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March 2009 • ISSUE 12 Publisher/ Editor Frank Bentley Managing Editor Karen W. Haines Contributing Editor Peggy van Wunnik Contributing Writers Christi Anguiano Jeanne Fralicks-Heard Karen W. Haines Cammy Jackson Donna Johnson Kathy Maples Jones Fred Orr Diana Phillips Ray Razo Grady W. Smithey Anthony Tran, OD, FAAO Myrle Westlund Graphic Designers Ben Hall Marlena Hall Advertising Frank Bentley Sheila Casey ABG Marketing 9050 Autobahn Drive, Suite 100 Dallas, Texas 75237 972.283.0150 Fax: 972.283.0226 Lifestyles Magazine is published bimonthly by ABG Marketing. Opinions expressed in advertising and articles do not neccessarily reflect the opinion of the publishers. Lifestyles Magazine is not responsible for any omissions or information in articles or advertisements. Advertisers assume all liability for advertising content. No part of the magazine may be reproduced without the written permission of the publishers.





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ig Brothers Big Sisters is the nation’s leading youth mentoring organization, and for over a century it has helped children reach their potential through professionally supported one-to-one relationships with proven results. What most people don’t realize is that it takes less than one hour a week to change a life and that it is not a tutoring program. It’s about having fun and being a consistent friend to a child. The mission statement of Big Brothers Big Sisters is: “To enrich, encourage and empower children to reach their highest potential through safe, positive, one-to-one mentoring relationships.” By becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister, you too can turn little bits of magic into big moments in a child’s life. BIG – n. an adult mentor (ages 16 to 100) who spends time with a child LITTLE – n. a child age 6 or older in the mentoring program MATCH – n. a BIG and a LITTLE who are paired in the program. For a child, having a BIG means that he or she will build a special friendship with an adult to look up to. It also means he or she

will have an additional caring adult in their life. A BIG could never replace the important role of a parent, but is simply a positive friend and role model for the child. Volunteering can be fun, for being a BIG is probably one of the most rewarding and enjoying things a person will ever do. Volunteers can participate in one of two ways: 1) School based programs allow a BIG to mentor their LITTLE at the child’s school during one class period one time each week – usually the lunch period. 2) Community based programs allow a BIG to mentor their LITTLE during evening hours or on weekends. They meet a minimum of two times a month. In a nationwide study, it was determined that Little Brothers and Little Sisters were: 52% less likely to skip school 46% less likely to start using drugs 27% less likely to start drinking Less likely to lie to their parents More likely to have better relationships with peers Other benefits which the students are more likely to receive may include steering clear of drugs and alcohol, and having more positive relationships all around. The benefits to the mentors are countless, but include

experiencing the joy of giving back, realizing the potential for making a unique difference in a young person’s life, and reconnecting with the younger side of yourself. Not only do the students and mentors benefit, but eventually the community receives societal changes such as breaking down geographic, cultural and economic barriers that sometimes restrict community members from celebrating and experience local diversity, as well as developing the public’s commitment to improving youth policies and programs. The program generates youth graduates who are prepared to contribute positively to the local economy and community. For more information on becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister contact Diana Phillips at or visit the agency website at


he American Veterans Traveling Tribute (AVTT) and Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall will arrive in DeSoto on Wednesday, April 15 after a procession through Duncanville, Cedar Hill and Lancaster. The AVTT is a mobile group of memorials and exhibits – anchored by an 80 percent reproduction of the Vietnam Memorial Wall, including all of the names on the original – honoring the men and women who paid the highest price to ensure American freedom. Also honored in the exhibit are those who served their country from World War II through the current Iraqi conflict. A special 9/11 memorial is also included. The exhibit will officially open with ceremonies at noon on Thursday, April 16. The event will be open 24 hours a day for four days, until breakdown the morning of April 20. A detailed schedule of events will be in the local newspapers the week of the event, as well as on site during the exhibit. ”The most notable item in the tribute is the 370 foot long replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall. The 80% scale reproduction, which stands eight feet tall at its apex, does not leave out a single name featured on the original wall in Washington, D.C.”, said Don Allen, one of the AVTT organizers. Standing tall, crested with flags and lighted with spotlights, the power of what the “Traveling Wall” represents is undeniable. Men and women, young and old, individuals and groups gather along the breadth of the black-faced memorial, reaching out to touch, or simply bowing their heads in respect and remembrance of a father, brother, son or daughter who paid the true cost of freedom. And there are always those who made it home – returning to the wall to keep alive the valiant memory of those with whom he or she served in the jungles of a far away land – standing in a private salute.

Remembering, educating, and respecting are the main focuses of AVTT, and for that reason, the exhibit contains several other memorials and exhibits in addition to the Wall, including: • The Cost of Freedom Memorial: A series of stand-up exhibits created in gold dog tags to record the names of those who gave their lives for our freedom since Vietnam, and including present-day Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. This is a stunning exhibit for all to see. • 9-11 Memorials: A stand-up exhibit with lighted twin towers to make sure “we never forget.” Each victim’s name is recorded according to their location at the time of the tragedy. • Walk of Heroes: A series of stand-up displays that pay tribute and provide education regarding our country’s history, as well as conflicts America was involved in to ensure our freedom. Freedom did not come for free, and these tributes represent the true cost of freedom as paid with lives. • Vietnam Remembered: A nationally acclaimed art display of original paintings and more, for viewing, education, and reflection. • World War II: To assure that all living veterans are honored, AVTT presents displays of pictures and information to pay specific tribute to WWII veterans. • Korean War: A beautiful pictorial display of the men who fought the “forgotten war, “ along with battle maps and the war timeline. ”Bringing the Vietnam Wall to DeSoto is an initiative of the DeSoto Chamber’s Tourism Committee.” explains Cammy

