The market approves of Gannett’s bid to buy Belo. Yesterday, Gannett shares packed on 34 percent. But if you don’t own Gannett or Belo, you’re wondering what this deal means to you. Aren’t you? Yes, you are. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s good news for Dallas.
Robert Decherd has made himself a little more liquid (or he will when the sale is approved). A.H. Belo will shore up its position when it sells the Press-Enterprise in Riverside, California, and the Providence Journal (either together or in separate deals). Why all the selling? Because money is fun to have. And because it will allow Decherd to take the Morning News private. As one close observer of the company put it to me: “It’s time for him to tend to his rose garden.” Freed from the tyranny of shareholders, the paper will be better positioned to serve Dallas and figure out the future of journalism.
Is this wild-ass speculation? Yes, it is. But it’s wild-ass speculation from the guy who, over the last several years, has done the best, most consistent coverage of the media in Dallas. So it’s, like, grade-A, primo wild-ass speculation.
(As a bonus, if you read the history of the company that was published in the paper today and found it dull, then maybe you’ll have more fun reading this lengthy profile of Decherd published by Texas Monthly in 1985.)
Arts District Agrees to Levy Tax for Klyde Warren Park. Back in March, a petition was circulated calling for the creation of a public improvement district to collect a tax from neighboring property owners that would fund upkeep of the downtown green space. Arts District leaders didn’t care for the idea, since they felt the museums and theaters in the neighborhood had just as much right to benefit from such an influx of cash. Well, a deal has been struck between the park and the rest of the district to use 10 percent of the expected $600,000 in annual revenue for their joint benefit. The City Council still has to approve the PID.
Dallas Arts District Annexed by the Park Cities. Certain bathrobe-wearing, shotgun-toting local reporters have remarked that this corner of downtown is nothing more than an upscale playground for the residents of Highland Park. Seeing that today’s Morning News article on Klyde Warren has been classified as Park Cities news, this area has apparently gone from being a mere sphere of influence to full-on occupied territory.
North Texas Can’t Take Oklahoma’s Water. The Supreme Court says so. Our region’s population is supposed to double within the next 50 years. We’ll need to speed up plans to build new reservoirs, or we’re going to have a whole lot of thirsty people.
Arlington Fires Cop at Center of Steroid Ring. The police department intends to expand its drug testing program after an investigation into the sale and use of HGH and steroids by officers led to the dismissal of one and the suicide of another.
8th-Grader Offered College Football Scholarship. Lindell Stone is 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, and just finished Dawson Middle School. Stone said he’s grateful for the offer from UCLA, but he’s more focused on giving us all another reason to hate Southlake by playing for Carroll High School this fall.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings doesn’t seem impressed by that solution proposed today to settle the spat between Museum Tower and the Nasher Sculpture Center. Buttonholed at an event in South Dallas, the mayor said he was already familiar with the condo tower’s proposed “oculi” fix. “It was something I had seen before,” said Rawlings, who helped previously to seek a mediated solution to the flap, to no avail. “It will be a good solution when the Nasher says it will work. Obviously I want a two-way dialogue on this, a 100 percent solution.” That solution will be one that satisfies the Nasher, he added—and helps “sell out” the units at Museum Tower, too.
(*ADORABLE CHILDREN ALERT*) First, the girls were visited by (some grown adults dressed up as) Papa Smurf, Clumsy Smurf, and Smurfette who are promoting the upcoming release of their new movie, Smurfs 2. (Fun Fact: That comatose-looking kid in Lisa’s lap is my cousin.)
Then, (some more grown adults dressed up as) Wiley the Wolf and Rachel Raccoon stopped by to talk about the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine.
However, no explanation as to why Courtney is dressed as a giant Native American baby in that Navajo-print onesie.
Why to watch tomorrow:
The Frisco RoughRiders put on a (potentially hilarious) pitching clinic for the hosts, preparing them to take the mound at Saturday night’s game. If you don’t have tickets to see the girls throw out the first pitch, you can get them here.
D-TV is available on all local cable providers.
AT&T 47 | DirecTV 47 | Dish 47 | Charter 22 / 746 (HD) | Time Warner 24 / 429 (HD) | Verizon 18 / 518 (HD)
There’s been a rush to the exits of top talent at WFAA-TV (Channel 8) in recent years, and WFAA stalwarts like Gloria Campos, John McCaa, and Dale Hansen have seen their paychecks slashed, TV critic Ed Bark reports. Even so, today’s announced sale of the station and others in the Belo Corp. stable to Gannett Co. Inc. marks the “impending end” of an era in local TV news, Bark writes. And, while the sale did not include the newspaper entity called A.H. Belo, whose “crown jewel” is The Dallas Morning News, he adds, “some expect the other shoe could drop.”
