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WFAA Names a Replacement for John McCaa

| 11 hours ago

In August, long-running WFAA evening news co-anchor John McCaa announced that he is retiring. He’ll leave the station on March 1. On Monday, the station announced the replacement: a veteran anchor from Washington D.C.’s NBC affiliate. Chris Lawrence starts in January.

WFAA says Lawrence will read the news alongside Cynthia Izaguirre during the evenings and field anchor during major events.

He brings in some serious reporting chops: He was a national security correspondent for CNN for a decade, and has reported from Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Israel. He reported on Hurricane Katrina, the BP oil spill, and the Boston Marathon bombing. A little more from WFAA:

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Police

Fort Worth Has an Opening for a Police Chief

| 14 hours ago

Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald is leaving to be the police commissioner in Baltimore. Fitzgerald arrived in Fort Worth in 2015 after previous chief stints in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Missouri City, just outside Houston. Now, he’ll take over a department that needs a lot of help.

BPD has been looking for its next police commissioner since May, when Darryl De Sousa stepped down amid a federal investigation into his spending habits. He’d lasted only a couple of months; previous commissioner Kevin Davis was fired in January.

I like the Baltimore Sun’s lead:

In a flourish of bureaucratic understatement, the ad seeking candidates to become Baltimore’s next police commissioner described the job as “a challenging position.”

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Podcasts

New EarBurner: Vernon Wells, Arlington Native and Retired MLB Player

| 15 hours ago

Vernon Wells—Major League Baseball journeyman, Arlington native, winery owner—now lives in Westlake, near Herschel Walker. His life sounds pretty normal, or at least as normal as it can be when you call Herschel Walker a neighbor. Wells makes his kids lunch. He coaches their football and basketball teams. He takes walks around his neighborhood. He doesn’t travel as much as he’d like, particularly to the vineyard he bought in Napa Valley with his partner, former teammate Chris Iannetta. All of this sounds theoretically familiar, if elevated a bit.

Tim interviewed Vernon for the January issue of the magazine, ostensibly about JACK Winery, which now has four wines available for sale on its website. (If you’re wondering why I keep capitalizing JACK, it’s because it is an acronym for their respective children: Jayce, Ashlyn, Christian, and Kylie.) Wine Spectator has given them solid marks, all high 80s and low 90s. This second act for Wells began after he retired from the league; he and Iannetta bonded over wine when sidelined with injuries, and both decided to get into the game to make something that would be at home in a steakhouse.

Wells, whose $126 million contract with the Blue Jays in 2006 was the 13th $100 million contract in major league history, retired in 2013 with 270 career home runs and nearly 1,000 RBIs. And he still thinks baseball is too slow. Show notes after the jump.

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Local News

Leading Off (11/19/18)

| 20 hours ago

DA Elect John Creuzot Says Amber Guyger Should be Charged With Murder. Not manslaughter, which is what the former Dallas Police officer was arrested on in the shooting death of Botham Jean.

Cowboys Outlast Falcons. In what I’ve just decided to think about as battle between myself and my siblings, who both live or lived in Atlanta, the Cowboys won on a last-second field goal by their insanely average (at best) kicker, whose blown extra point necessitated the game-winning field goal. They’re now 5-5 which — siren emoji HOT TAKE ALERT three flame emojis siren emoji — I believe is the actual most signature Cowboys record in the Jason Garrett Era. I don’t know why exactly, it just feels more average than 8-8. OK, wait, let’s power rank mediocre records super fast. For me, it goes like this:

  1. 5-5
  2. 6-6
  3. 8-8
  4. 7-7
  5. 7-9

UNT Dallas Student Shot on Campus. The 41-year-old was shot Saturday night over what police say was a child custody issue. He was taken to the hospital in stable condition. The suspect (not a student) fled in a vehicle which he subsequently crashed and was arrested.

Erica Richardson Will Be in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The Carter High cheerleader will represent Dallas ISD.

