Award-Winning Russian Pianist Opens Lewisville Lake Symphony’s 31st Season
Anna Nizhegorodtseva, winner of the 2014 Lewisville Lake Symphony International Piano Competition, will open the Symphony’s concert season September 19th, performing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Anna, who is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Musical Arts at The Catholic University of American in Washington, DC, has won prizes in such prestigious competitions as the International Piano Competition of Kiev, Ukraine (2005), the Moscow Chamber Music Competition (2009), and the Los Angeles International Bicentennial Liszt Piano Competition (2010).
The Symphony will also perform Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, incidental music that Beethoven composed to accompany Goethe’s play about a Flemish count who led resistance to the Spanish Inquisition and persecution of Protestants in the 16th century. For his troubles, the count was arrested and executed. The story of Egmont is not just about freedom and national liberation, but it is also about a hero who dies for his cause, a theme that prompted Beethoven to write some of his most powerful music throughout his career.
Here is the Lewisville Police Chief's weekly update for the week of September 1 - 7, 2014
Police Investigate Bank Robbery On Saturday, September 6, at approximately 12:00 p.m., officers were dispatched to a bank robbery in the 400 block of East Round Grove Road. Witnesses stated that the male suspect entered the bank and presented a demand note to the teller. The suspect, pictured at right, stands between 5’06”and 5’11” tall and has an average build. At the time of the robbery, he was wearing a long-sleeved green shirt with blue stripes, a dark cap with an emblem on the front, and glasses. The suspect fled the bank with an undisclosed amount of money. Anyone with information on this robbery is asked to contact the Department’s crime tip line at 972-219-TIPS (8477) or Denton County Crime Stoppers at 800-388-TIPS (8477).
Medication Disposal Event The City of Lewisville is teaming up with LISD and the DEA to hold another medication disposal event. The goal of this operation is really two-fold, to reduce the risk of prescription drug abuse and increased awareness of this critical public health issue.
The event is scheduled for Saturday, September 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. As with past events, the Lewisville disposal location will be the parking lot of Lewisville High School at 1098 West Main Street. Many other cities are participating in this event, so other locations are also available; however, this is the only Lewisville location.
This is a great opportunity for those who have missed previous events, or who have subsequently accumulated unwanted, unused prescription drugs, to safely dispose of those medications.
Detectives Investigate Residential Burglary and Subsequent Vehicle Theft On August 25, Officer Robert Feagins was dispatched to the 2000 block of Lakepointe Drive regarding a burglary of a habitation. Stolen during the burglary were the keys to the victim’s vehicle. The following day, the victim’s vehicle was stolen. The victim was able to recover her own vehicle by utilizing its onboard navigation system. She found it at her adult son's place of work, making him the primary suspect in the burglary. On September 4, the victim called the P.D. to inform us of the vehicle recovery. The victim had apparently tried to get her son to return the remainder of her stolen items, but was unsuccessful. The case was assigned to Detective Mitch Colbath for follow-up investigation. On September 5, Detectives Colbath and Darlington drove to Denton and made contact with the victim’s son. The Detectives recovered the victim’s keys and her debit card. The investigation into the matter continues.
CPR Saves Lives On the afternoon of Friday, September 5, Dispatcher Scott Yowell received a phone call regarding an 18 year-old female who was suffering from an overdose. Scott provided the caller with CPR instructions, counting compressions with them until paramedics arrived. Great Job, Scott!
Texas Department of State Health Services this week confirmed the city's eighth positive West Nile Virus mosquito trap for 2014. Two positive samples came from a trap collected in the 800 block of College Street. One sample was confirmed in the area of the 1600 block of Purgatory Pass.
Ground spraying will be conducted next week within a quarter-mile radius of both two locations. Spraying will take place in the College Street area the nights of Sept. 8-9, and in the Purgatory Pass area the nights of Sept. 10-11. This is the second time for ground spraying in the College Street location. A larger map of the spraying areas is available on the city website, cityoflewisville.com.
City crews are regularly walking through and visually inspecting creeks and drainage channels to look for potential mosquito breeding sites. The city has nearly a dozen workers in the Parks and Animal Services divisions who are state-certified to apply anti-larval dunks or localized pesticide to curb the mosquito population. Residents also are encouraged to report standing water on city-maintained property by calling Lewisville Animal Control at 972.219.3478.
The Texas Department of Health operates a toll-free WNV information line in both English and Spanish at 888.883.9997, and has expanded information posted on its Web site at tdh.state.tx.us. Denton County Health Department also has information about West Nile virus at 940.349.2907, or on the Web.
A few things we find interesting: - The Board will hear a report on the Lewisville High School 9-10 Evaluation Metrics. The information has been compiled each year for three years now, after LISD implemented the three-campus plan. Lewisville High School is one school consisting of 3 campuses: LHS Main - Grades 11-12, and the Killough and Harmon campuses, each hosting half of the zone's 9th and 10th grade students. Because many of the language, fine arts, and athletic electives are at the main campus, student take bus shuttles between campuses each day. The plan was a major controversy when introduced, and many people thought the idea was poorly conceived. Board member Brenda Latham took to social media this weekend asking parents with comments about the 3-campus arrangement to speak to the board.
