Written by Phil Cerroni
The City of Coppell has awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the Fiscal Year 2010-11. The award marks 23 year in a row that Coppell has been honored with the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting.
The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.
An award of Financial Reporting Achievement has been awarded to the individual(s), department or agency designated by the government as primarily responsible for preparing the award winning CAFR. This has been presented to Jennifer Miller, Director of Finance.
The CAFR has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program including demonstrating a constructive "spirit of full disclosure" to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR.
The GFOA is a nonprofit professional association serving approximately 17,500 government finance professionals with offices in Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Source: City of Coppell
Last Updated on Monday, 28 January 2013 20:36
Written by Phil Cerroni
Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne and the Irving City Council recognized Diann Contestabile as an Irving High Spirited Citizen on Jan. 10, for her consistent dedication and creative leadership in the Irving community.
An Irving High Spirited Citizen gives freely of their time, service and commitment to the city of
Currently serving her third year as president of the Irving Junior Book Review Club, Contestabile is also a member of the Las Colinas Country Club; Las Colinas Women’s Association; Church of the Incarnation Catholic Church at the
A lover of the arts and one of
In addition to contributions to the arts, community philanthropy and her church community, Contestabile also contributed to the future leaders of
Source: City of Irving
Last Updated on Monday, 28 January 2013 20:35
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Sissy Courtney
Jigsaw, a three member Irish band, played jigs with names like Virus Kick and Spotted Dog and reels which were hundreds of years old as residents and visitors at Christus Saint Joseph Village in Coppell tapped their feet to the beat. Their audience joined in to sing some Irish pub, bar maid songs and an Irish lullaby.
Peggy Fleming played the fiddle while her husband Ken Fleming switched between accordion, tenor banjo, and guitar, and Kevin Alewine played guitar, mandolin and flute.
“Most of the music we play is actually dance music,” Ken said.
Some of their songs were Polkas from southwestern Ireland, and others were waltzes.
The band told facts about the Celtic music between tunes.
Country and western music had its roots in Ireland; and sometimes the tunes are named by the person who wrote them, and sometimes they’re named by the person who remembered it last, according to Ken.
Peggy sang a traditional ballad called The Fields of Athenry about the potato famine and how people had to steal food to survive and how they were arrested for the crime. The ballad is popular with soccer and rugby teams in Ireland, according to Peggy.
Irish songs are often sad.
“A loved one has gone missing or somebody died,” Ken said.
The group started the North Texas Irish Festival 30 years ago.
“It started out as a big party in the NFL Pub down on Oak Lawn,” Peggy said. “Six or seven hundred people showed up, and the capacity of the club was 300, so people were lined up out the door. We moved from there to Fair Park the next year, and it’s been at Fair Park ever since.
The festival is the first weekend in March.
The trio also started O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat in the fall at the Lakeview Camp & Conference Center in Waxahachie.
“Musicians come from Ireland to teach Irish music to anyone who is interested in playing – beginners and advanced,” Peggy said. “The enrollment is 250 people for a three or four day retreat.”
The retreat has concerts and enrichment programs taught by 32 instructors, most from Ireland.
“Some come to just enjoy the music,” Ken said.“People have come from as far away as Alaska and Puerto Rico.”
Ken described their audience as “wonderful.”
“They are appreciative of the music,” Ken said. “They listen to it. They understand about the music. We like to talk about it, because we are so passionate about it if we get an audience that is a listing audience. When we play a lot of the pubs and noisy festivals, you can’t really hear anything with glassware clinking in the background. This gives us an opportunity to play the music in a way that it can be heard.”
Jigsaw performs at Trinity Hall Pub and Restaurant in Mockingbird Station in Dallas the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 7 to 10 p.m.
Last Updated on Monday, 28 January 2013 20:34
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Alice Canham
Perhaps you’ve heard that this was a bad season for the flu? Perhaps that’s an understatement.
According to statistics provided by Dr. Brenda Blain, Chief Nursing Officer/Chief Operating Officer for Baylor Medical Center at Irving, the hospital’s emergency department logged 7,137 visits in December – 27 percent higher than usual for the month.