Jackson, President of the DeSoto Chamber. “Mayor Bobby Waddle brought the exhibit to our attention, and the committee took the idea and ran with it.” She added that, because the Wall means so much to this region, the Chamber felt it was important to include DeSoto’s sister Best Southwest cities of Cedar Hill, Duncanville and Lancaster. “There are so many people, so many veterans, who will want to see the Wall; the more cities and people who are involved, the better we can get the word out.” Formal ceremonies and activities will take place throughout the four-day exhibit, planned by a committee headed by co-chairs Ray Razo of EcCare Health Centers in DeSoto and Col. Terri Toppin of AAFES. The committee consists of business leaders from the four Best Southwest cities. The AVTT exhibit will be located at Grimes Park/Metroplex BMX, 500 E. Centre Park Boulevard, in the Eagle Industrial Park of DeSoto, Texas. Free parking, including Handicapped parking, will be available on site and in the surrounding area. For more information, or to volunteer, please contact the DeSoto Chamber at 972-224-3565 or, or visit www. for a copy of an informational brochure. The DeSoto Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Center is a business trade association that creates an environment that stimulates commerce in DeSoto and creates tourism opportunities for the City of DeSoto.


orthwood University will soon offer a 27-month, part-time Master of Business Administration degree (MBA), enabling working professionals the opportunity to develop the skills to advance their careers. The program is tailored specifically to current and future managers. The DeVos MBA brings together an integrated curriculum of Marketing, Organizational Behavior, Finance, Operations and Strategy. The program has already met the criteria for accreditation approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Northwood’s MBA program is part of the DeVos Graduate School, which is new to Dallas, yet well-established at Northwood’s Michigan and Switzerland campuses with a combined 17 years of course offerings. Dr. Kevin Fegan, Provost of Northwood’s Texas campus, said this program promises to create highly effective executives and managers through a unique process

of personal and professional transformation. “Northwood has always provided its undergraduate students a first-rate business education, with an emphasis on building character and developing the leader in every student,” Dr. Fegan said. “Now, Northwood will provide a dynamic MBA learning experience that works with the demands of today’s competitive marketplace. Education is a partnership at Northwood, so our MBA program will work with you.” Northwood’s MBA program provides a learning experience aimed at strategically expanding students’ managerial and leadership skill sets, equipping them with the necessary tools to lead and drive change in their career and life. The entire curriculum utilizes student-directed, discussion-based learning through the case-method approach, requiring students to analyze real companies with real management issues. This process complements cognitive classroom education with experiential-based learning that occurs in a dynamic and realistic environment.

Classes begin August 31, 2009 and will meet on Monday evenings. The classes are taught in a cohort format, which allows for a small, supportive and interactive learning environment with other working professionals. Applications are currently being accepted. You can inquire by phone: 1-800-9279663; by e-mail; or through the Web site: The next informational sessions will be 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 3 and 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 7 on the Cedar Hill campus, 1114 W. FM 1382, in the Hopkins Academic Building. Attendees will have an opportunity to speak directly with a graduate representative to learn more about the DeVos methodology, the admissions process, financial aid, and available scholarships. Christi Anguiano is the Associate Director of Graduate Admissions at The DeVos Graduate School of Management. She, her husband Michael, who is Dean of Students at Northwood University, and their son live in Cedar Hill.


manda Skinner was named the President of the Cedar Hill Chamber of Commerce effective January 5, 2009. If you live in the Best Southwest region, you probably know her by the name of Amanda Hinton. She married Jonothan Skinner in March of 2008. The search for the Cedar Hill Chamber’s President began back in the summer when a notice was placed with the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives Association. Resumes were received from 19 prospective candidates living in Texas and surrounding states. After the six-person search committee screened the candidates, Amanda was elected unanimously by the Chamber’s Board. Chamber Chairman-Elect Shelia Hood, who headed up the search committee, stated, “Among the qualifications which made Amanda our choice is her existing rapport with our Chamber membership, the community, as well as city and school system leaders. Amanda’s involvement in Best Southwest Chambers of Commerce and Leadership Southwest gives our Chamber an immediate working relationship with the area. In addition, Amanda brings over a decade of small business experience to the President’s position. With so many small businesses involved in the Cedar Hill Chamber, that is a valuable asset for us.” Amanda was born in Lawrence, Kansas. At the age of one month, she ‘attended’ the University of Kansas in a backpack while her parents finished their degrees. Hallmark Greeting Cards then took them to Mexico City where Amanda took advantage of the opportunity to learn more about the Hispanic culture and Spanish language, and graduated from Kindergarten with honors. The family then moved to Irving, Texas, where Amanda completed grade school and high school.

While in her last two years of high school, Amanda was in an Amigo’s Health Program which took her to Paraguay one summer and Brazil the next summer. Amanda found herself very happy with very little when she was able to give back and help others with

her gifts and talents. After high school she expanded her knowledge at Brookhaven College and Texas Woman’s University. Through corporate training and becoming knowledgeable in the marketing philosophy of Chick-fil-A, Amanda for the past 131/2 years has been doing the marketing for the store located in Cedar Hill, which is owned by her mother, Luanne Alcaraz. Her mother has commented, “We are growing the business thanks to Amanda’s gifts and willingness to go the extra mile.” At the same time Amanda did all the marketing for the Cedar Hill Chick-fil-A store, she also traveled for the corporate office as a Grand Opening Event Planner for six years, followed by one year as a Grand Opening Marketing Consultant traveling throughout the United States. Thanks to modern technology, she was able to fulfill the needs of both positions. “Loud and Proud” are the words in a nutshell that Amanda used to describe Welcoming Home the Troops, the special project

of the Best Southwest Chamber of Commerce. Over $20,000 in donations, water, sandwiches, homemade cookies and brownies, as well as goodie bags filled with toiletry items, snacks, Bibles, phone cards, AAFES discount coupons, Chick-fil-A combo cards, and personalized thank you notes were given to the soldiers. Banks, companies, and restaurants from the Best Southwest helped Amanda make this event possible. When it comes to volunteering, Amanda seldom says “no.” She served on the Board of Directors of the Cedar Hill Chamber of Commerce for six years, serving as its Chairman for two of those years. She has been on the Duncanville Chamber of Commerce Board, the Cedar Hill ISD Education Foundation Board, and the Leadership Southwest Board of Directors. In 2006 she was Chairman of the Best Southwest Board of Directors. She continues to serve on the First United Methodist Mission Board, Bridges Safe House Board, and Northwood University Board of Governors. She has been quite a busy lady! Last, but actually first on her list of priorities, is the raising of two sons: Chris, age 13, and Jordan, age 10. She also now has a lovely stepdaughter name Kayla, age 6. The children are active, full of energy, and very sports minded. Many of you have probably received phone calls from Amanda organizing her next event from the sidelines of a baseball field, a football field, and now Kayla’s soccer field. When asked about her new position as President, Amanda was very animated and stated, “I am excited about being President of the Cedar Hill Chamber. Cedar Hill is a Premier City – a blessed city. The Chamber is positioned to become a premier chamber as a partner with the community.”

