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2014/10/31 - LPD Nabs Second Shooting Suspect
2014/10/29 - Lewisville Police Shooting Team Takes Top Honors at Tactical Compe...
2014/10/28 - DCTA, NCTCOG Funding Lewisville Hike-Bike Trails
2014/10/28 - Lewisville Police Offer Free Medication Disposal Year-Round
2014/10/26 - Upcoming Events Around Lewisville and the Surrounding Area
2014/10/26 - Bogard Lane Closed at I-35 For the Rest of the Year
2014/10/26 - Community Meeting Scheduled for I-35 Project Status Update
2014/10/26 - A Story About Molly
2014/10/26 - Teen Driver Accidentally Kills 12 Year Old
2014/10/25 - Denton County Celebrates Groundbreaking of Government Center
2014/10/24 - Affidavit Sheds Light on Shooting Details, Shooter's Gang Aff...
2014/10/23 - Lewisville Police Arrest Gang Member in Wednesday's Shooting
2014/10/22 - Updated: Lewisville Police Respond to Shooting at Round Grove and ...
2014/10/21 - KLB to Host Trinity Trash Bash Waterway Cleanup and Recycling Even...
2014/10/20 - Texas DSHS reports Texans Cleared from Ebola Monitoring
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
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Shooting Victim Dies from Injury

Local News, Notes and Events
Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2014/9/27 0:38:59 (2755 reads)

Open in new windowThe Lewisville Police Department has shared that the victim in Tuesday's shooting in Lewisville - 65 year-old Verland Scott Johansen of Flower Mound (right), has passed away from his injuries Friday.

Police said that his assailant, Stephen Bielicke is now being held in Denton County Jail on a charge of murder. Bond is set at $500,000.

Donors have raised $5,600 so far to help Johansen's family.

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Lewisville Western Days 2014 - Music and Much More!

Lewisville Area Calendar and Events
Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2014/9/26 7:22:58 (2748 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 windowOld Town Lewisville will be filled with staged gunfights, stick horse rodeo riders, world champion competitive eaters, gourmet chefs, Old West art, and the best of Texas country music during the 2014 Western Days festival on Sept. 26-27.

The festival is free with a ticket. Visitors to the festival website, LewisvilleWesternDays.com, can print as many tickets as they need and present those tickets at the festival gates for free admission. Those entering the festival without a ticket (in paper form or presented on the screen of a phone or other electronic device) must pay $20 at the gate. Free tickets also are available through entertainment sponsor 99.5 The Wolf, and at most Lewisville municipal facilities.

Festival schedule is 7-11:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, and 10 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27. Planned activities at the event, designed to showcase Lewisville’s rich history and tradition, include two live stages, the return of the Cattle Drive Parade through Old Town, gunfight re-enactments, Native American dancers, gourmet cooking demonstrations, car show, the 10th annual World Tamale Eating Championship presented by Market Street, children’s fishing area, a Stickhorse Rodeo for kids, and a special exhibit of rarely seen photos of Quanah and Cynthia Ann Parker in the art gallery at Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater, 100 N. Charles Street.

There also will be more than 100 festival vendors offering a variety of wares, from hand-crafted treasures to top-quality retail products, throughout the two-day event.

Parking/Transportation
Complimentary shuttles will be provided by DCTA every 10-20 minutes from Old Town Station, 617 E. Main Street, from 6 p.m. to midnight on Friday, and 9 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Complimentary shuttles also will run from Vista Ridge Village Shopping Center, 2325 S. Stemmons Freeway (corner of FM 3040 and MacArthur), from 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Friday, and 9 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Saturday.

For the first time, valet parking will be available (space-available basis) for $10 per vehicle. Valet drop-off and pick-up will be at the corner of Elm and Mill streets and will run from 7 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Friday, and from 2 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Saturday.

Handicapped parking with valid permit or placard will be available at the corner of Herod and Church streets. To access handicap parking, enter from the north end of Herod Street.

Limited public parking also is available at several locations within walking distance of the festival:

Public parking lot, 127 S. Mill Street (Elm & Mill)
Public parking lot, on Kealy (behind CCA)
College Street Elementary, 360 W. College Street
Purnell Support Center, 136 W. Purnell
Central Elementary, 400 High School Drive

Music
Texas country music will be well represented at the event, featuring headliners Robert Earl Keen, Kevin Fowler and Thompson Square.

Robert Earl Keen will be the featured act on Friday night, taking the Toyota of Lewisville Main Stage at 10 p.m. Three decades since the release of his debut album — with well over a dozen other records to his name, thousands of shows under his belt and still no end in sight to the road ahead — Keen remains as committed to and inspired by his muse: “and the party never ends!” From his humble beginnings on the Texas folk scene, he’s blazed a peer-, critic- and fan-lauded trail that’s earned him living-legend and pioneer status in the Americana music world.

