The Ninth Annual Cloud 9 Charities Art Gala benefiting Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County (CACDC) and Court Appointed Special Advocates of Denton County (CASA) will be held on Friday, April 18 from 7 - 10 p.m. at Le Beaux Chateau, 2701 Corporate Drive in Flower Mound. Guests will enjoy free valet parking, wine provided by The Naked Grape and delicious food prepared by Chef Morris Salerno.
Seventeen artists will display their works throughout the building with several art pieces and reproductions available for sale. Mediums include metal sculptures, pastels, watercolors, photography, pottery and jewelry. Each artist donates a piece to the Live Auction that begins at 8:30 p.m. and is led by Tim Willett.
Richard Nunez is returning to paint live during the event. Other returning artists include Wanda Grice, Linda Bourgault, Julie Redmond, Linda Chidsey, Deb Kreimborg, Ken Caperton, Daren Fagan, Jackie Haugen, Manuel Sarmiento, and Obsidian. New to the show this year are Bianca Elise, Mary Carradine, Larry Garcia, Chris Henderson, Cathy Shepherd, and Charlotte Kimball.
The charity event is hosted by Lead Concepts, The Naked Grape, Le Beaux Chateau and Bistecca - An Italian Steakhouse. Mobile Music, PBP is again providing the music.
Here’s an article on how the latest oil spill in Galveston is affecting Matagorda Island. Back in 2009, I took this photo of a ship carrying wind turbine blades into the port of Galveston. I know that wind energy is not entirely interchangeable with oil, but to me, it's worth pointing out that we've never had to clean up a wind spill. I really hope to see electric cars and the batteries that power them improved so that we can see cars powered by renewable energy sources like solar and wind.
Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a program where counties or municipalities finance energy efficiency or renewable energy (solar and wind) improvements for for residences. The owners then pay back the cost over time through an assessment on the property that is collected in addition to their property taxes. The assessment stays with the property, rather than going against the property owner’s credit. Your editor would love to see this in Lewisville if the details work out. Keeping PACE in Texas is a non-profit business association that promotes PACE.
From D Magazine: How the Lewisville Fishing Barge Is Like a Time Machine - I think we’ve been out there only a couple of times. My biggest complaint about the place is that it’s just not very clean. You can find chairs with fish guts in them, cobwebs and trash and dust everywhere. I know that fishing is not necessarily a sterile sport, but we’ve always thought it would be a nicer place to go if it were a little cleaner.
Das Rad Rocks is a cute short film about a couple of animated rock piles who experience mankind’s development on a geological time scale. It sort of puts in perspective that no matter what we do, the Earth is going to be just fine. It’s our human habitat that we need to be concerned about, and that relies on a good balance with the habitats of all living things.
Last Friday, Fluffy and I got to go out for a kayak-based litter survey and mini-cleanup on the Elm Fork of the Trinity River with Keep Lewisville Beautiful. The trip was hosted by Kayak Power, which operates kayak trips there from just below the dam to the crossing at FM 3040. Overall, the river wasn’t too filthy. The worst part were the shores just below SH 121. Still, we pulled a few bags of garbage out. It really wasn’t at all like work, but more like sport. By the end of the trip, Fluffy and I had gotten pretty good at swinging our two-seater kayak around and navigating to the garbage and extracting it. This is really just a great trip, and Mike did a great job of outfitting us and showing us what we needed to know. Check out their Facebook page, and their website for more info on how you can kayak the Elm Fork.
The 2013 crime report has been released, and the City of Lewisville has written a bit about it. For various reasons, crime statistics are tricky to interpret, so I don’t think the headline “Crime rate sees 18.1 percent drop in 2013” should necessarily have too much read into it. There are different types of crime, and different levels of seriousness. There are also crimes such as murder where the city has only ever had a few per year, so any increase or reduction there always looks dramatic. Other types of crime, such as sexual assault often go unreported, and thus the statistics can be misleading. We strongly encourage interested readers to go straight to the reports page and read through them. Our police do a lot of work, and it’s apparent when one reads just how much crime they deal with.
There is a petition to turn Dallas ISD into a home rule charter district. Pardon me if I’m cynical, but it’s hard not to look at this and wonder what the angle is, and how the education privatizers and the testing-industrial complex will benefit. Is the Dallas Mayor behind it? While I definitely support the idea that cities and school districts need to work together to solve problems, I think cities have enough to worry about without being in charge of a school district.
Albertsons grocery chain will acquire Safeway, the parent company of our local Tom Thumb grocery stores. Funny - I guess we figured Albertsons always had a foot in the grave. Fluffy says the reason we don’t shop at Albertsons is that she can’t stand the layout of the store, with the split aisles.
