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Dallas Man Fatally Shot After Attempted Robbery With Pellet Gun

Lancaster Whistle Stop attempted robbery with pellet gun

Suspect Shot After Attempted Robbery With Pellet Gun Of Lancaster Whistle Stop

LANCASTER—Detectives are continuing to investigate an aggravated robbery at the Lancaster Whistle Stop Convenience Store. The incident resulted in the death of 19-year-old Kenneth Atkins. According to a Lancaster police spokesperson at 9:20 p.m. on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 officers were dispatched to the gas station located at 995 West Beltline Road to an aggravated robbery in progress. When they arrived they discovered Atkins lying in the doorway with what appeared to be a single gunshot wound to the chest.

Upon the arrival of Lancaster Fire Department, the Dallas resident was transported to Central Methodist Hospital. He was pronounced dead at 10:03 p.m.

To date, the investigation has revealed that Atkins entered the convenience store wearing a mask and gloves. He proceeded to place a bag on the counter and instructed the clerk to put the money in the bag. Instead, the clerk reached for the gun that was kept in the store and Atkins reached into his waistband and displayed a gun.

The clerk then fired one shot striking Atkins in the chest. He fell back into the doorway with his own gun still in hand. The clerk then removed Atkins’ gun and called 9-1-1. Detectives later determined that the weapon Atkins displayed was actually a BB/pellet gun.

Pellet Guns Are Dangerous

While pellet guns are often considered toys, the reality is that they are projectile weapons capable of inflicting harm.

Due to their uncanny resemblance to real firearms coupled with the ability to send projectiles at speeds of hundreds of feet per second hospitals and healthcare professionals throughout the country have reported a significant rise in pellet gun-related eye injuries in recent years.

According to one study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2005 approximately 19,675 non-powder gun injuries were treated in United States emergency rooms. Of these injuries, 71 percent involved individuals 20 or under.

Lancaster police are actively investigating this incident to determine if any other persons were involved.

Captain Fantastic Movie Review: Fine Performance By Lead Actors

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review: Fine Performances by Lead Actors

Captain Fantastic is a drama about family values, written and directed by Matt Ross. The recent Bleecker Street release is rated R for language and brief nudity, and runs 119 minutes.

A devoted father (Viggo Mortenson) has radical ideas about the best way to raise his six children. The three boys and three girls range in age from 6 to 18. The death of their wife and mother sends the family on an RV journey. They travel from their isolated home in the Pacific Northwest to California.

There his late wife’s father (Frank Langella) forbids him to attend the funeral service. It seems he vehemently opposes how his grandchildren are being raised. He’s also angry at the way his late daughter was kept isolated from her parents.

It soon becomes clear, though, that his daughter shared her husband’s beliefs. They hoped that isolating their family from materialism made it possible to raise “extraordinary” children. Their home-schooled kids were all over achievers, ahead of most students their age.

Captain Fantastic’s strict regime stressed physical education as much as book learning. He taught them basic survival skills. Hunting, fishing, swimming, and mountain climbing were all part of the curriculum.

There are a few frightening incidents during these outdoor activities. The middle-school age son is injured, almost falling to his death while mountain climbing. Dad apparently subscribes to the theory that “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” He also seems to condone such reckless and unlawful acts as shoplifting when needed.

Fine Performances by Lead Actors

Both Mortenson and Langella are great, portraying two equally controlling, stubborn men. Whether you’re rooting for Team Mortenson or Team Langella depends on what future you would like to see for the six siblings. When his oldest son shows Mortenson letters offering him full scholarships to such prestigious universities as Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, he’s furious.

This viewer couldn’t help wondering what kind of future Captain Fantastic envisions for his kids. He kept them isolated from civilization and threats posed by video games, cell phones, or TV. But how are they supposed to continue their education above and beyond Dad’s abilities? How will they meet people their age so they can find a mate and start their own families?

