<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2018 https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth https://www.nbcdfw.com en-usTue, 25 Sep 2018 13:41:40 -0500Tue, 25 Sep 2018 13:41:40 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Former Officer Emotional on the Stand in Shooting Trial]]> Tue, 25 Sep 2018 13:40:22 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/derick-wiley-stand.jpg

Under cross examination Tuesday, a former Mesquite police officer accused of unlawfully shooting and injuring a man remained adamant he followed policy and says he had a "split second to make a decision and that decision was to shoot or be shot."

Former officer Derick Wiley is charged in the Nov. 8, 2017 shooting of Lyndo Jones and faces one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by a public servant.

Wiley became emotional when he took the stand Monday, explaining to the court why he believed Jones was burglarizing a truck when he confronted him and what happened after he demanded Jones get on the ground after he turned his back.

Jones, who owned the truck, testified that he got lost on his way home from work, decided to pull into the business' parking lot and began to smoke marijuana and do cocaine before he was confronted.

While testifying Monday, Wiley said his intention that night was to handcuff Jones on the ground. When asked why by a defense attorney, Wiley put his hands on his face, became emotional and said, "because I thought he had a weapon."

When Jones struggled and began to get up, Wiley said he told himself, "Derick do not die out here...I thought I might die."

Fearing Jones was going to confront him -- not run away -- Wiley shot him twice in the back.

Wiley said he did not know he shot Jones in the back, as he believed the man was facing him.

"I wouldn't have shot that dude if I didn't think he was going to, he had a weapon and he was going to hurt me but I didn't know what he was doing," he said sobbing.

When asked why he shot twice, Wiley said officers are trained to shoot to stop a threat and it was a "natural reaction to shoot twice."

Defense attorneys asked Wiley if he would change anything if he were in that position again and he said he would not. When asked why, Wiley said he felt like his life was in danger and that it was "shoot or get shot."

Tuesday morning prosecutors cross examined Wiley for about a half hour, who said he believes he shot Jones in an official capacity because Jones fought with him.

"The suspect fought with me on the ground. It was dark out there. I was by myself. I had a split second to make a decision and that decision was to shoot or be shot," Wiley said Tuesday.

Wiley said in court Tuesday under cross examination that during the struggle with Jones his knuckle was cut open, even though he reported no injuries after the shooting.

Wiley also clarified Tuesday that when he and Jones struggled on the ground, Jones didn't throw his entire body to the side, he swiped his hands to the side.

When asked by prosecutors why he didn't wait for backup once he had his gun drawn, Wiley said he didn't think he could hold Jones for that long by himself.

If convicted, Wiley faces between five years and life in prison.

Jones' civil attorneys spoke to reporters after the officer's testimony, saying they were surprised to see that kind of emotion.

"We had the opportunity to see this officer give an interview when his attorney was present in the conference room. There was no tears whatsoever," said Washington. "But all of the sudden today we get tears. When you look at clearly this officer's testimony contradicts itself."

Attorney Justin Moore also spoke out.

"This man [Wiley] is fighting for his life, essentially he's facing possibly up to 99 years so he's going to say whatever he can to get out of that situation. So I believe his testimony, I was unmoved by it," Moore said.

Lyndo Jones Takes the Stand

Lyndo Jones took the stand last week in the trial and told jurors that he stopped in the parking lot where he was shot because he had gotten lost on his way home from work in Arlington.

Jones said he was not sure how long he had been there when Wiley arrived but said he could not tell Wiley was a police officer, in part because of the blinding spotlight. 

Jones said he had been using marijuana and cocaine in his pickup before the shooting. Jones recalled for the jurors what it felt like to get shot.  

"It felt like someone was pushing me down, holding me down but I was trying to run, you know when someone run and push you, that's what it felt like," Jones said.

Jones said he ran from Wiley because Wiley threatened to shoot him. 

Last week, Wiley's body camera video was introduced as a key piece of evidence, showing the nearly two minute exchange escalating into violence and shots being fired. The video also shows Jones complying with the officers orders, followed by a struggle, and then Jones being shot twice in the back.

Wiley was fired by the Mesquite Police Department after an internal investigation found he violated multiple department polices during the shooting. Wiley has appealed his termination.

NBC 5's Courtney Gilmore and Maria Guerrero contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Texas' First Free Pharmacy Opens in North Texas]]> Tue, 25 Sep 2018 10:26:39 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Free+Pharmacy+5AM+VO+SOT+VO-09-25-2018-04.19.05_2018-09-25-04-22-45.jpg

A North Texas organization is on an mission to extend a helping hand. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul of North Texas has opened the first public free pharmacy in the state.

The group soft launched the pilot pharmacy program nearly six months ago and saw firsthand how much the service was needed.

“By word of mouth only – no marketing push – just word of mouth as of Friday we have dispensed 872 prescriptions with a market value of about $210,000,” said Kate Rose Marquez with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of North Texas. “That’s tremendous and that’s before today. Once the word is out, we expect that to really increase.”

On Tuesday, the group will hold an official ribbon cutting, opening the pharmacy for widespread usage.

This resource is available to individuals who:

-Have no health insurance coverage.

-Have a household income at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level

-Who have a valid prescription (either an original paper copy or one at another pharmacy)

-Who live in the nine-county service area (Dallas, Collin, Ellis, Fannin, Grayson, Hunt, Kaufman, Navarro, Rockwall).

The service provides free life-sustaining and possibly life-saving medications such as insulin, asthma inhalers, blood pressure medication and mental health medication. The medication is donated from pharmaceutical companies. The pharmacy does not provide opioids.

“For many of [the clients], it’s a juggling act,” pharmacy managing director Hank Hermann said. “[They have to ask] ‘Do I buy food for my family or do I take my medications?’ If they are ill and are not able to go to work – generally they do not get paid. So, it’s a vicious cycle and we are trying to lift people about that.”

“There are many people who need help and don’t know that there is this help available and to know that they can change their lives and save their lives and that allows them to be a better parent, a better spouse, a better employee – what a gift,” Marquez said.

One of the first people to use the service was Vincent Flores of Irving. He said he has survived both a heart attack and stroke and this medication is vital to him.

“It has made a tremendous difference. It has definitely been a help and blessing to me by providing these prescriptions it takes the weight off of me and helps me perform and go through my daily routines,” Flores said.

There is a four-year plan to expand that free pharmacy to other North Texas counties and eventually statewide.

The pharmacy is at 5750 Pineland Dr. #280, Dallas, TX 75231

More information and how to apply: St. Vincent de Paul Pharmacy



Photo Credit: NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[Neighbor Frustrated With Approved Overnight Construction]]> Tue, 25 Sep 2018 07:24:38 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Early+Construction+Complaints+-+Coppell_2018-09-25-05-56-32.jpg

If you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, similarly you cannot build a massive, mixed use development without making a little noise.

But that analogy may be little comfort for people who simply want to sleep overnight without the sound of construction crews pouring concrete at 2 a.m.

That has been the case too often, according to at least one resident, at Cypress Waters, which is a 1,000 acre master-planned project on a sliver of land northeast of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport that spans the municipal limits of three cities – Dallas, Irving and Coppell. The project has waivers to perform the work overnight.

Two videos submitted to NBC DFW purport to show construction work happening in the overnight hours directly across from the apartment community The Neighborhoods at The Sound.

In one of those videos, shot at approximately 2 a.m. Monday, the developer – Billingsley Company – had obtained a Noise Ordinance Waiver from the City of Dallas which allows them to perform overnight construction work.

“These are very large concrete pours as they must cover an entire floor of the building at one time for the structural slab to be monolithic as designed. In other words, the concrete pours cannot be broken up into smaller batches since there are no construction joints allowed by design on each floor’s slab,” noted Dallas City Public Affairs Officer Corbin Rubinson. “Due to the large volume of construction in the Metroplex, concrete plants can limit the availability of large concrete batches to off hours since their schedules are so full.”

In addition, the company has obtained waivers for overnight work that is scheduled for Thursday and Friday of this week. The waiver allows for work to happen between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m.

Cypress Waters is a massive undertaking – at 1,000 acres it is approximately four times the size of the Legacy West development in Plano that is home to, among other entities, the North American headquarters for Toyota.

More than three dozen major businesses will have office space in Cypress Waters, including corporate campuses for familiar names like 7-Eleven, Smoothie King and Nokia.

