Hoofing it through downtown a bit ago to grab lunch, I ran into the Rev. Peter Johnson, near the corner of St. Paul and San Jacinto streets. He had a sheaf of papers under his arm and a cameraman at his elbow.
“Hey, Peter, what are you up to?” I asked.
“I just taped my 95 theses to the doors of First Baptist,” he said, handing me an 8-page stapled copy. “Channel 8 was there, and we were filming, too, until a security guard made me leave.”
I looked over at the church — or, rather, at the crazy fountain and St. Paul Cafe. One wonders what Martin Luther would have to say about all that and about Robert Jeffress himself, the senior pastor at First Baptist, the one who scurries to television in defense of every Trump utterance, including his recent “shithole” remark.
“Did you get every door?” I asked Peter.
“Including the ones to the original sanctuary?”
“Were you tempted to use nails, like Martin Luther did it? Oh, I guess you needed tape. Too many glass doors.”
“I didn’t want them to get me for destroying property,” Peter said. “I still thought they might arrest me. I told my personal lawyer not to bail me out. Just let me stay in jail. My wife was giving me all kinds of hell this morning.”
I think he was a little disappointed that he didn’t get to take a ride in the back of a squad car. We parted ways after I promised to write something about what he’d just done. As for his 95 theses, they are a mix of scripture and quotes from Martin Luther King Jr.
“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” —Hebrews 13:1-2
“The soft-minded man always fears change. He feels security in the status quo, and he has an almost morbid fear of the new. For him, the greatest pain is the pain of a new idea.” —MLK Jr.
I’m not going to print the other 93 of Peter’s theses. Hopefully someone at First Baptist will bring them all to Jeffress and he’ll find the time to read them.
Two things about SUCCESS that always bugged me: first, the all-caps title. Obviously. Second, the multilevel-marketing firm that underpinned its circulation. But whatever. It was a national magazine, based in Plano, that paid good money to real writers to do their thing. It was a part of our magazine ecosystem. And so I mourn its demise. The print and digital teams were both canned last night. It looks like the March issue will be the last of a magazine that was established in 1897. I’ve asked former employees for details of the closure. If I hear anything more, I’ll update this post.
UPDATE (1/17/18) To get a sense of how SUCCESS’ parent company does business, read this. (UPDATE 1/18/18 Somehow the people from the facial cream concern Nerium got the preceding article taken down yesterday. Actually, it looks like the entire site was taken down. Luckily Google has a cached version. You can read it here.) And here’s what a former SUCCESS staffer tells me: “The parent company just reached very dire financial straits over the last year and a half or so, which kept getting worse and worse. The magazine itself was always a vanity piece. It never made much money at all, and lost it more often than not. Finally things came to a point where the company couldn’t afford any losses at all. Almost 20 people from the Success (I don’t have to use the all-caps anymore!) media group were canned, and I don’t even know how many from the custom publishing side of the business. At least that many, I’m certain.”
Noble Rey Brewing Company, the 8,000-square-foot brewery and taproom in the Design District, is the latest brewer to get a frustrating visit from the fire marshal. Like Peticolas and Cidercade before it, Noble Rey on Thursday was told to temporarily shut down its taproom because it wasn’t an approved use under its certificate of occupancy. The Dallas Morning News first reported the closures, saying that Noble Rey’s owner was down at City Hall, trying to work the whole thing out.
Head brewer Tommy Miller told me that the fire inspectors peeked in on their New Year’s Eve party and ducked out without saying much. They came back on Thursday around 8 p.m., an hour before close, and told the brewery to shut down the taproom after it closed its doors and head down to the city’s Building Inspection division to get a more appropriate certificate of occupancy. Miller also said he was issued a citation.
“To be blunt, it’s bullshit,” Miller says. “They’re coming in and doing this without any direction or oversight. They should come in and talk about it first and say, ‘These are the steps you need to take.’”
Seems rational enough — until you think about the bureaucracy behind the permitting process. The fire marshal enforces the rule of the building inspectors. If the fire marshal visits your location and the certificate of occupancy doesn’t match the use, then the fire marshal shuts you down and sends you to City Hall to apply for a new one that allows for the use. And the use may be unbeknownst to the building inspectors.
See, the building inspectors approve the permit based on the physical structure, not on the actual use of that structure. Fire inspectors check it out after the operation is up and running, but, under current city code, they do not have a say prior to the permit being issued. And so the building inspector, who may be blind to what a taproom is, may approve a permit for a building that does not account for its actual use. Then the fire marshal arrives and shuts it down.
“One of the things we’re seeing is that the use they applied for was brewing and for storage,” says Christopher Martinez, a deputy chief at Dallas Fire-Rescue and the city’s fire marshal. “In a lot of cases, there’s probably confusion.”
To the field inspectors, there is no gray. Either you’re operating as the city approved or you’re not. And if not, you may be required to upgrade the facility to include sprinklers, more exits, or an upgraded fire alarm system. That’s up to whatever the building inspectors determine to be an appropriate use, based on how many people are expected to be in the space and what it’s being used for. Another twist to this is that the permit code allowing small brewing operations is relatively new to building inspectors—microbrewery permits weren’t issued until 2012. So here’s that confusion that Martinez brought up: the idea that a brewery would operate a taproom — in other words, a bar — was beyond the expectations of the building inspectors.
“Those building inspection people don’t know that Michael Peticolas is like a rock star,” says Councilman Philip Kingston, the vice chair of the council’s public safety committee. “They don’t know that that taproom is going to be a really cool place to hang out. They’re thinking it’s 500 square feet of semi-finished-out office crap in front of a warehouse where people taste little thimbles of beer during the workday.”
And so the breweries think their brewing and storage permit would allow for a 3,000-square-foot taproom, because the building inspectors didn’t know any better — then the fire marshal shows up and finds a bar. Kingston said the Council wasn’t briefed on the investigations, and that wouldn’t be such an odd thing had it not been for last year’s mass closure of pop-up art spaces. But, as in that case, he says the city is working to tear down the silos between city departments that create the confusion that’s so frustrating to folks like Miller. There’s now a liaison between the fire marshal and the building inspector, for instance, so that the two have an open line of communication to discuss specific cases.
Kingston says the city has been sending out “multi-disciplinary sweeps” of code enforcement, building inspection, and the fire marshal to inspect buildings simultaneously, to be able to give the operator a corrective plan. He also insists this isn’t the fire marshal going after breweries. “I know people are saying they’re cracking down on beer, but, you know what, they’re not,” he says. “It’s just a bunch of new beer openings and you get inspected after you open. That’s how it works for every business.”
Peticolas opened its taproom about a year ago to the day. Same for Cidercade, which planted a whole bunch of arcade games in a large room separate from its brewing operations. Noble Rey’s taproom has been operating since July 2015, separated from its brewery by a firewall. They’re all now stuck between city departments. Which, at Noble Rey, means about eight employees are in limbo until this thing gets sorted out.
“We’re a business with lots of employees who are willing to work with the city, but there’s no discretion at all,” Miller says. “’You’re shut down. You figure it out.’”
