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Leading Off (2/26/15)

Council Essentially Closes Officeholder Account Loophole. City code limits how much an individual donor can give to a candidate for office — $1,000 for council elections, $5,000 if you’re running for mayor. But incumbents have access to an officeholder account which 1) has no limit and 2) could basically be used for anything, including their re-election campaigns. After mayoral candidate Marcos Ronquillo pointed out how unfair this is, the council decided to take a look at it, and yesterday voted that only $100 of officeholder account funds could be used on a campaign. You know what that means? PIZZA PARTY.

Shorthanded Mavs Lose to Atlanta. Playing the Eastern Conference-leading Hawks would be tough under normal conditions. The Mavs had to do it on the road, on the second game of a back-to-back, after weird weather-related travel conditions, and with only 11 players, since the law firm is injured, Amar’e Stoudemire doesn’t really play back-to-backs, and Rajon Rondo was suspended for one game after his dust-up with Rick Carlisle. So, even after a hot start, it wasn’t terribly surprising that the Mavs lost by 17. The only winner in all this: ESPN Dallas’ Tim McMahon, who everyone in the country now knows.

FBI Looking For The “Cookie Bandits.” That’s what they’re calling the group of robbers suspected of holding up as many as 30 businesses across North Texas. Not bad, as a far as names go, but I’m wondering why we always have to be tied to the word “bandit” in these monikers. It’s always the Yellow Hat Bandit or the Flip-Flop Bandit or the Body Odor Bandit or something. I mean, that’s fine, but it’s also limiting. “FBI Looking For the Cookie Monsters.” I’m checking out that story every single time.

“Dez Bryant Appears to Respond to Speculation Over Alleged Video.” Come on, now. One more hedge word and we all fall into an infinite dreamscape of nothingness.

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Jill Jordan Explains the Highway Spaghetti Planned for the Continental Pedestrian Bridge

This morning Rudy Bush tweeted that there was an interesting Trinity toll road conversation going on during the open microphone section of the Dallas City Council meeting, so I decided to head on over to the city’s handy online video section and check it out. A trio of speakers, including a property owner in the Design District, talked about the value of that neighborhood’s proximity to the Trinity River park and how the proposed toll road could negatively affect the potential for the Design District to become even more of a premier neighborhood and destination.

The highlight of the open microphone session came at the tail end. During his remarks, the property owner expressed concern about the contradictions apparent in multiple Trinity toll road renderings produced by different agencies, like the NTTA and TxDOT, which show exit ramps from the proposed road swamping the Continental Pedestrian Bridge and even depicting cars driving on the pedestrian bridge. The owner asked for some clarification, and when he was finished, council member Sandy Greyson called Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan to the microphone to sort out the confusion.

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Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: Feb 25

The ice that has forced us to hide, fearful and cowering, in our homes for the last two days has largely melted away. We are left with a snow-like substance, which is almost kind of whimsical but mostly just unpleasant, and a lot of disappointing slush. Assuming you had enough rations and booze to make it through the last two days intact, it’s time to emerge from that warm cubbyhole and see what’s happening in Dallas. The city is happy to oblige you, with music, theater, and more all on deck for tonight. Here are our picks for things to do.

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Tracy Rowlett, Byron Harris Rip Bill O’Reilly’s Claim in 1970s Suicide Story

A disputed tale about his reporting days in Dallas could turn into a big problem for Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, who has the most-watched program on cable news. The story, as the host of “The O’Reilly Factor” has told it in his books including Killing Kennedy and Kennedy’s Last Days and on the Fox News Channel, occurred during his stint as a reporter for WFAA Channel 8 in the 1970s. Reporting on a figure in the investigation into the John F. Kennedy assassination named George de Mohrenschildt—a Russian emigre who’d befriended Lee Harvey Oswald—O’Reilly claimed that he was standing outside the house in Palm Beach, Florida, where, and when, de Mohrenschildt apparently killed himself with a shotgun blast one day in March of 1977. Wrote O’Reilly: “As I knocked on the door, I heard a shotgun blast. He had killed himself.”

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Leading Off (2/25/15)

Eddie Ray Routh Convicted of Murdering Chris Kyle. The jury in Stephenville found him guilty as charged last night. Kyle’s wife, Taya, left the court during closing arguments and wasn’t present for the verdict. Routh will spend the rest of his life in prison. Expect video and audio from the trial to be released soon.

Wintry Mix Sux. More than one area child woke up this morning and said, “Where the heck is my 2 to 4 inches of snow? Huh, Pete Delkus?! It’s falling now, but it ain’t stickin.

Mysterious Booms Remain Mysterious. Yesterday what sounded like a series of bomb explosions were heard from Grand Prairie to Southlake. No one is certain what caused the noises, but the leading contender is demolition activity at a National Semiconductor plant in Arlington.

Southwest Airlines Grounds 128 Uninspected Planes. About 90 flights were canceled yesterday. The FAA says it’s working with both Southwest and Boeing “to evaluate a proposal that would allow the airline to continue flying the planes until the inspections are completed over the next few days.”

