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Former Parkland CEO Ron Anderson, RIP

The longtime Parkland CEO died yesterday of cancer at age 68. Read much more on D Healthcare Daily. The hospital system’s release about the man who ran the place for almost 30 years is below:

Ron J. Anderson, MD, a national spokesperson for public health issues and a champion for the poor and medically underserved, died Sept. 11, 2014 of cancer. He was 68 years old. Services are pending.

A native of Chickasha, OK, Dr. Anderson was President and CEO of Parkland Health & Hospital System for 29 years, a job he assumed in 1982 at the age of 35 after serving for two years as Medical Director of Parkland’s Emergency Room and Outpatient Clinic and Head of The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s Division of Internal Medicine. He retired in 2011. In his final years at Parkland he led the successful bond campaign that secured public financing for the new $1.3 billion Parkland hospital due to open in mid-2015.

On Sept. 10, the Parkland Board of Managers unanimously endorsed a plan led by Parkland Foundation to place a commemorative statue in the new hospital and to name Parkland’s new medical/surgical outpatient clinic after Dr. Anderson. In the 1980s, Dr. Anderson suggested setting up health clinics in Dallas’ poorest neighborhoods, convincing skeptical Board members and local officials of the need. Parkland now operates a dozen Community Oriented Primary Care clinics throughout the county, making primary and preventive health care more accessible.

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Leading Off (9/12/14)

Planners Back Off Tolling Central. The Regional Transportation Council met Thursday, and its members indicated they’re not moving forward with plans to toll some lanes of U.S. Highway 75. Of course, the move comes only after the Texas Transportation Commission, which is in charge of state-owned highways, said it wouldn’t support tolling. And the RTC didn’t actually take any action Thursday and could still move to toll other highways as a funding mechanism to increase traffic capacity throughout North Texas.

Lawsuit Against Jerry Jones May Be Too Late. The statute of limitations on civil claims of sexual assault is five years. The incident at the center of Jana Weckerly’s suit against the Dallas Cowboys owner, which was filed this week, took place five years and 10 weeks ago. But legal experts say Weckerly’s attorneys could argue that she was of unsound mind for more than 10 weeks of that period, or that Jones was out of the state on business for longer than 10 weeks since the alleged crime occurred. Either finding would make it possible for a judge to decide that the case can proceed.

Mineral Wells is Thirsty. The home of Crazy Water is looking for new water sources, as its primary reservoir (Lake Palo Pinto) has dropped from 28 feet to 14 feet in the last six months. If drought conditions don’t improve, the town could run dry by May of next year.

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Biggest Grammar Mistakes in Dallas-Fort Worth Signage

Automated proofreader Grammarly recently held a contest seeking submissions of photos featuring the most egregious grammar mistakes on signs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Above you can see the winning entry, and right off the bat I have a complaint.

That sign is obviously filled with purposeful misspellings intended to attract customers’ attention and underline the folksiness of people selling the produce. I think it should have been disallowed rather than given the prize.

Below are the other top entries from North Texas.

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Leading Off (9/11/14)

Small Earthquake Hit Irving This Morning. It was a 2.9. A 2.4 hit Arlington on Sunday. Based on the locations so far, we’re looking at places connected with the Cowboys, so keep an eye out if you live near Valley Ranch.

Prime Prep’s Enrollment Rolls Back. It’s down to around 320 students, or about half the 600 they were expecting. Glass is half full version: enrollment is still around 320 students, much higher than the zero many assumed at this point.

June Jones Did Not Recruit North Texas High Schools Very Well, According to North Texas High School Coaches. Maybe the next guy will do better.

Kid Convinces City Councilman To Buy Him a New Suit. Sounds like someone is learning how to be a county commissioner. That’s my five minutes. You guys have been great! Carlos Mencia is up next.

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Why Dallas Was Chosen the Best Skyline in the World

You may have seen, on any number of other sites accessible via the World Wide Web, that Dallas was chosen the best skyline in the world — let me repeat, the best skyline in the world — in a readers’ poll on USA Today.com. In other words, not only do we have a world-class skyline, we have the world-classiest skyline.

