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Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. 2 distinguished Dallas high schools sit at head of the class as Texas' best in 2022. Two campuses in Dallas have earned extra credit as the best high schools in Texas. In the latest rankings from education review website Niche, Dallas ISD’s School for the Talented & Gifted tops the list of the state’s best public high schools, and St. Mark’s School of Texas in Dallas leads the list of the state’s best private high schools.

2. NFL legend Terry Bradshaw's ranch north of Dallas listed for $22.5 million. An Oklahoma ranch around 70 miles north of Dallas-Fort Worth that’s owned by NFL Hall of Famer and Fox Sports analyst Terry Bradshaw is back on the market for $22.5 million. The 744-acre ranch was relisted after a deal with a would-be buyer fell through.

3. Dallas grilled cheese restaurant abruptly closes location in Oak Cliff. A Bishop Arts restaurant dedicated to making grilled cheese sandwiches has closed: The aptly named Dallas Grilled Cheese Co. closed its original location at 310 W. 7th St., after nearly eight years. According to co-owner Diana Ezzell, the closure was prompted by problems with the location.

4. Best vegan grocer in Denton relocates to market-deli space. An acclaimed market in Denton specializing in all things vegan is making a move: Mashup Market, the plant-based specialty grocer that debuted at 316 Oak St. in 2020, is closing that original location and making its new headquarters at 1302 W. Hickory St., its second location that opened in 2021.

5. Dallas man allegedly scammed $26M from Chinese real estate investors. A Dallas-area man has been charged for allegedly scamming Chinese investors out of more than $26 million in a real estate scheme. Timothy Lynch Barton, the 59-year-old president of real estate development firm JMJ and CEO of real estate investment firm Carnegie Development, has been indicted on seven counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and one count of securities fraud.

Sotheby's

Ridonculous Dallas house inspired by sci-fi movie Tron is for sale

House For Sale

There's a notorious house for sale in Dallas, so much for sale that Briggs Freeman Sotheby International Realty, the agency listing the property, has issued a press release, and so here we are.

Located at 5025 Wateka Dr., the house is a 4,853-square-foot behemoth said to be inspired by the sci-fi film TRON: Legacy, and it's listed for $3,960,000.

The house has 3 bedrooms, 3-and-one-half baths, and sits on a teensy .185-acre lot. That is not even a quarter acre. But there is surely a lot of wow packed onto every square inch.

It was designed by builder Michael Shaun Jackson as his own home and built between 2018-2020 — replacing a modest 1400-square-foot home built in the 1940s, as were most of the homes on this street (here's one sweet example). The street is now transitioning into a neighborhood where properties are listed for up to $600K just for the land alone.

Features on this house include:

  • marble-pattern, Italian porcelain floors
  • Murano crystal chandeliers
  • Ferrari-themed office
  • speakeasy/game room with upholstered walls

The outdoor space has a checkerboard terrace floor and sunken conversation pit with firepit coffee table.

The Tron influence can be felt in the interior's 3D geometric shapes, with a color scheme that is almost entirely gray-and-white, and the occasional gold accent.

A two-story living room features a monumental fireplace sheathed in book-matched, marble-effect porcelain slabs and a motorized cradle that can retract an oversized TV into the floor.

5025 Wateka Living room with view of the Ferrari.Sotheby's

A massive glass wall panel in the room allows for the full display of one of the vehicles in the three-car garage. If you're someone who likes to keep an eye on your car at all times, this is heaven.

The kitchen has diamond-tread accent panels, quartzite countertops, Italian porcelain flooring, and Miele appliances. The TRON influence exerts itself in a black-and-gray palette, which the release notes was inspired by a craft in the movie known as the Recognizer.

The master bedroom has a Versace-inspired theme, including a fireplace with an ornate mantel. The master bath has a floating tub underlit by LEDs whose colors change and pulsate. It's surrounded by titanium fire glass which can turn opaque for privacy.

5025 Wateka Main bedroom with Versace-inspired theme.Sotheby's

A game room is padded in turquoise ultra-suede with zebra-striped patterned carpeting.

In its favor, the home was designed to be eco-friendly, with low heating and cooling cost. And the Ferrari Tributo F8 Spider currently displayed in the garage can also be purchased for an additional $575,000.

