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Making Dallas Even Better

Leading Off (4/27/16)

All the most awful news in one convenient place. Investigators believe the Midlothian fitness trainer murdered in a church nine days ago was in fact targeted, but by whom they do not know. Up north, the Collin County medical examiner concluded that a Frisco mom, found dead in her car with her three children still alive, died of an intentional overdose of antihistamine medication. Finally, out west, a Haltom City grandma was booked in the Tarrant County jail on charges relating to the scalding death of the toddler CPS had put in her custody.

Local man’s son still not doing so hot in primaries. In spite of Sunday’s announcement that Ted Cruz and John Kasich were joining forces to stop the Republican front-runner, Donald Trump went on to sweep all five states in Tuesday’s primaries. Cruz was also Twitter-pummeled for using the words “basketball ring” in the Hoosier State yesterday. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton lost only Rhode Island to Bernie Sanders.

Johnny Manziel indicted, enjoys bieber show. The former football pro was officially indicted yesterday on a misdemeanor assault charge. Manziel allegedly restrained, assaulted, and kidnapped his ex-girlfriend in Dallas in January. Last night, he was seen at a Justin Bieber concert in Cleveland.

“Hail no” headlines abound during storm threat. Ok, I only spotted one, but last night’s much-hyped storm deserved more. Grayson County was hit by tornadoes, but thankfully the grapefruit-sized hail meteorologists feared never appeared in Dallas. News outlets posted pic after pic of the extreme measures North Texas car owners took to avoid hail damage yesterday. Now what I’d really like to see is coverage of those folks as they peel sopping mattresses and pick bits of wet cardboard off their Hondas this morning. Send it my way! [email protected]

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.

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.

Leading Off (4/13/16)

Funeral held for food reporter Stacey Fawcett and her two sons. More than 2,000 people filled Prestonwood Baptist Church yesterday to pay their respects to popular WFAA food reporter Fawcett and her sons. News broke Friday morning that Fawcett’s eldest son, 19-year old McCann Utu, Jr., murdered the reporter and her younger son, 17-year-old Josiah Utu, before turning the knife on himself. Friends and family say McCann’s mental health suffered after two concussions. His brain was donated for research.

Two dead in Southlake murder-suicide. Police found Anil and Neeta Kharabanda dead in a bedroom. Authorities believe the man shot the woman before killing himself, however they could not confirm how the two were related. This marks the city’s first murder since Mexican lawyer, and possible cartel leader, Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa was gunned down in the Southlake Town Square.

Ethan Couch to appear in adult court. The “affluenza” teen who killed four people while driving under the influence, who then cost taxpayers a hefty $200K in rehab bills, who then skipped out on his cush probation sentence, is scheduled to appear in adult court for the first time today. He celebrated his 19th birthday in solitary confinement on Monday. Today’s hearing could keep Couch in jail for another four months. Fingers crossed.

Dallas woman caught riding dirty. Real dirty. Like, $1.6-million-worth-of-meth-hidden-inside-custom-tires-on-a-Chevy-Trailblazer kind of dirty. Eat her dust, Chamillionaire.

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Leading Off (4/12/16)

U.S. requests extradition for Brenda Delgado. Now that 33-year-old Brenda Delgado, the woman accused of plotting the murder of the dentist who was dating her ex-boyfriend, has been arrested in Mexico, the U.S. wants her back on American soil to face her charges of capital murder and unlawful flight. If Delgado doesn’t appeal this, it could only be two or three months before she is extradited.

Tent city to be closed by May 4. Last week, the Tent City situation seemed more uncertain, but now the homeless encampment near downtown is set to be closed by May 4. Residents who refuse to move to a shelter or other housing by then will be arrested. Dallas city officials have divided Tent City into five parts, and the first two will be closed next week. After these two have been closed, officials will decide when to close the others.

