Governor-Elect Promises Lawsuit Over Immigration Action. On behalf of all Texans, Greg Abbott will probably sue the Obama administration for his executive order lifting the threat of deportation for millions of immigrants living in the United States illegally. This is not new territory for Abbott, since he’s sued President Obama some 30 times in his previous life as Texas attorney general.
Two Earthquakes in Two Days. On Saturday, a 3.3 magnitude earthquake registered near the site of the old Texas Stadium. On Sunday, a 2.5 magnitude earthquake occurred south of Highway 183 beneath Loop 12. It’s too bad we don’t have any idea what might be causing these quakes, since there have been seven in the last two months.
After Crash Kills Five Family Members, Terrell Teen’s Ticket Dismissed. This sad story, first mentioned in this forum last week, does not get too much better. However, the teenage driver, a 16-year-old boy who apparently fell asleep at wheel of the family’s SUV while en route to Florida for a vacation, was originally ticketed for careless driving. The crash killed five of his relatives. The judge dismissed the misdemeanor charge, saying that the boy had been punished enough, and there was no need to add to his pain.
Cowboys Coach and Governor Chris Christie Make Friends. This photo of New Jersey governor Chris Christie and Cowboys coach Jason Garrett is great. Garrett might be smiling, or laughing—I can only tell so much from the crinkled eyes. Could this be Christie’s “lose or I’ll engineer a monster traffic jam and trap you here forever” face? The world may never know. Anyway, the Cowboys beat the Giants. I am pleased.Full Story
Nina and Bentley Forever. Nina Pham, the Dallas nurse who survived Ebola, and Bentley, her Cavalier King Charles spaniel, were reunited on Saturday morning after he was released from quarantine, and the scene could not have been cuter.
Frisco Has a Mosquito Problem. It’s thanks to the warmer weather we had leading up to this cold snap. The city is spraying after there was a positive test for West Nile.
Someone Bought the Rights to Name Baby Giraffe. The Dallas Zoo raised $50,000 by selling the rights to name the baby giraffe born at the zoo on October 29. All the funds will go to conservation.
Fisticuffs at Texas Motor Speedways. Two Nascar drivers, Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski, got in a punching match after Keselowski’s car hit Gordon’s, causing Gordon to fall behind and finish 29th. Another driver, Jimmie Johnson, actually won.Full Story
On Friday afternoon, a Facebook post by Robert “Fingers of Fury” Wilonsky captured my attention. Said Wilonsky: “If you read one Dallas City Council briefing all weekend, make it this one: the surreal Trinity Lakes Amenities Design Plan.” How could I resist? To the extent I had any lingering doubts, he helpfully provided two illustrations: one of an alarming number of people crowded under a freeway overpass, evidently engaging in some sort of hyper merry-making; and another of a small tree-lined four-lane boulevard. Hmm … I had the sense this would prove enlightening.
Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan’s cover memo to the briefing document helpfully closed with the statement “Please feel free to contact me if you need additional information.” After reading through the 99-page attachment, I actually had quite a few questions, so I prepared to contact her. Upon closer reading, however, I noticed that: 1) she didn’t provide her contact details; and 2) even if she had done so, the memo was addressed exclusively to “The Honorable Members of the Transportation and Trinity River Project Committee,” and I’m not a member.
Therefore, lacking such access, I am posting my questions here, in the hopes that they might reach Ms. Jordan and Judge Vonciel Jones Hill (the Committee chair) prior to the meeting:Full Story
Our office is on the 21st floor of the 22-story Saint Paul Place. When the storm rolled over downtown Dallas, the wind made our building sway. This is not something I enjoy. It nauseates me. I bolted for the elevators (smart) as the building’s PA system was telling people to take the stairs to the lobby. I’m not sure why, but even sitting in the lobby, I felt like the building was moving. Anyway, I’m alive and unharmed. Thank you for asking.
The photo you see here was taken by a friend in East Dallas. I love the looks on the kids’ faces. Like: “That was fun! Adventure! The tree even fell down!” Meanwhile, someone just lost a 100-year-old tree. Now the afternoon sun will have no filter before it beats down on their house and yard. And, too, they’ve probably already had to call their insurance agent. There’s no telling what sort of carnage lies outside the frame of that photo.
Hope all FrontBurnervians made it through safely.Full Story
In addition to being extremely eco-conscious, Lee hopes to prepare its students for what lies beyond elementary school through a variety of cutting-edge learning and curriculum models.Full Story
Last week, as Peter noted, Forbes released its ranking of America’s “coolest” cities. Dallas came in 10th, falling from 4th the year before. Never mind that their criteria seems bogus, given that Houston once against was higher up the list than Dallas. That’s not what I’m here about.
