Christmas lights

As Christmas creeps closer, and the nights get longer, you can ask just about any North Texan — checking out the homegrown light displays in various neighborhoods is as much a tradition as tamales and NorthPark Santa.

But do you worry you’re missing out on a great neighborhood? Or are you new to the area, and don’t have the skinny on the great displays? Fear not — CandysDirt.com staffers have been quizzing readers, scouring the Internet, and strapping jingle bells on our gumshoes to find some of the best neighborhood and city-led decoration displays in Dallas-Fort Worth.

And thanks to one of our favorite luxury Realtors, Christy Berry with Compass, and CandysDirt.com, you can check out our list of great cruising spots this holiday season. Think you might want to find a house in a neighborhood that embraces their inner Clark Griswold, or maybe something a little uh, more Martha Stewart? Stay tuned, because Christy has a listing to share that could get you right in the middle of Christmas central. (more…)

voting

Issues with electronic voting systems statewide has some comparing the situation to a plotline from the ABC series “Scandal.”

As record numbers of voters hit the polls during early voting, reports statewide and locally have begun to trickle in regarding malfunctions in electronic voting machines.

In some areas, like Harris County, voters have reported that their votes for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke were changed to incumbent Ted Cruz when they voted straight party ticket.

Writer Leah McElrath, who voted in Harris County, detailed what she saw in a series of tweets.

 

Martha Merino told me that she voted at the Friendswood City Hall, and experienced the same thing.

“I voted straight ticket and it did that to me. I then found checked, triple checked before I cast my ballot,” she said.

Another reader told me her husband attempted to vote straight Democrat Tuesday morning in Richardson, and it switched to straight Republican. They alerted an elections judge, she said. Collin and Dallas counties do not use the same system that has been blamed for many of the issues. (more…)

Voters are fired up — and that enthusiasm was borne out in Monday morning’s record-shattering early voting tallies across the state.

And that makes sense — 15,793,257 people are registered to vote in this November’s election, a record number. In the 2014 midterms, only 4.7 percent of the 14 million registered at the time voted.

The state’s biggest counties — including Dallas, saw larger first-day turnout than they did in the 2014 midterms, and in some places met or exceeded some presidential election totals.

And the lines began nearly immediately and continued throughout the day.

“It’s been like this all day,” said one poll worker at Marsh Lane Baptist Church, where the line snaked down a hall, into a reception area, around the walls of that room, and back up the hallway again. “But it’s gotten worse as the day has gone on.” (more…)

shipping container homes

Cotton Groves in McKinney is the nation’s first residential neighborhood made entirely of shipping containers.

Repurposing shipping containers into buildings, so-called cargotecture, isn’t a brand new concept, but it’s groundbreaking for Habitat for Humanity of Collin County, which hopes to build 35 affordable homes in Cotton Groves, the nation’s first residential neighborhood built entirely from upcycled steel containers.

Habitat affiliates in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Ohio have explored building affordable housing from shipping containers. Collin County’s Habitat CEO, Celeste Cox, says the first model townhouse should be ready by the end of October or mid-November.

When complete next year, the Cotton Groves neighborhood will contain 35 shipping container homes, a community center, and a playground on the 2.75 acre plot near McKinney’s small airport on the east side of town. But first, Habitat must raise the $4.5 million during an upcoming capital campaign needed to fund the complete development. (more…)

Don’t let the quaint exterior of this Frisco home fool you into thinking this is a small house. This DR Horton-built home at 7920 Southmark Drive is long and narrow, but it’s a huge two-story with four bedrooms and three full baths coming in at 2,635 square feet. It’d be a perfect home for a family with kids, perfectly situated at Preston and Rolater in Frisco, the city most recently named the best city in Texas for families.

(more…)

It’s not surprising that this 3,000-plus-square-foot Frisco Colonial for under $400,000 went under contract after just two days on the market. Not only does this red brick colonial at 10306 Mallory Drive have plenty of room — and four HUGE bedrooms — it checks all the boxes with an optional HOA in this sought-after neighborhood, great Frisco schools in walking distance, and easy commuter access in the “sweet spot” of Collin County.

(more…)

Safer Water North TexasIs our water safe? That’s the question concerned residents are still asking three weeks after activist Erin Brockovich called B.S. (literally using the hashtag #StopTheBullshit) on Plano and the regional water district’s claims that the water was fine, despite its pungent chlorine smell. Now those residents are especially fired up after Brockovich revealed Thursday night at a citizen town hall that the North Texas Municipal Water District was issued a violation by the state of Texas for failing to perform some tests for volatile organic compounds last year. [UPDATE 10:35 p.m. Friday] Though it initially released a statement acknowledging the violation, the water district rescinded its update on late Friday night, explaining the violation was a miscommunication because the plant in question was closed. 

A sold-out crowd of nearly 600 Collin County residents — just a fraction of the nearly 13,000 who’ve joined a Facebook group called Safer Water North Texas— packed into the Frisco Celebration Hall to hear Brockovich and water quality expert Bob Bowcock speak. Safer Water North Texas organized this event in a matter of days, after assembling themselves to speak up about water quality at local city council meetings and demand answers why their water doesn’t seem right. Brockovich and Bowcock flew to North Texas on their own dime after thousands of residents contacted the famed water safety advocate for help guiding their own activist efforts, much like the famed water quality advocate did in the eponymous 2000 movie by Steven Soderbergh.

(more…)

electionThe beginning of a busy political season began today as polling places opened up for early primary voting in elections across the state.

Whether you’re voting in the Democratic or Republican primaries, a bumper crop of prospective politicians are vying for local, regional and state seats. (more…)