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Back-seat belt use overlooked aspect of traffic safety

COLLEGE STATION — While the overall use of safety belts has increased over the decades, a look into the back seat of many vehicles today tells a different story,” said Bev Kellner. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service traffic safety program manager, College Station.

“According to a recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety survey, four out of the five adults who admit to not using a safety belt in the back seat said they are least likely to use them during short trips or when using a taxi or ride-share service,” Kellner said.

The survey exposes a common misperception among vehicle passengers that sitting in the back seat of a vehicle is safer than sitting in the front.

“Using a safety belt in the back seat is just as important as using one in the front seat,” Kellner said. “It may have been true in the past that the rear seat was safer, but that’s not really the case now thanks to new technologies and improved vehicle manufacturing.”

The tendency to not wear safety belts in the back seat of a taxi or ride-share vehicle could become a habit for the non-use of back seat safety belts in a regular vehicle, she said. This was validated by the study, which showed those who reported most of their trips as a rear-seat passenger in hired vehicles were also less likely to use rear-seat safety belts in their personal vehicles.

“As it becomes a habit for people to use their safety belts, it can become a habit not to as well, especially if there’s a mistaken perception that the back seat is already a safe space,” she said. “A habit that develops when using a service like a taxi, Lyft or Uber can carry over into the use of a personal vehicle.”

In its study of 1,172 respondents, the IIHS study found that among respondents who said they had ridden in the back seat of a vehicle during the preceding six months, 72 percent said they always used a back seat belt while 91 percent said they always use their front seat belt.

The study showed adults 35 to 54 were the least likely to fasten their safety belts while in the back seat of a vehicle. Only 66 percent of this age group buckled up in the back seat, while 76 percent of adults 55 and older and 73 percent of adults 18 to 34 reported buckling up. In addition, women and adults who had attended college were more likely to use a safety belt in the rear seat. Only 57 percent of passengers in hired vehicles reported always using their belt in the rear seat.

“Another misperception addressed by the IIHS study is that rear-seat passengers feel in a collision their non-use of seat belts will not have any effect on the driver or front-seat passengers,” Kellner said. “But the fact is any item or person in the back seat can become a ‘projectile’ to be tossed around the interior of the vehicle and kill or badly injure other passengers. That’s one of the reasons you should never hold a child in your lap while inside a vehicle. In the case of rollover crashes, unbelted passengers, whether in the front or rear seat, can easily be thrown from the vehicle.”

“Front-seat occupant safety has received a great deal of attention and vehicle manufacturers have taken great strides by enhancing protective features in those positions,” said Joseph Colella, owner of Traffic Safety Projects based in Charleston, South Carolina, and a nationally recognized traffic safety expert. “While rear seats have not received the same level of attention and progress, crash statistics prove that buckling up properly is crucial for all occupants, regardless of their seating positions. Unless everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained, none of the occupants are optimally protected.”

Kellner said while the study noted the main reason people gave for not buckling up in the rear seat was they felt it was safer, other reasons included not being in the regular habit of using a safety belt, belts were uncomfortable or fit poorly, and belts were difficult to find and use.

“The survey also showed not having a law that required rear-seat passengers to buckle up was an impediment,” Kellner said. “Fortunately, in Texas our law requires all passengers — both front and back, including those in multi-passenger vehicles — to use their seat belts. It also requires children under 8, unless taller than 4 feet, 9 inches, be put in a car seat used according to the manufacturer’s requirements.”

Kellner said while it is the responsibility of the rear-seat passenger to buckle up, technology and others in the vehicle can help ensure they do.

“Another interesting part of the IIHS study was that almost two-thirds of occasional or non-users of rear-seat safety belts said an audible reminder would make them more likely to buckle up,” she said. “Unfortunately, only a very small percentage of vehicles currently on the road have such reminders. But drivers and other passengers can have an influence on rear-seat passengers by politely asking them to buckle their safety belts.”

The study also showed having more comfortable belts would improve the likelihood of rear-seat passengers using them, Kellner said.

