Dallas Wings release 2017 regular season schedule

dallas-wingsThe Dallas Wings, along with the WNBA, have released the 2017 regular season schedule. The Wings are entering their second season in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, while this will the 21st for the league.

The Wings will start the 2017 season on the road, Sunday, May 14, when they face the Phoenix Mercury, as part of the WNBA Tip-Off presented by Verizon.

The Wings will then open their home schedule six days later, Saturday, May 20 against the three-time WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx at the University of Texas at Arlington’s College Park Center, located in Arlington, TX. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm CT.

The 2017 home schedule will include eight games against eastern conference opponents and seven games against Western conference opponents, hosting one game versus the 2016 WNBA champion Los Angeles Sparks on June 9.

Full schedule here.

—  David Taffet

Raising money by pissing people off: The Hanuka Grinch’s first holiday post

black-fridayDear Non-Profit organizations:

I’m on a lot of your mailing lists. I read your emails. I use the information you send me. And I understand you must solicit funds.

If I recently unsubscribed from your mail list, it’s because I receive more solicitations from you than actual information. So why am I writing this today? Because the barrage of solicitations came to a head today. It’s Giving Tuesday.

I’m not mentioning that to promote it. I hope Giving Tuesday dies along with Black Friday and Cyber Monday — and make no mistake, those are already dying.

The name Black Friday is an old retail term that dates back to the 1970s. I first heard it when I was working on Fifth Avenue in New York (at the job that got me transferred to NorthPark in Dallas). Black Friday referred to a black cloud that descended on the store the day after Thanksgiving. Our regular customers disappeared for a month and the most horribly rude customers appeared that tore the store apart. A job that was a joy the rest of the year became a nightmare for the next few weeks.

I’m not sure when the term “Black Friday” went from being something we weren’t supposed to say out loud because we weren’t trying to offend our customers to a term that these vultures wore as a badge of pride. Sometime in the 1980s, I guess, after I was out of retail.

Then there’s Cyber Monday. Why Monday? Because in the early 1990s, most people didn’t have computers at home. So instead of working, people sat at their computers in the office the Monday after Thanksgiving searching for bargains and shopping online.

And why will both die?

Because as online shopping increases, the need to camp out outside stores waiting for them to open (was that ever really a need?) has decreased. And since many people got home computers and virtually everyone has smart phones, there’s no need to wait until Monday.

And barraging me with email? That just takes up my time and all I can do about it is unsubscribe from your mail lists. And if anyone who stuffed my inbox with solicitations calls me next week and asks why I didn’t include their event in this week’s calendar, it’s because I missed your actual information because of the deluge of extraneous information and solicitations.

And a note about why my friends call me the Channukah Grinch. As far as I’m concerned, the holidays were in October. They were joyous, but they’re over. The upcoming week of Hanukah actually commemorates the creation of guerrilla warfare by the Maccabees, a lovely Jewish family who lived in a town now best known for the Elvis Inn and shrine (my favorite attraction in Israel), which also holds the Guinness record for preparing the biggest plate of hummus. And to Jews reading this: Historically Chanukah is absolutely not the gift-giving holiday. Purim is.

But I digress. I wrote this piece earlier today and put it aside, but now I’m getting Giving Tuesday Updates telling me how well you’re doing. I’m glad you are. I really do support all of you. But I’m trying to work here and you’re driving me crazy. And really, does fundraising really work when you’re pissing off the people you’re soliciting?

—  David Taffet

Trump names anti-equality Rep. Tom Price to head HHS


Rep. Tom Price

President-elect Donald Trump named Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., to lead the 80,000-person Department of Health and Human Services. Price has earned a score of “zero” on the past three HRC Congressional Scorecards, and is fiercely opposed to the Affordable Care Act, which extends protections to LGBTQ people in heath care settings.

In the 114th Congress, Price did not support the Customer Non-Discrimination Act, which would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination from healthcare providers.

As recently as 2013, he has also claimed LGBTQ rights had a negative health impact; opposes a woman’s right to choose; and voted against funding for Planned Parenthood.

NPR reports that Price has also “voted against legislation aimed at prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation; for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman; and against the bill that would’ve ended the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy regarding disclosure of sexual orientation in the military.”

—  David Taffet

Meet the candidates for Dallas city manager

dallas-city-hallDallas wants the public’s input on the new Dallas city manager.

Dallas residents may fill out a survey here.

