Breaking news from the DMN: “Dallas County’s new district attorney Susan Hawk, blasted by former co-workers for acting erratically on the job, spent a month at a rehab center for prescription drug use during the campaign for that office in late 2013, friends and courthouse colleagues say. … ‘She definitely needs to get help,’ said a courthouse colleague who has talked to Hawk about her use of pain medication in the past.”
So how many convictions from her former courtroom will get thrown out? And whom will Greg Abbott appoint to take Hawk’s place after she steps down? Because surely that will happen, right? Leaders in the clubhouse have to be Bill Wirskye and Toby Shook.Full Story
Dallas ISD Approves “Interim Bridge Plan.” At about 1 a.m., trustees voted for a measure that provides $129.5 million in funding for fast-tracked improvements at a number of schools, while expanding pre-kindergarten offerings and reopening several campuses. The final amount was less than the $134.7 million initially proposed after a number of amendments were made. Lakewood Elementary was among the big winners, as the school will get $12.6 million for an addition and renovations. All of this discussion is, of course, a prelude to voters later being asked to approve a comprehensive bond package totaling as much as $1.4 billion.
Bridge Collapse Kills Arlington Man. Yesterday’s accident in Central Texas along Interstate 35 in Salado, in which a tractor-trailer hit an overpass and caused a beam to fall onto the highway below, claimed the life of 32-year-old Clark Davis. I-35 was closed in both directions around the site until well into the night.
Rain May Ease Water Restrictions. The abundance of wet weather the last few months has resulted in some area lake levels rising dramatically and most of Dallas-Fort Worth shifting from darkest red to light red or orange on the U.S Drought Monitor map. Lake Lavon, one of the North Texas Municipal Water District’s reservoirs, has gone from 46.2 percent to 77.5 percent of capacity. If the trend continues this spring, the district may ease tough restrictions on watering that have been in place almost two years.
World War II Vet Recovers Empty Duffel Bag. Waymon Blundell, 94, certainly seemed tickled to be reunited with the bag, which he’d carelessly lost when he’d jumped onto the beach at Normandy as part of the D-Day invasion in 1944.
Keller Student Denied “Promposal.” Sixteen-year-old Casey Akers says her school wouldn’t let her stage a public invitation to the prom because she and her chosen date are gay. The school district issued a statement saying that it doesn’t allow any students to plan such elaborate invites, as they are disruptive. Anyway, when did it become an expectation for kids to treat a prom invite like a marriage proposal? Sounds like an excruciating burden for both straight and gay kids.
Derelict 1955 BelAir Wagon For Sale. It’s up for auction on eBay. You have until 10 a.m. today to make a bid. JFK assassination historian Farris Rookstool III (!) says the car is unique because a fellow named Lee Harvey Oswald once rode in it with his rifle.Full Story
It feels odd to say the most exciting thing happening in Dallas tonight might be a building opening its doors, but here we are. The Bomb Factory returns this evening with a performance by the great Erykah Badu. We’re pretty excited for Badu, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens now that the venue has been brought back from the dead. If you’re going to adopt more of a wait-and-see approach to the new music venue, consider taking in an inspirational speech or a play that feels “like a comic book brought to life.” Here are our picks for things to do tonight.Full Story
Yesterday, a guy named Bill Betzen filed a complaint with the Department of Education against DISD. If you read the DMN’s story about it, you probably went, “Whoa. That doesn’t look good. Seems like the district is screwing poor kids.” Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s okay. Don’t go too hard on yourself. It’s a complicated issue. Eric explains the whole matter on LearningCurve. You should read his post. After you do, you’ll understand the truth, that Betzen is just trying to undermine Superintendent Mike Miles and foul up a very important vote tonight by the board of trustees. Take a minute and educate yourself. Do it for the kids.Full Story
Controversial doesn’t always equal good, but if something gets the right people riled up, I’m usually interested. Wednesday seems a little early in the week to take on anything too spicy, though, so it’s also worth considering some of the safer entertainment options available to you in Dallas tonight. Here are our picks for things to do, in descending order from most controversial to least.Full Story
Investigation Alleges “Reverse Robin Hood” Scheme at DISD: An investigation has revealed large discrepancies in per-student spending within DISD, suggesting that the district is reallocating funds — upwards of $70 million — intended for underprivileged students and spending them on pet projects and magnet schools. Expect a formal complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education as soon as today. DISD has released an official response: “hogwash.”
