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Recent News and Opinion
2015/4/26 - Website Upgraded
2015/4/26 - Early Voting Starts Monday in 2015 Municipal Elections
2015/4/24 - Lake and Drought Update - April 24th, 2015
2015/4/23 - Candidates Discuss Issues at Castle Hills Forum
2015/4/23 - Keep Lewisville Beautiful Spring Cleanup Set for April 25th, 2015
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2015/4/22 - Hazardous Weather Expected Today
2015/4/21 - Synchronized swimming event April 25-26
2015/4/20 - Lewisville Officer Receives Medal of Valor Award
2015/4/20 - Chalk This Way Festival Set for May 9th in Old Town
2015/4/20 - Monday Morning Briefs - Council Meeting, LLELA, Ghosts, Jams, Prom...
2015/4/19 - Lewisville PD Teams Up with US Army for Recruiting Event
2015/4/17 - Relay For Life at LHS Harmon Campus on May 15th
2015/4/17 - Family Protests Lack of Police Action in Assault of Teen Daughter
2015/4/17 - Friday Briefs
2015/4/17 - Upcoming Events Around Lewisville and the Surrounding Area
2015/4/16 - Document Sheds Light on April 7th Murder
2015/4/15 - County-wide Food Drive Precedes Mayors' Day of Concern
2015/4/15 - Letters: LISD Board Candidate Smith Exposed
2015/4/15 - Temporary Closure of Connector Road Between Southbound I-35E Front...
2015/4/13 - Flood WARNING for Denton County
2015/4/13 - Lewisville Fire Marshal Ready to Help Apartment Residents with Tra...
2015/4/11 - Group Distributes Partisan Questionnaire to Local Candidates
2015/4/10 - TNMP Offering $5,000 grants to non-profits, free training on grant...
2015/4/10 - Updated: Second suspect in murder captured in New Orleans
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The opinions of Steve Southwell, Editor of the Lewisville Texan Journal
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Five New Year's Wishes for Lewisville in 2015

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2015/1/1 14:27:57 (1263 reads)

Open in new window
By Steve Southwell

Happy New Year! As we reflect on the year that just passed, and spend time in reflection thinking about what we will make of 2015, we thought it would be nice to share some wishes for our community in 2015.

Open in new window#1: Less violence
In 2014, Lewisville suffered numerous shootings and robberies at gunpoint. One man was a victim of senseless random shooting on I-35 that took his life. We had a man who popped out from under a bridge and assaulted women. We had a very dangerous shooting incident in front of an apartment complex, and just down the street, a police chase ended with an attempted carjacking, and the suspect shot by police after shooting at them. A quick look at our police blotter on any given week shows numerous instances of family violence, and those are just the cases reported. We know that much more goes unreported.

Violence happens everywhere, and Lewisville is not immune. This does not define who we are as a community, but it represents a risk to each of us who live here. We don’t really have answers to this complex problem, but finding ways to reduce the violence in our community would be our highest wish for Lewisville in 2015.



Open in new window#2: Finishing the Plaza
The Old Town Park Plaza / Ferguson Plaza project has been a long time in the making for Lewisville, and it’s beyond time to wrap it up and get it completed and opened to the public. Delays have been a source of frustration and loss for businesses in Old Town Lewisville. The park will be a beautiful place to relax and have a picnic lunch or let the kids play in the water on a hot summer day. It will host all types of outdoor events and festivals, and just be a pretty place to hang out. The contractor said they would have the park done by April 1st, 2015, but we hope that is not just an April Fools joke. There has been good movement on this lately, so we truly hope it's done before then.

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Thankful for Lewisville PD

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2014/11/27 9:10:00 (2317 reads)

Open in new windowBy Steve Southwell

As I sip my coffee this morning, and take a moment to reflect on what I'm thankful for this year, all the normal things come to mind. Of course, I'm thankful for supportive friends and family, a good job, good health, a roof over my head, and plenty to eat. I'm thankful to live in a place of relative calm, in a community where a lot of good people give of themselves day after day, going above and beyond to make this a better place to live. Everything I said in last year's Thanksgiving message still applies.

But sometimes it takes tragedy before you truly understand some of the things we have to be thankful for. We have all watched with some mixture of frustration, disgust, disappointment, and anger, the events unfold in Ferguson, Missouri over the past months and days.

We all understand that police have an inherently dangerous job, and that they sometimes have to use deadly force to protect themselves and the public. The controversy in Ferguson had many facets, including a terrible municipal court, a police department that wasn't very representative of the population, and some questionable decisions after the Brown shooting that served to escalate the situation. We won't even go into the other factors in the Ferguson situation, but there is plenty of blame to go around.

