“We Could Hear it Coming. It Was Like Thunder That Wouldn’t Stop:” The stories out of Granbury are horrifying and heartbreaking, awful reminders that we live in a strange, unforgiving world in which, on rare occasion, the sky can just come down and rip you right out of your closet:
The closet door flew open, and the tornado yanked her oldest son, Brandon, into the air.
Green’s body twisted and bent, and she began to pray.
“Please let this be over. I can’t take this anymore,” she remembers thinking. “I asked God, ‘Is this really the way I’m going to die?’”
The Legacy of Mary Suhm vs. the Legacy of Dallas’ Super Donors: Two features in the local daily frame two perspective on the shaping of the city. Sure, as Mayor Ron Kirk puts it in this profile of outgoing City Manager Mary Suhm, “Her fingerprints are all over the city.” But what is the legacy of any powerful member of city government versus the “thousand families,” the philanthropists whose Texas-sized generosity (sorry) make Dallas one of the nation’s most charitable cities:
The city’s wealthiest philanthropists are also sometimes called the new Medicis, and there’s something to the comparison: Not a single major cultural institution in Dallas would exist in its current form — or exist at all, in many cases — without their help. . . . The philanthropists’ generosity extends beyond cultural organizations.
Fort Worth Figures Out Trinity Project: And speaking of big ticket city items, while Suhm’s legacy contains the unrealized Trinity River Project, Fort Worth seems to have figured out how to have simple fun down on the river with a much more modest, accessible investment. This, ahem. Not this.
Where Do Saturday’s Elections Leave Hispanic Dallas City Council Representation? The answer, in short, is not in a good way. In a newly drawn district that is 74 percent Hispanic, incumbent Scott Griggs defeated Hispanic incumbent Delia Jasso. In another new district drawn to give Pleasant Grove single representation at the horseshoe (the neighborhood was previously split between multiple districts), candidate Jesse Diaz is headed to a runoff with white candidate Rick Callahan. If Callahan wins, then there will be one less Hispanic representative on the council than previously, whereas the redistricting was seemingly designed to add one Hispanic representative. In other news, Farmers Branch got its first Hispanic City Council member.
Arlington Man Throws Homemade Bomb at Neighbors: Michael Alex Johnson, 32, allegedly lit an eight-gallon bucket of gasoline on fire and threw it at two vehicles in a neighbor’s driveway. Luckily, another neighbor saw the incident and immediately called police. No one was hurt. Other bomb making materials were found in Johnson’s home, and Johnson’s mother described her son as “mentally ill.”
State Rep Wants to Build Bullion Depository: I don’t know why storing gold that belongs to the University of Texas Investment Management Co. out of state is a big deal, but apparently Giovanni Capriglione of Southlake is afraid the Yankee state may seize it when Texas declares its independence, or something like that. That’s why he wants the state to fund the construction of a Texas depository for the roughly $1 billion in gold bars. Rick Perry is, of course, on board: ““If we own it,” Perry said, “I will suggest to you that that’s not someone else’s determination whether we can take possession of it back or not.”
Worst Son In the World: Gonzalo Lopez: The night before Mother’s Day, Lopez killed his mother.
Will Changing Politics of North Dallas Affect Makeup of City Council? On paper, the Dallas City Council is non-partisan, but you don’t have to sit through too many council meetings to guess who voted Mitt and who voted Barack during the last election. As it turns out, more residents in historically conservative North Dallas voted Barack last time around, so Gromers Jeffers wonders if that will mean inroads for Democrats at the local level (paywall).
Did University Park Fire Firefighter to Avoid Paying Medical Bills? A 31-year-old former University Park firefighter says that five months after he threw-out his back on the job, UP stopped paying for workers compensation benefits. Then he was fired. So now he is suing the wealthy enclave. University Park is self-insured.
