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Ask John Neely Bryan: Can I Park For Free in Downtown Dallas?

Question: What’s the rule on parking your car on a public street downtown that has no such sign declaring it a no-parking zone or a commercial loading zone? I found a tiny block sandwiched between a pair of parking garages that has room for three cars along a curb and no such sign. I’m one of those stubborn downtown workers who refuses to shell out a monthly fee to have my own parking space, so finding areas like this is like finding a treasure. I’ve been parking there all week, and today a security guard for one of the two garages came out and told me I couldn’t park there. I asked him to show me a sign forbidding it, and he said, “You just can’t park here, man.” He then threatened to call DPD, which I welcomed before I realized I had no time to deal with it. So who’s right here? He mentioned that it would be difficult for large trucks to enter a loading bay on the opposite side of the curb, an argument I would certainly cede to if the city were to place a sign forbidding me from leaving my car on this public street. — Matt G.

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Leading Off (5/20/15)

Storms Bring Floods and Tornadoes. There were dozens of reported tornadoes across North Texas and Oklahoma last night. At least one building in Mineral Wells collapsed. And there was “significant damage” reported in Runaway Bay.

Five Dead Bikers Were From North Texas. The dead men range in age from 19 to 47. It will likely be weeks before we know who may have been killed in the original fight and who may have been killed by police. You can see all 171 mug shots of the men arrested here. Zac will be along later with a list of his favorite biker nicknames. (My choice: “Gimmi Jimmy.”)

Former Birdville ISD Student Sues District Over Christian Prayers. Isaiah Smith, 20, claims he suffered years of bullying in the North Richland Hills school district, including anti-gay slurs and having baseballs thrown at him. He says it’s related to the Christian invocations used to start every school board meeting.

That Controversial Black Rhino Hunt Is Over. You’ll recall a few years ago the Dallas Safari Club auctioned off the chance to kill an endangered black rhino. The winner, Corey Knowlton, bid $350,000. (Stephen Colbert mocked the whole thing pretty viciously.) Well, Knowlton eventually got his rhino. And CNN’s Ed Lavandera was along for the trip.

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The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Jail: This Prison Is Kind of Corrupt

Last time I noted that the prison administration here at Federal Correctional Institution Fort Worth had cut off my access to the inmate email system shortly after I sent a message to another journalist about wrongdoing by Bureau of Prisons staff, thus providing us with a fine opportunity by which to see how the BOP really operates as I take my case up through the agency ranks via a charmingly baroque complaint procedure known as the Administrative Remedy Process. There have been some telling new developments on that front that I’ll relate by and by, but it would be remiss of me not to first say a few words about the prison itself, and fuck if I’m going to leave myself open to accusations of being remiss.

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Did You Miss the Annual Congress for the New Urbanism in Dallas? Well, Watch it Online.

You may recall that the Congress for the New Urbanism held its annual conference in Dallas this year, which was a treat for local urban wonks. For those of you who, like me, didn’t catch as much of the conference as you would have otherwise liked to, you’re in luck. The CNU has uploaded 16 sessions onto YouTube. That’s a lot of hours of urban chatter to sift through, and it may be difficult to figure out where to start. How about with
“Walkable Urban Premiums & Gentrification: Good News or Bad?”

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Who Will Be the Next Managing Editor of the Morning News?

My guess is that Stephen Buckley will get the gig. Check out his bona fides. Duke, Washington Post reporter, Tampa Bay Times world editor, managing editor, publisher of its website. Now at Poynter. DMN editor Mike Wilson told the staff that Buckley will be the first one interviewed to replace George Rodrigue; he’s coming in next week. Wilson knows Buckley because he worked for him in Tampa. Wilson told the newsroom staff at the DMN that about a dozen people have applied for the job and that all the applicants are on equal footing. But with zero precincts reporting, FrontBurner is calling the election now. Welcome to Dallas, Stephen Buckley.

