Veggie’s And Fruits’ 3.5-Acre New Digs Are Nearing Completion At The Dallas Arboretum’s A Tasteful Place

Vegans must be ecstatic, but they’ve got to be patient for a couple of months. On Thursday, August 10, the Dallas Arboretum was previewing its 3.5-acre A Tasteful Place and providing a progress report. But there was nary a fruit nor vegetable in sight. Instead there were land-moving machines, a crane hovering over the pavilion and loads of hard-hat types preparing the $12M garden.

A Tasteful Place under construction

Plans call for the work to be finished and the produce to be nestled in their new home in time as part of the 2017 Autumn at the Arboretum with a ribbon cutting on Tuesday, October 3, and the fundraising A Garden Gala Party on Sunday, October 15.

But don’t go thinking that the place is just going to be rows of herb and fruits. It was designed in the manner of a European potager to be lovely as well as productive. The Place’s centerpiece, Potager Display Gardens, is made up of four quadrants, surrounded by The Barbara and Bob Bigham Scenic Overlook with a flawless view of downtown Dallas and White Rock Lake, The Margaret and Jay Simmons Lagoon that is more than an acre, the 3,600-square-foot Charlotte and Donald Test Pavilion with 180-degree views of the garden designed for cooking classes, education program and special events, patios, promenades, stairways plazas, fruit trees and so much more.

Mary Brinegar and Dave Forehand

Looking at the construction, Dallas Arboretum President/CEO Mary Brinegar in a floral jacket, Vice President of Gardens Dave Forehand and Pavilion architect Russell Buchanan in cowboy boots and hard hat explained the plans for the garden following its debut. The garden’s products will be used in the various restaurants at the Arboretum. If there is a surplus then they will provide it for offer it to food banks and other similar organizations.

Russell Buchanan

When asked which vegetable topped their list of favorites, Mary said carrots; Russell said tomatoes; and Dave declared peppers, because they colorful and fun. Each will be have their favs on the menu in the years to come thanks to the following planting schedule:

  • January and February — Beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cilantro, collards, garlic, kale, leeks, lettuce, mustards, onion, Pak Choi and Swiss chard
  • March and April — Bush beans, cow peas, fava beans, pole beans, radish, soybeans and tomatoes
  • May — Bush beans, corn, cow peas, fava beans, pole beans, potatoes, radish, soybeans and tomatoes
  • June — Corn, eggplant, gourds, okra, peppers, sesame, squash, sunflower, tomatillo and zucchini
  • July and August — Eggplant, gourds, okra, peppers, pumpkins, sesame, squash, tomatillo and zucchini
  • September —Artichoke, beets, bush beans, cow peas, eggplant, fava beans, gourds, okra, peppers, pole beans, pumpkins, quinoa, sesame, soybeans, squash, Swiss chard, tomatillo, tomatoes, turnips and zucchini
  • October — Artichoke, beets, bush beans, cow peas, eggplant, fava beans, gourds, lettuce, mustards, okra, Pak Choi, peppers, pole beans, pumpkins, quinoa, sesame, soybeans, squash, Swiss chard, tomatillo, tomatoes, turnips and zucchini
  • November and December — Beets, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cilantro, collards, garlic, kale, leeks, lettuce, mustards, onion, Pak Choi and Swiss Chard

BTW, the gala is being co-chaired by Barbara Bigham and Robin Carreker with Diane and Hal Brierley serving as honorary co-chairs.

Hope Cottage Is Now A Two-Story Home-Sweet-Home That Emma Wylie Ballard Would Have Loved

Isn’t it amazing how time flies. It was back in 1917-1918 that Dallas was seeing the creation of “love” and “hope.” The “love” was the official naming of an air field service for prospective World War I pilots after aviator Moss L. Love. Just one of 32 in the country, it would eventually become Dallas’ city-proper airport Dallas Love Field and home base for Southwest Airlines.

The “hope” was what 52-year-old Emma Wylie Ballard had. Becoming a widow at the age of 35, she “joined the workforce” to support her two children. That job was with the Dallas County Juvenile Court. It was in 1918, as director of the Dallas County Humane Society’s Child Welfare Department, that she had witnessed children being abandoned on the streets of Dallas and wanted to offer them “hope.”  And Emma did just that when she arranged for the opening of “a small home to accept the babies.” Within the first two weeks of the opening of Hope Cottage, a two-week-old baby girl was turned in as a result of her mother and aunt dying from the influenza epidemic. The child was named Hope Watson “after Hope Cottage and for the hope that she would live.” (Editor’s note: Hope Watson lived to the ripe old age of 92.)

Within the first four years, 542 babies were taken in by Hope Cottage.

Since the $29 a month for milk seemed a bit exorbitant to the county commissioners, Emma “took to the streets in her Model A with the signature stork on the front, picking up donations and abandoned children alike.”

Hope Cottage

Hope Cottage

Over the past 99 years, Hope Cottage has placed generations of children and had only two home base “cottages.” Last month the Hope Cottage family moved into an incredible two-story building in the Wilson District. To celebrate the occasion, they held a patron party on Wednesday, September 21, and a ribbon-cutting on Thursday, September 22. Here is a report from the field that Emma would have been proud of:

Not only was September 22, 2016 North Texas Giving Day, it was also the day that Hope Cottage, Dallas’ oldest nonprofit, non-sectarian adoption agency, dedicated their new home. This stunning edifice is located in the Wilson Historic District at 609 Texas Street and is only the agency’s third permanent address since its founding in 1918.

The ceremony opened with a welcome by CEO Sonyia Hartwell and prayer by Chaplain Ann Golding.  Chief Development Officer Leslie Clay sang the national anthem, during which a low-flying Southwest jet provided an unplanned, but perfectly timed flyover.

Hope Cottage adoptive parent/Board President Shannon Hills-Cline and Hope Cottage adoptee/ Comprehensive Capital Campaign Chairman Carmyn Neely each spoke passionately about their experiences with Hope Cottage and what the agency has meant in their lives.

Carol Young Marvin, Christopher Shaw and Leslie Clay*

Carol Young Marvin, Christopher Shaw and Leslie Clay*

George and Fay Young Foundation Executive Director Christopher Shaw made heartfelt remarks about the long relationship Hope Cottage and the foundation have enjoyed.  The Youngs adopted their daughter Carol Young Marvin from Hope Cottage and Mr. Young served for many years on the Hope Cottage Board of Directors. Carol too has served both on the Hope Cottage Board of Directors and the Hope Cottage Foundation Board. Shaw said, “Having watched this facility grow out of a vacant lot, I know it has only begun to leave its mark on our great city. And while the exterior is undoubtedly beautiful, it is what happens inside that matters most. And what happens inside can be summed up with one word – hope.”

Dallas District 10 City Councilman Adam McGough closed out the speeches. Referring to Hope Cottage, he said “…you can’t help but feel the sense of family, the sense of hope here. It is organizations like this that give our city hope.”

Representatives from both the Board of Directors and Gensler, Sonyia Hartwell and Adam McGough participated in the ribbon cutting along with a special treat – grandfather and grandson duo, Jeff York and Noah York, both Hope Cottage adoptees.  At the conclusion of the ceremony, the doors flung open wide and the crowd surged in for tours of the building and refreshments.

Hope Cottage ribbon cutting*

Hope Cottage ribbon cutting*

The lobby has three walls of glass and is decorated in soothing colors of creams and soft greens. Several guests were also seen trying out the rockers on the expansive front porch. Look for those rockers to be used quite a bit once the weather cools down. The first floor contains the Meadows Foundation Pregnancy and Infant Adoption Suite, along with meeting spaces. On the second floor you will find the Hoblitzelle Foundation Client Services Suite and on the third floor is the Rees-Jones Conference and Event Suite. Looking towards the east from the event and conference suite, you have a stunning view of the Wilson Historic District with Baylor Hospital rising in the background, to the south you can see the lovely home of CASA. On the west you have a spectacular view of downtown Dallas from the Dallas Foundation Community Terrace. CASA’s Becca Haynes Leonard and CNM Connect’s Joel Rothermel and Beth Meyers were seen taking advantage of the view and snapping selfies on the terrace.

Hope Cottage’s new home was part of a $4.56M comprehensive capital campaign, “For the Next 100 Years.”  $3.6M was designated to construct a new service center and the remainder is designated for program expansion in three areas:  Pregnancy Services, Youth Education and Foster to Adopt. The George and Fay Young Foundation made the lead gift to the campaign and The Rees-Jones Foundation closed out the campaign. Other major foundation and corporate gifts include: Meadows Foundation, Hoblitzelle Foundation, Doswell Foundation, Hillcrest Foundation, The Dallas Foundation, Seegers Foundation, Rotary Club of Dallas-Uptown and Oncor.

Designed by Gensler and constructed by Royal Construction, this three-story jewel has been described as an architectural beacon in Dallas. Great care was taken by Gensler to insure the Austin stone building fit in with the surrounding neighborhood. The Gensler team, comprised of adoptive parents, was excited to lend their expertise to the Hope Cottage project.

Sonyia Hartwell, TAylor romatzky, Don Potts and Brooks Quinlan

Sonyia Hartwell, Taylor Gromatzky, Don Potts and Brooks Quinlan

On the evening before the dedication, campaign donors were treated to private tours and a reception in their honor, held in the Rees-Jones Event and Conference Suite. Attendees including Katherine and Michael Phillips, Don C. PottsKathy Smith from the Meadows Foundation, Lynn Gibson from the Rees-Jones Foundation and Georgia Black, enjoyed hors d’oeuvres from At Your Service Catering and light beverages while experiencing a trip down memory lane perusing 98 years of photographs and news clippings the agency has so lovingly maintained.