Tarrant County Water District Election Borrows From Chinatown Plot: Why would the wealthy Dallas investor who bought the estate of Bernie Madoff drop big bucks on a candidate for the Tarrant Regional Water District board — a candidate who doesn’t even live in the district? Why would that candidate need to start Political Action Committee when his opponents last month raised contributions of only around $3,500? What if I told you there was a pipeline project involved, and said pipeline is set to run through a few East Texas ranches owned by some wealthy Ewing-types. Starts to come into focus, no?
What Happened in West: The Dallas Morning News tackles the West, Texas explosion in detail, reconstructing the event and aftermath in this piece:
At that moment, West joined Aurora, Newtown, Katrina and other one-word symbols of tragedy. Tornadoes. Hurricanes. Bombings. Shootings. For now, the word “West” equals the word “explosion.”
As ‘Burbs Run Short on Water, They Turn to Dallas For Help: The North Texas Municipal Water District, which serves many of the northern Dallas suburbs, is already bracing for water use restrictions come June 1. Easing those restrictions is a new deal with Dallas Water Utilities that will direct upwards of 60 million gallons a day from the city’s reserves to the ‘burbs. That diverted usage won’t affect Dallas residents, DWU officials say. And the city is still fighting to create new reservoirs.
Cowboys Draft Was a Disaster: Actually, I have no idea if it was a disaster or not. Sports radio tells me that the Cowboys needed three or four starters out of this year’s draft, and it sounds like they picked up a bunch of projects.
West Blast Investigation Continues, Children Head back to School: The center of the fertilizer factory explosion was located over the weekend. Media were allowed a look at the epicenter of the blast Sunday. In Dallas, a memorial for a local firefighter who died in the explosions. West students head back to school in nine nearby school districts. Donations to West have been strong. And, if you haven’t yet, check out Zac’s expanded reflections on his hometown on NBC.
Photos and Criticism of the New Bush Center: The Dallas Morning News has a special section dedicated to the new George W. Bush Presidential Center, which opens this Thursday. It includes a sneak peek, an interview with the ex-president, and the news’ new architecture critic’s first bow:
Designed by New York architect Robert A.M. Stern, it seems decidedly undecided about its place in the world, trading in the language of architectures past while claiming, without much conviction, the mantle of the present. Everywhere competent, it nowhere rises to a level of inspiration.
Trial Over Kaufman Slayings Will Likely Take Place in Kaufman: You would think a highly publicized trial in a small county like Kaufman would force the trial to move in order to find jurors less familiar with the case. But finding any location in Texas where potential jurors are unfamiliar with the shooting death of the Kaufman County district attorney may be close to impossible.
Former Kaufman County Justice of the Peace Arrested for DA Killings, Linked to Threatening Email: Eric Williams was arrested Saturday and charged with “terroristic threats,” after police searched his home and storage unit, found around 20 weapons, and connected him a threatening email sent to county officials. A charge of capital murder is expected to be filed this week. Williams is a former justice of the peace who was convicted of stealing computer equipment from a county building in March 2012.
Man Shoots Himself at NRA 500: A 42-year-old Saginaw man shot himself in the head in the infield campground Saturday night during the race that was renamed this year after the firearm advocacy group.
George W. Bush Is a Grandpa: Jenna Bush gave birth to a baby girl yesterday.
Dirk Shaves Beard: The Mavs finally reached .500. Whoopee do! At least you can watch Dirk shave, and shave, and shave, and . . .
Up To 50 Principals Will Be Replaced Next Year at Dallas ISD: New superintendent Mike Miles is planning a leadership overhaul. Many principals have retired or resigned. Trustees will now get a list of an additional 10 to 15 that are being forced out. But Miles has taken some heat from parents who have “ambushed” school administrators at meetings demanding to know why their principals are being let go.
Gov. Perry Preaches From Pulpit at First Baptist: The Texas Governor used the opportunity provided by the church’s dedication of its new buildings to tell the congregation they can’t “condemn certain lifestyles.” The comments raised some eyebrows considering they came from a politician who has been outspoken about issues like supporting a constitution amendment to oppose gay marriage.
