All posts by Teri Webster

Maintenance crews keep planes flying

Photo: During the Turn Up! event at Frontiers of Flight, the men and women behind the scenes were recognized for their part in maintaining Dallas Love Field and its runways. /Courtesy Photo

This is where the rubber hits the runway – and where it gets cleaned off.

A lot happens behind the scenes in the maintenance division of Dallas Love Field Airport, a transportation hub that serves about seven million people a year. Crews work around the clock to ensure the runway areas are kept clean and safe. They also assist with painting, landscaping and security.

Another important task is cleaning off skid marks left behind by airplanes as they land and barrel down the runways.

“When the airplane tires hit the concrete, they leave a little bit of rubber,” said Gentry (Shane) Gravens, manager of airfield maintenance. “Over a period of time, it builds up, and that makes it harder and harder for the airplanes to stop. So we have to go and remove it.”

Maintenance crews use special equipment to measure friction and remove rubber build-up. Too much rubber on a runway can create a slick landing surface.

“Equipment readings tell us if we need to remove rubber and what the condition of the concrete is,” Gravens said. “We tell the tower, the tower in turn tells the airplane, and the airplane knows how fast it has to come in.”

Gravens’ comments came during a tour of the maintenance area as part of the Turn Up! event through the Frontiers of Flight Museum and Dallas City of Learning on Saturday, Aug. 1.

The event featured terminal tours, arts and crafts, the Airport Rescue Fire-Fighter Truck (ARFF), a police K-9 demonstration, as well as a living history performance representing important people in aviation history, among. In addition, registration was held for Dallas City of Learning, a program that helps young people explore hobbies and potential careers.

An estimated 1,200 people attended the event, according to Jose L. Torres, a spokesman for Dallas Love Field.

Rubber from aircraft tires is not the only potential runway problem, especially during the winter months. Although the harshest winter weather is likely several months away, equipment is already being tested and prepared.

Winters in the Dallas-Fort Worth area can be brief yet brutal. As a result, the maintenance staff has gone as far as seeking advice from experts in Buffalo, NY, one of the snow capitals of the nation.

“While they deal with a lot of snow, we deal with ice,” Gravens said. “You can’t land on ice.”

When snow and ice hit, special maintenance equipment distributes chemicals to dissolve snow, sleet and ice on the runways. One trip up and down a runway uses about 2,100 gallons of chemical, which costs about $10 a gallon.

Snowplow equipment is used to clear snow or slush from the runways.

“We go 40 to 50 miles-an-hour down a runway,” Gravens said. “Our main goal is to maintain at least 50 feet on each side of the center line down the runway. That’s where the wheels land. But we try to go at least to the hedge line, which is 200 feet.”

Runways must be kept open for safety and financial reasons. The airport can lose up to one-million-dollars a minute if runway operation is lost and various fees are not collected. Airport crews are also responsible for maintaining an executive airport in south Dallas and a downtown helipad at the convention center.

Maintenance crews will have even more ground to cover with a new parking lot at the airport. All of that concrete must be cleaned and maintained as well.

The Dallas City Council approved the 4,000-plus space parking garage, because an increase in flights has caused parking shortages, Torres said in a written statement.

“During peak times, parking becomes an issue,” Torres said.

The parking garage is expected to be completed in 2017.

Summer months present another set of challenges. Maintenance crews can spend up to 17 hours a day mowing grassy areas at the airport. Most of the mowing takes place in the evening hours.

“From midnight to 6 a.m. we’re kind of at a standstill,” said Gravens. “If you mow during the day the bugs get active and then the birds fly in. We also can’t have trees around with fruits or berries. That will attract birds.”

Scorching temperatures this summer have made it difficult on crews. When the mercury hits more than 100 degrees, temperatures soar on and near the runways.

“It was [recently] 143 degrees on the concrete and 121 degrees in the shade,” Gravens said.

During the extreme temperatures, he had crews focus on working on equipment inside the garage, drinking plenty of water, and limiting direct sun exposure.

“We had to have the guys in safe mode,” he said.

