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Leading Off (10/27/2014)

Two x Two Fundraiser Smashes Records. The annual black-tie fundraiser, Two by Two for AIDs and Art, broke its record this year when an anonymous collector bid $2.6 million for a Wade Guyton painting, bringing the total take to $7 million. Half the money goes to the Dallas Museum of Art, and the other half to the American Foundation for AIDS Research. CeeLo Greene performed.

After Hugging President Obama, Nurse Nina Pham Back in North Texas. But she can’t have Bentley, her dog, back just yet. The dog will be released from quarantine on Nov. 1.

Former Penneys CEO Raises $30 Million For New Start Up. Ron Johnson is back, with a secretive e-venture called “Enjoy.” It’s meant to humanize the online shopping experience when it comes to buying “things that matter.”

Standardized Test Scores Are Out. The Morning News put together this interactive, where you can see how schools’ STAAR results improved, stayed the same, or declined between 2012 and 2014.

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Leading Off (10/20/2014)

Ebola Update. Texas Health’s CEO took out a full page ad in the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to apologize for the hospital’s initial response to Thomas Eric Duncan. Meanwhile, the 21-day monitoring period for the first group of people exposed, including Duncan’s fiancée, Louise Troh, ends today. Finally, the lady on the cruise ship who is a lab supervisor at Texas Health was cleared, and allowed to disembark in Galveston. D Healthcare Daily’s Matt Goodman has all the latest here.

Sports-Related Update. Listen, I know you’ve missed these. I hate to wear a good joke thin. But I really don’t like the Giants, so believe me when I say that I actually cared about this outcome: a 31-21 win, making this six-game streak the Cowboys’ longest in 7 years. In other important news, Joseph Randle, now notorious for his attempt to score a five-fingered discount on underwear and Gucci Guilty, will endorse underwear for a website called MeUndies.com in a deal that will, reportedly, more than help him repay whatever fine he got slapped with for shoplifting, in addition to the however many multiple thousands of dollars he’s going to make playing football this year. And, like magic, I have gone from being vaguely invested to utterly annoyed with the way things work in this world.

Early Voting Starts Today. I hope you guys are all already registered. If not, you’re out of luck for this election. The voter ID law is in effect even while it’s being challenged in court, so keep that in mind, too, and while you’re at it, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent is worth your time. Early voting will continue through Oct. 31, with the election on Nov. 4.

Change of Venue Request Denied in Kaufman County Murder Trial. Eric Williams, who faces the death penalty for killing Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland, his wife Cynthia, and Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, and his defense attorneys requested a change of venue for the trial, arguing that he wouldn’t get a fair one in Rockwall. His request was denied. Jury selection continues, and the trial date is set for Dec. 1.

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Leading Off (10/6/2014)

Police Find Homeless Man Who Rode in Ambulance After Ebola Patient. Michael Lively, the homeless man who was described as low-risk and not exhibiting symptoms, nonetheless inspired a manhunt that began Saturday. He walked out of Presbyterian Hospital, where he had been transported in the ambulance that had also transported Thomas Eric Duncan. Lively was found Sunday and taken to Parkland. Meanwhile, Duncan’s condition has reportedly worsened.

Woman Attacked By Bees Dies. Nancy Whitehead had rushed into the swarm to save her husband after he disturbed a hive near Possum Kingdom Lake. She was stung more than 200 times.

Rep. Ralph Hall Injured in Car Crash. Hall, 91, is the oldest serving member of Congress, though he lost the election in May that would have kept him in office for another term. He was injured in a car accident on Saturday and airlifted to Medical Center of Plano. He had surgery on his hip, but is said to be in good spirits.

Oncor Customers Still Without Power. On Sunday, 10,000 customers still didn’t have power after Thursday’s storm. Yikes. Service is mostly expected to be restored this morning.

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Leading Off (9/29/14)

There Are So Many Tires In The Trinity River. Tons, in fact. And until recently, the job of removing them was left to volunteer groups. Now, a Dallas-based company called Good Earth Inc. has a city contract that will pay out $850 per ton, with a cap at $2.8 million over three years. They have pulled 114 tons of rubber thus far.

City Pension Funds For Same-Sex Spouses Stalled. The City Council has taken steps to protect LGBT municipal employees by adopting resolutions that call for equal treatment and to amend personnel rules with language prohibiting discrimination. However, city pension benefits for these employees and their spouses are still in flux, because Texas does not recognize same-sex marriages.

World’s Biggest Passenger Jet Lands at DFW Airport. The double-decker A380, which is almost 8 stories tall and can carry 500 passengers, begins scheduled service this week. It’s so massive that the airport had to make about $4.5 million in renovations to accommodate it. Should you feel like flying in something I find fairly terrifying, you can go to Sydney, Australia on Qantas, or Dubai on Emirates.