Subscribers to our weekly newsletter D Brief got this in their inboxes on Sunday, but for all those who didn’t, (Ed. Note: subscribe here, under D Weekly! It’s very good!) I asked our editorial staff to write a bit about their favorite journalism published in one of the D properties last year. I say it’s worth your time. You won’t find rich service features that explore Indian and Japanese culture anywhere else. There are narratives about murder and drownings and more uplifting things like an imam fighting for social justice and the state’s first openly transgender mayor. There’s weird stuff, too, like a 6,000-word treatise written by a famous artist about the bar at the Lakewood Whole Foods that you never knew you’d need. Anyway. We’re proud of it. Here is everyone telling you why.
Tim Rogers, editor, D Magazine:
Initially, I had a hard time picking my favorite story of 2017. I loved Jamie Thompson’s story about a judge who was romantically involved with a lawyer who had a case in his court. It was filled with great cinematic detail, and it drew the sort of attention that may yet produce positive change. Our summer reading package, a collection of micro fiction, each story set in Dallas and written by a local author, was the kind of thing you’ll only find in a magazine. It’s one of the reasons you should subscribe to D Magazine. Richard Patterson’s essay about the Lakewood Whole Foods (and cheese and life and Dallas and art and real estate) was a real gas because it started out as a 300-word assignment that Richard decided required 6,000 words. I challenge you to show me something smarter and funnier that was written in Dallas this year. And Laray Polk’s investigation into the pre-history of the land that Dallas now occupies was the embodiment of our magazine’s slogan: let’s make Dallas even better. It has gotten some traction that we may be able to tell you about in the coming months. As I say, tough to choose a favorite.
But then I learned that Zac Crain’s favorite story of the year was his own dang story, a profile of Erykah Badu. What a cocky, egotistical whoreson that Zac Crain is. By the way, he’d never use a thesaurus to find a word like that. He’s too lazy.
In light of Zac’s pick, then, mine became obvious. I hereby choose as my favorite story of 2017 — the best thing this magazine published all year, a narrative that very well may change the practice of journalism in our post-truth era, a piece of writing that future journalists will study in the best institutions of higher learning, a triple hashtag longform — this artisanal, handcrafted, American-made profile of Krys Boyd. I wrote it.
(Also, our staff photographer, Elizabeth Lavin, shot the portrait of Boyd, which is awesome.)
Kathy Wise, executive editor, D Magazine:
It’s like bourbons. I can’t pick one. I’m leaving so many out. But here are five of my favorite moments of 2017:
1. “Erykah Badu Is My Homegirl” (February) ended up being an incredible collaboration between Zac Crain and Elizabeth Lavin. Zac provided a master class on how to write an insightful profile of an elusive artist with nominal participation, and Elizabeth took one of the greatest photographs I have ever seen of Erykah eating blueberries in her a kitchen full of peacock feathers. They both captured her essence perfectly.
2. “What to Think About When You Think About Krys Boyd” (April) was not only a great profile by Tim Rogers of a personal hero, but I got to meet Krys and have a beer with her and we are now Facebook friends. Plus, there’s that photo Elizabeth took through Krys’ study window with the dog propped up on the sill, held by an assistant whose hand has been Photoshopped out. Genius.
4. Holland Murphy is one of the funniest, best, and most controversial (did you read her Ender about taking her son to the movies? Or her subsequent note to all those mommy shamers?) writers I have ever had the pleasure to work with. During the course of the year, she managed to spend the day with Vogue cover model Sarah Grace while she was getting ready for prom, got vintage fashion tips from Rihanna’s stylist at Weekend Coffee, hung out with the Black Dandies at the French Room Bar, and attempted a workout with the trainer for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (one which I bailed on). But my favorite Holland-initiated encounter was with Regina Merson, founder of the Reina Rebelde makeup line. Elizabeth shot Regina in an Adam Lippes floral dress in front of a Moooi floral rug wearing a custom floral headpiece by Bows and Arrows, creating a stunning Frida Kahlo-esque image for the April issue. Then we all went to El Bolero for a tequila tasting, during which Regina shared tales of her world travels and dating life. #girlboss
5. If you had told me a year and a half ago that if I took this job I would end up on The Ticket talking about Zeke Elliott, I might have turned it down. But you didn’t, and I’m glad I didn’t. In a pre-Weinstein, pre-#metoo world, I wrote about domestic violence (“On the Zeke Elliott Suspension: Even a Liar Can Be Beaten and Choked”) and was trolled for it. But I’m proud of providing a different perspective to what was, at the time, a very one-sided account.
Matt Goodman, online editorial director: The professional portion of my 2017 started in a courtroom. In November of 2016, I wrote a cover story about the neurosurgeon Christopher Duntsch, who had a habit of harming his patients. He’d be sentenced to life in prison, the first physician to be convicted for aggravated assault related to his patient outcomes. I’d spent months researching that story, and covering his trial seemed like the follow-through that all those families deserved. They got their voices out there, over his.
When I look back on 2017 and the work we did online and in print at D Magazine, I think about that sort of follow-through. I think about standing in a cemetery in Oak Cliff on a steamy August morning, watching a backhoe tear into the earth. We were there to dig up the remains of Venice Parker, a woman raped and killed in 1953, to prove that the man our former district attorney had ordered killed for the act did not do it. I think about the incredible Jamie Thompson, who fought tooth and nail to tell the story of Ira Tobolowsky, the prominent attorney who was burned to death in his North Dallas home. Her piece is as gripping as it is empathetic, giving a voice to a family that had taken the investigation of who killed their father into their own hands.
I think of food critic Eve Hill-Agnus’ remarkable service features on Indian and Japanese food. The stale format of a list gets tossed out the window and replaced with something more robust; because of this, the reader gets a deeper analysis that winds up illuminating a culture through its food. I think of Zac Crain’s incredible profile of Erykah Badu, which he wrote through others’ eyes—because she didn’t talk to him in time for publication. I think of Peter Simek’s thoughtful coverage of the way this city lives and breathes, through everything from the Trinity River to poverty to Confederate statues and public transportation. I think of Kathy Wise’s brave reporting on Zeke Elliott, becoming the first writer to nail down all of the domestic abuse allegations against him. And I think of our coverage of the $1.05 billion bond package, which was, as far as I can tell, the most thorough detailing of its contents available ahead of the vote.
Alex Macon, online managing editor: I have almost zero interest in fashion or shopping, and the concept of a brand partnership makes me think the Amish may be on to something. So I was happily surprised by how compelling I found this September feature on the 10 most stylish people in Dallas, even if I am mostly repulsed by the suggestion that “personal aesthetic is identity.” I appreciate seeing how it makes the most of the digital medium, with short videos (.gifs?) and creative web design. (A version of the feature later ran in print, where it was fine, but diminished.) I like reading about fascinating people, and this has 10 (11, really) of them, from Leon Bridges to Justine Ludwig. I love feeling aghast and slightly outraged at how much a white shirt can cost. Writing about the most stylish people in Dallas requires a most stylish presentation, and this has it.
