STREET TALK

Many Dallas-based oil companies boast wall maps festooned with little pins, each representing an oil well on some far-flung site of the world, but Paris? Paris, France?

Oui, pardner. Dallas’ Triton Oil and Gas is one of the five major players in Ville Perdue, a major oil field located just east of the French capital. To date, Triton, which signed its first concession in 1980, has drilled more than 60 wells.

As of last May, the field had 31 million barrels of oil in proved reserves and another 18 million barrels in probable reserves, says Mike McInerney, vice-president of corporate development and investor relations for Triton. “We were fortunate to get in early,” he says. To date, McInerney says that, besides three foreign companies, the only other American company drilling in the field is an Exxon unit.

“You media people sure have your gall,” says Oran Gentry, business manager of First Baptist Church in Dallas. Guess we do, but you can’t blame us for asking what happened to that $1.8 million pledged recently by the church’s faithful (and wealthy) at the urging of its pastor, Dr. W. A. Criswell, who had declared a state of budgetary emergency at the city’s largest Baptist Church.

Gentry says $1 million of the total was used for “missions and educational purposes,” including donations targeted to such Baptist educational institutions as Dallas Baptist College. The remaining $800,000 was dumped into the church’s operating budget, which, according to Gentry, was expected to run in the red prior to the recent financial shot in the arm.



Certainly, the Dallas Independent School District has never been a stranger to controversy, but its plans to open a 15-bed infant care center in January for students at the Health Special School could raise a few eyebrows. The two-year pilot program, a joint project of the DISD, the Dallas Commission on Children and Youth and the Dallas Head Start Program, will provide free day care to teenage mothers who attend the health magnet school. The program is expected to cost roughly $98,000 during the first year of operation.

The center will also attempt to teach infant care to as many as 300 DISD students each year. Jesus Sandoval, a project director for the Dallas Commission on Children and Youth, admits the concept already has been criticized for “not making [pregnant] students suffer the consequences of their previous behavior.

“If they didn’t have this service, most of these students would just drop out of school,” Sandoval says. “Then they’d just go on welfare.”

A sort of mini-newspaper war is heating up in the Park Cities between the normally staid Park Cities News and Park Cities People. The intense competition is being spurred by the recent announcement by Park Cities People, the newest kid in town, that it was moving from free to paid circulation, increasing its news staff to toughen up coverage of Highland Park and University Park and broadening the paper’s sports reporting.

“We’re a newspaper, not a bunch of pictures and press releases,” says People publisher Reid Slaughter. “Over the last three years, we believe already we’ve cut into about 30 percent of the News’ paid subscribers. In only 55 days, our paid circulation has risen to 4,265. After 47 years of operation, the other paper only has a paid circulation of 3,517.”

Wrong numbers, says Marge Waters, publisher of the News, who claims a circulation of 4,420 copies. Waters says that Slaughter’s circulation claims are inflated. “I wonder what magic tool he’s using,” she says.

Waters refuses to acknowledge any war between the two weeklies, claiming she’s neither made marketing strategy changes nor beefed up her coverage of the Park Cities. “I guess you can only give away something free for so long,” she says. “[Slaughter] keeps trying to get a war going. I’m too busy putting out a paper for that.”



Las Colinas has been named the recipient of the 1985 Urban Land Institute Award for Excellence for Large-Scale New Community Development.

The award is presented annually by the Washington-based independent research organization to projects that “demonstrate innovative and resourceful use of land” and to projects that have “changed the character of their communities or their regions.”

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