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.
Lewisville PD’s Tip411 service to replace eAlerts March 15 Lewisville Police Department’s eAlert service will be discontinued on March 15. Residents who have not signed up for the new Tip411 service will no longer receive Lewisville Police eAlerts after that date.
Tip411 was adopted by Lewisville Police Department in October as a way for residents to provide anonymous tips through text, email or a downloadable app for Android or Apple smartphones. Tip411 also offers a way to keep the community connected and informed through email, text message and online public safety alerts.
Interested persons can register to receive alerts from Lewisville Police Department via email and/or text message to their cell phone by signing up to receive alerts about public safety information and announcements. Using Tip411 to replace the eAlert system also allows users to manage their own subscriptions to the service. Community members are encouraged to sign up or manage their account online by visiting Tip411
Great Texas Warrant Roundup starts March 7 Representatives of law enforcement agencies and courts from more than 300 jurisdictions across Texas, including Lewisville, have announced combined efforts to host the ninth annual Great Texas Warrant Roundup beginning March 7.
The roundup is designed to target thousands of defendants with traffic, parking, city ordinance, penal code and higher charge warrants from participating jurisdictions. It is believed to be the largest joint operation of its kind with arrests expected to continue for several days. Hundreds of thousands of notices were recently mailed statewide by participating entities.
Anyone who believes they have an outstanding warrant is urged to contact the appropriate jurisdiction or jurisdictions to dispose of their cases voluntarily and avoid the inconvenience of arrest at home or work. Lewisville Municipal Court can be contacted at 972.219.3436. You can look at the active warrant list for Lewisville here.
Do not send another person to pay your fines. People are subject to arrest until their payment has been accepted by the court and properly posted. Checks are not accepted. Payments will be accepted in cash, money order, Master Card or Visa. Pay online at cityoflewisville.com.
Simmons Files Bill to Name Bridge for Bobbie Mitchell State Representative Ron Simmons filed a bill to designate the I-35 bridge over Lewisville Lake as the Bobbie J. Mitchell Bridge. Mitchell currently serves as the Precinct 3 Denton County Commissioner and was a former mayor of Lewisville. You can read the bill here.
City partners with UNT to reach sustainability goals The City of Lewisville has partnered with University of North Texas to conduct a resource and efficiency assessment for city facilities – a significant step in implementing recommendations of the Lewisville 2025 vision plan adopted last year.
The community identified sustainability as a key area of focus while helping develop the Lewisville 2025 plan, and the city is committed to properly managing the environmental impact of its own facilities and operations.
The assessment of existing city sites, facilities and vehicle fleet will identify the potential for more efficient energy and water use, on-site energy generation and water collection, and site enhancements that will help residents and customers access services and facilities more conveniently. Information gathered during this study, and the resulting recommendations, will provide the basis for development of realistic solutions to reduce resource use and achieve cost savings.
UNT Sustainability was established in 2009, and since that time it has integrated sustainability principles and concepts into every aspect of the university’s infrastructure. UNT founded its Sustainable Communities Initiative to share the benefits of its experiences and expertise by providing support to communities seeking to become more sustainable.
Lewisville student participates in 34th annual Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children Amputee Ski Trip Selam Rinkevich, 16, of Lewisville, attended the Texas Scottish Rite Amputee Ski Trip for the second time. Selam was born in Ethiopia and suffered burns as a baby, resulting in the need to have her leg amputated. Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children has given her the ability to be a kid and participate in normal activities girls her age like to do, such as running. She absolutely loves to read, as well as make new friends, which she looks forward to doing on the trip.
We don't always have the time to cover every newsworthy story in our city, but we do like to share links to stories that we think would be interesting to our readers. Here are some that we've been reading:
Lewisville Fire Department has announced it’s 2015 Keeping Tradition Alive Honor Guard, Pipes & Drums Symposium will take place on May 7th and 8th. The public jam and concert at City Hall will be held on Friday, May 8th, and they intend to bring back the Killdares to perform.
