A Daily Conversation About Dallas


Watch a Car Smash Into Thunderbird Station’s Patio Fencing

| 28 mins ago

Just before 1 a.m. on Tuesday, November 30, video surveillance shows what appears to be a white Subaru barreling down Commerce Street in Deep Ellum. Then the road forks. Commerce splits off into Second Avenue, and this is where Thunderbird Station sits, nestled in this angled wedge. It’s this point where the car, turning too late and driving too fast onto Second, crashes into the bar’s patio barrier.

No one was hurt—though we can’t speak for the presumably impaired driver. “I’m just super thankful and lucky that we were closed and nobody was here,” says Thunderbird owner Kim Finch, who’s still trying to find the humor in this weird and wild thing we call life. “That’s why I can laugh about it: We now have a drive-thru!”

Had Thunderbird not been closed, as it usually is on Monday nights, Finch says that’s when staff is cleaning up and putting things away. (You can watch Thunderbird’s outdoor camera footage here.) The collision flipped three tables and crumpled the exterior fencing, a heavy-duty metal that Finch got custom made in case of events like this. It’s not the first time Finch has seen recklessness in the neighborhood.

“We’ve had this happen at Doublewide, too,” Finch says of her other bar located northeast of Thunderbird just on the other side of Exposition. “There’s a curve—we’ve watched people Dukes of Hazzard launch over that, too,” taking out a tree, says Finch, who says she has tried notifying the city about these drivers going full Hot Wheels around her bars.

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Local News

Ross Perot Jr. Raises the Bar for DPD Donations

| 2 hours ago

Yesterday, Ross Perot Jr., who holds a world record for circumnavigating the planet in a helicopter, donated a helicopter to the Dallas Police Department, landing the chopper himself in front of City Hall to make the announcement. As far as rich guy stuff goes, it was pretty cool. Mayor Eric Johnson said, “We need partnerships like this one to build for our city’s future. We need business leaders in this city to say Dallas is more than just a great and growing market for them to make a profit. Our police department must have more resources and more help to achieve our shared goal, which is to make Dallas the safest large city in this country.”

I couldn’t agree more. Toward that end, I hereby challenge Victor Vescovo to step up and follow Perot’s lead. Vescovo, as you might remember, holds a world record for piloting a submarine to the deepest parts of the earth’s five oceans.

Bam! Let’s get DPD a submarine. I look forward to enjoying an even safer White Rock Lake.

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Local News

Leading Off (12/2/21)

| 5 hours ago

Dallas ISD Building New Campus. The John Lewis Social Justice Academy at O.W. Holmes should open in southern Dallas in 2024.

High-Profile Activist Pleads Guilty to Theft Charge. Dominique Alexander, founder of the Next Generation Action Network, was sentenced to two days in jail and given credit for time already served.

Ross Perot Jr. Gives Dallas PD a Helicopter. The billionaire landed the helicopter on the plaza in front of City Hall before a press conference.

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Local News

DART Reserves Bus Seats in Honor of Rosa Parks

| 23 hours ago

It’s Rosa Parks Day in Texas, and DART is reserving a seat at the front of each of its buses this week to honor the civil rights hero, the transit agency said in a press release.

This follows state Sen. Royce West and state Rep. Toni Rose getting the holiday passed by the Texas Legislature in its last session. It was on Dec. 1 in 1955 that Parks refused to let a White passenger take her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama and set off the Montgomery bus boycott.

DART has paid tribute to Parks before, with a statue it commissioned in 2008. The brass statue sits at Rosa Parks Plaza downtown, near Lamar Street and Pacific Avenue.

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Local News

Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington Get Top Marks for LGBTQ Policies

| 1 day ago

In a new evaluation published by the Human Rights Campaign, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington each earned perfect scores for their respective policies and services supporting LGBTQ+ inclusion.

The LGBTQ+ advocacy group’s Municipal Equality Index rates cities across the country using a checklist that looks for the existence of non-discrimination laws, LGBTQ+ liaisons in police departments, and openly LGBTQ+ elected or appointed leaders. Among other things, it also evaluates city services for LGBTQ+ people. Fort Worth has had a nondiscrimination ordinance against sexual orientation on the books since 2000, while Dallas passed one two years later. (In 2009, Fort Worth added gender identity to its ordinance and in 2015 Dallas created separated classifications that barred discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity.)

Some North Texas cities put up decidedly less impressive scores. Garland, dinged for its lack of a non-discrimination ordinance and services for LGBTQ+ residents, got 24 out of 100 points from the Human Rights Campaign. Grand Prairie (36), Irving (47), Plano (64), McKinney (36), and Mesquite (39) also fell short of a passing grade.

Check out the full report here.

