Wednesday, February 1, 2023 Feb 1, 2023
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A Daily Conversation About Dallas
Local News

Dallas County Now Under Ice Storm Warning as Day 3 of Wintry Weather Settles In

Bethany Erickson
By |
Chances are good your street looks like a skating rink, too. Bethany Erickson

Last Updated, 2/1, 12:20 p.m.

It’s still cold, and it looks like that won’t change anytime soon, which means that you are probably looking at a solid sheet of ice on your street right now. 

The National Weather Service said early Wednesday morning that it revised its Ice Storm Warning to include Dallas County, after initially issuing it for North Texas counties to the west of I-35W Tuesday night. Dallas is at risk of accumulating around half an inch of ice between Wednesday afternoon and early Thursday. 

Forecasts for North Texas show that temperatures will not climb above freezing until Thursday. Freezing rain and rain is expected to last off and on all day and evening. By Thursday morning, the precipitation will likely switch to rain only, and—good news—the high will reach the mid-30s, and remain above freezing all day. The NWS warned Wednesday morning that the packed ice on the roads would likely last through Thursday.

Local News

Leading Off (2/1/23)

Matt Goodman
By |

You Should Stay Home Again, If You Can. The National Weather Service extended an ice storm warning through this morning for the western part of Dallas-Fort Worth. We stayed in the 20s overnight, during which another half inch of ice settled onto the streets in some parts of the metro area. The freezing rain came while you were sleeping, and you can expect more freezing rain and sleet throughout the day. The high is about 32 and a low of 30, which means another day that we won’t be getting above freezing. Normal rain won’t come until Thursday after 10 a.m., once temperatures hike to a positively tropical 37 degrees. There are about 1,400 power outages across North Texas, which has knocked out power to about 51,290 customers. That’s not a result of the grid bottoming out; ice accumulation is causing tree branches to split off and break onto the power lines. DART has stopped running its streetcar from Oak Cliff to downtown and is warning riders of delays to buses and rail. The U.S. Postal Service has closed 44 branch locations and warned that carriers may not make their deliveries today. Meanwhile, ice on Interstate 20 backed up traffic for 20 miles through Palo Pinto and Parker counties after 18-wheelers couldn’t get traction. Closer to Dallas, a group of Jeeps helped pull dozens of semi trucks off Interstate 20. The Texas Department of Transportation is running crews 24 hours a day, clearing and treating roadways. And, of course, pretty much all the major school districts are shut down on Wednesday. We’ll keep you posted throughout the day.

Last Updated, 2/1, 12:45 p.m. This story was originally published on 1/31.

About a day after the Dallas Zoo reported two emperor tamarin monkeys missing from their enclosure, officials announced that the animals have been located and are back home safe. A Dallas police news bulletin said that the primates were found inside a closet in an abandoned home in Lancaster. The discovery came after a tip, police said.

“We are thrilled beyond belief to share that our two emperor tamarin monkeys have been found,” Dallas Zoo spokesperson Kari Streiber said. Dallas police found the monkeys Tuesday evening and called zoo staff to secure and transport them. They will be evaluated by the facility’s veterinarians.

Last Updated, 1/31, 6 p.m.

A wave of sleet and freezing rain moved in Tuesday morning in less than an hour, coating North Texas in ice. The National Weather Service warns that these conditions will continue, and the agency extended its winter storm warning for the area through Thursday morning.

The warning was originally expected to last through Wednesday morning, but the NWS says cooler temperatures make it unlikely that all this precipitation will be off the roads by then. The warning has been extended through 6 a.m. Thursday, and the agency warns that roads will “become impassable” on Tuesday.

Dallas-Fort Worth set a new daily snowfall record of 1.3 inches (so far) Tuesday, the NWS said. Sleet on the ground is measured as snowfall. The old record was 1.2 inches, and dates back to 1985. Tuesday afternoon, the NWS issued an Ice Storm Warning for North Texas counties west of I-35W, including Tarrant and Denton counties, warning that these areas could see half an inch of ice accumulation between Wednesday afternoon and early Thursday.

“Travel conditions will continue to worsen as additional sleet and freezing rain deteriorates roads areawide. Travel should be avoided if possible now through Wednesday,” the agency said. “Stay home! If you have to be out on the roads over the next couple of days, make sure to slow down, watch for ice/black ice, and to give yourself plenty of time for driving.”

