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Leading Off (7/3/15)

Hood County Threatened With Gay-Marriage Lawsuit. Two men in Granbury want to exercise the right to which the Supreme Court last week affirmed they are entitled, but the men so far have been denied. They’ve now moved towards taking legal action against the county government for not issuing them a license. Meanwhile dueling rallies converged upon the courthouse Thursday to express their support for, or opposition to, the county clerk’s refusal to comply with the law.

UNT, TCU to Partner on Medical School. It’d be only the second program in Dallas-Fort Worth to confer M.D. degrees. Though neither university has confirmed the news, sources told the Fort Worth Business Press that the board of trustees for the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth is expected to vote on the plan Monday. UNT already operates the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine there, and the school’s previously announced intention to add a medical school has been opposed in the past by osteopaths. TCU would provide much of the funding that the state has so far declined to contribute to the effort.

Murder Rate Up in June. Dallas saw 20 homicides during the month — the most since August 2013 — and police don’t have a solid explanation for the uptick.

Interim DISD Chief Supports Teacher Evaluation System. Dallas teachers who had hoped the departure of district superintendent Mike Miles would spell the end of a controversial means of determining which classroom educators are getting the job done may be disappointed to hear Miles’ temporary replacement, Michael Hinojosa tell WFAA, “We need to support the teachers but also they need to realize these initiatives are going to move forward.”

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What Happened to FrontBurner Comments?

Long-suffering FrontBurnervians have likely noticed that our commenting system has changed. Yes, we’re transitioning to a new system today, and in the midst of doing that, we’ve not yet been able to restore comments previously made on posts and articles. We’re working on it.

Also, we’ve not yet set up our moderation tools, which is why if you’ve tried to make a comment today you may not be seeing it.

Developing…

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Podcast: Dwaine Caraway on His Commissioners Court Run And Why He’d Always Rather Be Fishing

With apologies to the other wonderful guests that EarBurner has hosted during its first few months of delivering auditory goodness to your favorite podcatcher on a weekly (sorry about last week) basis, now-former Dallas City Councilman Dwaine Caraway shot to the top of the power rankings when he stopped by the Old Monk yesterday.

You may come to listen to him talk about his run for the Dallas County Commissioners Court, but it’s his plans to host a televised fishing show called Come Go Fishin’ With Dwaine that will have you insisting to all of your friends that they need to subscribe to the D Magazine podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or through their favorite podcatcher.

I’ve got to bypass the show notes today, I’m afraid. If you don’t already know anything (or even if you know a lot) about Dwaine Caraway, you should read Zac’s great profile from last year. Then, seriously, just get listening:

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Everything We Ever Wanted You to Know About Dallas Neighborhoods

Let’s talk a moment about the elasticity of “neighborhood.” Sometimes the word is used to refer to an entire quadrant of a city, while some people wouldn’t dare call someone from three streets over a “neighbor.” It means pretty much whatever we want it to mean. That’s either useful or frustrating, depending on your outlook, or whether you’re off your meds.

I was talking about this with a fellow from North Texas Real Estate Information Systems — the company that keeps track of regional home sales data — a few months back. NTREIS relies heavily on the self-reporting of individual agents. He noted how inconsistent Dallas-area agents are in their use of the “subdivision” field when logging information about a property. One agent might dutifully type “Bent Tree North #3” while another reports a house on the same block is simply in “Bent Tree.”

This results in it being exceedingly difficult to track trends at a level as specific as a “neighborhood,” whatever that word means.

Anyway, read on to find out about our new neighborhood guides.

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Leading Off (6/19/15)

Lake Grapevine Flooding May Force Evacuations. Leaders in Grapevine, Flower Mound, and Coppell have warned some residents they may need to leave their homes as the overflowing lake is expected to crest at more than 563 feet tonight. Part of FM 2499 was shut down yesterday as water had spilled over into Denton Creek, which rose to cover portions of the road near Grapevine Mills Mall.

TCU Advances in College World Series. The Horned Frogs topped LSU for the second time, by a score of 8-4, on Thursday. But they’ll have to beat defending champ Vanderbilt — a team they lost to earlier in the double-elimination tournament — twice to advance to the best-of-3 finals. They play tonight at 7 p.m. in Omaha.

