Written by Phil Cerroni
By Sissy Courtney
In 2007, the City of Irving developed a Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) Program to stimulate the growth of small M/WBE and hired Deborah McVean, who had worked with small business programs for over 15 years, as program administrator. McVean spoke about how women in business can engage with the City of Irving at the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber’s Women’s Alliance luncheon at La Cima Club Jan. 16.
Last year, the City of Irving accepted and approved bids worth about $40 million, according to McVane.
“Of that amount, about $20 million was spent with MWBE firms,” McVean said. “About $10 million of that amount went to women owned firms.
“We spend about $62 million a year on contracts, but some of those are in agreement with other local cities, and some are renewals,” she said. “Right now, 70 percent of our contracts are construction contracts, because we’re redoing the water/wastewater lines in the city, particularly on the south side, but that’s going to shift as we meet the end of that bond program.”
McVean said more vendors bidding means better prices for the City of Irving and that the City gets to keep taxes down if they are not spending as much on the contracts they award.
“Part of my job is to find, encourage and educate minority women in business,” McVean said. “I partner with over 27 community leaders in Irving and ethnic chambers of commerce across the Metroplex. I work with those ethnic chambers and the Irving Chamber, sending out email notices about our solicitations, so they can forward those to their members. I also go through two certification data bases: NCTRCA, the local certification firm, and the State of Texas HUB Certification.”
“It’s not necessary to be certified as a MWBE firm in order to do business with the city, but it helps,” McVean said. “Certification works two ways. One: it allows us to show the community that we are working with legitimate, qualified firms and that we’re giving equal opportunity to everyone. Two: it gives you the opportunity to work with a company on the subcontracting level.”
“Registration in our data base will give you the opportunity to be notified as soon as we put the solicitation up,” McVean said. “You will be notified by email. We don’t mail, we don’t do the post office, and we don’t give you a telephone call.”
The City purchases a wide variety of goods and services.
“It’s up to you to figure out if we purchase what you can provide,” McVean said. “Go to our website (www.ci.irving.tx.us/). Go to the business tab of the City’s webpage, click on Purchasing Solicitations, and you’ll see all of our previous and current contracts. We keep about six months of previous contracts up on our website. If you click on the name of the contract, you have the bid. You get to see all of the pertinent information about the scope of work and what it entails.
“If the bid number is underlined, it is an annual contract, and you get to see who bid the previous time and what they bid. So you have your competition’s information so that when you bid, you can bid more within line of what was previously bid and might have a good chance of winning that contract. We also put when it’s due, what day it is going to come in.”
Solicitations are on the City’s website for about three weeks.
“When we open the bid, they are always public, so you can come to our bid openings and see who bid on the contract,” McVean said. “We put that bid tabulation up on the website, and in the bottom column we tell who won the bid. We are very transparent when it comes to the purchasing department.”
The City chooses the apparent responsible low bidder.
“Just because you bid the lowest doesn’t mean you’re going to get the bid,” McVean said.
“If you’re going to bid on government contracts, there are resources like the SCORE Association (Counselors to America’s entrepreneurs and business owners) and SBDC (The North Texas Small Business Development Center) has a Center for Government Contracting, and they will teach you how to put a government bid together free of charge. There are resources to help you grow your business that are provided by the federal government – taxpayer dollars at work.
“When we open a formal bid, we usually do it in our conference room,” McVean said. “We will open it and read the names out. It it’s an architect or engineering contract, those are negotiated, so we will just read the name of the contractor. Otherwise, we give you the name of the contractor and what they bid.
“Bidding on a government contract is a numbers game. There will be some days, you get the contract, and some days you’ll wonder how the other company can do the job for what they bid. You want to look at the history, so you can bid successfully on future contracts.
“If there is a pre-bid, attend it. It’s a great networking opportunity. Being in business is about networking and about developing connections and relationships that will help your business grow and hopefully get your foot in the door for greater opportunities.”
Last Updated on Monday, 28 January 2013 20:39
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Alice Canham
The distinctive knotty-pine kitchen cabinets. The south-facing bedroom where a wedding ring was left behind. And the garage where a blanket-wrapped rifle had supposedly been stored. All these memories are still alive in the modest dwelling at 2515 W. 5th Street, the home where Marina Oswald and her children were staying when her husband, Lee Harvey Oswald, met history on Nov. 22, 1963.
