August 29, 2014

  • Scots Ready For Centennial Season Opener

    Kevin Ken is one of the top returning receivers this season for Highland Park. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

    Kevin Ken is one of the top returning receivers this season for Highland Park. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

    For the 13th straight year, Highland Park will open its season in the Tom Landry Classic.

    With a 9-3 record in their previous 12 appearances in the annual neutral-site event, the Scots have more wins than any school in its history. They also have more losses.

    HP was probably eager for a retooling of the matchups this season after losing decisively to Aledo in each of the past two openers, including 44-3 last year.

    But the point of the Landry event is strong competition, and so Frisco Centennial won’t offer much of a break for the Scots as they prepare for a historic jump to Class 6A later this season. The game is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at SMU’s Ford Stadium.

    The Titans have won or shared three consecutive district titles at the Class 4A level and have been to the playoffs in each of the past four years. They are just two years removed from an appearance in the 4A state quarterfinals.

    Of course, HP a much deeper pedigree in terms of victories and postseason success, in which it ranks first among all teams in the state. Last season, HP came within a late Denton Guyer rally of reaching the Division I state title game in its final 4A campaign.

    Both teams return considerable experience on offense. Explosive receiver Devin McCord returns after leading Centennial in receptions and yardage a year ago, when the Titans fell to South Oak Cliff 63-37 in the second round of the playoffs.

    The Scots likely will start nine seniors on offense, most of which saw extensive playing time during HP’s run to the Class 4A Division II state semifinals last fall.

    Dual-threat quarterback Brooks Burgin returns after passing for 3,497 yards and 31 touchdowns last season. He also ran for 19 scores. Leading receivers Andrew Frost and Kevin Ken also will play prominent roles.

    “We have quite a few starters back on offense,” said HP head coach Randy Allen. “Senior leadership is always critical.”

    At running back, Stephen Dieb and Hayden Black likely will share the bulk of the carries, with Carter McDade moving to the defensive secondary. The left side of the offensive line has experience with Jack Sides and Rees LeMay joining center Clayton Woods, who has verbally committed to UT-San Antonio.

    By Todd Jorgenson Aug. 29, 2014 | 7:39 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • Orr: Decision on State Funding Benefits Students

    Dawson Orr

    Dawson Orr

    Count Highland Park ISD superintendent Dawson Orr among those who support yesterday’s ruling of State District Judge John Dietz, which again declared state’s school finance system unconstitutional.

    Attorney general Greg Abbott is expected to appeal the ruling, which is scheduled to take effect next summer, to the Texas Supreme Court. The judgment reaffirms a decision Dietz made in February 2013 before he revisited the issue to examine changed made by the Texas Legislature in 2013.

    “We’ve all known for years that the school finance system is broken. Judge Dietz’s ruling supported that sentiment,” Orr said in a statement. “While we fully expect the ruling to be appealed to the Texas Supreme Court, we hope the Texas Legislature will not wait to provide the resources our students deserve. Despite a likely appeal, this ruling represents an important step for the school children of Texas.”

    The ruling against the Texas Education Agency specifically addresses the socioeconomic disparities faced by certain school districts in light of state budget cuts that were only partially restored during the most recent legislative session. Texas ranks among the lowest states in the country in terms of spending per student, according to a recent study by the National Education Association.

    Last year, HPISD joined the Texas School Coalition, which consists of 124 school districts throughout the state that are seeking school finance reform.

    “Because of statutory mandates, rising academic standards and declining state funding, districts have lost meaningful discretion over their local property tax rates and have no opportunity to provide enrichment programming desired by their local communities,” said John Turner, an attorney for Haynes and Boone LLC, which represented the plaintiffs. “Judge Dietz correctly found that this situation results in a de facto state property tax, which is prohibited under the Texas Constitution.”

    Meanwhile, state Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) said he disagrees with the ruling but acknowledged that the system needs to be fixed.

    “While I fundamentally disagree with Judge Dietz’ reasoning and have confidence that Attorney General Abbott will prevail on appeal, it is clear to me that the Legislature must act boldly and decisively in the next legislative session to address this complex and critically important issue once and for all,” Villalba said. “Antiquated and ineffective constructs such as Robin Hood and quasi state-wide property taxes must be eliminated if we are to craft a fair and reasonable finance system that works for all of our Texas public school students.”

