Category Archives: Home & Health

ACLU of Texas launches police accountability app 

HOUSTON — The ACLU of Texas recently announced the launch of ACLU Blue, a police accountability smartphone application that allows users to join an interactive, online community committed to documenting excessive uses of force, racial profiling and over-militarized responses by law enforcement, as well as showcase and elevate examples of model policing in Texas communities. The app is available for use in Texas on the Android and iTunes app stores in English and Spanish.

Through the ACLU Blue app, users will be able to record police interactions or upload videos recorded with other video applications. Once uploaded, the videos will be reviewed by “deputies” to verify the footage does indeed document a police interaction, after which it will be reviewed by ACLU of Texas staff and released to the public via YouTube. The app also features Know Your Rights information educating users on “What to do if Stopped by Police,” “Your Right to Film Police” and “Your Rights at the Border.

“There have been far too many incidents in this country and in this state of police interactions involving misconduct, abuse and tragedy,” Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas, said. “The ACLU Blue app is designed to continue the national conversation about policing. It encourages model policing by allowing users to show what policing should — and shouldn’t — look like. If an officer uses overly aggressive law enforcement tactics on a civilian, Texans should know about that. And when an officer demonstrates professionalism and model policing, de-escalates a tense situation or foregoes force where diplomacy is what’s warranted, then Texans should know about that, too.”

“When properly deployed, police body cameras discourage misconduct, increase accountability and transparency, improve evidence documentation and reduce civilian complaints in some cases by as much as 90 percent,” Cheryl Newcomb, deputy director for the ACLU of Texas, said. “Unfortunately, not all law enforcement agencies use them, and those that do may not have policies to release footage to the public when the public most needs to see it. The ACLU Blue app allows Texans to document police interactions and join a community dedicated to protecting civil liberties.” 

Spring Break/St. Patrick’s Day DWI No-Refusal operations

The Irving Police Department will conduct DWI No-Refusal operations during the Spring Break/St. Patrick’s Day holiday period. The Department runs the operations by means of a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) as part of the State’s “Drink. Drive. Go to Jail.” campaign. Additional officers, whose primary focus will be to locate and arrest impaired drivers, will be on duty.

The Department will utilize a no-refusal approach to DWI enforcement. Persons arrested for DWI will be offered a blood test only (no breath tests). Officers will seek a search warrant, signed by a judge, in order to obtain a sample from anyone refusing consent to a blood test.

The operations will take place on the nights of Friday, March 17 and Saturday, March 18. Furthermore, additional officers will be dedicated to DWI enforcement between the dates of March 4 and March 21.

The Irving Police Department and TxDOT encourage drivers to “Plan While You Can” to avoid the consequences of impaired driving. A person’s abilities, decision making skills and judgment can diminish while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Consider the use of a taxi or car service, a designated driver or public transportation as an alternative to driving after drinking.

If you see a suspected drunk driver, and you (or a passenger) can do so safely, please call 9-1-1 with the information.


SOURCE Irving Police Department

Rental properties can make good investments, but they come with risk

By Nathaniel Sillin

Maybe your financial house is in order. Your debt is manageable or paid off. You have an emergency fund and now you’re looking for ways to grow your wealth. Or, perhaps you’re planning ahead by learning about different investments options. Have you considered becoming a landlord?

Rent prices tend to rise over time, providing an inflation-protected income into your retirement years. You also might be able to cash in big later if the unit’s value increases. It doesn’t always work out that way, though. Some landlords wind up with a trashed property after evicting a tenant or lose their savings in a natural disaster.

In between the extremes of easy, hands-off income and total ruin are the everyday concerns, benefits and risks that most landlords face.

A few risks you could face as a landlord. Investment property mortgages tend to be a little more difficult and costly to secure than primary residence mortgages. It can also be harder to take cash out of investment properties – either with a cash-out refinance or a home equity line of credit. In other words, you might not have access to the money during an emergency.

Owning a rental property outright can be risky as well. Especially if you’re placing a significant amount of your savings in a single investment, the lack of diversification could put you in a precarious situation.

Those aren’t the only risks you could face when owning a rental.

Finding and keeping good tenants. Landlords learn from experience that it’s worth leaving their rental empty for a month or two rather than pay for an eviction or expensive repairs later. You can pay for professional tenant screening reports or credit reports and call applicants’ references before offering a lease.

Covering your expenses. Between taxes, insurance, repairs, maintenance and mortgage payments the monthly and one-off costs can quickly stack up. Some landlords lose money because their rental income doesn’t cover their expenses, but they won’t be able to attract tenants if they raise it. If the housing and rental markets drop, you could be stuck losing money each month or selling the property at a loss.

