July 29, 2014

  • Highland Park to Spray For Mosquitoes


    OK, Highland Park, it’s your turn. The town will be spraying for mosquitoes (mainly in quadrant D) starting tonight through tomorrow morning. None of the mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile Virus, but the total number of mosquitoes found in quadrant D has reached the treatable threshold set by the town. Here’s the official schedule:

    •  Tuesday, July 29th: 8:00 PM-10:00 PM: Highland Park Pool area and unoccupied tennis courts
    •  Tuesday, July 29th: 10:00 PM-5:00 AM: Truck mounted ground spraying in Quadrant D only
    •  Wednesday, July 30th: 8:00 PM-10:00 PM: Highland Park Pool area and unoccupied tennis courts
    •  Wednesday, July 30th: 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM: Truck mounted ground spraying in Quadrant D only 

    If there’s rain or high winds, the spraying will be rescheduled. Stay inside during spraying, and clean out water dishes for pets afterward. Limit outdoor activities in the evening, use mosquito spray when you must be outside, and report any standing water to the town at 214-521-4161. Read more here.


    By Sarah Bennett Jul. 29, 2014 | 11:07 am | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • Glamping for a Cause


    Mockingbird Station is partnering with fashion blogger Katey McFarlan, founder of Chronicles of Frivolity, to celebrate the great indoors at the People’s Last Stand on August 14 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

    A $5 donation to the Girl Scouts of America gets you into the event, which will feature cocktails, HotPoppin Gourmet S’mores Popcorn, up-dos by Pouf, and various pop-up shops and giveaways.

    Visit the event’s website for more information and to RSVP.

    By Claire Kelley Jul. 29, 2014 | 9:57 am | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • Amy Bloom Comes to ‘Listen UP’

    They say don't judge a book by it's cover, but this one sure is beautiful.

    They say don’t judge a book by it’s cover, but this one sure is beautiful.

    This one sounds good. Amy Bloom will speak at the next installment of University Park Public Library’s “Listen UP” series about her book, Lucky Us, on Aug. 12.

    The book details two sisters’ journey from small-town Ohio in the 1940s to Hollywood.

    As always, the free event takes place at the library at 7 p.m. But if you’d like to pay $30 — which includes a copy of the book — and attend a reception at 6 p.m., make your reservations here or call (214) 523-2240.

    You can buy a book and get it signed afterward.

    By Sarah Bennett Jul. 29, 2014 | 8:00 am | No Comments | Comments RSS

    July 28, 2014

  • Looney Strikes With More Postseason Awards

    Layne Looney was dominant this season. Everyone seems to agree. (Photo: Kate Simone)

    Layne Looney was dominant this season. Everyone seems to agree. (Photo: Kate Simone)

    The accolades continue to accumulate following the outstanding season for Highland Park pitcher Layne Looney, who has been named as a first-team all-state selection by the Texas Sports Writers Association.

    He also received first-team honors earlier this summer from the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association, and was named to the MaxPreps Underclass All-America team. Looney was named the MVP of District 10-4A for leading HP to a runner-up finish in the league.

    During his junior season, Looney posted a 12-0 record with a 0.53 earned-run average and 119 strikeouts. He also led the Scots with a .370 batting average.

    By Todd Jorgenson Jul. 28, 2014 | 5:38 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • HPISD Educators Honored With Scholarships

    From left,

    From left, Elyse Griffin, Wanda Spoonmore, and Leesa Cole at the recent DKG luncheon in Dallas

    The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International recently awarded scholarships to Highland Park ISD educators Leesa Cole and Elyse Griffin. The society aims to promote the personal and professional growth of its members, who are all female educators.

    Cole is the library media specialist at McCulloch Intermediate School and a 24-year DKG member. She has received $1,000 scholarships from the DKG Dallas County Coordinating Council in each of the past two years.

    Griffin previously taught third grade at Armstrong Elementary School, and this fall will teach fifth-grade math at McCulloch Intermediate School. She is a four-year DKG member and has received $9,000 worth of scholarships since 2013.

