Eastern Hills Code Blue Captain Dub Holcum Passes
Dub was one of the Eastside's great Code Blue Neighborhood Captains. He was Captain for Eastern Hills for many years, and the husband of COP Coordinator Freddie Holcomb.
Our deepest condolences to the Holcomb family, who all have served the eastside community.
Here are the funeral arrangements:
Visitation: Wednesday, 8/16/2017; 6-8 pm
Shannon Rose Hill Funeral Home
7301 E. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76112
Funeral: Thursday, 8/17/2017; 10 am
Trinity United Methodist Church
1200 W. Green Oaks Blvd., Arlington, TX 76013
Between Division and Pioneer Pkwy
If anyone would like to make a donation, feel free to contact Rachell Johnston in the East Division or drop it by 1100 Nashville or 5650 E. Lancaster.
Task force will make recommendations on race, culture
Posted Aug. 2, 2017 – The City Council appointed a 23-member task force on Tuesday, a panel designed to advise on issues related to race and culture in Fort Worth.
Co-chairs are Rosa Navejar (presiding co-chair), Lillie Biggins, Rabbi Andrew Bloom and Bob Ray Sanders.
Task force members: Charles Boswell, Walter Dansby, Robert Fernandez, Miriam Frias, Robert Goldberg, Yolanda Harper, Bishop Mark Kirkland, Nima Malek, Rattana Mao, Arturo Martinez, Roxanne Martinez, Judy McDonald, Terry Mossige, Cory Session, Katie Sherrod, Ty Stimpson, Jennifer Trevino, Monica Vasquez and the Rev. Tim Woody.
“I look forward to serving on this task force to help bridge all our communities that make up our city. By working together, we will strengthen Fort Worth,” Navejar said.
The task force will be in effect for up to a year.
“The question to be answered is when and how does the healing begin,” said Biggins. “In the situations we are experiencing, people turn to their leaders, and leaders lead. A task force of committed individuals can’t change the emotional pain we are enduring but as a collective community we can successfully embrace, define and take the journey to healing, together. It is times like these that I am so grateful to God for His faithfulness, our faith and commitment to service to others will guide our journey.”
The group has been asked to engage Fort Worth residents in a series of healthy conversations about race and culture, draw conclusions from these conversations and make recommendations to the City Council. The task force will also review findings of a study on disparities in how municipal services are provided, then advise councilmembers on a strategy to promote racial and cultural equity.
The task force will also advise City Manager David Cooke on an appropriate leadership training dealing with race and cultural issues.
“The universal word for peace, ‘Shalom,’ has within it the word ‘Shalem’ — unity,” Bloom explained. “The message for all of us being that ‘Unity’ of purpose is the forbearer to bring peace into our community and with peace comes compassion, inclusiveness, respect and a Fort Worth that we can all call home. I look forward to all of us listening to each other, learning from one another, building the bonds that connect all of us as one and bridging our differences into one common bond that connects all of us together.”
Sanders said: “I sincerely believe that the task force offers a rare opportunity for Fort Worth to address issues that have long been ignored or presumed by some not to exist at all. If we do our job well, by this time next year — with the help of residents from all over the city — we should be able to present to the City Council a set of findings that should be actionable. And if the Council takes heed and positively proceeds, it will be a giant step toward making our city more livable, tolerant and culturally sensitive.”
The city will be contracting with Estrus Tucker of Fort Worth, a nationally-prominent human relations expert, and with the National League of Cities to serve as consultants to the task force.
The task force will hold its first meeting at 7:30 a.m. Aug. 4 in the Exhibit Hall of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, 1700 University Drive.
Fort Worth’s Village Creek Water Reclamation Facility receives Peak Performance Award
Posted Aug. 1, 2017 – Fort Worth’s Village Creek Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) was recognized last week for 27 years of 100 percent discharge permit compliance by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA).
“To have 100 percent compliance for this length of time is a testament to our current and former employees. Their dedication enables our community to thrive by doing water right every time,” said Fort Worth Interim Water Director Kara Shuror.
NACWA’s Peak Performance Awards recognizes NACWA member agency facilities for excellence in permit compliance. This recognition program consists of three categories – Platinum, Gold and Silver. Village Creek WRF was received the Platinum Award, which recognizes facilities that have achieved 100 percent permit compliance for a minimum of five consecutive years. Gold Awards are presented to facilities with no permit violations for the entire calendar year. Silver Awards are presented to facilities with no more than five violations per calendar year.
