Tasties To Avoid A Holiday Trip To The Pet ER

Pooch in search of tasties

Pooch in search of tasties

With the holiday quickly approaching, there’ll be plenty of feasting. While weight gain is a worry that can be done away with in January, another concern might be for the family pooch — accidental poisoning. The Om Nom? app is a quick reference guide that lists what is okay and “Yipes!” for dogs. It does cost 99 cents and is only available on iPhones/iPads, but it might prevent an expensive run to the pet ER on Thanksgiving Day because your best friend couldn’t resist that turkey leg or Auntie Fan gave him/her some chocolates.

Quick quiz: Which of the following are very bad for dogs? Apples, grapes, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes?

Follow the jump for the answers. [Read more…]

Get A Headstart On Thanksgiving Celebrations With The Dallas Zoo’s Dollar Day And A Visit To The Dallas Arboretum

Dallas Zoo elephant (File photo)

Dallas Zoo elephant (File photo)

The Dallas Zoo is really committed to getting record crowds for 2015. To help the numbers rise, they’re having one of their legendary Dollar Days on Wednesday, November 25. The temps will be in the upper 60s/lower 70s and there might be a sprinkle or two, but shoot! For a buck, it’s worth wearing a windbreaker.

So, if you’re lucky enough to have a boss who’ll let you off early, or if you’re claiming Wednesday as a holiday, head to the zoo and wish the critters a happy Thanksgiving.

The 12 Days Of Christmas (File photo)

The 12 Days Of Christmas (File photo)

Hey! Here’s an idea. Do a twofer! Hit the zoo in the morning and the Dallas Arboretum in the afternoon to check out the 12 Days of Christmas. It’s the absolute perfect way to chill and get your mind set for the day that focuses on being grateful.

Best-Selling Author Bruce Feiler Shares The Strategy For A Happy Family With Communities Foundation Of Texas Fund Holders

[Editor’s note: With the holiday season underway, this presentation by best-selling author Bruce Feiler was more than timely. Yes, the post is long, but it has nuggets that just might provide great food for thought.]

Let’s be honest. Oh, hum, what else is new? But did you know there is a strange family made up of Father Time, Man In the Moon and then there’s Ma Nature. Gee, what a diva! She and her kids — thunder, lighting, hail, sunshine, breeze, dewdrops and the rest of herd — can really make or break a fundraiser?

So, Wednesday, November 4, the old gal was hogging the evening newscasts with threatening conditions. Hmm, did she cut a deal with the local newscasters? After all the local newscasts were in sweeps (October 29 –November 25). Was Mama Nature doing the drama queen presentation? WFAA’s Pete Delkus went into OMG mode duffing his jacket and looking like he was commandeering the Enterprise with Colleen Coyle at his side, Ashton Altieri doing social media and retired WFAA-er George Riba reporting from Texas Motor Speedway. No problem evidently as the 6:30 newscast seamlessly transitioned to Entertainment Tonight.

But the North Texas fundraisers carried on. Mary Anne McCree admitted that the weather was gonna be a challenge the next night for the Flora Awards benefiting the Texas Discovery Garden at Fair Park, but her kids would taking care of transportation and the table was going to be filled with her kids.

Still, the Communities Foundation of Texas team proved that knew how to appreciate their supporters. They held the annual Fund Holder Appreciation Dinner with a memorable speaker and such guests as Kay Bailey Hutchison, John McStay, Becky Bright, Lottye Brodsky and Bobby Lyle.

Kay Bailey Hutchison

Kay Bailey Hutchison

John McStay

John McStay

Bobby Lyle

Bobby Lyle

Becky Bright

Becky Bright

And while the swells were chatting it up in the reception area, CFT President/CEO Brent Christopher, speaker/New York Times “This Life” columnist/best-selling author Bruce Feiler and CFT Communications Director Carol Goglia were prepping for Bruce’s talk. Somehow the conversation turned to such things as battling cancer. Patting his left leg, Bruce talked about his own battle with osteosarcoma that started in 2008. Actually, best-selling author Bruce not only beat the cancer, he ended up writing “The Council of Dads” in 2011. The book deals with his arranging for six men, who had been instrumental in his life, to “look out” for his three-year-old twin daughters if he didn’t survive.

Speaking of his family, he revealed while he was in North Texas for CFT, his wife/Endeavor CEO Linda Rottenberg was just a couple of days away from orchestrating an Endeavor fundraiser in New York City with Diane von Furstenberg.

When the doors opened, Brent welcomed the group and warned them that they wouldn’t be asked for anything. It was to thank them in making CFT so successful in providing funds for the area. He recalled how at a meeting in Miami, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation CEO reported it had raised $8M in the Bay area. Brent couldn’t help but add that the 2015 North Texas Giving Day brought in a record-breaking $33M thanks to the people in the room.

Bruce Feiler and Brent Christopher

Bruce Feiler and Brent Christopher

Bruce then took over the podium opening with a story about how one of his twins, who were now 10-years old, had been in a play as a witch on trial in Salem earlier in the day. Alas, she was “convicted 4 to 3 and given the death penalty. So, there are a lot of blood-thirsty fifth graders in Brooklyn…We’ll miss her. So, my family has gotten smaller.” But he would still go on to talk about happy families.

Perhaps it was with the holidays approaching that his talk seemed so appropriate — the secrets of a happy family.

In his own family, the issue of estate planning has become a major topic with his father in his 80s and “deep into Parkinson’s.” Every year his family gathers for two weeks at Tybee Island near his hometown, Savannah.

[At his wife’s suggestion, Bruce advised his audience that for years he’s been writing about “happy families, not because I had one but I wanted one…We’re not writing from a position of strength but from one of weakness.”]

The various family members had different various issues from “bringing up children to bringing down parents.”

At the first night’s dinner, Bruce asked his adolescent nephew to stop his texting. Kaboom! His sister snaps at him for admonishing her son. His mother said none of the children had any manners. His brother said while the children were around they couldn’t have an adult conversation. His wife “went to the kitchen to get ice cream which is exactly what her mother would have done.”

Later in the evening, his father told Bruce that the family was falling apart, but Bruce protested. The next morning Bruce asked Linda, “Who do we turn to, to make sure our family is going to work?”

The result was years of researching and two books to provide the information “What do happy families do right? and “What can I learn from them?”

In setting out on this search, he promised his wife that he would only bring home actual things that happy family are doing. He promised himself not to talk to therapists and not to cram all he had learned into “one of those handy lists.”

However, he confessed he was going to present his lightning round of non-list list of ideas. He doubted anyone would agree with all, but if they tried just three of them, they would have a happier family.

  • Adapt all the time. A study of 1,000 children and their parents was conducted asking what would the children want of their parents. The parents said the kids would want more time with them. The kids said they wanted their parents to less tired and less stressed. One of his suggestions regarded the Sunday evening meeting of the family where three areas are addressed:
    • What went well in the family this week?
    • What didn’t go well?
    • A vote is taken by the family on which two items are going to be worked on.

This allows the children to be interactive in the family happiness by picking their own rewards and punishments.