Mavs secure playoff spot. The Mavs’ 101-92 victory against the Utah Jazz last night put them in the NBA playoffs. Now Dirk and the Mavs can’t finish any lower than seventh in the Western Conference, but I’m always stubbornly hopeful for a 2011 repeat.

Softball-sized hail hits North Texas yesterday. Hail measuring 4.5 inches landed across North Texas yesterday. Wylie was one of the areas to be hardest hit; Wylie ISD cancelled all classes for today due to storm damage. Hopefully these spring storms are on their way out. Good riddance.

Leading Off (4/7/16)

Lewisville lake dam receives funding for improvements. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Congress members announced yesterday that $100-$200 million worth of construction to control water leakage under the troublesome dam will begin in 2018. In progress currently are repairs to the 160-foot-long hole in the dam, expected to be completed by summer’s end. Officials still insist that the “high-risk” dam—for which repairs have been significantly moved up—is safe, but hey, what do I know.

Tent city closure unresolved. The homeless encampment near downtown was set to be closed by May 4, but that’s looking unlikely now. The City Council could not come to an agreement about where the 200 people who live there would go. City Manager Gonzalez said he wants to begin gradually closing it in May, but I’m not sure how you go about gradually closing a homeless encampment.

FBI Pays a visit to investment firm. CDK Realty Advisors used to advise the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System, but now the pension system claims that the firm gave “reckless and improper” advice and charged fees that were inflated. The outcome of the investigation remains to be seen.

105-year-old throws out first pitch at Rangers game. Fort Worth resident Elizabeth Sullivan got to fulfill her baseball dream by throwing the first pitch yesterday. If only the Rangers had pulled out a win against the Mariners. I guess the group of D Magazine staffers that were in attendance didn’t bring quite enough good luck with them.

Leading Off (4/6/16)

FBI TO ADD MASTERMIND OF UPTOWN DENTIST’S SLAYING TO MOST WANTED LIST. Brenda Delgado has been on the run since September, shortly after her ex’s girlfriend, dentist Kendra Hatcher, was shot dead in a parking garage. The hitman and getaway driver she allegedly hired are behind bars, but authorities believe Delgado is hiding in Mexico. The FBI is now making her capture a priority.

NORTH TEXAS’ TOP CPS OFFICIAL LEAVES BROKEN SYSTEM. Jackie Freeman, the director of Child Protective Services in the Dallas region, announced her retirement yesterday. This comes after some grim reports: children spending the night in CPS offices due to the lack of foster homes, a 57 percent turnover rate among child-abuse investigators, and the likely preventable, fatal beating of a 4-year-old girl in Grand Prairie.

LOCAL MAN’S SON WINS WISCONSIN. Ted Cruz pulls ahead of Donald Trump in the Badger State’s primary. Cruz says the victory is a “turning point” in the Republican race, while Trump’s campaign released a statement calling Cruz a “Trojan horse, being used by the party bosses attempting to steal the nomination…”  On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton took to Twitter to congratulate Bernie Sanders on his win.

THE BOSS ROCKS DALLAS. Bruce Springsteen crowd surfed and played the entirety of his 20-song, 1980 album The River at American Airlines Center last night.

POLICE DOG TRACKS DOWN RUNAWAY TWEEN. This. This is why all dogs go to heaven.

Leading Off (4/5/16)

Lawyers Claim Slain Southlake Lawyer Was Cartel Boss. Remember that hit in Southlake in 2013? The lawyers for the killers say that the guy who was gunned down was actually running the Gulf Cartel. From Southlake. I mean, you expect that sort of thing in The Colony. Maybe Prosper. But Southlake?

Grand Jury Doesn’t Get Manziel Case. The jury ended its term before getting the Johnny Manziel case. A spokesperson for the Dallas DA’s office said the case will probably be heard by another jury. Why would a case like this not get heard posthaste? Oh, I’m sure it’s nothing.

Rangers Win Season Opener. My prediction: the Rangers will go 162-0 this year. Here’s what Evan Grant took away from yesterday’s victory over Seattle.

