Posts by Michelle Saunders
Tomorrow’s forecast looks at least partially sunny, so what better way to spend your afternoon then at a picnic for charity? The Junior Leadership Board at Children’s Medical Center is hosting the shindig to raise money for the hospital’s Music Therapy Program.
The event starts at 11 a.m., and will include plenty of food, fun, and shopping. Local food-truck favorites Enticed, Rock and Roll Tacos, and Ruthie’s Rolling Café will serve up delicious treats, while musicians from Booker T. provide the soundtrack.
There will also be an onsite silent auction, and a percentage of all proceeds from the food trucks and certain Park Lane stores will go to the program. If you can’t make it, you can still help out, by donating directly online and through an online auction held before the event.
Click here for more information.
Highland Park Middle Schoolers will present Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Jr. this weekend. The 60-minute musical is based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, its sequel, Through the Looking Glass, and Disney’s animated movie Alice in Wonderland (1951).
The fun-filled musical follows Alice’s madcap adventures and the wacky characters she meets along the way. Join her as she chases the White Rabbit, races the Dodo Bird, crosses the Cheshire Cat, gets tied up with the Tweedles, runs into some sassy talking flowers, raps with a bubble-blowing Caterpillar, and beats the Queen of Hearts at her own game!
The show is open to the public and takes place at HPMS. The first performance is tonight at 7 p.m., with a performance tomorrow at 4 p.m., Saturday at 7 p.m., and a matinee on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Despite unseasonably chilly temperatures, this morning’s 25th annual Mad Hatter’s Tea Party was the week’s hot event — drawing fabulously bedecked women (and quite a few men!) to the Arboretum in support of the Women’s Council of The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden and A Woman’s Garden.
My first year to attend, it’s safe to say that the event was truly eye-opening. Numerous attendees told me this year’s party was the most fabulous to date, and judging by the vast array of designs — which ranged from Anglophilia to the Mogul Empire to Western Barbie — It’s not hard to understand why.
Look for more details and vibrant photos in next week’s issue of the paper!
As our sister publication mentioned this morning, a former SMU professor has filed suit against the school, claiming she was wrongfully terminated after she reported that her superior was engaging in inappropriate conduct with students.
The most bizarre part of the 21-page lawsuit, filed by Patricia Davis, however, are allegations that her boss, Rick Halperin, “appeared obsessed with the Nazis.”
Halperin is the founding director of the school’s Embrey Human Rights Program, which make the allegations even more surprising (if not unlikely).
The lawsuit claims that Halperin gave private Nazi salutes, used Nazi commands on the telephone, displayed large posters of Nazi symbols and events in his office, and watched “hours and hours of pictures of bodies and Holocaust death camps on his office television.”
The lawsuit also alleges that Davis caught Halperin in compromising positions with students on more than one occasion, and says that after confronting him about what she witnessed, he “called her crazy and deeply troubled, and said that if Davis told anyone, she ‘should begin looking for another job.’”
I spoke with one of Halperin’s former students who said that these allegations are nothing short of shocking. A Facebook page entitled “We love Rick Halperin” was created earlier this afternoon, and it already has more than 250 members.
Look for the full story in this week’s paper.
Graduation season is upon us, which means you’re running out of time to start planning and saving for those hard-earned gifts. While it’s only been a couple of years since I graduated, I fear I might be a bit out of the loop when it comes to gifts. I received a couple of coffee table books and of course, cash, for graduation, but what are you all gifting your graduates? Jewelry? New cars? Tech gadgets? Clothing? Art? Vacations? Plastic surgery (hey, it happens)? All of the above? None of the above?
Parents and grandparents, what are you giving your students? Seniors, what do you want to receive?
And while we’re on the subject, any special ideas for the perfect Mother’s Day gifts? Moms, want to drop any not-so-subtle hints to your husband or kids?
Comment below, and your wish-list items or gifting ideas might make it into an upcoming issue!
It looks like a group of young pranksters got an early start this year.
