Thousands still without power Monday after powerful storms rake Dallas-Fort Worth

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Updated 12 p.m. June 10: Revised to include new information from utilities and school officials.

The storms across the Dallas area Sunday afternoon that killed one and injured at least five others also spread debris through damaged neighborhoods and left several hundred thousand residents without power.

Winds were strong enough — up to about 70 mph — to topple large trees onto cars and homes. Traffic signs as well as billboards were dislodged, and light poles and other small structures were strewn about.

But power outages were a more widespread problem. Close to 220,000 customers were without power in Dallas County alone, about a quarter of the Oncor customers there. By noon Monday, more than 205,000 Dallas County customers were still affected, along with about 13,000 in Denton, Collin and Tarrant counties.

Oncor estimated some customers could be without power for several days and had requested mutual aid from other parts of the country to help restore service.

Businesses, like residences, were affected, with stores closing or relying on backup generators for minimal services.

Dallas ISD and Mesquite ISD canceled their summer programming Monday due to the severe weather.

Some grocery stores had shut off their freezers because of the extended outages and were selling only nonperishable items, WFAA-TV (Channel 8) reported. Refrigerated items were being disposed of.

The storm, which entered Dallas County about 1:30 p.m., knocked down about 200 trees across Dallas, city officials said. By 3 p.m., the severe weather had moved south of Dallas, according to the National Weather Service.

Rain was intense but brief. Although some street flooding was reported, less than an inch was recorded at DFW International Airport and at Dallas Love Field.

Across the region, 911 call centers were also affected by outages. Dallas police said the call center that serves the city was working again by Sunday evening.

The most serious problems were caused by the high winds.

The National Weather Service recorded a 71-mph gust at Love Field, where a hangar door and part of the roof at a Southwest Airlines maintenance facility was torn away. No injuries were reported.

The weather delayed 90 flights at Love Field and 700 at DFW Airport, according to Flight Aware. More than 300 flights at DFW and 27 Southwest Airlines flights at Love Field were canceled.

DFW Airport spokeswoman Cynthia Vega said several security checkpoints and concessions would stay open until 12:30 a.m. because of the storms. The airport saw no major damage, she said.

The storms forced a ground stop that was lifted around 4 p.m., she said, which caused delays averaging about an hour.

In downtown Dallas, windows were shattered on the Fountain Place skyscraper on Ross Avenue, near Field Street, and the KPMG building on Ross near Pearl Street.

"It’s supposed to withstand high winds, high storms, but debris is a whole different story," Vince Ortega of the Hall Group told KXAS-TV (NBC5) about the KPMG building.

He said it was fortunate the storm didn’t hit on a weekday, when many people could have been hurt by flying glass.

"It was a blessing it was on a Sunday and not a Monday," Ortega said. "We could have been telling a whole different story."

More damage was reported in and around the Central Business District, but similar damage could be found to other high-rises in other parts of Dallas, including the Bancorp South building near I-635 and Central Expressway.

But the city’s office of emergency management said there had been no reports broken windows or downed trees had caused injuries.

A worker repairs broken windows about 30 stories up Sunday afternoon at Fountain Place in downtown Dallas after high winds sent debris flying from a neighboring construction site where a 45-story tower is going up.

In residential areas throughout Dallas, roofs, vehicles, carports and brick barrier walls bore the brunt of the high winds. Insulation and other debris was spread on lawns, sidewalks and streets, along with many tree branches and trunks.

In Far North Dallas, many large trees were reported downed, and the Fretz Park branch library at Hillcrest and Belt Line roads had a number of large windows blown out.

At a news conference Sunday night, officials said repairing traffic signals would be a priority — with lights that are completely inoperable getting fixed first, followed by those that were flashing red.

DART also reported delays on its routes because of the storms, with debris on tracks hindering light-rail service. Passengers at some stations were being shuttled by bus around damaged areas.

A billboard was knocked down at Hall Street and McKinney Avenue in Uptown, damaging two vehicles. No injuries were reported.

Joy Jones and two friends pulled into the parking lot when the rain started. Moments later, wind knocked down the billboard, which scraped the right side of Jones’ car.

