Written by Phil Cerroni
By Amanda Casanova
Las Colinas residents will see more restaurants and development as the City starts work on a $125 million project near the City’s Mustangs of Las Colinas sculpture.
“Construction at Lake Carolyn is expected to start in the spring,” said Katie Slate, development director for Gables Residential, the project’s developer.
The Irving City Council voted unanimously last week for the Water Street project’s site plan.
The plan’s first phase over the site’s 14 acre area includes three 5-story apartment buildings, shops and about four restaurants. Another acre will be dedicated as an open space area.
Some of the restaurants will also include waterfront dining, and the second phase of the project includes opening at least two more restaurants.
“We have needed more restaurants and retail,” councilmember Rose Cannaday said. “I’ve heard that many times over from our citizens. Everyone I talk to asks me about this project. They’re ready for it. The quality of it is very high and it really enhances that whole area, and it’s going to increase our tax base.”
The proposed Water Street development is scheduled to begin in early 2013. New development will cater to Irving residents, visitors and the Las Colinas Urban Center’s large daytime population of office workers.
"We have been talking about developing this property for years, and the project that Gables brought forward provides retail and restaurants that offer beautiful water views," said Mayor Beth Van Duyne. "It was rewarding to work with a developer who brought financing capacity to the table and can deliver on it. As a team, with city staff, Las Colinas Association and Gables working together, we think we hit this one out of the park and can't wait for this project to break ground."
Previously, the City considered developing the area to include a boutique hotel, movie theater and office space. Unfortunately, a tough economy stalled the project.
The new plans call for a large surface parking lot with extensive landscaping at the intersection of North O’Connor Road and E. Las Colinas Boulevard.
“Later, the lot could be redeveloped to include a garage for parking,” Slate said.
The project will be privately financed, according to Van Duyne.
“I want to make sure people understand what we’re doing,” she said, addressing the developer. “You’re opening up restaurants. You guys are bringing in an experience, what we’ve asked for, and you’re bringing the financing.
“You’re bringing us exactly what we want, what the citizens and residents want.”
Residents have complained about the area’s lack of entertainment.
“We’ve heard from many residents who have expressed a desire for new dining options in Irving, and we anticipate the new waterside amenities planned for Water Street will impress residents and visitors alike,” said City Manager Tommy Gonzalez. “The Water Street project is proof that that the investments we’re making at the Lake Carolyn Promenade and all across the Irving community will allow us to better market our city, attract private developers, and provide more local attractions.”
The City has already spent about $37 million developing a Las Colinas entertainment center, but that project shut down when the City failed to approve a development agreement and the development partner of the center
Some information provided by the City of Irving
Last Updated on Saturday, 15 September 2012 13:37
Written by Phil Cerroni
Coppell citizens of all ages take time to remember lives lost on a day that changed America
By Sissy Courtney
Reminiscent of the day that forever changed our lives, Sep. 11, 2001, the bright sun shown in a cloudless blue sky as planes flew overhead. On this day, Sep. 11, 2012, moments of silence, were broken by speeches, prayers, bells tolling, bagpipes playing, a 21 gun salute, drums drumming, a trumpet playing Taps, and planes flying overhead in the cloudless blue sky above Town Center Plaza behind Coppell City Hall.
Coppell Police Chief Mac Tristan began his speech with words from President Barack Obama in his 2009 proclamation for Patriot Day: “Through the twisted steel of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the scarred walls of the Pentagon, smoky wreckage in a field in southwest Pennsylvania, the patriotism, the resiliency of the American people shown brightly on September 11, 2001,” Tristan said quoting Obama. “We stood as one people united in our common humanity and shared sorrow. We grieve for those who perished and remember what brought us together as Americans.”
Those words gave a graphic image of that day 11 years ago to the large crowd that had gathered.
“Sep. 11, 2001, was similar to today with beautiful blue skies,” Tristan said. “The ironic thing about the situation is that it was one of our country’s darkest days.