What is up next for Hope Cottage?  A little bird told us they will kick off their centennial celebration on June 1, 2017, and will wrap up that celebration on the agency’s actual 100th birthday on June 1, 2018.

* Photos provided by Hope Cottage

Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School’s New Computer Lab Opens With Michael Hinojosa Snipping The Ribbon

What a great way to start the new school year off — a state-of-the-art computer lab ribbon cutting. And that’s exactly what happened on Tuesday, August 30, at Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School complete with Dallas Independent School District head honcho Dr. Michael Hinojosa holding the big old scissors. Here’s a report from the field:

On Tuesday, August 30, students at Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, a member of Young Women’s Preparatory Network (YWPN), received a back-to-school gift just in time to learn. NEC Foundation of America donated a state-of-the-art computer lab to help increase STEM learning.

Always ready to celebrate big donations, YWPN orchestrated a ribbon cutting with giant scissors and special people ready to cut them including Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa, Dallas ISD Board Trustee Bernadette Nutall, NEC CIO Juan Fontanes, Irma Rangel Principal Lisa Curry, YWPN CEO Lynn McBee and Irma Rangel students who interned at NEC and YWPN.

Lesly Zamora, Juan Fontanes, Michael Hinojosa and Lynn McBee*

Lesly Zamora, Juan Fontanes, Michael Hinojosa and Lynn McBee*

Earlier this spring, NEC Corporation of America CEO Shinsuke Takahashi toured Irma Rangel with Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. Takahashi noticed the outdated computer lab, and recognized the need for an extreme technology makeover that his company could do.

Lynn McBee said, “I want to thank NEC Foundation of America for its partnership with us. Companies like yours are helping invest in students’ education, particularly STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.”

Lisa Curry*

Lisa Curry*

Lisa Curry added, “We now have a space that’s conducive to our students’ learning. This new computer lab will help them be on the cutting edge of 21st century technology. Now with the redesign, not only is there state of the art equipment, but there is:

  • community space to work on projects
  • an interactive white board that can project any one of the computers in the room for the whole class to see
  • headsets for communication, and
  • a clean space conducive to learning!”

Juan Fontanes said, “We are so happy to see how well this new state-of-the-art learning environment turned out and how it is being used today.”

Dr. Hinojosa added, “Only 23 percent of STEM workers are female, so this investment at the first all-girls, college-preparatory public school in Dallas will help increase that number.”

Irma Rangel senior Lesly Zamora, who also worked as an NEC IT intern this summer, admitted, “I’m also known as the Tech Geek in my school known for helping so many people at my school fix their computers. I learned how to be a Tech Girl in this computer lab, but I learned how to be a part of the community from my family. I am truly grateful because they gave up their education, so that my sister and I could have a much better one as first generation college students. That is why I come to school every day not to be taught, but to learn, and I know this new computer lab will be instrumental in our technological future.”

Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School students in computer lab*

Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School students in computer lab*

After the ribbon was cut, people toured the computer lab and watched as the students worked on their brand new computers. Then, Lesly demonstrated how to take apart and reassemble a computer in six minutes, beating her previous record of 12 minutes. As soon as she finished, everyone clapped. What a great way to start school for Lesly and her classmates with this new technology!

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

Resource Center Grand Opening Attracted VIPs and Hundreds To Dallas’ Newest LGBT Community Center

While others primped and prepped with stylists for a nighttime affair du jour, about 500 stalwarts gathered just west of Inwood Road on Cedar Springs around noon on Saturday, May 21. The draw was the official opening of the newly built, 20,000-square-foot Resource Center complete with the Turtle Creek Chorale, music, dancing and, of course, a ribbon cutting.

Turtle Creek Chorale

Turtle Creek Chorale

Resource Center

Resource Center

Thank heaven for I.M. Pei-trained architect James Langford’s design, as the V-shaped second floor overhang provided shade and comfort those waiting in line for tours of the new facility. The premature summer heat and humidity made the surroundings seem like Houston.

Pooch

Pooch

Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

Chad Collom, Steve Kemble and Don Gaiser

Chad Collom, Steve Kemble and Don Gaiser

While the adorable Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and pooches may have been the head turners, the real in-the-know types spotted Center CEO CeCe Cox, Veletta Lill, Ros Dawson Thompson and Rex Thompson, Sarah Losinger, Clay Jenkins, David Brown, Laura Martin, Katherine Wynne, Steve Kemble, Chad Collom, Don Gaiser, Pam Gerber, Suzanne Slonim, Elba Garcia and Joe Pacetti.

Ros Dawson Thompson and Rex Thompson

Ros Dawson Thompson and Rex Thompson

Laura Martin and Suzanne Slonim

Laura Martin and Suzanne Slonim

Sarah Losinger, Janier Bush, Veletta Lill and Katherine Wynne

Sarah Losinger, Janier Bush, Veletta Lill and Katherine Wynne

While many may dismiss HIV/AIDs as a painful memory of the past, the Resource Center is a place with its services, gathering places and opportunities for those affected by HIV/AIDs. With more than 60,000 people using the Center and its more than 1,200 volunteers and 50 paid staffers, Dallas’ Resource Center is “one of the largest centers of its kind in the United States.”

Dunkin’ Donuts And Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation To Open Newest Location With A $20,000 Check For North Texas Food Bank

Love those checks, especially the ones with no strings attached to ‘em. And that’s why this morning’s announcement by Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation is right up there with a Classic Banana Split with a cup of Dunkin’ chaser.

It seems that, to celebrate the grand opening of its combo restaurant at 14841 Coit Road on Wednesday, March 23, the foundation will present a $20,000 check to the North Texas Food Bank.

The funds “will provide 400 children with 4,000 backpacks filled with wholesome food during the summer, the hungriest time of the year.”

According to NTFB’s Jan Pruitt, who is still recovering from the over-the-top Empty Bowls on Friday, March 11, “The North Texas Food Bank’s children feeding programs are critical to supporting the one-in-four kids in North Texas, who are struggling with hunger. With support from The Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation, we can ensure that more kids have access to the food needed to learn and thrive.”

But there still more. Dunkin’ Donuts will also deliver breakfast to the teachers and faculty at nearby Dover Elementary the morning of the opening.

Mayor Mike Rawlings And Other VIPs Arrive At YW Ribbon-Cutting Thanks To Nearby DART Station

In addition to campaigning against domestic violence against women, Mayor Mike Rawlings has put equal emphasis on promoting the development of women’s abilities and talents in and out of the home. That’s why he was front and center at the official ribbon-cutting for the new, 20,000-square-foot YW Women’s Center (aka Ebby’s Place) on Thursday, May 14.

Anne Motsenbocker, Cathy Manning, Jen Ware, Adam Medrano, Mike Rawlings, Jennifer Staubach-Gates, Debbie Dennis and Ka Cotter

Cathy Manning, Anne Motsenbocker, Jen Ware, Adam Medrano, Mike Rawlings, Jennifer Staubach-Gates, Debbie Dennis and Ka Cotter

Instead of arriving in his official mayoral SUV, Big Mike arrived at the center located at Maple and Denton Drive via DART along with DART President Gary Thomas, YW CEO Jen Ware, and City Councilperson Jennifer Staubach Gates.

Mike Rawlings, Jen Ware and Adam Medrano*

Mike Rawlings, Jen Ware and Adam Medrano*

Gary said, “We think the location of this facility near this specific station is significant. Not only can YWCA clients enjoy easy access to DART, we hope they’ll be inspired and empowered by the theme of this station, ‘Tree of Knowledge.’ We are very happy that YW clients who are seeking ways to empower themselves for a better life can use DART.”

Gary Thomas*

Gary Thomas*

It’s hard to believe that the new building is the YW’s “first physical presence in more than 10 years.” The center will “help women become strong mothers, advocates for their own breast health, successful in the workplace and financially secure.”

The mayor told how his Task Force on Poverty that works with women and children living in poverty will be enhanced by the YW’s “reinventing itself to adapt to today’s needs.” He also mentioned the challenge for “others in the community to step up to help move women and children out of poverty.”

Ka Cotter, Carolyn Perot Rathjen and Anne Motsenbocker*

Ka Cotter, Carolyn Perot Rathjen and Anne Motsenbocker*

Anne Kniffen, Brent Christopher and Debbie Dennis

Anne Kniffen, Brent Christopher and Debbie Dennis

Others in attendance included Brent Christopher, Carolyn Perot Rathjen, City Councilperson Adam Medrano, Ka Cotter, Anne Motsenbocker, Mary Poss, Debbie Dennis, Jessie Burgess, Petey Parker, Anne Kniffen, Hilda Galvan, Laura Estrada, Suzanne Smith and Cathy Manning.

* Photo credit: Jason Janik

Round Robin October 29: The Stroud House Unveiling And The Dallas Historical Society’s Awards of Excellence Patron Party

Unless one was a World Series groupie, there were scant excuses for not being out and about on Wednesday, October 29. Yes, Todd “Fun Guy” Fiscus was celebrating his 10th anniversary of mirth making at the Rachofsky House. Smarty pants Todd had refreshed the digs of the past weekend’s Two by Two domed tent for his 10th anniversary celebration. Oodles and oodles of the beautiful peeps were lifting flutes of the bubbly. Gina Ginsberg was in drop dead leggings with husband ScottMatthews Simon was being hugged like a teddy bear as he bid a temporary farewell to Dallas buds (he and his partner Keith Schumann, who was recovering a major heart attack have relocated to Atlanta); Neva Hall was looking spectacular, as were Brooke Hortenstine, Shelle and Michael Sills, Barbara Daseke and Todd’s partner Ceron (they’re doing the Dallas-Houston shuffle).

