FrontBurner

A Daily Conversation About Dallas

Local News

Fair Park First Calls Out for New Businesses in Fair Park

| 2 days ago

Earlier this week at an event, the private company charged with revitalizing Fair Park got a taste of what the community will ask of it. On sticky notes spread throughout the room, residents asked for things like transportation improvements, a grocery store, and more family activities. Also on the list: better options when it comes to food, drink, and recreation.

To that end, Fair Park First, the company subcontracted with Spectra to manage the park, has put out a request for information. The organization wants proposals from business owners who’d like to be Fair Park tenants. Three Fair Park buildings are up for grabs: Science Place 1, the Museum of Natural History, and the Women’s Building.

Fair Park First Executive Director Brian Luallen says they’ve already had “tremendous interest” from folks who want to be a part of the new vision. Putting out an RFI allows the organization to formalize those talks and take a broader look at the body of proposals.

Read More

Politics & Government

Rowling, Hunt Giving Big Money in Texas Races

| 2 days ago

The Texas Tribune today does the work of sifting through state campaign donations during the first half of the year to unearth the total contributions of some local, big-dollar Republican donors. Robert Rowling, he of Omni Hotels and Gold’s Gym fortune, and Ray Hunt, of oil riches, find themselves on the list of the top 10 individuals who donated the most.

Rowling, No. 7 on the list, has donated $442,500 this year. Hunt, at No.9, has given $385,000. Also on the list at No. 6 is Kenny Troutt, who built Irving-based Excel Communications in the 1990s; he gave a clean $500,000.

Read More

Media

A Story About El Paso and Soccer That You Should Read

| 2 days ago

You might recognize the name Roberto José Andrade Franco. He’s a Ph.D. candidate at SMU who has written a few stories for D Magazine. Roberto is from El Paso. He was there when a North Texas man killed 22 people in a Walmart. At the time, Roberto had an assignment from Deadspin to write about soccer in Juarez. There was no way he could write about the sport without addressing the violence. The result was quite something. A taste:

I’ve made that drive so many times I’ve lost count. I know where to stop for gas and which bathrooms are clean. As you drive into that open west Texas land, hours pass between glimpses of even moderate-sized cities. During that long, lonely drive it’s impossible not to contemplate your own life, your beliefs, your future. Ten hours alone, and that still wasn’t enough time for him to reconsider killing us.

The first time I took that drive back home, I returned a different person. After almost getting lost along the way, I figured out a few things with the help of some people. And every time I came home after that—taking that same drive—a little part of me had changed for the better. I eventually came back a father to a little girl who has my eyes.

On the day she was born, I began talking to her in Spanish. I told her things no one else knows. My deepest regrets. I told her I felt like a coward for saying these things to someone who can’t understand. I told her I loved her and that I would always protect her. I said all of it in Spanish.

She’s two years old now. She talks mostly in English, but I keep talking to her in Spanish. I sing to her in Spanish. I feel a sense of accomplishment when she sings along. I worry that without that language, she’ll lose something more than the ability to communicate with the side of the family that lives a long drive away from home. Recipes handed down, the stories that get told, the phrases with double meanings, the song lyrics so beautiful they make me glassy-eyed—she’ll lose that.

Find 15 minutes or so to read this.

Read More

Local News

Leading Off (8/16/19)

| 2 days ago

Teenager Turns Himself In For Shooting of 9-Year-Old Girl. Tyrese Simmons is 19, and he told police he is the one who shot into an Old East Dallas apartment and accidentally killed 9-year-old Brandoniya Bennett. Police say he was after another rapper who dissed him on a track, but he had the wrong address. This story is the level of sad that feels like it should be a turning point in this city’s crime wave, but you know in your gut it probably won’t be. Here’s a line from The Dallas Morning News to carry with you today: “Brandoniya was only the latest child killed this summer in Dallas.”

Downtown Shooting Leaves Scooter Rider Injured. At 1:45 a.m. on Park Avenue near City Hall, a man stopped a group of scooters and asked for a lighter. Most of the group sped off, leaving one behind. Then the man apparently pulled out a gun and shot the person in the leg while trying to rob him.

