An explosion tonight has rocked the town of West, TX, just 15 miles north of Waco, destroying buildings, and injuring over 100 and killing as many as 15 people, according to the most recent estimates. 50 - 75 houses have been damaged. An apartment complex and nursing home have been destroyed. Information is still coming in at this time.
One EMT reported that two EMS responders were killed, and three firefighters. Many others may be trapped in collapsed buildings.
Since the regional and national media is doing a fine job of reporting the breaking story, we'll provide a few links to their coverage.
Update: 4/18/2013 Erin Floyd, who used to do the weather here on LTJ, is taking a load of requested supplies to West, where it will be distributed through one of the police officers working the scene. They are requesting the following items:
- Bottled water - Toiletries - Clothes - Blankets - Diapers - Baby Formula and bottles - Adult diapers and urinals - Hydrogen Peroxide
- Alcohol - Gauze - Medical supplies - Cots - Air Mattresses - Pillows - Pet food - Pet crates and carriers
If you have items you can donate, please contact her right away at 972-800-2007. She is going to be making a trip down there Saturday morning, so you will need to make arrangements with her prior to that to get the supplies to her.
Bioshock Infinite Developer: Irrational Games Publisher: 2K Games Date of release: March 26 Platforms: Windows, Xbox 360, PS3, OS X forthcoming in summer
By Doug Lane
The greatest trick of Bioshock Infinite is the idea that it’s just a video game. If anything, Bioshock Infinite transcends familiar conventions and delivers something entirely different.
Very rarely while playing this game did I think it was just a video game. I didn’t recognize myself sitting in my 3rd story apartment with a 27-inch flat screen television, grasping a PS3 controller. No, I was living the video game. I felt the anxiety and confusion upon seeing the city of Columbia flying above the air in 1912. I felt the cool breeze whispering throughout the city. I felt awe and insignificance at the towering city and it’s inhabitants, and how they had found their Eden. These things weren’t merely felt but lived.
The immersion of this game is a rare quality barely felt in any form of media. From the very opening mission, you get lost within Columbia. Details such as the shrines of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin to hummingbirds buzzing around flowers are not escaped. I constantly found myself just wandering around the city, studying the miniscule details such as propaganda posters and toys at the shopping mall.
The player assumes control of Booker DeWitt (Troy Baker), an ex-military agent whose debt gets him way over his head. “Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt” is constantly reminding Booker throughout his trip to Columbia. The girl is Elizabeth (Courtnee Draper)—the “lamb of the prophet,” a Christ-like figure prophesied to bring Columbia to glory. With her big, beady eyes, her engaging wit and charm, and an optimism that seems unbreakable, Elizabeth is the perfect foil for Booker. Locked up in her tower with only a limited literary understanding of the world, she thinks she understands the horror of the world. But this is no Disney movie.
Flags are ordered at half staff statewide through sunset on Saturday, April 20, 2013 by the Governor pursuant to an order issued by the President of the United States under 36 USC 10 in respect for bombing victims in Boston. City Hall is lowering them now.
It is April 15th: Tax Day for those who procrastinate. But that's not the reason why today sucked so badly. I'm of course talking about the bombing in Boston this afternoon. It was hard to concentrate and finish out the day today at work after seeing the carnage, and one too many awful pictures that someone shared on Facebook. This is the kind of thing that happens every day in God-forsaken sh** holes on the other side of the world where our troops fight to survive each day. But there is something especially shocking about soft target attacks like what we saw today. I got my fill of cable news by about 6:30 p.m. today. I'm disgusted by reading some of the comments that some folks have posted on news website comments and in Twitter. Can we just wait for police and our intelligence folks to piece together the evidence before we start trying to blame one group or another?
If anything, I think we should just reflect a bit on what it means to live in a free and open society. The fact that we have soft targets is just evidence of what we value the most: our freedom. This sort of thing will happen from time to time; that seems to be the "new normal". But they will never win. They already lost when they stooped to that level. Lets do what we can for the victims, and stay vigilent, but lets not BE terrorized. Lets live life in freedom, and with no regrets. Enough about that from me for now.
Lewisville Lake, as of this morning had an elevation of 517.21 feet, or 78% full - nearly 5 feet below conservation pool. Hopefully we’ll get some more rain and catch up before summer. Texas needs to get serious about drought, and plan on this being the new normal. This New York Times article is a must-read.
The Lewisville Leader, and the Dallas Morning News both reported that Highland Village is getting $3.5 million from TxDOT to replace park land at Lewisville Lake being taken for new I-35E right-of-way.
LakeCities Ballet Theatre will close its 29th season with the fanciful full-length ballet, “Coppélia,” presenting three performances April 26-28 at Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater.
Originally choreographed by Arthur Saint-Léon to the music of Léo Delibes, Coppélia premiered in 1870 in Paris. The performance by LakeCities Ballet features choreography by Kelly Lannin and Allan Kinzie. Marcus High School senior Madison McKay will dance the lead role of Swanilda. Steven Loch, guest artist from Pacific Northwest Ballet and an LBT alumnus, will dance the role of Franz. Special guest artist Nigel Burgoine, formerly with Royal Ballet, will portray the role of the eccentric Dr. Coppelius.
Performances will be 7:30 p.m. April 26 and 27, and 2 p.m. April 28. Tickets are $15 per person and can be purchased in advance at En L’Air by calling 972.966.8006. Tickets also will be sold at the door, if available. Advance tickets cannot be purchased at MCL Grand.
