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.
North Texas remains in a hard freeze this morning, and the roads are still terrible - probably much worse today than yesterday, since slush has refrozen. There are deep ruts and high piles of ice that challenge vehicles without high clearance. We're dying to get out and take more photos, but it's just not worth the risk of accidents right now. If you listen to the police and fire scanner, you will hear that they are staying extremely busy working wrecks.
Here is the update from the National Weather Service:
"Winter weather will continue across North Texas today and this evening. Arctic air will remain in place and keep temperatures below freezing through Sunday morning. Pacific moisture and weak lift from an approaching upper level disturbance will bring a chance of light snow or flurries to North Texas today and this evening. No significant snow accumulations are expected. However, travel will remain extremely hazardous across the entire region through Sunday morning." The frigid temperatures will continue through the overnight hours tonight. Lows will range from the mid-teens to the upper 20s across North Texas. Cloud cover will remain in place through the overnight hours as well. Keep in mind that any melting that occurs during the day today will refreeze overnight, leading to a continuation of the hazardous driving conditions for the region."
-Slips 1025-1099 and 2000-2001-- the roof of the dock had collapsed under a 2.5-3" ice pack. Management has started to contact the owners to these slips individually. If you have not heard from us yet, we will be contacting you shortly.
-The slips on other docks are sitting low due to the weight of ice on the docks. We are looking at several ways to alleviate the weight where possible.
-Power is still on to all the docks.
-All docks are still very unstable and for the safety of everyone the docks will remain closed until further notice.
Our top priority is to keep everyone safe while alleviating as much damage as we can. We understand everyone's concern, and we will continue to update everyone as information becomes available. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding.
And as long as we’re talking about Satan, remember the hysteria back in the 90s about satanism? A Texas woman wrongly convicted of abusing children as part of “satanic rituals” has been freed after serving 21 years in prison based on outlandish allegations coached by a fraudulent child psychologist.
Happy Friendsgiving, friends. Friendsgiving was created by Lewisville High School teacher Nicole Franczvai, and is catching on. Described by Franczvai as a “bogus, but important weeklong holiday”, she explains what it is this way:
Notes of appreciation at its very core-and if you want-small tokens of appreciation. Try it! It's all about shooting positive energy into the universe. It might come back it might not who knows.
- Be good. - Try to do good. - Accept good.
We think it makes a whole lot of sense, so we are going to go with it, and hope you will too. The Lewisville Texan Journal certainly appreciates all of our friends and supporters who have helped us over the years in our mission to inform and discuss. We also appreciate all of the hard work and dedication of the hundreds of community leaders, volunteers, non-profit workers, and government employees who make our community such a great place to live.
Speaking of volunteers, this past Saturday was the Trinity Trash Bash. We hope to have some numbers to share with you later this week, but I will say that this event has grown in prominence and participation greatly over the few years that we’ve been involved, and that reflects well on our community. Our LTJ team worked alongside the Lewisville High School Navy Junior ROTC to clean a stretch of land adjacent to Timber Creek that collects wind-blown trash from a large shopping center. Over 4 pickup truck loads were pulled out by our two groups. The ROTC group won a trophy for their haul. LTJ was beat out this year for adult large group by the employees of EA Engineering, Science, and Technology. We’re glad to have the competition, because it makes our city that much cleaner.
The City of Lewisville has added a tribute to the LHS Girls Softball Team to the water tower on I-35E.
An NBC 5 investigation of state records in alcohol-related crashes reveals that I-35E through the Lewisville 75067 zip code is a hot spot. Lewisville is strong on enforcement and does often top the list of participating agencies in LEADRS (Law Enforcement Advanced DUI/DWI Reporting System). Lewisville officers will be stepping up enforcement this coming holiday week, so be careful of others, and know your limits if you drink, then drive.
This coming “Black Friday”, you can choose to enjoy the natural environment rather than celebrating commercialism. Take a hike at LLELA! You might see us out there.
Students at one school stood up for their classmate “Sasha”, who was born male but prefers not to identify by gender. Sasha was set on fire by another student as he dozed on a school bus, leading to severe injuries. His fellow students decided to wear skirts to support the injured student.
A bunch of gun bullies supporting open-carry of firearms showed up at a local restaurant to try to intimidate a group of moms who support gun control. While I am a gun owner and generally supportive of the second amendment, I am not happy with these mindless show-offs who generally do more harm than good with their public displays of weapons. Our system of government and the public discourse that shapes policy at all levels from the local to the national has absolutely no place for the display of weapons and the intimidation that goes with that. The use of force, or the threat of force to get one’s way in a political debate has a name: Terrorism.