These questions left me leaning toward Team Langella. The captain seems more like a cult-leader from the 60’s or 70’s than a caring father. While I’m not a fan of the film’s message, it’s worth seeing for the fine performances by the two leads.

DeSoto Resident Gladys Harris Turns 104

Gladys Harris

DESOTO—On July 4th, Mrs. Gladys Harris of DeSoto, Texas turned 104-years-old. Her friends at the DeSoto Senior Activity Center threw her a birthday party on Tuesday, July 12, 2016.

Mrs. Harris is an avid patron at the DeSoto Senior Center located at 204 Lion Street, DeSoto, TX. According to her son, Levon Harrington, she “wakes us up every day before the crack of dawn getting ready to go to the Center.”

She attends rain or shine. She also performs with the Golden Voices Choir, a group of Senior Citizens who love to sing Gospel music.

DeSoto resident Gladys Harris turns 104
DeSoto Mayor Curtistene McCowan read a Mayoral Commendation for Mrs. Harris.

They rehearse every Tuesday at 9 am and perform for the other patrons at every holiday. One of her friends at the center, Althea Burden, requested a special letter from President Obama wishing Mrs. Harris a happy birthday that she read during the festivities.

Mrs. Harris was joined by Dana Harrington Mrs. Harris’ daughter-in-law, DeSoto Mayor Curtistene McCowan, Mrs. Gladys Harris, Mrs. Harris’ son Levon Harrington and DeSoto’s Mayor Pro Tem Rachel Proctor.

DeSoto Police Sgt. Nic Bristow was also on hand to wish Mrs. Harris a Happy Birthday.


Charlton, Chamber Host Women In Business Luncheon

Charlton, Chamber host Women in Business Luncheon

CEDAR HILL—On Thursday, June 30, Methodist Charlton hosted the first Wonder Woman – Women in Business Luncheon in partnership with the Cedar Hill Chamber.

The program included a panel of women in business, including Methodist Charlton President Fran Laukaitis, MHA, BSN, FACHE, the first nurse to be president of a Methodist Health System hospital.

The Honorable Curtistene McCowan, the first African-American to hold an office and the first woman to serve as mayor of DeSoto, also served on the panel. Mayor McCowan is a member of the Methodist Charlton Advisory board.

Other distinguished panelists included Gale Sliger, a 69-year native of Duncanville, and owner and CEO of Gale Sliger Productions; Melissa Valadez-Cummings, Assistant City Manager for the City of Cedar Hill, who facilitates the city’s various Growing Green Sustainability efforts; and Sandi McDermott, Director of the Tarleton State University Midlothian Outreach Campus on the Navarro College campus.

The panelists shared their backgrounds, strengths and weakness, what they do for relaxation, and what makes them a wonder woman!

AK-47 Wielding Gunman Shot During DeSoto Waffle House Robbery

Assault rifle wielding gunman shot during Waffle House robbery

Gunman Shot By Customer During DeSoto Waffle House Robbery


DESOTO—Local detectives are continuing to investigate the strange circumstances surrounding the DeSoto Waffle House robbery on Thursday. According to reports, the suspect armed with an AK-47 assault rifle sustained life threatening injuries after being shot by a customer who he had robbed just minutes earlier at the Waffle House located near the intersection of Interstate 35 East and Wintergreen Road.

The suspect now identified as Antoine Devon Cooper, 25, remains on life support at a local hospital.

Officers interviewed patrons and complainants who advised the suspect entered the business, armed with an AK-47 rifle, and robbed numerous customers as well as the establishment.

Officers also learned that one of the customers that were robbed was a Handgun License holder and armed with a pistol. This customer advised that his wife was enroute to the location and would arrive shortly.

The suspect exited the restaurant and proceeded to the parking lot, followed by the customer/handgun holder.

The customer advised that he feared the suspect would harm his wife when she arrived or return to the store and harm customers or employees.

The customer then called out to the suspect, who turned to face the customer, while pointing the rifle in the customer’s direction.

