Five stories that have North Texas talking: New book on Lance Armstrong’s rise and fall as athlete and celebrity; Dallas Sex Trade investigated in new report; Dallas group’s #muttbombing dog adoption campaign goes viral; and more.
- Lance Armstrong’s fall from glory captured in new book from former Dallas Morning News reporter. Juliet Macur’s Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong expands upon the well-known narrative of Armstrong’s ascent to the top of the cycling world after overcoming testicular cancer, winning a record seven Tour de France titles, and eventually facing disgrace when he could no longer deny his use of performance enhancing drugs. Macur was allowed rare access to Armstrong as well as to key figures in Armstrong’s career and life who had previously not spoken with the media. From an examination of his childhood in Garland to his high profile life as a celebrity, Armstrong’s arrogance and manipulative personality are plain in his dealings with family, friends and foe alike. The New York Times review of Cycle of Lies, which praises Macur’s thorough reporting, sums up the book nicely with this take: “The fall of this champion was a long one, and he clipped every branch on the way down.”
- Driver kills 2 and injures 23 at South By Southwest. Initial reports from the incident indicate a possible drunken driver was fleeing from police before his car crossed a barricade and plowed through crowds of people in downtown Austin, and then killing a male cyclist and a woman riding a moped. The incident occurred around 12:30 a.m. near Red River Street as people were leaving a nightclub. The SXSW Festival attracts thousands of people every year that fill the streets of downtown Austin. Information continues to come in about this story and KERA will be updating throughout the day.
- Fort Worth Golf Courses $8 Million In The Hole. WFAA reports on four city-owned golf courses in Fort Worth that could cost taxpayers nearly $1 million just to stay open. The money would supplement the city golf fund that operates the courses and is more than $8 million in the red. The recessions of the past few decades, as well as more competition from other courses, are blamed for the fund’s poor financial state. City Council member Clyde Picht told the station that he hopes the situation improves even though a turnaround in fortunes doesn’t look like it’s on the horizon. “We pay our water bill because we need water. We pay our garbage bill because we need it. But golf? If you’re short of money, skip it this week or next week,” Picht said.
- Dallas Is One Of Seven Cities Examined in Landmark Report On Sex Trade. The Urban Institute released a Justice Department-funded study this week investigating and comparing the underground commercial sex industry in Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Miami, San Diego, Seattle, and Washington D.C. Since the sex trade largely exists in the black market, this report is the first attempt to figure out just how much money flows through the underground sex economy. Dallas is estimated to have a market reaching nearly $100 million in size. One of the more shocking revelations are the disparities in the money paid for prostitution and sex trafficking depending on the city. In Dallas, some individuals get paid as low as $5 per sex act. More revealing are the details in the report about the different ways girls and women are lured into sex trafficking. Some of the solutions suggested in the report are better sharing of information across law enforcement agencies as well as training judges and prosecutors how to better handle cases involving sex trafficking.
- Dallas group’s ‘#muttbombing’ campaign goes viral. Sad pictures of dogs in cages may tug at heartstrings, but Dallas Pets Alive is trying a more fun approach at getting dogs adopted. Together with local marketing firm Dieste, Inc., the group has started photoshopping pictures of dogs that need to be adopted into Instagram photos of celebrities and everyday people. Muttbombing is the doggy version of ‘photobombing’, and the campaign has gotten the attention of USA Today, the HuffingtonPost, and even CNN. Celebrities like Ryan Gosling, Kim Kardashian, and Jimmy Fallon have been muttbombed. Here is Sandy the dog muttbombing the Ellen Degeneres’ selfie tweeted from the Oscars. Dallas Pets Alive told the Dallas Morning News that the campaign has been an unqualified success, with 40 dog adoptions in 2 months. Their total placement for all of 2013 was 84.