Josh Hamilton’s Family Gets Extra Security for Final Game in Angels-Rangers Series: After the boos and the taunting Josh Hamilton took at the ballpark this weekend, the player’s wife requested extra security at the stadium and watched the final game of the series from a luxury box.
Kaufman County DA and Wife Gunned Down: We’re only beginning to scratch the surface on this one. But some, such as Forney Mayor Darren Rozell, are already drawing connections between the killing of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, and the murder of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse two months ago on the day the U.S. Department of Justice released a statement saying Hasse was involved in a racketeering case against the Aryan Brotherhood.
DMN Lauds Don Williams’ Speech, Still Mum of Golf Course: Late last week, Glenn was quick to point out that Rudy Bush’s piece (paywall) on former Trammel Crow CEO Don Williams’ chiding of the Dallas elite at the Dallas Country Club was missing some choice words about plans to build a golf club in South Dallas (namely, that Williams at first thought the course was the “worst use of $12 million that the city could possibly spend” before taking a step back and saying that a golf course doesn’t equal jobs or development). Well, over the weekend, this Dallas Morning News editorial offered formal support to Williams’ tough talk, but still nothing about the golf course, which this DMN editorial endorsed back in November, saying that:
We know there will be naysayers and cynics. But when a corporation of AT&T’s size recognizes that it’s time to focus on southern Dallas — and then uses its substantial leadership powers to rally major backing — that’s a marker worth applauding. This golf course plan is a game changer.
So, DMN, tell us: Is Williams a naysayer or a cynic?
First Baptist Opens New $130 Million Campus For Easter: Those chewy, sugary gummy ducks in your kids’ Easter baskets? They weren’t the only tacky treats to arrive in Dallas yesterday morning.
Dallas Police Want To Clamp Down on Camping on Public Property: Remember Occupy Dallas? Well, it turns out the movement’s legacy may have more to do with the legality of how you camp on public property, than any global economic situation. The camping messiness was a pain for Dallas Police (what with the underage sexual assault and all), so the department is leading the charge to tighten regulations on camping on public park properties.
“Here’s all you need to know,” [Bryant] said. “I’m done with domestic abuse.”
Dallas Stars Trade Captain Brenden Morrow: The Stars are, well, building. It’s all about 2015 out in Frisco. So I think dumping captain Brenden Morrow for Joe Morrow, a scoring defenseman and 2011 number 23 pick overall (plus some draft picks), is a lot better than letting the captain run out his contract and go into free agency over the summer. But still, if the Dallas Cowboys lost Tony Romo or the Texas Rangers lost Michael Young (oh wait), you would feel funny about it. Guy Carbonneau’s daughter Anne-Marie (aka Mrs. Morrow) tweeted this lonely shot of the bags packed after 14 years in Dallas.
DA’s Office Questions Choice of Prosecutor in Watkins’ Contempt Case: “We have some strong concerns there could be a conflict of interest,” said assistant prosecutor Heath Harris about Cooke County prosecutor Ron Poole, though, really, he probably would’ve said that about any single person appointed to this role.
Pre-K Student Dies After Choking at DISD School: Manny Ramirez was enjoying a chicken taco when he began choking. A school nurse performed the Heimlich, dislodged the blockage, and the four-year-old began talking again. He then suffered a seizure before dying. Remind me to never, ever let any future child of mine out of my sight. Awful.
Cruz In Control: Say what you want about Ted Cruz, the guy’s a freshman Senator getting presidential buzz in March, three years before the next presidential election. This guy is not going away anytime soon:
Fracking Fuels Boom Towns: Gas production is driving the rebirth of tiny towns throughout rural Texas. But don’t worry, fracking has nothing to do with this:
Bigfoot Not Spotted in Fort Worth This Weekend: Bigfoot hunters descended on Fort Worth this past weekend for the Texas Bigfoot Conference. Unfortunately, Bigfoot was a no show.
