External Features of an Apartment That Is Worth Renting

Put any house on rent demands that the tenant is satisfied with the features of the house. In general, the tenant would do well to inspect both the external and internal features of the house. This is the only way one would be sure about the state of the house. On the other hand, making an informed decision would be practically impossible without taking this step. Suppose you are looking for north end apartments dallas to rent, the following information is for you.

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North Korea, US in tug of war over dialogue

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

North Korea and the United States are in a tug-of-war over whether to resume dialogue as South Korea seeks to boost peace momentum surrounding the Korean Peninsula by mediating their talks.

On Monday, Pyongyang criticized Washington for “standing in the way of Korean reunification” in what is viewed as an attempt to take the initiative in future talks. This is in contrast to its earlier dialogue overture.

“The U.S. is throwing a wet blanket on our will to improve inter-Korean relations and pursue independent reunification,” said Uriminzokkiri, the regime’s state-controlled website.

“Washington apparently doesn’t welcome the reunification of Seoul and Pyongyang, continuously bringing in nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula to prevent the two Koreas from improving their bilateral ties,” it said.

Despite the rare peace momentum taking shape across the peninsula, South Korea has remained cautious over whether to accept a recent proposal by the North to hold an inter-Korean summit, due to the longstanding Seoul-Washington alliance.

President Moon Jae-in said last week the government aims to take advantage of the North’s reconciliatory gesture to pave the way for a U.S.-North Korea dialogue.

This has weakened the anti-Pyongyang stance in Washington, with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Saturday expressing willingness to have talks with the North.

But the North still shows little sign of coming to terms with the mood for dialogue with the U.S., calling the latter a major source of intensifying tension on the peninsula, according to a commentary released Monday from Rodong Sinmun, the propaganda newspaper of Pyongyang’s Workers’ Party of Korea.

“If the ongoing thaw in inter-Korean relations comes to a dead stop, the U.S. would have to take full responsibility for the aftermath,” it noted.

Under the title of “provocations from war fanatics,” the commentary also denounced the U.S. for planning to resume joint military drills after the closing of the PyeongChang Paralympic Games next month.

“A sense of danger is sweeping across the Korean Peninsula, with massive strategic weapons and troops continuously deployed in the South,” it said.

South Korea’s Ministry of Unification remained careful over the planned resumption of the annual South-Korea-U.S. military exercises, as it will draw strong backlash from the regime. The ministry said the recent warming of inter-Korean relations is still like walking on eggshells, as Washington wishes to carry out the drills soon after the Olympics.

The exercise, which normally takes place around late February to early March every year, was postponed until after late March due to the ongoing PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

The decision came amid concerns over the North’s possible military provocations during the global sporting event. But the U.S. has in recent weeks reaffirmed its plan to resume the drill “right after” the closing of the Paralympics.

“The U.S. aims to put an end to the warming inter-Korean relations upon the closing of the Olympics by making a big noise over its plans to conduct the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle joint military drills,” the commentary said.

It also noted the U.S. has had no intention to promote peace on the peninsula from the beginning, only showing wicked behavior to spoil the mood for easing inter-Korean tension.

Even if the U.S. remains open to holding dialogue with the North, the former has underlined there will be “no compromise” with the regime.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday in a speech in Dallas that the country would continue “standing up against” the North Korean nuclear and missile programs, pledging to toughen political and economic pressure under the goal of denuclearizing the regime.


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6 first-round trade targets for the Cowboys in the 2018 NFL draft

With an average of eight trades in the first round each year, the first night of the NFL draft is sure to include some wheeling and dealing — how aggressive will the Cowboys be?

The last time the Cowboys traded up in the first round? The 2012 draft, moving from No. 14 to No. 6 and drafting cornerback Morris Claiborne. Dallas surrendered a second-round pick (No. 45 overall) to the then-St. Louis Rams to complete the deal. Picks Nos. 45, 46 and 47 that year? Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and linebackers Mychal Kendricks and Bobby Wagner.

The last time the Cowboys traded back in the first round? The 2013 draft, moving from No. 18 to No. 31 and drafting future Pro Bowl center Travis Fredrick. Dallas received a third-round pick in the deal, which was below-average value according to most trade charts. However, the Cowboys turned that pick into wide receiver Terrance Williams (No. 74 overall), who has started 58 games in his five seasons as a pro.

Odds are, the Cowboys will stay at No. 19 and make a pick. However, the phone lines (and minds in the war room) will be open. It is too early in the draft process to have a firm understanding of where players will land on draft day. However, this is an early look at possible trade targets, both up and down.

Trade-up targets:
Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

An impressive size/speed athlete, Edmunds has the frame of a defensive end and the athleticism of a safety. He uses his movement skills and instincts in unison to be a "cleaner" linebacker, tidying up the messes of his teammates. Edmunds is still very young in both mind and body, but his physical traits and impact potential are off the charts. He would be an ideal fit as the MIKE linebacker in the Cowboys’ scheme, but Dallas likely needs to trade into the top 12 to get him.

Vita Vea, DT, Washington

A prospect with freaky skills, Vea doesn’t have the production or consistency of a top-15 pick, but his high-upside traits are why Dallas will likely need to trade up for him. He has the unique ability to anchor/split double-teams on one play and then chase ballcarriers to the sideline on the next. Vea relies on brute strength over technical savvy, but his rare combination of athleticism and power at his size makes him an ideal 1-technique defensive tackle for the Cowboys.

Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

The top wide receiver prospect in the 2018 draft, Ridley would be an ideal fit as the "Z" receiver in the Cowboys’ offense. And his skill set is exactly what Dallas is missing. Ridley has above-average play speed and crafty route-running to create his own space, which would aid Dak Prescott immensely on downfield throws. A player with Ridley’s skills would also draw coverage away from Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley and help open sectors of the field for Ezekiel Elliott to run free.

