Category Archives: Uncategorized

Meza Files Colten’s Law: HB 1287 Requires Blood Alcohol Testing If Motorist Hits A Pedestrian

State Rep. Terry Meza on Friday (1/22)filed legislation which will require motorists to be tested for blood alcohol level if they strike a pedestrian causing serious bodily injury or death.

Meza (D-Irving) said the bill, dubbed “Colten’s Law,” will “empower police officers to detain someone who has hit a pedestrian to test for the presence of drugs or alcohol in their system.”

Meza noted the law is named after Colten Carney, who was struck and killed while walking to work on January 30, 2017. Colten, who suffered from Autism, had experienced a flat tire while on the way to work that morning and, eager to get to his job, decided to walk.

His mother, Michelle Carney, told the Herald-Banner newspaper of Greenville and Rockwall that it did not make sense that her son’s body was tested for the presence of drugs or alcohol, but not the person who struck him.

Under current law, it is up to individual officers whether or not to detain someone to conduct blood alcohol testing if they have hit a pedestrian.

“Anyone who hits a pedestrian in this state causing serious bodily injury or death should not be allowed to leave the scene of that accident without having been tested for the presence of drugs or alcohol in their body,” Meza said during a press conference at the Texas Capitol Friday afternoon.

The legislation, House Bill 1287, is supported by Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The MADD National Headquarters is in Meza’s district. A spokesperson for MADD participated in Friday’s press conference. “MADD is proud to support this bill,” said Bill Cardamon of MADD.

About Colten Carney:

Colten was a high functioning autistic young man (intellectually and developmental disabled IDD). He worked very hard at everything he did and absolutely loved people and making them happy. He went to school in Rockwall, where his mom works. He was a student at Rockwall-Heath High school, where he was involved in band and robotics. He graduated from Rockwall-Heath in 2011. He went to Jr College and got a certificate for Level 1 firefighting and a machinist certification as well. He worked at Kroger in Rockwall and had a full-time job at Rockwell American in Royse City.

On his way to work on January 30th, 2017, Colten got a flat tire. He was not far from his work, so he decided to walk the rest of the way, not wanting to be late. He was struck and killed by a vehicle. The man that struck him was not tested for drugs or his phone records checked. There is not a mandatory law to have drug testing or phone records retrieved in a fatality accident. We want to make it a law. We don’t want other families to have to wonder. Colten’s favorite color was red, and he was killed on a Monday, so we have a campaign to wear red on Mondays. We have two Facebook pages #redforColten and the Colten Carney Memorial Fund. We would love for you to like our pages and spread awareness to your friends and family.

(Carney Source: Colten Carney Memorial Fund Website)

Trafficking Doesn’t Always Happen on the Road

January is National Human Trafficking Awareness month.

Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings. Traffickers use force, fraud, coercion and other nefarious tools to convince the target person to join them. These ploys can sometimes last for years until the target trusts the trafficker.

A trafficker in the U.S. could spend a good bit of time promising a foreign target “a better life,” with safety, good wages and honest work. Some of these scumbags have asked targets to marry them in order to get the person into their trafficking network.

Then, when the target is under the trafficker’s spell, they get forced to work hard labor jobs for little or no pay or to sell their bodies. If they refuse to do “their jobs,” they get threatened with violence either toward them and/or their families.

There are so many folks in all parts of the world who live in awful conditions already, and so they are already mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically beaten down, which makes them easy targets. Traffickers prey on the poor, the desperate and the young by keeping control over them.

Does this sound familiar? Yes? That’s because human trafficking is SLAVERY.

Some organizations, such as A21, are working hard to end human trafficking. Their website is full of information, videos and downloadable fliers. Their stated purpose is to “Educate and equip everyone to understand, identify and reduce the risk of human trafficking through programs like educational curriculum, prevention programs, and awareness campaigns.”

Please educate yourself about this horrible practice, and if you can, join the fight. It’s a logical piece of the UNITY puzzle – bringing this country together by understanding “the other guy,” deciding to keep an open mind and catching yourself when judgments occur in your mind. We are all human, and we were taught from a young age to look at someone and automatically identify them as black, white, left or right, for example. All we can do is be aware of those thoughts and change them. Pretty soon, it will become a habit.

Have a safe and healthy day and thank you for reading about this important topic!

Grand Prairie Holds Drive-Thru MLK Celebration

MLK Day was celebrated in Grand Prairie,TX with a drive-through event that accepted 50 cars, so folks could stay in them and stay safe.

The event was sponsored by the Grand Prairie NAACP, the City of Grand Prairie Parks and Rec, and the Grand Prairie Police Department.

