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Leading Off (4/1/2016)

Kingston Vs. Dallas Police & Fire Pension. Last week, the pension board had planned to censure Dallas City Councilman Philip Kingston (also himself a board member) for speaking to WFAA about the possibility of a sale of the troubled Museum Tower. But that was prevented from happening when it was revealed that Kingston had not been properly notified in advance. A special board meeting is scheduled for this morning expressly for the purpose of taking action against Kingston. However, on Thursday afternoon Kingston took steps to forestall those efforts by filing a petition in Dallas County court saying that he has not received documents that he has requested from the pension system that are related to the claims other board members have made that Kingston breached his fiduciary duty by making comments to the media.

Frisco Woman Found Dead. Police located the body of Christine Woo, who’d been missing since Monday, inside her SUV in the parking lot of a Target store in McKinney on Thursday evening. Woo’s three children were in the car, severely dehydrated and reportedly having been in the vehicle for a few days. The Collin County Medical Examiner will determine her cause of death, but police have said there were no obvious signs of foul play. The Target is about 2 miles from Woo’s home.

American Airlines to Offer 24-Hour Refunds. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport’s dominant carrier is bringing its ticketing policies in line with most other major competitors. Starting today it will offer passengers full refunds up to 24 hours after purchase. Previously American had permitted tickets to be placed on hold for 24 hours without requiring a purchase, which was the other of two options that a 2012 federal Department of Transportation rule gave airlines.

Denton Ranked 2nd-Best Place to Raise a Child If You Want Him to Amount to Nothing. Not sure what to make of this national publication’s assessment that my hometown is an “unsung haven for anyone whose kid has ‘underachiever’ written all over them.” Seriously, is this some sort of joke?

Leading Off 3/30/16

Ken Johnson Had Undisclosed History of Excessive Force. The Farmers Branch police officer who chased down and killed one apparently unarmed teenager and shot another in the head had two excessive force complaints as a DART officer that he did not disclose on his application with the Farmers Branch police. Johnson also had job applications rejected by the Mesquite and Arlington police for reasons that aren’t clear. The family of the boy Johnson killed is also suing him and the city of Farmers Branch.

FBI Says Frisco Hospice Owner Encouraged Nurses to Kill Patients. Brad Harris, the founder of Novus Health Care Services, is accused by the FBI of telling nurses to overdose patients in an effort to maximize profits. It’s complicated, since it he ran a hospice, and no charges have been filed. Harris reportedly sent a text message saying “You need to make this patient go bye-bye.” How would you feel if that patient were a family member of yours?

Elementary Principal Posted Craigslist Ads Seeking Young Males. Oscar Figueroa, the now-former principal at Viridian Elementary in Arlington, is on trial in Sherman, accused of attempting to coerce or entice a minor. (He was caught in a sting.) Prosecutors showed jurors more than 100 pages of Craigslist ads Figueroa posted in the “Casual Encounters” section, using terms like: young, son, teen, kid, and boy. A witness for the prosecution said it shows Figueroa was looking for a minor. A witness for the defense said he was just using words common in the gay community.

Granbury Man Begged for Life Before Officer Killed Him. Daniel Shaver was recorded saying, “Please don’t shoot me” and “Please don’t shoot” before Mesa, Arizona police officer Philip “Mitch” Brailsford unloaded his service weapon. Shaver was unarmed. Brailsford has been charged with second-degree murder.

Local Man’s Son Endorsed by Former Rival. Wisconsin governor and former presidential candidate Scott Walker endorsed Ted Cruz ahead of that state’s upcoming primary. Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s campaign manager was charged with battery on a reporter in Florida.

How Well Do You Know Dallas? Take Our Quiz.

Our April issue, on newsstands and subscribers’ coffee tables right now, features a motherlode of important advice for newcomers navigating life in Dallas. It seemed to us like a good time to publish such a story, considering so many people are moving to North Texas.

But maybe you’re not a newcomer. Maybe you’re a native, or you’ve been here long enough to impersonate a native. Or at least you claim that’s the case. Let us put you to the test with a little pop quiz:

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U.S. Census, Your Eyes Say a Lot of People Are Moving to Dallas-Fort Worth

The U.S. Census has released new estimates showing population changes in the nation’s metropolitan areas between July 2014 and July 2015. Unless you’re a newbie to North Texas, you’ll likely not be surprised to find that Dallas-Fort Worth netted the second-biggest gain in number of residents during that period: 144,704.

Only Swamp City, Texas, did better (about 10%) in that measure. And if you total up those numbers with the population gains of Austin and San Antonio, those four metros alone added more people than any other entire state in the union.

If only there were some resource that all these newcomers could turn to for an orientation to life in North Texas — like, say, a beautifully produced guide from the publishers of Dallas’ city magazine, on newsstands now.

