Update 7/20/2012: The City of Lewisville has hired a company to spray insecticide along streets within a half-mile radius of the two locations where the infected persons live - in the 1200 block of Logan Drive, and the 900 Block of Witherby Lane. (See map to the right) Spraying will take place Saturday night, 7/21, at 10 p.m. Residents in the area are urged to stay indoors during the spraying, keep pets indoors, and cover koi ponds and vegetable gardens, taking basic precautions.
The City of Lewisville was notified this week that two local resident have tested positive for West Nile Virus, the first WNV confirmations in Lewisville this year. Local health officials are cautioning residents to take steps to prevent exposure and infection.
City officials have been using mosquito traps in order to determine if the virus is present in the local insect population as well, and have found positive results in several areas of the city. There have been confirmed cases of human infection in Denton and Dallas counties already this year and one virus-related death in Dallas County.
Health officials say that it should serve as a reminder to residents that they should attempt to avoid or limit exposure to mosquito bites. The Texas Department of Health recommends four steps:
- Try to stay indoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes tend to be most active.
- Dress in long sleeves and pants when outdoors.
- Use repellent containing the active ingredient Deet when going into areas where mosquitoes might be active.
- Drain standing water from such sources as tires, flowerpots, clogged rain gutters, cans, buckets and ground depressions. These are prime mosquito breeding areas.
Residents also are encouraged to report standing water on city-maintained property by calling Lewisville Animal Control at (972) 219-3478.
Thursday, July 19th, from 6 - 7 p.m., Keep Lewisville Beautiful is hosting a free "Garden Secrets" class on composting at Memorial Park Rec Center. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As of Wednesday Morning, Lewisville Lake was at 519.94 feet - just over 2 feet low.
Camp Durham, at Durham Middle School is a summer learning experience for at-risk youth, created based on the LISD Strategic plan. The strategic design addresses community involvement and connectedness in many ways. One of the specific objectives reads "All students feel connected and engaged to their community and government and community is involved in the education process." Students at Camp Durham spent last week visiting nearby Central Park and Waste Management facilities here in Lewisville. They worked in collaborative groups to identify problems and help come up with solutions. They'll be conducting a cleanup there Thursday in cooperation with Keep Lewisville Beautiful. I love seeing our youth pitch in together to try to solve problems and make things better. It's hard to look at some of the ideas they have without immediately thinking about cost and feasibility, but the point is that to these kids, they've agreed on what they think will work. I'd love to see them work on the financial and logistics part of this, unencumbered by the kinds of political arguments that we adults have.
This Saturday, July 21st, there will be a public debate on the Affordable Care Act hosted by the non-partisan betterthanobamacare.org organization. Dr. Anna Tran, MD of Doctors for America will argue in favor of the act, and Dr. John Goodman, PhD. Of the National Center for Policy Analysis will argue against. The debate will be held at the Sheraton DFW Airport in Irving, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. More information can be found at the organization's website.
This Saturday night, There's a Luau at Tierney's. There will be a ladies coconut and grass skirt contest and men's Hawaiian shirt contest.
The Lewisville Police Chief's weekly update includes information about the suicide from July 4th, and the department's efforts to help its employees deal with the emotional effects. It also has information about the fatal motorcycle crash on F.M. 3040 on July 5th.
*Greenpeace made a fake website purporting to be Shell Oil Company with the brilliant idea to let the general public pitch an vote on ad ideas for its campaign in favor of arctic drilling. As you can imagine, those opposed to the drilling there had some pretty creative ideas. One of my favorites is "We'd drill a crippled orphan's spine if there was some oil in it. Lets go." *I first thought this was a real website that had been trolled. See the comments below.
Oops! The previous city management of La Marque, TX made some boo boos last year in their budgeting, and were surprised to find that they will have a $1 million shortfall that was totally unexpected. They are looking at having to raise the city's tax rate to 60 cents, just to take care of half of it. They had budgeted non-recurring revenues against recurring expenses. A big job of elected officials is to pay close attention to budgets and ask tough questions. It's not sexy, and it does get boring, but it is the biggest responsibility.
