Morning Tornado Briefing: Time To Start Shopping Local

Although some favorites will not be back for longer, some Preston-Royal merchants are starting to reopen — but we have found that they are likely going to need robust support in the coming weeks.

Today’s morning briefing includes some updates from some merchants, as well as city updates, bulky trash updates, and a substantial donation to Dallas ISD.

Affected Merchants Are Returning, But Need Support

One of the biggest signs of progress is that merchants are slowly re-opening, especially on the north side of the Royal Lane/Preston Road intersection. Starbucks is open, Zoe’s Kitchen is open, Aaron Brothers Frames is open, Royal China is open, and more are coming online.

But Jon Alexis with TJ’s Seafood (who will likely open Friday) had a sobering message about what happens when merchants reopen.

“Everyone is begging us to get back open asap. BUT WHEN WE DO WE LOSE OUR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION INSURANCE,” he wrote on Facebook. “This is a leap of faith with roads still closed. We survived the tornado with the help of insurance. But if guests don’t come back to the center when we open, seriously THIS is when we could lose our businesses.”

Alexis said the restaurant is gearing up for all the usual events — brunches, holiday parties, party platters, etc. — but will definitely need the support of new and longtime customers.

North Haven Gardens is also cleaning up and gearing up to get back in business. In the offing: A “Survivor Sale” with salvaged plants that survived the storm. North Haven Gardens marketing and advertising manager Alexis Patterson said they’re firming up dates and times now, and they will be announced on their Facebook page.

Their fourth annual Holiday Art and Gift Market will go on, but in a new location. It’s still planned for Saturday, Dec 7, but again, keep your eyes peeled on Facebook for that new spot.

“In the near future, NHG will be encouraging patrons that have been wanting to support us to shop in our temporary operations when trees, greenery, and poinsettias arrive after mid-November,” Patterson said. “We’ll also be offering gift cards, garden coach appointments, and a limited menu of off-site classes and workshops (details to follow) during the holiday season.”

Interabang is still figuring out their next steps, but the independent bookstore is still virtually up and running, said general manager Kyle Hall.

“We’ve been pushing the online ordering through our website to help us,” he said, but added that he felt he needed to explain further — the bookstore has an off-site fulfillment center that actually fills those online orders.

“We’ve had people say they wanted to wait to order until we were back up and running, or even one person who said they didn’t want a book that had been wet,” Hall said.

Rest assured, the books you order will be dry and weren’t at the store. “Those are long gone,” Hall said.

“We don’t have a physical place of operation right now,” he said. “Ordering online actually places no operational stress on us.”

You can also order audiobooks online through Interabang, too.

When told that some had mentioned ordering books for impacted Dallas ISD schools through Interabang, Hall was quite excited. “I actually have an educational liaison, someone on staff who speaks schools, that would be happy to help,” he said.

Stay tuned for our December print edition, where we will give more updates on local merchants, and how you can make your shop local Christmas even more meaningful this year.

City Updates

Dallas County and the City of Dallas Office of Emergency Management’s Multi-Agency Resource Center at 9509 Midway Road is up and running, and will continue to do so from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday.

Households with residences that were damaged or destroyed by the tornado may also be eligible for $450 in emergency support funds from the Red Cross, and can apply for it at the MARC.

FEMA is expected to be on hand today to begin damage assessments, and a joint preliminary damage assessment could be available by as early as next week.

All major thoroughfares in the impact area are open now, and sanitation crews are now accessing side streets to pick up debris. Transportation is still working on traffic signals with no communication and no power, and are also working on signal infrastructure near the biggest impact path of the tornado.

Sustainable Development and Construction staff said they’re processing all electricity releases promptly (more on how to navigate that here).

AT&T is requesting that customers without service call 1-800-288-2020 to report it. Spectrum is still working to restore service, but is hampered by some areas that still require clearance from Oncor. Dallas Police will help crews mark Spectrum lines to avoid having them accidentally cut or removed by crews clearing streets.

City Sanitation Would Like a Word About Bulky Trash
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Because of the sheer volume of debris generated by an F-3 tornado, city sanitation is working at a delayed schedule for its normal brush and bulky trash service for the month.

Week 3 collection will be delayed but completed, but Week 4 is presently suspended.

November’s regular service is canceled, but the city says it may be able to resume collections if debris from storm recovery is cleared more quickly than anticipated.

“Code Compliance will suspend the issuance of brush/bulky trash citations for storm debris set outs only,” the city said. “This does not include non-storm debris related material.   Non-storm debris out before a designated collection week is subject to citation.”

Complete details and frequently asked questions can be found here.

Half Price Books Donates Thousands of Books to Dallas ISD

Three schools worth of libraries and classrooms lost everything in the Oct. 20 tornado. Last Friday morning, Half Price Books dropped off more than 2,500 books at Loos Field House to be distributed to students at Dallas schools that are closed indefinitely.

“These books are intended for the students to take home for their home libraries, as well as for teachers in need of books to rebuild their classroom libraries,” said company spokesperson Emily Bruce.

But their help didn’t stop there. Through November, all area Half Price Books locations will take cash donations at the register for the Dallas Education Foundation, and the company has pledged to match those donations.

In addition, Bruce said that teachers and community organizations affected by the tornado should reach out to their local Half Price Books store or fill out a donation request form.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at

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