A Daily Conversation About Dallas

Local News

Leading Off (7/16/19)

| 21 mins ago

Former Councilwoman Carolyn Davis Killed in Car Wreck. A suspected drunken driver crashed into Davis’ car in East Oak Cliff last night, killing her and injuring someone believed to be her daughter. Melissa Davis Nunn is in the hospital in critical condition; Davis died at Baylor University Medical Center. The driver, 36-year-old Jonathan Moore, passed over the median in his Mazda SUV and collided with Davis’ Cutlass Ciera. WFAA says he has four previous DWI charges. Some of her council member colleagues praised her dedication to her community in a Morning News story. She was also set to be sentenced in September after pleading guilty to accepting bribes from a low-income housing developer; she faced up to three years in prison.

WFAA Gets Recording of Addison Plane Crash. The station filed an open records request of any video from the incident, which killed 10 people on board. Channel 8 says the plane “never gets higher than the surrounding tree line” and is described as “on a crash course with a nearby hangar.”

Don’t Smoke Weed With Strangers in Deep Ellum. This has been going around Facebook for a few days, and NBC 5 picked it up last night. Apparently two men are inviting passerby to smoke a joint or a blunt that are laced with K2 or some other drug that makes their victims pass out. The men then rob them and take off. Police say they’ve found three such robberies from last weekend alone. They’re described as two black men between 20 and 30 years old. One is five feet tall and 190 pounds, the other is six feet tall and 170. The shorter guy might go by the name of Bonton.

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Good Reads

Your Summer Reading List: A Common Thing

| 19 hours ago

Chasity cursed and hit the steering wheel when she realized she’d left the gift bag, balloon bouquet, and card on the kitchen island of her Deep Ellum condo. She was already in Plano. She couldn’t turn around. She had to get to the shower on time. Everyone would be there—Momma, her sister, the aunties, and all of her sister’s friends. She needed to get there to be what they needed her to be. The only one without a man or children. It made them feel useful to tell her why.

You spent too much time trying to be white and done missed being what you ’posed to be, Momma told her at the last event. The time before that, one of the aunties said, Don’t no man want no woman that can’t be on time.

She imagined her family watching the door, waiting for her to arrive with a new handbag or scarf or shoes. And then their smiles at the end of the shower—smiles meant to remind her that no matter how put-together she appeared to be, she’d still go home alone. Smiles meant to remind them of who they were.
She sighed and took the Park exit off the Tollway.

Her family would never understand her experience. That her degrees didn’t get her through tough workdays. It took much more than that to be the only black woman—the only black person—in those spaces. She was constantly fighting for herself—for them—for how people saw them. Yet all her family would see her as was the bourgeois one who blended in.

She was relieved when she saw the Super Target on the service road. She’d have to be practical. She wouldn’t get more cute little outfits. She’d get the ones she’d already purchased from Neiman’s—the ones she left behind—to her sister later.

She drove down a few aisles in the parking lot before she spotted a C-Class Mercedes, almost identical to hers, pulling out from a space near the entrance.

“This day might just save itself,” she said out loud.

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Five Dallas Book Clubs We Wish We Could Join

| 20 hours ago

When Interabang Books opened at Preston and Royal two years ago this month, it changed the bookselling game in Dallas. Lori Feathers, the store’s co-owner and adult books buyer (who also sits on the board of the National Book Critics Circle), made it a priority to engage North Texas readers and revitalize the literary scene. Interabang’s Book Club Concierge Service was created to do just that. Feathers offers free advice on creating reading lists and even offers to lead discussions, her schedule permitting. She thinks Dallas has one of the strongest book club environments in the country. And it’s not just wine and social hour: these are readers choosing a challenging discussion over cheese. We asked her to name some of the fancier clubs in town.