    By Todd Jorgenson Aug. 29, 2014 | 4:34 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • Burleson Park is Closed For Repairs

    Burleson Park will be closed for the rest of this year for renovations.

    Those who park or travel frequently near Burleson Park, take heed. University Park will close the park at the intersection of University Boulevard and Dublin Street beginning tomorrow for a renovation project.

    That means the 60 or so parking spaces adjacent to the park along Dublin and Durham streets won’t be available at least until January, when the work is expected to be complete.

    The city will put up fences and barricades on the sidewalks around the entire park, and cars that aren’t moved by tomorrow could be either towed or fenced in. Not fun either way.

    At any rate, the renovations will include a new rubber surface and shade structures for the playground, new walkways and decorative lighting, an upgraded irrigation system, and new turf and botanical beds.

    By Todd Jorgenson Aug. 29, 2014 | 2:24 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • Hyer Got a Slice of Last Night’s Pizza Profits

    The donation from Papa John's to Hyer Elementary does not include this mascot costume.

    The donation from Papa John’s to Hyer Elementary does not include this mascot costume.

    We present this photo of this bizarre-looking mascot not to poke fun at it — well, OK, just a little — but to share that Papa John’s donated 20 percent of its profits in the Park Cities last night to Hyer Elementary School.

    Apparently, the “dollars for dough” event was the first of several between the HPISD school and the pizza chain during the upcoming school year. Papa John’s also plans to sponsor the school’s upcoming carnival and end-of-year parties.

    By Todd Jorgenson Aug. 29, 2014 | 2:08 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • Hyperbaric Patients Get a Breath of Fresh Air

    Hyperbaric Patients Get a Breath of Fresh Air

    Hyperbaric chambers such as this one allow patients to breathe in high-pressure oxygen to help with a variety of ailments. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

    Basketball injuries might not vanish into thin air, but more top-level athletes are giving it a try than ever before.

    That’s why former Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Kidd sometimes visited Texas Sports Hyperbarics after a long road trip. Or why former Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton did the same to ease the aches and pains during a lengthy season.

    They come to spend an hour or two relaxing in a hyperbaric chamber, a high-pressure oxygen tube that’s been proven to aid in everything from the care of bruises and wounds to therapy for stroke victims.

    “The availability of single-chamber, hyperbaric oxygen therapy has revolutionized my sports medicine practice,” said Dr. T.O. Souryal, a Highland Park resident and team physician for the Mavericks. “With professional athletes, we often use hyperbaric oxygen treatments for recovery after strenuous exercise such as back-to-back games, playoffs, and long-distance weekend competitions.”

    Souryal said he also uses HBO in the days after surgery on athletes to accelerate healing, bruising, and swelling, and allow for earlier rehabilitation and recovery.

    Such was the case with Caron Butler, who tore a tendon in his knee midway through the Mavericks’ championship season in 2011. Following surgery, the standout guard took 30 minutes of oxygen about five times each week as part of his therapy, allowing him to return to practice before the end of the season (he was not cleared to play), much sooner than originally anticipated.

    “They’ll have less pain medication and they’ll be in rehab faster,” said Mary Marchbanks, president and chief executive officer of Texas Sports Hyperbarics. “It will help them recover faster and more completely.”

    The therapeutic effectiveness of hyperbaric chambers in sports medicine is what prompted Marchbanks and her partners to change course when opening of the Snider Plaza practice more than four years ago. They originally intended to target primarily Alzheimer’s patients and wound care.

    “We did open it with athletes in mind. We certainly market to them,” Marchbanks said. “There wasn’t another clinic like ours around here.”

    Although athletes remain about 40 percent of the patient base — covering a variety of sports both amateur and professional — the office helps with the treatment of diabetic wounds, brain injuries, Lyme disease, and plenty in between.

    Marchbanks said oxygen is a natural healing element that increases stem cells, expands blood vessels and capillaries, and kills off bacteria in bones and soft tissue. It also helps to reduce swelling and inflammation.

    Hyperbaric medicine dates back almost a century as a method of speeding nitrogen removal from divers with the bends. However, its widespread acceptance and approval for insurance purposes has been much more gradual.

    The office has two solo chambers, each of which allows patients to breathe pure oxygen at a pressure equivalent to about 30-50 feet below sea level. Because of the conditions, and the potential to overdose if the time is not regulated, such treatment requires a doctor’s approval.

    “It is a drug in the doses that we give it to you,” Marchbanks said, “which is why the doctors write a prescription for it.”

