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Leading Off (4/24/15)

Early Dallas ISD STAAR Results Disappoint. District eighth-graders taking the state’s reading test performed worse than last year’s students, while the fifth-grade passing rate increased slightly.

3 DISD Trustees Really, Really Want to Fire Mike Miles. On Thursday, Joyce Foreman, Elizabeth Jones, and Bernadette Nutall tried, and failed, to replace board president Miguel Solis because they’re unhappy that Solis has put off scheduling a board meeting to discuss the performance of the district superintendent until after the May election.

What the Cluck, Arlington Council? The city, you’ll remember, helped foot the bill for JerryWorld and got its own suite in return. Over the past five years, at nearly every event, two-thirds of the tickets have been used by the mayor, council members, and their spouses — to the surprise of no one.

Molina High Teacher Arrested For Student Relationship. Mary Todd Lowrance, 49, had confided her indiscretion to a co-worker.

Million-Dollar Lake Palestine Home Collapsing. In the ongoing battle between man and nature, nature scores another win.

Ralph Strangis Quits Dallas Stars. The popular broadcaster has decided to move on to “new challenges” after a 25-year career with the team.

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Greg Hardy Suspended for 10 Games

If you’ll recall, a few months ago, the Dallas Cowboys signed defensive end Greg Hardy. Hardy played in only one game last season with the Carolina Panthers, after he was arrested and charged with assaulting and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend. Hardy initially was found guilty, and a judge found that Hardy threw the woman down on a couch full of assault rifles and then faked a 911 call to frame her. (The case was eventually dismissed when the witness did not want to testify again, and Hardy received his full $13 million salary last year.)

A quick refresher, from the restraining order filed by Hardy’s ex-girlfriend:

“On May 13, 2014, Greg Hardy attacked me in his apartment. Hardy picked me up and threw me into the tile tub area in his bathroom. I have bruises from head to toe, including my head, neck, back, shoulders arms, legs, elbow and feet. Hardy pulled me from the tub by my hair, screaming at me that he was going to kill me, break my arms and other threats that I completely believe. He drug me across the bathroom and out into the bedroom. Hardy choked me with both hands around my throat while I was lying on the floor. Hardy picked me up over his head and threw me onto a couch covered in assault rifles and/or shotguns. I landed on those weapons. Hardy bragged that all of those assault rifles were loaded.”

The Cowboys were reportedly expecting a four-game suspension. Unlike in the Ray Rice case, this time the NFL apparently conducted an actual investigation that included viewing photos of Hardy’s bruised ex-girlfriend. Today the NFL announced Hardy’s suspension: 10 games, without pay.

ESPN’s Jane McManus says the NFL got it right. The league’s traditional defenders are calling this “the new NFL.” (So far there’s no mention of whether commissioner Roger Goodell will also have someone beat and choke Hardy, throw him onto a couch full of guns, or threaten to kill him.)

Hardy, who has never admitted any wrongdoing, is expected to appeal. And Cowboys fans are already wondering how this will affect the draft.

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Leading Off (4/22/15)

Poll Shows People Don’t Love the Toll Road. Of the people in the Dallas Morning News poll who have formed an opinion, only 23 percent favor putting a toll road between the levees. Among registered voters, 65 percent oppose the toll road. (Coincidentally, 65 percent of registered voters have been paying attention.) The graphics here have some pretty interesting breakdowns, too.

Mavs Lose Game Two. It was close for a while. Then it wasn’t. Then it was kind of terrible. “Playoff Rondo” wasn’t available, and regular Rondo spent a lot of the night on the bench. It’s going to be a long way back from here. Game three is Friday in Dallas.

Cowboys Schedule Released. The order of teams doesn’t tell us much, because, with the season still several months away, nobody knows who will be where yet. That week six bye is not an advantage, though. Stats show: the earlier the bye week, the better. Zac will be along at some point with a precise prediction of exactly how the season will play out.

Does Anyone Want a Donkey? The Humane Society of North Texas saved 32 donkeys from slaughter. Several were emaciated, all of them were suffering from respiratory and hoof problems, and 17 are pregnant. HSNT will house the donkeys until they are ready for adoption.

Stay Inside All Day. There will be a lot of bad weather later today, according to people who tend to know such things. If you believe in the dark arts of meteorology, prepare for severe storms for the rest of the week.

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Explore #OutdoorDallas, Win a Prize

Have you been outside this afternoon? Yeah, me neither. I’ve been stuck at D Magazine World Headquarters while an absolutely perfect day of Dallas weather taunts me from beyond the windows. I’d much rather be out on a trail somewhere, enjoying the great outdoors, just as the April issue of our print product implores.