Then meet the candidates at a reception on Tuesday, Dec. 6 from 6-8 p.m. in the second floor atrium of Dallas City Hall, 1500 Marilla St.

“As we all work with local entities to promote LGBT equality and equity, the next City Manager for the City of Dallas is important,” said Cannon Flowers, Dallas District 7 senior affairs commissioner. “I plan to attend the reception and I hope to see you there.”

Parking behind City Hall is free after 6 p.m. Enter the building through the main entrance facing the reflecting pool.

—  David Taffet

Texas elector won’t vote for Trump


Elector Art Sisneros via Facebook

Art Sisneros, a Republican elector from East Texas, said as a Christian he can’t vote for Donald Trump when the Electoral College meets on Dec. 18. Rather than be a “faithless elector,” someone who votes for a candidate other than the one who received the majority of votes in the state, he will resign.

“The Electors were to be men who were selected to make this vote based on their own discernment,” Sisneros wrote in a blog post. “There is no indication that Electors were ever to be directed by the population at large on how to vote. Their votes were to be their own, made in the best interest of those they represented.”

In his post, Sisneros explains the constitutional wording that allows him to vote for someone else or resign. He also talks about George Washington’s warning and warnings in the Federalist Papers, presumably written by Alexander Hamilton, about political parties and how they would interfere with the work of the Electoral College.

“The Electoral College was corrupted from its original intent once states started dictating the votes of the Electors,” he wrote. “The two biggest aggressors to the original system were from political parties and the switch to winner-take-all states.”

He said he did sign a pledge given to him by the Republican Party to vote for the winner, but said his conscience does not allow him to cast his vote that way.

In another post he wrote, “I do not see how Donald Trump is biblically qualified to serve in the office of the Presidency. Of the hundreds of angry messages that I have received, not one has made a convincing case from scripture otherwise. If Trump is not qualified and my role, both morally and historically, as an elected official is to vote my conscience, then I can not and will not vote for Donald Trump for President.”

However, since Sisneros will resign from the Electoral College, the Republican Party may name a replacement.

“The reality is Trump will be our President, no matter what my decision is,” Sisneros wrote. “Many are furious that I am willing to have this discussion publicly. Personally, I wish more civil officers would be honest about their convictions.  Assuming a Trump Presidency is their ultimate goal, they will get that. The problem is, that isn’t what they want. They want a democracy.”

—  David Taffet

Parkland World AIDS Day event seeks to eliminate stigma

ParklandMore than 35 years after the first cases of HIV/AIDS were reported, individuals living with the disease, as well as their families, continue to face the fear of stigma and discrimination.

That’s why Parkland Health & Hospital System is once again taking part in the yearly observance of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1. The worldwide observance, which has taken place each year since 1988, is an opportunity for people to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS, show their support for people living with the disease and to commemorate those who have died.

Parkland invites the public to a balloon launch that will take at 2 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 1 at the Amelia Court Clinic, 1936 Amelia Court.

“This is an event to commemorate the lives of those lost as a result of HIV/AIDS and also to show support for all those who are affected by this,” said Jane Fitzpatrick, RN, HIV Services Unit manager at Parkland.

Fitzpatrick said observances such as World AIDS Day are important because stigma about the disease continues to be a major challenge for individuals and also a huge barrier that still keeps many people from getting tested and receiving ongoing treatment.

“People knowing their status is a vital part of addressing HIV/AIDS,” Fitzpatrick said. “That is why Parkland provides some 30,000 HIV tests each year in its Emergency Department through a routine testing initiative funded by the Texas Department of State Health Services.”

In addition, UT Southwestern Medical Center provides confidential HIV testing at Parkland’s Amelia Court Clinic from 9 a.m.–1 p.m., Tuesdays and Fridays.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.2 million persons in the U.S. are living with HIV infection; about 13 percent of them are unaware they have it.

“Testing is very important because if HIV is left untreated, the immune system deteriorates and the person can develop a major opportunistic infection, such as a bad case of pneumonia, meningitis or retinitis,” said Amneris E. Luque, MD, Medical Director of HIV services at Parkland and a Professor of Medicine/Infectious Disease at UT Southwestern. “It is much easier to treat someone who has been diagnosed early and they usually do much better.”

Parkland provides HIV care and services to more than 5,000 persons at three community outpatient clinics. Dr. Luque said that with current medications, a person’s viral load, the amount of the virus in a person’s blood, can often be suppressed.

