Written by Phil Cerroni
By Jess Paniszczyn
State and local officials joined Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) authorities in formally welcoming the Orange Line during an Art Reception and Dedication Luncheon presented at the Irving Convention Center on July 27.
Stretching from Bachman Station in Dallas the light rail line is just the first 4.5 mile section of the Orange Line. With service beginning on July 30, the line features stations at the University of Dallas, the Las Colinas Urban Center and the Irving Convention Center. When completed the 14 mile, $1.3 billion line will have stops at North Lake College, Beltline and will end at the DFW International Airport. The final leg of the Orange Line is scheduled to open on Dec. 15, 2014.
“Tonight are the opening ceremonies for the Olympics,” said Gary Thomas, President and Executive Director of DART during the Dedication Luncheon. “Today are the opening ceremonies for the Orange Line. They kind of seem to go hand in hand.
“DART has the longest light rail system in the United States. We are not 72 miles anymore, we are 78 miles. If anybody was even close, they are not close anymore.
“Irving was the first city other than Dallas to have Rail when the Trinity Railway Express arrived in Irving in December 1996, six months after the opening of the light rail in Dallas. Today Starts a new chapter in Irving transportation.
“Irving has been with DART since the very beginning – nearly 30 years – and we’ve always weathered our storms and celebrated our triumphs as true partners. Irving has shared in the DART vision, and we’ve done everything we can to help turn Irving’s vision into reality.
“When the Orange Line connects to DFW International Airport in December of 2014, we will be one of only a handful of metros in the country with direct rail access to a major airport.”
Among those celebrating the Orange Line’s opening was Michael Melaniphy, President and CEO of the American Transportation Association.
“Public transportation ridership surged in the first quarter 2012 as Americans took nearly 2.7 billion trips, an increase of five percent over the first quarter of last year,” Melaniphy said. “This was on top of a record year in 2011. More and more citizens are riding because we are providing options that are convenient, reliable, safe and affordable.
“DART is the envy of many public transit systems around the country, boasting the longest light rail system in the nation with one of the country’s most aggressive expansion programs.”
John Danish, Chairman of the DART Board, predicted that the Orange Line’s access to DFW Airport will be an economic boon to the Las Colinas Urban Center.
“In December 2014, the Orange Line will extend to directly serve DFW Airport,” Danish said. “That means not only will Irving and Las Colinas be linked to the DART Rail System that carries 22.3 million people per year, it will literally be directly linked to the entire world.
“It will mean that more top-notch conferences and events will come right here to the Irving Convention Center. The world’s top cultural talent will be one flight and one short train ride from a vibrant community. I can envision world-class shopping just minutes away for travelers who have a layover at DFW.
“DART and the city of Irving are both in the right place at the right time to make a real difference in the way our region functions. Not only are we improving mobility and getting cars off the roadways; we’re part of a radical transformation in lifestyles and in urban planning.”
Having been a supporter of mass transit for many years, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison expressed her enthusiasm for DART’s newest light rail line.
“The leadership of DART from the beginning has been so good,” Hutchison said. “We haven’t had a line that wasn’t on time and under budget.
“The city of Irving is now connected to the magnificent venues of the Dallas Arts district, the concerts and sporting events at the American Airlines Center, the Dallas Zoo, hospitals, shopping districts and much more.
“Residents throughout the DART Service Area are likewise connected to the burgeoning Las Colinas vicinity, an area that will see multi-use development dollars estimated in the billions over the coming years.”
Irving’s Mayor Beth Van Duyne discussed the Orange Line’s value to commuters.
“Las Colinas alone is home to more than 2,000 companies,” Van Duyne said. “Employees from such top-notch firms as ExxonMoblil, Kimberly-Clark, Fluor and Research in Motion will now have the option to get to and from work without sitting in gridlock traffic.
“Irving residents who work in downtown Dallas or along the U.S. 75 corridor in Richardson and Plano will likewise be able to commute by rail.
“The table is now set for further development in the Las Colinas Urban Center. The infrastructure is in place for the condos, office facilities and hotels that already make the area so vibrant to be augmented by retail, restaurants and entertainment facilities. What an opportunity we have!”
