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Making Dallas Even Better

The Dallas Zoo’s Harrison Edell Talks Giraffe Birth and Kilts on D Magazine Podcast

We were all a little disappointed that Harrison Edell, the senior director of living collections at the Dallas Zoo, didn’t show up at the Old Monk yesterday with a lemur on his back, or a falcon on his arm, or a tarantula atop his head, or toting some manor of fauna. Instead he was merely a mightily entertaining interview subject on the latest EarBurner podcast.

A couple of corrections/clarifications for this week’s show, which also features impressions of Dallas City Council members Vonciel Hill Jones, Sheffie Kadane, and Tennell Atkins:

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The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Prison: I Tried To Eat a Mouse But It Didn’t Work

Three weeks ago, I was sentenced to prison, which in some ways was a great relief, as federal prison is said to be much nicer than the jail holding units and temporary detention centers where I have spent the last two and a half years of my life. And, really, I feel like I’ve done the whole “jail thing” by this point and can thus sort of cross that off my list. Now I’m jotting down all the touristy activities I hope to accomplish during my “real” prison sentence:

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Poll: How Long Should Dogs Be Allowed to Bark?

Right now Dallas pet owners risk a citation if they allow their dogs to bark continuously for as long as 15 minutes. Yesterday the City Council’s Quality of Life Committee discussed lowering that limit to only 5 minutes, though and assistant city attorney warned that could result in a spike of complaints that code enforcers could have difficulty keeping up with. Councilman Rick Callahan suggested making it 10 minutes, and Councilwoman Sandy Greyson agreed that might be the “magic number.” What do you think?

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Leading Off (2/6/15)

Don’t Drive Interstate 35E to Denton This Weekend. At least not after 8 p.m. Saturday night, or all-day Sunday. The highway’s main lanes will be shut down in Corinth to take out a bridge as part of a major expansion project.

‘Frontier Disney’ Fraud Trial Starts Monday. Thomas W. Lucas Jr. is accused by federal authorities of having told investors he had inside information about plans the Walt Disney company had to build a theme park and resort near Celina. He allegedly tricked them into spending millions to buy land near the purported site, from which he pocketed sales commissions. Though it’s hard to imagine investing even $5 with this guy.

The Beetles Invade D/FW Airport. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency there announced Thursday that they’ve intercepted destructive Khapra beetles in passengers’ luggage five times in recent months and have stopped more than 70 of the creatures from entering the homeland since 2013. The insect can reportedly destroy supplies of grain, which makes me think they’re like a less cuddly version of tribbles. Lock up the quadrotriticale. (That joke would kill at Dallas Comic Con Fan Days this weekend.)

Leading Off (1/23/15)

High-Speed Rail Line Likened to Berlin Wall. Judging by the responses we’ve seen in the comments of previous articles about the possibility, Dallas residents seem generally excited about the prospect of a high-speed rail line being built that will mean Houston is just 90 minutes away by train. But WFAA spoke with several Ellis County landowners who are none too excited about their property being divided by the project.

Prime Prep to Merge With Another School. The struggling charter academy, co-founded by former NFL star Deion Sanders, will reportedly hook up with another Oak Cliff campus, Triple A Academy. It’s not clear whether Triple A’s recent 117-10 basketball win had anything to do with the decision.

Cowboys Fan Sues NFL For $88 Billion. Terry Hendrix is upset about the officials’ reversal of Dez Bryant’s catch during this year’s playoff game against the Green Bay Packers, claiming damages for the league’s “negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and also reckless disregard.” The hand-written lawsuit was filed on Wednesday. Also of note, Hendrix is incarcerated in a Colorado correctional institution.

Dogs Mysteriously Disappearing in Wise County. And there’s “not one shred of physical evidence that proves the dogs were taken.” Has the pet rapture begun?

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Meet Elise, Our Receptionist: What’s Up With the Bird?

Elise is our receptionist. If you were to call D Magazine (214-939-3636), whether you were wanting to buy an ad or lodge a complaint with an editor, Elise is the person you’d talk to first. Let’s say you are a stranger who just shows up uninvited at 9 o’clock on a Monday morning after a holiday break and asks to meet with me, Tim Rogers, then, when informed I am in a meeting, responds, “I’ll wait,” and takes a seat in our lobby until I, at length, come out and greet you, at which point you tell me you’ve come to D Magazine because, in your words, you “want to know what’s going on” — again, that process would begin with Elise.

She’s an interesting person, Elise. So we thought we’d launch a semi-regular FrontBurner feature designed to help you to get to know her better. We’re calling it “Meet Elise, Our Receptionist.” In this installment, she talks about her pet. She has a bird.

