Find a back issue

Making Dallas Even Better

Leading Off (6/29/16)

Homeless Didn’t Get Less Homeless After Tent City Closed. Unsurprisingly, the shut down of Tent City in early May didn’t fix Dallas’ homeless problem. Large encampments have grown under two bridges since then. The city will shut down a South Dallas camp at I-45 and Coombs by July 19, and, most likely, one near Fair Park at I-30 and Haskell before the State Fair kicks off. Shelters are full and the wait lists for housing are long. In the meantime, “No Trespassing” signs and dumpsters are being brought in. My guess is we’ll be seeing the same story, different encampment by, say, early-August.

Area Creeps Going to the Clink for Hurting Kids. A Wylie man was given 28 years without parole on Monday for molesting a child younger than 6 years old. Also, an Arlington man was sentenced to 30 years for making child pornography videos with a 6-year-old girl. I know a federal prison guard. From what he’s told me, child abusers don’t do well behind bars. Even the baddest bad guys hate those who hurt kids. The three masked men who kidnapped this adorable 10-year-old in Oak Cliff for six hours on Monday should be shaking in their boots.

Ken Paxton Echoes Dan Patrick on FWISD Transgender Guideline Issue. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton offered an advisory opinion on Fort Worth ISD’s transgender policy, calling the guidelines illegal and saying that Superintendent Kent Scribner violated the state’s education code by not going through the school board first. Paxton’s big fuss: the guidelines say school personnel should only share information on the students’ gender identity with parents on a need-to-know basis. He says this limits parental involvement and encourages secrets. Scribner is working with the board to refine the language, while LGBT advocates are applauding the district’s efforts to keep transgender students safe.

It’s Tiki O’Clock Somewhere. Some serious stuff in the news. I need something stronger than coffee. 

Read More

Leading Off (6/24/16)

GRAND JURY CLEARS MCKINNEY OFFICER INVOLVED IN POOL PARTY INCIDENT, TEEN PLANS TO SUE. A Collin County grand jury on Thursday cleared McKinney police officer Cpl. Eric Casebolt of criminal charges relating to his involvement in breaking up a pool party last June, which garnered national attention. The interaction was captured in a seven-minute video that shows Casebolt slamming a teenage girl to the ground and drawing his gun on two other teens who tried to help her. There was not enough evidence to bring criminal charges against Casebolt, a 10-year veteran of the department. Given the verdict, the 16-year-old girl and her family plan to file civil rights and personal injury suits Monday.

SUPREME COURT IMMIGRATION DEADLOCK LEAVES DALLAS FAMILIES IN LIMBO. The Supreme Court’s 4-4 split leaves the families of Texas’ 1.5 million undocumented immigrants with uncertainty. The plan would have shielded millions from deportation. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton believes the ruling is a victory for those who believe in the separations of powers.

MAVS TAKE A.J. HAMMONS IN DRAFT. The Dallas Mavericks drafted Purdue’s A.J. Hammons on Thursday in the second round. The 7-foot center was the 46th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft. The Mavs are hopeful for what Hammons, “a first-round talent,” could bring to the team.

7 MEN CHARGED WITH INDECENT EXPOSURE, PUBLIC LEWDNESS IN PUBLIC PARK. Between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Thursday, Fort Worth police arrested seven men on charges of indecent exposure and public lewdness. The arrests were made in Gateway Park, and police haven’t clarified if the offenses are related. The men range in age from 22 to 66. Maybe it was the result of an Old School-inspired rush challenge. I don’t know how these things work. In the meantime, here’s a peek at their mugshots.

SOUTHBOUND I-35E LANES THROUGH DOWNTOWN ARE CLOSING FOR 12 HOURS. As part of the Dallas Horseshoe Project, all southbound lanes of I-35E that pass through Downtown Dallas will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday through 10 a.m. Saturday. The exit to eastbound I-30 is part of the shutdown; however, the westbound exit will stay open. Only time will tell if we, as a city, can survive this shutdown.

