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Making Dallas Even Better

Leading Off (5/6/16)

Stars Even Playoff Series. After an overtime goal by Cody Eakin secured a 3-2 win, Dallas and the St. Louis Blues each have claimed two games in their best-of-seven contest. The Stars’ comeback victory is doubly impressive considering they were rebounding from a blowout loss the last time the teams took to the ice. Game 5 is scheduled for noon Saturday at the American Airlines Center.

Deadly Crash on Woodall Rodgers. At least one person died as a result of the accident, which took place just before 10 p.m. Thursday between the tunnel under Klyde Warren Park and the exits to Interstate 35E.

Construction Worker Freed From Trench. While helping to dig a sewer line in Irving, a 34-year-old man got buried when the pit around him caved in. His co-workers cleared enough dirt to uncover his upper body, and after an hours-long rescue effort, firefighters managed to get him out without further collapsing the trench onto him or others. He was taken to Parkland by helicopter for treatment.

Ex-Fort Worth Cop Freed For Another Trial. Brian Franklin was convicted 21 years ago of having raped a 13-year-old girl. On Thursday he walked out of the Tarrant County probation office, having been released from prison after the victim in the case admitted to having lied in some of her testimony. (Though she still insists she was sexually assaulted.) Franklin is awaiting a new trial and hopes for a full exoneration.

Perry Endorses Trump. Is that enough of an excuse, Zac?

Leading Off (5/3/16)

Dirk won’t leave the Mavs. Yesterday, the Big German said he will opt out of the last season of his three-year contract in order to help put together the Mavs’ roster for the following season. But first, he plans to re-sign with Dallas this summer for two seasons. The bad news is that Dirk can’t play basketball forever. The good news is that, as long as he is playing in the NBA, it will be in Dallas.

Arlington murder suspect turns himself in. 22-year-old Ricci Bradden is accused of fatally shooting T.J. Antell outside of a Walgreens in Arlington yesterday. This is sad.

Tent city exiles may have another option. As Tent City, the homeless encampment near downtown, is set to close for good today, those residents without a place to go may be able to soon move to an old naval base near Grand Prairie. Cedars Neighborhood Association president Michael Sitarzewski has proposed a sanctioned campsite at Hensley Field that would include tiny homes and various living facilities. City Council members have yet to review the proposal.

Poll: Where Does Dirk Rank in the Dallas Sports Pantheon?

Yes, the Dallas Mavericks were eliminated from the NBA playoffs last night. But nobody’s blaming Dirk Nowitzki for yet-another first-round exit. All the love for the greatest player in Mavs history that I saw on Twitter in the wake of the loss got me thinking about his place in the Dallas sports pantheon.

It’s going to be a long while, if ever, before anyone supplants Dallas Cowboys legend Roger Staubach in the hearts of North Texas fans, but is it possible that Nowitzki has passed the other top contender — Troy Aikman — for the No. 2 spot?

Or maybe you think I’ve got it all wrong. How would you rank the most beloved players of each of our big-four professional sports teams? (I’m giving the Cowboys two spots because, well, this is Dallas.) Weigh in below.

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Leading Off (4/26/16)

Jury seated for Mexican drug cartel murder case. A jury in Fort Worth will hear opening statements today in a trial of the men charged in the murder of a Mexican drug cartel lawyer. Jesus Gerardo Ledezma Cepeda and Jose Luis Cepeda Cortes are on trial for gunning down Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa in 2013 in Southlake. They were charged with interstate stalking and conspiracy to commit murder for hire.

Johnny Manziel indicted, will plead “not guilty.” A Dallas County grand jury voted to indict Manziel on misdemeanor domestic violence charges. The indictment will become official today, and Manziel’s attorney, Bob Hinton, says that his client will plead “not guilty” to assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley.

Mavs done in playoffs. A 118-104 loss to Oklahoma City yesterday means that the Mavs have stopped short of the second playoff round for the fifth year in a row. The combined injuries on the team added up, and their efforts just weren’t enough to surpass the Thunder. But I’ll always be hopeful for the coming year.

This afternoon brings severe weather threat. Storms are expected later today throughout North Texas with the possibility of hail and tornadoes. Stay safe out there.

Why TV Networks Love the Dallas Cowboys

Here’s Ad Age on why your Dallas Cowboys — a team that finished a lousy 4-12 last season — are set to have 11 of their 16 games this fall broadcast nationally, including five in primetime:

“America’s Team” last season still managed to reach a massive TV audience. According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, Dallas over the course of its 11 national games averaged 24 million viewers and a 13.5 household rating, making it the No. 2 draw behind the Green Bay Packers. During their own 11-game stretch, Aaron Rodgers and Co. delivered 24.4 million viewers and a 13.8 household rating, offering further evidence that (in the NFL, at least) the size of one’s home market has no bearing on one’s national footprint. (With a reach of just 433,860 TV homes, 68th-ranked Green Bay-Appleton is the NFL’s smallest DMA.)

