Also, we mentioned this briefly in another article, but Roger Myers all but withdrew from the LISD board race against Trisha Sheffield, leaving just one race in play.
It's a bit dated by now, but earlier this month, Denton Record Chronicle's Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe had a great article about the region's drought, and reservoir levels. As of 5 a.m., Lewisville Lake sat at 517.92 feet, or just a little more than 4 feet below conservation pool. We're doing much better than we were last month. Lewisville Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Neil Ferguson shared this letter this morning:
"Attached for your information and use is copy of a memorandum from Mr. Mark McDaniel, Assistant City Manager, City of Dallas, to the Mayor and the Dallas City Council regarding Drought Update.
Dallas will not implement Stage 1 of its Drought Plan on April 1, 2015 as we’d originally anticipated in January 2015. Since January 2015, we have seen a significant improvement (>10% increase) in total water supplies to 76.34% remaining as of March 18, 2015. Our models now project that Dallas may enter Stage 1 of the Drought Management Plan as early as late summer 2015 if drought conditions persist. Dallas will continue to monitor the ongoing drought conditions and provide you with periodic updates on the status of our water supply.
We are thankful for the water management efforts of all of the wholesale customers and appreciate your continued support.
Please let me know if you have any questions or need additional information.
Best Regards, Jacqueline (Jackie) Culton, P.E., Program Manager Wholesale Services Division City of Dallas/Water Utilities Department"
Lewisville purchases all of its water from Dallas, so this is good news.
The talk of the town, with a record-breaking 566 comments on the City of Lewisville Facebook group has been that Vista Ridge Mall appears headed for foreclosure. Most folks saw the DMN blog about it, but The Dallas Business Journal has a pretty informative article about it. The long and short of it is that the mall doesn't earn enough from rents to cover its debt service payments.
Ex-pastor Jeffrey Dale Williams, formerly of The Church of Corinth was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to "injury to a child". He spent two hours trying to persuade a young girl to take off her clothes in 2013, and the whole thing ended up being audiotaped. Be sure to read the comments for some additional background.
The time is right for residents in much of Texas to keep an eye on the sky.
Texas-New Mexico Power, which operates power lines serving 236,000 homes and businesses across Texas, would like to recommend to customers that they also prepare for the possibility of power outages that can result from spring thunderstorms.
Lightning and wind often accompany the much-needed rain that spring can bring, and they can affect our equipment and disrupt power. The spring months typically are the busiest outage-restoration time of the year for our techs, with long afternoons and evenings spent making repairs and restoring power.
“We watch weather forecasts closely when storms are expected so that we can be prepared to respond and restore power,” TNMP President Neal Walker said. “Our customers can be ready for that time until power is restored by having a plan for their families or businesses.”
Steps Customers Can Take - Put the power company’s phone number in a convenient location. For TNMP customers, call 888-866-7456 to report an outage or get an update. (Ed note: Oncor: 888.313.4747, CoServ: 800-274-4014)
- Check flashlights or electric lanterns in advance.
- Ensure they have fresh batteries for flashlights and hand-held radios.
- Charge phones, tablets, rechargeable lanterns and hand-held video games in the hours before a storm is expected to arrive.
- Have snacks and drinks ready to go – but not in the refrigerator, which should stay closed while the power is out.
- Prepare a backup plan if someone in the home depends on powered medical equipment.
Customers also may wish to discuss with children, in advance, what a power outage means, particularly after dark.
How Customers Can Stay Safe
- Avoid using landline phones if there is lightning in the area. Cordless and mobile phones are OK.
- Teach everyone in the home to stay far away from any downed power lines, regardless of whether power is on in the area.
- Run portable generators outside and well away from any buildings.
- Portable generator owners also should know why they should only power specific appliances – not an entire home or business.
This post is a work-in-progress, as it takes time to produce, upload, and post each video. We have a lot of work to do, so this will take several days.
The Lewisville City Council held its annual retreat this year at The Worthington Hotel in downtown Fort Worth. The annual retreats are typically three days for the council to spend an extended amount of time reflecting on the progress towards the city's existing goals, and discussing future goals for the coming year. Many of the items discussed each year at retreat will come back later in the year for official votes and action.
The Lewisville Texan Journal was there to capture video of the meetings. We'll be posting video as soon as we can get them processed and uploaded.
Community members and commuters to receive update on I-35E Expansion
Commuters, residents and business owners are invited to learn more about the 35Express Project, an expansion of Interstate 35E between U.S. Highway 380 in Denton County and I-635 in Dallas County, by attending one of three community meetings. All meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. and will highlight a different segment of the 30-mile corridor.
