The Newsmakers

Meet some of the neighbors that made the headlines in 2021.

Clay Jenkins

Love him or hate him, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins has been on the forefront of the county’s response to the pandemic — and often at odds with the state’s GOP leaders.

Jenkins found himself butting heads with Gov. Greg Abbott on numerous occasions, from local control of the pandemic response versus statewide quarterbacking from Abbott’s office, to mandating masks and vaccines. Some loved him for it, while others picketed in front of his home.

Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones
PHOTO: Preservation Park Cities

The Park Cities couple started 2021 making headlines for buying the historic Elbert Williams house along Turtle Creek to preserve it.

The Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society (PCHPS) had feared the home was a likely candidate for demolition because of its attractive location on a 1.15-acre lot on Turtle Creek. For their efforts, the couple was recognized along with Preservation Park Cities with a Spirit of Preservation Award from Preservation Dallas this year.

Michael Hinojosa

Dallas ISD Superintendent (and alumnus) Michael Hinojosa was already navigating the aftermath of a tornado that destroyed three schools and damaged several others when another disaster struck — COVID 19.

The superintendent oversaw the district’s plan to suddenly go virtual as the pandemic hit the state, and then navigated a plan to make the return to school as safe as possible for staff and students — getting national attention as he defied Gov. Greg Abbott to mandate masks for the district.

Casie Tomlin/Dallas Justice Now

Letters from those calling themselves Dallas Justice Now asked Park Cities parents to pledge not to send their children to Ivy League schools. The request stirred up reactions here and made national and international headlines from the British tabloid the Daily Mail, Newsweek, and Fox News. University Park mom Casie Tomlin, though, became suspicious and the organization’s website was linked to a political consulting firm with Republican clients across the U.S.

Mark Cuban
PHOTO: Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban ended 2021 by buying a whole danged town, but that wasn’t the only newsworthy endeavor by the Preston Hollow resident.

In November, he was named to the Texas Business Hall of Fame. This year, he also launched the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company, which will launch an online pharmacy aimed at reducing drug costs on 100 of the most commonly prescribed generic drugs.

He is also the chairman and CEO of AXS TV and an investor on ABC’s Shark Tank. 

Philip Bankhead
PHOTO: Rotary Club of Park Cities

A year after the pandemic prompted the cancellation of the Park Cities Fourth of July Parade, Rotarian Phillip Bankhead stepped up in 2021 when the scheduled parade committee chairman moved and led efforts to bring floats rolling back through Highland Park and University in all their red, white, and blue glory. The Rotary Club of Park Cities presented him a lifetime achievement award.

Jennifer and Peter Altabef
PHOTO: Texas Appleseed

The couple who gives together is honored together — Jennifer and Peter Altabef were honored this year with the Texas Appleseed’s J. Chrys Dougherty Good Apple Award in recognition of their philanthropic work. Jennifer was also named one of TACA’s Silver Cup honorees for 2022.

Both spend their time and resources supporting an array of local nonprofits, from the Dallas Theater Center to Big Thought, to SMU, to KERA, to Children’s Health, and many more.

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