The meeting of the league’s two biggest ratings dynamos is obviously good for business, and securing a rare rematch of last year’s Cowboys-Packers game was a top priority for Fox.

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Leading Off (4/22/16)

Ex-DISD Executive Sues District. Tonya Sadler Grayson, who was fired last July, claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court that she was wrongfully terminated, sexually harassed by trustee Lew Blackburn, and discriminated against because of her race. Grayson’s dismissal from her job came after an internal DISD audit determined she had taken part in a deception, lied about her criminal history, and bullied another employee.

Johnny Manziel Likely Indicted. The Dallas County district attorney’s office will announce indictments by the grand jury that was hearing the domestic violence charges against the former Texas A&M and Cleveland Browns quarterback on Monday. Prosecutors had previously said a decision not to indict Manziel would be announced on Thursday but a formal indictment would come Monday. So it’s not looking good for Johnny Football. (Are we still calling him that?)

Frisco Mother’s Death Ruled Suicide. Christine Woo was found dead — and her three young children alive — in an SUV in a Target parking lot earlier this month. She and her kids had apparently been in the vehicle a few days. Yesterday the medical examiner revealed that Woo had killed herself via a drug overdose. Furthermore, Frisco Police say their investigation determined that Woo had “no deliberate plan” to harm her own children with what she did. Deliberate or not, let’s hope there are no long-term repercussions for these kids.

Mavs Lose Game 3. A contingent of D Magazine staffers was on hand to witness the Mavericks’ 131-102 loss to Oklahoma City, which gave the Thunder a 2-1 lead in the first-round NBA playoff series. It was my first time attending a Mavs game in about 25 years. If they had to lose, I’m glad it was in a blowout because that led Tim (my ride) to leave the game early, which got me back to D Magazine World Headquarters in time to watch the bottom of the ninth as former Plano East Senior High School and TCU baseball player Jake Arrieta (now the ace of the Chicago Cubs) finished a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds. My apologies to the poor maintenance guy I frightened when I hooted and hollered in what he had assumed was an empty office.

The Texas Rangers saluted musical artist Prince, who died Thursday, on the video board at Globe Life Park as the team completed a sweep of the Houston Astros.

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Tomorrow Is Mavs Skip Day

You shouldn’t really need any excuse to go to a Mavs playoff game, especially after Monday’s game, which almost legitimately killed me. But since tomorrow’s game has an early 6 p.m. start time, and not everyone keeps the banker’s hours I do, you might need an excuse to actually get to the game in time. The team has a lot of things planned pre-game, starting around 4 (see below), so you should probably get your story straight right now.

Here are a few excuses you are more than welcome to use. Just remember not to be wearing Mavs gear when you drop ’em on your boss.

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Leading Off (4/20/16)

Rain. And lots of it. Keep an eye on weather reports, folks, and avoid those flood waters.

Video released of Midlothian fitness instructor’s killer. Police released surveillance video of the person suspected of murdering Terri “Missy” Bevers in a Midlothian church. Students arriving for Bevers’ Camp Gladiator class discovered her body early Monday morning. The videos show the suspect walking through the halls of the church wearing a head-to-toe, SWAT-like getup. Reports say the suspect vandalized the property for a half-hour before Bevers arrived, but nothing appeared to be stolen. The suspect’s distinctive gait will hopefully lead to a quick capture.

Manziel had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad yesterday. It all started when Johnny Football got word that a Dallas county grand jury will hear his domestic violence case on Thursday. Then his second agent of the year—who, granted, gave Manziel an ultimatum that wasn’t met—officially dropped the 2012 Heisman winner. Sponsorships from Nike and a sports trading card company quickly followed, leaving the Cowboys reject with zero endorsement deals. Manziel must have seen this coming because reports reveal the Tyler native was laying low and getting some alone time over the weekend. Ooooh, he was laying low…alone…in a Coachella ball pit? Gotcha. Ok. Hmm. So, this is what rock bottom looks like.

Local man’s son loses big time in New York. Even John Kasich got more delegates than Ted Cruz in Tuesday’s New York primary. Trump and Clinton won the state by landslides.

Rangers beat Astros. But the real winner was Beltre’s Andrus-directed stink eye.

