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A Daily Conversation About Dallas

The Senior PGA Championship Was a Glimpse of the Potential in Frisco

Shawn Shinneman
By Shawn Shinneman |
The 18th is one of Fields Ranch East's signature holes. (Photo by Ryan Lochhead/PGA of America)

I couldn’t help but walk around PGA Frisco dreaming of a Ryder Cup. 

I had visions of massive grandstands engulfing the tee box at the par-5 first hole. Young stars barely in preschool today darting match-winning long irons into the 18th green. I saw fans losing their minds, heard roars rolling through the hills.

The actual scenes unfolding in front of me last weekend were a bit tamer. If you had not heard, the PGA of America moved its national headquarters to Frisco last year, building it alongside a 510-room Omni hotel and two 18-hole golf courses, one of which—Fields Ranch East—will host some of the sport’s biggest events. That began last weekend, as the game’s elder statesman played one of their five majors, the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. The LPGA will play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship here in 2025 and 2031. The men come to town for the PGA Championship in 2027. There has even been talk of a Ryder Cup: the match-play, USA-versus-Europe team showdown that happens on American soil only once every four years. The unquestioned mecca of in-person golf.

That won’t be happening anytime soon. Because the PGA of America books out the venues so far in advance, 2041 is Frisco’s first shot at hosting the event. But even with the relatively modest crowds at the Senior PGA—things got livelier Saturday afternoon—you could see the potential for great things in Frisco.

Good Time, Not a Long Time, For Texas House Special Session. Gov. Greg Abbott called lawmakers back to chambers for a special session, which lasted exactly one day. The House bill to address the governor’s priority of property tax relief passed without increasing homestead exemptions, which was what Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wanted to see. And then the body adjourned. That means the Senate either backs the bill against the wishes of Patrick, or blink and likely force another special session.

Two North Texas 5th Graders Make it to Spelling Bee Quarterfinals. The kids, from Allen and Keller, made it another round in the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Tuesday. Faizan Zaki, of Allen, moved forward by nailing “kapparah” and “jointure” as well as properly identifying the definition of how to “corral” a herd. Brihasa Vederu, of Keller, got through with “pahoehoe” and “cuticle” and defined “corollary.”

Dallas Animal Services Still Navigating Ransomware Attack. The Dallas Municipal Court Building reopened this week, a little under a month since hackers accessed the city’s servers. The police department’s evidence retrieval system is again working, but Dallas Animal Service’s computer system was “totally crippled.” That tracks how animals navigated through the shelter, including medical information, intake data, and outcomes. That means everything is happening by hand. Want an animal? It’s best to go in person.

Local News

After Years of Advocacy in Dallas and Around Texas, the CROWN Act Becomes Law

Catherine Wendlandt
By |
After more than two years of advocacy across the state, Gov. Greg Abbott signed H.B. 567 into law over the weekend. Commonly known as the CROWN Act, the bill makes discrimination against natural hair and protective hairstyles illegal. ©Ricardo B. Brazziell/American Statesman

On March 22, WFAA reporter Tashara Parker stood before eight members of the Texas House of Legislature’s State Affairs committee in Austin, her hair swinging in a long braid behind her back. She had waited almost 11 hours to speak. At the podium, she asked the legislators to imagine “walking into work carrying the weight of an identity that was not your own.” That their natural hair—be it straight or textured, braided, in locks (also known as dreadlocks), or flat-ironed—was deemed “unprofessional.”  

The subject of Parker’s testimony, House Bill 567, would make such discrimination illegal.  

Standing for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” or CROWN, House Bill 567 would prevent discrimination against someone based on their hairstyle or hair texture “commonly or historically associated with race.” The bill overwhelmingly passed the State House of Representatives 143-5 April 13, and in the State Senate 29-1 nearly a month later on May 12. Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill into law over the weekend. It goes into effect on September 1.

On May 24, Dallas City Council passed a resolution in support of H.B. 567, encouraging Governor Greg Abbott to sign it into law.  

“The CROWN Act is Civil Rights legislation that will affect and improve the lives of countless Texans,” said Rep. Rhetta Bowers for District 113 in Garland, who co-authored the bill, in a statement to D Magazine.  