While working, maintenance crews follow one simple but critical rule: Stay out of the way of the airplanes.

“We always face the airplanes,” Gravens said. “We don’t ever turn our back in an area, because we don’t want a plane to land on us accidentally. We have to move out of the way of every airplane, no matter where it is on the airport.”

Rosies honored for strength and determination

Photo: A young ‘Rosie the Riveter’, Charlotte Gaberino, explores a cockpit during Frontiers of Flight’s “The Greatest Generation’s Greatest Day” celebration. /Photo by John Starkey

“Rosie the Riveter” is a famous icon that represents the women who worked in factories and shipyards during World War II.

Posing with her arm flexed in a show of strength, Rosie wears a red and white polka dot bandanna and a blue work shirt. Her slogan, “We Can Do It,” represents the determination of women entering the workforce in unprecedented numbers and assuming male roles in the workplace.

“The Greatest Generation’s Greatest Day,” celebration at the Frontiers of Flight Museum took time to honor the history of the Rosies on Saturday, Aug. 15. Women of all ages attended the event dressed up as “Rosie.” The event commemorated the 70th anniversary of the final day of World War II.

Edna Gammage Simpson, 91, is one of several million women who met the challenge of factory work. Between 1941 and 1942, Simpson worked on portions of B-24 Liberators for Consolidated Vultee Aircraft in Fort Worth.

“It’s wonderful to be remembered,” Simpson said. “I wouldn’t have missed it.

“Some of the plants had people wear [red bandannas] but mine didn’t,” Simpson said. “I wore a cap with a snood.”

The polka-dotted bandanna Rosie wears was actually a look worn by Westinghouse employees, according to Lisa Foster, a teacher, corporate trainer and historian.

“It was only in the Westinghouse Plant,” Foster said. “It didn’t surface in the general population until 1980. So, this is not how Rosie looked. But a lot of companies did make you wear your hair up. A bandanna was obviously an easy thing, or you could wear a cap.”

The “hair-up” rule was a safety measure, to prevent the women’s hair from getting entangled in the equipment or tools.

Frances Perkins, the fourth Secretary of Labor in the U.S., resisted plans to have women in serve in the military in World War II. Instead, women were encouraged to enter the workforce and fill the jobs left behind by the men who went off to war, Foster explained.

The percentage of women in the workforce increased from 27 percent to almost 37 percent from 1940 to 1945. Nearly one in four women worked outside the home by 1945, according to history.com.

Simpson applied for a job in Palestine, TX, and was linked to a program with the National Defense University. After receiving training in working with aircraft sheet metal in Waco, Simpson went to the Consolidated Vultee Plant in Fort Worth.

At one point, Simpson lived in a room with bunk beds that she shared with other “Rosies.”

“My roommate would kick and wake me up during the night,” Simpson said.

She worked the second shift at the plant from 4 p.m. until midnight. She still has pictures of her roommate and others she worked with.

“I never really stayed in touch,” she said. “But I still remember them.”

Since then, Simpson has led a full life.

“She outlived three husbands,” said her daughter, Donna Mosley of Duncanville. “One of her husbands (the late Cleo Simpson) was a gunner on a B-24 in World War II.”

During World War II, Simpson was not the only family member to work in the defense industry. A brother worked as a welder in Houston shipyards. She also had two sisters who worked in production for the defense industry. One worked California, and the other sister worked in Houston.

She did not follow her brother to Houston, because “he had a family, and I figured I’d have to spend a lot of time babysitting.”

Simpson’s love for her work and the world of flight still remains strong. In 2009, she took her first flight in a B-24, the same model she worked on.

“I wasn’t afraid,” she said.

Athletic training program teaches students about caring for athletes

High school students in the Irving school district have a chance to help their peers and experience a potential career path through the district’s student athletic trainer program.

Students usually become interested in athletic training through a sports medicine class, according to Cassie Shoultz, a staff athletic trainer at Nimitz High School.

“A lot of time they hear about it through word of mouth,” Shoultz said. “We also advertise around the school and put up posters.”