During a brief lull in the sleet and freezing rain on Monday night, Texas Department of Transportation crews were out treating roadways. They will remain on 24-hour shifts throughout the worst of the driving conditions, the department said. 

Dallas Area Rapid Transit is treating bus and train station parking lots and walkways and has opened warming shelters at 11 transit centers and stations through 10 p.m. Those are below:

  • Addison Transit Center
  • CBD East Transfer Center
  • CBD West Transfer Center
  • Cockrell Hill Transfer Location
  • Downtown Garland Station
  • Downtown Irving/Heritage Crossing Station
  • Illinois Station
  • J.B. Jackson Jr. Transit Center/MLK Jr. Station
  • Ledbetter Station
  • Parker Road Station
  • South Garland Transit Center

Dallas restaurateur Hunter Pond’s Colorado arrest warrant stems from an incident in which he allegedly spat on a woman’s face, threatened to pull her out of a car, and yelled at her to “just go fucking die,” according to Colorado district court records obtained by D Magazine. The incident was captured on surveillance video, which was not immediately available.

Pond’s warrant was first reported last week by WFAA-TV, but the circumstances that caused its issue remained a mystery until now. Colorado law allows police records to remain confidential in open cases; D Magazine obtained the document through a court clerk. Pond owns Vandelay Hospitality Group, the company that operates concepts Drake’s Hollywood, East Hampton Sandwich Company, Hudson House, Brentwood, Lucky’s Hot Chicken, and D.L. Mack’s.

In the absence of an official police narrative to explain the warrant, Pond’s attorneys sued the woman, claiming that she instigated the incident by driving recklessly near Pond and his family on a country road. The warrant was for two misdemeanor counts: “harassment: strike/shove/kick” and “disorderly conduct: offensive gesture.”

“The incident in Telluride, Colorado is unfortunate, and has nothing to do with Vandelay,” Pond attorney Jason Friedman told D in a statement last Friday. “Mr. Pond and his family are the victims, not the perpetrators. But for the actions of a reckless driver nearly hitting Mr. Pond and his family, there would be no incident.”

D obtained the affidavit and application for arrest warrant filed by Mountain Village Police Department in San Miguel County Court.

The stories told by the lawsuit and affidavit only partially overlap in chronology. Both agree that the incident began on the evening of October 15, with Pond and his family walking down the middle of Mountain Village Boulevard, a two-lane country road. Both agree that the woman who reported Pond to the police drove close to the Pond family, swerved to avoid them, and shouted at the family to get out of the roadway. (Both reports also agree that the road has no sidewalk, although Google Street View shows a nearby walking trail.)

According to the lawsuit Pond filed, Pond found the driver in her car farther down the road and “demanded an explanation for her recklessness.” (D Magazine is not naming the driver because she is the victim of an alleged crime. Neither she nor her attorney were able to be reached.)

The lawsuit’s chronology ends there. The police affidavit does not.

Dallas police have identified a person recorded in Dallas Zoo security camera footage that they feel may have information regarding the disappearance of two emperor tamarin monkeys.

The zoo announced Monday that the monkeys were missing from their “intentionally compromised” enclosure that morning. After an exhaustive search of the zoo campus, staff and police determined that the monkeys may have been taken from the zoo.

Tuesday morning, Dallas police released a photo of a man holding a bag of Doritos, possibly inside the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo. An accompanying video, police say, shows the same man, wearing a dark hoodie and pants, walking through the Zoo.

When asked for clarification, Dallas police spokesperson Kristin Lowman said that the man in the photo is not currently a suspect or person of interest. It is not clear when the recording was made or why police are interested in speaking with the man.

“The photo is being provided in hopes the public can help us identify the man,” she said. “Detectives are looking to speak with the man in regard to the two missing tamarin monkeys.”

The Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo is located in Zoo North, just steps from the Primate Place and the clouded leopard habitat. 

Local News

Leading Off (1/31/23)

Tim Rogers
By |

Snow! Maybe! The weather app on my phone, currently located in East Dallas, says it’s snowing at 6:55 and will continue to do so for the next hour. I don’t know. Looks and sounds more like sleet to me. In any case, we’re under a Winter Storm Warning until 6 a.m. tomorrow. According to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth: “Significant travel impacts expected. Stay home!” Lots of closures today. If you can, leave those screens, get outside, and tear an ACL trying to sled on a cookie sheet.

