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Tyler Police Looking for Mentally Challenged Teen

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Carlaina Nicole HopkinsTYLER — Tyler Police are currently asking for assistance in trying to locate a mentally challenged 15 year black female. Her name is Carlaina Nicole Hopkins. She was last seen yesterday afternoon at shortly after 3: 30 in the area of 1600 Rice Road. She was wearing a burgundy Dickey type school shirt and khaki capris pants. Her shoes are black with glitter. She is approximately 150 pounds and 5’03″ tall. She also has some medical conditions that require medicine. She is believed to be on foot and may be heading towards Gresham. If anyone knows of her location or sees her, please call 911 or the Tyler Police Department at 903-531-1000.

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Child Porn Judgment Has East Texas Link

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Supreme Court BuildingWASHINGTON (AP/Staff) – A major Supreme Court ruling Wednesday on child pornography restitution has an East Texas link. The court tossed out a judgment of nearly $3.4 million — money that was supposed to be paid to a woman by a man whose computer was found to contain two images of her as a child. The man is Doyle Randall Paroline of Brownsboro. Paroline was appealing the lower court order holding him responsible for the judgment associated with the ongoing Internet trade and viewing of images of the woman being raped by her uncle when she was 8 and 9 years old. The court says federal law limits how much money the victims of child porn can collect from people who viewed the material.

The woman is known in court papers by the pseudonym “Amy.” Her case against Paroline cited psychological care, lost income, and attorneys’ fees. Justice Anthony Kennedy said lower courts went too far when they said Paroline was responsible for all of the woman’s losses, without determining how much harm he caused her. A federal judge will now work out what that amount should be. Advocates for child porn victims argue that holding defendants liable for the entire amount of losses reflects the ongoing harm that victims suffer each time someone views the images online.

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Deputy Fired over Dog’s Fatal Shooting

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 3:45 pm

justiceforcandyfbEMORY — An East Texas deputy has been fired after shooting a family’s dog while responding to a burglary. The family is outraged after a necropsy shows their dog was shot dead while apparently moving away from law enforcement. KETK reports the family’s dog, Candy, was shot by a deputy responding to a burglary call at the home of Cole and Jayna Middleton on Farm to Market 514 in the Daughtery Community April 18. Officials with the Rains County Sheriff Office say Deputy Jerred Dooley responded to the call at 2:41 p.m., nearly two hours after the initial call for help. According to Rains County Communication Supervisor Patrick Wilson, the two-hour delay was investigated and the cause was found and corrected with administrative actions.

Responding deputies reported Dooley felt in danger of being attacked by the family dog and reacted by shooting the animal to keep from being bitten. The Rains County Sheriff’s Office had initially put Dooley on administrative leave and launched an internal investigation. According to an necropsy the family sent KETK, Dr. Kevin Bankston of the Hopkins County Veterinary Clinic examined Candy and determined the blue heeler was shot in the head from behind. Bankston says, “In my estimation, based on my pathology findings, the trajectory of the bullet could best be described as caudal rostral, i.e. from the back of the head towards the nose. These findings suggest that Candy was shot while retreating from the shooter.”

In a statement, the Sheriff’s Office says, “The Rains County Sheriff’s Office would most importantly like to offer condolences to the Middleton Family as they have suffered a hard loss. The Rains County Sheriff’s Office has never encountered an issue of this nature, but plan to make positive changes for the future. The Rains County Sheriff’s Office is now in process of introducing new policies regarding animals at large when approaching residences. It is our goal to serve, protect, and keep all situations in which we are involved…safe for both people and animals. The Rains County Sheriff’s Office will continue the investigation until further notice and promises to make positive strides in this matter.”

Rains County District Attorney Robert F. Vititow says the investigation into Dooley’s actions is ongoing. When and if the case is presented to his office by law enforcement for prosecution, Vittitow says it will treated as any other case. The Middletons have created a Facebook page that has garnered more than 13,000 likes.

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Man Gets Life in Prison for Child Sex Assault

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 3:46 pm

belcherjasonupshurcoGILMER — A sex offender was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday after a jury of 12 convicted him of sexually assaulting a 6-year-old child. KETK reports Jason Wayne Belcher, 35, was found guilty of sexually abusing the child in an Upshur County home when the mother was away at work. The crime took place in January 2012, said Criminal District Attorney Billy W. Byrd. The jury also heard additional evidence in which the suspect was accused of raping another child in Wood County. The victim made a teacher aware of the incidents, which had allegedly been ongoing for years, in February 2014. That investigation is ongoing.

Belcher was previously convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child in Dallas County in 1999 and burglary of habitation in Wood County in 2000. After being found guilty, Belcher waived a jury sentencing and was ordered to serve life in prison by Judge Lauren Parish of the 115th District Court. He will be eligible for parole in 30 years.

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Murder Suspect Waives Right to Jury Trial

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Samantha Gonzales LaraLONGVIEW — The woman accused of shooting and killing a clerk at a Kilgore adult video store has waived her right to a jury trial. Samantha Gonzales Lara is charged with first-degree felony murder after police say she shot and killed Renee Garrett in January of 2011. Lara has been in the Gregg County Jail since her arrest in February of 2012. Kilgore police don’t believe she acted alone.

