Pulse of the CITY
Some of the News...
...when we think you need it.
Dallasites who depend on the Morning News to keep their) informed were among the last Americans anywhere to see the full text of last month’s historic Starr Report. Thirty-six U.S. newspapers, large and small, printed unexpurgated copies of the report. Many, like the Star-Telegram, published the full text in the form of a free supplement.
But not the News. "We felt that it was just a limited audience thai wanted to read it," says executive editor and vice president Gilbert Bailon, who points out that the paper did offer the full report on its web site.
Star-Telegram ombudsman Paul K. Harral reports thai the Fort Worth paper printed 20.000 copies of the Starr report and so far has distributed about 18.000 of them.
Local booksellers say the three editions of the report-which went on sale in Dallas on the Tuesday after its Friday release by the House of Representatives-are among their top sellers. The Starr Report also is No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list.
Pssst! Wanna Buy a Bridge?
The VA in pursuit of profit.
Strapped for cash by light federal budgets and a shrinking population of potential patienls, Dallas’ newly expanded VA North Texas facility is trying to earn a buck by doing everything from drug tests for prisons to managing purchasing contracts for other governmental bodies.
After $153.6 million worth of improvements, "We have two options-cut staff and services or find ways to bring new dollars into the system," says Alan Harper, CEO at North Texas. "We’re trying to be entrepreneurial."
Under the general rubric of "revenue generation," North Texas now takes in federal prison laundry: does MRIs and CT scans for small hospitals; makes dental prostheses for other VA hospitals; provides management training for supervisors at small medical facilities; and even receives a royalty from a joint venture with Canada’s CRS Robotics involving sales of the world’s firs! automated urine sample processing system.
The powerful veterans’ lobby in the past has decried such innovations, says Bob Thomale, chief of acquisition and material management at North Texas. But no more. "Revenue generation allows the VA to open outpatient clinics." he says, "so that no veteran has to travel more than 30 miles from their home. They’re now seeing how it impacts their care."
■ Remember this photo of Adrianne Jones, the Mansfield teenager who was murdered in 1995 by military cadets Diane Zamora and David Graham? According to Texas Hot Looks, which owns the Dallas photo boutique where the photo was shot, that’s just the problem. Hot Looks claims that media outlets from Texas Monthly to ABC News to Penguin Books have violated its copyright by liberally reproducing the image without paying Hot Looks.
"We believe that given me newsworthi-ness of the case, any use of the photos is protected by fair use under copyright laws," says Tom Williams, attorney for the Star-Telegram, one of me defendants in a federal suit Hot Looks has filed.
But Dana Lejune, an attorney for Hot Looks, contends the real issue is that the Star-Telegram, claiming it had exclusive rights to the photo, entered into a joint agreement with Sipa Press to sell the photo.
"Whoever used that photograph nationwide bought it from Sipa," says Fort Worth writer Bill Gray. The Cadet Murder Case, which Gray wrote for Penguin, featured the Jones photo on its cover.
"That part of the case we probably don’t want to get into," says Williams.
■ Nielsen Media Research in New York reports me number of TV households in the Dallas-Fort Worth "designated market area" climbed to 1,959,680 this year, just behind Boston and just ahead of Washington, D.C., which Dallas replaced as the 7th largest TV market overall. The Houston DMA, with 1,665,550 TV house holds, remained steady as the No. 11 market.
■ Maybe that’s why they call it The Snooze. The ever-vigilant Morning News tarried two days before making brief mention of DISD’s Sept. 8 announcement that former Dallas/Fort Worth Airport official Janice D. Davis had been named the schools’ new chief financial officer. Davis is the permanent replacement for Matthew Harden, who resigned last spring amidst allegations of bribes and kickbacks at DISD. The Star-Telegram reported the key appointment a day ahead of the News, and in greater detail.
■ JFK assassination researcher Dale K. Myers has just published With Malice, an exhaustive recreation of Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit’s murder by Lee Harvey Oswald. At 702 pages. With Malice should be the final word on the subject.
■ The media entrepreneur award goes to Diana of Dallas, lusty pioneer of the play-for-pay homepage, and the subject of "The Call Girl and the I Cop" in D’s September I issue. Diana has capitalized on the attention by peddling autographed copies of that issue on her web site at $25 apiece.
■ Backward reels the mind: From page 6A of the Sept. 14th Star-Telegram : "To see what stories appear in today’s Star-Telegram, go to www.star- telegram.com/frontpage/".
