Pin on Pinterest
The City of Grand Prairie's mayor receives the recent clean air award.

It’s that time of year when the ozone problems halt for a few of the cooler weather months. That doesn’t mean the cities around North Texas stop reminding residents how important it is to keep clean air in mind though.

Recently at the Regional Transportation Council meeting, Air North Texas awards were given to cities in the area striving to keep the clean air message in mind.

The City of Grand Prairie was named Air North Texas Partner of the Year for the second straight year. Grand Prairie was recognized, in part because the city has developed a comprehensive campaign that includes website content, social media promotion, newsletter articles about air quality and coordination with promotion of Air North Texas at community events during ozone season.

“Our strategy for outreach is to look at this issue from multiple viewpoints,” said Cindy Mendez

City of Grand Prairie, Environmental Quality Manager. “For parents, teachers, outdoor enthusiasts – we focus on the health impacts of poor air quality and ozone.  For community and businesses, we focus on how air quality non-attainment negatively impacts businesses moving to the area versus moving to an area that has attainment with the eight- hour ozone standard.  For others we have a more general focus of letting them know how their actions impact air quality.”

Mendez said the city is always thinking of ways to make sure residents and businesses are mindful of clean air through public education. 

“We heavily use the terminology “Do 1 Thing for Clean Air Today” and stress the importance through social media and printing that doing things like tuning up their car, checking air pressure in their tires, turning off lights, and reducing energy use are things that benefit themselves financially and our environment and health.”

Grand Prairie and cities like it are continuously working alongside Air North Texas, the region’s public awareness campaign designed to make breathing cleaner air a priority.

The City of Dallas was recognized for its Outstanding Effort in Outreach. Dallas used its website, social media platforms and advertising to promote Air North Texas, encouraging both the general public and its employees to make clean air commitments. Dallas was also recognized with the Arlo Ambassador Award for incorporating Arlo the Armadillo into a popular social media campaign encouraging participation in Air North Texas.

The City of Plano was recognized for its Outstanding Effort in Partner Involvement. The Live Green in Plano air quality webpage included information about Air North Texas, while encouraging visitors to become partners and Plano’s sustainability staff members participated in Air North Texas meetings and conference calls.

The award for Outstanding Effort in Initiative went to the University of North Texas Health Science Center. UNTHSC created its own Clean Air Action Day pledge in an effort to increase campus involvement and award participation. A total of 116 people took the pledge. UNTHSC also offered subsidized transit e-passes in partnership with the Fort Worth Transportation Authority. Electric vehicle charging is offered on campus, and the school is a sponsor of Fort Worth Bike Share, a program that offers an alternative to vehicles for short trips. 

Air North Texas is one of many strategies in place to improve air quality in the area with 10 North Texas counties striving to meet the Environmental Protection Agency regulation for ozone pollution. It includes 35 partners committed to educating the public about air quality and motivating them to help make the air healthier to breathe.

Air North Texas is coordinated through the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), which is a committee made up of previous Air North Texas award recipients.  The NCTCOG staff members selected the most recent award recipients using the Air North Texas Partner Agreement data as well as annual progress reports of the partners.

Pin on Pinterest
EnchantChristmas-Vancouver 3_PhotoCredit - Dale Kl

No matter how much time you have for a holiday jaunt this month to get in the Christmas spirit, here are a few standout destinations to keep your December busy near or far.

If you want to unplug from the holiday madness and experience a bit of Texas from a historical standpoint, the mid-1800s Washington on the Brazos festivities in Washington, Texas is an alternative worth considering.  The holiday highlights include interactive experiences and this weekend you can celebrate Christmas on the Brazos at the historical state park.  Christmas on the Brazos is a creation of frontier festivities, period music, visits with interpreters and candlelit venues.  The activities begin in the early afternoon at Independence Hall and the Star of the Republic Museum and extend into the evening bringing an 1850s Christmas to all. 

Even better, children can meet St. Nick and there is an afternoon with Dickens at Independence Hall with the staff dressed in period clothing and regaling visitors with tales of Olde Time Christmas, as told by the author, Charles Dickens.  At the Star of the Republic Museum docents will be hosting a “make-and-take” period craft event as well.