R.I.P., Gene Carey. The longest-serving mayor in Lewisville’s history died yesterday after a brief illness. He was 73.

Leading Off (3/31/16)

Battaglia execution postponed. The Dallas man who killed his daughters in 2001 while their mother was on the phone lives to see another day. A few hours before John Battaglia was scheduled to be executed yesterday, he won a stay from the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for his attorney to go after mental incompetency claims. For now, the case will go back to trial court in Dallas.

Dallas Cowboys and WWE Divas visit kids at Scottish Rite. Cowboys including running back Darren McFadden and tight end Gavin Escobar along with WWE wrestlers lifted kids’ spirits yesterday at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. They helped them color and painted faces. This is pretty cool, especially since I was treated at Scottish Rite for three years of my childhood for scoliosis. Way to go, guys!

Last year, 78,000 people moved to DFW. This is partly due to Toyota, Liberty Mutual Insurance, JP Morgan Chase, and FedEx moving to Plano. But that’s still a big number. Collin County had the most new residents with more than 20,000, followed by Denton County with 19,000 and then Tarrant County. From mid-2014 to mid-2015, DFW boasted the second-fastest-growing population in the U.S.

Arlington man wins Texas Lottery scratch-off. Lawrence K. Barrow won $2.6 million from the Texas Lottery’s Set for Life game. The Lone Star Conoco that sold him the winning ticket is eligible to receive a $10,000 bonus.

Tomorrow is April Fool’s Day. Start planning your shenanigans now.

Leading Off (3/24/16)

Richardson high school grad injured in Brussels terror attack. Sophie Wauters and her mother were in the Brussels airport when the explosions hit. Both survived but suffered injuries from pieces of falling ceiling and broken glass. The Wauters family is from Belgium; after graduating from Richardson, Sophie moved there for school.

Hail and strong winds move through North Texas last night. Apparently there were piles of quarter-sized hail in Plano, and even larger hail in Flower Mound. And a lightning storm in Southlake. Even a tornado warning for northern Tarrant County. For now, the storms seem to have passed but could resurface later this weekend. I’m sure I’m not the only one who was kept awake by the ridiculously loud wind.

DISD janitor is top 10 finalist in contest. J. L. Long Middle School’s Enrique Mendez is considered one of the top 10 janitors in the nation right now. The Janitor of the Year contest, hosted by Cintas Corp., provides $5,000 cash and a $5,000 school makeover to the winner. You can vote through April 15.

Real estate firm is suing 93-year-old with Alzheimer’s. Dallas real estate firm Henry S. Miller Brokerage has sued Ruth Sanders, 93, over a failed deal to construct a 7-Eleven where her house currently sits in Uptown—one of the last historic black homes in the area and one that has been in her family since the early 1900s. Sanders also has Alzheimer’s disease, so that makes it difficult for her to keep track of the situation. It would be a shame to see this piece of history be removed, but it would not be surprising.

Leading Off (3/22/16)

Sofya Tsygankova Charged With Murder. Police think the wife of Van Cliburn-winning pianist Vadym Kholodenko killed her two small children. What a sad, horrible story. Scott Cantrell has written an interesting story about the “Cliburn curse,” which I didn’t know was a thing.

SMU Frat Gets Hammered. Lambda Chi Alpha is being suspended for at least five years because of “multiple operational and new member incidents.” In other words, hazing. We’re taking notice now, because the DMN just did, but SMU’s Daily Campus had the story last week.

Trinity toll road gets hammered. Yesterday there was a meeting to discuss the toll road. It did not go well for the folks who want to build it. Read Jim Schutze’s recap of the proceedings. Do we have reason to be optimistic? Maybe? We’ll see.

