Lewisville City Council meeting heard a presentation about possible future changes to the city’s tree ordinance at its March 21 meeting.
Assistant city manager Claire Swann presented the council with proposed clarification of Lewisville’s tree ordinance. She explained that some of the current language had caused a recent interpretation dispute.
The current ordinance does not allow clear-cutting, and requires that cutting of trees for development purposes must be in accordance with a site plan and final plat. But the ordinance is not explicit about allowing homeowners to cut trees down, and is ambiguous about whether cutting of unprotected trees is allowed for development.
Swann said that staff has interpreted the ordinance to allow people to remove unprotected trees without a permit.
An area of trees adjacent to the city’s new right of way for the Valley Ridge extension was recently cleaned up by that owner, who had been having problems with trash collecting in the thick brush. That property owner cleaned out the scrub trees, thinning out the forested area considerably, and causing alarm to some.
Staff want to define clear-cutting as the removal of all trees. They also want to explicitly set up a process where property owners can get staff approval for removal of protected trees, as long as they mitigate the removal in accordance with the ordinance.
Verizon wireline (land line) customers in Lewisville and throughout Texas, California and Florida won't be getting a bill from Verizon this month.
Instead, they will be getting a bill from Frontier Communications.
April 1 was the takeover date for Frontier to complete its $10.5 billion acquisition from Verizon for the three states where it is acquiring the wireline services.
Frontier will now be the corporation providing the wireline services that were previously provided by Verizon Communications to residential, commercial and wholesale customers in the three states.
The acquired businesses include about 3 million households and 400 businesses, as well as the related incumbent local exchange carrier business.
The new Frontier customers, who had been Verizon customers, will start receiving monthly bills in mid April.
Lliam Morrison, Frontier corporate communication manager currently based in Richardson, said the acquisition means that about 10,000 Verizon employees officially became Frontier employees on April 1. That number includes about 2,500 employees in Texas.
“Frontier is excited about this acquisition," Morrison said. "We will strive to keep services at least the same as possible, and improve on them when we can.”
Frontier is proud of the personal service offered to customers from the company's call services, he said. Recently, a customer called a Frontier call service for information about his service and during the call, appeared to be having a stroke.
“The Frontier representative kept him on the phone while dialing 9-1-1 from another phone,” Morrison said. “This is the kind of personal service that Frontier offers.”
He said the acquisition not only include telephone service over land lines or wirelines, but also includes speedier Internet service and FiOS services.
Rhonda Lutzke, area president of Frontier's South Region, which includes Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada, said the company is excited to welcome new Texas customers and employees to Frontier.
"Our goal is to keep the customer experience at the forefront," she said. "With this expansion, we are working to make the transition as seamless as possible and are looking forward to providing innovative products and services in the coming year.”
The city of Lewisville has apologized to 4,600 water customers, most of whom were not about to be late on their water bills, for having received an automated phone call shortly after 5 p.m. on March 25 telling them their water bill is overdue and their service would be cut off within a week if the bill is not paid.
That caused hundreds, if not even a few thousand people to worry all of the Easter holiday weekend about whether their water was about to be cut off. Many of them had received their bill only two or three days earlier in the week.
The following Monday morning, March 28, large numbers of customers were calling the city water department, or even coming to city hall to find out what was going on.
“You know how the worst glitches seem to happen at the worst times? That has happened with the city’s water-billing system,” said James Kunke, community relations and tourism director.
He said there were two problems: Most people were not late paying their bill, and the call went out after 5 p.m. on Friday and the water department and city hall were closed for the weekend. Those customers had to worry about this throughout the entire Easter weekend.
Kunke, on behalf of the city staff, posted on Facebook:
“We sincerely apologize to the affected residents. We have identified the problem and have taken steps to fix it. If you received an automated call on Friday and are certain your bill is current, you do not need to worry further. If you received an automated call on Friday and have a current water bill due April 7, you can disregard the call. Of course, if you received an automated call on Friday and know that your water bill is overdue, you should make arrangements to get caught up.”