Saturday headliners begin with Thompson Square, presented by Bud Light, at 8 p.m. Kevin Fowler, presented by Waste Management, will follow to close out the festival at 10 p.m.

Thompson Square – the husband and wife duo Keifer and Shawna Thompson – has released two albums, producing a combined eight chart singles on the Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts, with two singles reaching number one. They won the 2013 Academy of Country Music Award for Vocal Duo of the Year.

Kevin Fowler has earned his reputation as one of the most amped-up concert performers to emerge from the modern-day Texas country movement. He released his seventh studio album, How Country Are Ya, in March. He has charted four singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts.

The festival will include a myriad of other acts, performing on the Toyota of Lewisville Main Stage and the Direct Energy Stage, including Reckless Kelly, Cory Morrow, The Wind & The Wave, Luke Wade, and The King Bucks. Performing at the MCL Grand on Friday night will be Waddie Mitchell with special guest Pipp Gillette.

Children’s Activities
Lewisville Saddle Club will host the Stick Horse Rodeo for kids ages 1 through second grade, with medals awarded to the top three contenders in each of three age divisions. The rodeos will be held at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday, with registration starting half an hour in advance.

Castle Hills Kid Korral playground will offer attractions for kids ages 3-12, including bounce houses, inflatable obstacle courses, mechanical bull and other mechanical rides. The Roller Roper attraction returns this year to offer children the opportunity to try their hand at roping a “steer.” Kids also will be able to ride a kid’s favorite, the Boogie Woogie Choo Choo; test their cowboy skills on a mechanical bull; or take a tamer ride on saddled ponies.

Lewisville Parks and Leisure Services will have Live Fishing Tank for kids, along with other activities.

Children's area wristbands will be available for $12, which allows unlimited trips through the Kid Korral and all the attractions inside. The wristband will be good both days of the 2014 festival.

Food
Coming to Western Days for the fourth year, Castle Hills Culinary Corner will present a free series of four live cooking demonstrations conducted by North Texas gourmet chefs, organized by the World Master Chefs Society. Kicking off Saturday’s cooking at 11 a.m. is Chef Morris Salerno. At 1 p.m., chefs Dave Sokol and Michelle Brown will make traditional and chocolate pralines, along with Praline Ice Cream. At 3 p.m., chefs Michael Scott and Andre Bedouret will prepare Steak Diane. Closing out the day at Culinary Corner will be Chef Pete Nolasco at 5 p.m. with his Texas Chili.

Some of the top competitive eaters on the planet will compete in the 10th annual World Tamale Eating Championship presented by Market Street, starting at 1:15 p.m. on the steps of Lewisville City Hall. Registered contestants include #1 ranked and returning back-to-back champion Joey Chestnut. This 12-minute contest is a favored spectacle for Western Days attendees.

Old Town Preservation Society invites bakers to enter the OTPS Pie Baking Contest to compete for prizes and bragging rights (an Old West tradition). Entries should be dropped off at the City Hall steps prior to 10:30 a.m., when a panel of judges will sample the entries and declare the winners. Fruit and vegetable pies only; no milk- or cream-based recipes.

Lovers of suds and brew should plan some time at the Craft Beer Pavilion on the stage of Old Town Park Plaza. With a wide selection of local and regional Texas beers, there is sure to be something new on tap.

Entertainment
No Western festival would be complete without cowboys and gunfights, and Western Days 2014 has plenty of both. Gunfighter Showdowns will be held in Western Village at 8 p.m. Friday and 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Cowboys will be strolling the festival grounds both days.

Western Days will feature a Native American exhibition of song, dance and customs from Ghost Horse Singers and Dancers. Performances will be at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, and 1:30 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27. The audience will witness first-hand the rich Native American culture prior to European contact. The audience will get an opportunity to ask one-on-one questions to further their knowledge of the culture of this country’s first inhabitants.

Lewisville Morning Rotary Club and Memory Lane will present the Western Days Car Show on Saturday, starting at 10 a.m., on Mill Street and Main Street. Dozens of vehicles, from classics to hot rods, will be on display competing for prizes from judges and admiration from spectators.

Art
The Cynthia Ann and Quanah Parker Exhibit, “A Woman OF Two Worlds and a Man IN Two Worlds,” will be featured at the MCL Grand Art Gallery. The free exhibit opens Sept. 26 and will run through Nov. 8. The traveling exhibit of rarely seen photos of Quanah and Cynthia Ann Parker, two important figures in U.S. frontier history, is arranged through The Texas Lakes Trail Region. The exhibit will feature additional items provided by noted collector and archivist Doug Harman.

Also opening during Western Days will be “The Western Way,” an exhibit of Western-themed art by members of Visual Art League of Lewisville. The exhibit will be on display in the North Wing Gallery of the MCL Grand from Sept. 26 through Nov. 8.

