DART police accused of harassing homeless gay men at bus stop on Cedar Springs

DART police insisted that a man sitting on a DART bench put on a shirt, witnesses said.

Some patrons of JR.’s Bar & Grill are accusing DART police of harassing homeless gay men, but merchants and a DART spokesman said the police were probably just answering 911 calls.

On Monday, July 2, three men were seen being taken in handcuffs to a DART police car from the DART bench on Cedar Springs Road at Throckmorton Street. The next night, another man who was sitting shirtless on the bench was approached by two DART officers and told to put a shirt on, according to JR.’s patrons who witnessed the incidents.

DART spokesman Morgan Lyons said police would only have been at the location responding to a 911 call. DART police regularly patrol train stations. They are also responsible for bus stops, but normally would be at those stops only if called, Lyons said.

Cedar Springs Merchants Association Executive Director Scott Whittall said he knew nothing about the incidents. But he said merchants and the street’s security guard have called 911 for incidents of panhandling and people bothering patrons of shops, bars and restaurants.

Whittall said the security guard can remove someone from one of the benches that the CSMA placed on the street, but not from DART benches. He said those benches are DART property and under its jurisdiction.

Lyons said DART has a no-loitering policy.

“The facilities are there for transit purposes,” he said.

He said if someone is asleep on a bench, DART police first check to see if the person is OK. But if someone is sitting on a DART bench and a bus passes, DART police ask the person to leave and can arrest them for loitering.

Matthew Austin, who witnessed the incidents, said it’s strange that it happened two nights in a row. He said the incident with the shirtless man involved three police cars. He thought that was overkill for shirtlessness, which he said is certainly legal, and loitering. But the Monday event upset him more. He said one of the three men who were removed Monday is well known on the street and is mentally disabled.

“On Monday, they were doing absolutely nothing [wrong],” Austin said.

—  David Taffet

DPD seeks help identifying robbery suspects who held up woman leaving bar near Cedar Springs

Suspect 1

Dallas police are asking for help identifying four people who beat up and robbed a 24-year-old woman walking home from a nearby bar on June 17.

The woman was walking home after leaving a bar around 5:15 a.m. when two men “jumped her from behind striking her in the face and throwing her to the ground,” according to the incident report.

Police spokeswoman Sherri Jeffrey told Instant Tea she didn’t know which

Suspect 2

bar the woman was leaving but that it was located near Cedar Springs Road and Reagan Street. The woman was treated for an injury to her thumb after the men took off with her purse.

Police captured surveillance footage of four people in a gray Nissan Altima at a Jack in the Box on Illinois Avenue and later using her credit card at a nearby 7-11.

The four suspects are described as:

Suspect 1 – B/M/25 white tank top, “bump” haircut, goatee, tattoos on right shoulder.

Suspect 2 – L/M/20s white shirt, sunglasses on forehead.

Suspect 3 – B/M/25 wearing dark colored shirt with white diamond pattern and black do-rag.

Suspect 4 – Black Female wearing green striped shirt.

More photos and videos are below.

—  Anna Waugh

EXCLUSIVE: Thairrific remains open but with major drama behind the scenes

The enigmatic postings on Thairriffic’s website don’t help much to explain why Chef Kyla is no longer on staff at the restaurant near the Cedar Springs strip. The messages began appearing earlier this week and today it reads:

For our loyal customers, Chef Kyla (myself) and Family (Original owners that started and built Thairrific 10 years ago) would like to thank you for coming to Thairrific.
However, due to changes internally … My Family, Wonderful Wait Staff, and my loyal Cooks will no longer be present at Cedars Springs.

So what the heck is going on at the restaurant? Owner Daniel Sikora and Chef Kyla Phomsavanh both have their sides of the story. Throughout this week, I spoke with both parties and let’s just say they’re both unhappy with each other and willing to talk at length about it. I’ll try to keep it to the basics.

—  Rich Lopez

Razzle Dazzle Dallas booth space available

Razzle Dazzle Dallas 2011 main stage

Booth space is available for the day and night Razzle Dazzle Dallas events on Cedar Springs Road on June 9. Applications must be received by 5 p.m. on May 30.

Businesses, sports teams, faith groups, jewelers, clothiers, nonprofits, corporate affinity organizations and community groups are welcome to market themselves to the more than 30,000 expected buyers and Razzle Dazzle attendees.

A vendor application is available online.

The festival hours on June 9 are from 10 a.m. to midnight.

DAYTIME:
One Nonprofit Booth Space — $100
One For-Profit Booth Space — $150

NIGHTIME:
One Nonprofit Booth Space — $150
One For-Profit Booth Space — $200

ALL DAY:
One Nonprofit Booth Space — $200
One For-Profit Booth Space — $275

RENTAL:
(1) Electrical Outlet — $25
(1) 10’x10’ Tent, (1) Table, (2) Chairs — $125

Contact Dave Berryman at Bravo Event Groups with any questions.

—  David Taffet

DPD writes 39 tickets in 3 days at Cedar Springs and Reagan, where left turns are now prohibited

As you can see in the photo above — and in case you hadn’t already noticed — left turns are now prohibited from eastbound Reagan Street onto northbound Cedar Springs Road.

The change is part of the Cedar Springs traffic safety plan unveiled in January in response to two pedestrian fatalities last year.

