On Sunday morning, from 9 to 11, Irving Mall will open its doors to families of special-needs children so they can get their picture taken with the “Caring Bunny.” Many special-needs kids have negative reactions to crowds, loud noises, and bright lights; the folks at Ability Path have promised to arrange things so those issues are minimized. My autistic son would probably have a negative reaction to a person dressed as giant rabbit, no matter the conditions, but if your special little guy or gal is less sensitive than mine, RSVP at the Ability Path website.
Last week, I introduced you to Dallas Kids First, one of the newest PACs in Dallas. The group has announced whom it’s endorsing for the DISD board of trustees race. They’ve also released the most information I’ve seen on the candidates for the race. Their endorsements are: District 1, no one; District 3, Dan Micchice; District 9, Bernadette Nutall. So as you see, in District 1, they haven’t named one candidate to back. I’ll explain that in a minute.
But what you’re probably wanting to know–and the first thing the other PACs/Unions have disclosed when announcing whom they’re backing–is how much money they’ve giving. James Ray, one of the founders of Dallas Kids First, says giving money isn’t what they’re about. They’re not just cutting a check. I’ll explain that in a minute.
Lauren Scruggs Settles With Insurance Company. Scruggs is the Plano fashion blogger who lost an eye and her left hand when she walked into an airplane’s propeller in December. She settled with the insurance company that covers the two planes owned by the pilot who was flying that night. Liability was set at $100,000 per passenger. The discussion was stuck on the term “passenger,” as Scruggs had de-planed when the accident happened. But it has now been resolved.
Justin Bieber Is a Nuisance for North Texas Grandma. We’ve mentioned before how Bieber tweeted a 214 number with a missing last digit. We’ve mentioned a man who’s received calls from people looking for Bieber, but now we bring you 81-year-old Dilcie Fleming. Fleming doesn’t know Bieber’s music. And she doesn’t appreciate the late-night calls from tweens looking for him. However, all can be forgiven, if Bieber will give her some tickets to a concert for her grandkids. C’mon, Biebs, it’s the right thing to do.
Victim of South Padre Beating Leaves Hospital. The 21-year-old Dallas college student who was beat in South Padre after defending a girl’s honor has finally left the hospital. Careful while watching the video shot during the beating. It shows a very bloody Derek Madrigal. You’ll see a North Texas soldier drag him off. Madrigal thanks people for their prayers and credits those prayers and his health for helping him survive. He’s currently enjoying his grandma’s brownies. He’ll slowly be making his way back to Dallas.
The Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason (DFWCoR) wants you to know that there are plenty of families in this area that are doing quite well without religion. The good people at Movie Tavern, and their advertising folks at Screenshot Screenvision, do not want you to know that. Or, at least they don’t want to have any part in showing a commercial from DFWCoR, despite the fact that the group already paid $2,932. Fox 4 interviewed members of DFWCor about the situation last night. And Unfair Park has an update here. A Movie Tavern spokesperson says they don’t run any religious (or in this case, anti-religious) ads at all and just didn’t have time to review it completely before cashing the check.
Update 5:36 p.m.: Just got off the phone with the Movie Tavern folks. They wanted to make it clear that they did not cash the check, and that when Fox 4 contact them, they were as surprised as anyone. “We just want everyone to have a good time when they come to Movie Tavern,” a spokesperson told me.
The Dallas Opera is hosting another round table talk tonight, and this one is about “the importance of arts in education.” I can already hear hackles rising. My parents laid a good foundation, but I credit my high school theater teacher with getting me seriously interested enough to take a dramatic lit course my freshman year of college. Look at me now, tortured by Playbill.com emails offering discounts on Seminar and the chance to hear Alan Rickman’s gravelly voice. Clearly, if schools had all the money in the world, no one would say, “Nope. No choir for you.”
Anyway, join FrontRow’s Peter Simek, TDO general director Keith Cerny and panelists LeAnn Binford, director of creative learning workforce at Big Thought, Inc. and Zannie Voss, PhD professor and chair of arts administration at SMU’s Cox School of Business and Meadows School of the Arts as they discuss the value of arts education, how it’s supported in the face of budget deficits, and how effective programs are developed. Peter’s moderating, so go ahead and swing from the rafters. Go nuts.
If you are a fan of the Polyphonic Spree, you will not balk too much at the drive for tonight’s show at Dan’s Silverleaf. We gave away tickets on FrontRow yesterday (sorry if you missed it), but $20 isn’t bad at all. And don’t worry about the crowd. According to FrontRow’s Christopher Mosley, the band has played smaller venues in Denton before when they were every bit as popular. Chris, who talked to the Spree’s tour manager about all the undue concern, says, “It’s no big deal at all, and the fact that people keep writing about it as if it were unthinkable sounds like they’ve either run out of subjects or just want to take underhanded shots at Denton.” I say, cool out, enjoy the show, and go get some of those fried onion things from Rooster’s Roadhouse next door.
