This roundup of news around Dallas includes a birth at the Dallas Zoo, two farm-related initiatives, two transportation-related items, and a career event for young women.

Here's what happened in Dallas this week:

Baby elephant
A new elephant was born at the Dallas Zoo to Mlilo, one of the elephants taken from their homeland in Swaziland and imported to three U.S. zoos, one of which was the Dallas Zoo, in 2016. The new elephant is a male and was born on February 26. He was sired by Tendaji, also one of the Swaziland elephants.

In its post announcing the birth, the zoo brags that, for the first time, it was a "herd birth," meaning, they allowed another elephant, Zola — also one of the elephants abducted from Swaziland — to be in the space during the birth "just as would occur in the wild."

One supposes this is a positive step for the zoo, which previously might have quarantined the mother to give birth in an isolated metal cell. But as to their claim, sorry but no: Being an elephant stolen from your homeland, plunked into an artificial environment with only a fraction of the space elephants need to thrive, then trapped in a tiny pen to witness a birth, is absolutely not how things occur in the wild.

This is the second elephant birth at the zoo for Mlilo, who sadly was already pregnant when she was taken from Swaziland; she gave birth to Ajabu in 2018. (A birth that the zoo claimed was a "surprise".) Baby animals are a welcome addition for zoos. They represent a major financial boost, since they increase turnout.

Urban life and food
The Dallas City Council adopted the Comprehensive Urban Agriculture Plan (CUAP), to ensure that all communities have access to healthy, local food. Goals include removing regulatory barriers, supporting access to farmlands, and providing access to urban agricultural education and resources. The plan is designed to address the Comprehensive Environmental and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) which the city adopted in May 2020, to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. "By 2050, it is projected that 89 percent of the U.S. population and 68 percent of the world population will live in urban areas,” says Office of Environmental Quality and Sustainability Director Carlos Evans. “The CUAP is an important step towards ensuring that all of our communities have access to healthy local food.”

Farm conservation
Samuell Farm has been selected as a 2023 Spotlight by the Leave No Trace organization. As a Spotlight recipient, the 400-acre Samuel Farm - owned and operated by the Dallas Park and Recreation Department - will be the site of conservation activities March 16-18 to help communities learn how to enjoy and protect the outdoors. That includes a Youth Conservation Day on March 17, when more than 400 Dallas youth will participate in conservation projects such as mulching and making butterfly feeders, taught by Leave No Trace and other area organizations.

More freeway
The Texas Department of Transportation is hosting two opportunities for the public to learn more about a proposed widening plan on State Highway 114 (SH 114) in Dallas and Tarrant counties. The project would stretch along seven miles of SH 114 from International Parkway to Riverside Drive in the cities of Irving and Grapevine. Improvements would include segments of widening, constructing new or reconstructing existing managed lanes, reconstructing some frontage roads and also accommodations for bicycle and pedestrian traffic. An in-person open house is scheduled for Tuesday, March 14, 5:30-7:30 pm at the Irving Convention Center, accompanied by an online option that begins at the same time and runs through Wednesday March 29.

New DART bus
Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s (DART) first long-range electric bus has begun regular service, operating on Bus Route 20, an east-west bus that runs on Northwest Highway, from Bachman Lake on the west to Garland in the east. It's a 40-foot Proterra ZX5 Max, with a range of almost 300 miles from six lithium-ion battery packs (four mounted under the bus, two on the roof). Inside, it has USB ports to charge mobile devices and two customer information monitors. The bus joins seven Proterra Catalyst 35 zero-emission electric buses, currently in service on DART Bus Route 28.

Young female leaders
Texas Women’s Foundation and the Dallas Mavericks W.O.M.E.N. ERG held a joint event with the Young Women’s Advisory Council in February to share career advice and network with young female leaders. The Young Women’s Advisory Council is a program of the Young Women’s Initiative to empower and affirm young women of color ages 12-24.


Fine-dining restaurant co-owned by Arlington mayor debuts at Choctaw Stadium

Restaurant openings

A sexy new restaurant and speakeasy has opened in Arlington: Called Hearsay, it's from a high-profile partnership and is located at Choctaw Stadium, where it celebrates its grand opening on March 3.

Hearsay will feature upscale Southern cuisine, craft cocktails, a speakeasy-style bar and lounge, and a rooftop cigar patio overlooking the Choctaw field.

Dishes include Cajun boudin balls, oysters, fried alligator, fried cheese curds, lobster Mac & cheese, salads including Caesar and wedge, gumbo, stuffed quail, lamb chops, short ribs with jalapeño cheese grits, crab cakes, shrimp & grits, ribeye, NY strip, and filet mignon.

