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A Daily Conversation About Dallas

Hypothetical

Hypothetical: Easier to Score a Basket Playing With Luka or Run For a First Down Behind a Healthy Cowboys Line?

| 4 hours ago

I will try to set this up as thoroughly as possible, so the comments aren’t all But what about this?—though I’m sure they will be regardless.

(Before I go on, I am only talking to regular, non-pro athlete types. If you played college ball, you can also excuse yourself. For the purposes of this exercise, let’s say you are built like me: 6 feet in shoes, maybe 170 pounds if I had a big lunch.)

It has often been noted that playing with Luka Doncic makes life easier for most of his teammates, at least on the offensive side of the ball. If you get open—or even if you’re not, or maybe not aware that you are—Luka will find you, put the ball in your hands, and give you a very good chance to score the basketball as a a player. In this scenario, you are in a regulation NBA game, it’s 10:30 mark of the second quarter, and your primary defender has played about four minutes of game time. All you have to do is make one bucket. A layup for two points is just as good as a three-pointer. But it has to be a shot from the field. Free throws do not count. You have to make a shot, as close or as far away as you want. But you have to do it by halftime.

Oh, and also: everyone on the opposing team believes that you have posted on TikTok about how easy it would be to score in an NBA game, though it was really just a deep fake created by me. Well, funded by me. I don’t know how to do that, but I can project manage from time to time.

Do you think that is easier than running for a first down?

In that scenario, you have four downs to get the job done. Everyone on the Cowboys offensive line is in peak condition. It’s the first game of the season, and no one is dealing with any nagging injuries. They are as fresh as possible. Also, they have no idea what you are up to. We have created a back story for you. Your name is Pantry Greer and you are a former Division III quarterback trying to make it as a running back; the highlight video we have put together shows a shifty, tough runner who is as likely to put his head down to pick up inside yardage as he is to break a play outside and try to make defenders miss in space. You can pick whatever plays you want, including trick plays. You want to run the wishbone? Go for it. Four plays to get 10 yards.

Also, I should mention that, during the week running up to the game, several journalists have reported that you were in attendance at the storming of the Capitol.

So: which do you think you can pull off — bucket in an NBA game or NFL first down?

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Local News

Latest Homeless Count Shows Growing Scale of Housing Crisis in Dallas

| 6 hours ago

The Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance today released the results of its latest point-in-time count, an annual survey of homelessness in the Dallas area. Outreach teams in February and March found 4,570 people who were homeless in Dallas and Collin counties.

That’s up from last year, when 4,471 people were counted, but the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance cautioned that this year’s count isn’t comparable for a few reasons. MDHA, which coordinates dozens of organizations and services centered on housing and homelessness, typically relies on teams of volunteers to venture out on one night in January to conduct surveys. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the count was instead conducted by professionals over the course of a couple weeks, between Feb. 18 and March 3. (The “night of record,” for the survey’s purpose, was Feb. 18; people were asked where they had slept that particular night.)

Those weeks also fell during the winter storms and power outages that ripped through Texas, and may have skewed the number of people counted as “sheltered” because they were housed in warming shelters amid the freezing temperatures. The report estimates “that approximately 600 of those who were counted in warming stations would have been on the streets were it not for the cold. The effect of the pandemic on availability of beds in the emergency shelters because of the necessity of social distancing during the pandemic also may have affected the emergency shelter count. In addition, persons experiencing homelessness may be reluctant to stay at a shelter due to fear of the virus.”

Teams count both “sheltered and unsheltered” people, including people who are staying in shelters or transitional housing as well as those who are sleeping on the street or in an encampment.

Mandated by the federal government, these counts help the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development decide how to distribute grant money. If only a snapshot, the count also gives area service providers a better picture picture of the families and individuals who need help finding somewhere stable to live. Even with the asterisks noted above, the statistics and charts from this year’s count are depressingly similar to years past. These are taken from the report:

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Sports

What Fans Should Expect at This Week’s AT&T Byron Nelson

| 11 hours ago

Last year, leaders from ClubCorp, the Salesmanship Club, Craig Ranch, the City of McKinney, and other business and civic leaders aggressively went after—and won—the right to host the AT&T Byron Nelson, which had moved to Trinity Forest Golf Club in southern Dallas after a long run at the TPC Four Seasons in Las Colinas.

David Craig, who developed the sprawling Craig Ranch community, aimed for its golf course to host a major PGA TOUR event from the start. And finally, his efforts have been rewarded. At an event announcing a five-year deal to host the tournament at TPC Craig Ranch last spring, Craig made one thing very clear: “We are going to bring the party back,” he said.

After a 2020 hiatus, the tournament returns to North Texas this week, May 13-16.

