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Local Magazine Person Talks About D Magazine on KERA

The folks at KERA 90.1 were kind enough to show some interest in our 40th anniversary project. On Monday, Rick Holter, the station’s vice president of news, interviewed me in Klyde Warren Park, where we’ve installed an exhibit of staff photographer Elizabeth Lavin’s wonderful portraits. Here’s the “Friday Conversation” between me and Rick that aired this morning. In the short slideshow that accompanies the audio, you’ll see that I dressed for radio — and to prevent skin cancer. Anyway, the exhibit (shown above) is up for another few weeks. It’s on the east end of the park, in an area called The Commons. If you’re in the park, check it out.

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Managed Toll Lanes Are Taking Over North Texas

The News published this story on Sunday about the proliferation of managed toll lanes. Just now getting to it. My apologies. The story has a look at “plans to build the nation’s largest network of managed toll lanes into the region’s existing highways,” and it notes that “virtually every major highway project in the Dallas-Fort Worth area involves a tolling component.” I get it. We’ve run out of money to build more roads. No one has the stomach to talk about raising taxes the traditional way. So the road builders say we need a per-use tax. But two things in this story caught my eye.

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Hunt Oil Building Gives a Shout Out to Wick Allison

Our 40th anniversary issue will arrive in subscribers’ mailboxes this week and hit newsstands this weekend. You’ll hear more about it on FrontBurner in the coming days and about a related photography exhibit that we installed at Klyde Warren Park yesterday. Right now, I just wanted to share the below video taken last night. Several of the buildings downtown turned red last night to celebrate our anniversary. Thanks to everyone who flipped their LEDs for us. But a special thanks to the Hunt Oil building, which really did it up right:

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Leading Off (8/26/14)

Trinity River Work Put on Hold Till … When? Until yesterday, we expected the Army Corps to deliver its “record of decision” about the Trinity floodway in December. Now we know it won’t come till next year, February at the earliest. Without the record of decision, we don’t know what is or is not possible between the levees. That includes the lakes and the soccer fields and, yes, the toll road. From the News: “Rob Newman, the Corps’ Trinity River Corridor Project manager, reminded after the meeting that the federal contribution isn’t guaranteed. ‘It still has to be applied for and appropriated through Congress.’ And even then, the Trinity project is still short the $805,604,000 needed for the athletic fields and the restoration of the river bends and the trails and parks promised almost two decades ago. That also does not include the Trinity River toll road, which is guesstimated to cost another $1.4 billion or so.” Seems like everything is coming together.

Dallas’ Park System Needs Help. Speaking of the above, Park and Recreation Department Director Willis Winters explained yesterday what we need to do to become a world-class — [sorry]

A Bunch of Kids Missed the First Day of School at DISD. Explain to me why this is a news story. Okay, even easier: give me some context. Tell me how many kids missed the first day at, oh, Richardson ISD.

Arlington ISD Teacher Arrested for Public Intoxication. First-grade teacher Megan Updegraff clearly wasn’t ready to go back to school.

Police Shooting in Pleasant Grove. Steven Douglas becomes the fifth person shot by DPD this month. He died. From all accounts, this guy had it coming, and the cops did their job admirably.

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Craig Watkins Needs a Chauffeur

By now, you’re aware that District Attorney Craig Watkins hit someone on the Tollway and then paid that someone to keep quiet about the accident. Read this Tod Robberson post from yesterday. The FBI is now looking into the matter. As Robberson points out, Watkins apparently did the old “Do you know who I am?” bit at the accident scene. Let’s go back to another accident involving Watkins, this one from 2007.

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Huey P. Newton Gun Club Marches in Dallas To Protest Police Shootings

An alert FrontBurnervian points us to a Reason post about the Huey P. Newton Gun Club and its open-carry protest march through South Dallas. The group went into a restaurant carrying rifles, shotguns, and AR-15s. Some Dallas cops were eating there.

Naming a gun club after a co-founder of the Black Panthers and marching with long guns to protest police shootings struck me as — counterproductive? Is that the word? Needlessly confrontational?

But then I followed a link in that post to the cellphone video of two St. Louis cops gunning down 25-year-old Kajieme Powell on Tuesday. And I thought, My God, what is happening in our country? How can this happen? Naming a gun club after a co-founder of the Black Panthers and marching with long guns to protest police shootings starts to look reasonable. Necessary even.

Watch the video. Force yourself to do it.

