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Dallas is finally returning a free admission to all attractions for all teens this coming July according to a Fox 4 News article from June 14. They say, 


“Mayor Eric Johnson and Dallas Parks and Recreation announced the return of the Teen All Access Pass program. 


The program allow teens ages 13-17 and three guests to attend about a dozen museums, attractions and parks in Dallas for free. 


10,000 passes will be available on June 27 on a first-come, first serve basis and will be activated on July 1. They can be picked up at any Dallas rec center. Teens must be present to receive the passes and bring proof of Dallas residency.


The Teen All Access Program will include multiple amenities, parks, museums and libraries which were all listed in a Kera News article from June 13. The article lists, 

  • African American Museum at Fair Park
  • Bahama Beach
  • Dallas Arboretum
  • Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum
  • Dallas Public Library
  • Dallas Zoo
  • Golf Dallas
  • Dallas Office of Arts and Culture (including the Bath House Cultural Center, Latino Cultural Center, South Dallas Cultural Center, Oak Cliff Cultural Center, Dallas Museum of Art)
  • Perot Museum of Nature and Science
  • Shakespeare Dallas
  • Southern Skates Roller Rink
  • Trinity River Audubon Center


Mayor Johnson emphasized that this program will allow and encourage the children to immerse themselves into an educational experience where they will have an opportunity to grow and thrive especially outside school. 


Chicago-based Industrial Giant Caterpillar Construction will be moving its headquarters from Illinois to Irving, Texas according to a US News article from June 14 which reports, 


Construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar said Tuesday it is packing up its headquarters from its longtime home state of Illinois and moving to Texas.


“Caterpillar Inc. said that it’s transferring its global base to the Dallas suburb of Irving, from Deerfield, outside Chicago.


The company had been based in Peoria, Illinois, for over 90 years before announcing a move to Deerfield in 2017. At the time, it touted Deerfield as meeting its goal of being more accessible to its global customers, dealers and employees.


“We believe it’s in the best strategic interest of the company to make this move,” CEO Jim Umpleby said.”


With Caterpillar’s move to Irving comes the excitement and preparation not just for Irving officials but the entire state of Texas according to a Dallas Morning News article from June 14. They say, 


“Beth Bowman, president and CEO of Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce and Irving Economic Development Partnership, said companies choose Irving and D-FW overall because of their business-friendly environment, favorable tax structure and the people.


“Our focus is to make sure Caterpillar, their entire team within their global headquarters, know that they are coming into a community that wants them and we look forward to integrating them,” Bowman said.

Gov. Greg Abbott said the company’s relocation is a “testament to the boundless opportunity Texas has to offer.” He noted that the move means Texas will be home to 54 Fortune 500 companies.


“Businesses of all sizes and people from all backgrounds can grow and succeed in the Lone Star State because we champion a world-class economic environment fueled by the lowest business operating costs in the nation, a reasonable regulatory environment and a lower cost of living coupled with an exceptional quality of life,” Abbott said in a statement.”


Just like a number of companies moving to Texas, Caterpillar did not ask for any incentives for their relocation. Notably, Caterpillar had already set up an office branch in Irving way back in 1960’s. 


A 5,000 square feet area is now a home-office that is available in the market which is catered to those who are in need of an aesthetic, spacious, quiet and productive space according to a Dallas Morning News article from June 5. They say, 


“With hybrid and remote-work options continuing to be the status quo for knowledge workers, according to Harvard Business Review, a loft home within a 12-unit, boutique residential condominium and office building is just the ticket.


Perfect for some of Dallas’ many entrepreneurs, 1925 Cedar Springs showcases the city’s eye-popping architecture and offers the opportunity for a short commute to one of the office spaces downstairs.


The loft at 1925 Cedar Springs Road, unit 302, offered by Trey Bounds and Kyle Crews of Allie Beth Allman & Associates’ Urban Team Dallas, has almost 5,000 square feet of living space. Enter through a two-story atrium that has a custom-built steel staircase leading to the gallery.”


However, Cedar Springs is not just any ordinary home with a work space as it includes different amenities as well as grand architectural designs according to a Dallas Morning News article. They say, 


“The climate-controlled wine room is just off the foyer and offers storage for 3,500-plus bottles. The home’s kitchen has seating at a countertop island, ample cabinet storage and a line of windows along one wall that look over the surrounding urban area.


