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New Polling Results Show People Hate the Trinity Toll Road

On April 21, the Dallas Morning News released results of a poll it conducted of public sentiment on the Trinity toll road. Short version: the DMN found that 65 percent of registered voters were against the toll road. The toll road supporters (the Trinity Commons and Connect Dallas Now) came out the following day with a release calling into question the poll’s findings. Well, now we’ve got another poll, and its results look a whole lot like the results from the first poll. This one was conducted by the Coalition for a New Dallas. The findings: 65 percent of Democrats oppose the road, 77 percent of Republicans oppose it, and 78 percent of independents oppose it.

The funny thing about this second poll is that I’m reading about it the Morning News. Because the Coalition for a New Dallas is the super PAC (not a PAC, as the DMN has it in its post) co-founded by Wick, my boss. Be nice if he’d let us report this stuff first. The DMN post doesn’t mention what the margin of error was or what the language of the poll question was. I’ll see if I can get the people working inside my own building to tell me that. If they do, I’ll update this post.

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Leading Off (4/28/15)

Army Corps of Engineers Approves Trinity Project. Now, don’t be confused. This doesn’t mean the Corps approved the toll road. It approved the bench upon which any road would be built. And it approved the plan to re-meander the river and construct the wetlands and all the rest of it. This is a good thing.

DISD Trustees Sue Board President. The lawsuit is all about trying to oust Superintendent Mike Miles before the May elections. Joyce Foreman, Elizabeth Jones, and Bernadette Nutall filed the suit against Miguel Solis. Look for some words about this from Eric on Learning Curve.

Woman From Allen Safe in U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu. The body count in Nepal has climbed past 5,000. When the quake happened, Allen High grad Danielle Banks was on Mount Everest, where she saw an avalanche. Imagine being Danielle’s mom, Sharon, and getting this series of texts.

Josh Hamilton Speaks. Hamilton had a press conference yesterday to talk about being a Ranger once again. Remember when he left to be an Angel and said Dallas “wasn’t a baseball town”? Here’s what he had to say about that: “I’ve said some dumb things. And I’ll continue to say dumb things from time to time.” Fair assessment. Probably for all of us.

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Dallas’ Gritty History: A Discussion on Race

The future Rev. Peter Johnson was bloody. He had tear gas in his eyes. And he was fed up. He had made a decision: the police chief of his hometown didn’t need to see the next morning. “I was going to send him on wherever he was going,” Johnson says. “I was on my way to kill the chief.”

The then 17-year-old was stopped by two mentors, who wrestled the gun out of his hands. One of the men who took the gun turned to Johnson and said, “Think about this, Peter, you have to buy your bullets from the white man you want to shoot back at. That ain’t gonna work.”

Johnson realized violence wasn’t the way. This was in the early ’60s. Johnson took his lesson from that evening and applied it to his work fighting alongside Martin Luther King Jr. for the next few years, practicing peace while spreading the civil rights movement.

After MLK’s assassination, a group produced movie about his life. It was to premiere in 800 cities around the world. It was Johnson’s task to ensure that Dallas was one of those cities. “Seven hundred and ninety-nine cities around the world welcomed the movie on Martin King’s life. There was only one city in the world that rejected the movie on Dr. King’s life,” he told a group at Gilley’s Dallas last week. “You live in that city. Only city in the world.”

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Poll: Will Texas Rangers Fans Welcome Back Josh Hamilton?

Late Friday, news broke that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are so tired of having underperforming slugger (and relapsed drug addict) Josh Hamilton on their roster that they were practically willing to give him away. They’d pay $68 million of the remaining $83 million on his contract, and the Texas Rangers could just have him if they picked up the rest of the tab. No need to send any player back in return, not even some A-ball scrub.

That report ended up being inaccurate. The move will cost the Rangers, according to Evan Grant, at most $6 million over the next three years. It’s all expected to be finalized today.

This is unbelievable deal for the Rangers. If Hamilton turns out to be a complete disaster, they’re on the hook for very little money. If he does just as well as he has during his two underwhelming years with the Angels, he’ll be well worth what they’ll be paying for him.

His old Texas teammates are happy to have him back. But will the fans be? Hamilton struggled mightily at the end of his last season with the Rangers, and when he signed with LA of A he said that Dallas isn’t “a true baseball town.”

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Leading Off (4/27/2015)

First Tornadoes Of The Season Roll In. Dallas and Tarrant Counties were under a tornado watch for much of the night, but the really scary stuff seemed to skip us. Around 11 pm, WFAA’s Pete Delkus tweeted that North Texas was under a new tornado watch until 5 am, but the watch didn’t include Dallas-Fort Worth. However, at the time of typing, five confirmed tornadoes were spotted elsewhere, such as Glen Rose and west of Rio Vista. Hope everyone stayed safe last night.

