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Leading Off (11/20/15)

End-of-Course Exams Basically Meaningless. The class of 2015 was the first in the state public education system to be required to pass a battery of end-of-course exams in order to receive a high school diploma. However, the state legislature earlier this year provided an out. Students can apply to their districts for a waiver to be allowed to graduate anyway, and a new survey found that among Texas’ 100 largest ISDs, 71 percent of waivers are granted. In four districts in Dallas and Collin counties all applications were successful.

Oilman Gets Life For Killing Girlfriend’s Ex-Husband. Johnny Lloyd Patton Jr., 68, of Fort Worth, was sentenced on Thursday for shooting Richard Slatkin in October 2013. Slatkin was the former spouse of Patton’s live-in girlfriend, who had previously had an affair with — and been impregnated by — Patton’s son while she was married to Slatkin. Patton claimed self-defense in the incident, but the jury evidently didn’t buy his argument.

Denton Recall Petition Fails. Those looking to recall Joey Hawkins from his seat on the city council collected 125 signatures when they needed only 76 to force an election. Trouble is they filed their petition two days too early. The Denton city charter specifies that a council member must be allowed to serve his or her term for six months before such a petition can be submitted.

Freezing Temperatures Coming This Weekend. So says the National Weather Service.

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How Big is ‘Texas-Size’?

I just happened upon the Star-Telegram’s account of Hillary Clinton’s Tuesday visit to Dallas, which Staci wrote about for us. What caught my attention was the piece’s curious headline:

A “Texas-size crowd”? The article’s own estimate of the turnout was “more than 1,500” people, and Staci tells me the venue could have accommodated more. Does 1,500 people qualify as “Texas-size”?

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Apply To Be a D Magazine Editorial Intern!

What are you doing this coming spring?

If this question causes you to scratch your head; if you love Dallas; if you are a motivated, driven, and curious individual; and if your dream is to work in magazine journalism, then you should apply to be an editorial intern with D Magazine. As soon as you walk through these doors, you join a team dedicated to producing the best city magazine possible. Editorial intern duties include fact-checking stories, blogging, writing stories for the front-of-book section, and working on projects for various departments.

The spring internship application deadline is Friday, December 4, so start now! The spring term begins January 20 and runs through May 4.

If real-world magazine experience is what you’re after, come intern with D Magazine. It’ll be awesome.

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Ask John Neely Bryan: How Do I Get a New Street Light in Dallas?

Question: One portion of my street gets disconcertingly dark at night. How can I get a new street light installed? — Roberta H.

Let us first consider the double-edged sword that was Edison’s electric bulb. You know what we used to do when it got dark? We went to sleep, and we didn’t feel much inclined to arise until the sun peeked out again across the eastern horizon. Even a gentleman of my much-accomplished verbal dexterity is hard-pressed to communicate the fantastic mode of living this engendered.

Don’t misunderstand. Fire had been invented by the 19th century. We had access to torches and candles and lanterns, et cetera, and you would be amazed at how brightly the moon and the vast array of stars themselves can illuminate the landscape when their luminosity hasn’t been subsumed within the visual pollution cast skyward by your modern cities.

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Leading Off (11/19/15)

Yesterday was Homeless Youth Awareness Day in dallas. The mayor declared November 18 Homeless Youth Awareness Day. About 2,200 DISD students identify as homeless. The Communities Foundation of Texas highlighted these issues in an event yesterday. Promise House is organizing a Sleep Out tonight to raise money for its homeless youth shelter.

Bank robbery suspect who led police chase arrested. The suspect led a high-speed chase from Colleyville to Arlington yesterday before being arrested. At the Bank of America on Colleyville Blvd., he’d given a note to the clerk saying he was armed, although he did not show a gun before leaving in a black GMC Denali. Police eventually spiked the car’s tires in Arlington, where he was arrested.

Dallas’ top office real estate: McKinney Ave. in Uptown. At $43.81 per square foot, two times the overall average for North Texas, McKinney Ave. takes the cake as Dallas’ most expensive business address. But that’s nothing compared to New York’s Fifth Ave. at $119.27 per square foot. It’s all relative.

