Category Archives: Irving

Local eatery gives food away…all the time

InFrettaStorefront-editItalian restaurant InFretta in Irving held their first drive-thru food giveaway at that location on April 18 in their parking lot. The original location in Plano, which has been open for a year-and-a-half, has been doing the food giveaway every week for weeks.

InFretta partnered with Mama Pita Mediterranean Grill in Plano, Big Guy’s Chicken and Rice in Dallas, and Chameli in Richardson, each sending volunteers to set up, tear down and hand out food to the folks who drove through.

1 Solar Solution also partnered with InFretta, contributing funds for the food. Founder and CEO, Ali Samana, was at the event, handing food to people.

“1 Solar Solution is committed to supporting the local communities that we live and work in. We believe in sponsoring as many events and programs that we can, including local events like this one,” said Samana.

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Irving Mayor Rick Stopfer (R) chats with an Irving Police Officer

Even Irving Mayor Rick Stopfer came by to chat with everyone and there was an Irving police presence to make sure everything and everyone was safe.

The food giveaway included all kinds of fried rice and pasta, with dessert being ice cream that was donated by Ked’s Artesian Ice Cream and Treats out of Plano.

InFretta owner Ram Mehta said he was continuing the work of his mother, who passed away a few years ago. He grew up in India, and his mother believed heavily in charity and generosity. Following in his mom’s footsteps, InFretta regularly donates pizzas to Children’s Hospital.

There has been a sign on the front door since the business opened that says anyone who is homeless or hungry and cannot afford food can come in and get a free meal.

InFrettaFreeFoodSign“We’ve been giving food to the people who need it since the day we opened this location about seven months ago. The Plano location has been open a year and a half, and we do the same there. It’s just that people are not aware of it,” Mehta said. “Those customers will be treated just like any paying customer. It’s also all over our social media: Free pizza or pasta. If you can’t afford it, no questions asked and no judgement.”

The event provided 4,000 meals to give away.

“We already have 1,800 meals spoken for. Some of our volunteers are delivering them to churches and others that requested food. If the number of meals goes over 4,000, nobody’s going to go hungry. We’ll make more. No problem,” said Mehta.

Several businesses partnered up with Mehta, donating money, food and volunteers.

“I partnered up with Ram and his team because he was doing something to give back to the community, and we thought we’d support him and try to stand with him and see how we can make him stronger, as well as take care of the people in the community,” said Zaid Beyan, Co-Owner of Sara’s Market and Bakery in Richardson.

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InFretta Owner Ram Mehta delivers food to a customer

“There are a lot of people out here that are hurting and are looking for a meal. Nobody here should be looking for a meal. We are all in this together, and there are a lot of people out there looking for food, and the least we can do is give back. Even if it’s something small, it goes a long way,” Beyan said.

Representative of the Dallas Halal Buzz and the Dallas Buzz Facebook pages, Ali Siraj, said, “We promote mostly the Indian and Pakistani restaurants that open up in the area because they usually don’t get that much exposure. We are here volunteering for him, as we always do. We create and promote all the events with him and are pleased to be out here volunteering today.”

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Ice cream was a favorite!

One customer, who preferred to remain anonymous, drove up with her three children to get meals. “This is helping us very much,” she said. “I have been laid off from work and we have been eating the same things every day. It will be nice to have a change, especially with good food like this.”

InFretta plans to have another event like this very soon. For more information, call the Plano store at (214) 618-5431 or visit https://www.in-fretta.com/index.html.

Brief guide of what’s been cancelled, postponed and what’s still going on

According to The Rambler Newspapers, here’s what’s cancelled, what’s been rescheduled and what’s still going on:

Irving’s Hackberry Creek Golf Club hosts Texas Golf Association Women’s Eclectic Tournament

CourseDay2-1The Women’s Eclectic Golf Tournament, sponsored by the Texas Golf Association (TGA), was held for the first time at the Hackberry Creek Country Club in Irving on March 9 and 10. Women from all over the country came to participate in the event.

WHAT IS AN ECLECTIC TOURNAMENT?

