Author Archives: StaceyG

Grapevine Murder Suspect Arrested

PRESS RELEASE

Bigham, Antonio

Bigham (Photo: Grapevine Jail)

Grapevine Police arrested 21-year-old Antonio Bigham for the murder of Omar Gonzales on New Year’s Day. He faces one charge of Murder.

A resident of Wildwood Creek Apartments discovered Gonzales’ body in a wooded area near his apartment at approximately 9:30 a.m. on January 1, 2020.  Gonzales had been stabbed in the chest.

Detectives used evidence from the scene and interviews with the victim’s and suspect’s acquaintances to identify Bigham as the suspect. The two men knew each other.

The Grapevine Police Department does not believe anyone else is in danger regarding this case. Antonio Bigham was transferred from the Grapevine Jail to the Tarrant County Jail on Thursday, January 9, where he was arraigned. Bigham’s bond is set at $50,000. 

North Texas officer delivers pizza after driver crashes

COLLEYVILLE, Texas – A police officer in North Texas is getting praise for helping a delivery driver who crashed on the way to delivering a pizza. The Colleyville Police Department released Cpl. Patrick Starrett’s body camera video. He and other officers were called to the scene of a minor crash on Riverwalk Drive in December.

Read more from News Break…

image (1)

Processed cheese prank is no match for Carrollton CSI

imageCARROLLTON, Texas — Carrollton Police are looking for vandals who damaged a car, and hope to find them with prints lifted from the slices of cheese the culprits left behind. Solving a crime can hinge on even the smallest shred of evidence, and it’s Carrollton police officer Parker Powell’s job to find those clues.

Read more from News Break…

Charlotte Holmes: Texas author puts a spin on Sherlock

By Stacey Doud

Thomas

Author Sherry Thomas

I recently had the pleasure of listening to Texas author Sherry Thomas at the Irving South Public Library. Thomas is the author of the “Lady Sherlock” books. The library has hosted an “Adult Winter Reading Challenge” every year for the past three years. This year’s theme is “Sherlocked.” Participants are required to read five books of his or her choice within the theme and log them online. Upon completing the task, readers will win a limited-edition puzzle book, a Sherlock Holmes keychain and a free book.

Thomas’s “Lady Sherlock” book series puts a new spin on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s popular Sherlock Holmes character from the 1800s. Thomas imagined Sherlock as a woman named Charlotte Holmes and she compares and contrasts Charlotte’s behavior, personality and methods with the well-established Sherlock character.

ArtOfTheftSenior Librarian Karen Wong explained that, “This year, we wanted to focus on the mystery genre, but there are just so many great mysteries, so what book to pick? Eventually we realized that we should go with the most famous detective of all-time, Sherlock Holmes.”

Wong was tasked with finding an author that has altered the Holmes character in some way. “My first thought was Sherry Thomas,” Wong said. “I had just read her first book in the ‘Lady Sherlock’ series and enjoyed it so much.”

Sherry Thomas was born in China and left the country when she was 13 years old, when her family immigrated to Louisiana. She credits American romance novels as her English tutor, as Chinese was her original language. She is a graduate of Louisiana State University (LSU) and the University of Texas (UT).

With Bachelors and Masters degrees in accounting, life eventually led Thomas in a different direction. When asked where the idea of Lady Sherlock came from, Thomas said, “I had been a fan of Sherlock Holmes for my entire life. I read ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ in Chinese. I also watched the TV show in China in the mid-80s.

“Around the same time, I discovered ‘The Seven-Per-Cent Solution: Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D. (The Journals of John H. Watson, M.D.).'”

This book was written by Nicholas Meyer and was published in 1993. It looked at events from the perspective of Holmes’ sidekick, Dr. Watson, and includes Dr. Sigmund Freud as Holmes’s counterpart, with Watson chronicling their adventures.

SherryThomas

A video wall at the Irving South Library

“That showed me that a lot of other people have been writing Sherlock Holmes stuff. Right around the time I went to UT, I read ‘The Beekeeper’s Apprentice,’ which is the first book in a series called ‘Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes’, [which was written by Laurie King and published in 1994]. I loved that book so much that I would listen to audio cassettes of the book series,” said Thomas.

