Sanctuary cities, North Texas earthquake risk, flag football: Your Monday evening news roundup

Protesters rally in June outside the federal courthouse in San Antonio to oppose a new law passed by the Texas Legislature banning "sanctuary cities" for undocumented immigrants.
Appeals court rules parts of Texas’ sanctuary cities ban can go into effect

A federal appeals court in New Orleans on Monday ruled that parts of Texas’ sanctuary cities ban can go into effect, overruling a lower court’s decision to temporarily block it.

A panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state was likely to win arguments over two parts of the law that were blocked by a federal district judge from San Antonio last month and allowed those portions to go into effect. The panel allowed the state to enforce a section of the law that says local authorities cannot prohibit their employees from assisting or cooperating with a federal immigration officer.

The judges’ decision comes just three days after they heard arguments over the state’s motion to let the law go into effect.

Get well, and good riddance? A Texas lawmaker wants Arizona voters to fire Sen. John McCain so he can cope with brain cancer — and so he can’t block an Obamacare repeal.

A new report studying earthquakes in North Texas says the fault that caused a 4-magnitude quake in May 2015 in Venus could cause an even bigger quake, and that disposal of oil-and-gas drilling wastewater into wells like this one in Mansfield, near Venus, triggered the 2015 tremor.
The fault that produced North Texas’ largest quake could produce an even bigger one, study says

The town that experienced a 4-magnitude earthquake in May 2015 — the strongest quake ever recorded in North Texas — sits on a fault with the potential to produce an event 10 times larger, suggests a new study led by scientists at Southern Methodist University.

The report also concluded there was “substantial evidence” that the quake, near the Johnson County town of Venus, was triggered by the underground disposal of wastewater from oil and gas operations.

The study was the latest to investigate North Texas’ earthquake surge, which began in 2008 and has generated more than 200 tremors. The most recent widely felt event was a 3.1-magnitude quake that struck near the border of Irving and Dallas on Aug. 25.

In response to the new study, published Sept. 4 in the Journal of Geophysical Research, the Railroad Commission said through a spokesperson only that its seismologist, Aaron Velasco, had not had the chance to thoroughly review the paper.

Investigative report: Seismic denial? Why Texas won’t admit fracking wastewater is causing earthquakes.

Dallas Cowboys players Charles Tapper, Ezekiel Elliott and Terrance Williams stand for the national anthem before their season opener against the New York Giants on Sept. 10 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
‘Played as pawns.’ That’s what Air Force vet, ex-Cowboy Chad Hennings believes just happened in the NFL

Chad Hennings flew missions in the Persian Gulf.

He was a member of the Cowboys championship teams of the 1990s.

What he saw unfold across the NFL during national anthems Sunday made him sad. The Air Force veteran believes the league, owners and players have allowed themselves to be used as pawns as part of a larger political game.

"My thoughts are it’s extremely unfortunate that the events have come out the way that they have," Hennings said. "I totally believe the league, the owners and the players have been played as pawns on both sides of the political fence to continue to divide an already divided nation."

The league-wide protests were sparked by President Trump, who called for NFL owners to fire players who decline to stand for the anthem in a rally in Alabama on Friday evening, then doubled down on that stance on Twitter in the following hours.

Taking a knee? How would Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett react if some Cowboys kneel during the anthem tonight?

Not alone: The Cowboys are one of six NFL teams that haven’t had a player kneel, sit or raise a fist during the national anthem.

(Jae S. Lee/Staff Photographer)
Photo of the day

Open enrollment is still a few months away, but Austin and Leigh Winans are already gearing up.

“We’re going to have to scramble,” predicts Austin, who describes the health insurance shopping experience as complicated and draining.

A few years ago, Austin, his wife Leigh and their daughter Ellie Grace all had separate health plans. Narrowing it to two last year took months. Half-finished equations and doctor names were scribbled on sticky notes scattered across their Plano home.

Austin, who has Type 1 diabetes, purchased his plan on the federal marketplace. Leigh and the baby joined a faith-based health plan. The couple is expecting a baby boy in November, the same month open enrollment begins.

Crime and safety:

Two suspected drunken drivers collided, killing one passenger in Oak Cliff.

Suspect was named in a road rage call that led to a crash that injured two Fort Worth officers.

