Daylight saving time starts Sunday, so if you still have any old fashioned clocks, you need to set them forward one hour Saturday night before you go to bed. I'm looking forward to having a little more daylight left after I get off work each day.
Want a nice little sound track for today's links? Listen to Downtown Fever, covering Journey's "Faithfully" during the Sounds of Lewisville 2012 season. These guys nail it, I think.
Anyhow, we've been staying busy, and are barely keeping up. We still are looking for volunteer writers. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One story we have in process is about a thriving industry in Old Town Lewisville that is drawing people into our city. I've just not had time to write it up, but maybe I'll get that done Sunday - just 2 weeks late.
Regarding our upcoming City Council and School Board Elections for 2013, I wanted to let everyone know that we've sent each and every candidate a questionnaire chock full of what we think are pretty tough questions. We hope to have the answers back next weekend. We may end up extending the deadline though, because these are pretty tough questions, and will take some time.
Here are some links we've collected for you over the week:
A University of Texas / Texas Tribune poll shows how Texas voters feel about various issues compared with the rest of the nation. One of the most interesting things is that only 29% of US voters think the country is headed in the right direction, but 45% of Texas voters feel that way.
Ugh - new Sim City game requires always-on internet connection. If you look at my college transcript, you might be able to pick out the semester when I first discovered the original Sim City. That's the semester where I stayed up all night playing the game, and made poor grades. I'm not into video games now, but I have heard good things about the new Sim City, and might be willing to try it. Then again, I am way behind on doing the stuff I need to do, so I should probably avoid it.
In a recent update, I mentioned NextDoor.com - a nice neighborhood social networking site meant more for hooking people up with their neighbors for things like crime alerts, and very hyperlocal issues. I do like the site a lot. I also mentioned that if you sign up through the link I provided, and start a new group for your neighborhood that has at least 10 people sign up (which should be very easy), we both get $50 Starbucks cards. I had a couple people take me up on that, and I just got my first $50 card in the mail today. It's free to sign up.
Residents of Lewisville are represented in the Texas Legislature by one State Senator and one State Representative. For Lewisville, we are in Senate District 12, served by Senator Jane Nelson. Two State Representatives cover different parts of Lewisville.
District 12 State Senator Senator Jane Nelson (R, Flower Mound). Capitol Office: CAP 1E.5 Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0112 Capitol Address: P.O. Box 12068, Capitol Station Austin, TX 78711 District Address: 1235 S. Main St., Suite 280 Grapevine TX 76051 Phone: (817) 424-3446 State District Offices Email: Submit a form
District 63 State Representative Tan Parker (R, Flower Mound) Capitol Office: EXT E2.602 Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0688 Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910 Austin, TX 78768 District Address: 800 Parker Square, Ste. 245 Flower Mound TX 75028 Phone: (972) 724-8477 Email: Submit a form
District 65 State Representative Ron Simmons (R, Carrollton) Capitol Office: EXT E2.420 Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0478 Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910 Email: Submit a form
Here's one I've been meaning to tell you about, but fell behind in my reporting. As you know I served on the City of Lewisville's Ad-Hoc Gas Drilling Ordinance Committee, which worked with city staff and representatives of all of the local gas drillers to come up with ordinances that work for our city. Our biggest accomplishment was making sure that gas drillers cannot drill too close to homes, schools, parks, day cares, and other protected uses. None of us are anti-drilling; I want to stress that. We just believe that our investments in our homes dictate that we don't allow gas wells right in the middle of residential neighborhoods. We wouldn't want lead smelters, slaughterhouses, paint factories, or any other heavy industry in a place where it is not zoned.
A bill filed in the Texas House of Representatives by Rep. Van Taylor - R, Plano (who does not live where drilling takes place) seeks to undo the careful regulations of cities like Lewisville, Flower Mound, and just about every other city in North Texas that sits on the Barnett Shale.