On December 16 enjoy a Living History Saturday at Independence Hall and Old Washington Townsite where visitors travel back in time to March 2, 1836 when 59 delegates met in Independence Hall in Washington, Texas to make a formal declaration of independence from Mexico. From 1836 until 1846, the Republic of Texas proudly existed as a separate nation. Staff and volunteers will be dressed in period clothing providing a unique opportunity for the entire family to discover various aspects of life surrounding the birth of the Republic of Texas.

Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site is located halfway between Brenham and Navasota, off State Hwy. 105. For more information about the Christmas events this weekend visit Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site.

A bit further afar from now until Christmas, the tiny mountain town of Taos, NM was voted as the third best Christmas destination in the world by US News & World Report.  You not only get unique holiday traditions among the beautiful snowcapped Sangre de Cristo Mountains, but visitors can revel in the annual Yuletide in Taos too.  The Yuletide event includes festivities in a town that is richly influenced by Native American and Spanish cultures as well as the modern art colony located there where artists are preparing their wares for Christmas shoppers.

 Closer to Home

A bit closer to home the Enchant Christmas North Texas extravaganza made its U.S. debut this year at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Guests will see the world’s largest Christmas light maze and North Texas’ largest outdoor Christmas tree.  The 300,000-square foot Christmas celebration is going on now until December 31 with food trucks, a holiday market, Santa’s Place, a skating pond and more than two million twinkling lights.  Based upon the children’s story “The Adventures of Enchant: The Great Search,” written by Leanne Johnston, Enchant Christmas is a world of wonder for holiday revelers who enjoy outdoor strolling through a winter wonderland. 

The Season of Science at the Perot Museum might not be getting out of town, but it will get the kids out of the house for a sleepover. This year’s holiday offerings include an extra helping of special activities and programs, an all-about-space Discovery Days and a “winter wonderland” sleepover. Little one’s ages five and under can get crafty making melted snowmen and snowflakes, sorting winter objects, and play with water at the Candy Cane Art Lab.

And for a sleepover the entire family will enjoy head to Grapevine where the Gaylord Texan’s Lone Star Christmas is well underway. Offering a variety of holiday activities, live entertainment, and grand displays to celebrate the season and delight Christmas lovers of all ages, the fun lasts from now until the end of the year.  This year there are 2 million holiday lights decorating the resort’s indoor atriums, 2 million pounds of hand-carved ice for ICE! featuring ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, 2 million pounds of real Texas snow for a two-story tall, a 12-lane snow tubing hill, a 6,000-square-foot outdoor ice skating rink, a 54-foot-tall Christmas tree adorning the center atrium, magical miniature train sets throughout the property, 25-foot-tall Nutcrackers and 2,300 decorated wreaths, 5,600 feet of garland, and 15,000 festive ornaments.  Take advantage of the Gingerbread Decorating Corner presented by Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas and choose from a tasty gingerbread cookie family, a traditional gingerbread house or a Train Kit then get a hug and a picture from the resident Gingerbread Man.

Pin on Pinterest

Inspired by the movement to grow, harvest and eat sustainable fresh, locally grown food, the Dallas Arboretum recently opened a 3.5-acre display garden called A Tasteful Place.  A $12 million project located at the south-end of the Arboretum, the garden offers a gorgeous view of White Rock Lake and the downtown Dallas skyline and promises a variety of fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers. For the fall season there are more than 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash in the garden.

A Tasteful Place became a reality from the meager beginnings of a small herb garden near the Alex Camp House that needed to be relocated.

“About three years ago, Dallas Arboretum staff started talking about not only relocating this garden, but expanding it,” said Terry Lendecker who handles public relations for Dallas Arboretum.  “We also knew that in the Dallas Arboretum’s Master Plan, we had the land at the southern end to plant this garden. With that in mind, we began planning, visiting other places with food gardens, figuring out what would fit our garden’s mission and our community.”

