All posts by Genesis Bishop

Live Nation to ‘rock’ Irving in 2016

Photo: Noah Lazes of the ARK Group Congratulates and thanks all those who made the Live Nation’s partnership in the Music Factory in Irving possible. / Photo by Genesis Bishop

Energy buzzed in the air as entertainment industry leaders and Irving politicos hobnobbed prior to a special announcement from Live Nation Entertainment in the dimly lit, incense filled, Foundation Room at the House of Blues in Dallas on Wednesday, Dec. 3.

The news shared was one that will, literally, “rock” Irving in the relatively near future. Live Nation announced its partnership with the ARK Group of Dallas to bring a new venue, the Pavilion at the Music Factory, to Irving in the spring of 2016.

“I’ve been promoting concerts here in Dallas for about 25 years, and I’m thrilled to have an agreement in place with the ARK Group, as well as, the opportunity to manage, operate and promote a brand new, state of the art, venue that’s going to really complete our portfolio in the Dallas market,” Bob Roux, Co-President of Live Nation North American Concerts, said. “We had a tremendous year here in Dallas with our concert activity ranging from events at House of Blues, the Southside Ballroom, Gexa Amphitheater, American Airlines Center and AT&T Stadium, and we wouldn’t be able to do it without all of the support that we received.”

Live Nation is the touted as the global leader for live entertainment, boasting 400 million fans, 240,000 events across 33 countries – somewhere in the world a Live Nation event is being held every 20 minutes, according to Live Nation.

“I want to thank all of the Irving City Council that are here today for making this all possible and really getting behind this project that’s going to be a very unique entertainment space,” Roux said.

“You’ve got a lot to be proud of, and when you see this thing in action, you’re going to be thrilled.”
Some Irving City Council members and city staff in attendance included, Oscar Ward, Dennis Webb, Brad LaMorgese, Alan Meagher and new city manager Chris Hillman.
Roux showed renderings of the proposed new venue to be incorporated into the Music Factory Lifestyle Center that the ARK Group recently broke ground on near the Irving Convention Center in Las Colinas.

“The Pavilion at the Music Factory will truly be the first venue of its kind anywhere in the world, and is scheduled to open in April of 2016,” Roux said. “The Pavilion at the Music Factory is a highly versatile and extremely intimate venue that will provide a concert experience like none before for fans of live music.

“The Pavilion at the Music Factory’s unique design is going to allow us the ability to host both indoor concerts, as well as, open air concerts all at the same facility,” he said.
The showcased plans featured an amphitheater-style venue with the ability to be a fully indoor space with a capacity for 4,000 people or an indoor/open-air venue that can accommodate up to 8,000 individuals.

“Having the ability to go back and forth between two different size venues is really going to allow us to expand the number of shows we can book, because artists always want to be in the right configuration for their value in a given market,” Roux said. “We’re looking forward to hosting around 100 events each year, between our concerts, corporate rentals, plus parties and special events.

“We’re also going to be working very closely with the ARK Group on developing a number of festivals that will showcase the pavilion as a centerpiece of those festivals, but will also utilize all the grounds throughout the development.”

Roux said that the venue would house around 40 luxury boxes with a combined seating capacity of 200 people and that Ticketmaster would handle the ticketing of all their events.
The plans for the ARK Group’s Music Factory Lifestyle Center include around 210,000 square feet of retail shops, restaurants, bowling, movies, night clubs and bars.

“When we came to Irving, many questioned the ‘build it, they will come’ vision,” Noah Lazes, Co-Founder and President of the ARK Group, said. “Announcing today that the world’s largest concert holder and ticket broker is a partner in the project, we believe, proves the statement for ARK.

“When we started, this project was just a dream. Today you see bulldozers, you see construction out in Irving, Texas, and you see this project becoming a reality,” he said.
Bringing the Music Factory project to fruition was no easy task for its supporters and investors, however, as the project was repeatedly stalled, reworked and presented to Irving officials again and again over the course of nearly a decade.

“None of this would have been possible without the support of the voters of Irving who overwhelmingly approved a voter referendum to make this entertainment center possible,” Lazes said. “Then the Irving City Council ratified that and made this dream a reality.”
In celebration of their hard-earned success, the ARK Group hosted a party/ground-breaking on the now construction-filled land in Las Colinas back in September of this year.

