<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Dallas-Fort Worth News]]> Copyright 2016 http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Fri, 12 Feb 2016 02:23:18 -0600 Fri, 12 Feb 2016 02:23:18 -0600 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Plano Police Officers Rescue Boy from Burning Home]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 23:14:16 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/189*120/planoofficers.jpg

A 5-year-old-boy is recovering after what some are calling heroic efforts by two Plano police officers Thursday.

The officers rushed into action after spotting the boy inside a burning home on Gillum Drive.

Plano police say officers Russell Harris and Mark Jones happened to be working nearby when the fire call went out at 3:45 p.m.

The officers arrived on scene before firefighters. They found smoke billowing out of the home and a mother unable to get inside.

Police said the officers ran into the backyard and saw two tiny hands banging on a second-story window. It was a 5-year old-boy trapped inside.

The officers then found a ladder, and used it to climb to the window and break it out. Harris pulled the boy from the smoke-filled room, police said.

The boy was rushed to a hospital with severe smoke inhalation, but he is expected to be okay.

The officers began receiving praise online after the story was shared on the Plano Police Department's Facebook page.

One person wrote, "Brave and so courageous. Thank you so much for your service to our wonderful community. It's such a pleasure to live in this fine city knowing that we are protected by officers like the both of these heroic men."

We're told the police officers and the mother were also checked out at the hospital but are okay.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Photo Credit: Plano Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[DFW Leads Nation in Cargo Thefts: NBC 5 Investigates]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 23:03:33 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cargo+theft+dfw.jpg

An NBC 5 Investigation found Dallas-Fort Worth is now one of the worst spots in the country for cargo theft.

New video lifts the veil on the shadowy world of thieves who target big trucks. Some of the stuff they’re stealing could wind up on the dinner table or medicine cabinet, raising big safety concerns.

Just one stolen trailer full of cargo can net the crooks millions of dollars – depending on what’s inside.

Investigators agreed to give NBC 5 Investigates access to photos and videos showing the scale of these crimes, how they costly they can be and why police in Texas are struggling to keep up.

“They’re running a business and their business is to steal this stuff,” said Spence Gates, a police detective with Grand Prairie Police Department.

Police in Grand Prairie discovered a virtual shipping center run by a suspected cargo theft ring.

"We are a major hub," said Gates.

Police video obtained by NBC 5 Investigates shows pallets of soft drinks and other popular products apparently stolen by an organized group that drove off with entire trucks. Other cargo crooks simply break into trailers.

Videos provided by Travelers Insurance show how thieves use bolt cutters to crack open locks and then go "trailer shopping," tearing open boxes in search of specific items they can sell.

“These folks are smart. They know what they’re after,” said National Insurance Crime Bureau special agent, Phillip Harris.

Harris has seen it all including a truckload of stolen cowboy boots worth more than a million dollars, stolen diet supplements and giant arcade games.

But the most popular items for thieves are beverages and food.

One truckload of stolen beef was intercepted, bound for a black market sale to a Dallas restaurant.

“You know the people that steal this stuff and sell it, do you think they care about the date it expires? No.” said cargo theft expert, JJ Coughlin.

Coughlin said stolen food and drugs are often sold online or in mom-and-pop stores putting unsuspecting customers at risk.

The companies that lose the cargo often pass on the cost to consumers.

“If you buy a TV you’ll be paying $5 extra because of the loss. You buy food you’re paying so much more,” said Coughlin.

“Cargo theft is costing this country $25 billion every year,” said Harris.

When you map out the crimes, the Dallas and Fort Worth area is one of the nation’s worst hot spots according to CargoNet, an industry group that tracks cargo theft across the country. Statistics show Texas is one of the top three states in the country for cargo theft because so much high-dollar cargo travels Texas highways.

Despite big losses across the state, many local police departments don’t have investigators with special training to work cargo cases and Texas does not have a statewide cargo theft task force to target the bad guys. Florida is the only state that has such a statewide force.

“There’s really low risk that you’re going to get caught, for the most part, at least in some jurisdictions,” said Fred Lohmann with the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Lohmann doesn’t believe there are enough police dedicated to dealing with the problem.

Shippers are turning to companies like LoJack Supply Chain Integrity. They track trucks from command center in the DFW area, using technology that sounds an alert if a truck veers from its scheduled route.

The insurance industry is fighting back as well. Travelers Insurance is providing police with bait trailers, wired with cameras to catch crooks in action.

"The best thing you can do is keep the cargo moving," said truck driver, Gary Babbit.

Truckers like Babbit are avoiding extra stops and watching their backs.

"I’m looking for suspicious vehicles that may have been following me for quite a while," said Babbit.

Truck yards are installing cameras to catch thieves, like the ones caught on camera at a truck yard in Grand Prairie managed by Angelo Chokas. Surveillance video caught thieves slamming into a fence as they stole a rig in broad daylight.

"I mean they’re in and out of that truck. It’s kind of like that movie ‘Gone in 60 Seconds.’ It’s actually less than 60," said Chokas.

Grand Prairie is one of a handful of local cities with officers dedicated to cargo cases and they’ve already made number of major arrests.

“We have to start somewhere. We’ve got to fix the problem,” said Gates.

Industry leaders said they need help across the state.

“Now we need more boots on the ground to get the job done,” said Lohmann.

Creating a statewide task force to battle cargo theft would require action from the Texas legislature. The state already collects a $2 fee on auto insurance policies to fund an auto theft task force which investigates some truck theft cases where entire rigs are stolen.

Last year the state collected about $44 million from those auto insurance policy fees.  Under state law about $22 million of that money could be appropriated to the auto theft task force.  But the legislature chose to appropriate only  $15 million to the auto theft task force.

Some in the insurance industry have suggested a portion of the remaining funds could be used to target cargo theft.

NBC5 Investigates asked the top two legislators in charge of the budget process if they would support such a move.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman, Senator Jane Nelson told us she would like to see more data first.  Nelson pointed to a Legislative Budget Board report that raised questions about the effectiveness of the state's auto theft task force.  In a statement Sen. Nelson said, "....we have to make sure every dollar we spend is achieving results. Questions have been raised about how these funds are actually being used, and we need better data moving forward."