Cruise Vacations, Part One

Selecting the Right Cruise for You


electing the right cruise is crucial to the enjoyment of your vacation, especially if it is your first cruise. To begin the selection process, get a referral of a great travel agent from your friends or family. It is a myth that purchasing your cruise online or directly from the cruise line will be less expensive than using a travel professional. All prices are available through agencies at no extra cost to you. Some travel agents have group or specials that are better than the cruise lines. The travel agents are paid commissions by the cruise lines to represent them. This cost is already built in to the cruise whether you purchase directly from the cruise line, online, or through an agent. The next step is to select an itinerary

that appeals to you. You can cruise the Caribbean, Baja Mexico, Hawaii, Canada and Alaska from the United States. There are many great cruises sailing within Europe, Baltic, the South Pacific, Orient, and Mediterranean. Although the cruises have varying prices based on the accommodations and the length of the cruise, it is also important to consider the airfare to your destination of choice. It is rarely an advantage to use the cruise lines’ airfare, so having a travel agent will help you evaluate the best routes and prices for air travel. You’ll need a passport to cruise after June 2009. The travel agent can advise you about the best times to sail to the itinerary that appeals to you, and planning ahead will reward you with the best prices. Due to the economy, there are many great cruise pro-

motions available for 2009. Most luxury cruises that have traditionally higher prices are offering free airfare, shipboard credits and free shore excursions to make this the best time to see the world on a cruise. Your meals and beverages with meals such as milk, tea or coffee are included on your cruise, as well as shows and entertainment. Some luxury lines include wine with dinner and do not solicit or accept gratuities. A cruise offers many optional onboard activities such as gambling, bingo, golf, rock climbing, ice skating, and surfing. Most ships offer two dinner seating choices: main/first (6:15 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.) or second/late (8:15 p.m. or 8:30 p.m.), with open seating for breakfast and lunch. Meals are served every day whether at sea or in port. A casual buffet near the top of the ship is also offered for longer hours during breakfast and lunch. Many ships offer 24-hour access to their buffets. Several cruise lines offer a choice of flexible dining, and there are new ships which have private restaurants specializing in Chinese, Mexican, steak, or Italian cuisine. Most ships offer tours of the destinations the ship will visit. Information about these tours is available online. You are encouraged to reserve excursions in advance to avoid disappointment. Part Two in the next issue will detail how to prepare for your cruise and the onboard experience.


erving the communities of Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville, Grand Prairie, Irving and Lancaster, Brighter Tomorrows offers shelter and assistance to victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. More than that, it is a place that offers hope. Conservative estimates indicate that one in three women will be battered during their adult lives. Domestic violence is not an anger issue but a control issue, and it can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone. Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. It can happen to couples who are married, living together or who are dating. Affecting people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels, domestic violence will touch almost everybody at some point in their lives. According to the 2006 Harris Poll, 15% of all U.S. adults admit that they were a victim of domestic violence. Furthermore, six in 10 adults claim that they know someone personally who has experienced domestic violence. Brighter Tomorrows is one of the largest domestic violence agencies in Dallas County. Founded in 1989 as a cooperative effort between the Grand Prairie City Council, Grand Prairie Police Department, Grand Prairie Human Services Coalition and a group of concerned citizens, Brighter Tomorrows empowers survivors of domestic

and sexual violence. Over the years, they have sheltered an increasing number of clients – men, women and children – from throughout the D/FW Metroplex. They see clients not only from Dallas and Tarrant counties, but also those fleeing abusive situations in other cities in Texas and around the country. Brighter Tomorrows gives us an opportunity to renew our commitment to preventing domestic violence, and to assist those who suffer from its devastating effects. When survivors enter the shelter, they receive a safe place to stay, food, clothing, counseling, life skills, parenting skills, protective orders and a case plan to get their life back on track. Executive Director, Jana Barker, is passionate about helping survivors, as are all the staff members and volunteers who serve the agency. Ms Barker feels strongly that everyone should know what resources are available and where they can turn for help.

Although October has traditionally been known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, since 1987 it has also been Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Many people wear pink ribbons or pink ribbon jewelry throughout the month, and there are generally several community activities scheduled to promote Breast Cancer Awareness in October. While domestic violence is just as much in evidence as breast cancer, we don’t hear about it as much, but according to Ms. Barker, “Domestic violence can kill a woman just as easily as breast cancer.” Brighter Tomorrows hopes to increase public awareness of domestic violence deaths, and the resources available, through a series of events they hold throughout the year. Just as wearing pink in October celebrates survivors and mourns those who have died from breast cancer, so the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence holds a range of activities at the local, state, and national levels throughout the month that