In conjunction with Irving’s Museum Board, the City of Irving has taken over the home once owned by Ruth Paine, whose testimony became an indelible part of the Warren Commission following the assassination in Dallas of President John F. Kennedy. Paine left the area decades ago and now lives quietly in California.
The City’s goal: to transform her home into an historical museum in time to be ready for the throngs of visitors who are expected to trek to the area for the 50th anniversary of the tragic event.
In addition to purchasing the 1250 square foot home for $175,000 in 2009, the City has spent an additional $30,000 on renovations. An estimated $100,000 in funds is earmarked for the project.
“We’re working to restore this home to the condition it was in,” said Irving Capital Improvement Program Director Casey Tate about the tract-style bungalow in a quiet Irving neighborhood.
“We’ve removed a few walls, gotten a replica, sixties-style roof installed and put in a vintage garage door to match what was here in 1963.”
City Archivist Kevin Kendro has been in charge of maintaining the integrity of the era. Under his guidance the picture windows lost their seamless, modern appearance and were returned to the segmented panes of the time. Since such windows are no longer made, those pieces were fabricated from scratch by a local glass company.
Tate said the work was done in-house, for the most part, making use of the City’s Building Services team. The team is still working on light fixtures, flooring and exterior paint.
The only anachronism that will remain: central air conditioning. And that’s a nod to the inevitable tourist demand.
Access to the new museum will be limited to those who have purchased tickets on a tour bus or van via an offsite visitors’ center (out of respect to a neighborhood that is already short on parking). While at the center, visitors will view exhibits and a video. There are plans to co-promote with the 6th Floor Museum to open a wider window on history.
But the Irving museum will be more than a footnote. Interest in the home on 5th Street has never dwindled, and neighbors have grown used to seeing the cars drive slowly by as occupants lift their cameras. But the curious masses have never gotten inside.
Now, visitors to Ruth Paine’s home will see the Oswald bedroom, where a dresser once stood. Lee Harvey Oswald placed some money there, along with his wedding ring, as he left the home on that November morning.
And they will peer into the cluttered garage, which retains a chill as the years are stripped away.
Kendro pointed out the spot: “When the police came, Ruth Paine and Marina were in here [in the kitchen], and were asked, was there a rifle and Marina said, well yes, they did have one, so they came in here to get it. And there was just a rolled-up blanket. The rifle was gone.”
Last Updated on Monday, 28 January 2013 20:38
Written by Phil Cerroni
The multi-million dollar Britain Way renovation project, overseen by a team of multifamily housing experts including Owner/Developer Deepak Sulakhe, President/CEO of OM Housing, BGO Architects, Fore Property Company Management and CANV Construction, has changed the face of this Irving neighborhood by creating a safer, healthier and a more vibrant community.
Currently, the only affordable LEED Gold-Certified multifamily community in Irving, Britain Way has been transformed from its previous appearance to a new, fresh look. Built in 1962, the original development had been noticeably deteriorating in recent years. It had no community center, clubhouse, swimming pool or resident lifestyle services. There were 17 monotonous buildings with dull colors and old mansard roofs in poor condition. There was poor on-site drainage and lighting, no perimeter fencing and only one bathroom in each two- and three-bedroom apartment. Several city code violations were recorded in recent years as well. The project team's mission was to convert this old community into a high quality, eco-friendly, modern and affordable housing community for the citizens of Irving.
"Prior to the design stage, we had numerous discussions with all the Project Consultants to identify the respective problem areas of this project. Once these problems areas were identified, design priorities were established based on need and the rehab dollars were allocated accordingly," Owner/Developer Deepak Sulakhe of OM Housing said.
Of top focus on design, was the clean-up of existing environmental conditions, providing healthier living standards and increasing the quality of living at reduced costs to the residents. Due to the age of the facility, Asbestos and lead-based paint were present in the original 168 units before the remodeling began in January 2012. In addition to the abatement of the harmful substances, the project team designed the facility to meet LEED Gold Certification standards and added a number of notable features to enhance the sense of community and overall quality of life for Britain Way residents.