Brunch features benedicts, chicken-fried steak, corned beef hash, chicken & waffles, biscuits & gravy, avocado toast, pancakes, croissants, and oatmeal.

Hearsay is the brainchild of Arlington Mayor Jim Ross, partnered with the Texas Rangers and Champions Club Texas. Ross is also an owner of Mercury Chophouse Arlington. Isn't it grand to be mayor of Arlington.

Champions Club Texas is part of Knighted Ventures, a California-based hospitality and entertainment company, and has a wide array of entrepreneurial ventures — from co-founding the Bay Area Panthers professional indoor football team to its venture in PM Studios, an award-winning video game company.

Champions Club Texas CEO Roy Choi says in a statement that Arlington has been on their radar.

"Arlington is a world-class entertainment destination, and its growth has been on my radar," Choi says. “The investment in Hearsay is an opportunity to be part of that growth with a truly innovative concept. “With its fine dining options and unique amenities such as the cigar patio, Hearsay is a perfect fit for our portfolio. I believe in Jim Ross’ vision and the opportunity to be in business with him, alongside the Rangers, is a huge win.”

Champions Club Texas is launching other new hospitality destinations in Texas including a full-service hotel, lounge, bar, and private-membership poker in Houston.

A second location is planned for Dallas, featuring an upscale restaurant with Connie Trujillo, of III Forks legacy, as executive chef. The multipurpose venue will also feature a private-membership club with a variety of events and game offerings.

“Roy and the Champions team have provided a big spark for Hearsay by bringing their extensive hospitality expertise to Arlington,” Ross says. “I’m glad they share the same vision for our great city and look forward to partnering with them as we celebrate Hearsay’s grand opening.”

Hearsay will be open for dinner from 5-10 pm, plus Sunday brunch from 10 am-4 pm, and eventually lunch. They'll also feature live music with a blues & jazz lounge.

Photo courtesy of DART

New jobs and scholarships elevate this round of Dallas news

City News Roundup

This roundup of Dallas news includes a shakeup in sanitation, a new job fair at DART, a new inclusive arts program, and a new scholarship program from Sephora. Also, Texas is #1 in a dubious list.

Here's what's happening around Dallas this week:

Sanitation blues
The director of Dallas' Sanitation department, Jay Council, has left his job after three months. Cliff Gillespie has been appointed as interim head. No reason was given. The role is responsible for executive oversight and administration of the city's solid waste collection and disposal utility system, which has had some bumps in recent months, with a disruptive change in schedule that left many residents with trash not picked up in a timely manner.

DART open house
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) will begin hosting a monthly career fair on Saturday, February 25, from 10 am-2 pm at DART Headquarters, at 1401 Pacific Ave. The agency is seeking applicants for open positions in transit operations (bus and rail operators and mechanics), administrative fields (including engineering, finance, technology, and human resources), and the DART Police department. DART bus operators get a starting pay of $23.08/hour, and if applicants live outside Dallas, they're eligible for a relocation stipend of $1,500, paid after their first pay period. DART Police and Fare Enforcement Officers.

Equitable arts opps
The Creative Arts Center of Dallas, located on a two-acre campus four miles east of downtown Dallas at 2360 Laughlin Dr., is a safe haven for artists to explore creative avenues. They also provide outreach to underserved and children and teens. They've launched a new residency program, “Equitable Artist Residency,” which features an array of artists with diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. Dallas-based Latino artist Benjamin Muñoz is the first resident and his exhibition “Influenced” is on view until Friday, March 31.

Sephora scholarships
Applications are open for the annual Sephora Scholarship program, created to empower and support diverse students in the Dallas-Fort Worth area pursuing a licensed career in beauty through professional training and education. As a release notes, BIPOC professionals hold only 36 percent of professional beauty service roles. Licensure allows for greater opportunities, but tuition costs can be a barrier for BIPOC communities. Sephora provides each scholar with up to $7,500 for tuition. The six-month program provides participants with:

  • $7,500 in tuition for cosmetology and esthetician school
  • A paid internship at Sephora
  • Firsthand industry experience
  • Mentorship and access to open roles following graduation

Applications close on March 12. The 2023 program will run from April through September.

Texas is #1
Texas came in first on a list of the top 15 states for animal abuse in 2021, according to a mildly trolly study by Veterinarians.org. (Don't click on their site if you don't like insistent pop-ups.) Their list of states with the most animal abuse offenses was compiled from data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Incident-Based Reporting System. Texas was #1 with 2,952 animal cruelty offenses - more than double the #2 state on the list, Delaware, which had 1,280 offenses. Virginia was #3, followed by Georgia, Colorado, Michigan, Indiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Oregon. They estimate that every year, 10 million animals die from abuse in just the U.S.