Mother of Slain Basketball Star Sues DISD: Not a great day for the district. The mother of Troy Causey, the 18-year-old South Oak Cliff High basketball star who was beaten to death by teammates a year ago, has filed a wrongful death suit against DISD Superintendent Mike Miles and Terry Smith, head of Dallas County’s Juvenile Department. The suit accuses DISD officials of questionable athletic recruitment practices, including recruiting Causey out of juvenile detention and placing him in a special residence within South Oak Cliff’s attendance zone.
Is Dallas DA “Unstable” and “Overly Suspicious”?: We played a quick game in the office yesterday: power rank all the district attorneys in Dallas history. The department doesn’t exactly have a stellar history, and Susan Hawk looks more and more to fit the profile.
Highland Park High’s Racist Chant Leader Unveils Strategy Aimed at Salvaging His Ruined Name, Reputation: Levi Pettit, the Highland Park High School graduate who was captured in video leading racist fraternity chants in Oklahoma, will now attempt to become “a lifelong advocate for the African American community.”
AT&T Continues to Make Dallas’ Job Growth Look Great: The corporation looks to add 500 new positions throughout the region.
Texas Leg Silly Bill of the Day: Guns! We need to be able to carry them everywhere!
Paranoid Irving Mayor Follows Flapping Mouth to Promised Land of the Blow Hards: Beth Van Duyne has some hot sports opinions about religious communities in her city, and so, of course, Fox News comes calling.
Social Media Threats Responsible for More Public Dollars Spent Protecting Against Filter-less Crazies: It used to be that people would sit at a bar and say stupid things to their friends about stuff they didn’t like. Now they put it on Facebook, and as a result, security earns overtime for running extra details protecting people like Dallas Rep. Jason Villalba, the state legislature who introduced a bill that would make filming police all-but illegal.
Three North Texas Military Members on Creepy ISIS “Hit List”: Names, photos, and addresses of three North Texas members of the military personal surfaced on a website that asks sympathizers to target and kill 100 enemies of the so-called Islamic State.
If You Like the Weather in Texas: Wait ten minutes.Full Story
Here are the questions we face going into tonight, Dallas. Will Young Thug find redemption after his no-show non-performance in Dallas last year left a ticked-off audience covered in fire extinguisher spray? Who is the fairest queen of all of RuPaul’s Drag Race traveling tour? Does a 10-year-old stand-up comic have any material outside of jokes about Lunchables and assigned seating in home room? Answers to those questions and more, if you do these things tonight.Full Story
If my high school English class had been held at a bar, I would have paid way more attention to the works of William Shakespeare, and maybe I would be able to write more good than I do now. So a pairing of theater and alcohol at The Wild Detectives tonight has me particularly intrigued. Much Ado About Nothing is one we skipped (I skipped, at least) in class, but I gather it’s a comedic play with a significantly lower body count than some of The Bard’s other famous works.
We’re also enjoying the last bit of fallout from the musical atom bomb that was SXSW in Austin last week, so there are some bands to catch before they hit that dusty trail out of Texas once and for all. Here are our picks for things to do tonight.Full Story
Ted Cruz Is Officially Running For President. After majorly spoiler alert-ing this announcement on every single news organization and social media platform known to man, including Yahoo Groups, Sen. Ted Cruz will make the actual announcement today, though not from Texas. He’ll do it from Liberty University in Virginia. He’s the first GOP candidate to jump in.
Yoga Does Not Work For Everyone. As Nancy Duarte evidently found when she misplaced her zen and tried to burn down Sunstone Yoga on Mockingbird Lane Saturday night. The studio suffered minimal damage. Per the Morning News, “a witness, Phineas Bennett-Lovari, said the woman was lighting matches and pieces of paper and throwing them into the air, yelling, ‘I’m going to burn this [expletive] down. I don’t care if I go to jail.'” Duarte was arrested and charged with arson.
Arlington Might Get An MGM Grand Hotel. The city would not confirm, but sources told the Star-Telegram that a “convention-class” hotel with at least 750 rooms was in the works for a site near Globe Life Park.