There will be a pre-performance workshop at 6 p.m. Saturday (included with the purchase of a performance ticket) that will allow younger guests to interact with Artistic Director Kelly Lannin and visit LBT’s “Wax Museum,” where there will be live wind-up dolls on stage who explain the story of Coppelia and the different roles the dancers will play in the production. Please RSVP for this workshop to email@example.com and include the attendee’s name and age.
Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater, located at 100 N. Charles Street between Main and Church streets. For details about upcoming events, or rental information for the facility, please visit www.MCLGrand.com or call 972.219.8446.
Keep Lewisville Beautiful seeks motivated and organized part-time administrative assistant to perform daily office duties and help organize KLB programs. This is a part time position (20-25 hours per week), hours are flexible and some weekend work applies during special events. Pay rate based on experience.
Main responsibilities involve: receptionist duties, inventory of supplies, managing office files and binders, maintaining volunteer databases, assisting Executive Director with state and national reports and grants, clerical duties, and assisting with special events as needed. Additional responsibilities include light office work (faxing, mail outs, research, copying, database entry, etc) and social media site posting/monitoring.
Lewisville residents are being encouraged to participate in a community visioning process that will result in a Lewisville 2025 long-range plan as the city nears its 100th birthday.
Two online surveys launched today for residents to offer their input and ideas on a range of long-term issues facing the city, and a citywide “Big Ideas Workshop” is scheduled for Tuesday, June 4, at the Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater in Old Town Lewisville.
“This very ambitious project will take a comprehensive look at city operations and the city as a whole, with the goal of charting the city’s course through the next decade,” said Mayor Dean Ueckert.
“To do this right, our residents and business community must be an integral part of creating the Lewisville 2025 plan. There will be several committees formed to study different aspects of the plan, and even for those unable to serve an active role in developing the plan, there will be multiple ways to provide input and help shape this vision-creating process.”
Visioning is generally described as a process by which a community decides the future it wants and then plans how to achieve that future. Broad-based participation is important in order to achieve a clear vision that can be shared and supported by the community at large.
Lewisville last went through a similar process when the Lewisville 2010 plan was developed in 1999 and 2000. Many of the major elements of that plan have been implemented in the ensuing years, including an emphasis on neighborhood programs and revitalization of the historic Old Town district.
“Lewisville 2025 is intended to be a reflection of our community values and aspirations - answering the question of what kind of community we want Lewisville to be when we hit our 100th birthday in 2025,” Ueckert said. “It will be a guide for the management of growth and change, and a reference point for future decision-making. Basically, it is going to be a multi-year ‘to-do’ list for the City.”
If there's one person in America most responsible for the stress our children face while filling in little ovals with their No. 2 pencils, it may be Sandy Kress. Kress was the architect of "No Child Left Behind" and later became a lobbyist for Pearson, the testing company. But as high-stakes testing faces a national backlash, lawmakers in Texas—birthplace of such standardized exams—are poised to give up on some testing and on Kress.
The Atlanta testing scandal in which the 2009 National Superintendent of the Year was indicted for racketeering has prompted questions about whether corruption in the classroom is an inevitable result of making test scores the primary focus of public education. "Tragically, the Atlanta cheating scandal harmed our children and it crystallizes the unintended consequences of our test-crazed policies," said American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.
Concern is spreading. In Seattle, teachers refused to administer a state-wide test they saw as unfair. In Providence, high school students dressed up like zombies and marched through downtown to protest a graduation requirement to pass standardized tests. Even Bill Gates, long a proponent of education accountability, recently opposed the use of test scores to evaluate teachers.
But nowhere is the movement against high-stakes testing as strong as it is in Texas, where it all began.
A high school test first administered last year was so tough that 27 percent of Texas' entire 9th grade failed the test and the retake and now can't graduate. In a recent poll commissioned by a teachers union, reducing the emphasis on standardized testing ranked higher than raising teacher pay and restoring budget cuts.
The Lewisville Texan Journal has received inquiries into rumors about former Lewisville City Councilman and current Council candidate Greg Tierney. It’s not uncommon in any election cycle for us to hear all sorts of things about any given candidate, only a portion of which may be true or warrant mentioning. We looked into some of the rumors and could not find any substantiation, but we did find a couple of items that warranted further investigation. Some of that, we gleaned from public documents, and for some we sought clarification from Tierney.
Lawsuit The first rumor was that Tierney was sued for “illegal music use”. He was sued, but it was not about music. The rumor probably came about in 2003 when Tierney’s old restaurant “Mill Street Cafe” restaurant was briefly seized by federal marshals to settle a legal judgement. The problem actually began back in 1998, when he had another restaurant and bar attached to a hotel in Dallas. Tierney explained that it had the same cable TV system as the hotel. Someone came in on the night of a boxing match, and asked him if he would tune the TV to the match - which he did. Shortly thereafter, he was sued in federal court for $250,000 for unauthorized broadcast.
Tierney says he turned the case over to an attorney from the Texas Restaurant Association, who he thought would take care of the matter. But somewhere along the line, either Tierney or the attorney dropped the ball or they misunderstood each other, and nobody responded to the lawsuit in a timely fashion. Because of that, there was a default judgement in the amount of $8,295, which Tierney says he was not aware of at that time. Fast forward to 2003, and the plaintiff (who has over the years brought 38 of these suits) moved for a writ of execution, which the judge granted. This allowed federal marshals to seize assets from Tierney to pay the judgement. The agents entered into his restaurant and emptied his cash register, then seized his bank account.
All of this was over a TV in his bar on a night that he thinks brought about $250 in sales. Here are posted copies of all of the documents that the federal court has made available - which includes the judgement and execution, but unfortunately not the complaint.