Here’s what the newspaper’s site had to say about that:

“Dallas became initially identifiable by the opening credits of an infamous ’80s TV show,” says expert Preston Kissman. “The contemporary Dallas skyline tells a story of big banking, big oil, big money, and the occasional big bust.” James Adams add, “Dallas has continued to stay flashy. Controversially, it has done this not with the height or style of its newest architecture, but rather through an internal race to adorn its existing and new icons with colorful interactive lighting that cannot be ignored.”

We’re among friends here, so I’m sure we can all agree that ranking Dallas the No. 1 skyline on the entirety of planet Earth is ridiculous. What about Chicago? New York? San Francisco? Sure, we beat the pants off places like Houston, Omaha, and Atlanta, but do we even belong in the top tier once you factor in locales in all hemispheres?

So how did we win?

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Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Wet ‘N Wild — And Water Parks In General

Grantland’s Bryan Curtis has a massive story about the genesis of Wet ‘N Wild (now Hurricane Harbor), Schlitterbahn, and pretty much every other water park ever. You should check it out. A taste:

Naming the park proved simple. Rolly Crump remembered, “One day, at a meeting, George said, ‘We got to come up with a name. It’s got to be wet and it’s got to be wild.’

“I said, ‘Well, George, that’s it. Call it Wet ’n Wild.’” Later, the name would be as soothingly generic as the chains on International Drive: the Red Carpet Inn, the Western Sizzlin’ steak house. Yet for the men standing on the threshold of a great invention, Wet ’n Wild almost sounded dangerous. They made sure the opening round of ads emphasized that the park was safe.

About that: A few days before Wet ’n Wild opened, in March 1977, Millay invited the Orlando hotelier Harris Rosen to watch the first teenager test the Whitewater Slideways. These were the concrete slides Millay had seen in Placerville, California, now rebranded and lengthened. (They measured 400 feet.) The teen folded his arms across his chest, slid down the flume, skipped right across the surface of the splash pool, and landed in a heap on the concrete.

“That wasn’t supposed to happen, was it, George?” Rosen said.

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The Sad, Sorry Story of the Texas Horse Park

There are few stories involving the Trinity River Project that don’t seem sad and sorry these days. Some bright spots include the Continental Bridge pedestrian plaza, which is, honestly, a lot more successful than I thought it would be, thanks to the way adjacent La Bajada neighborhood has embraced the space. Then there are the paths that were finally built in the flood plain. Those are pretty great, and they drive home the point that all the Trinity River Project ever needed to be was a way to better access and utilize the river. Lakes? River bends? Water taxies? Yeah, sure, I guess that could be cool. But walking around the paths on a recent weekend, I couldn’t help but think that all the Trinity really needs is a place to rent a kayak, or maybe a horse, and a place to grab a beer in the shade of a bridge. How about we figure out a way to provide those things, and then let’s call the Trinity River Project complete.

But that’s not what the Trinity River Project is.

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: Death of a Poet

I’m going to spoil a pivotal event of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia, but if you’ve not yet gotten around to seeing that brilliant, now 15-year-old film, then face up to the fact that you likely never will and don’t hassle me for spilling the following secret.

Magnolia tells a collection of interconnected stories of people in Los Angeles. There’s nothing too far-fetched about its plot lines about ordinary people moving about their fairly ordinary lives when, without explanation, it begins to rain frogs. By which I mean, full-sized frogs fall from the sky. There are apocalyptic, Biblical overtones, but no vengeful god appears to take credit for the act. It’s ridiculous. Makes little sense. Comes out of nowhere and alters lives.

The best explanation for the sequence that I’ve ever heard came from the late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who appears in Magnolia as a nurse caring for a man dying of cancer. He said — and I’m sorry that I can’t locate the interview anywhere online, so you’ll just have to trust my fading memory  — the rain of frogs began to make sense to him when he thought about cancer.