Athletic trainers typically study sports medicine, anatomy, injury prevention, evaluation, and treatment, as well as CPR and first aid. At the professional level, athletic trainers can work with doctors and other healthcare professionals to help prevent or diagnose injuries and medical conditions.

After graduating from Irving ISD’s program, some students have gone on to become professional athletic trainers; others have attended nursing school or have studied other areas in the medical field.

“A lot of them are interested in the medical field,” Shoultz said. “They want to help people.”

Other students are looking for a way to get involved in their school.

“Some of them just want to get out and be around the team,” said Cody Hicks, an assistant athletic trainer at Irving High School. “They want to be involved in something and maybe they’re not really that athletic.”

All of the students work under the supervision of the licensed athletic trainers on the high school campuses, said Clint Roddy, Irving ISD athletic director.

“They learn various aspects and the skills of athletic training,” Roddy said. “They’re not allowed to make any type of decision. They serve in a support role. The head trainer and assistant trainers do a fantastic job of working with the kids and coaches.”

The district also partners with athletic training majors at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). Working at the high schools allows college students to receive practical experience.

“We partner with the UTA athletic training program, and their students are assigned to different high schools,” Roddy said. “We have a UTA student with us every semester. They do clinical learning and get the experience and hours they need.”

Ryan Kacvinksy, a UTA graduate student, is working with the Irving High School football team this fall.

“I like athletic training because you get to see the patient throughout their entire care,” Kacvinsky said. “You see the injury, you see them go through rehab, and then you continue to see them improve. You see the full scope of their care.”

One of the duties of the high school student athletic trainers is ensuring athletes have water available.
“We might have as many as 300 kids practicing at one time,” Shoultz said. “They help us keep an eye on the kids.”

But the students are much more than water boys and girls. During the hot weather, for example, they watch for signs of heat-related problems.

“We definitely take the heat into consideration,” Roddy said. “We use a unit of measurement called a wet bulb, that is recommended by the National Athletic Trainers Association, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and the military. It helps alert us to situations where heat exertion or illness can occur.”

An important part of the measurement is humidity. When high humidity is coupled with high temperatures, practices are often modified, so students not are put at risk. High humidity levels increase sweating and the likelihood of dehydration. During football practices, it is also important to have students remove their helmets, which trap the heat.

Synthetic turf fields improve Irving ISD athletic programs

A project to install synthetic turf in Irving ISD’s three high school football fields will create a safer playing surface and help increase school pride, according to some school leaders and students.

“It’s just a safe playing surface, and kids will get a lot of benefits from it,” Irving ISD athletic director Clint Roddy said. “We’re also hoping it will spark a lot of school pride. It has the team’s logos, colors and mascots. It’s pleasing to the eye and to the community.”

The fields can host home soccer games at the varsity level and baseball and softball practices can be held on the fields when the ground is wet and muddy.

Last year, the schoolboard began considering ways to improve athletic playing areas as well as the district’s fine arts programs, said Scott Layne, assistant superintendent for support services.

“The fields can also become instructional areas,” Layne said.

Physical education, science or environmental programs and clubs could also use the fields.

“If we needed an area to congregate a lot of kids outside, this would be an ideal area,” Layne said.

The last major high school football field renovations took place back in the early 2000s, when bleachers, press boxes and concession stands were upgraded, Layne explained. Installing the artificial turf will cost $1 million per stadium for a total of about $3 million for the three high school fields.

Irving High School’s football field already has its artificial turf installed, while Nimitz’ and MacArthur’s fields are in the process of completing it.

Aaron De La Torre, Irving High School’s head football coach and campus athletic coordinator, explained how the field can boost players’ performance.

“From an offensive perspective, everything about football usually has a mark,” De La Torre said. “So you’ll tell the kids, ‘Get out on the left hash, get on the right hash, get to the top of the numbers, get to the bottom of the numbers.’ Now the kids have really good landmarks, and it helps them to be in the right place. In football, alignment is critical. Your alignment can get you beat. But if you’re aligned right, that’s half the battle. Now you’ve just got to go out and execute the play.”

Artificial turf is also safer for students.