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Local News

Leading Off (12/1/21)

| 1 day ago

Texas Railroad Commission Narrows Weatherization Loophole. After the Railroad Commission was lambasted by a Senate committee in September for a rule that allowed electricity producers to opt out of weatherization mandates by paying a measly $150 for a waiver, the commission changed the rule so that some large electricity producers are unable to avoid weatherization improvements and any company that pays for a waiver may have its application rejected by the commission.

Dallas County Reports 14 New COVID Deaths in 5-Day Totals. The two-week average of daily new cases continues to fall. Fifty-eight percent of county residents 5 and older are fully vaccinated.

Televangelist and Daystar founder Marcus Lamb, 64, Dies After Contracting COVID. Lamb died Tuesday after reportedly battling COVID-19, which family members called a “spiritual attack from the enemy.” Lamb’s cause of death has not been released, but the televangelist, who started Daystar in Bedford in 1997 and grew it into an international powerhouse that broadcast to 71 countries, had hosted COVID-19 vaccine skeptics on the Christian TV network and promoted alternative treatments for the disease. On Twitter, Ben Marsh, a pastor at the First Alliance Church in Winston-Salem, N.C., blamed Daystar’s worldwide reach for spreading “rampant COVID denialism and slow uptake of vaccines.”

Former TV Anchor Brendan Higgins Joins Jesuit Priest Sex Abuse Lawsuit. Higgins initially joined the suit, which was filed last year, anonymously, but he has decided to make his story public now that his two sons are adults. He tells the Dallas Morning News that the late Rev. Patrick Koch, a Jesuit teacher and family friend, sexually abused him when Higgins was a junior at the school. He hopes that by making his story public more sexual abuse survivors will come forward. “I feel anger. And I don’t have enough respect for the Jesuits to feel betrayal,” Higgins told the DMN. “I just feel like they’re criminals.”

Family of 9-Year-Old Killed at Astroworld Rejects Travis Scott’s Offer to Pay for Funeral. Ezra Blount’s family laid the 9-year-old to rest in Dallas on November 23 after he was trampled and killed during Travis Scott’s performance earlier that month. After receiving the offer from Scott to pay for the funeral expenses, a lawyer representing the family said in a letter: “This isn’t a photo-op story here. This is a ‘who’s responsible and why’ type of investigation. And he’s on the short list.”

Three Shootings and Two Deaths in Dallas Overnight. Stay safe out there.

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Local News

110 Acres of Southern Dallas Park Land Coming With Loop Trail Around City

| 2 days ago

About 110 acres of park space are coming to southern Dallas. The city says that Oncor is donating to the parks department the sizable chunk of land, which includes and surrounds Parkdale Lake just east of Elsie Faye Higgins St., just north of State Highway 352, and just west of White Rock Creek. The energy company was spurred into its generosity in large part by the efforts of former parks director Willis Winters and the coming of The LOOP.

That’s the name—the caps lock seems to be a recent affectation—of the soon-to-be-connected-and-extended trail system that will ultimately form a 50-mile circuit around the city. The Trinity Forest Spine Trail link, leading from White Rock Lake in East Dallas to the Trinity Forest in southern Dallas, will run alongside White Rock Creek through this new park land.

The Circuit Trail Conservancy, which is building The LOOP, says this is “the largest parkland dedication in Dallas since 1937,” when William Worthington Samuell bequeathed 600 acres of farmland to the city. Samuell Farm sits way out east and doesn’t see as much use as it should, although that’s a different story. It’s also sort of technically in Mesquite. It’s complicated.

Anyway, Parkdale Lake also serves another practical purpose for the city and the trail, per the conservancy, helping control runoff in the White Rock Creek floodplain.

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Health Systems

UTSW Nurse Fentanyl Overdoses Lead to $4.5M Settlement

| 2 days ago

After a three-year investigation, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center has agreed to pay a $4.5 million civil settlement for violations of the Controlled Substances Act that allowed hospital staff to divert fentanyl and other drugs from the hospital. 

The Drug Enforcement Agency and US Attorney’s Office looked at more than five years of UTSW’s handling of its controlled substances after two nurses overdosed on fentanyl and died in UT Southwestern’s Clements University Hospital. The probe was triggered after the Dallas Morning News investigation found that over 16 months, two nurses died in bathrooms in the hospital from overdoses on medications likely meant for patients. The subsequent federal investigation found 31 instances of missing drugs at UTSW never reported to the DEA. 

The settlement is the largest in the state and second-largest in the nation for allegations of drug diversion at a hospital. Much of the conduct described in the settlement agreement is merely alleged, and the agreement does not admit liability by UTSW. But the health system acknowledges and admits that theft and significant loss occurred, and UTSW failed to notify the DEA promptly and that its policies were not consistent with the law. 

