Recent News and Opinion
2016/5/4 - Property tax appraisals delivered, home values up again
2016/5/2 - City Council passes resolution defending and supporting Lewisvill...
2016/5/2 - Early voting ends Tuesday in LISD, city elections
2016/5/2 - Positive West Nile test prompts Lewisville mosquito spraying for T...
2016/4/30 - Team effort required for emergency management during severe storms
2016/4/30 - Art Review - "Just Bury It"
2016/4/29 - TEA Responds to Lewisville ISD on STAAR test issue
2016/4/29 - Lewisville police ask residents to report non-working street lights
2016/4/28 - Ozone Season Brings Heightened Air Quality Awareness
2016/4/28 - North Texas Blvd bridge demolition this weekend
2016/4/28 - DCTA to conduct mock disaster drill with Lewisville
2016/4/28 - Visual Art League update
2016/4/28 - Updated: Police investigate McGoys Marine for theft, announce town...
2016/4/27 - Video: Lewisville ISD candidates use forum to talk about issues, q...
2016/4/27 - Avanti Senior Living at Flower Mound to host welcome events with s...
2016/4/26 - Lewisville's emergency management team watches storms
2016/4/25 - Students to compete in Rotary speech contest
2016/4/25 - Journey to Dream to open shelter for homeless teens
2016/4/24 - Briefs for 4/24/2016
2016/4/23 - STAAR: All for the love of testing
2016/4/23 - Police department promotions, changes due to expected growth
2016/4/23 - Pets of the week
2016/4/23 - Rough week for Farmer softball and baseball
2016/4/23 - Paws in the Park adoption event Saturday, Apr. 23
2016/4/23 - Lake Park won't be open for Memorial Day weekend
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Property tax appraisals delivered, home values up again

Local News, Notes and Events
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2016/5/4 7:40:00 (950 reads)

Open in new windowBy STEVE SOUTHWELL

Lewisville homeowners have begun to receive their annual property tax appraisals in the mail. For some, the increase in value over last year may be slight; for others, it could be fairly substantial. The final average Lewisville single-family homestead had a taxable value last year of $173,988. Preliminary values this year put that at $198,763— a $24,775 or 14.2 percent increase over last year’s final values. The increase is driven primarily by homesite (land) values, which jumped 19 percent.

The overall preliminary taxable value for Lewisville, including residential real property, business real property, and business personal property comes in at $9.8 billion. That figure is a $1.7 billion increase over last year’s certified rolls, and is driven primarily by a $1.4 billion overall increase in commercial property values.

Although commercial values do appear to have taken a big leap, it’s worth noting that due to the way that state law is written, those commercial values drop considerably due to appeals and protests. Last year, the preliminary commercial values showed an initial $1.2 billion increase, but by the time appeals and protests were completed, and the rolls were certified, that increase had dropped to just $447 million.

By contrast, preliminary home values are much closer to the final certified values, since many homeowners do not protest, and homeowners do not have the same favors written into state law. Last year, preliminary home values for Lewisville showed a $311 million increase, while certified values came in very close to that with a $280 million increase.

What it means for homeowners
Home value increases are driven by a hot real estate market again this year. Real estate brokers often report that homes are selling within hours of listing, and many times selling for over the asking price.

The appraisal notice that homeowners receive shows a projected tax amount that uses the previous year’s tax rates, but the taxing entities (city, school district, and county) typically do not set their rates until late August. It is always possible for a city or the county to reduce its tax rate to a degree to offset any actual increase

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City Council passes resolution defending and supporting Lewisville ISD’s STAAR fight

Lewisville ISD Notes
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2016/5/2 22:30:00 (689 reads)

Open in new windowOpen in new windowBy STEVE SOUTHWELL

The Lewisville City Council unanimously passed a resolution Monday night supporting the Lewisville Independent School District, in its efforts to get reimbursed for expenses to re-score incorrectly scored STAAR tests.

As The Lewisville Texan Journal previously reported, the district discovered discrepancies when it received results of the December 2015 STAAR end-of-course exams in English I and II— two of the five EOC exams that students have to pass in order to graduate high school.


Numerous students were found to have been scored with zeroes in the short-answer portion of the test, even though they had high scores on essay questions. When 160 exams were sent back for re-scoring at the district’s expense, 20 percent of them came back with improved grades.

The school board approved up to $48,250 to pay for rescoring of more exams, but the district contends that because the scores were not reliable, that the state or ETS, the scoring contractor, should pay for the rescoring. A letter from TEA to the district late last week denied relief for the district.


Lewisville Councilman TJ Gilmore requested that the resolution be added to the agenda Monday night.

“The testing regime and the failure to effectively fund our public schools both continue to damage communities,” said Gilmore.