Lewisville’s Poet Laureate, J. Paul Holcomb, will be joined by former Texas Poets Laureate Alan Birkelbach (2005) and Karla K. Morton (2010), for live readings of their original works in the air-conditioned comfort of the MCL Grand.

A film festival, Old West on the Big Screen, will be held in the MCL Grand Black Box in conjunction with the Quanah & Cynthia Ann Parker Exhibit and will give audiences a feel for how Native Americans have been portrayed in popular cinema. Scheduled screenings include the John Wayne classic "The Searchers" at 8:10 p.m. Friday and 1:17 p.m. and 6:17 p.m. Saturday; and Dustin Hoffman's "Little Big Man" at 11:10 a.m., 4:10 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday.

Sponsors
Sponsors for Western Days 2014 include Waste Management, Toyota of Lewisville, 99.5 The Wolf, JPMorgan Chase, Resource One Credit Union, Ben E. Keith/Bud Light, Orthofix, Southern Comfort Mechanical Heating and Air, Direct Energy, Market Street, Vinson Process Controls, Apparel Group, Blue Lynx Media, Prime Controls, Castle Hills, IPeople, Hampton Inn and Suites, Cobra Brewing, Southwest Display, Gilley's Dallas, Vista Ridge Village Shopping Center, DCTA, Witherspoon Distillery and Star Local Media.

For the latest information on Western Days 2013, visit LewisvilleWesternDays.com or call 972.219.3401.

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Updated: Man Shot on I-35 in Lewisville Tuesday Night; Police Catch Shooter

Local News, Notes and Events
 Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2014/9/24 6:50:00 (9737 reads)

This story has been updated several times. Please scroll down for the latest updates.

Open in new windowOriginal Story:
Details are scarce at this point, but we have learned that a man was shot Tuesday night around 10:30 p.m.

According to Lewisville Police Captain Dan Rochelle, police and fire rescue responded to what they first thought was a vehicle crash on northbound I-35, just south of the Main Street bridge.

The victim was being chased on the service road by the assailant, who was shooting at him. The victim lost control of the vehicle, entered the highway, and hit a center guardrail.

When first reached by paramedics, the victim was alert and talking. He was taken by ambulance to Medical Center of Lewisville, then airlifted to another hospital for treatment.

The suspect vehicle is described right now only as a small-looking SUV.

Police briefly shut down I-35 for their investigation. Rochelle said that police did find shell casings.

Rochelle did not have an update on the victim's condition, and was not providing information on the man's name, age, or city of residence at this point.

An online account of the incident by Facebook users who were listening to the police scanner said that the incident resulted from an altercation that occurred at S.H. 121 Business and Main Street, at the QT gas station, but LTJ has not confirmed that. Unfortunately, LTJ's scanner recording system malfunctioned, and did not record last night.

Anyone with information on this shooting is asked to contact the Department’s crime tip line at 972-219-TIPS (8477).

Update #1 - 11:15 a.m.:
NBC 5 has a story with a photo from the scene, but with the same information we have.

Open in new windowUpdate #2: 3:30 p.m.: Lewisville Police Department says they have a suspect in custody after last night's shooting. The suspect, identified as Stephen Bielicke, 53 of Lewisville, (mugshot at right) was arrested a short time after the shooting Tuesday night.

In a statement distributed at a press conference held Wednesday afternoon, Captain Dan Rochelle said that the victim, identified as Verland Scott Johansen, 65, of Flower Mound was on his way to work Tuesday night when he encountered Bilicke at a convenience store in the 800 block of East SH 121 Business. Witnesses said that Bielicke had been driving around to several convenience stores using store phones and payphones to call his ex-wife in McKinney and threaten her. Bielicke allegedly threatened to kill his ex-wife and other members of her family.

While at these stores, Bielicke allegedly was trying to create confrontations with strangers. Bielicke was witnessed screaming at Johansen, but police say they do not believe the two knew each other, or that Johansen did anything to gain Bielicke's attention.

About 45 minutes after the shooting, officers responded to a convenience store in the 100 block of east Corporate Dr., on a report of a man displaying a gun and threatening people. As the suspect left, a clerk obtained his license plate number and relayed the information to police.

Officer Duk Lee went to the address where the vehicle registration returned to in the 2300 block of San Jacinto Drive. Once there, Officer Lee observed a subject matching the store’s suspect description and contacted him. Bielicke was in his garage near his small SUV type vehicle. Bielicke admitted that he had a gun in the car but refused to allow officers to retrieve it.

Detective Brad Kenney was called in and after interviewing witnesses at the store obtained an arrest warrant for Bielicke as well as a search warrant. Officers did locate a semi-automatic firearm in the vehicle as well as ammunition that matched the shell casings found at the highway shooting.

Bielicke was initially arrested for Unlawful Carrying of Weapon on Alcohol Premises, but Detective Scott Kelly obtained a warrant for Bielicke for Aggravated Assault.

