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Snow in Dallas on the First Day of Spring!

First Day of Spring 1First Day of Spring 1Wow: We were sure enjoying all the 60 and 70° weather in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and all of a sudden, more snow comes in! It will be a while before we jump in the pool! My garden is totally confused. Two weeks ago, I started picking asparagus; I had to cover it up last night. The picture at the top right is one of our two Apple-Pear trees. It is the most delicious fruit I have ever tasted and last year we didn't get any Apple-Pears because of a late frost that hit while I was working at the Masters. Speaking of that, I'm heading that way in less than two weeks. It will be interesting to see Tiger Woods finally return to professional golf after his self imposed layoff. But back to Texas weather. It's going to be almost 70° tomorrow. Hmmm, it might be nice out on the golf course tomorrow afternoon!

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City of Dallas vs. Museum of the American Railroad

City of Dallas vs. Museum of the American RailroadCity of Dallas vs. Museum of the American Railroad  It's been a while since I've posted on my blog but I promise to post more frequently. There is just only so much time in a day! The picture is of Museum CEO Bob LaPrelle (left) and me (representing the Museum) to the right, waiting for Judge Hoffman of the 68th District Court in Dallas County to perform a wedding. It was a nice break from the action. At this hearing, Judge Hoffman granted the Museum's request for a temporary restraining order against Dallas. A little background. The Museum started back in 1963 when a group of volunteers agreed to take over a fledgling collection of railroad locomotives from Dallas and the State Fair of Texas. The first attempt by Dallas to operate a railroad museum ended up in disaster. Venerable Texas & Pacific steam locomotive #638, donated by the railroad to Dallas in 1949, ended up getting cut up for scrap in 1957 after Dallas allowed free rein to vandals in Fair Park, where the locomotive was located. T&P donated another steam locomotive, after purchasing it from the dead line of the New York Central. The volunteer group, known then as the Southwest Railroad Historical Society, entered into an agreement to protect and maintain the collection and dedicated site in Fair Park with the State Fair and Dallas. The State Fair grew the collection (and later quitclaimed the collection to the Museum) and Dallas provided utilities. It was a mutual agreement that has lasted almost 50 years. But, about a month ago, Dallas sued the Museum alleging trespass and nuisance. Not only that, but it started insisting upon a certificate of occupancy when one never existed. Dallas also raided a Museum fund raiser called "Dinner in the Diner" on Valentine's Day evening, where 36 members of the Museum were enjoying a catered dinner in, what else, a dining car. This was during All-Star weekend when there were about 10,000 private parties going on throughout the Metroplex. The patrons were ordered to drop their wine glasses and the Museum CEO was given a citation for smoked salmon appetizers being a few degrees warmer than the health inspectors supposedly wanted. The inspectors were heard by the catering staff that they "had to make it hard on the Museum". Why? Because the Museum is moving out of Dallas. The Museum had outgrown its 1.8 acre site many years ago (there are now 37 historic locomotives, passenger cars and freight cars, one of which is a Big Boy steam locomotive, the world's largest). In addition, the museum also has one of the first depots built in Dallas back in the 1880s, and a historic switch tower.

After some 15 years of trying to find additional space in Dallas, including in the West End and in another spot next to Reunion Arena, the Museum accepted an offer by a nearby community named after a railroad -- Frisco, Texas. Frisco offered 12.3 acres. The most Dallas could ever come up with was 2 acres with another adjoining 2 acres that had to be condemned. The business and property that was going to be condemned by Dallas was a 100-year-old machine shop that actually does work on some of the locomotives owned by the Museum. Dallas City Councilman Ron Natinsky, who is spearheading this effort for Dallas, wants the Museum out by August 1, 2010 so that Dallas can pave the site over and put more parking spaces in Fair Park for the State Fair. The Museum says they can move out by August 1, 2011. After all, you can't just move a half-mile of railroad equipment over the BNSF with a snap of the fingers! I've attached some of the press coverage as a link. By the way, the Museum needs $2.1 million to move. If you know anybody that can help, just let me know.