Texas Railroad Commission Considers Shutting Down Azle Injection Wells. After SMU’s scientific report last week linking the wastewater injection wells to significant earthquake activity in Azle and Reno, the Railroad Commission has announced that it will hold hearings in June to determine the fate of XTO Energy and EnerVest Operating’s wells. The 27 earthquakes from  November 2013 to January 2014 “were in an area where no earthquakes had been reported or felt for 150 years, leading [the researchers] to link the quakes to nearby wells.” The spokespeople from both oil and gas companies agree that they are looking forward to the hearings, which, what a coincidence, me too. I can’t wait to hear how they try to spin this.

Steve Blow Is Part Neanderthal. Genetics told him so.

TCU Security Guard Arrested For Improper Photography. Alexander Marin, a security guard at TCU’s library, was fired and arrested after he was identified as the brazen creep who stuck a cell phone under the door of a stall in a women’s restroom and took photos of a student. He was also linked to two other incidents in the library. Ick.

Mavs Win! No sweep for the Houston Rockets. I am guessing this is a relief for the many Dallas sports fans I know, and even the ones I have yet to meet. Meanwhile, Jordan Spieth is getting some mileage out of that green jacket.


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Tesla Mobile Projection Vehicle Puts a Panda on the Meyerson

Okay, yes, the company has done other stuff to help the planet, too, like produce a beautiful electric vehicle people actually want to drive. Our photographer, Elizabeth, went out with the Tesla team around midnight last night to document this Earth Day-inspired project: mobile projections of animals in acute danger. It’s promotion for a film called Racing Extinction, which delves deep into the international wildlife trade, that screens Saturday and Sunday at Earth Day Dallas in Fair Park. The activists featured in the documentary use cameras hidden in water bottles and button holes to expose the lucrative markets that threaten species with extinction. A Tesla is, of course, also involved in the somewhat less covert operations as a way of attempting to get people to wake up and pay attention to world around them. The film, which premiered at Sundance this year, is directed by Louis Psihoyos, the man behind The Cove, a documentary about the Japanese dolphin trade that won an Academy Award in 2010. See it Saturday or Sunday, 2 pm and 6 pm.

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Dallas Theater Center’s Steven Walters Talks Football, the Aqua Buddha, and Air Sex

There was a technical mishap in the midst of yesterday’s recording of D Magazine‘s EarBurner podcast. I think we’re all far too mature to resort to placing blame in this matter, but suffice it to say that you may notice a hiccup during the proceedings if you’re not just half-listening to the show while jogging or changing your oil. A prestigious No-Prize to the first listener to correctly identify the spot.

Our guest was actor/playwright/perpetually disappointed sports fan Steven Walters, a member of Dallas Theater Center’s resident company who is appearing in the production of Colossal that runs through May 3. Our critic, Lindsey Wilson, loved it. I have no idea what any other local writers thought of the show, nor what scenes said writers may have written about that aren’t actually in the play, nor does it matter. You should go.

Listen below.

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Leading Off (4/24/15)

Early Dallas ISD STAAR Results Disappoint. District eighth-graders taking the state’s reading test performed worse than last year’s students, while the fifth-grade passing rate increased slightly.

3 DISD Trustees Really, Really Want to Fire Mike Miles. On Thursday, Joyce Foreman, Elizabeth Jones, and Bernadette Nutall tried, and failed, to replace board president Miguel Solis because they’re unhappy that Solis has put off scheduling a board meeting to discuss the performance of the district superintendent until after the May election.

What the Cluck, Arlington Council? The city, you’ll remember, helped foot the bill for JerryWorld and got its own suite in return. Over the past five years, at nearly every event, two-thirds of the tickets have been used by the mayor, council members, and their spouses — to the surprise of no one.

Molina High Teacher Arrested For Student Relationship. Mary Todd Lowrance, 49, had confided her indiscretion to a co-worker.

Million-Dollar Lake Palestine Home Collapsing. In the ongoing battle between man and nature, nature scores another win.

Ralph Strangis Quits Dallas Stars. The popular broadcaster has decided to move on to “new challenges” after a 25-year career with the team.

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Greg Hardy Suspended for 10 Games

If you’ll recall, a few months ago, the Dallas Cowboys signed defensive end Greg Hardy. Hardy played in only one game last season with the Carolina Panthers, after he was arrested and charged with assaulting and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend. Hardy initially was found guilty, and a judge found that Hardy threw the woman down on a couch full of assault rifles and then faked a 911 call to frame her. (The case was eventually dismissed when the witness did not want to testify again, and Hardy received his full $13 million salary last year.)