“It wasn’t until the new BBC [British Broadcasting Corporation] show with Benedict Cumberbatch came out that I thought, ‘I wonder what else people could do with Sherlock Holmes to bring him into the 21st century?’” Thomas said. “It was about the same time that CBS came out with their show, ‘Elementary,’ in which Dr. Watson was now a woman. That made me think about what would happen if Sherlock was a woman?”

Thomas’s Charlotte Holmes mirrors Sherlock in some ways but is completely different in others. When asked if Charlotte might be Autistic, Thomas answered in the affirmative and said that the original Sherlock was most likely “on the spectrum” as well.

“Sherry Thomas has a wonderful way with words, and she’s very funny and down-to-earth. She kept me captivated with her fascinating comments, and I think everyone left the event as either new fans or even more devoted long-time fans of this charming writer,” Wong said.

Thomas has written books in a variety of genres and plans to write ten “Lady Sherlock” books. She is currently writing the fifth installment of the series.

For more information, visit SherryThomas.com or The South Irving Library’s website.

Homicide Investigation Underway in Grapevine

PRESS RELEASE

GRAPEVINE, Texas – Grapevine Police are investigating the death of a 35-year-old man whose body was found in a wooded area near an apartment complex.

At approximately 9:30 a.m. on January 1, 2020, a resident of Wildwood Creek Apartments looked out his window and saw a man lying face-down outside. He called 911, and paramedics determined the man was deceased.

Police found evidence of foul play, but are waiting on the medical examiner to establish the cause and time of death.

Investigators do not believe the victim lived at the apartment complex, nor do they believe anyone else is in danger.

Anyone with information is asked to call Grapevine Police immediately at (817) 410-8127.

VetsWhatsNext spreads Christmas cheer to Dallas Community Living Center

King

Major Eric King (Photo courtesy of VWN)

SPONSORED POST

Christmas was an awesome and exciting day to give back to those who have fought to keep America safe!

On December 25, 2019, VetsWhatsNext (VWN, a non-profit corporation) along with their mascots (and Founder Major Eric King’s kids) Eric King, Jr. and Kendall King, gifted the Veterans of the Home of the Brave Community Living Center in Dallas with over 50 hoodies/sweaters for Christmas.

“This is what VWN is all about – giving a little back to those who have given and sacrificed so much for our freedom,” said Major King. “I want to thank David Schoemaker of Toyota of Irving and Jesse Arenas of Be Happy Promotions (BHP) for making the hoodies and serving as our vendor through VetsWhatsNext.org. Their generous donations made this event possible!”

VWN wants to make next Christmas its biggest giveaway yet. You can support VetsWhatsNext by donating at VetsWhatsNext.org. All donations are tax-deductible.

View and purchase merchandise at https://www.vetswhatsnext.org/shop/.

***

 About VetsWhatsNext:

VWNAcross America, tens of thousands of Veterans are asking themselves this SAME question – “What do I do now?” VetsWhatsNext is the answer!

VWN is about empowering and helping Disabled Veterans, Homeless Veterans, Service Members, and their families by providing consolidated services and resources that will allow them to reclaim their lives and economic stability.

These services and resources are offered via our website, mobile app, and eventually a brick and mortar Outreach Center.

To learn more, visit VetsWhatsNext.org

 

Vets1Santa2Crowd

 

The people behind the curtain: How American Airlines keeps you safe

By Stacey Doud

If you’re like me when you have to travel by air, you get on a plane, try to chill out, read a book, have a drink and just trust that you will land safely. But there is so much more involved behind the scenes that you will never see…until now.

McBrayerOnFloor

 Rev. McBrayer

While I was covering a recent story, I was fortunate enough to meet Reverend Greg McBrayer, who is a Chief Flight Dispatcher with American Airlines (AA), a Chaplain and the Director of Dallas/Fort Worth Airport’s (DFW) Interfaith Chaplaincy.

Rev. McBrayer was kind enough to offer me a tour of American Airlines’ Flight Control, which is housed in the Robert W. Baker Integrated Operations Center (IOC) on the AA Headquarters Campus in Dallas.

McBrayer has worked at AA for 40 years (35 years as a Flight Controller) and is very familiar with the ins and outs of making air travel as safe as possible for passengers, as well as working for over 20 years as one of the spiritual lighthouses for passengers and crew.

