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This just in: A night in the lives of D-FW's late night newscasts (Tues., April 29)

Steve Stoler, Becky Oliver, Jack Fink and Ken Kalthoff

Sometimes it's best to cleanse the palate and accentuate only the positive, particularly in light of CBS11's horrendously sophomoric mistake regarding the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

The station officially apologized on its Tuesday 10 p.m. newscast after the wrongness of Jay Gormley's Wright report was detailed in these spaces that same afternoon.

Frankly, it was depressing to see a generally solid reporter put his name to such a travesty while his peers and newsroom superior officers either intimidated him, looked the other way or cowered in fear.

The completely irresponsible airing of that story also had me questioning whether the time and effort put into watching all of this stuff is really worth it during the May, November and February ratings "sweeps" months. After all, why try to either discourage or encourage them? They're going to do whatever they want anyway. Trying to police local newscasts in the country's fifth-largest television market is akin to telling Steve Nash to comb his hair. Fruitless.

So this particular dispatch will highlight only the genuinely praiseworthy aspects of Tuesday's late nighters. Thankfully there was enough of this to generate a little renewed enthusiasm, though not all that much. Sorry if this sounds melodramatic -- and it probably does. But I can't remember being as disappointed in a local TV news station as I was with CBS11 on Monday night.

OK, on to the meritorious stuff.

***NBC5's Ken Kalthoff had a breezy but informative story on Flamingo Lane, which lately attracts the most complaints of any Dallas street on a Web site called rottenneighbor.com. He interviewed two cat-trappers who have been targeted by many of their neighbors. The story didn't move the earth, but it definitely shed a light on this particular neighborhood's prickly dynamics.

***NBC5 Night Ranger Scott Gordon followed up on a story the station broke the previous night about a battered Chihuahua left in a box on the front porch of Irving's mayor. Its sender, who unapologetically fessed up on-camera, said he was trying to send a message about the city's allegedly lax animal control policies. WFAA8's Chris Hawes reported roughly the same story Tuesday night. But NBC clearly had the lead on it, and Gordon has proven himself to be very good at digging deeper.

***WFAA8's Steve Stoler reported from Plano on five small businesses, including a popular restaurant and barber shop, that will have to make way for a new apartment/retail development backed by city leaders. In some ways it's the same old story -- little guys in the way of "progress." But it's always good to bring these stories home.

***Brett Shipp, WFAA8's multi-award-winning investigator, had another report on questionable test grading by the DISD. It seemed to be balanced and noteworthy, although an emailer to unclebarky.com said that "grade scaling" -- by school administrators rather than teachers -- is a common and justifiable practice. But complaining teachers contend that the practice is "blindly inflating grades for everyone" while turning flunking students into passing ones. Here's a Web site link sent by the reader to explain the "rationale" for grade scaling. Have to admit it's Greek to me, but I stunk at foreign languages in both high school and college.

***Fox4 investigator Becky Oliver presented Part 2 of her series on the apparently very crooked AG Total Care agency, whose offices were raided Tuesday afternoon by law enforcement officials. The station had video of numerous boxes of potentially incriminating evidence being removed. Oliver also revealed that agency's since jailed owner, Irene Anderson, had been operating under an alias. She nailed this one throughly, with no small amount of legwork required.

***CBS11's Jack Fink had a dogged and telling report on staged car accidents that can cost consumers hundreds of dollars a year in jacked-up insurance bills. His story also included video of scammers at work and the angry retort of a convicted sub-human who will be going to jail for two-and-half-years.

"What do you want me to say? The federal system is corrupt," he whined. Throw away the key.

***Gormley quickly returned to the living by leading off Tuesday's CBS11 late nighter with video of Dallas County Commissioners John Wiley Price and Kenneth Mayfield having a heated argument over the amount of overtime being paid to sheriff deputies and staffers. Unlike the Wright "expose," this county-officials-gone-wild video both seemed genuine and spoke volumes.

***Finally, all praise, even if it's tongue-in-cheek, goes to WFAA8 news anchor Gloria Campos for revving up Dallas Stars fans outside the station's Victory Park studios. Campos brandished a four-game "sweep" broom and trotted to and fro while the crowd roared its approval.

Weatherman Pete Delkus again was the instigator. "Hey Dale, we've got some video to show you here," he told nightly arch-foil Dale Hansen. "Ed Bark's gonna love this. Gloria had 'em all wound up tonight, didn't she, John?"

News anchor John McCaa wondered if she'd get her broom back and Campos laughed agreeably before sports anchor Hansen chimed, "You wouldn't see John and me doing that. We're journalists."

Aw hell, might as well roll with it. Thanks for the memories -- and the mention.

Sixteen nights to go.