Editor’s Corner: 81-year-old car brings new purpose to its owner and invigorates interest in law enforcement
By Stacey Doud
Richard Borisenko, the owner of a 1937 Dodge D-7 police car, lives in Cleburne, Texas and has interesting stories to tell about the vehicle. He has made appearances all over the state with the antique car. The Grapevine Source was fortunate enough to interview him and take photos of the car at the Grapevine Public Safety Building.
“I sold a house and I had some money from that sale, and the whole time I’d been looking at this police car, but I didn’t really care at that time about the police part,” Borisenko said.
He has never worked in law enforcement, so sentimentality was not an issue.
“I was in trouble with the police a lot when I was younger. They helped me out by letting me sit in the back seat,” Borisenko laughed. “After that, I met a man who was a minister and I turned my life over to Christ, and completely did a U-turn in my life,” he said.
So why did he buy this antique police car?
“This car was on my mind, but I didn’t care much about a police part, so I contacted people about taking the siren out and taking the light off. They said I’d have to do steel, not Bondo [a quick-fix for vehicular blemishes]. I’d have to do some welding and things like that,” Borisenko explained. “So, at night, I couldn’t sleep. I was tossing and turning, thinking about that car, because I really liked the body style. I thought it had a lot of class,” he added.
Borisenko ended up calling the owner of the vehicle to see what could happen.
“I called the guy up and said that I’d like to see that car. He wanted a lot of money for it, and I would text him with what I’d give him for it, and he wouldn’t even respond because what I was offering him was so low. I finally got a hold of him and said that I’d like to see it. He asked me when I could come look. I lived in Arlington at that time and he was on the other side of Waco. We figured it out and I drove down to his garage,” Borisenko explained.
“The car was pretty rough looking. All of the windows were broke out. The hood was white. The trunk lid was white. It had no obvious chrome on it whatsoever. So we drove down the road, and it drove real good, so I thought the car had good potential,” Borisenko said.
They were able to make a deal, and Borisenko became the new proud owner of a 1937 Dodge D-7.
“When [the owner and his help] dropped off the car, the guy said, ‘I need to get this get out of here before I get emotional,’ because I think he used that car in parades and different stuff, even though it was in rough condition. It was after they left that several people came by to look at the car. One was a Tarrant County Constable that helped in the convoy to get the car to me. His girlfriend was really excited about the car, and then after that, several people came by and liked the car [in its original condition]. I think that was the minute I changed my mind and decided to put it back into the best shape a 1937 police car could be. I don’t change my mind often, but this seemed like a big Divine message,” Borisenko said.
“I took all the chrome off – the chrome that was on it was painted black. I took off the bumpers. Every day, I did something new. I had it re-chromed, painted the hood black, painted the trunk lid black, had an air conditioner put in it with the help of some friends, had the inside reupholstered and put lights all underneath the car,” he explained.
“I had a lot of trial and error when fixing this car up. I’d put hubcaps on that didn’t look right, so take them off and put new ones on until it looked right. I got some 1937 papers [auto manual] after they sold me that car, so I had a frame of reference. I tried to make it as authentic as I could,” he added.
The engine in the car is not original. When Borisenko bought it, it came with a .318 Dodge engine in it. The whole lower chassis was replaced with parts from 1970 because 1937 Dodge parts are difficult to acquire.
“I went out to Gas Monkey – they had a show out there – and I won several things. I ran into a guy that had a ’38 Dodge pickup and he told me that he had given up. I asked him why and he said that there were no parts out there. So in 2014, I spent over $8,000 on eBay buying what I needed. I really didn’t need a whole lot of stuff, but it got pricey,” Borisenko said.
The car has won numerous awards, but Borisenko is not too concerned with that. A true servant heart, he just wants folks to enjoy the car as much as he does.
He spoke about the Dodge Brothers emblem that is original to the car. “Take a look at the emblem – it has a Star of David on it,” He said. “Can you imagine that in 1937? I’m very careful with these emblems because, if I can even find more, they are about $700 apiece.”
Borisenko has been offered $90,000 for the car – twice. He’s turned both offers down because, “I don’t believe anybody can do what I’ve done because there are no parts out there. That car is solid steel. There’s no fiberglass and it’s no kit car,” he said, with a bit of pride in his eyes.
“People often tell me, ‘I bet you never get pulled over.’ I say, ‘Man, I get pulled over all the time!’ When they ask why, I tell them it’s usually because [the police] want to take a picture of my car. Then they want to hear the siren. I warn them that it is loud, but they want to hear it anyway. They always say that it’s louder than any police car they’ve got!” Borisenko said with a chuckle.
