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Local News

Leading Off (2/22/17)

| 2 hours ago

Jury Selected for John Wiley Price Trial. It took one day to select the 12 jurors (plus alternates) who will spend the next four months in the courtroom to hear testimony from more than 170 witnesses in John Wiley Price’s federal corruption trial. The final selection was closed, so the makeup of the jury is not yet known. They are scheduled to hear opening statements Thursday morning. Meanwhile, Price’s seat at the Commissioners Court was empty yesterday for the first time in decades.

North Texas Police Chief Gets Max Sentence for Molestation. A former Ellis County police chief was sentenced to 40 years in prison (two 20-year back-to-back sentences) for molesting a 14-year-old girl, including incidents in his office.

Puppy Chihuahua Survives Heroin Overdose. The 4-month-old puppy, dubbed Lucky by animal services workers, was found barely breathing on the floorboard of a car after his owners were arrested for changing price tags at a Home Depot in Carrolton. He is believed to have ingested heroin, which authorities also found in the car, but the Chihuahua is now doing well. Lucky’s owners are currently in custody for fraud and drug possession.

Dallas Lawyer Taking Hollywood Hair Guru to Task. Dallas lawyer Amy Davis has been working on a class action lawsuit against Wen Hair Care products for nearly two years, and recently objected to a $26.5 million settlement saying the products are not all-natural as advertised, but use synthetic allergens. Hundreds of women have come forward claiming the products, created by Hollywood stylist Chaz Dean and sold via infomercials, have caused significant hair loss.

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Nature & Environment

D Magazine Announces a Symposium on the Trinity River

| 18 hours ago

Dallas has long struggled with what it should do with the Trinity River, but has this city ever really understood what the river is and what it could be for Dallas if we simply embraced its wild natural wonder? That’s the question we will tackle at a symposium we’re holding on the Trinity River titled “Envisioning the Trinity: Theme Park or Natural Wonder” from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m on Wednesday, March 8 at Cityplace.

If you’re tired of the sort of nonsense that was thrown at today’s Trinity Commons luncheon, then join us. RSVP here. Read about the history of the Trinity River Project, ideas for its future, and what natural wonders you can discover today in the watershed in our special March feature package on the Trinity River. Let’s finally set Dallas down a path toward realizing the true potential of this city’s great natural asset.

Here are more details about the symposium.

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Politics & Government

An Extremely Short Recap of the Just-Concluded Trinity Commons Luncheon

| 19 hours ago

If you want more details, and you want them immediately, head to my Twitter feed. I did my best to tweet the entire Trinity Commons Foundation luncheon. It was billed as a celebration. Maybe I shouldn’t have expected much. But I got very little. The mayoral dream team of Tom Leppert, Ron Kirk, and Mike Rawlings fielded questions from Rena Pederson (Laura Miller couldn’t make it for health reasons; we were asked to keep her in our prayers). Here’s my takeaway:

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Local News

Leading Off (2/21/17)

| 1 day ago

Grand Prairie House Fire Kills Lots of Dogs. According to the DMN, “six dogs were saved, but at least 13 dogs, and an unknown number of cats and birds died” in the fire. A woman who lived there had to be hospitalized for smoke inhalation after she went back into the flames to try to save more of the animals.

Trinity Commons Luncheon Goes Down Today. At the Anatole today, the foundation will honor the four mayors (Kirk, Miller, Leppert, Rawlings) who have gotten us to where we are today with the Trinity project, which is staring at yet another watercolor rendering of a park, wondering whether a high-speed toll road will run through it. (I’m being cynical. I’m sorry. The Audubon Center, the bridges — there is some stuff to celebrate.)

John Wiley Price Trial Starts Today. Get your popcorn ready, for jury selection at least. And read what Jim Schutze wrote on Monday, if you haven’t already. 

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Law

For Which It Stands

| 2 days ago

On Thursday, Governor Greg Abbott, a lawyer and former judge, told FOX News that if the NFL didn’t stay out of Texas’ intentionally clogged bathroom business and quit threatening to take the Super Bowl away, he would force NFL players to stand for the National Anthem. His spokesperson later stated that Abbott didn’t really mean what he was saying, that it was simply “hyperbole.” Because clearly, as a lawyer and former judge, he had to know that such forced patriotic expressions were deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court more than half a century ago, in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Burnette. For those who aren’t so enlightened, it’s a historic case worth reading.

On January 9, 1942, the Board of Education in Minersville, West Virginia, adopted a resolution ordering that all teachers and students salute the flag with a “stiff-arm” salute while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Refusal to salute was to be treated as an act of insubordination subject to criminal prosecution, a $50 fine, and jail time of up to 30 days.

Note the date. Little more than a month after the attack on Pearl Harbor. When could a hyper sense of patriotism be more appropriate, more understandable? When, too, could concerns about the salute “being too much like Hitler’s” have had more immediate relevance?

Supreme Court Justice Robert Houghwout Jackson—the only person in history to serve as United States Solicitor General, United States Attorney General, and as a United States Supreme Court Justice, as well as chief U.S. prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials—issued the opinion, which eloquently determined that the school board’s attempts to compel the flag salute and pledge violated the First Amendment. Both timely and timeless, it’s worth a read in its entirety. Or catch the highlights below.

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Police

Dallas Police and Fire Pension Board Approves Plan Fix – And It’s Not the City’s Fix

| 2 days ago

The Dallas Police and Fire pension board have approved a plan that will fully pay back the troubled fund within 40 to 53 years. It will cost the city $22 million per year, and, unlike the plan put forth by the City of Dallas, it will not take interest from retirees’ Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP) accounts or cut benefits and raise contributions.

Left alone, the underfunded pension plan is currently on course to run out of money in 10 years thanks to a history of careless investments huge losses on real estate deals. The plan approved by the board today was put forward by state legislator Dan Flynn, who is chairman of the Texas House of Representatives Pensions Committee. The city and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings were pushing another plan which would have paid back the fund in 30 years, but drew criticism from retirees because it wanted to dip into their DROP accounts and tighten the belt on benefits. Police and firefighters are reportedly happy with the vote for Flynn’s plan: 

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Television

Vote For The Ultimate Dallas Reality TV Star

| 2 days ago

Perhaps our reputation precedes us, but reality television and its producers are obsessed with Dallas. Big personalities make for a great story line, and since reality TV’s explosion in popularity throughout the late ’90s and early 2000s, our city has generated more small-screen “stars” than Simon Cowell eye rolls.

Through March 6, vote here as often as you’d like on a series of head-to-head matchups among memorable reality stars from throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Your decisions determine the ranking, which will update live as more and more votes are cast.

Each time, you’ll be asked who should win the round. Treat it like a first impression rose: choose wisely with instinct.

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