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Trial runs in the DFW Airport are being conducted for their new fast pass implementation according to a CBS DFW article from September 22 which reports, 

“The Fast Pass lets travelers go online and reserve a specific time to go through security. They still have to have to scan their bags and take off their shoes and belts, but it advances them past any long waits on busy days.

The pass is part of a series of improvements at the airport to make the travel experience more hassle-free. Travelers can pre-book parking at discounted rates, check-in and pay for bags in advance, but the security wait can be unpredictable.”

However, the Fast Pass is a separate and distinct program from the other programs that allow travelers to save time according to a Dallas Morning News article from September 22,

“There are many programs that allow customers to go through shorter checkpoint lines to get TSA screenings. Programs such as TSA PreCheck allow passengers to enroll in a government program and skip some security protocols, such as taking off shoes, belts, and jackets. With PreCheck, passengers pay $85 for the five-year program and have to pass a background check.

Then there are programs like Clear, a privately run security screening process that again lets customers go through an expedited line and check-in through a biometric screening kiosk.”

Additional instructions regarding the Fast Pass program were posted on DFW Airport’s website, which states,

“No costs or membership fees

Reservations are limited so please book ahead of time. Reservations can be made up to 7 days in advance of your flight

Please limit each reservation to a maximum of 10 people. Parties of more than 10 will need additional reservations

Please check with your airline to ensure they offer a ticket counter in Terminal D for local check-in/baggage check at the time of your reservation

If you check-in from home or remotely and already have your boarding pass with no checked bags and do not require an airline ticket counter, DFW’s Skylink train connects ALL 5 terminals.”

To encourage travelers to participate in the trial run, DFW Airport will be giving away $5 food vouchers. The program, however, is only an experiment and no further updates have been released as to whether Fast Pass will remain as a permanent program. 



Brilliance and power emanated from the concert hall with the opening of the Dallas Symphony’s season with its renowned music director according to a Texas Classical Review article from September 17,

“After a pandemic year of chamber orchestra performances, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra opened its 2021-2022 season in full force Thursday night at the Meyerson Symphony Center. Led by music director Fabio Luisi,  the program offered a strong return to form and the kind of familiar brilliance not heard in the hall since March of last year.”

The program was opened with a performance of a composition by Frederick Converse inspired by Walt Whitman, according to a Dallas Morning News article from September 17 which reported, 

Frederick Converse (1871-1940) was part of a constellation of mostly German-trained American composers clustered around Boston in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Composed in 1904, The Mystic Trumpeter is a 20-minute tone poem in five connected sections, inspired by Walt Whitman’s eponymous poem.

Both poem and music imagine a disembodied trumpeter and a dreamy, romantic one, but also a caller to war and a celebrant. Strauss was conducting the opera in Munich when Converse was studying there, and one wonders how much of the German composer’s work the American heard. Certainly, there’s much of Strauss in this real showpiece — the dramatic flair, the succulent harmonies, the textural and coloristic riches.”

Attendees of the opening season could only express their praise and amazement as they commented on the Orchestra’s Facebook post. One commented,

“Amazing Maestro! Brilliant Orchestra! Please record this concert and bring musical joy to the listeners from Europe!”

Another woman commented,

“Brilliant opening weekend program! Bravo, DSO, Maestro Luisi, AND magnificent organist, Bradley Welch!”

Fabio Luisi and the whole orchestra were able to put on a brilliant opening show, proving Luisi’s promise to make music with passion and conviction. As such many people are very excited to watch the DSO perform under the direction and influence of a renowned music director who has a great reputation on the world stage.



New protocols have been established as the Dallas Symphony Orchestra welcomes back audiences to watch their performance for their 2021-2022 season according to a Dallas Morning News article from August 31, which reports,

“The Dallas Symphony Orchestra will mandate masks and initially limit audience capacity in the Meyerson Symphony Center to 60-70%. The orchestra, in full force this season, will continue using the stage extension added last year during the pandemic to allow for greater social distancing. All musicians and staff have been vaccinated.”

One of the first line-ups, Coco, will begin its 3-day concert from September 3 according to a Dallas Observer article from August 30 which reports, 

“A fiesta of culture, color, and sound will soon take center stage at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Kicking off its 2021-2022 season, the DSO will spotlight Disney’s animated film Coco, Sept. 3–5 at the Meyerson Symphony Center (2301 Flora St.). The concert, directed by Jayce Ogren, is just one of the productions celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.”

