Monday, December 5, 2022 Dec 5, 2022
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A Daily Conversation About Dallas

The purpose of this post is to draw attention to the need for everyone to get a flu shot. This is really about public health. So if you’re tempted to criticize me for writing about something frivolous and doing so in a snarky manner, maybe first ask yourself why you want people to die. I’m here to save lives.

That said, what is going on with the mayor’s pants?

Earlier today, he went to CVS for his flu shot and tweeted some pics from the event. Excellent. Good show. Again, flu shots. We all need to get them. This is shaping up to be the worst flu season in a decade. Do what you can. Et cetera.

But Mayor Eric Johnson’s pants are crazy, and I’m worried that there is a tailor somewhere in Dallas who needs to have his tailor’s license revoked before he does serious harm.

Here’s what I’m talking about: zoom in to the lower pants region of the group photo that the mayor posted of himself with some CVS staffers.

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Thing is, he’s wearing stunt sneakers. Those lively Vans were clearly chosen with the aim of bringing eyes to the mayor’s feet. Did the mayor himself pick out those sneakers? Or was it Tristan Hallman, his personal valet? That much is not clear, as D Magazine has not made multiple calls to the mayor’s office, and none of those calls have been returned. Because, again, they were never made.

But here’s what we do know with certainty: any eyes on the mayor’s sneakers immediately register what lies above those sneakers. Namely, it is enough fabric to cover a potted hydrangea when there’s a freeze warning. There is so much extra pant there it looks like his legs have partially retracted. It looks like he gets his pants tailored at the CVS where he gets his flu shots. I know the mayor has only two jobs: the mayor job and his bond lawyer job at Locke Lord. But surely he can afford at least one properly tailored pair of pants on days when he knows he’s headed to CVS for his flu shot that he’ll post pictures of on Twitter to show off his daisy Vans.

Details, man. Let’s get those pants hemmed. Then let’s tear down I-345.

Hawkeye, whose civilian name is Mark Louis, is a Texas Radio Hall of Famer and a Country Radio Hall of Famer who can be found on your dial at 96.3 KSCS every weekday from 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Hawkeye in the Morning, now with cohost Michelle Rodriguez, is the longest-running FM morning show in North Texas. Hawkeye sees the show as a partnership with the late Terry Dorsey, who hired him as a sidekick in 1988.

Dorsey retired in 2015—and died just three months later. Rodriguez joined the team in 2020, and they’ve been playing country hits ever since, to an audience from “kids to senior citizens,” as Hawkeye told us at the Old Monk.

But his radio career wasn’t the only reason Hawkeye joined us. He has been involved with the BMW Dallas Marathon for a decade, even serving as chair and gaining support from elected officials. A few marathons ago, he stole an idea from Tiki Barber. In New York, Barber decided to be the last person to start the marathon. For every runner he passed, some company would donate a set amount to charity.

Hawkeye brought that to Dallas. And then he broke his foot training. Craig Miller of The Ticket gladly filled in—and passed something like 4,000 people. Cotton Patch Cafe was the sponsor that year, and it maxed out its donations.

This year, on December 11, Louis is the Last Man Running. He’ll be raising money for Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. You can donate to his personal page here. And you can listen to EarBurner after the jump.

And congratulations from the D Magazine team to Michelle Rodriguez, who got married just before Thanksgiving.

Personalities

After the Success of Dumplin’, Arlington Author Makes Christmas Raunchy

Tim Rogers
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Julie Murphy
Shelf Love: Murphy and her co-author, Sierra Simone, split the book into two points of view, each not sure where the plot would lead. Danielle Jenkins

Julie Murphy is the most successful young-adult author working in Arlington. Her 2015 book Dumplin’ became a New York Times bestseller and the 2018 Jennifer Aniston movie of the same title. Now she has gone a bit more graphic with her latest novel, A Merry Little Meet Cute, about a plus-size porn star who is accidentally cast in a wholesome Christmas movie and falls in love with an old childhood crush who grew up to join a boy band and now needs to rehab his career.

My wife made me watch Dumplin’ and so I’m angry with you because I absolutely cried my eyes out. I guess that’s more of a statement than a question. I accept your statement.

Are you and Jennifer Aniston and Dolly Parton best friends now? We’re all best friends. We get together for a yearly vacation. Obviously Dolly and Jen foot the bill. No, they are wonderful and kind women, and I’m really thankful to them for letting me ride their coattails throughout that whole experience.

If you live in Dallas, there’s a very good chance that next week you will have a new garbage and recycling collection day, and there’s also a chance you may not have heard about it.

In August, the city’s sanitation department completed a route efficiency evaluation, and ultimately came up with a re-route that will change collection days for about 56 percent of Dallas residents. Regular recycling and garbage collection will happen five days a week, and sanitation crews will work 8 hours a day. Currently, crews pick up four days a week, and work 10-12 hour days, using two other days (Wednesday and Saturday) to catch up if they were not able to collect in certain neighborhoods.