  • Talk a lot about what it means to be part of a family
    • Create a family mission statement that will stimulate progress and preserve the core.
    • Have family dinners. The U.S. is #33 out of 35 countries where the family dinner is being held.
    • Talk about money. 80% of children go to college without having ever spoken to their parents about money. Some parents don’t want to “burden” their children with financial issues. However, it is more beneficial for a child to learn “when the stakes are low” than later in life.
    • Tell your family history. According to research, children who know more about their family, have a higher belief in controlling the world around them. It was the #1 predictor of a child’s emotional well-being. There are three types of family narratives: 1. Descending — Due to circumstance, we lost a lot;  2. Ascending — We came from nothing and are now successful and 3. Oscillating — Family who experienced ups and downs of life experiences. This group knows that they can overcome hardships.
  • Go out and play — Younger people have a different understanding of philanthropy resulting in a tension between generations. All families have conflict. The goal is to reduce the conflict. Find some time to have fun with your family, whether it’s cooking, play a game, etc.

Quoting the opening line of “Anna Karenina” — “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” — he concluded with “Happiness is not a matter of circumstance. It’s a matter of choice…The secret — try.”

Fund A Cure Patrons Gathered To Celebrate The Inspiration Of Clement George And His Folks

Over at Gail and Cliff Fischer’s estate, Clement George and his bride of six months Molly George seemed a bit overwhelmed by all the attention being given to them. It seems that just as he was being discharged in 2011 from the Navy, where he was awarded two Nancy Achievement Medals, a Meritorious Unit commendation Medal and Humanitarian Service Medal, he wasn’t feeling quite up to snuff. It wasn’t leaving the military. It was something different. It turned out to be Type 1 diabetes and a life-changing development for him, as well as his parents Tricia and Kenn George.

Molly and Clements George and Cindy Turner

Molly and Clements George and Cindy Turner

But like anything facing the George clan, they were going to face it together like a powerhouse. Of course, Clement got his marching orders and followed his new regimen, but Tricia and Kenn weren’t just going to be grateful and say their prayers for their son. They were going to undertake a project that would provide funding to advance the research for a cure. That project turned out to be co-chairing Fund A Cure luncheon benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at Brook Hollow on Thursday, November 5.

But leave it to the Georges that all their friends were going to pitch in and help. That’s where Gail and Cliff came in. They hosted the patron party with Cassandra doing the catering. While Richard Eiseman, Paul Divis and Bob Schlegel hunkered down around the dining room table of goodies, the gals like Jeanne McDonald, Maureen Redish, Cindy Turner, Anne Reeder, Myrna Schlegel, Linda Secrest and newly named Equest Women’s Auxiliary President Di Johnston chatted it up in the entry and living room.

Jeanne McDonald, Gail Fischer and Maureen Redish

Jeanne McDonald, Gail Fischer and Maureen Redish

Linda Secrest

Linda Secrest

Di Johnston

Di Johnston

Also on hand were Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Board members Kim Roosevelt with husband David Roosevelt and International Board of Directors Chair John Brady, who had just flown in.

John Brady, Tricia George and Kim and David Roosevelt

John Brady, Tricia George and Kim and David Roosevelt

As for keynote speaker Gene Stallings, he was in Paris (Texas, that is) and was gonna drive down the next day for the lunch.

Michael Young And Talmage Boston Hit One Out Of The Park For Communities In Schools Dallas Region

Even if you didn’t know the difference between a home run or a runner in your stocking, you would have loved being at the Communities In Schools Dallas Region’s Line Drive Luncheon on Wednesday, November 4 at Edison’s. Part of the reason was having attorney/baseball historian Talmage Boston chat it up with former Texas Ranger great/present Texas Ranger staffer Michael Young. Here’s a report from the field:

Baseball season may be over, but Texas Rangers fans rallied at Edison’s for lunch with Mr. Ranger himself, Michael Young. Young was the guest speaker at the 2015 Line Drive Luncheon, where he appeared with moderator Talmage Boston to “talk baseball” and raise money for Communities in Schools Dallas Region, Inc. (CISDR).

Guests arrived at 11:30 for a VIP Reception in the Bentley Room, where they lined up for exclusive photo ops with Young. From there they moved into Edison’s Gatsby Room for a silent auction, raffle and an All-American Ballpark Buffet featuring Eddie Deen’s freshly grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, served with sweet potato fries, baked beans and plenty of “fixin’s.”

Anne Lindsey Hunt, Michael Young and Davin Hunt*

Anne Lindsey Hunt, Michael Young and Davin Hunt*

The program started at noon with CISDR Board Chair Karl Schmalz and President & CEO Dr. Judith Allen-Bazemore. Dr. Allen-Bazemore thanked the previous year’s Line Drive Luncheon Chairs, Pam and Philip Bush, and introduced Anne Lindsey and Davin Hunt, Co-Chairs of CISDR’s Adopt An Angel holiday giving program. After a brief video about the problems facing today’s at-risk youth, Michael Young and Talmage Boston took the stage for an informal discussion about the Texas Rangers in both the on- and off-season, as well as Young’s life as a father and his advice for kids who want to make it to the Big Leagues.

“Play other sports,” he said. “Don’t just play baseball.”

Talmage Boston and Michael Young*

Talmage Boston and Michael Young*

When asked if he played other sports as a kid, Young said that he played them all: football, basketball, etc. He encouraged the athletes of tomorrow to broaden their horizons, so that they can find out what they’re best at.

Soaking up Michael Young’s life advice were nine students from T.J. Rusk Middle School in Dallas. The students sat up front with guests from Presenting Sponsor Alon USA. At the end of the luncheon, they joined Impact Texas host “Hondo” Robertson to draw raffle winners. CISDR Board Member Lou Ann Richardson won the “Surf & Turf” dining package, and promptly donated it to the students’ chaperon, CISDR Site Coordinator Tambara Pope.

Hondo Robertson, Rusk Middle School students and Judith Allen-Bazemore*

Hondo Robertson, Rusk Middle School students and Judith Allen-Bazemore*

The 2015 Line Drive Luncheon was made possible by Alon USA, Briggs Equipment, the Lawrence B. Dale Family Foundation, Dr. Bonnie Martin & Associates, Claire and Talmage Boston, Lou Ann Richardson, Flowserve, Ernst & Young, Pam and Philip Bush, and Petty & Associates. Part of CISDR’s ongoing 30th Birthday Celebration, the Line Drive Luncheon will be followed up with the Dream Achievers Luncheon featuring Caroline Rose Hunt, taking place on Thursday, February 11, 2016, at the Dallas Arboretum.

For additional information about Communities In Schools of the Dallas Region, Inc. and its role in educational reform initiatives, please refer to the organization website at www.cisdallas.org. Visit CIS National at www.communitiesinschools.org to find other Communities In Schools locations.

About Communities In Schools of the Dallas Region

Communities In Schools of the Dallas Region, Inc. (CISDR) is a nonprofit organization that provides campus based integrated academic and social support to students deemed at-risk per Texas Educational Agency, in partnership with local school districts. Since 1985, the mission has been to surround students with a community of support and empower them to stay in school and succeed in life. The local CISDR program can be found on K–12 campuses in 12 school districts in Dallas, Collin, Ellis, Hunt and Rockwall counties.

* Photos provided by Communities In Schools Dallas Region

As The Chill Approaches, It’s Time To Part Company With Old Pals

Ralph Lauren sweater and shawl

Ralph Lauren sweater and shawl

The weather is going to dip to the chilly level this weekend and there are loads of bargains. Translation: Perfect time to go shopping for those items to stave off the cold. A Ralph Lauren turtleneck with shawl wouldn’t be bad. A fluffy duvet with a King Pheasant duvet cover would be peachy to snuggle under. And, of course, a new Paddington coat would be just perfect.