“Patriot Day occurs on Sep. 11 every year, and it is dedicated to the memory of the nearly 3,000 lives lost on Sep. 11, 2001. The lives of Americans changed that day, and they’ve never been the same since. Communities across this nation are doing the exact same thing we’re doing today here this morning, and that is remembering, honoring the lives lost and those that continue to fight for our freedom today. It is important that we remember and that we honor those that gave the ultimate sacrifice.”
The assembly included first responders, fire and police, city and state officials, ordinary citizens, some holding small children, and an elementary class from Town Center Elementary, children who were born after Sep. 11, 2001.
Todd Martin, who now works for U.S. Congressman Kenny Marchant, was a sophomore in class at Creekview High School in Carrollton that morning.
“I can remember on 9-11 it was dead silent,” Martin said. “There were no planes (flying) right after the plane hit and the days following. It’s an event that shaped the history of my generation.
“We just watched TV all day; the teacher was crying; kids were looking around wondering: ‘Where do we go from here?’ I remember our basketball coach talking to us and telling us that this would change and shape history from this point forward. We were young; we didn’t know what that meant – but it did. Here we are, 11 years later, just getting out of Iraq, and soon we’ll be getting out of Afghanistan.”
John Hayes, who also works for Congressman Marchant, was a pilot 11 years ago.
“It’s important that we remember what happened so we never get in that position again,” Hayes said. “It’s very, very important that we remember what our first responders do for us, and the men and women in uniform that are in harm’s way. I was in uniform; I was a Viet Nam veteran, so I know what it means to have public support, and we do have public support.
“That Friday (after 9-11), I left Pittsburgh as a brand new MD80 Captain, and our second leg was in Newark, and we could look off to the right and see the smoking towers,” Hayes said. “You had to really concentrate on your flying, because after 20 years of seeing those towers there, and then not seeing them, but seeing a bunch of smoking ruins, was a shock.
“Our next leg from Newark to Florida, we flew out around the Pentagon where we saw the smoking ruins on the side of the Pentagon,” Hayes said. “I had a bird’s eye view. That was the first day the planes started flying again. Both the Pentagon and the two towers smoldered for a long, long time. It was very sobering.”
Although she said she was surrounded by family and friends on that day 11 years ago, Coppell Mayor Karen Hunt said she wanted to go home as soon as possible to be with her children, to produce a cocoon around them to keep them safe.
“But you didn’t want to do that either,” Hunt said. “We have a freedom that we have to protect, so you cannot put yourself into a cocoon. You have to do what America did: Step up and fight back and show our patriotism.”
Last Updated on Saturday, 15 September 2012 13:52
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Phil Cerroni
Irving has lately been pumping itself full of economic steroids in the race to become one of the strongest destinations in America. The city’s newest venture is a cancer treatment facility that utilizes state of the art proton therapy, a technology so cutting edge that there are only eleven such facilities in the United States.
The project, a collaboration between Baylor Health Enterprises, Texas Oncology and McKesson Specialty Health, has been in the planning stages for a few years, and the partners say they are ready to break ground in 2013 and hope to be treating patients by the end of 2015.
Dr. B. Scott Cheek, a radiation specialist with Texas Oncology, explained why proton therapy is so much more advanced than treatments currently in wide use.
“Because of the physical properties of the beam, proton beam therapy uses heavier charged particles so you can treat a distinct tumor, minimizing damage to surrounding structures,” Cheek said. “Protons have a Bragg peak where the energy into and out of the target is very low, but at the target you can have the Bragg peak very high.”
Because the beam is affecting significantly less tis
“Treatments take about 10 to 15 minutes a day. Patients can have a little fatigue or hair loss depending on the area you treat,” continued Cheek. “It can be anywhere from 1 to 5 treatments or up to 30 or 40 depending on the type and site of the cancer.”
Not only is the treatment cutting edge, but the company building the machines is one of the best in the business.
“The group that we chose to build our proton machine is called Ion Beam Applications,” Cheek said proudly. “They’ve been building proton centers for over 20 years. They have the most advanced technology.
