A Daily Conversation About Dallas

Doing Good

Dallas: The City of Random Acts of Kindness, Pt. 13

| 4 months ago

Dallas Yoga Center has long been a favorite of ours. The 30-year-old Lemmon Avenue studio has been named a D Best several times. The studio temporarily closed its doors in March due to city mandates, and its founders quickly pivoted from a weekly schedule of more than 70 in-person classes to about 40 virtual classes.

Soon after the shelter-in-place order took effect, the studio saw a dire need for mental health resources in our community. Dallas Yoga Center’s founders decided to give back by helping essential workers decompress with yoga and meditation. On May 6, Dallas Yoga Studio launched its CARE4 Initiative to give these workers free access to its online class library. The initiative is directly funded by the studio’s loyal members, who kept their memberships even when the physical location was closed.

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Health & Fitness

Fitness Giant Gold’s Gym Has Permanently Closed Its Dallas Locations

| 5 months ago

Driving south on the Dallas North Tollway, approaching Oak Lawn, a cluster of Jeffersonian-style redbrick buildings stands to the left. One of the northernmost buildings houses the international headquarters of Gold’s Gym, a global chain with 700 locations in 29 countries. The fitness giant was forced to permanently close both of its local gyms — in Uptown and Preston Center — on April 15.

“As our global community continues to navigate these difficult and uncertain times, we want to provide consistent updates regarding the impact of COVID-19 on our gyms,” wrote Adam Zeitsiff, president and CEO of Gold’s Gym, to its members across the globe. “Today this includes sharing the news that the COVID-19-related closures have caused us to reassess the viability of some company-owned Gold’s Gym locations and make the difficult decision to permanently close about 30 gyms across the United States.”

All Gold’s Gym locations, whether corporate-owned or franchised, have been temporarily closed in accordance with directions from local and state governments and public health officials. Gold’s Gym froze all membership dues at no cost to customers, which, no doubt, caused serious issues concerning financial solvency. (This presumably forced the closures.) 

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North Texas Is Facing a Major Blood Shortage

| 6 months ago

As Dallas-Fort Worth focuses on preventing the spread of coronavirus, the nation’s blood supply is at an all-time low due to blood drive cancelations. The result could be catastrophic.

“This is really an unprecedented situation,” says Jan Hale of The American Red Cross. “The continued impacts on our blood supply in the coming weeks may lead to delays in essential medical care.”

Highly vulnerable patients are most at risk, such as those who have sustained life-threatening injuries, are undergoing surgeries, or are in treatment for long-term medical conditions. Though community blood drives are being canceled, you can donate independently at a blood donation facility. Blood drives are considered ‘essential infrastructure’ under the new Shelter in Place mandate.

“We are highly recommending that donors make appointments,” says Hale. This helps the facilities prepare for each drive and control the number of donors in the space.

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Local News

Headington Companies Lays Off Hundreds of Employees Across Its Dallas Operations

| 6 months ago

Last weekend, before Dallas banned dining inside of restaurants and drinking at bars, it was business as usual at the Midnight Rambler. The subterranean craft cocktail salon at Tim Headington’s Joule Hotel downtown was open until it wasn’t, which left its staff wondering about next steps. Sources tell D Magazine that leadership left employees mostly in the dark with little communication.

It is one of more than 15 concepts owned and operated by Headington Cos. that will be permanently or temporarily closed as Dallas enacts public health measures aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus. According to multiple sources, as many as 400 employees have been laid off or furloughed. The news was first reported last week by Central Track.

Employees like Jose Gonzales, the lead bartender at Midnight Rambler, suspected something like this may have been on the horizon. “It would have helped a lot as far as having a little more clear view of what was going on,” he says. “Until somebody tells us anything we still act like everything’s normal and that was the case, they just didn’t budge…they acted like everything was normal which is definitely very ominous. … You kind of start kind of realizing it’s getting closer.”

It is all the more startling considering the years that Headington spent making downtown his own cultural playground, first by turning 1927’s Dallas National Bank Building into the Joule Hotel. From there came restaurants and upscale retail department stores, most notably Forty Five Ten, which Headington purchased in 2015. He extended his reach into the Design District, commissioning a sculpture from artist Daniel Arsham to link the Italian restaurant Sassetta and the upscale sports bar Wheelhouse. He demolished a century old building across from the Joule during a Cowboys game and replaced it with a giant eyeball designed by the Chicago artist Tony Tasset. Every year, the Dallas Art Fair is bookended by a highly programmed bash in the courtyard in front of that sculpture.

