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North Texas Giving Day, Cont.

Tim has mentioned it. Chris has mentioned it. Now I’m going to mention it: North Texas Giving Day is happening right now. So far, 40,944 gifts have been made for more than $10 million. (Yes, I’m addicted to the leaderboard as well.) There are many wonderful and deserving organizations that you should put your dollars toward. I’m going to reiterate what Chris said and mention one of them, because it’s near and dear to D‘s heart: it’s Big D Reads.

The goal is simple: we want to make Dallas a city of readers. Therefore, we’re going to purchase 20,000 copies of Charles Portis’ True Grit and hand them out in April. We’ve got big plans this year: we’re developing curriculum for teachers to use to teach the book, we’re expanding to new neighborhoods, and we’re bringing in Matt Damon. (Actually, we’d like to bring in Matt Damon. His people haven’t called me back yet. If you have a connection to him—or Jeff Bridges or the Coen Brothers—let me know.) All we’re asking for is $5. That buys one book. Go here to give.

K. Pitch over. And, in the time it took me to write that, 285 more gifts were given. Way to give, Dallas.

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Leading Off (9/18/14)

Vonciel Jones Hill Says Scott Griggs Is Wrong, Keeps Reasons Why To Herself. Griggs recently said screw-ups by the Trinity River and transportation departments are harming the city. Hill, who heads both the transportation and Trinity committees, understandably took it personally, calling his analysis “inaccurate, incomplete, and insulting to the work of more people than I can name — including myself.” But that was pretty much it as far as a defense of the departments and their work, which some might think is pretty weak. But not me, because it is also my strategy when involved in an argument. Just say “NOPE” over and over. It works.

WWII Vet Reunited With Old Friend. It’s a 1928 Thompson A-1 submachine gun.

Suspect Arrested In SMU Rape Case. Torey Jamal Harris, 23, was arrested in Corsicana where he allegedly attacked a Navarro College student. Investigators say he admitted to the University Park attack when questioned.

After 15 Years, Downtown Fort Worth May Lose Free Parking. And that smug, self-satisfied look on its face.

The Curious Case of Anthony Kim. “Anthony Kim has become golf’s yeti, an elusive figure who is the source of endless conjecture. What we know for sure is that Kim, 29, has not teed it up at a PGA Tour event in more than 28 months. Once considered the future of U.S. golf, he is now estranged from the game that brought him fame and fortune. His handlers at IMG rarely speak to him. In April, golfchannel.com asked Kim’s agent, Clarke Jones, about his client’s whereabouts. The best Jones could come up with? ‘He’s not living under a bridge, he’s not living in a box.’ The players on Tour wonder if they will ever cross paths with Kim again.”

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: Tom Landry’s Dallas Cowboys

I had an ulterior motive for yesterday’s poll asking who deserves to be the most beloved coach in Dallas sports history. I figured that Tom Landry, longtime coach of your Dallas Cowboys, would win easily. I left him in, and didn’t just make it a contest to find the second-most beloved coach, because I wanted to gauge just how easily. (Answer: extremely)

I knew I’d be announcing this morning that the latest selection in our 40 Greatest Stories series is Peter Gent’s October 1981 article about Landry and his teams of the 1960s and ’70s. Gent, as many of you know, played for the Cowboys for five seasons and went on to a career as a novelist. His first was a semi-autobiographical effort about his pro football career, called North Dallas Forty, and he penned the screenplay for the 1979 film adaptation as well. He died of complications of a pulmonary disease in 2011, at age 69.

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Leading Off (9/17/14)

State Fair to Host American Idol Auditions: I’ve heard Zac’s version of Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison,” and Mooney’s version of, um, some David Allan Coe song? I think that’s what it was? I don’t remember, it was after a Christmas party and we were at The Goat. Anyway, American Idol auditions will come to the State Fair September 26, 27, and 28. 

Arlington Woman to Be Executed Tonight: Lisa Ann Coleman is expected to be the first Tarrant County woman executed in more than 30 years. A: Afghanistan, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, United Arab Emirates, United States, Yemen. Q: What is a list countries that still use the death penalty?

Following Cruel Prank, Grand Prairie Kids Make Right: Just read this.

Atheists Protest Rowlett Council Meeting: They’re upset that they’re not in the mix to perform the invocation before council meetings. “We believe we have a solid policy in place and we’re sticking to the policy,” said Mayor Todd Gottell. Only one person knows the right answer. (It’s God. Or G*d. No no-god. Okay, maybe this is pretty complicated.)

