Find a back issue

Making Dallas Even Better


Gordon Keith Belatedly Learns of Major Journalism Award

Sharon Grigsby yesterday posted an item about a major award won by the DMN and radio talk person Gordon Keith. (Full disclosure: Gordon has been in my kitchen.) Gordon took first place in the Best of the West contest, for general interest column. I sent Gordon a note congratulating him and was preparing to post something similar here — when I realized that he won this award back in August. Strange, right? Here’s what happened:

Read More

Leading Off (12/1/15)

It’s December, People. Holy Hell. This is bonkers. 2016 is almost here. I’m already still writing 2015 on my checks.

Bobby Abtahi Booted From Virgin Flight. Abtahi, a lawyer and the vice chair of the Dallas Plan Commission, was not allowed to board a return flight home from New York. He was told the captain and crew didn’t feel comfortable with him on the flight because he’d cut off a flight attendant while walking into the airport. Abtahi, who is of Iranian extraction, joked that he wondered whether race played a role because: “I haven’t shaved in five days and my hair is a mess. I’ve been on a beach.” Which is exactly what a radicalized Plan Commissioner would say.

Verizon Files Plans for Enormous Development in Irving. The company wants to build a 157-acre campus with a hotel, 1,750 residential units, 3.5 million square feet of offices, and 85,000 square feet of retail. No word yet on how Verizon plans to protect this new campus from the Islamic Center of Irving.

‘Domestic Sewage’ Spills into Dallas Streets. The recent heavy rains caused a bunch of sewer overflows in Dallas. Dallas Water Utilities didn’t say where they all occurred, but five of them each exceeded 100,000 gallons of “highly diluted domestic sewage.” By law, these spills have to be promptly reported to the public. That’s what Plano did when eight spills happened there. Dallas, on the other hand, took three days to issue the notice. Big things happen here.

Three Questions About That Linda Septien Article in the Dallas Observer

I just read the Observer’s cover story this week. It’s a profile of Linda Septien, who is a voice coach and star maker responsible for a long list of pop performers you’ve heard on Radio Disney. Three things about that story jumped out at me:

1. Septien is 62 years old? Holy cow. She looks great for even 42.

2. Did the Observer not see Skip Hollandsworth’s 2006 profile of Septien in Texas Monthly?

3. Even if the Observer didn’t see that 2006 profile, did the paper not realize that Septien’s former husband, Rafael, a former placekicker for the Cowboys, was indicted on a charge of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and pleaded to a 10-year probated sentence? Because the Observer’s story mentions that she was married to him but doesn’t include that important detail. I bring this up because I know the person who was the child in that abuse case. And I don’t think Rafael Septien’s name should ever be printed without mentioning that he was indicted on a charge of aggravated sexual abuse of a child.

Read More

Leading Off (11/24/15)

Robert Jeffress Makes Dallas Look Bad. Our Mike Mooney profiled the pastor of First Baptist Dallas in 2012. Mike said Jeffress was a likable guy. Okay. I guess. But watch this video and read what Jeffress has recently said about Islam (short version: bonkers). Most important, read this blog post written by Robert Hunt, the director of Global Theological Education at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology. It’s titled “The Darkness in the Heart of Dallas.” Read it in the context of the misguided armed protesters who showed up at the Islamic center in Irving. We have SO far to go before Dallas gets to “world class” status, and it has nothing to do with signature bridges or riverside toll roads.

Elvis Andrus Unclear on the Concept. Yeah, yeah. We’re focused on the Cowboys and Mavericks right now. What? The Stars are playing? And it’s the team’s best season ever? Okay. Throw in the Stars. But here’s some Rangers news. Elvis Andrus, who committed, like, seventytwenty errors in Game 5 of the American League Division Series, says, “For sure, what happened last year is something that is going to make me work harder. I don’t think about it. It was a long process, but I’m in a good spot right now.” Say what? You don’t think about it, but it’s going to make you work harder? You screwed up, dude. THINK about it.

Two Arlington Officers Indicted. Detention officer Pedro Medina and former lead detention officer Steve Schmidt were indicted on a charge of criminally negligent homicide in the death of Jonathan Paul, who was in police custody.

Read More

Win Free Rhett Miller Tickets to Saturday’s CF Concert Series at Gas Monkey

The CF Concert Series is a benefit gig that raises money for cystic fibrosis research. This year’s installment, hosted by Gordon Keith of radio, will feature Rhett Miller (Old 97’s), Evan Felker (Turnpike Troubadours), and the Erik Chandler Band (Bowling for Soup). Saturday night at Gas Monkey Live will be a laid-back, mix-and-match affair, with the artists playing with each other and welcoming guest appearances. You can buy $45 GA tickets here. Or you can win them. Here’s how:

Write a verse to a Rhett Miller song. The stipulations: you must use a girl’s name and the name Robert Jenkins; you must make a reference to substance abuse (alcohol, pills, whatever — it’s your choice); and the setting has to be an eight-passenger van.

I’ve got two pairs of tickets for the authors of the two best verses. Put em in the comments, or, if you’re shy, email them directly to timr at dmagazine dot com. Deadline is 4 o’clock today. May your muse inspire you.

Read More

Leading Off (11/17/15)

Local Man’s 10-year-old Daughter Wakes in Middle of Night, Takes His Spot in Bed. A pretty intense storm rolled through North Texas last night. In one East Dallas house, a little girl got scared by the wind, scurried to her parents’ bedroom, and booted her father to the couch. As of 6 a.m., Dallas County had 19,000 reported power outages.