The bill’s language bans entities like schools and employers from enacting grooming or dress code policies that discriminate against natural hair or protective hair styles that are historically tied to race, including braids, locks, and twists.

It was the shortest sine die in recent history: the Texas Legislature gaveled out Monday afternoon, only to be called back for the start of what Gov. Greg Abbott indicated would be several special sessions through the summer. When the legislature adjourned, after all, it had only passed three of Abbott’s listed priorities: a bill increasing penalties for those found guilty of fentanyl poisoning, a school safety bill, and a bill outlawing COVID mandates.

The first special session started at 9 p.m. Monday night—about three hours after the close of the regular session. But before we delve into what lawmakers are digging into with the first special session, let’s rewind to a very dramatic Sunday, when one of Abbott’s priority bills—legislation that would use part of the state’s budget surplus to reduce property taxes—failed to pass. 

Everyone knows who Jim Schutze is. But you might not know about his connection to Houston. Once upon a time, he was the Dallas bureau chief for the Houston Chronicle. In that capacity, he made a lot of hay writing about the shenanigans at the Dallas Independent School District. Then Jim took a job at the Dallas Observer, where he wrote about the district’s turnaround and two people who had a hand in it: then trustee Mike Morath and then superintendent Mike Miles. Now Morath runs the Texas Education Agency, which is taking control of the failed Houston ISD. The tip of Morath’s spear, as Jim puts it, is none other than Miles.

Jim explains all this with typical Schutzean wryness in a new Substack he just launched called Shoots. The first installment, titled “Houston at the Spear,” went up yesterday. In the coming weeks, he intends to help Houston understand the people who’ve come to take over their public schools. He writes:

Do I understand how little anyone in Houston will want to hear from anybody from Dallas about how to run the Houston schools? My, yes. I already told you. I used to earn my living that way.

Worse, I intend to write about it here myself. For Houston. Oh, my goodness, it’s awful. Me. An old, white ex-hippie guy in Dallas. I venture, I dare, I presume to tell Houston in the months ahead what’s going on in Houston. And in all candor, I confess that a minor part of my motivation will be knowing exactly how irritating and preposterous that will be for Houston. 

I asked Jim whether he’d pitched this idea to the Chronicle, and, if not, how he settled on Substack. “Me no talk Chronicle,” Jim texted back. “I have no idea what I’m doing. A friend has been nagging me to break the Facebook habit. He’s right. It makes me feel stoopit. Supposedly Substack is smarter. Why, I don’t fully know yet.”

I asked him if he plans to write something every week. “Yes, at least that,” he texted. “Looks like, if I write 12 columns a week and charge for them, I can equal what I would get as a part-time Walmart shopping cart dispenser.”

So there you go. Jim’s Shoots is obviously aimed at Houston, but I think a fair number of folks in Dallas will want to follow along, too. Sign up and let’s see if his revenue projections are accurate.

Local News

North Texas Lawmakers Factor Prominently in Paxton Impeachment Proceedings

Bethany Erickson
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House General Investigating Committee members, including Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth) and chair Andrew Murr (R-Junction), laid out the articles of impeachment against Attorney General Ken Paxton in the House Chamber at the Texas Capitol on Saturday, May 27, 2023. Aaron E. Martinez / American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

Standoffs on school funding and property tax reductions bookended the final days of the 88th regular session of the Texas Legislature. It was a dramatic weekend, even without the House voting on articles of impeachment for Attorney General Ken Paxton. 

On Saturday, the House voted 121-23 to impeach the state’s embattled top cop, which breaks down to 61 Democrats and 60 Republicans. Among those who voted for impeachment are the entire Collin County delegation of state representatives. (Paxton and his wife, State Rep. Angela Paxton, have lived in McKinney for decades.)

The representatives—Jeff Leach (R-Plano), Matt Shaheen (R-Plano), Justin Holland (R-Rockwall), Candy Noble (R-Lucas), and Frederick Frazier (R-McKinney), called Paxton a “longtime friend,” and said that the vote was “incredibly difficult.”

