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News & Business Notes BALCH SPRINGS AREA CHURCH
Personal Benefits Should Prevail Over Healthcare Reform Banter Royce West Texas Senate SPEC TO PHALCONSTAR NEWS
In recent days we’ve seen the U.S. House of Representatives follow through on some members’ campaign promises by passing a symbolic bill that would repeal the landmark Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. And while Texas has joined 20 other states in suing the federal government claiming the unconstitutionality of the healthcare reform bill passed by Congress last spring, polls now show that more and more Americans are starting to realize that the muchmaligned healthcare law may not be so bad after all. Most would agree that it’s a good thing that chil-
Worship in Balch Springs Week Days or Week Ends
dren can no longer be denied health insurance due to preexisting conditions. And so far, there’s been no report of seniors returning the $250 checks issued last summer to offset Medicare Part D “donut hole” prescription coverage costs. But in the midst of the partisan rancor, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), in its recent report to the Legislature, concluded that the law’s provisions “should make it easier for many low-income Texans to obtain private insurance.” However the help that could be available through the healthcare reform law is not limited to low-income Texans. Now, young adults up to age 26 can be added to their parents’ employer-based health plans and insurers can no longer impose lifetime or
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February 2011 BHM Special Edition
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annual benefits caps on subscribers. Texas actually stands to benefit from healthcare reform more than most states. The report says that more than 6.4 million Texans (26.1%) were uninsured throughout 2009. The total for Dallas County for 2007 was even higher at 30.8 percent. The national average is 16.7 percent. Also, fewer Texas residents had private insurance coverage in 2009 (53.8%), than in 2007 (56.9%). And from 2001 - 2009, the number of working Texans with employer-based healthcare coverage dropped by 18 percent. In compiling its report, TDI held statewide focus groups made up of average citizens, small business owners and their Continued Page 7
Balch Springs Group Participates in Super Bowl XLV
Most recently a group from Dreams Really Do Come True visited residents of the Balch Springs Nursing Home and helped them plant potted flowers for each of their rooms. Diane Xavier EDITOR
When the Super Bowl came to North Texas Balch Springs made sure they were not left out in the festivities. The City of Balch Springs is participated in the NFL Slant 45
program. Service Learning Adventures in North Texas - better known as SLANT 45 - was one of three major education initiatives that the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee launched as part of its legacy pro-
grams. It will serve as a model that can be emulated by the NFL in cities and regions hosting future Super Bowls. SLANT 45 is one of the largest community-wide service-learning projects for children in U.S. history and the larg-
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est in NFL history. Starting in early 2010, an estimated 20,000 elementary age students (grades 3-5) will log a combined 45,000 hours in more than 100 communities. Mayor Carrie Gordon, Ph.D., recently visited with local students to congratulate and encourage them on their community service for Slant 45. This program is a partnership between the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Committee and Big Thought to ensure that the event has an impact on our youth. “I wanted to encourage them to participate in this community service project because it is one of the largest in NFL History for service learning as an interest to North Texas,” Mayor Gordon said. “Dreams really do come true,” Mayor Gordon said. “Some of these kids never had an opportunity to be involved with something like this or attend an event at the American Airlines
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Center or Cowboys Stadium. They are gaining exposure that they may not have received in grade school. It is great for the kids.” Students at Mackey Elementary worked on several projects this fall to help those in need. Students at Calvary Temple Christian Academy also
worked hard on projects for those in need. Most recently a group from Dreams Really Do Come True visited residents of the Balch Springs Nursing Home and helped them plant potted flowers for each of their rooms.