The elements of an eclectic tournament are explained below:

  • Shotgun Start: Groups or teams of 3 – 4 players are assigned to start at different holes – some on the front nine (holes 1 – 9) and some on the back nine (holes 10-18). The players continue through the course, eventually playing all 18 holes
  • Eclectic: This part of the tournament is unique in that not only do the players individually earn a score for 18 holes each day, but on the second, and final, day, each player uses their lowest score for each hole as her final “Eclectic Score”
  • Best Overall Gross Score: The player’s true score without adding her handicap
  • Best Overall Net Score: The player’s score, including her handicap

This year, Kathy Crumley took home the trophy for the best Gross Eclectic Score, shooting 2 under par for a score of 70.  Lorraine Werner shot a Net Eclectic Score of 60, or 12 under par, winning the best Net Eclectic trophy.

Some talented young golfers came from all over the nation to participate in this tournament.

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Ashni Dhruva

Ashni Dhruva, who is 21 years old, came to the tournament from Pennsylvania. She’s about to graduate from Penn State with a major in Biology. Dhruva has been accepted to attend graduate school at Rice University in Houston and would like to major in Biosciences and Health Policy.

“Hopefully I’ll be doing research or working for the Center for Disease Control (CDC), a hospital or something like that,” she said.

Her family played a large part to inspire her interest in golf.

“I was born in Connecticut, but when I was maybe 7-years-old, I lived in England. My dad used to take us to take us to the driving range and we all just kind of got into golf from that, even though my dad wasn’t a serious player,” Dhruva said. “I kept playing these little Junior tournaments, and when I got to high school, it just took off from there. I played high school golf and then I realized I could play in college one day because I was fanatic about it. Golf is the number one sport for women’s scholarships.

“I started right away playing a lot of tournaments in my freshman year [at Penn State], but my sophomore and junior years were a bit of a struggle, to be honest,” Dhruva explained. “There are a lot of good girls that come to play, but I did play a few tournaments. My senior year has been great. It’s been a lot of fun.”

Dhruva has thrived in college, and with only about two months left until graduation, she is feeling a bit nostalgic. “I love Penn State. I am actually sad to leave it. My sister is there playing golf too, so it’ll give me an excuse to visit,” she said.

Dhruva likes to play tournaments all over the country because of the differences in playing conditions. When she is at school, she practices every day. “This course [Hackberry Creek] is about 5,500 yards,” Dhruva said. “The course at Penn State is about 800 yards longer.”

Dhruva holds an average of approximately 75, which is 3 over par. Many professional golfers have trouble maintaining such a low average.

However, Dhruva was not the youngest player in the tournament. Local player Raeleigh Davidson is 16 years old.

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Raeleigh Davidson

“I go to school at Liberty High School in Frisco,” Davidson said. “My family’s just kind of always played golf. My [older] sister plays [at Incarnate Word in San Antonio], and so I just kind of naturally started playing.”

Davidson plays for her high school golf team, holding a “low seventies” average, which is also on par with some professional golfers.

“I’m for sure going to try to play golf in college. I haven’t decided where I want to go yet. I’ve been going on visits to campuses. I definitely want to stay in the south. I like the weather and I preferably want to stay close by my family,” she said.

Davidson says that her favorite subject in school is math. “There are fortunately a lot of opportunities for girls who are good in math and other STEM subjects,” she said, while speaking about scholarship opportunities.

Adam Davidson is Raeleigh’s dad, and took the time to explain his outlook on how golf has impacted his and his daughters’ lives.

“I coach [golf] at Frisco Liberty. Both of my daughters are very athletic, doing cheer, gymnastics, soccer and softball – basically every sport you can play. They both decided in middle school that they wanted to get more serious. I felt like kids are playing the same things year-round and are getting too many reps in the same muscle groups. Around eighth grade, if you want to do something beyond high school, you have to figure what that’s going to be,” Davidson said.