But, wait! Where to put these new must-haves? Simple answer. Edit that closet. There’s “stuff” in there that hasn’t seen the light of day in seasons.

Face it. They’re old friends that were spectacular in their day. And like an old friend, they shouldn’t be abandoned, nor should they grow old and stale in an old closet.

Aha, you know where this line of thinking is going. Why not put your mind in that gut-wrenching place, go through your closet and have a going-away party for those clothes and blankets that you no longer need. After wiping away the tears, take them to Goodwill, Attitudes and Attire, The Family Place Resale Shop, Genesis Benefit Thrift Store or your fav shelter.

Not only might you be providing warmth for a total stranger, but your “old friend” might just give that person a new lease on life and get them headed in a totally new and better direction.

JUST IN: Equest Luncheon And Fashion Show Check Presentation Had An Oopsie

Equest Luncheon and Fashion Show Chair Emilynn Wilson and her crew including 2016 Auxiliary President Di Johnston and Kristina Whitcomb were thrilled to present a check for $221,200 to 2015 Equest Women’s Auxiliary President Beth Layton. The plan called for Beth then to hand it over to Equest’s Interim CEO Lili Kellogg.

It was all set to take place today in the Highland Park Village offices, and HPV head honcho Ray Washburne even left a meeting to join the presentation. Made sense, since HPV provided the glamorama fashions for the fundraiser.

But when the big, showy check arrived, there was a problem. The amount was wrong. There weren’t any sad faces, though. Seems that an additional $1,000 had come in just after the check had been produced. That’s why so many smiley faces appeared.

Di Johnston, Beth Layton, Ray Washburne, Emilynn Wilson, Lili Kellogg and Kristina Whitcomb

Di Johnston, Beth Layton, Ray Washburne, Emilynn Wilson, Lili Kellogg and Kristina Whitcomb

And, rest easy. Yes, the for-real, bank-accepted check had the right amount.

Callier Cares Luncheon Leadership Gathers For Lunch At The Melrose To Discuss Lunch At Brook Hollow Golf Club

Angie Kadesky and Michal Powell

Angie Kadesky and Michal Powell

While the buses lined up in front of the Melrose Hotel’s back driveway that years ago fronted the pool instead of the parking lot, inside a small group of folks gathered inside The Landmark restaurant for lunch on Wednesday, November 4.

It was to discuss plans for the 2016 Callier Cares Luncheon. Callier Cares Chair Angie Kadesky revealed that the Callier Care Fund fundraiser will be held on Tuesday, April 19, at Brook Hollow Golf Club.

Included in the group was attorney Stuart Bumpas, who will be presented the Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award for his 30 years of serving on the Foundation for the Callier Center board.

Stuart Bumpas

Stuart Bumpas

Thomas Campbell

Thomas Campbell

According to Callier Center for Communication Disorders Executive Director Thomas Campbell, Stuart’s “longstanding dedication has played an instrumental role in the growth of the Callier Center and in making lives better for patients with communication disorders.”

The award “is presented annually to an individual or group of individuals who has contributed significantly to the betterment of the community and to advancing the care of patients with communication disorders.”

Honorary Co-Chair Michal Powell managed to squeeze in the get-together in between her job of chairing the December 5th Crystal Charity Ball.

Individual tickets start at $150 and tables of 10 range from $1,500 to $25,000.

JUST IN: The Dallas Opera Board Extends Contracts Of Key Leaders Until 2022

Just as the season was transitioning into the uber-giving season, word arrived that The Dallas Opera has given a big couple of gifts to the artistic community of Dallas. The Dallas Opera Board extended the contracts of General Director/CEO Keith Cerny and Musical Director Emanuel Villaume to June 30, 2022.

Keith Cerny and Emmanuel Villaume*

Keith Cerny and Emmanuel Villaume*

According to Board Chair Steve Suellentrop, “Over the past five years, Keith Cerny has demonstrated exemplary leadership… Working closely with the Board, Keith has also played a major role in achieving three consecutive balanced budgets – the first time in fifteen years that The Dallas Opera has achieved this result.

“Music Director Emmanuel Villaume has accomplished a great deal in his first two years with the company.  In addition to conducting several outstanding productions, he has made Dallas his musical home; using his considerable intelligence and charm to forge extremely positive relationships with the community, our Board, and our supporters.”

Congrats to the Cerny and Villaume households and The Dallas Opera’s board for this “let’s keep the right team together.”

* Photo credit: Karen Almond, Dallas Opera

2016 Children’s Cancer Fund Will Be A Nighttime Soiree And Roger Staubach Wants “To Beat The Hell Out Of This Disease”

The calm before the storm. That was Wednesday, November 4. By evening WFAA’s Pete Delkus still had his jacket on. It would soon to be removed. But before all heck broke loose for another bout with Mother Nature’s rocky personality, lucky fundraisers took a deep breath and filled the day with activities. It started just after 7 a.m. and ended past 9 p.m. Face it — fundraising doesn’t know an eight-hour day.

The launch of the Children’s Cancer Fund Kick-Off breakfast at Lisa and Clay Cooley’s wasn’t supposed to start until 7:45 a.m. But folks were showing up at 7:15 a.m. and the Cooleys were ready.

Lisa had been up at 5 and the crew of caterers and valets were in place at 7 for the near 200 to hear about plans for the 2016 fundraiser.

Jack Barker and Chance Cooley

Jack Barker and Chance Cooley

One of the guests in the crowd was Jesuit student Jack Barker, who was also a former classmate of Chance Cooley. Sure, his mom Giora Barker was co-chairing the 2016 Children’s Cancer Fund event with Lisa, but there was more to his being there and that would be revealed later.

Speaking of Chance, he couldn’t stay for the presentation. Had to head off to school in an ultra-cool car. As he prepared to drive off, Clay advised his son to drive safely.

Another cute fella in the crowd was Luke Lange, who posed with his folks Tracy and Ben Lange and Children’s Cancer Fund Honorary Co-Chair Roger Staubach.

Clay Cooley, Luke Lange and Ben Lange

Clay Cooley, Luke Lange and Ben Lange

With guests having business commitments at 9, the program ran like an atomic clock.

Lisa thanked folks for coming and Roger recalled how 28 years ago, when they held the first Children’s Cancer Fund event, “It was beautiful women in lingerie. Boy, we used to have a great turnout for that luncheon…and they still have a great turnout.”

He admitted that over the years there have been some very sad stories, but there have also been some great stories as a result of the Children’s Cancer Fund’s efforts.

Stephen Skapek

Stephen Skapek

Roger then turned the program over to Dr. Stephen Skapek and Dr. Patrick Leavey, who provided updates on children’s cancer.

Despite the barrage of statistics and facts that have been reeled off in the past, the cold reality of Stephen’s voice when he said, “I’m sick of children dying of cancer.”

To put a face with the situation, Giora and Jack took their places in front of the fireplace in the living room that was packed with people. They told of Jack’s successful battle against cancer and how it was due to the funding of research and treatments. Jack, who was diagnosed with T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of 12, spent the next three years with Children’s Health healthcare professionals and his family to beat the cancer. In 2010 he was one of the Children’s Cancer Fund’s artisans, who had an army supporting him. Today the 18-year old is on the Jesuit crew team, loves to scuba dive and ski and is his mother’s inspiration. He quickly became an inspiration for the early-morning risers in the room that included Children’s Cancer Fund Board President Karen McClard, Children’s Cancer Fund Executive Director Brittney Bannon, Coley Clark, Scott Murray and Children’s Cancer Fund Co-Founder Fred Shapiro.