I snapped the photo this morning after Oak Lawn crime watch leader Nancy Weinberger reported the following in an email Wednesday:

“In response to complaints about traffic offenses in Cedar Springs/Reagan area, DPD conducted traffic enforcement for three days (4/28-4/30). They issued 23 illegal turn citations and 16 other regulatory citations at that intersection.”

Sounds like a lot of cocktails.

—  John Wright

Italia Express to take over Macho Nacho spot

On my way to lunch, I drove past the not-really-that-old Macho Nacho spot to see a “coming soon” sign posted. As you can see in this photo, Italia Express will be moving in to the former Hunky’s space on the corner of Throckmorton and Cedar Springs. Macho Nacho did not have a longstanding presence on the Strip. Restaurateur Scott Jones opened the Tex-Mex eatery last spring but closed its doors due to a contentious lockout between the building landlord and Jones.

Coincidentally, Jones used to own and operate Cafe Italia on Lovers Lane which closed its doors in 2009. So it was natural to think that Jones may still be involved with the location.

“No, that’s not me,” he said. “I can see how people would think that, but I’m not involved in that location anymore.”

I put a call into Eloy Construction (the number on the sign) but they would not reveal who the owners are. I called the Italia Express on Continental Avenue but was unable to reach a manager or owner. The man who answered was unaware of any new location and so details on this location remain a mystery.

 

—  Rich Lopez

Razzle Dazzle Dallas releases 2012 schedule

Razzle Dazzle Dallas — the gay Pride Month celebration and fundraiser on Cedar Springs —  today announced its 2012 beneficiaries and preliminary event schedule. According to a press release, Razzle Dazzle Dallas runs June 6-9 and will include a Wine/Dog Walk on Wednesday, a Pub Crawl on Thursday, the 7th annual MetroBall on Friday, and a street party on Saturday night.

Singer Taylor Dayne, who appeared at Black Tie Dinner last year, will return to Dallas to headline MetroBall, which benefits the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund. Also this year, Saturday at Razzle Dazzle Dallas will include LifeWalk Waterpalooza, in addition to the sidewalk sale, street fair and antique car show. On Saturday night, according to the release, Cedar Springs will become “a big crazy dance club with LIVE ‘80s music and DJs on the Main Performance Stage!”

Razzle Dazzle Dallas, which distributed more than $60,500 in 2011, this year will benefit Resource Center Dallas, AIDS Interfaith Network, Turtle Creek Chorale, Legacy Counseling Center, Legal Hospice of Texas, AIDS Arms, GLBT Leadership Education & Advocacy Program (LEAP), Uptown Players and the Cedar Springs Road Beautification Fund.

Razzle Dazzle is also planning three events in April: a bus trip to the WinStar Casino, a Rising Star Show featuring D Alexander at the Rose Room, and a Razzle Dazzle-sponsored installment of GayBingo.

The full press release from Razzle Dazzle marketing director Kris Martin is below.

—  John Wright

WATCH: Razzle Dazzle Dallas set for June 6-9

It may be hard to believe, but Razzle Dazzle Dallas, the Gay Pride Month celebration and fundraiser on Cedar Springs that’s in the second year of its revival, is now just 105 short days away. And this week, marketing director Kris Martin sent along the below video promoting this year’s four-day event set for June 6-9 (with the Saturday night finale on the easy to remember date of 6-9-12). Martin says the Razzle Dazzle committee is making a big push for corporate sponsors, which can be had for as little as $500. You can also sign up to volunteer on the website, which provides the following additional details on this year’s installment:

2012 brings added excitement to Cedar Springs as Razzle Dazzle Dallas celebrates it’s second year of the June Pride event revival. In meeting our goal last year of the event being bigger and better than the original, we are adding even more ‘dazzle’ to the four-day schedule. It begins on on June 6 with a wine and dog walk sponsored by the Cedar Springs Merchants Association plus the finals of our new Best Bartender Contest. Thursday, June 7 participants will be entertained with a “Pub Crawl” that will move by shuttle bus transportation to participating Dallas area night clubs. Also on Thursday night, we will have the finals of Miss Razzle Dazzle Dallas. On Friday, June 8, MetroBall at Station 4 brings an evening of dancing, raffles and fund raising as well as headline entertainment to raise money for HIV/AIDS clients living in North Texas. During the day of Saturday, June 9 the Cedar Springs Merchants Association will host a street fair and sale. The main event, Razzle Dazzle Dallas, will fill Cedar Springs on the night of June 9. Come out for live music, djs’ and dancing, VIP areas, refreshments and much more. It will be a night to remember!

Watch the video produced by Jimmy Bartlett after the jump.

—  John Wright

TGRA’s King and Queen of the Rodeo tonight

Crowning achievements

Find out tonight who’s talents and style will push them to the top as contestants vie for top honors by the Texas Gay Rodeo Association. Bedazzled gowns and tight wranglers are in store when tonight’s event gets us ready for the TGRA Rodeo in March. Yeehaw!

DEETS: Round-Up Saloon, 3912 Cedar Springs Road. 8 p.m. RoundUpSaloon.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Where crimes happened in Oak Lawn in January

Nancy Weinberger, leader of the Oak Lawn Stakeholders crime watch group, sent out these handy-dandy maps today (click to enlarge) showing where offenses took place in January 2012. Weinberger said Chief Malik Aziz, who’s over DPD’s Northwest Division, will be the crime watch group’s featured speaker during its regular meeting next week, at noon Wednesday at the Oak Lawn Library Branch.

—  John Wright