The customer then shot the suspect several times. Police said the customer was not arrested. DeSoto Detectives advised the investigation continues and will be referred to the Grand Jury.

North Texas Toll Authority ROAD Program Surpasses 30% For 2nd Year

NTTA Minority Contractor

DALLAS—The North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) released its diversity participation numbers and for the second year in a row contract spending with disadvantaged-, minority-, or women-owned business enterprises has surpassed 30 percent.

The NTTA implemented several outreach and diversity participation strategies beginning in 2009, including the Relationships and Opportunities Advancing Diversity (ROAD) program. “Through the ROAD program NTTA has paired 31 minority- or women-owned businesses with larger prime contractors in the mentorship program,” explained Anthony Coleman, NTTA Director of Business Diversity. “The NTTA diversity participation numbers are up 24 percent since the ROAD program started.”

North Texas Toll Authority ROAD Program
Anthony Coleman

In 2008 NTTA spent $432 million on road projects, awarding $63 million to D/M/WBEs. Of that amount $10 million went to D/M/WBE prime contractors. In 2015 NTTA spent a total of $164 million dollars on contracts, awarding $50 million to D/M/WBEs. Of that amount $31 million went to D/M/WBE prime contractors.

NTTA developed the ROAD partnering program to enhance the opportunities for disadvantaged-, minority-, and women-owned businesses to work on agency projects. The core of the ROAD program is to create an atmosphere where business relationships can flourish. It allows smaller companies to participate in larger projects that they may not currently have the capacity to handle. It also gives them much needed experience and exposure to skill sets they sought to develop in the past and provides opportunities for training in new growth areas.

A P Engineering Consultant, Inc. (APEC) credits the ROAD program with enabling it to build capacity, increase revenues, and create sustainability through continuous work on the NTTA General Engineering Consultant (GEC) solicitation. “Without the ROAD program, my firm would not have stood much of a chance to be able to participate in large projects,” said Anuj M. Patel, President of APEC.

From 2011 through 2013, ROAD paired APEC with mentor Atkins, a worldwide design, engineering, and project management consultancy. Atkins and APEC teamed up, responded to NTTA’s GEC solicitation, and won the contract. As prime consultant, Atkins supports bond-related services for NTTA, and APEC has conducted peer reviews and participated in annual inspections.

“ROAD fits hand-in-glove with Atkins’ culture of developing strong relationships with small businesses to form successful partnerships that meet the needs of clients,” explained R. Keith Jackson, P.E., Vice President, Atkins. “We have found the program so beneficial that we promote the concept to other clients.”

North Texas Toll Authority ROAD ProgramHNTB Corporation and EJES began their ROAD partnership six years ago. Through that relationship their team is working on the NTTA Program Management Consultant contract. EJES is providing project management support to HNTB on the project. EJES performs database administration, contract administration, construction management oversight, and PS&E design review.

In order for the North Texas Toll Authority ROAD program to work, there has to be an environment where both companies feel safe and secure in sharing information and challenges. “EJES was able to express company challenges faced in the architect/engineering industry and to receive sound advice from HNTB’s wealth of knowledge,” said Edwin Jones, CEO/President of EJES, Incorporated. “EJES has gained a vast amount of knowledge that has assisted in the growth and development of the company, both operationally and in business development.”

HNTB and EJES have partnered on several pursuits and were recently selected for the TxDOT GEC team. “HNTB has thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the NTTA R.O.A.D program and has learned from and built strong relationships with each of our partners” says Michael Hegarty, HNTB Vice President and North Texas Office Leader.

“The North Texas Toll Authority ROAD program has increased the number of ready, willing, and able companies to compete for projects in addition to creating a potentially larger subcontracting pool of construction services and professional services candidates,” explained Anthony Coleman.

While not all ROAD teams resulted in NTTA work, the teams still consider the relationship productive. Jacobs Engineering Group and AGUIRRE RODEN were paired up through the ROAD program in 2014. They have not been able to bid on a NTTA project together, but they have used the ROAD concepts to strengthen their working relationship on a five-year DFW Airport project.

