Category Archives: Local News

Airport Cities VFW in Grapevine now offering a restaurant and store

Airport Cities VFW Post #10454, [Veterans of Foreign Wars] located at 221 N. Main St. in Grapevine, has gone through a couple of facelifts and added some services.

They have added a Canteen with a full menu (curbside pickup available) and a store. Profits go to area VFWs and other veteran-related causes.

The Canteen offers an array of libations, sodas and snacks to enjoy in a friendly atmosphere. They have two pool tables, TVs, free Wi-Fi,  games and a jukebox. They have events all through the year and live music on Fridays & Saturdays.

To view the menu, click HERE.

The Canteen is open:

  • Monday – Thursday    10am – ?
  • Friday & Saturday      10am – 2am
  • Sunday                         12pm – ?
  • Happy Hour  4pm – 7pm every day

If you are interested in planning an event at the post please contact the Canteen Manager, Tara Robbins, at tararobbins1@gmail.com or ​817.451.6768.

About Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW):

The VFW Mission is,”Fraternal, patriotic, historical and educational, to preserve and strengthen comradeship among their members, to assist worthy comrades, to perpetuate the memory and history of their dead and to assist their widows and orphans, to maintain true allegiance to the Government of the United States of America and fidelity to its Constitution and laws, to foster true patriotism, to maintain and extend the institutions of American freedom and to preserve and defend the United States from all her enemies, whomsoever.”

So, come out and sample the Canteen’s menu and let me know what you think in the comments!

Local filmmakers make short film about racism and perception

Article 1 of 2 by Stacey Doud

***SPOILER ALERT***

IllegalLogoThe 24-minute short film, “Illegal,” which was written, directed, produced and brought to life by a cast and crew that reside in Dallas/Fort Worth, premiered on Facebook and YouTube on Friday June 12.

The story is about a fictional Hispanic man, Felix Martinez, who allegedly stole over $500 in gaming merchandise for his son’s birthday. He did not speak English, nor did his wife, who was out in the parking lot, allegedly holding the credit card to pay for the merchandise.

The body of the film is set in the jury deliberation room, where six people had to decide Martinez’s crime and punishment, which could include deportation for him, but not necessarily for his children, who were both born in the United States.

Producer Justin Kenyon shared some of his thoughts about the film.

Justin Kenyon“[The film’s reception is] so far, so good. Looking at the analytics, it looks like about 3,500 people have watched it so far. There’s a lot of conversations, especially about systematic racism and prejudice and stuff like that. That’s kind of why we decided to release it when we did. We wanted to inspire the people that are unsure about a lot of the stuff going on and give them a clearer understanding as to where a lot of these movements are coming from,” he said.

The idea was presented to Kenyon by Andy Trusevich, who would later become Executive Producer, in May of 2019, and Kenyon and his team started writing in late May or early June.

“We hired on a screenwriter because I’ve written plays, but I’ve never written a screenplay. It was a great process. We hired on Natasha Paris. I basically took the original idea and just ‘word vomited,’ and she wrote down everything I was saying, and we just kept workshopping it for a good two or three months because we filmed in August. We wrote it very fast,” Kenyon said.

“Andy Trusevich is an attorney, so he’s had a lot of insight in terms of legal issues, especially the systematic issues within the judicial department. So, when he came up with the idea and I heard about it, I thought, ‘Wow, this is incredibly relevant.’ I’m super passionate about the judicial system and the flaws within it,” said Kenyon.

“Felix Martinez [the man on trial in the film] was based on, “kind of like a group or an idea of a lot of people that face things like that. Especially, given that we live in Texas, not everybody speaks fluent English. While I was writing the film, I had an incident almost exactly like it, but being that I was an English-speaking white person, I didn’t have the trouble that [Felix Martinez] had,” Kenyon explained.

“I was at Lowe’s and I grabbed a grill, and I talked to the cashier because I needed to get more building supplies. So, I was just taking the grill outside to set it down for a second, so I could go grab the other stuff and bring it to the cashier because I didn’t want to block people’s way. Then [the employees] got onto me, saying, ‘You can’t leave with that grill!’ I was like, ‘Oh, my bad. I was just trying to keep it out of the way.’”

How differently would that have gone if a black or Hispanic person did this?

“That’s a lot of the points we make [in the film]. Say Felix wasn’t actually stealing; that he was actually just going to his car for his wallet. Had he been confronted, he could have said, ‘I’m just going out to the car for my wallet.’ But he couldn’t communicate [because he spoke Spanish].

“Morality is also a big question that everybody’s asking. I saw something recently about the looting and all that. I thought, ‘Stop condemning them for looting and ask them why they felt compelled to do all that.’

