Was A UT-Dallas Grad Really The Mastermind Of $1 Billion Silk Road Drug Bazaar?
Five stories that have North Texas talking: a closer look at Ross Ulbricht; is A.C. Gonzalez the next Dallas city manager?; Texas singer-songwriter Steven Fromholz has died, and more.
Who is Ross Ulbricht? He’s the University of Texas at Dallas graduate accused of operating a vast black market bazaar called the Silk Road that brokered more than $1 billion in transactions for illegal drugs. He was arrested in San Francisco in October and The New York Times has profiled his case. Friends and family are shocked by the news. One friend told The Times: “It’d be like they accused my mother of trying to kill someone. … He’s one of the most guileless and nonaggressive people I’ve ever met.” Ulbricht, who grew up in Austin, went to UT-Dallas on a full academic scholarship and graduated in 2006 with a degree in physics. The Times reports: “He was 6-foot-2, a lean, good-looking guy who could have fronted an indie rock band. But he was the opposite of a Lothario. He was vulnerable and eager to find a soul mate, and fell hard for [a] college girlfriend. The two were engaged … but it ended when Ross learned that she had cheated with one of his closest buddies.” In 2012, Ulbricht and a friend interviewed each other for StoryCorps, an oral history project that airs some of its interviews on NPR.
- The Dallas City Council is scheduled to meet this morning to pick a new city manager. The Dallas Morning News reports that person will likely be A.C. Gonzalez, the interim city manager. Earlier this month, the council had narrowed its list from six candidates to three: Gonzalez, former North Carolina county manager David Cooke, and Deanna Santana, a city administrator in California. Gonzalez has been considered the front-runner because he served for years as assistant city manager, but his handling of a controversial limousine ordnance forced him to admit that his actions on that matter was one of the worst decisions of his career.
- Texas singer-songwriter Steven Fromholz has died following a hunting accident. He was 68. Fromholz, named a Texas Poet Laureate in 2007, is most famous for his series of songs called the “Texas Trilogy.” Lyle Lovett later recorded the tunes. Saving Country Music reports: “Fromholz rose to become a towering figure of words and music in his home state of Texas, and amongst his famous music friends. He wrote the song ‘I’d Have To Be Crazy’ made popular by Willie Nelson, and also had songs recorded by Jerry Jeff Walker, Lyle Lovett, and John Denver amongst others.” The accident happened Sunday near Eldorado, Texas, about 45 minutes south of San Angelo. The Schleicher County Sheriff's Office told the Associated Press Fromholz was shot when a rifle discharged as it fell to the ground while being transferred from one vehicle to another. He was going to hunt feral hogs.
- Plano native Michael Urie made it big in the TV show “Ugly Betty” – and now he lives in New York City. The New York Times profiled his quest to get the perfect Manhattan apartment. It’s in a high-rise in a quiet Midtown West neighborhood. The Times reports: “The apartment is a cheery, crowded jumble of books, posters, DVDs and mementos of plays, movies and TV shows.” Furnishings include items used on the “Ugly Betty” set, including the “sleek glass-topped table that served as [Vanessa] Williams’s desk on the series.” The Times says Urie is starring in the satirical one-man show “Buyer & Cellar,” and is the co-director of a new documentary, “Thank You for Judging,” about high school speech and debate competitions back in Texas.
- The Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra Wind Symphony joins the Dallas Wind Symphony tonight for “Revenge of the Band Geeks.” Here’s how the DWS describes it: “Tuba-phile? Flute fanatic? Don't miss this concert with the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra Wind Symphony. … They’re ready to prove that the only thing better than a whole band full of music geeks is TWO bands! The promising young musicians of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra Wind Symphony join the Dallas Wind Symphony for an inter-generational side-by-side concert to knock your shako off!” It’s at 8 p.m. at the Meyerson Symphony Center.