With lady violinists perched on platforms covered in two-story white, billowing skirts, a butterfly-like dancer arrived on a centerstage surrounded by a gauzy white curtain.

But the nonprofits hadn’t taken the night off. Heck, no. They were in high gear across Dallas.

The Stroud House

Louise Cowan

Louise Cowan

In Uptown, the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture had good reason to celebrate and that they did. In addition to having simply spectacular weather, they were officially showing off their newest acquisition — The Stroud House. Why even legendary Dr. Louise Cowan was on the scene with a vigilante staffer clearing the way for her arrival on the brick walk leading to the festivities in the back.

The Stroud House

The Stroud House

The Stroud House is part of the Institute’s campus expansion. Right next door to the Institute’s Prairie-style headquarters, the Stroud House exudes New Orleans elegance with its red brick walls, balconies and non-stop fountain out front.

It’s called The Stroud House because Dr. Joanne Stroud provided the lead gift for the purchase that sold for $2.5M. Others who helped make the acquisition come true included Betty Regard and Margaret McDermott.

Communities Foundation of Texas Brent Christopher couldn’t stay for the official dedication due to a dinner commitment with Educate Texas Executive Director John Fitzpatrick, who was up from Austin.

Kim Hiett Jordan and Anne Reeder

Kim Hiett Jordan and Anne Reeder

On the other hand, Nancy Cain Marcus, Veletta and John Lill, Kim Hiett Jordan and Anne Reeder, who great grandfather had lived in the Dallas Institute headquarters when Dallas was just a small town.

Lynne Sheldon recalled how The Stroud House had previously been a frame store before it had been purchased  by the Institute.

While other similar properties are being felled by wrecking balls, it’s truly amazing to see these stately homes restored and made vital once again.

Awards For Excellence In Community Service Patron Party

The Dallas Historical Society was buzzing with news over at the Hall of State. Here is a report from the field about the patron party and the honorees for the upcoming fundraising luncheon:

“The Dallas Historical Society hosted a patron party for 2014 Awards for Excellence in Community Service recipients, sponsors and distinguished guests. It was a true Texas affair as guests arrived at the Hall of State at Fair Park, one of the most beautiful art deco buildings in the state. Set for Thursday, November 20, at the Fairmont Hotel, the luncheon is the Dallas Historical Society’s largest and most important fundraising event to support its educational and preservation programs.

Lynn and Allan McBee, Dallas Historical Society’s co-chairmen of the board of trustees, welcomed guests in the G.B. Dealey Library West Texas room.

Margaret and Glenn Solomon*

Margaret and Glenn Solomon*

“Lynn remarked, ‘Welcome to the Dallas Historical Society’s patron party. We are in a historic room that has been redesigned as a research library to access the organization’s extensive collection. DHS processes more than 2,000 research requests per year. Speaking of collections, just last week, the granddaughter of Judge Lew Sterrett donated scrapbooks and personal papers of the judge to the collection.’ She described the room. ‘Notice the Tom Lea murals with its cowboy motifs, the Spanish architecture, Dorothy Austin’s sculpture and the magnificent tile depicting Texas life from a studio that still exists in San Antonio.’

“Allan McBee introduced Margaret and Glenn Solomon, co-chairs of the DHS Awards for Excellence in Community Service event. Glenn said, ‘The Awards for Excellence in Community Service are presented on behalf of the Dallas Historical Society to the designated recipients who are deserving of recognition for their generosity of spirit, civic leadership and ability to encourage community-wide participation in a particular phase of the growth of the city. Thank you to the Honorary Chairs Lee Cullum and Laura Wilson.’

Patrick and Judy Kelly and Kevin Moriarty*

Patrick and Judy Kelly and Kevin Moriarty*

“The distinguished recipients were announced by Margaret Solomon and other DHS Trustees and came to the front to be recognized:

  • Arts Leadership – Kevin Moriarty (Award sponsored by Diane and Hal Brierley)
  • Business – Robert A. Estrada (Award sponsored by Al Hill Jr. family)
  • Creative Arts – Judy and Patrick Kelly (Award sponsored by Bobby B. Lyle, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Gillikin, RWR Investments)
  • Education – Mary and Mike Terry (Award sponsored by David Miller Family Foundation and Friends of Mary and Mike Terry)
  • Stuart Bumpas*

    Stuart Bumpas*

    Health/Science Medicine – Claude B. Prestidge, M.D. (Award sponsored by BaylorScott&White and the Friends of Claude B. Prestidge, M.D.)

  • Humanities – S.M. Wright Foundation (Award sponsored by Vin and Caren Prothro Foundation and Allie Beth and Pierce Allman)
  • Philanthropy – Stuart Bumpas (Award sponsored by Ruth C. and Charles S. Sharp Foundation, Inc. and Linda and Bill Custard)
  • Volunteer Community Leadership – Judy Rorrie (Award sponsored by Stephanie and Hunter Hunt)
  • Schatzie Lee and Caro Stalcup*

    Schatzie Lee and Caro Stalcup*

    Jubilee History Makers – Natalie ‘Schatzie’ Lee (Award sponsored by Friends of Natalie ‘Schatzie’ Lee)

“In addition to the prestigious honorees, the McBees and the Solomons, others in attendance included Ruth Altshuler, Bill Graue, Steve Coke, Shannon Callewart and her daughter Lucy Callewart, Patricia Meadows, Deborah Ryan, William Ryan, Laura Estrada and Paul Hermann.

“The McBees thanked everyone for coming and encouraged those to let others know about the November 20th event. Those interested in purchasing tables or tickets can go online.”

* Photo credit: Rhi Lee

CitySquare Expansion And “Breakfast For The Bridge” Heroes Give The Homeless A Hand Up

CitySquare ribbon cutting program

CitySquare ribbon cutting program

In fundraising there is definitely something beautiful about the arts, children and education. They inspire and are ideal for promotional materials. What isn’t so pretty is the subject of the homeless. That is if you didn’t attend Thursday morning’s CitySquare’s 52,000-square-foot expansion. The crowd including Judge Clay Jenkins, Scott Collier, City Councilperson Carolyn Davis and County Commissioner John Wiley Price spilled out of the tent in the parking lot and was full of determination to help the poor in the community. As  Carolyn put it, “When you see homeless individuals, don’t talk about them, give them a hand up.”

Carolyn Davis

Carolyn Davis

It was an amazing occasion for a much needed expansion.

From the ribbon cutting, the next stop on the day’s agenda was attending a non-working lunch for friends/new friends and being seated next to Jennifer Karol. In addition to her husband Tom and their five children, she’s passionate about two subjects — art and the homeless.

While her experience as the 2013 Art Ball co-chair was gratifying and a learning experience in fundraising, it was the subject of Dallas’ homeless population that opened the floodgates. With eyes focused intensely, Jennifer passionately discussed the situation existing in Dallas.

Sounds like a depressing subject, but it wasn’t. Dallas is indeed showing leadership in handling the problem plaguing parts of Dallas. When asked if there was a turf war among the various agencies dealing with the problem, Jennifer professed au contraire. The area organizations exchange information and work together on a daily basis to help those in need.

The Karols have been involved especially with one certain organization that deals with 85% of Dallas County’s homeless population — The Bridge. According to Jennifer, the facility that opened in 2008 has become a model for other cities in dealing with their homeless population.

According to The Bridge’s Community Affairs Officer Sam Merten, “The Bridge has been a key component to the revitalization of downtown Dallas and is considered a model for homeless recovery by the State of Texas.”

Breakfast for The Bridge*

Breakfast for The Bridge*

Next Friday (November 14) The Bridge’s fundraiser, “Breakfast for The Bridge” will take place at the Omni Hotel with keynote speaker Jennifer Ayers-Moore. Whoa! Another Jennifer? Who’s this one? She is the sister of “Nathaniel, a talented musician who developed schizophrenia while attending The Juilliard School and later became homeless on Skid Row in Los Angeles. His story became the subject of a book published in 2008 called ‘The Soloist’ and a movie released in 2009 bearing the same name and starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.”

Like Jennifer Karol, Jennifer A-M is a champion of the arts and the homeless. She is founder/executive director of the National Anthony Ayers Foundation Georgia, “which supports arts programs at mental health and arts organization that serve the mentally ill.” Her long-term plan is to open similar programs around the nation.

Yes, yes. It is a breakfast starting at 7:30 a.m. and it does mean pulling yourself together earlier than you’d like. And there is that joining the traffic cha-cha to the Omni, but it’s so very worth it. Micki and Mayor Mike Rawlings are the honorary co-chairs. Perhaps that’s because their kiddos, Michelle and Gunnar are the event co-chairs.

Oh, and guess who will be presented the Bridge Builder Award, which “is given to people who have served as heroic champions in the advancement of homeless services in our community”? Yup! Jennifer and Tom Karol.

So, get your tickets, set your alarm and they’ll have plenty of coffee for your Friday early call.

* Graphic courtesy of The Bridge

Methodist Dallas Medical Center’s Charles A. Sammons Tower Opens To Provide State-Of-The-Art Trauma And Critical Care

It’s been a long time coming, but the Charles A. Sammons Trauma and Critical Care Tower officially opened Thursday, July 24, with balloons, boldfacers and the best emergency facility south of the Trinity.

