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Local News

Dallas Is One of the Most Dangerous Cities To Drive in the U.S.

| 16 hours ago

Earlier this month, The Houston Chronicle published an investigation that mapped all 601,187 fatal roadway accidents in the country from 2001 through 2016. It found more vehicle-related fatalities in Houston than any other city. Dallas trailed at No. 2. We lead the country in fatalities involving speeding or traffic backups as well as those that happen on interstates. We also have the most pedestrians killed on freeways. Dallas ranks in the nation’s top three for alcohol and drug-involved deaths, truck-involved fatalities, and road rage fatalities.

The Chronicle took all the data and compared deaths per capita based on population for each year. For speeding, Dallas counted 1.57 speeding fatalities per 100,000 people, the most in the U.S. It pins a lot of the problem on a lack of policing. “Drivers likely speed, at least in part, because they believe no one with authority is paying attention,” reads the report.

Pulling municipal court records, the newspaper found that Dallas police officers issued 13 percent fewer tickets in 2017 than in 2015. Only 62 of the department’s 3,000 or so officers work the traffic beat. Of those 62, 18 were devoted to enforcement, about half of what it had it in 2015.

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Local News

There Is a Blurry Photo of Me, Zac Crain, on the Internet

| 16 hours ago
This is not the photo I was describing in the headline although I am wearing the same clothes  as in that one, which, again, is not this particular photograph. However, this one — and I know this is a little confusing —  is from that night. The photo in the headline, the blurry one,  is in the story I link to. Be patient. You’ll get there. Also, this wasn’t at SoulJazz Thursdays. That is just an ad. Yes, I know, I could also play well at SoulJazz Thursdays but that is not the point. Thank you. (Photo credit: Stefania Morandi)

A few months ago — wow, yeah, that was a few months ago — we published our second collection of microfiction, which, as D Magazine’s fiction editor, was very satisfying to me personally. It was well received. I know this because I received many complimentary (and, to be honest, correct) emails and messages and also because I heard from many people at the reading we did at the Wild Detectives. One attendee was local author Sanderia Faye, who contributed to the first microfiction package a wonderful story titled “Deep Ellum Blues.” Sanderia asked if we could do another reading at the Lit Night event she had started at Expo Park’s Sandaga 813. I said of course — or, really, more like “Of course!” — and so last Wednesday we did. Harry Hunsicker and Will Clarke read their stories and Sanderia arranged for some people to read a few of the others. There was also an open mic segment, and that was particularly fantastic. Stay tuned, because we very well might be doing something there again soon.

ANYWAY, an SMU student named Micah Flores was also there, and wrote about it (and Sanderia and Sandaga 813) here. At the very end is the aforementioned photo of me, Zac Crain, looking quite tall.

OK cool. How are you guys? Let me know in the comments.

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Police

Dallas Council Agenda Shift Thwarts Planned Police Protest

| 18 hours ago

This morning, the Dallas City Council voted to approve the budget for the next fiscal year. It was an action that, outside of a few wonky details surrounding housing, civil service benefits, and arcane state rules about what exactly constitutes a tax increase, shouldn’t draw much outside interest. But it was the inclusion of a pay increase for Dallas police officers, as well as the executive staff of the Dallas Police Department, that promised another round anti-police brutality protests like the one that shut down last week’s council meeting.

Yesterday evening, word began to appear on social media that some kind of action or protest was being planned for today’s meeting. Last night, the mayor chose to change the agenda, moving what was supposed to be an afternoon budget discussion to the morning, before the much-anticipated briefing on the Fair Park privatization plan. As park board members and community advocates streamed in this morning to talk about Fair Park, they were confused to find not only heightened police presence at City Hall, but a council that was hashing out the minutia of budgetary concerns. Council is still in session and so the mayor couldn’t be reached to explain the rationale for changing the timing of the agenda. His spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry. (UPDATE: According to the mayor’s spokesperson, the mayor changed the agenda in order to get the action items out of the way before what is expected to be a long Fair Park discussion)

At issue wasn’t so much the police pay increase in general, but its timing.

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Local News

Leading Off (9/18/18)

| 24 hours ago

Irving ISD Superintendent Quits. Jose Parra resigned without explanation yesterday after four years of running the district. Irving ISD issued a statement saying that his departure was in the board’s and Parra’s “respective best interests.”

Love Field to Get More Eats and Drinks. Speaking of everyone’s best interest, there are plans in the works to add more bars and a restaurant to deal with long lines and insufficient seats at the airport. Is the new restaurant Off-Site Kitchen? No. Is it a Dot’s Hop House? No, ma’am. Is it Twisted Root? Nope. It’ll be a Maggiano’s. Well, at least it’s not a Cheesecake Factory.

Mesquite Daycare Owner Endangers Children. A suspicious father rigged his kiddo’s carseat with a hidden camera and caught Rebecca Anderson, of Becky’s Child Day Care, yanking a baby around by his ankle, keeping kids strapped in their carseats (some by their necks), and giving them Tylenol to make her job easier. Anderson has been charged with nine counts of endangering a child.

And, Oh Yeah, It’s Gonna Be Hot Today. Enjoy the fall weather.

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Criminal Justice

To Those Close to Victims of Police Violence, Smearing of Botham Jean’s Character is a Familiar Refrain

| 2 days ago

“When people in our community get killed from police brutality, the first thing they have to deal with is the media discrediting their character.”

