Neither A Dirk Nowtizki Milestone Nor A Good Christmas Deed Could Save Dallas This Week.

Welcome to D-Rated, in which we try to determine if the quality of life in Dallas and its surrounding areas is moving up or down by arbitrarily awarding and subtracting point values to our living situation based on current events.

Before we get started, a quick note: This is our final D-Rated column for the year. Check back next week as we look back on the best and worst things of the year.

Adios, Joe: Former star running back Joe Lavilla died Sunday. He was just 23. One of Arlington Martin High School’s best football players, Lavilla was a walk-on at Texas A&M University in 2010 before transferring to Bible college out in California. He was walking along the train tracks at around 8:15 on Sunday morning — no one is sure why — when a Union Pacific train hit him. A spokesman for Union Pacific said Lavilla made no attempt to get out of the way, “despite the bells and whistles.” He leaves behind his parents and two brothers who also played for Martin. Minus 3.

Tacos! Tacos! Tacos!: If there's one thing we can't get enough of around here, it's delicious tacos. So if you had mixed feelings about Denton getting a Buc-ee's, you can probably feel entirely guilt-free about Haltom City getting a Fuel City. The Dallas gas station/taco mecca will open this, its third location, late next year. Expect a livestock display (a staple at the other locations) and a 24-7 taco stand. Plus 2.

Run, Rudolph, Run: If you're like the McAllister family in Home Alone, always rushing through airports and barely catching your flight, then Southwest Airlines and the Container Store was a saving grace. No, they couldn't help you if you leave your son behind, but they did offer free gift-wrapping at Love Field and six other airports across the U.S. this week. You must be in a pretty big hurry if your gifts had to be wrapped before you even get on the plane — but, hey, it was still one less thing to worry about, which is nice. Plus 1.

Christmas Evil: Two separate churches in Denton have received bomb threats this week, in hopes that the pastors might cancel their Christmas Eve services. Authorities are investigating if these are legitimate terror threats or just garden-variety hoaxes, but it's certainly scary either way. Neither Denton Bible Church nor St. Andrews Presbyterian Church has canceled their Thursday services at this point, but both will increase security. Minus 3.

Shaq Who? On Wednesday night in Brooklyn, Dirk Nowitzki passed Shaquille O'Neal and rose to sixth place on the all-time NBA scoring list as his Mavericks pulled out a 119-118 overtime win on the road over the Nets. That's probably as high as he'll rise; have to score more than 2,800 points to best Wilt Chamberlain and crack the top five, and, if his younger years are any indication, that's still at least a two-season load of points left to go. Still: Pretty impressive for an old German guy! Plus 2.

This Week's Total: Minus 1.
Last Week's Running Total: Minus 18.
This Week’s Running Total: Minus 19.

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