“Those surveyed said softer or padded belts and adjustable shoulder belts that don’t irritate the neck would be preferred, as would somewhat looser or less restrictive belts,” she said. “But even though passenger comfort is desirable, a little discomfort or annoyance while buckling up is a small price to pay for one’s personal safety and the safety of others.”

“Voice of DCCCD” retiring after more than 20 years

Dallas – Deborah “Debbie” Hutchison is leaving the building, and she’s going to try not to cry.

Fat chance.

For more than 22 years, she has devoted herself and her time to students, colleagues, supervisors and visitors at the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD).

“I think I’ve touched a few lives,” Hutchison said.

What motivates her is a desire to answer questions. She’s like a Trivial Pursuit expert, except all of the queries are about DCCCD, and she knows most, if not all, of the answers.

“Our students deserve to talk to someone who wants to help them,” said Hutchison said. “These years at DCCCD have enriched my life in so many ways that I could not have imagined. The most important blessings have come from my district office family. I’ve learned a lot here.”

Serving others

Dr. Joe May, the district’s chancellor, calls her “the voice of DCCCD. During an impromptu appearance before DCCCD’s trustees this month, Hutchison thanked board members for both the chance work for the district and the opportunity to spread her wings.

“I’ve been blessed to work with wonderful people and do meaningful work,” she told them.

When she came to interview for a job at the district, she was told that she was overqualified. Hutchison, undaunted, set out to prove that she could fit in with a constantly-evolving department.

“It was the love. I immediately felt love,” Hutchison said. “I did a lot of training just to keep my skills up. I’m a resource. I believe that if you don’t know the answer, you find out. You get it and you share it.”

She will be missed. It is Hutchison’s gentle and patient telephone voice that has guided students through the morass of college classes, majors, buildings, campuses and an assortment of other questions.

“I feel so much at home in education. These are all teaching moments,” she said.

Building strong relationships

At 71, Hutchison stayed in the workforce longer than planned, but mostly because it gave her a chance to learn and help others, and chance to master tasks that required software classes and other types of training.

“I cherish my colleagues,” she said. “Relationships are what I take from here. It’s the people.”

The feeling is mutual.

The district’s executive vice chancellor, Dr. Justin Lonon, called Hutchison “an outstanding ambassador. The epitome of customer service.

“She cares deeply about our students and their needs,” Lonon said. “She also is a great writer who has crafted materials and stories throughout the district. She is irreplaceable.”

Hutchison walked into DCCCD in 1995 looking for a job as a writer. A graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, the English major wanted a job that would keep her engaged. She certainly found that and more. During her tenure, she penned DCCCD’s employee newsletter, wrote for the web and joined numerous leadership teams.

She’s worn a lot of different hats: facilitator, information specialist, department assistant, marketing information specialist and, finally, senior marketing information specialist. And as a member of the district’s Community Emergency Response Team, she actually donned a hard hat as she guided her colleagues and supervisors during emergency drills.

A Fort Worth native, Hutchison eagerly and proudly claims Dallas as her home. She is a longtime member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the Dallas Arboretum. She is quick to add that she also has a membership with Fort Worth’s renowned Kimball Art Museum.

“I will never give up my Fort Worth roots,” she said.

Hutchison is an award-winning speaker and writer. As head of the DCCCD Talks chapter of Toastmasters International, she has won a number of honors for her speeches. She also has hosted and helped organize the district’s annual celebrations honoring other cultures, including the annual African American Read-in.

Trading hats

Kathy Cook, the district’s chief marketing officer, called Hutchison “our number one customer service representative.”

“When phones all over the district are overloaded and going to voicemail, Debbie is the one people know they can call and talk to, a kind and patient person,” Cook said.

Hutchison, according to Cook, has the institutional knowledge that everyone in the district relies on.

“Like our students, we count on Debbie to know everything about everything. And, not surprisingly, she does,” Cook said. “But Debbie is so much more to all of us in district marketing. She is a true friend who cares about each and every one us, and our families and even our pets. She is family, and family is forever.”

