Dallas Zoo’s Cat Row Is No Mo With Its Closure And Residents Being Rehomed

There’s an old wives’ tale that bad news is revealed on Friday afternoons. Not is always the case. This afternoon Dallas Zoo’s Lydia Jennings apologized for the late release of the news that the Cat Row in Zoo North would be closing with the residents (ocelots, mountain lions and bobcats) headed to other digs.

Dallas Zoo*

It seems that the “current exhibit — Cat Row in Zoo North — does not adequately reflect the updated, naturalist habitats the zoo strives to provide for animals.”

According to Dallas Zoo VP of Animal Operations and Welfare Harrison Edell, “As one of the nation’s top zoos, we pride ourselves on continuously evolving and building bigger and better habitats for our animals. Cat Row doesn’t reflect Dallas Zoo’s progressive philosophy of care. There’s no doubt our cats are well cared for, and live enriched lives here – their home just doesn’t represent our growth and vision, and it’s time for change.

“Moving these amazing cats wasn’t an easy decision, but it’s what’s best for them. We’re confident they’ll live safe, healthy lives in their new homes. We want nothing more than for our guests to fall in love with wildlife in the right setting, and to support us as we find ways to create a better world for animals.”

The good news is that plans call for bobcat Rufus to leave on Tuesday, September 26, for the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center in Scottsdale, Arizona; for ocelots Joaquin and Milagre to call New Orleans’ Audubon Zoo home; and for mountain lion fellas Apollo and Lakai to go to Bridgeport’s Center for Animal Research and Education.

In its place the plan is to “use Cat Row as a much-needed extension to its outdoor event space” lie Halloween Nights and Dallas Zoo Lights.

Official going-away-festivities will take place on Saturday, September 30, and Sunday, October, 1.

Wasn’t it earlier this month that the Zoo announced the departure of the Australian critters due to construction along I-35E? Such is progress.

Now Is The Time To Rise And Shine

For longer than anyone can remember, there’s seemed to be a competition between two of Texas’ siblings. The Gulf Coast boasted having one of the largest cities in the nation, the world’s most ginormous oil companies and a shoreline. North Texas laid claim to having more Super Bowl rings, a TV series called “Dallas” and the birthplace of Neiman Marcus. Both have proved to be the comeback kids. Houston rebounded from oil busts, and Dallas recovered from a presidential assassination and the Ebola virus.

In recent time when it came to weather, North Texas trumped the competition with the 2011 Super Bowl ice storm.

But be honest! Thanks to Hurricane Harvey, the Gulf Coast has won the weather woes category. This epic situation has totally redefined the word “devastation.”

(Above video courtesy of WFAA-TV)

People who have prided themselves on paying their bills have suddenly found themselves without homes. Their children, who were to start school this week, are now without even uniforms, let alone classrooms. The elderly and disabled, who have depended on others, have found themselves alone through no fault of their caretakers. Family pets that were so dependent upon their human companions are being turned in or sadly lost.

This situation has provided North Texas with a time to rise and shine. Over the years, North Texas has been known for philanthropy and generosity thanks to its residents. But now it has the chance to open its arms and provide for the hundreds thousands of evacuees seeking help, comfort and hope. Some will call North Texas home only temporarily; others will become our neighbors.

This morning when you wake up in the comfort of your snugly bed, have a warm shower and enjoy that drive to Starbucks for coffee with a blue sky above, consider those who have had to take an ax to the roof of their house to survive, who haven’t been dry in days, who have no idea if they’ll have anything to return to, and who have children asking unanswerable questions.

Luckily, this is Texas and its resilience is legendary with good reason. Thanks to Harvey, it will once again prove true.

If you’re stepping up and making a donation in any form, please make sure that the money will be used for North Texas efforts by a reputable group. Unfortunately, during these situations, there are some who just might take advantage of the kindness of others.

An Unfortunate MySweetCharity Opportunity: Hurricane Harvey

MySweetCharity

North Texans are certainly no strangers when it comes to Mother Nature throwing fizzy fits. Perhaps that’s why they are feeling the pain of those escaping Hurricane Harvey and seeking refuge here. Unfortunately, for some they will have little to return to. For others, they just might decide to stay put here.

To help these uprooted folks while they call North Texas home, it is the perfect opportunity to showcase the area’s spirit of generosity and compassion. Whether it’s schlepping pet supplies to the SPCA of Texas for newly arrived residents, providing funds for such groups as the Red Cross or rolling up silk sleeves to volunteer, now is the time to rise to the occasion. 

BTW, there are many North Texans who have families and second homes in the devastated area. Why not give them a call and see how they’re doing? 

And remember — hurricane season doesn’t officially end until October. But you just know Ma Nature doesn’t always plays by the rules.

The Stewpot Alliance Crowd Gathers At Margie And Ray Francis’ Home For Soup’s On! Check Presentation And To Hear About 2018 Lunch Move

Margie and Ray Francis*

On Thursday, April 27, Soup’s On! Luncheon Honorary Co-Chairs Margie and Ray Francis opened their home for guests like Hank and Barbara Schlachter, Stewpot Alliance board members Zac Evans and Kristine Schwope, Susan and Rob Dillard, Eric and Carla Moore and Carol Adams to hear about the past Stewpot Alliance fundraiser and the upcoming one.