We all should be playing hooky, come to think of it. And now we’ve got a way in which al fresco play could pay off. Just share a picture on social media — Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. — using the hashtag #OutdoorDallas. We’ll pick the best that we see between now and the end of next Wednesday, April 21.

The winner will receive a $200 gift certificate to Saint Ann Restaurant and Bar. So go. Get out of here. Your boss will understand.

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Leading Off (4/15/15)

Probation Officer Admits Role in Violent Drug Ring. Selena Ball pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Ball, 30, of DeSoto, was in what’s being described as a “romantic relationship” with an inmate she was assigned to monitor. If not reporting serious probation violations, and facing up to 20 years in prison as a result, is your idea of romance.

Double Murder Suspect Killed in DeSoto. Colby Robinson was wanted in connection with two murders in Portland. He was spotted at a 7-Eleven. Then there was a chase. Then Robinson was pronounced dead at the scene.

Watauga Girl Escapes Kidnapping. “I was screaming, trying to get out and everything,” the girl said. She apparently chipped her tooth on the car door as she got away. Police are still looking for the suspect.

Johnny Football Attends Local Baseball Game. Looks like Johnny Manziel is out of rehab and back to sitting in prominent seats at sporting events. And the Rangers won.

Pay Your Taxes. It’s that day. I’m sorry. Here’s some free stuff.

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Why Rajon Rondo Fights With His Coaches (and Teammates, and Teachers, and Kids in the Hospital)

Baxter Holmes used to cover the Boston Celtics for the Boston Globe, which is where he first met Rajon Rondo. Not long ago, Holmes moved to Los Angeles and took a job with ESPN, ostensibly covering the Lakers, but also doing other things.

Other things like this new, lengthy profile of Rondo for ESPN: The Magazine. The story starts with Kevin Garnett describing a fight Rondo had with former Celtics coach Doc Rivers. (Garnett had to carry Rondo out of the room to keep him away from Rivers.) Holmes also talked to several other coaches who’ve worked with Rondo at various stages of his career, along with former teachers, trainers, a slew of former teammates, and Rondo’s personal statistician. (I’ve been meaning to get one of those.) They all describe a smart but caustic man, bored easily when he isn’t adequately challenged, and quick to dismiss anyone he doesn’t think is smart enough, which seems like most people.

The story gets into the specifics of the on-the-court spat between Rondo and Mavs coach Rick Carlisle earlier this season. There’s also a brief reference to Rondo’s now-famous Connect Four predilections:

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Leading Off (4/10/15)

Jordan Spieth Blows 15th Hole at the Masters. He went with the hybrid instead of the 4-iron. Seriously? Sure, he finished 8-under par, one stroke shy of a tournament record, with a three-stroke lead after the first round at Augusta National, but the 21-year-old golfer from Dallas clearly still has a few things to learn. I mean, c’mon, dude’s lost two of his last three tournaments. How good can he be?

Rawlings Has Far More Money Than Ronquillo. Campaign finance reports for the first quarter of 2015 show that Mayor Mike Rawlings has raised $546,227 for his re-election effort while challenger Marcos Ronquillo has collected $101,957. All that cash to win a job that pays $80,000 a year.

Prosecutors Probing Jerry Jones’ World Trade Center Deal. The Dallas Cowboys owner’s company, Legends Hospitality, won the contract to operate the observation deck of One World Trade Center in 2013. That building is owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which is partly controlled by New Jersey Gov. (and Cowboys fan) Chris Christie. The Manhattan district attorney is investigating whether Jones’ and Christie’s friendship influenced the procurement process. As if we needed another reason to feel dirty when we see this.

Collin County DA Asks Texas Rangers to Investigate AG. Watch out, Ken Paxton. Walker may be coming for you.

Ellis County Fire Chiefs Arrested in Sex Assault Case. The two men were allegedly aware of the incident earlier this year that involved a volunteer firefighter violated by chorizo and a broom stick, and they worked to keep the matter quiet. They were suspended from duty on Thursday and face felony charges of tampering with a witness.

McKinney Teen Wasn’t Bullied. Fourteen-year-old Raymond Howell killed himself last week. Dozens of people rallied outside Boyd High School on Thursday to protest bullying, which some of the boy’s family members said contributed to his suicide. But police report they’ve found no evidence that Raymond was being harassed.

High Heels, Dog Urine Harming Downtown Parks. “It’s one of those only-in-Dallas things, I guess,” says Tara Green, president of Klyde Warren Park.

Opening Day at the Globe in Arlington. First pitch for Rangers vs. Astros is at 3:05 p.m. You’ll have to bring your own Blue Bell.