As cars lined up in a roundabout in front of the Epic Center, Dr. King’s famous speeches greeted them through the sound system.

There were many city leaders in attendance: Mayor Ron Jensen and his wife, RebeccaMaypr Pro-Tem Jorja ClemsonChief of Police Daniel ScesneyGPISD Superintendent Linda EllisLULAC President Ana CocaGP NAACP President Angela LuckeyNAACP Youth Representattives Steven Luckey III (Thurgood Marshall Leadership Academy), Kimya Allen Kipp (Destiny Elementary); Trinity Brown (President of the NAACP Youth Council); and Keynote Speaker Kurt Johnson.

Attendees were treated to rousing and uplifting speeches, free hot dogs and t-shirts and a fabulous performance by North Texas Cheer and Dance.

Horns honked throughout the prewsentations, showing the attendees’ appreciation for the speakers.

The main message that was given was that we have a ways to go to achieve what Dr. King envisioned 60 years ago, but with CommUNITY Unity, we can start closing the gap of separation and inequality. We need to come together in love and reject all the hate.

Happy MLK Jr. Day to you and your family.

PEACE.

DART is Asking North Texas Young Artists to Share Their Heroes

The annual Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Student Art Contest has begun accepting individual entries from all North Texas students through Tuesday, March 23, 2021. The theme of this year’s contest is “Everyday Heroes Ride DART.”

Heroes come in many forms and this year’s art contest gives young artists the chance to salute the hometown heroes that have kept our community going during the pandemic – everyday people that have made a positive impact in the lives of others these past few months.

Kindergarten through 12th grade students throughout North Texas will compete for the opportunity to have their artwork featured on DART rail stations, buses and inside trains.

Winner’s artwork will also be displayed at the Dallas Museum of Art, Love Field Airport, and on DART’s website, DART.org. Prizes will be awarded to first place winners and runners-up in different grade-level categories.

The 2021 DART Student Art Contest thanks our community partners the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Contemporary and Half Price Books.

For additional information, as well as complete rules, prize information and additional entry forms, visit DART.org/artcontest, or contact TransitEducation@dart.org or call (214) 749-3494.

Grand Prairie ISD hosts Virtual Experience Live Event

The Grand Prairie ISD Virtual Experience Live Event is tomorrow, Saturday, January 9, from 9 a.m. – noon!

On Monday, January 4, the GPISD Experience web page went live. Families were encouraged to register and explore the site to see the numerous options and opportunities available to students in GPISD. To see the page, go to https://www.gpisd.org/experience

In the first 24 hours that the Experience web page was live, we had over 3,000 hits to the site and over 1,000 families register to get an Apply Early Pass.

Tomorrow, families will be able to live chat with principals from 9 a.m. – noon and use their Apply Early Pass to be among the first to apply for schools and programs of choice in GPISD. The link to each principal’s Zoom can be found on their school’s Experience page. 

Normally, this event – now in its 10th year – is held at one of our campuses with a festival atmosphere and thousands of attendees. This year, because of the pandemic, it was decided we would continue to hold the event – virtually!

Hustle to the Side…With Your Help

Hi Ladies and Gents!

I (Stacey) have a small request to help me and my family through this difficult financial stage in our lives (thanks, COVID). It will cost you nothing but a couple of minutes of your time.

My “side hustle” is a national news blog called News Break. If you could take a few moments to download the app via https://newsbreakapp.onelink.me/2115408369?pid=mp_500018&msource=mp_500018 I will get some referral points, which will break down into money.

The app basically lets you set what cities/counties/states you’re interested in receiving news about, plus you can choose to “follow” anyone whose writing you like. You’ll be taken to a sign in page, where you’ll have to do the dreaded ID and Password. Then you’ll be taken to a news page. Look up at the top right hand cornmer of the page and type in “Grapevine, TX.” That should bring my profile up at the bottom as a “Recommended Publisher.” If that doesn’t work, try clicking on https://www.newsbreak.com/news/2138198395384/tales-from-a-space-nerd which is my latest post. In any case, there will be a FOLLOW button, so please follow me!

If you decide to help, please make sure that you follow “Stacey Doud.” If you hate the app, uninstall it…no hard feelings!

Thanks in advance, and I truly hope that you enjoy the app, no matter if you follow me or not. Happy New Year (a little late) to our readers!

Covid-19 vaccine: First person receives it in UK

Margaret Keenan, who turns 91 next week, said it was the, “best early birthday present.”