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Leading Off 3/23/16

Grand Prairie Man Escapes Belgium Attacks. Rocky Gathright said he had just dropped off a friend at the airport and was pulling away when he heard a bomb go off. Two explosions, one at the Brussels airport and one at a busy metro station, killed at least 30 people yesterday and wounded at least 230 more. It’s not clear if security at DFW has been amplified in any way.

Scared Politicians Say Scared Things After Attacks. Some American politicians are already suggesting the country “empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.” Which sounds to me like some people don’t understand that police are already allowed to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods.

Murder Rate in Dallas Going Way Up. At this point last year, there had been a total of 24 murders in the city. This year there have already been 41, including three double murders in the last three days. Police blame drugs and domestic violence. Other people blame the police.

Hundreds Show Up To Funeral for Kholodenko Girls. There was an outpouring of grief and confusion last night as hundreds of people showed up to a Fort Worth church to remember the slain daughters of famed musician Vadym Kholodenko.

Dallas Stars Clinch Playoff Spot. Last night’s 6-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks guarantees a post-season slot. The team leads the Western conference with eight games left in the regular season.

D CEO Snags National ‘Excellence’ Award for Business Journalism

D CEO magazine belongs to a national outfit called the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, whose members range from Quartz, ProPublica and Fortune to The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. For two decades or so the group has held a Best in Business Awards competition, recognizing “outstanding business journalism” that was published or aired during the previous year. In the 21st annual BIB competition, we’re proud to report, D CEO has just won the General Excellence (or best magazine) award in our circulation category (up to 100,000). Bloomberg Businessweek snagged General Excellence in the 100,000-plus division. Here’s what the judges said about us:

D CEO brings national quality journalism to a regional publication. It serves its readers with a lively front of the book on people and trends and provides practical help in its service-oriented back section, all in a highly professional package. But the magazine doesn’t kowtow. Feature articles go very deep, as exemplified by November’s carefully and exhaustively reported article on the troubled Forest Park Medical Center.

The competition drew nearly 900 entries. The hardware will be handed out May 21 at SABEW’s 53rd annual spring conference in the Washington, D.C. area. Speakers at the conference will include Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, who’s been mentioned as a possible running mate for Hillary Clinton.

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Ask John Neely Bryan: Mike Wilson’s Exclusive Q&A With the Founder of Dallas

Robert Wilonsky launched his “This is Dallas” column on Thursday. Dallas Morning News editor Mike Wilson failed to consider the most qualified candidate for this post before handing it off to a Lithuanian former cheerleader. I have taken the liberty of compensating, however slightly, for Wilson’s egregious oversight by arranging for him the following Q&A with that aforementioned superior columnist, so as to elucidate what may well prove an error in judgment that could, had it gone otherwise, have reversed the rapidly collapsing fortunes of George Dealey’s rag.

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Preserving the DMN’s ‘Rock of Truth’

Take a minute to read what Jim Schutze has to say this morning about the DMN and its push to preserve historic structures in Dallas. His point: the paper has written extensively about the city’s sorry track record of preserving historic buildings. The institution should put its money where its mouth is. Before it sells its George Dahl-designed headquarters, erected in 1949, it should seek historic designation for the building.

He makes a good point. It’s all well and fine to decry developers who pay more attention to the bottom line than to history. It’s harder to maintain that stance when the bottom line is yours. A historic designation and the protection that comes with it would almost certainly lower the sales price of the building. (Side note: I think Jim could have made his point more forcefully if he’d dialed back the snark by about 50 percent. (Side note to side note: suggesting that someone else dial back the snark makes me really uncomfortable.))

(Tangential note (which is totally different than a side note): in the stories I’ve read about the potential sale of the DMN building, it is referred to as the Rock of Truth, a nickname supposedly springing from an inscription on its facade.

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Jim Schutze’s Modest Proposal to the Dallas Morning News

Get your popcorn ready. Jim Schutze just played a fairly entertaining rhetorical chess opener. Call it the “Preservationist Queen’s Gambit,” the “Sicilian Architectural Defense.” Let’s set the board:

The Dallas Morning News has been a champion of historic preservation, pounding its fist whenever an old building in this city comes under threat. Most recently, they have caused a worthy ruckus over a 19th century home in the Cedars and the proposed desecration of the Meadows Building. Schutze argues that their outspoken ire over old buildings feels out-of-scale when considering the extent of child poverty in Dallas, but I don’t see why the two things have to be mutually exclusive. Both indicate an aspect of the city’s character that ignores its obligation to reconcile with historic realities while favoring the numbing feeling that comes with swallowing well-marketed visions of future fantasies. But I digress.

The point is, the DMN likes old buildings. Enter into the mix the news that the DMN may soon move out of its own historically significant home.

