BREAKING: DA Susan Hawk resigning

Posted on 06 Sep 2016 at 12:29pm
Hawk.Susan

DA Susan Hawk

WFAA Channel 8 is reporting that Dallas District Attorney Susan Hawk will resign.

By waiting until a week after the deadline in early August, Hawk ensured that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will name her replacement to finish the term, rather than allowing voters to select a new D.A. During her year-and-a-half in office, Hawk has battled depression and has taken two extended leaves of absence.

Soon after coming into office, she created quite a bit of controversy by firing a number of high-level prosecutors and staff. One, prosecutor Cindy Stormer, filed a petition to remove her from office, but a San Antonio judge dismissed the case.

Over the past year, Hawk has held two community forums for the LGBT community at Cathedral of Hope in support of the investigation into a series of attacks on gay men in Oak Lawn.

Hawk is the first Republican to win county-wide office in Dallas since 2004.

Channel 8 reports that Hawk has only worked 66 days this year. She returned to work in August after a 12-week absence.

POST A COMMENT »

Parkland program identifies those at risk for suicide

Posted on 06 Sep 2016 at 10:33am
Parkland

Parkland Hospital

Experts at Parkland Health & Hospital System have developed an innovative suicide prevention program using an algorithm in the electronic health record that triggers the appropriate clinical intervention depending on the patient’s answers to a few simple questions.

Suicide in the U.S. has surged to the highest rate in almost 30 years. From 1999 to 2014, the suicide rate rose by 24 percent according to a study by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Sept. 5-11 is Suicide Prevention Week. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, with one suicide occurring on average every 12.3 minutes.

Parkland launched its Universal Suicide Screening Program last year to identify those at risk and help save lives by intervening immediately. Parkland has more than 250,000 Emergency Department patient encounters and more than 1 million outpatient encounters annually.

“To our knowledge we are the first big hospital system in the U.S. to implement a universal screening program for suicide risk and the data we are gathering will be significant for other organizations in the future,” said Kimberly Roaten, director of quality for safety, education and implementation, Department of Psychiatry at Parkland and associate professor of psychiatry at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

According to Roaten, 77 percent of people who die by suicide had contact with a primary care provider in the months before their death.

“We want to use every patient encounter at Parkland as an opportunity to identify those at risk,” Roaten said.

The standardized suicide risk screening was added at all Parkland facilities including its community health centers and for all inmates at the Dallas County Jail. Parkland hired psychiatric social workers and trained nursing staff to implement the program.

The Parkland algorithm sorts patients into three suicide risk categories based on their answers to the screening questions: no risk identified, moderate risk identified and high risk identified.

Those at high risk are immediately placed under one-to-one supervision, suicide precautions are implemented, and an evaluation by a behavioral health clinician is initiated. Patients at moderate risk are automatically referred to a psychiatric social worker and usually are seen during the same visit. If a patient chooses not to speak with a psychiatric social worker during the visit, they receive a follow-up phone call to provide additional support and resources.

Emergency has found about 2 percent of patients to be at high risk and 4 percent at moderate risk for suicide. In the inpatients units 0.2 percent of patients were high risk and 0.8 percent were moderate risk. Patients screened at Parkland COPCs were found to have 1.8 percent at moderate risk and 0.15 percent at high risk of suicide.

 

 

 

POST A COMMENT »

Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown announces his retirement

Posted on 01 Sep 2016 at 2:00pm
Chief David O. Brown

Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown

Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown announced his retirement today (Thursday, Sept. 1), less than two months after an assassin killed five police officers and wounded five other officers and two civilians.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Brown spoke about each police officer being asked to do more things than any person is capable of doing. He will be remembered by his officers for serenading them with Stevie Wonder lyrics at a memorial service. President Barack Obama, who attended the service with the first lady and the Bidens and the Bushes, told Brown he was glad he met Michelle first because she loves Stevie Wonder.

Brown gave no reason for his retirement from DPD, but talked about the fallen officers in his letter announcing that he is stepping down. A month earlier, Brown attended a rally at Resource Center and spoke to 1,000 people mourning the victims of the Pulse massacre in Orlando.

Brown has served in the Dallas Police Department for 33 years; his retirement is effective Oct. 22.

Chief Brown’s statement on the Dallas Police blog:

After much prayer, I am announcing my retirement from the Dallas Police Department after 33 years as a Dallas police officer.  My retirement will be effective October 22, 2016.

Serving the citizens of Dallas in this noble profession has been both a true honor and a humbling experience.

Thank you to Mayors, City Managers and Dallas City Council members past and present for allowing me to serve. Thank you for the service you have provided for this great city.

I became a Dallas cop in 1983 because of the crack cocaine epidemic’s impact on my neighborhood in Oak Cliff.  I wanted to be part of the solution. Since that time I have taken great pride in knowing that we have always been part of the solution and helped to make Dallas the world class city it is today.