The time or cost of managing a rental property. Becoming a landlord is often far from a hands-off job. When the phone rings in the middle of the night because the roof is leaking, you’ll need to figure out how to solve the problem. You may be able to hire a property management company to take on this work for you, but they often charge about 8 to 12 percent of your rental income or a flat monthly fee.

Even with the risk involved, there are countless examples of successful landlords. Many find the experience so rewarding that they purchase additional investment properties.

Set yourself up for financial success. What separates the successful and sorrow-filled landlords? Luck certainly comes into play, but you can also take steps to get started on the right foot.

Try to determine a property’s capitalization rate, the estimated annual return, before making an offer. To calculate the capitalization rate, divide the annual net income by the property’s purchase price.

Your net income will be your rental income, which you can approximate based on rental prices for similar properties, minus your costs, such as maintenance, upgrades, vacancies and emergencies. You may need to consult an accountant to understand how your new tax situation can affect your costs.

Cap rates tend to change depending on the area and type of property. But regardless of what’s considered “good” in your area, you can use this formula to compare different investment opportunities.

Bottom line: Many people focus on the positives of owning investment property. An extra income and potential to build equity with their tenants’ money seems too good to be true, and it just might be. If you’re going to be successful, you should acknowledge the risks that come with the territory and plan accordingly.

Don’t get clipped while mowing your home’s back yard

MURPHY — The rhythmic drone of lawn mowers will soon fill the air on weekends as spring brings area lawns back to life. Those familiar rumblings, though, could also be signaling opportunities for people with bad intentions.

“People who care for their own lawns will often get up early on a Saturday, open up the garage door, pull out the lawn mower, and get busy,” Murphy Police Chief Arthur “Trey” Cotton said. “In their haste, they will leave the garage door open, leaving their belongings vulnerable to roaming thieves.”

The brazenness of some people as they go about the “business” of theft cannot be taken lightly. There have been instances of lightning-fast burglaries, where the homeowner is completely unaware of it until days later.

“We can sometimes trace these burglaries back to the weekend mowing, when the open garage door served as an open invitation,” the Chief said.

Lawn equipment, power tools, bicycles, small appliances and other equipment taken from garages can be quickly and easily sold at pawn shops or “fenced” in areas not far from Murphy.

Maintaining vigilance of personal equipment, even during short periods like when mowing the lawn, can prevent such losses.

“The simple act of closing the garage door while mowing the back yard can serve to discourage thieves,” he said. “In addition, an open garage door allows for some burglars to ‘case’ a home for a possible burglary later.”

A sure sign of such activity is the slow, and often repeated, driving of an unfamiliar vehicle in the area. While not all unfamiliar cars are occupied by criminals, the experience of police shows that people with bad intentions feel emboldened because residents are hesitant to report them.

“Alert citizens are our best line of defense,” the Chief said. “A report of a suspicious vehicle or persons in the neighborhood can lead to the break we might be seeking.”


SOURCE City of Murphy

Ceramics students donate art to food bank

Students in Irving High School’s ceramics II and III classes created bowls to donate to the North Texas Food Bank for the 18th annual Empty Bowls event. The fundraising project raises money for the Food Bank’s feeding programs through a ticketed luncheon, which takes place March 10.

As a token of appreciation, guests will leave with handcrafted bowls produced by local artisans, including those made by Irving’s group of student potters. Pictured are (from left) Irving High School visual arts teacher Ann Stone and students Jaime Labrada, David Trevino, Lovely Ahmed and Jose Franco. 



Not-so-mobile America: What Honolulu and Detroit residents have in common

By Yuqing Pan 

Whether we’re setting out across the country or just changing neighborhoods, upgrading or downsizing—movin’ on up or movin’ on out—the idea of pulling up stakes has always been a core part of the American DNA. Our willingness and eagerness to move is emblematic of our faith in the idea that we can always make a fresh start in a new home.

But actually, we don’t move as often as we used to. Figures for 2015 show that only about 12 percent of Americans swapped their address for a new one within the past year. In 1948, when the U.S. Census Bureau first collected moving data, the percentage of those who had moved within the past year was 20 percent.

We decided to take a look at the U.S. cities that have the most mobile populations—and those where people are most likely to stay in home, sweet home. To gauge which cities had the highest and which had the lowest number of residents moving to new homes—whether across the street or across the country—our data team reviewed the latest U.S. Census Bureau data. For each of the United States’ 100 largest cities, we calculated the percentage of households (both homeowners and renters) that had moved since 2010, to figure out where residents are most mobile.

