Dianne Edmondson

Dianne Edmondson

TxDOT plans May meeting on I-35W frontage road plans

The public is welcome to comment on proposed improvements to Interstate 35W from Dale Earnhardt Way to the I-35E/I-35W merge in Denton.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has scheduled a meeting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on May 16 at Argyle Middle School located at 6601 Canyon Falls Drive.

TxDOT and project consultants will answer questions about the 12.3-mile project, which includes building two-lane northbound and southbound frontage roads with sidewalks, taking I-35W over FM 1171, Old Justin Road and John Paine Road/Allred Road interchanges. Plans also include changing the I-35W ramp configuration similar to what was done on I-35E.

Written comments may be submitted at the meeting or mailed to the TxDOT Dallas District Office to the attention of Nelson Underwood, P.E., 4777 E. Highway 80, Mesquite, TX 75150-6643. Comments also can be sent via email to Nelson.Underwood@txdot.gov. Comments will be accepted through the end of May.

Sally Beauty building bought to house county records management

Denton County recently bought the Sally Beauty Holdings building at 3900 Morse St. in Denton for $12 million plus applicable closing costs.

The 114,062-square-foot distribution center was purchased with an eye toward saving taxpayers millions of dollars due to the proximity to existing buildings, delaying the need for some new construction, specifically the records management department, as well as having a facility large enough to accommodate immediate growth needs.

In addition to the building, fixtures and a racking system, the 13.3 acres that come with the county’s purchase provides for future growth needs.

Population growth affects CASA program

“We have seen huge growth in the number of children removed from their homes by CPS,” said Debbie Jensen, executive director for the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program.

Between 2017 and 2018, the CASA saw a 50 percent increase, up significantly from the 7 percent increase seen from 2016 to 2017. The organization expects to serve an estimated 650 children this year.

CASA increased staff to meet the rising demand from 13 in 2018 to 16 in 2019 and has planned to increase staff in 2020. Nine casework supervisors supervise teams of 20-25 volunteers each.

“Last year, more than 200 children could not be served by CASA due to the growth,” Jensen said. Those children then receive an appointed attorney to oversee the case. “We know that a volunteer can give more time and attention to a child rather than an attorney, who has a tremendous caseload to deal with.”

CASA asks entities that fund their program to help meet the rising need, she said.

Denton County Public Health unveils 2018 annual report

The Denton County Public Health (DCPH) Department provides many programs to meet their goals to prevent disease, promote, and protect the health of Denton County residents.

In 2018, DCPH staff provided around $2.6 million in food benefits, administered 27,564 immunizations and handled about 286 tests each month for sexually transmitted diseases as part of its prevention efforts.

To promote health, DCPH attended 147 outreach and education events and had more than 1,000 individuals register for the Denton County Dash last year.

For protection, the department oversaw more than 1,100 epidemiological disease investigations and tested 2,177 traps for mosquito-borne diseases.

Jury duty an opportunity to serve

Like a good citizen, I recently reported to jury duty, which was quite different from the last time I was called.

Prospective jurors view a video that explains why serving on a jury is important. A series of short videos produced by the Texas Young Lawyers Association detail the history behind jury duty. The videos also answer common questions about jury duty. You can view the videos at www.americanjuror.org/video.  They make you feel important to serve as a prospective juror.

An estimated 23,000 to 25,000 jurors appear for jury duty in Denton County district courts each year. Of the almost 300 called when I reported for jury duty, about 150 would be needed, they said.

Overall, it was an enjoyable experience. I believe it is important for all of us to serve when called.

First Precinct 4 task force meeting in 2019 a success

Our first task force meeting for 2019 was a big success with more than 60 community leaders attending. Everyone enjoyed networking at the April gathering - from engineers to mayors to private citizens.

Four of our 18 communities gave presentations including Dish, Justin, Krum and Northlake.

We plan to hold these task force meetings quarterly and feature several communities at each one. The public is welcome to attend.

Bill on street lights/illumination in the county before state legislators

House Bill 3714 requests the jurisdictional authority to place streetlights in county rights of way to improve safety and security for the traveling public within the county road system.

This bill, if passed by state legislators, could allow the county to improve safety measures with lighting where significant need exists.

We explained that lighting improves safety and enhances visibility on “S” curves or on wet roads. The request for legislation followed a recent incident in which two teen-age brothers died after their car veered from a Denton County Road into a nearby creek.

Thanks to State Rep. Tan Parker for his willingness to bring this bill before state legislators for consideration.

Contact Precinct 4 Commissioner Dianne Edmondson at 972-434-3960. Her office is located in the Southwest Courthouse, 6200 Canyon Falls Drive, Suite 900, in Flower Mound.

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