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Making Dallas Even Better

The Real Housewives of Dallas Episode 3 Recap

Once again, my personal problems are of no concern to you. How bored would you be by the story of my house being flooded by a burst washing machine supply hose? What do you care about my hardwoods and the army of fans deployed throughout my house, making an infernal racket, forcing me to turn up the volume on my TV to watch The Real Housewives of Dallas to the point where my wife had trouble hearing the insurance adjuster on the phone? All you care about is the recap. I understand. I am here to satisfy you — much like the cowboy ecdysiasts at LaBare that we meet in Episode 3, titled “Making Frenemies.”

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Leading Off (4/26/16)

Jury seated for Mexican drug cartel murder case. A jury in Fort Worth will hear opening statements today in a trial of the men charged in the murder of a Mexican drug cartel lawyer. Jesus Gerardo Ledezma Cepeda and Jose Luis Cepeda Cortes are on trial for gunning down Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa in 2013 in Southlake. They were charged with interstate stalking and conspiracy to commit murder for hire.

Johnny Manziel indicted, will plead “not guilty.” A Dallas County grand jury voted to indict Manziel on misdemeanor domestic violence charges. The indictment will become official today, and Manziel’s attorney, Bob Hinton, says that his client will plead “not guilty” to assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley.

Mavs done in playoffs. A 118-104 loss to Oklahoma City yesterday means that the Mavs have stopped short of the second playoff round for the fifth year in a row. The combined injuries on the team added up, and their efforts just weren’t enough to surpass the Thunder. But I’ll always be hopeful for the coming year.

This afternoon brings severe weather threat. Storms are expected later today throughout North Texas with the possibility of hail and tornadoes. Stay safe out there.

GQ Says WFAA Just Killed #RunningManChallenge

Monica Hernandez and Wes Houx of WFAA-Channel 8 gave the latest viral dance craze, the #RunningManChallenge, a go yesterday on their morning news show.

GQ was less than complimentary of their efforts:

And yet, you never really know how strong a dance craze is until it’s attempted by a couple of daytime local news anchors. Yesterday, Monica and Wes of WPAA in Dallas became the unfortunate pair to do just that. First, after falsely attributing the dance to the U of M players, Monica then went on to explain how her fiancé challenged her and her co-anchor, and then, like pure dumpster-fire poetry in motion, they launched into it.

Cause of death: an astounding dearth of rhythm. But then, with a swift dagger of white dorkiness as if to ensure the running man challenge’s death, Wes comes in and dabs.

However, there might actually be something nice about the running man challenge dying before it ever really lived. After all, if this went on for a few more weeks, we’d probably have to watch Hillary Clinton do it on Ellen.

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Four Things That Should Be Renamed For Ron Kirk Instead of the Continental Pedestrian Bridge

The city council’s Transportation and Trinity River Project Committee will be briefed this week about the latest item to come off the assembly line at the city’s bad idea factory: renaming the Continental Pedestrian Bridge after former mayor — and guy who supports a plan that would cause 85 feet of the bridge to be torn down — Ron Kirk. I get the impulse to try to slap someone’s name on pretty much whatever as a way of honoring them. But there are better ideas. What are they? So glad you asked.

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Author: Glass Ceiling Won’t Shatter Until Men are Caregivers, Too

Former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Texas Republican, is a big fan of Anne-Marie Slaughter, who’s written a new book about attaining “true equality” between women and men, including in the workplace. The author “has given us a blueprint for the future in which women truly have freedom to choose,” Hutchison wrote in a […]

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Will Robot Worms Tunnel Under Downtown Dallas?

There are two questions that came to mind when I read this WSJ story about “massive robotic worms” that are being used to tunnel beneath cities all over the world. 1) Are our DART engineers aware of these worms? Because the tunneling option for D2, the second rail line through downtown, has always made more sense to me. Maybe the robot worms are cheaper than DART thinks. And 2) when did Michael Mooney get a gig at the Colorado School of Mines?

Leading Off (4/25/16)

Film Critic Dies In Hit-And-Run. Gary Murray, president of the North Texas Film Critics Association, was crossing the intersection at Mockingbird and Central, after doing some interviews as part of his Dallas International Film Festival coverage. A car made a right at Mockingbird without stopping, hit Murray, and kept going. Murray was taken to Baylor, where he died. He was 53.

Johnny Manziel Expected to Be Indicted Today. The charge — stemming from an incident with his then-girlfriend, who claimed Manziel hit her, dragged her by the hair, and forced her into a car — will be misdemeanor assault with bodily injury.

Assault Allegation Against John Wiley Price Heads to Grand Jury. George Nash, a staffer for Dwaine Caraway, says the county commissioner choked him during the infamous scuffle between Caraway and Price as the Democratic primary neared. And, of course, at some point later this year, Price will face corruption charges in federal court.

Vehicle Found in Haltom City With Two Passed-Out Parents and Two Young Kids. Police are investigating what caused the parents to be unconscious; the kids, ages 2 and 4, are with their grandparents. Don’t want to go too far out on a limb but I think Occam’s razor plays here.

