Fingers of Fury has (have?) the story about a Dallas County judge throwing out a suit filed by the town of Highland Park against the city of Dallas. The suit sought to nix a zoning change that will allow a mid-rise to be built in Dallas, on the Katy Trail. Upon learning of the news, the entire town of Highland Park thought: “Wait. What? A Dallas County court surely doesn’t have jurisdiction over Highland Park, right? A federal district court, maybe. The Supreme Court, almost certainly. But Dallas County?!”Full Story
“Lots of bench conferences and long recesses — this hearing has it all!” That was the sarcastic assessment yesterday of Tom Korosec, who was covering Barrett Brown’s sentencing hearing for Bloomberg. Tom and I know each other. He has written for both D Magazine and D CEO. We were standing around during an afternoon recess, marveling at how little Tom would have to work with when it came time to file his story. Before lunch, Judge Sam Lindsay had already warned everyone that things were moving so slowly that he wouldn’t issue his sentence until January 22.Full Story
Finally, Fort Worth musician Leon Bridges has started to gain national (and even international) attention thanks to write-ups in local music website Gorilla vs Bear, which has been the path to such notice for many a North Texas act in the past ten years.Full Story
Likely you will not be surprised that I’ve yet to hear a response from any of the lily-livered members of the Dallas City Council whom I so forcefully challenged last week. Doubtless they were each too intimidated by the thought of having to match up against me to dare to accept. Even though their continued silence is a clear violation of protocol of the code duello, I feel sorry for them — for the many remaining years they shall have to live with their own cowardice, waking up each day to look at themselves in the mirror in the full knowledge that they weren’t man or woman enough to take me on.
In the meanwhile, I’ve returned to address your needs. Keep your requests for information, advice, adjudication, or discussion of teleological ethics coming to [email protected].Full Story
FC Dallas’ home pitch will host the US Men’s National Team on July 7 to kick off the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. You can read more about that here. Tell ‘em what’s up Jurgen Klinsmann:
“We are thrilled to play our opening game of the CONCACAF Gold Cup in Frisco,” he says. “Winning the tournament is the number one priority for the senior National Team in 2015, so it’s important that we get started on the right foot. It’s a great stadium and there’s a tremendous tradition for soccer in the area, so we’re hoping to get huge support from all our fans.”
Who’s excited? This guy, for one.Full Story
With that wonderful win Sunday night, the Cowboys have put themselves in position to win the division, and possibly even earn a bye in the first week of the playoffs — or to completely rip the hearts out of fans who could resist hope until only recently.
This week’s game against the Colts will be the biggest challenge. And the Cowboys have a lot to deal with. In addition to DeMarco “Spray Tan” Murray’s surgically repaired hand, and Orlando Scandrick’s seems-like-a-real-life-Chappelle Show-sketch desire to run up the score on hospitalized children who dare play him in Madden, this week the team has to face the unrelenting kindness of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
The Wall Street Journal has a great story about just how jarring Luck’s niceties can be. Apparently, any time he’s knocked down he retaliates with love. From the WSJ:
Luck has become famous for congratulating—sincerely and enthusiastically—any player to hit him hard. Any sack is met with a hearty congratulations, such as ”great job” or “what a hit!” He yells it after hard hits that don’t result in sacks, too. It is, players say, just about the weirdest thing any quarterback does in the NFL.
When New England pass rusher Rob Ninkovich pulverized Luck last month in a Patriots’ 42-20 win, he got the customary congratulations. As Ninkovich tells it, he found himself paralyzed with confusion by the well-wishes, so he blurted out “Thanks for…uh…accepting that hit?” before running back to the huddle.
Also, Dallas is 3-4 at home this year. So there’s that.Full Story
In a piece earlier this month for the Architect’s Newspaper, Scott Johnson of Fain Johnson, the principal designer of Museum Tower, says the only possible solution to the Nasher Sculpture Center’s demands to be free of the light reflected upon its building and garden lies in the proposed alterations to its roof — changes which the museum has refused to make:
In the meantime, the Dallas Police & Fire Pension Fund, after exhaustive technical studies, has recommended recalibrating the clerestory cells in the ceiling without touching any other elements of the Nasher’s architecture. It is my understanding that they will turn their engineering research over to the Nasher design team to vet, design, and install the recalibration, and they will pay for it. The Nasher, I understand, has declined this solution, however, the original charge to “eliminate all reflection and do it all on Museum Tower,” given what we know, seems frankly unachievable.
I remain hopeful that new participants in the process will look beyond entrenched positions and a consensual and effective solution will be agreed upon. Dallas is a beautiful city and I hope that a resolution for this difficult issue between Museum Tower and the Nasher can be found soon.
In 2000, you might recall a tornado ripping through Fort Worth. I was at my aunt’s house that evening, had gone to bed early, and snoozed through the whole thing.