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Library to Commemorate Black History Month
Diane Xavier EDITOR
In February, our nation will celebrate and remember the lives of all African-Americans who have contributed to our society and helped shape America. The Balch Springs Library will celebrate Black History Month for the third year in a row by hosting a cinematic experiences for its viewers. “We will celebrate African Americans contributions to film and through film throughout the decades,” said Sandy Gallion, director of The Balch Springs Library. “We just felt like we needed to celebrate Black
History Month by showing the progression of Black people through film.” Every Saturday afternoon beginning at 1:00 pm, the library will show screenings of films of African Americans that also have a cultural impact and how the culture changed through the years. “We would love for everyone to come and experience this,” Gallion said. “It is a good way to learn the beginnings of film for Blacks and to educate people about their history.” Admission is free. Refreshments such as
popcorn will be provided. The screenings are appropriate for most age groups as well. Feature films start with “Body and Soul” 1925, which is a silent movie.
On Feb. 12, the library will showcase “Cabin in the Sky,” a 1943 musical. On Feb. 19, they will show “Cleopatra Jones” and will conclude with the first ever Black person featured as a princess in the “Princess and the Frog” on Feb. 26. “We will also have book displays, music displays, DVDs and trivia games all about Black History Month,” Gallion said. “We have had large turnouts in the past and expect the same this year. Continued Next Page
February 2011 BHM Special Edition
BALCH SPRINGS SENTINEL
Chamber of Commerce Hosts 4th Annual Spring Expo
Diane Xavier EDITOR
Ellie Chavez is passionate about photog-
raphy. Taking photos has been her hobby, inspiration and love since she was 11 years-old. The
now 13 year-old Chavez is the Chamber of Commerce’s official photographer. Heady stuff, for teenager who still lives with her parents. Chavez, who is home schooled, is a member and treasurer of the Young Entrepreneur’s Club. She is also a volunteer with the Balch Springs Arts Alliance and is their photographer as well. The Balch Springs Chamber of Commerce will showcase young artists such as Chavez, at its
4th annual Spring Expo and ArtSlam on Thursday, March 17 from 4pm - 8pm. To accommodate a projected 100 exhibitors and 500 attendees, the expo will be held at Double D Ranch in Balch Springs. Admission is free. The Chamber will also be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the National Youth Art Month. Local schools and youth organizations are encouraged to submit student artwork for display at the event as part of the
ArtSlam. Local and state officials will be present to mark the event. Booth fees range from $50 up. Proceeds will benefit programs for local youth and small businesses. “Photography for me is one of the best ways that I can convey how I am feeling now,” Chavez says. “I encourage other artists to participate in this expo because it is a great way for them to showcase their talents and gain exposure.” Chavez also has her own
photography website with prices for her business at www.elliechavezphotography.com.
“It is also a great opportunity for everyone to get feedback on their passion, work and talents,” she said. March is National Youth Art Month. Vendors are still needed for the Expo and anyone interested in participating should contact The Balch Springs Chamber of Commerce. Participating vendors include: Accion Texas, Allen Insurance, Continued Page 7
Library to Spotlight Black History From Page 4
This is something we enjoy doing also because we have so many talented people who have contributed to Black History.” Gallion said celebrating this special month is part
of the library’s mission to educate people in the community by providing educational, informational, cultural, and recreational needs as well. BALCH SPRINGS SENTINEL February 2011 BHM Special Edition
Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert Pledges Support for City Leaders’ Initatives Diane Xavier EDITOR
With the increasing population growth of the City of Balch Springs, Mayor Carrie Gordon wanted to make sure help and support were available to improve traffic conditions in the City. Mayor Gordon invited Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert to a recent city council meeting to show his support to help the City of Balch Springs. “We are working with the Texas Department of Transportation Federal Highway Authority and the North Central Texas Council of Governments to improve Mayor Carrie Gordon (l) with Dallas Mayor Tom Lepservice ramps through pert at recent city council meeting. Mayor Gordon also Dallas and Balch met with the mayors of neighboring cities of SeagovSprings,” Mayor Gordon ille, Hutchins, Sunnyvale, Sexton, and Mesquite.
