<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Dallas-Fort Worth News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.comen-usWed, 01 Mar 2017 15:11:53 -0600Wed, 01 Mar 2017 15:11:53 -0600NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Cartel Gun Used to Kill ICE Agent Came from Dallas: DOJ]]> Wed, 01 Mar 2017 13:44:00 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ATF-Agent-generic.jpg

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in Dallas knew two brothers were involved in trafficking guns to Mexico and failed to arrest them before a U.S. agent in Mexico was murdered using one of their smuggled guns, according to a Justice Department review released Wednesday.

The report, by the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General, examined the events leading up to an assault on two Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on Feb. 15, 2011.

ICE agent Jaime Zapata was killed near Santa Maria del Rio, Mexico when his armored SUV came under fire from members of the Zetas drug cartel, the report said. Zapata’s partner, Victor Avila, was seriously wounded.

ATF agents in Dallas had learned eight months earlier -- in June 2010 -- that the brothers, Otilio and Ranferi Osorio, were involved in arms trafficking but failed to follow up, the review found.

“Overall we found numerous problems with ATF’s assimilation of information concerning the Osorio brothers…and the timeliness of ATF’s response to mounting evidence that they were committing firearms offenses,” the report said. “We determined the ATF’s Dallas Field Division had collected sufficient facts” to investigate further before Otilio Osorio purchased the gun used in the Mexico ambush.

“There clearly was probable cause to arrest both Osorio brothers … after ATF witnessed the Osorios complete a transfer of 40 firearms on Nov. 9, 2010. Yet, ATF’s first contact with (them) did not occur until late February 2011,” the report said.

That was 10 days after the agent was murdered in Mexico and investigators had tracked one of the guns to the brothers.

“We did not agree with explanations the ATF offered for this delay,” the inspector general wrote.

The report said Otilio Osorio bought the gun linked to the Mexico attack in October 2010 at the DFW gun show.

The report was also critical of ATF's actions following Agent Zapata's murder.

When agents searched the Osorio brothers' house in Lancaster, they failed to seize some guns that they were legally entitled to take, the report said. Two of those guns were later found at crime scenes in Mexico .

The brothers were later arrested at their home on East Colonial Drive in Lancaster in March 2011. Both are now serving federal prison sentences.

An ATF agent in Dallas, Meredith Davis, said the report speaks for itself and did not dispute any part of it.

"ATF is making organizational progress but nonetheless we recognize this report contains valuable lessons that should be heeded," she said.

<![CDATA[Scholarship Audition Scores a High Note]]> Wed, 01 Mar 2017 12:11:05 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tmsg-sally-turner.jpg

Wednesday's Tell Me Something Good hits all the right notes.

It's about a young man named Parker Wills, a senior at Aubrey High School in Denton County. The 17-year-old is also one of three drum majors in the Chaparral marching band.

Parker recently auditioned for a scholarship to the University of North Texas College of Music in Denton. Parker's mom told her friend Sally Turner, "the interview went great, and I thought he sounded really good in his audition. He was nervous and doubting himself, but he sounded great."

The rest of the story focuses on what happened after Parker's audition. 

A young man who'd flown in from Seattle to Denton was there to audition for a scholarship, too.

Here's what Parker's mom told her friend Sally:

"The kid was weeping. His sax had an air leak (maybe from the flight). Parker walked over, took that guy's mouthpiece and put it in his sax and handed it to the kid. So, he let his competition tryout on his $3,000 professional sax. The mother couldn't believe Parker would do that."

We don't know if Parker got the scholarship, but we do know Parker has what counts: good character.

Got something good to share? Send it to NBC 5 at iSee@nbcdfw.com.

<![CDATA[When Will I-35W Ramps Reopen?]]> Wed, 01 Mar 2017 10:00:25 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-00043.jpg

As work continues along the Interstate 35W corridor, several entrance and exit ramps will remain closed for an extended period of time.

Here is a current list of closures and when they will reopen:

  • On-ramps to southbound I-35W from Weatherford Street and Gilvin Street; scheduled to open in April.
  • Off-ramp from southbound I-35W to westbound Spur 280; scheduled to open in April.
  • Northbound I-35W exit to Meacham Boulevard; scheduled to open July 2017.
  • Southbound I-35W off-ramp to Papurt Drive; scheduled to open December 2017.
  • Northbound I-35W at Northside Drive/Yucca Avenue; scheduled to open July 2017.

Construction on I-35W in Fort Worth is part of the North Tarrant Express/I-35W project. It is a 10.1-mile project rebuilding the I-35W corridor from Interstate 30 in downtown to U.S. Highway 287 Decatur cutoff in Northeast Tarrant County.

This area is one of the most congested highways in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The construction is to rebuild the main lanes, expand the frontage lanes and four toll lanes are being installed. The work should be completed in 2018. In order for workers to meet this goal, there is construction along the entire stretch of the project.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys OT Doug Free Considering Retirement: Report]]> Wed, 01 Mar 2017 10:03:32 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/doug-free-giants.jpg

Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle Doug Free considering retirement, according to a report.

Cowboys insider Mike Fisher said Wednesday morning on 105.3 The Fan that sources told him at the Cowboys 25 Party Friday that Free was weighing his options.

The 33-year-old Free has started 114 games during his 10 year career in Dallas, mostly at right tackle.

Free is in the second year of a three-year $15 million deal with the Cowboys. He's scheduled to make $7.5 million in 2017. If he retires, he'll count $2.5 million against the cap.

The Cowboys drafted Free in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft out of Northern Illinois.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Dallas Police Dept. Heads to City Hall to Save Training]]> Wed, 01 Mar 2017 10:03:34 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dpd-training-facility.jpg

Officers with the Dallas Police Department head to City Hall Wednesday in hopes of saving their Reality-Based Training Center.

The training facility has been open since 2012 and mimics real-life scenarios to help officers prepare for real-life situations.

DPD will outline their proposal. They will discuss funding options to off-set costs, securing a long-term facility, and exploring opportunities to share ownership with other law enforcement agencies.

DPD would also like the Reality Based Training Center to be on the 2017 Bond Program.

Officers are looking into a Cadillac Heights property, which will be reviewed by city staff.

The meeting at City Hall was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

<![CDATA[Former Rangers' Sons Becoming Major League Talents]]> Wed, 01 Mar 2017 13:44:08 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/witt-greer2.jpg

Following in your father’s footsteps is never easy, especially if your father is a former major league baseball player.

Two sophomores at Colleyville Heritage High School are doing that, plus they're creating names for themselves in the process. Shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. and second baseman Mason Greer grew up around the game when their fathers played for the Texas Rangers.

Bobby Witt pitched for the Rangers from 1986 to 1992 and again from 1995 into 1998. He was later a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks team that won the 2001 World Series.

“I’ve seen some film of him, which is kind of cool watching your dad on the big stage where every little baseball player wants to be,” said Witt Jr. “It’s influenced me a lot knowing he’s done it and where I want to be one day.”

Mason Greer's father Rusty Greer was an outfielder for Texas from 1994 through 2002 and is also a member of the Rangers Hall of Fame.

“It was pretty cool watching him on the field every day,” Mason Greer said. “I get to enjoy it myself now.”

Despite their pedigrees, the duo said they don't really feel any pressure trying to live up to expectations that may come with being the sons of former Rangers stars.

“I know I’m kind of living up to an expectation, but I really don’t think about that,” the younger Greer said.

The two sophomores are definitely living up to the hype this season for the Panthers, who are 6-0 going into the Arlington Martin Tournament this week. Mason Greer is committed to play baseball at Auburn and Witt Jr. — an Oklahoma commit — is ranked as the top prospect in the 2019 MLB draft by several publications.

So, what’s the best advice the super-sophomores received from their major league dads?

“Just go out and play as hard as you can every day and leave nothing behind,” Mason Greer said.

Witt Jr. said his father preaches working harder than anyone else on the field and staying humble.

“Where he got is where I ultimately want to go," he said. "He’s giving me the advice that I need in order for me to hopefully be able to make it where he did.”

NBC 5's Todd L. Davis contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Chris James
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<![CDATA[Texas Leaders React to Trump Speech]]> Wed, 01 Mar 2017 07:22:29 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/discurso-del-presidente-donald-trump-ante-ambas-camaras-del-congreso-41487802323.jpg

The stakes were high for President Donald Trump ahead of his joint address to Congress Tuesday night.

Trump issued a call for overhauling the nation's health care system, boosting military spending and projected a warning of the threat posted by "radical Islamic terrorism."

Texas lawmakers are weighing in, with most praising the speech.

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D)

Speaking live over the phone on NBC 5 Today, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson said she liked his speech, but raised questions over Trump's cabinet picks.

"The only problem I have is the cabinet he has picked does not match [Trump's] philosophy." Johnson said. "He talked about the environment, he talked about research — all the things I think will make our country great, he talked about and I can support that."

"The problem is, his party is the majority, and his cabinet is in charge, and none of them have spoken in the same direction. Building a wall is what I don't agree with primarily because people are not coming. Most of the wall was already built under President Bush, but people are coming in through tunnels, not across walls."

