<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Wed, 27 Aug 2014 06:19:06 -0500 Wed, 27 Aug 2014 06:19:06 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Off-Duty Officer Kills Armed Man Following Shooting]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 06:00:56 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dpd-shooting-investigation-082714-01.jpg

Dallas police are investigating another fatal officer-involved shooting Wednesday after an off-duty officer shot and killed a man following another shooting.

Police said early Wednesday morning that a disturbance between several people led to a shooting outside of a Walmart gas station along the 10700 block of North Central Expressway just after midnight.

Witnesses told police there was an altercation and that one person was shot at about 12:40 a.m. That person then got into a car, drove through the parking lot and crashed into a parked car.

An unknown number of people in a second vehicle followed the driver and were walking toward the car when they were spotted by an off-duty Dallas police officer who witnessed the crash.

The officer, police said Wednesday morning, had just finished working a shift as an off-duty security officer at the Walmart.

The officer identified himself as a police officer and the group got back into their car and drove away.

The officer followed in his personal vehicle until the driver stopped short of Midpark Road and one of the occupants exited the vehicle.

According to Maj. Jeff Cotner, the officer again identified himself to the group as one of the men pulled out a gun. Feeling threatened, the officer shot the man, Cotner said.

"He noticed that one suspect was armed. The officer gave specific direction to the suspect regarding the firearm. The suspect then took an action that made the officer believe he was in imminent danger. The officer then discharged his weapon," Cotner said.

Cotner said the injured man then got back into his car and drove a short distance before crashing into parked cars at a nearby Denny's restaurant.

Police said a gun was recovered from the vehicle and that several people were taken into custody to be interviewed.  Police said some of those involved may have left the scene.

At this point no arrests have been made and no suspects have been identified.

Dallas police expect to release more information into the shooting at some point Wednesday.

NBC 5's Jeff Smith and Ellen Bryan contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[John Wiley Price Trial Date Moved to January 2016]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 22:54:57 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/jwp-072514-02.jpg

The bribery conspiracy trial of Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price and three co-defendants is now set for January 19, 2016.

Lawyers on both sides of the case asked for the delay because of the mountain of complex evidence involved in the accusations that date back more than a decade.

The motion requested the previous court date of September 29, 2014 be moved to a date on or after September 2015.

Price was arrested July 25 and charged with taking $950,000 in bribes in what prosecutors say was a scheme to use his position on the commissioner's court to enrich himself.

The trial date order from federal court came Tuesday, after fellow members on the commissioner's court refused to suspend Price from office with pay pending trial.

Price sat silently throughout the discussion, but Price supporters in the room cheered when the motion to suspend him failed.

Lone Republican Commissioner Mike Cantrell made the motion which died without a vote for lack of a second from any of the four Democratic commissioners.

Cantrell argued county employees have been fired for far less serious accusations.

"But now this court is saying those rules don't apply to us. We're elected officials. We're above that, and that's exactly what I see. I'm ashamed of this Court and how they replied to that resolution," Cantrell said.

Democratic Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said state law carries a strong burden of proof to suspend Price.

Jenkins turned the table on Cantrell after the meeting, challenging Cantrell to file his own lawsuit to remove Price.

Jenkins said the other two commissioners are relative newcomers while Cantrell has served with Price for 20 years.

"Commissioner Cantrell is in a unique and advantaged position to have knowledge of relevant facts. If Commissioner Cantrell is in possession of relevant facts not publicly known, he has a duty to disclose it and to act," Jenkins said.

Cantrell fired back that Jenkins was avoiding the issue.

"It's failure of leadership. It's defer, deflect," said Cantrell.

Cantrell said it could cost a private citizen $150,000 to post the bond required to file a case and that he knows nothing more about the accusations facing Price than he has read in the federal indictment.

"I think the FBI was very clear," Cantrell said. "No member of this court knew what was going on, in that Commissioner Price allegedly hid it from the court members."

Jenkins said the county would not block a private lawsuit to remove Price.

"This is not to be interpreted as the county's reluctance to act. If a person has that knowledge, come forward and we'll cooperate fully in the discovery process with you," Jenkins said.

Price and all the other defendants in the federal case pleaded not guilty after their arrest when the indictment was unsealed last month.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Flu Cases Continuing Outside Typical Season]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 22:43:13 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/flu5.jpg

Many doctors in North Texas are seeing something rare for this time of year: the flu. They are cautioning that this could just be the beginning.

Dr. Jane Sadler, of Baylor Medical Center at Garland, said it doesn't feel like the testing for the flu ever ended in her clinic and neither did the positive results.

"We were seeing many flu cases into May and even June," said Sadler. "I suspect that the flu is here year-round, and that's how it's able to perpetuate and come back."

One of those positive tests came from an employee at the doctor's office just weeks ago. For Loli Meadors, it started as a sore throat late last month.

"That night I didn't sleep at all, because I had a really bad sore throat. The next morning I thought I had strep," said Meadors.

She later found out it wasn't strep but the flu.

"I was very surprised, because this was the second time in four months I had had the flu," Meadors said.

Back in April, she was diagnosed with one strain of the virus, and this time around it was a different strain.

Sadler said she's one of a handful of positive tests this summer and calls it a spike because it's highly unusual to get positive flu tests at this point in the year, months away from when the flu season is set to begin.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says flu season starts as early as October in North Texas, and Sadler cautions this could be just the beginning.

"What this tells me about the flu season is get ready, here it comes. School has just begun, the kids are going to be closer together," said Sadler. "I suspect we may see a resurgence of the flu, perhaps in higher numbers than before."

Sadler said she will start giving out the flu shot starting Sept. 1. Studies show the flu shot is usually effective for the length of the flu season, with its effectiveness waning towards the summer.