“Personally, I played football, wrestled and played baseball in school. Baseball was my big thing. I didn’t start playing golf until I was out of college. I’m left-handed but had to learn to play right-handed because of an injury in my elbow from baseball,” Davidson revealed. “I’ve coached baseball and I’ve told some people that because I played [baseball] from such a young age, and baseball is natural for me, I found that my expectations as a coach weren’t right. When I was learning to play golf, playing ‘on the other side’ made me a better coach, realizing that everyone has different talents.”

Enjoy the slideshow below. If you are in a photo and would like a copy, please email us!

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SPONSORED AD

Davidson is also the CEO of R1-Out, which produces organic products, called ViM, to help folks with muscle pains and soreness. He has generously provided a code that the women who played in the Eclectic Tournament in Irving can use to get 30% off of any purchase.

VISIT: https://shop.vimlife.style/ and use code EC2020 

For every 10 units sold, one will be donated to an amputee veteran as a part of R1-OUT’s partnership with Rebuilding Our Heroes.

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North Texas Comic Book Show offers thrills for collectors and Cosplayers … and Deadpool’s hiney

The North Texas Comic Book Show was held February 15 and 16 at the Irving Las Colinas Convention Center. This decade-old show caters to comic fans, superhero movie fans and Cosplayers [costume play] of all ages. I was fortunate enough to get a peek behind the scenes.

The Show featured the comic writers and artists that enable characters such as Spider-Man and Batman to come to life on the page, with many characters eventually making it onto the silver screen.

Attendees come to get autographs, buy comics and character-related merchandise and participate in the Cosplay contest, where they can win cash and prizes.

The electric enthusiasm was in the air, as “fanboys” and “fangirls” got to meet some of their childhood heroes.

“This is actually my first convention ever. It was a great experience,” said attendee James Gadsden. “There were a lot of friendly dealers. Even the other patrons were amazing, helping me out, pointing out deals.”

The Show is the brainchild of Chris Latshaw, who found himself dissatisfied with a comic convention he had attended as a dealer in 2011, and decided to start his own show.

I caught up with Chris and some friends in the VIP lunch room, where the comic celebrities and organizers came to grab a sandwich, a drink or just a much-needed break.

JoseDelBo

Jose Delbo clowning around with his family

“This show is my baby,” Latshaw said. “This year, we have the oldest living Batman artist, Joe Giella, who started back before Marvel Comics was even Marvel Comics. We have Jose Delbo, who is another artist who comes from a long time ago. He worked on both the Transformers as well as Wonder Woman and a Western Comic at one time called Billy the Kid. We have Bob Layton, who is famous for Iron Man and has been an integral part of what you see in the movies today. He developed a lot of [what you see on the screen] in the comics,” said Latshaw.

There were many artists, including both niche and well-known, who autographed comics and chatted with attendees.

One of the busiest booths housed Spider-Man artist Randy Emberlin, who is now retired from Marvel Comics.

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Randy Emberlin talks to attendees about his run at Marvel Comics

“I have been drawing since age four,” Emberlin said. “Comics actually taught me how to read, so I was reading at age four as well. I mostly drew stuff that was already in comic form back then. I still have a lot of my stuff from back then. They’re drawn in crayon and stapled to look like comics. It’s hilarious to look at now.

“I started inking Spider-Man at the end of 1988. I did it because Erik Larsen asked me to do it. I had met him years before, when he was a kid. He went to DC [Comics] and then to Marvel and then worked on the Spider-Man books. So, when he asked, I said, ‘I’ll take that hand-up any day!’ That was a book anybody would kill to work on,” Emberlin said.

Emberlin retired from Marvel in 2009 after 24 years of employment and now travels around the nation to comic shows and teaches drawing classes to local Portland students.

The other major offering at the Show was the Cosplay contest, which falls under the command of Jacob Long. “Cosplay is basically costume plus play [acting the character]. We just want people to have fun with it,” said Long.

“I came on board with this show in 2014. Cosplay is a natural extension of mainstream media, but it’s also an extension out of comics,” Long explained.

“There’s a community of about 6,000 Cosplayers, mostly based in North Texas,” Long told me. “We are all part of a community called North Texas Cosplay. I’ve been involved in Cosplay since 2012 and I am actively involved behind the scenes.”