“As many of you know we had almost 3,000 people show up in a field of dirt beside the convention center in Irving on a hot summer night in September,” Lazes said. “Can you guys imagine what will happen when we have an 8,000-capacity pavilion, an eight-screen movie theater, 25 restaurants and entertainment venues all swinging their doors open in the spring of 2016?

“Without Live Nation as a partner in this project, it just simply would not have been possible. We cannot think of a better partner and a better anchor to make this project a reality.

“We all know Irving has great office, we know it has great residential, we know it has good transportation, but nobody thinks of it as entertainment yet. Get ready. Soon enough they’re going to know Irving, Texas for entertainment.

“We look forward to many great shows and great nights in Irving,” he said.

Seniors provide special Christmas for wounded warrior

For the past 20 years, Kitty Baker, founder of the Irving Senior Arts Program (ISAP), has been hosting events to promote the arts and raise money for various charitable causes in Irving.

At this year’s ISAP Annual Christmas Party a special presentation, two-years in the making, was made to a local veteran who was wounded in action while serving in the United States’ military.

Peter Strauch, 29, of Dallas, accompanied by his caretaker and father Austin Strauch and his service animal Mya, attended the Christmas party as honored guests of the ISAP.

U.S. Army Cpl. Peter Strauch of the Texas Army National Guard served two tours of duty – one in Iraq for 15 months and the second in Afghanistan for one year.

“Peter served in Afghanistan for one year, and just before he was leaving for home with his buddies, he was hit by a roadside bomb – a 300-pound bomb that went off,” Baker said. “He was severely brain-damaged and had injuries to his back.

“Peter was immediately taken to Germany. From Germany he was transferred to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. Peter remained there for two years in recovery and rehabilitation,” she said.
Due to the extent of the injuries Strauch sustained overseas, it became evident even after physical recovery that he needed an extra helping hand or “paw” in this case.

“He has two young, beautiful daughters ages two and eight and his service dog Mya. Mya goes with Peter everywhere Peter goes. She’s five years old,” Baker said. “He also has with him tonight his caretaker Austin who is his dad, whom he and his two children live with in Dallas.”

When Strauch and his family made the decision to find a service animal, they turned to an organization that provided a unique opportunity.

“When Peter needed a service dog he turned to Canines for Heroes, and who did they use?” Baker said.

“Mya was a family pet, so Mya and Peter went off to train with Canines for Heroes for six months before they graduated and went home to the family. Isn’t that a beautiful story?”

Baker then invited Strauch and Mya to join her and as the pair approached the evening’s entertainment, the Uptown Swing Band and attendees sang God Bless America in the soldier’s honor.

Although he did not speak, Strauch and Mya – who was dutifully pressed against his leg – accepted the ISAP’s gift politely and graciously with a beaming smile.

“We would like to present Peter with a cashier’s check for $1,500,” Baker said. “We gathered this money at a silent auction we had two years ago especially for a wounded warrior in our area.

“I have saved it all this time until God sent us the right person, Peter,” she said.

Deatherage family suffers loss of home and pet to fire

Photo: The 100-year-old home of Jim and Linda Deathrage of Irving stands smoldering in the aftermath of the fire that consumed it early Monday, Nov. 24. / Photo by Genesis Bishop

Mondays are often difficult for many, but for Jim and Linda Deatherage of Irving, Monday, Dec. 24, was particularly devastating.

The Deatherage’s, who had lived in a 100-year-old home on Irving Heights for 41 years, watched helplessly as Irving Firefighters tried desperately to save what they could from smoke and flames around 10:30 a.m.

“I’m okay. The shock hasn’t hit me yet,” Jim Deatherage said. “I was in the guest house in my office. By the time I got there, flames were shooting through the ceiling. We grabbed the fire hose, but that was no good.”

There was little warning that a major catastrophe was about to ensue according to the Irving Fire Department’s discussion with Linda Deatherage.

“The homeowner, Linda Deatherage, stated that she was sitting in a chair in the living room and said she heard popping and cracking under her couch, which was adjacent to her,” Jason Coulter, Irving firefighter, stated in the report. “She thought it was a cord plugged into the wall and unplugged it, but soon realized the couch was catching fire.”

Linda Deatherage then attempted to douse the flames with wet towels and a bowl of water, but the fire spread quickly.

The 2,500 square-foot, main portion of the house was completely engulfed in flames by the time Irving Firefighters arrived.

