sales at midnight on weeknights. Now the city is considering changing that law. Why? Because the Cowboys will soon open their training facility there, which means that Jerry will be bending his elbow in Frisco. Just think how much more money the town will make with two additional hours to sell booze to him.

Susan Hawk Goes on the Offensive. The Republican challenger facing DA Craig Watkins in the November election was recently handed a gift: news that Watkins was involved in a car crash and used forfeiture funds to clean up the mess in a sketchy way. She’s making hay. (And a DMN editorial calls for an outside investigation of the matter.)

State Fair Aims To Kill Visitors By Feeding Them Insane Food. The Fair announced its eight finalists for the Big Tex Choice Awards. Are you ready to wash down fried Sriracha balls with funnel cake beer?

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Leading Off (8/18/14)

Governor Perry Indicted. A Travis County grand jury indicted Rick Perry on two felony charges, abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant, late Friday. He vetoed $7.5 million in funds to the Public Integrity Unit after its leader, a prominent county Democrat, refused to resign after her arrest for drunk driving. Perry has a summons to appear, and may do so as early as today.

Two Killed in South Dallas. One other person was injured, in a shooting spree that happened very early this morning along Ledbetter Road. Police are searching for suspects.

Dallas Theater Center Does a Very Nice Thing. An Alaskan teenager sent the DTC a letter, thanking them for their modernized interpretation of Les Miserables. She hadn’t actually seen the show, of course, but she’d read about it and looked at pictures and watched a few short clips. She asked if there was a chance they’d videotape the whole thing, and the theater (along with the Fairmont Hotel) responded by bringing her to Dallas for closing night, which was Sunday. It was super sweet.

DART to DFW Starts Today. That’s the good news. The bad news: no express trains.

 

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Leading Off (8/15/14)

DA’s Office Paid Secret Settlement Following Car Crash. In February 2013, Dallas County district attorney Craig Watkins was driving up the Dallas North Tollway “reading information” on his cell phone when he ran into the back of a truck. Watkins was in a county-owned vehicle at the time but failed to follow the proper reporting procedures. Eventually the DA’s office paid the man that Watkins hit more than $50,000 and had him sign a settlement stating that he would not talk to the press. The settlement money also came from asset forfeiture funds, which seems to be questionable legally, especially since the spending never went before the county commissioners court for approval.

DA’s Office to Investigate Police Shootings. In the wake of the recent string of officer-involved incidents in Dallas, and the events playing out in Ferguson, Mo., this week, Craig Watkins announced his plan to create an investigative unit to look into any shootings involving cops. “I think it would be somewhat irresponsible if we didn’t address the fact that there is a lack of trust with the police,” Watkins said.

Cheating School’s Test Scores Plunge. An investigation last fall determined that students at Dallas ISD’s Umphrey Lee Elementary were being fed exam answers. So what happened after five teachers and an instructional coach were forced out? STAAR passing rates fell significantly during the last school year.

Cowboys Erect Party Tent Outside Stadium. The Corral, which was a feature at Texas Stadium back in the team’s 1990s heyday, is being resurrected starting with this weekend’s preseason game. Because JerryWorld isn’t big enough, I guess.

Corinth Doesn’t Want Beaver Nuggets. A crowd packed the Corinth City Council meeting last night before a hearing on granting incentives to bring a Buc-ee’s truck stop to Interstate 35E. Neighbors were concerned by the amount of traffic it would attract. At about 1 a.m. this morning, the council voted against Buc-ee’s.

Future Serial Killer in Lewisville. Hard not to reach that conclusion after reading this creepy story about 20 rabbits found killed in a “ritualistic” manner in the Castle Hills neighborhood.

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Do You Have a Nurse You Love?

Every year, we throw a fancy dinner to recognize the finest nurses in North Texas. For our annual Best Docs list, we rely on their peers to tell us who deserves the honor. Nurses are a little different. We open up the process to patients, who can nominate a nurse based on their experience with the health-care professional. Too often, the tireless work of these people goes unnoticed. We’re here to change that. The nomination process is painless. See for yourself. Deadline is nigh, though. Get cracking.

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Leading Off (8/14/14)

Wild About Harry’s Tribute Today. You probably heard that Harry Coley died yesterday. Well, today from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., folks are invited to drop by the Knox Street custard store and pay their respects.

Yu Darvish Put on Disabled List. When I see the printed version of the newspaper when I get to work, the “Yu, Too” headline had best have the comma in it. I’m serious about this. Anyway, more bad news for the Rangers.

Upscale Keller Neighborhood Has Problem With Beavers. Offered without comment.

Irving Kid Nearly Drowns. Just read the story. Notice how it is told. I wish the Morning News would let its reporters take more chances like this. Well done.

AT&T Launches GigaBit Today. The fastest AT&T internet connection will initially only be available in the Park Cities. Though other parts of North Texas will get upgraded speeds. Here’s the ad for the service.

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