A Daily Conversation About Dallas


This SMU Exhibit Is Celebrating the Woman Who Shaped Neiman Marcus

| 22 hours ago

Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the oil-rich elite of a rapidly growing Dallas whispered their secrets to a dark-haired woman in the dressing rooms of Neiman Marcus. Elegantly dressed in all black, with a simple double strand of pearls and chunky French gold link bracelets, Carrie Marcus Neiman was quiet and reserved, but wealthy women from far and wide would come to shop the styles chosen by the city’s most influential fashion pioneer.

The daughter of Jewish German immigrants, Carrie, along with her brother Herbert Marcus and her husband, Al Neiman, founded Neiman Marcus, the high-end department store that revolutionized the ready-to-wear fashion industry, in 1907. The men handled the finances, and Carrie chose the merchandise, traveling to New York and Europe to find the fabrics and styles that put Dallas fashion on the map.

Although Carrie’s story has long been forgotten, “she was the real creative force behind the birth of high-end retail,” her great-great niece Allison Smith says.

Carrie’s story is finally being told in a new exhibit at Southern Methodist University. “An Eye for Elegance: Carrie Marcus Neiman and the Women Who Shaped Neiman Marcus” will be on display through January 28, 2022, in Fondren Library’s Hillcrest Exhibit Hall.

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For Your Weekend Reading: Merritt Tierce on Motherhood and Abortion

| 24 hours ago

You might recognize Merritt Tierce’s name from her great 2014 novel, Love Me Back. (If you haven’t read it, then stop being that way and read it.) Or maybe you read the piece she did for D Magazine in 2017, an essay about being a letter carrier. Well, she has written the cover story for the current New York Times Magazine, and it’s a brilliant, heavy, emotional, brave, brutally honest essay about her journey through motherhood. Bookmark it. Put it aside. Don’t skim it; read it. If you are a mother or a father or thinking of becoming one, or if you are a son or daughter above the age of, oh, 15, it will give you something to think about. Did I mention that it’s good? Anyway, you have your assignment. Reports on my desk first thing Monday.

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For Fun

Watch This Cool Old WFAA Footage of the Beatles in Dallas Circa 1964

| 1 day ago

WFAA (Channel 8) went and dug up 13 minutes of footage the station recorded in 1964, on the occasion of the Beatles’ one and only trip to Dallas. It’s a fun watch, especially if you’ve been recently Beatles-pilled by Peter Jackson’s new 8-hour Disney Plus documentary Get Back, which follows the band as it records what would be its final album, Let It Be.

The Beatles of 1964 are less hirsute, Yoko-free, and don’t seem quite as ambivalent toward each other and the band as the near-breakup Beatles of 1970. Paul McCartney wears a cowboy hat, and the press conference banter is great, especially the run from 2:30 to 3:15.

As for the Beatles’ show itself, a 30-minute set at Memorial Auditorium, I found this short clip. Sounds pretty good.

And the Dallas Morning News ran a nice piece a couple years back on how Beatlemania arrived in Dallas less than a year after the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Drop your favorite Beatles song in the comments. Thanks.

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DART Ramping Up to Debut of New Bus Network

| 1 day ago

DART’s new bus network makes its official debut on Jan. 24. The plan is to better serve riders and boost ridership with fewer, but more frequent routes. The evidence that it will work is strong.

There may be a few bumps for some riders. Surveys show most riders are willing to walk a little farther to a bus stop if it means they’ll spend less time waiting on a bus. But in a region with crummy sidewalks and extremely dangerous conditions for people on foot, and for pedestrians with mobility issues, a longer walk can be a big deal.

DART is hoping to ease some of these potential issues by expanding GoLink, the transit agency’s “curb-to-curb microtransit service solution that operates in zones across the DART service area.” It’s an Uber-like ride-hailing service that lets you call a shuttle to take you anywhere in a designated zone, or to a DART station. GoLink also includes an actual Uber shared-ride program, UberPool, that you can call for a small extra cost.

These new and expanded GoLink zones will debut Monday, serving as a sort of soft introduction to the new system. Here’s the new zones map:

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Local News

Leading Off (12/3/21)

| 1 day ago

Abortion Providers in Neighboring States Note Increase in Patients From Texas. The president of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, which operates clinics in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma, says the wait for an appointment at some of its locations has jumped to three to four weeks because they’re serving Texans. The U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to strike down Roe v. Wade in June, which means that 26 states—including Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Missouri—have trigger laws that will make providing an abortion illegal. Texans are already seeking care outside state boundaries following the state legislation barring abortions after six weeks; experts believe the delays and demands will be a precursor to what will happen. New Mexico is the only neighboring state that will still allow the procedure.

DPD Makes Arrest in Street Racing Death. A street racer struck and killed 73-year-old Linda Pearson as she was walking her dog in Casa View on November 26. Police have made an arrest, but have not released further details. The hit happened on the six-lane Ferguson Road, which could benefit from having a lane or two taken in. At least a pilot project—that’s already happening on Jefferson in Oak Cliff, after a man mowing a lawn was killed by a speeding driver.