Further into next month, one of the concert line-ups will honor the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg according to an Opera Wire article from September 3. In it they say, 

“The concert, set to take place on Oct. 7, 2021, will feature the world premiere of a new work by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. The work includes texts by Lauren K. Watel and will feature mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves and pianist Jeffrey Biegel, who conceived the idea for the commission back in Oct. 2020.

“The movement titles: Act I, Act II, and Act III reflect the 3 stages in the voyage of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s remarkable professional life,” said Zwilich in program notes for the work. “Act I is about her arrival at that metaphorical house with dropped ceilings, bolted doors, women in corners and on pedestals… Act II is about her actively taking on the problems of that metaphorical house, from tearing down the dropped ceilings to helping women come down from pedestals. Act II highlights her continuing drive to make things better for all. Act III is about her legacy.” 

The launch of the new season for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra is indeed an inviting time to enjoy music, art, and life itself.



The University of Texas at Dallas has implemented the Comet Vaccine Incentive Program directed to vaccinated students according to a Dallas Morning News article from August 30 which reports, 

The University of Texas at Dallas in Richardson is offering all students $125 for getting vaccinated against COVID-19, along with the chance to receive scholarships of up to $12,000.

All students who choose to voluntarily participate in the program will receive $125 directly deposited to their personal account.”

Further incentives and rewards were also announced to encourage students to participate and get vaccinated according to a Fox 4 KDFW article from August 30 which reports, 

“… 10 vaccinated students will be randomly selected to win a $12,000 tuition scholarship and 10 will be selected to win a $10,000 housing scholarship. 

There will be 25 chances to win $1,500 in UTD Tech Store credit and 50 chances to win an orange parking pass.

Up to $300 in additional funding will also be available for student organizations that have at least 70% of its members vaccinated.”

But the good news doesn’t end with incentives and scholarship rewards as the Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Gene Fitch Jr. also offered students vaccines in a University of Texas at Dallas Community News article from August 20. 

“Need to be vaccinated? We will be holding three clinics: Aug. 22 and 25 and Sept. 15. Watch your UTD email for more details and for clinic locations and times.”



14,00 Dallas students have had their college debt canceled according to a North texas e-News article from June 3rd. The article reports,

“Dallas College’s Fresh Start program canceled outstanding debts for around 11,000 students who attended classes during the spring, summer and fall 2020 semesters, and another 3,700 students from the Spring 2021 semester. A total of more than $5.8 million was paid off under the federal government’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), designed to help students who faced financial hardship under COVID-19.”

This isn’t the only form of support the program has provided according to a CBS DFW 11 article from June 4th which reports,

“Dallas College said Fresh Start is its most recent effort to help students who struggled during the pandemic. Beginning last spring, and for the entire year that followed, the college said it provided laptops and hotspots to students who needed them. Students facing financial hardships—from childcare needs to housing or food insecurity—could apply for emergency funds to help them stay enrolled. When vaccines became available, Dallas College’s Eastfield Campus opened up as a vaccination site.”

For more information about the program, you can check out the official website here.

 



Dallas residents around some lakes should observe some caution as lake levels rise due to rain according to an NBC DFW 5 article from May 30th. In it they say:

“High water caused by heavy rain last week is raising safety concerns at North Texas lakes this Memorial Day weekend as people take the opportunity to get out on the water.

Lake Grapevine is flooded nearly 8 feet above normal and the city’s fire chief urged people to be careful of benches and other structures hidden under high water.

Only three of the six life jacket trees at the lake were accessible Sunday because of safety concerns.”

Residents near rivers also need to exercise more caution according to a Dallas Morning News article from June 2. In it they say:

“The flood stage of the Trinity River at Dallas is 30 feet, according to the Weather Service. The river was already seeing minor flooding when the warning was issued Wednesday, with levels at 34.6 feet by 8 a.m. By 5 p.m., the levels were at 33.1 feet.

There are minor and major flood stages that can happen in the river, said Sarah Standifer, assistant director of Dallas Water Utilities. But even crossing a major flood stage doesn’t necessarily mean a widespread threat to the neighborhoods along the river.”

The rain may have quelled the drought problem, but now Dallas has to deal with flood alerts and alarming rises in water levels.



The rain has been pouring down over the Dallas-Fort Worth area according to an NBC DFW 5 article from May 20th. In it they say:

“This week started wet. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport received almost three inches of rain this week.

