Category Archives: Irving

Local Women’s Shelter seeking community assistance

Brighter Tomorrows, which is located at 928 Bluebird Dr., operates women’s shelters in Irving and Grand Prairie. They had several pipes burst on Feb. 17, which made them evacuate the Irving location and find temporary shelter for the residents until repairs can be made.

“We haven’t even begun to assess the damage yet,” said CEO Colleen Jamieson. “We had to concentrate on the rapid rehousing of our clients. Some were moved in apartments before we had really expected to move them. We provide transitional housing, so we had to use those resources as well. Thank God no one was hurt.”

Jamieson said that a staff member made it to the shelter on Wednesday and discovered the disaster that was caused by the broken pipes. Some parts of the ceiling had caved in as well from the pressure of snow and ice turning into water.

“Thank God we have two shelters,” said Jamieson. “We moved as many clients as we could to the Grand Prairie shelter and basically put them wherever we could find a spot. We repurposed computer labs and other rooms to make sure clients had a place to stay. We had arranged for some clients to go to a nearby hotel that we work with, but then they called us back and said they couldn’t accommodate us because their pipes burst, too.”

Brighter Tomorrows also operates a food pantry and a store called “Brighter Mart” that provides toiletries, diapers and other personal needs.

“We ended up having three inches of water in the food pantry and Brighter Mart, which is in the administration building,” Jamieson said. “Most everything in there is lost.”

Brighter Tomorrows’ main mission is to provide a safe place for women who have survived domestic violence and/or sexual assault and rape to begin the journey to healing physically, mentally and spiritually. They offer services such as counseling, helping to find childcare, legal services, job assistance and transitional housing.

Jamieson said that they are desperate for donations, whether they be monetary, volunteers or physical items. They are in need of just about everything: blankets, towels, diapers, baby formula, toiletries and much more. They are a 501 (c)(3) organization, so donations are tax deductible.

Updates and lists of what is needed may be found on Brighter Tomorrows’ Facebook Page at Facebook.com/BrighterTomorrowsTX. Monetary donations may be made online at BrighterTomorrows.net/Copy-of-Donate or call 972-254-4003. The staff speaks both English and Spanish.

Intoxication Assault Against Irving Firefighter: UPDATE

Donohue

UPDATE: December 7, 2020 – The Irving Firefighter injured on December 6, is Aaron Donohue. Aaron’s medical condition remains serious and he is still in the hospital. He is progressing slowly but steadily. His injuries are not considered life-threatening at this time. Please continue to keep Aaron, his family and the Irving Fire Department in your prayers. 

 Irving, Texas – December 6, 2020 – The Irving Police Department was working a major accident at approximately 3:45 a.m. today involving five vehicles WB 3100 block W. S.H. 183. The freeway had been shut down due to this accident. A 2016 Dodge Challenger was traveling the wrong way, EB in the WB lanes of SH 183, drove into the accident scene striking an Irving Firefighter. The Irving Firefighter, 30-years of age, was transported to Parkland Memorial Hospital and is currently undergoing treatment for severe injuries, his name is not being released at this time but he has been with the fire department for 4.5 years. The driver of the vehicle, Yajaira Estrada Calderon, is a 23-year old female out of Arlington and has been arrested for Intoxication Assault. 

Calderon

The Irving Police Department is asking everyone to keep the Irving Firefighter and Irving Fire Department in your prayers during this time. If anyone has information on this case contact the Irving Police Department at (972) 273-1010 or 911 (24 hours). 

DART brings GoLink on-demand service to Irving and Garland starting Oct. 19

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) brings GoLink, the personalized, curb-to-curb service that serves riders on demand in zones across North Texas, beginning Mon., Oct. 19, to Southeast Garland and South Irving.

The on-demand service is already available in Farmers Branch, Far North Plano, Glenn Heights, Inland Port, Kleberg and Rylie, Lake Highlands, Lakewood, Legacy West, North Central Plano/Chase Oaks, North Dallas, Park Cities, Rowlett and Western Carrollton.

