October 17, 2014

  • Scots Rally Past Lake Highlands

    Highland Park defenders tackle Eddie Clinton of Lake Highlands during a 34-7 win on Friday. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

    Highland Park defenders tackle Eddie Clinton of Lake Highlands during a 34-7 win. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

    While it was business as usual for the Highland Park defense on Friday night, the offense took a slightly different approach to yield the same results.

    The Scots scored 34 unanswered points to rally past Lake Highlands 34-7 at Highlander Stadium for their 83rd consecutive home victory.

    HP bounced back from a tough loss to Mesquite Horn last week, and remained a game behind the Jaguars for the District 10-6A lead with three games remaining.

    On offense, the Scots took a more methodical approach than usual focused on establishing the run and controlling the clock. They ran 43 rushing plays and 16 passing plays — with just one completed pass in the first quarter — an unusual ratio considering HP’s quick-strike mentality.

    One second-half drive covered 90 yards in 18 plays, and consumed eight minutes off the clock, ending in a 2-yard touchdown run by Hayden Black to help seal the win.

    “It’s nice to know we can do that when we need to,” said HP head coach Randy Allen.

    Just because the passes weren’t plentiful, however, doesn’t mean they weren’t effective. Brooks Burgin’s 11 completions racked up 237 yards, for an average of more than 21 yards per play. In fact, the 16 passing plays outgained the 43 rushing plays. But that can be deceiving.

    “Balance in our offense means that if they give you the run, you’ve got to be good enough to take it and beat them with it,” Allen said. “We could have thrown the ball more, but the run was going good.”

    Meanwhile, the HP defense got stronger as the game progressed. The Scots were stingy when it came to big plays, and surrendered only 80 yards in the second half.

    HP spotted the Wildcats an early 7-0 lead when Lake Highlands marched 80 yards on its opening drive, scoring on a 53-yard pass from Brock Jones to Blake Cronin.

    The Scots responded less than three minutes later, with Burgin capping the first HP possession with a 2-yard touchdown plunge.

    Stephen Dieb later ran for two scores, while Burgin found Andrew Frost on a 34-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter that put the Scots ahead to stay.

    The Wildcats had a chance to tie the score midway through the second quarter, but HP’s Daniel Gouskos recovered a fumble at the Scots 13-yard line. Dieb capped the ensuing drive with a short scoring run, and Lake Highlands never threatened after that.

    Perhaps most importantly, after committing four turnovers in the defeat against Horn, HP was more efficient and didn’t have any miscues on Friday.

    “I was really happy with the way they came back,” Allen said. “We made some improvements in certain areas, but still have some work to do.”

    The Scots will hit the road for the next two games, including a third trip to Hanby Stadium next week to face Mesquite.

    By Todd Jorgenson Oct. 17, 2014 | 11:36 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • HPISD: It’s Centennial Time!

    We’ve been gearing up for all the excitement surrounding Highland Park High School’s centennial celebrations this weekend.

    Hopefully, you didn’t miss the campus open houses this afternoon. But if you did, the fun doesn’t stop there. Sunday’s block party takes place from 2 – 5 p.m. There will be bounce houses, food trucks, a Scots museum, live performances from all different high-school groups, and a huge array of guest speakers.

    Sounds fun, right? We also took the liberty of posting some very important parking info for you.

    Go Hi-Park High!

    By Sarah Bennett Oct. 17, 2014 | 5:10 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • HPISD to Deep-Clean Campuses This Weekend

    Highland Park ISD just released a memo on behalf of superintendent Dawson Orr saying that the school district will commence a deep-cleaning of each campus this weekend and into next week. Custodial staff will also “step up” daily cleaning measures.

    “We have checked the CDC guidelines for recommended cleaning products and the commercial grade anti-viral disinfectants currently in use on every campus exceed those recommendations,” Orr said in the memo.

    In the spirit of rumor control, the district wished to emphasize that no member of the Bradfield Elementary community was on the Frontier Airlines flight with Ebola patient Amber Vinson — a parent and student did fly from Cleveland to Dallas on Oct. 13, but on a different plane.

