A Daily Conversation About Dallas


Sha’Carri Richardson, ‘The Fastest Girl in Texas,’ Is on Track To Be the Fastest Woman in the World

| 11 hours ago

Sha’Carri Richardson somehow contains an abundance of both humility and self-confidence. Look first at her Instagram, which is filled with mirror selfies, photos of the few times she has been able to go out with friends this past year, some Nike promo images, posts about the Black Lives Matter movement, and a handful of photos from track meets and training. In her captions, she encourages her followers to embrace themselves and their own personal journeys.

She’s clearly an athlete, but it doesn’t necessarily convey that the 21-year-old Dallas native is the sixth fastest woman in history.

“With my platform I definitely want to be able to show that I am just a normal person, I just happen to run faster than a lot of the population. But other than that, I am still a human being,” Richardson says. “I just want to show the younger generation, that you can be who you are and be successful. You can just be your authentic self.”

In April at the Miramar Invitational, Richardson ran the 100 meter dash in a blistering 10.72 seconds, earning a spot in the history books alongside some of track and field’s all-time greats. Those include Jamaicans Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson Herah, each of whom Richardson could face off against for Olympic gold in Tokyo. (Fraser-Pryce two weeks ago clocked the 100m in 10.63 seconds, the second fastest time in history.)

Richardson is right up there with American legend Florence Griffith Joyner, a frequent comparison considering the 21-year-old’s vibrantly colored hair, bright nails, and bold style. (“I am not trying to be  the next FloJo,” Sha’Carri says in response to these comparisons. “I am trying to be the one and only Sha’Carri Richardson.”) She followed up this feat by clocking times of 10.74 and 10.77 at the USATF Golden Games in May, the latter of which was dashed into a 1.2 meter/second headwind, the fastest time ever recorded going into that much wind.

Despite her success, Richardson keeps her eyes on what is in front of her. Like the Olympic trials, which begin tonight in Eugene, Oregon. “I still have to make the team at Olympic trials in Oregon,” Richardson says. “But as long as I qualify, in Tokyo, I just want to go there and perform to the best of my abilities and to do what my coach and I have been working on and hopefully all of that preparation will help me produce a winning time.”

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Local News

Leading Off (6/18/21)

| 14 hours ago

Juneteenth is Saturday. On June 19, 1865, enslaved men and women in Galveston were finally informed they were free. Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger brought news of their freedom. This was nearly three years after President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation, and Granger’s news traveled slowly to the remaining quarter of a million enslaved people throughout the state. (In fact, the news came so late that Lincoln was already dead by the time Granger rode into town.) But the next year, 1866, marked the first celebration of Juneteenth, according to historian and professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. It has become one of the nation’s most important anniversaries. How did Juneteenth spread? Dr. Deborah Hopes, of Remembering Black Dallas, told us this week: “Word of mouth, from family to family, as most things do. It went from Texas to Louisiana and Arkansas and Oklahoma, because families migrated. These were people who, once they were free, started looking for work and purchasing land. Families that moved to Missouri and moved further North, the celebration went with them. And that’s how it’s spread, even to this day.” On Thursday afternoon, President Joe Biden signed a law that makes Juneteenth the 12th federally recognized legal holiday, the most recent since Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Fort Worth’s Opal Lee was there to witness her lifelong dream become reality. And this weekend, there are plenty of ways to celebrate in North Texas. Taylor Crumpton catalogued all those right here. Remember that celebrating Juneteenth goes beyond the holiday itself. “Juneteenth has to become something that grows from each day,” says Hopes. “Not just one day.”

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Sports & Leisure

Rick Carlisle Steps Down as Mavs Coach

| 1 day ago

Yesterday, it was announced that the Mavs and longtime front office exec Donnie Nelson had parted ways. Today, Rick Carlisle decided he wasn’t coming back, even though he had two years left on his contract. And so the era that includes the Mavs’ only championship in 2011 is officially over.

Where does this leave Luka and the Mavs now? For me, hopefully it means Masa Ujiri is taking Donnie’s spot, and beloved assistant Jamahl Mosley is taking over for Carlisle [100 prayer hand emojis].

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Arts & Entertainment

Here’s Where to Celebrate Juneteenth in Dallas

| 1 day ago

At 2:30 p.m. this afternoon, President Joe Biden will sign a bill to declare Juneteenth a federal holiday. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, in the U.S. House and Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, in the U.S. Senate, declares “Juneteenth Independence Day” as the country’s 12th federal holiday. The historic signing is credited to Opal Lee of Fort Worth, known as the “Grandmother of Juneteenth,” who campaigned for years to make Juneteenth a national holiday.

For Black Texans, Juneteenth celebrations have existed since 1865. The rest of the country is just catching up. For those unfamiliar with the day of remembrance, I encourage you to learn about the holiday’s origins and find ways to support Dallas’ and Texas’ Black communities. I’ve compiled a list of  events in Dallas-Fort Worth for Juneteenth below. For some additional local background, Dr. Deborah Hopes of Remembering Black Dallas shared with FrontBurner what the holiday means for Dallas earlier this week.