“[Linda] saw a little flash of fire from the plug and she unplugged it; and when she did, she saw more,” J. Taylor, Irving Assistant Fire Chief said. “She said when she turned around that [the] couch was on fire already then [the fire] just took off – that fast.”

The Deatherage’s both managed to get out of the house safely, but they and rescuers had to reenter the home in an attempt to rescue the couple’s four dogs and two cats.

Although two of the dogs and the two cats were removed from the home without incident and placed with neighbors, the Deatherage’s Labradors Trucker and Sonny did not fare as well. Firefighters were able to save Sonny by administering oxygen with a special mask, but Trucker succumbed to smoke inhalation after being retrieved from the home.

The firefighters took care to wrap and prepare the body of Trucker for transport to the family’s veterinarian for cremation, while Linda attended to the needs of Sonny by taking him to the vet.

“It’s just too bad,” Bob Bettis, neighbor to the Deatherage’s, said. “Hopefully there will be something that is salvageable for them.”

Bettis took in some of the Deatherage’s animals during the incident and was among many neighbors that came to the couples aid.

The estimated loss in property and possessions was a staggering $370,000 – $170,000 in property damage and $200,000 in belongings.

Seven suppression vehicles were dispatched to the scene and the fire was under control within roughly a half-hour after their arrival, but it still took firefighters roughly six hours to completely clear the scene.

After an investigation, fire fighters were still unable to determine a definitive cause of the fire.

Firemen battle blaze at Shadows of Cottonwood

Upon initial inspection, there was no cause for alarm at the Shadows of Cottonwood Apartments on Monday, Nov. 17, according to the Irving Fire Department’s report.

After residents led firemen to the balcony of their apartment, however, the cause for concern was identified, as smoke was discovered emanating from behind the brick mold adjoining the chimney and patio door.

According to responders, they proceeded to remove the brick, which led to the discovery of an extensive fire running up the chimney chase and into the third floor.

Firefighters who were checking the third floor then opened the ceiling to find that the fire had extended even further – into the attic and venting out of the roof. The firemen quickly moved from an offensive to the defensive and additional units were called to the scene.

The blaze that began around 4:30 a.m. took firefighters nearly 11 hours to contain and extinguish. Despite the time it took to control the fire, only 12 of the 36 units were affected by the damage. Of the 12 apartments damaged, six were completely destroyed and six sustained substantial damage resulting in a total of 12 families impacted by the blaze.

Twelve fire suppression vehicles and three ambulances were called to the scene, but no residents were injured in the blaze.

The only injury reported, was that of fireman Les Pratt who hurt his back after slipping and falling while traversing the steps of the second story of the building. He did not require medical attention or transport.

The estimated damages to the property owned by Bridge Property Management are roughly $1.5 million and another $240,000 in content losses was estimated.

As of Thursday, Nov. 20, cleanup crews were on hand working to clear the debris, water and soot from the damaged units.

Council approves alcohol sales variance for Big State

As many may remember, there was an outpouring of opposition against the council granting a zoning variance allowing alcohol sales for the Texas Musician’s Museum, scheduled to open next year.

So during the Irving City Council meeting Nov. 13, it came as a bit of a shock to some – including owners Rick and Susan Fairless – that the same request made by Big State Fountain Grill went over without a hitch.

Not a single individual stood to speak against the request, leaving the decision solely to council, which voted quickly and without comment to approve the business’ request to sell alcohol in the Heritage District in an 8-1 vote.

In fact, several members of the community responded to the original notice of a potential zoning change by letter in favor of the request being approved.

“If we allow alcohol sales, more businesses will be interested in moving downtown,” Irving resident Kelly Warms wrote on the reply form.

Aside from Warms’ response, four other letters were received in favor of the request.
Only one Heritage District entity responded in opposition via letter.

“Much has been advertised about [Big State] being a 50s fountain/grill for family, etc.,” a letter from the Baptist Benevolent Ministries of Irving stated. “Fifties fountains/grills did not serve alcohol.

“We are concerned about the element this facility, or future ones, may bring given a change.

“This location is also in close proximity to local churches and within a mile of a local AA chapter.”

If all goes well with the TABC licensing, south Irving residents may be able to have a beer with their burger earlier than expected in the heart of Irving.

Mother of distracted driving victim speaks to teens

By Genesis Bishop
Irving teens came out in droves to peruse vendor booths, take the Irving Police Department’s simulated intoxication test and listen to speakers about the dangers of distracted driving at the Lively Pointe Youth Center Teen Driver Safety Fair Oct. 18.

