Category Archives: Inspiration

Soul Line-Dancing Provides Freedom of Expression, Local Studio Provides Much More

I was fortunate enough to meet Flower Mound resident Isha “Boomerang” Hutchinson today at the Grapevine Middle School track on Pony Parkway. He is the proprietor of 410 Line Dancers, which is based in Coppell.

They offer soul line-dancing lessons, ranging from the easiest to most complex dances. They provide soul line-dance lessons to all, regardless of age or dance skill level, in a safe dance studio environment. There are no partners needed to learn the line dances to favorite Hip-Hop, R&B, Jazz, Zydeco, House, Dance, and Pop music. 

“We teach beginner, intermediate and advanced soul line dancing,” said Hutchinson.

Hutchinson is called “Boomerang” because that was his pledge name in the fraternity Omega Psi Phi. While Hutchinson pledged in 2004, his former business partner, Jerry, pledged in 2010. As a result, the name 410 was born.

“Soul line dancing is similar to Country Line Dancing, but it’s set to more soul music, R&B (Rhythm and Blues), Jazz, Zydeco music – all these different types of music,” Boomerang explained. “Really a lot of the movements are the same, but it’s a whole different culture. You don’t have to wear cowboy boots. And it’s a whole national culture as well.

“With our group, we travel. There’s always line dancing conferences when we are not limited by something like COVID. Normally, we travel to other parts of the country. We don’t compete – it’s just for fun. [Conferences are] more networking and socializing and camaraderie and just to have fun. You get to meet the people you’ve seen on YouTube. People create dances and put them online. We watch them and then meet up at conferences to get to know each other,” Hutchinson said.

Soul-line dancing has become a popular sensation recently.

“For me, I started this because I used to go to clubs here in Dallas and I would do ‘The Wobble’ [dance] and stuff like that – the same dances that everybody does,” said Hutchinson. “At this club, every once in a while, they’d throw a new [dance] in there that I hadn’t seen. I think the fun is when you get to get out there with everybody and you get to do your own thing. You take the dance and learn the steps, but then you can make it your dance. You have to put your own flavor to it.

“With this group [at the club], they didn’t really want me to be a part of what they were doing. It seemed a lot more personal at the time,” said Hutchinson. “I felt that they were being exclusive. Looking back now, I can see that wasn’t necessarily true. But I decided to start my own [dance business] that’s not exclusive.”

Boomerang’s former club is no longer in business.

“If they hadn’t gone out of business, I wouldn’t be where I am now. My [business] was really built on being inclusive – no inner circles, no cliques, no special treatment, no nothing. I do not want any of that. Then we started realizing pretty fast that there are people there for a lot of reasons that aren’t dance-related,” Boomerang said.

“Some are there because they are new to the Dallas/Fort Worth area and want to make friends, or they’re going through a mental, physical or emotional injury that they’re recovering from, so that inclusiveness became a lot more important. We fancy ourselves as a place to come in and be part of a family, and we care about them, and we really try to work on building their self-confidence and self-esteem, and it just happens to be through dancing,” Boomerang explained.

Boomerang himself has gotten a lot out of this endeavor and has also helped many people.

“First of all, [establishing this business] has enabled me to be creative because I can create dances and I can be creative in how to build a business from ‘ground zero’ to whatever it is. And I am also creative with designing clothes. I design head-to-toe, and that’s created some opportunities for us and what we’ve been able to do.

“We’ve had some movies companies come and ask us, ‘Would you like to design stuff for us?’ so we try to include our students in that, so they can really build their confidence. We do a lot of TV production. On one of my YouTube channels, we interview the other line dance choreographers and instructors, and that thing has gotten so popular.

“Initially we let our students do that and PSAs [public service announcements] as a confidence-builder. We do a lot of commercials because I’m good at Adobe After Effects and I’m a professional photographer and videographer. We do photo shoots and that builds [students’] confidence up. We do all kinds of different stuff,” Boomerang said.

“Now with COVID, we had to take it virtual, and that’s expanded our reach. So now, we have students all over the country. We get together virtually to celebrate birthdays, and I do an annual awards program where they get awarded [for their accomplishments] and then we throw our conference. So, we have that coming up. We keep a lot of things going on that help build [students] up,” said Boomerang.