Then we looked at the places where the largest percentage of households had been in the same home since 1990, to see where folks are staying put.

We found some surprising juxtapositions on our Top 10 “sticking around” list. Do Honolulu and Detroit really have so much in common? Turns out the cities were ranked high on the list for completely different reasons.

“There are two main determining factors whether people move or not,” said Nathalie Williams, a sociology professor from the University of Washington. The good: “The better people feel their lives are going, the less likely they are to move elsewhere.” The bad: Lousy economies can force people to head for greener pastures.

But of course, economic insecurity can also keep people in the same place.

After the housing bust in 2007, migration slowed down, because uncertainties about the job market made people nervous about changing jobs and deciding to move on. They were less likely to upgrade to a bigger and nicer home. Plenty even found their homes deep underwater, and were unable to sell.

Now that the recession is over, mobility is finally picking up again, says Kenneth Johnson, a demographer at the University of New Hampshire. And jobs lure people, especially younger ones who haven’t put down deep roots, to new centers of employment.

So where are the folks the most and least mobile? The answers just might surprise you.

Detroit: When the going gets tough, the tough stay put

In the mid-20th century, Detroit, our least mobile city, drew thousands of workers, because it was the home of the Big Three automakers. But as the American auto industry lost market share and began to shed workers, the population dwindled. And while young people are streaming out, many longtime residents are staying put. The Census data show that 21.4 percent of Detroit families moved into their homes before 1990, the highest percentage in our study.

One reason is that owners are simply stuck in their homes.

About one in five Detroit homes is still seriously underwater, with a loan amount that is at least 25 percent higher than the property’s market value, according to ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate information company. The median home value in Wayne County, where Detroit is located, is only $149,602, but the median loan amount is $161,965.

“If your house is upside down, you can’t move. You can abandon your house, but there’s no way to sell it,” said Eli Lehrer, president of R Street Institute, a policy research organization. He notes that people receiving government assistance typically have to reapply if they relocate to another state—and might not qualify, or have their benefits reduced.

Many Detroit residents live and shop near hulking vacant buildings that have been abandoned, overtaken by weeds, graffiti, and trash. But as the city recovers, its longtime residents are an integral part of the city’s growth, says Tahirih Ziegler, executive director of Local Initiatives Support Corporation, which promotes safe communities and affordable housing.

“Longtime residents stabilize their communities by mowing their lawns, keeping properties in good condition, investing in their homes. Overall, that’s helping the city stabilize the population,” Ziegler said.

Similar narratives of decline play out in Midwestern cities like Pittsburgh (No. 3), Cleveland (No. 6), and Toledo, OH (No. 7), after the steel industry’s downfall.

The high costs of moving often prevent the poorest folks from relocating, says retired New York University journalism professor William Serrin. Serrin wrote about the fate of a former steel town outside Pittsburgh in his book “Homestead: The Glory and Tragedy of an American Steel Town.”

“When you are 52 years old and have five kids, you don’t just move to Arizona—it’s just not in the cards,” Serrin said.

On the East Coast, Philadelphia (No. 4) and Baltimore (No. 5) are some of the country’s oldest cities. So it’s no surprise to see generations with deep ties to their metros.

Honolulu: Why ever leave?

Blue ocean waters, soft sand, mountains of Spam, and tropical weather all year round—it makes sense that people wouldn’t want to leave Honolulu, right?

But it also may come down to dollars and cents. The median list price of single-family home in this U.S. paradise is a whopping $730,000, according to®. So while longtime homeowners stand to profit if they sell, they might not be able to afford another home in this town—or perhaps anywhere in Hawaii.

In addition, established homeowners benefit from the fact that the 50th state has, by far, the lowest property tax rates in the country.

And the unique culture of Hawaii binds people together.

Leonard Kam, 60, was born in Honolulu and runs Alicia’s Market, a general store that sells Chinese-style roast duck alongside Hawaiian poke bowls of marinated raw fish. His parents, who were originally from China, started the store in 1949 in a small wooden hut. Now Kam’s two sons help him develop new recipes. It’s a third-generation business, Kam says with pride.

“Honolulu is a small community. Everybody knows everybody, we are all family,” said his son Chris Kam. “You don’t move to the mainland unless you have to.”