Trade-down targets:
Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia

A possible Cowboys target at No. 19, Wynn is a first-round prospect, but Dallas may be able to trade back 6-10 spots and still land him. After starting all 15 games last season at left tackle, Wynn made the expected move inside to guard during Senior Bowl practices and was arguably the best player at the event. He is a plug-and-play lineman who would be an ideal fit at left guard for the Cowboys with the skills to kick outside to tackle in a pinch.

Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford

While Vita Vea is a trade-up option if the Cowboys are looking for an upgrade at the 1-tech, Phillips is a possibility if they trade back. The nose tackle in Stanford’s 3-4 base scheme, he pulled off the rare feat of leading the team in tackles, tackles for loss and sacks in 2017. Phillips is a bully on the interior with hammer hands and his wrestling background, also flashing the instincts to make plays.

Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State

The Hall-of-Fame career of Jason Witten is winding down and the Cowboys need to groom his replacement. Arguably the top tight end in this class, Goedert has several similarities to vintage No. 82 with his versatility to stretch the seam, threaten the defense after the catch and stay home and block if needed.

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Here’s How U.S.-North Korea Crises Typically End

North and South Korean soldiers stare each other down in 1996, along the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas.

How will the standoff over North Korea’s nuclear weapons end? Will Kim Jong Un buckle under pressure and roll back his nuclear program, or will he press forward in completing an arsenal that can threaten the whole world? Will Donald Trump make good on his threats to take military action against the North, or will he focus on deterring Kim from ever using his nukes?

It’s impossible to answer these questions with certainty. But it’s possible to find clues in the historical record. And history suggests that the current crisis is unlikely to devolve into fighting—that the more probable outcome is one or both leaders backing down and reaching a compromise.

Long before North Korea was antagonizing America with missile and nuclear tests, it was seizing American spy ships, downing American planes, and hacking American soldiers to death. In 2007, the Congressional Research Service catalogued well over 100 North Korean provocations against the United States and its allies over the previous 57 years, ranging in severity from the digging of a cross-border tunnel to the invasion of South Korea in 1950. That invasion sparked a three-year war that left millions dead. Since then, however—from the bombing of a South Korean airplane in 1987 to the more recent sinking of a South Korean warship and shelling of a South Korean island in the same year—no North Korean provocation has resulted in a major military conflict.

There Is No Precedent for What America Wants From North Korea

There is reason to believe this time could be different. History is not destiny. North Korea is nearing a truly new frontier: possessing the capability to target the United States with the world’s deadliest weapons. Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s young, audacious leader, has exhibited a penchant for provocation and a distaste for negotiation, in just six years testing far more missiles than his father and grandfather combined. And Donald Trump is an exceptional president, who has said as much. “I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this very dangerous position,” Trump said regarding North Korea in his recent State of the Union address. “Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation.” Neither leader appears inclined to back down from a confrontation.

Yet there is also a reason why the history is what it is. While American and North Korean leaders have risen and fallen, while the Cold War has come and gone, while North Korea’s arms have expanded from artillery to chemical and biological weapons to nuclear weapons, certain realities have not changed. “Structural forces,” such as the “formidable military capabilities” of the United States and North Korea, and the geographic proximity of South Korea and China to North Korea, constrain the decision-making even of seemingly singular leaders such as Trump and Kim, the political scientists Michael Horowitz and Elizabeth Saunders recently wrote. “And these factors reduce the likelihood of war.”

From the U.S. perspective, confronting North Korea has always been complicated by the North’s inscrutable leadership, ties to Russia and China, and capacity to lash out at Americans and America’s allies in one of the most vital and volatile regions on earth. As a result, the prospect of unleashing a second Korean war has repeatedly proved more daunting than the latest act of North Korean aggression. The United States has succeeded in avoiding a military conflagration, but often at the expense of signaling to the North Koreans that so long as the North doesn’t stage an unacceptably massive provocation, America will react with restraint—maybe even with concessions.

Below are the most prominent examples of these provocations and brief accounts of how each crisis played out. Since the pressing question at the moment is how the United States will respond to the direct threat of a long-range North Korean nuclear capability, the cases involve either North Korean attacks on the United States or demonstrations of military capabilities that pose grave dangers to the U.S. and its allies.

The Blue House Raid and Pueblo Seizure

Year: 1968

North Korean provocation: Thirty-one North Korean commandos snuck across the Korean Demilitarized Zone and attempted to kill South Korean President Park Chung Hee at his Blue House residence, sparking clashes that left numerous South Koreans and several American soldiers dead. Two days later, North Korean forces opened fire on a U.S. Navy spy ship called the USS Pueblo, seizing a literal boatload of U.S. intelligence secrets, killing one American sailor, and holding hostage 82 other crew members.

U.S. response: President Lyndon Johnson weighed a range of military responses to the seizure of the Pueblo, including snatching a North Korean vessel, implementing a naval blockade, launching air strikes, sending ground forces over the DMZ, and even using nuclear weapons in the event that the North invaded the South. And South Korean officials—including an incensed, nearly assassinated president—demanded that the United States take “punitive action” against North Korean leader Kim Il Sung and considered attacking the North themselves.

Johnson built up U.S. air and naval assets in the waters off the Korean peninsula. But he ultimately restrained American and South Korean hawks. Forceful U.S. retaliation would probably make it impossible to free the sailors, invite North Korean countermeasures, and “bring the Chinese and Soviets more directly into the situation”—risking military escalation that an America consumed by the Vietnam War had no interest in, U.S. officials reasoned.

The United States instead entered into protracted negotiations with the North Koreans, who released the crew 11 months after they were taken captive. The U.S. bizarrely issued an apology to North Korea that it simultaneously repudiated. The Pueblo itself was never returned, and is now a floating North Korean museum.

Resolution: The United States staged a display of military force but eventually chose diplomacy to free the sailors.

Who backed down first: The United States.