With a ladder extended from a Dallas fire truck out front, guests were greeted at the East Colorado entrance with a jazz band and escorted to elevators to the sixth floor. While the top floor is still in raw condition, it was totally decked out for the dedication with banner, food, and ceiling netted with blue-and-white balloons. And the views were nothing to scoff at. Time and again, guests commented how the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge was the perfect backdrop for the new facility that has been recognized as one of three adult Level Two trauma center status. With the opening of the tower, Level One status is just around the corner.

Methodist Dallas Medical Center President Laura Irvine told the SRO crowd, “For the first time, I can mention that the American College of Surgeons will be recommending approval of our designation as a Level 1 trauma center.”

The event commenced taking on more of a pep rally with smiles and applause non-stop.

Methodist Healthy System Board Chair Levi H. Davis summed it up, saying, “This is an awesome day!” He also reminded the business leaders in the audience that Methodist is the largest employer in Oak Cliff, with 3,900+ “lifesavers” on staff.

Adding to that hoorah was City Councilman Scott Griggs, who evidently doesn’t believe in understatement. He announced, “This is the best [healthcare] facility not only in Dallas and Texas but in the whole world. You are definitely world class!”

George Schrader

George Schrader

Following a video, Chris Kleinert, who chaired the BrightER Capital Campaign, told the crowd, which included Methodist Health System President Steve Mansfield, SMU President Gerald Turner, former Dallas City Manager George Schrader, Dallas County Commissioner Dr. Elba Garcia, Dallas Fire-Rescue Chief Louise Bright III, Carol Seay, Nancy Bierman and Chris’ adoring wife, Ashlee Kleinert, that he was a bit nervous about the day. When Methodist Health System Foundation President/CEO April Box Chamberlain first invited him to tour Methodist, he had never been there before. It became apparent that the hospital was outdated, outmoded and overcrowded. Seeing the immediate need and the future of the area, he signed on to raise more than $20M. That was 29 months ago. One of the first things Chris did, besides telling Ashlee of the ginormous undertaking, was to draft his in-laws, Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt, as honorary co-chairs. Then he and the Methodist team went about raising the money. Instead of pounding his chest over this amazing accomplishment, Chris turned the tables and attributed the success story to the donors, staff and city officials.

Ashlee and Chris Kleinert and April Box Chamberlain

Ashlee and Chris Kleinert and April Box Chamberlain

Chris then introduced Nancy Ann and Ray. According to Nancy Ann, the couple who will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary next year, didn’t know they were to speak.

Ray and Nancy Ann Hunt

Ray and Nancy Ann Hunt

Ray praised the people on the capital-campaign committee and said they were Dallas’ future leaders. “They took time to volunteer for something that is really, really important. . . . That’s what has made Dallas great [over the years]. It makes you feel very optimistic about the future of Dallas.”

He scoffed at the idea that Nancy Ann and he had done more than serve as “cheerleaders” for the project. Then Ray reminded the assembled group that “Dallas has no reason to exist.” And except for leaders like these — Mayors Bob Folsom and Erik Jonsson and former City Manager George Schrader — “the city wouldn’t exist as it is today.”

Nancy Ann Hunt and Joy Duncan

Nancy Ann Hunt and Joy Duncan

Then the event’s closer was Nancy Ann. The shy little blonde rose to the occasion by saying without hesitation, “This is a game-changer for Dallas.” She said Methodist has always been a light shining bright, but no one recognized it. Then she added: “As Chris said, today it is a neon light!”

As the Hunts stepped down from the stage to take their seats, all in the room rose to give them a standing O.

Immediately, the staff, committee and key leaders rolled out a “never-ending blue ribbon” with Methodist printed in white. As they held the ribbon around the perimeter of the room, a “virtual ribbon cutting” commenced followed by a drop of hundreds of blue and white balloons.

Virtual ribbon cutting

Virtual ribbon cutting

For Methodist Health System PR pro Kathleen Beathard, it was a poignant occasion. Come August, she’ll be heading to a job in North Dallas. But before leaving, she’s tackling one last challenge. It seems that when you type in the Dallas’s campus address —1441 North Beckley — on the Apple map locator, the iPhone geniuses send you up to North Dallas. Don’t make that mistake. Just look across the Trinity for the tallest building atop a hill and head for it. That’s Methodist, the tallest and newest addition to North Texas’ stellar collection of trauma centers.

Family Friendly Trinity River Revel Takes Place All Day Sunday

Sunday is Father’s Day. Why not celebrate at Trinity River Revel? You’ll be part of the official opening of the Continental Avenue Pedestrian Bridge, the Trinity Skyline Trail, the West Dallas Gateway Plaza and the Sylvan Avenue Bridge. That’s a lot of openings!

Trinity River Revel door*

Trinity River Revel door*

Trinity River Revel door*

Trinity River Revel door*

But there’s so much more. From a gospel brunch to a campfire party, folks are going to start partying at 7:30 a.m. with a 5K Run. There’s even going to be an auction of doors at the eastern end of the Continental Avenue Pedestrian Bridge. The for-real wooden doors are not just any old doors. They’ve been dressed up “reflecting the theme ‘Our Past, Present and Future’” thank to such local artists as Ray Albarez, Mathews Barnes, Milan Bender, Gary Buckner, Iris Candelaria, Viola Delgado, Katrina Doran, Eliseo, Sarah Francis, Art Garcia, Elena Koulich, Brian Larney, David Lyles, Jessie Martinez, Aralyn McGregor, Vicki Meek, Cathey Miller, Mike Moffatt, Kevin Obregon, Caroline Oliver, Maria Teresa G Pedroche, Marcello Pope, Carlyn Ray, Jennifer Sereno, Richard Ross, Sophy Sam, Daniel Skelton and Ronda Van Dyk.

It’s so family-friendly. Most of the “stuff” is free. The food is going to cost you a penny or two, but there won’t be anything that will bust your credit card. Suggestion: bring cash. It always works.

The rolling ribbon cutting of the bridges, trails and plaza will take place from 2:30 to 4 p.m. How’s that going to happen? According to organizers, “Our ribbon cutting will have ‘spokes’people, but we call them that because the VIPs who will welcome the new additions to the corridor will do so on bicycles.”

BTW, Mother Nature is supposed to be a very, very good girl Sunday, so enjoy her good behavior. Dress light. Slather on the sunscreen. Wear that adorable hat. Don’t forget your sunglasses. And most of all, have fun being part of North Texas history.

The Ebby House At Juliette Fowler Communities Is Dedicated With Ebby Halliday Cutting The Ribbon

While the attention may have been on Dwell With Dignity’s month-long Thrift Studio back in April and May, the DWD team was busily working with Dallas Junior Forum, Comerica Bank and contractor David Oliver and Olicon to finish up a major project — The Ebby House at Dallas’ Juliette Fowler Communities in Lakewood.

The Ebby House dining room*

The Ebby House dining room*

No, it wasn’t a retirement home for residential Realtors. Don’t you know, Realtors never retire!

The Ebby House is “a new innovative transitional community for young women who have aged out of foster care. . . . The Ebby House program seeks to reverse negative trends and outcomes faced by these young women by offering them a home to live in and mentors to love them while learning to become self-reliant, entrepreneurial volunteers and mentors themselves, which is reflective of the values and life of Ebby Halliday Acers.”

According to Juliette Fowler Communities President/ CEO Sabrina R. Porter, “The Ebby House is a solution-based program that can serve up to 16 women at a time for a period of 12 to 24 months.”

Sabrina R. Porter and Ebby Halliday Acers*

Sabrina R. Porter and Ebby Halliday Acers*

And who better to cut the Wednesday, May 21st ribbon for the dedication of The Ebby House than Ebby, who turned 103 in March?

Bravo to all these organizations for coming together for young women, whose lives will be changed. That’s the beauty of the word collaboration.

Brava to Ebby for continuing to be a role model and Dallas treasure.

Others responsible for this remarkable home can be found after the jump.

* Photos provided by Ebby Halliday Realtors [Read more…]

Who Says Nothing Happens In June?

For those who have already flown the Dallas coop, here’s what you’ve left behind — rising temperatures, humbling humility and very little rain in sight.

Now here’s just a smattering of off-the-beaten-track events that you’ll be missing in the days to come:

  • Friday, June 6 (9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.), and Saturday, June 7 (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) — Evidently, “Dallas residents may notice a few disasters occurring around the city this weekend. Dallas County has mobilized state organizations, law agencies and nonprofits to conduct disaster scenarios – such as hurricanes – and initiate relief support. The process is vital to prevent costly indecisions during a real crisis. The Texas State Guard is asking for volunteers from the DFW areas to participate in the mock scenarios as ‘victims’ or to join the unit as volunteer relief supporter.” It’s doubtful that North Texas will ever take a direct hit from a hurricane, but our first- and second-responders are usually the first ones to offer help to those in the bull’s eye zone. So, instead of lying around the pool, why not volunteer to be a “victim”? Contact Col. Robert T. Hastings Jr. at 817.528.2790.
  • Pets On The Hill*

    Pets On The Hill*

    Saturday, June 7 (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) — In the past, this weekend has usually been the time when animals benefit from “Top Hat & Tails.” But since the dance-athon was held in April, “Pets on the Hill” is filling in at Walnut Hill United Methodist Church. “There will be five pet adoption agencies there along with a pet artist, vet doing ‘Ask the Dr.’ and free nail clipping, AKC chipping for $30, pet blessing by the minister and Oscar the Hot Dog Man. Bed ‘n Biscuit, which is a pet sitter, will attend along with Bow Wow Wow pet dish designs. Bring your pet or adopt one.”

