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Leading Off (10/9/15)

Suit to Seek Susan Hawk’s Removal. Fired Dallas County District Attorney’s Office employee Cindy Stormer is pursuing a removal petition against Hawk, alleging mismanagement and misuse of public money.

Rangers Aim to Go Up 2-0 in Playoffs. After defeating Blue Jays’ ace David Price, 5-3, yesterday afternoon, Texas will have its own best available pitcher starting at the Rogers Centre this morning (the game starts at 11:30 Central.) You’ve got to like their chances of putting Toronto on the brink of elimination with Cole Hamels on the mound. Unfortunately, third baseman Adrian Beltre suffered a back strain on Thursday and may not be in the lineup today.

Police Chief’s BFF Accused of Having Sex On-Duty  Senior Corporal Greg Lowe is under investigation after an internal affairs complaint was filed against him and Senior Corporal Vikki Hodge Lawson for allegedly having sex in an office at police headquarters. The complaining officer was reportedly reluctant to come forward because Lowe is one of DPD Chief David Brown’s best friends.

NBC Developing Wendy Davis Dramedy. The network is working on a TV series based on the political career of the filibustering state senator. According to Deadline, “the untitled project centers on a female Democratic senator who, after losing the Texas governor’s race, gets her world turned upside down. In the vein ofThe Good Wife, while she pieces her pride back together, she goes to work in the law firm of her best friend — a black male Republican — and discovers that with no political future to protect, she can unshackle her inner badass.”

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Garbage Time’s Katie Nolan on Greg Hardy’s Return

This week, Greg Hardy returns to the field after missing almost all of the 2014 season (when he was a member of the Carolina Panthers) and the first four games of this season. Finally, Cowboys fans will have to confront their feelings about the team signing a man accused of beating his then-girlfriend, dragging her around his apartment by her hair, throwing her onto a futon covered in assault rifles, and threatening to kill her. Nicole Holder testified to that at Hardy’s first trial, which resulted in his conviction by Judge Becky Thorne Tin. By North Carolina law, Hardy was allowed to have a jury trial, but the case was dismissed when Holder wouldn’t participate, likely because she and Hardy came to a settlement.

Even if his conviction had stood, Hardy would already be out of jail, and he probably would already be allowed to play again, and the Cowboys very well may have signed him then, too. This season was an all-in year for the team, and I’m not saying they’re getting punched by karma, but I’m not not saying it either.

Either way, given the nature of what he was charged with, you’d assume that Hardy would 1) keep his mouth shut about everything except playing defensive end for the Cowboys and 2) even then, watch very carefully what he said. Of course, Hardy did neither, wolf-whistling at the wives of various NFL quarterbacks and saying he was going to come back “guns blazing.”

Katie Nolan, host of FS1’s Garbage Time, nails everything that is wrong with this in three minutes right here.

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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 (10/7/15)

Superintendent Returns. Old is new again in DISD. In a 6-1 vote, district trustees named Michael Hinojosa superintendent yesterday, four years after he left the job. Also, Brett Shipp has a look at the questionable spending of some marketing money the district allocated.

Traffic Returns. The City of Dallas apologized yesterday for the way traffic was handled downtown during the filming of 11/22/63. They say they didn’t have enough police officers on-hand. Filming — and traffic — will continue today.

Greg Hardy Returns. His four-game suspension for domestic violence now over, the defensive end addressed the Dallas media for the first time yesterday. He deflected questions about the horrific incident that led to his suspension, joked that he’s hoping Tom Brady’s wife brings a sister this Sunday, and talked a lot about God. He said his only regret was “not being there for his teammates.”

The Heat Returns. I hope you enjoyed the brief window of potential hoodie weather. The sun will be back today with a vengeance.

Seattle Seahawks Player Blames Matthew Stafford for JFK Assassination

Sure you’ve probably seen the traffic downtown today. As Tim mentioned in Leading Off, James Franco and Stephen King are making a movie about this thing that happened here a while back where a President got killed. D Magazine has written about that thing a little. It’s the kind of event football players who were not born yet blame on other football players who were not born yet.

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford grew up in Dallas. He graduated from Highland Park. Last night his team lost to the Seattle Seahawks. The victory was especially sweet for Michael Bennett, a defensive end on the Seahawks who told reporters that he had been holding an insane grudge against Stafford. Bennett, whose brother Martellus used to play for the Cowboys and says plenty of strange things himself, went all 1963, saying, “I don’t like Matt Stafford much. He’s from Dallas. They killed the President (JFK). … I hold it against him.”

