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Leading Off (5/28/15)

Coppell Middle Schooler Advances To Semifinals of Scripps National Spelling Bee. Seventh-grader Smrithi Upadhyayula will face off against 48 others this morning.

Man Posing As Doctor Arrested After Crashing Stolen Ambulance. Whenever I see a story like this, I wonder if we have just bitten off a tiny piece of a larger story, like this guy is the main character in a version of The Transporter or Crank or really any Jason Statham vehicle. But then I read to the end and see he’s been arrested for posing as a firefighter and think I probably just need to get more sleep.

Josh Hamilton Gets First Hit Since Returning To Rangers. And then gets thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Antlers!

Dallas City Council Approves Body Camera Purchase For Dallas PD. It will provide funds for 1,000 cameras — or one for less than a third of the officers — over the next five years.

Monte Anderson Sells Belmont Hotel. The area around Sylvan and Fort Worth is booming now, but there wasn’t much of anything when Anderson opened the Belmont more than a decade ago. The hotel was essentially a flop house. I remember going by there looking for a couple of dope fiends when I was working on a story for the Observer. It sounds like the new owners will build on what Anderson started. It also sounds like Anderson — rightly, I might add — is still pretty ticked that the city let Sylvan Thirty block the Belmont’s view of downtown.

SNAKES! All this rain is driving snakes out into the open and into people’s homes. True story: My dad is deathly afraid of snakes. Once, when I was about 9 or 10, we spotted a little garter snake in the foyer of our house. A foot long, at the most. My dad freaked out, went out the back door, came back with a garden hoe, chopped that garter snake into about 20 pieces, and then handed me the hoe and told me to clean it up. Then he went and laid down in the dark for, like, an hour. My point is, my dad can be kind of a jerk.

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Ask John Neely Bryan: Lightning Round Via the Twitterverse

It’s been brought to my attention that a fair number of you, dear readers, are too lazy to type out an electronic missive and push a button to send it to me at Even though I have a well-established track record of solving your problems — bringing hope and joy and irresistible animal magnetism to the most troubled of souls — some refuse to seek my help.

Go where the people are, the editors of this web blog have repeatedly enjoined. And so I finally had no choice but to accede to their wishes. Yesterday, shortly after 3 p.m., I took command of the @DMagazine Twitter handle to offer up insights in bite-size portions. Since it is exceedingly difficult to limit my wisdom to 140-character chunks, I’m offering bonus contest below, in this sampling of what transpired:

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Leading Off (5/27/2015)

17-Year-Old Charged With Strangling 16-Year-Old Ex-Girlfriend. Rachel Jean Wiest was in 10th grade; Jacob Lee Boyd was in 11th. They both attended Nimitz High School in Irving. They were at a friend’s house on Memorial Day, discussing their relationship. They argued. After that, police say, he choked her to death.

Runway at DFW Airport Reopened After Nearby Sinkhole Causes Shutdown. I really thought, after reading so many Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books as a kid, that quicksand was going to play a much larger role in my life than it has thus far. News of this 25-foot by 25-foot sinkhole out at DFW Airport, created after a section of storm drain dislodged, is about the closest I’ve gotten.

Body of Trinity River Kayaker Found In Discharge Pool. Joshua Reed of Fort Worth, along with five others, was kayaking in a restricted area Saturday evening when water released from the Eagle Mountain Dam overtook their vessels. The five others, which included a 6-year-old girl, were eventually rescued; Reed was found dead Sunday.

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Law Man Walking: Nature Treks With Bill Holston

Last weekend, my hiking buddies Ben Sandifer, Scott Hudson, and I decided to go hiking in the Great Trinity Forest. The rains over the last week have thankfully delivered us from drought for the time being. According to the incomparable Robert Wilonsky, “[I]n just five months, the city has topped the total rainfall for all of 2014. Last year, 21.32 inches of rain fell in the area. So far in 2015, 26.12 inches have been recorded.” The impact on us was we needed to find a place to hike where we could walk and not swim.

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New Buildings Vs. Old Buildings: The Battle for Downtown

I’m sure you remember a couple months ago when a few of Dallas’ oldest buildings downtown were demolished. After the community’s outcry about the buildings’ demise, the Downtown Historic Preservation Historic Task Force was created to prevent such events from happening again. Though we never heard from Tim Headington about why his company tore the buildings down, we did know what would replace them: high-end boutique Forty Five Ten.

I’ve been hearing about the plans for the new building for a couple weeks but was unable to get my hands on anything concrete. On Friday, Robert Wilonsky did what I was unable to do, and we finally got our first look at the plans. There’s a motor court in the back, disengaging with Elm. The fence around Tony Tasset’s Eye is still standing. And Headington Company is asking for $916,000 in TIF to do the project.


But what I’d like to talk about is how tall and how close to the Wilson this building is going to be.

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Leading Off (5/26/15)

It Has Stopped Raining — For Now. Even USA Today is writing about the rain and the swollen Trinity River. And a DeSoto boy and his dog were found dead in a storm drain. Today looks to be dry, but more rain is on its way tonight.

Man Firebombs Uptown Dickey’s. Seems a panhandler didn’t like being told to move along and sought revenge on the barbecue joint.

Amber Alert for 9-Year-Old Benbrook Girl. Police are looking for Jessie Nicholas Williams, 24, of Arlington. He is suspected of kidnapping of his niece Caitlyn Elizabeth Williams.

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Leading Off (5/25/2015)

We Live In Seattle Now. The weekend was marked by heavy rain and more flooding. Meanwhile, two tornadoes were confirmed in Dallas County early Sunday morning, one that moved into Farmers Branch, and another in Irving.