AAOutside

The IOC on the AA Campus (Photo: Greg McBrayer)

To get some “layman’s” understanding, watch the last episode of season two of the AMC TV show, Breaking Bad, or the movie, Flight, starring Denzel Washington. These offerings give a “movie magic” glimpse into how airplanes are advised to increase or decrease altitude and airspeed, etc. to avoid bad weather, other planes and more. The situations in these fictional presentations are as rare as when Captains Chelsey Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles landed an Airbus A320 in the Hudson River in 2009: It could happen, but rarely does because of the folks working behind the scenes.

McBrayer led us into a large room with many workstations. It reminded me of the trading floor on Wall Street, but without the frantic activity.

“The building is divided into two levels. This bottom floor is mainly admin stuff that are support roles for all of the different departments that make this airline work,” McBrayer said. “This is where the ‘nine to five’ work goes on. These hundreds of folks support the hundreds of people that work upstairs where the Flight Control level is.”

Several glass offices lined the room, one of which is the Prayer Room.

ChaplainsRoom3

Prayer Room

“This is an extremely high stress job that we’re in, so we need a quiet place we can go. This room becomes that sanctuary,” said McBrayer. “People have to surrender when they come to work, and [humans] are not good at doing that. It’s out of your hands,” McBrayer said. He intercedes in that perceived loss of control and brings peaceful words to his co-workers when he can.

McBrayer offers ministry in a larger conference room every Monday. If an employee can’t make it to the service, he or she can dial a dedicated phone number to listen in to hear the message.

The other rooms are used primarily for training and classes, including the training that Flight Controllers, including McBrayer, have to take part in every month to keep their certificates active and valid with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“We have a whole class of guys going through training right now. We have the largest class I’ve ever seen in my 40-year tenure,” McBrayer explained. “This is an extremely long process and it takes about a year. They’re hired and are in here [training rooms] for several months, and then they train with an experienced flight controller until they’re ‘checked out.’”

In his four decades of service, McBrayer has seen a few changes.

Workstation-MCB

Workstation (Photo: Greg McBrayer)

“Probably the biggest change during my tenure here has been the advancement in technology. This a very, very technical job here, and it always has been, but it’s at a whole different level now. It [technology] changes weekly. It can be difficult to keep up with,” McBrayer explained. “It’s guided by a lot of things that we have no control over, like fuel prices and world events.”

Rev. McBrayer then led us upstairs to the Flight Control Room, which is really the heart of the IOC.

IOP Wide

Photo courtesy of Greg McBrayer

This huge area also looked like something from Wall Street, with the same endless workstations, two or three large screen computer monitors in each station that displayed all of the AA planes in the air at that moment. Some of the employees were in charge of keeping track of the weather, so their screens were full of different types of weather maps. Others were monitoring national and international air traffic.

Should a crisis break out, whether due to weather, terrorism or any other situation that risks the safety of AA passengers, there is a “Command Center,” housed in the IOC. This is similar to the “Situation Room” at the White House. The required staff convene in this room when something like 9/11 happens to formulate a plan of action to address the safety of passengers and ground control staff. The room contains maps of the world and has several clocks displaying the time across international time zones. Each workstation has a phone and a computer, so that all participants can stay current on the progress of each issue, whether it be foreign or domestic.

CC

Command Center

Next time you are on a flight, remember all the good people behind the scenes that help get you to your destination safely!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

DFW Airport Chaplaincy recognizes major supporters with Ministry of Presence awards

By Stacey Doud

Congresswoman

Congresswoman Kay Granger and Rev. Greg McBrayer

The DFW Interfaith Chaplains held their annual Ministry of Presence Awards in the Hyatt Regency DFW Airport on December 13. These awards recognize the men and women who have gone above and beyond to keep the Chaplaincy open and available to DFW Airport travelers who may need spiritual comfort.

“We wanted to recognize those who have blessed us and continue to bless others,” said Father Greg McBrayer, who serves as a senior chaplain and is a 40-year employee of American Airlines, as well as the Host for the event.

“The mission of the DFW Airport Interfaith Chaplaincy is to provide the ministry of presence, spiritual counseling and personal support to the DFW Airport community at large by providing places of worship and reflection for people of all faiths and religious traditions,” McBrayer said.

The Chaplaincy is in its 42nd year and is currently made up of 19 volunteer chaplains representing different religions, as well as two intern chaplains. These clergy members keep this service open 24 hours a day and seven days a week in chapels in all of the DFW terminals.

“Every year, we gather to give thanks and to reflect and to recognize, some special individuals who have contributed in making our Chaplaincy the beacon of light, which it has become at DFW International Airport,” McBrayer explained.

