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Recent News and Opinion
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
2014/9/6 - Youth Orchestra to Make Its Home at MCL Grand in Lewisville
2014/9/5 - Visualizing the Lewisville City Budget
2014/9/3 - Letters: Problem with STAAR is Ownership
2014/8/31 - Sunday Evening Update - Labor Day Edition
2014/8/30 - Football Scores - Friday, August 29th 2014
2014/8/29 - Letters: Legal Defense Fund Established for Freed
2014/8/29 - Content Removed
2014/8/26 - Burger King Inversion Update
2014/8/25 - Officers Receive Life Saving Awards
2014/8/24 - Lewisville To Spray Again for Mosquitoes Monday and Tuesday Nights
2014/8/23 - Motorists Reminded to Be Careful as Kids Head Back-to-School
2014/8/20 - Neighborhood Gets Help from LISD and Police on Litter, Crime Problem
2014/8/20 - Letters: Freed Should Be Considered Innocent
2014/8/17 - Sunday Evening Update - End of Summer Vacation Edition
2014/8/17 - Pictures of Local High Water
2014/8/17 - Lewisville to Spray for Mosquitoes Monday and Tuesday
2014/8/16 - Flower Mound Presbyterian Church Celebrates 160 Years with Homecoming
2014/8/8 - Former Fire Official Arrested in Fill-the-boot Theft
Recent Reader Comments
2014/9/17 18:53 - Re: Monday Morning Update - September 15th (WhosPlayin)
2014/9/17 0:08 - Re: Monday Morning Update - September 15th (Anonymous)
2014/9/16 23:28 - Re: Monday Morning Update - September 15th (RNeil)
2014/9/10 23:24 - Re: LISD Board to Discuss Bus Cameras, Hear LHS Campus In... (Anonymous)
2014/9/10 20:02 - Re: Letters: Problem with STAAR is Ownership (Anonymous)
2014/9/10 14:55 - Re: Letters: Problem with STAAR is Ownership (Anonymous)
2014/9/9 23:41 - Re: LISD Board to Discuss Bus Cameras, Hear LHS Campus In... (Anonymous)
2014/9/9 23:40 - Re: LISD Board to Discuss Bus Cameras, Hear LHS Campus In... (Anonymous)
2014/9/9 20:24 - Re: LISD Board to Discuss Bus Cameras, Hear LHS Campus In... (Anonymous)
2014/9/9 18:24 - Re: LISD Board to Discuss Bus Cameras, Hear LHS Campus In... (Anonymous)
2014/9/9 15:10 - Re: Letters: Problem with STAAR is Ownership (Anonymous)
2014/9/9 8:13 - Re: LISD Board to Discuss Bus Cameras, Hear LHS Campus In... (WhosPlayin)
2014/9/8 22:52 - Re: LISD Board to Discuss Bus Cameras, Hear LHS Campus In... (Anonymous)
2014/9/8 21:56 - Re: Updated: Mother Found Shot Dead in Her Lewisville Hom... (WhosPlayin)
2014/9/8 17:45 - Re: Updated: Mother Found Shot Dead in Her Lewisville Hom... (Anonymous)
2014/9/8 15:52 - Re: Letters: Legal Defense Fund Established for Freed (WhosPlayin)
2014/9/7 9:58 - Re: Letters: Legal Defense Fund Established for Freed (Anonymous)
2014/9/5 11:58 - Re: Visualizing the Lewisville City Budget (jbcglc)
2014/9/4 21:26 - Re: Red Light Cameras on Hold in Lewisville (Anonymous)
2014/9/2 13:15 - Re: Burger King Inversion (dskinner)
2014/8/30 17:40 - Re: Parent Upset over School Fussing Over Student's ... (Anonymous)
2014/8/29 12:12 - Re: Burger King Inversion (jbcglc)
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Monday Morning Update - September 15th

Links, Thoughts, and Open Thread
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2014/9/15 7:51:54 (232 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 (138 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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Chief's Weekly Update: Police Investigate on Bank Robbery

Local News, Notes and Events
Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2014/9/10 7:07:22 (295 reads)

Open in new windowHere is the Lewisville Police Chief's weekly update for the week of September 1 - 7, 2014

Open in new windowPolice Investigate Bank Robbery
On Saturday, September 6, at approximately 12:00 p.m., officers were dispatched to a bank robbery in the 400 block of East Round Grove Road. Witnesses stated that the male suspect entered the bank and presented a demand note to the teller. The suspect, pictured at right, stands between 5’06”and 5’11” tall and has an average build. At the time of the robbery, he was wearing a long-sleeved green shirt with blue stripes, a dark cap with an emblem on the front, and glasses. The suspect fled the bank with an undisclosed amount of money. Anyone with information on this robbery is asked to contact the Department’s crime tip line at 972-219-TIPS (8477) or Denton County Crime Stoppers at 800-388-TIPS (8477).