The Dallas Morning News has a special project called Transparency 2015, where they rated the overall transparency of governmental agencies in the area. The City of Lewisville scored an “A” rating with 96.2%. We agree with the score, and will note that the City of Lewisville is usually prompt and courteous, and seems to hold transparency as a core value. Lewisville ISD earned a “B” with 88.5%, mostly due to poor web customer service, and a failure to post online meeting notices. Longtime readers will note that The Lewisville Texan Journal has criticized LISD on these items before. While it is getting better, it has a way to go.
State Rep. Ron Simmons would like to hear your thoughts on allowing the open carry of handguns in the State of Texas. He asks citizens to contact him and let him know if the legislature should pass open carry with a required license, without a required license, not at all, or something else. You can email him here.
Chalk This Way! Festival looking for art vendors Lakeside Arts Foundation is seeking fine art vendors for the Chalk This Way! Sidewalk Art Festival, sponsored by Greater Lewisville Arts Alliance and the City of Lewisville, on May 9. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. outside the Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater, 100 N. Charles Street, in historic Old Town Lewisville.
Booths are $60 for fine art vendors selling original works of art or hand-crafted gifts and decorative items. Booths for nonprofit organizations are $30. Booths for food vendors and community and business vendors are $75 per space.
Admission is free to the event but there is a charge for some of the activities. The day-long event will feature professional chalk artists, amateur chalk art contest, scholarship contest, a children’s non-competitive gallery, art, food and drink vendors, music and a variety of entertainment.
Details, rules, vendor forms and entry forms are available online at chalkthisway.org. For more information, contact Lakeside Arts Foundation at 972.625.1726 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Central Elementary's Babino Named Lewisville Chamber Educator of the Year Bilingual LEAP Teacher Gets New Car; Borenstein, Hadley Honored as Finalists
The Lewisville Area Chamber of Commerce named Central Elementary Bilingual Learning Enrichment Academic Program (LEAP) Teacher Alexandra “Ale” Babino as 2014 Educator of the Year at its Annual Awards Luncheon Jan. 27 at Hilton Garden Inn Lewisville.
“The Lewisville Area Chamber of Commerce and the more than 700 members it represents understands that education is one of the most important segments of a healthy business community,” Chamber President Ray Hernandez said. “Ale Babino was an excellent choice for Educator of the Year because of her ongoing commitment to providing and expecting excellence in the classroom.
Babino was one of three finalists for the inaugural award, joining Lewisville High School Social Studies Teacher Robert Borenstein and Huffines Middle School 8th Grade English Teacher Jennifer Hadley. They were selected by Chamber representatives from the pool of 22 Lewisville ISD (LISD) Central Zone campus teachers of the year. The trio then replied to a questionnaire, including answering the question, “How have you changed children’s lives as an educator? Read more...
MCL Grand art gallery extends hours Starting Tuesday, Feb. 10, operating hours for the art gallery at Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater, 100 N. Charles Street, will be extended to 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Previously, the gallery was not open until 1 p.m. MCL Grand is the premier public arts facility in Southern Denton County. The 40,000-square-foot facility features a 296-seat proscenium theater, black box theater, dance recital hall, art gallery, five art classrooms and a large courtyard. Medical Center of Lewisville has a multi-year naming rights agreement for the city-owned facility.
Railroad Street to be closed for repairs until April Railroad Street will be closed for repairs from Hebron Parkway to the entrance of DFW Landfill at 1600 S. Railroad Street. The street will be closed beginning Monday, Feb. 16, and will remain closed through Monday, April 13, weather permitting.
Access to Railroad Street will be available from Hebron Parkway via Lake Pointe to Corporate Drive. The detour route will be marked, and access to the DFW Landfill will be available from the north via Corporate Drive, Bennett Lane or State Highway 121 Business. For information, contact the Street Division at 972.219.3510.
Library conducting online survey Lewisville Public Library will conduct an online survey through Feb. 28 to find out how residents use the library, collections, computers and space, as well as what changes and improvements visitors would like to see at the library.