At around 8 p.m. on the eve of April Fools’ Day, a valet attendant at Highland Park Village saw a group of six young people exit Patrizio’s and open the rear hatch of the party’s blue Range Rover before exiting the lot. It wasn’t until the SUV had left, however, that the attendant realized that a $500 48-inch valet sign was missing. He had placed the sign on the curb just minutes before the group arrived.
I have a sneaky sneaking suspicion that this sign now marks the territory of a clubhouse, bedroom, or garage somewhere in the Park Cities.
It comes as no surprise that a town with the word “park” in its name would be filled with lush spaces. From the town’s inception, parks were a crucial element of the development, with around 20 percent of the original townsite designated parkland. Today, the town’s Park Department maintains 22 different locations, ranging in size from multi-acred lots to tiny slices of land. Here we take a look at the parks’ namesakes. Check out a photo-gallery tour of the parks here.
Connor Park (5)
W.O. Connor served as the town’s second mayor, from 1914 to 1915. The Connor family willed the majority of their farm to the town, so this park is a tribute to their generosity.
Prather and Flippen Parks (7, 2)
When Highland Park’s founder, John Armstrong, conceived the town’s layout, he enlisted son-in-law Hugh Prather to assist him in attracting Beverly Hills’ landscape architect. Although Armstrong died before he could see his vision realized, his sons-in-law Prather and Edgar Flippen carried his dream out, and a park was named after each.
Davis Park (8)
Henry Roberts Davis served as the town’s fourth mayor, from 1920 to 1924.
Abbott, Fairfax, and Douglas Parks (14, 1, 3)
These parks are named because of their proximity to the streets that border them. John Armstrong’s wife, Alice, named Abbott Street after classical scholar Dr. Frank Abbott, so the park that borders the street shares his name, too.
Bartholow Square (9)
This plot of land by Town Hall is actually a triangle, formed by Gillon and Eton Avenues. It’s named for former councilman J.W. Bartholow, who was influential in preventing the town from being annexed by the city of Dallas.
Lockart Park (12)
This park is dedicated to James E. Lockart, a councilman and a master of the Highland Park Lodge.
Dyckman Park (11)
This small park is named for W.A. Dyckman, an early civic leader.
Cave Park (13)
Dr. Harrison B. Cave came to Dallas from Missouri in the 1890s and settled on Abbott Street in the early 1900s. An active Mason, he served as a master of the Highland Park Lodge.
Lakeside Park (4)
This park isn’t named for a historic figure, but the lake that follows it is. In 1890, Henry Exall, built the dam across Turtle Creek, forming Exall Lake.
Yesterday I spent the afternoon going to all of Highland Park’s parks. Or so I thought. I started out with the list here on the website, which names six parks. I looked on a map however, and quickly found six more parks that weren’t listed on the town’s website. It took about four hours to go to those 12, and this morning, when I looked at the map again, I realized that there may have been a few more that I missed.
Highland Park’s website says that the park department maintains 22 park locations – plus 12 miscellaneous traffic islands.
Aside from the big ones, like Lakeside- and Prather Park, many of these parks were just little slices of land with a bench and a couple of flower bushes. Or no bench or flowers, like Cave Park (pictured above). And even my coworker, a fourth-generation Highland Park resident, struggled with the location of some of the smaller ones.
My question is, how many residents are actually aware of the existence of all of these parks? And is anyone able to name all 22 of them?
Police have arrested a Highland Park mother on a felony charge of abandoning or endangering a child with intent to return, after discovering her infant daughter alone in their unlocked home last month.
Leslie Patman Toomay, 32, was arrested and arraigned on Thursday night. Her bond was set at $500, which she posted late Thursday, said Sgt. Lance Koppa, a spokesman for the Highland Park Department of Safety.
On Feb. 13, police responded to a burglar alarm sounding at a home in the 4500 block of Arcady Avenue. When they arrived, they found the front door open; lights and a TV were left on. A semiautomatic shotgun lay on the dining room table, and a large paper cutter lay on a kitchen counter. The back door of the home was unlocked.