Zac Crain, senior editor, D Magazine: I have two favorite pieces this year, the first and last features I wrote. The former was something I’d wanted to do for a long time — a profile of Erykah Badu — and the timing was perfect. February marked 20 years since her landmark debut, Baduizm, was released. I intended for it to be a straightforward profile: your standard “hang out for a few hours” type of thing. What ended up happening — not talking to her until well after my deadline had passed — forced me to completely change what I was thinking, and the result was way better than I would have done otherwise. It proved that you can’t ever get too attached to an idea.
The latter — a sort of long-form obituary of Conrad Callicoatte, a mysterious old sailor who died at White Rock Lake in June — was strangely similar to the Erykah story, in that the lead character was absent throughout the process. I had to reconstruct a life based on other people’s words. And, again, what seemed initially like it would be a straight-ahead piece changed (and changed and changed and changed) throughout the reporting and even the writing. But because I had written the Erykah story, I knew how to go about it: talk to as many people as you can and let whatever happens happens. (And a special note to Elizabeth Lavin, who absolutely nailed the photos of Erykah.)
Peter Simek, arts editor, D Magazine: I was a big fan of Eve’s Indian food package. It was smartly written, well-researched, and brought to life a vibrant culinary culture in Dallas that can be intimidating to navigate for the unfamiliar outsider. I hope to work my way through the whole list.
Christiana Nielson, managing editor, D Magazine: For me, it’s a tie between Jamie Thompson’s feature on the murder of prominent lawyer Ira Tobolowsky in the May issue of D and Zac’s profile on Imam Omar Suleiman in D’s July issue. I fact checked both of them, which gave me an insight into how well they were reported and written. Jamie handled writing about the murder of prominent Dallas lawyer Ira Tobolowsky in a compassionate and respectful way. She had to balance getting a lot of details out of difficult, rude people (to say the least) while being sensitive when coaxing information out of the family. I got a sense of this while talking to family members who probably wouldn’t have told such personal details to anyone else. The feature was written in a digestible way and was probably my favorite piece I’ve ever fact checked, even though it required a ton of time and energy. And Zac also handled reporting on Imam Suleiman in a similarly gracious way. The story discussed sensitive subjects like the downtown police shooting and navigated how Suleiman was trying to change the way people think of Islam simply by being himself—inclusive and kind. While talking to Suleiman for fact checking, it was nice to hear how comfortable he was sharing all these details, which made for a powerful story.
Eve Hill-Agnus, food critic, D Magazine: I have to say that a highlight of the year for me was the work I did on the Japanese food feature, and particularly the profile of Teiichi Sakurai, a chef I’ve admired for a long time. The depth to which I was privy—seeing that his knowledge touched ceramics, aviation, the historical intricacies of the endlessly fascinating Edo period that is the basis of so much Japanese cuisine, besides the intricately involved mastering of soba—was fascinating.
But this was Zac’s year of profiles for me, in particular his piece on Imam Omar Suleiman, in which, with insight and grace, he shed light on a community leader in a personal, intimate way. His profile of Erykah Badu, with its deft solution that turned her absence in the piece into the piece’s very structure (much in the same way the incantational repetitions of the Suleiman profile became a defining part of the structure). And his piece on Jess Herbst, the transgender mayor of the tiny town of New Hope. The visual scenes—the opening scene with the daughter’s first “true” vision of her father—and work with chronology were terrific.
Caitlin Clark, online managing editor: I couldn’t put down the story about the investigation into the murder of Ira Tobolowsky, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks after I read it. (Now I’m going to be obsessing over it all over again). Jamie Thompson did such an incredible job writing a piece that was both engrossing and terrifying, while remaining reverent to the Tobolowskys. I’m not generally drawn to true crime stories, but there was something so heart-wrenching and infuriating about what happened to Ira and the investigation that followed. I felt proud to work at the publication that published that story.
S. Holland Murphy, associate editor, D Magazine: Getting an interview
with one of the buzziest models in the world was one thing. Getting into her house was another. But getting to interview and photograph Sara Grace Wallerstedt in her Bedford house as she got ready for her senior prom was a pretty rare opportunity. Also, I got a lot of feedback from my response to mommy shamers—one mother even donated to Planned Parenthood in my name. So, you know, lemons and lemonade and all that.
Ryan Conner, executive editor, D Home: My favorite story of 2018 is “Welcome Home, Charlie” from the Nov/Dec issue of D Home. Christine Allison penned a beautiful piece about a couple who teamed up with local designers Bill Cates and Russ Peters to create a very special space for their family. Their son Charlie has Down syndrome, and the family and designers took care with very detail, including creating a professional art studio for Charlie. At D Home, we showcase many beautiful interiors, but this story truly embodies what makes a house a home.
Sarah Bennett, managing editor, D Home: My favorite piece this year was my home feature on Joe Minton’s Fort Worth abode. Not only was this my first feature for D Home, but Mr. Minton—who owns both a design firm and an antiques store—has curated a style of English and Old World antiques that I personally love. On our D Home editorial staff, we all have different styles. Editorial director Jamie Laubhan-Oliver loves a modern, clean-lined, black-and-white aesthetic, while I favor English and French tones of blue and cream (she likes to call it “lady”). The U.K. is a place near and dear to my heart, and it is to Joe Minton as well—he served there as a lieutenant in the Air Force during the Cold War. That love is reflected in the pieces throughout his home, which made this feature so much fun to write.
Lyndsay Knecht, online arts editor: I share Kathy Wise’s affinities for Rolling Rock and poetry (and the use of those details), but that common ground wouldn’t qualify “Congratulations on Your … Whatever” as my favorite response to news this year on D’s website. The thing about having a WordPress login for an outlet and getting paid to use it in the service of humans while human rights are under duress in the United States is this: you too, are human, and your whole existence is testimony to the case. For this piece, what marriage meant to Kathy and her now wife and partner of more than 20 years – both agnostic lawyers – changed color with legal recognition. Each moment is vivid and plainly told. As she attempts to make ceremony of their trip the Office of The City Clerk in NYC in her practical voice and cries on the phone with her wife when the Obergefell decision made marriage legal in every state (even theirs, which is ours) the reality of constant vigilance LGBTQ+ couples sustain between the social and legal implications of their love in a flawed system becomes real and exhausting. Readers learn that when Ken Paxton wanted to make null the same-sex partner benefits Dallas offered since 2004, he was threatening the very benefit that brought Kathy and Melissa to Dallas in the first place.
Glenn Hunter, editor, D CEO: My favorite this year was writer Kerry Curry’s feature article in the May issue of D CEO called “Reclaiming the Past.” Kerry told the story of Jim Lake Jr. and Amanda Moreno, a husband-and-wife property-development team that preserves and refurbishes historic buildings in North Texas. From transforming old gems like Jefferson Tower and the former Ambassador Hotel to helping redevelop Bishop Arts and the Design District, the Jim Lake Cos.’ “adaptive reuse” projects have contributed to making Dallas a more interesting place to live. “We are not just a real estate company,” Lake told Kerry. “We are developing a brand to develop historically important properties for Dallas that we will not sell, so that future generations can continue to enjoy them.”
