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Recent News and Opinion
2014/10/19 - Sunday Night Update
2014/10/18 - Updated: Lewisville Loses Appeal on Sex Offender Ordinance
2014/10/18 - Early Voting Starts Monday for November 4th, 2014 Election
2014/10/17 - Updated: Lewisville Police Seek Help Finding Serial Attacker
2014/10/17 - Parents on Edge After Newspaper Misreports LISD Ebola Letter
2014/10/16 - So much news, so little time...
2014/10/15 - Crime Updates from Lewisville Police Department
2014/10/4 - Saturday Morning Update - Yom Kippur Edition
2014/9/30 - Ebola Case Confirmed in Texas Patient
2014/9/29 - Crime and Accident Updates from Lewisville and Flower Mound
2014/9/27 - Shooting Victim Dies from Injury
2014/9/26 - Lewisville Western Days 2014 - Music and Much More!
2014/9/24 - Updated: Man Shot on I-35 in Lewisville Tuesday Night; Police Catc...
2014/9/22 - Misheard Word Results in Viral Facebook Post; Man Falsely Accused ...
2014/9/22 - Lewisville Steps Back from Enforcement on Fence-Staining Ordinance
2014/9/21 - Where's My iPony?
2014/9/21 - Sunday Morning Update - Western Week Edition
2014/9/20 - FBI Seeks Public Help Identifying Bank Robber
2014/9/15 - Monday Morning Update - September 15th
2014/9/12 - Symphony Opens Season with Russian Pianist
2014/9/10 - Chief's Weekly Update: Police Investigate on Bank Robbery
2014/9/8 - Lewisville To Spray Again for Mosquitoes Monday and Tuesday Nights
2014/9/8 - LISD Board to Discuss Bus Cameras, Hear LHS Campus Info, and Appro...
2014/9/8 - Home Invasion Robbery in Castle Hills
2014/9/6 - Sheriff's Deputy Godi Receives Star of Texas Award
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Youth Orchestra to Make Its Home at MCL Grand in Lewisville

Local News, Notes and Events
Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2014/9/6 9:40:00 (325 reads)

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North Texas Youth Orchestra practices (Photo by Joan Wozny)
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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.”

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Visualizing the Lewisville City Budget

Local News, Notes and Events
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2014/9/5 7:50:00 (421 reads)

Open in new windowBy Steve Southwell

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:

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Letters: Problem with STAAR is Ownership

Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2014/9/3 21:33:18 (487 reads)

Open in new windowI found the problem with STAAR: OWNERSHIP!!!

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:

The official state video is here.

Mr. Williams spoke 2 hours and 5 min. into the meeting, and I spoke at 4 hours and 1 min. into the meeting. You can fast forward using the player.

Bret Wooten,

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Sunday Evening Update - Labor Day Edition

Links, Thoughts, and Open Thread
 Posted by WhosPlayin on 2014/8/31 15:50:00 (613 reads)

Open in new windowOpen in new windowOpen in new windowOpen in new windowOpen in new windowOpen in new windowOpen in new windowOpen in new windowOpen in new windowOpen in new windowOpen in new windowWe 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.

LISD Parent University is Tuesday, September 2nd, at 7 p.m. at the Stuver Auditorium at Lewisville High School. Guest speaker Katie Greer will present “Keeping Kids Safe Online - What Every Parent Should Know About Today’s Internet Hazards”.
(link to document)

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.

Judge John Dietz issued his final ruling Thursday that the Texas system of school finance is unconstitutional. You can read the full ruling here. This will likely get tied up in appeals to the Texas Supreme Court, and the enforcement is stayed until summer of 2015 in order to give the legislature time to correct it. Will they do the right thing? We’ll see.

Lawmakers held a hearing Tuesday over STAAR testing and why passing rates are not where they want them to be. Oh, I don’t know... Could it have something to do with the fact that the state massively cut education funding and tied the hands of local districts to raise funding, all while rolling out new standards? Here’s a petition by local resident Bret Wooten, asking legislators to pass the same tests they require our kids to take.