“It stressed us a lot,” said Blain. “There were some days that we had over 100 people waiting to be seen. Our average daily census is set at 152, but we went up to 220.”
Typically, patients trickle into the emergency department each night, and in the light of day, the department empties out as patients are discharged. But by Jan. 14, faced with this flu-nami, Blain knew they had to try something different. In order to meet the demand, some patients were moved to units throughout the hospital that don’t usually provide beds (so-called ‘virtual beds’).
“I’ve done this in the past,” explained Blain. “We called them hall patients.
“We chose those patients carefully, based on criteria laid out by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). The staff knew the patients would be safer upstairs than if they were downstairs,” Blain continued. “Everybody was glad to pitch in.”
Still, the stressors were mounting.
“For nurses, the priority is to give excellent patient care that is safe,” Blain said. When they don’t feel they can do this, they get frustrated.”
“We’d had some experience with this back in the H1N1days, the season before last,” added Dr. Steven Davis, the hospital’s Medical Director of Infection Control. “With this strain of flu, we actually started seeing some cases back in November, and we had more than usual in December. We think we peaked in early January.
“And we served all those patients without turning them away. I’m really impressed by our nursing staff.”
In order to serve that larger patient population, the hospital needed more caregivers. Within the Baylor system there is a floating pool of available staff, which provided some relief. Nurses have volunteered to work overtime, and managers have taken on some patients. And even personnel in nearby doctors’ offices were recruited to fill in.
With time, the flood is abating. As of Jan. 18, the census had dropped to 190 – still 40 more patients each day than the recommended limit, but “a manageable roar,” according to Blain.
But from these two professionals, there’s one last piece of advice: Don’t get sick in the first place.
Blain outlined the usual precautions: thoroughly washing your hands, only sneezing or coughing into your elbow to reduce the spread of infection, and staying home when you’re sick.
Meanwhile, Davis emphasized the importance of vaccinations to stave off the infection, each and every October. Baylor-Irving’s staff and physicians are now required to be immunized themselves, in compliance with state law. Inoculations are recommended for small children and pregnant women, the elderly, and the general population.
“The vaccine will last the whole season. You may still get the flu, but it’s usually milder,” said Davis.
Last Updated on Monday, 28 January 2013 20:33
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Amanda Casanova
LaDarius Garner almost dropped out of high school. He wanted to walk out the doors. Among teachers, he was considered a rebellious student and spent more than two years in a juvenile detention facility.
“I got used to the sounds of screaming at night, doors slamming, staff yelling,” he said on Jan. 21 at the Irving-Carrollton Branch NAACP MLK Annual Luncheon. “There’s no such thing as sleep in jail.”
Then something changed. On Jan. 22, the former Irving ISD student began classes Mountain View Community College.
“I broke the chain. I broke the handcuffs. I learned that I am facing what other men have met,” he said. “Just because you’re having a hard time now, doesn’t mean it has to always be hard.”
Garner’s message was part of the City’s celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. day. This year, the luncheon’s theme was “Children Convicted for Service” and featured a team of students serving the food, addressing the crowd and overseeing the event.
“This is about one of the greatest Americans that ever lived,” Maurice Walker, parent involvement coordinator for the Irving Independent School District, said. “This program will be a testament to the fact that when given an opportunity, African-Americans can excel. Today is a great example of that. Today our young people shine.”
As part of the program, elementary, middle and high school students took to the stage to greet attendees, to sing and to read poetry. The event closed with a reading of King’s “I Have A Dream” speech from Zederic Stephenson, a seventh grade student from Grand Prairie.
“You guys have done a great job with your children,” Tony Grimes, president of the Irving-Carrollton NAACP chapter, told parents. “Thank you so much for what you do.”
The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. luncheon has taken place since 2004. Next month, the Irving Black Arts Council will present “The Diaspora: From the Motherland to the Homeland,” an exhibition highlighting the life and culture of African and African-American artists. The exhibit starts Feb. 1 and runs through the end of the month at the Irving Arts Center, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd.
Then on Feb. 24, the Council in partnership with the City of Irving will present a Black History Month program at 3 p.m. at the Irving Arts Center.
Last Updated on Monday, 28 January 2013 20:32