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D Academy Announces 2014-2015 Fellows

You may not know this, but D Magazine Partners has a leadership group called D Academy. It’s a nine-month immersion program that takes its participants through a series of crash courses on a variety of topics, including healthcare, the arts, education, criminal justice, the environment, poverty, infrastructure, philanthropy, and the city’s brand. Some of Dallas’ most influential speakers generously give of their time to talk about these topics with our fellows while Robin Pou provides leadership training.

The class also spearheads the Big D Reads program, a city-wide reading experience. The goal is to get Dallas involved in the ultimate book club through lectures, book discussions, street festivals, movie screenings, and performing arts events, with a special focus on Dallas ISD ninth graders.

D Academy is a lot of work. But it’s also a lot of fun. Therefore, we had many applications. The selection committee spent many hours arguing over the applicants and finally narrowed the field down to 24. They are:

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Judgmental Map of Dallas

I love maps of Dallas. I can’t read a traditional map to save my life, which pre-iPhone days, made for many hours lost somewhere between point A and point B. But I love maps that tell me something about my city. One of my favorites is this map by David Harman, which is screen-printed and hand made. It’s pretty, and I’ve seen it framed and hanging in various coffee shops around town. (David created these maps while in Dallas, but is now pursuing an MFA in Painting in Knoxville.) My other favorite is this one, created by the folks at bcWorkshop. This map portrays the 318 communities in Dallas. I printed this out and put it on my desk for a few days. I heard, “I didn’t know that part of town is called that” multiple times while people studied the map. It also led to an argument or two.

Both of the above examples were made with love and lead to a better understanding of the city. I don’t think this Judgmental Map of Dallas was made in the same vein. And while I don’t condone most of the stereotypes, it does make for an interesting read.

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New Cities Summit: Cars Are Bad

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.

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Meet Nelson, the Coolest Dog in Dallas

The first time I saw Nelson, it was from my apartment window. I saw his parents on the silver Vespa first. Then I saw the sidecar. And then I saw Nelson, the Goldendoodle, in the sidecar. It was one of the greatest sights I’ve ever seen. (I realize I need to get out more.)

The second time I saw Nelson, he was at Klyde Warren Park. His dad had just put his goggles on, and he had just been loaded into his sidecar. I ran over like a madwoman and asked if I could take a photo.

I love Nelson and his family, not just because they’re adorable, but because I’ve had a scooter for a year, and every day since I purchased the scooter, I’ve talked to my husband about getting a sidecar and putting our dogs in it. But here’s the thing: it would never work. I love my dogs, but they’re not incredibly smart. Instead of staying away from cars’ bumpers, they try to sniff them as we walk past. If they see a squirrel, they lose it. So I know my dogs could never, ever be as cool as Nelson. Which means I could never, ever be as cool as Nelson’s parents.

I wanted to know more about Nelson and his scooter-riding ways, so I called his mom, Genesis Lee. Below is a Q&A on how the whole thing got started and why Nelson is probably the best dog in Dallas (sorry, Miko and Maya).

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My Weekend With S.E. Hinton

For nearly four days, I drove The Outsiders author, S.E. Hinton, around Dallas as part of our Big D Reads program, which, as you recall, has a simple goal of inspiring the entire city of Dallas to read one book together in one month. The past 27 days, we’ve handed out 20,000 copies of Hinton’s book and created programming around it.
This past weekend, I got to know Susie Hinton (somewhat) well.

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Join S.E. Hinton at Klyde Warren Park on Saturday

Like watching a man work really, really quickly and create something pretty in just 2 minutes? Then you need to watch this video of artist Mike Stilkey recycling 1,400 books by painting on their spines. We brought him here as part of our Big D Reads program (the one where we’re asking everyone to read S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders this month). Ryan Hartsell from Reel FX and Dylan Rogers from &Transfer captured the footage. The guys spent six days filming Stilkey work, then took it back to the folks at Reel FX, who cut it down.

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Six Dogs Walk Into Downtown Neimans

Art Ortiz is the pack leader at DogFit Dallas. You can often see him walking around downtown with several dogs in tow. He’s great at identifying dogs with people problems, and is a godsend to many of us downtown dog owners.

He posted this video earlier today. As he explains it, he’d always heard Neiman Marcus was dog friendly, but had never taken his dogs inside. Today, during his normal walk, he decided to see what would happen. The overall reaction was great: everyone was kind and welcoming.

So the next time you’re thinking about making a trip to Neimans, take your dog along, or give Art a call. Either way, your dog will be happy.