The main living space has an open-concept design that includes a living area and a dining area. There are built-in cabinets throughout the space and floor-to-ceiling windows along multiple sides fill the space with light. The main living area has easy access to the foyer, wine room and kitchen.

The primary bedroom is a long space with a fireplace and seating area on one side and a bed tucked on the opposite end. There are cabinets along an interior wall that allow for extra storage. The primary bathroom has two sinks, a separate bathtub and shower and a walk-in closet. The remaining bedroom has an en suite bathroom.


Amenities include two assigned parking spaces, additional guest parking, storage and access to the rooftop deck with views of the city.”


Additionally, the 1925 Cedar Springs is also about 10 minutes away from Perot Museum of Nature and Science as well as Klyde Warren Park and Victory Park. 


After being postponed for a few years because of the pandemic, Dallas Pride Festival is finally going off to celebrate their Live Out Loud theme according to a Fox 4 News article from June 4. They say, 


“The annual Dallas Pride Festival returned in full force to Fair Park this weekend after the last several years have been scaled down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


This year’s theme is Live Out Proud.


The family friendly event features games, live entertainment, face painters, and more than 200 local vendors.


The festival runs Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will wrap up with a rainbow-themed fireworks display.”


The festival’s Operation Doctor expressed his huge delight and excitement not just for the festival itself but also to the amount of support that came flocking throughout the pandemic according to an NBC 5 News article from June 5 which says, 


“This means acceptance, love, and honoring and showing that we’re proud of who we are,” said Vincent DeLuna, Operations Director.


“We’re doing it even bigger. We have more floats and we’ve ever had in any parade before,” said DeLuna.


Showing all sides of the LGBTQ community, and how representation matters.

“It’s meaningful for people to be here and express their pride and gratitude together,” said Eli Wenzel who attended the parade.


“Being here represents the progress that we have made over time,” said Mahri Wenzel who attended the parade.”


The amount of support they garnered throughout the parade was so vast and overwhelming that they could not give an actual number to the attendees of the parade. 

Frisco’s Firefly Park

June 14, 2022

A latest huge project called Firefly Park set for Frisco will have different amenities and attractions including a luxury hotel brought by the Dream Hotel Group according to a Local Profile article from May 24. They say, 


“The Dream Hotel Group announced a new hotel for the upcoming Firefly Park in Frisco. Located at US Highway 380 and the Dallas North Tollway, the 200-room hotel will feature a fitnesses center, food and drink offerings, a nightclub, a rooftop pool and bar, and more. 


“As one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, Frisco and the North Dallas area are full of residents looking for new experiences and vibrant food and beverage,” Ariel Sanett, Vice President of Development at Dream Hotel Group, said in an official statement. “Dream Frisco will offer this in spades – a design-focused lifestyle hotel, world-class food and beverage, entertainment, and unparalleled programming. We look forward to expanding our reach to this dynamic city.”


Firefly Park, slated to break ground in 2023, is a mixed-used development with 2,200 luxury residential units, 4.75 million square feet of commercial office space and 380,000 square feet of retail. The development is located next to 230 acres of nature preserve that includes a creek, water ponds, trails and playgrounds.”


The entire Firefly Park will be spearheaded by Wilks Development which is known in West Texas for different industrial projects according to a DMagazine article from May 23 which reports, 


“If you haven’t heard of Wilks Development before, you’re probably not alone; based in the West Texas town of Cisco, the company has primarily developed mixed-use, multifamily, and industrial projects in West Texas and west of Fort Worth. The firm also is developing a 200-acre business park called Markum Ranch in West Fort Worth and a land site in Southlake that’s about 2 miles from Fort Worth Alliance Airport.


Wilks is the son of Farris Wilks, one half of the famous “Wilks Brothers,” who sold a 70 percent interest in their oil and gas services firm Frac Tech for $3.5 billion in 2011. Dan and Farris Wilks founded Frac Tech in 2002 and turned the family business into the largest independent pressure pumping provider in the country.


“The new Dream Hotel in Frisco will provide a hospitality experience unlike any other in the market today and will bring the vibrancy and entertainment of Firefly Park to a whole new level,” Wilks said in a statement.”


There is no definite completion date for the entire Firefly Park as it will include multiple amenities and attractions that will take a longer time to finish. However, the luxury hotel is already set to open in 2026. 


