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A Daily Conversation About Dallas
Police

Watch Video of Bomb Squad Cop Fall Into Fountain

Tim Rogers
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The incident happened near Dealey Plaza

This incident is old news. Back in November, a suspicious briefcase was spotted in Dealey Plaza. The bomb squad was called in. What is new, from what I can gather, is the below video of someone in a blast suit falling backward into a fountain. It’s only funny because no one got hurt. You just know this cop is still getting teased by his or her fellow cops.

Education

Richardson ISD Is Afraid of Its Smartest Students

Tim Rogers
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Lake Highlands High valedictorian Sara Shelton and principal Kerri Jones

Last year Lake Highlands High’s valedictorian, Paxton Smith, went viral by delivering an unapproved speech at graduation. She spoke forcefully about a woman’s right to have control over her own body, and she decried the restrictive abortion bill that Gov. Greg Abbott had just signed into law. We posted a video of her speech on FrontBurner. It now has more than half a million views on YouTube, and Smith’s speech made headlines from the New York Times to the BBC.

So that happened.

This year Richardson ISD decided to try something different. Rather than let the LHH valedictorian deliver a live address, the district is forcing her to pre-record it. Sara Shelton told the Lake Highlands Advocate: “I’ve been thinking since elementary school that I might get to speak at graduation, and it’s just sad. I’ve been waiting years to speak—it’s such a cool thing. I even asked if I could go up to the podium [live] and say thank you. They said no. Even our class vice president is introducing Ms. Jones, our principal, and they are making her pre-record it.”

What a cowardly decision by the district.

This move sends a clear message that the district is afraid of one of its smartest, hardest-working, most accomplished student. And what, exactly, might they fear? That one of the brightest young people in our community might say something that not everyone agrees with? I don’t know this young woman’s views. Maybe she thinks Biden stole the election and Elon Musk should be the king of Texas after the state secedes from the union. Or maybe she thinks Gov. Abbott isn’t serving Texans well when he says school shootings are a mental health issue, not a gun control issue, while Texas ranks last in the country in access to mental health care and he himself in April cut $211 million from the department that oversees the state’s mental health programs.

I don’t know. But I do know that Shelton earned the privilege of speaking her mind at graduation. As long as she doesn’t use vulgar language or call for violence, she should be able to address her classmates on a live mic.

Read that Advocate story. You can tell how thoughtful and mature she is. My guess: this final lesson from Richardson ISD won’t be lost on Sara Shelton.

Local News

Leading Off (5/27/22)

Matt Goodman
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Dallas Cops on Leave After Bailing on South Dallas Wreck. WFAA earlier this week published 22 minutes of dashcam footage showing a police car pursuing a driver who left a gas station with their lights off. There were two officers in that car, Sr. Cpl. Leonard Anderson and Trainee Darrien Robertson. They followed until the vehicle picked up speed and left the cops behind. Then the car crashes—and one of the officers says, “That’s his fault.” The officers drive the opposite direction, and the car soon catches fire. Pedestrians pull the driver out. Police Chief Eddie Garcia says “I can’t defend the actions of the two officers that night.” They could be fired.

These Dallas Mavericks Punched Hard. You have to be proud of this team. The future is bright. They just couldn’t escape the hardened Golden State Warriors, who cut and screened and shot their way to a 4-1 victory in the Western Conference Finals. The San Francisco Chronicle focuses its story on Klay Thompson, who came back this year after missing two seasons rehabbing a torn Achilles. “As Thompson reflected on all he endured to reach this point, it dawned on him: This time last year, he was starting to jog again after a lengthy rehab from a torn Achilles tendon. Now, fresh off a masterful performance in the Warriors’ series-clinching Game 5 win over the Mavericks in the West finals, Thompson is back at the sport’s summit.” Mike Piellucci and Iztok Franko will have their take on the game later today.

Apartment Builder Buys West End Block. Banyan Residential, which has projects in North Oak Cliff, scooped up a block near the West End transit hub on Ross Avenue between Lamar and Griffin. It’s currently a surface parking lot, and housing is good. No word on whether it will be only market-rate.

Parent With Concealed Weapon Shoots Himself in a School. Anthony White, 55, visited Duff Elementary with a gun on him. He dropped it and the gun fired, hitting him in the leg. He was treated at a hospital then charged with unlawful carrying of a weapon in a prohibited place. There have been five gun-related incidents at North Texas schools since this week’s shooting in Uvalde.