Somewhat closer to home, last night I had the strange experience of sleeping next door to a five-alarm fire. I live in Fair Park. I went to sleep at 2 am, which is why when I woke up at a little past 3 am because my bed was shaking and sirens were wailing and my neighbor was pounding on my door, it felt like I was in some sort of weird red and orange and blue dream. That’s also possibly why, after poking my head out in to the hall and not really seeing anything, I went back to sleep. In retrospect, I should have done a little more investigating. When I woke up again, my power was out, my building smelled like badly burnt toast, and I couldn’t leave to get to work—firefighters were still parked outside my garage and the air was thick with smoke. The fire started at a warehouse, 4100 Commerce, and spread toward my building, which, thankfully, is fine. My neighbors in 4130 Commerce are not so lucky. The units are uninhabitable.
Justin Terveen, cityscape photographer extraordinaire who apparently lives nearby, got a photo of the fire—it’s huge. Anyway, what I am saying is, I’m glad everyone made it out alive. Firefighters are awesome and brave and I’m crazy grateful they contained the fire. And I need to rethink my sleeping patterns.Full Story
A 2.7-magnitude earthquake shook Irving at about 6 a.m. this morning. These minor events, none of which have caused significant damage or injuries, have been so common in the area (it’s the 12th since the beginning of October) that I’ve begun to feel downright Californian in my lack of excitement in hearing news of another.
The Morning News has a map showing the close proximity of the epicenters of each of these quakes to a natural gas well. Fracking, and more specifically the injection of wastewater from fracking being injected into the ground, has been found in some studies to be correlated with greater seismic activity.
A FrontBurnervian in the oil and gas business sent me a note with a map from a drilling industry information site showing the horizontal track of the well’s drilling bores was in the opposite direction from where the quakes are clustered. He argued that because of this, and because the well hasn’t been active since 2012, it’s likely not responsible for the tremors.
I ran this claim by Brian Stump, a seismologist at SMU.Full Story
In an Unfair Park post this morning explaining why it’s difficult for him to trust Trinity toll road proponents because of all the lies that have been told about the proposed highway and the adjacent park, Schutze recounts how our elected officials (most prominently former Mayor Tom Leppert and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison) created a special exemption just to make the project possible:
In 2010 when Republicans were filibustering President Obama’s defense spending bills — when defense bills were hard-fought battles in the congress, in other words — Leppert persuaded Hutchison to do some last-minute legislative sleight-of-hand with a defense spending bill that was about to finally get passed. She stuck two “riders” on that bill, provisions of little interest to anybody outside of Dallas, which received scant news coverage even here except in this newspaper.
Those riders said the Trinity River in Dallas was exempt from Section 4(f) of the act. A current U.S. Department of Transportation online publication explains that the FHWA is required by Section 4(f) to put “a thumb on the scale” in favor of park land wherever a highway touches a park, either by running along its edge or by cutting through its middle. Proponents can’t merely argue that a route that harms park land is the cheapest alternative, and, in fact, the FHWA must seriously consider any alternative that would spare the park.
That is the law everywhere in America but in Dallas and along the Trinity River, thanks to Hutchison and Leppert. At the time, Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm said the exemption was only for impacts to historic sites (as if that were a good thing). But we quoted people saying her statement was untrue, that the effect of the riders was so broad that they denuded the toll road project of all of the protective requirements of Section 4(f).
Over at Central Track, they did something a couple days ago that I find amusing. They attempted to rank the 500 most famous Dallasites, alive and dead. “We don’t always list at Central Track,” they said. “But, when we do, we like to list longer and harder than anyone else in town.” Pretty funny. But the list stinks. Kourtney Kardashian at No. 11, ahead of Dirk and Romo? And ahead of Lee Harvey Oswald? Laughable.
More than a decade ago, we ranked 100 Dallas celebrities. Only 100, yes. But we consulted with an SMU professor to create a formula with which to rank the people. That formula relied on no fewer than 13 variables. It was quite an undertaking.
All this I bring to you right now because it is Friday and our office Christmas party is tonight, which means we are all skating with a defensive posture, trying to kill the penalty without letting in a goal.Full Story
Friday Seasonal productions will be front-and-center in local theaters through the end of this month, and even a bit into the New Year. Here are a just a handful of options that are all very much Christmas-themed, however all far different from one another. The Dallas Theater Center have successfully revamped the oft-attempted Christmas Carol, under director […]Full Story
A video has been circulating recently that purports to show Mike Brown, the 18-year-old shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, beating an older man over a backpack. I’ve seen this video passed around on Facebook in the last few days, mostly by people working backward from the notion that Brown was a menace to society who deserved to die. Some of the individuals sharing the video without skepticism are local journalists — because the industry just hasn’t had a hard enough time of late.
