North Texas' Urban Bobcats Are Everywhere, Almost Definitely Won't Eat Your Children

In retrospect, it should have been obvious that the Dallas area had a significant bobcat population.
Bobcats almost certainly won't eat your children; humans, even tiny ones, are too large and awful-tasting. Bobcats probably won't eat your dog, unless your dog is a free-ranging tea-cup chihuahua that -- let's be honest -- totally had it coming. They will eat your backyard chickens in a heartbeat, so urban farmers beware.

And that pretty much sums up what the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department knew about urban bobcats circa January 2014.

"Honestly there's some very very basic questions that we're trying to address," says TPWD wildlife biologist Derek Broman. Questions "that even maybe a third-grader might ask." Where do they live? What do they eat? How far do they wander? Could one tackle Tony Romo? (At a couple of dozen pounds probably not, but it's a moot point since Romo would have already crumpled into the fetal position as soon as it slipped past Doug Free.)

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Human Rights Campaign Won't Defend Plano Equal Rights Ordinance

Categories: News

Plano Citizens United via Facebook
Plano's anti-discrimination ordinance is under attacks from all sides. Four local state representatives plan to introduce a bill that will void the ordinance as well as any similar laws passed by other cities. The Texas Pastor Council has collected 7,000 signatures in an attempt to force the Plano City Council to either recall the measure or put it on the ballot in May. Now, the Human Rights Campaign, the United States' largest LGBTQ political advocacy group, has announced that it will not fight to preserve the ordinance.

Cathryn Oakley, the HRC's legislative counsel for state and municipal advocacy, told the Texas Observer that her organization couldn't defend the ordinance because it doesn't provide appropriate protections for transsexual individuals.

Under the law, certain organizations, like nonprofits and schools, are allowed provide different services based on anatomy rather than gender identity. Schools, for example, could require a transsexual teen boy to use the women's restroom or vice versa. The idea that allowing trans individuals to use the bathroom of their choice will lead to trouble or violence is an old, debunked canard of the pro-discrimination set.

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Attorney General's Investigators Say UT Law Hid Records, Broke Rules in Salary Case

Categories: Schutze

Can Turkyilmaz
Wallace Hall, still right.
Last week right after the Texas attorney general released an investigative report on the University of Texas Law School, we talked a little bit about it here on Unfair Park. Reflecting my own journalistic and literary values, I went for the really lurid stuff first, like the former law school dean who ran up $400,000 in credit card expenses in under four years.

See also: Texas Tribune Blows Wallace Hall Story Again

But in this case, the substance is actually more lurid than the lurid stuff. The attorney general was actually re-investigating the law school and a private foundation closely associated with the law school, on charges brought four years ago by UT regent Wallace Hall, a Dallas businessman, after an internal UT investigation was tossed out as basically not worth the paper on which it was printed.

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Watch Dallas Police Tackle a Man Threatening to Jump from an S.M. Wright Freeway Overpass

Categories: Local Hero

Dallas Police Department via YouTube
Sign him up, Jerry.
November 26, 2014, the day before Thanksgiving, Dallas 911 received a call from a man threatening to jump from the Martin Luther King Boulevard overpass onto S.M. Wright Freeway.

Daniel Mulvihill was the first cop to show up and tried to talk the man down. Additional officers, including the epically named Sergeant Bronc McCoy arrived to provide backup after Mulvihill called in his location. McCoy distracted the potential jumper just long enough for Mulvihill to arm tackle the man over the bridge railing.

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Teenage Relative Drowned Infant at Southern Dallas Apartment Complex, Dallas Cops Say

Categories: Crime

Google Maps
The Rosemont at Hickory Terrace apartment complex.
A 3-month-old is dead and a teenage relative is in jail after a Monday morning drowning at an apartment complex near Charlton Methodist Hospital.

Dallas police say they received a "person in danger" 911 call just after 6 a.m. When they arrived, they were told by members of Dallas Fire and Rescue that the 3-month-old was dead inside an apartment.

