TRINITY RIVER PROJECT
Dallas Hosts Annual Reliant Trinity River Wind Festival: For the second year, the City hosted a special event to celebrate the power of wind. The Reliant Trinity River Wind Festival held May 12 at Trinity River floodway at Riverfront Boulevard and Commerce Street and featured all things wind-related. Attendees brought their own kites, pinwheels or any other wind-powered items. Show kites lined the airway with spectacular colors and shapes, and hang gliders and hot air balloons took to the sky. All events and activities were free.
DALLAS POLICE DEPARTMENT
I Like Me Reading Program in Oak Cliff: On May 2, Police and Fire Department staff accompanied Rotary Club of Dallas members on their mission to read the “I Like Me!” books to kindergartners at Peeler and Rosemont Elementary Schools in Oak Cliff. Officers read the books in English and Spanish. This is the 14th year the Rotary Club has been spearheading this project and the fifth year the Dallas Police Department has participated. Each book is unique in that the name of the student and his or her two best friends, teacher, principal, school and city are included in the narrative. Approximately 2,100 books were read and given to each student at the schools to help instill a lifelong love of reading.
DALLAS POLICE DEPARTMENT
Southeast Division: On February 26, Southeast Division, Community Prosecutors, Dallas Code and Fire inspectors, and the City Attorney’s office conducted an operation to target drug sales, violent crime, and code violations at Ollie’s Place at 4909 S. Pacific Ave. Officers met with the owner to discuss ways to reduce criminal activity on the property; fire and code inspectors Discussed code and fire violations that needed to be resolved. Three subsequent inspections of Ollie’s Place revealed a decrease in criminal activity and correction of the code and fire violations. The location was ultimately closed by the owner and demolished. The area was then revitalized by community groups such as Habitat for Humanity, resulting in an improvement in quality of life for the residents.
Library volunteer teaching Everyday English: Skyline Branch Library Friends Volunteer Brenda Black is spending much of her free time teaching adult English classes for non-native speakers. The retired Dallas ISD teacher realized she could make a difference in her community and improve her neighbors’ quality of life. Free Everyday English classes are offered every Saturday at the Skyline Branch Library, 6006 Everglade Road. A total of 17 students attended the first session and everyone had positive things to say about the class.
Library is go-to place for family literacy: “Providing children’s programs during adult English as a Second Language (ESL) classes enriches the literacy development of the child and removes a barrier for many adult learners,” said Dallas Public Library Literacy Programs Coordinator Jasmine Africawala. As part of their continued commitment to increasing literacy for the whole family, the library has partnered with UNT Dallas and the Junior League of Dallas to initiate two volunteer-led family literacy programs at the Hampton-Illinois and Timberglen Branch Libraries. While adults attend weekly ESL classes, their children attend a literacy-based children’s program based on the Every Child Ready to Read @ Dallas program. Though the spring programs have come to an end, the library is working with its community partners to expand family literacy program offerings to five Dallas Public Library locations this fall.
OFFICE OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS
The South Dallas Cultural Center will kick off their 15th Annual Summer Arts at the Center (SAAC) program June 18th. During the five- week camp, 70 multicultural students from kindergarten to high school will explore the artistic influences during the civil rights movement in Dallas. Under the guidance of Victoria Meek, the instructors will stimulate the eager group of young minds via creative writing, media literacy, theater, spoken word, digital media, visual arts, African dance and drumming. The SAAC program is a staple in the south Dallas community. Each year students spend the day discovering their history through the arts. They also enjoy a healthy lunch, snack and peer group interaction. The SAAC program will culminate with an amazing student production on July 20. This event is free and open to the public. For more information or to RSVP call (214) 670-0315.
PARK AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT
Parks receives preservation awards: The Interpretation Program at Fair Park has received the 2012 Preservation Achievement Award from Preservation Dallas, in the Sense of Place Project category. The group also recognized the Hall of State at Fair Park in the Commercial or Institutional Rehabilitation/Adaptive Reuse category. The awards are presented for outstanding development of historic buildings and places and the people that contribute to Dallas’ history.
Preservation Dallas presented a video tribute to the City for its stewardship and vision for notable projects at its 13th annual awards program last month.” Preserving Fair Park’s history and architecture enhances the quality of our lives individually and collectively as a culture,” said Fair Park Executive General Manager Daniel Huerta. “Fair Park’s historic architecture and legacy links the past to the present, providing a place for visitors to learn something new about Texas cultures and have heartwarming experiences that define and shape their lives forever,” Huerta said.
Library offering GED preparation: Nearly 25 percent of Dallas County residents over age 25 do not have a high school diploma or GED. The downturn in the economy has increased community demand for GED preparation as most employers require high school diplomas or equivalent. In response, the Dallas Public Library will present GED workshops at 10 library locations. The workshops will address frequently asked questions, include information on content, cost, eligibility and test locations. Attendees will also see a demonstration of the Adult Learning Center; a live, online-tutoring database which can be accessed for free with a Dallas Public Library card at www.dallaslibrary.org.
Library presents Teen Job Fair: Responding to the high demand for employment and work experience among Dallas teens, the Dallas Public Library’s Teen Centers held their first Teen Job Fair at the Central Library April 28. Local employers, volunteer organizations and employment training programs recruited nearly 150 teens. In addition to speaking with recruiters, the teens took a free class on resume writing from a Workforce Solutions of Greater Dallas employment expert. The event was organized by Teen Center Coordinators Nora Nagel and Larry Jefferson. “The economy is making it especially hard for young people to find crucial first summer jobs, so we wanted to create a job fair geared only for teenagers in order to give them the best chance of finding something,” Nagel. Overall, the program was a success and people are looking forward to participating next year.
PUBLIC WORKS & TRANSPORTATION
Sustainable Development project set for summer: The Fiji Compton Sustainable Development Infrastructure project, near DART’s Eighth / Corinth and Morrell Street Stations is slated for this summer. The first phase of the project involves construction of municipal infrastructure to support a mixed-use, transit-oriented development. This includes general site development activities, including earthwork, street and alley paving, drainage and retaining wall installation, and landscaping and streetscape amenities. Cost is approximately $3.5 million. The project is a public / private partnership between the City of Dallas, the North Central Texas Council of Governments, and Sphinx Development Corporation.
STRATEGIC CUSTOMER SERVICE
Operation: Beautification citywide community cleanup: A total of 28 neighborhood associations and community groups throughout the City participated in the cleanup effort May 19. The goal was to foster civic engagement through community-led neighborhood cleanups. Projects included litter removal, mowing vacant lots, graffiti abatement, planting flowers and common area maintenance. The City provided out-of-schedule trash collection for participating organizations. City staff worked with the registered groups to offer support for their projects and to highlight their efforts during and after the event.
CODE COMPLIANCE DEPARTMENT
City teams with Texas National Guard to knock down drug houses: The City of Dallas has been demolishing dilapidated structures throughout the city for many years. Since October 1, 2009, the City has demolished 371 structures. Recently, the City received some help from the Texas National Guard. Twenty-five properties, many connected with illegal activity, were cleared by the National Guard. The first house was demolished May 24 as part of their Operation Crackdown counter-drug task force program. The program uses drug forfeiture funds to pay for demolitions of known drug houses across the state. The Guard has demolished more than 1,200 structures in 24 communities statewide to date. Dallas is the largest city to benefit from the program.