It’s back to school time and whether you have kids in our school system or not, this time of year impacts you. Our teachers and students are all gearing up for a successful and fun time. As our teachers were preparing their classrooms I had the opportunity to visit each of our Highland Village schools. As a former teacher, I understand the amount of work they are putting into their classes to ensure every student has the best possible opportunities to succeed. I know they are committed to the education of our kids and we are thankful for the work they do in preparing our children for responsible adult lives.
If you have children heading back to school, you know the range of emotions they are experiencing. Some are eager to start the learning again. Some can’t wait to get back into the schedule and see their friends. Others may be nervous about moving up a grade or starting a new school. As parents, your support and preparedness is of the utmost importance. You’ll want to make sure your kids are well-rested, fed and on time for their school days.
I recently spoke with our fire chief, John Glover, about preparing our children to succeed and he pointed to their health and wellness. Particularly, as parents we need to make sure our kids are getting plenty of rest. A sleepy child does not learn well. We also need to make sure our children are getting the needed immunizations including the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine. And finally, we need to train our children to wash their hands often. The best way to prevent the spread of many illnesses is to keep our hands washed and sanitized.
We have completed the improvements to Briarhill Boulevard which should alleviate some of the morning and afternoon congestion. Highland Village Police Department school resource officers Dave Harney and April Roppolo were recently featured in a Back to School video. They suggest parents consider letting your child take the school bus. If you are driving your kids to school, or just driving through the school zones, remember to watch your speed, keep an eye out for children crossing, pay attention to the crosswalks and stay off your cell phone. It is illegal to use a cell phone in the school zone, and I would encourage you to consider postponing any calls at least until you are out of the school zone. And let’s stop texting while we drive. Let’s keep our kids safe.
As we finish off the summer and head into September, we have a major change about to take place in Highland Village. That is the widening of I-35E from Highway 380 in Denton all the way to I-635 in Dallas. TxDOT has informed us they will begin mobilizing at Copperas Branch Park in mid-September. That means the park will close on September 16 and remain closed for the duration of the project. There has been much discussion about this project and we’ve been anticipating it for years. In fact, that is one of the reasons DCTA’s A-train was put in place; so there would be an alternative travel option. Another change we will have to adjust to is the I-35 frontage road becoming one way. At some point in the construction process, our once (and unusual) two way frontage road will become a one way southbound lane. We are working closely with TxDOT on the communication of the construction and detours that will come with this project. TxDOT will have a website in place, www.35express.org, that will provide all the needed information including a place where you can sign up to receive email or text notifications on the project. If you typically travel on I-35E, I encourage you to sign up for these updates and consider utilizing the A-train.
Our police department is hosting the 6th Annual Fallen Heroes Bike Race on October 12, 2013. The race will benefit the Texas Chiefs of Police Fallen Officer Fund. The event will take place at The Shops at Highland Village. This year they are partnering with the Highland Village Business Association and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Flower Mound to provide a “Taste of Highland Village” event to showcase The Shops at Highland Village restaurants. Our event, now titled “Gears & Grub,” will include food, live music by Emerald City and Superfreak, children’s activities, and a chance to meet some of our race sponsors in the vendor area during the race. The goal is to raise $20,000 for families of officers that have lost their lives in the line of duty. This is the third year that the race will be held at The Shops at Highland Village and the first year we are including the “Taste of Highland Village” aspect - we anticipate a large crowd who will come support the race, the Fallen Officers Fund and enjoy the food and entertainment.
This year the bike race is open to civilians to compete against some of the fastest bike officers in the Metroplex. If mountain biking is not your thing there is also a 5K before the bike race. I invite all the area runners, bikers and families to come out and join us.
The Texas Chiefs of Police Fallen Officer fund helps many Texas families during the year when their loved one is killed in the line of duty. Even if you have not known an officer that died in the line of duty, we are all affected by a loss. The department has race costs to cover, so I encourage you to take a few moments to think about this worthy organization and if you can donate to the Gears & Grub event benefiting the Fallen Officer Fund.
And finally, I want to thank the Lions Club and everyone who came out and enjoyed our 26th Annual Balloon Festival. We couldn’t have asked for things to work out any better. The location was ideal for a community gathering, the weather was excellent allowing balloons to fly each morning and evening and the temperatures were cool enough that people were able to enjoy the festivities. If you came to the event, we thank you and we look forward to holding the event again next year.
I look forward to seeing you around our city.