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Leading Off (5/19/15)

UT Southwestern Given $36 Million Gift. Edith and Peter O’Donnell Jr.’s foundation gave the money to create a new brain institute. That’s good news. Because there are some people on the City Council who could use one. [rimshot!] A brain. They could use a brain. Was that joke not clear?

Two Losing Dallas City Council Candidates Allege Tomfoolery. Subrina Brenham and Eric Williams filed the election challenge in District 8. Here’s my favorite sentence from the DMN story: “[Williams] said he ‘absolutely’ believes voting machines may have been rigged.” I love that kind of certainty about a possibility. Similarly, I am definitely sure that Williams could possibly maybe win this challenge.

Trinity River Crests at 38 Feet. Yesterday it hit its greatest depth and started receding. NBC Channel 5 has some good video from its chopper. You can dork out on the USGS site that monitors river flow in real time. And, of course, there is more rain on the way.

Allen ISD Gets $2.5 Million for Stadium Screwup. Remember that $60 million stadium that turned out to have structural problems? The contractor and architect responsible are paying for their mistakes. It should be ready for graduation on June 6.

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Joe Tone Steps Down as Editor of the Dallas Observer

Too much change! It scares me! First they went and got rid of all Robert Wilonsky’s cute names for blogs (Unfair Park is now just “news,” City of Ate has become “restaurants”), and now the Observer has gone and lost its editor, Joe Tone. Here’s his announcement. He’s got a book project to focus on. So bully for him.

Now then. This gives us an opportunity to check in with Vegas for the odds on his replacement. Here’s what’s on the board:

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Grapevine Releases Dash Cam Video of Police Shooting

On February 20, Rubén García Villalpando was shot and killed on the side of Highway 121 by a Grapevine police officer named Robert Clark. For months, activists and family members of the dead man have asked that the dash cam video from that night be released to the public.

Now that a grand jury has declined to indict Clark, the video has been released. Sort of.

Grapevine police put together this video, with footage from the dash cam mixed with the Grapevine police chief explaining what happened, from the perspective of law enforcement. It appears that Villalpando drove away from the officer despite sirens and lights, including weaving through cars on the highway. Then once he did pull over, he disobeys the officer’s orders to stay in the car. He tells the officer, in English, to kill him. Then approaches the officer despite at least 20 orders to move back and stay by the car.

The actual shooting takes place just out of frame. It seems like non-lethal force could have been an option, and other officers have made news by not killing people in similar circumstances. But by most standards, this looks justified. When Villalpando started moving toward Clark, the officer was probably too far away to use a Taser and already had his gun drawn. When Villalpando got close enough, Clark fired twice.

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What Color Is the Trinity?

This was the view yesterday from the Sylvan Bridge at about 6:30 in the evening. Quite a sight. Times like these, you really appreciate that it’s not so much a river as it is a floodplain. But standing on the bridge, it occurred to me: the pretty Trinity renderings always show blue water. I hereby move that anyone who wants to be taken seriously should show us the river and the lakes as they will really look. Blue is fantasy. Greenish brown is the color of truth.

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Leading Off (5/18/2015)

Trinity River Levels Approach Moderate Flood Stage. The river is expected to rise to 39 feet, thanks to all the drought-mitigating rain we’ve had. Dallas County’s drought officially began five years ago, so this beautiful fullness is something we haven’t seen in awhile. It’s pretty all right.

Biker Brawl In Waco Leaves Nine Dead. The Twin Peaks where Sunday’s deadly altercation went down was known to police as a hangout for rival gangs. As many as 100 weapons were recovered from the scene, and at least five different biker gangs were involved. In addition to the casualties, another 18 people were injured.

George W. Bush Speaks At SMU Commencement. And he made a funny about the presidential prospects of “C” students. But seriously, congrats to all the graduates.

Wrong-Way Crash On I-635 Kills Mother, Injures Two Children. Crystal Nuncio, a 28-year-old mother of two who had worked as a dispatcher for the Garland Police Department for nine years, was driving her kids to a caretaker before her shift Sunday morning when a Tahoe going the wrong way on I-635 slammed into her SUV. She died at the scene; both children, a 10-year-old and a 9-month-old, were taken to the hospital with injuries. The driver of the Tahoe is believed to have been intoxicated.