In addition to over 2 million square feet of commercial office space, Cypress Waters will include 50,000 square feet of retail space, more than 1,200 apartments and a 300-acre lake.

A spokesperson for Dallas-based Billingsley emphasized that workers are well aware that overnight noise can be a nuisance.

“As with all of our new developments, we are upfront with our residents about upcoming construction and the noise that may accompany it,” said Tiffany Harlow, Director of Marketing for Billingsley Company. “We notify our residents in a couple of ways. As they are signing their lease they are notified that they are living in a new development, and construction and construction noise may happen on nights and weekends when necessary.”

Harlow acknowledged, however, that there was an internal miscommunication about what day the concrete work would be done at the beginning of this week.

“We were planning on notifying residents [Monday] for an overnight pour, but had a miscommunication on dates from the contractor in that the concrete pour happened [Sunday night] vs. [Monday night], Monday at 2 a.m. vs. Tuesday at 2 a.m.,” Harlow explained.



Photo Credit: NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[Cosby Sentenced to 3 to 10 Years in Prison]]> Tue, 25 Sep 2018 13:38:28 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/DIT+NAT+COSBY+SENTENCING+092518.00_00_57_15.Still005THUMB.jpg

Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. The judge also declared Cosby a “sexually violent predator,” which means he will have to undergo monthly counseling and register with police if he leaves prison.

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<![CDATA[One in Custody, One Injured in Fort Worth Shooting]]> Tue, 25 Sep 2018 13:31:30 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/bonnell-avenue-shooting-dz.jpg

One man is in custody after an argument between two people in Fort Worth Tuesday ended with a shooting, police say.

Investigators said officers were called to the 5500 block of Bonnell Avenue at about 11:50 a.m. after a person was shot during an argument.

The victim was rushed to a nearby hospital in an unknown condition.

The suspected shooter was located by police a short time later and taken into custody to be interviewed by detectives.

Check back and refresh this page for the latest update.



Photo Credit: Diana Zoga, NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Six Flags St. Louis Celebrates Fright Fest With 30-Hour 'Coffin Challenge' ]]> Tue, 25 Sep 2018 13:21:15 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-92158572.jpg

Six Flags in St. Louis, Missouri, is challenging six contestants to spend 30 hours inside a coffin for a chance to win $300 during the park's annual spooktacular Halloween event.

Participants of the ghoulish contest to celebrate the 30th year of Fright Fest will bide their time inside 2-by-7-foot coffins at the park from 1 p.m. Oct. 13 to 7 p.m. Oct. 14. 

Coffin dwellers will be allowed to bring a friend during Fright Fest operating hours, "but they must brave the non-operating hours alone,” according to the contest's rules. Contestants will also get brief hourly bathroom breaks and in-coffin meals.

Those who complete the macabre challenge will win two 2019 Gold Season Passes, a Fright Fest prize package including two VIP Haunted House passes, and a ticket for two to ride the Freak Train for Freaks Unleashed.

If more than one person makes it to 30 hours, a drawing will determine who gets the $300.

One more perk: Successful coffin dwellers get to keep their casket.

Six Flags will choose the six participants on Oct. 4 and nominees must accept by Oct. 6. If all coffins are not filled, alternates will be notified by Oct. 8.

Click here to register. The deadline to register is Oct. 3 at midnight.

Coffin Dweller Requirements:

-Must be 18 years or older and have a photo ID for verification

-Cannot have any medical condition(s) where participating could be a health risk 

-Complete and sign a waiver at check-in  

-Must be able to completely lay in a 2’ x 7’ coffin

-Provide own pillow and sleeping bag or blankets

-Check in at Six Flags St. Louis by 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13

Six Flags St. Louis will provide:

-Six, deluxe, 2’ x 7’, slightly used coffins

-Breakfast in bed (well all meals, snacks and drinks in bed actually)

-One, six-minute bathroom break every hour

-Random visits by 'Fright Fest Freaks'

-A Six Flags representative will be present at all times

-Phone charging stations       



Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Stars Ready for Fun Offense Under Coach Fresh Out of College]]> Tue, 25 Sep 2018 12:53:10 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dallas-stars-generic-02.jpg

This is the third season in a row the Dallas Stars have a different coach and a different style. They're ready to have some fun with the guy fresh out of college.

After the differing approaches of grizzled veterans Lindy Ruff and then Ken Hitchcock in a one-season return of their Stanley Cup-winning coach from two decades ago, there is more of an emphasis on relentless offense with new coach Jim Montgomery in his transition from the college ranks to first-time NHL head coach.

"It's going to be a lot of fun," captain Jamie Benn said. "We're going to work hard and it'll be a high-flying Stars team with a lot of pressure on the ice."

The 49-year-old Montgomery said he's sure the team has the speed and depth to play his style.

Montgomery spent the past five years at the University of Denver, where he had a 125-57-26 record and won a national title two seasons ago. He won two championships as a head coach and general manager in the United States Hockey League before that. He was part of a college national championship as a player at Maine in 1993, and did play 122 NHL games -- his last was with Dallas in December 2002.

"We've had some great coaches in here," Tyler Seguin said. "But at the end of the day, we haven't had this kind of coach, a younger guy, a player's coach if you want to call it that, someone that's won pretty much everywhere he's gone and is going to change things up. I think everyone's excited for that and looking forward to a fresh new year."

SEGUIN AND THE TOP LINE

Seguin, the 26-year-old five-time All-Star with a career-high 40 goals last season, could have become an unrestricted free agent after this season. But he signed a nearly $80 million, eight-year contract extension through 2026-27 just before training camp. Seguin is on the front line with 29-year-old two-time All-Star Benn and Alexander Radulov, who had 27 goals and 45 assists last season. Only Benn had more total points than Seguin's 78, with Benn at 79 (36 goals, 43 assists) after eight goals and two assists in the last five games.

ON THE DEFENSE

John Klingberg led NHL defensemen with 59 assists last season, when Marc Methot was limited to 36 games in his Stars debut because of knee issues. A healthy Methot should be a boost to the Stars defense.

"If you look at the lineup, we know we have star power. We have everything on paper. It looks good," Klingberg said. "We're just going to have to find those pieces blending into each other."

MISSED TIME

Dallas missed the playoffs for the eighth time in the past 10 seasons after an eight-game losing streak last March. They finished 42-32-8 for 92 points, which was a 13-point increase from 2016-17 but three points out of the Western Conference's eighth playoff spot.

"I think we've got to stop, I guess, wasting the good talent that we have here and take advantage of it," Benn said. "Ten years later, goes by fast. You've got to take advantage of the good teams that you have. We have a good team here. So we've got to make a good run here."

TOP 10 BACK IN BIG D

Right wing Valeri Nichushkin played 166 games in three seasons for the Stars by time he was 21 before returning home to Russia and playing the past two seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League. The 10th overall pick by the Stars in the 2013 draft is back after signing a $5.9 million, two-year contract with Dallas at the start of free agency over the summer.

STARTING AT HOME

The Stars open the season Oct. 4 against Arizona, the first of four consecutive home games in 10 days before their first road game.

"I don't think I could have picked a better schedule to start the season in my first year because everything's new," Montgomery said. "Being at home, having those three days of practice in between home games, is going to be instrumental in us getting off to a good start."

The Stars have now been in Dallas for 25 years.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Baby Saved, Mother Killed in Domestic Shooting]]> Tue, 25 Sep 2018 13:10:12 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/lagarius-donnell-rainey-mugshot.jpg

A premature baby was saved by doctors after its mother was fatally wounded in a shooting at a home in Dallas.

Investigators said 21-year-old Delashon Jefferson, who was 8 months pregnant, got into an argument with her common law husband, 25-year-old Lagarius Donnell Rainey, inside a home on the 2600 block of Marbug Street at about 7 p.m. Sunday.

When the argument got physical, police said family members tried to force their way into the bedroom and that's when Rainey started shooting.

Jefferson was struck in the gunfire along with 25-year-old Daveron Sanders. Both were rushed by Dallas Fire-Rescue to area hospitals for treatment.

Doctors were able to save Jefferson's child, but she died of her injuries. While the child survived, its condition, paternity and gender have not yet been confirmed by police.

Sanders' condition is not known.