New York and San Francisco: America’s meccas of the stubborn

Once a New Yorker, always a New Yorker. Maybe it’s because it’s so hard to find a foothold—or a decent apartment—in this town, just as it is in San Francisco (No. 9). You hang on to what you can get for as long as you can. That’s why, despite skyrocketing home prices and rents, many residents have managed to stay in their homes for decades. And low housing inventories don’t make intercity moves easy.

About 16.1 percent of New Yorkers and 15.6 percent of San Franciscans have been living in the same home since 1990, according to Census data. That’s compared with 13 percent of the population nationally. Yes, gentrification is pricing out longtime residents in some areas, especially renters. But luckily, both cities have rent control or rent stabilization, which keep some renters in their homes.

A certain amount of stubbornness helps too.

Regina Karp, 78, a retired public school teacher, has lived in a rent-controlled apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for 47 years. Her children grew up there and left, her husband passed away, and now she’s living by herself. For two bedrooms, she pays almost $3,000 a month, which she says is her entire pension. Still, she nevertheless refuses to leave.

“This is my apartment. I was born in New York City, I’ve lived here my entire life. All my friends are here. I’m simply not going to live in the middle of a suburb in Jersey,” Karp said.

Orlando: Life beyond Shamu

Outsiders may think of Orlando as the home of Mickey Mouse and poor Shamu, but increasingly, this is the city that leads Florida in job creation. The metro added 50,300 jobs in December, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Health care is one of the fastest-growing local employment sectors: Orlando’s newest asset is a medical research park with a medical school, three major hospitals, and multiple research labs. The city even benefits from the Disney World expansion, including an “Avatar”-themed addition opening in May and a “Star Wars”-themed addition that is in the planning phase.

All this economic prosperity means that more people are moving here—and those already established may now have the means to upgrade their living situation.

“Economic development is usually glacial, but it’s been like a volcano erupting in Orlando. The development happened very rapidly,” said Sean Snaith, director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness with the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

Orlando is trying out different remedies for its infamous sprawl, from bike rentals to commuter rail.

Nevada: A good place to start a business

The low cost of living and business-friendly atmosphere also makes Nevada an appealing place to call home. Reno (No. 3), the self-proclaimed “Biggest Little City in the World” has long been better known as a pauper’s version of Las Vegas. But put all that aside: The place is fast becoming a high-tech manufacturing hub. A few miles east of Reno, Tesla’s Gigafactory manufactures batteries for its electric cars.

“We have no corporate tax, no income tax, a very pro-business government,” said Mike Kazmierski, president of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada. That makes it easier for newcomers as well as locals to become entrepreneurs.

Big brother Las Vegas (No. 4), too, is adding people in its many master-planned communities. The high cost of living in Los Angeles and San Diego is pushing Californians to look for greener pastures—or even desert living.

Jacob Orth, a 29-year-old hospitality worker, moved to Vegas from San Jose four years ago. At the time he left, San Jose was the most expensive housing market in the country (it still is). Orth says he cut his living costs by half after the move. And he’s not alone—millennials are flocking to Vegas for its abundant entry-level jobs.

“The big secret about the Las Vegas area is that it’s a lot more family-oriented than people realize. The Strip is kind of like its own little world; once you get outside it, life is pretty normal,” said Orth, who writes about Sin City in his blog, “Jacob’s Life in Vegas.”

Texas’ population boom

It’s hard not to see the appeal of Austin (No. 5): with the booming tech scene, friendly people, great live music, and amazing barbecue, just for starters. No wonder 20-something engineers, boomer corporate hot shots, and even retirees are flocking to the place. And plenty of them live in sweet high-rise apartments that were built over the past decade.

Grandmother Susi Spies moved to Austin two years ago, to be close to her children and their families.

“My children asked me to babysit for them, but I’m too busy having fun [with] food trucks, hiking trails, bat-watching cruises,” said Spies, president of Austin Newcomers, an association that connects new residents with one another and to their new neighborhoods. “It’s an amazing city.”

Texas’ population boom is no secret, but few cities add people as fast as Irving (No. 2), a suburb of Dallas. Home to ExxonMobil, and surrounded by corporation headquarters, like those of AT&T and J.C. Penney, the city’s flourishing job market is powering its exponential growth.

Fast turnover in college towns

Some of America’s most transient cities are college towns. In addition to Austin, there are Irvine, CA (No. 7), Madison, WI (No. 8), and Durham, NC (No. 9). For obvious reasons, incoming students and departing graduates help raise the turnover figures as they move back home or to different parts of the country to start careers.

