Posts by Georgia Fisher
The Ursuline community scored a big goal on Wednesday. After hearing emotional input from neighbors, City Council members finally and unanimously approved the school’s request for a lighted athletic field.
“I understand how sensitive this is, and I’ve listened to both sides,” departing District 13 City Councilwoman Ann Margolin said during the meeting, which was packed to the point of overflow. But she said Ursuline’s many compromises — including lessened glare and a 20-night limit on the number of times the lights will actually be used each year — clearly “minimize the impact of the athletic field on the neighborhood.”
Proponents in the crowd wore T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Support the Ursuline Athletic Field,” or stickers to the same effect. A Facebook page dedicated to the field proposal had upwards of 700 fans as of Wednesday, and supporters also spread word about the hearing through Twitter, Instagram, and Ursuline’s website.
The all-girls school has never had a real field, despite having a soccer team that won its 23rd consecutive state championship this spring. Players often motor through rush-hour traffic en route to Jesuit, the University of Dallas, and elsewhere for home games and early-morning practices.
Wednesday’s win didn’t come without a fight, however.
More than half of nearby homeowners notified by the city have opposed a specific-use permit for the field, which they say will be a blight to the area in terms of noise, lights, and even driver safety.
“If Ursuline Academy had consulted me to design a sports field at this location, I wouldn’t have done it,” said Carrollton engineer Dale Caffey, speaking on behalf of certain neighbors. By his calculations, which school spokespeople quickly refuted, the glare from the field lights will violate city code.
The council denied an earlier version of Ursuline’s application in 2001. The revised one — approved 14-1 by the City Plan Commission in February — has many caveats, including guarantees that the light poles will be relatively short (45 feet) and that games will end by 9 p.m. Several events will be audited to ensure lighting is as targeted and subtle as engineers have promised.
The roughly 2-acre field on the southwest corner of Walnut Hill and Inwood Road also must go without loudspeakers, a concession stand, or new parking slabs.
“Ask yourselves if we would even be having this conversation if it were a boys’ football field,” Strait Lane resident Karen Pollock said, questioning the “number of concessions” the school has made to appease others in the last year. “We believe the school has worked tirelessly to listen to us — their neighbors — and to create a solution that’s amenable to all parties.”
By all accounts, tonight’s storm could get big.
HPISD just sent out a note about the possibility of a tornado warning (we’re currently just in “watch” status), in which case doors will be locked and students won’t be able to leave for the time being. Seems like standard protocol for a school district, but it’s worth a heads-up.
Per the email:
If the tornado watch is upgraded to a tornado warning, our campuses will shelter in place. If that occurs, doors will be locked and staff members and students will be situated away from windows and doors, so parents and others authorized to pick up students will not be able to do so while the warning is in place. Due to the dangerous conditions during a tornado warning and because the doors will be locked, we ask that parents not come to campus until the warning is lifted. Instead, please find shelter until the dangerous conditions have passed.
If a tornado warning occurs, we will communicate with parents and staff using our emergency text and e-mail notification system. We will also send a follow-up announcement when the warning is no longer in effect and children are cleared to leave campus.
The Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk won’t come to Dallas until early November, but event organizers suggest participants begin training for the 60-mile trek well in advance — as in, now.
At 7 a.m. Saturday, New Balance on Northwest Parkway will host an hour-long training walk followed by a “Get Trained Workshop” to discuss proper shoes, clothes, and preparation for the big event (with product pitches worked into the mix, one figures). A seasoned 3-Day walker will also take questions from the crowd.
Parish Episcopal senior Claire Criss is shadowing me this week for her senior project, and wrote this post about actress Nikki Reed’s new jewelry line.
Walk through NorthPark’s 7 For All Mankind, and it is abundantly clear why Nikki Reed’s jewelry was chosen for the store. Best known for her part as Rosalie in the Twilight saga, Reed has now added jewelry-designer to her chain of talents. Launching this week in Dallas, Mattlin Era — Reed’s label — is a great addition for all jewelry lovers. With a unique look and a price point of less than $100, the collection is sure to be a hit.
Reed agreed to lend her name to the five-piece line just a few months ago, and the day her manager called about the opportunity, she put twelve sketches together in a matter of hours. The Starry Knight necklace and matching earrings are inspired by 7 For All Mankind’s Photo Real jeans, which are embellished with Swarovski crystals. The pieces really compliment the jeans, making the collection even more appropriate for the store.
Reed credits her grandmother, Laurie, as her biggest inspiration, and even used her maiden name to title the collection. The Hollywood-muralist’s aquatic works influenced many of Reed’s pieces. “She’s a very strong, very beautiful, glamorous … very spirited woman,” Reed says.
Reed also looks to her husband, former American Idol contestant Paul McDonald, for inspiration. Jewelry-making has always been a part of their relationship, stemming from the wedding rings the couple designed themselves through Tacori. While spending time with her new husband, Reed took a cue from his wardrobe, making denim shirts her signature look.
“I designed…[the Starry Knight] necklace in particular because I have been wearing denim,” she says, fingering the series of spikes around her neck. “It makes you feel a little bit masculine, and I couldn’t find a necklace to go under a denim shirt, so I kind of selfishly designed this piece.” McDonald occasionally wears Reed’s jewelry too, proving the collection to truly be unisex.
Whether it’s the long Humility necklace with a gold honeycomb pendant and matching earrings, the dark silver daggers of the Starry Knight combination, or the tri-metal Story Telling bangle set, Nikki Reed’s Mattlin Era jewelry will stand out in a crowd and complete any look.