“On a grass surface, if it’s raining you have to really be careful,” De La Torre said. “If you get out there on it and they start slipping around, they can get hurt. Here, you’ve got more grip, it’s all season. There’s never going to be a rain-out.”

Players on the Irving High School football team are already enjoying the new turf. Noah Salinas, a senior, said the markings definitely help with proper positioning.

“It has helped a lot with drills, and having clear lines,” Salinas said. “It helps us with running sprints and in yardage situations. It’s been good.”

Senior Mar’kel Cooks believes the field increases school pride.

“Whenever schools come to watch us play, they know who we are,” Cooks said. “We’ve got the big tiger right there in the middle. We’re excited about the new year. This field is going to help us get to where we want to be.”

DFW Airport Board approves budget

The Dallas Fort Worth International Airport Board of Directors recently approved a $791.7 million budget for 2016, which includes a hike in parking fees. Overall, the budget represents a $74.2 million or 10.3 percent increase over 2015. Budget documents indicate most of the increase (62 percent) is due to rising debt service costs.

The parking rate for everyone who parks at DFW Airport will be the same at beginning of the fiscal year on Oct. 1 of this year. But TollTag users will no longer receive a discount at that time.

On Oct. 1, the Terminal TollTag daily parking rate (6 – 24 hrs.) will increase from $20 to $22. This is the current amount for cash and credit card transactions, according to budget documents. About 57 percent of transactions use TollTag, an increase of about 21 percent over the past 10 years.
Additionally, intra-day parking rates (between two to four hours) will increase from $6 to $7 for all users. Valet parking increases from $25 to $27 a day.

In all, the parking fee increases are expected to generate an additional $4.8 million in revenue. Total parking revenues are projected at $143.2 million, a $7.2 million or 5.3 percent increase over the 2015 fiscal year.

The new parking rates will help pay for a number of customer enhancements, including the parking control system, new parking garages, roadway improvements on airport property, and the parking guidance system that has overhead lights along the outer edge of each parking space. The light is green if the space is open and red if it is taken.

In the past four years, the airport made a $279 million investment in parking garages, structures and systems. An additional $121 million is expected from future projects.

The airport recently completed a project at the “Terminal A” parking facility, a five-story parking garage with an additional 7,500 parking spaces. Terminal A represents the largest new structure project at the airport since 2005, when Terminal D and Skylink opened. The Terminal A parking garage also has the parking “guidance system.” With the completion of Terminal A, the airport has a total of 42,000 parking spaces on site.

“Our Terminal A parking facility was designed with enhanced customer convenience and accessibility in mind,” Mazhar Butt, senior vice president of customer experience for DFW Airport, said. “Customers will instantly experience state-of-the-art technology that helps them find their way, and customers liked the guidance technology so much that we also installed it in Terminal D.”

Terminal A is part of the airport’s Terminal Renewal and Improvement Program (TRIP). The $2.7 billion program is designed to renovate the airport’s four original terminals. Renovation work on Terminal A should be finished later this year, while work on Terminals B and E is expected to be completed in 2016.
In other action, the board approved a 3.5 percent merit pool increase for employees, starting with the first pay period in January. The hiring of new and vacant positions has been spread throughout the fiscal year.

Meacham International Airport stands the test of time

Photo: Guests got up close and personal with the aircraft on display during the 90th birthday celebration. /Courtesy Photo

Meacham International Airport in Fort Worth celebrated its 90th birthday on Saturday, July 25.

The birthday celebration featured airplane and helicopter rides, aircraft displays, airport tours, live entertainment, a wall-climbing center, a bounce house and other children’s activities. About 700 people attended, according to organizers.

From its humble beginnings as a 100-acre site with runways made of dirt and sod, the airport has grown into a premiere general aviation airport.

“Meacham Airport is a reliever airport for [Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport],” said Joe Hammond, the airport operations officer. “DFW has a lot of jets that are fast and large. They need to keep a certain flow. When you bring a small aircraft into the mix, it disrupts that flow.”