Mark Cuban Now Owns Wispers Cabaret. And the entire town of Mustang, in Navarro County. Big Schitt’s Creek energy here. The town has only 23 residents and was once on the market for $4 million, which was halved but still didn’t generate interest. Cuban said he bought it to help a buddy out, which means he now owns a fire department building, at least one pond with an alligator, and the defunct strip club off I-45 that is apparently in bad shape. For years, there were a pair of what appeared to be 1980s-era champagne brown limousines parked out front; I wonder if he gets those, too.

Cowboys Continue Saints Free Fall. Let’s check in on the New Orleans Times-Picayune after the Cowboys bested the Saints 27-17: “The Taysom Hill era of New Orleans Saints football began Thursday night the same way the Trevor Siemian era ended — with a loss. The 27-17 setback to the Dallas Cowboys was the Saints’ fifth consecutive, and the quarterback change ultimately failed to change trajectory of what is quickly becoming a lost season for Sean Payton’s reeling outfit. The losses are mounting with each week, and they’re all beginning to look and feel the same. It’s like gridiron Groundhog Day. The opponents change but the script remains the same.” Sounds like a good team for the Cowboys to break out of their own funk. Mike has more on the game over on StrongSide.

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Dallas’ Least Vaccinated ZIP Code Has Its Highest Asthma Rate for Children

| 2 days ago

The areas of Dallas with the highest risk for COVID-19 infection are also the areas least protected against the virus, according to new data from the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation. It shows the ZIP codes with the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates are also the areas with the highest levels of asthma, a comorbidity that can increase the severity of the virus in children.

Vaccines are now available for kids ages 5 to 11, but for several reasons, many low-income neighborhoods still lag behind others when it comes to their vaccination rates. Risk factors like heart disease, cancer, and obesity have made the virus much more deadly for adults. And while the virus has been less lethal for children, asthma increases the likelihood of a more severe infection in pediatric cases.

Part of the solution will be outreach. Internet access and healthcare providers are often limited in these neighborhoods. In ZIP codes 75217, 75211, 75228, 75227, and 75243, overlapping high pediatric asthma and low COVID-19 pediatric vaccination rates collide. Pleasant Grove’s 75217 has the region’s highest pediatric asthma rate and the lowest COVID-19 pediatric vaccination rate in Dallas County. Cockrell Hill and Oak Cliff’s 75211 has the same problem. These are two of Dallas’ poorest areas and have already been ravaged by the pandemic. The other ZIP codes include Far East Dallas and Mesquite (75228), southeast Dallas (75227), and northeast Dallas around Forest Lane (75243).

According to the American Lung Association, 11 percent of families below the poverty line ($26,500 for a family of four) had children with asthma in 2018. Only 6.8 percent of families who made at least $52,400—200 percent of the poverty line—had children with asthma. A study from the National Institutes of Health also found that substandard housing and environmental triggers are linked to greater asthma morbidity and mortality for low-income and Black and Latino children living in urban areas. 

Dallas is making progress on youth vaccinations: more than 50 percent of high school students and more than one in three middle school students have been vaccinated. The issue is that many unvaccinated children are likely to have asthma.

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Watch a Car Smash Into Thunderbird Station’s Patio Fencing

| 2 days ago

Just before 1 a.m. on Tuesday, November 30, video surveillance shows what appears to be a white Subaru barreling down Commerce Street in Deep Ellum. Then the road forks. Commerce splits off into Second Avenue, and this is where Thunderbird Station sits, nestled in this angled wedge. It’s this point where the car, turning too late and driving too fast onto Second, crashes into the bar’s patio barrier.

No one was hurt—though we can’t speak for the presumably impaired driver. “I’m just super thankful and lucky that we were closed and nobody was here,” says Thunderbird owner Kim Finch, who’s still trying to find the humor in this weird and wild thing we call life. “That’s why I can laugh about it: We now have a drive-thru!”

Had Thunderbird not been closed, as it usually is on Monday nights, Finch says that’s when staff is cleaning up and putting things away. (You can watch Thunderbird’s outdoor camera footage here.) The collision flipped three tables and crumpled the exterior fencing, a heavy-duty metal that Finch got custom made in case of events like this. It’s not the first time Finch has seen recklessness in the neighborhood.

“We’ve had this happen at Doublewide, too,” Finch says of her other bar located northeast of Thunderbird just on the other side of Exposition. “There’s a curve—we’ve watched people Dukes of Hazzard launch over that, too,” taking out a tree, says Finch, who says she has tried notifying the city about these drivers going full Hot Wheels around her bars.

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Local News

Ross Perot Jr. Raises the Bar for DPD Donations

| 2 days ago

Yesterday, Ross Perot Jr., who holds a world record for circumnavigating the planet in a helicopter, donated a helicopter to the Dallas Police Department, landing the chopper himself in front of City Hall to make the announcement. As far as rich guy stuff goes, it was pretty cool. Mayor Eric Johnson said, “We need partnerships like this one to build for our city’s future. We need business leaders in this city to say Dallas is more than just a great and growing market for them to make a profit. Our police department must have more resources and more help to achieve our shared goal, which is to make Dallas the safest large city in this country.”