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My Book Tour Kicks Off Today

| 1 day ago

Hey gang. It’s me, your old pal and frequent self-promoter Zac Crain. As you may have heard, I recently published a book, my second in six months. It’s called I See You Big German: Dirk Nowitzki and What He Means to Dallas (And Me). Perhaps you saw the excerpt we ran in our June issue. Or maybe you heard me on the radio: I was on The Ben and Skin Show on The Eagle yesterday talking about it.

Speaking of Ben and Skin, I have teamed up with the fellas and their brewery, Rollertown Beerworks out in Celina, for a few special events centered on my Dirk book and Rollertown’s similarly named beer, The Big German. The first is this evening at Goodfriend Beer Garden at 6 p.m. I’ll be there signing books and the first 41 people who order a Big German will receive a special Kolsch glass courtesy of Rollertown.

The fun continues tomorrow out in Fort Worth at Pouring Glory. Same deal: I’ll be there signing books and the first 41 Big German drinkers get that commemorative glass. Then Saturday, which happens to be Dirk’s birthday, it culminates in a big celebration out at Rollertown. My part kicks off at 3 p.m. Hopefully, I’ll see you at one of those. We will have books for sale, if you don’t have one yet.

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FrontBurner Poll: How Are You Setting Your Thermostat This Week?

| 1 day ago

The first official day of summer is a couple days away, and Texas’ power grid is already under strain. ERCOT, the operators of this strained power grid, asked Texans this week to set their thermostats at 78 degrees to help conserve electricity and prevent rolling blackouts. My sense of the Texan spirit is that, as a rule, we don’t enjoy being told what to do. I also think most of us really value a humming air conditioner in the summertime, when it’s 95 degrees outside with a heat index that wouldn’t seem out of place on the surface of the Sun. Throw in suspicions that the people running ERCOT aren’t joining in the collective sacrifice of sweating it out on behalf of our woeful infrastructure, and I’d imagine many of us aren’t too eager to comply with the agency’s suggestion.

But you tell me. Are you setting that thermostat to 82 degrees and cooling yourself with the knowledge that you’re doing your part to keep the lights on? Or are you letting that A/C rip at a frosty 72 and daring ERCOT and the state to fix this mess before summer really gets going?

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Leading Off

Leading Off (6/17/21)

| 2 days ago

Donnie Nelson Out as Mavs GM. A few days after Mavericks owner Mark Cuban described this Athletic report on front office turmoil in Dallas as “total bullshit,” the team “mutually agreed to part ways” with longtime general manager Donnie Nelson. Must not have been that total.

Busy Week for Gov. Greg Abbott. The governor signed a flurry of bills into laws, clearing the way for the permitless carry of firearms and banning “critical race theory” from the classroom. He also wants to build a wall on the state’s southern border, and wants online donors to pay for it. Oh, and don’t worry about ERCOT’s whole conserve-energy-to-prevent-blackouts-in-June thing. The power grid is “better today than it’s ever been,” says Abbott, who told us last week “everything that needed to be done, was done,” re: electricity.

Construction Begins on New Reservoir. When the $490 million project is finished, Lake Ralph Hall will deliver water to residents in booming Denton County and parts of Collin County. It won’t be enough: Officials say they’ll soon need still another water source to keep up with growing demand in the region.

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If Dallas Wants To Get Back to Basics, Let’s Start With Fixing Our Sidewalks

| 2 days ago

When Dallas’ newest City Council members were sworn in Monday, Mayor Eric Johnson gave a speech about getting back to the basics of city governance: things like building permits, trash pickup, public safety, economic development. On Wednesday, City Council member Cara Mendelsohn recalled that commitment as the new council was briefed on a plan to improve Dallas’ old and busted sidewalk system. Fundamentally, the city has an obligation to make sure people can move about safely. A sidewalk is about as basic as it gets.

As most people who have done any serious walking in Dallas can attest, the city doesn’t always get the basics right. We’ve written before about the city’s estimate that Dallas is missing roughly 2,000 miles of sidewalk. If you’re lucky enough to have a sidewalk, odds are good it’s uncomfortably narrow, or pitted and cracked, or for some reason studded with straight-down-the-center decorative light poles that force you to run an obstacle course every time you go for a stroll. Now imagine getting around on that kind of sidewalk if you’re in a wheelchair, or pushing a stroller.

Robert Perez, director of the city’s public works department, told council members that it would take a little under $2 billion to totally fix this: $1 billion to fill in the 2,000 miles of missing sidewalk, and about $976 million to fund 40 years of maintenance on the sidewalk we already have. This year, the city put about $10 million toward sidewalks. Perez says his department will ask for about $8 million a year for sidewalks to come from the city budget, with plans to get another $12 million a year from a bond package that should come up a few years down the road.

That’s $20 million a year for sidewalks. Meaning it would take about 100 years to “fix” Dallas’ sidewalk system. If they’re not riding around in flying electric cars—or hiding out from cannibals in a post-apocalyptic wasteland—your great-grandchildren will be able to follow the sidewalk all over Dallas.