In the South Irving zone, the service operates out of Downtown Irving/Heritage Crossing Station so that GoLink riders can connect to other DART services. Meanwhile, in the Southeast Garland zone, the service operates out of Lake Ray Hubbard Transit Center. GoLink service will be offered Monday through Friday, except on Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

All GoLink trips require a booking. No walk-ons are allowed. Riders can book and pay for trips either with the GoPassÒ app or by calling 214-515-7272. The free app is available from the App Store and Google Play.

Phone reservations must be made in advance, but only same-day trips are accepted. Phone reservations can be made Monday-Friday, starting at 4:30 a.m.

Riders should purchase their fare using a contactless payment method –credit, debit or GoPassÒ Tap card – either in the GoPass app or over the phone. Cash fares, paper passes and vouchers are not accepted.

To learn more about GoLink, visit DART.org/GoLink or call 214-515-7272.

Financially challenged Irving residents face homelessness as assistance becomes hard to find, benefits running out

By Stacey Doud

Jones

Anthony Craig Jones

Anthony Craig Jones was known around the Irving area for almost four decades as a local homeless person that residents often saw as they drove or walked through town. He was most likely mentally ill but was a peaceful person.

His body was discovered in July in a building on a property across from an elementary school. The medical examiner estimated that he had been dead for about six months. He was identified using his dental records.

No one knows exactly what happened, but Jones was found under a blanket in a sleeping position. His death is not currently considered a homicide, and there is no information about any involvement with drugs and/or alcohol. He was estimated to be in his late 50’s at the time of discovery.

Shack copyA Memorial was held for Jones on August 8, organized and officiated by Pastor Dennis Webb of Bear Creek Community Church. Those who knew Jones said that he was a good guy with a lot of problems and no real resources.

Irving, like most cities and towns, has a percentage of the population that has no address except for a sidewalk or a park bench. There are some resources for food and clothing, including some churches that open up as emergency shelters, and there’s even very limited housing for homeless teens, but there is no shelter or “one-stop shop” for those in dire straits to visit. As it is difficult for the homeless to move around from place-to-place, even these resources can be out of reach.

However, these days, even residents who have homes or apartments are struggling with rent and mortgages, and some have even joined the homeless population, whether it be for a short or an extended time.

Right now, this is not a situation that is unique to Irving. It is a state and nationwide issue. From real estate fraud to scams that take advantage of the collective fear of COVID-19, folks are seeking help from landlords and banks, only to be told, “No,” or to have a fraudulent plan suggested to them to, “keep a roof over your family’s head.”

There have been people in drastic situations that have taken their financial needs to the Internet. Sites like GoFundMe.com are experiencing a significant uptake in the number of fundraisers posted.

RiveraRosa Rivera, a local resident, started a GoFundMe account after her apartment management gave her a 30-day eviction notice. She is unemployed because of the pandemic and her husband has been in and out of the hospital, finally losing a foot to complications of diabetes. He was the sole provider for the family at that time.

The description in her fundraising account lays out not only her need, but her embarrassment for having to ask for help as well, which is very common.

“I’m reaching out to all my family and friends for help. I currently find myself in an embarrassing and humiliating situation that I never thought I would be in,” said Rivera. “As a strong woman, we will try every last avenue to solve an issue until you have to humble yourself and realize that you have to ask for help because it’s what’s best for your kids.

“My apartment complex of more than 10 years provided me with a 30-day notice to vacate my apartment. The property manager will not renew my lease because of me consistently being late on my rent. I have tried to make arrangements with both the leasing office and the Corporate office with no results,” she posted.Fortunately, Rivera was able to contact an effective lawyer at Legal Aid and get her eviction deadline pushed back from 8/20 to 8/31. She updated her fundraising site to update those that had been helping. She used a portion of the $3,000 raised on GoFundMe to negotiate this change.

“My attorney in Legal Aid finally made contact with the property manager, allowing me more time. Instead of vacating on 8/20, I now have till 8/31. Of course, I had to pay the rest of the rent [which was] $461, which is where some of your blessings were applied to. I’m still looking for a place to accept me with my situation,” she posted.

