You Only Need This Information Once To Save Your Life

As Kevin Hurst described earlier today, Mother Nature doesn’t discriminate. No matter how skinny, rich or what zip code one claims, she feels free to unload with her tornadoes, straight-line winds, hail and locusts (okay, so the locusts may not be part of the mix). That’s why during certain parts of the year, especially spring and fall, she really slams the North Texas area with zeal.

For this reason, it’s imperative to have a “WhIP“ (What If Plan). Have you got a place to hunker down? Do you know just what you need to have in your hunker-down sweet spot?

What’s that? It only hits trailer parks and places that you’ve never heard of? Oh, please! Forget that. You’re demanding an example? Okay, you’ve got it. 

Gloria Eulich Martindale (File photo)

Just ask Gloria Eulich Martindale, who is smart, gorgeous and a roll-up-your sleeves fundraiser, as well as being a lady who knows firsthand. She was at her farmhouse on Saturday, April 29, when Mother Nature unloaded. The house was wiped out and Gloria and her family were lucky enough to have a basement that had been used “to store stuff” to hunker down.

Or, if you think it only takes place in the rural areas, hit the “Rethink” button. It was just a couple of years ago that the elegant Turtle Creek area got slam-bammed by a Ma Nature temper tantrum with a sledgehammer toppling trees and devastating the area.

If schools and commercial buildings have fire drills, think about holding your own. Here are some things to check:

  • Do you have people who will check on you if they don’t hear from you following a weather sweep?
  • If you have a VIP documents (i.e. insurance, birth certificates, passports, etc.) and a home computer, should they be part of your escape plan?
  • Have you had a dress rehearsal?
  • Do you have an app that will alert you of threatening weather in your area? If not, check with the local media. They’re free and more than willing to alert you. Despite Arianna Huffington‘s suggestion at the recent Genesis Luncheon of not sleeping with your cellphone on your bed stand, do it. If Arianna complains, tell her to check with us. There’s a time and place for everything.
  • What about the elderly? If you have a “vintage” member of your circle, have you checked on their game plan? They may pat you on the head and tell you not to worry. Don’t fall for it. Nicely demand that they show you where they would go and how to contact them, just in case.
  • What about your critters? How will you handle them in such a crisis? Having them micro-chipped can be a life saver. 

Tonight may result in another “Duh” occasion, but why not use it as an opportunity to do that drill and to let each in your household take responsibility, if a weather or whatever crisis should arise?

A Passing: E.G. Hamilton

EG Hamilton (File photo)

It was just a year and a half ago that a little gentleman with thinning white hair was front and center for Neiman’s celebration of NorthPark’s 50th anniversary extravaganza at NorthPark Neiman’s. Sure, there were those in cutting-edge fashions and others whom photographers clamored to shoot, but still this elderly guest with a smart look in his eye and a smile that would have swooned the most adorable cheerleader stood out especially to those in the know.

His name was E.G. Hamilton and he was 95 years young. He was also the brainiac who designed NorthPark Center.

As Dallas Morning News architect critic Mark Lamster pointed out, when E.G. ran into a question regarding the turning of a cow pasture into a world-famous fashion plate, he would turn to the late Nasher matriarch Patsy Nasher.

It was also E.G. who deemed that the retailing oasis should be called NorthPark Center, instead of the day’s trendy “shopping mall.”

But his creative brilliance was not limited to mega-commercial structures. Back in the 1960s, he designed a breathtaking contemporary residence in Highland Park known as The Hexter House  that ironically has just been slated for demolition by its new owners.

This man, who knew Dallas greats and turned their dreams into reality, died Monday at the age of 97.

Why does one think that Patsy and Ray Nasher, Stanley Marcus and Erik Jonsson are welcoming him to redesign the heavenly compound?

Dallas CASA’s Cherish The Children Patron Party Had Cars Lined Up In Linda And Rob Swartz’s Driveway And On The Street

Kathleen LaValle, Theresa Daniel and Linda Swartz

The Cherish the Children Patron Party proved to be a traffic jam on Tuesday, April 4. While the early-bird arrivals were nestled on the terrace of Linda and Rob Swartz’s home, others left their cars with engines running in the circular driveway and on the street.

Casey Gerald and Shonn Brown

Organizers admitted that the valets had a distance to park the cars. On the other hand, one valet claimed that the organizers had low-balled the estimate of guests. Perhaps it was the presence of keynote speaker Casey Gerald, who was surrounded by the likes of Luncheon Chair Shonn Brown, Dallas CASA Executive Director/President Kathleen and Michael LaValle, Theresa Daniel and Becca Haynes Leonard, Michelle Stephenson, Sharon Balaban, Karen Carney, Fran and Mark Berg, Caroline Rose Hunt, Bobbie Sue Williams, Billie Lee Rippey, Veree Hawkins Brown, Joyce Rosenfield, Greg and Hannah May and Isabel and Rob Calderin.

Regardless, the event came off perfectly and all headed home early for the Dallas CASA luncheon the next day at The Fairmont.

Watch For Hobbits Thursday, Friday And Saturday While Touring The Whimsical Shire Of Preston Hollow For Equest

Now that this wet stuff seems to be calming down, the upcoming days seems bright and shiny. Evidently, the Equest organizers arranged something with Mother Nature to have perfect weather for folks to explore the Tolkien-inspired Shire in Preston Hollow.

The Shire of Preston Hollow*

While other estates in the neighborhood are manicured like a socialite’s nails, this acreage is a wonderland with its 9,000-square-foot main house, an attached conservatory and a detached guest house known as the Hobbit House. Why, Frodo Baggins would feel right at home there! And rightly so. After all, it took seven years to create. Why, one would actually expect Legolas to flutter by or to be greeted by Gimli at the drawbridge before crossing to the portcullis.

Inside there will be “couture fashions and accessories from Lily of the West and Hari Jewels, with designer guests appearances, and additional luxury items from Origins of Santa Fe Boutique” plus refreshments and music. And while Shadowfax, Arod and Bill the Pony won’t be on hand, their good buddies, the Equest mini-ambassadors, just might be hoofing around for a photo or two.

Like Brigadoon, this magical property at 4668 Meadowood Road will be available for touring this Thursday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to benefit Equest. Alas, it’s only available for checking out by big kids (21 years and older). Organizers are requesting a minimum donation of $20 for the equine therapeutic program. Register right here.

* Photo provided by Equest

An Early Start Might Be Wise For This Weekend’s Home Tours

It almost seems like every house in North Texas is part of a home tour this spring. This weekend a couple of them —Park Cities 15th Annual Historic Home Tour and Munger Place Wine Walk and Home Tour — are bracing for some stormy weather.

4825 Miramar*

According to the weather guessers, the bruised clouds and blowing winds won’t hit until late-ish Saturday afternoon. So, why not tour early, grab a bite to eat to compare notes with your buds and head to your home to watch South Carolina play Gonzaga and Oregon play North Carolina?  