A quick refresher, from the restraining order filed by Hardy’s ex-girlfriend:

“On May 13, 2014, Greg Hardy attacked me in his apartment. Hardy picked me up and threw me into the tile tub area in his bathroom. I have bruises from head to toe, including my head, neck, back, shoulders arms, legs, elbow and feet. Hardy pulled me from the tub by my hair, screaming at me that he was going to kill me, break my arms and other threats that I completely believe. He drug me across the bathroom and out into the bedroom. Hardy choked me with both hands around my throat while I was lying on the floor. Hardy picked me up over his head and threw me onto a couch covered in assault rifles and/or shotguns. I landed on those weapons. Hardy bragged that all of those assault rifles were loaded.”

The Cowboys were reportedly expecting a four-game suspension. Unlike in the Ray Rice case, this time the NFL apparently conducted an actual investigation that included viewing photos of Hardy’s bruised ex-girlfriend. Today the NFL announced Hardy’s suspension: 10 games, without pay.

ESPN’s Jane McManus says the NFL got it right. The league’s traditional defenders are calling this “the new NFL.” (So far there’s no mention of whether commissioner Roger Goodell will also have someone beat and choke Hardy, throw him onto a couch full of guns, or threaten to kill him.)

Hardy, who has never admitted any wrongdoing, is expected to appeal. And Cowboys fans are already wondering how this will affect the draft.

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Leading Off-ish (4/23/15): The Zac-is-on-Vacation Edition

Dallas-Fort Worth Earthquake Risk Has Tripled.  That’s just since 2008, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Granted, the risk is still pretty low, and we have yet to experience any catastrophic seismic activity. Yes, the energy production business — pumping chemicals and wastewater into the faults — is to blame.

Central Expressway in McKinney Temporarily Closed Due to Flooding. St. Delkus promised us a deluge, but thing were pretty light around my place in Oak Lawn. Meanwhile, the Collin County suburbs are being punished by our creator for their insolence?

Dallas Cop Fired For Sex With Teen, Prostitutes. Jorge Guzman had an inappropriate relationship with a teenager in the Dallas Police Explorer Program.

Plano ISD Will Stop Locking Unruly Children Away. Sounds like a sensible policy change.

We Should All Just Go Work For Southwest Airlines. The carrier has posted a record $453-million first-quarter profit.

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Councilman Lee Kleinman Has His Balls in a Vise, Gets Confused as Result

Last week, during the discussion about the Trinity toll road and the Dream Team’s recommendations about how not to screw up the whole project, District 11 Councilman Lee Kleinman said he felt like his balls were in a vise. Today he has an op-ed in the DMN that shows how clouded a man’s thinking can become when he focuses too much on his wedding tackle.

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Leading Off (4/22/15)

Poll Shows People Don’t Love the Toll Road. Of the people in the Dallas Morning News poll who have formed an opinion, only 23 percent favor putting a toll road between the levees. Among registered voters, 65 percent oppose the toll road. (Coincidentally, 65 percent of registered voters have been paying attention.) The graphics here have some pretty interesting breakdowns, too.

Mavs Lose Game Two. It was close for a while. Then it wasn’t. Then it was kind of terrible. “Playoff Rondo” wasn’t available, and regular Rondo spent a lot of the night on the bench. It’s going to be a long way back from here. Game three is Friday in Dallas.

Cowboys Schedule Released. The order of teams doesn’t tell us much, because, with the season still several months away, nobody knows who will be where yet. That week six bye is not an advantage, though. Stats show: the earlier the bye week, the better. Zac will be along at some point with a precise prediction of exactly how the season will play out.

Does Anyone Want a Donkey? The Humane Society of North Texas saved 32 donkeys from slaughter. Several were emaciated, all of them were suffering from respiratory and hoof problems, and 17 are pregnant. HSNT will house the donkeys until they are ready for adoption.

Stay Inside All Day. There will be a lot of bad weather later today, according to people who tend to know such things. If you believe in the dark arts of meteorology, prepare for severe storms for the rest of the week.

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Oil and Gas Wells to Blame For More North Texas Earthquakes

Today a new study was released in the journal Nature Communications that determined the causes of the unusual seismic activity (earthquakes) around Azle (northwest of Fort Worth) in November-December 2013, which Brantley Hargrove wrote about in the May 2014 issue of D Magazine.

Researchers from SMU, the University of Texas at Austin, and the U.S Geological Survey determined that activities related to oil and gas operations in the area, as the Morning News notes, are responsible for “shifting faults below Dallas-Fort Worth that have not budged in hundreds of millions of years”:

The scientists zeroed in on an unusual mechanism behind the quakes: workers pushing liquid into the ground on one side of a fault and sucking gas and groundwater from the other side of the fault.

“The combination of these activities seems to have triggered the earthquakes, and that was a real surprise to us,” said Matthew Hornbach, a geophysicist at SMU and a lead author of the paper.

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