Karen McClard, Lisa Cooley, Roger Staubach, Giora Barker and Brittney Bannon

Karen McClard, Lisa Cooley, Roger Staubach, Giora Barker and Brittney Bannon

Patrick Leavey and Fred Shapiro

Patrick Leavey and Fred Shapiro

Unlike years past, The Children’s Cancer Fund Gala fundraiser will be a nighttime affair on Friday, April 22, at the Hilton Anatole. Lisa explained that by having it at night, it would allow more men to attend and there wouldn’t be the problem of having to leave for an afternoon meeting.

In addition to the fashion show and auction, there will be dinner and entertainment by Emerald City. Tickets start at $300 per person.

According to Roger, they’ll be raffling off “a Clay Cooley car — a 1952 Plymouth.” No, that was just Roger joshing about the Plymouth, but he was right about a Cooley care being raffled off.

But Roger was serious when he said, “We need to beat the hell out of this disease.”

True to their promise, the breakfast meeting was a done deal in time for peeps to be off to those 9 o’clock commitments.

Grovel Alert: The Art Of Film

Ran into Dallas Film Society grand poobah Lee Papert tonight and he alerted all within earshot that Friday’s The Art of Film with “almost-a-local” Isabella Rossellini is nearing the done deal status.

Well, wonder why? Isabella and Gary Cogill chatting it up? There will be so many different topics to hit that guests might as well bring their sleeping bags because the talk may go way into the night.

And the surroundings won’t be shabby with walls of Andy Warhols watching the guests. Perhaps Marilyn Monroe will be looking over a shoulder? Or Mao Tse-tung looking just over your head? (Hint: If you don’t know any of the boldfacers mentioned in this graph, call up your history teacher and tell them that they failed you. That is, unless you skipped that semester.)

Whatever! Get your tickets if you love movies, want the scoop from Isabella, meet her daughter Elettra Wiedemann (aka Ingrid Bergman‘s grand daughter) or just want a cool night with film lovers of all ages.

Question: Is Gary gonna ask about the making of “Blue Velvet”? He’d better.

Get Those 2016 Events Submitted For MySweetCharity Calendar



Before going totally into “holiday mode” where turkeys and Black Friday dominate brain cells, consider the longterm future. Are there any 2016 events that need to be posted on the MySweetCharity Calendar?

It’s easy. It’s even free unless you want to add bells and whistles to the listing. Just “submit” the info and let the world know that your event is scheduled. It gives fair warning to other event planners that they might want to rethink the timing of their fundraiser.

BTW, there’s already a problem on the 2016 horizon. It’s the month of March. Yipes! It seems the various school districts are taking their spring breaks at different times during the month. Here’s a brief rundown of the schedule spring breaks:

  • March 7-11: Highland Park, Jesuit, Richardson, Ursuline and SMU
  • March 14-18: Dallas Independence School District
  • March 21- 28: Hockaday and St. Mark’s School

Now if there are no munchkins in the household, it may not seem like a big deal. But for fundraisers, it could mean a major migraine, since many potential guests may be making plans to head out of town with the kiddos.

Alas, last year was so lovely when all the schools took the same week off.

This situation means that fundraising efforts will be crammed into February, April and May to make up for the March madness.

So, get those events and their dates in pronto!

Plans Announced To “Celebrate” WaterTower Theatre’s 20th Anniversary With A Change Of Venue

The folks at WaterTower Theatre never rest. They’ve hardly had time to recover from the world premiere of “Creep,” and now they’re putting plans together for the theatre’s 20th anniversary.

According to WaterTower Theatre Producing Artistic Director Terry Martin, the anniversary will be the focus of the annual Spotlight Gala’s “Celebrate” on Saturday, April 9.

Barbara Daseke and Laree Hulshoff (File photo)

Barbara Daseke and Laree Hulshoff (File photo)

Buds Barbara Daseke and Laree Hulshoff, who are spearheading the Aging Minds Foundation tribute to Bob Miller, are busily at work with Deborah Staggs planning for the event. They’ve divvied up the responsibilities. Barbara will be the chair and Laree and Deborah will be co-chairs. For honorary co-chairs, the trio has already gotten Barbara and Bob Bigham on board.

But change is afoot. Instead of holding the event at WaterTower Theatre, the gala will take place in the Grand Ballroom of the Marriott Quorum Hotel.

Tickets will start at $250 for the evening of cocktails, dining, dancing, auction and a raffle.

That raffle of three packages includes:

  • New York Theatre Trip for Two. Includes tickets to two fabulous New York theatre companies.
  • Luxury staycation. An overnight stay for two at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Addison including complimentary breakfast. Prize also includes dinner for two at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House and tickets to a WaterTower Theatre production.
  • Theatre Tickets. In honor of our 20th Anniversary Season, you will receive 20 tickets to WaterTower Theatre. They can be used all for one show or spread out across the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 Seasons.

BTW, the raffle tickets ($10 for one and $25 for three) are a twofer. In addition to entering the purchaser into the raffle, it also is “a $15 coupon to Kenny’s Wood Fired Grill or Kenny’s Italian Kitchen.” So, even if you don’t win the raffle, you can still get a good deal on dinner at your leisure.

These value-added raffle tickets might make great Christmas gifts.

Barbershop Quartet Welcomes The Trains At NorthPark Patrons At Kacy And Carter Tolleson’s Home

Just a few blocks away from Melissa and Trevor Fetter‘s party for the Silver Supper Announcement party on Tuesday, November 3, Kacy and Carter Tolleson opened their home for The Trains At NorthPark patron party benefiting the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. Here’s a report from the field:

Kacy and Carter Tolleson

Kacy and Carter Tolleson

Before The Trains at NorthPark opens on Saturday, November 21, the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas feted the supporters of this holiday tradition at Kacy and Carter Tolleson’s home. As guests arrived, Smooth Brew, a barbershop quartet, surprised and delighted the 100 guests.

The most elaborate miniature toy trains exhibit in Texas, The Trains at NorthPark includes locomotives rolling across multiple tracks on a journey across America marked by memorable landmarks. New this year will be Mount Rushmore that features Thomas the Train and his friends. Also new is the location, which will be on Level Two next to Nordstrom.

Smooth Brew

Smooth Brew

Thousands of visitors enjoy The Trains at NorthPark each season, which is one of Dallas’ most cherished family holiday traditions. Since 1987, the event has raised nearly a third of the operating budget for the children and families served by the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas.

Carolyn and Karl Rathjen

Carolyn and Karl Rathjen

Ronald McDonald House of Dallas CEO Jill Cumnock welcomed guests. “Thank you, Kacy and Carter, for hosting us in your beautiful home. We also want to thank Carolyn and Dr. Karl Rathjen as our honorary co-chairs. Dr. Rathjen is assistant chief of staff, director of pediatric orthopedic services, Children’s Health℠, and president of the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children Foundation. He’s treated many children who have stayed at the House.”

