This map, which was generated by the Dallas County Elections Department’s website, is color-coded by precinct victories in Texas House District 108. The purple precincts are the ones won by Morgan Meyer. The mint green ones went to Chart Westcott. The few dark green precincts went to Court Alley. And the brown precincts are the ones where there were ties.
I wish there was a way to zoom in and not have to show you the entire county, but there isn’t — at least not without distorting the image’s resolution. So let me try to help you get your bearings. See the purple portion sticking out on the west side? It’s bounded by Northwest Highway to the north, Love Field to the west, and Lovers Lane to the south. And you see the curved line that forms the western edge of the top mint green precincts? That’s Central Expressway. (Looking at this map may also help.)
So that means Meyer won every precinct in the Park Cities, Preston Hollow, Bluffview, Devonshire, and Greenway Parks. But Westcott captured plenty of votes east of Central. So the two candidates will keep competing until the May 27 runoff.
March 5, 2014
What happened? Where am I? Mom?
Apparently, a nearly 40-year-old editor can hit “refresh” on the county elections website only so many times before he passes out. While I was asleep, the totals were posted.
In Texas House District 108, Morgan Meyer captured 47 percent of the 12,291 votes cast. Chart Westcott earned 30 percent, and Court Alley finished with 23 percent.
That means Meyer and Westcott will continue on the campaign trail until a May 27 runoff. In a twisted version of Groundhog Day, the district’s voters will be subjected to 12 more weeks of mailers and robo-calls.
But, hey, at least you won’t be getting any more of those outrageous mailers for the Texas Senate race. Highland Park resident Don Huffines’ strategy of going negative paid off, as he won 50.6 percent of the 49,637 votes cast in District 16, meaning the 2015 edition of the Legislature will be the first since 1989 that won’t include John Carona.
We were keeping an eye on two other races involving Park Cities people:
University Park resident Dan Branch — who vacated the District 108 seat, thereby introducing us all to Alley, Meyer, and Westcott — is headed for a runoff with state Sen. Ken Paxton as they compete for the Republican nomination for attorney general. Branch got 33.5 percent statewide to Paxton’s 44.4 percent.
And Mary Brown of University Park cruised to victory in the five-person Democratic primary for the vacancy in the 301st Family District Court. She earned 64 percent of the 56,149 ballots casts across the county.
With 26 of 66 precincts reporting, Morgan Meyer has come back to the pack a bit. He has 46.6 percent, Chart Westcott has 30.5 percent, and Court Alley has 22.9 percent.
Update at 10:55: With 40 precincts reporting, not much has changed. Meyer is at 46.3 percent, Westcott has ticked up to 30.9 percent, and Alley is holding steady at 22.8 percent.
March 4, 2014
University Park resident Mary Brown, one of five Democrats vying for the vacant judge’s seat in the 301st Family District Court, earned 65.13 percent of the 28,610 votes cast in early balloting.
The next-highest total went to assistant district attorney Craig Bonham, who earned 15.66 percent. Another University Park resident, former judge David Hanschen, got 9.39 percent.
Highland Park High School graduate George White received 5.29 percent of the county-wide vote, and Lawrence J. Praeger brought up the rear with 4.53 percent.
Leigh Bailey, the University Park Democrat who will face the winner of today’s primary in District 108, offered some encouraging words via Twitter tonight:
As the results come in, this is a time to thank everyone who ran. Win or lose, it's tough to put yourself out there. #txlege
— Leigh Bailey (@Leigh_Bailey) March 5, 2014
(2/2) But your willingness to offer voters a choice is what makes our democracy work. #txlege
— Leigh Bailey (@Leigh_Bailey) March 5, 2014
Meanwhile, we’re still waiting for one precinct to report results of today’s voting.
Morgan Meyer captured 48 percent of the 6,171 early votes cast in the Republican primary for Texas House District 108. Chart Westcott got 29 percent, and Court Alley had 22 percent. (I know those three percentages add up to only 99; I’m rounding.) A strong showing on Election Day could give Meyer the election outright; he’d need 50 percent to avoid a runoff against the second-place candidate.
Things are much more neck-and-neck in the other Republican primaries involving Park Cities people. In state Senate District 16, Don Huffines got 50.3 percent to John Carona’s 49.7 percent. And in the attorney general’s race, Dan Branch’s 42.8 percent was right behind Ken Paxton’s 43.2 percent, with Barry Smitherman bringing up the rear at 14 percent.
