City News

Editor's note: Yes, this website looks completely different. I had to start over. This new version is now "Google web compliant" and mobile device compatible. The software I am using to build this site is new to me, and I am learning my way around a complex application (Dreamweaver) and using advanced HTML5/CSS3 coding. Unlike print, one typo and the whole page can crash! And it will continue to be "a work in progress." Please let me know if something does not work on your end.

Thanks. –the Editor


Some utility account fees changing on April 1

Fees associated with some Fort Worth WATER account services are changing on April 1. The changes are aimed at eliminating inefficient field services and bringing most charges to cost of service. In addition, the changes reduce the fees for delinquent customers and keep the cost low for establishing new service or transferring service.

Most account and field services fees have not been revised in at least 10 years, with many fees remaining the same since the 1980s. That fact, along with the need to update processes given new technologies, led to a comprehensive fee review by the water utility.

The new meters that are now being installed use a radio signal to transmit data. This means the meters are more expensive so costs associated with tampering and theft are increasing. When tampering or theft occurs, the utility is able to respond quicker because of the information it is receiving from the meter.

The new meters provide hourly rather than monthly usage data via radio signal so the need to do field investigations is reduced. The utility anticipates having the new meters installed across the city by the end of 2022. Customers who request field investigations or meter replacements after an investigation has been performed will incur a cost for those services.

Customers who want same-day or same-day, after-hours meter activation or reactivation of service will pay higher charges for those requests. Meter activations normally occur within two business days after the customer request.

The cost for requests made for same-day service activation or transfer increase from an additional $10 to additional $25 above the standard fee. Same-day, after-hours activation costs are changing from an additional $25 to an additional $50 above the standard fee.

Same-day, after-hours activation costs apply to all activation requests submitted after 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for service the same day. All same-day, after-hours service requests must be submitted prior to 6 p.m. Meter activations are not performed on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

Prior to moving forward with the recommendations that were adopted by the City Council in December, the utility staff weighed the impact of cost responsibility and affordability. The new fee structure related to delinquency helps reduce the types of fees that can cause a financially struggling customer to get further behind in their bill payment.

See a detailed list of fee changes at fortworthtexas.gov/water/account-fees

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Planning for new eastside library continues

Architectural rendering of the new Reby Cary Youth Library

An architectural rendering of the new Reby Cary Youth Library, facing east.

With much anticipation in the community, Fort Worth is making headway toward building the first youth library in the city. A groundbreaking is planned for spring 2020.

As the first library designed specifically to serve children, teens and their caregivers, the Reby Cary Youth Library will be located at 3851 E. Lancaster Ave., with construction funded by the 2014 Bond Election.

In June, Fort Worth Public Library and District 8 Councilmember Kelly Allen Gray oversaw the name selection for the library. The community voted to name the new library after Reby Cary.

Reby Cary (1920-2018) graduated from I.M. Terrell High School and earned bachelor's and master's degrees in history and political science from Prairie View A&M. He was the first African-American elected to the Fort Worth ISD Board of Education, and the first African-American professor hired at UT Arlington. He helped establish the McDonald College of Industrial Arts for African-Americans in the Riverside area, and as District 95 state representative, helped pass legislation to establish the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission to fight discrimination. Those are only a few of his many accomplishments.

The design of the new library has been completed by architects KAI Texas with input from the community. Fort Worth Public Art selected artist Joe O'Connell to create public art installation at the library.

The city is working with the contractor to finish estimating final costs and to establish a construction timeline. Construction is projected to take up to 12 months.


Blue Zones Project teams with Tom Thumb to promote literacy

mother holds a book for a young child

Picture books are available for the youngest shoppers.

Customers with young children can now borrow a book at the entrance of some area Tom Thumb grocery stores for children to enjoy while they shop.

But the books aren't just to entertain children. The books were intentionally selected to engage and educate children about the many things they might see while in a grocery store – particularly healthy fruits and vegetables, where food comes from, and the importance of those who provide our food.

Some books also cover mindfulness, another topic that is important to well-being, especially in children. The books are available for a variety of age levels — even picture books for the youngest shoppers.

Stephanie Jackson, director of strategic partnerships for Blue Zones Project Fort Worth, said providing books and supporting literacy is key to creating a community that embraces and supports children and their families.

"This initiative supports the whole child," Jackson said. "Promoting physical, emotional and nutritional well-being ultimately supports positive learning outcomes."

Books are currently available at the Hulen and Camp Bowie Tom Thumb locations and will soon expand to additional Tom Thumb and Albertsons Fort Worth stores. They will also soon be added at Central Market's Fort Worth store.

Jackson said store managers were enthusiastic to collaborate with Blue Zones Project to support the pilot program and increase reading in the community.

"Albertsons Tom Thumb was aware of Fort Worth's reading initiative and thought it would be a great way to support families, especially at the early stages of development during their shopping experience," she said.

This isn't the first Blue Zones Project program that has involved literacy as a component of well-being. Blue Zones Project is active with the city's Read Fort Worth initiative and often provides books to area schools that support their Blue Zones actions. But it's the first collaboration involving area grocery stores.

"Having our Blue Zones Project Approved grocers partner with us is another way we can support our community and make those small changes that ensure our community is a healthier and happier place to live," said Matt Dufrene, vice president of Blue Zones Project Fort Worth.



Neighborhood News

Did you know that after the 2020 census, Fort Worth will need to redraw the city council maps to create 10 council districts, up from the current 8 districts. Who should redraw these maps? Citizens or the current City Council? Citizens for Independent Redistricting is advocating for citizens drawn maps to keep our neighborhood representation cohesive.

FORT WORTH CITY COUNCIL REDISTRICTING NEWS

Contact: Fernando Florez, 817.239.0578 rfflorez@juno.com
CitizensMapFW.org

citizens for Independent redistricting logo

Friends,

Fort Worth is at a crossroads. As we mentioned in our recent email (which you may access below), the city's population has increased from 393,476 in the 1980 Census to an estimated 895,008 in 2018 and it's now majority-minority. Although it's hardly mentioned today, Fort Worth is not the same city it used to be. The city council today does not accurately represent the population. The main reason for that can be attributed to the way and by whom city council districts are drawn.

Many people feel that the lack of fair representation on the city council is the root cause of much of the unrest we've seen in the city recently and for turmoil at the city council itself. (We've said it before: The current mayor and the city council members are not to be blamed for the city not having a fair system of drawing city council district maps. They inherited the system we now have.)

We are at a crossroads because the city now has a great opportunity to change the method of drawing city council districts, which will result in less gerrymandering and possibly more diversity and better representation for all segments of the population on the city council. Change is never easy, but the city must seize this opportunity. We recognize that and that's the reason we are advocating for citizen independent redistricting. Citizen independent redistricting was also one of the recommendations made by the Race and Culture Task Force.

We are all volunteers in this group trying to do what's best for our city. We've had good response to our recent email; we've had some outstanding letters to the mayor, the city manager and council members and appreciate that very much. But we need more of them. We need more people to summon their energy and courage (Yes, courage, because it's hard to be a risk-taker, speak truth to power and possibly suffer some consequences).

Learn more about redistricting at CitizensMapFW.org

Many, many thanks.

Byrwec Ellison
Fernando Florez
Bruce Miller


Fort Worth Housing Solutions breaks ground on multi-family community near Alliance

Posted Dec. 26, 2019 The Holston will include three-story garden-style apartments in the fast-growing Alliance corridor.

The Holston will include three-story garden-style apartments in the fast-growing Alliance corridor.

Fort Worth Housing Solutions and its developer partner, AMCAL, broke ground on the first phase of a 520-unit, Class-A apartment community adjacent to AllianceTexas.

Named for Barbara Holston, the housing authority's president for 23 years, The Holston will be comprised of four three-story garden-style buildings set on a 12.32-acre site. The first apartment homes are expected to be ready for occupancy in January 2021, and the entire property completed by June 2021.

Half of the units will be market-rate and half will be priced for households earning up to 80 percent of the area median income. More than 500 companies and 60,000 jobs are based in AllianceTexas.

"We are pleased to bring our first multi-family property to the Alliance area," said Mary-Margaret Lemons, president of Fort Worth Housing Solutions. "The area's phenomenal growth is generating more and more job opportunities, and the growing workforce needs housing that is both reasonably priced and conveniently located."