Theatre Three Founder Jac Alder Has Died. Our former critic, Lindsey Wilson, and I heard the news Friday evening just shortly before walking into the New Works Festival’s main stage show at Kitchen Dog. It’s an enormous loss for the theater community.He died of respiratory failure, but had been battling cancer. Over on Art & Seek, Jerome Weeks has a thorough tribute to Alder’s life and work.

Frackquake Investigators Receive Oil And Gas Funds. In this next round of budget votes, lawmakers will probably appoint the Bureau of Economic Geology as the official investigating body tasked with researching the recent rash of Texas earthquakes. According to the News, the Bureau of Economic Geology gets “roughly half its funding from the oil and gas industry.” Okay, sure. No problem.

It’s Memorial Day. Our headquarters are closed in observance of the holiday honoring the men and women of our armed forces who died in service. Have fun, be safe.

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Podcast: Carpetbagger Joe Tone of the Denver-Based Dallas Observer Talks About His Horsies-and-Drugs Book

Lame duck Dallas Observer editor Joe Tone stopped by the Old Monk yesterday afternoon to discuss his book deal and what the future holds for the alt-weekly newspaper he’s abandoning. Plus, he and Tim play an excruciating new game, and Eric Celeste makes a cameo appearance.

What else you need to know this week:

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Leading Off (5/22/15)

Denton to Be Fracked Over. The day after Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill severely limiting local regulations of oil and natural gas drilling, Vantage Energy notified the city that it would resume its well operations. Denton made national headlines after banning hydraulic fracturing with a vote last November, but the new law undoes that.

It’s West Nile Virus Season. Batches of mosquitoes in Mesquite and Frisco have tested positive for local newscasts’ favorite bogeyman disease. I’m hoping Zac has already put in a call to his inside source on the insects’ summer plans. Developing.

Attempt to Kill Bullet Train Project Fails. A Texas Senate committee voted against a proposal to prohibit the use of state funds to support the effort to build a high-speed rail line between Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth.

Texas Legislature Legislates. Lawmakers in Austin have reached a deal to cut property and business taxes, instituted new regulations on the chemicals that caused the West explosion, and protected religious leaders and institutions from a problem that hasn’t been shown to actually exist.

Jordan Spieth Still Good at Golf. The Dallas PGA Tour pro, who won the Masters tournament earlier this year, sits tied with three others at the top of the leaderboard after the first round of the Colonial tournament in Fort Worth.

Wet Weekend Coming. North Texas has already received more rain so far this year than we got in all of 2014. And more and more is on the way.

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The Prettiest Minute of Your Day

I once spent 12 hours with local photographer James Langford as we chased storms around Northwest Oklahoma. I admire him not only for his ability to get us out of a tight spot without any hail damage, but also because he’s amazing with a camera. Take one minute out of your day to check out this gorgeous time lapse from the other night.

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Leading Off (5/21/15)

Heath Harris Announces Candidacy For 2018 District Attorney Race.I’ve got to build a base,” says the former top assistant to Craig Watkins. And he’s got to stake his claim: people in the Dallas County Democratic Party are already approaching criminal court judges about running against Susan Hawk, who has been on the job less than six months. But seriously — the election is almost three and a half years away, my dude. That’s enough time to build a base and have it turn on you at least twice.

It’s Raining Again. Awesome. Maybe it will rain enough to cause Rodger Jones to stop congratulating himself for a few minutes.

Number of Chronically Homeless In Dallas and Collin Counties Up 26 Percent. Cathy Crain, the new president and CEO of the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance and presumably no relation, said the increase was expected and mirrors the rise happening around the country.

Mike Holloway From North Richland Hills Wins Survivor. Which is still on, apparently. Huh.

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Founding Doctor of Forest Park Medical Center Indicted for Healthcare Fraud

Dr. Richard Toussaint, an anesthesiologist, was very busy in 2009 — except he wasn’t. The DOJ has accused him of “falsely claiming that he was present for and personally participating in the procedures.” In the process, he racked up $5 million in bogus charges. For more, check out Matt Goodman’s story just posted on D Healthcare Daily.

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Read Dick Reavis’ Story About the Bandidos

With the biker shootings in Waco, Skip Hollandsworth’s 2007 Texas Monthly story about the Bandidos is getting its second wind. But that magazine actually published a meatier Bandidos story nearly 30 years earlier. It was written by a fellow named Dick Reavis. Dick was a longtime Texas writer before he took a job as a professor at NC State. He’s back in Dallas now, and he has a story in our June issue that you can look forward to. For his 1979 TexMo story about the Bandidos, Dick rode with the gang for a few weeks. That tale, having been told before the digital age, wasn’t online — until today. It’s titled “Never Love a Bandido.” Recommended reading.

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Fort Worth Weekly Launches Bar Column With Familiar Name

This started a few weeks ago. I’m just now catching on. But the Fort Worth Weekly has a newish bar column titled A Girl Walks Into a Bar. Faithful D Magazine readers will recall that we published a column with the same title, from 2010 to 2013. It was written by Moira Muldoon, my cousin. Prior to that, Moira wrote a bar column for the Austin American-Statesman using that title. When she moved to Dallas, she asked her AAS editor if she could bring the title with her. Moira is now back in Austin and working on a book with that title. (When she left, we renamed our bar column Keeping Tabs, which is ably written by Tara Nieuwesteeg.)

All of which is to say: come on, FWeekly. You’re better than that.

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