Meacham Airport’s history goes back to 1925. It was founded by a former Fort Worth Mayor, Henry C. Meacham (1869-1929). In 1927, it was renamed Meacham Airport in his honor.

One year later, in February 1928, the state’s first airline passenger flight departed from Meacham Airport to Oklahoma City, said Hammond. Back then, air travel was considered a novelty, as the Wright brothers’ first manned flight happened roughly 20 years earlier.

That first flight led to an era of “regularly-scheduled airline passenger service at the facility,” starting in 1929, according to airport documents.

A time of significant growth for the airport started in 1932, when American Airways, which later became American Airlines, relocated one-half of the personnel of its southern division headquarters and two airmail routes to Meacham.

In October of 1933, American Airways opened a new hangar and office building at Meacham. By 1936, paved runways and a new terminal building were in place.

In 1995, Meacham Airport was renamed Meacham International Airport. Today, the airport sits on 880 acres and has “two runways, 88 buildings, 1.55 million square feet of hangar space, three full-service fixed base operators, aircraft maintenance facilities, flight schools and two aviation museums,” according to airport documents.

Presently, the airport supports about 100,000 operations a year, including general aviation, military, air carrier and air taxi operations.

Seniors fight to protect Social Security

A celebration of Social Security – a system now 80-years-old – was held at the United Auto Workers Local 848 Hall in Grand Prairie on Thursday, Aug. 13.

The celebration also served as a rally for local efforts to push back against plans and actions that attack social security, Medicare and pension plans.

“What we want to do is improve Social Security,” said Gene Lantz, a Texas AFL-CIO vice president who is also active with the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans. “We’re not just trying to save it; we want to improve it.”

Lantz said retirees today are fighting back against efforts to reduce or take away Social Security benefits.

“It’s something new for retirees to fight back. But we’re doing it. All of you are doing it, and I’m proud of you,” he told the audience of about 50 people.

News media and other venues are trying to scare the public into believing that Social Security is at risk of not being funded, according to Judy Bryant, a retired teacher and member of the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans.

“There is a manufactured crisis that Social Security is in danger,” Bryant said. “Ladies and gentlemen, let me assure you that Social Security is not in danger of not being able to make their payments.”

Bryant also passed out flyers that show several Congressional bills that would expand Social Security.

One plan would “ask everybody to pay their fair share,” Bryant said. That plan entails having people in higher income brackets pay higher Social Security taxes. Presently, a portion of income for people making a little over $100,000 a year is exempt.
A retired Dallas ISD teacher, Bryant said a “windfall elimination provision” reduced her Social Security by nearly half. “It isn’t right,” she claimed, because she paid money into both Social Security and her retirement pension.

“We earned our Social Security. It is not a handout. Whatever we earned, that’s what we should get,” Bryant said.

Lydia Alcalan, also a member of the Texas Alliance for Retired Workers, said she is tired of the mantra that Social Security is not going to be there when people retire.

“Little by little, they try to change things or use scare tactics,” Alcalan said. “They’re trying to divide us by telling the younger folks they’re going to have to take care of it themselves. They want to privatize everything.”

Alcalan believes that as the older population continues to grow, there is more of a push to cut back on programs.

In turn, more people are speaking out.

“There was a little roar and now it’s becoming bigger because there are more voices,” Alcalan said.

Indeed, the number of retirees in the nation continues to increase as the nation’s baby boomer population ages. According to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 75.4 million baby boomers – people born between 1946 and1964. Of those, 46.2 million were 65-and-older in 2014. In 2012, there were 43.1 million seniors.

By 2050, the U.S. is expected to have 83.7 million people who are 65 and older.

“I know you guys get it, but some people out there in the world do not get it,” State Rep. Roberto Alonzo said. “They do not understand that people have given their lives and their time. And even with the amount that they get, it’s not even enough. But at least it helps.

“It’s not taking anybody’s money,” Alonzo said. “That’s your money. It’s the money that you put away through the years. All the United States did was put it aside for a little bit.”

Similar to other workers, George Nolan, a member of Alliance for Retired Americans, said he lost most of his retirement when the company he worked for laid him off and later went bankrupt.