And there’s your night. For more to do, go here.
D Magazine is running a little sweepstakes, the winner of which will receive a week-long stay for two on Turtle Island, Fiji. All you’ve got to do is go to this page to enter.
Then, swing by the D Travel Club to share your vacation stories and photos with your fellow world travelers.
Getting our May issue ready for the printer has kept me from the blog the past few days, and it will continue to do so. I feel bad about this. There you are, sitting at work, trying to waste time, craving free content from already overworked typers. It’s a tough time for us all. To tide you over, here is a picture of Jaap van Zweden and his daughter Anna-Sophia. It was taken recently by Jeanne Prejean, our Scene columnist. I invite you to look at it.
I was struck by the oddness of the headlines on today’s WFAA and Dallas Morning News updates on the story about the Dallas woman who yesterday allegedlyÂ slashed the throat of her 1-year-old daughter:
DMN: Mother arrested after attack on 1-year-old is SMU grad diagnosed with schizophrenia
WFAA: Mom accused of slashing baby’s throat is highly educated
Headlines are generally reserved for the most notable, attention-grabbing aspects of a story. If both the DMN and WFAA consider Danielle Busby’s college degree remarkable, it must be because they/we have an assumption that someone capable of a crime like this, who seems to have suffered from a history of mental illness, would not be an intelligent, accomplished person?
But we could sit here and rattle off a list of counterexamples pretty easily. So why’s it worth mentioning so prominently?
I had a similar thought yesterday when I saw this headline out of Iowa:
Prosecutor: Texas Doctor Killed Ex-Girlfriend, Himself
How many other professions would have merited a headline mention? “Texas Insurance Agent Killed Ex-Girlfriend”? Â ”Texas Factory Worker Killed Ex-Girlfriend”?
Alice Walton Endorses Craig James. Never mind that Alice Walton’s record isn’t spotless. The lady has some money. As in, only nine other Americans have more of it than she does. And she’s giving some to Craig James. No word yet whether Walton is worried about the fact that Craig James did not kill five hookers at SMU.
Suspicious Test Scores Found at 17 North Texas ISDs. Computer analysis of test scores suggests that more than a dozen school districts in our area, including DISD, are cheating. Thing is, the analysis was done by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The paper was looking at test scores across the nation and just happened to catch us in its net. The TEA says the study was flawed, and it doesn’t plan to investigate. The AJC did a study just like this one a few years back and found suspicious scores in Atlanta. When an investigation was launched, it was discovered that more than 180 principals were involved in widespread test-tampering. But that’s Atlanta, right? The paper’s methodology will only work there. Don’t mess with Texas.
Dallas Streets To Go Unrepaired. You might have heard that money is a little tight. Without a tax increase, the city of Dallas can scrape together about $500 million in a bond package. City managers say about $300 million of that should go toward flood control and drainage projects, meaning much of the $4 billion worth of needed work on streets and alleys will go undone. That prompted City Council member Ann Margolin (sub. req.), whose northwest Dallas district is ranked last in the percentage of satisfactory streets, to say: “I’m just not sure that we’ve got our priorities right, looking at $300 million on flood control.” Let’s see. Hitting a pothole or drowning. Hmm. That’s a tough one. Can I get back to you on that?
In addition to an interesting oral history of Outlaw County, the April issue of Texas Monthly features a short front-of-the-book interview with the always lovable very popular handsome Craig James. The embattled Senatorial candidate discusses the reasons he’s running for office, how he started fighting “evil,” and why he wet the bed until he was a teenager. (Short answer: family and religion.)
But he also talks about why he believes there is so much animosity toward him. Mostly, he says, people don’t want him to be such a great guy:
“‘There’s a lot of people who don’t have a faith and don’t believe â€¨what I believe, who want to rip me up,’ he explained. ‘They don’t like the fact that I go home to the same lady every night and have for twenty-nine years. They don’t like that I’ve been a dad and I’ve been there for my kids. â€¨They don’t like that I’ve been in the spotlight but haven’t stumbled. I think there’s a group of â€¨people who would like to see me come down.’”
Uptown was on vacation yesterday. Red Solo cups everywhere, and Patio Grill was so packed the party spilled out on to the sidewalk. This morning, it sounded like someone was cleaning up after the apocalypse. As an aside, I’m genuinely curious about the allure of Patio Grill. I have approximately a week left to live on top of it, and I still haven’t stopped in.
