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Leading Off (8/21/15)

Parkland’s Moving Day Goes Smoothly. Hundreds of patients were taken into the new $1.3 billion complex on Thursday, as the county hospital’s operations officially began to transition away from the old building. Over on D Healthcare Daily, Matt Goodman wrote about the “slew of firsts” that racked up in short order: “The first two trauma patients at the new hospital were men in their 30s who were in a car accident. The first CareFlite helicopter landed on the helipad atop the hospital at 7:35 a.m., carrying a man in his 30s who was also hurt in a car accident. The first baby, a boy, was born via C-section at 9:40 a.m.”

Dallas Police Assistant Chief Demotes Himself. Tom Lawrence has asked Chief David Brown to reduce his rank to lieutenant. Brown says the request came after he confronted Lawrence about an inappropriate comment he’d allegedly made about a female commander. Lawrence says he’s been considering the change for six months and that the recent incident had nothing to do with it. The president of the Dallas Police Association says the unusual request — which comes with a significant pay cut — is a sign of major dissatisfaction with the department’s management.

Autistic Girl Kidnapped, Raped in Rowlett. Imagine the horror of the mother who became concerned when her daughter’s GPS tracker indicated she was in an unusual place, so she turned on the device’s microphone and could hear that the 15-year-old was being sexually assaulted at a nearby park.

Woman Stole Nearly $1 Million, Bought Roller Rink. Aurelia Anna Campbell was arrested for having embezzled $940,000 over the past seven years while working as a payroll clerk for a Bedford company. Some of the pilfered money was allegedly used to purchase the House of Quad roller derby rink in Denton, which is home to the North Texas Derby Revolution league. A body builder, investigators are also apparently looking into whether Campbell was using steroids.

Gainesville Man Indicted For 18-Year-Old Murder. Christopher Ax, 38, is charged with having killed his former girlfriend in 1997. The arrest was made after Texas Rangers took a new look at the case.

Leading Off (8/20/15)

New Parkland Hospital is Open Today. Bright and early at 6am, the Rees-Jones Trauma Center, Emergency Department, Urgent Care Emergency Department and Labor & Delivery services in the new Parkland Memorial Hospital opened at the new location, 5200 Harry Hines Blvd. Other sections of the new hospital, including intensive care units and a burn center, will gain operation over a three-day period. All inpatient services will be transferred by Saturday’s end. I, for one, would not wish to be a patient during this transition. Chaos. But the new 2.1 million-square-foot facility does look pretty.

Burn Bans Spread Across DFW like wildfire. Denton and Tarrant counties have already set up burn bans, and Dallas County will likely do so next Tuesday, which would be in effect for 90 days. Funny how the burn bans are coming on the heels of yesterday’s rain, the first since July 8. And to think, not long ago we were all hoping the downpours would desist.

Cannabis-based Smoothies Coming to a Suburb Near You. I mean, Frisco. Who would have thought? As it turns out, the AmeriCanna Cafe, a cannabis-based smoothie shop, is indeed set to open in Frisco within the year. If the hair starts to stand up on the back of your neck while reading this, don’t worry. It’s perfectly legal. Apparently, the ingredients are derived from hemp seeds, while are allowed for consumption in the U.S. Smoothies will have at most only negligible traces of THC, so you will not need to worry about failing a drug test (at least not because of this smoothie).

Dallas’ First West Nile Case of 2015

A Southeast Dallas resident has contracted the mosquito-borne disease. From the city’s release today:

Dallas County Health and Human Services announced the first human West Nile Virus (WNV) case in the City of Dallas for the 2015 season. 

The resident lives in the 75217 zip code and was diagnosed with West Nile Fever. For medical confidentiality and personal privacy reasons, the City of Dallas does not provide additional identifying information.

The City’s protocol is to conduct targeted ground spraying in areas where WNV has been confirmed in mosquitoes, and in areas where trapping has indicated significant increases in the number of mosquitoes that have the potential to carry WNV.  Existing traps near the human case have not tested positive for WNV.  The City will expand surveillance and place an additional trap near the location to gain information on mosquito activity.  

The City’s mosquito control program is continually evolving to address the threat of West Nile Virus (WNV).  Public information and outreach is extensive using television, radio, billboards, brochures, and community meetings.  Additionally, a webpage at www.dallascityhall.com is dedicated to WNV information, including links to videos developed to educate the public on WNV prevention.  The City is proactively identifying sources of mosquito breeding by responding to 3-1-1 standing water, stagnant pools and water conservation complaints.  However, it is important that residents do their part by taking the necessary precautions to avoid exposure to the virus.

 

Children’s Health Is Acquiring Baylor Scott & White’s Our Children’s House

Our Children’s House is the name for Baylor Scott & White Health’s pediatric program for children with special healthcare needs. Earlier this month, Baylor, the largest nonprofit health system in the state, announced plans to stop providing inpatient services there and filed a WARN letter with the Texas Workforce Commission announcing plans to lay off 181 Our Children’s House employees. No longer: Children’s Health System of Texas has signed a binding term sheet to acquire it.

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New D Magazine Podcast: The Vagina Dialogues With Dr. Seema Yasmin

On this week’s episode of EarBurner, Dr. Seema Yasmin — public health professor at the University of Texas at Dallas and reporter for the Dallas Morning News — discusses her recent article on vaginal rejuvenation, the public shaming of the two “normal, white women” at the Kessler Theater, and how a native Londoner ended up living in Rockwall.