Let me preface this by saying that this is not a post (necessarily) about legislation to prevent gun violence. It’s a post about what happened while a late night host was talking about gun violence prevention.

Last night, Jimmy Kimmel, whose show airs after the 10 p.m. news broadcast on WFAA, spoke emotionally about the shooting in Uvalde. He directly called out Gov. Greg Abbott and senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, but he also talked about the toll gun violence has taken on children in particular, with gun violence outpacing literally everything else as the highest cause of death for kids.

During his monologue, which was taped without an audience, Kimmel addressed Texas leadership directly, saying, “It’s OK to admit you made a mistake, in fact, it’s not just OK, it’s necessary to admit you made a mistake when your mistake is killing the children in your state.”

But viewers in Dallas didn’t see that monologue. Not long after Kimmel started it, WFAA cut to a station promo.

The host took to Twitter.

Richardson High Schooler Arrested For Bringing Guns On Campus. Almost 24 hours after the Uvalde massacrea Richardson student was arrested inside his school, Berkner High School, after police received reports about an armed man walking toward campus. They reportedly found a pistol and a replica AR-15 style Orbeez rifle inside the student’s vehicle, and the high school and a nearby elementary school were on lockdown for a time.

Reverchon Park Baseball Fields Will Be Renovated. The Dallas City Council Wednesday approved a deal with Dallas ISD to improve the baseball fields at Reverchon Park. They’ve been the “home field” for North Dallas High for more than 30 years, and the district will contribute $5 million toward renovations for the neglected facilities

Career Day Presentation by Tarrant County Sheriff’s Deputy Was “Insensitive.” According to a Fort Worth ISD employee, who provided pictures to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, a Tarrant County deputy joined Career Day at E.M. Daggett Elementary School, where he presented slides that included images of AR-15 rifles and a poster titled “A Liberal’s Guide to the Deadly AR-15.” The sheriff’s office says the presentation didn’t include anything about the rifle, but a letter to parents from the principal apologized for the presentation, calling it “insensitive, not suitable, and not condoned by Daggett Elementary and the Fort Worth ISD.”

After Tuesday’s primary runoffs, the general election ballot is set. But your ballot was determined by not quite 105,000 voters in Dallas County, which is actually an improvement over the primary elections in March, where a little more than 92,000 voted.

That’s not a lot of people deciding everyone’s choices for midterm elections.

Here’s how some of the bigger races on that ballot will shape up after yesterday’s election (you can find statewide results here). 

Local races

Incumbent Dallas County Commissioner District 2 Commissioner J.J. Koch will face Democratic opponent Andrew Sommerman in November. Sommerman is also part of the team of lawyers representing Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins in a lawsuit over mask mandates filed by Koch. 

Incumbent Dallas County Clerk John Warren gets to keep his seat after beating opponent Ann Cruz in the Democratic primary. There were no Republican challengers.

Former U.S. Rep. John Bryant beat attorney Alexandra Guio and will face Republican Mark Hajdu in November for the Texas House District 114 seat that is being vacated by John Turner, who opted not to run again.

Former Dallas City Council member Sandra Crenshaw lost her bid for the District 100 seat to Democrat Venton Jones, CEO of the Southern Black Policy and Advocacy Network, which means he’ll be replacing Jasmine Crockett (more on that in a minute), since there was no Republican challenger for that race.

With all of those races now firmed up, voters will also decide between Lauren Davis and incumbent Clay Jenkins for Dallas County Judge; Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot and Republican Faith Johnson (who was his predecessor); Dallas County Treasurer Pauline Medrano and Republican Shelly Akerly; District 108 State Rep. Morgan Meyer and Democrat Elizabeth Ginsberg; Texas Senate District 16 incumbent Nathan Johnson and Republican Brandon Copeland; and State Board of Education, District 12, Republican incumbent Pam Little will face Democrat Alex Cornwallis and Libertarian Christy Mowrey.

Local News

The Difficult Conversation I Had With My Fifth-Grader

Bethany Erickson
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Law enforcement investigates the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. Nineteen children and two adults were killed.

Yesterday was hard. And I, like every parent, had to figure out how to explain to my fifth-grader what happened in a school just like his, while still processing it myself.