- The board will discuss the idea of using an outside vendor to equip the school buses used by the district with stop arm cameras that would photograph drivers illegally passing the busses when they are loading or unloading. The Texas Transportation Code says that a driver must stop, when approaching from either direction before reaching a school bus displaying alternately flashing red lights. Drivers are not required to stop when traveling in the opposite direction on a divided roadway. The fine for passing a school bus illegally in Lewisville is normally $878, but the background information in this agenda item says these fines start at $300, and that some portion of the fines could be shared with the district. LISD staff suggests that any money collected from this be used only to help pay for the cost of safety and security in the district. The primary goal of this program would be to increase safety, and not to collect revenue.
- $103 million in new bond sales are up for approval, and would be sold around October 1st. The bonds would be no more than 4% interest and 17 year maturity. An additional $60 million in existing bonds could be refinanced to save the district by lowering the interest rate, but the maturity of those bonds would not change. Of the nearly $600 million authorized by voters in 2008, LISD has already spent about $526 million.
Saturday night, August 23rd, at about 11:20 p.m., residents of a home in the exclusive gated “Enchanted Hills” section of multi-million dollar homes in Castle Hills were robbed at gunpoint by six men in a home invasion. A relative who had visited the family was leaving when four of the men came up to his car and pointed their guns at his head, according to a witness statement on social media. With the relative at gunpoint, the men gained access to the home, and rounded up three adults and four young girls.
The witness says the men had handguns, long guns that she believed to be rifles, and tazers, which they used on the adult men, who were not fighting the robbers. The robbers were looking for cash, jewelry, and “anything quick they could get their hands on”.
Lewisville Assistant Police Chief Jay Powell confirmed that the department was investigating the robbery and following a few leads, but said that the police department would not be releasing any details at this point in order not to jeopardize the investigation.
The victim said she thought the robbers had jumped over a golf course fence to get into the neighborhood.
“I thank God every minute that we are alive and here today,” said the witness. “For those 14 minutes they were in the house I didn’t think I’d ever see any of my kids again. “
The victim used social media to implore that her neighbors get alarms and cameras, and to be aware. “We have an alarm system and camera system, but ¡t still happened to us,” she said. Powell agreed with her tips.
We were unable to contact the victim for any further details as of the time we posted this. We will update the story if we hear of any arrests, or if police provide additional information.
Denton County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Josh Godi received the Star of Texas Award on September 3, 2014 in the House of Representatives Room in the Capitol Building in Austin. Governor Rick Perry presented the award which honors all Texas peace officers and federal law enforcement officers or special agents acting in assistance to state or local law enforcement, firefighters, and emergency medical first responders who were seriously injured or killed in the line of duty on or after September 1, 2003. Deputy Godi had previously been awarded the Purple Heart by Sheriff Will Travis.
Sheriff Travis, along with Deputy Godi’s family attended the ceremony. Sheriff Travis said, “I was extremely proud to be present while the Governor honored one of our own!”
In July of 2012, Deputy Godi had finished a call in the Providence area, and parked to write up his notes. He was talking to another Deputy who was briefing him on the person with whom they were dealing. Deputy Godi saw a car approaching from behind, and saw the car go off the road. The last thing he remembers was the crunch. For the next 3 months, he couldn’t remember anything.
After the accident, he handled the scene, called paramedics, called his sergeant, and secured the scene until back up arrived. He made sure the driver of the other car and his own passenger were seen by medics before they took care of him. He doesn't remember any of that.
North Texas Youth Orchestra practices(Photo by Joan Wozny)
North Texas Youth Orchestra Musical Director Julianne Booth (Photo by Joan Wozny)
Youth Orchestra Selects Theater to Attract Regional Talent and Provide Top Quality Venue for Performances; Auditions Currently Underway
The North Texas Youth Orchestra (NTYO), a non-profit fine art organization dedicated to providing an outstanding musical experience for the area’s most talented young musicians, announced it has selected the Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater as its new home. This venue, which features a 296-seat acoustically designed theater, will host the NTYO’s 2014-2015 Concert Series. The NTYO will also conduct its regular rehearsals at the theater.
According to the North Texas Youth Orchestra, location and theater quality were factors in their selection. “Thanks to the outstanding UIL band programs in area middle schools and high schools, north Texas is rich with outstanding talent,” said Julianne Booth, artistic director and conductor for the North Texas Youth Orchestra. “The Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater is ideally located to draw talent from all over the region. Additionally, the acoustics of the MCL Grand are remarkable, and will add to the true ‘theater experience’ for our young performers while enhancing the quality of the performance for the audience.”
