City News Roundup
This roundup of news around Dallas comes replete with quantity, there are many items, the question is, are they quality items? There's a drop in violent crime. A proposal to turn one-way streets into two-way streets. There are grants for women, and parks for seniors. There's a meet-up with an author, a late night at the DMA, and a fancy new fountain at a downtown park.
Here's what happened in Dallas this week:
Violent crime drop
Violent crime has dropped in Dallas, following a Violent Crime Reduction Strategic Plan implemented by the Dallas Police Department in 2021. In the first year, overall violent street crime (murders, robbery, nonfamily violence aggravated assault) is down 12 percent citywide. Violent crime in Dallas had been on the rise in the three years leading up to the Crime Plan implementation, and it still is in many large U.S. cities.
The Crime Reduction Plan was developed by the Dallas Police Department, University of Texas-San Antonio criminology and criminal justice professors Drs. Michael Smith and Rob Tillyer, and the City of Dallas. According to a release from the DPD, it uses evidence-based strategies including hot spot policing, placed network investigations and focused deterrence. DPD Chief Eddie Garcia said in a statement that there is still work to be done but the numbers show positive results.
Klyde Warren Park fountain
A new water feature called the Nancy Best Fountain has opened at Klyde Warren Park, between Olive and Pearl streets. The design features three stainless-steel "trees," 14 "rosebud" bubblers, and 106 small nozzles that create giant leaves, plus a 5,000-square foot splash pad that can accommodate hundreds of children at a time. At sunset, it'll display a 30- to 45-minute choreographed light and music show. Guests are allowed to play in the water even during the show, which a release says is unique. The fountain is powered by recirculated water, which goes through a continuous, four-step filtration and sanitizing process.
Two way streets
Dallas City Council member Jesse Moreno is requesting an evaluation for a possible two-way street conversion of three streets in East Dallas that include Peak Street, Haskell Avenue, and Graham Avenue. The rationale is that two-way street conversions can enhance mobility, accessibility, and safety. There's been a trend recently to transform one-way streets, most recently one in Oak Cliff.
Parks for seniors
WellMed Charitable Foundation presented Dallas with $150,000 to give senior citizens free access to recreation programs. Dallas Park and Recreation will use the gift to waive annual and monthly fees at city recreation centers for adults 60 and older. Since the first donation was announced in March 2017, more than 29,500 adults have enrolled at a City of Dallas recreation center. WCF is the philanthropic partner of WellMed and USMD Health System.
Grants for women
The Texas Women’s Foundation has distributed $7.1 million in grants to 223 nonprofits and $2.1 million in programs to build more equitable communities to address the pressing needs of the women and girls and their families. The Foundation raises funding from a broad base of donors, including individuals, foundations, and corporations. For a complete list of grantees, visit txwf.org/grants.
Raynaldo Rivera Ortiz Jr., a 59-year-old anesthesiologist, has been charged with injecting nerve blocking agents and other drugs into patient IV bags at Baylor Scott & White Surgicare North Dallas. According to a release from the US Attorney's office, Dr. Melanie Kaspar, a fellow doctor at the facility, died from a lethal dose of bipuvacaine, found in an IV bag she used. Ortiz was the only person caught on camera handling IV bags that resulted in her death as well as multiple cardiac emergencies.
DMA Late Night
Creative Arts Center of Dallas is partnering with the Dallas Museum of Art on Late Night, taking place September 16 from 5-11 pm, hey that's tonight, to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and the life and work of Mexican American artist Octavio Medellín. There'll be music, artist demonstrations, curator talks, a poetry workshop led by Texas Poet Laureate Lupe Mendez, film screenings, tours of the exhibition Octavio Medellín: Spirit and Form, a Texas art scavenger hunt, and a live painting of the Mexican flag on a monumental scale.
Meet the author
Author Alex Temblador will make an appearance at Half Price Books at 5803 E. Northwest Hwy. on Sunday, September 18 at 1 pm. According to the Lake Highlands Advocate, Temblador won the 2019 National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Tejas Foco Young Adult Fiction Award, and Kirkus Reviews' Best of YA Books 2018. Her newest book is an adult novel called Half Outlaw, about a woman's quest to find a better future while wrestling with a rocky past. She'll sign books, then join fellow author Samantha Mabry (Tigers, Not Daughters), in a discussion about culture moderated by Half Price Books' Becky Gomez, as part of Hispanic Heritage Month. RSVP here.