Hutchison will embark on new adventures as she retires. In addition to gardening, she plans to donate a good deal of time to her four grandchildren, pen a journal and work on her family’s genealogy – a pet project that she says borders on obsession.

But she promises not to stray too far.

“This is not the end. It’s the beginning. I love everybody I work with. It’s been a great ride, but it’s not over,” said Hutchison, who plans to return every other Thursday to DCCCD’s downtown Dallas office building for Toastmasters meetings.

“I’ll be back for my craziness. I won’t have time to cry,” she said.

SOURCE Dallas County Community College District

Perot Museum offers free admission to families affected by Hurricane Harvey

DALLAS – The Perot Museum of Nature and Science near downtown Dallas is offering free admission to the families displaced by Hurricane Harvey. From now through Sept. 30, families who reside in the impacted multi-county region can receive complimentary general admission for up to seven family members. A proof of residency and photo ID are required. Find a list of qualifying counties and other details at

With school back in session and summer coming to an end for North Texans, the Perot Museum will celebrate Labor Day weekend with three fun-filled days. From Sept 2-4, guests can enjoy daily “science on the spot” demos, bookworm readings, science trivia and other drop-in activities at select times throughout the Museum, plus kids 5 and under can enjoy paper plate creations in the Moody Family Children’s Museum until 3 p.m.

It’s also the final weekend for Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed, the largest exhibition about the Maya to ever tour the country (closing Labor Day). Visitors can decipher hieroglyphs, build arches, learn cultural and architectural techniques, and explore an underworld cave, nearly 250 authentic artifacts, an ancient burial site, mural room and more. And there’s still time to catch this summer’s 3D films – including Dream Big 3D, Walking With Dinosaurs 3D and Wild Africa 3D.

Through Labor Day (Sept. 4), veterans, active and retired U.S. military personnel and first responders will receive complimentary general admission plus $3 off general admission for members of their immediate families (up to six family members). In addition, the Community Partners Ticket Program offers $1 general admission and $1 admission to Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed for guests who qualify based on need.

The Perot Museum will stay open until 6 p.m. through Labor Day. PLEASE NOTE: The Museum will be closed Sept. 5-7 for annual maintenance and will reopen with regular hours Sept. 8.
Parking is $10. Visitors can save $2 on general admission when purchasing online. For more info, go to

SOURCE Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Homeowners can spend a lot on hidden costs

SEATTLE and SAN FRANCISCO — Nationally, U.S. homeowners can expect to spend $9,080 a year on average in hidden costs related to owning and maintaining a home, according to a new analysis from Zillow® and Thumbtacki. Since nearly half (47 percent) of home shoppers today are first-time buyers, many of these extra costs may come as a surpriseii.

To help with budgeting, Zillow and Thumbtack identified several common but often overlooked home expenses and calculated what homeowners could expect to pay for them around the country. The analysis also included utility cost estimates from UtilityScore.

Nationally, homeowners pay an average $6,059 per year in to cover homeowners insurance, property taxes and utilities, three common, but sometimes overlooked home expenses. San Francisco homeowners pay the most of the metros analyzed ($13,019 a year), primarily due to the market’s high home values and property taxes. Indianapolis homeowners pay the least at $4,699.

Most U.S. homeowners (96 percent) have made some kind of improvement to their homeiii. While many complete these projects themselves, those who hire a professional can expect to spend more than $3,021 a year on average for carpet cleaning, yard work, gutter cleaning, HVAC maintenance, house cleaning and pressure washing, the six most common hired home projects requested by homeowners on Thumbtack. Labor costs can vary significantly by region, with Seattle homeowners paying as much as $4,052 a year on average for those six projects, whereas in San Antonio they pay just $1,962 on average.

“Determining how much a home will ultimately cost you each year and what you can afford is one of the most challenging aspects of home buying, especially for first-time buyers,” said Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s Chief Economist. “Before starting a home search, take a good look at your finances to determine a monthly payment range you can comfortably afford. While that big back yard or larger home may be appealing, it is important to consider how much maintaining those spaces could cost you.”