“I get $133.60 for 15 years of service, so I do rely on Social Security,” Nolan said. “Thank God for my wife’s pension.”

Sharing coffee introduces police officers to community

Residents joined members of the Irving Police Department to share morning coffee and talk about the community at McDonald’s at 4098 N. Belt Line Road on Saturday, Aug. 8

“It’s good to meet the police officers and get to know them,” Irving resident Rebecca Herbert said. “I just wanted to see what’s going on and tell them they’re doing good work.”

Others attended to thank officers for helping them through a difficult time or to notify them of criminal activity where they live. Officers do a lot of work in apartment complexes, especially when a criminal element moves in or starts to take over.

Frequent calls from an apartment complex regarding disturbances or suspected drug activity are often the first signs that trouble is brewing.

“That raises a red flag,” Officer Ken Richardson said. “We’ve had to talk to apartment managers about raising their standards. It’s a business, so they are concerned with occupancy. But when you start letting in a criminal element, it causes more problems than it’s worth, and good people are going to leave.”

Saturday’s event also gave residents a chance to know the police.

“We’re just getting out in the community and giving people the opportunity to know us,” Officer Sam D. Hall said. “We can sit down and have a cup of coffee, or we can talk about concerns. It’s a good, laid-back atmosphere.”

It’s all part of an effort to put an emphasis on community policing.

“We’re here for the community, and in turn, the community is here to help us out as well,” Hall said. “Without the community, there’s no police department. We’re trying to establish that trust. Without that trust, we don’t get any calls.”

The police helped Racquel Rawson of Irving with an issue she had with her daughter, a teen mom.

“They calmed my daughter down, and they told her the laws and what the process is,” Rawson said. “Sometimes, kids today think they can do whatever they want to do, and they can’t. They see other kids doing it at school, and they want to do it too.”

Rawson came out to personally thank Officer Krista King for helping her, but had to leave before getting a chance to talk to King.

“I feel bad that I didn’t get to talk to her,” King said. “We need as much support as we can get, nowadays. Yes, we have our bad days; yes, we have our good days. And we see a lot of stuff that hopefully most people don’t ever have to see.”

Media plays a part in creating deceptions about the police, as well as what they have to go through in a day, according to King.

“A lot of times, we’re dealing with people at the worst moments in their life,” King said. “So, being able to help someone and turn that into a positive thing – it’s great.”

Several community members attending the event said they stopped by just to say hello.

“We’ve had a lot of people come in this morning and say they just wanted to support what we do,” Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd said. “They like that we do these kinds of events. So, it just builds our connection. There has to be trust there. Law enforcement is the only entity in our society that we give the authority to arrest people. We give the authority to use force and enforce the laws. In order for it to work, there has to be a certain level of trust.”

Lawrence Ingram, owner of the Belt Line McDonald’s feels the event benefits everyone in the community.

“It’s community-building and it’s interpersonal,” Ingram said. “It brings the community, the police and the entrepreneur together. It brings the police out to the average citizen at a different communication level.”

Young actors shine in one act plays

Photo: Young actors and actresses from Mustang Park Recreation Center perform their one-act play, “The Hysterical History of the Trojan War,” earning the Best Play award. /Photo by John Starkey

Kids from Irving’s Parks and Recreation’s “One Act Play” competition continued a tradition on Friday, July 31 that has lasted more than a half-century. The youths presented the plays they worked on this summer during the 51st Annual One Act Play in Carpenter Hall at the Irving Arts Center.

“All of the local recreation centers offer a one act play drama class every summer,” said Jacqueline Madden, a special events supervisor for Parks and Recreation. “A one-act play is selected, that the kids work on throughout the summer. Before the summer is over, all of the recreation centers showcase the plays.

“They learn a lot in a short period of time,” she said.

Youths participating range in age from six to 16.

“A lot of the kids are returning,” Madden said. “It’s a combination of new kids and kids who have been in it one or more times.”

Acting is a fun and often a new experience for the kids who participate in the plays.