“Like any other type of technology, [proton] technology advances as the technique is around. We’ll be using a cyclotron; after the protons are extracted from the hydrogen the cyclotron speeds up the protons to about 2/3 the speed of light. All of that and our needs fit really perfectly.”
Cheek went on to elaborate on why Irving is the prime location for this facility.
“Texas Oncology and McKesson and Baylor have been collaborating for years on putting a center in the DFW Metroplex,” he said. “The airports are important because Texas Oncology is a statewide network – over 130 sites – and very likely we will be treating patients at that center who do not live in the DFW Metroplex. We are also part of the US oncology network that has a lot of treatment centers around the country so there’s a chance we’ll have patients from around the country as well.”
Dr. Roy Beveridge, chief medical officer for McKesson Specialty Health and the US Oncology Network, said the center will not only provide outstanding medical services but will advance the science of oncology as well.
“US Oncology is the largest accruer for radiation patients in the United States. So we think this is very important for research; we think it’s very important for care of our patients,” Beveridge said. “Frequently there’s not the best treatment in cancer – we’re always trying different things to find out what’s best and has the least side effects. (Proton therapy delivers very high energy packets and has lots less toxicity when it treats patients). Given our very significant bent in research, it will be used for research also.”
Beveridge made it very clear, however, that the center is about saving lives.
“As with most clinic research done with people who are treating the patients, we are very devoted to doing the research but this tool will be used primarily for the treatment of cancer patients.”
Not only will the center provide much needed cancer treatment to the Southwestern and South Central United States, but Irving provides the community the center wants as part of its core.
“Eighty percent of cancer treatment in America takes place in a community-based setting,” Cheek said.
Chris Wallace, president of the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce, pointed out some of the community aspects that enabled Irving, which has been part of the project for two years now, to outshine the competition lobbying for the treatment center.
“Just like a lot of our relocations, a lot of cities are looking at competing. They could have set up on the other side of DFW in Grapevine or in Fort Worth,” Wallace said. “They want to be introduced to the major companies who are here, to their employees. They want us to help them in terms of brand recognition; we are certainly happy to step up to the plate and help promote on their behalf that Irving and North Texas are home to this facility. Irving has the expertise to do that.”
One important aspect of this community is the infrastructure necessary for out of town patients.
“A lot of these families that are coming in are going to stay there for several weeks at a time, and they actually can stay close to the facility; there are several wonderful hotels, corporate housing opportunities right around the general vicinity.” Wallace continued. “There are things to do around the facility; they’ll feel safe there.”
Although it will be another three years before the treatment center becomes a reality, it is already putting Irving on the map as both a regional and national medical powerhouse, and it also imbues a spirit of service the city needs to complement its burgeoning economic growth.
Last Updated on Saturday, 15 September 2012 13:36
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Alice Canham
Country artist Jenna Jentry calls Irving home. The young woman regularly opens for big name stars like The Band Perry, Travis Tritt and Scotty McCreery but stays with her parents here when she’s not traveling. We spoke by phone recently.
“I’m back living at home, but I’m on the road most of the time,” she said. “I grew up in Flower Mound, born and raised there, and I went to SMU for college. I have a 19-year old brother, Danny, at Texas Tech.
“My parents just recently moved to Irving because my dad’s a big golfer. He‘s been golfing his whole life, but was driving back and forth, 30 - 40 minutes from Four Seasons back to Flower Mound. He’s not retired yet, but this was always his dream retirement place, so he decided to finally give in and move over here. I just love it.”
Her mother, a retired nurse, is now her de facto manager, working fulltime to keep track of Jenna’s engagements.
Her debut single, ‘Lovin’ Lazy’ was released in August and has been well-received.
“I just learned last night that it was named number one with the premier online country music site,” she said. “We had over 170,000 votes, which was a great response.”
The artist is a triple-threat: singer, guitar player and songwriter.