Lake Dallas Ousts Muckraking Councilwoman. Some shady goings-on in the small town north of Lewisville Lake this week. Julie Matthews had won election to the Lake Dallas City Council with 69 percent of the vote and only took her seat on June 11. Previously she’d operated a Facebook page on which she’d posted documents about Mayor Anthony Marino’s firing from Lewisville ISD for having been involved in the harassment of a gay student, images of him using city dumpsters to get rid of his own commercial waste, and a video of him drunkenly wielding a weapon at a banquet. Matthews had also complained that Nick Ristagno is in violation of state law by serving as both the city manager and police chief. So, based on what sounds like transparently thin charges, Marino and the three other members of the council voted to remove Matthews from her position.

Tennell Atkins Guilty of Assault. The soon-to-be former Dallas city councilman must pay a $166 fine for what he did to a city employee who wouldn’t let him into City Hall through a secured door last December.

Former UNT-Dallas President Owes Child Support. John Ellis Price quit as the head of the school in summer 2013 after reports of inappropriate relationships with employees. But he had still been teaching accounting classes at the school — at a salary of $191,000 a year — since then. On Thursday he resigned from that post as well, following news of a lawsuit against him by a 33-year-old former UNT student. Price is 63 and the father of a son the woman gave birth to in 2008.

Don’t Go to Oklahoma City. Maybe good advice at any time <rimshot>, but especially today as a 4-mile stretch of northbound Interstate 35 between Ardmore and Davis in Oklahoma has been shut down while officials try to figure out what to do about boulders that collapsed off a hillside onto the highway following the heavy rains of Tropical Storm Bill.

Rangers Lose on Balk-Off. Is the balk the lamest rule in sports? Discuss.

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Don’t Forget to Tell Us How You #StayCoolDallas

Now that we’ve survived Tropical Storm Bill, our old friend the sun has reappeared to recommence the annual trial by fire known as summer in Dallas. Remember that you have until the end of this month to tell us how you #StayCoolDallas and thereby enter for a chance to win a $200 gift card to the Grove at Harwood. More info here.

Check out some of the entries we’ve received so far:

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Joey Gallo Makes Clayton Kershaw Lose It

Zac mentioned this in “Leading Off,” but he’s not really into baseball so he undersold it. I’m greatly interested in baseball — though not a rabid Rangers fan — and so I recognized that last night’s incident in Los Angeles deserves a deeper dive.

Watch the video above to see rookie Joey Gallo crush a ball off Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw — a Highland Park High School graduate and the current title holder of Greatest Pitcher Alive. The Cy Young winner is having a subpar season measured by his own high standards, but still — look how far that ball goes. Dodger Stadium is known as a ballpark that favors the guy on the mound.

The best part for Rangers fans is that Gallo’s blast caused Kershaw to do this in the dugout:

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Help Wanted: DMagazine.com Seeks Online Managing Editor

Always wanted to work at D Magazine World Headquarters? An opportunity has opened up:

 

Online Managing Editor

A website is like a shark — it has to constantly move forward or it dies. DMagazine.com seeks a managing editor not only adept at keeping our shark in motion, but also capable of helping to steer the beast in new directions. Our average site traffic has nearly doubled just in the past year, and with that great success comes the great responsibility of keeping fed the insatiable appetite of our readers for a continuous rotation of ever-changing content. The duties of this position involve management of two of our most important annual contests: the Best of Big D and the 10 Most Beautiful Women in Dallas. Regular tasks also include planning, editing, and publishing articles and galleries to the travel, fashion, nightlife, legal, and health channels of our website, plus serving as Tweeter-in-Chief of @DMagazine. The perfect candidate will boast top-notch organizational skills, have an eye for what makes a great online story, know how to craft great headlines, obsess over minor details without losing sight of the forest for the trees, hit every deadline, possess a great sense of visual style, and love reading and writing about life in Dallas. Previous experience working for a magazine, newspaper, or online publication preferred. Send cover letter and resume to jason.heid@dmagazine.com.

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Leading Off (6/12/15)

Dallas High School to be Redeveloped. Jack Matthews, the developer behind the Omni Convention Center Hotel and active in the South Side neighborhood, has announced plans to purchase and convert to other uses the 6-acre school complex on the east side of downtown that’s been empty since 1995. The first phase is expected to create office space.

