Category Archives: Arlington

Gun Rights Activist Shoots Husband and His Daughter, Then Tries to Check in to Mental Health Facility

Police carOn December 11, a 35-year-old open-carry activist from Arlington, Texas shot and killed her estranged husband and his 20-year-old daughter from a previous marriage in their home, leaving three of her own children unharmed. She then attempted to check herself in to a nearby hospital specializing in mental health care.

“Sometimes removing some people out of your life makes room for better people,” Veronica Dunnachie posted on Facebook.

Relatives have said that Dunnachie had recently become distant, lost weight and got involved in gun-rights activist groups. Several sources also say that the couple’s relationship had become strained, and according to divorce documents, she was recently ordered to vacate the couple’s home before the end of the month. The two even had temporary restraining orders against each other.

Back in October, they filed for divorce. The documents indicate that the divorce came as a result of discord or conflict of personalities, one of the main reasons why some 46,523 divorces are filed each week in the United States.

“He was a very devoted father and husband,” said Alison Porterfield, Russ Dunnachie’s divorce attorney. “He didn’t want to be divorced.”

According to Porterfield, Russ tried to reconciliate with his wife, but she never attended their counseling sessions.

“I never thought it would come to this point. I just knew they were having problems,” said the Dunnachies’ former babysitter, Cara Vannatta.

Instead, Veronica Dunnachie became more active in gun rights activities, as several Facebook photos and posts indicate. In some of the pictures, Dunnachie can be seen gathering with fellow gun enthusiasts toting high-powered assault rifles and bandoliers at an open-carry function in a local restaurant, and with a group waving flags and banners with slogans like “COME AND TAKE IT AMERICA.com.”

A controversial Texas gun-rights group even featured her on their own Facebook page prior to the murders, writing “Mama didn’t raise no victim!”

Open Carry Texas, however, has not come forward with a statement as of yet.

Most famous plane of WWII visits Arlington airport

The B-17G Flying Fortress, known as the Aluminum Overcast, visited the Arlington Municipal Airport April 29. / Photos by Genesis Bishop
The B-17G Flying Fortress, known as the Aluminum Overcast, visited the Arlington Municipal Airport April 29. / Photos by Genesis Bishop

From being $750 worth of scrap to becoming a traveling American icon, the Aluminum Overcast B-17G has had a long and lurid history.

The Aluminum Overcast, flown by pilot Richard Fernald and co-pilot Scott Hartwig, made a one-day stop at the Arlington Municipal Airport April 29.

“It’s just touched a lot of lives. 8th Airforce was huge and there were hundreds of thousands of airmen, crewmen, mechanics … ‘Rosy the Riveter’, who contributed about 80 percent of the airplanes being built because women were still here and the men were off to war,” Fernald said. “ So it touched every member of the family.”

The B-17G Flying Fortress, known as the Aluminum Overcast, is one of only a few surviving examples of its kind. It is owned by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and tours the U.S. and Canada offering citizens flight experiences.

Although the plane never amassed a combat record due to being shot down over France in 1944, it barely escaped the fate of many of its scrapped brethren. After being sold for scrap at only $750, the plane was overhauled for more than 10 years by staff and volunteers at the EAA branch in Oshkosh, Wis.

According to the EAA, the aircraft has become a “living reminder of World War II aviation,” and has been credited with flying over one-million flight miles since it began touring in 1994.

Fernald has been flying tours of the plane since 1998.

“It’s carried an unbelievable loyalty or, at least, knowledge and awareness, so people want to come out to see it,” Fernald said.

“And the Germans will cover over to ride on it just to see what it looks like,” he said. “It’s very common to hear them say ‘I just wanted to see what it looked like up close, because I heard hundreds of them going over’,” Fernald said.

Outfitted in completely original gear, stepping into the plane allows onlookers a portal to the past. The only portion of the plane that isn’t restored to original specs are the additional cargo seats that allow for the crew to take passengers on a trip back in time. Everything else, however, is just as it was in the 1940’s.

“Well, it’s an American icon that flies like a cement truck, with two flat tires and no power steering,” Fernald said. “It takes a lot of arm power to fly it, because everything is manual, so you’re just moving a huge control surface in 150 mph winds.

“I told a fella one time – he said, ‘What’s this thing fly like?’ – I said, ‘It’s like herding cats – it’s always going someplace.’ You need to be able to bench press a couple of hundred pounds if you’re going to fly this thing,” he said.

The plane, which a had a crew of 10 men and 13 machine guns mounted on it, could reach heights where the planes interior temperature would drop to -50 degrees and the men would have to wear oxygen tanks to keep from passing out from oxygen deprivation.

Fernald said that the term “the whole nine yards” comes from the length of the rounds for the machine guns which are nine yards long, “so if you fired all of your bullets at [the enemy] you gave them the ‘whole nine yards’,” Fernald said.

Commenting on this reporters petite size, Fernald said that the crew members who originally occupied the plane would have been about the same size.