However, 410 does a lot more than offer dance lessons.

“We also do public relations and help students who own their own businesses learn how to write press releases and things like that. This year, I have been mentoring my students about a lot of political science stuff,” Boomerang said.

“I’ve been telling them, as bipartisan as I can, about the difference between the two parties. A lot of people don’t know the differences between Republican and Democrat. I try to be matter of fact. I tell them, ‘This is what Democrats believe and this is what Republicans believe. Whatever matches up best with your own beliefs is probably the party you need to look at most, and it might be a little of one and a little of the other.’ [My students] need to know what [people] are saying when they say things like: Left wing, right wing, middle wing, conservative, liberal, socialist, and all of that so they can make an educated choice. I am really trying to help them to vote wisely,” Boomerang said.

Boomerang’s classes meet twice a week. For more information, visit https://www.410linedancers.com, call 469-464-9104 or email 410linedancers@gmail.com.

“No Cliques, No Drama…Just GREAT Dancing!!!”

North Texas Police Officer Who Doubles as ‘Captain America’ Gets New Superhero Look for Ride

On Wednesday morning, Midlothian Police Officer Christopher Douglas got a custom new look for his alter-ego ride.

“He said he wanted it Captain America-themed,” Nick Daryanani of ‘Jekyll and Hyde’s Custom Car Wrap’ in Dallas said.

“The real hero in him is going out and changing those kids’ lives.”

Officer Douglas dresses up as Captain America to visit sick children in DFW area hospitals. He brought in his Chevy Silverado to get a custom Captain America wrap, but didn’t know until the reveal on Wednesday that Daryanani would not take payment for it. The wrap was free.

Douglas dropped to his knees, overcome with emotion when workers lifted the tarp to show the truck.

“I knew it was going to be remarkable, I just didn’t know this,” Douglas said. “Unbelievable!”

Read more from NBCDFW Channel 5…

Homeless Detroit man bought abandoned house, spent 10 years renovating for wife

Work hard and never give up. It may sound trite, but perseverance can yield some amazing results. Such is the case for one Detroit man, who found himself homeless. With ten years of hard work, he was able to turn an abandoned house into a dream home.

The Road To The Abandoned House

Michael Gray, who is 67 years old and elegant-looking in a pinstripe suit and bow tie, cuts a fine picture. Surprisingly, just ten years ago, he was homeless. Struggling to find a job in Detroit, where he had lived all his life, things were tough.

“I had been going through a rough time in my life,” he confesses. “I was staying with my niece and sleeping in her basement.” His difficulty finding jobs was due to the difficult economic situation of Detroit, rather than his own situation. Gray has a good education and worked a variety of jobs in his life.

In 1986, he graduated from Spring Arbor University with a double major in English and psychology. While in his niece’s basement, he, “began to craft my rehab skills working as a laborer for guys who were fixing up homes to rent,” he said

His Nephew’s Abandoned House

In spite of this, in 2008 something life-changing happened. While riding his bike, Gray was struck by a car. For many of us, this would seem like one more misfortune in a long series of them. Fortunately, Michael Gray is more resilient than most. He took the settlement money he received from the accident and used it to purchase a house. “My wife had been with me through thick and thin,” says Gray. “And I told her that I was going to give her a house that she would be really proud to keep, live in, and show off.” At the time, Cynthia, his now-wife, was still his fiancee. 

Gray purchased the abandoned property from his nephew, a broker for Global Property Investment Group. The company deals in commercial real estate, but when properties in their holdings weren’t suitable, they could be sold to private buyers–such as Gray.

The Condition of The Abandoned House

Gray paid $1,500 for the abandoned house, but many locals were wondering if it was worth it. There were loose wires sticking out from the walls. There were a variety of pests, including mites, mice and spiders. The paint was peeling. The bathroom was covered in rust – not that it mattered because the plumbing was just not working. Nevertheless, Gray moved in.

