Written by Phil Cerroni
How does Santa deliver all of those presents around the world in just a few hours? Dr. Wesley Randall, assistant professor of logistics at the University of North Texas, explains how Santa handles the logistics – the science of moving goods from where they’re made to where they’re needed.
How does Santa deliver presents to millions of children around the world in a short time?
“The issue is very big. Santa has to deliver all these gifts on Christmas morning, and it gives him a little less than 27 hours if you consider the earth's rotation,” Randall said. “That means Santa is faced with 58,000 square miles, which causes him to have to travel 2,300 miles an hour. That leaves about 12 minutes for Santa to deliver all those goods in the area of North Texas. That's 2 million pounds of gifts, enough to fill 1,800 railroad cars.”
Why is the Dallas-Fort Worth area an important region for Santa?
“Santa knows that DFW is the center of logistics for the United States. Actually, DFW is really almost the center of logistics for the globe,” Randall said. “There's more than 600 motor carriers in the DFW area. Texas is home to more than seven freight lines. There's eight interstates, there's 300,000 miles of roadway, and then we have international air services provided through Dallas Fort Worth International, Alliance and Dallas Love Field.”
How has UNT helped Santa this year?
“UNT’s experts in its Complex Logistics Systems research cluster have helped Santa figure out how to get all of those gifts to a network of secret distribution center around the world,” Randall said. “Santa and his reindeer fly into this distribution center. The sleigh is quickly loaded up, he flies back out, and in seconds, he has managed to resupply all of the different houses with gifts.”
Last Updated on Sunday, 23 December 2012 22:17
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Jess Paniszczyn
Students and parents flocked to the Irving ISD’s Drug and Violence Summit held at MacArthur High School on Dec. 15. Months of planning and coordination were involved in the educational sessions designed to make the community more aware of the drug and violence issues that exist and teach people to deal with these issues proactively.
A blind twist of fate made the summit a ready resource to the Irving community, parents and students on the morning following a shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, CT. The summit allowed people to voice their concerns, learn about programs the district has in place to help students and families dealing with difficult situations, and interact with educators, police officers, mental health professionals and each other as they worked to ensure their children’s safety in a sometimes volatile world.
“We are responding to our society and the issues we have seen with violence, bullying and the regretful incidents from (Newtown, CT)” event coordinator Ernesto Mendizadal said. “We want to be proactive. Our students should be able to respond positively when they are approached with any negative influences.
“If families have issues, Irving ISD schools offer counseling, and we have family outreach programs. We have personnel who can collaborate with psychologists, psychiatrists and other medical professionals.
“Our staff has been thoroughly trained throughout the district, so students receive the same message from teachers, counselors, administrators and even our custodial staff. For instance, all of our personnel have been trained on what bullying is, what to look for and how to intervene. Our students are also being taught about bullying, so they can be proactive. We are truly saying that our house is your house.
“The school district has already put systems in place throughout to make sure we avoid incidences with discipline, drug abuse, physical abuse, fights in the community, and incidences students can get into inside the school as well as outside of the school. Our house is not only your house; our house is also our community. Strong families are the key for everything we do. If we can help empower our families, we can help create a stronger community. If we can have strong communities, we can have a strong nation, and we won’t see tragedies like the one we saw yesterday.
“I haven’t heard of any other district that is putting something like this together. The district is collaborating with City officials and the Irving Police Department to bring awareness to our families. Based on the feedback we’ve received, parents appreciate that the district has put something like this together, especially before Christmas.”
As a parent, Gabriella Rojas learned some valuable lessons about who she can trust during the summit. Her son Oscar served as her translator.
“These classes are helping her become more open to the world and speak with us about drugs and violence,” Oscar said. “She knows now that she can’t just blindly trust anyone. Even our closest friends can be predators as well.
“She realizes that she needs to check our backpacks. She needs to know who our friends are, how they are and what they act like.”
Other parents also learned some unsettling facts at the summit.
“I learned about places where kids will hide things that I would never have thought of,” Rebecca Gribble said. “I also learned about kids abusing certain over-the-counter medications and household items that I would have never considered abused drugs. These are things that generally parents, like me, would just leave out and not think anything about.
“I also learned that when students go to the Justice Center there is a holistic program. Students are offered health, physical, dental and other programs. There is a second chance program that helps the parents as well.
“One suggestion was that families with discipline issues could have a boot camp in their own home rather than sending kids away to boot camp.
