Lakewood Tue, 15 Apr 2014 21:11:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Police scour the M Streets for suspects involved in deadly crash Tue, 15 Apr 2014 18:19:01 +0000 Update: The victim has been identified as 13-year-old Ethan Vasquez. His 40-year-old mother Sandy Vasquez is still in critical condition. The suspects are still at large, and police are pursuing a capital murder charge. Detectives believe there are other potential witnesses. Anyone with information should call  214.671.3661. Also, Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Call 214.373.TIPS (8477). Police officers are literally opening every trash can and recycle bin looking for suspects in deadly crash @NBCDFW — Jeff Smith (@JeffSmithNBC5) April 15, 2014 A teenage boy is dead, and his mother is in critical condition at Baylor Hospital after a suspect slammed into their vehicle at Homer and Monticello in the M Streets and then fled on foot. Highland Park police had been pursuing the suspect, who then entered the Dallas city limits heading northbound on Homer in a stolen mini van at about 8:15 a.m. HP police ended the chase after the suspect began driving erratically. Next, according to a statement from Dallas Police, a witness saw the suspect run a stop sign and T-bone the victim’s car on westbound Monticello. The victim’s car rolled and hit the witness’. As the witness stopped to render aid, the suspects ran from the scene. There are two suspects but no description. NBC 5 reports that police are out with a K9 unit, going door-to-door in the neighborhood, looking for clues. They’re asking residents to remain alert to suspicious people in the streets and alleys.

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Mayor Rawlings, Mike Miles, and SMU football coach June Jones to host Envision 2020 later this month Tue, 15 Apr 2014 14:59:11 +0000 More than 30 years ago, SMU head football coach June Jones envisioned a time when he could use his role in athletics as a platform to build a mentorship outreach to help out local kids who lack sufficient mentors, role models, and hope. This month, Coach Jones is doing just that as his organization, June Jones Foundation, hosts the third annual Envision 2020 event at Gerald J. Ford Stadium Saturday, April 26, from 2-4 p.m. Coach Jones, along with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and DISD superintendent Mike Miles, will be on hand to present a faith-based pathway to success for our Dallas ISD elementary-high school youth. Featured speakers and entertainment include Moses Uvere, Fabian Ramirez, Sonja Samuels, Joel Scrivner and Raul Sanchez. The day will also include special appearances by NFL players Jerry Levias, Danny Buggs, and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown, to name a few. The concourse surrounding the stadium will be transformed into the, “Walk of Dreams,” with booths featuring a wide range of organizations, colleges and universities to give students admissions and scholarship applications. Summer camp and after school program information will also be featured. “My goal is to help these students realize their hopes and dreams and in so doing love them all along the way,” says Coach Jones. Dallas ISD, I AM Second, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Young Life, Youth-Net, Mercy Street, and Care Center Ministries are just a handful of the organizations that are partnering with the foundation for the event. Admission is free, but all students and families planning to attend must register in advance here. The event website has additional information about DART access, giveaways, and activities.

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Spotlight: long-time Woodrow teacher doubles as head pastor Tue, 15 Apr 2014 14:50:19 +0000 Teaching can be a physically and emotionally trying profession. Woodrow Wilson High School is fortunate to have a variety of teachers who give back to the community through their teaching, but one teacher pours back into lives and communities in a different and unique way. Demetri Cotton, who has been teaching at Woodrow for 28 years, is the longest tenured teacher at Woodrow. On top of his continued work as an Art teacher at Woodrow, he has been the head pastor at Goodwill Baptist Church in Pleasant Grove for the past 14 years. Cotton, the child of two former math teachers in Fort Worth, discovered Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) while driving around on his off period in his first year teaching at Woodrow in 1986, and began to give it some thought as he perused the seminary bookstore. Soon after, he pursued his Master of Theology degree while teaching at Woodrow and serving as a Deacon at his church. When Goodwill Baptist Church on Jim Miller road was between pastors, Cotton applied to be the head pastor, but was not chosen. Cotton faithfully continued to do what he did best — teach. After teaching adults at the church for several years, he eventually was chosen as the head pastor after the third preacher vacancy in a few years, and he has been in that role ever since. The church has been in existence for 82 years, and does the best it can to serve the great needs of the community in Pleasant Grove. Cotton is a gifted teacher and speaker, and enjoys “having the ability to break down theological concepts so that masses can understand and have the ability to make it relevant to their life.” He also enjoys strategically planning what is best for the church and the community. “I like coming up with the big ideas, and fortunately, I have members at my church who are great at working out the details, and seeing them through. It is a great joy, to see a plan come off, and the church and the community benefit from it.” Leading a church also has its challenges, but Cotton handles them with grace and humility. The parallels to work in the classroom are not lost on Cotton. “The most difficult part of pastoring is learning to develop a thick skin. No matter how good your intentions are, someone will have a different view, or interpretation of what you should do. Unlike the workplace where people are paid, leading a force of people who for the most part are volunteering their time and services, requires a lot of effort. You have to be more patient and understanding.” For Cotton, both teaching and preaching seem to be a natural fit. He feels that the Woodrow students are “reachable, and personable, which creates a great opportunity for us as teachers to mold, influence and impact.” While most teachers can barely find the time to keep up with their heavy work load, Cotton seems to juggle two full time jobs with class and ease. The average teacher does not spend their precious free time baptizing, marrying, and burring their friends, but Cotton feels like he is “a part of their family sharing and facilitating these special life events. It is a special and humbling experience.” Woodrow is fortunate to have teachers like Cotton who are dedicated to the school and the greater Dallas community, and certainly benefits from the diverse abilities and experiences of the teachers there. “There is one great similarity between teaching and pastoring,” Cotton says, “and that is that in both professions, you are trying to get people to do things that will ultimately impact their life for the better.” *Editor’s note: This article was written by Woodrow Wilson teacher Will Maddox, who occasionally writes stories about Woodrow students, staff, programs and other news.

