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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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Ask John Neely Bryan: Can I Park For Free in Downtown Dallas?

Question: What’s the rule on parking your car on a public street downtown that has no such sign declaring it a no-parking zone or a commercial loading zone? I found a tiny block sandwiched between a pair of parking garages that has room for three cars along a curb and no such sign. I’m one of those stubborn downtown workers who refuses to shell out a monthly fee to have my own parking space, so finding areas like this is like finding a treasure. I’ve been parking there all week, and today a security guard for one of the two garages came out and told me I couldn’t park there. I asked him to show me a sign forbidding it, and he said, “You just can’t park here, man.” He then threatened to call DPD, which I welcomed before I realized I had no time to deal with it. So who’s right here? He mentioned that it would be difficult for large trucks to enter a loading bay on the opposite side of the curb, an argument I would certainly cede to if the city were to place a sign forbidding me from leaving my car on this public street. — Matt G.

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Leading Off (5/20/15)

Storms Bring Floods and Tornadoes. There were dozens of reported tornadoes across North Texas and Oklahoma last night. At least one building in Mineral Wells collapsed. And there was “significant damage” reported in Runaway Bay.

Five Dead Bikers Were From North Texas. The dead men range in age from 19 to 47. It will likely be weeks before we know who may have been killed in the original fight and who may have been killed by police. You can see all 171 mug shots of the men arrested here. Zac will be along later with a list of his favorite biker nicknames. (My choice: “Gimmi Jimmy.”)

Former Birdville ISD Student Sues District Over Christian Prayers. Isaiah Smith, 20, claims he suffered years of bullying in the North Richland Hills school district, including anti-gay slurs and having baseballs thrown at him. He says it’s related to the Christian invocations used to start every school board meeting.

That Controversial Black Rhino Hunt Is Over. You’ll recall a few years ago the Dallas Safari Club auctioned off the chance to kill an endangered black rhino. The winner, Corey Knowlton, bid $350,000. (Stephen Colbert mocked the whole thing pretty viciously.) Well, Knowlton eventually got his rhino. And CNN’s Ed Lavandera was along for the trip.

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The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Jail: This Prison Is Kind of Corrupt

Last time I noted that the prison administration here at Federal Correctional Institution Fort Worth had cut off my access to the inmate email system shortly after I sent a message to another journalist about wrongdoing by Bureau of Prisons staff, thus providing us with a fine opportunity by which to see how the BOP really operates as I take my case up through the agency ranks via a charmingly baroque complaint procedure known as the Administrative Remedy Process. There have been some telling new developments on that front that I’ll relate by and by, but it would be remiss of me not to first say a few words about the prison itself, and fuck if I’m going to leave myself open to accusations of being remiss.

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Did You Miss the Annual Congress for the New Urbanism in Dallas? Well, Watch it Online.

You may recall that the Congress for the New Urbanism held its annual conference in Dallas this year, which was a treat for local urban wonks. For those of you who, like me, didn’t catch as much of the conference as you would have otherwise liked to, you’re in luck. The CNU has uploaded 16 sessions onto YouTube. That’s a lot of hours of urban chatter to sift through, and it may be difficult to figure out where to start. How about with
“Walkable Urban Premiums & Gentrification: Good News or Bad?”

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Who Will Be the Next Managing Editor of the Morning News?

My guess is that Stephen Buckley will get the gig. Check out his bona fides. Duke, Washington Post reporter, Tampa Bay Times world editor, managing editor, publisher of its website. Now at Poynter. DMN editor Mike Wilson told the staff that Buckley will be the first one interviewed to replace George Rodrigue; he’s coming in next week. Wilson knows Buckley because he worked for him in Tampa. Wilson told the newsroom staff at the DMN that about a dozen people have applied for the job and that all the applicants are on equal footing. But with zero precincts reporting, FrontBurner is calling the election now. Welcome to Dallas, Stephen Buckley.

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Leading Off (5/19/15)

UT Southwestern Given $36 Million Gift. Edith and Peter O’Donnell Jr.’s foundation gave the money to create a new brain institute. That’s good news. Because there are some people on the City Council who could use one. [rimshot!] A brain. They could use a brain. Was that joke not clear?

Two Losing Dallas City Council Candidates Allege Tomfoolery. Subrina Brenham and Eric Williams filed the election challenge in District 8. Here’s my favorite sentence from the DMN story: “[Williams] said he ‘absolutely’ believes voting machines may have been rigged.” I love that kind of certainty about a possibility. Similarly, I am definitely sure that Williams could possibly maybe win this challenge.

Trinity River Crests at 38 Feet. Yesterday it hit its greatest depth and started receding. NBC Channel 5 has some good video from its chopper. You can dork out on the USGS site that monitors river flow in real time. And, of course, there is more rain on the way.

Allen ISD Gets $2.5 Million for Stadium Screwup. Remember that $60 million stadium that turned out to have structural problems? The contractor and architect responsible are paying for their mistakes. It should be ready for graduation on June 6.

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Joe Tone Steps Down as Editor of the Dallas Observer

Too much change! It scares me! First they went and got rid of all Robert Wilonsky’s cute names for blogs (Unfair Park is now just “news,” City of Ate has become “restaurants”), and now the Observer has gone and lost its editor, Joe Tone. Here’s his announcement. He’s got a book project to focus on. So bully for him.

Now then. This gives us an opportunity to check in with Vegas for the odds on his replacement. Here’s what’s on the board:

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