A Daily Conversation
About Dallas


New Hope Mayor Jess Herbst Testifies Against Bathroom Bill

| 12 mins ago

New Hope Mayor Jess Herbst joined hundreds of civil rights activists and Texas business leaders in Austin today to testify against the so-called “bathroom bill” being considered by the state legislature.

The first openly transgender mayor in the state, profiled in the June issue of D Magazine, was the first of 250 speakers to address a Senate panel weighing a pair of bills that would limit transgender people’s access to public restrooms, requiring every individual to use the restroom corresponding with their sex at birth. The bathroom bill has drawn condemnation from transgender activists, local leaders concerned about the state smashing city anti-discrimination ordinances, and executives fearful that its passage would, as in North Carolina, drive away business and sports events. Its supporters, who have found a sympathetic audience in Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and socially conservative Texas lawmakers, call it a public safety issue.

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Arts & Entertainment

Hear Great Music at Moody Performance Hall Sunday

| 6 hours ago

The Basically Beethoven Festival this year, put on by Dallas’ Fine Arts Chamber Players, presents free concerts on Sunday afternoons in July at Moody Performance Hall (formerly Dallas City Performance Hall). Awesome. But the lineup this Sunday, in particular, makes it even better.

The featured performers are my dad, Stephen Nielson, and my sister, Caroline. As my dad is a concert pianist and my sister is a mezzo soprano, he’ll be playing and she’ll be singing. Dallas Symphony Orchestra violinist Motoi Takeda will also be joining them for works by Beethoven (of course), Francis Poulenc, and Amy Beach. It’s going to be great. And it won’t cost you a thing.

To recap:

When: Sunday at 3 p.m., but get there early to snag a seat.

Where: 2520 Flora St.

Why: You’ll get to hear quality music from quality musicians (I would know). And it’s free. Did I mention it’s free?

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The Dumbest Question Renee Hall Has Been Asked So Far

| 6 hours ago
Via Detroit Police Department Facebook page

This morning on The KERA Friday Conversation, Rick Holter asked Renee Hall, Dallas’ newly tapped police chief, one of the dumbest questions you can ask anyone at the top of her male-dominated police career. Her answer is smart.

Rick Holter: You’re the first woman to get the job as chief here. How do you win over the guys?

Renee Hall: I’ve been in law enforcement for nearly 19 years, and I’m a leader in the organization that I’m in. I really want people not to just look at me as a woman chief; I want you to look at me as a chief. I’m here because I have the ability. I don’t want to win over anybody based on my sex. I want to win over the officers because they believe in me, that I’m supporting them, that I’m giving them what they need to be successful in the streets of Dallas. So, you know, I am a woman, and I’m proud to be a woman. But I need people to understand that I’m a chief.

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Local News

New Podcast: SMU Prof and Wild Detectives Wordsmith Lauren Smart

| 7 hours ago

Man, oh, man. Show notes DO make things more interesting, don’t they? YOU WON’T GET ANY SHOW NOTES! Just this: Lauren Smart is an SMU professor. She’s a writer. And she programs events at Wild Detectives, everyone’s favorite Oak Cliff bookstore. Zac and I talk with Lauren about why the name “Lauren” sounds ditzy, how the Cowboys cleaned up the Zeke Elliott mess at Clutch, and when Boogotti Kasino will become the name of an Uptown club. Oh, plus we talk about books and art and stuff. Use your ears to listen with the streaming player below, or download EarBurner with your favorite podcatcher.

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Leading Off

Leading Off (7/21/17)

| 8 hours ago

New Dallas Police Chief Says She’s Up to the Challenge. Some of the problems Ulysha Renee Hall will need to tackle are a shrinking department, increased crime, and police morale and pay issues. “The city of Detroit has experienced the same elements and challenges that the city of Dallas has right now. We’ve come out on top,” Hall said.

North Texas College Professors Want to Fight Fake News. Professors from UT Arlington and UT Dallas are working on a proposal that would use technology to help get rid of fake claims in the news. They have a one-year grant of $30,000 from UT Austin’s Texas National Security Network Excellence Fund.

Former Lab Tech Says Workers Celebrated Payday by…Groping Each Other? Yes, seriously. Holly Pinks, a former employee at Southwest Laboratory in Old East Dallas, is suing the company for sexual harassment during events called “Gropening Day.” The suit says that male employees, including her boss, told her that on Fridays “everyone would be getting groped or touched inappropriately.” Pinks said that “It was almost like a cloud of sexual harassment and assault on a daily basis.” Can someone help me understand how a group of people got together and thought this was a good idea? I am thoroughly disgusted.