I couldn’t agree more. Toward that end, I hereby challenge Victor Vescovo to step up and follow Perot’s lead. Vescovo, as you might remember, holds a world record for piloting a submarine to the deepest parts of the earth’s five oceans.

Bam! Let’s get DPD a submarine. I look forward to enjoying an even safer White Rock Lake.

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Local News

Leading Off (12/2/21)

| 2 days ago

Dallas ISD Building New Campus. The John Lewis Social Justice Academy at O.W. Holmes should open in southern Dallas in 2024.

High-Profile Activist Pleads Guilty to Theft Charge. Dominique Alexander, founder of the Next Generation Action Network, was sentenced to two days in jail and given credit for time already served.

Ross Perot Jr. Gives Dallas PD a Helicopter. The billionaire landed the helicopter on the plaza in front of City Hall before a press conference.

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Local News

DART Reserves Bus Seats in Honor of Rosa Parks

| 3 days ago

It’s Rosa Parks Day in Texas, and DART is reserving a seat at the front of each of its buses this week to honor the civil rights hero, the transit agency said in a press release.

This follows state Sen. Royce West and state Rep. Toni Rose getting the holiday passed by the Texas Legislature in its last session. It was on Dec. 1 in 1955 that Parks refused to let a White passenger take her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama and set off the Montgomery bus boycott.

DART has paid tribute to Parks before, with a statue it commissioned in 2008. The brass statue sits at Rosa Parks Plaza downtown, near Lamar Street and Pacific Avenue.

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Local News

Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington Get Top Marks for LGBTQ Policies

| 3 days ago

In a new evaluation published by the Human Rights Campaign, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington each earned perfect scores for their respective policies and services supporting LGBTQ+ inclusion.

The LGBTQ+ advocacy group’s Municipal Equality Index rates cities across the country using a checklist that looks for the existence of non-discrimination laws, LGBTQ+ liaisons in police departments, and openly LGBTQ+ elected or appointed leaders. Among other things, it also evaluates city services for LGBTQ+ people. Fort Worth has had a nondiscrimination ordinance against sexual orientation on the books since 2000, while Dallas passed one two years later. (In 2009, Fort Worth added gender identity to its ordinance and in 2015 Dallas created separated classifications that barred discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity.)

Some North Texas cities put up decidedly less impressive scores. Garland, dinged for its lack of a non-discrimination ordinance and services for LGBTQ+ residents, got 24 out of 100 points from the Human Rights Campaign. Grand Prairie (36), Irving (47), Plano (64), McKinney (36), and Mesquite (39) also fell short of a passing grade.

Check out the full report here.

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Local News

Leading Off (12/1/21)

| 3 days ago

Texas Railroad Commission Narrows Weatherization Loophole. After the Railroad Commission was lambasted by a Senate committee in September for a rule that allowed electricity producers to opt out of weatherization mandates by paying a measly $150 for a waiver, the commission changed the rule so that some large electricity producers are unable to avoid weatherization improvements and any company that pays for a waiver may have its application rejected by the commission.

Dallas County Reports 14 New COVID Deaths in 5-Day Totals. The two-week average of daily new cases continues to fall. Fifty-eight percent of county residents 5 and older are fully vaccinated.

Televangelist and Daystar founder Marcus Lamb, 64, Dies After Contracting COVID. Lamb died Tuesday after reportedly battling COVID-19, which family members called a “spiritual attack from the enemy.” Lamb’s cause of death has not been released, but the televangelist, who started Daystar in Bedford in 1997 and grew it into an international powerhouse that broadcast to 71 countries, had hosted COVID-19 vaccine skeptics on the Christian TV network and promoted alternative treatments for the disease. On Twitter, Ben Marsh, a pastor at the First Alliance Church in Winston-Salem, N.C., blamed Daystar’s worldwide reach for spreading “rampant COVID denialism and slow uptake of vaccines.”

Former TV Anchor Brendan Higgins Joins Jesuit Priest Sex Abuse Lawsuit. Higgins initially joined the suit, which was filed last year, anonymously, but he has decided to make his story public now that his two sons are adults. He tells the Dallas Morning News that the late Rev. Patrick Koch, a Jesuit teacher and family friend, sexually abused him when Higgins was a junior at the school. He hopes that by making his story public more sexual abuse survivors will come forward. “I feel anger. And I don’t have enough respect for the Jesuits to feel betrayal,” Higgins told the DMN. “I just feel like they’re criminals.”

Family of 9-Year-Old Killed at Astroworld Rejects Travis Scott’s Offer to Pay for Funeral. Ezra Blount’s family laid the 9-year-old to rest in Dallas on November 23 after he was trampled and killed during Travis Scott’s performance earlier that month. After receiving the offer from Scott to pay for the funeral expenses, a lawyer representing the family said in a letter: “This isn’t a photo-op story here. This is a ‘who’s responsible and why’ type of investigation. And he’s on the short list.”

Three Shootings and Two Deaths in Dallas Overnight. Stay safe out there.

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