Lone Star Ride distributes $150K to 3 AIDS services organizations during party at Salum

Allan Gould, Don Maison and Cece Cox
Allan Gould, Don Maison and Cece Cox accept a check from the Lone Star Ride. To see more photos from the wrap party on Sunday at Salum, go here.

On Sunday, Oct. 24, Lone Star Ride distributed $150,000 to AIDS Services of Dallas, the AIDS Outreach Center and Resource Center Dallas. AOC Executive Director Allan Gould, ASD President and CEO Don Maison and RCD Executive Director Cece Cox were on hand to accept the check.

At the party at Salum on Travis Street, Michael Veale was given an award for bringing in the most new donors.

Ralph Randall was the single biggest fundraiser. He attributed his success in collecting money to relentless behavior.

“You can’t be timid and raise money,” he said.

He didn’t allow the down economy to dissuade him from asking.

“This disease doesn’t have an economic cycle,” he said. “Always ask. All they can say is no. Don’t give up.”

He raised twice as much this year as he did last year. He said he did the ride in honor of a friend of his with HIV and he gave his plaque to him.

“I do a lot of these rides, ” said rider Allan Chernoff. “This is the best supported ride in Texas.”

“Absolutely!” said Eric Markinson about riding again next year. He is part of Team Blazing Saddles.

“I’m very proud of Team Dallas Voice,” said rider and Dallas Voice Publisher Robert Moore. “They worked very hard. They put the beneficiaries in sight on the road ahead.”

Team Dallas Voice raised more money than any other team in the history of the Lone Star Ride. The total topped $50,000 this year.

Shelly Morrow was a first-year rider from Glen Rose who is planning to participate again next year.

“The closing ceremonies really got to me,” she said.

The closing ceremonies held at base camp at the American Airlines Training and Conference Center near DFW Airport included a performance by the Turtle Creek Chorale and wheeling in the riderless bike. That bike symbolized all the people lost to AIDS. They retired the number of a rider who passed away since the previous ride.

“And next year, I’ll try not to take out anyone, especially a writer,” Morrow said.

Morrow and I collided about 18 miles into the ride. My back brakes failed as we were checking directions on the route. I went over my handlebars onto the street. Although we had been riding together for several miles, she didn’t realize that I wrote for Dallas Voice until she saw my write-up on this blog.

To see more photos from Sunday’s wrap party, go here.

—  David Taffet

UPDATED: Man robbed at gunpoint just 1 block from strip; suspects make off with $500 in cash

Between the shooting of Doug Tull and another holdup last week on Travis Street, it sure seems as though there’s been a rash of gun-involved robberies targeting gay bar patrons of late.

The most recent robbery occurred at 10:15 p.m. Friday at 4000 Dickason Ave., which is at the intersection of Reagan Street, just one block from the Cedar Springs strip.

The suspects pointed a gun at the 21-year-old white male victim and demanded his property, before making off with $500 in cash and a cell phone valued at $500, according to police reports.

Sr. Cpl. Kevin Janse, a spokesman for the Dallas Police Department, said Tuesday that no arrests have been made in the case. The suspects are described as two Latin males in their 20s, Janse said. One is about 5 feet, 8 inches tall and was wearing a white shirt at the time of the robbery.

“There is no evidence that links this to any other robberies in the area,” Janse said.

UPDATE: The victim, who asked not to be identified, said he had walked around the corner from JR.’s  to retrieve his keys from a friend’s car that was parked on Dickason Avenue. He said he was leaning into the car when the two suspects came out of nowhere and put a gun to his head.

“I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, are they going to shoot me? Is this a hate crime or am I about to get mugged?’” he said. “I had no idea what was going on. It was the quickest thing ever, but I’ve never been more scared in my life.”

The victim, who’s gay, said he thinks bars in the area need to do a better job of making it safe.

“I really feel like the bars need to step up their game,” he said. “They need to invest in the people who spend the money, and they need to protect them.”

As he was running back to JR’s, the victim said he saw one of the suspects fleeing behind Woody’s and notified a security guard. “The security guard wouldn’t do anything. He told me I needed to chill out.”

The victim said he was carrying a large amount of cash because he was in a fender bender earlier in the day and had been unable to go to the bank.

“I was alone. It was stupid,” he said, adding that the suspects must have thought they hit the lottery. “I would never even think that that area would be a safety issue.”

The victim said he doesn’t plan to go back to the area anytime soon.

“You just have to be careful, especially with the whole gay Pride thing coming up,” he said. “It’s just scary. I don’t even know how it happened. It’s kind of like a dream, a bad, bad dream — a nightmare.”

—  John Wright

Another gay bar patron robbed at gunpoint

The robbery occurred in this area of Travis Street near Fitzhugh Avenue, according to one of the victim’s friends who witnessed it. Dallas Voice offices are in the background.

A group of three gay men who attended the Adam Lambert concert on Tuesday night were thrilled that they also got a chance to hang out with the young pop icon when he showed up at BJ’s NXS on Fitzhugh Avenue after the concert.

But they weren’t so thrilled when one of them was robbed at gunpoint on Travis Street about a block from BJ’s — and less than a block from Dallas Voice offices — as they were returning to their car.

According to Dallas police reports, the 23-year-old victim was running down the street at about 2 a.m. because it was raining heavily. As the victim neared some  bushes, the suspect jumped out, grabbed him by the hair and slung him to the ground, putting a gun to his head. The suspect, a Latin male, was accompanied by four other Latin males who were standing near a cream-colored, four-door, older-model Cadillac.

The suspect told the victim to empty his pockets and put his hands up, police reports say. The victim gave the suspect his cell phone and chapstick, and the suspect pulled off his ring and bracelets.

When one of the victim’s two friends came running up from behind yelling at the suspects, they jumped in the car and took off.

The victim’s other friend, who’d run ahead of him at the time of the robbery, contacted Dallas Voice on Thursday. In the wake of a shooting the week before in Oak Lawn, he said he wanted to remind people to be aware and travel in numbers when visiting the gay bars. The witness said he felt like his friend may have been targeted because they were leaving a gay bar. In addition to BJ’s, Zippers and Pub Pegasus are in the immediate area. The victim’s friend noted that parking is sometimes difficult along Fitzhugh on busy nights, which is why their car was a few blocks away.

The victim’s friend said the suspects yelled at him and tried to chase him as he ran past. When he realized they were robbing his friend, he came running back. The third friend, who was running behind the victim, ran up at about the same time. As the victim’s two friends converged, the suspects took off.

The victim and his two friends quickly got in their vehicle and drove away from the area. The victim was unhurt, but his friend said it took him about 15 minutes to calm down and stop crying. They reported the crime the following morning. A Dallas police spokesman couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

“We were lucky — we are very, very lucky to be alive,” the victim’s friend said. “I think it’s important to know that it’s still going on out there.”

UPDATE: Sr. Cpl. Kevin Janse informs us that no further suspect information is available. Janse said the suspect was wearing a mask. Anyone with information about the case can call DPD at 214-670-4414.

—  John Wright