“College towns are more transient, because new students come every year, and four years later, they are out,” says Realtor Alex Saloutos of First Weber Realtors in Madison. Plus, they tend to move around quite a bit during their tenure. “Students don’t buy homes, they rent.”

This article “Not-so-mobile America: What Honolulu and Detroit residents have in common” appeared first on Real Estate News and Advice from

Young people invited to help stop distracted walking, driving

NEW YORK — In an effort to enlist young people nationwide in the battle to reduce injuries and deaths caused by distracted walking and distracted driving, The National Road Safety Foundation in collaboration with Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, have launched the Walk Safe, Drive Safe Poster Contest. 

The contest invites students in grades 3 through 5 to create posters or collages that communicate the dangers of walking or driving while distracted. The creator of the winning entry will receive a $500 gift card and one runner-up from each grade will receive a $250 gift card. The winner’s teacher will get a $250 gift card and runners-up’s teachers will each receive a $100 gift card. Student entries must be submitted by a parent or teacher by April 3.

“Distraction is something that impacts pedestrians as well as drivers, and the Walk Safe, Drive Safe Contest is a major initiative to get the message to young people so they talk about it with friends and families,” said Michelle Anderson of The National Road Safety Foundation, a non-profit group that promotes traffic safety through education. “Distraction is a major factor in the more than 40,000 child pedestrian injuries and nearly 500 child pedestrian deaths in the U.S. every year. Building awareness of the causes of distraction can help reduce that terrible toll.”

The most talked-about causes of distraction involve cellphones and texting, but many things can cause a pedestrian or driver to be distracted, including various hand-held devices, games, eating or drinking, listening to music and talking with friends while walking or driving.

Contest rules, entry form, classroom activities and lessons are online at The site includes a free downloadable family pledge and fact sheet. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Contest void where prohibited.


SOURCE National Road Safety Foundation

Texas A&M explores what firefighters can reveal about PTSD risk

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Firefighters are exposed to a range of potentially traumatic stressors in their jobs, and many cope perfectly fine. However, a not-insignificant percentage of them develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Texas A&M researchers are trying to figure out why and what they can do to help.

Suzy Gulliver, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist at Baylor Scott & White Health and a professor at the Texas A&M College of Medicine, has been both researching and providing clinical care for firefighters for nearly two decades.

“Although some studies suggest that firefighters are at increased risk for mental health problems, others suggest unusual resilience,” Gulliver said. “We want to find out more about the reactions of these workers with immediate occupational exposure to trauma.”

Gulliver sees the full range of reactions, with firefighters coping with the same trauma in different ways, some better than others.

“Some of them are staying quite healthy, some are experiencing symptoms and coming out of it and some displaying a full case of PTSD and not coming out of it,” she said. “Luckily, that last group is the smallest.” She estimates that about 22 percent of firefighters will experience PTSD at some point in their careers.

For many firefighters, though, their working life has included other potentially traumatic experiences.

“Many firefighters are American military veterans,” Gulliver said. “Understanding that someone who is on their second or third high risk occupation is something we should think about as a society.”

One thing that might help protect firefighters from post-traumatic stress is that they are in fairly stable working groups, sometimes staying together for 20 years or more, from training through retirement. They live together at the station during their 24- to 48-hour shifts and often form close bonds.

“Peer support is incredibly important,” Gulliver said.

In fact, it is when there is a meaningful decline in the camaraderie of a unit that Gulliver becomes concerned.

“It’s the social isolation, combined with self-blame, that puts people at real risk,” she said. “On the other hand, we can train firefighters to be able to identify fellow firefighters in distress and connect them to care, and this approach has worked very well.” Observed changes in a firefighter’s temperament, health behaviors, and job performance can alert a concerned firefighter about a mental health issue in a peer. For instance, the firefighter who used to be easy going, a daily runner and always punctual who is now quiet and withdrawn, sedentary and late for shift change should prompt fellow firefighters to check in with him or her.

This kind of intervention may be especially important when a station encountered a certain threshold of suicides. Even responding to calls in which a stranger has committed suicide can put firefighters at increased risk of PTSD or of attempting suicide themselves.

Gulliver believes that what she’s learning about firefighters coping with trauma can have broader implications.

“They run into burning buildings, which is pretty incredible, and make a contribution above and beyond, so we need to do what we can to help them,” Gulliver said. “But if this work is replicated, it will inform how all of us deal with trauma.”


SOURCE Texas A&M University Health Science Center

Texas home sales, prices set annual records for second year in a row 

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas home sales volume and home prices reached all-time highs for the second year in a row in 2016, according to the 2016 Texas Real Estate Year in Review Report released Feb. 21 by the Texas Association of Realtors.