"I'm ready for the common ground and I've been ready for the common ground. I agree with most of what he said and his goals. What I'm trying to emphasize is the cabinet he's put in place has never had a record of supporting what he talked about. I'm going to stand for what I believe in and I will stand for most of what he said, but that doesn't mean it will become a reality. Not with the cabinet he has in place and not with the majority he has."

U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R)

"President Trump is taking bold action, and his presidency marks the beginning of a new era for our nation. Tonight, during his first Joint Session address, he laid out a strong agenda to make America safer, more prosperous, and more free.

"For too long, we've seen the heavy hand of government grow evermore intrusive in our daily lives. As a consequence, top-down Washington mandates have upended the health insurance market, slowed economic growth to a crawl, and trampled on our individual liberty. Under eight years of Obama-led foreign policy, we have seen our enemies emboldened and our allies lose confidence in our partnerships. Illegal immigrants have skirted the relaxed rule of law and flooded through our porous borders.

"Undoing the damage of the past eight years won't happen overnight, but the president is off to a running start. As someone who has been listening to working people across the country, this president knows the best path to economic growth is to fix the needless government regulations that are choking innovation and job creation. He knows individuals want the freedom to choose their doctor and their health insurance plan-not have it dictated for them by Washington bureaucrats. His plan to reform our tax code would allow hardworking Americans to keep more of their paychecks and determine their own financial future. His plan to cut Washington red tape will give American job creators the ability to make their hard work and dreams a reality.The president also made clear that he will do everything he can to keep Americans and their families safe both at home and abroad.

"President Trump is a doer, and I am heartened by his remarks tonight because they represent a new direction for our nation. With our new leadership, I am confident in our future and know great opportunities lie ahead for 'We the People.'"

U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R)

"For the past eight years we heard from a president who offered empty promises and who refused to address the failures of his administration. Tonight, on the other hand, the American people heard from a president who stands by his word, has gotten straight to work, and every day upholds his commitment to fight on behalf of the American people.

This new administration brings a renewed sense of strength and opportunity for us to break glass and create more opportunities for Americans across the country. In these first two months of the 115th Congress we have already rolled back onerous provisions of the Obama Administration's regulatory agenda and have started to lay the groundwork to fix our broken healthcare system, reform the tax code, and put hardworking Americans back to work. In the past month, we have seen more than 227,000 new jobs, an uptick in the labor force participation rate, and the stock market has closed at a record high for eleven straight days. It is clear that under Republican leadership our economy is flourishing, the job market is rebounding, and there is a new sense of confidence in our country. While we have more work to do, I believe that with swift resolve and a focused agenda we will continue to move in the right direction. The American people deserve a government that works for them and I believe as a united front we will revive the American Dream and create a safer, stronger, better America."

U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey (D)

"President Trump's joint session address mirrored his inauguration's pessimistic view of America and greatly exaggerated his Administration's accomplishments during his first month in office. When he proudly claimed that he strong-armed American manufacturers into investing in U.S. industries, Trump was attempting to distract the American people from the reality that his Administration will continue to put profit over people and do little to help the middle class."

"President Trump rattled off a list of policies that he claims will 'make America great again,' but I heard little about how his plans to expand school vouchers, cut regulations, and implement massive tax cuts for the wealthy will play out for the average American family working to make ends meet."
"As President Trump continued his calls for his unconstitutional travel and refugee ban, my guest Bothina Matar listened in the gallery. Despite his claims that our refugee vetting process needs serious reevaluation, Bothina and her family can attest to the significant security measures they passed before they were allowed to finally resettle their family in the United States."

"During the next four years, we must do all we can to prioritize the needs of Americans still struggling to put food on the table. Compromise will be necessary - but it cannot come at the cost of our national values or obligations to our fellow citizens."

This article will be updated with additional responses as they are received into our newsroom.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McKinney Aquatics Center Opens Doors Wednesday]]> Wed, 01 Mar 2017 06:47:02 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/apex-centre-mckinney.jpg

The Apex Centre, McKinney's long-awaited aquatics and fitness center, will open its doors to the public Wednesday.

The $36 million, 80,000 square-foot project is located at the intersection of Alma Road and El Dorado Parkway, near Gabe Nesbitt Community Park.

There is a 25-yard-by-25-meter pool for competitive and lap swimming as well as indoor and outdoor leisure pools. A new fitness center is stocked with LifeFitness machines, weight training equipment by Hammer Strength, basketball courts, an elevated track and babysitting facilities.

"The Apex Centre is a great asset to our community providing a safe and fun space for residents to enjoy with the families year-around," said Mayor Brian Loughmiller.

A half cent "quality of life" sales tax provided major funding for the project, in addition to $1.5 million from the City of McKinney.

For information on membership, group classes and other services: Visit ApexCenter.org

<![CDATA[New Soccer Facility Coming to West Dallas]]> Wed, 01 Mar 2017 05:49:41 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-2017-03-01-05h44m12s228.jpg

A groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday will kick off construction for a new soccer facility in West Dallas.

The $959,200 complex, funded by corporate donors, will be built at the Mercy Street Sports Complex on Goldman Street, near North Hampton Road.

The new, full-sized soccer field and two futsal fields will help provide safe after-school activities for children living in the area, a Mercy Street spokesman said in a news release.

Founded in 2005, Mercy Street is an outreach mentoring program serving the West Dallas community. The organization is also calling for donations to fund construction for other sports facilities.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas Park Smoking Ban Takes Effect Wednesday]]> Wed, 01 Mar 2017 14:59:06 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/smoking-stock-generic-73160938.jpg

A smoking ban at Dallas parks takes effect Wednesday.

Dallas City Council members agreed to the partial smoking ban Nov. 9, 2016.

The majority refused, though, to impose a total smoking ban without exceptions as recommended by a City Council Committee.

Smoking is still permitted at the city's six golf courses, the Elm Fork Shooting Range and parks and facilities managed by private partners.

The future Trinity River Park was also added as an exception to the park smoking ban.

The State Fair of Texas and Dallas Arboretum will be allowed to set their own smoking rules.

People caught smoking in parks could face a fine.

NBC 5's Ken Kalthoff contributed to this report.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story said smoking was permitted at the Dallas Zoo. That was an error. Smoking is prohibited inside the zoo and allowed only outside the zoo, more than 25 feet from the entrance gates. We regret the error.

Photo Credit: FILE/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[FW Police Officer Rear-Ended Avoiding Wrong-Way Driver]]> Wed, 01 Mar 2017 12:09:25 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/emilia-ybarra-inset.jpg

A Fort Worth police officer was involved in a minor crash trying to stop a wrong-way driver on Interstate 35W in Fort Worth Tuesday night, police say.

The Fort Worth police officer was headed north on I-35E at about 11:45 p.m. when he noticed a wrong-way driver entering the freeway from the Texas 121 ramp.

Police said the officer veered from the middle lane to the left lane and came to a stop to try to block the wrong-way driver. A driver traveling behind the officer was unable to stop in time and struck the officer's patrol car.

The wrong-way driver, later identified by police as 56-year-old Emilia Ybarra, continued past the officer southbound in the northbound lanes until she collided with another driver, police said.

Ybarra was arrested at the scene and is expected to be charged with DWI, police said.

The officer was transported to a hospital with minor injuries. No other injuries were reported in either crash.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Shop Online, Boost Sales Tax Revenue: Little Elm Officials]]> Wed, 01 Mar 2017 06:49:37 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/LittleElmSign012413.jpg

Town leaders in Little Elm have devised a unique plan to stay competitive with sales tax revenue: They are actively encouraging residents to pick up their smart phones and laptops and shop online more often.

“There is a reality in Little Elm. We are never going to be a retail giant. We are never going to have that commercial base that our neighbors have,” Mayor David Hillock said. “Frisco has well over 10 million square feet of retail. We won’t ever get there.”

Hillock said residents are still encouraged to buy everything they can with local merchants in town limits, but for everything they can’t find, purchase it online instead of traveling to a nearby city.

“So, if you go to Amazon.com and place an order, the town receives its portion of the sales tax,” he said. “You are still contributing back to the economy as if you had driven to the store.”

Hillock explained that sales tax revenue is important to the town and the citizens.

“[It’s] two and a quarter cents per dollar and it’s huge for us,” he said. “That pays for parks. That pays for our police, our fire department. Everything that we do as a community comes from a combination of those sales taxes and other revenue that the town brings in."

The push to point, click and purchase extends to everything from clothing to groceries.

“There are some retailers, especially smaller retailers on the internet, that don’t necessarily do what they are supposed to do when it comes to paying taxes,” Hillock warned. “So, we do encourage folks to go to the larger retailers or more well-known retailers.”

Hillock said he has already seen a difference since the push started.

“We had a 12 percent increase just in Walmart.com orders in the last year,” he said. “Little Elm is probably one of the few communities is Texas that does not have a Walmart. There are several on our borders, but if you go to Walmart.com, that purchase gets delivered to your house and Little Elm gets the sales tax.”

Why aren’t more cities using this strategy?

“I think there is a fear of insulting local businesses. One of the really great things about Little Elm, we have very few of those,” Hillock laughed. “So, the reality is we’re not going to have that retail base because of our proximity to other communities.”

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[FWISD Board: District 'Welcoming' Regardless of Status]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 23:31:25 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/160*120/FWISD+Welcoming+and+Safe.jpg

President Donald Trump's changes to immigration policy have sparked fears of deportation,but Tuesday night, the Fort Worth Independent School District became the most recent Texas school district to designate all schools as "welcoming and safe," regardless of immigration status.