“While it may be tempting for homeowners to think they can cut costs by doing home maintenance projects themselves, hiring a trained professional to take them on can save them time, anxiety and most likely money in the long run,” said Lucas Puente, Thumbtack‘s Economist. “Across the U.S., buyers should be prepared to spend at least a few thousand a year in home maintenance costs.”

To help buyers better understand the total cost of homeownership, Zillow Group, Inc. launched®, a website that allows people to search for homes by the “All-In Monthly Price” of owning that home, like utilities, taxes, HOA’s and closing costs. With more than a third of buyers going over budget, knowing all the extra or hidden costs associated with homeownership can help buyers set more realistic budgetiv. 

Metro Name Estimated Median Home Value Total Commonly Overlooked Costs (property taxes, insurance and utility estimates from UtilityScore) Total Home Maintenance Costs (carpet cleaning, yard care, gutter cleaning, HVAC maintenance, house cleaning) Total Hidden Costs of Homeownership (Overlooked costs + outsourced maintenance projects) 
United States $ 199,200 $ 6,059 $ 3,021 $ 9,080
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA $ 606,500 $ 9,622 $ 2,934 $ 12,556
Chicago, IL $ 210,200 $ 7,833 $ 2,589 $ 10,423
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX $ 209,200 $ 7,629 $ 2,082 $ 9,711
Philadelphia, PA $ 218,300 $ 8,117 $ 2,808 $ 10,925
Houston, TX $ 175,800 $ 7,189 $ 2,610 $ 9,799
Washington, DC $ 383,200 $ 8,764 $ 2,579 $ 11,342
Atlanta, GA $ 178,700 $ 6,896 $ 2,487 $ 9,383
Boston, MA $ 425,500 $ 10,807 $ 3,570 $ 14,377
San Francisco, CA $ 851,900 $ 13,019 $ 3,271 $ 16,290
Detroit, MI $ 140,900 $ 5,660 $ 2,485 $ 8,145
Riverside, CA $ 326,800 $ 7,576 $ 2,633 $ 10,209
Phoenix, AZ $ 235,100 $ 5,912 $ 2,455 $ 8,366
Seattle, WA $ 440,100 $ 8,872 $ 4,052 $ 12,924
Minneapolis-St Paul, MN $ 247,100 $ 6,178 $ 2,650 $ 8,828
San Diego, CA $ 543,400 $ 10,392 $ 3,096 $ 13,488
St. Louis, MO $ 148,700 $ 5,499 $ 2,288 $ 7,787
Baltimore, MD $ 260,400 $ 7,000 $ 2,591 $ 9,592
Denver, CO $ 368,200 $ 6,134 $ 2,318 $ 8,451
Pittsburgh, PA $ 136,900 $ 5,593 $ 3,079 $ 8,671
Portland, OR $ 363,800 $ 8,189 $ 3,674 $ 11,863
Charlotte, NC $ 173,200 $ 4,986 $ 2,415 $ 7,401
Sacramento, CA $ 366,500 $ 7,663 $ 2,406 $ 10,069
San Antonio, TX $ 160,400 $ 6,170 $ 1,962 $ 8,131
Cincinnati, OH $ 151,600 $ 5,570 $ 3,237 $ 8,807
Cleveland, OH $ 134,000 $ 6,282 $ 2,471 $ 8,753
Kansas City, MO $ 158,200 $ 5,778 $ 2,486 $ 8,264
Columbus, OH $ 161,900 $ 5,828 $ 2,425 $ 8,252
Indianapolis, IN $ 137,700 $ 4,699 $ 2,424 $ 7,123
Austin, TX $ 271,000 $ 9,465 $ 2,235 $ 11,700
Virginia Beach, VA $ 222,200 $ 5,915 $ 2,337 $ 8,253
i Zillow and Thumbtack's Hidden Costs Homeownership report factored in three common, but sometimes overlooked monthly expenses (property taxes, homeowners insurance and utilities from Utility Score) as well as six basic home prep costs from Thumbtack. Thumbtack looked at tens of thousands of quotes from small business professionals around the country and determined the average cost for each expense within the selected metros. For the purposes of this analysis, carpet cleaning, yard work, gutter cleaning, HVAC maintenance, house cleaning and pressure washing were identified as six of the most popular home maintenance-related projects.  ii According to the 2016 Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trendsiii According to the 2016 Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trendsiv According to the 2016 Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends.