My point is that yesterday in Lewisville, we had a very dangerous criminal that police were pursuing, and it could have turned out much worse in so many ways. A man pulled a shotgun and tried to carjack people. He pointed the gun at Lewisville police and pulled the trigger. Our police returned fire and stopped the man from being a further danger. These things are what they train for, and what is expected of our police officers. They go to work each day knowing that the gun on their hip is more than a decoration, and that they may be called to make a split-second decision to use deadly force to protect a citizen or protect themselves.

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Thanks to Veterans

The Editor's Column
Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2014/11/11 0:10:59 (423 reads)

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So much news, so little time...

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2014/10/16 0:15:06 (526 reads)
The Editor's Column

As I write this, I'm sitting in a hotel room in Louisiana, exhausted from an all-day meeting, and still stuffed from a fabulous business dinner with my clients and colleagues from my day job. It's the second week in a row that I've been out on travel, and it follows a week that saw my employer get bought out by another company, causing me endless paperwork and disruption.

Regular readers know this, but maybe some people don't realize that The Lewisville Texan Journal is an all-volunteer effort run on a shoestring. About 10 years ago I started this site as a blog, serving as an outlet for my curiosity that was part soapbox and part therapy. Over time, it morphed to a point where the content was less opinion and observation, and more facts, information, and news. In late 2011, we changed the name of the site to better reflect our coverage.

I've never been entirely comfortable with what to call this thing that we do here. In some ways - especially lately - it's more of a blog. But many times we do journalism. Whatever you want to call it, the point has been to try to improve the overall coverage of what goes on in Lewisville in several ways:

- Filling in the gaps in coverage where we can, when other outlets miss something.
- Going deeper on some topics.
- Investigative reporting - which is sorely lacking
- Being first to cover something when we can
- Having better sources when we can
- Getting information out on social media more nimbly than others
- Setting the record straight where other sources have got it wrong
- Encouraging Lewisville and its residents to get involved and make this community a better place.

Since most of the time, it's just me writing, and I work a full-time job with business travel involved, and I have kids, and I have volunteer work to do, I have to be pretty selective about what I spend time to try to cover. Even then, what happens far too often is that I'm able to shoot photos or video, or maybe talk to someone and begin to gather information... then promptly get extremely busy at work or with some situation at home, and whatever it was is either no longer newsworthy, or it becomes a part of the ever-increasing backlog.

You may have noticed the past few weeks, we really haven't posted much. It's not because there is a lack of material. We still get a ton of press releases and story tips. We still know of things going on that need to be shared and explained. Nobody is more disappointed than I am, that this is not happening on the schedule I would like it to. If it just weren't for that pesky problem of having to earn a living, I would be able to do this full time, and I might get close to covering a third of what is newsworthy here. Personally, I'm just pinning my hopes on winning the Powerball (which, I once again didn't have any matching numbers tonight). A multi-million dollar jackpot would fund a heck of a staff. Or perhaps a wealthy donor would step up with a start-up grant... Or monkeys might fly out of my butt.

Anyhow, I just thought I'd put this note out here tonight to let the readers know that the plan is for LTJ to keep doing what we do. It's just that I don't have a lot of time to give here lately, and to be totally honest, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. I need more volunteers, but that means I need to not only keep things going, but I need to recruit and train people. And the software that runs this site is not the easiest and most intuitive thing in the world to learn.

I hope none of this scares anyone off. I hope you'll keep sending me story tips, and keep sending me your press releases, links, and information. I hope you'll keep visiting and keep reading, even if there are times like now where I don't have much original content to share. I also hope that if you have a talent for writing, and can share any time with us, that you'll contact me. There is so much going on here in Lewisville that deserves more attention. I hope that together we can make it happen.

Check in with LTJ on Saturday, because I have a ton of links to share with you all.

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Misheard Word Results in Viral Facebook Post; Man Falsely Accused of Animal Abuse

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2014/9/22 22:50:00 (5640 reads)

Open in new windowI am not going to use anyone’s real name in this post. I’ll use initials for the accused, and you’ll soon know why.

A conversation overheard at an animal adoption event resulted in a woman in Sherman, Texas thinking that a man there (J.B.) was looking for a “bait dog” to use in hunting feral hogs. The woman apparently talked to J.B. and got his business card. She wrote an email explaining that “bait” dogs were intentionally being injured or crippled and staked out as bait to attract wild hogs, which hunters would then go after. The point of the email, in which she attached a photo of J.B.’s business card, was that shelters should beware of the guy and not let him adopt any dogs. Supposedly, J.B. was looking for Catahoulas, Aussies, or Black Mouth Curs.