The new garden fits two of the Dallas Arboretum’s overall missions.  The first mission is to have one of the top public display gardens nationally and the second mission to educate the community about eating healthfully through gardening and growing fresh food.

After all, the Arboretum has been trialing and testing plants for many years through its award-winning Plant Trials Program. However, it was just six years ago that staff began trialing vegetables of all varieties to see how each would grow in the local climate.

The new garden includes a pavilion with event space and a teaching kitchen, an orchard, a lagoon, shaded porches and walkways.

Lendecker said “What sets A Tasteful Place apart though, is the Potager Display Gardens, which are four individual quadrants that comprise the ornamental kitchen garden, or “potager,” pronounced, pot·a·ger as it is called by the French.”

In short, A Tasteful Place is a productive working garden that is also visually beautiful, drawing on European gardening principals and artful arrangement.

“The Potager Gardens are a signature element of the development with in-season vegetables, herbs and flowers, planted ornamentally and interspersed with flowers to attract pollinators and beneficial insects,” Lendecker added. 

It’s a fact these days that people want to eat food that’s been grown locally so this garden will teach visitors how to do that in a hands-on practical manner.  Vegetables, fruit and herbs will also be used for daily tastings for visitors and the Dallas Arboretum’s restaurant and catering staff will use the food in dishes they prepare.

A Tasteful Place was made possible by a number of generous donors and was a collaborative effort of many alliances with individuals and groups around the city that support the Dallas Arboretum with both development and programming.

“The garden was developed as a living, learning, growing experience that will help guide people toward understanding how to prepare foods and eat more healthful,” Lendecker concluded.

Admission to A Tasteful Place is free with paid Dallas Arboretum garden admission.

Pin on Pinterest

First there was the launch of an eight-foot steel sculpture in the “V-sign” hand gesture by California-based artist Nathan Mabry. Several months ago, the vibrant art program continued in Dallas’ Victory Park with the launch of five new geometric murals by local artist Lesli Marshall inside the parking garage on Victory Park Lane.

Last month another artist was tapped to bring his ideas to the area too.

This time, it was English-born, Las Vegas’ based Tim Bavington who unveiled his musically-inspired sculpture near the W Dallas – Victory Hotel.

The idea behind all the added color in the area; to bring a renewed sense of energy and individuality to Victory Park through ongoing public art installations.

 “Victory Park is going through an amazing transformation, and the color and life in these murals reflect the new vibe of the area,” said Marshall. “It’s always exciting to stumble upon art in unexpected areas. In a parking garage, which is usually boring and industrial, people will discover these giant murals and interact with them.”

Marshall’s five pieces range from goldfish swimming amongst diamonds to a mythical phoenix bird soaring over mountains.  Each mural is intended to bring personality and a sense of discovery to an unexpected place.  For inspiration, Marshall and her team members, Sarah Reyes and Daniel Driensky, looked to five adjectives – radiant, victorious, fierce, strong, and brave – and conceptualized five corresponding murals, each with its own animal and color scheme, painted in bold, bright strokes. Joining the “radiant” goldfish and “brave” phoenix, are “victorious” lions, a “fierce” steer, and “strong” elephants.

Splashed throughout the garage, with one on each level, the intention of the murals is twofold: to bring art into the district and to serve as a creative wayfinding mechanism.

As for Bavington’s art message, created with the use of steel pipe and automotive paint, he said it is a one-of-a-kind visual translation.

Titled “Matchbox,” the installation stands 15-feet-high by 34-feet- wide and uses the same title as the song recorded by The Beatles in 1964. It was chosen for both its connection to the artist’s British roots and the song’s Texan roots, as it was performed by blues singer Blind Lemon Jefferson in 1927, whose career began with playing Dallas street corners just a few miles from Victory Park.

“Bavington’s [piece] has such a unique inspiration behind it that ties together his background and bits of Dallas history,” said Terry Montesi, CEO, Trademark Property Co. “We want to give people unique, memorable experiences when they come to Victory Park, and Tim’s work, along with the other public art spread throughout the district, is sure to be a highlight.”