have one common theme: celebrating those who have survived, mourning those who have died because of domestic violence, and connecting those who work hard to end violence. And, although October is a month where specific activities are focused on raising awareness, Brighter Tomorrows strives to raise awareness of abuse every day. In addition to awareness events, Brighter Tomorrows operates three emergency shelters, counseling and outreach centers that provide legal advocacy and community education, and two thrift stores, one in DeSoto and the other in Grand Prairie. The thrift stores help raise operating money for agency services and provide household goods and other necessities for agency clients who are in need of this assistance. Brighter Tomorrows Transitional Housing is a two year transitional housing program for homeless families and victims of domestic and sexual violence. The purpose of the program is to provide housing so that the family can save money, pay off debts, regain confidence, have a sense of safety and gain the tools to move into permanent housing. Additionally, required classes teach families about budgeting, job skills, life skills and parenting. “In 2008, 16 of the 21 clients who exited the transitional housing program moved into permanent housing”, said Allison Sharpe, Director of Transitional Housing, “one of those becoming a first-time home buyer.” During the six-month follow-up with the clients who had exited the transitional housing program, 100 per cent continued to be in permanent housing. While that is good news for the program, other news has not been so welcome. In the fall of 2008, due to congressional budget cuts to a major funding source, Brighter Tomorrows had to let six staff members go, causing them to eliminate some vital client services. To Brighter Tomorrows, where approximately 65 per cent of the $1.8 million dollar budget comes from state and federal funding, any funding cut can be devastating. Executive Director, Jana Barker, manages a $1.8 million dollar budget; when it comes to state funding, instead of the $220,000 received last year, this year Brighter Tomorrows received nothing. According to Barker, this is a big hit to the budget at a time when Brighter Tomorrows needs it most. In July 2008, the

agency served more than triple the number of people it had served during July 2007. Barker added, “Donations are down because of the economy, and high energy prices don’t help, either.” Now more than ever, donations to Brighter Tomorrows are critical. The agency’s largest fundraiser is the annual Chocolate & Chic luncheon, which will be held on March 28 at the Dallas Marriott Las Colinas. Last year’s 12th annual event raised $60,000 for the program. The Cindy Tamplin Tea, now in its 10th year, raises over $10,000 for Brighter Tomorrows, and it has become a tradition in the community. Established in 2002 by a group of her close friends, the Cindy Tamplin Memorial Fund furthers the education of Brighter Tomorrows’ clients by financing short-term programs, such as a GED or computer class. Cindy died at the hands of her son and her son’s friend, and the focus of this fundraiser is to support the mission of Brighter Tomorrows – providing services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. In September 2008, the Best Southwest Advisory Council of Brighter Tomorrows held a luncheon that was designed not only to increase awareness of the services offered by the agency, but was also a call for community action in the Best Southwest cities of Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville and Lancaster. More than a typical luncheon, this was an opportunity for the residents and business community to join with Brighter Tomorrows in celebrating 18 years of empowering the survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Dallas County. With the luncheon raising almost $5,000, Brighter Tomorrows received resounding support from the area. In May 2009, Brighter Tomorrows will hold its inaugural golf tournament at Riverchase Golf Club in Coppell. Organizers hope to make this an annual event to help with fundraising efforts. For more information on how you can help Brighter Tomorrows, please visit their website at or call the agency at 972-263-0506. Cammy Jackson, President of the DeSoto Chamber of Commerce, is a member of the BSW Advisory Board of Brighter Tomorrows. She lives in DeSoto with her husband, Alan, and daughter, Taylor.


hile Washington, D.C. is the universal favorite to point out everything that is ‘out of whack,’ the Texas State Constitution occupies that role in Texas every decade or so. Everyone hates bumbling government and pointless bureaucracy. Legislators become frustrated at times with the principle of accountability as it applies to the very government they are charged to monitor. Texas state government does have real-life examples of bureaucratese; yet, it is NOT the

government. It is this facet of government, not the constitution, that plays a daily role in our individual lives. The state constitution is an extraordinary and timeless document. How else can you say bicameral, political power is inherent in the people, habeas corpus, executive branch, quorum, apportionment, uniform taxation, and so on….? THE PROBLEM IS ADMINISTRATIVE STATE GOVERNMENT which has evolved with each passing session of the legislature into a proliferation of individually authorized and independently operated

constitution - which has served its citizens so well and is steeped in tradition, history and nostalgia - that is in need of an overhaul. I suggest that, before we sine die our piece of history, we examine other methods to streamline and bring current the delivery of services, particularly administrative state

boards, commissions and agencies created without any form of structure, design or organization. Over time these entities take on a life of their own, acquire a constituency and become a power base, economic engines and storehouses for many, thereby becoming fiefdoms for those actively involved in their

operations. Since these agencies have their own statutory authorization and operate independently, all inevitably protect their own individual interests by enlisting political support, support from special interest groups, business and professional associations - much of which is “invisible,” but commitments are created and obligations implied. This commitment exchange can promote special (rather than general) interests in state affairs. Viewed in perspective, the shortcomings of our non-organized system result largely from the political environment in which they must operate, driven by the principle of self-perpetuation. Therefore, any action perceived to disrupt, diminish or eliminate the business of these agencies creates a “brushfire” which descends on the legislature with passionate and zealous opposition. The promotion and advancement of the agency’s programs and goals becomes, accordingly, a matter of administrative initiative. The virtual independence with which these entities operate precludes reliance of support or, for that matter, even the concurrence of the Governor, the state’s chief executive officer. IN THE CORPORATE WORLD THIS PRACTICE WOULD BE CHAOTIC. There exists a variety of management characteristics in our state administrative government: (1) some are headed by individuals who are elected and others who are appointed. A majority are directed by boards and commissions operating largely on a part-time basis; (2) the administrative agencies are almost wholly independent of gubernatorial control and operate without any central coordinating authority or structure; and (3) perhaps the most striking characteristic is the involvement in the legislative process where the agency’s influence is

derived fundamentally through a close relationship and interaction with the legislative branch. Texas can and should organize the maze of agencies into a cabinet form of administrative government. AN ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE INTO CABINET FORM CAN BE DONE THIS SESSION WITHOUT A REWRITE OF THE CONSTITUTION AND WITH A SIMPLE VOTE OF THE LEGISLATURE. This organization can be done without the emotional and protracted process of abandoning our historic constitution. Corporations don’t typically chunk their charters in order to stay abreast of the changing dynamics of their business. The Texas House of Representatives, under the leadership of former speaker Bill Clayton and current speaker Pete Laney, passed legislation creating a cabinet form of government in 1977. The measure stalled in the Senate. The measure did NOT threaten the disruption of any state agency, board or commission, nor did it change or disrupt elective office. It simply called for a system-

