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
Written by Phil Cerroni
The Irving Police Department participated in the statewide Impaired Driving Mobilization grant over the Labor Day weekend (Aug. 31 - Sep.1).
The grant is part of the State’s “Drink. Drive. Go to Jail.” campaign. In conjunction with the grant, the Department conducted a no-refusal operation. These operations allow officers to bring suspected drunk drivers to a location where additional personal are located in order to streamline the no-refusal process. Local and state law enforcement officers participated in the no refusal operation utilizing the Department’s resources.
A total of 40 people were arrested for driving while intoxicated and processed at the location. Along with officers from the Irving Police Department, troopers from the DPS and officers with the Grand Prairie Police Department utilized the Department’s no-refusal process. A total of 73 citations were issued for various traffic violations.
The Irving Police Department will continue to partner with TXDOT and local and state law enforcement agencies in an effort to make our roadways safe.
Source: City of Irving
Last Updated on Saturday, 15 September 2012 13:34
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Alice Canham
It takes a village to address the problems of poverty in Africa and Asia. More specifically on Sep. 8 it took 4500 walkers at the Irving Convention Center to raise $790,000 for the Aga Khan Foundation USA, up from $600,000 the year before.
“You do so much to contribute to the community, and to be family,” Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne told the crowd. “As a mayor and as a citizen, we appreciate everything you do.”
“The AKF USA operates out of Washington, DC but has chapters across the United States to help raise funds locally,” said Nick Jivani, chairman of the North Texas Volunteer Team. “We support programs to raise both awareness and funds, to reduce poverty, hunger, illiteracy and poor health in Africa and Asia.
“In previous years we held walks at City Hall in Dallas or the Shops at Legacy. The main reason we chose to hold it at Irving this year was the location with the new Convention Center and the surrounding improvements. Also, the proximity to the Orange Line made it very convenient for our volunteers and people who wanted to attend throughout the area.”
Much of the support comes from the SE Asian community, with a particular emphasis this year on engaging young people.
“Most of our supporters are from SE Asia where they felt the benefits of the programs we had there,” Jivani explained. “A great many of them now live in North Texas.
“We recently started an Ambassador program for both youth and adults, where we encouraged them to come up with a project in their own community that applies what they‘ve learned about our programs.
“That led students in the Colleyville schools to start an art competition. They were challenged to come up with their own understandings of what we are doing, and reflect that in an art form.”
Activities at the Partnership Walk included a 5K competitive run, a 1K youth fun run and a 3K family walk. A particularly appealing feature was the ‘Village in Action’ where volunteers and Ambassadors demonstrated the various projects funded by AKF USA.
“We hope it will help others understand our programs,” Jivani explained, “since most of our work takes place so far away.
“We encourage people to ask questions and learn more about our interventions and solutions as they walk through the Village.”
Walks took place on adjacent streets which had been secured by Irving police, but the Village could be found on the Convention Center floor where young people had worked through the night preparing the displays. Visitors could learn about the traveling mini-libraries that serve nomadic populations in Asia, for example, and could see the winning artworks by Colleyville students.
Shaina Hirany, a volunteer in charge of the Village, explained that this was the first year that actually incorporated a local aspect of the group’s mission.
“We had a group working with Barron Elementary School in Plano, where about 70 percent of the school children are at risk of not passing to high school,” Hirany said. “The principal was very supportive of our project because she wanted the children to see how we are all alike.
“So our youth went into the library and painted an entire mural to show Texas wildlife and animals. The oak tree at the center represents hope. We plan to expand this in a meaningful way, and whatever program we set up, we’ll involve the parents and make it yearlong and sustainable.
“There is a book fair set up here in the Village as well. And don’t overlook our environment piece,” she added, pointing to a row of potted plants with cheerful young people in attendance. “One side demonstrates recycling, with purses made out of transformed grocery bags On the other side we’ll actually work with children who wish to plant a tree. This is part of the worldwide campaign against deforestation.
“This all shows that we are alleviating poverty both here and abroad,” she said.
