November 10, 2008

Calloway's Timely Tips for December

Timely Tips for December

Gardening is an excellent escape during the holidays. Now is a good time to plant trees and shrubs so they can develop a strong root system for next spring. Cool weather color such as Pansies, Snapdragons, Flowering Cabbage and Kale add splashes of color to your landscape. Spring flowering bulbs can be planted now once they have been properly chilled.

Prune summer flowering shrubs and vines now. They will bloom on new growth. Remember-do not top your Crape Myrtles! Simply prune to remove seed heads and shape. Trim evergreens only to reshape.

Prepare for the cold weather before it hits! One of the best things you can do for your landscape plants is to provide a 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch. Mulching is necessary year round but during the colder periods it provides a layer of insulation for the roots. Secondly, water your landscape well before a cold spell. A drought stressed plant is more susceptible to freeze damage. Thirdly, for more tender plants, purchase frost cloth for extra protection. Frost cloth is a fabric which adds 3 to 4 degrees of warmth. Cover the plant completely allowing the edges to come all the way to the ground. We are utilizing the heat which radiates from the ground.

This is also a great time to start planning changes or additions to your landscape. Bring a sketch or photo and let our Calloway’s Texas Certified Nursery Professionals assist you!

From the Desk of Rep. Allen Vaught

81st Legislative Session
I am so grateful for this victory and for the thousands of Democrats, Republicans and Independents who helped make my re-election possible. This year’s election energized and introduced many new people to our electoral process. I am humbled by your continued support. Now it is time to enter the next phase of the process and return to Austin to legislate. This article will walk you through the legislative process.

The 81st Session of the Texas Legislature will convene on Tuesday, January 13, 2009. Members may start pre-filing legislation and resolutions beginning on Monday, November 10, 2008. The deadline to file a bill occurs on the 60th day of the session, or March 13, 2009. The legislature will meet for 140 days and the last day of the 81st session will be on June 1, 2009.

The Texas Legislature is one of a limited number of states whose legislature only meets once every two years. During that time, approximately 5,000 bills are filed. Once legislation is filed in the House of Representatives, the Speaker of the House will assign the legislation to a committee.

The committee chairman will decide which legislation will get a hearing. A public hearing is scheduled for a bill and testimony is heard both for and against the bill from individuals and organizations that may be impacted by the bill. After the hearing, the committee will vote on the bill, either as written or as amended by the committee members.

If the committee votes to pass the bill, it is then sent to either the Calendars Committee or the Local and Consent Calendar. The Calendars Committee works similarly to other committees, and approves legislation selected by the chairman of the committee to reach the House floor where it will be voted on individually. The Local and Consent Committee approves a slate of legislation that may be local to one area of the state or may be something that the House will all agree on. However, if one member objects to any legislation in the Local and Consent slate, the entire slate fails.

Legislation that is placed on the general house calendar will be read to the entire house, at which time amendments may be introduced. The author of the bill will approve or disapprove any amendments. The House members will then vote to approve or disapprove an amendment. Once the amendment process is completed, a member of the House will move to vote on the legislation. A simple majority will approve the legislation. After two additional readings and votes, if the bill is passed by the House it is sent to the Senate.

In the Senate, the legislation will go through a very similar process. If amendments are added on the Senate side which the House members do not approve of, the Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor will assign members of both chambers to a joint committee to recommend an agreed upon bill for both chambers’ approval. The legislation is then voted on once again before being sent to the Governor for his signature. The Governor may sign or veto legislation, or it may pass into law without his signature if he declines to sign or veto it by a certain date.

The Texas Legislature Online website provides a tool under My TLO that allows you to receive bill and meeting alerts and track legislation throughout the legislative process. You may also view committee calendars, public hearing notices, bill information and many other types of information on this website. It is a very handy reference tool.

I hope that you have found this information useful and I welcome your thoughts and ideas regarding legislation. Please email my office at with the subject line “81st Session Ideas”. As always, please feel free to contact my office at (214) 370-8305 with any questions regarding these or other state issues. I look forward to hearing from you.

October 28, 2008

From the desk of Rep. Allen Vaught

Voting: Easy. Convenient. Critical.

Your opportunity to cast your vote has arrived! Election Day is Tuesday, November 4th.

A record turnout is predicted for this year's election. If you haven't already voted, check out this guide for what you need to know to make your voice heard.

ELECTION DAYElection Day voting lasts from 7am - 7pm. You must vote in your precinct on election day. To locate your voting precinct or view a sample ballot, use the Dallas County Elections site:

When headed to the polls, remember to take either your driver's license or your “light orange” Voter Registration Certificate. You should have received this certificate in the mail in late 2007.

If you do not have either one of these, you may use another official form of identification such as a photo ID, passport, birth certificate, or citizenship papers. Know that when voting without a Voter Registration Certificate or appropriate ID, you may have to sign an affidavit or fill out a provisional ballot.

You are permitted to take a sample ballot or other written material into the voting booth to assist you while voting. Please contact the Dallas County Elections Department by telephone at (214) 819-6300 if you have further questions.

If you have difficulty walking or standing for long periods of time, the election official will bring your ballot to your car. State and federal laws require that every voting location be accessible to voters with disabilities.

The Texas Secretary of State’s office serves as the clearing house for information on voting. For more information, visit their site at As you review the information above, remember our democracy rests upon the act of voting. Your vote counts. As always, please feel free to contact my office at (214) 370-8305 with any questions regarding voting or other state issues. I look forward to hearing from you.

October 11, 2008

Calloway's Timely Tips for November Gardeners

Fresh Fall Color from Calloway’s

Transform the appearance of your landscape with fresh, colorful blooms. Pansies are by far the most popular winter color. The new ‘Matrix’ Pansy was bred to grow out, not up. This compact grower offers shorter, sturdier stems to support large, colorful blooms. Dianthus (also known as “Pinks”), Snapdragons, Cyclamen, Violas and the fragrant Alyssum are also good choices for cold tolerant annuals. Ornamental Cabbage and Kale provide striking foliage forms in the landscape as well as color. For best effect, limit your planting to two or three colors per bed.

The key to growing beautiful annual flowers is soil preparation. Select a well drained flowerbed and add lots of organic matter. Our new “Flower Bed Mix”, contains compost plus a boost of fertilizer, water-management crystals and a wetting agent. Add either Calloway’s Flower Food or Blood and Bone Meal to the soil at planting to provide the extra nutrients for growth and blooms. Mulch well to reduce moisture loss and to insulate the soil.

These same annuals can be used in patio containers. Fill your containers with fresh potting soil and plant food. Keep them watered as necessary. Pinching off faded blooms will encourage repeat blooming.

Enjoy this instant transformation to your landscape as you start planning for Christmas!

October 1, 2008

Grand Opening - Trinity River Audubon Center

Grand Opening Weekend
Trinity River Audubon Center, 6500 S. Loop 12, Dallas, TX 75217
Saturday and Sunday, October 18 and 19- 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The official public grand opening with tours of the facility, lectures and other informational classes and activities will be on Saturday, October 18 and Sunday, October 19 from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. both days.

You are all invited to celebrate this milestone event marking the opening of a beautiful environmental gateway along the Trinity River. It is truly exciting as we continue to watch the Trinity River Corridor Project become a reality!

The events are being sponsored by the National Audubon Society through its affiliate, Audubon Texas and the City of Dallas.

If you have questions or would like additional information please contact:
Sarah Standifer, Assistant Director
City of Dallas, Trinity River Corridor Project
214-671-9581 /

September 26, 2008

From the desk of Allen Vaught

Family Matters
During the months between legislative sessions, the committees of the Texas House of Representatives meet to examine issues relevant to their jurisdiction. These issues are known as interim charges.

Members of the Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee, on which I serve, recently held a hearing in Mesquite. The subcommittee on Child Support and Paternity Fraud met to hear testimony related to two of our interim charges.

During the hearing we discussed child support guidelines and formulas, specifically considering whether the current methods provide adequate support. The subcommittee also considered the laws governing paternity and related fraud.

Child Support
Alicia Key, Director of the Child Support Division at the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), provided background information to the committee. Texas is one of only ten states which use the obligor’s income as the only factor for determining child support. Thirty-six states consider both parents’ incomes and include adjustments for parenting time.

Texas law specifies twenty-four reasons that a judge may deviate from the standard formula used to determine child support. The top three most often used are an agreement of parties, possession time, and multi-family formula (used in instances when a father has children with more than one mother).

According to Ms. Key, the OAG surveyed judges in Travis County and found that 81% seldom varied from the standard guidelines. In the cases handled by the OAG, the formulas are strictly followed 75% of the time.

