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Making Dallas Even Better

Will Ousting of Dallas Summer Musicals Honcho Impact Fair Park’s Future?

Michael Jenkins’ name is synonymous with Dallas Summer Musicals. For 21 years, Jenkins has been president of the Fair Park-based arts organization that has been bringing touring Broadway shows to Dallas for 76 years. Jenkins’ career with DSM started as an usher when he was 14. At 17, he became assistant to the managing director. As an investor in Broadway productions, Jenkins has earned nearly two dozen Tony Awards. So it is a bit of a surprise to hear that he is leaving the organization not amidst the fanfare of a retirement farewell, but because, the Dallas Morning News reports, he was fired.

The story is a little fuzzy. In an interview he gave the DMN a week ago, Jenkins described his ousting as “a palace coup,” and said through tears that he felt unfairly dismissed because of his age and an unpaid loan the former DSM-chief made to the organization. In a statement from Dallas Summer Musicals published on the website Theater Jones, the DSM board says they are looking for a “new generation” of leadership, citing the desire to find a bridge builder who can create partnerships within Dallas’ arts community and maximize the use of the DSM’s home, the Music Hall at Fair Park.

From Jenkins’ loan to the DSM press release’s repeated references to squeezing more revenue out of the Music Hall at Fair Park, it is not too difficult to read between the lines in both of these statements.

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Is Downtown the New Uptown? A Chat With the New Head of Downtown Dallas Inc.

Kourtny Garrett has worked for Downtown Dallas Inc., the nonprofit that advocates for the businesses and residents of downtown and oversees programs to help keep it a clean and safe place, for more than 13 years.

In March it was announced that she has assumed the role of president of the organization and will take over as CEO come next January, when current chief executive John Crawford transitions into a new role as vice chairman.

After a recent visit to the Dallas Farmers Market blew my mind about how great that corner of the central business district is becoming, I asked Garrett to have a conversation (via instant message) about her unique vision for the future of DDI and the neighborhood. I share that with you now.

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Leading Off (5/2/16)

Body Found on Central Expressway. All southbound lanes of Central were shut down last night after DPD responded to a fatality accident near Lemmon Avenue. Details are unclear but according to this, Sr. Cpl. Demarquis Black didn’t think the body was in a vehicle.

Stars Split First Two In Second Round. They fought back to tie the Blues in the third period yesterday, but a power play in the OT period took them down. Now it’s on to St. Louis, a phrase no one ever likes to say.

Another Attack in Oak Lawn. This one — a man out walking his dog early Saturday says he was called a gay slur and slammed to the ground — is the 17th since September.

11-Year-Old Kidnapped, Escapes During Attempted Rape. Corrine Allen Dunn, 34, allegedly lured the girl into his apartment. He was arrested Saturday afternoon. Good lord.

Plane Lands In Plano Backyard. A single-engine Mooney M20 was trying to land at the Air Park-Dallas airport, en route from Lubbock, when the pilot lost control. The pilot wasn’t hurt, and no one on the ground was either. I’m sure someone in the neighborhood got some good ‘grams out of it.

Cowboys Draft Players. One was Jaylon Smith, the Notre Dame linebacker who probably would have gone at the top of the draft if his knee wasn’t turned into pulled pork in his last college game, and who some think might not actually play again. There were also some others.

FC Dallas Has Another Road Disaster. When FCD has lost this season, and it’s not been often, it’s been ugly. But they’re still tied for first in the league, and Kellyn Acosta made the USMNT’s 40-man preliminary roster for Copa America.

‘There Is a 100 Percent Chance Mark Cuban Becomes President’

That’s what Silicon Valley investor Chris Sacca, a former Google employee and sometimes co-star of Cuban’s on ABC’s Shark Tank, told CNBC this week:

Sacca noted that Cuban could be at least as successful as Trump were he were to campaign for leader of the free world.

“The minute you’re coined a billionaire in this country, everyone just takes everything you say as gospel. You can say no wrong,” Sacca said. “And that’s why we see Trump skating in. He says asinine things and everyone says ‘well, he’s a successful business guy.’ Cuban has all of that, but is not an idiot.”

