A Daily Conversation
About Dallas


Weekend Getaways Update: San Antonio Celebrates Its Tricentennial

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In this month’s issue, we feature 10 weekend getaways from as close as Bridgeport (where you can sleep in safari-style accommodations overlooking the lion enclosure at a big cat rescue) to as far as Marfa (where you can stay in a 19th-century fort and explore Native American rock pictographs).

Last year’s travel issue included the Pearl Brewery district in San Antonio, a historic neighborhood that has become a culinary destination. But this summer may be the better time to head south. To celebrate its ties to Spain, the city is launching Olé, San Antonio, a summer-long celebration of food, dance, and art. Here’s a taste:

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Former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller Sued Over Carbon Monoxide Poisoning at Her House

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In January, Emanuela Tebaldi and her children filed suit against Laura Miller and her husband, Steve Wolens, seeking damages as a result of an accident that occurred in the couples’ house. It’s an odd deal.

In 2016 Tebaldi was dating Gary Wolens, Steve’s brother. They traveled from London, where Tebaldi lives, and stayed at the Miller-Wolens house in Preston Hollow. They all had dinner together in the main house, and then Tebaldi and Gary repaired to a bedroom above a detached garage. From the suit:

Unknown to Plaintiff Tebaldi, Defendants, Steve Wolens and/or Laura Miller had left their car running in the garage of their home below the bedroom where Plaintiff Tebaldi was sleeping. The next morning, July 12, 2016, Plaintiff Tebaldi had not awoken and had missed her dental appointment. Defendant Steve Wolens asked the housekeeper to check on Mr. Gary Wolens and Plaintiff Tebaldi, and she found them in the bedroom above the garage unconscious and unresponsive. Plaintiff Tebaldi was not breathing and an ambulance was called. Plaintiff Tebaldi was transported to Dallas Presbyterian Hospital where she was admitted for carbon monoxide poisoning. Plaintiff Tebaldi suffered serious injuries as a result of prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide. When medical professionals concluded that it was medically safe for Plaintiff Tebaldi to travel, she was transported back to the United Kingdom by air ambulance where Plaintiff Tebaldi was hospitalized to continue her treatment and care.

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All Clichés Are Bigger in Texas

This Week in ‘Everything Is Bigger in Texas’

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Yee-haw! Welcome to another edition of “This Week in ‘Everything is Bigger in Texas,'” where we take a short break from riding horses, shooting guns, and eating fast food in our bland suburbs to round up—as one rounds up a herd of wayward cattle on the open prairie—some of the most egregious and most recent uses of the ultimate Texas cliché in national and local publications.

Here’s USA Today, in its lead for a story about Texas Sen. Ted Cruz playing a charity basketball game with television host Jimmy Kimmel:

Everything is bigger in Texas, including sports showdowns.

How about them Cowboys, y’all? Here’s the Kansas City Star on those gosh-darned rattlers, always a-slitherin’ and a-bitin’ us cowpokes:

Since everything is bigger in Texas you have a cornucopia of venomous snakes that include nine kind of rattlesnakes, coral snakes, copperheads and say hello to North America’s only venomous water snake: the 4-foot water moccasin. In Texas talk, these snakes come in sizes that range from so big they have to “sit down in two shifts” to being as “wide as two ax handles.”

Well, lookie here, the Austin American Statesman is writing about the “10 Things Everyone Should Do at UT Austin.” I hear that’s one of the biggest universities in a big state.

There are few places in the world where more than 100,000 people can regularly gather in one spot and cheer together. Everything is bigger in Texas, including game day. Fans can expect not only a marching band and cheer and pom spirit groups, but also the largest live mascot in college football, the world’s largest Texas flag and an actual cannon going off multiple times.

That’s pretty big. But that’s just how we like it here where the stars are bright and the lights at night. The Dallas Observer, June 14, something something beer:

In Texas, we do things big. Even when a New York brewery comes to town, it knows this. That’s why, on Brooklyn Brewery’s stop in Dallas, it decided to offer a cocktail with not just one Texas whiskey, but two.

How did these Yankee brewers know that things are bigger in Texas? Mighty suspicious, you ask me!

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Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins Hopes Dallas Can Shelter Migrant Children

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The last call Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins made at work on Thursday was to the Office of Refugee Resettlement. He wants to take in migrant children being detained at the border, after journalists poured out flustered accounts of prison-like living conditions at a converted Walmart in Brownsville upon finally being granted entry. “Dallas could do a better job,” Jenkins said. “[I told them], if we put the band back together, could you guys use some help?”

In 2014 Jenkins offered and prepped a hospital building and two closed schools as temporary shelters for children who had crossed the border from Central America, surviving the journey without their parents. The kids did not come after all. But Jenkins kept the area’s legal community—an effort led by Human Rights Initiative of North Texas—involved. Even after the decision, the groups helped migrants learn their rights and find housing.

Dallas was one of about 60 cities and towns across the United States on Thursday to protest our country’s federal policy of separating families at the border. Families Belong Together organized the demonstrations. They believe removing children from the arms of their mothers or fathers and detaining them in a former Walmart for all but two hours a day is not only unfair, or hard to watch on TV; it’s physical and psychological abuse.

