December 19, 2014

  • Davis, Scots Hold Off St. Mark’s

    Pete Davis scored 23 points as Highland Park held off St. Mark's on Friday. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

    Pete Davis scored 23 points as Highland Park held off St. Mark’s 60-57 on Friday. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

    Highland Park was looking to gain some momentum entering the holiday break, while St. Mark’s needed to erase a losing streak.

    The Scots accomplished their goal with a hard-fought 60-57 road win over the Lions on Friday. St. Mark’s snapped its skid, too, but that came later in the evening with an easy victory over Tyler Street Christian in the back half of a rare doubleheader at Hicks Family Athletic Center.

    HP used a game-high 23 points from Pete Davis and some clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch to hold off the Lions, who dropped six of their last seven games before bouncing back in the nightcap.

    “It was a good game right before the break,” said HP head coach David Piehler. “We’re still a work in progress. We’ve had some ups and downs, but I like where we’re at.”

    Davis led the Scots to a quick start by scoring 11 of HP’s first 15 points. But St. Mark’s battled back with an 8-2 run to start the second quarter, and the Lions took their first lead at 30-28 on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Matthew Placide just before halftime.

    HP capped a seesaw third quarter with a buzzer-beater of its own, with Drake Turnbull hitting a trey from the wing to tie the score at 43.

    The Scots (7-6) seized momentum before Jack Gordon scored five quick points for St. Mark’s to trim the deficit to 56-55 with less than a minute to play. However, HP secured the win by hitting 4-of-4 from the foul line in the last 30 seconds.

    “We made some plays when we needed to,” Piehler said. “They’re a really good team. They have good size and good shooters.”

    William Caldwell controlled the paint for the Lions (8-6) with 16 points and 13 rebounds before leaving the game early in the fourth quarter with an injury. Gordon scored 12 of his team-high 17 points after halftime, while Placide added 11 points off the bench.

    “I thought we competed and did some good things,” said St. Mark’s head coach Greg Guiler, whose team has practiced only 16 times amid a hectic early schedule. “We’ve got a lot of depth and some good talent. We’ve got some things to work on in terms of chemistry and defense.”

    Campbell Brooks tallied eight points as part of a balanced attack for the Scots, while Ryan Michael contributed six points and five boards.

    Both teams will return to action on Dec. 29 at the Allen Holiday Tournament, with HP facing Jesuit in the opening round while St. Mark’s will take on Rockwall.

    By Todd Jorgenson Dec. 19, 2014 | 9:32 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • FORM Debuts Salon This Month

    Remember that time I told you about FORM Hair Education and the classes they teach about styling hair? Well, instructor Whitney Haynes is opening shop in Preston Center on Dec. 30.

    FORM Hair Education is merging with to open the space. Haynes and LeighAnne Shelton will debut the salon eight colorists, eight stylists, and a makeup artist.

    “I have worked with these hairdressers my whole career and am so happy we can all be in the same salon together,” Haynes said.

    Find out more here.

    By Sarah Bennett Dec. 19, 2014 | 3:15 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • Allen Honored With Landry Coaching Award

    The Landry Award holds special meaning for Highland Park coach Randy Allen and his wife, Carolyn.

    The Landry Award holds special meaning for Highland Park coach Randy Allen and his wife, Carolyn.

    Highland Park head coach Randy Allen has honored Tom Landry for years by wearing a coat, tie, and fedora on the sidelines. Now the Landry Award committee has honored Allen.

    The legendary HP coach added to the awards in his trophy case this week, when he was honored with the Landry Award Coach of the Year during a ceremony at Communities Foundation of Texas.

    The award is given to a coach that not only wins on the field, but exemplifies Christian values and teaches life skills as well through a commitment to leadership, selflessness, maturity, respect, and kindness. The recipient is chosen in part by the leadership of the DFW chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

    The Landry Award also gave its player award on Monday to Allen quarterback Kyler Murray, who will try to lead the Eagles to consecutive state titles on Saturday.

