Twenty school children were shot to death by a gunman who first shot his mother, then drove her car to the school armed with a .223 caliber rifle and two handguns. The death toll in the incident was 28, including school staff, children, the mother, and the gunman, who took his own life.
"It is essential that we ensure all Texas schools are equipped and ready to carry out a strategic plan to secure the safety of students and staff in the event of a threat such as the one that occurred today," Gov. Perry said. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families impacted by today's tragedy, while our focus here is on doing everything within our power to protect the safety of Texas children whose parents have entrusted them to the care of our public schools."
The governor also referred districts to the Texas School Safety Center (TSSC) at Texas State University as a resource to assist in developing a plan of response or improving an existing plan.
Passed in 2005, Senate Bill 11 required school districts and public junior colleges to adopt and implement a multi-hazard emergency operations plan that includes district employee training and mandatory school drills to prepare students and employees for responding to an emergency.
Locally, Superintendent Stephen Waddell sought to reassure parents that the district has procedures in place to react to threats in the schools.
"I am sure you know about the tragic events at an elementary school today in Connecticut," said Waddell in a letter posted on the district's website. "Our first reaction is shock at the senseless violence, especially upon innocent children, and our hearts and prayers go to the children, their families and the community."
"I know that such tragedies cause fear to rise within you about the safety of your children. I want to assure you that the safety of your children is of the first importance to us. Today, we have asked local police and emergency providers to increase their patrols of our schools. Most had already planned this. We are also having LISD support staff stationed at the schools at dismissal." (Read the rest...)
Parents were notified via automated phone calls from Waddell. Here is the message:
Lewisville Police train for school shootings, and carry semi-automatic rifles in their cars (AR-15/M-4 style), so that first responding officers can enter and neutralize shooters right away- a departure from previous tactics of setting up perimeters and waiting for tactical units to respond.
Percussionist Dave Hall showcases music from Baroque to contemporary - Submitted Photo
The Lewisville Lake Symphony’s Chamber Series presents “Prolific Percussion” with international composer and performer Dave Hall. The concert offers classical jazz and the sounds of other cultures on marimba, vibraphone, drums, crotales and other exotic percussion instruments.
The concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 27 at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 5500 Morriss Road in Flower Mound (across from the Marcus High School football stadium). The concert is free but donations are tax deductible and appreciated. It is presented in cooperation with the College of Music at the University of North Texas.
Blue helmets and white UN vehicles are standard issue for City employees now, as the United Nations has just completed its physical takeover of Lewisville, Texas. The city of 95,290 in Southern Denton County had been a home rule municipality under Texas law, incorporated in 1925, but today it begins a new era under the control of the United Nations.
The takeover began Tuesday morning, when a black helicopter landed in the middle of Church street in front of City Hall. UN officials delivered a resolution to the City Secretary, signed by the UN High Commission on Sustainability, claiming the city as the rightful property of "the Citizens of the World", duly conveyed by implicit action of the City Council in accordance with the insidious terms of Agenda 21.
First a disclaimer: The Top Ten Comedic News Stories of 2012 should not under any circumstances be confused with the Top Ten Legitimate News Stories of 2012. They are as different as red satin cummerbunds and Liar's Dice. Duck liver and Spanish moss. Matched pearl necklaces and motorcycle handlebars.
For those of you itching to point out that some stories, especially those involving death, destruction, devastation and disaster are not proper subjects for this sort of fanciful folderol -- way ahead of you. Totally agree. Exactly why the Aurora, Colo. movie theater massacre, Hurricane Sandy, Jerry Sandusky and the movie John Carter failed to make the cut.
Also left off the list are a few of the fiendishly frivolous footprints despoiling the sands of this annus horribilis such as Lindsay Lohan's continuing struggles with sobriety, that curious craze called Gangnam Style, the introduction of the iPhone 5 and Facebook's roller-coaster IPO.
That said; here they are, the key stories from the past year providing the purest opportunities for major mocking and scoffing and taunting as determined by the executive council of the Comics, Clowns, Jesters & Satirists Union. Me.
10. Donald Trump. Assumes figurehead post of Birther Movement. Then refuses to shut up all year long, including several embarrassing tweets on Election Day. An ever-gushing political comedy material fountain with all the grace and elegance of tumbling dumpsters.
There are two types of politicians in Texas: statewide elected officials and everyone else.
The reason is that being elected statewide in a state of 25 million people with 20 media markets that each have at least one television station and daily newspaper is a tall task.
Democrats, basking in the glow of the 51.5 to 47.5 percent national election victory, including an eight point improvement with Hispanics, now boast that Texas (which Mitt Romney won 57-40) will be in play in 2016.
There is one major problem with that: the Texas Democratic Party.
Your regular editor has been away on business lately, so I’ll be filling in with my own links and thoughts tonight.
There was a fatality on Sunday night on Interstate 35E in Lewisville. As related to us by the Lewisville Police Department, 22 year-old Alfonso Brown was driving while extremely fatigued, and rolled his 2003 Chevy Trailblazer with five passengers. None of them were wearing seat belts, and three were ejected from the vehicle. Although Brown has been released from the hospital, two others in the car were killed. Please, folks, wear a seat belt. We’ve known about this stuff for too long
If you missed this year’s Holiday at the Hall event in Old Town Lewisville, here are a few slides from the LTJ:
No, I don’t know why he went with the funky-beat bluegrass music either.
