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From the Desk of Andy Eads – May 2015

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

Election Day May 9

Election season is here and we are approaching municipal and school board elections across the county. Early voting runs through May 5 and you can vote in any polling location. However, on Election Day – Saturday, May 9 you’ll need to vote at your polling location. Locations may vary from previous elections so be sure and check our county web site at www.votedenton.com for the most up-to-date information.

Enjoy the History of Denton County

Opened in 1979, the Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum is located in the historic 1896 Courthouse in downtown Denton. The museum features rotating exhibits depicting Denton County history. Visitors may walk the halls to discover the history of the settlement of Denton County, learn about their ancestors in the museum’s Research Room, and step into the historical courtroom on the second floor.

Currently at the Courthouse-on-the-Square: Made in Denton County, Prom Outfits from the 1950s-1970s.

In June at the Courthouse-on-the-Square: Denton County Towns: a local showcase. We will exhibit items from The Colony, Aubrey and other towns throughout the summer.

At the Historical Park: The Farmers Market and Denton Community Market every Saturday from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Also, a doctor’s office will be installed on the second floor of the Bayless-Selby House.

We are now offering a White Lilacs tour that features a comparison between the fictional book and the true story of the African American neighborhood, Quakertown.

TAC Honors Denton County with Gold Star Safety Award

Each year, the Texas Association of Counties (TAC) Risk Management Pool recognizes counties across the state for their safety efforts in promoting safety and innovative risk management programs with Safety Awards and Gold Star Awards.

Gold Star Awards are given to counties with an active safety program that have met the award criteria for two consecutive years, have taken the leadership to expand on the minimum criteria requirements, and whose management or governing body exhibits support for the programs.

I am proud to say that the diligence of Denton County and our dedication to workplace safety has resulted in Denton County being selected to receive a 2014 Gold Star Safety Award.

Denton County Health Rankings

In collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, County Health Rankings illustrate what we know when it comes to what is keeping people healthy or making people sick. This helps communities identify and implement solutions that make it easier for people to be healthy in their neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces.

The county health rankings model measures from a variety of national data sources, including the National Center for Health Statistics, Mortality & Natality, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and others. The outcomes were good news for Denton County.

In Overall Rank – Health Outcomes, which indicates how healthy a county is now, Denton County ranked #4 in Texas. This measures how long people live, premature deaths (before age 75), and how healthy they feel – overall, physical and mentally.

In Overall Rank – Health Factors, which indicates how healthy a county will be in the future, Denton County ranked #5 in Texas. This includes health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, physical environment, adult obesity, high school graduation, and social associations.

Denton County Community Wildfire Protection Plan

The threat of wildfire is a constant in Texas. Texas wildfires burn thousands of acres each year and become especially dangerous when wildland vegetation begins to intermix with homes. There are approximately 14,000 communities in Texas that have been identified as “at risk” for potentially devastating wildfires and it is increasingly important for local officials to plan and prepare for these wildfires.

Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs) are a proven strategy for reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfires and protecting lives and property. Texas A&M Forest Service encourages Texas counties and communities to develop and adopt CWPPs to better prepare their region and citizens for wildfires. Planning for wildfires should take place long before a community is threatened.

The Denton County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) is a proactive approach to identifying areas in the county that have a high risk of loss of life and property from a potential wildfire. Using satellite information from the Texas Forest Service, areas of risk have been identified in the county, and local fire departments are given this information for their areas of responsibility and asked to perform a risk assessment to determine risk.

Mitigation strategies are identified for the area, and the assessment is submitted to Denton County Emergency Services. When needed, the local fire department may develop a pre-fire tactical (or pre-attack) plan to ensure the best response to the neighborhood, should a wildfire occur.

A working group consisting of local, state, and federal partners will review the CWPP process and plan to ensure the success of this effort. Once the working group is satisfied with the plan, the CWPP will be submitted to the Texas Forest Service for approval.

35Express Construction Update

The widening of the north side of the I-35E bridge over McCormick Street started in April with nightly full intersection closures of McCormick Road for this work. Work on the southbound side of the bridge will follow once the northbound widening is complete.

The frontage road between Garden Ridge Boulevard and Highland Village Road has been converted to southbound only. Northbound motorists will continue on northbound I-35E to the Lake Dallas Drive exit, travel over the South Denton Drive bridge to southbound I-35E, and exit Garden Ridge Boulevard to access Highland Village Road.

Northbound traffic on I-35E under Garden Ridge Boulevard will shift west to allow work on the columns for the new southern half of the bridge adjacent to the DCTA tracks.

Beam placement for the new I-35E bridge over FM 407 and paving for the new southbound interstate mainlanes approaching the bridge continues.

As work begins to widen the Fox Avenue bridge, traffic across the structure will be reduced from two lanes in each direction to one lane in each direction. Once traffic is reduced, the south side of the Fox Avenue bridge, including the pedestrian walkway, will be demolished. A temporary pedestrian walkway separated from traffic by concrete barrier will be placed on the bridge during this work. This traffic pattern is expected to be in place through early 2016.

The demolition of the restaurants in the Lakepointe Crossing shopping center along the northbound frontage road north of the Sam Rayburn Tollway is underway. Work on the new direct connector bridges between I-35E and the Sam Rayburn Tollway will move to the west side of the interstate.

Work on the waterlines in the downtown Carrollton area near Belt Line Road started in late April and requires nightly closures of Broadway Road in that area.

Northbound mainlane traffic has been shifted toward the median at Valley View Lane to allow work widening that bridge, and mainlane traffic shifted to the middle near the intersection of I-35E and I-635E to permit the widening of the interstates at that location. The far northern section of Harry Hines Boulevard, which runs underneath I-35E, will be closed nightly for work on the I-35E bridges over the road.

Check out the project website at www.35express.org for detailed information and detour routes, as well as regular updates on lane and road closures and upcoming construction. In addition, access to traffic cameras along I-35E is available. And keep in mind, construction schedules can change due to weather and other circumstances.

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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