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Making Dallas Even Better

Leading Off (11/24/15)

Robert Jeffress Makes Dallas Look Bad. Our Mike Mooney profiled the pastor of First Baptist Dallas in 2012. Mike said Jeffress was a likable guy. Okay. I guess. But watch this video and read what Jeffress has recently said about Islam (short version: bonkers). Most important, read this blog post written by Robert Hunt, the director of Global Theological Education at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology. It’s titled “The Darkness in the Heart of Dallas.” Read it in the context of the misguided armed protesters who showed up at the Islamic center in Irving. We have SO far to go before Dallas gets to “world class” status, and it has nothing to do with signature bridges or riverside toll roads.

Elvis Andrus Unclear on the Concept. Yeah, yeah. We’re focused on the Cowboys and Mavericks right now. What? The Stars are playing? And it’s the team’s best season ever? Okay. Throw in the Stars. But here’s some Rangers news. Elvis Andrus, who committed, like, seventytwenty errors in Game 5 of the American League Division Series, says, “For sure, what happened last year is something that is going to make me work harder. I don’t think about it. It was a long process, but I’m in a good spot right now.” Say what? You don’t think about it, but it’s going to make you work harder? You screwed up, dude. THINK about it.

Two Arlington Officers Indicted. Detention officer Pedro Medina and former lead detention officer Steve Schmidt were indicted on a charge of criminally negligent homicide in the death of Jonathan Paul, who was in police custody.

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Leading Off (11/19/15)

Yesterday was Homeless Youth Awareness Day in dallas. The mayor declared November 18 Homeless Youth Awareness Day. About 2,200 DISD students identify as homeless. The Communities Foundation of Texas highlighted these issues in an event yesterday. Promise House is organizing a Sleep Out tonight to raise money for its homeless youth shelter.

Bank robbery suspect who led police chase arrested. The suspect led a high-speed chase from Colleyville to Arlington yesterday before being arrested. At the Bank of America on Colleyville Blvd., he’d given a note to the clerk saying he was armed, although he did not show a gun before leaving in a black GMC Denali. Police eventually spiked the car’s tires in Arlington, where he was arrested.

Dallas’ top office real estate: McKinney Ave. in Uptown. At $43.81 per square foot, two times the overall average for North Texas, McKinney Ave. takes the cake as Dallas’ most expensive business address. But that’s nothing compared to New York’s Fifth Ave. at $119.27 per square foot. It’s all relative.

Leading Off (11/17/15)

Local Man’s 10-year-old Daughter Wakes in Middle of Night, Takes His Spot in Bed. A pretty intense storm rolled through North Texas last night. In one East Dallas house, a little girl got scared by the wind, scurried to her parents’ bedroom, and booted her father to the couch. As of 6 a.m., Dallas County had 19,000 reported power outages.

Norm Hitzges Doesn’t Think Highly of Jerry Jones. If you missed it on The Ticket yesterday, Hitzges delivered a jeremiad (look it up) about the Dallas Cowboys and their owner. It crescendoed with Hitzges asking, “Where the hell is your soul Jerry?” You can listen to it here, embedded in a Morning News story about the rant. A newspaper story about a radio host saying the football team isn’t good? Yes, the News is a dutiful media partner. You can tell someone wasn’t proud of his or her work. The story carries an anonymous “staff” byline.

Midlothian Couple Killed in Mass Murder. Details are still a bit sketchy, but six people were killed while camping in Anderson County, about 100 miles from Dallas. Three of the dead — Thomas Kamp, Hannah Johnson, and her young son Kade — lived in Midlothian. Johnson’s parents were also along for the trip. Her father, Carl, was killed, but her mother, Cynthia, was able to call police and hide in the woods until they arrived. A man who lives next to the property, William Hudson, was arrested and charged with one of the murders. No word yet on a motive.

Leading Off (11/12/15)

Five finalists announced for Dallas Foundation’s good works under 40 award. These five finalists were picked from 75 people nominated for their volunteer work. The winner, along with a $10,000 grant for the nonprofit of his or her choosing, will be announced today. The finalists are Stephen Capuyan, a Habitat for Humanity volunteer; OJ DeSouza, who fund-raised for the Wilkinson Center; John Dickey, president of the Hope Cottage board of directors; Yat Yee “Eve” Fong, a volunteer with Equest Therapeutic Horsemanship; and Jenny Reynolds, president of Dallas CASA’s Children’s Council.