People are funny.

When It Comes to Green Space, Houston Is Kicking Our Ass

Awhile back (there’s no date on the thing, so I can’t say when for certain), Mark Lamster wrote a great piece for the Morning News titled “What Dallas Can Learn From Houston’s Buffalo Bayou for the Trinity River Project.” It was a little depressing. Houston has — or had — a situation not unlike the one presented by our Trinity River. They’ve figured it out — while we’re once again going back to the drawing board on that road along our river. Now comes this 6,500-word piece by Mimi Swartz in Texas Monthly. It covers some of the same ground (in a lot more detail). A taste:

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Was Susan Hawk ‘Committed’ or Wasn’t She?

Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk has taken issue with one important part of the story we published online Sunday. Here’s the way Jamie Thompson reported the details of the most intense period of Hawk’s treatment for depression:

[Hawk] says she began thinking of ways to kill herself. She studied the blow-dryer in her room. Was the cord long enough to strangle herself? What about the strap on her purse?

That night she told a nurse, “I’m going to kill myself anyway. Just let me go home.” But once she uttered those words, she no longer could leave the facility voluntarily. Hawk was officially committed. She was placed under one-on-one supervision, a nurse following her at every moment, to every class, to every meal. At night, a nurse sat beside her bed, watching her sleep.

Hawk now says that’s not what happened. Here’s the way ABC Channel 8 put it:

Hawk … issued a statement, disputing the notion that she was ever in the facility involuntarily during the nine weeks she was there. “I was there voluntarily the entire time,” the statement said. “To say that I was there involuntarily at any point is factually wrong.”

First, I’d like to emphasize that what we reported is what Hawk told us. And in our fact-checking process, Jamie read that passage back to Hawk to make sure it was accurate. Hawk didn’t object at the time.

Here’s some more context to understand what happened when Hawk was in treatment and how she described it to Jamie. To provide more details, Jamie went back to her notes from a 10-hour interview she conducted with Hawk.

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Charles Haley: Cowboys Defense is ‘Dumber Than A Box of Rocks’

NFL Hall of Famer and former Dallas Cowboy Charles Haley doesn’t mince words about the Cowboys defense, which figured in the team’s second straight loss yesterday. While the defense was supposed to be the team’s hallmark this year, Haley told a crowd in Dallas this morning, “They’re dumber than a box of rocks. They don’t listen, and that’s why we’re losing.”

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Leading Off (10/5/15)

Dallas Democrats Call For Susan Hawk To Resign. This came out yesterday after we published Jamie Thompson’s story about the embattled district attorney and her struggles with depression. Responding to the renewed push for her resignation by the Dallas Democrats, Hawk told the Morning News’ Sarah Mervosh that “I’m not going to let this sort of attack get to me or change that. The reason I told my story is because I wanted to help people. It’s that simple.”

Rangers Win AL West. They made it interesting, blowing a big lead in the ninth inning on Saturday, but the team that never quit pulled it off on the final day of the regular season. Cole Hamels, who came over at the trade deadline, threw a three-hit complete game. People did not like the Al West Championship t-shirt. Next up: AL East champ Toronto, and the reappearance of Zac Crain, Rangers Superfan.

Cowboys Lose In Overtime. Brandon Weeden threw a TD to tie it up late, only to see Drew Brees quickly march the Saints up the field, only to see a game-winning field goal bounce off the left post and send it to overtime, only to see C.J. Spiller win it on the second play of OT with an 80-yard catch and run. Everyone on the team is injured now. Fun game.

Another Earthquake In Irving. A 2.1 on early Sunday. Apparently the earthquakes are mad that Ahmed is getting all the attention.

Pamela Yip, RIP. The Morning News‘ personal finance columnist for the last 16 years died yesterday morning of brain cancer. She was 59.

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Celeb Hairstylist Mark Bustos Spent a Morning in Dallas Giving Cuts to the Homeless

The hospital ID bracelet remained on Brian Gray’s wrist Thursday morning as he sat against a bench in Downtown Dallas’ Main Street Garden. A seizure had landed him in an area hospital three days earlier, an idling effect from his brief NFL career with the Detroit Lions. Despite past successes, a lost telemarketing job and poor timing left 39-year-old Gray on Dallas’ streets six months ago after he’d moved from Los Angeles to help his then-pregnant sister. Gray, searching for normalcy, decided to start his day in the park Thursday when a young couple approached him, asking if they could do something nice for him.

