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Local News

Leading Off (12/18/17)

| 38 mins ago

Did the Cowboys Win? Barely. It took a fourth down conversion decided by a folded-over notecard and an Oakland fumble through the end zone for a touchback with 30 seconds left. The end of that game was so wild it was like me at 2 a.m. with full and unfettered access to my phone. Did I tweet that last night? I did. I also texted some of this at some point.

What Has Zeke Elliott Been Up to in Cabo? Apparently over the last six weeks he’s been in two-a-day workouts “that included football activities, conditioning, and weightlifting.” “Football activities.” What that means? Is he walking around doing the “feed me” gesture? Sitting on a bench in a bucket hat? Trying not to pay attention to Dez Bryant ranting? Trying not to pay attention when Jerry Jr. says something like, “I did it three times, Daddy.” I don’t know. Anyway, he’s going to be back at the Cowboys facility at 10 a.m. this morning.

Did You Randomly Shudder Yesterday? A quick explanation.

Is It Going to Snow in Dallas on Christmas? No. I mean, maybe. But no.

You Guys Got Any Big Plans For the Holidays? No link, just trying to keep up with all y’all.

Would You Be Scared of a Rooster Named Cluck Norris? A lot of people in Fort Worth were. Quick story while I’m here. Once, a few years back, I agreed to house sit for my ex-wife, because I’m a king and also because I don’t have cable. She and her husband ended up coming back early. Like, I didn’t even spend the night. But in the brief time I was there, I had to feed her chickens, which is when I noticed one was dead. How? I don’t know. I didn’t take it to the chicken medical examiner. But to keep the other chickens safe from predators who might want to feast on the corpse, I was forced to remove the body. I won’t bore you with how, but it was gross. Is this a long metaphor for our relationship? Probably not. Was it a good story? Who’s to say?

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Local News

Go Inside Dallas’ New Cycling Plans As Bike Share Companies Flood the Streets

| 3 days ago

They’re everywhere. And bright. They’re maybe not the color you’d pick for your own, but that’s the whole point of these bike-share rentals in Dallas. They stick out on streets and sidewalks like highlighted text, perhaps imploring the city to improve its biking infrastructure through sheer critical mass—or they’re litter. It depends on your perspective.

The influx of more than 2,500 rental bikes since the summer—coupled with the passage of the Nov. 7 bond election— has bike advocates hoping that they’ll be the necessary gears to mobilize plans for more bike lanes in Dallas; the rosiest of perspectives have the pro-cycling folks arguing that they’ll help ease traffic congestion if bike commuting takes off.

Bike-shares and strategically connected bike lanes are exciting to area cyclists who have long lamented the city’s lack of progress in creating equitable, safe infrastructure for two-wheelers. They remain cautious, however, continuously citing safety concerns in a city that lacks adequate bike lanes and is full of motorists unaccustomed to accommodating bicycles in traffic flow. In downtown, with its rush of shared bikes, you’re more likely to see cyclists on the sidewalk than in the streets. Drivers still struggle to coexist with bicycles. 

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Arts & Entertainment

Dallas Opera CEO Keith Cerny Resigns, Headed to Calgary

| 3 days ago

Keith Cerny, who has led the Dallas Opera for seven-and-a-half years, will step down from his role as the Kern Wildenthal General Director and CEO for a position with the Calgary Opera.

Cerny has led Dallas opera company through a period of financial rebound, balancing budgets while taking on new projects, commissions, collaborations, launching public programming like the Cowboys Stadium simulcasts, and presiding over the company’s adjustment to its new home in the Winspear Opera House. It was a remarkable stretch for the man whom we have credited with saving the company multiple times. His departure could be viewed as a loss for Dallas, or as the culmination of a job well done.

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Patrick Williams Is the New Editor of the Dallas Observer

| 3 days ago

The Dallas Observer has a new editor. Earlier this week, Voice Media sacked Joe Pappalardo, who’d led the paper for two years. The new guy in charge isn’t exactly a new guy. Patrick Williams had been the managing editor for two decades. Here’s what he says about the transition:

Joe is no longer the editor of the Dallas Observer as of Wednesday. He’s still a friend — at least I hope he is — and a smart and talented journalist and author. He has a new book out, Spaceport Earth: The Reinvention of Spaceflight, which I think would make a great Christmas present for anyone. I wish him nothing but the best.

As for me, after 20 years of safely hiding behind editors in chief, it’s time to step up and show what I’m worth. (Timing was never my strong suit.) I’ve got Schutze and a small but extremely skilled group of editors and writers behind me and support from VVM above, so how badly can I screw things up? Start your timer … now.

It should be a fun ride, anyway. The Observer still has plenty to contribute to the conversation in Dallas, and I’m almost certain there are at least a dozen people in town we haven’t managed to piss off. We’ll find them, though.

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Leading Off

Leading Off (12/15/17)

| 3 days ago

635 Expansion Probably Scrapped. The state transportation commission’s desire to scrub all toll roads from its upcoming plans leaves a proposed $1.8 billion rebuild/expansion of the highway in doubt.

Dallas ISD Board Renames Three Elementary Schools Named For Confederate Generals. Goodbye Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and William L. Cabell. Hello Geneva Heights, Mockingbird, and Chapel Hill.