"It just picked up so fast, and it was not even raining," Jones said.

The front windshield and back window of Stephanie Carenca’s Cadillac Escalade were damaged when the billboard fell on top of the SUV.

"I’m just glad we weren’t in it," she said.

Winds reached 68 mph in Mesquite, 63 mph in Richardson and 60 in Denton. Wind damage was also reported in Rockwall County.

In Carrollton, large poles that appeared to be from a golf course in the 2300 block of Marsh Lane had toppled, damaging neighboring buildings and several vehicles, according to Carrollton Fire Rescue. No injuries were reported.

There were also reports of hail damage to windows in Richardson and Collin County, and hail measuring about 1.5 inches was reported in Garland, the National Weather Service said.

Resources for Elan City Lights residents

Residents and guests needing information about hotels and the per diem allowances, as well as other concerns may call 866-204-1483.

The apartment management company will be stationed Monday at the Latino Cultural Center to assist residents.

Resources for Dallas residents

Residents without power may visit the following libraries: Central Library, Hampton-Illinois, and Polk-Wisdom.

To report downed street and traffic lights as well as felled trees, call 311.

For power information and to report downed power lines, call Oncor at 888-313-4747

The city of Dallas is suspending all fines for putting storm debris out for pickup. Bulky trash pickup will continue as normal for June and will focus on debris removal in July.

Additional information may be found at dallascitynews.net

Here’s what KXAS-TV (NBC5) has in the forecast:

Monday: 82/68
Tuesday: 80/64
Wednesday: 86/64
Thursday: 85/64
Friday: 88/68

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Far North Dallas residents feel railroaded by DART Cotton Belt project

Far North Dallas residents feel like DART is keeping them in the dark about plans for the Cotton Belt that is set to run behind their homes.

A half dozen homeowners whose homes are by the tracks said they didn’t get any notice about meetings DART held last month.

Jeff Smith is one of a half dozen homeowners who wanted to talk about what they believe has been an information black hole about the Cotton Belt.

“We’re getting railroaded. Literally railroaded,” he said.

The Cotton Belt is a 26-mile-long DART rail line that will run diesel hybrid trains from Dallas to DFW Airport. It will run right next to several homeowners.

Out of several residents, Dane Cofer is the one homeowner who did receive a notice from DART about a meeting in May. But the notice was for a meeting for a different neighborhood than his.

“I don’t know if this was bad communication or intentional miscommunication,” he said.

Either way, Cofer took it upon himself to start talking to others who live along the future Cotton Belt tracks.

“In approaching 200 residents, we found only five had awareness of the meetings,” he said.

A DART spokesman said on Tuesday that they are now planning additional meetings that will begin June 11.

“All of a sudden, people are really interested in knowing exactly what’s going on,” said Gordon Shattles with DART.

And more people will be invited to the June meetings will determine what if any wall residents will get along certain sections of the rail.

“Now, we’re to the point we are actually reaching out to every homeowner who is adjacent to our property,” Shattles said. “We are working through email, U.S. mail, HOA’s and door hangers.

Shattles said not everyone adjacent will get a 15-foot wall.

“DART set aside a certain amount of money for a 12-foot wall in areas not required,” he said.

And Shattles said some people may decide they don’t want a wall.

“Maybe they don’t want walls but want large trees,” he said. “Our concern is making sure the neighborhood is happy.”

And for that, DART has a long way to go.

“The additional slap in the face is we can’t use it,” said resident Skip Broussard. “They’re going to run it through our neighborhood, but the nearest stop is in Richardson.”

A Dallas City Council resolution passed in March 2018 states that the city would only support the Cotton Belt line if a continuous 15-foot high, sound-absorbing wall would be built along all the homes on both sides of the rail line. It’s unclear if DART is legally bound to that resolution or not.

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As Southeastern Cities Experience Strong Job Growth, They Are Also Seeing a Rising Demand for New Apartments

Southeast cities including Nashville, Tenn., Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C. are seeing rising demand for apartments.

Strong economies are quickly filling new apartments in Southeast cities including Charlotte, N.C., Nashville, Tenn. and Atlanta.