Record number of North Texas Eagle Scouts recognized

Congressman Kenny Marchant hosted the 12th annual Eagle Scout Recognition Ceremony at the National Boy Scouts of America (BSA) headquarters in Irving. Over 200 friends and family were on hand to recognize 62 Eagle Scouts from Texas’ 24th Congressional District. Sixty-two is the largest number of participants in the 12-year history of the ceremony.

“This year, we honored a record 62 young men that achieved the rank of Eagle Scout from around the Texas 24th Congressional District,” said Congressman Marchant. “As the father of an Eagle Scout, I’ve seen first-hand the hard work and dedication it takes to receive this great award. A scout consistently puts others before themselves, and I applaud the commitment they’ve made in service to our North Texas community. These young men truly exemplify the Scout Law: A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”

The rank of Eagle Scout is the highest achievement awarded by the Boy Scouts of America and requires earning at least 21 merit badges over many years and completion of the Eagle Scout Service Project.

During the ceremony, each participant is announced by name and given the opportunity to explain their Eagle Scout Service Project. They’re presented with a flag that was flown over the United States Capitol for each of them and a congressional certificate of recognition. This year’s keynote speaker was Don McChesney, Assistant Chief Scout Executive/ National Director of Field Service for Boy Scouts of America.

List of Ceremony Participants (*denotes participant not in attendance but recognized):

Addison – Noah Johnson*

Bedford – Alim Charania, Adam Henning, Dale Krum

Carrollton – Abraham Anguino*, Nathan Bennett, Ali Bharwani*, Jared Birdsong, Donovan Bryant, Liam Bumpass, Zachary Grasty, Tanner Jordan, Vladimir Lankenau, Jared Lee, Dakota Scott

Colleyville – Philip Clayton

Coppell – Matthew Anderson, Anthony Bilka, Richard Bridgeman, Curt Carpenter, Joshua Hart, Jonathon Lindbloom, Samuel McCoy, Pierce McFarlane, Conor Moriarty, Gabriel Roper, Andrew Smith, Bass Stewart, Nicholas Williamson

Dallas –  Zachary Emery, Jonathon Gibson, Forest Huggins*, Jake Kennedy, Grant Lanier, Foti Pakes, Andrew Rich, Giomar Sajche

Euless – Will Mathison, Jordan Meadows, Zachary Miller

Grapevine- Adam Haddad*, Adam Martin, William Strum, Cole Tschirhart, Will Watson

Irving – Nick Choi, Ishan Goel, Robert Josch, Nathan Loh, Ryan Lombardo, Vikram Murugan, Aaron Purewal*, Aditya Shah

Lewisville – Jacob Dashiell, Lucas Huckeba

Plano – Thomas Urech

Southlake – Reed Ragsdale, Reece Snyder, Walker Southern, Will Vaughan, Michael Zelewski*

The Colony – Tim Beaudoin

Dallas authors win Techno Thriller award

Dallas – Charles Breakfield and Rox Burkey were friends and colleagues at a Dallas computer company when they first came up with the idea of writing fiction together.  Eight books later, the self-professed “techno geeks” are taking readers on a thrill ride with The Enigma Series- the 1st place winner in the 2017 Texas Author Awards in the category of Techno Thriller.

With more than 140 international characters and a Super computer named ICABOD, The Enigma Series weaves real life technology into a story line laced with suspense, exotic locales, romance and humor.

“We are very excited to be recognized with the Texas Author Award,” said Burkey. “In our industry, writing documentation can be a pretty dry exercise.  These books let us be creative and use our knowledge to tell thought-provoking stories about what could happen if technology became an adversary.”