She was given the injection at 06:31 GMT (12:31 am CST) – the first of 800,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine that will be dispensed in the coming weeks.

Up to four million more are expected by the end of the month.

Hubs in the UK will vaccinate over-80s and some health and care staff – the program aims to protect the most vulnerable and return life to normal.

“I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against Covid-19,” Ms Keenan, who is originally from Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, said.

“It’s the best early birthday present I could wish for because it means I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the new year after being on my own for most of the year.

“My advice to anyone offered the vaccine is to take it. If I can have it at 90, then you can have it too,” she added.

Read more at BBC…

What about the U.S.?

Once COVID-19 vaccine candidates receive emergency-use authorization from the FDA, rollout is expected to begin as soon as 24 hours later. The first vaccine candidate through that gate will likely be the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which the FDA will make a decision about on December 10, followed by the Moderna vaccine, which the FDA will make a decision about on December 17.

The U.S. has worked to rush coronavirus-vaccine availability through a multibillion-dollar federal program called Operation Warp Speed, which is aimed at fast-tracking the development, testing, regulatory approval, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. The U.S. has already pre-purchased hundreds of millions of doses of various vaccine candidates sight unseen, and the Trump administration has vowed that at least the initial round of vaccinations will be available to all Americans free of charge.

Read more at The Intelligencer…

GPD looking for hit-and-run driver

Grapevine Police are seeking help from the public to identify a woman involved in a hit and run that injured two children.

On Friday, November 27, 2020 at approximately 3:25 p.m., three 14-year-old boys were crossing the intersection of Meadowlark Drive and Glade Road when two of them were struck by a car. The victims were in the crosswalk. One victim was thrown from his bicycle and suffered minor injuries. Another victim on a skateboard suffered more serious injuries, and had to be transported to the hospital. The third child was able to jump out of the way. 

According to witnesses, the driver swerved from one lane to the other to pass a car, when she struck the children with her front bumper. One person was able to capture cell phone video of the suspect’s car leaving the scene, but the license plate is not visible.

Several adult witnesses describe the driver as a woman in her 20’s or 30’s with dark hair, and appears to be of Asian or Middle Eastern descent. She was driving a silver, 4-door Toyota Camry.

Anyone who is able to identify the suspect is urged to call detectives during regular business hours at: 817.410.3200, or email tips to: cidmail@grapevinetexas.gov.  You can also call in tips after hours to our non-emergency dispatch line at: 817.410.8127.

Q&A: Candidates for mayor of Keller discuss relevant city issues

Three people, Tag Green, Armin Mizaniand Mark Mathews, are throwing in their hats for the position on Keller City Mayor. Here’s what they had to say:

Tag Green:

Why did you decide to run for office?

TG: Passion for people. Our family searched for two years to find our home in Keller. That was almost 15 years ago. Our two youngest children graduated from Keller schools, and we have two grandchildren in Keller schools now. We love our city, our schools and our neighbors—hose who live in our cul-de-sac and those across all of Keller. Five years ago, I felt led to step out to be an influence in our community for positive things. That culminated in being elected to Keller City Council, where I have served you the past three years. Keller is a great place to live and has so much to offer, so much to preserve and protect. We need leadership with vision that looks beyond this month, this year or even this decade to assure we steward our city’s resources with excellence and integrity.

Mark Mathews:

Why did you decide to run for office?

MM: We all have a choice. We can complain or choose to help make our city better. I choose to be “for” something. I’d like to see Keller do better.

Armin Mizani:

Why did you decide to run for office?

AM: Keller is and will always be my home. As a husband and [as a] father to two young kids, I could not be more committed to making sure that Keller is prepared for a prosperous future. The vision I share for Keller is an ambitious one: to be recognized as “Texas’s Most Friendly City.” To do this, we must appreciate the past all the while keeping our sights towards the future. We must bring real taxpayer relief, attract quality economic development that is both vibrant and experiential, prioritize our roads, sidewalks and infrastructure, ensure public safety and maintain Keller’s unique character through our parks and trails. Above all else, we must put our residents first—all 45,000 residents, regardless of whether they voted for you or your opponent.

Read more questions and answers at Community Impact…

Chess inspires 17-year-old student to help others locally and internationally: PART 1

The 86th Annual Southwest Open Chess Championship, sanctioned by the Texas Chess Association (TCA) and hosted by the Dallas Chess Club (DCC), was held at the Doubletree by Hilton hotel in Irving from September 4 to September 7.

Anirudh Ganesh (Photo courtesy of Cole Blakeman)

The TCA has a long history in Texas. It was founded in 1935 by Dallas resident John Charles Thompson. After WWII, the Texas State Championship Series began, and its founder won several titles before he moved abroad in 1952. Thompson passed away in 1999.

