A look back at 2016: The photos you never got to see and the stories we never got to tell

We spent 2016 like we spend every year in Lakewood/East Dallas: Collecting the stories and photos that paint the picture of what makes this neighborhood great. But our readers only get to see a fraction of what we do; we are limited by how much we can put in print — which is an excellent reason to follow us online at lakewood.advocatemag.com, where you will find enriched magazine content and daily community news articles. Here, we’ll share some of the best images you didn’t see in our pages, along with updates about the people and issues we covered. Before you fully start 2017, look back at the wild, wet and often tense year.

Shots heard ‘round the world

Thanksgiving Square prayer service after the July 7 police shootings.
Thanksgiving Square prayer service after the July 7 police shootings. Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Life in Dallas stood still on July 7, the day a mass shooter targeted police officers at a Black Lives Matter rally downtown. This did not happen in our neighborhood, but every person in the city was touched by the violence as we prayed for the safety of our men and women in blue. In all, 14 officers were shot during the violent night, and five heartbreakingly lost their lives. In the days and weeks following the massacre, Dallas showed its true colors by coming together, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the affected officers and surrounding the force with as much love as we could muster. Neighborhood groups flooded the Northeast Division on Northwest Highway with flowers, treats and homemade cards. Blue ribbons adorned trees and homes across the neighborhood showing their support for law enforcement. Here, hundreds join hands during a peace rally downtown.

Water world

March 2016. Dallas after heavy rainfall. Credit: Danny Fulgencio
March 2016. Dallas after heavy rainfall.
Credit: Danny Fulgencio

After several years of drought, 2015 and 2016 both brought plenty of wet weather to satiate the dehydrated water tables. In August, 5.69 inches of precipitation fell, matching the 1914 record as the wettest August on record. It was par for the course, with Texas averaging 75.25 inches per year in 2015-16, the wettest 24-months in the state’s history, according to the National Weather Service. White Rock Lake “crested” 23 times in that two-year period, which means water rose above the 84-foot flood level (about 70 feet is average for the lake). That’s when we captured the spillway overflowing last March.

Skate on

Tracy Weller skates at Guapo Skills Center, a private skate park Credit: Danny Fulgencio
Tracy Weller skates at Guapo Skills Center, a private skate park
Credit: Danny Fulgencio

The Old Man Skate Cartel are the originals, the kids who cut their knees skating anywhere they could find in the 1980s and ‘90s, before skate parks were a regular urban amenity. East Dallas neighbors Tracy Weller and Jimmy Coleman have been riding boards since the early days of the sports, and today help to keep the skater culture alive in a time when screens draw more eyes than skate parks. When Guapo Skate Park closed this April, it felt like the end of an era in Dallas, and Advocate Photo Editor Danny Fulgencio was on hand to capture to the finale. But Dallas skaters rejoiced at the end of 2016 when Guapo Skate Park reopened at 4000 Elm St.

The rescuers

Dog jumping for treat
East Dallas resident Heather Harris fosters several dogs for DogRRR. Photo by Danny Fulgencio

We in our neighborhood truly love our four-legged friends, which is why each September the Advocate celebrates pets and the joy they bring to our lives. After seeing the rampant problem of loose dogs in our city, this year we broke from tradition to spotlight some of the potential pets in our neighborhood. While they didn’t have homes yet, these pooches are all well loved by a network of dedicated volunteers who spend their time and resources improving life for the most vulnerable creatures in our area. We checked in on our featured pups to see if they found their forever families. Of the four dogs from White Rock Dog Rescue that we featured, sadly, only yellow-lab mix Shasta found a home. Lolita, Spencer and Cassidy are still looking for the right families, says volunteer Lilia Hollis. Meet them at whiterockdog.org or call 214.507.4016. Over at Dallas DogRRR (Rescue, Rehab, Reform), volunteers scoop up the saddest cases they can find — most dogs have medical issues and were rescued from local euthanasia lists. Our coverage focused on eight dogs being fostered in our neighborhood, and we’re happy to share that seven of them — Faith Hill, Miriam, Spirit, Shirley, Ace Ventura, Leonard (pictured) and Gatsby, all found homes. Glory, who was left with scars across her face after being hit by a car, was moved to a sister shelter in New York where she awaits her happy ending.

Helping to hear

Patty Pace and Adam Palmer. Photo by Danny Fulgencio
Patty Pace and Adam Palmer. Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Patty Pace and Adam Palmer’s love story reads like a romance novel. After a random attack behind the Aldredge House left Palmer’s future in question, Pace stepped in to mend his wounds, both physically and emotionally. And while the two have forged a strong path toward healing Palmer, the financial realities of recovering from a serious head injury will haunt the couple’s future. Palmer’s care has been determined by what he can afford, and hearing aids, which cost several thousand dollars, was something he planned to do without. When Woodrow Wilson grad and neighborhood audiologist Dr. Jay Miller read the story, he was compelled to help. He contacted the Advocate, who connected him with Palmer so the good doctor could arrange free hearing aids to help in Palmer’s recovery.