Today is the 238th birthday of the United States Marine Corps, which was founded at Tun Tavern on 10 November, 1775. Here is a message from General James F. Amos, and Sergeant Major P. Michael Barrett - Commandant and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps.
Happy Birthday, Marines! I will be hosting a small get-together for Marines tonight at 7 p.m. at my home in Lewisville, where we'll have birthday cake, cigars, and port wine. (And some other non-traditional stuff). Email me @ email@example.com or text me at 214-280-6439 for the address if you would like to join us.
For some reason a bunch of tarantulas were released at LLELA - just South of the Lewisville dam. *Shudder* I do not want to see them. I will make the tarantulas a deal: They stay out of my sight, and don’t drop on me when I’m walking out there, and I will leave them alone. If one gets on me, I cannot control what I might do.
America’s least favorite neighbors: renters. I know this has been the case in Lewisville, and I keep hearing it from people who think the city should just “stop building apartments”. Look, first, the city doesn’t build apartments. We can’t stop people from building them on land that is already zoned for multi-family, either. We can’t just yank zoning out from under land owners either. I don’t believe that apartments have to mean “ghetto”. And I don’t think we ought to be prejudiced against people who live in them. Not everyone is ready for home ownership, or in the financial position to do so. It doesn’t mean they can’t be invested in the community, and it doesn’t mean they are less of a citizen. I love this community, and am sometimes frustrated with the fact that a large proportion of our population is transient. But I don’t think the solution is to hate on apartment dwellers. We need to engage them.
Writing for free is mostly what we do here at the Lewisville Texan Journal. It’s not because we don’t value the work; it’s just that advertising and the donations we get do not provide enough to pay people for their time. I’m always thankful for the volunteers here. I thought I’d share this article from someone who doesn’t mind writing for free.
Texas Education Agency released final ratings this week for the state’s public and charter schools. Of the state’s public school districts, 4.5% were classified as “Improvement Required”, while 14.9% of charter schools needed improvement. Lewisville schools did pretty well for the most part. We hope to post a separate article on this soon, with links to each school’s results.
A Doctor’s lawsuit alleging that his rights were being violated because a Pennsylvania law prevented him from discussing the dangers of fracking fluid with is patients, (by requiring a non-disclosure agreement if the contents of fluids were disclosed to him), was thrown out for lack of standing. He never actually treated a patient where he received information he was not allowed to share, so the alleged injury was deemed conjectural.
Lewisville Lake is currently at 513.33 feet, or about 9 feet low. Dallas continues to release water for usage downstream.
How about putting a layer of vegetable oil on top of the lake to slow down evaporation? Gee, what could possibly go wrong with this idea? My concern, aside from making the lake gross for recreation, would be that it would heat up the lake (which relies on evaporation to stay cool) and be harmful to aquatic life either from temperature, or from the lack of oxygen exchange. I suppose they would have to work all of that out, but I would say I'm highly skeptical.
Fox News carried a sensationalist story on the problem which angered one of our readers:
My name is Bret Wooten I am a parent of the child at Donald elementary in Flower Mound Texas. Additionally my wife is the principle that same school. I would like to propose a segment that hopefully all of the news organizations could do. I would recommend you call it “Junk Journalism”. I am submitting this same letter to CBS NBC WFAA and KERA. I have watched the decline of journalism standards over the past decade and found it increasingly frustrating as I am sure you have too. But after watching a piece of garbage journalism at my child's school I can no longer sit idly by. (Link below). I believe having competing news agencies fact checking each other stories would not only be beneficial to journalism but benefit the population in North Texas and if done correctly will be a boost not only to journalism but the most effective fact checkers.
This is a very recent example I can give you. This is the letter that I sent to Fox 4 with links to the story which they aired and an additional story. I don't find it much of a stretch to link these two stories and the failure of the reporter to mention that News Corp. has a vested interest in the failure of a program in education that uses iPads. This story has our community up in arms we strongly support the efforts of our district and our local school. I hope you take this initiative seriously as I believe it will bolster interest in your product and the noble profession of journalism.
Yes, News Corporation - the parent of Fox News and the local Fox affiliate has a competing product to the iPad which it is targeting to schools.
