Tuesday, June 25, 2024 Jun 25, 2024
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Dallas Area Rapid Transit CEO Nadine Lee was awarded a new contract last week.

She hasn’t signed it yet, so we don’t know any of the details. She has until July 11 to put pen to paper, a spokesperson for the agency said, at which point the duration, salary, and benefits will be made public. She was hired in 2021 and given a three-year contract. The DART Board of Directors debated the details in executive session before emerging and approving the extension by a vote of 9-3.

Something happened behind closed doors, which was evident in a brief discussion prior to the vote. Board Member Rodney Schlosser—one of Dallas’ appointees—amended the contract to reduce a $30,000 retention bonus to $15,000, but no other specifics were announced. Fellow Board Member Paul Wageman, who is Plano’s appointee, said that retention bonus was “a bridge too far for me” and noted that Lee “is being handsomely rewarded with a significant increase in her salary, a significant increase in her bonus” and voted no. (Plano’s City Council on Monday will consider a resolution aimed at reducing its one-cent sales tax contribution to DART, which is a complicated matter that I’ll dive into after the meeting.)

“I support what’s being presented today, but with a heavy heart,” said Board Member Carmen Garcia, a Dallas appointee. “This is not what I originally some of us did not originally make that decision, it was a hard decision to make, but I do support my colleagues around this table. I think Nadine has done a tremendous job for us, so that’s my vote. But it’s with a heavy heart.”

Nobody will comment about the private negotiations, but the contract should answer any lingering questions. Lee is the chief executive for the agency that provides public transportation to 13 member cities. She oversees a $1.8 billion budget and has spent much of her tenure attempting to increase reliability, customer service, and safety across DART’s buses and trains. The board approved a new strategic plan last month and ridership is about 75 percent of what it was prior to the pandemic.

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New data on Dallas’ alleged burger obsession.

Last Tuesday, Greenville Avenue restaurant Rye changed its menu from top to bottom, transforming into a summertime resort-themed pop-up called Aguasal. Now all the food and drinks are things you might find at an all-inclusive on the beach: Jamaican beef patties, arepas, daiquiris, a “not quite Cuban” sandwich.

This new menu has two burgers: a classic smashburger and a “pepperpot” burger with grilled peppers, pepper jack cheese, and Guyanese pepperpot glaze. Nobody ordered either burger from their Tuesday debut until Friday at 8:40 p.m. Aguasal co-owner Tanner Agar tells me that they sold three more burgers Saturday and Sunday.

For years I’ve heard chef complaints that you can’t open a Dallas restaurant without putting a burger on the menu. But here’s one that debuted two new burgers—and sold only four in six days.

Golf

A One-Sentence* Synopsis of the Absolute Heater Scottie Scheffler Is On

A very long* one-sentence synopsis.
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Dallas Council to vote on FIFA-shaped agenda item.

On Wednesday, the City Council will vote to authorize negotiations with Oak View Group 360, the company contracted to operate Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, and “a soccer federation” for a nine-month agreement in 2026.

In February, FIFA announced that North Texas would host nine games during the 2026 World Cup, including two round-of-32 matches, one quarterfinal matchup, and a semifinal match. Dallas was also in the running to host the tournament’s International Broadcast Center, and officials said the convention center would be its home. Whatever city lands this deal would attract another 5,000 or more broadcasters. That’s a lot of hotel rooms.

In other sports business, the Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on June 24, 2024 Professional Sports Recruitment and Retention meets at 1 p.m. today. It will spend most of the meeting in executive session to “discuss or deliberate commercial or financial information” related to “Project X.” If you recall, we’ve spent a lot of time trying to suss out the mysterious Project X. It’s apparently not the Wings or Dallas Trinity FC. Maybe it’s the Mavs, like we first posited. Or maybe, since Kansas has decided to throw its hat in the ring to woo the Chiefs away from the Missouri side of Kansas City, Dallas is talking to Clark Hunt.

Or maybe all of those things and a half dozen other projects are Project X and it’s just a name the city gives secret sports projects. I give up.

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Sha’Carri Richardson sprints her way to Paris.

The 24-year-old Dallas native ran the fastest 100-meter dash of 2024 to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic squad going to France, three years after being bounced for testing positive for marijuana.

“I know that the hard work I’ve put into, not just physically on the track but as well as mentally and emotionally to grow into the mature young lady that I am today and that I’m going to grow into was a full-fledged surreal moment for me to actually embrace and be able to show to the world and on the track,” Richardson said after. She is going to be a star in Paris.