The Cosplay contest was different from other contests in that the contestants did not have to be “pre-judged” to enter. Pre-judging in other competitions include minute attention to detail, which excluded many would-be participants.

The contest also emphasized the “theatrical” side of Cosplay. For example, if someone dressed up as Spider-Man, he/she would be judged on the look for the character plus how the contestant stayed in character behavior-wise.

Awards were handed out for best performance, best costume and best in show, which is a combination of both. The adults got cold, hard cash ($100 for first place, $50 for second and third place) and the winning kids got bags full of toys and other goodies.

I was fortunate enough to be able to help out with the contest, directing participants to go to the proper photo spot so the Show photographer could record their appearance for posterity.

The Show is held twice a year in February and July. For more information, visit https://www.comicbooksdallas.com/.

[P.S. I still think Captain America sports America’s Hiney. Sorry, Deadpool]

Charlotte Holmes: Texas author puts a spin on Sherlock

By Stacey Doud

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Author Sherry Thomas

I recently had the pleasure of listening to Texas author Sherry Thomas at the Irving South Public Library. Thomas is the author of the “Lady Sherlock” books. The library has hosted an “Adult Winter Reading Challenge” every year for the past three years. This year’s theme is “Sherlocked.” Participants are required to read five books of his or her choice within the theme and log them online. Upon completing the task, readers will win a limited-edition puzzle book, a Sherlock Holmes keychain and a free book.

Thomas’s “Lady Sherlock” book series puts a new spin on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s popular Sherlock Holmes character from the 1800s. Thomas imagined Sherlock as a woman named Charlotte Holmes and she compares and contrasts Charlotte’s behavior, personality and methods with the well-established Sherlock character.

ArtOfTheftSenior Librarian Karen Wong explained that, “This year, we wanted to focus on the mystery genre, but there are just so many great mysteries, so what book to pick? Eventually we realized that we should go with the most famous detective of all-time, Sherlock Holmes.”

Wong was tasked with finding an author that has altered the Holmes character in some way. “My first thought was Sherry Thomas,” Wong said. “I had just read her first book in the ‘Lady Sherlock’ series and enjoyed it so much.”

Sherry Thomas was born in China and left the country when she was 13 years old, when her family immigrated to Louisiana. She credits American romance novels as her English tutor, as Chinese was her original language. She is a graduate of Louisiana State University (LSU) and the University of Texas (UT).

With Bachelors and Masters degrees in accounting, life eventually led Thomas in a different direction. When asked where the idea of Lady Sherlock came from, Thomas said, “I had been a fan of Sherlock Holmes for my entire life. I read ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ in Chinese. I also watched the TV show in China in the mid-80s.

“Around the same time, I discovered ‘The Seven-Per-Cent Solution: Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D. (The Journals of John H. Watson, M.D.).'”

This book was written by Nicholas Meyer and was published in 1993. It looked at events from the perspective of Holmes’ sidekick, Dr. Watson, and includes Dr. Sigmund Freud as Holmes’s counterpart, with Watson chronicling their adventures.

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A video wall at the Irving South Library

“That showed me that a lot of other people have been writing Sherlock Holmes stuff. Right around the time I went to UT, I read ‘The Beekeeper’s Apprentice,’ which is the first book in a series called ‘Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes’, [which was written by Laurie King and published in 1994]. I loved that book so much that I would listen to audio cassettes of the book series,” said Thomas.

“It wasn’t until the new BBC [British Broadcasting Corporation] show with Benedict Cumberbatch came out that I thought, ‘I wonder what else people could do with Sherlock Holmes to bring him into the 21st century?’” Thomas said. “It was about the same time that CBS came out with their show, ‘Elementary,’ in which Dr. Watson was now a woman. That made me think about what would happen if Sherlock was a woman?”

Thomas’s Charlotte Holmes mirrors Sherlock in some ways but is completely different in others. When asked if Charlotte might be Autistic, Thomas answered in the affirmative and said that the original Sherlock was most likely “on the spectrum” as well.