Although the judges are allowed to deviate from the formulas, other factors - such as time constraints or court over-crowding – often prevent justices from thoughtfully considering all available factors. Suggestions to the subcommittee included both mandating judicial review of the reasons for deviation and changing the child support formulas.

College Funding
During the discussion of child support, the discourse turned to the concept of awarding support to cover the costs of college. When setting child support payments, Texas law does not currently address college funding.

The testimony suggested that mandating a parent’s responsibility for a child’s college education would be an extremely difficult task to enforce. Further, the state does not require married couples or adoptive parents to pay for a child’s college education. Requiring parents with child support obligations to do so would place an additional undue financial expectation on them.

Scientific advances in DNA testing generated the subcommittee’s examination of paternity statutes. Some who testified claim science has gotten ahead of the law in terms of establishing paternity.

Establishing paternity holds important health implications, especially when children are born with inherited diseases or disorders. Although some health problems are easy to determine at birth, others do not appear until later in life. In either instance, to best treat medical conditions it is helpful for doctors to know the family medical history of both the mother and the father.

Under current law, it is difficult to set aside a court order of paternity or to rescind an acknowledgement of paternity once it is established. The current statute of limitations to challenge paternity expires after four years of establishment.

Next steps
Many parties affected by current law are interested in seeing changes to many of the procedures commonly followed in family court and by the OAG. In some situations, those who manipulate the truth are inadvertently protected from any consequence. During the next legislative session, the committee will further examine any necessary changes to ensure all people involved in these sensitive situations are treated justly.

Matters covered by the Juvenile Justice and Family Issues committee are often steeped in emotional turmoil. The answers are not always clear cut. Nonetheless, I remain committed to finding workable solutions to that promote one of our main responsibilities as a society: ensuring the safety, good health and well-being of our children.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact my district office at

September 8, 2008

From the desk of Rep. Allen Vaught

Representative Vaught listens to testimony from Mr. Shannon Edmonds of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association
Criminal Jurisprudence Interim Committee Work
During the months the legislature is not is session, the standing committees of the Texas House of Representatives meet to discuss interim charges. Interim charges provide an opportunity for the committees to hold hearings, study issues confronting the state, and ultimately make recommendations for action.

I currently serve as the Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence. This committee holds jurisdiction over matters pertaining to criminal law, probation and parole, as well as criminal procedure in the courts, and revisions to the Texas Penal Code.

Recently, the committee held a two-day hearing at Eastfield College to examine four interim charges. The topics discussed included problems with the current deferred adjudication system, dual trials for capitol murder defendants, adding salvia divinorum to the Controlled Substance Act, and examining the criminal trespass statute.

Deferred Adjudication
Challenges have developed with Texas’ the system of deferred adjudication. Currently, a defendant may enter into a plea-bargain agreement with a criminal court in which formal judgment is withheld or “deferred,” pending the outcome of a probationary period.

At times this means that despite having met all conditions imposed by the court, a non-violent offender who never again crosses the law may continue to have his personal life impacted in the form of difficulty obtaining a job or even visiting his own child at school.

Conversely, there is no restriction on deferred adjudication being offered to a murder defendant. Presently, the crimes expressly exempted from deferred adjudication are limited. The intent and parameters of deferred adjudication need to be clarified to be consistent with our expectations of justice.

Testimony was provided by Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins, Harris County District Attorney Kevin Keating, along with representatives from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, the Texas District and County Attorney’s Association, and the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. The committee also heard from numerous individuals whose lives have been impacted by their decision to take a plea of deferred adjudication.

This is a complicated issue that requires a cautious approach when determining how best to uphold the law while not continuing to punish people beyond what is deserved.

Dual Trials for Capital Murder Defendants
Dual trials gained attention when Governor Perry commuted the sentence of Kenneth Foster last year. Foster, though not convicted of murder, was the driver in a robbery during which a murder occurred. Testimony at the hearing indicated a consensus that capital murder defendants need to be afforded the option of having their trials split.

Salvia Divinorum
Salvia divinorum, a plant from the mint family, is an herb that may be legally sold in Texas. In its description of the substance, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) characterizes the plant as having hallucinogenic effects.

Currently, the DEA is studying the appropriateness and effectiveness of adding Salvia divinorum and Salvinorin A to the Federal Controlled Substances Act. About twelve states limit the possession or distribution of Salvia divinorum in some form, with several others considering adding restrictions to their laws.

Two bills were introduced in the Texas legislature last session that would limit the sale of Salvia to minors and add it to the state's controlled substances list. Neither bill completed the legislative process to become law.

The committee heard testimony from members of the public who expressed concern that the use of this drug is beginning to be more prevalent among teenagers. Some would like this substance regulated by the state and considered a controlled substance. Others prefer to not put the herb on the controlled substances list and simply prohibit that sale to minors.

Criminal Trespass
Several bills related to criminal trespass passed the legislature last session. The legislation ranged in scope from clarifying enforcement issues to changing the severity of penalties. Governor Perry subsequently vetoed these bills, reasoning that the legislation was redundant.

In light of the governor’s opinion, one proposal made to the committee suggested rewriting the criminal trespass statute. A complete revision is touted to provide a statute that is easily understood and consistent for both enforcement and punishment purposes.

During the last hearing, the committee listened to testimony from the Texas Association of Campground Owners and the police chief of New Braunfels who were advocating for passage of legislation dealing with the trespass issue.

Next Step
The hearing process for interim charges is complete for the Criminal Jurisprudence committee. The committee will now develop its report to the legislature summarizing the testimony and making recommendations for action during the upcoming session.

As always, please feel free to contact my district office at 214-370-8305 with any questions regarding these or other state issues.

September 7, 2008

White Rock Lake Task Force

When: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 4:00 PM-6:00 PM
Where: Doran Point 8007 E. Northwest Hwy
Tentative Agenda
1. Spillway Project Update
2. Northwest Highway Elevation Project
3. Fish Hatchery Project Proposal
4. Winfrey Point: Split Rail Fence & Emerald Isle Parking Area
5. West Lawther Trail Improvements
6. "Migi's" Point Proposal
7. Northwest Shoreline Near The Cloisters
8. Miscellaneous Updates
a. Lighting Master Plan Committee
b. Runners / Cyclist Safety Committee
c. White Rock Lake VIP8. Future Meetings Schedule
9. Announcement

Calloway's Timely Tips for October Gardeners

Calloway’s Timely Tip for October

Remember too, as September gives way to the cooler days of October, this is a good time to evaluate your landscape. Did you know that fall is one of the best times to plant trees, shrubs and perennials? Nursery stock planted now will have an opportunity for roots to settle in and become established. When spring arrives, this root system can support and take full advantage of the surge of new growth. Fresh nursery stock is arriving daily so, stop by and take advantage of the selection available and this wonderful time of the year to work outdoors!

We are also excited about more heirloom bulbs from The Southern Bulb Company. Remember, this is the Texas company known for searching out and rescuing “lost and forgotten” varieties. The Leucojum aestivum, better known as “Snowflakes”, is by far one of the most adaptable bulbs ever offered in Texas . Clusters of dime-sized blooms emerge in February accented by bluish green foliage. The ‘Grand Primo’ Narcissus is treasured for its long lasting blooms and robust foliage. This reliable bloomer’s fragrance is light and sweet and the flowers appear in late February through March. ‘Golden Dawn’ Narcissus grows 14” -16” tall and is multi-flowering. Enjoy a sweet, clean fragrance year after year usually in mid-March. As a good "rule of thumb" for most bulbs, plant at a depth about three times the height of the bulb.

Also, new this fall is a program which offers the early purchase of pre-chilled bulbs. Several varieties of Tulips, Narcissus and Hyacinths are available for purchasing now with delivery in December-ready to go into the ground. Gardening made easy!

August 19, 2008

Calloway's Timely Tips for September Gardeners

Fall Lawn Care

Football season is here but it’s not quite time to retire the mower or fertilizer spreader. Fall is an important time to replenish nutrients and prepare for next spring. Calloway’s Premium Lawn Food, with a 21-5-10 formula, supplies the needed nutrients to stimulate root development, make your grass hardier for the winter months and provide food for next spring’s growth! Apply it this month or the first of October, and then you can watch the games. For those who are organic gardeners, Calloway’s Organic Fertilizer contains seven food grade meals.

This is also the time to apply preemergents to control those unseen broadleaf and grassy weed seeds to prevent them from sprouting over winter and spring. Apply Greenlight Crabgrass Preventer with Dimension for grassy weeds and Portrait for those pesky broadleaf weeds. For our organic gardeners, use Corn Gluten Meal as a natural preemergent.

So, don’t kick back and settle into football season quite yet-finish those last lawn chores and be a winner next spring!

