Midlothian Parents Protest Removal of Hilariously Unconstitutional Plaques

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WFAA via Twitter
"Soli deo gloria" is Latin for "Suck it, atheists."

Midlothian ISD Superintendent Jerome Stewart said Thursday that two overtly Christian plaques attached to elementary schools would remain uncovered for the time being. The plaques, which have adorned the schools for 17 without complaint, are the subject of a June 30 letter to the district from the Freedom from Religion Foundation, which wants them removed.

The district, advised by its attorneys that it would lose any lawsuit regarding the plaques, covered them with duct tape and prepared for their being replaced as the new school year began. Wednesday, the district posted a notice on its website that the plaques had been uncovered, but the district was "unsure who uncovered them" and had "no plans to recover them."

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Plano Developers Won't Let Homeowners Install Solar Panels Because They're Just So Ugly

Categories: The 'Burbs

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Pujanak
Plano developers think solar panels like these aren't very pretty, and would prevent sales.
Darn those young vegan-organic-diet, yoga-loving hippies with their electric cars and their solar panels. They must all be moving up to Plano from Austin, and frankly the Plano home builders and developers won't stand for it.

In 2011, state legislation forbade Home Owners Associations from banning solar panels on homes. But a fine-print clause pushed by the Texas Homebuilders Association stipulates that if a neighborhood is still under development, neighborhood developers and the HOA have the right to stop homeowners from installing solar panels.

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Recent Study Shows Poverty in DFW Suburbs Has Doubled in the Past 12 Years

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Andreas Praefcke
Suburbia ain't all it's cracked up to be.

If you think more poor people are living in the DFW area in recent years, you could be spot-on. Heck, after the 2008 recession you could be one of them. According to a recent Brookings Institute study, DFW, land of the suburbs, is quickly turning into the land of the slums.

Elizabeth Kneebone authored the study. She says the general national increase in poverty levels is a result of the recession. "The overall poverty trend in the Dallas metro area is demonstrating the same trends we've been seeing nationally, but is even ahead of the curve in some ways," she said. "It's even faster than average."

Kneebone found that the population of poor people in DFW grew nearly 65 percent from 2000 to 2012, and that population is becoming concentrated in high-poverty neighborhoods. More than 56 percent of DFW residents below the poverty line live in neighborhoods with similarly high poverty rates, up from 40 percent in 2000. Perhaps most striking, impoverished neighborhoods are increasingly located in DFW suburbs.

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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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