“Sherry Thomas has a wonderful way with words, and she’s very funny and down-to-earth. She kept me captivated with her fascinating comments, and I think everyone left the event as either new fans or even more devoted long-time fans of this charming writer,” Wong said.

Thomas has written books in a variety of genres and plans to write ten “Lady Sherlock” books. She is currently writing the fifth installment of the series.

For more information, visit SherryThomas.com or The South Irving Library’s website.

Army veteran pays it forward, appreciates mortgage-free home in Irving

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Major Eric King (Ret), US Army

I was honored to interview Major Eric King (Retired), US Army, for a recent story about Unite for Troops and the City of Irving’s Veterans Day ceremonies. 

As usual, I did some background research, and found out that Major King was the recipient of a mortgage-free home, with land donated by the City of Irving, along with Winston Custom Homes, the Dallas Builders Association and NEC Corporation of America. [Read the Article from Dallas Builders Here]

 

Video Courtesy of Dallas Builders Association

According to his biography:

Major King, a native of Marianna Arkansas, joined the Arkansas Army National Guard in June 2000 and enlisted as a Combat Engineer. He then enrolled into the Golden Lion Battalion Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at the University of Arkansas At Pine Bluff.  After receiving his Bachelors of Science Degree in Criminal Justice in May 2003, Major King was commissioned Active Duty as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army in the Quartermaster Corps and branch detailed into the Infantry Corps as a Second Lieutenant.

Major King’s outstanding and stellar military career begins with his service as an Infantry Officer from October 2003 through November 2008. Throughout Major King’s service his responsibilities continued to increase. Major King served as a Rifle Platoon leader, Company Commander (CO) Supply and Services Officer, Battalion S4, Battalion Executive Officer (XO), Instructor, Writer, and a Brigade Operations Officer. These positions reinforced Major King’s strong leadership abilities and his uncanny willingness to learn new skills and abilities. Major King’s oversight of Soldiers ranged from a platoon of 75 to an entire brigade of 3,500 men and women. During Major King’s military career, he was deployed on four overseas missions in service to our country. Major King’s first combat deployment was in 2004 through 2005 to Iraq. Major King entered this mission as an Infantry Rifle Platoon Leader overseeing 75 Infantrymen. 

His platoon received multiple Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks, ambushes and gun battles. This deployment was followed by his second combat deployment in 2007 through 2008 to Iraq as a Company Commander. His responsibility as the CO was to oversee 5 platoons of over 250 Soldiers and their direct health, welfare and their operational responsibilities. During these two deployments, Major King witnessed and experienced heavy fighting causing casualties to his troops, himself and coalition forces. These losses have weighed heavily on Major King and he has never taken his responsibilities as a Soldier, Leader, Commander, and Field Grade Officer lightly. 

In 2013 through 2014 Major King was deployed to Afghanistan as the Brigade Operations Officer, BDE S3 OIC. During this deployment, Major King exhibited his leadership skills yet again by overseeing brigade operations for the entire Combined Joint Operations Area-Afghanistan (CJOA-A). During this combat tour, Major King was responsible for overseeing and leading every aspect of his brigade’s tactical operations across the CJOA-A of 3,500 Soldiers and civilians.

Major King’s final overseas deployment was to Liberia West Africa in 2014 through 2015 in support of the fight against Ebola as he deployed his battalion as the acting battalion commander. During this humanitarian mission, Major King and his battalion provided aid and assistance to the African nation during a health crisis in which Ebola was ravaging the region. 

Major King’s leadership and organizational skills were essential during this global crisis.

After 16 years of service and sustaining multiple injuries and a distinguished career, Major King was honorably and medically retired on 28 June 2016. However, prior to his retirement, Major King amassed the following awards and decorations and he is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt from Prude University:

Bronze Star Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Achievement Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal with one Star, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Star, Iraqi Campaign Medal with one Bronze Star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon with numeral two, NATO Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Airborne Badge, Air Assault Badge and Parachute Rigger Badge. 

Major King is a great American who has sacrificed greatly for this nation. He is a man of tremendous faith who has a powerful voice for those who are suffering and in need. Major King is passionate about military Veterans who like him might be suffering from PTSD and other health issues resulting from combat. 