Forbes‘ list got me thinking about our own recent comparative list of the finest places to live (other than Dallas) in North Texas: the best Dallas suburbs. One criteria we used was something we termed “ambiance” score. You can read our explanation of it here, but I think I’m perfectly within my rights to conflate our notion of “ambiance” with Forbes‘ notion of “cool.”
To that end, I’m asking you today to pick the coolest Dallas suburb. Your options come from the 10 suburbs to which we gave higher ambiance scores than Dallas (which got an 84 out of 100). Highland Park was tops with a 96, but does that make it the coolest?Full Story
City and Klyde Warren Park Talk of Closing Olive. And they didn’t tell their neighbors yet. They swear they were going to. Why wasn’t that stretch of the street closed when they built the park?
Fort Worth Doctor With Ebola Returns to the U.S. Kent Brantly was in West Africa offering humanitarian aid when he contracted the deadly virus. CNN has used the pandemic as an opportunity to scare the bejesus out of its viewers by pointing out that Ebola is “only a plane ride away.”
Immigrant Kids Won’t be Housed in Dallas County. County Judge Clay Jenkins announced as much after the federal government said that the tide of refugee children from Central America has slowed significantly.
Dallas ISD Won’t Tell Investigator Why He’s Being Investigated. Jeremy Liebbe was placed on paid leave and escorted from his office two weeks ago, but his lawyer says he still doesn’t know why. Sources told the Morning News it’s because of the way he went about conducting an investigation of his own supervisor.
Toddler Falls Over Railing at the AAC. The 2-year-old was watching the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus with her family when she tumbled from the 200 level to the Plaza level below. She was hospitalized in critical condition.
Another Day With a High in the 80s. Yes, you still live in North Texas.Full Story
On Wednesday, a large fire consumed a good portion of the land near Big Spring, not far from where the new horse park and golf course will be built near the Trinity Forest. According to the Save Pemberton’s Big Spring Facebook page, nine fire trucks were called to the scene — and the fire has sparked up again today. Speculation is that it was arson. You’ll find some pictures of the damage on that page, too.Full Story
If you read this blog, or our magazine, or follow me on Twitter, you are more than aware I have had — as of late — a bit of a problem with birds. Specifically, owls. The owl situation seems to be under control now, though I assure you, my head remains on a swivel whenever I am outside my house after dark. More troubling, however, is that now the problem has spread to pretty much all birds.Full Story
The Texas Tribune yesterday published a story that you should read — but only if you live in North Texas and if you breathe air. It only matters to that group of people. Here’s the top-line summary: though we are still way above where the federal government wants us on ozone, for years our levels had been dropping. In 2008, as you can see from the above chart generated from research done at UNT, that trend reversed itself. And the rise in ozone levels has accelerated fastest in parts of North Texas where the most drilling is done. It’s an important story. It’s not that long. Please read it — again, though, only if you live here and breathe air.Full Story
Not in a person — in a mosquito pool near the 6600 block of Brookshire Drive in North Dallas. The city is planning to spray insecticide tonight and tomorrow between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. in the area bounded by Azalea Lane on the north, Tulane Boulevard on the west, Airline Road on the east, and Walnut Hill Lane on the south. From the city’s release:
While the insecticide is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for treatment, residents in the above areas should avoid contact with the spray by staying indoors. Persons inside a vehicle while trucks are actively spraying should remain in their vehicles with the windows up and the air conditioner on until the trucks pass and the spray is no longer visible. Persons out during the scheduled spraying time should be alert for trucks and should not follow them. Residents who come in contact with the spray are advised to wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water. The spray breaks down quickly in the presence of sunlight and has no residual effect.
Zac’s mosquito source could not be reached for comment.Full Story
When I write that this idea is “brilliant,” I do so without any consideration for the financial cost it would entail. I do so as a person who routinely treks across wide-open swaths of concrete throughout downtown Dallas and am not entirely fond of roasting.