The DCC has about 300 members and is recognized as one of the United States’ major chess organizations. It is governed by The United States Chess Federation (US Chess or USCF), which is the governing body for all chess competitions in the United States and is the representative for the U.S. in the World Chess Federation, also referred to as the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE), which governs international chess organizations.

The tournament was broken down into Open, Reserve, Novice and Scholastic Sections for chess enthusiasts from grades K-12.

Parents of the contestants were hurrying around, keeping up with when and where their child or children needed to be, as well as rankings after rounds were played.

“I have two boys here today,” said parent Ganesh Raghu. “The elder one, Anirudh, is a 17-year-old Senior at Coppell High School and is playing in the Open Section. He started [playing chess] when he was in second grade. His school had a chess program where he had some chess lessons, so that’s how he got started. And then he started playing some tournaments and kept going, and that’s how we got involved. We just continued playing,” Raghu said.

“[Anirudh] went to a school called Universal Academy [a Charter School in Coppell] in his early years, and there, chess was a standard part of the curriculum. They had like 40 minutes of chess every day. Then, he started entering tournaments and started doing very well. In fact, he founded, and is the president, of his high school Chess Club. He takes chess very seriously. He has been consistently ranked in the Top 50 players in the country since 2012,” said Raghu.

“Anirudh achieved a peak rating of 2115 (USCF) and peak national ranking of 36. He has played in over 324 tournaments in nine years in different parts of the US. Lately, he has been focusing his time on training kids of all levels in Chess,” said Raghu.

Anirudh ‘s most recent accomplishments from the Texas State tournament held in McAllen, Texas this March include Texas State K-12 Chess Blitz, 1st place Champion; Texas State High School Bughouse, 2nd place; and Texas State High school Championship, 4th place.

“His [younger] brother, Siddharth, is just starting out. He’s seven and just now starting to play. Anirudh teaches him. He also goes to Universal Academy,” said Raghu.

After some commotion in the hallways and texts coming in on cell phones, Raghu said, “We just got word about who [Anirudh] is going to be playing, and now that he knows which color he is, he has about 45 minutes to prepare for his next game.”

An algorithm is used to determine which color and opponent each participant will get.

“They use the Swiss Pairings algorithm, which matches you up by splitting the whole playing field,” Anirudh said. “Let’s say you have 16 players on the playing field. Then you will have #1, which is the highest rated player, playing #9. Number 2 will play #10, #3 will play #11 and so on. It’ll go like that so that you’re not playing equally rated players in the first round. But that will change in later rounds,” he explained.

“The colors are important because the player beginning with white pieces has a slight advantage because white moves first. They are already ahead by one move. So, Anirudh will go to a practice board and play the black pieces [that he got assigned to] and look at all the possibilities he can do and just refresh his mind,” said Raghu.

“I don’t play chess, but we have an independent coach for Anirudh, and Siddharth is being taught by his older brother,” said Raghu. “We’re letting our youngest figure out if this is what he wants to do. Of course, you win some and you lose some.”

“Basically, I played in a high section with a lot of competitive players. This is another way to improve my ratings and get better at the same time. We go to tournaments like this because they provide a more competitive atmosphere,” said Anirudh. “Chess is a really broad sport in the sense that you have kids from about 6 years old to adults. Sometimes the adults are aged 60 and higher. These players can be equally rated, but vastly different at the same time.”

“I haven’t played [in person] in about 5 months in outside tournaments due to COVID,” Anirudh said. “Around that time, I was just preparing my openings and the lines that I had prepared. I was making sure that I was still in touch with the game. Every day, I would just play online with a lot of other strong players. There are also a lot of online Blitz tournaments going on, which involve Grand Masters and International Masters and a lot of other strong players.”

“One thing I like about this sport is that you see wins and losses, so it makes you better as a [person] because you don’t just gloat on your high days because you know the next day may be very different,” Raghu explained. “This is the first time in nine months that [Siddharth] has played against a real person. He’s been practicing on ChessKid.com, where he can play against other kids. But it is very different from being here, where he’s sitting opposite another chess player in reality.

“Siddharth had some good success at the Texas State grade level tournament last year in Houston by placing in the Top 10,” said Raghu.

Anirudh had an average performance in this tournament, but still holds formidable state and national rankings. He ranks at 97th percentile Nationwide, 99th percentile in the Junior category and 99th percentile in the state.

However, he has gone above and beyond, giving back to the sport that he loves.