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Authorities Seek Burglars in Incident near Hideaway

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 3:45 pm

SMITH COUNTY — Smith County deputies are currently searching for two burglars following a Thursday incident in northwestern Smith County. According to KETK, the Smith County Sheriff’s Office reports that a woman was asleep in her home on CR 411 near Hideaway when she was awakened to an unknown man in her home shortly after 10:30 a.m. The burglar was startled by the homeowner and ran from the house without taking any items. The burglar jumped in a dark colored sedan with another man and possibly headed toward Highway 110. Both men were described as black males.

Deputies arrived at the scene 10 minutes after the call for help and searched the area, but were unable to find the burglars. The woman told authorities no weapons were displayed and no physical contact was made during the incident. If you have any information on the burglary, call the Smith County Sheriff’s Office at (903) 566-6600.

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Suspects Named in April 21 Burglary, Chase

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 3:46 pm

thumb_sheriff-smithcountyTYLER — The Smith County Sheriff’s Office has identified the suspects in a burglary and chase which involved a young child in the getaway vehicle. At approximately 9:40 a.m. April 21, the Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call of a burglary of a habitation in progress in the 11000 block of Sycamore Street in western Smith County. While patrol deputies were en route, the homeowner returned home to find the suspects leaving her residence, according to officials. Authorities say the suspects fled in a black pickup truck and were pursued by the deputies.

According to law enforcement, when the pickup truck stopped in the 12000 block of Highway 64W, one of the passengers, identified as Steven Silva, fled on foot into a nearby wooded area. Officials say a second deputy chased Silva on foot and apprehended him. The first deputy stayed with the vehicle apprehending the remaining two suspects, identified as Natalie Willars and Johnathon Ballesteros. A 4-year-old passenger, identified as a relative of Willars, was released to his mother. Numerous additional Sheriff’s Office personnel responded to assist. Items taken from the residence were recovered from the fleeing vehicle, according to law officers.

All three suspects are currently in jail. Natalie Willars, 24, and Johnathon Ballesteros, 22, have been charged with burglary of habitation and are each being held on a $35,000 bond. Ballesteros was arrested previously, in February, for criminal trespassing by the Tyler Police Department. Steven Silva, 22, has been charged with burglary of habitation and evading arrest and is being held on a $40,000 bond. Silva served time in 2009 for burglary of habitation and again in 2012 for theft, parole violation and evading arrest.

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Tyler Police Investigate an Aggravated Robbery

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 3:51 pm

TYLER — Tyler Police are investigating an aggravated robbery. It happened around 12:30 Thursday morning in the 1100 block of North Albertson. Officers said a 24-year-old Hispanic man said he and two friends were “jumped” by two other Hispanic men. The victim said he was struck in the back of the head with a gun when a struggle broke out. The suspects reportedly got away with the victim’s cellphone. He was treated at a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

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City Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Animal Care Facility

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 5:44 pm

thumb_spcaTYLER — The City of Tyler has launched a campaign to raise funds toward the development of “get acquainted rooms” and “adoption display areas” at the new Animal Care Facility. The Crowdfunding source, Citizinvestor, will be used to make it easy for those who want to make donations of any size, according to a city news release. “This is a wonderful tool to allow everyone in the community to be a part of creating a space for animal adoption to take place,” said Mayor Barbara Bass.

To donate, citizens and supporters can visit http://www.citizinvestor.com/project/tyler-animal-care-facility to make donations of any size. Officials say all of the revenue raised is going strictly towards the development and eventual opening of the Animal Care Facility. Donations are tax deductible. To start the campaign, the City of Tyler has received a $25,000 donation that will fund the Lobby of the City of Tyler’s Animal Care Facility.

On Nov. 13, 2013, the City Council authorized the purchase of land at 4218 Chandler Highway for the purposes of opening a city-owned and operated Animal Care Facility. The property includes 10 acres and existing buildings. The facility will have the capacity to accommodate at least 75 dogs and 50 cats. “We have been working towards Tyler maintaining its own animal care facility for several years, and we are very pleased to progress to this next step in making that happen,” said City Manager Mark McDaniel.

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Former Bank Teller Pleads Guilty to Embezzling

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Federal Courthouse-ATYLER — A Longview bank teller has been found guilty of embezzling over $1.3 million over a 13 year period. Kerri Monroe Jones pleaded guilty last week in federal court in Tyler. Thursday, U.S. District Judge Michael Schneider accepted her guilty plea. According to the Longview News-Journal, Jones worked at the Longview branch of Capitol One Bank as its lead teller from April 19, 2000, until September 16, 2013, and admitted to embezzling money throughout the entire 13 years, according to court documents. Jones waived her right to prosecution by indictment and consented to prosecution by information. She voluntarily surrendered herself and was arrested April 17. A sentencing date has not been set. She is facing up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.

