C'mon Get Happy

Even Buzz finds something to smile about in 2006

We're No. 1: For the eighth year in a row, Dallas ranks No. 1 in crime among U.S. cities with more than 1 million people, according to FBI crime statistics. City leaders dismiss the ranking, saying it's impossible to draw meaningful comparisons among different cities' crime reports. "For example, we've made great strides in controlling vicious cases of unlicensed vehicle washing at South Side car washes, thanks to countless hours of work by our officers," a police spokesman says.


Price is wrong: DISD trustee Ron Price is accused of lying about his background during a 2005 graduation speech at Woodrow Wilson High School. Price, who claims he grew up speaking mostly Spanish in New York—a language he doesn't speak now—denies that he said he served as president of the State Board of Education (there's no such title) or that he exaggerated when telling students he spoke with President George W. Bush on the telephone. Price admits, however, that he may have misspoken when he told students that it was he who suggested to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that King change the phrase "I have a suggestion" to the more popular "I have a dream."

Isn't that war over?: Administrators at the University of Texas at Arlington order the removal of 123 international flags from a campus display. The flags are taken down as the university faces pressure from state lawmakers and protests from Vietnamese-American students over the inclusion of a Socialist Republic of Vietnam flag. The students win unexpected support from former Farmers Branch police Chief Jimmy Fawcett, who says he fully backs "the little people's effort to keep those commie goo...I mean Marxists of Southeast Asian extraction...from soiling the great state of Texas."

Send us the recipe: Eighteen staff members at Lake Highlands High School are treated at a local hospital after eating marijuana-laced muffins dropped off at the school by pranksters. The afflicted staffers complained of dry mouth, nausea, a "really wicked case of the munchies" and wrenched joints and lacerations caused by a fierce struggle among teachers to grab one of the tainted pastries. "At first, I was all like 'no way' when they told me, but then this doctor dude was all like 'yes way, dude,' and I'm all like 'whoa, that's really effed up, dude,'" one giggling social studies teacher says. "I mean, that was some pretty bad-assed shit to be handing out for free and, and...I'm sorry, dude, what was the question again?"

Flunkies: About 15 percent of Dallas high school seniors face the prospect of not graduating after failing the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills exam, a percentage well above the state average. "That's sad," DISD trustee Ron Price tells reporters. "As I was saying to Condoleezza Rice on the phone just the other day—she calls me to shoot the shit, you know—having one in three students unable to grasp basic concepts of math and language just ain't no good."

Little ingrate: A first-year Hebron High School teacher—a former Miss Texas contestant—faces felony charges of having an improper relationship with a student after an 18-year-old youth tells police that he and the teacher had sex on numerous occasions. Texas law forbids sexual relationships between teachers and students, even if the student is above the age of consent and the sex is consensual. A Denton County grand jury later declines to indict the 26-year-old teacher, saying their decision was based on overwhelming evidence that the alleged victim is "a dumb-ass stool pigeon."

What's in a name: In an homage to the Mavericks June run at an NBA championship, DeSoto resident Kimberly Weimar names her newborn son Maverick Wade Weimar-Rice. The Mavs go on to blow a two-game lead to the Miami Heat in the playoffs—after a controversial decision by the city to begin planning a victory parade early—losing the championship series in six games. Weimar later files court documents seeking to legally change her son's name to "Chokey McChokerstein Weimar-Rice."

Second-time charm: Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez passes a state law enforcement exam on her second try in late June. Valdez, who has come under increasing criticism for her management of the troubled, underperforming Dallas County jail, failed on her first attempt to pass the exam in April, scoring a 66, four points below a passing grade. "There were some really tricky questions that threw me the first time," Valdez explains. "Apparently, tossing criminal suspects in a stinking hole to rot and die in their own filth is not an accepted method for dealing with prisoners in Texas. Boy, was my face red on that one."

Fake guns don't kill people: Dallas City Council members begin consideration of an ordinance banning the sale or public display of realistic-looking toy guns in the city. Work on the ordinance is delayed as city lawyers sort out the proper wording, but backers plan to push ahead with the measure. "I don't want my kid walking the streets of Dallas with a plastic popgun," one concerned parent says at a council meeting. "If you're going to let your kids out in this city, they need to be packing some real heat, or the next thing you know, someone will be offering them an illegal car wash."

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