* Photo provided by Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society

Turtle Creek Association’s Annual Fundraiser Will Offer A Home Tour Of Six Showplaces And An After Party Overlooking Turtle Creek

Boy, has the Turtle Creek Association lined up some incredible residences for its 2017 Home Tour. On Sunday, April 9, from 1 to 5 p.m., ticket holders will be able to check out the in-the-sky residences at 3525, The Claridge and Park Towers and the more down-to-earth homes on Turtle Creek Bend and Rock Creek Drive.

But wait! There’s more. The Association has also arranged for an after-party from 6:30 to 8:30 that evening at Greg Pearl’s and Ashley Akin-Pearl’s fabulous 6,500-square-foot residence nestled on nearly an acre overlooking Turtle Creek.

Greg Pearl’s and Ashley Akin-Pearl’s residence*

Originally the site of the late landscape architects Marie and Arthur Berger’s legendary mid-century home designed by O’Neil Ford in the early 1950s, it was replaced in the early 2000s by this outstanding French Normandy residence designed by Dean Smith and built by contractor/former owner George Pelletier. Hidden atop the hill from the street thanks to much of the Bergers’ originally landscaping, this is a hidden treasure that is rarely seen.

Providing the hors d’oeuvres for the after-party will be Chef Abraham Salum.

The two events are being ticketed separately, so here is the breakdown:

  • Afternoon tour — $60 for non-Turtle Creek Association members and $50 for members. Tickets purchased before Friday, March 31, are $54 for non-members and $45 for members.
  • After Party — A limited number of tickets are available at $125 per person on a first-come, first-serve basis.

According to Turtle Creek Association President/CEO Jennifer Schultz, “This year we are focused on featuring the art along the creek; all homes on the tour have spectacular art collections including regionally and internationally known artists. We deeply appreciate the homeowners who have so graciously opened their homes to our fundraising tour.”

Funds raised from the Home Tour and After Party will help preserve the Turtle Creek area’s 87 acres of greenways and parklands.

* Photo courtesy of Turtle Creek Association

Park Cities Historic And Preservation Society’s 2017 Home Tour, Luncheon And Car Show Plans Revealed At Holiday Party

Despite the holiday spirit filling Tish and Marvin Key’s marvelous Highland Park home, there was a wisp of sorrow in the air on Tuesday, December 13, for the annual Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society’s Christmas party. The very group that commemorates and encourages the history of the Park Cities was mourning the destruction earlier in the day of the Penson home. As bulldozers and other earth-moving machinery stood still under a full moon, the bricks and wood of the O’Neil Ford-designed home lay in ruins.

Liz and Lane Farley and Tish Key

Tish had once told her realtor Ralph Randall how she loved the house. So, when it went up for auction Ralph notified Tish of the opportunity to tour the legendary house overlooking the crossroads of St. Johns Drive and Armstrong Parkway.

Tish admitted she had wished she’d had the money to scoop it up. But it went to another with other plans that obviously did not include renovation.

At one point in the evening’s discussion, one guest grimly said, “I dread to think what is going to be built there.”

Marla Boone and Deborah Brown

John and Sandy Secor

As Marla Boone and Deborah Brown were bundled up greeting folks outside, Dallas Symphony Orchestra League President Sandy Secor was in the entry hall reporting that plans were all in place for the League’s 70th anniversary year including the Junior Symphony Ball in January, the 31stth Annual DSOL Debutante Presentation Ball in February, the Savor the Symphony in April and still more yet to be announced.

PCHS President  Kendall Jennings and husband Bruce Jennings were thrilled that Boston artist Stephen Wood was in town and able to attend the holiday party.

Bruce and Kendall Jennings and Stephen Wood

Regarding the upcoming plans for the year, Kendall reported that Liz Farley would be chairing the annual Distinguished Speaker Luncheon at the Dallas Country Club on Wednesday, March 29, with always entertaining James Farmer at the podium.

Home Tour Chair Tish has already finalized the residences that will be part of the lineup on Saturday, April 1, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. She’s already lined up the following homes for the tour:

3825 Miramar 

4825 Miramar*

4218 Fairfax

4218 Fairfax*

,

4309 Westway

4309 Westway*

and

3600 Greenbrier

3600 Greenbrier*

Libby and David Hunt will have a full menu serving as honorary co-chairs for both the luncheon and tour.

As for the 2nd Annual Classic and Antique Car Show, Chair Dan McKeithen has arranged to have the event at Burleson Park on Saturday, April 8. Just in case there is rain, the event will take place on Saturday, April 15. Ryan has signed on as the presenting sponsor for all three fundraisers.

While the Car Show is free, tickets for the home tour and luncheon will be available in March.

The Gingerbread Stroll Nears The End Of The Road, But There’s Still Time To Bid And Vote On A Confectionary Cottage

Thursday may be the first day of December, but, alas, it’s the last day of the 5th Annual Gingerbread Stroll in Highland Park Village. If you haven’t made it yet, stop pussyfooting around and check out the marvelously decorated cookie cottages at Betta Gallery, Bistro 31, Kiehl’s, Leggiadro, Market Highland Park, Robert Talbott, Roberta Roller Rabbit, Royal Blue Grocery, Stella McCartney, Trina Turk and Village Barber Shop.

The Gingerbread Stroll*

The Gingerbread Stroll*

The cuisine builders include A Sweet Life, Architecture Demarest, artist Evelyn J. Fallgren, Charlies, Chef Winter Lockwood-Frank, Chocolate Secrets, Hilton Anatole, Hotel Crescent Court, Hyatt Regency Dallas at Reunion, Omni Dallas Hotel and Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.

And since it is the last day of the stroll, put your bid in for one of the houses… except for one. 

Just heard from Gingerbread founding sweetie Christine McKenny that Evelyn’s  confectionary delight at Leggiadro is off the market. Seems someone snatched it up for the buy-it-now bid of $1,000. Perhaps the Dave Perry Miller folks should post a “Sold” sign out front!

Evelyn J. Fallgren's sold gingerbread house*

Evelyn J. Fallgren’s sold gingerbread house*

But Evelyn has another masterpiece over at Robert Talbott that is still up for bid. It’s quite a looker, too!

And Christine also revealed there has been a late arrival from Chef Julie Price to the gingerbread development. It’s at Nasiba Adilova’s and Miroslava Duma‘s The Tot pop-up shop. Since it is the holiday season, Christine has decided to let this adorable home stay on the auction bloc after Thursday night. But don’t wait too long to check it out and put a bid in.

Remember, all bids and votes for your favs (except the one at The Tot) end Thursday night when the stores go dark.

Since its inception in 2011, the Stroll has provided more than $40,000 for area children in need through organizations like this year’s recipient Community Partners of Dallas.

