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Highland Park ISD Votes Not to Ban Book

At issue Monday night by a Highland Park schools “reconsideration committee” was whether the book The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein, should still be taught in English classes. Park Cities People reports that committee members voted to allow the novel, which is about a race car driver and his dog, and is told from the dog’s point of view. The controversy centered on the appropriateness of Park Cities teenagers reading one section in which an underage girl falsely accuses the driver of sexual molestation and tries to force herself on him.

From PCP:

There were 32 votes for “confirm the present use of the book for whole class required use;” three votes for “designate the book for required outside reading only;” and one vote for “restrict the use for certain grades.”

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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.

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There Was No Debate About the Trinity Toll Road at the Stemmons Corridor Business Association Luncheon

The stage was set: the Three Generals of the Trinity Toll Road — former City Manager Mary Suhm, former city council member Craig Holcomb, and North Central Texas Council of Governments transportation director Michael Morris — in the same room as a council member who rides bikes with Better Block’s Jason Roberts and the guy who launched the campaign to tear down I-345. And all five were going to have a moment on the mic — all in front of the rapt, gracious attention of an old-school Dallas business association. It sure felt like a potential moment.

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City Moves to Save Its Public Art

Back in March, I wrote about a piece of public art at White Rock Lake that the Office of Cultural Affairs wanted to remove because the work had deteriorated over the years. Once a popular attraction on the lake, the city didn’t have the money to maintain and repair Frances Bagley and Tom Orr’s Water Theater. In fact, the city doesn’t have funds to maintain and repair any of the public work in its collection. Rather than let it continue to deteriorate and become an eyesore, the city thought it would simply pull it out of the lake.

Not so fast. The arts community struck back, and the issue got a lot of attention. That got the attention of members of the Cultural Affairs Commission, which is now taking some early steps to figure out how to take care of the public art it commissions. At tomorrow’s Cultural Affairs Commission meeting, commissioners will vote on allocating funds to study the needs of the collection and possibly hiring a conservation manager to implement that review.

The move makes sense. The percent for art ordinance requires municipal capital projects to dedicate funds for the commissioning of art, so the city should have a way to maintain the pieces it commissions. As I’ve argued in the past, it’s not the only change that needs to happen with how this city handles its public art program, but it’s a positive step in the right direction.

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How Many New Ebola Cases Can We Handle Until We All Lose Our Junk?

So, Ebola is no longer a West African thing. We have the first U.S. transmission of the disease right here in Dallas. Officials are urging everyone to keep calm, but that’s probably difficult if you’re a neighbor of Nina Pham, the nurse who contracted Ebola from Thomas Eric Duncan, and police officers are knocking on the door at 5 a.m. with the message, “Good morning, Ebola’s on your block.” Then, I just saw some wacky, unreliable outlet reporting in my Facebook feed that Pham has a boyfriend who was admitted into the hospital. I can’t find any serious outlets reporting that news, but it was enough to get me thinking. It is probably likely that Pham is not the last case of Ebola in Dallas. We’re still waiting out the incubation period for Duncan’s family, and Pham’s infection starts a new cycle of friends and associates who may have had contact with infectious fluids. I could see this growing to 4 or 5 cases pretty quickly. So my question to you: at what point do we all lose our junk? How many cases of Ebola can we handle before everyone goes into panic mode? Five? Seven? Seventeen? Thirty-eight?

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Secret Deal to Dump Delta Signals More Crony Capitalism at Love Field

Just over five months ago, Dallas residents and the City Council were surprised to learn that the city of Dallas had secretly commissioned a study that supported city staff’s determination that the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division had erred when it determined that Virgin America, rather than Southwest Airlines, should receive the two American Airlines gates that American had determined it no longer needed.

Cheered on by the city of Fort Worth, here and here, Dallas city staff proceeded to throw all sorts of roadblocks up against what should have been a straightforward lease approval. The process quickly devolved into a national farce, possibly because the idea that allowing one airline to control 90 percent of the gates at an airport would serve competitive interests is ridiculous on its face. Council Member Vonciel Jones Hill featured prominently, arguing that the city (she?) was in a better position than both the contracting parties (American Airlines and Virgin America) and the Department of Justice to determine what was best for the citizenry. Finally, after weeks of opaque, behind-the-scenes machinations at City Hall (during which time Virgin was compelled to launch a high-cost public relations campaign, and Sir Richard Branson was compelled to interrupt his vacation for a trip to Dallas to beg for the gates as part of an effort that directed critical international spotlight to what appeared to be crony capitalism at work), Virgin was finally given the green light by city staff to actually take possession of the gates that appeared to have been rightfully its own from the outset.

Fast forward to this past week: once again, residents and elected officials found themselves surprised to learn that city staff had taken action to thwart an airline’s ability to operate at Love Field.

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How Will You Feel When Adrian Peterson Is Playing For The Cowboys Next Season?