While attending the ceremonies for the Orange Line, State Representative Linda Harper-Brown praised the vision of the DART management.
“The Orange Line will provide Irving residents and students at the University of Dallas unprecedented access to jobs, medical services and cultural offerings throughout the region,” Harper-Brown said. “Irving residents and students now have an alternative to bumper-to-bumper traffic.
“The Orange Line positions Irving firmly in the vanguard of American cities that are embracing transit – not just as a mobility solution but as a lifestyle choice.”
Last Updated on Friday, 03 August 2012 15:22
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Phil Cerroni
In recent weeks, Dallas’ local channel, WFAA has been spotlighting the communities around Dallas on their morning show, Good Morning Texas. This past week was Irving’s turn to show itself to the rest of the Metroplex on July 27.
Chatty and excited high school students bubbled contentedly in small pockets around Victory Plaza in downtown Dallas sporting their club’s colors and waiting for their chance to be on television. The first two groups of students to arrive were spirit squads and the “Megaband” comprised of students from all three of Irving’s high schools.
“We’ve done this kind of thing before at times, mainly with the percussion for the Fourth of July parade,” said Don Jackson, the band director at Nimitz.
But even when being asked to pull off the impossible, the bands are not given much time.
“We had a group rehearsal yesterday to pull all three Irving ISD high schools together,” Jackson continued, talking about the band’s extremely fast mobilization and workup.
Fidencio Martinez, a trumpeter for MacArthur was the most excited of his friends to be downtown that early.
“I’m excited because it’s really early in the morning, nobody’s up. We’re about to wake everybody up,” Fidencio said.
Although Irving ISD combined three bands into one, they did no such thing for the other organizations in attendance. There were cheerleaders from every high school and middle school. There were spirit squads from all three high schools got up in their festive finery, there were jocks, and there were geeks. But diversity brings other things along with it – rivalry. Karlos Blas, another MacArthur student, admitted that high school rivalry followed the students to Dallas that morning.
“You see different clicks, Irving hanging out with Irving, MacArthur hanging out with MacArthur sizing each other up, trying to see who’s better than the other,” Karlos said.
But Karlos and his friends said there were going to be no spontaneous outbursts of gratuitous “school spirit” that morning.
Another group with a large number of attendees was the Irving Police Explorers: a program that gives young people a look into police life in order to see if they want to follow it as a career
“We came down because we’re dedicated, and we want to be here,” said the group’s unofficial spokesman Nick Kammerer. “Irving has done a lot for us as far as putting us in the program and giving us opportunities; so we want to give back to Irving by representing it.”
The monitors in the plaza displayed the expectant crowd, signaling the start of the broadcast. Irving residents burst into exuberant cheers as they prepared to be piped into every household that happened to have the television sets on at that hour of the morning.
The “Megaband” and choral group shattered the night with a rousing anthem, changing the dull roar of the crowed into a mixture of silence, vocal accompaniment and cheers. The spirit squads sprang into action, working overtime to excite the crowd as goodies were thrown into the crowd by event staff and cheerleaders stumbled over themselves (sometimes literally) in order to get the loudest most noticeable cheer.
The event’s organizer Mary Beth Sloan was very positive about the effect and impact the gathering was having.
“I think the goal of the event really is to brand Irving and let the community know what great amenities we have, what great schools we have, restaurants, clubs, and all the opportunities that are in Irving,” Sloan said. “WFAA said this is the largest group they’ve had yet, so I think that’s success.”
Last Updated on Friday, 03 August 2012 15:41
Written by Phil Cerroni
Joshua Experience joins Olympic champions to share their faith at London Olympics
By Elaine Paniszczyn
Meeting in Terminal A at Dallas International Airport July 25, a big band, an Olympian, a boxing champion, and members of Lay Witness for Christ embarked on a trip to the Olympics in London to share their religious beliefs and faith with the athletes, spectators and others willing to listen to their message.
Irving resident Larry Randall, formerly known as ‘the sax man,’ started the Christian big band named Joshua Experience ten years ago. He said their trip to the 2012 Olympics is a miracle and part of a vision that began for him on a mountain top in Rio de Janerio. But the road to that mountain top was long and winding.