Denton ISD has a new grading policy that sounds pretty similar to one that had been proposed at LISD last year. The point is not to give up on a child that has fallen behind, but to give them every opportunity to catch up, and have their grade reflect their actual learning.

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

Other Links
Drought proclamation extended for Denton County.

Here’s an interesting story: It seems that a radio-transmitting tag that had been attached to a shark has ended up in Lewisville somehow. They say it tracks somewhere in the vicinity of Vickery Elementary. If you found something weird on the beach and brought it home, scientists would like to talk to you so they can retrieve the data.

Lewisville has a new Poet Laureate: J. Paul Holcomb of Double Oak.

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.

A group called “Dallas Cop Block” has taken to following around police officers and shooting video (which is legal), but also in some cases harassing cops, according to this news report.

A fisherman fell off a pier in Willow Grove Park in Lake Dallas, and drowned.

Stop dumping ice on your head, and just write a check. Here’s what one writer says about dealing with ALS, and why it’s a good cause though. Here’s my favorite of these videos: Councilman TJ Gilmore doing his challenge, and managing to work in two of the most frequent memes from Lewisville social media lately: donuts and trash cans.

Oklahoma got hit with 20 earthquakes in one day.

A family is devastated after a fire in a home owned by a notorious local landlord who has frequently had complaints about properties that are improperly maintained, or in some cases uninhabitable.

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.

Even North Texans with jobs are going hungry. It is out-of-whack that people who work for a living wouldn’t have enough to provide for their families.

You may remember a couple years ago, I got in trouble with my wife after writing a story and reviewing local breastaurant Redneck Heaven. Well, the Dallas Observer has “A Woman’s View of Redneck Heaven” by Teresa Lensch, which I think is pretty funny.

It seems Greg Abbott likes to take days off.

For $40 a year, you can get an American flag put in your yard on all of the patriotic holidays. Now is a good time to contact Lewisville Morning Rotary club if you are interested.

There is a film about Sarah and Amina Said, two Lewisville girls who were murdered by their father Yaser Said in 2008.

Legalize medical marijuana, and lower the rate of overdose fatalities, according to this study published in JAMA. Denton County Sheriff William Travis has taken a stance against legalization of marijuana, introducing a resolution. Progress Texas, on the other side, has posted a list of the top ten marijuana myths. A majority of Texas voters support some sort of marijuana legalization or de-criminalization.

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Football Scores - Friday, August 29th 2014

Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2014/8/30 8:21:42 (477 reads)

Open in new windowHere are the scores from LISD football games Friday night:

Rowlett: 24
Lewisville Farmers: 21
Byron Nelson: 42
Flower Mound Jaguars: 35
The Colony Cougars: 34
Saginaw: 23 
Mansfield: 29
Marcus Marauders: 16
Hebron Hawks: 30
Coppell: 52

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Letters: Legal Defense Fund Established for Freed

Posted by WhosPlayin on 2014/8/29 23:13:38 (466 reads)

This is in regard to Brian Freed.

An account has been set up for Mr. Freed, by some friends of the Freeds. The person heading this up is George Gober, long time resident of Lewisville. The money will be used strictly for Freed's court costs, attorney fees, defense investigators, and anything pertaining to his cost for defending himself. Those wanting to contribute can go to Ciera Bank in Flower Mound, 1801 Cross Timbers Rd. Make out checks to the Defense Fund for Brian Freed. any questions you can call Mr. Gober at 972-977-0618 and he will gladly answer any questions.

Tanya Massengale
Flower Mound

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Content Removed

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2014/8/29 17:50:00 (631 reads)

Open in new windowAfter discussion here at LTJ, we removed a story from the site and from our Facebook page today due to a very negative reaction in the community.

It's not often that we remove items from the site - especially when they are factual and fair, which we thought the article was. The reason we removed it is that the discussion on social media had vilified one of the unnamed people in the story to the point that the online discussion seemed like a lynch mob waiting to happen. The breaking point was when the discussion turned to personal bullying of others who expressed opposing viewpoints.

We do this service to spread the facts, and increase our community's understanding of one another and the institutions that make our community tick.