“General (sic) Paxton, like all Texans, is entitled to a presumption of innocence,” they said. “In that regard, it is our hope that the Texas Senate will expeditiously hold a fair, impartial and full trial on the merits.”

The five were the subject of some ire from Collin County GOP Chair Abraham George, who held a rally Monday at the Collin County Courthouse and demanded that everyone who voted for impeachment be voted out of office while questioning the impeachment process.

“The Texas House followed all applicable laws and rules [relating to impeachment] to the letter,” Holland said in a Tweet. “Abraham George is misinformed and has led the @CollinGOP so poorly that it has led to a decline in participation in Republican politics. I hope, he too, is faced with a primary.”

Among the 23 that voted against impeachment include North Texas representatives Brian Harrison (R-Midlothian), Nate Schatzline (R-Fort Worth), and Tony Tinderholt (R-Arlington).

Stars Got Crushed. From the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s account of the 6-0 spanking: “William Karlsson, Reilly Smith and Keegan Kolesar wrapped their arms around one another and jumped on the American Airlines Center ice. The celebration continued as the Golden Knights—after not touching the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl—celebrated winning the Western Conference by belting Toto’s “Hold the Line” and donning gray hats and T-shirts.” If you can stomach it, we’ve got more for you over on StrongSide.

Mark Cuban Gets Dragged on Twitter. The billionaire stepped in it last night. After he asked how many people were watching the Heat-Celtics game on an illegal stream, he earned the nickname Narc Cuban, which then began trending.

Paxton Supporters Rally in Collin County. About 100 people turned out on the steps of the county courthouse to protest the impeachment of Ken Paxton, who now faces a Senate trial over charges of bribery and abuse of power.

Local News

Dallas Faces Difficult Choices As It Continues To Navigate Active Ransomware Attack

Bethany Erickson
By |
A child plays at the Lakewood library branch. Libraries across the city are experiencing empty shelves after a ransomware attack left them unable to check in returned books. Katherine Unmuth Karimi

It’s been more than three weeks since a ransomware attack forced the city of Dallas’ information and technology services department to take servers offline in an attempt to contain any malware. Since then, the department has worked to bring servers back online as staffers determine it’s safe to do so.

The city’s websites and pages are back online. Residents can call 311. Functionality is returning to 911 dispatch. The development services department can issue permits again. You can pay your water bill.

But a lot is still not working—libraries can’t check books back in, so patrons are being asked to keep their books until they can accept returns. The municipal court system is still on pause until at least Tuesday. The City Council can’t vote electronically at meetings. The Dallas Police Department still cannot access some data. Other city staffers privately grumble about being unable to open some files.

The city has remained tight-lipped about the scope of the attack, citing an ongoing investigation. Statements insist that no personal information was obtained in the attack. Royal, the group claiming responsibility for the attack, says the opposite.

“So, we are going to indicate that the data will be leaked soon,” the group said on its website on May 19. “We will share here in our blog tons of personal information of employees (phones, addresses, credit cards, SSNs, passports), detailed court cases, prisoners, medical information, clients’ information and thousands and thousands of governmental documents.”

The city, in turn, said it was “aware” of the claim. “We continue to monitor the situation and maintain there is no evidence or indication that the data has been compromised.”

The city won’t say how it’s so certain, which servers were impacted, and whether it will pay any ransom. In public briefings, Dallas Chief Information Officer Bill Zielinski has said that the work of restoring servers and bringing devices online has been painstaking.

“Once an environment has been infected, there really is no way to guarantee the ransomware is gone unless devices and applications have been completely wiped or wholly replaced,” Zielinski said earlier this month in a Council Public Safety Committee meeting. “This has to be done in a very deliberate and thorough manner, or you risk further infection within your network.”