Open in new windowMedication Disposal Event
The City of Lewisville is teaming up with LISD and the DEA to hold another medication disposal event. The goal of this operation is really two-fold, to reduce the risk of prescription drug abuse and increased awareness of this critical public health issue.

The event is scheduled for Saturday, September 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. As with past events, the Lewisville disposal location will be the parking lot of Lewisville High School at 1098 West Main Street. Many other cities are participating in this event, so other locations are also available; however, this is the only Lewisville location.

This is a great opportunity for those who have missed previous events, or who have subsequently accumulated unwanted, unused prescription drugs, to safely dispose of those medications.

Detectives Investigate Residential Burglary and Subsequent Vehicle Theft
On August 25, Officer Robert Feagins was dispatched to the 2000 block of Lakepointe Drive regarding a burglary of a habitation. Stolen during the burglary were the keys to the victim’s vehicle. The following day, the victim’s vehicle was stolen. The victim was able to recover her own vehicle by utilizing its onboard navigation system. She found it at her adult son's place of work, making him the primary suspect in the burglary. On September 4, the victim called the P.D. to inform us of the vehicle recovery. The victim had apparently tried to get her son to return the remainder of her stolen items, but was unsuccessful. The case was assigned to Detective Mitch Colbath for follow-up investigation. On September 5, Detectives Colbath and Darlington drove to Denton and made contact with the victim’s son. The Detectives recovered the victim’s keys and her debit card. The investigation into the matter continues.

CPR Saves Lives
On the afternoon of Friday, September 5, Dispatcher Scott Yowell received a phone call regarding an 18 year-old female who was suffering from an overdose. Scott provided the caller with CPR instructions, counting compressions with them until paramedics arrived. Great Job, Scott!

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Lewisville To Spray Again for Mosquitoes Monday and Tuesday Nights

Local News, Notes and Events
Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2014/9/8 8:06:51 (328 reads)

Open in new windowTexas Department of State Health Services this week confirmed the city's eighth positive West Nile Virus mosquito trap for 2014. Two positive samples came from a trap collected in the 800 block of College Street. One sample was confirmed in the area of the 1600 block of Purgatory Pass.

Open in new windowOpen in new windowGround spraying will be conducted next week within a quarter-mile radius of both two locations. Spraying will take place in the College Street area the nights of Sept. 8-9, and in the Purgatory Pass area the nights of Sept. 10-11. This is the second time for ground spraying in the College Street location. A larger map of the spraying areas is available on the city website, cityoflewisville.com.

City crews are regularly walking through and visually inspecting creeks and drainage channels to look for potential mosquito breeding sites. The city has nearly a dozen workers in the Parks and Animal Services divisions who are state-certified to apply anti-larval dunks or localized pesticide to curb the mosquito population. Residents also are encouraged to report standing water on city-maintained property by calling Lewisville Animal Control at 972.219.3478.

The Texas Department of Health operates a toll-free WNV information line in both English and Spanish at 888.883.9997, and has expanded information posted on its Web site at tdh.state.tx.us. Denton County Health Department also has information about West Nile virus at 940.349.2907, or on the Web.

From a submitted report

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LISD Board to Discuss Bus Cameras, Hear LHS Campus Info, and Approve Bonds

Lewisville ISD Notes
Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2014/9/8 7:38:23 (384 reads)
Lewisville ISD Notes

Open in new windowThe Lewisville ISD School Board will meet tonight in open session at 7 p.m. at the Bolin Center, 1565 W. Main St., in Lewisville.

Here is the full agenda for the meeting.