The proprietor of the Urbanophile blog was in town for the recent New Cities Summit, and I’ve just now had a chance to look at his after-action report on his visit. First he opined that Dallas is in the midst of a transition from juvenile mega-sprawl enthusiast to mature and sophisticated urban environment. We’re young (major city-wise), so it’s understandable that we’re not as well-designed as an aging city like Chicago, he says. My favorite bit from his initial post pinpoints exactly what’s always bugged me about Large Marge:Full Story
As Peter has mentioned, Maxwell Anderson was a driving force behind bringing the New Cities Summit to Dallas. When Anderson called John Rossant, chairman of the New Cities Foundation, and Mathieu Lefevre, executive director of New Cities Foundation, and told them to check out Dallas, Lefevre was doubtful. “It’s pretty bad,” was his first thought of Dallas, but by the end of his first trip, Lefevre was sold. “Actually, [Dallas] is awesome. There’s a dynamism,” he said. “Not every city is willing to reimagine itself.” The selling point? The Arts District.Full Story
Longtime readers of the magazine know who Laray Polk is. The author, artist, and environmental activist sends a few word this morning about our shaking ground:
After the magnitude-3.3 earthquake on Saturday — the sixth one in two month’s time — I revisited notes from an interview from years ago with one of the top seismologists in Texas, Dr. Cliff Frohlich. The occasion was this story. Prior to 2010, I knew very little about seismic activity in Texas. I purchased one of Frohlich’s books, learned a little more, then called him. Here are a few excerpts:
How earthquake prone is Texas? “The biggest earthquakes are in West Texas. The Panhandle has the second highest risk. The four earthquake zones in Texas, in order according to most prone areas, are: West Texas/Panhandle, North Central, North East, and Gulf Coast.Full Story
“The punch line for me is that it has to have a DNA,” says Mike Ablon, principal and founding partner of PegasusAblon, while describing what makes the Design District a neighborhood. “That’s what really matters. If you can tell that something has a DNA, then it exists. Until you can tell somebody what the DNA is, it doesn’t exist. And that goes for people and it goes for cities.”
Ablon was seated next to David Spence, founder of Good Space, who was seated next to Scott Rohrman, founder and owner of 42 Real Estate, in the boardroom of Crow Interest’s Old Parkland. With a warm fire at their backs and Lincoln’s death mask on a windowsill on their right, Ablon, Rohrman, and Spence answered D CEO executive editor Christine Perez’s questions about the work they’ve done in Dallas the past few years. The group touched on the history of the Design District (Ablon’s project until Wednesday, when it was announced PegasusAblon had sold its share), Deep Ellum (where Rohrman owns 39 properties), and the Bishop Arts District (Spence’s area of focus), before discussing the role they play in their respective neighborhoods.
When Rohrman first went into Deep Ellum, he was told he wasn’t wanted. “I wear button downs,” he says. “I don’t have any tattoos.” That’s when he had to ask his company: was 42 Real Estate going to impress its developer mindset on Deep Ellum? Or would 42 Real Estate let the community have a say? “We tried to open up a canvas and let the community paint it. We have a few guiding principles, but they’re very few and far in between. … We’re working on being a part of the community. We consider it a community endeavor not a real estate endeavor.”Full Story
Today my hometown, Denton, is voting on a measure to ban hydraulic fracturing, the controversial technique used by the natural gas industry to pull energy from rocks. Even if it is approved by voters, the resulting ordinance likely will face legal challenges.
The Guardian took note of the fight today, in a piece that trots out the usual symbols of Denton as “slacker capital of the American southwest” — namely the picturesque, yet funky square and the city’s fondness for live music and music festivals. They even bring up Frenchy and his orange trucks.
But the paper goes a bit far in the final paragraphs of the piece, implying that today’s vote will determine whether Denton will one day inspire a mildly funny IFC sketch comedy show or instantly convert into an endless sea of McMansions, corporate campuses, and shopping centers:Full Story
Porsche at Center of New Allegations Against DA’s Office. The car was parked for months at the courthouse parking garage before Ace Parking (which manages the garage) asked United Tows to haul it away. Thing is it was a vehicle belonging to the county government and intended to be used in drug stings. The owners of United Tows says Craig Watkins’ staff accused them of car theft, even though it appears the company followed all the legal procedures required of it. The Morning News sought records detailing the process by which the DA’s office bought back the car from United Tows, but has had to file a lawsuit to get those details released.
It’s Going to be in the 90s This Weekend. Yes, we’re getting to the later part of October, when things would — you’d expect — be cooling down a bit. But instead the forecast calls for unusually high temperatures for the season. Meanwhile the continued drought is prompting more significant watering restrictions, and we have an unusually cold winter to look forward to.
SMU Makes Offer to Mack Brown. The school’s football team is looking for new leadership after former coach June Jones bolted after the second game of what’s been a dreadful season for the Mustangs. They’ve reportedly had “preliminary discussions” with Brown, the former University of Texas at Austin head coach who led the Longhorns to a national title for the 2005 season. The dollar figures they’ve discussed are $4 million a year for eight years.