Only two other facilities in the country are recognized for equal or longer compliance records – 27 and 28 years. Both are significantly smaller than the Village Creek plant, which is permitted for 166 million gallons of average daily flow. NACWA recognized 471 Peak Performance Award facilities during the Association’s 2017 Utility Leadership Conference.
“The Village Creek Water Reclamation Facility is an outstanding example of environmental efforts. NACWA is honored to showcase the achievements of the Fort Worth Water Department and our nation’s public wastewater utilities through the Peak Performance Awards Program,” said Adam Krantz, NACWA’s Chief Executive Officer.
Joint reserve base training night flight exercises planned
Posted July 28, 2017 – Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base in west Fort Worth will be conducting military training exercises July 30-Aug. 11. These exercises will include night flight operations of KC-135s flying between 7 p.m. and 3 a.m. nightly.
A reserve base spokeswoman said these exercises could involve increased aircraft noise.
Eastsiders Rally Against Concrete Crushing Plant Plans
Eastside residents representing 13 Eastside neighborhood associations, attended the Thursday, July 13 meeting with TCEQ at Nolan Catholic High School. We counted 300 people in attendance. White Lake Hills president Fred Fernandez introduced State Representative Nicole Collier and the staff members of the TCEQ who had come from Austin to attend this meeting.
Representing the TCEQ were: Sheldon Wayne, Office of Public Interest Counsel (OPIC) staff attorney; Amy Browning, Environmental Law Division, staff attorney; Brad Patterson, Office of the Chief Clerk; Don Nelon, Permit Review; and Elizabeth Smith, Air Section Manager, Region 4- DFW area.
State Representative Nicole Collier opened the meeting with a prayer and then thanked Charles McGrath, president of Nolan Catholic High School, for hosting the meeting. Collier introduced representatives from City Council District 4, Cary Moon's office; State Senator Konni Burton's office; State Senator Kelly Hancock's office; Commissioner Roy Brooks' office; Congressman Marc Veasey's office; Staff from City Planning & Development, Code Enforcement, Trinity River Vision, staff from the City's legal team, representatives from Catholic Diocese Bishop Michael Olson's office, and Alex Jimenez, president of East Fort Worth Inc.
Collier gave a brief history of this case, from last year's zoning change case which was denied with prejudice from Zoning and City Council; the Resolution passed by City Council and sent to TCEQ in opposition to the plant, and the current request for an Air Quality permit to be issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Neighborhood Association presidents representing White Lake Hills, Brentwood-Oak Hills, Eastern Hills, Historic Handley, Central Meadowbrook, West Meadowbrook, Ryanwood, Riverbend Estates, Cobblestone, Historic Randol Mill Valley Alliance, Garden of Eden, United Riverside, Arlington Heights, and the Neighborhoods of East Fort Worth Alliance acted as moderators during the meeting.
(While I was at the microphone asking the questions in my stack, Past President of the Fort Worth League of Neighborhoods, Rita Vinson, took detailed notes for me. )
The applicant had no representatives at this meeting. No officials from the federal Environmental Protection Agency were present.
Meeting organizers decided that written questions, asked by the NA presidents, was the most efficient way to conduct this meeting in the two hour time limit. The written questions were gathered and categorized, multiple people asked the same question, which were asked and answered several times. (These questions and comments were also provided to TCEQ as part of the official public input records.)
The first question asked was "Why should we be glad to have this business in our part of town?" The audience groaned complaints, and TCEQ staff members did not have an answer to this question.
The most asked question was "What other factors are considered when reviewing the application?" The answer: "We only consider the air quality on the property in the application."
They cannot consider: truck pollution, truck traffic, damage to roads, economic impact, housing values, city zoning, actual site conditions, water pollution potential, etc., in their approval process; they only consider what is stated in the application and air quality on that site.
They were asked "How many applications for a concrete crushing plant have been rejected by TCEQ, and why?"
They did not have exact numbers but said "a few" had been rejected on the basis of not complying with existing standards, such as minimum distance from a home or school. (But none were rejected because of public protest.)
The TCEQ has 30 days from the close of public comments, which was at 5:00 pm Monday July 17, to review and consider the application and approve or deny the permit. The TCEQ Executive Director, Richard Hyde, makes the final decision on the permit.