Mavs Beat Defending Champion Warriors. OK, the Dubs were without Steph Curry and Draymond Green, but they still had Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, not to mention Finals MVP Andre Iguodala. Luka Doncic came through the game winner and the defense came up very big. Your Mavericks are now on a three-game win streak, which includes a 50-point defenestration of the Jazz on Wednesday. Mavs eighth seed question mark?

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Ghosts of Dallas

Obsessed with ‘The Haunting of Hill House,’ We Chat Up Dallas Ghost Hunters: Part 3

| 4 days ago

Anyone keeping up with this ghost hunter mini-series (read Part 1 and Part 2) may have noticed there was a bit of a gap since I posted the last interview. A person reason: my husband was out of town and I could not bring myself to even think about, much less edit the story of, J.J. Jensen’s bone-chilling paranormal encounter that occurred when she was home alone with her son—an incident that drove her family out of their 1800s Victorian house. Jensen now helps people find peace in their homes with TexPart Paranormal, a team of paranormal investigators. Her group also leads ghost walks around the McKinney town square, which they have studied extensively. You’ll find that Jensen has a bit of a different take on the paranormal than others. In her experience, family dysfunction breeds spiritual mayhem.

D Magazine: So what did you think of The Haunting on Hill House?

J.J. Jensen: I think that in some ways it represents a haunting fairly well, of course, from a more theatrical perspective. But about 95 percent of our cases, people come in and say, “Yeah, I’ve got a haunting. I’m scared. I need your help.” What’s happened is, okay, they had something occur. And then they tried to self-diagnose. Got themselves scared, escalated the situation because now you have a lot of fear. Well, I used sage and I used this, and they’re trying to fix it themselves, and it’s just a mess. And then you’ve got the ones that are skeptical and don’t really believe that anything at all is going on, that makes the others mad. And what ends up happening is you’ve got more of a family haunting than a real haunting.

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Christmas

101 Things To Do For Christmas in Dallas: the 2018 Edition

| 4 days ago

It’s never too early to start celebrating the holidays – in fact, you better get going if you don’t want to miss out on all the fun festivities Dallas has to offer this year. The city has an array of seasonal plays and concerts coming up: dozens of parades are planned throughout North Texas, the museums are decking their halls, the malls are bringing out Santa, and Grapevine is being typically extra in fulfilling its role as the “The Christmas Capital of Texas.” (Who said you have to rely on Mother Nature for the gift of a white Christmas? Not Grapevine, which imports millions of pounds of ice and manufactures snow flurries each year.)

Here’s a healthy sampling of North Texas’ best holiday wonders. You don’t have to do all 101-ish items on this list – but we recommend shooting for 90 or so. Merry Christmas!

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Police

Report: Police in Dallas, Arlington, Elsewhere Are Boosting Rape Clearance Stats Without Making Arrests

| 4 days ago

Police departments in Dallas and Arlington, along with dozens of others across the country, are using a special kind of clearance for rape cases to make it appear as if they’re better at solving the crimes than they actually are, according to an investigation by ProPublica, Reveal, and Newsy.

About 15 percent of the rape cases cleared by the Dallas Police Department from 2014 to 2016 were “exceptionally cleared,” a designation that is supposed to be used sparingly—when “police have enough evidence to make an arrest and know who and where the suspect is, but can’t make an arrest for reasons outside their control,” according to the report. During the same time period, 41 percent of DPD rape cases resulted in arrest (sixth-best among the 64 police agencies that provided data).

The 15-percent exceptional clearance rate actually puts DPD in the lower third of the 64 police agencies that responded to requests for data. In Arlington, 20 percent of rape cases were exceptionally cleared while 21 percent ended in arrests. Austin exceptionally cleared 33 percent while making arrests in 17 percent. Meanwhile, Fort Worth exceptionally cleared just 4 percent of cases while making arrests in 23 percent.