North Texas Toll Authority ROAD Program

Peter Aguirre, CFM Senior Vice President of AGUIRRE RODEN, says his company has developed a robust program from being mentored by Jacobs. “The ROAD program has been a holistic approach in which every part of our company benefited. This resulted in process improvement from sales to accounting to production for our team,” said Peter Aguirre.

The Jacob-AGUIRRE RODEN relationship is an example of how the ROAD mentor/protégé program is not just a one-way street with the protégé receiving all the benefits. AGUIRRE RODEN led the training on successful hiring practices and Jacobs has incorporated some of those procedures into their practice. “Discussion with AGUIRRE RODEN has helped us with the on-boarding experience of our employees,” said Spenta F. Irani, P.E., Transportation Manager for Jacobs. “This program has provided us with good practices from smaller firms and shown us how we can utilize those to enhance our business.”

Under the North Texas Toll Authority ROAD program, mentors and protégés meet on a regular basis to build their strategic partnership. ROAD also has a networking component that allows all the prime contractors and sub-contractors in the program to become better acquainted through quality time at various events.

After six years the North Texas Toll Authority ROAD program is seeing a second generation of mentors … subcontractors that started out in the program as mentees, have now become primes and mentors to other subcontractors in the ROAD program.

EJES has moved from mentee to mentor to smaller businesses. In 2014 it became a mentor to Design Consulting Engineers (DCE) through the ROAD program.

“We provide added value to the mentoring program because of our understanding of the challenges small businesses face that larger firms are unable to address,” said Edwin Jones, CEO/President of EJES.


The Infiltrator Movie Review: Bryan Cranston As Robert Mazur

Bryan Cranston Infiltrator Movie Review

Infiltrator Movie Review: Bryan Cranston As DEA Robert Mazur

The Infiltrator is a riveting drama based on a true story, distributed by Broad Green Pictures, rated R for violence and language, sexual content and drug material. Written by Ellen Brown Furman and directed by Brad Furman, the film runs 127 minutes and opened in area theaters earlier this week.

Bryan Cranston is every bit as good as we thought he would be in the role of Robert Mazur. Mazur is a real-life drug enforcement agent who brought down a multi-million dollar Colombian drug empire run by Pablo Escobar in the 1980s. Going “deep undercover” in his case, meant living for days or weeks at a time as Bob Musella, a ruthless tycoon who laundered drug money for even more ruthless clients.

His sidekick in pretend crime was a wild man, Emir Ebreu, perfectly portrayed by John Leguizamo in the film. While in real life Mazur was a happily married family man, his cover role had a fiancé, a customs agent played by the lovely Diane Kruger.

The film can be confusing in the beginning, with audiences required to pay close attention to tell the good guys from the really, really bad guys. One of the most likeable characters is a sophisticated Escobar lieutenant played by Benjamin Bratt. He and Mazur had a close working relationship verging on friendship and mutual affection, obviously doomed to end badly.

As we pause to thank our law enforcement officers for their sacrifices for our safety, heroes like Robert Mazur and Emir Ebreu also deserve our gratitude for going beyond the call of duty. Their efforts led to indictments of 85 drug lords and the collapse of one of the world’s largest money-laundering banks.

This is not a film meant for family entertainment, since the language and violence definitely deserve the R rating.




Legend Of Tarzan Movie Review

Legend of Tarzan movie review

Legend of Tarzan Movie Review: You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down


To prove you can’t keep a good man down—or a good story from coming back again and again—the newest version of “The Legend of Tarzan” opened nationwide on area movie screens last week.

Lionsgate Pictures new action/adventure film is rated PG 13 for sequences of action and violence, some sensuality and brief rude dialogue. Directed by David Yates II, written by Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer, the movie runs 109 minutes and can be seen in IMAX, 3-D or (in the screening we attended) 2D versions.

Personally I’m glad to have seen the 2D version. There were more than enough nail-biting action scenes without their jumping off the screen to knock me back from the edge of my seat.

