Volunteers needed for Jan. 25 homeless count

Posted Dec. 28, 2017

On Jan. 25, the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition will lead the community’s Point In Time Count, an annual census of the homeless in Tarrant and Parker counties. Volunteers are needed as Fort Worth joins communities across the nation to count the homeless during the last 10 days of January.

TCHC coordinates the census and survey of the homeless not only to fulfill federal requirements for funding for a variety of homeless housing and supportive services, but also to understand changing trends, the extent and nature of homelessness. The data will also assist in measuring the degree of success in ending homelessness.

This is the 10th census of the homeless.

Here is the report from the last count.


Get involved

On Jan. 25, volunteers will gather at 7 p.m. and deploy from locations in Fort Worth, Arlington, northeast Tarrant County and Weatherford. The count should conclude by about 1 a.m.

To assure the most accurate count with no duplicate counting, the count will be conducted late at night after emergency shelters have closed intake and unsheltered homeless people will begin retiring to their campsites or other outdoor locations.

To learn more, call 817-509-3635 or sign up to volunteer online.

Warning: your water bill is going up.

Now would be a great time to fix dripping faucets or other little leaks that add to your water bill.

Water, sewer rates changing in January

Posted Dec. 27, 2017 — Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, average Fort Worth residential customers will see a $3.31 monthly increase in their combined water and sewer bill.

With the changes, the average customer will pay about $2.09 a day for water and sewer service. The complete list of current 2017 water rates and future 2018 rates is available online.

The changes to both water and sewer rates affect both the fixed monthly charge, which is based on meter size, and the volume rates. There is a small decrease in volume rates for some classes or tiers within classes.

For residential water customers, the rates for the first tier remain the same as the current rate, while the rates for the other three tiers increase. The adopted rates continue the multiyear plan to adjust the fixed/variable revenue ratio to improve revenue stability. This results in an increase in the water monthly service charge for all customers and an increase in the sewer monthly service charge for all but those with the two smallest meter sizes. These smaller sizes are primarily on residential accounts.

The Water Department’s FY2018 water and sewer budget is $19,349,105, or 4.5 percent more than the FY2017 budget. The categories with the largest increases are cash financing of capital projects and debt service, personnel and contractual costs, professional services, vehicle and equipment purchases, transfers to the General Fund, residential meters and chemical purchases.

The city’s growth and maintenance on aging water and wastewater facilities are factors for the increases in several categories.

Water, sewer lines to be replaced in West Meadowbrook neighborhood

Posted Dec. 22, 2017 — The city’s Water Department is hosting a community meeting to inform residents about water and sewer line replacement in the West Meadowbrook area. Affected streets, alleys and easements include:

  • Avenue G from Collard Street to South Ayers Avenue.
  • Avenue H from Bishop Street to Little Street.
  • Haynes Avenue from Hawlet Street to East Lancaster Avenue.
  • Alley between Avenue G and East Rosedale Street from South Collard Street to South Ayers Avenue.
  • Alley between Avenue H and Avenue G from South Ayers Avenue to Wallace Street.
  • Easement between Clairemont Avenue and Haynes Avenue from Hampshire Boulevard to Hawlet Street.
  • Easement between Haynes Avenue and South Perkins Street from Panola Avenue to Hampshire Boulevard.


Some of these utility lines were identified as lead service lines. The lead pipe is on the city side and not the customer’s lines to homes.

Make plans to attend the meeting to find out about the project and impacts to residents. The meeting is planned for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 8 at the Sycamore Community Center, 2525 E. Rosedale St.

To learn more about the project, contact Chris Underwood at 817-392-2629.

City Council votes to update smoking ordinance – No smoking in bars and bingo parlors

The City Council approved an ordinance that prohibits smoking in bars and bingo parlors as well as prohibiting retail smoke shops within 300 feet of schools, universities and hospitals.

“Fort Worth joins all other major Texas cities in going smoke-free,” Mayor Betsy Price said. “Fort Worth has made great strides in health and wellness, with many of our initiatives receiving national attention. The adoption of this ordinance, which will go into effect in 90 days, is another step forward in creating a healthier environment for all of Fort Worth — from workers to patrons, musicians to expecting mothers.”

This was the first update to the city’s smoking ordinance since 2008. The new law also governs the use of e-cigarettes in prohibited locations.

The new ordinance continues to allow smoking in outdoor dining areas and patios of public places as long as the area is at least 20 feet from entrances and exits. Smoking in private clubs will still be allowed.

The new ordinance prohibits retail smoke shops within 300 feet of schools, universities and hospitals. A retail smoke shop is defined as a business that earns 90 percent of its gross annual sales from tobacco, smoking and e-cigarette products.

Smoking in cigar lounges, defined as a business that earns 30 percent of its gross annual sales from cigars and cigar accessories, will be allowed.

The updated ordinance goes into effect March 12, 2018.

Good Guys in Green

Downtown Ambassadors' first 30 days are productive

The Downtown Ambassadors can be seen all over downtown as they assist residents and visitors. (Photo by Glen Ellman)

On the streets for just over a month now, the Downtown Ambassadors already are making an impact on hospitality and safety in the central business district.

Downtown Fort Worth Inc. (DFWI) added Downtown Ambassadors to the services provided by the Downtown Public Improvement District (PID). The Ambassadors circulate throughout downtown in their vibrant green pickup, on foot, on bicycles and on Segways to help visitors, create a friendly and welcoming environment and add extra eyes and ears on the street.

In their first 30 days on the job, the ambassadors have:

  •  Made 190 business contacts.
  •  Reported 394 cases of graffiti and stickers.
  •  Provided hospitality assists to 2,864 residents and visitors.
  •  Provided 14 safety escorts.
  •  Reached out to homeless people 12 times.
  •  Assisted motorists 41 times.