Dallas police said they located Rainey not far from the home and took him into custody. Though he was interviewed by detectives, police did not say what sparked the fight that led to the shooting.

Rainey, who has been charged with murder, was booked Monday into the Dallas County Jail where he's being held on a $350,000 bond.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[DFW Traffic Forecast Sept. 25]]> Tue, 25 Sep 2018 11:04:55 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/traffic_forecast_0925.jpg

Traffic Reporter Samantha Davies shares what you need to know for your commute.

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<![CDATA[2 Killed in Wrong-Way Crash in Southern Dallas]]> Tue, 25 Sep 2018 12:46:16 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/FIFO-SVR48_4AM-8AM_732014_09-25-2018_2018-09-25-06-11-08.jpg

Two people were killed Tuesday morning in a wrong-way crash along Interstate 20 in southern Dallas.

According to police, the driver of a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck was driving westbound in the eastbound lanes at about 4 a.m. when he collided with a Lexus IS250 head-on, killing the driver, 30-year-old Erica Silvia.

The driver of the truck, identified as 35-year-old Julio Gonzalez Sanchez, was hospitalized in critical condition but later died of his injuries.

A third vehicle was struck by debris from the collision but was able to be driven from the scene.

Go here for a NBC DFW current traffic map.



Photo Credit: NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[Briceno's Walk-Off HR Sends Angels Past Rangers 5-4 in 11]]> Tue, 25 Sep 2018 07:47:39 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/txAP_18268097001252.jpg

The Los Angeles Angels celebrated Jose Briceno's extra-inning homer with the frenzied enthusiasm of a team barreling toward the playoffs, not a team that needs a six-game winning streak this week just to finish at .500.

Although the Angels are staying home for yet another October, they're looking to build for next season with small successes -- and big celebrations, apparently.

Briceno delivered a pinch-hit homer leading off the 11th inning, and the Angels snapped their five-game skid with a 5-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Monday night.

Shohei Ohtani hit his 21st homer in the first inning and Michael Hermosillo added his first career homer as the Angels opened the final homestand of their fourth consecutive season out of the playoffs.

After Taylor Cole (3-2) retired the Rangers in the 11th, Briceno drilled an 0-2 pitch from Matt Moore (3-8) to center for his fifth career homer. It was the Angels' first walk-off homer by a pinch-hitter since Scott Spiezio did it in 2000.

After improving to 76-81, the Angels were ready to party: Briceno's teammates ripped his jersey off his back, tore his undershirt and repeatedly pelted him with rosin and liquids when he reached home plate.

"Yeah, I didn't know what was going on around me, so I just tried to close my eyes," Briceno said with a grin.

After a 1-5 road trip that included four straight humiliating blowout losses, the Angels returned home with a four-homer performance and a strong start from Felix Pena. The 28-year-old former Cubs reliever yielded five hits over seven innings and struck out six, continuing his improbable rise as a starter in the Angels' injury-plagued rotation by matching the longest appearance of his career.

Angels rookie Ty Buttrey was one out away from his fifth career save, but after Ronald Guzman doubled with two outs in the ninth, pinch-runner Delino DeShields scored the tying run on pinch-hitter Elvis Andrus' single to left.

Guzman and Jurickson Profar homered for the Rangers, who opened their season-ending road trip with their sixth loss in eight games.

"I thought it was a really well-played game," Rangers interim manager Don Wakamatsu said. "We talked about playing throughout the rest of the season hard, with some energy, with some personality. We've got a lot of bright spots."

Adrian Sampson yielded five hits and four runs while pitching into the sixth for Texas.

Two batters after Jefry Marte hit his first homer since Aug. 21 in the fourth inning, Hermosillo got his first career homer -- and a big hug from Mike Trout on his way back to the dugout -- in his 28th game with the Angels. The 23-year-old outfield prospect made his big-league debut in May, and he said his father already laid claim to his first home run ball in a fortuitously timed text message shortly before this game.

Rougned Odor singled in the sixth and scored when Profar's 19th homer barely cleared the wall in right.

Marte was hit by a pitch from Sampson leading off the sixth. He advanced on a balk and a groundout before scoring the go-ahead run on Connor Sadzeck's wild pitch.

NUMBER 21

Ohtani hit a 428-foot shot to right field in the first inning, interrupting a 3-for-22 slump with another superlative blast by the Angels' two-way sensation. He has five homers while batting .327 against Texas this season. He also hit into two double plays and struck out, but his 21 homers are fourth-most among AL rookies.

FREE PASSES

Trout went 1 for 3 with two strikeouts, but drew his 116th and 117th walks of the season to set a franchise record, surpassing his mark in 2016.

SCIOSCIA'S FUTURE

Before the game, Angels manager Mike Scioscia told the team-owned radio station that he would like to manage again next year. Scioscia is finishing his 19th season in the Angels' dugout, and his contract expires this year. He has been widely expected to step down when the season concludes, but Scioscia sounded open to returning or to managing elsewhere in the majors.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: Andrelton Simmons wasn't in the starting lineup due to a sore knee, but he worked out on the field. The star shortstop landed awkwardly while fielding Sunday in Houston. ... LF Justin Upton got a rest day.

UP NEXT

Rangers: Yovani Gallardo (8-6, 6.59 ERA) is 1-5 in his last seven starts, and he has a 6.91 ERA since the beginning of August.

Angels: Matt Shoemaker (2-2, 5.48 ERA) makes the sixth start of his injury-plagued season after getting chased in the third inning of last appearance in Oakland.



Photo Credit: Chris Carlson/AP]]>
<![CDATA[SF Paid Firm $400K for Data Claiming City is Near Spotless]]> Tue, 25 Sep 2018 09:00:57 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Garbage+Tenderloin.jpg

San Francisco paid a public relations firm hundreds of thousands of dollars for research that claims the city is near spotless, according to government documents obtained by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit. 

The high rating appears to contradict San Francisco’s own 311 complaint records, which reflect a continued spike in service calls concerning trash, used needles, and human feces scattered across the city’s streets and sidewalks.  According to data collected by the same public relations firm, JBR Partners, Inc., last year San Francisco was the cleanest the city has been in four years.  During that same four-year span, however, complaints regarding human feces tainting streets and sidewalks nearly doubled to roughly 21,000 cleaning requests last year.

San Francisco hired JBR Partners, Inc., a self-described public relations agency, in an effort to assess progress within the Public Works Department, which is responsible for maintaining cleanliness along the city’s streets and sidewalks.  The firm’s findings, however, have been deemed questionable and potentially inaccurate by members of the community and the city’s own budget analysts and auditors.

City paid $400K for potentially 'flawed' research

“There is some concern that the performance measures, based on their methodology, might be flawed,” said Dan Goncher, a public policy analyst with the city’s Budget Legislative Analyst’s Office. “Why are these performance measures showing improvement, when at the same time the number of complaints to the city has continued to increase year after year? That's a real head scratcher, I think, for the city right now.”

PR firm, paid by SF, awards city near perfect cleanliness score

Public Works first hired JBR Partners in 2013 to survey San Francisco’s streets and sidewalks. In an effort to assess the level of cleanliness across San Francisco, the company was contracted to walk the city in search of trash and filth, including broken glass, syringes, and human waste.

Based on the survey results, JBR Partners rated San Francisco’s streets and sidewalks each year on a scale from 1 to 3 – 1 equated to “very clean,” while 3 amounted to “very dirty.” Last year, the firm awarded San Francisco’s streets and sidewalks an average rating of 1.18 in commercial areas and 1.06 in residential neighborhoods – near perfect scores.

According the contract, the firm was required to randomly select and survey 94 residential corridors and 94 commercial corridors every six months, for a total of 376 evaluations each year.

So far, those findings have cost San Francisco’s Public Works Department $408,745 as part of its contract with JBR Partners, which began in 2013 and runs through Oct. 8, 2018.

SF gets high marks despite increasing complaints about filth

After surveying streets and sidewalks last year, JBR Partners awarded San Francisco the highest cleanliness marks since the company began surveying the city in 2013.

Those living in San Francisco, however, appeared to notice more filth on the city’s streets and sidewalks, not less. The city’s 311 system received a dramatic increase in the number of complaints concerning a lack of cleanliness across the city during those same four years. Complaints about trash increased 40 percent, human waste complaints swelled 96 percent, and complaints concerning used drug needles spiked 228 percent.

