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The New York Times Visits Dallas

In an article posted today and headlined “Texas, 3 Ways,” Robert Draper (himself a Texas native) writes of recent sojourns to Houston, Dallas, and El Paso. He spends a Saturday observing yoga in Klyde Warren Park and lunching at Lark on the Park:

chatted with the owner, the longtime Dallas restaurateur Shannon Wynne. When he commented, “Dallas has matured more in the last five years than in the past 25,” I asked him why this was. He guffawed in reply, “Well, it certainly can’t be the locals.” He added that the city had benefited greatly from new blood, and that they in turn had emboldened establishment Dallasites to reconsider the city’s possibilities.

While Mr. Wynne talked, I looked over his shoulder at the restaurant’s walls, which were covered with intricate chalk drawings that rotate quarterly: one by a local tattoo artist, another by a medical illustrator, a third depicting the University of Texas at Dallas’s top-ranked chess team. Meanwhile, outside, dozens of residents were tossing Frisbees, or ice skating. It occurred to me that while Dallas has always exhibited the capacity to surprise others, it had now succeeded in surprising itself.

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Leading Off (11/14/14)

Feds Auditing DA’s Use of Forfeiture Funds. Craig Watkins may be on his way out, after suffering a defeat in last week’s election, but he’s still facing a federal investigation. Authorities stopped sending forfeiture money to the DA’s office in August after an auditor had a call with Watkins. “It was a contentious phone call during election season in which Mr. Watkins believed the inquiry was being driven by his opponent,” said Dallas County prosecutor Lincoln Monroe. “Craig thought it was a setup. It was not a good conversation that Craig had.” He added that the federal audit was prompted by a mix-up that will soon be rectified.

Frisco Homeowners Want Power Lines Buried. Brazos Electric is proposing a 2- to 4-mile stretch of overhead lines to increase capacity in the fast-growing city, but neighborhood residents are concerned about the impact on their home values. They want the lines placed underground, which Brazos says would cost $31.5 million, compared to $3.5 million for putting them overhead. Brazos plans to apply to the Public Utility Commission for its expansion in December, and the city and a homeowners’ group plan to challenge it.

Felony Lane Gang Strikes Again. Coppell police are looking into whether an organized group of professional thieves is responsible for a series of smash-and-grab car break-ins. The gang is known for cashing victims’ checks in the outside teller lane at various banks — which I guess is the “felony lane?”

Clayton Kershaw Hogging Baseball Awards. After winning his third Cy Young Award as the National League’s best pitcher on Wednesday, the Highland Park High School graduate and Los Angeles Dodgers hurler received Most Valuable Player honors on Thursday. He’s the first NL pitcher to take the MVP since 1968.

Mavs Score Most Lopsided Win in Team History. Dallas got off to a 45-10 lead in the first 15 minutes against the Philadelphia 76ers and finished with a 123-70 win. It’s their largest margin of victory ever.

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D Magazine Staffers on Councilman Philip Kingston’s Toll Road ‘Nice’ List

Rudy Bush has posted City Councilman Philip Kingston’s Trinity Toll Road “Naughty and Nice” list, identifying those he considers on the wrong (pro-) and right (anti-) side of the debate over building a highway between the levees.

Among those on the “nice” side of the ledger are our own Tim Rogers and contributors Eric Celeste and Patrick Kennedy. Plus, Wick Allison, who even charts a pull quote:

“I learned from the Trinity mistake. Maybe the biggest prejudice of all human beings is presentism. That is to say, what is has always been and will always be.”

Top of the naughty list: Mayor Mike Rawlings and former city manager Mary Suhm. So, yeah, no surprises. For whatever it’s worth, via the DMN:

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You Want Better Public Transit? Let DART Know What You Want.