Reaction at Tuesday's school board meeting was overwhelmingly positive. About 25 speakers stood up in favor of the resolution. But some are referring to this as creating "sanctuary schools" and question if it conflicts with federal law.

"I urge you to vote in favor of this resolution," one speaker said from the podium.

One after another, parents, teachers and community leaders spoke in support of designating Fort Worth schools as "welcoming and safe."

"Students should walk through that door at school feeling trusted, knowing they will be safe from any outside force," said another speaker.

One more added, "Many of our students' daily fear is worrying whether immigration enforcement officers will pick them up as they wait for the bus, or while they're sitting in class."

Board members have heard the same.

"They're afraid to send him to school, but they're afraid to keep him at home, because they don't know what is going to happen," said School Board Vice President Ashley Paz.

The board voted unanimously to calm those fears, reassuring parents it's safe to bring their children to school.

"Every single child is respected and loved in this school district," said School Board President Jacinto Ramos Jr. "This resolution is grounded in the district's current policies, federal law and constitutional protections."

But some believe this step creates "sanctuary schools" and question if it could hurt the district's funding from the state.

"The state of Texas says we do not have any sanctuary cities," said Zeb Pent, of Stand for Fort Worth. "They're passing a resolution tonight that says 'regardless of immigration status.'"

"I'm an educator, not an activist," said FWISD Superintendent Dr. Kent Scribner. "The message we wanted to send is our schools are safe, and our job is to teach kids."

The board and superintendent stressed that this follows the law, citing a Supreme Court ruling that all children are entitled to a public education, regardless of immigration status.

Board members also said the rumors are not true that immigration agents are hanging around schools during pickup and drop off looking for undocumented immigrants.

<![CDATA[Hallie's Heroes Team Up to Find Girl's Bone Marrow Match]]> Wed, 01 Mar 2017 04:00:14 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/hallie+barnard.jpg

A special little girl from Denton is trying to find her own bone marrow match to cure a rare disease.

She teamed up with the Fort Worth police and fire departments to raise awareness through a new video that will get you up and dancing along!

When Hallie Barnard walks in a room, she owns it.

"Hallie's going to tell you a couple of things. She wrote a little thing," said Fort Worth firefighter Shane Harmon while introducing Hallie to a crowd of firefighters.

"I didn't write anything," Hallie fired back.

In her eight short years, she's learned to stand up for herself.

"Martin Luther King Jr. once said life's most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others? I ask you today, what are you doing for others? Please give the gift of life and second chances," Hallie told the crowd.

Her mission is to raise awareness of the need for bone marrow donors. Hallie needs one. She can't produce red blood cells, because of a rare disease called Diamond Blackfan Anemia.

She's found allies in her fight in the Fort Worth police and fire departments.

"Fell in love with her instantly," said Fort Worth Police Officer Brandi Kamper.

Police and firefighters are helping spread the word with a new viral video that gets the best of Fort Worth in on the act.

Now it's in the running to make it on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

"She might call us and be like, 'Hallie, why don't you come up to blah, blah, blah, I would love to see you,'" Hallie said.

Kamper is Hallie's co-star and good buddy.

"You're kind of an old soul," Kamper told Hallie.

"I am?" she responded.

"Yeah. You're super articulate for an 8-year-old," Kamper said.

"I am? I like sushi," Hallie replied.

But through the laughter, there's a serious message.

"It frustrates me because we spend, as a country, so little money on research and trying to figure out what exactly we're dealing with," Kamper said.

Hallie's disease is under control for now.

"She's stable, she's able to advocate for herself and go out there, but there's going to be a time when she's not and this is kind of our family's way of paying it forward, because when that time comes, we're going to be able to fix it," said her mom, Elyse Barnard.

They do it knowing that every cheek swabbed could lead to the one match that saves Hallie's future.

"You feel that need as if it was your own child," Harmon said.

"I may not be able to change the world, but maybe I can change Hallie's world," Kamper added.

And they're doing that by showing the world her message.

MORE: See more information about Hallie's Heroes, including how to register to be a bone marrow donor or donate to the blood disorder organization DKMS.

Watch Hallie's video here to help get her on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Collin County Politicians Push Back Against Toll Roads]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 22:46:43 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/231*120/ntta+dallas+north+tollway.JPG

Two Collin County politicians have filed bills to ensure freeways stay free forever.

State Sen. Van Taylor (R-Plano) and State Rep. Scott Sanford (R-McKinney) filed the "Keep Free Lanes Free Act," which would prohibit the conversion of any free lanes into tolled, managed or express lanes.

According to Taylor’s office, Collin County is the most heavily tolled county in the state.

It is home to portions of the Sam Rayburn, President George Bush and Dallas North tollways.

"Tolls are just a tax by another name. The people's tax dollars funded 'free' lanes to begin with, and converting those lanes into tolls is simply government trying to orchestrate double tax," Taylor said.

"Our taxes have already paid for the roads to be built," said driver I.L. Davis.

For Davis, toll roads are a necessity that take their own toll.

His daily commute from Dallas through Collin County and into Denton County costs an average of $40 per day just in tolls.

"That's a lot of money coming out of my pocket," Davis said. "It adds up quite considerably."

Those are costs that Jodi Nelson, owner of Petals Florist in Plano, has seen rise over the last 16 years they have been in business.

Nelson's shop makes floral deliveries all over North Texas and drives from Plano to Dallas every single day.

"We pay a lot more than we used to in tolls, and there's more tolls around," Nelson said. "You cannot go anywhere without taking a toll – or sitting in traffic if you don’t take a toll way."

According to Sen. Taylor, the average commuter who uses a toll road twice a day in North Texas will pay more than $100,000 in tolls over the course of his or her work life.

"Collin County families could spend that money on buying a home, putting their children through college, or saving for retirement – not subsidizing the transportation needs for the rest of state," Taylor said.

A spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Transportation said they have no current plans to convert any free lanes in Collin County into paid lanes.

In 2014, local leaders blocked efforts to convert portions of the HOV lane on U.S. Highway 75 into a paid express lane. The bill, if it passes, would prohibit similar moves in the future.

The North Texas Tollway Authority is currently widening the Dallas North Tollway and plans to do the same to the Sam Rayburn Tollway in 2018.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Denton's New Fire Recruit Has 4 Legs and a Tail]]> Wed, 01 Mar 2017 04:00:52 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-0000244.jpg

The Denton Fire Department has a new recruit — a 21-month-old black Lab named Sherlock.

Sherlock is taking over for former DFD arson dog Baltic, who retired in December.

Both dogs live with investigator Brian Gilmore. They are trained to sniff out accelerants that may have been used to start a fire. 

<![CDATA[Lead FBI Agent Testifies Against John Wiley Price]]> Wed, 01 Mar 2017 11:52:05 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/john+wiley+price+walking.jpg

The lead FBI agent who suffered a stroke in the middle of the John Wiley Price bribery investigation made it to court Tuesday to testify against Price.

Don Sherman said he feared he might never walk again after the 2012 stroke. He said his medical setbacks delayed work on the investigation. But the FBI offered him a consulting position in retirement to keep going.

Sherman used a cane to slowly step to the witness stand Tuesday. He said his memory is still fresh and he spoke clearly to the jury.

In 2005 Sherman also supervised the investigation of Dallas City Councilman Don Hill, who is now in prison for taking bribes. Sherman said the Price investigation began then with bank records from a government witness in the Price trial, Kathy Nealy. According to Sherman, the records showed political consultant Nealy made large money transfers to Price, which the government claims were bribes to win the county commissioner's favor for her clients.

Sherman led the June 2011 FBI raid on Price's home and office. Agents found $225,000 in cash in a safe at the Oak Cliff house. Sherman said agents had been watching the place with a pole-mounted camera installed across the street. They wanted to monitor people and cars there. Vehicles provided to Price by Nealy are another part of the alleged bribery scheme. All together, prosecutors claim Price received about $900,000 worth of payoffs from Nealy.

The Dallas County Administration Building was also raided that day in 2011. Sherman said he interviewed Price's county aide, Daphne Fain, in the empty commissioners courtroom about her outside business, MMS, that sold promotional products to AT&T and other companies. Sherman said Fain was cooperative at first but became concerned when Sherman pressed her over alleged payments to Price from her business.

Prosecutors claim Price and Fain failed to report $127,000 to Price from that business on income tax records. They also accuse Fain of lying to the agents in that interview when she denied Price received money from her business.

Fain's defense attorney, Tom Mills, pressed Sherman about details of that interview in cross examination, and Sherman repeatedly said he could not recall those details. Mills said agents had been posted at doors of the room to block other people from entering, which would have amounted to detaining Fain.

Sherman said Fain was not given a Miranda warning about the right to remain silent, because she was not in custody and spoke voluntarily. Sherman said he could not recall asking agents to guard the room.

The defense insists Fain's money to Price only repaid loans he had made to her and was not unreported income to Price.

Price defense attorney Chris Knox cross-examined Sherman about government record keeping. The defense insists the government overlooked documents in the massive haul of records that would show all the Price transactions were perfectly legal.

Daphne Fain is on trial now with Price, but Kathy Nealy was granted a separate trial at a later date to be determined.