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2014 Labor Market Analysis

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Marilyn Young- U T TylerTYLER — Dr. Marilyn Young, Professor of Management, College of Business and Technology, University of Texas at Tyler, has completed the 2014 Labor Market Analysis. The report addresses characteristics of the labor force for businesses considering expanding or opening new facilities within the Tyler and Smith County area. Numerous aspects of the labor force, such as current status, availability, minimum wage requirements, and demographic characteristics were examined.

According to information from the Tyler Economic Development Council, the study was conducted throughout the months of October 2013-March 2014 as a project of TEDC. It’s based upon information from U. S. Census 2010 estimates, the American Community Survey, the Texas Workforce Commission, the 2011 Tyler Labor Market Survey, and other data sources.A copy of the report can be found at the Tyler Economic Development Council’s website at http://www.tedc.org/labor-survey or by contacting Alex Warren at (903) 593-2004, ext. 254.

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Court Filing Claims Ship that Collided with Oil Barge Was Speeding

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 3:59 pm

HOUSTON (AP) – A ship that collided with an oil barge in the Houston Ship Channel last month was speeding. That’s the claim in a federal court filing from the owner of the barge that spilled about 170,000 gallons of oil. The barge company is seeking $10 million from the ship owner, which says it has no responsibility for the accident.

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Amid Nevada Fight, Texas in Its Own Land Dispute

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 4:19 pm

thumb_greg-abbott-3AUSTIN (AP) – A Texas land dispute has the outgoing governor and the Republican candidate favored to replace him decrying the same federal agency currently embroiled in an armed standoff in Nevada. Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday accused the Bureau of Land Management of trying “to take private property” in Texas. Attorney General Greg Abbott (pictured), now running for governor, has also expressed concern that federal authorities may eventually trample private property rights. At issue is territory along the Red River that the Bureau of Land Management says is public land. But the case is complicated by the fact that the agency is in an armed standoff in Nevada with states’ rights advocate Cliven Bundy. Perry and Abbott insist Bundy isn’t the issue. But they are decrying what they see as federal overreach.

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American Airlines Posts Record Earnings

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 4:14 pm

thumb_american-airlines-tailDALLAS (AP) – American Airlines is making money again after its merger with US Airways. The company has posted record first-quarter earnings of $480 million. As separate airlines, American and US Airways lost $297 million a year earlier.

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Child, 10, among 3 Austin Burglary Suspects

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 4:15 pm

AUSTIN (AP) – An investigation into nearly a dozen attempted burglaries in Central Texas has led to the arrest of three youths, including a 10-year-old suspect. Travis County jail records show 17-year-old Erik Marciel was being held Thursday on two counts of attempted burglary of a habitation. Online jail records don’t list an attorney for Marciel, who was booked Wednesday with bond set at $7,500. He is being charged as an adult. Austin police say a 10-year-old and a 13-year-old have also been detained. Police declined to name the boys. Investigators say another suspect is being sought after reports of house break-ins on April 10. Police responded to reports of a neighbor seeing four people acting suspiciously near a home, including trying to open the windows.

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Man Gets Life Sentence in Drug Trafficking Case

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 4:16 pm

McALLEN (AP) – A South Texas man has been sentenced to life in prison after being convicted in a drug trafficking case. A federal judge on Thursday sentenced 38-year-old Daniel Nunez of Hidalgo. He had pleaded guilty in November 2012 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and conspiracy to transport and attempt to transport monetary instruments to Mexico to promote drug trafficking. Prosecutors say Nunez was involved in an organization that brought marijuana into the U.S. from Mexico. The marijuana would then be loaded onto tractor-trailers and taken to the Dallas area as well as spots in Florida and Alabama for distribution.

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Gas Prices across Texas Hold Steady at $3.49

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 4:17 pm

thumb_gaspumpsIRVING (AP) – Retail gasoline prices across Texas held steady this week at $3.49 per gallon. AAA Texas on Thursday reported that compares to the nationwide average price of $3.68 per gallon, up 2 cents from last week. Dallas has the most expensive gasoline statewide this week at $3.56 per gallon. The AAA survey found El Paso has the cheapest gasoline at $3.34 per gallon. Experts say refineries are required to start producing summer-blend gasoline by May 1 and often go offline during the same period for scheduled maintenance. The decrease in supply can cause prices in certain areas to rise, but AAA says fluctuations have been minimal so far this season.

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Seager’s 2 HRs give Seattle 5-3 win over Houston

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 12:02 am

With one swing, Kyle Seager hopes he ended his personal skid at the plate and the Seattle Mariners’ slide.

“Any time you see the ball hit the ground, it’s obviously a big confidence booster,” Seager said. “It has felt better the last couple of days and today it showed up. Thankfully.”

Seager hit a three-run homer with one out in the bottom of the ninth, his second of the game, and the Mariners rallied for a 5-3 win over the Houston Astros on Wednesday to stop an eight-game losing streak.

With Seattle on the verge of getting swept for the second straight series, Seager hit a two-run homer in the seventh off starter Jarred Cosart. Then he capped the biggest hitting day of his big league career with his drive on the first pitch from closer Josh Fields (0-1) in the ninth.

It was the third multihomer game of Seager’s career, and the five RBIs were a career high. Seager had not homered since Sept. 3 of last season at Kansas City.