said. “We have a proposed retail corridor and are working on the development. The City of Dallas is also involved with the development of their southern corridor which reaches Balch Springs.” Mayor Gordon said she is also working with other mayors from the southeast region of Dallas County. Most of Interstate- 635 will undergo significant changes to improve the traffic flow through this congested Dallas County corridor. The improvements will cover approximately 25 miles of I635 from Luna Road in Farmers Branch to I- 20/US 175 in Balch Springs. These improvements include
Time Still Left to Participate in Expo The Balch Springs community will put its best foot forward on March 17 at the Spring ‘Break’ Expo and Art Slam. The event will be indoors at Double D Ranch, 12809 Eastgate Drive, Balch Springs, TX 75181. The ranch, located half a mile from I-635 and Lake June Road, boasts 70 acres of beautiful landscape including lakes and other PAGE 6
scenic areas. The expo will feature over 75 vendors including: Fashion, Décor, Cooking, Health, Gardening, Home Improvement, Business Opportunities, Demonstrations and Activities for Youth & Children. The Art Slam will showcase artists, youth through adult, in a juried art display as well as a youth exhibit commemo-
rating the 50th Anniversary of National Youth Art Month. Local youth are encouraged to submit artwork for the exhibit. A panel of professional visual artists will judge the entries. Winning entries from youth will be on exhibit at the event. The juried art display will feature work from local and regional artists, age 16 up. There is an entry fee for this competi-
February 2011 BHM Special Edition
tion. Prizes will be award for the top three places Not an artist? Don’t fret! You can ‘strut your stuff’ onstage at the “You’ve Got Talent” contest, age 10 and up. There is a small entry fee. Prizes will be awarded to the top three acts. These can be singers, actors, comedians, musicians, poets, etc. For those wishing to just come and enjoy the day, there will be
widening the general purpose lanes, reconstructing interchanges, and installing or expanding HOV/managed facilities. Mayor Tom Leppert gave a brief presentation to the Council regarding opportunities and issues that they are willing to work together on with the City of Balch Springs. “Since becoming Mayor in 2007, I have enjoyed a strong working relationship with the region’s mayors including Mayor Carrie Gordon,” Leppert said. “As neighbors, we clearly share some of the same concerns that transcend borders - transportation, crime, the environment, water and
more. Mayor Gordon was gracious to invite me to one of her Council meetings and I enjoyed the opportunity to attend. I look forward to working closely with Balch Springs to confront challenges and explore opportunities our two great cities share.” Mayor Gordon also met with Mayors Sid Sexton, Artis Johnson, David Byrd, and Mayor Pro Tem Bill Porter from the neighboring cities of Seagoville, Hutchins, Sunnyvale, Sexton, and Mesquite. “We met and supported each other in proposing a medical corridor also,” the mayor said.
plenty of exhibits, vendors, live entertainment, product samples, and door prizes. ADMISSION IS FREE to the event. Ranch activities will be available for an additional, weather permitting. Vendor fees start at $50 with a registration deadline of March 10. For more info or to register call 972-557-0988 or email email@example.com. The event is hosted through a collaboration of the Balch Springs Cham-
ber of Commerce and the Balch Springs Visual and Performing Arts Alliance. Event proceeds will benefit local programs serving youth and small business owners. Event sponsors include: City of Balch Springs Type A and Type B Economic Development Corporations, Home Depot,Suddenlink and Double D Ranch.
