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Podcast: The Future of DART Rail Through Downtown Dallas

The July issue of D Magazine (on newsstands now, but not yet available online) includes a story about the future of DART light-rail through downtown Dallas. This week’s podcast guest was our own Peter Simek, who typed that story. He chatted with Tim and Zac about the options for the future of the public transportation system, the lawsuit State Sen. Royce West filed against Dallas Cowboys player Dez Bryant, and Galveston, for some reason.

First a few notes and corrections before you dial up the show in your iTunes, Stitcher, or your favorite podcatcher:

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Chewbacca Mom Gets an Action Figure

The Grand Prairie woman whose Facebook Live video went viral hasn’t seen the end of her 15 minutes yet. Hasbro turned her into a toy:

The figurine is all Chewbacca from the neck down, but feature’s Payne’s famously smiling face and a tiny little version of her favorite mask. A Hasbro spokesperson told CNN the talking toy is loaded with 13 quotes from Payne’s video, including a version of her laugh and the now-iconic line “I’m such a happy Chewbacca!”

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Leading Off (6/18/16)

Donald Trump RallY at Gilley’s. Following a fundraiser at the Highland Hotel, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee spoke before a crowd of a few thousand downtown. Hundreds protested nearby, while a much smaller crowd gathered outside the Highland earlier in the day. Trump told his acolytes: “We have to stop people with hate in their heart from coming into our country.” Meaning he was calling for himself to be banned from entry into the United States? Unusual move. What a maverick. Just the sort to shake things up in Washington.

It’s Hot, and Heat Can Kill. North Texas is under a heat advisory — with expected high temperatures in the high 90s and a heat index of between 105 and 108 — through Saturday. On Thursday, Dallas County confirmed the county’s first heat-related death of the year.

Colby Lewis Takes No-Hitter to Ninth. The Texas Rangers pitcher lost his bid for a perfect game with no outs in the eighth inning but still hadn’t allowed a hit to the Oakland Athletics when Max Muncy came to bat to lead off the final frame. Muncy hit a ball to right field that the Rangers’ Nomar Mazara barely missed before it dropped in to break up the no-hitter. Lewis finished the 5-1 win having allowed two hits.

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Appeals Court Says Chris Kyle Shouldn’t Owe Jesse Ventura $1.8M

The 2-1 decision of the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals was announced today, overruling a jury’s 2014 decision that the estate of the late “American Sniper” Chris Kyle owes former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura $1.8 million for lying about decking Ventura in a fight:

In a 2 to 1 decision, the appeals court threw out the $1.35 million awarded to Ventura for “unjust enrichment.” It ordered the district court to conduct a new trial on the $500,000 defamation judgment in favor of Ventura.

The decision was written by William J. Riley, chief judge of the 8th Circuit, joined by Circuit Judge Bobby E. Shepherd.

In a partial dissent, Circuit Judge Lavenski Smith concurred with the majority’s decision to reverse the unjust enrichment award, but disagreed with the majority’s decision to vacate and remand the defamation judgment for a new trial.

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Leading Off (6/10/16)

Man Kidnapped by Carjackers, Murdered. Investigators say the 42-year-old victim was likely targeted, followed to a gas station at DFW Airport on Thursday afternoon, where he went inside while thieves tried to make off with his rental car. When the victim saw the theft in progress, he rushed out to stop it, jumping into the vehicle’s driver’s side passenger door. He was later found dead at an apartment complex a few miles away.

Muslim Says He Was Nearly Run Off Road Driving. A white pickup truck aggressively followed Omair Siddiqi after he stopped to put gas in his car on Wednesday afternoon. Siddiqi was listening to a recording of the Quran when the white, middle-aged driver of the truck pulled alongside, rolled down his window and started screaming at him, “Take your rag ass back to your country. I’m gonna [expletive] kill you.” The truck then allegedly tried to run Siddiqi’s vehicle off the road. Police traced the license plate number that Siddiqi provided to an address in Garland. Siddiqi works as an outreach coordinator for the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Dallas Fort-Worth chapter

DISD Looks to Reduce Suspensions of Youngest Students. There’s disagreement among trustees about whether an all-out ban of imposing out-of-school suspensions on children in pre-kindergarten through second grade is the right move, but they want to do something at least to reduce the practice, which disproportionately affects black boys and can put them at a disadvantage for attaining future academic success. The board asked for more input in discussing alternatives.