1. Adrian Peterson won’t play another down for the Vikings this season, and most likely, because of his contract if nothing else, he won’t play another down for the team, period.

2. The Cowboys are still owned by Jerry Jones. He’s only ever shied away from a player for moral reasons once (Randy Moss) and regretted it ever since. Also, from Don Van Natta Jr.’s celebrated profile:

Then a man taps Jones on the shoulder, says Adrian Peterson wants to say hello and hands over an iPhone. Jones says hi to the Minnesota Vikings’ star running back and listens, nodding but not smiling. “Well, I understand, Adrian,” he says into the phone. The slanted smile returns. “I’d like that, too. … Well, I love your story. I love your daddy’s story. I’ve always respected what you’ve been about. I’ve always been a fan of yours.”

Listening to half the conversation, it is obvious Peterson is telling Jones he wants to play for the Cowboys. Peterson, 29, is in the fourth year of a seven-year, $100 million contract that will pay him $11.75 million this autumn to play for the Vikings.

“Well, we’ll see what we can do, if we can make that happen,” Jones is now saying. “Hmm-hmm. … I’d like that, too. … Well, we’re talking pig Latin here, but let’s see if we can do that.” Jones listens, nods and says again, “We’re talking pig Latin here, but let’s see what we can do about that. OK, Adrian, thanks.”

3. The Cowboys will be coming off another 8-8 season and will need to stay in the headlines.

So, again, how will you feel when Adrian Peterson is playing for the Cowboys next season?

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Billionaire Bites Back: Judge All But Tosses Dallas Art Collector’s Lawsuit

The tawdry tale of a multimillion dollar work of art, a widowed patroness, a powerful Mexican billionaire, and the little, red faced museum stuck in the middle of all of it took yet another turn in its four-year-long court battle. Dallas mega-collector Marguerite Hoffman’s lawyers convinced a jury late last year that debt baron David Martinez broke a confidential agreement when he sold at public auction a painting by Marc Rothko, which was sold to him by Hoffman in a hush-hush deal. Now, a judge ruled Friday that Martinez did not violate any agreement.

To recap:

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Jones Boys Maybe Need To Sit Out a Few Plays

Jerral Jones and his son Stephen are having quite a week. First embarrassing pictures of Jerry taken five years surface. Lesson No. 1: if you’re going to party with strippers, ban all photography. Just to be safe, ban courtroom sketching, too. Then Stephen is caught on video using one of the Cowboys buses to make a beer run, only instead of beer, he picked up a bunch of navel-baring club strumpets. Lesson No. 2: if you’re going on a strumpet run, have the bus pull around back for load in. Gene (Jerry’s wife), Charlotte (Jerry’s daughter), and Karen (Stephen’s wife) must be none too pleased with their men. Here’s the thing about that Cowboys bus:

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Jason Hanna and Joe Riggs, a Gay Couple, Can’t Be the Fathers of Their Own Children

There’s a story making the rounds about a Dallas couple, Jason Hanna and Joe Riggs. Adorable couple. Let me see if I can explain what’s giving them trouble. Hanna and Riggs got hitched in D.C., where gay marriages are legal. They came back to Dallas. They wanted kids. Why they would want to screw up their lives by 1) getting married and 2) having kids is a discussion for another post. I’m going to focus on the logistics. They find an egg donor. They find a surrogate mother, who in April bears them twins, Lucas and Ethan. And — this is the wild part — each of the men is a biological father to one of the babies, meaning, I gather, that two embryos were implanted. It makes my head spin.

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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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Last Night, Sir Richard Branson Joined The Love Field Debate, Drank Tequila, and Talked to Us

On Monday night, Sir Richard Branson dropped into town to address the latest front on the airline war, Virgin America vs. EveryoneElseThatWantsThoseGatesAtLoveField. The airline hosted a party at The Rustic in Uptown Three of us—me, Cristina Daglas, and Glenn Hunter—attended. Each of our individual thoughts follow. One common thread between all of our thoughts: tequila. There was a lot of tequila.

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Controversy for Karl Lagerfeld over Chanel Headdresses in Dallas?

We’ve been down this road before. Victoria’s Secret sends a model down the runway in a headdress. Outrage, apologies, revisions to the national telecast. H&M sells hipster headdress. Outrage, apologies, items removed. Nicole Richie wears headdress, posts photo on Instagram. Outrage. Karl Lagerfeld sends models down the runway in headdresses for the finale of Chanel’s Metiers d’Art fashion show in Dallas Tuesday night. Cue outrage? Not really. In Dallas itself, not only has there been no outrage, but there’s also been little to no discussion. FD Luxe’s recap didn’t mention them, nothing from Paper City either, and we did but didn’t delve too deep. Nationally, there’s been buzz. Huffington PostNew York, etc. Were we all just too grateful that the fashion show of fashion shows had graced our fair city with its presence? I sure hope not.

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