DART Rail Not Running Downtown Tomorrow, Adding Delays for Christmas Shoppers

Categories: Transportation

Dallas Area Rapid Transit
DART says these bus routes will get you around the rail closure downtown this weeknd.
After this weekend, lord willing, DART's replacement of downtown's light rail track will finally be over. The work was scheduled to be done at the end of November, but bad weather has forced the final weekend of work to be pushed to tomorrow and Sunday, leaving Christmas shoppers downtown and all points south and east in a lurch.

For DART, using the upcoming weekend as a contingency is the lesser of multiple evils. It couldn't use December 6 and 7 because of the Adolphus Children's Parade and it couldn't use December 13 and 14 because of the marathon. Letting the work slide into January means greater potential for winter storms and conflict with the first College Football Playoff championship. The phases of the replacement, DART spokesman Morgan Lyons says, each require two full days of work, so missing one day means missing the whole weekend.

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As Deaths Mounted, the FDA Dithered in its Probe of Dallas' USPlab's Diet Supplement

Categories: Healthcare

If you want nice arm muscles like this man, you should probably just do some old-fashioned exercise.
It was over four years ago when agents from the Food and Drug Administration began hearing disturbing complaints about USPLabs, the corporation headquartered in Dallas that sells "nutrition" powder, dietary supplements and other products to bros trying to beef up their builds.

Customers complaining of bad reactions included a 16-year-old who had to go to the emergency room after feeling numb and dizzy. So the FDA did what any powerful government agency would do: They showed up to the company's lab on Manana Drive and investigated, er, "inspected" it, according to an FDA search warrant. (Already not a good sign -- inspections are the friendlier, less hostile cousin of investigations).

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Christina Morris' DNA, Phone Records Show She Was in Trunk of Friend's Car, Cops Say

Categories: Crime

Plano Police/Help Find Christina Morris via Facebook
Enrique Arochi and Christina Morris
Enrique Arochi was angry, cops say, because one of his friends declined his sexual advances. Not content to end a night that began, he told police, with an Adderall and continued with 10 shots of Captain Morgan's at a friend's apartment and three to five beers at a Shops at Legacy bar, Plano police say Arochi left a parking garage at the Plano shopping center with Christina Morris in the trunk of his car.

A probable cause affidavit first obtained by KTVT says that a swab taken from the bumper of Arochi's 2010 Camaro matched Morris' DNA perfectly. Her cell phone, police say, pinged multiple cell towers as Arochi drove to the house he shared with his mother after leaving the parking garage. He arrived at the house, located in Allen, 40 minutes after police say he kidnapped Morris.

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Eat a Dick: Things that Made Us Laugh at Dallas in 2014

Thumbnail image for dezandromoinchicago.jpg
Dallas Cowboys
One of Unfair Park's favorite people of 2014. And every other year.
2014 saw a bumper crop of famous Dallas people saying, doing and tweeting ridiculous things. Often disheartening, always amusing, here are the odds and ends we liked best this year.

"I have no dog in this pony" -- Carolyn Davis, making us wonder all sorts of things during the lengthy, arcane City Council fight over civil collections.

Dwaine Caraway does Vonciel Hill Better Than Vonciel Hill Does Vonciel Hill -- He nails the whole thing, down to the holier-than-thou, angry elementary principal cadence.

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Texas' Homegrown Liquor Lobby Tries to Kill Total Wine, Gets Laughed Out of Court

Luis Tamayo
It was a valiant effort. Earlier this year the Texas Package Stores Association, in an attempt to shield the thousand or so liquor stores it represents from meaningful competition, sought to resuscitate an obscure and transparently stupid provision of Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code barring non-Texans from holding Texas liquor licenses.

The law was overturned by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1994 because it "discriminates against out-of-staters" -- in that particular case a Florida man and a Tennessee man who wanted to by San Antonio's Baby Dolls topless club -- and thus was a violation of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

But 1994 was a long time ago, well before Maryland-based Total Wine & More introduced its peculiarly non-seedy brand of liquor emporium to Texas and began siphoning customers with its reasonable prices and fantastic selection. It was also before another federal appeals court, the 8th Circuit, decided that residency requirements for liquor wholesalers were just fine in Missouri.

