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Making Dallas Even Better

Leading Off (9/4/15)

Dallas Police Seek Sugar Daddies. The department announced Thursday, in conjunction with private group Safer Dallas, that it has launched a $2 million fundraising campaign to build a “reality-based training center.” Which has me wondering whether all current police training is conducted in a fantasy realm, like D&D. How do you suppose Chief Brown rates as a Dungeon Master?

Police Also Seek Jeep Cherokee. The vehicle is of interest in relation to Wednesday’s Uptown murder, in which 35-year-old dentist Kendra Hatcher was killed in the garage of her apartment building on Cedar Springs Road.

Booker T. Teacher Charged With Improper Relationship. Alexander Simon, 26, was arrested for doing something he shouldn’t have been doing with a 17-year-old female student at his Carrollton home in May.

Horned Frogs Top Gophers. TCU’s footballers beat Minnesota, 23-17, in their season opener, but the fact that the game was a tight one late had some questioning whether they deserve their No. 2 ranking.

Cowboys Win Final Dress Rehearsal. The score was 21-14 over the Houston Texans. Dallas’ first real game is Sept. 13 against the New York Giants.

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New DMN Managing Editor Has a Dog Named ‘Boo Radley,’ Which Is a Better Name Than Story

Someone who knows a thing or two about a thing or two has informed me that new Morning News managing editor Robyn Tomlin has a dog named Boo Radley. Is that a great name for a dog? Not really. Kind of shouts “hey, I read books and stuff!” a little defensively (and unimaginatively — oh, really, you like To Kill a Mockingbird? What are your thoughts on breathing?). But, that said, it’s a way better name for a dog than Story, which is what Morning News editor Mike Wilson named his dog. I guess maybe he thought it was too pretentious to name his dog Manual Typewriter or H.L. Mencken or Strunk and/or White.

Whatever. Here’s a ton more names that are better for a dog than Story.

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Morning News Hires New Managing Editor

The selection of Robyn Tomlin of Pew Research Center, to fill the post vacated by George Rodrigue almost a year ago, was announced in a memo this afternoon:

“This is a great opportunity for me,” Tomlin, 44, said in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C. “It’s one of the most exciting and challenging times in modern history to be a journalist.”

While most of Tomlin’s experience has been in newspapers, she has spent the last few years working in digital news.

Mike Wilson, editor of The News, said Tomlin’s blend of skills makes her “the ideal person to help us maintain the high quality of our newspaper and extend the reach of our digital work.” Although Tomlin describes herself as a community journalist, he noted that she has national reputation as a digital journalist.

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No, Love Field Isn’t Worse Than LaGuardia Airport

Southwest Airlines is fighting to protect its virtual monopoly over the operations at Love Field, where it controls 18 of the 20 available gates. Delta Airlines is arguing in court that two gates should be taken from Southwest and made available for all airlines to use.

Meanwhile the CEO of Virgin America, which leases Love’s other two gates, earlier this week seemed to be angling to get more access, saying that with its current operational limitations, the airport is its “least-dependable” in the country. He added that even New York’s LaGuardia — which has the worst on-time departure rate in the U.S. — works better for Virgin.

But is that true?

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Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick: Texas Now Leading U.S. Again in Some Oil and Gas Regs

Texas Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick won’t talk yet about a preliminary report to the commission ruling out a link between earthquakes near Azle and a disposal well operated by XTO Energy—findings that contradicted an earlier study by scientists at SMU, which did find a connection. But during an appearance in Dallas yesterday, Craddick said the commission, which regulates the Texas oil and gas industry, is working with its recently hired staff seismologist to investigate seismic activity and to hold “conversations” with concerned communities.

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Ask John Neely Bryan: Finding Money to Fix Dallas Streets

Question: Firstly, thank you profusely for settling upon an inspired new logo for Dallas. You’ve saved the council hours of back-breaking sitting in chairs and taking turns talking in circles. Now, can you help with the city budget? Starting to think we’re in over our heads. — Mike R. et al

Sir, you know that I love this city with the sort of passion which men generally reserve for their wives and their Barcaloungers. It would be my pleasure — nay, it is my duty — to guide you through these troubled times. The very fact that the mayor of the world’s greatest city has been reduced to the indignity of hosting a Twitter town hall meeting on budget matters beginning this evening at 6 p.m. — how ghastly!

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Leading Off (9/3/15)

Tell the Mayor What You Think of the City Budget. Today at 5:30 you can tweet at the mayor about the budget in a “virtual town hall meeting.” Don’t expect the mayor to tweet back, though. He’ll respond via a live video broadcast that starts at 6. Sounds perfect. He wants to use social media—but not really. Enjoy yourselves.

DISD Problem Gets Blown Up. I am writing this item without having seen the printed newspaper. But I’m going to make a prediction about how this news gets played. There are questions about “academic misconduct” at a school that has about 390 total students. An investigation is underway. Right now, though, there are only questions. We don’t know what did or did not happen. Prediction: this story will run above the fold, on the front page. (It should be a Metro brief.)

Christian Taylor Had a Hallucinogen in His System. The 19-year-old had a drug called N-Bomb in his system when an Arlington cop shot and killed him in what was ruled a homicide. The autopsy also found that Taylor had recently used marijuana.

