Favorable ratings affirmed for Fort Worth drainage bonds

Posted April 19, 2018

Fitch Ratings has assigned favorable ratings to City of Fort Worth bonds used for its stormwater utility.

The city’s approximately $114.9 million drainage utility system revenue bonds were rated AA+ by Fitch this month.

“The bonds are secured by a very stable and predictable revenue stream with the fixed drainage fee comprising a nominal 7 percent of the total utility bill,” Fitch reported in a news release. “The drainage fee is collected with water and sewer charges, and nonpayment of any portion of the bill results in termination of water services.”

Fitch noted that while the stormwater utility has reported healthy annual operating surpluses since its inception in 2006, capital needs have been placed at $1.5 billion, to be completed over 40 years. The city has identified up to $400 million in projects that are necessary to address critical flooding and erosion issues around Fort Worth.

Playground Groundbreaking Paves Way for Healthier Choices in Historic Stop Six Neighborhood

Blue Zones Project and Texas Health Resources support redevelopment of Ralph Bunche Park; groundbreaking for new playground, fitness equipment set for April 13

FORT WORTH, Texas (April 9, 2018) – An undeveloped park in a historic Fort Worth neighborhood is getting new life—and will soon help area residents make healthy choices. Blue Zones Project, a community-led well-being improvement initiative, is teaming with the City of Fort Worth, Fort Worth ISD, Texas Health Resources, and other community collaborators to revitalize and redevelop Ralph Bunche Park in the Stop Six area. This month, the city’s Park & Recreation Department will begin construction on a new playground and fitness stations.

A groundbreaking event for the project is set for 1 p.m. Friday, April 13, at Ralph Bunche Park, 5600 Ramey Ave. Mayor Betsy Price, City Council Member Gyna Bivens, Texas Health Resources CEO Barclay Berdan, and Blue Zones Project, Fort Worth Vice President Matt Dufrene will help kick off construction efforts.

The land at Bunche Park has sat undeveloped for some 40 years, since Fort Worth ISD built two schools at opposite ends of the park. The school district recently returned the remainder of the land to the city, clearing the way for the park’s next chapter. The city developed a $1.5 million Bunche Park master plan, which includes trails, benches, security lighting, a playground, and fitness equipment. City Council Member Bivens, a strong proponent of the project, secured $540,000 from the federal government to begin bringing the Bunche Park master plan to fruition. However, available funding did not cover the cost of all amenities. Recognizing that a playground and fitness equipment would foster social connections and active lifestyles—two of Blue Zones Project’s principles for better well-being—Blue Zones Project and initiative sponsor Texas Health Resources joined the effort.

In December 2017, North Texas Healthy Communities, a nonprofit organization that is part of Texas Health Resources, in partnership with CBS EcoMedia and Blue Zones Project, donated $86,768 to cover the cost of the playground and fitness stations. The new features are expected to be available to residents this summer.

“All Fort Worth families should have access to a safe, welcoming area to gather, walk, and play,” said Mayor Price. “That’s what this park will be for the Stop Six neighborhood. This effort will truly change lives by giving residents a place to connect and be physically active.”

Stop Six is one of Fort Worth’s oldest neighborhoods; it is also among the city’s most challenged and economically depressed areas, with residents suffering from chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease at higher rates than other parts of the county, according to Tarrant County Public Health.

“We know that the world’s longest living people don’t need to go to gyms and do intense workouts every day,” said Dufrene. “They live in environments that encourage movement and surround themselves with healthy-minded friends. This park will allow Stop Six families to get out and move naturally and ultimately contribute to a higher quality of life for the entire community.”

“We are working to make Fort Worth one of the nation’s healthiest cities, and these kinds of improvements are essential components of that transformation,” said Berdan. “Texas Health and Blue Zones Project are proud to play a role in this effort that will greatly benefit our current residents as well as generations to come.”

Blue Zones Project is making healthy choices easier across Fort Worth. Since efforts kicked off in 2015, more than 75,000 individuals have become involved in a Blue Zones Project engagement activity. Additionally, more than 260 groups—including worksites, schools, restaurants, grocery stores, and faith-based organizations—have become Blue Zones Project Approved or Participating Organizations.

Junior Breakfast Optimist Club of East Fort Worth donates to SuperHero fund

We had an amazing Optimist Club meeting this morning!

Fort Worth Police Officer Damon Cole presented his “Heroes and Cops Against Childhood Cancer” program.

You may have seen him on the news recently. Officer Cole spends his off-duty time traveling around the country in his SuperHero outfits, visiting with the real Superhero's – kids with childhood cancer.

Members from the Meadowbrook Elementary JOI (Junior Optimist International) Club presented a check for $300.00 from their fundraiser to Officer Cole's program.

Students had the opportunity to meet the NTX Junior Optimist District Governor who is an alumni from Eastern Hills High School. What a way to start out the morning!

LegacyTexas Bank awards $16,500 to STEAM programs at Fort Worth Library

Posted April 5, 2018

Students examining new 3D printer

Visitors to the Panther Lab Makerspace can study robotics, audiovisual production, computer-aided design, among other topics.

The Fort Worth Public Library Foundation recently received a grant of $16,500 from LegacyTexas Bank to support STEAM programs at the Fort Worth Library. The grant will support expanding access to 3D printers, robotics and other equipment across Fort Worth through the Mobile Cat concept.

The Mobile Cats concept plays on the Northwest Library’s Panther Lab Makerspace feline theme. Each Mobile Cat houses a 3D printer and uses state-of-the-art software that produces high-quality 3D objects. With this technology, an educator can teach concepts and skills related to design, manufacturing, engineering, art and science. Funding for these mobile makerspaces also supports expansion of STEAM-related programs including robotics, electronics, engineering concepts, computer programming, aeronautics, AV production and computer-aided design.

“STEAM programs provide an interactive opportunity for students to experience science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics in unique ways,” said Manya Shorr, Fort Worth Library director. “We love seeing students, educators and families gathering in the library to explore the skills needed in today’s workforce and build a foundation for tomorrow’s leaders.”

Review proposed animal ordinance revisions online

Posted April 6, 2018 – Proposed amendments to Fort Worth’s animal ordinance are now available on the city website.

Earlier this year, Fort Worth Animal Care & Control hosted a public meeting to discuss animal ordinance revisions. Residents and stakeholders were encouraged to review the final proposals after a yearlong process, with multiple public meetings to incorporate input.

Some of the proposals include:

Microchip Rather Than City License

Current: City requires annual pet licenses and administers database and compliance. In FY 2017, only 2.6% of estimated pets were licensed.

Proposed: Require registered microchip or tattoo so pet ownership data is still available.

Pet Waste Pickup

Current: Duty on owner’s property, streets and parks only.

Proposed: Duty to clean up pet waste in all public areas and on private property.

Intact Pet (not spayed or neutered)

Current: Intact Pet Permit is $50.  All non-permitted impounded animals must be sterilized.  No exception for valuable show or performance dogs.

Proposed: Allow owner to obtain an intact pet permit for impounded pet with a fee of $500 to cover additional administrative, verification and enforcement costs.

Under Immediate Control

Current: Dogs must kept restrained but no leash or specific control required.

Proposed: Require immediate control of a dog by a leash or through voice, gesture or other means, except Residential Zones where a leash would be required.

 

To learn more, contact Tony Hiller at 817-392-6981.

Help local youth develop into Rising Stars

Posted April 9, 2018 – Enrollment is open for the annual Rising Stars Youth Leadership Academy. The deadline to enroll is May 25 for the summer program, which runs June 12-Aug. 14.

Rising Stars provides youth ages 13-18 with exposure to area businesses, agencies and civic groups to provide them with a positive perspective on what their future can hold.

The program is meant to increase educational competence, physical and social development, and increase life skills. The program also exposes participants to a variety of professional fields, to help further their interests and provide them with guidance on how to succeed at those jobs.

Tuition is $15 per student. Apply online.

To learn more, visit the Rising Stars webpage or contact Daphne Brookins at 817-392-5784.

April 2018 .

April 15 and the Ordinance of God

April 15, or this year April 17, is a date many dread – Tax Day!  But what probably doesn't cross the minds of many, is that paying taxes is an ordinance of God. Not that God decreed that taxes be paid by a certain date, but He did decree that we should be "in subjection to the governing authorities … for because of this you also pay taxes" (Romans 13:1, 6).

"Separation of church and state" is, for many, an all-important cry today, but the point is – you can't keep God out of the state!  Get angry, protest "we don't want anything to do with God," call in the PC enforcers; but are we going to tell God what to do or not do?

Yes He is involved!  He established the principle of governing authorities, and decreed that, "whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God" (Romans 13:1-2).

Look and the world in which we live and what you see is order.  Day follows night, season follows season, planets and stars are not crashing into each other.  Just as God created an orderly universe, so He decreed that we should live in an orderly society.  You see, God wants the best for us, and it was for this reason, He "so love the world … He gave His only begotten Son" (John 3:16).  Join us and learn God's purpose for your life.

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