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For the First Time, Jim Schutze and John Wiley Price Talk The Accommodation and the Work that Remains

| 10 hours ago

Jim Schutze hadn’t re-read his book, 1987’s The Accommodation, in many years. When he finally did, he found the voice of an angry young man in its pages, a recent Detroit expat who couldn’t believe the smug complacency with which his new city ignored its racial strife. Racist policy in Dallas wasn’t even recent history when he got here in 1978. Even then, a landmark desegregation case had been working its way through the courts for the past eight years and would continue for another two decades.

Schutze felt that few wanted to talk about this—or of the violence of the Ku Klux Klan throughout the early 1900s or the bombings of Black homes in the 1950s or the city-sponsored land seizures that paid Black families pennies on the dollar for their land and property. Segregated housing projects soon proliferated; generational wealth was wiped away in a flash.

The Accommodation is about how hard the business class of the time, led by what was a White civic group known as the Dallas Citizens Council, worked to keep all this quiet. The book was meant to offer reality amid a disingenuous mirage of harmony.

Schutze reflected on the book Tuesday on a stage in the ballroom of the Pittman Hotel, which was once the beating heart of the city’s Black middle class. He shared that stage with longtime County Commissioner John Wiley Price, who scooped up the book’s rights after it was muzzled by the same actors that had worked so hard to falsely mold Dallas’ image into a city of racial peace. 

Tuesday’s event, organized by the powerful fundraising nonprofit Communities Foundation of Texas, was to commemorate the re-release of The Accommodation by local publishing house Deep Vellum. It is a text that in recent years has been branded “incendiary” and “dangerous,” a work that had its plates literally pulled from the presses ahead of its original publication because, as lore goes, the head of the Citizens Council ordered its publisher not to let it get out the door. It was born again about seven years ago, when a bootleg PDF copy of the long out-of-print book started getting passed around among young Dallasites who wanted to hear this history.

The Accommodation focused on a deal the city’s business class made with Black clergy that effectively created a segregated middle-class Black neighborhood called Hamilton Park, in North Dallas. It was a way to keep the city’s racist violence out of the public eye. Dallas didn’t want to look like Birmingham or Selma.

“There was a story that Dallas had never had any racial upheaval, that everybody loves things the way they were,” Schutze said.

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White Rock Lake Area Shooter Still on the Loose

| 12 hours ago

The images you see above were captured by a security camera at the Bike Mart on Garland Road, near White Rock Lake. Dallas police released them yesterday, along with a press release asking the public to call if anyone recognizes the guy. He shot at some people — a month ago. Why the cops are only just now bringing attention to this isn’t clear. I called the detective on the press release. No response yet.

But I talked to a woman who was involved. Back on August 15, her ex-husband drove past the guy on Old Gate Lane, on his way to dropping off their three daughters at her house. When the ex was stopped in front of the house, the shirtless cyclist rode by and fired at the car. No one was hurt. The ex gave chase for bit, but his daughters convinced him that wasn’t a smart idea.

So here we are, a month later, just now learning about this. If you know something, here’s the press release and contact info for the detective who is working the case:

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Dotty Griffith, R.I.P.

| 14 hours ago

Buffalo Bill ’s
who used to
ride a watersmooth-silver
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat
he was a handsome man
and what i want to know is
how do you like your blue-eyed boy
Mister Death

—“Buffalo Bill’s,” by e e cummings

Dotty Griffith, a blue-eyed hunter, horsewoman, writer, wit, and friend, has died. Pancreatic cancer. Over the last three years, she underwent two surgeries and an onslaught of chemo. As Dotty faced her ultimate deadline, she exhibited her usual grace and humor.

Already months past what she called her “expiration date,” she kept chugging along — visiting her kids and grandkids, golfing, hunting, taking road trips with friends, long front porch lunches with girlfriends at the duplex she owned in Old East Dallas, and sitting by her backyard fire pit on moon-drenched evenings, talking and drinking.

When Dotty was a kid in Terrell, she and her friends rode their horses all of every summer day. At lunchtime, they walked them through the Dairy Queen drive-through — about as Texas as it gets.

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Satou Sabally Is Here to Speak Her Mind

| 17 hours ago

Satou Sabally will tell you that her second season in WNBA has been tougher than her first. And that has nothing to do what has happened on the court.

Opponents still haven’t figured out how to play the No. 2 overall pick of the 2020 draft. Good luck with that. One of the most versatile bigs in the league, the 6-foot-4 forward has been deemed a “unicorn” due to her rare skill set, and she probably deserves the compliment more than any other professional basketball player in Dallas. She can shoot threes, she can play in the post, she can pass, she can block shots, she can rebound. Her ballet-like footwork is reminiscent of a certain German expat with whom Dallas basketball fans are familiar. She was actually named to her first All-Star team this year, and she almost doubled her three-point percentage. 