One of the speakers, Kathy Bond of Fort Worth, spoke of her own personal loss to a distracted driver.

“I just wanted to talk to you a bit about the dangers of distracted driving,” Bond said. “I was probably just like you guys. I would talk on the phone when I was in a car thinking I was important. Thinking whatever it was, people needed to talk to me.

“Even when I got a text I used to think, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s so important. I’ve got to pick it up. I’ve got to read this’ and half the time, well more than half the time, it really wasn’t important.”
That was all until one day in September of 2011 when her world was flipped upside down.

“It wasn’t until Sept. 11, 2011 that I probably got the worst phone call anyone could ever get,” Bond said. “Which is when the phone rings at 4 a.m. Anyone that knows, when the phone rights at 4 a.m. it’s not going to be good.”

Bond broke into tears as she recounted the evening she lost one of her family members.

“It was the highway patrol telling me that my 22-year-old daughter wouldn’t be coming home that night,” Bond said.

Bond’s daughter Katrina was killed instantly when Brenton Leonmont, 23, of Godley picked up his phone to read a text. Leonmont was driving a Dodge dually pickup truck over the Lake Shore Drive overpass on I-35W when he looked down to view a text message and collided into the rear-end of Katrina’s Mustang, which was consequently pushed into the back of an 18-wheeler, resulting in Katrina’s death.

At the scene, DPS trooper D.L. Wilson said investigators were preparing charges against Leonmont, but no formal charges were ever brought against the young man.

“I think the thing that really kills me is nothing happened to him,” Bond said. “He was never arrested. He never went to jail. Nothing happened, because we don’t have any laws in Texas to protect against this.

“I want people to realize it does happen. It can happen to you. It happens in an instant.

“I want you to really think about that. This kind of thing does happen. It happens fast. It happens so much faster than we really think that it’s going to happen.”
After her daughter’s untimely death, Bond became an advocate for safe driving practices and teamed up with the AT&T “Texting and Driving … it can wait” project.

“I go around all over the state of Texas talking to youth about this. I point out to them that one out of six kids will get into a car accident,” Bond said. “That’s a high statistic. One out of six of you, when you’re first learning how to drive, will get into an accident that first year.

“I wonder what could’ve been on that text that was that important. What text did that guy read Sept. 7? What did he read that was okay to kill my daughter? I don’t know what it could possible say for it to be okay for him to take her life. I know for one thing, there’s nothing he could say.”
Bond then took a survey of the adults in the room, by asking them to raise their hands if they had texted or talked on the phone while driving in the past week. Almost every adult in the room raised their hand.

“I understand that we get busy, that we’re important, but when I’m in the car, I’m in the car. I need to be driving. I’m in a weapon. I’m in a couple-ton vehicle you can kill people so quickly.
“I’m sure the boy that did this to my daughter probably feels really bad that he killed somebody. How do you go your whole life with that, how do you sit with that in your heart that you took an innocent life off of the planet?”

The lecture attendees then were invited to watch “The Last Text” by AT&T (which is available on YouTube) which illustrated how devastating distracted driving deaths can be to all individuals involved.

“Most people get killed on a silly text.” Bond said. “You know, ‘LOL’, ‘Where you at’, ‘What ya doing’. There’s nothing that you can say in a text, there’s nothing you can say on that phone call, that is worth hurting someone.”

Miss Texas Outstanding Teen, Kassidy Brown, who also spoke to teens during the lecture, summed it up nicely.

“What it has to come down to is you can’t let your friends pressure you into doing things, and you can’t pressure your friends into doing things either,” Brown said.

Ninety-two-year-old preserves brothers legacy at Comic Con

By Genesis Bishop

Outlandishly dressed fans and coz players, famous stars and geek-chic merchandise are all things one expects to find at a comic con, but a 92-year-old man preserving the legacy of his brother is an oddity even among the odd.

From book signings to comic cons, Richard Jefferies travels near and far to sell his book ‘Beyond the Clouds: The Lifetime Trek of Walter “Matt” Jefferies, Artist and Visionary.’
Jefferies was eager to tell the tale of his and his brother’s journey.

“In 1939 in Richmond, Va., I was 16-years-old, my brother was 18 – we were 18 months apart,” Jefferies said. “There was a war in Europe, so we joined the Virginia National Guard. After two years in the Virginia National Guard, we resigned.