“The Southeast’s major metros have posted terrific apartment sector performance during this cycle,” says Greg Willett, chief economist for RealPage Inc., a provider of property management software and services based in Richardson, Texas. “Investment returns have rivaled the results generated in traditionally favored gateway markets, without the volatility sometimes seen in this part of the country during the past.”

Charlotte and Nashville rank among the markets where construction has been the most aggressive in this cycle. In Charlotte, apartment inventory has grown by an average of 3.6 percent per year since early 2010, the fastest expansion rate nationally, according to RealPage. Nashville follows close behind, with annual inventory growth averaging 3.3 percent, according to Willett.

However, all this new development has still not kept up with the growth of the

local economy. For example, in Charlotte, the number of jobs in the metro area grew by 167,000 over the five years that ended in 2018. But the number of housing units, of all kinds, grew by just 93,000. “They are still 74,000 dwelling units short,” says John Sebree, director of the national multi housing group in the Chicago office of brokerage firm Marcus & Millichap.

As a result, apartment properties in these cities are nearly fully-occupied. The occupancy rate currently averages 94.6 percent in Nashville and 94.7 percent in both Atlanta and Charlotte, according to Willett.

Apartment rents are also growing quickly, rising 5.4 percent on average in Atlanta over the last 12 months, 4.1 percent in Charlotte and 3.2 percent in Nashville, according to RealPage.

“Atlanta continues to rank among the top five markets for multifamily rent growth,” says Shea Campbell, senior vice president with real estate services firm CBRE.

People and jobs head South

Young people are moving to the Southeast from other parts of the country. “There is a migration happening,” says Sebree. “Young people are moving out of Midwest and Northeast to the Southeast.”

The number of people aged 20 to 34 in Southeastern U.S. is expected to grow by 1.5 percent per year over the next five years, according to data from the U.S. Census. That’s faster than in the U.S. overall, where the number of people aged 20 to 34 is expected to grow by just 1.0 percent over the same period. The number of young people is growing even more quickly in cities like Charlotte, where the population aged 20 to 34 is expected to grow by 2.4 percent per year over the next five years.

Jobs are helping to attract young people to Southeastern cities. The number of jobs grew by 3.0 percent in Nashville in 2018, by about 2.5 percent in Atlanta and 2.3 percent in Charlotte. Those are all significantly higher than the 1.7 percent growth in employment in the U.S. as a whole. “They are all trending much higher than what the average is nationally,” says Sebree.

“Atlanta, Charlotte and Nashville all have been job production machines throughout the past decade,” he adds. “Lots of the jobs have come in comparatively high-paying industries, so there are many workers who can afford the big blocks of upscale apartments that have come on stream.”

The Southeast has an advantage over other parts of the country because there is lots of room to grow. “In older cities, maintaining older and less efficient infrastructure, it becomes difficult to progress,” says Sebree. “So many people are already there.”

There are also several secondary markets in the Southeast that are doing well, he notes—among them, Knoxville and Chattanooga in Tennessee, Jacksonville in Florida, Raleigh-Durham, N.C. and Charleston, S.C.

Investors follow the job growth

Multifamily investors have responded to this strong performance by paying high prices for apartment properties. For example, Atlanta was the number five most active multifamily investment market in 2018, behind Los Angeles, Dallas, Manhattan and Houston, with almost $7.5 billion in transaction volume, according to data from research firm Real Capital Analytics.

Cap rates currently hold steady in the mid-4-percent range for class-A, core, stabilized properties, according to CBRE. Class-B properties trade in the high 4-percent range to low-5-percent range.

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Lunatic Theatre And Richardson Theatre Centre Come Together To Bring A Classic To The Local Stage

Made famous by Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn and Sidney Poitier, the film produced in 1967, Guess Who’s Coming TO DINNER became an instant classic. Tackling the controversial topic of interracial marriage, GWCTD remains relevant today. Expertly adapted for the stage by Todd Kreidler, William Rose’s screenplay doesn’t lose any of it’s warmth, humor, grit and love.

GWCTD is being co-produced by Lunatic Theatre and Richardson Theatre Centre and will run June 7-23 at Richardson Theatre Centre, (518 W. Arapaho Rd. Suite 113, Richardson, TX 75080) Tickets range from $20-$22. Tickets may be reserved by calling 972-699-1130 and press 1 to leave a message. Tickets are paid for at the box office the night of the show.