“I got to work with some really good people,” Carlo Dixon, 12, said. “They listened to what I was saying instead of just going with their own ideas. I liked how everybody was open and we talked and laughed.”

Shelbi Balzan, 13, plans to pursue a professional career as an actress.

“I really like performing,” Balzan said. “I go to a fine arts school, and I perform there, too. It’s just really fun. You get to be somebody you’re not when you’re performing. I specialize in acting. That’s my ‘thing.’ I want to be an actress, and I’m a model, too.”

A panel of judges decides winners for the One Act Play. This year’s judges were Laticia Bell, theater director at Nimitz High School; Orlando Flores, a theater teacher at MacArthur High School; and Jasmine Lee, an event planner who has worked with the NBA Development League, Walt Disney World, and other organizations.

The show featured six plays, each of which ran about 20 minutes.

Dancers from Dana’s Dance Academy performed while judges totaled their scores.

Winners in this year’s competition were:

Best Play

“The Hysterical History of the Trojan War” – Mustang Park Recreation Center

Runner Up Best Play

“The Glass Slippers” – Northwest Park Recreation Center

Best Actress

Swarnika Signh

“Having Your Cake” – Cimarron Park Recreation Center

Runner Up Best Actress

Paula Romero

“The Apple” – Lee Park Recreation Center

Best Actor

Erik Estrada

“The Glass Slippers” – Northwest Park Recreation Center

Runner Up Best Actor

Nathan De Olloz

“The Apple” – Lee Park Recreation Center

Honorable Mentions

Mustang Park Recreation Center

Manasvi Pabbati

Disha Shah

Charvi Vohra

Northwest Park Recreation Center

Atyab Hijira

Other plays performed included “Oh, What a Tangled Web,” by the Senter Park Recreation Center; and “Mysterious Friend,” by the Georgia Farrow Recreation Center.

Moon condos may be in your future

“You’re going to the moon!”

That famous line from the vintage comedy show “The Honeymooners,” was a zinger Ralph Kramden often told his wife, Alice.

But for members of the Moon Society, sending people to the moon is something they would like to do – literally. At some point, people could work and live underground on the moon in bases located in “lava tubes” or tunnels. The tunnels are the “drained conduits of underground lava rivers,” according to NASA.
“The moon is open for business,” Ken Murphy told a small crowd gathered for his talk on Cislunar Space: The Moon You Never Knew. Murphy, a Moon Society member and principle with Space Finance Group, made the comment during Moon Day 2015 at the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas. Cislunar refers to an area of orbit surrounding the moon.

In part, Murphy was referring to resources on the moon that could be profitable to people on earth. Minerals, metals and oxygen are just some of the riches that could be mined on the moon.

The idea may not be as far-fetched as it seems.

According to Popular Mechanics, NASA has a robot that can “break down lunar soils and extract oxygen for use in life support and as a rocket propellant.” It could be done with a device about as big as a lawnmower, the magazine reported in 2012.
Murphy also discussed the various locations of satellites in space. Solar panels connected to satellites could be used to collect energy from the sun and turn it into electricity. Although it would be costly to get the equipment into space, it would provide a source of free energy once it is in place.

Murphy pointed out that solar power is much cleaner and is also “unspillable.”

“We can take out the middleman and get it directly,” he said. “It’s a long-term solution for energy.”

Much of today’s emphasis in space travel is placed on going to Mars, Murphy said.

“There are good reasons to go to Mars,” he said. “There are also good reasons to go to cislunar space.”

Murphy’s presentation was one of several held during Moon Day, which featured activities, displays and lectures for people of all ages who are interested in space-exploration.

The museum’s Moon Day also commemorated the 46th anniversary of the first lunar landing: Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969.

“While the anniversary of the first Moon landing serves as a reason to celebrate, the Frontiers of Flight Museum and the National Space Society of North Texas have created an annual event to showcase the present and future of space exploration,” Bruce Bleakley, Museum Director of the Frontiers of Flight Museum, said in a written statement. “Our extensive content is provided by local and regional space-related organizations, who work—as we do—to inspire new generations to embrace a scientific and technological future.”