House Appropriations Committee Chairman, Rep. John Otto, provided a statement saying, "In light of the national increase in cargo theft and Texas' undesirable status as a top cargo theft state, we will continue to review the Department of Motor Vehicles and its grantees to ensure that the state is appropriating sufficient resource to fight cargo theft."

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[North TX Police Chase Tops 100 MPH, Ends in Waco]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 23:05:23 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/i35+chase+waco.jpg

A high-speed police pursuit began in Rockwall County, traveled into downtown Dallas and then south on Interstate 35 before ending in Waco Thursday evening.

The initial reason for the chase is unknown at this time.

The suspect vehicle, a four-door silver Mazda passenger car, traveled at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour, and at times drove southbound in the northbound lanes, as well as northbound in the southbound lanes of Interstate 35E, passed other vehicles on the shoulder and evaded multiple attempts by officers to disable the vehicle with spike strips.

Several agencies were involved in the pursuit, which lasted more than an hour and crossed through at least five counties.

The chase ended when the driver crashed into a median guardrail on southbound I-35 near Meyers Lane in Waco, and officer took the driver into custody.

Further information on the driver has not yet been released.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Celina ISD Warns of Norovirus Outbreak]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 18:26:00 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/norovirus-dengeric.jpg

The Celina Independent School District has informed parents about an outbreak of norovirus at Celina Elementary School.

The district said a high number of students are being sent home, and more than 13 teachers have also been infected.

The plan is to use the upcoming President's Day holiday to sanitize the school.

School will be in session Friday, but district leaders are worried about a shortage of teachers, because so many are sick or at home taking care of their own sick children.

Norovirus is a nasty stomach bug but usually runs its course in two or three days.

Students are encouraged to stay home if they're sick, and wait at least 24 hours of being symptom-free before they return to school.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[50 Charged in North Texas Meth and Cocaine Bust]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 20:02:20 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/TLMD-esposas-handcuffs-st.jpg

Hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine and kilograms of cocaine are off the streets of North Texas. The FBI worked to seize the drugs along with cash and firearms from an alleged drug trafficking organization.

Fifty people are being charged with federal drug distribution conspiracy charges, including 36 people taken into custody after a huge operation Wednesday by the FBI's Fort Worth Violent Crime/Gang Task Force.

The charge is conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 50 grams of methamphetamine and/or 500 grams of cocaine.

The FBI is still looking for nine people who are still on the streets. The drug conspiracies date back to September 2013 and August 2014.

<![CDATA[Some WinStar Casino Slot Machines Malfunctioning]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 18:51:48 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/160*120/winstarthumb_448x336.jpg

Some slot machines aren't working properly at WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma.

According to NBC affiliate KFOR in Oklahoma City, about one-third of the casino's slot machines are experiencing problems.

Some players are not able to cash out without a floor manager manually overriding the machine and dispensing cash vouchers to players.

Officials at the world's largest casino are expected release a formal statement soon.


<![CDATA[Cities Protest Plan to Frack Near Lewisville Lake]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 17:46:11 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Hickory+Creek+Fracking.jpg

A plan that could bring gas drilling very close to a key North Texas lake is now raising concerns from some of the area’s largest cities.

Leaders with the city of Dallas confirmed Friday that they sent a letter of protest to the Bureau of Land Management this week asking the federal agency to withdraw a 259 acre area on the northwest side of Lewisville Lake from a scheduled April 20 auction.

In the letter, [see below] the city’s water utilities director Jody Puckett cites concerns over water quality, the already damaged Lewisville Lake dam, and lack of notification to residents of the area as reasons for their formal protest.

Word began circulating last week that the BLM, a division of the U.S. Department of Interior, began considering the auction last year after interest was expressed to drill on the public land by members of the gas industry, according to Donna Hummel, spokesperson for the BLM’s New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas district. The rights would be good for the next 10 years.

By law, the BLM has to consider that lease and launched an environmental study in which they found drilling shouldn’t have a significant impact. Hummel also said the lease would bring money into the state and federal coffers with rights starting at auction for $2 per acre, but often going for significantly more.

As part of the process, the public is notified via the BLM’s New Mexico district website from the start, but many people locally have said they had no way of knowing they’d ever need to check for something like that.

Leaders in Dallas and other communities also said they were never notified directly by the agency.

So now, the sale is in its public protest period where anyone with concerns can write to the BLM via traditional mail or fax to have their comments considered in the final decision on whether to auction.

Lewisville Lake is a major source of drinking water for much of North Texas and, as the city mentioned in their protest letter, the dam in Lewisville is currently undergoing repairs for damage, leading several cities to follow suit with Dallas.

The Highland Village City Council voted Tuesday night to send a letter of protest [see below] of their own after city manager Michael Leavitt found out about the auction in local media.

"The council is not opposed to gas wells and the process it goes through, but the council has a real concern,” he said bringing up water quality and the dam as their major concerns too.

The cities of Lewisville and Flower Mound also confirm that their city councils will consider opposing the auction via protest next Monday, and Denton’s mayor said he will bring a resolution up to their council on Tuesday night.

Anyone wishing to protest must have their letter into the BLM’s New Mexico office by the close of business on Thursday, February 18.

Protests can be sent to:

The Bureau of Land Management New Mexico Office
P.O. Box 27115
Santa Fe, NM 87502-0115
Fax: 505-954-2010

Dallas Letter of Protest

Highland Village Letter of Protest

Photo Credit: Brian Scott, NBC5
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<![CDATA[New Strain of Dog Flu Spreading Quickly in North Texas]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 17:39:05 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/20151009+Cute+Dog.jpg

Local veterinarians are warning against a fast spreading disease affecting dogs.

H3N2 is a new strain of the dog flu. It was first identified in 2015 and hit its peak last year mainly in Chicago and the upper Midwest.

Now the virus is in the North Texas area and veterinarians are concerned because it can spread rapidly. "I think that if your dog is in a social setting with other dogs you should be concerned," said Dr. Jim Turner with Farrell Animal Hospital in Arlington.

"This is much easier to prevent then to deal with after the fact," said Turner.