Leading Off (6/23/16)

Valley view center will officially be torn down. Dallas City Council members voted yesterday to tear down the 43-year-old Valley View Center at LBJ and Preston around the end of the year. Only the Sears store will survive. The Dallas Midtown development will be built in place of the mall, which has been struggling to survive for quite some time. Dallas Midtown will include features like a new-and-improved AMC mulitplex, a park, office buildings, a 250-room hotel, and a grocery store.

there might be a deck park above I-35E by the dallas zoo. The City Council approved a resolution that would endorse a Klyde Warren-esque deck park near the zoo as part of the Southern Gateway project. Some council members liked the idea. Carolyn King Arnold called it “lipstick on a pig.”

North texas areas to be sprayed for west nile. Mosquito traps in Cedar Hill, Duncanville, Richardson, and Lancaster tested positive for the virus. Crews plan to spray overnight Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday in Lancaster; overnight Thursday, Friday, and Sunday in Cedar Hill and Duncanville; and overnight Thursday and Friday in Richardson. Use that insect repellent, people.

Thanksgiving tower bomb threat determined to be hoax. Yesterday around 6 p.m. police and fire crews responded to a bomb threat at Thanksgiving Tower downtown. A disgruntled client on the phone with someone who worked in the building threatened to set off a bomb. The entire building was evacuated. The threat was determined to be a bluff, but it’s still being investigated.

Southbound I-35E to close Friday night. From 10 p.m. Friday to 10 a.m. Saturday, the southbound lanes of the highway by downtown will all be closed for construction. Heavy traffic will also affect Woodall Rodgers and I-30, but drivers on I-35E will still be able to get on westbound I-30. So if you’re planning to drive through this area during that time, you’ve been warned.

Leading Off (6/22/16)

More Details Emerge on McKinney Double Murder. Kelley Eugene Bigham was charged with murder for the fatal shooting of his estranged wife, Karen Bigham, and her twin sister on Monday. The Bigham’s college-age daughter, Kylie, says in the affidavit that her mother told her father she was divorcing him last week and he threatened her with a gun. Karen asked Kylie to come over Monday while Kelley collected his belongings. Kylie was at the house and ran out with her young son as shots were fired. She told police that her father texted her “I’m sorry” after the murder.

Collin County Baby Dies in Hot Car. A father in Melissa was arrested and charged with manslaughter Tuesday in the death of his 6-month-old daughter. She was left in the family’s minivan for up to four hours until the police were called at 1:30 p.m. According a neighbor, the girl’s father, Michael Thedford, is a substitute teacher at Melissa High School and has two other young children.

Dirk Will Be a Free Agent Soon. After opting out of his contract Tuesday, Dirk Nowitzki will be a free agent as of July 1. In the DMN, point guard Devin Harris says there is even less than a “tiny shred of a chance” that Nowitzki is going anywhere. Still, the Golden State Warriors have made it clear that they’ve got eyes for the Big German.

Mark Cuban Has Some Choice Words for Trump. Tabloid show Extra aired an interview with the Mavs owner in which Cuban says of Trump, “It’s rare that you see someone get stupider before your eyes…” I know what you’re thinking. Is Donald Trump getting stupider or is Donald Trump getting more stupid? Because in elementary school, we’re all taught that Donald Trump is getting more stupid, right? But, according to every online dictionary out there, Cuban is completely in the right to say that Donald Trump is getting stupider. Grammatically speaking, of course.

Leading Off (6/15/16)

Tomorrow’s North Texas Trump Rally Has Yet to Find Venue. Grand Prairie turned down Donald Trump due to concerns that the Verizon Theatre couldn’t contain the crowds the Republican candidate draws. Then yesterday, the Irving spokesperson said 48 hours simply wasn’t enough time to organize the police necessary for such a high-profile event. Mark Cuban is happy to host Trump, and Hillary for that matter, but the AAC had not received any calls from the candidate’s camp. It’s unclear whether the last-minute nature of tomorrow’s rally is an attempt to throw off protestors or if the campaign organizers just aren’t that organized. I’d definitely stick to the former story if I worked for Trump.

North Texas Journalist Dies in Apparent Homicide. Jacinto Torres Hernandez, who used the byline Jay Torres as a freelance writer, was found in the backyard of a Garland house on Tuesday with a fatal gunshot wound to the chest. He contributed to the Star-Telegram‘s Spanish-language newspaper, La Estrella, and won an award for features from the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors in 2011. More details are expected today.

