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Politics & Government

Podcast: Why Walkability Matters to the Future of Dallas

| 2 hours ago

Maybe you’ve heard somewhere that a debate is under way over the best way to build a second light-rail line through downtown Dallas. The Coalition for a New Dallas — which is a PAC co-founded by D Magazine owner Wick Allison and which operates from within D Magazine World Headquarters — favors taking the new stretch of rail entirely underground through the city center.

Coalition executive director Matt Tranchin stopped by the Old Monk this week to chat about this and other transportation and walkability issues important to the future of the city. Give the show a listen.

But first, a few notes:

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News

Leading Off (8/26/16)

| 6 hours ago

Cowboys Lose Practice Game, Survive Romo Scare. The Seattle Seahawks beat Dallas, 27-17, but the final score was irrelevant since it’s still preseason. What really worried fans was seeing Tony Romo hit the turf with a back injury on the third play of the game, even if afterward the quarterback said he feels fine. Romo missed 12 games last season because of a twice-broken collarbone. On the plus side, rookie Ezekiel Elliott and backup QB Dak Prescott turned in encouraging performances.

Ezekiel Elliott Visits Pot Store. Marijuana is legal in the state of Washington, but its use remains banned by the NFL. That’s why Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called a TMZ video of Elliott visiting a Seattle dispensary “not good.”

Dallas ISD Board Elects New Officers. In what looks like fallout from last week’s contentious vote on the proposal to put a tax increase on the November ballot, district trustees voted to replace flip-flopping board president Lew Blackburn (who voted against the tax vote after publicly supporting it) with Dan Micciche.

Judge Throws Juror in Jail. Gregory Duc allegedly tried to get out of serving on a civil court jury by claiming he has a bias against nurses. He was slapped with a contempt order by Judge Gena Slaughter after his “tone and body language indicated general hostility.” Duc spent 24 hours in the Dallas County clink.

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Visual Arts

Why Is There a Lee Harvey Oswald Mural in the Bishop Arts District?

| 21 hours ago

I was strolling through the Bishop Arts District last weekend when, near the corner of Madison and 7th, I happened upon a new mural. The likeness isn’t perfect, but the numbers match up — The mugshot of Oak Cliff’s most infamous former resident and Dallas’ most notorious killer is emblazoned on a wall in a neighborhood packed with boutique shoppers and brunchers. (For reference, another nearby mural pays colorful tribute to Batgirl, Oak Cliff’s own Yvonne Craig.)

Dallas has a complicated relationship with the man who shot John F. Kennedy. There’s a weird mix of historical guilt, lingering tragedy, and cheeky irreverence. No one blinks at a bar in the Cedars bearing Lee Harvey Oswald’s name. The Texas Theatre, where Oswald was arrested hours after killing the president, of course has its share of decorative photos related to the events of Nov. 22, 1963. Take a 15-minute walk north of this new mural, and you can see Oswald’s old rooming house. There’s no point ignoring the city’s history.

Still, I was briefly taken aback, standing there with my ice cream while happily chattering couples slurped down mimosas in the near distance, to find myself stared down by the mug of an assassin. Maybe that was the artist’s intent. It’s provocative, if mostly unoriginal.

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Arts & Entertainment

Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: Aug. 25

| 1 day ago

The Dallas Theater Center opens its season with a love story. A love story that, because of the existence of an infinite number of universes, is more like a million love stories. While you go see Constellations tonight, it’s possible that another version of you is planning to see a different play in Fort Worth. Meanwhile, another other version of you — this one’s got blue hair or a peanut allergy or something — is going to see Slipknot.

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Local News

New School Opens in West, Three Years Later

| 1 day ago
Kim and David Woodard, who both work at West High School, in front of their destroyed home in 2013. (Photo by Elizabeth Lavin)
Kim and David Woodard, who both work at West High School, in front of their destroyed home in 2013. (Photo by Elizabeth Lavin)

After spending the bulk of the past three years in portable buildings, following the explosion of the West Fertilizer Co. plant on April 17, 2013, students in West finally have an actual school again. It opened on Monday, and the facility replaces both the middle and high schools in the town; grades 6 through 12 will be housed on the site. (The elementary school — where I was a janitor for two years after graduating high school — is near the highway, and was unaffected.)

It’s absolutely great news, and I’m happy for all the people I still know in West and the folks that work for the school. But it’s also a little bittersweet for me. I was in the first sixth-grade class that attended the middle school, and my father (the superintendent of schools at West ISD) worked for a full decade to get the high school built. Now that they’re officially replaced, it’s another thing gone.