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East Dallas runners remember, return to Boston Marathon Tue, 15 Apr 2014 14:01:51 +0000 A year after the terroristic and deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon, members of the White Rock Running Co-op say they are grateful to be returning to the 2014 race. Lochwood resident James Ayers had departed the race grounds an hour or so before hell broke loose last year. He left Boston last year grateful for he and his wife Amber’s safety (she was waiting for him near the finish line), impressed by Boston’s swift resilience and determined to return. But, like the rest of the day’s marathoners, bafflement and depression trumped a wide range of other feelings. A sub-three hour marathoner, James handily qualified for the 2014 marathon, and the couple decided returning to this year’s race would be a privilege. “Being a part of this year’s race is important to me because of its significance. This particular race seems to epitomize overcoming adversity. The belief that we press forward in life despite difficult situations and circumstances is something that is important to me,” Ayers says. “To see the way the city came together after last year’s horrific events was incredible. I don’t doubt that this year’s race and the events that surround it during Patriot’s day will serve as another chance for the city to move on and become stronger. It will be a special day for the city and one that I am very proud to be a part of.” He adds that he thinks this year’s race will be about as safe as it possibly can be. “I think there is always going to be some small worry with any large public event, and I’m sure that Boston probably won’t be the last time we see a tragedy like last year. But what can you do? Unfortunately it is the world we live in today. Marathon organizers have taken major measures, such as prohibiting all bags and adding checkpoint screenings. Instead of tightening the race, however, they increased the field by some 9,000 runners. That means this will be the biggest Boston Marathon with the exception of 1996 when they allowed more than 36,000 runners in honor of the event’s 100th birthday. Preston Hollow resident and WRRC member Ann Marie Brink ran her first Boston Marathon last year and was back in her hotel room before the blast. This year she’s back and her husband Greg Brink will be cheering her on. “Running the race after last year’s events is an honor,” she says. “I hope that by running, cheering, and volunteering we can all help the city of Boston reclaim Patriot’s Day as the celebration that it has traditionally been. The fact that it will happen the day after Easter lends even more weight to the idea of renewal and rebirth.” Full disclosure (or am I just bragging): I also am a member of the WRRC will be running the Boston Marathon Monday. See also: Neighborhood runners show solidarity after Boston Marathon tragedy