* Graphic and photo courtesy of The Gingerbread Stroll

2017 Art Ball Reveal Guests Happily Settled Into Cathy Kincaid Hudson’s So Comfy Cottage

Lee Hobson

Lee Hobson

Ann Hobson (File photo)

Ann Hobson (File photo)

Unlike last year’s Art Ball announcement party at Lisa Blue Baron’s sprawling estate, 2017 Art Ball Co-Chairs Ann and Lee Hobson opted for small and special on Thursday, October 27, to reveal plans for the Dallas Museum of Art black-tie fundraiser. And they knew just the person to provide it — interior designer Cathy Kincaid Hudson’s home-sweetest-home.

Blending the charm of a European cottage with comfy chairs that seemed to beg for settling into the art on the walls, it was the type of bungalow that any movie screenwriter envisions as perfection.

Jeff Byron, Cathy Kincaid Hudson and Kevin Hurst

Jeff Byron, Cathy Kincaid Hudson and Kevin Hurst

Ah, but the adorable digs had way so much more. Just behind the fenced backyard was the pool and the marvelous guest house.

When Cathy was asked about her home, she told how she had only been there a couple of years. Her previous residence on Mockingbird had been lost to a fire.

David and Ann Sutherland

David and Ann Sutherland

But now she was nicely settled in with her pooches, cats and chickens.  

Only problem of the night was trying to squeeze through the crowd of guests like Brooke Hortenstine, Jeff Byron, Kevin Hurst and last year’s Art Co-Chairs Ann and David Sutherland.

As for the announcement, the date is Saturday, April 22, when Ann and Lee will turn the DMA into “All That Glitters” a la “Flowers in a Case With Two Doves.” Think romantic at the DMA. 

And start saving those pennies, because the live auction is going to be curated by Merry Vose and Rajan Patel, so it’s bound to be a beaut.

Tickets and sponsorships are available now. Love the levels — Versailles, Vaux-Le-Vicomte, Saint-Germain, Bagatelle, Fontainebleau, Saint-Cloud and Table Du Maire et/Ou Directeur.

Vive la France et DMA!

Seasonal Dip In Temperatures Approaches

Some folks have been complaining about temperatures hitting the upper 80s this month. After all, it is November and it just seems downright unnatural to wear shorts when you have a herd of woollies in your closet bleating to come out.

February 2015

February 2015 (File photo)

Well, pack up the shorts and pull out the cashmeres because today the temps are going to be dipping like a debutante on stage. Word has it that Saturday night, it just might hit the upper 30s. But this first cold front of the season ain’t going to be anything like the freezers of 2011 or 2015. Still, why not prepare now for what probably lies ahead in the weeks to come?

For oldtimers, you know the drill. For newcomers, here are some suggestions:

Snow covers neighborhoods (File photo)

February 2011 (File photo)

  • Bundle up with gloves, caps and jackets, if you’re going to catch a Friday night lights game.
  • Remember to take care of the three P’s — pets, plants and plumbing. It’s not going to freeze, but why not prepare those pipes now?
  • Put a blanket and some water in your car. Who knows? If you get stuck, you just might want a gulp of water and a wrapper until you get a tow.
  • Have your HVAC checked. It’s been a while since you turned on the heating element.
  • Check on your senior buds and physically challenged folks. Cold weather seems to hit them harder than you hardy types. See if their windows and doors are sealed to keep out the cold. And while you’re at it check yours, too.
  • It’s not too late to have a chimney sweep check your fireplace. You might also want them to clean your clothes dryer, too. After all, you don’t want the holiday glow to be your home going up in smoke.
  • Stock up on all those comfort foods. Homes just seem to handle the chill when hot chocolate is served or brownies are in the oven.
  • Remember those old blankets that you replaced with brand new ones? Why not donate the older ones to Goodwill or Dallas Animal Services?
  • Stock up on batteries, candles and matches.
  • Get a book and a couple of board games and/or jigsaw puzzles. If you lose electricity, you’ll find high tech goes down the drain and these old-timers can come in handy to handle the boredom.
  • Buy a toy. No, it has absolutely nothing to do with staving off the cold, but you just know you’re going to want to donate to a toy drive, so why not buy something now!

Crystal Charity Ball Men Folk Were Honored With A Gentlemen’s Night Out At The Rathbuns Thanks to BB&T

Like a Tennessee Williams scenario, Tuesday, October 18, was warm and steamy. Luckily, the Crystal Charity Ball types were well aware of the condition and left the cashmeres and leathers at home for the Gentlemen’s Night Out.

It was to thank the CCB husbands for playing second fiddle, while their wives called on foundations and CEOs to provide $5.6M for children charities.

Kent Rathbun and Claire Emanuelson

Kent Rathbun and Claire Emanuelson

Key Coker and Debbie Oates

Key Coker and Debbie Oates

Presented by BB&T Bank, the event took place at Tracy and Kent Rathbun’s home. Because of the limited parking, most guests parked at the Junior League of Dallas and were bused over to the Rathbuns. Others had friends or Uber deliver them to the front door. Nicky Oates dropped off wife Debbie Oates and Marie Dean depended upon a walker for her mending left foot.

Bryan and Leslie Diers and Dwight Emanuelson

Bryan and Leslie Diers and Dwight Emanuelson

Dwight Emanuelson was back in town from a couple of weeks on the East Coast. In addition to company gatherings, Dwight headed to Hilton Head to help his dad with post-Hurricane Matthew damages. After a couple of days and hand blisters, dad’s home was soon back to normal. The remaining problems for the seaside house was the damage to the dunes that separated his dad’s pool from the ocean.

Troy Schiermeyer, Christie Carter and Sarah and Rob Bowlby

Troy Schiermeyer, Christie Carter and Sarah and Rob Bowlby

Since the Rathbun home is a true-blue indoor/outdoor party palace, the ladies were all gussied up in silk and lace attire especially as presenting sponsor rep BB&T’s newly minted North Texas Region President Rob Bowlby addressed the group about BB&T’s capability. As if moving the Bowlby family to Dallas from Florida wasn’t taxing enough, Rob’s wife, Sarah Bowlby, had just given birth six weeks before. But there she was, looking great.

Rob admitted that he was indeed impressed with the philanthropic efforts of North Texas. Why, just the previous Saturday he had seen Kent on stage raising funds for cancer research. Now, Kent was hosting another fundraiser.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Housing Crisis Center’s 2016 Patriot Party

According to Housing Crisis Center’s 2016 Patriot Party Chair John Baer,

Get ready for A Veteran’s Day To Remember.  That is the theme of this year’s Housing Crisis Center’s annual Patriot Party on Friday, November 11, at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. Proceeds from the event assist with our mission to prevent homelessness and to stabilize those at risk in decent, affordable and permanent housing.

2016 Patriot Party*

2016 Patriot Party*

Joining us in this exciting a project are community leaders Lynn and Allan McBee who are serving as Honorary Chairmen. This duo, along with our board of directors and host committee are working diligently to recruit sponsors, underwriters and individual ticket purchasers to make this year’s event a huge success. The evening’s festivities include cocktails, live and silent auctions, live music and dancing in the Mansion’s recently renovated Ballroom and adjoining Pavilion.