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American Airlines Outsources Its In-Flight Magazine

My first full-time magazine job was at American Way, the in-flight for the airline. This was circa 1993. Zac worked there, too, prior to joining D, from 2005 to 2007. Eric did several tours there (and at Spirit, Southwest’s in-flight, which was later taken over by Pace). Jessica Jones, who works for our D Home, used to work there. And American Way’s creative director (David Radabaugh) and senior art director (Brian Smith) once worked for D. Point is: there are a lot of connections between that magazine and this one.

So I was dismayed to learn that the operation will no longer be run in-house by American Airlines Publishing. The airline has decided to outsource the magazine to a London-based company called Ink. The first Ink-stained issue will find its way into seat-back pockets in January 2015. I asked Adam Pitluk, the director of AA Publishing, for some more details about the move.

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Brendan Higgins Fired From Channel 11

Word comes that CBS Channel 11 has fired its morning anchor for his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad night in Aspen. Gotta say, though, not a bad mugshot.

Update (4:32) Here is the official statement from Higgins.

If my email inbox is any indication, many of you are wondering about a recent incident in Aspen, Colo., that resulted in my arrest. Sorry it took so long to issue a post as I’ve been dealing with the related matters. First, I need to apologize for the negative attention this incident has brought to my wife and our family, our friends and the many wonderful people I’ve worked with over the years. I’m also sorry to the authorities in Aspen, who do a great job every day. I simply put myself and others in a bad situation, which will not happen again. My plan is to answer the legal charges against me. Thanks to all of you who have sent your support.

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About the Use of the Word ‘Portmanteau’ in Our July Issue

In the July issue of D Magazine, the word “portmanteau” appeared in two stories. You may well wonder how rare an occurrence this was, and I will tell you how rare it was. From what I can gather, in the 40 years that the magazine has been in business, the word “portmanteau” has appeared in our pages just four times — including the two examples from July.

Zac used the word in his profile of Councilman Dwaine Caraway, explaining that when a constituent called him “trill,” he was combining the words “true” and “real.” And I used the word in my profile of Matt Rutledge, whose former company Woot combined the words “wow” and “loot.” At least two readers noticed our “portmanteau”s:

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Leading Off (8/19/14)

Body Found Hanging From Tree in Northwest Dallas. It is horrible to have to hope that suicide is the explanation. Any other story about this situation would be hard to handle.

Frisco Considers Changing Alcohol Law. My apologies. I live in Dallas. When I head to Frisco, it is usually to catch an FC Dallas match. So I had no idea that the city cuts off alcohol sales at midnight on weeknights. Now the city is considering changing that law. Why? Because the Cowboys will soon open their training facility there, which means that Jerry will be bending his elbow in Frisco. Just think how much more money the town will make with two additional hours to sell booze to him.

Susan Hawk Goes on the Offensive. The Republican challenger facing DA Craig Watkins in the November election was recently handed a gift: news that Watkins was involved in a car crash and used forfeiture funds to clean up the mess in a sketchy way. She’s making hay. (And a DMN editorial calls for an outside investigation of the matter.)

State Fair Aims To Kill Visitors By Feeding Them Insane Food. The Fair announced its eight finalists for the Big Tex Choice Awards. Are you ready to wash down fried Sriracha balls with funnel cake beer?

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Watch Miss Texas’ Wild-Ass First Pitch

Connoisseurs of horrible first pitches will perhaps argue that Mr. 50 Cent threw out the all-time worst first pitch. But as Deadspin put it, Monique Evans belongs in the conversation. If Evan Grant were inclined to go longform on this, write 3,000 words about how Evans did or did not prepare for the pitch, about the pitch itself (at least 1,000 words on that alone), about the aftermath of the pitch (what was the horse thinking?), then I’d read it. In fact, I may launch a Kickstarter to make that happen. Anyway, watch for yourself:

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Dallas Cop: ‘The Ideal Police Response to a Protest Is No Response at All’

The sad events in Ferguson, Missouri, are echoing all over Dallas today. The DMN offers an editorial criticizing the actions of the police there. Our own police chief has written an op-ed wherein he talks about how he handled a similar police shooting in 2012. You should read it. And then you should read this Washington Post story written by Radley Balko. Balko is the expert on the militarization of our nation’s police. Eric talked to Balko for a story he wrote for us in January about North Texas’ SWAT teams. Here’s the most interesting, most Dallas-centric part of Balko’s WaPo story:

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Is DISD About To Raise Our Taxes?

Over on LearningCurve, Eric has a look at some numbers that suggest, as he says, we’re about to have a real grown-up, put-the-kids-to-bed discussion about where we’re headed as a city and if we’re willing to pay for change. While you’re at it, you should read his recap of the most recent home-rule commission meeting. It’s actually pretty entertaining. Not only does he find a way to bring up the movie High Fidelity, but he manages to poke me in the ribs, too.

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