Let’s always remember the fallen officers including the five officers on July 7, 2016, and the brave men and women of the Dallas Police Department for their sacrifices to keep Dallas safe.  Their memory will remain with all of us forever.  I know the people of Dallas will never forget the ultimate sacrifice they made on the streets of our city that awful night.

Officers, your extraordinary service will forever be etched in my heart and will serve as a guidepost for me in the next phase of my life.  You will always be in my prayers.

I want to thank my family for their love and  support.

This is a difficult decision.  I pray for your understanding and well wishes.

Finally, I want to acknowledge my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for my life, health, and strength.  I pray for His continued blessings over my life.

Thank you Dallas and God bless!!

~Chief David O. Brown

POST A COMMENT »

Trump campaign disavows Oak Lawn-based PAC

Posted on 31 Aug 2016 at 4:59pm
donald-trump

Donald Trump

The Donald Trump campaign filed paperwork today disavowing any connection with Ian Hawes or the American Horizons PAC. The address listed for the PAC is 3824 Cedar Springs Road, which is the UPS Store. The box # is 801-4905.

Hawes is promising that people who contribute will be entered into a drawing to have dinner with Trump.

The Trump committee filed a report “to disavow the below mentioned committee which appears to be using Donald J. Trump’s name, image, likeness, or slogans in connection with soliciting contributions and conducting other activities.”

The Trump filing claims Hawes’ activities are not authorized by Trump or his committee and that contributions made through the PAC are not being made to the Trump campaign.

According to The Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, D.C., American Horizons reported taking in $349,958 and had spent $261,760 in its latest report dated June 30. Donors who gave more than $200 are listed. Few are from Texas.

In 2010, when Hawes was 19, he was arrested in Maryland for theft of between $1,000 and $10,000 for which he was given probation.

The UPS Store has no information about anyone associated with the listed box number.

POST A COMMENT »

Pulse hero to be honored by AMPA

Posted on 31 Aug 2016 at 2:32pm
 Imran Yousuf

Imran Yousuf

Imran Yousuf will be honored with the 2016 AMPA Community Hero Award at the inaugural American Military Partner Association West Coast Gala on Saturday, Sept. 17 in San Diego.

Yousuf, a recent Marine Corps veteran, is widely credited with having saved more than 70 lives during the June 12 Pulse massacre in Orlando, the worst mass shooting in modern United States history.
Yousef worked as a bouncer at the club.

“Imran represents the best of America and the best of America’s military community, as evidenced by his quick and heroic actions amid the chaos and carnage of the tragedy in Orlando,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “While he humbly may not consider himself a hero, his courageous actions in the face of mortal danger that saved the lives of more than 70 of our LGBT brothers and sisters say otherwise. He is certainly a hero to our community and to all of America, and we are proud to honor Imran with our 2016 Community Hero Award at the inaugural AMPA West Coast Gala in San Diego.”

Since the shooting, Yousuf has only made one other public appearance — when he served as honorary grand marshal of the Houston Pride Parade in June.

Yousef served as an engineer equipment electrical systems technician in the Marine Corps from 2010-2016, including a deployment to Afghanistan in 2011.

POST A COMMENT »

S. Florida man threatens to attack to ‘exterminate’ gay men

Posted on 31 Aug 2016 at 2:13pm

jungwirthSouth Florida’s LGBT community — and law enforcement — are on high alert this week after a local man posted numerous threats against LGBT people on Instagram, claiming that what he is “planning for Labor Day” will be worse than the June 12 mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

The shooting at Pulse left 49 victims and the shooter dead, and another 53 people wounded. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

Impulse South Florida, the local chapter of the national volunteer HIV/AIDS education and advocacy organization, on Tuesday, Aug. 30, posted screen captures of Craig Jungwirth’s posts on Instagram from that same day, along with a photo of Jungwirth himself (see above) and a warning to be on the look out for him.

In the posts, which appear to be part of a conversation with a man named David Herbert, Jungwirth says, “My events are selling out cause you faggots are total patsies. None of you deserve to live. If you losers thought the Pulse nightclub shooting was bad, wait till you see what I’m planning for Labor Day.”

When Herbert replies that Jungwirth is “fucking crazy” and that he is calling police, Jungwirth continues, “You can never catch a genius from MIT and since you faggots are dying from AIDS anymore, I have a better solution to exterminate you losers. …

“I’m gonna be killing you fags faster than cops kill niggers. It’s time to clean up Wilton Manors from all you AIDS infested losers.”

In posting the screen caps to the Impulse South Florida Facebook page, representatives of the organization said Jungwirth has made other “extreme posts” on Instagram, and that he “has been known to be in Wilton Manors and Orlando.” Wilton Manors is located just north of Fort Lauderdale.

