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About Dallas

Leading Off

Leading Off (6/20/18)

| 13 mins ago

Dallas Oil Firm Sued by SEC. Dallas’ Texas Coastal Energy Company was accused of fraud in a lawsuit filed by the SEC yesterday. It claims that the firm committed fraud against 80 oil investors to the tune of more than $8 million. The company was also compared to The Wolf of Wall Street in a suit by a former employee.

Plano Councilman Sues to Halt Recall Vote. You may remember that Plano council member Tom Harrison shared an anti-Islam video on Facebook back in February. He is now suing to get the option to recall him taken off the November ballot. The mayor of Plano and other people had called for him to resign, but he wouldn’t. Just do the right thing, Tom.

Anti-Gay Vandalism in Denton Causes People to Support LGBTQ Charity. Lena Glover and Robert White came home to find their house vandalized—their pride flag destroyed and a slur spray-painted on the garage. One of their other roommates created a GoFundMe asking for donations to a Denton charity supporting LGBTQ residents, which has so far raised $1,500.

Man’s Arm in Peril after He Was Mauled by Dogs. 57-year-old Ronald Bell was attacked by three dogs in southern Dallas near his home. His arm was hurt so badly that it may need to be amputated. Two of the dogs were taken by Dallas Animal Services, who cited their owner for not vaccinating or spaying or neutering the animals.

Security Guard Wounded in Bar Shooting Near Love Field. While investigating a suspicious person early this morning, a security guard was shot and then taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

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Billy Can Can Coverage Did Did Come Come From Leslie Brenner Brenner

| 15 hours ago

This is a small thing. I should leave it alone. But I can’t.

Today the Morning News published a 2,700-word story about a restaurant that’s not open yet. The restaurant is called Billy Can Can. Read the story yourself, and tell me if you disagree when I call it a bit, oh, exuberant. Billy Can Can is the product of a Tristan Simon-owned company called Rebees, described in its press material as “a development firm engaged in experiential place creation — the development of real estate projects and other brick-and-mortar concepts that conjure a special reality of their own and resonate with people emotionally.” The italics are theirs, perhaps added by the firm’s PR person, Leslie Brenner. The 2,700-word story in the DMN rightly notes that Brenner, until not long ago, was the dining critic for the paper.

Long story. Hugely positive. Restaurant not open yet. Former critic. PR. That’s all I wanted to say. Oh, and one more thing:

Thanks, Tristan!

(If you get that callback, it means you’ve been reading FrontBurner for too many years.)

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Doing Good

DISD Trustee Writes Children’s Book About Daughter’s Heart Transplant

| 17 hours ago

Olivia Solis, the daughter of Dallas ISD trustee Miguel Solis and his wife Jacqueline, is going home today after spending the first four months of her life in intensive care at Children’s Health. It was there last month that Olivia underwent a heart transplant, a big procedure for anyone, and especially rare for an infant.

The Solis family has been publicly documenting Olivia’s journey, a story that’s been alternately heartbreaking, inspiring, and moving. Now Olivia, born with a congenital heart defect just four months ago, will be able to begin the next chapter of her life.

But Miguel has said from the start that he hopes by sharing his daughter’s story, he’ll be able to do some good for the other children, many of whom never get to go home, and their families in the heart center at Children’s Health. Miguel and Jacqueline are living up to that promise by authoring a children’s book, Olivia’s New Heart. The book, created with the Dallas graphic designer Skyler Thiot, is meant for those children and their families, and for anyone who could stand to learn about the important and life-saving work being done in the hospital’s cardiac intensive care unit. Proceeds from the book will go toward Children’s Health’s and its heart center.

You can pre-order a copy for $15 now.

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Doing Good

This Man Will Mow Your Lawn for Free Today in Dallas

| 21 hours ago

The country’s most charitable lawn service is in town today. Rodney Smith Jr., a native Bermudan who founded his Raising Men Lawn Care Service in Alabama several years ago, has made it his life’s work to mow the lawns of the elderly, the disabled, veterans, and single mothers, free of charge. He’s now about midway through a journey to mow lawns in all 50 states. It’s all very kind and heartwarming.

So if you know anyone who meets the criteria and could benefit from Smith’s lawn service, he’s open to suggestions:

Smith is also open to volunteers willing to mow some lawns today. You already missed the morning meet-up, but keep an eye on his Facebook page, where Smith says he’ll post another gathering location early this evening.

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Local News

Leading Off (6/19/18)

| 1 day ago

Robert Jeffress Billboard Taken Down. The billboard along the Tollway said, “America is a Christian nation,” and with Jeffress’ smiling mug it promoted some sort of foolishness at First Baptist. Outfront Media, the billboard company, said it removed the message after getting a bunch of complaints. Jeffress is blaming the media and Mayor Mike Rawlings. Good job all around, people. Let’s call this one a win.

Tristan Simon Returns With New Restaurant. The Victory Park joint is called Billy Can Can, and the DMN spent a lot of time poking around behind the scenes to see what it’s all about. It’s probably too early to call this one a win, but I’ll go ahead and call it a win anyway because Victory Park desperately needs a win.

Clay Jenkins Tries to Bring Immigrant Children to Dallas. The county judge is working to set up shelters here for some of the kids who’ve been separated from their parents at the border. This is another win, if it happens, but it’s made possible only because, as a nation, we appear to be losing.