After college, Randall toured the United Stated with The Big Beats, a rock band he still plays with several times a year.
“We started out doing the Dick Clark Show and Caravan of Stars,” Randall said.“We recorded with Buddy Holly, Buddy Knox and Roy Orbison.”
Returning to Irving, he formed the Larry Randall Group.
“We played at the Las Colinas Country Club for years and years,” Randall said. “We played for charitable events for the Irving community such as the Irving Ball and Irving Symphony.
“We built night clubs and had some big ones in the Dallas/Fort Worth area: The Place Across the Street, The Nutcracker, and Cowboy Bob Lilly’s The Other Place. We ended up having five of those including New Orleans, Memphis, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas. The last night club I owned was in the French Indies.
“You can see, I was not doing the Lord’s work at that time, but it prepared my soul to know the difference between good and evil,” Randall said.
Then, Comedian Ben Sanders convinced Randall that he should be working on cruise ships. After his first gig on the Crystal Harmony, they booked him for 300 days a year for the next 13 years.
“About 12 years into the 13, I was at sea in the Indian Ocean writing secular lyrics for a friend of mine from England, who I’d met on the ships,” Randall said. “Instead of writing ‘I want to dance on the beach, Baby’ I wrote ‘Dear Lord, won’t you come into my heart,’ and I said, ‘where did that come from?’
“My friend was writing for J. Lo. and didn’t want a Christian song, so I wrote some secular words for him and then wrote music to go with the words I had written for the Christian song,” Randall said. “After that, about 30 of those things came. The words and the music came at once. I have the manuscripts. You can see that there are no erasures from beginning to end.
“After a while, an inner voice came to me: You know, you’re not doing this, right? And I felt the Lord ask me: What are you doing to do with the music? And I didn’t know,” Randall said.
A year later, in Rio de Janerio on the tram up Corcovado Mountainon his way to see the Christ the Redeemer statue, Randall said he saw the world’s largest soccer stadium down below and felt called by God to fill the stadium. That may seem off topic form this year’s trip to the 2012 Olympics in London, but not to Larry Randall or his band members. The 2016 Olympics are in Rio de Janerio.
“London is a stepping stone,” Randall’s wife Orlando said. “We’ll know what to do and how to get there for Rio.”
The couple met at a bible study after Randall left his cruise ship career behind and returned to Irving.
The Joshua Experience band is a group of volunteers. The trip cost them $140,000 just for airfare. They do not belong to a huge, wealthy church that could help fund the trip.
“We have Catholics and messianic Jews and Episcopalians, just to mention a few,” Randall said. “We’re from Weatherford, Duncanville, McKinney, all over the DFW area. We’re lawyers, veterinarians, school teachers, accountants, pilots. We did not have any place to get the money, but there was never a doubt that God would provide that money for us, and He more than supplied the money.”
In London, they will sleep on mattresses on the floor of a girls’ gymnasium. Some band members said they hope to get to see at least one event and maybe see some of the sights, but that is not the purpose of their trip.
“We are working with Lay Witness for Christ, who has a team of athletes and pastors,” Randall said. “Some of our team members will be going out during the day with flyers announcing our evening events at area churches which will include Carl Lewis and Harlem Globe Trotters.”
“The athletes will be sharing their testimonies, and the big band will play some of the music for the evening,” Mrs. Randall said. “We are primarily witnessing to the Olympians. We have a 10-day span Two or three hundred of us will be with Dr. Sam Moon’s Lay Witness for Christ Ministries, a group who has been witnessing at the Olympics for 35 years. Dr. Cho’s church in Korea is also joining us.
“We have been working diligently to get ready for London for the last two years,” Mrs. Randall said. “Our band members may not be preachers or evangelists, but God gave them music. For 2016, we have the vision of going to the Olympics and filling up that stadium in Rio. That may not be the way it will happen, but that is our goal.
Through Aug 12 in London, Stars for Christ themed events will include concerts, performers, speakers, pastors, authors and athletes. Stars for Christ Teams will rotatebetween London churches. Athletes participating will include current and former Olympians, nationalchampions and other world-class athletes.
In 1988, Joe DeLoach won the gold medal in the 200 meters race and set a new Olympic record of 19.75 seconds. Also with that race, he won the distinction of being the only man to beat Carl Lewis in the 200 meters.