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Museum Tower May Be Covered in Reflective Film

Is this the end of the Nasher’s dispute with its condo tower neighbor? Says the DMN:

Three years after the Nasher Sculpture Center first complained that it was blinded by the light coming off Museum Tower, the condo tower’s owner — the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System — has voted to cover the 42-story luxury high-rise in a reflective film, which is currently being tested.

“It isn’t a done deal,” says Dallas City Council member Philip Kingston, one of four council reps on the pension system’s board of trustees. “But the board had do to do something to continue with the testing.”

Kingston’s council colleague Lee Kleinman says the fix, which was proposed by Texas-based international development firm Hines, will not “take out 100 percent of the reflectivity” that led to the three-year-long dispute with the Nasher. But, he says, “it will reduce it by 50 percent, and that’s significant.” He says he’s “optimistic” this solution will satisfy the Nasher, which has yet to return calls concerning the board’s vote on Thursday.

UPDATE, 4 p.m.: David Dunnigan of PR firm Allison Partners, which represents the pension system, just sent me a note to clarify that the lede of Wilonsky’s post about yesterday’s vote isn’t precisely right. He says the resolution voted on was:

“Authorize the Executive Director to meet with the Nasher and Museum Tower homeowners and negotiate an agreement to be brought back to the Board in 90 days”

So they haven’t exactly voted in favor of covering the building just yet.

UPDATE, Sunday afternoon: Just now seeing a statement from Nasher director Jeremy Strick:

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New D Magazine Podcast: The Vagina Dialogues With Dr. Seema Yasmin

On this week’s episode of EarBurner, Dr. Seema Yasmin — public health professor at the University of Texas at Dallas and reporter for the Dallas Morning News — discusses her recent article on vaginal rejuvenation, the public shaming of the two “normal, white women” at the Kessler Theater, and how a native Londoner ended up living in Rockwall.

After the show, Yasmin sampled the Old Monk‘s fish & chips for the first time. She pronounced them “pretty good,” which is pretty much a ringing endorsement from a proper Englishwoman.

What else you should know to better enjoy the show:

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Leading Off (5/15/15)

City Likely to Dispose of Plastic-Bag Fee. Several companies have sued Dallas over the ordinance that requires retailers to charge customers a 5-cent fee for the use of plastic bags, which went into effect at the beginning of this year. So now five city council members have signed a memo calling for the repeal of the measure, while five others have expressed support for an all-out ban of plastic bags instead. A ban is expected to have a better chance of being upheld by a court than does the fee.

Mesquite Man Charged With Lying to Feds About ISIS Allegiance. Bilal Abood, 37, allegedly traveled to Syria to support the Islamic State.

The Amazing Race Finishes in Dallas. The season finale of the CBS reality TV competition, in which teams of two race around the world, airs tonight at 7 p.m. It’s the second time the million-dollar winner has been crowned in North Texas. (Season 5, back in 2004, ended in Trammell Crow Park.) Based on the preview at the end of last week’s episode, the teams fly from Peru to Dallas-Fort Worth, head to JerryWorld for some sort of football skills competition, travel to Johnson County to play cowboy, and rappel down Reunion Tower before hitting the final mat on the Continental Avenue Bridge. All this fun was filmed on a Saturday, December 6. As a fan of the show, I can tell you that the woman featured in the sneak-peek clip above is just about the most insufferable human you could imagine being stuck with on an international globe-trotting adventure, and her poor partner is maybe the most patient man on the planet. They are one of several teams who were forced to contend with this season’s gimmick. They were matched on a “blind date” and never met until embarking on the race. Because of the way the footage of their difficulties has been edited all race long, I’m expecting them to win it all. The Hyatt Regency (attached to Reunion Tower) is hosting a watch-party.

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