Boone Gets Another Term As SMU Board Chair

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Mike Boone

Mike Boone

Park Cities resident and longtime civic leader Mike Boone has been re-elected chairman of the board of trustees at SMU.

Boone is co-founder of the law firm of Haynes and Boone and has been a trustee on the 42-member board since 1996. He also serves as vice chair of the Dedman Law School executive board and as a co-chair of SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign, which is trying to raise $1 billion.

“Mike Boone’s leadership has been crucial as SMU marks the final year of its centennial celebration and capital campaign,” said SMU president R. Gerald Turner. “His able guidance has set a strong course as we prepare for our second century of achievement.”

Robert Dedman of Bluffview was re-elected as vice chair of the board, and Highland Park’s David Miller will continue his role as board secretary.


HP Senior Honored With Spotlight Award

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Brandt Gros (right) with his Spotlight Award. (Photo: HPISD)

Brandt Gros (right) with his Spotlight Award. (Photo: HPISD)

Highland Park HS senior Brandt Gros was honored with the Spotlight Award at Tuesday’s HPISD board meeting, with many of his baseball teammates and coaches there to witness it.

The Spotlight Award goes out to a community member who has gone “above and beyond to support the special education population in HPISD.” It is given out by the Special Education Parents Advisory Committee of HPISD, or SEPAC.

Not only were notes read aloud that parents and community members had written about Gros, but a video was shown with encouraging words from members of the special-needs community.

“Brandt Gros is our answer to a very long time prayed prayer — that Jack will have a true friend. The one thing that shines above everything else is how Brandt sees the real Jack, not the kid in the wheelchair who can’t speak, but the Jack who has a heart of gold and just wants a true friend,” Jack’s mother Christina Murzin wrote. “He doesn’t think that he is doing anything out of the ordinary, yet anyone who knows him knows just how extraordinary a person he truly is.”

If that doesn’t warm your heart, we don’t know what will.


Magnolia Taking Over Holiday Inn Property

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In an effort to lure more business and social functions, the Holiday Inn Dallas Central-Park Cities, located on the North Central Expressway frontage road just north of Mockingbird Station, will be rebranded under the Magnolia Hotels name on June 15.

The 293-room hotel is owned by Dallas-based TriGate Capital and managed by Denver-based Stout Street Hospitality, which also handles the historic Magnolia location on Commerce Street downtown (it’s the one with the Pegasus horse on top).

At any rate, the rebranding will include more than $2 million in renovations that will include a new signature water feature, new bedding for the guest rooms, and new furniture and decor in the common areas.


‘Bachelor’ Host Returns Home to Sign Books

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Jacie Scott isn't afraid to ask the hard-hitting questions — and get an autograph or two. (Staff photo: Sarah Bennett)

Jacie Scott isn’t afraid to ask the hard-hitting questions — and get an autograph or two. (Staff photo: Sarah Bennett)

Chris Harrison has been asked to be the coveted “Bachelor,” oh, about a million times now. After hosting 19 seasons of The Bachelor and 11 seasons of The Bachelorette, the Dallas native doesn’t think he has it in him.

But, in a dramatic turn of events, Harrison found himself in a rather peculiar situation last night. There he stood on the staircase in the beautiful home of longtime friend Charlotte Jones Anderson as she introduced him to a sea of beaming women (and a few men). The champagne was flowing, the roses were fresh, and Harrison was the man of the hour.


Jesuit Puts Scots on Brink of Elimination

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Jon Skidmore and the Scots had their 15-game winning streak snapped in a Game 1 loss to Jesuit on Thursday. The second game of the series is tonight at Jesuit. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

Jon Skidmore and the Scots had their 15-game winning streak snapped in a Game 1 loss to Jesuit on Thursday. The second game of the series is tonight at Jesuit. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

By Michael Finnegan / Special Contributor

Darius Hill’s opposite field home run in the top of the first inning gave Jesuit a 1-0 win over neighborhood rival Highland Park in the opening game of a Class 6A Region II quarterfinal series on Thursday at Scotland Yard.

With two outs and nobody on base, Hill drove HP ace Layne Looney’s pitch deep over the left-center field wall.

Hill’s solo shot, along with a shutout on the mound by Harrison Folk, was all the Rangers (30-2-2) needed to take a series advantage back to their home field on Friday.


Author: New Homes Can Have Old Souls

Brent Hull’s office, built in 1921, houses his extensive book collection on preservation. (Photo: Chris McGathey) 0
Brent Hull’s office, built in 1921, houses his extensive book collection on preservation. (Photo: Chris McGathey)
St. Mark’s alum preserves history in modern houses

Brent Hull grew up with a love of English, history, and working with his hands. As an adult, those passions combined into a love of old homes and woodworking.

“Houses tell stories,” he said. “What we build matters. You’re creating the narrative of the home.”

The St. Mark’s alum got his undergraduate degree from Baylor University, and then moved on to the North Bennet Street School in Boston to hone his craftsmanship skills.

