August 18, 2009

Calloway's Timely Tips for August Gardeners

Timely Tip for August Gardeners
at Calloway’s Nursery:

Bring on the Heat- Summer Color!

During the summer months, 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 an instant impact. Celosia, Vinca (Periwinkle), Lantana and Purslane 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!

We are hosting several opportunities for design help during the month of August. Saturday, August 8th at select stores, a small group Design Class will be held. Space is limited but your spot can be held by pre-registering at and click on eStore. A one-on-one design consultation will be held on Saturday, August 22nd at select stores. For more information and to register for one or both, go to

From the desk of Rep. Allen Vaught

Legislation Passed in the 81st Legislative Session
This article continues the series of articles looking at new laws passed during the 81st legislative session. In this article, I would like to specifically discuss new legislation affecting higher education in Texas. This session we passed a number of bills directly affecting students in North Texas and provided additional pathways for students to achieve post-secondary success.

“Tier One” Universities
National research universities, often referred to as “Tier One” universities, attract high quality faculty and students and produce valuable research. Currently, Texas only has three “Tier One” Universities: UT-Austin, Texas A&M, and Rice University; however, California has nine “Tier One” schools and New York has seven. In an effort to compete nationally in this area, House Bill 51 provides seven emerging research universities in Texas, including the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of Texas at Dallas, and the University of North Texas, with a pathway to attain “Tier One” status through new innovative funding options. The legislation provides these universities with a performance incentive funding mechanism based on several factors such as the average number of degrees awarded annually, recruitment of high quality faculty, recognized scholarship and research programs, and high-achieving freshman classes.

Public Law School
Under Senate Bill 956, The University of North Texas System was granted authority to establish and operate a public law school in the city of Dallas. This school will serve as the first public law school for the North Texas region. The Dallas-Forth Worth area is currently the largest metropolitan area in the United States without such a school. Applications will be accepted in the Fall of 2010, with classes starting in the Fall of 2011. The University of North Texas at Dallas College of Law will be located in the Old City Hall building in Downtown Dallas. The building was donated by the City of Dallas and they have committed to renovating and converting the building in preparation for the 2011 school year. The Legislature also appropriated $5 million in start-up funding for the school.

Changes to the Top Ten Percent Law
The Top Ten Percent Admissions law was revised this year, but only for the University of Texas at Austin. In order to allow for greater discretion and flexibility in admissions, those admitted under the Top Ten Percent law will be limited to 75 percent of the freshman class. Additionally, Senate Bill 175 limit students from other states and countries to no more than 10 percent of the class. This change goes into effect beginning with the class of 2011, affecting those high school students about to enter their junior year. Hopefully, capping the number admitted under this law will allow the university to accept students based on their talents, achievements, and experience in conjunction with their GPA.

Excessive College Credit Hours
House Bill 101 seeks to remedy an unintended consequence of college formula funding, one that caused students who received dual credit hours in high school to be charged for out of state tuition if they exceed a certain number of hours. This legislation ensures that dual credit course hours taken in high school will not be counted against the 30 hour cap currently in place, once the student enrolls in a four-year college. These changes take effect for the 2011-2012 school year and guarantees that a student will not have to pay nonresident tuition as long as the courses were taken in high school and satisfied graduation requirements.

Summer Engineering Programs & Scholarships
Currently, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) administers a one-week summer program at public state universities for middle and high school students to learn about mathematics, science, and engineering concepts they are likely to encounter in an engineering degree program. House Bill 2425 expands this program to private universities as well, since almost 25 percent of the bachelors degrees awarded in the state come from private universities.

Additionally, the THECB will establish a scholarship program for all high school graduates with certain credentials that decide to pursue an engineering degree at either a public or private university. By reaching out to those students interested in math and science at a young age, we can help ensure they have the resources needed to succeed at the college level and lead Texas to compete nationally and globally in those fields.

The next article will continue to highlight major legislation which passed during the 2009 legislative session.

As always, please feel free to contact my district office at (214) 370-8305 or my capitol office at (512) 463-0244 if you have any questions regarding state matters. If you have particular questions regarding legislation mentioned in these articles, please feel free to email me as well at I look forward to hearing from you.