To fund the program, the City Council in September approved a downtown PID assessment rate increase from 10 cents per $100 of value on taxable downtown properties to 12.5 cents. DFWI manages the PID and has been working with downtown property owners for nearly a year to develop this new program.

The crew is on duty downtown from 7 a.m.-midnight, seven days a week. Contact the on-duty supervisor at 817-484-3723.

Share your visions for the new Eastside Library

Posted Dec. 18, 2017 – Fort Worth is building a new public library at 3851 E. Lancaster Ave. This location will feature services, programs, books, movies and music that meet the needs of children, teenagers and their families.

Your input is needed on design features of this new public space.

Take the city survey now.


 This Eastside children's library has been on the drawing board for well over ten years, as a priority project for East Fort Worth Business Association, lead by Wanda Conlin, West Meadowbrook Neighborhood Association, and Meadowbrook United Methodist Church.

Meadowbrook United Methodist Church sold a parcel of land they owned to the city to move this project forward.

The ideas for this Library were submitted long before the regional library was built on Bridge Street. This new library is part of the Bond package.

Please take a few minutes to take the City's 7 question, multiple choice survey. The more input they have, the better this Library will be for children and their families for years to come. Get involved!

Donation funds new playground equipment at Bunche Park in Stop Six

District 5 Councilmember Gyna Bivens, third from left,
 joins representatives of North Texas Healthy Communities,
CBS EcoMedia and Blue Zones Project Fort Worth to accept
a donation for new playground equipment at Bunche Park.


A redeveloped Bunche Park in Stop Six will include new playground and fitness equipment designed for children and adult residents.

North Texas Healthy Communities, a nonprofit organization that is part of Texas Health Resources, in partnership with CBS EcoMedia and Blue Zones Project Fort Worth, donated $86,768 to buy and install playground and fitness equipment in Bunche Park, 5600 Ramey Ave.

The donation supports the tenets of the Blue Zones Project of moving naturally, encouraging social connection and putting families first. The equipment will provide children and adult residents of Stop Six with new ways to improve their health and well-being, fulfilling the missions of North Texas Healthy Communities and Blue Zones.

The equipment is a specially designed set of low-medium-high-degree exercise units. The equipment addresses the physical, cognitive and socialization exercises needed to perform everyday life activities for children and seniors.

Playground installation is scheduled to be completed in August 2018.

Additional land acquired
for Mosier Valley Park

An additional acre of land has been acquired to build a park that will serve the Mosier Valley community.

The City Council voted to acquire an additional acre of land to expand a city park in Mosier Valley, the historic community where the first freed Texans settled after news of the Emancipation Proclamation spread across the nation.

Mosier Valley Park is currently under construction. Amenities will include a playground, trails, shelter, benches, picnic tables, multiuse court and security lighting. The park will be accessible to the neighborhood and have an interpretive commemoration or historical designation area.

The city will pay $73,120 plus closing costs for the additional land at 11304 Mosier Valley Road.

“The establishment of Mosier Valley Park has been a wonderful vehicle that is unifying the community,” District 5 Councilmember Gyna M. Bivens said. “I will never forget the outdoor meeting we convened to show the community how they could participate in acquiring displays to be used at the park. I was literally blown away when we had a formal community meeting. Within 15 minutes, the crowd was at capacity, filling every seat at the historic St. John Missionary Baptist Church. We knew we were on the right track.”

“I commend city Park & Recreation workers who have embraced this project with respect and sensitivity,” Bivens said. “Considering the fact this location is where the first freed slaves settled in Texas, I am confident it will be one of the state of Texas’ destination spots.”

Mosier Valley was established in the 1870s on the north bank of the Trinity River just south of Hurst, Euless and Bedford, according to the Texas State Historical Association. It was founded by Robert and Dilsie Johnson and 10 other emancipated slave families.

Trinity River bottomland was given and sold to the freedmen by the Mosier and Lee plantation families, and the families established a close-knit farming community.

The heyday of Mosier Valley was from about 1910 through the 1930s. During this time it reached its peak population of perhaps 300. The area was annexed by Fort Worth in 1963.

In 2014, the City Council approved acquiring about four acres of land on the south side of Mosier Valley Road and west of Vine Street and Knapp Street from the Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District and Tarrant County to build Mosier Valley Park.

Do You Need This Kind of Friend?

“The Lord is my shepherd…” so begins the twenty-third Psalm, one of the most familiar and beloved passages in the entire Bible.  It is a short psalm, only six verses, but in it David paints a vivid and powerful portrait, with a message that is both calming and reassuring.

“I shall not want… green pastures…. quiet waters… paths of righteousness…” – beautiful images of peace and security flood the mind.  Surely, you may think, this is too good to be true!  But then reality rears its ugly head, and David speaks of walking “through the valley of the shadow of death.”  Note however, that even here he says, “I will fear no evil, for You are with me.”  Then he concludes with the confident assertion, “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Wish you could have the same confidence and assurance as David?  Well, here is the good news (gospel), you can!  It is Jesus Christ who said, “I am the good shepherd,” adding, “the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).  By His death on the cross He “put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Hebrews 9:26).  You see, all our desires for security and peace, both now and in eternity, are bound up in Him!


Renee Higginbotham-Brooks

5601 Bridge Street, Suite 300, Fort Worth, TX 76112

(817) 334-0106 office


email: brooks99@sbcglobal.net

Over 30 years experience in:

• Auto Accidents, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death

• Wills, Trusts, Power of Attorney

• Probate Administration

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