The Daring Birdman of Dallas
Guts and glory at the dawn of Texas aviation.
Our most avid early aviator was pioneer of the sky Lestere Miller, shown here in a plane he built himself at his shop at 1022 Young St. in Dallas. Bom in East Texas (near Commerce) in 1894, Miller first tried to soar with the birds by strapping bamboo wings to his arms and leaping off hillsides. He later decided the Wright brothers had a better idea.
Miller enrolled in the St. Louis School of Aviation in Missouri and was soon barnstorming in a kerosene-fueled Albatross monoplane, powered by a motorcycle engine. In 1911 he made one of the earliest flights in Texas, amazing an excited crowd at the July 4th celebration in Hillsboro. Soon after, he landed in Dallas and started building planes.
From 1911 until the outbreak of World War I, Miller produced more than 300 biplanes, to the delight of local daredevils. There was no airfield in Dallas when he settled here, so he enlisted two cronies to help launch his craft from a local baseball diamond, The "ground crew." stationed at home plate, held on to the wing tips for dear life while Miller revved the engine. Then the pilot would yell, "Let ’er go." By the time he reached second base, Miller was airborne and on his way to center field, with just enough loft to clear the fence.
On Oct. 13, 1913, the U.S. government granted Miller a permit to fly airmail between Dallas and Fort Worth. He saw 13 as his lucky number and added the "e" at the end of Lester to make his name 13 letters long. Because of bureaucratic-delays, he did not make his first airmail venture until Jan. 1, 1917. To please the crowd of onlookers who had gathered around the Oak Cliff Viaduct to wave as he passed over, he performed figure-eights and other aerial acrobatics, straining the small engine and forcing him to make an emergency landing. In a second attempt six days later. Miller finally made Texas aviation history when he took off at 11:03 a.m. from an East Dallas pasture (now part of Lakewood Country Club) and disappeared into the clouds of the western sky. Thirty-three minutes later, he landed in Fort Worth carrying the U.S. mail. After shaking hands with ecstatic local dignitaries. Miller returned with a load of letters from Cowtown correspondents, successfully completing the state’s first round trip airmail delivery. The Daily Times Herald lauded Miller’s feat, calling him Dallas’"Daring Birdman."
The Head of its Class
Institutional Investor readers have voted The Mansion on Turtle Creek the best hotel in the world. The financial monthly’s panel, more than 100 senior business travelers who spent an average of 82 nights in hotel rooms last year, critiqued 648 hotels in 157 cities worldwide. Last year, the Mansion finished fifth in the voting.
THE BEST HOTELS IN THE WORLD
1. The Mansion-Dallas
3. Beverly Hills-Los Angeles
6. Four Seasons-Singapore
8. Four Seasons-Philadelphia
9. Four Seasons-New York
10. Regent-Hong Kong
11. Peninsula-Hong Kong
13. Bel-Air-Los Angeles
14. Mandarin Oriental-San Francisco
15. Park Hyatt-Buenos Aires
16. Carlyie-New York
17. St. Regis-New York
18. Four Seasons-Boston
19. Four Seasons-Mexico City
MONEY SHOULD BE FUN
Curt Junker has bought and sold expensive shotguns before. But theBeretta Gallery’s manager believes that whoever buys the $86,000 model currently on display at the Italian firearm-maker’s Highland Park outpost just might be getting the most expensive shotgun available in Dallas.
With 36 full-cut diamonds (totaling 30.2 carats) encrusting the weapon’s top lever and hingepin, the S06EESS is one of the more distinctive guns sold by Beretta, whose craftsmen have been making such luxury firearms for almost 500 years.
The unadorned model, with its enamel sideplates and polished wood finish, retails for around $54,000. Adding the diamonds, along with emerald-colored sideplates, bumps the price up considerably.
The bejeweled S06EESS is definitely meant to be used, not just admired, says Junker. So far, however, gallery visitors have been content to just ogle the hunting piece.
"It’s just a one-of-a-kind thing," Junker says, "and it takes a one-of-a-kind person to buy it. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea."
Here They Come!
Conventioneers make Dallas a hot destination.
Drought-Struck Dallas may have been a forbidding red spot on weather maps since spring, but the city is enjoying its best year ever as a thriving mecca for out-of-towners.
