Find a back issue

Leading Off (4/25/14)

Some Still Want to Build Trinity Parkway. The Morning News characterizes the crowd at last night’s final public hearing on building a $1.4 billion road in a floodway as “divided.”

Park Board Members Don’t Want You to Email Them. A new website for the Dallas Park and Recreation Board is scheduled to go live today. It was to have a feature providing the public the ability to contact any of the members. But some board members pushed back, fearing that they’d receive as many as 50 additional emails each month. So the site is launching without it.

Virgin America Lands a Plane at Love Field. And the air carrier has announced a news conference for today. The speculation is that it has something to do with Virgin’s desire to take over the two gates at the airport that American Airlines has to give up as part of the deal that led the Justice Department to approve its merger with U.S. Airways. But the city of Dallas, which has to approve which airline gets the gates, said that no decision has been made.

Nobody Let Krista Read This Story. It’s about a deputy sheriff getting fired, and it involves a dog and a gun.

The Pollen Vortex Is Trying to Kill Me. Today’s pollen count. I hate spring.

Full Story

Plastic Landscape Project Seeking New Home

In response to a comment made at a Dallas City Council meeting that went something like, “I don’t see any problem with plastic bags,” Michael Thomas of 1814 MAGAZINE launched the Plastic Landscape project. Twelve photographers were invited to participate by illustrating the impact of plastic shopping bags on the environment. With assignment in hand, our very own Elizabeth Lavin along with Jocelyn Meinster came up with photo No. 12. Prior to the 8-6 City Council vote today, in which a partial ban on plastic bags was passed, the photos hung briefly in City Hall. Now, Thomas is looking for a new home for the project. “This is a great way for people to actually see the problem and be able to share it with other people,” he says. “It’s an easy, simple way to be able to educate people, whether the ban had passed today or not.”

Full Story

ExxonMobil CEO Sues to Stop Fracking-Related Project Near His House

I’m not sure if this is a full-blown hypocrisy alert, but the Wall Street Journal reported late last week on a lawsuit in which Rex Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil, has joined some fellow Denton County homeowners in attempting to block a fracking-related project.

Cross Timbers Water Supply Corporation wants to build a 160-foot water tower to supply natural gas drilling sites in the area. Neighboring property owners, including Tillerson, are concerned about the impact on their property values of heavy trucks frequently visiting the tower, creating additional noise and traffic.

The Raw Story cites some of Tillerson’s past critical statements about those who oppose hydraulic fracturing in the drilling process to imply his participation in the suit is a pot-kettle-black situation.

But Tillerson says this is about the devaluing of his property from the presence of the water tower, not fracking itself.

Full Story

Trinity East Sues Dallas Over $19M Paid For Drilling Leases

Wilonsky scoops the Dallas city attorney’s office in finding out about the lawsuit filed this morning by Trinity East Energy, which paid the city $19 million for mineral rights on public land in northwest Dallas only to have the council change the rules on drilling:

The Dallas City Attorney’s Office was unaware of the suit until contacted by The Dallas Morning Newsthis morning. We expect a reply later today.

The suit maintains that when it signed its deals with the city on August 15, 2008, it received a letter from then-Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm saying she was “reasonably confident” Trinity East would be able to drill on the 22-acre tract of land on the west side of Luna Vista.

In a statement issued this morning, Trinity East Energy President Stephen Fort says, “This is about a deal, plain and simple. We had a deal with the City of Dallas, and they went back on it. The city made promises to us and took our money. They sold us minerals but then denied us the ability to extract them.”

Full Story

How Pleasant is Dallas Weather?

Via Wired, I learn of a designer and engineer in Atlanta who got wondering which places in the United States offer the greatest number of “pleasant” weather days each year. He crunched government weather data for the last 23 years and came up with this interactive map.

His definition of “pleasant” is a day with average temperatures between 55 and 75 degrees F, with a minimum temperature of 45 and a maximum of 85. Using those criteria North Texas has between 59 and 65 pleasant days a year, depending on where exactly you live.

Full Story

We’re at Ice Force 2, People

Road conditions are getting worse, so the city has downgraded (or escalated) matters to Ice Force Level 2. At first, I found this news confusing, since I was under the impression that Ice Force operated much the same as DEFCON, where 1 means nuclear war is imminent.

As evidenced by the NBC 5 chopper video shot this morning around 635 and Royal Lane, you’ve got to be careful out there.

Full Story

The Guardian Investigates Fracking in Ponder

The United Kingdom is having its own debate about the costs and benefits of allowing natural gas drilling via hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking), so the Guardian newspaper came to the tiny Denton County community of Ponder to see what life next to gas wells is like.

Their story, and the accompanying video, paints a nightmare scenario:

Full Story

All Clichés Are Bigger in Texas Award Nominee: Wildfire Edition

A Texas-based writer really ought to know better. From the San Antonio Business Journal: Everything is bigger in Texas — including the risk for damage to homes as a result of wildfires. The article cites a report stating that more than 54,000 homes in the state are at very high risk of sustaining wildfire damage: […]

Full Story

State Approves New North Texas Reservoir

Lake Ralph Hall, an 11,000-acre reservoir to be built in Fannin County to supply the Upper Trinity Regional Water District, was first proposed in 2003. Today it was approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Says the Texas Tribune, this was done over the objections of the district’s two biggest customers: the town of […]

Full Story

Mother Nature Called. She Wants Her Creek Back.

Instead of assuming its natural ecological role, White Rock Creek is backed up, literally. The waters are stagnant thanks to a debris build-up that resembles a smorgasbord of mixed concrete and algae. Sounds picturesque, right? Well, for Dallas-based photographer Justin Terveen (a local favorite of D’s editorial staff), the creek has become a focal point […]

Full Story

Dallas City Council Denies Trinity East Drilling, Though Mayor Urges Them to Call Company’s Bluff

A parade of drilling opponents spoke this afternoon before the Dallas City Council voted down the specific-use permits that would have given Trinity East clearance to drill for natural gas on city park land in northwest Dallas. All these speakers were concerned about the possible environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing and drilling at the site. […]

Full Story

Richard Patterson on Jim Schutze’s “Culture Mob”

Richard Patterson is a big-deal British painter who lives in Dallas. After reading my post yesterday about Jim Schutze’s anti-intellectual view of the Nasher, Richard sent me a few words on the topic. And by “few,” I mean 2,400. Bear in mind, he banged out this ditty in about two hours. It makes me angry […]

Full Story

Leading Off: 8/12/13

Did Rawlings Put Pension Fund Over Politics With Recent Board Shake Up? Rudy Bush writes about how the changes Mayor Mike Rawlings made to the police and fire pension system’s board of trustees don’t jibe with the conventional city council wisdom that you make sure you have eight allies’ votes in your pocket at all […]

Full Story

God* Will End the Houston vs. Dallas Debate

Under warmer temperatures, the natural state of the ocean is 70 feet higher than our civilization has been accustomed to for the last 5,000 years. Warmer temperatures are happening: we are now at 1.5F above the average and creeping upward. New observations show that Antarctica and Greenland ice loss is occurring faster than previous models […]

Full Story