atic organization of administrative state government through the grouping of the approximately 240 agencies (in 1977), boards, and commissions into a limited number of principal departments according to function, by using three separate classes of transfers. Further, the measure provided that each principal department was to be led by an executive director (secretary) acting as an umbrella over the various divisions delegated to him or her. Together these directors formed a cabinet, thereby increasing accountability by answering to the Governor by whom they were appointed. As chief executive officer, according to the constitution, the Governor has a unique vantage point from which to execute an effective, responsive and non-duplicitous administrative state government. Likewise, the members of the cabinet would have an objective insight into the programs of administrative state government on a daily basis. A mechanism was established which would establish the opportunity for an effective system of government within an

orderly structure of state government. George Bell, Director, Council of State Governments, said in 1977, “No one has found a substitute for organization. Government cannot be managed by an amorphous mass of people”. Many states have organized the administrative component of government similarly, and the need has been recognized in Texas for decades. Governor Pat Neff in his address to the legislature on July 26, 1921, said, “We have too many boards, bureaus and commissions. This state is burdened with government agencies. The principle of concentration and correlation should be applied to our state government as it is applied to the business world.” Such a measure today would simply change the process of the public enterprise of state government, and would not materially alter the product. Fred Orr, past President of the Best Southwest Partnership, served four terms in the Texas House of Representatives and now is involved in real estate developments. He and his wife, Jacqueline, reside in Lancaster.


chief attraction for many duck and goose hunters is the love of the companionable retrieving dog. During waterfowl seasons, the hunter often spends more time with his dog than with his family members. My current “fetch dog” is a six-year old yellow Labrador retriever named Faith. I have been fortunate enough to own three exceptional Labs in my hunting life, and a number of others which were not so talented. My first good Lab, Rodney, was an especially social dog. He loved children and other dogs as well. I came to have Rodney because his love of children led him to continually escape his back yard and go visiting in the classrooms at the elementary school two blocks from his owner’s house. Rodney had been a house dog until his owner and wife became parents. With the arrival of the baby, Rodney was banished to the back yard, from which he made regular forays to the nearby school. Sitting just inside the door of the first classroom he found open, with his tail wagging happily, he greeted all the children as they entered. After several calls from the school office, Rodney’s owner’s wife put her foot down – “Either that dog goes or your daughter and I are leaving!” she proclaimed. Rodney was traded to a friend of mine who sold him to me. Several years afterward when I met Rodney’s original owner, I did not endear myself to his wife when I commented that there are a lot of women and children around but that a good dog like Rodney was hard to find. Rodney was a real character. He was not fully trained but was so natively smart that he made up for that lack. He did have one serious fault which he would exhibit once or twice a season. My friend Stuart Gathings was guiding a duck hunter at Cedar

Creek Lake. That morning his client had killed five teal, one short of a limit. As Rodney brought back each of the downed ducks, Stuart tossed them over his shoulder behind their brush blind. As the hunting slowed, Rodney was found to be missing from the blind. Behind them, the hunters discovered the dog with his face covered in feathers and with assorted duck feet lying around. Rodney had helped himself and eaten every bird. “My goodness,” said Stu-

art’s client. “What does this mean?” “It’s your lucky day. You get to kill six more ducks!” replied Stuart. During his life, there appeared an inordinate number of black puppies who bore a striking resemblance to my retriever. Rodney was a renowned escape artist who could find a way out of almost any enclosure wherein he was supposed to dwell. He will always have a special warm spot in my heart. Following Rodney were several Labs

who just did not measure up. Then came Tank! I wanted a large Lab strong enough to retrieve geese. Tank was the heftiest puppy in a litter I raised. Former Duncanville resident Dr. John Standefer ended up with the smartest pup of that litter. That pup, which he named Toby, was also the most challenging to train and handle. Not so Tank, who was undoubtedly the dumbest good dog I ever owned. He made up for his lack of intelligence with fearlessness, heart, and a great desire to please. He absorbed so much training. I handled him to a United Kennel Club (UKC) title of Hunting Retriever Champion in 1998 and took him to their ultimate hunting test, the Grand Hunting Champion Retriever Test. Tank was a classic American type Labrador, tall and fast, almost a hundred pounds when in peak condition. When I retired Tank for health reasons (his, not mine), I answered an ad for a started male one-year old yellow Lab and drove to East Texas to see him. His owner also had the mother on site. There was something about her that caught my attention. I asked him to demonstrate both dogs and decided on Faith. As you can see from the accompanying picture, she is an eager retriever. Faith is a classic English style Lab, the only one I have owned. She is short, barrelchested and always looks fat compared to the taller, leaner style of American Lab breed. On her first ever goose hunt, she retrieved her first goose even though it fell several hundred yards away. I am very pleased with Faith and anticipate several good years of hunting together. Grady W. Smithey is a long time Duncanville resident, City Councilman, and an avid hunter.


here is a unique thrift store in DeSoto, The Soaring Eagle Center Thrift Shop. The shop not only provides the funds for the nonprofit Soaring Eagle Center, but also provides job training and educational classes for young adults with intellectual disabilities. The young adult associates work half a day in the thrift shop, and attend classes in Spanish, writing, reading, math, and crafts half a day. In the thrift shop, the associates help at the cash register, test electronics, tag and put out merchandise, sort through

donations, greet customers, and help with keeping the store neat and clean. Each associate also participates in a regular exercise program at the Center. The Associate Day Program currently meets four days a week. The mission of the Soaring Eagle Center is to “enable young people with special needs to soar like eagles.” After high school, many young adults with intellectual disabilities sit at home with little to do. This is in part because Texas ranks 49th in the nation in funding programs for adults with disabilities. This lack of programs and services is especially true in southern Dallas and northern Ellis counties. One in ten families in the Dallas area has a member with developmental disabilities. Of these Texans, 92% do not receive state aid, and 63% of those with disabilities are not employed. Prior to the opening of the Center, young people with disabilities from southern Dallas and northern Ellis counties had to travel into