A 16-year-old died in a fiery crash after cutting across I-20 to take the I-35E exit.

A statue depicting Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee travels along Singleton Avenue in West Dallas en route to storage at Hensley Field following its Sept. 14 removal from the Uptown park that bears Lee’s name.

A new, permanent home is yet to be determined for the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that was removed on Sept. 14 from the Uptown park that bore his name. But columnist Robert Wilonsky says the only place it should go has apparently already been ruled out:

Till a couple of days ago, I would have bet anything the statue would eventually wind up in downtown. Specifically, I thought Lee’s new home would be the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, scheduled to hold its groundbreaking in the West End before year’s end. I would have lost that bet.

I imagined Lee — "the hero marching on," as Proctor wrote in his autobiography, lest anyone think this is just a nice sculpture of a horse — would be parked next to other totems and symbols representing enslavement, genocide and cruelty. Made all kinds of sense, given the museum’s new moniker and expanded mission.

I mean, there’s going to be an exhibit about slavery, for God’s sake. Put it there. Put it right there, smack in the middle of the room, along with an explainer detailing its installation in 1936 and removal in 2017. Perfect place for a history of Lee, too, the slave owner who, as Adam Serwer wrote in his benchmark Atlantic piece last June, was "responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans in defense of the South’s authority to own millions of human beings as property because they are black."

But Mary Pat Higgins, the museum’s CEO and president, told me it’s unlikely Lee will land in the West End.

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Why Trump Hotels has yet to land in Dallas-Fort Worth


The new Scion Dallas hotel — the latest concept from Trump Hotels —will bring a total… more

President Donald Trump’s namesake hotel brand — New York City-based Trump Hotels — has been scouring Dallas-Fort Worth for development sites to build 4- and 5-star upscale hotels, including tracts in Dallas’ central business district, the Turtle Creek area and Legacy West.

Trump Hotels, which has been searching for North Texas sites since March 2016, has been attracted to the Big D because the city has turned into a destination for business. But Trump Hotels has yet to place a flag in the ground — even after allegedly having a signed letter-of-intent in place on a parcel in downtown Dallas.

That could be because there are thousands of new hotel rooms in the development pipeline in Dallas-Fort Worth, said Hank Wolpert, vice president of HREC Investment Advisors.

"The boutique upscale hotels have a lot of appeal and this is a convention city, but there are a lot of rooms coming to the market" Wolpert told the Dallas Business Journal."The Virgin Hotel in the Design District is also a formidable competitor."

Wolpert said if Trump Hotels wants to put a Scion-branded hotel or a namesake Trump hotel, it will take a combination of finding the right development partner to help pull off a hotel with ties to the controversial U.S. leader.

With upwards of 4,000 rooms in the development pipeline in downtown Dallas, he said, and two boutique upscale hotels being developed by Dallas-based Sam Moon Group in Legacy West — the market is getting crowded.

And that’s not to mention the recently opened new Omni-branded hotel, which was developed in partnership with the Dallas Cowboys, at The Star in Frisco or new hotels opening or under construction along the Dallas North Tollway or the Sam Rayburn Tollway.

"A developer has to decide if they wait for the demand to build up from these big companies to build a hotel or if they want to build the hotel ahead of demand — it’s kind of a hard call," Wolpert said. "You could go either way."

Trump Hotels has yet to sign a letter-of-intent in Legacy West, with no ETA on a potential LOI. A letter-of-intent will need to be signed before a real estate deal comes to fruition.

Meanwhile, the development tract near Dallas City Hall once earmarked for a Trump Hotels Scion hotel has remained a surface-level parking lot. The outstanding deal to sell the two parcels totaling nearly one-acre has been extended by an oral agreement as Turkish developer Mike Sarimsakci tries to rally a development plan.

The six-month extension began on Sept. 1 and it has yet to be formalized by a legal contract, said Larry Hamilton, CEO of Dallas-based Hamilton Properties Corp.

Despite the number of hotels either announced or under construction in Dallas-Fort Worth, the latest hotel forecast by CBRE is calling for RevPAR (revenue per available room) to increase by 1.4 percent by year’s end.

That RevPAR is less than the national projection — a 3 percent increase — in part because of the new supply hitting the Dallas market.