Danielle Abril, managing editor, D CEO: In D CEO’s May issue, Joe Guinto recounted the genesis of Southwest Airline’s culture as an ode to its 50th anniversary in business. He brings to life the story of a once-scrappy startup founded by the spirited Herb Kelleher that has become a major player in the airline industry, boasting 44 consecutive years of profits and never experiencing a single layoff. Although the airline no longer parades go-go boots, hot pants, and whiskey giveaways, even through its toughest days of competition and the Wright Amendment battle it has managed to maintain a quirky, friendly culture that encourages fun. Employees still tell jokes over flight PA systems and participate in one-day, pep-rally-esque events. The airline continues to grow but current CEO Gary Kelly has maintained a strong connection to the company’s freewheeling roots.
Former Hicks Estate Sells for $36.2 Million. A local developer—Mehrdad Moayedi, CEO of Centurion American Development Group—bought the 25-acre North Dallas property on Walnut Hill Lane. He plans to preserve the original house and build other luxury homes elsewhere on the land.
Suspected Bank Robber Arrested in East Dallas. The man was arrested yesterday near North Hall and Live Oak streets and is suspected of robbing four banks in the last two days. The robberies took place at Compass Bank on Oak Lawn, Compass Bank on Abrams, Chase Bank on Marsh, and Wells Fargo on Northwest Highway.
More Flu-Related Deaths in Dallas County. This could be one of the county’s worst flu seasons. A 73-year-old and an 80-year-old died from complications with the flu. “Right now it looks to be a real serious flu season, and so we need to make sure everyone practices steps for prevention. We’re seeing an increase in our flu cases, so that is a concern,” said Zachary Thompson, director of the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department. Almost 400 people have been hospitalized for the flu since September in Dallas County. Stay healthy, people.
The Dallas Observer has a new editor. Earlier this week, Voice Media sacked Joe Pappalardo, who’d led the paper for two years. The new guy in charge isn’t exactly a new guy. Patrick Williams had been the managing editor for two decades. Here’s what he says about the transition:
Joe is no longer the editor of the Dallas Observer as of Wednesday. He’s still a friend — at least I hope he is — and a smart and talented journalist and author. He has a new book out, Spaceport Earth: The Reinvention of Spaceflight, which I think would make a great Christmas present for anyone. I wish him nothing but the best.
As for me, after 20 years of safely hiding behind editors in chief, it’s time to step up and show what I’m worth. (Timing was never my strong suit.) I’ve got Schutze and a small but extremely skilled group of editors and writers behind me and support from VVM above, so how badly can I screw things up? Start your timer … now.
It should be a fun ride, anyway. The Observer still has plenty to contribute to the conversation in Dallas, and I’m almost certain there are at least a dozen people in town we haven’t managed to piss off. We’ll find them, though.
Dallas Police Targets Home or Business Owners Who Tolerate Crime. Yesterday, the City Council passed a “nuisance abatement” ordinance, which lets Chief U. Renee Hall pinpoint properties that tolerate crime and focus on the owners. City officials can now put up a sign on these properties and mark them as “habitual criminal activity” sites. Anyone who removes the signs without approval will be committing an offense, but owners who fix up the property can get the sign taken down.
Developers Want to Save Part of the Old Dallas ISD’s Headquarters. Leon Capital Group is spending more than $9 million on DISD’s former Ross Avenue headquarters. It plans to build an apartment complex on the block at Ross and Washington with 380 rental units and a six-level parking garage. The space includes the existing central building of the DISD headquarters.
Dallas Firefighter May Be Charged with Intoxication Manslaughter. An off-duty firefighter, who was suspected of driving drunk in Cedar Hill yesterday, crashed into an 18-year-old woman and her unborn baby, who were killed in the crash. He rear-ended the woman, Alyssa Pimentel, who was ejected by the impact. The firefighter, Horace Shaw III, was booked into the Dallas County Jail and faces a count of intoxication manslaughter.
Hazing Gets TCU Fraternity Suspended. The Epsilon Beta chapter of Delta Tau Delta was suspended due to allegations of hazing. Details of the hazing are unclear, as is whether a police investigation is underway. “This chapter, including its leadership, willfully violated not only the fraternity’s risk management policy but also our stated values. Hazing is an aberration to those values,” said Jim Russell, executive vice president of the fraternity’s national chapter.
On Tuesday, we published a post about the Dallas Museum of Art and the Dallas Theater Center’s issuance of the phrase “inappropriate behavior” in the recent resignation and firing, respectively, of two high-profile employees. Especially in the case of the DTC, where the employee worked with minors and SMU students, we felt the public was owed more specificity. And we still feel that way. We stand behind the essential point of the post.
But in making that point, we let our passion blind us to a line beneath our feet as we crossed it. We — editors and writer — made an error in judgment in calling out by name the two women who run the PR departments of the DTC and the DMA. We apologize to them and to our readers for doing so. The original post has been altered.
Earlier this month, UT-Arlington philosophy professor Keith Burgess-Jackson posed a question on his blog: “What’s the big deal about a 32-year-old man courting a 14-year-old girl?”
Burgess-Jackson’s take on the age of consent and changing cultural norms—he notes that his grandmother was 15 when she married a 41-year-old man—comes in response to sexual abuse allegations made against Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore. The Nov. 11 blog post seems to have gone mostly unnoticed until this morning, when it was quoted in a Federalist column arguing that Alabama voters should support Moore even if the accusations against him are true.
Here’s Burgess-Jackson’s original post in full:
His frequently updated blog is littered with his thoughts and opinions on politics, dating, sports, and ice cream. Elsewhere, Burgess-Jackson contends that “men use feminism to get sex,” and that philosophy is “a cesspool of political correctness, science worship, hypocrisy, and thuggery.” On Nov. 12, he repeats the long-debunked conspiracy theory that former President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S., asking to see his “original birth certificate (not a print-out by the State of Hawaii).” In 2013, in a series critiquing five columns written by women philosophers, he says that “[f]eminism has made women weak, timid, and fearful.”
Burgess-Jackson has been a professor at UTA since 1989. He teaches courses in “Logic, Ethics, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Law, and Social and Political Philosophy,” and has tenure, according to his website. He has published or edited several books, including Rape: A Philosophical Investigation, and A Most Detestable Crime: New Philosophical Essays on Rape, a book whose one one-star Amazon review calls Burgess-Jackson a “debased academic megastar.”
The professor has left a long trail online. An old blog by Burgess-Jackson, last updated in 2004, is headed with the title “Anal Philosopher.” In fact, in the internet era before social media took off, Burgess-Jackson seems to have frequently battled with other philosophers with blogs, some of whom took umbrage then at Burgess-Jackson’s deeply conservative politics.
I’ve reached out to Burgess-Jackson and UT-Arlington. I’ll update this post if I hear back.
Update: UT-Arlington sent this statement: “The University of Texas at Arlington is aware of statements made by Associate Professor of Philosophy Keith Burgess-Jackson on his personal blog. These are not the opinions held by the university. We acknowledge a citizen’s right to freedom of speech and expression.”