Each of the artists were chosen by Trademark Property Co., who has an in-house Director of Design and Innovation on staff responsible for curating public art at all 16 of Trademark's properties across the U.S.

Montesi’s belief is that art is a powerful medium that can transform a space visually and impact how people experience a space emotionally.

“It’s one of the most important ways that we are adding texture, character, and soul to the district and fostering a vibe that is completely unique to Victory,” he concluded.

In addition to the new public art, Victory Park transformation efforts include a full remerchandising, 85,000-square-feet of new retail space, and key district enhancements to streets, sidewalks, storefronts, parking, technology and public spaces to promote a more vibrant, user-friendly experience.


Not interested in cooking Christmas dinner this year?  That’s okay because here a few local restaurants that will do it for you.  From pasta to seafood to the traditional turkey dinner, whatever you’re in the mood for this holiday you will find it on the menu at one of these local eateries.

All the local Shell Shack locations will be open Christmas Eve and Christmas day and are celebrating the holiday season with seafood.  On December 24 and 25 Shell Shack is offering complimentary dessert with each combo platter purchased and on December 25 they are doing a Onesie and PJ Party. The VIP is $42.99 and includes Snow Crab, Boiled Shrimp, corns, potato sausage and all are served with fries and hushpuppies.  There is also the Date Night option for $84.99 or the Heavyweight for $156.99, this last one feeds up to six people.

At LARK on the Park Chef Ryan Barnett will be preparing special Christmas Eve and Christmas Day suppers from 5 to 10 p.m. featuring traditional holiday specials in addition to the a la carte menu. Offerings include Grilled Venison Loin, Traditional Baked Ham, Roast Goose and Grilled Salmon.

Dakota’s Steakhouse is delivering above and beyond expectations for the holidays.  The iconic steakhouse will be open for dinner service on Christmas Eve from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Menu highlights include Crispy Calamari with roasted tomato aioli and sweet & spicy peppers; Dakota’s Housemade Mozzarella with Texas heirloom tomatoes, fried basil, spicy parmesan chips; Prime Aged Cowboy with 22 oz. dry-aged, bone-in rib eye; and Chilean Sea Bass with saffron poached Yukon potatoes, chorizo, roasted fennel and shrimp coulis.

With a focus on fresh, simple comfort foods curated by executive chef Taylor Kearney, DISH Preston Hollow will be providing a dining experience like no other for the Christmas holiday. Open on Christmas Eve from 4 to 10 p.m., menu highlights include Roasted Beets prepared with candied pecans, chives & goat cheese; Sweet Potato Soup served with crème fraiche, herb oil & cornbread crouton; Shrimp Scampi with polenta, peppercorn butter & dressed greens; and BBQ Short Ribs served with whipped potato, tobacco onion & spinach.  

Located in Dallas’ historic West End, RJ Mexican Cuisine is an upscale Mexican concept where every dish and cocktail is created in-house from scratch. RJ Mexican will be opened from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Christmas Day with a menu focusing on Mexican cuisine where traditional Mexican dishes are combined with a Texas twist to create a wave of unexpected flavors.

Second Floor Regionally Inspired Kitchen will provide patrons with a Christmas three-course prix fixe menu from 3 to 10 p.m. on Christmas Day created by executive chef David Smith.  The prix fixe menu includes a choice of starters, a selection of entrees and desserts – all chosen to celebrate timeless Christmas classics.  Second Floor will also be open on Christmas Eve from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and will open on Christmas Day at 11 a.m. for regular bites until the 3 p.m., prix fixe begins.

Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek’s Mansion Restaurant will be open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with guests enjoying a multi-course menu including traditional holiday favorites and an indulgent array of decadent desserts. Seating times include 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and 5:30 to 8:00 p.m.  The Mansion Bar will also be the perfect setting for a holiday drink with a cozy indoor fireplace and live music.  The suggested holiday seasonal drink while visiting is the signature American Toddy featuring Laird & Company’s Apple Jack, honey, apple and special holiday tea.

