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This just in: a night in the lives of D-FW's late night newscasts (Fri., Nov. 2)

CBS11 anchors Karen Borta and Doug Dunbar gleam and glow at 10.

There's a glint in the eye of CBS11, most notably at 10 p.m.

Shorn of a tyrannical news director and his dirty-to-the-touch newscasts, the station clearly is re-energized as well as redefined in HD. Its recent and virtually seamless transition to sharper images particularly has done wonders for the appearances of co-anchors Karen Borta and Doug Dunbar.

An almost entirely new approach to makeup is required when making the transition to unforgiving HD. And whoever is making up Borta and Dunbar deserves their undying gratitude. They're positively aglow, with Borta a knee-buckler and Dunbar her jaunty mountie. Yeah, this all may sound silly, but appearances do count in the TV news game. And in that realm, CBS11 has taken giant steps forward with both a shimmering new set and newly glimmering anchors.

It also helps when you're proud of the product. Stuck in the muck just a few months ago, CBS11 has re-found solid ground. Its newscasts again are driven more by content than quick-hit trips to car wrecks and crime scenes. Friday wasn't exactly a dynamic news day in D-FW, but some stories were worth looking into.

CBS11's Clif Caldwell, a veteran who formerly worked the night shift on NBC5, did the best job of detailing the almost exclusively black Hamilton Park neighborhood's ongoing debate about selling most of its homes en masse to a developer. Caldwell has been around the block, in Hamilton Park and elsewhere. His experience was discounted by the previous regime. Now it may be back in vogue.

Newcomer Nerissa Knight had the only in-depth look at the sudden death of longtime Dallas Cowboys chaplain John Weber, who expired at age 59 of a heart attack. It's important to remember people of genuine worth, and Knight did so without being cloying about it. Better to give a decent man a fitting sendoff than spend yet another two or three minutes on crooks and murderers.

CBS11 also had the only story on Hollywood's impending writers' strike, which became a reality on Monday morning. It's odd that rival stations would ignore a situation that initially will knock late night talk shows into reruns and would have a huge impact on prime-time scripted series if it lasts into next year.

Belo8 offered a lengthy story by investigator Byron Harris on alleged abuses at the Cimarron Living Center. The report seemed well-documented, although one of its principal sources was a recently fired worker whose reasons for termination should have been specified by Harris. "I would never put anyone I know, or even my worst enemy there," she now says of Cimarron, whose representatives weren't talking.

NBC5 as usual offered a collection of heavily hyped stories that in reality didn't amount to much. The Peacock led Friday's newscast with reporter Scott Gordon's piece on an 82-year-old Farmer's Branch woman who's facing city fines for a string of dubious violations such as keeping her Christmas lights up past the holiday season.

"She might look like your grandmaw. Police say she's a wanted woman," co-anchor Jane McGarry trumpeted at the top of the newscast.

Not really. Police clearly have no interest in jailing the woman, and city officials seem amenable to erasing or greatly downsizing her fines. Gordon got around to saying that at story's end.

Meredith Land later contributed another of her ridiculous health alerts, this one on a middle-aged woman whose energy level slumped in mid-afternoon. Her problem turned out to be a clogged nasal passage. After an operation, "I can even walk my dog, and you know, enjoy activities in the evening," the woman told Land. What a nose for news she has.

For the third straight 10 p.m. newscast, NBC5 lauded the early Christmas season discounts available at Wal-Mart. Cynics might see these as "make-good" ads in atonement for the numerous times NBC5 has made Wal-Mart parking lots scenes of shootings, kidnappings and other mayhem. The station even had a recent top-of-the-newscast story on unduly scary Halloween decorations at a Wal-Mart entrance.

Fox4 seemed to have a hard time filling its 9 p.m. hour Friday night. Anchor Steve Eagar brought viewers news of a dead animal that turned out to be a coyote rather than a weird, mysterious creature. He later shared a prolonged, profanity-laced phone call during the weekly "Viewers' Voice" segment. The man, whose tirade was heavily bleeped, objected to pre-emptions of Judge Judy. But why give the idiot this kind of forum?

Fox4 viewers also learned that beer bubbles can quench your thirst and that Hillary Clinton's ninth cousin twice removed is Angelina Jolie.

Belo8 of course had another installment of Pete 'n' Dale's playhouse, with sports anchor Dale Hansen joking that he was almost overcome by the "fumes" from weatherman Pete Delkus' cologne.

Hansen unfortunately then took matters into his own hands with a sub-juvenile riff on one of the deeply troubled sons of Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid. Twenty-four-year-old Garrett Reid had smuggled 89 pills into his jail cell, Hansen said before elaborating: "Stuck the pills inside him, giving a whole new meaning to 'Bottoms up.' Now I wouldn't ever do illegal drugs, at least I hope not. But I absolutely wouldn't ever do illegal drugs that had been there."

Belo8 then had the good taste to close the newscast with a story on how animal excrement is being converted into low-grade methane gas. Or as anchor Gloria Campos put it, "The Dallas Zoo wants to use poop for power!"

Hansen could be heard chortling off-camera while viewers were treated to zoo workers shoveling up elephant dung. He then told Campos, "I did that story earlier."

Sorry, but what a load of crap.

Gaffe Gulch -- Fox4's report on how Britney Spears wastes her money included a printed rundown of her "Montly" income. But maybe misspellings are fitting in a Britney story.

NBC5's "Big Game Friday Night" correspondent, Derek Castillo, told viewers that Arlington Bowie had defeated Duncanville 42-14. But his station immediately put up a graphic that reversed the score in favor of Duncanville. Castillo had the correct outcome.