From the desk of Rep. Allen Vaught

Financing College Education

Over the weekend, Texas families saved millions during the sales tax holiday as they prepared to send their kids back to school. Whether seeing your children off to kindergarten or college, the cost of higher education is daunting to many.

Tuition is on the rise and unfortunately for today’s coeds and their families, finding the money to cover these costs is becoming increasingly difficult. In the last year, many lenders have gotten out of the student loan business. In the current economy families are facing other financial hardships that may seem to widen the gap between young Texans and the college dream. In order to make these dreams a reality, I encourage all families considering these challenges to educate themselves about state resources that are available to be tapped.

The newest of these is the Texas Tuition Promise Fund, which goes into effect this September. Under this option, Texans can choose from many different prepaid plans while hedging against rising tuition costs. These prepaid plans are designed for use at every type of higher education institution. To receive more information about this new addition to our state’s college funding options, visit the Web site and fill out the request form.

At, parents can calculate, based on their child’s current age and the type of institution they anticipate their child will attend, how much college will cost when the time comes to move your little one into the dormitories. You can also look at age based portfolio investment options, and enroll in a program that best suits your needs, and will ensure the security of your child’s future.

No matter your child’s age, I recommend that all parents plan for the future and consider the options that are available to you. For more information please visit the Web sites above or contact my district office at (214) 370-8305.

August 4, 2008

July 2008 Yard of the Month

July 2008 YOM Winner

John & Judy Kramb

8805 Larchwood

Honorable Mention

1st-8625 Lockhaven

2nd-8710 Lockhaven

From the desk of Rep. Allen Vaught

Future Forecast: Wind
In July, Texas took a historic step continuing on its path as an energy leader -- in a somewhat new direction. Our state is known world-wide as a fossil fuel energy producer. However, the recent approval by the Texas Public Utilities Commission (PUC) of a plan for energy transmission lines marks a significantly new direction for the state and its commitment to renewable energy.

Texas has more installed wind power generation capacity than any state in the country. Currently, the Lone Star state has 5,316 wind-generated megawatts of capacity and 1,997 wind megawatts under construction. In our toasty Texas climate with air conditioners running, each megawatt can power about 300 homes.

Where the Wind Blows
The most bountiful supplies of wind power are in West Texas and the Panhandle. The population, however, is located primarily in the eastern part of the state, including the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Existing transmission lines supplying wind power to the population have limited capacity. With all the recent growth in the wind industry, the lines are currently congested with wind power.

In the past there was a bit of a chicken or egg argument concerning how to move the wind power from the wind-rich west to the electricity-hungry east. Wind farms did not want to locate out west without adequate transmission lines. Meanwhile, utility companies were reluctant to build costly transmission lines without a generating farm in place.

To ensure necessary investments in the transmission grid, the Texas Legislature called for competitive renewable energy zones (CREZ) to guarantee enough transmission capacity is in place to move the wind power to the densely populated east. The manager of the state's largest power grid, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), was designated to collect wind data and transmission costs to determine the geographic areas that the PUC could designate as a CREZ. In July, the PUC decision designated the transmission solutions for the CREZ areas.

What this means for Texas
Moving toward a renewable source such as wind to satisfy our power needs helps Texas in a number of ways. Wind energy is a zero emissions power source and does not contribute to our air quality problems. Further, there is no consumer concern about fluctuations in the cost of the fuel supply. Once in place, the typical wind turbine can last twenty years, simply requiring maintenance.

There is great potential for Texas to become a world leader in wind power technology, much in the way it influenced the oil and gas industry. The energy demands of the globe are increasing. As our state's wind program continues to develop, the world will look to the innovations Texas has put in place for solutions.

To resolve the energy issues we face in Texas will require a combination of efficiency, conservation, and further exploration of renewable resources. While increased wind generation won't solve all our energy demand and air quality problems, it signifies a commitment to a new vision of what is possible for Texas.

As always, if you have questions concerning wind-generated power or any state related matters, please contact my office at 214-370-8305.

August 1, 2008

Arboretum for a Dollar

$$Arboretum for a Dollar$$
August 1 – 29, weekdays
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Parking fee: $5 per car
8525 Garland Road
In an effort to address the concerns of prices at family venues, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is reducing all of its admission prices on weekdays in August to one dollar per person, with admission returning to its normal pricing structure in September.

Message from Ron Carpenter

The time of the next VIP training class has been scheduled. It will be a 1 day class on Saturday, September 20, 2008, from 10 am till 4 pm. It will be held at City Hall, 1500 Marilla. Applications and waivers of liability can be downloaded at the below web site. They are due to me no later than 1 week before the class. E-mail me if you have any questions. I just finished day 2 of a 3 day class and have 32 in the class. That is the largest 3 day class I have ever had.

Ron Carpenter
Northeast DivisionPatrol Bureau <>

July 31, 2008

Criminal Jurisprudence Committee to Meet in Dallas

The Texas House of Representatives Criminal Jurisprudence Committee will hold public hearings on Wednesday and Thursday, August 13-14, at Eastfield College in Mesquite. State Representative Allen Vaught, District 107, is the vice-chairperson of the committee.
On Wednesday, the committee will hear testimony regarding problems with the deferred adjudication process in Texas and Texas law allowing dual trials for capital murder defendants.

On Thursday, testimony will be heard on the need to add salvia divinorum to the list of controlled substances and amendments or reorganization to the criminal trespass statute in the Penal Code.

Hearings will start at 10 a.m. on both days in Room S100 (S Building), 3737 Motley Drive, Mesquite, TX. Directions and maps can be found at For more information, please contact the District Office of State Rep. Allen Vaught at 214-370-8305.

Calloway's Dawn 'til Dusk Sale

Calloway’s is reminding you to mark your calendar for the biggest shopping day of the summer! Our 2nd Annual “Dawn ‘til Dusk” Sale will be Saturday, August 30th from 7:01 am until 7:54 pm. Everything is on sale! Save 30% off or more on fresh shipments of bedding plants and shrubs, soil amendments and fertilizers, ceramic plants and houseplants, and the list goes on and on!

Come early for the best pick of the finest garden products in Texas ! See you then!

July 21, 2008

From the desk of Rep. Allen Vaught

Consumer Web sites

While you’re surfing the Web during the hottest days of the summer, check out these consumer friendly sites. They may be helpful when making decisions that affect you, your family, and your pocketbook.

Protection for Texas Consumers
In our nation’s current financial situation, there are fraudulent businesses that will attempt to take advantage of consumers. If you’ve ever been taken advantage of by such a company or been a victim of identity theft, you know how frustrating it can be.

It is important to report these abuses. The state can investigate them and prevent fraudulent businesses from exploiting your fellow Texans. The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection page is a great resource that explains the consumer complaint process that you may pursue if you feel that you have been wronged.

Take advantage of this site not only to file a complaint, but also to educate yourself about the types of scams that are out there. The Web site includes consumer alerts that can save you a lot of headaches. So visit for more information.

Control Healthcare Costs
Sponsored by the Texas Hospital Association, provides helpful information you need about area hospitals, the services they provide, and the cost of these services. This user-friendly site allows you to compare the cost of common procedures between hospitals all over the state so that you and your family can make informed decisions about your health care needs. The site also has links to other health care Web sites that can better help you navigate the health care system and explore your options.

Investigate Your Insurance
Another great site to check out is from the Office of Public Insurance Counsel. This site provides information on various types of insurance including home, health, and automotive. Visit it to compare types of coverage and costs from various providers.

The site also features consumer updates on changes in the law that will affect your insurance or insurance companies that are being penalized. So before you purchase a new insurance policy, check out this site to learn about types of coverage you need and policy costs.

These Web sites are an introduction to the information available to assist Texas consumers in making smart budget decisions. For assistance with specific consumer issues other state services, please contact my office at 214-370-8305.

July 17, 2008

Letter from Patricia Alexander Love

To: Homeowner Associations and Neighborhood Associations

Please pass this information on to your members via newsletter or e-mail regarding how to report street light outages.


With over 84,000 streetlights in the City of Dallas, the City needs your help finding and reporting street light malfunctions.

The City currently checks the freeways and major thoroughfares for outages on a monthly basis. However, due to limited staff, regular patrolling of residential neighborhoods is not performed. Therefore, it is critical that citizens report outages in their neighborhood.

Our goal is to reduce the number of street light outages Citywide. With your help, this goal can be achieved. ONCOR Electric Delivery is under contract with the City of Dallas to maintain lights on public streets.

To expedite your request for repair contact ONCOR Electric Delivery by calling the number listed below or log on to their website:

1-888-313-4747 - Customer Service Line

If repairs are not made within 10 working days, then notify the City:

Dial 311 - Ask for a “Street Light Maintenance Service Request”

City staff will contact ONCOR, investigate the issues and start tracking the repair time. ONCOR Electric Delivery is required by contract to repair most malfunctions within 15 working days. Only repairs involving knockdown poles, cable cuts or stolen wire justify delays beyond the 15 day requirement.

