Articles by

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson lives in a 1950s Midway Hollow bungalow with a husband, a preschooler and a dog. If she didn't live in the Hollow, she would probably live in Eastwood or Lochwood, and would buy a Fay Jones home if she won the lottery.

03/16/17 3:04pm
This three bedroom, three-and-a-half bath modern in Midway Hollow by builder Marc features two shipping containers.

This three bedroom, three-and-a-half bath modern in Midway Hollow by builder Marc Jennings features two shipping containers on an oversized, pie-shaped lot.

My six-year-old son has been obsessed with a new build in our neighborhood of Midway Hollow ever since we saw the two shipping containers on the lot.  

Every week, we drive past the home he dubbed “The Container House” at least once, and every time he says, “Mom, this is going to be the coolest house ever.”

So you can imagine the irritated kindergartener I have on my hands now that he knows I got to tour this new house at 3922 Rochelle Dr. I should also tell you that he’s completely correct — it is a very cool house.

Builder Marc Jennings and Realtor John Weber of Ebby Halliday’s Hickman Weber Group led me through the unique feature of this 2,400-square-foot modern house that features two parallel shipping containers. The $750,000 abode rests on an oversized pie-shaped lot that actually leaves a backyard with plenty of room for entertaining, kids to play, and even a pool if you wanted.  (more…)

03/08/17 11:37pm
The board of Dallas County Schools met today in a special called meeting. Among the agenda items were strong hints Superintendent Rick Sorrells will no longer be with the agency.

The board of Dallas County Schools met today in a special called meeting. Among the agenda items were strong hints Superintendent Rick Sorrells will not be with the agency. (Photo courtesy Dallas County Schools)

Embattled school transportation provider Dallas County Schools may have been able to continue its relationship with Dallas Independent School District, but as early as this morning it seemed its superintendent could be the most recent casualty of a recent spate of very bad news.

DCS, which provides busing for Dallas, Carrollton/Farmers Branch, Highland Park, Irving, Aledo, Cedar Hill, Coppell, DeSoto, Lancaster, Richardson, Weatherford and White Settlement school districts, called a special meeting today.

The agenda included two ominous items –  “Consider Appointing an Interim Superintendent” and “Consider Defining Requirements and Authorizing Search for a Permanent Superintendent.”

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03/02/17 12:47pm

home builders Bella Vita

When the homebuilders whose signs you’ve seen around your neighborhood suddenly declare bankruptcy, it can give you pause. But when news of those bankruptcies opens a floodgate of customers with unhappy experiences, prospective homebuyers begin to worry even more.

After Bella Vita Custom Homes and M. Christopher Custom Home Builder filed for bankruptcy last month, we’ve been hearing from worried folks that have been considering building a new home.

The questions were consistent: “How do I know this won’t happen to me?” and “How do I avoid choosing a bad builder?”

With that in mind, I reached out to Phil Crone, executive officer of the Dallas Builders Association, to get some advice.  I’ll also share an extra step I take when choosing a contractor that can also be applied to choosing a home builder.

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02/27/17 8:20am

HightlandParkHS Jamie Ford

By now, you are probably aware of the contretemps that occurred when author Jamie Ford spoke at an assembly for freshman and sophomores at Highland Park High School as part of  the school’s annual LitFest. It’s been making the rounds on Facebook, CandysDirt.com, and the Dallas Morning News covered the story almost minutes after Ford posted remarks about his impressions of that assembly.

But just in case you don’t, the Cliff’s Notes version is this: Ford (whose book “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet,” which depicts life in internment camps during World War II, should be required reading for everyone) spoke to the underclassmen that day, and then was also scheduled to speak at an evening event and to conduct a writing workshop with students the next day.

From what I have ascertained by talking to several students, he began the discussion by taking a selfie of himself from the stage.

Everything after that, however, is a matter of perspective. First, we have Ford’s words, where he talks about how things were apparently going OK at first. Students even clapped and cheered as he shared stories. (more…)

02/20/17 9:55am

Dallas electionsFourteen Dallas City Council seats and three Dallas Independent School District trustee seats are up for grabs on May 6. I’ll start saying this early — as I always do: It can cost somewhere around $1 million to hold an election, and in most May Dallas elections, we see less than 10 percent of voters turning out to vote.

And it really couldn’t be much easier. Check and see if you’re registered to vote here.  If you’re not, you can click here to register. If you vote early, you can vote at any early voting polling location in the county – so on your way to work, during your lunch break, on your way home, or even on a Saturday. The last day to register to vote is April 6. Early voting begins April 24 and will continue through May 2 for all Dallas elections.

The last day to register to vote is April 6. Early voting begins April 24 and will continue through May 2. You can even vote on a Saturday or a Sunday.

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02/10/17 7:13am
Hawthorne Elementary will be moved up on Dallas ISD's revised list of campuses that will be improved as part of the 2015 bond program. (Photo courtesy Dallas ISD)

Hawthorne Elementary will be moved up on Dallas ISD’s revised list of campuses that will be improved as part of the 2015 bond program. (Photo courtesy Dallas ISD)

Some Dallas schools may see themselves move up or down the proposed list of bond projects, it was revealed at a recent budget workshop.

It’s been almost two years since the most recent bond package was approved by voters. It’s been a little more than three years since the Parson’s Report detailing the needs of every campus in the Dallas Independent School District came out. 

And largely because of this, new chief operations officer Scott Layne and his team began taking a closer look at the original bond projects slated for improvements or expansions, as well as some of the new construction projects. And as a result, he presented a new timeline for projects at a recent school board budget workshop — one that re-prioritizes based on decay or program need.

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02/03/17 5:44pm
The Dallas Builders Association would like to address the dire shortage of skilled workers by a potential innovative partnership with Dallas ISD.

The Dallas Builders Association would like to address the dire shortage of skilled workers by a potential innovative partnership with Dallas ISD.

If you’re building a new home, or are a builder, this will come as no shock to you: It’s taking longer to get the job done, and it’s more expensive.

In fact, at a recent annual meeting, National Association of Home Builders economist Robert Dietz said this shortage was actually holding home construction growth back.

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02/02/17 3:40pm
clintonhouse

A visit to Bill and Hillary’s starter home in Fayetteville, Ark., prompted Bethany Erickson to take a look at what the real estate market in the area looks like — and it’s a boon for second home hunters.

Love mountains, but also love shopping? Love Austin, but hate the traffic?

Haaaaaaaave you met Fayetteville, Ark.?

Now, I must confess a great deal of bias — Fayetteville is my old stomping grounds, and whenever we get a chance, we head there for R&R. In fact, we were there over Christmas vacation, and had the chance to tour a very well-known starter home — Bill and Hillary Clinton’s first home — where they lived while both taught at University of Arkansas’ law school.

Read more at SecondShelters.com!