The judge has told jurors the Price trial could last through June. More than 150 additional people are listed as witnesses for the government. Trial is set to continue Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Children's Transgender Clinic Experiences High Growth]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 18:07:36 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/genesis+program+childrens+health.jpg

North Texas is home to the only transgender youth clinic in the Southwest.

Children's Health opened its Genecis Clinic two years ago, and today they're treating more patients than they expected.

The program focuses on helping children and teens with issues surrounding gender dysphoria, a condition that involves an individual who does not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. 

Gender dysphoria is frequently associated with mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and suicidality.

When Genecis opened in 2015, they treated about two dozen patients.

Today, they treat about 400 transgender children and teens.

"I think we expected somewhere between five to six new patients, and on average we get about 20 patients a month," said Dr. Meredith Chapman, lead psychiatrist at Genecis and associate professor at UT Southwestern. "We have a large population of youth that has been here all along. It's just now that they have access to a program that provides gender-affirming physical and social-emotional health care."  

In order to be a patient in the program, a social worker performs an extensive evaluation with prospective patients, who must between the ages of 4 and 17. 

Cases will be discussed with a multidisciplinary team to evaluate recommendations regarding starting puberty suppression therapy (puberty blockers), hormone replacement therapy, as well as mental health and social needs.

The program is also heavily rooted in mental health support, with a suicide attempt rate of up to 60 percent for youth with gender dysphoria.

"This is a group of kids that we need to make life better for, so we are saving lives and we're making life better," Chapman said.

It made life better for 17-year-old Kammie Johnson, who began her transition in fourth grade.

"I don't feel I transitioned. It was more of a transition for my family because I always knew who I was," Johnson said.

She says she started puberty blocking medication in sixth grade, and when she and her family moved to North Texas she became one the Genecis program's first patients.

She's now on estrogen therapy and plans for sex reassignment surgery when she's 18 years old.

"The Genecis program is such an amazing resource for parents and family who want to understand the transgender experience. It's here to help you understand how your child can live a happy and full life," Johnson said.

MORE: Genecis Program

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[CareFlite Helicopter Comes 'Very Close' to Drone]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 17:37:57 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/careflite+helicopter.jpg

A CareFlite medical helicopter on the way to pick up a patient came "very close" to striking a drone aircraft Monday near Denton, the company's top executive said.

The helicopter had just taken off at about 5:30 p.m. when the incident occurred about four miles south of Denton Regional Airport, said CareFlite Chief Executive Officer Jim Swartz.

"It went right past the aircraft," Swartz said. "I would say it was very close. We were lucky nothing terrible happened."

The pilot, a nurse and a paramedic were in the helicopter at about 500-600 feet above the ground, Swartz said.

It happened so fast, the pilot did not have time to take evasive action, he said. The crew was startled but continued its assigned flight.

"I'm not sure the people who fly these drones know the risk they're putting airplanes and helicopters in," Swartz said. "They're putting them at terrible risk."

CareFlite was established in 1979 and operates six helicopters in North Texas.

Swartz said similar incidents with drones happen every few months but that this was an especially close call.

The pilot reported the scare to the Federal Aviation Administration, he said.

An FAA spokesman said the agency is investigating.

Under federal rules, drone operators are not supposed to fly above 400 feet under any circumstances and must notify the control tower or airport operator if they are within five miles of airports like the one in Denton, the agency said.

"It's a disaster waiting to happen," Swartz said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Fort Worth Braces for Another Spring Storm Season]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 17:37:41 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/fort+worth+hail+car.jpg

People in West Fort Worth are bracing for more possible hailstorms this spring, nearly a year after getting hammered by hail last March.

"I got a whole new carport," said Alana Latiolais, who lives in the Ridglea Hills neighborhood.

It took months to repair all the damage at her home, and now another spring storm season is on the way.

"It makes me a little nervous, but surely that doesn't happen back-to-back, right, on the same house?" Latiolais said. "That's what I'm hoping."

Dozens of cars parked at A-1 Auto Glass were damaged in the St. Patrick's Day 2016 storm.

"We don't like hailstorms, not at all," said owner Roger McDonald. "We're going to hope it doesn't hail. That's what we're going to do, is hope it doesn't hail."

But auto repair shops are ready just in case.

"You just gotta make sure all your people are ready, you have everything in stock that you think you might need," McDonald said.

More than 30 ambulances were damaged in the 2016 hail storm at MedStar, which now is building hail-resistant covered parking.

"It will make a huge difference in protecting the employees' vehicles and our company vehicles," said MedStar spokesman Matt Zavadsky.

The $1.2 million project is scheduled to be finished in August. But MedStar can now protect ambulances by quickly moving them inside a large building.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[North Texas Bald Eagles Prepare to Welcome Eaglets]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 17:29:51 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Eagle-Cam-022217.jpg

A couple of bald eagles that have a nest in Seagoville are expecting.

The John Bunker Sands Wetland Center says the first egg was laid on January 25, the second on January 28. 

The Wetland Eagles website says it takes about 35 days for the egg to hatch, so expect the first eaglet to hatch on about Monday or Tuesday. The second eaglet is expected to hatch later next week. 

You can watch the live stream of the eagles, CLICK HERE to visit the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center website.

You may remember when the eagles built their nest on a transmission tower that was dangerously close to high-voltage electricity. So crews built a replica tower and moved the nest 1,200 feet from the power lines. 

This is not their first egg since moving, NBC 5 reported when an eaglet was seen five months after the move.

Photo Credit: John Bunker Sands]]>
<![CDATA[Getting the Most Miles Per Gallon out of Your Car]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 17:07:46 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/gas+tank+car+driving.jpg

Nile Madley already drives one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles out there, a hybrid Honda Civic.

Madley, an insurance executive, wasn't happy with just a fuel-friendly car. He wanted to get the most out of each tank of gas.

Using a technique called hypermiling, Madley stretched his car's mileage by coasting to stops and accelerating gradually.

He even beat out the mileage shown on a sticker on his older Civic hybrid, "in the city, about 32 to 37 (miles per gallon)," he said.

"Right now, I have 43 (miles per gallon). Earlier today, I had 48," Madley said.

Some drivers take hypermiling a step further. They follow big trucks to reduce the wind on their cars and get more miles for every gallon.

Sgt. Steve Gaskins, of the Florida Highway Patrol, said it's called drafting. Troopers say they don't like that kind of behavior.

Gaskins is all about people saving money, within the law. He said following too closely behind another vehicle is dangerous and illegal.

"We're looking at 55 miles an hour; you're looking at five and a half car lengths between every vehicle as a good, safe rule of thumb," Gaskins said.

If Gaskins has you too afraid to try that, there are other options.

"Accelerate not too quickly," Madley suggested. "You don't want your revs to get too high. You want to steadily increase your speed while also letting off the gas as you shift into the next gear."

He admitted it's kind of like a game.

"It's so fun," Madley said. "Like right now, I'm coasting at 43 miles per hour, and I'm sitting steady at about 60 miles per gallon."

Every time you stop, you're losing miles to the gallon. Some people keep their car moving by making right turns or cutting through parking lots, but that would get you in trouble with officers as well.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Mustang Square Development Denied by Plano City Council]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 18:46:28 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mustang+square+plano.jpg

Plano is known for making moves to attract growth.

But after a contentious City Council meeting Monday night, plans for a large development called Mustang Square are now on hold.

City leaders denied a request to rezone a piece of property on the southwest corner of Highway 121 and Rasor Boulevard.

Hemal Doshi attended the meeting to support the idea. He and his wife, Nia, moved to Plano 20 years ago, when toll roads were two-lane highways and his neighborhood was nonexistent.

"This area was a farmland," he said.

The Doshis live near the proposed Mustang Square and say they're disappointed the development is no longer being considered.

"I was sad, and I don't think the City Council made a leadership choice. They made a choice based on emotions," Hemal Doshi said.

A split crowd packed City Council chambers Monday, about half in support and half against plans for Mustang Square.

It would be built on a 38-acre piece of property. Office space, retail restaurants, a hotel and an assisted-living facility were part of the plan. However, it's the 450 planned apartments that critics opposed the most.

Those against the apartments worry more people will make already congested roads even worse.

"We want the high-density housing that's very much en vogue right now to stop, because it's going to do nothing but fill the city with an awful lot of people that we can't handle, we don't have the infrastructure for," said Alan Samara, with the organization PlanoFuture.org.

But proponents, like Doshi, see it differently and feel that denying development is a step in the wrong direction.

"I don't see the development should stop because of infrastructure issues. You can actually grow infrastructure and make it more compatible with each other," Doshi said.

With plans for Mustang Square now on hold, it is up to the developer to decide what to do with the property next.

Right now, it is zoned for businesses like big-box retailers.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Sen. Royce West Calls for DCS Super's Resignation]]> Wed, 01 Mar 2017 04:03:21 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/state+sen+royce+west.jpg

State Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) says it's time for Dallas County Schools Superintendent Rick Sorrells to step down but doesn't support a bill filed by State Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas) calling for the agency's dismantling.

In Austin Tuesday, Huffines filed a bill to bring an end to the 171-year-old intermediate educational agency by September 2018. He called DCS an outdated, unnecessary bureaucracy that is dangerous for students and a rip off for Dallas County taxpayers.