From the desk of Rep. Allen Vaught

July 28, 2009

New Immunization Requirements Go Into Effect August 1st

Dallas – State Representative Allen Vaught (Dallas) reminds Texans that new vaccination requirements take effect August 1, 2009, primarily for children in kindergarten through 7th grade.

The Texas Department of State Health Services revised the list of vaccination requirements this March, as they do every four years, to align more closely with federal guidelines. Five new immunizations have been added to the state’s list and students will not be allowed to enter school this year unless they are up to date on all vaccinations. “I urge all parents to review the new list of immunizations so that their children are prepared for this upcoming school year,” said Rep. Vaught.

The five new immunizations:
1) Hepatitis A Vaccine: Two doses of the vaccine are required for all students entering kindergarten.
2) Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) Vaccine: Two doses of the vaccine are required for all students entering kindergarten.
3) Varicella Vaccine: Two doses of the vaccine are required for all students entering kindergarten and 7th grade. A written statement from a parent or doctor confirming history of chickenpox will be accepted in lieu of one dose of the vaccine.
4) Tetanus, Diphtheria, and acellular pertussis-containing vaccine (Tdap): One dose of the vaccine is required for all students entering 7th grade. If it has been five years since the child’s last dose of a tetanus-containing vaccine, then they are required to have a booster dose of Tdap. Students in 8th through 12th grade will be required to have a booster dose of Tdap vaccine if it has been ten years since their previous dose of a tetanus-containing vaccine.
5) Meningococcal Vaccine: One dose of the vaccine is require for all students entering 7th grade.
For a list of all immunizations required for school age children, please contact the Texas Department of State Health Services at (800) 252-9152. Children needing additional immunizations before the school year should contact their family doctor or Dallas County Health and Human Services, which provides immunizations at locations throughout Dallas County. Parents can call (214) 819-2000 for a list of local clinics and for more information. There is a $10.00 fee per child for children through age 18 for the first visit, then $5 for repeat visits.

From the desk of Rep. Allen Vaught

Legislation Passed in the 81st Legislative Session
This article continues the series of articles looking at new laws passed during the 81st legislative session. In this article, I would like to specifically discuss new legislation affecting property appraisals, both residential and commercial. We passed a series of bills this session dedicated to controlling appraisal rates and simplifying the appeals process for Texas residents.

Consistent Appraisal Practices
House Bill 8 allows the Comptroller to conduct the Property Value Study (PVS) every other year, rather than every year as require by current law. This change will allow the Comptroller to perform a thorough audit in the off year that will review appraisal districts’ procedures, methodology, governance, and how they treat taxpayers. The goal of this audit is to increase accuracy and improve standards and practices of property appraisals in Texas. Under current law, there is no state oversight beyond the property value study, and the current system does not exert enough pressure on appraisal districts to produce accurate and professional valuations. This legislation, however, will take one step forward in ensuring appraisals are fair and transparent.

Market Value Based on Residence
One of most significant pieces of appraisal reform legislation we passed in Austin mandates that the land of a residence homestead be appraised as a residence and not be appraised based on the highest and best use of the property. Across the state, several residences were being appraised based on what the land would be sold for if it was converted to commercial property. House Bill 3613 will protect Texas homesteads, especially those in neighborhoods serving as transition zones from residential to commercial. Although this legislation was passed and signed by the Governor, it will only go into effect if approved by the voters as a constitutional amendment this November.

Mandatory Training Courses for Appraisers
Many Texans have expressed their concerns about local appraisal review boards and their ability to handle appraisal appeals. House Bill 2317 establishes a mandatory training course for all appraisal review board members that includes information on the comparison methods of appraising property, the requirements regarding the equal and uniform appraisal of property, and regarding the independence of an appraisal review board from the board of directors and the chief appraiser, among other issues. The legislation also encourages the board of the directors of the appraisal district to select a chairman who has a background in law and property appraisal. Hopefully, these measures will promote uniformity in the appraisal process throughout the state.