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Setting the Record Straight on Chief Reneé Hall

| 2 days ago

Over the weekend, I got a call from Tristan Hallman at the Morning News seeking a response to some claims made by Chief Reneé Hall about how we handled a profile of her in the May issue of D Magazine. You can read what Hallman wrote here. Hall has two beefs with D Magazine. The first concerns the photograph you see with this post. Hall said:

“It was my thought that it was more of a fun shot and not going to be used in that matter, and that was one that was actually used. That’s the thing about art. It’s different things to different people.”

First, on behalf of our staff photographer, Elizabeth Lavin, I would like to thank the chief for her assessment of the photograph’s merits. I, too, see it as art. It’s a great shot. But I have no idea what she means by saying she thought it was “more of a fun shot and not going to be used in that matter.”

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A Look Back at Dallas’ 1978 ‘Texas Gay Conference’

| 2 days ago

Dallas may host its parade in the relatively temperate month of September, but it’s Pride Month here too, as evidenced by the rainbow skyline we enjoyed a few weeks back.

So here’s a timely find from UNT Special Collections, which is digitizing old TV news clips from Channel 5, with a special shout-out to the sharp eye that recognized an uncredited Harvey Milk being interviewed at the “Texas Gay Conference V” at Dallas’ Royal Coach Inn on June 10, 1978.

The California politician and gay civil rights activist, who would be assassinated later that year, imagines a world where LGBT men and women at a conference in Dallas won’t have to hide their faces from TV news cameras. America’s highest ideals demand equal rights for LGBT people, Milk says. It’s the country where anyone can make it.

“In this country, if gay people can make it, then it’s putting a green light that the system works, that you’re wanted,” Milk says. “And also it tells all those other people—the minorities, the disenfranchised, the poor… ‘Hey, if a gay person can make it, I can make it.’ And it tells people to get into the system and work within the system instead of being shoved aside.”

The first clip below is what aired on Dallas television in 1978. The second is B-roll, including more of the Milk interview. From the second clip, this quote’s a keeper: “Young gay people (should know) that there’s hope that they can become doctors and lawyers and politicians, God forbid, and businesspeople.” Credit to UNT Special Collections, the Resource Center LGBT Collection, and KXAS-TV.

[News Clip: Gay (Rights conference)] on The Portal to Texas History.

[News Clip: Gay (Rights conference)] on The Portal to Texas History.

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Pop Music

The Cover Art For Nas’ New Album Was Taken in South Dallas

| 2 days ago

The photo used for the cover of Nasir, Nas’ new album, is a striking one. It was taken in South Dallas for a 1988 feature in Texas Monthly, which covered how the crack epidemic was tearing apart the neighborhood. The photographer, Mary Ellen Mark, spent much of her career documenting the people and the parts of town that society too often neglects. More of Mark’s photo work is currently featured in a yearlong exhibition downtown at the Museum of Street Culture, a new and important program we wrote about earlier this year.

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Local News

Starting from Skratch

| 2 days ago

Scott Bennett and Ronen Akiva are two dads whose children had a very modern problem: they couldn’t fit a standard minimum-wage job into their activity-packed schedules. So Bennett and Akiva came up with Skratch, an app that gives busy high school students, ages 14 to 19, the opportunity to earn cash by taking care of your odd jobs and the freedom to do so between extracurriculars.

“It’s about meeting kids where they are,” says Bennett, pointing out that kids are also learning the importance of responsibility and cultivating professional relationships.

How Skratch works: teens register and select their preferred tasks (dog-sitting, lawn-mowing, and so on), while individuals or organizations (“sponsors” in Skratch nomenclature) can post jobs they need done—anything from tutoring to tech assistance. The two are connected by neighborhood and task. Rates are preset and payments are made to the “Skratchers” through the app. To keep kids safe, adult sponsors are screened against Texas’ sex offender registry, and parents receive a message as soon as their children accept a gig and throughout the process.

The app is now available in 30 Dallas-area ZIP codes, with plans for expansion throughout North Texas within the next 12 to 18 months and nationally in a few years.

Here, a sampling of “Skratchers” available for hire.

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Local News

Leading Off (6/18/18)

| 2 days ago

Laura Bush Pleads For an End to Separation of Immigrant Families. From the Dallas resident’s Washington Post opinion piece: “I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”

Mayor Mike Rawlings Also Offers an Immigration Opinion. “The separation of a child from a parent who has entered our country to seek asylum is cruel and unconscionable. Dallas is willing to help in any way we can by working closely with outside agencies and community partners.”

Boxer Errol Spence Jr. Keeps Welterweight Title with First Round Knockout. The Desoto southpaw was favored to win the bout at The Star in Frisco, but knocking out his opponent in the first round was unexpected (for Spence especially; he said he hoped to give the sold-out crowd a better show and take Carlos Ocampo out in the 4th or 5th round). One fan who didn’t mind the quick win: Jerry Jones. “I saw a guy in this ring who knew what he wanted,” said Jones. “When you knock a guy out by hitting him once on the side of his back, you’re bad to the bone.”

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Weekend Getaways Update: San Antonio Celebrates Its Tricentennial

| 5 days ago

In this month’s issue, we feature 10 weekend getaways from as close as Bridgeport (where you can sleep in safari-style accommodations overlooking the lion enclosure at a big cat rescue) to as far as Marfa (where you can stay in a 19th-century fort and explore Native American rock pictographs).

Last year’s travel issue included the Pearl Brewery district in San Antonio, a historic neighborhood that has become a culinary destination. But this summer may be the better time to head south. To celebrate its ties to Spain, the city is launching Olé, San Antonio, a summer-long celebration of food, dance, and art. Here’s a taste:

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