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From the Desk of Andy Eads – April 2015

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Andy Eads, Denton County Pct. 4 Commissioner
Andy Eads, Denton County Pct. 4 Commissioner

Roanoke Public Hearing

On March 17, I joined Roanoke Mayor Scooter Gierisch to participate with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) in a public hearing at the Roanoke Community Center to discuss the proposed widening of US 377 from south of Henrietta Creek Road to SH 114. During the open house, attendees had the opportunity to view the approved schematic and discuss project details with the staff from the TxDOT. Following the open house, there was a formal presentation, which included discussions about the project design, environmental study, and the right-of-way acquisition and relocation process.

The proposed project would widen US 377 from a two-lane rural roadway to a four-lane curb and gutter section with an adjacent sidewalk and raised median. Dedicated left-turn lanes would be provided at the signalized intersections of Crockett, Main and Denton Streets. The proposed right-of-way width varies from 98 feet to 110 feet.

The estimated additional right of way is approximately 1.1 acres. Great care was taken to reduce negative impacts to property owners, and the improvements would result in approximately one commercial displacement. The cost is approximately $29 million.

Communities In Schools Texas Star Gala April 11

Tackling the high school dropout issue here in Denton County is the priority for the non-profit Communities In Schools North Texas. Through case worker managed programs matching mentors and students, CISNT works to leverage public and private dollars to create positive change in the lives of students in five Denton County school districts.  The annual CISNT gala is finally here, and along with the warmer weather and bluebonnets, we’re looking forward to celebrating with Communities In Schools at its Texas Star Gala on April 11th at the Embassy Suites in Grapevine, 6:30PM Embassy Suites 2401 Bass Pro Drive, Grapevine. The evening includes Dinner, Dancing, Auction, Awards, Saloon Casino, and Live Music, featuring Pat Waters and the Chainlink Band!

So dust off your boots and join us for an evening of Texas-style dining, boot scootin’ dancing, whoopin’ fast auctions, and heartwarming stories, while we celebrate 22 years of empowering children to stay in school and achieve in life.

Tickets are $70 per person, and sponsored tables start at $1,000.You can wear your jeans, boots and hats, or your favorite western cocktail attire. Proceeds help support case-management services, school supplies, healthy food, clothing, mentorship, tutoring and counseling for at-risk students in North Texas. Because every child deserves a chance to succeed!

Justin Dedicates Its First Historical Marker

The City of Justin recently hosted a large crowd for a dedication ceremony as they celebrated the city’s first Texas Historical Commission (THC) marker. Instrumental in obtaining the subject marker Justin was Dr. Lisa Westkaemper, who at that time was a Justin City Councilwoman. Dr. Westkaemper researched and wrote the documented historical narrative for the marker sponsored by the Justin City Council.

This marker for Justin joins two other towns with markers in the western section of the county, whose history includes the history of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway (GC&SF) in Denton County. Both Ponder and Sanger have received THC markers.

They share not only this transportation history in the western part of the county but a history of agriculture and farming centered on the production of wheat and cotton, considered cash crops as the GC&SF railway opened up markets beyond the local area. Justin was a leader in the agricultural business of wheat, corn and cotton production.

Dr. Westkaemper wrote in the Justin historical narrative “although Justin would not see its first store until 1883, would not register its first plat until 1887, and would not be incorporated as a city until 1946, its early beginnings reach much further back into the settler’s history of the ‘Grand Prairie.’”

A significant historic area close to Justin was the first grave for John B. Denton. Denton was killed by the Keechi Village Indians in the Village Creek Battle near Fort Worth in 1841 and was buried in an unmarked grave on the banks of Denton Creek at the confluence of the Oliver and Denton Creeks. Twenty years later his remains were moved to the John Chisum Ranch in Bolivar. In 1901, his remains were reinterred on the grounds of the Denton County Courthouse. This final grave is marked with a 1936 Texas Centennial Marker. Denton County and the town of Denton are named after John B. Denton.

Westkaemper wrote “time distinguished this creek juncture as historically significant, not only for this early burial but also for the 1848 French Icarian Settlement that lasted only two years due to illness, fever, harsh climatic conditions and broken promises that were made to the French immigrants in agreements negotiated by their founder, Etienne Cabet, and W. S. Peters of the Peters Colony.

By 1914, Justin had four elevators, two cotton gins, a flour mill and over 20 other businesses including the Justin State Bank. Justin was incorporated on November 7, 1946, 100 years after Denton County was established. W. I. Bishop was the first mayor. Bishop Park, named in honor of the first mayor, is the site of the “Justin” historical marker.

For more information on the THC marker program, contact Beth Stribling, Marker Chair, at 940-241-2523 orbvstribling@gmail.com; or Roslyn Shelton, Manager of Research and Public Programs at the Denton County Office of History and Research, at 940-349-2860 or roslyn.shelton@dentoncounty.com.

Upcoming Elections

As we approach the upcoming municipal and school board elections, you’ll want to check to confirm your polling location. Locations may vary from previous elections so check our county web site at www.votedenton.com for the most up-to-date information. And remember, April 9 is the last day to register in order to vote in the May 9 elections. Also, April 30 is the last day to receive a ballot by mail.

Denco Area 9-1-1 District serves as the coordinating agency for 9-1-1 emergency service throughout Denton County and is the organization which implemented and maintains the 9-1-1 system. The district was created by special election in 1987 and is overseen by a locally elected or appointed Board of Manager, which means that all goals and budget decisions are made at a local level. Denco works behind the scenes at a local, state and national level in support of 9-1-1 emergency communications.

If you have any questions or comments, please let me hear from you. My email is andy.eads@dentoncounty.com and my office number is 940-349-2801.

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