If you follow any Morning News employee on social media, you’ve likely seen shots of them setting up camp at their new office in downtown, next to the refurbished Statler. Maybe, say, a photo of a guy in a vest, hands sassily on hips. I don’t know who you follow. While doing my usual perambulating around the CBD, I passed by the new joint. Pretty cool. Anyway, I’m no architectural or workplace expert, but I do have a few thoughts.
About dog names. Because, as far as I know, DMN editor Mike Wilson still has a dog named Story, and that is still not as bad as Inverted Pyramid or Compelling Narrative Lede or Pulitzer Finalist or whatever, but it is still not a great name for a dog. “Come here, Story!” “Story, sit. Story? Siiiit.” You get it. What about:
On the anniversary of its most infamous historical day, the Texas Theatre has a new state landmark plaque, with new wording that should appease both sticklers for historical accuracy and JFK assassination conspiracy theorists. The theater has been a Texas landmark since 2013, and already had a plaque that noted the Nov. 22, 1963 apprehension of Lee Harvey Oswald “for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.”
The Texas Historical Commission, however, recently dropped off a new marker, which has been installed in front of the movie theater and reads as follows (relevant changes bolded):
Constructed in 1931, the Texas Theatre was designed by architect W. Scott Dunne. The “Texas,” the largest suburban theater in Texas when it was built, is an “atmospheric” theater, a genre designed to enhance the fantasy and exoticism of the movies. The two-story building, originally owned by C.R. McHenry, is located at the commercial heart of the community of Oak Cliff. The original appearance of the theater evoked an Italian medieval structure with Venetian influences expressed in the decorative brickwork and stone.
The interior of the theater was designed with a Venetian court theme, complete with sound effects, clouds and a night sky of 118 twinkling stars in the auditorium. The original movie equipment was Motograph Deluxe Sound equipment, an extreme rarity at the time. The cooling and ventilating system was almost entirely invisible to the audience and consisted of two blowers powered by ten horsepower motors. In warm weather, the air was cooled through water. A renovation prior to 1956 resulted in the addition of stucco over the brick and stone facade.
On November 22, 1963, following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald was apprehended in the auditorium, propelling the Texas Theatre into the international spotlight. In April 1965, the theater was remodeled extensively on the exterior and interior. The uppermost section of the facade was removed and the theater’s vibrant designs were sealed under stucco. United Artists closed the theater in 1989. In 1991 it was used in the filming of the movie, “JFK.” In 2001, the Oak Cliff Foundation bought the theater. This Dallas landmark was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. Aviation Cinemas reopened the theater in 2010.
The new wording, “following the assassination,” clears up a misconception reinforced by the previous plaque, that Oswald was arrested for Kennedy’s assassination. Really, Oswald was apprehended in connection with the death of Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit, shot nearby in Oak Cliff just before Oswald ducked into the theater. Oswald was only connected to Kennedy later. This new plaque also indirectly makes the identity of Kennedy’s assassin ambiguous, which should please those conspiracy theorists who insist the truth is still out there, 54 years on.
Today the theater’s playing the same matinee double feature that Lee Harvey Oswald briefly sat in on before his arrest. The films, War Is Hell and Cry of Battle, are unremarkable on their own, but the context sure is compelling. Tonight the theater screens Oliver Stone’s 1991 feature JFK.
Zeke Elliott Has Another Hearing Today. There will be yet another court hearing—the fifth one—to determine if he will keep playing or if he’ll finally have to serve his six-game suspension. It’ll be at 1 p.m. and could bring an end to his legal uncertainty.
City Council Approves 107-Year-Old Oak Cliff Home to Become Restaurant. The house was built in 1910 by the former chief justice of Dallas’ 5th Court of Appeals who became mayor of Dallas in 1936. It will be preserved and updated, and renovations will begin in the next 60 days by developer Jim Lake.
Good Works Under 40 Winner Named Today. Five Dallas civic leaders younger than 40 are finalists for the award. The winner will receive a $10,000 donation to a nonprofit of his or her choice, and the other finalists will receive $3,500 for their nonprofits. The finalists are Stephanie Giddens, president of Vickery Trading Company; Lana Harder, pediatric neuropsychologist and CASA volunteer; Dominic Lacy, Deaf Action Center’s first deaf board president; Robert Taylor, director of The Educator Collective; and Elizabeth Viney, an attorney who works pro-bono with Advocates for Community Transformation.
Student Brings Gun to DISD Elementary School. This happened on Tuesday at Highland Meadows Elementary, but adults didn’t know about it until yesterday. Another student who’d seen the gun told a parent, and the student who brought it owned up to it. There’s an ongoing investigation.
We are not as powerful a city as we used to be, and the proof is as close as Colonial Country Club.
Once, about six phone calls would have rounded up sponsors for a pro golf charity benefit to raise $13 million and put Fort Worth on network TV all weekend.
The electronics, retail and energy giants that used to support Fort Worth arts, charities and causes are no longer around. Or they aren’t in any shape to help.
It’s an interesting conundrum for a city that is still growing and will soon break into the top 15 of largest U.S. cities. Kennedy says all that growth, though, is coming from technical and warehouse jobs. “We’re not growing executives,” he writes. “We’re not growing headquarters, or leaders, or decision-makers.”
And yet, every time ESPN comes to town for a big game, they erect their outdoor set in downtown Fort Worth, not Dallas.
Don Huffines gets a tip of the cap, certainly. He is the state senator who pushed to get a measure on the November 7 ballot that will allow voters to kill Dallas County Schools. If you don’t know what DCS is, read this piece by Jim Schutze. To sum up, though, DCS isn’t a school district. It’s a transportation agency that provides bus service to area districts, the largest of which is Dallas ISD. And it’s a horrible transportation agency. It charges way too much, it crashes buses way too often, and its management for many years struck all sorts of questionable deals that appear to have enriched itself.
So, yes, Senator Huffines. Without him, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to stab this thing in the heart. But the knife was given to us by NBC 5. Reporter Scott Friedman and producer Eva Parks took a couple nibbles at this story way back in 2013, but they really sank their teeth into it a little over a year ago. (And, no, I am not mixing metaphors. These two are real watchdogs. Watchdogs who carry knives that they supply to citizens when needed.) You can see the whole repository of their reporting here.
When you vote against DCS on Tuesday, remember their names.
Director Anna Zetchus Smith today released a 75-minute documentary about Barrett Brown. Its full title is Accidental Warrior: the Life and Time of Barrett Brown. An opening sequence lays out the doc’s goal this way:
In early 2011 Aaron Barr, then the CEO of private internet security company HBGary Federal, claimed to have uncovered the “top leadership of Anonymous” in the hopes of receiving prestige and bigger contracts.
Members of Anonymous mocked him by hacking the company, which, among other things, resulted in the release of 70,000 internal emails, emails that revealed how these types of companies, unwatched, interact with government to build the surveillance state.