    Marchbanks said the company plans to open a second HBO facility in Plano this fall under a different name.

    By Todd Jorgenson Aug. 29, 2014 | 1:58 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • Pastor Takes Church to the Great Outdoors

    Pastor Takes Church to the Great Outdoors in Caruth Park

    Pastor Grant Myers spends time focusing on the children during a Sunday service. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

    Blankets and camping chairs may not immediately come to mind when you think of Sunday church service. But that’s the vibe built around Life Dallas, an outdoor church developed by pastor Grant Myers.

    “God opened the door,” he said. And he means that rather literally. “If Jesus walked here on Earth again, the last place he’d enter is a church — church didn’t start in a building.”

    Myers admits his own love of the outdoors. He grew up in Georgia, attended seminary in Tennessee, and worked in ministry in Colorado for a few years. He enjoys taking his dogs, Huckleberry and Sammy, out on hiking trips.

    But the church is about more than just his own passions.

    “I think you’ll see that God’s here,” he said. “What better place to meet than in God’s creation?”

    At its essence, Life Dallas is a non-denominational church, in that it doesn’t subscribe to the doctrine of any one denomination. But that’s not a term that Myers likes very much.

    “We do church differently,” he said. “Non-denominational means you’re basically saying, ‘we’re not a part of something.’ We’re a church where people find out about God and Jesus.”

    Myers led the first meeting of the church in Caruth Park on May 25, though an official kickoff is scheduled for Sept. 14, following summer vacation for many families.

    In fact, families and children are a large demographic for Life Dallas. Myers worked on the staff at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church for about seven years, so many of the initial families came from that congregation, or those who had children at Wesley Prep.

    Myers feels that having kids engaged in a church service is key, whether they are high-school students or younger children.

    “I like how real Grant is,” said Peyton Moore, a senior at Bishop Lynch High School who plays guitar and sings at Life Dallas. “He’s very open and willing to talk about anything.”

    As evidence of that, Myers’ summer series, entitled “Fake I.D.,” examined the roots of identity and how to face insecurities from a Christian perspective.

    And though many families are traveling during the summer months, Myers’ sermons have drawn as many as 120 listeners at one time.

    “Our kids hated going [to church],” said elder Neiman Hill. “We were out here the first Sunday, and now the kids can’t wait to go to church.”

    For her kids, the attraction is simple.

    “I like it better outside,” Tate Hill said. “When it’s inside, you have to get fancy.”

    As far as University Park goes, city spokesman Steve Mace said there’s nothing on the books that would restrict such gatherings from taking place in the park.

    Even still, Myers hopes the church will eventually have its own building, keeping the outdoors in mind.

    “We’re going to have land one day for a building, but we also want to have the option to meet outside if the weather’s permitting, whether we build an amphitheater or have a grassy area,” he said. “We would like the option of both.”

    By Sarah Bennett Aug. 29, 2014 | 11:30 am | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • Documentary Explores HP Gridiron Tradition

    Documentary Explores HP Tradition

    Matthew Stafford is among the interviewees in the documentary. (File photo: Chris McGathey)

    At the professional level, you can just sign a few free agents. At the college level, you can lure a couple of big-name recruits. But how do you keep winning at the high-school level, year after year, essentially on a level playing field with your competition?

    That’s what intrigued Dallas-based documentary filmmaker Mickey Holden, who has worked on projects about big-name athletes for network television but couldn’t shake the concept of a film about the tradition that comes with Highland Park football.

    “I’ve always been intrigued with why Highland Park is always good,” Holden said. “To keep winning I find remarkable. I wanted to find out what the secret sauce is.”

    Holden’s finished project is an hour-long look at the Scots that coincides with the program’s 100th anniversary this fall. It traces the football team’s successes in the early years with Doak Walker and Bobby Layne to its most recent state title behind Matthew Stafford in 2005.

    The film – called The History of Highland Park Football  – will premiere on Fox Sports Southwest in October, with repeat airings scheduled throughout the fall. It also will be available on DVD.

    Holden spent months interviewing those connected to HP, both past and present, to find out how the Scots climbed to the top of the ladder in terms of all-time victories and playoff appearances, among other lofty statistics.

    “I think it’s tradition. The players are very close because they grew up together,” he said. “It’s a culture of excellence, and they do it in everything that they do.”

