D Magazine Angers WBAP Radio Host and Rockwall's Thriving Asshole Community

Categories: The 'Burbs

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WBAP.com
Looks like an honest face, no?

Ben Ferguson is a conservative commentator who hosts a show on WBAP-AM 820 from 9 to 11 a.m. on weekdays. Until today, Unfair Park had no idea who he was, but we have to say, after his segment attacking D Magazine's "Best Dallas Suburbs" list, we're intrigued.

Ferguson took issue with Tim Rogers' characterization of Rockwall, the 16th-ranked city on the list. It was an innocuous item, although Rogers pointed out the "Walking Dead set" feel of a withering business development called The Harbor. Rogers also included a quote from one of the town's barbers, who said that many of Rockwall's new residents were "assholes," as was John Ratcliffe, the Tea Partier who knocked off Rockwall's 18-term congressman, Ralph Hall, in May's Republican primary.

"Is it not blatantly obvious this is a hit piece on a community?" Ferguson asked a caller. He also urged all of his listeners to cancel their subscriptions and stop advertising in the magazine.

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Rowlett Atheists Want to Give City Council Invocation; Mayor Says No "Spaghetti God"

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City of Rowlett
Mayor Todd Gottel is defending a Rowlett policy that says invocation leaders must be religious, but he may soon have to let Metroplex Atheists in on the fun.

Metroplex Atheists, with the legal aid of Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) delivered a letter last week to the Rowlett City Council requesting that they be added to the list of invocation leaders. It's not the first time the group has sought recognition with the City Council, but this latest move may be the closest they get to victory.

In 2010, Metroplex Atheists first requested that the invocation be eliminated altogether. After Metroplex Atheists were denied, the City Council re-evaluated the invocation policy, and began reaching out to local religious institutions to expand the diversity of the invocation list. City policy currently dictates that invocation be led by a religious leader, and that their institution be located in Rowlett.

Rowlett Mayor Todd Gottel is defending the policy, saying the city offers invocation slots to every religious institution in Rowlett. Because there are no synagogues, mosques, temples or other non-Christian religious place of worship in the city, that means a Christian generally delivers the invocation.

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Flower Mound Mayor Tom Hayden Is Alienating Residents One Facebook Post at a Time

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Tom Hayden
The Year of the Bible in Flower Mound is at its midpoint, and Mayor Tom Hayden says it's been more successful than he could have imagined. Since he delivered the proclamation at a Town Council meeting last December, more than a million people from 80 different countries have visited the Year of the Bible website (which, for the record, is operated by Calvary Chapel Flower Mound using no taxpayer dollars). Thousands more have sent Hayden emails and, while a few were angry, even threatening, they've been about 80 percent positive. If he had to do it over again he would. No hesitation.

Flower Mound residents, though, are learning that the Year-of-the-Bible speech wasn't a one-off thing. Hayden is a man whose political and religious opinions are stitched large on his sleeve and on his Facebook page.

"Just because I'm an elected official doesn't mean I don't have freedom of speech," he tells Unfair Park. "I haven't checked my First Amendment Rights at the door."

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Flower Mound Mayor Tom Hayden Is Alienating Residents One Facebook Post at a Time

TomHaydenMug.jpg
Tom Hayden
The Year of the Bible in Flower Mound is at its midpoint, and Mayor Tom Hayden says it's been more successful than he could have imagined. Since he delivered the proclamation at a Town Council meeting last December, more than a million people from 80 different countries have visited the Year of the Bible website (which, for the record, is operated by Calvary Chapel Flower Mound using no taxpayer dollars). Thousands more have sent Hayden emails and, while a few were angry, even threatening, they've been about 80 percent positive. If he had to do it over again he would. No hesitation.

Flower Mound residents, though, are learning that the Year-of-the-Bible speech wasn't a one-off thing. Hayden is a man whose political and religious opinions are stitched large on his sleeve and on his Facebook page.

"Just because I'm an elected official doesn't mean I don't have freedom of speech," he tells Unfair Park. "I haven't checked my First Amendment Rights at the door."

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The Designer Drug "N-Bomb" Has Been Linked to the Death of a Frisco Teen

Categories: Drugs, The 'Burbs

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Bath salts haven't gone away. Just this week, a California smoke shop owner was arrested with half a ton of the stuff. But with a federal crackdown and heightened awareness of their face-eating side effects, their use (or at least the panicked reporting on it) is on the decline.

Now filling the void is N-Bomb, a newish, LSD-like designer drug that offers users a cheap and, until the Drug Enforcement Agency banned it last month, legal high. Like its predecessors, it's often sold at convenience stores under various product labels (e.g. "Smiles" and "251") and on the Internet. Also like its predecessors, it can have terrifying side effects.

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Lewisville Stinks. The City Hopes $2.7 Million Will Help Mask the Odor.

