A 31-year-old man faces criminal charges after police found his four sons — who are all 5 or younger and appeared to have "limited contact" with the outside world — living in squalid conditions at his South Dallas apartment.
Robert Preston was booked into the Dallas County jail late Saturday on four counts of abandoning or endangering a child with the intent to return.
Police were called to the Rosemont at Meadow Lane apartments in the 4700 block of Meadow Street, near Elsie Faye Heggins Street and South Second Avenue, around 6:30 p.m. after a resident reported finding a young child running around in a road at the complex. The 3-year-old boy was wearing a T-shirt and shivering — the temperature at the time was around 40 degrees — and had only one shoe, the woman told police.
Record rainfall in most of North Texas last fall definitely bodes well for our bluebonnet forecast. In fact, we can already see their basal rosettes (with Texas star-shaped leaflets) growing in dense patches all over the metroplex.
We’ve had ample well-timed rainfall this winter as well, assuring that moisture is not likely to limit their growth (if it keeps up). Now we just need some sunny, warmer spring days over the next month to help them send those dense blue flower spikes up! In fact, there are already pictures of bluebonnets blooming in South Texas on social media.
"Bluebonnets, from what I can tell, are going to have a good year," said Andrea DeLong-Amaya, with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. "We've had a lot of moisture and it's been warm and sunny. I'm seeing a lot of [bluebonnet] plants; as long as we don't get bogged down in a spell of prolonged rainy weather — which can cause rot — they should do well," added DeLong-Amaya.
But ample rainfall and temperature aren’t the only factors that effect wildflower blooming cycles. Frequent mowing on roadsides and or grazing by cattle in fields can also be a deterrent. So can the aggressive roadside weed, “bastard cabbage”, which is starting to out compete many of our favorite native Texas Wildflowers in some areas.
Overall, I think we can probably assume that this spring is going to be an above average to excellent year for wildflowers in our area. I love bluebonnets as much as the next Texan and am excited about the possibility for a bumper crop. But folks should also check out the other amazing native wildflowers like firewheel (Gaillardia), monarda, paintbrushes and coreopsis that grow in the same general vicinity as our state wildflower!
"He's a fine judge. He knows what he's doing. He's not going to do something that's irresponsible. That's a very good order that should be followed," Hinton said.
Hinton was friends with Tobolowsky since high school. He followed the murder investigation and all the evidence from the beginning.
"Cell phone records, all kinds of things and it just went cold. I spoke to the detectives many times. And it appeared to me that they thought they were on a pretty hot case," he said.
Tobolowsky had many friends at the Dallas County Courthouse but also enemies. Persons of interest were identified in the investigation who were involved in legal tangles with the attorney.
The City of Dallas claimed in court records that police have a law enforcement privilege to withhold information about an ongoing investigation. In his ruling, Judge Molberg said the city failed to establish that privilege.
"This is a cold case and they're not doing anything about it," Hinton said. "All they're doing, it appears to me, is trying to mask their incompetence. The fact that they can't go anywhere, haven't gotten anywhere in this case is absurd. It just adds more pain to the Tobolowsky's family."
Attorney Michael Tobolowsky took over his father legal practice. He did not return messages about this case. The Dallas County District Attorney's office and Dallas City Attorney did not return messages Thursday.
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A push is underway this legislative session in Austin, to require large Texas colleges and universities to set up campus polling sites for elections. Meanwhile, in Denton, there's a battle shaping up over whether the University of North Texas should get its own polling place for the upcoming May election.
Muhammad Kara thinks his fellow UNT students should have a voice. It's one of the reasons he ran for student government president.
"They feel discouraged to vote because they don't have the time," he explained. "And if they don't have the time they're not going to make that a priority."
The city of Denton is responsible for setting polling locations for the May election. The issue of whether to put a polling site on campus has been held up, over ethics and conflict of interest questions. Two members of Denton City Council, which has the final say, also have ties to UNT. Council member Deb Armintor is a professor there, as is the wife of fellow council member Paul Meltzer. An ethics panel this month ruled both must abstain from voting on or discussing city matters which pertain to the university.
"I'm going to assume politics is the reason why some don't want this to happen," said Kara.
An Austin-based state representative, democrat Gina Hinojosa, has introduced a bill which would place polling sites at 22 Texas college and university campuses with student populations over 10,000. Currently, less than a third have them.
"I think students really want to vote," said Kara. "But there are so many barriers that are put in place that discourage them."
He believes that could change, if those barriers were removed. Denton city council could take up the issue again, next week.