In this updated Tarzan film John Clayton III, aka Lord Greystoke, or the man formerly known as Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard), is now leading the life of an aristocrat in 1890’s London. Along with his beloved wife Jane (lovely Margot Robbie) he has no interest in returning to Africa or the jungle.

He finally agrees to return as a trade emissary for Parliament, unaware it’s all an evil scheme orchestrated by murderous Belgian Captain Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz). Rom plans to deliver Tarzan to an old enemy, a tribal chief (Djimon Hounson) who wants revenge for his son’s death. In exchange, the Belgians gain access to mountains of diamonds they plan to use to enslave all the natives.

Also involved, and along for the romp through the jungle, is Samuel L. Jackson as a Civil War veteran sent to represent the U.S.

But enough of the plot, here’s what you’ll remember from the film:infant Tarzan being cradled by his foster mother; an ape (the animals aren’t real, but simulations); young Tarzan saving Jane’s life from his own tribe of apes; lots of swinging through the jungle on vines; and some steamy love scenes between the extremely photogenic Jane and Tarzan.

When all the noise and dust settles, rest assured there’s going to be a happy ending for our legends. Who could ask for anything more?


50th Camaro Anniversary Celebration Is This August

Camaro Anniversary Celebration Set For August Al Oppenheiser
Tabatha Chovanetz and Kristin Barclay give the thumbs up to their friend, Camaro Chief Engineer Al Oppenheiser, during the Camaro launch event.

and, No, it never was going to be a Panther!

A few months ago I wrote that I had a special opportunity to drive the new 2017 Chevrolet Camaro as part of the Find New Roads campaign from Detroit to New York. I found the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro the best I had ever driven and loved it immensely. I felt so strongly about the next gen Camaro, that I wrote my article on the car while riding in the passenger seat while my son, David, drove it on the final leg of our journey. I posted my article to the internet via the onboard 4G LTE wi-fi hotspot built into the car – an innovative feature I absolutely love.

This week, I received a press release that the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Camaro will be held this August in Detroit (hold on folks, I’m sure there will be “sub-celebrations” throughout the country as well – keep up with FocusDailyNews.com and the newspaper itself for updates).

On June 28 1966, 1966 Chevrolet officially introduced the public to the “Camaro”, so it’s fitting that the announcement of the anniversary celebrations are being announced fifty years to the day after the Camaro name was publically revealed.

Camaro Anniversary Celebration In Detroit

Festivities that have been announced thus far include:

  • A celebration at and tours of the Lansing Grand River plant, where the Camaro is built, on Aug. 18. Camaro owners and enthusiasts will be hosted throughout the day with a special heritage display and sessions with many Chevrolet team members and the legendary Chief Engineer for the vehicle, Al Oppenheiser. Plant tours will be held every 45 minutes throughout the day from 7 am until 3:30 pm (registration for the tours will be required onsite).
  • “Camaros and Coffee” will be held beginning at 7:30 am on August 19 at the Joe Louis Arena Riverfront parking lot on Steve Yzerman Drive in downtown Detroit. Parking will only be available for 500 Camaros, so those wishing to attend should arrive early or plan to park somewhere else in the immediate vicinity. Then, at 9:30 am, special 50th Anniversary edition Camaros will lead a Camaro Rally toward Woodward Avenue, where they will drive the famous cruise route.
  • The next day, August 20, a special Camaro heritage display at Chevrolet’s site for the Woodward Dream Cruise will include rare and milestone examples from the car’s six generations, including the all-new 2017 Camaro ZL1 and 1LE models.

“Over the past half-century, the Camaro has fostered enthusiasm, camaraderie and memories like few other vehicles,” said Steve Majoros, marketing director of Chevrolet Cars and Crossovers. “It’s a passion Chevrolet takes seriously and the activities this summer are a way of giving back to those who have made the Camaro an icon.”

