Author Archives: StaceyD

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.

DART Celebrates Opening of Hidden Ridge Station in Irving

On April 9, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) celebrated the opening of the Hidden Ridge Station at Carpenter Ranch in Irving, the 65th station in the DART network. Developed in partnership with the City of Irving and Verizon Communications, the new station is located on the Orange Line between North Lake College and Irving Convention Center stations.

Originally a part of the 3.9-mile Irving-2 opening of the Orange Line in December 2012, Hidden Ridge Station (formerly known as Carpenter Ranch Station) had been deferred in anticipation of Verizon Communications’ Hidden Ridge development, a planned 110-acre mixed-use project which will feature 1,200 apartments and residences; 80,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space; a hotel; and a two-acre green space with amenities.

Constructed by Archer Western Construction with Jacobs serving as the design consultant, DART’s Hidden Ridge Station will offer amenities such as a 136-space parking lot; six bus bays for making connections and transfers; five kiss-and-ride spaces for a convenient drop-off and pickup, and of course a short trip to DFW Airport.

As with all DART stations, including an Art and Design Program that reflects the community it serves is important in the creation of each DART station. Marty Ray, a ceramic artist and former Professor Emerita of Art at Dallas College-North Lake Campus, is responsible for the artwork at Hidden Ridge Station. Since the station is located on Carpenter Ranch, once the homestead of Las Colinas founder Ben Carpenter, the art plays off the land’s history. The installation also reflects the natural elements of the land, wildlife, and nearby creek.

The DART Hidden Ridge Station will begin revenue service on Monday, April 12.

North Texas home prices surge to unheard-of levels

Photo: Dallas Morning News

North Texas home prices rose at the fastest clip in more than a decade in March.

The median price of a single-family house sold by area real estate agents jumped by 16% to $312,000 last month. That’s the highest price ever for property sales in North Texas.

The price per square foot of homes sold rose even faster — up 19% from March 2020, according to a new report from the Texas Real Estate Research Center and North Texas Real Estate Information Systems.

The surge in home prices in North Texas comes as the shortage of homes for sale worsened.

Only 6,085 single-family homes were listed for sale with local real estate agents in March — less than a one-month supply at current sales rates. There were 71% fewer houses on the market in North Texas than a year ago.

There are fewer homes for sale in North Texas than at any time in more than two decades.

Read more from Real Estate Break…

A Lax Lacrosse Program: What’s Up with That?

Today, I happened upon a girls’ Lacrosse game as I drove by the Middle School near my house. The school has a football field and a track, so I am used to seeing kids out there during the school week, folks of all kinds walking the track when the kids aren’t using it and people using the field for sporting events. I wrote about my experience with Flag Football last month, and as of the publishing of this article, “Dem Boyz” are first in their league!

Today’s games were all-girls’ Lacrosse. As I walked up to find someone “official” to speak with, I heard a lot of laughter and teasing from the girls that were playing. That made me smile. I know that playing sports helps girls’ self-esteem and also helps them expand their social circles.

According to ESPN and the Women’s’ Sports Association, studies show that playing sports increased girls’ confidence, body image, academic performance and personal relationships. That’s pretty awesome in this crazy world of COVID, girls telling other girls to “just go kill yourself,” at the slightest perceived infraction on social media and dealing with silly girl stuff, like rumors.

I say “silly” because it all happened to me when I was a kid (Except social media. All I had was a telephone), and it would sometimes temporarily ruin my world. Now that I’m an adult, I see how ridiculous (and mean) this stuff is. So, it was really nice to see smiles and laughter instead of cruelty.

Chandler Ferguson, who is the father of 6th grade player, Ryleigh, explained to me what makes these games different from school or sponsored leagues.

“For this league, you just show up and play. Basically, you show up and get assigned white or blue,” Ferguson explained. “If one team is [obviously] better than another, they’ll reassign kids so they can get a wider range of play. We don’t keep score; I mean, the coaches kind of know what the score is. I call them, ‘Coach,’ but they’re really there to kind of make sure the field is even, so they’ll move players around, so the game is competitive in its own right,” Ferguson added.

“The girls don’t seem to care what the score is anyway. They’re just out there to have fun. Look around and you won’t see scoreboards or anything,” Ferguson added. “I think a lot of the girls know each other, so it’s a social activity in that sense. They can come out here and play with their friends.

“It’s been great for my daughter because she can watch the older girls play. She’s said, ‘They can do this, so I can try to do it too.’ She has individual lessons with Faith and plays on a Club Team, she plays out here and she plays for Grapevine MP, too.

“I coach the Mustang-Panther Girls Youth Team. (K-8th) We have teams for different age groups: K-2, then a 3-4, then a 5 – 6 team and a 7-8 team,” Ferguson explained.

The program is called, “Just Play Lax,” and is the brainchild of Faith Renner and her partner, Chris. Last year (2020) was their inaugural year.

“We just wanted to give the kids in North Texas an additional opportunity for playing girls’ Lacrosse. The only opportunities really are the school and town teams, but it’s not a UIL sport yet. We wanted them to have a way to play that wasn’t focused on instruction or critiquing but focused more on letting them just play.

“I think the need was there, and so when you start something to meet that need, people will take advantage of it.

Faith said they really didn’t even have to advertise, as word of mouth brought girls and their parents out to see what it’s like to have a laid-back game or two.

According to the website, Just Play Lax offers a, “7 vs. 7 playing opportunity for girls. With just 12 total field players (plus 2 goalies) in a 30-yard x 65-yard playing area, each player will receive maximum touches on the ball. More repetitions in a game setting means more opportunity for development and more opportunity to try new moves. Players will be more willing to be creative and less afraid to make mistakes – a perfect combination to improve your game and prepare for the spring season.”