Allie Beth Allman & Associates Realtors bought by Warren Buffett. The investor is adding to his real estate empire with Allie Beth Allman & Associates, a top Dallas real estate firm founded in 2003. The firm was acquired by HomeServices of America Inc., an affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway. Allman said it was a “great honor” to be approached by Buffett’s company. The Dallas firm will retain its brand name and current management.

Woman in North richland hills stabbed by son’s girlfriend. 36 times, that is. 59-year-old Kathleen Olson was found dead in her apartment bathtub last week after being stabbed three dozen times by her son’s girlfriend, 37-year-old Julie Marie Peterson. Peterson was arrested and charged with capital murder soon after when detectives found Olson’s belongings in her purse. According to an affidavit, Peterson had moved in with Olson to escape verbal abuse from Olson’s son, James. But Peterson and Kathleen Olson had been arguing for several days. Police traced Peterson to a Haltom City hotel.

Leading Off (11/6/15)

STRONG STORMS SWEEP THROUGH NORTH TEXAS. A storm system, arriving three hours later than anticipated, moved through North Texas last night, bringing heavy rain, hail, and a tornado with it. Storms moved through Dallas County around 8 p.m., but the worst of the system was seen in Tarrant County, where a tornado damaged North Fort Worth’s BBVA Compass bank building and wind took off part off the roof of a building near Interstate 35W and Meacham Boulevard. Golf ball-sized hail was spotted in Denton County, while Wise County experienced baseball-sized hail. Thankfully, no injuries or flooding were reported.

POLICE SEEK SUSPECT IN DEADLY EAST OAK CLIFF HOME INVASION. An arrest warrant for Obra Louis London, 27, was issued Thursday night in connection with a home invasion and shooting death in East Oak Cliff earlier in the day. When police arrived at a home in the 1500 block of East Woodin Boulevard, they found 44-year-old Cecil Williams Jr. critically injured and a woman who had been beaten. The woman told officers two men assaulted her and Williams after bursting into the home. London will be charged with capital murder once he’s arrested.

REMAINS FOUND NEAR MOVIE THEATER IDENTIFIED. Skeletal remains discovered late last month near the Studio Movie Grill at the intersection of Northwest Highway and Interstate 35E have been identified as 32-year-old Alejandro Arzola. A cause of death hasn’t been determined.

CARLISLE SIGNS FIVE-YEAR CONTRACT EXTENSION WITH THE MAVS. Head Coach Rick Carlisle has signed a five-year, $35 million extension with the Dallas Mavericks. Carlisle is the franchise leader in wins and led the team to its only championship in 2011.

Leading Off (11/5/15)

Dallas county voter turnout down from last year. Tuesday’s Dallas County elections saw a 9 percent turnout: 108,607 ballots cast out of 1,199,726 registered voters. Last year’s midterm elections saw a 34 percent turnout. Let’s change that next time, shall we?

Stepbrother arrested in death of woman found in Oak Cliff dumpster. Police arrested Anthony Davis, 41, in the murder of his stepsister, Lashunda Richardson, 36. Richardson had been stabbed in the back several times and her body thrown into a dumpster outside their Oak Cliff apartment. After neighbors called 911, police came and arrested Davis. Richardson’s family remembers her as a loving sister. Police are still trying to determine a motive.

Weatherford woman charged with capital murder. After her newborn girl was found dead in the trunk of her car, 22-year-old Ashley Nicole Blades was arrested and charged with murder and abuse of a corpse. Blades told police she’d given birth Monday morning and covered the baby’s face “for a minute” to keep her from crying. She wrapped the infant in a towel inside a plastic bag and put her in the trunk of her car, and when she checked on the baby, the infant was dead. Autopsy results pending.

Expect flash floods, thunderstorms today. A flash flood watch is already underway. After an afternoon respite, the forecast is thunderstorms, hail, high winds for the fun commute home. Hello, fall.