The EC-121 Shootdown

Year: 1969

North Korean provocation: North Korean fighter jets shot down an American EC-121 plane on a routine reconnaissance mission over international waters, in the country’s most aggressive act against the United States since the Korean War. All 31 Americans on board were killed.

U.S. response: Facing its first international crisis, the Nixon administration half-heartedly considered many of the military responses that Johnson studied. But Richard Nixon, who had campaigned against Johnson’s “weak” handling of the Pueblo affair, settled on a symbolic show of force: dispatching a couple aircraft carriers to the Sea of Japan and redeploying reconnaissance planes escorted by fighter jets to the region. “The weak can be rash,” Secretary of State William Rogers declared. “The powerful must be more restrained.”

Nevertheless, the administration subsequently elaborated dozens of contingency plans to respond to the next hostile act by North Korea—ranging from bombing North Korean airfields to limited or all-out nuclear attacks on North Korea’s military capabilities. Henry Kissinger, the national-security adviser at the time, captured the conundrum plaguing the exercise: The military options “that seemed safe were inadequate to the provocation, while those that seemed equal to the challenge appeared too risky.”

The United States could try to minimize the risk of North Korean retaliation by responding to another EC-121-like incident with a surprise strike on a single military target, officials reckoned. But the only way to eliminate that risk would be a massive campaign to destroy North Korea’s air power. Since there wouldn’t necessarily be a difference between the costs of a major or minor military operation, America might as well go big or do nothing at all. Nixon did the latter for the remainder of his presidency—despite telling Kissinger, after the EC-121 crisis petered out, that the North Koreans “got away with it this time, but they’ll never get away with it again.”

Resolution: The United States engaged in a show of military force but didn’t use actual force or extract any compensation from North Korea.

Who backed down first: The United States.

The Tree-Cutting Incident

Year: 1976

North Korean provocation: North Korean troops beat two American soldiers to death with axes and clubs in a shared truce area along the Demilitarized Zone, resulting in the first fatalities there since the end of the Korean War. The scuffle began when an American and South Korean crew attempted, over North Korean objections, to trim a poplar tree as a means of improving visibility at the border.

U.S. response: President Gerald Ford upgraded U.S. forces in Korea to the readiness level of DEFCON 3, moving nuclear and conventional weaponry to concrete bunkers and an aircraft carrier to Korean waters. North Korea, for its part, put the military on high alert, conducted civilian air-raid drills, and evacuated top North Korean officials to fortified tunnels. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who was a Pacific Command intelligence official at the time, has said that war felt more imminent during the tree-trimming crisis than it does today.

Kissinger, now secretary of state, recommended striking the barracks of the North Korean soldiers involved in the tree attack. But Ford was wary of thrusting the United States back into combat after it had just withdrawn from Vietnam. Instead, he selected a modest but still risky option called Operation Paul Bunyan; the chief of staff of U.S. Forces Korea estimated that it “stood a 50-50 chance of starting a war.” Three days after the axe murders, a convoy of 300 American and South Korean soldiers (including, incidentally, current South Korean President Moon Jae In) returned unannounced to the DMZ to cut down the poplar tree while helicopter gunships, B-52 bombers, and fighter jets hovered overhead and nearby.

Within minutes, North Korean troops stood down and the poplar was reduced to a stump. Within hours, a spooked Kim Il Sung expressed regret for the incident; he soon agreed to remove guard posts from the southern side of the shared truce area. The United States hadn’t made so dramatic a demonstration of military power to the North since the Korean War. Nor has it since.

Resolution: The United States stopped just short of military action, avoiding North Korean retaliation and receiving minor concessions from the North.

Who backed down first: North Korea.

The Pursuit of Weapons of Mass Destruction

Year: 1994 — present day

North Korean provocation: In the late 1960s and 1970s, North Korea’s direct provocations against the United States consisted of hostile actions. Since the 1990s, they’ve taken the form of advances in developing weapons of mass destruction. In 1994, U.S. officials believed the Kim government was on the verge of reprocessing fuel from its Yongbyon nuclear reactor for use in nuclear weapons, precipitating the first nuclear crisis with North Korea. Since 2006, North Korea has tested ever more powerful nuclear weapons and ever more sophisticated long-range missiles—to the point where, according to Trump’s CIA director, the North is now only months away from being able to place a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile that can reliably strike the U.S. mainland. North Korea has for decades amassed chemical and biological weapons as well. But in 2017 it went much further: Agents of the North Korean government are suspected of assassinating Kim Jong Un’s half-brother in broad daylight in a bustling Malaysian airport using the chemical nerve agent VX.

U.S. response: Every presidential administration over the last couple of decades has explored military options for dealing with North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program, most seriously in 1994 when that program was still rudimentary and the Clinton administration drew up plans and mobilized forces to strike the Yongbyon reactor. But each administration has instead chosen a mix of engagement (diplomatic dialogue, economic assistance, security assurances) and pressure (diplomatic isolation, economic sanctions, beefed-up military deterrence against North Korean aggression). The Trump administration is currently waging a campaign of “maximum pressure.”

“For whatever benefits we might accrue from the strike, and they might be substantial benefits, there is a very significant downside,” the Clinton-era Defense Secretary Bill Perry has noted in explaining why “coercive diplomacy” has again and again seemed more attractive than military action. “It could start as a relatively minor conflict, but it is all too likely to escalate into a bigger war and ultimately into a nuclear war.” The carrot-and-stick approach has at times succeeded in suspending or setting back North Korea’s quest for nuclear weapons, but so far the progress has unfailingly proved fleeting. Now, with negotiations nowhere in sight, North Korea is racing to complete its nuclear arsenal before the Trump administration’s pressure becomes too much to bear. Who wins the race, or whether it ends in some sort of draw, isn’t yet clear.