5025 Wateka A bold splash of color in an otherwise gray & white house.Sotheby's

Dallas man allegedly scammed $26M from Chinese real estate investors

Flipper News

A Dallas-area man has been charged for allegedly scamming Chinese investors out of more than $26 million in a real estate scheme.

According to a release from U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham, Timothy Lynch Barton, the 59-year-old president of real estate development firm JMJ and CEO of real estate investment firm Carnegie Development, has been indicted on seven counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and one count of securities fraud.

Barton made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge David L. Horan on September 26; he was arrested on September 20.

If convicted, Barton faces up to 20 years in federal prison for each count of wire fraud, up to 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and up to 20 years in federal prison for securities fraud.

He is also the subject of a parallel civil action filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

According to the indictment, Barton allegedly traveled to Hangzhou, China to pitch so-called real estate investment opportunities in Texas to Chinese investors.

His presentations included his supposed ties to U.S. politicians, as well as a builder, identified in documents as "S.W.", allegedly builder Steve Wall, whom he claimed would purchase the lots to build on and then sell to buyers. (You can get a glimpse of the hypnotic spell Barton surely wove, with his blue pinstripe suit, in this video posted by the DBJ.)

The properties were supposedly located in sought-after neighborhoods in Dallas Fort Worth. In reality, they consisted of hundreds of acres in Kaufman, Tarrant, Johnson, and Parker counties, and the cost was inflated by as much as 195 percent. In some instances, the properties were never actually purchased.

Investors were expected to contribute 80 percent of the funds necessary for the project. Barton said that he and others would contribute the remaining 20 percent, and claimed he wouldn't be taking a commission.

The payout consisted of annual interest payments for two years, followed by the return of their initial investment at the end of the second year.

For interest payments, Barton allegedly deployed the pyramid scheme routine, making interest payments to early investors with investor funds from later projects.

Despite his claim that no commission would be drawn, Barton allegedly drew commissions out of investors’ funds.

He also funneled money into unrelated projects; used it to pay consultants; and even paid an unrelated AmEx bill.

In 2020, several Chinese investors tried to force JMJ, Barton's company, into Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which would have led to its liquidation and the investors possibly getting some money back. But in early September 2022, JMJ filed for Chapter 11, allowing the company to continue operations without liquidating their assets.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Renee Hunter is prosecuting the case.

Courtesy photo

Meaty restaurant news leads this week's 5 hottest Dallas headlines

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. Meaty newcomer downtown makes this Dallas restaurant news muy macho. This roundup of Dallas dining news has a surprising number of openings, either in the works or already here. There's also a slew of new menu items coming online, some of which are pumpkin in theme. There are some exciting new chefs in town. Here's what's happening in Dallas restaurant news.

Fancy prefab homes are on the way. Modular home has a simple, uncluttered design. HiFab

2. West Dallas developer launches new venture building fancy prefab homes. Oaxaca Interests, the Dallas real estate company that developed Sylvan Thirty in West Oak Cliff, is expanding into modular homes, with a manufacturing plant in Grand Prairie and a new product that's already for sale. The manufacturing outfit is called HiFAB, and their first product is Haciendas, featuring homes designed by Lake|Flato, a San Antonio architecture firm.

inchworm The worm is not even an inch long. agrilife.org

3. Tiny green inchworm is devouring its way across Dallas trees. There's a sticky situation developing across Dallas-Fort Worth: It's the invasion of the cankerworm and it's literally hanging around outside your door. Cankerworms AKA inchworms are tiny caterpillars that feed off trees, especially the hackberry which is their favorite, and in fall 2022, they've arrived in North Texas with a vengeance.

Cliff May-designed home House at 11106 Snow White is a sprawling ranch. Hunter Dehn Realty

4. Rare home in Dallas' Disney streets designed by Cliff May is for sale. There's a stunning mid-century modern home for sale in Dallas' famed Disney streets neighborhood by legendary architect Cliff May. Located at 11106 Snow White Dr., the house was built in 1955 and miraculously retains some original features, particularly some delicious wood paneling.