    The nursing staff within the district has also been trained to identify symptoms of Ebola and reviewed protocol for Ebola-like symptoms. That means:

    • A nurse would immediately isolate whoever shows symptoms and stay with the affected person, while donning protective equipment such as gloves, masks, bonnets, face and eye shields, non-permeable gowns, and shoe covers.
    • A pre-designated, “alternate clinic” location would operate for other students needing more general assistance.
    • Backup nurses, parents, district leaders, and county health officials would immediately be notified.
    • The clinic and any other affected areas would be sanitized and risk exposure would be assessed.

    The district also wished to remind everyone that the incubation period for those exposed to Thomas Eric Duncan expires this Sunday, Oct. 19. Officials encourage everyone to wash hands frequently and discourage sharing bottles, glasses, or utensils. If your child is sick, wait until he or she is fever-free for 24 hours before returning to school. The same goes for adults returning to work.

    Members of the community are also encouraged to get a flu shot. HPISD will make them available for $25 from 4-7 p.m. on Oct. 29 in the Highland Park Middle School assembly room.

    Though the campus cleanings will begin this weekend, open-house tours will continue on as part of the centennial celebrations, beginning at 3 p.m. today.

    By Sarah Bennett Oct. 17, 2014 | 12:27 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • Scots Look to Rebound Against Lake Highlands

    Kevin Ken and the Scots will host Lake Highlands tonight. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

    Kevin Ken and the Scots will host Lake Highlands tonight. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

    Last week’s loss to Mesquite Horn severely dented Highland Park’s chances of winning a district title in their first season at the Class 6A level. But it didn’t do much to harm the Scots’ playoff chances.

    HP sits in a three-way tie for second place in District 10-6A entering tonight’s matchup against Lake Highlands, another one of the current runners-up (North Mesquite is the other). The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. at Highlander Stadium.

    It should provide a solid test for the Scots (5-1, 2-1) as they look to bounce back from the 42-27 loss to the Jaguars, who now control their destiny atop the standings.

    Lake Highlands is coached by Scott Smith, but it’s not the same Scott Smith who was Randy Allen’s predecessor at HP for three seasons during the mid-1990s. That Scott Smith retired two years ago.

    But the guy with the same name at Lake Highlands has taken the Wildcats to the playoffs in each of the last six years — albeit with the last four runs ending in the first round.

    The Wildcats (3-3, 2-1) might be the best team remaining on the schedule for the Scots, and also the opponent with the best chance of qualifying for postseason play, despite some inconsistency.

    Lake Highlands had its best offensive performance of the season last week during a 45-38 overtime win over Richardson. Dual-threat quarterback Brock Jones rushed for 109 yards and two touchdowns and added three scoring passes to Jamarice Preston, who finished with 169 receiving yards. Tyler Hughes added 126 rushing yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner.

    HP struggled to contain the size and speed of Horn last week, but still had some bright spots despite committing four turnovers. Matthew Barge rushed for two scores, and Andrew Frost posted 111 receiving yards.

    Plus, the Scots have always been known for their resilience. Remarkably, they haven’t lost consecutive games in the same season in almost 20 years.

    Tonight’s contest will be the penultimate home game for HP this season. After tonight, the Scots won’t play at Highlander again until the regular-season finale against Richardson on Nov. 7.

    By Todd Jorgenson Oct. 17, 2014 | 12:10 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • Hyer Carnival Will Be All Fun and Games

    From left, Arden Cryer, Jenna Bowen, and Madison McBee  Middle (l to r):  Lennox Byrd, Principal Jeremy Gilbert, Jack Bowen, Jacob Steele, and Tyler Gravlee   Seated Front (l to r):  Elise Pankratz and Lydia Pankratz

    From left, back row: Arden Cryer, Jenna Bowen, and Madison McBee. Middle row: Lennox Byrd, Hyer principal Jeremy Gilbert, Jack Bowen, Jacob Steele, and Tyler Gravlee. Front row: Elise Pankratz and Lydia Pankratz

    With events that include names such as “water wars,” “cake walk,” and “can smash,” how can this weekend’s annual carnival at Hyer Elementary School not be fun for all ages?

    The carnival has a “Stay Cool” theme this year, and will feature plenty of activities in addition to those listed above. There also will be plenty of rides and refreshments between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., and of course, the community is invited.

    By Todd Jorgenson Oct. 17, 2014 | 10:27 am | 1 Comment | Comments RSS

    October 16, 2014

  • Documentary Has Family Ties For SMU Grad

    heroFor its filmmaker, Billy Mize and the Bakersfield Sound was a way not only to tell the story of an unheralded pioneer in country music, but also to explore a vital piece of family history.