“The people then, overall, were a lot smaller than today as an average height.”

There was an advantage to flying the plane, despite the hefty death tolls of the time, according to Fernald.

“It’s damn near indestructible,” Fernald said. “ It would come home with the whole tail gone – rudder all gone perhaps … and still land.”

Fernald began the tour in Olive Branch Mississippi, moved on to San Marcus, Texas; made a one-day stop in Arlington, Texas and then flew on to St. Louis, Missouri the following day.

In St. Louis, Fernald and his crew, who had been flying for two weeks, were replaced by a fresh crew, who continued the tour across the U.S.

NCTCOG honored with EPA SmartWay Challenge Award

 

Arlington, TEXAS — The Environmental Protection Agency was recognized the North Central Texas Council of Governments on April 23 as one of 10 recipients of a SmartWay Affiliate Challenge award for support of policies and practices that reduce truck emissions and improve freight efficiency.

“We are honored to be recognized for our participation in this effective program,” NCTCOG Senior Program Manager Chris Klaus said. “SmartWay is one example of a program that allows us to reach out to the private sector for help meeting the federal ozone standard. But the benefit is mutual. While the region’s air quality improves, the freight industry saves fuel and is able to more efficiently deliver goods, ultimately helping customers and the bottom line.”

The SmartWay Affiliate Challenge is a national campaign developed by the EPA to acknowledge organizations that participate in SmartWay and do an exceptional job supporting the partnership’s freight sustainability goals. The challenge was open to all affiliates nationwide.

Ten Dallas-Fort Worth area counties are in nonattainment for ozone and have until 2018 to meet the EPA’s standard. The freight industry is crucial to the region’s efforts to clean the air. In the region, 18-wheelers account for 52 tons of nitrogen oxides per day, or about 29 percent of all on-road transportation sources.

SmartWay affiliate honorees have initiated and executed recruiting, promotional and marketing activities that raise awareness and encourage their members to address air pollution from freight activities. These affiliates serve as role models for other SmartWay affiliates and partners.

A SmartWay member since 2006, NCTCOG promotes the initiative throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area and provides education and outreach to potential partners and affected industries through its programs, workshops and webinars.

One tool being used to improve air quality in Dallas-Fort Worth is the AirCheckTexas Drive a Clean Machine Program, which has helped qualifying motorists repair or replace more than 50,000 high-emitting vehicles since 2002. One thing setting NCTCOG apart is use of AirCheckTexas to educate participating dealerships and applicants about passenger vehicles that have earned the SmartWay designation from the EPA. All SmartWay vehicles would qualify for AirCheckTexas, and better fuel economy lowers the cost of ownership.

“I commend NCTCOG for its level of commitment, enthusiasm, and creativity in promoting EPA’s SmartWay program, and sustainable transportation,” said Chris Grundler, director of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality. “The council of governments’ work in this arena brings us all closer to achieving the shared goals of clean freight and clean air.”

In addition to NCTCOG, the following public and private entities are receiving the award:

American Trucking Associations

Colorado Motor Carriers Association

Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals

Environmental Defense Fund

National Retail Federation

Penske Truck Leasing

Retail Industry Leaders Association

Ryder Truck Rental Inc.

Wisconsin Clean Cities.

SOURCE North Central Texas Council of Governments

“Sharing the Warmth” with the needy just got easier

The season of giving is upon us, and what better way to show you care than to help those in need.  Atmos Energy is encouraging customers to help their neighbors in need by participating in the utility’s Sharing the Warmth program.

“It’s as easy as rounding-up the pennies on your natural gas bill,” said Dan Alderson, Atmos Energy director of energy assistance.  “That excess change goes straight into our Sharing the Warmth program, which can then be distributed to low-income residents this winter.”

Atmos Energy’s Sharing the Warmth program is designed to supplement payments made by elderly, disabled or low-income customers who would otherwise be unable to pay the full cost of heating their home.

To donate, simply check the voluntary donation box on the back of your gas bill or call 1-888-286-6700 to make your donation via the phone. Please visit www.atmosenergy.com/share for more details.

SOURCE: Atmos Energy

Texans pass all constitutional amendments

Texans voted Tuesday to approve all nine proposed constitutional amendments — one of which will create a $2 billion rainy day fund to finance water projects in the state.

Proposition 6 is meant to help curb the impacts of drought in the state for the next 50 years. Now approved, the Texas Water Development Board will control the financing of water projects

“Small businesses, manufacturers, the energy industry, the conservation community, farmers and ranchers, agriculture, all came together very, very strongly,” said House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio), speaking at an Austin watch party.

“The people of Texas today validated our good work with an overwhelming vote of support,” He added.

In Dallas County, between 62,000 and 68,000 people cast a vote in the proposition elections.

Other amendments approved included:

1: Authorizing the legislature to give property tax exemptions to the spouses of veterans.

2: Eliminates state requirement to have the obsolete State Medical Education Board and State Medical Education Fund.