Farmers Branch's plans to expand their Camelot Landfill are facing opposition from Lewisville and Carrollton. This is a must-read article. The Camelot landfill has had some water table pollution with dangerous chemicals, and is dangerously close to the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. Mount Lewisville (DFW Landfill) and Camelot sit on opposite sides of the river, and both received their original permits under old rules. Modern rules would not allow a landfill where these two are, because they encroach on the 100 year floodplain and floodway. See the flood map below to understand how these are surrounded by floodway and floodplain, and the land under these landfills would be in them had it not been built up for trash. Read more about landfills, and how they eventually fail - then think about how to reduce our waste. Farmers Branch: time to start a residential recycling program. All of North Texas probably needs to come to terms with the fact that Mount Lewisville and Camelot have limited lifetimes. We need to reduce our waste, and try to figure out a more ecologically sound place to put whatever comes next.
Lewisville uranium mining firm Uranium Resources is facing de-listing from NASDAQ again, after its share prices dropped below $1. If it can increase the price to close over $1 for 10 consecutive days within the next 6 months, it can stay listed. What do you think about the idea of investing in uranium, given the international disdain for nuclear power after Japan's recent disaster?
The depth and breadth of Rush Limbaugh's blow-hard stupidity never ceases to amaze me. The drug-addicted wing-nut pundit is now saying that the new Batman movie, where the antagonist is named "Bane" is no accident, but rather some conspiracy cooked up with the Obama administration, since Bain Capital is Mitt Romney's Achilles' heel. Well, I guess if Mitt Romney can retroactively retire, Obama can jump back 20 years and rewrite Batman. *Facepalm*
Well, I didn't have enough to post on Thursday, was too tired to post these Friday, and spent this morning at the shooting range getting to know my new little friend, the Springield XD9. Now that I have this gun, I'll be selling my HiPoint 9mm cheap, if anyone is interested. I'll let it go for $150, with 2 mags, original package and all manuals and such.
Lewisville Lake is at 520.13 feet elevation, which is about 2 feet low.
Highland Village Balloon festival is coming up, and I need to add it to my calendar. Fluffy and I actually used to crew for a balloonist, and would love to have owned a balloon, but they are quite expensive. What you need is to have a good friend with a balloon!
Allen Publishing, which does several local newspapers, but none in Lewisville, is looking for votes in the "Best of Denton County 2012" awards. Lewisville may not be their circulation area, but we should represent. Go vote. Maybe LTJ should do a "Best of Lewisville" awards. What do you think?
Parklets. Not sure what to think about these. I like green spaces, but I like parking near wherever I need to be. Perhaps some day when public transportation really decreases the need for street parking, we could have more of these and take a little green space back.
Weslaco, TX is powering their wastewater treatment plant with solar energy. It took a pretty big investment, but will pay off in reduced electricity costs over the years. I'd love to see us find the right price point where the City of Lewisville could get a break-even with solar power on city facilities that matches our typical 15 year debt repayment. If we could hit that point - maybe in combination with federal or state grants or private contributions, we could save money from day 1. It seems like with today's political climate, we've blown the opportunity to have American companies take a commanding lead in solar development though. We have the technology and the desire, but China is under-cutting us.
Quick, what's the number one city service, without which almost all of us would be immediately screwed? What's the most important? Police? Pretty important, but we all have guns. We can man the fort for a few days if they all went on strike. The city would not plunge into instant chaos and riots if the police department shut down for a day or two. Fire department? Also pretty important, and when you need them to put out a fire or rescue you from a car wreck, you really need them, but we've all got water hoses, and many of us can render first aid and drive someone to a hospital. On a given day, 99.9% of us won't need the Fire Department's services. Those 0.1% would need them badly. Traffic control? Well, yeah it's a huge hassle when the lights go out, but most people drive Texas friendly, and we can manage for a time. What about water and sewer? Yeah, that's right; I've been saying it forever - water is THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT CITY SERVICE. When it goes out, there is almost instant chaos. Businesses shut down. Toilets fill up with waste. You cannot cook or bathe, and eventually you run out of water to drink. Temple, Texas recently was reminded of this when a power outage hit their water treatment plant, and they were without service for two days. What would you do in a disaster where you could not get water, and neither could any of your neighbors? Do you have an emergency supply of clean drinking water in your house? These are things to think about.