As we embark on this important fund-raising effort, it is worth noting that HCC’s three permanent housing programs serve mainly veterans and their families. The Patriot Party is one of the ways we honor and support those who have served. Veterans in our program suffer disabilities, but with our help, they are able to live independently.

We don’t stop with making sure they have a safe place to live, we also give them the tools they need to find jobs, manage their finances and to tackle the issues that cause them to become homeless. We invite you to join our efforts to ensure that our veterans have a brighter future.

Housing Crisis Center has been preventing homelessness for almost 40 years. More than 10,000 households rely on our assistance each year. Originally founded as the Dallas Tenants Association in 1978 under the leadership of Dorothy Masterson, the organization was established to provide free legal support to low income tenants. Our mission and reach have expanded and the demand for our services in Dallas is greater than ever.

For sponsorship or ticket information, visit www.hccdallas.org.

* Graphic provided by Housing Crisis Center

2016 Parade Of Playhouses Brings Out The Competitive Spirit To Raise Funds For Dallas CASA At NorthPark

Jeff Kindig

Jeff Kindig

Jeff Kindig of Harman is bound and determined to continue Harmon’s reign as the Parade of Playhouses top builder. It was just last year when Jeff blew the Dallas CASA parade competition at NorthPark off the grid with Buckaroo Mountain Adventure house. But Friday as the 14 adorable mini-mansions were preparing for the official kick-off, the bearded Jeff found himself facing the idea of staying put in his African Safari Adventure until the “parade’s” finish on Sunday, July 31.

The reason goes back to the night before, when the 14 Parade of Playhouses were delivered to NorthPark lining from Dillards to Macys to North Court. Since the houses were to be prepared for display Friday morning, the mini-houses were literally open houses Thursday night with munchkins checking out the rock walls, slides, ladders and multi-levels.

Retro Roots

Retro Roots

Steampunk

Steampunk

Friday morning was spent cleaning up footprints and replacing doorway netting and other temporary stop measures with Plexiglas. It was the installation of the Plexiglas that found Jeff on the wrong side of the tent. But after a little work, Jeff was outside and the goodies (bunk beds, desk, chair, trunk, Harman stereo audio system and an ATV-Style Jeep, 12-vol 4X4 Electric Car) were safely behind the Plexiglas for viewing.

Looking at the Plexiglas successfully in place, Dallas CASA Executive Director/President Kathleen LaValle with camera in hand admitted that the competition had been fierce. The Crest Casa Garage had an adorable mini-Cadillac parked inside. One builder, whose entry had a metal roof, reported that his people would be out each morning to polish the roof. The “Life on Mars” was the product of the College of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma.

Crest Casa Garage

Crest Casa Garage

Kid Cottage

Kid Cottage

Life on Mars

Life on Mars

XyLophoNEhouse

XyLophoNEhouse

In the meantime, NorthParkers were chuckling about inquiries about NorthPark’s new piece of art. It wasn’t. It was XyLophoNEhouse, a work in development. On Saturday the wooden tunnel would be highlighted by musical tubes all tuned to the note of C…like CASA.

Love and Peace

Love and Peace

Steampunk

Steampunk

2016 Parade of Playhouses

2016 Parade of Playhouses

The adorable homes with amazing detailing and imagination will be on display for voting and raffle until Sunday, July 31. The timing is simply perfect with the heat and humidity getting really old. Strolling through air-conditioned NorthPark to check out the parade is free for the viewing. And if one or two or all of them strike your fancy, buy a raffle ticket! You can either do it at one of the tables set up in NorthPark or do it online. The chances are going for $5 for one or five for $20. The winning tickets will be drawn on Sunday, July 31 at 4 p.m. at NorthPark.

You can also vote for your fav by texting dallascasa to 41444. Each vote costs $5. After all, paper ballots are so yesterday.

The Lookout*

The Lookout*

However, there was one MIA. Starting yesterday, #15 (aka The Lookout) was in place at Dallas CASA.

Why not drive over to Dallas CASA in the Wilson Historic District and check it out? While there check out volunteering for Dallas CASA.

In meantime, you can check out all the NorthPark 14 plus The Lookout at Dallas CASA at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

* Photo provided by Dallas CASA

Neiman Marcus Downtown’s Crawl Tubes Have Found A New Home-Sweet-Home With Spark!

Believe it or not, North Texas is heading warp speed from this week’s wet and humid conditions to next week’s dry and summer heat. To better survive this transition, how about a thought of cooler times? For instance, remember back in 2013 when Neiman Marcus Downtown’s windows were a holiday showcase with crawl tubes for munchkins to explore, while people on the sidewalk watched the fun?

Spark!*

Spark!*

Say, what happened to the tubes? Did they end up in a dump? Heavens, no! That’s not the NM way of handling such marvels. Checked with NM Director of Charitable Giving Kevin Hurst about the tubes’ whereabouts. And, of course, he immediately had the answer: “When the tubes ‘retired’ in 2013 they went to a great home. I am happy to say they have been completely transformed and re-purposed and are bringing joy to a whole new set of kiddos at Spark! They literally used everything that was donated, but completely re-purposed and added to it. The tubes now extend 30 feet into the air. They built cool stairs and slides (even has a dragon head). It is quite the experience for both little kids and big kids (that act like little kids).”

Climb Crawl Slide sculpture*

Climb Crawl Slide sculpture*

So, what is Spark? A new theme park? No! Spark! is a year-old non-profit that “provides children from second grade to high school with a fully immersive creative environment and hands-on learning that develops their self-definition as creative individuals. Strategically located in the sub-basement of the historic South Side on Lamar building near a large population of low-income families, Spark! provides a fully immersive learning environment, layering a myriad of creative disciplines to spark the imagination, expand the mind, and engage the body. Through an endless roster of workshops and pop-up activities, students exercise their creativity and learn from creative experts, innovators, and artists.”

Climb Crawl Slide sculpture*

Climb Crawl Slide sculpture*

According to Spark! President/CEO Bev Davis, “In 2015 [we] engaged with 13 different schools and have already worked with more than 40 institutions to date. To celebrate serving 1,775 children in the first seven months of operation, Spark! announced that the facility would be open to the public every Saturday starting in June. In 2016, Spark! will aim to serve more than 5,000 students. Tickets are $10 at the door, $8 in advance.”

In addition to pop-up activities like Giant Light Bright, Recycled Art, Chalk Art, Poetry Magnets and percussion, June’s Spark! Saturdays provide a 6,000-foot Climb, Crawl, Slide Sculpture that looks suspiciously like some NM crawl tubes.

* Graphic and photo courtesy of Spark!

“One Of The Country’s Top 10 Party Houses In The World” Was The Setting For KidneyTexas Auction Cocktail Party

Within the uber fundraising season, Thursday take on a new face. But Thursday, May 5, was the super-duper fundraising special.

View from the poolhouse

View from the poolhouse

Dana Nearburg and Martha Tiner

Dana Nearburg and Martha Tiner

Over in Highland Park behind a massive hedge and a glass wall was Dana Nearburg’s award-winning estate. This home-sweet-home has won the Dallas AIA Design Merit Award, Texas Society of Architects honor award, ASLA Landscape Design Award and International Lighting Award, to name a few.