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Local News

Why Emma Fuhrmann Got In Trouble For Posting a Photo of a Sunset

| 21 hours ago
Emma Fuhrmann in our July 2018 issue. (photo by Elizabeth Lavin)

Emma Fuhrmann is a young Dallas actor who scored a small but pivotal role in Avengers: Endgame. She plays the older version of Scott Lang’s daughter Cassie. Again, it is a small part — and I just realized that is a bit of a pun, since we are talking about Ant-Man’s daughter, and I’m sorry — but in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are no small parts and there is nothing too small to escape the notice of Marvel security. Not even a photo of a sunset. This is from Fuhrmann’s recent interview with

I took a picture of the sunset and posted it on my Instagram story, and I just tagged the location, Atlanta, Georgia. The next day, [Marvel’s] head of security came to my trailer and talked to me about how I can’t post that. I was like, “Well, I wasn’t going to say I was on set of you know, Endgame or anything,” and they were like, “No, we understand, you’re not the first person we had to talk to about this today, but I’ve had people calling me all day trying to find out where you’re going to be filming,” and that was sort of just like a, “Okay, wow, this is real.”

It reminded me of when Fuhrmann appeared in our July 2018 issue, as part of a spread about trainer John Benton, aka the “hips whisperer” for models and actresses. We had originally mentioned that she had a part in Endgame, and it was a detail that had already been reported elsewhere. But I guess she had learned her lesson after the sunset incident, and pleaded with us not to include it when she was contacted during factcheck. So we said, instead, that Fuhrmann was “in a much-hyped movie coming out next spring.”

Hopefully, it won’t get her into trouble to mention that she is Endgame now.

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Local News

Councilman Casey Thomas Didn’t Disclose Those AAC Tickets From VisitDallas, as Required

| 22 hours ago

The Texas Monitor picks up where we left off on how one current and one former Dallas City Council member used VisitDallas’ American Airlines Center suite. As you’ll remember, the city finally sent us a list of people who’ve used the suite. As we reported, the only active City Council member to use it was southern Dallas representative Casey Thomas. The Monitor points out Thomas wasn’t exactly first in line to rip into VisitDallas leadership when we all found out how the shop was run a few months back.

But the scoop is this: the Monitor got their hands on Thomas’ last three years of annual gift disclosures. The tickets aren’t on them.

Tickets for each of those events exceeded the $50 minimum required for disclosure. Mars, for example, charged $591 for a top seat during his 2018 tour.

Although the annual gift disclosure filed by Thomas did not mention the American Airlines Center events, it did include other perks he received from VisitDallas. He reported receiving two tickets to the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament from VisitDallas in May 2018, worth $300 each, and an $85 polo shirt in 2017.

Thomas did not respond to a phone message or text requesting comment. His office did not respond to an email.

He hasn’t responded here, either. We’ll update if he does. Former Councilwoman Monica Alonzo, she of West Dallas, used the suite twice during her time in office.

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NYT Magazine Presents an Unflattering Portrayal of the Dallas Zoo’s Elephant Habitat

| 22 hours ago

I missed this New York Times Magazine story last week but it has now been passed to me and it bears passing to you. Charles Siebert writes about zoo elephants, homing in on the “rescue” mission in 2016 that brought elephants from a piece of Southern Africa called Swaziland to Dallas as well as zoos in Wichita, Kansas, and Omaha, Nebraska. Siebert posits the rescue portion as a justification, a public relations ploy to get increasingly endangered creatures to the U.S. In other words, they might not be better off.

As Siebert writes, among other impacts of enclosed spaces, we are learning that captive elephants struggle to sustainably reproduce. For every one birth, two elephants die, according to the story. Nearly all of the elephants on board that 2016 flight—15 out of 17—were breeding-age females. One of them was pregnant. That elephant came to Dallas and, just two months later, had a baby named Ajabu that Siebert says the Dallas Zoo called a surprise. But Siebert contests that, arguing that the elephant had already been monitored for months by vets in Swaziland at the time of the flight. Too, the zoo shipped two of the animals to California to grow the Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s herd in 2018, despite assurances they wouldn’t.

As charming as the photos of Ajabu’s early life are, the story presents an alternative narrative about what it means to keep elephants confined. Advocates for the welfare of the animals say putting elephants in enclosed spaces has devastating results, forcing the majestic creatures into behavior they’d never exhibit in the wild. The president of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums maintains that American zoos can provide for the overall well-being of African elephants. It’s difficult not to read the piece and come away believing that, at minimum, some cutthroat, perhaps even seedy stuff happens in the process of procuring the animals for display. Read the piece and decide for yourself here.

