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Making Dallas Even Better

Podcast: Need’s Matt Alexander Returns With His Hot Sports Opinions

We recorded the podcast earlier this afternoon, so I haven’t the time for full-on show notes this week. What follows is an abbreviated version.

This is the hat that Dallas entrepreneur Matt Alexander, who previously appeared on Episode 10 of the show, wore to the recording session. It’s called the Deep Ellum:

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Leading Off (10/2/15)

Texas Rangers Clinch Playoff Spot. With a 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Thursday, the team secured a spot in Major League Baseball’s postseason. They also sit three games ahead of Houston in the American League West standings, meaning with just one more win or a single Astros lost over the final three games of the regular season, they’ll claim their first division title since 2011. You remember what happened that year, right? The next stage in this remarkable, unexpected season for the Rangers is likely a visit to either Toronto or Kansas City for the first game of the Division Series next Thursday. If the Angels somehow take the final three games against the Rangers and the Astros win out, there’d be a tie atop the AL West. In that case, the Rangers would host a tiebreaker game in Arlington on Monday. The winner of that tiebreaker would advance to the Division Series, and the loser would get to play the Yankees in the Wild Card game.

Neiman Marcus Lays Off 500. The number of corporate and support positions eliminated by the luxury retailer represents 3 percent of its workforce of 16,000. CEO Karen Katz said the job cuts were made to save money that can be used to invest in future growth.

Arlington Family Accused of Faking Mental Illness. 55-year-old Doreen Mitchell, 29-year-old Michael Mitchell, 27-year-old Sonny Mitchell, and 58-year-old John Mitchell are charged with defrauding the Social Security Administration of $462,000 in benefits.

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Leading Off (10/1/15)

Susan Hawk to return to work today. Today´s the day that a lot of people have wondered about. Will Dallas County DA Susan Hawk be at her desk and ready to work? The past nine months have been troublesome for her and others—only time will tell if she regains her footing.

MACARTHUR high school bomb threat turns out to be hoax. Yesterday, Irving´s MacArthur High School was evacuated due to a bomb threat. After officers searched the building and came up empty-handed, they allowed the students to return. No word yet on who called in the threat. With the Ahmed saga, MacArthur High has had a month.

Police investigate possible kidnapping of teenage girl in Arlington. Yesterday evening, a teenage girl reported that men in a dark blue SUV had tried to kidnap her while she was jogging. Police are still investigating the whereabouts of these men.

National soccer hall of fame museum to come to frisco. The U.S. Soccer Federation and FC Dallas announced yesterday that Frisco will be home to the National Soccer Hall of Fame Museum by 2017. More details to come at a news conference on October 14. Soccer!

Would a Downtown Dallas Rangers Stadium Just Be Another Boondoggle?

Here’s one thing we learned yesterday: mixing sports with urban planning sure gets people’s attention. There was a huge response to my post that argued that slagging attendance at Globe Life Park in Arlington should push Dallas city officials to woo the team to a new downtown Dallas. Why? Well, because that’s the way baseball go.

The conversation in the comments and on Facebook and Twitter brought up a number of interesting points and counterpoints, and I wanted to touch on a few of them.

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Now Is the Time for Dallas to Pounce on a Rangers Relocation to Downtown

Tarrant County is getting nervous about losing the Texas Rangers.

Over the weekend, there was a story in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about how the Rangers, who began the season in miserable shape, have turned in a remarkable second half of the season, running their way up the standings and currently sitting 1.5 games ahead of the Houston Astros in first place of the American League West. And yet despite the storybook season, the Rangers are pulling terrible attendance numbers. That doesn’t bode well for Arlington as the team mulls their options ahead of the expiration of their stadium lease in 2024:

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How Richard Rainwater Spent Millions to Find a Cure For His Disease

As Zac mentioned earlier, Fort Worth businessman/philanthropist Richard Rainwater died over the weekend at age 71. Rainwater’s was a rags-to-riches story made tough in the last few years as he battled something called progressive supranuclear palsy. In this March story in D CEO, columnist Steve Kaskovich explained Rainwater’s disease and told how the billionaire was doing everything he could to fight it.

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Ex-Cowboys QBs: Good Things Can Still Happen for Dallas This Season

Tony Romo may be sidelined for eight weeks with a broken collarbone, but two former Cowboys quarterbacks say Dallas may still be on track for a good season. “It’s not all doom and gloom,” said Babe Laufenberg, who played for the ‘Boys from 1989-1991. Hall of Fame QB Roger Staubach agreed—and then some. Romo replacement Brandon Weeden “has a very good arm. He’s just got to get some experience,” said Staubach, who led the Cowboys to their first two championships. “He can do it. It’s more than playing; it’s also mental. It just takes time and experience.

“The defense is playing well. If they can maintain the pace, that helps too,” Staubach went on. “We’re 2-0 now. If we can hang in there through November and be, say, 7-3, or 6-4, and then get Tony and Dez Bryant back for the stretch drive, get some momentum going into the playoffs … That’s what it’s all about then: momentum. So, good things can still happen.”