"With great economies come new hotels, and the first quarter dip in occupancy is the result of new investments to develop new hotels," said Jeff Binford, director of CBRE Hotels’ Consulting.

Binford added that the current rate of new hotels being developed in the market is temporarily exceeding the rate of occupied rooms and new visitors to the area, resulting in the lower occupancy rates. But he is still bullish on North Texas’ hospitality future.

"The Dallas hotel market remains vibrant for the foreseeable future," he added.

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North Dallas estate for sale boasts water park, bowling alley, basketball court, 22 bathrooms

Dallas real estate agent Allie Beth Allman dominates the top end of the Dallas-area home sales listings these days.

She already had the three most expensive homes up for grabs in the area. Now, she’s added another megamansion to the list.

Priced at $27.995 million, the 4.3-acre Strait Lane estate has 37,000 square feet with bedrooms, 22 bathrooms, 10 living areas and four dining areas. It has a 10-car garage, two basketball courts, a tennis court, a gymnasium, a bowling alley, a private water park and cabanas.

There are two movie theaters, a bowling alley, a ballet room and a "dog-washing room."

"There are really two houses, but they are connected," Allman said. "There’s a main house for living and a recreational or guest house."

But the real selling feature of the Preston Hollow spread is the private water park out back.

"It’s got three slides, a lazy river and a second-story hot tub," Allman said. "This house is the most fun of any property I’ve ever been in. "It is like a Caribbean resort."

Built starting in 2003 by Dr. Richard Malouf, the property is one of the largest residential estates in North Texas.

It first came on the market earlier this year with a $32 million price tag. Now, Allman has re-priced the grand property and is starting a new marketing campaign.

She also has her sign in front of the $48.9 million former Hicks estate off Walnut Hill Lane in North Dallas. And she’s showing prospects through the $27.5 million Haas Estate on Jourdan Way and the $24.5 million Baron estate off Preston Road on Deloache Avenue in Dallas.

"I’ve got to get these buyers out there," Allman said.

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Presidents of North Texas universities bash decision to end DACA

Bill Hethcock

From left, UNT President Neal Smatresk, Texas A&M University-Commerce President Ray… more

Presidents of three North Texas universities roundly bashed the Trump administration’s plan to end a program that protects children who were brought into the country illegally from deportation, saying the move will severely hurt higher education and America’s competitiveness for the world’s brightest minds.

The University of North Texas has more than 400 students now protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that Trump plans to end, and there are 800,000 DACA students in the country, university President Neal Smatresk said at an education forum in Dallas.

“This was a bad move,” Smatresk said. “The DACA students have come here, they’ve worked through our high school system, they’ve entered college, they’ve shown that they’re productive citizens, and many of them are working for a living as they go to college. The right thing to do is to give them a path to citizenship, not block that path.”

The United States has the finest university system in the world and depends on students from abroad — especially Asia, Texas A&M University-Commerce President Dr. Ray Keck said at the forum, which was put on by the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce.

All Texas universities have experienced a drop in international students this year as anti-immigrant sentiment has escalated in the United States, Keck said. New Zealand, Australia and other countries have good university programs conducted in English that are available to “bright, STEM seeking students from all over Asia,” and without DACA, students will increasingly gravitate there, Keck said.

“It’s not just the 800,000 students,” he said. “It’s not just the heartless victimization of children who had nothing to do with their fate and are now living in the only country they’ve ever known. It’s what it’s going to do to our ability to attract talent from abroad, particularly in math and science.”

Trump on Tuesday announced that his administration would not accept any new DACA applications, starting immediately, and that any two-year DACA permits expiring after March 5, 2018, would not be renewed. The Obama-era program is designed to protect young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from being deported and allows them to work and study.

Richard C. Benson, president of the University of Texas at Dallas, said he doesn’t know how many DACA students the university has because “we make a point of not asking the immigration status of our students.” Benson said he’s sure “it’s a substantial number.”

“UT-Dallas has been growing by leaps and bounds, but we’re actually seeing substantial declines in the number of applications from international students, many of them from China and India,” Benson said. “These students are redirecting to other countries. Canada, Australia, England and others are seeing major increases. This, of course, is a reaction to the perceived climate in the United States.”