Uptown Definitely Getting A Dream Hotel. Dallas is one a few cities with Dream Hotels in the works, as the boutique brand is adding six new properties. It will be on McKinney Ave. near Bowen Street. The plans were delayed while developers worked with residents to address parking and noise concerns.Full Story
The open microphone sessions of a couple of recent Dallas City Council meetings have provided some unexpected fodder for debate. The first instance came when Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan and Council Member Sandy Greyson tangled over the specifics of the engineering plans for the road that are currently under federal review. The second came when Scott Griggs responded to Yolanda Williams, Rick Callahan’s appointee to the Dallas Parks Board, who spoke to the council during the open microphone session about her love of all things Trinity Toll Road. Griggs got a little, well, impassioned, and then Philip Kingston joined in, while Callahan played defense.
It was all popcorn-ready entertainment, but don’t look for it to happen again anytime soon. The mayor released a memo rebuking the council members for speaking in violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act. According to a reading of the act by City Attorney Warren Ellis, during open microphone sessions elected officials’ responses must be limited to “statements of specific factual information” and a “recital of existing city policy.”Full Story
Happy first day of spring, everybody. It may not look like it, but love is definitely in the air. I saw a happy couple get engaged at the Granada last night with some on-stage help from TV on the Radio, so it must be true. Let’s start spring off right. Here are our picks for things to do this weekend.Full Story
Dallas Mavericks television play-by-play man stopped by the Old Monk yesterday afternoon in the wake of SMU’s painful NCAA tournament loss. He chatted with Tim and Zac about that, the Dallas Cowboys’ signing of Greg Hardy, WFAA sports anchor Dale Hansen’s reaction to the Greg Hardy signing, and how he got his start in broadcasting.
It’s a super-sized episode because there were just too many hot takes to pack into 30 minutes.
Remember to subscribe to EarBurner on iTunes or listen via the Stitcher app, your preferred podcatcher, or the embedded player below.Full Story
It’s a great time to be selling a house in Dallas, in that demand is so great that you can make some serious bank on your investment. But what then? As Bloomberg notes today:
Last year, Rick Smith put his family’s house in suburban Dallas on the market, hoping to find a new home close to better schools and the city’s downtown. Selling the old house was a snap; buying a new one wasn’t. In January the family moved to a town home in a rental community, and quickly found they weren’t the only family forced into renting. “If you drive around our community, you’ll see moving boxes stacked up in the garages,” he said. “No one wants to unpack, because they think they’ll be moving again soon.”
Welcome to Dallas in 2015, a city whose bustling economy is attracting new residents at a rapid pace—and making it increasingly difficult to buy a house. New listings get multiple offers in mere days, said Steve Habgood, president of the MetroTex Association of Realtors. Homeowners are increasingly reluctant to sell lest they wind up in Smith’s situation. “People are saying, ‘Great, I can get a premium on the price I paid, but where am I going to live once I sell?'” said Habgood. “The options are pretty limited.”
It’s become a vicious cycle.Full Story
Yesterday Mitchell Glieber, the president of the State Fair of Texas, released a startling statement. Responding to a proposal put forward by Boston-based planner Antonio Di Mambro that completely rethinks the layout and use of Fair Park, the State Fair said that adopting such a plan would “effectively end the 129-year tradition of the State Fair of Texas in Dallas.”
Sound the alarms! Raise the flags! The State Fair could leave Fair Park! How did we get here?Full Story
This week our program was fortunate enough to play host to the author of The Life and Legend of Chris Kyle: American Sniper, Navy SEAL, newly released in paperback. Michael J. Mooney stopped by the Old Monk to talk about his recent book signing at Barnes & Noble and to silently sit by and judge as Tim and Zac make light of the (admittedly awful and tragic) “booty shot” death in Deep Ellum.