  • Monday, June 9 (4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.) — Before Dallas is invaded by the leading art directors, Dallas Museum of Art’s Maxwell Anderson, who seems to be in every publication except Field & Stream lately, will host a panel discussion, “Reimagining Cities: Art’s Impact On Our Economy & Beyond” at Communities Foundation of Texas. On the panel will be Dallas Theater Center’s Kevin Moriarty, Billingsley Development’s Lucilo Pena and “Arts & Education Advocate” Catherine Rose. Mayor Mike Rawlings, who is very partial to the arts thanks to his artist daughter Michelle, will provide the opening remarks. It’s a free event, but you gotta register.
  • Wine Education Dinner**

    Wine Education Dinner**

    Thursday, June 12 (6:30 p.m.) — Janet and Roland Love are hosting a “Wine Education Dinner”  with proceeds going to Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas. In addition to wine and cheese pairing demonstrations and tastings, Chef Justin Box will whip up a three-course winner with wine pairings, of course. Only problemo? It’s limited to 30 people and 20 folks have already signed up. Tickets will be $150 per couple; $75 for individuals. Contact Liz Grindele about locking down your place.

  • Saturday, June 14 (9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) — The Dallas Morning News and the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture is holding a “One Day University.” The subject will be The Civil War. The instructor will be Rutgers University Professor Louis Masur, who “will being with the issues of the revolutionary era, share an overview of the Civil War, analyze how it changed over time and lead a class discussion on the problems of reconstruction.” Since there is limited seating and a registration fee, you need to sign up here. Dallas Institute members get a discount. Ah, the advantages of membership! BTW, if you thought it was being held at SMU or the University of Dallas, think again. You’ll want to set your GPS for Scottish Rite Library and Museum.
  • Sunday, June 15 (7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.) — Sure, it’s Father’s Day, but what about doing something instead of brunch and sticking dad with the tab? Why not take your pop or the main man in your life to Trinity River Revel, the official opening of the Trinity Skyline Trail, the Continental Avenue Pedestrian Bridge, the West Dallas Gateway Plaza and Sylvan Avenue Bridge? It’s totally free and you just might see Dallas First Father Mike Rawlings cycling along the new bike path. There will be music, a 5K run, vehicle show, food trucks and a campfire party. Check the schedule for all the activities!
  • Saturday, June 28 (7:30 a.m.) — “The Oak Cliff Boys & Girls Club Advisory Council is hosting its premier fundraiser, Race for Their Future 5K & Fun Run at the beautiful Kidd Springs Park. In partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas, this event provides an interactive opportunity for community advocates to come together in support of the social and educational development of our youth. All proceeds will go towards funding collegiate scholarship funds, after-school programs and healthy lifestyle education for Oak Cliff Boys & Girls Club members.”

Of course, there are the usual venues like the Perot Museum and Arboretum which have ever-changing activities.

* Graphic provided by Pet On The Hill
** Graphic provided by Consumer Credit Counseling Service

Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones Lead The Ribbon Cutting For Dallas CASA’s New Headquarters And Expanded Child Advocacy Services

All eyes were on Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones when the couple arrived for the April 16 ribbon-cutting ceremony at Dallas CASA’s new headquarters building at Swiss Avenue and Texas Street. After all, it was a donation of $1.4 million from Jan and Trevor’s foundation that had helped jump-start the new building, which will enable Dallas CASA to expand its services. Even so, Trevor was characteristically low-key as he waded into the gathering crowd.

Trevor and Jan Rees-Jones and Beverly Levy and Greg May*

Trevor and Jan Rees-Jones and Beverly Levy and Greg May*

Would he be speaking this morning?, someone asked him. “No talking, no,” Trevor said. “We’re just here to cut the ribbon.” Jan, meantime, said that she’d taken a tour of the 25,000-square-foot building about a week earlier, and found it “a fabulous facility.” CASA, whose volunteers advocate in court for abused and neglected children, deserves such a building, Jan added, because “they do tough work.”

The ribbon-cutting for The Rees-Jones Center for Children’s Justice attracted 350 RSVPs, including a number of longtime CASA supporters. Among them were Billy Hines of NorthPark Center—it’s supported CASA’s “Parade of Playhouses” for years—philanthropist Sarah Losinger, CEO Scott Sheffield of Pioneer Natural Resources, and Dallas County Commissioners Mike Cantrell, Elba Garcia, Dr. Theresa Daniel and County Judge Clay Jenkins.

Addressing the distinguished crowd before the ribbon was snipped, Jenkins said, “I love you guys [at CASA]. The work that you do is just amazing. My friend Ron Kirk told me, ‘Never talk about anybody but your family, because then you’ll have to mention everybody.’ But I’m going to break that rule.” He proceeded to do so by singling out Jan and Trevor, then Beverly Levy, Dallas CASA’s president and executive director. “This is the best CASA in the United States,” Jenkins roared, “and she’s the best executive director!”

CASA ribbon cutting*

CASA ribbon cutting*

Following brief remarks by Beverly and Darrin Lawrence, superintendent for Austin Industries, which put up the new building, CASA board Chair Greg May said the beautiful facility would be “a gathering place for the Dallas child-welfare community for years to come.” With that, a group of 20 or 30 scissors-wielding officials stepped forward to help cut the ribbon and open the new building for business. For what seemed like many long seconds, however, they stood there with blades poised, unsure of what to do. It was then that Trevor took charge, barking out, “One … two … THREE!” as the ribbon fell to the floor.

Looks like the ol’ benefactor did some talking after all.

* Photo provided by Dallas CASA

Chilly Weather, Kids And Fun Greet The Trains At NorthPark For Ronald McDonald House Of Dallas

The Trains At NorthPark*

The Trains At NorthPark*

For a first time in ages, Queenie was unable to attend the first choo-choo of the Trains at NorthPark benefiting the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. It was an early-stage cold and she wasn’t about to share it with anyone, especially adorable munchkins. So, she had one of her favorite elves do the following report from the field. . . or, in this case, shall we say the tracks:

“The Trains at NorthPark, presented by Bank of Texas, opened early on Saturday, November 23, in a bright new space on Level Two in the Nordstrom Wing between Sephora and Free People. For those who remember last year’s space, it’s right across the way.

Colleen Coyle*

Colleen Coyle**

“WFAA’s Colleen Coyle welcomed 300 supporters. ‘I am a meteorologist with WFAA, but I promise you that I didn’t bring this cool weather, but with the Trains opening up, we want it to feel like Christmas.’

Jill Cumnock, CEO of Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, thanked NorthPark and the trains co-chairs. ‘I would like to thank Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger, the wonderful staff at NorthPark, and so many others who have been our partners for the past 15 years at NorthPark. I would also like to thank our wonderful and hard-working Event Co-Chairs Claire Raggio and Courtney Westerburg.’

Courtney Westerburg and Claire Raggio*

Courtney Westerburg and Claire Raggio**

“Raggio and Westerburg tag-teamed and recruited many volunteers to sell railcars, to secure sponsorships, and to sell raffle tickets.

“By the way, the raffle tickets, which will be sold until Jan. 5, are a bargain, one ticket for $5, and 5 tickets for $20. The prizes include a Thomas the Train Set (donated by Trainworks, TW Design and valued at $4,200), $1,000 in NorthPark gold, a hotel stay/spa treatments at The Ritz-Carlton/Dallas along with dinner at Del Frisco’s. Raffle tickets are sold at the exhibit.

“Claire thanked Honorary Chairs, Lauren and Pat Arthur. ‘Through his company MHBT, Pat has supported The Trains at NorthPark and has also served on its board of directors. Lauren has been on the trains committee and served in various volunteer roles.’

“Courtney added, ‘We want to thank our Presenting Sponsor, Bank of Texas, as this is the 5th year for their generous support.’

Brenda White, Shelton White and Bob White*

Brenda White, Shelton White and Bob White**

Bob White, Bank of Texas executive vice president, liked that the bank supports such a great event. ‘Bank of Texas believes in the important work that Ronald McDonald House of Dallas does caring for families whose children are getting treatment for their illnesses and injuries. The House serves as a calm place for them during this difficult time, and the trains helps raise funds to make it happen.’

Fady Megally, Adel Megally, Heba Megally, Bishoy Megally and Stephen Megally*

Fady Megally, Adel Megally, Heba Megally, Bishoy Megally and Stephen Megally**

“Coyle called up Kid Conductor Bishoy Megally whose father, Adel Megally, said a few words. ‘Thank you for the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. We stayed for one year and three months, and Bishoy has had multiple surgeries.’ From Egypt, Bishoy was born with severe Kyphoscoliosis, abnormal front-to-back and side-to-side curvature of the spine. Since this surgery could not be performed in Egypt, the family searched the globe for a place to have the surgery, and they came to Dallas. The family has now relocated to the North Texas area, so they can be near the fine medical facilities.

“Bishoy and his brother, Fady, held up their whistles and blew them to open up The Trains at NorthPark.

Trains at NorthPark*

Trains at NorthPark**

“People poured into the bright new space to look for their personalized railcars. Shouts of ‘I’ve found it’ and ‘I think I see our railcar!’ were heard everywhere. If you want one of the personalized railcars, you can still order one online.

Landry Nelon, Charlotte McMillian and Claire McMillian*

Landry Nelon, Charlotte McMillian and Claire McMillian**

“Other children stayed in line to get their faces painted and have clowns make balloon swords before heading into the exhibit. NorthPark’s Lona Crabb showed her grandsons, Trevor and Cole Parrish, the exhibit.