It would take an entire film to explain all of those details, and this is not that film. This film is about what happened to the journalist who did try to explain it.
It’s an interesting flick, featuring, without voiceover narration, interviews with Nikki Loehr, Barrett’s onetime girlfriend; Caleb Pritchard, a childhood friend; John Kiriakou, a CIA whistleblower; Marlo Cadeddu, one of Barrett’s lawyers; Kevin Gallagher, who helped raise money for Barrett’s legal defense fund; Gregg Housh, an early Anonymous participant; and me. Anna interviewed me in the D Magazine office the day Barrett was sentenced. If I’d known she was going to use that much of our discussion, I would have insisted on hair and makeup.
Bike-Share Ultimatum Delivered. Add City Manager T.C. Broadnax to the list of people fed up with the unregulated onslaught of rental bikes tangled up on Dallas sidewalks, trails, and bodies of water. In a letter to the five bike-share companies now hawking their product here, Broadnax on Thursday warned that they have until Feb. 5 to get their act together, which involves moving bikes off of narrow sidewalks and away from sidewalk ramps and unpaved surfaces, among other requests. Otherwise, the city will begin collecting some of the 20,000 or so rental bikes in Dallas itself.
Here’s That Panhandling Lawsuit Against the City That Everyone Knew Was Coming. And it’s from no less than the “Will Rap For Weed” woman, Yvette Gbalazeh, the Deep Ellum cannabis enthusiast and street activist turned novelty gubernatorial candidate. Gbalazeh, arrested twice for solicitation in 2016, alleges that the city’s panhandling ordinance is unconstitutional, an assertion that the city attorney and police chief seem to agree with, which is why it is not presently being enforced. Her lawyer smells class action.
Local Connection to the Most Horrific Story of the New YearFound. The man and woman charged in California with torturing and imprisoning their 13 children for years allegedly started the abuse when they were living near Fort Worth.
County Commissioner Candidate Makes Questionable Offer. In a recorded phone call, J.J. Koch told Stephen Stanley, his opponent in the race for the northern Dallas County commissioner’s seat, that he would pay Stanley’s campaign debt if Stanley dropped out of the race. It is, at least, a very bad look for Koch, and at most, attempted bribery. Stanley sent a complaint to the state Attorney General’s office.
Timberlawn Shutting Down. The troubled East Dallas psychiatric hospital will close on Feb. 1 after a number of incidents called into question patients’ safety there.
It’s Not That Cold. We might even hit 60-something degrees Saturday, if you can believe it.
In 1991, a young Tim Rogers landed an internship at D Magazine by posting a record score on the copy editing test and by offering to bribe the then editor (a scheme involving her daughter’s artwork and the preferred placement thereof in the halls of Preston Hollow Elementary, where my mother taught). You? If you want to be an intern here, all you have to do is send an email to our managing editor, Christiana Nielson (email@example.com).
Due to circumstances entirely within someone’s control, we had an intern back out of a commitment to join us this spring. That’s your spot! We love late-applying procrastinators! The gig starts next week(ish) and runs through May 8. Is it unpaid? It is very much unpaid. But in lieu of compensation, you will get to participate in editorial meetings, fact check award-winning stories, write for the web and print, and drink as much free coffee as your spleen can handle.
In all seriousness, we’re looking for college-aged kids who are brilliant (or at least sentient) and have about 20 hours per week to spare. We’ll show you how the sausage gets made and teach you a thing or two along the way.
Former Dallas Police Official Hired by Tarrant County DA. Tammie Hughes, a recently retired Dallas police assistant chief, will be in charge of the investigative division for the Tarrant County district attorney. She had been with the DPD for 33 years, and she’ll now oversee 40-plus investigators who help prosecutors leading up to trials.
Dallas City Hall Isn’t Worried about ICE Chief’s Threats. Thomas Homan, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said he wants to prosecute sanctuary city elected leaders that do not cooperate with him. But Mayor Mike Rawlings isn’t worried. “It’s total hogwash. No one is going to be arrested, especially here in Dallas. We’re not a sanctuary city. We cooperate with ICE. This is basically rattling a saber to make good sound bites.”
Frisco Man Gets 15 Years for Assaulting Man Because He Was Gay. 21-year-old Nigel Garrett was one of the four men who used the app Grindr to target and rob gay men early last year. Yesterday he was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison. The other three men are awaiting sentencing.
Natural Gas Odor Noted in Highland Park. An officer patrolling the 3600 block of Mockingbird Lane reported smelling natural gas yesterday afternoon, and Atmos Energy crews have been investigating. Earlier this week, a gas explosion destroyed a home in Irving after a natural gas odor had been noticed. The family escaped uninjured, but the house was deemed a total loss.
Paul Kix once worked at D Magazine. I may have fired him. It’s unclear. In this episode of EarBurner, we discuss his departure from our staff and subsequent rise to stardom as a senior editor at ESPN the Magazine. Oh, plus his new book, The Saboteur: The Aristocrat Who Became France’s Most Daring Anti-Nazi Commando. We talk about that, too. Tonight at Wild Detectives, sometime D Magazine contributor Sarah Hepola will conduct a Q&A with Paul that is sure to be illuminating, though I doubt it will include as much teasing as Paul suffered in this podcast. Have a listen.
Have you had time yet to read Jim Schutze’s latest banger about Museum Tower and Mike Snyder, or are you still recovering from the New York Timesstory about the alien invasion? Schutze is good at his job. If you looked at the issues he’s taken a side on, he’s probably batting .800. The whole West Dallas, Khraish Khraish-versus-Mayor Mike Rawlings thing comes to mind. So that’s probably why, when Schutze is wrong, his boneheadedness is so striking. It’s so rarely on display.
Today, Schutze wrote a piece for the Observer about Mike Snyder and the Dallas Morning News and how the paper has it out for him because it was always in the bag for the Nasher in its fight with Museum Tower. It’s complicated. Read Schutze’s post if you haven’t already. Here’s the part that really jumped out at me:
It wasn’t that I thought the pension fund was right or that Museum Tower may not have been too shiny. I’m not a shiny expert. It just pissed me off enormously that nobody in town wanted to let the pension fund talk.
The powers that be were handling the shiny debate the same way they always want to handle anybody who crosses them, by shoving a pillow in the other guy’s face. So it was great to see someone [Snyder, working as a sock puppet] allowing the pension to grab a gasp of air now and then.
Excuse me? Nobody in town wanted to let the pension talk? Schutze means Richard Tettamant, who used to run the pension, before it was raided by the FBI. I let him talk. Steve Thompson at the Newslet him talk. KERA gave him his space. Those are just the links that jumped to the top of my Google search. The reason the pension was gasping for air is that it had buried itself under a mountain of risky real estate investments. And because the FBI was breathing down their necks. And because it had to eat crow over the sock puppetry stuff. Don’t cry for Mike Snyder.
In the huge cache off WFAA archive footage that was recently donated to Southern Methodist University’s G. William Jones Film and Video Collection, a few incredible seconds from a holiday parade in 1960 capture Jack Ruby combing his hair and fixing his hat, while a friend ogles over what is, presumably, a fancy new “spy” camera.
