Five stories that have North Texas talking: Ezekiel Elliott's red kettle stunt is paying off for the Salvation Army; Arlington’s airport has a coyote problem; checking in with North Texas tornado survivors, one year later; and more.
A new nonprofit led by Donald Trump’s grown sons and two Dallas businessmen is offering access to the newly sworn in president during inauguration weekend in Washington D.C. In exchange, the nonprofit, dubbed Opening Day Foundation, is asking for $1 million donations to unnamed "conservation" charities, according to the Center for Public Integrity.
The investigative journalism organization reports that prospective million-dollar donors attending “Opening Day 2017” on Jan. 21 would receive a “private reception and photo opportunity for 16 guests with President Donald J. Trump,” a “multi-day hunting and/or fishing excursion for 4 guests with Donald Trump, Jr. and/or Eric Trump, and team,” as well as tickets to other events and “autographed guitars by an Opening Day 2017 performer.”
According to The Dallas Morning News, paperwork filed for the foundation names Donald Trump, Jr. and Eric Trump as directors as well as Dallas hedge fund manager Gentry Beach and Tom Hicks, Jr., the oldest son of Dallas billionaire Tom Hicks. A Center for Public Integrity review found that the foundation was created less than a week ago, on Dec. 14. As a nonprofit, Opening Day Foundation does not have to disclose its donors.
Update: Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks issued a statement Tuesday afternoon: "The Opening Day event and details that have been reported are merely initial concepts that have not been approved or pursued by the Trump family. Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump are avid outdoorsmen and supporters of conservation efforts, which align with the goals of this event, however they are not involved in any capacity." [Center for Public Integrity, The Dallas Morning News]
- The Salvation Army saw a 61 percent spike in donations after Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott jumped into a giant red kettle post-touchdown. The 21-year-old rookie flew past the end zone, ball still tucked in his arm, and made his viral leap Sunday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Elliott was penalized but he wasn’t fined for the stunt, SportsDay reports. The organization's Lt. Col. Ron Busroe told CNBC Monday "we've seen an $80,000 increase in digital donations since the touchdown versus this time last week.” Many donations were made for $21, matching Elliott’s jersey number. Elliott himself donated $21,000. [SportsDay]
— Salvation Army USA (@SalvationArmyUS) December 19, 2016
- Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings today will announce that $10 million was raised to benefit officers and families affected by the police ambush on July 7. The Dallas Morning News reported the total Monday night, ahead of Rawlings' announcement today at 1 p.m. at Dallas City Hall. The combined $10 million was raised by The Assist the Officer Foundation and The Dallas Foundation. Campaigns were set up shortly after the deadly attack to benefits families of the fallen. A lone gunman killed five officers and injured nine others plus two civilians. Explore KERA News coverage. [KERA News, The Dallas Morning News]
- Officials with Arlington Municipal Airport are seeking $1.2 million in federal funds to build a chain-link fence to help keep coyotes from roaming onto its runway. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports coyotes are raising concerns. Manager Karen VanWinkle says the coyotes scamper in mostly Fish Creek, located at the south end of the airport. She says airport crews currently use trucks to honk at and chase the coyotes away. The federal grant would cover about 90 percent of the cost to fence the creek area and replace an older barrier on the airport perimeter. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
- Last year, on the day after Christmas, 12 tornadoes ripped through North Texas, killing 13 people and damaging or destroying hundreds of homes. KERA has been following four families pushed to the financial edge by the storms. With the holidays approaching, we return to Rowlett and Garland to see how these families are rebuilding their lives a year after disaster. Explore archives and resources on how to prepare for and cope with a storm in our digital project, Rebuilding A Life: A Year Later. [KERA News]