Written by Phil Cerroni
A diagnosis of cancer often opens a world of difficult choices. One of the first and most important decisions for the new patient is deciding where to go to get quality care. For people living in North Texas, that decision has now become easier with the launch of the Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center network.
For the past two years, Baylor medical centers throughout North Texas have been working to achieve the distinction of using the Baylor Sammons Cancer Center name for their oncology programs by meeting or exceeding the stringent criteria established by Baylor Health Care System (BHCS).
“Becoming part of the Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center Network is a proud accomplishment for our hospital,” says Cindy Schamp, president, Baylor Medical Center at Irving. “Providing quality patient care is always our goal, and now we’re joining resources across the system to make that care even better.”
Innovative approaches are being tested at facilities in collaboration with doctors working closely with cancer researchers in Dallas to get clinical trials out to patients. This oncology network consists of facilities that hold certifications from the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer.
Baylor Irving has been recognized by accreditations from the Commission on Cancer and the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC). In addition, Baylor Irving has received a 3-year accreditation with commendation from the American College of Radiology.
Joining Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center at Dallas are: the Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center at Irving, Fort Worth, Garland, Grapevine, Plano and Waxahachie.
“We are very excited about growing together to bring the best possible cancer care to the citizens of North Texas and beyond,” said Dr. Alan Miller, director of the Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center at Dallas and chief of oncology for Baylor Health Care System.
Edward Clifford, MD, clinical director of oncology services, believes that the launch of the new Baylor Sammons Cancer Center network will be a great benefit to the patients, bringing the strength of multiple institutions to bear on specific problems.
“There are so many ways that this can help us to provide better care for our patients,” Clifford said. ”Sharing technology and data, having system-wide consultation and joint services like genetic counseling available, and combining facilities to participate in national multicenter clinical trials—we will be working together, not competing with each other.”
Source: Baylor Medical Center at Irving
Last Updated on Sunday, 30 December 2012 22:53
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Amanda Casanova
About 30 years ago, Irving Police and Fire Blue Christmas provided toys and food to some 25 families. This year, the event will help more than 400 families, and although this year’s donations aredown compared to 2011, organizers say the annual drive is still an important event.
“We just want to be sure these families are getting something,” Becky Fann, board member for Blue Christmas, said.
Every year, Blue Christmas takes donated food and toys for Irving children. The event also has two fundraisers during the year: a Chili Cookoff and a pancake breakfast. Donated toys and meals are then delivered to families that are chosen by school officials.
Two days before the delivery, volunteers worked at an Irving fire station to organize donations and pack toys into separate bags for each family. Wal-Mart also donated an assortment of bikes that organizers assembled. In all, 130 bikes were assembled for delivery.
This year’s delivery was on Dec. 22.
“It will be Grand Central Station in here,” Fann said two days before the delivery. “We’ll have people from the community here and we’ll be delivering all day.”
Fann said she remembers when the first year when only 25 families were helped. The next year about 30 families received meals and toys.
“From there it just kept going,” she said. “It went and grew and grew. It has literally blown up to the point we’re at now.”
Of the 306 families being served this year, about 900 children received toys for Christmas.
“We want to take care of our families,” Fann said.
The Blue Christmas board of directors includes Fann, Roger Hogle, Gary Brockett, Lisa Wilson, Greg Spivey and Nick Franco.
Last Updated on Sunday, 30 December 2012 22:55
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Jason Alderman
If you've ever tried to remove inaccurate of fraudulent information from your credit report and gotten the runaround, take heart: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is now on the case.
In July 2012, the watchdog agency, formed as a result of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, gained authority to supervise all of the major consumer reporting agencies.
The CFPB now advocates for consumers who have complaints regarding interactions with credit bureaus and identity theft protection services. This adds to the agency's consumer grievance oversight which already included mortgages, bank accounts, consumer loans and private student loans.
"Credit reporting companies exert great influence over the lives of consumers," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray in announcing his agency's new responsibility. "They help determine eligibility for loans, housing, and sometimes jobs. Consumers need an avenue of recourse when they feel they have been wronged."
You can seek assistance from the CFPB if you have issues with:
Incorrect information on your credit report;
How a consumer reporting agency is handling its investigation of your complaint;
The improper use of a credit report;
Being unable to get a copy of a credit score or file; and
Problems with credit monitoring or identity-protection services.
Here's how the new system works:
If you believe your credit report contains incorrect or fraudulent information, you should first file a dispute with and get a response directly from that credit reporting company before contacting the CFPB. The same goes if you have an issue with how the company is handling its investigation of your grievance – for example, if they don't respond in writing within 30 days.
If, after filing your grievance, you are dissatisfied with the resolution, you may file a complaint with the CFPB using any of the following methods:
File online at www.cfpb.gov/complaint
Call toll-free at 855-411-2372
Fax it to 855-237-2392
Mail to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, P.O. Box 4503, Iowa City, IA, 52244.
Once your complaint has been logged, you'll be given a tracking number to check its status. Each complaint will be processed individually and sent to the credit bureau in question for response. The CFPB expects companies to respond within 15 days with information about the steps they have taken or plan to take. You'll have the option to dispute the company's response to your complaint.
Credit reporting companies issue more than 3 billion consumer credit reports a year and maintain files on more than 200 million Americans. Among other things, they track the number and types of credit accounts you use, how long they've been open and whether you've paid your bills on time.
"The consequences of errors in a consumer report can be catastrophic for a consumer, shutting him or her out of credit markets, jeopardizing employment prospects, or significantly increasing the cost of housing," noted the CFPB's announcement.
You can order one free credit report per year from the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. (Order through www.annualcreditreport.com; otherwise you'll pay a small fee.) Proactively ordering your reports on a regular basis can help identify bad credit behavior and spot fraudulent activity or errors before they can damage your credit.