Late last night, the Denton Record-Chronicle posted an interesting article about a new FEMA project that will allow developers access to advanced data for the area at no charge. If you’re not familiar with geography of Lewisville, you should know that the one area this city can really expand is eastward onto the floodplains south of Lewisville Lake (which is not called Lake Lewisville, by the way). I posted a question about that on the City of Lewisville’s Facebook page at 10:30 last night and I kid you not, I got a response at 12:30 at night.
In every community, there are people who go above and beyond what is expected of them, and make the community a better place. We would like to recognize them here, and pick one person who makes a difference, so that we can do something nice for them.
So, starting this year, we would like to name an LTJ Lewisville Citizen of the Year.
Here are some of the traits and characteristics that we're looking for:
- They did the right thing, when it would have been easy to do the wrong thing. - They risked their life to save another. - They jumped into action and helped someone. - They sacrificed something to help, encourage, lift up, or support a person or organization. - They gave generously of their time, money, or expertise, to the benefit of the community.
If you look around the community, and pay attention, you probably know someone who fits one or more of the above. (Nobody is going to fit all of them, and that's okay.) Maybe they volunteer their time in a hospital or non-profit. Maybe they tutor schoolchildren who are at risk. Maybe they feed the hungry, or help the jobless. Maybe they saved a life. Maybe they volunteer at a nursing home, or collect school supplies for needy children. They may or may not have been recognized for their contribution, but that is not what motivates them, because they do it for love, and as a way to give back.
So, from now until Christmas (December 25th), we'll be accepting nominations from readers. We will name someone in January after discussing nominations among the editorial group here at LTJ.
One last thing: We need to reach far and wide, and hear from a lot of voices on this, so that we can hear from more than just the usual crowd. There are community heroes out there who may not be known to many people, so the more we get this message out, the better chance we have of finding someone who knows our potential Lewisville Citizen of the Year. So, please share the link to this story with your social networks on Facebook and Twitter, or by email to anyone you think might be able to nominate someone.
Many longtime Lewisville residents know that when their drains make that familiar gurgling sound, it may mean a sewer line stoppage between their house and the city's sewer lines. A quick call to the City, and a truck would show up with a worker to clear the blockage. Residents could get several free cleanouts per year this way, with escalating fees for subsequent cleanouts if the blockage was under the customer's property. But the cost of keeping workers on staff and on call to provide this service is less money to spend elsewhere maintaining the city's infrastructure. And the liability cost from possible damage to a customer's pipes or dwelling is also a concern. The City Council agreed this year to discontinue the service, effective March 1st, 2013. You can watch the video of a discussion of this topic at the Feburary 2012 Council Retreat, which LTJ filmed.
For stoppages that occur after that date, residents can either try their hand at clearing the blockage themselves, call a plumber or "rooter" service and pay their fee, or find a third party to warranty their service line and provide that service free when needed. Water and sewer service lines and stoppages are not covered by any homeowners insurance, according to City Councilman T.J. Gilmore, who said he called numerous insurers to see if they offered such coverage.
As a way to provide residents with access to that third option, The City of Lewisville will enter into an agreement with Service Line Warranties of America (SLWA) to offer that service to Lewisville residents at a discounted rate in exchange for the City informing residents about it. The City of Lewisville is not receiving any payment for this promotion. The nearby City of Plano recently came under fire when word got out that they were accepting a commission from SLWA in exchange for promoting the same service.
During a trip to Washington, D.C., last month, Lindsey Stone posed for a snapshot while making crude gestures. She posted it on Facebook, and soon her life turned upside down.
The incident — and to even call it that is part of the story — serves to underscore the power of social media. Moreover, it exposes the extent to which mainstream media have become obsessed with whatever is echoing online.
Stone, 30, and a co-worker visited Arlington National Cemetery, where they noticed a small sign near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier advising "Silence and Respect." As Stone had done earlier on the trip when she posed with a cigarette in front of a No Smoking sign, she mocked the cemetery advisory by opening her mouth as if yelling and raised her middle finger to convey disrespect. The behavior was juvenile, and posting the photo on Facebook was offensive, but what happened next was unexpected.
Flower Mound Place 1 Councilwoman Kendra Stephenson
What should have been a routine campaign finance filing got expensive for Flower Mound Place 1 Councilwoman Kendra Stephenson this summer when she was fined $500 for what she says was a paperwork mix-up.
Candidates and officeholders are required to appoint a campaign treasurer using form CTA and file form C/OH disclosing contributions and expenditures 30 days and eight days prior to the election. Stephenson did have a treasurer, and did file the disclosures on time, but used the wrong forms - form STA and SPAC, intended for use by Specific-Purpose Political Action Committees. Stephenson explained that her decision to file for the Council seat was last-minute, and that although the candidate packet she received from the Town had the correct form and instructions, she hadn't been able to get them to her friend Keith Simonson, who volunteered to be her treasurer. Simonson misread the information online and downloaded the wrong forms.