Examples of how to report locations are as follows:

In front of 2431 Main Street (or nearest address)
At the intersection of Main and Elm next to the restaurant
The 3rd and 4th lights from the northwest corner of Main and Elm
Light Pole Number I N 2E 315 (normally located on the front side of the pole)

Since ONCOR Electric Delivery’s crews make repairs in the daytime, a good description helps crews locate the problem on the first visit and expedite the repair.

Typical malfunctions Include:

Light not on at night Pole is damaged or leaning
Light cycles on and off Wires in pole are exposed
Light stays on during the day Light fixture is in danger of falling
Pole is knocked down Glass or lens is broken

If you need further assistance, call the Public Works and Transportation Department, Street Lighting Section, (214) 670-6904. Color brochures in English and Spanish are available upon request.


Patricia Alexander Love
Council Assistant to Councilmember Jerry Allen
Dallas City Hall
1500 Marilla, 5FS
Dallas, Texas 75201
(214) 670-4068

Audelia Road Library

Audelia Library Calendar

Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.
Stories, music, and activities for preschoolers and their families.

Continues through Saturday, August 9
All children may enroll, including those who read by themselves or those who participate by listening. Register and report to only one Dallas Public Library location. Record time spent reading or listening on the reading log provided at sign-up. Return reading log to the library where you registered so that hours may be recorded and prizes awarded. Readers may choose any reading material, such as books, magazines, audio books, etc. It is the time spent reading or listening that is important, not the number of titles read.

Tuesday, July 22, 2 p.m.
Making It New: The Art and Style of Sara and Gerald Murphy
The Dallas Museum of Art brings us an educational and hands-on art program. Craft.

Tuesday, July 22, 6:30 p.m.
July's selection is Fatherland by Robert Harris. This is a discussion group, not a book review, and we always welcome new members. RSVPs are not required, but are encouraged. Please RSVP to 214-670-1350.

Wednesday, July 23 and Thursday, July 24, 12:30 - 4:30 p.m.
8-hour classroom refresher course for drivers age 50 and older. $10 charge for materials only.

Tuesday, July 29, 2 p.m.
Shree Foundation presents a theatrical adaptation of traditional Indian folk tales.
A Neighborhood Touring Program provided by the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs

Tuesday, July 29, 6:30 p.m.
July's selection is Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez. This is a discussion group, not a book review, and we always welcome new members. Please RSVP to 214-670-1350.

Thursdays, July 10 and 24, 2 p.m.
Children read to therapy dogs. The dogs are excellent listeners and the children get practice with their reading skills. Children bring their own book or choose a library book. Grades K - 4th .

July 16, 2008

Neighborhood Announcements

The Prescott Realty Group (developers of Town Center) is inviting any woman who lives in Lake Highlands to join a Focus Group next week to guide them in designing Town Center. Here is their invitation:When: Tuesday July 22nd and Thursday July 24thWhere: Lake Highlands North Recreation Center, 9940 White Rock Trail.Session Options (choose one):

I. Tuesday July 22nd - 5:30pm to 7:00pm
II. Tuesday July 22nd - 7:00pm to 8:30pm
III. Thursday July 24th - 5:30pm to 7:00pm
IV. Thursday July 24th - 7:00pm to 8:30pm

Prescott Realty Group is seeking feedback on Lake Highlands Town Center from our core customer - women shoppers. We need you to weigh in on many aspects of LHTC - from the center's layout, the architectural design, parking options, pedestrian walkways, outdoor features and, most importantly, retailers. We'd like to know which retailers you like or don't like and why, who some of the great local shops or restaurants are that you'd like to see at LHTC as well as some of the larger national retailers. While LHTC is a true mixed-use development with retail, residential and office uses, it's the retail that will drive the success. That retail experience revolves around you.Please RSVP by Thursday, July 17th to Brenna Ellis at Prescott Realty Group (214) 269-3147 or email Let us know which session works best for you and most importantly please let us know your name, marital status, whether you have children and if so, what ages. The sessions will be very informal and we'll have food and beverages for everyone. Thank you for your interest in Lake Highlands Town Center . We look forward to meeting with you.
Officer Ron Carpenter of our Northeast Division Police Station, announced that if anyone is interested in the August CERT classes (see class schedule below) to please visit the police website ( for a brochure and application form.Hello Prospective CERT Team Members:

Dallas CERT promotes a partnering effort between emergency services and the Citizens of Dallas. The goal is for emergency personnel to train members of neighborhoods, community organizations, or workplaces in basic emergency response skills. The next set of training classes will occur on the following dates and times listed below – all sessions must be attended in order to complete the program – missed sessions may be made up at a future CERT class offering. Please distribute this email to other interested parties that you feel may benefit from this information.

If you are interested in registering for this class please return the attached application to me by email or fax (214-670-4677).

City of Dallas
Community Emergency Response Team Training

Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Buckner Retirement Village, 4800 Samuell Blvd., Dallas, TX 75228
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Thursday, August 7, 2008
Buckner Terrace Retirement Village, 4800 Samuell Blvd., Dallas, TX 75228
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Buckner Retirement Village, 4800 Samuell Blvd., Dallas, TX 75228
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Thursday, August 14, 2008
Buckner Retirement Village, 4800 Samuell Blvd., Dallas, TX 75228
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Buckner Retirement Village, 4800 Samuell Blvd., Dallas, TX 75228
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Thursday, August 21, 2008
Buckner Retirement Village, 4800 Samuell Blvd., Dallas, TX 75228
6:00pm - 9:00pm

Saturday, August 23, 2008
Dallas Fire Rescue Training Academy, 5000 Dolphin Rd, Dallas, TX 75223
9:00 am - 12:00 pm

*Please note that ALL sessions must be taken in order to complete the program – missed sessions can be made up in future City of Dallas CERT class offerings*

Cassandra D. Wallace
Emergency Management Specialist
City of Dallas Office of Emergency Management
City Manager's Office
1500 Marilla, L2AN
Dallas, TX 75201
214-671-8969 (Office)
469-525-8778 (Cell)
214-670-4677 (Fax)

The City of Dallas is launching a website that will publish a monthly newsletter of information about the city's Trinity River Corridor Project. You'll find it at
John Gould, President of the Friends of the Audelia Library, announced that his group receives donations of used books in sufficient quantity to hold frequent book sales at the library. Each sale allows the Friends to earn $100 to $130, and the funds are used to support library programs. The Board has decided that so long as the supply of books holds up, it will hold a book sale on the 3rd Sunday afternoon each month from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., and the next sale will be July 20th.

Recently the Friends were given several boxes of American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletins dating back to 1954. Please inquire at the sale table next Sunday if you are interested in the collection or know someone who would be.

Last week, a Lake Highlands resident donated a Clavinova digital piano to the library. The Friends of the Library are currently studying how to incorporate its use into library programs and would welcome your input on how it might be used.

July 8, 2008

From the desk of Rep. Allen Vaught

Keeping Your Cool and Your Cash

Summer heat challenges our attempts to stay cool and comfortable. It can also mean facing high electric bills. A few simple changes can add up to savings on home utility bills. Check out these suggestions and links for ideas about how to reduce your electricity costs this season.

Simple Things Matter
Many solutions to help reduce electric bills are simple and easily put into practice. Try these ideas for quick no-cost and low-cost conservation.

• Turning off lights when a room is unoccupied offers surprisingly effective results.

• Use ceiling fans only in rooms that are occupied and turn them off when no one is home. Fans make a room feel cooler to people and pets, but don't reduce air temperature.

• Keep your air-conditioner clean and clear of debris. Washing the outside coils and keeping plants away from the base will prevent air flow blockage.

• Refrigerators and freezers operate most efficiently when full. Keep them as full as possible, using bottles filled with water to fill space.

• Use dishwashers and clothes washers/dryers at night. Doing so keeps your home cooler and avoids straining the power grid during the peak use period between 4PM and 6PM.

• Use power strips. Even when turned off, many electronic devices and home office equipment can continue to consume power when plugged into an outlet. Turning off the power strip prevents machines from draining power in standby mode.

Changes to Consider
If you can spend a little to save a little, the marketplace offers products designed with efficiency in mind.

• Replacing the five most often used incandescent bulbs in a home with compact fluorescent lightbulbs can save an average of $60 in one year.

• Heating water can account for 14 - 25% of the energy consumed in your home. Monthly water heating costs may be reduced by the choice of which water heater
is used and by adopting energy-efficient water heating practices

• When purchasing appliances and home electronics, choose models labeled with the Energy Star rating. These products meet the strict efficiency criteria established by the U. S. Department of Energy.

