Written by Phil Cerroni
Listed below are the campus winners of the Ford Driving Dreams essay competition. All Irving ISD high school students were challenged to write an essay about their dreams and aspirations. Each of the winners will be awarded their prize on Jan. 24 once they have finalized the completion of their paperwork.
The five 1st place winners will create a video that will be entered in a nationwide voting competition. Each of the five videos will be uploaded into the Ford website for public viewing and public voting. The online competition for best video will last for four weeks. The district winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship through the Stars on Rise organization and will also win $3,000 to be awarded to a school club or program of their choice.
First Place Winners - Apple MacBook Pro and Video Camera:
Chelsea Myatt Cardwell Career Prep
Alexandria Martinez Irving High School
Raul A. Gonzalez MacArthur High School
Rachel Van Pamel Nimitz High School
Amanda Jackson Singley Academy.
Second Place Winners - iPad and $300 Gift Certificate
Cristian Rodriguez Cardwell Career Prep
Brittani Monk Irving High School
Alexandra Odinio MacArthur High School
Sarah Lane Nimitz High School
Jennifer Consuelo Singley Academy.
Third Place Winners - $500 Gift Certificate
Martin Gonzales Cardwell Career Prep
Zach Hughes Irving High School
Jocelyn Zuniga MacArthur High School
Erica Venegas Nimitz High School
Triza Nganga Singley Academy.
Source: Irving ISD
Last Updated on Sunday, 25 November 2012 19:02
Written by Phil Cerroni
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus recently created the Interim Committee on Texas Response to Federal Sequestration, which will recommend ways that the state can prepare for looming tax increases and spending reductions caused by gridlock in Washington.
Washington's failure to agree on a deficit-reduction plan poses a number of threats to the Texas economy. The impending sequestration process would trigger across-the-board reductions in defense and non-defense spending, putting thousands of Texas jobs at risk. Texans also face devastating increases in federal taxes if an agreement to avoid sequestration is not reached.
The Congressional Budget Office has warned that such changes to federal tax and spending policy would “lead to economic conditions in 2013 that will probably be considered a recession.”
“Washington isn’t working, but the Texas House is,” Straus said. “I hope federal leaders will find a way to reduce the deficit without increasing taxes or costing Texans their jobs. In the event that Washington remains at a stalemate, however, Texans need to know how the sequestration process will affect the state economy.”
The Committee will study how the sequestration process will affect the defense industry in Texas, the state budget, public and higher education and the tax burden on Texas families and businesses. The Committee will also develop specific legislative proposals.
Speaker Straus appointed Rep. Linda Harper-Brown to chair the Committee. Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, will serve as Vice Chair.
"This Committee has a very important job," Harper-Brown said. "Texas priorities should not be held captive by Washington's dysfunction, and Texas families should not face the threat of higher taxes due to a lack of federal leadership. The Committee will highlight the dangers that the sequestration process poses to our economy, our military, our schools, and other priorities. We will work to ensure that Texas is prepared to face this serious challenge."
Also serving on the Committee will be: Rep. Cindy Burkett, Rep. Brandon Creighton, Rep. Dawnna Dukes and Rep. Craig Eiland.
Last Updated on Sunday, 18 November 2012 22:22
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Amanda Casanova
As part of a pilot program to cut fuel costs and reduce harmful emissions, some Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) trucks will roll along state highways on natural gas. Officials announced the Compressed Natural Gas program on Nov. 14 at the Clean Energy Fuel Station where four new TxDOT trucks were filled on the gasoline alternative.
“This is a great day for TxDOT,” said Margaret Keliher, executive director for Texas Business for Clean Air. “With this program, TxDOT will continue to promote clean air efforts.
“It’s a win-win program,” Keliher told a crowd at the Clean Energy Fuel Station. “The program uses a Texas product, is produced by Texas employees, and will help clean up Texas air and help the Texas economy.”
The program comes at a time when residents living in or near large cities are looking for ways to minimize pollution. This year, during the ozone forecast season, which runs from March 1 to the end of October, the Metroplex was out of compliance 36 days, according to Michael Morris, director of Transportation North Central Texas Council of Governments.
The Council is working on a range of ways to combat harmful emissions, including creating better mobility, eliminating aggressive drivers and advancing traffic signal systems, but at a cost less than that of gasoline, natural gas is a cost-effective practice, Morris said.
California-based Clean Energy Fuels Corp. will provide the natural gas to TXDOT, which boasts a fleet of about 10,000 vehicles and is also responsible for some 80,000 miles of roadway in the state.
“Imagine the air quality if all our government vehicles, if our school buses, ran on compressed natural gas,” said Julie Wilson, Chesapeake Energy vice president for corporate development. “Such a movement could lead the way.”
The program is just the start of air quality control efforts, according to Ted Houghton, Texas Transportation Commission chairman.
“In the future, people will see more chances to get to where they want to go and at the same time, clean the air up,” Houghton said.
Last Updated on Sunday, 18 November 2012 22:21
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Amanda Casanova
Just three days after Veterans Day, family and friends of a Medal of Honor recipient took another day to honor Col. James Lamar Stone — this time at his funeral service at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.