A few days ago I wrote about how DART needs to follow the lead of other cities, such as Houston, and reroute their bus system. Well, DART officials say that’s exactly what they may do as part of the 10 Year Service Plan the transit organization is beginning to develop. Public meetings began this week to solicit feedback from riders about how the bus system can evolve to best suit their needs. There’s also an online survey you can fill out to offer feedback on what you believe DART’s priorities should be. (Here’s a cheat sheet for one of the questions: Frequent “to you” means buses every 10-15 minutes, no matter who “you” are.)

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Leading Off (11/13/14)

Thomas Eric Duncan’s Fiancee Lands Book Deal. Louise Troh’s memoir “will tell of her life with Duncan and how her faith had been ‘tested but not broken'” by his death from Ebola. It’s scheduled to come out April 28, published by The Weinstein Company and Perseus Book Group.

Northeast Gateway Toll Road Dead — For Now. The controversial project is expected to be left out of Mobility 2035, a long-range planning document that will go before the Regional Transportation Council today. Good job, Hunt County residents.

Debate Over Highland Park ISD’s Book Policy Continues. Currently, they are just on the edge of a potential Footloose situation, so it’s probably best to get this locked down.

Clayton Kershaw Wins Cy Young Award. The Highland Park grad won his third Cy Young after going 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA and throwing a no-hitter. He’ll find out today if he’s also the National League’s MVP.

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Alex From Target Gets the New York Times Treatment

The story of Alex from Target (from Frisco) is now a story about us looking at ourselves looking at ourselves looking at beautiful, polite people. When he left for work that morning, he had a little more than 100 followers on Twitter. Now he has around 733,000.

“To say Alex is ‘a sweet kid,’ as his parents describe him, is an understatement. He’s shy and exceedingly polite. He often chuckles to himself after speaking. While he answered most of my questions with short and sheepish replies, when I asked him about his girlfriend, Lindsey, he lit up, telling me that they met in chemistry class after sitting next to each other for a lab assignment.”

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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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Ask John Neely Bryan Anything You Ever Were Too Lazy to Google

Greetings, friends, enemies, frenemies, trolls and troublemakers, hoodlums and saints, the blessed and the damned alike.

My name is John Neely Bryan. You may remember me from such things as having operated a ferry across the Trinity River ages before any of those new-fangled bridges were built, for being a log-cabin enthusiast, and also for having founded what is now the ninth-largest city in the United States of America. So, yeah, I’m kind of a big deal.

Though I have long since passed into the ether, I’ve kept a watchful eye on my beloved Dallas. The good folks at D Magazine, in their estimable wisdom, therefore knew I was best qualified to helm this new effort on their web log. In this space today and in the weeks to come, I shall address all manner of your questions and concerns. Need personal advice? Curious about some aspect of life in this city? Want a dispute adjudicated? Too lazy to Google something? Ask@dmagazine.com and ye shall receive. (Space and my patience permitting.)

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Leading Off (11/12/14)

Cowboys Activate Josh Brent: Actual conversation* from earlier this year: Mooney: “There’s no way the Cowboys let Josh Brent play for them again.” Zac: “I will bet you all the money I have, and all the money my family has, and all the money they’ve ever had, that he will play for the Cowboys again.”

* – It was pretty close to this, actually.

DART Driver Accused of Sexually Assaulting Passenger With Down Syndrome: If, for some reason, you want to continue reading about this, here you go.

Late Ebola Patient’s Family Reaches “Resolution” With Presbyterian:  Thomas Eric Duncan’s family members will appear at a news conference this morning, in their attorneys’ words, “regarding a resolution they have reached on behalf of the children and parents of the deceased with Texas Health Resources and all related entities.” I guess this will be some sort of financial “resolution,” but I don’t know maybe it will be pudding-related. Meanwhile, two Dallas County health workers are being monitored for ebola-like symptoms. Joke.

Cotdamn It Was Cold Last Night: And when you take into account wind chills and heat indexes, there was a 70-degree difference between Amarillo and Brownsville yesterday. Texas!