So if we factor in a massive Trump flop this fall, and the Republican Party still trying to stitch itself together in the aftermath come 2020, then we’ll get two terms of Hillary Clinton.

Cuban 2024?

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Podcast: LeeAnne Locken of Real Housewives of Dallas on Her Carny Past and the Show’s Future

Despite all that Tim has written in each of of his episode recaps of the first three installments of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Dallas, series star LeeAnne Locken was game to appear at the Old Monk on Thursday afternoon to chat about the show — and game enough for another cringe-inducing (for me anyway) game of iPhone roulette.

Before you listen to what turned out to be the second-longest episode in the illustrious history of EarBurner, please note:

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Leading Off (4/29/16)

Cowboys Select Ezekiel Elliott. With the fourth pick in this year’s NFL draft, Dallas took the Ohio State running back. Reviews of the decision are mixed, with some suggesting they should have gone with Florida State cornerback Jalen Ramsey instead. The Cowboys also tried — and failed — to trade up to get another first-round pick with which to select Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch as Tony Romo’s heir.

Dallas ISD Votes to Buy New Headquarters. The $46.5 million purchase was approved by board trustees in the earliest hour of Friday morning. The building, at 9400 N. Central Expressway, will consolidate the district’s headquarters and 15 other offices in one place. DISD anticipates the change will produce tens of millions of dollars in savings by 2021. Trustees were divided on the matter, which got the go-ahead on a 5-3 vote. Trustees Bernadette Nutall, Joyce Foreman, and Lew Blackburn opposed the purchase, expressing concerns about how it’s being funded and about the district headquarters moving six miles north of its current relatively central location. Some employees could be relocated to what’s being called the Dallas ISD Education by the end of the year, with the entire moving process taking about four years.

Blackie Sherrod, RIP. Sherrod, who died of natural causes at age 96 on Thursday afternoon, is being remembered as “the greatest Texas sportswriter of his generation.”

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Everything this Dallas Housewife Touches Turns to Instagram Followers

So, Jen Coleman isn’t exactly a housewife, and she doesn’t really live in Dallas, but none of the “real housewives” of Real Housewives fit that profile, so I stand by my decision to use those words.

Jen Coleman actually lives in this awesome Rowlett A-frame with her kindergartner and husband (who, by the way, is an easy-on-the-eyes fireman). And she seems to have cracked the code when it comes to being a mom and making a living.

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The Oak Cliff DISD Trustee Race Has Turned Ugly

Early voting has begun for the May 7 joint elections, which feature many ISD races. As I wrote about in my May column in D Magazine, this is an especially crucial vote for Dallas ISD, with four seats up for grabs. I point out that, contrary to popular opinion, the school board has overcome status quo efforts to maintain the status quo, putting in place important reforms that will help poor kids throughout the district. (Which, in turn, will help the city at large.)

Since I wrote that column about six weeks ago, one race has become awash in nastiness. Which happens, right? It’s local politics.

Except this time, that nastiness includes not just political operatives but also City Council members. In fact, the council members have become political operatives in these ISD races in ways that make me very queasy, in part because the folks doing this include people I admire and consider friends. Which means this is not going to be fun. Let’s do a little FAQ to get you caught up:

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Are the Stars Trying To Keep Blues Fans From Buying Tickets?

A friend of mine was buying tickets on Ticketmaster for the first game of the Stars-Blues series, and he noticed a warning right before he clicked “buy.” He sent it along:

*** VERY IMPORTANT !! *** Sales to the Dallas Stars 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs games at American Airlines Center will be restricted to residents of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas. Residency will be based on credit card billing address. Orders by residents outside of this area will be cancelled without notice and refunds given. This restriction does not apply to resale tickets.

Let’s say there’s a huge Blues fan who lives in St. Louis. He happens to be in Dallas tomorrow on a business trip. He can’t buy tickets to the game? How is that even legal?

Leading Off (4/28/16)

Midlothian Murder Gets Stranger. Now the father-in-law of the woman killed by the mysterious stalker who was caught on camera says that the blood found on his (the father-in-law’s) clothes by a dry cleaner came from a dog fight that he (the father-in-law) broke up. Sorry, I mean a sister-in-law of the victim says that. But whatever. The answer is out there. Somewhere.