Big Shots Sign the McBridge. Margaret McDermott, the 103-year-old widow of the founder of Texas Instruments, was among those on hand Thursday for a ceremonial placing of signatures onto pieces of steel that will be used in the arches of her namesake bridge. The structure, which will replace the existing Interstate 30 bridge when it’s completed in 2017, is the second so-called “signature bridge” for Dallas designed by Santiago Calatrava. Which is why they held a signing ceremony, I guess?

Football Players Quit After Coach Makes Son QB. Nine members of the Mineral Wells High School team complained to the school board Tuesday that head coach Gerald Perry tapped his son Tristan to be quarterback without allowing another student a shot at earning the role. The next day the coaching staff reversed the decision, and the students agreed to put their pads back on, though they’d maybe be better off clinging to their outrage until after two-a-days.

Creepy Letters From “Jesus” Spook East Dallas Residents. The hand-scrawled notes, which use Bible references to preach that the end of the world is near, were left at several homes.

Black Bear Wanders Around Corinth. Some bright guy thought it was a good idea to bring the young wild animal home with him from Oklahoma. After it was spotted running about his neighborhood, the cub is being transferred to a ranch in Pilot Point.

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Poll: What’s to Blame For the McKinney Pool Incident?

Now that the country’s media elite have seen fit to pay attention to what went down at that Craig Ranch pool party, you’ve doubtless come across a host of articles and columns and on-air hot takes offering various explanations/defenses/hand-wringing.

Is it yet more evidence that white cops unfairly treat black citizens? Is it that the residents of this upscale neighborhood pushed the police to do what they did because interlopers from “other parts of town” had invaded their concrete oasis? Or are the kids at primary fault?

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The Daily Show Introduces the World to the ‘McKinney Bikini’

Last night on the Daily Show, after Jon Stewart recounted last Friday’s incident, correspondent Jessica Williams showed up dressed in a swimsuit with full body armor beneath: “a McKinney bikini.”

She joked that what happened at Craig Ranch actually represents progress since no black people ended up shot.

Afterward, on the Nightly Show, Larry Wilmore took aim at some of the “awkward media coverage,” including responding to a lame defense of the cop’s behavior by one neighborhood resident, who said that the officer had just done what anyone else would have done.

“No, anybody else would be like, ‘calm down teenagers while I arrest the crazy racist lady who started this s**t,'” Wilmore said. He followed that up by noting that Fox News’ morning show un-ironically broadcast a segment on summer pool safety just after reporting on what happened in McKinney. This prompted Wilmore to offer his own safety advice, first for white kids (“don’t run by the pool,” “don’t dive in the shallow end”) and then for black kids (“don’t go to the pool.”)

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Murders Are Down But Violent Crime Is Up in Dallas

At this morning’s Dallas City Council Public Safety Committee meeting, Chief David Brown presented the city’s crime statistics for 2015 (through May 31). See the chart above.

The headlines are that the murder rate is down, but violent crime as a whole is about 10.79 percent. Overall crime is down 2.15 percent due to a 4.37 percent decrease in property crimes compared to the same period last year.

The chief said the department “will utilize specialized units & officers on overtime to address violent crime concerns.”

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On the De Facto Segregation of McKinney Pools

The Atlantic puts what happened on Friday in McKinney (mentioned by Liz in “Leading Off”) — a police officer waving a gun at teenagers, forcing one girl to the ground for the alleged crime of trespassing at a private pool — in the context of the segregation, desegregation, and resegregation of America’s cement ponds:

The public pools of mid-century—with their sandy beaches, manicured lawns, and well-tended facilities—are vanishingly rare. Those sorts of amenities are now generally found behind closed gates, funded by club fees or homeowners’ dues, and not by tax dollars. And they are open to those who can afford to live in such subdivisions, but not to their neighbors just down the road.

Whatever took place in McKinney on Friday, it occurred against this backdrop of the privatization of once-public facilities, giving residents the expectation of control over who sunbathes or doggie-paddles alongside them. Even if some of the teens were residents, and others possessed valid guest passes, as some insisted they did, the presence of “multiple juveniles…who do not live in the area” clearly triggered alarm. Several adults at the pool reportedly placed calls to the police. And none of the adult residents shown in the video appeared to manifest concern that the police response had gone too far, nor that its violence was disproportionate to the alleged offense.

To the contrary. Someone placed a sign by the pool on Sunday afternoon. It read, simply: “Thank you McKinney Police for keeping us safe.”

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