Later on Monday, March 28, a second automated call went out to the same water customers who received the erroneous call the previous Friday. This second call was an apology and explanation, but Kunke said some people did not listen to the entire recording and and thought they were getting another “overdue bill” message. Kunke said this sparked even more calls to city hall.
The recorded message sent out from city hall on Monday afternoon was, in its entirety:
"This is a courtesy call from the City of Lewisville water billing office notifying you of an errant call placed last Friday, March 25. If you received that call and you do not have a past due notification on your most recent bill, please accept our apologies and note that your most recent bill is not due until April 7th and no further action is required at this time. Again, we apologize for the inconvenience caused by this errant call."
If the Lewisville High School softball team is going to make a return trip to the UIL state tournament, they will likely have to do so without All-American pitcher/first baseman Maribeth Gorsuch.
Lewisville Junior Maribeth Gorsuch (12) pitches the ball in last year's State Championship game against the Katy Tigers.(Photo by Anthony Mazur)
Gorsuch was expected to miss her second consecutive game when the Lady Farmers faced Hebron at the LHS Killough campus Friday night. The game was completed after The Lewisville Texan Journal went to press.
The four-year starter has been sidelined since suffering concussion-like symptoms after a collision with teammates while attempting to field a fly ball in LHS’ 3-2 loss to Plano on Tuesday, March 22. The loss dropped the Lady Farmers to fifth place in District 6-6A, but a subsequent win over Marcus three days later lifted them back to fourth in their highly-competitive district.
In a Tuesday interview during LHS’ afternoon practice, Lady Farmer coach Lori Alexander said that Gorsuch was meeting with doctors on Wednesday. She expects Gorsuch to miss a significant amount of games and practice time due to the injury, even hinting that the LSU pledge’s high school career could be over.
“The doctors seem to think her season is done,” Alexander said. “I foresee her being out at least through district play. Hopefully she can make it back by playoff time, but that’s if we can make the playoffs.”
A Lewisville post-season run is no longer a foregone conclusion. The Lady Farmers are perilously hanging on to the fourth and final playoff spot afforded district teams with a little less than half of the district season remaining.
“Maribeth’s absence is pretty substantial,” Alexander said. “We’re good enough around her that we have a good chance to do good things. But you pull a kid like that out of your lineup and it’s huge.”
LHS is 15-6 overall and 8-4 in district play. The Lady Farmers trail Plano West, Flower Mound and Plano in the district standings. Five District 6-6A teams are represented in The Dallas Morning News Class 6A top 10 -- Plano West (1st), Flower Mound (2nd), Plano (4th), Lewisville (6th) and Plano East (7th).
If their first game without Gorsuch was an indication, the Lady Farmers may have what it takes to return to the playoffs without the player who has become synonymous with Lewisville softball. They pounded out 11 hits and trounced rival Marcus 11-2. Junior Makayla Corbin dominated in the pitching circle, allowing only five hits and striking out seven Lady Marauders. At the plate, she went 4-for-5 with two doubles and five runs batted in.
Alexander’s strategy of pitching Corbin and sophomore Taylor Groover extensively in non-district action might pay off at season’s end. The pair combined for seven early season wins and entered district play with valuable varsity-level pitching experience.
“I feel like we’ve done a better job of developing a pitching staff beyond Maribeth this year,” Alexander said. “The games that Makayla has pitched, she’s done a real good job. And Groover provides such a different look for hitters.”
Gorsuch’s missing bat is almost as impactful as her absence in the circle. The Lady Farmers’ four district losses have been by a combined nine runs. They tend to win via blowout and lose close games so her team-leading five home runs will be missed.
With Lady Farmer players frantically doing hitting drills around her, Alexander predicted that her team’s success or failure will be dictated by their performance at the plate.
“In this district, every game is like a playoff game,” Alexander said. “If our bats stay hot, we’ll be fine, if they go cold…..”