To Russia with Love: Federal authorities charge Latvian-born Anna Fermanova of Plano with attempting to illegally smuggle three military-grade rifle sights from the United States into Russia. The case draws rabid attention from the tabloids, which dub Fermanova the "sexy Russian spy" after finding provocative photos of the attractive 24-year-old on her Facebook page. Fermanova eventually takes a job as entertainment-gossip commentator for KDAF-TV. The self-described "good Jewish girl" reveals that she intends to take spiritual instruction in Jagadguru Kripalu Yog after being "bombarded" with flowers, calls and dinner invitations to P.F. Chang's by a new Hindu neighbor.

Bummer: Dallas City Council votes to ban the sale of marijuana substitutes popularly sold under the brand names K2, Hush and Swerve. Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway pushes the ban on synthetic cannabinoids, which he claims are being sold to children in his district. In a surprising move, the Morning News editorializes against the ban, citing a lack of evidence on the substances' danger and criticizing Caraway for "harshing a good buzz" and "making life difficult for those of us too square, old or timid to know how to find the real stuff."

Boys and their toys: In a blessed finale to a seemingly endless series of Byzantine bankruptcy hearings, a group of really, really rich oil and gas men outbid really, really rich guy Mark Cuban to purchase the Texas Rangers from not-quite-as-rich-as-he-once-was-guy Tom Hicks. The proceedings bring joy to local baseball fans, who are happy to learn that there is something on Earth more tedious than baseball.

Family affair: An unapologetic Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson repays $31,000 to the Black Congressional Caucus Foundation after the Morning News reveals that she awarded at least 23 foundation scholarships to her own grandchildren and other relatives and the children of one of her aides. Johnson, a former foundation board member, insists she "broke no rules" despite the scholarship program's ban on nepotism "Nepotism? Nepotism? What's religion got to do with it?" Johnson tells reporters. "I'm proud to support students of all creeds: Methodism, Catholicism, even followers of Nepo."

OCTOBER-DECEMBER

Everything old: October marks the 125th anniversary of the founding of The Dallas Morning News, an occasion the newspaper celebrates by reprinting its inaugural issue. Among its articles is a glowing report about plans by an "august body of foresighted civic-minded gentlemen for the imminent construction of a tolled cart path along the banks of the Trinity River."

Well, shut my mouth: Dallas County Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield proposes rules of decorum for the commissioners court that would allow the forcible removal of commissioners and public officials who become "boisterous" or engage in "personal, impertinent, profane or slanderous remarks." In mid-September, Mayfield had boisterously told District Attorney Craig Watkins that he was "about the sorriest public official that I've been associated with. You have no morals." In an apparent change of heart, Mayfield now says a new code is needed to allow commissioners "to get on with the important work of doing whatever the hell it is we're supposed to be doing down here for the ridiculous money we're paid."

Usual suspects: Republican district attorney candidate Danny Clancy awakes to find his SUV in his driveway, up on blocks and minus all four of its wheels. Clancy, speaking to reporters who somehow managed to arrive outside his Dallas home before police, quickly points the finger at Democratic incumbent Craig Watkins' supporters. Clancy insists the theft and two earlier slashings of his wife's tires are related. "It's either somebody in [Watkins'] camp or it's his failed policies that have allowed my family to be victimized on three separate occasions in the last two weeks," he says. County Democrats issue angry denials. "Oh, that's right. Thaaaat's right," a spokesman for Watkins' campaign says. "A white man gets his wheels stolen, and who's he go and finger? Damn cracker."

Homebody: A bitter Tennell Atkins complains to the Morning News that he's "not in the loop anymore" after Mayor Tom Leppert and council member Ron Natinsky travel to France and Spain on an economic development trip, leaving Atkins at home. Atkins, who had split with the mayor and Natinsky in September when he joined an 8-7 council majority voting in favor of a 4.91-cent increase in the property tax rate, says he feels he is being punished. "Oh, the things I do for that man," an upset Atkins says of Leppert. "Then off he goes, gallivanting around Europe with that...that...Natinsky person while I'm stuck at home, like I wouldn't enjoy a nice trip to France. I should have listened to my mother. No man's going to buy the cow if he can get the milk for free."

Winning is everything: In the team's first-ever World Series appearance, the Texas Rangers fall to the San Francisco Giants. Despite the Ranger's disappointing elimination in game 5 of the series, the American League champs earn thousands of new North Texas fans, who flock to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington bearing signs reading "Go Local Sports Team" and "We Support You, Baseball Player Persons." The newly minted supporters insist they are a not merely fair-weather fans and vow to stand behind the team when the 2011 baseball season begins next October.

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