“Unless we stand up and support schools as a city, the Legislature may continue to think this is just a schools problem. It's not. it's a community problem.”

LISD Assistant Superintendent Dr. Beth Brockman and school board member Kronda Thimesch both spoke to the council in favor of the resolution.

“We appreciate your support and value Lewisville as a trusted partner,” said Brockman.

Thimesch also provided LTJ with this remark:

"LISD is like the canary in the tunnel. We are the first out of a handful of districts who tests earlier because of our accelerated block. We appreciate this resolution on behalf of our LISD students because there may very well be districts across the state in the same predicament after they get their results. Having the Lewisville City Council partner with us makes a difference for our community."

STAAR critics have expressed concern that what happened to LISD might be an early indicator of a problem that could be widespread later this year when spring results are announced.

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Early voting ends Tuesday in LISD, city elections

Local News, Notes and Events
Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2016/5/2 20:40:00 (1604 reads)

Open in new windowBy DAN EAKIN
dan@LewisvilleTexan.com

Early voting in the May 7 Lewisville school board and Lewisville city special districts elections begins Monday and continues through May 3.

Voters in the Lewisville Independent School District will be choosing between two candidates for Place 4 and three candidates for Place 5.

Voters in the city of Lewisville will be deciding whether to continue for the next 20 years the City of Lewisville Fire Control, Prevention and Emergency Medical District and/or the City of Lewisville Crime Control and Prevention District.

Most voters who live in Lewisville will likely want to cast their ballots for both the school board candidates and the city propositions at the Lewisville Municipal Annex at 1197 W. Main Street, although they may vote early at any voting location in Denton County.

There are more than 30 different locations where LISD voters may vote, including at the Flower Mound Municipal Complex, Flower Mound Public Library and Highland Village Municipal Complex. For a complete list of voting locations, go to the LISD website.

Early voting will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, April 25-30, and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, May 2-3.

On Election Day, May 7, voters must vote in the precinct in which they are registered to vote.

LISD Place 4 candidates are Fairooz Adams and Katherine Sells and Place 5 candidates are Will Ferson, Allison Lassahn and Jenny Proznik. Angie Cox, in Place 3, is running unopposed.

Lewisville school board members are elected to serve for overlapping terms of three years each.

There is no Lewisville City Council election this year because there are no contested races. Brandon Jones of Place 4 and Brent Daniels of Place 5 will be sworn in at a council meeting on May 16.

However, Lewisville registered voters are being encouraged to go to the polls, either during early voting, or on May 7, to decide issues important to the Lewisville Police Department and the Lewisville Fire Department.

Lewisville voters, in voting on the propositions, will decide whether to continue the present sales tax rate at 8.25 cents on the dollar by continuing to support both control districts, whether to have the sales tax rate reduced to 8 cents on the dollar by voting to discontinue both control districts, or have the present sales tax reduced to 8.125 cents on the dollar by voting to keep one and not keep the other.

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Positive West Nile test prompts Lewisville mosquito spraying for Tuesday and Wednesday nights

Local News, Notes and Events
Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2016/5/2 15:30:00 (296 reads)

Open in new windowSubmitted Report

Vector Disease Control International, a private company contracted by the City of Lewisville, has confirmed the city's first positive West Nile Virus mosquito trap for 2016. The positive sample came from a trap collected April 28 near the 2600 block of Lake Ridge Drive, in the northeastern portion of the city. This area is one of nine core sites regularly tested for the mosquito-borne virus.

Ground spraying will be conducted in a half-mile radius of the testing location. Weather permitting, spraying is scheduled for Tuesday, May 3, and Wednesday, May 4, starting at 9 p.m. each night. Trucks operated by Vector Disease Control International will conduct the spraying. The insecticide being used is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency and poses minimal risk to humans and the environment. Residents wanting to exercise caution should stay indoors during the spraying times, keep pets and their food and water dishes indoors, and cover edible plants such as vegetable gardens.

This is the first year the City of Lewisville has worked with Vector Disease Control International. The private company has its own certified lab and technicians. By using a private company, the City is able to receive test results faster than if tested by the state. This particular mosquito trap was collected on Thursday, April 28, and the positive test results were returned Friday, April 29.

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 are encouraged to report any mosquito complaints to Sherry Harper at 972-219-3481 or Chris McGinn at 972-219-3483.

Update:
Lewisville spokesman Matt Martucci said the the pesticide being used is Aqua Reslin (which contains Permethrin and Piperonyl Butoxide).

We asked whether it presented a problem that the same firm conducting the lab testing was the firm conducting the spraying if lab testing found West Nile Virus in samples. Martucci said The City of Lewisville has a flat rate contract with the vendor, Vector Disease Control International.