After the show, Yasmin sampled the Old Monk‘s fish & chips for the first time. She pronounced them “pretty good,” which is pretty much a ringing endorsement from a proper Englishwoman.

What else you should know to better enjoy the show:

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Explore #OutdoorDallas, Win a Prize

Have you been outside this afternoon? Yeah, me neither. I’ve been stuck at D Magazine World Headquarters while an absolutely perfect day of Dallas weather taunts me from beyond the windows. I’d much rather be out on a trail somewhere, enjoying the great outdoors, just as the April issue of our print product implores.

We all should be playing hooky, come to think of it. And now we’ve got a way in which al fresco play could pay off. Just share a picture on social media — Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. — using the hashtag #OutdoorDallas. We’ll pick the best that we see between now and the end of next Wednesday, April 21.

The winner will receive a $200 gift certificate to Saint Ann Restaurant and Bar. So go. Get out of here. Your boss will understand.

Poll: Should Dallas Put Fluoride in Its Water?

It’s tough sometimes to know which “experts” we’re supposed to believe, especially when scientific consensus also has a way of changing its collective mind as researchers learn more. It can be confusing to mere lay-folk like you (most of you, anyway) and me.

For years we’ve heard that fluoride in our drinking water is an absolute good and has promoted dental health for decades. But now, as Tim noted last week, scientists have concerns about the chemical’s neurotoxic effects. These concerns have been raised to the Dallas City Council, which will vote Jan. 28 on a contract to continue fluoridating the city’s water supply. Should they continue the practice?

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In Fluoride Debate, Steve Blow Lays Bare His Less Than Beautiful Mind

We’ve had some fun recently with Steve Blow’s substandard work. First John Neely Bryan skewered him. Then Zac, not having seen Mr. Bryan’s post, had a go at Blow. (It was interesting that they both hit on the same satirical concept; for my money, Bryan executed it better.) But essentially Blow’s point was: “cool kids in town” (his phrase) don’t want to build a toll road in the Trinity floodway. “Sensible adults” know better. Sensible adults understand that we need more tolled highways ringing downtown Dallas. His folksy argument made no sense. And his use of a derogatory term for people like esteemed architect Bob Meckfessel reveals prejudice.

Today Blow brings us another noteworthy column.

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Will Jacqueline Buckingham Anderson Bring Her ‘Practice’ to the Crow Collection?

The Crow Collection of Asian Art just announced the creation of a Wellness Institute, to be directed by Jacqueline Buckingham Anderson, “a recognized advocate in the field of wellness and lifestyle medicine,” and the wife of Dallas Museum of Art director Maxwell Anderson.

The institute is designed to host sessions related to health and wellness, meditation, tai chi, family yoga, and “other practices.” Does that mean that Mrs. Anderson will spread the gospel of her own peculiar “practice,” which we got a sneak peek of in 2013? We can only hope.

Here’s the full press release:

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Clay and Mike: Bryan Burrough’s Tale of Two Dallas Leaders

As Tim alluded to yesterday, Dallas’ handling of the Ebola crisis has just been put into perspective for a national audience, thanks to Bryan Burrough’s thoroughly reported piece in the new Vanity Fair. Burrough’s lengthy story puts a generally heroic shine on the response by local officials. And it offers a refreshingly frank, behind-the-scenes look at the actions of two powerful local politicians, both Democrats, who someday may aspire to higher office. My initial impression was that the piece portrays County Judge Clay Jenkins as some sort of steely Superman, while Mayor Mike Rawlings comes off as, well, considerably less effective.

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Moss Haven Elementary Students Sing ‘We Are The World’ to Fight Ebola

As the Advocate notes, some youngsters over at Moss Haven Elementary in Lake Highlands have produced their own remake of “We Are The World,” the well-intentioned all-star tune we all were made to get thoroughly sick of thanks to its constant play on MTV in 1985.

The Moss Haven video is part of an effort to raise $5,000 for Doctors Without Borders to help fight the Ebola epidemic.

If you have anything snarky to say after watching it, what kind of monster are you?

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Tower at UT Southwestern Medical Center To Be Named After Kern Wildenthal

You might call it yet another attempt to atone for past injustices. Today, word comes that Regents of The University of Texas System voted unanimously to name a major research tower at the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas after Dr. Kern Wildenthal, the UTSW president from 1986-2008. Wildenthal, you might recall, was dragged by his heels through the mud in a series of Dallas Morning News stories about his expense accounting. Thursday’s action involving the new C. Kern Wildenthal Research Building on the north campus, the Regents said, was taken to recognize Wildenthal’s “extraordinary accomplishments” as both dean of the medical school and president of UT Southwestern. Last year, the Regents also appointed Wildenthal to the honorific title of President Emeritus of the institution. Now, cue the anonymous commenters sure to enjoy vilifying the guy one more time …

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Baylor CEO Allison Takes Aim At Federal Response To Ebola

“This is a failure on the national level, a big failure,” said Allison, the head of the state’s largest nonprofit health system. “Ebola was known for years. If they would’ve addressed it when it needed to be addressed it could’ve been stopped, frankly, in my opinion, in West Africa. The CDC was not handling this well; they’ve dropped the ball and it fell back on Presbyterian Dallas.”

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