By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Over the limit: An investigation by The Dallas Morning News reveals thousands of questionable purchases by DISD staffers using district-issued credit cards. News reporters uncover lax oversight, a failure to collect and maintain receipts and hundreds of dollars spent on items such as Blockbuster gift cards, moisturizer and even one charge to an online dating service. In response, DISD administrators vow an immediate overhaul of the credit card program and an end to unwarranted purchases. DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa expresses shock at the newspaper's findings. "Who knew that passing out hundreds of free credit cards to unmonitored, underpaid public servants could lead to a scandal?" Hinojosa says.
Mommie dearest: In a move that sends shock waves through local politics in July, Mayor Miller announces that she will not seek re-election next May, citing her intense desire to spend more time with her three children, or as she calls them, "the boy, Whozit, the girl and that other one, who I believe also is a girl."
Muffin men: Dallas police in late July discover an indoor marijuana farm at an SMU-area condominium complex. Narcotics investigators say they were tipped to the operation after residents complained that teachers and staff from Lake Highlands High School were showing up at the condo unit at all hours. "Midnight on Saturdays looked like a freakin' teacher in-service day around this place," a neighbor complains.
Quality construction: In mid-August, Dallas officials announce they are seeking new bids on construction of the 40-story "signature" bridge over the Trinity River after initial bids come in at more than twice the anticipated $57 million cost. Bids for the Woodall Rodgers bridge, designed by famed architect Santiago Calatrava, came in at $113 million, well above the $65 million budgeted. In October, Houston-based Williams Bros. Construction submits a $69 million bid for the project. Critics question how the company was able to slash their earlier bid by nearly 40 percent. "We got a really good deal on Super Glue, baling wire and duct tape," an unnamed company spokesman says. "God knows I wouldn't drive over the damn thing, but then who would?"
Butt ugly: DISD trustee Ron Price calls on the Dallas City Council to pass an ordinance banning the wearing of saggy pants and exposed underwear on city streets. "As I was saying to Dr. Bill Cosby on the phone just the other day—we chat every now and then, you know—the sight of these boys walking around with their behinds exposed is just plain disrespectful." City council members vow to take up the proposal as soon as they have "nothing freakin' better to do with their time than tell kids to pull their drawers up." Only Councilman Mitchell Rasansky objects. "Yo, dawg, when you got mad junk in the trunk like I got, you gotta share it wit' the world," Rasansky says.
What's in a name redux: Dallas County Commissioner Ken Mayfield files an ultimately unsuccessful lawsuit to stop his election opponent Rose Renfroe, an Anglo, from using the nickname "Rosita" on the November ballot. Mayfield complains that the Democrat Renfroe cooked up the name as a ploy to win Latino votes. Renfroe counters that literally tens of people know her as "Rosita," including her late husband, housekeeper and "the guys who mow my lawn." Undaunted by her loss in what was otherwise a Democratic sweep in county elections, Renfroe vows to return in the next election with her other nickname: "LaQuiesha" Renfroe.
Survivor: Lancaster High School music teacher Theresa Dobbs, arrested in class for an outstanding $50 traffic ticket, spends three days in the Dallas County jail without seeing a lawyer, bail bondsman or judge, the result of what jail officials say is a clerical error. Hers is the second such case to occur in the past year, the Morning News reports. Sheriff Valdez assures reporters that Dobbs' incident is a sign that conditions at the troubled jail are finally looking up. "Only three days and she didn't die or lose a limb or major organ? In our jail? Woo-hoo! We're No. 1! We're No. 1!"
What goes down: Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington unveils a promotion that will allow anyone who eats a Madagascar hissing cockroach to move to the front of the line for the park's popular Titan rollercoaster. The campaign hits a snag when the park quickly runs out of the insects, which can grow up to 3 inches in length. "I don't really want to ride the rollercoaster," says park patron Lester Warren, his lips glistening with green roach goop. "But they were free, so I figured it was a way better deal than a $6 Six Flags hamburger, since I'm trying to eat healthier."
All thumbs: Terrell Owens is treated at Baylor University Medical Center's emergency room for what police at first call an attempted suicide. Owens quickly denies that he tried to end his own life and blames the incident on a reaction between pain medication and nutritional supplements he takes. Police later reclassify the case as an accident. "Apparently, someone tossed him some of his medication, but he bobbled them and didn't realize the pills slipped through his hands and fell into a Coke he was drinking," an unnamed police source says.