“Colleen bought an early Christmas present for herself, a Nespresso coffee machine (the store opens at NorthPark this season).

Brett Cumnock, Jill and Kris Cumnock and Abby Cumnock*

Brett Cumnock, Jill and Kris Cumnock and Abby Cumnock**

“Jill and her family all had matching blue for Hanukah, and she talked about how her sister was handling Hanukah, while she was preparing the Thanksgiving meal.

“A special thank you to all the sponsors, including Presenting Sponsor Bank of Texas, and the Platinum Baron Sponsors: NorthPark Center, MHBT Inc., Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater North Texas, Tom Thumb and Moroch.

“Be sure to roll on down to the exhibit many times between now and January 5. Cost is $6 for adults, $3 for children (ages 2 to 12) and senior citizens (65 and older). Children under 2 are free. Discount tickets are available at Tom Thumb ($1 off regular admission). More details on hours, early closings and railcars can be found at http://www.rmhdallas.org/trains/.”

* Graphic provided by the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas
** Photo credit: Steve Foxall

Moore Park Gateway Dedicated With Dignitaries, Benefactors, Ribbon Cutting And “Fever”

Between the heat and the humidity, it’s a race nowadays to see which can make you more miserable in the late afternoon. Gee, one would think it was Houston around here. But such conditions didn’t hold back well-wishers, supporters, neighbors, city leaders and Trinity troopers from attending the Moore Park Gateway dedication on Thursday, June 13.

To counter the conditions, three things were responsible:

  • The dedication itself.
  • The shade provided by the Gateway’s Pavilion.
  • Specially made for the occasion hand fans.
Moore Park Gateway fans with fans

Moore Park Gateway fans with fans

The crowd was so large that not all fit within the open pavilion. Wise was the gent who brought along his own umbrella.

Umbrella cover

Umbrella cover

And what about the fear of West Nile-bearing mosquitoes? As one guest said as they put their fan into turbo driver, “It’s too hot for those little critters to be out.”

Delia Jasso and Mike Rawlings

Delia Jasso and Mike Rawlings

But it wasn’t too hot for Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who was a true minority in suit and tie. Despite not putting one of the fans into use, Big Mike never showed one drop of “sweat.” Talk about Mr. Cool.

Another cool group were those in the environmentally green polo shirts including Trinity Trust Board Chair Mary McDermott Cook, board member Lynn McBee, President/Executive Director Dr. Gail Thomas and Hoblitzelle Foundation President Paul Harris.

As soon as the mayor arrived, the program was underway with fans silently pumping away like Spindletop in 1901. A trio from the Townview Magnet Center sang the national anthem a cappella beautifully.

Townview Magnet School trio

Townview Magnet School trio

Mary welcomed all and immediately went off script, “We either do things that are really hot, or really cold,” recalling the Trinity Trust’s dedication of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in March 2012 when guests faced chilly winds to party.

Mary McDermott Cook and Paul Harris

Mary McDermott Cook and Paul Harris

Acknowledging both old council members and new ones in the audience, she said, “Thank you all for being here, in case one of us passes out.”

Then she directed the attention of all to Paul, telling the history behind the Gateway project. Seems it was eight years ago that Gail asked the Hoblitzelle Foundation for money to provide the pavilion and amphitheater as a link to the Trinity River.

Paul thanked the mayor and the rest for their support and then added that this grant was “one of the two biggest grants” the Foundation has made.

Just back from South America, Mayor Mike also handed out thanks to the various team members and city council members but admitted that it wouldn’t have happened without the Hoblitzelle Foundation.

(Editor’s note: If the Hoblitzelle Foundation is new to you, then you might want to read about the late Karl Hoblitzelle, who was one of 13 children, never attended college, came to Dallas in 1903 and built an amazing empire over the next 64 years. His wife Esther, who died in 1943, was a popular music comedy star in the 1920’s, who was known for such songs as “Sahara, We’ll Soon Be Dry Like You,” “I Ain’t That Kind Of A Baby” and “As Long As I Have You And You Have Me”. Despite their deaths decades ago, the Hoblitzelles’ legacy has continued to be the source for countless accomplishments in Dallas.)

Vonciel Jones Hill

Vonciel Jones Hill

Following the mayor was City Councilperson Vonciel Jones Hill, who provided a real stem-winder of a talk saying that more needs “to be done, but we need to celebrate the ‘first doors’ when we get one, and this is a major door!”

Like the mayor, she hit upon the theme that the river which “has divided us will unite us! You were meant to be here. Enjoy your time!”

Dallas Park Board President Max Wells admitted that Vonciel was indeed a hard act to follow, but continued the handing out of thanks to the persons responsible. He turned the mic over to City Councilperson Delia Jasso, who said, “I’ve ventured over here many times.”

Preparing to cut the ribbon

Preparing to cut the ribbon

They looked around for City Councilperson Dwaine Caraway, but he was nowhere to be seen. However, City Councilperson Linda Koop pitched in for some final words before the dignitaries took the crosswalk to the grove for the ribbon-cutting. Despite the heat and the sun in the eyes, the photos went off on cue. Then someone noticed that Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm was MIA from the lineup, so photos were retaken and the ribbon cut with the mayor leading the countdown. He’s good at that and should be. He’s done enough of them and knows that every ribbon-cutting is another success story for the city.

Post ribbon cutting

Post ribbon-cutting

As he headed to another appointment, the Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s children’s troupe performed to “Fever.” Unlike the song title and the afternoon temperature, the young dancers were very cool.

Black Dance Theatre's children's troupe

Black Dance Theatre’s children’s troupe

Trevor Rees-Jones Doesn’t Need A Microphone At Opening Of Spanking New Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center

There is one thing that Trevor Rees-Jones doesn’t need — a microphone. That’s especially true when he gets his dander up like Thursday. At the ribbon-cutting of the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center‘s spanking new Rees-Jones Child Protection Center, he proved it to a large filled-beyond-capacity auditorium.

DCAC guests

Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s ribbon cutting guests

The new facilities are four times as large as the stately mansion at 3611 Swiss Avenue, across from Baylor Medical Center, on the outskirts of downtown Dallas. The old place indeed had charm, but the kid-like

3611 Swiss Avenue

3611 Swiss Avenue

footprints of thousands upon thousands who entered seeking help had long ago outgrown its original plan, aka the brainchild of Ruth Altshuler and Bill Walsh back in 1991.

Ruth Altshuler

Ruth Altshuler

When the twosome plotted, planned and raised the funds to have a haven for children suffering from neglect and abuse, they probably thought the numbers would not be so amazing as heart-rending. Alas, over the past 23 years, the quantity grew as did the stories that accompanied these little ones. The  marvelous thing about munchkins is their resilience and ability to adapt. They didn’t care if the old facility was state-of-the-art, so long as there were state-of-the-heart people inside to care for them.

Still, the numbers demanded expansion. The old building was busting at the seams and there was talk that Baylor would eventually need the property for its own demands.

Mary Blake Meadows

Mary Blake Meadows

According to DCAC President/CEO Lynn Davis, Mary Blake Meadows was approached about overseeing a campaign to raise millions of dollars to provide for a new facility. She said she would only do it if husband Chuck agreed to pitch in. They went on holiday and the story goes that Mary refused to return until Chuck agreed. There is no definite answer how long that vacation lasted. The good news is that Mary and Chuck stepped up and took on the challenge.

Chuck Meadows

Chuck Meadows

During the opening ceremony, Chuck reported that such names as Bobby Lyle and Ruth advised them on how to make it happen. There were so many names, both well-known and unknown, that contributed to the effort. But one name that was front and center was Rees-Jones. Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones‘s foundation provided $5M toward the DCAC’s $11M capital campaign.  

Trevor Rees-Jones

Trevor Rees-Jones

When asked to speak, Trevor passed off the mic that had been performing spottily. But his voice carried throughout the hall. Yes, he was eloquent, but, more importantly, he spoke for all of the community, simply drawing the line that the abuse of children would not be tolerated.

When he was finished, Lynn told the group that more was needed to recognize the Rees-Jones’ support. Immediately, all rose and gave the couple a standing ovation.

Then the group was told all too briefly of the initial effort created by Ruth and Bill. Not all the details were shared, because almost everyone knew the well-known story. But Lynn told the twosome that the portraits of the Swiss house that was displayed on an easel would be installed in their homes to thank them for their dedication from start to finish. With that another SO took place.

First Unitarian Church of Dallas Rev. Aaron White gave the blessing. He, like so many, wished and prayed that there was not a need for DCAC, but was grateful that it would be a sanctuary for the most vulnerable in the community.

Paige Flink

Paige Flink

As guests like Janie McGarr, Andy Stern, Mary Black, Caren Prothro, Paige Flink, Ronnie Berg and Carol Seay dispersed for tours of the 56,000-square-foot building, Jan and Trevor posed for pictures both inside and in front of the center with their team.

Trevor and Jan Rees-Jones Foundation team

Trevor and Jan Rees-Jones Foundation team

As Trevor departed, he said that he had to take off for another charitable effort. Someone asked where he was headed. The answer: his office. He’s got to make more money to give away for children and education.

Despite Threatening Weather, Nexus Recovery Center Cuts The Ribbon For New Adolescent Dormitory

Nexus Recovery Center just can’t a break when it comes to weather. When they unveiled the billboard promoting its capital campaign, the wind was so over the top that arrangements had to be re-arranged. Instead of going up to the billboard, the speakers were just raised to below the base of the board. As for the unveiling itself, well, it took on the appearance of a major kite flight. But still the message got across.

