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Questions About Jill Jordan’s Bewildering ‘Trinity Lakes’ Briefing

On Friday afternoon, a Facebook post by Robert “Fingers of Fury” Wilonsky captured my attention. Said Wilonsky: “If you read one Dallas City Council briefing all weekend, make it this one: the surreal Trinity Lakes Amenities Design Plan.” How could I resist? To the extent I had any lingering doubts, he helpfully provided two illustrations: one of an alarming number of people crowded under a freeway overpass, evidently engaging in some sort of hyper merry-making; and another of a small tree-lined four-lane boulevard. Hmm … I had the sense this would prove enlightening.

Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan’s cover memo to the briefing document helpfully closed with the statement “Please feel free to contact me if you need additional information.” After reading through the 99-page attachment, I actually had quite a few questions, so I prepared to contact her. Upon closer reading, however, I noticed that: 1) she didn’t provide her contact details; and 2) even if she had done so, the memo was addressed exclusively to “The Honorable Members of the Transportation and Trinity River Project Committee,” and I’m not a member.

Therefore, lacking such access, I am posting my questions here, in the hopes that they might reach Ms. Jordan and Judge Vonciel Jones Hill (the Committee chair) prior to the meeting:

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Storm Blows Through Dallas, Does No Small Amount of Damage

Our office is on the 21st floor of the 22-story Saint Paul Place. When the storm rolled over downtown Dallas, the wind made our building sway. This is not something I enjoy. It nauseates me. I bolted for the elevators (smart) as the building’s PA system was telling people to take the stairs to the lobby. I’m not sure why, but even sitting in the lobby, I felt like the building was moving. Anyway, I’m alive and unharmed. Thank you for asking.

The photo you see here was taken by a friend in East Dallas. I love the looks on the kids’ faces. Like: “That was fun! Adventure! The tree even fell down!” Meanwhile, someone just lost a 100-year-old tree. Now the afternoon sun will have no filter before it beats down on their house and yard. And, too, they’ve probably already had to call their insurance agent. There’s no telling what sort of carnage lies outside the frame of that photo.

Hope all FrontBurnervians made it through safely.

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I Am On The Front Lines Of Mankind’s War With Owls

If you know me — either IRL or on various social media — you know I recently had a problem with an owl. If you don’t, then you can read about it here. The video you see here is courtesy of my friend Bob’s girlfriend, who noticed an owl mean-mugging her and, while recording, captured an attack on an unsuspecting jogger. (Just hang with it for a sec.) Also, you may have seen this video (language alert) of a man using a Swiffer to get an owl out of his home making its way around the internet recently. This is how these things start! It’s like, haha, what a funny situation and then, boom, we’re all huddled together in a giant nest watching a buddy being fed to a bunch of owlets. DON’T SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU.

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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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Leading Off (5/9/14)

Dallas Cowboys Pass on Johnny Manziel. The former Texas A&M quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner was still available when the team made its first-round pick — No. 16 overall. But despite the marketing bonanza that could’ve come from pairing Manziel with Jerry Jones in a Papa John’s commercial, the Cowboys selected Zack Martin, an offensive lineman out of Notre Dame. Johnny Football is taking his talents to Cleveland.

City to Award Love Field Gates to Virgin. According to WFAA’s sources, an announcement will be made today. City Manager A.C. Gonzalez made the call, which comes as no surprise, given the Justice Department’s stance on which carrier should get the gates the American Airlines is being forced to divest in order to have its merger with U.S. Airways approved.

Storms Flooded Streets, Downed Trees, Cut Power. Late Thursday, thousands of homes were still waiting for electricity to be restored. Though some places saw several inches of rain, officially (at D/FW Airport) the area got only a half-inch, leaving us still 8 inches below normal for precipitation this year.

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Leading Off (4/18/14)

Earthquake Rattles Northwest Dallas. The 2.5 on the Richter scale was centered near Northwest Highway and Interstate 35E. So what is it that the Pappas Bros have done to anger God? Or are the unholy goings-on at Ojos Locos to blame?

Mesh Mask Bandit Gets 20 Years. Former immigration activist Luis de la Garza had asked the judge for a shorter prison sentence, explaining that he’s eager to return to his community activism. “I want to be OK with my country, because this country has given me a lot of opportunities,” he said, wisely not mentioning that among those opportunities was the chance to commit 20 bank robberies.