    That’s because William “Joe” Saunders, an SMU graduate and the director of the feature-length documentary, is the grandson of Mize, whose influence helped to shape a music scene during the 1940s and 1950s that made the central California city a companion to Nashville during its heyday.

    The film will show on Friday night at the Angelika Film Center in Mockingbird Station as part of Dallas VideoFest, with Saunders in attendance to host a question-and-answer session afterward.

    Saunders tracks the career of Mize, whose career started in Bakersfield along with such luminaries as Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys.

    Saunders compares that era, with its roots in Texas swing music, to the rise of the grunge-rock scene in Seattle during the 1990s. Eventually, the blue-collar city became home to the most impressive collection of honkytonks in the country at the time.

    “That’s kind of how it was in Bakersfield in the 40s and 50s,” he said. “It started as kind of dance music, and with the introduction of amplifiers, it started fusing with all these different types of music. It was a really interesting fusion.”

    He became interested in the subject because of the family connection, but never knew much of Mize’s background because a stroke and other health problems left him unable to speak for several years.

    Saunders later learned that Mize essentially sacrificed fame to spend time with his family, and never fulfilled his star potential as a result. The film includes interviews with Haggard, Willie Nelson, and the late Ray Price.

    “I didn’t know the significance that Billy had. He couldn’t speak and he’s extremely humble, so it was difficult to get stories out of him,” Saunders said. “I wanted to avoid a traditional country-music history lesson. I wanted to make it something a little more than that.”

    After graduating from SMU, Saunders went to graduate school at Columbia and got a job in Philadelphia working for NFL Films. His father, Al Saunders, is a longtime NFL coach who won a Super Bowl as an assistant with the St. Louis Rams in 1999. He currently works for the Oakland Raiders.

    Joe Saunders won a Sports Emmy in 2004 for a short documentary about a sports bar. Since leaving NFL Films in 2008, Saunders has tried to branch out to features and documentaries about other topics.

    “I was getting tired of just doing sports stuff,” he said. “I started thinking about other things.”

    Billy Mize premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June, and has been touring the festival circuit since in hopes of landing a distribution deal.

    In the meantime, he admits the time spent filming the documentary probably helped to bring his family closer together.

    “It was great on a personal level,” Saunders said.

    The film is not the only one with SMU ties to screen at VideoFest. Gayle Embrey, a Hockaday graduate and a co-founder of the SMU Embrey Human Rights Program, directed Beyond the Walls, which will screen Saturday. The documentary tracks the stories behind wall murals around the world.

    By Todd Jorgenson Oct. 16, 2014 | 10:20 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • Lady Scots to Honor Seniors on Friday

    From left, Allegra Munoz, Caroline Downing, Eleanor Watson, and Grace Bonnet

    Highland Park volleyball seniors, from left, Allegra Munoz, Caroline Downing, Eleanor Watson, and Grace Bonnet

    Having already clinched a playoff spot in its first season at the Class 6A level, the Highland Park volleyball team still has some unfinished business as the regular season winds down.

    For starters, the Lady Scots (24-11, 9-1) will hold their Senior Night festivities on Friday prior to their home match against Lake Highlands. A brief ceremony will honor graduating seniors Allegra Munoz, Caroline Downing, Eleanor Watson, and Grace Bonnet.

    HP, which is in second place in the District 10-6A standings behind Richardson Pearce with four matches remaining, will play its final home match on Tuesday against North Mesquite.

    By Todd Jorgenson Oct. 16, 2014 | 3:34 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • Eat BBQ and Donate to Highlander Band

    Members of the Highlander Band join Mike Shannon, managing partner of Peggy Sue BBQ, to promote Friday's fundraiser. (Photo: Greg Sommers)

    Members of the Highlander Band join Mike Shannon, managing partner of Peggy Sue BBQ, to promote Friday’s fundraiser, which includes dinner and a silent auction. (Photo: Greg Sommers)

    Before you watch them march and hear them play during Friday’s football game, you can support the Highlander Band at its annual BBQ With the Band fundraiser from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday in the HPHS cafeteria.