An Audit You'll Welcome. Really.
For additional savings and help locating points of energy inefficiencies, consider a home energy audit. Home energy audits assess the amount of energy your home consumes and evaluate what actions you can take to make your home more efficient. An audit will identify problems that may, when corrected, add up to significant cost savings over time.

Audits pinpoint areas where a home is losing electricity, determine the efficiency of a heating and cooling system, and determine a conservation plan of action. Check out to learn more about the services available to homeowners.

Following these simple remedies can help us all stay cool and rein in utility bills this summer. If you have questions or would like more information about energy efficiency, please contact my office at 214-370-8305.

US Department of Energy
Public Utility Commission of Texas

Calloway's Timely Tips for August Gardeners

Bring on the Heat- Summer Color!

During this season of hot weather, re-vitalize your garden beds. Fertilizing, pruning, new mulch and fresh plantings can all bring your flower beds back to life!

Fresh color is still available at Calloway’s in larger sizes for instant impact. Celosia, Vinca (Periwinkle), Lantana and Moss Rose are all good, reliable summer bloomers. Plant these directly into beds or containers to replace flowers which have reached their prime. Add Calloway’s Flower Food, a slow release fertilizer, and you will not have to fertilize for two months. Keep old blooms trimmed off to encourage repeat blooming. Add a new layer of mulch to flower beds and to containers to lessen evaporation and keep the soil cooler. Color abounds even in the heat of summer!

Just a reminder, Saturday, August 9th at 10:15 am, Calloway’s will conduct a clinic titled “Bring on the Heat-Summer Color!” Please join us to hear more about summer color.

June 23, 2008

From the desk of Allen Vaught

The State of Summer Fun
Planning Your Summer Activities? Check out these State Guides. . .

School has ended and the temperature is above sweltering. Summer is officially here. This means it’s time to make plans for summer travel and fun.

Texas is home to a variety of activities as diverse as the state itself. From state parks to cultural activities to heritage touring here is a brief guide to finding what is available across Texas and close to home for your next outing.

The Great Outdoors
With ninety percent of our state’s land privately owned, our state parks system plays an important role in providing an outdoor experience for Texas’ increasingly urban population.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department manages our park system, provides outdoor recreation opportunities and educates outdoor enthusiasts. By redirecting the sporting goods sales tax to its originally intended target, increases to the parks system budget have brought about much needed repairs and improvements to both the facilities and services. So if you haven’t been to a state park recently, plan a visit and see what’s new.

To encourage more people to enjoy the sport of fishing, Texas Parks and Wildlife has waived the license and stamp requirements for fishing at our state parks. Just pay the entrance fees, and you are free to fish within the park. Parks and Wildlife also hosts many learn-to-fish days, so check out the schedule and start preparing your tale of the one that got away.

Wireless internet service is available in several state parks for those who love the great outdoors but need to stay connected. The service offers working adults the potential to remain at a park longer than they otherwise would and provides connectivity to recreational vehicle users who are frequently away from home for extended periods of time. Also, park users are able to better plan their activities in the park using up-to-date weather reports.

For Parks and Wildlife activities closer to home, the department offers a Dallas/Fort Worth Urban Outdoor program. The program features activities for kids, the Texas Outdoors-Woman Network, and fishing and boating opportunities in the North Texas area.

Hey, Where’s That?
Looking for recommendations on general Texas fun? Visit the Travel Texas website operated by the governor’s Economic Development and Tourism office. The site features a trip planner plus information about seasonal events and activities across the state.

If you have seen the beautifully photographed Texas tourism television and print ad campaigns and wondered about the locations, the site features a map which pinpoints each scene. The ads are online for viewing and mapping at .

Homegrown History
My fellow history buffs will enjoy the guides offered by the Texas Historical Commission’s Heritage Trail Program. Ten different trails cover the entire state and offer a look at the history and culture of each region. For those staying nearby this summer, the Metro area is covered by the Lakes Trail. Learn more about each region and find all the trail maps on the Historical Commission’s website.

The Commission’s website is also home to the Texas Historic Sites Atlas. Use this tool to find information about and locations of courthouses, museums and other historic sites. The atlas also features the text and locations of historical markers across the state.

Whether traveling to the far corners of the state or relaxing close to home, you are sure to encounter spectacular natural beauty, find a new adventure, or learn a little of our history using these state resources as your guide to Texas summer fun.

Questions about any of the guides? Call my District office at 214-370-8305.

June 20, 2008

Several Lake Highlands neighborhood kids will be hosting an Alex's Lemonade Stand (Registration No. 59131) on Saturday, June 21, from 10 am-4 pm. The stand will be located at 10606 Larchfield Lane, near Walnut Hill and Plano Rd. They will serve fresh squeezed lemonade, just like Grandma makes.
All proceeds will be sent to the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, which funds pediatric cancer research. To find out more about Alex's Lemonade Stands, view the website at
Come celebrate the first day of summer by stopping by for a nice cool cup of lemonade and support neighborhood children in their pursuit to help fight pediatric cancer.

June 16, 2008

Gasoline Mower Exchange

New Air Quality Program – Trade in Your Gas Mower
Norio Tsuchiya—HMNA Environmental Representative
From: Medina, Maibel
Sent: Wednesday, June 11, 2008 2:22 PM
Subject: City of Dallas: Mow Down Air Pollution

Dear Community Associations,
The Office of Environmental Quality is working on a new air quality program that focuses on reducing emissions from lawnmowers. According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the engines in gas-powered lawn equipment pollute more than car engines!

This program allows Dallas residents to trade in their gas mowers for electric mowers at a 50% discount. Program requirements are as follows:

All mowers MUST be in working condition and emptied of gas and oil in order to receive the discount. Participants must be residents of Dallas and show proof of residency. Participants must make a reservation with Nicole Cooper at 214-670-6646 or email: For more information about the Neuton Mower, visit

The event information is as follows:
When: Saturday, June 21
Time: 9am-3pm (or while supplies last; only 400 movers available)
Where: Dallas City Hall - Horseshoe Parking Area (1500 Marilla St., Dallas, TX, 75201)

June 9, 2008

From the desk of Rep. Allen Vaught

Watching the Sun Set in Texas: State Government and Accountability

Texas follows a unique process in the ongoing effort to provide efficiency and effectiveness in state government. The Sunset Advisory Commission is responsible for the regular assessment of Texas state agencies, examining each to eliminate waste, duplication of services, and inefficiency.

As with all matters related to democracy, this process thrives with public participation. Take a moment to learn about Sunset and how your comments can influence how well your government works for you.

Basically, each state agency in Texas must justify its existence every twelve years. The legislature either renews or dissolves an agency through passage of Sunset legislation based upon recommendations of the Commission.

The Commission is comprised of twelve members, (five senators, five representatives, and two members of the public), appointed by the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House. A staff assists the Commission members by conducting an in-depth examination of the agencies under review.

The Sunset process began in 1977, and oversees approximately 130 agencies. A few exceptions exist in the form of courts and universities. Also, constitutionally created agencies, such as the Teacher Retirement System and the Board of Pardons and Paroles, may be reviewed but not abolished.

How the Process Works
The staff of the Commission works with each agency under review to evaluate the need for the agency. As part of the review, each agency performs a self-review to identify its own problem and success areas. Sunset staff extensively interviews the reviewed agency’s employees for insight into daily operations. Additionally, input from interest groups and professional organizations related to the reviewed agency is solicited.

The Sunset staff then publishes a report proposing statutory or management changes and develops legislation necessary to enact any changes. The entire review generally takes three to eight months, depending upon the size and complexity of the agency.

Public Input
Once the Sunset staff report is published, the Commissioners hold public hearings. At this time, the Sunset staff presents its recommendations and the reviewed agency has the opportunity to formally respond to the recommendations. The public may then comment on the report and offer additional input regarding policy related to the agency.

How You May Participate
The public provides valuable information concerning agency performance during the hearing portion of the review process. The Sunset staff reports are available for inspection on the Commission’s website and are accessible at . The public may comment in person at the Commission hearings or submit written testimony. Later, a second chance for public comment arises during the legislative session when the bills to either continue or abolish an agency move through the legislative process.

Who’s Under Review?
Agencies are reviewed in a staggered fashion. Those whose fate will be determined during the 2009 legislative session include:

Texas Department of Agriculture Texas Department of Insurance
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Texas Department of Public Safety
Texas Racing Commission Texas Residential Construction Commission
Texas Department of Transportation Texas Youth Commission

The public hearing schedule for the reviewed agencies may be accessed at

If you have questions about the Sunset Advisory Commission and the agency review process, please contact my district office at 214-370-8305.

