There’s a new road hazard – it’s called driving in Dallas

Dallas Morning News Editorial

1561662415-NM_24Accident1It only takes five minutes behind the wheel to figure out that Dallas drivers maneuver by their own rules of the road.

Do you consider a red light or four-way stop just a suggestion?

If an adjacent lane is coming to an end, do you speed up, close the gap, hit the horn and nearly push the other motorist into construction cones?

Read more from the Dallas Morning News…

What Dropping 17,000 Wallets Around The Globe Can Teach Us About Honesty

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Photo: Christian Zünd

So picture this: You’re a receptionist at, say, a hotel. Someone walks in and says they found a lost wallet but they’re in a hurry. They hand it to you. What would you do?

And would that answer be different if it was empty or full of cash?

Those are questions researchers have been exploring; Thursday, they published their findings in the journal Science.

Read more from NPR…

 

Tuskegee Airman Who Flew 142 WWII Combat Missions Dies at 99

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Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

World War II pilot Robert Friend, one of the last original members of the famed all-black Tuskegee Airmen, has died at the age of 99.

Friend’s daughter, Karen Friend Crumlich, told The Desert Sun her father died Friday at a Southern California hospital.

Born in South Carolina on 1920’s leap day, Friend flew 142 combat missions in World War II as part of the elite group of fighter pilots trained at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute. The program was created after the NAACP began challenging policies barring black people from flying military aircraft.

Read more from NBC Washington…

 

Adoptable pups chilled out at Grapevine PD for National Take Your Dog to Work Day

DogsAtWorkThe 21st annual “Take Your Dog To Work Day” took place on Friday, June 21. This “holiday” was first celebrated in 1999 and was created by Pet Sitters International as a time to encourage employers and employees to experience the benefits of pets in the workplace, as well as promote pet adoptions from local shelters.

This year, Grapevine Animal Services partnered with the Records Department of the Police Department to bring several different pups from the shelter to hang out in the Records Office and the Front Office. Animal Services operates under the umbrella of the Police Department.

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Hooch gets excited about a treat

The idea for this event in the Public Safety Building came from the ladies in the Records Department, as this was the first time they had invited dogs into the building, with the exception of K-9 Police Officers, of course.

“The folks in the Records Department found out about National Take Your Dog to Work Day and they basically asked for it to happen and came up with a plan. They even had t-shirts made. Basically, all I did was make the dogs show up,” said Animal Services Manager Kristina Valentine with a grin.

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The lovely ladies in the Records Department pose with Hooch

“Their idea was that since we can’t bring our own personal pets to work, we could showcase some from the animal shelter. So, as part of the Police Department, Records and Animal Services are working together to have the dogs come to Records for the day. The idea is to get them out of the shelter environment. Sometimes you can’t get to know their personalities when they are kept in the shelter. Sure, you can play with them, but that’s such a short thing. This is more of an office environment – it’s quiet and there are people in and out, and so they really just enjoy the time to roam around and just be a dog,” Valentine added.

The ladies invited me into the Records room to meet Hooch, a very friendly “mutt.” Valentine said that she’s not sure of his breed – she guessed part Mastiff – but she is sure of his sweet demeanor and love for people and other dogs. He’s still a young pup – less than two years old.

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Lola gives her new friend in Records a paw shake

In the front office, I got to meet Lola, a beautiful black and white mix, who is also less than two years old.

Both dogs were selected for their calm demeanors, but Valentine was ready to take them back to the shelter if they didn’t take to the office environment.

“You’d think they’d been here every day,” Valentine said. “They are having a good time and have not been violent or even growly to anyone all day.”

Hooch and Lola, as well as the other animals at Grapevine Animal Shelter, will be available for adoption on Saturday, June 22 from 9:00am until 12:00pm at the Shelter, which is located at 500 Shady Brook Drive. For more information, call 817-410-3370 or visit https://www.grapevinetexas.gov/1284/Adopt.

Editor’s Corner: Why my dad loved this farm

By Stacey Doud

My dad and stepmom came up from Houston to visit me this weekend. My dad’s birthday is always right around Father’s Day, which is partly handy and partly yucky. It’s like a person having a birthday around Christmas – double gifts or one big one? This year, I gave him the gift of my time, as we don’t get to see each other as much since I moved to Grapevine from the Houston area.

I decided to act as a tour guide as we drove around Grapevine. There is so much to do here! But knowing my father and my stepmom, I decided to show them Nash Farm first.

