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DART and Trinity Metro Rail Lines to Connect at DFW Airport

On Tuesday, April 14, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Board of Directors unanimously approved a resolution authorizing a payment of $21.5 million to Trinity Metro for reimbursement of project costs incurred by Trinity Metro in the construction of approximately 2-miles of rail and platform facilities linking the Cotton Belt line to the DFWIA Terminal B passenger rail platform. The reimbursement is associated with the facilities to be shared by the DART Silver Line. In addition, DART will provide Trinity Metro $6 million for access rights to Terminal B at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport for the future DART Silver Line project once it begins revenue service in 2023. The Trinity Metro Board of Directors approved the agreement on Monday, April 13.

“The Silver Line helps address strong demand by a growing number of residents and employees in the eastern portion of the region for a convenient and efficient connection to DFW Airport,” said Paul N. Wageman, chairman of the DART Board of Directors. “We are pleased to finalize the agreement with Trinity Metro. It marks another important right of way segment that DART has secured and is critically needed to complete the construction of the Silver Line.”

With revenue service scheduled for 2023, the 26-mile Silver Line project will traverse seven cities between DFW Airport, Grapevine, Coppell, Dallas, Carrollton, Addison, Richardson, and Plano, and include 10 new stations. The primary purpose of the Silver Line is to provide passenger rail connections and service that will improve mobility, accessibility and system linkages to major employment, population, and activity centers in the northern part of the DART service area.

When completed, the $1.3 billion Silver Line will connect with the Trinity Metro TEXRail commuter rail line at DFW North station providing access to Downtown Fort Worth and various other Tarrant County locales. The Silver Line will also connect with the Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) A-train commuter rail line providing access to various Denton County locations, DART’s Green Line providing access to Dallas Love Field and Downtown Dallas via Downtown Carrollton Station, and DART’s Red and Orange Lines at CityLine/Bush Station, giving riders easy access to Downtown Plano and the eastern side of the DART network.

More information about the DART Silver Line Regional Rail project can be found at www.dart.org/silverline.

What is a Blue Alert in Texas? Authorities issue one for suspect after Burleson officer is shot

As law enforcement searches for a suspect accused of shooting a Burleson police officer multiple times Wednesday, millions of Texans may be notified on their phone to be on the lookout with a Blue Alert.

The Blue Alert was launched in Texas in 2008 when then-governor Rick Perry signed Executive Order RP-68. 

It was created to let residents across the state know when an offender who killed or seriously injured a federal, state, or local law enforcement officer in the line of duty is on the run. 

According to DPS, four criteria must be met to issue the alert:

  • A law enforcement officer must have been killed or seriously injured by an offender.
  • The investigating law enforcement agency must determine that the offender poses a serious risk or threat to the public and other law enforcement personnel.
  • A detailed description of the offender’s vehicle, vehicle tag, or partial tag must be available for broadcast to the public.
  • The investigating law enforcement agency of jurisdiction must recommend the activation of the Blue Alert to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).

Texas is one of the 34 states that currently have the system in place. 

Wednesday’s alert was an effort to locate 39-year-old Jerry Elders, who is described as a 5’11” white man with brown hair and blue eyes, weighing approximately 165 pounds.

He was last seen in Johnson County in a silver 2014 Toyota Tacoma truck with license DKB6819.

Anyone who sees him or has information should call Burleson Police Department at 817-426-9903.

Police officer shot multiple times during traffic stop in north Texas

Photo: WDTV

An officer with the Burleson Police Department in north Texas was shot multiple times during a traffic stop, authorities said in a tweet Wednesday morning.

It happened around 4:15 a.m.

The officer was transported to John Peter Smith hospital in Fort Worth.

His condition was not immediately disclosed by authorities.

A neighborhood near the scene was locked down, according to KRLD.

According to police audio heard after the shooting, three men were in a car and took off with the officer’s gun. The men are at-large.

“Officer-involved shooting. We have an officer that was shot. Car is occupied by three males. They were last seen heading Southwest . They also took the officer’s firearm,” dispatch said.

Police say that if anyone has information or sees something suspicious, they should call 911.

Burleson is about 15 miles south of Fort Worth.

Read more at Texas Police News or KRLD…

Grapevine PD Celebrates National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

Every year during the second week of April, the telecommunications personnel in the public safety community, are honored. This week-long event, initially set up in 1981 by Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office in California, is a time to celebrate and thank those who dedicate their lives to serving the public. It is a week that should be set aside so everyone can be made aware of their hard work and dedication.

On the Grapevine Police Twitter account, they posted their appreciation for the Mayor’s recognition of this important week.

The NPSTW website states that, “We encourage all of you to celebrate and honor yourselves, your co-workers, your bosses and your employees. Host a party, reach out to your local media and public officials, or launch an awards program. Use the tools and suggestions on this blog to help you make National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week 2021 a memorable one for you and your colleagues.

“Thank you, again, for all the sacrifices you make to create a better and safer world for the public. Your commitment to your profession is appreciated by all of APCO International, the public safety communications community, and the citizens you serve.”

AJ Hinch receives warm welcome during return to Houston

A.J. Hinch received a warm reception from Houston Astros fans in his first game back at Minute Maid since being fired as manager and suspended by Major League Baseball.

Before the game, the Detroit Tigers manager exchanged hugs with Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, hitting coach Alex Cintron and second baseman Jose Altuve.

