People’s Choice 2012 Winners

Photo by Allison Slomowitz

Teacher: Linda Raya | Staff Photo by: Allison Slomowitz

TEACHER

Linda Raya: How long has Raya been training aspiring actors at Highland Park High School? Some of the performers she’s worked with these past few years are the second generation of their families to take the stage under her direction. What a legacy.

PRINCIPAL

Skip Moran: Because he was a teacher at Highland Park High School and an assistant principal at Highland Park Middle School before taking the top job at Armstrong Elementary, Moran garnered votes from students of all ages (and their parents).

PRESCHOOL

University Park United Methodist Weekday School: This school’s staff doesn’t believe you can be too young to begin building a strong Christian foundation. Offering care for children as young as 6 months, the school seeks to educate and nurture children’s minds and hearts while cultivating their spiritual growth.

DOCTOR

Dr. Christopher Abel: Executive vice president and medical director of the Cooper Clinic, Abel is a regular on local “best” lists. So if you need a family doctor, the community says he is the man for the job.

ORTHODONTIST

Dr. Brody J. Hildebrand: Entrusting the care of your teeth to anyone is a scary matter, but Hildebrand will take the “bite” out of your next visit. He won in both “Best Dentist” and “Best Orthodontist” categories, and he’s earned numerous awards since he started practicing eight years ago, so he’s probably a safe bet. He’s also one of fewer than 10 doctors in the U.S. who are certified in both ortho- and prosthodontics.

COSMETIC SURGEON

Highland Park Plastic Surgery Center: Because plastic surgery can be a sensitive ordeal, this center’s three goals are to provide safety, comfort, and privacy. The facility features a separate entry and exit for patients having surgery as well as separate pre- and post-operative waiting rooms to ensure total anonymity. Whether you just need a minor nip or tuck or a full body overhaul, Dr. George Toledo’s staff of trained professionals will make sure all your cosmetic needs are met in the most discreet manner possible.

LAWYER (TIE)

Reed Prospere: In addition to being a board- certified criminal-law specialist, Prospere is a former assistant district attorney. He and partner Frederick M. Russell have tried more than 1,000 criminal jury trials and disposed of more than 15,000 criminal cases. This lawyer is determined to fight — and win — on your behalf.

David Bunch (214-923-5369): Bunch has been practicing law in the Dallas area for a decade. Educated at SMU, he primarily practices criminal- defense law — which includes some heavy-hitting cases. What keeps him going is the opportunity to help people who are down on their luck. Being able to keep a family together, by eliminating or reducing a jail sentence, makes his work rewarding.

PERSONAL TRAINER

We know that choosing a personal trainer is a serious task. Because we had 38 different nominees, we couldn’t pick a clear winner this year.

GYM

YMCA: An American institution for more than 150 years, the Y offers extensive opportunities for mind and body improvement, including fitness classes. With programs aimed at preschoolers all the way up to senior adults, there’s something for everyone in the family, and multiple locations make getting and staying in shape easy.

FLORIST

Dr. Delphinium: For more than 20 years, the friendly folks at Dr. Delphinium have been gracing the city with their green thumbs, designing beautiful flower arrangements for gifts and work spaces, as well as providing interior landscaping services and creating entire environments for weddings and events. Dr. Delphinium will help you select the perfect blooms for your home, office, or event.

TUTOR

The Tutoring Place: Although it’s just over a decade old, the Tutoring Place has become known for its one-on-one approach. The center prides itself on having a diverse group of tutors — many of whom are students themselves — who can identify each client’s learning style and then teach him or her how to best interpret the information learned at school in order to succeed.

AUTO DEALER

Sewell Automotive: With more than a dozen locations across the state, they’re clearly doing something right. If you’re in the market for a fancy new ride, or just need some work done on your current wheels, head to Sewell for all of your vehicular needs.

PHOTOGRAPHER

Andrea Polito Photography: Polito is known for her knack for capturing life’s most precious moments as they occur naturally. Her photos always feel fresh and spontaneous, never staged or stifled. Although she’s based in Dallas, she’s shot in locales from Europe to the Caribbean, so make sure you book her early.

PAINTER

Next Door Painting: This locally owned and operated business has been beautifying houses for more than a decade. Although Next Door is best known for its painting services, it also repairs decks, does carpentry, provides pressure washing, and offers interior and exterior remodeling options.

HANDYMAN

Rent-A-Husband: Some women are blessed with a husband who is handy around the house. Fortunately for the rest of us, there’s Rent-A-Husband to fill in the gap. These trained professionals are more than capable of helping you knock out your “honey do” list in record time.

PLUMBER

Baker Brothers Plumbing: Since 1945, the Baker Brothers have been fixing leaky plumbing in homes around the city. Known for their speedy responses to imminent disasters and friendly, informed solutions, they’ve led the local plumbing industry in technology and skill for more than half of a century.

ELECTRICIAN

Park Cities Electrical Company: Since 1978, the staff at Park Cities Electrical has been lighting up homes and businesses, providing services ranging from a simple repair or upgrade to ground-up installation. If it involves electricity, they’ve got you wired.