Big Spring Wins Historic Preservation. This is great. The Dallas City Council did something right and voted unanimously to protect a bit of natural history. Take heart.

Whom Will the Cowboys Draft? I have some friends who are meeting tonight at 1st & 10 to watch the draft. I don’t get it. Never have. I mean, I get 1st & 10. Good bar. Solid burgers. But the draft? I guess I’d rather watch the draft than an episode of Real Housewives, but that ain’t saying much. Anyway, read this if you care.

Once Again, the Art Ball Leaves the DMA Looking Not Great

Well, at least a crane didn’t crash into the facade this time and workers didn’t smash up the stairs and it appears as though the trees are gonna be OK. Probably. But, of course, after being covered by a floor in an ad hoc tent that had all manner of fancy people dancing or whatever on it, the front lawn looks like — and this is an industry term, so try not to get confused — garbage. I’m sure it’s the only site that makes sense and it’s worth the time and effort to revive the grass. I’m just a simple carpenter. What do I know about anything? I mean, in this case. Obviously, I know a lot about a lot of things, including street-crew-based dance movies, the numerical history of the Dallas Mavericks’ roster, and the various smells of downtown Dallas.

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City Council Gives Zale Corp. $450K to Sort-of Move to Dallas

The Dallas City Council just voted this morning to grant Zale Corporation up to $450,000 to move out of Irving. Luring a corporate headquarters to town is generally considered an accomplishment worth crowing about, but take a look (above) at where the company plans to build its new $45 million complex.

The dark gray line represents the city limits. You can see on the map that Zale’s plan is to move just a couple miles away to the little island territory of Dallas around North Lake, as part of the Cypress Waters development. It’s an area even farther from the center of Dallas than is Zale’s existing headquarters. Some of you may not even have realized that land was part of the city. It was annexed back in the 1950s when Dallas Power and Light (which became TXU) needed a cooling reservoir for a new electric plant.

In return for the city’s largesse, staff members estimate the economic impact to the city of $11.3 million over 10 years. Outlaying $450,000 for a return of $11.3 million obviously seems like a no-brainer.

However, when Councilman Mark Clayton probed for more information about the estimate during the council’s discussion period, it was disclosed that only about $800,00 would come back to the city as direct tax revenue. The vast majority of that $11.3 million is based on estimating the impact of the hundreds of new employees that will, according to the underlying logic, come to live, work, and play in Dallas (spending money all along the way).

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Leading Off (4/27/16)

All the most awful news in one convenient place. Investigators believe the Midlothian fitness trainer murdered in a church nine days ago was in fact targeted, but by whom they do not know. Up north, the Collin County medical examiner concluded that a Frisco mom, found dead in her car with her three children still alive, died of an intentional overdose of antihistamine medication. Finally, out west, a Haltom City grandma was booked in the Tarrant County jail on charges relating to the scalding death of the toddler CPS had put in her custody.

Local man’s son still not doing so hot in primaries. In spite of Sunday’s announcement that Ted Cruz and John Kasich were joining forces to stop the Republican front-runner, Donald Trump went on to sweep all five states in Tuesday’s primaries. Cruz was also Twitter-pummeled for using the words “basketball ring” in the Hoosier State yesterday. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton lost only Rhode Island to Bernie Sanders.

Johnny Manziel indicted, enjoys bieber show. The former football pro was officially indicted yesterday on a misdemeanor assault charge. Manziel allegedly restrained, assaulted, and kidnapped his ex-girlfriend in Dallas in January. Last night, he was seen at a Justin Bieber concert in Cleveland.

“Hail no” headlines abound during storm threat. Ok, I only spotted one, but last night’s much-hyped storm deserved more. Grayson County was hit by tornadoes, but thankfully the grapefruit-sized hail meteorologists feared never appeared in Dallas. News outlets posted pic after pic of the extreme measures North Texas car owners took to avoid hail damage yesterday. Now what I’d really like to see is coverage of those folks as they peel sopping mattresses and pick bits of wet cardboard off their Hondas this morning. Send it my way! [email protected]