A coughing dog who has the virus can spread it twenty feet away. Veterinarians are keeping a watchful eye. "It is like most flu viruses spread through respiratory droplets," said Turner. “It can live on surfaces for a period of time but it's mainly close contact with other dogs infected.”

The virus incubates in the animals body over a two to five-day period before the dog shows signs according to the experts. During that period, the dog can spread the disease to others even if they don’t show any symptoms.

Dogs can be contagious with H3N2 for about three weeks.  "It may be mild enough that you won't think much about it but with time as it becomes more severe the fever will increase and maybe their appetite drops,” said  Turner.

The virus usually causes a mild illness in most dogs, but it can lead to pneumonia Although H3N2 is highly contagious the good news is there is a vaccine.

It’s important to note that humans can’t get H3N2 from their pets.  Doctors say the dog flu is not seasonal and can be passed on any time of year. Recovery time can be up to two weeks.

Read more about canine influenza here. 

<![CDATA[Taxi Drivers Claim Competition Unfair]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 19:07:28 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/DFW+taxi+fight.jpg

North Texas taxi drivers complain wait times for fares at D/FW International Airport have doubled since new rules opened the airport to more competition from ride share companies last year.

The main taxi cue lot for around 300 taxis was sufficient in the past, according to Muneeb Awan, President of the Association of Taxicab Operators. Awan said an overflow lot at the airport is now often full of waiting taxis, as well.

Awan said it took him six hours of waiting in the lots or at the curb to get customers Thursday morning.

“I used to get five trips a day to get halfway decent money to feed my family and now I’m down to two trips a day where I can’t even feed my family anymore,” Awan said.

Driver Jane Lynch said ride-share companies have taken taxi business in downtown Dallas and at the airports.

“You can’t go outside because all of our business has been taken over by ride-sharing companies and then on the inside, same thing,” Lynch said.

After much debate among North Texas government leaders, ‘Transportation for Hire’ rules were changed last year to give ride-share companies a better shot at the business that was traditionally guaranteed to taxi companies. Ride-share customers demanded it.

Cars and drivers for both forms of transportation must meet minimum requirements, but restrictions on fares and the number of vehicles were removed. Taxis must display rates and provide receipts.

Taxis still use meters to determine fares, but cars with companies like Uber and Lyft are summoned and paid with smart phones. Ride-share cars now wait at the airport, too.

“It's just normal competition that’s done here in America,” said Uber and Lyft driver Frank Wright. “It’s just a paradigm shift in the business. People want something new, something more social. A lot of people like the social interaction. Some like the ride better.”

Taxi drivers around the world have staged protests over competition from ride sharing companies.

Gus Tayeh has driven cabs in North Texas for more than 20 years.

“Until August of last year it was good,” he said. “And when they deregulated the whole thing, it went downhill.”

He said North Texas will miss taxi cabs when they are needed if they are driven out of business.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[A&M Students Oppose Eminent Domain for Train]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 21:17:10 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/japan+high+speed+rail.jpg

The Texas A&M University Student Senate has voted to oppose the use of eminent domain to construct a high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston.

One of the stops along the proposed route would be in Grimes County, east of the College Station campus.

The vote taken Wednesday night was 60-2.

"I am proud our body was able to see through the well-funded special interests and professional lobbyists that tries to influence us and clarify – overwhelmingly – that Texas A&M students are against the use of eminent domain and will not support the rail's taking of private property rights from unwilling sellers," said student senator Carlos Sonka.

Texas Central Partners, the private company behind the project, says the train would benefit Texas A&M and the Brazos Valley region.

In response to the student vote, the company said it "remains encouraged by our ongoing work with landowners and communities along the corridor and the growing support to bring this historic project to Texas."

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[American Airlines Teams Up With Uber]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 20:12:28 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dfw+airport+sign.jpg

American Airlines has announced a partnership with ride-share service Uber, designed to make it easier for passengers to get to and from the airport.

The Fort Worth-based airline said the two companies will work together to provide faster service, airport navigation and promotions.

"By working together, we can provide a service that allows customers to request their Uber ride to the airport in step with their itinerary and know where to meet their Uber driver after their flight lands," said Scott Hinshaw, with American Airlines.

American has made changes to its website and smartphone app that remind passengers to request a ride and guide them to Uber pick-up locations at 11 major airports, including Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

American also announced that some customers will be eligible for discounts on Uber rides and bonus AAdvantage frequent flyer miles.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Eminent Domain in Texas Focus of Presidential Campaign]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 19:52:10 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/globe-life-park--%282%29.jpg

The issue of eminent domain is a hot-button topic on the campaign trail. In the last Republican debate, Donald Trump claimed the Bush family used the practice for personal profit during the construction of Globe Life Park, formerly the Ballpark in Arlington.

Lucille Straten knows first-hand the impact that eminent domain can have on a homeowner.

"It is very devastating. It's like you don't have a right, and you really don't have a right when they take your stuff," said Straten.

Lucille once lived where AT&T Stadium now stands. In fact, her home once stood on what is now the 50-yard-line.

The city of Arlington offered Lucille $70,000 for her property, but she hired an attorney and fought back.

"In the United States how can somebody come along and take your stuff, even though you paid your taxes, you paid for your house. It's just like you never owned anything," said Straten.

Eminent domain is the power of a government entity to take over private property for public use. It's now a topic of debate in the presidential campaign.

Donald Trump snapped back at Jeb Bush after he called Trump out for pushing an elderly homeowner out of her home to build a casino. Trump said Bush had no room to talk because his brother, former President George W. Bush, did the same thing in Arlington when building the ballpark.

"I was watching the debate that night when Gov. Bush challenged Donald Trump – I said, 'Here we go again,'" said Richard Greene, the former mayor of Arlington who was in office at the time.

"It started with the approval of the people of the community who authorized this public project, and if they had not authorized it, it would never have been built," Greene added.

But opponents of the project said they worked hard to keep it from passing because of eminent domain.

"We said no and we fought against it," said attorney James Runzheimer. "Unfortunately the Republican Party has an unfortunate history here, certainly locally, of not standing up for individual landowners as they should have."

Lucille Straten hired an attorney and settled for an undisclosed amount. She said no amount of money can take away the pain of losing a home.