Douglas Pickering, known for his DWP BBQ, is bringing a bar and grill to Lover’s Lane to accommodate family nights and date nights according to a Dallas Morning News article from May 25. They say, 


“The lunch and dinner spot serves smoked meat during the day — Wagyu brisket, St. Louis style ribs and sandwiches — and steaks, smoked salmon and Southern appetizers during dinner hours.


“We’re trying to fill the void of there being no barbecue nearby, now that Sonny Bryan’s has closed [on Lovers Lane in Dallas]. And of course there was Peggy Sue, but that’s gone,” Pickering says.

“We’re trying to create a fun, family-friendly environment, or a date-night spot.”


Pickering has been catering barbecue in Dallas under the name DWP BBQ for about a decade. He has also worked at Ferris Wheeler’s Backyard & BBQ. His new restaurant signals a coming home of sorts, as he opens a restaurant in his neighborhood, with his family name on the outside.


Douglas is very peculiar as to how his bar and grill be presented to and felt by the guests and customers and so he’s not just going to focus on the food but also the atmosphere, design and even the schedule of menu according to an Eater Dallas article which reports, 


“At the same time, Pickering imagines that the 95-seat Douglas Bar and Grill at 6818 Snider Plaza will go beyond a typical barbecue joint. “There’s no sawdust on the floor, no picnic tables,” he says of the 2500-square-feet, shotgun-style restaurant, which will feature an exposed brick wall, banquette seating, and a full bar with 12 to 15 seats.


Expect to stop in for full-service lunch and dinner at Douglas Bar and Grill, which will serve barbecue staples for the lunch crowd. Then at dinner, steaks (like wagyu steak frites) and seafood (as in honey-glazed salmon) will join the menu, as well as interesting cuts of meat for the smoker. “We don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves,” he says. The idea is to appeal to everyone from families to couples for date night to folks at the bar eating fried Saltines with pimento cheese.


“We tried to keep it as Texas possible,” Pickering says, who might serve everything from cold-smoked guacamole to specials like brined, battered, and fried local Texas quail.”


Douglas Bar and Grill is more than a business adventure as it symbolizes a passion project for Pickering himself. 


Despite failing short on Questbridge to avail a jump start for college, Abena Marfo successfully forged her way through Southern Methodist University to become the first from her generation to graduate according to a The Daily Campus article which reports, 


Now as Marfo prepares to graduate from Southern Methodist University in May, she leaves behind a legacy as one of the first students to wear a new honor cord that she helped implement for first-generation graduates for years to come.


Raised by a single mom who moved from Ghana to Dallas and never went to college, Marfo was determined to pave her own way.


“Going to college for me meant some type of access to a sturdier life, meaning both economically, mentally, and socially,” she said.


Marfo wanted to break the repeating cycle in her family and open doors her parents did not have, but Marfo did not know where to begin.”


But the road wasn’t all smooth all the way to her graduation since she juggled her time with different jobs and of course, with the First Generation according to a Dallas Morning News article from May 27. They say, 


“Throughout her academic career, she worked different jobs, some simultaneously, to support herself and take some of the economic burden off her mother. She toiled as a research assistant for a history professor, a tech lab assistant, a peer counselor, a resident assistant and a student ambassador for the university.


“I never had the privilege of just being a student,” Marfo, 22, said. She would not only cover her own expenses, but also help her mother whenever she could.


Marfo quickly realized a need for students like herself to gather at the university, so she co-founded SMU’s First-Generation Association.


As if going to college isn’t already demanding, first-generation students carry loads of additional stressors, she said. The campus organization connects and supports such students as they navigate college.


“I don’t know where I found the energy. I was just … pushing myself so hard,” she said. “I was just looking at the bigger picture.”


Abena Marfo will now be heading to Emory University in Atlanta to further her career education and background by attending Atlanta’s graduate school. 


Franklin BBQ will now not only be known for its unique and delicious barbecue but also as the most instagrammable barbecue joint according to a Dallas Morning News article from May 27 which reports,


“A research study of Instagram post location data by food sensitivity specialist YorkTest has found that renowned Texas barbecue restaurant Franklin BBQ in Austin is “the most Instagrammable barbecue restaurant in the U.S.”


YorkTest looked at the data of over 700 of the most popular barbecue spots in the country, according to a press release, and Franklin BBQ topped the list with over 63,000 posts.


The report showed that at Franklin BBQ, which is run by James Beard Award winner Aaron Franklin, brisket is the biggest favorite among Instagram followers.”