At any rate, what the setup problem means is that if students use the devices on wireless connections at home or elsewhere outside of the school, they could visit websites or download apps that could be harmful. Parents are urged to get on the student’s iPad on their home network, and open up the Safari browser and visit this link to check whether the settings have been disabled. As always, we as parents need to be looking at what our kids do online, regardless of whether it’s their smart phone, a home computer, or a school-issued iPad.
A frat brother sent out guidelines on “luring your rapebait”. Sadly, our society is not doing a good job at raising boys to see women as people, and as worthy of respect. It’s easy to be mad at this douchebag kid, but it just makes me sad for him, and sad for our society. I hope that some good-hearted person will get him some help.
How does it make you feel when someone destroys natural rock formations or fossils that are hundreds of millions of years old? It bothers me greatly because these are things we can’t get back. A couple of boy scout leaders toppled a unique rock formation at Goblin Valley State Park in Utah, and thought it funny enough to post a video of themselves laughing about it. Turns out the guy who was able to push over this boulder had filed a disability lawsuit related to a car wreck he was in. I’d say he probably damaged his case. Years ago, also in Utah, some boy scouts pried up dinosaur track fossils and threw them in a lake.
*Originally said six people, but that included a drowning at another lake. There have been 5 so far this year in Lewisville Lake.
This past week has been a busy one, and a sometimes-frustrating one. Right before last weekend, something screwy started happening with our web hosting provider, GoDaddy, which started intercepting and blocking my attempts to post articles here. Something about the traffic set off some security filters there, and GoDaddy was unable or unwilling to tell us what it was. But they did recommend that perhaps part of the problem was that we are behind on updating the software that runs this site.
So that's where the fun began. This site uses a highly-customized version of Xoops CMS, so we have to approach upgrades carefully. I applied a patch which seemed to appease some of the security features, but long-story-short, broke quite a bit of functionality. Last weekend was Western Days, so I didn't get much time to work on it. This week, I spent several early mornings tinkering, and finally ended up rolling back to a backup. Luckily we didn't lose any articles, but for awhile the system was not allowing comments to post.
We're highly frustrated with it, and yesterday I began the process of a fresh install, which I'll then go back and customize. Part of what I'll be looking at is considering a new web hosting provider, since GoDaddy has shown on numerous occasions that they just can't deliver with the reliability we are looking for. That's going to cost a few bucks, and we've already got one donation to help out with that - thanks! We might try one last thing before moving away from GoDaddy, which is to see whether there might be a better hosting plan that puts us on less-congested hardware. I think that many of the problems we face come from sharing our webserver with thousands of others. Back in the early days, LTJ was served from our own server here in Lewisville, but that was prohibitively expensive, and took up too much of our time.
So you may see some things change around here. It's been almost 2 years since our last major update to the layout, so we are overdue. Our apologies in advance for the dust. Just in case our website goes down again in the process, you can always "like" us on Facebook, and get our updates there.
SHOUT OUT to all of our furloughed Federal Government employees. It is too bad that the members of Congress who caused this problem for you will continue to get paid to not do their jobs while you can't do yours. If this goes on much longer, LTJ might have to put together some sort of free dinner event. In the mean time, please enjoy your free "subscription" to LTJ.
Local Lewisville Lake currently stands at 513.47 feet elevation, or about 8.5 feet low. This is lower than before last week's much-needed rain, and lower than it has been in years. Governor Perry has extended the drought proclamation for numerous Texas counties, including Denton. A little line of rain moved through this morning, but radar images show it breaking up right as it passed through over Lewisville. At least Summer has fully broken, and we are getting into cooler temps.
We had an enjoyable time at Western Days this year, and posted some pictures here and here. The City of Lewisville has a Western Days Survey that they are asking people to take a minute to complete online. It's very short: one page.
Thirteen Lewisville High School students were among the district’s 266 students recognized for their academics by by The National Merit® Scholarship Program, National Hispanic Recognition Program, and National Achievement Scholarship Program. Congratulations to all of the winners.
Education Week has a story about Lewisville ISD’s 1:X technology strategy. A group called Parents4LISD believes that strategy lacks a connection to curriculum, and the roll-out is not well-conceived. They're not opposed to it, or trying to end it, but rather - they say, trying to hold the district accountable for making it successful.
National / Other The Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land. Starting this past week, people can visit the healthcare insurance exchange and purchase subsidized coverage for themselves and their families. The size of the subsidy can be calculated here. (Sorry, residents in 75067, they have the county listed wrong. Try 75077 instead.) Texas Tribune has an interactive "quiz" type walkthrough that helps you understand what you need to do, and what your options are.