Headington was an early bettor on a post-Recession downtown Dallas that had not yet seen an influx of new residents, remodeled hotels, and pricy bars. You could love or hate it, but Headington had a vision for the city. That vision is now gone in a flash. 

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Health & Fitness

A New Study Finds Air Pollution Can Make You Fat

| 11 months ago

No surprise that air pollution is bad for your lungs and heart. But how about your waistline? UNT drops some new knowledge:

Amie Lund, a cardiovascular toxicology researcher with the University of North Texas, has found that exposure to certain air pollutants may cause weight gain, especially when coupled with a high-fat diet.

Lund is investigating how pollution from automobile exhaust affects the growth and signaling of fat cells called adipocytes. She determined car exhaust can trigger responses in the body that can lead to increased adipocyte growth and inflammation, which are associated with obesity and cardiovascular disease.

“When people think of the root causes of obesity they often think of genetics and diet,” Lund said. “But, there are external factors, such as environmental pollutants, that stress the systems of our body constantly and may play a role in contributing to diseases like obesity.”

Inhaling automobile and diesel exhaust alters signals generated and received by the fat cells. This can cause these cells to grow 12 to 25 percent larger in size or even increase in number, according to Lund’s research.

“Cells in the body talk,” Lund said. “The signals sent and received govern the basic activity of cells in the organ systems of the body. These signals are chemicals, and like all forms of communication, they can be distorted.”

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Local News

Willis Winters Finds His Favorite Park Bench

| 1 year ago

`Here’s a hypothetical for you. Now that you are retiring this month, you have to visit one Dallas park for at least one hour every single day. Which park do you pick and why?
This is the architect and historian coming out in me. It’s got to be Fair Park because it’s such a grand public space for the city. It’s a complex park that has magnificent art deco buildings and monumental public sculpture, more than you can find anywhere else in the country. I think it embodies the history of Dallas like no other park in the city.

What’s your favorite spot at Fair Park?
Definitely the Esplanade. I think it’s one of the great urban vistas in the city. It was constructed in 1936 for the Texas Centennial. Every trolley in the city came to those front gates. The process of walking in, through that series of axial spaces, is amazing. The Urban Land Institute named it one of the great public spaces in America.

Your dad was also a parks director, in Garland. Did his job lead you to yours?
Absolutely. He was the first director of Garland’s park department, in 1955. Yeah. He passed away in ’82. He was still director when he died. So I can definitely say it was in my blood. When he would go into the office on weekends, I would head to the drafting room in back. They had park planners with drafting tables. I would go back there and sit at the drafting tables and look at all the cool things that they were working on. That made me from a very early age want to be an architect. I went to the University of Texas, graduated, worked for a great Dallas architect for 12 years, and then had an opportunity to join the Park Department. That was in 1993. Here I am almost 27 years later. I never ever saw this coming.

What’s the one accomplishment from your run that you’re proudest of?
I have had the privilege of participating in the planning of six bond programs. That probably adds up to over $1 billion in improvements to the Dallas park system. You know, I was one of the few park directors in America that was an architect. So I had a definite focus on design. I did projects that impact the entire city but also projects that impact neighborhoods on a granular level. We had a Pavilion Program, about 40 picnic pavilions across the city. We could have ordered model No. 3 out of the picnic shelter catalog, but instead we hired architects and landscape architects from around the state and nation—and even, in one case, internationally. I’m pretty proud of that.

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Health & Fitness

This Dallas Fitness Trainer Quit Her Job to Climb Mount Everest

| 2 years ago

On March 25, Crystal Lovell will leave her home in McKinney, Texas–where she’s been sleeping in a Box Altitude tent to simulate the rarefied air at 18,000 feet–to fly to Kathmandu and climb Mount Everest. Sitting across from her in Houndstooth Coffee on Henderson Avenue, it’s hard to believe that the F45 fitness trainer only hiked her first mountain three years ago. “I got into it kind of by accident,” she says, sipping a bottle of water while I eat a croissant. “I moved here from Florida for work and went through just total depression and gained 50 pounds. My whole life revolved around work.”

A friend invited her to go backpacking through Yosemite, and one night they camped on top of a mountain peak. “I fell in love with the struggle of it, and then getting to see the views,” she says.

She took a break from her job as a sales consultant with Lincoln Financial to attend a 6-day mountaineering school in Washington with Alpine Ascents International. Then she climbed Mount Rainier, the tallest peak in Washington.

