Posts by Dan Koller
Highland Park High School graduate Will Miller and the rest of the Mount St. Mary’s basketball team will play for the Northeast Conference Tournament championship tonight. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. on ESPN2. The winner of tonight’s game between the Mountaineers and Robert Morris will earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
UPDATE: Miller scored 11 points off the bench as Mount St. Mary’s rolled past Robert Morris 88-71, earning the school’s first NCAA tournament berth since 2008. The Mountaineers (16-16) will find out their first-round opponent on Sunday, but given their record, expect to see them in a preliminary-round game in Dayton, Ohio, to start off March Madness.
I’m compiling our Park Cities Police Report email, which is based on information submitted separately by the police in Highland Park, University Park, and Dallas. In the process, I noticed a mini-crime spree.
At 3:15 p.m. on March 3, an officer was notified of a theft in progress at the Ralph Lauren store in Highland Park Village. Employees said a man entered the store, took several items from a table just inside the front door, grabbed a duffel bag, and then ran outside and jumped into a red Toyota Tercel, which sped away from the scene.
The stolen items included four pairs of khaki pants with a total value of $1,580, two gray cashmere fleeces with a total value of $2,570, and the olive canvas/brown leather duffel bag valued at $1,250. The thief dropped four olive shirts with a total value of $1,400 in his haste to escape.
Witnesses said the thief was white. But at 12:50 p.m. on March 6, a black man entered Culwell & Son on Hillcrest Avenue, grabbed 15 pairs of pants with a total value of $2,625, and walked out of the store. The thief fled in a red Toyota, but the University Park report doesn’t specifically say it was a Tercel.
What do we think, readers? Do we have an ebony-and-ivory team of couture crooks operating in the Park Cities? Maybe they take turns regarding who does the grabbing and who does the driving.
The family who operated a Baskin-Robbins store in The Plaza at Preston Center for decades is in the process of opening a new location across Preston Road.
Chiang Lee, her husband, and her sister have signed a lease on a 1,324-square-foot space in the Berkshire Court building, between Snuffer’s and California Pizza Kitchen. They expect to be open in early April.
“We don’t have a firm date yet, because right now we’re under construction,” Lee told me this morning. “Construction should be complete by the end of this week.”
The family’s store in The Plaza at Preston Center closed for good in December 2012. Mike Geisler, who oversees the shopping center’s leasing and management for Venture Commercial Real Estate, declined to renew their lease, citing decreasing sales. The Plaza at Preston Center, which is in University Park, has since added a Sprinkles Ice Cream shop.
Joe Cicardo, senior vice president for the NAI Robert Lynn Retail Division, brokered the deal for the new space on the Dallas side of Preston Road, which he described as “a labor of love.” He and his daughters were frequent patrons of the Lee family’s Baskin-Robbins.
“I looked at multiple locations within and outside Preston Center until I found an excellent location at Berkshire Court for them before it was on the market,” Cicardo said. “It was very important for my clients to remain at Preston Center to serve their loyal customers from the surrounding neighborhoods.”
Lee said Cicardo worked “really hard” to find the new location. “He is really good,” she said.
In our March edition, we listed the biggest contributors to the District 108 Republicans since July 1. The list included names and dollar amounts but no other information.
There’s a woman named Sally Jordan who lives in the Park Cities, and she tells me her friends were surprised to see her name next to “$5,000″ on the list of Chart Westcott’s biggest contributors. Well, we should clarify that those dollars came from another Sally Jordan, who lives in Santa Barbara, Calif.
While we’re discussing campaign finance, here’s an interesting statistic that’s been mentioned on this blog only in a comment: Westcott spent a total of $1,199,989.90 in this campaign and received 3,709 votes. That comes out to $323.53 per vote. Morgan Meyer spent $63.47 per vote, and Court Alley spent $28.31 per vote.
Chart Westcott has taken it in the shorts for the disparate messages presented in his mailers during the House District 108 campaign. But opponent Morgan Meyer’s mailers are not only more consistent, they’re consistent when compared to another candidate’s.
Uptown resident Susan Hawk won the Republican primary for district attorney with the help of Allyn Media, the same company that counts Meyer among its clients. As you can see here, both campaigns are using the same design template.
The color scheme is similar, of course. Only Don “Orange you glad I’m not John Carona” Huffines strayed from the good old red, white, and blue. But the fonts and logos also seem to echo each other, as do the photographs of the candidates hard at work on something requiring penmanship.
I wonder how much Allyn Media is billing each candidate for these. More examples after the jump.
A detailed site plan for the new Park Cities YMCA will be considered by the University Park Planning and Zoning Commission at its meeting on Tuesday.
If you liked Leigh Bailey’s brief statement issued via Twitter and Facebook on Tuesday night, then you’ll love this slightly longer missive that Court Alley distributed to supporters yesterday. Take note of the paragraph in which he mentions Morgan Meyer and Chart Westcott:
This map, which was generated by the Dallas County Elections Department’s website, is color-coded by precinct victories in Texas House District 108. The purple precincts are the ones won by Morgan Meyer. The mint green ones went to Chart Westcott. The few dark green precincts went to Court Alley. And the brown precincts are the ones where there were ties.
I wish there was a way to zoom in and not have to show you the entire county, but there isn’t — at least not without distorting the image’s resolution. So let me try to help you get your bearings. See the purple portion sticking out on the west side? It’s bounded by Northwest Highway to the north, Love Field to the west, and Lovers Lane to the south. And you see the curved line that forms the western edge of the top mint green precincts? That’s Central Expressway. (Looking at this map may also help.)
So that means Meyer won every precinct in the Park Cities, Preston Hollow, Bluffview, Devonshire, and Greenway Parks. But Westcott captured plenty of votes east of Central. So the two candidates will keep competing until the May 27 runoff.
What happened? Where am I? Mom?
Apparently, a nearly 40-year-old editor can hit “refresh” on the county elections website only so many times before he passes out. While I was asleep, the totals were posted.
In Texas House District 108, Morgan Meyer captured 47 percent of the 12,291 votes cast. Chart Westcott earned 30 percent, and Court Alley finished with 23 percent.
That means Meyer and Westcott will continue on the campaign trail until a May 27 runoff. In a twisted version of Groundhog Day, the district’s voters will be subjected to 12 more weeks of mailers and robo-calls.
But, hey, at least you won’t be getting any more of those outrageous mailers for the Texas Senate race. Highland Park resident Don Huffines’ strategy of going negative paid off, as he won 50.6 percent of the 49,637 votes cast in District 16, meaning the 2015 edition of the Legislature will be the first since 1989 that won’t include John Carona.
We were keeping an eye on two other races involving Park Cities people:
University Park resident Dan Branch — who vacated the District 108 seat, thereby introducing us all to Alley, Meyer, and Westcott — is headed for a runoff with state Sen. Ken Paxton as they compete for the Republican nomination for attorney general. Branch got 33.5 percent statewide to Paxton’s 44.4 percent.
And Mary Brown of University Park cruised to victory in the five-person Democratic primary for the vacancy in the 301st Family District Court. She earned 64 percent of the 56,149 ballots casts across the county.
With 26 of 66 precincts reporting, Morgan Meyer has come back to the pack a bit. He has 46.6 percent, Chart Westcott has 30.5 percent, and Court Alley has 22.9 percent.
Update at 10:55: With 40 precincts reporting, not much has changed. Meyer is at 46.3 percent, Westcott has ticked up to 30.9 percent, and Alley is holding steady at 22.8 percent.