Why Is the Air We Breathe Getting Worse?

The Texas Tribune yesterday published a story that you should read — but only if you live in North Texas and if you breathe air. It only matters to that group of people. Here’s the top-line summary: though we are still way above where the federal government wants us on ozone, for years our levels had been dropping. In 2008, as you can see from the above chart generated from research done at UNT, that trend reversed itself. And the rise in ozone levels has accelerated fastest in parts of North Texas where the most drilling is done. It’s an important story. It’s not that long. Please read it — again, though, only if you live here and breathe air.

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Dallas Confirms Season’s First Positive West Nile Test

Not in a person — in a mosquito pool near the 6600 block of Brookshire Drive in North Dallas. The city is planning to spray insecticide tonight and tomorrow between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. in the area bounded by Azalea Lane on the north, Tulane Boulevard on the west, Airline Road on the east, and Walnut Hill Lane on the south. From the city’s release:

While the insecticide is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for treatment, residents in the above areas should avoid contact with the spray by staying indoors. Persons inside a vehicle while trucks are actively spraying should remain in their vehicles with the windows up and the air conditioner on until the trucks pass and the spray is no longer visible. Persons out during the scheduled spraying time should be alert for trucks and should not follow them. Residents who come in contact with the spray are advised to wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water. The spray breaks down quickly in the presence of sunlight and has no residual effect.

Zac’s mosquito source could not be reached for comment.

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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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New Fitness Report Says We Need to Get in Shape, Dallas

Today the American College of Sports Medicine released its 2014 American Fitness Index report, in which you’ll find a ranking of the country’s 50 biggest metropolitan statistical areas in terms of healthy living. Washington, D.C., claimed the top spot.

The headline for Dallas is that we finished 38th out of the 50. The method by which these rankings are calculated was revised so much this year that the press release for the study advised that no comparison be made to the results of past reports. But let’s do it anyway.

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Introducing ‘Be Well Dallas’

You look great, Dallas. Really. Have you been working out? We can tell. We’ve seen you running down the Katy Trail and biking around White Rock Lake, swimming at SMU and even canoeing down the Trinity River. Wasn’t that you at the pick-up basketball game at the Y? Oh, and hit us up next time you want play some tennis at Cole Park. We’ll tell you about this great hot yoga class you’ve got to check out.

We’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about all the great ways there are to pursue an active lifestyle in this city. Wellness is such an important part of life, and we know we’ve been neglecting our role to help make Dallas an even fitter place. Well, we’ve decided to do something about that.

Today we’re happy to announce the launch of a new community on our website. We’re calling it Be Well Dallas. Each day you’ll find reviews and recommendations, advice and insights that highlight all that our area has to offer those among our readers who are invested in treating their bodies like temples and in preaching the gospel of good health.

Check it out, and let us know what you think. Right this way.

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Dallas Ranks Among 10 Worst Cities For Spring Allergies

I’ve mentioned before that this spring’s Pollen Vortex has been trying to kill me. I can’t remember a year when my allergies were so bad. Two symptoms I rarely suffer — itchy eyes and itchy roof of my mouth — have been common occurrences, and their presence would normally only make sense if I were walking through a cloud of cat dander.

Well, I was just checking out the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s list of the worst cities for spring allergies in 2014 (h/t Slate), and I find that Dallas is No. 7. We’re the worst Texas city on the list, and the biggest city in the top 10. Our pollen count, use of allergy medication, and number of allergists are worse than average.

Last year Dallas was No. 23. When our Liz Johnstone wrote about the reasons Dallas is so bad for hay fever sufferers like me, in 2011, Dallas was No. 35. The year before? No. 52.

You see what’s happening here, don’t you? The trees and plants have begun their siege to reclaim our region, then presumably the entire planet. Everybody laughed at M. Night Shyamalan, but maybe he was right.

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Inside the March Issue of D Magazine

There are things many of us typically don’t discuss. Let’s call them unmentionables. Or perhaps a desire to be polite. Nudity at a spa? It comes with the territory. The fake factor of “reality” television? Why waste your breath? Bathroom business? Goodness gracious, no. Well, in the March issue of D Magazine, we break all of these rules, all for the sake of good stories.

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Leading Off (2/14/14)

DFW Airport Has Refunded More than $648,000 in Parking Charges. The same $56 million system that made entering and exiting a nightmare after it was installed last September has resulted in overcharges to more 4,100 drivers who use toll tags. One guy got a $108 bill for a 10-minute trip to the airport. Another had a bill of $1,096 for an even shorter trip.

Dale Hansen on Ellen Today. Everybody’s favorite blustering old Dallas sportscaster continues to be showered with praise for his “Unplugged” commentary from Monday night’s newscast. On Thursday he was in Los Angeles taping an appearance for Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show, which will air at 3 p.m. Friday on NBC 5.

Frisco Principal Resigns After Medicine Goes Missing. David Wehmeyer of Corbell Elementary quit after allegedly stealing drugs from the school nurse’s office.