High 5 There'll be bowling, axes, escape rooms, and more. Courtesy rendering

5. Mega entertainment complex from Austin to open at The Farm in Allen. There's a little bit of Austin fun coming to Allen: High 5 Entertainment, an experiential entertainment company, will open a massive gaming venue in the splashy new development The Farm in Allen, where it promises to unleash a copious dose of games and amusements.

Photo courtesy of Icon Global

NFL legend Terry Bradshaw's ranch north of Dallas listed for $22.5 million

Celebrity listing

An Oklahoma ranch around 70 miles north of Dallas-Fort Worth that’s owned by NFL Hall of Famer and Fox Sports analyst Terry Bradshaw is back on the market for $22.5 million.

Bernard Uechtritz, owner of Dallas-based real estate agency Icon Global Group, says the 744-acre ranch was relisted after a deal with a would-be buyer fell through. Cancellation of the purchase followed a series of contract extensions, along with repeated assurances from the potential buyer and their representatives that the deal would close, according to Uechtritz. It’s unknown how much that buyer was willing to pay for the ranch.

Over the years, Uechtritz and Bradshaw have been “inundated” by inquiries about selling the ranch, where the E! reality TV series The Bradshaw Bunch was filmed, according to an Icon Global news release.

Terry Bradshaw ranch The E! reality TV series The Bradshaw Bunch was filmed here.Photo courtesy of Icon Global

Bradshaw says in the news release that he and his wife, Tammy, are “sad to leave this great big ranch and our wonderful home, which has been our idyllic retreat of so many years; however, it is time that we slowed down a little, freeing us up to travel more, as well as enjoy new grandchildren, family, and other interests.”

The Bradshaws now live on a smaller farm in Texas where they continue to operate their Quarter Horse breeding business. In conjunction with the sale of the ranch, the Bradshaws are selling 150 Quarter Horses at an October 22 auction.

Terry Bradshaw ranch The ranch sits on 744 acres.Photo courtesy of Icon Global

The ranch, just east of Thackerville, Oklahoma, and a few miles west of the Texas-Oklahoma border, will keep operating until the new owner takes over. The property, overlooking the Red River, sits within the boundaries of the Chickasaw Nation, which is home to the massive WinStar World Casino and Resort.

“The property and facilities are a turnkey-ready proposition for a major equestrian player in the horse business, or continued use as a cattle or private recreational ranch,” Uechtritz says.

Highlights of the ranch include:

  • Rustic 8,600-square-foot home with six bedrooms, six bathrooms, two half-bathrooms, and four fireplaces
  • 2,600-square-foot manager’s house
  • Four-bedroom bunkhouse
  • Outdoor patio encompassing about 1,000 square feet, with a full kitchen, bar, fireplace, hot sauna, and fire pit
  • Eight lakes and ponds
  • Outdoor pool
  • Two-story doghouse made of stone
  • 12-stall stallion barn
  • 20-stall show barn
  • 50-stall mare barn with a laboratory, breeding facility, office, and covered arena
  • 20-stall barn for weaning horses
  • Hay barn
  • Show-pig barn

The property has been on and off the market for a number of years. At various times, it’s been priced at $11.9 million, $10.8 million, $10.6 million, and $9.9 million, according to media reports.

Terry Bradshaw The Bradshaws are selling 150 Quarter Horses at an October 22 auction.Photo courtesy of Icon Global

As quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s and ’80s, Bradshaw led the team to four Super Bowl victories and twice clinched Super Bowl MVP honors. The Louisiana native, who celebrated his 74th birthday earlier this month, retired from pro football in 1984 after a 14-year stint with the Steelers and then joined CBS Sports as a football analyst. He’s been a Fox Sports football analyst since 1994.

HiFab

West Dallas developer launches new venture building fancy prefab homes

House For Sale

Oaxaca Interests, the Dallas real estate company that developed Sylvan Thirty in West Oak Cliff, is expanding into modular homes, with a manufacturing plant in Grand Prairie and a new product that's already for sale.

Thus, this story.

The manufacturing outfit is called HiFAB, and their first product is Haciendas, featuring homes designed by Lake|Flato, a San Antonio architecture firm with some typographical eccentricities in its name.

In 2020, they first partnered up on a residential development near Trinity Groves, also called Haciendas. Those homes were built the old-school way, on site, to make sure they'd be profitable. Now they'll be built in HiFAB’s factory, observing sustainable design features and building practices.