The car is even popular just driving down the road locally to the supermarket.
“Sometimes I think I need to put a sign on the car that says, ‘Not Responsible for Whiplash,’ because people whip their heads all the way around when I drive by. I think they’re shocked to see an 81-year-old car going down the road.
“I saw a guy that was broke down on the side of the road and he was driving a brand new car. I went by and I thought, ‘Man, I’m in an 81-year-old car and this guy’s broke down in his brand new vehicle.’ It was sad and kind of a metaphor for how cars are made today versus even fifty years ago,” Borisenko said.
He has had some fun with the car, crafting props for it.
He has two mannequins, which he calls, “dummies,” that occasionally ride in the back seat. The windows of the car are tinted, so it is difficult to see into the car from the outside.
“Sometimes people jump or scream because they don’t expect anyone to be in the back seat,” he said with a laugh.
He also has some wooden Tommy Guns (with fake shells) and a cowboy hat that seem to transport him back to the Bonnie and Clyde days.
Since Borisenko is now a Cleburne resident, he keeps Cleburne Police Department magnets on the sides of the car (complete with “bullet holes”), though he has used Johnson and Tarrant County signs in the past.
“Johnson County [the county where Cleburne is located] has been very supportive. They always offer me a chance to gas up for free,” Borisenko said appreciatively.
As our interview was winding down, several Grapevine Police Officers asked permission to take pictures of the car, and Borisenko was happy to oblige.
“I’d like to thank law enforcement for their support. I went through Fort Worth one time, and a few officers saluted me. I thought, ‘You don’t need to be saluting me. I need to be saluting you!’ I appreciate them with all my heart.” Borisenko added.
The car and Borisenko will be making an appearance outside Globe Life Park in Arlington on Friday, September 13, which is the Texas Rangers’ Police Appreciation Night.
To inquire about appearances, email Richard Borisenko at 37Dodge@att.net.
Editor’s Corner: The Grapevine Escape provides opportunities to exercise the brain, encourages teamwork
By Stacey Doud
My stepdaughter and I recently visited The Grapevine Escape, located at 160 N. Main Street in Grapevine. We had a terrific time!
Escape Rooms are a relatively new form of entertainment in which the participants are “locked” in a room (there is always the option of leaving the room for potty breaks, illness or other needs) and are given 60 minutes to escape. Each room has a theme and a backstory.
Escape Rooms have gotten so popular that there was a movie made this year called, amazingly, “Escape Room.” It is classified as a horror/thriller, but fortunately, we were safe and sound in The Grapevine Escape.
When we visited, our room was called “FocusTec Labs.” The backstory, which is available to read on the website, involved the Chief Technical Officer of the fictional FocusTec Labs going missing, and unfortunately, she was the only one who could keep the lab functional. Our job was to figure out a series of puzzles, find out what happened to the missing executive and escape the room.
When I say puzzles, I don’t mean crosswords or a box with 1,000 pieces in it. I mean that we had to investigate the room, find clues, keys, combination numbers and the like. It was a real mind-bender with some really awesome special effects. I am lucky that my stepdaughter has a natural talent for puzzles. I’d still be in the room had I been by myself! The rooms encourage critical thinking, teamwork, time management and problem solving, all which exercised our noggins!
Participants are allowed three hints, though our Games Master took pity on us and gave us a couple of freebie hints. Our Games Master was one of the owners, Amber Sebastian, who sat in a back room, watching and listening to everything we said and did. When we ran into a situation we couldn’t figure out, Amber was able to send hints to the television screen in the room.
“Building escape rooms is quite a challenge, but it is also lots of fun!” said Sebastian, who is co-owner, along with her husband, Russell. “We design rooms full of puzzles – a creative sandbox that kids and adults get to play in, and we simply love creating them! However, building escapes is only half the fun – watching teams escape them is the real joy,” she added.
The Grapevine Escape is not only fun for families – many companies use escape rooms as team building exercises. If more than one group books a room for the same time (10 people are allowed in a room at one time), then participants may be paired with strangers to give the experience a whole new dynamic.
There’s also an offering that I have never seen from an Escape Room company. “Escape Excursions” are travel rooms that are administered by The Grapevine Escape personnel in a remote location, such as a company, a birthday party, a family reunion or a just-for-fun party. While not as visually complex as being in one of their Escape Rooms, excursions offer the additional convenience and flexibility of the puzzles coming to you!