“He has a track record and I’ve said all along that he is going to hit,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. “Obviously, when you’re in a losing streak and the guys you expect to hit don’t hit, it’s a little frustrating but in that case you have one of two options: you can sit him or you can play him. I chose to play him and he didn’t disappoint.”

Seager had been one of Seattle’s few consistent hitters the past two seasons, establishing himself as a lock in the Mariners lineup. That made his struggles to start this season so surprising. Seager entered Wednesday hitting just .156 with two RBIs. He had more strikeouts (17) than hits (10) at the start of the day.

His final three at-bats against the Astros were more like what Seager had shown in the past. He drew a leadoff walk to open the fifth, then homered on a 3-2 pitch from Cosart in the seventh to cut Houston’s lead to 3-2.

Seattle already had a rally going in the ninth. Robinson Cano dropped a single in front of an outfield playing deep to open the inning, and Corey Hart’s sharp single put two on with no outs.

Fields rallied to strike out Justin Smoak, but Seager went to the plate aggressively looking for a first-pitch fastball.

He got it. And Seattle’s had a chance to celebrate for the first time in more than a week.

“Nobody was really stressing,” Seager said. “We’ve been all right. We know what we have here. Obviously nobody wants to lose, but we know what we have here and we haven’t been panicking.”

Seattle’s late rally spoiled what was looking to be a sweep for the Astros.

Cosart took a shutout into the seventh after failing to make it out of the first inning in his previous start. The Astros got a two-run double from Jason Castro in the third inning and Chris Carter’s second homer of the series in the seventh to take a 3-0 lead.

Still, Houston’s batting average for the season dropped to .199 after managing just six hits. Chris Young struggled with his control early and walked five, three of those coming in the third. But he retired 11 of 12 batters before Carter’s homer and lasted seven innings to help save Seattle’s taxed bullpen. Young struck out six and threw 113 pitches.

Fernando Rodney (1-1) got the victory, pitching the top of the ninth in relief.

“The most demoralizing loss in baseball is a late inning loss, when you have the game won,” Houston manager Bo Porter said. “Since I’ve been here we’ve had our share of them.”

Game notes

Seattle RHP Taijuan Walker (shoulder) and LHP James Paxton (back) will begin recovery throwing programs within the next week. McClendon said Paxton has been cleared to start throwing Friday and Walker next Monday. … Carter has hit seven career homers at Safeco Field. … Seattle won on a walkoff homer for first time since last June 23 vs. Oakland.

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Stars roar back, tie series with Ducks

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 12:08 am

Dallas Stars center Cody Eakin skated the length of the ice, got around a sliding defender, closed his eyes and shot just before his stick got ripped out of his hands.

The top-seeded Anaheim Ducks can clearly see they are in quite a fight now.

Eakin scored on Dallas’ first shot of the third period, Alex Goligoski scored on the next one 1:22 later and the Stars beat the Ducks 4-2 in Game 4 on Wednesday night to even the best-of-seven series.

“Once I came around that D-man … I saw a guy and there was a lane,” Eakin said. “So, I just closed my eyes and shot.”

Even without captain Ryan Getzlaf, a surprise late scratch with an upper-body injury, and healthy scratch Teemu Selanne, the Ducks jumped out to an early 2-0 lead.

“It’s not often we get outworked,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “But I thought after that, the last 40 was as hard as the boys could go. They emptied the tank.”

The Stars, who got physical at home after a pair of one-goal losses in Anaheim to start the series, are assured of playing another home game in their first playoff appearance since 2008.

“All year we’ve been good at putting stuff behind us. Things haven’t been going well, we’ve been able to put periods behind us,” Goligoski said. “We just stuck with the plan, kept going, kept getting in their zone and it paid off.”

Game 5 is Friday night in Anaheim, and the series returns Sunday to the American Airlines Center for Game 6.

Stars captain Jaime Benn scored unassisted, his third goal of the series, off a faceoff 27 seconds into the second period. About 6 minutes later, Vernon Fiddler managed to get the puck in a small gap between the post and rookie goalie Frederick Andersen to tie it at 2.

Getzlaf took a puck in the face in the series opener and played the last two games with a half-cage to protect the stitches just below his mouth. It wasn’t clear if the upper-body injury was related to that, or was a different issue for the captain, and coach Bruce Boudreau wouldn’t elaborate despite being asked about it several times.

“It was a previous injury aggravated, but that’s all I’m going to say,” said Boudreau, who downplayed the captain’s absence being deflating. “In the first period, it made us come out and do whatever we had to do.”

Bryan Allen scored on a shot from just inside the blue line with 7:43 left in the first period.

Anaheim led 2-0 after Matthieu Perreault’s shot that hit Kari Lehtonen’s glove and fell over the goalie’s shoulder behind him. The puck trickled in with help from Patrick Maroon, the left wing who got the goal after talking about retaliation against Dallas after what the Ducks had perceived as over-aggressive play.

Just like Game 3, there were plenty of scrums Wednesday night.