Bielecke is being held in Lewisville Jail in lieu of $250,000 bond. Rochelle said Bielicke is not speaking with detectives.

The victim, Verland Scott Johansen, was flown to Baylor Hospital in Dallas, where he is in critical condition. Police say he was shot once in the head.

Update #3 - 4:42 p.m.:
Lewisville PD had previously released a transposed name for the victim, which we have corrected to read Verland Scott Johansen.

Update #4 - 5:45 p.m.:
The Lewisville Texan Journal has obtained the search warrant and probable cause affidavits in this case, and we have learned the following:

- Bielicke called his wife earlier in the night from the 7-11 store on the corner of Corporate and S.H. 121 Business. A man at the home said that Bielicke threatened to kill the man, Bielicke's wife, and their children. The man, who lives in McKinney, called police there who were also investigating.

- Immediately after leaving the 7-11 for the first time, Bielicke went to the QuikTrip at 801 E S.H. 121 Business - at the intersection of Main Street and S.H. 121 Business. At this location, Bielicke confronted Johansen, screaming at him: "You want to fu** with me, motherfu**er!" over and over.

- When Johansen left the location in his car, Bielicke followed him. First down Main Street, then after Johansen U-turned, and went West on SH 121 Business, Bielicke continued to follow.

- After Johansen turned North on I-35E service road, when the two passed Fox Avenue, Bielicke fired about 6 shots at Johansen's car.

- Johansen was struck once in the right side of his head, near his ear. The bullet fragmented and fractured his right temporal lobe.

- Police recovered 4 fresh Winchester .40 caliber S&W shell casings from the I-35 Service road.

- Police searched Bielicke's home and vehicle this morning at around 5:45 a.m.

- The weapon recovered from Bielicke's silver Hyundai was a black Glock model 27 (baby Glock) .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun. Police also recovered one empty 9-round capacity magazine, and two live (unfired) .40 caliber hollowpoint rounds matching the shell casings found at the scene. The shell-casings found at the scene also had primer strike marks matching those from the Glock 27. Police also seized an iPhone from Bielicke.

Original version has been updated to reflect the QuikTrip address, which had previously been stated as 1700 block.

Update 9/27/2014 - 12:30 a.m.:
Johansen has died from his injuries, and Bielicke is now charged with murder.

We will update this story with any additional information we receive.

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Misheard Word Results in Viral Facebook Post; Man Falsely Accused of Animal Abuse

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2014/9/22 22:50:00 (5238 reads)

Open in new windowI am not going to use anyone’s real name in this post. I’ll use initials for the accused, and you’ll soon know why.

A conversation overheard at an animal adoption event resulted in a woman in Sherman, Texas thinking that a man there (J.B.) was looking for a “bait dog” to use in hunting feral hogs. The woman apparently talked to J.B. and got his business card. She wrote an email explaining that “bait” dogs were intentionally being injured or crippled and staked out as bait to attract wild hogs, which hunters would then go after. The point of the email, in which she attached a photo of J.B.’s business card, was that shelters should beware of the guy and not let him adopt any dogs. Supposedly, J.B. was looking for Catahoulas, Aussies, or Black Mouth Curs.

Another woman who had received the email, posted it on her personal Facebook wall, along with the photo of the business card showing the J.B.’s name, phone number, and personal email address. Within four hours, it had been shared nearly 600 times, and presumably viewed by many thousands of people. One commenter on the post I saw mentioned something about breaking the guy’s kneecaps. Others were very quick to condemn, and said they’d be sharing the link.

There’s just one problem: As best we can tell, in hog hunting, there’s no such thing as “bait” dogs. Hog hunters who use dogs often use "bay" dogs though.

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Lewisville Steps Back from Enforcement on Fence-Staining Ordinance

Local News, Notes and Events
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2014/9/22 20:28:55 (3071 reads)

Open in new windowOpen in new windowLewisville residents have recently been receiving letters from the City of Lewisville, warning them that their unstained, unpainted wooden fences are in violation of a city ordinance. The letters say that if the residents do not paint or stain their fence, they can be receive a citation each day, and the city could hire someone to fix the problem, then bill the resident for the cost, plus an additional $250 administrative fee. Failure to pay, they said, would result in a lien being placed against the property. (Click the image on the right to enlarge)

No, the Lewisville didn’t suddenly become a homeowners association. Rather, in May of 2013, the Lewisville City Council adopted the International Property Maintenance Code - one of a series of I-codes the city had already adopted to address building standards. The IPMC is intended to standardize local codes regarding the maintenance of existing properties. Section 304.2 of the code requires that all exterior surfaces be painted or stained, except in limited conditions:

304.2 Protective treatment. All exterior surfaces, including but not limited to, doors, door and window frames, cornices, porches, trim, balconies, decks and fences, shall be maintained in good condition. Exterior wood surfaces, other than decay-resistant woods, shall be protected from the elements and decay by painting or other protective covering or treatment. Peeling, flaking and chipped paint shall be eliminated and surfaces repainted. ...