In killing off Kim Jong Un’s half-brother, North Korea showed that it was willing to use a sophisticated weapon of mass destruction outside its borders. But here too, the Trump administration responded not with a punitive military strike, as it did when Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against his own people, but with increased pressure: redesignating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Resolution: To be determined.

Who backed down first: Sometimes the United States, sometimes North Korea.

Donald Trump has argued that episodes such as the Pueblo and EC-121 crises have led the Kim regime to interpret “America’s past restraint as weakness”—and that it “would be a fatal miscalculation” for Kim to draw the same conclusions this time around. But Trump nonetheless confronts the same conundrum that Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton all confronted well before North Korea had nuclear weapons. To paraphrase Henry Kissinger, the least-risky military options are insufficient to meet the challenge from North Korea and the sufficient military options are very risky. And even if the military plans are limited, the planners must be prepared for unlimited war on the Korean peninsula. Since the horror of the Korean War, no U.S. leader has been willing to assume those risks. Not yet, at least.

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Historic marker noting where, and why, Dallas became a big city has been stolen

Few noticed its disappearance, because, perhaps, few knew of its existence.

Exactly one decade ago, the Texas Historical Commission marked the spot where, in the early 1870s, "the city of Dallas secured its role as the economic, communication and transportation center of North Texas," per the official plaque planted, until days ago, on the outskirts of the city’s center. The location hides in plain sight downtown — on the south side of Pacific Avenue, beneath the Interstate 345 overpass that links North Central Expressway with Interstates 30 and 45.

There, shortly after the end of the Civil War, the Houston & Texas Central and Texas & Pacific railroad lines intersected — the former coming from the south; the latter, from the east. And there, a forever ago, stood the train depot that now exists only in a 110-year-old photograph stored at the downtown library.

The train crossing, among the first in the state, took some finagling and much wheeling and dealing. Officials in the nascent city, given its official charter 162 years ago today, wanted the Houston & Texas Central, the first rail line to reach Dallas, to run near the courthouse. And they wanted the Texas & Pacific to pass close to the city’s sole water supply at Browder’s Springs — also near the courthouse.

But T&P officials opposed to alignment, nearly derailing Dallas’ hopes. Then the city’s great-great-grandfathers, practicing what their elected offspring would later deem "economic development," bestowed unto both rail lines gifts they could not refuse. Right-of-way was given away, which is how Burleson Avenue became modern-day Pacific; so, too, was $100,000 in bond money and more land for the depot where the X marked the spot.

The arrival of the trail would forever alter this city. In 1870, Dallas was "a hamlet of hardly more than 1,000 people," then-County Judge Tom McCullough said in May 1937 when commenting on the first train’s arrival here. Twenty years later, that number had grown to more than 38,000.

This is where the marker is supposed to be. But on Friday morning, it was long gone.

"The arrival of the Houston and Texas Central and Texas and Pacific Railroads brought large numbers of people to Dallas," civil engineer Jerry Rogers wrote two years ago, "making North Texas the center of commerce for the Southwest, unprecedented without a major seaport or river."

The story of the "Junction of the Texas & Pacific and Houston & Texas Central Railroads" was, until a few days ago, told on the marker lurking in the shadows of the underpass linking Deep Ellum and downtown. But sometime at January’s end — no one knows the specific date — the bronzed narrative was snapped off its pole and, more than likely, stolen.

The Dallas Police Department says it’s investigating the marker’s disappearance, which it learned about on Jan. 20 after former Texas Secretary of State David Dean sent an email to the department’s Central Patrol Division’s investigative unit. But a spokesperson said Friday morning the inquiry hasn’t gotten very far: Neighborhood patrol officers were dispatched to talk to the construction crews remaking the surrounding surface streets, as well as I-345. Detectives, too, were asked to investigate. But so far, police said Friday, no luck.

"I’m so very sad that it has happened," said Kellie Murphy, the chief operating officer of the Museum of the American Railroad, which had been at Fair Park until the city forced its move to Frisco.

The Texas Historical Commission said this week it received word in August that the plaque had been "damaged," but was sent no further details — no photos, no description of the damage done. The agency had no idea it had been yanked off the pole planted beneath I-345 during an official ceremony in the fall of 2009 led by then-Dallas County Judge Jim Foster.

On its website, on a page about "marker mayhem," the state agency points out that theft of its markers — which cost $1,100 and are made in San Antonio — are usually considered felonies, since it clearly states, at the bottom of the text, that the plaque is state property. But Leah Brown, the agency’s spokesperson, said vandals and thieves are seldom caught, much less prosecuted.

Statewide, there are some 16,000 markers spread across 254 counties, many of which pre-date the establishment of the THC in 1953. The Dallas County Historical Commission says it has more than 300 of those, and in its documentation notes that a handful have been stolen over the years, among them, in 1996, one at Cedar Springs and Oak Lawn honoring Gov. Wilbert Lee "Pappy" O’Daniel. One marker commemorating Victor and Willie’s Bilbo Jitney Line at Sylvan Avenue at Seale Street in West Dallas was actually stolen and replaced twice.

It would be up to the Dallas County Historical Commission or a private donor to replace the marker. But commission members reached Friday said they weren’t even aware that the marker had gone missing.

This isn’t the first plaque memorializing Dallas’ first rail line to disappear, either. On May 17, 1936, officials from the Dallas Historical Society and all the major rail lines met at the intersection of Canton Street and Central Avenue to install a plaque paying tribute to "the railwaymen who helped build this city," read a Dallas Morning News headline.

No one — not the historical society, knows where it went. Or how it got there.

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North Texas suburbs cautious about bike-share programs after watching Dallas

Staff Photographer

Some North Texas suburbs have their eyes on Dallas and its bike-rental litter.

They don’t want to clean up the same problem.

For a couple years, McKinney officials have talked about a bike-share program. Carrollton city leaders are considering it, too. What they eventually decide is still up in the air.