3: Extending the tax exemption period for storing aircraft parts in Texas.

4: Authorizing the legislature to give some property tax exemptions for residences donated to partially disabled veterans or their spouses.

5: Authorizing reverse mortgage loans.

7: Giving home-rule municipalities the ability to choose how to fill city council vacancies if those posts have less than 12 months in the term.

8: Repealing a constitutional provision that allowed a hospital district to be created in Hidalgo County.

9: Letting the State Commission on Judicial Conduct expand disciplinary actions against a judge or justice after a formal hearing.

Final Four will balance basketball, philanthropy

AT&T Stadium (Cowboys Stadium) may just be the best thing to happen to sports in North Texas. True, we have the Mavericks and the Stars, but nothing says ‘Sexy Sports Town’ like a monstrous steel and glass superstructure glowering at Ranger’s Ballpark from across the parking lot.

Why this bold statement about AT&T Stadium? Because after seven years of waiting and preparation pitch, the NCAA Final Four will take place in Arlington, TX in April, 2014.

North Texas last hosted the Final Four in 1986. True, we have the Cotton Bowl, but since Jerry Jones built his new stadium in 2009, the area has seen an uptick in high profile sporting events as AT&T Stadium has garnered a reputation as one of the premiere sports venues in the southwest, if not in the entire country.

The venue welcomed Super Bowl XLV in 2011, as well as NCAA Basketball’s Sweet 16 and Elite 8 in 2013. In 2015, the stadium will make history as the site of the first College Football National Championship game.

“Obviously the region has …a great infrastructure – the hotel industry, airport and now with AT&T Stadium, American Airlines Center…I think the best days for North Texas (are ahead). As regards a national sporting events thing, I think we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg. I think as we go into the next decade this area will continue to attract the biggest and best sporting events.” said AT&T Cotton Bowl’s CEO, Rick Baker, at the North Texas Commission’s Annual Member Luncheon at the Irving Convention Center on Sep. 13.

Jerry’s got it going on.

Thanks to Bracket Town, fans not able to get a seat in Jerry’s shiny AT&T Stadium can still get a piece of the action. Residents may remember Super Bowl XLV’s NFL Experience. Games, autographs, celebrities – it was a football convention of epic proportions.

It pales in comparison to what the NCAA has planned. Besides the sports memorabilia, Bracket Town offers a one stop shop for a fan’s entertainment needs.

“One of the things that I love most about the NCAA is they really truly want to include people, (even if) like Rick said, they don’t have a ticket to the game,” said Dallas Cowboys Executive VP and Chief Brand Officer, Charlotte Jones Anderson. “They stage the biggest concert/game-watching party over those three days…and bring in headline acts like Kenny Chesney and Jimmy Buffet and Maroon 5 and Sting and the list goes on and on.

“They take a break for the game, put the games on the big screen. And it’s an attraction that many people here don’t get to see.”

The icing on the cake? It’s free.

Even if the host committee is still googly-eyed over the prestige the Final Four will bring to the region, they hope it will not only be a sporting event, but spark a wave of grassroots community service, as well.

“To be able to have an event like this…(to) spur people to action is going to be a great, great opportunity for us in North Texas to really be impactful,” said Rolando Blackman, former Dallas Maverick, four-time NBA All-Star and member of the local organizing committee for the Final Four.

Planned projects include educating minorities on opportunities for higher education, awarding grants to local sports programs to provide scholarships for underprivileged kids and building new parks and basketball courts around the city.

Initiatives like this are significant for Blackman on a very personal level. Before setting an 18-year record for most points scored by a Maverick, he was a scared immigrant kid from Panama.

“It’s important to know that a kid like me came from Panama City speaking Spanish, having to go to remedial English, and trying to understand what this culture is all about…,” Blackman said.

“I was given an opportunity, was given a chance and performed (in) a community program that had us becoming student athlete leaders,” he continued. “At the time I didn’t know what he (the program leader) was talking about. All I knew, I had to show up in the morning to the park at six o’clock. He had me running, doing pushing, sit-ups and shooting this thing with my hands and there was a basket – I didn’t know what that was.

“But (he) also just tried to talk to me about education, school, class – being part of society, being a bright light…things I experienced as an 8-year-old continued on through 9,10,11 – by the time I was 11,12 years old my shoulders were back, chest popped out – I was thinking about things that would help the community.

“I’m saying all of this to say you never know who you might help… The things we want to have happen are possible at present in our society. So please be involved. Please take these thoughts and create and continue the program even after this great event has passed us.”

“For myself, I just would like to ask everybody in this room to feel like they’re on a bigger team,” said host committee member and Basketball Hall of Famer, Nancy “Lady Magic” Lieberman. “Anybody who’s ever made anything in life has never done it by themselves.

“And to have this power, this vision…we can affect the next generation by what we do, what we give, how we serve…So we’re just trying to do our part of the vision of the NCAA to be a solid partner and to be great servants.”