Also, Steve Blow might unsubscribe from EarBurner after this episode, which is available on iTunes, Stitcher, or however you prefer to catch your pods. The lazier among you can stream it via the player below.Full Story
The U.S. Census Bureau today released new estimates on population growth between July 2013 and July 2014 in the nation’s metropolitan areas and counties, and the part you’re bound to hear local leaders crowing about is Dallas-Fort Worth’s place here:
That’s the metros with the 10 largest numeric increases in population. Of course, DFW has the fourth-largest population in the country, so adding a mere 131,217 people isn’t good enough to rank it in the top 20 in terms of percentage increase. (Note that only Houston appears on both lists.)
And let’s also remember that growth of the metro and growth of the city of Dallas itself are far from the same thing.Full Story
It has been a few years since videos of driver-less cars began circulating out of Silicon Valley and people began to speculate about what they might mean for the future of cities and transportation. We’ve even kicked around the idea a touch. Still, I think it is worthwhile to prick ourselves every once in a while as a reminder that it is more than likely that by 2030 driver-less cars will be a part of normal, everyday life. That is how fast the technology is moving. In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation hopes to have rules drafted by 2017 that will mandate vehicle-to-vehicle communication technologies on new autos by an unspecified deadline, and GM, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Nissan, BMW, Renault, Tesla, and Google all expect to have cars that can drive themselves (at least part of the time) at market by 2020.
If this all sounds too optimistic, check out this video of the Mercedes FO15.Full Story
First, I’d like to congratulate Dirk on snagging his 10,000th rebound. Also, high-five on the birth of his son (and winning the argument with his wife, apparently, to pick the kid’s name). On to business: The Musers this morning were talking about how there are only about two kids in the entire NCAA tourney who play with their backs to the basket. Further, they observed, no one, even at the pro level, shoots the hook anymore. As Kareem showed us, it is the most unstoppable shot ever invented. Now, I know that Dirk already has a signature shot, the wrong-way turnaround knee-kick fade-away jumper. I’m not suggesting he replace it. But I am proposing that he and Holger Geschwindner spend the next few weeks getting the hook ready. Last year, Dirk told Tim MacMahon that he’s been working on the hook for a decade. It is time. It looks like the Mavs might have to play Memphis in the first round. The key to beating them: Dirk’s hook.
Thank you for your time.Full Story
Levi Pettit Apologizes For Taking Part In Racist Chant. The Highland Park High graduate and — until recently — member of the SAE fraternity at the University of Oklahoma read from a prepared statement at Oklahoma City’s Fairview Baptist Church, while surrounded by some of the city’s black leaders. Apologizing for his appearance in the video where he and his fraternity brothers gleefully used racial epithets and chanted about lynching, Pettit, 20, said, “Some have wondered why I hadn’t spoken out publicly. The truth is I have had a mix of pain, shame, sorrow, and fear over the consequences of my actions.” I still don’t have much in the way of pity for him or anyone else involved, but it’s a start.
Suspect In Illegal Buttocks Injection Death Surrenders. Denise “Wewe” Ross was arrested for practicing medicine without a license following the death of Wykesha Reid. Ross’ alleged accomplice, Alicia “Jimmy Joe” Clarke, is still at large, I believe.
Your Weekly Steve Blow Facepalm Moment. “Can you stand one more word about Greg Hardy? More important, can you stand a positive word? Yeah, I know I’m late to the party. But I never dreamed the bash would go on this long. Or the bashing.” [Sighs so long that when it stops it is a century later and I now live in a place called New Texahoma where professional sports are played by sentient robots known as jerichos.] OK, look, Steve. I know you dig wordplay. That is your lane, and I get it. But maybe avoid using “bash” and “bashing” when you’re writing about giving a second chance to someone who has the stench of domestic violence coming off him so strong his jersey has Pigpen-like stink lines. And don’t compare Hardy to Josh Hamilton. Because that’s not even close to the same thing. It is like comparing apples to allegedly throwing a woman onto a futon full of automatic weapons. I mean, come on, my dude. I could go on and on about the smarmy glibness of the tone you strike in that column, but I’ve already given it way more thought than you did. Just stop trying to have a take on anything that remotely matters and write about some hokey thing that happened in Sunnyvale the other day that speaks to a larger point about no one cares.
Teacher At J.L. Long Middle School Somehow Showed Her Class a Nude Photo of Herself. Other than the fact it happened Monday, there isn’t a ton of other details here. I assume most of the kids are now preoccupied with Zayn Malik leaving One Direction, but that’s still pretty messed up.