In a statement to Dallas Voice on Wednesday, Aug. 31, via Impulse Dallas representative Erik Vasquez, Impulse United Vice President and Impulse South Florida representative A.J. Alegria said, “All local law enforcement has been notified and are working on [Jungwirth]. Our close friend is the captain of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. He has been communicating with use. We have been directing everyone to law enforcement. The FBI has also been notified.”

LGBT media in the South Florida area earlier this year — including Peacock Panache and South Florida Gay News — outed Jungwirth as a scam artist, noting that he had taken over the Beach Bear Weekend event in Florida and used it to scam money from the LGBT community. As Tim Peacock with Peacock Panache reported, “What began as a story of his harassment of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence exploded after information surfaced that not only were the events listed for his Beach Bear Weekend event fake but also all hotel bookings through the event website didn’t actually reserve local hotels.”

Peacock said that after he published stories about that situation, Jungwirth “embarked on a harassment campaign” against Peacock Panache and its writers, sent harassing text messages, left “vaguely threatening voice mails,” left spam and threats on the Peacock Panache’s social media pages and comments sections and “even attempted to hack our server several times to access the articles written about him.”

NBC 6 News out of Miami reports that Jungwirth “has a lengthy criminal history which includes stalking charges,” and “a handful of restraining orders” against him. The TV station also said Facebook has deleted Jungwirth’s profile.

Dallas Voice has contacted police departments in both Wilton Manors and Fort Lauderdale for information and we are awaiting their responses. But NBC 6 says police departments in the area — and the LGBT community — are taking the threats seriously. You can watch NBC 6’s report below.

POST A COMMENT »

Paxton sues Waller County over licensed carry ban

Posted on 30 Aug 2016 at 5:09pm
Ken-Paxton-mug

Texas AG Ken Paxton

As if he weren’t busy enough suing the federal government, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton managed to make time to sue one of his own state’s 254 counties, defending people’s right to carry guns in government offices.

Paxton sent out a press release today bragging that he has sued Waller County “to bring it into compliance with the state’s licensed carry laws.”

According to the press release, Paxton “gave Waller County final notice to comply with the law” on Aug. 10. When county officials refused to give in Litigious Ken (I’m borrowing from the Donald Trump playbook and giving him a catchy nickname) decided to sue. (Last week, in announcing that he had filed suit against the federal government over HHS regulations banning discrimination against transgender people in health care, Paxton noted it was his 13th lawsuit, in less than 2 years, against the federal government.)

 

Paxton’s press release notes that the lawsuit “requires [Waller] county to allow citizens to lawfully carry firearms in areas of the Waller County Courthouse that contain non-judicial county administrative offices, such as the county clerk, county treasurer and county elections offices, as the law requires.”

The press release goes on to quote Litigious Ken as saying, “A local government cannot be allowed to flout Texas’s (sic) licensed carry laws, or any state law, simply because it disagrees with the law or doesn’t feel like honoring it. I will vigilantly protect and preserve the Second Amendment rights of Texans.”

Let me take a moment to remind you all that the man who is so diligently demanding that Waller County follow the law has already been fined by the Texas State Securities Board, in 2014, for failing to disclose that he had been paid to solicit investment clients on behalf of a firm that was paying him a commission, and now faces additional state and federal securities fraud charges. You can read about it here in this Texas Monthly article. Apparently he’s the only person allowed to flout the law because he doesn’t feel like honoring it.

I will give him this, though: Paxton isn’t demanding that Waller County do anything he isn’t willing to do (except, you know, obey the law). I called and checked, and his office in Austin allows those with licenses to carry to bring their guns into his offices.

POST A COMMENT »

New ‘Queer Ghost Hunters’ web series launching

Posted on 30 Aug 2016 at 2:30pm

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 2.15.46 PM

I know that a lot of people think the ghost hunting/ghost stories shows that have become so popular on TV over the last few years are pretty hokey. And yeah, ok, most of them are. But I still watch them. Except that one with Zak WhatsHisName. He gets on my nerves.

But this week I got an announcement about what may well turn out to be my all-time favorite of the genre: Queer Ghost Hunters.

Queer Ghost Hunters is a new web series set to debut on YouTube in October. In addition to being the month of Halloween, October is also LGBT History Month, which fits right in with part of the theme of the show: “The docu-series follows real people discovering stories of the queer past in places as diverse as the Ohio State Reformatory, where the film Shawshank Redemption was just — just one of many reportedly haunted places where LGBTQ people were often imprisoned, lived or worked in greater numbers that the general population,” according to the QGH press release. Queer Ghost Hunters looks at very real history, no matter what you believe, while parodying other ‘ghost hunting’ shows.”

