Traffic Nightmare Coming to Mockingbird

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MBL Detour Map 4-2015[1]

A crowded stretch of Mockingbird Lane will become even more congested starting on Monday.

That’s when Highland Park and SMU will start a joint project to improve the intersection of Mockingbird and Airline Road, including the street, sidewalks, and signal lights. The construction will be done in three phases, and will last until about Aug. 1.

But here’s the bad part: Mockingbird will be reduced to one lane in both directions between North Central Expressway and Abbott Avenue. So the town, and common sense, are advising that you take alternate routes.


DSOL Parties With Jaap van Zweden

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Erik Hansen with concertmaster Alexander Kerr and Jean Liu (Photo: Chuck Clark)

Erik Hansen with concertmaster Alexander Kerr and Jean Liu (Photo: Chuck Clark)

Members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League held a “Party of Note” with maestro Jaap van Zweden and concertmaster Alexander Kerr at the Omni’s Bob’s Steak and Chop House on April 20. The steakhouse underwrote the dinners, so money raised could go straight to DSO education and community programming.

Fifty people attended the intimate event, which included a Q&A with van Zweden and a musical performance with two short pieces played by Kerr.


SMU Posts Anniversary Video For Museum

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As you may have heard (and should have read in our April issue), SMU’s Meadows Museum is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Check out this awesome video the university put out to say congratulations:

People across the SMU campus — and even a couple of high-profile friends and visitors — extend their best wishes to the Meadows Museum on the occasion of its 50th anniversary.

Posted by SMU on Friday, April 24, 2015


Crow’s Earth Day Texas Continues to Grow

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Fair Park will host Earth Day Texas this weekend, providing plenty of fun ways to learn about helping the environment.

Fair Park will host Earth Day Texas this weekend, providing plenty of fun ways to learn about helping the environment. It was founded by Park Cities native Trammell S. Crow.

Amid a career of successful business ventures and philanthropic efforts, even Trammell S. Crow has been impressed with the steady growth of the annual Earth Day celebration the Park Cities native founded at Fair Park.

During its first five years, it has evolved from Earth Day Dallas to Earth Day Texas, expanded from 250 booths to almost 1,200, and increased from two days to three for the first time this year.

When the gates open on Friday, the event is looking to build on its distinction as the largest annual public exhibition in the world promoting environmental stewardship and sustainability.

Last year, about 58,000 people attended the free event, and they spent an average of almost five hours, according to visitor survey results. This year, with the addition of a third day catering to civic leaders and school groups, that could surge to 75,000.


Author Will Speak at Awareness Walk

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In March, we told you about author and anorexia-beater, Jordan Knape, and her new book, Best Body: Pretty, Miserable Perfectness. Now, Knape will be the keynote speaker at the National Eating Disorder Awareness Walk on May 2.

The event is hosted by the Elisa Project and begins with an 8:30 a.m. check-in at the Children’s Medical Center at Legacy. The fundraising goal is $15,000. Learn more here.


Vesecky Retires From El Centro

Sharman Beasley Vesecky (left) retired after 43 years at El Centro. (Courtesy Photo) 0
Sharman Beasley Vesecky (left) retired after 43 years at El Centro. (Courtesy Photo)

Dr. Sharman Beasley Vesecky has three passions.

“Number one, my faith. Number two, people. And number three, education,” said the Highland Park native. “And education means to lead forth out of darkness.”

Vesecky has led students “out of darkness” for 43 years, including 39 of those at El Centro College in the paralegal studies program.

Originally a graduate of the University of Texas, Vesecky studied at the Sorbonne, received her master’s in liberal arts and political science from SMU, and earned her doctorate from Nova Southeastern University.

Vesecky began her teaching career at El Centro in 1975 as an adjunct professor. She also juggled a daytime career as a legal assistant for American Petrofina. In 1976, she became a full-time faculty member at El Centro and only four years later created the Paralegal Co-Op program. Vesecky placed students into internships and jobs at Frito-Lay, Exxon, Zale, and Perot Systems, among others.


Litwin to Perform at Kid-Themed Fundraiser

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Eric Litwin

Eric Litwin

Here’s a new event on the philanthropy calendar: ChildCareGroup will hold Great Big JAM on Saturday morning at Dallas Country Club.

CCG is a nonprofit that puts together early-childhood education programs for low-income families. Saturday’s all-ages event to promote literacy includes storytelling and a performance by author Eric Litwin (“Pete the Cat”).

There will also be activities and crafts for the kids, who are urged to wear their favorite pajamas and bring another set to donate to CCG programs.

The event co-chairs are Elizabeth Malone, Leigh Mundinger, and Winifred Mundinger. You can buy tickets here.


HP Track Stars Making Jump to College

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College-bound athletes honored on Wednesday include, from left, Cooper Chimbel (Hendrix, tennis), Lauren Hansford (Boston College, crew), Ben Baccara (Columbia, crew), Pearson Feagans (Villanova, track and field), Reid Alexander (Sewanee, golf), Danny Leland (Baylor, track and field), Andrew Frost (Air Force, football), Lauren Titus (American, lacrosse), and Gabby Crank (Texas, track and field). (Photo: Melissa Macatee)

College-bound athletes honored at HPHS on Wednesday include, from left, Cooper Chimbel (Hendrix, tennis), Lauren Hansford (Boston College, crew), Ben Baccara (Columbia, crew), Pearson Feagans (Villanova, track and field), Reid Alexander (Sewanee, golf), Danny Leland (Baylor, track and field), Andrew Frost (Air Force, football), Lauren Titus (American, lacrosse), and Gabby Crank (Texas, track and field). (Photo: Melissa Macatee)

You could forgive Danny Leland if he chose the Baylor track and field program solely based on its tradition, which includes a handful of Olympic gold medalists like Michael Johnson and Jeremy Wariner.

That’s important for sure, yet the Highland Park High School senior found a more personal connection that prompted him to run with the Bears over other major programs.

“There was something about Baylor that struck me,” said Leland, a decorated middle-distance runner for the Scots. “They’ve got a proven track record with their athletes, but it seemed like they really cared about me as a person.”

Leland was one of several HP athletes recognized during a ceremony Wednesday for signing or committing to college athletic programs during the spring semester.


Catch ‘Science of Sleep’ at SMU Saturday

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Dr. James Maas, sleep researcher and retired Cornell professor, will present “The Science of Sleep: Everything You Need To Know But Were Too Tired To Ask” from 9:30 a.m. – noon on April 25 at SMU’s James M. Collins Executive Education Center. The event will cover the consequences of sleep deprivation and strategies for better rest.

Park Cities People readers can get 25 percent off registration (click link above) by using the code PCPEOPLE. Happy sleeping!


‘Karate Kid’ Director to Wax On About Career

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John G. Avildsen

John G. Avildsen

SMU film students can go behind the scenes with some of the greatest big-screen underdog stories on Wednesday when Oscar-winning director John G. Avildsen visits campus for a lecture.

Avildsen won an Oscar for directing the iconic Rocky in 1976, and he also was behind the camera for The Karate Kid (1984) and its two sequels as part of a career that has spanned more than four decades.

As part of his presentation, Avildsen, 79, also will ask for feedback from students on his latest project, Nate and Al, about a wisecracking elderly Holocaust survivor who decides 60 years after the war to kidnap the Nazi criminal who killed his family. The screenplay is inspired by a true story.