In April, a drove of production crew members from cable network TLC descended upon Tommy Terrific’s Carwash at 5021 Ross to film an episode of their newest reality TV show, “Best Funeral Ever.” Yes, they had a funeral at the carwash. “I have to admit, this was a request I never expected!” says Tommy Terrific owner Tom Miller. “Though the funeral service was unlike any I have attended, it was clear the family was pleased to celebrate the life of the deceased at the carwash, a place their loved one truly enjoyed spending time. In the end, we were honored to participate.” The service was accompanied by a full choir, a charismatic preacher from Golden Gate Funeral Home, and a custom car-shaped casket on wheels. The best part? After the eulogy, the casket was sent through the carwash tunnel — water, soap and all.
Susan Schuerger was the recipient of the DISD Secondary Community Volunteer of the Year award on April 25 for the many hours she has served Dallas ISD. Schuerger currently serves as chairman of the Woodrow Wilson Community Council, according to her bio from the Woodrow Wilson High School Community Foundation. She has served as president of the PTA and SBDM committees at Lakewood Elementary, J.L. Long Middle School and Woodrow Wilson.
The Dallas Police Department tops the rest when it comes to social media use. Dallas Police Department is No. 1 on a list of the top 50 social media-friendly police departments in the United States, according to a list compiled by mphprogramslist.com, a free resource for graduate public health, public administration, public policy and health administration programs students. While Twitter, YouTube and Facebook can be big timewasters, they can also be used for good. Police use social media to publicize breaking news manhunts, identify offenders caught on camera, raise awareness about the latest scams and, in rare cases, accept a fugitive’s surrender.
In April, neighborhood resident and activist Bill Vandivort II organized an appreciation breakfast for police officers from the Northeast Division. Several officers — including Police Chief David Brown, a former northeast commander, and new commander Andrew Acord — attended. The breakfast was to thank the officers who worked tirelessly to track down Cesar Benitez, the guy who stands accused of committing two aggravated sexual assaults, burglary and a third attempted aggravated sexual assault in a neighborhood just north of White Rock Lake. One officer who worked on the case noted that it was the most dramatic work in which he’d ever been involved — the guy was a study in the progression of a sexual predator. The officer added that the strengthening of the police force and the community as a whole over the past several years made them successful in catching the suspect. “We sleep better at night because this community can sleep better at night,” the officer said. “Fifteen years ago we could not have worked together as a department like this. There was a time when we did not have the mentality, where a weak link could pull down an operation like that. But this time all the links worked together.” Acord, a former narcotics officer who entered the Northeast Division amid of the serial-rape investigation, says he has been impressed not only by the great police work that he has seen, but also by the character of the community. And the amount of appreciation neighbors have offered, since the takedown of the suspected rapist, has been overwhelming, he says. Civilians in attendance included several key figures who have made contributions to crime reduction in our neighborhood.
Ever wondered how to get out of a traffic jam on Central Expressway? DART will spend $8.3 million, which it says will save Dallas residents $278 million over the next 10 years on a 511 system that pulls together traffic information from other cities and transportation systems to help drivers figure out where traffic is worst. Right now, the system focuses on Central Expressway — checking the 511 website gives drivers a way to plan their transportation route for the day, says DART spokesman Mark Ball. Previously, the local transportation systems worked separately. “This is a new approach by pulling together all of the information and putting it together on one website,” Ball says. Users also can dial 511 on their phone for updates; not surprisingly, Ball says DART recommends using 511 before hitting the road for safety reasons. Drivers, he says, should not text while driving. A soft, unofficial version of the website has been made available for the public’s use.
Inrix, a Seattle-based traffic consultancy, annually ranks the most congested highways in the country. Not surprisingly, LBJ from Valley View west to Kingsley made the 2012 list — the 62nd most congested stretch of highway in the United States, up from 100 last year. Inrix says it takes 33 minutes to cover the 16.7 miles during afternoon rush hour. What is surprising is that that’s not the biggest mess in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I-35W in downtown Fort Worth (35th) and I-820 near Grapevine (54th) are worse; it takes 26 minutes to go 9.5 miles during afternoon rush hour on I-35W. The other thing that’s surprising? We’re far from the most congested. A stretch of I-35 in Austin is at 28 and US 59 in Houston, southwest of downtown, is at 45. The worst road in the U.S. is in New York, of course, on the Cross Bronx Expressway, where it takes 54 minutes to go 11 miles.