Sheffie Kadane Speaks His Mind on DISD Home Rule. It Doesn't Take Long.

Thumbnail image for SheffieKadaneWinfreyPoint.jpg
A lot of words were spoken at today's joint meeting of the Dallas City Council and Dallas ISD board of trustees. Most were on point, for or against the call to draft a home-rule charter. Some were illuminating. Almost all were delivered with passion. It was, all in all, a remarkable (for City Hall) display of intelligent, engaged adults wrestling with a serious public policy matter.

Then there was Councilman Sheffie Kadane.

"This charter district -- would there be DISD schools in the district?" Kadane asked when his turn to speak arrived.

More »

Pallavi Dhawan Describes Last Day of Son's Life in Affidavit

When the Frisco Police Department discovered the body of 10-year-old Arnav Dhawan in his Frisco home, they said, he was lying in a dry bathtub with a cloth wrapped around him, surrounded by plastic bags. His mother, Pallavi Dhawan, had arranged him that way, and police claimed in a press conference shortly afterward that she nodded "yes" when they asked if she killed him.

But the case quickly seemed to fall apart.

Her husband vouched for her innocence, and the coroner more recently determined that Arnav most likely died of natural causes.

Yesterday Pallavi Dhawan sent police a sworn affidavit describing the last day of Arnav's life, his poor health and the cultural traditions that she was following in arranging his body after he died.

See also: Ten-year-old Arnav Dhawa's Autopsy Done While Police Sat on His Medical Records

Shortly after Arnav was born, Pallavi writes, his health problems became apparent. First he was diagnosed with jaundice, then, a few days later, he suffered a urinary tract infection. At 3 months old, doctors noticed "an usual head circumference." After more checkups, he was ultimately diagnosed with microcephaly -- basically, an abnormally small head. There's no cure and people with the condition are expected to live shorter lives, though the prognosis can vary widely from patient to patient.

More »

Dallas ISD Home-Rule Debate Has Been Great for Mike Miles

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for mikemiles_markgraham.jpg
Mark Graham
Mike Miles
You know the debate over public schools in Dallas has gone squirrely when retired teacher and education activist advocate Bill Betzen stands before the City Council and offers implicit approval of Mike Miles' tenure as DISD superintendent.

Betzen, speaking in advance of a council discussion on the home-rule proposal for DISD, stopped well short of endorsing Miles, but he argued that the district is moving in the right direction -- graduation rates have risen for five consecutive years now -- and can continue to do so without fundamentally changing the district's structure.

The man who followed Betzen at the microphone, an East Dallas resident named David Lee, agreed.

More »

Dallas Photographer Mike Mezeul Captured the Best "Blood Moon" Photo of All

Mike Mezeul II
If you didn't stay up late on Monday night to witness the "Blood Moon," fear not. The cosmos have conveniently scheduled three reruns over the next two years. Can't wait six months? Observer freelancer Mike Mezeul II has you covered.

He's the guy who shot the time-lapse photo you've probably already seen on your social media feed. (When my mother-in-law posts it on her Facebook feed, describing it as merely "viral" is woefully inadequate.)

The Baltimore Sun's photography blog caught up with Mezeul for an explanation of how he did it. Short answer: He stood out in the cold for a really long time.

More »

Dallas Police Looking For Car Thief Who Killed Teen in M Streets Hit-and-Run

Categories: Crime

Dallas PD
Sandy Vasquez and her 13-year old son, Ethan, were driving west through the M Streets Tuesday morning, apparently en route to school at William B. Travis Academy, when a stolen minivan ran a stop sign and broadsided their Nissan Versa.

The car, as the photos show was demolished. Vasquez was taken to Baylor Hospital with critical injuries. Ethan, the son of a Cedar Hill police sergeant and by all accounts a kind and intelligent kid, was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital.

The task now turns to finding driver of the stolen SUV, who promptly fled the scene on foot.