“I think [rapper] Killer Mike said it well. I can’t remember the exact words, but it’s basically making a point: They’ve been taken from for so long that they’re [#BLM] basically showing [non-blacks] first-hand, ‘This is what it feels like to have things taken from us.’ It’s like large corporations. Turning it into a metaphor, I think it is very symbolic and it works because [the big box store] Target, in their next stage [after the riots], are saying, ‘We’ll stand with you, yada yada.’ So, it works.,” said Kenyon.

He also believes that the COVID pandemic contributed to this climate of unrest.

“I think the reason, other than it just being ‘enough is enough,’ people are glued to their phones. They’re not busy working. They’re not doing other things because a lot of people were unemployed during all of this. So, everybody’s paying attention,” he said. “I think we need to pay attention because too often, we have been busy and had other things going on in our lives, and so we can’t address these issues because we have more pressing issues going on. But now, this [COVID/Floyd] IS the pressing issue,” Kenyon concluded.

“I think the film was relevant a year ago but is especially relevant now. The big point and the reason that we released it at this time is that we [producers], being myself and Lauren Lamb, were skeptical about the film because we are both white. It almost didn’t seem like our place [to release it], but given the current movement and everything else, and [minorities] saying, ‘It’s time for white people to step up not necessarily to ‘take the mic,’ but and stand with us and fight back against a lot of these systematic issues because they were all created by white people, so it’s up to white people to help fix it.

“All the protests that I’ve gone to have been Hispanic, white and black, and everyone is standing in solidarity in the Black Lives Matter movement, and I think that is amazing. A majority of Americans aren’t [overtly] racist people, but one apple spoils the bunch, so we have to take care of all of the [rotten] apples,” Kenyon said.

“Everybody has some sort of imbedded amount of racism, and we talk about this unconscious bias. I went to school in a very white and Asian town, and I had so many unconscious biases, so when I got out in the world I thought, ‘I was so wrong and acted like a jerk.’

“In school, saying the ‘N’ word was okay, but when we left, I realized how much it wasn’t okay. I discovered that I had actually been part of the problem. When you are in your little ‘bubble,’ you don’t know. It’s our job every day to learn something new and go out of our way. My co-producer Lauren Lamb is really big on that. She’s been doing a lot of activism in terms of this. We need to grow and try to get better and unlearn our ideals and biases and educating ourselves,” Kenyon explained.

As for the film itself, the writers shied away from blatantly categorizing characters with political leanings.

“We tried to make the story and characters split down the middle as far as politics go. But we never actually said, ‘so and so is a Republican’ or whatever,” Kenyon explained. “We are leaving that for the audience to come to a conclusion based on how the characters speak and act. We are trying to unite all people and point out that we are all the same species, we are all human and we are all Americans. It’s kind of a metaphor for putting yourself in other people’s shoes.

“As for the ending, we wanted to leave the verdict up to the audience as well and let them decide. Once you see all the facts, you choose what’s right and wrong. You have your moral compass. It’s kind of a metaphor for America. Everybody has the things they want to believe, but at the end of the day, you are making your own decisions, and I wanted to help inspire people, no matter what they believe or what they were told to believe, that they have every right to do what is right in their minds.”

One of the main questions that the film brings up is can compassion ever really intersect with the law?

“[Juror] Anton makes really great points: the laws are not always right. Segregation was legal over 50 years ago. Slavery was legal a couple of hundreds of years ago. Laws don’t depict what is right and wrong because not all laws encompass the whole of society but tend to put certain people ‘ahead’ of other people,” Kenyon said.

“I guess the message is that nothing is black and white. Everything is a gray area. Everything is interpreted differently by different people, and every situation is unique. I think the issues with some of our laws is that they are very black and white. You’re either guilty or you’re not.”

No matter what the viewer’s verdict is, one must consider if the punishment fits the crime, which is a common question in the penal system today.

Part 2 coming soon!

Local author gets creepy and dreamy

By Stacey Doud

Jackie 022620

Today, I had the opportunity to sit down for a chat with local author Jacqueline E. Smith. She is the author of the four (soon to be five) Cemetery Tours series of books, as well as the four Boy Band book series, aimed at young adults.

Smith was born and raised in Dallas and is now living in Richardson. She has been writing, in the form of fan fiction or short stories, since she was very young.

“I have written for fun my entire life. It started when I was in preschool, and it was drawing little Disney books which I still have. I made them on construction paper and then stapled them together,” Smith said.

Shortcut“I remember the first book that made me feel real emotions and I thought, ‘This is cool. This can transport me.’ The name of the book was Shortcut by Donald Crews. It was about these kids that take a shortcut home along the railroad tracks, and they kept hearing a[n] [invisible] train. I thought it was so creepy and cool and I loved it. I was only three or four at the time.

