Written by Phil Cerroni
Texas is known for the motto “drive friendly,” but this August, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) says that won’t be enough.
In unveiling the new “Drive Friendly. Drive Safe.” campaign, TxDOT hopes the updated message will reach drivers and reduce the thousands of crashes and deaths on Texas roads every year. The campaign highlights some of the driving behaviors that continue to cause issues on our roadways: the need for drivers to pay attention to pedestrians, bicyclists and work zones, while also remembering to adjust their speed to the road conditions.
Each year, Texas sees high numbers of crashes and fatalities involving pedestrians and bicyclists; in fact, in 2011, vehicles struck thousands of pedestrians and bicyclists resulting in 418 pedestrian fatalities and 45 bicyclist fatalities. These statistics, combined with 14,617 work zone crashes resulting in 115 deaths, has prompted TxDOT’s effort.
“As students return to school and throughout the year, remember to watch for pedestrians and bicyclists. There’s no better time to remind drivers to get back-to-basics when it comes to safety on our roads,” said Carol Rawson, director, Traffic Operations Division of TxDOT. “We also want to remind our fellow Texans that TxDOT works year round to improve roads with upgrades and repairs; this work results in changing conditions on roadways, which is why it’s extremely important for drivers to remain alert at all times.”
Nationally, traffic safety issues continue to cause injuries and fatalities as well. In 2010, 4,280 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 70,000 were injured in traffic crashes in the United States. On average, a pedestrian was killed every 123 minutes and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes. At the same time, 68 bicyclists were killed in the U.S. and an additional 52,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2010.
“The best way to drive friendly—the Texas way—is to drive safe and consider others on the road,” Rawson said.
Drivers who fail to follow traffic laws will face significant consequences. These risks not only include possibly injuring or killing themselves or others but also fines and even jail time.
Source: Texas Department of Transportation
Last Updated on Sunday, 19 August 2012 17:21
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Phil Cerroni
The difficult position of local food pantries is mirrored in the appointments of the Human Services Building on Nursery Road that houses the offices of Irving Cares. The lobby's whitewashed walls and the reserved demeanor of the clients waiting in plastic chairs are only the most visible declaration of the hardships that the 8 percent of Irving's population living below the poverty line faces every day.
Irving Cares, whose mission it is to minister to this cross-section of our community, has been finding it harder and harder to acquire enough food to meet the ever-growing demand in Irving. In June, the charity served 857 clients, which is up by about 100 families from the month before. In July they assisted 955 families, and the numbers keep rising.
But on July 30 hope came from an unexpected quarter. Mercy One, the philanthropic arm of Glenn Beck's empire delivered a semi-trailer filled with food to Irving cares. The weekend before, Mercury One conducted their “Restore Love” food drive. When the drive was finished, Mercury One had acquired enough food to fill twelve 52- foot tractor trailers.
One of these trailers, containing 40,000 pounds of food, was donated to Irving Cares.
Teddie Story, CEO of Irving Cares, said the food came as a complete surprise to them.
“I don't know why they chose Irving. I don't know why they chose the other ones that they chose. They did their own research, and they found us, and we were just really glad,” Story said.
Although Story does not know the exact circumstances surrounding the pantry's selection, she was willing to field a guess.
“I think the reason why we were chosen is because they really identified with our tag line, 'It's not a hand out, it's a hand up,'” Story said. “We will help Irving families when they are struggling financially, but it's not ongoing, it's not long-term. We just help during that crisis but not by enabling them and not doing everything for them. Some of Glenn Beck's prior blog entries have really focused on that principle.”
Even though Mercury One's donation came was extremely helpful, the food will not go particularly far.
“Forty-thousand pounds will last about two weeks,” Story said glumly. “We need 81,000 pounds per month. When you think about how much food it takes, it's a very, very big number.”
Story went on to reiterate that because food is relatively expensive per pound, pantries are aided in their mission almost more by monetary donations than they are by foodstuffs, which they can buy at a much lower price through avenues not available to private individuals.
“Depending on how big your kids are and how much they eat, our food orders [about a week's worth of food] have about 85 pounds of groceries in them, and the average price of groceries in that is about $160, but we have these other ways of purchasing – through the North Texas Food Bank or our retail arrangements – we can get it for about $70.
Despite the donations it receives, Irving Cares still spends a substantial amount of money at the grocery store every week in order to stock its pantry.
“The things that were in that food order were cereal, canned vegetables, apple juice – which we rarely have – pasta, rice and beans. There are all those things we don't have. We spent $6,000 at the grocery store today; it's a huge number. Our budget this year for food expenses that we purchase outside of donations is $200,000. That includes a lot of perishables like milk, margarine and ground beef – things that will never come in on a food drop.