Cumnock introduced April Cook and Jennifer Tobin. April has been involved with the House for 15 years as a Young Friend and as Trains railcar chair. She’s taken her young sons to the exhibit and has amassed a collection of railcars for them. Tobin has been involved with the nonprofit through the Junior League of Dallas and has taken her young daughter to the exhibit while starting a family collection of railcars.

April said, “Thank you for all the committee members and Co-Chairs-Elect Annika Cail and Sarah Friedman. Thank you to Sponsor Party Co-Chairs Lindy Berkley and Kacy Tolleson for planning tonight’s beautiful event.”

Jennifer added, “We’re thankful for NorthPark hosting The Trains for the past 17 years. Thank you Bank of Texas, for all you do for Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. There are several people here tonight with Bank of Texas including Pat Brockette, who is senior vice president, manager Commercial Banking. We also have Jacquie Donovan, Rex Lofland, Nathan Jacks and Margaret Thomann. We truly could not put on this event without Bank of Texas’ help, and we hope that you’ll continue your support next year.”

Pat spoke next. “Bank of Texas has been the presenting sponsor of The Trains at NorthPark, for the past seven years, and we’re involved because we believe in the important work that the House does caring for families during a difficult time in their lives. Our bank’s holiday party at The Trains for our employees and families is by far the largest with nearly 500 people.”

Karl added his thoughts about the House. “There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t see someone who’s staying at the House. The House does a good job of providing a place to stay, three meals, but most importantly, the healing that happens. It’s transformational what the House does, and we’re thankful to be a part of it.”

After these remarks, people continued sipping adult beverages and sampling the hors d’oeuvres created by Eating Royally/Darren McGrady, including: chicken fried quail with chili buttermilk dressing; lobster Mac and cheese balls; blue corn pancakes with smoked, pulled pork, jalapeño cream cheese and peach jelly; Stilton and walnut shortbread with goat cheese and grilled pears; and Chimichuri flank steak tostados with black beans and sour cream.

Ways to support The Trains at NorthPark:

  • Sponsorship: — The Trains at NorthPark offers sponsorship opportunities to individuals, businesses, community organizations and schools. For those interested, contact Chief Development Officer Diane Fullingim.

Hand-painted railcars are available to purchase, and they can be personalized. A standard railcar is $175, a caboose is $225, a limited edition RMHD rail car is $275 and an engine is $325. Visit http://www.thetrainsatnorthpark.com/ to place an online order.

Sponsors are able to attend The Trains at NorthPark Sneak Peek party on Saturday, November 21, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Held before the exhibit opens to the public, this event is a favorite for sponsors and their children who get to be the first to see the trains roll into Dallas.

  • Volunteer — More than 2,000 volunteers are needed to run the trains. For those interested in volunteering as individuals or as a group to work three-hour shifts, visit http://www.thetrainsatnorthpark.com/. Volunteers must be at least 15 years old without a parent, or 12-14 years old and accompanied by a parent.

Communities Foundation Of Texas’ 2016 GiveWisely Applications Are Due In One Month

There’s just a month left to submit applications for the 2016 GiveWisely program sponsored by Communities Foundation of Texas. No, it’s not a study on the three wise men. The five-class series provides information for “a relatively small group of donors to sharpen their goals and strategies toward giving.”

The following schedule calls for the classes to run from 7 to 9 p.m.:

  • Session #1 (Wednesday, January 20): Identifying Your Values — What are your core values? How do they show up in your giving- or do they? Discussing values, personal giving statements and charitable budgets.
  • Session #2 (Wednesday, February 17): Pinpointing Your — This session will guide you through further identifying your philanthropic values, goals and legacy- and effectively communicating your giving philosophy with family, friends and the nonprofit community.
  • Session #3 (Wednesday, March 23): Evaluating Effectiveness— Understanding community needs and assessing nonprofits to bring your personal perspective to bear on solving community problems. This session is complemented by the special off-site session, “How to Conduct a Site Visit” on Saturday, April 9.
  • Session #4 (Wednesday, April 13): Philanthropist Panel — Hear from a panel of philanthropists and discuss the challenges, successes and impact of giving.
  • Session #5 (Wednesday, April 29): Beyond the Class: Keeping Focus and Impact in Your Giving — Finalize your personal giving statements and your charitable budget for the year ahead in this workshop session.

According to last year’s GiveWisely participant Christine Allen, “I high recommend this class to anyone who has a heart to make the world a better place, but isn’t sure about the best way to make a personal impact. It’s an exceptional class, extremely well-organized, and every topic leads to valuable discussion. GiveWisely truly helps people hone in on their passions and apply their resources.”

While the series is free, “each member (or participating couple) will make a tax deductible $500 gift to Communities Foundation of Texas, to be directed to the nonprofit of their choosing at the end of the class.”

The deadline for applications is Friday, December 18.

Dwell With Dignity To Hold A Three-Day Moving Sale Starting Thursday

It’s a not-so-good news, good news, great news situation. Confused? Read on.

Those Dwell With Dignity folks, who “help families escape poverty and homelessness through design,” are having to move out of their warehouse at 1605 N. Stemmons. It’s been their home-sweet-home for their stockpile of furnishings since 2009, thanks to the donation of its use by Dunhill Partners. Alas, the growing Dallas Design District has resulted in the warehouse’s need to be torn down for new construction. That was the not-so-good news.

But don’t get your hankies out and feel boo-hoo for Dwell With Dignity. They’ve already landed a new location and are getting ready to move. That’s the good news.

Now for the great news and it’s great news for you. The Dwell With Dignity folks really don’t want to haul all of their stuff from the old place to the new one. It’s such a hassle, don’t you know? So, they’re opening their doors Thursday, November 19, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a three-day blowout sale. Yup! You heard it. There’ll be all types of high-end designer goods on sale with “proceeds from the sales going right back to Dwell With Dignity.”

Your biggest problem is deciding whether you’ll need a hookup trailer or an 18-wheeler to haul away your booty.

JUST IN: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Provides A $500,000 Grant For The Linda And Mitch Hart Institute For Women Conductors At The Dallas Opera

Linda and Mitch Hart (File photo)

Linda and Mitch Hart (File photo)

Leave it to Linda and Mitch Hart to inspire others! Just last month they provided a nice financial support for an “innovative program to support the career aspirations and advancement of women conductors in the field of opera, while addressing the thorny problems resulting from ingrained gender inequality at the top of the profession.”

As a thank you, the program was officially named “The Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera.”

Well, the initiative evidently impressed the folks at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, who just “awarded a $500,000 grant over a three-year period” to support the program that is truly unique.

And the timing couldn’t be more perfect, as the inaugural institute takes place from Saturday, November 28, through Sunday, December 6. The ladies benefiting from the institute will include Jennifer Condon of Australia/Germany, Jessica Gethin of Australia, Natalie Murray Beale of the United Kingdom, Stephanie Rhodes of the U.S., Anna Skryleva of Russia/Germany and Lidiya Yankovskaya of the U.S.

The American observers will be: Arianne Abela, Luçik Aprahämian, Avlana Eisenberg and Co Boi Nguyen.

Bravo, Linda, Mitch, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The Dallas Opera.

Round Robin November 3: Christmas In The Park At Fair Park And Dallas Museum Of Art’s Silver Supper Announcement Parties

With Halloween hardly a sugary memory, Christmas lights were already brightening up yards on Tuesday, November 3.

At Highland Park Village the boo-hoo memories of the late Tom Thumb had been put to bed and the welcome wagon was out for Royal Blue Grocery as people checked out the foodie boutique. Thank heaven! It happened just in time. Because the HPV’s Starbucks was all papered up due to an interior refreshening. Shocked caffeine fiends looked as if they were going through withdrawal as they saw their beloved jolt-source closed. One fella was pointed to Royal Blue Grocery, but he admitted that he had no coin and had planned to use his mobile Starbucks card. Last seen he was headed to the Knox Starbucks.

Christmas In The Park At Fair Park

On the other hand, another group of men gathered upstairs at HPV’s Mockingbird Room to learn about the plans for the upcoming Christmas in the Park at Fair Park. Plans call for the S.M. Wright Foundation’s Christmas celebration to provide toys for munchkins thanks to “area Santas.”

It will take place in the Automobile Building at Fair Park on Saturday, December 19. While it officially starts at 8:30 a.m., the lineup gets underway in the wee hours of December 19th.

If you would like to share in the giving, you can donate here or sign up to volunteer here. If you know of someone with a child who just might be in need of a toy, registration info can be found here!

Silver Supper

Trevor and Melissa Fetter*

Trevor and Melissa Fetter*

On the other side of Preston Road, new Dallas Museum of Art Board of Trustees Chair Melissa Fetter and her husband Trevor Fetter opened their Mediterranean-style mansion for art lovers like Jennifer and Coley Clark, Nancy Dedman, Emily and Steve Summers and James Campbell to hear about plans for the Dallas Museum of Art’s Silver Supper in the Chilton 2 Gallery from Co-Chairs Claire Dewar and Cathy Kincaid Hudson.

Claire Dewar and Cathy Kincaid Hudson*

Claire Dewar and Cathy Kincaid Hudson*

But before the announcement, the 100 guests explored the breathtaking home. John Phifer Marrs was full of superlatives as he admired the estate. Even John, who has had his share of show-stopping residential projects, confessed that the estate was an amazing accomplishment.

Nancy Dedman and Brad Kelly*

Nancy Dedman and Brad Kelly*

And what was so out-of-this-world remarkable? The main house that was built in the 1930’s was meticulously updated and enhanced by a truly spectacular second building that included a guest quarter, four-car garage, Melissa’s office, an exercise room and much more. And yet, thanks to J Wilson Fuqua and Associates Architects, Brad Kelly and other craftsmen, the connection between the 1930’s and the 21st century was absolutely seamless.

And on this clear night and thanks to exquisite lighting, it was spectacularly perfect.

Laura and Walter Elcock*

Laura and Walter Elcock*

So was the announcement. IMA Interim Director Walter Elcock briefly told of the history of the DMA’s silver collection and how the dinner started 24 years ago. Last year’s dinner brought in $300K.

Claire revealed that in addition to the exclusive dinner on Friday, January 29th, at which the DMA’s collection of silver is trotted out, there would be the addition of a symposium at Brook Hollow.

Cathy picked up from there. telling the guests that the head of Hearst would be in attendance and that House Beautiful and other Hearst publications would be involved. In addition to the dinner, there would be a symposium involving the Duquette Foundation for the Living Arts on Thursday, January 28, at which Hutton Wilkinson, business partner of the late American design icon Tony Duquette, will join the DMA’s Olivier Meslay and British antique dealer Peter Woods. It will be interesting to see if Hutton drops a couple of tales !

Tickets to this super-duper-special supper don’t come cheap. They start at $2,200 per person, and the Gilded Level seating goes for $10,000 a head.

But if you can’t fit the supper into your budget, you can still attend the symposium. Here’s the breakdown for the symposium:

  • $125 (9:30 a.m. to noon) — Symposium only
  • $250 (9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.) — Symposium and lunch

For more information or to purchase tickets, send Claire an email.

Funds raised from the event will go to the Decorative Arts Acquisition Fund.

* Photo credit: 
Tamytha Cameron 

JUST IN: New Friends New Life’s 13th Annual Wings Luncheon’s Keynote Speaker Will Be The Amazing Amal Clooney

Well, hold on to your whatevers. Ah, shoot! Don’t bother. Just stop reading and start making plans for the New Friends New Life’s 13th Annual Wings Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole.

It will be held on Thursday, April 14, and the keynote speaker will be an “internationally known attorney and human right activist” who [shares the] “nonprofit’s passion to protest women and children, combat human trafficking and provide healing and hope.”

Nope. It’s not the late Mother Teresa. It’s a woman who is brilliant, beautiful and the bride of George Clooney.

Yup! The keynote speaker will be Amal Clooney. Somehow, despite her being married to the man-oh-man of the 21st century, she has made a name all-on-her-own for making a difference for good on an international stage.

In addition to landing George, she’s a “Lebanese-British barrister, human rights activist, philanthropist and author…. Her recent wok as of 2015 has been in the field of advocating for the protection of women against physical and sexual violence in combat zones.”

According to New Friends New Life Chief Executive Officer Katie Pedigo, “New Friends New Life is elated to bring Clooney to Dallas for so many reasons. She shares the organization’s passion to help women and children escape physical and sexual abuse, and her perspective, insight and international acclaim, along with her wide appeal to the public, will help us create an even greater awareness of this worldwide epidemic.   Without question, this will enable us to raise more dollars to combat human trafficking in the Dallas area and throughout our state and nation.”

Serving as luncheon chair for the second year in a row will be the Honorable Jeanne Johnson Phillips with former First Lady Laura Bush and Ruth Altshuler serving as honorary co-chairs. Joining Laura and Ruth as honorary co-chairs will be Nancy Ann Hunt, Caren Prothro and Annette Simmons.

According to blonde Jeanne, “As a human rights activist on a global scale, Amal Clooney is a perfect voice to advocate against a crime that is happening in our own backyard. The subject of sex trafficking and the sex industry as a whole were rarely spoken of just a few years ago, but thanks to the incredible work of organizations like New Friends New Life and a corporate community that is willing to step forward with funding, we are making huge strides to end human trafficking in Dallas and throughout Texas and empower its survivors. Clooney’s knowledge, experience, and presentation will help us educate the community and send a strong message that Dallas is a no tolerance zone for human trafficking as we strive to protect our children, an estimated 400 teens on the streets each night – the most vulnerable targets of human traffickers.”

Let’s stop posting about this one because it’s gonna a quickie sell-out. Unfortunately, we got the information before they even got an online spot to buy tickets. But you can start putting this baby in the budget. As soon as the link for tickets is in place, we’ll let you know.

In the meantime, why not cozy up with the NFNL types by attending the 2015 Home Tour. Amal may not be there, but you’ll be supporting her local cause.

JUST IN: 2015 Cattle Baron’s Ball Mary Martha Pickens And Tia Wynne Hand Over A $4,285,759 Check To American Cancer Society

Is there anything better than those two magic words — “Sold Out!”? Yup! It’s a check presentation. And that explains all the smiles at The Joule Hotel today at the annual Cattle Baron’s Ball Fall Luncheon.

The 2015 Co-Chairs Mary Martha Pickens and Tia Wynne were the cause of the happy faces as they handed over a check for $4,285,759 to the American Cancer Society. The money was the net amount…not just the funds raised…resulting from the October 3rd mega-gala at Gilley’s with Tim McGraw handling the onstage entertainment.