That comment was made to me about a month before Botham Jean was shot to death by an off-duty Dallas police officer inside his own apartment in the Cedars. I thought of it immediately after unidentified Dallas police officers leaked to the press certain details about the investigation into the murder in an attempt to smear Botham’s reputation. The comment was made by Christopher Daniels, a young Dallas activist who is the subject of my feature story in the October edition of D Magazine. We are publishing it online early, and you can read it today.

Daniels, who now goes by the name Rakem Balogun, was arrested by the FBI this past January and charged with illegal possession of a firearm. The judge denied Balogun bail, and he spent six months in a federal penitentiary awaiting trial. While he was in jail, Balogun lost his job and his apartment, and his children had to move out of Dallas to be near other family members for support. Then, in May, the judge dismissed the firearm charge and Balogun was released.

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Civics

A Few Notes on My Jury Duty Service at George Allen Today

| 2 days ago

1. Jury duty is important. When you get that summons, you really should do the right thing.

2. My summons today was for duty at the George L. Allen Sr. Courts Building. That’s where your civil stuff goes down, not your criminal trials. So, frankly, it’s nicer than the digs you’ll find at the Lew Sterrett Justice Center but maybe a step down from what you’ll see at the Earle Cabell Federal Building. That’s my impression anyway.

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Travel

Escape Your Work Jungle at Chimp Haven

| 2 days ago

It’s Monday, so I know you are already itching for a weekend adventure. For our June issue, we came up with 10 unique options within a short drive from Dallas. One is the incredible Center for Animal Research and Education in Bridgeport, where you can sleep in a safari-themed suite while listening to the soothing sounds of lions, tigers, and lemurs below. The only downside is that the price of a stay—a worthwhile donation of $1,000 to support the organization’s rescue mission—may place it beyond reach for some. A more affordable option is only a 3-hour drive away. Chimp Haven in Keithville, Louisiana, which recently became the world’s largest chimpanzee sanctuary, is opening to the public for a few select days this fall. 

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Health & Medicine

Inside the Alleged Pharma Scheme at Dallas’ Medoc Health Services

| 2 days ago

In May, FBI agents pulled a couple of ghost white vans outside Medoc Health Services LLC and loaded up at least one of them up with material from the company’s 17th floor offices. At the time, nobody on scene would tell The Dallas Morning News, which broke the news of the raid, exactly what was going on. The paper was able to find, however, several other healthcare businesses registered with the state comptroller located at the same address—Suite 1700, in the ClubCorp building off LBJ Freeway and Webb Chapel Road in Dallas.

Since then, I’ve spoken to two former employees who allege a massive scheme in which Medoc, which was founded in 2015, acted as a prescription manager on behalf of physicians grouped into the aforementioned businesses. Rather than selecting a certain medication to prescribe a patient, the sources allege, physicians involved would select a category of drug—an anti-inflammatory, for instance—which would be sent to a go-between pharmacy owned by Medoc.

According to sources, Medoc would route the prescriptions through a network of mail-order specialty pharmacies it owned. But before that, the company would closely examine the contracts between the patient’s insurance company and its various pharmacies. That, sources claim, allowed Medoc to select the drug or drugs it could prescribe to elicit the highest reimbursements. It tacked on the maximum amount of refills and sometimes sent more than one drug, allege the sources, who requested anonymity because they feared retaliation and wanted to wait until the federal investigation played out to speak publicly.

One source named nearly a dozen pharmacies owned by Medoc through a network of companies. A review of the Texas Comptroller’s website shows that several have the same Dallas attorney—William Meier III—named as Medoc’s registered agent. One of the pharmacies listed Messorio Healthcare Services as the managing member; Medoc CEO Kevin Kuykendall is listed as Messorio’s chief executive.

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Local News

Leading Off (9/17/18)

| 2 days ago

Cowboys Win. [extremely Dale Hansen when he had that monologue-y radio show on The Ticket voice] But I wouldn’t buy those Super Bowl tickets … just … yet. Anyway good job. I mostly paid attention to Odell Beckham Jr.’s shoes. Also …

Activists March With Coffins at AT&T Stadium. The group of 75 or so marched with two coffins symbolizing Botham Jean and Oshae Terry, killed by North Texas police officers in the past month.

North Texas Upsets Arkansas. Unexpected, I gather from those who follow college football, and also Jerry Jones’ grandson played.

Driver Who Rammed Into Fox 4 Building Freed. Police have yet to bring a case against him, so Michael Fry walks. For now.

FC Dallas Ties, Drops to Second. The 0-0 draw against the Columbus Crew puts them back a point of Sporting Kansas City as the season winds down.

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Urbanism

Results of the First Great Downtown Dallas Invitational Scooter Race

| 5 days ago

Mayor Mike Rawlings had some stuff to say today at a luncheon held at the downtown Omni. If you’re interested in that, you should read Matt Goodman’s post. If, on the other hand, you are interested in racing, this right here is the perfect post for you.

Four sportsmen with D Magazine connections decided that today would begin the scooter racing season. And much like NASCAR begins its season with the biggest race of the year, at Daytona, the scooter racing season started with its biggest race, the inaugural Downtown Dallas Invitational, aka the DDI. While future routes will vary and were discussed at length during lunch, the first DDI route ran from D Magazine headquarters, at St. Paul and Ross, to the downtown Omni hotel (for that mayor thing). Your racers were Peter Simek, Tim Rogers, Matt Goodman, and some guy who wears a man bun. Scooters were paid for and mounted shortly before 11 a.m. And the race was on.

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