<![CDATA[American ISIS Fighter Was Employed as Care Worker]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 05:24:15 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/184*120/Douglas-McCain-ISIS-fighter.jpg

The former San Diegan who was killed while fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) once helped care for people with disabilities, his patient exclusively told NBC 7.

NBC News reported 33-year-old Douglas McCain died in a battle this weekend in Syria, according to the Free Syrian Army.

But that's not the Douglas San Diego resident Justin Filley, 38, knew.

"He was a genuine, funny, laid back person," said Filley of the man he describes as a really close friend.

For two years, McCain was employed to help take care of Filley who suffers from William’s Syndrome, a genetic condition that can lead to cardiovascular disease, developmental delays and learning disablilities.

“He was good at helping to make sure my bills were being paid and make sure I was safe,” Filley said.

NBC 7 has confirmed McCain attended San Diego City College. From his social media posts, it is hard to tell when he moved to the area, but it appears he has family in the area.

While in the city, he spent time in the Somali Community, though he was African American.

He was known at a mosque in El Cajon and reportedly converted to Islam in 2004.

"Sometimes he would get on the floor and pray," remembered Filley.

Posting under the name “Duale ThaSlaveofAllah,” McCain's social media posts turned from talk of basketball to telling a suspected ISIS member "I will be joining you guys soon."

Despite that transformation Filley, as well as McCain’s employer, says they didn’t notice his views become extreme, though they didn’t talk about religion.

Filley told NBC 7 McCain had a wife and daughter, and his manager said he unexpectedly left the area around March. Around that time, he reportedly left the U.S. for Turkey.

<![CDATA[HP Recalls Computer Power Cords for Burn Hazard]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 06:04:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/20140826+PowerCord.jpg

Hewlett-Packard is recalling almost 5.6 million power cords in the U.S. for notebook computers because they can overheat and catch fire.

Two people have reported they suffered burns and 13 people have experienced minor property damage as a result of the overheating cords, HP said. HP has had 29 reports of the cords heating up or catching fire.

The power cords were distributed with HP and Compaq notebook and mini notebook computers and docking stations. The power cords are black and have an “LS-15” molded mark on the AC adapter end.

Customers should immediately stop using and unplug the recalled power cords and contact Hewlett-Packard to order a free replacement. Consumers can continue to use the computer on battery power.

The recall also covers almost 500,000 cords in Canada.

For more information on the recall, click here.

<![CDATA[Parents Sue Day Care Accused of Duct Taping Child]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 22:53:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/galbraith-duct-tape-082614.jpg

A Parker County, Texas, day care accused of using duct tape to restrain two young boys in June is now being sued by one of the boys' parents.

"I feel like this should never happen to any child," said the boy's mother Kristi Galbraith.

"I was angry, I was shocked, I felt an extreme amount of guilt about how I could have chosen a place that would do this to my child," said Galbraith.

The lawsuit also claims one other child was left alone at Heart 2 Heart Montessori Academy in Willow Park and water was withheld from other children in an effort to reduce diaper changes.

"It's about sending a message to day care centers that this conduct, this behavior will not be tolerated," said the Galbraith's Dallas attorney Jeff Rasansky.

Heart 2 Heart Montessori Academy remains open but with fewer children in its care after many parents moved their children to other day cares.

Now, Willow Park police are close to wrapping up their investigation and expect to pursue criminal charges in the next week to 10 days.

"It will be presented to the grand jury and we will let them make a decision on whether or not there's sufficient grounds for a criminal case to be continued," said Willow Park Police Chief Brad Johnson.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Child Care Licensing Division also expects to complete its investigation soon, perhaps even this week, according to spokeswoman Marissa Gonzales.

The Galbraiths say they have not yet been interviewed by state investigators.

"So we feel like it's our time to stand up and get some justice," said Kristi Galbraith.

The Heart 2 Heart Montessori Academy issued a statement after the incident promising to "cooperate fully with any investigation," but has not commented yet on these latest developments.

The mother of the second child who she claims was also restrained with duct tape told NBC 5 late Tuesday that she will meet with her attorney this week to go over her legal options.

NBC 5's Bianca Castro contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Galbraith Family Photo]]>
<![CDATA[Celina Police Body Camera Captures Dramatic Arrest]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 17:35:01 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Celina+police+body+camera.jpg

Celina's police chief says after using body cameras for nine months, the investment has been a success.

"Our officers know that when they step out of the vehicle, everything they're doing and saying is being documented," said Chief Mark Metdker, who serves not only with the police but also as Celina's fire chief.

"I think the future of policing is transparency," he added. "Let's be as transparent as possible. We have nothing to hide."

Following that logic, the department released a video on its YouTube channel within the past week of an arrest at an alleged domestic disturbance where, police said, an officer was assaulted.

According to the department, it initially appears from the angle of the dash camera video that the officer jumps on the subject for no reason.

However, from the angle of the officer's body camera, it appears the man throws a punch at the officer's face before he is wrestled to the ground, subdued and arrested.

Metdker said the video shows the officer counseling the man, saying "you don't want to do this" as the suspect makes several attempts to get away.

"It shows every angle and every aspect of what the officer sees," Metdker said.

Metdker added the department posted the video online because, by definition, it is already part of the public record.

Celina enforces a policy that every time an officer makes contact at a call, he or she must automatically activate his or her body camera.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Grand Jury Clears GPPD Officers in Teen's Shooting]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 17:12:23 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Peyton-Barbour-Inset.jpg

A North Texas grand jury has declined to indict three suburban Dallas police officers in the fatal Christmas Day shooting death of a 16-year-old suspect.

The Tarrant County grand jury declined the indictment Tuesday in the fatal shooting of Peyton Cole Barbour of Mansfield in a Grand Prairie shootout after a high-speed vehicle and foot chase. Two Grand Prairie officers were wounded in the shootout.