“I went to Virginia Tech and mechanical engineering. When they bombed Pearl Harbor, I went into active duty. My brother went to the Air Corp and B-17 bombers. He was in England, North Africa and Italy. My brother came back from the war in 1945 – I was stationed at Washington D.C.

“Matt was 23-years-old and got a job at the Library of Congress as an aviation artist. The Library of Congress sent my brother to Hollywood to do a movie called ‘Bombers B-52’ – Natalie Wood was in that movie.”

Matt Jefferies was hired on by Warner Brothers Studios to be a set designer.

“While he was [working on] ‘Bombers B-52,’ Gene Roddenberry, who was a pilot for the B-17 Unit Pacific, asked my brother to design a spaceship,” Jefferies said. “So my brother designed at Desilu Studios, he designed the bridge, Captain Kirk’s chair, the phaser, the Klingon Battlecruiser.”
In other words, Matt Jefferies became the origin of the Trekkie movement that still exists today by creating the U.S.S. Enterprise of ‘Star Trek.’

Matt and Roddenberry made two models of the Klingon Battlecruiser and each kept one. Matt donated his to the Smithsonian Museum while Roddenberry eventually gave a good friend his model. The friend later sold the model for $101,000 in 2010.

After his stint with ‘Star Trek’ and other NBC endeavors such as ‘Love, American Style,’ Matt was approached to participate in what would become another epic project.

“Michael Landon called my brother up and said, ‘Okay Matt, ‘Star Trek’ made you famous, but they didn’t pay you very well,’” Jefferies said.
Landon offered to pay Matt Jefferies very well to work as the set designer for ‘Little House on the Prairie.’

“He did ‘Little House on the Prairie’ for eight years and thoroughly enjoyed it,” Jefferies said.

“After that he did ‘Dallas’ for two years.”
The list of films and television shows that Matt Jefferies was involved in include: Towards the Unknown; Bombers B-52; The Old Man and the Sea; The Wreck of the Mary Deare; The Crowded Sky; The Untouchables; Ben Casey; Star Trek; Mission Impossible; Love, American Style; Catch 22; Little House on the Prairie; Father Murphy; Dallas; and Riptide.

“I lost my brother 10 years ago,” Jefferies said. “I flew out to Hollywood and the church was packed with CBS, Paramount people, aviators and aviation artists.

“I stepped outside of the church, and I’m surrounded by, guess what, Trekkies.

“They said ‘drop what you’re doing and write your brothers biography.’ It took me five years to write the book and one year to get all the authorizations, and it came out really well,” he said.
The “Trekkies” returned the favor by treating his book as if it were made of ancient parchment whenever they attend a signing.

“I did a signing in Las Vegas and all the Trekkies came wearing white gloves, because they didn’t want to mess up the book,” Jefferies said.

Jefferies book ‘Beyond the Clouds’ appeals to many generations and many people’s interests as it spans a plethora of subjects including World War II, aviation, movies, television, art and architecture.

Photo: Ninety-two-year-old Richard Jefferies peddles the biography he wrote about his brother Walter ‘Matt’ Jefferies life during the Dallas Comic Con Fan Days at Irving Convention Center. Photo by Genesis Bishop

Council rejects finding on convention center hotel

By Genesis Bishop

Council members were split on whether to approve a resolution concerning a finding presented by city staff that a convention center hotel would not be completed by Jan. 1, 2017.

Many council members were concerned the finding solely benefited their partner the ARK Group, which has been contracted by the city to complete the entertainment center.

“The entertainment project, which was awarded to ARK Group by a 5-4 vote, has been controversial for several years about whether we really needed to spend that kind of money,” Irving resident, Don Van Slyke, said. “I spoke on many occasions criticizing the number of items that were in prior entertainment projects, however, on several occasions ARK comes back to the city council, and the city council appears to think that this is all government money, it’s not. It’s taxpayer money.

“I oppose this item, even though it doesn’t have any outright additional money from the city, but you’re going to put more of our trust in a company that has already shown every time there’s a problem they come back for more money. So I oppose it,” Slyke said.

After the topic was closed to the public and brought back to the council, Councilman Dennis Webb requested that City Manager Chris Hillman explain the resolution on the table.

