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Laura Miller on the Failings of Jennifer Gates and the Battle To Save Preston Hollow

If you haven’t yet, take a second to check out our new neighborhood guide. It’s a pretty robust tool that our little web team built. If you know someone who is moving to Dallas or thinking of moving, point him to this resource. One thing that makes it great is a series of essays about various Dallas neighborhoods. For example, here’s what Adam McGill has to say about his neighborhood, Lake Highlands. We asked people all over town to tell us why they live where they do and what they love most about their hood.

One of those people was Laura Miller, former D Magazine and Dallas Observer columnist, former mayor of Dallas, current Preston Hollow resident. The essay she turned in — well, it wasn’t like the other essays. It was more of a polemic than it was a love letter to Preston Hollow. In her sights this time: Councilwoman Jennifer Gates; Gates’ appointee to the Plan Commission, Margot Murphy; and Mark Cuban. Laura isn’t real pleased with what they’re doing to her neighborhood.

The piece clearly didn’t work for our neighborhood guide. But it also couldn’t just go to waste. “Put it on FrontBurner,” Laura told me, “or I will come over there and punch you in the throat.” I made up that quote. But I stand behind my reporting.

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Leading Off (6/30/15)

Mayor Rawlings Down With Lower Property Tax Rate, Maybe. Property values in Dallas and surrounding areas have shot up, prompting our Dream Team coach to suggest that we should consider a lower tax rate, so that everyone can relax a tad. Super. So long as Mockingbird and Garland roads become drivable sometime this decade.

The Next President of the Dallas Fed Won’t Be as Cool as Richard Fisher. Here’s a little ditty about the secretive search for the next head of the Dallas Fed. Here’s why you should miss Fisher.

North Texas Is Segregated. Spend some time with this Pew Research Center article. The gist: “Income segregation has increased over the past three decades in 27 of the largest 30 metropolitan areas across the U.S. … . In Dallas and many of the other metro areas we mapped, there were clear divisions between low-income neighborhoods and middle- and upper-income areas, as well as divisions along racial lines.” Said no one: “I am shocked.”

Flights out of Dallas Are Cheap! Mitch Schnurman looks at life post Wright Amendment and concludes, “[T]he Southwest effect is alive and well in Dallas and making this one of the country’s top markets for the flying public.” Good for us.

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Scot Miller Provides Today’s Moment of Quiet

We’ve talked about Scot before. The photographer and co-owner of Sun to Moon hosted an opening reception over the weekend for his latest show, titled “Nature in Our Backyard.” I swung by on Saturday and enjoyed seeing some of the prints that we reproduced in our July issue. They look okay online. They look better in the magazine. But the best way to enjoy them is hanging on a wall, in a gallery. If you’re in the Design District in the coming weeks, you might want to stop in. Meantime, Scot has produced another video. Take a deep breath and press play:

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Houston Socialite in Hot Water Resigns From UT Southwestern

Yesterday I passed along a story from the Houston Press about a high-profile couple who’d decamped the Bayou City, leaving in their wake a bunch of questions about their personal finances and those of a cancer-fighting nonprofit they ran. The wife, Beth Sanders Moore, landed a gig as director of development for cancer programs at UT Southwestern. Well, our Matt Goodman breaks the news on D Healthcare Daily that Moore has resigned.

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Barrett Brown Has Gotten Himself Thrown in the Hole Again

As I told Barrett’s mom when I heard the news that Barrett had been put in solitary again, if you are going to poke the bear, as Barrett does as a columnist for this blog, you’ve got to keep your nose clean. Barrett recently failed on that front. Barrett’s side of the story: some inmates were making hooch. Those inmates, along with Barrett, were given breathalyzers; everyone passed. Subsequently, only Barrett’s locker was searched. Authorities found hooch in it. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Last week, he was taken from his cell and thrown in the hole (or SHU), where he has been unable to get his meds or even a pencil. He now only gets two phone calls per month. Sometimes his mom reads him things like this blog post. So I’ll offer this:

Barrett, it’s easier to pillory the Bureau of Prisons and its Kafkaesque operation when you are standing on firm and steady moral high ground, when you are doing your level best to follow the rules, especially the ones that make sense, like not drinking jailhouse hooch. It’s also easier to do that when you have a pencil. We want to read what you have to say. We can’t do that unless you behave yourself.

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About the Laura Kostelny Situation

As Laura mentioned, she quit yesterday. After working at D Magazine for about a week. I would like to here add that her impact on the magazine will be felt for decades to come. That thing she did last Monday? I don’t think “groundbreaking” is too strong a word. Tuesday was a slow day. But Wednesday she came up with something that kids in journalism school will be studying a generation from now. And then Thursday! Here’s what I’m saying: if you had a dog named Story, you would consider changing it to Laura.

Okay, so, kidding aside, Laura started a decade ago as the copy editor for D. Then she became managing editor of D Home, then editor of D Home and D Weddings. I stole her back to D a week ago — at which point some folks from Hearst came calling. Laura has taken a job as executive editor of Country Living, based in Birmingham, Alabama.

We wish Laura well. And I will now make it my life’s work to bring down the Hearst Corporation.

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Houston Press Publishes Story That UT Southwestern Probably Didn’t Enjoy

Yesterday the Houston Press published an interesting story about a high-profile society couple that left town in March under strange circumstances and moved to Dallas. Beth and Jess Moore had amassed a mountain of debt, and they ran a cancer-fighting nonprofit whose finances raise lots of questions. I can only imagine that the folks at UT Southwestern wish the Press had published its story before the organization hired Beth to be the director of development for cancer programs.