A statement from The Tarrant County district attorney's office said the officers' identities will be withheld since none were arrested, charged or indicted.

The chase that culminated in the shootout began when Grand Prairie officers stopped a vehicle driven by Barbour and attempted to question him before he sped away.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News/Facebook Photo]]>
<![CDATA[Best Mileage Pickups]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 19:51:00 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/CR+Truck+Gas+Mileage+082614.jpg

The RAM 1500 EcoDiesel is the first half-ton pickup on the market with a diesel engine in decades. It gets 20 miles per gallon overall in Consumer Reports' tests. That’s the best fuel economy Consumer Reports has ever recorded in a full-sized truck.

Compare it with the Chevrolet Silverado's 16 mpg and the current Ford F-150's 15. And the gas-powered RAM 1500 with a Hemi V8 also gets just 15 mpg.

Diesel fuel does average 20 cents more per gallon. And RAM charges a premium for the diesel engine, about $2,800 more than the RAM with a Hemi V8. But if you drive the average 12,000 miles per year, you'll save about 200 gallons per year with the EcoDiesel engine.

Consumer Reports says that it will take you about four years to recoup your initial investment of the diesel engine, but in general, diesel vehicles hold their value better than gas ones do. And the diesel gives you more torque for towing a trailer.

Plus, the RAM 1500 rates very high in Consumer Reports' performance tests. Its unique coil-spring rear suspension delivers a smooth ride, and the interior is quiet, with a very easy-to-use infotainment system.

The RAM 1500 EcoDiesel is now Consumer Reports' top-rated pickup.

Be aware, there is a little additional maintenance with a diesel vehicle. You have to refill the emissions fluid around the same time you change your oil, but you can do that yourself for around $40.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website.

Photo Credit: Consumer Reports]]>
<![CDATA[Mansfield Leaders Against Medical Waste Ctr. Proposal]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 19:07:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/med+waste.jpg

All may be quiet at the vacant building sitting at 208 Sentry Drive in Mansfield – but the debate over its future is getting louder.

Dallas-based RedAway LLC wants to use the building to store, treat and transfer up to 50 tons of medical waste per day. That includes items like used surgery tools, gloves and swabs, among other things.

People who live and work in the area have raised concerns about having a medical waste treatment center in their backyard – and now, Mansfield city council members are raising concerns, too.

“Me personally, I do not think a medical waste facility is a good fit for the city of Mansfield,” said Mayor David Cook.

On Monday, council members unanimously passed a resolution expressing their opposition to the project and encouraging the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to reject RedAway’s application to register the facility. Without that registration, the facility cannot open.

Cook says despite reading RedAway’s 120 page application and speaking with the company’s CEO, he still has several concerns about the project, including odors, its proximity to schools and what the facility may release into the city’s sewer system.

“In our opinion [RedAway’s application] is inadequate, as far as the information we would need in order to review it as a business and decide whether or not it should be operable in the city of Mansfield,” said Cook.

The city council also passed a 120 day moratorium on issuing any city permits for a medical waste treatment facility.

“It’s really very important for us to do everything we can do to protect our citizens and make sure adequate safeguards are put in place,” said Cook.

Despite these new developments, RedAway CEO Justin Smith says he has no plans to throw in the towel. In an email to NBC 5, he wrote:

“We are very excited to partner with the City of Mansfield and to become a valuable member of the community. The people of Mansfield have inspired us and we look forward to building strong relationships with both city leaders and residents.”

The TCEQ has not yet made a decision on RedAway’s registration application. A spokesperson for the agency says that won’t come until late September at the earliest.

The Mansfield ISD School Board is set to vote on a resolution opposing the project during their meeting Tuesday night. It is expected to pass.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[NB, SB I-35E in Corinth Back Open After Power Line Repairs]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 18:22:36 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/209*120/35e-CORINTH.jpg

The northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 35E near Corinth Parkway have reopened after crews made repairs to power lines.

Officials confirmed to NBC 5 crews had to shut down the interstate in both directions because some Denton County residents are unable to contact 911.

Earlier Tuesday afternoon, a single power line was dragged to the ground, across all lanes of traffic, after somehow being snagged by a passing rock hauler.

Witnesses at a nearby business said it appeared the truck was trying to dump its load along the roadside and just accidentally hit the line, pulling it down.

Lt. Jim Gregg with the Corinth Police Department said the truck was working with the 35Express project and it appears the driver was not injured. He also said no other injuries were reported from the incident but it did lead to some other small accidents on side-roads throughout town.

The lanes were closed as drivers were diverted from the highway onto the frontage roads. Northbound drivers were allowed to pass the scene while drivers on the southbound side were being detoured onto side roads for about an hour and a half.

Kimberly Sims, Public Information Officer with the 35Express project, said they are gathering the details of what happened but they were pleased crews were able to remove the line from the road quickly and get traffic moving again.

The roadway closed for a second time just after 5 p.m. while crews, working on foot and in cherry pickers, fixed the line to restore 911 services in the area.

The road was back up and slowly moving to full speed within about 10 minutes of that work starting.

NBC 5's Frank Heinz and Holley Ford contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Oldest Library in Danger of Closing]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 06:11:09 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Darby-Free-Library.jpg

For more than two centuries, the Darby Free Library has remained both a vital part of its community as well as a historical landmark. Built in 1743 by Quakers, it remains the oldest public library in the nation. But a financial crisis has left it in danger of shutting down by the end of the year.

Currently 60 percent of Darby residents and 1,500 people a month regularly use the library’s services.

“I use the computer,” said Kiarra Powell. “If I need any books, they help me find my books.”

Yet despite the community support, the library is in the midst of a financial crisis. Recent state cuts wiped out $50,000 in the library’s operating budget.