Major King recently spoke on the Glenn Beck Radio Show and revealed his desire to speak to others about adversity, leadership, conflict and hope. Major King very much looks forward to spreading his message of encouragement for many years to come.

There are so many Veterans in the world with a story just like Major King’s. His only goal and vision now is to restore, replenish, and revive his fellow brothers and sisters so they can enjoy the present, let go of the past, and prepare for a better future by helping them to reclaim their lives which is why he founded his nonprofit corporation, VetsWhatsNext.

vetswhatsnext-logoofficialTo learn more about VetsWhatsNext, please visit their website – and stay tuned for the imminent launch of the VetsWhatsNext mobile app! King said that its purpose is, “To empower all veterans, with emphasis on Millennials and Generation X Vets. They have the most trouble figuring out where to get help.”

I think we all share some level of appreciation for our active troops and veterans, but it’s not often that some of that appreciation comes “home” to them. Congratulations, Major King, and thank you for your service!

 

 

Irving’s Unite for Troops honors veterans, provides for active military during Veteran’s Day event

Unite for Troops, a grassroots non-profit organization, held its 8th Annual Veteran’s Day Celebration on Saturday November 9 in Porter’s Army Navy store parking lot in Irving.

Unite for Troops was founded two days after 9/11 by Cindy Porter, who felt moved to do something to show support for our troops, domestic and abroad.

Volunteers were present to pack donated supplies into boxes to ship around the world. The boxes are decorated on the inside by helpers and kids for an extra morale booster.

“We are shipping supplies to our troops worldwide,” Porter said. “They are asking for more help because, right after 9/11, everyone was supporting them, but very few supplies go over there now. These supplies are going to the most desolate and desperate areas. We are free to do things like this and to live our lives because of our troops.”

The most popularly requested supplies are toiletries, various snacks, socks, batteries, puzzle books, flip flops and over the counter pain relievers, such as Advil and Tylenol.

Four colors of ribbons were available at no charge to pin on attendees’ shirts: Red signified an active soldier, Blue represented a retired member of the military, White indicated a family member or a friend of someone who is or had served, and Golden was a special ribbon for veterans of WWII.

There were plenty of things to do for people of all ages. Musical entertainment included singers and bands on the big stage playing songs that were supportive of all military. BBQ, hamburgers, hot dogs and homemade ice cream were offered.

Kids enjoyed their own area, which featured a petting zoo, crafts, face painting, a bounce house, games and even a reptile exhibit. A bull ride machine was available for all ages who were brave enough to take it on. Canine Companions and the DFW Humane Society also brought both service dogs and dogs available for adoption.

Santa Claus even made a special trip to the event to show his support.

“Santa usually doesn’t come out this early in the year, but he wanted to come out and support the troops. When he heard about it, he said he wanted to stop by in his camos [camouflage] in order to take the love and good wishes back to the troops as he heads back to the North Pole,” Porter said.

Irving Police Department brought vehicles out for kids of all ages to take a look at, including an official city car, as well as a Citizens on Patrol car, a half-track MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle and a drone.

Veterans were encouraged to bring  flags they had that needed a proper retirement, and a ceremony was held to do so in the afternoon.

The Troops of St. George had several fun offerings.

“We are a Catholic scouting organization here in the North Texas area,” said volunteer Paul Thies. “We represent a number of different Catholic parishes in this region. We are out here today to help support our troops in the field and to participate in the [Unite for Troops] Veteran’s Day event.

“With this tent, we are doing a number of things. We have a flag retirement booth, so when people bring their flags in, we will make sure they are properly disposed of [based on rules outlined in the Constitution]. They will be disposed of in the ceremony this afternoon. One of our leaders is raffling off a ride in a M*A*S*H Vietnam/Korean War era Bell 47 helicopter out at the Cavanaugh Air Museum in Addison. The lucky winner will get a 30-minute ride. We’re doing paintball as well. All of these things are to generate donations and 100% of everything collect will go to our troops via Unite for Troops,” Thies explained.

