Posts by Eric Nicholson
Yesterday, roundabouts 9:15 a.m., a couple of employees were getting ready to open up for business at Prosperity Bank in Preston-Forest. Then, someone tried to rob them. I’ll let the police report take it from here:
THE INSIDE DOORS TO THE LOC WERE STILL LOCKED. TWO UNK SUSPECTS
ENTERED THE FIRST SET OF DOOR WHICH WERE ON THE EAST SIDE OF THE BUILDING. THE WITNESS WAS SITTING AT HIS DESK WHICH IS RIGHT NEXT TO THE GLASS DOORS. SUSPECTS TRIED TO OPEN THE SECOND SET OF DOORS BUT WERE UNABLE TO. SUSPECT POINTED A PISTOL THREW [sic] A GLASS WINDOW AT THE WITNESS AND SAID ” OPEN THE [expletive] DOOR”. WITNESS GOT UNDER HIS DESK AND HIT THE PANIC ALARM AND YELLED ” GUN” TO THE RP WHO WAS IN ANOTHER ROOM. RP RAN AND HIT THE PANIC ALARM. SUSPECTS THEN LEFT LOC IN LISTED VEH. … SUSPECTS DID NOT GET ANY MONEY.
So I’m lifting my head briefly from the pool of mind-numbingly arcane Texas liquor law through which I’m swimming in the hopes of writing a somewhat coherent article about the history of booze sales in Preston Hollow to post this. In my research, which included a perusal of the Dallas Morning News‘ archives, I stumbled upon this article from 1940 detailing the exercise of the Town of Preston Hollow’s local option. Citizens of the newly incorporated municipality voted 97-49 to ban the sale of all alcohol. The article’s subhead sums it up thusly: “97 to 49 Vote Bans Intoxicants to Keep Undesirables Away.” Straightforward enough. And the lede (first paragraph for you non-jounalists) is classic: “Preston Hollow residents, many admitting they like a nip now and then, or an occasional bottle of beer voted out the sale of liuor in all forms in the county’s newest town, at a local option election Saturday.” In articles leading up the the town’s 1939 incorporation, I found many familiar names: Ira P. Deloache, R.B. Stichter, Albert G. Joyce, W.W. Caruth, Henry A. Northwest Highway, and Cornelius J. Dallas North Tollway. (I might have made up one or two of those, can’t be sure).
When I was 21, the only thing of which I was chief operating officer was a nice cold can of Miller High Life. Now, I can’t say whether Brittany Davidson has a similarly refined beverage preference, but I can say the her resume already trumps mine by a couple of orders of magnitude.
The 21-year-old Kansas City-ite launched her own clothing design company, BMDesigns, after returning stateside from the American Intercontinental University of London where she studied fashion design and marketing, which she attended following a stint at the American University of Paris, where she began studying fashion design at 16. Add on top of all that the title of chief operating officer, which she assumed when she and her parents, Colin and Julie, purchased Chocolate Soup, which has five total locations.
For those of you who had been wondering why the kids’ clothing boutique had made such a tremendous 100-yard leap across Royal Lane to a space near Roy’s Natural Market, it’s because Davidson wanted to give “the old favourite a new twist with an updated look,” as she wrote in an e-mail. (And please forgive for that ‘u’ in ‘favourite’; she’s not some anti-American Anglophile, at least as far as I know, but her father is from the U.K. and she did spend her formative educaitonal years in London).
The new store will offer “a more modern appeal with both trendy and traditional pieces for your little ones with a certain fashion forward flare,” Davidson writes. “Her European designs are exclusive and will only be available in Chocolate Soup stores.” Word is, a Houston location is in the works and a new Chocolate Soup website will be launched soon.
This morning, I stopped by the now-infamous pond where divers are still, after a full month, working to find evidence in the ’83 slaying of Lowell Clayton Tribble. It was the first time, out of the several occasions I’d dropped by, that I was there when the divers were actually diving. So instead of calling the Dallas Police public information officer and being told that investigators aren’t interested in talking about anything yet, I was able to be told by the investigators themselves. I spoke briefly with a captain (who introduced himself but whose name I don’t recall), who was sitting on a lawn chair in the driveway of a house on the west side of the pond. He said, politely, that no, they wouldn’t be discussing the investigation. Fine, I said, I was more curious about the stuff, which is (I’m assuming) totally unrelated to the investigation, that has been dragged out of the muck by divers. Is it some sort of stolen vehicle dumping ground? Where did all that stuff come from? But no, not that either. I’d have to wait until the investigation was over.
“I guess that would be whenever you find whatever it is in the pond you’re looking for?” I asked.
“You can guess all you want, but you’ll have to do it from a public street,” he said, pointing me to Northaven Road.
Anyhoo, in the absence of any background on how or why they got there, here’s a quick inventory, compiled from police reports, of things that have been pulled from the pond since June 16:
-eight motorcycle frames
-eight motorcycle engines
-one metal lockbox
-several assault rifle components
And to illustrate the thankless job these divers are doing, a choice passage from one of the police reports:
WHILE SEARCHING THE BOTTOM OF THE POND WITH A METAL
DETECTOR R/O DETECTED A SIGNAL FROM THE METAL DETECTOR THAT INDICATED METAL
UNDER THE SURFACE OF THE MUD. R/O DUG DOWN TO ABOUT SHOULDER LENGTH AND
RECOVERED A METAL BOX ABOUT TWELVE INCHES BY 18 TO 15 INCHES IN DIMENSION.