Here is an I-35 expansion update from the Denton Record Chronicle. It looks like the real work is beginning.
Last update, I posted about how Whole Foods grocery store was a Temple of Pseudoscience. Well, here’s an article that takes a different direction: “America’s Angriest Store - How Whole Foods Attracts Complete Shitheads”. You know, I had forgotten about this incident that happened years ago when we used to live in Plano. My wife and I went to Whole Foods for some reason, and I did something that caused me to take a step back and wonder about my own sanity. I think I had already been in a bit of a cranky mood due to traffic, and when we arrived at the store, the whole parking lot was ridiculously full, so I had to circle. I thought I saw a spot right up front, but it turns out that somebody had parked their expensive little car smack in the middle of two spots. Grrr. So eventually I found a spot more distant, and the walk to the store entrance involved walking past this car. No handicapped plates, or any obvious reason why it should be there. I found myself actually spitting on the hood of the car as I passed it. The guy happened to be walking back to his car at that moment, and passed us - looking at his hood, then looking back at me. No confrontation happened, other than my wife wanting to know what the hell got into me. I really couldn’t answer. I haven’t done anything like that since then. I guess it just bothers me when people are inconsiderate, but it was juvenile (yet harmless) to spit on a car.
Are you a visual learner? Do you want to understand how the DNA in our cell nuclei cause our bodies to create proteins? Got four and a half minutes? You have to check out this video.
Here’s a municipal nightmare: Imagine one of your neighbors in your residential neighborhood installs a gun range in his back yard, and your city is powerless to do anything about it. Fortunately, in Lewisville, if you want to shoot in your back yard, you are limited to BB guns.
Local musician of the week: Deirdre Wilson is a singer/songwriter living in Lewisville now. Check out 14:54 - Alright, Alright.
Lewisville Police squad car fitted with license plate cameras.(Photo by Steve Southwell)
by R Neil Ferguson
A current discussion via the City of Lewisville’s Facebook page centers around the question of license plate data retention from police car plate scanners. Current retention is 731 days (just shy of two years). The LTJ Editor, Steve Southwell, had posted this comment to the Facebook page: “Tell me what a reasonable time period is. 2 years is not. 14 days should be plenty for police to determine whether a crime has been committed. Really, what use would it be to know that 6 months ago, the car involved in a crime was seen driving down Main Street, along with thousands of others? I wouldn't be in favor of keeping that 99.8% of data for innocent folks sitting around waiting to be hacked into. If they want to store "hits" longer than the minimum, I could live with that.”
I intend to answer that question. I will begin with some real and some likely scenarios.
A particular car is used in a string of crimes over many months: rape, robbery, gang activity, car theft ring, name something. This is not an uncommon scenario. Prior police reports have a general description, but you only have to watch TV news to see how those can vary. Some people aren't even sure if it was blue, black or dark green, much less the make, model and year. But a general description is logged in hopes that a future match may occur. This has always been part of good, old-fashioned police work.
However, none of the information is sufficiently adequate to immediately identify the specific vehicle at the time of each crime. A newly-committed crime, this one within the last two weeks, does include a license plate. There is reason to believe the MO matches that of previous crimes, but that is not sufficient evidence for a charge.
Is the United States inevitably on the path to Hillaryland?
The big debate is on as it becomes clear that despite GOPers' and Fox News' continued clamor about Benghazi, Clinton is riding high in polls that match her up against Democrats and Republicans. According to a McClatchy-Marist poll, the former Secretary of State would today handily beat all of her potential Republican challengers, with Rep. Paul Ryan giving her the toughest run (52 percent to 44 percent). Among Democrats, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll gives her a six to one lead over potential party competitors.
So this means you can throw away your new crystal ball? Not quite. If doing well in early polls and looking like a front-runner was a certainty then we would have had President Edwin Muskie, President John Connally, President Rudi Guiliani - and President Hillary Clinton. Amid growing Democratic consensus about Hillary and a circular firing squad in the GOP, Republicans are going after her.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has been hammering former President Bill Clinton's "predatory behavior" with Monica Lewinsky, and saying while it isn't Hillary's fault, "it's sometimes hard to separate one from the other" -- an argument bound to insult many women voters. Some conservative talkers now gleefully echo Paul. Republican National Committee chairman Rance Priebus says "everything is on the table" to use against Hillary Clinton, including a "truckload" of negative material.
Why does the desire to preserve the beauty of nature around us, clean air, water supplies, and the desire to use modern renewable energy sources have to be so politicized? We can all agree that we want the world to be cleaner and safer for future generations. One could argue that environmental regulations prevent businesses large and small from making profits and therefore negatively affect job creation. But what is the trade off?