Plano ISD Cancels Football Game Against El Paso School. Plano Senior High School is where the El Paso shooter went to school. Eastwood High School isn’t far from the Walmart where he killed 22 people in a racist attack against Mexicans. Plano school district officials apparently talked it over with local cops and decided “it falls too soon after the tragedy in El Paso.” Even the police say there was no evidence of threats. Dale Hansen is worth listening to on this one.

Here Is a Nice Story. Because I think we probably all need it. It’s about Amanda Austin, who is reopening her Dallas Comedy House this weekend on Elm Street in Deep Ellum. 

Read More

Entertainment

Yes, Dreamscape Is Worth Your Hard-Earned Cheddar

| 3 days ago

Dreamscape is that new virtual reality thing at NorthPark. Heard about it yet? The first location opened in Los Angeles last year. We got the second one. It opens today. For a more detailed description of the whole thing, check out Natalie’s report over here. I was in the same media preview earlier this week. I’ll give you the TL;DR version: it’s pretty badass. There are three “adventures,” as they call them. Each one takes a bit more than 10 minutes (with check-in, suit up, instructions, etc., one adventure takes about 30 minutes). So you’re saying, “It costs $20 for just 10 minutes of this virtual reality thing? You mean if I take my husband and kid, it’s gonna be $60? Plus, you know Mommy’s gonna have a glass of chard while she’s waiting. So probably more like $70?” Yup. It’ll cost you $70. You won’t regret it. We did it Tuesday. My 13-year-old daughter has been bugging me every day since then to go back. And you know what? I actually want to take her. Final note, though: they are already sold out for this weekend. Gotta plan ahead, people.

Read More

Sports & Leisure

Jerry Jones Comments on the Slipping TEA Scores for Keller and McKinney School Districts

| 3 days ago

After Jerry Jones used a bizarre analogy to describe contract talks with three of his star players (really, go read it), I contacted him this morning to get his reaction to the news that in the TEA’s rating system, Keller’s and McKinney’s ISDs slipped from an A to a B, putting them on par with Dallas ISD. I reached Jones somewhere over the Pacific in his private jet, as he was flying to Hawaii for the Rams game. Jones told me he was drinking out of a flagon filled with Johnnie Walker Blue and playing Cards Against Humanity with his security chief, Roosevelt. Here’s what he said about the falling grades in Keller and McKinney:

“Picture you were a stilt walker in a parade, the one that goes through downtown on the first day of the State Fair, and you stepped in an open manhole. Your leg gets torn clean off, right at the hip, and you’re just gushing blood all over Main Street. I mean, gallons and gallons of blood. So you take off the other stilt, the one still attached to your good leg, and you go hopping down the street to Forty Five Ten, and each time you hop, more blood gushes out, so Main Street looks like someone took a big bingo dauber and made red dots in the middle of the road with it. The educated man knows his fashion, and, further, he knows men’s ready-to-wear is on the third floor. That’s where he’ll find a pair of PT Pantaloni Torino flat-front, slim-fit trousers, which are on sale right now for $124, not including the cost to tailor them, because he’ll need to turn ’em into one-legged trousers, obviously. So Keller and McKinney are on the second floor, near women’s handbags and accessories.”

Read More

Crime

A Tragic Night in Dallas: DISD Trustee’s Son and a 9-Year-Old Girl Killed in Separate Shootings

| 3 days ago

The son of Dallas ISD Trustee Maxie Johnson was shot and killed overnight, police say. Christopher Whitfield Johnson, a 2015 graduate of South Oak Cliff High School, died in east Oak Cliff. He was 21 years old. Police found his body lying in the middle of the street in the 3600 block of Utah Avenue at about 1:30 a.m. He had been shot in the chest.

He was pronounced dead at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. Police do not have any suspects in custody. On the website for his campaign in District 5, which encompasses slices of South Oak Cliff, Uptown, and West Dallas, Maxie Johnson discussed raising as a single father three DISD grads at the top of their respective classes.

