Tuesday, March 28, 2023

What’s Happening in Copper Canyon: October 2015

Copper Canyon Mayor Sue Tejml
Copper Canyon Mayor Sue Tejml

Annual Trail Clean Up Day is Saturday October 10th, 9 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Copper Canyon’s venerable Trail Chairman Deb Valencia said after the heavy spring rains, the Corps of Engineers Trails are finally open.  BUT, a lot of work is needed to restore the Trails to their previous “pristine” condition.  Much debris has washed up on the lakeside trails.  There are multiple areas, with large trees down across the trails, that require chainsaws to cut the trees into smaller sizes for bobcat removal.  There are also multiple areas with deep rutting that require a bobcat to smooth out the trail surfaces.  Because of the magnitude of the work to be done, this year’s project will be done in phases.  (NOTE:  Rain Date is Saturday October 17th.)

Our sincere thanks to former Council Member Charlie Nicholas for providing gratis the bobcat and operator to do this remedial work!

Phase 1 Trail Clean Up: Thanks to Sheriff Will Travis and Non-violent Women Inmates!

Sheriff Will Travis recruited 11 women inmates, whose non-violent convictions were for hot checks, credit card fraud, etc. These women spent a day cleaning up trash washed up by the spring floods onto our Corps of Engineers Trails.  The women inmates volunteered 37 total hours for this event!  Each inmate received 2 hours of community service towards each hour of their commitment requirement.  Being out on beautiful Corps of Engineer Trails, instead of locked up in a safe but sterile concrete jail, has to be a plus for the women inmate volunteers! Thank you Sheriff Travis for a Win-Win solution for all involved!

I would love to thank the women by name!  But, I also do not want to violate their privacy.  I hope they know how MUCH we appreciate their contribution to our Copper Canyon Trail Clean Up!

Phase II: Saturday October 10th 9:00 a.m. “Trail Community Clean Up Day”

Everyone who enjoys our Trails is invited to participate in this project.  The focus will be on overhead hazards (i.e. drooping tree limbs), trail hazards (ruts, crossing tree roots, exposed rocks, etc.), fallen trees, and any areas of the trail that the Sheriff’s group of women inmate volunteers couldn’t clear of trash in one day.  Trail Chairman Deb Valencia says “Please consider joining us for some neighborly camaraderie, as we work to restore the Copper Canyon Trails to their ‘Park Like’ stature.”

Please bring gloves, chain saws, shovels, pruners, weed-eaters, pot hole diggers, etc.  Plastic trash bags will be provided.  Please meet at the parking pad east side of FM 2499, at the new bridge north of Pilot Knoll Park’s entrance on Orchid Hill Lane.

Denton County ESD#1 presents Update to Copper Canyon Town Council!

Our Town Council was privileged to have Dr. Jay Haynes, M.D. narrate Denton County ESD#1’s Power Point presentation of accomplishments since its creation in 2006.  WOW!  ESD#1 serves 65 square miles in Denton County!  Six towns (Argyle, Bartonville, Copper Canyon, Corral City, Northlake, and Double Oak’s ambulance service), two Fresh Water Supply Districts (Lantana), and a huge unincorporated county area including Canyon Oaks subdivision!

Dr. Haynes is Senior VP and Chief Medical Officer for John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, the only Level One Trauma Center west of Parkland Hospital and the Trinity River in Dallas.  He also serves as ESD#1’s Vice President and Director of Public Relations.  In addition, Dr. Haynes is an elected volunteer Council Member for the Town of Argyle.

ESD#1’s Accomplishments since Creation by 60% Resident Voters in 2006!

ESD#1 has funded three new ambulances and two new fire engines.  With minimal debt!  (And this “rolling stock” is not cheap!)  ESD#1 has also funded the building of two new fire stations for our area (in Copper Canyon and in Argyle).  A third fire station will soon be built in Northlake near Robison Ranch.  (It is critical for response time to have a station west of the railroad tracks and west of I-35W.)