“In Detroit, if you’re not there, or you don’t have someone there, someone will come in and take your stuff,” Gray explained. “It’s gone in a matter of 15 minutes.” Determined to, “make it a family home forever,” Gray slept on an air mattress in one of the four bedrooms, while he, “tore everything out, all the way down to the studs.” 

Gray did almost everything himself, and what he couldn’t do alone, friends assisted with. In 2012, he’d transformed most of the abandoned house into the home he had dreamed of–although repairs and renovations are still ongoing.

DFW Airport Interfaith Chaplaincy hosts RISE UP Prayer Breakfast on August 28

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Dr. Tony Evans

The DFW Airport Interfaith Chaplaincy holds a Prayer Breakfast every year, and despite the COVID pandemic, the “show” will go on. Called RISE UP, the breakfast will be held virtually on August 28 at 9am and will feature keynote speaker Dr. Tony Evans.

“We are excited to have Dr. Tony Evans as our guest speaker at this year’s RISE UP Prayer Breakfast,” said Father Greg McBrayer, who is the Chairman of DFW Interfaith Chaplaincy. “He is one of the greatest preachers you’ll ever hear. He is very practical and always delivers his [message] in a context that everyone can understand.”

Dr. Evans is senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, which has around 10,000 regular parishioners, and he is one of the most well known and beloved preachers in the nation. Pastor Evans has authored over 100 books and has been heard on radio stations nationally for more than 30 years. He is also the founder and president of The Urban Alternative, which is a Christian Bible teaching and resource ministry.

“DFW Airport Interfaith Chaplaincy is blessed to have ministers from Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship on our Associate Chaplains staff and part of our Internship Program. We are all looking forward to hearing Dr. Evans encouragement message to help us navigate these challenging times,” McBrayer said.

Tickets are available now for $35, which covers the viewing of the program as well as a $10 gift card to either Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts. All proceeds will go to the DFW Airport Interfaith Chaplaincy.

RiseUp Flyer Graphic

Download the flyer HERE

Purchase Tickets HERE

Questions? Email Jennifer Buchanan at info@dfwairportchapel.org

The Man Who Ate Cheeseburgers…I Mean Dog Food… for a Month

By Stacey Doud

30 Days GraphicMitch Felderhoff, who is a fourth generation owner of Muenster Milling Company in Muenster, Texas, is known for his lightheartedness, practical jokes and making quality food for pooches. He is also known locally and nationally for eating nothing but his company’s dog food for 30 days to illustrate the quality of Muenster Milling Co. food. He was monitored by his family physician to make sure that he was staying healthy.

Muenster Milling Co.has been in existence since 1932, when Mitch’s great-grandfather, Joe Felderhoff, established a flour mill. The business was passed down to Mitch’s grandfather, Arthur, who, after he served his country in WWII, converted the site into a livestock feed mill.

The company also had a brief stint as a dairy feed plant because of a newly built cheese plant in Muenster that operated for close to 40 years. I wonder what kind of cheese they made? Hmmmm.

“We provided most of the dairy feed to all the dairies in the area that brought their milk into the cheese plant. Now, there’s a huge cheese plant in Amarillo as well as one in California, and the people who had owned the cheese plant here were part of the Co-Op, and so they shut this one down,” Mitch explained.

Mitch’s dad, Ronnie Felderhoff, decided to take the company in a new direction when it was his time to run the Mill, and, in 1989, Muenster Milling Co. started to produce pet food.They currently offer dog, chicken and horse feed.

Dog Obesity Slide

Mitch officially joined the company In 2007 to head the sales and marketing department, and his brother, Chad, joined in the summer of 2013, though both men had basically grown up helping out in the Mill. Now, the brothers are co-owners and work together to keep Muenster’s products meeting excellent standards, which Mitch, personally and gustatorily, found out.

So, what’s up with the month of dog food?

Mitch“We are a small company, and it’s hard to have a voice and to get the right message and information out there, and so we had to come up with an idea that other people would not be willing to do. The CEOs of Nestlé, Purina and Mars are not going to eat dog food for a month,” Mitch said.