Today, he runs Hull Historical, a general contracting company that specializes in residential and historic preservation, from a 1920s building in downtown Fort Worth. The former Nabisco distributing center provides the perfect venue for millwork and consulting with clients.


Wyly Collection Garners Big Bucks at Auction

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His portrait sold for a hefty price. He cannot tell a lie. (Painting: Rembrandt Peale)

His portrait sold for a hefty price. He cannot tell a lie. (Painting: Rembrandt Peale)

When Sam Wyly agreed to sell several pieces from his renowned art collection this spring as part of bankruptcy proceedings, he didn’t have an exact dollar figure in mind.

But the Highland Park entrepreneur and the proprietors of Dallas Auction Gallery had to be thrilled with the results of Wednesday’s auction, which brought in almost $2.6 million — largely from his collection — and surpassed pre-sale estimates across the board.

The top seller was Rembrandt Peale’s “George Washington,” a portrait that sold for $293,000. Norman Rockwell’s “Barbershop Quartet” fetched $209,000, and a trial proof of Andy Warhol’s “Apple (From Ads)” set an artist auction record at $161,000.


Stakes Are High As Scots, Rangers Collide

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The Scots will host Game 1 against Jesuit tonight. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

The Scots will host Game 1 against Jesuit tonight. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

UPDATE: There are free T-shirts commemorating this weekend’s “Tollway Series,” courtesy of Big Frog. They’re customized for each team, so check with them for availability. Plus, all of the games will be streamed live at Sportsgram for your viewing and listening pleasure.

As neighboring rivals, Highland Park and Jesuit have met many times for scrimmages on the baseball diamond over the years. But never have the stakes been as high as they will be this weekend.

The Scots and Rangers — whose campuses are separated by less than six miles on the Dallas North Tollway — will have a showdown this week in the Class 6A Region II quarterfinals.

The best-of-three series will begin at 7 p.m. tonight at Scotland Yard before shifting to Jesuit’s Wright Field at 7 p.m. Friday for Game 2. A third game, if necessary, would return to HP at 10 a.m. Saturday.


Three HP English Teachers Resign

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Earlier at this week’s Highland Park ISD board meeting, the board reviewed the usual, end-of-year list of retirements, resignations, and terminations. On the list of resignations were three HPHS English teachers, who will leave the district effective June 2.

Of course, no further information was disclosed in the meeting packet (such as, say, motive for resignation), but one can’t help but recall all the “books drama” from this year — a.k.a. the nearly year-long temporary review, suspension, and reinstatement of various books that ended in an overhaul of EFA (LOCAL) policy.

“We are losing young, energetic teachers and older, seasoned ones,” resident Sabrina Schiller said during non-agenda comments. She and many parents from HP Kids Read voiced similar sentiments, as well as a few students.

No further action is scheduled at this time regarding literature selection policy.


PC YMCA Track Meet Goes On Despite Rain

First-graders react to rain before their 50m race. (Photo: Elizabeth Ygartua) 1
First-graders react to rain before their 50m race. (Photo: Elizabeth Ygartua)

First through sixth-graders competed in the annual Park Cities YMCA Track and Field Meet at Westcott Field at SMU on May 8 and 9.  Click “Read More” to see more photos. Records set were:

Sixth-Grade Girls:

  • Mile: Emily-Jane Cox, 5 minutes, 35.57 seconds, Providence Christian School
  • High jump: Ella Patterson, 5 feet, University Park/Armstrong team
  • 4×100 relay: UP/Armstrong team, 55.44 seconds

Sixth-Grade Boys:

  • Mile: Luke Rakowitz, 5:31.85, Cistercian

Fourth-Grade Boys:

  • 400: Beau Lilly, 1:05.36, Armstrong

Affordable Listings Still Cause Feeding Frenzy

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Sellers can capitalize on market trend

Sellers still had the upper hand in the single-family housing market during the first quarter of the year, and that trend might not change anytime soon.

Available inventory is down and prices are higher in the Park Cities and Preston Hollow, especially among luxury properties, according to statistics from the North Texas Real Estate Information System.

“Inventory is still really low, and that’s driving a lot of prices,” said Blair Hudson, an agent with Allie Beth Allman and Associates. “There’s just nothing to buy. That’s why you can hold out for your price. This is still very much a sellers’ market.”


Feds Indict Toussaint on 17 Fraud Counts

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Dr. Richard Toussaint

Dr. Richard Toussaint

Our colleague Matt Goodman has a detailed report over at D Healthcare Daily about Dr. Richard Toussaint, the Highland Park doctor who is a founding physician at Forest Park Medical Center.

Toussaint, an anesthesiologist, has been indicted on 17 counts of healthcare fraud related to incidents stemming from an 18-month period in 2009 and 2010, when he’s accused of claiming benefits for procedures that he didn’t perform.

Apparently Toussaint intends to plead not guilty to the charges, which were handed down by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. If he’s convicted, each count carries a possible sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.