Would-be gun thieves foiled by pillar. Surveillance video shows three men attempting the ol’ smash‘n’grab at a Garland gun store. The truck momentarily gets stuck on a waist-high pillar. The best part of this news segment, however, is at the 20-second mark when a man walks out of the shop at just the right time. It’s slightly entertaining. Definitely eat that bagel first, though. Then the news segment. And coffee. I mean, start with coffee. You know what, do coffee, bagel, the Beltre thing, theeennn this video.

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Leading Off (4/19/16)

Continental Avenue bridge might be renamed. Soon, the pedestrian bridge might be called the Ronald Kirk Pedestrian Bridge, after the former Dallas mayor. The name change will be voted on next month.

Dallas not doing well in water conservation contest. Two years ago, the city won a national water conservation contest. Now, we’re ranked 12 out of 26. It’s true that water was more scarce then than it is now, but still.

Judge will rule on Exxxotica case. Was the City Council within its rights to ban the sex expo from the convention center? U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater will decide. If Fitzwater rules in Exxxotica’s favor before the end of the week, the expo could still happen. If not, it would be too late this time. We’ll have to wait and see.

How ’bout them mavs? Their 85-84 victory over the Thunder in Game 2 yesterday was pretty crazy after the previous game’s intense humiliation. The rookies had a big night, and defense was strong. It’ll be tough to keep this going in the next game, but, hey, the Mavs have surprised us before.

Rafael Palmeiro Called President Bush to Save Him From Steroids Suspension

Fox Sports has a long piece today called “The Rise and Fall of Rafael Palmeiro.” The longtime Texas Rangers player’s career was disgraced in 2005 when — not long after having collected his 3,000 hit as a member of the Baltimore Orioles — it was announced that he’d tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

He’d had a borderline case for making the National Baseball Hall of Fame up until then, and the revelation almost assuredly has kept him out of the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame. Palmeiro had made the whole situation worse himself by, earlier that same year, having wagged his finger at Congress while declaring he’d never used steroids:

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Leading Off (4/15/16)

Dallas Has First Confirmed Male-to-Male Zika Transmission. The Centers For Disease Control determined that a man who had contracted the virus during a recent trip to Venezuela passed it on to his partner through sexual contact.

CPS Workers Lied About Visiting Endangered Children. Some of those kids subsequently died from abuse or neglect. Awful, just awful.

Morning News Seeks National Buzz For Cartel Story. The article, which went up online yesterday afternoon, does a fine job of revealing how the Mexican lawyer executed by a gunman in Southlake Town Square in 2013 was a U.S. government informant allowed to carry on with his involvement in trafficking drugs into the country even as he was being watched over by U.S. handlers. Even more importantly, the DMN draws a connection between Juan Jesús Guerrero Chapa’s cooperation with American authorities and the explosion of cartel-related violence that has plagued Mexico during much of the last decade. Still, it’s amusing to visit the website of my local daily newspaper and read a phrase like “the quiet Dallas suburb of Southlake” that’s clearly written for an audience outside North Texas. Not to mention the story’s inclusion of a map that displays Southlake’s location relative to Fort Worth and Dallas.

Stars Win Playoff Opener. They dominated Game 1 against the Minnesota Wild, 4-0. Yes, I watched.

2 Men Indicted For Ripping Off TxDOT. Kevin Bollman and Wade Blackburn are accused of having purchased parcels of land along Interstate 35E between Lewisville and Denton, and pretending the land was under development, expressly in order to sell it to the Texas Department of Transportation at an inflated price.

Do We Have to Talk About Football Already? The Dallas Cowboys 2016 schedule has been released. It’s the fourth-easiest in the league, according to their opponents’ winning percentages from last year. Vegas has the over/under for the team at nine wins.

Enjoy the Outdoors Friday. Because it’s about to rain through much of next week.

It’s April 15. But your taxes aren’t due yet. You have until Monday because of a holiday, Emancipation Day, that’s observed in Washington, D.C.

A Bandwagon Fan’s Guide to the Dallas Stars Playoffs

The Dallas Stars begin their Stanley Cup campaign tonight at 8:30 p.m. at the American Airlines Center, where they’ll face off against the Minnesota Wild after having an incredibly successful regular season that guarantees them home-ice advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs.

I’ve watched nary a minute of hockey this year. I’ve also watched relatively few minutes of hockey in prior seasons. The last time I saw the majority of a game was the triple-overtime contest in 1999 when the Stars claimed their one and only championship with the famed Brett Hull “no goal.”

But I’ve been hearing exciting things about this year’s Stars team, and I’m giving serious thought to maybe, possibly watching some of the upcoming action. So I turned to Taylor Baird, managing editor of the Dallas Stars fan site Defending Big D, to get me up to speed on how I can pass myself off as a hockey fan.

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