So, it’s summer, basically. But the season that’s technically supposed to come before has not been entirely forgotten. Today marks the kickoff of SMU’s Fashion Week, though the boulevard acts like a quasi-runway year-round. The launch party this evening at Tootsies will feature spring trends, new Citizens of Humanity denim, Pinkberry, and a raffle. It’s free to attend, but RSVP here. Panels throughout the week include discussions on journalism and blogging, as well as the business side of fashion.
Tonight also brings the second of Oil and Cotton’s “Mom’s Night Out” events, presented with the Rosemont Early Childhood PTA. Everything you need to make a mixed media piece of art is provided, and you’re encouraged to bring booze, snacks, or both. Space is limited, but you can still register online.
For more to do this evening, go here.
Did Dallas ISD Cheat on Standardized Tests? Report Suggests It’s Possible. An investigation of 70,000 public school district test results by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution doesn’t prove that Dallas ISD, as well as 196 of the nation’s largest 3,125 school districts, have cheated on tests. But the results’ patterns were similar to those that indicated cheating in Atlanta:
“In nine districts [including Dallas] scores careened so unpredictably that the odds of such dramatic shifts occurring without an intervention such as tampering were virtually zero.”
Was Dick Cheney Too Old For Heart Transplant? Alternate headline: Is this report on WFAA a non-story? It compares a Plano resident’s father’s inability to secure a heart transplant because he was deemed too old for the procedure to former Vice President Dick Cheney’s recent transplant at the age of 71. A spokesperson for the Southwest Transplant Alliance claims preferential treatment is impossible. But the story doesn’t mention what seems to me the key bit of information: are there younger transplant candidates on the list that were matches for the heart Cheney received?
C.J. Wilson: ‘The Rangers Didn’t Really Want Me.’ That’s what the former Ranger ace tells Gil Lebreton. Unlike Cliff Lee, Wilson says, he didn’t spurn a substantial offer from the Rangers. That offer never came. “They hate me in Texas,” Wilson says.
We sent intern Michelle Saunders out to cover the groundbreaking celebration of Moss Haven Elementary’s new farm. See her report below.
Last spring, while eating a salad for lunch, Kim Aman, a Moss Haven Elementary veteran of 17 years and the “Lead Weed Teacher” as her peers fondly refer to her, was surprised to find that her students had no idea what the radishes in her bowl were.Â She instantly identified a need for nutrition education and the idea of creating a garden was born. “My grandfather was a farmer and he was always teaching me about vegetables,” she says. “So it’s in my blood.” Living in an urban setting, however, most of these kids don’t get that experience.” So, along with Tiffany Walker, a first-grade parent currently serving as the Outdoor Learning Environments committee chair, they brainstormed a garden, drafted a business plan in the summer, and presented it to the school board and the American Heart Association. Less than a year later, the garden is a reality. “We had a combination of right connections, passion, and community support to create the perfect recipe for growing,” Walker says.
Dan Koller, over at Oak Cliff People, has some news about Scott Griggs’ endorsement for the 33rd Congressional District seat. Griggs is a member of Bike Friendly Oak Cliff and one of the owners of Oddfellows. Jason Roberts is a member of Bike Friendly Oak Cliff and one of the owners of Oddfellows.Â Griggs announced his endorsement of Domingo Garcia a few days ago. Roberts seems to think Griggs is endorsing both him and Garcia. Check out Koller’s work for more detail.
During the weekend of April 13-15, the fourth annual Dallas Art Fair will feature over 70 prominent national and international art dealers displaying works by modern and contemporary artists in various mediums. Located in the heart of the Dallas Arts District, the fair is within walking distance of world-renowned cultural institutions including the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, and many more.
Purchasers of the fair’s Patron Passes will have the opportunity to attend a variety of events leading up to the fair, such as the Dallas Art Fair Kick-Off Party hosted by Neiman Marcus Downtown, exhibition openings at The Power Station, Nasher Sculpture Center, the Goss-Michael Foundation, and the Dallas Contemporary, panel discussions throughout the fair weekend, and the exclusive Dallas Art Fair Preview Gala on Thursday, April 12th. The Preview Gala will offer patrons an opportunity to preview and purchase the exhibited art prior to the public opening of the fair. The Preview Gala will benefit the Dallas Contemporary, a non-collecting art museum located in the Dallas Design District, and for the first time, the Preview Gala will also benefit the Nasher Sculpture Center, home to one of the world’s finest collections of modern and contemporary sculpture.
The Dallas Art Fair was co-founded by John Sughrue and Chris Byrne in 2009, drawing established and aspiring art collectors and enthusiasts from all over the nation. For more information about the fair and to purchase tickets, visit www.dallasartfair.com.