The Texas Research Institute has created a new website called the Texas Public Policy Journal. (We just love sites with "Texas" and "Journal" in the name) The site catalogues reports, studies, and news articles about public policy in Texas, so that researchers can quickly find the information they need. Of course, you have to actually give a crap about facts, which leaves out more than half of the Texas politicians who could benefit from the site.
Flower Mound is hard to do business in, say developers, who gave Flower Mound poor marks in a recent survey conducted by the town. The Town's new leadership wants to change town ordinances to make it easier.
The Lewisville Police Department recently named Officer Schnequa Guy as Officer of the First Quarter 2012, and dispatcher Cassie Race as Civilian of the First Quarter 2012. Both employees were recognized for their outstanding job performance.
All of America should drop to its knees and thank the GOP for attempting to provide us with replacement fireworks. As you undoubtedly know, cities all over the country this year were forced to cancel Fourth of July festivities due to fear of fire, glitchy computers and twitchy bureaucrats. Like there's another kind.
The Republican House took great pains to salve our sensory-deprived souls by trying to set off enough indoor fireworks to make the San Diego Big Bay Bust look like a fluttering votive candle. It was designed to be a spectacular explosion fueled by ego, obstinacy and behavior so self-absorbed, the casual bystander might assume we were in the middle of an election year.
For the 33rd time, all House business slammed to a grinding halt to accommodate another vote to repeal Obamacare. Again. Thirty-three times. Let's look at that, shall we? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33.
You got to give the majority party credit for being able to flog this dead horse without getting any flying bits on them. Thirty-three times is at least 32 times more than the administration ever tried to sell this bill to a public overwhelmingly in favor of its component parts.
They persevered even though everyone knows there's a better chance of flamingoes flying out of monkey butts than the Senate ever signing on. And getting past a presidential veto, substitute polka-dotted pterodactyls for the flamingoes.
The big buzz all over the social media today is that Mitt Romney spoke at the NAACP convention, and was roundly booed (for about 14 seconds) when he said he would put an end to "Obamacare" (or "Romneycare" if you can't call it the P.P.A.C.A.). In the end though, he did receive a polite standing ovation. You have to give the guy props for showing up to what he knew would not be a sympathetic audience. He kept his cool as a thick-skinned politician should.
While I agree with the sentiment of the audience, and must admit to feeling a little schadenfreude at his expense, I think it was over-the-top. And I really hope that society has not come to the point where we are so polarized that any politician will be required to stay in their own bubble of supporters in order to avoid having half the crowd booing and jeering.
On the one hand, I do appreciate that the exchange was genuine, and the audience was able to give feedback on what they thought of Romney's idea to set back health care, and allow people to continue to die because they can't afford insurance or treatment. On the other hand, was it really necessary to go on for 14 seconds? Fluffy says that boos are appropriate in that context because applause is also appropriate. I'm not so sure, but apparently in this event, punctuating organ music is appropriate too.
Politicians should be held to answer for their ideas and their statements, and it is understood that many of the consequences of their actions have far-reaching and serious consequences. But what are we if we lose our civility? Can we not take the high road and disagree without being disagreeable?
Think about the annual State of the Union Address that the President delivers to a joint session of the U.S. Congress. What if that forum allowed open booing? How would that make us feel as Americans to be that polarized? We were right to criticize Joe Wilson, when he breeched decorum and shouted "You lie!" at President Obama. It's already hokey enough that half the room feels it necessary to jump to their feet, cheer, and clap as if their lives depended on it, while the other half sits stone-faced with crossed arms and smirks (looking at you Eric Cantor).
What do you guys think about this? Whether you agreed with the NAACP members or not, was it appropriate to boo?
A man drowned in Lewisville Lake Saturday, after his inflatable Zodiac boat capsized in strong winds. Contrary to some initial reports by witnesses, the victim was not in a life jacket when his body was found. Last week, Fire Chief Tim Tittle told us that he has never pulled up a drowning victim off the bottom of the lake who was wearing a life vest. Please, please be careful out there, folks.
