Dallas City Council Approves Help For Charter School Operation | KERA News

Dallas City Council Approves Help For Charter School Operation

Dallas City Council has voted 11-4 to approve the creation of a non-profit education corporation to help Uplift Charter Schools secure low-interest construction funds.

The controversial measure puts no financial burden on the city, but those council members opposed, including Carolyn Davis and Vonciel Jones Hill, say the vote puts the city of Dallas squarely on the side of charter schools and against the Dallas Independent School District. The council majority in favor disagreed, saying the city is not taking any side with this vote except that of children. And all students deserve and need a quality education. They said charter schools offer parents a choice.

The non-profit corporation will help Uplift Charter Schools spend less money on construction, and more of its limited funds on classroom education.

Uplift hopes to raise up to $90 million through bonds, and spend as much as $36 of the construction dollars in Dallas on schools and expansions. 

Bill Zeeble, KERA News

Penalty Phase Starts In Texas Torture Case

A North Texas man who tortured his ex-neighbor while holding her captive for 12 days told an investigator he's been stealing women's underwear for years.

During the penalty phase of Jeffrey Allan Maxwell's trial, jurors on Wednesday heard more of authorities' recorded interviews after his arrest last March.

In one recording, Maxwell tells the investigator that he's stolen the underwear of the daughters of several girlfriends without their knowledge about 30 or 40 times.

Maxwell kidnapped his former neighbor last March and drove 100 miles to his Corsicana home, 50 miles south of Dallas. He sexually assaulted her on a deer-skinning device and his bed before she was rescued by authorities.


Judge Formally Exonerates Dallas Man Of Murder

A state district judge has formally declared a Dallas man innocent of the murder and attempted murder for which he spent 14 years in prison.

State District Judge Andy Chatham read the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruling of "actual innocence" for Richard Miles on Wednesday. Miles has been free on his own recognizance since a judge recommended he be declared innocent in October 2009.

Miles was released after an advocacy group found evidence implicating another man that wasn't given to the defense when Miles was convicted in 1995. However, Miles wasn't cleared and entitled to state compensation until the appeals court ruling.

Miles' attorney has said he plans to seek compensation under the Tim Cole Act, which provides those wrongfully convicted with $80,000 for every year of incarceration.


Apparent Rare Snowy Owl Shows Up In Dallas Area

What's believed to be a rare snowy owl has turned up at a Dallas-area lake and the buzz about the bird has been drawing crowds.

The owl was spotted earlier this month in Robertson Park at Lake Ray Hubbard. Forums on birding websites have been busy with reports of sightings and observer snapshots of the creature.

Photographer Geryl Mortensen, who stopped by the park last weekend, says it's phenomenal to see a snowy owl in an urban setting.

Jim Peterson is a former curator of birds at what is now the DallasMuseumof Nature & Science. Peterson says materials are being put together to confirm what could be only the sixth snowy owl documented sighting in Texas.

The Texas Ornithological Society oversees the Texas Bird Records Committee.