News Around Our Neighborhood – May 1, 2014

Courtesy of the Lakewood/East Dallas Advocate, these news briefs are excerpted from stories originally published on lakewood.advocatemag.com.

Mata-Montessori-School-1024x766On Thursday night, the Dallas ISD board of trustees did not vote on proposals to convert Eduardo Mata into an opt-in Montessori school and allow Mount Auburn Elementary families, whose children move to Mata after third-grade, to attend a single school throughout elementary. Instead, trustees approved an amendment that gave district administrators the authority to reconfigure the two schools, implicitly approving the plans.

The result is that Mount Auburn will open next fall as a pre-kindergarten through fourth-grade school, and Mata will reopen as a pre-kindergarten through second-grade Montessori school, with priority given to students in the Woodrow Wilson High School feeder pattern.

Side Note: Any parents who are interested in their kids attending next year need to fill out the form and turn it into the school by May 15. This would include parents of kids going into kindergarten through second grades, as well as parents of children who will be 3 or 4 by by the 2014-15 school year, as Montessori includes pre-K students.

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Mecca-Restaurant-closing-240x180If you have even the slightest inkling that you might crave a cinnamon roll the size of a dinner plate in the near future, well the future is now. The Mecca Restaurant — the only place I know of where you can get a king-sized cinnamon roll — is closing its Skillman-Live Oak location on Sunday, April 27, at 5 p.m., says general manager Ramiro Aguilar. But it won’t be gone forever. Owner Michael Sealy is shopping for a new location, although at this point no one knows where. Throughout the transition, Mecca will also continue to cater breakfast, lunch and dinner options, including its famous cinnamon rolls and bread pudding.

If this all seems rather sudden, that’s because it is. There was no talk of moving before the decision was announced. “It was kind of sprung on us,” Ramiro says. Even still, it was Mecca’s decision to leave. Mecca began serving “home cooking” in 1938, and it had a 40-year run on Harry Hines, but since moving to the Skillman-Live Oak shopping center two years ago, the restaurant hasn’t been lucrative enough to handle the rent. “Business here has been really slow,” Ramiro explains. “The rent here is ridiculously high. Our sales being low, it’s just not happening.”

13.12.29-Boy-Scout-Hil_opt1In a statement released by their new publicist, Lyle Burgin and Richard Kopf have suspended their efforts to build a restaurant on White Rock Lake’s Boy Scout Hill. “We both firmly believe that the concept would be an excellent amenity for all of the citizens of Dallas, but the present time is not the right time. We thank all of the individuals and groups that have voiced their support. And we will see you at the lake!”, they said.

The announcement comes on the heels of an Old Lake Highlands meeting Tuesday night when more than 500 people from around the lake came out, mostly in protest of the project. At the meeting, Burgin and Kopf indicated they would forge ahead with their presentations, unconvinced that the crowd represented the majority opinion of residents around the lake. But now, they’ve abandoned the plan. The proposal had not yet made it to City Hall. Willis Winters, director of the parks department, told the developers back in December that they needed community support before the idea could be seriously considered.

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Arboretum-Village-cropped-1024x361The Fresh Market
‘s future home in the Arboretum Village shopping center at Gaston-Garland-Grand “is a very strategic location to serve both sides of [White Rock] Lake,” says Rob Koch, vice-president of real estate. “That East Dallas neighborhood, especially along the lake, is an area that, through our research, we found is a neighborhood that should serve us well,” Koch says. Nearby residents are a “good sample of the core customer or profile that we target,” Koch continues, with the areas around White Rock being “established markets” and encompassing “the density and activity we look for in a neighborhood.” The store is slated to open in October, and is one of three stores the North Carolina-based grocer plans to roll out in Dallas; the others are in Southlake and at Turtle Creek Village, which, like Arboretum Village, is being developed by Lincoln Property Company. Koch believes Lincoln’s redevelopment of the Gaston-Garland-Grand center will “make it a new focal point.” (We have a call into Lincoln Property’s Robert Dozier about any other Arboretum Village updates.)
Screen-Shot-2014-03-04-at-11.17.53-AM1Several weeks after Digg’s Taco Shop first let us in on its plans to open a location in Arboretum Village — the shopping center still under construction at Gaston-Garland-Grand — things are finally settled. “The lease has been signed. We’re in!” owner Joey Milan confirmed in an email. Digg’s will be roomies with Starbucks in a building that will be built near the corner of Gaston and Garland. Starbucks will get about 1,800 square feet of the building, and Digg’s will get about 2,200 square feet, Milan says.

This will be Milan’s third Digg’s location. He originally founded Digg’s near SMU, right across Central from East Dallas. He then opened an Arlington location, but it recently closed and Milan is hoping to resurrect it in Southlake. For more about Digg’s Taco Shop, read our previous story.

Woodrow-new-flag-pole-with-flagsWe know we love Woodrow Wilson High School, but this week The Washington Post gave it some lovin’, too. The Washington Post listed Woodrow among the most challenging schools in America, along with eight other Dallas ISD schools. The top 1,900 schools were chosen from nearly 25,000 high schools in the nation, according to a press release from Dallas ISD. “Each student, parent, teacher and other school staff members should be commended for their commitment and dedication,” says superintendent Mike Miles.

To determine the rankings, the newspaper takes the total number of advanced placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year and divides that figure by the number of seniors who graduated the previous year.  Woodrow, the only IB high school in Dallas, also made the list in Newsweek in earlier years.

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