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Luxury Real Estate Experts Had a Lot On Their Minds This Morning

For example: Toyota execs don’t mind lengthy commutes here because they’re coming from California and New York, where the commutes make ours look short by comparison. Echo boomer and baby boomer luxury buyers aren’t nearly as unlike as you might think. There’s an evolution in upper-end home style occurring, with members of the “HGTV Generation” eschewing turrets and columns for a “clean-line aesthetic.” And, sales of new homes in DFW priced at $400K or more are up a whopping 56 percent, year over year. Those were just a few of the nuggets dropped by luxury market experts at this morning’s Residential Real Estate Breakfast Briefing, hosted by D CEO and D Real Estate Daily at the Warwick Melrose Hotel. While more details will follow on D Real Estate Daily, click here now to check out who showed up.

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Place-Maker Panel: The Tale of Two Cities in Dallas

“The punch line for me is that it has to have a DNA,” says Mike Ablon, principal and founding partner of PegasusAblon, while describing what makes the Design District a neighborhood. “That’s what really matters. If you can tell that something has a DNA, then it exists. Until you can tell somebody what the DNA is, it doesn’t exist. And that goes for people and it goes for cities.”

Ablon was seated next to David Spence, founder of Good Space, who was seated next to Scott Rohrman, founder and owner of 42 Real Estate, in the boardroom of Crow Interest’s Old Parkland. With a warm fire at their backs and Lincoln’s death mask on a windowsill on their right, Ablon, Rohrman, and Spence answered D CEO executive editor Christine Perez’s questions about the work they’ve done in Dallas the past few years. The group touched on the history of the Design District (Ablon’s project until Wednesday, when it was announced PegasusAblon had sold its share), Deep Ellum (where Rohrman owns 39 properties), and the Bishop Arts District (Spence’s area of focus), before discussing the role they play in their respective neighborhoods.

When Rohrman first went into Deep Ellum, he was told he wasn’t wanted. “I wear button downs,” he says. “I don’t have any tattoos.” That’s when he had to ask his company: was 42 Real Estate going to impress its developer mindset on Deep Ellum? Or would 42 Real Estate let the community have a say? “We tried to open up a canvas and let the community paint it. We have a few guiding principles, but they’re very few and far in between. … We’re working on being a part of the community. We consider it a community endeavor not a real estate endeavor.”

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Poll: Why Don’t You Ride DART?

Last week over on StreetSmart, Bobby Abtahi wrote about the reasons he doesn’t ride DART regularly. Mostly he pointed to the infrequency of service — a 26-minute ride to the Apple Store from his house isn’t so bad, but the bus only swings by every hour. If he just happens to miss the bus on the way there and back, it’s potentially a three-hour trip.

Yesterday the Dallas City Council transportation committee voiced its support for a $983.4 million expansion of public transportation downtown, which would include another light-rail line and streetcar connections.

If you’re not already a regular rider, will moves like that win your business?

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Leading Off (11/11/14)

Boy Shot Dead in Duncanville. Want to be depressed? Here’s the lead of the story: “A 15-year-old boy battling cancer was shot and killed outside his Duncanville home Saturday night …”

Body of Wylie Mother Found in Submerged Van. Fascinating, mysterious story. I hope someone at a national magazine is already working on a story about the Illinois-based husband-and-wife team that specializes in underwater searches using side-image sonar equipment.

Name Chosen for Newborn Dallas Zoo Giraffe. It’s Kopano. An anonymous donor paid $50,000 for the privilege of naming the leggy beast. Then the donor left the task to the public, which got to cast votes on three African names. BORING! If I pay that kind of scratch for the naming rights, I’m going with something like Zac Crain Has Crabs.

It’s Cold. How cold, you ask? It’s so cold that Robert Wilonsky got himself a line graph to show how cold it’s going to be (click the related image to the right of the article). Bundle up, people.

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