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Deep-Pocketed Black Rhino Killer May Not Get to Kill Endangered Rhino After All

You remember this story, right? The one that inspired a Colbert Word segment? The one about the guy who laid out a cool $350K at a Dallas Safari Club auction for a rare opportunity to shoot an endangered black Rhino and haul it back to the United States, stuff it, stick it somewhere in their home, and then brag to his friends about what a massive, Hemingway-esque trigger finger he has? That guy.

Well, that guy was Corey Knowlton, a international hunting consultant whose resume boasts of a Super Slam of wild sheep and the big five in Africa. And while, thanks to his success at the Dallas Safari Club auction, Mr. Knowlton does possess a permit to shoot and kill an endangered black rhinoceros, his little hunting expedition may not go off as planned after all. That’s because he needs another permit to haul the massive rhino carcass back to the United States.

Last spring, he applied for a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that would enable him to import the rhino’s body following the hunt in Namibia. But he’s still waiting to hear back.

The agency is applying extra scrutiny to Knowlton’s request because of the rise in poaching, said spokesman Gavin Shire.

If the permit is denied, the safari club plans to refund Knowlton’s money that was pledged to a rhino conservation fund in the southwestern African country.

Nina Pham’s Dog Doesn’t Have Ebola

My favorite part about this morning’s press release from the city of Dallas is that they didn’t feel any need to explain who Bentley is on first reference. He’s become a one-name celebrity, like Madonna or Beyonce:

On Monday, October 21, samples from Bentley were sent to a lab to be tested for Ebola. The test results show that Bentley has tested negative for the virus. Specimen collection will be conducted again before the end of the 21-day quarantine period. Bentley will be monitored for a full 21-day period, similar to people exposed to the Ebola virus.

The City of Dallas Animal Services is overseeing Bentley’s care in partnership with the Texas Animal Health Commission, Texas A&M University and the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Nina Pham, Bentley’s owner, continues to be cared for at the National Institutes of Health, NIH, in Maryland. The City of Dallas and DAS are communicating daily updates to Nina on the testing throughout the process.

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: I Shot My Dog

I occasionally get some glimpse of what proud pet owners must experience when I hear a particularly moving  story of having to put a dog down or read a delightful account like the piece Jeff Bowden wrote for the June 2001 issue of D Magazine. It’s one of our 40 greatest stories ever. The title, “The Day I Shot My Dog,” refers to a childhood accident, and Bowden goes on to write about the other animal companions of his life, including a troublesome goat.

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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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Leading Off (5/27/14)

Plano Bar Makes Domestic Violence Joke, Pays the Price. I’ve never been to Scruffy Duffies, but it sounds like they need an in-house editor for their chalkboard signs. Over the weekend, one of them read: “I like my beer like I like my violence — domestic.” You swap “violence” with “policy,” and I think we’ve got a joke everyone can enjoy. As it was written, though, the joke was about as offensive as you can get, and social media have taken the bar to task.

Author of Home-Rule Law Wonders If It Will Work in Dallas. In 1995, Texas Sen. Bill Ratliff wrote the state law that allows school districts to create home-rule charters. Now living in Mount Pleasant, he’s been watching as that law is being put to the test here for the first time. The News has an interesting Q&A with him.

Local Man Helps Local Geese. For more than a decade Charles Fussell has looked after the geese at White Rock Lake, using his own money to feed them and telling people that throwing bread to the animals is bad for them. Now you can help Fussell.

Primary Runoffs Are Today. Here’s your voter guide.

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Dallas Pets Alive! Pet of the Month (March 2014)

Have you read the recent news about scans that suggest previously unappreciated similarities between dog and human brains? It’s more evidence for why these domesticated creatures are our species’ best friends.

It’s as good an excuse as any to launch a new monthly series on FrontBurner from Dallas Pets Alive!, an animal rescue group run entirely by volunteers, with all of the pets housed by foster families throughout North Texas. You’ve maybe seen the organization’s #muttbombing campaign on Instagram, featured recently on HuffPoUSA Today or CNN?

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Survival of the Cutest: Meet the Furry Four

Anticipation around the world is escalating. Both the Olympics and Survival of the Cutest’s Furry Four round have been kicked off. (Only one contest can deliver the intense excitement of only four contenders.) Meet your four finalists and vote for your favorite. Cast a ballot today and tomorrow. We’ll tally the votes on Wednesday and introduce to you the final matchup on Thursday.

Get to voting.