Here are some photos taken from Instagram users who delightly featured the famous barbecue items of Franklin BBQ:


From user extremelyaveragefood who commented on the food’s perfection,


“the widely anticipated FRANKLIN BBQ!!! a 4 hour wait from 7am until its opening at 11am. if you’re wondering whether it’s worth the wait, it is. the food is rly perfectly grilled and you can really tell that it went through hours of smoking/grilling just by the smell alone.”


From user foodswithyu who was incredibly delighted with the food as she posted, 


“Known for the BEST Texas BBQ in Austin, Franklin BBQ rocked my world!! 🍖🌎 “


Just months ago back in December, Franklin BBQ re-opened its doors to Texans after their employees tested positive for COVID-19 and the restaurant could not operate under the circumstances anymore. 

Endeavor Real Estate Group from Austin recently got the approval for their McKinney Avenue mixed-use tower which has been in plan for several years courtesy of Dallas HKS according to a Dallas Morning News article from May 19. They say, 


“The 19-story office and apartment high-rise will be built on a corner at Boll Street and McKinney. The more than $121 million project is set to begin in September and will open in 2025, according to planning documents filed with the state.


Dallas architect HKS designed the 386,000-square-foot building, which has been in the works for several years.


Endeavor purchased the property on McKinney in 2019. The site is now occupied by several small retail and commercial buildings.


Endeavor’s new building would have 290 residential units, almost 60,000 square feet of office space and 15,000 square feet of retail.”


However, the recently approved tower is not the only the soon to rise tower in Uptown as a 27-story tower by Trammell Crow Co. also got its approval earlier according to a The Real Deal article from May 20 which reports, 


“The McKinney and Boll tower is one of several new high-rises on the way in Uptown, located just a few blocks away from where Dallas-based developer Trammell Crow Co. is planning to start work soon on a 27-story tower at McKinney and Maple avenues.


Trammell was able to receive its final approval from the City Council earlier this year to move ahead with the mixed-use tower at 2401 McKinney Avenue. The project will include 698,000 square feet of office space, a new 10,829-square-foot home for Truluck’s, a 12,000-square-foot health club, and 5,000 square feet for a future bank, restaurant, or retail user. It is expected to take two years to complete.”


The Austin-based developer was able to acquire a vote of confidence from the City Planning Commission to which green signaled for the start of the construction and development. 


To prepare for the summer, Southwest Airlines will be giving a huge amenity boost inside their airlines as they plan to add free WiFi connection for the passengers according to a Simple Flying article from May 8 which reports, 


“During Aviation Week’s webinar on Thursday, CEO of the Dallas-based carrier, Robert Jordan, emphasized the importance of improving customer experience post-pandemic, with reliable high-speed WiFi as its number one priority. Passengers will serve as guinea pigs to test the new system on a large scale, though frequent flyers that struggle with good connectivity will likely welcome the experiment.


“Just look at what you could do on your phone 10 years ago and what you can now do on your phone today in terms of things like self-service. The customer experience, expectation is always changing.”


Forty of Southwest’s Boeing 737 jets will be equipped with upgraded WiFi systems, providing free WiFi onboard specified flights until June 10.


The airline currently offers WiFi for $8 a day; however, it blocks “high-bandwidth” websites, including Netflix and HBO Max, and video-conferencing services. According to a company memo released by CNBC, the new service will allow customers to “stream, browse and engage on the internet.”


However, WiFi will not be the only thing that will be upgraded with Southwest’s $2 billion allotment for amenities as it is to include plugs and overhead bins according to a Dallas Morning News article from May 11. They say,  


“The new perks could be needed to keep customers happy as airfares rise along with spikes in prices for other travel needs, such as hotels and rental cars.

The new, bigger overhead bins will come on Boeing 737 Max jets with deliveries starting this fall, the company said. It didn’t address whether bag sizes or weight limits will be increased, but larger bins would theoretically give more room for luggage as well as carry-ons such as coats, laptop bags and purses.


The power ports on seats should also come with those new 737 Max jets set to be delivered early next year.They will include USB-A and USB-C power ports near the tray tables so they don’t take legroom from passengers. Southwest Airlines has long skipped power plugs at seats, despite competition from other airlines. This move is a change of strategy as airlines embark on being more mobile-friendly.”


Last but not least, Southwest is also looking into the possibility of increasing the number of free movies available in their entertainment app to ensure the satisfaction and happiness of passengers who they want to have a friendly and low-cost travel. 


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