3 men plead guilty in holdup spree, van theft
Three Dallas men pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal carjacking and firearms charges stemming from an armed robbery spree in January. Felipe Acosta, 18, and Guillermo Flores and Gonzalo Gandara, both 19, admitted that on Jan. 18, they used a sawed-off shotgun to hold up more than a half-dozen people and steal a van in Dallas. Their victims included a Hurricane Katrina evacuee and her 3-year-old child. All three men face a maximum sentence of life in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for January.
DENTON Nearly 9,500 on petition, Save Fry Street group says
Nearly 9,500 people signed a petition supporting the preservation of Fry Street, the Denton City Council was told Tuesday. Chuck Voellinger of the Save Fry Street coalition said the effort shows that support for recognizing the area as a cultural and historic icon is strong. The group started the petition drive this year in response to news that a Houston-area developer had purchased most of the 100 block of Fry Street for redevelopment as a new retail center. The May announcement by United Equities Inc. of Bellaire met resistance from some in Denton who wanted to protect existing businesses and buildings, some dating to the 1920s. Developer Buster Freedman has told city officials he plans to bring a balance of old and new elements. Council members did not act on the issue Tuesday, and the project probably would come before them for a vote only if the developer seeks a variance on city development standards, officials have said.
Lowell Brown, Denton Record-Chronicle
EAST OAK CLIFF 2 officers suffer minor injuries in van collision
Two Dallas police officers were hospitalized with minor injuries Tuesday afternoon after their squad car collided with a van just south of downtown Dallas. The officers were traveling east on Corinth Street near Akard Street about 4:10 p.m. when a westbound van apparently failed to yield and tried to make an illegal turn, Sgt. Johnnie Harris said. The crash caused the van to skid onto a Dallas Area Rapid Transit rail track. The driver of the van was not injured, and the officers were taken to Baylor University Medical Center for observation. DART spokesman Morgan Lyons said the crash caused minor delays for commuters for about an hour.
FAR NORTH DALLAS Couple’s deaths believed to be murder-suicide
A husband and wife died in an apparent murder-suicide Tuesday morning, Dallas police said. Officers responded to a disturbance call about 7:30 a.m. at an apartment in the 4800 block of Frankford Road near the Dallas North Tollway, police Sgt. Larry Lewis said. When officers arrived, he said, they heard a woman yell for help, followed by two gunshots. Officers tried to break through the apartment’s door, but it was blocked with furniture. Once inside, police found the bodies of Carolyn Smith, 45, and Larry Smith, 52. Investigators believe Mr. Smith shot his wife before killing himself. Sgt. Lewis said that neighbors reported hearing the couple argue but that the catalyst for the shootings remained unclear.
FLOWER MOUND Mosquito spraying set after W. Nile virus report
Flower Mound will start spraying for mosquitoes Friday in neighborhoods affected by West Nile virus this week. Spraying will start after 11:30 p.m. and conclude before 4 a.m. Saturday. Neighborhoods being sprayed will be notified with community signs. During spraying, residents should stay inside if possible, but those who are outside or in a vehicle should keep their distance from the spraying truck. Residents also should cover fishponds, bring pets indoors and close windows. After spraying, residents should clean outside toys, play equipment and furniture with soap and water, and wash exposed fruits and vegetables before eating. For information, call Flower Mound Environmental Services at 972-874-6340.
FORT WORTH Test results pending in death of woman, 34
Investigators are awaiting toxicology results before ruling on the cause of death of a West Fort Worth woman who was found Monday by her 10-year-old son. Laurie Chavers, 34, was found on the floor of her apartment in the 2800 block of Las Vegas Trail. Police are investigating the death as a homicide. Results from an autopsy should be available in about six weeks, said Linda Anderson, spokeswoman for the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office. Ms. Chavers’ son sought help from a maintenance worker when he could not enter the apartment, officials said. The boy is living with relatives, police said.
FRISCO District chief seeks to open file of teacher put on leave
The Frisco school superintendent sent a letter Tuesday to a teacher who has been placed on leave, asking permission to open her personnel file. Sydney McGee says she was pushed out of the classroom because of complaints over a field trip to the Dallas Museum of Art, but district officials say she has other performance issues and wishes to better respond to criticism over her case. The district has been inundated with national media requests since Superintendent Rick Reedy announced last week that he planned to recommend that Ms. McGee’s contract not be renewed next year. She is on leave with pay for the rest of the school year. “I believe some of the information being disseminated to the press is not true and is misleading, especially the allegation that the district has disciplined a teacher for exposing students to nude art,” Dr. Reedy said in a prepared statement. Rogge Dunn, Ms. McGee’s attorney, said he would probably deny the request unless the district also agrees to open the personnel files of the superintendent and Fisher Elementary principal Nancy Lawson.
IRVING Custody hearing delayed for missing boy’s brother
A pretrial hearing in the custody case of the brother of a missing Irving toddler was moved from Tuesday to Dec. 4. Child Protective Services took Alexis Majano, 4, into custody the day after his brother Elian, 2, disappeared while playing at Irving’s Lively Park on June 21. CPS officials said the children were left unsupervised as their mother, Yancy Majano, sat in a truck with her boyfriend. She is seeking to regain custody of her oldest son and is receiving twice-weekly visits. Alexis is in the custody of a family friend. Irving police are still searching for Elian.
Katherine Leal Unmuth
Irving ISD’s enrollment increase short of forecast
The Irving school district’s enrollment grew this fall but not as much as administrators projected. Peak enrollment for the district Friday was 33,124, an increase of 288 students over last fall. Administrators projected an increase of 459 students. The estimated loss in state funding for the district’s budget is $795,670. Administrators had expected more growth among elementary students. The most growth was at the high school level, which gained 266 students. The school with the most growth was Brandenburg Elementary, which now has 890 students.
Katherine Leal Unmuth
Trustees OK plans for incentive pay allotment
Irving school trustees on Monday approved plans for distributing teacher incentive pay at six campuses set to receive $905,000 in grants. The schools receiving money are Good and Keyes elementaries; Austin, Bowie and de Zavala middle schools; and Irving High School. Irving High will receive $230,000, and the other schools will get $135,000. Faculty members on each campus planned how to distribute the money, which is linked to standardized test scores. Plans will be submitted to the state for approval Thursday. The Texas Education Agency chose schools with a large number of economically disadvantaged students and good performance.
Katherine Leal Unmuth
RICHARDSON Man accused of trying to cash legislator’s check
A Dallas man was arrested Monday on suspicion of trying to cash a $3,500 check stolen during a recent burglary of state Rep. Fred Hill’s Richardson office, police said. Anthony Cobb, 48, was arrested on a forgery charge after trying to cash the check at a Dallas business, Richardson police spokesman Kevin Perlich said. Mr. Cobb, who is described as being homeless, gave police a Dallas soup kitchen as his address. Mr. Hill’s office on Coit Road was burglarized Sept. 25, Sgt. Perlich said. A computer and other stolen items were recovered Tuesday morning near the office, Sgt. Perlich said.
TARRANT COUNTY Flu shots to be offered at several locations
The Tarrant County Public Health Department is offering flu shots. The shots will be offered at 9 a.m. at these locations: today at the Resource Connection, 2300 Circle Drive in Fort Worth; Thursday at St. Paul United Methodist Church, 852 Bedford-Euless Road in Hurst; and Tuesday at Mayfield Road Baptist Church, 1701 E. Mayfield Road in Arlington. The shots are $20 per person and must be paid for in cash. Medicare Part B and Secure Horizons are accepted. For information, call the department’s flu shot hotline at 817-2384448 or go to health.tarrant county.com.