Trial of Former Farmers Branch Cop Continues. A jury will decide whether Ken Johnson, who chased down and shot two teenagers he suspected of breaking into his car, killing one, is guilty of murder.

Cowboys Play Raiders. Sunday Night Football. No predictions. The future is unwritten.

New Star Wars Movie Out. Pretty good! First half feels unfocused, and some characters’ motivations don’t totally add up. But the last hour is thrilling and surprisingly moving, the lead actors are compelling, and Emperor Snoke’s throne room is a masterpiece of cool sci-fi production design, which is what these movies are really all about anyways.

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Local News

More Municipal Christmas Sweaters!

| 4 days ago

Yesterday I did some groundbreaking work on the Christmas sweaters worn by Dallas City Council members. Now comes the below picture from the Dallas Park and Recreation Board Christmas sweater day, as posted by board member Paul Sims. You’ll forgive me. I haven’t learned every name of every Park and Rec board member. So I don’t know the name of the woman who has royally screwed up Christmas in this picture.

I’m looking at you, lady in the walking boot. First of all, get your crap together with the contracts on the tennis centers. Second, WEAR A DANG CHRISTMAS SWEATER. Maybe if you’d worn a green scarf, I could give you a pass. Maybe. But a black scarf? With just a regular dang Mike Rawlings red sweater?

You’ve been served.

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Philanthropy & Nonprofits

Our D Gives Nonprofits Have the Chance to Win $2,000; They Just Need You

| 4 days ago

D Gives, the holiday donation initiative we launched alongside our partners at Allie Beth Allman & Associates, runs through the end of the year. But there’s some added incentive that, if you’re planning or even considering giving to one of more than 70 local nonprofits, you should take advantage of. Give today or tomorrow and your nonprofit gets entered to win an additional $2,000.

Here’s the deal—nonprofits that get at least five donations in the next two days will automatically be entered to win the prize. This goes for any increment, no matter how large or small. So there’s a significant upside here, folks. From there, we’ll select the winner at random and announce next week. The winning nonprofit also gets a social media promotion package, through Facebook Live (132,000 followers), Instagram (123,000 followers), and our Twitter (303,000 folks).

So, take a look at all the nonprofits, and consider throwing a few bucks their way—it could turn into thousands.

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New Film Footage of Jack Ruby Surfaces

| 4 days ago

In the huge cache off WFAA archive footage that was recently donated to Southern Methodist University’s G. William Jones Film and Video Collection, a few incredible seconds from a holiday parade in 1960 capture Jack Ruby combing his hair and fixing his hat, while a friend ogles over what is, presumably, a fancy new “spy” camera.

It is an innocuous, forgettable little moment, but one that feels extraordinary given the rarity of film footage from the time that features figures who loomed large in the story of the JFK Assassination.

The clip was posted online Jeremy Spracklen, the collection’s curator, who continues to release segments taken from the WFAA archive of footage shot in Dallas between 1960 and 1978. When commenter Burt Harris watched the 1:22 minute clip, he spotted Ruby at the tail end.

Flashback Dallas’s Paula Bosse takes it from there, posting some slowed-down footage that focuses-in on Ruby and adding context:

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Leading Off

Leading Off (12/14/17)

| 4 days ago

Dallas Police Targets Home or Business Owners Who Tolerate Crime. Yesterday, the City Council passed a “nuisance abatement” ordinance, which lets Chief U. Renee Hall pinpoint properties that tolerate crime and focus on the owners. City officials can now put up a sign on these properties and mark them as “habitual criminal activity” sites. Anyone who removes the signs without approval will be committing an offense, but owners who fix up the property can get the sign taken down.

Developers Want to Save Part of the Old Dallas ISD’s Headquarters. Leon Capital Group is spending more than $9 million on DISD’s former Ross Avenue headquarters. It plans to build an apartment complex on the block at Ross and Washington with 380 rental units and a six-level parking garage. The space includes the existing central building of the DISD headquarters.

Dallas Firefighter May Be Charged with Intoxication Manslaughter. An off-duty firefighter, who was suspected of driving drunk in Cedar Hill yesterday, crashed into an 18-year-old woman and her unborn baby, who were killed in the crash. He rear-ended the woman, Alyssa Pimentel, who was ejected by the impact. The firefighter, Horace Shaw III, was booked into the Dallas County Jail and faces a count of intoxication manslaughter.

Hazing Gets TCU Fraternity Suspended. The Epsilon Beta chapter of Delta Tau Delta was suspended due to allegations of hazing. Details of the hazing are unclear, as is whether a police investigation is underway. “This chapter, including its leadership, willfully violated not only the fraternity’s risk management policy but also our stated values. Hazing is an aberration to those values,” said Jim Russell, executive vice president of the fraternity’s national chapter.

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The Best Films of the Year, According to Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics

| 5 days ago

Guillermo del Toro’s big-hearted girl-meets-beast fable The Shape of Water has been named the best film of 2017 by the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association. Del Toro also got the nod for best director in the poll of 34 North Texas journalists. (Full disclosure: Todd Jorgenson, the association’s president, is the film critic for D Magazine.)

For her role in that movie as the solitary, mute custodian who falls for the creature from the government experiment fish tank, Sally Hawkins was voted the year’s best actress. Gary Oldman was recognized as best actor for playing Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.

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