“I came up with the idea while I was on vacation. I had been trying to think for several years about what we can do to get our message out there – to provide healthier diets to more dogs. I was on a trip with my wife and was staring at the ocean, and the thought popped into my head: ‘I bet no one has eaten dog food for a month.’”

When he started his quest, Mitch weighed around 230 pounds at 6’3”. He lost 30 of those pounds, according to the physician, but that’s not all.

His cholesterol went down 64 points, his triglycerides went down 209 points and his liver enzyme panel went down 34 points.

So, does Mitch recommend eating dog food for a while?

“No, don’t do it,” he said. “But it sure made me more aware of what I do eat and assured me that we are still making products that will keep dogs healthy and happy.”

Muenster Milling Co. dog food is available for purchase online with home delivery at https://muenstermilling.com/ or you can search for your closest retailer at https://muenstermilling.com/where-to-buy/They are looking to expand to cat foods very soon.

To watch Mitch’s 30 Days of Dog Food, complete with practical jokes and very honest critiques of his meals, watch the documentary at https://youtu.be/3Q_FPPslCWs

Grand Prairie NAACP delivers PPEs to local businesses

NAACP LogoI may have mentioned that I volunteer for a number of non-profits around the area. One of them is the Grand Prairie Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (GP NAACP).

We recently reached out to local and area businesses and inquired about their need for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). On April 21, we handed out gloves and masks to the the businesses who, though word-of-mouth, the Facebook page or email, requested them. PPEs were also handed out to the homeless and the poor in the Dalworth neighborhood, where Chapter President Angela Luckey grew up.

As of April 21, Grand Prairie has had 109 COVID-19 cases; Dallas County (the part that Grand Prairie is in) has had 65 cases and two deaths; and Tarrant County (Grand Prairie is also part of this county) has had 44 cases and one death.

PJ“The Grand Prairie NAACP is helping our essential business employees, healthcare workers and residents here in Grand Prairie,” said Chapter President Angela Luckey. “We are helping them to keep safe by providing them with masks and gloves. We also want to help one another find ways to ensure all people get tested for Coronavirus in Grand Prairie.”

Volunteers Phyllis Johnson and myself delivered to the businesses who reached out, as well as to homes of people who couldn’t leave their residence because of a medical condition, or whose caretaker did not have the proper protection.

Volunteer Phyllis Johnson said, “It is a privilege to be a part of an organization that focuses on helping the community, especially the minority community. To help distribute masks and gloves to small businesses in Grand Prairie, in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, was a heartwarming experience. People are in need. The recipients were so grateful for our efforts. One elderly lady stated she was grateful for the work that the NAACP is doing in the community.“

I had fun delivering to a couple of businesses. Their reactions were priceless. As we all probably know, PPEs are hard to find sometimes, or are just really expensive. Yet, they are required for many essential businesses. So the bags of gloves and masks, which any kid would hate to unwrap at Christmas, were received with relief and smiles.

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Me, all decked out

ABOUT NAACP:

Founded on February 12, 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest, largest and most widely recognized grassroots-based civil rights organization. It has more than a half-million members and supporters throughout the United States and the world and are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, campaigning for equal opportunity and conducting voter mobilization.

The NAACP has been working toward racial equality ever since its inception. They operate on the belief that racial segregation and discrimination limit and diminish human potential, ultimately denying the full benefits of freedom to African Americans and other minorities. The NAACP has been at the forefront of the struggle to eliminate racial disparities in the criminal justice system for decades.

In 1925, the NAACP provided legal representation for Dr. Ossian Sweet, out of Michigan, who was facing a mob of angry white people after moving into an all-white neighborhood. When the mob attacked his home, one person perished. Dr. Sweet and his brother were charged with murder.

Famed attorney Clarence Darrow, retained by the NAACP, represented Mr. Sweet. The first trial ended in a mistrial when an all-white jury could not agree. The second trial ended in a “not guilty” verdict. This early NAACP-supported case coined the phrase, “A man’s home is his castle.”

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Volunteer Phyllis Johnson (L) and Chapter President Angela Luckey get ready for PPE deliveries

The Grand Prairie Chapter of the NAACP will continue to work with their partners to bring some relief, and hopefully some smiles, to the Grand Prairie area, minority of not. “We are all inclusive,” said Luckey.