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SAGA Pod/Learning Curve: Jim Schutze on DISD, the Toll Road, and Moving to Plano

Jim Schutze stops by to discuss his column from this week, which basically covers all the important things in Dallas: How we’re going to get middle-class parents to send their kids to DISD schools (or if we even should want to do that); how that would affect the ability of young couples to stay in the city, as they increasingly want to do; and how the Trinity River toll road (and the thinking behind it) makes all of this harder than it has to be. Also, I play a song on my phone. Because Tim convinced me to. The lesson: Never listen to Tim.

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Poll: The Most Beloved Head Coach in Dallas History?

A recent Grantland piece about the abrupt resignation of Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington referred to him as “the most beloved head coach in the history of North Texas sports not named Tom Landry.” Which got me thinking “Really?” And then “Hey, yeah, I guess so, maybe.”

Followed by, since we’re now 25 years on from Landry’s dismissal by Jerry Jones and that first 1-15 season under Jimmy Johnson, “Does St. Landry still mean much to today’s whippersnappers?”

So let’s take a poll. Nominees are the two most successful coaches in each of Dallas’ pro sports teams’ histories, based on overall record and championships.

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Leading Off (9/16/14)

More Details Emerge About Dead Frisco Couple. You’ve been following along. Pallavi and Sumeet Dhawan’s young son was found dead in the couple’s bathtub. There was a question about how the boy had died. Then Pallavi and Sumeet were found dead at their house. Now we know more. It was Pallavi who was found floating in their pool. Sumeet was found dead in a downstairs bedroom, with pills and a note near his body. Police said he’d been hit in the head. Questions remain. What did the note say? But we’re getting closer.

DMN Continues To Hammer DISD Graduation Rate Story. You may have read Matthew Haag’s story yesterday that called into question whether a bunch of kids ought to have graduated from DISD. Well, today he rehashes the entire thing — essentially just because he got a new quote from someone. Here’s the deal. If you read Haag’s stories, you will think many DISD principals have broken the law. That’s not the case. Eric will have a post later today on LearningCurve that will explain what’s really going on here. Stay tuned.

Sketch Released of University Park Rapist. The rape happened about a half-mile from the SMU campus. Have a look at the guy.

40-Ton Machine Dangles Off Overpass. Did you hit some traffic yesterday on the Tollway or the Bush. Here’s video of the giant machine that wound up dangling in the air and shutting down the highways.

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Leading Off (9/15/2014)

Dallas Cowboys Are Winners. I enjoy the fact that because these games are on Sundays, I have become your de facto announcer of sports information that you are probably already aware of, unless you live under a rock. Anyway, they overcame the misery of last week’s season opening loss to beat the Tennessee Titans, 26-10. All is right in the world, except for these next few news items.

Man Falls From AT&T Stadium Stands. This happened at the UCLA vs. UT game on Saturday. The man is in critical condition after falling 12-15 feet from the 100 section to the floor level suites.

Body Pulled From West Dallas Pond. Jerry Sanchez, 42, was reported missing on Friday. He has been identified as the man divers found in a pond off Canada Drive on Saturday. Cause of death is still undetermined.

Full Report On Fired Dallas ISD Investigator Released. Jeremy Liebbe was the head of the district’s Professional Standards Office. A couple months ago, he was placed on leave, allegedly without being told a reason, but he had done some digging into his boss’ background (she had a criminal conviction that she hadn’t reported on her job application) and there were questions regarding the installation of surveillance cameras. He was fired on September 5, and the district released statement saying that they had found ““multiple instances of poor behavior and decision-making, and violations of law and the Texas Education Code.” Now, Liebbe’s lawyer provided the Dallas Morning News with a copy of the 17-page report compiled by an outside attorney, along with a rebuttal to the findings.

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Former Parkland CEO Ron Anderson, RIP

The longtime Parkland CEO died yesterday of cancer at age 68. Read much more on D Healthcare Daily. The hospital system’s release about the man who ran the place for almost 30 years is below:

Ron J. Anderson, MD, a national spokesperson for public health issues and a champion for the poor and medically underserved, died Sept. 11, 2014 of cancer. He was 68 years old. Services are pending.

