Five stories that have North Texas talking: JFK 50, Walmart walk-offs, Museum Tower shines on and more.
Updated, 2:58 p.m.: Dallas will mark the 50th anniversary next year of one of its darkest moments, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, with a solemn ceremony narrated by historian David McCullough.
Mayor Mike Rawlings unveiled plans for the commemoration, which he described as "understated , serious, with dignity and honor,” at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
McCullough, at age 79 one of the country's most recognized historians, has been a stalwart voice of public television as the narrator of The Civil War and American Experience.
During the Nov. 22, 2013, ceremony -- dubbed The 50th: Honoring the Memory of President John F. Kennedy -- the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner will read excerpts from Kennedy's speeches and share recollections of the slain president. The 45-minute ceremony will include a nationwide moment of silence at 12:30 p.m., music by the U.S. Naval Academy Men's Glee Club and a concluding military flyover.
Our original post continues: If there’s anything to celebrate here, its the distance from that day. Just ask former Secret Service agent Clint Hill, the last surviving person who rode in the car to Parkland hospital with Kennedy after the shooting. I heard him speak at the Sixth Floor Museum in April. He answered gruesome questions about whose foot was where in the convertible with dutiful grace; it was obvious Hill much preferred to speak about Camelot’s first couple as they were before that day.
When one journalist asked about his hopes for next year’s ceremony in Dallas, here’s what Hill said:
Well I’m sure it’ll be remembered very seriously, but you know, with memories of President and Mrs. Kennedy as they were prior to that moment. They were a wonderful, loving couple; and they were very well-received when they came to Dallas that day. Large crowds. If you ever look at the photographs of downtown Main Street, we could barely get through there with cars, it was so packed. But that’s the way they should be remembered.
-- Lyndsay Knecht
Volunteer Ops Booked Up? Don’t Throw Bows, Just Give Year-Round
Thinking about volunteering for Thanksgiving? Make sure you check with the group you’re thinking of helping. Some orgs, like Dallas Life Foundation, say they’re full up with volunteers. But there are some opportunities to be had: Mission Arlington needs workers for their 8 a.m. food delivery summit -- the agency hopes to draw 2,000 volunteers in all.
Here’s a Golden Triangle of resources that help you plan ahead to give back -- and assess specific needs that you could fill, whether with a casserole or a used cafe table.
- United Way of Denton County has a database full of contact numbers and prerequisites for each agency.
- The Volunteer Center of North Texas uses an online registration system that helps you connect with opportunities appropriate for your time and skills.
- The Tarrant Area Food Bank lists options beyond dropping cans off at the agency, including volunteering as a culinary instructor or even a food photographer.
-- Lyndsay Knecht
Walmart Workers Threaten ‘Black Friday’ Walk-Off
Some Walmart workers, including a group in Dallas, are promising that Black Friday will look a little different this year when they walk out on the megastore’s biggest day of the year.
Many of them are upset that Walmarts are opening earlier this year -- 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day -- cutting into their time with their families.
In an attempt to shut the walk-out down, Wal-Mart has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.
Walkout or not, Wal-Mart says it’ll have enough staff to handle business as usual.
-- Justin Martin
The Power Of The Museum Tower Dispute Proves Irresistible
The Wall Street Journal is the latest media operation to train its spotlight on the shiny Museum Tower in Dallas’ Arts District. Willard Spiegelman’s piece doesn’t break a lot of news in the dispute with the Nasher Sculpture Center -- though he reports that just 15 of the tower’s 126 condos have been sold. What Spiegelman does beautifully is capture the big-picture conflict with a flair:
It's a complicated Dickensian story involving land rights, real-estate transactions, gentlemen's agreements, accusations of bad faith, egos and, most of all, light, heat and shadows. The end is nowhere in sight, and each party is casting aspersions and blame on the other.
The WSJ story comes two days after arts patrons John Eagle and Deedie Rose wrote an op-ed piece in the Dallas Morning News calling for a solution that protects the museum.
-- Rick Holter
Who Needs A Gym When You’ve Got Artificial Muscles?
Our ever-buff BJ Austin ventures deep into the nanotechnology labs at the University of Texas at Dallas to explore the pumped-up world of artificial muscles. BJ reports that UTD’s Ray Baughman and colleagues have developed a fiber with 200 times the strength of standard muscle fibers.
-- Rick Holter