A few things we find interesting:
- The Board will hear a report on the Lewisville High School 9-10 Evaluation Metrics. The information has been compiled each year for three years now, after LISD implemented the three-campus plan. Lewisville High School is one school consisting of 3 campuses: LHS Main - Grades 11-12, and the Killough and Harmon campuses, each hosting half of the zone's 9th and 10th grade students. Because many of the language, fine arts, and athletic electives are at the main campus, student take bus shuttles between campuses each day. The plan was a major controversy when introduced, and many people thought the idea was poorly conceived. Board member Brenda Latham took to social media this weekend asking parents with comments about the 3-campus arrangement to speak to the board.

- The board will discuss the idea of using an outside vendor to equip the school buses used by the district with stop arm cameras that would photograph drivers illegally passing the busses when they are loading or unloading. The Texas Transportation Code says that a driver must stop, when approaching from either direction before reaching a school bus displaying alternately flashing red lights. Drivers are not required to stop when traveling in the opposite direction on a divided roadway. The fine for passing a school bus illegally in Lewisville is normally $878, but the background information in this agenda item says these fines start at $300, and that some portion of the fines could be shared with the district. LISD staff suggests that any money collected from this be used only to help pay for the cost of safety and security in the district. The primary goal of this program would be to increase safety, and not to collect revenue.

- $103 million in new bond sales are up for approval, and would be sold around October 1st. The bonds would be no more than 4% interest and 17 year maturity. An additional $60 million in existing bonds could be refinanced to save the district by lowering the interest rate, but the maturity of those bonds would not change. Of the nearly $600 million authorized by voters in 2008, LISD has already spent about $526 million.

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Home Invasion Robbery in Castle Hills

Local News, Notes and Events
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2014/9/8 7:09:14 (813 reads)

Open in new windowSaturday night, August 23rd, at about 11:20 p.m., residents of a home in the exclusive gated “Enchanted Hills” section of multi-million dollar homes in Castle Hills were robbed at gunpoint by six men in a home invasion. A relative who had visited the family was leaving when four of the men came up to his car and pointed their guns at his head, according to a witness statement on social media. With the relative at gunpoint, the men gained access to the home, and rounded up three adults and four young girls.

The witness says the men had handguns, long guns that she believed to be rifles, and tazers, which they used on the adult men, who were not fighting the robbers. The robbers were looking for cash, jewelry, and “anything quick they could get their hands on”.

Lewisville Assistant Police Chief Jay Powell confirmed that the department was investigating the robbery and following a few leads, but said that the police department would not be releasing any details at this point in order not to jeopardize the investigation.

The victim said she thought the robbers had jumped over a golf course fence to get into the neighborhood.

“I thank God every minute that we are alive and here today,” said the witness. “For those 14 minutes they were in the house I didn’t think I’d ever see any of my kids again. “

The victim used social media to implore that her neighbors get alarms and cameras, and to be aware.
“We have an alarm system and camera system, but ¡t still happened to us,” she said. Powell agreed with her tips.

We were unable to contact the victim for any further details as of the time we posted this. We will update the story if we hear of any arrests, or if police provide additional information.

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Sheriff's Deputy Godi Receives Star of Texas Award

Local News, Notes and Events
Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2014/9/6 10:00:49 (262 reads)

Open in new windowDenton County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Josh Godi received the Star of Texas Award on September 3, 2014 in the House of Representatives Room in the Capitol Building in Austin. Governor Rick Perry presented the award which honors all Texas peace officers and federal law enforcement officers or special agents acting in assistance to state or local law enforcement, firefighters, and emergency medical first responders who were seriously injured or killed in the line of duty on or after September 1, 2003. Deputy Godi had previously been awarded the Purple Heart by Sheriff Will Travis.

Sheriff Travis, along with Deputy Godi’s family attended the ceremony. Sheriff Travis said, “I was extremely proud to be present while the Governor honored one of our own!”

In July of 2012, Deputy Godi had finished a call in the Providence area, and parked to write up his notes. He was talking to another Deputy who was briefing him on the person with whom they were dealing. Deputy Godi saw a car approaching from behind, and saw the car go off the road. The last thing he remembers was the crunch. For the next 3 months, he couldn’t remember anything.

After the accident, he handled the scene, called paramedics, called his sergeant, and secured the scene until back up arrived. He made sure the driver of the other car and his own passenger were seen by medics before they took care of him. He doesn't remember any of that.

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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 (189 reads)

Open in new window
North Texas Youth Orchestra practices (Photo by Joan Wozny)
Open in new window
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 (280 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

Letters
Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2014/9/3 21:33:18 (337 reads)
Letters

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,
Lewisville

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