Why we shouldn’t we accept the possibility of a downpour of amphibians when we’ve become accustomed to a plague like cancer? Cancer is your own body turning against itself for ultimately mysterious reasons. It’s ridiculous. Makes little sense. Often comes out of nowhere and alters lives.

I’m sure that when, in 1976, 30-year-old Judith McPheron began to suffer an onslaught of clumps of tissue growth all over her body — a rare form of cancer known as liposarcoma — she could hardly have been any more shocked if she’d glanced out the window and seen frogs descending from the sky.

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Leading Off (9/10/14)

Men Arrested For Assault of 15-year-old: These guys deserve to spend a lot of time away from society.

Tutor Company Charged With Bilking $2.5 Million Out of Dallas, Fort Worth ISDs: $2.5 million? Maybe these tutors should’ve taught the districts’ accountants a little something about mathematics ohhhhhh! Boom! Roasted! Lined em up and knocked em down!

Jerry Jones Sued For Sexual Assault: Remember last month, when a couple of uncouth photos of Jerry Jones popped up? Well one of the women in those photos is suing Jones for sexual assault, claiming he fondled her genitals and forced her to touch his penis, among other things. She’s suing for more than $1 million.

Eric Dickerson Trashes SMU Football: “If they don’t want to do anything, just kill the program.” “I guarantee there are some high schools around the country that could beat them. There’s no doubt. They just don’t have the talent.” “You ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.” Good job, good effort.

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Leading Off (9/9/14)

Michael Morris To Take Over Uber Discussion? I have a question. Is there anything else Dallas can hand over to Morris? What about DISD? Let’s give him that, too. Because now the City Council’s transportation committee is about to let Morris run the Uber deal. Here’s the section of the News’ story that jumped out at me: “Though the partnership isn’t all that unusual — the Council of Governments’ transportation director, Michael Morris, holds enormous sway — the arrangement came a bit out of nowhere.”

Men Arrested for Southlake Murder. Remember that lawyer for a Mexican drug cartel who was gunned down a year ago in Southlake’s Town Square? The bad(der) guys are in custody. Breathe easy, Southlake. Unless you work for a drug cartel. In that case, think about moving to the Park Cities, someplace safer.

SMU Student Raped. Read the description of the attacker. Call the cops if have information that might help. Keep your eyes open.

Search Continues for Christina Morris. By now you should know that the 23-year-old disappeared at the Shops at Legacy in Plano last Saturday morning. People are still looking for her.

Deion Sanders Is Back as Athletic Director at Prime Prep. School superintendent Ron Price reinstated Prime Time. If I’m keeping score properly (and this situation has grown so silly that it’s entirely possible that I’m not), Deion has been fired, rehired, fired again, and now rehired. I feel for him. Really, I do. Working for Ron Price must be so hard.

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Can We Please Stop Conflating Michael Sam and Josh Brent?

Josh Brent drove drunk, after a previous conviction for doing just that, and was going between 110 mph and 134 mph in an area with a 45-mph speed limit, when he killed his friend and teammate Jerry Brown.

Michael Sam is the first publicly gay player drafted into the NFL.

Both are defensive lineman who have a chance to play for the Dallas Cowboys at some point this season. The comparisons should end there.

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How a North Texas Man Became the Leader of the Syrian Opposition Government

This weekend, the New York Times ran a fascinating story about how a director of operations at a North Texas-based telecommunications company became–for a few months anyway–the interim prime minister of an alternative government opposing the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war.

Ghasson Hitto grew up in Syria, in a Kurdish family. His older brother was imprisoned for 14 years for voicing opposition to the government of Bashar al-Assad’s father. At 19, Hitto moved to America, married a midwestern woman, and had four children, at least one of which played varsity football in high school.

A year into the conflict, Hitto’s oldest son, then 24, moved to Syria. Hitto started his involvement by volunteering to work on humanitarian aid projects in the fall of 2012.

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