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Local News

Here’s What Ethics Reform Might Look Like at Dallas City Hall

| 2 days ago

The Dallas City Council on Wednesday will be briefed on several proposals aimed at beefing up the city’s ethics code. The recommendations, from a task force convened two years ago by Mayor Eric Johnson, include:

  • Creating a “Division of the Inspector General,” an office—with subpoena power—that would look into ethics complaints and, if anything shady is discovered, “prosecute alleged or suspected violations; recommend settlement agreements; or dismiss where appropriate,” according to briefing materials. The office would also bring cases to the ethics advisory commission.
  • Instituting a “personal benefit recusal” narrowing the amount of wiggle room for city officials weighing possible conflicts of interest. The current code requires officials to recuse themselves only if they have an “improper economic interest.” A new proposal would expand economic benefit to encompass “any benefit knowingly solicited, accepted, or agreed to be accepted” in exchange for some official action or inaction.
  • Making the code simpler and easier to understand (setting the, to my eyes, somewhat vague definition of “personal benefit” aside) by consolidating gift policies and other sections.
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Architecture & Design

The New York Times Takes a Shine to Dallas Architecture

| 2 days ago

The New York Times has more subscribers in Dallas than does the Dallas Morning News. Perhaps that is why the Gray Lady keeps making eyes at us. Last week, a California-based writer for the Times tried to figure out why everyone is moving here. Today, a Berlin-based writer who grew up here has a piece in the Times headlined “Discovering a Secret Wonderland of Architecture in Dallas.” Rob Madole, a former editor of ARCH+, makes fun of Pioneer Plaza (“… one of the city’s biggest parks, which contained 39 bronze cattle sculptures but not a single bench”) before saying some nice things about Cityplace Tower, Plaza of the Americas, and Las Colinas’ canal. Here’s his last paragraph:

“When I moved to Berlin, I fell for the drama of its rich architectural past, the feeling that the closer you inspected, the more there was to discover. I had thought this was an experience unavailable to a city like Dallas, but it turned out I just hadn’t known where to look.”

Aw, that’s sweet of him to say. But before we all blush too much, maybe read this seminal David Dillon D Magazine cover story titled “Why Is Dallas Architecture So Bad?

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Jerry Jones Should Sub for Mike McCarthy

| 2 days ago

Mike Piellucci is a nice enough fellow. And he’s competent-ish when it comes to sports. But, man, did he get it completely wrong yesterday when he suggested that the most intriguing substitute for COVID-ridden Mike McCarthy is OC Kellen Moore. No! Not even close.

Give me Jerral Wayne Jones.

Now, when I said as much in the D Magazine studios yesterday, Mike countered my suggestion by saying something about how the game Thursday is important and the Cowboys really do need a win and Lincoln Riley will have the Trojans competing for a title next season — at the latest. At the risk of disrespecting Mike on the blog he started, Mike doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

You might think my suggestion that Jerry should sub for McCarthy is just a joke. I want to be perfectly clear: it is not just a joke. The CIA once had a plan to assassinate Fidel Castro with an exploding cigar. That was definitely a joke. How could it not be? That’s like trying to kill someone by dropping an anvil on his head. It’s funny. It’s a joke. But it’s not just a joke, because an anvil would straight up kill you. I’m not sure how far you’d need to drop it. Depends on the size of the anvil, I guess. But even small anvils are heavy, and f = ma, where “a” is 9.8 m/s2.

Back to Coach Jerry. Yes, it would be funny if he coached a game, and, yes, I am making a joke by suggesting that he do it. But it could also work. He is the cartoonish exploding cigar that, by the way, could also decapitate you and topple a dictatorship.

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Local News

Leading Off (11/30/21)

| 2 days ago

Dallas Cop Up for Seattle Job. Avery Moore has been a Dallas cop for 31 years, and he’s the assistant chief over the Investigations Bureau. He’s a finalist to become the chief of police in Tacoma, Washington, which is where city manager T.C. Broadnax worked before coming to Dallas, btw.

Police Still Searching for Street Racer Who Killed Woman. A 73-year-old woman was walking her dog in Far East Dallas last week when she was struck on Ferguson Road by a driver who was racing. FOX 4 has a picture of the two cars involved, a Camaro and an Impala.

Star-Telegram Gloats Over Dykes Hire. Don’t give the Fort Worth newspaper your clicks, but it is crowing about TCU’s hiring Sonny Dykes away from SMU, even quoting Mayor Eric Johnson’s butt-hurt tweet about the matter. The headline: “TCU Hiring SMU Football Coach Is Already a Success Because It Has Dallas Fans Fuming.”

Cavs Beat Mavs. Cleveland is so sorry that their newspaper folded and the digital-only site that covers the town doesn’t even have its own reporter to write about the Cavs’ best win of the season. Instead, it offers an AP story that begins: “Jarrett Allen and Lauri Markkanen notched season highs with 28 and 24 points respectively, and the Cleveland Cavaliers dominated the Dallas Mavericks for a 114-96 win on Monday night — their most lopsided win of the season.”

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