For longtime activist Rev. Peter Johnson, who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, the fears were not just in the moment of arrest or the long hours of detainment. He compared the separation policy’s impending long-term effects to those of slavery. Outside City Hall as a small contingency of about 100 gathered under the full sun, Johnson shouted pained reminders of whole lineages that were disrupted when black mothers and fathers were sold to slaveowners in different states.

“Me and some of my friends, we’re going to Brownsville,” he said. He announced plans to go to the border and bring doctors and dentists with him, much like he did in the early 1960s as he helped register black voters across the South in buses with medical aid on board.

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A Q&A with Reunion Tower

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Hey, man, I just wanted to start by thanking you for taking some time out to sit down with me. I know it can’t be a, um, ball to discuss this. Dude. A pun? You’re really going to start with a pun?

Come on. I had to. I know, I know. That’s fair. Anyway, we’ve been friends for a long time, and, I don’t know, it’s probably time that I sort of explain myself. And you of all people know what can happen when—

Hey, no judgment here. But I want to talk about what happened on your 40th birthday, back in April. Hard to believe you opened in 1978. Yeah, tell me about it. Time flies.

OK, so walk me through what happened that night. First, I wasn’t planning anything crazy. I swear.

Really? Yeah. I mean, one of the younger guys—MT, Museum Tower—you know him, right? Well, he wanted to go over to Deep Ellum and do shots at Dot’s until we were IBC non-compliant.

IBC? Oh—International Building Code.

Ah, OK. Keep going. So, yeah, like a decade ago, when Wolfgang came to town, I probably would have done it. No, I definitely would have. I had been catching hell from people for years for being in the opening credits of Dallas, like I was past my prime or whatever. And I was like, OK, I’ll show all y’all that I’ve still got it. But, I mean, these younger guys—it’s always such a neon-measuring contest. It was exhausting.

I bet. I finally came to my senses. It just sort of hit me one day: you’re the face of Dallas. What are you doing out here? And so, since then, I’ve definitely kept it pretty chill. And that was the plan for my 40th, too. Me and Bo—Bank of America Tower?—we were just going to have a nice dinner at Nick & Sam’s. No big deal.

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The Woman Who Keeps Southwest Current

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Until just last year, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines relied on a 30-year-old reservation system.

To put that in perspective, the old platform, SAAS, evolved from one used by Braniff Airways Inc.—and if that name doesn’t sound familiar, it’s because Braniff ceased operations back in 1982. The old system was outdated, and, as Chief Information Officer Kathleen Wayton says, “very vanilla.” But worse: It hindered business in a big way.

Wayton led the $500 million system migration, a massive effort that brought Southwest out of the past and onto Amadeus’s Altéa, a platform used by more than 100 other airlines, including Lufthansa and British Airways. The switch, finalized in May of last year, happened in increments spread over five years and involved more than 1,500 employees from different departments. The company expects the update to generate an additional $500 million in annual profit by 2020.

“It took a lot of effort across business and technology to develop the project,” Wayton says. “We had teams across the company working together to ensure that not only was the technology ready to be delivered, but our front-line employees were ready to use the new system.”

 Wayton has a deliberate demeanor and the ability to quickly translate indecipherable tech-talk into lay terms. From her bright, tidy office in the Southwest Airlines headquarters near Dallas Love Field airport, Wayton explains that with the system upgrade came a host of new capabilities, many of which Southwest’s competitors have long been able to perform. With the new system, Southwest gained the ability to code-share with other carriers, book red-eye flights, and modify prices and scheduling. Under the old system, Southwest flew on a fixed schedule; now, the company can arrange its flights according to profitability. 

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Sports & Leisure

Leading Off (6/15/18)

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Couple Accused of Running Sex Trafficking Operation Out of West Dallas Home. Desmond Kintwana Bethany and Bailey Jane Hance were charged Thursday for allegedly forcing captive women into prostitution.

The Dallas Wave Is Being Removed From the Trinity. The ill-advised $4 million artificial whitewater feature that never really was (except for a brave few adventurers) is on its way out about a year after the City Council voted to make the Dallas Wave nothing but an embarrassing and mildly painful memory. Crews began work Thursday, with the Trinity under the Santa Fe Trestle Trail expected to be closed for 180 days while they finish the $2 million removal project.

AT&T Finishes Acquiring Time Warner Two Days After Ruling. “The deed is done,” cackled AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson as he yanked the big red lever marked “Consumer Price Hike” and set fire to a stack of papers labeled “United States antitrust law,” in a scenario that exists only in my head but is at least more compelling than his actual statement: “We’re going to to bring a fresh approach to how the media and entertainment industry works for consumers, content creators, distributors, and advertisers.”

Walmart Opening ‘Technology-Driven’ Sam’s Club Concept in Empty Store on Lowest Greenville, a Move That Is, in This Correspondent’s Estimation, Pretty Wack. The Walmart Neighborhood Market there closed more than two years ago, the building standing as an empty and wasteful tomb of big box commerce in an otherwise happening part of town. Walmart will try again, but this time it’s slightly different. “We think it’s going to be a cool store for a cool neighborhood,” says, with a straight face, Sam’s Club spokesman Nathan Barr, who you can unfortunately not heckle through your computer screen.