JBR Partners did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

“There are still certainly questions around the degree to which cleanliness has improved on San Francisco streets and sidewalks,” Goncher said.  “What is at stake is whether the city can really have a good barometer on how it's performing and cleaning up the streets - and the use of public funds for that.”

In the absence of clear data and amid lingering questions over job performance within the city’s street cleaning division, Goncher recommended that San Francisco lawmakers refrain from implementing any long-term budget increases for Public Works. Earlier this year, however, the Board of Supervisors and Mayor London Breed opted to give the department a multimillion-dollar increase – $12.8 million in additional funds over the next two years.  The current Public Works budget, $72 million, has grown more than 80 percent in just six years.

'Why is it like this?'

The department’s ballooning budget doesn’t sit well with Rickey Wilson, a 70-year-old jazz singer who has spent his entire career in San Francisco.

“Why is it like this?  It shouldn't have to be,” he said.  “It's not supposed to be.”

Wilson, who regularly walks the streets of San Francisco to perform at clubs and lounges across the city, doesn’t believe the cleanliness ratings released by JBR Partners.

They’re lying,” said Wilson.  “They can take it any way they want it. They can come see me if they want. It doesn’t matter. I’m going to tell them the same thing I’m telling you now – they’re lying.”

San Francisco’s dirty streets made national headlines following an NBC Bay Area investigation in February, which revealed a dangerous concoction of drug needles, garbage, and feces lining the streets of downtown San Francisco. The Investigative Unit surveyed more than 150 blocks, including some of the city’s top tourist destinations and discovered conditions that infectious disease experts considered comparable to some of the worst slums in the world.

SF pays millions more for street cleaning than other major cities

San Francisco pays millions more to clean its streets and sidewalks than several other larger cities with even bigger populations, including Chicago, San Diego, and San Jose, according to a recent report by the San Francisco Budget Legislative Analyst’s Office. In fact, Los Angeles is 10 times larger than San Francisco and collects nine times the amount of trash, but San Francisco still spends about $20 million more on street cleaning each year.

“Every penny of work that a public worker does is worth it,” said Mohammed Nuru, director of San Francisco Public Works. “We have to be responsible for making sure that our city continues to be one of the best places in the world.”

Nuru takes issue with comparing San Francisco’s expenses because, he says, his department receives a higher volume of street cleaning requests than other cities across the country. 

During the 2017 fiscal year, San Francisco received 77,091 service requests while other cities received far fewer: Los Angeles, 5,800; San Jose, 9,000; Baltimore, 32,553, and Chicago, 1,271, according to data released by the Budget Legislative Analyst’s Office.

We're doing what people expect of us,” Nuru said.  “We still have room to grow, but we’re moving in the right direction.”

In April, during Mayor Mark Farrell's six months in office, San Francisco unveiled a new partnership with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation to create a new 10-person crew to pick up and discard used syringes across the city. In August, the Public Works Department announced plans to dedicate a five-person team to regularly clean human feces off streets and sidewalks. San Francisco also recently opened five more staffed, public restrooms as part of the city's Pit Stop Program, which now boasts 23 public toilets across the city.

In light of San Francisco's seemingly unprecedented clean-up efforts, some are confused how a city in need of such extreme measures could manage to score such high marks for cleanliness even before many of the new initiatives were implemented.

'A report is what it is'

As for the assertion made by JBR Partners that the city’s streets and sidewalks are near pristine, Nuru said “a report is what it is.”

He added, “I take information, and I try to translate it to the best way [so] that I can understand what it is saying.”

The survey data is being collected as part of a 2003 voter mandate that began requiring San Francisco to establish performance standards for street and sidewalk maintenance.

San Francisco’s auditing division, within the Controller’s Office, is responsible for reviewing those standards and issuing performance reports. While the Controller’s Office helped design the city’s cleanliness surveys, the office now has concerns the information collected may not be accurate. In fact, the office had such little confidence in the survey results that it decided to forgo issuing its scheduled 2016-2017 cleanliness evaluation report of the city’s streets and sidewalks.

“We are trying to get representative samples to get a sense of how the city is doing over time,” said Ben Rosenfield, City Controller for San Francisco, who acknowledges current survey methods are not yielding useful results.

“This is the year we decided to do something bigger that leads to better results," he said.

Rosenfield, who declined to be interviewed on camera, said his office is now partnering with Public Works to overhaul the way San Francisco measures cleanliness and expects to finalize new guidelines in the coming months.

“The purpose of our review is to get to something that is answering the question:  ‘Is the city dirtier or cleaner than the year before?'” he said.  “We have questions about whether the methodology we’ve used actually answers that.”



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[JJT: Lots of Questions, No Answers for Cowboys' Passing]]> Tue, 25 Sep 2018 07:36:19 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/usat_dak_prescot_cowboys_panthers.jpg

The Cowboys’ passing game is broken. We all know it. We see the ineptitude each game.

The Cowboys rank 30th in the NFL in yards (277.7), 31st in points (13.7), 31st in third-down conversions (23.5 percent), 27th in first downs (16.7) and 30th in yards per pass attempt (4.4).

Ridiculous.

Prescott has regressed from 2016, when he was named NFL Rookie of the Year. The receivers have been non-factors this season, combining for two touchdowns in three games, and the tight ends have been even worse.

The protection has been, at times, shoddy with Prescott getting sacked 11 times.

There’s no tangible evidence the offense will improve anytime soon.

After all, the first three games are a continuation of the last eight games of last season. Dallas has averaged 15.9 points and 289.0 yards in their last 11 games. It’s easily the worst stretch of offensive football since Jason Garrett joined the Cowboys in 2007 as offensive coordinator.

The offense’s poor performance is a continuation of training camp, when the unit struggled daily to complete passes, drives and score touchdowns in training camp.

Garrett’s belief in play-caller Scott Linehan has not wavered, though the public confidence in Linehan must be at all-time low. Garrett believes Linehan can fix Prescott and the offense, so he’s giving him an opportunity to do it.

For now, Garrett has no interest in taking the play-calling from Linehan.

“We're not going to go down that road right now,” Garrett said of taking the play-calling from Linehan. “I have a lot of confidence in Scott Linehan.

“He has been an outstanding coordinator in this league for a long time. He’s been an outstanding coordinator for us."

Garrett is sticking with Linehan because the problem with the offense is multi-faceted. It’s not one player or one coach.

It’s everybody and everything.

“We have to get better throwing the football,” Garrett said. “Again we have to be more efficient and we have to be more explosive throwing the ball.

"There's a protection component. There's a decision-making component. There's a throw and catch component. There's a winning on the route component. Again we have to improve in all of those areas.'

"Every part of it has to take responsibility for it. We have to get back to work with our players on Wednesday and try to make it better.''

It’s hard to be much worse.

Against Seattle, the Cowboys gained just 303 yards, while averaging 4.4 yards per play.

At halftime, the Cowboys had managed just four first downs and Prescott had completed six of 13 passes for 40 yards with an interception.

We haven't played well enough on offense, so everybody has to look at it,'' Garrett said. "I think it would be false for me to say this is about the play calling.

"This is about everything we're doing offensively.''

Prescott has passed for more than 200 yards in just two of the last 11 games. He has five straight games with at least 25 pass attempts and fewer than 200 yards.

Only four quarterbacks - Rick Morse, Steve Walsh, Ken O’Brien and John Brodie - have had longer steaks in the last 51years.

Prescott is tentative in the pocket and you have to wonder if this coaching staff is equipped to bring him out of this funk.

His body language contradicted his words.

“I have a lot of confidence,” Prescott said after the game. “I stay confident by believing in myself, believing in the players in the locker room.

“They believe in me, we believe in each other.”

They must. Help is not coming.

Garrett, Linehan and Prescott will either figure out how to fix this offense or this season is doomed.



Photo Credit: CSNPhilly.com]]>
<![CDATA[Seeing Mosquitoes Everywhere? It’s Not Your Imagination]]> Mon, 24 Sep 2018 22:27:04 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/CDC_Mosquito_050118.jpg

If it feels like mosquitoes are everywhere right now, it’s not your imagination. But experts say the species thriving in recent rains aren’t known for carrying the West Nile virus.

Dr. Michael Merchant, an entomologist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, says the mosquitoes most people are seeing are floodwater mosquitoes.