Holston was a visionary leader who steered Fort Worth Housing Solutions when it began to acquire, rehabilitate and develop affordably-priced housing more than two decades ago, so it is fitting that a property be named in her honor, Lemons said.

"I'm pleased and excited that Fort Worth Housing Solutions continues to develop the partnerships that create this type of high-quality housing for the citizens of Fort Worth," said Holston, adding that she feels "tremendously honored" to have a property named for her.


National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame opens Alice Walton Cowgirl Park

Posted Dec. 18, 2019 A bronze statue and a glass mosaic anchor the new park outside the museum.

A bronze statue and a glass mosaic anchor the new park outside the museum.

The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame has completed its newest project, the Alice Walton Cowgirl Park.

The project grew out of necessity and passion. The need was to create a beautiful space that would be enjoyed by visitors to the area and the new Dickies Arena; the passion was a group of friends who came together to fund the project and name it in honor of a special woman who has been so generous to numerous projects and to Fort Worth: Alice Walton.

Walton has been a supporter of the museum and is the 2007 Fern Sawyer Award recipient.

The park is now home to the museum's Sergeant Reckless statue, a memorial to a decorated war horse. The bronze, which sits atop the monument sign, is a magnificent sculpture and tribute to an amazing animal and true war hero. In connection with the statue, the 2019 Inaugural Sergeant Reckless Award introduced and honored Robin Hutton, who was instrumental in gaining national attention for Sergeant Reckless and spearheading the development and dedication of three national monuments to the war horse, including the statue in the Alice Walton Cowgirl Park.

Additionally, the park is host to a mural created by Evergreen and the artisans of the Mellini family in Italy. This artwork of a tooled western saddle is constructed with tens of thousands of small pieces of glass, painstakingly hand-placed to create the mosaic. This mosaic is not only a beautiful backdrop for the park but is also a picture-worthy location.


SCAM WARNING & INSTRUCTIONS

Why don't you believe me? How many times do I have to give this lecture?

I got a call from a GMN subscriber, she was upset and scared. She got a phone call -on her cell phone- from the "Collections Department at Amazon."

The man was demanding she get over to Walmart to buy a gift card and read them the number to pay a $500 bill, or else she would be arrested.

She was on the phone with him for an HOUR, getting yelled at by this man that he "was sending the police to arrest her". He told her to borrow money, take a bus or UBER to Walmart to get him the gift card/number, NOW.

So I asked her:

1. Do you even have an Amazon Prime account? -no.

2. Have you even ordered anything from Amazon? -no.

3. Why did you stay on the phone for an hour instead of hanging up on him? -Because he was very insistent that I owed them money.

Please, JUST. HANG. UP. BLOCK THE CALLER ON YOUR CELL PHONE!!! You do not owe them one minute of your time or an explaination. JUST HANG UP!!!

How many times have I said this? IT IS A SCAM TO SCARE YOU INTO GIVING THEM MONEY. IT IS ROBBERY BY INTIMIDATION.

AMAZON will not ship you anything on 'credit'. You pay FIRST, when they have received the payment, THEN they ship it. Not before, and never on credit.

AMAZON does NOT have a phone call collections department. They will NOT call you. HANG UP!

MICROSOFT does NOT have a phone call department telling you "your computer has a virus." Any call of this nature is a SCAM! HANG UP!

The IRS and the Social Security Administration do NOT have a phone call department telling you that you owe them money. They ONLY communicate, in writing, sent by the US Post Office, nothing else. Only certified tax professionals get to talk to real people at IRS. HANG UP!

ONCOR ELECTRIC does not have a collection department. EVERYONE in this area is an ONCOR customer. ONCOR owns and maintains the power LINES. NOT your individual account.

Your electric bills will come from TXU, Reliant, Stream or a dozen other electric companies. That call saying "you have 30 minutes to pay your bill or the power will be turned off" is A SCAM. HANG UP!

We get ALL of these calls here at the office, almost EVERY DAY.
– No police have ever showed up to arrest Boss.
– Our power has never been shut off.
– Our computers do not have a virus and we won't spend $99 for a stranger on the phone to "fix" the PC computers. (I'm on a Mac, which don't get viruses or hacked easily, not like Windows machines.)

AND WE HANG UP ON THESE CALLS.