Source: ESPN

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We got our first 100-degree day.

Who had June 23 in the pool? Normally, it doesn’t hit triple digits until July 1, so that’s fun. And it looks like we’ll get at least a couple more this week. Here’s a tip: steer into it. Drink hot beverages and wear black.

Source: Fox 4

Friday, June 21
News

City Hall Shakeup Combines Planning and Development with Permitting

Dallas Development Services Director Andrew Espinoza is leaving City Hall, a Friday memo from interim City Manager Kimberly Bizor Tolbert says.
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Dallas History

Dallas Recognizes the History of Martyrs Park, Hidden in Plain Sight

A new memorial gives Dallasites more reason to seek out the often-overlooked Martyrs Park.
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KRLD staffer quits job over ‘divisive sensationalism’.

Rex Ravita II worked as a social media manager at KRLD 1080 for two years, but he quit his job this week. Here’s what he wrote on Facebook: “Unfortunately, their decision to shift formats and host a talk show filled with divisive sensationalism simply does not align with my values. I’ve seen and heard comments that I believe to be racist, xenophobic, and homophobic from this host—and in a time when the world is so divided (and its Pride Month and Juneteenth is literally tmrw)—I refuse to be a part of promoting it.”

I don’t listen to KRLD, so I popped over to their website to see what’s going on. Monday they launched a new noon-to-3 program called “The Chad Benson Show.” Never heard of the guy. Apparently he has voiced several cartoon characters, including Hanna-Barbera’s Droopy the Dog. That’s interesting. And so is his Twitter feed, which is filled with retweets of J.K. Rowling, Elon Musk, and the Babylon Bee (think of it as The Onion, if Ted Cruz ran The Onion).

Cheers to Rex Ravita, then. If you or someone you know needs a social media manager who won’t sacrifice his integrity for a paycheck, here is Ravita’s LinkedIn. Give him a look.

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Sounds like we’ve seen the last of Tim Hardaway Jr. in Dallas.

Here we go again—but for real this time?

Source: his dad, five-time NBA All-Star (and former Mav) Tim Hardaway, who we must note has a track record of making statements his son doesn’t necessarily agree with.

Still, judge the following for yourself:

It won’t be terribly surprising if the younger Hardaway has, in fact, played his last game in Dallas. That gorgeous-looking jumper of his abandoned him for parts unknown late in the year, which led to a steep cut in his minutes. Come playoff time, he was largely a nonfactor aside from chipping in a crucial 17 points in Dallas’ Game 2 win over Oklahoma City and Jason Kidd’s bizarre decision to reinsert him in the closing five in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

Hardaway Jr. is on an expiring deal, which means he shouldn’t be too hard to move should the Mavericks so choose. Perhaps that “new opportunity to shine” finally materializes.

News

In Industry-Heavy West Dallas, New Study Finds Health Problems and Bad Air

A new study found that residents along the Singleton corridor in West Dallas suffer respiratory ailments at a rate nearly five times greater than the rest of the county.
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Miriam Adelson continues to spread her money around in Texas.

The Mavericks’ new owner gave $1 million to the Truth and Courage PAC, which is supporting Ted Cruz’s reelection to the U.S. Senate. Cruz pulled in $9.7 million in the year’s first quarter while his opponent, the Democrat Colin Allred, raised $9.5 million. Adelson likely isn’t done. As we noted last week, nobody gave more to Donald Trump than she did in 2020, and she’s behind another super PAC to fund the former president’s 2024 push. Cruz, meanwhile, is facing an ethics investigation because of $156,186 in “digital revenue” that went from his podcast distributor to a super PAC, which advocacy groups say is against campaign finance laws.

Source: Texas Tribune

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Our first triple-digit day is near.

Yesterday marked the earliest summer solstice in 228 years, for which you can blame Leap Year. It’s also a reminder that we are firmly in summer, and it looks like we’ll come within a single degree of 100 by Monday. The first triple-digit day will probably happen before the calendar turns into July. The heat index this weekend will feel somewhere around 102. There is no rain in the forecast except for a measly 20 percent chance in the middle of next week. We’ll get some cloud cover this weekend, but that won’t be enough to hide the fact that it’s miserably hot. Summer’s here. Go to the Texas Theatre for the Oak Cliff Film Festival. It’s air conditioned.

Source: WFAA

Thursday, June 20
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Stat Rep. John Bryant wants Plano to stop pooping on Dallas.

