Crash of Symbols

Plus:White Knights; Be Alarmed

"In my opinion, we held a very respectful memorial service," Jawad says.

Bollenbacher says she feels responsible, too. "I had invited people to come who I know through democraticunderground.com," Bollenbacher says. "We really were trying to make it a space where we could come together and put aside all our differences and honor all the lives that have been lost. I wanted them to know how many people in the community really cared. I wish I'd done it differently."

Still reeling, the Drakes spent the rest of the week planning Chad's funeral, scheduled for September 17. "The Army isn't releasing who has been the 1,000th casualty," Ott says. "To me, as a sister, it wouldn't matter if he was number six or 2,000. He was over there fighting for you and me." --Glenna Whitley

Police separate family members and protesters.
David Shapiro
Police separate family members and protesters.

White Knights

Forgive Kurt Kretsinger if he's not getting his job done. Kretsinger sounds sheepish when you ask him how his day job is going--he runs a small publishing company--because he knows he's been spending too much time moonlighting.

Once you see his side project, aka "the best little museum in Dallas," you'll probably forgive him.

Saturday, Kretsinger and a host of volunteers who made it happen unveil the White Rock Museum, a 450-square-foot space inside the Bath House Cultural Center (521 E. Lawther Drive), from noon until 5 p.m. The space promises a small but historically important array of multimedia offerings, lectures and exhibits designed to tell the human and natural history of White Rock Lake.

"We've been talking about trying to make this project happen for years," says Kretsinger, the museum's director. "Dallas has pockets of great history, and much of that is known--JFK, Fair Park, etc. But White Rock Lake's history is a huge, huge part of Dallas, and we felt there needed to be something that explains and honors that."

The museum will give visitors the basics of the lake's history, how it was created in 1913 when Dallas, growing and fresh off severe droughts in 1909 and 1910, was desperately in need of a new water supply. In 1917, prisoners constructed Lawther Road, which surrounds the lake, to handle the people seeking recreation there. Since then, parts of the lake have been used as fishing spots, a retreat for the city's elite, a boot camp, a World War II prisoner of war camp, overflow SMU housing, a bathing beach, a floating dance pavilion, a speedboat hub, a cruising hangout for teens and finally the recreational urban oasis of a largely dry, beauty-starved city.

"I'm in awe of the people I've worked with," Kretsinger says. "Considering we had so little money, it's amazing we were able to accomplish this." --Eric Celeste

Be Alarmed

Let this serve, more than anything, as a warning: Don't end up like Dan.

Dan lives in East Dallas on Ravendale Lane. In 2001, burglars looted Dan's house twice (which is why he's hesitant to use his last name for this story). The first time, the burglars didn't take much, a computer and stereo system mostly. So Dan put in a security system. Three days later, thieves broke in again.

Pissed off, Dan called around. So did his neighbor, Patrick Kiker. What they heard were circular answers. What they heard, in other words, was the city's bureaucracy, they say.

Turns out, after you pay for an alarm system for your home, you need to pay the city $50 for an alarm permit, ostensibly so the city and your alarm company can keep matching files and dispatch cops when need be. But in reality, even after you pay for your permit, you'll get a letter from the city asking you to call your alarm company and read to them the permit number printed on the letter. If you don't call your alarm company, or if you don't get the letter--Dan doesn't recall receiving his--the city of Dallas won't respond to your threat. Which is what happened the second time Dan's place was burglarized.

Senior Corporal Chris Gilliam of the Dallas Police Department says the city in 2003 received 73,589 false alarms. The permit number helps guard against fake threats.

When asked why the city and an alarm company don't coordinate information once the permit fee is paid, Gilliam said, in a roundabout way, that the permit number is a good way to guard against fake alarms.

When asked again, he repeated his answer.

Which leads Kiker to wonder, "What is the $50 going toward?" --Paul Kix

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