Booth said the NTYO draws a broad mix of talented musicians who share in their desire to excel musically. “As a symphony orchestra, our musicians are comprised of strings, brass, woodwinds and percussion,” said Booth. “Ours is a unique opportunity for young musicians to perform with a full symphony orchestra, something not common in most school band and orchestra programs. Additionally, our concerts feature selections that really push our performers technically, but also provide an eclectic and compelling mix of musical styles, ranging from classical to big band to movie scores.”
I've been meaning to write about how the City of Lewisville is lowering its property tax rate from $0.44021 last year to $0.436086 this year. That's the lowest rate since 1987. There's a bunch of other interesting stuff about what has gone on with revenues and property valuations and such, but what I'm geeking out over right now is that I have recently seen some nicely done charts that display the United States budget in a proportional format that helps people to understand it. We have all seen pie charts, but for some reason they seem to do a poor job at showing the smaller slices, which are sometimes tiny or invisible, and which are hard to compare to the whole, much less each other.
For this reason, and because it was fun to code, I wrote a program to display aspects of the City of Lewisville’s budget in this format, using rectangular proportional areas to show things at their relative sizes. I have no idea what this format is called - if it has a name - but when I was working on this, my wife asked why I didn’t just use a pie chart. I told her it was a pie chart, but it’s a pizza pie - cut into rectangles, just like the school cafeteria used to do. So to me, these are school pizza charts. Some areas are so tiny that they are difficult to read, but you can hover over them to see the details.
The first set of charts shows all of the fund accounts that are used in the city budget. Different funds have differing source revenues and legally allowable usages. Some funds transfer parts of their budget to other funds - for example to account for employee retirement costs or health insurance.
The different funds are shown by budgeted revenue and by the forecasted ending balance. If you click on the General Fund area, you will be taken to a chart showing how that fund is used. (Click the image to load and interact with the chart)
The second set of charts shows a breakdown of the General Fund by revenue source, and by expense:
I returned to Austin to present my petition that I have been working on. The petition would require elected and appointed officials be required to take the STAAR test. I was encouraged by the conversation and tone our senators were taking. Then the Commissioner of Education, Michael Williams, an attorney, gave his testimony. I found his statements disappointing, troubling and unproductive. Primarily, because of his complete lack of ownership in the test his department developed. His audacity to quickly lay the blame for the high failure rates solely at the feet of our educators and children was shocking.
This highlighted the adversarial role between our educators and the TEA and reinforced my conviction to see this unproductive relationship dismantled. Think how beneficial the STAAR test could be if we demanded its results were used to target the needs of students, teachers and schools. I was once one of those kids that would've had trouble with these tests. I was given a diagnostic test that determined I have dyslexia. That test did not punish me or my teacher for my disability; it got me the help I so desperately needed. I’m eternally grateful for the educational gift I was given.
What I said before the Texas Senate Education Committee:
We hope everyone is having a great extended Labor Day weekend. It's a great time to think about the contributions of American labor for the things we now take for granted - like weekends, living wages, and workplace safety.
These posts (every week or two) are a chance to share links to various stories elsewhere on the internet that we think might be of interest to our readers. Everything is on-topic for these posts, so feel free to leave a comment if something is on your mind.
The Lewisville ISD Education Foundation is hosting its “Fork and Pencil” fundraiser on Saturday, September 6th. Tickets are $75 per person or $130 per couple. Although the website does a poor job explaining exactly what it is, this is a sort of a gala dinner with live music, and catered by a variety of restaurants. There’s a silent auction too.
The Farmer football game Friday night against Rowlett was disappointing. The Farmers could have pulled off the win, but two bad snaps leading to a blocked punt killed those chances. But you couldn't ask for better weather Friday night, so it was hard to believe it's still August. Here's a Farmer Football Preview
Everything you need to know about trash service in Lewisville is on the city’s website. If you have a complaint about your trash pickup, please call Waste Management at 972.315.5400, because the rest of us are tired of hearing your bitching on social media. We have 22,000 households, and on any given week there will be problems, late pickups, misunderstood rules, etc. If all of them take to bitching on Facebook and Nextdoor, that’s all we’ll ever deal with, and the answer is always the same: Call Waste Management, and let them fix the problem.
In Ferguson, Missouri, court fines and fees add up to about 20% of the city’s budget, giving the city quite an incentive to get people tied up in the justice system. Incredibly, the judge keeps observers out of the court, and sometimes hears cases prior to the scheduled time, or locks the courthouse doors, resulting in people getting penalized for missing a court date.
For the past week, since Taylor Swift released her new single “Shake it Off”, it’s been a constant earworm. Dimensions Dance Company filmed a flash mob dance to this tune at a Lewisville Raising Canes restaurant, which resulted in Ms. Swift “hyperventilating”. If they had just invited me to show off some of my moves, I’m sure she would have needed a paper sack to breathe in.