After some back-and-forth today, the city has said it has not issued any citations over fence-staining, and will not do so in the immediate future.

The purpose of adoption of the IPMC, which had been recommended by the Neighborhood Preservation Committee, was to raise the standards of how Lewisville’s neighborhoods look. Residents often complain the neighborhoods look run down, or that the city doesn’t do enough to make people maintain their properties.

We contacted Lewisville Director of Neighborhood Services Cleve Joiner today to ask about the city’s new enforcement over fences, and he had this to say:

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Where's My iPony?

Raging Moderate
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2014/9/21 22:50:22 (2484 reads)

Open in new windowOpen in new windowWill Durst - Raging Moderate

Shake off the blues, put on your shoes, and tell grandma the news: the next generation iPhones are here. Cue the "woo- hoos." And guess what: they're huge. Or not. You choose. It's like iGoldilocks. There's a small, a medium and a large. And the best part- no bears.

The iPhone 6 is a little bigger than the previous models but the iPhone 6 Plus looks like they shrunk the Minipad. Or tiny iPad. Or whatever they call it. "Is that an iPhone 6 Plus in your pocket or are you just really really happy to see me?" All across America, Baby Boomers are raising 8 ounce glasses of prune juice in grateful toasts. They can finally see their buttons. These phablets are fabulous.

In other fruit computer news, the iWatch did not turn out to be the iWatch: it's the Apple Watch. Even though the company filed for trademark protection in about 100 markets for the right to call it the iWatch. Of course, the wrist- bound marvel doesn't become iAvailable until 2015. Or when iSwatch freezes over.

In response to the new releases, the Galaxy Android Samsung contingent (GAS) has ramped up their troll- like flame campaign to shame and defame Apple for belatedly matching the lame technology of their sacred superior smart phones. But in such a piercing stridency, one thinks- perhaps they doth protest too much. If whining were beer, these guys would be a frat party during Octoberfest. In Bavaria.

Can't figure out what it is about these modern communication devices that makes people so crazy. You never hear Lexus owners bashing Acura drivers for finally acquiring contrasting leather stitching on their reclining heated leather seats. Brioni doesn't claim that Kiton suits are seasons old knock- offs with materials drawn from substandard sheep. Wustof wouldn't dream of accusing Henckels of stealing their edge design. They might think it.

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Sunday Morning Update - Western Week Edition

Links, Thoughts, and Open Thread
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2014/9/21 11:20:00 (2566 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 windowWestern Days is next weekend - Friday the 26th and Saturday, the 27th, and we are excited! Everything you need to know about Western Days is on the Lewisville Western Days website, and you can download your free tickets here. We highly recommend downloading and printing at your earliest convenience just in case there are problems with the website or with your printer on the day of the festival. The festival begins Friday night at 7 p.m. and goes until 11:30 p.m. Saturday, the festival opens at 10 a.m. and goes to 11:30 p.m.

Live music is the biggest draw for the festival. Friday night, the big act is Robert Earl Keen playing on the main stage at 10 p.m. Saturday night, it’s Thompson Square at 8 p.m. and Kevin Fowler at 10 p.m. But music acts are all day on two outdoor stages.

We’ll be posting more about Western Days this week, and we hope to see you there!

Fire Department Open House on October 11th.

LISD says kids with iPads should go ahead and install IOS 8.

LISD Board Meeting recap

Saturday, September 27th is medication disposal day. Take any unused or expired medications to the Lewisville High School main campus. Hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

You may remember Parker County resident Steve Lipsky’s fight over his methane-contaminated water well. Scientists have confirmed the gas does come from gas drilling activity, but is probably from the Strawn formation and not the Barnett Shale. Our article from 2010 has a diagram that may make it more clear. Science Daily has more.

Café Herrera is one of the three restaurants scheduled to come to Old Town Lewisville in a new development across the street from the MCL Grand Theater, incentivized by the City of Lewisville. The problem is that their Denton location just got locked out for non-payment of rent. (See photo below) The restaurant just couldn’t seem to please customers, who gave it a very poor 2 star rating on Yelp. The Denton Record Chronicle has more on the restaurant’s troubles. We attempted to contact the company via email, but that bounced. We spoke with the manager of the Mockingbird Station location Sunday morning, but he didn’t have any information about whether the Lewisville location would still be opening. The Denton location was still locked out as of Saturday night.
Open in new window
Photo by Joseph Carr

Texas Family Musicals announced it will cease production of shows after November 15th, citing increasing costs of productions, declining ticket sales, and their “refusal to do anything but family friendly shows”.

Of the top 100 best places to live, Denton, TX is ranked #84.

Be on the lookout for the triatomine bug.