“This is an unprecedented opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at building the Camaro from the ground up,” said Todd Christensen, Camaro marketing manager. “Whether you’re a Camaro owner or simply a fan, it’s an event you won’t want to miss.”

The original June 28, 1966, announcement of the Camaro’s name was a tongue-in-cheek press conference hosted by Chevrolet general manager Pete Estes, who announced everyone in attendance – including reporters from 14 cities on the line in a first-of-its kind teleconference – were charter members of the Society for the Elimination of Panthers from the Automotive World. He said it was the first and last meeting of the group, before revealing the name Camaro.

The Panther reference had floated in the news for the previous two years, when word got out Chevrolet was working on the Camaro. The project was code-named Panther, but Chevrolet had always intended to give the car a “C” name to follow the convention of its other car models such as Chevelle and Corvette. The “Panther society” press conference playfully put to rest the speculated name for the new car.

When asked about the meaning of Camaro upon its introduction, some Chevrolet managers reportedly said it was a small, vicious animal that ate Mustangs. The public got its first look at the all-new Camaro in September 1966. In its first model year, the Camaro achieved 220,906 sales.

Peaceful Protest Turns Deadly In Dallas

shooting at dallas rally

Gunman Opens Fire On Police In Downtown Dallas

DALLAS—A peaceful protest in downtown Dallas turned deadly on Thursday. Just minutes after a rally in response to recent reports of excessive force and police involved shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota a lone gunmen opened fire killing 5 Dallas police officers and wounding 7 others.

The suspect, who died in a El Centro College parking garage, was later identified as Micah Xavier Johnson. Private First Class Johnson was a military veteran who had served in Afghanistan, and told negotiators he was upset about police shootings and wanted to kill white police officers. Reports say that up to four people had been taken in by police for questioning regarding the shooting but later it was determined that Johnson acted alone — and that he had been planning the attack for some time.

A Dallas police spokesperson said that Johnson intended to use an incendiary device as well, but after officers and negotiators cornered him in the parking garage the bomb robot defused the device using what is described as a ‘controlled detonation’ which killed Johnson in the process.

Rev. Jeff Hood, one of the organizers of the march, said it was always intended to be nonviolent, and that the attack was “not the work of peaceful protesters. This was the work of people who had planned this out very much in advance.”

President Obama spoke from Warsaw, Poland at the NATO summit stating that “There is no possible justification for these kinds of attacks or any violence against law enforcement,” and “today is a wrenching reminder of the sacrifices they make for us.” He also said, “we also know when people are armed with powerful weapons, unfortunately, it makes attacks like these more deadly and more tragic.”

Calls For Peace After Shooting At Dallas Rally

In the following days there were prayer vigils, moments of silence and calls for peace all over North Texas and across the United States.

“Today we mourn the loss of our fallen police officers and pray for their families. We pray for the recovery of the wounded- both police and civilian. And we pray for an end to the violence and bloodshed that came to our city yesterday evening. We have experienced inconceivable pain over the past week. We must all come together to heal our nation’s wounds rather than incite more pain. AND We must treat each other with dignity and kindness- not hate and distrust.” State Representative Helen Giddings

Public opinions continue to waiver on the motivations of the shooter. Dallas Police Chief David Brown calls the acts of Johnson ‘terroristic’ while President Obama calls the actions of mentally unstable army veteran ‘demented’. One thing is certain it has started a serious dialogue in North Texas on the impact of race relations that have even reached as far as the Sunday morning pulpit.

“It is a profound tragedy that peaceful protest of the unjust killings of two black men by police was shattered by the tragic and senseless murder of five law enforcement officers by a sniper. I extend my deepest prayers and sympathies to the families of those public servants, and to the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Now is a time for the faith community to stand as a beacon of hope and light in the face of darkness and violence. “Said Dr. Frederick Douglass Haynes III, Senior Pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church. “Although the deaths of Sterling and Castile serve as another disturbing reminder of a culture of escalation and racial prejudice in law enforcement, we must work together if we hope to ever emerge as one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”


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