Lawn Care Company Flying Too Many Flags. If you’ve ever trekked up to my hometown of Denton and exited onto Dallas Drive on your way to the Courthouse Square, after you descended the hill along which I received the first two speeding tickets of my life, you saw a fleet of orange trucks sitting along the right side of the road, usually adorned with letters spelling out some community announcement about a Knights of Columbus pancake breakfast or a VFW barbecue or somesuch. And you saw a whole lot of American flags. The orange trucks belong to Frenchy’s Lawn Care, which is owned by Vietnam vet Andre “Frenchy” Rheault. Well, after many years of displaying as many Old Glories as he likes, the city’s code enforcement department has told Rheault that the flags have to come down. Only one American flag, one Texas flag, and one miscellaneous flag are allowed on any one property. Rheault plans to fight.
Topless Cheerleaders Use Drugs. Photos of the Lamar High School students engaging in naughty behavior made the rounds of social media and have caused quite a ruckus in Arlington.Full Story
Gosh, we had all that rain last night. The storms last week. So we should be doing a lot better with the wet stuff, right? Not so fast. The Texas Water Development Board releases a drought report every week. The new one is just out. It says:
For the first time since late 2010, less than half the state is under drought conditions. We saw improvements in south Texas and the southern High Plains over the past week, but drought worsened in North Texas. One patch of exceptional drought includes Dallas, Fort Worth, Weatherford, and Mineral Wells, and another patch includes the Wichita Falls area.
So let’s continue to conserve, people. Which is totally different than if I’d written “let’s continue to conserve people,” which is what I almost did. The comma makes a big difference. Because if we wasted some people, we’d actually do better with conserving water. Anyway, I got distracted a bit there. So: water. Let’s watch it.Full Story
There Are So Many Tires In The Trinity River. Tons, in fact. And until recently, the job of removing them was left to volunteer groups. Now, a Dallas-based company called Good Earth Inc. has a city contract that will pay out $850 per ton, with a cap at $2.8 million over three years. They have pulled 114 tons of rubber thus far.
City Pension Funds For Same-Sex Spouses Stalled. The City Council has taken steps to protect LGBT municipal employees by adopting resolutions that call for equal treatment and to amend personnel rules with language prohibiting discrimination. However, city pension benefits for these employees and their spouses are still in flux, because Texas does not recognize same-sex marriages.
World’s Biggest Passenger Jet Lands at DFW Airport. The double-decker A380, which is almost 8 stories tall and can carry 500 passengers, begins scheduled service this week. It’s so massive that the airport had to make about $4.5 million in renovations to accommodate it. Should you feel like flying in something I find fairly terrifying, you can go to Sydney, Australia on Qantas, or Dubai on Emirates.
TxDOT v. NCTCOG. In a charming battle of bureaucratic acronyms, the North Central Texas Council of Governments is using high traffic estimates to justify a toll road that would stretch from Garland to Greenville, through Dallas, Collin, Rockwall, and Hunt counties. The Texas Department of Transportation’s forecasts are much lower. There’s other stuff going on, too, like the fact that NCTCOG’s estimates for population growth in Rockwall and Hunt counties is significantly higher than state estimates. Anyway, just read this.Full Story
Another Shooting by a Dallas Cop. It’s the fourth involving the city’s police force in the last two weeks. Dallas officers have shot 10 people so far this year, and seven have died — one of those was unarmed. (Compare that number to 12 in all of 2013.) Thursday night’s incident took place near the Dallas VA Medical Center. The man who was shot reportedly had himself shot a woman in the jaw.
State Allows Waste Control Specialists to Bury More Radioactive Waste. Dallas’ most evil genius may no longer be in charge of the company, but his vision for bringing byproducts of nuclear power plants to a site in West Texas lives on. The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality has approved changes that will allow WCS to accept triple the amount they could previously.
TCEQ Cites XTO For Stealing Water. The state agency says the company, which is owned by Exxon Mobil, took almost 1.4 million gallons of water to which it was not entitled, which it used for fracking.
Cowboys Linebacker Suffers Career-Ending Injury. DeVonte Holloman left Saturday’s preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens with a spinal injury, and doctors are advising that he never again play football.
Cowboys to Break Ground on Frisco HQ. Construction will kick off Friday, and the team expects to officially move from Valley Ranch to its new home for the 2016 season.Full Story
This week, Thomson Reuters published an update to its list of the most cited researchers in the world. Ten work in North Texas, and all of those are employed by UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Head over to D Healthcare Daily for details on the work that each of the researchers do, but this is a nice recognition for the medical school: In essence, it’s listing these researchers as some of the foremost experts in their entire fields.