    By Todd Jorgenson Dec. 19, 2014 | 7:47 am | No Comments | Comments RSS

    December 18, 2014

  • Scots Hope to Mold Youngsters on the Mat

    Highland Park senior Connor Creek, center, listens to head coach Tim Marzuola during a recent workout. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

    Highland Park Connor Creek, center, listens to coach Tim Marzuola during a recent workout. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

    How can a wrestling team with two returning state champions be in rebuilding mode? Allow Highland Park head coach Tim Marzuola to explain.

    “We’ve got a small core of really good kids, but our numbers are kind of thin right now,” Marzuola said. “We’ve got to build up the younger kids.”

    His statement makes sense. During his prior tenure as HP coach from 1982 to 2007, Marzuola built the Scots into one of the state’s powerhouse programs starting in the late 1990s, including five UIL titles and eight state-dual titles during a 10-year span.

    He retired, then moved to South Carolina for a few years and coached there, before returning to HP in 2013. Now he’s trying to get the Scots back to prominence.

    Last year, when HP had two state champions for the first time since 2005, was a good start. And fortunately for the Scots, both Connor Creek and Stephen Dieb are back this season.

    Creek won the state title last year in the 160-pound weight class, while Dieb took first place at 145 pounds. They will again form the core of a squad that generally lacks depth and experience but includes returnees Keegan Martin and Michael Thornton, who each made it to the state semifinals a year ago.

    The current roster for the Scots has just four seniors along with several incoming freshmen that should help to boost the numbers, especially after football season is over. That’s when Dieb, Thornton, and others will be on the mat every day after school.

    One of Marzuola’s strategies for building local interest in the sport is developing a solid program at the middle-school level, and he’s gained school board approval to launch that this winter. He also wants to restart a youth club program he ran previously, and said some clinics he ran last year were successful in that regard.

    “We’re trying to put everything back together the way we had it before I left,” Marzuola said. “Once we get these things in place and once people hear about them, hopefully we can get back to being competitive year-in and year-out.”

    By Todd Jorgenson Dec. 18, 2014 | 3:31 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • Top Chefs Cater to New Options

    Dee Lincoln's Bubble Bar and Kent Rathbun's The Kitchen at 6130 are both already operating as catering facilities. (Photos: Chris McGathey)

    Dee Lincoln’s Bubble Bar and Kent Rathbun’s The Kitchen at 6130 are both already operating as catering facilities. (Photos: Chris McGathey)

    Chefs across town are carving out new opportunities for themselves by taking their well-known restaurants and turning them into private catering venues.

    Take Kent Rathbun and Dee Lincoln, for example: Rathbun has taken his 5-year-old Preston Center restaurant Blue Plate Kitchen and turned it into The Kitchen at 6130.

    “When we elected to close Blue Plate, it was still in good shape in terms of a restaurant,” Rathbun said. He explained that the Preston Center location was packed for breakfast and lunch, but didn’t attract nighttime traffic. So how does he make that space work for a catering venue?

    Well, for one, he’s got the equipment ready to go.

    “There are a lot of people always looking for a space that has equipment, and a lot have a room. A lot of places don’t have a really equipped kitchen, or you end up renting,” he said. “One of the advantages of The Kitchen is that it’s ready to go.”

    The Kitchen at 6130 is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and doesn’t really have a set menu. Rathbun can craft the menu to accommodate any budget or style, such as seated dinner or passed hors d’oeuvres.

    As for the space itself, he’s found a way to tranform a con into a pro.

    “I think the one thing that works against us as a restaurant works for us as an event space,” he said. “Since the traffic is light, a lot of private dining will take place in the evening with the ability to park.”

    The case is different for Dee Lincoln, who recently transformed her Bubble Bar into a private-events-only space.

    “I thought about it really seriously over the past year just because of the parties we were doing on the second floor,” she said.

    As many patrons know, the Bubble Bar location was split into two levels: a wider space for seated dining below, and a more intimate, event-friendly space upstairs. And with the dramatic lighting and swanky décor, it was no wonder Lincoln found her space popular for private events. She recommends it for rehearsal dinners, weddings, seated dinners, corporate events, and holiday parties.

    “We offer seated dinners at different tiers as well as food stations with carvings,” she said. “We’re seeing a nice variety of passed hors d’oeuvres and cocktails.”