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School news: Woodrow student offered appointment with United States Military Academy Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:20:47 +0000 Daniel Landers (pictured above), a senior at Woodrow Wilson High School, has been offered an appointment with the United States Military Academy at West Point. He was selected by Congressman Jeb Hensarling, and will begin his career there next year. A reception was held in his honor on March 26 at Woodrow Wilson. Coming up in April, Lakewood Elementary and the Lakewood PTA are hosting their Spring Carnival on April 26. The carnival, A Space Odyssey, needs sponsors and donations for on-line auction prizes (see the list of suggested items). Woodrow Wilson High School’s spring musical is coming down the pike from April 24-27. This year, join Woodrow for its rendition of “Funny Girl,” the entertaining story of famous comedienne Fanny Brice, from her start in New York vaudeville to her rise to fame as star of the Ziegfeld Follies. Fanny falls in love and marries Nick Arnstein, a handsome gambler whose luck eventually runs out. The musical includes memorable songs such as “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” “I’m the Greatest Star,” “The Music That Makes Me Dance,” and the iconic hit “People.” Woodrow Wilson High School Auditorium is located at 100 S. Glasgow. Visit the website for more information. Tickets are $10-$18. Victor H. Hexter Elementary School is looking for volunteers to work 2.5 hour shifts in one of five mid-century and modern homes on the White Rock Home Tour coming up April 26-27. “Double shifts are doubly appreciated,” the newsletter says. To volunteer, email Diane McGhee at The Diamond Anniversary Celebration and Auction for Stonewall Jackson Elementary School will be May 9 at the Hotel Palomar. If you’d like to be a part of the auction team, contact Pennie Marshall at or Kathy Ruff at Or fill out an Auction Donation Form if you have an item or service that you would like to contribute.

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Will DISD trustees block Mata from becoming a Montesssori (or will they vote at all)? Mon, 14 Apr 2014 17:34:30 +0000 Tracie Fraley, the executive director of the Woodrow Wilson High School feeder pattern, says that plans to turn Eduardo Mata Elementary into a community-wide Montessori school next fall have been years in the making. However, changes to both Mata and its sister school, Mount Auburn, are up for a vote at the April 24 DISD board meeting, and could be overturned by trustees less than four months before the start of the 2014-15 school year. The April agenda states that the board is voting not on the Montessori program itself but on “grade configuration changes.” Since it opened in 1997, Mata has been a school for fourth- and fifth-graders who first attended other neighborhood schools through third-grade. Mount Auburn is the only remaining school that sends its students to Mata, however, so currently Mata’s 650-capacity campus has only 226 students enrolled. The April agenda proposals are to turn Mata into a pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade Montessori with a seventh- and eighth-grade fine arts academy as well as to turn Mount Auburn into a pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade school with a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) curriculum. These same proposals were on the February board agenda, but were pulled just before the meeting. Fraley was told that she had administrative authority to make the changes without needing board approval. So she moved full speed ahead — creating interest forms for parents, scheduling informational meetings and making plans to hire and train Montessori teachers — only to learn that DISD trustees Lew Blackburn, Elizabeth Jones and Bernadette Nutall requested that the Mata and Mount Auburn proposals be reinserted on the April board agenda. Blackburn, Jones and Nutall have not responded to multiple requests for comment within the last week. Trustee Miguel Solis, who represents Mount Auburn on the DISD board, believes the April agenda items are unnecessary. Adding a Montessori curriculum to Mata and STEAM curriculum to Mount Auburn are program changes, he says. “Typically, programmatic changes are made by the administration,” Solis says. “Ultimately, I believe that is where this type of decision should remain.” Solis was elected to the Dallas ISD board last November, and says he has “worked diligently” to inform himself on the Mount Auburn/Mata proposals since then. A January meeting he organized with DISD staff to inform the Mount Auburn community about the potential of a STEAM academy at Mount Auburn indicated “strong support for the program change,” Solis says. “Furthermore, Superintendent [Mike] Miles’ administration has begun talks of expanding these types of schools and others (what I refer to as 21st century schools) across the district,” Solis says. “I welcome that discussion because I believe we need to give our students and their families as many options as possible.” Mata and Mount Auburn students go on to attend J.L. Long Middle School and Woodrow Wilson High School, represented by Trustee Mike Morath. He supports the changes, citing “solid data” for Montessori curriculum as well as reducing school transitions. Morath also says it is “unclear” whether the changes need board approval, and added a policy change to the April board agenda that would clarify how the board weighs in on grade configurations. Most DISD schools are organized into pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade, sixth- through eighth-grade, and ninth- through 12th-grade; the new policy, if approved, also would allow the superintendent to reconfigure a campus into pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade or sixth- through 12th-grade without needing board approval. Nutall, whose district includes Mata, indicated at a December community meeting that she supports the Montessori curriculum at Mata but also believes DISD needs to address school boundaries. Though Mata is at 34 percent capacity, nearby Lakewood Elementary is at 155 percent capacity. Overcrowding at some neighborhood elementary schools and under-utilization at others is one of the reasons for the Mata proposal. Fraley said at the December meeting that there hasn’t been much interest in changing school boundaries, so this approach provides a more holistic alternative. Fraley also is a proponent of giving parents more choices in which school they choose to send their children. Read more about this in the May edition of Advocate, and follow our ongoing coverage of these issues on