Norm Hitzges Doesn’t Think Highly of Jerry Jones. If you missed it on The Ticket yesterday, Hitzges delivered a jeremiad (look it up) about the Dallas Cowboys and their owner. It crescendoed with Hitzges asking, “Where the hell is your soul Jerry?” You can listen to it here, embedded in a Morning News story about the rant. A newspaper story about a radio host saying the football team isn’t good? Yes, the News is a dutiful media partner. You can tell someone wasn’t proud of his or her work. The story carries an anonymous “staff” byline.

Midlothian Couple Killed in Mass Murder. Details are still a bit sketchy, but six people were killed while camping in Anderson County, about 100 miles from Dallas. Three of the dead — Thomas Kamp, Hannah Johnson, and her young son Kade — lived in Midlothian. Johnson’s parents were also along for the trip. Her father, Carl, was killed, but her mother, Cynthia, was able to call police and hide in the woods until they arrived. A man who lives next to the property, William Hudson, was arrested and charged with one of the murders. No word yet on a motive.

Dr. Louise Cowan, R.I.P.

The announcement was made today by the Dallas Institute:

To the Dallas Institute family,

With great sadness but with hearts filled with gratitude for the work that she leaves in our charge, we want to inform our Dallas Institute community of the passing of Dr. Louise S. Cowan, at 2:27 a.m., Monday, November 16, 2015, at the age of 98. A renowned teacher of literature and poetry, she was a Founding Fellow of the Dallas Institute.

After a weeks-long struggle with her failing systems, she “died softly” according to her family who surrounded her — son, Dr. Bainard Cowan; his wife Christine; and their eldest daughter, Claire.

Read More

Doug Dunbar and Clarice Tinsley Poke Fun at the TV News Biz

An alert FrontBurnervian points us to a spoof video made by CBS Channel 11 anchor Doug Dunbar and Fox Channel 4 anchor Clarice Tinsley. In it, they make fun of the typical promo shots done to promote TV news teams. Dunbar’s “spin and grin” was apparently too hot for station management. The video originally went up on YouTube but was taken down — but not before FTVLive saved a copy.

Read More

DMN Again Takes Credit for Others’ Hard Work

A few weeks ago, I called your attention to a Morning News editorial in which the paper took way too much credit for shutting down a crime-ridden motel. The credit really belonged to Dwaine Caraway. Someone brought that fact to the attention of the paper, at which point the editorial was updated in a cynical fashion. Whoever wrote that editorial screwed up. That’s fine. We all screw up. The thing is to correct your screwups in a fair and transparent fashion. (Yes, I know the editorial writer could be a she. Yes, I know I could call the paper and ask who wrote the editorial. I’m choosing to remain ignorant of the authorship so that I don’t make an ad hominem attack here. I don’t trust myself.)

That’s context for an editorial published today that I’d like to point you to.

Read More

Greg Hardy’s Lawyer: ‘Nicole Holder Tripped and Fell’

Deadspin just published the 126-page transcript of Greg Hardy’s NFL meeting that reinstated the player. Deadspin’s summary of how that meeting went: “At the hearing, Hardy’s private defense attorney was given license to present his version of events in an essentially non-adversarial process. He used the sex lives of Holder and Kristina Laurence, the principal witness for the state, to attack them and their credibility; claimed that Holder merely slipped and fell; and suggested that the judge at Hardy’s bench trial was uniquely biased against Hardy.” Just bananas.

Donald Trump Likes To Hire Women From Dallas

First he hired SMU alum Hope Hicks. The Washington Post post described her job as “media handler, corporate aide, and the figure responsible for executing the details of the most surprising and divisive political rise in recent memory.” Now comes news that he has hired Katrina Pierson, founder of the Garland Tea Party, to be his national spokesperson. When we did a Q&A with her last year, Pierson said she was thinking about starting a production company in Hollywood so that she could funnel movie profits into “the conservative side of the culture.” I guess Trump pays better. As his spokesperson, Pierson will need to study this major, super-classy list of Donald Trump’s favorite words and phrases, for everyone who is not a loser.

Can DA Susan Hawk Try a Case Fairly?

You might have seen that Susan Hawk will personally try a murder case this week. Given how seldom this happens, I have a question. How can the trial be fair? If I’m on the jury, my thinking goes like this: Hawk isn’t going to take a case that needs much work. She’s going to pick a slam dunk. No way she’d risk the headline “DA Loses Murder Case.” So this guy must be triple guilty. Like, we can just skip to the closing arguments. Let’s wrap this up. I don’t need to see any evidence. Now, where do I get my parking ticket validated? Who wants to join me at Topgolf? Because I’ve got the afternoon off. No way am I going in to work.

Is it just me? Shouldn’t the defense start by moving for a mistrial?

(Full disclosure: I didn’t go to law school.)

Read More

Leading Off (11/10/15)

Susan Hawk Holds Town Hall Meeting. The event was held at St. Paul United Methodist Church in the Dallas Arts District. The DA “spoke loudly and clearly,” according to the paper. Congratulations, Susan Hawk. It appears that your volume control is working.

Shoplifting Suspect With Bra Full of Hardware Bit Worker at Dallas Home Depot. That’s the headline. Congratulations, Vivian Isedeh. You just made my brain crazy.

Knockout Punch at Cowboys Game Delivered by Brother. You probably saw the video yesterday of a Cowboys fan punching out an Eagles fan at the game. Turns out, they were both Eagles fans — and brothers. Even better, there was a third brother involved. Congratulations, Jorge, Jose, and Ignacio Castillo. You guys are the perfect Eagles fans, and you prove that stereotypes exist for a reason.