Developing eco-friendly communities and helping to keep the environment safe is something that OM Housing prides itself on.
"While I personally believe in providing healthier living conditions and reducing the consumption of water and energy, a reduction in the utility expenses to working class citizens goes a long way towards helping them save money for a college education or save towards the down payment of a home," Deepak added.
In addition to the Design Team, OM Housing engaged Fore Property Company and CANV Construction due to their vast experience in the Affordable Housing Industry as well as in LEED certified projects. This project is one of many Fore Property Company's projects bearing the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification.
"If we can all strive to take care of our environment, no matter how small our efforts, I think we can really make a difference and plan for a better, healthier future," Richard Fore of Fore Property Company said.
Britain Way is the first and only LEED Gold Certified affordable multifamily community in the city of Irving. To earn LEED certification, a project must satisfy all LEED prerequisites by earning a minimum 40 points on a 110-point LEED rating system scale. To obtain the gold certification, the Britain Way project had to earn more than 60 points. Because this project was originally built in 1962 and was in disrepair, obtaining gold certification status was a herculean effort. The LEED certification ensures the property will be healthier and safer for residents in addition to providing lower operating costs and conserving energy and water.
The project is the largest and most drastic of many efforts to enhance the Irving community and has been very well-received by City Council and residents alike.
"Citizens of Irving who have lived in the area for a long time drive to the remodeled community to applaud the renovation," Fore Property Company Vice President of Property Management Peggy Walker said. "Many have lived in Britain Way in the past or have had friends or relatives who lived there. Everyone is in awe and pleasantly surprised by the thorough makeover and the positive difference it has made to the community. The new property is practically selling itself."
Further enhancing the project's resident quality of life initiatives, the new, improved Britain Way will be designed to meet Irving Police's "Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design" (CPTED) requirements. OM Housing visited with Irving Police early on in the design stage to achieve this status, ensuring residents are as safe as possible in their homes. Among several other items, the project was made safer by adding perimeter fencing and increasing lighting levels throughout the site.
The multi-million dollar rehabilitation project was completed ahead of schedule and is leasing up. Enhanced features include expanded kitchen areas with upgraded interior amenities and energy efficient appliances; visually pleasing facades, sloping roofs, heavy stone accents added to existing brick and lush landscaping; second bathrooms added to select two- and three-bedroom units; brand new spacious clubhouse and community center; and an on-site resident activities coordinator to lead an abundance of community services provided to residents at no extra cost.
Financing from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, in conjunction with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Dougherty Mortgage and PNC Real Estate, allowed for a very comprehensive and thorough rehabilitation.
"Not only were aesthetic and physical needs addressed, but the rehab also cleaned up existing environmental conditions, provided safer and healthier living and instilled a strong sense of community while vastly enhancing the lifestyle of the residents," said Sulakhe.
Source: OM Housing
Last Updated on Monday, 28 January 2013 20:37
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Jess Paniszczyn
In a press conference held at the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce, officials announced, Mylan World TeamTennis is coming to Texas in the 2013 season. The team, which played for the past 20 seasons in Kansas City as the Kansas City Explorers, will relocate to their new home court in Irving and be renamed in a fan voting contest.
“The City of Irving has committed nearly $400,000 to this venture: $150,000 was for the venue, $250,000 was for the relocation of the team,” Mayor Beth Van Duyne said. “Our benefit on that will be $4 million in the first year. This deal is a win-win for both the residents of Irving and for our hotels that will pay more than $20 million annually in property taxes. Thanks to these dollars along with our hotel tax collections and visitor spending the average Irving household will save $461 in taxes.
“As the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, the site of the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson and now the home of this World TeamTennis franchise, Irving’s prime location provides easy access to all the major sports venues in this area.”
The team will compete in Mylan World TeamTennis, which showcases the best in professional team tennis competition, playing an innovative coed team format over a three-week season in July.
“World TeamTennis has the potential to draw visitors to Irving from around the Metroplex, across Texas, from surrounding states and beyond who will not only enjoy the world class tennis, but who will also spend money in Irving restaurants, stores and stay in Irving hotels generating revenue for Irving residents,” said Brad Smyth, tourism director for the Texas Office of the Governor's Economic Development & Tourism Division.
