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14,00 Dallas students have had their college debt cancelled according to a North texas e-News article from June 3rd. In it they say:

“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. In it they say:

“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.

 



The owner of a tiger that had been strolling around a Texas neighborhood has been arrested according to an NBC 5 DFW article from May 11th which states,

“A man whose tiger was found wandering around a Houston neighborhood Sunday night has been arrested, police say. The tiger’s whereabouts are still unknown.

A neighbor says families spotted the tiger lounging in the front yard of a home while out on an evening walk.

Video of the encounter shows the tiger walking toward a Waller County sheriff’s deputy who lives in the neighborhood.”

Texas seems to have a history of tigers getting out and roaming around neighborhoods according to another NBC 5 DFW article from February 24th, 2021 which reports,

“A six-month-old, 60-pound pet tiger found during winter weather last week near San Antonio has a new home in Henderson County.

The Humane Society of the U.S. said the tiger was found wearing a harness, indicating she was someone’s pet, and was placed at a local wildlife rehab center until the weather warmed up enough for her to be transferred.

The tiger, now named Elsa, is now living at the Cleveland Armory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison.”

There are strict rules which govern the owning of an exotic animal as a pet in Texas. The animals must be registered with the city or county animal control office, but it is left up to local government to enforce these rules and either regulate or ban this practice.

 

 



Kids ages 12 and up may soon be able to get their Phizer jab in Dallas according to an NBC 5 DFW article from May 10. In it they say:

“Those as young as 12 could be inoculated at Dallas’ Fair Park COVID-19 vaccine hub site as soon as Saturday, county officials say.

The announcement came after the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use approval for the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine for kids ages 12 to 15.

Appointments are NOT required for the first shot, but you can register online to help speed things up and keep everything organized according to a Dallas Morning News article from May 10th. In it they say:

“Appointments have not been required recently for first doses, but people can register at dallascounty.org, which officials have said will help speed the process.

By early April, 100,000 kids who weren’t yet eligible for the vaccines already had registered for them in Dallas County”

Earlier, the Pfizer vaccine wasn’t always available at all Dallas vaccine locations, but now that it’s been approved for minors’ use, it should be readily available soon.

 

 



Mike Chen now calls Dallas home and is working on some exciting things here according to a Dallas Morning News article from April 23rd. In it they say:

“His videos — many that eclipse 1 million views each — will highlight Dallas-area business more than ever, now that Chen has relocated from Seattle to the Dallas suburb of Allen.

Chen moved to Texas in part because he found an apartment that was half the price of his place in Washington state. But also, he’s working on opening a Korean steakhouse named Carne in Houston. Eventually, Chen hopes Carne will expand to several locations in Texas, including in Dallas.”

One of the first Texas joints to get a visit (and a huge boost in sales after) is a Filipino barbeque joint called The Old Rooster Creek according to a Dallas Morning News article from April 29th. In it they say:

“Old Rooster Creek Filipino/Asian American BBQ (ORC BBQ) in Princeton, Texas, has enjoyed a steady following since its 2017 debut. But after YouTube celebrity and now-Dallas-area-resident Mikey Chen featured the barbecue spot in a recent video, swarms of new customers queued up hours before opening time on Saturday. They were eager to try the lechón (whole roasted pig stuffed with herbs) and Filipino street foods that Chen touted in his April 20 video.

Within two hours, the mom-and-pop business sold out of pork — including 1,200 skewers — and nearly all of the other Filipino dishes on the menu.”

With the move final, we can all expect more Dallas-based content on his well-known channel.



Dallas County held its in-person court trial in almost a whole year according to a Fox 4 article from May 3rd. In it they say:

“Dallas County held its first criminal trial in more than a year on Monday.

The case involved one of the best known legal names in Dallas and was able to take place thanks to the resumption of in-person jury selection.

The testimony looked a bit different in a world changed by COVID-19.”

The county has spent a pretty penny ensuring that courts are safe to enter in light of the ongoing pandemic according to a Dallas Morning News article from May 3rd. In it they say:

“The county spent more than $93,000 to retrofit the courtrooms and central jury room with installments of plexiglass, microphones and other features, said Jonathon Bazan, an assistant county administrator. That figure also includes personal protective equipment, like clear face masks, for potential jurors and witnesses.

An additional $771,186 was spent on information technology modifications — things like temperature scanners, data and cabling and hardware. The bulk of that bill was for setup and included remote hearings that were happening throughout the pandemic, Bazan said.”

Looks like you’ll need to keep an eye out for jury summons again.

 

 





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