“Money is scarce here,” said Darby library board president Jay McCalla. “We’ve been able to stay afloat and keep our doors open by doing things we didn’t want to do: cutting back on the benefits to our employees, and cutting back on books that we were ordering.”

While the budget cuts keep coming, the bills continue to add up, including a $7,000 electric bill employees at the library say they’re unable to pay. Many local families who rely on the library for resources are concerned about the possible closure.

“I grew up here, to be honest,” Powell said. “This is kind of like family. Hearing that it could be getting shut down, it really affects me and my son.”

McCalla is hoping that doesn’t happen.

“It would be a crime to lose this unique resource that’s not just unique to Darby,” McCalla said. “No other community in America has this library, the oldest in the nation.”

McCalla says they may have to make a decision on whether or not to close the library sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

According to McCalla, state and federal officials can’t give them money to keep the library open. Instead, the money must come from the Darby Borough or those willing to lend a helping hand.

If you would like to donate or volunteer, visit the Darby Free Library website.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Mom Begs For Son Missing in Israel]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 20:16:10 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/198*120/Aaron+Sofer+parents.jpg

In a voice that trembles, then breaks, Chulda Sofer pleads for help finding her son, Aaron, who went missing during a hike in the Jerusalem Forest – a long way from the home he shares with nine siblings in Lakewood, New Jersey.

“I want to thank everyone for all their help, but I ask you please, please, please — I beg of you, I beg you, please — if anyone sees any whereabouts of Aaron, please call the police immediately,” Chulda says, holding up a “missing” poster that shows her 23-year-old son, smiling in his traditional Orthodox Jewish clothing and black hat.

Aaron Sofer is an ultra-Orthodox yeshiva student pursuing his religious studies in Israel. He disappeared while hiking Friday in the Jerusalem Forest. He was there with a friend, and the two became separated while navigating a steep incline, the friend told police when he reported Aaron missing six hours later.

Sofer’s parents flew from New Jersey to Israel over the weekend to join the ongoing search, which has included hundreds of volunteers, K9s on the ground and helicopters overhead. Jerusalem Post reporter Daniel K. Eisenbud videotaped the emotional pleas from Sofer’s parents at Mount Herzl, which is the site of Israel’s national cemetery and also adjacent to the Jerusalem Forest.

Sofer's family fears he may have been kidnapped or attacked by Palestinian militants.The area where he disappeared is the same forest where Israeli extremists are accused of killing a Palestinian teenager in retaliation for the murders of three Israeli teens in June.

In the videotaped message, Aaron’s father, Moshe, thanks law enforcement agencies in both countries, including the FBI and Israeli police, for their help. “The police are working tirelessly on all fronts and all options are being strongly investigated," he says.

Back home in the Ocean County, New Jersey, town where Aaron grew up, two of his younger brothers made brief appeals today before attending a community prayer service.

“Just please bring back our brother. I’m talking on behalf of the whole family that’s in America. He’s my brother right over me. I just have one message: Please bring back my brother,” said Yaakov Sofer.

Aaron’s brother-in-law Yehuda Wicentowsky described the missing man as a very kind and nice person and asked the public to keep pressure on the governments involved in his search. The sentiment from a seasoned New York politician was not as diplomatic.

“There’s a sense that not enough was done from the very, very beginning,” said Dov Hikind, a New York City assemblyman. He called for the Israeli government to ramp up their efforts and treat the search for Sofer the same as they would for an Israeli soldier.

“Because we know what the Israeli government does when an Israeli soldier goes missing. Every resource in the world is put into it. And Aaron is a soldier," he said.

The Sofer family is offering 100,000 shekels, which is equivalent to about $28,000, for information that leads to Aaron’s whereabouts. They’ve launched a website – Search for Sofer – to help fund the search and reward.

Photo Credit: Daniel K. Eisenbud | Jerusalem Post]]>
<![CDATA[11 Dogs Die in NJ Fire: Sources]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 04:29:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/elizabeth+nj+house+fire.jpg

A large fire ripped through a New Jersey home containing several animals, sending up a ball of fire and heavy black smoke before part of it collapsed under the heat, killing 11 dogs inside, officials say. 

It's not clear what sparked the devastating fire in Clifton Monday afternoon, though authorities don't consider it suspicious. 

"It seemed to progress pretty quickly, seemed to be happening in the back of the house," said neighbor Jenna Ricciardi. 

It appeared to start as smoke coming from an annex to the house, but the fire quickly took over, officials said. The roof later collapsed under the heat.

No people were inside at the time, but there were numerous animals in the house, which was operating as a pet day care, though health officials say there was no registered listing for a business at the address. 

The operators of Your Family Pet Sitters, Tom and Laura Kieffer, promote daily and long-term care for pets from Laura Kieffer's mother's home. 

"It's really hard because we care so much about those animals," said homeowner Joan Maso. 

Tom Kieffer said he loved the animals he watched as if they were his own, but neighbors wondered if the outcome could have been different had the business been properly registered and vetted.

"It bothers me to know there were 11 dogs in there, and if you're sitting for the dogs, then you have to have some kind of backup plan for an emergency," said Justine Paitchell.

Officials say the bodies of the 11 dogs were recovered from the fire, and two are still missing but presumed dead. Two cats are still missing and also believed dead. 

Two dogs made it out of the home safely. 

Fire investigators, the ASPCA and police were on the scene. Three firefighters were taken to the hospital for minor injuries, mainly heat exhaustion, officials said. 

<![CDATA[Marine Wife Murder Not Guilty Plea]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 22:25:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Christopher_Lee_Musgot_0816.JPG

A former Marine accused of having an affair with the 19-year-old wife of a fellow Marine pleaded not guilty Tuesday to murder charges in her death, officials said.