Stars Move On To Second Round. Somehow the Stars were able to outlast a team and a city playing for Prince and won a wild one against the … Wild to advance, and your boy is dangerously close to watching some hockey.

Mavs On Brink of Elimination. Dirk gave it everything he had, but the Mavs just didn’t have the horses on Saturday night against a deeply unpleasant OKC squad. They play Game 5 tonight, but it’s probably going to take some sort of miracle to even bring the series back to Dallas, given their injury sitch. If nothing else, I have built a garage apartment in my heart for Ray Felton and Salah Mejri.

FC Dallas Loses Its Second. Like the 5-0 blowout to Houston earlier, the 3-0 loss to the struggling Vancouver Whitecaps was another head-scratcher. But Mauro Diaz played for the first time in five games, so that’s one positive. I’d tell you more but I was having chicken parm at Gordo’s and so I wasn’t able to watch.

Leading Off (4/22/16)

Ex-DISD Executive Sues District. Tonya Sadler Grayson, who was fired last July, claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court that she was wrongfully terminated, sexually harassed by trustee Lew Blackburn, and discriminated against because of her race. Grayson’s dismissal from her job came after an internal DISD audit determined she had taken part in a deception, lied about her criminal history, and bullied another employee.

Johnny Manziel Likely Indicted. The Dallas County district attorney’s office will announce indictments by the grand jury that was hearing the domestic violence charges against the former Texas A&M and Cleveland Browns quarterback on Monday. Prosecutors had previously said a decision not to indict Manziel would be announced on Thursday but a formal indictment would come Monday. So it’s not looking good for Johnny Football. (Are we still calling him that?)

Frisco Mother’s Death Ruled Suicide. Christine Woo was found dead — and her three young children alive — in an SUV in a Target parking lot earlier this month. She and her kids had apparently been in the vehicle a few days. Yesterday the medical examiner revealed that Woo had killed herself via a drug overdose. Furthermore, Frisco Police say their investigation determined that Woo had “no deliberate plan” to harm her own children with what she did. Deliberate or not, let’s hope there are no long-term repercussions for these kids.

Mavs Lose Game 3. A contingent of D Magazine staffers was on hand to witness the Mavericks’ 131-102 loss to Oklahoma City, which gave the Thunder a 2-1 lead in the first-round NBA playoff series. It was my first time attending a Mavs game in about 25 years. If they had to lose, I’m glad it was in a blowout because that led Tim (my ride) to leave the game early, which got me back to D Magazine World Headquarters in time to watch the bottom of the ninth as former Plano East Senior High School and TCU baseball player Jake Arrieta (now the ace of the Chicago Cubs) finished a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds. My apologies to the poor maintenance guy I frightened when I hooted and hollered in what he had assumed was an empty office.

The Texas Rangers saluted musical artist Prince, who died Thursday, on the video board at Globe Life Park as the team completed a sweep of the Houston Astros.

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Judge Says Dallas Can Ban Exxxotica From Convention Center

The ruling over the city’s decision to bar porn convention Exxxotica came down late this morning. From the DMN:

U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater denied Exxxotica’s request for a preliminary injunction, which was filed in February after seven members of the Dallas City Council sided with Mayor Mike Rawlings’ resolution banning the porn expo from returning to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

Exxxotica had hoped to return next month, following last August’s Dallas debut. Today’s ruling means that will not happen.

Roger Albright, one of Exxxotica’s attorneys, said he and his client are “surprised and disappointed” by the opinion and weighing their options, which include the possibility of an appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, refiling a motion for a preliminary injunction or merely waiting for trial.

The judge’s decision bought into the the city’s argument that the Kay Bailey Hutchison isn’t so much a “public forum” in which free speech must remain unhampered but is instead just a building that the city happens to own that it rents out for commercial purposes:

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Kinky Friedman Brings His Irreverent Satire to The Lodge

It was an eclectic group that gathered at The Lodge last night to mark the establishment’s 20th anniversary with a special appearance by Kinky Friedman, the iconic, irreverent Jewish Texan singer/songwriter/novelist and sometime political candidate. There in a private back room at the “classy gentlemen’s” club were people like the Lodge founder and CEO Dawn Rizos, Robert Wilonsky and Gromer Jeffers Jr. from The Dallas Morning News, The Ticket’s Mike Rhyner, and Ruth Buzzi. Ruth Buzzi, the Laugh-In lady who’d whack the old man with her purse? Yep; turns out she and her husband Kent Perkins are old friends of Friedman’s, and often put him up at their ranch near Stephenville. It’s a good thing all these people in the private room understood and appreciated Kinky’s offbeat brand of satirical humor, because some people at the upscale strip club didn’t.

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Leading Off (4/21/16)

Stars Beat Wild. Let’s check in with the Star Tribune, shall we? From the Land of 10,000 Lakes: “The score was tied late in the second period at Xcel Energy Center. A Wild power play had just ended, without a goal, and suddenly Dallas was taking the puck the other way, with Jamie Benn passing to Jason Demers. Driving down the slot toward the net, Jason Spezza yelled for the puck. Demers responded. The puck found Spezza right in front of Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk, glancing off Spezza’s skate and into the net for what turned out to be the game-winning goal, with only 69 seconds left in the second period.”