The Lewisville Public Library Board will incorporate the responses to the survey into a new Library Strategic Plan to guide future services and funding. The survey is available at cityoflewisville.com, as well as on computers in the library.
Vaughn appointed to National League of Cities committee Lewisville City Councilman Leroy Vaughn has been appointed to the 2015 Finance, Administration and Intergovernmental Relations Steering Committee for the National League of Cities. Vaughn is one of only two members appointed from Texas. As a member of the committee, he will play a key role in shaping NLC’s policy positions and advocate on behalf of America’s cities and towns before Congress, with federal agencies, and at home.
This committee has the lead responsibility for developing NLC federal policy positions on issues involving national economic policy, general financial assistance programs, liability insurance, intergovernmental relations, census, municipal bonds and capital finance, municipal management, antitrust issues, citizen participation and civil rights, labor relations, Native American sovereignty and municipal authority. The appointment was announced by NLC President Ralph E. Becker, mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah.
For more information on NLC’s other committees and councils, visit nlc.org. National League of Cities is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.
Lewisville Police Department announces third-quarter accolades Lewisville Police Department named Officer Duk Lee as Officer of the Third Quarter 2014, and Virginia Fisher as Civilian of the Third Quarter 2014. Both employees were recognized for their outstanding job performance. Photo at right: Chief Kerbow is shown with Duk Lee (left) and Virginia Fisher (right photo)
Simmons Reports Committee Assignments The Texas House of Representatives committee assignments were released Wednesday, and Rep. Ron Simmons (R, Carrollton) reports that he has been appointed to the House Transportation Committee and the House Business & Industry Committee. “I am especially honored to have been named Vice Chairman of the Business & Industry Committee,” he said.
The Business & Industry Committee has jurisdiction over matters pertaining to industry and manufacturing, identity theft, relationships between employers and employees, oversight of the construction industry, and several other related matters
This article contains material from submitted reports
The following items are included on this week's Lewisville Police Chief's update:
Attempted Burglary of a Building On Saturday the 24th just before 4:00 a.m., Patrol officers were dispatched to an alarm call at a convenience store in the 900 block of Valley Ridge. Suspects had backed a pick-up truck into the store and attempted to steal the ATM by pulling it out with a chain. They were unsuccessful and fled prior to officers’ arrival. The pick-up truck was discovered abandoned by officers in an apartment complex next door. The truck appears to be stolen, but we have been unable to locate the registered owner.
Driver Arrested for Possession of Hashish On Friday, the 23rd at approximately 9:30 p.m., Officers O’Hare and Gilleland observed a parked, unattended vehicle at the convenience store in the 1000 block of West Round Grove. The vehicle’s engine was running yet no one was around. The officers waited for the driver to return and contacted him about the violation. As the driver, a 22-year-old, was retrieving a document from inside the vehicle, the officers observed drug paraphernalia in the console. Officer Menz and canine “Immo” responded to assist in the search of the vehicle. Canine “Immo” alerted to the vehicle. Officers located approximately 27 grams of hashish in the vehicle. Officers arrested the suspect for Possession of a Controlled Substance in Penalty Group Two (four grams or more, but less than 400 grams).
Traffic Stop Leads to Narcotics and Weapons Arrest Officer Limon Stopped a pick-up truck on Saturday evening the 24th because the driver was not wearing his seatbelt. The 19-year-old driver also was unable to display a driver's license. He was arrested on these charges. During an inventory of the vehicle prior to it being towed, officers discovered six pistols. They also found marijuana and bongs as well as 31 grams of cocaine. The suspect was also charged with Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon, Possession of Marijuana Under 2 Ounces, and Manufacture or Delivery of Controlled Substance Penalty Group one Over 4 grams.
Once again, it's been a couple weeks since we posted an update with links. They've piled up lately.
On Thursday, we will celebrate Thanksgiving, but in the days before, celebrate Friendsgiving. We appreciate all of our friends here at LTJ; especially those who have taken the time to chip in a few bucks. It's that time of year when a whole bunch of bills come due for hosting, domain names, and so forth, so we really appreciate that you've helped us just about hit our goal.