Dallas Zoo Gets a New Wallaby. Elephants and giraffes are usually the newsworthy additions to the Dallas Zoo. The reason this wallaby has been getting attention: Someone in Far North Dallas thought it was ok to leave the marsupial on his apartment balcony during the day. Not surprisingly, it isn’t. Dallas Animal Services has been caring for the year-old wallaby since the owner surrendered it last week. The zoo is happy to keep the animal for the long-term, though the DMN reports the owner is “working with the city on his options.”

Temperature to Reach the Triple Digits. North Texas meteorologists have issued a heat advisory for today. Though thermometers will most likely remain in the 90s, the humidity is expected to take the heat index up to 105 degrees. As the National Weather Service suggests, I will be drinking lots of water and staying inside this afternoon to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke. There is not, however, anything I can do about my hair.

 

 

Leading Off (6/14/16)

two orlando shooting victims had ties to texas. At least two of the people who lost their lives in the horrific shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando Sunday were connected to Texas. Luis Vielma lived in Sanford, Florida, but one of his siblings lived in North Texas, and his godmother—with whom he shared a love of the Dallas Cowboys—was born in Dallas. Frank Hernandez, who went by Frank Escalante, was a Rio Grande Valley native.

Man shot at love field is now in jail. 29-year-old Shawn Diamond, who was shot by a police officer last week outside of Love Field, has now moved from the hospital to jail. Diamond had traveled from Maryland to his ex-girlfriend’s Dallas home. She told police he had gotten upset on the way to Love Field, and when they got out of the car, he smashed the car’s rear windshield with a traffic cone and threw rocks at its windows. An officer tried to get him to stop, but Diamond ran toward him, and the officer fired shots. Diamond is being held at the Dallas County Jail on charges of aggravated assault against a public servant and assault—family violence.

Celebrations mark Dart’s 20th anniversary. Starting today, celebrations will take place to mark the 20th anniversary of DART’s first 11 miles of light rail. In 1996, when it first launched, the expectation was that light rail would reach 53 miles. But now, it’s expanded to 90 miles, the longest system of its kind in the U.S. Celebrations will include customer appreciation events, music, and giveaways.

Read More

Leading Off (6/8/16)

DISD big pimping, Spending Cheese. Yes, I realize it’s “Gs,” not “cheese.” I was having issues with all-caps text. Doesn’t matter. It all leads to this: WFAA-TV aired an investigation on the DISD’s marketing department last October questioning a payment made to a consultant before the consulting was ever done. DISD fought back. Some may have lied. The school district’s internal audit proved the news team right yesterday and found that it wasn’t an isolated incident. Some DISD officials resigned, some remain.

911 Calls for Dog-Mauling Victim Released. Neighbors weren’t able to save Antoinette Brown from the pack of loose dogs that bit her more than 100 times, but a couple of them called 911. Recordings were released yesterday. The timeline of the calls show that the city may have fudged its story on officers’ response time.

Animals in Peril. Oh, gosh. So many more horrible animal-related stories in the news. Where do I begin? There’s the story out of Farmers Branch about the boyfriend beating his girlfriend’s Terrier mix to the point that it had to be euthanized. Speaking of euthanization, a woman went to pick up her dog from Mesquite’s animal shelter too late. That’s awful. Also, a cat was stabbed and burned in Fort Worth. Good news is that it’s on the mend and people care. Another silver-lining story: A dog missing after surviving the car crash that killed its owner in Collin County has now been found.

Bedford Mom Makes A Very Mom Mistake. A 16-year-old Bedford girl has gone viral after tweeting a text exchange with her mother. In the texts, Lisa Banks gets furious with the teenager for having, what she assumes, a baggie of illegal drugs in her nightstand. Turns out the narcotics were actually capsules that expand into dinosaur sponges when placed in water. I can’t honestly say I will never do this.

Leading Off (6/7/16)

Christopher Colbert, accused of killing ronald shumway, is back in Dallas. Remember The Mystery of the Oak Cliff Corpse? Christopher Colbert, who was accused of killing DART driver Ronald Shumway and pretending to be him in order to sell his Winnetka Avenue house, is back in town after spending months in Los Angeles in jail. Colbert was in L.A. while prosecutors in Dallas worked to secure charges of murder, money laundering, and forgery. He was booked into the county jail over the weekend.