The list was first compiled in 2001 and again in 2004. For this update, Thomson Reuters scoured references in the top 1 percent of all peer reviewed articles or white papers indexed in the Web of Science Core Collection between 2002 and 2012. The 10 researchers at UTSW authored, participated, or were cited in some of the most highly regarded pieces of research in the last decade.Full Story
Streets.mn, a blog based out of Minnesota offers eight ways to improve urbanism, some of which may seem obvious, others not so much. My favorite suggestions:
- Making accessory dwellings legal: They’ve been playing with the idea in Minneapolis, and Austin has been savvy to it. What accessory dwellings (or granny flats) offer is quick and achievable density in-fill on single-family lots.
- Better transit, not more transit: Dallas boasts more miles of light rail than any other city in the world, which is one of those claims that sounds good on paper, but is really embarrassing. The rail is so long because it is trying to wrestle with so much sprawl while not actually providing the most efficient or usable service. Streets.mn argues more attention should be paid to improving the efficiency and usability of less sexy, but potentially more effective modes of transit, like the modest, old bus. Hmm, sounds familiar.
- Eliminate one way streets: Come on, Dallas. It is time to kill ALL of downtown’s one way streets. Today. Fine, tomorrow. But still, it’s 20 years too late. They make no sense at all.Full Story
Dallas ISD Investigator Placed on Leave. Jeremy Liebbe managed the Professional Standards Office, a investigative unit of the school district’s human resources department. He recently led the probe into the sports recruiting scandal that led to the firing of 15 employees and had previously made a name for himself as a DISD police officer by uncovering the “cheese” heroin epidemic. On Thursday he was placed on paid leave and escorted out of his office by district police. The district declined to comment on the reason for the move but did say it’s unrelated to the recruiting scandal.
Ellis County Judge Paid For Work She Didn’t Do. The state of Texas pays county judges — whose primary responsibility is presiding the commissioners court that oversees county government — an extra $15,000 a year if they devote 40 percent of their job to judicial cases. Carol Bush filed a request for that payment for the last couple years even though she didn’t hear any cases. The money, more than $22,000, has been repaid, but Bush is under investigation to determine if she committed any crimes.
Mortuary Gives Woman Wrong Ashes. It’s the same place in Fort Worth where, on Tuesday, eight bodies were found after the mortuary’s operators had been evicted. Michelle Jones-McElhanon told Fox 4 that her mother, who died three months ago, was supposed to have been cremated but was instead among the bodies found. Jones-McElhanon had already been given what was supposed to have been her mother’s ashes.
Enjoy the Cool Weather. Yesterday the temperature only got up to 79. That was a record-low high for the day. Today’s forecast calls for a high of 83. It is July 18. So much for global warming, amiright?Full Story
Nothing much happening in downtown Dallas right now, except for a bunch of clouds. But — holy hell — up north in Denton and Cooke counties today’s heavy rains have already arrived and it sounds like chaos, with highways shut down and roads flooded.
WFAA says we’re going to several rounds of rain through tomorrow. So a downpour is coming your way later today, if it hasn’t reached you already.
Be careful out there.Full Story
By now you’ve surely been up and down and up again our ranking of the Best Dallas Suburbs. Our sortable chart allows you to reorder the 64 North Texas towns (Dallas is included for comparison’s sake) on the list by factors such as population, crime, education, or just the overall ambiance of the place.
So you know what our numbers say. But what does the all-knowing, all-seeing Google machine think of our cities? How does Google Maps present us to the world? To find out, I asked for directions from Dallas, Texas (unspecified address) to each of the suburbs (unspecified address). Wherever Google dropped its pin representing each, I took a look around via the magic of Street View.
That gives us the spot to which Google will direct travelers who don’t know exactly where they want to go in these towns, just that they want to get there. To my mind, that makes these locations the virtual entryway to each, the online face of these cities. I leave it to you to interpret whether there’s any deeper significance to where Google’s directions would take you and what it says about our suburbs. (By the way, in Dallas, the location is Main Street downtown, right next to Plush nightclub)Full Story
I’m a big proponent of urban farming and have done my share of going to bat for the backyard chicken movement in Dallas. I love my chickens; the eggs and fertilizer they provide me are superior and they are master composters. Keeping chickens in the city can be a fruitful and rewarding experience—it is an important component of a productive backyard garden and a healthy local food system.
Yet, I feel compelled to offer a few words of caution for those considering the practice. Keeping livestock should never be taken on without thoughtful consideration about how you will properly care for these animals, or how you’ll dispatch them when the time comes. Yes, I said dispatch.Full Story