The books revolve around two main characters:  Jacob Michaels and Petra Rancowski.  Jacob, a buff “hero geek,” and Petra, a beautiful encryption coder, find themselves fighting the bad guys both online and in the corporate world.  

To make the storyline even more “real” to readers, the authors have created a list of fictitious technical terms and organizations and movie-like trailers for each book in the series. 

“You don’t need a high-tech background to find these books entertaining,” Burkey said. “The Enigma Series is really a tongue-in-cheek look at the computers and Social Media that we use every day -and all the things that could possibly go wrong.”

The first edition in the series was The Enigma Factor followed by Enigma Rising, The Enigma Ignite, The Enigma Wrath, The Enigma Stolen, The Enigma Always, The Enigma Gamers and The Enigma Broker.   The books are available in paperback, EBooks and Audible editions at and other online stores.

The authors collaborate through the use of technology.  The two discuss ideas and plot lines daily through emails, phone calls, Instant Messaging and the use of Google “Hang-outs.”

Breakfield has over 25 years technology experience in security, networking, voice and “anything with bits and bytes,” he said.  Burkey has over 25 years applied technology experience and at optimizing technology and business investments for global customers.

“Working on international deals and writing techno thrillers is easier than remodeling,” Burkey said.

The authors are thrilled by the response to the series.  Online reviews call the books, “The smartest book I have read in a long time. It will open your eyes to things going on now and make you wonder,” and “If you’re into the computer/tech world, you will especially love this story, but even a non-tech savvy person like me will enjoy.”

Breakfield and Burkey were honored for the series at the 2017 Celebration of Authors Gala on July 29 in Houston.

Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra KidsNotes program ends with bang

The Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra has concluded its presentation of the KidsNotes program for the summer. The LCSO partnered with community libraries to expose children to classical music. Programs were presented at the Irving East Branch Library, West Irving Public Library, South Irving Public Library, Grapevine Public Library, Emma’s House, and the Coppell Public Library. A total audience of over 390 people was reached.

This season, the KidsNotes program began with the reading of the book Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin, which introduced the different families of instruments in an engaging and fun way. Next, students engaged in games that explored musical concepts like pitch, rhythm, and timbre. Then, Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra clarinetist Brent Buemi introduced his instrument and performed for the children. The program concluded with an Instrument Petting Zoo which allowed children to try out instruments from each of the four orchestra families.

Early exposure to music and the arts is crucial to developing the creative spark in children. Evidence has shown that children engaged in musical education perform well above national classroom standards. To this end, the Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra is proud to present its KidsNotes program to young children where they can hear, see, touch, and explore different aspects of music and the orchestra. KidsNotes is offered at many area schools, libraries, and bookstores throughout the year. Due to generous contributions from public and private donors, the KidsNotes program is offered free of charge to the community.

SOURCE Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra

Tips for saving on back-to-school costs

PHOENIX – Back-to-school spending is cutting more deeply into family budgets than ever before. In fact, the National Retail Foundation expects parents to shell out $83.6 billion this year to send their children and college students back to school, an increase of 10 percent over last year.

“Back-to-school season puts a lot of strain on families, and spending keeps going up every year,” said Mike Sullivan, a personal finance consultant with Take Charge America, a national nonprofit credit counseling and debt management counseling agency. “School budget cuts have shifted the cost of supplies to families, but savvy parents can minimize their spending without skimping on necessities.”

Sullivan offers nine tips for saving money on back-to-school:
Repurpose: Kids need many of the same supplies every year, and items like scissors and rulers can withstand many school years. Saving even a few bucks here and there will quickly add up.

Splurge and scrimp: You may want to splurge on a few items that are important to your kids, like a cool new backpack or high-end calculator. Then scrimp on everything else, opting for low-price and store brand glue sticks, binders and markers.

Stick to the list: Teachers’ supply lists have become more extensive – and expensive. It’s smart to stick to the list and avoid impulse purchases on unnecessary items.

Compare prices: Laptops and calculators can put a big dent in the back-to-school budget, so make sure you’re getting the best price. Pick from numerous apps that track prices on costly electronics to ensure you’re getting the best value.