First, a side note. I’ve never been bitten by a snake, but the idea terrifies me. So much so that, last weekend, when I was invited to a party at Grapevine Lake celebrating a friend’s graduation from the Air Force Academy, as almost everyone wore bathing suits and flip-flops, I walked around in jeans and boots. It was warm and uncomfortable. But at this particular house, there have been at least two copperhead bites in the last five years — both resulted in multiple-night hospital stays — and I didn’t want to take any chances.
There’s good news and there’s bad news. First, the bad news: there seem to be more snake bites in North Texas this year than in the recent past, according to this Star-Telegram story. They almost all happen at dusk, in tall grass, when people aren’t wearing foot protection, most often around water. Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth has already seen 10 snakebite “victims” (not sure that’s the right word, but it’s the word people use for such things) since April 20, a considerable uptick over years past.
The good news, at least for most of us: though bites are up in Tarrant and Johnson counties, they actually appear to be down in Dallas. There’s only been one case at Parkland so far this year.
Still, watch where you put your feet.
Museum Tower issued a press release this morning to announce that after having a “team of experts” examine 20 possible fixes to the reflection problem that’s causing the Nasher Sculpture Center to overheat, they’ve found that the only solution is to reconfigure the sunscreen system of the museum’s glass roof. It will provide “100 percent remediation of reflected light into the galleries.”
Museum Tower says it will pay for the testing, installation, and fabrication of new “oculi” to reorient the light.
“We know the newly designed oculi work. This solution has been peer reviewed by the best experts in the country,” said Dr. Cyrus D. Cantrell, Ph.D., P.E. ”It only requires a slight adjustment to the oculi system of about 45 degrees to completely eliminate unwanted light and any view of the surrounding buildings. This is a beautifully engineered solution.”
So that’s what they’re offering for the effect in the galleries. But what about the outdoors portion of the Nasher? Well, they’re still claiming there’s no problem for the garden at all.
The impact of reflected light on the Nasher’s garden has been carefully observed for over one year and according to Scott Ogden, a nationally known horticulturist and garden designer, “Reflections from Museum Tower have no demonstrable effect on the vegetation in the Nasher garden, there is no damage from sunlight reflected by the Tower, that the garden is doing well and will continue to do so.”
You can read more about their proposal on a website they’ve set up: oculisolution.com
UPDATE, 1 p.m.: The Nasher has released the following statement about the proposal:
The glare from Museum Tower is a problem for the entire Arts District, not just the Nasher Sculpture Center. Recycling the same grossly inadequate and deeply flawed idea in another publicity stunt is not a way to address the problems Museum Tower is causing for the people of Dallas. The bottom line is that the owners of Museum Tower need to fix their building.
I’m late coming to this report about a gun range in Denton County that allows people to fire at targets from out of a helicopter. A Denton County commissioner is urging nearby residents to file complaints or lawsuits.
My first response to hearing about Helicoptersniper.com was “yeah, seems like a horribly dangerous activity, a glorification of violence and warfare that does damage to one’s psyche, and only of interest to a neanderthal man desperate for a bit of machismo to bring some sense of meaning to a modern world in which he too often feels impotent.”
But then I watched their promotional video (see above) and found that my reptilian brain couldn’t help itself. Kind of looks awesome.
The Morning News reports that Dallas County school districts account for almost half the total number of truancy cases in Texas that resulted in fines during the 2011-12 school year. On Wednesday, three advocacy groups filed a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department, claiming that the truancy courts and the Dallas, Garland, Richardson, and Mesquite school districts are violating students’ rights with their policies.
The article begins with anecdote from a former North Dallas High School teacher who once witness a dozen students chained together and marched out of the school to face charges at the court. A parent also complains that the truancy policies in Dallas County don’t take into account individual circumstances:
At the time, all three of her children attended Spring Valley Elementary in the Richardson school district. They were 10 or 15 minutes late on about 20 days because her two youngest children are on the autism spectrum and struggled with emotional and behavioral issues in the mornings.
After a certain number of tardy days, she said, the school began recording them as unexcused absences. Schoneberg explained the situation to a school secretary, who said she could not help her — other than to pray with her.
“I ended up becoming a criminal in the state of Texas,” Schoneberg said.
At court, she felt pressured by a constable and a Dallas County prosecutor not to fight the charges and pleaded no contest. She was fined $600.
The school and county officials mostly just say that they are enforcing the state’s laws. If Ferris Bueller lived here, you can bet he’d end up dragged into court.
Texas Leaders Trying To Reverse FEMA Decision To Deny More Aid To West. At the very least, there is $17 million in damage to the city’s roads, pipes and sewage system that insurance won’t cover. And around that much that insurance won’t cover to rebuild three of its four schools. I guess everyone should keep stuffing money in the cans by the register at Czech Stop. It’ll get paid off in about 40 years or so.
Nets Hire Former Maverick Jason Kidd As Head Coach. He was the proverbial coach on the floor during his second run through Dallas, so he has a chance to be good. Although success on the court doesn’t always translate to success in a suit on the bench. Anyway, I hope Kidd returns to this look now that his playing days are over.