"When you do everything right, then some rich man comes along and takes it away from you, God help (former Arlington Mayor Robert) Cluck and (Dallas Cowboys owner) Jerry Jones for what they did to those people. They think they can get away with it, but I know that God is going punish them for what they've done," she said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Highway 199 Could See Millions in State Funding]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 17:38:43 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Hwy199freewayends.jpg

Some relief could be on the way for some of the most congested roads in North Texas.

Later this month the Texas Transportation Commission will vote to approve 14 projects totaling $1.3 billion.

Two of those projects are in Dallas County and three are in Tarrant County.

In northwest Fort Worth there is a three-mile stretch featuring twists and turns that runs from highway speeds to stop lights.

But if the commission gives the green light to the Texas Department of Transportation, the on-the-highway and off-the-highway nature of State Highway 199 in that section from Fort Worth to Azle would change.

"I'm hoping they do because they've been trying to do that for a long, long time," said Candy Smith, of Azle.

Some residents said it's been a decade of waiting for the highway to be completed.

The project would be part of the state's Congestion Initiative Funding, focused on the state's four largest metropolitan areas and projects that can be finished on an "accelerated pace."

If approved on Feb. 25 at the commission's quarterly meeting, $56.5 million would head to project on Jacksboro Highway.

"I think it would be great," Smith said. "It'll make things flow a lot better."

The project would essentially end the stop-and-go traffic by building bridges for the highway to pass over cross-traffic. But not everyone thinks such work is warranted in that area.

"There's not enough traffic to justify this to happen here," said Doug Carr, of Fort Worth.

Carr said there's heavier traffic and congestion along U.S. Highway 287 in far northwest Fort Worth.

"We only have so much in the budget, let's use it where we need it," he said.

However, TxDOT said the State Highway 199 corridor is seeing an increase in traffic as more people move into the Azle area.

"It's a good place to live – lots of people moving in," Smith said.

If approved, construction could possibly get moving before the end of the year where the end result very well could speed things up.

The commission will vote on the projects and another $800 million for other projects involving connectivity.

Photo Credit: Chris Van Horne\NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[Cowtown Calf Program Delivers Thousands of Shoes]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 16:54:04 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cowtown+calf+shoes.jpg Some North Texas kids are getting new shoes, thanks to the Cowtown Calf Program, which gives out more than 5,000 pairs of running shoes to local children in need.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dome Homes in North Texas]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 18:39:06 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dome+home.jpg

You've probably seen the large concrete caterpillar along Interstate 35 down in Italy, Texas.

Have you ever wondered what's inside it?

Gary Clark, with the Monolithic Dome Institute, explains, the caterpillar is where his dome homes find their form.

It's a manufacturing hub, where builders cut the heavy fabric that inflates to help support the dome roof.

Built out of concrete, their shape and structural integrity make dome homes more energy efficient, fire proof and stronger than a typical home.

"My home is designed to withstand winds in excess of 250 to 300 mph and all the flying debris that goes with it," Clark said about his dome home.

In Italy, there's an entire neighborhood of dome homes.

"A little Mayberry town," said resident Al Norris.

Norris rents a studio-sized dome for $600 a month.

"Kitchen, bedroom, living area, bathroom, it's all I need," he said.

"It kinda reminds me of the hobbit or Star Wars," added neighbor Charles Millard.

"A lot of people come by to see, what are these things," Clark said. "And they're kind of pleasantly surprised when they find out how normal they really can be. Beauty actually is in the eyes of the beholder. Every home in America ought to be like this."

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[No Injuries in Parker Co. Small Plane Crash: DPS]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 16:19:12 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/211*120/parker+co+plane.JPG

Officials say the pilot of a small plane was not injured when the aircraft traveled off the end of a runway and flipped upside-down Thursday in Parker County.

The single-engine Cessna 182 Skylane II was attempting to land at the Parker County Airport at about 3 p.m. when it skidded and overturned in the grassy median off the south Interstate 20 Frontage Road, east of Weatherford, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The 66-year-old pilot, a Weatherford resident, was the only occupant in the plane and was not injured, DPS troopers said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Man Dressed as SWAT Officer Robs Arlington Business]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 16:31:35 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Arlington-Shooting.jpg

An armed man dressed as a SWAT officer robbed a North Texas payday loan store and shot one person with a pellet gun Thursday afternoon, Arlington police said. [[368518501,C]]

The man, identified as Matthew Paul Bender, walked into Texas Car Title & Payday Loan in the 1100 block of East Pioneer Parkway at about 2:15 p.m., officers said.

He allegedly wore a face mask and a vest that said "SWAT" on the back.

Although the weapon Bender was carrying resembled an assault rifle, it was actually a BB gun. Police said the man fired a shot inside the business, striking one person in the ankle.

That individual was transported to Medical Center Arlington.

Bender fled the scene with an unknown amount of stolen cash.

His vehicle was spotted near Collins Street and Park Row Drive a short time later. Bender was arrested the man without incident. He has been charged with aggravated robbery. Additional charges are pending.

Bender was being held in Arlington City Jail on a $15,000 bond. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.

NBC 5's Tim Ciesco contributed to this report. 

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Minority Students Visiting A&M Harassed, Told To Go Home]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 23:04:09 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tamu-sign-722.jpg

A group of black and Hispanic high school students visiting Texas A&M University say they were harassed, taunted and told by white students they were not welcome to attend the university, according to Texas Sen. Royce West (D-23rd District).

West's office released a statement Thursday saying two black female high school juniors were part of a larger group touring the campus when they were approached by a white female Texas A&M student who asked the girls if they liked her earrings -- which were replicas of the Confederate flag.

Nearby, a group of white male and female students began harassing the larger group of 60 high school students by using racial epithets and telling them to "go back where you came from."

The group of students, from Dallas' Uplift Hampton Preparatory School, were visiting the campus as part of the school's Road To College at Uplift Education Program.

Jayla Alex-Johnson was one of about 60 juniors touring the campus.

“Some students were really upset about it," said Alex-Johnson.

Standing towards the back of the crowd, she could only hear some yelling. It was not until later that she learned exactly what was being said to her classmates.

“I hope that their attitude changes," Alex-Johnson said. "The way they think, the way they believe in everything.”