It is an innocuous, forgettable little moment, but one that feels extraordinary given the rarity of film footage from the time that features figures who loomed large in the story of the JFK Assassination.
The clip was posted online Jeremy Spracklen, the collection’s curator, who continues to release segments taken from the WFAA archive of footage shot in Dallas between 1960 and 1978. When commenter Burt Harris watched the 1:22 minute clip, he spotted Ruby at the tail end.
Flashback Dallas’s Paula Bosse takes it from there, posting some slowed-down footage that focuses-in on Ruby and adding context:
According to coverage of the event in the Dallas Times Herald (“Mile of Dimes Parade Lures Great and Small,” Nov. 27, 1960), the parade was the “Mile of Dimes” parade sponsored by the Dallas Junior Chamber of Commerce and the Salvation Army. It took place on Saturday, Nov. 26, 1960. In addition to the parade, there was a “show” staged on Elm and Ervay which had bands performing on the back of a flatbed truck. Two of the acts performing that day were the Joe Johnson combo and singer Jewel Brown — both of whom were mainstays in Ruby’s clubs: at the time of the parade, Johnson’s band was booked into a long run at the Vegas Club/Club Vegas in Oak Lawn, and Brown was appearing seven nights a week (!) at the Sovereign Club on Commerce Street (which Ruby would later rename “the Carousel Club” around March, 1961). So that explains why he was there, nonchalantly combing his hair on the street as his “employees” perform in front of him.
Footage of the musical performers begins at the 1:00 mark in the longer clip. Houston-born Jewel Brown can be seen at 1:07. She was pretty much a smash in Dallas, getting loads of good press; she later hit it big appearing with Louis Armstrong in Las Vegas — you can watch a fantastic clip of her singing here. Read a March, 1967 interview with her in which she discusses her working relationship with Ruby here.
The clip shows Ruby standing with a friend, who some careful viewers believe is George Senator, Ruby’s then-roommate. Bosse believes Senator is holding a Minox “spy” camera, a very small and expensive new product that was being advertised at the time in the Dallas Morning News and sold in a number of local stores. Based on Senator’s expression, it appears that Ruby is showing off the little gadget. And so, in a few seconds of film, a story rises to the surface: Ruby strolls down to Elm Street to watch his performers play on the back of a flatbed truck as part of a holiday parade. He meets up with his roommate, and Ruby shows off his newest little toy. I love the nonchalance captured in the clip, Ruby clearly proud of the gadget and his behind-the-scenes roll in the well-attended spectacle, but not showing it in his face. He combs his slick back hair and fidgets with his hat. The big man, always in control. The extra irony, given the history of conspiracy surrounding the assassination, is that his toy is a “spy” camera.
For a while now, I’ve been following a local Twitter account called TheMap.io. I’m not smart enough to get the reference, but the bio reads: “Cities, Data, Mapping, Urbanism, Transit. And fashion!!!!!!” Pretty much describes me.
Anyway, the guy behind the account revealed himself to me today when he linked to something he’d written on Medium. I invite you to read this essay by Robert Mundinger, the title of which I stole for this post: “Is DISD a Better School District Than Highland Park?” You think that’s a ludicrous question? As Mundinger (God, I hope he’s married to a woman named Mandy) points out:
“Most people see a good ‘school’ as a school with a bunch of high achieving kids. But this is a bit like judging the quality of the food in a restaurant based on who’s eating it.”
Take a few minutes to read the whole thing — especially if you happen to work at Amazon.
Mayor Rawlings Announces New Goals for Dallas. During his State of the City address yesterday, he said he has to a goal to, well, come up with new goals. He wants to implement a major strategic plan, Goals for Dallas 2030, to cultivate strategies for things like infrastructure, technology, housing, and education. Rawlings said it’s finally the right time to tackle the big picture. “Hopefully, it’s not my plan. It’s the city of Dallas’ plan, because if it’s the mayor’s plan, it will be thrown in the dustbin,” he said.
More Theaters Cut Ties With Lee Trull. After the DTC fired Trull, their director of new play development, for inappropriate behavior, other theaters he’s worked with are following suit. Stage West canceled Trull’s plans to direct a regional premiere in March. Kitchen Dog Theater cut ties with him. Playwright Kate Hamill and composer Shawn Magill ceased work on the musical adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea they were developing with DTC and Trull. Second Thought Theatre retracted the offer for Trull to direct Hillary and Clinton in January. I have a feeling the list will keep growing.
Sherin Mathews’ Parents Can’t Contact Surviving Daughter. A Dallas judge blocked them from contacting their surviving 3-year-old. Child Protective Services doesn’t have to help them work to regain custody. Both Wesley and Sini Mathews still face criminal charges regarding Sherin’s case. A civil trial sometime in early 2018 will determine whether they will regain their parental rights. Their surviving daughter has been temporarily placed with relatives.
SMU Hunt Leadership Scholars Program Receives $15 Million. The Nancy Ann Hunt Foundation gave SMU the money to help support Hunt scholars. There are 20 scholars selected every year, and they receive annual financial aid that comes close to a full ride. The scholarship has aided 372 students to date.
Sherin Mathews’ Doctor Had Told CPS of Abuse. A Dallas doctor who examined the 3-year-old in March found several bone fractures. She reported this to CPS because she was concerned that Sherin’s parents might have been abusing her. The doctor’s testimony was heard yesterday at a court hearing to determine if the parents will be able to reunite with their other child, who’s also a 3-year-old girl. They’re still in jail and face criminal charges related to Sherin’s death. It’s even more tragic if this could all have been prevented.
English is No Longer the Official Language of Farmers Branch. City council members voted to repeal an ordinance that made the city’s official language English. The ordinance had also prohibited the use of other languages for city documents, meetings, and the like. “We hope this new chapter in our community’s history will help further promote an inclusive environment, not only among our residents, but anyone looking to live, work, or play in Farmers Branch,” said Ana Reyes, the council’s first Hispanic member.
T. Boone Pickens Wants to Sell You His Ranch for $250 Million. The 89-year-old Dallas businessman and oil tycoon is selling his 65,000-acre Mesa Vista Ranch for a mere $250 million. It’s got man-made lakes, tennis and golf courses, a movie theater—oh, and a two-story pub. Time to get the checkbook out.
If you’re familiar with the Longreads platform, you know they mostly aggregate great stories. But they also commission original work. This is an example that deserves your time. Author Shawn Shinneman (a name so alliterative that I feel compelled to profile him) does a great job with a topic that, sadly, is too familiar. His story is about a wrongfully convicted man who now lives in Duncanville. Save it. Give it a read when you can.
Four New Parks May Be Headed to Downtown. After the bond package was approved, Dallas philanthropist Robert Decherd wants to move ahead with the construction of four new downtown parks—Pacific Plaza, Harwood Park, Carpenter Park, and a West End park. He wants them all to be completed within a few years.