This month, visitors as diverse as members of the North American Wholesale Lumber Association, the Mennonite Economic Development Associates, and the 45,000-strong American Heart Association are coming to Dallas for their conventions.
In all, according to Greg Elam, a spokesman for the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, 3,800,000 people will attend 3,600 conventions in Dallas’ so-called Metropolitan Service Area this year and will drop a collective $4.25 billion on the local economy. That’s an increase from the 2,870,000 visitors who attended 2,600 conventions in 1990.
An Ecumenical Landmark
William Farmer (left) of the University of Dallas is a former professor of scripture at Southern Methodist University who converted to Catholicism in 1990. Over the ensuing eight years, Farmer has edited a major new International Catholic Bible Commentary. The massive project, which includes important contributions from both Catholic and Protestant scholars, is the first important collaboration of its kind.
"This is a readable commentary in a language people will understand," says Farmer, who visited Rome with U, D. President Milam Joseph to present Pope John Paul II with a special edition printed as originally written in its authors’ 30 languages.
From Big Hair to Butter Pecan
Texana for foreigners and foodies.
Two local journalists have produced hooks on how we live and what we eat.
Morning News columnist Helen Bryant’s entry is Fixin’ to be Texan, a gently satiric guide for newcomers to Texas. "You are a larval Texan," Bryant informs the uninformed, ami t hen schools the outlanders on everything from "Your Truck" to "Your Wife and Your Dog" to "Dressin Texan."
She provides especially useful insights on Texans’ trademark expan-siveness.
"Women sometimes shriek, ’Well, hiiiiiiiiii!’" Bryant advises. "Don’t be alarmed. It’s just friendship."
Over in Fort Worth, Star-Telegram state desk reporter Barry Shlachter has published his second cookbook, Texas Braggin’ Rights, a sequel to last year’s Cordon Bubba. The new volume collects winning recipes from a slew of Texas cook-offs. including die state fair competition in Dallas, the Punkin Days in Floydada, and the heavyweight Terlingua International Chili Championship. Recipes range from the rhapsodic-sounding "Dreamy Sweet Potato Casserole." with which Lois Radican of Alba won the Golden Sweet Potato Festival grand prize in 1990, to "It’s So Easy Cactus Salad." which won the 1993 Cactus Festival Cook-Off for J.T. Garcia of Kingsville.
Bryant’s FLxin to be Texan is available in bookstores. Call Shlachter at 1-80O-73TEXAS to order Texas Braggin’ Rights.
A poor thief tries to make good.
Joseph Chavis, the unlikely bank robber, is back in Dallas.
"The unassuming young lawyer confounded family, friends, and colleagues at the august law firm of Clark. West by robbing a University Park bank on his way to work one morning in December 1995.
As a crook, Chavis was spectacularly i inept; not only did the Bank United surveillance camera capture excellent images of him "disguised" in a baseball cap, but Chavis also , tried to hide his stolen loot behind a water , cooler at work.
His defenders, who insisted his arrest was a case of racially biased mistaken identity, were embarrassed when Chavis later confessed his guilt.
Things have changed in Dallas since Chavis was sent away to serve 20 months in a federal prison camp in Texarkana. His marriage collapsed, and he now works as a paralegal for a small Dallas law firm. Still, Chavis is hopeful that one day his law license will be restored.
What he doesn’t look forward to is news Hashes about local bank robberies, ’if the suspect is black," he says. "I worry that the police will want to talk to me."
Arlington Heads South...
...down the sewer.
The city of Arlington, always prickly about its identity as a city in its own right, neither a suburb of Dallas nor Fort Worth, is doing something else to set itself apart.
"It’s one of the few cities in North America that is growing to the south," says Jerry Fults of FultsONCOR. the Dallas commercial real estate firm.
"Almost every other city in North America grows to the north, or up the sewer line," Fults explains. "Sewers always drain downstream, and we always place mem in the bottom of streams for gravity feed. When you flush the commode, gravity feed flushes it into your sewer pipe, which runs downhill to wherever it is processed. But in Arlington’s case, there already are cities in place to the north. So in order to grow, Arlington has no choice but to go south. It’s a bit of a fight to make all that work."
"She’s off to a heck of a start."
-Dallas Observer, naming its former star columnist Laura Miller as "Best Political Newcomer." As City Hall observers-and the Observer-know, she has alienated her colleagues on the City Council and given unintended meaning to 14-1. it used to indicate the new council-mayor system, but now describes the newer council-Miller reality.