With 2:10 left, Anaheim’s Corey Perry and Antoine Roussel got in some big blows before being separated and given 5-minute majors for fighting. It was Roussel who punched Getzlaf in the previous game.

There were also five 10-minute misconduct penalties in that closing stretch, and referees had to separate several groups of players when the game ended.

“That’s the type of stuff that’s their pushback, it’s our pushback,” Ruff said. “I really feel like we’re in a playoff series now.”

Eakin hit the post in the opening minute of the third period, but didn’t’ miss the go-ahead goal with 13:38 left. The raucous crowd was still in a frenzy when Fiddler backhanded a pass to Goligoski for a wrist shot that made it 4-2.

“I felt a little bit off. It was a shock on the first one, and the second one snuck by me. I was expecting (Fiddler) to pass,” Andersen said. ” They came out of nowhere in the second. We weren’t ready for their push.”

Andersen was then pulled in favor of Jonas Hiller, the veteran goalie who won 29 games during the Ducks’ best regular season in franchise history before a late slump that left him on the bench until that point. Hiller faced only one shot in his 10 1/2 minutes, and Boudreau said he would discuss the goalie situation his assistants before deciding who starts Game 5.

Lehtonen, who was 0-4 in postseason games before stopping 37 shots in Dallas’ 3-0 win on Monday night, had 21 saves Wednesday night.

“Being able to tie this series, it’s huge,” Lehtonen said. “I think we’re a confident group. … And even more so now.”

Game notes

The 43-year-old Selanne, who is in his 21st and expected to be his last NHL season, has appeared in a franchise-record 87 postseason games for the Ducks, 15 more than Getzlaf. Selanne also is the team’s top postseason scorer with 64 points (33 goals, 31 assists), one more than Getzlaf (23 goals, 40 assists). … Benn has also had an assist and has scored in each game. It appeared that he added an empty-net goal with 1:04 left, but play had been whistled dead.

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Cowboys to open season vs. 49ers

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 12:03 am

By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

The NFL released the 2014 schedule on Wednesday night.

Here is the Cowboys schedule with notes on every opponent (times CT).

Sept. 7 vs. San Francisco, 3:25 p.m. (FOX)
Sept. 14 at Tennessee, Noon (FOX)
Sept. 21 at St. Louis, Noon (FOX)
Sept. 28 vs. New Orleans, 7:30 p.m. (NBC)
Oct. 5 vs. Houston, Noon (CBS)
Oct. 12 at Seattle, 3:25 p.m. (FOX)
Oct. 19 vs. New York Giants, 3:25 p.m. (FOX)
Oct. 27 vs. Washington, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Nov. 2 vs. Arizona, Noon, (FOX)
*Nov. 9 at Jacksonville, Noon, (FOX)
Nov. 23 at New York Giants, 7:30 p.m. (NBC)
Nov. 27 vs. Philadelphia, 3:30 p.m. (FOX)
Dec. 4 at Chicago, 7:25 p.m. (NFLN)
Dec. 14 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m. (NBC)
Dec. 21 vs. Indianapolis, 3:25 p.m. (CBS)
Dec. 28 at Washington, Noon (FOX)
*Game played in London

Team by team notes

Arizona: The Cowboys have lost the past three meetings, including two in overtime.

Houston: Will the Cowboys face Johnny Manziel or defend Jadeveon Clowney? Dallas leads the series, 2-1.

Indianapolis: Andrew Luck gets his first shot against the Cowboys, but the Colts have won the last two meetings.

New Orleans: Rob Ryan comes to AT&T Stadium as an opponent. The Saints have won the past three games against the Cowboys, including last season’s 49-17 beatdown in the Superdome.

New York Giants: Cowboys swept them last year. Is Eli Manning in a decline?

Philadelphia: Cowboys looking for revenge after losing in the regular-season finale last season.

San Francisco: Dallas does have a three-game win streak against the 49ers, but Colin Kaepernick wasn’t the quarterback.

Washington: DeSean Jackson vs. Cowboys secondary. Jason Hatcher vs. the Cowboys’ offensive line. Get the hype started.

Chicago: Jay Ratliff faces the Cowboys again. Henry Melton takes on his former team. Oh yeah, Cowboys lost to the Bears last season, 45-28.

Jacksonville: This is the first regular-season game in London in Cowboys’ history. Last time they visited London was for a preseason game in 1986.

St. Louis: Scott Linehan takes on his former team. Does he have something to prove?

Seattle: Walter Thurmond said he’s the best slot corner in the game. Wonder what Orlando Scandrick thinks? Seattle has won the last three at home.

Tennessee: It’s the first meeting between the teams since 2010. Last time Cowboys visited Nashville, Terrell Owens gave Pacman Jones his shoes and Andre Gurode got stomped in the face by Albert Haynesworth.

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Rangers Complete Sweep Of A’s

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 12:01 am

With the Texas rotation ravaged by injuries early in the season, Martin Perez has more than filled the void.

Perez pitched his second consecutive shutout to extend his scoreless innings streak to 26 and the Texas Rangers wrapped up a three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics with a 3-0 victory Wednesday.