Grapevine PD spreads some cheer

Here’s an uplifting video from Grapevine Police Department. The singer is Senior Officer Willie Lain.

Grapevine residents bring smiles to their neighborhood with a chalk mural

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Jackson (L) and Jonathon (R) Schwartz stand by their mural

Jackson Schwartz, age 8, and his brother Jonathon, age 13, along with their mom, Heather, have created a beautiful mural in chalk on their fence in a neighborhood near Main Street in Grapevine.

The trio got the idea from looking around on the Internet.

“We went on social media and saw that other people were doing it, and a lot of schools [including GCISD] had posted their students’ doing it, so we jumped on board,” Heather said.

The mural is in the style of a quilt, with several squares made into a larger whole. Each boy, along with Mom, provided a square or two.

“I got the idea for my part of the mural from things I like, so I made the baseball one because of all these things happening right now and I’m missing baseball. I made the Texas flag just to represent our state,” said Jonathon.

Jackson explained that, “I made the USA one because I like USA stuff, and I made the fade one because I like fade art.”

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Close-up of the mural

“I did the peace sign at the bottom,” Heather said. “I did the rainbow one too. I wanted something bright. We put ‘This too shall pass’ because I’ve been saying it over and over. I haven’t been working for a week, and we’re home. We’re fine, so we are trying to find the positives now, and this WILL pass. I don’t doubt that.”

Let’s take a note from the Schwartz’s’ lovely gesture and remember that we are all here to help each other, whether it be with an encouraging mural, volunteering to help others or just plain, simple daily kindness. We can all get through this strange time knowing that our community cares.

Cleburne Woman Celebrates 95th Birthday in 1937 Dodge Police Car

PRESS RELEASE

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Judy Riddle gets in touch with her “inner gangster” (Photo courtesy of Richard Borisenko)

Cleburne resident Judy Riddle got a big surprise on November 17, when she went outside and saw a 1937 Dodge D7 police car waiting to pick her up.

Her daughter, Sandra Gallagher, wanted to fulfill her mother’s birthday wish to take a ride in an antique car, but had trouble finding one for hire.

“I contacted several people who owned classic vehicles, but no one could help. I understood that,” Gallagher said. “A friend of mine is the mother of retired Cleburne police officer Gary Fulenwilder, and he pointed me to [car owner] Richard Borisenko. He was happy to help.”

Riddle’s 95th birthday was the next day. “I was worried we wouldn’t be able to find anything,” Gallagher explained. “It was so last minute! But Rich went above and beyond, driving myself, my sister Peggy Wilson, and mom around for an hour and a half. I had expected something like a 30-minute ride.”

Borisenko’s regular passengers, “Bonnie and Clyde” had to stay home so that Gallagher and Wilson could ride in the back seat, while her mom rode in the place of honor in the front. “Rich and mom had a great time talking and laughing. He drove us around town and then around the lake [Lake Pat Cleburne],” Gallagher said.

RichardInCarBorisenko said he was glad to help. “This is the first request I have gotten for a birthday ride,” he said. “But it was a lot of fun Judy, Sandra and Peggy were real nice people and I think Judy had a good time.”

“He [Richard] was the best and really blessed my mom,” Gallagher said.

Riddle even took advantage of some of the props that Borisenko always carries, including a “Tommy Gun,” which is made of wood.

Borisenko has won numerous car show awards and the car always turns heads. “I may need to get extra insurance, just in case anyone gets whiplash,” he joked. “I get waves from people and even salutes from law enforcement, though this car really salutes them.”

For more information about Richard or the ’37 Dodge, visit 37Dodge.com on the web or check out Borisenko’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/37Dodge/.

Peace Together walks together for interfaith harmony

downloadPeace Together, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, held their second annual Walk on November 2, starting at The Colleyville Masjid and ending at Congregation Beth Israel, also in Colleyville.