    Holden had no difficulty locating interview subjects and finding archival photos and footage to use with the film.

    “There’s a lot of memorabilia running around,” he said. “We just got to go out and start telling stories.”

    Holden accumulated dozens of hours of footage, and the main challenge became cutting it down to the required length for television. He knew he had to keep the focus on the state champions and the big stars.

    “There’s a really good show sitting on the floor,” Holden joked. “I’m probably going to disappoint some people.”

    Holden, who produced a feature on HP football for “The Today Show” in the early 1980s, said great leadership has been an integral part of the program’s sustained excellence, from both great coaches and motivated players. He also credits community and fan support with playing a key role.

    “I love the purity of the story. I love that these kids are playing because they want to,” Holden said. “They wanted to be with their friends and represent their school, and now they’re part of a continuum that goes back 100 years. There’s a bond that will always be there.”

    By Todd Jorgenson Aug. 29, 2014 | 9:30 am | No Comments | Comments RSS

    August 28, 2014

  • Cafeteria’s Name Defies Location

    CM_Snoyer 1

    Jeff Snoyer reopened the doors of Highland Park Cafeteria as its new owner in 2007, going back to the original name. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

    “What’s that doing there?” It’s a question many drivers may ask themselves on their way to White Rock Lake when they see Highland Park Cafeteria sitting in a Casa Linda shopping center.

    The answer dates all the way back to 1925, when Carolyn Goodman first opened the original Highland Park Cafeteria on Knox Street, just across the street from the equally historic Highland Park Pharmacy.

    “There would be a line around the block,” modern-day owner Jeff Snoyer said of the original location.

    The cafeteria eventually grew to eight locations, including Casa Linda. But after the bank failures of the late 1980s, only the original location and Casa Linda were left.

    By the mid-1990s, Goodman had died and the family was no longer involved in the business, so the cafeteria changed hands. Unfortunately, the new owner could not keep the business afloat long.

    “It was a sad day when it closed,” Goodman’s grandson David Yates said.

    Manager Travis Moody serves a plate.

    Manager Travis Moody serves a plate.

    After that closure, still-newer owners tried to operate under the name Casa Linda Cafeteria at the synonymous location. That is, until December 2006, when the restaurant closed abruptly, with essentially no warning.

    That’s when Snoyer, who had been a loyal customer with his wife, decided to take matters into his own hands. The real-estate pro reopened the eatery under the original name in 2007, and has worked to rebuild that hometown feel ever since.

    Today, customers range from the anticipated, older audience to lake-lovers, church-goers, and lunch-hour workers. But one thing rings true with many.

    “They remember the old days,” manager Chris Ingram said.

    In the “old days,” Highland Park Cafeteria built its reputation on remarkable food. And that’s still what the cafeteria aims for today, from the tortilla soup and the zucchini muffins, to the fried catfish and rhubarb pie.

    “I could spend all day talking about the pies,” Snoyer said.

    Snoyer has worked to retain many original elements of the cafeteria, such as the photos of presidents covering the wall as patrons line up to get their trays. The first ladies follow just around the corner.

    He also aims for quality in his foods and fairness in his pay, keeping customers and employees happy. There’s also a hot plate for any Dallas police officer that walks in the door.

    It’s these small touches that add some continuity despite company changes over the years.

    “The cafeteria has been a blessing to me,” said cook Earnest Bowens, who was first hired in 1956. “I come and work with folks that love each other and care about each other.”

    For Goodman’s grandchildren, the cafeteria is still worth a trek for its smells, tastes, and memories.

    “My wife, Patty, and I are still regular, loyal customers and always enjoy seeing the family pictures on the wall,” Mark Lovvorn said. “All four of our kids still love the food and original recipes. With five grandchildren of our own, I’m sure the HPC tradition will continue.”

    He even remembers a photo from the original Knox location running in The Dallas Morning News on Thanksgiving Day in 1957.

    “I’m the 3-year-old with the knife and fork in the air,” he said. “The photo’s been called a true Norman Rockwell scene of Dallas during the 1950s.”

    Like Lovvorn, Yates is glad that new generations are getting to experience the down-home goodness of what his grandmother started.

    The Dallas Morning News ran this photo of the family in 1957.

    The Dallas Morning News ran this photo of the family in 1957.

    “You try to explain what a good cafeteria was, and kids are thinking the school cafeteria,” Yates said. “They’re not really understanding what it was — the kind of community. There weren’t that many places you could come by yourself and sit down and be comfortable.”