“He’s been the glue,” manager Ron Washington said. “He’s held it together. He’s the one guy in that rotation who’s been in it from last year who hasn’t had a blip yet.”

The Rangers have been without Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis already at times this season but still find themselves in first place thanks to some strong play from fill-ins and major improvement from Perez.

Perez (4-0) outpitched Sonny Gray (3-1) in a heralded matchup of emerging stars, allowing just three hits and two walks in his first start since throwing a three-hitter against the White Sox for his first career shutout.

“I don’t want to think too much about my ERA and the games that I’ve thrown before,” Perez said. “I’m going to focus on my game today. We had a great game.”

Perez, who also threw eight scoreless innings against Houston on April 13, is the first Rangers pitcher to have three straight scoreless starts since Kenny Rogers had four straight over 30 innings in 2005. Perez also joined Charlie Hough in 1983 as the only Texas pitchers to have three straight starts of at least eight scoreless innings.

“He knows how to pitch,” Washington said. “He has weapons and he can throw them all for strikes and he has poise. He does a great job of staying with the game plan and that’s something that he’s learned from last year, how to study, how to go out there and just execute his pitches.”

Donnie Murphy homered and Michael Choice scored one run and drove in another for the Rangers, who moved a half-game ahead of Oakland in the AL West with their first sweep of the A’s since August 2011.

The A’s never even threatened Perez on their way to getting swept at home for the first time since September 2012 against the Angels, ending a streak of 32 straight home series with at least one win.

“You’re going to have your little lumps in the road,” A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson said. “Everybody knows that here. We just have to come back.”

Oakland got leadoff singles from Jed Lowrie in the fourth and Derek Norris in the fifth for its first two hits off Perez. But Perez followed each of those hits by getting the next batter to hit into a double play, giving him a major league-leading 11 groundball double plays.

Donaldson doubled with one out in the seventh, but was stranded there when Alberto Callaspo grounded out with runners on first and second to end the inning.

“He keeps the ball off the barrel of the bat,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s pitched really well this year. The reason he can get deep in games is he’s not striking a lot of guys out, he’s just keeping it off the barrel of the bat.”

Gray allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings to end a six-game winning streak in the regular season dating to last September.

He fell behind when Choice led the game off with a walk and scored on Alex Rios’ triple. The Rangers were poised for a possible big inning when Rios was originally ruled safe at home on a grounder Lowrie at shortstop. But Melvin challenged the call and Rios was ruled out on instant replay.

Choice, traded from Oakland to Texas in the offseason, added an RBI single in the fifth and Murphy hit his first homer of the season in the sixth to make it 3-0.

Game notes

Rangers 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff was held out with a sore back. … Scott Kazmir (2-0) will take the mound against Brett Oberholtzer (0-3) on Thursday when Oakland opens a four-game series in Houston. … Texas is off Thursday before beginning a three-game series in Seattle on Friday.

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Mavs respond, rout Spurs in Game 2

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 12:07 am

Blowing their playoff opener turned out to be great therapy for the Dallas Mavericks.

Eighth-seeded Dallas rolled to a 113-92 victory over San Antonio on Wednesday night, snapping a 10-game skid against the Spurs and evening their first-round series at a game apiece.

Dallas didn’t relent in Game 2 after watching a 10-point lead evaporate in the final eight minutes of the series opener Sunday.

“Game 1 actually helped a lot more than today,” Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “We were down after Game 1, but in this building to be up 10 with six or seven minutes left, I think that gave us a lot of confidence coming into this one. Just keep executing the game plan.”

It was Dallas’ first playoff victory since June 12, 2011, when it rebounded from an 0-2 deficit to defeat the Miami Heat for the NBA title.

If not for the final eight minutes of the series opener, the Mavericks would have a 2-0 lead entering Game 3 on Saturday.

“It feels great, but it’s nothing to celebrate,” Dallas point guard Jose Calderon said. “I think we have to keep doing what we’re doing. I think we played two really good games.”

In Game 2, the Mavericks used an aggressive offense and a brutal defensive effort that discombobulated the normally even-keeled Spurs, who finished the regular season with the league’s best record.

Monta Ellis scored 21 points, Shawn Marion added 20 points, Nowitzki had 16, Devin Harris had 18 and Calderon 12 for Dallas, which never trailed after the opening minutes of the second quarter.

Manu Ginobili had 27 points, Tony Parker added 12 and Tim Duncan 11 for the Spurs, who did not have any other player score more than seven points.

“They beat us in every aspect of the game,” Ginobili said. “They played harder. Our defense was soft (and) not as aggressive as theirs. Not that I don’t expect them to play hard. We know they are a tough team, but having such a poor performance in the playoffs bothers me.”

San Antonio’s ineptness had as much to do with tying the series as Dallas’ stellar play. The Spurs averaged 14.4 turnovers during the regular season, but had 15 with 3 minutes left in the first half. They finished with 24 turnovers, which resulted in 33 points for the Mavericks.

“Just being very active,” Ellis said. “Not put them on the free-throw line. Trust that the help was going to be there. We locked in to the game plan that we had. They made some careless turnovers. That was good for us.”

Dallas was extremely physical in the first half whenever Parker and Ginobili drove the lane.