“Council, what you have in front of you tonight is a resolution that is identifying a finding relative to whether we’re going to have a convention center hotel built and operating and open by Jan. 1 of 2017,” Hillman said. “Why that is important, especially for ARK, is the development agreement and the lease agreement that you have with ARK identifies that they can receive reimbursement of state hotel taxes and sales taxes. That is an incentive that the state is offering relative to convention centers to help bolster up convention centers; so it’s part of the deal that the city entered into with ARK that way we can identify those funds from the state that we can use to reimburse ARK for their costs in building and operating the facility.

“You know city staff is now moving forward to find a new developer to help build this convention center hotel. The city and staff are very committed, as I know the council is as well, in getting the convention center hotel built as quickly as possible,” Hillman said. “We’re very appreciative of his efforts, and we’re moving quickly though the process of formulating that RFP to get it out on the street; so we can find a new partner, a business partner, in our public/private partnership to get this hotel done.

“We do not see that the likelihood of having us go through that process and having the hotel built, completed and open and operating on Jan. 1, [2017] – we do not see that that is going to likely occur. So, therefore, if that is the case, you have in front of you a finding stating simply that,” he said.

It was explained to council by city staff, that in order to receive those agreed upon hotel taxes and sales taxes provided by the state, a hotel must be present on the city-owned property outlined for convention center related improvements – within 1,000 linear feet from the convention center – by Jan. 1, 2017.

Council was also told, by staff, that the processes needed to find a new developer and build the envisioned full-scale, 350-room, hotel would take longer than the original scheduled date of Jan. 1, 2017.
“That then would, per your agreement, allow ARK to consider moving forward themselves per the agreement that you already have with them, in building a boutique hotel that would allow them the opportunity to secure those state tax, hotel tax and sales taxes, which are conditioned upon having a hotel there to benefit the convention center,” Hillman said. “One of the concerns we had immediately as staff was if this boutique hotel, which is estimated in the 150-room range would that impact or be competition for, or detract from the market of our convention center hotel.

“We do not feel that having the boutique hotel would impact or be a detriment to the market of the convention hotel given that they are two different markets and is what’s needed to help the convention center be successful,” he said.

After the conclusion of the Hillman’s presentation, Webb made a motion to approve the resolution.

“I think they [ARK] deserve that green light and for them not to get it probably is going to raise a very serious questions as to whether or not they’ll go forward and be able to do it in time for, really, the spring of 2016 not Jan. 1, 2017,” Councilman John Danish said. “I’ve often referred to this entire project as a three-legged stool that’s been crippled. It’s unfortunate that the convention hotel did not come forward as we had hoped, but it really needs that third leg of some sort of hotel to work with the entertainers that Live Nation will be bringing in, the place to put them, the tourists that come to see that and that all creates a center that enhances the viability of the entire economic success for the tax payers who are 50 percent partners in this endeavor.”

Not all council members saw the situation in the same light as Webb and Danish.

“Really what we’re being asked to do is make a finding without facts,” Councilman Brad LaMorgese said. “We haven’t been brought facts, and I think it’s a little pessimistic or cynical to say there’s no way we’ll get a convention center hotel constructed by Jan. 1, 2017.

“So I will go back to some of my old comments when I voted against the development agreement on this. I don’t think when the voters voted for a convention center, convention center hotel and an entertainment center that they envisioned – what the council also approved – was an office building and a boutique hotel – that was not in there.

“I would also point out that most hotels pay property tax and this one would not. So this is really about more money in ARK’s pocket, which I don’t blame them, I think it’s probably something they would like,” he said.

Mayor Beth Van Duyne then addressed council members.

“I do know that this is a hundred year lease, well 99 plus a year. Ninety-nine years they’re not paying any rent, and the city is receiving absolutely no revenues from this, and we’ve allowed them to put a private office building on there tax-free. Now they’re talking about getting a hotel that, while the city technically owns it – we’re responsible for it, but we get none of the revenues from it,” Van Duyne said.

Webb then tried to clarify what the council would be voting on.

“We’re voting to decide whether the experts know what they’re taking about,” Webb said. “And those people have, based on years of experience and expertise, have determined that by Jan.1 of 2017 there will be no hotel finished.

“That’s actually what we’re voting on tonight. All this other stuff about how much they’re going to make and all, that is not part of this vote,” he said.
Councilman Alan Meagher, who was also in favor of the resolution expressed his primary concern – the perception of possible future developers should they witness the night’s discussions.