“They’re very aggressive and they have a pretty painful bite as far as mosquitoes go,” explained Merchant. “They’re the ones that come out after really heavy rains because they lay their eggs in low spots in the ground.”

The mosquitoes can spread heartworm disease to dogs, but don’t transmit the West Nile virus.

The aedes and culex types of mosquitoes that spread West Nile prefer stagnant water. Merchant says their breeding grounds are disrupted by fresh, heavy rains at a time when cooler temperatures signal a slowdown in activity.

“The West Nile virus mosquitoes do not like this kind of weather. It washes out their dirty stinky breeding holes and causes them to go away a little while,” said Merchant.

Even so, he says people shouldn’t let their guard down.

Last week, Plano reported a second human case of West Nile virus and announced plans for targeted mosquito spraying Monday night.

Dallas County’s Health Department says the typical mosquito-borne season is from April through November. The health department expects to see additional West Nile virus activity this fall as recent rains will provide extra water sources for future breeding.

The department recommends people drain standing water in their yards and continue to take West Nile precautions. They include using repellent with DEET, wearing long sleeves and pants outside and avoiding the outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are more active.

Merchant points out the mosquitoes that carry Zika and Denge remain active. But, locally transmitted cases have not been reported.

Texas reports three Zika cases so far in 2018 and all were transmitted during travel outside the U.S.

Dallas County’s Health Department says the risk extends to travelers. The departments warns travelers who return from regions of the globe where Zika exists use an EPA approved mosquito repellent for 3 weeks after returning to the U.S. to avoid infecting local mosquitoes.

Methodist Health System Infectious Disease Physician Dr. Shantala Samart says West Nile is the primary concern. Although human cases haven’t reached high levels this year, she asks patients to take precautions no matter what the mosquito conditions.

“This year so far we’ve been somewhat lucky compared to prior years and hopefully that trend continues,” said Samart. “With these new rains, we’ll have to wait and see.”

“The majority of patients who are bitten by a mosquito that’s carrying West Nile will have a mild viral illness,” Samart added. “It’s the small proportion of patients, usually those who are older and who have underlying medical illnesses, who develop the more aggressive disease which is the West Nile neuroinvasive disease. That’s the one we worry about.”

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<![CDATA[Demand for Luxury SUVs in China Drives Some Texans Into Debt]]> Mon, 24 Sep 2018 22:45:51 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/China+shipping+container+092418.jpg

A booming demand for luxury cars in China, and tactics used in the United States to accommodate those demands, have forced car dealers to, at times, investigate their own customers, NBC 5 Investigates has learned.

Federal authorities have grappled with how to deal with the “grey market” export schemes, where high-dollar SUVs – primarily Mercedes Benz and Land Rover – are purchased in Texas and then taken to the West Coast to be shipped overseas.

At the Port of Los Angeles, agents with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency showed the expensive vehicles they had seized before they made it onto ships to China, where they could fetch far more than their U.S. sticker prices.

“They double and triple their money easily, or quadruple it,” said Lou Koven, an investigator with the National Insurance Crime Bureau, an organization that works alongside U.S. Customs to prevent theft and fraud.

The reason for the huge markup?

Prestige … even more than what these types of vehicles convey in the car-loving United States.

“This would be the pinnacle of a status symbol … all over the world,” said U.S. Customs chief Victor Todorov, pointing to a Mercedes SUV limo.

Koven added: “You have a lot of millionaires, or even billionaires, over there, and they want something high-end, and they want something nice to drive.”

Criminals, using stolen identities, will buy these vehicles from U.S. dealerships.

“They will have someone go in and fraudulently obtain a loan and then the vehicle disappears” overseas, Todorov said.

In other cases, organized groups or companies recruit straw buyers to purchase the vehicles – a process that can be done lawfully, if the vehicle is paid in full, with no loan attached, when it’s shipped.

But if the straw buyer finances the vehicle, then it disappears to China without paying off the loan, then that amounts to theft from the bank or finance company.

“If it leaves through this export warehouse, and gets on a ship and it goes, it’s gone,” Todorov said.

Chris Lauritzen knows how straw purchases work from the inside, and it’s not a pleasant feeling.

At his home in Spring, near Houston, Lauritzen told NBC 5 Investigates he was attracted by a job posting saying he could make money helping an export company purchase luxury cars.

“Went through maybe 30 minutes of training on the Internet and I was off buying cars,” Lauritzen said.

He said he did business with Texas dealerships, buying Mercedes and Range Rovers, initially with the company paying for them up front, and then sending a truck to his house to pick them up.

Lauritzen was paid between $1,000 and $3,000 for each purchase – pretty good money, he said, especially since “it didn’t take long.”

Later, the company told him he would make more money if he financed the vehicles in his own name, with the promise he would be reimbursed before each vehicle was shipped overseas.

But with the last Mercedes he financed, he said the company, apparently unable to find an overseas buyer, stopped making the car payments.

“And April comes along (and) no payment. So I’m starting to get worried. The bank is starting to call,” Lauritzen said.

He finally located the vehicle, using a Mercedes tracking app, in the Los Angeles area, and is working with the bank and Homeland Security investigators to try and get it back.

Lauritzen said he is hoping he can sell the pricey SUV for the amount he owes on it.

If not, he’s stuck with a vehicle he said he can’t afford.

“You know, it’s killed our credit,” Lauritzen said, adding, “Our credit scores before this were incredibly good.”

For others who might be considering going into such a straw-buying business, he had a piece of advice: “Don’t do it.”

Automakers are now trying to stop the practice by placing customers under greater scrutiny.

NBC 5 Investigates has learned Mercedes Benz now tell its dealers to run more extensive background checks, especially on customers interested in buying certain models, such as the GLS class of SUVs.

Those checks include looking to see if potential customers’ names show up on a “known exporter list,” and “to look for indications that the customer does not have the financial wherewithal to purchase a luxury vehicle for cash.”

One red flag, Mercedes dealers are told, is if “the customer’s home value is equivalent to the purchase price of the vehicle.”

In a statement, Mercedes told NBC 5 Investigates it is working hard to eliminate the exports, but “that said, no policy is perfect … so some vehicles do slip through. This is something we are working with our dealers to address.”



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[National Parks Warming Faster Than Rest of US, Study Finds]]> Tue, 25 Sep 2018 04:19:34 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/nationalparkAP_18183423778026.jpg

Areas in the United States full of national parks — like Alaska or the American Southwest — will be the scene of the greatest heat gains and rainfall declines in the future, NBC News reported

A new study found that recorded temperature increases in the protected zones was twice as high, from 1895 to 2010, as temperature increases in the the rest of the United States. And those greater temperature increases would be exacerbated through the end of the century, if the United States and the world do nothing to reduce the level of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases, the researchers found.

The study, completed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Wisconsin, looked at historic temperature increases from 1895 through the 21st century. Researchers then projected temperature hikes through the year 2100 and did the same for rainfall totals in all 50 states. 

Using previous data that they aggregated and reassessed, the researchers concluded that under the worst-case scenario, no reduction in earth-warming greenhouse gases, temperatures would increase between 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit and 16.2 degrees Fahrenheit. The most severe increases would hit Alaska’s North Slope, where grizzly bears, caribou, polar bears and other sensitive species make their homes.



Photo Credit: Beth J. Harpaz/AP, File ]]>
<![CDATA[SUV Slams Into Garland Bakery, 10 Injured]]> Mon, 24 Sep 2018 17:35:34 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GIF+BAKERY.gif

Ten people were injured after an SUV slammed into a Garland bakery.

It happened just before 10:30 Sunday morning at Panaderia Guatelmateca, located in the 1800 block of South 1st Street.

The crash was caught on surveillance cameras both inside and outside of the store.

The driver said he was attempting to park and pressed the gas instead of the brake pedal.

One person was taken to the hospital, their condition is not known. Nine others were treated at the scene.

No charges have been filed and the driver was able to drive his SUV home.


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<![CDATA[Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger Fired]]> Mon, 24 Sep 2018 22:31:55 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Guyger+and+Botham+split.jpg

Amber Guyger, the Dallas police officer accused of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of her neighbor Botham Jean earlier this month, has been fired by the Dallas Police Department.

The department announced on Twitter that Guyger was "terminated for her actions" by Chief U. Renee Hall during a hearing Monday morning.