Mom of Missing Woman Goes on Dr. Phil. Remember Christina Morris? She’s the 23-year-old woman who went missing in 2014 at the The Shops at Legacy. Surveillance video shows her walking with a guy named Enrique Arochi in a parking garage, and her DNA was later found in his trunk, but Arochi, who was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping Morris, says he doesn’t know what happened to her. Well, Morris’ mother, Jonni McElroy, has been obsessed with trying to find her daughter. Understandably. On today’s Dr. Phil, McElroy gets some therapy to deal with her obsession. She says, “I walked away from the show a stronger woman.”

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Leading Off (3/17/16)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Hope you’re wearing green today.

Dallas police reestablishes cold case unit. This is the first time the department has had a cold case unit since 2008. It’s a four-person team: two robbery division detectives, a homicide detective, and a crime scene analyst—working together to solve old cases.

Mark Cuban/SEC saga continues, this time to Supreme Court. The shark schooled the Securities and Exchange Commission three years ago when he beat insider trading charges, but he isn’t done negotiating. In a brief filed with the Supreme Court last week, Cuban joins others in attacking the SEC’s use of in-house/administrative courts. Perhaps the saga will never end.

Off-duty officer charged with murder in death of teen. Ken Johnson, the off-duty Farmers Branch police officer who fatally shot 16-year-old Jose Raul Cruz and wounded Edgar Rodriguez, has been charged with murder, a move that doesn’t often happen. It’s still unknown whether either teen was armed. The police chief for Farmers Branch said Johnson didn’t follow policy when he went after the teens in his personal car.

Topgolf looking to expand. The Dallas-based golf-while-you-eat-and-drink company says it’s interested in moving into more U.S. markets, including El Paso, Albuquerque, and New Orleans, which would be added to its current 24 locations. Another Topgolf in Fort Worth is scheduled to open next year. Seems like the concept is, ahem, a hole-in-one.

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Leading Off (3/15/16)

OMG! JoJo Fletcher Is the Next Bachelorette! The Dallas “real estate developer” didn’t win the heart of bachelor Ben Higgins last night, but in the After the Final Rose special, it was revealed that JoJo will get to do the picking in the next season of The Bachelorette. I guess all that real estate will just have to develop itself, because JoJo’s gonna be otherwise occupied.

Mystery of the Oak Cliff Corpse: Solved. For those who read Brantley Hargrove’s fine story in our January issue about the body found buried in a backyard, now you have the ending (or an ending) to the tale. It ain’t quite Bernie, but Skip Hollandsworth is probably already talking to people. And Brantley has already talked to them first. And I’ve already become Brantley’s agent and am negotiating a low seven-figure deal for the screenplay.

American and Southwest Want to Fly to Cuba. The airlines have made their case to the Department of Transportation. Seems half the people I know have already been to Havana, “before the Americans ruin everything,” as they’ve said to me. But I say: let’s make Cuba great again.

Dallas Seavey Wins Iditarod. It’s his third consecutive win and fourth in five years. I’d like to point out that a man named Dallas did this. The Iditarod has never been won by a man named Fort Worth.

Leading Off (3/11/16)

Elephants Arrive in Dallas. Just 17 pachyderms will be coming to America from Swaziland. Dallas Zoo officials revealed that one of the original 18 died in December of an acute gastrointestinal condition. The death means that only five of the animals, which got to North Texas a little after midnight this morning, will stay in Dallas while the others are headed to Omaha, Nebraska, or Wichita, Kansas.

Trinity East Dispute in Court Today. Lawyers for Dallas will argue that the lawsuit filed by the energy company should be tossed because the city has immunity from the suit. For its part, Trinity East charges the city with breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, and fraud in denying the company access to land near the Elm Fork Golf Course for which it had hoped to obtain gas leases.

Captain America Robs Beauty Store. Plano Police say a man in a superhero sweatshirt — and his partner in an unimaginative black hoodie — may be connected to the burglaries of several ULTA cosmetics stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Dallas Police to Investigate Racist Facebook Post. Lt. Thomas Glover said the Black Police Association asked the DPD  to investigate after at least two officers made comments indicating their support of the posting of a picture reportedly snapped at an office party in Russia.

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