Got a coat you don’t need anymore? Give it new purpose by donating it to AIN

Fall is finally here, and that means cooler temperatures are here, and even cooler ones are on the way. In fact, the 10-day weather forecast for Dallas shows lows in the 40s, maybe slipping up into the lowest 50s, for the next 10 days. And we all know that much colder weather probably isn’t too far away.

And while the cooler weather is certainly a welcome change from this past summer’s heatwave, for those who don’t have and can’t afford winter clothing, it can be more than just an uncomfortable inconvenience; it can be deadly.

Joleen Ford, Daire Center coordinator for AIDS Interfaith Network, this week sent an email noting that the requests from clients for coats and jackets are already going up. And you can help by donating new or gently used coats and jackets now. Right now, Ford says, AIN is completely out of small- and medium-sized coats, which means that “a client in need would not be able to get basic protection from the elements.”

Ford adds: “Our clients, many of whom are homeless, would greatly appreciate new or gently used men’s and women’s coats. They are also in need of new or gently used men’s jeans (any width, 32/34 length) and new underwear ( M/L). Any razor, toothpaste or deodorant donations would be helpful as well.”

Donations can be dropped off during business hours at the AIN offices — 501 N. Stemmons Frwy, Ste. 200 — in Dallas. If you need directions or have any questions, call Ford at 214-943-4444.

So clean our your closets and put that stuff you aren’t wearing anymore to good use.

—  admin

Gay-owned Ranch Hand Rescue continues saving farm animals through brutally cold weather

Starlight

Ranch Hand Rescue is a sanctuary for abused and neglected farm animals. They have been removed from their current situation by a county humane officer, sheriff or law enforcement official.

In December, we wrote about a fundraiser for the organization to help owner Bob Williams feed and give the animals the medical care they need. Their goal was $10,000 and they raised more than $15,000.

“The place was packed,” Williams said.

This past week was a particularly difficult one for them because of the cold weather.

“Our animals still need their medications and feeding,” Williams said.

Frozen pipes and additional staff increased costs.

—  David Taffet

Rolling power outages and the Super Bowl

HARDY HABERMAN  |  Dungeon Diary

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, mandated rolling power outages to reduce demand during peak periods, at least that was the story. These lovely folks gave no warning, they just started cutting power.

Now comes word that critical services did not get cut — hospitals and emergency services, and the stadium in Arlington. Say what? Yup, DART riders got stranded as power to critical signaling devices was cut, hotel guests were stuck in dark elevators and stairwells, disabled people were stuck in their homes in the dark, but Jerry Frigging Jones and his stadium had all the power they needed. God forbid football gets delayed!

So what the hell does the Super Bowl have that that you and I don’t? Apparently cutting power would be a security risk. That is the lame story anyway.

So finally Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst gave us the real answer. Cold weather knocked out about 50 of the 550 power plants in Texas and there also was an increase in demand.

“Lack of adequate winterization and preparation appear to be a major cause of the outages,” he said in a statement. “This is unusually cold weather for Texas, but we obviously need to ensure that we are adequately prepared. That’s why we will continue to work with state agencies and energy providers to find out where problems occurred and how to prevent them in the future.”

So it comes down the the magic Genni of deregulation. Companies bent on squeezing every penny from their investments didn’t have a plan in place for cold weather. Lovely! Instead of buying power from other grids, they just force their problem on the state’s citizens. Meanwhile practice in the stadium goes on as planned.

We can all sleep more soundly, albeit more chilly with the power out, that football will still be played on Sunday. Thank God!

—  admin

DART fails us when we need it most

DART — running in good weather

Even people who don’t usually ride DART should be able to use it as a fallback during inclement weather. During the current winter weather, DART has been a complete failure.

On Tuesday, the train lines did not begin running until 2:30 p.m. DART was completely unprepared as switching signals froze and ice formed on overhead cables.

Subways in Chicago and New York run with power supplied by a third rail. Ice is not a problem. But in cold-weather cities like Denver, light rail runs despite snow and sleet and cold. The trolleys in Boston run with an overhead power supply despite ice and wind.

In those cities, the transportation systems run the trains through the night to keep the power lines defrosted — and keep the trains running during normal operating hours.

DART failed to keep their riders informed. This morning at Hampton Station, a number of riders arrived by 7:30 a.m. They checked DART’s web page and Facebook page on their mobile devices. DART said trains were running at 20-minute intervals and a Green Line train was stuck downtown because of a switching problem.

Station monitors had no information for riders. The only help offered was calling DART four times to tell them ticket machines weren’t working and conductors shouldn’t fine riders who claimed they boarded at Hampton Station.

Those same riders who arrived at 7:30 a.m. finally boarded a train at 8:45.

—  David Taffet

World’s first-ever gay Super Bowl block party planned for Cedar Springs in February

Scott Whittall

It’s being billed as the first-ever gay Super Bowl block party, and it’s planned for Saturday, Feb. 5 on the Cedar Springs strip in Dallas.

Scott Whittall, president of the Cedar Springs Merchants Association, announced today that the “Super Street Party” — organizers are barred from using the term “Super Bowl” — will be from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. on the eve of Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium.

Whittall said recent special events on the strip — including the Arts Fest, the Halloween block party and last weekend’s Sidewalk Sale – have been very successful. So the group didn’t want to miss out on a major opportunity to spotlight the city’s gay entertainment district.

“No matter which two cities’ teams are in the Super Bowl, there are going to be a lot of gay people coming to town,” Whittall said. “We love sports — we’re just like everybody else — and I think sports-minded gay people will come out in force. I don’t think you have to be sports-minded, either, to enjoy a big party.”

In another first, Cedar Springs Road will be fenced from Reagan Street to Throckmorton Street for the Super Street Party, Whittall said.

The fencing requirement, which will apply to all future block parties, is designed to facilitate crowd control and stop people from bringing in alcohol beverages and glass containers. There will be no charge for admission.

The Super Street Party will include beer booths manned by volunteers from local gay sports organization, which will keep a portion of the profits, Whittall said. Any leftover funds will go toward the Merchants Association’s beautification efforts.

“Our main concern is throwing a great party,” he said. “I think the only thing that makes us nervous is the weather. You never know what to expect weather-wise in Dallas in February. But at the same time, cold weather if football weather.”

—  John Wright

November: Grow a ‘stache, save a testicle

Push broom. Lip warmer. Crumb catcher.

The mustache goes by many nicknames, but during the month of November, it’s also a sign of support for men’s health.

“Movember USA” is a group that helps raise money and awareness for men’s health issues, such as testicular and prostate cancer, by sponsoring a sort of “‘Stache for Cash” fundraiser. Men — and, ya know, I guess women, if they’re from central Europe — dedicate to spend the month of November growing out their lady ticklers (bad example!) to raise money for research.

Now, I’ve had a beard or mustache pretty much continuously since 1994, and went back and forth throughout high school, college and law school at that, so it was hard for me to start a mustache anew — but I did. On Halloween, I shaved clean and started fresh on Nov. 1. I’ve trimmed a little around the neck (and actually did more than I should have just before Black Tie), but I’m committed to letting it get as bushy as it needs to by Nov. 30. Then I’ll … well, probably just keep it.

Anyway, if you want to join, or just get hairy for the coming cold weather, visit USMovember.com to sign up or contribute. And I’ll see you at the reunion of 1970s porn stars and Magnum, P.I. lookalikes.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones