This topic is for links to relevant news, interesting websites, quick opinions and inane ponderings. Postings in this thread are considered "open-thread", meaning that anyone can post a comment on any of the articles, whether the comment relates to the post or not. If you have something random to say, this is the place.
It's Monday, April Fools day, and we're up to our usual mischief here at LTJ. Last year we brought you a story about expensive tire air and the tragic consequences of filling your tires with natural gas. Imagine what it must be like to work for one of those "news" outlets like Fox or The Blaze, or World Net Daily where they just make shit up 24/7/365? Anyway, if you've figured out this year's prank, don't spoil it.
Also, happy belated Easter to everyone.
We have video from Saturday night's roller derby bouts, and have started work on getting them ready for YouTube. Hopefully we'll have the first bout posted by Tuesday.
Lewisville Lake is at 517.04 feet, or about 5 feet short of conservation pool.
Well, shucks. Here it is Sunday night, and I'm back after a week of business travel. I've managed to squander most of the weekend, and it's just about bed time. I've been collecting a bunch of links for you, but I'll tell you - it's been a busy news week. The Legislature is in session, so I hope you're taking a look at the Texas Tribune every now and then. If you've sent me something that I've failed to post, I apologize. I'm not ignoring you, just treading water to keep up.
Texas Democrats are too weak to much affect the Medicaid debate. But if state Republicans reject federal money that could insure 1 million or more Hispanics, they could provide Democrats with an unprecedented opportunity to energize those voters—the key to the party’s long-term revival. With rejection, says Democratic state Rep. Rafael Anchia of Dallas, Republicans “would dig themselves into an even deeper hole with the Hispanic community.”
Rob Portman is no hero. You don't support civil rights just because you know someone or are related to someone who is being discriminated against. You support civil rights because you are a human being who can empathize with other human beings. You support civil rights because you have a sense of fair play, and you hope that others will support your rights.
This is not good. State Supreme Court nullifies city zoning ordinance because they say state air pollution permit pre-empts it. State standards ought to be minimum standards. Texas is a big state with all kinds of geography and a wide mix of urban and rural areas. Cities need to be given a certain amount of leeway to regulate the locations and setbacks of polluting entities from protected locations like homes, churches, and schools.
On the other hand, here's an example of a good idea: Texas Legislature passes bill to pre-empt HOA’s from restricting water-saving landscaping choices. HOAs are the refuge of the petty tyrant, it seems. Many of them restrict the types of grass and shrubs people can plant, or restrict them from planting more drought-tolerant landscaping. In case you haven't noticed, Texas' population has just about doubled in the last 30 years. During that time, the heavens have still doled out the same amount of rain each year, with just a little less these past few years of extreme drought. While it might have been feasible for everyone to have lush St. Augustine yards when our grandparents bought their houses, it is no longer true. It's a lot easier to save water than to find more.
Once again, the Onion’s satire cuts too close to the truth. Media coverage of the Steubenville rape trial was unbelievable. It's clear that our society is not thinking clearly when it comes to rape. We're all going to have to talk to our boys very frankly about what it means when a girl says no, or when a girl is incapable of consenting. Here's a short PSA:
Medical Center of Lewisville lauded for emergency room improvements. I'm glad to hear it. The measures taken seem simple, but sometimes in spite of having a bunch of professionals who care about their jobs, you need a good manager to analyze the big picture and tweak things here and there that might not be obvious to the individual team members.
DCTA reported Thursday that one of its trains was involved in another accident, striking a vehicle on N. Kealy in Lewisville. They reported no major injuries, and a 40 minute delay to clear and inspect the tracks.
Lewisville City Council candidate Raymond Daniels has a Facebook page. His opponent, incumbent Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Rudy Durham will not be doing anything online. Both candidates have agreed to complete the LTJ questionnaire.
Daylight saving time starts Sunday, so if you still have any old fashioned clocks, you need to set them forward one hour Saturday night before you go to bed. I'm looking forward to having a little more daylight left after I get off work each day.
Want a nice little sound track for today's links? Listen to Downtown Fever, covering Journey's "Faithfully" during the Sounds of Lewisville 2012 season. These guys nail it, I think.
Anyhow, we've been staying busy, and are barely keeping up. We still are looking for volunteer writers. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One story we have in process is about a thriving industry in Old Town Lewisville that is drawing people into our city. I've just not had time to write it up, but maybe I'll get that done Sunday - just 2 weeks late.
Regarding our upcoming City Council and School Board Elections for 2013, I wanted to let everyone know that we've sent each and every candidate a questionnaire chock full of what we think are pretty tough questions. We hope to have the answers back next weekend. We may end up extending the deadline though, because these are pretty tough questions, and will take some time.
