Five stories that have North Texas talking: Fort Worth-based judge blocks a federal transgender health mandate; Romo throws his first touchdown pass in over a year; meet the creators of the Dallas Biennial; and more.
In the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, the Dallas Police Department had warned residents about ushering in 2017 with celebratory gunfire and illegal fireworks. Both of these dangerous yet popular party tricks make the holiday one of the busiest nights and early mornings of the year for the department, according to a video published Dec. 30 on the Dallas Police Department blog. Major Elaine Page in the video says last year on New Year’s Eve between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m., they received more than 900 calls concerning possible shots fired and illegal fireworks usage.
Despite the safety campaign, this weekend generated even more calls. According to The Associated Press: “Police report they received 711 calls about gunfire in the four hours ending at 2 a.m. Sunday, including 436 of them after midnight. Another 282 calls were about illegal fireworks. Police had warned anyone firing guns into the air to celebrate the new year that those bullets have to come down and the shooter could face manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide charges if someone was killed.” In fact, state Rep. Armando Martinez tells The Monitor says he's recovering after being struck in the head during a new year's celebration by what he suspects was celebratory gunfire. [The Associated Press]
- A Fort Worth-based judge Saturday issued a nationwide injunction on a federal mandate strengthening transgender protections. The preliminary injunction, granted by U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor, is in response to a lawsuit filed by Texas in August. The Texas Tribune reports: “Transgender rights activists have refuted claims that the health rule prevents doctors from using sound medical judgment, arguing instead that it clarifies that health care providers can't deny services or insurance to someone because that person is transgender.” O’Connor says the federal health mandate violates the Administrative Procedure Act. [The Texas Tribune]
- Tony Romo threw his first touchdown pass for the Dallas Cowboys in almost 14 months Sunday. Losing 27-13, the playoff-bound Cowboys played it safe against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Associated Press reports: “The Cowboys (13-3) locked up the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs when the Eagles (7-9) beat the Giants on Dec. 22. So Dak Prescott played only two series and Ezekiel Elliott watched from the sideline.” Romo was playing his first regular-season game since Thanksgiving 2015 when he broke his left collarbone for the second time in less than three months. [The Associated Press]
- Biennials are exhibitions held every two years that usually showcase big ideas in art. Various cities hold these kind of shows, but the Dallas Biennial, held this past New Year’s Eve, distinguishes itself among the rest. To do that, creators Michael Mazurek and Jesse Morgan Barnett challenged the basic definition of a biennial — something occurring every two years. In fact, the first Dallas Biennial in 2012 ran for two years as an online exhibition. “We’re not really beholden to this structure which has to be repeated,” Barnett says. “It’s going to constantly be evolving and we’re open to that.” Read more in the latest Artist Spotlight. [Art&Seek]
- The first trial in the Waco biker shootout in May 2015 has been set for April. The gunfire exchange between two rival motorcycle gangs outside a Twin Peaks restaurant left nine bikers dead, more than 20 injured and more than 150 charged. "It's not like we had a shortage of cases before Twin Peaks came along," 19th District Judge Ralph Strother, who will handle some of the trials, tells the Waco Tribune-Herald. Strother is scheduled to get the first case, set for April 17. The first to stand trial likely will be Christopher Jacob Carrizal, his father, Christopher Julian Carrizal, or Jerry Edward Pierson, all Bandidos from Dallas. [Waco Tribune-Herald]