    But does Snoyer ever foresee growing that community like in the 1980s?

    “We’re one location,” he said. “We’re not going to expand.”

    And for many customers, that’s just the way it should be.

    By Sarah Bennett Aug. 28, 2014 | 2:00 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • Coming Up: Dads Club Golf Tournament

    It’s that time of year again. The Park Cities Dads Club Golf Tournament, or the Teachers Cup, is scheduled for Oct. 13 at the Dallas Country Club. This is the 23rd year the event will take place, and it celebrates more than $2.1 million raised to fund staff development at HPISD. Those funds are not recaptured by “Robin Hood” laws, either. 

    Sign up here.

    By Sarah Bennett Aug. 28, 2014 | 10:45 am | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • ‘Godfather’ of Custom Pies Opens Local Pizzaria

    Project Pie will open a number of locations this year, including Preston Center and Asbury Avenue. (Photos courtesy of Project Pie)

    Project Pie will open a number of locations this year, including Preston Center and Asbury Avenue. (Photos courtesy of Project Pie)

    The way pizza-preneur James Markham sees it, food is akin to a romantic relationship — that is, it’s best when kept fresh.

    It’s a sentiment that can be linked directly to Project Pie, the valedictorian of the dough-tossing chains (MOD, Pieology) Markham has founded in recent years. Like its predecessors, the Project Pie concept involves custom-made pizzas bedazzled with premium ingredients. Unlike the stores that have gone before, however, Project Pie will be opening in Dallas — and opening four times over to boot.

    “I’ve got four units I’m doing in Dallas this year. I’m doing Preston Center, Lower Greenville — we just signed a space right at SMU, and we’re doing one in Addison too,” Markham said. Although the storefronts will open back-to-back this fall, thanks to a mix of vintage and industrial furnishings, “all of them are going to look different.”

    If you’re planning to dine at the Preston Center location, for example, you’ll spot an 8-foot-long credenza-turned-soda-station that dates back to 1942. When you’re ready to switch things up, pop over to the University Park restaurant — the space on Hillcrest and Asbury, which used to belong to New York Sub, will be outfitted with a completely different lighting, floor, and tile package. Feel like venturing out to Lower Greenville? You’ll be welcomed with open arms and a wide-open bar — this particular Project Pie will feature a rooftop deck that joins with next-door neighbor HG Sply Co., and is the only Dallas location where liquor will be served in addition to beer and wine.

    “I’ve been touted as sort of being the guy who started this entire segment — this whole build-your-own, Chipotle-style pizza thing,” said Markham, who has planted pizza joints everywhere from San Diego to Shanghai.

    Maybe that’s why he’s not afraid to innovate and try new things. Or talk about his competitors.

    “We have a lot of competition out there. In Dallas you’ve got Pie Five,” Markham said. “I would open next door to Pie Five.”

    Luckily, in 2012 he was introduced to local real estate mogul Michael Miller, who quickly scouted a few locations for Markham’s Dallas debut that were less likely to result in a pie-in-the-face scenario.

    “We knew we wanted to start inside the loop before venturing out to the suburbs,” Miller said. “Preston Center was a no-brainer to capture both the large daytime population that occupies the office buildings in the area, as well as the densely-populated, high-income neighborhoods of Preston Hollow and the Park Cities.”

    But there was also the cool factor to take into consideration.

    “Frankly, before I came to Dallas I had no idea that your food scene was so cool, which I’m glad about — I think we’re going to fit right in,” Markham said, noting that Project Pie was recently ranked the No. 1 emerging brand on Yelp. “I think people are going to dig it.”

    If Project Pie’s pizzas taste as good as they look in photographs, people are likely to dig in, too. Customers can either build their own pizza entirely from scratch, or start with a signature pie as a base and get creative from there. Markham suggests trying out the chain’s newest white pizza, which features not-so-nasty roasted Brussels sprouts, prosciutto, red onion, mozzarella and parmesan cheese, plus a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil — couture on crust, if you will. Taste buds not feeling quite so adventurous? Go with Miller’s pick: a classic Marguerita accented by tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil.

    Or, get funky. The best part of entering into a relationship with Project Pie is that you’ll pay $7.85 no matter how many toppings you select. Now that’s amore.

    By Karley Kiker Aug. 28, 2014 | 10:00 am | No Comments | Comments RSS
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