Fort Worth Didn’t Disinfect Drinking Water Last Week. The city has been cited by The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which is a thing. About a quarter of the water processed during a 24-hour period didn’t meet required standards.

Rajon Rondo Benched. The Mavs beat the Raptors last night, but the did it without the services of Rondo for the last 20 minutes of play. Rick Carlisle benched him after a “profanity-laced shouting match” about play-calling duties. At one point, an assistant coach had to step between the two men to keep them from yelling in each other’s faces. Instant analysis: this isn’t good.

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Ask John Neely Bryan: Why Is Love Field Called Love Field?

Question: Where does “Love” in Love Field come from? — George L.

Sir, I am tremendously pleased to have received your query, as it affords the opportunity to hold forth upon another of the great injustices and absurdities of Dallas history.

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First Look At Flora Lofts, Now Part of 29-Story Arts District High Rise

Back in 2013, Peter wrote about the Bob Meckfessel-led La Reunion TX proposal for 39 affordable artist lofts in the Arts District, built on the site of the parking lot next to Museum Tower on Flora Street. At the time of the proposal, the going rate for those lofts would be $360 to $790 each, and the artists would have to apply and meet certain income standards.

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Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: Feb 24

Enjoy whatever respite the fickle whims of Mother Nature has given us today, because we may be encased in ice again tomorrow. Most galleries and museums, including the Nasher and the DMA, have closed down today. Transgender advocate and actress Laverne Cox’s scheduled appearance at UNT is looking unlikely, although I’ll update this post once that’s a little more definitive either way.

However, there’s no such thing as weather-enforced hibernation here in Dallas. There are still things to do tonight that don’t involve making sleet dolls, falling on ice, or any of the other fantastic ways to enjoy this inclement weather. As always, safety first. But if you’re strapping on those skates and headed out, here are some options.

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Is It Time For DART to Seek New Sources of Funding?

The big, elephant-in-the-room problem with DART is funding. DART’s main funding source is sales tax revenue, and it increases sales tax revenue by taking on additional communities to pay into the pot. Add a suburb, increase your earnings. The problem is that the suburbs start demanding some return for their payment, as well they should. The other problem, as DART has been struggling with of late, is that you eventually run out of suburbs, especially when you fail to deliver on the promises you made to get the first round of ‘burbs to enter your funding pool. And so what you end up with is a system that is pre-designed by its financial model to be spread out and increasingly more expensive to operate, while simultaneously under-delivering on the services you’re set up to provide. It’s not a very good business model. In fact, it looks a hell of a lot like a Ponzi scheme.

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Poll: Are Schools Too Quick to Call a Snow Day?

When I was a kid, I don’t think school ever got called off a day in advance due to the weather. We always had to wake up as early as usual to find out if we were among the lucky districts to get time off.

Maybe I’m misremembering, but it seems to be a phenomenon of the past several years to have shutdowns declared before a storm has even arrived. I’m probably misremembering. But what do you think?

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ESPN’s Interview With the Von Erichs Airs Friday

According to Kevin Von Erich on Twitter, ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 interview with the famous Texas wrestling family, which has been in the works for at least a year, will see the light.

Prior to catching that on SportsCenter, re-visit the magazine’s 1988 cover story about the Von Erichs’ professional triumphs and personal tragedies.

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Leading Off (2/24/15)

Yesterday Was a Mess, Today Isn’t Much Better, and Snow Is on the Way. There were hundreds of accidents on the roads yesterday. An American Airlines plane even slid off a taxiway at DFW. Today, as you already know if you have kids, most school districts are again closed. Then more fun: a winter storm watch kicks in at midnight. We’re looking at 2 to 4 inches of snow come Wednesday morning. So yeah. Enjoy all that family time. Hope you stocked up on booze and Netflix.

Developer Cancels Plans for Indoor Ski Resort in Grand Prairie. Details are sketchy, but the $215 million planned Grand Alps Resort and Hard Rock Hotel has pulled out of Grand Prairie. But don’t fret, folks. The developer says they are just looking for another spot in North Texas. Oh, and the $3.5 billion DreamVision Mountain DreamScape Texas is still planned for Fort Worth. It’ll have indoor skiing. So you’ll be able to ski inside in North Texas soon enough, probably.

Ron Washington Can’t Get a Job in the Majors. The Baton Rouge Advocate caught up with the former Rangers skipper. He says he has contacted some teams about getting work but hasn’t gotten a response from them. “This is the first time I haven’t been at a spring training since I left high school [in 1970],” Washington told the paper. “I’m dealing with each and every day trying to find peace with being out of the game right now and just enjoy my family.”

Three DISD Trustees Call for Meeting To Discuss Firing Mike Miles. Can you guess the three?

Terri Hodge Is Back in Politics. In 2010, she was caught up in the Don Hill investigation and admitted to federal income tax evasion, a felony. She’s out of prison now. And she’s working for U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, the woman who essentially stole money from her poor constituents and funneled it to her own grandchildren and nephews. Simply amazing.

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