    The dinner and auction will feature catering by Peggy Sue BBQ, and it will even include a take-out option from 4:30 to 6:30 in the teacher parking lot off Douglas Avenue. There will be live entertainment by the Dixie Scots and various silent auction items (including six raffle baskets valued at $1,000 or more).

    The goal, of course, is to raise money for the band’s operating costs, instrument purchases and repairs, equipment and uniforms, and transportation. You can preview some of the auction items here.

    By Todd Jorgenson Oct. 16, 2014 | 10:31 am | No Comments | Comments RSS

    October 15, 2014

  • Books Debate Continues With School Board

    Parents and neighbors stood out in the hallway to hear at the HPISD school-board meeting. (Staff photo: Sarah Bennett)

    Parents and neighbors stood in the hallway to hear at the HPISD school-board meeting. (Staff photo: Sarah Bennett)

    The HPISD Board of Trustees clearly expected a crowd at the Oct. 14 meeting, as it was held at the Armstrong Elementary auditorium instead of the usual McCulloch Intermediate School location.

    (Update: HPISD had long scheduled the meeting to be held at Armstrong in honor of the Centennial celebrations.) But even Armstrong’s auditorium didn’t provide enough seats. Prior to the meeting’s start, parents and neighbors were gathered outside the auditorium, spilling into the hallway and lobby, straining for a chance to hear.

    The first item of note was an “Ebola update” from Dr. LeeAnn Kridelbaugh, who is a member of the medical-education staff at Cook’s Children’s Medical Center. She briefed the board on Ebola health concerns, and then met in the library with school nurses and a handful of parents with additional questions. Sources have reported that absences at Armstrong have gone up since county judge Clay Jenkins (an Armstrong parent) has been at the front of the Ebola fight — though school nurses have confirmed that there is no reason to panic.

    Pins were passed out at Tuesday's meeting. (Staff photo: Sarah Bennett)

    (Staff photo: Sarah Bennett)

    But the real interest came when Highland Park’s board policy on “EFA” or local instruction came up, specifically with reference to the recently banned temporarily suspended (and then reversed) books in the classroom. Parents both sides of the argument — or rather, from all points on the spectrum — gathered for the briefing, prepared to speak, and handed out topical business cards and buttons.

    Bill Banowsky, a partner at Thompson & Knight, briefed the board on the formal “reconsideration” process to be followed. Following additional words from superintendent Dawson Orr and HPHS principal Walter Kelly, parents and community members were able to voice their concerns.

    “Like many, my initial thoughts were that the fervor was surely being overdone. Then I read the actual passages,” said University Park resident Steve Smith, who then read passages aloud from an unidentified text. “It is being stated by some that these are taken out of context … in what context is this appropriate?”

    Only two students from the high school spoke. Both expressed their trust in teachers to provide appropriate content and steer classroom discussions in an educational and informative direction, even on uncomfortable or controversial topics.

    Business cards were also passed around. (Staff photo: Sarah Bennett)

    (Staff photo: Sarah Bennett)

    Essentially every possible angle of the discussion was represented through the many speakers, from concerns about the content itself, to transparency questions, to issues with opt-out or alternative lesson planning.

    Mass applause often followed each speaker, regardless of which side of the argument they represented.

    At roughly 8 p.m., discussion on the matter finally closed. With almost the entire agenda still remaining, the board called for a “five-minute recess” in which most of the audience left.

    The item, as presented on the agenda, was discussion only and required no vote.

    By Sarah Bennett Oct. 15, 2014 | 5:16 pm | 10 Comments | Comments RSS

  • Amy Fikes Joins “Women Who Inspire”

    Donna Karan and Amy Fikes at the induction ceremony dinner hosted by Neiman Marcus at Fearing’s Restaurant.

    Amy Fikes, right, with Neiman Marcus chief marketing officer Wanda Gierhart at the induction ceremony dinner at Fearing’s Restaurant.

    Highland Park resident Amy Fikes was recently inducted into Donna Karan’s “Women Who Inspire” because of her charitable work with organizations such as Planned Parenthood.

    “Women Who Inspire” is a forum for women to inspire others to take action and give back. Fikes joins notable women such as Barbra Streisand, Meera Gandhi, Brooke Shields, Maria Shriver, and Nicole Kidman.

    By Allyssa Schoonover Oct. 15, 2014 | 4:22 pm | 1 Comment | Comments RSS
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