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Woodrow teacher nominated for Dallas ISD top teacher award Mon, 14 Apr 2014 15:00:41 +0000 As part of an effort to recognize outstanding teaching, Dallas ISD announced its five finalists for top teacher award, and a teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School is among them. Patrick McGee is a high school language arts teacher who credits his success at improving minority participation in AP classes to his willingness to use “any means necessary to get students to understand the academic and practical application of English/language arts, incorporating everything from fine art to comic books, classic cinema to current television.” Also nominated was Silvia Alonzo, a bilingual reading/language arts teacher at John H. Reagan Elementary School; Dana Clark, a science teacher at Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School; Travis Smith, a high school math teacher at Trinidad “Trini” Garza Early College at Mountain View College; and Emily Tang, an English teacher at Franklin D. Roosevelt High School. The winner will be announced at a special reception and dinner sponsored by Central Market at 6 p.m. this Thursday, April 17, at the Belo Mansion, 2101 Ross Ave., Dallas, Texas. A committee of educators, parents, community partners and others selected the finalists.

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Restaurant roundup: Easter in the neighborhood Mon, 14 Apr 2014 13:13:45 +0000 Easter is right around the corner. If you and your family are looking for something local to do on Easter weekend, here’s some places to keep in mind: This spring marks the 30th anniversary of the Dallas Arboretum’s Dallas Blooms event, which is running through Easter weekend, April 20. The Dallas Arboretum is hosting its annual Easter Brunch at the Arboretum, as well as its annual easter egg hunt. Also, if your family is coming into town, Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Dallas is celebrating with a special  ”Room with a Bloom” package, offering a discounted room rate, tickets and transportation to the nearby Dallas Arboretum, and other perfectly picked perks. Dallas’s historic Highla­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­nd Park Cafeteria says it is serving Easter Sunday favorites, including prime rib and baked bone-in ham, under the leadership of new head chef Marty Cummins, as well as salmon, sweet potato casserole and other familiar comfort food. Guests will be served from 10:45 a.m. – 3 p.m. Easter Sunday at HPC, located at 1200 N. Buckner Blvd. in Casa Linda Plaza. The Blue Goose Cantina will celebrate Easter Sunday by offering $4 mimosas and $2 Miller Lites from 10am-3pm with its brunch menu; below are featured dishes: Three brunch tacos, which includes scrambled eggs mixed with beef fajitas, sautéed onions and green peppers rolled in flour tortillas; Machacado Con Huevos, Mexican-style scrambled eggs mixed with shredded beef, sautéed onions, fresh jalapenos and tomatoes; Huevos Rancheros, includes three eggs cooked any style and covered with a spicy ranchero sauce; served atop a fresh corn tortilla.

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St. John’s Episcopal School celebrates 60 years this spring Fri, 11 Apr 2014 14:25:11 +0000 St. John’s Episcopal School is recognizing its 60th anniversary this spring with a 60-day celebration, Zero to Sixty. Zero to Sixty started Feb. 26 and runs until April 26. Activities will highlight its growth from a parish day school in 1953 to a source of modern education for 500 pre-k through eighth grade students today. The Parents Association has rallied to mark the milestone with a $10,000 raffle. The drawing for this signature fundraiser will be held at a party at The LOT restaurant on the last day of Zero to Sixty, April 26, to thank the St. John’s community for its many years of support. Tickets for the third annual raffle are on sale to the general public now through April 26 at The grand-prize winner will receive a $10,000 Visa gift card; second place $2,500 of NorthPark Gold; and third place $1,000 of NorthPark Gold. Proceeds from the raffle will be used for student financial assistance, classroom technology, faculty professional development and student enrichment opportunities.

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News roundup: Popsicles, Houndstooth, Lakewood on KERA Fri, 11 Apr 2014 13:50:07 +0000 Um, hello sweetness! The Observer reported this week that Steel City Popsicles is coming to Lower Greenville, and these cool treats ain’t your childhood Popsicles. We’re talking flavors like blood orange, pineapple jalapeño, cherry sour cream, chocolate, chocolate chili… hibiscus!? See more on the Steel City website and follow them on Facebook. KERA hosted a long chat earlier this week about developments in Dallas, and Lakewood was mentioned in said chat. The two-hour talk is called, “Dallas’ Emerging Neighborhood Hotspots: Will They Survive?” Check it out. The new coming-soon Houndstooth will be hosting a series of pop-ups around town to help neighbors “get acquainted and promote local businesses,” according to this report by Culture Map. Also, Houndstooth should be opening sometime this July.

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