Written by Phil Cerroni
As the federal shutdown approaches its third week, states across the nation begin to feel the pinch of federal funding curtailment. Although the future remains uncertain, Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst said after a talk at the University of Dallas on Oct. 8 that the state has picked up the slack, keeping dollars flowing to Medicaid and paying the salaries of 500 Department of Public Safety officers bankrolled by federal dollars. The state is also currently supporting a number of other federally-subsidized programs.
“We’re trying to cover those costs right now so that people in nursing homes aren’t affected, and the elderly and the frail aren’t affected,” Lt. Gov. Dewhurst said. “…But we’re watching this carefully because if the government shutdown lasts more than a month or so, it’s going to have a very strong effect on all of the states on certain program areas.”
Programs that Lt. Gov. Dewhurst intimated might be affected include schools and water reservoirs.
Unlike some states that rely heavily on federal assistance for their day-to-day operations, Texas can keep state employees at work, at least temporarily.
“Well, we’re spending forward in our current appropriations. In other words, we’re covering a number of these programs out of our states dollars that we’ve allocated for the programming, expecting to be paid back by the federal government when the shutdown is completed,” Lt. Gov Dewhurst said.
Last Updated on Monday, 14 October 2013 13:41
Written by Paul Gautier
The idea of a comic convention elicits a wide range of reactions, from the utter enthusiasm of its fans and attendees to the boredom and dismissal of the uninterested. Enthusiasts boast the opportunities a convention affords for coming together as a community, as well as for meeting celebrities, purchasing collectibles, and dressing up as their favorite characters.
At the Dallas ComicCon: Fan Days, held annually since 1994, a current of excitement filled the air in the Irving Convention Center from Oct. 4-6. On the first floor in an open chamber, a sea of fans interacted with famous artists, traveling novelists, and no shortage of vendors. These conventions have become somewhat famous for “cosplaying”, where fans show up dressed as characters from their favorite comics, books, movies, and TV shows.
Many serious cosplayers build their costumes with painstaking detail and have partnered with other fans to form costuming groups. Several of these groups were on display at the convention center this weekend with a motive you might not have expected: charity.
David Petty is a member of the 501st Legion, a global Star Wars-themed costume group with over 6,500 members. They work through comic conventions and other fan-driven events in order to benefit such causes as the Make a Wish Foundation, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and Toys for Tots. This weekend they put on an event called Blast-a-Trooper, in which fans, for a small charitable contribution, can fire Nerf guns at Stormtroopers. Anthony Daniels (the actor who played C3PO in Star Wars) made an appearance and gleefully fired darts at the volunteers, while a group of costumed children stared, giggling and waiting for their turns.
This weekend the 501st turned their focus inward, using their donations to raise money for a member’s mother, who is currently battling breast cancer.
Last Updated on Monday, 14 October 2013 13:40
Written by Amanda Casanova
COPPELL – A year after closing the Coppell Detention Center and merging jail operations with the City of Carrollton, the City of Coppell will continue booking arrests through the Carrollton Police Department.
The City Council voted unanimously for a six year contract with Carrollton. Under the contract, Coppell will pay a flat rate of $106 per inmate, for the first three years. By year six, the rate will increase to $115 per inmate. Finally, the City will pay Carrollton an annual fee of $3,500 for transporting Coppell inmates to Dallas County.
“The new arrangement (in the first year) has been successful and beneficial,” said Coppell’s Chief of Police, Mac Tristan
In 2012, the City of Coppell approved an agreement that said that the City would pay Carrollton to book, process and house prisoners arrested by the Coppell Police Department.
Coppell paid $100 per inmate in the Carrollton Jail for the first 48 hours of incarceration, according to the agreement. For each inmate that stayed past 48 hours, the City paid another $100 for each additional day.
Similar to the new agreement, the City paid Carrollton an annual fee of $3,500 for transport.
In total, the cost to the City of Coppell for the 2012-2013 year was about $89,000, Tristan said.