— Claire Criss
The university campus was “locked down briefly,” according to a press release, “in response to a potential threat.”
Here’s the rest:
After learning at approximately 8:35 a.m. about a potentially armed man in the vicinity near Greenville and SMU Boulevard, the SMU campus began emergency actions. As the suspect’s location was being tracked via cellphone signal, SMU began locking exterior doors to campus facilities and notifying building managers of the possible threat.
At 9:06 a.m., the campus locked down. Students, faculty and staff were notified by alerts via text, phone, e-mail, social media and website. The lockdown ended at 9:16 a.m. after Dallas Police arrested the man on Mockingbird Lane east of US 75 (Central Expressway). The campus was informed to return to normal activities.
There is no indication that the suspect ever entered the SMU campus, west of Central Expressway. The university acted out of an abundance of caution based on information provided regarding the possible proximity of the suspect to campus.
Classes have ended for the semester but final exams are in progress. SMU is making arrangements for students whose exams were interrupted to have them rescheduled. SMU Counseling services also are available. SMU appreciates the fast action of Dallas Police in apprehending the suspect.
Update: Because of its proximity to SMU, McCulloch Intermediate School/Highland Park Middle School were also briefly on lockdown, with all of HPISD on high alert. Fortunately, the crisis was quickly averted, and classes have continued accordingly.
Highland Park ranked No. 9 overall and No. 5 in math and science among North Texas high schools on this year’s Children at Risk list — which makes for a good thing, despite the effective misnomer.
Per the organization’s website, schools are selected via “a compilation of factors that indicate the degree to which a campus has prepared students for secondary and post-secondary success.”
University Park Elementary dad Robb Flint reached out about an event today called Cornhole Extravaganza for Make Benefit Glorious Sport Court UP — and yup, that’s the actual title, inspired by Borat-speak. It’s open to all UP parents and supporters of the school, and starts at 5 p.m. at 3319 Hanover St.
The UP Dads Club fundraiser is a tournament (Flint figures at least 100 people will show), with proceeds to go toward installation of the school’s first real athletics court. Event sponsors have already stepped in line, for the record, and include Anhauser-Busch distributor Ben E. Keith, clothing company J. Hilburn, and Snider Plaza’s Love Tennis.
Their goal? To raise $50,000.
“We like to say that it will be the largest cornhole tournament ever held in University Park,” Flint tells us.
I believe the man.
They said it would never happen. But it finally did.
Police Capt. Leon Holman, University Park’s longest-tenured employee, hung up his hat Tuesday at a retirement party packed with old friends, family, and doting colleagues.
When it came to retirement, “nobody ever thought I’d do it,” Holman said, grinning as he mingled with his guests.
The administrative captain began working for University Park in 1975, after several years with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department. He soon moved up the ranks — to detective, sergeant, lieutenant, and finally captain in 1987.
Police Chief Gary Adams wasn’t sure what to do about a parting gift, he joked in front of the crowd of well-wishers on Tuesday, so he brought the plastic nameplate from Holman’s office door.
Susan Holman presented her husband of 36 years with a well-loved oven mitt full of utensils to help him pass the time at home. And their daughter Katy flew in from Houston with their towheaded, 14-month-old grandson, Tyler, as a surprise. She even called first to tell her Dad she couldn’t make it.
His mellow response: “What’re y’all doing here?”
Holman has been “the best boss I could have ever had or wanted,” said Sgt. John Ball, echoing the words of many colleagues. “He was always there for me, and he always took care of me.”
The retirement an-nouncement didn’t come out of the blue, said longtime friend Bill Roberds.
“He’d talk about it,” Roberds said with a chuckle, “so we’d ask him what he was going to do [instead]. Then he wouldn’t talk about it anymore.”
Now Holman has time to perfect another passion: his golf game.
“He’s just not going to stay at home,” Roberds said, shaking his head.
Soon enough, someone will have to fill Holman’s big shoes at the University Park Police Department, overseeing support services that include crime prevention, animal control, warrants, and evidence. The selection process will begin soon, city spokesman Steve Mace said.
In the wake of Holman’s retirement, Mike Bracklin, a code enforcement officer who has worked in University Park for more than 37 years, has bragging rights as the city’s longest-tenured employee — for now, at least.
“It’s kind of like being the oldest person in the world,” Mace joked. “It’s a great honor, but it doesn’t last all that long.”
A HPISD newsletter tells us seven students from the school district were some of the first people inside the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum last week — and Bush was even waiting to greet them in the room that replicates his former office.“Welcome to the Oval Office,” he told the young crowd, with whom he talked with about everything from religion to a typical day at the White House. “You’re our first guests, and we’re thrilled you’re here.”
Armstrong fourth-grader Paige Selby, Bradfield fourth-grader Beau Raley, Hyer fourth-grader Whitney Bixby, UP fourth-grader Erin Parolisi, McCulloch Intermediate sixth-grader Ryan Khetan, HPMS eighth-grader Charlotte Lutz, and HPHS senior Robert McIntosh all went on the “First 43″ tour.This YouTube slideshow is full of pictures from the kids’ visit.
HP sophomore Amy Liu won for her grade division in the statewide Doodle 4 Google competition yesterday, meaning she’ll now have art displayed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and a shot at being a national finalist.
The winner gets his or her work displayed on the Google homepage, a $30,000 scholarship, and $50,000 technology grant for his or her school. Not too shabby.
Public voting will determine who makes it to the finalist round.