Another woman who had received the email, posted it on her personal Facebook wall, along with the photo of the business card showing the J.B.’s name, phone number, and personal email address. Within four hours, it had been shared nearly 600 times, and presumably viewed by many thousands of people. One commenter on the post I saw mentioned something about breaking the guy’s kneecaps. Others were very quick to condemn, and said they’d be sharing the link.

There’s just one problem: As best we can tell, in hog hunting, there’s no such thing as “bait” dogs. Hog hunters who use dogs often use "bay" dogs though.

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Content Removed

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2014/8/29 17:50:00 (858 reads)

Open in new windowAfter discussion here at LTJ, we removed a story from the site and from our Facebook page today due to a very negative reaction in the community.

It's not often that we remove items from the site - especially when they are factual and fair, which we thought the article was. The reason we removed it is that the discussion on social media had vilified one of the unnamed people in the story to the point that the online discussion seemed like a lynch mob waiting to happen. The breaking point was when the discussion turned to personal bullying of others who expressed opposing viewpoints.

We do this service to spread the facts, and increase our community's understanding of one another and the institutions that make our community tick.

I'm just so incredibly disappointed right now to have had this forum and our work used in such a negative way.

Perhaps at some point, the story will come back into the archive, but for now we think it's best for all involved to cool off.

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LTJ Announces 2013 Lewisville Citizen of the Year: Allison Stamey

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2014/1/17 14:00:00 (2564 reads)

Open in new windowThe Lewisville Texan Journal’s editorial team is pleased to unanimously select Allison Stamey as our Lewisville Citizen of the Year for 2013. Stamey received an honorable mention last year, and is being honored this year for the work that she does, going above and beyond the call of duty in her job as Student Activities Director at Lewisville High School. Because of work that Stamey initiated and has continued to do, our Lewisville community is a better place to live, and the lives of hundreds of students and their families have been a little better. Her can-do attitude means that she is the type to see a need in the community, and rather than waiting around to see if someone else will do it, she says “why can’t we do it?”

Stamey has facilitated the adopt-an-angel program at Lewisville High School for over a decade. The program is run by the LHS Student Council, which she is a faculty advisor for. School counselors identify children whose families are in hard times, and who could use some help at Christmas with toys, clothing, food, or other needs. Individuals and community organizations then adopt individual kids from the list to buy gifts for, or contribute money, which is used to buy gifts for kids who were not adopted. Stamey and the other volunteers then deliver the gifts to the students. You can read more about the program in our story on the 2013 Angel Tree, which helped close to 700 students.

Open in new window
LHS Student Activities Director Allison Stamey
(File photo courtesy of Rotary Club)
Years ago, there were other organizations running Angel Tree programs in Lewisville, but Stamey saw that those programs often were not able to serve all the children who needed help at Christmas time. So she took on the task of organizing the program at LHS.

In addition to the Angel Tree, Stamey also helps organize the Lewisville High School homecoming activities, including the homecoming parade, which is a major event for the city. We are told that the parade is one of, if not the outright largest homecoming parade in the State of Texas.

Last year, Stamey was part of the group that organized Hey! Day, a new annual event to welcome LISD kids in the LHS feeder patterns back to school, and connect the community to the students and vice-versa. In her role as an advisor to the LHS Student Council, the largest in the State of Texas, she oversees a student mentoring program that pairs up high school students with students in elementary and middle schools who need help.

Stamey treats everyone like family, according to Sarah Marcus, LISD’s current Assistant Public Information Officer, who formerly worked with Stamey as the LISD Central Zone Communications Coordinator. “She taught me how to be a Farmer,” said Marcus. “I’ve never seen her say no. She’s just amazing!” she added.

Jane Recchia, who works in the LISD Central Zone office, nominated Stamey. “Ms. Stamey represents Farmer Pride to the utmost and her continuous contributions to both the City of Lewisville and the Central Zone schools, as well as the positive influence she has on the students of Lewisville, makes her a strong contender for the Lewisville Texan Journal's Citizen of the Year award," wrote Recchia. We agree.

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2013 in Lewisville - Biggest Stories of the Year

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2013/12/31 11:32:32 (2361 reads)

Open in new windowBy Steve Southwell

Here we are at the end of 2013, and it seems like just last week we were writing up the summary of 2012 in Lewisville. Around New Years, everyone likes to take a little look back and reflect on what happened over the course of the year, and we’re no different. (Plus, we’re on vacation, and revisiting old material is easier than working on new stuff, right?)