“It has been more than 725 days since we gave away our last trophy,” tournament director Jon Drago told D CEO. “It’s refreshing to be out here and opening up the doors and doing what we do. We’re excited to host the fans and hear the cheers from the crowd again.”

The sold-out event will have a limited fan capacity of 12,500 per day—about one-fourth of what it will be able to accommodate in future years. Even with those limitations, fans will have a great time, Drago promises.

“We think they will feel that energy, the way the tournament is designed and the way the course sets up,” he said. “The back nine, when things kind of get exciting, are all set up very well for the fan experience.”

Attendees are guaranteed some great golf, with 15 of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings on board. Some of the big names include Dustin Johnson [update: DJ withdrew from the tournament because of a dodgy knee], currently ranked No. 1, defending champion Sung Kang, hometown hero Jordan Spieth, plus Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Jason Day, and Hideki Matsuyama—fresh off his recent Masters Tournament win.

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Local News

Leading Off (5/11/21)

| 13 hours ago

COVID Update. Yesterday Dallas County reported 188 new cases and six deaths. Remember, the county doesn’t report on Sundays, so those numbers are two-day totals. The average number of new daily cases in the county for the last two weeks is 214; for the previous two-week period, the average was 235. Please get vaccinated.

Royal Blue Changes Its Name. It will now be called Berkley’s Market, as the local owners part ways with the Austin-based grocer, and the location in Highland Park Village will close on June 27. Berkley is the name of two of the owners’ first dog, a rescued Schnauzer mix. Now you know.

Texas AG Complains of ‘Lawlessness’ in Plano. Ken Paxton also suggested that Plano is turning into San Francisco because of the “unchecked left.” He tweeted the remarks after Plano police said a man will face assault charges confronting a group of people who were protesting over the death of Marvin Scott III, a Black man who died while in custody at the Collin County jail. Paxton is awaiting trial on securities fraud charges.

Stars Wrap up Their Season. The 5-4 overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks will bring only cold comfort, as the team that last season made it to the Finals failed this year to make the playoffs.

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Urbanism

Here’s How Replacing Parking Lots With Parks Will Transform Downtown Dallas

| 1 day ago

Amy Meadows is the CEO of Parks for Downtown Dallas, the nonprofit foundation that has partnered with Dallas and its parks department to create more greenspace in the city’s urban core. The foundation has been tasked with developing four downtown parks, which will be owned by the city.

Two of those parks have opened in the last several years. The Dallas Morning Newsarchitecture critic hailed the technology-oriented West End Square as “a model for how the delicate relationship between the urban landscape and our connected way of living might be navigated,” and Pacific Plaza beautifully replaced one of downtown’s many unnecessary parking lots with a lawn, pavilion, and ample shade from the Texas sun. Carpenter Park, in the works now on the east side of downtown, will be the largest downtown park. Its 5.6 acres are set to include rescued public art plus a basketball court and dog park, along with other amenities. Harwood Park, where crews will break ground later this year, is on deck.

The development of these parks, combined with the success of Klyde Warren Park (owned by the city and privately managed by a separate foundation), have accompanied and helped spur a transformation of the city’s urban core. Downtown boosters say the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t thrown that revitalizationoriginating in part from Boeing’s 2001 snub of our then-dreary downtownoff track. Parks for Downtown Dallas is thinking long-term, anyway. “We were trying to design and build parks that are 100-year parks,” Meadows says. “They’re going to be here for a very long time.”

If anything, the pandemic made clear just how necessary parks are to making downtown more walkable, more liveable, greener and much coolerliterally. “We’ve heard from a lot of people living in high-rises downtown that these parks were really wonderful respites during COVID,” Meadows says. “These parks are more desired now than they were before.”

I got on the phone with Meadows to talk about, among other things, how to judge whether a park is “working” and how the fate of downtown’s largest greenspace is tied to the future of I-345. This interview was condensed and edited for clarity.

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Urbanism

Dallas: The City That Hates Pedestrians, Pt. 42

| 1 day ago

We know it’s been a while since you’ve seen this feature. And we also know that the perambulating difficulties across the city of Dallas haven’t let up. So we’re re-launching Dallas Hates Pedestrians, starting in Deep Ellum. This is a classic example of what this feature has tried to raise awareness of: sidewalks are not meant to be rental space for construction. This image was taken at Good Latimer and Elm Street last month, but it has been under construction for a while. The construction has swallowed the sidewalks, with the Epic on the north side of the block and the smaller storefronts on the south. Here is how Google Maps captured it in February of 2020:

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Local News

Leading Off (05/10/2021)

| 2 days ago

How an Obscure Security Company From Addison Helped Sell the Lie that the 2020 Election Was Stolen. It always somehow comes back to North Texas.