As ghost hunter Lori Gum says in the trailer for the series, “The places most ghosts are found, we [LGBT people] were the people in those places.”

The series focuses on the work of Stonewall Columbus Queer Ghosthunters, “the first known group of its kind,” who “investigate haunted sites, asking for the first time if there are queer ghosts that wish to come out to them,” and — so the press release says — actually documenting on film some of those contacts with queer ghosts.

The series is produced by the same folks who brought you Gen Silent and Reel in the ClosetStu Maddux Films. Maddux himself notes that while the SCQG members “really believe in what they are doing,” they are also well aware “how bizarre it all looks. So their ability to have fun at their own expense has been just as fun to document.”

Maddux’s husband and co-producer, Joe Applebaum, adds, “It is the perfect combination of real findings and funny moments wrapped into a campy version of ghost hunting shows.”

I have already subscribed to their YouTube channel and “liked” their Facebook page, and I will be watching when Season 1 debuts on Oct. 1. Take a look at the trailer, below, and see if you want to be watching then, too.

POST A COMMENT »

Texas schools on Campus Pride’s ‘Shame List’

Posted on 29 Aug 2016 at 3:57pm

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 3.49.42 PMCampus Pride — a national organization for LGBTQ and ally college students and campus groups that each year releases its “Best of the Best” list of college campuses with the most inclusive LGBTQ-friendly policies, programs and practices — has this year, for the first time, issued a list of the most anti-LGBTQ campuses across the country.

The “Shame List” enumerates 102 campuses that openly discriminate against LGBTQ youth in policies, programs and campuses, and it includes several schools in Texas: Arlington Baptist College in Arlington, Criswell College in Dallas, East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, University of Dallas in Irving, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton and Wayland Baptist University in Plainview.

Shane Windmeyer, Campus Pride’s executive director, said, “Most people are shocked when they learn that there are college campuses still today that openly discriminate against LGBTQ youth, It is an unspoken secret in higher education how they use religion as a tool for cowardice and discrimination.”

The Shame List, Windmeyer said, “uncovers the religion-based bigotry that is harmful and perpetuated against LGBTQ youth on these campuses.”

The Shame List was first published on Dec. 1 last year, highlighting 57 campuses that received or requested Title IX exemptions that would allow them to freely and openly discriminate against LGBTQ people. The schools applied privately for those waivers and often even faculty, staff and students didn’t know administrators were requesting permission to discriminate.

The U.S. Department of Education has since published the letters regarding Title IX exemptions online, and Campus Pride spent the last six months researching public records and compiling a database related to anti-LGBTQ policies, programs and practices. To included on the Shame List, schools had to have applied for a Title IX waiver and/or demonstrated a past history and track record of anti-LGBTQ behavior.

Windmeyer said his organization created and published the list for students and their families have a right to know what to expect from these schools, “and so do the corporations who do business with these campuses — from those who hire and recruit, to vendors who contract food service, sell books and make donations and in any other way provide goods or services to a college or university.”

The Shame List published this week includes the findings of those six months of work, and it will be updated annually.

POST A COMMENT »

The Rev. Todd Scoggins leaves CoH

Posted on 29 Aug 2016 at 3:31pm
Neil&Todd

The Rev. Todd Scoggins, right, with the Rev. Neil Cazares-Thomas on the pulpit at Cathedral of Hope.

The Rev. Todd Scoggins has announced he is leaving Cathedral of Hope after serving as associate pastor of the congregation since 2009.

Scoggins was instrumental in holding the congregation together after the church’s former senior pastor, the Rev. Jo Hudson, resigned suddenly in 2013. While going through a period of healing and a nationwide search for a new head pastor, Scoggins remained at Cathedral of Hope providing stability for the congregation while the Rev. Jim Mitulski served as interim senior pastor. After Mitulski left and before the Rev. Neil Cazares-Thomas arrived, Scoggins again offered the leadership the church needed.

A statement from the church read:

“On August 28, 2016, the Cathedral of Hope Church of Christ received the resignation of Reverend Todd Scoggins as Associate Pastor.  Todd has faithfully served our church for the past 7 years and we are extremely grateful for his service.

“In his resignation to the church Reverend Todd said this:

“‘Throughout scripture, the number 7 has great significance and it is often followed by a time of rest and restoration. I began to notice a feeling of imbalance in my life at the beginning of this year, but I allowed myself to be ‘too busy’ to give it much attention.’ He continued, ‘I want you to know my departure has nothing to do with Neil, the staff or the Board of Stewards…they have gone above and beyond in supporting me as I have wrestled with this reality that God is doing a new thing in me.’

“There will be a farewell reception to honor Todd scheduled for Friday, September 9, 2016 from 5:00 -8:00 pm at the Interfaith Peace Chapel located on the campus of Cathedral of Hope.”

POST A COMMENT »