TxDOT v. NCTCOG. In a charming battle of bureaucratic acronyms, the North Central Texas Council of Governments is using high traffic estimates to justify a toll road that would stretch from Garland to Greenville, through Dallas, Collin, Rockwall, and Hunt counties. The Texas Department of Transportation’s forecasts are much lower. There’s other stuff going on, too, like the fact that NCTCOG’s estimates for population growth in Rockwall and Hunt counties is significantly higher than state estimates. Anyway, just read this.

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Leading Off (9/22/2014)

Wrecking Ball Demolishes 129-Year-Old Building Downtown. 1611 Main Street, one of downtown’s oldest buildings, was razed almost completely Sunday afternoon to make way for the new incarnation of Forty Five Ten, the luxury boutique currently located on McKinney. It’s part of developer Tim Headington’s continued expansion along Main Street.

Man’s Body Found Next To Wrecked Pick-Up. The man was shot multiple times, and his body was found in a field in Fort Worth. Homicide police are investigating.

Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott Debate Exposes Policy Differences. Not so surprising. According to the Dallas Morning News, Davis came out swinging, but Abbott was unruffled as topics ranged from Medicaid to early childhood education to President Barack Obama. And abortion, of course.

Former SMU Student Sues. The unnamed plaintiff is suing the university over its alleged mishandling of a 2012 sexual assault complaint. The plaintiff says that after he reported the assault, the environment on campus became so hostile that he was forced to withdraw.

Okay, Fine, Cowboys Win Again. Because you practically begged me, I will tell you that the Cowboys came back from 21-0 to beat the Rams, 34-31.

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Leading Off (9/8/2014)

Cowboys Not Off to a Winning Start. America’s Team lost to the San Francisco 49ers at AT&T Stadium, which was apparently packed with 49er diehards for the season opener. New Cowboy Michael Sam was also there, cheering on the sidelines.

Search Continues For Missing Fort Worth Woman. Christina Morris, 23, was last seen a week ago, at the Shops at Legacy in Plano, around 4 am. Her family and friends have organized search parties, expanding as far as Lake Lewisville on Sunday.

Earthquake Hits Arlington. The 2.4 magnitude earthquake struck early Sunday morning near the University of Texas at Arlington. There were no reported injuries.

Rick Perry Courts Experts. Governor Perry has been consulting with everyone from the CEO of Starbucks to policy experts from President George W. Bush’s administrations and Mitt Romney’s campaign, the Dallas Morning News reports after obtaining his schedule through an open records request. This is probably not in preparation for anything.

Land Deals Key in John Wiley Price Indictment. There are seven properties that do not seem to be on the up-and-up, according to federal authorities. The alleged real estate scheme allowed Price to amass more than $300,000 in income and assets, using “straw buyers” to obtain the properties, which are really not all that fancy. One is a defunct hot tub factory in East Texas.

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Leading Off (9/1/2014)

Rick Perry Tweets and Deletes. Sunday evening, Governor Perry’s official account tweeted out an image of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg (you know, the one who he tried to push out of office after her arrest for drunk driving, a move that has resulted in his indictment) with a ruddy nose and this caption: “I don’t always drink drunk at 3x the legal blood alcohol limit….” Perry posted that the tweet was “unauthorized” and quickly deleted it, but this is the internet. Listen, it could happen to anyone—you’re workshopping a good joke, and your finger slips. Oops.

Five-Year-Old Girl Found Dead in Northeast Dallas. Last seen around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, she was reported missing, then found deceased in an vacant apartment at a complex that was not her family’s own, around 2:30 p.m. Police have not released any other details.

Florida State University Does Not Quite Steamroll OSU. The two teams met at AT&T Stadium Saturday night for the Cowboys Classic. FSU, ranked no. 1, did win, but Oklahoma State University made them work for it. The final score was 37-31.

Volunteers in the Cedars Identify Problem Spots For City. The program, dubbed a “code crawl,” involved members of the Cedars Neighborhood Association armed with cellphones, taking photos of standing water, fallen stop signs, trash, and other code violations. The photos were sent along through Dallas’ 311 app. As it happens, the Cedars Neighborhood Association has also found success with its citizen crime patrols.

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Leading Off (5/21/14)

Dallas Legislative Race Expensive, Nasty: The runoff battle for House District 108 between Republicans Morgan Meyer and Chart Westcott has already cost more than $2 million, but the bitter tone of the campaign is now waging a personal toll. Yesterday, in the latest twist, Kevin M. Curley II quit in protest as chairman of a PAC that supported Westcott after the campaign sent an anti-Meyer flyer which included “a fake Meyer mug shot, a bottle of liquor and a roadway with a streak of blood.”