A native of Chickasha, OK, Dr. Anderson was President and CEO of Parkland Health & Hospital System for 29 years, a job he assumed in 1982 at the age of 35 after serving for two years as Medical Director of Parkland’s Emergency Room and Outpatient Clinic and Head of The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s Division of Internal Medicine. He retired in 2011. In his final years at Parkland he led the successful bond campaign that secured public financing for the new $1.3 billion Parkland hospital due to open in mid-2015.

On Sept. 10, the Parkland Board of Managers unanimously endorsed a plan led by Parkland Foundation to place a commemorative statue in the new hospital and to name Parkland’s new medical/surgical outpatient clinic after Dr. Anderson. In the 1980s, Dr. Anderson suggested setting up health clinics in Dallas’ poorest neighborhoods, convincing skeptical Board members and local officials of the need. Parkland now operates a dozen Community Oriented Primary Care clinics throughout the county, making primary and preventive health care more accessible.

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Leading Off (9/12/14)

Planners Back Off Tolling Central. The Regional Transportation Council met Thursday, and its members indicated they’re not moving forward with plans to toll some lanes of U.S. Highway 75. Of course, the move comes only after the Texas Transportation Commission, which is in charge of state-owned highways, said it wouldn’t support tolling. And the RTC didn’t actually take any action Thursday and could still move to toll other highways as a funding mechanism to increase traffic capacity throughout North Texas.

Lawsuit Against Jerry Jones May Be Too Late. The statute of limitations on civil claims of sexual assault is five years. The incident at the center of Jana Weckerly’s suit against the Dallas Cowboys owner, which was filed this week, took place five years and 10 weeks ago. But legal experts say Weckerly’s attorneys could argue that she was of unsound mind for more than 10 weeks of that period, or that Jones was out of the state on business for longer than 10 weeks since the alleged crime occurred. Either finding would make it possible for a judge to decide that the case can proceed.

Mineral Wells is Thirsty. The home of Crazy Water is looking for new water sources, as its primary reservoir (Lake Palo Pinto) has dropped from 28 feet to 14 feet in the last six months. If drought conditions don’t improve, the town could run dry by May of next year.

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Biggest Grammar Mistakes in Dallas-Fort Worth Signage

Automated proofreader Grammarly recently held a contest seeking submissions of photos featuring the most egregious grammar mistakes on signs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Above you can see the winning entry, and right off the bat I have a complaint.

That sign is obviously filled with purposeful misspellings intended to attract customers’ attention and underline the folksiness of people selling the produce. I think it should have been disallowed rather than given the prize.

Below are the other top entries from North Texas.

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Leading Off (9/11/14)

Small Earthquake Hit Irving This Morning. It was a 2.9. A 2.4 hit Arlington on Sunday. Based on the locations so far, we’re looking at places connected with the Cowboys, so keep an eye out if you live near Valley Ranch.

Prime Prep’s Enrollment Rolls Back. It’s down to around 320 students, or about half the 600 they were expecting. Glass is half full version: enrollment is still around 320 students, much higher than the zero many assumed at this point.

June Jones Did Not Recruit North Texas High Schools Very Well, According to North Texas High School Coaches. Maybe the next guy will do better.

Kid Convinces City Councilman To Buy Him a New Suit. Sounds like someone is learning how to be a county commissioner. That’s my five minutes. You guys have been great! Carlos Mencia is up next.

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Why Dallas Was Chosen the Best Skyline in the World

You may have seen, on any number of other sites accessible via the World Wide Web, that Dallas was chosen the best skyline in the world — let me repeat, the best skyline in the world — in a readers’ poll on USA Today.com. In other words, not only do we have a world-class skyline, we have the world-classiest skyline.

Here’s what the newspaper’s site had to say about that:

“Dallas became initially identifiable by the opening credits of an infamous ’80s TV show,” says expert Preston Kissman. “The contemporary Dallas skyline tells a story of big banking, big oil, big money, and the occasional big bust.” James Adams add, “Dallas has continued to stay flashy. Controversially, it has done this not with the height or style of its newest architecture, but rather through an internal race to adorn its existing and new icons with colorful interactive lighting that cannot be ignored.”

We’re among friends here, so I’m sure we can all agree that ranking Dallas the No. 1 skyline on the entirety of planet Earth is ridiculous. What about Chicago? New York? San Francisco? Sure, we beat the pants off places like Houston, Omaha, and Atlanta, but do we even belong in the top tier once you factor in locales in all hemispheres?

So how did we win?

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