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Excessive heat delays, cancels outdoor events in North Texas due to safety

Excessive heat delays, cancels outdoor events in North Texas due to safety

The near-record temperatures across North Texas are forcing the organizers of some outdoor events to either delay or outright cancel the events because of safety concerns.

Scorching temperatures across the metroplex prompted the National Weather Service to issue an excessive heat warning Thursday continuing at least through Saturday.

With highs over 105 and heat indexes over 110, the extreme heat is a top concern for those in charge of putting on various outdoor events this weekend.

Megan Gordon with the city of Irving says she decided to delay the start of Friday’s outdoor movie night at Heritage Park out of concern for the safety of attendees.

“As the event planner, I thought about it three days ago. But we always try our best to accommodate rather than cancel,” she said. “The event was originally planned for 6:30 p.m. As soon as we saw that heat advisory coming our way, we said let’s push it back when the sun sets a little bit so move it to 8 p.m.”

Typically, crowds can get up to 350. It was much smaller Friday.

Mom Sheniece Perkins admits she had second thoughts when she arrived.

“It’s for the kids, so I got to suck it up. They run around in the heat all of the time,” she said.

But families in Carrollton aren’t so lucky. The city announced Friday that this week’s Christmas in July event downtown would be canceled with no plans to reschedule.

“It’s probably a bummer for whatever kids were looking forward to it,” he said. “I wasn’t planning on coming, but I think it’s kind of sad for the community, but I can understand why. Safety.”

RELATED: Summer heatwave will test Texas power grid’s capacity, experts say

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Memorial Day: Thousands ‘Carry the Load,’ attend in-person events to honor fallen heroes

Memorial Day: Thousands 'Carry the Load,' attend in-person events to honor fallen heroes

Thousands of people took part in an event in Dallas meant to remind people about the meaning of Memorial Day and who it honors.

Carry the Load began over a decade ago as a small march around White Rock Lake. Now it’s a worldwide tradition with five relays spanning much of the country to honor fallen heroes.

Those who took part all arrived at Reverchon Park in the Turtle Creek neighborhood of Dallas on Monday. Many carried the names and faces of loved ones killed in the line of duty.

“I think everyone needs to remind themselves what Memorial Day means. Bring it into their lives, bring it into their children’s lives,” said Stephen Smith, who walked through the night.

RELATED: Carry the Load helps people honor fallen service members for Memorial Day

For Pauline Perez, this year is personal.

“I could’ve been the reason my family is out here continuing the tradition,” she said.

Perez is a firefighter with Dallas Fire Rescue. On Sept. 21 of last year, she nearly died.

She and the crew of Truck 25 responded to the Hidden Hills Apartment Complex for reports of a gas leak. She was badly injured in the explosion.

RELATED: Dallas apartment explosion injures 8, 3 firefighters in critical condition

“I still have sleeves and gloves on my hands to protect myself from the sun but to be able to be out here and be able to talk and to be able to honor the heroes and put their lives on the line means a lot to me,” Perez said.

She continues to improve and said she is grateful to her brother who motivated her to get out and walk for her mental and physical health.

Since it started, Carry the Load has raised more than $32 million to support programs for veterans, including mental health services and help for the families of fallen service members.

At DFW National Cemetery, it was the first time the public could pay their respects in person since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Jimenez family was among the large audience who took part in the memorial service which included a wreath laying.

“We’re here to pay respects to our nation and those who have passed and made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Teresa Jimenez, whose father was in the Army.

The 638-acre cemetery has conducted more than 75,000 interments of veterans and eligible dependents. Sadly, more will follow.

“It means a lot to see this huge turnout to pay respects for those who have fallen for our country,” said Osario Rodriguez, a member of the U.S. Navy.

RELATED: President Biden observes Memorial Day with ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery

And at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Fort Worth, the public was invited to take part in a one-hour Memorial Day service. This too was in person for the first time in two years.

“We really need to come together to remember where we are, where we were and where we need to go,” said Carl Davis, an Air Force veteran. 

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Dallas leaders want tougher penalties for unpermitted events after recent mass shootings

Dallas leaders want tougher penalties for unpermitted events after recent mass shootings

After two mass shootings at non-permitted events, the Dallas City Council wants to consider tougher penalties for landowners and promoters who don’t follow the rules.

There have still been no arrests in either mass shooting that left two people dead and dozens injured. 

The Dallas Police Department received seven calls for service before the deadly mass shooting at an unpermitted concert in Southern Dallas.

Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia said why the off-duty officers left the event without telling the supervisors about any issues brewing is still under investigation. 

“The issue really comes from us not knowing there was an event on the day of the tragedy,” he said.

The police chief told council members that the city needs an ordinance to crack down on promoters and property owners who hold large events, like the one on April 2, without getting permits. 

RELATED: No permit issued ahead of Dallas concert shooting that left 1 dead, 16 injured

It was an outdoor concert that became a mass shooting, leaving 16 people injured and one man dead.

Right now, the fine is between $500 and $2,000. For many, it’s a small cost of doing business. 

“If I’m getting paid thousands and all I have to do is pay a $2,000 fine, irresponsible landowners will take that bet every day,” Garcia said. “We need to come up with something that has teeth.”

Councilmembers agreed. 

“You say teeth. I say fangs. I think it needs to hurt,” said Councilmember Gay Donnell Willis. “I would like to see us look at something stronger and more punitive on use that when it turns out to be an unauthorized concert with death. What about criminal?”

“It’s something we will look into,” said city attorney Chris Caso. 

Councilman Tennel Atkins argued if DPD had more neighborhood police officers that they would hear about events like these in advance and put the city in a more proactive position.

“I think we have to build trust,” he said. “When we don’t have NPO officers, they don’t know what is going on. We are short NPO and patrol at South Central.”

RELATED: 18-year-old dies days after mass shooting at South Dallas spring break party

Chief Garcia said the city is short 17 neighborhood police officers right now. 

“There is not a week that one of my three stars is not asking to fill a position. There is not a part of this police department that does not need more support,” he said. “We would love to do more. We would love to have more NPOs because they do a tremendous job. But we need more officers answering 911 calls. We need officers investigating crimes.”

But it can’t be ignored that even the city’s own off-duty police officers working the event left before the shooting without giving a heads-up to supervisors that trouble may have been brewing. 

Dallas leaders working to stop illegal parties in wake of recent mass shootings

Monday, Chief Garcia said the issues surrounding that are still under investigation.   

“We are looking at everything that happened that night. From criminal to administrative to see where we could have done better and where we failed,” he said.

Police said the motive in both recent mass shootings is still unknown. The youngest victim was 13 years old.  One victim from the shooting last week is still in the hospital.