“A few years later, the Harry Potter books came out. By the fifth book, it was the summer before my freshman year in high school. My parents were both working and left me in charge of my sister, who is seven years younger than me, so I just read Harry Potter over and over again. Of course, I couldn’t wait for the sixth book, so I just started writing Harry Potter fan fiction. That’s what really got me back into writing.”

Smith attended University of Texas at Dallas (UT-D) and earned her bachelor’s degree in Art and Performance as well as a master’s degree in Humanities. When she was a junior [undergrad], she got sick “again. I feel like everything in my life goes back to when I was engulfed in germs,” she said.

“I spent the entire Spring Break on the couch that year, and I was just so bummed. I wanted to go out and have adventures and fun. But I was stuck on the couch, so I started reading a bunch of romance novels that I bought at Half-Price Books. I started thinking to myself, ‘I could do this!’ It wasn’t even one of those epiphanies. It was just the thought that I could do this,” Smith said. She didn’t let anything stand in her way, as she went on to get her master’s degree in Humanities from UT-D.

Smith has had a life-long dream to work with animals and to take photos, but “there’s not a lot of money in traveling around and taking pictures.’ So, I had to find a way to make money. I thought, ‘well maybe I can write books and make money!’ Granted, that was not a solid plan because you really don’t make a lot of money in this industry. But at the time, it seemed like a solution,” Smith explained.

Smith says she prefers “indie [independent] writing” to working with publishers because the author keeps all of their rights, content, characters, etc. “Plus, I am not a good group writer. I am more the ‘leave me alone to write,’ kind of author. Of course, I have great editors, like my sister, to help me. She will tell me like it is and not try to sugarcoat it. That’s what I need,” she said.

As for her interest in the paranormal, Smith explained, “I’ve always loved ghosts. My mother raised us really celebrating Halloween, so I’ve always loved spooky things.”

She has also had a few paranormal experiences.

Smith Headstone

Photo Courtesy of Jacqueline E. Smith

“My favorite experience was when I was taking a historical tour in The Colony, and we were in a cemetery. Most of the graves were situated around the front. And so, I was just walking around and taking some pictures, like I love to do. There was this tree off to the side, and it kept ‘calling me over.’ I kept thinking, ‘what’s with this tree? I don’t really need to go over there.’ But I finally did [go to the tree] and it turned out that there was a broken tombstone beneath the tree with my initials [JES] carved into it. My stomach dropped. It was the creepiest thing to have happened to me so far,” Smith explained.

Smith ended up penning the first Cemetery Tours book in 2010 to deal with the loss of a beloved pet. “It affected me so bad. I started getting headaches and got a rash,” she recalled. “I was so sad in the days following. [The cat] was my baby! I started watching 16 and Pregnant, believe it or not. When that was over, I started flipping through the channels and landed on Ghost Adventures. That show actually got me through the grief and gave me the idea for Cemetery Tours, which also helped with the sadness. “I was in such a state of distress. In fact, I think that’s what triggered my mental illness”.

Smith currently experiences Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). She can’t have her food touch on a plate, has to eat in a certain order and can’t eat unless she is expecting to eat. She also has trouble with even minor schedule changes. She is an advocate for the awareness and treatment of mental illnesses and shares her story regularly.

Smith says that there is a Book Five of Cemetery Tours waiting to be written. “I have not written it yet because it’s going to hurt. Something that Michael has dealt with in this whole series is that he can see ghosts that are still in this realm, but he has no idea what happens after. There may be more exploration of what may be beyond this life.”

Trashy RomanceRight now, Smith is working on a book titled Trashy Suspense Novel. She already has published Trashy Romance Novel, since her friends told her that no one can make money unless they write a trashy romance novel. Not one to mince words, Smith has named these two books for exactly what they are. “I like the names because if someone doesn’t like it, I can tell them that they knew what they were getting into…a trashy book!” The romance novel has won several awards, one which was for humor. “I like that I can be funny, and I pride myself on it, so that award meant a lot to me.”

Also, on the horizon, looms a potential independent film of the Boy Band series, to be produced by a Dallas director Jalitza Delgado. This topic will be the focus of a podcast called “Coffee Talk with Chelle” this Sunday (3/1) at 8pm CST. “We are in the fundraising stage right now,” Smith said.

Interested parties may donate to her project via GoFundMe HERE and can listen to the podcast to learn more about the project HERE.

To take a peek at Amazon’s page for Jackie, click HERE.

I know that I am personally looking forward to reading all of the Cemetery Tours books. I am on Chapter 3 of the first book, and it is tough to put down! So, thank you, Jackie, for your imagination, talent and honesty!

Rich Post, Post Malone’s Father, Talks Son’s Rise To Stardom From North Texas Roots

His career has skyrocketed into super stardom in just a few short years, and now Post Malone, the 23-year old recording artist from Grapevine, is walking into the 2019 Grammys with four nominations including album and record of the year.