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What Preconceptions about Dallas Will the New Dude at the Morning News Bring With Him?

Categories: Schutze

This is not Dallas barbecue. Yet.

You saw here yesterday that The Dallas Morning News named a new editor to replace Bob Mong, who is retiring. I always admired Mong, a fact I tried to keep to myself. I know nothing about the new person, Mike Wilson.

James M. Moroney III, president of A.H. Belo, owner of the News, said, "I was looking for someone with experiences leading a traditional newsroom's transition to the digital environment..."

The transition from print to digital journalism is of urgent importance to all of us in the field. In fact I think about nothing else. In fact I think about it so much that I have been searching the Bible for answers. I think maybe I came up with a pretty good one from Exodus 5:

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Former Sergeant Sues Fort Worth Police Department For Alleged Racism

Categories: Legal Battles

Fort Worth Police Department
Until 2010, Sergeant Delbert Johnson had a great career at the Fort Worth Police Department. He joined the force in 1990 and had worked his way up to sergeant by 2000. In 2005 he was transferred to the department's day shift traffic division, giving a regular schedule that allowed him to work a second job and spend time with his family.

Things began to change, Johnson says in a lawsuit filed Wednesday, in 2010. That year, he and another officer, James Dunn, saw a photo printed at the traffic division showing one of their fellow officers, Sergeant Ann Gates, holding a noose around a snowman's neck. A complaint was submitted to internal affairs and Gates and the sergeant who took the photo, Mike Cagle, were admonished by the department.

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Dallas Morning News Names FiveThirtyEight's Mike Wilson New Editor-in-Chief

Categories: Media

Meet the new boss.
Mike Wilson, the managing editor of Nate Silver's ESPN-owned data journalism project, FiveThirtyEight, will take the reins as The Dallas Morning News' new editor-in-chief on February 16. He replaces Bob Mong, who is retiring after 13 years at the helm.

Wilson is a former managing editor at the Tampa Bay Times, a paper known in journalism circles for producing robust investigative and narrative journalism, as well as losing lots and lots of money.

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Texas Executed 10 People in 2014, the Lowest Number Since 1996

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
California's lethal injection room.
The number of executions and new death sentences continued to drop in the U.S. in 2014, even in Texas, which killed 10 prisoners this year, according to a new report from the Death Penalty Information Center.

That's the lowest number since 1996, when three men received lethal injections. (The 1996 figure comes with an asterisk. The state was in the midst of a legal battle regarding changes made to the capital case appeals process by the Legislature. As a result, there ended up being a de facto death penalty moratorium from March 1996 to January 1997. After the changes were upheld, the state killed 37 people during the remainder of 1997.)

The 10 executions still matched Missouri for the most in the country but represented a significant drop from 2013, when 16 convicted murderers were killed. Texas juries only handed out 11 death sentences this year -- the latest being given Eric Williams in Kaufman County on Wednesday. That's down from a 1998 high of 48.

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My Children, the Blacklands Toll Road is Undead. It Walks in the Night.

Categories: Schutze

Always be concerned if you ask a highway official a straight question, and he says, "Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make."

A few quick updates for you on some of those Blacklands toll road issues I told you about earlier in the week. Apparently I was wrong about a lot of stuff.

See also: State Road Officials Balk.

I told you state Representative Cindy Burkett of Sunnyvale, our always sunny suburb to the east, had asked tough questions in a letter to state highway officials, and I told you she asked them to reply to her in writing. I also told you they balked at writing an on-the-record letter -- said it was too complicated -- and suggested a meeting instead. All good so far. That all happened.

But then I suggested that Burkett had been pretty stern with the bureaucrats thus far and probably would not accept their offer of a closed-door meeting instead of an on-the-record letter. I should have known better than to predict. She did accept their suggestion of the closed door meeting, her staff informed me yesterday.

I asked specifically about the door. They said definitely closed. To me anyway. But they said not to worry. They promised to tell me later what happens, which is really very sweet of them.

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