About a month ago, I shared some data about how often Plano dumps its sewage into White Rock Creek, which feeds into White Rock Lake. The data were dug up by a private citizen who filed an open records request with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Now Bryant is getting involved. In a Twitter thread, he wrote: “I met with Craig Pritzlaff, TCEQ’s Director of Compliance and Enforcement in Austin, to request a corrective plan.” About time. [Update 6/21/24: Bryant deleted that tweet and posted another thread on the topic. You can find it here.]

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There’s a lot of weird stuff happening behind the scenes at Fair Park.

Parks insiders even seem lost as to what is happening among the folks in charge of Fair Park. A quick jog: the controversy started in April, when I broke the news that an audit had been launched into the finances of the park’s operator and its top sub-contractor. Brian Luallen, the CEO of the nonprofit manager Fair Park First, released a surprisingly transparent statement about suspicions that the operator, Oak View Group, “may have inaccurately, and we hope inadvertently, allocated and utilized restricted funds raised by Fair Park First for daily park operations.” He basically said that private donations meant for capital improvements were being spent on daily operations. In addition to overseeing fundraising, Fair Park First is essentially Oak View Group’s boss.

Oak View, through its attorney, vigorously denied the allegations. Luallen was ousted by the board, then suspended, and finally reinstated a few days ago. Now the Dallas Morning News reports that founding board chair Darren James is resigning his post at Fair Park First. Arun Agarwal, the president of the Park Board, sent a letter earlier this week urging that the audit be made public. “Time for action has come NOW,” his letter reads. He says he’s not sure whether the audit is complete, and the board has only told him it is “in [the] works.”

Fair Park First has raised about $44 million of its $85 million goal, which will go toward, among other things, tearing down the fences around the 377-acre property and transforming shabby surface parking lots into a new community park. It’s a critical piece for the future of South Dallas, a neighborhood whose economic decline is directly tied to the city and State Fair’s decision to seize hundreds of legacy properties in the 1960s and pave over them. It sounds like it needs to get its house in order—fast.

Source: Dallas Morning News

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Into the wild(ish).

This month we offer a first-rate package of road-tripping travel stories for your consideration. I wanted to participate by chronicling a recent boys’ trip to Palo Duro Canyon State Park, in the Panhandle, but the other editors killed my story, claiming that the magazine had too recently published a piece about the destination. That wasn’t the real reason, though. I could see right through them. My story was clearly a casualty of a “catch and kill” scheme designed to spare my traveling mates’ embarrassment. So here are the details that they have tried to hide. Consider it a reader service, should you decide to drive to Palo Duro.

Palo Duro Canyon hiking
Somebody is proud of his hair. Tim Rogers
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Guides

Our Favorite Weekend Getaways from Dallas

The ultimate resource to help you plan your next getaway from Dallas, whether you're looking for a staycation, a weekend road trip, or a weeklong escape
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Dallas County may be headed for layoffs.

Tuesday’s Dallas County Commissioners Court meeting revealed that the county may be $50 million over budget if cost-saving measures are not enacted. However, at least two commissioners pointed to high overtime and medical leave pay in the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office and juvenile departments as being suspicious. Some employees allegedly reported working 18 hours a day, seven days a week. The sheriff’s department and jail have spent almost $13 million on overtime so far this year—$7 million over budget.

Source: KERA

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Driver in awful video arrested.

A driver depicted hitting two cyclists as they rode near DFW International Airport was arrested by airport police. The video made the rounds on social media Tuesday and Wednesday. It showed a driver hitting two cyclists from behind as they were on a group ride. The driver then ran over one of the cyclists before driving off. Benjamin Hylander, who is accused of driving drunk and is also charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, was arrested shortly after the incident. Both cyclists are out of the hospital.

Source: Fox 4

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Victims of State Fair shooting file suit.

Andrea Liliana Araujo was working with a cleaning crew at the State Fair of Texas on October 14 when Cameron Turner allegedly opened fire. Araujo and her husband, Pedro Ortega, allege in their suit that Andy Frain Services, the security guard service working the entrance Turner reportedly used, and weapons detection system provider GXC failed to stop or detect Turner’s gun. The two are seeking more than $1 million.

Turner’s charges include three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and he is still in the Dallas County jail with bail set at $1.6 million.

Source: Dallas Morning News

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Wednesday, June 19
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Today is Juneteenth, the third since being recognized as a federal holiday.