Citing concerns about dangerous driving and financial mismanagement, Huffines and State Sen. Bob Hall (R-Dallas) introduced a bill that would hand over DCS to a committee to pay off existing debt and shut it down.

“Students deserve better and so do Dallas County taxpayers,” said Huffines.

West believes DCS should survive but adds that a change in leadership is necessary because confidence in Sorrells has dropped.

"I understand his frustration [Huffines] and I agree with him. But I don't necessarily believe at this point in time that we need to do away with the agency,” said West. "All of this happened under his [Sorrells] watch. You need to have a change in leadership because … there's not any confidence at this point in time.”

At a news conference in Dallas Tuesday reacting to the bill, Sorrells said he met with West last week to discuss the future of DCS and planned to meet with him again next week to continue that conversation.

He added that he's working with the DCS board on solutions to a $39 million budget shortfall and insists that no agency money is missing.

"So the board will take it up at their next meeting and we'll be fine. We'll be moving forward doing what we do in the future for kids in the future," Sorrells said.

Several DCS bus drivers appeared with Sorrells at the news conference, some suggesting politicians should leave DCS alone.

“I don't know what Mr. Huffines is trying to do but I just need my job. I feel like everything is fine. We just have a few problems here and there but we can all get over it”, said bus driver Ricky Walker.

Now, pressure on Sorrells is coming from both sides of the aisle.

"He's the head of it. He's responsible for it, whether he did it or not, it happened on his watch and I think one of the first steps that should be taken is we need to change the leadership," West said.

West said Tuesday he's concerned about who would step in to transport the 70,000 students driven to and from school each day by DCS -- and that's why he wants to fix it instead of abolishing it. Huffines believes within the next 18 months, suitable solutions can be found to replace DCS.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[16 People Linked to Frisco Hospice Indicted in Alleged Fraud]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 18:42:25 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/novus-bradharris.jpg

The owner of a Frisco hospice and 15 others including doctors and nurses were indicted Tuesday after an FBI investigation uncovered an alleged $60 million health care fraud scheme.

Bradley Harris, 35, of Frisco, owned Novus Health Services and Optim Health Services and operated the two as one company, federal prosecutors said.

The FBI raided the company's offices in September 2015 and in a search warrant accused Harris of telling nurses to deliberately overdose some patients with morphine or other drugs in order to maximize profits.

"You need to make this patient go bye-bye," Novus told one of the nurses, according to the search warrant.

The charges announced Tuesday, however, do not include such allegations.

Instead, prosecutors accused Harris and the others of bilking Medicare out of $60 million in fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid charges by billing for services that were not provided or were not allowed.

The alleged scheme went on for more than four years before the FBI raids in September.

"That tens of millions of dollars were stolen through fraud is shocking enough," said U.S. Attorney John Parker, in a written statement. "That these defendants used human life at its most vulnerable stage as the grist for this scheme displays a shocking level of depravity that this community simply cannot tolerate."

Doctors were paid kickbacks but provided little or no oversight of Novus' patients, according to the indictment.

“Decisions on medical care were often driven by financial interest rather than patient need,” the indictment said.

Doctors falsely certified that they met patients face-to-face when they did not, according to the indictment.

For example, one doctor, Mark Gibbs, would have had to travel 200 miles to 19 different locations on a single day before 1:30 p.m.

Another doctor, Laila Hirjee, claimed she had seen patients when she was actually in Hawaii or Mexico, the indictment said.

The others charged in the case are Harris' wife, Amy Harris, 42, of Frisco; Melanie L. Murphey, 35, of Fort Worth; Patricia B. Armstrong, 33, of Coppell; Mark E. Gibbs, 46, of Lindsay; Laila N. Hirjee, 50, of Plano; Syed M. Aziz, 51, of Frisco; Reziuddin Siddique, 63, of Allen; Charles R. Leach, 64, of Arlington; Jessica J. Love, 37, of Gainesville; Ali Rizvi, 49, of Carrollton; Tammie L. Little, 55, of Brashear; Mary Jaclyn Pannell, 29, of Krum; and Taryn E. Stuart, 32, of Sanger.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News/Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Meteor Caught on Weatherford Police Dashcam]]> Wed, 01 Mar 2017 04:04:11 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Meteor-Weatherford.jpg

Did you see a meteor streak across the North Texas sky Sunday night?

Dozens of people reported seeing a fireball around 9 p.m.

If you missed it, the Weatherford Police Department captured it.

Dashcam video from Officer Tiffany Vanzant shows the streak of light that disappeared right over the Parker County Courthouse.

Vanzant was driving westbound on U.S. 180 and noticed the meteor streaking across the sky as she traveled over the viaduct toward the courthouse.

There are reports of similar sightings in Colorado, Oklahoma and West Texas. Some people even reported hearing a loud boom and said they felt their houses shake.

Photo Credit: Weatherford Police via YouTube]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Leads Dallas County Sheriff's Deputies on Chase]]> Wed, 01 Mar 2017 04:04:45 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dallas-co-chase1.jpg

The driver of a Chevrolet SUV led Dallas County Sheriff's deputies on a chase in South Dallas Tuesday.

The chase was headed eastbound on U.S. Highway 175 when the driver pulled over and surrendered near East Stark Road.

Officials have not yet said what led to the chase.

Check back and refresh this page for the latest update. As this story is developing, elements may change.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Denton ISD School Bus Involved in Crash]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 17:28:54 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/school-bus-crash-denco.jpg

Denton police investigated a crash involving a school bus and two other vehicles Tuesday morning.

The crash happened before 8:30 a.m. in the 2700 block of Hilcroft Avenue.

Denton Police say the bus was traveling west on the neighborhood street when it struck a parked car that was forced into a parked SUV. Viewer pictures from the scene show the SUV tipped onto its side by the crash.

Neither of the parked vehicles were occupied at the time.

The Denton ISD bus was transporting 37 students to Denton High School, according to District Spokesman Mario Zavala.

2 of the students, a 16 year-old and 18 year-old were taken voluntarily to Medical City Denton to be checked out, but first responders on scene said no one, including the 41 year-old female driver, appeared seriously injured.

"The rest of the students were sent over to Denton High School on a second bus, they were also checked out by the school nurse, were able to contact their families if they needed to, and then we just proceeded about our day," said Zavala.

Police and the school district have not yet identified the cause of the crash, but Zavala said they are launching a full investigation to figure the situation out.

"We're going to do our due diligence there, the driver will be placed on leave while we investigate, and we'll follow the process to see what happened," he said.

The bus and the disabled vehicles were towed from the scene by 11 am.

Photo Credit: @Smills13Mills]]>
<![CDATA[Girls Test Drive Engineering]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 10:13:24 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tmsg-engineers.jpg

The next generation of engineers attended a special event in North Texas.

Fort Worth-based XTO Energy recently hosted its fifth annual Introduce A Girl to Engineering Day.

About 50 girls from middle schools in the Azle, Crowley, Fort Worth and Hurst-Euless-Bedford independent school districts got the chance to test drive engineering through hands-on activities.

Suann Guthrie said the goal was to boost the girls' confidence and encourage them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (stem) fields

Guthrie said while women make up about half of the U.S. workforce, they account for only 14 percent of practicing engineers.

Tell Me Something Good airs weekdays on NB5 Today. Send your pictures and information to isee@nbcdfw.com.

<![CDATA[Why Storm Chances Are Lower Tuesday]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 09:49:01 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Hail+in+hand1.jpg

It feels like spring Tuesday morning; temperatures are in the 70s with dew points in 60s; southerly winds are pumping in gulf moisture. There is also a chance for severe storms this afternoon.

Despite a marginal risk for severe storms, the chance of an actual storm developing is lower. The reason: a strong cap is in place.

Southwest winds aloft are pumping in warm air to the upper levels of the atmosphere. Warm air above the surface prevents storm development. This is what we referred to as a "cap."

A cap prevents storms because as a parcel of air rises it becomes cooler than the surrounding air. The cooler parcels of air can then no longer rise, inhibiting thunderstorm development.

The air is still very unstable, so if a parcel of air can break through the cap, the storm would quickly grow severe. Our biggest risk would again be for large hail.

This morning the cap is strong so we do not expect storms.


This afternoon the cap weakens slightly to the east. A few storms may break through the cap. If they do they will turn severe.


Tuesday night the change for storms is greater. A cold front will erode the cap and storms may break out along the leading edge of the front.


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Selena Mural Defaced by Vandals]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 19:28:27 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/211*120/Selena+Mural.jpg

The people of Brownsville want to know who keeps defacing a mural of the Queen of Tejano music, Selena Quintanilla.

Artists painted the Tejano singer's likeness outside the Capitol Theatre during the annual Latin jazz festival, but the mural is now covered in deep scratches. The vandals also carved scratches into a mural of Frida Kahlo.

Last month, the same mural was marked with black ink and even sprayed with mustard.

The artists say they will keep cleaning up the mural for as long as it takes. The president of the Brownsville Society for the Performing Arts says he hopes to add lighting and security cameras to catch the vandals.

Known by just her first name, Selena was murdered in 1995 at the age of 23 by an obsessed fan in Corpus Christi.

Selena was inducted into the Texas Woman's Hall of Fame in Denton last fall.