the city of Dallas for programs. The Soaring Eagle Center began as the dream of one mom. In June 2003 a group of mothers and special education teachers formed the Soaring Eagle Center in DeSoto. The Center was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in Texas and later was granted taxexempt status by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. There are no cures for mental retardation, autism, Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities; they are life-long conditions that require life-long solutions. The mission of the Center is also to find life-long solutions for the social, educational, vocational and residential needs of these young adults. Since its inception, the Soaring Eagle Center has served 40 young people and their families through its programs. One of the greatest challenges facing young adults with intellectual disabilities is the lack of friends. Some have never been invited to a party or a sleepover. The Center is committed to developing friendships among the young people and their families. Regular social activities such as dances, parties, sleepovers, and cookouts are held throughout the year. The highlight of the year is the Holiday Dance held each December. In addition to the thrift shop day program, the Soaring Eagle Center sponsors Special Olympic teams. Special Olympics is a worldwide organization providing yearround training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Spe-

cial Olympics Texas in the greater Dallas area serves more than 4,485 athletes. More than 4,600 volunteers donate their time to Greater Dallas area competitions and events. The Soaring Eagle Center participates in various sports throughout the year. A special event for the Soaring Eagle athletes is the Super Hooper Basketball Clinic sponsored by Ovilla Christian School in November. The thrift shop is located at 104 Chowning Dr., Suite 100, in DeSoto. Hours of operation are Wednesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., and Thursday, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. You can support the Soaring Eagle Center and its programs by donating useable clothing, household items, and furniture to the thrift shop, and by shopping in the store.

For more information about the Soaring Eagle Center and its programs, contact the thrift store at 972-223-2450 or Myrle Westlund at 972-223-5590. The Center’s website,, also provides information. All contributions and donations are tax-deductible.


hile performing an eye exam, I am often asked the question “What does 20/20 really mean?” It seems that from the vision screenings by the school nurse to the vision testing at the driver’s license office, we have always been taught that “20/20” means perfect vision. That is not necessarily always the case, and even sometimes far from the truth. Simply put, 20/20 vision— measured in each eye—means you can see what an average person can see straight ahead at a distance of 20 feet. The key words are “straight ahead” and “distance.” While there is no doubt that this part of our vision is critical for a variety of tasks, it does not necessarily encompass everything we do in our daily lives. From children to adults, there are many common eye disorders and diseases that can go undetected for years because the vision was always measured to be 20/20 and therefore deemed to be “normal.” In children, allowing many of these vision problems to go misdiagnosed and untreated for years can have far-reaching consequences, due to their impact on learning during the critical stages of development. Farsightedness (hyperopia) is a common problem in children that makes it difficult to focus up close and can result in eye strain and headaches. Again, the distance vision may be measured to be 20/20 at a school screening, when the problem actually involves the near vision. Usually easily corrected with glasses or contact lenses, excessive farsightedness if left untreated can develop into strabismus (crossed eyes) or amblyopia (lazy eye), in which vision can be permanently reduced. Other common problems are related to binocular vision, or the

ability of the eyes to work together. Proper eye teaming, focusing, and following movements are essential for a child to successfully read a book or the computer screen for extended periods of time. Unfortunately, children with these types of difficulties are often misdiagnosed as having attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A comprehensive eye examination will help lead to the proper diagnosis. Rarer conditions such as eye tumors and retinal disease that often do not produce any symptoms can also be detected during the exam.

Affecting people of all ages, a condition called computer vision syndrome (CVS) is becoming increasingly common due to the ubiquitous and seemingly unavoidable use of computers in today’s world. CVS refers to a host of symptoms ranging from eye strain and headaches to neck and shoulder pains. While you may have 20/20 eyesight at distance, you may have difficulty focusing on the words on a computer screen, particularly after long periods of time. However, with the right pair of glasses prescribed specifically for your computer working distance and some ergonomic enhancements, you can achieve clear, comfortable vision, leading to increased productivity. As we become older, the risk of developing certain eye diseases increases. Many of these produce no symptoms until they

reach the moderate to advanced stages. Glaucoma is one such condition that results in a painless, slowly progressive loss of peripheral vision, eventually leading to blindness. It is usually caused by increased internal eye pressure that causes damage to the optic nerve which carries visual information to the brain. While typically treatable with prescription eye drops, early detection is key, as any damage already incurred is irreversible. Just as the eyes are the “windows to the soul,” they also serve as the windows to our general health. Signs from systemic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are often visible when a dilated eye examination is performed. It is not uncommon for me to be the first one to detect signs from general medical conditions and refer these patients to their primary care physicians for further evaluation. Again, in many of the instances these individuals present to me for a wellness eye examination with no vision complaints. Even in more advanced cases where the vision is actually affected in one eye, they may not notice the poor vision because it is being masked by the good vision in the other eye, which still may be seeing 20/20! In summary, while 20/20 eyesight may generally serve as a good indicator for healthy eyes, it can also give one a false sense of security with regards to a number of eye and vision problems. There is no substitute for a regular comprehensive eye examination by your eye doctor, because most potential vision loss is preventable if the causative condition is detected early. Most recently awarded “Young Optometrist of the Year” by the Texas Optometric Association, Dr. Anthony Tran has published and lectured on a variety of eye care topics. He has served as president of the Dallas County Optometric Society and is the founder and clinical director of CustomEyes Vision Care, 950 E. Belt Line Rd., Ste 190, Cedar Hill. 469-272-3937.