“Suppression of the viral load not only helps keep the patient from developing an opportunistic infection, it also has been shown to decrease the likelihood of transmitting the virus to others,” Dr. Luque said.

Parkland provides HIV services through Ryan White HIV/AIDS grant funding. These services range from primary care medical services to support services such as financial counseling and case management. And when necessary, patients also can be referred to about 100 specialty and subspecialty clinics in the Parkland system.

—  David Taffet

C.U.R.E. honors long-time community activists

DAVID TAFFET  |  Senior Staff Writer

C.U.R.E., the Collin County-based HIV prevention and education organization, will honor three community members for their years of work fighting HIV/AIDS at a World AIDS Day event in Richardson on Thursday, Dec. 1.

Chris Bengston and Marvin Green will receive the Open Heart Award and James A. Lester will receive the Ryan G. Barrows Award.

C.U.R.E. President Roseann Rosetti said the annual World AIDS Day event was inspired by Glenn Kopanski who was in the U.S. Navy when he had a tonsillectomy and need a transfusion. He was not only infected with HIV but also Hepatitus C. “He wanted to leave as his legacy educating young people, getting rid of the stigma and finding a cure,” she said.

For years, Kopanski was a regular speaker in Frisco’s schools and later spoke to thousands of students in Plano. He passed away in January this year. Rosetti said this year’s event is dedicated in his memory.

Chris Bengston
Bengston was nominated for the Open Heart Award by the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund, although she might have been nominated by any of the AIDS service organizations in Dallas. As a 30-year employee of Caven Enterprises, Bengston has helped stage fundraisers for every agency.

Over the years her work has been recognized throughout the community. In the 1990s, she received the Howie Daire Award from Oak Lawn Community Services. For years, she cooked a monthly meal for clients at the Daire Center — now part of AIDS Interfaith Network — and cooked holiday meals for them as well.

In 2011, she was named Grand Marshal of the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade. In between, she’s volunteered for just about every HIV/AIDS organization. She’s worked at the Resource Center Food Pantry when it was located behind the stores on the Strip. She helped bring GayBingo to the Strip.

When the city worried about gay bars being located within a block of an elementary school, Bengston organized employees and customers of Caven bars to make sure that students at Sam Houston had the school supplies they needed at the beginning of the school year, and for Christmas each student got a present. Rather than complaints, the teachers and administration at the school were calling the bars on Cedar Springs Road the best neighbors a school could have.

Bengston has worked on LifeWalk, the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS, the Pink Party for the Susan G. Koman Foundation, the Purple Party, the Bear Dance and more. AIDS Arms Director of Development Tori Hobbs said she relies on Bengston’s years of experience for advice.

“You can come to her with any situation or idea and know you’re going to get a well thought out answer that’s going to help,” Hobbs said.

Marvin Green
Several years ago, LifeWalk fundraiser and Green Team organizer Marvin Green had a heart attack. When Hobbs entered his hospital room, she saw his LifeWalk T-shirt pinned to wall and said all she could do was laugh as she watched him use his hospital stay as an opportunity to ask doctors and nurses to buy raffle tickets.

Green began raising money for LifeWalk in the event’s second season. He recently said he would have begun sooner, but he didn’t hear about it the first year. For his first LifeWalk, three friends walked together. Today, the Green Team numbers about 25.

That first year, Green said it was sad and they cried a lot, but felt like they were doing something — raising money to help care for others who needed help. Over the years, he said, he lost 26 close friends.

“AIDS stole my entire group of friends in the late 1980s and 1990s,” he said. “I, like so many young people, was no angel, but for some reason, I was spared from the disease. Because of the losses I saw happening all around me each day in those early years and because I had been so very fortunate in my own life, I know I had to do something — to give back and make a difference.”

Since that second LifeWalk, the Green Team has raised more than $315,000. This year, the team set a new one-year record for itself, contributing $42,305 to LifeWalk. “He’s one of those guys who will give you the shirt off his back if he thinks it will help you,” Hobbs said.

In addition to all the money he’s raised himself and all the events his team has staged to raise money for LifeWalk, Hobbs said Green regularly attends and contributes to other teams’ events.

“I have lost so many dear friends,” Green said. “We have lost Green Team members to AIDS. I see the funding cuts that are happening everywhere and the impact it has on people’s lives and chances to survive. It makes the work we do even more important.”

