WFAA’s Retiring Byron Harris Is To Get A Real Send-Off Thanks To The Press Club Of Dallas, Uncle Barky And Brett Shipp

Originally part of the legendary WFAA News Director Marty Haag’s Oklahoma media mafia, Byron Harris was just a young whippersnapper when he arrived in Dallas back in the early 70’s. Known to his friends as “Barney,” he once told a friend that to stay hot within the television industry you had to move every so many years. The person protested. But the newsman insisted it was true.

Byron Harris of the 1970's (File photo)

Byron Harris of the 1970’s (File photo)

Over the past 40 years Byron has been earning enough awards to probably require a trophy room. He’s also been making national headlines for his investigative reporting.

Now, Barney is turning in his WFAA ID card with his retirement on Friday, October 9th (it’s also his 69th birthday). He plans to enjoy life fly fishing, wining and dining with the love of his life Linda Metcalf Harris, who also worked at WFAA.

To celebrate his tenure, the Press Club of Dallas led by Ed “Uncle Barky” Bark is holding a type of roast/toast on Monday, September 28, at 3015 Trinity Groves.

Even though the event is free, they’d appreciate a RSVP by Monday, September 28.

Should be interesting with WFAA’s Brett Shipp chatting it up on stage with Byron.

Round Robin November 13: Holy Moly! Seven Events In One Day

Thursday, November 13 was jam packed all day long. Hmm, seems like every day in November is turning out to be like that. Here’s the report on events from all over the area.

Obelisk Awards Luncheon

For more than two and a half decades, the Business Council for the Arts has been recognizing North Texas businesses and business leaders who believe in the “transformative power of arts and culture” with something called the Obelisk Awards. The nonprofit group did it for the 26th time, when it hosted a well-attended luncheon awards ceremony at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas.

With luminaries in attendance including Todd Meier, Jeremy Strick, and Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger—Nancy’s late father, Ray Nasher, founded the council in 1988—the luncheon was kicked off by Larry Glasgow, the nonprofit’s board chair, and emceed by Mary Anne Alhadeff.

Before Mary Anne oversaw the presentation of the 2014 Obelisks, though, attendees listened to remarks by luncheon Co-chairs Anne and Bernie DiFlore, Business Council CEO Katherine Wagner, and Comerica Bank chief economist Robert Dye. (Who knew the bank’s senior VP is also an accomplished painter?!) Then it was Mary Anne’s turn in the spotlight, as she disclosed that the event’s nine honorees had donated a total of $1.25 million to Dallas-Fort Worth arts groups in one year alone.

With that, it was off to the races with the 2014 Obelisks.

First up was the Lifetime Achievement Award, which went to Brian Shivers, a board member with the Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden for nearly 30 years. Accepting the award, Brian thanked Dallas “for being a place that supports and encourages big ideas.”

Crayton Webb*

Crayton Webb*

Next came the New Initiative Award, which recognizes businesses for a new initiative with a single focus. The winners this year in the Small, Medium, and Large Business categories, respectively, were Eletorre, which manages community relations projects and web-based communications for nonprofits, like the Bridge-o-Rama event; Gold Metal Recyclers, which nurtures a variety of arts and cultural organizations in North Texas; and Mary Kay Inc., which has helped underwrite the Women of WaterTower Theatre group, among many other initiatives.

Then came the Arts Partnership Award, which honors companies that have supported one or more arts and cultural groups in North Texas for at least three years. The 2014 winners in the Small, Medium, and Large Business categories were, respectively, Fantastic Moves, a moving company that’s helped The Women’s Chorus of Dallas move pianos and risers over many years on a pro-bono basis; law firm Vinson & Elkins, which for decades has represented KERA pro-bono and supported other groups like the Dallas Museum of Art; and Pioneer Natural Resources, which, among other things, has made a 5-year commitment to the Dallas Theater Center’s educational programming for at-risk teens.