Okay, so there were garages for eleven vehicles, a two-story pool house described as “one of the Top 10 party houses in the world by ‘Architzer Online Magazine,’” and a fabulous pool between the main digs with a glass-skybridge to the guest quarters over one of the garages. But then there were the little touches like the artist studio in the upper level of the pool house and the fountain in the entry of the main house that is also a Jacuzzi. Dana admitted that the idea of the waterworks seemed odd at first, but then it was perfect for those times when her race car driving ex- (Formula One driver Charlie Nearburg) would return from the track and could relax the moment he walked in the door.

Nikki Nole, Remington Reece and McKamy Tiner

Nikki Nole, Remington Reece and McKamy Tiner

The property was open for the KidneyTexas Auction Cocktail Party thanks to Runway Report Chair McKamy Tiner and her mom Martha Tiner, who was an old Highland Park High School chum of Dana’s.  And for once the weather could not have been more perfect for walking the grounds.

Guinn and Betsy Crousen

Guinn and Betsy Crousen

Neighbors like Betsy and Guinn Crousen strolled over from their digs just a block away, while others like Emilynn and Claude Wilson, KidneyTexas President Anna Bland Aston, Nikki Nole with Remington Reece, Megan and Andy Meyercord, Lauryn Gayle White, Natalie Taylor, Terri Massad, Linda and Steve Ivy, Di Johnston, Ramona Jones, Vicki Hill and past KidneyTexas President Therese Rourk and her mom Mary Lee Cox used their wheels to arrive.

Anna Bland Aston

Anna Bland Aston

Among the live auction goodies that auctioneer Louis Murad was collecting bids for were

  • Mesero Margarita Party for Twenty at Mesero on Henderson — Your guests will taste some of their favorite margaritas, sample Herradura tequilas, and enjoy trays of passed bites like slow roasted brisket nachos, tiger shrimp ceviche and some of the best guacamole in the city.
  • Montana Sporting Club Getaway — Experience the best of a private hunting lodge, dude ranch, fly-fishing club and ski resort, in one location. Four nights, five days at The Montana Sporting Club in a luxury log cabin with three bedrooms and two bathrooms that accommodates 6-8 people.
  • Slip away to San Miguel de Allende – Stay four nights in Casa Chiripada del Parque, a sophisticated three bedroom, four bath oasis nestled among stately homes on Juarez Park. Enjoy fine restaurants, galleries, and shopping just steps from your door. Home accommodates up to 6 people.
  • The Masters Championship Package — Masters Championship Round with three nights, double occupancy stay (Friday, April 8, 2017 to Monday April 10, 2017) Master’s Tournament badges for Saturday and Sunday, and two round trip airline tickets to Atlanta.
  • Kentucky Derby Package for two – Enjoy the 2017 Kentucky Derby with Kentucky Oaks Clubhouse Seating on Friday and Saturday, round trip airfare, and hotel accommodations.
  • Argentina Dove Hunt – Head to Cordoba, Argentina to the Five Star Pica Zuro Lodge for four days, three nights. Includes six dove hunts for two hunters; highly trained chefs will provide all meals, wine, beer and spirits – full open bar.
  • Dish Preston Hollow — Four-course dinner with wine pairing for six. Chef and sommelier will tailor to your guests’ tastes and dietary needs.

2016 Crystal Charity Ball Theme Revealed There Is A Season For Everything

It almost seemed surreal. On Tuesday, May 3, Lisa and Clay Cooley’s estate could have easily given Versailles or the Dallas Arboretum a run for glory. With fountains flowing on one side of the bridge and a tennis court on the other, pink, white and red flowers highlighted the Bluffview estate. Trams breezed the guests from the valet at the front gate to the Cooleys’ front door. For those who wished to take in the beauty of the grounds, it was perfect weather to stroll to the scene of the 2016 Crystal Charity Ball theme announcement party.

Lisa and Clay Cooley estate

Lisa and Clay Cooley estate

Early arrivals Dwight Emanuelson and Gregory Dunbar talked with Clay, who joshed about having spent the day planting the hundreds of flowers. Later Clay told how he just followed the marching orders from General Lisa. When asked about the upcoming nuptials of son Chase Cooley to Bela Pjetrovic, he admitted that his input was not gonna be necessary. As for high school graduating son, Chance Cooley, Clay said the youngest Cooley had scatted in his white Jeep when he saw the lineup of cars arriving at the front gate.

Violinists

Violinists

Along with the guests, a handful of violinists arrived and were soon located under the winding staircase to provide music. On the other side of the stairway was a decorative easel with a plaque bordered with beautiful flowers. In the center was written, “To everything there is a season.” A clue of things to come.

Plaque

Plaque

When the two-story living room filled with guests, the great room filled the bill for the overflow. Everywhere one looked were food, flowers and flickering candles in votives. Upstairs it was another story entirely. Designer Nardos Imam was literally sewing willowy Jan Strimple into a gown specifically created for the occasion.

Then word was passed downstairs to gather in the living room, where the announcement of the 2016 Crystal Charity Ball theme would be announced by CCB Chair Christie Carter, who was now on the stairway introducing the evening’s sponsor Bank of Texas Dallas Market President Ryan Suchala, who graciously thanked the CCB-ers and then turned the focus on the seven beneficiaries including the Paiges (Flink and McDaniel).

Christie Carter, Jan Strimple and Ryan Suchala

Christie Carter, Jan Strimple and Ryan Suchala

Christie then returned to reveal that Tom Addis would be the event producer, with Junior Villanueva providing the floral highlights and Lambert’s the greenery. As for the  theme, Christie announced it would be, “To everything there is a season.”

On cue, Jan in gown and a floral headdress created by Junior serenely descended the staircase. In her right hand was a silvery gray folder with flowers that matched those on her gown. Looking at the crowd of men and women who were mesmerized by the tall red-haired spring nymph, Jan opened the book and read the verse from the Book of Ecclesiastes.

No sooner had Jan closed the book and the applause had died down than she was surrounded by guests wanting to have their photo taken with her or asking about her gown and head dressing.

Can Do Luncheon Patrons Enjoyed A Beautiful Evening At Tucker and Rich Enthoven’s Preston Hollow Estate

The skies were clear, but the local eyes weren’t so lucky. With all types of pollen filling the air, eyes were bloodshot, noses were runny and achoos were the song of the day. Welcome to North Texas. As one doctor once claimed, “If I were starting out, I would have been an allergist in North Texas.” Then doc admitted that the only busier practitioner would have been an allergy specialist in Houston — “Boy have they got their work cut out!”

But on Wednesday, April 27, there was not a cloud in the flawless blue sky. OK, there was a Southwest jet crossing the sky, but still.

