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Making Dallas Even Better

New Fair Park Proposal Argues State Fair Sprawl Is Bad for Business

There have been a few new plans for Fair Park batted around since the effort began to consider moving the management of the city facility to a private non-profit organization. This latest one comes from a Dallas-based urban planning firm called Ash + Lime, and it makes a simple, but compelling argument. Yes, the State Fair of Texas is too big, the Ash+Lime study contends, but the people who should be most upset about the sprawling fair that gobbles up the park aren’t park or neighborhood advocates, but rather the State Fair itself. That’s because the size and layout of the State Fair is actually leaving money on the table.

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Podcast: The Future of DART Rail Through Downtown Dallas

The July issue of D Magazine (on newsstands now, but not yet available online) includes a story about the future of DART light-rail through downtown Dallas. This week’s podcast guest was our own Peter Simek, who typed that story. He chatted with Tim and Zac about the options for the future of the public transportation system, the lawsuit State Sen. Royce West filed against Dallas Cowboys player Dez Bryant, and Galveston, for some reason.

First a few notes and corrections before you dial up the show in your iTunes, Stitcher, or your favorite podcatcher:

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Leading Off (6/24/16)

GRAND JURY CLEARS MCKINNEY OFFICER INVOLVED IN POOL PARTY INCIDENT, TEEN PLANS TO SUE. A Collin County grand jury on Thursday cleared McKinney police officer Cpl. Eric Casebolt of criminal charges relating to his involvement in breaking up a pool party last June, which garnered national attention. The interaction was captured in a seven-minute video that shows Casebolt slamming a teenage girl to the ground and drawing his gun on two other teens who tried to help her. There was not enough evidence to bring criminal charges against Casebolt, a 10-year veteran of the department. Given the verdict, the 16-year-old girl and her family plan to file civil rights and personal injury suits Monday.

SUPREME COURT IMMIGRATION DEADLOCK LEAVES DALLAS FAMILIES IN LIMBO. The Supreme Court’s 4-4 split leaves the families of Texas’ 1.5 million undocumented immigrants with uncertainty. The plan would have shielded millions from deportation. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton believes the ruling is a victory for those who believe in the separations of powers.

MAVS TAKE A.J. HAMMONS IN DRAFT. The Dallas Mavericks drafted Purdue’s A.J. Hammons on Thursday in the second round. The 7-foot center was the 46th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft. The Mavs are hopeful for what Hammons, “a first-round talent,” could bring to the team.

7 MEN CHARGED WITH INDECENT EXPOSURE, PUBLIC LEWDNESS IN PUBLIC PARK. Between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Thursday, Fort Worth police arrested seven men on charges of indecent exposure and public lewdness. The arrests were made in Gateway Park, and police haven’t clarified if the offenses are related. The men range in age from 22 to 66. Maybe it was the result of an Old School-inspired rush challenge. I don’t know how these things work. In the meantime, here’s a peek at their mugshots.

SOUTHBOUND I-35E LANES THROUGH DOWNTOWN ARE CLOSING FOR 12 HOURS. As part of the Dallas Horseshoe Project, all southbound lanes of I-35E that pass through Downtown Dallas will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday through 10 a.m. Saturday. The exit to eastbound I-30 is part of the shutdown; however, the westbound exit will stay open. Only time will tell if we, as a city, can survive this shutdown.

Why It’s Easy to Confuse Eleanor Roosevelt and Jimmy Buffett

Trump press secretary and SMU grad Hope Hicks apparently misattributed an Eleanor Roosevelt quote to Jimmy Buffett in her senior yearbook. The quote: “The future belongs to those who believe in the power of their dreams.” I won’t judge. I have witnessed many reputable journalists fall prey to the limitless multiplication of false Mark Twain posts on the internet. See if you can tell who said the following.

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Leading Off (6/22/16)

More Details Emerge on McKinney Double Murder. Kelley Eugene Bigham was charged with murder for the fatal shooting of his estranged wife, Karen Bigham, and her twin sister on Monday. The Bigham’s college-age daughter, Kylie, says in the affidavit that her mother told her father she was divorcing him last week and he threatened her with a gun. Karen asked Kylie to come over Monday while Kelley collected his belongings. Kylie was at the house and ran out with her young son as shots were fired. She told police that her father texted her “I’m sorry” after the murder.