The Northlake Fire Station is due to the incredible cooperation and funding of the City of Denton’s Mayor Chris Watts and Denton City Council Members and the individual efforts of Denton’s new Fire Chief Robin Paulsgrove and longtime Denton Assistant City Manager Jon Fortune! Kudos also go to Argyle Fire Chief Mac Hohenberger and ESD#1 Treasurer and Director of Finance Jon Donahue!

Provision of comfortable Living Quarters for Firefighters and Paramedics

And – hugely important – ESD#1 now has an incredible complement of highly trained and dedicated firefighter/paramedics!  And, they now have very “livable” quarters while on duty!  Comfortable well-equipped kitchens and individual pantries and refrigerators for each shift.  (“Locked pantries”, I might add.  Traditionally, firefighter shifts to NOT willingly share food supplies!)  And even outdoor areas for on-duty firefighters to bar-b-que and grill.

ESD#1’s Incredibly Low THREE PERCENT Overhead!

All this with only a THREE PERCENT overhead for ESD#1’s administrative overhead!  Now, that is running “lean and mean”!  ESD#1’s volunteer President, and Director of Government Affairs, is Jim Carter.  Carter is our former Precinct Four County Commissioner.  He also serves on the State’s SafeD Board, which sets training standards for firefighters and paramedics. Carter commented that some ESDs in Texas have FIFTY PERCENT overhead for administration!  But, not our very frugal Denton County ESD#1!

Mayors:  Please make time on your Council Agenda’s for the Denton County ESD#1 presentation.  Our elected officials in the federal government may have problems working together.  But, here in Denton County, we are so fortunate to have premier organizations dedicated to our residents’ safety like ESD#1 and Denco 911!   And, the support of our Commissioners Court, our Sheriff’s Office, and our local Mayors and Town Councils!  Being able to work together, with mutual respect, goes a long way to actually solving problems for our citizens.  And, it is an incredibly cost effective way to use our citizens’ tax dollars!

Two other volunteer ESD#1 Board Members, appointed by the Denton County Commissioners Court, are Steve Harris, Secretary and Director of Service Provider Relations, and Chris Amarante, Assistant Treasurer and Director of Services Development.  Many thanks to them for recently bringing the ESD#1’s update presentation to the Town of Bartonville!

Texas Municipal League’s Annual Conference in San Antonio is Outstanding!

The Texas Municipal League represents almost 1200 Texas cities and towns.    Sixty-nine percent of member municipalities are towns of under 5,000 population;      eighty-one percent are towns under 10,000 population.  And, then there are the metroplex areas of Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin, El Paso and the urban areas surrounding each one.  Small cities are represented by their own TML Advisory Council, as they have different issues than the much larger cities.

The League annually gives awards in five different categories to cities under 25,000 population and cities over 25,000 population.  Some of the municipal solutions were very creative, and often very cost-effective.  Denison created a program to clear and clean abandoned lots that were either overgrown with weeds and brush or had dilapidated structures.  West Lake Hills created towers with sensors for the early detection of wildfires.  Colleyville and Keller combined their Municipal Courts for a cost savings to both cities. Wichita Falls developed a reuse of wastewater into potable water to supply 50% of the municipality’s water.  (Wichita Falls has been in a severe drought and was predicted to run totally out of water in 2 years!)  Irving created an “Empty the Shelters” project that resulted in 2,273 cats and dogs in multiple municipal and county shelters being adopted.

Missouri City developed a computer program that identified their peak hours for emergency medical calls.  During those hours they responded with paramedics in an SUV to non-vehicle accidents and non-transport medical emergencies – and did NOT send a fire engine also.  (Every mile a fire engine rolls is VERY expensive in fuel and reduces the life of the vehicle!)  This innovation not only saved money, it allowed for a faster medical response time!  And more importantly, it reserved the limited number of fire engines for bonafide fire emergencies!

TML Keynote Speaker Bill McRaven – Former 4 star Admiral in Command of “Special Forces”; Current Chancellor of the University of Texas System!

Bill McRaven was a Navy Seal for 34 years.  He served under President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.  He was Commander of “Special Forces” when Osama Bin Laden was killed.  McRaven was asked if it was difficult transitioning from the military to academia.  He said “No”.  Leadership and communication skills are universal.

