A Daily Conversation About Dallas

Local News

Work to Turn Concrete at Fair Park Into a Community Park Is on Schedule

| 2 days ago

The nonprofit management group in charge of Fair Park’s operations is ahead of schedule on fundraising and on track to deliver a new community park by spring of 2024. Fair Park First and its partners gave their annual update to the city’s Park and Recreation Board this week, which celebrated momentum: they’re raising money, the new park’s design phase is moving into schematics, and they’ve held more than 800 community meetings to gather input from surrounding neighborhoods to inform its design.

When the City Council approved the master plan for the overhaul of the 277-acre art deco treasure in 2020, it gave Fair Park First and its partners five years to complete the first phase. The master plan’s cornerstone is an 11-acre community park, which will transform a parking lot at the southeast corner of Fair Park.

This portion, bordered by Fitzhugh Avenue and Lagow Street, was once a neighborhood of about 300 homes that were seized through eminent domain, bulldozed, and paved over. Fences went up, and it was used sparingly for parking and storage for the State Fair of Texas. But the city’s intent, as detailed in a report from 1966, was to force out Black residents so White attendees of the fair didn’t have to see them. In all, 52 acres were taken.

Since then, South Dallas has not shared in the economic success of its northern neighbors. The area became a dead zone, fenced off and inaccessible, nothing but empty, sun-soaked concrete except when cars filled it during events. Brian Luallen, the CEO of Fair Park First, again acknowledged this history in introducing the park.

“This would’ve been an area that was residential that was taken through eminent domain many years ago,” he said. “Here, we envision a front porch that reintroduces the park campus to the surrounding community.”

The design brings in the fence line by about two blocks, providing access that doesn’t involve a gate. Early conceptual designs showed a large civic lawn flanked by play areas, a pavilion, a water feature, and native grasses and trees. Now, Luallen said, the conceptual phase is evolving into schematics.

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Employers Are Making the Vaccine Mandates About Safety, Not Politics

| 2 days ago

A publicly traded oil company with rigs throughout West Texas has 2,000 workers spread between 42 sites. The workers often work, eat, and sleep together in tight quarters. Earlier this summer, the company recorded 23 COVID-19 infections in three days, requiring 60 employees to go home and quarantine. Because of the nature of their job, they can’t work remotely. “We can’t live like this,” the CEO told Dr. Scott Conard. “We can’t have our operations cease because people are not willing to get a vaccine.”

The delta variant coupled with a normally functioning society has put business leaders in a difficult decision. In response, those executives are reframing the vaccine debate as a safety discussion and not a social or political one, says Conard, the chief medical officer for the insurance brokerage Holmes Murphy. President Joe Biden’s new ultimatum requires companies with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccines or test for the virus each week. It has re-politicized the issue and left business leaders between a rock and a hard place.

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Sports and Such Is Here To Make You–and Themselves–Laugh

| 2 days ago

Like any good comedy, Sports and Such’s origin story begins with a joke.

It was April 2013, and Ben Rogers and Jeff Wade, the sports talk radio duo better known as Ben & Skin, were between jobs after leaving 103.3 ESPN in February. Speculation was rampant about where they’d land and when they’d next appear on the air, and Dena Adi wasn’t above wondering herself. But she also couldn’t ignore how serious the whole thing seemed.

So she decided to have a little fun on the Internet.

Ben & Skin did not, in fact, have plans to join the longstanding hip-hop station. But that didn’t stop the tweet from migrating to a message board as a rumor, where it happened to be seen by Kevin Turner, who was set to join Ben & Skin at their actual new home of 105.3 The Fan as producer. He laughed, then got acquainted with Adi on Twitter.

It would be another seven years before the two would create a YouTube series together and eight until that YouTube series became an actual television show, which premieres Saturday at 2 p.m. on CW33. But on an elemental level, the foundation was cemented that night: one of them said something that made the other laugh, and that laughter was channeled into a course of action.

Adi, a multimedia producer at the University of Texas at Arlington who is now the showrunner of Sports and Such, says she’s “kind of had a version of this show in my mind for a long time,” one that fuses familiar elements into a wildly different sort of sports show. As Turner, the host, puts it, “You’ve seen a monologue before. You’ve seen intimate interviews. You’ve seen man-on-the-street bits. You’ve seen game shows on TV—those have made a resurgence over the last 10 years. But have you seen them all in one package that relates to your local sports teams? Probably not.”

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State Fair of Texas

500,000 Corny Dogs and a Few Thousand Buckets of French Fries: Is Big Tex Eating His Feelings, Too?

| 2 days ago

According to the Fletcher’s Corny Dogs website, the company expects to sell over 500,000 of their deep-fried namesake over the course of 24 days of the State Fair of Texas. Fletcher’s says that’s 60,000 pounds of hot dogs. You guys, we’re gonna eat that. They know we’re gonna eat that. That’s something we do every year with such reliability that they can predict our behavior and put it on their website. They can forecast that like Delkus can forecast a summer in Dallas of 90-degree weather and Botox.

Half a million corny dogs.

You’re over there, talking to your friend about being a Paleo, gluten-free, CrossFit Ironman—doesn’t matter. Don’t care what you told your life coach. Half a million corny dogs are going down.

Fletcher’s says we’re also going to eat 1,500 gallons of mustard with that. And 800 gallons of ketchup (Because somehow that many of you are doing this wrong. Must be out-of-towners).

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Local News

Leading Off (9/17/21)

| 2 days ago

Pepper Ball Blasting Dallas Cop Has History of Violence. If you missed this yesterday, don’t miss it today. Sgt. Roger Rudloff, who was photographed firing a pepper ball round into the chest of a woman who posed no threat to him during last year’s protests, has bashed a man’s head with a flashlight and lied about it. Individuals he has arrested have reported that he’s choked them, threatened their lives, and called them racial slurs. The Dallas Morning News dug through “more than a thousand” records of his 26 year career to put a picture together of a man who has had allegations of abuse follow him for years, right alongside the accolades he’s racked up. He denies wrongdoing through his attorney, but testimony from his victims should trigger big questions of the department among those on the City Council.

Cook Children’s Postpones Elective Procedures. It’s due to a shortage of staff and beds as pediatric COVID-19 patients keep coming. Elective, inpatient procedures won’t be scheduled until October 11.

Feds and DPD Team Up in Pleasant Grove. They called it ‘Operation Pegasus’ and the 90-day sweep resulted in over a hundred weapons and more than $1 million in drugs and cash.

Legislature Begins Redistricting Talks. The Lege starts the work Monday, which is supposed to use U.S. Census data to guide the shape of voting districts. Instead, Supreme Court rulings over the last 10 or so years give Texas—a state that has been proven to have discriminated against voters of color in redrawing its maps—the right to skip federal approval before passing the new redistricting plan. Here’s the Trib: “…since the enactment of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, Texas has not made it through a single decade without a federal court ruling that it violated that federal law or the U.S. Constitution and ordering it to correct its legal mistakes.”

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Local News

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

| 3 days 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

| 3 days 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.

| 3 days 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

| 3 days 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)

| 3 days 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

| 4 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

| 4 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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