Wait to buy: Even better, put off purchases on pricey items until after Labor Day. Just like holiday shopping, retailers hold fire sales after the rush is over.

Shop tax-free: Many states offer a tax-free weekend to help parents save money on back to school. Look online to see if your state participates, and take advantage of the savings.

Find retailer deals: Retailers ramp up promotional offers as the start of school approaches. Sign up for emails and check social media pages of your kids’ favorite brands, then make your purchases when you find a good deal.

Shop second-hand: Clothing swaps are a smart choice for parents looking to exchange gently used clothing, and second-hand shops, Craigslist and eBay are good options for finding trendy and brand-name gear at a low cost.

Include kids in the process: Give your kids a back-to-school budget for higher-price items like clothes and shoes. They’ll learn an important lesson about blowing the budget on one or two pricey brand-name items or stretching their dollars for a bigger haul.
SOURCE Take Charge America, Inc.

Coppell hires two Deputy City Managers

Two new leaders will soon take the helm as Deputy City Managers for the City of Coppell. Traci Leach, Assistant City Manager for the City of La Porte and Noel Bernal, Assistant City Manager for the City of Taylor, were selected and offered the positions in late July. Leach and Bernal will officially join the City of Coppell team on Aug. 28.

“The entire Executive Team participated in the interview process and were highly impressed by these two individuals and their commitment to service,” Coppell City Manager Mike Land said. “Each brings a unique set of skills to the Executive Team and both are committed to becoming actively involved in the community.”

Leach has been the Assistant City Manager in the Houston-area City of La Porte since 2011 and began her career in Farmers Branch as a management analyst in 1999. She is committed to community service and has volunteered her time as a member of the La Porte Education Foundation and as President-Elect of the La Porte Rotary Club. She was also named Rotarian of the Year in 2015. Leach received her Masters of Public Administration from the University of North Texas in 1999 and her Bachelors of Political Science from Austin College in 1997. She is married and has one daughter.

Bernal has served as the Assistant City Manager for the Austin-area City of Taylor since 2015. He also served as City Manager for the City of Falfurrias and La Villa and began his public service career in economic development for the City of Pharr. He is highly involved in professional development and serves on the membership committee, City Managers of Tomorrow Task Force and as the Region VII Treasurer for the Texas City Management Association. Bernal received his Masters of Public Administration in 2013 and his Bachelors in Sociology from the University of Texas Pan American. He is married and has a son and a daughter.

The Deputy City Manager positions in Coppell were previously held by current City Manager Mike Land and Mario Canizares, who accepted a position for the City of Denton last May.

SOURCE City of Coppell

Educational scholarships awarded to children of Irving Police Department

Fran Mathers of Via Reál Restaurant awarded collegiate scholarships from the Pat Mathers Scholarship Foundation to six extraordinary children of Irving Police officers On Wednesday, July 19. The foundation awarded a total of $34,000 in tuition scholarships for the 2017‐2018 academic year to Michaela Braly, Makayla Moore, Mikayla Burres, Connor Vincent, McKenna LeCroy, and Tori Zettle.

The selection of scholarship winners comes from an applicant pool of children from Irving Police officers and civilian employees. They are all college bound or current college students who excel in academics, community service, extracurricular activities, and who exhibit “above and beyond” ambitions to reach their goals. 

The mission of the Pat Mathers Scholarship Foundation is to help further the education of the children of Irving Police Officers and to ease the financial burden on their parents. Funding is raised at Via Reál’s Pat Mathers Scholarship Foundation Fundraiser which takes place once a year at the local restaurant. This year’s upcoming fundraiser is scheduled for Aug. 6, 2017.  

The University of Dallas will match Pat Mathers Scholarship Foundation scholarships for students enrolled in the University of Dallas. 

Fran Mathers, owner of Via Reál Restaurant, began the foundation in 2007 in memory of her late husband, James Patrick Mathers, who was a great supporter of the Irving Police Department.

SOURCE Pat Mathers Scholarship Foundation