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Poll: Would You Care if the State Fair of Texas Left Fair Park?

Yesterday Mitchell Glieber, the president of the State Fair of Texas, released a startling statement. Responding to a proposal put forward by Boston-based planner Antonio Di Mambro that completely rethinks the layout and use of Fair Park, the State Fair said that adopting such a plan would “effectively end the 129-year tradition of the State Fair of Texas in Dallas.”

Sound the alarms! Raise the flags! The State Fair could leave Fair Park! How did we get here?

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Poll: Will You Root For the Dallas Cowboys?

Last week the Dallas Cowboys signed Greg Hardy, a noted football player suspended last season for having beaten up his girlfriend. As discussed on our most recent EarBurner podcast, the move prompted WFAA sports anchor Dale Hansen to go “unplugged,” and Mayor Mike Rawlings (an outspoken crusader against domestic violence) called it a “shot in the gut.” But then, yesterday, Rawlings said he’ll still be rooting for America’s Team this season.

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Hear Mavs Broadcaster Mark Followill on D Magazine’s EarBurner Podcast

Dallas Mavericks television play-by-play man stopped by the Old Monk yesterday afternoon in the wake of SMU’s painful NCAA tournament loss. He chatted with Tim and Zac about that, the Dallas Cowboys’ signing of Greg Hardy, WFAA sports anchor Dale Hansen’s reaction to the Greg Hardy signing, and how he got his start in broadcasting.

It’s a super-sized episode because there were just too many hot takes to pack into 30 minutes.

Remember to subscribe to EarBurner on iTunes or listen via the Stitcher app, your preferred podcatcher, or the embedded player below.

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Leading Off (3/20/15)

Thursday Was a Texas Basketball Massacre. All five teams from the state in the NCAA tournament lost. Baylor and SMU fans can argue about who suffered the more painful last-minute loss.

Irving Endorses Anti-Islamic Bill. Spurred by fears of nonbinding, voluntary mediation at a mosque, the city council, led by Mayor Beth Van Duyne, voted on Thursday to endorse a bill by State Rep. Jeff Leach of Plano that would forbid judges from using foreign law in their rulings. The bill’s language is nearly identical to a previous proposal by another lawmaker designed to limit the influence of “large populations of Middle Easterners.” Said Van Duyne, ““Why anyone would feel this is hatred or bigotry is absolutely beyond me.”

State to Audit DA’s Office. It’s the first time the state auditor’s office has used the authority the legislature gave it in 2011 to conduct such reviews. They’ll look into the alleged improper use of forfeiture funds during the tenure of former district attorney Craig Watkins. If violations of the law are found, the DA’s office and Watkins himself could be subject to a civil penalty up to $100,000.

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Leading Off (3/18/15)

Crazy Kidnapping Drama Ends in Haslet. Nathanial Tillery allegedly assaulted Kevin Garcia, a 55-year-old convenience store clerk in College Station, then stole Garcia’s truck — after loading Garcia’s unconscious body into the bed. The saga ended just before 1:30 p.m. yesterday when Police and Texas Rangers arrested Tillery in Tarrant County.

Lying Officer Could Be a Problem for Prosecutors. This is a bizarre story. A self-proclaimed “resident expert” on DWIs, Sgt. Stephen “Tiny” Baker of the Dallas Police Department, insists he pulled over a car in 2012 because he saw the car run a red light. This, despite video evidence that it was, in fact, Baker, who ran the red light. Experts say this could put at risk other cases in which Baker testified. He’s on administrative leave pending investigation.

Oswald Cutout Bothers People at JFK Memorial. Yep. It’s a cutout.

The Cowboys Could Sign Greg Hardy. Here is a story about how the Cowboys might soon finalize a deal with defensive end Greg Hardy, who had 26 sacks in his last two full seasons in Carolina. Here is an excerpt from a protective 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.”

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Let’s Send Crime-Fighter Richard Jefferson of the Dallas Mavericks Undercover

TMZ broke the story that Dallas Mavericks forward Richard Jefferson, at the behest of the FBI, recorded a phone conversation between himself and his business manager Ted Kritza, in which Kritza allegedly admits to having withdrawn $2 million on Jefferson’s bank credit line. The matter is still under investigation.

Now that we know Jefferson isn’t afraid to go undercover to fight crime, what other local Dallas notables should we maybe have him give a ring?

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DeMarco Murray Signs With Eagles; Who Should Replace Him?

DeMarco Murray — the league’s leading rusher as a member of Your Dallas Cowboys last season — has signed with the Philadelphia Eagles for five years and $42 million, $21 million of which is guaranteed. I thought it was maybe just a bargaining ploy by Murray and his team, but I also think a lot of things that are wrong and stupid so I’m not terribly surprised that this happened.

So now the question becomes: what do the Cowboys do?

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The Baseball Gods Demand the Sacrifice of Yu Darvish

Casual baseball fans can be forgiven for not realizing that the Texas Rangers’ 2015 season — with its first game set for April 6 at Oakland — is already over.