I've been busy lately reading up on Texas local government laws and election laws, trying to get some background before Lewisville's Charter Review committee gets under way in January. I'll be on that committee. I don't really have a change agenda in mind, and am not 100% sold on anything at this point, but I am concerned about how our city government continues to operate in a unified way once Castle Hills is annexed, and the remainder of growth happens on the east side of town. Single member council districts are an option, if we want, but they do carry their own problems, so I'm trying to think outside the box and figure out a way that every area of the city can have proportional representation, and decisions can continue to be made for the benefit of the city as a whole. I have spent some time studying the way other cities do things, and I've probably picked up more in the way of what not to do. We have it pretty good here, and I hope to keep it that way.
I am interested in any input anyone has on this, one way or the other.
Lewisville’s Blue Ribbon Bond Committee has been meeting frequently to consider the city’s backlog of capital projects, and how they can be funded. The city's remaining bond authority is expired, so with all this growth coming on, we can either allow our infrastructure to deteriorate more while we save our pennies up to do these projects years from now, or we can float bonds and enjoy the improvements and increases in property value sooner. Another plus with bonds is that in a growth situation, you are letting the new residents share in the cost of the infrastructure you are having to build to accommodate them.
Lewisville resident Patrick Booth is participating in the World Race, visiting 11 countries in 11 months. The World Race is a mission trip where participants abandon their worldly possessions and go out to help others. We wish Patrick safe travels, and will check in on him from time to time.
Vista Ridge Mall is not in great financial shape, according to this Dallas Morning News article. Along with Collin Creek Mall in Plano, it could end up going back to the lenders. Collin Creek is in worse shape than Vista Ridge though, according to the article.
Income inequality is getting worse. The United States is going into a new gilded age. To be clear, nobody is calling for an equal distribution of income, but what is bad for the economy and bad for America is a system where hard work and innovation is not rewarded to the same extent as being born rich, or being a Wall Street parasite. Upward mobility is limited, and we are becoming a plutocracy. The best illustration I can think of is the old joke: “A CEO, a manager, and a union worker are sitting at a table, and there is a box of a dozen Twinkies. The CEO immediately grabs 11 of the Twinkies, and tells the manager: ‘You better watch out for that union guy; he wants half of your Twinkie!’”
Idiocy. US Rep Michael Burgess (R, Lewisville) would like the EPA to hear more from paid representatives of polluters, and less from actual peer-reviewed scientists.
The Lewisville High School student council is once again sponsoring its Adopt-an-Angel program. Needy students from schools throughout LISD are identified by counselors, and each student has a few things they need or want - like clothing and a toy or two. You can adopt one of these students and wrap up a gift for them to return to LHS by 12/10 for delivery to the students on 12/11. You can view the list of students and their wish lists, and choose one to adopt here.
Lewisville ISD would like residents to fill out a survey to help it figure out what should be in an LISD graduate profile. This profile will define the most important skills, attitudes and habits of mind that students will have when they graduate from LISD schools.
Rain is expected for Tuesday, which is election day. Unfortunately, there are some people out there who will use that as an excuse not to go to the polls and vote. It’s okay though, I mean people have given their lives, and fought the good fight for you to have the right to vote, but you can’t be expected to get your hair wet. And it’s not like everyone, including LTJ, has been begging you to go early vote because it’s so much more convenient, and anything can happen on election day.
Ladies and gentlemen: Douchebags. We share not so much because we think there needs to be a slur, but because this sheds some light on what makes an insult hurt. Most white people would laugh off an insult like “honky” or “cracker,” because there is just no sting to it. Being called a douchebag would sting because you would have a pretty good understanding of what you are being lumped in with. The takeaway from this, I think is not that you need to go around calling people douchebags, but that we all need to try to examine our points of privilege and not be douchebags.
Flower Mound will get its first hotel. In the past few years, the Town of Flower Mound has taken an aggressive and reasonable approach to attracting development and bringing in business. I see them as a threat to Lewisville’s local dominance of the commercial space. Of course, there are still those in Flower Mound who are vocal about wanting to slam the doors shut on any development that takes place after they moved in. We will see what happens, but I very much like it that much of the sales tax revenue in Lewisville comes from residents of Flower Mound and other local cities. If Lewisville stands still, we fall behind. That’s why I’m grateful there is a lot going on in Lewisville. For example, Myers & Crow is building yet another large office building in the Lakeside business park. It will be 81,000 square feet. This is supposedly the last building that the development has room for.
Well, bless his heart... Trey Radel, a Republican US Rep who voted for legislation to require food stamp recipients to be drug tested, was busted for cocaine possession.
In Denton, iconic Frenchy’s Lawn and Tree is being told by city code enforcement that he has too many American flags. Under city code, a business is allowed to display one American flag, one Texas flag, and one other flag on their property. While I understand the need to limit commercial signage, and have some control over what is presented to the public along roadways, I join a lot of others in Denton and support what Frenchy does with his flags and using his trucks as billboards to promote local events and congratulate people. I hope the City of Denton will find a way to tweak the ordinance to let him continue.
Here is a pretty distressing report by ProPublica about the American Red Cross’ purported failure at responding to hurricanes Isaac and Sandy. The Red Cross leadership allegedly failed to connect resources to people in need, and seemed to be more concerned about appearances and PR than providing actual relief - in some cases using critically needed response vehicles as props in press conferences. The Red Cross has responded to the story, and it is worth a read. Some of the responses are comforting, but others just seem weak. What we hope is that everyone involved learns something from those disasters and does a better job next time around. This is also a good reminder that we all need to take responsibility for our own preparations in advance of emergencies and disasters. Our family has our kit put together, and we need to periodically check it to make sure it’s still ready.
If you follow us on Facebook, you probably saw the pictures we posted of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River when the dam had been shut off, and it was dry. A writer at DFW Urban Wildlife took the time to document the situation and its impact on wildlife.
Most of us middle-class working folks in suburbia who drive cars, have no problems producing an ID to vote, but there are many situations where it can be expensive and burdensome to obtain it. My thinking is that it ought to be free. Texas also has some really ridiculous and unnecessary requirements, such as rejecting other perfectly legal and secure forms of ID, requiring that IDs not be more than 60 days expired, and charging for birth certificates that the state keeps in their computer systems. The so-called "free" voter ID actually requires that you pay the State of Texas (if you were born here) to produce a birth certificate. Why doesn't the DPS just hook into the state's computer system and check it themselves? You know why. Why do they require a drivers license be no more than 60 days expired? Do you cease being yourself when it expires, or does your driving privilege just end? You know why this ridiculous requirement is in place.
Sunday was a gorgeous day, and an even more beautiful morning. I was up on top of the Lewisville Dam, looking out over Lewisville Lake on the left, and LLELA on the right. By all accounts, the inaugural year of That Dam Half - a half-marathon (13.1 miles) was a great success. 1200 runners were registered for the run, most of whom were for the half-marathon on the dam, and some of whom ran the 5k. We’ve heard nothing but great things from those who attended. I was a volunteer at the water station at mile 8, but truthfully I would have done almost any job just to have the opportunity to legally be up there, since it’s normally strictly off-limits to the public. I got a lot of great shots that I will be posting here and on our Facebook photos page.
Speaking of the lake, the quick update is that recent rains added a couple of inches to the lake level, which has since gone back down to 515.16 feet. This is about 7 feet below conservation pool. The hope is that we can get a lot of rain over the winter, which is expected to be wetter than average, and maybe get it filled back up to the 522 mark.
Plano West beat the Lewisville Farmers Friday night 55-22.
If you have used your credit card at the Dairy Queen in Lewisville, you may want to check your statement. The company was hit by a hacker, who gained access to customer names, credit card numbers, and expiration dates.
Some were outraged at Wendy Davis’s campaign commercial pointing out hypocrisy with Greg Abbott. I thought it was fair shot. She wasn’t attacking his disability, but the fact that he got quite a hefty settlement for his own injury, then spent a career trying to prevent others from obtaining their own justice.
Dawn Cobb has a nice story about four boys in Highland Village who were walking home from school one day and found a bicyclist who had fallen and had a head injury. The quick thinking of Joshua Smithwick, Elia Mata, John Wegendt and Aiden Cooper led to the man’s rescue.
The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NTCOG) has awarded funding of $28 million in its Transportation Alternatives Program, which funds pedestrian and bike trails, and non-driver access to public transportation projects. Lewisville is receiving $1.5 million for Approximately 4.2 miles of shared-use paths, sidewalk, and on-street bike lanes from the North Garden Ridge Boulevard interchange at IH 35E southward to North Valley Parkway and West Main Street.
Lewisville Morning Rotary will conduct a flag retirement ceremony at the MCL Grand Theater in Lewisville at 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 25th. Community members can bring their worn or torn flags to be destroyed appropriately.
Today is the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, or day of atonement.
Thursday's rain was great, wasn't it? The sky was so dark, and the wind was ferocious. It was brief, but it came down hard. Our readers reported receiving from .25 to 1.25 inches, but NWS rainfall totals showed around .5 inch average for our area. Lewisville Lake rose a little over an inch, putting us at 515.3 feet, which is almost 7 feet below conservation pool. We desperately need to catch up on rain over the Fall and Winter months.
The Marine Corps Birthday Ball is an annual tradition to celebrate the birthday of the USMC on 10 November, 1775. This year in Denton County, the LCpl Jacob R. Lugo detachment of the Marine Corps League will hold its ball on November 15th at the Gateway Center at UNT. I wish I could go this year, but I'll be at my brother's wedding.
Apparently there is a tradition at Lewisville High School that has been in place for a number of years, where marching band students sing the Lord’s Prayer before the football games. A parent reported on Facebook (since deleted) that her child was told the students can no longer do that. Queue the huge argument where Christians pretend they are persecuted when all of society and its institutions are not allowed to institute religious acts, and where people blame society’s problems on a lack of prayer in the schools. You can also queue those on the other side whose opinions range from nasty attacks to “I’m a Christian too, but this isn’t appropriate for school.” Texas House District 63 candidate for State Representative Daniel Moran, who is an atheist weighed in with this column.
I reached out to LISD to get the story, and this is what they had to say:
“About a month ago, two parents emailed through the Let’s Talk section on the district¹s website and shared concerns about students reciting the Lord¹s Prayer prior to the LHS band¹s performance.
The district looked into these concerns and learned that reciting the Lord¹s Prayer has been a long-standing tradition that started prior to the current band director joining LHS. The district shared that reciting the Lord’s Prayer must be student-driven. If students would like to gather and pray or recite the Lord’s Prayer before their band performance, they may do so. Reciting the Lord’s Prayer can’t be mandatory.
I have no problems with this. The requirement that it be student-led is in conformance with prior court decisions. That ensures that there is no pressure from our taxpayer-funded teachers for students to join in if they are uncomfortable. And lest you think that only atheists and others worthy of contempt would object, you might want to read Matthew 6, where Jesus warns against public prayer as a show of false righteousness, and says that people should go off in private to pray. It’s the same place where Jesus gives the Lord’s Prayer as an example of how one might pray. Yet, as Christians, we effectively ignored the jist of what he was trying to say, and took to reciting it by rote as a public display.
Yes, it took a couple days for me to get the answer about the situation directly from the district, since this happened on Friday, and it took until Monday to get the answer. But these days, it’s no fun for people to wait. Instead, get on Facebook and start throwing bombs. Ruin someone’s reputation by accusing them of violating someone’s civil rights. Sadly, this has been too common lately on the City of Lewisville Facebook group, with people publicly complaining about situations they should first try to take care of directly. At other times, it's public shaming - even going so far as to post photos of drivers they feel have transgressed.