But officials in both cities are proceeding with caution after seeing dozens of the ubiquitous bikes lined up on downtown Dallas street corners, others tangled on a sidewalk in a heap like a football pileup and even a couple floating in White Rock Lake.

"That has had a cooling effect on our process in McKinney," said Michael Kowski, director of parks and recreation for the city, during a McKinney Community Development Corporation meeting Thursday. "What we are doing now is stepping back, looking at the market, looking at options to make sure we are fortified against some of those challenges we are seeing in Dallas and across the country."

Learning important lessons

Kowski said the technology behind bike shares has evolved since McKinney officials began discussing such a program a couple years ago when the inventory of bikes was smaller and bike rentals with docking stations dominated the scene. Now, as in Dallas, you can ride a brightly-colored bike anywhere and ditch it wherever.

"We know that people bicycle in McKinney. We see people do it," Kowski told members of the community development corporation at its December meeting. "So it was important for us to consider bike share across our community."

Unlike more dense urban areas such as Dallas, he doesn’t envision hundreds of these bicycles in McKinney, where public transportation is limited to a subsidized taxi voucher program for the elderly and disabled.

He sees it more for recreational use for people who do not own bicycles, for example, to explore the city’s trails. Already, the McKinney Community Development Corporation has set aside $60,000 for the initiative.

"We’re studying it more and not moving forward with anything until we have a full grasp of all the options, and some of the lessons learned from our sister cities," Kowski said in a phone interview.

Two LimeBike rental bikes were submerged in White Rock Lake in Dallas on Jan. 5.
Moving slowly

Carrollton is also moving slowly with regard to starting a bike-sharing program. Mayor Kevin Falconer said Friday that city staff has discussed ways to introduce rent-a-bikes for the past several months. He said Carrollton’s proximity to Dallas and other cities with existing bike programs makes it difficult for Carrollton to outlaw the bikes.

"We are in a metropolitan area — what we call the Metroplex — where we don’t technically have or know where city boundaries are or begin, so if you get on a bike in downtown Dallas you can very well end up in Carrollton," Falconer said. "Obviously, if another city has another bike program and that person happens to ride their bike into Carrollton, we don’t want to prohibit that."

Kowski said McKinney residents also have spotted a few of these bikes trickling here and there into their city limits at times, though the problem isn’t widespread. He said the city still is developing its response to those situations.

Falconer said Carrollton is considering adopting a bike-sharing ordinance with some type of permitting with the bike companies or a combination of both to help prevent any clutter.

He wants to find a happy medium between Dallas’ initial approach of allowing the companies to park lines of bikes throughout the city and Highland Park’s strict ordinance that outlaws leaving any rent-a-bikes overnight, before moving forward into a rent-a-bike contract with a company.

David Ramirez and his niece Giana Correa of Dallas rode a VBikes rental bicycle along the North Texas March for Life route in downtown Dallas on Jan. 20.

He pointed to Plano, which plans to present its bike-sharing ordinance to its city council in late February, as an example of what Carrollton may end up doing.

"They are a neighboring suburb just like us," Falconer said. "We feel like that would be a good city to partner with to see how they are dealing with [the bikes] because they share some of the same opportunities and concerns."

Permitting bikes

Peter Braster, director of special projects for Plano, said the city has shared its proposed bike-sharing ordinance with Carrollton and other neighboring cities to promote a unified stance on the regulation of the bikes.

He said three bike-sharing companies currently operate in the city. VBikes, LimeBikes and Ofo first rolled out in Plano last November.

Plano’s proposed ordinance would mandate permits for all rent-a-bikes, he said.

The permits would require bike-sharing companies to put a phone number on each bike so residents can call to report any issues. The companies would also have to respond to any complaints within two hours or the next business day if a complaint is made after hours. Plano officials will also have a say where the bikes can be placed in the city.

Braster said the ordinance and permits would help the rent-a-bikes become successful.

"We know it’s not the bike-sharing companies’ fault," Braster said. "That being said, we need to have a bike-sharing program in place that makes them aware the bikes are not being treated well and gives them the opportunity to fix it."

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Slayer Announces Farewell Tour with June Stop in Dallas

Heavy metal stalwart Slayer is ready for a nap. In the band’s 37-year career, it has released 12 studio albums, played thousands of concerts and won two Grammys for best metal performance (in ’07 and ’08). This week, the band called it a job well done and announced that its next world tour, beginning in May, will be the last.

The first leg of the ominously named One Final World Tour comprises 26 dates across North America. At the end of June, the tour will visit three Texas cities: Houston, Austin and Dallas. The Dallas date is June 19 at Bomb Factory.

Tickets to the Bomb Factory gig, $56.75 and up, go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 26, a ticketfly.com. Slayer uber-fans can also purchase exclusive merchandise and meet-and-greet packages at slayer.net.

Supporting Slayer on the tour are genre fellows Lamb of God, Anthrax, Testament and Behemoth. All have played with Slayer in the past.

"If you are lucky enough to be invited to play even just once with living legends like Slayer, it’s an incredible honor," Randy Blythe, the vocalist and guitarist of Lamb of God, said in a press release announcing the tour. "Slayer gave Lamb of God our very first two overseas shows. Slayer has subsequently taken us on several full length tours, both at home and abroad. … It is irrefutable that Slayer helped create the genre of aggressive metal, and all modern bands of that ilk owe them a huge debt — I know we do."

Slayer performed at Gas Monkey in 2016.

Slayer’s success has often been in spite of challenges, such as the 2013 death of founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman from cirrhosis.

"We want to help give Slayer the best send-off possible and to have one last blast with our friends. But you know, at the end of the day, Slayer will never die," Anthrax bassist Frank Bello said in the press release.