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Texas Rangers’ Playoff Odds For 2015 Season Aren’t Looking Good

Texas Rangers fans would like to forget the 2014 season altogether. It was a disaster. Because of injuries, the team’s two pricy new additions — first baseman Prince Fielder and right fielder Shin-Soo Choo — basically contributed no more value (and, in Fielder’s case, even slightly less) than they could have gotten from any readily-available, decent back-up major leaguer. The team finished last, behind even the lowly Houston Astros, in the American League West with only 67 wins.

Of course, the idea of Fielder and Choo possibly returning to some semblance of their former selves, plus a full season of pitcher Derek Holland back on the mound should’ve been reason enough to hope for a nice bounceback this year. But the losses of second baseman Jurickson Profar and ace starter Yu Darvish make it hard to harbor any hopes for a playoff run.

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Leading Off (4/3/15)

Heated Debate Over Irving’s Anti-Islamic Stance. Speakers packed last night’s meeting of the Irving City Council — some decrying and some applauding the recently passed resolution in support of a bill introduced in the state legislature that would forbid judges from using foreign law in the their rulings. State Rep. Jeff Leach, a Plano Republican, has singled out a Muslim mediation panel as a reason the measure is necessary. “Our community has had to endure death threats, ethnic and religious slurs at the hands of your resolution,” said Alia Salem of the North Texas chapter of the Council for American-Islamic Relations. “Islam’s goal is to immigrate, assimilate and annihilate,” responded one woman who’d shown up to support what Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne terms “sticking up for our Constitution.”

Feds OK Trinity Toll Road. Mayor Mike Rawlings says the Federal Highway Administration has approved the placement of a 9-mile highway between the levees. It’s the first of two clearances by the national government necessary for the $1.5 billion project to move forward. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also has to sign off. Of course, there’s also the matter of determining funding, plus the chance that the outcome of the upcoming Dallas City Council election could bring these plans to a halt.

Balch Springs Family Tries to Raise the Dead. Police are investigating a tip that a child’s death on March 22 went unreported in a home that hosts the Congregacional Pueblo de Dios. The parents reportedly attempted a “rising ceremony” and then drove the child to Mexico for burial. “That scares me because all this time they’ve been claiming they’re Christians,” said neighbor Edward Guerra. “To find out that they’re doing this – I don’t know. I don’t know what to think about it.” Guess Ed never heard about what Jesus did to that Lazarus fellow.

Irving Gets Three Earthquakes in a Day. The first yesterday was a 2.7-magnitude just after 5:30 a.m., the second a 3.3 at about 5:36 p.m., and the last a 2.6 just after 10 p.m.

Texas Rangers Introduce New Ways to Clog Your Arteries. It’s likely to be a long, sub-.500 season in Arlington, so fans can comfort themselves with the help of chicken-fried bacon on a stick, grilled-cheese burgers, bacon cotton candy, and “Holland Hot Tot’chos.”

It’s Good Friday. And a good day for D Magazine’s offices to be closed. Enjoy the holiday weekend.

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Dale Hansen Got to Dallas by Wrestling a Bear

WFAA sports anchor Dale Hansen participated in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) yesterday, and while many of the questions focused on his recently wider celebrity profile for having spoken out about Michael Sam and the Cowboys’ signing of Greg Hardy, I was more interested in this story I’d not yet heard:

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Poll: Would You Care if the State Fair of Texas Left Fair Park?

Yesterday Mitchell Glieber, the president of the State Fair of Texas, released a startling statement. Responding to a proposal put forward by Boston-based planner Antonio Di Mambro that completely rethinks the layout and use of Fair Park, the State Fair said that adopting such a plan would “effectively end the 129-year tradition of the State Fair of Texas in Dallas.”

Sound the alarms! Raise the flags! The State Fair could leave Fair Park! How did we get here?

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Poll: Will You Root For the Dallas Cowboys?

Last week the Dallas Cowboys signed Greg Hardy, a noted football player suspended last season for having beaten up his girlfriend. As discussed on our most recent EarBurner podcast, the move prompted WFAA sports anchor Dale Hansen to go “unplugged,” and Mayor Mike Rawlings (an outspoken crusader against domestic violence) called it a “shot in the gut.” But then, yesterday, Rawlings said he’ll still be rooting for America’s Team this season.

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Hear Mavs Broadcaster Mark Followill on D Magazine’s EarBurner Podcast

Dallas Mavericks television play-by-play man stopped by the Old Monk yesterday afternoon in the wake of SMU’s painful NCAA tournament loss. He chatted with Tim and Zac about that, the Dallas Cowboys’ signing of Greg Hardy, WFAA sports anchor Dale Hansen’s reaction to the Greg Hardy signing, and how he got his start in broadcasting.

It’s a super-sized episode because there were just too many hot takes to pack into 30 minutes.

Remember to subscribe to EarBurner on iTunes or listen via the Stitcher app, your preferred podcatcher, or the embedded player below.

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