Mavs Finish Off 4-0 Week. Luka was ejected for a forcible key change on Collin Sexton, but the Mavs didn’t miss a beat, pulling away from the Cavs for the second game in a row. Their magic number for avoiding the play-in tournament is now 1.

Canelo Alvarez-Billy Joe Saunders Fight at AT&T Stadium Attracts Record Crowd. Canelo won in front of 73,126 spectators.

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Coronavirus

Parkland’s Long-Haul COVID-19 Clinic Is Navigating Uncharted Waters

| 4 days ago

New COVID-19 cases and deaths in Dallas have remained steadily low in Dallas for weeks now, but Parkland Hospital has opened a new clinic for long-haul COVID-19 victims whose symptoms are lingering. The clinic originally opened as a place for those who currently had the virus to receive treatment like chemotherapy or blood transfusions, but now a second clinic is focused on treating long-lasting symptoms of coronavirus. 

The second clinic opened in December as a joint effort between physical medicine and rehab doctors, behavioral health, and primary care. Monal Shah is a senior vice president at Parkland Health and Hospital System, a chief physician advisor, and the medical director of the COVID-19 follow-up clinic at Parkland. He says patients have followed national trends of needing multi-disciplinary care following their bout with COVID-19. 

Studies have found that between a quarter or a third of those who are diagnosed with COVID-19 ended up with long-haul symptoms, which include muscle aches, joint aches, ongoing brain fog, shortness of breath, lingering cough, and sore throats. Some are diagnosed with behavioral health concerns such as the exacerbation of underlying depression. Shah has seen similar symptoms in the clinic. He says these symptoms abate after six months for most people.

That said, there is still much that we don’t know. We are not six months past peak for cases in December and January, so time will tell if that average holds for this larger group. Also, Shah says there is much we don’t know about why certain people have lingering symptoms and others don’t. “We may find that it does end up lasting longer than current literature seems to say, but six months is probably a fairly good mark for most people,” Shah says.

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Local News

New Census Numbers Show Dallas Had No Role In Pandemic Population Boom

| 4 days ago

The Dallas-Fort Worth area added nearly 120,000 people during the pandemic, mostly on the backs of booming suburban counties. In fact, Dallas had nothing to do with that growth: Dallas County added just 285 people while its neighbors saw thousands of relocations in 2020.

Collin County grew by 36,997 people, about a 3.6 percent increase. Not bad for a single year. Denton County added 30,559, a 3.4 percent jump. Even Tarrant County jumped by 22,065, an increase of about a percentage point.

The Census released its preliminary 2020 figures this week. These are the estimates released annually, not the full 10-year assessment that will be released later this year. It shows the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan statistical area remains the fourth largest MSA in the country, ahead of Houston but still about 2 million below Chicago. No other MSA grew as much as Dallas-Fort Worth.

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Local News

Leading Off (5/7/21)

| 5 days ago

Texas House Presents Its Voting Bill. The debate stretched late into the night last night, with Republican supporters saying the bill is needed to beef up election integrity while Democrats say it will make it more difficult for voters of color to cast a ballot. Republicans knew they have the votes to get it through on party lines, but Democrats introduced more than 100 amendments to the legislation. The bill would stop local officials from ejecting any poll watcher and criminalizes sending out mail-in ballots to anyone who didn’t request one. The bill’s author, Deer Park’s Briscoe Cain, says the bill was not filed in response to the 2020 election. It passed 81-64.

Dallas County Prepares to Vaccinate Teens. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has allowed anyone older than 16 to get the vaccine. Now, the county is preparing for that guidance to be expanded to 12 to 15 year olds. About 5,000 teens are in the county’s registry, after it allowed parents to register ahead of time. The shots will be administered at Fair Park; Tarrant County will use Texas Health Resources facilities.

Big Scooter Begins Its Return. Yesterday, the Ford subsidiary Spin invited media and city representatives to see its scooters. The company hopes to receive city approval this summer, right in time for downtown workers to return to the office. The Spin scooters apparently know when they’re being used on the sidewalk and make some sort of annoying sound until the rider returns to the street. The city will soon issue a request for proposal from the scooter companies and spend the next 30 to 90 days looking them over before seeking council’s decision.

Luka, Mavs Escape the Nets. Kristaps Porzingis sat this one out, but Luka Doncic powered the Mavericks past the Harden-less Nets 113-109. Luka’s shot left him in the second half; he made just two field goals after putting up 19 in the first. But the supporting cast stepped up to cement the win. The Mavs are now in fifth place with sixth games remaining, up a game on the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s looking like a safe bet that they’ll be able to skip the play-in.

Rain Possible on Mother’s Day. Tomorrow is all-clear, but Sunday has a 30 percent chance of rain during the day. So check the forecast before taking Mom to a patio. 

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