Leading Off (11/3/15)

Dallas city Pensions In BIG Trouble. I haven’t seen this anywhere else yet, but Councilman Scott Griggs wrote yesterday on Facebook that an audit has found the Dallas Employee Retirement Fund has an unfunded liability of $600 million, and the Dallas Police & Fire Pension System has an unfunded liability of $5 billion. The city is on the hook for that money. Hard to overstate how bad this is.

You! Vote Today! It’s your duty and privilege. As far as city bond projects go, McKinney wants $160 million, Mesquite $125 million, and Richardson $115 million. Grand Prairie, Allen, Highland Park, and Rockwall humans are voting on school district bonds. The $1.6 billion proposed DISD project, of course, is the big one. Here’s how to find out where to vote on that.

Uber Will Deliver Your Lunch. UberEATS launches for lunch Thursday. Starting off, the service area will be limited to downtown and Uptown, and the participating restaurants are Smoke, Cafe Momentum, and the Rustic.

New Kangaroos at the Zoo. The Dallas Zoo is now displaying a pair of western grey kangaroos (they are British, apparently, and probably refer to potato chips as “potato crisps”). The brother’s name is Berrigan and his sister’s name is Gidgee. Let’s hope they keep the giraffing around to a minimum and stay safe.

Dez Bryant Can Keep His Monkey. In other animal news, I can’t quite believe that I’m typing about this.

Worst Human of the Day. If you’re looking for someone on whom to focus your hatred today, might I suggest 27-year-old Frank Charles Harvey. Police say that a 68-year-old woman was walking down Skillman, in Lake Highlands, when, for no reason, Harvey punched her in the face. According to an affidavit, the assault caused a brain hematoma.

Leading Off (10/29/15)

Dallas to spend $3 million so Trinity Groves concrete plant moves. The Argos Ready Mix facility at the foot of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge will move further into West Dallas near Thomas Edison Middle School. The city of Dallas is helping pay for that move to the tune of $3 million at the behest of Trinity Groves owners, who want to build the existing plant area up. Some West Dallas residents are skeptical at the thought of dust emission, while others say it will help the community. City council approved the subsidy for Argos yesterday.

Retail program that helps people advance to higher-paying jobs coming to Dallas. The pilot program will help entry-level retail workers move up in their industry. Because turnover rates are so high in retail, it can be difficult to secure a promotion. Innovate+Educate is the nonprofit leading the program and chose Dallas due to its large retail presence and job openings. The program is set to start early next year.

Female prisoner escapes from Parkland Memorial Hospital. 47-year-old Anna Cardella escaped from sheriff’s deputies at Parkland yesterday morning, according to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department. She was being held on drug-possession charges and driving with a suspended license. She was being kept in the airborne isolation unit, although deputies wouldn’t say why due to federal privacy laws. She was wearing a black t-shirt and jeans when she escaped.

Mavericks come out swinging in opening game. Last night, the Dallas Mavs smoked the Phoenix Suns, 111-95, with eight players in double figures. After an iffy offseason, this is a solid start to the 2015-16 season. Take that, Chandler.

Leading Off (10/22/15)

Texas health resources appeals decision in Nina Pham’s lawsuit. THR, which owns Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, appealed a judge’s order regarding the lawsuit filed by Nina Pham, a nurse who contracted Ebola while treating Thomas Eric Duncan. The judge’s ruling temporarily stops the Texas Workforce Commission from saying whether THR is a co-employer of Pham with the hospital. If THR were ruled a co-employer, the lawsuit would be categorized as a worker’s compensation claim. Pham, who got the disease a year ago, recovered but is still experiencing ongoing health issues. She maintains that THR did not appropriately train and protect its staff.

Dallas Police to expand patrol in oak lawn following violent attacks. Dallas City Council member Adam Medrano announced yesterday with the DPD that patrol would be increased in the Oak Lawn area. Medrano represents Oak Lawn and is chairman of Mayor Mike Rawlings’ LGBT task force. Residents have voiced concern about poor lighting and lack of cameras near businesses. There have been about eight incidents of assault or robbery since the beginning of September, all of which occurred late on weekend nights. Expanded patrol will include bike officers, undercover officers, and officers on foot.