A progressive white couple’s proud liberal sensibilities are put to the test when their daughter brings her black fiance home to meet them in this fresh and relevant stage adaptation of the iconic film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Blindsided by their daughter’s whirlwind romance and fearful for her future, Matt and Christina Drayton quickly come to realize the difference between supporting a mixed-race couple in your newspaper and welcoming one into your family–especially in 1967. But they’re surprised to find they aren’t the only ones with concerns about the match, and it’s not long before a multi-family clash of racial and generational difference sweeps across the Draytons’ idyllic San Francisco terrace. At the end of the day, will the love between young Joanna and John prevail? With humor and insight, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner begins a conversation sure to continue at dinner tables long after the curtain comes down.

The talented cast of GWCTD consists of Gary Anderson as Matt Drayton, Leigh Wyatt Moore as Christina Drayton, Kennedy O’Kelley as Joanna Drayton, Sean Massey as Dr John Prentice, Patricia E. Hill as Matilda Banks, Carol M. Rice as Hilary St. George, Calvin Gabriel as John Prentice Sr, Cheryl Lincoln as Mary Prentice and Budd Mahan as Monsignor Ryan.

As Director, Rachael Lindley is joined by Penny Elaine (rehearsal Stage Manager), Wyatt Moore (Lighting Designer and sound and lights operator), Richard Stephens Sr. (Sound Design), Eddy Herring (Set Designer), and Courtney Walsh (Costume Designer).

GWCTD runs June 7 through June 23, with performances on Fridays at 8:00PM, Saturdays at 8:00PM, Sundays at 2:00PM, Thursday performances on June 13 & 20 at 7:30PM. Tickets range from $20-$22. Tickets may be reserved by calling 972-699-1130 and press 1 to leave a message. Tickets are paid for at the box office the night of the show.

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KCBD INVESTIGATES: Engineering qualifications for $99 million bond election

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Voting began the week of April 22nd, which means Lubbock County residents get to decide on a new multi-million-dollar road project. That project would restore and expand roads all across the county for $99 million. This project has been supported by multiple engineering companies, not just in Lubbock, but across the state and the rest of the nation.

Source: KCBD Photo

Three engineering companies have already pre-qualified for that project and all three are based outside of Lubbock, some even as far away as North Carolina. So our KCBD Investigates team asked the question of, ‘how and when were those companies selected?’

That process is based on RFQ’s, also known as Requests for Qualifications – essentially a screening tool that helps identify which companies are qualified to do the work necessary for the job at hand.

It was about one year ago that those three specific companies were pre-qualified for that engineering design.

County Engineer Jennifer Davidson explains: "They reviewed the original RFQ, TxDOT did, and said that that was fine for [her] to solicit just the three that were pre-qualified or pre-selected, and so [they] solicited the three firms that were pre-qualified.”

Those three pre-qualified engineering firms are based in Richardson, Texas, Fort Worth, and Raleigh, North Carolina, two of which also have offices in Lubbock. Of those three, for one-third of the tasks listed, only one was allowed to submit a proposal for the engineering design. That company works out of Richardson, nearly five hours East of Lubbock. Their closest office is in Midland.

Source: KCBD Photo

She said, “The evaluation is based on qualifications and organization of the firm or the team.”

However, when it comes to those final RFQ scores, the public is not allowed to know.

Davidson says they, "Really [try] to make sure that there is open, open conversation and discussion amongst the committee, and not to be individual or singled out, as you know, you…. We want to protect the people that serve on that committee so that there is free and open discussion.”

The Investigates team then tried to ask whose decision it is to make those scores public. Davidson said, “I’m not going to tell you, whether it’s a purchasing policy or a Civil DA, or if it was the commissioners court.”

KCBD did submit an open records request, and the Attorney General responded saying that, for reasons of competitive information, the county may withhold the tab sheets. However, whether to release was ultimately up to the county.

Source: KCBD Photo

Later, Commissioner Bill McCay told us it was the commissioner’s court which ultimately decided not to release the RFQ information.

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