Photo Credit: NBC News]]>
<![CDATA[Johnny Manziel Appears in Court in Dallas]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 11:59:40 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/manziel-court-0228171.jpg

Former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel appeared in court in Dallas Tuesday morning after missing a court-ordered deadline.

A Dallas County Judge Roberto Canas ordered Manziel to appear at the Frank Crowley Courts Building at 9 a.m. because he was concerned that "progress was not being adequatley made" on terms of a dismissal agreement in a domestic violence case against Manziel.

Manziel's former girlfriend Colleen Crowley said she and Manziel had a confrontation at a Dallas hotel Jan. 29, 2016, that continued to the valet stand where she was forced into a car while pleading for help. When she later tried to jump out of the car, she said Manziel hit her.

The Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M agreed to a deal last November that would dismiss the charges if he sought counseling and treatment within a year.

“Not everybody who comes through here gets this kind of opportunity,” Canas told Manziel. “Right now, you’re in charge of what happens to your case. Mr. Manziel gets to decide whether this case gets dismissed or not.”

Manziel and his team have since submitted proof that he is making progress on his requirements. He told Canas that he is taking this opportunity seriously.

“I don’t even want to let this get anywhere near the rabbit hole that you’re describing,” said Manziel. “This situation is in my hands. My life is trending upward in my eyes and I’m taking this responsibility. Dealing with this policy with the NFL, dealing with what the court has asked me to do, this is helping me get my life back together.”

At the end of the hearing, Canas told Manziel he believes they’re now “on the same page” and warned him that he “does not want to have another hearing like this.”

“My hope is that the next time you’re in court is when we’re able to sign the dismissal papers,” Canas said.

Since the indictment, the former first-round NFL Draft pick lost a number of endorsement deals and was cut by the Cleveland Browns. He remains unsigned.

Photo Credit: Tim Ciesco, NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Construction Begins on Grand Prairie IKEA]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 16:14:51 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GP-IKEA-construction.jpg

IKEA officials said crews have begun installing blue panels on the company's future Grand Prairie store.

Blue panel installation is a construction milestone that keeps the store on track to open this fall, according to officials.

"We hope to be enclosed in summer, and cannot wait for the building's interior to look like an IKEA store as well," IKEA U.S. president Lars Petersson said in a news release. "We know there are many customers in the area who are excited for us to open, including those who are driving to Frisco to shop as well those who have yet to experience the unique IKEA shopping concept."

The 293,000-square-foot proposed store would be built on 32 acres along the eastern side of Texas 161 near Mayfield Road.

The Grand Prairie location will be the second store to open in North Texas. The Swedish company also submitted plans to build a third Metroplex store in Fort Worth in the summer of 2019.

Photo Credit: IKEA]]>
<![CDATA[The First Black High School in Fort Worth]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 06:13:54 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/i.m.-terrell-high-school.jpg

Within a growing city, change is inevitable. Redevelopment has been a key focus for the city of Fort Worth.

Surrounded by a changing landscape, the golden bricks of I.M. Terrell remain intact and deeply rooted. Named after one of the school’s first principals, Isaiah Milligan Terrell, I.M. Terrell High School was the first and only high school for black students for decades.

“We are all connected,” said Marilyn Ferrell, who was a 1973 graduate of I.M. Terrell. “We call ourselves the ‘last class,’ because we were the last class that graduated before the school was closed. It doesn’t matter what year you graduated from, if you walked the halls of Terrell, you were family."

The school opened in 1882, and for generations black students from 17 different cities and small towns throughout Tarrant County were forced to travel to Fort Worth to attend high school.

“Students came from all over,” said James Mallard, who was a 1954 graduate of I.M. Terrell. “They had to get bused here. There weren’t just kids here from Fort Worth, but Grapevine, Weatherford, Euless, Arlington and Mansfield. Some of them would have to catch the city bus and then walk to school,” said Mallard.

Jim Crow laws in the south (which continued until 1965) enforced racial segregation.

“My family goes back 150 years in Tarrant County,” said Bob Ray Sanders, a 1965 graduate of I.M. Terrell. “People in my family were land owners, they paid taxes, yet there were still things that were closed to us. We still couldn’t go to the downtown movie theaters, up until 1963 we could only go to the zoo one day out of the year. We could swim in the pool one day out of the year and then they would drain the pool for the white kids. We had to ride on the back of the bus. Yes, we had to drink from water fountains marked ‘colored.’ the courthouse had segregated facilities."

"But all that said, I.M. Terrell was our refuge," said Sanders. "Our teachers knew they were preparing us for the change that was coming, and we were going to be prepared for the part of that change.”

Separate. Not Equal, but Elevated

I.M. Terrell is often described as a “beacon on a hill.” Graduates of the high school credit their success to their teachers, who were a shining light during the onslaught oppression of the segregation.

"They instilled in us dignity, and they had high expectations for us," said Sanders. "They invested everything they had in us, because if we didn’t succeed, it was like they didn’t succeed.”

Many of the teachers received their undergraduate degree from black universities in Texas, but they had to go outside of the deep south to receive master and doctorate degrees.

“Because many institutions were closed to African-Americans, they taught here," said Sanders. "So we had men and women, who were masters in their field, teaching us things like trigonometry, journalism, elementary analysis, and Shakespeare."

After the Supreme Court Ruling of Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, which deemed segregated schools unlawful, the state of Texas was slow to initiate change.

“Fort Worth did not want to integrate," said Sanders. "The city’s answer to Brown v. Board of Education was to add more high schools. They thought that would give us choice.” 

Integration came with pushback until President Lyndon B. Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Education and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “prohibits discrimination based on race, color or national origin in programs or activities which receive federal financial assistance.”

Facing the threat of losing public school funding, the Fort Worth ISD began a “stair step” program for integration. Black students were bused to white schools and three black schools were closed down. One of the schools was I.M. Terrell.

“We never wanted to see this school closed. This school meant so much to our community,” said Ferrell.

The school finally re-opened in 1998, but as an elementary school. After receiving the historic marker, the Fort Worth ISD has made plans to renovate Terrell.

Currently, the building is undergoing a $55 million renovation. When construction is complete, I.M. Terrell will reopen as a STEM and Performing Arts Academy.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[These Are North Texas' Largest Construction Projects]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 07:20:27 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-2017-02-28-05h50m24s149.jpg

In a garden of skyscrapers and a tangle of highways, North Texas still finds a way to grow.

NBC 5 wanted to look at the largest construction projects in the largest cities in Dallas, Tarrant, Denton and Collin counties.

According to Plano officials, their largest construction project is, easily, the new headquarters of Toyota.

At 2.1 million square feet, it’s not only humongous, but it will also mean money and momentum for the local economy. With it comes approximately 4,000 jobs for the area. City officials recently got a tour of the facility and walked away impressed.

Dallas’ largest project is the Union Project. Work crews are currently building the 800,000 square foot project that will house office, residential and retail spaces. It is set to open in 2018.

Denton’s major project is making a mark on the hospitality front. The new 70,000 square foot convention center and hotel is a part of the larger Rayzor Ranch project and should be completed later this year. The hotel floors are complete and now crews will work on the outside of the structure.

Fort Worth’s new multipurpose arena has an estimated price tag of $450 million. It will play host to the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo along with concerts and sports events. While it will not open until 2019, its huge parking garage will likely be finished in time to help ease parking pains during the 2018 Stock Show and Rodeo.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Senators Want DCS Abolished, Superintendent's Resignation]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 13:35:18 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dcs-news-conference-duncan-sorrels.jpg

Dallas County Schools Superintendent Rick Sorrells and Board President Larry Duncan responded Tuesday to a call for the superintendent's resignation as well as a bill that would abolish the beleaguered school bus provider by 2018.

Following a series of reports by NBC 5 Investigates that showed the agency is $14 million in debt and is $40 million off budget, Texas Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) called for Sorrells' resignation. News of the debt came after previous NBC 5 reports that bus drivers with DCS were racing through red lights while others were making students late for class by running off schedule. That's all in addition to questions about a controversial stop-arm camera program that cost the agency millions.

When asked Tuesday about the call for his resignation, Sorrells didn't say whether he planned to step down but that he'd talked to West and planned to do so again.

"I met with Sen. West last Wednesday and had a conversation with him about the future of Dallas County Schools and planned to have a meeting with him this next week to continue that conversation," Sorrells said.

Duncan said he also plans to meet with West "to understand his concerns" about Sorrells' leadership.

Sorrells addressed the budget issues Tuesday saying he'd hired an investigator to look into DCS' finances and that the "financial crisis" was a "budget issue."

"There is, at this point in the investigation, no money missing. There is no money lost. There is a budget issue and the budget is inflated," Sorrells said. "So, last week, we had the opportunity to try to handle that but it was only one sided. The revenues were being cut because we identified where the revenues needed to be cut. Now we're doing the other side to cut the expenditures where those expenditures need to be cut. The board actually tabled making that because it was so lopsided -- it was only one-sided, the equation. So the board will take that up at their next meeting and we'll be fine. We'll be moving forward, doing what we do, for kids in the North Texas area."

NBC 5 Investigates first reported on Texas Sen. Don Huffines' (R-Dallas) plan Monday night. On Tuesday morning in Austin, Huffines filed Senate Bill 1122 which "creates an orderly and thoughtful wind-down of Dallas County Schools, followed by complete abolition" by September 2018. A statement from Huffines' office can be seen below.