Of course, as you may have heard, the insurance exchange website experienced some overloading on October 1st - they day the exchanges went live. We checked the website that morning, but since we're already insured, we didn't complete the process, but will say that it worked for us. But I bet you didn't know that according to our Congressman, Michael Burgess, the website load was caused by Members of Congress, their aides, and reporters. That is one of the dumbest lies I've heard yet about this whole thing, and there are plenty of whoppers out there. He knows that there are 330,000,000 Americans, right?
Does political belief make you suck at math? In this day of willful ignorance, I think too many people would just prefer not to think about math or science, or evidence of any sort. It's all some kind of conspiracy from the other side of whatever argument it is.
Well, that was a nice rain we got on Friday wasn’t it? We needed it badly. Lewisville Lake was at 513.64 feet before it started raining, and reached a peak after the rain of 513.87, feet, but is now creeping back down past 513.85 feet, which is still a bit over 8 feet low. So the level increased almost 3 inches from this event. It’s going to take a lot more to get that 8 feet back.
Congrats to the Lewisville Farmer Football team, who with Friday night’s win over the Arlington Colts (14-10) now have a 2-2 season. Sitting at the game Friday night with Fluffy, it was cool enough to almost feel like football weather. Maybe by the next home game it will be cool enough to warrant bringing a blanket.
Speaking of Fall weather, today is the Autumnal Equinox - the first day of Fall, and the day when we get about 12 hours of sunlight, and the night is as long as the day.
The 88 Keys Program is a way of raising money one key at a time for the Steinway Model D Concert Grand piano that the Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater would like to purchase. Lewisville Texan Journal could only afford to buy the F flat below middle H. That leaves 88 keys for everyone else to purchase at about $1,474 each.
This article “No Child Left Untableted” from the New York Times discusses the trend for using tablet computers in the classroom. Some folks are concerned that the technology may have unwanted side-effects, such as reducing the ability of children to communicate face-to-face. I think it is important to note that tablets are just a tool - much like books, pens, and paper were. It is up to the teachers to learn how to use them to facilitate learning. I sort of see them as a necessary next step to making teachers more efficient at delivering customized learning, Will they be abused? Yes. Absolutely they will - just like I abused pen and paper by drawing and doodling during my boring classes with teachers who failed to connect and engage. Just like the old “slip a comic book into your social studies textbook and pretend like you’re reading” trick. The tools are different, but the challenge is still the same.
The Lewisville Texan Journal tries to cover as many stories as we can for an all-volunteer publication, but when we can't cover them, we like to post updates like this with links to stories we think are worth your read - along with a few funnies and the occasional bit of entertainment. Hope you enjoy this week's update:
Local As many of our readers remember, back in 2011, we called your attention to some illegal dumping that was happening in and around a local historic Fox Hembry Cemetery. We held a massive cleanup with your help, then several more after that have been done by us and other groups working with Keep Lewisville Beautiful. From time to time we've checked on the spot to keep tabs on whether dumping has continued. Unfortunately, this past weekend when we went out to check on it, we found not only that more dumping had taken place, but one of the dumpers pulled up with a load right as we were finishing up taking pictures. Here are the photos from that, which you can click to enlarge:
Since these guys pulled up while I was right there, and had a pickup load full of junk, it was pretty evident what they were there for. I confronted them: "You guys aren't here to dump trash are you?" "Nope," they said. "Because you know this is not a dump," I added. I snapped the photo of their license plate, and my son and I got in our car and left, calling the police on the way out. The truck turned around and followed us out - a bit too close and too fast, I might add - without dumping the load. Unfortunately, it did not seem like the officers who took my report cared much about the situation. They did look at my photos, and look up the license plate, but they had no plans to investigate, and didn't ask for copies of the photos.
I have since talked to the property owner of the land that surrounds the cemetery, and which was the target of this dumping, and he was prepared to make a police report. I have also talked to Police Chief Russ Kerbow, who says that this dumping is a problem, and that perhaps they've done a poor job in communicating to all their officers that investigating it is important. He asked me to send the photos his way, which I have done. We'll see what happens. I have long considered putting a hidden camera out there to catch the perpetrators. That may happen now between us and the property owner.
Denton Guyer football player Nathan Maki was accidentally shot on a hunting trip last weekend. Students from area high schools have been offering their support for the family and for his fellow students. Last night, the Lewisville High School student council raised over $1,000 for a scholarship fund in Maki’s name.