Whitfield Johnson’s death comes in the middle of a prolonged run of gun violence in the city. Last night, a 9-year-old named Brandoniya Bennett was mistakenly shot and killed in Old East Dallas as gang members fired into an apartment building.

Miguel Solis, Maxie Johnson’s colleague on the school board, sent this statement:

My colleague Maxie Johnson is the epitome of a great father—one who has put his heart and soul into raising his children. My heart breaks for him and his family. Today I pray for him, I pray for the parents of 9 year-old Brandoniya Bennett, I pray for the families and friends of the many who have recently perished in our city due to the mindless menace of violence. Our lives on this planet are too short to let this spirit flourish any longer in Dallas. Something must change.

Soon after he was sworn in, Mayor Eric Johnson called on police to provide a month-by-month breakdown of homicides dating to 2007.

Read More

Leading Off

Leading Off (8/15/19)

| 3 days ago

Demolitions in Tenth Street District Will Stop. The City Council voted unanimously to stop tearing down buildings, some of which were built in the 1800s, in the historic neighborhood.

Girl Killed in Gang-related Shooting. Brandoniya Bennett, only 9 years old, was killed last night after someone shot into an Old East Dallas apartment. Someone accidentally shot her while looking for another person. She died at Baylor University Medical Center.

American Airlines’ Regional Carrier Draws Up New Contract With Customer Service Reps. Yesterday, Envoy signed a new contract with 5,000 gate agents and other Communication Workers of America union employees that gives them $11 million in raises. 500 of those people work at DFW Airport.

Two People Kidnapped, Injured in Northwest Dallas. Two men forced a man and a woman into a vehicle and drove them around to ATMs before going to an apartment. The man who was kidnapped was shot in the hip. Police are still searching for the kidnappers.

Read More

Sports & Leisure

SMU Launches Clever Campaign for Football Season

| 4 days ago

An alert FrontBurnervian brings to our attention a pretty dope media campaign cooked up by the folks in SMU’s marketing department. They’ve put up billboards around town advertising the local talent that will play on the Hilltop this year. Check out the video below posted to Instagram or this video on their site. My only question: if Demerick Gary (pictured above) is telling Oak Cliff to ponyup, why do they have Turner Coxe telling Dallas to ponyup? As Coxe makes clear in his video, he was born and raised in Highland Park.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by SMU Football (@smufb) on

Read More

Education

Judge Tosses Lawsuit That Attempted to Remove DISD Trustee Karla Garcia From Office

| 4 days ago

The attorney representing Karla Garcia, Dallas ISD’s District 4 trustee, called the case against her a “big nothing-burger.” But I’m going to tell you about it anyway, because her opponent in the June runoff tried, and failed, to get a judge to remove her from office.

Her challenger, Camile White, used the question of Garcia’s residency that trailed the race as a way to get her bumped from her seat as the district’s elected trustee for Pleasant Grove. A judge yesterday dismissed the case, saying White basically missed the boat: these were allegations that should’ve been brought to the court prior to the election. White alleged that Garcia had not returned to Texas from college in North Carolina within the 12 months required to run for local office.

“You can’t complain after the fact,” says attorney Jeronimo Valdez, who represented Garcia. “You’re now asking for a removal instead of keeping her off the ballot. If the other side had an issue with Karla Garcia’s residency, the proper mechanism for that would have been filing suit to keep her from being put on the ballot.”

Associate Judge Monica Purdy dismissed the case after finding the court didn’t have the jurisdiction to remove her. White, who represented herself, filed the lawsuit nine days after the election. Garcia had already been sworn in. Dallas ISD filed a rather thorough rebuttal, basically saying that courts can compel the district to put a candidate on the ballot (or pull one off) but can’t remove one from office if they have already won. Garcia won with nearly 60 percent of the vote. In the case of removal, the state attorney general or the district attorney would be the ones to trigger that action. Not a district court.

Read More