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Leading Off (4/2/14)

Mayor Rawlings Apologizes for Handling of Home Rule. Mayor Mike Rawlings has stated the obvious: the rollout for the home-rule initiative in DISD was poorly executed. He asked people to create groups to offer ideas on how a home-rule district could operate saying the “blank page” idea was not a good one.

Plano ISD Employee Steals Millions. Last fall, someone noticed a suspicious invoice that former Plano ISD Kris Wilson Gentz submitted. The invoice was bogus, and it wasn’t the first one. Since 2004, Gentz had been creating invoices for work that was never done and equipment that was never purchased. He stole between $2.5 and $7 million. Though police are trying to recover the money, it looks like Gentz gambled most of it away.

 Oak Cliff Gets Permanent Dog Park. This news happened on Monday, but it’s about dogs, so I’m posting it today. ElmWoof has been popping up monthly in Elmwood, giving pet owners a place to let their dogs run free. With a $9,000 grant from Rawlings’ GrowSouth program, the park will now become permanent.

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Big D Reads Is Here

What’s your “ah-ha” book? Mine was Watership Down by Richard Adams. Christine Allison’s was Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger. A lot of people have said theirs was Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, which we honored with a month-long celebration last April. Starting today, we’re celebrating The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.

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Leading Off (3/26/14)

Coalition Against Home Rule Forms. The coalition, made up of trustees Carla Ranger and Bernadette Nutall and representatives for blacks, Hispanics, administrators, and teachers, believes that the home-rule initiative for DISD would take away teachers’ and voters’ rights and turn the district over to charter operators.

Teen’s Body Found in Creek. On Monday, two students skipped class and went to play along Five Mile Creek. One, 14-year-old Javar Smith, got in the water where he started struggling. His friend couldn’t swim, so he ran to get help at school. He told a family member what had happened, but that person didn’t believe him. On Tuesday, the kid told a school official. Later in the day, Smith’s body was found.

Bacon Reunited With Owner. Sany Jimenez, 17, lost her potbellied pig on Friday. It was a fretful weekend for the teenager, but finally, yesterday, she was reunited with Bacon. The pig found his way to the home of a man who had to take a picture of him when he saw him because he feared people would think he was drunk if he didn’t. He also had thoughts of putting Bacon on the grill, but instead, turned him over to Arlington police. If you don’t like cute pets being reunited with owners, at least watch this for all the puns the reporter was able to work in (yes, bringing home the Bacon was used).

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Leading Off (3/19/14)

Scary Commute. Things got a bit dicey yesterday after a wreck on 635. Some thought the best course of action would be to turn around and try to drive against traffic (a few claimed that police told them to do so). Once everyone turned back around, traffic started to unsnarl.

Feds Announce Results of Online Child Exploitation Investigation. Operation Round Table, as it was called by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations team, busted a ring that had more than 250 victims and 14 suspects. One suspect is still at large and agents need help identifying the 18- to 20-year-old they believe is in North Texas.

Man Awaits DNA Test to See if He Was Stolen as a Baby. Sam Miller, 50, needs a new kidney as a result of a hereditary disease. He asked family members about the disease. None of them have it. That’s when he realized he was adopted. Then he found out his birth certificate was made up. Then friends came across a story about a baby stolen from its parent’s arms in Chicago around the time Miller was born. So now Miller’s waiting for the results of a DNA test to see if he was stolen as a baby.

Candace and Tony Romo Welcome Second Son. I am so behind. I didn’t even realize Candace Romo was pregnant. She had Rivers Romo yesterday. He’s 8 pounds, 12 ounces.

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Leading Off (3/12/14)

Miley Cyrus Watches Local Dallas News. I have nothing to add to this photo, taken by Channel 5 producer Katie Den Daas.

Grassfire in Trophy Club Breaks Out. It’s the fourth-driest-ever start to the year in North Texas and a grassfire popped up in Trophy Club. More than 300 acres burned between highway 377 and Lake Grapevine.

Arrest Made in Shoe Store Shooting. Police arrested 21-year-old Jacob Galen Everett in the death of 23-year-old Randy Pacheco, manager of Red Wing Shoes. Pacheco was killed February 25.

Parents Forgive Suspects in Son’s Murder. The family of Ivan Mejia hasn’t spoken much since their son was murdered on Saturday night, but they released a statement yesterday. “They wanted the other families to know that they hold no grudge, that they understand they are also grieving in this dark time,” said family spokesman Benjamin Alicea.

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