Sources: Guide to the Sunset Process, Texas Sunset Advisory Commission Staff

June 7, 2008

YOM Program--Nominate a Yard Today!

The L Streets, N. A. Yard of the Month (YOM) program provides incentives to homeowners who create and maintain attractive landscaping and/or yard décor.

Each month, April through October, the Beautification Committee will review nominations. Residents may recommend a yard by completing the nomination form on the website at or by emailing the YOM Chair, Pamela Lehr, at

Nominations must be received by the 23rd of each month, except for June and July. Nominations for June and July must be received by the 17th for these months.

Winners will be notified by the Committee and will be featured on the L-Streets website and in the quarterly newsletter. Two yards will receive "honorable mention" awards.

The YOM winner will receive a $50 Calloway's gift certificate. The Yard of the Month sign will be displayed in the winner's yard for one month. Thanks to Calloway's Nursery, located at Greenville Avenue and Walnut Hill Lane, for sponsoring the L Streets Yard of the Month program and for helping to improve the landscape of our neighborhood.

Print an online coupon good for $5.00 off for every $25.00 purchase at Calloway's Nursery.

New LHHS Principal

June 4, 2008

To the Lake Highlands Students, Faculty, Staff and Community:

Greetings! It is with great enthusiasm that I look forward to serving Lake Highlands High School as Principal. As a Richardson I.S.D. resident and principal, I am aware and impressed with the Lake Highlands legacy as a “School of Champions.” As a Blue Ribbon School and one of Newsweek’s “Best,” Lake Highlands’ history and accomplishments are a great foundation as we continue to grow our school’s legacy.

We will further realize the Lake Highlands’ promise as a high performing urban school that models mutual care for all stakeholders. My first priority is to maintain and forward the substantial community support that Dr. Iden, Dr. Simmons and the Richardson I.S.D. Board of Trustees have established. Through celebration of students and outreach to community organizations, we will focus our community resources to meet the needs of all Lake Highlands students.

As I meet our faculty and staff, I am impressed with their knowledge and commitment. With nationally known academics, sports and fine arts, I look forward to learning about the talents of our students and becoming acquainted with our families. Our school will continue its outstanding service to students and community by leading the district in college-ready students. We will continue to build a school with students that are truly together and are vested in Lake Highlands’ success.

During the course of the summer I am meeting with our administrative team, counseling team, teachers, students, PTA, and community organizations, so that I begin to fully understand the traditions and happenings in Lake Highlands. I welcome you to call the school or e-mail me at I look forward to hearing from you.

Walter Kelly

June 6, 2008

Calloway's Timely Tips for Gardeners

Timely Tip for July Gardeners From Calloway’s
Summer Hibiscus Blooms

The heat of summer can be lessened with the bright, vibrant flowers of the Hibiscus. This popular bloomer can be confusing if you don’t know which type you are planting. We’ll briefly discuss the different ones and their uses.

Tropical Hibiscus is great for containers on the patio or poolside. The glossy green foliage and bright colorful blooms provide a touch of the “tropics”! They are not cold hardy in the northern part of Texas and need some winter protection in Houston . Full sun and regular feedings will keep them happy and blooming throughout the summer season.

Hardy Hibiscus, or sometimes known as Perennial Hibiscus, will freeze back in the winter. Cut the stalks to ground level, mulch well and it will return in the spring. The foliage is not as shiny as the Tropical Hibiscus but the blooms are much larger (8-9 inches in diameter). Hardy Hibiscus grows 2 to 5 feet tall depending on variety and grows well in full sun in perennial gardens.

Lastly, the Rose of Sharon or Althea is also a member of the Hibiscus family. This deciduous shrub or small tree is an upright grower to 10 feet tall. Single or double blooms appear in summer in an array of colors. Plant in full sun in well drained soil. The Althea is a good background plant or small specimen tree.

As you can tell, we have a Hibiscus for any location. For more information on these colorful summer bloomers, visit your nearest Calloway’s/Cornelius store and ask for a Texas Certified Nursery Professional!

May 28, 2008

Letter to Friends of Lake Highlands High School

May 27, 2008

Dear Friends of Lake Highlands High School :

As you may be aware, Dr. Bob Iden, beloved principal of Lake Highlands High School , has announced that he will retire after 11 years of devoted service. This is a loss to the high school, RISD and the community. We will miss him. There are three opportunities for you to join in honoring Dr. Iden.

Retirement Party - LHHS Student Center, June 1, 2008 from 2 - 4 PM

Dr. Bob Iden Scholarship Fund - The Senior Class of 2008 is establishing the Dr. Bob Iden Scholarship with an initial donation of $2,500. The Class of 2008 invites you to participate in honoring Dr. Iden by giving to the Dr. Bob Iden Scholarship fund which will be administered by the Lake Highlands Exchange Club with the criteria for candidacy set by Dr. Iden. Please send your donation to the Exchange Club of Lake Highlands, PO Box 823725 , Dallas , TX 75382 and join us in creating a legacy in Dr. Iden's honor that will have a long-term impact on Lake Highlands High School and our community.

Wildcat Sculpture - LHHS PTA will collect contributions for a wildcat sculpture to be placed in the newly renovated courtyard by the beginning of the 2008-09 school year. Please send your contribution to the LHHS PTA, 9449 Church Road , Dallas , TX 75238 . Contributions of $500.00 or more will be recognized on the wildcat sculpture donor nameplate. A photograph of this wildcat sculpture will be on display at the June 1 retirement party for Dr. Iden. Contributions received exceeding the cost of the sculpture project will be donated to the Dr. Bob Iden Scholarship Fund.


Tonya Bredehoeft & Karen Clardy

Lake Highlands High School

May 27, 2008

From the desk of Rep. Allen Vaught

Zoning – Part III: Commercial & Mixed Use

In this final article in a series on Dallas Zoning, I will briefly cover the commercial and mixed use developments that are currently being considered in the northeastern area of Texas State House District 107.

Forward Dallas

Forward Dallas is the long range comprehensive development plan adopted by the city two years ago. It allows residents and developers to cultivate areas focusing on land use, transportation, and economic development. These plans are reviewed by a city council committee, the city plan commission, and finally the city council and form the basis for the issuance of bond money. Neighborhoods are encouraged to work within the framework provided by Forward Dallas to bring positive changes to their neighborhoods. More information on the program can be found on the Forward Dallas website (

Garland Road Vision

Specific community driven plans developed under the framework of Forward Dallas are called “Small Area Plans”. The Garland Road Vision project is the major small area plan for Dallas City Council District 9. Former Place 9 Council member, Gary Griffith, formed an advisory committee made up of stakeholders including representatives from neighborhood associations, the Arboretum, Casa Linda Plaza, Doctor’s Hospital, and others.

The goal of the Garland Road Vision project is to examine the corridor from Interstate 635 to the south of White Rock Lake. Plans for future development in the area will be drawn considering the residential, commercial, and transportation needs and desires of those who use Garland Road the most. Some ideas already under discussion for development of the intersection of East Grand Avenue, Garland Road, and Gaston Avenue include expanding green spaces and attracting new businesses.

Currently, the advisory committee is raising funds to hire private planning consultants. These consultants will create the master plan so that the project may apply for grants and bond money from the City of Dallas. Be on the lookout for town hall meetings concerning this development, along with a project kick off later this year. More information on the Garland Road Vision project can be obtained by contacting one of the co-chairs, Susan Enarson, at

Northwest Terrace

After several years of attempting to find a suitable developer, the Northwest Terrace Apartments at Lullwater Drive and Northwest Highway are under demolition and a senior living facility begins construction this fall. The developer, Churchill Residential, Inc., worked with area residents to plan a solution suitable for everyone. Despite an initial rejection from the City Plan Commission, the City Council ultimately approved the necessary zoning changes for this project. Churchill will demolish all of the existing apartments and build senior housing on the 13 acres of land that face Northwest Highway. The other seven acres, located behind the shopping center and the Elks Lodge, are currently up for sale. The L Streets neighborhood association ( has worked tirelessly to facilitate this much needed improvement for their neighborhood.


The contentious Ferndale/Shoreview project was recently approved by the City Council at a meeting packed with community members. This dilapidated shopping center needs revitalization and has been rezoned for mixed-use with up to five stories and 150 units.

Dallas City Council District 10

A small portion of District 107 lies within City Council District 10, where most of the major mixed use developments are happening. Although most of these developments do not lie within the boundaries of District 107, I thought it was important to mention them as they affect our neighborhoods. District 10’s Strategic Plan ( calls for development in two focus areas. The first area is geared toward urban multi-family development. The second, Skillman Corridor, is slated as a mixed-use area which includes the Lake Highlands Town Center and the DART rail station.