“NBA playoff games are physical,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “If you don’t have the right kind of posture and disposition, you’re going to knocked back on your heels and your butt and tonight we did a better job of hitting first in some of those instances.”

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich was dismayed early when no fouls were called — not that it mattered when they were. San Antonio finished 18 for 29 on free throws.

“It’s a bad combination to not play good defense at one end and give the ball up at the other end and not shoot free throws very well, either,” Popovich said. “That’s a bad combination at both ends of the floor. That means you get your butt kicked and that’s what happened tonight.”

Dallas also continued to crowd San Antonio’s 3-point shooters. Aside from Ginobili’s 5-for-6 shooting, the Spurs were 5 for 14 long range after going 3 for 17 in the opener.

“It’s pretty frustrating,” San Antonio wing Danny Green said. “They’re doing a good job of getting, not just to me, but all our shooters; showing us a lot of respect. But we’ve got to find other ways to get it done. We can’t rely on our Big Three to carry us every night. Got to find a way to get involved, push the pace offensively.”

The Mavericks attacked the basket with the same intensity, finishing with 44 points. San Antonio pulled within 61-56 with 8:38 remaining in the third quarter when Kawhi Leonard made two of three free throws, but it was the closest it would get in the second half.

Game notes

Popovich received a standing ovation before the game after being recognized as the NBA Coach of the Year. Spurs owner Peter Holt presented Popovich with the Red Auerbach trophy, which he has won three times. … After assigning Spurs nemesis Joey Crawford to officiate Game 1, the league had Danny Crawford on hand for Game 2 to the chagrin of the Mavericks’ fans. But just as in the opener, both officials reserved most calls and non-calls for the opposition. Crawford’s lack of calls led Popovich to scream at Crawford throughout the first half. … Academy Award-winning actor Tommy Lee Jones sat courtside beside Holt. … Nowitzki was assessed a technical foul with 1:38 remaining in the first half after Ginobili was fouled by Marion on a 3-point attempt. Marion touched Ginobili’s hip as he released the ball, but the Argentinian appeared to exaggerate the contact when he fell to the floor. … After scrambling to capture a loose ball under the basket, Tiago Splitter flung an overhead, two-handed no-look pass to an open Ginobili for a 3-pointer with 4:44 remaining in the third quarter.

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Dirk: I’d rather play Game 3 on the road

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 5:42 pm

By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

SAN ANTONIO – Dirk Nowitzki enjoyed the Mavericks’ first playoff victory since they clinched the 2011 championship for a few minutes before he started fretting about Game 3.

The Mavs seized homecourt advantage in the series by routing the San Antonio Spurs in Game 2 at the AT&T Center. However, Nowitzki doesn’t think the Mavs have much of a homecourt advantage, as much as he appreciates the folks who fill the American Airlines Center.

“I’m a little worried,” Nowitzki said. “I’m a little worried going home. I’d rather play Game 3 here, I guess. We’ve got to figure it out at home. We can’t relax. That’s the thing.”

The Mavs tied for the league’s fourth-best road record (23-18) during the regular season, winning six of their last seven games away from the AAC. Their home record (26-15) was the worst of any of the West’s eight playoff teams, including a disappointing 4-4 homestand late in the season.

The Spurs had the league’s best road record at 30-11, so relaxing even a little bit would be a recipe for disaster for the Mavs.

That was the message Nowitzki made a point to deliver moments after Game 2.

“I like our intensity right now,” Nowitzki said. “It’s a little dangerous going home. We’ve been actually a decent road team all year, but at home, we haven’t figured it out yet. We’ve lost the big [home] games over the last couple of months.

“We can’t take the foot off the gas. We’ve got to keep competing the same way, and then I like our chances going home.”

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Rangers dealing with injuries

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 5:41 pm

By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com

The banged-up Texas Rangers continue to deal with injuries as they prepare for a weekend series in Seattle against the Mariners.

They received some encouraging news and some disappointing news on Thursday.

Kevin Kouzmanoff, last week’s AL player of the week, is headed back to Dallas to be evaluated by back specialist Dr. Drew Dossett. Kouzmanoff’s lower back was still sore on Thursday. The club has to make a roster decision before activating third baseman Adrian Beltre on Friday and they’d like to know the extent of Kouzmanoff’s injury and whether he needs to go on the disabled list.

Kouzmanoff has been one of the hottest hitters in the league the past two weeks, batting .362 (17-for-47) with eight extra-base hits and 10 RBIs in 13 games with Beltre on the DL with a mild quad strain.

Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo reported improvement in his sprained left ankle and general manager Jon Daniels believes the leadoff hitter can avoid the DL.

The club has not decided when he will return to the lineup. He has missed the last two games after injuring the ankle Monday in Oakland.

Left-handed reliever Pedro Figueroa, who was placed on the DL this week with elbow inflammation, has a torn UCL and damage to his flexor tendon and will probably have Tommy John surgery next week.

Former closer Neftali Feliz is on the minor league disabled list with soreness in his elbow, but does not have any structural damage. The club hopes he can start throwing again next week.