“I hope they catch those people and find out who it was and they kick them out of whatever,” said Anna Alvarenga, a parent of a student at Hampton Prep.

According to West, the confrontation was witnessed by TAMU officials accompanying the students. A campus police officer initially said the university students were expressing their First Amendment rights, though a report was made on the incident.

Following their tour, Alex-Johnson said TAMU officials met with students to discuss the incident and assure them that the behavior was not in line with the university's beliefs or ideals.

“They were really sincere," she explained. "And they couldn’t believe what happened, like neither of us could, and they just really apologized and told us that this shouldn’t be happening at their school.”


West said the incident is now being reviewed by executive leadership at the university, including Chancellor John Sharp.

"While high level meetings are taking place among A&M administrative, faculty and student leaders, those meetings need to produce results that say that overt acts of racism will not be tolerated anywhere within the university system," West said. "I expect a response that is swift and similar to those taken at the University of Oklahoma. The students responsible for these reprehensible actions should be strongly disciplined, if not expelled."

West implored action must be taken swiftly or the university runs the risk of damaging its credibility. West added that the university has a history of recruiting minority students from urban schools, has established outreach centers in Dallas and elsewhere and has made scholarship monies available to minority students.

"But actions such as what took place Tuesday can undo whatever good has been done. When those student's stories are told to parents and friends, they could undoubtedly, further the belief that the home of the Aggies has a campus environment that has been hostile to Black students; that is those who are not athletes," West said.


Michael K. Young, president of Texas A&M University, said in a statement released Wednesday he was outraged and tremendously disappointed in the behavior of his students and that "appropriate action will be taken."

"I deeply regret the pain and hurt feelings this incident caused these young students. Be assured that we take such allegations very seriously," Young said in a statement. "While the actions of a few certainly do not represent our institution as a whole, it is the responsibility of all of us to stop any incidents that could be considered hateful or biased-based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or any other factor."

Uplift Education released a statement Thursday afternoon saying they were "proud of our scholars for the grace and composure with which they responded to the college students who chose to engage in a disrespectful and unacceptable manner."

Uplift added they appreciated the swift response from university leadership and that they hope the incident can broaden the national conversation about inclusion and cultural awareness so that everyone can feel safe and welcome.

At this time, the students involved have not been identified by the university.


Uplift Education Statement


NBC 5's Caroline Connolly and Kevin Cokely contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: File – NBC DFW
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<![CDATA[Deadly Crash Involving Semi, Pickup Truck in Dallas]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 14:41:47 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/crash73.jpg

One man was killed when an 18-wheeler collided with a truck in Dallas, Dallas Fire-Rescue officials say.[[368497731,C]]

The deadly crash happened just before noon Thursday on the eastbound Interstate 20 frontage road at soundbound Lancaster Road.

The male victim was transported to a hospital, where he later died. His name has not been released. No other injuries were reported.

The eastbound lanes of the I-20 frontage road, along with the soundbound lanes of Lancaster Road, were shut down for about two hours.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Officer Who Stopped Wal-Mart Shooter Credits Training]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 13:03:26 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/DallasPoliceOfficer.png

A Dallas police officer credits 10 years of experience and training on the police force to her quick-thinking in stopping a robbery in progress late Tuesday night.

Sr. Cpl. Cassie Dotsy arrested an armed robber after he fired shots both inside and outside a Wal-Mart at 7401 Samuel Boulevard.

"I heard the shots and I knew that they were close," said Dotsy.

She looked up from filling out an accident report to see shoppers running out of the store and knew something was wrong.

Dallas police said the suspect, later identified as 36-year-old Marcus Booker, walked into the store, pointed a gun at a cashier and demanded money. Before the cashier could react, the man started shooting at the floor and cash register.

“I didn’t have time to think about anything else,” Dotsy said about jumping into action when she saw the suspect run out of the Wal-Mart. “I saw the citizens running. I saw kids. I heard shots and I just reacted, to what I say is natural when you’re in the profession that I'm in."

Dotsy said shoppers helped point out where the man was running as he ducked around vehicles in the parking lot and fired two more shots.

Eventually, police said the suspect listened to Dotsy’s verbal commands and put down his gun.

Booker was eventually arrested and booked in the Dallas County Jail for aggravated robbery.

<![CDATA[Man Paid Teens for Sex, Gave Them Drugs, Alcohol: Police]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 23:08:10 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/timothy-james-burns.jpg

A North Texas man has been arrested, accused of four counts of sexual assault of a child after Keller police say he paid four underage teenage girls for sex and provided them with alcohol and illegal drugs.

Following a two-week investigation, Keller police revealed allegations Thursday that 44-year-old Timothy James Burns sexually assaulted four girls age 16 or younger at his home in Arlington.

Keller police said they began investigating Burns on Jan. 21 after one of the girls told her parents she had sex for money; the girl's parents then notified the police who opened an investigation.

An interview between one of the victims and the Alliance for Children was recorded in an arrest warrant obtained by NBC 5. During the interview, the victim said a friend told her she could get paid for hanging out a man's house, but that she later realized "hanging out was not all that would have to be done for money."

The teenager said they went to the man's house, where he provided marijuana and alcohol. She said "she did not plan to lose her virginity to him," but that she later had sexual intercourse with the man when her friend didn't, according to the affidavit. For this, she told interviewers she was paid $200 and her friend was paid $200 for introducing them.

When asked if she knew the man's age, or if he knew hers, she's quoted in the arrest warrant as saying she thought he was 29 and that he never asked her age but that she assumed her friend had shared that information with him.

A second victim said Burns offered her more money, $350, after she initially turned down his offer for sex. On a subsequent visit, she said she was paid less, $200, because she used his Uber account to get home. The victims said on other visits they were offered between $50 and $500 to perform various sexual acts with the man, according to statements made in the arrest warrant.

Capt. Tommy Simmons, with the Keller Police Department, said all of the reported sexual assaults occurred between September 2015 and January 2016 at Burns' tony Lake Arlington home located on the 2600 block of Perkins Road. In the warrant, the teens described Burns' home, and his bedroom, in great detail.

Little is know about Burns, including how long he may have lived at the Arlington residence, since recent property tax records are not in his name and recent real estate records indicate the $1.2 million home had been listed for sale in October 2015.