The Flower Mound Town Council approved plans for a business incubator.

Lewisville based American Messaging Services has teamed up with another firm to create mobile applications for secure and critical messaging for healthcare providers.

Here is video from the September 8th Lewisville City Council meeting. The workshop session discusses I-35 design through Lewisville.

This week’s installment of school administrators picking silly battles.

The Texas State Board of Education has approved a measure to declare that state curriculum overrides the Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum put out by the College Board. High School students take these classes to prepare them for exams that grant full college credit, and thus save thousands of dollars in college tuition. Burnt Orange Report has their take on the SBOE’s action, and its political motivations.

Local men’s roller derby team, The Denton County Outlaws are ranked 8th in the nation.

City of Lewisville Horizon Newsletter

Mosquitoes carrying West Nile disease continue to be a problem in Lewisville. One problem location has been literally right outside the back door of the Lewisville Texan Journal’s office on Edmonds Lane. We are next door to a retirement village where residents are more susceptible to West Nile due to their age.

North Texas Giving Day raised $26.3 million for non-profits in just 18 hours.

A woman describes her escape from the Quiverfull cult, that unfortunately caused her to lose her faith.

After surgery, a man received a surprise $117,000 medical bill from a doctor he didn’t even know. Unfortunately, this is pretty common. We all love to pile on the insurance companies over the cost of healthcare, but sometimes the problem is just flat-out greed on the part of providers. We all expect and pretty much desire that doctors be well-paid for their work, based on their education and dedication. But at some point, you have to draw a line and say that “No, you don’t get to earn $20,000 per hour for your work.” It’s yet another perfect example of why healthcare does not fit the free-market model, and simply cannot ever fit. Healthcare is not an optional service we can simply choose to avoid, and none of us who are not doctors are really qualified to second-guess what our providers tell us. We are not equipped, and in emergency situations do not have the ability to negotiate or shop around.

First Choice Emergency Room is asking the Lewisville City Council to consider a variance to allow them to have a taller sign. Their application states that their lease is up soon on their corporate headquarters in Lewisville, and they’ll consider the Council’s actions when deciding whether to stay or go. Here’s what First Choice said in response to our inquiry:

First Choice Emergency Room does have a pending application into the City requesting a variance for sign height. The request for the variance is a result of tall trees at the site which currently obscure visibility from the street. Our application simply asks for the approval to build a 50' pylon sign (current sign stands at 30') to be visible above the trees, and to ensure people seeking life-saving emergency care can readily locate the facility. The location of the facility is in Lewisville located at 1596 West Main Street; a nearby fast food chain also located on Main Street in Lewisville is an example of a sign that stands 50’ or higher. First Choice Emergency Room is a strong corporate supporter in the community and with our headquarters located in Lewisville, decisions to extend the lease will take into account support from the City.

While I don’t much care about whether the sign is 30 or 50 feet, and would be okay with granting a variance based on the situation, First Choice has a lot of nerve trying to pull this type of extortion. It’s bad enough that freestanding ERs like this increase the healthcare costs for all of us by billing insurance companies non-negotiated rates for service. While they do have nice facilities and see patients quickly, you need to know that you are going to end up paying a bunch more out-of-pocket if you use them. We recommend that you skip the freestanding ER and go to an urgent care clinic for things that are urgent, or the hospital emergency room if you have to. For a true medical emergency, call 911.

Houston fired 4 cops over a scheme where they were writing tickets and listing each other as witnesses in order to rack up overtime pay. 6000 tickets had to be dismissed.

Humberto Martinez-Benitez will face trial Monday for a 2012 murder in a Lewisville mobile home park.

The Dallas Morning News has a story that explains some claims that Senator Wendy Davis voted on projects while she was on Fort Worth City Council that indirectly benefitted her employer. Basically, the Council approved economic development agreements for companies, who in a couple of cases used Davis’s employer to handle the title insurance. Davis was paid a flat salary for her work. What is not entirely clear to me is whether one would know whether a certain title company had already been chosen for a deal at the point that the Council would vote on it - which certainly can take place a long time before closing a land sale. While Davis did have the City Attorney's opinion that there was no conflict, it certainly would have avoided the appearance for Davis to abstain on these if she knew her employer would indirectly benefit. I am disappointed in this, but much less so than with Greg Abbott.

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FBI Seeks Public Help Identifying Bank Robber

Local News, Notes and Events
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2014/9/20 10:46:29 (2618 reads)

Open in new windowOpen in new windowDALLAS— The Dallas FBI Violent Crimes Task Force and the Dallas Police Department are requesting the public’s assistance to identify the suspect responsible for robbing the Wells Fargo Bank at 17088 Preston Road in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday, August 30, 2014.

The suspect entered the bank and demanded money; she received an undisclosed amount of cash and fled the location on foot. Although the robber displayed a handgun, no one was physically injured.