Margot Winspear, RIP. The Dallas opera house namesake died Tuesday in an assisted-care facility at age 83. She and her late husband, Bill Winspear, had contributed $42 million to the building of the AT&T Performing Arts Center and the Winspear Opera House.

Flash flood watch for north texas begins tonight. This weekend, rain will take over for sunshine. Starting tonight, expect rain through Sunday. And with the dry state North Texas is in, we won’t complain about it.

Leading Off (10/20/15)

Ahmed Mohamed Meets President at White House. This story notes that reporters were too far away to hear what President Obama and Ahmed said to each other when they met. But FrontBurner had a source on the ground. That source reports that the meeting went like this: “Hello, Mr. President,” said Ahmed. “Nice to meet you Ahmed,” said the president. “Thank you for inviting me to the White House,” said Ahmed. “Thank you for coming,” said the present. “Do you like my hat?” asked Ahmed. “I do like your hat,” said the president. (Sorry. Just had a Go, Dog. Go! flashback.)

Southlake Woman Accused of $26 Million Tax Cheat. Karena Mondrianh sounds like an interesting lady. She does landscape design and hairdressing. As a psychologist and psychotherapist with a doctorate in philosophy from an unaccredited university that does self-paced distance learning, she’s a life coach and conducts fire walks. She also prepares peoples’ taxes, and over the years she has shorted the government $26 million—according to the government. Hard to tell whom to believe on this one.

Craig Watkins misspent funds. A state audit released today says that the Dallas County district attorney’s office under Craig Watkins inappropriately spent about $80,000 in asset forfeiture funds. Somewhere Susan Hawk is right now saying, “Have you heard what the last DA did? We’re talking about Craig Watkins now. I mean, can you believe that guy?”

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Leading Off (10/15/15)

It’s a sad day for Rangers fans. After a bizarre seventh inning and three errors by the Rangers, Toronto secured a Game 5 win and will advance to play either Houston or Kansas City. This definitely hurts after witnessing the Rangers’ unexpected success this season. But, says Rangers manager Jeff Banister, “I feel for them. One inning won’t define who this ballclub is, and who they’ve been all year long. We won the West when nobody thought we would do anything. I’m more proud of how those guys played all year long.” We still love you, Rangers.

White rock lake runner was electrical engineer and inventor. David Stevens, the runner murdered at random by Thomas Johnson while he was jogging, is remembered as a dedicated engineer and inventor. He had worked for General Electric. He also ran the Dallas Marathon last year in 3 hours, 25 minutes.

Dallas pimp arrested. The FBI announced yesterday that, during a nationwide child trafficking operation, a suspected pimp from Dallas was arrested. Many child trafficking victims were also rescued, five of them in Dallas. The pimp suspect has not been identified.

Dallas woman who made false 911 calls has been charged in federal court. Tameira Janell Smith, a former Texas Woman’s University softball player, has been charged with calling numerous city and university police departments throughout the country and making hoax 911 claims. In the calls, Smith reported that she was injured or a victim, even though she was nowhere near the scene of the alleged crimes.

Leading Off (10/14/15)

LAWSUIT SEEKS HAWK’S REMOVAL FROM OFFICE. Fired administrative chief Cindy Stormer filed a suit Tuesday to have Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk removed from office. The suit cited Hawk’s recent mental heath issues as an argument for her removal. Stormer also asked a judge to remove Hawk on a temporary basis, with a trial pending to determine Hawk’s fitness for the office. The petition also alleges that Hawk should be removed for incompetency and misconduct.

DETAILS EMERGE IN DALLAS’ FOUR MONDAY SLAYINGS. On Tuesday, Dallas detectives identified the jogger murdered at random on the White Rock Creek Trail and released details about the suspect wanted in connection with the deaths of a woman and her daughter. But police haven’t said much regarding the murder of 18-year-old Zoe Hastings.

IKEA ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR SECOND AREA STORE. The Swedish home furnishings store submitted plans Tuesday for a second North Texas store. The 293,000-square-foot store, complete with 1,250 parking spaces, would be near Interstate 20 and Highway 161 in Grand Prairie. In addition to the Frisco store, IKEA executives view this expansion as a way to reach customers in other parts of the area. This expansion would place three large home furnishing retailers–including the biggest store in Texas–within 40 miles of one another.