Upstairs, police found the 14-month-old baby on her back on the floor, under a “mobile-type tent,” police reports say. The infant had a feeding tube in her abdomen, and appeared unable to roll over or crawl.
Police made contact with the mother approximately 15 minutes after discovering the child, and she didn’t arrive home until approximately 20 to 25 minutes later, the arrest affidavit says.
On Feb. 13, Toomay told police that she was dropping her older daughter off at a play center and that she thought that her husband was “very close” and that they were “crossing paths,” the report says. She called the incident a “miscommunication” between her and her husband, and said that “it isn’t as easy as it used to be” to take her daughter places due to the fact that she is getting heavier to load into and out of her vehicle.
Toomay also told police the infant has a medical condition that leaves her with “little strength to function,” the report says.
The arrest warrant affidavit says that Toomay “intentionally left the residence leaving her 14 month old physically, mentally and developmentally disabled child, in an upstairs bedroom without providing reasonable and necessary care for the child under circumstances that could expose the child to an unreasonable risk of harm.”
Both children remain in the custody of their parents while Child Protective Services conducts an investigation, Koppa said.
John Ray Weir, founder of Weir’s Furniture, passed away at his home on Monday at the age of 102.
“We are deeply saddened by his passing, but we are strengthened by his faith and legacy,” said Blake Weir, one of Weir’s five grandsons. “He was a pioneer in the industry and a mentor and inspiration to his family and associates.”
Weir served as president and chief operating officer of the company until 1972, when he passed leadership on to his son, Dan Weir. Although the patriarch was officially retired, he served on the board until 2009 and maintained a keen interest in the family-owned-and-operated company until his death.
After growing up on his grandparents’ Louisiana farm, Weir attended TCU for a short time before completing a brief stint at his father’s furniture store in Fort Worth. Although he was reluctant to become a second-generation furniture merchant, in 1948 he purchased Mullins Furniture, a modest twenty-foot by seventy-foot store at 3219 Knox Street, and renamed it Weir’s Early American Shop. With his wife, Bea, by his side, Weir immersed himself in every aspect of his business — from bookkeeping to ordering, polishing, selling, and delivering merchandise in his 1937 Chevy truck.
Following the opening of his first store, Weir expanded the Dallas home furnishings retailer to four locations across the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The company celebrated its 50th anniversary by breaking ground on their second store in Plano, and just 10 years later, they opened a Southlake store. In 2011, Weir’s added a fourth location in Farmers Branch that houses the company’s corporate offices, warehouse, and outlet store.
Ensuring that customers were provided with the best possible service was a top priority for Weir, and the third and fourth generations of his family continue to carry that mission on today. And although he was an excellent merchant, Weir enjoyed a variety of hobbies including piloting, playing the organ, taking pictures, and working on his model railroad. An avid art collector, in his seventies Weir became an accomplished painter. His large extended family, however, was his greatest joy.
“Besides the Lord Jesus Christ, family is the greatest thing in life,” Weir often said.
Friends and colleagues describe Weir as a remarkable man whose integrity, kindness, generosity, dedication, and exemplary work ethic inspired others. And although he achieved a great deal both professionally and personally during his lifetime, Weir believed his deep faith and strong personal relationship with Christ would be his greatest legacy.
“His dedication to Christian principles remains his lasting gift to his family, friends, associates and community,” says granddaughter, Amy Fullerton.
A visitation for Weir will be held this Sunday at 5 p.m. at Sparkman/Hillcrest Funeral Home. A memorial service will be held at Park Cities Baptist Church at 11 a.m. on Monday, following a graveside service at Restland Cemetery in Dallas. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations please be made to the Alzheimer’s Association in tribute to Weir’s love for his late wife Bea or to the J. Ray Weir Endowed Scholarship Fund at Dallas Baptist University.