LeeAnne Locken Eats Plano Crow. After her “It’s a little Plano in here” snarky remark on The Real Housewives of Dallas, Locken, a former employee of the city, went to see Mayor Harry LaRosiliere and tell him how few people are actually watching the show. Sorry, my bad. She went to apologize. That’s all.

Dallas City Councilman Tries to Stop Murders. Councilman Erik Wilson has a solution to the rising murder rate. It’s a phrase that he wants gang members to keep in mind: “Think before you thug.” Alliteration, assonance, enjambment — these are all well-known and time-tested crime-fighting strategies. As a concerned citizen, I’d like to offer another phrase: “Mull before you murder.” Feel safer yet?

Dallas ISD Isn’t Home to the Most Challenging High School in the U.S.

Following on yesterday’s post about Dallas ISD’s Talented and Gifted magnet school continuing to dominate the U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings of the best high schools in the country, I received a note from Sara Ortega, a spokeswoman for charter school operator Uplift Education. (Side note: I once had breakfast with Uplift’s CEO. Impressive lady.)

Uplift has 15 North Texas campuses (mostly in Dallas). Ortega took issue with my lumping together charters like the Uplift schools with selective magnet schools:

Uplift Summit International Preparatory is an Uplift Education school, which as you may know, is often criticized as a network (along with all public charters) for cherry picking the best students–the exact thing that magnets do.  So, when you say that, “…it does say something that DISD is able to out-compete schools of a similar type,” I would have to politely disagree in that open-enrollment public charters like Uplift Summit are not similar to magnets in that they do not have the ability to only choose elite students.

She then pointed me to the Washington Post’s ranking of the “America’s most challenging high schools,” which was released on Monday. The Post uses a different methodology than U.S. News, even if a bunch of the schools near the top of their respective lists end up the same.

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Leading Off (4/20/16)

Rain. And lots of it. Keep an eye on weather reports, folks, and avoid those flood waters.

Video released of Midlothian fitness instructor’s killer. Police released surveillance video of the person suspected of murdering Terri “Missy” Bevers in a Midlothian church. Students arriving for Bevers’ Camp Gladiator class discovered her body early Monday morning. The videos show the suspect walking through the halls of the church wearing a head-to-toe, SWAT-like getup. Reports say the suspect vandalized the property for a half-hour before Bevers arrived, but nothing appeared to be stolen. The suspect’s distinctive gait will hopefully lead to a quick capture.

Manziel had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad yesterday. It all started when Johnny Football got word that a Dallas county grand jury will hear his domestic violence case on Thursday. Then his second agent of the year—who, granted, gave Manziel an ultimatum that wasn’t met—officially dropped the 2012 Heisman winner. Sponsorships from Nike and a sports trading card company quickly followed, leaving the Cowboys reject with zero endorsement deals. Manziel must have seen this coming because reports reveal the Tyler native was laying low and getting some alone time over the weekend. Ooooh, he was laying low…alone…in a Coachella ball pit? Gotcha. Ok. Hmm. So, this is what rock bottom looks like.

Local man’s son loses big time in New York. Even John Kasich got more delegates than Ted Cruz in Tuesday’s New York primary. Trump and Clinton won the state by landslides.

Rangers beat Astros. But the real winner was Beltre’s Andrus-directed stink eye.

Would-be gun thieves foiled by pillar. Surveillance video shows three men attempting the ol’ smash‘n’grab at a Garland gun store. The truck momentarily gets stuck on a waist-high pillar. The best part of this news segment, however, is at the 20-second mark when a man walks out of the shop at just the right time. It’s slightly entertaining. Definitely eat that bagel first, though. Then the news segment. And coffee. I mean, start with coffee. You know what, do coffee, bagel, the Beltre thing, theeennn this video.

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Dallas ISD Once Again Boasts Best High School in the Nation

I’m not sure whether to make too much or too little out of the fact that Dallas ISD’s School for the Talented and Gifted has once again topped U.S. News & World Report‘s Best High Schools list, which was released today. It was the fifth year in a row TAG took the honor.

On the one hand, the notion that DISD operates the absolute top secondary school in all of these United States is impressive. Almost as impressive is that DISD has the fourth-best too, the School of Science and Engineering, which is on the same campus as TAG.

On the other hand, these are magnet schools, with the ability to select an elite cross-section of students from across the entirety of the district. Does it tell us really that much about DISD that, when it’s able to select only students with top-notch academic potential and educate them together in one place, it’s able to operate a top-notch school? As opposed to a school that makes the most of what it’s given via its attendance boundaries?

At the least, I suppose what it tells us is better than the alternative: collecting the best students and not getting great performances on standardized tests from them. And since the U.S. News list is dominated by magnet and charter schools, it does say something that DISD is able to out-compete schools of similar type.

So today I’m going with the positive spin. Two other North Texas schools made the nationwide top 100: Arlington’s Summit International Preparatory, at No. 22 and DISD’s Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School (No. 97.)

Click here for the full Texas portion of the rankings.