Preston Center Dance’s Senior Elite Drill Company and Junior Elite Drill Company finished their season in February. Both teams won numerous trophies and awards such as the Super Sweepstakes Award (scores of 90 or higher from all judges). Also, each team earned awards in technique and choreography, as well as the prestigious High Point award. All but one of the team members are residents of the Park Cities or attend Highland Park schools. Both teams are under the direction of Ika Chigogidze and Julia Rick.
The Mermaid Queens are a group of YMCA Adventure Princesses. They are also second-graders at University Park Elementary School who have been in the same tribe since kindergarten. On Feb. 15, their dads escorted them to the Princess Banquet at the Hyatt Regency Dallas.
Pictured, from left, are Nola and Bill Carroll, Taylor and Michael Passanante, Isabella and James Davis, Ryan and Tom Madine, Ava and Buddy Anslinger, Sophia and Steve Hamilton, Ellie and Graham Irvine, Brooke and Tim Getzoff, and Caleigh and Neal England.
Editor’s note: A version of this story appears in the March edition of Park Cities People.
Gayle Harrison was just looking for a job when she walked into Tom Workman’s office. What she got was a career.
Gayle and her mother, Dorothy, bought a dollhouse-supply store from Workman in 1974. They’ve been in the business ever since, but that business isn’t what it used to be. The Bluffview residents plan to close their store, Through the Keyhole, by month’s end.
“There’s some girls who love their dollhouses, and I have some ladies who love their dollhouses, but there’s just not enough of them,” Gayle said.
Through the Keyhole, which was originally called Minikins, was a side business for Workman. He also owned a company that made miniature prototypes for architects and inventors, and he met Gayle when she applied to be a secretary there.
“I didn’t know how to type or do shorthand,” Gayle said. “Why I applied for a secretarial job, I have no idea.”
During the interview, Workman found out he needed to replace the manager at Minikins.
“She called him while I was taking the interview,” Harrison said, “and she goes, ‘I hate retail,’ and I went, ‘Ooh, I love retail,’ because I’d worked in a toy store for a long time before that. So he goes, ‘You wanna do that job?’ And I said, ‘That sounds like a lot more fun!’”
Indeed it was. Gayle was having so much fun that, within a year, she had convinced Dorothy to help her buy the store. Workman wasn’t about to get in the way of her passion.
“It wasn’t as big a deal for me as I thought it could be, and I didn’t want to put the time in to make it into manufacturing or something like that,” the Highland Park resident said. “So I just sold it to them.”
The store was originally in Olla Podrida, the craft mall that once stood on the Coit Road site now occupied by Yavneh Academy and Akiba Academy. The Harrisons moved to the Preston Forest Shopping Center in 1995, “and that was about the time that everything started going down,” Gayle said.
Coincidentally, 1995 was also the year that companies such as Prodigy and America Online began offering World Wide Web access to the general public. The rise of the Internet and the decline of dollhouses are undoubtedly connected.
“Kids today want to do electronic games and things with their thumbs,” Gayle said, as she pretended to send a text or play a video game (or, as a more accurate portrayal of today’s youth, perhaps both at the same time).
Dorothy said dollhouses’ popularity took off after the hobby was featured in Southern Living.
“That really was a wonderful thing that happened,” she said. “People became very interested in it. It really was an art form — not just a dollhouse, but an art form.”
The Harrisons have slashed prices to reduce their inventory, and they’re not sure what they’ll do with whatever’s left on March 31. But Gayle is looking forward to seeing her grandchildren play sports on Saturdays rather than minding the store. Of course, they’ve developed plenty of other relationships via Through the Keyhole.
“We just have so many friends,” Gayle said. That’s the hardest part. I feel like I’m letting people down by going out of business.”
With this being Fat Tuesday, today seems like a good time to tell you that a couple of Park Cities-area co-eds were presented as princesses last month at the Washington Mardi Gras, an event hosted by the Mystick Krewe of Louisianans in Washington, D.C.Miranda “Mandy” Tucker Morgan is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Joseph McAuliffe of University Park and the late Herbert Tucker Morgan. She is a 2012 graduate of Highland Park High School, where she was a member of the Highland Belles drill team. Mandy is a sophomore at Louisiana State University, double-majoring in political science and communication studies. She is an active member of Kappa Kappa Gamma.
Elizabeth Cecile Bicknell is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Russell Todd Bicknell of Greenway Parks, and she is a 2012 graduate of the Episcopal School of Dallas. Elizabeth is a sociology major at Louisiana State University, where she is an active member of Kappa Kappa Gamma.
In December, both young ladies were also honored by the Demoiselle Club of Shreveport, La., as debutantes at their annual presentation ball at the Shreveport Country Club, following a full season of celebrations in Northwest Louisiana.