If you pay your water bill using autopay, you may have also missed the post card that was mailed explaining all of this. Residents who still get a paper water bill received an explainer with that notice. The city also shared the news on its social media accounts, a memo to the city council says.

The hope is that the new routes will allow more time for maintaining equipment and make sure it’s being used most efficiently. It will also save on fuel and reduce emissions because it will reduce how often trucks need to travel to and from transfer stations and the landfill.

Need to find out if your day changed? Check here.

Local News

Leading Off (12/2/22)

Matt Goodman
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Deep Ellum Beating Trial Heads to Closing Arguments. Bartender Austin Shuffield faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated serious bodily injury following the 2019 attack of a Black woman outside of a Deep Ellum bar. Cell phone footage caught Shuffield repeatedly punching L’Daijohnique Lee in the face, knocking her phone out of her hand, pulling out a gun and then tucking it back into his pants. Shuffield apparently confronted Lee after she was driving the wrong way down Elm Street and blocked an exit to a parking lot. Closing arguments are today; Shuffield faces up to 30 years in prison for both charges.

Dallas’ First Public Skate Park Coming to Bachman Lake. The 45,600 square foot park will include a street area, a plaza, a bowl, a flow bowl, and a snake run. Construction should begin next year, but the city must put the project out to bid.

Remains Found Near Where Dallas Firefighter Vanished. Hiker Michael Ramsay says he came across bones and a bike in a wooded area of Rains County. It’s near the location where the cell phone belonging to firefighter Michael Chambers was tracked to when he disappeared five years ago.

Grid Would Be Over Capacity In ‘Extreme’ Demand for Power. ERCOT, the agency that manages the power grid, forecasts a peak energy demand of 67,398 megawatts over the winter. For reference, earlier this year, in February, demand soared to 74,000 megawatts while about 85,000 were available. In a recent report, the state agency expects to be about 12,677 megawatts short should demand reach what it deems “extreme” levels.

Arts & Entertainment

How the Trains at NorthPark Get On the Rails

Bethany Erickson
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Roger Farkash northpark trains
Pine Craft: Roger Farkash starts building his mini holiday world in July. Jill Broussard

In a fairly nondescript yellow brick building in the Cadillac Heights area, Roger Farkash and his crew of “traingineers” have been busy since July planning the layout and creating the displays for the annual Trains at NorthPark exhibit. The display has benefited the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas for more than 30 years; Farkash’s company, TW TrainWorx, has been responsible for it for about 12 of those years. A different empty storefront is designated for the show each year, which means as soon as the space is chosen, Farkash and his team get moving.

“October and September are the big push months for us,” he says. “But it’s not eight hours every day, because we’re working on different aspects of it before we actually get it into the space.” 

Preliminary Report on Air Show Collision Inconclusive. The National Transportation Safety Board released its first investigative report into the Dallas airshow crash that killed six people in November, but says it has a lot more to do before a full report can be issued. The-four page preliminary report did not determine a cause for the midair collision of two World War II-era planes, but did share the communications for both crews from recorded radio transmissions. 

Officer That Failed to Help Car Chase Suspect Fired. Dallas police chief Eddie Garcia fired Senior Cpl. Leonard Anderson in connection with an incident in May where Anderson and another officer, Darrien Robertson, reportedly failed to help a driver who crashed his car after a brief chase. Roberson was suspended for 30 days. 

Customer Shoots Shoplifter in Oak Cliff. A customer who shot a suspected shoplifter at a Family Dollar store in Oak Cliff has been charged with murder. Dallas police said that Kevin Jackson Sr. reportedly saw two employees arguing with a man they suspected of shoplifting. After the man began throwing punches, Jackson allegedly brandished a gun and told employees to “move” before firing the gun at the unarmed man, who died just outside the store. Jackson has been charged with murder.

Boyfriend of Slain Woman Named Person of Interest. Arlington police are looking for the boyfriend of a woman who was found dead in a parking lot last month. The medical examiner’s office ruled that the woman, Evila Yanes , died from blunt force injuries to her head. Officials say that the man, Jose Luis Moreno Castaneda, has not been seen or heard from since her death.

Local News

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram Strike Marks a Major Moment for Texas Newsroom Unions

Bethany Erickson
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Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporters are striking for better wages, severance pay, and sick leave. Courtesy Fort Worth NewsGuild

When 21 reporters from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram announced their intention to walk out Monday, it made headlines. But as the first open-ended newsroom strike in Texas history, it was also a big step for the state’s fledgling newsroom unionizing efforts.

In addition to the Star-Telegram newsroom, reporters at the Dallas Morning News and Al Dia; and the Austin American-Statesman unionized as news guilds in the past two years. The Star-Telegram is owned by McClatchy, the Statesman by Gannett, and the Dallas Morning News and Al Dia are owned by DallasNews Corp. All three unions are in the process of negotiating contracts and all of them have cited pay issues as a major driver.

Fort Worth’s strike is the third nationally in four months. The reporters at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette have been on strike since October, and in August, almost 300 employees at Reuters walked out for a day.