The whole drive to the carpool lane yesterday, I thought about my son’s typical school day. I thought about the video his music teacher, who only sees them once a week, sent parents on Monday: his class proudly played “Beauty and the Beast” on keyboards as she recorded their remarkably not terrible final performances of the year.

I was also keenly aware that this wasn’t the first time we’ve talked about gun violence at school. In fact, as I prepared to write this, I went back through my old files and found a note from seven or so years ago.

“My 4-year-old knows how to hide from a shooter. He learned it at school,” I wrote. “My tiny person knows that if a ‘bad stranger’ comes, ‘teacher locks the door and we play statues in the closet.’”

He told me last night he’s gotten better at hiding since preschool.

This is the second time this year alone that we have talked about it, and each time it is just a little more devastating.

Earlier this year, a student brought a gun on the bus that transports both middle school and elementary students. It was briefly at my son’s school, since the bus drops off there.

I read the letter from the school as my incredibly tense child sat on the couch next to me. We talked about what to do if someone had a gun at his school, about listening to his teacher and following her instructions carefully.

Local News

Leading Off (5/25/22)

Matt Goodman
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The Latest on Uvalde. Twenty-one are confirmed dead. Nineteen of those are children who were attending school at Robb Elementary. The shooter was an 18-year-old, who, according to Austin-based KVUE reporter Tony Plohetski, had last week purchased a pair of AR platform rifles legally from a “local federal firearms licensee.” He bought 375 rounds of ammunition on May 18.

Mavs Make It Sorta Interesting. But likely this is just setting up a gentlemen’s sweep. As Iztok Franko writes over on StrongSide, “this game was probably more a show of pride than a momentum changer.” The Mavericks dominated the whole night, coming away with a 119-109 win, even after a rain delay from a leaky roof. They head back to San Francisco on Thursday for Game 5, which tips off at 8 p.m.

Paxton Cruises for Republican AG. The state’s attorney general, who remains under indictment, easily beat George P. Bush and will face Rochelle Garza, who won the Democratic side by about 15 points. Venton Jones beat former Dallas Council member Sandra Crenshaw for House District 100 in the Legislature. Up in Collin County, Mihaela Plesa easily won House District 70 over Cassandra Garcia and Dallas Police Association Vice President Frederick Frazier beat Paul Chabot in McKinney for House District 61. Here’s the Morning News’ Gromer Jeffers on the election results. Our Bethany Erickson will have something later in the day.

Local News

TxDOT’s Official Recommendation for I-345: Don’t Remove It, Bury It

Matt Goodman
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I-345 shown from near Deep Ellum. (photo by Scott Womack)

The Texas Department of Transportation believes the elevated I-345 highway should be buried in a trench between downtown and Deep Ellum, restoring connectivity by way of the existing at-grade city streets; the agency didn’t go so far as to recommend replacing the freeway with a boulevard.

TxDOT unveiled this “preferred alternative” during a public meeting Tuesday evening at the St. Philips School and Community Center after winnowing down five construction options to one. The winner is called the “hybrid alternative,” which the state believes is a compromise between groups that wanted to tear out the freeway and others who argued for a status quo repair of an aging traffic corridor that connects interstates 30, 45, 35, Central Expressway, and Woodall Rodgers. The trench will be about 65 feet deep.

But that traffic corridor occupies 1.4 miles in the core of the city, on the east side of downtown. The highway opened to traffic in 1974 and is nearing the end of its life, presenting the city with a unique opportunity to rethink the enormous spread of concrete that occupies land that could otherwise support development. When it was constructed, the highway gashed Deep Ellum and cut it off from downtown.

This magazine sparked a conversation about removing the highway in 2014, when the urban planner and current DART board member Patrick Kennedy wrote a story titled “Why We Must Tear Down I-345.”

“People are clamoring to move to an urban neighborhood, but an elevated highway stands in their way,” read the subhead of that story.

Under the hybrid plan, the “urban neighborhood” would sprout on decks over the freeway similar to the infrastructure of Klyde Warren Park. TxDOT has identified 11 areas over I-345 that could be decked at-grade and would be able to house buildings or “deck plazas.” Those areas total about 8.5 acres, stretching from Canton Street past the exit to Woodall Rodgers Freeway. The hybrid plan will also create 7 acres of surplus right of way aside the buried highway.