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Local News

Read This Advocate Report About Redlining in East Dallas

| 4 days ago

Redlining has shaped East Dallas. Over at The Advocate, the talented Will Maddox—who we have since poached to cover healthcare, our apologies!—put together this interesting feature that mapped the neighborhoods that the federal government steered mortgage loans to during the New Deal era. He then compared them to current housing prices, racial makeup, and poverty levels. What emerges is perhaps not terribly surprising. The parts of East Dallas that were deemed “best” or “still desirable” are whiter and the homes are more expensive.

Those designations were packed into federal law after the Great Depression as appraisals for the likelihood that mortgage loans would be paid back. In practice, these color-coded 250 American cities, and essentially muscled out areas that had concentrations of black or brown people. In areas deemed “hazardous,” lenders wouldn’t touch. Those areas were almost all minority communities.

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Sports

Roger Staubach Is Getting a Presidential Medal of Freedom Today

| 4 days ago

Two-time Super Bowl champion and real estate mogul Roger Staubach is headed to the White House today to receive a Medal of Freedom. The faithful Dallasite will be awarded with the highest civilian honor for his 11-season, Hall of Fame career—delayed four years after college for active duty—as well as the commercial real estate and philanthropic efforts that have come since.

Staubach will be joined by Miriam Adelson, a doctor and humanitarian, Senator Orrin Hatch, one of the longest-serving U.S. Senators in history, and Alan Page, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who went on to serve on the Minnesota Supreme Court. President Donald Trump is also awarding posthumous awards to Elvis Presley, Babe Ruth, and Antonin Scalia. Justice Scalia passed away in 2016 following three decades on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dallas City Council member Jennifer Staubach Gates, Roger’s daughter, gave a statement to the Dallas Morning News:

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Local News

Leading Off (11/16/18)

| 4 days ago

The Inmate Who Escaped Is Back in Jail. Raymondo Aguero, 28, scaled a fence last Friday night in the Dallas County jail’s south tower and hadn’t been seen since. I saw on Twitter yesterday that the county had offered a $5,000 reward for any information leading to his arrest, which I kind of shrugged at, but I guess it got the job done. He was found in Pleasant Grove. In addition to charges of resisting arrest, unlawful carrying of a weapon, driving while intoxicated, and drug possession, he’ll also be charged with escaping. He’s the third inmate to escape this year. 

WFAA Alleges UNT Botched Gang Rape Investigation. Last year, UNT police “found credible evidence” that two basketball players and the team manager sexually assaulted a freshman student. After the assault, she alleges one of them then called her and asked her to join an escort service. The RA apparently also heard the conversation. Though Denton County declined to indict, WFAA says the university had evidence that the manager had “made arrangements” for three other clients to pay for sex but didn’t pursue it.

Winter Is Stalling. Temperatures will jump this weekend above the average, but a cold front returns Sunday. Expect highs in the mid-to-upper 60s before we jolt back down to frigid. As I type this, it’s 43.

Dallas Officer’s Foot Run Over During Arrest. The officer was off-duty at her apartment at Ross and Routh at the edge of downtown when she saw three people breaking into a vehicle. She confronted them, but two of the suspects got in a car and sped off. They drove right over her foot. The third tried to run, but she was able to catch him. The rest remain at large. 

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Media

The Lost FrontBurner Movie Has Been Found!

| 4 days ago

Way back in 2007, the staff of D Magazine put together a little behind-the-scenes look at how the office functioned. Long story as to the genesis of the idea. Our staff photographer, Elizabeth Lavin, told us that we had to make the video for our company Christmas party. Strict orders from Wick. Naturally, she was wrong. We were actually invited to participate in karaoke. Or something like that. Anyway, doesn’t matter. We ditched work for an entire day and made this video for the company. Then we decided to put it on FrontBurner. Then, after a couple CMS changes and whatnot, the video went missing — until now! Special thanks to our own Baker Ousley for finding this on an old hard drive. Enjoy:

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