I’m just going to say it: We live in a very wussified society. Case #1: “How letting my kid play along outside led to a CPS investigation”. Case #2: Man stops his truck to talk to his kids, and a woman with a very active imagination reports “stranger danger” to the school and on social media, resulting in a police investigation and a news release by the school district. I have no problem with someone contacting the authorities when they have a suspicion of abuse or neglect. It’s required. Let them do their job. What is not required, and what shouldn’t happen is plastering these suspicions all over social media in a way that can cause hysteria and witch hunts. But some folks' attention-seeking is easily justified as long as it's about making the children's safety their "upmost" [sic] priority.
Advanced Placement (AP) U.S. History is a course designed by the College Board for high school students that mirrors curriculum commonly taught in college. At the end of the course, students are able to take the AP exam, and if they pass, they get college credit. In our last update, we mentioned some controversy because conservatives think the AP curriculum leaves things out. Here is the College Board’s curriculum framework for AP U.S. History. Here’s a paragraph I wanted to share:
The curriculum framework that follows is just that — a framework for conveying the content and skills typically required for college credit and placement. In order for teachers to have flexibility in how they help students develop these skills and understandings, the framework is not a curriculum and thus does not consist of a list of the historical content (names, events, dates, etc.) that teachers will choose for classroom focus. Instead, the framework consists of four components, each described below. The result is a course that prepares students for college credit and placement while relieving the pressure on AP teachers to cover all possible details of U.S. history at a superficial level.
The curriculum framework does not focus on providing particular names, dates, or events, but does in some cases provide examples - only where teachers reviewing the framework thought that it might be helpful. This has apparently cause a lot of confusion at best, and purposeful demagoguery at worst. The framework document itself explains why Black Panthers are specifically listed as an example, and Martin Luther King, Jr. is not:
3. Gray boxes containing possible examples were inserted in the framework only where teachers reported uncertainty regarding what content they might choose to teach for a particular concept. These boxes indicate content that is relevant for a particular concept, but this content is illustrative — not mandatory.
When the new framework was first reviewed by AP U.S. History teachers, they indicated that it would be useful to provide examples for teaching some of the concepts. For most concepts, AP U.S. History teachers know exactly what figures, events, and sources they will focus on, but for others, they asked that the framework provide suggestions. Gray boxes were inserted only for concepts for which teachers indicated a need for ideas. For example, AP teachers reviewing the concept outline clearly identified which concepts called for inclusion of Civil Rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks, but they were uncertain what examples might be effective for the teaching of Concept 8.2.III.C (attacks on postwar liberalism). Therefore, the Committee inserted a gray box for that concept, suggesting the examples of Students for a Democratic Society and the Black Panthers. In no way does this signal that it is more important to teach the Black Panthers than Martin Luther King, Jr. Rather, this gray box signals that AP teachers were already confident in their inclusion of King and Parks elsewhere in the outline, but uncertain where they might choose to include the Students for a Democratic Society.
A former United Methodist minister reveals some things about scripture that most pastors would not teach. I share this not so much to convince you of anything, but because I think it’s a good read, and that when one reads things that challenge beliefs, it can be helpful in refining those beliefs. For me, although I count myself as a believer, I no longer believe that scripture is the infallible, literal truth, because you just can’t explain away these types of conflicts without violating occam’s razor.
Western Days is next weekend - Friday the 26th and Saturday, the 27th, and we are excited! Everything you need to know about Western Days is on the Lewisville Western Days website, and you can download your free tickets here. We highly recommend downloading and printing at your earliest convenience just in case there are problems with the website or with your printer on the day of the festival. The festival begins Friday night at 7 p.m. and goes until 11:30 p.m. Saturday, the festival opens at 10 a.m. and goes to 11:30 p.m.
Live music is the biggest draw for the festival. Friday night, the big act is Robert Earl Keen playing on the main stage at 10 p.m. Saturday night, it’s Thompson Square at 8 p.m. and Kevin Fowler at 10 p.m. But music acts are all day on two outdoor stages.