President Joe Biden in 2021 made the Juneteenth Day of Observance the first new federal holiday since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Juneteenth marks the day when enslaved people in Galveston finally learned of their freedom. News reached them in 1865, more than two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Much of the credit for the federal recognition of the day goes to Fort Worth native Opal Lee, who spent years walking to Washington, D.C., to call for the day’s enshrinement. Her annual 2.5-mile walk will happen this year in Dallas, taking off at 9 a.m. from the African American Museum in Fair Park. More details are here. Many of the annual Juneteenth parties and festivals happened last weekend. One of the oldest ceremonies took place in the Elm Thicket/Northpark neighborhood. This year, folks there celebrated a new Texas historical marker. Read more on that here. The D Magazine offices are closed today, so things will be a bit slow on FrontBurner. We’ll see you tomorrow.

News

Mapping the Lost History of the Tenth Street Historic District

Much of Tenth Street's history has been lost to demolition and city policy. A new effort aims to help people visualize what once was, with the goal of appreciating and saving what remains.
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Tuesday, June 18
News

The Elm Thicket/Northpark Neighborhood Makes a Statement with New Historical Marker

The historically Black neighborhood has been a part of Dallas for more than a century. On Saturday, its residents celebrated the community's first state historical marker.
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What is a Netflix House?

(Wrong answers only.)

But seriously, it is a “permanent entertainment venue,” according to the press release I assume every working member of the media got this morning, and it will be, so far, one of only two in the country, and it is coming to the Galleria in Fall 2025. “Permanent” makes me laugh in this context for some reason, even though I know it is only being used to delineate this from various pop-up concerns.

Here is some marketing jargon to explain further: Netflix House “will be an unforgettable experience featuring your favorite Netflix stories and characters beyond the screen year-round. At Netflix House, you can enjoy regularly updated immersive experiences with your friends and family, indulge in retail therapy and taste your favorite Netflix series and films through unique food and drink offerings.”

I don’t know. Let me know if I can immerse myself in the Hit Man universe, I guess.

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New photography book focuses on 40 years of Oak Cliff.

One morning, Richard Doherty’s wife took a wrong turn on her way to work, leading her to drive through part of Oak Cliff. She immediately fell in love with the community, and that day the couple signed a contract for a home in the area.

Doherty has lived in Oak Cliff since 1983 and has captured its essence through film photography for 40 years. The photos, along with essays by Bill Minutaglio, John Rohbach, and Doherty’s former student Christopher Blay, will be published in Doherty’s new book, Framing Oak Cliff: A Visual Diary of the Dallas Neighborhood. The book was released on June 15 but will be available for in-store purchase and signing this Thursday, June 20, at 7 p.m., at Whose Books in Oak Cliff. 

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Movies

New Podcast: Barak Epstein Introduces the 2024 Oak Cliff Film Festival

The head of Aviation Cinemas—which owns the Texas Theatre—will prove that movies are all around us at this year's Oak Cliff Film Festival.
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Severed arm found in passenger seat of drunken driver.

A man with two DWI convictions hit and killed a pedestrian in Northwest Dallas. When cops caught up with the driver, they saw that his BMW had a “hole in the front passenger windshield” and “an entire arm on the front passenger seat.” The driver told police he’d been to a Grand Prairie Hooters and had had just one shot of Patron, but a breathalyzer revealed his BAC was twice the legal limit.

Source: Fox 4

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Alley trash pickup might end in Dallas.

The city could save about $10 million annually if it stopped picking up people’s trash in alleys (because curbside pickup reduces labor costs). Today councilmembers will get a briefing on a proposal to phase out alley pickup over the next two years. I’m thinking of my 80-year-old neighbors with no front driveway and access to the street only via a stone staircase. Nearly every house in my neighborhood lacks a front driveway. If we make this transition, there had best be some exceptions.

Source: Dallas Morning News

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Mavs’ great season comes to an end.

From the Boston Herald: “The Celtics completed their quest for basketball immortality Monday night by mauling the Mavericks 106-88 in Game 5 of the NBA Finals; the final stroke of their season-long masterpiece. It was a show of growth and strength for a young team that grew up before our eyes. Boston outclassed the Mavericks, behind Jayson Tatum’s all-around, 31-point showcase and countless tough plays made across the roster that in years past marked the gap between themselves and a title.” We’ll have more on StrongSide shortly.

Source: Boston Herald

Monday, June 17
Restaurant News

Dallas Can Learn from Trinity Groves. Trinity Groves Can Learn from Its Neighbors.

Ten years after its founding, the former food park is a culinary ghost town. Even its head honcho says it was built “ass-backwards.” This summer, the revival begins with new talent and a new attitude.
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