The One Final World Tour:

May 10 Valley View Casino Center, San Diego, CA 11 FivePoint Amphitheatre, Irvine, CA 13 Papa Murphy’s Park at Cal Expo, Sacramento, CA 16 PNE Forum, Vancouver, BC 17 South Okanagan Events Centre, Penticton, BC 19 Big Four, Calgary, AB 20 Shaw Centre, Edmonton, AB 22 Bell MTS Centre, Winnipeg, MB 24 The Armory, Minneapolis, MN 25 Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, Chicago, IL 27 Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre @ Freedom Hill, Detroit, MI 29 Budweiser Stage, Toronto, ON 30 Place Bell, Montreal, QC

June 1 Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT 2 PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ 4 Santander Arena, Reading, PA 6 Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati, OH 7 Blossom Music Center, Cleveland, OH 9 KeyBank Pavilion, Pittsburgh, PA 10 Jiffy Lube Live, Bristow, VA 12 VUHL Amphitheater, Virginia Beach, VA 14 PNC Music Pavilion, Charlotte, NC 15 Orlando Amphitheater, Orlando, FL 17 Smart Financial Centre, Houston, TX 19 The Bomb Factory, Dallas, TX 20 Austin 360 Amphitheater, Austin, TX

Slayer, with Lamb of God, Anthrax, Testament and Behemoth, 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 19, $56.75 and up, thebombfactory.com.

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Dallas makes Amazon’s top 20 list for HQ2, and here’s why – Dallas Business Journal

Dallas-Fort Worth has been named on the short list for Amazon’s second North American headquarters, joining 19 other metro areas, including Austin, in the chase for the online retail behemoth.

Fast-growing Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) will work with each of the 20 finalists to dive deeper into their proposals and request and evaluate additional information before making its final selection by the end of this year, the Seattle-based company said in a news release today.

Houston, which was also a candidate, did not make the list of finalists. Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Washington, D.C., are also still in the running. (See full list, below.)

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings tweeted that the city is "thrilled to be in the next round of @amazon HQ2 process."

"There’s much work left to be done, but I want to thank my fellow mayors, @DRChamber, @FTWChamber and all our citizens for making @CityOfDallas and DFW such a desirable place to be!" Rawlings posted.

The Dallas Regional Chamber and Fort Worth Chamber submitted the DFW region’s bid to Amazon in September.

“We’re proud of the great work done by our regional cities and leaders,” said Mike Rosa, senior vice president of economic development at the Dallas Regional Chamber. “We’re looking forward to the next steps and are in direct contact with Amazon to begin that process.”

Amazon will employ 50,000 people with an average salary of $100,000 or more at the new campus it is calling HQ2. The company plans $5 billion in infrastructure investments over 8 million square feet, and the first buildings are scheduled to open in 2019.

Amazon received 238 applications from local officials in the U.S., Canada and Mexico after putting the site selection process up for grabs in an unusually public way.

Although Dallas was listed by Amazon as a finalist, the precise location of a potential corporate site within the North Texas region isn’t known yet.

The Dallas Regional and Fort Worth chambers did not specify how many locations it forwarded to Seattle-based Amazon, but developers and city officials representing more than 35 sites in over a dozen North Texas cities publicly pitched or otherwise confirmed that their location is on the list. The chambers, cities and state of Texas have also stayed mum on what economic incentives are being dangled in the attempt to reel in Amazon, although some out-of-state metro areas have released their incentive offers.

North Texas’ proposed sites include downtown Dallas skyscrapers, Victory Park near the American Airlines Center, multiple locations in Collin County, one on the University of Texas at Dallas campus, and another at the station of the planned bullet train connecting Dallas and Houston. In Tarrant County, potential sites include a future Trinity River development north of downtown Fort Worth, and 800 acres in Grapevine on Dallas Fort Worth International Airport property.

The diversity of options in DFW is “one of the most compelling aspects of our proposal,” said Brandom Gengelbach, executive vice president of economic development for the Fort Worth Chamber.

“We are excited that Amazon has determined that our region’s proposal merits additional consideration, and we’re confident that upon further inspection Amazon will soon realize all of the reasons why this region has been a magnet for corporate headquarters locations in recent years,” Gengelbach said.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott applauded Amazon’s decision in a statement that touted the Lone Star state as “the land of opportunity.”

“I am thrilled to see that Amazon has included both Austin and Dallas as finalists for its forthcoming HQ2,” Abbott’s statement reads. “Texas is a hotbed for the tech industry, and both Austin and Dallas have proven themselves to be among the most sought after locations for companies looking to grow and thrive.”

Amazon didn’t say exactly what factors led them to choose Dallas or any of the other cities on the list.

“Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough — all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,” Holly Sullivan, of Amazon’s public policy department, said in a statement Thursday. "Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation."

Abbott said companies like Amazon appreciate Texas’ workforce and its “low-tax and limited-regulation environment” when making expansion decisions.

“I am confident that the economic advantages of an Amazon expansion in Texas speak for themselves, and make either Austin or Dallas an ideal fit for Amazon’s HQ2,” the governor’s statement says.

In its request for proposals, Amazon sought information about the region’s labor force, wage rates, business environment, population, incentives, fiber connectivity, mass transit availability, crime rates and cost of living. Amazon also asked for proximity of sites to major airports, traffic congestion rankings during peak commuting times, partnerships with higher education institutions and local kindergarten through 12th grade computer science programs.

The submittal from DFW included a secure and custom-built map-based website, for Amazon’s eyes only, that contains both the regional response and individual city responses. The submittal is designed so that Amazon can review both regional and city-specific answers to criteria requirements outlined in its request for proposals.

Many in the DFW business community and even outside the state like DFW’s chances of luring HQ2. A steady stream of Fortune 500 companies have chosen North Texas for headquarters relocations in recent years, including Toyota North America, now based in Plano. The DFW area topped a list of prospective sites for Amazon’s new headquarters, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis, and the region has fared well in similar rankings.