MAN WHO KILLED A DALLAS COP IN 2001 TO BE EXECUTED TODAY. Licho Escamilla, 33, will be executed by lethal injection at 6 p.m. for the murder of officer Kevin James outside a Dallas nightclub in November of 2001. Escamilla, then 19, shot James in the head three times after James and another officer tried to prevent Escamilla from being attacked by other men. At the time of James’ murder, Escamilla was wanted in connection with another murder. At the time of his death, James left behind an 8-year-old daughter and a wife of one month.

RANGERS AND BLUE JAYS FACE OFF. With the American League Division Series tied, the Rangers and Blue Jays will play the last game today at 3:07 p.m.

Leading Off (10/13/15)

Man Hacked to Death on White Rock Trail. Former Aggie wide receiver Thomas Johnson picked a random jogger yesterday and hacked him to death with a machete. A cyclist saw it happen and described the horrifying scene to Channel 5.

Three Women Killed in East Dallas. The homicides happened in two unrelated incidents. In Far East Dallas, two women were shot in their home. And a recent Booker T. grad was found dead in her car, in a creek. Police are still looking for the two killers.

Rangers Lose 8-4. The only thing worse than Derek Holland’s performance is the website of the Toronto Sun, on which you can read about jubilant jays fan Charles Godin Edgcombe, who said, “We are the best. And we always come back and win. We’re going to win it again, even though Texas is good.”

Another Movie Shooting in Downtown. This time it’s Queen of the South, a USA Network redo of a Telemundo hit. Expect traffic delays today and tomorrow. Go here to see where you should avoid.

Philip Wuntch, R.I.P. The DMN’s film critic of 37 years died after a long illness. He was 70.

Leading Off (10/8/15)

Last day of filming in Dealey Plaza for 11/22/63. Downtown traffic will return to its “normal” rate after today, when filming wraps on the JFK miniseries. It may be your last chance to see James Franco in action. It will not be your last chance to get stuck in Dallas traffic.

Dallas will file lawsuit against Volkswagen for car emissions violation. Speaking of cars, the city of Dallas plans to sue German automaker Volkswagen for installing software in its diesel cars sold in the U.S. that manipulated emissions tests and therefore failed to meet air quality standards. The car company has already taken a lot of heat for this bump in the road after admitting that 11 million of its diesel cars have this software, created to cheat on U.S. emissions tests.

Woman in Fort Worth arrested in death of son. 23-year-old Shakira Bickerstaff was arrested this week on a capital murder warrant after confessing that she had shaken her 10-month-old son and covered his mouth to make him stop crying in August of last year. She had previously told police that her son died after falling off a bed.

Leading Off (10/6/15)

Susan Hawk Offers To Rehire Fired Employee. Jeff Savage was an investigator in the DA’s office. He’d worked there 26 years and was 10 months from retirement when Susan Hawk fired him. Yesterday she apologized and offered him his job back. Good sign. While that was happening, James Rose of Fox Channel 4 came by the D Magazine offices to talk yesterday about how our story about Hawk came together.

More Details Emerge in Killing of Kendra Hatcher. The plot that led to the shooting death of the dentist in Uptown sounds like something from a bad direct-to-cable movie. Brenda Delgado, the jilted ex-girlfriend who masterminded it has been on the run since Friday.

Stephen King Shuts Down Dealey Plaza Today. James Franco stars in the miniseries based on King’s book 11/22/63. You can thank both men for the traffic problems today.

Ahmed Mohamed Inspires Halloween Costume. The “clock boy” getup includes handcuffs, an aluminum case, clock guts, glasses, and a NASA shirt. It costs $79.99.

Rangers Schedule Released. Get on the bandwagon! What’s your problem?! CLAW! ANTLERS! The first two games against the Blue Jays will be played early. The fun starts Thursday.

AA Pilot Dies In flight. A red-eye from Phoenix to Boston had to stop in Syracuse, N.Y., after the unnamed pilot died. Horrible.