The TECQ was asked Why are you considering a plant which had been denied with prejudice by the City Zoning and City Council? Their answer: "It has no bearing on our decision."
Their process does not consider any local factors. They repeated that they have no jurisdiction over local zoning and local issues.
Staffers repeated that even if this proposed plant received a TCEQ permit, the land was still governed by local zoning ordinances and City Council. Again, grumbling from the audience. We were informed that a permit is issued for ten (10) years. The follow-up questions pertained to enforcement of the air quality.
"How does a permit get revoked?" The answer "it's a process."
First, a complaint is filed by the public. The TCEQ then sends the City's Environmental Management team to investigate the complaint. They can ask to see the records of the plant, showing machine hours of operations. If the plant is found to be "not in compliance" they receive a written notice and are told to get in compliance. There may, or may not be, an actual in-person inspection of the site or plant. The next step is to issue a fine to the plant operators. Plant operators can be fined multiple times with little impact on their permit to operate. However, multiple fines 'could' impact the renewal of the 10-year permit. The only time a plant could be shut down is IF there is an "eminent danger to public safety or environment." Their only concern is Air Quality.
We learned that the EPA set the standards that TCEQ uses to permit concrete crushing operations. Texas standards were created over a 5-year period, using scientific data on particulate dispersal, from various concrete crushing sites in Texas, and are generic for use anywhere in the state. The application/permit does not consider any nearby air/land/water use in the approval process.
The only way these standards can be changed is if the EPA issues new guidelines or the Texas Legislature writes new laws regarding how the TCEQ functions.
Additional comments from the audience included a statement by Rita Vinson speaking as a resident of Brentwood-Oak Hills NA of East Fort Worth. She said she attended a public hearing of TCEQ in January of last year, 2016, representing the Fort Worth League of Neighborhood Associations. It was in opposition to the state air quality plan TCEQ had submitted to EPA for North Central Texas. Tarrant is one of about 16 counties in what is called a “nonattainment” area in regard to the Federal Clean Air Act. That means that Fort Worth has not met those air quality standards since the inception of that Act.
The State of Texas, acting by and through the TCEQ, develops an air quality plan for North Central Texas about every 5 years, and it has never been effective in developing a plan to meet those standards. She stated it was her understanding that TCEQ has still not received approval from EPA for its January 2016 air quality plan. She asked if that were true.
Don Nelon, TCEQ Permit Reviewer, said he believed that was correct.
Vinson added that the Fort Worth League of Neighborhood Associations has been very involved in air quality issues for more than 3 years, and it submitted a resolution last year in opposition to the zoning application for this concrete crushing plant. The League’s board has worked with the University of North Texas Health Science Center as citizen members of its air quality team. The audience might like to know that they have worked to develop low-cost air quality monitors that can be used to measure air quality at the neighborhood level in real time. TCEQ has expensive monitors, but they report at a regional level, not in a specific neighborhood. UNTHSC has applied for grants to develop prototypes and pilot programs.
Her concluding point was that TCEQ has been ineffective in achieving an acceptable, safe level of air quality in Fort Worth for 28 years.
Several residents mentioned the published study that Cook Children's Hospital conducted, that clearly showed a significant increase in the number of children suffering respiratory illnesses and asthma are located in the immediate vicinity of existing Fort Worth concrete crushing plants. TCEQ said "in order to be considered, these studies need to be included with the official written comments."
Stacey Pierce, Executive Director of Streams and Valleys, provided facts about local growth and development along the Trinity River and the regional plans for hike & bike trails connecting Fort Worth to Dallas. River development is unmatched in the US, and the health of the Trinity River affects thousands of people. "Air and water are inextricably linked, and everything finds its way to the river."
At this point, the TCEQ has not made a final decision. We have to wait 30 days for the answer, and we will not be notified if/when the permit is approved. If approved, the permit is valid for TEN years.
Many residents voiced the question why he will not consider another, more favorable development of his 400-acre property, which is strategically located near our largest city park and established neighborhoods.
So now, our focus must be on LOCAL jurisdiction and local zoning. Presently the land is zoned 3 different ways (commercial/residential) NOT heavy industrial.
Keep writing or calling your city council representative to express your opposition to the concrete crushing plant on East First Street.
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