Dianne Costa and I go back a few years. I remember when I was writing a weekly newspaper column and she had been elected to the City Council in Highland Village about four years before her election as mayor. She had some ideas for business growth that many residents were not too happy about.
For example, she could see the need for the FM 2499 extension, going north from FM 407 all the way to Corinth. She also felt that an upscale Wal-Mart would bring many shoppers from the area and add substantially to the tax base of the city. And, she had enough vision to support the construction of a large retail and entertainment complex that came to be known as The Shops at Highland Village. When I wrote a column that reflected the views of some of her detractors, Dianne reached out to me and asked if we could meet for breakfast at McDonald’s on FM 407.
Although she only had about 30 minutes before heading off to work, that breakfast began a friendship that continues today. Moreover, I learned how talented she is at mediation, a valuable art form that she turned into a successful business venture in Denton. When Mayor Costa put down the gavel after a triumphant four years as Chief Executive of the city on the northern border of Flower Mound, she had already put several years into her privately-owned Counseling, Education, Mediation and Associates (CEMA) enterprise.
During her lunch visit we spoke briefly about her congressional race last year in the newly redistricted (25th) area that was ultimately won by former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams. Dianne said it was a very valuable experience because of the many interesting people she met during her travels from here to Austin, campaigning along that narrow strip of land that comprised the elongated district.
Her obvious passion for politics is only exceeded by her compassion for children and parents that have suffered as a result of divorce or a dysfunctional family structure. She says lack of parenting skills is one of the major reasons behind children in trouble. “You can’t simply condemn children for what they do; you must educate them properly,” she said. “We must develop a relationship with our children, because rules without relationships don’t work. Rules without relationships cause rebellion!”
Mrs. Costa, a mediator and certified family life educator, feels that children must know there are consequences for their actions, and parents should let them know the rules and follow through on their enforcement. Additionally, she believes that too many kids don’t feel heard. “Kids feel they don’t have a voice. We seem to have lost the family gatherings around the dinner table in which kids could participate in the discussion without the TV or cell phone texting going on.”
In her family stabilization course, known as “Children Caught in the Middle,” she focuses on what happens to children growing up after their parents have divorced. The course is for anyone raising children between two homes. The Denton County District Judges have included this program in their Standing Order for the Courts. The course includes skills that smooth the progress of healthy co-parenting relationships. It is facilitated by two presenters with combined expertise in all areas relevant to successful co-parenting. As the owner, Costa and her associate Darlene Fields, bring their own unique, credible, personal experiences with divorce and co-parenting to the class.
Her website: www.cema-nt.com makes the point that life is not always black and white, so people need help navigating through the shades of gray. Typically, a child is directed to her through the courts. She sets up a list of goals for children on probation that must be met by them, assisted by their parents. Being fluent in Spanish makes Dianne an excellent choice for Hispanic referrals. Her recommendation can be instrumental in a judge’s decision to take a child off probation.
On the personal side, Dianne is married to Dr. Dennis Costa, specializing in hematology and medical oncology, with a practice at Texas Oncology Flower Mound, next door to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Flower Mound. Did someone say “Power couple?” A dedicated military family, Dr. Costa served in the Air Force and is a member of the Society of Air Force Physicians. One son served in Iraq and the other son, Dianne’s from a previous marriage, was recently deployed to Afghanistan. As if she isn’t active enough, Dianne is also the Vice-president of Denton County Republican Party Outreach Program, which seeks to educate and teach traditional values and develop relationships with all ethnicities. Outreach participates in festivities such as Lewisville Western Day, Denton Blue, and Merry Main Street in Frisco. Also involved in parenting projects with Hispanic families, the program teaches classes called: “Power in knowing English.”
The Costa family is another reason why our community is such a blessed place to live.
Bob Weir is a long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor. In addition, Bob has 7 published books that include “Murder in Black and White,” “City to Die For,” “Powers that Be,” “Ruthie’s Kids,” “Deadly to Love,” “Short Stories of Life and Death” and “Out of Sight,” all of which can be found on Amazon.com and other major online bookstores.