“I just hope some developers aren’t watching this tonight and see how hard it is to work with this city on public/private partnerships,” Meagher said. “We should be a city that jumps and moves forward and works with developers in getting this done. It’s been difficult for ARK. It’s been difficult for others to work with us.

“We should come together as a council and get this thing moving forward and get this thing built and show developers that we are a good city to come to, and we’re looking forward to new development coming into our city,” he said.

Despite the pleadings of those council members who wished to see the resolution approved, the motion to approve failed in a 5-4 vote. Councilmen Meagher, Webb, Danish and Joe Putnam voted in favor of approval, while Van Duyne, LaMorgese, Gerald Farris, Oscar Ward and Thomas Spink voted against.

Obama meets with Gov. Perry on brief trip from DFW Airport to Dallas Love Field

DFW AF_ONE 7_9_14 305President Barack Obama met briefly with Texas Governor Rick Perry Wednesday to discuss the surge of young Latin Americans crossing illegally into Texas, a controversy that has put the two leaders at odds with one another.

Since the beginning of last October, roughly 52,000 unaccompanied children from Central America have crossed into the United States illegally, which has overwhelmed the border security system.

Perry asked that the President send a strong message to illegal immigrants by providing an additional 1,000 national guard troops along the Texas border.

“There’s nothing that the Governor indicated that he’d like to see that I have a philosophical objection to,” Obama said. “While we intend to do the right thing by theses children, their parents need to know this is a dangerous situation and it is unlikely that their children will be able to stay.”

Perry, despite the meeting with Obama, still called on the President to visit the Texas border, which Perry said that he had warned him about two years ago as Texas began seeing a rise in children crossing the border.

“A leader acts and what I haven’t seen out of this president are actions that makes me think he understands what’s going on,” Perry said on Sean Hannity’s television show just hours after the two held their meeting.

“If the Texas delegation is prepared to move, this thing can get done next week,” Obama said after stating that he hopes Perry will talk to the

Texas Republican Congressional delegation and pressure them to pass his proposal for nearly $4 billion in emergency funding to shore up the U.S. borders.

Perry and Obama also met with local elected officials and faith leaders about Dallas County commissioner court Judge Clay Jenkin’s plan to house 2,000 children from Central America in Dallas County.

Attending officials included Jenkins, Dallas County commissioner Elba Garcia, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Democratic Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas.

“For the most part, we put aside those partisan arguments and we discussed a way to get this problem resolved,” Jenkins told reporters.

Texas Wild suffers home opener defeat

IMGP1022The Texas Wild tennis team had a rough start Tuesday night during their home opener at the Four Seasons Resort and Club as the Washington Kastles served up a 24-15 defeat to Irving’s only professional team and its head coach Brent Haygarth.

Texas Wild’s Alex Bogomolov Jr., started off strong against Kastle’s Bobby Reynolds in the men’s singles match, but ultimately handed the win to Reynlolds in a 5-2 loss.

Fans regained hope of a Wild home win during the women’s singles where Anabel Garrigues of the Wild faced off against Jarka Gajdosova of the Kastles. Although it was a close match, Garrigues took the win with a 5-4 match.

In mixed doubles action Garrigues and Aisam Qureshi teamed up for the Wild and lost in a close 5-4 match against the Kastle’s Gajdosova and Leander Paes.

The Wild seemed to lose momentum going into the women’s doubles where Wild players Darija Jurak and Garrigues suffered a staggering 5-1 defeat by Kastle players Gajdosova and Anastasia Rodionova.
Bogomolov and Qureshi made a strong effort to bring the Wild’s back during the men’s doubles, but were edged out 5-3 by Paes and Reynolds of the Kastles.

The Wild’s MVP of the evening was clearly Mylan World TeamTennis (WTT) newcomer Garrigues who secured the solitary win for the team during the women’s singles.

Garrigues who is currently ranked No. 22 in doubles and No. 213 in singles as of May is a native of Valencia, Spain who joined Mylan WTT for the first time this year. She won back-to-back French Open doubles trophies in 2008 and 2009 and at the tour level has won 11 singles and 23 doubles titles.

Garrigues also touts a silver medal from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and is credited with reaching the third round, or better, at every major in singles.

The Texas Wild will return home tomorrow for more fast-paced tennis action against the San Diego Aviators who won in a close 20-19 tournament against the Philadelphia Freedoms on the Aviators home turf Tuesday night.