Heat Advisory Today. It’s going to hit 100. We’re officially in the triple digits, people. Stay cool.

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Tech & Startups

Neiman Marcus Continued Struggling with Data Breaches, Documents Show

| 22 hours ago
Dallas-based retailer Neiman Marcus has had at least two data breaches in the last two years, documents show. (Image via Dfwcre8tive)

Neiman Marcus may have recently settled a $1.6 million class-action lawsuit regarding its 2013 data breach, but its cybersecurity issues didn’t end there. The Dallas-based retailer has had at least two other data breaches since 2013, with the most recent hitting earlier this year.

On or about Dec. 26, 2015, hackers obtained customers’ full payment card numbers and expiration dates, as well as customers’ names, contact information, email addresses, and purchase history, according to documents filed with the California Attorney General. Then, on or about Jan. 17 of this year, hackers accessed customers’ names, basic contact information, email addresses, purchases history, “but only the last four digits of payment information,” the documents say.

Neiman Marcus has yet to respond to requests for more information about the breaches, including how many people were affected.

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Keven Ann Willey to Retire From Dallas Morning News

| 1 day ago

DMN editor Mike Wilson sent a note to staff this morning letting everyone know that Keven Ann Willey, who has run the paper’s editorial board for 15 years, will retire at the end of this year. I’ve pasted the full text below. You can skip down and read just that. But, as you might imagine, I have some thoughts and stories to share and some matches to light bridges. I’ll get into all that first.

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Science and Technology

Climate Change Will Be Very Bad For Dallas County

| 1 day ago

The most talked-about effects of climate change—rising sea levels and soaring temperatures—can seem distant from Dallas. We’re far from the coast, and we’re used to the heat. But even if the worst case global scenario is prevented, Dallas won’t be exempt from the fallout that comes with a hotter planet.

A new study led by climate scientists and economists at the University of Chicago and the University of California, published last month in Science, drives that point home. It takes a detailed county-by-county look at how climate change will affect communities across the U.S., finding that Texas and the South are especially vulnerable to projected economic losses caused by global warming, as desirable jobs move to wealthier and cooler climes to the west and north, and an unpredictable climate wreaks havoc on agriculture and industry. (An emboldened mosquito population is another issue.)

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Local News

Leading Off (7/20/17)

| 1 day ago

City Manager T.C. Broadnax Hires a Police Chief. Ulysha Renee Hall, deputy chief for the Detroit Police Department and soon to be Dallas’ first female police chief, starts Sept. 5. She has her work cut out for her. With District Attorney Faith Johnson and Sheriff Lupe Valdez, the three top law enforcement jobs in Dallas County will be filled by women.

Police Suspend Investigation Into Incident Involving Ezekiel Elliott. The Cowboys running back, at least responsible for being in the wrong place Sunday night at the Uptown bar Clutch, was never named as a suspect in an altercation that resulted in one broken nose. The man whose face reportedly sports that broken nose, a local DJ called D Train, has not cooperated with police, and witnesses are scarce. Elliott may still feel the consequences of an investigation by the Cowboys (OK, sure) or the NFL. For those keeping score at home, that’s the second Cowboy this week bailed out of a bad situation by a North Texas musician working under a stage name.

Picky Diners Record Video of Mice in West End Chipotle. The mice got their burritos to go, and it’s probably nothing to worry about.

A New Push To Remove Confederate Monuments in Town. The mayor doesn’t sound opposed to the idea.

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Urban Design

Why Dallas Keeps Getting Uglier

| 2 days ago

The many cranes and construction sites around town are often seen as a harbinger of a bolder and brighter future for Dallas. But is all the building really making this city better, or is it turning Dallas’ streetscapes into a glut of uninspiring, cookie-cutter, cheaply thrown together crap?

If you’ve ever driven around Uptown, or near Fitzhugh, or any of the parts of town that have seen rapid development of new apartment blocks, you know what I’m talking about. They’ve been called the most Dallas-y apartments, or contemporary Soviet-style, which is an insult to much of the Soviet-era brutalism I admire. In fact, I believe Soviet-style apartment blocks would be an improvement over Dallas’ version of homogenization, whose very insipidness is rooted to the many failed attempts at meaningless variation — some bricks here, a splash of yellow there, an out-of-place historical accent plopped on a facade that is as bland as a sheet of copy paper.

How come Dallas developers build so much of this stuff?

Well, lots of reasons.

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