“I had my first poem published when I was five years old, so you could say I started out early,” said Jentry. “When I realized that I had a gift for singing and really wanted to do it, it all came together.
“Most of the time I write from personal experience. If I’m going through something, that’s when I write my best. That emotional state just pours out of me.
“I’m pretty much all the time looking for a song; looking for a story to tell.”
As she prepares her debut album, ‘Good as Gold’, she will also introduce songs she co-wrote with multi-platinum producer Kevin DeClue, perhaps best known for his work with Hilary Duff.
“I was lucky to find a co-writer I mesh so well with,” she said. “I met him three years ago, and ever since it’s been the two of us writing together. I usually provide the lyrics and he adds the melody. We can knock out three or four songs at a time.”
In 2010, her songwriting skills took Jentry to the finalist category in both the NSAI Song Contest and the UK Songwriting Contest in London.
While she always knew she wanted a career in music, her college degrees are in Spanish (she lived in Spain for several months), and in marketing.
“I promised my parents I’d finish college, and the marketing degree actually helps me in how I present and promote myself,” she said. “Plus, we’re talking about doing a Spanish version of some of the songs I’m writing.”
The upcoming album, ‘Good As Gold’ is produced by Mark Moffatt, a Grammy-nominated talent who has also worked with Keith Urban and Jason Aldean.
Jentry spends her studio time alternating between Nashville, TN, and Dallas.
“There’s a lot of talent in this area,” she said. “A lot of the Disney kids; singers like Miranda Lambert.”
No country career is complete without a video, though, and listeners will soon be able to check her out. Jentry is also involved with the Wounded Warrior Project and will be performing as part of ‘Sky Ball’, a benefit for the military and their families, in Dallas this October. Her website is www.jennajentry.com and she also invites fans to follow her on Twitter, @Jennajentry.
Last Updated on Saturday, 15 September 2012 13:53
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Amanda Casanova
The City of Coppell police department is merging jail operations with the City of Carrollton to house Coppell arrests in the Carrollton Jail.
An agreement between the cities, approved Sep. 11 by the City Council, stipulates that the City of Coppell pay the City of Carrollton to book, process and house prisoners arrested by the Coppell Police Department.
The Coppell detention center will close.
Coppell will pay $100 per inmate in the Carrollton Jail for the first 48 hours of incarceration, according to the agreement. For each inmate that stays past 48 hours, the City will pay another $100 for each additional day.
Additionally, the City will pay Carrollton an annual fee of $3,500 for transporting Coppell inmates to Dallas County.
Chief Mac Tristan of the Coppell Police Department estimated the Coppell police arrest about 1,000 people a year.
“This will significantly reduce our cost,” Tristan told City Council members.
With no detention officers on staff, the Coppell Police Department’s sworn officers, mostly patrol officers, were the ones processing arrests. Then Coppell 911 Communication Center employees were responsible for monitoring those in custody.
“The cost to improve the Coppell detention center and hire a full staff of detention officers would have cost more than $300,000 annually,” Tristan said.
Under the contract, Carrollton will reserve three beds for Coppell arrests “no matter what,” he said.
The agreement means more Coppell patrol officers on the street. It can take up to 90 minutes to process the paperwork and book someone into jail. With the new arrangement, the Coppell police will still write the police case report, but the arrested person will be turned over to the Carrollton police for processing.
In 2011, the cities of Carrollton, Addison, Farmers Branch and Coppell conducted a jail consolidation study to look at possibly merging jail operations to reduce taxpayer costs.
In north Texas, the cities of Keller and Southlake already operate consolidated jail operations and emergency dispatch services. Last year, the cities of Colleyville and Westlake also merged operations.
“This is one of a number of initiatives that we are exploring to be effective and efficient and looking at areas we can alter the way we provide services,” Coppell City Manager Clay Phillips said. “We’re looking at how we can work better together.”
The contract starts Oct. 1 and runs until Sep. 30, 2013, when the Council can renew the contract for another year.
Last Updated on Saturday, 15 September 2012 13:35