Former Marine Cpl. Christopher Lee, 24, was extradited from Alaska to Southern California and entered the not guilty plea in Joshua Tree Superior Court, according to the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office.

Lee is accused of murdering Erin Corwin, 19, his then-neighbor in Twentynine Palms, and disposing of her body in a 14-story abandoned mine shaft in the desert near Joshua Tree National Park, officials said.

The cause of Corwin's death has not been released, but an arrest warrant released last week said .22-caliber "fired cartridge casings and pieces of rebar" were found at the scene. They are similar to casings found in Lee's vehicle and residence, according to the warrant.

Lee was arrested in Anchorage, Alaska, a day after Corwin's body was found, ending a nearly eight-week search for the woman in 300 acres of desert.

Corwin and Lee, who is married, may have been having an affair that began February, and she may have been three months pregnant with his child when she disappeared on June 28, both Corwin's friend and Lee's neighbor told investigators, according to a search warrant.

Corwin told her husband, Marine Cpl. Jonathan Corwin, she was going to Joshua Tree National Park to look for hiking trails. He reported her missing the next day.

Two days after she disappeared, her car was found in Twentynine Palms.

<![CDATA[Serial Stowaway Arrested in Phoenix]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 03:36:47 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/140826-marilyn-hartman-serial-stowaway-phoenix.jpg

The serial stowaway who got through airport security and boarded an LA-bound flight earlier this month was arrested in Arizona on Tuesday, less than two weeks after being released from jail early since violating her probation at LAX.

Marilyn Hartman, 62, was arrested at Sky Harbor Airport after being spotted loitering in the baggage claim area, Phoenix Police Sgt. Trent Crump said.

Hartman was spotted in the same airport Aug. 20 trying to enter a security checkpoint, Crump said.

Police first said Hartman was seen in the airport Aug. 14, but they corrected the date to Aug. 20. Officers gave her a trespass warning and removed her from the airport, police said.

A judge earlier this month ordered Hartman to serve 177 days in jail for wandering through LAX terminals on Aug. 7 after being told the previous day to "stay away from LAX" and placed on 24 months probation.

She was released Aug. 16 -- three days after being sentenced -- because of jail overcrowding, LA County sheriff's officials said.

Hartman was first arrested Aug. 4 at Los Angeles International Airport after Los Angeles police say she got through security at Mineta San Jose International Airport and boarded an LA-bound flight.

Hartman has previously breached security at San Francisco International Airport and has a history of trying to get on flights without a ticket, officials said. She had at least seven encounters with police at SFO and was arrested four times, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.

Details about how Hartmen traveled to Arizona were not immediately clear.

Photo Credit: Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-HHS Official Guilty of Kid Porn]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 18:09:54 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_gavel_shutterstock_120159574.jpg

A former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services official was convicted Tuesday on child pornography charges, and could face up to life in prison when sentenced.

A jury found Timothy DeFoggi, 56, formerly of Germantown, Maryland, and the former acting director of cyber security for HHS, guilty on three counts, after a four-day trial in Nebraska federal court.

The most serious of those charges, of engaging in a child exploitation enterprise, alone carries a sentence of 20 years to life in prison, DeFoggi's lawyer John S. Berry Jr. said.

According to prosecutors, trial evidence showed that DeFoggi accessed and exchanged child porn from a specific website between March 2, 2012, and Dec. 8, 2012, when the FBI shut the website down.

Prosecutors said that he also exchanged messages with other members of the site to express his interest in rape and murder fantasies involving children, and that evidence showed that he suggested meeting another member in person to fulfill those fantasies.

DeFoggi is set to be sentenced Nov. 7.

Berry said he and his client were still deciding whether to move for a new trial.

The case, Berry said, raised "many interesting and complex issues," as well as questions about his client's Fourth Amendment rights with regard to searches of his home and computer.

"There was quite a bit of searching by the government, and one of the issues is whether those searches were in fact legal," Berry said. He said there were also questions as to whether evidence were admissible and whether it was sufficient to convict his client.

DeFoggi's conviction was part of an investigation by the Justice Department into three websites containing exploitative material involving children.

The administrator of all three sites was also convicted for engaging in a child pornography enterprise. DeFoggi's conviction is the sixth in the investigation.

--Additional reporting by Sam Schulz

<![CDATA[Hernandez Evidence to Be Tossed]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 20:41:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP296842589971.jpg

A Massachusetts judge has allowed some evidence to be suppressed in the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez, court documents show.

The former star Patriots tight end had asked the court to suppress the evidence — an iPhone, a Blackberry, an iPad and two iPad minis — which was obtained when his home was searched last June after the killing of Odin Lloyd.

Defense lawyers argued that that evidence was not part of the original search warrant and that a state trooper did not have the proper paperwork when he entered Hernandez's home.

Tuesday, the Bristol County Superior Court granted that motion, allowing that evidence to be thrown out.

Earlier this month, the court denied Hernandez's motion to exclude a digital video recorder, a hard drive and Hernandez's cell phone.

The hard drive allegedly contains files showing Hernandez holding the murder weapon and his movements around the time of the murder. The phone, according to prosecutors, had text messages Hernandez sent to Lloyd, as well as the former NFL star's alleged right hand man, Ernest Wallace, on the night of the killing.

Hernandez is charged with first-degree murder in the 2013 death of Lloyd. He is also charged with the murders of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in Boston in 2012.

The Bristol County District Attorney's Office told NECN Tuesday afternoon that it cannot comment on the case, due to an ongoing gag order.

NECN will have more as this story develops.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas Sheriff's Deputy Faces Sexual Assault Charge]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 16:09:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Bailey-photo-082614.jpg

A Dallas County sheriff’s deputy has been placed on administrative leave after he was indicted for sexual assault.