Over the course of this summer, my oldest son's cello has sat in its bag, on the stand, without being touched. I've been trying to think of how to get him to put away the Xbox for awhile and pick up his bow and play. I was amused by this video, which I think might remind him of how proud he was in his first year of playing. He really needs to pick the thing up, because I still have a few more months of paying for it.
But this video brought a tear to my eye. If it doesn't make you smile, and swell up with just a little pride for what timeless culture that we as human beings can still share, then have someone check for a pulse.
The NAACP opened their national convention in Houston this week, and with Joe Biden and Mitt Romney on the speaker's list, it promises to be newsworthy. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs has a media credential and will be filing reports from the scene.
Forgive the anachronistic reference to a Bob Dylan song, but it's in the service of a point. There was a time when his music, as well as the war he protested, was relevant in American politics. Whether presidential candidates avoided service evoked painful memories of a war we only remembered but never celebrated. Dodging the draft made Dan Quayle look elitist, Bill Clinton slippery, and George W. Bush dishonest.
But now Dylan's music plays on the oldies station, and not even the most ardent Democratic activists seem to care about Mitt Romney's draft dodging. Even in these hyper-partisan times, the fact that four deferments kept Romney out of Vietnam seems to get less attention than how he took his dog on a family vacation. Almost four decades after cease fire in Vietnam, whether someone dodged the draft has become something that we used to talk about, like nuclear disarmament, the line-item veto, and Japanese manufacturing.
Under the old rules, Vietnam might have been Romney's Waterloo. Mitt Romney ducked service in Vietnam by getting student deferments to attend Stanford University where he exercised his right to be wrong by protesting in favor of the Vietnam War. Then, because Mormon missionaries are classified as ministers, he got to spend 31 months in France spreading Joseph Smith's version of the Gospel.
That's not quite the story Romney tells these days. Though he drew a high number and avoided the draft when his deferments ended, Romney parsed his words too finely when he said, "It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam, but nor did I take any actions to remove myself from the pool of young men who were eligible for the draft."
Whether you’ve heard the term before or not, you probably know what a MacGuffin is. Popularized by Alfred Hitchcock, a MacGuffin is (in short) something that everybody wants but nobody understands. Take, for example, The Maltese Falcon, or “Rosebud” in Citizen Kane, or “the box” in Kiss Me Deadly (which is, by the way, available on Blu-ray at the Lewisville Public Library).
The MacGuffin has been a popular plot device in movies for decades, but most people don’t notice how often it is used in politics as well. One issue in particular has become a hot topic in recent school board campaigns in our area: “open enrollment”.
But before anyone gets any ideas as to whether they support or reject this idea, let’s figure out what it is and isn’t. Open enrollment, as actually practiced by most public school systems that have implemented it, refers to a district’s policy of allowing children from outside the school district to attend school there. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the ability to choose which school your child goes to within the district. Regardless as to how many people claim this is about “parental choice”, it has absolutely nothing to do with that and everything to do with using kids as cash crops.
To: Dianne Edmondson, Chairwoman, Denton County GOP
From: James Collier; Lewisville, TX 75067
Subject: Poor Behavior by GOP Officials
My association with the Republican Party began with Barry Goldwater’s bid for the Presidency, and continued throughout the Nixon, Ford, Dole, Reagan, H.W. Bush, G.W. Bush, and the McCain candidacies. I have always considered myself a moderate conservative, pro-business, pro law and order, and limited government involvement in the personal lives of citizens. I registered as an Independent some years past due to the hijacking of the GOP by the social conservatives and the neocons. I have still voted for republican candidates but I no longer wished to be associated with these “anything but true conservatives”.
I attended a Lewisville City Council meeting July 2, 2012, when a vote was scheduled on a very controversial restaurant and bar smoking ban. Numerous citizens signed up to voice their opinions prior to the formal Council vote. The Mayor announced everyone would receive their five minutes, and requested all speakers be courteous and respectful of both sides.