Where the wild things are

Erich Neupert of Blackland Prairie Raptor Center holds a baby owl. Photo by Danny Fulgencio
Erich Neupert of Blackland Prairie Raptor Center holds a baby owl. Photo by Danny Fulgencio

One thing neighbors love most about life near White Rock Lake is its robust natural amenities, particularly when it comes to wildlife. Coyotes, bobcats, owls and beavers all add to the magic of our neighborhood. All year long we spotlighted several residents who help the animals living among us, from Erich Neupert, who rehabs winged creatures at Blackland Prairie Raptor Center; to Barbara Turner, who monitors the frog population at White Rock Lake for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. We had to share this unseen image — ‘cause who doesn’t love a baby owl?

End of the roll

White Rock Skate's last all skate. Photo by Danny Fulgencio
White Rock Skate’s last all skate. Photo by Danny Fulgencio
White Rock Skate's last all skate. Photo by Danny Fulgencio
White Rock Skate’s last all skate. Photo by Danny Fulgencio

When White Rock Skate Center owner Chuck Connor sold his property, a 20,000 square-foot, 43-year-old building his dad built, the neighborhood’s heart seemed to break. Gone were the retro nights of skating, the limbo contests and hokey pokey games. But not before one final blow out in October, when it seemed like the whole neighborhood came out for the community party of the year. What will happen next at the long-loved location is a question we have yet to answer. Developer Stuart Jones of LLC Shoreview Viola who purchased the 2-acre property has remained tight-lipped about his plans for the future, but has continued to buy up properties in the area, including Antioch Church.

Mini donks of mystery

Miniature donkeys on the Santa Fe Trail. Photo by Danny Fulgencio
Miniature donkeys on the Santa Fe Trail. Photo by Danny Fulgencio
Miniature donkeys on the Santa Fe Trail. Photo by Danny Fulgencio
Miniature donkeys on the Santa Fe Trail. Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Sometimes, you’re out looking for one thing and stumble on something miraculous. That’s what happened when we sent Danny Fulgencio to capture the trails for our October cover story on the ever-expanding walking paths of our neighborhood. Deep on the Santa Fe Trail, he saw them, at first not believing his own eyes. There, standing unattended among the wildflowers, was a pair of miniature donkeys. One was tied to a nearby fence, one was left to graze in the grass. With no other humans in sight, Fulgencio photographed the mini donkeys hoping their owner would wander up. It never happened, leaving us to wonder, who walked the two mini-donks down the trail?

When we became the news

Advocate Photo Editor Danny Fulgencio after being struck by a rock at a Trump Rally. Photo by Kathy Tran
Advocate Photo Editor Danny Fulgencio after being struck by a rock at a Trump Rally. Photo by Kathy Tran

While we always strive to tell the story without putting ourselves into it, that became impossible in June when our photographer made news across the world for being in the right place at the wrong time. Photo Editor Danny Fulgencio found himself in the thick of the Republican-Democratic divide when he covered President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign visit to Dallas. Fulgencio climbed up onto a bench to get a better vantage point of the raucous crowd. Without warning, he felt a sharp crack to his head as blood trickled into his eyes. A rock, thrown by an unknown person in the crowd, would make him a viral sensation over the next 24 hours. While he was patched up on scene and got right back to shooting, news media feasted on several social media posts that depicted our bloodied photographer. His Facebook exploded with interview requests. At an otherwise uneventful rally, this was the gory drama that most media led their coverage with, inspiring many inaccurate, and often hilarious, headlines. But conservative pundit Pat Dollard’s site took the cake by proclaiming, “Typical Anti-Trump Protester Bashes Gay Journalist In The Head With Rock.” We assume they confused the Lakewood/East Dallas Advocate with the gay men’s magazine of a similar name, while also assuming Fulgencio’s sexuality, causing still unknown damage to his love life (he’s straight and single, ladies).

Protesters at a rally at Gilley’s for Presidential candidate in June 2016. Photo by Danny Fuglencio
Presidential candidate Donald Trump held a rally at Gilley’s on June 16, 2016. Photo by Danny Fuglencio
A rally at Gilley’s for Presidential candidate in June 2016. Photo by Danny Fuglencio
A rally at Gilley’s for Presidential candidate in June 2016. Photo by Danny Fuglencio

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