I have been there several times, so I got to tell them a little about the history. Thomas Jefferson Nash and his family bought 450 acres in Grapevine in 1859. Over the years, it got sold off, and what remains is a little over five acres of land, which is used as a working farm, as well as a tourist attraction and a tribute to the Nash family and Grapevine’s history.

Nash built the house on the property in 1869, and the folks at Nash Farm and the Heritage Society in Grapevine have renovated it and keep it in superb condition. All of the furniture, clothing, kitchen tools and décor are either original to the house or are items that one would find in the late 1800’s.

Outside, they keep chickens, turkeys, sheep and Leroy the Barn Cat. The Farm Store offers all kinds of information and wares that were common in the 1800’s, even though a bonnet may have been sewn last week. The craftsmanship shows that the folks that work and volunteer there really care about what they are doing.

They hold all kinds of fun events. The next thing on their calendar is an Ice Cream Social where folks can enjoy homemade ice cream while learning about the Farm, as well as farming itself.

I drive by Nash Farm a lot, just in my local city travels. I get to see the big field of crops that are grown out front. The crops are changed out by season. Right now, they are harvesting wheat and growing corn. As with everything at Nash Farm, it is obvious that they offer the best, grown with close attention, loving care and a bit of science.

My dad really enjoyed looking at the antique tractors and other farm equipment. My stepmom fell in love with the turkeys, so I didn’t mention that they would be someone’s Thanksgiving dinner.

The employees and volunteers dress in 1920’s clothing and may be found churning butter or sewing a bonnet on an authentic foot-powered sewing machine from that time.

The trip to Nash Farm was a big hit with my family, and they want to come back again to see more.

To learn more about Nash Farm, visit https://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/nash-farm/.

THE ASTRODOME: WHATEVER BECAME OF ME?

By Chris Daigle, Contributing Editor and Houston Historian

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University of Houston celebrates winning the 1969 Bluebonnet Bowl against the Auburn Tigers in the Astrodome

There are very few distractions when you work from home, so you tend to notice things close to your heart. For me, one of them, along with the ice cream man in the afternoon and washing off sand at a Galveston beach, has to be the Astrodome. That’s all you have to say to a stranger who grew up in Houston. The Astrodome. Just stand back, because memories are going to come out like a fire hose. Way in the back of my mind, I always wanted there to be something to represent how we collectively felt, and still feel, about this place, and I’ve recently stumbled upon it.

Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis recently recorded and made a video for their song, “Astrodome.” They get it – they really understand what the Astrodome meant to us. Together with Texas songwriter/singer Jack Ingram, they take us on a journey of deep introspection, and get right to the bullseye of Astrodome culture.

Texas Monthly calls this newest song from Robison and Willis’s album Beautiful Lie “touching.” In my opinion, that comment is on par with calling the ocean “damp.” Robison and Willis travel back to the “Eighth Wonder of the World” and wipe the dust off fading memories.

Fortunately, my memories aren’t fading. Every minute of my time in the Astrodome was spent mentally remembering every detail of the spectacle in front of me: The smell of the smoke from the destruction derby or watching Evel Kneivel about to jump several cars on his motorcycle and wondering if he was going to make it. Oh no, my friends…nothing’s faded. I don’t remember what I wore last Tuesday, but I remember everything about the Dome.

Robison and Willis draw on familiar Texas music legends in their mixture of memories and harmonies. “There’s something familiar in here,” was my thought. Sure enough, Robison cites Roger Miller and Jerry Jeff Walker as huge influences on his style. The styles of Emmylou Harris and Waylon Jennings come along for good measure.

Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis really did it this time. They were just fine with songs like the slow waltzing ballad, “Beautiful Lie,” the crushingly sublime “Lost my Best” and the album closing, “Heartache to Houston.” But they really put the pedal to the metal with “Astrodome,” going right to the center of all our nostalgia and reminding us there was a place like none other, and a time like none other. We may be older and we may not live in Houston anymore, but we were there to see Elvis in a Jeep waving at us or to see George Strait supersize his career at the Rodeo on a moment’s notice. The Dome is a shrine to Texas “Can Do” spirit, which is a part of us, like a nostalgic tattoo never to be removed.

I was lucky. I did sit in the Astrodome and wonder whatever became of that version of me so many times. I became one with the dream that this building represents; a tireless effort by one man to make something unforgettable, and to create a legacy for a city. The stadium next door [NRG Stadium] never quite achieved that. It just made us sit on plastic seats and pay a fortune for food.

Robison and Willis have brought us all together in the field boxes again, and we remember.

Thanks to them from the state of Texas.

‘.