Judge Forbids Slumlord From Evicting Tenants. The order is in place until the city’s lawsuit against Dennis Topletz is heard. Topletz is accused of renting 190 properties that violate many city codes to low-income residents. Topletz had sent a letter to his tenants threatening to evict them or raise their rent if they cooperate with the city’s action.

1 in 10 Dallas County Jail Inmates There Solely Because of Mental Illness. So says research of the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, which presented a plan Thursday aiming to keep the mentally ill who aren’t dangerous out of the jail. It would involve embedding social workers with police units responding to mental crises and be funded by $7 million in private grants.

Rangers Draft Pitcher. With their first pick of this year’s MLB first-year player draft, Texas took Cole Ragans, a high-school leftie from Tallahassee, Florida. Remember that in baseball the draft is pretty much a crap shoot, so even though he was the 30th overall player taken, who knows if he’ll ever make it to the Show.

What You Missed at D Magazine’s Happy Hour With an Agenda

Do you enjoy drinking drinks and listening to spirited discussions about some of the most significant issues facing Dallas today? You do? Then why weren’t you at Tuesday evening’s “Happy Hour With an Agenda” here at D Magazine World Headquarters?

You missed your chance to hear City Councilman Philip Kingston, CitySquare CEO Larry James, Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance president and CEO Cindy Crain, and Ikenna Mogbo of Metrocare Services talk about which top prospects the Texas Rangers should select in tonight’s MLB Draft — kidding, no, of course their conversation focused on the difficulties of humanely and effectively aiding the city’s homeless population.

Never fear: You can feel like you were there by viewing the Periscope video. You’ll have to provide your own beer, however.

If you’d like not to be left out of future opportunities to attend events like this, sign up for an email alert right this way.

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Mark Cuban Wants You to Be Able to Afford Mavericks Games

A New York Times article contrasts how ticket prices are surging for the Golden State Warriors games following the team’s dominant play of the last two NBA seasons with what your Dallas Mavericks have done:

Another plan would be to increase ticket prices only on the wealthy. Mr. Williams, a lifelong fan of the Dallas Mavericks, pointed out that when Mark Cuban, another tech billionaire, purchased and revitalized that team, he went out of his way to keep ticket prices low.

“One year my season tickets cost $24 a ticket, and I got my renewal package and they had dropped the price to $14,” Mr. Williams said. “It turned out what Mark was doing was jacking up the price on the lower bowl, where he knew the purchases were corporations, and reducing the price on the real fans upstairs.”

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UTA Draws Up New-ish Plan For Fair Park

Via the Morning News, we see a new design for what the future of Fair Park could look like: much more green space and far less acreage devoted to parking, for one.

The plan, grandly dubbed “Fair Park :The Reinvigoration of a National Treasure,” comes from the University of Texas at Arlington’s Institute of Urban Studies and was financially supported by the Foundation for Community Empowerment. That organization’s chief backer, former Trammell Crow chairman Don Williams, was also the force behind last year’s Di Mambro Plan, which also sought to put more “park” into Fair Park by limiting the space used by the State Fair of Texas.

The key recommendations from the UTA plan are:

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Poll: What Should We Do With Fair Park?

This week Fair Park is celebrating its 80th anniversary. While the State Fair of Texas remains a much-beloved annual event, there have increasingly been questions about how the fair’s organization operates and whether its domination of this important public space is a net good for the city. Under consideration also is a proposal to turn over management of Fair Park to a nonprofit foundation — which in turn would ask the city to significantly increase its financial commitment.

What do you think should happen?

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