Tucker and Rich Enthoven's backyard

Tucker and Rich Enthoven’s backyard

Just the night before the area community had been on standby for all types of scary weather stuff. But on this evening, Tucker and Rich Enthoven’s home-sweet-home and its fabulous grounds could not have been more spectacularly perfect with the tennis court, the pool and elevated terraces.

Sara Melnick Albert, Tucker Enthoven, Regina Montoya and Anne Reeder

Sara Melnick Albert, Tucker Enthoven, Regina Montoya and Anne Reeder

Anne Conner and Susan Phillips

Anne Conner and Susan Phillips

The gathering, which included Anne Conner, Debbie Oates, Linda Perryman Evans and Sara Martineau, was for The Wilkinson Center’s “Can Do Luncheon” patron party. Leslie Diers was doing front door greeting of guests as her mom Cynthia Melnick chatted with guests in the mansion and Leslie’s sister/Luncheon Chair Sara Melnick Alberts was on the terrace talking with Can Do award recipient Regina Montoya and her husband Paul Coggins… Wilkinson Center Executive Director Anne Reeder was chatting with Susan Phillips about her Shih Tzu’s reactions to the previous night’s thunder and lightning.

But the real subject of the night was the luncheon on Tuesday, May 10, at the Dallas Country Club that will recognize Regina and the North Texas Food Bank that has been such a vital part of The Wilkinson Center’s efforts to help families in need. This luncheon will be the fourth year that The Wilkinson Center has recognized those with the “can-do” spirit.

Despite Threatening Weather, Sherwood Wagner Tented Up With A Lavish Dinner To Kick Off The Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala

Bird floating over the dinner table*

Bird floating over the dinner table*

Violinist*

Violinist*

Outside the Preston Hollow home of Sherwood Wagner early on Tuesday, April 26, the weather was still warm but dry ahead of the drenching that had been predicted for later. But, once inside Sherwood’s manse, some 150 guests were confronted with a sight that had them forgetting about the forecast: Just beyond the doors leading to Wagner’s yard, a huge, sky-high white tent had been erected that looked like someone’s idea of heaven. Beneath its Hollywood-style spotlights, colorful dinner tables had been neatly arranged, each one sporting generous arrangements of peonies, tulips, lilies or purple orchids. Hanging above each table was a fanciful oversized scultped “bird,” in hues ranging from white, aqua and yellow to pink and gold. Ah, now they recalled the extraordinary invitation that Sherwood had been hand-delivered — a box containing a dazzling feathered faux bird and a printed invite.

Jonathan Martin, Sherwood Wagner and Marena and Roger Gault*

Jonathan Martin, Sherwood Wagner and Marena and Roger Gault*

Million Dollar Quartet*

Million Dollar Quartet*

The stunning environment was the handiwork of Shari Kelley Events of Palm Springs, California, which Sherwood had retained to make this kick-off dinner for the Friday, September 16th Dallas Symphony Gala one the guests won’t soon forget. Affirmed one of them as she took it all in: “This is the prettiest party I’ve been to in the last five years.” The party was also full of surprises, from the real live bird that was chirping somewhere high in the tent, to the virtuoso violinist who played while guests enjoyed drinks and canapés, to the curtain that was suddenly yanked back to reveal a stage with six rockabilly band members beneath lettering that read, Million Dollar Quartet. When the expert musicians tore into tunes like “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Great Balls of Fire” and “Folsom Prison Blues,” guests including Doris and Jack Jacobs and Donna and Herb Weitzman packed the little dance floor.

Carole Ann Brown*

Carole Ann Brown*

Lynn McBee, Barbara Daseke and Yon Jorden*

Lynn McBee, Barbara Daseke and Yon Jorden*

Others, like Kara and Randall Goss, Kathy and Richard Holt, Lynn McBee, Carole and Scott Murray, Holly and Doug Deason and Katherine and Key Coker, were content to chat with friends until dinner (Panzanella artichoke salad and braised short ribs with mashed potatoes and sweet peas) was served. That’s when Sherwood (she’s the 2016 Gala honorary chair) and her buddies 2016 Gala Chairs Marena and Roger Gault took the stage, along with DSO CEO Jonathan Martin. After thanking Gala Underwriting Chairs Margaret and Barry Hancock and Kristi and Ron Hoyl, Roger announced, “We are well on our way to meeting our goal for the Gala.” Jonathan reiterated that the “most famous classical musician on the planet,” pianist Lang Lang, would perform at the Gala. Then, as rain began spattering on the tent’s roof, Marena added, “Come hell or high water, we’re going to have a good time tonight!”

Randall and Kara Goss and Carole and Scott Murray*

Randall and Kara Goss and Carole and Scott Murray*

And that’s just what they did—at least until just before 9:30 and the scheduled desserts (lemon bar with raspberries, or double chocolate chip brownie with strawberries). It was announced then that “Mother Nature’s coming home to roost, so we feel that it’s better to get you on your way and to turn the party off.” With that everyone made happily for the valet line, where they could hear thunder and see lightning flashing off in the distance.

Can’t wait to see what Sherwood and the Gaults have in store for the 2016 fall season’s first black-tie gala. Tickets and sponsorships are available now.

* Photo credit: Sylvia Elzafron

 

Carolyn And David Miller Open Their Home For Genesis Luncheon Underwriters With Honeysuckle Wafting In The Backyard

Carolyn Miller

Carolyn Miller

David Miller

David Miller

Blessed by Mother Nature, the Genesis Luncheon underwriters party had the most perfect spot to celebrate on Wednesday, April 20. It was Carolyn and David Miller’s home that many have driven by but few had visited.

Too bad that everyone stayed in the main house because the let-me-settle-backyard was enhanced by the fragrance of the honeysuckle in full bloom.

Carolyn and David Miller's backyard

Carolyn and David Miller’s backyard

Janice Provost and her crew were in the garage cooking up the most delish yummies including itty-bitty sliders served in red gift boxes.

Just before Genesis Executive Director Jan Langbein told the group including Ken Betts, Michael Flores, Ashlee Kleinert, Gail and Gerald Turner, Emilynn and Claude Wilson, Claire and Dwight Emanuelson, Michael Meadows, Jan Baldwin and Mimi Sterling of things to come, Co-Chair Nancy Rogers arrived to join her Co-Chair Gina Betts.

Gina Betts and Nancy Rogers

Gina Betts and Nancy Rogers

In the dining room, the raffle items were lined up on the dining room table. They looked ripe for the grabbing. Sorry, but the raffle results wouldn’t be announced until the Friday, May 6, luncheon at the Hilton Anatole featuring Tyler Perry.

In addition to Tyler, there’s that challenge that Nancy and her husband Richard Rogers have issued — they’ll match up dollar-for-dollar up to a million dollars in funds raised for the luncheon.

Nobody Loves A Blood-Sucking Skeeter

The temperatures are starting to rise and the rains, they keep a’coming. What does that means? Well, the skeeters see this as St. Barts and that spells trouble.