    She said not having to pay a room-rental fee has been a pleasant aspect for many clients.

    Unlike Rathbun’s location, with its open space for parking, Lincoln’s Uptown location has a very different feel.

    “This area is concentrated with hotel ballrooms and lots of great spaces. But not every party is 100 to 300 people,” she said. “We get a lot of 40 to 75 that are willing to spend the same amount of dollars for elegance.”

    By Sarah Bennett Dec. 18, 2014 | 10:00 am | No Comments | Comments RSS

    December 17, 2014

  • Hyer Students Donate Toys to Less Fortunate

    Now that's a lot of toys!

    Now that’s a lot of toys!

    Some abused and neglected children in Dallas County will have a merrier Christmas thanks to the thoughtful actions of some Hyer Elementary School students.

    The school’s Kindness and Compassion Club recently sponsored a toy drive, aiming to provide hope and cheer to some children that might have never received a gift before.

    By Todd Jorgenson Dec. 17, 2014 | 11:05 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • Scots Serve Up Canned Goods For Charity

    The Highland Park tennis team took a big swing at hunger with its recent food drive.

    The Highland Park High School tennis team took a big swing at hunger with its recent food drive.

    After capping the fall season with a Class 6A team title, the Highland Park tennis team turned to more charitable endeavors prior to the start of the spring campaign.

    As you can see, the Scots hosted a food drive that ended on Dec. 11, when they delivered more than 2,300 canned goods to the North Texas Food Bank.

    By Todd Jorgenson Dec. 17, 2014 | 4:33 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • Celebrity Bakery Gets ‘Re-Frosted’

    Celebrity Bakery gets some sprucing up. (Photo: Peter A. Calvin)

    Celebrity Bakery gets some sprucing up. (Photo: Peter A. Calvin)

    What does that mean, you ask? We talked to new CEO Brian Livingston, who took over in October, to find out more:

    “It was very clear that the brand was still loved by the community, and people were upset by the shape it was allowed to get into,” he said.

    Specifically, he pointed to elements such as customer service, quality of food, and freshness that needed to be revamped.

    “Guests clearly told me what was wrong,” he said.

    So the store underwent a bit of a physical makeover as well, to match upgrades to the quality and service. The space is still pink, but maybe a little softer. The upstairs seating is now more open and closer to the original layout, he said. Baked-goods displays in the front of the store have been redesigned to inspire “sensory overload.”

    “I’ve had people come up to me and thank me for bringing it back,” he said. “We still have a lot of work to do.”

    He’s also planning to take the menu itself back closer to the original, but keeping the classic chicken salad, tea, and sugar cookies — and making sure they’re as fresh as possible.

    “I’d be run out of Dallas if I changed that,” he joked. “We’re not claiming to be perfect. My goal is to get the brand back to what everyone remembers.”

    He plans to revamp the Preston and Royal location next, but only after the holiday season is complete.

    By Sarah Bennett Dec. 17, 2014 | 1:43 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • Joint-Use Natatorium Could Have Some Issues

    Can University Park support a joint-use indoor aquatic center in Curtis Park or elsewhere? The better question might be whether the city chooses to support it.

    The City Council heard the results of a feasibility study on Tuesday from a Colorado firm, which suggested that while the community demographics could support such a facility, there would be plenty of questions about logistics and operating costs.

    The study, of course, stems from a proposal between UP and Highland Park ISD to build a natatorium that would house the swimming teams at Highland Park High School. The district hopes to eliminate its existing natatorium at HPHS in favor of additional classroom space as part of an upcoming bond initiative. The only site mentioned thus far has been Curtis Park, adjacent to the existing Holmes Aquatic Center.

    The council didn’t take any action on Tuesday but will likely discuss the issue again on Jan. 20.

    According to the 89-page report from Ballard King & Associates, the single-story building under consideration would cost about $16.7 million, would require space for both a competition pool and a leisure pool, and would consume up to 3 acres of land including parking and setbacks. That would be quite a squeeze for that park space.

    From a financial perspective, it might also be problematic. The report estimates that such a facility would experience an annual shortfall of about $233,000 when comparing revenues to expenses. Such a revenue disparity is common for public pools of this sort, said Ken Ballard, president of Ballard King.