I'm just so incredibly disappointed right now to have had this forum and our work used in such a negative way.

Perhaps at some point, the story will come back into the archive, but for now we think it's best for all involved to cool off.

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Updated: Lewisville Mom Says Bus Left 8 Year-Old; LISD Takes Action

Local News, Notes and Events
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2014/8/29 9:40:00 (1325 reads)

This story has been updated. Please see the update at the end.

Open in new windowBy Steve Southwell

Lewisville mom Laura Stepp saw her son Kenneth get on the bus Wednesday morning at her apartment complex on SH 121 Business. From her rear view mirror, she saw him on the bus at 7:15 a.m., and figured it was safe to leave for work. What happened next turned into an hours-long ordeal for the 8 year old third-grader. Kenneth said the bus driver told him the bus was too full, and that he would have to get off. So, not knowing that his mother had already left, he tried going back to his apartment, which was locked. Not able to get in, he went to the apartment complex office, which wouldn’t open until 9. He says he saw another bus show up, but before he could get to it, the doors closed, and it left. Kenneth said he thought about crossing the busy SH 121 to walk to school, but that he decided against it.

Waiting alone at the office until it opened, the boy was taken in by the apartment manager, who attempted to contact Stepp, but only had her home phone number. The manager also contacted the boy’s school - Lewisville Elementary, who told them they would contact Durham Transportation (the school district’s bus vendor) and dispatch another bus. Time passed without a bus coming to get Kenneth, so Stepp says the school’s principal came and picked him up around 10:30.

Wednesday afternoon, Stepp posted about the story on the City of Lewisville Facebook page, where commenters almost immediately were up in arms over the incident. Stepp said she posted the story to see if anyone had ideas on how to handle it.

We contacted Durham Transportation Services manager Greg Newman, who explained that there is a legal limit on how many kids that a bus can carry. “It’s illegal to run a bus overcrowded,” he said, explaining that the normal procedure is for the bus driver to call in and dispatch an immediate backup bus. Newman said the bus driver would normally tell the kids to get off and wait there for the next bus, which would usually take “a couple minutes”. It’s this crucial instruction that Kenneth said he didn’t hear the bus driver say.

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Burger King Inversion Update

Local News, Notes and Events
Posted by jbcglc on 2014/8/26 13:40:00 (477 reads)

From page 2D, Business Section, Dallas Morning News, August 26, 2014, "Burger King may move HQ": "Burger King is in talks to buy Tim Hortons INC. and move its headquarters to Canada."

This deal smells of another corporate attempt to avoid taxes. A boycott of BK would certainly cause the powers that be to reconsider. Tell your friends and neighbors.

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Officers Receive Life Saving Awards

Blogs and Columns
Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2014/8/25 17:46:54 (472 reads)

Open in new windowOn Monday, August 18, Police Officer Tim O’Hare and Texas Department of Public Safety Corporal Dy Norng were recognized at a Lewisville City Council meeting for their official actions on April 24.

On April 24, Lewisville Dispatch received a call from a suicidal person and plotted the cellular caller around the intersection of the 121 Tollway and Interstate 35E. The Tollway Authority was also notified and dispatched State Troopers to the area. Lewisville Officer Tim O’Hare arrived and contacted a male sitting on a cross member between two bridges with his leg over the railing. The individual kept shifting his weight which made officers believe that the subject was, in fact, planning to jump. Officer O’Hare continued to engage the man while DPS Corporal Dy Norng approached the man from behind and shoved him at Officer O’Hare. Officer O’Hare quickly grabbed him in a bear hug and pulled the man to safety.

The Police Department’s Awards Committee met to review this incident and recommended Officer Timothy O’Hare and DPS Corporal Dy Norng receive the Life Saving Award. If not for their quick response and immediate actions, this individual would have most likely jumped to his death and possibly even hurt or killed others below. Pictured from left, are Police Chief Russ Kerbow, Officer Tim O’Hare, DPS Corporal Dy Norng, and Mayor Dean Ueckert.

From a submitted report

Related Stories:
- Woman jumps from bridge, killing herself (2012)

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