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The State Fair Made Errol McKoy Rich. Now He Plans To Make Even More Money.

Errol McKoy used to run the State Fair of Texas. He retired last year. In 2010, when he was making about $760,000 (when directors of comparably sized fairs were making about $200,000), we published a story that basically asked: WTF? I bring this up so you have context for the story that Cheryl Hall wrote McKoy’s next venture, a magnetic-powered jet boat amusement ride that will cost about $15 million to build and that McKoy projects will earn him up to $1.5 million a piece in royalties. Here’s the line in Hall’s story that caught my eye:

For the last decade, McKoy has worked with engineers to refine his propulsion system.

So McKoy was doing all this work on the weekends? I mean, I know for the past decade he was working for the Fair. And, judging from his salary, he was working hard. Maybe the jet boat development was just after hours? Or when he took vacation time?

Asking for a friend.

Leading Off (10/2/15)

Texas Rangers Clinch Playoff Spot. With a 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Thursday, the team secured a spot in Major League Baseball’s postseason. They also sit three games ahead of Houston in the American League West standings, meaning with just one more win or a single Astros lost over the final three games of the regular season, they’ll claim their first division title since 2011. You remember what happened that year, right? The next stage in this remarkable, unexpected season for the Rangers is likely a visit to either Toronto or Kansas City for the first game of the Division Series next Thursday. If the Angels somehow take the final three games against the Rangers and the Astros win out, there’d be a tie atop the AL West. In that case, the Rangers would host a tiebreaker game in Arlington on Monday. The winner of that tiebreaker would advance to the Division Series, and the loser would get to play the Yankees in the Wild Card game.

Neiman Marcus Lays Off 500. The number of corporate and support positions eliminated by the luxury retailer represents 3 percent of its workforce of 16,000. CEO Karen Katz said the job cuts were made to save money that can be used to invest in future growth.

Arlington Family Accused of Faking Mental Illness. 55-year-old Doreen Mitchell, 29-year-old Michael Mitchell, 27-year-old Sonny Mitchell, and 58-year-old John Mitchell are charged with defrauding the Social Security Administration of $462,000 in benefits.

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Susan Hawk Returns to Work, Outlets Scramble To Publish Stories

On her first day back at the DA’s office after two months of treatment for depression, Susan Hawk held a brief press conference, said she was excited to be back and stronger than ever, and then took no questions. Last night, Texas Monthly put online a 4,500-word Hawk story written by Skip Hollandsworth. He got some good quotes, some of them anonymous. If you’ve been following the story from the start, there isn’t much new. What is new is the take from the Texas Observer. Headline of a 1,200-word post by Amy McCarthy: “Sexism, Stigma and Susan Hawk: Let’s Find a New Way to Talk About the Dallas DA.” The first sentence tells you pretty much everything you need to know about this thing: “There was no hotter topic in the Dallas political gossip mill this summer than the ‘disappearance’ of Susan Hawk, Dallas’ newly-elected district attorney.” If you’ll allow me, I’d like to examine the quotes around the word “disappearance.”

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Leading Off (10/1/15)

Susan Hawk to return to work today. Today´s the day that a lot of people have wondered about. Will Dallas County DA Susan Hawk be at her desk and ready to work? The past nine months have been troublesome for her and others—only time will tell if she regains her footing.

MACARTHUR high school bomb threat turns out to be hoax. Yesterday, Irving´s MacArthur High School was evacuated due to a bomb threat. After officers searched the building and came up empty-handed, they allowed the students to return. No word yet on who called in the threat. With the Ahmed saga, MacArthur High has had a month.

Police investigate possible kidnapping of teenage girl in Arlington. Yesterday evening, a teenage girl reported that men in a dark blue SUV had tried to kidnap her while she was jogging. Police are still investigating the whereabouts of these men.

National soccer hall of fame museum to come to frisco. The U.S. Soccer Federation and FC Dallas announced yesterday that Frisco will be home to the National Soccer Hall of Fame Museum by 2017. More details to come at a news conference on October 14. Soccer!