Editor’s Corner: Officer’s death is another blow to kindness and compassion for others

By Stacey Doud

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A Grand Prairie police officer, AJ Castaneda, age 38, was killed around 10:30am on June 7 while checking radar speeds on the shoulder of the George Bush Turnpike. A 17-year-old driver hit the officer’s vehicle and the officer fell off of the overpass onto the lower highway, about 20 feet below. He died at an Arlington hospital about 30 minutes later.

The person who came upon the accident and reported it was an officer from another city. He had the brains to get into Castaneda’s patrol car and radio directly to Castaneda’s agency in Grand Prairie to let them know what was going on.

I’ve been a law enforcement supporter for many years now, simply because I know I could not to that job, so I admire those that can.

In today’s climate, I often get criticized for supporting the cops; however, I am not a blind follower. I realize that there are bad apples in the policing field, just as in any area of employment. I feel shame when I hear about a cop abusing his or her privileges as peacekeepers.

That being said, I attended a candlelight vigil for Castaneda on June 9, which was held in front of Grand Prairie’s Public Safety Building.

I had never met Castaneda, but when something tragic like this happens, I like to lend my support, even if it’s providing another warm body at an event.

I got there a bit early and parked. As I walked up to the gathering spot, I was overwhelmed with the crowd. Literally hundreds of people, young and old, showed up to pay respects to this officer that I knew nothing about.

As I listened to the speakers, I came to understand that Castaneda was an exceptional officer. He raised money to provide meals every Thursday to the youth of an impoverished neighborhood in Grand Prairie. He saved the life of a choking baby. He earned medals and awards too countless to list.

The question everyone asks themselves when a good person dies popped into my head: Why him? Why him and not the cop that sits in the back of a parking lot all day or night watching movies? But does anyone’s life count “more” than another’s?

The wind was blowing pretty hard that night, and the candles wouldn’t stay lit. The chief suggested that folks turn on the flashlights on their phones instead. What resulted was a beautiful sea of light to honor this exceptional officer.

I cried and cried – not because I knew Castaneda – but because yet another person who had compassion and went above-and-beyond had been taken way too soon. Those traits are hard to find these days.

Remember when customer service existed everywhere? Remember when employees cared about your experiences in their stores? Remember when people would stop to help other folks in distress?

Those days are long gone, and so to lose someone who loved his job, had compassion for his fellow human beings and went farther than necessary to give a helping hand to people he didn’t even know was just another blow to the things we used to cherish, and want to cherish again.

RIP AJ Castaneda. End of Watch: June 7, 2019

They’ll take it from here, brother.

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Kids’ lemonade stands legal in Texas after Gov. Greg Abbott signs bill

By FOX4News.com Staff

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Your neighborhood lemonade stand operated by a smiling child is no longer illegal in Texas.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill on Monday that blocks cities or HOAs from creating rules that would stop kids from selling nonalcoholic drinks, like lemonade, on private property.

“Here is a common sense law,” Abbott said.

Read more from FOX4News…

Chief identifies ‘model police officer’ killed in Grand Prairie crash: ‘Our city is hurting’

By Sarah Sarder, Loyd Brumfield and LaVendrick Smith

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Grand Prairie police Officer A.J. Castaneda served in the department for five years. He is the third officer in the department’s history to die in the line of duty. (Grand Prairie Police Department)

A Grand Prairie police officer was killed Friday after a crash threw him off an overpass on the Bush Turnpike, police said.

Officer Albert “A.J.” Castaneda, 38, was running radar while standing outside his SUV parked on the inside shoulder of the Dickey Road overpass around 10:40 a.m., Grand Prairie Police Chief Steve Dye said in a news conference Friday afternoon.

The driver of a Nissan 300ZX heading north on the turnpike lost control and struck Castaneda’s vehicle, throwing Castaneda to the ground about 20 feet below, police said.

Read more from Dallas News…

Amazon’s helping police build a surveillance network with Ring doorbells

Screen Shot 2019-06-07 at 9.12.19 AMIf you’re walking in Bloomfield, New Jersey, there’s a good chance you’re being recorded. But it’s not a corporate office or warehouse security camera capturing the footage — it’s likely a Ring doorbell made by Amazon

While residential neighborhoods aren’t usually lined with security cameras, the smart doorbell’s popularity has essentially created private surveillance networks powered by Amazon and promoted by police departments.Police departments across the country, from major cities like Houston to towns with fewer than 30,000 people, have offered free or discounted Ring doorbells to citizens, sometimes using taxpayer funds to pay for Amazon’s products.

While Ring owners are supposed to have a choice on providing police footage, in some giveaways, police require recipients to turn over footage when requested.

Read more from C/NET…