The suspect is described as a black female with shoulder-length black hair, wearing a white shirt, blue athletic pants and a two-tone blue cap with the “Mavs” logo. She appears to be in her 30s - 40s, approximately 6’0” tall, and approximately 240 pounds.

The suspect is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information is urged to call the Dallas FBI office at 972-559-5000 or the North Texas Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-877-373-TIPS (8477).

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Monday Morning Update - September 15th

Links, Thoughts, and Open Thread
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2014/9/15 7:51:54 (2709 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 windowDespite the rain last Friday, Lewisville Lake sits at 515.76 feet, or about 6.24 feet low. We really didn't pick up anything in the lake from that last rain. But we sure have enjoyed this cooler weather.

On Saturday, the Lewisville Morning Rotary club invited me to join them for the city’s second-Saturday Household Hazardous Waste event at the Residential Convenience Center. These are a great bunch of people who do a great thing for our city by disposing of things that do not need to go to the landfill. You can see my photos on the LTJ Facebook page. For more information about this event, visit the City of Lewisville website. The next event is Saturday, October 11th. For more info, see the City of Lewisville's website.

Last Monday, the City Council voted to grant an amended permit to Atlas, the operator of the Prologis gas wells on McGee near FM 407. The company is the successor to Titan, which had developed the pad, and did not originally include a permit for a compressor in their original plans. At some point when the wells were not producing at a high enough level to feed the pipeline without compression, they simply installed one, which is what is behind that ugly temporary sound curtain you see at the site now. Rather than go through the process of getting a permit for it, which they knew full well they needed, they thought they would sneak it on. It was discovered during an inspection by one of the city’s oil and gas inspectors. Rather than write a citation and set a timetable to come into compliance with our city’s gas well ordinance, the Fire Marshal tried to work with them to get a permit application from them. Unfortunately that process dragged on for nearly two years, and Council was not informed. Earlier this summer, during a visit with the Fire Marshal, he told me about this issue, but I wasn’t aware at the time that it had gone on as long as it had, or that no citation had been issued.

Long story short, Atlas got suffered no penalty for flouting our city’s ordinance, and got exactly what they wanted on the timetable they wanted. It’s a terrible precedent for our city. I know that our city council members were not pleased with the situation, but in the end, each of them voted to grant the permit. I had asked them to table it, order a citation, shut in the operator, and grant the permit only after it had been adjudicated. To be clear, I have no problem with there being a compressor on that site. I do have a problem with operators thinking they are above our laws. Council met with the City Attorney in closed session for about 1/2 hour prior to this vote, so I can only assume that counsel told them they had few options due to the city’s tacit consent to the compressor, allowing it to run for nearly two years without a permit.

Councilman Ferguson cited the uniqueness of the situation in that the company that did the compressor (Titan) was not the company now stuck with the problem (Atlas). He and I disagree on that point. When Atlas merged with Titan, that did not, and cannot result in the company shedding all of its liabilities and responsibilities. Titan was folded into Atlas, its assets, liabilities, and all. Nevertheless, Ferguson chided Atlas, telling them they got the permit only by the skin of their teeth.

The City Council did direct the City Manager to create an administrative directive to city staff to avoid this type of prolonged situation happening again. I hope that helps, but I do fear the precedent that this has set. I think that the only thing gas operators understand is their profits, and that as a city we’re going to have to demonstrate that we are not afraid to enforce our own ordinance up to and including the $2,000 per day fine, well shut-in, and/or permit revocation. We do not need Lewisville to end up in the same situation as Denton.

Chesapeake Energy Corporation will face felony racketeering charges for using false pretenses related to its land leasing.

NBC 5 has a story about the delays on the Old Town Park Plaza construction. There is not much we can add to this, other than some four-letter words. The last update was that "substantial completion" should be by 9/25, which leaves no buffer for Western Days. There are numerous excuses for the delays - some reasonable, and some that seem dubious. In any case neither city staff nor council are pleased with the progress, and Councilman Tierney wants a complete “investigation” or post-mortem afterwards to make sure everything is understood so that it doesn’t happen again. The dirt pile there across from city hall is now so old that it has its own Facebook page, and has begun posting funny statuses. The Lewisville Leader also has a story about it.

We are looking forward to Western Days though - whether or not the plaza is complete. We won’t have a booth this year, as we’ve had too little time, and not enough money. But I’ll be there taking pictures. I’m not that familiar with the “headliner” Kevin Fowler, but Fluffy and I are fans of Robert Earl Keen, and we’ve seen Thompson Square when they were on tour with Lady Antebellum. The Dallas Morning News posted a list of can’t-miss fall festivals in the area, and Western Days comes in at #13.

Despite the district court ruling that Texas public school funding is unconstitutional the Texas GOP is resisting calls for swift action, instead focusing on fighting it in the Supreme Court.