Requirement of Substantial Evidence for Appraisers
Prior to this legislation, there was no set standard for appraisal districts for evaluating property values that had been successfully appealed and protested the year before. Unfortunately, this often resulted in property owners receiving an initial value that was the same or higher than the value that was the subject of the preceding year’s protest, even if there had been little or no change to the property. Senate Bill 771 requires chief appraisers to present substantial evidence for increasing the appraised value of property whose value was reduced on successful appeal in the prior year. Furthermore, the legislation provides expedited arbitration as an additional means to appeal decisions by the Appraisal Review Board.

Pilot Program for Commercial Property Appraisal Appeals
House Bill 3612 creates a six-county pilot program for owners of commercial property valued at $1 million or more to appeal local Appraisal Review Board decisions to the State Office of Administrative Hearings. The six counties include Harris, Tarrant, Bexar, Travis, Cameron, and El Paso Counties. The program is limited to 3,000 appeals statewide. Currently, the only appeals option for property at this value is to appeal to the district court, which can be costly and time consuming. This pilot program provides a less expensive option in a more expedited setting. Dallas County was unfortunately one of the counties removed from this bill during the final days of the legislative session at the request of the city, but should the pilot program prove successful, expect legislation affecting Dallas County to be filed next session.

The next article will continue to highlight major legislation which passed during the 2009 legislative session.

As always, please feel free to contact my district office at (214) 370-8305 or my capitol office at (512) 463-0244 if you have any questions regarding state matters. I look forward to hearing from you.

Audelia Road Library




10:30 Pre-School Storytimes…August 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26
Stories, music, fingerplays and activities for pre-schoolers
Sat. 8 5:00 Mayor’s Summer Reading Program Ends, Turn in Reports
Tues. 11 10:30 Library Live (Pre-School Age)
Shapes Friends with Rochelle Rabouin
Sat. 15 2:00 Read to Rocky (K-5 yrs.) Children Practice Reading to Dogs
Bring your own books or use some of ours.

Five laptop computers are available for teens plus board games and programs.
Tues. 6 2:00 Gaming and Comic Books Courtesy of Lone Star Comics
Tues. 21 1:00 Gizmo’s Tattoos will present a program on safe tattoos and
the latest tattoo designs.
Wed. 19 2:00 World-N-Me: See the world through a different lens
One-hour workshop that can help you sharpen your eye
to get those incredible shots that will make your MySpace, Facebook, special.
Wed. 19 2:00 World-N-Me: Photography
Professionals will work with teens on editing digital photos that they can use for their website, MySpace, etc.
Thurs. 20 1:00 Frisco Rough Riders; Broadcaster Scott Garner, Broadcaster, will talk about the baseball team, broadcasting, the softball program and lessons baseball teaches young adults.

Thurs. 6 11:30 Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (Open to Adults)
Sun. 16 2 to 4 Friends Book Sale
Tues. 18 6:30 Mystery Book Club (All welcome)
“Alibi” by Joseph Kanon
Tues. 28 6:30 Audelia Road Book Club (All welcome)
“The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger
Tues. 25 2:00 Friends Board Meeting

If you have books in good condition to donate for our Friends Book Sales, please drop them in the white plastic tub under the Friends Exhibit Table at the library entrance. Books for children are always needed and appreciated. Thanks

Timely Tip for September Gardeners at Calloway's Nursery

Fall Lawn Care

Research has proven that your Fall lawn feeding is one of the most important ones of the year! Your lawn has just gone through the stressful summer months and needs nutrients for rebuilding. Calloway’s Premium Lawn Food supplies three sources of nitrogen. The first source provides a quick shot of nitrogen to give your lawn a nice greening effect. The other two are control-released to provide a consistent supply of nitrogen over the next several months. The 21-5-10 formula also 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. For those who are organic gardeners, Calloway’s Organic Fertilizer contains seven food grade meals and can also be applied now.

This is also the time to apply pre-emergents to prevent broadleaf and grassy weed seeds 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 pre-emergent.

So, don’t kick back and settle into football season quite yet-apply your fertilizers and pre-emergents now and enjoy your own green field next Spring!