Plano Man Makes Threats Against Pastor: It all started rather strangely. Chris Tynes — with the recently acquired knowledge that, 20 years ago, a former music minister at his church, Prestonwood Baptist, admitted to sexual contact with young boys — began posting about the situation on the church’s Facebook page. The church took the posts down, but Tynes was persistent. He began attacking the church — his church, remember — on Facebook and Twitter, then attempted to speak with Prestonwood’s pastor in person. Security escorted him away. He returned to Twitter, posting a photo of the pastor’s parking spot and writing “I’m sitting in my perfect ambush spot.” Note, dude: if you’d like to have a discussion with your pastor, threatening his life is probably not the best path. Try his Facebook page.
Mother Pulled the Trigger in Mesquite Murder-Suicide: I got nothing on this one. Just awful.
North Texans Out “Poppin Tags”: This is an actual news story, from a television station, in a major market, about people shopping at Goodwill, because they heard Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop.” I’d love to have been in that pitch meeting.
“Soooo, I’d like to do a story about Macklemore’s ‘Thrift Shop.’”
“What’s the local angle?”
“I’d go to a Goodwill.”
“Could you wear a red/zebra print robe and matching hat, like some sort of frugal-yet-stylish pimp?”
“You’ve got two minutes, after the first commercial break.”
Zac Is at SXSW, Didn’t Tell One of Us to Do Leading Off: That’s why it’s late.
Four Adults Found Dead in Mesquite Home: Police originally sent to the home on Saturday following a report of gunshots apparently didn’t see anything suspicious and moved on. Well done. Good, thorough, police-work.
DeSoto Teacher Signs on to Citizen Astronaut Program: Thus fulfilling the dream of literally every single high school science and engineering teacher since the creation of NASA.
Sales to Return to JCPenney: So get over there, you bargainhounds.
This is the Fourth Post of the Day, So I Changed the Name: Deal with it.
Police Need Help Cracking Murder Case Involving Senior: A 79-year-old woman in East Dallas was found slain in her home Saturday, and police are turning to the public for help. There were signs of forced entry, but no word on whether the residence where the woman was found was burglarized. And Bernie Tiede’s locked up, so you can scratch him off the list of suspects.
Should UNT Dallas Open New Law School When Law Grads Can’t Find Jobs? That’s one of the questions put to Ellen Pryor, associate dean for academic affairs at the new UNT Dallas College of Law, which is set to open in the old Dallas City Hall in August 2014. Her answer? Well, yes, of course, but she adds that in the current economic and education environment, UNT Dallas is in a unique position to rethink the value and shape of legal education.
Trends: We Like Driving, Botox: The tranquility of the country and the distance between Dallas and Fort Worth contribute to the percentage of North Texans with “mega-commutes,” daily drives of at least 90 minutes and 50 miles. And all that driving makes the lunch hour one of the few times during the day to take care of little errands, you know, like face-lifts.
Artist Sculpts Statue of Slain Sniper Chris Kyle: Which, okay. You feel moved by the guy, his story, you put your hands to some clay. But you’re really going to burden the Kyle family by presenting it to them? It’s a nice gesture, yes. But how many of you would want a bronze statue of your dead husband? (That said, it’s a pretty striking resemblance.)
Craig Watkins Held in Contempt, Hill’s Charges Dropped: Nothing to see here. Absolutely nothing. Move along.
Woman Beats Son With Cord After Catching Him Receiving Oral Sex From a Man: “I actually caught this going on in my house so how was I supposed to react to it? I supposed to just let it go? No! We was taught to discipline our kids and we whoop our kids,” she told KRLD. Were you supposed to just let it go? I don’t know. I don’t have kids. But an electrical cord seems like a bit of an overstep.