BALCH SPRINGS SENTINEL
Healthcare Reform Banter Spring Break Expo CADNET CLASSIFIEDS
From Page 2
employees. Results of these and other studies show that only 34.2 percent of small businesses (2-49 workers) offer healthcare coverage, compared with 94.0 percent of businesses with 50 or more employees. Small business owners and their workers expressed frustration that “average, working, responsible, citizens could not afford insurance coverage.” So while Texas continually boasts of its attractive, business-friendly climate, healthcare coverage for many employees and even small business owners is sorely lacking. For millions of Texas workers at small and large companies alike who do not have healthcare coverage, cost was named the most prohibitive factor. Employers also cite the increasing costs of insurance coverage. Cost was identified again as the reason why lowerincome families are less likely to be insured. Healthcare law detractors don’t mention the fact that the feds now subsidize small
business owners for up to 35 percent of their costs in providing coverage. And come 2014 (God forbid - a successful repeal), the government will help families with incomes from 133 percent to 400 percent of the poverty level with insurance costs through tax credits. Some state leaders who want no part of the new healthcare law would pass on Texas creating its own health insurance exchange that will allow its citizens to comparison shop for the best coverage options. But both advocates and experts say that such a move is not in state’s best interest. Wisely, a Texas House committee chair filed a bill that will establish an exchange. That idea has the support of the Texas Association of Business. Nearly everyone has felt the impact of high healthcare costs. I’d be curious to know just how many of Texas’ 6.4 million uninsured support party-line vows to repeal what some derisively call Obamacare.
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Balch Springs Sentinel, ArbonneInternationalMonica Atterberry, Art Zone, Balch Springs Senior Center, Balch Springs Young, Home Depot, Homemade Gourmet-Donna Windman, Hurd Special Occasion, Leroy Wilson’s BBQ, Mary Kay CosmeticsKerra Sims, Mismikado Creations and many more. Other sponsors include: Balch Springs Arts Alli-
ance, Balch Springs Chamber, City of Balch Springs Type A / Type B EDC Corps, Double D Ranch and Suddenlink. The event will also include live entertainment, giveaways, samples and refreshments. Vendors will include businesses, home improvement, gardening, fashion, décor, cooking, health, and business opportunities, activities for youth and children, and demonstrations.
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Henderson Receives Company’s “Service Hero Award” Diane Xavier EDITOR
Ricky Henderson, a broadband technician with Suddelink Communications in Balch Springs, received the Hometown Hero Award from the company. The award recognizes an individual who provides exceptional customer ser-
vice efforts towards the community and his coworkers. Henderson is one of nine employees from the company to receive the award and is based on nominations submitted by colleagues. “I was very humbled when I found out I had won the award,” Henderson said. “I never did anything in hopes of winning
anything. The award was based on customer feedback and ratings of the service they received.” Suddenlink Communications is a top-10 U.S. cable broadband services provider, supporting the information, communication and entertainment demands of approximately 1.3 million customers. The company strives to simplify
its customers’ lives through one call for support, one connection, and one bill, offering savings through bundles of TV, Internet, and phone services. Henderson said he was also honored that he had won the award out of the 5,000 plus employees that work for the company. The award is given quarterly. “I appreciate the company recognition but I also know that any one of the guys that I work with are also deserving of this award,” he said. Henderson said the best thing about working for the company is helping customers. “I like people, like helping people fix and solve their issues,” Henderson said. Henderson says nominations of the award are also based on customer feedback. “Our customers are empowered to know if we did a good job or not,” he said. “One lady commented that she was very
“I appreciate the company recognition but I also know that any one of the guys that I work with are also deserving of this award,” said Henderson (above).
thankful for my service, that anytime there was a cable issue, she was thankful that I was there
to help.” Henderson has been with Suddenlink Communications for three years.
Dozens Turn-out for “State of the City” Forum SENTINEL Report
Dozens of city residents turned out for a highlighting “State of the City” address from Mayor Carrie Gordon last week. The first term mayor’s address highlighted what PAGE 8
February 2011BHM Special Edition
was otherwise an “Ask the City Manager,” “Economic Development “It’s All Here!” and a “meet and greet session” with State Representative Cindy Burkett and a representative from State Senator Bob Deuell’s office.
BALCH SPRINGS SENTINEL
“This event was a an opportunity for Balch Springs residents to get first hand information on the directions the city is going and how we need their help in getting there,” said Mayor Gordon.