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Post Malone as a young boy (Left, Family Photo) and Post Malone on Feb. 1, 2019 (Right, Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

CBS 11 sat down with his father, Rich Post, at the family’s home in Grapevine to talk about his son’s major success.

When speaking about his Grammy nominations and looking back at the past few years Rich Post said, “Five years ago when this really started nobody would say you are going to win one or be nominated for one. Or you’d be the most streamed artist on Spotify in the world. It’s just crazy how things happen… I still see that kid that would dress up in his Ninja costume for Halloween. Or the goofy kid that was performing at the family talent shows.”

Read more from CBSDFW…

Man drives car into Little Caesar’s

An elderly man drove his car over a parking hump and into a glass paned window at Little Caesar’s Pizza, located at 330 W Northwest Hwy #400 in Grapevine, today around 1:00 p.m.

Grapevine Police and Fire responded. Fortunately, no one was injured. Little Caesar’s is closed for the day, and will remain closed until they can make the building safe for their customers.

For more information about Little Caesar’s or to get a re-opening estimate, please  call (817) 310-1055.

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Short-term rentals prompt cities to action

By  and 

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Airbnb listings for an entire home in Grapevine have increased from 5 to 58 from October 2014 to August 2018. (Sources: AirDna, cities of Colleyville, Grapevine, Southlake/Community Impact Newspaper)

The city of Grapevine in mid-September issued approximately 77 residents a cease-and-desist letter concerning their Airbnbs and other short-term vacation rental properties after the city revisited an ordinance aimed at preserving local homeowners’ quality of life.

This letter informed property owners that short-term rentals, or STRs, are illegal in the city of Grapevine and have been since 1982, with more specific language added to this ordinance in 2000. A Sept. 4 Grapevine City Council meeting affirmed this prohibition with a unanimous council vote. The letter said STR property owners have until Oct. 22 to terminate rentals or be faced with a $2,000 fine for each day of operation.

Read more from Community Impact…

Driverless Delivery Robots Arrive in North Texas

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NBCDFW

The evolution of technology in Texas has begun as a team of robots are now zooming around the streets of Arlington.

Eventually the driverless delivery robots could crisscross the streets delivering everything from groceries and lunch to packages and documents.

The first two test robots from San Francisco-based Marble launched on Friday to start mapping out city streets and sidewalks of Arlington.

Read more from NBCDFW…

North Texas Municipal Water District receives $300M financial boost for reservoir project

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(Kelley Crimmins/Community Impact Newspaper)

A North Texas Municipal Water District reservoir project in Fannin Country received a $300 million financial boost Thursday from the Texas Water Development Board.

This brings the total approved by TWDB for the Lower Bois d’Arc Creek Reservoir project to $1.5 billion, NTMWD spokesperson Janet Rummel said in an email to Community Impact Newspaper.

“This low-interest financing will result in over $230 million in savings in borrowing costs,” Rummel said.

Read more from Community Impact…

Grapevine Stalking Case News Release

GRAPEVINE, Texas – A man arrested by Grapevine Police last December now faces a federal charge.

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas filed a charge of Interference with Housing on June 22, 2018, against 64-year-old Glenn Halfin of Grapevine.

Halfin’s arrest on December 22, 2017 came after a months-long investigation by Grapevine Police of several racially-charged incidents. The detective assigned to the case and several officers developed a strategy that included day and night surveillance of the victims apartment and vehicles, along with frequent communication with the victim.

The incidents against an African-American family spanned from October 4, 2017 to December 19, 2017. Victims living in the Colonial Village Apartments reported damage to their vehicles, a noose thrown onto their balcony and two instances where dolls were left with ropes around the necks, depicting being hanged. The final incident on December 19 involved a doll hanging from a noose in the breezeway, positioned where anyone walking to or near the victims’ apartment would see it.

Grapevine Police Detective Joseph Moeller began searching for a similar doll sold in stores, and was able to locate the item in Walmart. After reviewing purchases and several hours of video from inside the store, the detective was able to identify the man purchasing the doll as the victim’s neighbor, who had been reported by the apartment leasing office as having a history of making “inappropriate racially insensitive comments” in the past.

Search and arrest warrants were issued, and Grapevine Police took Glenn Halfin into custody on December 22, 2017 for Stalking with a Hate Crime Enhancement. The Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office accepted the charge on January 17, 2018.

The week of Halfin’s arrest, Detective Moeller had completed training on hate crimes. Based on the evidence collected in his case, he felt the crime also reach the level of a federal offense. He contacted the FBI in Dallas, and gave them all of his case information. The federal charge came as a result of Detective Moeller’s proactive work.

Grapevine Police commends all of the officers who stopped these acts of hate within the City and helped ease the fears of community members.