James Lester
While both Bengston and Green will receive the Open Heart Award, which recognizes people who have volunteered large amounts of time to help people with HIV, Lester will receive the Ryan G. Barrows Award, which honors someone who has dedicated years of his life to helping people with HIV. The award is named after a C.U.R.E. founding board member who died three years ago.

Early in his career, Lester was a part-time nurse at the Nelson-Tebedo Clinic. He has spent 30 years caring for people with HIV and AIDS. “He not only does a lot of volunteer work, but serves on boards and is generous in helping organizations with sponsorships,” Rosetti said.

Among the boards he serves on is AIDS Walk South Dallas, and AWSD President Auntjuan Wiley said Lester is “instrumental in its success.”

Lester, who currently works in cardiac care at UT Southwestern, instilled a sense of the importance of caring for other people in his family as well. “He taught his son to care for people and put others first,” Wiley said. Lester’s son has also become a registered nurse.

In addition to awards and speakers, panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display. In 2014, C.U.R.E. accepted and dedicated six panels that have been sewn together into a new block. They honor Bryan Gray, Annie Adaway, Ryan Barrows, Warren Davolt, Glitz and Glamour, and Resource Center GALA Youth. A panel remembering Resource Center’s first Executive Director John Thomas will be on display as well as the 12-foot X 12-foot signature block from the inaugural Tanqueray Texas AIDS Ride, a bike ride from Austin to Houston to Dallas that took place on Oct. 5-11, 1998.

View panels from the quilt, meet and greet sponsors, award recipients and program speakers at 6 p.m. Program at 7 p.m. on Dec. 1 at Noah’s Event Venue, 2251 N. Greenville Ave., Richardson.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 25, 2016.

—  David Taffet

Little Caesers on Inwood robbed

fotorcreatedThe Little Caeser’s Pizza restaurant on Inwood Road at Maple Avenue in Oak Lawn was robbed at gunpoint at 1:15 p.m. on Nov. 22, according to a Dallas Police report. The shop is in the same strip center as the Dallas Eagle.

From the police blog:

The suspect entered the location and demanded cash from an employee.  No one was injured during the commission of this offense.

The suspect is described as a Black male, 35-45 years of age, dark complexion, thin build, and tattoos across his collar bone and upper chest. The suspect was last seen wearing a black hoodie with an orange traffic vest.  The suspect was driving a green 2003-04 Ford Explorer.

Anyone who recognizes this suspect or has information regarding this offense is asked to call Detective Harris at (214) 671-3703. If you wish to remain anonymous you may call Crime Stoppers at (214) 373-TIPS (8477).

—  David Taffet

PENCE bill would ban conversion therapy in New York


Mike Pence, who probably doesn’t care for the bill named after him

A New York legislator has introduced the Prevention of Emotional Neglect and Childhood Endangerment, or the PENCE bill, to ban conversion therapy in the state, according to Fortune magazine.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence supports moving AIDS prevention funds to conversion therapy.

In February, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a series of rules that cracked down on the practice, according to the Albany Times Union. That included a ban on Medicaid payments to support the practice.

“Conversion therapy is a hateful and fundamentally flawed practice that is counter to everything this state stands for,” Cuomo said at the time.

The bill was introduced by Patrick Burke, a Buffalo Democrat. Democrats have the majority in the New York state Assembly and will have a majority in the Senate in the upcoming session.

—  David Taffet

Cece Cox makes Dallas 500 list


Resource Center CEO Cece Cox

Cece Cox was one of just a few LGBT community members to make D magazine’s Dallas 500 list of the most influential leaders in North Texas.

Cox is CEO of Resource Center. Among her accomplishments this year is the culmination of an $8.7 million capital campaign (there’s still about $250,000 to go) used to open the new LGBT community center on Cedar Springs Road in May and the complete renovation of the health campus on Reagan Street.

Of course, Cox deserves to be listed, but what makes her inclusion even more impressive is how few community members made the list. David Griffin is included under real estate executives and Stephen Pyles under chefs and restaurateurs.

Nancy Lieberman, who is an assistant coach of the Sacramento Kings and played for the Dallas Diamonds in the early 1980s, is listed for Nancy Lieberman Charities, which is based in Plano.

Under arts? None. Civic organizations? None.

And here’s an odd one — not community-related, just odd. Under living legends: George W. Bush. Of course he belongs on the list. But he’s listed as co-founder of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Wasn’t he, um, president or something? And Laura Bush. She lives here, right? Not on the list. Eh. What’s she ever done, right?

—  David Taffet