    Both are members of the Delta Omicron chapter of DKG, for which retired HPISD teacher Wanda Spoonmore is president. Spoonmore taught eighth-grade algebra in HPISD for 36 years and has been a DKG member for 50 years.

    By Todd Jorgenson Jul. 28, 2014 | 4:52 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • 4200 Block of Mockingbird Closed Tomorrow


    Tomorrow, the 4200 block of Mockingbird Lane will be closed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for repairs. Detour signs will let you know where to go, as the repair area is bounded by Preston Road and Douglas Avenue. Drivers are encouraged to take Douglas Avenue to Beverly Drive, Beverly Drive to Preston road, and Preston Road to Mockingbird Lane to avoid the area. This is only for eastbound drivers — westbound will not be affected.

    By Sarah Bennett Jul. 28, 2014 | 11:13 am | No Comments | Comments RSS

    July 27, 2014

  • Thwaites to Melt Teen Hearts at NorthPark

    the-giver-posterOK, teenage girls, get your best screams ready. Australian actor Brenton Thwaites, the young star of the upcoming movie The Giver, will make a public appearance at NorthPark Center on Monday.

    Thwaites will appear at something called the “Color Party,” which will include a scavenger hunt, a question-and-answer session, and a VIP autograph signing. The whole thing runs from 4-6 p.m. on the first floor of the mall, between Nordstrom and Macy’s.

    The Giver, which is based on the popular young-adult novel of the same name, also stars Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges. It will be in theaters on Aug. 15.

    By Todd Jorgenson Jul. 27, 2014 | 3:25 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS

    July 26, 2014

  • Wine Getaway Makes Great Weekend

    A couple relaxes at Becker Vineyards in Stonewall, Texas. (Photo: Elizabeth Ygartua)

    A couple relaxes at Becker Vineyards in Stonewall, Texas. (Photo: Elizabeth Ygartua)

    As soon as the thermometer in my car started reading 90 degrees, I was ready to flee Dallas — and quickly. After a 4.5-hour drive, and a friend and I were cooling off with local wine in Fredericksburg, where boutiques have been transformed into wine stores and restaurants feature local vintages.

    In the past 20 years, the area has become home to a flourishing wine community, particularly along U.S. Highway 290. Check wineroad290.com to see if your visit corresponds with monthly restaurant-winery pair-up events hosted by a collective of 13 of the wineries along the road.

    Server Ellie Crabtree started as a wine club member, before starting working at Perdenales in February. (Staff photo: Elizabeth Ygartua)

    Server Ellie Crabtree started as a wine club member, before starting working at Perdenales in February. (Photo: Elizabeth Ygartua)

    We started at Pedernales Cellars at 10 a.m. on a Saturday, which may sound early, but the lesson of the turtle and the hare applies when one is spending the day tasting wines.

    “We want people to enjoy themselves, but this is not a bar,” said tasting room manager Mike Igo.

    I don’t know much about wine. I know when I like something, and when I don’t. Luckily Pedernales was serving up plenty of “edutainment,” which starts with hiring people who know and love wine, Igo said.

    The tasting menu is changed monthly and features both reds and whites. Don’t expect a California wine, said Igo, who once lived and worked there.

    Soil differences in the Hill Country produce more Spanish-style grapes including Grenaches and Tempranillos. Many wines on Pedernales’ menu and at the other wineries are blends of estate grapes and grapes from the Texas High Plains near Lubbock.

    After lunch in Fredericksburg at a wonderful place called Vaudeville, we went to Becker Vineyards, one of the oldest and most established vineyards in the area. Becker also grows fields of lavender in addition to acres of grapes. A $12 tasting buys you 6 tickets and a souvenir wine glass.

    We split our tastings and managed to try 12 wines. Our favorite was a perfectly refreshing 2012 Fleur Sauvage, a white blend with a hint of grapefruit. A close second was a 2012 Reserve Chardonnay that had hints of lavender and honey and which tasted like a garden in my mouth. 