I hope that the series of articles on zoning has enlightened you and encouraged you to get involved in one of the many projects that might be going on in your own back yard. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact my district office at 214-370-8305.

From the desk of Rep. Allen Vaught

In recent years, zoning issues have been a prevalent concern in East Dallas due to the history and charm of our neighborhoods. Although zoning is typically an issue handled at the county or city level, several bills were introduced in Austin during the last legislative session that would have changed how local entities handle zoning. These bills did not complete the legislative process. Had they become law, they would have stripped away the local control that neighborhoods rely on for zoning protection. This article is the first of three where I hope to provide some insight on the different zoning processes, summarize the current zoning of District 107, and outline recent proposed changes that have brought about community discussion.

Zoning Basics

Zoning was initially designed as a way to divide up land according to types of use, such as residential, commercial, recreational or industrial. Through zoning land, a municipality can protect people from large-scale sudden changes and help to keep areas cohesive.

Each type of zoning has a set of regulations that controls different variables for property. These regulations cover the use, size, and the placement of structures on a lot. Zoning also controls such details as the height of structures, parking requirements, and the proportion of land that is landscaped or paved.

There are both application and hearing processes that must be completed in order to change the zoning regulations of an area. Having both of these steps ensures that growth and change is possible, yet in a predictable, stable and organized manner. In the city of Dallas, the entire process usually takes around 10-12 weeks and includes two public hearings.

Residential Zoning

Residential neighborhoods all have underlying zoning regulations that give basic guidelines as to the size of the lot and the yard, and use of the space. In general, residential neighborhoods include the distinctions of single family, townhouse, duplex, and multi-family dwellings. More information may be found on the City of Dallas website

In addition to this underlying zoning, an “overlay” may be placed to add further restrictions. The three types of overlays are the Neighborhood Stabilization Overlay, the Conservation District, and the Historic District. Each overlay comes with different rules governing its implementation, and each regulates different aspects of development.

Neighborhood Stabilization Overlay

The easiest overlay to obtain is the Neighborhood Stabilization Overlay or NSO. This type of overlay was created by an ordinance passed by the city in November of 2005. This overlay may only be obtained by areas designated as single-family residences. NSOs were created in response to complaints that the process to create conservation or historic districts was too lengthy, in some cases taking years. Thus, NSOs were designed to be simpler and more expedient than the more traditional zoning alternatives so that residents might have a more immediate voice in the use of land in their neighborhoods.

Since being able to apply for an NSO is a relatively new development, the city staff is making a few changes to the process. Current recommendations include adding an additional public hearing to the process in order to facilitate communication and help minimize tension between neighbors. Although the current process is not perfect, it encourages residents to become more involved in their neighborhoods, and provides an opportunity for many to gain a deeper understanding of how their city government functions.

Neighborhood Stabilization Overlays are handled through the City of Dallas Current Planning Division. You may contact this division at (214) 670-4209 or get more information at

Neighborhood Preservation - Conservation and Historic Districts

For additional regulations, neighborhoods often try to create Conservation or Historic Districts. Both Conservation and Historic Districts can include other buildings besides single-family homes within their districts. These two zoning types are handled through the city’s Long Range Planning Division. This division may be reached at (214) 670-3972, and more information can be obtained at

Conservation Districts have been around since 1988, and exist prevalently in East Dallas. Creating this type of district generally takes between 12-18 months or occasionally longer. A Conservation District usually aims to preserve architectural styles, setbacks, density, and height of structures, but is tailored to the desires of the neighborhood. Alterations to structures must be approved by city staff, but the approval process is typically completed within two business days. More information can be obtained at the Conservation District website at

Historic Districts are also known as City Designated Landmark Districts. The City of Dallas defines Landmark Districts as areas with a significant concentration of structures unified by their architectural style or related historical events. The significance of the district is recognized by its listing on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as being a City of Dallas Landmark District. These areas are protected by historic district ordinances with preservation criteria, specific to each district, administered by the Dallas Landmark Commission. Please visit for more information.

Most of the city’s landmark districts lie in the central areas of the city such as in Oak Cliff, Fair Park, and Old East Dallas. None of these areas fall within the boundaries of District 107.

In the next article, I will explore the zoning in District 107 and provide a brief overview of both the proposed and actual zoning changes that have recently taken place.

May 15, 2008

Calloway's Timely Tips for June Gardeners

Tips for a June Butterfly Garden

Attracting butterflies to your garden is easy. Select foliage plants as food for the larvae or caterpillar, and flowering plants to provide nectar for adults. Butterflies are attracted by fragrance, flower-shape and color. As they travel from flower to flower they collect and transfer pollen.

Choose a location with plenty of sun and protection from strong winds. A planting along a wall, building or hedge is ideal. Because butterflies are cold-blooded, they need to warm themselves on cool mornings before they can fly. Add a supply of dark rocks or mass of dark pebbles to collect the morning sun for the butterflies to rest and warm up. Sink a container full of sand or gravel into the ground and keep it moist. This will serve as a resting spot for some to drink and obtain minerals

Start your butterfly bed by improving the soil. Till Calloway’s 100% Organic Compost into your garden soil. After planting, mulch your flowerbeds with 3 to 4 inches of Calloway’s premium mulches. You will eliminate weeding, reduce watering, keep the soil from cracking, and protect roots of plants by maintaining cooler soil temperatures.

Butterflies are mostly active in mid and late summer, so you should make sure that you have lots of nectar-rich plants and flowers blooming by then. If you plant large sections of flowers that are the same color, it will make it easier for them to find your garden. You should plant flowers that will bloom at different times of the year and ones that bloom even at different times of the day and night, this way, you will always have something in bloom and they will always be attracting butterflies. Attached is a list of plants which do well in Butterfly gardens.

With a little planning, you can create a garden that will attract butterflies. There is a world of exotic butterflies out there flying freely so offer a haven to these fabulous creatures and happy watching!

Calloway’s Nursery
Butterfly Gardens

Provide plants for nectar (blooms) and food (foliage).

Blooming Plants-For Nectar:


Impatiens Abelia
Lantana Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia)
Marigold Esperanza (Tecoma)
Pentas Hebe
Petunias Althea (Rose of Sharon)
Salvia Mountain Laurel
Tropical Hibiscus
Zinnias VINES

PERENNIALS Carolina Jessamine
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia) Coral Honeysuckle
Acanthus Goldflame Honeysuckle
Bee Balm (Monarda)
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) Host Plants-Foliage Eating:

Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea)

Coreopsis ANNUALS
Daylilies Dill
Gaillardias Fennel
Gaura (Whirling Butterflies) Parsley
Gayflower (Liatris) Passionvine
Salvia greggii
Summer Phlox (Phlox paniculata)
Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus
Yarrow (Achillea)

May 12, 2008

From the desk of Rep. Allen Vaught

As a continuation of my previous article on the basics of zoning, this article will review the current zoning in House District 107.

A Closer Look

District 107 is largely made up of single family residential neighborhoods. The area also includes commercial zoning and some multi-family apartment dwellings, both of which tend to be located along the major thoroughfares.

Our area of the city is growing quickly, and as a result, many people wish to preserve the look and feel of their neighborhoods. This has led many to attempt to create either a neighborhood stabilization overlay or a conservation district overlay. In fact, since the creation of NSOs, half of the applications submitted have been inside the boundaries of District 107.

Neighborhood Stabilization Overlays

Although the process for obtaining an NSO does not take as long as a conservation district, it is still a very involved process that requires research and organization.

Several neighborhoods in District 107 have applied for NSOs since the process was introduced in 2005. A map with “areas of interest” for the Northeast area of the city ( and a list of NSOs with status information ( can be viewed on the City of Dallas website.

A recent example of an NSO that was approved covers the Casa Linda Estates neighborhood ( Originally, over 400 homes were slated to be part of this NSO; however, the total number of households supporting the NSO was low in certain areas of the project, so the City Plan Commission only approved 170 homes for the NSO. The other areas were denied without prejudice, meaning interested parties may again attempt to obtain the NSO at any time.

Maplewood, a smaller subsection of the White Rock Neighborhood Association, recently applied for an NSO which the Plan Commission unanimously approved. However, the City Council denied the application citing that a majority of the neighborhood did not approve of the NSO. To approve a request, the council prefers to see a greater number of households in agreement than required. The purpose of the NSO is definitely not to cause turmoil in the neighborhoods. Hopefully compromise may be reached in future attempts.

The areas of University Terrace and Dalewood-Westbrook are currently attempting to create an NSO as well. These neighborhoods are located north of Mockingbird Lane, south of Northwest Highway, and just west of White Rock Lake.

Both the Wilshire Heights and Gastonwood/Coronado Hills neighborhoods started the process for an NSO, but neither completed the process and these applications have expired. If these neighborhoods again seek an NSO, they will be required to begin the process anew.