Rodney D. Bailey, 45, was indicted by a Dallas County grand jury for a sexual assault that allegedly occurred in Lancaster on July 1, 2006.

Court records do not indicate why it took more than eight years to bring charges.

Debbie Denmon, a spokeswoman for the Dallas County District Attorney, said prosecutors were never notified when the original police report was taken in 2006.

A new detective was going through files, noticed the case had never been filed and notified the DA's office recently, she said..

There is no statute of limitations for sexual assault.

Reached by telephone, Bailey declined comment.

Photo Credit: Dallas County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Burning Man Converges on Wal-Mart]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 15:50:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/burning-man-AP139188049693.jpg

Ah, Burning Man, the annual weeklong rave that draws thousands of free-thinkers to a remote spot in the Nevada desert. It's a festival so remote and bizarre that the only limit to free expression is imagination ... and that dust that always gets into the electronics.

Except when it rains.

That's when the "Burners" end up in the parking lot of the Reno Wal-Mart.

Turned back at the gate to the Black Rock Desert after rare showers on Monday turned the ancient lake bottom to a muddy quagmire, hundreds of "Burners'' were forced to overnight on the Wal-Mart blacktop. Nearly a hundred other RVs pulled into the parking lot of the Grand Sierra Resort casino, across the street.

"We're just trying to stay positive," said a woman from Oakland, California, who identified herself only as "Driftwood," and was hanging out with some first-timers from Texas. "Positivity can raise everything up."

Organizers announced after midnight that they could roll onto the lake. By midmorning Tuesday all but a few dozen of the RVs were back on the road again, and by most accounts, no worse for the wear.

"We'll make the best of things," said Aviva Mohilner, a former public relations specialist from Los Angeles making her third trip. "It always works out. Burners make it good."

One New York City man loading coolers into a U-Haul on his first voyage to the desert wilderness said he was in too much of a hurry to make it to the desert Tuesday to talk. But another New Yorker, Ben Zion, asked a reporter to take a picture of him and his eight friends from Israel, all anxious first-timers. The rain delay was actually good for them, he said: "We got to get some rest and a shower."

Cuong Huynh, a four-time Burner and IT specialist from San Diego, California, said he's usually more concerned about dusty wind storms than rain, which is why he keeps his cellphone in a plastic bag.

Last year, it rained just before the festival, packing all the dirt and keeping the dust down, he said.

"Rain is really good for us, just not while you're out there," he said.

Destin Gerek, an 11-year veteran, thinks the delay will add a spark to the gathering.

"All this pent-up energy," said Gerek, 36, who teaches Burning Man workshops on the "intersection of sexuality and pirituality."

Gerek grew up in New York City, lives in California and has toured 25 different countries. "In all my travels, Burning Man is utterly unique," he said. "Absolutely nothing compares."

That was the general consensus among Burners Monday night as many of the RVs, VW buses and truck's pulling trailers gathered at a makeshift staging area under the blinking pink casino lights twinkling through the night.

It wasn't entirely unlike the contraptions that light up the weeklong desert gathering, which began at San Francisco's Baker Beach in 1986 and now culminates in the Black Rock with the burning of a towering wooden effigy Labor Day weekend. A record 68,000 people attended last year.

Still, the Wal-Mart wasn't exactly what seekers of "paradise on the playa" had in mind while driving hundreds of miles to the counter-culture festival, which offers theme camps, art exhibits, all-night music and guerrilla theater, along with a decent dose of nudity and a bunch of other stuff that's just plain weird.

One camp this year is "Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust," where participants are invited to be photographed as they "strip naked, cover in Playa dust, paint cracks on the body and finalize with red hands to simulate a connection between oneself and the desert environment."

The journey's final hours, across a dry, perfectly flat lake bed that seems to stretch on forever, is usually part of the fun.

Unless, again, it rains, covering the clay-like surface with standing water that turns to mush under the wheels of a well-equipped "Burner" crew.

Barbara Quintanilla and Bill Sanchez, who drove up from Houston in an RV, said the delay was the least of their worries.

"We made a 2,000-mile trip and none of us had ever driven an RV before. It would only go 35 mph up hills,'' Sanchez said.

Jeff Cross of Orange County, California, said the brief detour hadn't deterred his group's enthusiasm.

"It's the best festival in the world," he said. "There's no cellphones, no internet, no money or corporate sponsors."

True enough, once they reach the desert.

But while they were stuck in Reno, the rain delay provided for one last consumer capitalist opportunity.

"We have a list of 27 things we need to get at Wal-Mart," Quintanilla said.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[More Quakes, Aftershocks Rock Napa]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 20:05:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/178*120/454081604_10.jpg

Five small quakes and aftershocks rumbled through wine country early Tuesday, days after the biggest earthquake in 25 years hit the Bay Area.

The shaking in the wee hours of the morning startled and concerned residents 75 miles away in Mountain View and in nearby Vallejo. Anna Solberg of Vallejo, five miles from the epicenters, said she felt her house shake "from left to right."

But that shaking was much gentler than what she felt in her home on Sunday, when a 6.0-magnitude quake rocked the same area around 3:20 a.m. That was the largest earthquake to impact the Bay Area since the 1989 magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake.

"My first thought was 'Oh my gosh, another earthquake,''' she told NBC Bay Area by phone, adding that she had been in bed awake just as the quakes hit. "But I just heard felt one thud."

Still, she acknowledged she felt about "half as much" shaking Tuesday as she had felt Sunday.

The U.S. Geological Survey clocked a magnitude-3.9 temblor and three aftershocks striking between 5:30 a.m and 6 a.m. just a few miles from  American Canyon.