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Health & Wellness

Peccadilloes, Penances, and the Wellness Rollercoaster of Life

| 2 years ago

In between cultured butter tastings and winter cocktail samplings, we talk a lot about healthy living around here. We each have our own peccadilloes (cold brew, kouign-amanns, caipirinhas) and penances (SoulCycle, sliding lunges, stair climbing with the trainer for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders). For the most part, we want to have our chilipanzinga empanadas and fit in our Kiki de Montparnasse leggings with the lace inset, too.

But, despite my best efforts, in a little over a week I will turn 47. I recently realized, four years too late, that I reached my peak at 43. Turns out, life isn’t like a box of chocolates. At least for the first half, it’s more like ascending the Titan’s 255-foot hill at Six Flags.

You know that moment when your car crests and you hang, suspended in time, with nothing but blue sky ahead of you? That’s 43. Then comes the tipping point, when you discover it is all a gut-churning, panic-inducing, fist-clenching, sleep-denying, weight-gaining, nerve-pinching, full-speed descent from here on out. That’s perimenopause.

So, yeah, I’d like to throw some gravel on the tracks and slow this train down. I want to live my best life during my arthritic second half. I’d like to cleanse and look cute in my Bandier leggings and generally be more flexible, personally and physically (like the acro-yoga superstar couple of Max and Liz Lowenstein, shown above and on the current cover). But I’ll settle for a healthy heart rate and more wins on the tennis court.

The latter is the result of my attempt at sports-focused mindfulness with Melissa Marks for our January cover feature, “Build a Better You!” The former is, hopefully, a happy byproduct of said aerobic efforts on the court. Whatever you have in mind for your 2019, whether you’re still on the ascent or well into a 540-degree helix on the way down, we’ve put together an unusual, insightful, and useful guide to local options that can help improve your fitness and performance. More importantly, we hope they make the ride more fun. The cover story is online now

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Health & Fitness

Dallas Is Not a Very Healthy City

| 2 years ago

When your city gets dinged by something called a CityHealth report, it’s probably a sign that we could all stand to do some pushups, right? Kind of, although that’s more the domain of the American Fitness Index, which ranked Dallas this month as the 31st fittest city in the country. (Plano, with its median income that allows residents to buy gym memberships and healthy food, landed in 12th.)

CityHealth, an initiative of the public health policy advocacy group the de Beaumont Foundation and the healthcare consortium Kaiser Permanente, instead looks at city-wide policies that can “improve residents’ health and quality of life.” The gist here is that while not everyone can afford gym memberships, everyone deserves to live in a city that takes steps to make people healthier. Public responsibility vs. personal responsibility and so forth.

For the sake of this report, CityHealth handed out medals to each city it evaluated. Dallas got “no medal,” which is somehow even more dispiriting than a numerical ranking that says Plano is in better shape than us. Let’s look at each of the criteria and see how Dallas’s individual policies, or lack thereof, fared.

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Hemp Shop Opens Its First Texas Location Off Knox-Henderson

| 3 years ago

A couple from St. Louis has opened a pioneering hemp shop in Dallas-Fort Worth. The hope: Provide a welcoming environment for people looking for hemp-based health and personal-care products.

“There’s no place to specifically get it,” says Dafna Revah, who co-founded CBD Kratom with her husband David Palatnik. “A lot of people looking for it would rather go to a place like this.”

The shop, which opened Dec. 5, is the company’s first Texas location and is located off Knox and U.S. Highway 75. It carries oils, edibles, creams, capsules, crumbles, waxes, and pet products containing cannabidiol, a compound in cannabis said to aid with pain, mood, and mental function. The products all follow the federal legal limit of no more than .3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound responsible for creating a “high.” The shop also sells kratom, an herb from the coffee family, in powder form. The supplement is said to increase energy and aid with pain and other ailments.

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Local News

This Dallas Marathon Finish Is the Perfect Monday Motivator

| 3 years ago

Sometimes, a simple gif of Ryan Gosling blowing a kiss to a kitten or Armie Hammer dancing offers enough assurance that life isn’t all that bad. But this Monday, we have something so much better than that, courtesy a heroic, heartwarming finish at the Dallas Marathon. When New Yorker Chandler Self begin collapsing just 2 ½ miles from the finish line, Greenhill School senior Ariana Luterman, who was running relays nearby, rushed to her side and repeatedly helped her to her feet until her final lunge to win the race.

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