Collin County Baby Dies in Hot Car. A father in Melissa was arrested and charged with manslaughter Tuesday in the death of his 6-month-old daughter. She was left in the family’s minivan for up to four hours until the police were called at 1:30 p.m. According a neighbor, the girl’s father, Michael Thedford, is a substitute teacher at Melissa High School and has two other young children.

Dirk Will Be a Free Agent Soon. After opting out of his contract Tuesday, Dirk Nowitzki will be a free agent as of July 1. In the DMN, point guard Devin Harris says there is even less than a “tiny shred of a chance” that Nowitzki is going anywhere. Still, the Golden State Warriors have made it clear that they’ve got eyes for the Big German.

Mark Cuban Has Some Choice Words for Trump. Tabloid show Extra aired an interview with the Mavs owner in which Cuban says of Trump, “It’s rare that you see someone get stupider before your eyes…” I know what you’re thinking. Is Donald Trump getting stupider or is Donald Trump getting more stupid? Because in elementary school, we’re all taught that Donald Trump is getting more stupid, right? But, according to every online dictionary out there, Cuban is completely in the right to say that Donald Trump is getting stupider. Grammatically speaking, of course.

Leading Off (6/18/16)

Donald Trump RallY at Gilley’s. Following a fundraiser at the Highland Hotel, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee spoke before a crowd of a few thousand downtown. Hundreds protested nearby, while a much smaller crowd gathered outside the Highland earlier in the day. Trump told his acolytes: “We have to stop people with hate in their heart from coming into our country.” Meaning he was calling for himself to be banned from entry into the United States? Unusual move. What a maverick. Just the sort to shake things up in Washington.

It’s Hot, and Heat Can Kill. North Texas is under a heat advisory — with expected high temperatures in the high 90s and a heat index of between 105 and 108 — through Saturday. On Thursday, Dallas County confirmed the county’s first heat-related death of the year.

Colby Lewis Takes No-Hitter to Ninth. The Texas Rangers pitcher lost his bid for a perfect game with no outs in the eighth inning but still hadn’t allowed a hit to the Oakland Athletics when Max Muncy came to bat to lead off the final frame. Muncy hit a ball to right field that the Rangers’ Nomar Mazara barely missed before it dropped in to break up the no-hitter. Lewis finished the 5-1 win having allowed two hits.

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Leading Off (6/14/16)

two orlando shooting victims had ties to texas. At least two of the people who lost their lives in the horrific shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando Sunday were connected to Texas. Luis Vielma lived in Sanford, Florida, but one of his siblings lived in North Texas, and his godmother—with whom he shared a love of the Dallas Cowboys—was born in Dallas. Frank Hernandez, who went by Frank Escalante, was a Rio Grande Valley native.

Man shot at love field is now in jail. 29-year-old Shawn Diamond, who was shot by a police officer last week outside of Love Field, has now moved from the hospital to jail. Diamond had traveled from Maryland to his ex-girlfriend’s Dallas home. She told police he had gotten upset on the way to Love Field, and when they got out of the car, he smashed the car’s rear windshield with a traffic cone and threw rocks at its windows. An officer tried to get him to stop, but Diamond ran toward him, and the officer fired shots. Diamond is being held at the Dallas County Jail on charges of aggravated assault against a public servant and assault—family violence.

Celebrations mark Dart’s 20th anniversary. Starting today, celebrations will take place to mark the 20th anniversary of DART’s first 11 miles of light rail. In 1996, when it first launched, the expectation was that light rail would reach 53 miles. But now, it’s expanded to 90 miles, the longest system of its kind in the U.S. Celebrations will include customer appreciation events, music, and giveaways.

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Leading Off (6/13/16)

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Condemned For Gospel Verse Tweet: Dan Patrick’s campaign claims the Sunday morning quotation he shared on Twitter from Galatians 6:7 – “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”– had been scheduled for several days, and was not a reaction to the horrible attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning. That’s either extraordinarily bad timing or a complete lie. The tweet was deleted, though some are now calling for Patrick’s resignation. There will be a vigil held in Dallas for the Orlando victims.

Report on Dog Attack Details Just How Inept Dallas’ City Services Are: A report released Friday reveals the grisly details of the death of Antoinette Brown, who was attacked and killed by a pack of wild dogs in South Dallas on May 2. The details of the attack are difficult to read, even in summary. That it happened on a street in a major American city is just dumbfounding. As horrifying is the ineptitude demonstrated by police and city hall. Neighbors repeatedly reported the pack of dogs that killed Brown roaming the neighborhood for days after the attack and received no response.