Could an Expensive Special Benefit Plan Bring Down Dallas Police-Fire Pension Fund? The Deferred Retirement Option Plan, or DROP, sounds like a pretty sweet deal. When a cop or firefighter hits retirement age, he or she can start collecting pension benefits while still earning a full salary. The pension is invested in a special account that earns 8-10 percent interest a year. The problem is, while intended as an incentive to keep experienced veterans on the job, DROP costs the pension fund more than $100 million a year. Pension fund officials told the Dallas city council yesterday that those costs have out-paced low interest rates and the fund’s under-performing real estate investments.

Allen Faces $600K to $1 Million in Repairs for Eagle Stadium: The $60 million dollar high school football stadium deemed “not safe” faces upwards of $1 million in repairs. Fans are bracing themselves for a season played on the road in Plano.

Man Missing at White Rock Lake: Dallas Fire-Rescue crews still haven’t located the body of a man who was seen jumping into White Rock Lake yesterday afternoon. Witnesses say the man struggled to tread water before going under and not coming up about 40 yards from the shoreline.

No, He’s Not Johnny Manziel, But Dallas QB Pick Still From A&M, Has Sideshow Appeal: TMZ doesn’t care about Dustin Vaughan, the Cowboys’ undrafted QB signing from West Texas A&M. But Vaughan, described as a “gym rat,” does have a workout parody video that has drummed up a few hundred thousand views on YouTube.

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Leading Off (12/9/13)

Dallas Still Battling Icepocalypse. Some 14,000 are without power this morning, Dallas ISD is closed for another day, and roads remain dicey. But there’s good news, too. The brief Sunday temperature increase enabled DART to get some trains up and running this morning. These eager runners ran a marathon anyway. And just be happy you’re not on this highway in Parker County. But please be safe out there.

The Chanel Show Must Go On. The valet parker at the Rosewood Crescent Hotel asked me yesterday if I was there for Chanel (I wasn’t), but that must mean folks are starting to appear for Tuesday’s show at Fair Park. And buzz is building in the Twitterverse, as StyleSheet reports. Let’s just hope everyone can catch a flight in. I’d hate for all of these celebs to not see Dallas in its ice-covered glory.

American Airlines and US Airways Set to Merge Today. There was one last effort to block the merger over the weekend, but the Supreme Court rejected the attempt. Now, the two airlines will become one. And not just any one. But the LARGEST AIRLINE IN THE WORLD. The first bit of changes will happen in January as frequent fliers will be able to use miles on both airlines, but other than that, things will look pretty much the same until 2015 when the FAA gives the airline a single operating certificate.

Oh, One More Thing: GO BEARS. Rogers and I still don’t have a wager, but I suspect that will be determined today. Or maybe he’ll forget about it and we can just watch the game separately and in peace. Right.

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Leading Off (11/25/13)

Weather Leads to 300 Flight Cancellations at DFW. Although Sunday remained pretty well devoid of any of the winter weather meteorologists have been forecasting, DFW canceled hundreds of flights, nearly a third of its daily volume, according to NBC. Weather did wreak havoc elsewhere in the state, as the bus carrying Willie Nelson’s band crashed […]

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Leading Off (10/28/13)

Wendy Davis Bringing Out the Big Guns. It looks like the Democratic Senator from Fort Worth isn’t messing around. She’s hired Karin Johanson to manage her gubernatorial campaign. That’s the same Johanson who helped Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin defeat a rather beloved (in Wisconsin) former Gov. Tommy Thompson in 2012’s Senate race. Baldwin became the first […]

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Leading Off (9/30/13)

Atlantic Dubs Ted Cruz Leader of a “Third Party:” For some reason, reading about Ted Cruz’s unofficial third party, loosely defined as those members of Congress who would rather see the government shut down (today?) than approve funding for Obamacare, just makes me think of this. Mark Cuban Heads To Court Today for SEC Trial: […]

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Leading Off (8/26/13)

T.D. Jakes Is More Popular Than Jesus: The bishop is expected to draw 50,000 to the first Mega-Fest he has hosted in DFW. No word on how many loaves and fishes have been ordered. DFW Is Thirsty: Yeah, we get it, the region consumes a lot of water. Can’t we just ban the St. Augustine […]

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Leading Off (8/19/13)

Dallas Resident Killed After Being Deported to Mexico, And Other Tales From the Immigration Front: If you are looking for a poster family to represent the tangled mess of immigration legalities and illegalities which destroy lives and families, take the Carreras. Rosa Hilda Carrera came to the states illegally as a mature adult. She brought with […]

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