“Strong gains in end-of-year home sales activity were a key factor in making 2016 another record year for Texas real estate,” said Vicki Fullerton, chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors. “Last year’s record home sales activity was fueled by the momentum of multiple years’ strong job and population growth across the state, despite the fact that Texas job and economic growth began to slow in 2016.”

Texas home prices rose steadily throughout last year, with the median price in 2016 increasing 7.7 percent from the year prior, to $210,000. Over the same timeframe, Texas also experienced continued growth in home sales volume, which increased 4.6 percent to 324,924 homes sold in 2016.

“The 2017 Texas housing market is projected to keep pace with last year’s strong levels, but it may be difficult to match 2016 levels due to current housing supply levels,” Jim Gaines, Ph.D., chief economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, said. “Household incomes are rising at a disproportionally low rate than home prices, creating housing affordability challenges across the state. In housing development, labor shortages and regulatory barriers are slowing construction and in turn, driving up new home prices.”

The state’s low housing inventory level remained consistent with the prior year, ending at 3.3 months of inventory in December 2016. According to the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, a market balanced between supply and demand has between 6.0 and 6.5 months of inventory.

Texas homes also continued to spend approximately the same length of time on the market in 2016, an average of 58 days, and active listings increased 10.8 percent from 2015 to 2016.

“Rising home prices and skyrocketing property taxes are driving up the cost of homeownership at an alarming rate,” Fullerton said. “Growth in property values makes homeownership a strong investment, but must be balanced by lower tax rates so that Texans are not being forced out of their homes. The Texas Association of Realtors urges state legislators to pass legislation that ensures an honest and transparent conversation occurs at the local level if more tax revenue is needed and gives property owners the right to decide when their tax rates should be raised.”


SOURCE Texas Association of Realtors

Your Local Events

Winter Guard International’s Regional competition

February 18

Coppell High School will host Winter Guard International’s Dallas Regional competition. Over 40 high school winter guard organizations from Texas to Mississippi will perform, including Coppell’s own varsity color guard team.

Winter Guard is an indoor pageantry activity that involves an array of equipment, movement, and skill. Flags, rifles, sabres and other props are utilized to bring music and themes to life while displaying technique, creativity, and expression. Competition is separated into six classes based on the complexity of the program and if the color guard is affiliated with a school (scholastic) or not (independent).

Tickets are $12 for prelims, and $15 for finals. A $24 combo prelims/finals ticket is also available at the box office on the day of the event. For more ticket and schedule information for this and all WGI events, please visit


Annual Black History Program

February 19, 4PM

Featuring Take The Bus! by Earnestine Rose and Unveiling of the 2017 USPS Heritage Stamp Irving Postmaster Rodney Malone. Admission FREE, Irving Arts Center – Dupree Theater, Reception immediately following.


African American Read-In & Desserts

February 22, 12:30 – 2 p.m.

Students, staff and faculty will share excerpts from literature to express their personal perspective on the crisis in black education. Afterwards, attendees may enjoy a variety of traditional African-American desserts.

North Lake College (NLC) will celebrate Black History Month with a series of free events throughout the month of February. Suitable for all ages, the celebrations will take place in the Gallery and Student Life Center at the Central Campus at 5001 N. MacArthur Blvd. in Irving.


Lone Star Youth Orchestra

February 22, 7 PM

The Lone Star Youth Orchestra invites you to join us as we present The Symphony Sings! Evening highlights include favorite selections by Saint-Saëns and Ponchielli, as well as a performance by one of our very own LSYO Concerto Competition winners, Victoria Hwang! You won’t want to miss this spectacular event! Call 972-252-2787 to get your tickets. Concerts occur at the Irving Arts Center’s Carpenter Hall.

Victoria Hwang, of Coppell, TX, first picked up the violin in preschool. Now in 9th grade at Coppell High School, she continues to play, developing her musical technique and artistry. Over the years, she has taken part in various orchestras and ensembles. In Florida, she won her first solo violin state title in 2009. After moving to California in 2012, she performed with the Reverie Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Conejo Valley Youth Orchestra, and continued to compete and win multiple competitions in solo, duet, and quartet categories. Following another move to Texas in 2015, she performed with the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra. Now a member of the Lone Star Youth Orchestra, she is one of the winners of the Lone Star Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition. She really enjoys her musical experience under the enthusiastic direction of Maestro Pearce.