Staubach and Laufenberg offered their views to a reporter Wednesday at the new West Dallas home of Mary McDermott Cook, who hosted a get-together for the “$25,000 Circle” of the United Way’s Ruth Sharp Altshuler Tocqueville Society for heavyweight donors.

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Saying Goodbye to Ebby, the ‘First First Lady of Dallas’

They lit up downtown and wrapped burgundy bows around the trees in her honor and, at her memorial service Thursday, asked a former First Lady to speak and gave Ebby Halliday Acers more than one standing ovation. Thousands of people in North Texas, it seemed, couldn’t do enough to say good-bye to the woman Laura Bush called “the first First Lady of Dallas.” Maybe that’s because they didn’t really want to say good-bye at all.

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Banker Brings Cowboy Art, Artists To Dallas Country Club

The Dallas Country Club isn’t a venue that’s typically associated with cowboy art. But the country club’s ballroom was filled with it one day last week, when Alan White and PlainsCapital Bank presented a one-day exhibition of paintings and bronze sculptures by members of the prestigious Cowboys Artists of America organization. The 25 artworks, which […]

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Ebby Halliday, R.I.P.

In the coming days, you’re likely to see and hear a lot about Ebby Halliday, the remarkable realty doyenne who passed away Tuesday night at the age of 104. You’ll hear, as we’ve chronicled in D CEO over the years, that she was an optimist, a trailblazer, the savviest of savvy businesswomen, someone who was genuinely thoughtful about others. Also importantly, Ebby was a true and consistent believer in individual initiative, limited government, and free enterprise. She loved her late husband Maurice Acers, Ronald Reagan, Dirk and the Dallas Mavericks–and her many friends.

My wife, Jeanne Prejean, and I feel lucky to have counted ourselves among them. Ebby and her longtime assistant, Betty Turner, attended our “surprise wedding” in 1999. Three months ago, we received a mailed packet from Ebby Halliday Realtors containing items from the event in a see-through folder. Betty explained that Ebby had recently come across the invitation and a few newspaper clippings about the occasion, and thought that we might enjoy seeing them again.

The words “legend” and “giant” are way over-used. But our friend Ebby Halliday really was both. R.I.P.

Builders, Cowboys Pump Up United Way’s $70M-plus Fundraising Goal

In a room packed with high-octane business people—from Comerica’s Ralph Babb and EY’s Debra von Storch to Mark Rohr of Celanese and Locke Lord attorney Harriet Miers—the Fluor Corp. and some ex-Dallas Cowboys teamed up Tuesday to jump-start the 2015-2016 annual fundraising campaign of the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. The occasion was September’s Second […]

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Dinesh D’Souza Goes to His First NFL Game

Dinesh D’Souza, a Mumbai-reared author and public intellectual who’s been called one of America’s most influential conservative thinkers by The New York Times, had never attended an NFL game—until last night’s pre-season scrap between the Cowboys and the Houston Texans. D’Souza and his fiancee, Debbie Fancher of Houston, were guests in T. Boone Pickens’ Owners Club suite at AT&T Stadium. The energy magnate wasn’t there, but his right-hand man, Jay Rosser, showed the pair all the sights, from the “runway” where the ‘Boys retreat to their locker room at halftime to Jerry Jones’ suite (alas, the door was closed).

So, what was D’Souza’s reaction? “It’s very eye-opening for me,” he said. “I’m looking at it as a spectacle, from the point of view of Americana and American culture. … George Will keeps telling us that baseball is America’s game, but I don’t agree. I think football is America’s game. It embodies steel and masculinity and aggressiveness and speed. To me, baseball is like a poor man’s cricket.” D’Souza, whose film 2016: Obama’s America is the second highest-grossing political documentary ever, added that he’s planning to shoot much of a new doc about the progressive movement and Hillary Clinton in Dallas. Not because DFW is a progressive hotbed, but because “there’s a lot of [moviemaking] talent here.”

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No, Love Field Isn’t Worse Than LaGuardia Airport

Southwest Airlines is fighting to protect its virtual monopoly over the operations at Love Field, where it controls 18 of the 20 available gates. Delta Airlines is arguing in court that two gates should be taken from Southwest and made available for all airlines to use.

Meanwhile the CEO of Virgin America, which leases Love’s other two gates, earlier this week seemed to be angling to get more access, saying that with its current operational limitations, the airport is its “least-dependable” in the country. He added that even New York’s LaGuardia — which has the worst on-time departure rate in the U.S. — works better for Virgin.

But is that true?

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Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick: Texas Now Leading U.S. Again in Some Oil and Gas Regs

Texas Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick won’t talk yet about a preliminary report to the commission ruling out a link between earthquakes near Azle and a disposal well operated by XTO Energy—findings that contradicted an earlier study by scientists at SMU, which did find a connection. But during an appearance in Dallas yesterday, Craddick said the commission, which regulates the Texas oil and gas industry, is working with its recently hired staff seismologist to investigate seismic activity and to hold “conversations” with concerned communities.

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