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New EarBurner Podcast: Barak Epstein Is Back With the Oak Cliff Film Festival

| 2 days ago

You know what is stronger than the coronavirus? The Oak Cliff Film Festival. It is one week away, people. You can get tickets and check out the lineup right here. OCFF organizer and noted film geek Barak Epstein stopped by to talk about the pandemic and his lousy home theater setup and why he’s in the tank for Love Field and which films you should be especially pumped to see at this year’s festival. Have a listen. Use your favorite podcatcher, or use the handy player below.

One more thing: it would be a huge help to us if you’d pop over to the Apple podcast app and write a short review of EarBurner. Would it kill you? No, it wouldn’t.

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Treehouses, Tiny Homes, and Lakeside Retreats: The Summer’s Best Getaways

| 2 days ago

Our travel stories have experienced the Goldilocks effect this past year, due in large part to little things like publishing lead times and international outbreaks.

June 2020 was really too small. Days after the quarantine went into effect, we had to do a quick 180 and turn “travel” into a feature interview with designer Paul Duesing about how to turn your own home into a personal retreat. Granted, there was a lot of great advice that I still swear by, including landscaping your front yard for the view from inside the house. Also, I now always keep a few cans of limeade in the freezer and a bottle of Damiana herb liqueur on the shelf so I can whip up frozen margs worthy of the ones Paul once got the Queen Mum drunk on.

February 2021 was really too big. For the first time ever, we ventured out of Texas and hopped on planes (pre-pandemic) to visit exotic locales that were less than a 4-hour direct flight away. Don’t get me wrong: we found some incredible destinations, one of which was so magical that I will be returning to it next year for my 50th birthday. But it all just felt a little too soon and overly ambitious, hitting newsstands before we’d gotten our shots and lowered our masks.

But June 2021, which is on newsstands now, feels just right. We stumbled upon a random assortment of six unexpected escapes. One is a treehouse; one is made from shipping containers; and one includes your choice of adorable tiny houses. Most of them are on a lake. One has a bar in a vintage Airstream. They feel worlds away, but they’re less than a 2-hour drive from Dallas. You can find them all here, the piece is online today.

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Philanthropy & Nonprofits

Dallas Nonprofit Big Thought Gets Surprise $1.5 Million from MacKenzie Scott

| 2 days ago

When Byron Sanders first got the email, he wasn’t completely sure it was legitimate. Sanders is the president and CEO of Big Thought, the Dallas nonprofit dedicated to empowering young people in marginalized communities. His organization certainly welcomes philanthropic gifts, but the email was from somebody he didn’t know, who said they represented donors considering making an especially big donation.

“This kind of stuff just usually doesn’t happen,” Sanders says. “I was making sure it wasn’t a phishing scam.”

It wasn’t a scam. Big Thought was one of 286 organizations on the receiving end of more than $2.7 billion in gifts from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. (The nonprofit will get about $1.5 million, Sanders says.) After getting divorced from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2019, Scott began giving away chunks of her fortune last year. Announcing the latest round of donations Tuesday morning, Scott writes that she—along with her husband, Seattle teacher Dan Jewett, and the team they’ve put together to find deserving organizations to support—is motivated in part by a sense of unease with the increasing accumulation of wealth in the hands of elite billionaires.

“Me, Dan, a constellation of researchers and administrators and advisors—we are all attempting to give away a fortune that was enabled by systems in need of change,” Scott writes in a blog post. “In this effort, we are governed by a humbling belief that it would be better if disproportionate wealth were not concentrated in a small number of hands, and that the solutions are best designed and implemented by others.”

The groups receiving donations were in part chosen, Scott writes, for their work addressing equity in education. That fits Big Thought, which is known for bridging what Sanders, the nonprofit’s head, calls “opportunity gaps.” Big Thought creates programs that help young people whose potential is obstructed by race and class divisions in a segregated city where inequality runs rampant.

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Leading Off

Leading Off (6/16/21)

| 3 days ago

Dwaine Caraway Testifies in Developer’s Corruption Trial. The former City Council member, who is serving a prison sentence of more than four and a half years after pleading guilty in 2018 to corruption charges in a separate case, told jurors on Tuesday about his relationship with Ruel Hamilton. Prosecutors say the developer paid bribes to Caraway and another former City Council member, Carolyn Davis, who died in a car crash in 2019, for their support as he sought to build low-income housing in southern Dallas and Oak Cliff.

Paul Quinn College Shows Off $20M Makeover. With a new residence hall and wellness center, the college in southern Dallas is looking good.

Glitch Grounds Southwest Flights. A “reservation computer issue” forced the airline to delay or cancel hundreds of flights Tuesday.

Fort Worth Swears in New Mayor. At 37, Mattie Parker has a good claim to being the youngest leader of a major American city. Parker is also one of the few remaining Republican mayors of a major American city, although the office is nonpartisan and she has pledged to govern accordingly–in the manner of her predecessor and former boss, Betsy Price.

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