Barbara Daseke and Ben Fischer and Laree Hulshoff*

Barbara Daseke and Ben Fischer and Laree Hulshoff*

The luncheon concluded with two single presentations: the Arts Education Award and the Arts Leadership Award. The former, which recognizes business support for arts education programs, went to Carey International Inc., a transportation provider that helped the Nasher Sculpture Center expose its 10-year-anniversary project, Nasher XChange, to school and community groups. Finally, the Arts Leadership Award for long-term vision and commitment was presented to Barbara Daseke. She was recognized for her fundraising efforts on behalf of WaterTower Theatre, TACA, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Said Mary Anne Alhedeff of the spiky-haired Daseke as the luncheon drew to a close: “She is a one-woman dynamo. Perhaps this should be called the ‘Wonder Woman’ Award!”

Affordable Living Initiative Construction Celebration

It’s not every day that construction takes place to provide affordable living for low-income families, but on this day, it got underway with a celebration at Jubilee Park. Here’s a report from the field:

“In a joint partnership, Jubilee Park & Community Center, PlainsCapital Bank and City of Dallas Housing/Community Services Department launched a large-scale, four-phase affordable housing initiative that will result in 28 residences for low-income families in southeast Dallas over the next three years. Today, a construction celebration was held to commemorate this partnership and future homeownership for the families who will reside in these new homes. This event was held in Jubilee Park where the first six homes are being built.

Jubilee group**

Jubilee group**

“Representatives from Jubilee Park & Community Center, City of Dallas and PlainsCapital Bank, the families who will take ownership of these new homes, and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings attended the groundbreaking event. PlainsCapital Bank’s live mascot, Mo the Buffalo even made an appearance. At the close of the event, PlainsCapital Bank North Dallas President Doug Cook and Jubilee Park & Community Center Board Chairman Bill Addy competed in a Bobcat front-end loader race.

Mo and the Bobcat RAce**

Mo and the Bobcat Race**

“’The primary goal of the affordable housing project is to provide homeownership opportunities for low-income families who would otherwise not have the means to become homeowners,’ said Jubilee Park & Community Center Chief Executive Officer Ben Leal. ‘Through this partnership with City of Dallas and PlainsCapital Bank, we have a unique opportunity to be a part of making the American dream of homeownership a reality for these families in our community.’

“The cost of each new home is approximately $125,000. Both Jubilee Park and the City of Dallas will contribute a combined $50,000 toward the total cost of each home.

“Homebuyers will secure a mortgage of $70,000 to $85,000, based on their income. “Buyer Assistance” funds of $20,000 may be available from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Builder construction loans for phases II through IV will be provided by PlainsCapital Bank.

“Homebuyers must meet the income limits set by the City of Dallas which stipulate they have an annual income of 140 percent or less of the current HUD Metro Fair Market Rent Area estimate of the median family income for Dallas ($67,500). Homebuyers will also have the opportunity to participate in pre- and post-homebuyer education classes that will be provided by the East Dallas Community Organization.

“The single-family homes are approximately 1,300 square feet with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a two-car garage. Energy efficient appliances will be included in the purchase price. Homebuyers have five home models to choose from. All homes will be LEED silver certified.

“Construction for the first six homes broke ground in September and are slated for completion in early 2015. Construction for the final phase of this project will begin in late 2015, with completion in the fourth quarter of 2016.

“East Dallas Community Organization is managing the construction, identifying and qualifying homebuyers, hiring building contractors, managing the purchase of lots and providing necessary paperwork associated with an affordable housing transaction to city, state and federal governing bodies and the designated title company. Woodmere Properties, who has built numerous affordable housing projects in Dallas, was selected as the home builder. ”

Chick Lit KO Party

Announcements evidently were high in demand for the upcoming 2015 season. As reported earlier, the Chick Lit-ters revealed their plans at a cocktail reception at Roberta Roller Rabbit for the Friday, April 24th luncheon. Wendy Messmann will be chairing the annual event at Brook Hollow benefiting Community Partners of Dallas that will feature author Stacey Ballis. Joining Wendy will be Honorary Chair Carol Seay.

2015 No Tie Dinner & Dessert Party KO

Over at Scott + Cooner, 150 enjoyed a cocktail reception and learned about the plans for the 2015 No Tie Dinner & Dessert Party scheduled for Saturday, March 28 at the Frontier of Flight Museum. Once David Nelson and Dennis Kershner will co-chair the event with Jody and Sterling O’Donnell serving at honorary co-chairs. The theme — “Under the Yum Yum Tree”!