Lab tests returned in Midlothian murder. Midlothian fitness instructor Missy Bevers was found dead on April 18. Her father-in-law had dropped off a bloodied women’s long-sleeved shirt at Dry Clean Super Center four days after that. Yesterday, test results from the UNT Health Science Center Laboratory showed that it wasn’t human blood. The family had said it was animal blood from breaking up a fight with their dogs. There is still a reward out for information leading to an arrest of the person responsible for her death.

Tesla coming to Plano’s Legacy West. The luxury car manufacturer plans to set up a showroom at Legacy West Urban Village on Windrose Avenue.

Rangers win with a walkoff double. Rougned Odor took the Rangers to a 6-5 win over the Astros last night to make it their seventh straight win over Houston. Here’s a video of Odor celebrating the hit with lots of Gatorade and a busted lip.

Read More

Leading Off (6/1/16)

Flash floods possible through tomorrow night. My commute time was doubled last night due to high water surrounding my East Dallas neighborhood. That was just a couple hours worth of rain. And now this morning, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for all of North and Central Texas which is in effect until Thursday evening. Yesterday’s thunderstorms also caused power outages in McKinney and at least three house fires in North Texas sparked by lightning.

Family returns to Dallas after year-long switched-at-birth screw-up. Mercy Casanalles gave birth in her home country of El Salvador last May and swore the baby she was given on her way out of the private hospital wasn’t actually hers. Once back in Dallas, Casanalles and her husband Rich Cushworth had the child DNA tested. Their suspicions were confirmed. The couple were reunited with their biological son in September, but it’s taken them this long to get their now 1-year-old back on Texas soil. The boy has a three-week visa and their attorney is working on a permanent solution.

Glenn Beck suspended by SiriusXM over controversial comments. Beck’s Las Colinas studio crew is getting the week off after the program’s guest, author Brad Thor, made comments regarding Donald Trump that, according to SiriusXM, “may reasonably be construed by some to have been advocating harm against an individual currently running for office.” In last week’s interview, Thor worried Trump might overstep his constitutional authority if winning the presidency and said, “I think it will be a terrible, terrible position the American people will be in to get Trump out of office because you won’t be able to do it through Congress.” The entirety of the transcript is here. The more interesting thing, however, is that Beck already had a vacation scheduled this week. So what difference does a suspension make? Well, it did get Beck and SiriusXM plenty of headlines. Hmmmm….

Leading Off (5/31/16)

City manager A.C. gonzalez to resign. 64-year-old Gonzalez plans to leave in January, following three years as Dallas’ city manager. He informed City Council of his plan yesterday. Council members Philip Kingston and Scott Griggs would prefer Gonzalez to leave sooner, but they did not have enough support from other members to accomplish that. Gonzalez has been one of the highest-paid city managers in the country, and now intends to make the switch to the private sector.

Rangers beat indians on memorial day. The Rangers celebrated Memorial Day right with a decisive 9-2 win yesterday over Cleveland, during which rookie Nomar Mazara hit a three-run homer. The Rangers are leading the AL West.

Man arrested in stabbing death of girlfriend. 45-year-old Kenneth Alan Amyx was arrested yesterday after his girlfriend, Jennifer Streit-Spears, was found stabbed to death at her apartment in Plano. After police received a disturbance call, they found Streit-Spears to be dead, as well as Amyx with knife wounds. A nearby hospital determined his wounds to be possibly self-inflicted, and Amyx is now being held in the Collin County jail after being charged with murder.

Leading Off (5/27/16)

Family Sues City for $5M Over Dog Mauling. An attorney for the family of Antoinette Brown, the woman mauled by a pack of loose dogs in southern Dallas, sent a letter to the Office of Risk Management earlier this week asking the city for a $5 million settlement due to Animal Control’s “negligent administration and policies.” The letter was made public a day after the city announced plans to hire Boston Consulting Group to study Dallas’ dog problem.