Hank and Barbara Schlachter, Zac Evans and Susan and Rob Dillard*

It was such a perfect evening that folks enjoyed the terrace overlooking Turtle Creek.

Carla and Eric Moore and Carol Adams*

First on the agenda was the presentation of the check by Alliance President Julie Marshall and 2017 Luncheon Chair Heather Sauber to Stewpot Alliance Executive Director Rev. Dr. Bruce Buchanan in the amount of $230,000!

It was then time to reveal plans for next year’s luncheon. The 2018 co-chairs will be Mary and Mike Terry Family Foundation Executive Director Allison Salas and US Trust Philanthropic Relationship Manager Kelly Donohue.  

Kelly Donohue and Allison Salas*

The ladies announced that the fundraiser is shifting direction in locations for the Soup’s On! tenth anniversary. It will be held at The Statler on Monday, January 29.

Both gals have another special event in their future. They’re planning September weddings. Allison is marrying Christopher Fasy and Kelly is getting hitched to Grant Garlock.

In the meantime, why not check out Brad Oldham‘s and Christy Coltrin‘s Sculpture Wall at The Stewpot’s Encore Park. It’s free for the viewing.

* Photo credit: John 
Strange

JUST IN: Sale Of Wylie Facility Has Equest Packing Its Saddlebags And Consolidating The Equine Therapy Program At Texas Horse Park

For the next ten days, the Equest folks are going to bustling. While they’ll be tending to the horses and clients, Equest CEO Lili Kellogg reported that they’ll also be packing their stuff. It seems that their Wylie facility has been sold and they’ve got to be out of there by Wednesday, May 31, and calling Texas Horse Park their mane (sorry, about that) home.

Lili Kellogg

Andy Steingasser

Dave Perry-Miller’s Andy Steingasser revealed that the 42.5-acre property was sold to a Chinese developer. Not only is Andy the board chair for Equest, he’s also the Realtor who handled the deal and donated 100% of his commission to Equest.

The original asking price was $2.5M, but Andy wasn’t talking what the final amount was. All he could say was that he’d had many sleepless nights.

BTW, just as in every move, the Equest team could use some help. They need storage bins, label makers and industrial shredders. Here’s the link how you can buckeroo help.

DIFFA Dallas’ 8th Annual Burgers And Burgundy Is Moving To Ron Kirk Pedestrian Bridge On Texas-OU Friday Night

While most folks believe that Texas-OU weekend closes down everything not Longhorn- or Sooner-related, DIFFA Dallas is planning on testing this theory. Instead of like years past, when the organization held its Burgers and Burgundy outdoor fundraiser at a private estate on a Saturday or Sunday, they set their GPS and daytimer for a different location and day.

Burgers smoking on the grills (File photo)

Burgers smoking on the grills (File photo)

This year’s event will take place on the Ron Kirk Pedestrian Bridge from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, October 7. Yup, you guessed it. That’s the Friday when local restaurants, bars and hotels will be brimming with Red River revelers.

Ron Kirk Pedestrian Bridge (File photo)

Ron Kirk Pedestrian Bridge (File photo)

In addition to having Chef John Tesar once again hosting the B and B, Event chair Aileen Roach and Honorary Chair Simona Beal have given a theme to the event — DIFFAcella. It will “feature three live art installations by Jason Reynaga, Anthony Gonzales and Matthew Brinston, as well as three caricature artists and a henna artist.”

John Tesar (File photo)

John Tesar (File photo)

According to John, “It’s always a great time when I get to bring together my good chef friends, but this event is made even better by the fact that it’s for a great cause. It’s been an honor to work with DIFFA/Dallas for eight years to put on this event and watch it grow year after year, with last year being our most successful. We have even higher goals set for this year!”

There will be plenty of entertainment, Pawkitecture live auction and, of course, food and libations.

And the big news of the night will be the reveal of the 2016-2017 Style Council Ambassadors, who will serve as DIFFA/Dallas representatives “charged with the task of helping DIFFA/Dallas raise awareness about the organization’s cause, as well as continue efforts in the education and prevention of HIVAIDS throughout North Texas.”

Tickets for the 8th Annual Burgers and Burgundy are $150.

JUST IN: Developments In The Aftermath Of Dallas Shootings

Due to last night shootings and the follow-up investigations, the following will take place today:

  • Dallas City Municipal Court, George L. Allen Sr. Civil Courts, Dallas County Administration and Dallas County Records buildings and the Old Red Museum will be closed today and will reopen Monday.
  • The area bordered by Ross Avenue, Houston Street, Jackson and Griffin will be blocked off.

