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Why Dallas City Hall, a developer and the feds are so interested in a ‘crime-infested blight on a hillside’ in Oak Cliff

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Somehow we — by which I mean City Hall, the media, the poor — always land back here, on 16 acres of federally subsidized housing next to Dallas National Golf Club, where former President Barack Obama shoots a round whenever he comes to town.

The 250-unit Ridgecrest Terrace complex is, again, Dallas City Hall’s latest obsession. Politicians and attorneys are fighting over it. A Colorado company wants to buy the property from its New Jersey owner and needs the city’s help but might not get it. Then there are the feds, demanding answers.

And caught in the middle are the people who live at what this newspaper in 2011 called a “crime-infested blight on a hillside,” because they cannot afford to live anywhere else. Don’t forget them. Not again. Not this time.

If the dust-up over this wedge of poverty planted a tree line away from so much wealth isn’t The Story of Dallas, it’s close. Maybe a chip shot away.

Ridgecrest Terrace is infamous in part for the people who died here. The 19-year-old shot to death in 1995. Todd Krodle, the Dallas firefighter who fell through an improperly repaired roof in 2011. The mother who was stabbed to death in front of her two young children in 2014.

And for the second time in a decade, city attorneys allege in a lawsuit that the complex built in 1969 is a dangerous and “unsanitary” place where people “habitually go to commit crimes of disorderly conduct, aggravated assault, arson, criminal mischief, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated robbery.”

The city filed its suit Aug. 28. Housing and Urban Development officials said Thursday that they found out about it one month later. HUD funds the vouchers tied to Ridgecrest, but they’re administered by Austin-based Southwest Housing Compliance Corp.

Workers were dropping off fire extinguishers at units Wednesday. Until this week, there was just one extinguisher per building.(Robert Wilonsky/Staff)

Workers were dropping off fire extinguishers at units Wednesday. Until this week, there was just one extinguisher per building.  (Robert Wilonsky/Staff)

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Dallas

BEER BARON: Man steals five cases of beer from Arlington store

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 – Police are looking for a beer baron who stole several cases of beer from a convenience store.

Arlington PD tweeted pictures Wednesday of the man who stole five cases of Bud Light from a store in the 5000 block of Little School Road.

Police say the suspect got away in a gray Dodge truck.

Anyone who recognizes him is urged to call Det. Thompson at 817-459-6054 or email leonor.thompson@arlingtontx.gov.

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Botham Jean’s Parents Meet With Dallas County District Attorney

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The parents of the man killed in his own apartment by a now-former Dallas police officer met for around three hours with Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson Tuesday for an update on the case.

Botham Jean was shot by off-duty officer Amber Guyger, who said she thought she was in her own apartment at the time and that Jean was a burglar.

Guyger shot Jean on Sept. 6, was charged with manslaughter Sept. 9 and fired Sept. 24.

District Attorney Faith Johnson has promised to conduct her own investigation and present the findings to a grand jury, which will decide what charges should go to trial.

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Two Lamar High School Juniors Killed in a Car Crash

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Two Arlington Lamar High School students and one of their mothers were killed in a crash in East Texas early Tuesday morning, authorities say.

Faith Whittaker and Jessica Brown, both 16, were riding in a Jeep Renegade driven by 36-year-old Chelsey Brewer when the car drifted off the roadway and crashed into a parked tractor-trailer in Lindale about 4:20 a.m. Monday, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, which was legally parked, was sleeping in the cab at the time and was not injured, DPS said.

Brewer was Whittaker’s mother and the two girls were cousins. The three were returning from a weekend trip to visit other family members in Mississippi, friends said.

In a tweet, Lamar High School said students Faith Whittaker and Jessica Brown “will be missed tremendously.”

 

Whittaker was involved in sports medicine and Brown, culinary arts.

Both girls were trainers for the school’s basketball team.

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