It’s okay to cheat and have someone cook it for you

While you are making merry and assuring the gifts are under the tree and your guests have just the right blend of egg nog, pick up lunch or dinner for Christmas day at one of the two local Kenny Bowers restaurants.  Kenny’s Smoke House at the Shops at Legacy in Plano and Kenny’s Italian Kitchen at Addison’s Village on the Parkway are both offering family or party sized to-go options, but you do need to order in advance by calling the restaurant directly.

At Kenny’s Smoke House – they’re smoking in large quantities to make holiday dinners smokin’ hot with a choice of a 3.5 or 10-pound whole smoked turkey breast or a 13-pound whole smoked prime rib.

At Kenny’s Italian Kitchen you can pick up a variety of Kenny’s Italian platters.  Each item is available in two sizes, either a half-pan, which feeds approximately 10 people or a full pan, which feeds about 20 people. Choose from options like spaghetti and meatballs, fettucini alfredo, sausage and peppers to cheese ravioli, eggplant parmigiana and gnocchi asiago to name a few tasty Italian choices.

Another holiday to go check out One90 Smoked Meats where an eight-pound whole brisket serving 32 is available, a half brisket, beef tenderloin, five-pound prime rib, jumbo turkey leg  or two-pound turkey breast feeding eight-plus are all available.

Pin on Pinterest

For a holiday light show that also includes a lantern festival just in time for the holidays head to Lone Star Park this year from now until January 7, 2018 and take part in Dallas’ first annual Magical Winter Lights event.

The festival bases its designs on Chinese lanterns and transforms the lights into larger-than-life remakes of well-known landmarks.

Magical Winter Lights originally began in Houston in 2015.  The Festival’s founder Yusi An actually grew up going to lantern festivals in China as a young girl.

Chelsea Atkinson, Public Relations & Event Manager for the Dallas Magical Winter Lights Festival said “She [An] later went to university at TCU and moved to Houston after graduation. The cultural diversity of Houston inspired her to bring the Chinese lantern art to the United States while tailoring the themes of the lanterns to a local audience.” 

Magical Winter Lights Dallas-Fort Worth will have five themes including Magical Wonderland, The Lone Star State, Mystery of the East, Dinosaur Land and Christmas Candy Land. Atkinson said, “While there are a few fan favorites that stay at Magical Winter Lights year after year, the themes do change, and new lanterns are added each year.” 

The DFW festival will also feature an entrance castle lantern inspired by the Dallas County Courthouse, a giant cowboy and Dallas’ iconic Pegasus.

“Magical Winter Lights has become a new holiday tradition for Houstonians in two short years.

We are excited to bring this new holiday tradition to the residents of the Dallas-Fort Worth area,”

said An. “We are thrilled to have found a partner like Lone Star Park to provide a top-notch event venue and to help us serve our event patrons.”

The lanterns used in the local festival are handmade in China by Chinese professional lantern artists. Atkinson said the lanterns are then shipped to Texas where each one is completed and assembled at the local venue. Overall, it takes about one month to construct all the lanterns to be used in the Magical Lights Festival. 

Keeping with the Chinese tradition too, during the visit guests can enjoy Chinese acrobatic performances [included in admission].  The Magical Winter Lights has two Chinese acrobatic shows this year that will be performed twice a night every night from Sunday to Thursday at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday nights at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m.

There will also be dinosaur rides for children and a full-size food court.

Lone Star Park president and general manager Scott Wells said “We are thrilled to be hosting Magical Winter Lights. It’s a spectacular festival unlike anything we’ve seen before and is

certain to add to Grand Prairie’s reputation as the region’s hotspot for holiday lights.”

The Magical Winter Lights show was added to the Dallas/Fort Worth area this year after garnering so much success in Houston. In fact, the lantern festival has become one of the largest holiday events in the Greater Houston area and it is the largest lantern festival of its kind to take place in the United States, according to Atkinson.

The Festival is taking place from now until January 7, 2018 including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and closed on December 4 and 11, 2017.

Tickets can be purchased at


As Santa Clause arrives in the Dallas area this year, it’s a sure bet your children can’t wait to hop on his lap and give him their wish list.

Here is a roundup of the best places we found to find jolly old St. Nick with a twinkle and a smile.