AKF USA is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 and 100% of funds raised at the Partnership Walk go directly to projects supported by the Foundation.
Some information provided by AKF-USA, www.akdn.org.
Last Updated on Saturday, 15 September 2012 13:33
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Jess Paniszczyn
As if by divine intervention, mild weather brought relief from the scorching summer heat on just in time for the St. Ann Community Carnival held Sep. 7-9. A tradition for 20 years in Coppell, the carnival offered a variety of rides for both young and old as well as kiddyland games, festival foods, entertainment, a craft tent, silent auction and of course, bingo.
Waiting in line to ride the mechanical bull, Hiresh Hira said he and his family have attended the carnival for the last 10 yrs.
“The carnival is great this year, especially with the weather. We like the kids’ events and the carnival rides. But my favorite part is the food. And it is great that the carnival is within walking distance from our house.
“The carnival is good family fun. It’s fun during the day, and it’s fun at night too. We enjoy coming at night when there is a different atmosphere with live bands and music.”
But not everyone who attended the carnival lived as close by as the Hira family.
“We live in Plano, and my brother and sister-in-law live in Coppell, and they invited us to the carnival,” Julie Hendry said. “I used to live in Coppell, and it has probably been 15 years since I have been to a St. Ann’s carnival. It has really grown and expanded.
“It is really fun watching the kids have fun and going on the rides. I like going to the vendors and seeing what they have to sell.”
For many in the community, the carnival has become a yearly family event.
“We have made the carnival an annual tradition, and this is our third year,” said Leslie Gray. “We always have a good time. I just enjoy walking around and seeing everybody, and my five year old daughter likes the kiddie games.”
A carnival volunteer for the past 16 years, Mark Luenser served as carnival chair for the fifth time this year.
“We moved here around the time of the carnival, and my wife signed me up for a three hour shift,” Luenser said. “They found out that I have a food background, and I was running food the next year.
“There are about 1,900 volunteer shifts during the carnival. Each shift is about three hours and volunteers work with the silent auction, bingo, food, kiddyland, craft tents, entertainment, set up and clean up. We utilize a ton of volunteers.
“We cook the food ourselves. We buy it, prepare it and sell it. So we get 100 percent of the profit from that. The Kiddyland games are ours, and we charge 50 cents for each game. So that is also a money maker. Typically the carnival generates about $200,000 and about $100,000 of that is net.
“Through the carnival we donate to the local food bank, the police department, fire department, North Texas Food Bank, Metrocrest and a lot of different programs that support the community. We are also able to raise money for other parishes in Dallas that are not as affluent.
“The carnival runs so smoothly, and it is so much fun to see the accomplishment we achieve at the end.”
Last Updated on Saturday, 15 September 2012 13:32
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Phil Cerroni
The sultry Texas night has barely taken the edge off of the day's heat, and Natalie tosses and turns in her bed trying desperately trying to ignore the hot, sticky sensation humidity brings. She falls asleep, but when she stirs, she feels uncomfortable. She stands in front of the mirror, slowly rotating her head, stretching out the muscles in her neck and shoulders. She looks up at her reflection staring back at her and sees a cluster of small, red bites on her neck...
No, Irving is not seeing a repeat of the 1954 vampire infestation, but is in the midst of a war against an unholy horde of night stalkers nearly as horrific – bed bugs.
They have preyed upon humanity for thousands of years. We thought that we eradicated the monsters from the civilized world in the 1940’s, but lately they have begun another, insidious rise.
Dr. Marcy Brown Marsden, associate professor and department chair in the University of Dallas biology department, was very helpful in explaining the parasites' habits and going over different ways a person can turn himself into a hard target. One of the first things she made very clear is that bed bugs are not a sign of poor living conditions.
“Urban areas tend to be more challenged by them. We have people in high density. You travel, or you stay in a hotel and there has been someone staying in that place before you have, so there's the potential that bed bugs would have been transferred,” explained Marsden. “A lot of time they can be transferred through bedding, through suitcases and through other furnishings that move. If you're talking about an apartment, they replaced the carpet, they cleaned the walls but the question would be the furnishings may have transferred some of that to them. If you've lived in a house for twenty or thirty years the chances are much lower that you're going to have a bed bug infestation unless you've had something new come into the house – a piece of furniture from a garage sale, or you have someone stay and they've travelled or you travel with your suitcase.”