To learn more about credit reports and scores, visit the CFPB's website, www.cfpb.gov. Another good resource is What's My Score (www.whatsmyscore.org), a financial literacy program run by Visa Inc.
Last Updated on Sunday, 30 December 2012 22:51
Written by Phil Cerroni
Irving Public Library visitors will soon have a new comfortable and inviting reading space at the East Branch Library. The Mickey Watson Quiet Room, donated through the generosity of the Friends of the Irving Public Library to honor long-time Friends member and devoted supporter of the Irving community, is nearing completion and is scheduled to open Jan. 28 at 5 p.m. with a ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration. Mr. Watson served the Irving community for 64 years and is survived by his wife, Martha Watson, vice-president of the Library Board, and three children.
“Mickey would have loved knowing this was done in his honor,” said Ms. Watson. “He was a quiet man.”
The Friends received more than $5,000 in memorial donations that are being used to transform the former computer lab, once a bank vault, into a quiet retreat for reading and study. The inclusion of a quiet room at East Branch is a welcome and much needed amenity for this location of only 5,700 square-feet, which serves families, many with young children and teens.
“The sound of families enjoying their neighborhood library together can at times conflict with the quiet sanctuary many expect in a library,” said Rose Mary Cortez, library branch manager. “The Mickey Watson Quiet Room is a timely solution that will help the entire community to take pleasure in its home library all the more.”
The transformation is expected to be one of the most dramatic changes since East Branch opened 16 years ago. Ten public computers currently in the room will be relocated to the side of the library building farthest away from the quiet room. Additionally, moving the public computers to an area closer to the public service desk provides more convenient assistance to customers and staff.
Meanwhile, the quiet room will feature appealing design elements with comfortable seating and display shelving for magazines and newspapers. The conversion will include the removal of the old vault door and new carpeting.
Source: City of Irving
Last Updated on Sunday, 30 December 2012 22:49
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Elaine Paniszczyn
Growing up next-to-the-youngest in a family with eight children, Rahfekia Evans learned to share, and she is passing that tradition to her two boys. The tradition earned her a PTA Lifetime Member Award from Barbara Bush Middle School in February. The award is given to acknowledge individuals who provide extraordinary support to the students and school through their dedicated efforts.
“You pay it forward,” Evans said. “My parents (George and Mary Evans of Abilene) believed in giving back. With eight kids, we didn’t have a whole lot. We had to share with each other. I learned from my mom and my dad. My mom used to have neighbors come over, and she and my dad would feed them.
“I’d say, ‘Why are you feeding people when you’re still got to feed the eight of us?’ Still today, she’ll go and sit with the elderly. That’s her thing. She’s 68, but she’ll go sit with somebody who’s 80 or 90 years old, or she’ll take them to the store.
“When I was in high school and my mom was in her late 40’s/early 50’s, she used to take this lady who was about 70 to get her food. (My mom) would go clean her house. She didn’t want money from the lady or anything. She would always tell us, “You’ve got to take care of the elderly.”
Evans says her “thing” is volunteering in the community.
Evans said she is raising her boys, Anthony Moore (14), a freshman at Ranchview High School, and Jalen Moore (12) in eighth grade at Barbara Bush Middle School, the same way her parents raised her. She tells her boys that they have to give back.
“You never know what predicament you may be in,” Evans said. “I remember when I didn’t have money. I had brothers and sisters that took care of me, but (help) would have been available if I hadn’t had them.”
Dec. 19, Jalen and his mother collected and counted toys as Santa’s Helpers at WFAA’s station in Victory Park. Anthony was home, studying for finals.
“I’m used to (volunteer work),” said Jalen who also stays busy with schoolwork, basketball and track. “It’s my third year here (volunteering for Santa’s Helpers), and I’m used to community service. It makes me feel good to help other families that are in need.”
Sat., Dec. 15, Jalen and Anthony worked at Shared Housing in Deep Ellum in Dallas with the Alpha Merit Program, part of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
“They mentor boys,” Evans said. “I’m a single parent, and I wanted my boys to have mentors, and they have the boys do community service. (Saturday) they fed families and gave them gifts, toys and turkeys. For Thanksgiving, they fed eight families.”
Evans and her sons moved to the area five years ago from Houston.
At a PTA meeting at Bush Middle School, Evans heard they needed somebody to run the concession stands. Since she had volunteered in concessions at Cowboys stadium to help SELECT Soccer parents with their fees, she volunteered to help. PTA leaders saw Evans knew what she was doing.
“Then, all of a sudden, I got in charge of it,” she said.
She is chairman of the concessions committee for Bush Middle School and serves on the PTA board. At Ranchview High School, she helps with concessions for the swim team. Her older son Anthony (14) is on the team. At Bush, concessions fund grants for teachers.
Evans continues to look for ways to serve the community. This year, she also raised money for March of Dimes and United Way.
“I was able to get $575 worth of items donated for our United Way silent auction at work,” Evans said. She is a sales representative for FedEx where she gets to work at 7 a.m. and gets off at 4:30 p.m. so she can be home with her boys.
“Everybody tells me I should mentor girls, but right now I’m mainly interested in finding mentors for boys,” Evans said. “Especially with a single mom, (boys) need to see a positive role model on a continuous basis. I need to start my own mentor group for single moms who are looking for positive mentors for their boys, so I’m looking at what I need to do to get that started. That’s one of my goals for the next three years.
“I learned this from my parents: Don’t turn your back on someone in need, and be willing to give your time to help others. I am a very blessed woman to have my sons, wonderful parents, and my seven brothers and sisters.”
Last Updated on Sunday, 30 December 2012 22:48
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