Below is the full list of cities being considered by Amazon, in alphabetical order:

AtlantaAustin, Texas Boston ChicagoColumbus, Ohio DallasDenverIndianapolis Los AngelesMiamiMontgomery County, Maryland Nashville, Tennessee Newark, New Jersey New York CityNorthern Virginia PhiladelphiaPittsburgh Raleigh, North Carolina TorontoWashington D.C.

Dallas 100 – Fastest Growing Companies

Ranked by nUmber

Rank Business Name nUmber 1 J.W. Logistics LLC 1.0 2 Preston Hollow Capital LLC 2.0 3 Revolution Retail Systems LLC 3.0 View This List

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While Dallas-Fort Worth braces for temperatures in the teens, Denton could experience ‘hard freeze’

Staff Photographer

Updated at 11:05 a.m. Monday: Revised to include information about a hard freeze watch.

Don’t let the Monday morning sunshine fool you into thinking North Texas is done with winter weather.

Another round of freezing temperatures and the likelihood of snow is headed this way again with the arrival of a cold front Monday afternoon. The northern swath of North Texas, including Denton and Grayson counties, will likely experience the worst of the cold front as Tuesday slides into Wednesday.

Here’s what to expect:

This week

The cold front will move into North Texas around 3 or 4 p.m. Monday, bringing with it some light rain. That will likely turn into a wintry mix around 6 p.m., as temperatures continue to drop, meteorologist Bianca Villanueva with the National Weather Service said.

Monday evening travel is expected to become dangerous and difficult, and it could remain hazardous into Tuesday as temperatures are expected to stay below freezing.

Compounding the hazardous driving conditions is the wind chill thanks to 10 to 15 mph winds. That will make it feel like we’re in the single digits Monday evening into early Tuesday, Villanueva said.

After 10 p.m., that wintry mix will transition into a very light snow that will continue overnight.

Dallas-Fort Worth could get about half an inch of snow as the weather moves south into Central Texas, she said.

A winter weather advisory has been issued for several North Texas counties including Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Rockwall. It will begin at 6 p.m. Monday and end at noon Tuesday.

The Dallas forecast calls for a high in the upper 20s on Tuesday. But once the sun sets, temperatures across the immediate area are expected to fall to the teens.

Denton County and neighboring counties to the north, however, could experience temperatures in or near the single digits. The National Weather Service has issued a hard freeze watch for those counties for Tuesday night.

After all precipitation has come to an end: Hard Freeze Watch has been issued for areas north of a line from Eastland to Denton to Paris, where Tuesday night temperatures may drop into the single digits. Lows in the teens will occur elsewhere. pic.twitter.com/XviKiAIsNc

— NWS Fort Worth (@NWSFortWorth) January 15, 2018

Temperatures will likely stay in the 20s and 30s on Wednesday and are expected to jump back into the 40s on Thursday.

3:15 PM: Winter Storm Watches and Advisories have been posted for portions of North Texas and all of Central Texas. Light amounts of winter mix will lead to hazardous travel Monday night and Tuesday. #txwx #ctxwx #dfwwx pic.twitter.com/uRVSCjnDIm

— NWS Fort Worth (@NWSFortWorth) January 14, 2018

Here’s what KXAS-TV (NBC5) has in the forecast:

Tuesday: 29/21Wednesday: 34/16Thursday: 43/23Friday: 57/34Saturday: 67/48

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Record home sales in North Texas in 2017

Staff Photographer

A record number of North Texas homes changed hands in 2017.

More than 106,000 preowned single-family homes were sold in the area by real estate agents. That’s 5 percent more than the all-time high sales in 2016.

North Texas home sales have risen more than 60 percent since 2010.

The 2017 sales increase was helped by a jump in December home purchases. Real estate agents sold 8,990 houses last month – a 12 percent rise from December 2016, according to data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and North Texas Real Estate Information Systems Inc.

Median home sales prices in December were 8 percent ahead of where they were in the same month in 2016 at $250,000.

For all of 2017, home sales prices were 9 percent ahead of where they were in 2016.

"I believe the resale market has more room to grow-both in sales and demand in 2018," said Paige Shipp with housing analyst Metrostudy. "However, as the median price increases, appreciation and sales pace will slow."

Year-over-year percentage home price increases in the Dallas-Fort Worth area have slowed from double-digit gains in 2016 and in early 2017 as more properties have come on the market and price growth has outstripped wage increases.

At the end of December, 17,440 preowned houses were listed for sale with real estate agents in the more than two dozen North Texas counties included in the numbers – 6 percent more than a year earlier. December listings work out to only a 2-month supply of homes in inventory for sale. That’s still less than half of what’s considered a normal market.

One of the biggest increases in North Texas sales came from million dollar homes. In 2017 local real estate agents sold 1,652 homes valued at $1 million or more. That’s a 21 percent increase from 2016 million dollar sales.

Sales of houses priced at less than $180,000 declined in 2017 because of the low number of these properties on the market.

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Top 10 Dallas Apartment Owners

Last year nearly $5 billion was invested in Dallas multifamily assets, as the metro continued to attract both domestic and foreign investors. However, as a result of the recent construction surge, the average occupancy rate decreased in Dallas and Fort Worth alike. The demographic expansion in recent years has little impact on the housing sector. While the city’s population is growing nearly three times faster than the U.S. average, the increase in multifamily stock has remained almost on the same level with the nationwide rate.

This list highlights the metro’s top 10 private, REIT and institutional investor apartment owners, based on unit counts, according to Yardi Matrix data from December 2017. The total number includes units within projects that are completed, under construction, planned and prospective.

10. Greystar
Fitzhugh Urban Flats in Dallas

Although Greystar has the lowest number of units in Dallas (5,772) on this list, the company is one of the largest nationwide, where it owns more than 65,000 units. Fitzhugh Urban Flats, the 452-apartment community at 2707 N. Fitzhugh Ave., is the largest multifamily property Greystar owns and operates in Dallas. By the end of the year, the real estate firm is expected to complete Elan Flower Mound, a 466-unit community under construction in Dallas, and Overture Fairview, a 195-apartment multifamily property in Fairview.