“World TeamTennis’ fun and exciting format will give Irving and Texas exposure to millions of viewers who watch World TeamTennis on TV around the U.S. and around the world. It is a great opportunity for both Irving and Texas to get exposure in a prime market.
“World TeamTennis has a long and illustrious history in the world of tennis. Almost all the great champions over the past 30 plus years have played for World TeamTennis. It is just so exciting that the great tennis players of today will be playing here in Irving.”
Co-founded by Billie Jean King in the 1970s and based on a concept of gender equity, Mylan WTT offers unique access to the sport and some of its greatest champions who have played over the past 38 seasons.
"We are excited to bring Mylan World TeamTennis to Irving and become part of the great sports community in North Texas," said Mylan WTT CEO/Commissioner Ilana Kloss. "Fans can look forward to some of the best players in the world coming to Irving each summer. The team competition will be intense.
“This market has been one of our target markets for many years, so we couldn’t be more thrilled to be back here. World TeamTennis really is the only coed professional tennis league in the world. What we love and are most proud of is that there are men and women on the team together. What a great message to send all of our kids. So when you come to World TeamTennis whether you are a little boy or little girl, you can see yourself represented and you are also pulling for your team and your city.”
Team co-owner and general manager Jeff Launius will retain the rights to his 2012 team lineup which includes the world's top doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan, and Aisam Qureshi, No. 14 in the ATP doubles rankings. The team roster will be finalized at the Mylan WTT Roster Player Draft on March 12.
“Irving has a great vibrant corporate community, and that was especially exciting to me,” Launius said. “Franchises are only as good as their corporate sponsors. It does take money to make these things happen and to bring this caliber of players in. Now the real work begins.
“I want to make this franchise a franchise everyone can be proud of. I’m involved from a to z. I may be a bit of a control freak, but it is not only my image, it is the city’s image and the league’s image.”
The name of the new team will be determined through fan voting at WTT.com/Texas. Fans can vote immediately on several choices or add their own write-in candidates until Jan. 31.
The 2013 season of Mylan World TeamTennis runs during July in eight U.S. markets. The Texas team will play in the Western Conference along with the Orange County Breakers (Irvine, CA); Sacramento Capitals (Sacramento, CA) and the Springfield Lasers (Springfield, MO). The Eastern Conference includes the 2012 Champion Washington Kastles (Washington, DC), Boston Lobsters (Boston, MA), New York Sportimes (New York, NY) and the Philadelphia Freedoms (Villanova, PA).
For more information on Mylan WTT, visit WTT.com.
Some information provided by World TeamTennis.
Last Updated on Monday, 28 January 2013 20:37
Written by Phil Cerroni
Jesus Ventura, 37, of Irving was sentenced Jan. 9 by U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade to 46 months in federal prison following his guilty plea in September 2012 to one count of bank robbery, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
According to the factual resume filed in the case, on April 10, 2012, Ventura robbed the Chase Bank branch located at 1881 Sylvan Avenue in Dallas.
The affidavit filed with the criminal complaint states that when Ventura entered the bank, he asked an employee if he could use the restroom. The employee provided Ventura with the door code and informed him that the restroom was located in the office building’s lobby. Ventura left the bank lobby but soon returned and was greeted by a teller offering her assistance. Ventura replied in a low-toned voice, “I am sorry to do this to you, I really am. Give me all the money.”
The affidavit further states that the teller, who had only been employed at the bank for two weeks, stared at the robber, and he repeated several more times for her to give him the money. She stood at the counter, and Ventura’s voice became more aggressive when he said, “Give me all the money” and raised his black backpack as he continued demanding money. The teller feared that he had a weapon in the backpack. She gave Ventura the money, and he took a $20 bill from the money and slid it underneath the glass to the teller and stated, “Here is a tip for you.”
Officers with the Dallas Police Department (DPD) arrested Ventura a short time after the robbery. Officers recovered no weapon but recovered the black backpack and the money stolen from Chase Bank.
The FBI and the DPD investigated; Assistant U.S. Attorney Keith Robinson was in charge of the prosecution.
Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation
Last Updated on Monday, 28 January 2013 20:36
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