During a Zoom news conference with Houston-area reporters, Hinch struggled to find words to express how he’s feeling about returning to Minute Maid Park.

“I wish I had a great quote or the words or the right thing to say about what I’m feeling,” he said while admitting it’s “weird.”

“I do have to focus on the good things that happened here.”

Read more from MSN.com…

NASA Celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the Inaugural Space Shuttle (STS-1)

The Space Shuttle Columbia began a new era of human spaceflight when STS-1 lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 12, 1981, for the inaugural flight of the nation’s Space Shuttle Program. To mark the occasion, NASA is providing historical b-roll footage of the launch and landing as well as recently recorded soundbites from retired astronaut Bob Crippen.

Aboard the spacecraft were commander John W. Young and pilot Crippen. The flight was a test mission and the first time a shuttle was flown to space. Columbia lifted off at 7 a.m. from Launch Pad 39A and was NASA’s first crewed mission since the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. The launch occurred 20 years to the day after the first human launch when cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin orbited Earth in the Vostok 1 capsule on April 12, 1961. Columbia concluded STS-1 on April 14, 1981, with a touchdown at Edwards Air Force Base, California, after a 54-hour mission.

The mission objective was to demonstrate the safe launch into orbit and safe return of the orbiter and crew. The mission also verified the combined performance of the entire shuttle vehicle, orbiter, solid rocket boosters, and external tank. Payloads included the Developmental Flight Instrumentation (DFI) and the Aerodynamic Coefficient Identifications Package (ACIP) pallet containing equipment for recording temperatures, pressures, and acceleration levels at various points on the spacecraft.

Between the first launch in 1981 and the final landing on July 21, 2011, NASA’s space shuttle fleet – Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour – flew 135 missions, helped construct the International Space Station, and inspired generations.

As humanity’s first reusable spacecraft, the space shuttle pushed the bounds of discovery ever farther, requiring not only advanced technologies but the tremendous effort of a vast workforce.

Crippen spoke via computer for a recent episode of NASA’s Rocket Ranch podcast. During the interview, Crippen discusses his experience as STS-1 pilot, the spacecraft’s historic launch and landing, the discovery of missing heat tiles during the mission, and the shuttle program legacy. Soundbites from that interview, along with historical photos and b-roll footage, can be found on NASA image site using the links below.  

For videos, click HERE and HERE. All photos and videos are courtesy of NASA.

VERIFY: Yes, FEMA will pay funeral expenses for people who died from COVID-19

By Matt Gregory

Hundreds of thousands of American families have been forced to grieve through the pandemic. Does the government have plans to step in to help with funeral costs?

QUESTION:

Is FEMA paying funeral expenses for people who died from COVID-19?

ANSWER:

There is a plan to pay for funerals and reimburse funerals that already took place.

“FEMA, through their individual assistance program has the ability to pay for funeral expenses,” Elizabeth Zimmerman, the former FEMA associate administrator for the Office of Response and Recovery, said.

According to Zimmerman, FEMA can pay for funerals after a president declares a disaster.

“Typically, funeral expenses are covered on a cost-share basis,” she said. “So, FEMA would pay 75%, and the states would be responsible for 25%.”

RELATED: FEMA will help cover some funeral costs for COVID victims. Here’s what you need to apply

Former President Trump already declared the pandemic a disaster in 2020. But it wasn’t until this week, Congress gave FEMA $2 billion to pay for funerals.

“This new policy, and the authorities that Congress gave to FEMA, in order to pay 100% of the cost for the funeral expenses,” she said.

Read more from WUSA9…

142 Houstonians tested positive for COVID-19 after getting vaccine

The Houston Health Department says dozens of people have tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated.

That means they were infected with the virus more than two weeks after getting either two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Doctors refer to those cases as breakthrough infections or vaccine failures. 

Dr. David Persse with the Houston Health Department says breakthrough infections happen with all vaccines but there’s no cause for alarm.

“It’s not a surprise at all that we would see a small number of people test positive after being vaccinated. Our back of the napkin math would have been a little higher than this,” said Dr. Persse.

Read more from KHOU…

Jakes Burgers and Beer focuses on community in Grapevine

By Ian Pribanic

From left: Jakes Burgers and Beer team members include Luis Gonzales, Laura Hill, Mike Akers, Kendra Shier, Jenny Donovan, owner Diane Garvey, Jill Price and owner Greg Garvey. (Courtesy Jakes Burgers and Beer)

From the onset of the coronavirus pandemic last March, family-owned Jakes Burgers and Beer in Grapevine has worked to set a standard for sanitation and to make guests feel comfortable, said Kendra Shier, vice president of operations for seven Jakes locations across Dallas-Fort Worth.

Jakes Burgers continues to do more than is necessary to keep diners safe, Shier said, with regular cleanings every two hours, a face mask requirement for employees and employee health checks.

The Grapevine Main Street location, which has been open since 2012, has also found ways to stay engaged with the community, she said.

“We really [focused] on taking extra care of our guests to make sure we were there to add a little brightness,” Shier said. “We’re a family-owned business. These are our friends, and this is our home.”

In facing numerous obstacles, including a disruption to the restaurant industry’s supply chain, it was teamwork that has helped Jakes Burgers and Beer weather the pandemic and the recent winter storms, Shier said.

Read more from Community Impact…

Irving-LC Changemakers Present ‘COVID-19: Lessons Learned One Year Later

To register, or for more information, click HERE.