Food banks and pantries will tell you that they are fighting a battle that does not look hopeful. Although they are not losing yet, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep their shelves stocked with the foods necessary to provide nutritionally balanced meals. They have more beans and corn than they know what to do with, but you cannot properly feed children with just that. Donations like Mercy One's are fortuitous, but alone they are too little, too few and far between to go it alone.
Last Updated on Sunday, 19 August 2012 17:20
Written by Phil Cerroni
Irving families receiving milk and groceries from the Irving Cares food pantry will be eating courtesy of the Dallas Stars Foundation. Their recent $10,000 grant will be used to provide nutritious fresh foods for families in need.
Irving Cares provides families in need with a nutritionally balanced grocery order. In the past fiscal year, over 8,300 families (more than 5,300 children) received emergency groceries through Irving Cares. Foods such as milk, eggs, and meat ensure that physical development is healthy and stable; providing the vitamins and nutrition that growing bodies need in order to develop. Irving Cares must purchase most perishable items since they are rarely donated. Funds received through the Dallas Stars Foundation will help fill this need. The price of food continues to increase, and the need for this important program has not declined.
“As one of our 2011-12 grant recipients, your organization can be proud of the positive and lasting difference you are making in the lives of our community’s children. We commend you for your exemplary work and are happy to assist you in your efforts,” wrote Lora Farris, Executive Director of the Dallas Stars Foundation.
“In order to provide fresh milk in every grocery order, we spend over $26,000 per year. We are proud of our partnership with the Dallas Stars Foundation. They were one of the very first donors to support our Food Pantry’s efforts to provide fresh milk rather than powdered. Kids eating cereal thank them!” said
Source: Irving Cares
Last Updated on Sunday, 19 August 2012 17:19
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Amanda Casanova
The Friends of Coppell Nature Park are one step closer to building a long-awaited Biodiversity Center after the City Council approved agreements with the nature organization and the school district this week.
The City Council voted unanimously for the agreements on Tuesday at their regular council meeting. In the first agreement with the Friends of the Coppell Nature Park, the City Council voted to approve starting construction on the building.
Construction of the facility, which would house meeting rooms and education opportunities, is estimated to start within 45 to 60 days, Brad Reid, director of parks and recreation for the city, said. Plans for the facility were also finished on Tuesday.
According to the mission of the Friends of the Coppell Nature Park, the center would be a “unique, adaptable, sustainable facility that will inspire passion for our local and global environment, promote community involvement, and create life-long learning opportunities by incorporating engaging outdoor activities and innovative technologies that will provide fun, hands-on experiences where people of all ages can explore, learn, share and celebrate nature.”
Under a second agreement with the Coppell Independent School District approved by the Council, the district will donate $300,000 to the project. The City retains ownership of the property, and the school district will have a 50 percent ownership stake of the facility.
“It will primarily be used for educational purposes and shared with the school district,” Reid said. “There are a number of City uses. We plan to hold our education classes there and a number of public meetings in the building. I think the building will get quite a bit of use.”
The center will be built within the Coppell Nature Park, located off Freeport Parkway.
Last Updated on Sunday, 19 August 2012 17:18
Written by Phil Cerroni
In celebration of the tenth year, the Coppell Farmers Market is holding a “Market to Kitchen” Chef Series by inviting local chefs to demonstrate how market customers can unleash their inner chef using fresh market ingredients. The upcoming chef demo will be held on Aug. 18 at 10 a.m. at the Coppell Farmers Market under the main tent. All monthly chef demos are free, where attendees can relax in comfortable chairs in the shade with iced water and a copy of the recipe.
Chef Instructor, Victoria Hooker, from The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Dallas will be joined by her students as well as her fellow instructor and husband, Robby Hooker, in preparing a new summer recipe for Tomato Pie.
Victoria and Robby are well-known vendors at the Coppell Farmers Market for their salsa, chips, and tortillas, and also head up the preparation of the annual Farm to Table Dinner in June. With over 40 combined years of experience in the food service industry, Robby and Victoria have gained knowledge and expertise in many areas. They are the dynamic duo behind Two Chefs, offering a wide array of services including private chef, cooking lessons, restaurant consulting, and cooking equipment demonstrations.
Coming up Sep. 22, will feature Go Texas restaurant, Hard Eight Pit BBQ.
The Coppell Farmers Market is open each Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon in Old Town Coppell at 793 S. Coppell Rd.
Source: Coppell Farmers Market
Last Updated on Sunday, 19 August 2012 17:33
- New teachers welcomed to Coppell during breakfast
- Award winners honored for keeping Irving Beautiful
- Day camp
- Student athletes receive desperately needed funding from business community
- Virtual school offers Texas students an educational alternative
- Critical vaccinations provided by Irving citizens and businesses