Categories: News, The 'Burbs

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Old Town Business Association, via Facebook
We don't mean to cast aspersions on Lewisville, which as far as we can tell is a fine suburb, home to 95,000 mostly law-abiding Texans and a fine lake to get drunk on. But the stench that wafts over Old Town, the city's historic downtown, is unmistakable.

"A lot of times, it's just a sewer gas smell," Terry Anderson, a Lewisville plumber, told WFAA. "It smells a little bit like a dead animal sometimes."

The odor, any mention of which is strangely absent from the city's official tourism website, has been plaguing Lewisville off and on for four decades. It wasn't until recently, however, after the city completed two studies, that officials figured out that it was coming from the Prairie Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, according to The Dallas Morning News.

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Frisco's Own Expert Critical of Exide's Plan to Clean Lead Smelter Site

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The clean-up of toxic land around the former Exide lead smelter in Frisco hasn't even begun yet, and already it has drawn criticism from state regulators and now the city's own expert. In testimony submitted on behalf of Frisco in Exide's bankruptcy proceedings, William Wheatley, an engineer and former director of waste permits for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, said the company was basing its clean-up on faulty assumptions about the groundwater below.

See also: Battery Maker Exide Declares Bankruptcy as Frisco Attempts to Clean Its Toxic Legacy

The quality of the groundwater guides the stringency with which Exide's lead dump should be remediated. Despite clear evidence, the company incorrectly classified groundwater beneath the site, he testified, according to citizen groups Downwinders at Risk and Frisco Unleaded, which were instrumental in the closing of the smelter. A "Class 2" groundwater resource can pump 150 gallons of usable, potable water a day. A "Class 3" is a weaker, less productive well you wouldn't drink. It's a big distinction, and it carries big implications in terms of how thorough (and expensive) lead-removal efforts must be.


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The Number of Poor People in Dallas Suburbs Keeps Going Up

Categories: The 'Burbs

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Wikimedia
The suburbs stir up a lot of associations in the popular imagination. It covers territory as diverse as Leave It to Beaver and Blue Velvet. What the 'burbs don't usually evoke is poverty. For decades the war on poverty has been fought mostly in urban centers, but according to a new study out today from the Brookings Institute, the battlefield has shifted to their outskirts.

The report, Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, surveyed 95 metropolitan areas in the U.S. The research shows that between 2000 and 2011, while the number of Americans living below the poverty line in cities rose 29 percent, the number living in suburban areas rose 64 percent. In Dallas-Fort Worth specifically, the number of suburban poor doubled between 2000 and 2011, from 224,443 to 474,023, giving DFW the 12th highest growth rate out of all the cities surveyed.

The study cites many factors for these trends: lack of affordable housing, job sprawl, immigration, economic issues. The authors note that these were causing an increase in suburban poverty well before the recession hit, but the economic downturn exacerbated the problem in some areas.

See also:
Cities Are Now Growing Faster Than Suburbs -- Except in Dallas, Of Course
Mark Cuban Takes to Forbes to Remind Us That He, Too, Was Once Poor

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Plano's Upcoming Liquor-Law Vote Is Getting Ridiculous

Categories: Booze, The 'Burbs

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Via.
This guy is eagerly awaiting Saturday's election results.
Plano must have taken a hit when Dallas voters approved citywide beer and wine sales two-and-a-half years ago. No longer were the good people of Far North Dallas forced to drive north of the Bush Turnpike to stock up on beverages. They could simply go down the street to the grocery store.

There's now a push to recover the lost tax revenue -- and then some -- by welcoming liquor stores to Plano. Supporters of the referendum that will be put to voters this Saturday, including Mayor Phil Dyer, make an economic argument: People drink liquor; liquor is a taxable commodity; Plano would bring in an extra $500,000 per year buy letting people buy liquor there.

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Trophy Club's Proposed New Logo a Bit Too Marxist for Some [Updated]

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Updated on April 23: April Reiling, the town's marketing manager, says the Town Council defeated the logo on a vote of 3-2. Mayor Connie White was absent from the meeting but, even had she been there and voted for the new design, it wouldn't have made a difference since a tie vote counts the same as a losing vote.

Reiling says the town is putting the logo project aside for the moment while it focuses on updating the town's website. But, she promises, the town will eventually adopt a new logo. The old one's outdated and too intricate to be easily reproduced on city documents, signs, and the like.

Original post: The logo for the town of Trophy Club is consists of a star-studded, presidential-looking seal framing the town's signature clock tower. A pair of crossed flags, one for the U.S., one for Texas, jut in either direction. A black-and-gray ribbon unfurls underneath emblazoned at the center with a blue Dallas Cowboys star.

It's a serviceable enough municipal emblem, but, let's be honest, a tad bit busy. It also looks as though it was created at the same time as the town, in 1985.

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