With no detention officers on staff, the Coppell Police Department’s sworn officers, mostly patrol officers, processed arrests. Then Coppell 911 Communication Center employees were responsible for monitoring those in custody.
In North Texas, the cities of Keller and Southlake already operate consolidated jail operations and emergency dispatch services.
Last Updated on Monday, 14 October 2013 13:36
Written by Elaine Paniszczyn
Over 3,000 elementary, middle and high school students attended the 10th annual Aviation & Transportation Career Expo on Oct. 4 at American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum to learn about potential careers in aviation and transportation. Some learners had a gleam in their eyes and dreams in their hearts, already yearning for careers in aviation.
“The Aviation Expo provides our next generation of leaders with a chance to visualize a career in aviation or transportation,” said Phil Ritter, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport’s (DFW) executive vice president for government and stakeholder affairs. “You can see the smiles and the wonder on the faces of these kids, and we are proud to open their imaginations to the myriad of opportunities that await in the skies and the roadways of the future.
“CR Smith is one of the great museums in Texas and does an outstanding job of telling the history of aviation in our region and for American Airlines,” Ritter said. “It’s a wonderful thing today that so many career aviation industry personnel will be able to visit with young students who are looking at careers in the aviation industry. It represents the beginning and the end of the workforce pipeline in aviation.
“The FAA and Customs and Border Protection and some of our other federal partners have been a big part of the Expo, and they’re unable to be here because of the furlough caused by the government shutdown,” Ritter said. “We’re going to miss them, but there are plenty of other things for these kids to see and do, and maybe it’s a little bit of a civics lesson for the students today.”
Captain William Sheriff, who has flown 19 years for American Airlines (AA), said he had been asking students what they want to do when they grow up.
“A lot of them have never been asked that question,” Sheriff said. “Some say they want to be pilots or engineers. Some say they want to be lawyers, but it really got them thinking what they really do want to do when they grow up.”
Years ago, a career day at his elementary school sparked Sheriff’s dream to be an airline pilot.
“Captain Dave Harris, the first black pilot hired by American Airlines, spoke to our class,” Sheriff said. “That set it off for me.”
Captain Jeff Rowland has flown AA’s planes for 29 years.
“I learned to fly in Colleyville, TX, on a grass airport by the elementary school,” Rowland said. “As a 14-year-old kid, it was extremely exciting. I tell these kids we need good people in the business, and they ought to think about it, especially the ones down in Irving. They see these things fly over all the time.
“There’s two or three people flying some of our planes, and we need good people to do this,” Rowland said. “That’s how it gets started – the gleam in their eyes at that age.”
Students from Irving High School’s Aviation Program attended the expo and had that ‘gleam in their eyes.’
Last Updated on Monday, 14 October 2013 13:32
Written by Staff
AUSTIN – The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) recently warned Texas job seekers to be aware of unscrupulous people posing as potential employers who may try to obtain personally identifiable information such as date of birth, debit card or bank account numbers, personal identification numbers (PIN), or Social Security numbers.
Reported incidents include job seekers receiving unsolicited online and/or telephone communications from individuals posing as potential employers from job matching websites such as TWC’s WorkInTexas.com. These false employers may request to interview job seekers over the phone or internet and then, following the interview, offer them a position on condition that they cash a company check and/or send a money order to purchase equipment or training needed to begin work with the company.
Texas residents are reminded that legitimate employers will never ask for money as a condition for starting work. Job seekers also should never provide personally identifiable information to an employer prior to a face-to-face meeting.
TWC encourages individuals to check their bank or other online accounts for unusual activity if they suspect they are victims of a similar scam. To report suspicious activity, call TWC’s Fraud and Program Abuse Hotline at 800-252-3642. To avoid becoming a victim of scams, visit the Texas Office of the Attorney General online at www.oag.state.tx.us/consumer/scams.shtml orwww.onguardonline.gov, managed by the Federal Trade Commission, for more information.
Source: Texas Workforce Commission
Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 October 2013 13:55
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