A clockwork Buzz

1999, the year Bill Rojas brought panic and paranoia to DISD. But was there any other good news? Buzz takes a look back.

If, after reading it, you share Buzz's perspective, perhaps you would like to help us form a new order, the Secret Society of Embittered, Cynical People. (Buzz isn't just a member; we're the president.) Everyone is welcome to join -- everyone except those of you who still feel compelled to explain how a calendar works. Membership is free, and you won't get squat for joining, but then our members wouldn't really expect anything, would they?

JanuaryCable guysTXCN, a regional cable news network created by Belo Corp., owner of The Dallas Morning News and WFAA-Channel 8, begins operation. The fledgling network broadcasts news and weather to an audience consisting of 30 residents of the Sunnydale Retirement Home in Lubbock, who say they accidentally tuned to the station in the home's recreation room and have been unable to change the channel since one of the elderly residents inadvertently flushed the remote down the toilet.

Almost free at lastFormer DISD Superintendent Yvonne Gonzalez leaves federal prison for a San Antonio halfway house, where she will serve out the remaining three months of her sentence for using school district funds to buy tacky furniture for her home and office. Her stay gets off to a rocky start when a delivery van arrives to drop off an ornate velvet settee and antique daybed -- cash on delivery.

A friend in need
Rand Carlson
A friend in need
Miller jokes chickens
Rand Carlson
Miller jokes chickens

Coulda been a contendahThe hopes of Mavericks fans that the luckless team will end the season with a .500 record are dashed when the NBA ends a 191-day player lockout, thus forcing the Mavs to actually play a game.

TurnaboutThe Dallas Children's Theater offers to pay the Catholic Diocese of Dallas $1.5 million for St. Ann's school, which the church is seeking to sell to developers despite the objections of Hispanic and preservationist groups that wish to declare the building a historic landmark. Church officials want to sell the property in part to cover expenses from litigation involving priests who sexually molested children. "They had to pay kids for entertaining them," a theater spokesman says. "It seems only fair that we pay them so we can entertain kids." The diocese rejects the offer as too low. The city council later designates part of the property a landmark.

Party poopedOrganizers of "The Turn, America at the Millennium," a massive celebration of the end of the millennium planned for Fair Park, cancel the event after raising only $1 million of a needed $12 million in sponsorships. "People weren't interested because the new millennium doesn't really begin until 2001," an organizer says. "Who knew there wasn't a year zero?"

Beaver patrolResidents of a Far North Dallas neighborhood seek the city's help in capturing beavers that are destroying trees along a creek near their homes. City officials assign Dallas vice cops to catch the rodents, reasoning they're the most experienced at controlling wayward beavers.

FebruaryPayback's a beaverCity crews begin replanting trees on vacant land near Northwest Highway and Skillman Street, where a maintenance supervisor had mistakenly ordered a stand of mature trees clear-cut in December, angering neighborhood residents. Embarrassed city officials, who will eventually enact stricter guidelines for tree removal, admit the mistake after first attempting to lay blame on "a gang of vengeful beavers."

This Bud's not for youPolice ticket 150 teenagers, most of them from the Park Cities, for possession of alcohol during a raid on a keg party in Deep Ellum. Among the roughly 250 youths attending the party at a Commerce Street warehouse are two children of Stars owner Tom Hicks, who along with other parents is at first critical of the police's handling of the raid. Highland Park school officials suspend 200 students from extracurricular activities after learning that the teens were drinking domestic beer.

Up the anteThe Dallas 2012 Olympic committee and the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau are chastised for violating guidelines after offering the U.S. Olympic Committee a private plane and limousine service as part of the city's bid to host a media summit in 2000. "Those pikers are going to have to do way better than that if they wanna win any friends here," a USOC official says.

Next time just eat the peanutsAmerican Airlines is forced to ground 6,700 flights after members of the Allied Pilots Association stage a sick-out during a labor dispute over American's plans to merge with a Nevada airline. A federal judge fines the pilots' union $45.5 million for ignoring a back-to-work order, despite union officials' claims that the crew members really were sick. They blame a clerical error that resulted in American pilots eating the same meals the airline serves its passengers.

Tough loveChild-abuse investigators decide not to press charges against an assistant principal who bound and gagged an 8-year-old girl who acted up in class at DISD's Onesimo Hernandez Elementary. School officials decline to comment on what actions the district planned to take against the assistant principal, though rumor has it that she left the district to take a job with what one source describes as a "backward, jerkwater school district up in Ponder, in Denton County."

MarchChip off the old blockheadGov. George W. Bush introduces his "exploratory team," whose job will be to explore how much money a man with limited political experience, few clearly articulated policies, and a poor grasp of geography can raise if he chooses to run for president. The short answer: tons. At a news conference introducing the team, the GOP front-runner attempts to distance himself from his father, former President George Bush, by telling reporters, "He's not the candidate. I am." The governor's standing in the polls subsequently drops 30 percent.

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