He probably had more pressing things on his mind — such as how in the world the Mavericks can beat the San Antonio Spurs in a first-round playoff series that begins Sunday — but Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle took time out from his busy week to visit the Hyer Dads Club on Tuesday.
During the breakfast, Carlisle (a University Park resident, by the way) gave students a motivational speech and answered their questions. The Dads Club showed its appreciation by donating $500 to Carlisle’s charity of choice, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
April 19, 2014
Age isn’t slowing down two Park Cities residents who sprinted to gold medals this month at the Texas Senior Olympics in San Antonio.
University Park attorney Ken Raggio won the 400 meters in the men’s 65-69 age group. He also was the runner-up in the 800 meters and placed third in the 1,500. Hand surgeon Paul Ellis was second in the 200 meters in the men’s 60-64 age group.
Both men qualified for the 2015 National Senior Olympics in Minneapolis, which will include about 13,000 athletes 50 and over competing in 18 sports.
It will be Raggio’s fifth appearance at the national meet, having medaled in three different events in the past.
“All of us need goals to motivate us to exercise and try to stay fit,” he said. “Now we have an incentive stretching into next year.”
Meanwhile, Ellis has been training with his daughter Becka, who is a former track standout at Highland Park High School.
April 18, 2014
At it turns 20 years old, the Highland Park High School softball program is finally growing up.
Just four years removed from having only 10 players in the program, the Lady Scots have enjoyed the best season in their history this spring.
And even if it doesn’t end with HP reaching the playoffs following tonight’s season finale against Carrollton Newman Smith, there are signs to suggest that the future is bright for a team that has long been considered an afterthought.
“This is the closest we’ve ever been,” said HP head coach Meredith Townsend. “It makes practice a whole heck of a lot easier. They’re more motivated to work hard in practice.”
When Townsend arrived at HP four years ago, she had to generate interest in the sport before she even began working on skills. Now, those efforts are starting to pay off, thanks in part to a promising group of underclassmen.
The Lady Scots reached a couple of milestones earlier this spring. They set a new school record for victories on March 25 against Carrollton Newman Smith, then rallied to upset perennial powerhouse Forney a week later. HP also clinched its first winning season.
“Beating Forney was a huge confidence builder for us,” Townsend said. “We’re very young, so I think we’ve always battled that. This year we’re finally feeling more comfortable.”
This year, the team has just one senior starting in the field — third baseman Ginna Klein — and its infield is comprised almost entirely of freshmen and sophomores. Among the team’s top sophomores are pitcher Katie Bell, catcher Rennie Orr, and second baseman Sunny Bowden.
The team has improved both at the plate and in the field, and Bell is among the leaders in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in strikeouts.
“Her issue last year was walks,” Townsend said of Bell. “She has great speed, but she didn’t have a lot of control. If she develops a third pitch, I think she’s going to be really hard to handle.”
Eight of the nine HP starters are expected to return next year. Besides a core group that has played together during the offseason, Townsend also is encouraged by her JV team, which has a winning record in district play.
“They’ve been working really hard, and I think they’re finally putting it together,” Townsend said. “It’s good to see some progress.”
The Highland Park ISD Board of Trustees has scheduled another workshop regarding the district’s master facilities plan, i.e. “where the heck are we gonna put all these kids?” Usually, such meetings happen in the board room at the Administration Building, which comfortably holds the trustees and only a few other people. But this one, which is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. on Monday, will happen in the 5/6 Assembly Room at McCulloch Intermediate School.
Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan guest edited this week’s edition of the Highland Park News, a paper covering his hometown in suburban Chicago. This sounds like a great idea. Which celebrity with Park Cities ties wants to take over here for a few weeks so Todd and I can recharge our batteries?
April 17, 2014
The team members, who have been together since third grade at University Park Elementary, have been working on their challenge solution for most of the school year. They chose the scientific challenge — “Going to Extremes” — in which teams were asked to create an extreme environment and present a story about characters attempting to adapt to conditions in order to survive there. They were also asked to design and create a prototype of “extreme gear” and to explain the technical methods, research, and science they used to create it. In addition, the team also had to solve an unknown challenge on the spot.
Competitors are required to do all aspects of the challenges by themselves with a tight budget and without interference from adults and non-team members.
Well, we now know of another twirler who’s waiting in the wings.
Heather Skidmore, a sixth-grader at McCulloch Intermediate School, recently competed at the NBTA Southwest Regional Baton Twirling Championships in Canyon, Texas. She brought home honors as the Solo and Fancy X-Strut winner in the 10-12 Advanced Division. Heather, who twirls under the direction of Dory O’Neal, is also the 10-12 Beginner 3-Baton champion.
This week marks the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, and one local business has decided to make a fashion statement for a good cause.
The PilatesBarre, which has locations in Snider Plaza and Devonshire, has introduced “Boston Strong” tank tops, which it is selling for $35 apiece. All of the proceeds will go to Staches for Boston PD, a nonprofit started by Dallas runners that benefits first responders in Boston.
The project has special meaning for Randi, one of the Pilates instructors at the club, who will run in this year’s marathon on Monday in Boston.
The camouflage tanks are available now at both PilatesBarre locations.
April 16, 2014
The University Park City Council recognized retiring city manager Bob Livingston at its meeting on Tuesday with a standing ovation and a proclamation honoring his 23 years of service to the city.
Livingston’s final day at UP will be April 29, meaning Tuesday was his final council meeting. Robbie Corder, who took over as assistant city manager last summer, will assume the city manager post on April 30.
“It’s been the greatest place to work,” Livingston said. “I really appreciate the opportunity.”
Livingston also will be honored at a public reception from 2 to 4 p.m. on April 25 at Highland Park Presbyterian Church.
The council also recognized outgoing city secretary Liz Spector, who likewise is leaving at the end of the month. She will be replaced by current UP purchasing agent Christine Green.
The Highland Park Literary Festival wrapped up with an awards breakfast on April 10 that honored winners of the festival’s “Write Your World” student writing contest. Top prizes went to:
- Fiction — Sarah Grace Forbes (first place), Keely Brown (second place), Hannah Kubik (honorable mention)
- Creative nonfiction — George Abuhamad (first place), Kimberly Sun (second place), Yingfan Du (honorable mention)
- Poetry — Chloe Sarfatis (first place), Christine Ramjee (second place), Lindsey Elliott (honorable mention)
The bulk of the festival took place in late February, including an appearance by keynote speaker Mark Salzman and more than 20 other poets, playwrights, journalists, and songwriters. More than 50 HPHS students participated in an “open mic night” by performing poetry and music.