Who cares about me, though? Life is returning to some measure of normalcy in West, and that’s what is really important.

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Leading Off

Leading Off (8/25/16)

| 1 day ago

Body Found in Trinity Is Likely SMU Officer Carried Away in Turtle Creek. Yesterday afternoon, Dallas police found a body in uniform in the Trinity River, about 3 miles from SMU officer Mark McCullers’ last known location after he’d been swept away by Turtle Creek flooding in July. Officers believe the body to be McCullers, but they’re waiting on DNA confirmation before officially identifying the body. As the body was removed from the water, officers lined up in a salute.

Susan Hawk Is Still District Attorney. If you’ll remember, tomorrow, August 26, is an important date for Susan Hawk. If she resigns by then (so, today), voters would be able to pick a new DA in November’s election following Gov. Greg Abbott’s appointment of someone to serve out her term. If she does not, the earliest voters could choose a new DA would be 2018. Apparently there has been no indication of Hawk considering resigning. I’m guessing that won’t change today.

DPD Officer Shoots Suspect Who Pointed Gun in His Direction. After a traffic stop yesterday morning in Oak Cliff, the man who was pulled over pointed a gun at the police officer, who then shot and killed the man. The car’s license plate seemed to belong to a different vehicle. The man got out of his car and ran, and when the police officer gave chase, the man pointed a gun at the officer. The suspect died at a hospital after being shot. This was the first shooting involving a DPD officer since the ambush downtown on July 7.

Knox Street Going from Four Lanes to Three. From McKinney Avenue to Travis Street, Knox will be three lanes, as decided by city council members yesterday. The goal is to fix a bad parking situation and make sidewalks better. But some business owners worry that this will congest things and limit access. However, the project is set to begin within a year.

Yu Darvish Hits a Homer. In yesterday’s win against Cincinnati, Darvish hit the ball so hard that it soared over the center field wall at Great American Ballpark. This was the first home run by a Rangers pitcher since 1997. Hopefully this sets the tone for the next two weeks, which will greatly impact the AL West standings.

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Transportation

Does Dallas Really Have to Choose Between a Subway and a Streetcar?

| 2 days ago

Robert Wilonsky has one dud of a column in today’s paper about DART, D2, and the whole downtown streetcar business. As Tim mentioned earlier, the column sounds at times like Wilonsky is regurgitating verbatim stuff he was told by Dallas Area Rapid Transit president and executive director Gary Thomas, and at times like he is attempting to revive the corny, clueless, blundering folksiness of Steve Blow. But what I find most interesting about the column is the way that, in its failure to grasp the full extent of the issues it grapples with, it reveals the hand of a transit agency shifting its political narrative to withstand the headwinds of unexpected opposition.

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Transportation

A Sea of Green Washed Over the DART Board Meeting Last Night

| 2 days ago
Green is the new black.
Green is the new black.

Last night, the DART board met to discuss this and that, and about 200 people clad in green t-shirts showed up to let the board know how much they don’t want a second surface rail line through downtown. DART spokesman Morgan Lyons told me that several years ago the board faced a similar standing-room-only crowd as it considered another rail alignment, but board member Bill Velasco told the DMN’s Brandon Formby that the turnout was the biggest he’s seen in his 15 years on the board.

Read that Formby story for more details. It’s a good recap of what happened last night. Then, if you’re so inclined, read this Robert Wilonsky story on the same topic from today’s paper. It’s a total mess. The prose is a killer. Example: “On the surface (get it?!), the streetcar probably makes the most sense, right? Goes farther than a Dak Prescott deep pass …” But, far worse, the content seems in some places to have come straight from the desk of Gary Thomas, DART’s executive director. I wrote last week about how Thomas used fear tactics at a Dallas City Council briefing to try to steer them away from making that second downtown line a subway. With that in mind, read this passage from Wilonsky:

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Arts & Entertainment

Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: Aug. 24

| 2 days ago

Streaming video, cat-based and otherwise, will account for about 84 percent of all internet traffic by 2018. (The other 16 percent will be Facebook memes and blog content compiling local event listings.)

Best to become a connoisseur of the form now. And while all cat videos have their charms, some cat videos are better than others. Only the best will screen at tonight’s Internet Cat Video Festival at the Texas Theatre.

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