More »

Fort Worth Pedophile Lloyd Gibson, Sentenced to 70 Years in Jail, Is Why Kids Don't Talk to Strangers

Categories: Crime

Lloyd Gibson
With sex crimes, particularly those relating to children, the fair administration of justice sometimes takes a backseat to the urge to punish. Just glancing at the headline of the Tarrant County district attorney's announcement of a 70-year prison sentence for failing to register as a sex offender might suggest 69-year-old Lloyd Gibson's case is one of those.

Maybe not. So prolific a child molester is Gibson that he earned the type of sobriquet more typically reserved for serial bank robbers. He revealed for the first time during Tuesday's sentencing hearing on his failure-to-register conviction that he is the "Baseball Cap Bandit," a pedophile who terrorized Houston in the 1970s by breaking into dozens of homes to expose himself to strangers' young children.

More »

The Trinity Toll Road Will Flood, Expert Admits. Who Knew? Me.

Categories: Schutze

Sadly -- or luckily -- unlike Archimedes, Jim did not leap from his tub to run about naked in the streets, shouting eureka.
The Pulitzer Prizes just came out. Once again I scan the list, searching for yours truly. Not a mention. But next year it will be different. Next year my early work on the Trinity River toll road is going to win me the Pulitzer and possibly also the Nobel and if they have a prize that's like a boy genius Einstein award for just being great, I'll be picking that one up, too, thank you.

Of course, tooting my own horn goes against my basic modesty, a quality for which I may possibly be in for some recognition as well one day. But in this instance, I really must toot.

If you missed it, Robert Wilonksy had a story yesterday in the Morning News saying the federal government has decided that if you put a freeway out in the area between the levees along the river where it floods, the freeway will flood. This finding is based on 20 years of research, countless studies and millions of dollars worth of scientific, engineering and environmental examination.

More »

Dallas Midtown Developer Says Valley View Area Will Have a Subway. Someday.

Categories: Development

Thumbnail image for DallasMidtown.JPG
Dallas Midtown, the mixed-use wonderland that will replace the decrepit Valley View Center, will have everything a modern urbanist could want. If everything lives up to developer Scott Beck's vision, there will be several thousand apartments and condos, hundreds of thousands of feet of office and retail space, artists to give it a SoHo vibe, easy pedestrian and bike access, and multiple grocery stores all centered on a 25-acre park with Klyde Warren-style programming.

There's just one thing missing: decent access to public transportation. Just in case the modern urbanist wants to go somewhere.

Beck's already thought of that. He says there are plans for a subway -- "it literally goes underneath the Valley View Mall area" -- with a stop at Dallas Midtown. The possibility of this east-west rail line was built into the LBJ Express Project, he says.

More »

Texas Freezes Agency's Funding Over Release of Data Linking Fracking to Ozone Pollution

Categories: The Environment

Daniel Foster
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has consistently said that fracking has no significant impact on air quality, not in the Barnett Shale. Not in the Eagle Ford Shale. Not anywhere.

It was news, then, when a TCEQ-funded study, performed by the Alamo Area Council of Governments, a San Antonio-area regional planning agency, suggested a link between oil and gas drilling and a recent surge in the region's ozone levels.

Was TCEQ finally admitting that the fumes being belched out by gas wells and compressor stations might be having a negative effect on air quality? Far from it. So miffed was the agency that it froze funding for the Alamo COG.

More »

Garland Man Tries to Trick Dallas Cops Chasing Him, Fails Miserably

Categories: Crime

Rodrick Tippett
Rodrick Tippett got off relatively easy for the pair of burglaries he committed in 2009. After six months behind bars, the judge changed what had been a six-year penitentiary sentence to six years of probation. The fact that one of his victims had been his sister does not appear to have influenced the judge's decision.

According to prosecutors, Tippett violated his probation two months later by having sex with a prostitute, then again in January 2011 when he twice assaulted his girlfriend, though records indicate he didn't see the inside of a jail cell again until 2012, when he was arrested on charges of theft and burglary. Somehow, his sentence this time was even lighter than before, just five years' probation, the terms of which he violated four months later by failing to show up at a substance abuse treatment center.

More »

Now Trending

From the Vault