“Personally, I plan on going home and checking my son’s room out. Now I have new ideas about where to look. I can also pay more attention to what his friends wear and notice gang related attire. I trust my son. But you can only trust a teenager so much, because there is so much stuff out there. There are just too many opportunities for him to get into trouble. I’d rather be proactive, than be active after he is in trouble.”
Last Updated on Sunday, 23 December 2012 22:16
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Sissy Courtney
When families arrived at Holiday in the Valley at Valley Ranch Library, the first thing they saw was Train Engineer Tim Scholz twisting and turning his trackless train named ‘Stanley the Steam Engine’ through a blocked off portion of the parking lot. Inside, the library glowed with holiday lights while the fragrance of popcorn and hot chocolate filled the air.
Children talked to Santa as parents took their children’s pictures with the Big Man. Even some of Santa’s elves stood ready for photos. Professional balloon artists crafted balloon hats, candy canes, snow globes, reindeer hats and more. A puppet show played in one room while children took their turns at a prize wheel in another.
“(This event) started about 15 years ago just as an open house to thank all our customers for supporting us, and it has grown into this,” said Valley Ranch Library Branch Manager Patty Mount. “We started off with maybe 250 people to over 1,000 that come to this now.”
This was Dee Pti’s fourth year to come with her family.
“My son is six, and he loves coming every year taking pictures with Santa and the puppet show,” Pti said. “We come to Story Time at the library on Tuesday nights. They do a good show, and they are very organized. It’s nice that they have the train ride outside, because it’s spreading the traffic, and so it’s not so chaotic inside.”
Jihyum Lee said that after seeing Santa last year, her children talked about it for days.
“The candy he gives them is like a precious, precious treasure to them,” Lee said. “We expect they will have the same joy this time. This is the real Christmas to them.”
Valley Ranch Library, Cimarron Park Recreation Center, and the Friends of Irving Public Library sponsored the event on Dec. 14. Valley Ranch Homeowners' Association provided the train rides, and Java Me Up was there with free cups of hot chocolate.
Last Updated on Sunday, 23 December 2012 22:15
Written by Phil Cerroni
Members of the Irving Healthcare Foundation Guild recently gathered to celebrate at their annual holiday party. The guild, an organization whose purpose is to support the Irving Healthcare Foundation (IHF), capped off another great year by confirming a new slate of officers and enjoying a performance by comedienne Sally Baskey.
The guild meets four times a year and members serve as community ambassadors for IHF. Joy Goodrum serves as the guild’s newly re-elected president.
“We have some fabulous ideas for events to host in 2013,” Goodrum said. “These events will be an equal blend of fun and education, and will hopefully raise awareness of the issues facing healthcare in Irving.”
Source: Irving Healthcare Foundation Guild
Last Updated on Sunday, 23 December 2012 22:14
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Amanda Casanova
The Irving City Council could ring in the New Year by tackling the issue of whether to change the ratio on alcoholic beverage sales in restaurants.
The current city ordinance sets a ratio of 60/40 for food/alcoholic beverage sales at restaurants, but the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce and area businesses are asking that the ratio be reversed or changed.
In March, the chamber recommended changing the ratio to 30 percent food sales and 70 percent alcohol sales. Then this fall, the Irving planning and zoning commission voted to recommend the 30/70 ratio.
The Council is expected to discuss and possibly vote on the issue at the Jan. 10 meeting.
Critics have said changing the ration to favor alcohol sales could impact how the community is viewed. They say that easing the ordinance on alcohol sales could negatively affect neighborhoods and even lead to a spike in the crime rate.
Proponents, however, say changing the ratio would present the city as a welcoming place for business and could also bring in more high-end restaurants to Irving. Business owners have also said tourists often opt to drive to other cities to drink and dine, rather than staying in Irving.
In November, at a nearly hour-long discussion of the issue at the planning and zoning commission meeting, Christ Wallace, president and CEO of the Chamber, told the commission that the cost of alcohol has jumped up.
“Some restaurants have chosen to locate their business outside Irving because they cannot meet the current ordinance,” Wallace said.
Jason Curry, a family pastor at Plymouth Park Baptist Church, however, said he fosters children who “come from very hard backgrounds where the environment was abusive and alcohol was part of it.”
A motion to recommend a 30/70 sales ration passed 6-1.
Last Updated on Sunday, 16 December 2012 23:09
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