Photo courtesy of PCF

More than 40 candidates file to run for 2023 Dallas City Council election

Election News

The next election for Dallas City Council election is May 6, and 43 candidates have filed to run for office.

Two representatives - Adam McGough and Casey Thomas - have reached the end of their term limit, leaving those districts open to a new council member. One council member, Cara Mendelsohn, is running uncontested, as well as Mayor Eric Johnson.

All 14 council districts will be on the ballot for two-year terms.

Place 1 - Oak Cliff

  • Chad West - incumbent
  • Mariana Griggs - teacher, neighborhood activist, ex-wife of former council member Scott Griggs
  • Albert Mata - former telecom engineer, Hispanic advocate

Place 2 - Deep Ellum, Love Field, Casa View

Place 3 - Southwest Dallas, vacant seat left by Casey Thomas

  • Zarin Gracey - director of the Office of Business Diversity for city of Dallas
  • Joe Tave - radio host and return candidate who ran in 2017
  • August Doyle - previously worked for city of Dallas in code, public works, and recycling, and DISD teacher
  • Denise Benavides - former president of LULAC Grand Prairie who has a nonprofit, ran in 2019
  • John Sims - entrepreneur, owner of a podcast/radio studio in Oak Cliff

Place 4 - South Dallas

Place 5 - Far southeast Dallas

Place 6 - West Dallas

Place 7 - Far east Dallas, Just south of I-30

Place 8 - Far southeast Dallas

  • Tennell Atkins - incumbent
  • Subrina Brenham - income tax professional and return candidate who ran in 2021
  • Davante Peters - community organizer, return candidate who ran in 2021 and 2019 (in District 3)

Place 9 - Northeast Dallas, Lakewood

Place 10 - Northeast Dallas, Lake Highlands, vacant seat left by Adam McGough

Place 11 - North Dallas/central

Place 12 - Far North Dallas

Place 13 - North/northwest Dallas

Place 14 - Oak Lawn, Greenville Avenue, downtown Dallas

  • Paul Ridley - incumbent
  • Amanda Schulz - AKA Amanda Tenpenny Schulz, former Parks Board appointed by David Blewett (who lost to Paul Ridley)
  • Joseph Miller - retired engineer

Place 15 (Mayor) - City of Dallas

  • Eric Johnson - incumbent

The candidate filings are here. Candidates who ran in 2021 are here, and candidates who ran in 2019 are here.

Photo courtesy of Community Council of Dallas

Zan Wesley Holmes, Jr. Community Outreach Center presents In Conversation with The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson

In Conversation is the primary fundraising effort that makes possible the programs and operations of the Zan Wesley Holmes Jr. Community Outreach Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The “Conversation” hosts a distinguished guest each year who helps to shine a light on the life and events of our city, state, nation, and world.

This year's distinguished guest is The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson. This 10th presentation of In Conversation promises to be intuitive, insightful and certainly intriguing with this stateswoman who has been recognized as one of the most effective legislators in Congress.

The conversation will be moderated by Award-Winning Journalist, Cheryl Smith

Honorary Chairs, Bill and Katrina Keyes

Photo courtesy of VishwaGujarat.com

Dallas Morning News scales down Spanish newspaper and more city news

City News Roundup

This roundup of news around Dallas includes newspaper news, protest news, and St. Patrick's Day news. There's also a new program that helps low-income seniors fix up their house.

Here's what's happening around Dallas this week:

Al Dia disbanding
After 19 years, The Dallas Morning News has disbanded the staff of Al Día, its Spanish-language newspaper, assigning them to other roles at the newspaper effective March 1. According to a post on the Dallas News Guild union website, the team’s five full-time journalists were told they were being reassigned, with the rationale being stats that said the number of people speaking primarily Spanish in Texas is dropping. Moving forward, DMN stories will be translated into Spanish for Al Dia.

Senior home repair
The Dallas City Council approved funding for the Department of Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization’s Senior Home Repair Program. The program offers approved applicants up to $10,000 in grant funds aimed at home repairs improving accessibility within the home, increasing safety and efficiency. Residents must be 65 years or older, at or below 80 percent area median income (AMI) and in need of repairs at their primary residence. Residents may apply starting February 1 by downloading an application online or picking one up at the Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization office in City Hall. Residents need to show proof of household income, Identity, age, proof of primary homeowner occupancy, and proof of ownership. The deadline is March 3, and residents may drop off their application at the Housing office in City Hall or any library or recreation center. For assistance, call 214-670-3644 or visit their offices at City Hall.