Northpark Center – Dallas

It’s going on 27 years now that Santa has created that good time holiday feeling at Northpark Mall.  He even has his own Facebook page, but his popularity means he is in high demand so plan ahead.  Purchase tickets from now until December 23, 2017 at Santa’s House near the Disney store and Macy’s from 9 a.m. every day. You will be given a time to return and get in line to see Santa, which is likely to take up to an hour so be prepared and enjoy.  Visits and photos with Santa Claus take place in Santa’s living room including a fireplace, holiday tree and the leather armchair where he sits to greet the children.

Galleria Dallas — Dallas

In addition to visiting Santa at the Galleria Dallas you can also enjoy a Christmas village and even better, it’s a pretty short line during the week.  There is a Nestle Toll House Cafe that has tasty chocolate chip cookies to enjoy while taking part in the Santa experience too.  Keep in mind, the Galleria Dallas is the home of the world’s largest indoor Christmas tree at 95-feet tall.

Gaylord Texan – Grapevine

Children and adults alike will enjoy Santa at the Gaylord Texan’s Lone Star Christmas festivities.  In addition to meeting Santa Claus you will also have the chance to enjoy a North Pole adventure ranging from a walk through an ICE exhibit and tubing in Santa’s Workshop all from now until December 24, 2017.  Just expect to have a good time and you can find Santa located in the Lone Star Atrium near the Oil Derrick next to Texan Station. 

The North Pole Express – Grapevine

The city of Grapevine welcomes kids and adults to board the North Pole Express this holiday season and take a holiday ride not to be forgotten.  What you get while onboard; lively entertainment and food for the trip while enjoying a Christmas tree maze and a chance to visit with Santa. When the ride is over you take home not only a souvenir gift, but also a photo with Santa and some great memories.

Grapevine Mills — Grapevine

If you happen to be in Grapevine and are looking for a Santa visit at a local mall then Grapevine Mills is a good stop for a Santa sighting.  Santa is located in the Courtyard near Converse.

Prairie Lights – Grand Prairie

From now until the end of the year the Prairie Lights festival is a fun-filled Christmas extravaganza not to be missed.  Photos with Santa at Prairie Lights are available until December 23, 2017 in the Holiday Village located about halfway through the Prairie Lights experience.  To visit Santa at Prairie Lights do take note there is an additional charge, but it’s worth the stop as you enjoy the hour plus visit at the village and the overall lights festival experience.

Traders Village – Grand Prairie

Children can visit Santa at Traders Village every Saturday and Sunday during operational hours from now until December 17, 2017.  In fact, kids of any age (that means adults too) can have a picture taken with Santa so don’t be shy.  You can also do some Christmas shopping after saying hello to St. Nick and it’s free to enter Trader’s Village with a $4 cost for parking.

The Shops at Willow Bend — Plano

The folks in Plano can visit Santa at Willow Bend where you will also be able to enjoy a winter wonderful experience in an Ice Palace.  The Ice Palace highlights a 30-foot globe with a variety of enchanting arches and that look as if each one were carved straight from ice. Santa will be taking Christmas wishes from children during mall hours until December 24, 2017.

Santa’s Village — Richardson

In the city of Richardson not only will children enjoy a Santa Clause experience, but also converse with local elves all the way from the North Pole.  In fact, Santa’s Village includes 16 holiday dwellings on the north side of City Hall.  Santa is in residence on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights on December 2 and 3; 7 to the 10 and the 14 to 17, 2017 from 6 to 9 p.m.  


For folks wondering where to get this year’s annual flu shot, the Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) is offering the seasonal flu vaccine for children and adults at no cost for uninsured and low-income Dallas County residents. 

In addition, the flu vaccine DCHHS provides is an all-in-one vaccine that protects against multiple flu strains including the H1N1 virus. 

Renae Crutchfield, Public Information Officer II, Dallas County Health & Human Services said “The flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect against the flu. DCHHS has offered the seasonal flu shot for more than 20 years.”

While the vaccine is free for uninsured and low-income Dallas County residents, for other  Dallas residents it is still inexpensive at $20 per injection.