Body Found Near Farmersville Identified As Missing Richardson Woman. The Collin County medical examiner confirmed the body found last week near Lavon Lake is that of Jessie Bardwell, the 27-year-old Richardson woman missing for several weeks. Bardwell’s boyfriend, Jason Lowe, has already been charged with her murder. A year ago May, Lowe was charged with aggravated assault for beating his then-girlfriend unconscious.

Someone Made a Fake Facebook Page for Murdered Midlothian Woman. And then they sent friend requests to her friends and family. The story of Missy Bevers’ death only gets weirder while police are still searching for her killer.

Coppell Eighth-Grader Takes Fifth Place in National Spelling Bee. Thirteen-year-old Smrithi Upadhyayula correctly spelled the words epistaxis (nosebleed), chalazion (an eyelid cyst), and levirate (a type of marriage 13-year-old American girls don’t need to worry about), but floundered on theriaca (a poison antidote made of drugs and honey). She’s returning to North Texas $5,000 richer and hopes to work on her second novel about lost alien princesses.

 

Leading Off (5/25/16)

ARLINGTON CITY COUNCIL SIGNS OFF ON A NEW BALLPARK. The council approved the $1 billion plan that would give the Texas Rangers a new stadium. However, the next step is to convince voters to spend $500 million to keep the team in Arlington. Opponents have asked why the current stadium, which opened in 1994, needs to be replaced.

POLICE FIND AN ALLIGATOR BEHIND A SOUTH DALLAS MIDDLE SCHOOL. The nearly 7-foot-long reptile was captured near Steam Middle School around 2 a.m. Wednesday morning. An officer, who was patrolling the area, stopped after spotting what he thought was a log. It’s possible the alligator came from one of the area’s nearby creeks.

THE BATHROOM SAGA CONTINUES. State Attorney General Ken Paxton may file a legal challenge to President Barack Obama’s directive that instructs schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity. This could affect Fort Worth ISD’s newly established guidelines that would accommodate transgender students. Paxton has scheduled a 2 p.m. news conference in Austin.

STATE SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATE WHO THINKS OBAMA IS A FORMER GAY PROSTITUTE LOSES. Thankfully, Mary Lou Bruner, a retired teacher who suggested Obama might have been a “gay prostitute” in his youth, lost the Republican nomination last night by more than 10,000 votes. Bruner drew national attention earlier this year for her Facebook commentary which included claims such as “Islam is not a religion” and that Noah’s ark carried baby dinosaurs. Lufkin school board President Keven Ellis won the nomination and will face Democratic candidate Amanda Rudolph in the fall.

DALLAS ZOO WELCOMES ELEPHANT CALF. The calf was born May 14 to one of the five Swaziland elephants that arrived in Dallas in March and is the first African elephant calf born in the United States in nearly two years. The 3-foot, 175-pound calf hasn’t been named yet but is bonding with his mother. In January, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service granted the zoo a permit allowing the zoo to bring over the elephants from Swaziland–a move that was contested by animal advocacy groups. It’ll be a few months before the public can meet the calf so–until then– this video will have to suffice.

Read More

Leading Off (5/24/16)

Susan Hawk in Houston indefinitely. The Dallas County District Attorney, who returned to the Menninger Clinic in Houston due to severe depression, doesn’t have a return date set yet. She was treated there last year before resuming her work in Dallas. Messina Madson, Hawk’s top prosecutor, will deal with daily office goings-on in the meantime.

Loose dogs captured in Oak Cliff. The loose dog problem continued when two dogs allegedly bit a man in east Oak Cliff yesterday morning. Police and animal control officers ended up capturing the dogs after fending the dogs off themselves.

High-speed internet coming to southern dallas. AT&T is aiming to bring high-speed internet to southern Dallas neighborhoods, which will help residents and businesses become more connected. Executives from AT&T are announcing the plan at a press conference this morning at Dallas City Hall. Mayor Rawlings says this shows that major companies are now concentrating on southern Dallas.

Dallas bachelorette JoJo Fletcher begins her journey to find love. The 25-year-old’s season premiered last night. It entailed a man riding in on a horse dressed as a unicorn, a guy wearing a kilt, another guy dressed as Santa Claus, and, obviously, alcohol-fueled antics. Good luck, JoJo.

Read More

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.”

Read More

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.