While we didn’t actually “escape,” we came close and had a fabulous time trying. The Grapevine Escape currently offers three Escape Rooms. You can check out the backstories and learn more about the experience at TheGrapevineEscape.com or give them a call at 817-601-5663.
GRAPEVINE, Texas – Grapevine Police are investigating the cause of a deadly crash that killed two people on the eastbound SH-114 service road at Main Street.
Just after 7pm on Friday, July 12, 2019, a gray Hyundai Elantra crashed into a black Mazda 3 that was stopped at a traffic light. The driver of the Mazda was able to get out, but two passengers had to be extricated from the vehicle by Grapevine Fire. All three people in the Mazda, along with the driver of the Hyundai, were transported to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Grapevine. The two passengers in the Mazda, 65-year-old Patricia Nealy and 62- year-old Craig Nealy of Odessa, died at the hospital. Both drivers were treated for non-life threatening injuries.
Witnesses say the Hyundai was traveling at a high rate of speed. Investigators are looking into any additional factors that may have contributed to the crash. Two other vehicles were involved in the crash but nobody else was hurt.
The eastbound SH-114 service road was shut down for several hours from Mustang Drive to Main Street for the investigation and cleanup. No charges have been filed at this time.
GRAPEVINE, Texas – Grapevine Police are searching for a Hispanic man targeting females primarily along Mustang Drive. Surveillance video of the most recent assault may help police identify the suspect. The video shows the suspect grabbing a victim and carrying her into a breezeway.
All of the victims were able to fight off the suspect, but in one case, a woman’s collarbone was broken in her struggle to escape.
Investigators are working at least five separate cases where a man exposed himself or physically grabbed women. The crimes happened from April 8, 2019 and July 9, 2019, primarily at complexes between the 2800 and 3000 blocks of Mustang Drive.
The man is described as Hispanic, in his early twenties, with short, curly black hair, a thin build, and between 5’3” and 5’8:”. Grapevine Police are working with a sketch artist and one victim to create a sketch of the suspect. The sketch will be made public once it is complete.
Grapevine Police praise each victim for getting away and reporting the crimes. Officers are actively patrolling the neighborhood and urge women to keep close watch of their surroundings, travel in pairs when possible, and call 911 immediately if they see anything suspicious. Anyone with information on the suspect should call Criminal Investigations during business hours at: 817.410.3200 or 817.410.8127 after hours.
It will be hot/humid today. A Heat Advisory is in effect from 1 pm today until 8 pm Wednesday across much of the area. Highs today = mid-upper 90s ; Heat index values 105 to 110 degrees in the advisory area. Stay hydrated and take frequent breaks.
By Stacey Doud
I had the good fortune to get a behind-the-scenes tour at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, which hosts horse races and special events for the city. I was there for the annual Lone Stars and Stripes Celebration for the 4th of July, but the tour overshadowed any fireworks display I could see.
My tour guide was Communications Manager Diantha Brazzell, who has been employed at the park since 1997. She said that the attendance on Independence Day is usually their busiest day of the year, with crowds ranging from 13,000 people to 15,000 people. Brazzell said that their record was in 2000, with over 33,000 people in attendance.
The celebration is as old as the Race Park. Every year, more family-friendly activities are added, such as a Family Fun Park with bounce houses, face painters, tattoo artists, pony rides and a petting zoo to make sure everyone of every age has a great time.
Lone Star Park opened in 1996, just in time for the Kentucky Derby. While “betting on the ponies” had been legal in Texas since 1987, Lone Star Park was one of the three “Class One” horse tracks to open in the state. This means that they may host unlimited races, as compared to Class Two, which only gets 60 racing days per year. The other Class One tracks are Retama Park in Selma and Sam Houston Race Park in Houston.
“Before I worked here, I came out to bet on the Kentucky Derby, back in 1996. I drove over an hour to get here, but I was turned away at the gate because they were already sold out!” Brazzell said. “Since the Park was so new, lots of people were coming to bet on the Derby for the first time.”
The main building opened the next year in 1997, and the original structure, which had been known as the “Post Time Pavilion” was redesigned into the “Bar & Book,” a seven-day-a-week simulcast wagering facility that features races from around the world as well as other sports, which is in operation to this day.
Brazzell took me up to the Penthouse floor to her office, where we chatted about the park. She suddenly stopped talking and looked at the television in her office. She had her eye on a particular filly named Lay M Out, and while she hadn’t placed any bets, she wanted to see how the horse performed. It came in first place.