Police Name Person of Interest in Deadly Hit-and-Run. Authorities are looking for 24-year-old Dagoberto Castanon in connection with the fatal crash that killed a 13-year-old boy in the M Streets on Tuesday. Castanon reportedly has an extensive criminal history and was even previously deported in October 2012.

UNT Misstated Finances by $23 Million. More money problems for the university, which has hired outside auditors to suss out the full extent of shortfalls that seem to have been hidden by questionable reporting.

Man Thrown From Bridge, Stuck in Mud. Dude gets kicked out of the car by his girlfriend along Interstate 30. A bunch of guys happen by in a van and offer him a lift. Then a little ways down the road, they pull over and throw him off a bridge. He falls the equivalent of two stories, can’t free himself from the mud, and has to call 911 to get him out. Dallas responders bring in the city of Wylie for assistance because Wylie has a hovercraft. Yes, I’ve buried the lede: Wylie has a hovercraft.

It’s Good Friday. One last round of Filet-O-Fish for all you Catholics.

UPDATE: You need to see Wylie’s hovercraft in action. (h/t @_paulknight)

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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.

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Leading Off (2/7/14)

It’s Still Messy Out There. Most of us won’t see more snow fall today (a 20 percent chance), but it’s still bone-chillingly cold, and the high temperature is expected to get only slightly above freezing. Roads refroze over night in many spots, making for icy conditions. Most schools are open, though many districts have delayed the beginning of classes this morning. Continue to be careful out there.

Jacksboro Residents Without Natural Gas. Not only did liquids in the distribution system result in service being cut for 1,200 customers in the town, meaning an extremely cold night last night for many, but it also forced one poor family to put up with Scott Gordon of NBC 5 doing a live shot from their living room.

Kelcy Warren is a Jackson Browne Superfan. He’s  the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, and he’s got so much money that he spent millions to name a park for his young son. His wealth also affords him the chance to live the dream of financing his own vanity entertainment project just because he feels like it. So what’s he do? He produces a 22-track tribute album of artists like Lyle Lovett, Don Henley, Bruce Springsteen, and Bonnie Raitt covering songs by Jackson Browne. Me, I’d have paid for the production of new episodes of Firefly or bought the Chicago Cubs. Pretty sure that means I’d make a better billionaire than Warren.

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Leading Off (1/22/14)

A.C. Gonzalez is Dallas’ Next City Manager. Tuesday’s vote was unanimous, though a couple of days ago it wasn’t, and now he’s ready for his new set of challenges. Congratulations, sir. And good luck.

Texas High School Juniors Failing Tests, Nearly 25 percent Might Not Graduate. Fifteen tests used to be required, but that number was dropped to just five this year. Still, some 338,000 students could potentially not graduate in 2015 because they aren’t passing the tests. These figures come amid complaints that funding issues remain throughout the state and that wealthier districts receive more money than their less-fortunate counterparts.

200 Laptops Missing from Prime Prep Academy. Last week, a mother claimed that the school wouldn’t allow her to withdraw her student. This week, Prime Prep, which once purported being on the cutting edge of technology, is missing 200 of its laptops. According to a News 8 report, a contractor hired by the school may have been instructed to sell them. And they were purchased with taxpayer dollars. So there’s that.

Zebra Mussels Continue to Invade Texas Lakes. Well crud. The invasive little buggers have made their way into Lavon Lake. But scientists aren’t panicking or particularly surprised. They think the mussels may have hitched a ride on a boat. However they came, they shouldn’t pose an immediate threat to the North Texas Municipal Water District, but water intake pipes could be affected down the line.

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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 […]

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Sneak Peek at New Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden (aka the Arboretum Expansion)

Yesterday a number of us got to tour the new $62 million, 8-acre Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden at the Arboretum. It will open September 21. We’re on deadline, so I don’t have time to gush too much about this place, but you need to know this: HUGE. With all due respect to the Perot, […]

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Canoe The Trinity With Audubon River Adventures

About a month ago, I got to take the maiden voyage of the Audubon River Adventures. I thought I was just joining Ben Jones, the enthusiastic director of the center, for a quick float. Then I got an email a few days before the trip confirming the other “intrepid explorers.” Joining us were Container Store […]

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