House Bill 1496 would subject cities to litigation from gas drillers if city regulations cause a gas driller to miss out on the speculated value of the property they have bought or leased to drill on. The loss of value would be labeled a "taking", and the gas company could sue the governmental entity for the value of the "loss".
The only regulations allowed under the bill would be a "reasonable standard established by the political subdivision for oil or gas wells relating to: visual aesthetics; noise abatement; or hours of operation".
Homeowners who could then get stuck with a polluting gas or oil well within 200 feet of their residence may lose property value or suffer safety consequences, but have no recourse. Since the homeowners are only represented by their locally elected city council, instead of highly paid lobbyists bearing campaign contributions, they would not be compensated, as the oil and gas companies want to be.
In Lewisville, the bare minimum distance from a well to an occupied dwelling or protected use is 300 feet from the nearest equipment to the nearest outside wall. This number was set because HUD regulations do not allow home lending on homes closer than that to an oil or gas well. A driller could only go this close with unanimous property owner approval and 3/4ths of the City Council approving. Distances of between 500 and 800 feet are allowed with 3/4ths City Council approval, and distances over 800 feet are allowed with a standard permit.
House Bill 1496 would override the basic rights of a city to control its own zoning and set the highest and best use of property. It would be a win for the drill-at-all-costs oil and gas industry, at the direct expense of homeowners and citizens who get stuck with these wells in their back yards. It removes incentives for drillers to work with cities and with neighborhoods to seek the best solutions for the cleanest, safest operations that fairly protect the most property rights.
The Flower Mound Town Council has passed a resolution opposing the bill. The City of Lewisville needs to do the same. The State of Texas needs to respect the rights of cities to keep heavy industrial sites out of residential neighborhoods. Please contact your state legislators and urge them to put a stop to this bill.
The Lewisville Texan Journal just received this statement from Lewisville ISD regarding a threat to Hebron High School that was resolved early this morning:
Hello, this is Scot Finch, principal of Hebron High School. I’m calling to inform you that campus administrators were notified late yesterday evening about a threat to the school. Administrators acted quickly, notifying Carrollton Police Department and school resource officers. An investigation quickly revealed a lone suspect, who was apprehended early this morning. We worked closely with Carrollton Police on the investigation and immediately implemented emergency plans to assure your child’s safety.
There will be increased police presence at Hebron High School and Hebron 9th Grade Center throughout the day. As always, we will keep you informed of any updates regarding the situation.
Again, your child’s safety and security is top priority at Hebron High School and Hebron 9th Grade Center. Should you have any questions, please contact me directly.
LISD Central Zone Communications Coordinator Sarah Marcus said that a Hebron High School main campus student had threatened via Instagram to show up this morning at the school at 8:10 with a gun, and shoot up the school. Marcus said that both Hebron campuses would have increased police presence today.
Update - 3/7 - 10:00 a.m.: We just received a screen shot of the image that had been uploaded:
We are told that Mr. Buckles is an Assistant Principal at Hebron. The image was from apparently just before 7 p.m. last night. The text says:
for everyone who wants to know who i am i will be in the main hallway at 8:10 sharp upstairs with a 9 milimeter sharpshooter gun! Its about time hebron got shot up! R.I.P Hebron! Mr Buckles is first!
Wednesday morning, candidates for Lewisville City Council drew their ballot positions. Both challengers drew first position, and both incumbents drew second position. First position is usually worth a few points, since voters without a preference are thought to often pick the first choice on the ballot.
City of Lewisville, City Council: In place 4, the order is: - Greg Tierney - John Gorena
In place 5, the order is: - Raymond Daniels - Rudy Durham
Thursday Afternoon, Ballot order was drawn for LISD candidates:
Trustee - Place 3: - Dr. Mark Welding - Paige Shoven
Trustee - Place 4: - Kris Vaughn - Jared Brueckner
Trustee - Place 5 - Brenda Latham - Ryan Collinsworth
The election is May 11th. Early voting begins April 29th.