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This just in: A night in the lives of D-FW's late night newscast (Tues., May 13)

CBS11's Jack Fink, Fox4's Brandon Todd and NBC5's Scott Gordon

All four late night news providers first hit their "Storm Watch" buttons. That'll always work in a pinch.

Then came a wide variety of nuts-and-bolts stories that filled the allotted times without generating all that much electricity.

There were no big, showy investigations or scoops that might have made rival news directors envious. Still, Tuesday night brought a lot of solidly capable work, with a number of reporters fashioning their own individual stories instead of chasing after the same ones. Here's a smorgasbord:

***CBS11's Joel Thomas looked into the tragic death of a four-month-old girl who apparently had a seizure. She was brought to Cook Children's Medical Center, given a shot and released. The infant then died in her crib after being taken home. Her mother lamented, "I just wish they would have kept her overnight."

Cook's is promising a thorough investigation.

***Fox4's Jason Overstreet had a far happier ending to his story of a boxer dog named Gracie that had been missing for seven months after a yardman inadvertently left a gate open. The distraught owner hired a "pet detective" from Oklahoma, whose efforts were unsuccessful. But news of the missing dog got around as a result of the publicity generated by the search. And finally, after all seemed lost, The Sachse Animal Control center called with news that a boxer had been found. It indeed was Gracie, who had been on the streets all that time. It's speculated that she hung around various construction sites to get fed scraps by workers. Lassie Come Home has nothing on this one.

***NBC5's Scott Gordon told viewers about a family that had been flooded out of their Arlington home a year ago and has been living in two small hotel rooms ever since. One of their daughters is all but incapacitated by serious brain damage suffered at birth due to deprivation of oxygen. Her parents since have been entangled in litigation to get their home repaired. Gordon in turn made this story hit home.

***WFAA8 sports reporter George Riba is ever-resourceful. On Tuesday he told viewers about the first Dallas boxer ever to make the U.S. Olympic team. He's 19-year-old Luis Yanez, whom Riba spotlighted in a feel-good story about a dedicated kid.

***Fox4's Brandon Todd had an interesting story on new high-tech scanner cameras getting a workout by Lewisville police. The cameras, attached to squad car roofs, can read hundreds or even thousands of license plates a day to determine if a vehicle has been reported stolen.

In a similar vein, the station's Shaun Rabb reported on tracking devices attached to students who are getting a last chance to either attend school or reporter to a court-mandated "boot camp." One of the students, attending Bryan Adams, will become his first family member in three generations to graduate from high school. He had been a devoted school-skipper until his daily whereabouts was monitored.

***Jack Fink of CBS11 had a compelling story on a former University Park paramedic-firefighter of the year who had been traumatized by some of what he countered during emergency calls. He told Fink of walking in on a man "decapitating his wife with a pair of scissors."

Diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, he was cleared to answer fire calls but not medical emergencies.

"I talked to them about it, and they fired me for it," he contended. It's now in the hands of attorneys.

All of the above stories were seen only on their respective stations. While not award-winners, each made their minutes count.


***CBS11's Nerissa Knight looked at comparative drug store pricing in part two of the station's "Money Savers" series. She bought the same 14 items at Walgreens and CVS, only to find an inconsequential 35 cents difference in the total costs. Walgreens ended up being cheaper, but "many say driving out of your way for a deal could cost you more," Knight concluded.

During the course of her travels, she bought an eight-pack of Double A batteries for $7.49 at Walgreens and $7.99 at CVS. Two words: Dollar Tree. You can buy a four-pack of Double A batteries for a buck apiece there.

***No one is more deserving of a career achievement award at WFAA8 than longtime production operations manager Jerry Cadigan. He finally got one Tuesday, namely the William H. Seay award from Belo Corp., which owns the station.

Anchor Gloria Campos commendably congratulated Cadigan during the 10 p.m. newscast as an indispensable behind-the-scenes miracle-worker.

***Long missing in action, "Doocy's Doozy" made its first May sweeps appearance on Fox4's Tuesday 9 p.m. news. Sports anchor Mike Doocy cued viewers to some choice quotes from Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens, who's making a cameo appearance on MY27's Under One Roof sitcom Wednesday night.

The subject, however, was Owens' comments on Good Day about QB Tony Romo's recent butchering of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at a Chicago Cubs home game.

"Oh my goodness. I've heard him on plane rides. He just doesn't get it. He really thinks he can sing," Owens said. "And I even told him, 'Like, dude, you are tone deaf.' Terrible. Leave the singing to Jessica (Simpson). He would not even make it in the door on American Idol."

Actually, he would -- as a classically bad auditioner.

Doocy then sling-shotted one back at Owens. "It was bad," he said of Romo's singing. "But T.O. had better hope Romo doesn't criticize his acting, from what I've seen of clips of that show."

Six nights to go.