Here are some links we've collected for you over the week:
A University of Texas / Texas Tribune poll shows how Texas voters feel about various issues compared with the rest of the nation. One of the most interesting things is that only 29% of US voters think the country is headed in the right direction, but 45% of Texas voters feel that way.
Ugh - new Sim City game requires always-on internet connection. If you look at my college transcript, you might be able to pick out the semester when I first discovered the original Sim City. That's the semester where I stayed up all night playing the game, and made poor grades. I'm not into video games now, but I have heard good things about the new Sim City, and might be willing to try it. Then again, I am way behind on doing the stuff I need to do, so I should probably avoid it.
In a recent update, I mentioned NextDoor.com - a nice neighborhood social networking site meant more for hooking people up with their neighbors for things like crime alerts, and very hyperlocal issues. I do like the site a lot. I also mentioned that if you sign up through the link I provided, and start a new group for your neighborhood that has at least 10 people sign up (which should be very easy), we both get $50 Starbucks cards. I had a couple people take me up on that, and I just got my first $50 card in the mail today. It's free to sign up.
On this day in 1836, the people of Texas declared independence from Mexico, forming the Republic of Texas, which existed until 1845 when it was annexed into the United States. For almost 10 years, Texas was an independent nation. Then in 1861, Texas was the last state to secede and join the confederacy. Even after the Civil War, Texas has maintained at least a mindset of independence, which is mostly a source of pride, but occasionally can be a source of embarrassment, such as when our governor made comments alluding to secession, or when a bunch of numbsculls petitioned the White House to secede.
Still, we love Texas and couldn't think of having our home anywhere else. (Although it becomes awful tempting to visit our Northern states right around August) We have our Texas flag flying today, and we pause to remember all of those who sacrificed to settle our state and secure our independence from Mexico.
Very Busy - Help Wanted As you know, the Lewisville Texan Journal is an all-volunteer, community-supported publication, trying to fill in the gaps in media coverage about our fair city. I write most of the articles, but I've been pretty busy with my day job lately, and dealing with just a bit of burnout. We're coming into local election season, and I need to get on the stick about covering local elections. We're looking for volunteer writers to help cover local news. There is no shortage of stuff to cover, so we can definitely provide you the ideas if you can contribute your time. There is no pay— just the undying gratitude of an engaged public who cares about their community. Contact email@example.com if you are interested.
Here are some miscellaneous links to stories we thought were interesting:
Denton County Sheriff Will Travis faces a lawsuit from two employees he terminated upon taking office. Employees are supposed to have civil service protections, but their Civil Service Commission apparently dragged its feet on getting its bylaws passed.
Some folks advocate, and many cities have now implemented bans on single-use plastic bags. Here is a creative video urging such a policy. While I'm not sure I'm ready to be that heavy-handed, I will say that I've pulled more than my fair share of plastic bags out of trees, creeks, and streams, as well as plastic water bottles. What do you think?
Yesterday was George Washington's birthday. In honor of our first President's belated birthday, we bring you this edition of the Saturday Morning Update.
I've been out of town all week working for a client, and am currently in a project that is going to take some intense focus for awhile, so these updates may not be as regular as they should be. Hopefully Brandon Cooper will step in to fill in the gaps.
New Tool for Neighborhoods The first thing I want to let you know about is a new social media website for neighborhoods called NextDoor.com. I don't normally jump on the bandwagon for new social media sites, but I think this one can serve a good purpose. The site links physical neighborhoods to allow neighbors to discuss those hyper-local neighborhood issues like crime, streets, development, and so forth. My neighborhood has about 20 people signed up so far. The site requires the use of real names, and uses address verification to ensure that only residents of the neighborhood can join the group and see posts. So it's not same kind of thing as the other types of social media websites.
Other local cities - notably our neighbor, Flower Mound, have homeowner associations that help connect residents to each other and to their city government. This type of thing may be just what we need to help get more involvement. So I hope you'll consider logging in and signing up. If you use this link to sign up, and you're the first in your neighborhood, and your neighborhood site gets the 15 or so people it takes to launch, NextDoor will give us both a $50 Starbucks card. (Sweet huh?)
The Lewisville Leader has a pretty good article about Lewisville City Councilman Rudy Durham's bid for re-election. We'll do our best to get an interview or questionnaire to him and the rest of the candidates in the coming month.
Texas Sharon takes another look at that case of water contamination in Parker County. You remember the one where the guy's well was spitting out natural gas, and Range Resources sued him for defamation because he dared to blame them after they fracked a well nearby? Sharon says "I told you so."
The Lewisville High School girls and boys basketball teams just barely made the playoffs, but already have some interesting stories to tell. The girls’ team, which went 6–24 during the season, defeated the District 6-5A champion Colleyville Heritage, who were 25-11, in the first round, but were defeated in the second round by Mansfield Timberview.