Luka Goes Off. An assistant coach on the Pistons bench started chirping at Luka Doncic in the first quarter. Luka responded by scoring 53 points, chirping back at the coach the entire game, and then, when the Pistons were done and dusted, asking that coach, “Who are you? Who are you?” He is such a treasure. (BTW, the DMN’s Brad Townsend made the chirping the fulcrum of his game report, as it should have been, but the Detroit News didn’t even mention it, which is dumb.)

Zoo Monkeys Still Missing. Bethany reported the story yesterday about the stolen monkeys. Today is Day No. 2 of the FrontBurner Monkey Vigil.

Boats Burn in Rockwall. I hope you didn’t have your boat docked at Chandler’s Landing Marina on Lake Ray Hubbard. A fire destroyed multiple boats there.

Dallas County Republicans Lobby for Paper Ballots. They say voting machines can’t be trusted. Also, they say that a duck floats on water and that if a woman does the same, she must be made of wood and is therefore a witch and should be burned.

Local News

The Dallas Zoo Suspects Two Emperor Tamarin Monkeys Have Been Abducted

Bethany Erickson
By |
Two emperor tamarin monkeys have been abducted from the Dallas Zoo, officials said January 30. Dallas Zoo

The Dallas Zoo says it is missing two emperor tamarin monkeys and has reason to believe the primates have been abducted. The news comes days after the suspicious death of a lappet-faced vulture and about two weeks after a clouded leopard escaped after someone cut through its enclosure.

A statement from the zoo says its animal care team discovered the two monkeys missing Monday morning, and that “it was clear the habitat had been intentionally compromised.” The Dallas Police Department is investigating. The zoo was closed to the public on Monday.

Zoo officials say that emperor tamarins tend to stay close to home. Employees have searched near their habitat and across zoo grounds but did not locate them.

“Based on the Dallas Police Department’s initial assessment, they have reason to believe the tamarins were taken,” the statement says, adding that it has no further information at this time.

Food & Drink

Vandelay Hospitality Group Slammed with Trademark Infringement Lawsuit by Los Angeles Restaurant 

Nataly Keomoungkhoun
By |
hunter pond hudson house
Hudson House has locations in Highland Park, Lakewood, Addison, and North Dallas. Justin Clemons

A restaurant in Los Angeles has filed a common law trademark infringement lawsuit in a California federal court against Dallas-based Vandelay Hospitality Group, which this week opened a Hudson House near an existing, unrelated eatery that shares its name.

Hudson House Redondo Beach says in a Jan. 20 court filing that Vandelay’s usage of the name “Hudson House” for its new Los Angeles restaurant location is trademark infringement and a violation of California common law.

Vandelay operates concepts Drake’s Hollywood, East Hampton Sandwich Company, Hudson House, Brentwood, Lucky’s Hot Chicken, and D.L. Mack’s, all of which originated in Dallas but have plans to expand nationwide. Its CEO, Hunter Pond, was raised in Highland Park and started the company with East Hampton Sandwich Company in 2012 at age 25. 

Hudson House Redondo Beach alleges in the lawsuit that Vandelay was aware the name was in use when it was promoting and opening its new restaurant. Its official opening is today. Hudson House Redondo Beach was founded by chefs Brooke Williamson and Nick Roberts in 2008, and the Dallas Hudson House opened in 2017, the lawsuit says. Williamson and Roberts named the restaurant after their then-newborn child, Hudson. Williamson won season 14 of Top Chef in 2017 and left Hudson House Redondo Beach in 2020.  

Last Updated, 1/30, 6:30 p.m.

The winter weather returned in earnest on Monday morning, and some major school districts are shutting down on Tuesday. Arlington, Cedar Hill, Dallas, Garland, Grand Prairie, Irving, Keller, and Richardson schools will be closed as district officials expect unsafe conditions after sunrise.

School districts will announce potential school and after-school closures on their social media accounts, websites, news websites, and TV stations. Most districts began announcing cancellations for after school activities on Monday afternoon, including Arlington, Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Cedar Hill, Dallas, DeSoto, Fort Worth, Garland, Irving, Lancaster, Mesquite, Plano, Richardson, Rockwall, and Sunnyvale. Expect many of those to shut things down on Tuesday if conditions progress as they are.