DIFFA Holiday Wreath Collection

The DIFFA gang didn’t so much announce but rather kicked of the momentum for the season with its annual Holiday Wreath Collection at the Galleria. Despite evening rush-home traffic, folks Wreath Co-Chair Matt Wilkerson and Carol Quist joined DIFFA/Dallas Chairman of the Board Clint Bradley to checkout more than 40 designer wreaths were up for bid that had been created by individuals and companies like Stanley Korshak, Tiffany & Co., AIDS Arms, AIDS Services of Dallas, Gallerie Noir, Sissy’s Southern Kitchen (Lisa Garza), Gensler Architects, Swarvoski, Club Monaco, Jennifer Miller, RSVP Design Services, Dear Clark Hair Studio, Nine-Eighteen, Tatyana Murphy, Lucky Dog Barkery and Westin Galleria Dallas Hotel to name a few.

Playbills, Popcorn And The Press

Back at Fair Park the Press Club of Dallas presented Dallas Summer Musical’s Michael Jenkins with the 2014 Newsmaker of the Year Award. Pat Porter chaired the event — “Playbills, Popcorn and the Press” — along with Honorary Co-Chairs Cindy and Chuck Gummer at the Music Hall. Of course, it wouldn’t be an event honoring Michael without a bit of song and dance. That was provided by Cathy Rigby and Rachel York.

Encore for Advocacy

Speaking of music, Mavis Staples was blowing the roof off the Majestic for the Encore for Advocacy benefiting the Dallas Advocacy Center. Why even the Dallas Morning News’ special contributor Thor Christensen was impressed by her performance describing her as having “rarely sung with as much intensity as she did Thursday night at the Majestic Theatre, where she roared, snarled and scatter up a maelstrom.” Thor also gave a tip-of-the-hat to fellow performer Patty Griffin who shared the stage with Mavis.

* Photo provided by WaterTower Theatre
** Photos provided by PlainsCapital Bank

North Texas Legends Of Journalism Celebrated At Trinity Trust Center

Trinity Trust Center had them lined out the door Wednesday night. Trinity River Rat Wrangler Tierney Kaufman was serving up drinks faster than the ponies at Lone Star Race Track.

Tony Zoppi

And it had absolutely nothing to do with the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge or the Trinity River project. Instead the Press Club of Dallas borrowed the facility to honor the “Legends of North Texas Journalism.” It was easy to spot the legends. They were the ones looking like prized pooches at Westminster wearing big, old blue ribbons.

Dallas Morning News business columnist Bob Miller was surrounded by fans, friends and fellow scribes like Karen Robinson-Jacobs. He was keeping one eye on the door waiting for wife Shirley. SMU professor/former DMN-er Carolyn Barta upon seeing Miller told friends how back in the 60’s Bob had been her boss at the Morning News through two pregnancies. That was a time before maternity leaves, and when smoking and manual typewriters were newsroom staples. Women just didn’t have a few months off to have a baby. They had to use vacation time or take time off hoping their jobs hadn’t been filled.

Bert Shipp

Across the way, former WFAA guru Bert Shipp and former Morning News reporter Hugh Aynesworth had guests lined up to chat. Interestingly the two made history in covering the John F. Kennedy assassination. Over Bert’s shoulder was his son Brett, who does investigative reporting for WFAA, with his fiancée Madeleine Johnson. No date has been set for their wedding.

Ron Chapman, John Gudjohnsen, Nance Chapman

KVIL/KLUV legend Ron and Nance Chapman were catching up with former KDFW/former WFAA photograph mastermind John Gudjohnsen. Ron had recently orchestrated the memorial service for Ben Laurie, who died April 15. To conclude the services, guests were given blue and white balloons to release in the sky in honor of the late helicopter traffic reporter.

Troy Dungan

Former WFAA weather guy Troy Dungan was all smiles. Suspect he was glad not to be on-air Tuesday night when the area got hit with tornadic weather.

Both Ron and Troy have been subjects of KTVT-CH. 11’s Karen Borta‘s reports on the status of well-known, retired members of the media.

If you want a list of the “legends,” follow the jump!

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