McKinney Couple Face Tragedy of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s. Usually “early-onset” means someone in his 60s or 50s, but Jason Manthe was diagnosed in his 30s. Now his wife Kam must care for him, as well as their four children. The disease has long been known as “the long goodbye” because it strips away the mind of a loved one and leaves only a shell of that person behind. The Manthes’ situation brings a whole other heartbreaking level of meaning to that phrase:

“If somebody dies in a car accident, they’re no longer there and you mourn their loss,” she said. “But you don’t see them every day. But I wake up next to him every day and have to look at him every day.

“The Jason I fell in love with, and the husband and father we know, is not there.”

It’s Valentine’s Day. And a holiday for D Magazine HQ. Hug somebody you love. Then go see RoboCop.

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If You’re Looking For Love, Facebook Says to Head to Fort Worth

The Wall Street Journal and Facebook have teamed up to rank the best places in the U.S. for single people in search of romance. They took social network relationship data from the 50 cities with the most Facebook users, and Fort Worth came out looking pretty great for relationship seekers. It’s in the top five for “likelihood of a relationship” and the top five for number of single females to single males. Overall it’s ranked fourth-best spot for singles in the country, behind only Colorado Springs, El Paso, and Louisville:

This is a rare city with both a lopsided proportion of single women and a high rate of forming relationships. Adjacent to Dallas, Fort Worth is home to a large population of Mexican immigrants.

Meanwhile, Dallas finishes in the middle of the pack, the 23rd-worst place to find love.

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Inside D Magazine’s February 2014 Issue

When news of Tony Dorsett’s chronic traumatic encephalopathy symptoms hit, responses were varied. To me, it was another horrifying example of the dangers of football and a nod to my parents who never let my brother play. But I didn’t grow up in a place where football was life. And I didn’t immediately understand the gravity of Tony Dorsett being the latest player affected.

Zac Crain did.

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Kidd Kraddick in the Morning Is Talking Trash

My radio dial has been stuck on 106.1 FM since high school.  I’ve been listening to Kidd Kraddick in the Morning since I received the keys to my first car. I listen every morning. Yes, it is different without Kidd, but Kelly, Big Al, J-Si, and Jenna, still make me feel like I’m back in my hand-me-down car; windows are down, bass up, volume set to 10 (that’s loud in my car) pulling into the parking lot filled with Escalades and Mercedes, or what I called, high school.

In reality though, I was listening to the show on my way to D Magazine Headquarters. I took on the job as the research editor back in July. Any D Best project we have falls into my lap (i.e. Best Doctors, Best Lawyers, do I need to go on?)

This morning Psycho Shannon was on talking about her recovery process after doctors found a brain tumor back in November. Sad stuff. Shannon went on to talk about the serious stuff, like her hot doctor (they’re just friends though, because Shannon is gay. Yes, Kelly asked if she was still gay since the brain tumor).

Shannon talked about how great her hot doctor was, mentioning that he was on some “best” list in some Dallas magazine. My head turned to my passenger seat like the imaginary person in the seat next to me knew that Kidd Kraddick in the Morning just indirectly talked about me on the radio. (Well, my job at least).

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Leading Off (1/10/14)

Dallas ISD Tops TEA’s Worst Schools List. On Thursday, the Texas Education Agency released its annual list of low-performing public schools, and DISD had the most below-standard campuses of any district in the state. That’s 57 Dallas schools from which students now have the right to transfer, of 892 statewide. By comparison, Houston (the state’s largest district) had 53 on the list. Because of the switch to a new testing system the last two years, schools didn’t make the grade if their passing rates were less than 50% in any two of the previous three years, or if they were rated academically unacceptable on the old TAKS tests in 2011. Superintendent Mike Miles points out that 12 of the 57 subpar DISD schools, including Woodrow Wilson High School, actually met state passing standards in 2013.

Flu Deaths Spur Rush on Vaccinations. Hard to blame folks for being anxious to get their flu shots after many news reports of 19 deaths from the virus, plus a newly reported case in Wise County in which a man died from the H1N1 strain. The family of 41-year-old Christopher Waskom says he didn’t even known that he had the flu when he passed away on New Year’s Eve. Everybody be careful out there.

Avoid Interstate 30 Across Lake Ray Hubbard. That’s generally good advice during any normal rush hour, but this morning especially. A multi-vehicle wreck before dawn has resulted in the highway being shut down in both directions around Dalrock Road for hours, possibly until midday.

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UT Regents Honor Wildenthal, DMN Says, And … Remember Our Investigation?

Reasonable observers might view the regents’ appointments as vindication for the former president of UT Southwestern. As an admission that this hounding of a good man out of his office last year was flat wrong. But, don’t look for anything like that in the Dallas daily. When it comes to Kern Wildenthal, like I said, some reporters and editors at The News just can’t help themselves.

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