Wendy Davis works the phones, rallies supporters

LGBT activist Patti Fink was among the Dallas area Democrats who turned out Monday night for a rally for Wendy Davis and a phone bank for the Democratic slate of candidates. She graciously shared some of her photos with Dallas Voice.

—  Tammye Nash

No Family Pride Zone at Lee Park this year

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Michael Doughman

Dallas Tavern Guild Executive Director Michael Doughman has announced that the Family Pride Zone will not return to the Festival in Lee Park this year. The Tavern Guild is the organization that produces the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade — Dallas’ annual LGBT Pride parade — each year and the festival held immediately following the parade.

“The Family Pride Zone at the Festival in Lee Park last year was an absolute social success and the community responded very positively to its presence as a part of Dallas Pride. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a great financial success,” Doughman said in a letter to sponsors who had already signed up for the Family Pride Zone this year. “Due to that fact and the lack of sponsorship dollars for 2014, we have had to cancel all plans for a Family Pride Zone at the 2014 Festival in Lee Park.”

Doughman went on to say DTG officials considered the Family Pride Zone “a valuable and exciting new growth piece to Dallas Pride,” and added that organizers “are not abandoning the concept and plan an aggressive sponsorship campaign for next year to garner funding to produce the Family Pride Zone in 2015.”

He said that any sponsorship fees for Family Pride Zone 2014 that have already been paid will be refunded.

The Family Pride Zone, held last year for the first time, was a section of Lee Park set aside as an alcohol-free, family-friendly area designated specifically for families with younger children. Doughman noted that Dallas Pride was the first Pride celebration in Texas to establish such a space.

For information on being part of Family Pride Zone 2015, email Doughman at michaeldoughman@sbcglobal.net or call 214-358-4006.

—  Tammye Nash

City spraying for mosquitoes tonight, Tuesday night

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Weather permitting, the city of Dallas will be spraying for mosquitoes in the 75230 zip code tonight and Tuesday night between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., in response to a mosquito pool near the 6600 block of Brookshire Drive testing positive for West Nile Virus.

The area to be sprayed is bounded, in general, by Azalea Lane on the north, Tulane Boulevard on the west, Airline Road on the east and Walnut Hill on the south side.

The insecticide being used is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. Still, those in the described area during the spraying should avoid contact with the spray by staying indoors. Anyone caught in their vehicle while trucks are actively spraying should stay in their vehicles with the AC on and the windows up until the trucks have passed and the spray is no longer visible. If you get the spray on you, wash thoroughly with soap and water.

City officials said the spray breaks down quickly in the presence of sunlight and has no residual effects.

Residents are also encouraged to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Stay inside as much as possible at dusk and later into the evening. When you are outside, make sure your arms and legs are covered and use a mosquito repellent. Officials also encouraged residents to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds by getting rid of pools of standing water. This can include swimming pools that are not kept clean, stagnant ponds, pet watering dishes, birdbaths, potted plants, old tires, empty containers, toys and clogged rain gutters and French drains. And do it quickly: Mosquitoes can grow from egg to adult in as little as seven days.

To report standing water or mosquito problems Dallas residents should call 3-1-1. For additional information on Mosquito Control click here.

—  Tammye Nash

Queer Index ranks 35 gay-friendly U.S. cities. So how does Dallas do?

IMG_1746The Queer Index is a survey of the 35 most LGBT-friendly cities in the U.S., based on 32 publicly available data and 16 “lifestyle metrics.” The top three are pretty much what you’d expect: Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco. But how does Dallas fare?

Not so well, actually. Our hometown didn’t even crack the top 35 — and neither did Texas city Houston and Arizona’s Phoenix (all three are in the top 10 population cities in the U.S.). Indeed, the city farthest south on the list was Denver, Colo. — hardly a stalwart of ol’ Dixie.

Rounding out the top 10 are Des Moines, Iowa (No. 4), Chicago (5), Seattle (6), Albany, N.Y. (7), Rochester, N.Y. (8), Denver (9) and Madison, Wisc. (10).

Of course, the metrics themselves are fairly arbitrary. For instance, one of the 16 “key lifestyle metrics” is “availability of hookups;” a separate one is “availability of casual sex.” I’m not sure “sluttiness” and “friendliness” are comparable, but there you have it.

There were some interesting statistics, such as the highest percentage of single lesbians are in Memphis, that Boston has the highest number of anti-gay hate crimes and that more than 2,000 same-sex “casual encounters” are posted on Craigslist every day in NYC alone.

The survey was undertaken by a new media company called Vocativ; you can read the entire index here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

City crews work to clean up Oak Lawn

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Downed trees blocked traffic on Fitzhugh Avenue

Downed trees and flashing traffic lights slowed commutes in Oak Lawn this morning after Thursday’s storm.

City crews were out working around the area after Oak Lawn received more than 3 1/2 inches of rain accompanied by winds up to 70 miles per hour. Parts of Turtle Creek Boulevard were still closed Friday because of debris blocking the road. Portions of the street flooded for a short time as the stream rose out of its banks.

—  David Taffet

Employees’ Retirement Fund board takes up city of Dallas pensions

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The board of trustees for the city’s Employees’ Retirement Fund brainstormed ideas Tuesday morning about the best approach to make the pension plan equal for LGBT retirees.