    Downtown Dallas traffic plan for Friday, July 8, 2016*

    Downtown Dallas traffic plan for Friday, July 8, 2016*

  • Among the businesses closed today are Neiman Marcus Downtown and the Neiman’s corporate offices. If you have plans for a meeting or attending a retail establishment in the Central Business District, call ahead and make sure that it’s open.
  • The West End Station and the CBD West Transfer Center will be closed until further notice.
  • For downtown workers, it is suggested to either work from home or get an early start due to parking will be congested due to the cordoned off area.
  • If you have time, consider donating blood for those trying to recover from their injuries.
  • At noon today, there will be an interfaith gathering at Thanks-Giving Square “to heal wounds.”

For further updates throughout the day, check Dallas City News.

* Graphic courtesy of Dallas City News.

JUST IN: Dallas Symphony Orchestra Memorial Day Concert Moved To The Meyerson

Due to Mother Nature being literally a wet blanket, Monday’s Dallas Symphony Orchestra Memorial Day concert has been moved from Flag Pole Hill to the Meyerson Symphony Center. Start time for the free concert is still 8 p.m.

Another change: The firework display has been canceled.

Salvation Army Fashion Show And Luncheon Chair D’Andra Simmons Is Moving Fundraiser To A New Venue

D'Andra Simmons (File photo)

D’Andra Simmons (File photo)

While others are going through various forms of graduations and others are prepping for June weddings, Salvation Army of Dallas-Fort Worth Fashion Show and Luncheon Chair D’Andra Simmons is getting her swans in a row for 2017. She just reported that the annual luncheon/fashion extravaganza isn’t returning to Brook Hollow Golf Club nor to a hotel.

Nope! Lady D’A is headed to the Meyerson Symphony Center for the Women’s Auxiliary of the Salvation Army D-FW fashion extravaganza. She’s a veteran at doing mega events at the Meyerson. It was in March 2015 that she co-chaired Cancer Blows!

And, dang it! She teased with promises of additional plans for the annual fundraiser featuring “experienced” fashions and hoop-la.

That D’Andra has something up her sleeve. Stay tuned.

The Resource Center’s Food Pantry’s Move Has Been Moved Up And Could Use Some Help

The Resource Center has been in the midst of an $8.7M capital campaign that would not only provide a new 20,000-square-foot community center, but also renovate its building at Reagan and Brown, where it can consolidate HIV services, nutrition services and the food pantry. The great news is that the effort has paid off in raising $7.6M, or 88% of its total goal.

Unfortunately, there’s been a development forcing a change of plans. It seems that the Center has had to “accelerate renovation improvements of the food pantry,” due to the loss of its lease on the current space at 5450 Denton Drive, where more than 800 per week are serve.

The Resource Center's new food pantry under construction*

The Resource Center’s new food pantry under construction*

For 31 years, the Center’s food pantry has provided fresh produce, canned goods, frozen foods and perishables thanks to “purchases from the North Texas Food Bank, as well as through generous donations from supermarkets, restaurants, caterers, community groups and individuals.”

According to Resource Center CEO Cece Cox, “This timeline was not ideal, but we are committed to clients. We will not miss one day of services at the pantry. Staff is working to accommodate clients to ensure that their needs are being met during this transition phase.”

In order to achieve this transition in mid-February, the Resource Center “is calling for community support to construct a new food pantry.” To do this it “will take $600,000 to renovate the Reagan and Brown building including the construction and relocation of the food pantry.”

If all follows to plan, the Reagan and Brown renovations should be completed this summer.

* Photo courtesy of the Resource Center

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.

Cars For Kids Has Wheeled On Over To Its New Dallas Location For Texans Can Academies

The Cars for Kids program has been known forever for auctioning donated cars to support Texans Can Academies. The auctions have been held weekly at an Arlington location. But the parking was a bit limited and the seating was pretty tight.

But things have changed. The whole kit and caboodle has moved to an 8.3-acre former car dealership at 7100 Marvin D. Love Freeway (corner of Highway 67 and Camp Wisdom Road).

Talk about moving on up! After the nonprofit renovated the 27,000-square-foot main facility, there are offices for staff, a buyers’ lounge, a dealer showroom, sales offices and “an indoor auction bay with seating for the public.”

Why they’ve gone so 21st century, they even installed “energy efficient lighting inside and out.”

Cars for Kids mural*

Cars for Kids mural*

To dress up the place Cars for Kids facility manager Bill Garey created a new mural in the lobby depicting “the purpose of the nonprofit charity: to give all students a second chance to graduate from high school.”

So, if you’re looking to buy an experienced car for that teenager, longing for that sweetheart deal or just curious about what kind of cars are up for bid, then head over to the new spot for the weekly auctions that start at 9 a.m. on Saturdays. And it’s not just cars. They also have trucks, boats, jet skis and more.

On the other hand, if you want to donate a car, just go online or call. They’ll arrange to have the vehicle picked up, even if doesn’t run. Once it is evaluated and minor repairs are made, if necessary, title verification follows and then the vehicle is auctioned off to the highest bidder, with 100% of the net proceeds from the auction going to Texans Can Academies.

* Graphic provided by Cars for Kids