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"An Internal Affairs investigation concluded that on September 9, 2018, Officer Guyger engaged in adverse conduct when she was arrested for Manslaughter," the department said.

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"As a police chief, my job is to ensure the integrity of the highest level," said Hall. "That is what I did, and I waited until the critical portion of this investigation was complete."

Hall said that happened over the weekend. Guyger had a hearing at police headquarters Monday morning, which was followed by her firing.

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Guyger, 30, told investigators she returned home at the end of her shift Sept. 6 and found the door ajar to what she believed to be her apartment.

In an arrest warrant affidavit, investigators have said Guyger described seeing a "large silhouette" in the apartment and that she gave "verbal commands that were ignored" prior to firing the shots that killed the 26-year-old Jean, her upstairs neighbor. Guyger told investigators she mistakenly believed the apartment was her own and that Jean was a burglar.

Jean's family and their attorneys dispute those accounts and said information they gathered from witnesses will contradict Guyger's statements.

"We're not sure why it took so long, but we're glad the chief of police made the decision to fire this officer," said Jean family attorney Daryl Washington. 

On Monday night, Guyger's attorney released a statement saying "What happened on September 6th was a tragic mistake and words can never express our sorrow for the pain being suffered by those who knew and loved Botham Jean.  Amber Guyger is completely devastated by what happened. Unfortunately, today Chief Hall bowed to pressure from anti-police groups and took action before all of the facts had been gathered and due process was afforded.  That’s not the way our system of justice should work.  It is important for all parties and the integrity of the justice system that a full and fair investigation be allowed to reach its conclusion before decisions such as this are made."

When asked last week why Guyger hadn't been terminated, Hall said she wasn't able to terminate the officer. She elaborated Thursday with the following statement:

"There is one overriding reason that I have not taken any administrative or employment action against Officer Amber Guyger. I don't want to interfere with the on-going criminal investigation into her actions. Here's why. As an employer, DPD can compel Officer Guyger to provide a statement during a DPD administrative investigation and those statements given to DPD could potentially compromise the criminal investigation. That is not a risk I am willing to take. We cannot let the criminal case be determined on a 'technicality' rather than the facts. An exhaustive and thorough criminal investigation is essential, and as soon as we are assured that conducting an administrative investigation will not impede on the criminal investigation, we will proceed."

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said in a statement Monday that firing Guyger was the right move.

"I have heard the calls for this action from many, including the Jean family, and I agree that this is right decision in the interest of justice for Botham Jean and the citizens of Dallas. The swift termination of any officer who engages in misconduct that leads to the loss of innocent life is essential if the Dallas Police Department is to gain and maintain the public trust. I know Chief Hall agrees with me on that and I appreciate her leadership. Once again, she’s made the right call," Rawlings said.

Washington, one of the three attorneys representing Jean's family, commented on Guyger's firing Monday morning while at an unrelated "use of force" trial in Dallas County.

"The Dallas Police Department has now stepped in and made a decision which is contrary to the decision Chief Hall said was going to be made just a few days ago," Washington said. "Obviously there has been enough information presented to the Dallas Police Department that would justify termination, so we're hoping that now that this has happened, it's our belief that perhaps the district attorney's office should have enough information to move forward with an indictment."

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Attorney Lee Merritt said the chief called the attorneys and Jean's parents last night and explained she intended to fire Guyger.

"She had to answer some tough questions from the family, specifically about why it took so long and she tried to explain the employment process could, in fact, impact the criminal investigation. In other words, if she's faced to give a statement in protection of her job, that can infringe on her Fifth Amendment right and can affect the criminal investigation. It's a complicated question," Merritt said.

Merritt said the family sees Guyger's termination as a victory -- especially on Monday, the same day Jean is being buried in St. Lucia. A memorial was held for Jean Sept. 13 in Dallas before his remains were flown to his native St. Lucia.

"The nation of St. Lucia, has turned its attention to that burial service. This comes as a welcome relief, however there's still a long way to go," Merritt said.

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During a meeting with the Dallas City Council's Public Safety Committee Monday morning, Hall recommended suspending the department's 72-hour cooling off period following an officer-involved shooting. The current cooling-off period gives the officer three days before being compelled to make an official statement on the shooting.

Hall's proposal said those statements should immediately follow an incident and that they should include mandatory drug testing. She also said she wanted to make sure there was communication with the community within five days of an incident and to expand citizen review power.

Lastly, Hall said she wants to expand the department's fairness and bias training to include every officer and not just sergeants and new recruits.

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The Dallas Police Association offered no statement on Guyger's termination and said they will withhold comment until the ongoing investigation is complete.

Guyger was arrested and faces a manslaughter charge, though Dallas County prosecutors have said they will conduct their own review to determine if a murder charge or other charges are more appropriate.

Online -- Public Safety and Criminal Justice

NBC 5's Noelle Walker, Maria Guerrero, Ken Kalthoff, Scott Friedman and Cody Lillich contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Fuel City Makes Their Final Pitch to Build in Cedar Hill]]> Tue, 25 Sep 2018 07:27:02 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/gem_fuelcity_3.jpg

The owners of Fuel City gas station will make one more final effort to build their newest location in Cedar Hill. Earlier this month the members of the city’s planning and zoning committee voted against their favor, after several residents petitioned against the proposal.

On Tuesday, the leaders of the gas station will appeal the initial vote and present their proposal in front of Cedar Hill City Council at the 6 p.m. meeting. The proposed location is off U.S. Highway 67 Frontage Road and N. Joe Wilson Road. If approved, the gas station would not cater to 18-wheelers, but the car wash, the tacos, and the 12-animal zoo would stay. Neighbors have expressed concern about the nightlife atmosphere, and high traffic Fuel City is typically known for.

If approved, Fuel City agreed to close the car wash down by 8 p.m. but the gas station would remain open 24-hours. To ensure safety, they plan on having security from midnight to 5 a.m.

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<![CDATA[Ted Cruz Confronted by Kavanaugh Protesters in DC Restaurant]]> Tue, 25 Sep 2018 10:25:54 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/texas-senate-debate-092118-cruz-beto-+%2817%29.jpg

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was forced out of a Washington, D.C., restaurant Monday night by a group protesting embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Cruz and his wife, Heidi, were eating at Fiola, an upscale Italian restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue, when a group of protesters approached them. 

In a video posted on Twitter by Smash Racism DC, the group can be heard chanting, "We believe survivors," as Cruz and his wife sit down at a table.

One protester told Cruz that she is a survivor of sexual assault and asked him how he will vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation.

"God bless you, ma'am," Cruz replied. 

The group continued to chant until Cruz and his wife got up and left the restaurant. 

"Ted Cruz and Brett Kavanaugh are best friends," one protester yelled, as the couple exited. 

Beto O'Rourke, who is challenging Cruz for his Senate seat, called for Cruz to be treated with respect. 

"Not right that Senator Cruz and his wife Heidi were surrounded and forced to leave a restaurant last night because of protesters. The Cruz family should be treated with respect," O'Rourke tweeted Tuesday morning.

Two women have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. 

Christine Blasey Ford has accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her at a party when they were teenagers. But Kavanaugh denies he was "at any such party." In an interview with Fox News, he said he's "never sexually assaulted anyone."

The second woman, Deborah Ramirez, accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her at a Yale University dormitory party, putting his penis in her face and causing her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away. Kavanaugh also has denied that allegation. 

President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell say they are determined to get Kavanaugh on the court, calling the allegations against him false and politically motivated. Kavanaugh has been defiant as well.

Ford and Kavanaugh are set to testify Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

"I'm not going to let false accusations drive us out of this process," Kavanaugh said.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Problem Solved: Woman Gets Money Back After Company Goes MIA]]> Tue, 25 Sep 2018 08:38:17 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/responds-warranty.jpg

If you drive to work in North Texas you know how rough the roads can be on your car. That's why Stephanie Mata purchased an extended warranty for her 2008 Mercedes Benz.

Her manufacturer's warranty had already expired. So, her mechanic recommended that she purchased an extended warranty.

"That way if anything happens it was covered. And so that's what I did," said Mata.

She Googled "extended warranty for cars" and came across American Standard Auto Protection, also known as "ASAP."

She liked what she saw and decided to give them a call.