The aftershocks were reported at 2.7, 2.8 and 3.0 magnitudes. A fifth magnitude-2.5 aftershock hit four miles south of Napa at 10:56 a.m. An aftershock is a smaller earthquake following a large earthquake in the same region.

Despite the number of temblors – four in 90 minutes – there didn't seem any damage reports, according to Barry Martin, community outreach coordinator for Napa. He said crews would be going out again to check for any water line breaks and power outages.

The four aftershocks hit in the same general region where the South Napa earthquake struck Sunday, requiring hundreds of buildings to be red- and yellow-tagged, mostly in the heart of historic downtown Napa. A post office, library and a 141-room hotel were among more than 160 homes and buildings either deemed unsafe to occupy or enter.

Aftershocks are quite common, even expected.

"Anytime you have an earthquake, the probability of another earthquake goes up," Cecily Wolfe of the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program told NBC News.

Earthquakes tend to come in clusters. NBC News reported there is currently a 29 percent chance that a magnitude-5 or higher quake will hit in the next seven days, according to Northern California Seismic System (NCSS) probability report.

In fact, experts say that there is a 5 to 10 percent chance of something bigger than a 6.0-magnitude quake coming in the next week, according to the NCSS report.

NBC's Joe Fryer was staying in a hotel in Vallejo and awoke when he felt the first earthquake Tuesday.

"It was the strongest aftershock since the main earthquake hit," he said.

Sunday's South Napa earthquake hit along the West Napa Fault, the most seismically active of the faults, according to the USGS.

But as for John King, a Napa resident who was busy on Tuesday morning carting his damaged water heater to one of the city dumping spots, earthquakes are the price you pay for living in the Bay Area.

"It's a beautiful place to live," King said. "This is what goes with it. You get it together, and you move on."

 NBC Bay Area's Shelby Hansen and Bob Redell contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA["Millennial" Market Not Lovin' McDonald's: Report]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:51:11 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/McDonalds-Blitz-Box.jpg

It looks like millennials aren’t munching on McDonald’s as much as they used to.

Customers in their 20s and 30s are choosing to dine elsewhere, particularly at “fast-casual” restaurants like Chipotle and Five Guys, according to demographics reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The report indicates younger diners are seeking out healthier options and customizable menus, creating a hurdle for McDonald's as it grapples with one of its worst slumps in the last decade.

According to the data, the percentage of customers age 19 to 21 who visited McDonald’s monthly has fallen by 12.9 percentage points since 2011, and the percentage of customers age 22 to 37 visiting the chain in the same period stayed flat.

In turn, the percentage of customers in those age groups visiting fast-casual restaurants monthly during that same time period grew by 2.3 and 5.2 percentage points.

It’s a trend that the world’s largest hamburger chain has been trying to overcome after a reported global decline.

The Illinois-based chain reported earlier this month that a key sales figure fell 2.5 percent in July, due in part to persistent weakness in the U.S.

While the company attributes a 7.3 drop in an international unit encompassing Asia, the Middle East and Africa to a recent food safety scandal in China, changing food habits could be the culprit for the 3.2 percent drop in the U.S.

Chains like Chipotle, for instance, are gaining favor by touting more wholesome ingredients and the ability to customize food.

Last month, McDonald’s ranked last for burger taste in a Consumer Reports survey of 32,405 subscribers. Respondents in the survey continuously favored the so-called fast casual restaurants over some of the mega-chains like McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Burger King.

“Fast-casual dining in places like Chipotle and Panda Express lets the consumer guide the staff to prepare their meal just the way they like it,” said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, a food-service research and consulting firm that compiled the data for the Wall Street Journal.

McDonald’s is attempting to make waves in the younger market, once a prominent audience for the chain, by introducing healthier options and debuting apps and mobile pay options.

McDonald’s Global Chief Brand Officer Steve Easterbrook told the Wall Street Journal the millennial generation is “promiscuous in their brand loyalty,” making it more difficult to earn their loyalty. 

Easterbrook cited a wider range of choices for the shift in preference for younger generations.

The chain has also noted menu issues and cited financial struggles for lower-income customers as reasons for the U.S. drop.

McDonald's CEO Don Thompson said the company complicated its menu and slowed down service by introducing too many items too quickly. He said the company is working on getting the basics right — such as improving service.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[NB I-45 Reopen in Wilmer]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 18:40:51 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/209*120/WILMER-AX.jpg

The northbound lanes of Interstate 45 in Wilmer are back open after a fiery crash shut it down for hours Tuesday afternoon.

Officials told NBC 5 hazardous materials crews had to clean the roadway after an 18-wheeler caught fire at I-45 and Pleasant Run Road.

The driver was headed north on the I-45 service road when they lost control, hit a median, crossed all three lanes of the interstate and hit the center concrete land divider, causing the truck to burst into flames.

There were five people inside of the truck, but they each escaped without injury.

Investigators said the vehicle involved was a big rig training truck


Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Arlington Teacher Allegedly Intoxicated at School]]> Mon, 25 Aug 2014 22:48:08 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Teacher+arrest.jpg

An Arlington elementary teacher faces charges after she was allegedly drunk at school.

Megan Updegraff, 28, a first-grade teacher at West Elementary School, was arrested Friday and booked into jail on a charge of public intoxication.

No children were at school on Friday because classes didn’t begin until Monday.

West Elementary is part of the Arlington Independent School District but is located in south Grand Prairie.

A brief statement from the district said Updegraff is on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

Updegraff could not be reached for comment Monday night.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[I-635 at Montfort Reopen After Crash]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 15:35:00 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Dallas-Police-Car1.jpg

The two right lanes of westbound Interstate 635 at Montfort in Dallas have reopened after a crash closed the area on Tuesday afternoon.