Joe Pappalardo Named Observer Editor

It’s been something like six months since Joe Tone left the Dallas Observer to go work on a book about competitive archery. Finally, the paper named his replacement, and it’s a familiar name, at least to me. I worked with Joe Pappalardo — aka Joey Pops, aka Pop-a-Shot, aka Joe Bananas, aka Billy Ocean — when he was a staff writer there, I want to say in 2000. Here’s what I remember: he was a newspaper dork, he was a fair amount taller than I am, he had a beard, he occasionally wore a fedora (or maybe it was a trilby — a dumb hat, is what I’m getting at), he was a good reporter, and after he left, I think he wrote a book about sunflowers. Congratulations to Patrick Williams.

Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: Nov. 18

If you’re the kind of person who believes in cornball sentiments about the life-saving power of rock and roll, then you’re going to want to be baptized in the cleansing punk fire of Beach Slang tonight at Double Wide. The Philadelphia outfit is really fantastic, and does not have a single ironic molecule in its DNA, a blend of Replacements-style anthems and less fashionable pop punk. The late, great Grantland called Beach Slang 2015’s “best, most sincere rock band,” which about sums it up.

But if Beach Slang isn’t your cup of tea (the singer’s voice can be a turn-off), or you’re a responsible work-in-the-morning adult repelled by the idea of a four-band bill for a weeknight show that starts at 9 pm, you have other options. Undermain Theatre starts previews of its production of an acclaimed Irish play and the Dallas Chamber Symphony runs through some Bach, Bloch and Janacek.

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How a Nonprofit Aims to Manage Fair Park

Right now the Dallas City Council is being briefed by Walt Humann, the former Hunt Oil executive who also played key roles in the development of DART and today’s Central Expressway, about a proposal to create a nonprofit Fair Park Texas Foundation to manage Fair Park on behalf of the city.

You can see the poorly copy-edited briefing documents for yourself. In addition to the signing over management to the foundation, the city would asked for $125 million-$175 million in the next several bond programs for improvements.

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Hillary Clinton Criticizes Abbott During a Routine Campaign Stop in Dallas

Mountain View College’s limited gymnasium was filling up at a gradual pace Tuesday morning, two hours before Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was set to speak. Students, and adults of varying ages, paced the royal blue floor, testing out the ideal position for a selfie in front of where Clinton was set to speak. Her heavily criticized campaign logo was prominently displayed on a banner that read “Fighting for us.”

Outside, chants of “Hill-a-ry! Hill-a-ry!” echoed throughout the line that wrapped around the building.

As 1:15 p.m. – Clinton’s scheduled appearance time – approached, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins was left to entertain the crowd. Clinton was running behind.

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Leading Off (11/18/15)

Hillary Clinton Comes to Dallas. She attended a $1,000-per-plate fundraiser before a rally where she gave a speech that took swipes at both Bernie Sanders (on healthcare) and Greg Abbott (on a lot of things). On Texas taking in Syrian refugees, she said: “We can’t act as though we’re shutting the doors to people in need without undermining who we are as Americans.”

Zoo Wants 18 Elephants from Swaziland. The Dallas Zoo says the animals face “certain death” in Africa, and has applied for permits to bring them to the U.S. They say moving the elephants is vital to the survival of the nearly extinct black rhino.

Aryan Brother Kingpin Gets Life in Solitary Confinement. Tarrant County prosecutors were pushing to get James Byrd moved to a state prison — as opposed to federal prison — where policy allows for prisoners to be held in solitary confinement on the basis of gang affiliation. Prosecutors also say Byrd once stabbed a man 37 times in the face, and that isn’t even close to the most disturbing thing he’s accused of doing.

Police Looking for Woman Suspected of Robbing Two Banks. Both robberies happened within a week or so in October, and both banks are in Oak Cliff. She apparently has a scar on the right side of her face that begins at her lip and ends at her hair line, which will probably factor into a nickname if she robs more banks.

Jeff Banister is the AL Manager of the Year. It went down pretty much exactly as Jason predicted a week ago, for mostly the same reasons.