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Dallas Police Foot Pursuit Policy, Tightened After 2012 Shooting, To Be Loosened Back Up

Categories: Public Safety

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Dallas Police Department
After James Harper, an unarmed kidnapping suspect, was killed by a police officer in July 2012, police Chief David Brown committed to reforming the way his department would chase suspects on foot. Brian Rowden, the officer who shot Harper, had ended up chasing Harper alone after Harper and three other suspects in the kidnapping scattered in different directions. Exhausted, Rowden ended up in a fight with Harper, during which, the officer said, Harper threatened his life. Rowden said Harper reached his pocket, for what Rowden thought was a gun, so Rowden shot Harper twice. Harper did not have a gun.

Changes to the policy made after Harper's death included officers being directed to chase only one suspect should multiple suspects head in different directions, for officers to stop pursuit if they became too exhausted to arrest a suspect after the suspect was caught and for officers not to chase a known suspect. If officers knew the suspects identity, he or she could easily be caught later, the thinking went. Monday afternoon, Brown will notify the City Council's public safety committee of DPD's rolling back some of the changes.

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The Dallas Housing Market Is Still Nuts

Categories: Housing

Marcia Todd
You will never afford this.
Maybe you moved here from some expensive city on the coast, lured by a job offer and the cheap rent. An apartment broker directed you to a new building with a really pretentious name, like, say, "Celebrity." But after spending a few months renting a cramped, thin-walled unit inside Celebrity, watching drunk people urinate in your luxury community pool, it becomes clear that renting in Dallas really isn't that great of a deal. Time to buy a house, right?

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Colorado Inmate Says What We're All Thinking: Dez Made the Catch, Give Me $89 Billion

Categories: Sports

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Dallas Cowboys
He caught it. You know it, I know it, Terry Hendrix knows it.
Terry Hendrix, as he notes in his lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, is speaking for all of us. He's speaking on behalf of Dez Bryant, all Dallas Cowboys fans and all people in and from the "Sovereign Republic of Texas." His demands -- make that our demands -- are simple: Because Dez Bryant did, as we all know, make that catch against the Packers, the one that would have set the Cowboys up at the Green Bay one with a chance to take the lead deep in the fourth quarter, the NFL owes us $88,987,654,321.88.

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Edgar Diaz Built His Dreams on Organic Yogurt, Then He Burned Them Down

Categories: Crime

Artizone via Flickr
Edgar Diaz's life had all the trappings of the quintessential American success story. After fleeing his native Colombia in a harrowing escape from leftist guerillas in 2001, he and his wife settled in Dallas with little money and less English. With a diligence and entrepreneurial spirit that would do Horatio Alger proud, he began working toward his goal of owning a dairy business like the one he'd operated outside Medillin, all the while working menial jobs to make ends meet.

In 2004, they teamed up with a Plano dairy farmer and established Lucky Layla Farms, whose artisanal yogurts and cheeses became a favorite of Dallas' growing foodie scene. He left after five years to launch Three Happy Cows, a purveyor of organic Greek yogurt that enjoyed similar success. The business quickly made the leap from the farmers market circuit to local outposts of Natural Grocers and Market Street. As demand grew, Diaz opened a factory in an unsightly business park on Northaven Road in Northwest Dallas. The products remained delicious.

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Hell Is the Dallas North Tollway This Weekend

Categories: Transportation

Representation of the tollway this weekend.
Not content with bleeding us dry one toll at a time, the North Texas Tollway Authority plans to squeeze traffic to a near standstill in and around downtown this weekend.

Starting at 10 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday, two lanes on each side of the tollway will be closed to allow for bridge repair at Lemmon Avenue and Maple Avenue at Knight Street. The authority is replacing concrete on the bridges' decks.

NTTA spokesman Michael Rey told The Dallas Morning News what anyone masochistic enough to take the DNT over the weekend could expect.

"We do expect delays with the repairs, I will say this," Rey said. "But it's work that has to be done. It's the type of project where you can't do a little bit and come back. We do the weekend closures for a reason. You saw some of it late last year. We're hoping to get it wrapped up this weekend."

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