9. InterCapital Partners
Shadows of Cottonwood in Dallas

With seven units shy of 5,900 apartments in Dallas, the Chicago-based company acquired two multifamily properties this year. In a deal with McDowell Properties, InterCapital snagged The Vines, a 300-unit community in Lewisville. The firm also purchased the 504-unit Shadows of Cottonwood from Bridge Investment Group Partners. Additionally, InterCapital significantly expanded its portfolio two years ago with the acquisition of six assets totaling more than 1,700 units from McDowell Properties, two properties totaling 658 apartments from Bridge Investment Group Partners and a 240-unit community from Allen Harrison Co.

8. Cross Equities
Tschannen Estates in Dallas

Cross Equities owns 28 multifamily properties in Dallas totaling a little more than 6,200 units, with Granite Redevelopment acting as property manager for all of them. The Addison-based firm purchased the 373-unit Tschannen Estates last year from a private owner, and in 2016 the 160-unit Spanish Timbers from a different private owner. The largest community Cross Equities owns is the 437-unit Spanish Village, located at 3232 Sumter Drive, acquired in 2012 from Latitude Management Real Estate Investors.

7. Madera Cos.
Meadow Ridge in Fort Worth, Texas

With 28 properties, Madera Cos. has 6,641 units in Dallas, most of them located in Fort Worth. Meadow Ridge, a 484-unit community located at 3101 W. Normandale St. in Fort Worth, is the Lubbock-based firm’s largest multifamily property, acquired this June from Rosenberg Brothers Investments. Last year, in three separate portfolio transactions, Madera purchased 10 assets from Starwood Capital Group totaling more than 2,422 units, as well as a 156-unit property from American Equity Real Estate.

6. Cortland Partners
Aleo at North Glen in Irving, Texas

Coming in at No. 6 is Cortland Partners, with 20 properties totaling a little more than 6,806 units. The Atlanta-based company is developing the 50-unit second phase of The Bristol in The Colony, scheduled for completion by the end of the year. In 2017, Cortland acquired the 417-unit Suite 2801 in Euless from Crow Holdings, and the 420-unit 910 Texas Street by Cortland from Hat Creek Partners. The company’s largest multifamily property is the 590-apartment Aleo at North Glen in Irving, located at 7904 N. Glen Drive and purchased at the beginning of 2016 from Bell Partners

5. Knightvest Capital
Magnolia Ranch in McKinney, Texas

Knightvest owns and manages 33 Dallas multifamily properties totaling nearly 9,500 units. The 576-unit Magnolia Ranch, located at 3191 Medical Center Drive in McKinney, is the company’s largest community, bought in February 2015 from Blackstone Group. Last year, the Dallas-based firm purchased the 216-unit Reagan at Bear Creek in Euless from Residential Realty Group, and the 246-unit The Heights in Arlington from Momentum Real Estate Partners. Two years ago, Knightvest acquired seven properties totaling more than 1,600 units in separate transactions.

4. Lincoln Property Co.
The Village Bend & Bend East in Dallas

With only 22 multifamily in Dallas, Lincoln Property Co. owns more than 10,500 apartments. The Herndon, Va.-based firm awaits city approvals for three properties, the 927-unit Gates of Prosper in Prosper, the 1,500-unit Village 121 in Plano and the 152-unit 305 Jack Finney in Greenville. The company is also expected to deliver the 299-apartment Lincoln Kessler Park by the end of May 2018. Once completed, the community will feature one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments ranging from 732 to 1,377 square feet. The Village Bend & Bend East, a 1,064-unit multifamily property located at 5454 Amesbury Drive, is Lincoln’s largest community in Dallas.

3. Westdale Asset Management
The Davenport in Dallas

Westdale has 44 properties and roughly 12,000 apartments in Dallas, with the largest one being the 685-unit The Davenport at 14500 Dallas Parkway. The company acquired the community in 2008 from CenterSquare Investment Management. Westdale is developing The Case building, a 337-apartment property at 3131 Main St., and is expected to complete the construction by the middle of the year. In 2016, the company purchased the 416-unit Ridgecrest at 1200 Dallas Drive from Blackstone. The previous year, Westdale expanded its Dallas portfolio with the acquisition of Camino del Sol, a 300-unit property located at 1030 Dallas Drive.

2. MAA
Post Addison Circle in Addison, Texas

With four fewer properties than Westdale, MAA, the largest apartment owner in Austin, owns and operates about 14,000 apartments in Dallas. Post Addison Circle, a 1,334-unit community in Addison, is the largest of them. Completed in phases in 1997, 1998 and 2000, the 10-building property features studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments ranging from 420 to 2,273 square feet. In 2016, MAA completed Cityscape at Market Center II, a 318-unit community located at 440 Coit Road in Plano, adjacent to Cictyscape at Market Center, a 454-unit property completed in 2014. In the last 10 years, the Memphis, Tenn.,-based company developed more than 4,000 apartments.

1. Starwood Capital Group
Landmark at Lake Village North in Garland, Texas

The Connecticut-based company has more than 50 multifamily properties in Dallas, amounting to 15,535 apartments. Starwood purchased its largest Dallas community, Landmark at Lake Village North, in 2016 from Landmark Apartment Trust of America as part of a multi-state portfolio sale that expanded its local portfolio with more than 3,500 units. The 848-apartment community in Garland, completed in 1983, consists of one-, two- and three-bedroom units ranging from 560 to 1,271 square feet. Last year, Starwood closed a deal with Milestone Group, acquiring 78 multifamily properties in 10 states, increasing its Dallas portfolio with almost 5,400 units. Additionally, the company is planning a 50-unit second phase for its Briarcrest community in Carrollton.

Images courtesy of Yardi Matrix

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