Rivera is far from being alone. Many families are wondering where they will go, as many landlords and banks/mortgage companies are not working with customers in an effort to reach a compromise, or an agreement, that will benefit both parties.

For more information about coronavirus scams, click HERE.

To read some tips for personal financial recovery under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and. Economic Security Act (CARES), click HERE. The CARES Act deals primarily with businesses right now, but there are some helpful links to sites that may assist homeowners or renters find aid or recover their finances.

And, of course, there is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which helps place families in need of housing. Unfortunately, their waiting list is fairly long because of COVID. To learn more, click HERE.

To learn more about legal aid services in Irving, click HERE.

While this housing climate is not unique to Irving, it is up to the City’s “Powers that Be” to craft a plan for aid, resources, and perhaps even shelters, as November is quickly approaching.

Learn About Home Energy Alternatives, Ways to Save Money on Aug. 25-27 at the Irving Energy Fair

DocumentJoin the City of Irving for its second annual Home Energy Fair! This digital three-day series will feature one-hour panels from subject matter experts who will discuss how to beat the heat, make your home more energy efficient and renewable energy opportunities.

The Home Energy Fair starts 11 a.m. daily, Aug. 25-27. Register for each day’s program:

Tuesday, Aug. 25 | Transitioning to Renewable Energy
11 a.m. to noon
Curious about renewable energy? Tune in on this one-hour session covering the basics of installing solar at your home.

Wednesday, Aug. 26 | Make Your Home Energy Efficient
11 a.m. to noon
Energy efficiency means energy savings. Join the Think Green team for a one-hour panel discussion about how to save energy in your home. 

Thursday, Aug. 27 | Tips and Tricks for Energy Savings
11 a.m. to noon
Reducing your energy usage is good for the environment and your wallet. This one-hour panel session will discuss different ways you can reduce energy usage in your home.

Recordings of each panel session will be available at a later date.

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED, BUT IT IS FREE

Learn more HERE

Memorial service held for “forgotten” homeless man

JonesAnthony Craig Jones was known around the Irving area for almost four decades as a local homeless person that residents often saw as they drove or walked through town. He was most likely mentally ill, but was a peaceful person.

His body was discovered last month in a building on a property across from an elementary school. The medical examiner estimated that he had been dead for about six months. He was identified using his dental records.

No one knows exactly what happened, but Jones was found under a blanket in a sleeping position. His death is not currently considered a homicide, and there is no information about any involvement with drugs and/or alcohol. He was estimated to be in his late 50’s at the time of discovery.

Shack

The building where Jones’s body was discovered

Those who knew him have said that he was a good guy with a lot of problems and no real resources.

“Anthony was a special spirit and it saddens me to hear of the manner in which he was discovered deceased in the old African American Community of Bear Creek recently,” said Anthony Bond, who is a leading Irving civil rights activist and founder of the Irving Chapter of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). “Most of the black residents in Bear Creek, both on the Irving and Grand Prairie side, were familiar with, or knew Anthony. Jesus loves the homeless like Anthony just as much as He loves all of His children.

“I pray that Anthony’s passing will awaken the desire in us here in the City of Irving to do more for our growing homeless neighbors. Irving needs some transitional housing [or something similar] for the homeless,” Bond said.

A Memorial was held for Jones on Saturday, August 8, arranged by Irving City Councilman Dennis Webb, who is also the pastor of Bear Creek Community Church. Webb also officiated. Many citizens came out to remember and pay their respects for Anthony’s life.

Former Irving City Councilwoman Sharon Barbosa-Crain said, “No one should die all alone like Anthony did, and that we here in the City of Irving can and must do better in looking out for our homeless neighbors.”

Pastor Webb has created a GoFundMe account to raise money for services for the homeless in Irving in hopes to avoid another situation like Anthony Jones.

**Slideshow of pictures from the Memorial provided by Anthony Bond**

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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.

CopMayor

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.

Delivery1

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.”

IceCream

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.

AshniDhruva

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.

RaeleighDavidson

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.

Emberlin2

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]