Robert Francis: Saying goodbye

Sad breaking news

Longtime Fort Worth lawyer and leader Rice Tilley died Wednesday morning, reportedly of  complications of COVID-19. He was a political, legal and civic force in Fort Worth for his entire life.
Mr. Tilley practiced law with two of Fort Worth’s premier law firms – Law, Snakard & Gambil and later with Haynes and Boone. The Fort Worth Business Press honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 Power Attorney event.

We’ll update this story as we learn more.
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An Old Five and Dimer goes home

I’m just an old chunk of coal but I’m gonna be a diamond some day

I’m gonna grow and glow till I’m so blue pure perfect

I’m gonna put a smile on everybody’s face

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I’m gonna kneel and pray every day lest I should become vain along the way

I’m just an old chunk of coal now Lord but I’m gonna be a diamond some day

  • “I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal,” Billy Joe Shaver

If Billy Joe Shaver had just written that chorus, he would have a place in Texas music history, but he wrote a lot more, like “Honky Tonk Heroes,” “I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train” and “Old Five and Dimers Like Me.” The Corsicana-born Shaver died Wednesday at 81.

Like Jerry Jeff Walker, who died on Sunday, Shaver wasn’t a big star, but he was well-respected by those more famous, like Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, Bobby Bare and Tom T. Hall.

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Shaver’s lyrics reflected his hardscrabble upbringing in Texas, where he lost part of two fingers while working at a lumber mill. He went to Nashville in 1968 and was signed as a writer by Bare’s publishing company. Shaver’s life wasn’t easy. He lost his son, longtime guitarist Eddy Shaver, who died at age 38 of a heroin overdose in 2000.

If you’re a fan of Texas music, Shaver’s songs are worth seeking out.

Big 10-4 on new technology

If you’re a fan of waving at truckers as they fly down the freeway, you might get a surprise up around Alliance way.

On Wednesday, TuSimple, a self-driving technology company that focuses on heavy-duty trucks, announced it would take a spot at AllianceTexas’ Mobility Innovation Zone (MIZ) in north Fort Worth.

The MIZ was launched last year as a first-of-its-kind “do tank” in collaboration with Deloitte, leading the nation in smart infrastructure deployment to create a digital and physical commercialization environment for partner companies.

So if you see a truck and grab a CB to radio the “driver” and say “Keep the rubber side down and the bugs off your glass” you could be talking to an empty cab. You may see the TuSimple trucks doing tests as soon as next year.

South Fort Worth is getting some more industrial space. VanTrust Real Estate LLC, a full-service commercial real estate development company, recently broke ground on a 75-acre Fort Worth Logistics Hub in south Fort Worth consisting of Two Phases. Phase One is a 670,941-square-foot speculative logistics project that will be delivered in July 2021. Phase Two will follow closely behind with a 606,480 square foot building. Located just off Interstate 35 on Risinger Road and south of Interstate 20, the Logistics Hub provides excellent highway access and visibility.