The helicopter was true to the TV show M*A*S*H down to its 4077 tail number.

Vietnam Veteran John Rose had his own booth, as he took over for Santa Claus when Santa had to go back to the North Pole. He said that he enlisted into the Army at age 26 and got sent to Vietnam for a year as part of a reconnaissance effort. Rose and four of his platoon mates lost their radios, so they hunkered down and learned Morse Code as a last-ditch attempt at communication because no one knew where they were. They were stranded for ten days. They finally received directions to a fire base and made it there on foot, where their commanding officers arranged transport home.

“What we started doing after we lost our receiver was to start going to Charlie’s [the enemy’s] supply depots and we started re-supplying ourselves with weapons, ammunition and a lot of rice. When we were done, we left a message for Charlie: We blew it [the supply depot] up,” Rose recalled with a grin.

“We made it to the fire base and we had long beards and nasty hair and we had hardly any sleep. I’m sure we were the sight. But they were happy to see us and we were sure happy to see them!

“After we made it to the fire base, we were all laying on the floor. One of the guys said, ‘Lieutenant, are those guys asleep? They aren’t paying attention.’ The Lt said, ‘They’re asleep, but make sure you don’t make any loud noises because they’ll wake up real fast and be ready to fight!” said Rose.

Fortunately, Rose does not suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) like so many of veterans do. There were several booths at the event collecting donations for programs to help with the transition to “normal” life as well as to fund programs to provide mental health services to veterans who need it.

For more information, visit UniteForTroops.com.

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Editor’s Corner: Toyota Music Factory brings big city entertainment to Irving, TX

By Stacey Doud

TixI was fortunate enough to score free tickets to see G. LoveBlues Traveler and moe. on August 10, 2019 at the Toyota Music Factory in Irving/Las Colinas. I had never been to this particular venue, so I was very curious about how such a large complex opened in a town with only 240,000 residents. Of course, with me being from Houston, I was used to the Toyota Center and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, both of which serve a population of close to 2.3 million people.

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G. Love with the keyboardist from Blues Traveler

It turns out that there was a bond election in 2007, in which Irving/Las Colinas voters said “yes” to finance an entertainment center right off of State Highway 114, almost adjacent to the existing Irving/Las Colinas Convention Center and Hotel. The complex consists of about 210,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, which includes an Alamo Draft House movie theater, several restaurants and retail shops and a bowling alley. Next to these retail facilties is a 65,000 square foot music venue called “The Pavilion at the Toyota Music Factory,” which can seat 4,000 people with its walls closed, and 8,000 people with everything open in “amphitheater [outdoor] mode.”

Originally scheduled to open as the “Irving Music Factory” on September 1, 2017, construction delays caused the opening to be postponed until September 9. The developers announced that the venue was being renamed the “Toyota Music Factory” and would feature Texas rockers ZZ Top as its inaugural concert.

The new venue has done extremely well, featuring mostly “classic rock” artists, such as Ringo StarrLindsey Buckingham and Lauryn Hill, to up-and-comers such as G. Love, to family-friendly shows such as Kidz Bop.

I found the facilities very easy to navigate, from the parking garage to the music venue. Once inside (the roof was closed due to extreme heat), there was plenty of room to walk around and peruse the booths that offered show merchandise, as well as food/drink areas, which offered the usual concert fare and beverages, along with some franchise outlets.

The venue itself offered excellent acoustics and plenty of leg room in the floor seats (I am 5’5″ and had no problems. My hubby is 6’6″ and only had minor difficulties). I don’t know how it sounds in amphitheater mode, but I’m looking forward to going back when the weather is a bit cooler.

There were plenty of helpful employees stationed about to direct us newbies when we got lost. The restrooms were placed at good intervals and there were several food and beverage stands placed conveniently around the rotunda.

All in all, we enjoyed the concert very much. We are looking forward to seeing other acts there, and would very much like to try out the amphitheater feature of the venue.

BT

Blues Traveler

To learn more about the Toyota Music Factory and the talent line-up, visit https://toyotamusicfactory.com/.