As a military commander in the Middle East, McRaven had multiple two and three star commanders reporting to him.  He instituted daily video conferencing, so that every individual commander was up-to-date and contributing to the latest intelligence.  And, he provided his field commanders with the “autonomy” they needed to accomplish their tasks. He connected Special Forces individuals as liaisons with specific village leaders.  He connected “forward deployed troops” with analysts back home.

In Afghanistan, villagers would walk miles to carry home fresh water.  “School” was a flat area under a tree for shade.  Most of his American soldiers were ages 20 to 30.  But, they used their experience growing up in their own hometowns to help the villagers rebuild their war torn towns.

Communication, Communication, Communication!

As Chancellor of the University of Texas System, McRaven is responsible for eight universities and six medical centers – each with their own President.  Previously, the Presidents met once every three months when the UT System Regents met.  Instead, McRaven instituted a ONCE A WEEK video conference with all 14 Presidents personally participating.

McRaven became Chancellor of the University of Texas System last January.  But he said he had an “epiphany” several months ago.  He was focused on university level education.  But, if a student is not reading at grade level by third grade, they will probably never be proficient in reading and their education will be limited.  Therefore, the University of Texas COLLEGE System needs to increase its coordination and outreach with public education from preschool through K-12.

In addition, there is the UT System Chancellor’s responsibility for six medical centers. There are 7 million health visits a year to the UT System of medical centers.  McRaven is convinced that many of these visits could be avoided.  He is encouraging suggestions from medical personnel, patients, and citizens on how to do so.

Chancellor McRaven strongly opposed “Campus Carry” legislation.

Chancellor McRaven said he is a strong Second Amendment supporter.  Personally, he has 9 firearms, 6 swords and 2 tomahawks.  However, he strongly opposed “Campus Carry” legislation and appreciated the Texas Legislature welcoming him to express his reasons.  But, “Campus Carry” legislation passed and is now the law; and he will abide by it.  There will still be certain areas on a campus where guns are not allowed.  Individual college administrations will need to provide “gun lockers” for temporary holding of firearms in those areas.  However, he emphasized that Texas universities were NOT going to look like “armed campuses” with more university police carrying firearms.

NOTE:  My sincere apologies to Chancellor McRaven if I misstated anything he said at TML.  I was both listening intently to him and trying to take accurate notes.

Ten Best Practices of the Texas Fire Chiefs Association

For a decade I have been fortunate to sit on the Board of the Argyle Fire District.  I’ll only mention two of the Ten Best Practices that really struck home with me.

(1) Put cameras on every Firefighter’s Helmet!

Every attorney for a Fire Department will tell you NOT to do this. But, in the “heat of the moment” (absolutely no pun intended), firefighters do things that are not safe.  Their personal memory is that they did it safely according to protocol.  Only the video on their own helmet shows them differently.  The video, with the accompanying audio, is absolutely the best learning tool.  The Chief does not have to critique his firefighters.  They will critique themselves.

(2) Texas is a State leader in “Line of Duty Deaths” for Firefighters!

Not where we want to be!

Texas remains in the top 4 states of Line of Duty Deaths (LODD) for firefighters.  One Fire Chief said “We don’t invent new ways to kill firefighters.  We kill them the same way year after year!  100 firefighters die every year, not counting serious injuries and deaths from cancer related issues.  We CAN do better! The Texas Fire Chiefs Association recommended that rather than “rote” review of the intensive investigations into a firefighter’s LODD death that are routinely circulated to fire departments, that each department review the cause of death “in depth” – and relate it to their own current practices.

Interesting Fact:  A ratio of 4 Female to 3 Male College Graduates in 22-29 Year Old Age Group.

More women than men are graduating from college.  In the 22 to 29 age group, there are four women college graduates to every three men college graduates.  This creates a problem.  Most women with a college degree prefer to marry a man with a college degree.  But, statistically 25% of the women graduates are not going to find a college graduate male partner for marriage.  And the statistical variation magnifies as male college graduates in this age range marry.  College degreed women who postpone marriage may have to look to older or younger mates, if they continue to want a husband who also has a college degree.

Sue Tejml
Sue Tejml
Sue Tejml is mayor of Copper Canyon, TX.

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