North Segment (Cities of Corinth and Denton) Tuesday, March 24 - 6:30 p.m. Glory of Zion Ministries, Global Spheres Center 7801 I-35E South Corinth, Texas 76210
South Segment Meeting (Cities of Farmers Branch and Carrollton) – NEW LOCATION Tuesday, March 31 - 6:30 p.m. City of Carrollton Senior Center 1720 Keller Springs Carrollton, Texas 75006
Middle Segment (Cities of Lewisville, Highland Village, Hickory Creek, and Lake Dallas) Thursday, April 2 - 6:30 p.m. MCL Grand Theater 100 North Charles Street Lewisville, Texas 75057
Those not able to attend the meeting in person can follow along on Twitter, @35Express, use #35ExpressChat to ask questions or join in on the conversation. For more information about the 35Express Project visit www.35Express.org, or call 214-483-7777.
The Denton County Democratic Party will host its first annual LBJ-Obama Dinner – honoring former President Lyndon Baines Johnson and current President Barack Obama – on March 25 (Wednesday) at 7 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Lewisville.
The featured speaker at the special DCDP commemorative fund raiser will be Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, a distinguished Democrat, who provided compassionate leadership when he offered temporary housing and care for immigrant children and then guided Dallas County through the first Ebola crisis in our nation – in 2014.
Several legislative bills have been proposed that are designed to undermine local control and independence, and residents of municipalities across the state need to quickly rally to defeat these Orwellian bills.
SB 343 would prohibit a city from passing a regulation or ordinance that is “more strict” than “state statutes” (essentially eliminating home rule); it would terminate our local authority to ban texting while driving, protect our trees, regulate the gas industry, and regulate indoor smoking, etc.
HB 540 would require cities to get the attorney general’s approval before putting a citizens’ initiative on a local ballot; it seems designed to usurp the courts’ authority.
SB 720 would prohibit cities from banning hydraulic fracturing. If this legislation were to pass, Texas would no longer be a home rule state, which would not benefit the residents of the DFW metroplex. But powerful, special interest groups such as the oil, gas, and tobacco industries…would profit.
Therefore, I hope we will all work to defeat these Big Brother bills by letting Austin know that we do not want our right to local control and self-determination stripped from us.
We have had some beautiful sunny days recently, but it looks like an upper-level low will bring rain into the region Tuesday night through Wednesday, and more rain is expected Thursday through the weekend.
Here's the latest National Weather Service update: "An upper level low that is over Mexican state of Chihuahua (southwest of the Big Bend) will move northeast across West Texas tonight and into eastern Oklahoma by Wednesday Night. This system will bring a good chance of rain to the region overnight tonight through Wednesday. Another upper level low that is currently off the coast of Baja California will move slowly east bringing rain chances to Texas Thursday through the weekend."
For Tuesday night, it's a 60 percent chance of rain, with isolated thunderstorms. Wednesday there is a 20% chance of showers, with highs in the lower 70s. Thursday night, showers are likely with rain chances at 60%. Rain chances remain in the forecast through Saturday.
Nightly Full Closures of North- and Southbound Interstate 35E mainlanes and Frontage Roads at Fox Avenue This story has been updated. New closure listed in red below.
As we reported last month, the south side of the Fox Avenue bridge, including the pedestrian crossing bridge will soon be demolished to make room for the new bridge, which will accommodate wider main lanes beneath it on I-35E. As the bridge is rebuilt, first on the south, then on the north, at least one lane in each direction will be maintained. As can be seen in the picture, crews have installed a protected pedestrian crossing.
As work begins to demolish the south side of the Fox Avenue bridge, the following closures will be in place:
Frontage Road Closures: · 7 p.m. Friday, March 20 through 8 a.m. the morning of Saturday, March 21: The southbound I-35E frontage road will be reduced to one lane and shifted west.
· 8 p.m. Saturday, March 21 through 8 a.m. the morning of Sunday, March 22: The northbound I-35E frontage road will be reduced to one lane and shifted east.
Mainlane closures: · 8 p.m. Friday, March 20 through 8 a.m. the morning of Saturday, March 21: The left lane of southbound I-35E will close to traffic.
· 10 p.m. Friday, March 20 through 8 a.m. the morning of Saturday March 21: All lanes of southbound I-35E and the two left lanes of northbound I-35E approaching Fox Avenue will close to traffic.
Detour: Traffic will be diverted along the frontage road and will enter southbound I-35E at the ramp south of Fox Avenue.
· 11 p.m. Friday, March 20 through 3 a.m. the morning of Saturday, March 21: All lanes of northbound I-35E approaching Fox Avenue will be closed to traffic.
· 8 p.m. Saturday, March 21 through 8 a.m. the morning of Sunday, March 22: The left lane of northbound I-35E will close to traffic.
· 10 p.m. Saturday, March 21 until 8 a.m. the morning of Sunday, March 22: All lanes of northbound I-35E and the two left lanes of southbound I-35E approaching Fox Avenue will close to traffic.
Detour: Motorists will be diverted off of the interstate at Fox Avenue, continue down the frontage road and enter northbound I-35E north of Fox Avenue.