Andrea Weber, Tia Wynne, Jonika Nix, Anne Stodghill, Cara French, Katy Bock, Isabell Novakov and Mary Martha Pickens*

Andrea Weber, Tia Wynne, Jonika Nix, Anne Stodghill, Cara French, Katy Bock, Isabell Novakov and Mary Martha Pickens*

The ladies’ celebration of the achievement was short-lived, though. 2016 Co-Chairs Cara French and Andrea Weber are already in overdrive to raise even more funds. Plans will follow in the days and weeks to come about where it will be, who will headline the show and other “wonderful things.”

* Photo provided by Cattle Baron's Ball

Community Council Of Greater Dallas’ 75 Anniversary Luncheon Scored A Touchdown With Emmitt Smith Chat With Newy Scruggs

On the second floor of the Westin Galleria Hotel in a small reception room, the VIP-types for the Community Council of Greater Dallas’ 75th Anniversary luncheon gathered on Monday, November 2. It was mostly a suit group including presenting sponsor Oncor CEO Bob Shapard, NBC5 Sports Director Newy Scruggs and Levi Davis. But the gals were also there, including Katy Menges and Luncheon Chair Kristi Sherrill-Hoyl. While they were taking full advantage of the coffee bar, they were also waiting for “the man” to arrive. He was none other than former Dallas Cowboy/”Dancing With The Stars” champ/business man Emmitt Smith.

Kristi Sherrill-Hoyl and Bob Shapard

Kristi Sherrill-Hoyl and Bob Shapard

As soon as Emmitt appeared in the Westin driveway, it was as if a rock star had arrived. The flutter of chatter and eyeballing continued up the escalator, past the check-in table and as he made his way through the guests to the sponsor backdrop for photos. He didn’t disappoint, greeting everyone with a big smile, a solid handshake and non-blinking eye contact.

Emmitt Smith

Emmitt Smith

Sydney Huffines

Sydney Huffines

Steve Mansfield

Steve Mansfield

Diana Dutton and Adlene Harrison

Diana Dutton and Adlene Harrison

Upstairs in the ballroom, the crowd of 450 was pretty darn impressive with the likes of Annette Simmons, Diana Dutton, Adlene Harrison, Lee Ann White, Sydney Huffines, Christie Carter, Lottye Brodsky, Clay Jenkins, Lois Finkelman, Veletta Lill, Steve Mansfield, Diana Strauss, Lisa Ogle, Lynn McBee, Royce West and Lupe Valdez.

At 12:20 CCGD Executive Director Martha Blaine recalled how the CCGD, originally called the Council of Social Agencies in 1940, had evolved over the past 75 years providing more and more support to human services organizations dealing with youth, health, seniors, information and referral, human relations, transportation, volunteerism, education and homelessness and housing. There is hardly a Dallas agency that has not benefited from its partnership with CCGD’s. Thanks to the luncheon, financial support will continue the efforts on which so many depend.

Following the meal, Oncor’s Bob Shapard was at the podium and introduced the main act of Emmitt chatting with Newy. While some thought it would be just a couple of guys talking sports, it went well beyond that.

Emmitt recalled that in his hometown, the best running back had been his father. There had been such expectations of his going on to college and playing professional football. But that dream ended when Emmitt’s grandmother got sick.

Emmitt himself would often take care of the ailing grandmother, when his father and grandfather would go to work.

Initially Emmitt started off playing quarterback because he wanted to be like Roger Staubach. When he turned 9, his Pop Warner coach suggested that he play another position. But Emmitt was insistent about being quarterback. After all, that’s the position that the girls love, gets the notoriety and handles the ball the most. When Emmitt asked if the coach had seen him play the season before, the coach said he had and that’s why he was encouraging him to change.

That new position ended up being running back and he never looked back.

In high school a new influence entered his life with the arrival of Coach Dwight Thomas, who changed the name of the team from the Rebels to the Gators. He also changed the pep rallies. In the past, white students had been seated on one side and minorities on the other. After Dwight got there, the students were seated according to homerooms.

The coach’s goal was to raise young boys to young men. He did that by instilling structure in his players. That was a life-changing development for Emmitt. It would be the basis for his life both on and off the football field.

One of the ways that Dwight created the structure was by having his players write down their goals. He said, “Until you write down your goals, they’re only dreams.” Once they wrote them down, he had them post the list in their lockers and review them each day.

Dwight’s efforts led the team to winning state both Emmitt’s sophomore and junior years and his holding the national high school record of 45 100-yard rushing games. During his high school career, he made 106 touchdowns.

Expanding on goals, Emmitt admonished the group, “If you’re gonna make a goal, make it big. Everyone should stride for greatness.”

Newy Scruggs and Emmitt Smith

Newy Scruggs and Emmitt Smith

While still in high school, he won a trip to the Rose Bowl for Super Bowl XXI in 1987 and took his quarterback Johnny Nichols. “I picked Johnny because I knew if I picked my mom, my dad would be upset. If I picked my dad, my mom would be upset. And if I’d taken my girlfriend, my whole family would have been upset. Johnny was probably the safest choice.” It was their first trip on a plane. In seeing the game, he was having the time of his life and told Johnny that one day he was “going to play right here in a Super Bowl.” When he did play the 1993 Super Bowl in Pasadena, Johnny was in the stands watching.

Emmitt said another important part of his life was vision. That was what made him realize that he needed to do more than football. He had to create another path and did, so that when he retired in 2005 he knew what to do.

Changing subjects, Newy recalled the University of Florida vs. University of Alabama game where a Gator freshman stole the show running for two touchdowns and 224 yards. He asked why Emmitt had gone to the University of Florida instead of the University of Alabama, where the legendary Coach Bear Bryant was working. A bit hesitant, Emmitt said he didn’t want to embarrass Alabama, but when he was being recruited by colleges, he went to the Penn State-Alabama game. When he, Johnny Nichols and their girlfriends were walking back to the car, a bunch of white frat brothers called him a bunch of names: “It was the first time I’d experienced racism.” The Alabama coach, who was recruiting Emmitt, stood up for him, but still the friends were shocked, saying, “Do you believe what we just saw?” When the coach called the following Monday to apologize, Emmitt said it was all right but he wouldn’t be coming to the University of Alabama.

Ironically, the first game that Florida freshman Emmitt played in was against Alabama, where Newy saw him make the two touchdowns and run the 224 yards.

But Emmitt’s college career was cut short when he decided to turn pro. After all, he thought he would be a top draft pick. While he had wanted to play for the Cowboys since he was 7, the Dallas team was not in the top tier. Emmitt thought he would probably be picked up by Tampa, so he had folks in to party for the big announcement. But no call came. In fact no call came during the first 10 picks. But then the phone rang. It was Emmitt’s brother Emory Smith saying, “You haven’t been drafted yet!”

Newy Scruggs and Emmitt Smith

Newy Scruggs and Emmitt Smith

That didn’t calm Emmitt’s concerns. After all, “Who was gonna pay for this party?”

Finally, his agent called and reported “There’s activity.” The Packers needed a running back. Emmitt thought, “Oh, no, it’s too cold.” Then magically the Cowboys made a trade and he was selected 17th.

That first year was rocky with Emmitt adjusting to Coach Jimmy Johnson. “He used his degree in psychology,” Emmitt said.