Peace Together is an inclusive interfaith organization based in Tarrant Country, whose mission is to build relationships among people of all beliefs, cultures, and backgrounds. The Peace Together Walk is a public activity and event that encourages people to put this into action by linking individuals from diverse communities with a public walk designed to build and strengthen relationships between member organizations and the general public.

Attendees from all faiths, religions and even those absent of religion, gathered together to fellowship with each other and to promote the idea that people from all (or no) religions CAN come together for the bigger picture and benefit the community with interfaith peace.

Folks wearing hijabs ate with folks wearing yarmulkes, as well as others who had no outside indication of their faith. There were also several atheists present, as Peace Together has no restrictions about who may attend the Walk. Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker gave a tour of the Beth Israel synagogue and explained the items on the altar to the people in attendance.

Peace Together was founded in 2017 by Howard Rosenthal, a resident of Southlake.

“In August of 2017, there were some horrible things that happened in Charlottesville, VA. I became very disturbed by what I saw there. I saw people marching and carrying torches, wearing Swastikas, yelling out anti – Semitic and anti-Muslim lines,” Rosenthal said. “I just felt like maybe, in society, there was some kind of turning point. I had no idea what to do, but I just felt horrible. I started thinking that there must be something that folks, such as the people you see out here today, could do,” he said.

“And so I started talking to people and meeting with people from different institutions, some religious, from the Grapevine, Southlake and Colleyville areas, but I also met with some with no religious ties whatsoever, including Humanists, Free-Thinkers and Atheists. We started gathering, and we all felt as if we had a very important, but rather simple, singular mission of building relationships with our neighbors,” Rosenthal explained.

“We just started from there. We held what we call, ‘The Big Event’ down the street at United Methodist Church here in Colleyville in February of 2018. I thought, ‘Maybe we’ll get 30 or 40 people,’ but we got 300 – 400 people that came that February day. We had speakers from all different belief systems, and then we decided to put on a Walk. We did that in November of last year and found that it was successful. People did want to come together and have an opportunity to meet new people and to share their peaceful thoughts about the state of the world,” said Rosenthal.

“We don’t encourage or allow people to ‘witness’ to people of other faiths. That’s not who we are at all. As an example, a year ago, after the terrible killings at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, we held a vigil here at this synagogue and the Peace Together community was here in large numbers. It was standing room only,” Rosenthal added.

“After the things that went on in Christchurch in New Zealand, we held a vigil at Town Center in Southlake and people knew that we would be there to support each other, and because we have built these relationships, that we could count on each other. Those kinds of times are so meaningful, along with the peaceful activities like the one we are able to do today, define what we are about,” Rosenthal explained.

“There’s a lack of tolerance and understanding in today’s society, and we want to try to keep with this mission. Throughout the year, we will have some smaller events, like we had at First Presbyterian with Pastor Ashley. We are open to other things that will bring people together for this common mission.

“We have received some information about something coming up at White’s Chapel. I think there’s some information being handed out about an event in February. We just want to continue this message. We may not look alike or think alike, but as long as we are peaceful, then why should I impose my history or background on somebody else?” Rosenthal said before he was called away to make a presentation.

Peace Together is currently made up of the following organizations/faith communities:

  • Baha’is of Northeast Tarrant County
  • Bear Valley Community Church
  • Brite Divinity School
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
  • Congregation Beth Israel
  • Daughters of Abraham
  • Euless First United Methodist Church
  • Fellowship of Freethought – Dallas
  • First Presbyterian Church of Grapevine
  • First United Methodist Church of Colleyville
  • Good Shepherd Catholic Community
  • Islamic Association of Mid-Cities
  • Islamic Center of MOMIN
  • Islamic Center of Southlake
  • The Jewish Federation of Fort Worth & Tarrant County
  • Missional Wisdom Foundation
  • Multicultural Alliance
  • Professional Good Doers
  • Roots
  • St. John Church
  • White’s Chapel United Methodist Church

For more information about Peace Together and to find out what events are being scheduled, visit PeaceTogetherEvents.com, call 817-281-5254 or email info@peacetogetherevents.com.

A special THANK YOU goes out to Deb Hinton for inviting us out! 

Enjoy these photos from the Peace Together Walk held on November 2, 2019:

 

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