Woman Murdered in Uptown. Details are scant. But the killing happened in the parking garage of the Gables Park 17 high-rise, on Cedar Springs.

Orlando Scandrick Cried Yesterday. The Cowboys’ top cornerback had season-ending surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a torn medial collateral ligament. At the team’s annual kickoff luncheon yesterday, he was named last year’s co-defensive MVP (with Jeremy Mincey). This might give you an idea of how it can suck to be a professional athlete.

Will Smith’s Concussion and Tony Dorsett

Watching the trailer for the upcoming Will Smith movie called Concussion, which is based on the real-life story about the doctor who discovered CTE, reminded me of Zac’s story from last year about Tony Dorsett. Watch the trailer, and then, if you haven’t already, read “Tony Dorsett Is Losing His Mind.”

In other news, the college football season starts tomorrow! No. 2 TCU v. Minnesota, baby!

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Long Day for United Way, Fluor, Dallas Afterschool Puts STEM Education in the Spotlight

Inside the Santa Clara Regional Community Center Education Building in West Dallas, more than 100 local elementary students were quietly interacting yesterday afternoon with 30 volunteers from Fluor Corp., the Irving-based global engineering and construction giant. The purpose of the unusual gathering: to pique the students’ interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education […]

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Leading Off (9/2/15)

“Frontier Disney” Fraudster Sentenced to 17 Years. You’ll recall the story of Thomas W. Lucas Jr., the Plano man convicted of fraud after he forged documents and misled investors — who thought they were getting insider tips about plans for a Walt Disney theme park in North Texas. (Zac once compared Lucas to Uncle Buck.) Well, yesterday Lucas, 35, was sentenced for his crimes: 17 years.

Another City Honors Santos Rodriguez. In 1973, a Dallas police officer investigating the theft of coins from a vending machine forced a 12-year-old boy named Santos Rodriguez to play Russian roulette — until the boy lost. The city has had a hard time addressing this terrible injustice over the years. Now, from the DMN, this fiery burn:

“Just this week, we learned of Santos Rodriguez Memorial Park, so named ‘to remind us all of the importance to respect, love, care for, and protect all of the children of the world.’ About $350,000 in city parks funding helped redevelop it into a welcoming open space next to El Centro de la Raza.

Please stop by the next time you’re in Seattle.”

City Worker Does Terrible Thing to Dallas Children. From our local CBS affiliate: “Ripped apart and tossed into a nearby creek, kids in an East Dallas youth soccer league are unable to play their matches after a city worker was seen destroying the goalposts the league owns.” It’s no wonder those East Dallas kids weren’t able to play, after being ripped apart and tossed into a creek. Hope everyone recovers quickly.

No More Betting at Lonestar Park. Races were suspended yesterday, as the legislature debates the future of the Texas Racing Commission. Looks like racing will resume soon, though.

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Leading Off (9/1/15)

Death of Man in Dallas Jail Ruled Homicide. Joseph Hutcheson died August 1 after a struggle with deputies in the lobby. The medical examiner’s office determined the death was a homicide, but there were several factors in play, including “combined effects of cocaine and methamphetamine, compounded by hypertensive cardiovascular disease and physiologic stress associated with struggle and restraint.” The full autopsy report isn’t finished; everything is on hold until it is.

Some Dallas Cops Get Body Cameras Today. The rollout across the entire force will take years. But if you get arrested today in the Central Patrol Division — downtown, Uptown, Deep Ellum, Old East Dallas, The Cedars — smile!

Garland Superintendent Apologizes (Kinda) for Bad Joke. This happened at the Garland ISD’s convocation, which was held in the Curtis Culwell Center, where police killed two Muslim men in May as they tried to launch an assault an anti-Islamic event. A trustee who had recently visited Africa wore a costume onstage with a fake beard and a traditional Arab headdress. Superintendent Bob Morrison took the mic and said, “With the Garland PD here, he’s lucky dressed like that [that] bad things didn’t happen to him out in the parking lot, is all I can tell him.” Really, really bad judgment on his part. Though the remark reportedly got a good laugh from the audience. Morrison did the whole “I apologize IF I offended anyone” thing. So that’s nice.

The Convention Center That Ate Dallas

A couple of weeks ago, after reading that the taxpayer-funded Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau apparently wanted to lend us the letter “D” from their “DALLAS” logo to replace the City of Dallas’ existing letter “D” logo, I got to thinking once again about the outsized influence the DCVB wields over municipal affairs.

Late last year, after Philip Jones, the DCVB’s president, tossed out a plan to have taxpayers pay for a $300 million addition to the convention center, I took a look into the finances and found that it lost $37 million per year before debt service and $54 million after interest expense — amounts that were virtually identical to its losses prior to the opening of the half-billion-dollar city-owned Omni Convention Center Hotel in 2010 (one of the primary justifications for building the hotel was that it would drive more business to the convention center and stop its losses). Some of the most interesting observations, however, came from reader comments to my post. Former city council member and the executive director of the Dallas Arts District, Veletta Lill, made the following observations:

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