"We paid one price for their services for the entire mosquito season. They could spray one time, or one-thousand times, and our price stays the same. There is no 'cost per spray' feature here."

Martucci also explained that the company retains each sample it tests, and makes it available if it needs to be retested for any reason.

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Team effort required for emergency management during severe storms

Local News, Notes and Events
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2016/4/30 4:47:49 (576 reads)

Open in new window
Emergency management personnel monitor various resources including online, cell phones, and broadcast television. Right to left: Josh Roberts, Prit Patel, and Eric Hutmacher. (Photo by Steve Southwell)
By STEVE SOUTHWELL
steve@LewisvilleTexan.com

When severe weather threatens our city, a team comprised of professionals and volunteers steps up to help ensure that our citizens are informed and safe. And if storms should be severe enough to cause widespread damage or injuries, the team is ready to start bringing resources to bear.

This past Tuesday, the forecasts called for a “Particularly Dangerous Situation” with thunderstorms developing along a dryline that was moving across the state. Our area was in a tornado watch, and it was forecasted that there would be high winds, possible tornadoes, and large hail.

In the early afternoon, local governments began to take action. The City of Lewisville shut down its parks and athletic fields, and Lewisville ISD cancelled all of the night’s sporting events and extracurricular activities, anticipating the need for people to take shelter.

Lewisville Emergency Management Coordinator Josh Roberts decided that for this storm, he would monitor it from the city’s primary Emergency Operations Center (EOC), the training room at Central Fire Station, 188 N. Valley Pkwy.

Roberts was kind enough to allow me to join them for the evening and observe. When I arrived at 7 p.m., Roberts and his team were getting settled in for the night’s excitement. He was joined by Eric Hutmacher, emergency management specialist, and Prit Patel, who is an economic development coordinator for Lewisville. Patel has a background in emergency management and was drafted to the team for the night.

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Art Review - "Just Bury It"

Blogs and Columns
Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2016/4/30 4:14:10 (187 reads)

Open in new window
By Melody Vaughan
By DAVID BEARDEN
makemarks@gmail.com

You rarely hear anyone exclaim their love for construction projects. Especially highway projects. Especially in their community. We tend to focus on the negative symptoms: increases in travel time, familiar commuter routes in constant flux, and heightened stress of those already short on time. Some remain selfish in their view of community improvement and expansion.

While many construction projects run far past proposed deadlines, and it seems the benefits will never come, it is not completely impossible to see through the present mess. That is the task of those with vision, challenged with allocating funds for expansion and beautification.

Open in new window
Lithograph by Melody Vaughan
The collaborative action of planning, debating, changing, and approving ideas and plans requires a spectrum of input, a wide swath of opinion and expertise. The public is left to judge the manifestation of citywide projects with cultural concerns, personal squabble, neighborhood image, and a laundry list of filters by which to judge success.

Artists, on the other hand, as both a varied and specific demographic of the population, see the process differently. Not to say they don’t also share similar concerns, but with an added sensitivity for aesthetic context.

This is the case with Melody Vaughan, artist and printmaker from Nashville, TN. Melody is currently a Teaching Fellow and Masters of Fine Arts candidate at The University of North Texas in Denton. Her MFA exhibit, “Just Bury It,” is currently on display at the MCL Grand Theater Art Gallery through April 30.

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Print Edition - 04/30/2016

Print Editions of LTJ
Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2016/4/29 23:00:00 (181 reads)

Here is the April 30, 2016 print edition of The Lewisville Texan Journal:



You can find free copies at any of these locations.

Want home delivery of The Lewisville Texan Journal every Saturday? You can get it for just $5 per month!

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TEA Responds to Lewisville ISD on STAAR test issue

Blogs and Columns
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2016/4/29 17:10:00 (2370 reads)

Open in new windowBy Steve Southwell

As reported in The Lewisville Texan Journal last week
, Lewisville ISD's board of trustees recently approved an expense of up to $48,250 to re-score STAAR exam short-answers. The district had discovered a disproportionate number of student STAAR EOC results came back with zero scores even though the same students had scored well on other written portions of the test.

When the district sent a sample of 162 student exams back for rescoring, 13 percent of them came back with improved scores.

Lewisville ISD Superintendent Dr. Kevin Rogers sent a strongly-worded letter to the Texas Education Agency requesting that TEA allow districts to view student answers and the questions they were given. The district also requested that TEA pay for the rescoring.

Late Friday afternoon, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath responded to Lewisville ISD and other concerned districts with the following letter, which does not address TEA paying for any rescoring, and denies the district's request to be provided with the student answers and questions:

Open in new window

SUBJECT: Response to District Inquiries Regarding the 2015 STAAR EOC English I and English II Tests

The purpose of this email is to provide districts with a response to inquiries regarding the scoring of students’ short-answer written responses on the December 2015 State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®) end-of-course (EOC) English I and English II tests.