The footage is brutal and disturbing, and you probably shouldn’t watch it. Especially since the person in that video almost certainly is not Mike Brown. The rumor-debunking site Snopes looked into the matter and has determined that the video has been mislabeled. (It was also taken off of Facebook at one point, not because of the content or label or any policy of the social network, but because the person who first shared it removed the post and that’s how that works.)
Turns out, this footage was shot two years ago, when Brown would have been 15 or 16. Also, it was shot in Dallas, in the Woodland City Apartments (the original video is titled “Only in Woodland City”), and there is no indication Brown ever spent time in North Texas.Full Story
Perhaps you’ve heard of SUCCESS. Perhaps not. It’s a monthly based in Lake Dallas that positions itself as “the only magazine that focuses on people who take full responsibility for their own development and income.” Well, last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Michael Keaton was being his highly entertaining self, spinning tales about Jack Nicholson, when he stopped down briefly to tell Kimmel that he really enjoyed the profile of him he’d read in SUCCESS. I bring all this to your attention because I knew you’d appreciate it.Full Story
Let’s say you just received the results of a survey. For the sake of argument, let’s say the survey asked whether people agree with, disagree with, or are neutral toward the statement “Overall, pornography is headed in the right direction.” Let’s say 48 percent of respondents agreed, 26 percent disagreed, and 26 percent were neutral.
Now let’s say you wanted to report those results on your website. How would you write that headline? Would you write, “A majority of respondents are neutral or disagree that porn is headed in the right direction”? Or would you write, “A majority of respondents are neutral or agree that porn is headed in the wrong direction”?Full Story
Kevin Gallagher runs Barrett Brown’s legal defense fund. On Twitter, he is reporting that Barrett has been threatened by inmates. Gallagher shared some more details with me, and I’ve talked to Barrett’s mother. Here’s what I can tell you:
Last night, Barrett was threatened by two inmates, one an associate of the Aryan Brotherhood. Barrett’s cellmate called Barrett’s mom this morning to tell her about these threats — Barrett having already been moved to SHU (isolation) for his own protection. Then Barrett called his mom this afternoon but not from the Seagoville unit, where he has been incarcerated. He has been moved to the Kaufman County jail, and all his belongings have been sent to his mother. Barrett’s cellmate told Barrett’s mom that he thinks yesterday’s op-ed in the Morning News might have had something to do with the threats. Like the bad guys were all like: “You think you’re so fancy? We’ll show you.” But that’s speculation.
Anyway, Barrett’s mom says he sounds fine. He requested one of Robert Caro’s LBJ books and something on the Renaissance. No telling at this point where things go from here, how long he’ll be in Kaufman, but here’s his new address, if you’re inclined to send him something to read:
Barrett Brown, No. 45047-177
Kaufman Law Enforcement Center
P.O. Box 849
Kaufman, TX 75142
The fall 2014 DISD “campus climate” survey was just released, and as you can see from the chart above (click to embiggen), the top-line numbers reveal mostly good news for the district. A whopping 85 percent of teachers filled it out. I know this isn’t what you’d expect if you subscribe to the local media narrative, but it doesn’t surprise me that much. A friend was talking to two DISD assistant principals yesterday, and both said that Miles had been much better this year about communicating with and listening to campus leadership. But, you know, you can choose to ignore this and wallow in the status-quo muck if you so desire. Free country. Here are the full results, btw.Full Story
Ahhh December. Time for egg nog, racist uncles, and Best Of lists. You may remember my colleague Michael J.Mooney’s “How Not to Get Away With Murder,” from our December issue. Well, it turns out that was the third most-popular story on Longform this year, trailing only stories about Radio Shack and serial killers.
The story WAS NOT however, selected as one of the 10 best stories of the year by Longform’s editors. (Have to keep him humble.) Better luck next year, Michael.Full Story
Former Dallas U.S. Attorney Named ICE Head: Senate Republicans—including our own illustrious John Cornyn—tried a bunch of shenanigans to keep Sarah Saldaña from the post, but in the end it was Ted Cruz (and his bizarre, maybe-I-didn’t-think-this-through shenanigans) that actually allowed the Senate to vote on Saldaña’s appointment.
Oak Cliff Native Stevie Ray Vaughan Voted Into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Green Day was also voted in, which means that previous sentence holds absolutely no worth.
After Kaufman Killings, Eric Williams Went to a Barbecue: And that’s not even the most bizarre stuff to come out of his sentencing, which has been extended to today. “…Williams planned to use a crossbow to kill him. Kim Williams said he also planned to cut a hole in the judge’s stomach and pour in the homemade napalm he made as an extra coup de grace.” The death penalty is on the table, so the delay is understandable.