Ted Cruz Already Missing Senate Votes Because Of His Presidential Run. Hello, bright side. I didn’t expect to see you so soon. Please, don’t hesitate to tell me what I can do to make your stay as long and as comfortable as possible.
Is H-E-B Preparing For Full-Blown Expansion Into North Texas? Maybe! For more on that story, I direct you to the fine staff at Shrug Monthly, who, frankly, own the guess-tigation beat.Full Story
Question: No doubt you are enjoying the beer renaissance in Dallas. In your day, did they have growlers? That’s what confuses me a bit. How should one tip when one gets a growler filled? The bar wench does the same thing she’d do if you’d ordered a pint. The effort, for her, doesn’t increase much. So do you tip her a buck, same as you would if you’d ordered a glass? Or do you tip her based on the value of your purchase, which, depending on your druthers, could mean upwards of $20 (meaning a $4 tip)? — Thirsty in East DallasFull Story
By most accounts, Myron “Mike” Ullman has done a good job stopping the bleeding since returning to the CEO’s office at JCPenney in 2013, following the disastrous, short-lived tenure of former chief executive Ron Johnson. How exactly has he done it, though? That’s what we wanted to know during a recent interview and audience Q&A with Ullman at the Dallas Friday Group, a luncheon forum for businesspeople. Although Ullman graciously avoided mentioning Johnson by name during our conversation, he wasn’t shy about assessing the problems caused by the one-time Apple savant. Ullman, who led Plano-based Penney from 2004 to 2012 before making way for Johnson in 2012, was asked whether coming back to the company wasn’t hard and stressful. “No! Hard and stressful is when you’re building something that people don’t like,” he replied. “Satisfying is when you’re fixing some stupid mistakes that somebody else made. So that’s what we’re doing.”Full Story
Last week the Dallas Cowboys signed Greg Hardy, a noted football player suspended last season for having beaten up his girlfriend. As discussed on our most recent EarBurner podcast, the move prompted WFAA sports anchor Dale Hansen to go “unplugged,” and Mayor Mike Rawlings (an outspoken crusader against domestic violence) called it a “shot in the gut.” But then, yesterday, Rawlings said he’ll still be rooting for America’s Team this season.Full Story
The council campaign season is starting to really heat up, and the Trinity Toll Road is shaking out to be a central touchstone of the campaigning. Over the weekend, that potent mix set-off a series of developments. There’s a lot to catch up on, so let’s jump to it.Full Story
Our former city manager, Mary Suhm, retired in 2013. Ever since, rumors have percolated around town that she still maintained an office at City Hall, that she still was very active in certain municipal operations. Now comes word that she has a new job: “The American Architectural Foundation (AAF) is pleased to announce Mary Suhm, as the Senior Fellow of AAF’s Center for Design & the City. Mary served as City Manager of Dallas, Texas from 2005-2013 and guided the city through a transformative time in its urban renaissance. As AAF Senior Fellow, Mary will help to lead the development and implementation of AAF’s new City Managers’ Design Academy (CMDA).”
So basically A.C. Gonzalez is now playing the part of Kevin Kline in Dave.Full Story
There’s less than a fortnight left in March, which means there’s a little more than a week left for you to enter our #EatWellDallas contest via social media. All you’ve got to do is share a pic (hashtagged appropriately) displaying how you enjoy healthy, delicious food in this city. We’ll pick our favorite to receive a $100 gift card to the Fresh Market.
To inspire you, here are some of the best we’ve seen so far:Full Story
In the paper today, Avi Selk has a lengthy story about some anti-Muslim foolishness going on in Irving. It centers on a religious tribunal that is supposedly going to usurp the U.S. Constitution and ruin America. (I’m exaggerating only a little bit.) Last night, the City Council voted 5-4 to support a bill authored by Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) that would forbid such tribunals from using foreign law in their rulings (which is already illegal).
I wrote about all this for the April issue of D Magazine, which won’t mail to subscribers for another three days. So I’m posting the article here. Before I wrote my story, I spent some time with Imam Zia ul-Haque Sheikh, the head of the Islamic Center of Irving and a man who has far more patience and compassion than I do. For your edification:Full Story