Time will tell if the Fort Worth NewsGuild will be successful in getting McClatchy to negotiate after a strike. (McClatchy was purchased by the hedge fund Chatham Asset Management in July 2020 for $312 million. It owns 30 papers in 29 markets across the country.)

The two sides are due to return to the bargaining table on Dec. 8, but guild vice president Kaley Johnson said she hopes that their work will help newsrooms across the state, including those that might be reluctant to organize.

“Some Texas laws and precedent try to strip unions of their power,” she said. “I think that people across a lot of sectors are tired of that, and that a lot of times it only makes people feel more empowered, which is great. We all hope that we’re creating a playbook that other unions can follow whether that’s in journalism or other industries in Texas and nationwide.”

Beginning December 12, nine of Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s major bus routes will return to normal service after six months of delays. That’s big news, because those bus routes are the primary arteries to achieve the agency’s goals of increasing frequency and reliability for riders. DART rolled out its much-lauded new bus network in January 2022, and by June it was already having to walk it back because of a driver shortage.

The redesign established 22 “core frequent routes” that would come every 15 minutes during peak times and every 20 minutes afterward. The new system scrapped the former hub and spoke model for something more closely resembling a grid, increasing the chances your bus shows up on time. DART says it increased access to jobs by transit within 60 minutes by 34 percent.

The trade-off was you might have to walk a little further to your destination, or use the system’s GoLink on-demand service to replace the less popular routes that were eliminated in service of the more frequent ones.  

But that only works if there are enough drivers. In June, DART told the Dallas City Council that it was down 163 drivers. Twenty-minute buses were coming every 30 minutes, 15-minute pickups ballooned to 20 and 25 minutes. As a Band-Aid, the agency delayed arrivals by 5 minutes for about 31 of its 97 bus routes, roughly a third of its entire system.

DART then got to work finding drivers. It bumped its starting wage to $21.13 an hour, about $4 higher than it had been. Rosa Maria Cristobal, the agency’s vice president for human resources, said competition from companies like Amazon and FedEx prompted the increase in starting pay as well as signing bonuses. DART launched media campaigns and hiring fairs.

The result of that “aggressive operator hiring initiative” meant that DART could return nine of its highest ridership routes to full service about a month ahead of time. The remaining 22 will return to regular service on January 23.

And then we can see how successful the redesign is. Below are the routes that will be back to normal on December 12:

Basketball

A Very Good Photo of the Young Kings of Dallas Sports

Mike Piellucci
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This is a photo of the Dallas skyline, for unity's sake. Photo by Michael Samples.

“Game recognize game,” and all that.

(Yeah, one of Miro Heiskanen or Jason Robertson should be in here, too. There’s always next time.)

Podcasts

New Podcast: Ken Bethea of the Old 97’s Is Now a Movie Star

Matt Goodman
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Old 97s christmas special
That’s Ken on the left. Disney

This one’s for the Dallas music nerds, the ones who recognize Shibboleth from beyond EarBurner’s theme music. The folks who might know how the Old 97’s got together when they were all living in the Marquita Court Apartments in Lower Greenville. (The apartments whose roof recently collapsed.)

Ken Bethea is the guitarist for the band, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary early next year. But he’s making his second appearance on EarBurner for a different reason. He’s now a movie star. Sort of. The whole band is, even though Rhett Miller is the only one with a speaking part.

The Old 97’s are in the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, which premiered Friday on Disney+.

Ken wrote about the experience in our December issue, and you should absolutely read it, but he goes deeper in the podcast: about his relationship with Guardians director James Gunn, how this experience was different than the role the band played in 2006’s The Breakup, and how he spends one day a week working behind the register at a board game shop in Bishop Arts. It’s a good chat (even if Tim’s voice was a wreck because he’d just shouted himself hoarse watching World Cup). Plus, hear his exclusive reaction to the roof caving in on his old apartment complex, the one that helped spur the creation of Dallas’ finest rock band.

Listen after the jump.  

Local News

Leading Off (11/30/22)

Matt Goodman
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DMA’s Security Woes Get Worse. The Dallas Morning News obtained 911 calls from the night a 21-year-old broke into the Dallas Museum of Art and began smashing art. He called police on himself, and it doesn’t appear security had any idea someone had broken in. The museum has hired a third-party consulting firm to review its security practices and also shot back a bit at its partial funder, the city of Dallas. The museum says it needs to work with the city to “implement critical updates to our facility to deter and prevent such incidents from occurring again.” While Brian Hernandez used a chair outside the museum to smash his way in, the museum has had access issues since at least 2016; we used a house key to go into the museum’s basement.

North Texas Oath Keeper Guilty of Seditious Conspiracy. Granbury man Stewart Rhodes was found guilty of a rarely used charge that signals his attempt to stop the transfer of the presidency following the 2020 election. Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers, had a significant role in organizing the January 6 storming of the Capitol. Sentencing is expected at some point in the spring.

It Is Winter Again Today. An overnight cold front plunged temperatures into the 30s this morning, which feels like the 20s. The high through today and tomorrow will be in the low 50s, with Friday kicking it back up to 67.