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Local News

Following the Finger-Pointing in Southlake

| 3 hours ago

Southlake was already in the news for its school district’s long-running battle over what students should learn about racism in the United States. Then, last week, there was the story about a school administrator telling teachers that any classroom library with books about the Holocaust should include “opposing” views to comply with HB 3979, a new state law meant to keep so-called “critical race theory” out of schools.

School board meetings across North Texas have been especially combative scenes this year, replete with showdowns over mask requirements and various culture war skirmishes. But even by those standards, Monday night’s meeting of the Southlake Carroll ISD school board was tense.

Superintendent Lane Ledbetter apologized last week, saying there “are not two sides of the Holocaust.” Jewish residents who spoke at Monday’s meeting wanted more than an apology, and a former student described being bullied when he attended school in Carroll ISD more than 20 years ago.

“I received everything from jokes about my nose to gas chambers, all while studying for my bar mitzvah,” Jake Berman said.

Most of the speakers seemed to agree that the fault here doesn’t lie with the school administrator whose recorded comments about teaching the Holocaust set off the most recent controversy. So, if we all agree that there are not two sides to the Holocaust—and I really hope we all agree—then who or what’s to blame for a school administrator implying as much?

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Local News

Leading Off (10/19/21)

| 9 hours ago

Dallas County to Redraw Political Boundaries. Public hearings begin today as the county commissioners consider three redistricting options, each of which would hose Republicans. The court’s sole GOPer, J.J. Koch, from the northern District 2, said, “[The maps] are a little bit shocking. If that isn’t gerrymandering, I don’t know what is.”

Mary Kay Sues Former Employee. Jennifer Bickel Cook worked with Mary Kay herself for a long time, and she wrote a book about her experience. The cosmetics company isn’t pleased.

Carroll ISD Board Meeting Was Tense. Last night folks sounded off for more than two hours about the NBC News recording of a Carroll administrator telling teachers they need to present the “opposing” view of the Holocaust.

Dak Has Calf Strain. An MRI confirmed it.

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Local News

Dallas’ Ambitious Homelessness Plan Crosses a Major Milestone

| 1 day ago

Landlords in Texas can reject tenants who will be paying their rent with government subsidies, a state of affairs that contributes to the extreme concentrations of poverty we see in Dallas’ poorest, most segregated neighborhoods. That kind of voucher discrimination is a problem for ambitious plans to curb homelessness using government-funded rent payments, such as the Dallas Real Time Rapid Rehousing Initiative, which was announced with much fanfare earlier this year.

And it’s part of the reason why the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, the nonprofit leading the initiative, held a press conference Monday—with only a little less fanfare—to announce that it had raised $10 million in private donations to support the rapid rehousing plan.

Similar plans have worked in other cities, says Peter Brodsky, the board chair of MDHA. “What they found in those other cities is that with an incentive, landlords are much more willing to accept our clients as their tenants,” Brodsky says. MDHA could use the newly raised private money to, for example, double a tenant’s deposit. “If a landlord has a concern that this is someone from an unstable population—whatever preconceived notions the landlord may have about the people we’re serving—then we can come back to them with this private money and say, ‘OK, well how can we address that?’”

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Humor

My Pandemic Journey of Self-Discovery Helped Me Discover that My Colleagues Are Too Loud

| 1 day ago

I will say, up front, that a big part of this problem is on me. I do understand that. I changed more than my colleagues did, I think.

So it is not necessarily that a number of my co-workers have suddenly become like TVs in the common room at an assisted living facility, volume-wise. You might think that from the headline. It might sound like I am saying that they blast sound at me like they are verbally reenacting any number of exciting scenes from 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day, colloquially known as T2. No, sir. Not saying that.

Nor am I saying that it feels like they get on a group text each morning to plot new (and, even a curmudgeon would have to admit, exciting) ways to elevate normal office conversation into the realm of experimental, confrontational theater, with me as an unsuspecting audience member. Though, of course, I do see where the confusion might arise.

Similarly, I am not meaning to suggest that their every word hits my ears like a wrecking ball made of small talk and rusty barbed wire. Again, I see where you could infer that, but that would be exactly what it is: an inference.

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State Fair of Texas

The State Fair of Texas Attracted Over 2 Million People

| 1 day ago

A little over three weeks ago, Big Tex began Howdy Folks’ing millions of people into Fair Park. We’re a year out from presumably thousands of those people sitting in their cars for hours to get a corny dog and a sniff of normal. This year was different. It really was normal. More than 2.2 million people poured into Fair Park over the 24 days of the State Fair, which had been on essentially a two-year hiatus. The fair came armed with all sorts of data points this Monday: more than 1,000 COVID-19 vaccine shots were given out, about 520,000 Fletcher’s Corny Dogs were pulled from the fryers, the Midway awarded over $1 million worth of plush prizes (which is surely a fraction of what was invested to win said plush prizes), and almost 20,000 pounds of fresh produce were donated to South Dallas and surrounding neighborhoods.

Sounds like a good time. I went twice. Photographer Jason Janik was there far more often, taking photos each day for us. Take a look—they’re in the gallery attached to this post.

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Local News

Leading Off (10/18/2021)

| 1 day ago

Cowboys Win in Overtime. It was a wild one in Foxborough, with two touchdowns in 15 seconds as the Cowboys and Patriots went back and forth near the end of the fourth. Dak Prescott eventually connected with CeeDee Lamb for the walk-off score in the extra period. Prescott was doing that walking a bit gingerly, after suffering a right calf injury. He showed up to the postgame press conference in a boot but says he will be OK. Fortunately, the team has a bye week coming up. Also coming up: Mike with more over on StrongSide.