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Leading Off 3/16/16

Fort Worth Police Shootout With Father and Son. What started as a warrant stop led to a violent shootout on the west side of Fort Worth yesterday afternoon. The officer involved, Matt Pearce, is in critical condition at JPS. The mother of Ed Russell McIver Sr. told the Star-Telegram that her son said police “would never take him back alive.” He was shot dead at the scene. Ed Russell McIver Jr. fled in an SUV and then on foot, into the brush and a heavily wooded area, but was apprehended later in the afternoon. According to his grandmother, McIver Jr. was led into this Cormac McCarthy-esque chaos by his father, but the younger McIver wouldn’t hurt anyone because he has “a heart of gold.”

Have You Seen This Man? The Dallas police released a sketch of a man they say is suspected in two Lake Highlands assaults. On February 12, it appears the same man assaulted two different women 15 minutes apart. Police say the suspect is a black man between 30 and 33 years old, about 5-foot-8.

Off-duty Officer Says Magic Words: “Feared For My Life,” Almost Certainly Won’t Be Charged in Death of 16-Year-Old Boy. Off-duty Farmers Branch police officer Ken Johnson reportedly saw two boys burglarizing his SUV in an apartment parking lot. The off-duty officer got in his vehicle and gave chase, following the boys, identified as 16-year-olds Jose Raul Cruz and Edgar Rodriguez, into Addison, where there was finally a collision. Johnson then shot Cruz dead, and shot Rodriguez in the head — he’s at Parkland, expected to survive. There is no word on whether either kid was armed. Police from both the Addison and Farmers Branch forces say Johnson is cooperating and that they aren’t rushing the investigation. Johnson’s attorney stressed that his client feared for his life during the confrontation. (I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I’m sure that if anyone saw two kids possibly breaking into a car, chased them for miles, got into a wreck with them, killed one and put a bullet in the other’s head, that they would not immediately be arrested on the spot, and that they would receive the exact same treatment as this off-duty police officer.)

Local Man’s Son Still in Presidential Race. The son of local flan expert Rafael Cruz was, as of late last night, in a statistical tie with Donald Trump in the Missouri Republican primary. Trump won Florida, Illinois, and North Carolina. John Kasich won Ohio. Marco Rubio quit.

Abril Joins D CEO As Managing Editor

The job description clearly said one requirement would be putting up with me. Thank goodness that didn’t deter Danielle Abril, who joined D CEO magazine today as our new managing editor. Previously an ace technology reporter at the Dallas Business Journal, Danielle spearheaded the launch of that publication’s TechFlash newsletter and, before that, covered the retail scene for the DBJ.

She’s also worked for the Dallas Morning News as an interim city reporter in Plano and as editor of DMN‘s neighborsgo publication in Allen/Frisco/McKinney. A native of El Paso and an SMU grad with not one, but two, B.A.s (in journalism and Spanish), Danielle’s said to be a world-class salsa dancer who’s willing to give people here lessons. Her first victim, we’ve all agreed, will be Wick Allison (who promptly asked what the stuff he eats with his chips has to do with dancing).

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Dallas Ranks Among the Most Unforgettable American Cities

In reading this FiveThirtyEight piece about how San Jose, Calif., is America’s “most forgettable” major American city, I was impressed to see how unforgettable Dallas looks.

Their method for determining these admittedly imprecise terms was to look at how often participants in Sporcle’s time-suck of a quiz on the 100 most-populous U.S. cities remembered (or didn’t) the name of each city in the allotted 12 minutes. More than half a million people have taken the challenge.

It’s no surprise that when asked to name all 100 cities, most-populous New York was rarely missed. More than 99 percent of users got it. Compare that to poor San Jose, which only 66.6% named, even though it is the 10th-largest in the U.S.

Dallas is golden by comparison.

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Poo-Pourri Sues Air Wick Over Copycat Product

Two years ago, I wrote a story about Suzy Batiz and her very interesting company. She’s the creator of Poo-Pourri, the spray-before-you-go scented oil designed to cover up any bathroom odors. The company is probably best known for a viral video of a Scottish woman on a toilet, saying hilariously crude things. (Incidentally, we keep a bottle or two in the restrooms here at D Headquarters–and when one went missing recently, it caused quite the email-chain controversy.)

When I was working on that story, Batiz and her team were very open about a lot of things, including the company’s financials. At the time, they were very concerned, though, that if my story revealed too many trade secrets a larger company might sweep in and try to replicate their product — and their massive success.

Well, today I got word that Poo-Pourri has filed a lawsuit against AirWick, which is owned by international conglomerate Reckitt Benckiser. It seems Air Wick has a product line called V.I.Poo that is strikingly similar to Poo-Pourri, down to the label and marketing.

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