No matter what the mission is or who the players are, it was very nice to hear encouragement instead of criticism, laughter instead of anger or tears and proud moms and dads who are super-supportive of their daughters.

Irving Officer Rescues Kittens Trapped Under Hood of Car

Four kittens are alive and well, thanks to the actions of Nimitz High‘s School Resource Officer (SRO), Brent Conder of the Irving Police Department.

The cats were trapped under the hood of a student’s car. The student approached Officer Conder after hearing the kittens crying from inside the engine compartment, but he was unable to reach the animals from the hood area.

He crawled under the vehicle, removed the plastic cover on the bottom of the engine area, and was then able to reach the kittens, which are all now safe and back with Mama Kitty.

The student, who is part of Nimitz’s Cheer Team, gave Officer Conder a shoutout on the organization’s Instagram page for his efforts.

Governor Abbott Issues Executive Order Prohibiting Government-Mandated Vaccine Passports

Governor Greg Abbott today issued an Executive Order prohibiting state agencies or political subdivisions in Texas from creating a “vaccine passport” requirement, or otherwise conditioning receipt of services on an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination status. The order also prohibits organizations receiving public funds from requiring consumers to provide documentation of vaccine status in order to receive any service or enter any place.

“Everyday, Texans are returning to normal life as more people get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. But, as I’ve said all along, these vaccines are always voluntary and never forced,” said Governor Abbott. “Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal private health information just to go about their daily lives. That is why I have issued an Executive Order that prohibits government-mandated vaccine passports in Texas. We will continue to vaccinate more Texans and protect public health — and we will do so without treading on Texans’ personal freedoms.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO

READ ORDER HERE

Editor’s Corner: I got yelled at by a turkey and loved it!

I decided to visit one of my favorite venues in Grapevine, Nash Farm, on Saturday 4/3. I had driven by and seen a trailer of kids being pulled around by a tractor for a good old-fashioned hayride and wondered what was going on.

Apparently, it was a preview for their big post-winter event, called, “Spring into Nash,” which is celebrating its 20th year on April 17.

I got there a little late to get photos of all of the activities, but a few stragglers remained. Kids were throwing boiled eggs at one another and their parents, and all of them were running around, enjoying the beautiful day.

I took my time and spoke to some of the parents and staff. I wandered around the farm to see the new lambs that were there with their mamas and to visit my favorite, the turkeys. There were even a few babies in the turkey pen, while mama took a (probably well-deserved) nap and daddy turkey gobbled at me and spread his beautiful plumage.

The staff let the sheep out after most of the visitors had left, and I enjoyed watching the parade of ewes going by, some with their lambs in tow.

It’s always fun at Nash because it is a working farm! The crops are grown and sold locally. When one crop is done for the season, the staff prepares the soil for the next one. They grow all kinds of things, such as corn, wheat and other produce.

They also have their staff dress in clothing from the 1800’s and the actual farmhouse contains only items from that time period, as the original land was bought by Thomas Jefferson Nash in 1859.

Visiting the farm always rejuvenates me when I’m feeling worn down. With COVID, two funerals and a general spell of not-so-great things happening in my life these past few weeks, I definitely needed that roll down the grassy hill, being told off by papa turkey and seeing the cute little lambs. All of it reminded me that time goes on, and we will all be okay in our own way.


ICYMI: H-E-B expanding into the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex

Texas favorite H-E-B is moving to conquer another huge market in the state–the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

On Friday, the grocery chain announced plans to bring their stores to the DFW Metroplex in 2022.

The stores will open flagship H-E-B stores in Plano and Frisco in the fall of next year.

The company’s Central Market stores have been in the DFW area since 2001, and H-E-B stores have been built in nearby communities like Burleson, Hudson Oaks, Granbury, and Waxahachie.

But actual H-E-B stores haven’t been available to shoppers in Dallas-Fort Worth.

“This is an exciting day as we share plans to expand our presence in the DFW market with the introduction of H-E-B, our flagship banner, to our growing network of stores,” said Stephen Butt, President – Central Market Division of H-E-B. “For the past 20 years, Central Market has been committed to earning customers’ trust, and H-E-B Partners will work hard to earn the confidence of the many new shoppers we look forward to serving in the Plano and Frisco communities.”

H-E-B will open one store in Frisco at the northeast corner of Legacy Dr. and Main St., and one store in Plano at the southwest corner of Preston Rd. and Spring Creek Parkway.

Additional details about the new stores will be shared at the groundbreakings, which are projected for this summer.

Source: CBS Austin

How Chauvin trial has impacted its witnesses

The first days of testimony at the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s death were dominated by witnesses to his arrest and countless videos that forced them to relive the trauma of it all over again. 

One man who shouted “You can’t win!” at Floyd as the Black man struggled with police, bowed his head and sobbed on the stand. The teenager who shot widely seen bystander video cried as she talked about her guilt over not being able to help Floyd. A firefighter trained as an EMT broke down as she described her frustration because police prevented her from acting to save Floyd’s life. The young cashier who reported that Floyd used a $20 counterfeit bill to buy cigarettes — prompting a call to police — recalled his guilt as he watched Floyd struggling to breathe.

Attorneys on both sides at the trial of former Officer Derek Chauvin face a delicate balance in questioning witnesses who have experienced such pain while trying to advance their cases. The testimony raises questions about how witnesses who have suffered trauma are treated when they participate in the criminal justice system.

New York Law School criminal law professor Kirk Burkhalter, a former detective who leads a program on police reform, said the bystander testimony has been a powerful reminder of how police misconduct is a betrayal to the entire community. 

“These people have been walking around with this pain for a year, unbeknownst to us,” he said. “They were victims of a crime. We just cannot forget that. They were trying to do their civic duty and they were prevented from interceding in something that was just completely horrible.”

Read more from Texas Police News…