"Students and parents deserve better than DCS," Huffines said in a news release Tuesday. "When a child boards a school bus, parents should be able to trust that he or she will arrive at school safely and on time. This is a promise that DCS has broken repeatedly, and that's unacceptable. DCS has put students at risk, and for that, I am seeking to do right by students and parents by abolishing this dangerous bureaucracy.

Duncan decried the agency's characterization saying, "This morning 2,000 bus drivers got in buses like this and picked up 70,000 children and delivered them to school safely. It's a shame that now our student's safety is being used as a political football" while vowing to fight the bill that may shutter the agency.

"Sen. Huffines this morning proposed a bill to do away with Dallas County Schools. Yesterday he showed his true agenda when he disparaged PTA parents and students who were just advocating for public education," Duncan said. "The bottom line on this bill is to do away, to suck out, 19 and a half million dollars of our ad valorem tax from the public schools. We've already had our funding for public schools cut too much. We cannot allow this to happen. We need to see it for what it is -- in full context. Contact our state legislator sand make sure that we can continue taking care of our students getting to and from school safely."

Sorrells and Duncan said employees are worried about their futures after seeing reports about DCS on the news. During Tuesday's news conference, they invited some of those employees to speak to the media to share their concerns.

In addition to being worried about their jobs, employees who spoke said they didn't see any problems with the bus agency and they feared how students would get to school if the agency were abolished.

"People around us are nervous. They're upset," said 12-year bus driver Ricky Walker. "I like the job that I do. The kids like me. I don't know what Mr. Huffines is trying to do, but I just need my job. I feel like everything is fine. We just have a few problems here and there. We can all get over it and get through it. It's no problem at all." (See the entire press conference, including the employee statements, above)

"We've been told it would be catastrophic for the children and the school districts for us to simply disappear. We believe that and the school districts believe that," Sorrells said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Fort Worth Community 'Trapped' by Stopped Trains]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 09:02:11 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/fw-train-block.jpg

Some homeowners in North Fort Worth say they are being trapped by trains.[[414950233,R]]

People who live in the Vista Ranch community on Tinsley Lane near U.S. 287 reached out to NBC 5, saying trains have been trapping them in or out of their neighborhood for years.

They said sometimes it takes an hour for the train it to clear.

"It's very sporadic. It definitely varies," Vista Ranch HOA president Jill Kolb said. "Trains come here all the time. On a good day, they run perfect. On a bad day, we can get delays from 30 minutes, to the event that happened the other night that was well over an hour."

Thursday, we're told a train was stopped on the tracks for more than an hour during rush hour and caused a major back up and a lot of frustration.

"If we were to have an emergency inside this neighborhood, there is no way we can get in, and no way we can get out," Kolb said. "Emergency services can't get to us. We've worked closely with the Haslet Fire Department, and they've told us that, in the event of an emergency, they have emergency numbers that they can call, can get the train out of the way, but frankly that's kind of scary."

Kolb said she and her neighbors have reached out to the city about the issue at various community events. But, at this point, she doesn't think anyone really knows how to fix it.

NBC 5 has learned the track that crosses Tinsley Lane is owned and operated by Union Pacific. Just a half a mile down Tinsley is a docking station for rail cars, so a train more than a half a mile long can easily block the roadway.

In a statement from Union Pacific, the company acknowledges Thursday's issue:

"On Thursday, February 23, Union Pacific was made aware of a train blocking the crossing at Tinsley Road in Newark. Upon receiving several calls from drivers in the area, we were able to track down the issue. This appears to be an isolated event. A UP train was processing an unusually high number of cars at a facility just south of Tinsley Road, which led to an extended delay impacting the crossing. Our management team has since met with our customer to discuss how to avoid a repeat of this scenario.
We apologize to the drivers and residents that were inconvenienced by this delay. We are also appreciative to those who contacted our call center to advise us of the problem. Each of these calls is logged and investigated, which allows us to respond quickly to urgent situations and identify areas where we need to work to improve our fluidity and efficiency. Each public road crossing is equipped with a sign showing a toll free phone number and a crossing identification number. We ask drivers to please let us know if there are any emergency or safety concerns regarding our railroad."

"I definitely don't think that the railroad is malicious in their intent to block Vista Ranch in, I just don't think they understand where we come from and why it's so vital to us," said Kolb.

In February 2014, another Fort Worth neighborhood had a similar problem with trains stopping at crossings and blocking access to the neighborhood. After a series of stories were done by NBC 5 highlighting children crawling under the trains to get to school, the city eventually agreed to construct a roadway that allowed for a second exit out of the neighborhood.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Dallas Police Arrest Man After Active Shooter Call]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 04:53:48 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dal-active-shooter-022817.jpg

Police said they arrested a man in connection with an active shooter incident in Dallas late Monday night. [[414949133,C]]

Dallas police said officers were responding to a different call in the 2700 block of John West Road when they heard shots fired nearby at about 11:45 p.m. The officers called for back up for an active shooter.

Officers initially detained two men at about 1 a.m., according to police. One was a civilian caught in crossfire during the foot chase and was released.

Police said the other is the man they suspect in the shooting. He was not armed.

Authorities said they searched the area and found several shell casings on the ground. They are still searching for the weapon used.

No injuries were reported.

Photo Credit: Metro
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[McKinney Leaders to Meet About Public Transit Solution]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 07:19:12 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mckinney-water-tower.jpg

McKinney residents have been without public transit since November 2015, but city and regional leaders are working to remedy that situation.

The McKinney City Council has voted to move forward with requests for federal and state funding.

Tuesday afternoon, the McKinney Urban Transit District will hold its first meeting where Dallas Area Rapid Transit and the Denton County Transportation Authority will make a presentation about what services are available.

The North Texas Council of Governments is scheduled to make a presentation about possible funding.

The meeting will be at 4 p.m. at the John & Judy Gay Library at 6861 Eldorado Pkwy.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas Vigil Honors Slain Transgender Woman]]> Mon, 27 Feb 2017 22:45:01 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Chyna+Gibson+vigil.jpg

The LGBTQ community in Dallas gathered Monday to remember a transgender woman who was murdered over the weekend in New Orleans.

Chyna Gibson was a well-known performer with ties to North Texas and was also known professionally as "Chyna Doll Dupree."

She was shot around 10 times outside of a shopping mall in New Orleans. She had been visiting family for Mardi Gras.

Gibson is believed to be the fifth transgender woman of color murdered this year, and family members in North Texas are now looking for answers.

Her cousin, Angele Banks, lives in Dallas and can't understand why someone would hurt her.

"Chyna's loved by everyone," said Banks. "She was a sweetheart, always had a smile on her face, always positive, never a dull moment in her life. So nobody understands why someone would do this," Banks said.

New Orleans police tell NBC 5 they cannot confirm whether the murder was a hate crime. We asked Banks if she thinks it was.

"Until they get the story straight or whatever, I don't want to comment on that. I just think it's senseless and that's horrible," she said.

Abounding Prosperity, an organization serving the LGBTQ community in South Dallas, has displayed a message for Gibson on a sign outside its building: "Your death will not be in vain."

Dozens gathered there for a vigil on Monday evening to remember Gibson.

For Abounding Prosperity, this tragedy serves as a call to action to better protect – specifically – the black LGBT community in Dallas with a new program called LGBTQ S.A.F.E. The acronym stands for Solidarity, Accountability, Facts, Education.

The group will find ways to interact with city officials and police to ensure the LGBTQ community is safe.

Abounding Prosperity Inc. will take its call to action to the next City Council meeting and will also try to meet with the police chief, according to the group's chief executive officer.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Love and Loss: Kenny Goss Remembers George Michael]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 12:52:28 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/DSC_5680.JPG

Ever since the sudden death of pop superstar George Michael, his former partner has stayed out of the spotlight. But now North Texan Kenny Goss is sharing memories of the man with whom he shared much of his life.

"I really miss him," Goss said in an exclusive interview with NBC 5.

Goss met Michael in Los Angeles in 1996.

"We just met out in L.A. at a restaurant. He asked me out," Goss said.

That was the beginning of a relationship that would last more than two decades, first as a couple and later as friends.

The two men shared a life in the glare of George Michael's worldwide fame.

"I don't think he liked being a star at all when I met him. I don't think he got into music at all for fame. He just loved being a musician," Goss said.

There were difficult times, like Michael's arrest for cruising for sex in a public restroom.

"When somebody’s being so crazy publicly … I just loved him, certainly didn't judge him. It was bad enough everybody else was talking about it," Goss explained. "I think we both wished certainly that we would have stayed together."

Michael would write several songs about his relationship with Goss. "Amazing," "American Angel" and "Where I Hope You Are," are all about their life together.

The two also started the Goss-Michael Foundation in Dallas, which raises money for charities and helps develop young artists. The foundation has raised millions of dollars for causes such as the MTV Staying Alive Foundation dedicated to the prevention of HIV/AIDS.

Generosity was a priority for Michael. Goss said his partner gave away tens of millions of dollars, almost always anonymously.

"He always said to me more than once, 'How much money does someone really need? So many people think I've got to keep all this money and be super rich.' He really believed that you help people a lot and you only need a certain amount of money in your bank account," Goss said.