The total for the month is 4.52 inches, giving us a surplus of 1.56 inches. The normal rainfall month to date is 2.96 inches. The cities of Dallas and Plano picked up over five inches of rain this week.

Despite the flooding issues, recent rain put our soil and lakes in a good spot heading into the summer months. The drought has been erased in North Texas.”

In fact, Lewisville Lake Park had to close due to the sudden and alarming rise in water levels according to an NBC DFW 5 article from May 27th. In it they say:

“Lewisville Lake Park is temporarily closed to vehicle traffic, including the public boat ramps, due to rising water.

City officials said Thursday afternoon that with more rain in the forecast the water level at Lake Lewisville is expected to continue rising and that the closure might be necessary through Memorial Day.

Water is already covering some roads and trails making them impassable, officials said.”

The rains may have halted the drought, but they’ve brought some problems of their own.



Texans will soon find it easier to obtain a personal protection weapon according to an article from The Guardian from May 6th. In it they say:

“Texans will soon be able to openly carry a handgun without a license after the state’s legislature passed a bill that repeals requirements for carrying a handgun.

. . .

Current law requires fingerprints, four hours of training and the passing of a written exam and shooting proficiency test in order to carry a handgun. The state does not require any license to carry a rifle.”

This does not mean that there are no standards for obtaining a weapon. Some restrictions remain or have been added according to a KXAN article from May 5th. In it they say:

“Senators made several changes to the bill in the upper chamber. Senators added a provision to allow law enforcement officers to secure a handgun in a gun locker or other secure area when taking a person into the secure area of a police station. They also approved a measure to prevent anyone from legally carrying a handgun in Texas if that person was convicted of crimes in the past five years such as terroristic threat, deadly conduct, assault that causes bodily injury and disorderly conduct with a firearm.

Senators also affirmed that a person cannot carry a handgun while intoxicated in a public space. Other amendments adopted included increased penalties for felons caught with a firearm and increased penalties for Texans family violence convictions.”

Despite some criticism from both Democrats and even some Republicans, it looks like the bill is pushing through.



A new bill that responds to the rise in Asian hate crimes has passed Senate legislation according to an NBC DFW article from April 22nd. In it they say:

“The Senate passed legislation Thursday targeting anti-Asian hate crimes after an uptick of incidents during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lawmakers approved the measure in a 94-1 vote. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., was the only member to oppose the bill.

The legislation, introduced by Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, in March, would direct the Department of Justice to expedite the review of hate crimes related to Covid-19 that were reported to law enforcement agencies and help them establish ways to report such incidents online and perform public outreach.”

The new bill has several targeted provisions and received bipartisan support in the House according to another NBC DFW article from May 24th. In it they say:

“The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act initially passed Congress with overwhelming and bipartisan support.

The legislation funds improvements in tracking and reporting hate crimes, helps victims overcome language barriers to report crimes and creates a justice department position solely focused on anti-Asian hate.”

This bill comes as a marked rise in Asian hate crimes sweeps the U.S.



DFW Covid Updates

May 18, 2021

Texas hospitalizations dropped to June 2020 lows this week according to a DFW article from May 14th. In it they say:

“After briefly climbing back above 2,500 patients this week, the number of Texans hospitalized with COVID-19 dropped to lows not seen since June 2020.

In the last seven days, from May 8-14, statewide hospitalizations for people with COVID-19 peaked at 2,508 before dropping back Friday to 2,323. Meanwhile, the 7-day averages for new cases in the DFW Metroplex continue to drop.

Statewide, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported the rolling 7-day average of new confirmed cases dropped over the last week from roughly 1,800 on May 7 to approximately 1,600 on May 14. The 7-day average for the number of probable cases over the same time period decreased from roughly 590 to just over 500.”

Vaccination may be a crucial factor in the dip in hospitalizations. An educational tour that hopes to encourage the Latinx community to get their shots is coming to North Texas according to a WFAA 8 article. In it they say:

A mobile tour is stopping by local supermarkets and retail stores this month in North Texas to bridge the information gap and build trust in the COVID-19 vaccines for those in the Hispanic community.

UnidosUSthe nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization, launched the tourEsperanza Hope for All, with multiple stops in the Dallas-Fort Worth area throughout the month of May. The tour will focus on Latinos living in rural and urban areas with the purpose of providing information about COVID-19 and the vaccine.

The vaccine is currently available for any residents over the age of 12.

 





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