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Leading Off (2/24/17)

| 2 hours ago

John Wiley Price Pleads Not Guilty. But opening arguments in the Dallas County Commissioner’s federal corruption trial will not start until Monday, as one juror was hospitalized due to a serious illness and had to be replaced. Also, it took hours for a federal prosecutor to read the 107-page indictment aloud. Price is accused of taking more than $900,000 in bribes in exchange for helping businesses that were seeking Dallas County contracts or approvals.

HUD Is Examining How Dallas Spent Millions of Federal Dollars. Since Tuesday, federal officials have been at City Hall, searching for files related to single-family and apartment projects financed with nearly $30 million in government funds between 2012 and 2014. Dallas’ own auditor has said these files don’t exist. The investigation is expected to end today.

Downtown Protestors Criticize Trump’s Removal of Transgender Bathroom Protection. About 100 people gathered in Belo Garden on Thursday night to denounce Trump’s decision to retract protections allowing transgender students to use restrooms matching their gender identity.

McKinney Man Sings Whataburger’s Praises. In a video that’s been viewed more than 5 million times, Christian comic Fred Thomas belts out his love for the Texas fast-food chain’s honey butter chicken biscuits to a gospel tune. Watch the full video here.

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Matthew E. Perez: ‘Dallas’ Most Blue Blooded Bachelor’

| 17 hours ago

Matthew_PerezTake a minute to appreciate the full greatness of Matthew E. Perez — businessman, philanthropist, socialite. Says so right on his website. Here’s more:

Matthew E. Perez was born in Dallas, Texas and lived in a Highland Park apartment before moving twice and ending up in a suburb of Dallas. Mr. Perez has been referred to as Dallas’ most blue blooded bachelor as he is only eight generations removed from the Royal British throne. He is also distant cousins to John F. Kennedy, George Washington, and George W. Bush.

From an early age Mr. Perez has a knack for business to the point of starting a small operation at the age of eight years when he sold the contents of airline vanity kits to his friends and family. By the age of 16 Mr. Perez had already thought of more than 500 ideas for patents and businesses. … Today Mr. Perez is nearly 20 years of age and has been offered a duchy from a foreign head of state as well as been offered several movie and television roles.

Mr. Perez’s “personal assistant” emailed our receptionist to say, “The Office of Matthew E. Perez would like D Magazine to run an article on Mr. Perez to promote him as a successful young person.” Consider it done. This joker is going to go far. 

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Sports & Leisure

My Night at Malarkey’s

| 17 hours ago
Photograph by Jen deHay
Photograph by Jen deHay

My wife, Melissa, runs a Novice Night tennis clinic in North Dallas once a week for lesbians of limited athletic ability. Many are young and are less concerned about learning the finer points of the Western grip and more concerned about finding a date. Some are married and are just desperate to get out of the house and away from the triplets for a night. Some actually know how to play tennis but are cheap and come because the court is free and they find it enjoyable to get yelled at by Melissa, who turns into a fairly butch drill sergeant in her chosen domain.

The other night Melissa had a huge turnout of 19 novices and assorted others (the record is 20). The weather was lovely. But around 6:30, the sun started going down and the timed lights hadn’t turned on. By 6:45 the whole place was pitch black. Half a dozen ladies who fancied themselves to be the handier ones of the bunch made repeated attempts to flip the light switch—which was already in the On position—to On, to no avail. Several suggested positioning cars toward the court and turning on the headlights. As one of the older ladies had already fallen and claimed to break a wrist earlier in the evening, Melissa declared the night a bust. Six of us decided to go out for beers instead, and the two Addison residents of the group suggested a nearby Irish tavern by the name of Malarkey’s.

When we walked into the bar, we realized we may have made a fatal error. It was Trivia Night.