After the race was over, Brazzell filled me in on some of the struggles the park has been facing. The owners of quality horses sometimes go to Oklahoma or Louisiana to run their stock because they can make more money in those locations due to gaming (gambling casinos) being on the premises. Currently, that type of gambling is illegal in Texas. Fortunately, there is hope on the horizon.
“With the bills that recently passed, that the governor signed last week, one of them is that it takes the tax dollars from any equine-related products, such as feed, hay and tack, and it puts it into the fund for the Texas Racing Commission to divvy out. It will be split between the four major tracks in Texas. The law goes into effect on September 1, and it’ll take some time to accumulate money. But it’s positive news, and I’m so excited because it’ll increase our proceeds and bring in better horses,” Brazzell said.
Part of my tour was to go into the judges’ room, where too-close-to-call races are re-watched on a special computer so that a winner can be determined. We were seven floors up, so the view was breathtaking. I could see the whole track, the paddocks and the public area below, where families gathered to eat and enjoy the races.
Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie is open seven days a week. Parking is free (except for special events) and admission is $5 per person.
All-New Viewing Locations for 2019!
Celebrate the red, white and blue at the City of Grapevine’s 37th Annual July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza, a free, festive 30-minute fireworks spectacular. Set to patriotic music, the show is the perfect way to celebrate America’s birthday. The show begins at 9:30pm.
Due to remaining elevated lake levels at Grapevine Lake, the launch location has been relocated this year with public safety as our priority. The new launch location will be near Great Wolf Lodge, allowing spectators to view the show from many public parking lots throughout Grapevine.
LIMITED FIREWORKS VISIBILITY FROM ALL GRAPEVINE LAKE PARKS: There will be limited to no visibility of the July 4th fireworks from the Grapevine Lake Parks. Rockledge Park has been fully reopened but will offer limited fireworks visibility. Katie’s Woods and Oak Grove Parks have been reopened, however, there will be very limited visibility and space (with picnic areas still under water).
All City managed boat ramps will be CLOSED on July 4.
A map of public parking locations is available at bit.ly/2YoMuJe. Necessary street closures (9pm-10:30pm) for the July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza may be viewed at bit.ly/2FO8UfT. The music that accompanies the show is available at GrapevineTexasUSA.com/Summer.
Updated at 8:40 a.m. to indicate that the child has died.
A 2-year-old boy reported missing in Denton was found dead in a vehicle Wednesday morning.
Denton police made the announcement during a news conference shortly after Sarbesh Gurung’s body was found.
The vehicle was in “pretty close proximity” to where Sarbesh lived, Denton Police Chief Frank Dixon said.
Read more from the Dallas News…
GRAPEVINE, Texas – Grapevine Police are investigating whether their arrests of armed robbery suspects overnight could help solve multiple crimes across north Texas.
At approximately 2:30 a.m., dispatchers alerted officers to an armed robbery in a neighboring city. Due to a series of recent robberies across the DFW area, two Grapevine officers decided to set up surveillance near the 7-Eleven located at 1700 William D. Tate as a precaution. Shortly after 3:00 a.m. officers spotted three people walking into the store wearing hoodies covering their faces, and then they saw the clerk put his hands up. Officers approached the entrance, and moments later, the three suspects ran out of the store.
While the initial officers made sure the clerk was okay and searched for one suspect who ran off on his own, more Grapevine officers went after the other two suspects who jumped into a car and drove off. A pursuit went into Irving, where three people jumped out of the car in a residential area on Bellah Court.
One of the suspects in Irving was seen throwing a backpack over a fence right before the officer caught up to him. The backpack contained a loaded gun and cash. Meanwhile, Irving Police set up a perimeter in the area for the other two people. They found them in a nearby backyard, and a K-9 Officer from Southlake DPS tracked their scent from the car involved in the chase. The car had been reported stolen from Dallas.
While the search was underway in Irving, Grapevine officers utilized a Bedford Police robot to go through the 7-Eleven, because the clerk feared another robber was still inside the store. The robot and a Grapevine K-9 unit confirmed everyone was out of the building. At the same time, officers spotted a man walking across the street with a hoodie around his waist. They determined he was one of the suspects who ran away and took him into custody.
Three male suspects, ages 17, 18 and 19, where taken to the Grapevine jail for questioning. All three men face charges for Aggravated Robbery, and additional charges may follow. A 15-year-old girl was taken into custody and later released to parents.
Grapevine Police are working closely with multiple law enforcement agencies across north Texas to determine if the suspects could be connected to other robberies. Grapevine Police appreciate all of the help and teamwork that occurred to make these arrests possible.
(Names and mug shots will not be released until detectives complete their initial interviews and suspects have been fully booked into jail.)