"One of the representatives, he was very, very informative, very friendly and very assured me that it was a very reputable company," she said.

Mata said she confirmed the warranty package she wanted and paid $1,700 over the phone.

"So, for the first year, nothing happened," she explained.

But earlier this year, she noticed a leak underneath her car.

"I decided better take it in because I don't know what's going on and it's an expensive car," she said.

When Mata took the car in, she said her mechanic called ASAP to verify her extended warranty coverage. But when he called, no one answered.

"He called twice day for two weeks, for two weeks he called twice a day. Then he finally called me and said 'look I'm not getting a response, you need to try it yourself,'" she explained. "So then I tried."

Mata said when she called the company, she was told her message would be forwarded.

"I was calling 10 times a day for almost a week," she said. 

Mata started looking online and saw dozens of negative reviews from consumers in need of repairs, but ASAP was nowhere to be found.

Mata sent ASAP emails begging and pleading, hoping someone would call her back.

"To this day, American Standard Auto Protection has not called me," said Mata.

Her car is now sitting in the garage, and her $1,700 extended warranty now appears to be useless.

"Why don't you answer my phone," she asked. "I did my part. I gave you cash. I trusted in you. Where are you?"

To find that answer, we started in Delaware, where the company is licensed.

We've learned ASAP also goes by "Ultra Auto Protection" and "Motor Vehicle Service Contract Administrators, Inc."

According to the Delaware Department of State, "This entity is currently delinquent in its tax obligation and required annual report submission for 2017. Records indicate that the business also was voided for a short period in 2016 for delinquent taxes/reports."

We tried called ASAP to get its side of the story, but got this message instead: "The company is no longer able to take on new clients. ASAP cannot manage or maintain the obligations to their current customers."

"I'm mad," said Mata. "Us consumers got ripped off by them."

According to that recording, ASAP customers will receive a letter in the mail with steps on how to file a claim with the company.

We didn't want Mata's story to end this way.

So we contacted her bank, Bank of America, to see if there was anything they could do. The bank said it would take them some time to investigate.

Three months after we first heard from Mata, she said she got a call from the Bank of America informing her that the $1,700 she paid for the extended warranty was going back into her account.

Problem Solved.

Banks typically don't reimburse customers for purchases gone wrong…so we are very happy that bank of america was able to help stephanie out.

Banks typically don't reimburse customers for purchases gone wrong, so we are very happy that Bank of America was able to help Mata out.

When dealing with a business you're not familiar with, here are Samantha Chatman's Solutions

• Check reviews online.

• Only pay with a credit card.

• If you're considering purchasing an extended warranty, click here for tips.

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<![CDATA[Homeowners Recovering After Worst Flooding They've Ever Seen]]> Mon, 24 Sep 2018 22:40:31 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Everman+cleanup.jpg

As many as 150 families in Everman and Forest Hill are facing a daunting clean-up after their homes flooded over the weekend.

There are rows of trashed belongings along Christie Avenue in Everman. Floodwaters overwhelmed homes there within minutes late Friday night, overflowing from a nearby creek. The water dropped again almost as quickly as it rose, but the signs of damage will take much longer to erase.

Just three days after floodwaters crept into their home, the Garcia family is already giving back. They're part of a stream of volunteers dropping off supplies at a Red Cross joint response center for flood victims in Everman and nearby Forest Hill.

"It's devastating to the city, it's devastating to the residents and we've never seen anything like this here before," said chief Craig Spencer of the Everman Police Department. He's also the city's director of emergency services.

Late Friday night, six feet of water flowed over Christie Avenue, catching homeowners by surprise and driving some of them onto their roofs to wait for rescue.

"It was really, really scary," said Cecilia Cedillo.

She and her husband had to climb out a window and hop a fence to a neighbor's house. Then, while walking through the flood waters, Cedillo felt an electric shock in her feet. It was a terrifying moment at eight months pregnant.

"I'm just happy that my baby is fine," Cedillo said through tears.

Now with only a month left until the due date, the Cedillos are starting over with nothing.

"It was the crib, we have to take it out," Cedillo said, pointing to piles of damaged and discarded baby furniture. "It was a mattress, the changing table."

But in this community, no one faces the challenge alone. The Red Cross and other charitable groups are partnering with the cities of Everman and Forest Hill to put families on the slow climb to recovery.

"Oh it's great, I mean we need all the help we can get, everybody over there is struggling," said flood victim Ralph Ditto.

City leaders said they've had such a good response that they don't need any more donations right now. For anyone who still needs help, there will be a response center still set up at Everman's City Hall Annex on Tuesday. That's at 213 N. Race Street in Everman.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Stranded Students, Late Buses Lead to Major Shakeup at DISD]]> Mon, 24 Sep 2018 22:25:43 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/DISD+BUS+PROBLEMS.jpg

Major problems with busing students to and from school have resulted in the firings of six transportation managers at the Dallas Independent School District, and the re-assignment of another manager, NBC 5 Investigates has learned.

Thousands of complaints have poured in as DISD begins its new role of running school buses, a big task inherited from Dallas County Schools, the bus agency that shut down amid widespread corruption that cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

“I don’t want to make excuses. We have to deliver. But if it’s not working, you can’t just keep going that direction,” DISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa said in an exclusive interview with NBC 5 Investigates.

“So we have made some drastic changes in personnel and systems,” Hinojosa said.

He said the managers who were let go all worked previously for DCS, a mistake he said was due to the district just following the “playbook” of the now-closed bus agency.

Problems were the most severe, the superintendent said, during the first couple of weeks of school, rooted mainly in the scheduling and routing of buses, responding to complaints, hiring the right personnel and adequately maintaining the fleet.

Hinojosa advocated for the shutdown of DCS, and promised that school bus service would improve under DISD control.

Now that that’s happened, he said, service is getting better, but much more needs to be done, with buses still running late, causing kids to miss classes.

Among those fired were managers responsible for overseeing entire sections of the city.

Hinojosa declined to identify the six people who were fired.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dink and Dunk Isn't Cutting It With Cowboys' Passing Game]]> Mon, 24 Sep 2018 21:17:09 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Dak-Prescott-Getty-092318.jpg

Dak Prescott has the fewest throws of at least 15 yards down the field among quarterbacks who have played all three games this season.

It isn't really news to the leader of the Dallas Cowboys.

"I don't think we've just attacked that area enough, simple as that," Prescott said after a 24-13 loss to Seattle on Sunday. "I don't necessarily say they're taking it away as much as we haven't tried them enough. You can put it on me. I guess I just need to push the ball down the field more."

Whether it's play-calling, blocking or a group of receivers looking woefully ill-equipped to replace the All-Pro version of Dez Bryant, the Cowboys' passing game is broken -- even when Ezekiel Elliott has his first 100-yard rushing game of the season.

Prescott, who has completed just three of 10 passes at least 15 yards downfield, had his fifth straight game of fewer than 200 yards with at least 25 passes going back to last season. The Cowboys haven't had that long a run of inefficiency in the passing game in 15 years.

If it's any consolation, Quincy Carter-led Dallas made the playoffs despite that ineptitude in 2003, although those Cowboys were quickly bounced in the wild-card round because of their stagnant offense.

These Cowboys (1-2) don't look anything like a playoff team with this offense. They play Detroit (1-2) on Sunday at home with the Lions coming off a stirring win at home against New England.

"I don't see anybody in that room that will accept that we can't do better offensively no matter what the conditions are -- on the road or otherwise," owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. "It's pretty obvious that all day long, we were disjointed and just couldn't make it happen."

Cole Beasley is the only receiver with 100 yards for the season (132). Newcomer Deonte Thompson, supposedly a speed threat on the outside, is averaging 9.2 yards on nine catches.

Tavon Austin, acquired in a trade during the draft, has the only catch of more than 20 yards -- a 64-yard touchdown on the third play of Dallas' win over the New York Giants. His other four catches are for 17 yards.

Austin has the only two receiving touchdowns for Dallas. The second was on a 3-yard shovel pass with the Cowboys trailing the Seahawks 24-6 in the fourth quarter.

Geoff Swaim has been solid trying to replace 15-year tight end Jason Witten, who retired to go into broadcasting. He led the Cowboys with five catches for 47 yards against the Seahawks.