It’s just that her rookie season was played in the WNBA bubble, referred to colloquially as the “Wubble.” That certainly presented a challenge. Sabally spent 97 consecutive days at IMG Academy in Florida, where she helped lead the youngest team in the WNBA, only for the Wings to miss the playoffs on the final game of the regular season. The Wubble season coincided with a racial tipping point in America, one that WNBA players met head on in 2020 better than athletes in any other professional sports league, despite getting less credit for their unflinching reminders of how Black Americans were getting killed by police. Just 22 at the time, Sabally was the youngest player named to the league’s inaugural Social Justice Council. 

So yes, last year was tough. But the Wubble kept her contained.

“Everything was put on hold due to COVID [last year], so I was really able to focus on Black Lives Matter and just the Black struggle in America,” Sabally says. 

Now she’s out. And there’s so much more to do.

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Leading Off

Leading Off (9/16/21)

| 19 hours ago

Mayor Eric Johnson Forms Anti-Hate Advisory Council. Police reported 38 hate crimes in Dallas in 2020, amid a national increase in such incidents. Hate crimes are “disproportionately impactful to our city’s psyche and on the quality of life of our residents,” Johnson said, and part of the council’s job will be to make everyone feel welcome in Dallas.

Tarrant County Runs Out of Open Pediatric Hospital Beds. The delta variant of COVID-19 has caused a spike in cases of the virus in children. There were 54 adult ICU beds available across North Texas. Parkland dedicated a unit to people suffering from “long COVID.”

Are you eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine booster? You might be. But it’s more important to get the first two jabs, per the experts.

Raytheon Employees Have Until Jan. 1 To Get Vaccinated. The company has a few thousand workers in the area.

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State Fair of Texas

Behold: Photos of the State Fair’s Newest Fried Food Items

| 2 days ago

Go here for a list of all of the State Fair of Texas’ wild new food items and where to find them. Stick around to play the first-ever edition of the “D Magazine Guess What Food Item I’m Looking At Game.” Answers at the bottom of the page. All images courtesy of the State Fair of Texas.

Round 1

These are the:

  • A. Space Jam Thank You Ma’am Bacon Ranch Lobster Nuggets
  • B. Bacon Jam Corn Bombs
  • C. Texas-Style Fried Cauliflower Tots and Glazed Ginger Bacon
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Real Estate

Lagoon Mania Spreads Across North Texas

| 2 days ago

The developer Megatel Homes, which is already building “lagoon communities” in West Dallas and McKinney, said yesterday it’s bringing the lagoon craze to Forney. The $800 million Bellagio Lagoon project a little north of Interstate 20 just off FM741 will include 400 homes hitting the market in the $350,000 to $600,000 range with various amenities and a restaurant and bla bla bla—let’s talk lagoons.

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Local News

Leading Off (9/15/21)

| 2 days ago

Hospital Official ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About COVID Outlook. Steve Love, the president and CEO of the DFW Hospital Council, said COVID hospitalizations across the region are beginning to plateau, and the number of cases in Dallas County are beginning to decline. He hopes that means hospitalizations may begin to decrease in the next 10 days to two weeks, but warned that not every North Texas county may see a reduction. Dallas County reported a three-day new case total of 3,885 and 16 new deaths, including a man and woman in their 20s. Booster shots may be on the way. Meanwhile, AG Ken Paxton is suing school districts that have required students to wear masks in schools.

For Second Year Running, No Raise for Elected County Officials. At a specially called meeting yesterday, County Commissioner John Wiley Price suggested giving employees a 3 percent cost of living salary bump, and Commissioner J.J. Koch countered with a 2 percent offer. Price’s proposal didn’t pass and Koch’s didn’t receive a second motion, and so the procedural deadlock meant no one got a raise. Now a committee of elected officials and and grand jurors will decided on whether county employees who have filed salary grievances will receive a pay raise.

Construction Company Sues Arlington ISD Over Unpaid Winter Storm Repairs. Robert Jordan Construction says the district failed to compensate them for $1.2 million in repairs related to last February’s winter storm. District officials claim they never entered into a contract with the construction company, which seems weird to me. Did they do the work or not? The district is claiming immunity from the lawsuit, and Robert Jordan has taken their complains to YouTube, posting a seven minute video about their complaint. The lawsuit may take years to resolve.

Texas Fails Foster Children. Around 400 Texas children are spending nights in makeshift foster care facilities like Child Protective Services offices and hotels because of what a federal judge described as the state’s “poor planning and chronic neglect of some of society’s unluckiest children.” The state blames a new federal policy that enforces stricter oversight of foster care facilities with poor health and safety records. However, other states enforcing similar new standards of care have not had the same level of bed shortages that Texas has seen. Most of the children who have been left without access to foster care facilities tend to be older teenager who have bounced around between homes for years, and many have struggled with psychiatric disorders.

Nasher Sculpture Center Awards $100K to Iranian-Born Artist. The sixth Nasher Prize was awarded to Nairy Baghramian, whose work, Nasher director Jeremy Strick told the DMN, speaks to a “feeling a vulnerability, a fragility — of physical threat” as well as “a sense of dependence on others,” which jurors found particularly resonant during our time of COVID.