One reason bed bugs are so closely associated with our living accommodations is that they have developed closely beside us throughout history.
“It's a human problem,” chuckled Brown. “It's just an organism that has become connected to us. It's thought to have originated with cave species, but it's co-evolved with people. Certainly for us, they don't serve a purpose, but if they've lasted that long they're pretty resilient and pretty good at doing what they do. A lot of times, people think about organisms with us as the center, it certainly has a purpose for itself. As a species it is pretty adaptive and aggressive at keeping its lifestyle.
“The hard part about bed bugs is the fact that they can go a really long time without eating – two to five months. They're there, they're doing their thing and they're doing a pretty good job of it from the bed bug perspective.”
The news of bed bugs' arrival in Irving came with a scathing Internet review of the Jefferson Ridge apartment complex written by a former tenant who mercilessly blasted the management early last month over claims of an ongoing bed bug infestation.
“They rented me a BED BUG INFESTED apartment!!!! I am going to have to sue them to get my money back for medical and expenses. I am now Jobless and Homeless because of this incident!!! DO NOT RENT HERE!!!! BED BUGS CAN DESTROY YOUR LIFE AND THESE JERKS COULD CARE LESS!!!”
Jefferson Ridge's corporate office said that, although they could not say very much, bed bugs are an ongoing issue faced by many of the area's establishments, and that Jefferson Ridge is doing its utmost to make their buildings bed bug free. That was all he would say on the record, and the tenant was unavailable for comment.
Once bed bugs have taken up residence in a home, they can be particularly difficult to eradicate. It is much easier to keep the problem from happening.
“When you check in at a hotel, you stick your suitcases on the ground. That can be a really bad decision – anything could be able to come up and get that,” said Marsden. “So you stick it on a piece of furniture, one of the racks or something. Not on the floor, not on the bed because that's where the transfer occurs.”
There are a few signs to looks for in order to see if you have a beg bug problem.
“When people notice them they notice maybe one of a couple things,” Marsden continued. “When they wake up, they're itchy or they have welts, a lot of time it happens around the neck, places where the skin is really thin. Especially if they're orienting towards a person based on warmth or carbon dioxide. There are other bugs that do that, kissing bugs in South America will find CO2 sources, and that's a person a lot of the time,” Marsden said. “Sometimes you'll see one. It might be fairly rare because they're cycle is completely opposite ours. When you wake up in the morning and turn the lights on, they're going to be going down. So we might not see them but see evidence of them; typically you might see castings or the droppings or where they've shed their exoskeletons or you might see actual spots of blood where you're sleeping.”
If you see these signs, and your home has become infested despite your best efforts, there is a surer way than pesticides to exterminate the critters.
“The challenge is that, like a lot of insects, bed bugs are becoming resistant to some of the pesticides,” said Marsden. “Physical removal, actually getting the bugs and getting rid of them is one solution.”
This means of extermination is very simple: get a magnifying glass and go over all of the surfaces that could be a haven for bed bugs. It's onerous, but luckily bed bugs are large enough that you can do this, about as big as a watermelon seed or a little smaller. Also, they are in manageable numbers - perhaps a few dozen on your bed.
“A lot of people think about repelling and killing, but if you can pick it up and get rid of it that's even better. You know that animal's been killed,” Marsden said. “If you're checking then maybe check the other places where people might have sat down. Look at the edges of the mattress where the little crevices are and lift everything off. Take it outside and dust it off. Even get into the bed frame because something could be hiding in the crevices in the frame.”
So if you get a scare that there are bed bugs in your building, don't freak out. They are inconvenient to say the least and, yes, they have evolved to make it very difficult for us to kill them. Take a deep breath and remember it could have been your couch that brought them in and not your landlord's fault.
Last Updated on Saturday, 15 September 2012 13:32
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