"We have to be more efficient and we have to be more explosive throwing the ball," coach Jason Garrett said Monday. "There are a lot of components to it. There's a protection component. There's a decision-making component. There's a throw and catch component. There's a winning on the route component."

With 127 yards, Elliott had his best rushing total since before his six-game suspension over domestic violence allegations last season. But the 2016 All-Pro had two of the biggest mistakes of the game.

First, Elliott stepped out of bounds before making the catch on what would have been a tying 31-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Then he fumbled at the end of a 26-yard run -- his longest of the season -- to kill a promising drive early in the fourth quarter.

Elliott's mistakes will be magnified until more playmakers, if any, emerge around him. None of the receivers or tight ends appears close to doing that so far.

"People can say whatever, but at the end of the day, but you know, when you've got that ball in your hand, that's the team in your hand," Elliott said. "Me being a leader on the team, I've got to do a better job of taking care of the ball. I mean, that cost us the game."

Elliott still isn't getting much help from the passing game, though.

NOTES: Garrett said LB Sean Lee was sidelined against the Seahawks by tightness to his hamstring that wasn't injured going into the game. He had been limited during the week by a hamstring injury.



Photo Credit: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[The Future of Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett]]> Mon, 24 Sep 2018 19:35:07 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/newy_talks_jason_garrett_future_sept_24.jpg

Three games into the season and Cowboys fans are already starting to whisper about changes for this struggling Cowboys team. NBC 5 Sports Director Newy Scruggs says if you want something to change, then look no further than team owner Jerry Jones.

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<![CDATA[Ducks Enjoy Flooded White Rock Lake]]> Mon, 24 Sep 2018 16:10:59 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/211*120/Photo000088.jpg

An NBC 5 viewer sent in video of ducks enjoying the water at the White Rock Lake spillway.

It appeared the ducks took turns to ride the small waterfall. Video shows them slide down and then fly to the back of the line to give it another go. Click the video below to see more of the adorable video.

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Photo Credit: Stacy Holmes]]>
<![CDATA[Decision 2018: Watch The Texas Governor Debate This Friday]]> Mon, 24 Sep 2018 17:37:48 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/abbott-and-valdez.jpg

The first and only scheduled gubernatorial debate between Texas incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and challenger Lupe Valdez (D) will take place this Friday in Austin and will be broadcast in North Texas in English exclusively on NBC 5.

Friday's gubernatorial debate, which will be held at the LBJ Presidential Library on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, is the only one scheduled before Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6.

The debate will be moderated by several panelists including NBC 5 political reporter Julie Fine, Telemundo 39 anchor Norma Garcia and representatives from Nexstar Media and Graham Media.

Fine was one of two panelists in the first senate debate between U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D) last Friday in Dallas.

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The debate is being produced by Nexstar Media and will air live on NBC 5 and NBCDFW.com on Friday, Sept. 28, between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. The debate will also be broadcast live in Spanish on Telexitos (39.2) and on Telemundo 39 (delayed to 10:30pm CT).



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas Residents Meet to Put Brakes on 12th Street Speeding]]> Mon, 24 Sep 2018 18:38:57 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/160*120/Meetinga+and+crash+fence.jpg

A meeting in an Oak Cliff neighborhood Monday night is geared toward putting the brakes on speeding problems that have caused a handful of recent crashes along 12th Street. Some residents are asking for stop lights, stop signs or speed bumps.

"It's really frustrating whenever you're out in the front yard and we have small kids and people are just flying. They don't even slow down," said Monica Berry, an Oak Cliff mother of two.

While Berry said she worries about street racing in her area, Robert Bermudez has seen the damage from a crash firsthand. On Sept. 15, a car and a truck plowed through his wrought iron fence, into his front yard. We asked if he was worried for his grandkids who often play there.

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"Yes, because what if they were playing around here? They would have hit them," Bermudez said.

Many residents in the 12th Street area are pleading for permanent change after witnessing wreck after wreck, like one that happened nine days ago.

Stephen Holmes is among them.

"We talk to the police actively to try and get them to run speed traps," he said.

Holmes went door-to-door Monday, letting his neighbors know about the 5:30 p.m. meeting that was expected to draw Councilman Scott Griggs, as well as Dallas police officers and transportation officials.

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It's one neighbor Audrey Atkins hoped would bring a solution.

"The service requests have been denied by the city of Dallas every single time. We been doing this for years, they've all been denied to put in any kind of traffic stop," Atkins said.

NBC 5 drove the so-called problem area on 12th Street, from Edgefield Avenue to Hampton Road. It's a nearly three-quarter mile stretch without a stop light.

The reason, according to Atkins:

"That there haven't been enough wrecks," she said.

Dallas crews conducted a traffic signal study within that section at Oak Cliff Boulevard and 12th Street and determined the intersection didn't meet the minimum requirements. Atkins learned that news about six weeks before the Sept. 15 crash.

"We don't want to be sitting around here as a neighbor saying, 'We told you so' when a kid is killed, when one of us is killed," Atkins said.

This spring, Dallas police added a task force targeting street racers, but residents told us things haven't improved. It might not be an easy fix, but they're hoping something good will come from Monday night's discussion.



Photo Credit: Vanessa Brown
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<![CDATA[The Return of Fracking in the Barnett Shale?]]> Mon, 24 Sep 2018 18:45:52 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/FRACKING+in+north+texas.jpg

From his home office in North Texas, Nick Steinsberger monitors his drilling operation.

He owns Valpoint Operating, an oil and gas company with a drilling rig in Oklahoma.

The area is so remote, you can't even see any houses.

"There's nobody to come and complain out here," he said. "The county seat is Arnett, which is about 20 miles away and the population is probably a thousand people."

It's not his top priority, but staying out of residential communities makes running his business easier.

Steinsberger and his team are fracking for oil, using the same techniques that Nick revolutionized, while pumping natural gas out of North Texas.

In the mid-90's, Steinsberger was a completion manager assigned to the Barnett Shale. And looking to cut costs, he tried something different.

"I greatly reduced the amount of gels and the chemicals that we were pumping," he said.  

Instead, he used mostly water.

"I wasn't laughed at," he added with a smile.

But his colleagues didn't hold their breath.

"The analogy is, as a kid, you play with clay," he explained. "We put a lot of water in the clay and it turns into a mucky gush. How are you going to get oil and gas out of that mucky gush?"

His first attempts failed, but he kept trying.

"I pumped a lot more fluid and I started with a little bit of sand and kinda ramped it up from there," he remembered.

Eventually it worked.

"It was hugely successful and it was by far, not even close, to the best Barnett well we'd ever had at that time," Steinsberger said. "That technique, to some degree, is used in every shale play in the world today."

Fewer natural gas wells are being drilled in North Texas today, but it doesn't mean they're not coming back.

"It's in hibernation," Steinsberger added. "There's over 20,000 Barnett wells drilled in the last 20-something years, but if the gas prices went up significantly, those rigs would start coming back."

Today the price of natural gas is $2.83 per million BTU.

Back in 2005, the price was $13.42.

The returns just aren't worth the millions of dollars it takes to drill new wells.
But down the road, new technology could lead to even bigger gains.

"I think the Barnett could come back and I could conceivably see where another 21,000 wells are drilled at some point in the future," Steinsberger added. "I think re-fracks in America, there will be a lot of them over the next 10 to 20 years, going back and re-fracking Barnett."



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Safety & Security Topic of Discussion Before Fair Opens Friday]]> Mon, 24 Sep 2018 17:56:02 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/STATE+FAIR+SECURITY1.jpg

We’re just days away from the opening of the 2018 State Fair of Texas!

Before all the fun, officials want to make sure the fairgrounds are safe and secure.

On Monday, State Fair officials, Dallas Police, and DART Police held a press conference to go over plans.

Dallas Police said there will be officers all over the fairgrounds including on bikes, horses, and in the stands.

Cameras will be placed throughout the fairgrounds, and they will have more walk-through metal detectors this year.

President of the State Fair of Texas, Mitchell Glieber, said the Dallas Police Department asked the fair to take on more off duty police officers.

"Obviously there's some number issues with the city and we're willing to do whatever we need to take on to make sure they can balance keeping the city safe and the fair safe," he said.

He didn’t go into detail on how much it will cost the fair, but said they usually get an invoice from DPD after the fair.

The State Fair of Texas opens on Friday September 28.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>