That includes biophilic indoor/outdoor connections, fresh air exchange filtration systems, elimination of source pollutants, True Zero VOC paints, and tile setting materials that are Greenguard Gold Certified.

The homes will be on the market exclusively in Texas, to homeowners or developers, in early 2023 — but can be ordered online now in two sizes:

  • The Studio - 2 bedroom/2 bath, starting at $249,000
  • The Standard - 3 bedroom/2 bath, starting at $375,000

Price includes design, assembly, delivery, and setup.

Each comes with 3 different layouts and the ability for clients to customize tiles, paint colors, and other finishes while being able to monitor progress of their home online as it's being manufactured.

"With Oaxaca’s expansion into prefabrication with HiFAB, we are leveraging new technology to reach a broader audience through streamlined, scalable options that express those same enduring qualities of nature, place, and restraint," says Ted Flato, FAIA, founding partner of Lake|Flato Architects and HiFAB board member, in a statement.

HiFAB’s factory also supports a low carbon design and build process by eliminating the waste found in the residential construction industry.

The homes feature a simple, uncluttered design, says Oaxaca Interests and HiFAB founder Brent Jackson.

"Simple design is hard to pull off but it allows us to focus on the details for a cleaner, more efficient way of living," he says.

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Beto to visit Dallas college campuses following debate on TV with Abbott

Campaign News

On November 8, Texas will vote for its next governor — choosing from either incumbent Republican Greg Abbott or Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke.

In anticipation, the two will participate in a debate on September 30, which takes place at 7 pm at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg. It's hosted by KXAN news anchor Britt Moreno and will feature questions from a panel of journalists.

The debate will air on Nexstar television stations which in Dallas is KDAF Channel 33; the Texas Tribune will also livestream.

It's their only scheduled debate and according to the Associated Press, Abbott conditioned his participation on the debate taking place without an audience.

"Sources tell me Abbott would only agree to face Beto with no audience in the room," said journalist Scott Braddock, in a tweet which is right here:

This will be first time Abbott and O'Rourke meet since the May 25 press conference where O’Rourke confronted Abbott after the shooting in Uvalde.

O'Rourke, who previously undertook a summer tour across Texas, holding 70 public events in more than 65 counties, is now launching a College Tour focused on young voters. It includes visits to two Dallas-area campuses, with only one open to the public, as follows:

  • Monday October 3, 10 am: Town Hall at University of North Texas, at the University of North Texas - Gateway Center Ballroom, 801 N. Texas Blvd., Denton. Open to UNT students only.
  • Monday October 3, 12:30 pm: College Tour Town Hall at Dallas College El Centro Campus, 801 Main St., Dallas. Open to the public.

During the College Tour, he'll hold more than a dozen public events at colleges and universities around the state, affording an opportunity not only for him to share his platform — reproductive freedom, reducing gun violence, raising minimum wage, legalizing marijuana — but also an opportunity to get students and young people registered before the October 11 deadline.

'Wide-awake' Dallas neighbor is 2nd best U.S city for families, says Fortune

No place like home

Fortune advises readers to not let Wylie’s “picturesque, historic downtown fool you.” And for good reason. The magazine hails the North Texas city as “a fast-growing, modern community that doesn’t skimp on the amenities.”

Thanks in large part to those amenities, Fortune puts Wylie at No. 2 on its list of the 25 best places in the U.S. for families to live. Ann Arbor, Michigan, takes the top spot.

In recognizing Wylie, the magazine cites the city’s well-above-average public schools, numerous facilities for older residents, and events such as the Bluegrass on Ballard festival and Wylie 500 Pedal Car Race.

"With its start as a stop on the Santa Fe Railway in the 1880s, Wylie has always been a gathering place," the magazine writes. "In fact, because shops stayed open late to accommodate the railway visitors and business, one of the town’s nicknames became 'Wide-Awake Wylie.' The historic downtown continues that tradition of community today..."

Fortune lists the median home price in Wylie as $399,838 and the median household income as $96,845. The booming suburb is home to nearly 60,000 residents. It now stretches across Dallas, Collin, and Rockwall counties.