SUMMER CAMP

Camp Longhorn: No childhood is complete without at least one summer spent at camp. Founded more than 70 years ago, Camp Longhorn doesn’t offer just fun activities (although there are more than 30 of those), it also offers kids a chance to build their self-esteem, sense of self-worth, and lifelong friendships. Believing that “everybody is somebody,” Camp Longhorn makes character-building fun. In the famous words of the staff, “Attawaytogo!”

CHILDREN’S ENTERTAINMENT

Dallas Arboretum: The Dallas Arboretum isn’t just a pretty garden. It’s also one of the city’s most important educational facilities. With more than 50 hands-on programs, kids can participate in activities ranging from experiencing life as a pioneer to conducting science experiments in on-site classroom labs. To further the educational impact, an 8-acre garden featuring 17 galleries is slated to open in May.

DANCE STUDIO

City Ballet: For more than 60 years, City Ballet has provided the city’s budding ballerinas with a place to perfect their pirouettes. Offering classical ballet, pointe, and modern classes, this studio makes sure that each student’s needs are met by grouping dancers based upon their skill level, not their age. They also offer adult ballet, so don’t give up on that dream just yet. If you’re looking for an affordable studio, then twirl, jeté, or pas de bourrée your way to City Ballet.

PERFORMING ARTS VENUE

AT&T Performing Arts Center: It’s hard to believe that the AT&T PAC has been open for just over three years. In that short time, it’s quickly become the leading venue for world-class entertainment. Located on the edge of downtown, the center covers 10 acres of the Dallas Arts District and includes an opera house, theater, square, park, and intimate performance hall, all of which provide regular programming ranging from soaring operas to gripping theatrics.

LIVE MUSIC VENUE

Meyerson Symphony Center: For more than two decades, the Meyerson has brought the best musicians and performances from around the world to Dallas. The Meyerson doesn’t just feature famous performers from abroad, however. It’s the home of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and an integral part of the Arts District. It’s no surprise that it’s been voted the best place to hear live music — its McDermott Concert Hall is equipped with reverberation space, acoustical curtains, and a system of canopies designed to create the best sound ever.

MOVIE THEATER

AMC NorthPark 15: There are plenty of places in the city to catch the latest film, but few have all of the amenities that this theater offers. We’re not just talking about its sprawling size, comfy stadium seating, and crystal-clear digital projection — all that’s pretty standard. It also has a bar and lounge you can hang out in before or after your movie, hot food that is made to order, and, located in the heart of NorthPark Center, it’s extremely accessible.

SENIOR LIVING

Edgemere: Once you’ve visited this sprawling, Tuscan-style estate, it’s hard to believe that Edgemere is a not-for-profit retirement community. Offering dozens of club-like amenities, activities, and services, life at Edgemere resembles a year-round stay at an upscale resort. Founded by a Texan who wasn’t satisfied with the retirement options available for his mother, it boasts a staff that works hard to make life for your loved one as relaxing, comfortable, and luxurious as possible.

HOSPITAL

Presbyterian Hospital: Choosing a hospital is never fun, but you can rest assured that you’ll be in good hands at Presbyterian. The staff has been recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and U.S. News and World Report. It’s more than just fancy technology and learned doctors, however; the friendly employees set this hospital apart by making sure that your stay is as comfortable as it can be.

PARK

Caruth Park: When W.W. Caruth Sr. deeded the land for Caruth Park to the city of University Park in 1949, he could not have imagined just how important this park would become to the community. One of the city’s largest parks, it provides a safe place for families and individuals to play, exercise, and enjoy nature. With a fishing lake, lighted tennis courts, two ball fields, picnic facilities, a playground, and a walking trail, this park makes it easy for everyone to get active.

PLACE TO GOLF

Top Golf: Whether you’re an avid golfer trying to improve your game or a newbie who has never played a round, Top Golf is your best bet for hitting that elusive hole-in-one. This is not your grandfather’s game of golf — imagine a course where you never have to chase after an errant ball, don’t have to lug around your own equipment, and have tasty food and drinks delivered to you while you play.

IN-TOWN GETAWAY

The Mansion: An important part of Dallas’ history, the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek is one of the city’s most recognizable and historic homes. Built in 1908 by cotton tycoon Sheppard W. King, it’s been little more than a year since it underwent a massive, multi-million-dollar redesign. With guests ranging from presidents to playwrights to celebrities, the Mansion is no stranger to high-profile clients. A favorite of Dallas residents, locals know that the Mansion is the perfect spot for a much-needed stay-cation.

PLACE TO SEE OR BE SEEN

Highland Park Village: Dallasites certainly consider this prestigious shopping center to be a local icon, but history buffs will know that Highland Park Village is also a national historic landmark. Opened in 1931, the center has been recognized by the Urban Land Institute as the first planned shopping center in the nation,  built on a single lot with stores that face away from the streets and toward interior parking. Offering the most luxurious designer goods, it’s the favored shopping and dining spot of Dallas socialites and anyone who is anyone. Can’t afford Chanel? Grab a coffee and sit back for some seriously great people watching.

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