With tales of an upcoming Zika invasion and past deadly encounters with West Nile, that should put everyone on guard. But still there are forgotten flower pots with stagnant water and and even old birdbaths that even a mockingbird would bypass, where those pesky little mosquitoes would love to make a nursery. Any and all bowls, containers or whatevers need to be emptied.

And start shopping for your Deet du jour. It may not be as tantalizing as Michael or Code, but it will be a major turn off for the blood-sucking little devils.

Government suggestion: “It is not recommended to use a single product that combines insect repellent containing Deet and sunscreen. Repellent usually does not need to be reapplied as often as sunscreen. There are not specific recommendations for products that combine other active ingredients and sunscreen. Always follow the instructions on the label of whatever product you are using.”

MySweetCharity suggestion: Put the sunscreen on. Wait a few minutes. You can use this time to rearrange your

Mad Hatter’s Fashion Show And Luncheon Patron Party At Betsy And Guinn Crousen’s Mansion Was An Over-The-Top Draw

The line-up of luxury vehicles pulling up to Betsy and Guinn Crousen’s palatial Highland Park digs was impressive just 10 minutes into the Tuesday, April 19, affair. The valet parking company had been advised to expect 50 guests, but that number ended up being tripled including Jocelyn White, Linda Spina, Barbara Daseke, Linda Ivy, Connie Carreker, Jennifer and Coley Clark and Jennifer Houser. Needless to say, the car parkers were scurrying around the streets like roadrunners.

Jennifer Houser and Betsy Crousen

Jennifer Houser and Betsy Crousen

Barbara Daseke and Barbara Bigham

Barbara Daseke and Barbara Bigham

The event was the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum‘s Mad Hatter’s Tea patron party. Some like Leslie Ann Crozier were splitting their time between Mad Hatter’s and making it home in time to learn the outcome of the New York presidential primary.

Betsy and Guinn Crousen's courtyard

Betsy and Guinn Crousen’s courtyard

As a first-time event, the house with its marvelous courtyard had guests wandering throughout. Some even decided to check out the Crousens’ closets!

In the kitchen Emilynn Wilson was receiving congrats on being named 2017 Callier Cares chair. Another one receiving pats on the back was Barbara Bigham for the recent Bighams’ million-dollar donation for Scenic Overlook in the Arboretum’s newest project — A Tasteful Place.

Breakfast For The Bridge North Texas Had All “The Signs” To Be The Safety Net For The Homeless And Delivered

Judy Gass and Jennifer Karol

Judy Gass and Jennifer Karol

Even before the official 7:30 a.m. check-in for The Breakfast For The Bridge on Friday, November 20, people like Kimberly and Shannon Wynne, Judy Gass and Jennifer Karol were in the Trinity Ballroom at the Omni. In the reception area outside the ballroom were two large walls with cardboard sheets and colorful markers. Some people got it. Others just walked by. They’d soon get it.

Walls outside the Trinity Ballroom

Walls outside the
Trinity Ballroom

By 7:45, the ballroom was filling. Maybe it was because it was less than a week from Thanksgiving. Maybe it was because it was breakfast. May it was because it was a Friday. May it was because it was the fundraiser for The Bridge. Maybe it was because it was all of that. But there was a genuine sense of conviviality as guests greeted each other like a family reunion. There seemed to be no stranger in the room of 600.

A voice asked everyone to take their seats. There were scheduled to keep and a lot of suits that had place to be afterwards. The Bridge Development Director Teresa Hiser was hopeful that more money would be raised at the breakfast itself.

Tom Dunning, Lynn McBee and Bill Barnett

Tom Dunning, Lynn McBee and Bill Barnett

A few minutes later the voice repeated the requested, as more people arrived. The back of the room heeded the voice’s request. Those near the stage weren’t so responsive. They continued catching up. Gunnar Rawlings represented Dallas’ First Family. Seems First Lady Micki Rawlings was nursing an eye infection. Tom Dunning described Lynn McBee as “the next Ruth Altshuler” to Bill Barnett. As for Lynn, she had a full schedule. Later in the day she would be chairing The Salvation Army’s 2015 Annual Doing The most Good Luncheon.

Just after 8, The Bridge’s Co-Chairs Elect Lynn and Bill got the program underway explaining the The Bridge Chairman of the Board John Castle was unable to make it, so they were subbing in. He recognized last year’s Bridge Builder awardee Jennifer Karol, who has taken on development efforts.

Megan McManemin

Megan McManemin

Rev. Joe Clifford gave the invocation and Event Co-Chair Megan McManemin told how Shannon had gotten them involved five years ago. Seems on a visit to the McManemin’s home, Shannon had noticed a photo of Casey McManemin’s grandfather Mack McManemin in front of his barbershop that had just been a couple of blocks away from where The Bridge is located today. Six months later “Mack’s Barbershop” opened at The Bridge to provide free haircuts for the guests thanks to the McManemins.

But their involvement didn’t stop there. Megan described Shannon’s and Jennifer’s working with the McManemins as the “Bridge Two-Step.” Megan ended up working in the library and eventually moved on to the music therapy program. Today she and Casey were co-chairing The Breakfast.

Kamica King

Kamica King

Speaking about the importance of music therapy, she told how one day at the music therapy session a couple of clients were a little louder and a bit rowdy. But music therapist Kamica King’s use of music pretty soon changed the situation 180 degrees with one of the fellows ask, “Who are you?”

With that Kamica and her guitar came on stage and played while the guests had breakfast. After the last song, Kamica introduced the question, “What is home to you?” The answer came via video from various people saying, “Peace,” “Rest,” “Safe,” “Family”, “Security,” etc.

The Bridge President Jay Dunn introduced public officials, Bridge partners and the 2015 Bridge Builder Larry Sykes with a video featuring Rev. Bruce Buchanan, Mayor Mike Rawlings, Rosemary Robbins and Mary Russ.

Larry Sykes and Teresa Hiser

Larry Sykes and Teresa Hiser

In the video, Larry explained that he changed careers from real estate to The Bridge. In this transition, he discovered the difference between him and The Bridge’s guests is the safety net.

Following the video, Larry accepted the award reporting that since 2008 there have been 1,000 volunteers with The Stewpot providing three meals a day every day. When Larry asked that everyone in the ballroom, who had volunteered at The Bridge stand up, about one-fourth of the 600 guests stood.

Returning to his thoughts about the importance of the safety net for the guests, Larry said that The Bridge is just that for the guests, with 2,100 people having found hosing through The Bridge, homeless jail stays have dropped and serious crime has been reduced by 49% since The Bridge’s opening.

At 8:49 Larry concluded his acceptance speech and introduced a video of Help USA Chair Maria Cuomo-Cole who helped produce an upcoming documentary about Willie.

Following Maria’s introduction, Willie appeared at the podium with mammoth slides appearing on the screen behind him. He read notes from those who had been touched by his 20-year art project in which he bought the signs that the homeless would hold on streets. In the background slides of the signs would appear. Eventually the project undertaken in grad school became a mission resulting in his first homeless sign art show in 2009. He told of the installations of other exhibitions of the signs and the quilts by the homeless that he and his sister had worked on. It was at his 2012 TEDxSMU talk that the project opened up a personal issue for Willie about his relationship with his father. For the first time he “wondered if there was a part of me that was homeless.”