    Becker also aims to entertain and educate, offering free hourly tours on weekends of the winery that cover its history and process.

    Our last stop along the road was at Hilmy Cellars, which is also a working farm and much newer than both Pedernales and Becker. Hilmy aims to have its first estate harvest in the next 14 months. Their wines didn’t show the maturity of those at the other two wineries, but it was still enjoyable.

    If it’s still too hot for your taste to visit the Hill Country this August, wait until October, aka Texas Wine Month. It’s sure to be a smash.

    This column appears in the August edition of Park Cities People, on stands now.

    By Elizabeth Ygartua Jul. 26, 2014 | 10:00 am | 1 Comment | Comments RSS

    July 25, 2014

  • Youngsters Take Love of Gaming to Next Level

    Eli Hoff, 9, right, and Dasch Gorcyca, 6, use their imagination to create video games during a summer class at Armstrong Elementary School. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

    Eli Hoff, 9, right, and Dasch Gorcyca, 6, use their imagination to create video games during a summer class at Armstrong Elementary School. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

    The final day of the Highland Park ISD summer game-design class gives precocious young video-game designers a chance to showcase their creation to their classmates.

    Then comes the best part for just about any kid under age 13. They get to play.

    That combination makes the class one of the most popular in the summer catalog for the HPISD Academy of Lifelong Learning. After all, what video-game aficionado wouldn’t want to combine their favorite classic gaming elements with their own imagination?

    “I love video games and I wanted to make my own,” said 6-year-old Dasch Gorcyca. “I knew I would make a good one, which I did.”

    The weeklong class teaches coding and programming skills with the goal of producing a PC platform game in the classic Mario Bros. vein, using a library with a variety of bricks, ladders, coins and heroes, along with villains such as ghosts and creatures.

    “We start them off easy, and then we introduce coding and make it more difficult,” said course instructor Adrian Sanchez. “Once the games are playable, they start to go on their own.”

    The class is one of dozens that HPISD offered for local kids during the summer — mostly in the areas of science, technology and art.

    “We try to identify things that students would be interested in doing during the summer,” said Jan Doggett, the Academy for Lifelong Learning program coordinator. “They’re all fun things that they don’t have a chance to do during the school year.”CM_Camp 6

    Sanchez is the owner of 8-Bit Education, a Dallas company that specializes in web design and robotics classes for kids. He said the concepts in the game-design class are simpler than most people think.

    “We give them a lot of freedom,” Sanchez said. “To see what they can build and the variety of games you can get, no two of them are the same.”

    At the end of the class, Sanchez saves a version of each student’s game on a flash drive for them to take home and show friends or siblings.

    For David Jiang, 12, that will mean the opportunity to tempt players with “The Impossible Game” and its tricky bonus level.

    “If you don’t know how to do it, then it’s impossible,” he said.

    This story appears in the August edition of Park Cities People, on stands now.

    By Todd Jorgenson Jul. 25, 2014 | 10:00 am | No Comments | Comments RSS

  • Park Cities to Get Jiggy With GigaPower

    The name might be a little dorky, but GigaPower is coming to the Park Cities.

    Highland Park and University Park are among the first locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area scheduled to get the latest high-speed Internet innovation from Dallas-based AT&T later this summer. There are no specifics on costs or restrictions yet, of course.

    The connection is part of the company’s fiber-optic U-Verse network, and is supposed to increase Internet speeds to 1 gigabyte per second, which means you can access parkcitiespeople.com that much faster. At least that’s what we assume you’ll be doing.

    The service already has launched in Austin and is slated for more municipalities through the rest of this year, as this map shows. Along with Dallas-Fort Worth, it looks like Raleigh and Winston-Salem, N.C., are up next.

    By Todd Jorgenson Jul. 25, 2014 | 9:22 am | No Comments | Comments RSS
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