Water use is up this year

Many Fort Worth water customers are probably seeing higher bills, and the reason is simple: they’re using more water.

Fort Worth reports an 11 percent increase in usage for its system, which includes 30 surrounding communities. The other entities comprise 30-35 percent of overall system water use each year.

From January through June, system water use totals just over 3 billion gallons more than during the same period in 2016. The highest daily usage so far this year was 243.5 million gallons on June 21. That is well below the all-time record of 368 million gallons on Aug. 3, 2011.

“Weather plays a significant role in water use, especially in summer,” said Interim Water Director Kara Shuror. “Water use rises with the temperature, but all it takes is overcast skies for usage to drop. When it does rain, water use really plummets.”

Even though Fort Worth’s water supply lakes are almost full, Shuror reminded customers that each location has assigned watering days. The City Council adopted the year-round, twice-per-week schedule in 2014.

Reduce your consumption

There are steps customers can take to lower water use:

  • Experts say deep and infrequent watering is the key to having a healthy lawn. All it takes is one inch of water every week.
  • Customers in homes built before 1994 can apply to receive up to two free, ultra-low-flow toilets that use less than half the amount of water per flush.
  • Only washing full loads of laundry or dishes, turning the water off while brushing your teeth or shaving and taking shorter showers all add up to lower water use.

Visit the Save Fort Worth Water website to learn about the Smart Irrigation and Smart Flush programs and other water-saving tips.

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Traffic-calming devices to be installed at River Trails Elementary School

Students returning to River Trails Elementary this fall will have a safer walk to school.

City of Fort Worth Transportation & Public Works crews are finalizing plans to install eight dynamic signs, which will help slow traffic while flashing the speed of vehicles as they approach.

“Children have been struck by motorists who failed to obey the required speed limit in the school zone,” Councilmember Gyna Bivens said. “Thanks to Bob Horton, we were made aware that there had was a need for traffic calming at this HEB ISD school for years.”

Horton, immediate past president of the Randol Mill Valley Alliance, recently urged city council members act on the need for traffic calming around the school.

Sam Werschky, assistant director of Transportation & Public Works, has directed city crews to have the new devices in place before the school year begins. “Installing these dynamic signs will dramatically improve safety conditions as the children walk from their homes to the school, as well as those being dropped off,” Werschky said. “There is nothing more important than focusing on the safety of our children.”

The location will have standard school zone flashing beacons, along with driver speed feedback signs on the same pole. The flashing beacons will operate on school days during school arrival and departure times, while the driver speed feedback signs will operate 24 hours a day, every day.

The school, at 8850 Elbe Trail, is in Council District 5.

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Grant will help veterans with housing, utility needs

Fort Worth will receive a $300,000 grant from the Texas Veterans Commission to implement the Forward Home veteran assistance program. Fort Worth’s Community Action Partners program, part of the Neighborhood Services Department, will administer the program.

The Forward Home grant will help Tarrant County veterans and their families by providing them with one-time rental/mortgage and utility payments, and up to five months of payment in arrears, to prevent homelessness. Veterans will be screened to determine their eligibility for other programs administered by Community Action Partners.

“We are elated to be able to administer the Forward Home veteran assistance program,” said Sonia Singleton, assistant director of Neighborhood Services. “The program is unique, because at the time we completed the grant, there were no other programs in the area that provided financial assistance to all veterans and their families regardless of era, branch of service, duty status and specific character of discharge.”

Learn more about the Forward Home program by contacting Singleton at 817-392-5774.

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Keep kids safe from the dangers of hot cars

Triple-digit temperatures have arrived in North Texas and, tragically, so has one of the hazards of summer — kids in hot cars. So far this year, seven children have died in hot cars in Texas.

Consider these statistics:

  • On average, 37 children die across the U.S. from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside vehicles.
  • 87 percent of these deaths are children under 3.
  • 55 percent of these children were left in the car unknowingly; 28 percent got into an unlocked car.
  • Even with windows cracked, the interior temperature in a car can get to 125 degrees F in minutes.
  • Even the best parents or caregivers can unknowingly leave a sleeping baby in a car. The end result can be injury or death.

Here are some tips to help keep kids safe:

  • Create a reminder to check the back seat.
  • Put something you’ll need, like your cell phone, handbag, employee ID or brief case, in the back seat so that you have to open the back door to retrieve that item every time you park.
  • Keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat. When the child is placed in the car seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat. It’s a visual reminder that the child is in the back seat.
  • Keep car keys and remote openers out of reach of children.
  • Use technology. Apps like WAZE have child reminders when you arrive at your destination.

If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. Call 9-1-1 immediately. If the child seems hot or sick, get them out of the vehicle as quickly as possible.

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City Council releases meeting schedule for summer

City Council has set its summer calendar, announcing that work sessions and city council meetings will be canceled for several weeks.

The summer calendar:

  • June 27: Work session and City Council meeting canceled.
  • July 4: City offices closed for Independence Day holiday. Work session and City Council meeting canceled.
  • July 11: Work session and City Council meeting canceled.
  • July 18: Work session and City Council meeting canceled.
  • July 25: Work session and City Council meeting canceled.
  • Aug. 1: Work session, 3 p.m. (city manager’s presentation of capital budget); City Council, 7 p.m.
  • Aug. 8: Work session and City Council meeting canceled.
  • Aug. 15: Work session, 3 p.m. (city manager’s presentation of operating budget); City Council, 7 p.m.
  • Aug. 17: Budget work session (time to be announced).
  • Aug. 18: Budget work session (time to be announced).
  • Aug. 22: Work session and City Council meeting canceled.
  • Aug. 29: Work session, 3 p.m., City Council, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 4.: City offices closed for Labor Day holiday.
  • Sept. 5: Work session and City Council meeting canceled.

While a number of work sessions and city council meetings will be canceled, all city services will be available, and all meetings for boards, commissions and committees will be held as scheduled, unless otherwise noted.

For any other updates, check the calendar on the city’s website.

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More pets get lost on July 4

As a pet owner, one of the scariest things can be to lose your pet. In fact, more pets get lost on July 4 than any other day of the year.

The Chuck Silcox Animal Care and Adoption Center is already at capacity and is caring for 600 pets. Make sure your furry friend does not join them.

This year, the shelter staff reminds everyone to take a few extra steps to ensure pets are well protected during this long holiday weekend:

  • Be sure your dog is wearing an up-to-date City of Fort Worth license and a visible ID tag on his or her collar at all times. Also, don’t forget to check the microchip.
  • Take a current photo of your pet, just in case.
  • Exercise your dog early in the day before parties begin. Make sure that any off-leash time is securely fenced and any walks have a good leash — people sometimes set off fireworks before dark.
  • During cookouts and backyard parties, ask guests to play with your dog away from the flames.
  • Avoid an accident and keep charcoal, fireworks, sparklers and glow sticks far from curious pets. Even when unlit, these can cause serious problems if a pet decides to chew them.
  • Avoid upset stomachs by keeping “approved” pet treats on hand for guests who want to share a treat with your pet.
  • Skip the fireworks. Play it safe and leave pets safely inside your home.

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Trinity Trails to be closed for Independence Day preparations

Trinity Trail users will need to find another route for walking, jogging and cycling as crews prepare for Fort Worth’s Fourth activities.

The trails at Panther Island Pavilion will be closed at 7 a.m. July 3. Access will resume at 5 a.m. July 5 with trail traffic rerouted on the north side of the Trinity River and regular access on the south side of the river.

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