The Dallas City Council passed a comprehensive equality resolution last month directing the city manager to evaluate areas in city employment where disparities for LGBT employees exist. Among them, were the pension plans.

Under the current plan, opposite-sex spouses receive lifetime benefits when their spouses die, but same-sex spouses are treated as designees, and their benefits run out after 10 years.

The ERF board spent half an hour discussing the resolution, as well as the state’s constitutional marriage amendment and the Texas Family Code, both of which prevent the state from recognizing same-sex marriages.

—  Anna Waugh

PHOTOS: Jillian Michaels maximizes time in Dallas with tour visit

Jillian Michaels at SMU's McFarlin Auditorium on April 4. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

Jillian Michaels at SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium on April 4. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

Jillian Michaels, out trainer on The Biggest Loser, brought her “Maximize Your Life” tour to Dallas this weekend. As expected, she was spunky, uplifting and demanding all at once, dishing out some tough love in the areas of eating, workout and life habits — all while continuing to tell the audience at SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium that Dallasites are so nice. It’s our Southern charm, to be sure.

While the program got off to a late start with traffic delays because of the Final Four in town, the program ran about two hours, giving attendees a quality show that even included a brief Q&A at the end.

While this writer went in looking for motivation in various areas of her life, Michaels told the audience halfway through she couldn’t give them motivation; instead, everyone had to find his or her own internal motivation as external motivation eventually wavers and success wanes. Message received.

But it was an inspiring show with Michaels’ own personal experiences and some Biggest Loser highlights revisited. By the end of the night, she left us wanting more and waiting for the next tour.

If you bought a VIP ticket, photos from the meet and greet can be found here. And if you scroll through them, you’ll find a cameo appearance from finance guru Suze Orman, who was in town and stopped by for a photo.

More photos below.

—  Anna Waugh

John Ross watched ‘Dallas’ in Dallas last night

How meta — and freakishly cool — is this:

Last night, while I was at home watching this week’s new episode of Dallas on my li’l TV, my friend and roommate Patrick Edmonson was out being more social, enjoying half-price pizza night at Three Sheets, where they also happened to have Dallas playing on the TV.

Patrick probably did a double-take when he realized that the polite young man sitting on the patio looked a lot like the smoldering badass John Ross conniving on the tube to drill at Southfork. A whole lot like him. Like, dead ringer.

Cuz that was him, Josh Henderson, enjoying a beer with fellow cast member Kevin Page, a cameraman from the show and a few friends.

Well, Patrick has never been shy about getting his photo taken with a celeb, which he did. And he says John Ross … er, Josh … was a delight.

“He was super-friendly, very pleasant and talked for a bit,” Patrick says. “He said they were on Southfork today [shooting] at 6 a.m., so after a couple of more drinks they were leaving.”

It was kind of funny as well that last night’s episode also featured a scene shot at the Round-Up Saloon — which on the ep, was made up to be a straight bar. Guess none of the straight bars in town actually had real cowboys. That’s our Dallas, Dallas.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Frank Librio resigns his post as Dallas spokesman, takes CVB job

Frank Librio, shown here in the city's 'It Gets Better' video last year.

Frank Librio, shown here in the city’s ‘It Gets Better’ video last year.

City of Dallas spokesman Frank Librio has resigned from his role as managing director of the Public Information Office to become the Convention and Visitors Bureau’s vice president of communications.

Librio, who’s openly gay, has worked for the city for nearly a decade and was instrumental last year in the making of an “It Gets Better” video, which featured more than a dozen city employees including himself. His last day is March 21.

In his resignation letter, Librio called his new role a “dream job” where he’ll “continue to help promote our great city.”

“I have worked with so many smart and talented employees — all working together to make our city better,” he wrote in the letter. “I will look back on my time at City Hall fondly and with great pride and gratitude.”

Read his letter below.

—  Anna Waugh

REVIEW: ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ season 6 premiere

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For devotees of RuPaul’s Drag Race, one of the joys of each new season is discovering the hot new term of the year: “Eleganza extravaganza” and “hunty” are memorable one that played out for a season then wafted into the ether. But in addition to “fishy,” which has lingered (the way fish do), the word for the 6th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, which kicks off tonight, is “sickening.” And for fans, that’s just what it is.

Ru is back, of course, as are judges Michelle Visage and Santino Rice, but there are some shakeups: New members of the Pit Crew for one (brought to you by Scruff, no less!) and a “divided” season premiere that may become the standard for future reality competition shows. Divided how, you ask? Well, only half of the 14 queens on this season compete in the season opener; the remaining half-dozen-plus won’t show up until Episode 2 next week. Which means your chances of being cut — and the focus on you — are twice what they usually are. No coasting, girls … you gotta work it from out the gates.

For fans (including yours truly), it’s a boon to spend more quality time with each queen early in the season and establish favorites, whether it Adore (bitchy but delightful) or Ben DeLaCreme, and the competitions are just as intense as ever. Best yet is guest judge Adam Lambert (sporting some sexy whiskers).

The season premiere conflicts with the premiere tonight also of Dallas, but that’s the great thing about cable — you can always DVR one or catch the replay a few hours later. Whichever you do, figure out a way to watch both … and as Ru would say, don’t f*** it up.

And read about former contestant Alyssa Edwards in this week’s issue of Dallas Voice.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones