05/26/17 4:17pm

Hosts Lisa and Shanon Logan and competitor Dasol Kim

Among  the many reasons Fort Worth is such an agreeable place to live is its consistent punching above its weight class in the culture category. There are the crown jewels — The Kimbell and The Modern. In Texas Ballet Theater, it hosts North Texas’ only ballet company. And for music, it’s the Van Cliburn Foundation, which brings artists of the first rank here for its concert series and sponsors one of the best known piano competitions in the world.

This year marks the 15th competition, which has been held every four years since 1962. The competition, which officially began Thursday and runs till June 10, actually began months ago with 290 applicants. From those, 146 were selected for live auditions in London, Hannover, Budapest, Moscow, Seoul, New York, and Fort Worth, where they were heard by a jury of five pianists.

Now culled down to 30 competitors from around the world, each contestant will play a commissioned piece from Canadian composer Marc-André Hamelin and pieces of their own choosing for a maximum of 45 minutes of music in the preliminary round before eliminations.

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05/26/17 2:18pm

Four of the top five fastest growing cities are in Texas according to figures released today by the US Census Bureau. The statistic measured growth between July 1, 2015, and July 1, 2016 for cities over 50,000 residents. It’s based on percentage growth, not actual people-based growth.

As is always the case with percentage numbers, the ones with the smallest starting point tended to show larger percent increases.  This sample was for cities over 50,000 residents.  Only three of the top 15 were larger than 100,000, two of which were McKinney and Frisco … the third was Nashville suburb Murfreesboro, Tenn.

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05/26/17 2:13pm
District of Innovation

About 400 school districts and counting have adopted District of Innovation plans. Dallas ISD became the latest to do so in a 6-3 vote Thursday night. (Photo by Flickr/Stuart Pilbrow)

Dallas, Highland Park, and Ector County schools recently became the latest districts to opt for the “District of Innovation” status. Districts across Texas are grabbing hold of a 2015 law that allows them wider flexibility and control of everything from the start and end dates for the school year, class size, and length of a school day,  to who they can hire to teach.

Highland Park ISD’s board of trustees voted a District of Innovation plan in March. Ector County ISD passed its plan in April.

The District of Innovation concept was provided for in 2015 when the state legislature passed House Bill 1842, which allows districts some flexibility in seeking exemptions to state education code on various facets of curriculum, governance, accountability, and finance.

To begin the journey, a board adopts a resolution to examine the issue, then holds public hearings and appoints a committee to develop the district’s plan.

Proponents point to the local control, and to the opportunity for the same flexibility charter schools have. Opponents frequently say there is the potential for a slippery slope scenario that would lead to hiring unqualified teachers.

There is also a fair amount of fret about what teacher contracts would look like on a District of Innovation landscape, but so far districts that have passed plans have insisted teacher contracts would not be affected. (more…)

05/26/17 2:04pm

AbFab fans will recognize Pierre Cardin’s $381 million Bubble Palace. Listed since 2015. Source: Christie’s

It was the best of times, it was the not-so-best of times. Christie’s annual Luxury Home Market Report has many interesting insights into the global luxury market and how, in many ways, it operates on another plane, divorced from the broader real estate marketplace. While this should be unsurprising, the wealthy seem to always be on a different plane, there are some interesting insights.  Think of the following as a good, old-fashioned book report.

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05/26/17 10:19am

If you were a musician in the ’70s and ’80s, you probably heard of Eric T. Schabacker. Well known in the recording industry and Orlando music scene as founder of Bee Jay Recording Studios, Schabacker was the first person to use computers in the recording business and worked with noted bands and artists from Michael Jackson, James Brown, and Emmylou Harris, to Joey Dee & The Starliters, Rossington Collins Band, Gary Wright, Backstreet Boys, Jimmy Page, and Lynard Skynard, to name a few. You can read all about Schabacker’s illustrious music career here, but today’s story is about the house that Schabacker built.

Curious? See it on SecondShelters.com.

05/26/17 10:13am

Repair Pricer

We’re excited today to announce the launch of a new service for home buyers we feel has been seriously lacking in the marketplace for years. In fact, we would go so far as to say there has been a dire need for a solution to this problem since home inspection reports became widely used. We’re just happy someone finally came up with an answer!

So what are we talking about? When buying a new home, a home inspection report gives people invaluable information about the house or condo that they are considering purchasing. It can create leverage to get homeowners to fix certain problems and even lower the sales price.

But in cases where there are issues that need addressing, it’s normally not a good idea to have the home seller
complete repairs themselves as this can delay closing and also may require extra inspections. The best practice
is to make sure any repairs are done correctly under your supervision after closing, which means you need to
know exactly what those repairs will cost, so you can have the seller credit you that dollar amount.

This seems simple, until you realize you’ve now got to schedule multiple repair services to visit the property — hopefully all at the same time — and then wait for them to get you a bid back all before your option period expires. And sometimes even that isn’t possible; electricians for instance simply won’t come out without you paying a service fee. So all this ends up costing you, your agent and the seller considerable time and money, and there’s no definite answer at the end of it all.

Wouldn’t it just be easier if you could give your inspection report to someone and they could tell you with incredible accuracy what each item would cost to repair?

Enter RepairPricer.com.

This new online service aims to make it easier for everyone during the option period by taking any inspection report, running it through their proprietary pricing tool, and also having local contractors actually review every report for accuracy to give you an exact cost for each repair item on your report. Their service has been found to be 98 percent accurate when it comes to true repair cost, and this is the reason they are now accepted as the industry standard and are widely used by some of the largest and most successful inspection companies across the country.

“Our extensive database took a year and a half to create and we’re the only folks that can do this,” said Robert Tye, operations manager for Repair Pricer. “After receiving one of our reports, for the first time our clients are truly aware of what a house is really going to cost them. And if there are any serious issues with large ticket items like roofing or foundations, we even offer free onsite inspections. We are essentially trying to bring further transparency to the home buying process.”

Tye is offering CandysDirt.com readers a promo code for $10 off any Repair Pricer service – keep reading to get it! 

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05/26/17 9:58am

Condos and townhomes are only going to grow in popularity in Lakewood, as more and more aging multifamily structures — including the brick duplexes and fourplexes that line many of the side streets off of Gaston Avenue — are razed. This development, built in 2006 right off of Oram Street, is a great example of a well-maintained condo building with beautiful finish-out and livable, warm spaces. Britt Lopez of Dallas City Center Realtors has listed No. 16 at 6269 Oram Street for $540,000.

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Some houses just seem to have it all, and boy, are we lucky when they hit the market. Our Inwood Home of the Week at 3708 Greenbrier is a stunning University Park traditional with transitional influences. It was pretty flawless when it was built in 2013, but the present owners took it a step further, adding their stamp to this 6,717-square-foot home. The result is three stories with five bedrooms, six full and one powder baths, and every part of the home is elegant and livable. It can be hard to combine those two things, but it’s been beautifully executed here.

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