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Leading Off (6/23/15)

Mike Miles To Resign Today. You have to get up early to scoop Eric Celeste. He beat Leading Off today with the bad news.

Jordan Spieth Is Golf’s “Golden Child.” Bill Nichols writes that Spieth doesn’t care for the term. But it’s the truth.

Six New Dallas Council Members Sworn in. Adam McGough and Casey Thomas bumped fists to celebrate. Next time, work on your chest bump, boys.

Virgin Hotel Coming to Design District. The 200-room hotel on Hi Line and Turtle Creek will likely open in 2018. Feels like it’s getting very hotel-y in and around downtown Dallas. Here’s hoping we’ll have enough backs for all those beds.

Dwaine Caraway Has Good Timing. Today at a luncheon he will announce that he’s running for John Wiley Price’s seat on the County Commissioners Court. Yesterday he got some more material for his speech. An Austin woman was charged with lying to the FBI about payments in the Price corruption case.

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Jordan Spieth Is Going To Bankrupt the Morning News

There was an interesting story on Poynter last week about how the Morning News covers golf. Faced with a shrinking travel budget, the paper didn’t send golf writer Bill Nichols to the Masters. Well, we know what happened there. Jordan Spieth happened. So the paper sucked it up and sent Nichols to cover the U.S. Open. The Poynter story posed an interesting question:

Will the Morning News staff the British Open at St. Andrews if Spieth wins the U.S. Open? The answer should be yes given the hype for him going into that tournament. However, the expense of sending a reporter for a week in Scotland could make the U.S. Open trip seem like small change.

I can confirm that the paper will send Nichols to the British Open. My source? Our own Nancy Nichols, who happens to be one of Bill’s sisters and who is right now teaching Bill how to get his passport expedited.

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Watch That Plano Water Tower Felled as You’ve Never Seen It Felled Before

I think we can all agree that Plano did this thing all wrong. When they demolished this water tower yesterday, a certain something was missing. We’ve identified that something as Michael Bay. If he’d produced this demolition, Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox would have had to outrun the toppling tower, which would have exploded in a 900-foot fireball the instant it struck the ground. And a B-2 Stealth Bomber would have done a flyover. As it is, you have to settle for our silly version:

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Leading Off (6/16/15)

Tropical Storm Bill Has Horrible Name, Is Headed for Landfall. It’s hard to take a storm called Bill all that seriously. Tropical Storm Balthazar, just to pick one random name, sounds much more fearsome. Be that as it may, as the DMN’s Robert Wilonsky reports, the storm is on its way, and our already saturated floodplain is about to get more rain. Remember: turn around, don’t drown.

Watch a Video of a Lambo Crashing on the Dallas North Tollway. As the DMN’s Robert Wilonsky reports, the North Texas Tollway Authority has released video of a rented Lamborghini crashing on the Tollway.

Mansfield ISD Teacher Indicted for Child Porn. Kelly Williams, a special needs teacher at Mary Orr Intermediate School, was arrested June 1 on charges of sexually assaulting a student. Yesterday, authorities said he has also been charged making child porn. The DMN’s Robert Wilonsky reported that.

McKinney DA Asks Texas Rangers To Investigate Pool Incident. Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis is calling in the Texas Rangers. Willis is reportedly a huge Joey Gallo fan, but he said he’d settle for Prince Fielder if he’s the only Ranger available. The DMN’s Robert Wilonsky somehow missed that story.

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Watch a Cool Video of a Flooded Trinity River

The photographer Scot Miller and his wife, Marilyn, own Sun to Moon Gallery, on East Levee Street, in the Design District. That’s also where they live. So the Trinity River more or less runs through their backyard. Scot spends a lot of time traipsing across the country to capture beautiful images, but for his next exhibit — titled “Nature in our Backyard: The Trinity River and Great Trinity Forest” — he didn’t have to travel far. Just over the levee. The show will feature work from three other photographers, too, and the opening reception is June 27. If you can’t make it, pick up a July copy of D Magazine. We’re publishing some of the images that will hang in the gallery. Scot also shoots video, and a couple of days ago, he posted this. Enjoy:

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Bunch O Balloons Files Patent Suit Against Balloon Bonanza

Nearly a year ago, we told you about Josh Malone, the super genius from Plano who invented a way to make 100 water balloons in 60 seconds. Malone used Kickstarter to raise $1 million and launch his Bunch O Balloons invention. Just last week, the missus was asking me to buy four units of Bunch O Balloons in preparation for an upcoming family gathering, and I was dawdling because four unites of Bunch O Balloons, with processing and handling, will set you back $80. Then, on Monday, I saw a TV commercial for something called Balloon Bonanza, which was offering a buy-one-get-three deal for just under $20. “That’s curious,” I said aloud, because I often talk to myself when I watch TV. “That water-balloon contraption looks an awful lot like that other water-balloon contraption.”

Guess what? That’s exactly what Josh Malone from Plano thinks. He sent word this morning that his Tinnus Enterprises, along with its partner Zuru, have filed a patent infringement suit against Telebrands Corp. and Bed Bath & Beyond. “It was a real bummer last weekend when the kids and I went to our local retailers to see our product on the shelf, and found a copy in its place,” Malone told me. “I got a patent, now we are going to enforce it.”

I have only one wish. I don’t think it’s asking too much. It is this: the parties refuse to settle. The case goes to trial. In a federal courtroom, Malone uses a garden hose to demonstrate how his invention works — and a water balloon fight ensues. Please?

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