Simmons said even though the incidents took place in Arlington, Keller police are leading the investigation since all of the suspected victims, who attend school in the Keller Independent School District, live in their jurisdiction.

Simmons said Burns has no affiliation to the school district and that he met his four victims through an unnamed adult teenager from Keller he met previously on the website SeekingArrangement.com. Officials said it's only a coincidence the victims are all students in the KISD.

"Keller ISD is alarmed to learn of the arrest of an Arlington man on felony charges of sexual assault involving high school students. While Keller PD continues its investigation we have confirmed the suspect has never been an employee of the district. Student safety is a top priority in Keller ISD, and we urge parents to talk to their students and notify authorities with any additional information regarding this matter," the district said in a statement Thursday morning.

Keller police issued four arrest warrants and a search warrant and took Burns into custody at the office of his attorney, Charles Smith, at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. The attorney has not spoken to the media.

Officers executed the search warrant on Feb. 10 and removed a number of items from Burns' home including multiple phones, computers, tablets, thumb drives, a camera and a clock with a hidden camera inside.

Burns was charged with four second-degree felony counts of sexual assault of a child and is being held in the Keller Regional Jail on $400,000 bond.

Simmons said investigators are not sure if there are more victims, but that parents in the area are encouraged to talk to their children to see if they had been contacted by Burns. If so, parents are asked to call the Keller Police Department at 817-743-4535.

Timothy Burns' Arrest Warrant

Timothy Burns' Search Warrant

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

Photo Credit: Keller Police Department
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<![CDATA[North Texas Picks Up New Ride Service]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 13:50:22 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/pickup3.jpg

We all know Texas is truck country, but what if you're a Texan without a pickup truck and you have some heavy duty lifting to do?

Well, then "Pickup" is a new service in North Texas just for you. Pickup like Uber for people in need of a truck. For as little as $45, they bring you the truck and driver.

The company employs more than 100 drivers in North Texas and they insist the drivers are well vetted. Most are former veterans or off-duty firefighters.

Pickup is relatively new, but they cover the entire Metroplex. They also just took on new investors and are looking to expand regionally.

Online: www.pickupnow.com

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Teachers Learn Lessons That Make Cents]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 09:18:51 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/teachers-cents-janelle-o-haugherty.jpg

Teachers from more than 20 school districts across North Texas spent a day learning about money.

The Texas Council on Economic Education and Fidelity Investments in Westlake hosted the training for 50 middle and high school teachers representing districts across North Texas Jan. 28.

The teachers learned lessons about spending, planning, saving and investing that they'll pass on to their students to help them make smart financial decisions.

A news release from Fidelity suggets that "Texas teachers report needing financial education training to effectively teach the state’s personal financial literacy standards."

Photo Credit: Janelle O'Haugherty]]>
<![CDATA['Real Housewives of Dallas' Cast Announced]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 21:31:55 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/bravo-tv.jpg

You could have a new guilty pleasure come April.

According to E! Online, the cast of "The Real Housewives of Dallas" has been announced.

Cary Deuber, Tiffany Hendra, Stephanie Hollman, LeeAnne Locken, Brandi Redmond and their friend Marie Reyes were announced as the cast of the latest in the "Real Housewives" series.

The ladies premiere on Bravo April 11.

Online: Real Housewives of Dallas Cast

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<![CDATA[Denton Working to Reduce Homelessness in City]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 09:11:46 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tent-woods.jpg

The City of Denton is taking the next step to reduce homelessness in the city.

The Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness helped to set up a shelter for people who don’t have a place to sleep, but it's only open when the temperature is below 32 degrees or above 100 degrees.

Monsignor King Outreach Center Executive Director Betty Kay said they plan to start raising funds next month to renovate the building and hire a full-time staff. She estimated it will be two to five years before the project is complete.

"It is a tough situation," Denton Mayor Chris Watts said. "It’s a balancing act, because these people are in great need and that’s one of the reasons why we’re trying to figure out ways that we can try to continue to improve our services to help them."

One of the biggest areas where the homeless gathered was at North Lakes Park. A city official said that area has been mostly cleared out, but there are still some tents there.

Watts said they have had some situations where people have been camping out on public property after 10 p.m., which the city doesn’t allow.

"We haven’t run across anyone that they’ve arrested," Watts said. "By the time that we stumble across them there’s nobody there."

Watts said the Task Force on Homelessness is working with the Behavioral Health Leadership Team to identify housing needs for veterans and people with mental health issues.

"That’s a large part of the mental health population," he said. "So we’re trying to figure out a way how can we get a roof over their head, get them some shelter and services to improve their quality of life and get them to a point where they can move on a be more self-sustaining."

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Pier 1 Imports Recalls Swivel Dining Chairs]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 07:42:41 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/pier-1-recall.jpg

Fort Worth-based Pier 1 imports has issued a recall for Capella Island Swivel Dining Chairs because the chairs can break at the base.

So far, the company has received 3 reports of the chairs breaking. In two of those cases, the customers fell. No injuries have been reported.

The chairs were sold between January and October of 2015, for between $240 and $500.

Pier 1 Imports is asking consumers who have a Capella Island Swivel Dining Chair to return it to any of their locations for a full refund or merchandise credit.

Photo Credit: Consumer Product Safety Commission]]>
<![CDATA[I-35E Reopened in Denton After Crash Injures 2]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 08:18:35 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/i-35e-crash.jpg

Authorities said two people were injured in a crash that shut down Interstate 35E in Denton for nearly two hours Thursday morning.

Denton police said possibly two vehicles were involved in the crash on northbound I-35E between Teasley Lane and McCormick Street just before 6 a.m.

One person was transported to a hospital by ambulance and another by CareFlite, according to police.

The interstate was reopened just before 8 a.m.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[NBA Star Myles Turner Returns to Euless for Honor]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 05:29:00 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/myles-turner-close.jpg

Former North Texas high school basketball star Myles Turner returns to Euless to be honored by his home town Thursday.

The Mayor of Euless will proclaim Feb. 11 as Myles Turner Day in the city at a pep rally at Central Junior High School, which he attended from 2006 through 2009.

The Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District will also name the first Myles Turner Player of the Year award recipient at the pep rally. The award will go to a junior high student-athlete with strong character, academics and leadership.

Turner starred at Trinity High School. The highly-coveted recruit attended the University of Texas in 2014 before being selected with the 11th overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Plano Police Locate Missing Woman in Oklahoma]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 06:48:35 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/annamarie-doyle.jpg

A Silver Alert was cancelled Thursday morning after Plano police said they found a missing 75-year-old woman checking into a hotel in Oklahoma.

Police said the alert was issued for Annamarie Doyle when her husband said she had not returned home from a medical appointment earlier in the day.

Doyle's credit card was used at a Lewisville 7-Eleven at about 10 p.m. and a Denton 7-Eleven about 1:30 a.m., according to Plano Police Department spokesman David Tilley. Both store clerks told police a woman fitting Doyle's description asked them for directions to Plano.

Doyle was described as 5 feet 3 inches tall and 126 pounds with blonde hair with a green streak, hazel eyes and speaking with an Irish accent. Police said she was last seen wearing glasses, a white sweater, black pants and black boots.

Police said Doyle was diagnosed with an unspecified cognitive impairment that could prevent her from finding her way home.

Plano police asked anyone with information about Doyle's disappearance call them at 972-941-7900 or 911.

Photo Credit: Plano Police Department
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<![CDATA[Dallas ISD Trustee Wants $40M for South Oak Cliff]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 23:07:14 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/South+Oak+Cliff+High+School1.jpg

The Dallas Independent School District announced plans Monday to increase bond funding for renovations at South Oak Cliff High School to $25 million. Trustee Lew Blackburn said it's going to take much more than that to breathe life back into the 64-year-old facility.

"It's an expensive Band-Aid," Blackburn said.

Blackburn, whose district includes South Oak Cliff High School, wants to spend $40 million to completely renovate the school. He said the amount is based on the district's own facilities report, which outlines the needs at each school in Dallas ISD.

"If you look at the major projects only in district, there's a way to make this happen with $40 million coming to South Oak Cliff High School," he said.

Blackburn wants to take some of the $92.7 million the district plans to spend to build a new L.G. Pinkston High School and give it to South Oak Cliff High School. He said there is enough money for both projects to be completed. He'll make his case to his fellow Dallas ISD trustees on Thursday.

The district's 2015 bond package originally allocated $13 million to fix the school's decaying roof, ceiling tiles, HVAC system and other needs. After students walked out in protest of the school's condition in December and gave an earful to trustees last month, the district announced it would put in an additional $12 million.

Blackburn said the $25 million figure is based on a flawed comparison between repairs needed at South Oak Cliff and similar upgrades made at Wilmer-Hutchins High School.

"If you look at South Oak Cliff High School, it's a larger building than Wilmer-Hutchins High School," he said. "We're talking about adding a competition-sized gym that we did not have to add at Wilmer-Hutchins, so the apples-to-apples comparison is just not there."

South Oak Cliff senior David Johnson, who led the December protest, said "thanks, but that's not enough." After meeting with district officials on Tuesday, Johnson said the students are not done fighting for the school they believe they deserve.

"Before we came to the (January) meeting we were not getting $25 million, we were only getting $13 million. So, if we just keep expressing ourselves…I feel like we'll get what we deserve," Johnson said.

"We'll see what happens. Hopefully we'll get what we deserve, if not, then we'll just have to continue with further actions," he added.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Plano Forum Tackles Grief, Teenage Suicide]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 22:57:25 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/plano+east+high+school.jpg

About 150 parents and students attended a community forum Wednesday at Plano East Senior High School following the apparent suicides of two students late last month.

"It was somber," said Sally Savino, a mother of three former Plano students, who said she was looking for tips on suicide prevention.

The deaths of the two students on Jan. 31 have left the entire school stunned.

Family members found the body of Ritu Sachdeva inside her Murphy home.

Just a few hours later, police found Hillary Kuizon in a wooded area near Plano's Kimbrough Stadium.

The two were friends.

Both were just 14 years old.

"The death of any student or any teenager by any means is a tragedy, and this community is reeling from the shock of it," said Vanita Halliburton, of the Grant Halliburton Foundation, a Dallas nonprofit organization that educates people about adolescents' mental health and suicide prevention.

The school's principal said 20 counselors were on hand after the deaths to help students deal with the tragedy.

"We were a very somber campus all of last week," said principal George King. "We're on the mend. We just feel like our community is very anxious to move forward."

It's tough, he said, because adults struggle to explain a tragedy that has no easy answers.

Savino said she believes talking about the subject helps.

"It's a tough conversation and they admitted that," the mother said. "It's tough to bring up suicide with teenagers. But they said you're not putting that thought in anyone's head just by discussing it."

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Mild Winter Could Lead to Big Year for Bugs Ahead]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 22:55:33 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Mosquito-AP_432922569679.jpg

North Texas exterminators expect a banner year for insects.

"The mild winter that we had really allows insect populations to build up very quickly," said Larry Novy, with Arrow Exterminators in Grand Prairie. "They're sitting there waiting right now for just the right temperature. Once we start getting up into the 70s on a regular basis, you're going to see a multitude of insects start blossoming out."

Odorous house ants are already invading homes across North Texas, with many more insects soon to follow.

"The mosquito population itself will build up very quickly because there's large number of them out there," said Novy.

Mosquitoes can survive the North Texas winters, and with the large number of adults last fall because of warm temperatures and late rains, they may emerge this spring in larger numbers than normal.

Novy recommends that homeowners trim shrubs away from buildings, and remove any debris piled near exterior walls.

"If homeowners eliminate this now, it's one of the best things they can do to prevent problems this spring, this summer," said Novy.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Scandal in TX Sheriff's Department After Deputy's Murder]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 14:40:19 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/goforth-harriscounty.jpg

The Harris County Sheriff's Office in Texas has fired two deputies accused of having sexual relationships with a slain deputy's alleged mistress, a witness to the killing.

Deputy Darren Goforth was shot in the back and killed last August at a Houston-area gas station. The suspect, 31-year-old Shannon Miles, is facing a capital murder charge. He was ruled incompetent to stand trial earlier this month.