Fans learned in 2011 that the couple had split. Goss said there were no hard feelings.

"There's no huge story at all. There's no craziness that I got upset or he was upset with me," Goss said.

Goss said they continued their friendship and stayed connected through their work with the foundation.

Goss learned of Michael's death on Christmas Day in a phone call from Michael's manager, Michael Lippman.

"I said, 'Hey, Michael, how you doing? Tell Nancy I said hello. Merry Christmas!' And he said, 'Kenny, you haven't heard?' I found out that way. He said, 'George is dead,'" Goss said. "And I just went, 'Wow.'"

The days and weeks that followed were difficult for Goss. He said he knows nothing about the circumstances surrounding Michael's death, who was discovered in bed by his boyfriend, Fadi Fawaz. Goss said seeing the worldwide tributes to his former partner have been heartwarming.

"They loved him," he said.

Goss said the foundation that bears both of their names will continue.

"It won't stop until I decide it will. It's my decision. I think in death he was even more proud of it," Goss said.

Goss is currently preparing for the upcoming MTV RE:DEFINE event in Dallas, which will raise several million dollars for the Staying Alive Foundation.

More than two months after Michael's death, Goss said he still feels Michael's presence.

"All the time, yeah. I'm always asking him questions. Like coming to do this interview, I'm like, 'Darlin' I hope this is OK,' because he's really private," Goss said.

And when asked about what he would say to the man he still calls his longtime love, Goss says this: "I said it all to him already. There wasn't anything we left unsaid. 'I love you.'"


MORE: The Dallas Morning News: Dallas' Kenny Goss opens up about George Michael, their art foundation

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Muslim Cemetery Plans Move Forward in Collin County]]> Mon, 27 Feb 2017 23:10:20 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/farmersville+muslim+cemetery+site.jpg

Planning and zoning commission members in Farmersville unanimously approved the final concept plans for a Muslim-owned cemetery just outside city limits Monday evening.

The proposed 34-acre cemetery would be located on currently undeveloped land near U.S. Highway 380 and County Road 557.

Farmersville, a Collin County town of fewer than 4,000 residents, is about an hour north of Dallas.

The Islamic Association of Collin County purchased the land back in 2015 for about $500,000. Farmersville City Council members initially approved the permit unanimously in May 2015, but the plans began drawing strong opposition soon after.

Monday evening, about 40 people quietly sat during the planning and zoning commission meeting.

Public comment wasn't allowed, but residents were given comment cards to fill out about their feelings toward the cemetery.

Jack Hawkins, a Farmersville landowner, said he was strongly opposed to the cemetery and the Muslim religion in general.

"If I had my way, I would outlaw it in America. And I would tear down every mosque that was in this country. That's the way I feel about it," Hawkins said.

Pastor David Meeks, of the Bethlehem Baptist Church, was one of the most vocal opponents in 2015 – opposition he said has only grown stronger.

"From what I hear, from my perspective, is that people are really more concerned than before," Meeks said. "There have been terrible, drastic things happen in the world through radical Islamic terrorism, and any thought of that coming to our community just brings and harbors anxiousness, you know, that we're concerned with."

Meeks was at the August 2015 town hall meeting that drew a standing-room only crowd, many of whom were Farmersville residents strongly opposed to the proposal.

According to Shumsur Rahman, the IACC has been working closely with city leaders over the past two years to figure out the best way to move forward.

Rahman said the initial permits expired after a year, so Monday evening's meeting was essentially starting the process over again.

The Islamic Association will now submit a preliminary plat to the planning and zoning commission. Eventually, the proposal will head to the full Farmersville City Council.

Architectural designs have not yet been finalized, but it would likely house about 15,000 burial plots. There are no plans to build a mosque on the site.

Currently, the Muslim community buries their dead in Restland Cemetery in Dallas, but space is running out.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Sen. Huffines to Introduce Bill That Would Close DCS]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 09:29:49 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dallas+county+schools+dcs+bus.jpg

NBC 5 Investigates has obtained details of a new plan to shut down Dallas County Schools, the troubled government school bus agency that is in serious financial trouble.

State Senator Don Huffines (R-Dallas) plans to introduce legislation Tuesday that would do away with DCS.

The bill would replace the DCS board with what's called a "dissolution committee." The committee would pay off the busing agency's debts and then close the doors at DCS by September 2018.

"There's no door that's going to remain open. This organization is done," Huffines said.

Huffines said that timing is necessary to give the 12 school districts that use DCS for bus service time to find new bus contractors or launch their own bus fleets.

"We're not going to do anything suddenly. We need to wind them down over the next 18 months in a very orderly fashion," he said.

Huffines also said he wants the state or a law enforcement agency to thoroughly investigate the finances at DCS.

The agency is in danger of running out of money and is millions in debt. Much of that is due to a side business DCS started by using taxpayer money marketing school bus stop-arm cameras to other school districts across the state.

"Somebody, somehow, some organization – we're going to get to the bottom of it. We're going to find out where that money was spent and how it was spent, and we're going to hold everyone accountable," Huffines said.

DCS Superintendent Rick Sorrels declined to comment on Huffines' proposal to shutter DCS.

Through a public relations company, Sorrells said he wants to wait to hear what Huffines says in a news conference set for Tuesday in Austin before responding.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Plano West HS Vandalism Could be Felony-Level]]> Mon, 27 Feb 2017 23:06:32 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Plano+Vandalism.jpg

Derogatory words, lewd images and even several racial slurs were found spray-painted on Plano West High School and throughout the parking lot Monday morning.

Students and staff arrived to find the vandalism on a building entrance and then it was quickly discovered along an entire side of the building, on signs and utility boxes on the campus, and even on at least two vans in the parking lot.

Plano Police Department Public Information Officer David Tilley said the damage was likely left sometime over the weekend and the simple amount of damage left behind could make the crime a felony.

Officers and the school district are looking into surveillance video from the school to see if the incident was recorded and if those responsible can be identified.

Tilley acknowledged Monday that crimes like this are often the product of school rivalries or teenage pranks, but he said this one clearly went too far.

"It's when it crosses that line into this particular area here that it becomes a little bit more concerning,” said Tilley.

Plano West Principal Kathy King released this statement Monday:

"I know that the vandalism discovered on our campus this morning has been the subject of concern for many of you. It was disheartening for the students and staff of Plano West to return to our school following the weekend to find vulgarities spray-painted on buildings, vehicles and other campus structures.

Campus and district personnel are working with the Plano Police Department to investigate this incident and to hopefully determine who is responsible for defacing our school. Now that crime scene officers have completed their work of capturing evidence, we are glad to be able to begin removing the graffiti from our campus as we continue our instructional day. Thank you for your support as we work to maintain a safe and welcoming learning community.

Sincerely, Kathy King, Principal, Plano West Senior High School"

Police ask that anyone with information in this situation bring it to them right away or to the district's Campus Crime Stoppers program. Tilley said information leading to an arrest may be eligible for a reward.

Photo Credit: Brian Scott, NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[Josh Hamilton Underwent Arthroscopic Knee Surgery Monday]]> Mon, 27 Feb 2017 19:23:18 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-492324212.jpg

Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton has undergone arthroscopic knee surgery, the team confirmed Monday.

Hamilton returned to Houston to be examined Monday by Dr. Walt Lowe, who performed reconstructive surgery on the former AL MVP's left knee last June.

On Monday, the team confirmed the latest surgery was to repair some damaged meniscus cartilage and said Hamilton is expected to be out up six weeks; after recovery, Hamilton will likely need a minor league rehab assignment.

The team also confirmed there were no issues with his surgically repaired ACL in the same knee.

"We'll know once Dr. Lowe sees him," Rangers assistant general manager Mike Daly said before Monday's announcement. "Josh felt and Dr. Lowe felt that he needed to go back down and get an evaluation."

Hamilton was examined by Lowe in Houston last Wednesday after his knee flared up in running drills. He was given a platelet-rich plasma injection to alleviate the discomfort.

Hamilton returned to camp on Thursday and he experienced discomfort after riding a stationary bike for two days.

The 35-year-old Hamilton played just one game in the minors last season while recovering. He was medically cleared in December and signed a minor league contract with Texas.

Hamilton was a five-time All-Star as an outfielder. He has been working out this spring at first base to put less wear and tear on the knee.

Hamilton has not played in more than 90 big league games in a season since 2013.

In 2010, he hit .359 with 30 home runs and 100 RBIs. In 2013, he hit 43 home runs with 128 RBIs.

"It is disappointing for Josh," manager Jeff Banister said. "I feel for him. He came into camp feeling good. I'm sure that for him, this is a challenge."

"This is a player that still has talent and capability. The curiosity is how long can a guy do it for and do it consistently," he said.

There's always a chance, too, that Hamilton might never play again.

"I don't think anybody wants to take it to that extreme," Daly said. "Josh has stated that he wants to play. That is why he is in camp. He wants to play and we want him to play. We'll see what happens after Dr. Lowe looks at him."

Hamilton has a $24 million contract for 2017 and the Los Angeles Angels are obligated to pay the Rangers $22 million to cover most of it.

This is the final season of the $125 million, five-year deal he signed with the Angels as a free agent before the 2013 season, though they traded him back to Texas two years later.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>