Smatresk said America has traditionally drawn the best and brightest because “we are the world’s biggest clearinghouse for big ideas and new thinking.”

“What is happening now is contrary to that tradition, and it will not bode well for us,” he said. “Let’s do everything we can to continue to attract the best and brightest and build a path for prosperity.”

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Houston’s post-Harvey outlook, Trump expected to end DACA, North Dallas fuel fight: Your Labor Day morning roundup

Good morning. Here is a look at the top headlines as we start the day.

⛅ Weather: Partly cloudy and warm. High: 95 degrees.

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Houston’s post-Harvey outlook: ‘If $26 oil doesn’t do us in, 52 inches of rain won’t either’

As Hurricane Harvey moved up the coast from Corpus Christi in South Texas to Lake Charles in Louisiana, predictions of its dire consequences quickly rose from $10 billion into the tens of billions. By the end of its run, the storm’s projected tally was on par with the country’s previous costliest natural disaster, Hurricane Katrina.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he expects disaster relief needed for rebuilding to exceed $125 billion, topping Katrina. Federal spending to restore New Orleans post-Katrina has been estimated at $120 billion.

For more on Houston’s post-Harvey outlook, including real estate, energy and construction, head here.

And: Texas now faces the environmental impact of Harvey.

Also: The Today Show is partnering with United Way for a Harvey donation drive in downtown Dallas on Tuesday morning.

Also: Mexican crews could reach Texas early this week to help with hurricane recovery efforts, an official says.

Immigration reform protesters gather outside the fence for the lighting of the 2013 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, an 88-foot Engelmann spruce, from the Colville National Forest, in northeast Washington State, during an event on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013.
Trump expected to end DACA program

President Donald Trump is expected to announce that he will end protections for young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children — but with a six-month delay.

That’s according to two people familiar with the decision. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they aren’t authorized to discuss the decision ahead of a planned Tuesday announcement.

Trump’s expected to delay the formal dismantling of the program to give Congress time to decide whether it wants to address the status of the so-called Dreamers in legislation.

‘We’re here for our parents’: Some North Texas students walked out of classes on Friday to protest President Donald Trump’s potential plan to scrap a program that allows children of immigrants to live and work in the U.S.

(Google Maps)
Fight at North Dallas fuel pump ends with man dumping gas in someone else’s car

A man seen on video pouring gasoline into another man’s car at a North Dallas gas station late last week says he did it in defense of other customers.

Louis Huberman told the Houston Chronicle that he is the man holding the gas can in the video. He said the other man had cut in line and was accosting women at the station, though the woman who shot the video said he had cut in line too.

In the video, two men are seen arguing, then fighting over a gas can near a pump. One of the men — Huberman — then pours gasoline into the other man’s car while telling him to leave.

And: Can cool little shops reopen after Hurricane Harvey? Check their insurance policies.

Also: Here’s what you need to know about Texas’ texting and driving ban that started Friday.

Photo of the morning
(Andy Jacobsohn/Staff Photographer)

Residents of the Meyerland area of southwest Houston, just north of Brays Bayou, have experienced flooding several times in recent years. Photographs taken a week later of their front yards illustrate Harvey’s impact.

One Meyerland area family left a book titled Goodnight Houston on a heap of damaged furniture. The family’s last name and "2017" were carved into the curb next to the driveway.

Around the site

College sports: Matt Rhule is far from the first Baylor coach to lose his debut.

Weekend of stars: Erykah Badu headlined the bill for the first Riverfront Jazz Festival on opening night, which was peppered with North Texas talent.

Love at first bite: A New York firefighter helping with Harvey relief tries Whataburger for the first time in this viral video.

Sanctuary: The faithful swapped their shovels for hymnals Sunday in the makeshift sanctuaries of Harvey-damaged churches throughout southeast Texas.

Opinion: Do teachers who promote technology brands run afoul of ethics?

Commentary: On Forest Lane, butchered trees were just chopped down because who needs rules?

Info to know: Here’s how to choose a charity for your Hurricane Harvey donations.


It’s Labor Day and you might not have your plans totally figured out. Hey, that’s OK! The crew at GuideLive has put together a hearty list of events that you could spend your day being part of. There’s music, pub celebrations, comedy shows and much.

Check it all out here and find something to do today.

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