aving lived in the Dallas area since birth and received his education in schools in Oak Cliff and greater Dallas, Mayor David L. Green is quite knowledgeable of the southern Dallas area. At W. H. Adamson High School, he was the proud Regimental Commander in ROTC and in Who’s Who his senior year. In his favorite class, furniture building, David served as an assistant to the teacher and had his own key, enabling him to go to the classroom any time and work. As a result, he won two national awards - the Lumberman’s Award and Ford Foundation Award. He then attended Southern Methodist University where he received a BBA degree with economics as his major. Shortly after graduation he became the SecretaryTreasurer of Dallas Commercial Warehouses, Inc., from which he retired as President and CEO. From 1963 to 1967 he was a commissioned officer with the U.S. Army Reserve. Mayor David has been married for 46 years to Virginia Anne Green, a retired teacher. They met in high school and attended SMU. They have two daughters and four granddaughters. A resident of Duncanville for 27 years, David Green is now serving his third term as Mayor following the election in May 2004. His involvement with city activities started with membership on the Duncanville Planning and Zoning Commission from 1998 to 2001. He served as District 1 council member from May 2001 through March 2004 and was elected Mayor Pro Tem in 2002. When asked what all he did as mayor, he elaborated on many city and out-of-city activities/events. In addition to arranging for cats to be taken out of trees and potholes fixed, he serves on several committees of various associations locally and nationally. He is currently a member of the Transporta-

tion and Infrastructure Steering Committee of the National League of Cities, and serves on the General Government and the Resolutions Committees of The Texas Municipal League. Mayor Green has chaired or been a member of several organizations on the educational level, as well as community and national levels. He is a past Chairman of the ESAA Advisory Committee of the Dallas ISD. He served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce. He is a past Chairman of the Southwest Dallas County Regional Trans-

portation Committee; past Vice Chairman, Dallas Motion Picture Classification Board; and a past member of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors. He was also a past Executive Committee member of the Dallas Regional Mobility Coalition, and the list goes on. In Duncanville he was the President of the Duncanville Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association and was one of the organizers of “Partners for a Safe Duncanville.” He is a member of the Duncanville Chamber of Commerce, Duncanville Rotary Club, and Chair-elect of the Best Southwest

Partnership’s Board of Directors. He received the Duncanville Chambers’ “2007 Man of the Year” Award, and is on the Board of Directors of the Duncanville ISD Education Foundation. Mayor Green became the Chairman of the BSW Chamber Partnership as of January, 2009. Mayor Green served as a Duncanville representative on the Policy Work Group of the Southern Gateway Project, and served on the Joe Pool Lake Planning Council. He served as a member of the Transportation and Communications Policy Committee of the United States Conference of Mayors, and as an Executive Committee Member and Vice-Chairman of the Transit Task Force of TEX-21. He was the founding member of The River of Trade Corridor Coalition. He currently serves on the National Multi-Modal Transportation Steering Committee, and is on the Board of Directors of the North Texas Commission. Recently Mayor Green was among four elected officials to visit Turkey to meet their elected officials, visit educational facilities, and have interchange between Americans and the Turkish people. During the 12-day trip, they visited cities on the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, and Aegean Seas, as well as Istanbul on the Bosphorus Strait. Very active in his church, David Green is past Chairman of Deacons of Cliff Temple Baptist church. In his rare spare time, he writes monthly articles for “Neighbors Go” of The Dallas Morning News. He enjoys going to his lake house at Possum Kingdom Lake, but with all that he does for the city and community he doesn’t have too much time for such relaxation. The mayor comments that “keeping his city beautiful is a point of pride.” He is a member of Keep Duncanville Beautiful where he also is the “Recycle Man.” Mayor Green was the 2nd Place Recipient of the 2008 Keep Texas Beautiful ‘O.P. Schnabel Senior Citizens Award’ given in recognition for his long-term dedication to the principles of Keep Texas Beautiful. (Who knows? If he had worn tights like his predecessor Recycle Man did, the mayor as Recycle Man may have come in first!) Also, as Recycle Man, he and Mother Nature (Dorothy Wolverton) teach five different lesson plans on recycling and litter prevention to the elementary schools in Duncanville.

Comments from the BSW City Managers Jim Baugh’s Comments on the City of DeSoto: The DeSoto City Council directed city staff to hold the line on expenses for FY2009. Staff began the budget process in early spring 2008 and has been very creative in coming up with ways to provide the same or a higher level of service with less. As a result, we were able to present the City Council with a budget that included a 1¢ reduction on the city’s property tax rate with no reductions in services when other cities in North Texas were struggling to balance budgets. Work is progressing nicely on the DeSoto Town Center mixed-use development currently under construction. This project will add 136 residential units, a 4 and ½ level parking garage and more than 37,000 square feet of retail/office space to what was once the parking lot at Town Center. This public/private partnership which is on time and under budget was the recommendation of an extensive study researching ways to spur redevelopment along Hampton Road. In FY2009, we will be developing, in consultation with the business and property owners all along Hampton Road, design standards to insure the urban design work that has been developed for DeSoto Town Center is carried throughout the entire Hampton Road Corridor. There are financial challenges ahead but with careful planning, the future remains bright for DeSoto.

Kent Cagle’s Comments on the City of Duncanville: Duncanville will always be the known as the City of Champions. It is more than a motto; being a champion is at the heart of all that we do. We strive to continually improve the quality of life of our citizens by providing exceptional City services, family friendly community events, quality roads and streets, opportunities for shopping, and beautiful parks. That commitment and Champion spirit is evident in the recognition of the Keep Duncanville Beautiful Board as a 2008 Governor’s Achievement Award Winner, one of the most prestigious annual environmental awards in Texas. Along with the esteem of such an award, Duncanville received a $95,000 grant from the Texas Department of Transportation to construct an entryway sign along Interstate 20 in Duncanville. That grant, along with additional funds from TxDOT for tree plantings, will enhance Duncanville’s well-known beauty. This City of Champions is also well-known for creating an environment that is the perfect blend of family, community and business. With a wide variety of quality housing choices, short commutes to Dallas and Las Colinas employment centers, and a school district with more exemplary rated campuses than any other district south of the Trinity, Duncanville is an excellent place to call home. New business development along State Highway 67 and the recently adopted Main Street Plan will provide additional restaurant, retail, and employment opportunities while underscoring our commitment to the community and our continuing legacy as the City of Champions.