City Council meets Monday night. A workshop will be held at 5:45 p.m. to discuss the 2025 Planning process. On the agenda (long version) for 7:00 p.m. is a tax abatement worth $5.1 million for Prime Controls, Inc., which is expanding into a new building in the city. Mayor Dean Ueckert has proposed a $2.7 million odor abatement program for Old Town, which sometimes smells like sewage.
Happy Labor Day weekend, everybody. As you enjoy your extended weekend, please take a moment to think about the progress that was made in this country thanks to the labor movement.
Lewisville Texan Journal is an all volunteer publication that tries to fill in the gaps in local news coverage, and engage the community in important conversations. We don't always have time to write about every issue, so we try to periodically post these updates with links to stories in other publications that we think our readers need to be aware of. If you have something you want us to share, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Water Unfortunately, on Friday a boater went missing on Lake Lewisville just North of the dam, and is presumed drowned. LTJ encourages everyone to please wear a life vest when boating, and especially when swimming anywhere deeper than you can stand up in. Our fire department says they have never pulled out a drowned body that was wearing a life vest. The Denton Record Chronicle has an article today about how lake deaths are down so far this year.
Lewisville Dam is receiving some attention lately because it has some problems with seepage, and is presenting a large risk due to the number of people who depend on it for water and the number of people downstream from it. It's not in any imminent danger of immediate failure, but needs probably $50-100 million worth of work to take care of some problems. You can read all about the problems in this report from the Army Corps of Engineers. LTJ hopes to provide more on this project later.
Denton County is still suffering from drought conditions though, with rainfall 22 inches below normal for the past 15 months, and no rain in the forecast. So Denton County Judge Mary Horn has instituted a burn ban.
As you may recall, Sheriff William Travis is under investigation by the Texas Rangers for a possibly offering then candidate Jesse Flores a job with the department if he agreed to step out of the race. This affidavit from the Texas Ranger investigating the case looks bad for Constable Flores. Flores purportedly discussed the investigation with Constable Burch after giving his word to the Ranger that he would not discuss the the investigation with anyone.
When a police officer approaches someone with autism, and is not aware of it, they could respond to the weird behaviors in ways that are unhelpful or unfair. The Lewisville police department has received training regarding a new decal that alerts first responders to autism.
Lewisville High School students have increased their ACT (college readiness) scores. Their composite average is 20.7, compared to the state and national average of 20.9, and the LISD average of 24. Not all students take the ACT, since some take the SAT, and not all students are college bound. Unlike other tests though, the SAT and ACT are useful because they are indicators of how successful a student will be in college, and are used in college admissions decisions. So we need to keep working on preparing our students who are college bound to do well on these tests.
The Lewisville High School Farmer football team had their first pre-season game Friday night against the Plano Wildcats. Unfortunately, the Farmers just could not seem to move the ball and put any points on the board, and lost that game 22-0. Farmer Football kicker Tluang Hmung fled persecution in Burma to come to the United States.
You've definitely heard of DNA, and if you've ever taken a biology course, you probably are at least somewhat familiar with its cousin, RNA. But have you heard of BNA? Bridged Nucleic Acids are RNA analogues which are useful in research for diagnostics and therapeutics. Lewisville firm Bio-Synthesis is a pioneer in BNA.
Here's a cute game: Name hurricanes after climate change deniers. Cute as it is, what does bother me about this is the idea that specific weather events could be attributed to climate change. It's just as bad as when climate change deniers point to a snow storm and claim that it's "proof" of the non-existence of warming.
This week's update comes from from 7,000 feet, in Pagosa Springs, CO, where I am on vacation with my family, and the high today is expected to reach a downright agreeable 75 degrees. At left is a photo from yesterday's mountain hike. Everywhere you look is postcard beautiful, and about half of that comes from not feeling like you are roasting.
In Lewisville today, the high will be about 99°F with a heat index of about 107°F. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has issued an Ozone Action Day for the Dallas-Fort Worth area for Saturday, August 10, 2013.
Atmospheric conditions are expected to be favorable for producing high levels of ozone air pollution in the Dallas-Fort Worth area on Saturday. You can help prevent ozone pollution by sharing a ride, walking or riding a bicycle, taking your lunch to work, avoiding drive-through lanes, conserving energy, and keeping your vehicle properly tuned.
Lewisville Lake is currently down to 515.47 feet, or about 6 1/2 feet low.