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Making Dallas Even Better

Leading Off (5/25/16)

ARLINGTON CITY COUNCIL SIGNS OFF ON A NEW BALLPARK. The council approved the $1 billion plan that would give the Texas Rangers a new stadium. However, the next step is to convince voters to spend $500 million to keep the team in Arlington. Opponents have asked why the current stadium, which opened in 1994, needs to be replaced.

POLICE FIND AN ALLIGATOR BEHIND A SOUTH DALLAS MIDDLE SCHOOL. The nearly 7-foot-long reptile was captured near Steam Middle School around 2 a.m. Wednesday morning. An officer, who was patrolling the area, stopped after spotting what he thought was a log. It’s possible the alligator came from one of the area’s nearby creeks.

THE BATHROOM SAGA CONTINUES. State Attorney General Ken Paxton may file a legal challenge to President Barack Obama’s directive that instructs schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity. This could affect Fort Worth ISD’s newly established guidelines that would accommodate transgender students. Paxton has scheduled a 2 p.m. news conference in Austin.

STATE SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATE WHO THINKS OBAMA IS A FORMER GAY PROSTITUTE LOSES. Thankfully, Mary Lou Bruner, a retired teacher who suggested Obama might have been a “gay prostitute” in his youth, lost the Republican nomination last night by more than 10,000 votes. Bruner drew national attention earlier this year for her Facebook commentary which included claims such as “Islam is not a religion” and that Noah’s ark carried baby dinosaurs. Lufkin school board President Keven Ellis won the nomination and will face Democratic candidate Amanda Rudolph in the fall.

DALLAS ZOO WELCOMES ELEPHANT CALF. The calf was born May 14 to one of the five Swaziland elephants that arrived in Dallas in March and is the first African elephant calf born in the United States in nearly two years. The 3-foot, 175-pound calf hasn’t been named yet but is bonding with his mother. In January, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service granted the zoo a permit allowing the zoo to bring over the elephants from Swaziland–a move that was contested by animal advocacy groups. It’ll be a few months before the public can meet the calf so–until then– this video will have to suffice.

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Byron Nelson Report: Real Housewives of Dallas Edition

For most people at the AT&T Byron Nelson, the action is on the course. But for a lucky few, the real fun happens in the homes that line the TPC Four Seasons. Saturday is always the biggest house-party day, and yesterday was no exception. The best parties are in homes that look out at holes 3, 16, and 17. This year, though, the mansion off 17 that typically hosts the tournament’s biggest bash was silent. A “for sale” sign stood out front.

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Byron Nelson Report: Day 2—Training Jordan Spieth

The Pavilion at the AT&T Byron Nelson is always live. But the more exclusive action is poolside at the Four Seasons Las Colinas. During the day, the gold-diggers work on their tans; at night, guests and Four Seasons members and PGA-credentialed partiers come out to play. Last night was no exception, with South African golfer Louis Oosthuizen holding court, consoling himself after missing the cut. (Still, things didn’t get as intense as they did last year, when Johnny Manziel had a dust-up with an annoying fan.)

This morning, day two of the tournament, it was back to business. I had a chance to talk with trainer Damon Goddard, after he held fitness sessions with two of his clients, Kelly Kraft and Jordan Spieth.

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Byron Nelson Report: Day 1—Rain Delays, Kelly Kraft, and Sergio Garcia

Rain delayed the action in Las Colinas by more than two hours yesterday, as the AT&T Byron Nelson tournament officially got under way. Ryan Palmer passed the time by shooting hoops with his caddie, Dustin Johnson checked out machines in the newly renovated weight room, and a few other golfers played ping-pong. Hard-working reporters in the media room, meantime, got chair massages.

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Leading Off (5/20/16)

Arlington to Build New Rangers Stadium. At 22 years old, Globe Life Park is already the 11th-oldest stadium in Major League Baseball, and it appears it may not survive to celebrate its 30th birthday. The city of Arlington and the Texas Rangers have reportedly agreed to go halfsies on a new $900 million ballyard with a retractable roof. The deal is expected to be officially announced at a press conference this afternoon. The new digs could open even before the team’s current lease expires in 2023. Arlington taxpayers would have to approve dedicating tax funds to the project, a possibility that only exists because the city anticipates paying off its debt the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium early, as soon as 2021. Guess downtown Dallas missed its chance to lure Major League Baseball east.

Missing Woman’s Body May Have Been Found. Richardson Police have confirmed that they’ve discovered a body in a field off State Highway 78 near Farmersville while investigating the disappearance and alleged murder of 27-year-old Jessie Bardwell. Bardwell’s boyfriend, Jason Lowe, has already been arrested and charged with her murder. The county medical examiner is working to identify the remains.

People Who Bought Homes Near a Landfill Surprised to Smell Garbage. One resident of the River Glen neighborhood of Carrollton describes the odor wafting into her home from nearby DFW Landfill as “rotten eggs mixed with stale milk.” Residents have asked the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to investigate. A spokesman for the city of Lewisville, where the dump is located, said recent rains have stirred up the scents. “We noticed it in the past only if we stepped outside,” said one resident whose real estate investment choices I find confounding.

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Dallas Mavericks to Enter the World of Minecraft

So says Mashable:

The Dallas Mavericks will launch Mavs World, a dedicated Minecraft hub for fans to experience American Airlines Center remade in all its blocky glory. Mavs World will include games and activities — some focused on basketball, but others will include building competitions.

To Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Mavs World is a way for fans to have fun with the Mavericks, but also inspire their love of tech.

Minecraft makes you think. You have to be creative. Logical. Fun. Those are great foundations for learning,” Cuban told Mashable. 

Mavs World will launch later this summer.

