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Making Dallas Even Better

What Dallas Can Learn From Syracuse

The Atlantic visits Syracuse, New York, where decades ago an elevated highway was built that destroyed neighborhoods and enabled the flight of the middle-class to the suburbs. The city has seen its poverty rate soar as a result.

The section of highway in question — part of  Interstate 81 — is showing its age and in need of repair or replacement. Long-suffering FrontBurnervians will understand what this has to to with Dallas. Only the situation is somewhat different in Syracuse because there the offending highway almost certainly will have to come down:

An opportunity to try and reverse some of the decades of decay has recently presented itself. The state of New York now says that I-81, the highway that was built in the 1960s and displaced the 15th ward, is reaching the end of its useful life. The state and region are currently debating proposals about what to do with the road.

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Ahmed Mohamed’s Family Demands $15M From City of Irving and Irving ISD

The lawyers for the family of former Irving teenager Ahmed Mohamed sent a letter demanding $10 million from the city of Irving and $5 million from the Irving school district for how police and officials handled the clock controversy.

From the letter, via DMN:

He will continue for the rest of his days to experience pain and suffering. A large segment of potential employers will steer clear of Ahmed to avoid controversy, despite his many obvious talents. There is no other way to put it: his reputation in the global community is permanently scarred. One also that Ahmed, quite reasonably, will have a lifelong fear of the law enforcement and educational establishments that have let him down so terribly.

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Could Nancy Lieberman Become Head Coach of the Sacramento Kings?

The NBA’s Sacramento Kings are reportedly unhappy with their head coach after a poor start to the season, and already looking around for someone to take over.

Slate takes a blind look at the resumes of five current NBA assistant coaches  and argues that “Candidate E” has the strongest case:

Candidate E

  • Earned a position on the USA national team as a senior in high school
  • Medaled in the Olympics as a player
  • 4-year collegiate player, 3-time All-American, 2-time National Player of the Year, 3-time national champion
  • Former professional player
  • Inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame
  • 4 years of professional head coaching and general manager/executive experience
  • Television studio and game analyst for professional basketball on regional and national networks
  • In 1st season as an NBA assistant coach

Candidate E is Plano’s own Nancy Lieberman, who talked about her current gig as a Kings assistant on our EarBurner podcast back in August. Bleacher Report is saying that Lieberman is, in fact, the favorite of the Kings owner to take over the team on an interim basis if they fire current head coach George Karl.

Video Revealing Pregnancy Via Whisper Game Goes Viral

Coming to this one late, admittedly. I don’t much watch The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, but the talk-show host apparently is known to play something called “the Whisper Game” with his guests. At least one Dallas couple who are fans of Fallon chose that game as the means of revealing to her parents that a baby is on the way.

The soon-to-be-grandfather’s reaction is priceless. The video has racked up nearly 2 million views so far on YouTube, thanks to being featured by Buzzfeed.

(h/t Star-T)

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Leading Off (11/20/15)

End-of-Course Exams Basically Meaningless. The class of 2015 was the first in the state public education system to be required to pass a battery of end-of-course exams in order to receive a high school diploma. However, the state legislature earlier this year provided an out. Students can apply to their districts for a waiver to be allowed to graduate anyway, and a new survey found that among Texas’ 100 largest ISDs, 71 percent of waivers are granted. In four districts in Dallas and Collin counties all applications were successful.

Oilman Gets Life For Killing Girlfriend’s Ex-Husband. Johnny Lloyd Patton Jr., 68, of Fort Worth, was sentenced on Thursday for shooting Richard Slatkin in October 2013. Slatkin was the former spouse of Patton’s live-in girlfriend, who had previously had an affair with — and been impregnated by — Patton’s son while she was married to Slatkin. Patton claimed self-defense in the incident, but the jury evidently didn’t buy his argument.

Denton Recall Petition Fails. Those looking to recall Joey Hawkins from his seat on the city council collected 125 signatures when they needed only 76 to force an election. Trouble is they filed their petition two days too early. The Denton city charter specifies that a council member must be allowed to serve his or her term for six months before such a petition can be submitted.

Freezing Temperatures Coming This Weekend. So says the National Weather Service.

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How Big is ‘Texas-Size’?

I just happened upon the Star-Telegram’s account of Hillary Clinton’s Tuesday visit to Dallas, which Staci wrote about for us. What caught my attention was the piece’s curious headline:

A “Texas-size crowd”? The article’s own estimate of the turnout was “more than 1,500” people, and Staci tells me the venue could have accommodated more. Does 1,500 people qualify as “Texas-size”?