Barrett Brown Not Sentenced: Meanwhile, someone who should be out of prison is not. It’s been delayed until late January.Full Story
File this under “variations in the key of lying.” No one knows how the “Blacklands” toll road — you know, the road that was so hated by the burbs that residents flooded public meetings to shut it down — is still alive, not even TxDOT. Jim Schutze tries to peel the onion to figure how after much resistance and promises from officials that the road was dead, it suddenly ended up on the Texas Department of Transportation’s to-build list. It’s another journey though the deep machinations of the region’s municipal planning organization, the North Central Texas Council of Governments, affectionately known as “The Cog.”
Even without heading over to the Observer story, you know how it made it on that list. I’ll give you a hint: it rhymes with Bichael Boris. But here’s why you should click over to Schutze’s piece. When State Representative Cindy Burkett, a Sunnyvale Republican who very much doesn’t want that road on the to-build list, asked TxDOT Executive Director Lieutenant General Joe F. Weber how it got there, The General refused to put his answer in writing. Maybe The General’s keyboard is missing an “M,” I don’t know. You can read both Burkett’s letter and the General’s wiggly response here.Full Story
Tis the season for driving around for half an hour to find a parking space, trying not to take an elbow to the face as you navigate through crowds, and counting your blessings if you’re lucky enough not to have a little one who requires you stand in an interminable line to meet Santa.
There’s much to love about the holidays, but there is also much to despise about the consumer warfare that accompanies the season. Which area shopping center do you do your darnedest to avoid this time of year?
Stumbled on this interesting report from a few of months ago that looks at what cities attract college graduates. According to data assembled by the think tank City Observatory, “The number of college-educated people age 25 to 34 living within three miles of city centers has surged, up 37 percent since 2000, even as the total population of these neighborhoods has slightly shrunk.” Why is this significant? Well, because the movement of young people and the places that attract them can help provide “a map of the cities that have a chance to be the economic powerhouses of the future,” the article asserts.
The economic effects reach beyond the work the young people do, according to Enrico Moretti, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of “The New Geography of Jobs.” For every college graduate who takes a job in an innovation industry, he found, five additional jobs are eventually created in that city, such as for waiters, carpenters, doctors, architects and teachers.
“It’s a type of growth that feeds on itself — the more young workers you have, the more companies are interested in locating their operations in that area and the more young people are going to move there,” he said.
So what cities will be the economic powerhouses of the future? Not Dallas, apparently.Full Story
Female Marathon Winner Doesn’t Get to Break Her Own Tape. Shitaye Gemechu of Ethiopia lead the whole 26.2 miles, and then she got passed up by a relay runner who mistakenly crossed the finish line meant for Gemechu. Gemechu’s time was 2:46:46—20 minutes under her personal best. The female runner-up was 22-year-old Jessica Harper from Southlake, and Sunday marked her first marathon. The overall winner was Kimutai Cheruiyot, with a time of 2:17:10.
4-Year-Old Boy Missing After Mother Killed. Maria Isabel Romero Medina, 27, was found dead in the Denton insurance office where she worked Saturday night. An Amber Alert was issued for her son, and police are looking for the boy’s father, Ricardo Lara Martinez, in connection with his abduction as well as her death.
Tyson Chandler Rejects a Shoe. I’m going to attempt to write something else sports-related without royally screwing it up. Golden State Warrior Marreese Speights lost his shoe near the end of the third quarter. Teammate Stephen Curry tried to toss it to him. Tyson Chandler whacked the shoe out of bounds.
Man Last Seen With Christina Morris Arrested. If you remember, Christina Morris is the young woman who disappeared from the Shops at Legacy on August 30. She was last seen walking in the parking lot with a man in the wee hours of the morning. That man was later identified as Enrique Arochi, who was arrested by Plano police Friday and charged with aggravated kidnapping, in part due to DNA samples collected earlier in the investigation. Previously, he has maintained he did not know where Morris went after they parted ways. There is still no sign of Morris.Full Story
Maybe you saw this DMN blog post last week about a cool program tied to the Extra Yard for Teachers Summit, to be held in Dallas on January 10. Pretty cool deal: Teachers tell their story “about their life as an educator” in an attempt to win a speaking spot at the summit. (The event is designed to support and cheer North Texas teaches as they head into the second half of the school year.)
On Saturday, the summit’s organizers are staging a pretty cool event where you, normal non-teacher Frontburner person, can tell your story about a teacher who made a difference in your life. There will be a video booth outside of Booker T. Washington HSVPA at Flora and Jack Evans Streets in the Arts District tomorrow from 1 to 5 p.m. Some of the footage will/may be used for the summit.
I will be out of town this weekend, so I can’t make it. But here’s the story I would have told, which I call, “The Second Best Memory I Have That Involves A Teacher”: […]Full Story
Dallas City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Tennell Atkins has been cited for misdemeanor assault after allegedly grabbing a female security guard at City Hall.Full Story