Nexus new adolescent dormitory

Nexus’ new adolescent dormitory

Tuesday the Nexus folks were confronted with another Mother Nature temper tantrum as 35-plus mph winds were joined by severe thunderstorm watches. Not exactly a dream situation for the ribbon-cutting for a new, much-needed dormitory. It was decided to move the whole affair indoors.

Nexus residents

Nexus residents

So guests like Nicole Blythe, Jan Osborn, Robin Bagwell, and Linda and Steve Ivy crowded into the entry of the Nexus campus’s entry to register and chat. Eventually they moved to the cafeteria, where seats were quickly filled and it quickly became SRO with young residents wearing purple Nexus T-shirts and khakis.

Becca Crowell

Becca Crowell

As blue and green balloon towers, which would have been toast outdoors, were placed on either side of the standing mic, Nexus Executive Director Becca Crowell and Board

Jan Madigan

Jan Madigan

VP Jan Madigan welcomed and told of the years of dreams that had finally become reality thanks to many people in the room.

Steve Saxon

Steve Saxon

Next Steve Saxon, who had noticed that the balloons were blocking the view of some in the room, relocated the towers and thanked the individuals and organizations that had made the dorm a reality. The last named was “Anonymous,” whom he asked to stand. Looking around the room, no one was seen to stand. Deadpanning, Steve said, “I guess ‘Anonymous’ wants to stay that way.”

Heading to the new adolescent dormitory

Heading to the new adolescent dormitory

Then it was on to the dormitory for the ribbon cutting. Alas, the event was just too popular crowding the lobby of the dormitory, so many had to stand in the glass entry and were forced to read lips as the ribbon was cut.

But the real purpose of the celebration was not to witness the cutting of a ribbon, or even to have a bite of cake. It was to take a big step in expanding the capabilities of an organization helping women struggling with drug and alcohol abuse.  Unfortunately, among this number are young and in some cases pregnant girls. While they don’t have the years of addiction that some of the adults have experienced, they’re at a major crossroads. This dormitory will allow them to be young and undergo the lifelong road to recovery.

Among this group of youngsters, there are some who are pregnant with the additional challenge of recovery and motherhood. As one person put it, “These are children having children. They’re facing incredible challenges and Nexus is providing the knowledge, support and tools to succeed for their sake and that of their children.”

So, the weather Tuesday may have changed the ribbon-cutting plans for Nexus, but who cares? They’ve got more important things to do, like help girls and women get and stay clean.

January Doldrums Run Out Of Time Thanks To Omega’s Opening At NorthPark For North Texas Food Bank

January is supposed to be oh-so dull. It’s a time when evenings are spent on treadmills and paying bills. Shopping centers are as verboten as a box of dark chocolate Godiva caramels. But then there are the exceptions to the rule. Those occasions that those flawless faces seek like kittens in search of a toy filled with catnip. Such was the case last night at the opening of Omega‘s Dallas boutique at NorthPark benefiting the North Texas Food Bank.

(Editor’s note: The good pr and marketing folks would love for the world to write “Omega” all caps [OMEGA], but it’s such a stretch to hold the shift key down to capitalize an entire word. So, we’ll just follow the traditional journalistic style of capping the “O” and letting the rest flow in small letters.)

But back to the reception. Or, shall we say the flashy mob. It was so crowded. How crowded you ask? Well, one guest asked a staffer if the fire marshal had appeared. North Texas Food Bank First Lady Jan Pruitt had to step outside the boutique because the body heat was getting up in there. But she was wearing a big old smile. Seems each guest’s presence earned a donation of $100 for the NTFB’s Food 4 Kids program by Omega.

Guests at Omega reception

“Do you know how much we can do with the money raised tonight?” Jan said, as the arrival of guests never seemed to end.

George Clooney

Inside, the beautiful people matched the magnificent timepieces in the cases perfectly. While two-dimensional images of Daniel Craig and George Clooney smiled from the walls, guests like Rachel Trowbridge, Jeanne Marie Clossey, Rhonda Sargent Chambers and Marisa Huckin

Marisa Huckin

were ticking off news left and right. Angela Choquette reported that the St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon and Fashion Show and Luncheon’s tickets were moving like the second hand of an Omega De Ville Prestige Co-Axial. . . . Speaking of lunches, Life’s Lesson’s honoree/jewelry designer Elizabeth Showers was chatting with Omega President/CEO Stephen Urquhart. According to Stephen, “We try to partner with a local nonprofit in every market. We get people from that city involved.” As for their opening the Dallas store, he admitted that Dallas has long been on their “wish list,” but until now the space hadn’t been available.

Stephen Urquhart

When asked if young people were abandoning watches for smartphone timekeeping, he didn’t hesitate to say, “No. We’re selling more than ever to young people. They’re not buying a fine watch just to tell the time. They can get that everywhere these days on electronic devices. [With a watch] they are buying history, emotion, legacy. It’s all very emotional. I’m on my fourth iPhone in six years, but watches are kept much longer. It’s the feeling of confidence. It’s not just fashion or status; it’s a very unique product.”

And what lies ahead for Omega’s line of timepieces? “We’ve got four or five basic styles,” he said, but they’re also using new materials—liquid metal, new composite materials, etc. — as well as new ideas for dials. But the Omega POA is “to stay on track. . . to be as fashionable in 20 years’ time as now.”

Stephen went on to say that an important part of the Omega plan is based on continuing to forge partnerships as it has in the past with the Olympics, NASA, the PGA and the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital in New York.

Kim and Justin Whitman

But before Stephen knew it, his Omega watch was ticking away his presence at the reception. He, Omega Head of Retail Brice Le Troadec and a handful of Dallas types (Kim and Justin Whitman, Eric and Katherine Perot Reeves, Danya Anderson, Andrea Weber, Joyce Goss) had to head

Omega dinner at Abacus

over to Abacus for a champagne toast and dinner in the private dining room. At one point in the dinner, Justin and Brice baffled the rest of the table conversing in French. Reminder: Justin’s mom is French and Brice hails from Normandy, but now lives in Miami and NYC.

Alas, it had to be an early evening and the Omega team couldn’t dawdle. They had to catch a flight today for Atlanta to keep time with still more lovers of fine craftsmanship.

George W. Bush Center’s Rumored September 11th Opening Is Oh-So Wrong

President George W. and Laura Bush and Don Evans at 2010 Bush Center groundbreaking (File photo)

Like the Mayan tale of the world ending on December 21, 2012, and the myth that Elvis is alive, outlandish rumors seem to take on lives of their own. The newest one making the rounds is the George W. Bush Center’s opening being moved to Wednesday, September 11, 2013.

Oh-so wrong, folks. According to the Center’s Director of Communications Hannah Abney, the opening is “still scheduled for Spring 2013!”

Evidently, some bored mischievous types thought it would be fun to give birth via the Internet to the September 11 rumor.

And here you just thought things were going to settle down after the recent big-deal openings (the Klyde Warren Park and Perot Museum). When arrangements are finalized, we’ll keep you posted. . . but you already knew that.

Saturday’s Child Is Full Of Activities

Despite temperatures rising into the upper 70s, the first day of December is going to be a blockbuster for kids of all ages.

First there’s the Children’s Medical Center Holiday Parade in downtown Dallas. No need to wear the woollies this year, but do get there early to get a great seat. If your place for watching is at home, no problem. It will be aired on WFAA-CH. 8 starting at 10 a.m.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science all lit up (File photo)

Then head over the Perot Museum of Nature and Science for its first official day of operation. After weeks of being the party palace, it’s opening its doors with a ribbon cutting. One thing: Don’t rush the look. Take your time to study every corner and exhibition. And don’t be discouraged, if you don’t see it all. The Perot is going to be here for eons.

But if you want something a little more outdoorsy, head on over to Flag Pole Hill. JCPenney’s, which has been going through a “transition,” is hosting “Sledding Without Snow.” Whoa! Wait! Tobaggon in this “heat wave?” Okay, so instead of wearing mittens and sock caps, put an extra layer of sunscreen on. Be smart and make reservations.

Finally for the big kids, who love nothing more than razzle-dazzle and black-tie elegance, there’s the Crystal Charity Ball at the Hilton Anatole. What does this have to do with children? Well, how about it being the grande dame of all fundraisers for children’s organizations in Dallas?

Suggestion: On Sunday, sleep in.

Ryan Seacrest’s Foundation To Officially Open First Seacrest Studios This Morning At Children’s Medical Center

Don’t be surprised to run into Ryan Seacrest (aka the 21st century Dick Clark) today. He’s in town with his parents Connie and Gary Seacrest and sister Meredith for this morning’s official grand opening of Seacrest Studios.

Is it at Las Colinas? Deep Ellum?

Nope. The studio is located at Children’s Medical Center. It’s the first of the Seacrest Foundation‘s efforts to “provide exciting and stimulating adventures for the patients, to help create optimistic thoughts during their stays and visits at the hospital.”

Radha Arora (File photo)

Hopefully, Ryan finished dinner with his old buddy, Rosewood President/CEO Radha Arora, at the Mansion early last night, because the ribbon-cutting festivities start around 9:30 a.m.

T. Boone Pickens’ $10M Pledge To Baylor Health Care System Commemorates A 50-Year Friendship With Harley Hotchkiss

The Baylor Health Care System folks were expecting maybe 200 for a big announcement involving the fabulous new Cancer Inpatient facility on Worth Street. But from the scene, it appeared that number might have been double. After all, if this fabulous, multimillion-dollar center weren’t incredible enough, the headliner of the day was energy billionaire T. Boone Pickens and the family of the late Canadian oilman/sportsman/businessman Harley Hotchkiss.