Entrance and Exit Ramps - 7 p.m. Friday, March 20 until 8 a.m. the morning of Saturday, March 21: The southbound I-35E entrance ramp just south of Main Street will be closed. Traffic will continue down the frontage road to access southbound I-35E.
- 7 p.m. Saturday, March 21 until 8 a.m. the morning of Sunday, March 22: The northbound I-35E entrance ramp north of SH 121 Business will be closed to traffic. Traffic will continue down the frontage and enter northbound I-35E north of Fox Avenue.
This work is related to the 35Express project, an expansion of I-35E between U.S. Highway 380 in Denton County and I-635 in Dallas County. All closures are subject to weather conditions and may be postponed, if necessary.
For more information on the 35Express project and to sign up to receive text alerts, please visit www.35Express.org or call 214-483-7777.
While we've yet to verify the video, the consequences of a feral hog infestation around our end of the lake would we think be dire. We definitely would not want them coming around the south end of the lake near Lewisville and LLELA.
Update - 7:20 p.m.: We spoke with Denton County Game Warden Daron Blackerby about the hogs. He was aware of the video, and not surprised. He said that there are a lot of hogs on the north end of Lewisville Lake, in the area south of the US 380 bridge. The Elm Fork of the Trinity River feeds into Lewisville Lake just below that.
Blackerby says the hogs can swim very well, and that you can see places around the area where the hogs wreaked destruction. He says the hogs are prolific, having up to 3 litters per year for a sow, with 6-12 piglets per litter. He said he didn't think they were a danger to humans in the water, and would probably leave boaters and kayakers alone, since they are focused on getting from place to place. On land, a big boar or a sow protecting her litter might charge someone. But both Blackerby and the information we found from Texas A&M Agrilife Extension are that unprovoked hog attacks are rare.
We asked Blackerby if he was aware of any eradication program, and he said that he was not aware of any.
But, with the proper Texas Parks and Wildlife hunting license, a hunter could obtain a permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers to hunt the hogs with a bow. We'll update the post later with specifics on that.
Update 3/18/2015 - 6 a.m.: The US Army Corps of Engineers does allow hunting on and around Lewisville Lake with a permit, which you must obtain from their office at 1801 N. Mill Street in Lewisville. You must have a valid TPWD hunting license and you must have attended a hunter safety course. Feral hogs must be taken by archery only, which may include crossbows. The area north of US Highway 380 has been leased to the City of Denton, which administers hunting in that area.
Hunting information for the City of Denton: Call 940-349-8230.
Update 3/18/2015: We spoke with officials from the Corps of Engineers today. Randy Cephus, Deputy Public Affairs Chief said that the Corps does allow hunting as a means of population control, and has co-sponsored hunts for the Wounded Warrior program. Cephus said the hogs are very invasive, and like to dig up the vegetation. Both Cephus and Lewisville Lake Manager Rob Jordan indicated that they didn’t see the hogs as a major problem at this point. “They’re not out of control, in our opinion,” said Jordan. He did say that there had been isolated instances of damage to wildlife management areas, and some complaints from adjacent private properties. Jordan was not overly concerned about the hogs making a move towards the recreational areas on the southern side of the lake. “The hogs like thick, dense vegetation,” he explained. Both Cephus and Jordan said that if the situation changed, they would reassess the situation, and use whatever appropriate resources were necessary. Jordan said that more hunts, or even traps could be used, depending on the situation.
As far as the hunting, Jordan explained that each year when Texas Parks and Wildlife begins selling hunting licenses in mid-August, the lake office gives out hunting permits for Lewisville Lake on a first-come first-served basis. Last August, his office issued 600 permits, and no permits are currently available for hunters who do not already have them.
Hunting on the Corps’ Lewisville Lake property is restricted to certain areas that are far enough away from homes and recreational areas. The map shown at right was the one that Jordan provided hunters this season. Boundaries are adjusted each year, so always use the current map provided by the lake office each year with your permit.
Lewisville’s Central Park will soon undergo renovations on its plaza area, including pavilions, the restrooms, and the sidewalks in the area.
The $766,700 project is driven by improvements needed for accessibility for people with disabilities. The restroom facilities will be extended from the front to allow more room. Various ramps will be reconfigured to allow for easier access to pavilions and restrooms. The work requires renovating sidewalks, and relocating utilities and irrigation.
At the March 2nd City Council meeting, the project was awarded to Schmoldt Construction of Celina, TX. The project will be paid for from the city’s capital improvements budget as well as the 4B (parks and library 1/4 cent sales tax) fund. The 2013/14 budget had originally included $405,000 for these improvements, but all of the bids came in substantially higher, so the City Council passed a $379,586 supplemental appropriation from the 4B fund, which had cash on hand.
Schmoldt expects the project to take 180 days to complete, once started. During construction, the plaza area will be closed, but the remainder of the park will be open for visitors, although some parking spaces will be taken up by the construction.