Early Voting Begins Today. It runs through October 29, and then election day is November 2. Here are the eight Texas constitutional amendments on the ballot.

Robert E. Lee Statue Removed From Oak Lawn Park Now On Display at Kelcy Warren’s Golf Resort. Lajitas Golf Resort in Terlingua received the disputed participation trophy as a donation a couple of years ago. So if you’re still bummed it was removed, go there, I guess.

The State Fair is Over. You’ll have to eat fried food on your own time.

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State Fair of Texas

Fernie’s Fried Toffee Coffee Crunch Cake Wins D Magazine’s 2021 State Fair Food Bracket

| 4 days ago

When the State Fair of Texas returned in full swing this year, we knew we had to revive our State Fair food bracket, pitting the classics versus newcomers. Each week, voters whittled down the contenders. And, now, we’ve got our 2021 winner: Fernie’s Fried Toffee Coffee Crunch Cake. 

It was a hotly contested battle against perhaps the most beloved State Fair staple, Fletcher’s Corny Dog. Alas, the public has spoken and it’s a sweet treat that reigns supreme this year.

The Armadillo, we’ve very seriously reported, took the winning spot for Best Sweet at this year’s Big Tex Choice Awards. But Alice Laussade, our State Fair food correspondent, declares that, in her extremely professional opinion, Fernie’s [Fried] Toffee Coffee Crunch Cake should have won. No shade to the butter cookie ice cream sandwich shaped like an armadillo, but “Oh God, it’s so good… It’s not too sweet, a bit of unexpected crunch on the outside. I’d have it with coffee every morning if a coffee shop served it. And it’s brought to us by the same family who brought funnel cakes to the fair in the first place.”

Christi Erpillo knows fair fare. She grew up doing this. See, Erpillo of Winter Family Concessions (official LinkedIn title: Chief Frying Officer) helps run one of the most decorated food stands in State Fair history. Her concession stand, which has been a fair institution for over 50 years, is credited with bringing the eternally classic funnel cake to the fair in the ’80s for crying out loud.

Erpillo has been doing this for a good while, and still she was excited for another win among many. “We thought it was that good, but the fact that somebody beat Fletcher’s in anything, we’re so thrilled about it. I’m thrilled to death,” Erpillo told SideDish as she was walking between concession stands Friday afternoon.

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Local News

What It Will Take To Bring the Longhorn Ballroom Back To Life

| 4 days ago

One of the most storied venues in Texas is being saved from the wrecking ball. New ownership is announcing its big plans: not just a space for live music, but a community center, a hub for local artists and musicians. The city of Dallas is saying it will pony up $500,000 for restoration. The press is gushing about all of it. After years in a state of ignominious repair, the Longhorn Ballroom—where Bob Wills led the house band, where Jack Ruby once held the lease, where the Sex Pistols shared a marquee with Merle Haggard, where countless country and western and blues and soul and rock acts played shows that the people who were there will never forget—is back.

That was all happening in 2017, and if anyone knew that those plans weren’t going to work out, they were saying it quietly and out of earshot of any giddy media member. Within a couple years, the owners would default on their loans. The Ballroom would go back on the market to be sold out of bankruptcy. Lawyers would get involved. Demolition would again look all too possible.

You could be forgiven for experiencing some deja vu when the Dallas Morning News first reported a couple weeks ago on the latest plan to resurrect the Longhorn. The difference this time is Edwin Cabaniss, who is now under contract to buy the venue. Cabaniss has done this sort of thing before, rescuing and restoring the Kessler Theater in Oak Cliff and the Heights Theater in Houston. 

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Politics & Government

Holocaust Museum ‘Appalled’ at Carroll ISD Suggestion That Students Should Get Opposing View to Holocaust

| 4 days ago

To catch you up: HB 3979 is the new Texas law that attempts to protect racists from getting their feelings hurt. Sorry, I’m showing my bias. I am biased against nonsense. Read the thing for yourself if you want to. Anyway, the law led an administrator in Carroll ISD to tell teachers there that if they had any books about the Holocaust in their classrooms, they also should have a book presenting an “opposing” view. The folks at NBC News broke this story yesterday.

Today the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum sent a note from Mary Pat Higgins, their president and CEO, and Mark Zilbermann, their board chair, that shows their own bias against nonsense. They are appalled by what’s going on in Southlake. Here’s the full text:

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Music

The Bass-Beating Queen of Western Swing

| 4 days ago

It’s funny sometimes how things work out. Bill Sanderson didn’t set out to profile Louise Rowe. Bill had come across a handwritten history of the Longhorn Ballroom that Dewey Groom had given him back in 1977. As Bill put it, the pages were sitting in his “piling system.” Groom owned a record label and was a recording artist. He also owned and ran the Longhorn. So Bill got the idea to track down some of the folks who’d played the iconic joint and put together an oral history. Which is how he found Rowe, who he pretty quickly decided deserved her own treatment. She’s 89 now and lives in Hurst. How she got discovered as a teenager by Bob Wills and became one of the few Texas Playboys ever to wear a dress — well, I agreed with Bill’s assessment. His story appears in the October issue of D Magazine, and it went online today.

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