Jason Stanford wrote about University of Texas professor Walter Stroup, who argued that Texas’ high-stakes STAAR tests were not being used correctly. By picking a fight with the special interest the state had spent almost half a billion dollars on, Stroup got a target painted on his back. The article is a very long read, but well worth the time if you want to understand why the testing scheme is invalid, and how the testing-industrial complex protects its turf by any means necessary. If you prefer, Diane Ravitch has a shorter summary.

Have you heard of Uber? It’s a “ride-sharing” service that for the most part ends up being a sort of unlicensed taxi service. Cities like to regulate taxis, ostensibly to ensure safety and accessibility, but it seems in some cases, it comes down to revenue, or turf protection. Here’s a good article about the battle between Uber and those trying to regulate that type of service.

You may have heard about a recent leak of stolen nude photos of numerous female celebrities. Here’s a public service announcement about nude photos from Chuck Wendig. If you want to know my opinion on the matter, it’s pretty much the same as his. I am not fond of victim-blaming.

Awkwardly-named Flower Mound nonprofit “Winning the Fight” (WTF) has released a documentary on teen drug abuse and recovery. For more information, visit their website.

City of Lewisville Horizon Newsletter - 9/5/14

An NBC 5 investigation looked into football helmets used by local school districts, and whether they were as protective as they should be. Lewisville doesn’t use the top-of-the-line helmets, but does have them reconditioned periodically.

The City of Austin, which has its own municipal power utility, has just decided that by 2030, it will get 60% of its energy from renewables. Nick Cunningham thinks this will be a huge boost to solar providers help Texas become a “solar powerhouse”. Here in Lewisville, we don’t have a publicly-owned electric utility, but the Vision 2025 plan does promote solar energy for city facilities, and for private new construction by implementing the International Green Construction Code, which encourages that.

People continued to post trash complaints on the City of Lewisville Facebook page, so the City has added an online complaint form. You can click “Code Enforcement”, and the two trash-related categories are at the bottom, beneath that.

On October 19th, runners will have the opportunity to run a 5k through Lake Park, or a half-marathon across the Lewisville Dam. Normally people are not allowed on the dam, so this is a rare opportunity to get a breathtaking view of both the lake and the Elm Fork through LLELA. The run benefits Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area. They are also on Facebook here, so you can share this with your friends who run.

The University of North Texas Mean Green beat SMU so bad that their coach resigned.

More from the "what the heck are they thinking?" department. It's not just that the guy was in uniform; it's that he "wasn't wearing a tie". Wait, what? Once again, school administrators picking incredibly stupid battles. This only comes to light because it affected someone in military uniform, but I suspect it's a major hassle to many other working dads. Ties? You gotta be kidding me. It’s bad enough that schools tend to be arbitrary with dress codes for students, but having a dress code for parents is pretty ridiculous. It's worth noting that the original story from the Fox News local affiliate mentioned the "tie" aspect, but when Fox News picked it up, they left out that part. Apparently, it's okay to be arbitrarily shitty to people, as long as they don't wear the uniform of our nation's armed services.

Dallas Hoops Standout Tanayah Harrell (Lewisville) Coached by Grandmother, Excelling on Court

Denton County reported the first case of mosquito-transmitted chikungunya - a Lewisville resident who had traveled to an affected area.

Southbound I-35E Exit Ramp to Swisher Road Scheduled to Permanently Close

Political
It seems some Republicans just can’t stand having their words exposed to the public. Here’s a journalist arrested for filming a Republican speech - even after she was invited to be there, and had permission to film. In my opinion, if what you say to any group can't be heard by all, then you must have something to hide.

Salon has an article on what even the “liberal media” isn’t reporting on Rick Perry’s indictment, and why he could go away for a long time.

Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis released a memoir, in which she recounted her two abortions - one that was an ectopic pregnancy, and one where the fetus had an acute brain abnormality where multiple doctors said it would not likely survive.

The richest Americans have bought politicians and gamed the system so that only they reap the benefits of any improvements in the economy. The deck is stacked, and from 2010-2013, median incomes fell for all but the richest Americans. On top of that, the GOP’s tax policy (AKA, the Bush tax cuts) add insult to injury and contribute to the national deficit. Here’s an article from The American Conservative which says the real GOP fiasco is the issue of fairness.

A non-scientific online poll by the Dallas Business Journal finds that 88% of voters favor Wendy Davis for Governor, with just 11% for Greg Abbott, and 1% each for the Green and Libertarian candidates. The real polls tell a different story however, with Rasmussen being the most favorable to Davis, showing her 8 points behind Abbott. The average of all polls has Abbott with a 12 point lead.

Politicians should work for minimum wage. That would be huge raise for City Council members and School Board members.

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Symphony Opens Season with Russian Pianist

Lewisville Area Calendar and Events
Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2014/9/12 7:40:44 (2467 reads)

Open in new windowAward-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.

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