We could create a lot more jobs if we did a lot of things, but we don’t because they don’t contribute to the overall well being of our communities and our nation. We don’t repeal minimum wage laws because we understand there will always be people at the bottom and working people deserve to earn a living salary. We don’t go to war just to use up available resources and create near full employment like in the Second World War not only because that would be a ludicrous but do nothing to contribute to the overall well-being of our country.
For the same reason, we ought not to support the construction of the Keystone Pipeline. Regardless of whether or not the Keystone Pipeline contributes to our exacerbating our carbon emissions, we should not enact policies that only allow us to continue the status quo. Our goal should not be to maintain current emissions, but to reverse them. In 2011, the United States became a net exporter of refined oil products for the first time since 1949. As the world’s preeminent superpower and the leader of the free world, the United States has a moral obligation to lead to world into a cleaner, more sustainable energy future and the construction of any pipeline is incompatible with that goal.
On June 10, 2013, Governor Perry signed into law one of the most significant educational bills passed by the 83rd Legislative Session. Known as House Bill 5 – abbreviated as HB 5 – this bill made sweeping changes to our Texas educational landscape.
Affecting communities, school districts and children, it begs the question; what do you know about HB 5? If you are uncertain about the changes, you are not alone. Most people are unaware of the impact from this landmark piece of legislation.
Using terms that need definitions to truly understand, HB 5 significantly changes three major aspects of public education: curriculum, assessment and accountability. The bill itself is more than 100 pages and includes more than 80 sections. To summarize all of the provisions in the space of 600 words would diminish the importance of the overall bill.
For now, let me focus on the overall relevance of the bill with an objective of engaging you – piquing your interest to the point that the term “HB 5” intrigues you and leaves you asking questions for the right reasons.
In every community, there are people who go above and beyond what is expected of them, and make the community a better place. We would like to recognize them here, and pick one person who makes a difference, so that we can do something nice for them by naming them as an LTJ Lewisville Citizen of the Year for 2013.
Here are some of the traits and characteristics that we're looking for:
- They did the right thing, when it would have been easy to do the wrong thing. - They might have risked their life to save another. - They might have jumped into action and helped someone. - They sacrificed something to help, encourage, lift up, or support a person or organization. - They gave generously of their time, money, or expertise, to the benefit of the community.
If you look around the community, and pay attention, you probably know someone who fits one or more of the above. (Nobody is going to fit all of them, and that's okay.) Maybe they volunteer their time in a hospital or non-profit. Maybe they tutor schoolchildren who are at risk. Maybe they feed the hungry, or help the jobless. Maybe they saved a life. Maybe they volunteer at a nursing home, or collect school supplies for needy children. They may or may not have been recognized for their contribution, but that is not what motivates them, because they do it for love, and as a way to give back.
So, from now until Christmas (December 25th), we'll be accepting nominations from readers. We will name someone in January after discussing nominations among the editorial group here at LTJ.
One last thing: We need to reach far and wide, and hear from a lot of voices on this, so that we can hear from more than just the usual crowd. There are community heroes out there who may not be known to many people, so the more we get this message out, the better chance we have of finding someone who knows our potential Lewisville Citizen of the Year. So, please share the link to this story with your social networks on Facebook and Twitter, or by email to anyone you think might be able to nominate someone.
I urge all pet owners and pet lovers to view this message from PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk, in which she reveals the shell game behind "no-kill" sheltering. I could literally stop right there, because she tells the whole story, and tells it far better than I could. And I can't imagine the person who would suggest that PETA, of all organizations, does not have the utmost concern for animals. That goes without saying.
With regard to the new Lewisville Animal Shelter, it did not take long after it opened to start receiving over three times the unwanted animals abandoned there than had previously been the norm for the shelter to figure out what to do with. The city keeps detailed records, and has a very clear idea of what to anticipate in intake and on a seasonal basis. So if you should see empty cages there, keep in mind that if all were full, there would not be room for one more animal in the door.
Once you drop your animal at the shelter, you have effective said you no longer are willing to take care of it. I encourage everyone make that decision carefully, and not blame the shelter if you later have second thoughts or for what happens next to the animal once you have walked away. You should first take time yourself to find a good home for an unwanted pet before relying on the city to assume responsibility.
The shelter is also well aware of what is adoptable. Adult animals do not come with life histories to tell potential new owners how good or bad, or sweet or bad-behaving, or social or antisocial, or compatible or incompatible with children or other pets they will be. Adopters seldom want to take risks posed by older animals for that reason. At the same time, unwanted litters are an increasing huge burden to the system.
More than anything, pet owners must spay and neuter their pets to prevent unwanted litters. And if a new pet is part of your holiday gift plans, think first of adopting.