Attention is now shifting to the sheriff's department itself, which has fired Deputy Marc De Leon, a 14-year veteran, and Sgt. Craig Clopton. The men are accused of having sexual relationships with a woman who claimed to be Goforth's mistress and was seen crying over his body the night of the killing.

Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said De Leon initially lied about his own relationship with the woman, and sources said De Leon was also accused of having sex with the woman while he was on duty.

De Leon's attorney, Joshua Normand, said in a statement, "Mr. De Leon has no comment as to the facts surrounding his separation of employment from the Harris County Sheriff's Office, at this time, as he will avail himself of the appeal process under Harris County Civil Service Rules."

Clopton, who was investigating Goforth's murder, was fired last October because of his alleged relationship with the woman. The Houston Chronicle spoke by phone with Clopton, who declined an interview and asked for privacy, the newspaper reports.

"The leader of any organization would be highly embarrassed for the conduct of an officer that would lead up to termination due to some kind of relationship," Hickman said.

The sheriff's office revealed it's investigating similar allegations against a fourth deputy involving the same woman.

"This one seems to be the gift that keeps on giving," Hickman said, but added that he does not believe the department has a pervasive problem.

The sheriff's office drafted a formal policy last week prohibiting deputies from having relationships with people connected to criminal cases. Hickman said the policy was a direct result of these latest incidents.

It's not the first time the Harris County Sheriff's Department has been plagued by such a scandal.

Three deputies were fired in 2013 for allegedly having sex with a married teacher in their patrol cars, KPRC reports. The woman, a volunteer with the Citizens Police Academy who was married to a reserve deputy, participated in ride-alongs with the department.

Photo Credit: Harris County Sheriff's Office/NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[T. Boone Pickens Cashes Out on Oil, For Now]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 22:52:18 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/t+boone+pickens.jpg

Legendary Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens is giving his predictions on oil prices and speaking candidly about his own losses in the market.

Oil closed at less than $27 a barrel Wednesday, in its deepest downturn since the 1990s.

While many drivers enjoy cheap gas prices, there is pain in Texas in the form of job loss. More than 50,000 Texans have lost energy jobs and the price of oil hasn't started to climb yet.

Pickens, known for making and losing fortunes betting on oil, said the last six months have been painful.

"Well, you always think the one you're in is the worst, because that's when you're feeling the pain," Pickens said.

Pickens is optimistic that oil will make a big comeback in 2016, but he admits to pulling his personal funds out of energy positions for now.

"We have been in and out. We are up a little this year. We took big losses last year. I personally am out of the market right now. When I said that, I meant myself," he said.

That said, Pickens predicts oil will double by the end of 2016. He's even more bullish when looking 18 months ahead.

"I am bullish on it (oil) because of the fundamentals. But I thought I knew the fundamentals last year and I counted on oil declining faster than it declined," he said.

Pickens said the real danger for producing states like Texas is that oil prices stay low.

"I think oil has bottomed and we are headed up from here," he said.

Many companies have gone bankrupt as a result of the oil downturn. Asked if he thought we would see more layoffs and oil and gas companies going bankrupt, Pickens said, "Well, tell me how long we are going to stay down here at $30 oil and I can tell you."

"If you're six months from now at $30 oil, yeah, you're going to keep having more pain," he added.

The bright side, Pickens said, is Texas is no longer solely dependent on the oil industry to keep its economy healthy.

"We are also seeing that the oil industry may not have as much impact on the state as we thought it did. The state is still doing pretty good," he said.

At 87 years old, Pickens said he is once again waiting to get back in the oil game.

"I don't think the Lord said this life is going to be perfect. It isn't perfect. Balance it, I couldn't ask for anything better," Pickens said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas City Leaders Block Sex Expo]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 19:29:59 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/exxxotica1.jpg

Dallas city leaders have blocked a sex expo from coming to the city-owned convention center this year.

Exxxotica held an event at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center for its first visit to Dallas last year. But this year, Mayor Mike Rawlings and others pushed back against it.

On Wednesday, Dallas city council voted 8 to 7 to support Rawlings' resolution to deny the convention to be held at the city-owned facility.

"I believe in civil liberties, as well as in my civic obligation to fight for what is right for the city of Dallas. Based on what I know about this organization and event, it is not something that belongs in our city," Rawlings said in a statement.

The sentiment was echoed by Dallas-based nonprofit New Friends New Life, a support group for victims of human trafficking. The organization does not believe Exxxotica is appropriate for a city space. CEO Katie Pedigo argued that the city can deny Exxxotica access to the convention center on the grounds that it violates a city ordinance prohibiting a "sexually oriented business" from operating within 1,000 feet of parks, schools, hospitals and other spaces shared by families and youth.

"We need to enforce our own laws," said Pedigo. "A sexually-oriented business could contribute to a secondary harm and that secondary harm is crime and in particular, prostitution."

But not all city officials agreed. According to District 1 Councilman Scott Griggs, the Dallas city attorney's office does not believe there is any legal argument that could keep Exxxotica out of the city convention center.

"Our attorneys did not agree with that assessment last year and do not agree with it this year," Griggs explained. "It's a First Amendment right. Any group is entitled to use any facilities. And this is a city owned, city subsidized facility."

The council voted on a resolution that called for prohibiting the event to take place at the convention center.

A spokesperson for Exxxotica was in attendance. In response to concerns that the event could inadvertently lead to crime and prostitution, Exxxotica sent NBC 5 a statement refuting the claim.

"It is a topic that anybody in their right mind would be concerned about. It just doesn't have anything to do with our event," wrote the group's event director, J. Handy. "Our event couldn't be further from that."

Handy told the Dallas City Council his event is protected by the Constitution and he has won fights to uphold it before. As he left the meeting Wednesday he said he was going to see his lawyers and plans to sue Dallas.

The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center is named for the former U.S. senator who watched the entire city council debate Wednesday. Hutchison said she was horrified to see Exxxotica in the building last year and pleased the Dallas City Council blocked it this year.

"They made the right decision and the mayor was a leader," Hutchison said. "This year, thank goodness, the mayor brought it forward before there was a contract, so there was no contractual obligation that would have been broken."

NBC 5's Holley Ford and Robert Wilonsky of The Dallas Morning News contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>