At one point, Jimmy unloaded on Emmitt at a Tuesday practice. Baffled and hurt, Emmitt didn’t speak to Jimmy until Saturday. When asked the reason for the treatment, Jimmy said,  “I got on you, but it wasn’t for you. It was for the others. If I get on my best players, the rest of them will stay in place.” Emmitt reflected, “Sometimes the leaders have to be the sacrificial lambs.”

But Jimmy’s leadership impressed the relatively young team as they rose despite the fact that “Nobody gave us a chance.” For the 1993 NFC Championship against the 49ers at Candlestick Park, the rains had “totally soaked” the field. Jimmy walked the entire field and told his players which side of the field was better to move the ball. The young team ended up winning the game (30-20) and going on to win the Super Bowl against the Buffalo Bills (52-17).

At 1:25 p.m. Emmitt recalled how he and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones handled his 1993 contract negotiation. According to Emmitt, Jerry didn’t want to pay, adding, “Does Jerry ever want to pay?”

Couldn’t tell whether Emmitt was directing that question to a lady seated at a table just a few feet away: Gene Jones.

Emmitt felt that he “did what I was supposed to, and thought I should be compensated.” Jerry balked and the Cowboys started the 1993 season without Emmitt.

In the meantime, there was a collective bargaining going on, and “I had 30 days to negotiate with the other teams and no one approached me. You ponder on that.”

Eventually, having lost the first two games of the season, the salary was worked out, making Emmitt the highest-paid running back in the NFL.

The final subject for discussion was his appearance on “Dancing With The Stars” with Cheryl Burke. Emmitt found that Cheryl was as demanding as Jimmy. He said, “I humbled myself and told her I would do everything you ask. But you’ve gotta respect me and I’ll respect you.”

In addition to winning the mirrored ball and earning a whole new level of exposure, he said, “I learned not to take myself so seriously.”

Breakfast For The Bridge Will Have “Art Collecting” Willie Baronet Speaking And Larry Sykes’s Receiving Bridge Builder Award

Today’s downpour and chilly winds make it great to stay inside with a warm mug of coffee. If you don’t have to go out, you don’t. If you do, then you can bundle up, get in the car, turn on the seat heater and be on your way.

Not everybody is that lucky. As hard as it is to believe in the prosperous North Texas community, there are thousands of homeless people. In addition to not having a place to stay, they also seem to be hopeless about the situation ever changing.

However, back in 2008 The Bridge North Texas opened to address that very situation. Collaborating with area services like Metrocare Services, Parkland Health & Hospital System, Workforce Solutions, Veterans Affairs, Dallas Police Department, Downtown Dallas Inc., The Stewpot, Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, the Status of Texas, Dallas County and the City of Dallas, it tackled the problems of this segment of society.

As Mayor Mike Rawlings (formerly known as the Homeless Czar) put it, The Bridge was to be “a springboard — not a shelter.”

Here people found “meals, shelter, primary and behavioral health care, job placements and housing to around 85% of Dallas County’s homeless population.” In 2014 The Bridge assisted 8,600 clients.

Thanks to its efforts, The Bridge

  • has contributed to the revitalization of downtown and its surrounding neighborhoods by serving as a magnet for the homeless community that otherwise would be roaming the streets.
  • is a great neighbor, as evidenced by the relocation of its entrance to accommodate the Farmers Market stakeholders.
  • saves taxpayers tens of millions of dollars annually by keeping the homeless out of the county’s criminal justice and hospital systems.
  • served more than 8,600 individuals experiencing homelessness in 2014.
  • has made more than 2,100 permanent supportive and affordable housing placements since opening!

According to The Bridge records, serious crime in downtown Dallas “has dropped more than 49% since The Bridge opened in 2008.”

But all this success requires ongoing support. That’s why Megan and Casey McManemin are co-chairing this Friday’s 2015 Breakfast For The Bridge at which time Larry Sykes, who has volunteered more than 800 hours at The Bridge, will be presented the Bridge Builder Award. According to Larry, “Our guests are just like us. Many have college educations and good job history, but life got in the way and their support systems weren’t what we had. It is an honor to serve them.”

Another highlight will be keynote speaker Willie Baronet. Now, who is Willie Baronet and why should he be the keynote speaker? Did he used to live on the streets? Nope. In fact, he had a successful design firm that he sold in 2006, got his MFA in 2011 from the University of Texas at Dallas, and has been the Stan Richards Professor in Creative Advertising at SMU. In 2013 he was named an AIGA Fellow “for making a significant contribution to raising the standards of excellence in practice and conduct within our design community. This is the highest honor an AIGA chapter can bestow upon one of its senior-level members.”

So, again why is this guy featured speaker at an event about the homeless? Oh, you’ve just got to get up early Friday and head to the Omni Dallas Hotel to find out. You’ll learn about Willie, have a great breakfast, be on your way by 9:30 and you’ll be helping to provide funds for The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center.

But if you really need sleepy time and can’t make it, then think about donating or volunteering.

A Passing: Louise Cowan

Louise Cowan (File photo)

Louise Cowan (File photo)

For generations, Louise Cowan was such an inspiration. She and her husband Donald Cowan created an intellectual incubator for the development of people like Nancy Cain Marcus and Gail Thomas.

That inspiration ended this morning at 2:27 a.m. at the ripe old age of 98.

While her death is a loss, it is gratifying to know that she is with her beloved Donald and that her legions of followers will carry on in her wake.

Our condolences to her family and those who benefited from her teachings.


Ruth Buzzi’s And Kent Perkins’ Pals Are Artfully Part Of The Museum Of Biblical Art’s 8×8 Art Exhibition And Auction

Kent Perkins and Ruth Buzzi (File photo)

Kent Perkins and Ruth Buzzi (File photo)

It helps to have friends and the Museum of Biblical Art’s 8×8 Art Exhibition And Auction 2015 Co-Chairs Bob Malenfant and Jeff Levine are lucky to have a friend like Ruth Buzzi and her hubby Kent Perkins. Just their involvement in the fundraising auction is enough to send up fireworks. But Ruthie and Kent took friendship a step further. They got on the horn to some of their pals and asked if they would donate their own 8″ by 8″ pieces of art for “Celebrity Artist Gallery” part of the Wednesday, November 18th event.

Say, would you like to know the friends they tapped? Sure you do. Let’s list them in alphabetical order, so no favoritism is being shown: Dan Aykroyd, Carol Burnett, Kris Kristofferson, Ruta Lee, Barbara Mandrell, Anne Murray, Jane Seymour, Sean Michael Flynn, Lily Tomlin, Jane Wagner and JoAnne Worley.

Artwork by JoAnne Worley*

Artwork by JoAnne Worley*

Artwork by Jane Seymour*

Artwork by Jane Seymour*

Artwork by Carol Burnett*

Artwork by Carol Burnett*

Artwork by Dan Aykroyd*

Artwork by Dan Aykroyd*

They’ll be just a few of the professional and celebrity artists who have contributed more than 100 pieces of “paintings, sculpture, glass, photography and works on paper” to support the Museum’s education programs including the Summer Art Camp for Kids, Heroes of History Field Trips for low-income youth and inner-city schools.

Tickets are just $25. The party starts at 7, so get there early so you can decide how many you’re gonna bid on. (Sorry about ending that last sentence with a preposition) All bids start at $100. In addition to the auction, there will be a country swing band, barbecue and a wine pull.

* Graphics provided by the Museum of Biblical Arts