Federal prosecutors say an IRS investigator in California has admitted leaking confidential details of financial transactions by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen to Michael Avenatti, lawyer for Stormy Daniels, NBC News reported.
John C. Fry has been charged in federal court with searching for and disseminating Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs), reports filed by banks when they note potentially suspicious transactions.
Federal officials say they found telephone records that indicate Fry placed a phone call from his personal cell phone to that of Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti the day before Avenatti released details of Cohen's financial transactions, and the day after.
The top 10 finalist for Big Tex’s boot designs have been chosen.
Over 250 designs were submitted from throughout the county and an internal judging panel narrowed those 250 designs to just 10. Now it’s fans of the State Fair of Texas who will decide what Big Tex’s boots will look like for this upcoming state fair.
NBC 5 and Telemundo 39 teamed up with Albertsons and Tom Thumb to donate food to the "Don't Forget to Feed Me" pet food bank. Together we donated $10,000 worth of food. That adds up to about 21,000 of food. This part is all part of our mission to help "Clear The Shelters."
With lower gas prices, key safety features and the desire for versatility, consumers have spoken: SUVs are now more popular than cars, so it’s not surprising that many of our Consumer Reports top picks are SUVs.
“We’re looking at our exclusive reliability data, we’re looking at our tests on our test track, we’re looking at safety information. We’re looking at all of the information that’s important when you buy a car,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports Car Expert.
The Hyundai Kona was the top SUBCOMPACT SUV. CR testers found it a joy to drive and they were impressed that every trim comes standard with life-saving safety features including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assist.
“There were actually two Subarus on the list this year, two SUVs,” said Fisher.
The popular Forester took the top COMPACT SUV spot. With a roomy interior and fuel economy that tops the class.
Need more room? The larger 3-row Ascent rolled right into CR’s top spot for MIDSIZED SUV.
“It really offers a lot of room and a lot of function. And this is a new entry for them, but in reality, it’s actually based on some of their other models, it actually has the same underpinnings as the Subaru Forester, so we expect the reliability will be good as well,” Fisher explained.
Ready to splurge and treat yourself? The BMW X5 came in as CR’s top LUXURY SUV. CR declared the redesigned 2019 model one of the best SUVs it has ever tested.
Also rounding out Consumer Reports' list for this year are four cars from Toyota, including hybrid versions of the Camry and Avalon sedans, the Prius and the Yaris. Top full-sized pickup for 2019: The Ford F-150.
Collin County residents will have to look somewhere other than the local district clerk's office for U.S. Passports.
District Clerk Lynne Finley said her passport offices in Plano and McKinney were placed on indefinite suspension in December by the Dallas Passport Agency, a subdivision of the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, blocking them from handling new applications.
Finley said the move comes after a 5-year passport fraud investigation by State Department officials, "despite the agency's own investigative arm having cleared the two passport offices she runs in Plano and McKinney."
"As soon as I learned of an investigation I reached out to the Diplomatic Security Service and after spending hours with the agents working on the investigation, the Dallas Passport Agency suspended our offices against the advice of DSS," Finley said. "We've done everything we possibly can do to cooperate and DSS found nothing wrong with the way we handle passport applications. The Dallas Passport Agency continues to treat us with contempt when we suggest improvements in the processes to try and prevent passport fraud. Collin County embraces change if it makes a process more effective, efficient and protects the integrity of the process."
Finley said her office handled nearly 40,000 passport applications last year, resulting in $1 million in handling fees that went to the county's general fund, and was one of the largest passport facilities in North Texas.
Finley said she was made aware her office may have received one suspect passport, but that she and her staff were later exonerated. She said her office is being retaliated against by the Dallas Passport Agency because she pointed out flaws in that agency's own procedures during the Diplomatic Security Service investigation.
She said the Dallas agency counters that she is in violation of their rules, but has refused to specify what violations, if any, have been noted.
In a statement released to the media, Finley said questions posed by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Van Taylor have all been ignored. NBC 5 reached out to the offices of those elected officials but has not yet received a response.
"When a federal agency refuses to answer questions of any kind to our Senators, Congressman and elected officials tasked with running a Passport Acceptance Program, clearly there is no oversight or accountability," Finley said in her statement. "It is a shame that Collin County residents are going to be greatly inconvenienced and I may lose some very competent employees through no fault of their own but we need to evoke change in this process and hold the State Department accountable for these failings."
Collin County residents, meanwhile, can still file passport applications at local post offices.