Podcast: Nick Badovinus and the Rich History Behind His Brass Ram Restaurant

Tim Rogers
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Nick Badovinus glows in the Brass Ram. Brass Ram photo by Kathy Tran

The last time I hung out with Nick Badovinus was at the photo shoot for this 2018 D Magazine cover, with Nick slurping noodles at Ten Ramen. So it was good to visit him at his new(ish) downtown restaurant, Brass Ram. We talked with him about how he names his restaurants (Desert Racer, Town Hearth, Neighborhood Services) and why his watch doesn’t tell the right time. But we also talked a lot of media history, because the Ram sits in a building called the Triangle Point that once housed the historic radio station KLIF and, later, the Dallas Observer. We discussed how Gordon McLendon trained a parrot to say the station’s call letters, and special guest Eric Celeste joined us to come clean—finally—about the coup he orchestrated to overthrow a former Observer editor.

Use your favorite podcatcher or the player below.

D Magazine and Alice Laussade have entered into what you might call a relationship. The James Beard Award-winning writer has typed a few stories for us in recent months. If you haven’t yet read her story about the plastic surgeon who is producing a musical about breast implants, then you should rectify that situation pronto.

Beyond the keyboard, Alice is the brains behind Meat Fight. And if you don’t know what Meat Fight is, then I don’t even know what you’re doing here. It’s a Dallas thing. Get on the stick.

And now comes the inaugural Burger Fight. Eight local joints are headed to Community Beer Company on June 25 to determine whose cow sandwich is the best in all the land. Tickets go on sale today. All your details are right here.

Well, there are two details not mentioned at that site: first, D Magazine is a sponsor. Like I said, we’re in a relationship. Second, our own dining critic, Brian Reinhart, will subject himself to a dunking booth that, I’m guessing, will generate very little revenue because there’s not a single restaurateur in Dallas who would pay to dunk Brian. Really.

See y’all there.

House Committee Recommends Impeaching Ken Paxton. The Texas Attorney General has been under indictment basically since he won his seat, in 2015. The House Committee on General Investigating delivered 20 articles of impeachment on Thursday to the Texas House and Senate, detailing allegations of bribery, obstruction of justice, and abuse of the public trust. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick won’t say whether the body has the votes to give Paxton the boot, nor would the House say when it planned to hear the matter. The Legislature adjourns on Monday, although there are mechanisms for calling everyone back for review.

Stars Finally Win in Overtime. Joe Pavelski delivered a clutch goal in overtime to lift the Stars over the Knights 3-2 and extend the series for at least another game. Sean Shapiro and David Castillo have more on the game and the mountain that Dallas will have to climb in order to make this competitive.

A Man Is Assaulting Women on the Katy Trail. Police have a “person of interest” who they say has sexually assaulted several women on the Katy Trail. Officers released an image of the man, who looks like he’s wearing a brown hoodie with gray pants and some sort of yellow backpack. Officers don’t have enough evidence to arrest him, but have stepped up enforcement on the trail.

Arts & Entertainment

Three Years After His Death, Dallas Still Honoring Local Music Icon Bill Wisener

Bethany Erickson
By |
Artist Jennifer Morgan created a permanent installation honoring the late Bill Wisener at South Side at Lamar. It was unveiled last month. George Fiala

It’s a testament to how important Bill Wisener was to Dallas that three years after his death, the city is still finding ways to celebrate the legacy of the man with the famously unkempt record store. There is now a permanent art installation at South Side on Lamar lofts, across from where Bill’s Records and Tapes was located for many years, and a music festival this weekend.

Wisener died in January 2020 at the age of 75. At the time of his death, he was mourned locally and remembered by famous musicians who came to know him as a music icon. 

Zac Crain’s 2009 feature on Bill illustrates why. Former employees “credit him with broadening their tastes.” Friends like Stanley Marcus gave him their music collections. Artists like Ben Harper often found themselves at Bill’s store after shows, hanging out. Before playing the Music Hall at Fair Park, Radiohead “took a cab to the store and spent four hours there, giddily combing through the racks, before eventually catching a ride to the gig with one of Wisener’s employees.”

Last month, Matthews Southwest and South Side on Lamar unveiled a permanent art installation in honor of Wisener. The mixed-media installation was created by artist Jennifer Morgan and is centered on a portrait of Wisener. It includes memorabilia from his store, including concert posters, photos, personal notes, and records. 

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