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Making Dallas Even Better

Leading Off (5/18/16)

Protesters crash Farmers Branch city council meeting. About 200 protestors gathered at the Farmers Branch city hall last night to calling for justice over the death of Jose Cruz, a teenager shot dead by an off-duty police officer in March. The protestors were asking that the city pay for Cruz’s funeral bills instead of putting money toward the officer’s defense as he faces a murder charge. Mayor Bob Phelps slipped past the crowd, later saying, “I don’t have anything to do with it.”

Dallas police can’t find enough new recruits. The department has had to cancel two academy classes due to low attendance. The lack of interest might have something to do with the city’s low salary, which is $10,000 to $15,000 under what is offered in surrounding departments.

Man (almost) cleared of murder after 19 years in prison. Tarrant inmate John Nolley was freed yesterday after nearly two decades behind bars. The Innocence Project has been investigating his conviction for ten years, finding that DNA evidence in the Bedford murder case did not come from Nolley. Nolley has yet to be fully exonerated, but his defense team expects to wrap up all legal issues within a few months.

Dallas County leaves first responders in the lurch. Dallas County sherriff’s deputies’ and firefighters’ county-issued credit cards were getting declined at the fuel pump in February due to nonpyament. The county’s first responders had to dig in their own pockets to fill up for a few days. NBC Investigates has the story.

Odor is going on time out for a while. Do we push people? Nooo. Do we punch people? Nooo. Do we make potentially-fibula-snapping slides into second to break up a double play? Noooooooooo. This is the convo I had with my kid when he caught coverage of the now-infamous Rangers brawl. And it’s essentially what MLB said to the coaches and players while handing out punishments yesterday. Bautista’s nasty slide earned him a one-game suspension. Rougned Odor got hit the hardest with an eight-game suspension, though the 22-year-old will continue playing as he appeals the decision. Rangers say they have Odor’s back 100-percent. The Frisco RoughRiders are showing their solidarity by selling Rougie’s Red PUNCH, an adult bevy made of fruit punch, an energy drink, and “a secret ingredient from Odor’s native Venezuela.”

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Leading Off (5/17/16)

Urban farm coming to downtown. There’s a vacant lot located between Deep Ellum and the Dallas Farmers Market that will likely become an urban farm by next year. Yesterday, the City Council’s Economic Development Committee concurred that this is a good idea. The urban farm will help returning veterans learn how to work the land and will provide fresh produce that people can purchase.

Wrong apartment set on fire, woman dies. 58-year-old Debra Williams died at Parkland from fire-related burns at her southeast Dallas apartment. The fire was set as revenge for a gang-related shooting, except it was meant for someone else. The gunman in the shooting was Christopher Deon Shaw, and police sources believe that someone set the fire thinking one of Shaw’s friends lived at the apartment.

I-30 Cedars exit to be closed for months. Eastbound I-30’s exit for Lamar Street, which takes drivers to downtown and The Cedars neighborhood, will close this Friday evening and will be closed until the fall. This closure is part of the Horseshoe Project, which aims to revamp where I-30 and I-35E meet.

Hail expected today. It’s been a hail-heavy rainy season. Today’s storms could bring quarter-sized hail to North Texas. And of course, a whole lot of rain.

Leading Off (5/11/16)

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick brings potty talk to Fort Worth schools. Patrick visited the FWISD Board of Education complex yesterday to call for superintendent Kent Scribner’s resignation. He says Scribner violated parents’ right to know what’s happening with their schoolchildren by implementing a policy that allows transgender students to use the bathroom and locker room of their choice. Patrick also said Scribner “is putting the privacy and rights of 78,000 or 79,000 students in the back seat for a few.” However, Scribner says he simply tweaked a 2011 policy and called Patrick a “bully.” Patrick didn’t have a solution for transgender students, but I’m thinking maybe there’s an extra empty naval base lying around Grand Prairie. Stick a few porta-potties on that. All good.

Local man’s son back in the Senate saddle. Ted Cruz returned to his Washington Senate office yesterday, receiving a tepid welcome back from colleagues.

Murdered Midlothian fitness instructor case weird enough for national tabloids. Flirtatious messages pointing toward infidelity, financial and marital problems, a solid chance the hammer-wielding killer caught on surveillance video might actually be a woman, and a mother-in-law who blames Camp Gladiator for taking her daughter-in-law’s life — People has all the strange details.

Watch the bovine go. Yesterday’s local news broadcasts brought us two loose livestock videos. A bull trotted through Arlington and Dalworthington Gardens with police in tow for nearly four hours before a rancher was able to wrangle him. This incident totally showed up the guy who said “only in Stephenville” after a calf booked it through town on Sunday.

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Leading Off (5/10/16)

Southern Dallas woman who was mauled by dogs has died. 52-year-old Antoinette Brown was mauled on Rutledge Street by a pack of dogs on May 2 and was bitten more than 100 times. She died last night after being removed from life support. This truly horrific attack is yet another indicator that Dallas needs to get its loose-dog problem under control.

Continental avenue bridge might actually be renamed for ron kirk. The proposal to name the Continental Avenue bridge for former mayor Ron Kirk is getting closer to fruition. Yesterday, the City Council’s Transportation and Trinity River Project Committee voted (unanimously, no less) to bring the proposal to the entire council May 25.

Frisco woman has zika virus. She traveled outside the United States and has tested positive for the virus, which is spread by infected mosquitoes. This is the first confirmed case for Collin County, while Dallas County has had six confirmed cases this year. Zika’s most common symptoms include fever, joint pain, rash, and conjunctivitis.

Stars win to force game 7. They pulled out a 3-2 win against the Blues, which means Game 7 will actually happen. It will be the first Game 7 here at home since 2000 and the first overall Game 7 since 2007.

Queen Bey is flawless at Arlington show. I didn’t even attend, but that’s just a given. Seems like the Formation Tour is her best one yet.

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.

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.