Lewis had recruited DeLoach for the University of Houston track team. They trained together in Houston and remain friends today.
“I received a debilitating injury that prevented me from competing after that,” DeLoach said.“But I have since gone back to help with these outreaches with the Lay Ministers of Christ Ministry every time.”
Lewis, who won 10 Olympic medals, will join DeLoach and other athletes in London volunteering for Lay Ministers of Christ.
Dallas resident Javier Alvarez, aUnited States Amateur Boxing Heavyweight Champion, is another of the athletes who will give his testimony during the trip.
“In the heavy weight boxing division, I won two gold medals at the U.S. Nationals in 1989 and 1990, and I won four silver medals consecutively from 1991 to 1995,” Alvarez said.
Today, Alvarez works with the City of Dallas as senior contract compliance administrator.
“I oversee developments for the housing department,” Alvarez said.
He no longer boxes but does some coaching on the side. This is his fourth Olympics with Lay Ministers for Christ.
“We do sports clinics for the kids of the community, and we do speaking engagements as well,” Alvarez said. “I tell stories about my boxing and about my sport. Other athletes tell about their sport.
“At the clinics, I don’t really help them with boxing because it’s too extreme of a sport. I bring my equipment, and I do exhibitions for the kids, and I tell them what the boxing program is about.
“We give them the opportunity to witness to them. We give them our testimony at various outreaches.”
Alvarez also traveled to the Olympics in Australia, Atlanta and Barcelona with the group.
“I am looking forward to watching the US boxing team,” Alvarez said.“This is the inauguration for the women’s boxing program, which started in 1994. I was one of the co-creators of the women’s boxing program here in the United States, and now it is going to be at the Olympic level for the first time. That is something I am proud of.”
Dr. Sam Ming, Lay Witnesses for Christ International founder, has been chaplain to world champions for more than 35 years.
“We are excited to be going to London.” Ming said, “This is our eighth Olympic trip, and we just believe in God for our greatest ever harvest of souls. They come to us because of the Olympic athletes, who will be speaking at high profile events each night on television. We’re doing 10 telecasts every night. The world is looking into London, and our desire is to share Christ with the world during that time.”
Last Updated on Friday, 03 August 2012 15:34
Written by Phil Cerroni
The 2012 ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program’s service project at the Dallas Zoo, where 30 students planted greenery and provided landscaping surrounding the Zoo’s Animal Nutrition Center. The students also received an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour.
The local program provides undergraduates paid summer internships with Dallas nonprofits. The state-of-the-art William M. Beecherl Animal Nutrition Center officially opened on June 13 of this year, increasing the efficiency of food preparation at the Zoo, which feeds 2,000 animals daily.
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 August 2012 13:15
Written by Phil Cerroni
David Van Buskirk, a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Irving, and Brooke Bradley, Jennifer Hernandez and Sandra Henry, the branch office administrators, recently were honored by the firm for their performance and client service excellence.
Van Buskirk and Bradley, Hernandez and Henry were selected to attend Edward Jones' Drucker Conference at the firm's headquarters in St. Louis.
The two-day meeting pools Edward Jones' financial advisors and branch office administrators for discussions with the firm's management about issues from simplifying and serving complex client solutions to achieving work/life balance.
The Drucker Conference is named after the late Peter Drucker, perhaps the greatest management thinker of the 20th century. The author of several influential books including, "The Effective Executive and The Practice of Management," Drucker worked as a consultant to Edward Jones from the 1980s until his death in 2005.
Edward Jones provides financial services for individual investors in the United States and, through its affiliate, in Canada. Every aspect of the firm's business, from the types of investment options offered to the location of branch offices, is designed to cater to individual investors in the communities in which they live and work. The firm's 12,000-plus financial advisors work directly with nearly 7 million clients to understand their personal goals -- from college savings to retirement -- and create long-term investment solutions that emphasize a well-balanced portfolio and a buy-and-hold strategy. Edward Jones embraces the importance of building long-term, face-to-face relationships with clients, helping them to understand and make sense of the investment options available today.
Source: Edward Jones
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 August 2012 13:07
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