Rickey Childers’ Comments on the City of Lancaster: Lancaster’s future looks bright; the projected growth will bring increased demand. With the International Inland Port of Dallas (IIPOD), Lancaster has the potential to bring in at least 60,000 new jobs which will bring in many new families, businesses and visitors. Our goal is to build a community with a great quality of life and to be known as a preferred place to live and raise a family. Lancaster is on its way to be the premiere city with excellent educational opportunities, attractive corridors and neighborhoods.


eSoto has a new theatre company in town. The African American Repertory Theater is a start-up group vwhose founders Irma P. Hall, Regina Washington, and Vince McGill have a vision to produce engaging, culturallydiverse theatre from an African American perspective. The theater will also provide opportunities for education in performance arts by offering workshops on acting and theater, as well as central African-American history and historical figures. The African American Repertory Theater received an arts grant from the City of DeSoto, and will present their first full-run production of the 2009 Season, “A Raisin in the Sun” by Lorraine Hansberry. It was 1959 that a 28-year-old black woman from Chicago changed American theater forever with her first produced play. The woman was Lorraine Hansberry, and the play was “A Raisin in the Sun.” Taking her title from Langston Hughes’s poem “Harlem,” Miss Hansberry forced both blacks and whites to re-examine the deferred dreams of black America. Miss Hansberry works within the confines of what might be called a kitchen-sink drama, set in a cramped, tri-generational household on the South Side in the 1950s. At the plot level, “Raisin” is about how the Younger family will spend a $10,000 insurance payment it has received after its patriarch’s death – and about whether the family will move into a now affordable new home in a hostile, lily-white neighborhood. But Miss Hansberry’s real drama is the battle for the soul and identity of Walter Lee Younger, the family’s son.

Walter, 35 (played by Vince McGill) is a chauffeur who wants to get rich by opening a liquor store. Without quite realizing it, he oppresses his wife, Ruth, a domestic, and mocks the ambitions of his 20-year-old sister, Beneatha (played by Regina Washington) a fledgling medical student. “I got me a dream,” says Walter early in the play – but his dream is not to be confused with Dr. King’s. What he wants is “things,” and as he tells his horrified mother, Lena, (played by Irma P. Hall, Big Momma from “Soul Food”), is that he no longer regards money merely as a passport to freedom but as the essence of life. In this sense, Walter is not just a black victim of white racism but also a victim of a materialistic American dream that can enslave men or women of any race. What makes “Raisin” so moving is that Walter finally does rise above his misplaced values

to find a new dignity and moral courage, and that he does so with the support of this contentious but always loving family. The African American Repertory Theater will present “A Raisin in the Sun” starring Ms. Irma P. Hall as Mama Younger at the DeSoto Corner Theatre located at Town Center, 211 E. Pleasant Run Road. March 20 through April 12. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays at 3 pm. Tickets are $15 for the matinees and $20 for the evening performances. Special group rates are available. For tickets, call 972.572.0998 or visit their website at The African-American Repertory Theater will continue the 2009 season by offering full productions in July, October, and December of 2009. Kathy Maples Jones is the Community Relations Manager of the City of DeSoto.


ongratulations! Your many years of hard work have paid off, and you are now ready to retire. Before you get ready to bask in the glow of one of your greatest accomplishments, you must decide where to spend your retirement years. This may seem overwhelming, but with simple planning you can find the perfect retirement destination. The first step is to evaluate the most important factors influencing your selection of a retirement destination. For example, do you want to be close to friends or family?

Or, do you want to settle someplace new where you can make new friends? You should also take into consideration the cost of living of the city and state in which you want to retire. Some states, such as Texas, do not have a state income tax, which can help stretch your retirement income. When it comes to housing, seek a community with many options. You might start your retirement years living independently, and later prefer an environment that offers more support. A city that has active retirement communities along with assisted living facilities or hospitals might be a good choice for your

changing needs. Other important considerations include climate, work and volunteer options, as well as recreational opportunities.

A Changing Community

Like all communities, Duncanville has changed over the years. In years past, Duncanville was affectionately known as the “The Superb Suburb” and “The City of Champions.” In recent years Duncanville has proudly promoted itself as “The Perfect Blend of Family, Community, and Business.” In March of 2007, the City of Duncanville was one of the first cities in the State

of Texas to become a Certified Retirement Community. As a result, many are discovering that Duncanville is also “The Perfect Blend for Retirement.�


The Go TEXAN Certified Retirement Community Program is a relatively new initiative from the Texas Department of Agriculture to promote Texas cities as retirement destinations to potential retirees, both in and outside of Texas. Any community in Texas wanting to showcase itself as a retirement location and a tourism destination is eligible to apply. At the request of Councilman Ken Weaver, the Duncanville City Council first discussed the possibility of becoming a Certified Retirement Community (CRC) during its 2005 annual retreat. Weaver continued to champion this issue into 2006. To become a Certified Retirement Community, the City of Duncanville had to submit an extremely comprehensive application. Following nearly 500 hours of preparation, the application was submitted on January 16, 2007. On March 15, 2007 the City received word that its application was approved, making Duncanville the fourth recipient of the CRC designation. To date, twenty-two communities have received the designation.

Duncanville as a Retirement Destination

Without a doubt, Duncanville has many attributes that are important to retirees, such as excellent services, quality infrastructure, positive growth, a hospitable community, housing values, and opportunities for civic involvement. Duncanville is also a community where public safety is of the utmost concern, offering high quality police and fire departments. Its close proximity to quality medical facilities appeals to those who appreciate a wide variety of choices when evaluating their physician and pharmaceutical options. Equally important are the established benefits of the surrounding Best Southwest area and the State of Texas. Being centrally located in the DFW Metroplex allows Duncanville residents to access and enjoy urban amenities without sacrificing the quality of life found in a smaller town. Here residents are able to support quality local theater while living just a short drive away from one of the finest symphony halls in the world. Duncanville residents are also able to support their nationally renowned Duncanville ISD athletic programs as they win district and state titles, while supporting six professional sports teams as they win Super Bowls and Stanley Cups. These factors and more add to the appeal of Duncanville as a retirement destination.

Looking Ahead

While excited about receiving the CRC designation, the Duncanville City Council realizes that much work remains. As part of its long-term plan, an oversight committee was appointed to insure short and long-term program goals are met so that Duncanville remains a community where retirees will enjoy life to the fullest. For more information, visit www. Jeanne Fralicks-Heard is the Assistant City Manager of the City of Duncanville.

Lifestyles #12  

A community magazine for the Southern Dallas area