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The Cowtown Attorney Who Sues Sex Abusers

| 3 days ago

For decades, a Fort Worth attorney named Chuck Noteboom has pursued sex-abuse lawsuits on behalf of female victims who had nowhere else to turn. In contrast to the high-profile, Weinstein-like cases publicized by TMZ and others, many of the women represented by Noteboom have been voiceless and struggling. There was one who worked the night shift as a cleaner at a Fort Worth bread plant; the hotel bar employee; the dental hygienist. Offenders the lawyer has hauled into court range from pastors and addiction counselors to “caring” grandpas and step-dads.

Noteboom’s track record representing the victims of sexual assault and sexual misbehavior predates the wildfire #MeToo movement by years. And the times, his firm observes, have definitely changed. “We feel like [sexual assault and harrassment] has been going on for centuries, and just now it’s become not OK,” says Bob Washington, Noteboom’s go-to investigator in these suits. “Ten years ago, we may not have taken the case of the dentist touching the breasts of his hygienist—no actual penetration. Now, with the #MeToo movement, unwanted kissing and touching is a case.”

Read D CEO‘s June profile of Noteboom right here.

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Can You Afford To Live in These Dallas ZIP Codes?

| 3 days ago

The National Low Income Housing Coalition this week released a report it calls “Out of Reach,” as in, “affordable rental homes are way out of reach for most Americans and good God have you seen what a two-bedroom goes for in Uptown lately.”

The report calculates a “housing wage,” or what a 40-hour-a-week worker must be paid to afford a “modest home,” defined here by HUD’s standards for fair market rent. An affordable rental rate is defined as less than 30 percent of a worker’s income. Some sobering national numbers from the fact sheet here, including that, to afford a reasonably priced rental on the federal minimum wage, in most states you’d have to work something like 99 hours a week. Now let’s look at some Dallas ZIP codes, with the caveat that ZIP codes can be a misleading way of organizing neighborhood data.

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Local News

With a New Facility, the Dallas Holocaust Museum Will Ask Us To Envision a Better Future

| 3 days ago

Dallas is a city of “upstanders.” Those who fight for what’s right, giving the voiceless a voice so that we can learn from the tragedies of the past. That upstander spirit is part of what drives the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, which entered the final phase of construction of its new home in the West End on Tuesday.

It’s also an ideal that is deeply felt by Max Glauben, an 89-year-old Holocaust survivor and co-founder of the museum. Glauben was 17 and an oprhan when he came to the U.S. in 1947. A native of Poland, Glauber had survived the Warsaw Ghetto, the Majdanek, Budzyń, Mielec, Wieliczka, and Flossenburg concentration camps, and the Death March to Dachau. When he was liberated by the U.S. Army on April 23, 1945, he never he dreamed that he would live in America, or that he would be drafted to serve in the Korean War. He never envisioned starting a family here, or finding in Dallas a Holocaust survivors’ support system, or of helping start a museum with those survivors.

“There is goodness in the city of Dallas,” he said, making it a fitting place for Glauben and the museum to spread love and hope for a better world. The construction of this new building for the museum is a milestone for Glauben, for the other survivors, and for those who are gone.

Workers broke ground on the 51,000-square-foot, $73.5 million facility, not far from the museum’s current home in the West End, last fall. On Tuesday many gathered again for a “Topping Out Ceremony,” at which survivors signed a support beam and watched it bolted into the building’s frame. This group included not only Holocaust survivors but also survivors of the Cambodian and Rwandan genocides, two other horrific human rights tragedies that will be featured in the museum. The people who lost their lives were honored with letters that were sealed in a time capsule, which will be encased in the walls of the museum.

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Local News

Leading Off (6/14/18)

| 3 days ago

Former Doctor Faces Life in Prison for 30-Year-Old Highland Park Attack. Katherine Bascone was an osteopath featured in D Magazine in 1987. A year later, a violent sexual assault in Highland Park left her blind and bedridden for the rest of her life. Authorities ruled her death in February, three decades after her attack, a homicide. Yesterday, George Guo, a UT Southwestern grad who has a long history of rape attempts, was arrested in Houston for Bascone’s murder.

Deep Ellum Set to Get “One of the Most Expensive Hotels Ever Developed in Dallas.” In addition to the $22 million approved for the Red Bird Mall redevelopment yesterday, the city council also voted to give developers $2 million in tax breaks to restore the Pythian Temple building on Elm and add a high-rise behind it to make the two structures Deep Ellum’s first hotel in over a century. The Pythian was built in 1916 by William Sidney Pittman, Booker T. Washington’s son-in-law, and served as hub for Dallas’ black community for several decades.

Frisco’s Got Some Stuff in the Works Too. Developers are trying to build a city within a city on the 2,500 acres once owned by the banker and oil man Bert Fields Jr.

Dallas’ Big Buns Problem. Yucky bread due to a possible yeast imbalance has thrown a wrench in the local fast food biz (is it a sign from God to finally bite the Whole 30 bullet?).

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