Dallas Police Increasing Foot Patrols to Deter Crime. Chief U. Renee Hall’s new crime reduction initiative will send more officers to high-crime areas to talk to residents, carry out warrants, and prevent criminal activity. Overall crime in Dallas is lower than it has been, but business robberies and aggravated assaults have risen lately. The south-central and northwest parts of Dallas are the most affected areas.
Body Found Outside Old East Dallas Home. A killer is at large after the body of 24-year-old Julio Navarete-Leal was found yesterday in the driveway of a home in Old East Dallas. Police say no suspects are in custody and they have yet to determine a motive.
AT&T Outage Reported in Dallas. Last night, AT&T users reported an outage here and in other cities after they realized they couldn’t make or receive calls. AT&T suggested restarting your phone, which might have to be done multiple times. They said “that should resolve the issue,” even though they still don’t know what the issue is.
Some time after Jack Ruby was convicted of murdering Lee Harvey Oswald, the former nightclub owner wrote a 24-page manuscript detailing the hours before he pulled the trigger in the basement of Dallas police headquarters. Without spoiling anything, so much of modern American history hinges on “real healthy” sandwiches.
Said manuscript goes up for auction online this evening at 6 p.m., via R&R Auction Company. (You can read a good portion of the manuscript itself via that link.) It’s estimated to go for up to $12,000, so get your bids in soon.
The timing of this auction is probably not coincidental. The JFK assassination has been in the news of late with the release of previously withheld files from U.S. intelligence agencies’ investigation of the events of Nov. 22, 1963. There’s nothing exceptionally earth-shattering in any of the documents. What new information there is will only continue to fuel the mystery and conspiratorial debate surrounding what happened in Dallas that fall.
Execution Date Set for John Battaglia. The man who shot his two daughters in his Deep Ellum loft in 2001 as their mother listened on the phone will be executed February 1 in Huntsville. Battaglia was first scheduled for execution in March of last year but was granted a stay to appeal his sentence. The date was then moved to December 2016, but he was granted another stay to evaluate his competency, which was eventually confirmed.
Houston Astros Win First World Series Ever. They secured a 5-1 victory in game seven over the Dodgers in Los Angeles last night. Former Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish didn’t look so good pitching for L.A. He lasted less than two innings and allowed all five runs. The other Dodgers pitching ace, Highland Park’s Clayton Kershaw, threw four scoreless innings, but it wasn’t enough for a comeback. Congrats, Houston!
Garland Task Force Created to Battle Gang Activity. Recently, Garland has seen an increase in gang activity, whether fights or criminal mischief. To focus on it, Garland police have formed a task force, which could lead to a permanent police gang unit. Overall crime in Garland, however, is down compared to last year.
Record-Breaking Heat Today. The high will be 91 or 92, depending on your source. Temps have never gotten up to 90 degrees in November in D-FW since records started more than a century ago. I really thought Dallas summer was behind us at this point. Sigh.
At the edge of emerald fields of corn and soybeans sits the National Petascale Computing Facility, the crown jewel of the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. The 88,000-square-foot glass-covered facility looks like a fancy convention center, and it’s surrounded by a black steel fence strong enough to stop a speeding Mack truck. Past a retina scanner and through a heavy-gauge steel door resides a computer named Blue Waters. It’s big—spanning 10,000 square feet—and it’s made up of 288 matte-black rack towers that house the 27,000 nodes that are the key to its power. Each node holds two microprocessors, not unlike a stripped-down PC but faster than anything you’ll find at Best Buy.
Since powering up in 2013, Blue Waters has been one of the few computers in the world capable of processing the biggest of big data sets, encompassing everything from the evolution of the universe to the global spread of flu pandemics. It’s also one of the only machines in the world that can model the staggering complexities of a supertornado, which is exactly what an atmospheric scientist named Leigh Orf spent the better part of 2013 failing to do.
Trinity Groves created a novel concept in Dallas when founders Jim Reynolds, Phil Romano, Stuart Fitts, and Butch McGregor launched a restaurant incubator in West Dallas. On Monday, Romano and Fitts’ latest brainchild opened in Trinity Groves. Though the business model resembles that of a restaurant or incubator, the Network Bar is something new entirely.
The Network Bar utilizes a membership model to promote its exclusive meeting place for professionals across all industries to connect with each other, with a little help from a social media-style interface.
Prospective members must be recommended by a current member and approved by the bar’s leadership. Once approved, members can browse the Network Bar’s app, which houses members’ professional information, comparable to a closed-network LinkedIn.
As part of the app, members can see who is in the 7,000-square-foot bar at any given time, enticing them to come in and socialize.
Once inside, members can eat and drink, sit and work, or utilize the space for meetings.
Though all ages are welcome to join, the concept was created for millennials who are tech savvy, but lack the interpersonal skills or confidence to network efficiently, says Stuart Fitts, co-founder and managing partner of West Dallas Investments, the entity behind Trinity Groves. “The app is meant to be a bridge between the lost skill and the old skill,” Fitts says.
Those aged 21-30 can join for $500 annually, those 30-70 can join for $1,000 annually, and those 70 and above can join for free under a mentorship agreement. Mentors must be a business owner or leader, be available to mentor younger members, and have a strong desire to give back to the business community.
“Society becomes great when old men plant trees knowing that others will sit under the shade of them,” Romano says.
The Network Bar hopes to enroll 1,000 members by 2018, and has made good progress thus far, Romano says. Businesses can also purchase corporate memberships for employees as a promotion or recruitment perk.
Network Bar director of business development Gerardo Munguia says, so far, members have spanned multiple industries, including finance, law, technology, and real estate.
Joining will be fairly easy, Romano says, but it will also be easy to get kicked out. Part of the bar’s purpose is to create a safe place for people of all ages and genders to network. Members may anonymously flag one another via the app for inappropriate behavior, which could lead to a withdrawal of membership.
“We don’t want this to be a nightclub,” Fitts says. “We want this to be elegant and professional, safe and inviting.”
“We want it to be a place for people to chase business opportunities,” Romano says.
Programming such as a speaker series, intimate fireside chats with business leaders, business book launches, and mentor office hours will be available to all members.
Since its soft opening Monday, members have already been using the space as an office and conference room alternative, and a place to grab a burger and craft cocktail.
“We didn’t intend to be in competition with co-working concepts,” Fitts said. In fact, Romano foresees a licensing partnership in the future with a hotel brand or co-working concept. “But we’ve got to make this work first; then we’ll work on growing it fast,” Romano says.
Romano and Fitts have been working closely with attorneys to protect the intellectual property of the concept. “But the best way to protect [the concept] is through market penetration,” Romano says.
Younity Group, the development company that created the Network Bar’s app, is half owned by Romano and Fitts.
Members and up to three guests can eat and drink from a menu of meal and snack items Romano calls “hand food,” as well as a full bar and craft cocktails. Daily hours vary, but the Network Bar will be closed every Monday to host private events.
Trinity Groves continues to grow, as the restaurant incubator increased sales 57 percent from this quarter last year, according to Romano. But the Network Bar is still unlike anything the partners have attempted thus far.
“This isn’t a venture—it’s an adventure,” Romano says.