Leading Off (5/18/16)

Protesters crash Farmers Branch city council meeting. About 200 protestors gathered at the Farmers Branch city hall last night to calling for justice over the death of Jose Cruz, a teenager shot dead by an off-duty police officer in March. The protestors were asking that the city pay for Cruz’s funeral bills instead of putting money toward the officer’s defense as he faces a murder charge. Mayor Bob Phelps slipped past the crowd, later saying, “I don’t have anything to do with it.”

Dallas police can’t find enough new recruits. The department has had to cancel two academy classes due to low attendance. The lack of interest might have something to do with the city’s low salary, which is $10,000 to $15,000 under what is offered in surrounding departments.

Man (almost) cleared of murder after 19 years in prison. Tarrant inmate John Nolley was freed yesterday after nearly two decades behind bars. The Innocence Project has been investigating his conviction for ten years, finding that DNA evidence in the Bedford murder case did not come from Nolley. Nolley has yet to be fully exonerated, but his defense team expects to wrap up all legal issues within a few months.

Dallas County leaves first responders in the lurch. Dallas County sherriff’s deputies’ and firefighters’ county-issued credit cards were getting declined at the fuel pump in February due to nonpyament. The county’s first responders had to dig in their own pockets to fill up for a few days. NBC Investigates has the story.

Odor is going on time out for a while. Do we push people? Nooo. Do we punch people? Nooo. Do we make potentially-fibula-snapping slides into second to break up a double play? Noooooooooo. This is the convo I had with my kid when he caught coverage of the now-infamous Rangers brawl. And it’s essentially what MLB said to the coaches and players while handing out punishments yesterday. Bautista’s nasty slide earned him a one-game suspension. Rougned Odor got hit the hardest with an eight-game suspension, though the 22-year-old will continue playing as he appeals the decision. Rangers say they have Odor’s back 100-percent. The Frisco RoughRiders are showing their solidarity by selling Rougie’s Red PUNCH, an adult bevy made of fruit punch, an energy drink, and “a secret ingredient from Odor’s native Venezuela.”

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Rougned Odor Cements His Spot in Texas Rangers History

Zac mentioned in “Leading Off” that the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays brawled during yesterday’s game after Jose Bautista made a hard slide into second base that gave Rougned Odor an excuse to seek revenge for last October’s bat flip heard ’round the world.

The video of Odor’s punch will likely join the famed Nolan Ryan-Robin Ventura fight in the team’s lore. It maybe already has. Check out this peppy fan-generated clip of the incident that was posted to YouTube last night.

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All Clichés Are Bigger in Texas Award Nominee: Friday Night Lights Edition

Last weekend, voters in McKinney approved a bond that will fund a nearly $63 million high school football stadium, and national press outlets have taken note. At that price, it would be the most expensive in the country, supplanting the troubled Allen ISD ball yard.

Today’s nomination goes to a Forbes contributor, Maury Brown. He writes:

This all gets back to keeping up with the Jones’. McKinney may be the biggest Taj Mahal high school football stadium now, but only a fool would think that there isn’t already boosters from other areas trying to mount a charge to get theirs built. Everything is bigger in Texas… including stadium envy.

Pray this newfound trend doesn’t gain a foothold outside the state. Imagine what the response from the state that prides itself on saying, “don’t mess with Texas” might be.

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Leading Off (5/10/16)

Southern Dallas woman who was mauled by dogs has died. 52-year-old Antoinette Brown was mauled on Rutledge Street by a pack of dogs on May 2 and was bitten more than 100 times. She died last night after being removed from life support. This truly horrific attack is yet another indicator that Dallas needs to get its loose-dog problem under control.

Continental avenue bridge might actually be renamed for ron kirk. The proposal to name the Continental Avenue bridge for former mayor Ron Kirk is getting closer to fruition. Yesterday, the City Council’s Transportation and Trinity River Project Committee voted (unanimously, no less) to bring the proposal to the entire council May 25.

Frisco woman has zika virus. She traveled outside the United States and has tested positive for the virus, which is spread by infected mosquitoes. This is the first confirmed case for Collin County, while Dallas County has had six confirmed cases this year. Zika’s most common symptoms include fever, joint pain, rash, and conjunctivitis.

Stars win to force game 7. They pulled out a 3-2 win against the Blues, which means Game 7 will actually happen. It will be the first Game 7 here at home since 2000 and the first overall Game 7 since 2007.

Queen Bey is flawless at Arlington show. I didn’t even attend, but that’s just a given. Seems like the Formation Tour is her best one yet.

Leading Off (5/6/16)

Stars Even Playoff Series. After an overtime goal by Cody Eakin secured a 3-2 win, Dallas and the St. Louis Blues each have claimed two games in their best-of-seven contest. The Stars’ comeback victory is doubly impressive considering they were rebounding from a blowout loss the last time the teams took to the ice. Game 5 is scheduled for noon Saturday at the American Airlines Center.

Deadly Crash on Woodall Rodgers. At least one person died as a result of the accident, which took place just before 10 p.m. Thursday between the tunnel under Klyde Warren Park and the exits to Interstate 35E.

Construction Worker Freed From Trench. While helping to dig a sewer line in Irving, a 34-year-old man got buried when the pit around him caved in. His co-workers cleared enough dirt to uncover his upper body, and after an hours-long rescue effort, firefighters managed to get him out without further collapsing the trench onto him or others. He was taken to Parkland by helicopter for treatment.

Ex-Fort Worth Cop Freed For Another Trial. Brian Franklin was convicted 21 years ago of having raped a 13-year-old girl. On Thursday he walked out of the Tarrant County probation office, having been released from prison after the victim in the case admitted to having lied in some of her testimony. (Though she still insists she was sexually assaulted.) Franklin is awaiting a new trial and hopes for a full exoneration.

Perry Endorses Trump. Is that enough of an excuse, Zac?