Stone died Nov. 9 after a long battle with cancer. He is the first Medal of Honor recipient to be buried in the DFW National Cemetery.
“Col. Stone represents the highest honor in our nation,” Tommy Sowers, assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, said after the funeral. “He represents the best of the nation.”
Stone was born on Dec. 27, 1922 in Pine Bluff, AR. He became a member of the Army’s Reserve Officer Training Corps. After graduating from the University of Arkansas, Stone was called to active duty in 1948.
Three years later, Stone was deployed to Korea as a first lieutenant. On Nov. 21, 1951 at a hilltop near Sokkogae, South Korea, Stone’s platoon of 48 men fought off Chinese soldiers six times in about three hours. About midnight, Chinese reinforcements arrived, bringing their total to about 800 men.
When the Chinese attacked again, Stone moved his forces from position to position in the trenches and even climbed the sandbag walls and exposed himself to enemy fire. When a flamethrower malfunctioned, Stone darted enemy shots to repair it and give it to another soldier to operate.
As Chinese soldiers entered the trenches, fighting switched to hand-to-hand combat, and Stone used his rifle as a club before he manned their sole remaining machine gun.
At the end of the battle, half of Stone’s troops were dead and Stone himself was hit three times. He stayed behind with the wounded and ordered his soldiers to retreat. Stone was captured with six other men and would go on to spend the next 22 months in a prisoner of war camp.
Reports estimate about 545 Chinese soldiers were killed in the battle. Stone was 28 years old.
In 1953, Stone was released in Operation Big Switch along with about 3,600 American soldiers.He received the Congressional Medal of Honor about a month after his release from President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
According to Peter Collier’s book, “Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty,” after Eisenhower presented Stone’s award and six others, he said of their courage, "I feel perfectly safe up here."
Stone later served in Germany, Fort Worth and Vietnam. After nearly 30 years of service, Stone retired and moved to Arlington, where he attended many Texas Rangers baseball games.
He is survived by his second wife, Mary Lou, son James Jr., his wife Mary and grandson Stewart; son Ray and wife Marta; step daughter Amy Rodriguez, her husband Oscar, and their children.
“We realize that you have lost a husband, a grandfather, a hero,” a soldier said at the funeral. “May God give you peace.”
Last Updated on Sunday, 18 November 2012 22:35
Written by Phil Cerroni
Throughout the upcoming 2012 holiday season the Carrollton and Coppell Police Departments, along with the Texas Highway Patrol, will be combining efforts and resources into a Task Force focused on intoxicated drivers. All three agencies will be deploying Officers and Troopers to apprehend intoxicated drivers on roadways throughout Coppell and Carrollton, as well as bordering highways and interstate roadways. Arrests will be considered “No Refusal,” and the Officers and Troopers will be prepared to seek search warrants to obtain blood samples from those arrested.
Mark Dant, Assistant Chief of Police with the Carrollton Police Department, is a strong proponent of partnership-based DWI enforcement. “During our high intensity DWI deployment, we will be aggressively looking for all impaired drivers and will arrest anyone we find driving intoxicated. Our unified goal is to keep our communities safe by reducing the number of injuries, deaths, and property damage caused by intoxicated drivers.”
Although all three agencies routinely enforce intoxicated driving laws, the holiday season has an increased potential for drivers to make the dangerous decision to drive after drinking, and a combined effort can combat this exponentially. Coppell Police Department Police Chief Mac Tristan stated, “The family of someone killed by a drunk driver is not going to be concerned about where city limits start and end; a drunk driver just outside the city limits of Coppell poses just as serious a threat to our roadways and our community. We are glad to partner with Carrollton and Texas Highway Patrol.”
Texas Highway Patrol will do its part by having troopers patrolling in an effort to keep the traveling public safer.In 2011, there were 1,039 people killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes where a driver was under the influence of alcohol. This is 34.5% of the total number of people killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes.
MADD representative Cathy Quaid noted that traffic fatalities increased a projected nine percent in the first half of 2012 when compared with 2011 - the largest percentage increase for a half-year time period on record. She stated, “While we don't know yet how many of these deaths were caused by drunk driving, we do know that nearly one-third of all fatal crashes involve a drunk driver. An increase like this could mean almost one thousand additional people would be killed in drunken driving crashes. MADD recognizes that high visibility law enforcement is the greatest deterrent to drunk driving and supports the joint effort of Carrollton and Coppell Police Departments and the Texas Highway Patrol for their DWI high intensity deployment over the holidays.”
Please call 911 immediately if you see any signs of intoxication among other motorists including, but not limited to:
- Weaving or zig-zagging across the road
- Stopping without cause or erratic braking
- Driving with headlights off at night
- Driving slower than 10 mph below speed limit
- Driving into opposing traffic on the wrong side of the road
Stay as far away from the other vehicle as possible and follow the instructions of the public safety dispatcher.
Last Updated on Sunday, 18 November 2012 22:20
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