On the heels of last year’s disastrous, injury-plagued campaign, the team found out in February that young second baseman Jurickson Profar — once such a hot prospect that the Rangers felt free to trade away Ian Kinsler — will miss the entire season following shoulder surgery. Then ace starting pitcher Yu Darvish felt tightness in his triceps after a spring training start, and a few days ago it was revealed that he has a partially torn ligament.

Darvish was sent to New York to get a second opinion from a specialist today, and the team is expected to announce its plans for him tomorrow. Either they’ll decide the injury can be healed via rest and rehab, or he’ll have surgery and miss the entirety of this year and likely a significant portion of 2016 as well.

Evan Grant says Darvish would be replaced in the rotation by a guy called “Chi Chi,” which makes the move a wash for the nation’s headline writers but a significant downgrade for the Rangers’ hopes of bouncing back in a big way.

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SMU Basketball Flashback: Kato Armstrong and What Could Have Been

Yesterday, SMU won its first regular season conference title since 1993. It was still a member of the old Southwest Conference back then, on the verge of being cast out into the margins of college sports, a two-decade walkabout from which it only recently returned. As American Athletic Conference champions, the team will go to its first NCAA tournament since that SWC-winning season. But SMU hasn’t actually won an NCAA tournament game since 1988, when it beat Notre Dame behind 29 points from its star point guard Kato Armstrong.

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Get To Know Rajon Rondo a Little Bit Better

Following the dustup between Rajon Rondo and Rick Carlisle that ended up with the engimatic point guard serving a 1-game suspension, most Mavs fans likely had two thoughts: 1) this team is doomed and/or 2) that’s it for Rondo in Dallas. I am constitutionally unable to agree with No. 1, but I couldn’t help but think that, yeah, Rondo probably would not re-sign with the team in the offseason after that mess. But this really good interview with him, conducted by Yahoo’s Marc J. Spears, has me reconsidering that position.

Q: What do you think about the perception that you want to depart from Dallas?

Rondo: First of all, I’m misunderstood in general. I don’t mind because I’m very quiet and I stay to myself. People are going to say what they want to say. I don’t talk, so I don’t know why they would say that. I don’t think I play as if I don’t want to be here. I give it all when I’m out there on the court.

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The Unraveling of Mookie Blaylock

I was aware that, a couple of years ago, Mookie Blaylock had been the driver in a fatal car accident near Atlanta. And I knew that Blaylock, who grew up in Garland, had been convicted of vehicular homicide. But I didn’t realize what a disaster his life had been even prior to that. This Sports Illustrated feature by Greg Hanlon goes deep on Blaylock and the mountain of bad choices he made. A sample:

It was both a blessing and a curse that Blaylock saved so much money from his playing career. He and his children never wanted financially, and he was able to live out the country boy’s dream by moving to a six-acre property in rural Pike County, 50 miles south of downtown Atlanta, and playing all the golf he wanted. Yet it also left him without structure, allowing his addictions free reign.

Six of his seven DUIs came after he retired. Between September 2010 and February 2012, he did three stints in jail for driving offenses, totaling more than four months. According to Solomon, he was going to the strip club “sometimes five times a week” during this time. In 2009, cops came to his house for a domestic disturbance after his girlfriend called them, though nobody was arrested, according to police reports.

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Leading Off (2/27/15)

Winter Is (Still) Coming. The forecast calls for snow this morning, freezing rain tomorrow.

Trustees Interrogate Dallas ISD Staff on Hiring. For more than three hours the board put questions to administrators over whether they told the truth about the purpose of $6.4 million approved in October for the hiring of teachers. Some believed the superintendent’s explanation, some did not.

And the Hits Keep Coming For DISD. The Morning News reports that Texas Education Agency investigators found 60 district employees had not been fingerprinted and that an additional 120 had been fingerprinted but not in the correct way. Proper fingerprinting is necessary to conduct criminal background checks. Furthermore, according to the TEA report, Superintendent Mike Miles submitted a statement saying that DISD was in compliance with fingerprinting requirements even though an internal district audit had indicated otherwise.

Lancaster Police Release Report on Dez Bryant Incident. Rumors of an incriminating video featuring the Dallas Cowboys receiver led to media requests for information about what happened in that Walmart parking lot in 2011. According to the cops, there was no offense committed, and they have no video of what occurred. Could there be any less news in this news?

Mockingbird Pedestrian Bridge May Finally Get Built. The project, providing a path for pedestrians and cyclists over the six-lane street, is a key link in the plan to extend the Katy Trail. City officials have said construction should begin this fall.

Congressman Pushes For Chris Kyle to Get Medal of Honor. Republican Roger Williams of Cleburne introduced a bill Thursday proposing the late American Sniper receive the prestigious award for his Iraq War exploits. He’s probably got a better shot at this than he did the Best Picture Oscar, anyway.

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