Shoulder-length in the bottom of Northaven Pond. [Shudder]
In what I think will be generally be considered a positive move (unless your name rhymes with Farnold Fohen), erstwhile Lamplighter teacher Sheila McCartor, whose much-discussed dismissal prompted the split between Headmaster Arnold Cohen and the board of trustees, was named executive director of alumni relations earlier this week. The woman has taught every fourth grader who has walked through the doors of Lamplighter for the past 43 years and, which means she knows personally the vast majority of graduates of the 58-year-old institution. Seems like a fit. I would say ‘They all lived happily ever after,’ but, well, at this point, that seems a bit premature.
At the shell station at the corner of Meadow Road and Central Expressway. My lord, that’s a lot of bird crap.
Way back in the city’s 2006 bond program, voters approved about $8 million for a brand shiny new Fire Station #27, better known to laypersons as the one on the southwest corner of Douglas Avenue and Northwest Highway right next to Preston Center. For the longest time, the project has been in the site selection phase, that part of any new city construction project where no one will tell you anything about anything. At one point, there was talk of putting the station somewhere along Walnut Hill Lane (I think roundabouts Hollow Way Road), but by the time I caught wind of that, the plan had already been given the kibosh, the result of some not-so-enthusiastic neighbors. But no new neighbors will have to raise a stink about the relocation of the firehouse because, well, there will be no new neighbors.
David Trevino, a project manager with the city, said the new 12,000-square-foot facility, will go exactly where the current 41-year-old, 6,000-square-foot one is. The decision is tentative, Trevino said, since it still remains to be seen whether the site can accomodate a design that meets the specs spelled out in the bond. But why stay in exactly the same place?
“Location, location, location,” Trevino said.
I do wonder how much of a consideration cost was. The city already owns the Preston Center land and who knows how much they would have to shell out for a similar parcel nearby.
The station won’t be built anytime soon. The design phase doesn’t begin for another 45 to 60 days and it will take six to eight months to get all the site evaluations, conceptual sketches, etc. finished. Only then will construction begin. But someday, Preston Center, you will get your new fire station.
I’m going to put on my media-critic hat for a brief moment and take issue with a story that WFAA ran Friday about the two-story parking garage at Preston Center. The city wants to possibly, maybe, perhaps sell or redevelop the 50+-year-old structure, but surrounding property owners are none too happy at the prospect of possibly, maybe, perhaps having the parking they rely on disappear. The story breaks the news that the city is locked in a lawsuit with 74 defendants to redevelop the property. Sure, a pretty good job is done of explaining why the city would want to sell the land (though it’s pretty obvious that a piece of land that size in the middle of one of the city’s premiere retail developments could rake in a pretty penny) and gives a good breakdown of how much cash the city could reap in a sale, but the story does not touch recent developments between the city and property owners or even basic facts pertinent to the dispute.
I bellyache because a story I wrote for the July 16 edition of Preston Hollow and Park Cities People covers the above bases. A sampling:
-There is nothing new about this story. The legal battle is four years old and counting. This could at least have been mentioned so you’d know this isn’t exactly a recent development.
-The land on which the parking garage sits, under the shopping center’s specific use permit, cannot legally be used for any use other than parking or traffic. The city (or, I suppose, the developer who buys it) would have to amend the SUP in a lengthy process involving the City Plan Commission and City Council.
-There have been much more recent developments in the case. After Teresa Bennett, a handicapped Dallas woman, sued the city for failing to provide adequate handicapped-accessible parking in June, the city filed its own suit against the Preston Center West Corporation, a nonprofit coalition of businesses licensed to run the garage, claiming it was the corporation’s responsibility to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Of course, all this is just sour grapes at WFAA for stealing my thunder. Ah, well. I’ll find something else to complain about.
This just in via text message: Chef/restaurateur Nick Badovinus will open the third incarnation of his pragmatically named restaurant (Neighborhood Services Bar & Grill) in less than a week. Monday, to be exact. They’ve been working on converting the old Baby Gap space on the southeast corner of Preston Road and Royal Lane for some months now. There’s a latticework of ivy. Bar opens at 5 p.m., kitchen at 5:30 p.m.
If I ever happen to break my back as a result of, say, crashing my swiftly moving bicycle into a car that has pulled out in front of me because I was holding a Slurpee in one hand and couldn’t hit the brakes in time, I would a) trade the bike for some mall-walking shoes and b) never drink a Slurpee again.
But, as you probably know of assume already, Danny Parks is awesomer than me. Whereas my Slurpee-induced injury was only hypothetical (though I did get a pretty ugly brain freeze once), the 14-year-old Janmar resident actually did break his back last year following a training ride at White Rock Lake while enjoying 7-Eleven’s deliciously corn-syrupy frozen treat. But did he trash his bike and avoid swear off frozen beverages for all eternity, forever and ever? To the contrary. He rides more than ever–about 300 miles each week–while mainlining pina colada Slurpee, although I made that second part up.
If you happened to catch a glance at our paper’s July 9 cover, you no doubt saw the spandex-clad Parks with his bike and know that he is one of the top couple of cyclists in his age range in the country (this according to his coach). At the end of June, he placed first, second, and third at the U.S.A. Cycling Junior Road Nationals in Oregon, the feat that prompted Friday’s article. This past weekend at the U.S. A. Cycling Junior Track Nationals (USACJTN for short), Parks won gold in the points race, two fourth place finishes (one of them for overall performance, anbd a fifth and sixth place finish. Though less impressive than if he had done it with a Slurpee in each hand, that’s nothing to shake a stick at. As his mother wrote in her e-mail to me apprising me of the results, “Not bad for a kid that has been on a track 5 times before last week!”