AT&T To Hire 770 New Employees In North Texas; Amazon Begins Hiring 1,000 In Coppell And Haslet. So now I guess I have to be slightly more careful when making derisive jokes about the two companies. I’m kidding. I don’t go to Coppell and I don’t know where Haslet is. And I think even AT&T employees make AT&T jokes. But maybe that’s like one of those I can make fun of my ugly dog but you can’t things. At any rate, it’s not a rich vein of humor for me, and I mostly just brought it up for the purposes of writing this item. I just took you behind the scenes of “my process.” I hope you enjoyed it.
Hair Weave Thefts Are On The Rise. Missed this story, as my subscription to Good Hair magazine has either lapsed or Tim has been stealing my copies.
Thirty-Five DISD Students Surprised With Kendrick Lamar Tickets. They are students who have overcome adversity or have positively impacted their community, so they went to last night’s Kendrick Lamar show, a solid reward for their hard work courtesy of Scoremore’s Sascha Stone Guttfreund. (I also went to the show, despite neither overcoming much adversity or, as far as anyone can tell, positively impacting much of anything.)
Today Texas Monthly revealed its picks for the best and worst Texas state legislators of this year’s session down in Austin. They’ve only posted the names on their site, not the reasoning behind those selections, because for some reason they think it’ll entice you to go buy one of their “print products.”
The North Texas reps who made the cut:
Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth)
Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth)
Rep. Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie)
Rep. Lon Burnam (D-Fort Worth)
Sen. John “The Last Republican” Carona (R-Dallas)
Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills)
Rep. Van Taylor (R-Plano)
You’ll recall that City Councilman Scott Griggs had gathered signatures to get a resolution in support of marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples on the council’s agenda. It looked like it was headed for consideration at City Hall. Then, after the May election, defeated City Councilwoman Delia Jasso pulled her support for the measure. So it’s not an today’s agenda.
But after speakers chided them for not addressing the issue, council members ended up having a bit of a debate about gay marriage anyway. From DMN:
And a fight it may be: Sheffie Kadane made it quite clear he’s opposed to the resolution, insisting that it be put to a citywide vote since, after all, many of his 85,000 constituents may not support gay marriage. Count him among their lot.
“It’s a moral issue,” he said. “It’s not an issue for us to be voting on. I don’t know why these folks who are for this, why haven’t you sent a letter down to Austin. I have 85,000 people in my district, and I’m not going to say my 85,000 people are for gay marriage. … I believe in the infallible word of the Bible, and the Bible states marriage is between a man and a woman, and that’s my belief.”
But Hunt, in her final council meeting, said this is about much more than how someone chooses to interpret the Bible.
“This is a simple issue: You either support civil rights, or you don’t. Being an LGBT ally means more than riding in a parade. It means being there for the LGBT community when they need you, not just when you need them.”
Breaking news this morning from the AP that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will not provide money to help rebuild West after the devastating fertilizer plant explosion there:
According to a letter obtained by The Associated Press, FEMA said it reviewed the state’s appeal to help West but decided that the explosion “is not of the severity and magnitude that warrants a major disaster declaration.” FEMA has, however, provided emergency funds to individual residents.
West Mayor Tommy Muska said the rural community of 2,800 people needed the money to repair roads, the damaged sewer system and a school. He said the estimated cost of those repairs is $57 million, including $40 million to rebuild a school that was destroyed when the West Fertilizer Co. blew up in April.
“We don’t have the money to go out and borrow the money. We don’t have the means to pay that note back,” Muska said. “There’s got to be some public assistance.”
Next week DART, the T in Fort Worth, and DCTA are offering a week of free public transit to anyone who trades in a gas receipt. You have to do this in advance (can’t just hand a bus driver a gas receipt) by visiting one of the trade-in locations at the specific dates and times listed on this link. (There are opportunities today, tomorrow, or Saturday.)
The hope of the transit agencies is that they entice some commuters to make a permanent switch. There are a limited number of passes during each of these giveaway times, so I’m guessing you may want to get there earlier than later.
Police Officer Committed Suicide After Being Arrested. There aren’t a lot of details on this story, yet, but here’s what we know: three Arlington officers were being investigated by the FBI and Texas Rangers for something to do with fraud and computers. One of the officers, David Vo, was arrested last week and was recently released on pending charges. He apparently committed suicide on Tuesday.
Boy Tries To Save His Home. It’s a short story, but if you want to try to save your home from erosion, the best thing you can do is put your 10-year-old son in a suit and have him talk to City Council. We’ll have to wait to see if the move worked.
Dallas Entrepreneur Center Launches. The Dallas Entrepreneur Center launches this week. It’s a nonprofit center in the Design District that will provide office space and act as an incubator for entrepreneurs. I’m excited about this for several reasons: 1. It’s a much-needed and great resource for startups. 2. It will (hopefully) put Dallas on the map for supporting startups. 3. I know two of the people behind this—Trey Bowles and Jennifer Conley—well. They’re good people who are passionate about this city. I’m excited to see this come together for them and wish them luck.