The National Weather Service first issued a winter storm watch for much of North Texas on Sunday afternoon. By Monday morning, temperatures had dipped to 29 degrees and that watch became a warning that now lasts through Wednesday. A watch means that accumulating snow or ice has the potential to impact travel by way of slick bridges, overpasses, and roads. A warning means it’s all but certain that the region will see enough problematic precipitation to make a mess of the streets.

The NWS Fort Worth bureau reported that light freezing drizzle began moving into Denton County around 6 a.m. Monday. Those conditions moved south throughout the day, generating numerous reports of accidents on untreated bridges and overpasses. A drive from downtown Dallas to North Dallas found that well-traveled surfaced roads were relatively clear around 2:30 p.m., but precipitation was beginning to pond in some spots. That makes it likely that, as temperatures drop overnight, those same roadways will be treacherous Tuesday morning.

“Freezing rain and some sleet is likely today. Slick spots are likely on bridges and overpasses, as well as untreated surface roads this morning,” the NWS said in its Monday morning report. “Additional freezing rain and sleet showers will develop this afternoon, worsening travel impacts across eastern North Texas. Please take it slow if you have to travel and consider altering or canceling travel plans if you can.”

Local News

Leading Off (1/30/23)

Zac Crain
By |

Winter Storm Watch Starts This Afternoon. This week, at least the first half, looks to be cold and wet and probably really not fun to drive in. (Ice driving/life reminder: steer into the skid.) Maybe don’t tomorrow, if you can avoid it. And I think 2020 and 2021 and probably a lot of 2022 showed us that we can avoid it. No more snow days! I guess! OK!

Kellen Moore Out as Cowboys Offensive Coordinator. In a move that surprised just about no one, the team parted ways with Moore, with head coach Mike McCarthy taking over as play caller. So 2023 is basically Super Bowl or bust for McCarthy.

Southwest Airlines Makes Saturday Night Live. Unless you are an up and coming sketch comedian or you are promoting a new movie, you really never want to show up on SNL.

Georgia QB Stetson Bennett Arrested in Dallas For Public Intoxication. Allegedly he was banging on doors early (very early) Sunday morning. Doing that in Texas, you’re probably lucky to only get arrested.

Food & Drink

Restaurateur Hunter Pond Has Filed a Very Strange Lawsuit Over His Colorado Incident

Brian Reinhart
By |
hunter pond
Since opening his first East Hampton Sandwich Co. in 2012, Hunter Pond has build a $32 million restaurant empire. Justin Clemons

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. What follows is neither legal advice nor a statement of fact.

But I spent the past week digging into the story of Dallas restaurateur Hunter Pond’s Colorado arrest warrant. Pond is the founder and owner of Vandelay Hospitality Group, which owns and operates the brands East Hampton Sandwich Co., Hudson House, Drake’s Hollywood, Lucky’s Hot Chicken, DL Mack’s, Brentwood, and Anchor Fish Bar.

The gossip landed in Dallas like a lightning bolt last weekend, after a “Wanted Person” advertisement for Pond appeared on the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. (It has since been removed.) The poster cited two charges, “harassment: strike/shove/kick” and “disorderly conduct: offensive gesture.”

Missing in that gossip, however, was the true story of what happened. I called the sheriff’s office; they declined to comment on the incident but told me that the charges against Pond are not serious enough to warrant extradition to Colorado. A departmental representative said he will only be arrested if he returns to that state.

I filed a public records request with the Mountain Village Police Department for the incident report, which they denied, citing an “ongoing investigation.” Colorado law, unlike Texas’, allows police departments broad freedom to restrict access to records in ongoing cases. By midweek, news outlets began reporting on the wanted poster, starting with WFAA-TV.

Pond’s attorneys, Larry and Jason Friedman, gave statements to WFAA, LA Weekly, the Dallas Morning News, and other outlets; their statements were, briefly, the only available account of whatever incident led to Pond’s arrest warrant and wanted poster. Finally, late Wednesday afternoon, Pond filed a lawsuit in Dallas County against the woman who allegedly initiated the police complaint.

Back to the disclaimers. We do not know her side of the story. The police report and affidavit are still confidential. I am not a lawyer. But I have read the full lawsuit Pond filed against his apparent accuser, and I have opinions that are not based on legal expertise.

OK. Ready for my non-expert opinion?

This lawsuit is so dumb.

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