“We would like to see an increase in early vaccination rates,” said Zachary Thompson, DCHHS director. “Getting the annual flu shot is really important, especially as you get older and your immune system doesn't work as well.”

Each year, Dallas County medical providers report more than a dozen flu related deaths in Dallas County.

Persons in high-risk groups such as pregnant women, young children, older adults and people with chronic health conditions are advised to get flu shots in the beginning of flu season to help stay healthy.

“High-risk individuals and people in close contact with immune suppressed persons should receive the vaccine early to help prevent their own illness and prevent the spread of flu to others,” said Dr. Christopher Perkins, Dallas County health authority/medical director. “For those who are not considered high-risk, a routine yearly influenza vaccination is recommended for all persons aged 6 months and older.”

Crutchfield said flu season is typically from October to May, therefore DCHHS will continue to offer the vaccine while it is available during that time.

“Due to weaker immune systems, older adults, children and people with chronic health conditions are at the greatest burden of severe flu disease,” she added. “As we begin to approach flu season, DCHHS recommend a routine yearly influenza vaccination for all person’s age six months and older.”

She said it is also recommended to get a flu shot every year, stay at home if you have flu-like symptoms, wash your hands with soap and water often, use hand sanitizer regularly, wash your hands before touching your face and use your elbow to shield your cough or sneeze.

The adult vaccine is given in the adult immunization clinic at the DCHHS building located at 2377 N. Stemmons Frwy. in Dallas. The children’s vaccine is available at all DCHHS immunization clinics.  Clinic hours are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Appointments aren’t necessary. For more information, call 214-819-2162.

Residents can also visit local pharmacies and other service providers that provide flu vaccinations.


Known for residents who love activities in the great outdoors, Dallas can now add another first to its quest to keep the city eco-friendly.

This weekend residents and visitors alike can take part in an inaugural Dallas Bike Ride.  The ride will offer 20 miles of closed roads turned into a recreational bike ride event that organizers say they are hoping will unite Dallas resident’s love for cycling for years to come.

Michelle Cleveland, Marketing Director of Capital Sports Ventures, one of the companies organizing the event said, “Dallas has so much potential to become a great bicycling city.”

Capital Sports Venture is also working with Dallas Sports Commission, Visit Dallas, Uptown Dallas Inc., and Downtown Dallas Inc. to make the inaugural bike ride one to remember.

“This is a way to celebrate and encourage bicycling in Dallas,” Cleveland added.

With a goal of 4,000 riders this weekend, the ride begins and ends at City Hall Plaza.

The 20-mile route was mapped out with a professional course design team, Racing Systems, as well as a local event operator, Event Southwest, and the neighborhoods and districts around Dallas.  The idea was unequivocally to showcase some of the best that Dallas offers.

“The route goes through eight different neighborhoods and crosses the Trinity River using four different bridges,” Cleveland explained.

While it is not certain if this route will be the same one in years to come, Cleveland did confirm “We work hard to create a course that gives riders a create experience and shows them different parts of the city on their bike, as well as a course that has minimal traffic impacts due to the event road closures. Creating a course is a mix of art and science. We will collect feedback directly from riders, the general public and neighborhoods about the course in order to improve it year after year.”

At the end of the scenic ride, riders will find a festival awaiting in conjunction with Methodist Dallas.

The Methodist Dallas Finish Festival actually begins at 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and will feature headliner DJ Spinderella of Salt-N-Pepa. There will also be performances by Petty Theft, playing the music of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, with band member Mike Rhyner of The Ticket Sportsradio, and DJSC, the official DJ of the Dallas Cowboys.

Methodist Dallas is giving away 1,000 free yoga mats and festival highlights include a yoga session by a Methodist Dallas yoga teacher, a Health and Wellness Zone presented by Cigna with a Dallas Wings youth basketball clinic, a Kids Zone presented by KIND Healthy Snacks, a partner village with giveaways and activities from our sponsors and founding partners, a community bike village with local bike clubs and our beneficiaries, bike mechanics and food trucks. 