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Local News

What Is the Real Cost of Dallas Police Overtime?

| 2 days ago

There are at least two ways to interpret a newly released city audit of the Dallas Police Department’s use of overtime, which was meant to determine whether there has been any waste or fraud at the city’s expense.

“The upshot is that the auditor found no evidence of fraud or abuse,” Mayor Eric Johnson says in his weekly newsletter. That’s good political news for Johnson, who called for the audit last year after another budget season dominated by a heated debate over police overtime. The mayor has staked out a position that favors giving the department all the overtime funding it’s asking for. Last year, a majority of the Council cut the overtime budget by about $7 million. 

But Johnson isn’t adding any gloss that isn’t in the language of the audit itself, which concludes there was no “unusual employee overtime usage that indicates waste or abuse” at the police department between October 2018 and December 2020.

Mayor Pro Tem Chad West, however, sees something different in the report’s findings.

“When you dig into it you can see there’s obviously a huge problem here,” West says. “You have $18 million from last year’s overtime that is just missing, completely unaccounted for whatsoever with no record of where it went. Maybe DPD has a record, but the audit’s not reflecting that.”

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Vodka Made With Grapefruit? By a Longhorn? In Denton?

| 3 days ago

Bryce Cottrell kept his Craigslist post to the point: Looking for organic chemist with background in distilling and/or winery brewing.

He figured those 11 words wouldn’t amount to much, not after a handful of chemistry professors at the University of Texas cautioned him that securing a recipe to distill vodka from grapefruits — his plan to break into the beverage industry — could cost upwards of $10,000. To the best of his knowledge, no one had ever tried it before. And what did Cottrell know? A defensive end for the Longhorns, he had never distilled a drop of alcohol in his life.

Then someone replied. Which is how Cottrell found himself at an Austin location of Five Guys meeting a man dressed head to toe in black leather who promised a recipe and a test batch in less than a week. For $80, plus the price of a burger and soft drink, Cottrell was handed the foundation of what would become Noble Wolf Vodka, his Denton-based brand that was named Texas Vodka of the Year at the New York International Spirits Competition in 2016.

The 26-year-old recounts the story today while leaning on a stack of boxes inside his distillery, which is housed in a warehouse a few miles up the road from UNT. He has told the tale of his recipe so often that it’s now part of the Noble Wolf mythology, right along with the company’s name being an homage to his high school alma mater, Plano West Senior High. Cottrell sometimes omits one of the finer points, though: he pressed one of his teammates into coming with him as backup that day he met the man in black leather.

“I didn’t want to be a statistic getting killed by a person from Craigslist,” he says with a sheepish grin, implausible though it may sound.

That tracks with plenty else about Noble Wolf’s unlikely ascent.

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For Fun

A Lego Re-Creation of Arlington Stars in This City Budget Video

| 3 days ago

Arlington has figured out a way to get you and I—and 800,000 other people, per the YouTube stats—to tune into an explanation of the city’s 2022 budget. It’s the Legos.

Much of the credit goes to Jay Warren, the city’s director of communication and legislative affairs, who conveniently had a Lego re-creation of Arlington ready to go. In a story on the best stop-motion animation city budget video you’ll see today, Governing reports:

[Warren] spent the last decade building a LEGO Arlington, strictly as a hobby. But when he hosted a Christmas party at his home, a city freelancer stumbled upon his creation and suggested that it be used for the next budget video. “Every year, it’s a very similar story and this gave us a good creative outlet to do something different from what we’ve done in the past.”

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Dallas History

Tonight Only! Jim Schutze and John Wiley Price Are Together Again!

| 3 days ago

Tonight history will be made (and talked about) in Deep Ellum. For the rerelease of The Accommodation, the most dangerous book in Dallas, Deep Vellum Books and the Communities Foundation of Texas are staging what they are calling “a cause-minded conversation with Jim Schutze and John Wiley Price” on the book. Noelle LeVeaux will moderate. The event will take place in a ballroom at the historic Pittman Hotel, formerly the Knights of Pythias Building. In short, this will be a big deal.

If you don’t have tickets, you’re out of luck — mostly. The gig has sold out. You can watch a livestream that starts at 7 p.m. BUT!! Your buddy Tim has two tickets to give away right here on FrontBurner. So how should we do this? First person to send me a selfie taken in front of the Juanita Craft House? First person to give me the full text of the inaugural post on FrontBurner? I’ve got it!

Call the front desk at D Magazine. 214-939-3636. If a human answers, that will be Jacob. Ask to be transferred to my voicemail. Or do the keypad thing if Jacob is busy. Either way, get to my voicemail. Then record a few bars of your favorite Dallas-related song. The artist might be from Dallas. The lyrics might include the word Dallas. Whatever. Your call. Just sing it. Best singer wins the two tickets. Be sure to leave a name and email address at the end of your song. Contest ends at 1 p.m.

Hope to see you tonight.

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