This is a weekly feature produced by my friend Ginger. Let us know what you think.
This week, in news from Dallas-Fort Worth, we have another grab bag: Texans, and specifically North Texans, with J6 arrests and convictions; the return of Matt Krause; legislative business about “street takeovers” and period product tax; are Dallas ordinances dealing with prostitution and panhandling constitutional?; how we’re doing in Dallas with scooters; Pee-Wee Herman’s Alamo connection (RIP); Dallas Mavericks Barbie; and a new breed of avocados is working its way to our grocery stores.
This week’s post was brought to you by the music of Culture Club and Howard Jones, whom I will be seeing next week, and you should too if you’re in a town where they’re playing.
- While everyone is focused this week on Donald Trump and the January 6 insurrection, the Dallas Observer catches us up on the latest North Texan to get himself arrested for participating. It also brings us some statistics on Texans and North Texans who’ve been arrested and convicted. The good news, if you can call it that, is that we’re still running behind Florida.
- Maybe you thought we’d seen the last of Matt Krause, one of the Lege’s favorite book banners, after he dropped out of the Republican primary for Attorney General. No such luck. He’s coming back to run for Tarrant County Commissioner in Precinct Three, replacing a retiring commissioner. Apparently Krause already has endorsements from Ted Cruz and Tarrant County Judge Tim O’Hare.
- Today I learned that Dallas County has the highest rate of uninsured people among large counties in Texas. KERA has some suggestions as to why.
- Governor Abbott is still signing bills from the last legislative session, this one about street takeovers, which are illegal gatherings where drivers race and perform stunts in the street. This has been a big problem in Dallas and Austin. More on this from the DMN.
- A good thing that happened in the last session: Diapers and menstrual products will no longer be subject to sales tax.
- Dallas police won’t be enforcing a controversial prostitution ordinance after a county appeals court ruled the ordinance was unconstitutional. The offense is “manifesting the purpose of engaging in prostitution” and has been on the books for a long time. Dallas cops have been using it to clean up some areas that have a prostitution problem, and understandably defendants and their lawyers are pushing back because the law is vague enough that talking to someone in a car can get a suspect arrested. Sort of related: a federal judge upheld a Dallas ordinance restricting people from standing or walking on narrow medians of less than six feet wide. The legal question is free speech; the practical question is panhandling. See also KERA’s coverage.
- Here’s an interview with the Richardson Independent School District Superintendent, which is an inner ring suburban district near Dallas. (I live inside Dallas city limits but my home is zoned to RISD.) There are some interesting topics here that are relevant to most districts (state budgets, resource officers, unfunded mandates, book banning) as well as local problems.
- Heat watch: DART delays in downtown Dallas were caused by equipment failures, possibly heat-related. Also, unsurprisingly, we’re under a red flag warning and an air quality alert here in North Texas.
- About those scooters: the city has received nearly 600 complaints through 311 since e-scooters have returned to Dallas this summer. Also, the subhead on that story, for those who don’t click through, tells us Baylor Scott & White, which tracks e-scooter injuries, saw 322 ER visits, of which 14 went to the ICU, from July 2018 to September 2019 when they were around before.
- Keep an eye on this round of lawsuits about drilling in Arlington, which is bound to be appealed.
- A local note on the state of Texas withdrawing from ERIC: Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins isn’t confident that the voting rolls will be clean by March 2024, when we’ll hold our party primaries for the fall election.
- Here’s a piece on the Tenth Street Historic District, one of the few surviving Freedmen’s Towns. Unlike Joppa, Tenth Street is dealing with gentrification (it’s in Oak Cliff near Bishop Arts); like Joppa, it’s dealing with being cut off by highway and rail patterns (in this case I-35).
- Texas Monthly has a piece about Pee Wee Herman and the Alamo on the occasion of Paul Rubens’ passing. RIP.
- Alan Alda sold Hawkeye’s boots and dog tags from MASH at a Dallas auction to raise money for his science center. He raised $125,000.
- Here’s a really nice story about some programming at the Dallas Arboretum that helps seniors with dementia. My late mother would have loved something like this. I hope it’s doing good by the folks in the program.
- You’re probably not as crazy about Barbie as this mom who completed a rare collection of NBA Barbies with a Dallas Mavericks Barbie.
- Stories I am not qualified to have an opinion about because I am not a queen: When Queens Collide: Erykah Badu Says She’s ‘Flattered’ by Beyoncé Copying Her Look. I respect the queen of my hometown and the queen of where I now live and hope they resolve their differences peacefully.
- Last but not least, and not Dallas-specific, but relevant to all of us: scientists have developed a new variety of avocado, the Luna. It’s going to take 3-5 years to arrive at our local stores.