Cleveland said Methodist Dallas came onboard to sponsor the bike ride because “They care deeply about the health and well-being of Dallasites so it was a natural fit to partner on a recreational event that encourages a healthy life-style and being active.” 

“The launch of dockless bikeshare this summer has made biking more accessible,” Cleveland said. “Local bike shops are expanding and opening new stores in the city. There are 15 neighborhood-based Bike Friendly organizations in the area that focus on advocating for better bicycling. And the City of Dallas itself is working on making biking better with plans to build new trails and protected bike infrastructure.”

With this in mind the founding partners of the inaugural bike ride saw an opportunity to create a fun, recreational, closed-road bike event that would welcome those interested-but-concerned bicyclists and create a bike experience for all.

And if you don’t have a bike, well, that’s okay too. 

“We’ve partnered with local bike shop and our Official Bike Shop Partner, Richardson Bike Mart, to provide rentals for rider that they can pick up and drop off at the ride start and finish,” Cleveland concluded.

Bikes must be reserved in advance and include a helmet rental. For more information visit DallasBikerRide/rentals to reserve a bike from Richardson Bike Mart. 

The ride begins at 8:00 a.m. and riders must be in their starting corrals by 7:45 a.m.

Registration $70 and riders can register day off with the fee also including a Dallas Bike Ride water bottle, and a Rider Identification Kit with rider bib, helmet sticker and bike sticker. Children ages three to seven are free to sign up and youth ages eight to 15 are $30. 

Pin on Pinterest

The City of Grand Prairie will be hosting the official Arbor Day Celebration for the State of Texas this year on Friday at its Grand Central location. Grand Central is a 172-acre development west of State Highway 161 / President George Bush Turnpike between Arkansas Lane and Warrior Trail and a perfect venue for a tree celebration.

A prestigious honor, Rhonda Aghamalian from BrandEra, Inc. who is spokesperson for the Grand Prairie event said the city was selected as the state’s official city this year through an application process with the Texas Forest Service.  The application process involves being considered and accepted by a Texas Forest Service Committee and a different city is chosen each year to the be the official city.

With around 900 fourth graders and their teachers taking part in Friday’s event, there will also be VIP’s and the general public in attendance.  Aghamalian said there will be a total of about 1,300 in attendance overall.

Even better, she added, “We have 1,300 Texas Red Oak Tree Seedlings to hand out to attendees.”

With guest speakers for the event as diverse as Dan Lambe, president of the National Arbor Day Foundation and Texas State Forrester Tom Boggus, who will serve as the emcee, the event will begin at 10:20 a.m. 

Following the Arbor Day festivities attendees can browse the informational booths for children and adults ranging from environmentally conscious vendors to area tree organizations. There will be 21 specifically for children and several Urban Forestry Councils in attendance as well.  These will include Cross Timbers Urban Forestry Council, Trinity Black Land Urban Forestry Council, International Society of Arboriculture Texas Chapter, Texas Urban Forestry Council, the Texas Forestry Association and Oncor who is a Tree Line USA through the National Arbor Day Foundation. A presence by the Army Corps of Engineers, Keep Grand Prairie Beautiful and

Grand Prairie Animal Services will also be available.

For entertainment the Grammy-nominated music group Trout Fishing in America will perform the National Anthem as well as one additional song and will perform a song with the Grand Prairie High School Show Choir. 

Grand Prairie places a strong emphasis on the importance of trees every day of the year and is a Tree City, USA as well as having a Living Memorial Forest Program.  This program gives community members the opportunity to have a tree planted in memory or in honor of a loved one. The fee is $250 and includes the tree, the tree planting, guidance on the tree planting site selection, a plaque and lifetime maintenance. 

Living Memorial Forest Program began in 2001 and to date, more than 100 trees have been planted. 

Cleveland said “all parks in the city are available for individuals to select to have a Memorial Tree Planted. We work with the individuals to select the perfect site for their Living Memorial Forest Tree.”

Overall, the Living Memorial Forest Program and the Tree City, USA designation is a few more ways people in the area are reminded of the importance of Arbor Day all year long.