Willie Baronet

Willie Baronet

He then asked the audience to consider three questions:

“What is home?” For many it was a roof over the head, but for others it was a feeling.

“Is there any part of you that is homeless?” He told how he had been told by people that they homeless spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, etc. For Willie it was about safety and a longing for a relationship with his father. During his cross-country trip to collect signs that was filmed for the documentary that will be shown in January 2016, he met countless homeless people and others who help the homeless, driven 7,200 miles, bought 292 signs and produced an exhibition of the signs at NYU that took three days to install.

He told how when he started buying the signs, he had done it with a feeling of discomfort seeing people asking for help. But over the years, that discomfort had been transformed into an understanding and sharing of what is homelessness. He admitted that despite his efforts and encounters the problem demanded a more complex answer than he could muster. But in undertaking his project, he had created ripples that would lead others talk, to create policies and to do the next thing.

Willie Baronet

Willie Baronet

His final question to the audience was, “What will you do next?”

He concluded his talk with a story about “Trey,” who approached him at Tom Thumb one day. He asked Willie if he drove a white Mountaineer. It seems that years ago he had been “a homeless dude at LBJ and Abrams,” who had lived in the woods off of Chimney Hill. But thanks to an encounter with Willie, Josh had gotten a job, an apartment, gone through rehab and was off drugs. Willie said, “Things were really hard but he was doing well. He remembered my face and my car, someone who had helped him.” Trey then explained to Willie, “I want you to understand this. Every time somebody helps, you remember.”

The breakfast could have ended with that, but Co-Chair Casey McManenim came on stage and was one of the best closer in these parts. He told the group to do the right thing, to do the smart thing and to do something. That, according to Casey, is exactly what is happening at The Bridge. The facility is providing a safety net for those who want to transition from the streets to permanent supportive homes.

But today was more than writing a check. Casey admitted that guilt was not a very good fundraising tool, but sometimes shame works. He asked everyone who had visited The Bridge to stand up. “So, those of you who are experiencing shame at this moment know who you are.” Laughter arose from all the guests. He pointed out that the envelope at each seat revealed a match was available for funds raised that would allow expansion including critical medical services and follow up.

He added that the state of Texas was now using The Bridge model for the homeless problem and was providing a two-year match for funds raised. In addition, an anonymous donor was will to match dollar-for-dollar the second year funds raised up to $50,000.

Neighbors Wait To Begin The Process Of Discovery And Recovery In Tornadic Torn-Up Communities

In the aftermath of Saturday night’s invasion of angry weather, the added problem of cold, wet weather has now set in. Many have been at a loss on what to do to help those living in the devastated areas. Luckily, the answer came from a “Rowlett resident,” who reflected the strength, appreciation and resilience of the victims:

“We are a community in waiting at this point. Waiting for the go ahead for non-residents of the highly impacted areas to enter and begin clean-up. I’ve been following the city website for updates (http://www.ci.rowlett.tx.us/CivicAlerts.aspx). Looks like they are directing most monetary donations to the Red Cross. (I had the fortune of working with them Saturday to help setup at an elementary school near my home. It was a humbling experience.)

“Many of our churches and schools are ‘full’ of donations at this point; however, I don’t believe residents have resourced them as they are still trying to gather their belongings from what remains. I believe that we will know more about needs in the next day or two as the agencies and insurance companies make their way through, and residents emerge.”

The upshot is that at this point, the operative word for now is “Patience.” It’s a hard word to swallow, because the desire to help now is so overpowering. But the immediate needs are being met as residents begin the process of discovery and recovery. In the weeks to come when all the TV cameras are gone, the struggle to rebuild will make Sisyphus’ challenge look easy. That’s when they’ll really need a help from their neighbors, whether it’s a donation, volunteering an extra pair of hands or perhaps investing in their community.

In the meantime, if you have a little change leftover from the Christmas shopping, you just know the Red Cross would welcome it.

North Texans Discover A Devastated Landscape And Neighbors In Need

Last night Dallas took it on the chin with Rowlett, Garland, DeSoto and Collin County really taking the brunt of the tornadic storms. While the weather guessers and emergency sirens did an excellent job warning people to take cover, such conditions were truly overwhelming. As most in the North Texas area were spared, thousands discovered the brutality and cruelty of nature’s forces.

Today the experts were surmising that Garland alone had an EF4 tornado killing eight people and destroying home after home. In the world of tornadoes, an EF4 is only trumped by an EF5. That means Garland had 200-mile winds that made a deadly cut through the city as it marched from DeSoto northeast toward Farmersville.

As first responders like Texas Taskforce 1 continue their search for the injured and utility crews try to restore some type of normalcy to tattered neighborhoods, families are seeking help at the following shelters:

  • Cornerstone Baptist Church, 8200 Schrade Road, Rowlett  (Ph. 972.475.4403)
  • First United Methodist, 4405 Main St., Rowlett (Ph. 972.475.3667)
  • Rowlett Community Center, 5300 Main St., Rowlett (Ph. 972.412.6170)
  • Stedham Elementary, 6200 Danridge Rd., Rowlett (Ph. 972.463.5887)
  • Red Oak Middle School, 154 Louise Ritter Blvd., Red Oak (Ph. 972.617.0066)
  • Frank D. Moates Elementary School, 1500 Heritage Blvd., Glenn Heights (Ph. 972.230.2881)

Still others are trying to locate their pets that got lost in the evening nightmare. Luckily, lost animals are being turned into area shelters like Rowlett. Dallas Companion Animal Projects is providing info and Plano Media Director Steve Stoler has been using his Facebook page trying to connect lost parents and pets.

Needless to say, insurance companies are in overdrive trying to help victims start the long, arduous process of rebuilding.

After you count your lucky stars that you made it out of the night unscratched, consider

  • donating money to the Red Cross and The Salvation Army
  • checking social media for possible friends who might be in need
  • taking food and money to area animal shelters and the North Texas Pet Food Pantry
  • preparing your household just in case another episode takes place (i.e. storm shelter, microchipping the pets, emergency plan, etc.)
  • contacting your church and favorite nonprofit to see what they are doing to help.

On the other hand, what not to do? Don’t

  • Go to the afflicted area. It’s chaotic enough with victims and professional assistance.
  • Fall for unproven scams seeking financial aid for the victims.

Any nonprofit that is offering services or is in need of assistance to specifically help the Christmas Day After Disaster (CDAD) victims, please send your requests to [email protected] and we’ll try to get the word out. But you need to get the info in by close of work Monday. Please put in the subject line: “CDAD Assistance” and the name of your organization.

Please realize that like any disaster, there are two major stages: immediate recovery and longtime rebuilding. In the days ahead, please don’t forget the second stage. Neighbors will continue to need your support.

As you settle back in your comfortable and familiar digs, think about those so would just like to find a photo.