Shriners protest
On February 9, PETA supporters rallied outside the Shriners International Membership & Marketing Conference and Masters Class, held at Embassy Suites in Grapevine, urging Shriners International to ditch circus cruelty and modernize their shows by making them animal-free. It was risky: Protesters were previously assaulted by Shriners at a similar action in St. Louis in December.

Shrine circuses are among the last remaining shows that still use wild animals, who are confined to small crates, kept in shackles, and deprived of any semblance of a natural or happy life. Shriners routinely do business with cruel exhibitors, including Carson & Barnes Circus, which has been cited for more than 100 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act and whose head trainer was caught on video attacking elephants with bullhooks.

St Paddy's Day run
The St. Paddy's Day Dash Down Greenville 5K, which has kicked off the St. Paddy's Day Parade festivities for nearly three decades, is introducing a new course. Participants will have a chance to walk, jog, run, and dance on the parade route for the first time ever. Registration is now open for the event, which is a part of the Run Project race series. The St. Paddy's Day Dash Down Greenville 5K is one of nine races held by the Run Project across North Texas.

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5 Dallas chefs and restaurants make list of James Beard Award finalists

Awards News

An unprecedented five chefs and restaurants from Dallas and one from Fort Worth are in the running for a prize from the James Beard Foundation, which has selected finalists for its annual Restaurant and Chef Awards.

The awards recognize chefs and other culinary professionals in a wide range of categories, ranging from Outstanding Chef to Best New Restaurant. These finalists emerged from a pool of semifinalists announced in January.

Candidates from Dallas-Fort Worth who are in the running for national awards include:

  • Best New Restaurant: Lucia Dallas
  • Outstanding Bakery: Kuluntu Bakery, Dallas
  • Outstanding Bakery: La Casita Bakeshop, Dallas
  • Best New Restaurant: Restaurant Beatrice, Dallas
  • Best New Restaurant: Don Artemio Mexican Heritage, Fort Worth

In addition to the DFW nominees, three other Texan restaurants and chefs are in the running for national awards:

  • Best New Restaurant: Tatemó, Houston
  • Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program: Nancy’s Hustle, Houston
  • Outstanding Bar: Las Ramblas, Brownsville

Texas also gets its own regional award in the category of Best Chef: Texas. The finalists are:

  • Reyna Duong, Sandwich Hag, Dallas
  • Benchawan Jabthong Painter, Street to Kitchen, Houston
  • Emiliano Marentes, Elemi, El Paso
  • John Russ, Clementine, San Antonio
  • Ernest Servantes and David Kirkland, Burnt Bean Co., Seguin

Notably, all of this year’s finalists for both the national categories and Best Chef: Texas are new. None received nominations in 2022.

Last year, Texans did well in the awards, with Houston cocktail bar Julep winning Outstanding Bar Program, Austin chef Edgar Rico (Nixta Taqueria) winning Emerging Chef, and Austin chef Iliana de la Vega (El Naranjo) winning the first ever Best Chef: Texas.

In addition, two Texans won media awards — Austin chef Jesse Griffiths (Dai Due) for his cookbook, The Hog Book: A Chef’s Guide to Hunting, Butchering and Cooking Wild Pigs and Texas Monthly taco editor Jose Ralat for his Tex-Mexplainer columns.

The Foundation will reveal its Restaurant and Chef Award winners at an awards ceremony on Monday, June 5 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Media Award winners will be announced on June 3.

Where to find the most iconic — and best — meals in all of Texas

Hit the Road

Texans don't need much of a reason to hit the open road. Our state is brimming with natural beauty and charming small towns, but nothing motivates us to fill up the tank like a bonanza of regional foods.

There are renowned Texas flavors to be found throughout the entire state, from small towns like Round Top to the far west end in El Paso. And with meals ranging from Tex-Mex and barbecue to Frito Pie and kolaches, the Lone Star State is known for some of the most iconic foods in America.

When you hit the open road to explore (and taste) it all, know that a Hilton Hotel is nearby for a good night's rest. Whether you're traveling with family, friends, or as a couple, the right room is waiting with a warm welcome.

Hope you're hungry, because here is but a small slice of some of the best.

Goldee's BBQ, Fort Worth
Few barbecue joints in Texas can make a name without serving the holy trinity of brisket, sausage, and ribs. Still, the young chefs and pitmasters at this Fort Worth stop one-up the competition with unexpected sides like chicken rice and collard greens and crowd-pleasers like fish and chips.