Here’s the lede from Forbes: “An alleged ISIS-linked operative in the U.S. was plotting to kill George W. Bush, going so far as to travel to Dallas in November to take video around the former president’s home and recruiting help from a team of compatriots he hoped to smuggle into the country over the Mexican border, according to an FBI search-warrant application filed March 23 and unsealed this week in the Southern District of Ohio.”

The bad guy used WhatsApp for his comms. More details here.

Media

D Magazine Kills It at Awards Ceremony

Tim Rogers
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D staffers have a plaque problem.

You’ll allow us a bit of back patting here. City magazines like D all over the country belong to an organization called the City and Regional Magazine Association, which last night held its 46th annual awards shindig, in St. Louis. Your hometown kids fared well. Without bogging down in circulation stuff (we don’t compete with Texas Monthly in certain categories because they are so much larger), we took home more awards than any other magazine in the country—except TxMo. We as a company won six awards, including the big one, General Excellence. The folks at TxMo won seven. Zac Crain and Matt Goodman both won individual awards for their writing. So did Rosin Saez, who recently left us to take a job at something called Thrillist.

The contest is managed on behalf of CRMA by the University of Missouri School of Journalism, which recruits judges from publications such as Esquire, The Atlantic, The New York Times, and many other national publications. Here’s what those judges had to say:

D Magazine’s six wins included Excellence in Writing for its November issue, and judges described the writing as ‘smart and honest throughout, with imaginative service and witty gossip.’ Zac Crain’s first-place Civic Journalism story, ‘The Fair Park Lie,’ shed light on a tragic story of racism and how ‘Dallas failed Black families by taking their land to build a seldom-used parking lot.’ D Magazine received two awards for online categories, including Online Column for Matt Goodman’s ‘Local News’ and E-Newsletter for SideDish. D Magazine won Ancillary: Weddings with a summer issue that ‘was comprehensive, diverse and filled with ideas and well-reported personal stories that touched the heart.’ General Excellence 2 judges praised D Magazine and wrote: ‘John Steinbeck once described Texas as a State of Mind. That State of Mind is on full display on the pages of D Magazine.'”

Those of us who stayed behind in Dallas kept up with the proceedings last night in a monster Teams chat that would be funny to cut and paste into this post because it included lots of GIFs and references to Prince lyrics that would confuse you. I’ll just end with a communication I had this morning with one of people in attendance. Knowing this person had an early flight back to Dallas, I texted the colleague and asked how the winner was feeling. The response: “That terrifying middle where you can’t tell if you snuck away without a hangover or if you’re still drunk.” That sounds about right.

On a personal note, I am not humbled to be part of this gifted, hardworking team. Congrats to everyone involved—and there are a lot of people involved, from the sales folks who make the money we spend on manuscripts and photography, to the production crew that gets the pages printed, to the crafty IT department that kept us connected and plugging away in a pandemic.

And, finally, thank you to everyone in North Texas who gives us time and attention. We do it all with you in mind, guys, to make Dallas even better.

Cheers.

Local News

Leading Off (5/24/22)

Tim Rogers
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Dig the Adolphus. No news here, just a great bit of history. In collaboration with the local publisher Deep Vellum, the Morning News’ architecture critic, Mark Lamster, is writing about the buildings that made Dallas. Today brings us his piece on the Adolphus Hotel. Definitely worth your time.

Taekwondo Pill Trial Continues. Jaqueline Galloway won a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games. Then she tested positive for a banned substance after taking a vitamin supplement she’d bought at a Central Market in Plano, and her taekwondo career was cut short. She sued H-E-B. The trial continues today in a Collin County courtroom.

Dallas Hates Pedestrians. An audit of the city’s Transportation Department was released yesterday. It’s all about pedestrian safety. And it doesn’t look good. The short version: in Dallas in 2020, we had 4.91 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 residents, putting us at the top of a list of large American cities. Houston, by contrast, had 3.28 deaths, and Chicago had 2.02. And Dallas is basically doing nothing to fix it.

Dallas Might Give Neiman Marcus $5.25 Million. This week the City Council will decide whether to give the retailer millions in economic incentives to keep its headquarters and its flagship store in downtown Dallas. Feels like maybe D Magazine should figure out how to jump on this gravy train.

Y’all, Go Vote. Git informed and git er done. Today is runoff day. Here’s a breakdown.

Page Cached: 2022-05-29 11:30:01 on http://www01.dmagazine.com