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Cuban: NBA has ‘taken huge strides’

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 5:37 pm

By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

SAN ANTONIO — The NBA office has started providing teams detailed analysis of officiating after every game.

For several years, the detailed officiating analysis has been used internally by the league office. The decision was made to make the analysis available to the teams this season.

“For the teams, it gives them an idea of how we’re seeing the game, how it’s being graded,” NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn told ESPNDallas.com, adding that the analysis increases confidence around the league about the commitment to quality officiating. “It’s no longer a mystery, if you will.”

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who was the first to publicly mention the reports, has long lobbied for more transparency regarding referees.

Cuban describes the league as “far more proactive and far more transparent” since Adam Silver replaced the retired David Stern as the commissioner in February.

“I think they’ve taken huge strides,” Cuban said. “You can always improve, but you’ve got to take that first step before you can improve it.”

The league has continued its policy of making statements to acknowledge when a critical call late in a game is made incorrectly, such as after the openers of the Golden State Warriors-Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers-Houston Rockets series. The reports sent to the teams, which cover all calls made throughout games, are confidential.

“I’m happy with what they’re doing,” Cuban said. “We’re not allowed to talk about any of the specifics of them, but I think we’ve made huge steps. What [Thorn and his staff] have done up there is phenomenal, because it’s not like we just gave them an extra 20 people. They’ve been able to really bust their asses and do some great things.”

The league office has fined Cuban at least $1.9 million during his 14-year ownership tenure, largely for criticizing officiating. He has not been fined since Silver became the commissioner.

At this point, Cuban suggests the league should take the transparency a step further by making public statements when referees get controversial, critical calls right.

“I’d also like to see the correct ones that are mentioned as well,” Cuban said. “With transparency, you get rid of all of the conspiracy theories. That’s the whole goal. You want to send the message that we get them right, too, because we do.”

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Rangers to honor Michael Young May 17

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 5:38 pm

By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com

The Texas Rangers will honor Michael Young in a pregame ceremony Saturday, May 17, before the Rangers face the Toronto Blue Jays at Globe Life Park.

The club has moved the time of the first pitch to 7:15 p.m. so that they can have a ceremony starting 30 minutes before the game. There are no details for the ceremony at this time, but Young’s longtime friend Vernon Wells will be involved.

Young retired as a Rangers on Jan. 31, 2014 after a 13-year career. He played 12 seasons in Texas and made seven All-Star teams and hit .300 or better seven times, including six seasons with at least 200 hits. He won the AL batting title in 2005 and owns a gaggle of club records — he’s the all-time leader in games (1,823), hits (2,230) and extra-base hits (647). Young won a Gold Glove at shortstop in 2008.

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Darren Oliver named special assistant to GM

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 5:40 pm

By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com

The Texas Rangers have officially added retired pitcher Darren Oliver to their staff as a special assistant to general manager Jon Daniels.

Oliver joins an impressive list of former players who are now consultants, including Hall of Famer Greg Maddux, infielder Tony Fernandez and catcher Pudge Rodriguez.

Oliver, 43, retired after the 2013 season with 118 wins in a 20-year career as a starter and reliever. He started for the Rangers in the club’s first playoff series in 1996 and returned to the postseason in 2006 with the Mets and was on the Rangers’ 2010 and 2011 playoff teams.

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Physical Blair plays with fire vs. ex-team

Posted/updated on: April 24, 2014 at 5:43 pm

By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

SAN ANTONIO – Truth be told, there might have only been one member of the Dallas Mavericks who was happy to draw the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs in the first round.

That’s bench banger DeJuan Blair, who seeks some sort of redemption or revenge after riding San Antonio’s bench during the Spurs’ run to the Finals last season, his fourth and final year with the franchise.

“Yeah, but I’m not going to bring that up,” Blair said after the Mavs evened the series with a stunning rout in Game 2. “The Spurs are a great team, but we can play with the best of them. We showed that tonight, but we’ve just got to keep it up. It’s going to be a long series.”

It’s guaranteed to go at least five games now, in part due to Blair’s contributions Wednesday night after a quiet Game 1 against his former team.

Blair had eight points, seven rebounds and four steals in 14 minutes during the win. The Mavs outscored the Spurs by 13 points with Blair on the floor.

Those numbers can be found in the box score. There’s no telling how many bruises the 6-foot-7, 270-pound Blair left on old buddy Tim Duncan while battling his future Hall of Fame former teammate on the block and under the boards.

“He had a physical impact,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said of Blair. “He was on the boards and was getting deflections. The only way we’re going to win a series against a team like this is to have guys playing at complete full capacity, and he did. He gave us a huge lift.”

The highlight of the night for Blair was stripping Manu Ginobili in the open court and rumbling for a one-man fast break that he finished with a spinning layup. That play was a bonus for the Mavs. Blair’s job is to throw his big body around.

“That’s my plan,” Blair said. “We don’t have anyone on this team to do that. I know if I can play, I can come in and bring that physicality and just do what I do.”

Blair didn’t get to do that much during last season’s playoffs, giving him a little extra motivation when he returned to San Antonio with the Mavs this postseason.

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