We’ll talk a little bit about what has gone on with The Lewisville Texan Journal, and what has happened here locally that we covered this year. The stories linked here are those that either got a whole lot of reads and attention, or in some cases, those we thought were important, even though maybe someone else covered it better, or we didn’t get much attention on.

Political:
In the May municipal elections, we posted our thoughts on a couple of the school board races, as well as the Lewisville City Council races.

Lewisville resident Brenda Latham was re-elected to her second term on the LISD school board. Kris Vaughn was elected in place 4, the seat formerly held by Julie Foughty of Frisco, who decided not to seek re-election. In the same election, Mark Welding was elected in Place 3, but resigned in the middle of the Summer, just months after taking office.

In the Lewisville City Council elections, Raymond Daniels challenged long-term incumbent Councilman Rudy Durham, but was not successful. However, Daniels has joined our team here at LTJ and has been helping us provide recaps of all council meetings.

Councilman John Gorena was challenged for his seat by former Councilman Greg Tierney, who handily beat him, and regained his seat. Gorena was just too extreme and “out there” claiming once in a council retreat meeting that our country is “at war” for natural gas.

Over the summer, a group launched a petition to legalize liquor sales in Lewisville.

In November, Lewisville citizens voted to legalize the sale of liquor for off-premise consumption, and LISD got a new Trustee - Angie Cox, of Flower Mound.

Events:
We covered several public events and festivals in and around Lewisville over the summer, including Chalk This Way, Summerfest,Hey! Day, Western Days - both Friday and Saturday, and the LHS Homecoming Parade.

We organized and attended a Memorial Day observance at City Hall.

The Old Town Holiday Stroll, formerly known as Holiday at the Hall was canceled due to the Icepocalypse.

Guest Columns and Syndicated Columns:
LTJ was fortunate to have numerous guest columns throughout the year, in addition to the syndicated columnists. Here are some highlights:

Lewisville Deputy Mayor Pro Tem TJ Gilmore wrote about social services in Lewisville.

Former Lewisville Fire Chief Rick Lasky wrote “I am your firefighter”

So you want to run for public office? Former Highland Village Mayor Scott McDearmont had some tips.

Syndicated columnist Jason Stanford’s article “Miscarriage in Texas” talks about an aspect often missed in the abortion debate.

Lewisville Councilman Neil Ferguson wrote about the I-35 Expansion project.

Bobby Riguez of Make Education a Priority wrote about Texas House Bill 5, passed by the legislature this year.

Ken Judkins reviewed Matthew Grimm’s new album “Songs in the Key of Your Face”. What was cool is that Grimm came to Lewisville and played a house concert for us.

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Merry Christmas

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2013/12/24 0:30:00 (1282 reads)

Merry Christmas!
We hope all of our readers have a joyous and meaningful Christmas, or whatever holiday you may celebrate. May the blessings of the season bring peace happiness to you and yours.

Here's this year's playlist of Christmas songs:


Peace on Earth! Good will to Men!

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No Scandal - Just Another Day on the Web

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2013/12/8 13:10:00 (1060 reads)

Open in new windowA friend of mine who I respect a lot approached me earlier this week to ask if I would look into something that he thought was a scandal. My friend and I have some fundamental disagreements on some political issues, but we respect each other, and I was happy to look into it. The issue he said, was that the federal health insurance exchange website had some "hidden code" in it that meant Americans were giving up their rights to privacy when signing up for health insurance through the website.

The assertion was brought to light by Texas Congressman Joe Barton (R, Ennis) who grilled an executive of the government’s prime contractor in a hearing in October, showing a screenshot of the website’s login screen, and its underlying HTML source code, which contained this bit of boilerplate legalese that was not displayed on the screen:

“You have no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any communication or data transmitting or stored on this information system. “

If you are on the end of the political spectrum that believes that the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare” is evil, and you don’t have any experience with HTML or the other technologies that make up the world-wide web, then you might think this is some sort of a smoking gun. You might take note of the deer-in-the-headlights look on this poor executive’s face, probably not understanding what she was seeing, and being put on the spot to explain HTML source code, and you might prefer to see it as some sign of guilt.

Politifact published their own assessment of the issue on October 29th, rating Barton’s assertion as false.

For those of us who build these types of transactional websites for a living, it’s pretty simple to see that this is a non-issue. Whatever issues there are with the law or its implementation, this is not one of them. Rather, this is just a technical artifact. And it happens way more often than you think.

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