Notable and quotable

Posted Monday, Apr. 29, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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If you wanted to bid the old Eastern Star Home goodbye one last time, well, it is too late.

The dilapidated and historic building on Division Street, not far from Cowboys Stadium, is no more. The Missouri bank that got a demolition permit for the building earlier this year decided to knock the structure down sometime recently, without any fanfare.

Providence Bank of Columbia, Mo., has six months from the Feb. 15 permit issuance to tear down the two-story structure, which was built in 1924 and has been vacant for years.

A bank representative said last year that potential investors would not buy the 28.5-acre property at 1201 E. Division St. without assurances from the city that they can tear down the nearly 90-year-old structure.

Not happy

To say that gun activist Dave McElwee is not happy with the Arlington school board’s apparent lack of interest in allowing employees to carry weapons on campus is an understatement.

Instead, the board are focusing on measures such as new surveillance cameras and door buzzers to improve security at elementary schools. The board, as well as the city’s newly minted police chief, Will Johnson, thought it is best to let police officers pack the heat and not teachers.

But, in a letter to the editor at the Star-Telegram, McElwee said the board has “shirked responsibility to ensure school safety.”

“In advance of a crazed gunman gaining entry to one of the schools, intent on harming students and staff, the district is relying on planned surveillance cameras, buzzer systems, and city police response — systems and procedures that have repeatedly proved to be unreliable elsewhere,” McElwee wrote.

“Because of the time response challenge, local security experts claim the best to be expected from city police response is a ‘minimizing of casualties.’ The district knows of this limitation, but will not share this knowledge or the assessment as to what is an ‘acceptable number of casualties.’ ... AISD’s approach to the school safety challenge is to rely on a system of ‘Hide and Hope.’”

First Fridays

You know about the “free music under the stars” concerts at the Levitt Pavilion downtown. Now comes another free live music series, this one a few blocks to the north.

First Fridays —at Grease Monkey Burger Shop, 202 N. Mesquite St. — kicks off this week and continues through September. The event, as the name implies, runs on the first Friday of each month, from 5 to 10 p.m.

Catch different bands, and food and alcoholic beverages will be available for Pop-Up Market, a mobile outdoor art market, will set up on Front Street.

“Downtown Arlington has never really hosted an event quite like this before. This is a great opportunity for people to come to downtown and see all that we have to offer,” Tony Rutigliano, CEO of Downtown Arlington Management Corp., said in a statement.


All in the name


We’re sure that Arlington school board member Jamie Sullins would like to take this one back.

On her Facebook page last week Sullins congratulated Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos for being named a citizen of the year by the Arlington YMCA.

The only problem: In her note that went along with a picture of his trophy, Sullins misspelled the superintendent’s last name. She said it was Cavasos.

How many points should be taken off her exam paper for that one?

‘Committed terrorist’

Maybe Wadih El-Hage thought things would turn out better the second time around.

If so, he probably shouldn’t have said that 9-11 and Superstorm Sandy were “God’s punishment” for the injustice against himself and others by the United States.

As a result El-Hage, a former Arlington resident and personal secretary to Osama bin Laden who had been sentenced to life in prison in 2001 for his role in terrorist attacks against two African embassies, got a new life sentence to replace the one tossed out by the courts earlier.

“You sir, in my judgment, are a committed terrorist who has betrayed his country,” U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan told El-Hage last week after listening to the claims of the Lebanese-born man who became a U.S. citizen.

The judge said a life sentence was necessary in part because El-Hage, 52, was “quite likely to engage in or further terrorist activities against this country in this district until your last breath, if you were ever released.”

El-Hage was sentenced to life in prison in 2001 for his role in the bombing of the African embassies that resulted in the deaths of 224 people, including a dozen Americans.

The sentence got tossed by an appeals court after El-Hage argued that the federal sentencing guidelines he was sentenced under were no longer mandatory.

Kaplan also reimposed a $33.8 million restitution order, saying $7 million would go to the families of victims and the rest to the government.

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