To come up with its ranking, Fortune combed through mounds of data for almost 2,000 communities in the U.S.

The only other Texas city in the top 25 is the Houston suburb of Sugar Land, ranked 17th.

“Residents have a sweet spot for this Houston suburb that brings the community together through its lively downtown hub, local events, and even a ball game or two,” Fortune says.

Among other highlights, Fortune notes Sugar Land’s “outstanding schools,” the Sugar Land Space Cowboys minor-league baseball team, Sugar Land Town Square, and high-quality health care at Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital.

In Sugar Land, the median home price is $399,250 and the median household income is $121,665, according to Fortune. The suburb is home to around 110,000 people.

Zac Efron finds out war is hell in The Greatest Beer Run Ever

Movie review

Longtime comedy writer/director Peter Farrelly duped a lot of people – though not this critic – with his first attempt at drama, 2018’s Green Book, for which he won Oscars for both Best Original Screenplay and, astoundingly, Best Picture. His follow-up film, The Greatest Beer Run Ever, is another film based on little-known history, with much stronger results.

Chickie Donohue (Zac Efron) is kind of a ne’er-do-well in a 1967 Manhattan neighborhood, living at home and going down to his local bar on a daily basis to drink with his friends. There, he, his friends, and bar owner Doc Fiddler (Bill Murray) commiserate over the fate of the local men who are getting injured or dying in the Vietnam War. Though they hate what the men face, they mostly agree that the soldiers are doing their patriotic duty.

On a drunken whim, Chickie – who has job as a merchant mariner – says he’s going to pay tribute to their friends by bringing them beer from back home. By hook or by crook, he actually manages to get over to Vietnam on a supply ship. But what starts out as a fun lark for the genial Chickie turns into an education about what war is actually like, how his friends are handling their deployments, and that governments may not be always telling the truth.

Co-written with Farrelly by Brian Hayes Currie and Pete Jones, the film is a tale of two halves. The first 45 minutes or so is pretty goofy, as it sets up the story by showing the growing divide about the war, a serious topic that’s undercut by almost every character utilizing an over-the-top New York accent. Chickie’s apparent lack of concern about heading into a war zone also rubs the wrong way.

But the film’s shift in tone once he gets to Vietnam is a welcome one, and helps to make sense of what the filmmakers were trying to accomplish in the beginning of the movie. As Chickie tries to track down the various guys from his neighborhood, his eyes are opened about the experience on the ground in a war. Chickie traveling in plain clothes gets him mistaken for a CIA agent, a falsehood he willingly goes along with until an encounter with a real CIA agent pulls the wool off his eyes once and for all.

Farrelly appears to have matured as a filmmaker in the past four years. While he went for overly simplistic conflict and just as facile resolution in Green Book, he gets down and dirty in this film. He and his co-writers don’t pay lip service to the bad parts of war; they put Chickie right there in the middle of it all, witnessing atrocities firsthand. He’s not a soldier, so they don’t try to overplay their hand, but they give the film just enough intensity that the changes he experiences don’t feel tossed off.

Of course, the film is “based on a true story,” so you know liberties were taken – would the number of beers he brought really last? – but they do an effective job of making eye-rolling moments relatively believable. Chickie’s interactions with his soldier friends have a good arc to them, as do his run-ins with in-country reporters like Coates (Russell Crowe). A late film sequence that finds the two of them running around Saigon while the city is under siege is one of the best the film has to offer.

Efron, save perhaps for his turn as Ted Bundy in a Netflix film, has never been known for his dramatic chops. This role gives him the best of both worlds, allowing him to let loose and dig deep in equal measures, and he makes the most of it. Relative unknowns play his various friends, with the ones playing soldiers coming off the best. Murray and Crowe provide contrasting color to the film, and each is effective in their small amount of screentime.

The Greatest Beer Run Ever is a nice step up for Farrelly and proof that there are still interesting ways to demonstrate that war is hell. The funny premise behind the film belies the seriousness with which it treats the larger issue at hand, a bait-and-switch that gives the story a gravitas you might not expect.

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The Greatest Beer Run Ever is now playing in theaters and streaming on Apple TV+.

Photo courtesy of Apple TV+

Zac Efron in The Greatest Beer Run Ever