Harley Hotchkiss and T. Boone Pickens

But before proceeding with the festivities, it’s important to know a little background on Boone and the Hotchkiss clan. Boone met Harley in 1957, when he went to Calgary searching for cheaper oil. Not only did Boone open an office in Calgary two years later, but he and Harley became great friends, hunting around the world together and making a lot of money together. As the 84-year-young Boone recalled of his old friend, they talked almost every Sunday. When Harley was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he ended up coming to Baylor in Dallas because the right cancer treatment wasn’t available in Canada. Harley and his devoted wife Becky, who had been an RN, made the trip back and forth every four to six weeks.

Speaking of Becky, she was just 16 and Harley was 22 when they first met. Boone recalled how, back then, a fellow would get a father’s permission just to go out with his daughter. Harley arrived at Becky’s house to ask her dad’s permission. Instead, the two men ended up drinking a pot of coffee for two hours with her father inviting Harley back anytime.

Jeff Hotchkiss, T. Boone Pickens and Becky Hotchkiss

But once they decided to marry, Becky said Harley had to do two things:

  1. Stop smoking
  2. Get a college degree

He graduated from Michigan State University, they had five children and were married nearly 60 years until his death on June 22, 2011.

It was Boone’s friendship with Harley that was commemorated today with the announcement of Boone’s pledging $10 million  in support of Baylor initiatives and the naming of its new cancer hospital the “Baylor T. Boone Pickens Cancer Hospital.”

The Harley Hotchkiss Plaque

But before the lobby filled with guests and Baylor staff members, Boone and the Hotchkiss family gathered privately behind screens to see the unveiling of three large plaques “commemorating Pickens’ lifelong friendship with Hotchkiss.”

It was an extremely touching moment for the entire group. In the plaque, Boone called Harley “my best friend.” But leave it to Boone to come up with a question: “Do you have a date on the picture [of Harley and Boone]?” From the back of the group, a voice was heard to say, “About 2005.” Boone asked back, “Why do you think that?” The voice [belonging to Boone’s aide-de-camp Jay Rosser], without hesitation, replied, “Because I took it.”

Then they were off on a tour of the 175,000-square-foot center that is the “first dedicated cancer hospital in North Texas.” The new hospital features all private rooms, many with ICU capabilities. But the facility was built to provide healing for not just the patient but their families as well —

  • Surroundings are designed to create an environment of healing, calming and spirituality for patients and their families on the cancer journey.
  • Accommodations allow families and caregivers to stay on-site in comfort, including larger patient rooms, shower facilities and laundry facilities.
  • An Oncology Evaluation & Treatment Center enables established cancer patients to access urgent care in an environment specially-suited to these patients’ complex needs.
  • Dedicated facilities include a Blood & Marrow Transplant Unit, Apheresis Center, Oncology Pharmacy, Infusion Center and Processing Lab for stem cells and bone marrow products.

Just across the street is the 467,000-square-foot Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center for outpatients. The entire complex dedicated to cancer care represents a “$350 million investment to anchor high-caliber cancer care in North Texas — all close to home where patients can be supported by their families and loved ones.”

Joel Allison

Baylor Health Care System President/CEO Joel Allison said, “Having T. Boone Pickens’ name on the cancer hospital serves as a daily reminder to our patients, their families and Baylor caregivers that we stand for innovation and leadership in this special place of hope and healing. The men and women of Baylor Health Care System are most grateful for this very generous investment in serving the patient, which is at the center of everything we do.”

Rowland Robinson

Baylor Health Care System Foundation President Rowland “Robin” Robinson added, ““T. Boone Pickens’ gift reinforces that Baylor is a world-class health care system. It provides a valuable platform for us to talk about Baylor’s defining culture and to show the positive impact we have in our communities. We are excited and honored to have a relationship with a leader known for giving to institutions aligned with a focus on caring for the whole patient. We are proud of his endorsement.”

Jim Turner

Then it was time for the official ceremony to take place with Robin, Joel, Baylor University Medical Center of Dallas/Baylor Health Care System VP President John McWhorter III and Baylor Health Care System Board of Trustees Chairman Jim Turner at the helm.

Marti Carlin and Debbie Francis

After the cloth was pulled, officially revealing the name of the center, they closed with the Baylor tradition of ringing the bell. Ah, but before that could take place, small black pouches were handed out to guests with small bells inside. As Boone pulled the ringer of the big bell, surprising Becky and the others on stage at its sound, little bells were heard chiming throughout the SRO lobby.

Harley’s son Jeff said the day had been overwhelming for the entire family. After spending several days at Boone’s ranch in the Panhandle, where they played golf, took a helicopter tour of the place and “ate a lot,” they attended the Cowboys game Sunday in Boone’s suite. According to Jeff, “We had the full-meal deal.” Jeff went on to say that Boone reminded him of his dad and added, “I’m proud of Mr. Pickens.”

Ironically, this same morning when North Texas was officially taking a major step in helping those with cancer, the area lost Fred Meyer (sub. req.) to the disease.

Scheduled Klyde Park Opening On October 27-28 To Test Mother Nature’s Temperment With Bad Weather Vets

We’ve known the inconveniences of its building. We’ve known the surprise we felt when it was announced that it was being named after a youngster. But now we finally know when it’s going to come alive.

Kit Sawers (File photo)

The 5.2-acre Klyde Warren Park will officially celebrate its birth the last weekend of October. October 26-27, to be exact. Organizers plan to have a launch similar to the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge celebration back in March, when guests shivered and smiled to Lyle Lovett, fireworks and family-friendly activities. Let’s just hope the weather will be a little user-friendly in late October for the $110M park’s debut. Former North Texas Super Bowl staffers Kit Sawers and Tony Fay have been brought on board to coordinate the event. So if anybody is a bad-weather veteran, these two have tales to chill a barbecue pit.

Even though the date is set, the breakdown of hoop-la is still under wraps. So no word on if there’s gonna be a big-buck event, concert or lemonade stand. That’s all to come. The brains behind the weekend just want to make sure that you have those days on your calendar locked down.

BTW: The British members of the MySweetCharity elves insist on calling it “Klyde Park.” They say it reminds them of jolly old “Hyde Park.”

Despite Whines Of Protest, The SPCA of Texas’ Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center Was A Howling Success

It’s hard to imagine anything stealing the scene from the likes of SPCA of Texas President James Bias, celebrity animal lover Jocelyn White or philanthropist Jan Rees-Jones, but dang it if Rayna didn’t Saturday night at the official purple ribbon-cutting of the SPCA of Texas’ Jan Rees-Jones  Animal Care Center.

The turnout for the much-anticipated facility opening was so great that valet parkers found themselves panting. One guest gave up waiting for a parker, got out of his car, walked up to a valet, handed him the keys and headed to the gathering.

But you couldn’t blame the fella. After all there was a lot to see –state-of-the-art pods for individual animals, a gift shop, the Myron K. Martin Spay-Neuter and Wellness Clinic, the Rees-Jones Foundation Humane Education Center and a public call center.

At first some folks were a little surprised to see so many empty rooms lacking dogs. The reason was that the SPCA had adopted out “30 of the 40 dogs on the floor” earlier in the day, and their replacements hadn’t been moved in yet.

Jan Rees-Jones

As the group started congregating for the ribbon-cutting, Trevor Rees-Jones leaned against a column watching the festivities. He was happy to stay in the background while wife Jan was the lady of the hour for the dedication of the building bearing her name.

James Bias

First to speak was James, who told the group that included such pet fans as Jack Knox, Diane and Hal Brierley, Carmaleta Whiteley, Skip Trimble and Kristina Bowman that the new facility “allows us to save animals from suffering in a much, much bigger way.”

As Rayna complained in the background, James went on to recognize SPCA of Texas Chairman of the Board Rugger Burke (“He’s probably in the gift shop, looking for something to buy for his dog, Peaches”), board member Mary Spencer (who “was on the board when I started volunteering”), Senior VP of Operations Ann Barnes (“She’s probably cleaning the kennels somewhere”) and facility interior designer and architect Gus Hinojosa and general contractor Hill & Wilkinson (“It took them a while to understand what we wanted to do, but we ‘clicker-trained’ them!”).

Jocelyn White

Then James introduced Jocelyn, who had been the driving force behind the capital campaign. Without hesitation and beaming with pride, Joce added that they still had a few hundred thousand dollars to go, “so if you have a few spare thousand dollars. . . operators are standing by.”

Speaking of funding, Jocelyn explained how the Rees-Jones Foundation had given $2 for every dollar raised . . . up to $4 million.  At one point in her talk, she acknowledged Rayna’s continued background rattling about getting on with the show.

Matriarch of the Rees-Jones clan was called then to the stage. With notes in hand and resorting to pulling out her reading glasses, Jan told the crowd that “we ourselves are the adoptive parents of a precious little adopted pet. . . I hope [this facility] will become a model for cities around the world because there is nothing else like this.”

David Rees-Jones

Despite Rayna’s complaints about the length of the proceedings, Jan left the stage to receive a big hug from her son David.

But it didn’t last long. Jan was called back on stage to cut the purple ribbon followed by orders from James, “You all go have fun.”

Rayna

Finally, Rayna was satisfied. After all, all this human activity was preventing the three-year-old, 9.2-pound Chihuahua in a nearby pod from finding a new home.

UPDATE: Check Jocelyn’s comment about Rayna.