The December 2015 STAAR Constructed Response Scoring document at this link, provides districts with answers to some recently asked questions including information on the rescoring process and the training of constructed response scorers.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) will not be able to provide districts with electronic images of students’ short-answer written responses. A contractual agreement with an author for one of the passages and plans to reuse at least one of the passages on a future test form will not permit a statewide release. However, TEA is providing an opportunity for the superintendent or the superintendent’s designee(s) to view students’ English I and/or English II short-answer written responses. Images of students’ short-answer responses, associated scoring guides, and rubrics, along with copies of the passages used by students when completing the test(s), will be made available for viewing, per the procedures below.

District personnel who wish to view students’ responses should call TEA’s Student Assessment Division to schedule an appointment in Austin. Appointments may be scheduled between Monday, May 2, 2016, and Thursday, May 26, 2016. For information about appointments, as well as security protocols, contact the Student Assessment Division at 512-463-9536.

Rescore requests that are received by May 10, 2016, for students who are planning to graduate in spring 2016, and who did not pass the December 2015 English I or English II assessments, will be prioritized. ETS will report the results of December 2015 rescore requests for these students by May 20, 2016. All other rescore requests will be reported in July.

Contact Information

For questions concerning information in this email, please contact the Student Assessment Division at 512-463-9536 or by email at student.assessment@tea.texas.gov.

Sincerely,

Mike Morath
Commissioner of Education


The letter does give LISD and other districts some small hope, in that they can send a person to Austin to view student answers and the reading passage in question, which could allow some reduction in expense by helping the district more accurately choose which students' answers to rescore.

We have reached out to Lewisville ISD for comment, but were unable to reach them prior to press time.

We will update this post as we learn more about what this response means for the district.

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Lewisville police ask residents to report non-working street lights

Local News, Notes and Events
Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2016/4/29 11:06:39 (98 reads)

Staff Reports

The Lewisville Police department is requesting that citizens help them out by identifying and reporting any street lights that are not in working condition.

Police view street lighting as a possible crime prevention tool, which may deter potential offenders by increasing their risk of being seen while committing crimes.

The City of Lewisville says that lighting can encourage residents to spend more time on their porches or in their yards in the evenings, increasing informal surveillance.

Lighting also encourages people to walk at night, increasing informal surveillance.

To report a street light outage or malfunction to Lewisville's street lighting provider, visit TNMP.com, and select the "Report Street Light Issue" link.

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Ozone Season Brings Heightened Air Quality Awareness

Local News, Notes and Events
Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2016/4/28 18:27:54 (151 reads)

Submitted Report

ARLINGTON— Ozone season, like warmer weather, is upon us. As the temperature rises, air quality generally worsens, so it is important for residents to do their part to lessen emissions in the spring and summer.

Beginning May 2, more attention will be brought to the issue of clean air with the celebration of Air Quality Awareness Week. While the week will spotlight the importance of clean air nationwide, in Dallas-Fort Worth, where ten counties are in violation of federal ozone standards, air quality is a focal point every day. And improving it requires assistance from everyone.

North Central Texas Council of Governments operates several programs to give residents the tools to contribute. One is Air North Texas, a regional partnership and campaign encouraging individuals, businesses and governments in North Texas to make clean air choices by promoting behavioral and lifestyle changes that impact their health and the environment.

Participation in Air North Texas is just one way people who call the Dallas-Fort Worth area home can help their neighbors breathe easier during ozone season, which lasts through October. By committing to at least one action to improve the air quality and health in North Texas, anyone – young or old – can help bring the region toward attainment. Residents can also join in on the change by participating in events such as Clean Air Action Day, designated to encourage people to make environmentally friendly choices that could lead to a healthier North Texas. On the first Friday of summer, June 24, commit to clean air actions and share how you will lend a hand with our community.

The following are a few ways residents and employers can participate:
· Use mass transit like Dallas Area Rapid Transit, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority or Denton County Transportation Authority.
· Carpool or vanpool.
· Limit or avoid idling.
· Bicycle or walk instead of driving.
· Report smoking vehicles.
· Take lunch to work instead of going out to eat.

For more ways to help, visit AirNorthTexas.org.

Signing up for Ozone Action Day alerts is another way to get involved and be a part of the solution. These alerts provide information about when the region's air quality may be unhealthy. When unhealthy air quality is forecast, an email will be sent in advance with tips to improve air quality and limit time spent outdoors. Residents can sign up through AirNorthTexas.org.

Other programs that promote air quality are listed below:

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