Both of these neighborhoods comprise larger areas. Yet, applying for an NSO only requires a minimum of 50 single family structures in a compact and contiguous area. Vanderbilt/Marquita, an area made up of approximately 60 homes, created an NSO in August of 2007. It includes houses that face Sondra Drive, Marquita Avenue and Vanderbilt Avenue between Abrams Road and Hillbrook Street.

Conservation Districts

Probably the best known conservation district in District 107 is the Hollywood Santa Monica Neighborhood (, which was granted conservation status in 1989. This area is comprised of a majority of single family homes built in the Tudor style. This neighborhood is nestled south of La Vista Drive and west of East Grand Avenue and recently finished their annual home tour. The conservation district also includes an area located in the northern part of the neighborhood zoned for multi-family dwellings.

A lesser known conservation district in our area, found on Prospect Street between Skillman and Alderson, is known as Edgemont Park. This conservation district was approved in May of 2006. This is a great example of how the overlay process is not just limited to large neighborhood groups. A single street can choose to create an overlay as well.

District 107’s oldest conservation district is a small portion of Lakewood, which is generally located north of the Lakewood Country Club, east of Abrams Road, south of Westlake Avenue and west of Brendenwood Drive. This area was approved for an overlay in 1988, when conservation districts were first established in Dallas.

Lakewood North, a small area just southeast of Abrams and Mockingbird, has applied for conservation district status and is currently going through the process.

Little Forest Hills is also currently working with the city staff to produce a conservation district overlay. These neighbors, inspired by their motto “Keep Little Forest Hills Funky,” have been working on an overlay for several years and are a prime example of just how lengthy this process can be. However, if their efforts are successful, they will have created an area that will maintain its character for years to come.

The area of Forest Hills has a Planned Development District in place, which is somewhat unusual in our part of the city. This designation was used before overlay districts were created and allows the neighborhood to set conditions in a given property area. It was put in place before the other tools were available.

In The Works

I am sure everyone remembers the twenty-five story building that was being planned for Emerald Isle. As you may know, that effort was defeated. A new developer recently went before the City Plan Commission with a request to create 41 townhomes on that location that would be 36 feet high.

You may also remember the Ash Creek Mobile Homes that were located just off of Highland Road near Forest Hills. That area was re-zoned after a major struggle and was recently approved for townhomes. There is also a new filing to create townhomes at the Lake Highlands and Easton intersection.

The eastern and northeastern portions of District 107 face commercial and mixed use development plans. In the next article in the zoning series, I will review that activity.

May 8, 2008

Commnity Forum

City of Dallas
Councilmember Jerry Allen
invite you to attend a

Community Forum

to discuss updates on

District 10 Tax Increment Financing (TIF)
announcements on the
Lake Highlands Town Center

Tuesday, May 13, 2008
7:00 pm — 9:00 pm

Lake Highlands Freshman Center
10200 White Rock Trail

Speakers: Alan Walne, Bill Blaydes, Donna Halstead, and Vance Detwiler

City Council Office . . . . . . . . . . (214) 670-4068
Report Code Violations . . . . . . . . 311
Councilman Jerry Allen’s email . . . .

NOTE: In an effort to reduce the cost of mailing and printing town hall cards, all notices and communiqués will be sent via email. Please leave your email address with my office to ensure accurate recording.

Dallas Police Department News Release

News Release
Dallas Police Department
Police Media Relations Unit
Phone: 214-671-4065 Fax: 214-670-8154

April 29, 2008

Dallas Police unveil Public Access to Active Calls

Beginning today citizens wishing to review active police calls for service will have access to the Police Departments database from any computer with internet access. The Dallas Police Department works diligently be as transparent as practical. Active Call access will help Crime Watch programs and Neighborhood Citizen Patrols stay aware of situations that are occurring in their areas.

Citizens can access this program by going to and clicking on “Active Calls”. Information provided includes a Map link the block only (addresses are rounded to the nearest number), Incident Number, Patrol Division responsible, Type of Call, Call Priority, and Unit Assigned.

Calls involving sensitive information have been deleted to protect the victims.

We also have a link on the Northeast division website at Please forward this information.

Sgt. Steven Armon, #7316
Northeast Division
Dallas Police Department

April 27, 2008

L Streets N.A. Yard Sign

L Streets Neighborhood Association

Show your support of the L Streets Neighborhood Association by displaying an attractive and inexpensive L Streets Member yard sign.
Signs are available to members in good standing at a cost of only $5.00 (actual cost to produce). Non-members are encouraged to join to qualify.
Membership is only $15 (single) or $25 (family). Members receive voting privileges and other benefits throughout the year, like last year’s free curb number program.
To purchase a sign, join, renew, or check your membership status, please contact Treasurer, Ken Adams, at
Thanks and enjoy the spring weather!

L Streets Neighborhood AssociationPO Box 38361, Dallas, TX 75238Voice mail:

April 15, 2008

Suggested L Street Names for Churchill Property

Send your suggestions to Here are the suggestions so far:

La Marne
La Mattina
La Reine
Lauren Riley

2008 Clean Up Dallas

2008 Trash Attack & Graffiti WipeOut
Date: Saturday, May 3, 2008Time: Check-In 8:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.Time: Working at Locations 9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.Time: Lunch at Reunion Arena 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
What is it?The 2008 Trash Attack and Graffiti Wipeout is a City-wide community effort to remove litter and trash and abate graffiti in our City. Who can participate?Anybody can! This is a great event for families, Scout troops, schools, and private corporations. You can even earn community service hours for school for this! *Minors will need adult supervision and have a signed liability waiver from their parent or guardian for the day of the event. Where do I register and check in?Registration will open online April 1. You Check-in Locations are listed below for the area you choose.


East Dallas DPD Storefront4545 Bryan Street


Bachman Lake Recreation Center2750 Bachman Drive


Singing Hill Recreation Center1909 Crouch Road


Lake Highlands North Recreation Center9940 White Rock Trail SOUTHWESTKiest Recreation Center3080 South Hampton Road NORTH CENTRALFretz Recreation Center6950 Beltline Road


Pleasant Oaks Recreation Center8701 Greenmound 4 Simple Steps: Register for the location you would like to work in.

On the day of the event, go the the assigned Check-in Location for your area.
Receive assigned work areas and go work them.

Return to Reunion Arena for clean up, lunch (provided), and entertainment.

Audelia Road Library




10045 Audelia Road

SATURDAY, APRIL 26, 1:00 p.m. TO 4:30 p.m.



Includes audience participation



From the desk of Rep. Allen Vaught

As a parent, I share in the desire for a Texas with top-notch school systems that produce world class thinkers. When talking with our area teachers I hear a description of the many challenges they face in educating our students. Last session, the legislature took steps to address some of the concerns of Texas teachers, parents, and students.
The end of TAKS
A priority of our education system is preparing young Texans for college. The Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test is the current measurement tool used to assess how well the public education meets that goal.
While TAKS provides accountability for our students, a better measurement may be garnered through the use of end of course exams. End of course exams quantify what students are learning and emphasize critical thinking skills. By using these exams, Schools will continue to be held accountable for instruction and more classroom time will be devoted to course content.
TAKS will be replaced in high school math, science, social studies and language arts classes beginning with the freshman class of the 2011-2012 school year. This change will better prepare our students for college and entry into the workforce.
Texas Tomorrow Fund II
To further encourage college attendance, the legislature created the Texas Tomorrow Fund II. Based upon the original tuition savings program, the Tomorrow Fund II allows families to pay for future college needs by locking in today’s costs for tomorrow’s scholars. The savings program will be available starting in September 2008. More information on the program can be obtained at
Educator Benefits
Education is vital to a productive society and economy. Having well qualified teachers is an essential component in educating our children. Texas currently ranks 32nd in the nation for educator salaries. This year the state budget allocates $280 million in discretionary funding to school districts and charter schools to increase teacher salaries.
Cumulatively, this sounds like a hefty sum. However, the raise averages out to only about $35 per month. Although this is a step in the right direction, Texas needs to do more to ensure we can attract the brightest minds to influence our state’s future.
Our retired teachers last saw a benefits increase in 2001. With the cost of living increasing, many retired educators are struggling to meet their financial responsibilities on their fixed incomes. The legislature authorized a “13th check” providing retired teachers with an overdue benefits increase. Additionally, the state contribution to the Teacher Retirement System was increased from 6% to 6.85%. This contribution provides an actuarial soundness to the fund - and a secure future to those who served our students.
The offer of a quality education is essential for Texas to continue to thrive. The last legislative session brought about many positive changes, but we still have work to do. To continue the dialogue on improvements to education or other state government matters, I welcome contact with my office at 214-370-8305.