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Sports & Leisure

Carrollton Teen Wins Wimbledon Girls’ Doubles Championship

| 23 hours ago

Sixteen-year-old Carrollton teen Savannah Broadus had a big night last night at the Wimbledon Champions’ Dinner.

Along with her partner, 18-year-old UCLA rising freshman Abigail Forbes, Broadus captured the girls’ junior doubles title with a 3-set win and got an invitation to the ball. In an interview with ZooTennis, Broadus said:

“We’re looking forward to getting all dressed up. A lot of people have proms they get all dressed up for, but I’m home schooled, so I’ve never gotten dressed up like this before; that’s just exciting.”

Who did Broadus most want to see?

“Definitely Fed and Serena.”

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Programming Note: Discussing Our Legal Obligation to Drive on ‘Think’

| 24 hours ago

There were a few readers who took exception to a post I put up last week about an article by law professor Gregory Shill, who argues that the legal system in the United States more or less compels us to drive. Shill’s piece rubbed some of our legal-minded readers the wrong way, particularly his take on how legal liability applies to traffic accidents. Another reader pointed out the Shill’s entire thesis–that laws have been reworked to create a car-centric American culture–could be applied to the way society adapts to any other transportation advancement, like railroads.

To which I say, fine, but I still think there is value to Shill’s observations about the way in which our legal system underwrites a car-driven culture. Land use offers a clear example, and our social attitudes around traffic deaths also underpin the way in which automobile travel has been absorbed into our systematic assumptions about how society should work.

But don’t take my word for it. Shill will be a guest today on KERA’s “Think.” If you think Shill is an “extremely disingenuous individual, or not very smart,” call in. It promises to be an interesting conversation.

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Local News

Leading Off (07/15/19)

| 1 day ago

Here is Why Amber Guyger Wants Her Trial Moved. Did you guess “all-white jury”?

Are Scooter Laws Coming? Maybe. Could they be enforced? Probably not. Can everything be safer if everyone who rides scooters was just, I don’t know, 15 percent smarter about it? You dang bet.

Man Hiding Behind Dumpster Killed After Initiating Shootout With Police. His name was DiJohn Watkins and he was 30. Police haven’t said why.

Texas Supreme Court To Hear Ebola Case. Remember in 2014 when a nurse contracted Ebola after helping treat the first U.S. Ebola patient at Presby? And then she went and tried on wedding dresses in Ohio? I honestly had forgotten the second part but a lawsuit involving that bridal shop is going before the Texas Supreme Court in November.

Bystander Killed in Downtown Shooting. It happened Friday evening, if you’re having trouble keeping these shootings straight.

Two Pedestrians Hit by Molley the Trolley in Fort Worth. One broke an arm and the other had head injuries. I don’t want to ever die and I really don’t want to die at the hands of something called Molley the Trolley and not just because Molley is spelled wrong.

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Politics & Government

White Rock Lake Still Isn’t Getting Dredged

| 4 days ago

This picture was taken yesterday morning at White Rock’s Sunset Bay, on the east side of the lake. This is the most shallow, most crappy part of the lake — literally. It’s basically a puddle of water sitting atop a bunch of bird shit. With some waders, you could probably walk across the entire bay. All that stuff you see there is limbs and debris, brought by the recent floods, sitting in, oh, 2 feet of water. It’s not healthy for the lake. As I’ve been saying for years, it’s way past time to dredge the lake. Paula Blackmon was elected in District 9, in part, on her promises to get this process moving.

Someone today on Twitter alerted me to an “open public opportunity,” aka a job for the city. The job was posted yesterday. It closes August 2. The project name: 2019 Dredging Project at Various Locations Contract. I’ll save you some time so you don’t have to read the 39-page RFQ, which lays out the scope of work. Yeah, White Rock Lake isn’t included. Nor is Bachman, which also needs dredging. Included on the job are Fox Hollow Lake, five ponds at Keeton Park, Twin Lakes, and detention basins at Acres/Grady, Bent Creek, Lonestar, and Fair Oaks.

Oh, well. Maybe next time.

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