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How a Nonprofit Aims to Manage Fair Park

Right now the Dallas City Council is being briefed by Walt Humann, the former Hunt Oil executive who also played key roles in the development of DART and today’s Central Expressway, about a proposal to create a nonprofit Fair Park Texas Foundation to manage Fair Park on behalf of the city.

You can see the poorly copy-edited briefing documents for yourself. In addition to the signing over management to the foundation, the city would asked for $125 million-$175 million in the next several bond programs for improvements.

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Tony Romo Looks to Major League to Motivate Dallas Cowboys

When I read the headline a little while ago that “Cowboys’ Tony Romo tweets video from Major League” to spur his 2-7 teammates to a stunning comeback, I hoped to discover that the clip in question was this one, so that I’d have an excuse to create the image above.

That wasn’t it. It was this one:

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Study Says 100,000+ Texas Women Have Attempted Their Own Abortions

Those were the findings released today by the University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Policy Evaluation Project, which used an online survey to conclude that between 100,000 and 240,000 woman in the state have attempted to induce their own abortions.

The study was attempting to assess the effects of the 2013 restrictions — which required clinic performing the procedure to be ambulatory surgical centers — passed by the state legislature that resulted in the number of legal abortion clinics falling from 41 in 2012 to 17 now.

Most of those are in the major cities — including two in Dallas and one in Fort Worth — which means women in counties hundreds of miles from the nearest clinic sometimes feel that they have no choice but to take matters into their own hands. From the study:

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There Are 102 Syrian Refugees in Dallas-Fort Worth

That’s according to a count provided by the DFW International Community Alliance, a network of internationally-focused organizations in North Texas. From their press release today:

Total number of Syrian refugees:  102.

Number of refugee families (including single men):  24.

All but 6 of those who were resettled by volags (resettlement agencies under contract with the State Dept) live in Dallas.  5 families live in Fort Worth.  One single man lives in Arlington.  Three of the families originally resettled in Dallas have moved to Richardson.

8 of the 24 arrived by ‘other visas’ and applied for TPS, and subsequently for political asylum.  Three of the 8 political asylee Syrians are families.  Four are single men and one is a married man who is waiting for the arrival of his wife and children.  One of the single men was studying here on a prestigious Fulbright scholarship.  Most of these men were brutally tortured and their homes / businesses burned during their captivity and subsequently fled to Lebanon and from there to the US.

Homeland Security’s intensive investigations of each refugee family has caused an unprecedented delay in arrivals.  No families have arrived from Turkey (where the largest number of Syrian refugees currently resides) in the past 9 months.  One family reached Dallas from Uzbekastan last week.  They are a Kurdish Syrian family from the NE of the country.  Two months ago the large family of a disabled Syian reached Fort Worth.

Two families, brothers of a Syrian who lives in Richardson, are scheduled to arrive on Dec. 4.  We are uncertain at this moment if they will be permitted to join their relatives on that date.

Sorry, Gov. Abbott, they’re already here.

Dead Dogs Left Outside Dallas Animal Services

Yesterday, after her 311 report about a dead dog near Interstate 20 and St. Augustine Drive was closed within 20 minutes without the animal having been picked up, Marina Tarashevska decided to vent her frustration by dropping two dead animals right outside the entrance to Dallas Animal Services.

While not a move that we should necessarily encourage our fellow citizens to emulate, it garnered a new round of media attention about the city’s stray dog problem, which has become as pernicious an ongoing issue as potholes.

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Poll: Would You Ride a Bullet Train That Doesn’t Reach Downtown Houston?

We learned last week that the Dallas-to-Houston bullet train is likely not to see its southern terminus reach downtown Houston but will instead stop at that city’s Northwest Mall, which is along Interstate 610 loop, just south of U.S Highway 290 — about an 8-mile drive from downtown. The reason is that the environmental impact of taking a train through the neighborhoods that would be affected by the closing of that distance are too costly.

Houston’s METRORail doesn’t connect to Northwest Mall. According to Google, this is the public transportation option available for getting from there to downtown:

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Hope You Like Rain, Dallas

El Niño, climate conditions spurred on by warmer-than-normal temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, is likely to keep us rain-heavy for the next few months:

Rick Mitchell, a meteorologist at KXAS-TV (NBC5) said the southern jet stream has been active for some weeks now, and “will stay active, and active from California through the southern tier of the U.S., continuing to impact all of Texas and the southern third of the nation.”

Following the heavy rains in April and May, “I feel like El Niño has been fairly well-behaved,” Mitchell said.

“We felt there would be a relaxation of rain over the summer, but I don’t think anyone thought it would dry up the way it did,” he said. “And when the spigot turned on again, it really did, and I think that trend should continue through the rest of fall and into the winter.

On the plus side, the Texas drought is over, again:

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