    “There’s really not the ability to cover the cost of operation from revenues generated from the facility itself,” he said. “The fact that this facility would operate at a loss is not unusual.”

    Ballard said the smaller leisure pool would provide about two-thirds of the revenue from the facility, since the main pool would be used so frequently by the school district for practices and meets. He also cited water depth and temperature as reasons for the second pool.

    If the partnership proceeds, it’s likely that HPISD would pay for building the aquatic center while UP would provide the land and be responsible for its operation. But some issues would still need to be negotiated.

    For example, Ballard estimated the need for about 120 new parking spaces to support the center. Yet it’s not known if those would be above or below ground, or who would pay for it, or how much that would cost. The funding source for potential capital replacement costs also hasn’t been determined.

    The proposal has generated significant opposition from Save Curtis Park, a coalition of residents near the site who have expressed concerns about traffic, safety, parking, operational costs, and environmental impact.

    UP Mayor Olin Lane said that if the city chooses to proceed with the idea, it would follow-up with a traffic study and environmental impact study on the affected neighborhood.

    “These numbers look like we’re looking through these rose-colored glasses,” said UP resident Lon Houseman. “I think the city shouldering this burden is not what the residents want.”

    HPISD has not publicly disclosed any alternative plans for a new natatorium if the Curtis Park proposal doesn’t pan out.

    By Todd Jorgenson Dec. 17, 2014 | 11:27 am | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • UPUMC Celebrates 75 Years

    Left: Members review historical photos; top: Pastor Matt Gaston hugs Mary Helen Alburt; bottom: Matteo Garcia plays ring toss. (Photos: Chris McGathey)

    Left: Members review historical photos; top: Pastor Matt Gaston hugs Mary Helen Alburt; bottom: Matteo Garcia plays ring toss. (Photos: Chris McGathey)

    As Owen Wyatt Hurd was walked around the sanctuary of University Park United Methodist Church after his baptism on Nov. 9, he marked the next generation of members for the now 75-year-old church.

    Three days before the official anniversary, Hurd, along with his parents and five other people, joined the church that sits perched at Preston Road and Caruth Boulevard.

    The church was founded in November 1939 at a meeting at Highland Park High School with 43 charter members.

    Even as the church has grown, the feeling of close-knit community that started with the founders of UPUMC remains today.

    “There’s a sense of family here and we and our boys feel comfortable,” said Kristine Burk, waiting for her sons to get out of a bounce house at the Sunday Carnival.

    She, her husband Ryan, and their two sons live just three blocks away and have been members at the church for nearly 10 years.

    “When asked why they choose to worship here, the feedback is fairly consistent,” Rev. Matt Gaston said. “Neighborhood warmth and hospitality, where you feel known and not lost, uncommon and outstanding music, and the emphasis that people perceive pretty quickly that we aren’t here for ourselves, we’re here for others, are all reasons.”

    As Gaston has prepared his sermons for three celebratory Sundays in November — one recognizing members over 75 years old, one commemorating the church’s present state, and one looking towards the future — he emphasized the stories of the individuals in the church.

    “In their stories, they use words like mutli-generational, discipleship, relationships. That says it better than I could,” Gaston said.

    Members were invited over the past weeks to share their own personal histories with UPUMC.

    One testimonial came from Cody Reynolds, who came to the church through Union, a coffeeshop near SMU.

    Reynolds, through support from members, now organizes Capes for Kids, which creates and donates superhero capes to local children’s hospitals.

    Along with the sermons and speaker series that brought former UPUMC pastors and members who joined the ministry back, the church has developed an archive room, where mementos are displayed.

    As the weeks have gone on, members have begun adding their own memories with yellow sticky notes to the timeline.

    “At the church, which prides itself in community and where members wear nametags so that they can greet each other by first name, the sense of sharing and remembrance is palpable,” Gaston said. “The fabric is so much richer than the single thread that I bring to it and I’m honored to simply be one stitch in time in a pretty amazing tapestry,” Gaston said.

    This story originally appeared in the December issue of Park Cities People.

    By Meredith Carey Dec. 17, 2014 | 10:00 am | No Comments | Comments RSS
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