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Will Rural Texans Derail Metros’ Dreams of High Speed Rail?

| 20 hours ago

In the Texas Tribute today, erstwhile (and much-missed) Dallas Morning News transportation writer Brandon Formby has an extended report on the current status of Texas’ high-speed rail project. If you’ve been following the bullet train story, there’s isn’t a tremendous amount of news in the piece. Houston and Dallas want to connect their booming metropolitan areas with a high-speed rail line that would suture together the cities, creating a 90-minute-travel-time lifeline between Dallas and the Texas port, catalyzing the development of a mega-region that could compete globally with some of the worlds’ biggest markets. The cherry on top: the whole project is being funded by private investors without any need for taxpayers to pony-up dough for a big infrastructure project.

It sounds like a slam dunk, especially in Texas, which, in spite of its growing political divides, still greatly prizes private investment, economic growth, and expanding trade.

Or is it?

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Politics & Government

Reason Magazine: ‘Dallas Is About to Go Broke’

| 21 hours ago

There’s not much new to chew on in this short piece from the March issue of Reason. Just more of the same: things don’t look great in Dallas. I was talking to a North Texas politician the other day who does a fair amount of traveling. He said our impending bankruptcy — which he thinks can be avoided — has more and more become the national storyline about Dallas. I hope Dak Prescott understands this. We need a Super Bowl next year.

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Sports & Leisure

Report: Mavs Get Big Man Nerlens Noel

| 21 hours ago

I pretty much thought the best the Mavs would do at the NBA trade deadline was pick up a second rounder pick or two for Deron Williams and/or Andrew Bogut, maybe a out-of-favor player they could take a flier on. Getting Noel, who could be a star in Rick Carlisle’s offense, tailor-made for a rim-runner (cf. Tyson Chandler), was beyond my wildest dreams. (And let’s be clear: I have some wild dreams.)

They’re also giving up Bogut, but …

So they still get a decent pick, more than likely, in this year’s loaded draft. I don’t understand this for Philly at all, but this is awesome for the Mavs.


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Leading Off

Leading Off (2/23/17)

| 1 day ago

John Wiley Price Opening Statements Begin. At 8:30 a.m. this morning, opening statements for Dallas County Commissioner Price’s federal corruption trial will begin. The prosecution will go first, followed by the defense. Dapheny Fain, Price’s longtime assistant, will also be standing trial.

Dallas Disagrees with Texas Over Feral Hogs. State Agricultural Commissioner Sid Miller may have made it legal to poison feral hogs in Texas, but the Dallas City Council wants a different solution. Yesterday, by a vote of 14-1, the council voted to pay Striker Outfitters $347,100 throughout the next three years to “humanely trap and remove” hogs in Dallas. The company has completed a 10-month pilot program that has led to the capture of 96 hogs. After hogs are captured, they taken to Frontier Meats in Fort Worth.

Arlington Preschool Teacher Fired for Anti-Semitic Posts. Nancy Salem was fired from The Children’s Courtyard for posting several anti-Semitic tweets. Watchdog group Canary Mission reported her comments. Salem has deleted her social media accounts.

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Gary Cartwright, R.I.P.

| 2 days ago

CartwrightJust imagine. Bud Shrake, Dan Jenkins, and Gary Cartwright all working at the same newspaper. And Blackie Sherrod was their boss. It’s impossible. How could that have happened? And now, with the passing of Cartwright, Jenkins is the last one left. Michael Granberry wrote an excellent obit in the DMN, and he talked to Jenkins. You should read it, especially if you’re not familiar with all the names in this post. And then you should read John Spong’s fine remembrance of Cartwright over at Texas Monthly. It is filled with links to Cartwright’s stories for the magazine. Follow every one of them. 

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Nature & Environment

It Is Time to Chart a New Course for the Trinity River

| 2 days ago

The civic leaders leading the status quo vision of the Trinity River — collectively organized under two organizations, a political arm called the Trinity Commons Foundation and the fundraising arm called The Trinity Trust — have squandered the public’s trust and lost the narrative surrounding the history and future of the Trinity River Project.

There is no greater evidence of this than yesterday’s Trinity Commons Foundation luncheon. The event was billed as a celebration of progress made on the Trinity, but judging from reports from the event, there was depressingly little progress with which to update donors. If anything, the update was to remind those who purchased the $175 tickets to the luncheon that grand plans and financial uncertainties continue to delay the long-promised Trinity River Project.

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