The cause of the crash and the condition of those involved are not yet known.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Mark Cuban Declines Ice-Bucket Challenge]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 15:08:40 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_markcuban111.jpg

Mark Cuban has been called “unpatriotic” for his stance on NBA players participating in international competitions. Given his Fallen Patriot Fund and the Mavs’ annual night benefitting soldiers and their families, of course that notion is ridiculous.

Now Cuban will likely draw the ire of his critics for daring to not jump onto the coattails of America’s latest fad – the ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge.

Speaking on CBS Radio in Dallas last Friday, Cuban explained why he’s declined numerous “nominations” to video himself being doused with a bucket of ice water to raise awareness and donations to fight ALS.

“We’ve gotten to the point now where it’s not so much about ALS or raising money,” he said. “It’s really a social-media phenomenon and I’m starting to feel bad for a lot of the other charities who are going to have a far more difficult time raising money. A lot of people are going to try to copy what ALS has done and it’s going to be impossible. Someone else is going to have to come up with something completely different. Not to take anything away from ALS. Whatever amount of money they raise, good for them. It's a terrible disease. I don’t want trying to coming up with an idea to fund raise to be about who is the most creative on social media. I don’t want to see a lot of charities waste a lot of money trying to come up with the next social-media phenomenon. I just don’t feel comfortable with it at this point in time. Had I done it early I would have been like, ‘Yeah I was one of the early ones.’ That’s just my style.”

As always, the Mavs owner sees things from a unique perspective.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[DART Considers Cotton Belt Bus Route]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:37:15 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Cotton+Belt+Line+082614.jpg

Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s quest to get an east-west transit connection along the Cotton Belt line in the northern suburbs is rife with conflict even though a new push is barely in its early stages.

CLICK HERE to read more from our media partners at The Dallas Morning News

<![CDATA[Big Tex Dons New Duds for 2014]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 09:50:12 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/big-tex-shirt-2014.jpg

In just 31 days Big Tex's trademark drawl will once again welcome visitors to The State Fair of Texas.

Before his big debut, though, Big Tex will get a bit of a makeover that'll include a new Dickies Western shirt. The big guy got a new outfit, and more, in 2013 after a fire claimed the previous incarnation of the State Fair icon near the end of the 2012 fair.

Big Tex typically wears the same shirt for three years, but is getting a new top ahead of schedule that is more "Texified."

"Big Tex's spiffy new duds will add a little bit more of a Texas touch, which fits in perfectly with this year's State Fair theme, "Deep in the Heart of Texans," fair organizers said in a news release. "As a symbol of Texas pride, it only makes sense that Big Tex's clothing reflects his true Texas colors."

The new shirt, and a pair of jeans, were laid out across the football field at Cotton Bowl Stadium Tuesday. The new shirt is solid blue with red cuffs with a large red chevron that extends from the shoulder down to mid chest. On each chevron is a single, white Lone Star accented below by a thin, white bar.  Below the chevron are blue chest pockets with red flaps.

The changes to the 55-foot-tall icon are part of the "Texification" of The State Fair of Texas, where organizers are putting an emphasis on Texas pride and spirit. The Texification organizers speak of includes adding Texas-themed signage and flags throughout Fair Park as well as new floats, music and a nightly Lone Star-themed Starlight Parade.

The design varies slightly from 2013, when Big Tex wore a shirt with a white base with blue cuffs and red chest pockets with blue flaps. Above the chest pockets were red, white and blue chevrons adorned with a single star on each side.

No other changes to Big Tex have been announced.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Resolution to Suspend John Wiley Price Dies]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:32:49 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/John+Wiley+Price+081214.jpg

Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price will not face suspension, despite his battle with federal corruption charges.

The proposed resolution seeking "temporary suspension with pay" of Price written by Commissioner Mike Cantrell was not seconded Tuesday and died without a vote.

It always seemed unlikely to pass, since Price is a Democrat and his other colleagues have indicated that they want the legal process to play out before any action is considered.

The resolution, drafted by the lone Republican on the court, noted that Price is presumed innocent until proved guilty, but that the court has a "responsibility to consider the severity of the alleged charges" and "prevent further harm to Dallas County."

Some Democrats on the court, meanwhile, have portrayed the effort as political posturing.

NBC 5's Ken Kalthoff contributed to this report.

CLICK HERE for more from our media partners at The Dallas Morning News

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Irving Teen Dies One Day Before Starting College]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 05:24:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/215*120/DEBRICK+11.jpg

An Irving, Texas, teenager died on Sunday, one day before starting his freshman year at Texas Tech University.

Dalton Debrick, 18, was found dead at a house in Lubbock not far from the Texas Tech campus about 9 a.m. Sunday, police said.

Officers had responded to a complaint about a loud party at the same house about midnight but left after giving a warning to keep it quiet.

Homicide detectives are investigating, but police have released few other details.

Debrick graduated from Nimitz High School in Irving a few months ago.

"It's all just speculation at this point," said his godmother, Laura Surles, of Palmer. “We're waiting to get the answers."

Debrick wanted to major in education and become a coach to teach young people about sports, Surles said.

She said he was popular in school and always showed his warm personality.

“He had a beautiful smile,” she said. “He was one in a million. He was a good kid."

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Texas Sec. of State Getting Out the Vote]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 07:16:02 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/nandita-berry-capitol.jpg

There may be a higher turn out at the polls this fall due to a tour taken by Secretary of State Nandita Berry.

Berry is touring 11 universities across Texas this week to encourage young voters to get to the polls on Election Day.

Berry, who kicked off her tour Monday in Lubbock, said tdhe primary focus is to make sure young voters understand the voting process so that they aren't intimidated or afraid to voice their opinion.

The next statewide election, which includes the race for governor between Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis, will be held Nov. 4.

Photo Credit: flickr/tex1sam/NBC 5]]>