We’ll be posting more about Western Days this week, and we hope to see you there!
Café Herrera is one of the three restaurants scheduled to come to Old Town Lewisville in a new development across the street from the MCL Grand Theater, incentivized by the City of Lewisville. The problem is that their Denton location just got locked out for non-payment of rent. (See photo below) The restaurant just couldn’t seem to please customers, who gave it a very poor 2 star rating on Yelp. The Denton Record Chronicle has more on the restaurant’s troubles. We attempted to contact the company via email, but that bounced. We spoke with the manager of the Mockingbird Station location Sunday morning, but he didn’t have any information about whether the Lewisville location would still be opening. The Denton location was still locked out as of Saturday night. Photo by Joseph Carr
Mosquitoes carrying West Nile disease continue to be a problem in Lewisville. One problem location has been literally right outside the back door of the Lewisville Texan Journal’s office on Edmonds Lane. We are next door to a retirement village where residents are more susceptible to West Nile due to their age.
After surgery, a man received a surprise $117,000 medical bill from a doctor he didn’t even know. Unfortunately, this is pretty common. We all love to pile on the insurance companies over the cost of healthcare, but sometimes the problem is just flat-out greed on the part of providers. We all expect and pretty much desire that doctors be well-paid for their work, based on their education and dedication. But at some point, you have to draw a line and say that “No, you don’t get to earn $20,000 per hour for your work.” It’s yet another perfect example of why healthcare does not fit the free-market model, and simply cannot ever fit. Healthcare is not an optional service we can simply choose to avoid, and none of us who are not doctors are really qualified to second-guess what our providers tell us. We are not equipped, and in emergency situations do not have the ability to negotiate or shop around.
First Choice Emergency Room is asking the Lewisville City Council to consider a variance to allow them to have a taller sign. Their application states that their lease is up soon on their corporate headquarters in Lewisville, and they’ll consider the Council’s actions when deciding whether to stay or go. Here’s what First Choice said in response to our inquiry:
First Choice Emergency Room does have a pending application into the City requesting a variance for sign height. The request for the variance is a result of tall trees at the site which currently obscure visibility from the street. Our application simply asks for the approval to build a 50' pylon sign (current sign stands at 30') to be visible above the trees, and to ensure people seeking life-saving emergency care can readily locate the facility. The location of the facility is in Lewisville located at 1596 West Main Street; a nearby fast food chain also located on Main Street in Lewisville is an example of a sign that stands 50’ or higher. First Choice Emergency Room is a strong corporate supporter in the community and with our headquarters located in Lewisville, decisions to extend the lease will take into account support from the City.
While I don’t much care about whether the sign is 30 or 50 feet, and would be okay with granting a variance based on the situation, First Choice has a lot of nerve trying to pull this type of extortion. It’s bad enough that freestanding ERs like this increase the healthcare costs for all of us by billing insurance companies non-negotiated rates for service. While they do have nice facilities and see patients quickly, you need to know that you are going to end up paying a bunch more out-of-pocket if you use them. We recommend that you skip the freestanding ER and go to an urgent care clinic for things that are urgent, or the hospital emergency room if you have to. For a true medical emergency, call 911.
The Dallas Morning News has a story that explains some claims that Senator Wendy Davis voted on projects while she was on Fort Worth City Council that indirectly benefitted her employer. Basically, the Council approved economic development agreements for companies, who in a couple of cases used Davis’s employer to handle the title insurance. Davis was paid a flat salary for her work. What is not entirely clear to me is whether one would know whether a certain title company had already been chosen for a deal at the point that the Council would vote on it - which certainly can take place a long time before closing a land sale. While Davis did have the City Attorney's opinion that there was no conflict, it certainly would have avoided the appearance for Davis to abstain on these if she knew her employer would indirectly benefit. I am disappointed in this, but much less so than with Greg Abbott.
Despite 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.