From the Desk of Dianne Edmondson — May 2019

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Dianne Edmondson, Precinct 4 County Commissioner

TxDOT Plans May 16 Meeting on I-35W Changes

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has scheduled a meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 16 at Argyle Middle School, 6601 Canyon Falls Drive.

The public is welcome to provide comments on proposed improvements to Interstate 35-West from Dale Earnhardt Way to the I-35E/I-35W merge in Denton.

TxDOT and project consultants will be available to answer questions about the 12.3-mile project which includes building two-lane northbound and southbound frontage roads with sidewalks, taking I-35W over FM 1171, Old Justin Road and John Paine Road/Allred Road as well as changing the I-35W ramp configuration similar to what was done on I-35E.

Written comments may be submitted at the meeting or mailed to the TxDOT Dallas District Office, Attention: Nelson Underwood, P.E., 4777 E. Highway 80, Mesquite, TX 75150-6643 or by email addressed to [email protected]. Comments will be accepted for 15 calendar days after the May 16 meeting.

Written comments may be submitted at the meeting or mailed to the TxDOT Dallas District Office, Attention: Nelson Underwood, P.E., 4777 E. Highway 80, Mesquite, TX 75150-6643 or by email addressed to [email protected]. Comments will be accepted for 15 calendar days after the May 16 meeting.

CASA Sees Growth From Population Increases

“We have seen huge growth in the number of children removed from their homes by CPS,” said Debbie Jensen, executive director for the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program.

Between 2017 and 2018, the agency saw a 50 percent increase, up substantially from the 7 percent increase seen the year before.

As a result, CASA has needed to increase their staff to meet the rising demand from 13 in 2018 to 16 in 2019 and a projected increase for 2020. Currently, CASA has nine casework supervisors who will each supervise a team of 20-25 volunteers. CASA anticipates providing service to 650 children this year.

“Last year, more than 200 children could not be served by CASA due to the growth,” Jensen said. Those children then receive an appointed attorney to oversee the case. “We know that a volunteer can give more time and attention to a child rather than an attorney, who has a tremendous caseload to deal with.”

CASA is asking all of the entities that fund their program to help them meet the rising need, she said.

Denton County Public Health Touts 2018 Annual Report

As part of its aim to prevent, promote and protect Denton County residents, the Denton County Public Health (DCPH) Department provides many programs to meet their goals.

In 2018, DCPH staff provided around $2.6 million in WID food benefits, administered 27,564 immunizations and handled about 286 tests each month for sexually transmitted diseases as part of its prevention goals.

To promote health, DCPH attended 147 outreach and education events and had more than 1,000 individuals register for the Denton County Dash last year.

For protection, the department oversaw more than 1,100 epidemiological disease investigations and tested 2,177 traps for mosquito-borne illness and disease.

A WIC client told DCPH: “Every staff member was helpful, respectful and caring. The building was also nice and comfy. I’m so thankful this resource is here in Denton for me to access.”

Recent Call for Jury Duty an Opportunity to Serve

I recently was called for jury duty and, like a good citizen, I reported. It was very different from the last time.

Shortly after reporting in, prospective jurors viewed an excellent video that explained why serving on a jury is so important. A series of short videos produced by the Texas Young Lawyers Association details the history behind jury duty and the role juries play in shaping American society. The videos also answer common questions about jury duty. You can see the information at www.americanjuror.org/video. They are well done and made you feel important as a prospective juror.

An estimated 23,000 to 25,000 jurors appear for jury duty in Denton County district courts each year. Of the almost 300 called when I reported for jury duty, we were told about 150 would be needed.

It was an enjoyable experience. In addition, I believe it is important for all of us to serve when called.

Thank You to Task Force Meeting Attendees

Our first task force meeting, revived in April, was a big success with more than 60 community leaders attending. Everyone enjoyed networking from engineers to mayors to private citizens.

We featured updates from four of our 18 communities including Dish, Justin, Krum and Northlake.

My staff and I plan to hold these task force meetings quarterly and will keep you posted. The public is welcome to attend.

Street Lights/Illumination Legislation on the Move

We were able to get legislation sponsored for House Bill 3714 to request the jurisdictional authority to place streetlights in county rights of way to improve safety and security for the traveling public within the county road system.

This legislation, if passed, would allow the county to improve safety measures with lighting where significant need exists.

In the legislation, we explained that lighting improves safety, enhances visibility on “S” curves or on wet roads. This request followed a recent incident in which two teen-age brothers died after their car veered from a Denton County Road into a nearby creek.

Thank you to State Rep. Tan Parker for his willingness to bring this legislative request before state legislators for consideration.

Contact Precinct 4 Commissioner Dianne Edmondson at (972) 434-3960. Her office is located in the Southwest Courthouse, 6200 Canyon Falls Drive, Suite 900, in Flower Mound.

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