The boys team, on the other hand, defeated defending 5A state champs Marcus High School in a “loser goes home” tiebreaker game to decide who went to the playoffs. Word has it Marcus lost its rhythm when the LHS team refused to break for tea and crumpets. LHS plays–you guessed it–Colleyville Heritage on Tuesday night.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has released it's Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) information from the latest school year. You can look it all up on their website. Be prepared to use the zoom function on your browser, because the data pretty much scream "I hate your eyes."
Alright, I've fallen behind again at posting an update. Basically, I spent Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and most of the day Sunday either videoing or producing video of the City Council Retreat or the roller derby bouts. It's taking up all my spare time. Still, I've been collecting some links for you:
During the discussion over the city’s upcoming long-term plan at the Lewisville City Council retreat this weekend, the idea of using social media as a way to promote participation came up. Everyone in the room was well aware that face-to-face communication will still be the crux of the process, but there’s no denying the fact that social media outlets provide a new way to expand participation in Lewisville and encourage communication between city leaders, businesses, the media, and residents.
That said, some of that is easier said than done, especially if you don’t know where to look or who to follow. With so many possible subjects to explore on various social media networks, seemingly routine municipal matters can quickly sputter down your news feed when competing against pictures of grumpy cats and quotes from famous people superimposed over solemn photographs.
The purpose of this post is to point the average reader in the direction of social media accounts and websites that anyone active with city issues can–and should–actively engage with. To make it this bit more dynamic than just a list of links, I’ll be using an embedded Storify article:
It's Superbowl Sunday, and not a single damn is given here in our household. I should be on a plane to New Orleans tonight so I can go work for my client, but the Superbowl has the city all jam-packed, and no hotel rooms are available anywhere at any reasonable prices. So, instead, I'll be in town all week again. Yeah, I've got the TV on, but really only to see funny commercials.
This past week was the start of filing in local elections, which is always exciting to me. I look forward to the end of the filing period when we can really focus in on the candidates and bring our readers the information necessary to make good choices.
My thought is that as long as the posting didn't reveal any credit card information, I really don't see how it violates any privacy. This pastor obviously wanted her identity known, because she didn't just sign it, but put her title on it. It definitely doesn't rise to the level of termination. At any rate, it's interesting to see how the public reacts when a franchisee does something, and the entire chain is punished. It's basically the opposite of the reason why you join a franchise, which normally brings with it a certain amount of goodwill. These days, I'm wondering if it's not more of a liability. Any particular franchisee can do something really dumb, and the whole chain will suffer. For instance, a Denny's franchisee took it upon himself to impose an "Obamacare surcharge" on his guests, which caused major problems for the chain and threats of boycotts from the left. Yet another Denny's franchisee recently caused threats of boycotts from the right after kicking out some detectives for having their guns in plain view. As for me, I don't eat at either restaurant. I prefer to support locally owned and operated independent restaurants or small chains for the most part. Applebees lost my business years ago by serving watered-down drinks at premium prices.
A recent investigation finds that some Texas public schools are still violating the separation of church and state, by teaching Christian theology. I have no problem with schools teaching comparative religion, or teaching the Bible and other religious texts as literature. But I believe the First Amendment requires that government leave the theology to parents and churches. From what I've seen, even the local group who supports LISD teaching bible courses really does so from the perspective of hoping to use it to proselytize, based on their comments to the school board in support of it.
The NRA has an enemies list, which pretty much just serves two purposes: 1. It makes them look crazy. 2. It makes them look outnumbered. Seriously, how does it bolster one's argument to post a gigantic list of celebrities, dignitaries, and respected organizations that you say support the other position? As I've said before, I'm a gun owner, and I support the second amendment, but I ditched my NRA membership years ago. They don't represent me; they represent crazy.
Here is a review of the last gun show in Lewisville, which had attendees lined up nearly around the corner. I've been a couple times too, and will say that they pretty much have everything you could want. The problem right now is that the hoarders are in full paranoia mode, and you can't buy anything for the right price.
I'm shocked - SHOCKED, I tell you, that Lewisville Councilman John Gorena didn't send us a press release announcing his re-election bid. Then again, he apparently didn't send one to the Lewisville Leader either, who instead interviewed him and let him say any old stupid ignorant thing he wanted to say. There is so much stupidity in this article, I'm basically speechless. Actually, I've got plenty to say, but it will be in a separate article.
The other day, my oldest son said the food in his school cafeteria was nasty, and it tasted like there was horse meat in the burgers. I have no idea how he would know what horse meat tastes like. In England, Burger King and Aldi got burned by a beef supplier using horse meat. They found equine DNA in the meat. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/artic ... e-meat.html#axzz2Jiam3aMN
A former Williamson County District Attorney faces a court of inquiry in the wrongful prosecution of a man who spent almost a quarter of a century in prison for the murder of his wife. The prosecutor withheld clearly exculpatory evidence, and now faces criminal action and disbarment.