Chicken Fried Steak
Babe's Chicken Dinner House, Carrollton
All Texans take their chicken fried steak with some degree of seriousness. We dare say this eatery — which originated in Carrollton and has locations all over North Texas — takes it the most seriously of all, with plenty of family-style sides to round out the table.

La Cocina, McAllen
Former oil worker Evin Garcia combines tradition and innovation at this McAllen haunt. Enjoy everything from birria tacos dipped in a luscious consommé to an octopus version served with traditional al pastor fixings like onion, cilantro, and grilled pineapple.

Elotes Fanny, Austin + North Texas
With locations in Austin, Fort Worth, and Garland, this snack shop mini-chain knows everything about corn. Get it by the cob or in a cup, and make sure to douse it in the fiery homemade Atomic Salsa.

Fried Chicken
Dolli's Diner, Nacogdoches
This diner does just about everything right, but the crowning jewel of the menu is undoubtedly the chicken fried chicken. It's served with mashed potatoes, gravy, and fresh veggies for color and is best enjoyed with funnel cake fries for dessert.

Frito Pie
RD's Burger, Cibolo
This casual stop does its namesake dish with aplomb, but found pure magic in its Frito Pie. It's served with no muss or fuss and occasionally on the insanely delicious burger.

Slovacek’s, West
When it comes to kolaches, any bakery in West will serve the real deal. Relative newcomer Slovacek's gets the vote for its dozens of fruit flavors and creative klobasnek (the meaty cousin of kolaches) filled with boudin, pepperoni, or kraut.

Royer's Round Top Cafe, Round Top
No trip to Round Top's famous antique fair is complete without a stop at this darling cafe. "Pie Man" Bud Royer makes every visit sweet with pies like buttermilk, pecan, and the multi-fruit Troy's Junk Berry.

L & J Cafe, El Paso
This El Paso tradition is by a graveyard, sure, but don't let that deter you from enjoying its queso. The miraculous concoction made with roasted green chile, tomatoes, and onions is served with just-fried tostadas.

Leal's Tamale Factory, Lubbock
A Lubbock classic, this mainstay doesn't go for newfangled tamale flavors like sweet potato. Order pork, chicken, or cheese and rediscover the fundamentals.

Viet-Cajun crawfish boils
Crawfish & Noodles, Houston
Who knows what James Beard-nominated chef Trong Nguyen puts in his secret sauce. What we do know is that it's one of the most intensely flavorful experiences in all of Houston.

Texas knows no bounds when it comes to to where you can go (and eat). No matter where your next foodie adventure takes you, a Hilton hotel is waiting for you.

With over 550 Hilton hotels spanning across the state of Texas, the possibilities to earn more while exploring the Lone Star State are endless.

Sexy and daring Magic Mike Live show comes to Frisco for one-month run

Art of the Striptease

On the heels of Magic Mike's Last Dance, the first-ever tour of the stage show Magic Mike Live will make its debut in a custom-built venue at Stonebriar Centre in Frisco, May 11-June 11.

The show, which will put on 10 performances every week, features professionally trained dancers delivering 90 minutes of sexy and daring dance routines, acrobatics, live music, comedy, and more in front of, above, and all around the audience.

The global stage sensation, created and directed by Magic Mike star Channing Tatum, has previously had long residencies in both Las Vegas and London prior to this tour. (Sorry, Channing fans - he's not actually in this show.)

“We considered a number of amazing cities to open our first production of Magic Mike Live after the release of Magic Mike’s Last Dance, but the Dallas-Fort Worth area rose to the top,” said executive producer Vincent Marini in a statement. “North Texas audiences have been visiting our Las Vegas show in huge numbers for years, but this touring production is something new. It’s the culmination of everything we’ve learned about our show and our guests after selling over a million tickets around the world."

The venue features an indoor-outdoor courtyard space that fans can enjoy prior to entering the multistory, 600-seat performance area, which incorporates design features from Magic Mike Liveproductions around the world.

Guests are invited to come early and stay late to enjoy music, multiple bars, and more in the courtyard space. The venue’s bars will offer signature beverages inspired by moments in the show.

Tickets start at $69 (nice) per person, but fans looking to - ahem - upgrade their experience can do so with Ultra Seats, front row seats featuring complimentary cocktails, meet-and-greets, and more for $299 per person. Any ticket level can add on Mike's Exclusive Package for $99 extra, which offers the meet-and-greet, commemorative lanyard, and more.

All tickets are now on sale at MMLTour.com.