Dallas, Meet Your Newest Political Football: As we mentioned Friday, TxDOT released its much-anticipated study of various reworkings of Dallas’ downtown highway system, an issue we here at D Magazine have been writing about for some time. Perhaps the best thing I’ve read about the report so far is Brandon Formby’s piece over the weekend about how the report will fit within Dallas’ political landscape, essentially becoming another Trinity, Fair Park-style splitter, breaking right down the middle of the plate:

But the report lands at City Hall at a time when the council struggles to keep up with subpar city streets and grapples a $19 million budget shortfall. At the same time, council members must replace their outgoing city manager and decide the fate of how Fair Park is managed.

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Leading Off (6/10/16)

Man Kidnapped by Carjackers, Murdered. Investigators say the 42-year-old victim was likely targeted, followed to a gas station at DFW Airport on Thursday afternoon, where he went inside while thieves tried to make off with his rental car. When the victim saw the theft in progress, he rushed out to stop it, jumping into the vehicle’s driver’s side passenger door. He was later found dead at an apartment complex a few miles away.

Muslim Says He Was Nearly Run Off Road Driving. A white pickup truck aggressively followed Omair Siddiqi after he stopped to put gas in his car on Wednesday afternoon. Siddiqi was listening to a recording of the Quran when the white, middle-aged driver of the truck pulled alongside, rolled down his window and started screaming at him, “Take your rag ass back to your country. I’m gonna [expletive] kill you.” The truck then allegedly tried to run Siddiqi’s vehicle off the road. Police traced the license plate number that Siddiqi provided to an address in Garland. Siddiqi works as an outreach coordinator for the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Dallas Fort-Worth chapter

DISD Looks to Reduce Suspensions of Youngest Students. There’s disagreement among trustees about whether an all-out ban of imposing out-of-school suspensions on children in pre-kindergarten through second grade is the right move, but they want to do something at least to reduce the practice, which disproportionately affects black boys and can put them at a disadvantage for attaining future academic success. The board asked for more input in discussing alternatives.

Judge Forbids Slumlord From Evicting Tenants. The order is in place until the city’s lawsuit against Dennis Topletz is heard. Topletz is accused of renting 190 properties that violate many city codes to low-income residents. Topletz had sent a letter to his tenants threatening to evict them or raise their rent if they cooperate with the city’s action.

1 in 10 Dallas County Jail Inmates There Solely Because of Mental Illness. So says research of the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, which presented a plan Thursday aiming to keep the mentally ill who aren’t dangerous out of the jail. It would involve embedding social workers with police units responding to mental crises and be funded by $7 million in private grants.

Rangers Draft Pitcher. With their first pick of this year’s MLB first-year player draft, Texas took Cole Ragans, a high-school leftie from Tallahassee, Florida. Remember that in baseball the draft is pretty much a crap shoot, so even though he was the 30th overall player taken, who knows if he’ll ever make it to the Show.

UTA Draws Up New-ish Plan For Fair Park

Via the Morning News, we see a new design for what the future of Fair Park could look like: much more green space and far less acreage devoted to parking, for one.

The plan, grandly dubbed “Fair Park :The Reinvigoration of a National Treasure,” comes from the University of Texas at Arlington’s Institute of Urban Studies and was financially supported by the Foundation for Community Empowerment. That organization’s chief backer, former Trammell Crow chairman Don Williams, was also the force behind last year’s Di Mambro Plan, which also sought to put more “park” into Fair Park by limiting the space used by the State Fair of Texas.

The key recommendations from the UTA plan are:

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Poll: What Should We Do With Fair Park?

This week Fair Park is celebrating its 80th anniversary. While the State Fair of Texas remains a much-beloved annual event, there have increasingly been questions about how the fair’s organization operates and whether its domination of this important public space is a net good for the city. Under consideration also is a proposal to turn over management of Fair Park to a nonprofit foundation — which in turn would ask the city to significantly increase its financial commitment.

What do you think should happen?

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Mark Lamster on Fair Park at 80: ‘A Very Dallas Story’

To honor the 80th anniversary of the Texas Centennial Exhibition, Dallas Morning News architecture critic Mark Lamster penned a piece worth highlighting about the complicated, paradoxical history of Fair Park, our city’s favorite neglected stepchild. Even from its inception, Lamster writes, Fair Park was shaped by confounding political forces which muddled the commissioning process for its now beloved art deco structures:

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