To meet the needs of people of all different religions, the Chaplaincy offers sacred scriptures, such as the Bible and the Torah, as well as holding services for Catholic, Protestant and Islamic guests. The chaplains provide counsel, prayer and support, from consoling family members of fallen soldiers to performing weddings free of charge.

“This year, our Board of Directors added corporate sponsors and three new board members. We made additional improvements to our web site, and we added three new Chaplains. We also reinstated our Associate Chaplain internship program,” McBrayer said.

“This year’s, annual Spring Fling Golf Outing and RISE UP Prayer Breakfast were both very well attended again and fostered new partnerships in the airport area, enabling us to widen our footprint in the community.

“This year was also a very active year for our Chaplains, as we participated at more than 100 Fallen Soldier Angel Flights and ramp-side services of our own AA Employees transitioning home to their final resting places.  

 “We had more than 7,000 DFW employees and travelers attended our regular and special services, chapel masses and interfaith services. 

“This year, our chaplains logged more than 4,000 hours, connecting with more than 19,000 airport employees, travelers, Department of Public Safety (DPS) and military personnel. Of those, more than 4,000 were personally counseled. Our Chaplains also provided the ministry presence at numerous DFW Airport, DPS, American Airlines and other airport Community events.

“We also, provided continuing education training for our Chaplains and remain actively involved with DFW Airport and American Airlines at all Emergency Response Drills.

 “The highlight of this year, however, was the ribbon cutting and consecration of the new Terminal D – Meadows Chapel, located near gate 40, which is much larger and far more accommodating for all our all of worshipers. We are one of the few US Airports with Ablution Stations for our Muslims,” McBrayer reported.

McBrayer presented DFW Airport CEO Sean Donohue, DFW Hub Operations Vice President Cedric Rockamore and Liz Wahlquist, who worked for Braniff for four years and continues to support the Chaplaincy, with Ministry of Presence awards. Kay Granger, who is a former mayor or Fort Worth and is now a Congresswoman, received an Honorary Lifetime Advisory Board Member position for her assistance in keeping the Chaplaincy Program alive via her position in government.

“We are recognizing our past, present and future,” McBrayer said. “We honored the past with recognizing Congresswoman Kay Granger, the present with Liz Wahlquist and Cedric Rockamore, and the future with Sean Donahue, who underwrote the spaces we needed at the airport. This allows us to serve many purposes, with one being ‘spiritual first responders,’” he added.

“The potential growth [for the airport] is enormous. DFW Airport strengthens and supports the area, and we try to support the supporters,” McBrayer added.

For more information, visit http://www.dfwairportchapel.org/.

Grapevine Police warn citizens about mail thefts

Screen Shot 2019-12-24 at 7.56.30 AMGrapevine Police are getting several reports of mail theft from overnight. A neighbor shared video of a Kia Soul driving mailbox-to-mailbox around 3am. Please check your mailboxes daily and report any thefts to the U.S. Postal Inspectors: 877-876-2455 or https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov

To see the video (via Twitter), click HERE.

SHOW A HOMELESS VETERAN YOU CARE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!

SPONSORED POST

VWNStarting today (Dec. 16) through Dec 23, if you DONATE or PURCHASE a VetsWhatsNext (VWN) Hoodie, you can HELP VetsWhatsNext keep a Veteran WARM this Holiday Season! On Dec 24th & Dec 25th, VWN will deliver these hoodies to 2 local charities in the DFW area! 

Here’s how you can help:

  1. DONATE the cost of one or more VWN hoodies ($45-48/pc) at https://www.vetswhatsnext.org/donate. [Please NOTE: Select “VWN Homeless Hoodie” in the donation]
  2. GIFT a “SERVED” VWN Hoodie for a homeless Veteran in your area [USE Promo Code “VWNGift” for 16% OFF your TOTAL purchase] http://bit.ly/VWNServedHoodie

VWN wants to let ALL Veterans know (homeless or not) that VetsMatter and that VETsAreLoved this Holiday Season!

VetsWhatsNext is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) ALL DONATIONS ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE

If you purchase a VWN Hoodie and want US to give it away, PLEASE MAIL to: PO BOX 153031, IRVING, TX 75015! THANK YOU!!!

To learn more about VWN, visit VetsWhatsNext.org

FullSizeRender