Animal shelter hosting a Valentine’s shelter dog slumber party

No date this Valentine’s Day? Want to cuddle up on the couch and watch movies with a cute, snuggly four-legged companion? We’ve got you covered.

Join the Fort Worth animal shelter Feb. 14 or 15 to look around the shelter and choose a special houseguest. Light refreshments will be served, and a spot has been reserved for you to get acquainted with your “date.” Plenty of staff will be available to answer questions. You’ll also receive a leash, bag of food and a report card to help staff gain information about your foster dog’s experience.

Studies have shown that even a short amount of time away from the shelter decreases stress in dogs and increases their adoptability. The report card helps tremendously when matching dogs with adoptive families.

The slumber party is part of the shelter’s Cowtown Crashpads foster program. The first slumber party was held in January, and it was a huge success: 106 dogs were able to leave the shelter and spend a night – and, in many cases, longer — with their foster family.

Cowtown Crashpads normally helps pets that land at the shelter and are sick or have other issues where being in a foster home will allow that pet the care and attention they need until they can be adopted. The Valentine Slumber Party will give people the opportunity to help adoption-ready shelter pets and experience being a foster parent.

All animals available for the slumber party are spayed/neutered, microchipped, up to date on vaccines and on flea/tick preventative. Staff recommends leaving your current pet at home, as the shelter is a stressful place. Staff members will be happy to talk you through introducing your guest to your current pets.

Slumber party pets can be picked up from the main shelter, 4900 Martin St., between 3 and 6 p.m. Feb. 14 or 15. Complete a foster application beforehand.

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Visit Fort Worth Hospitality Award honors zoo

Visit Fort Worth honored the Fort Worth Zoo with its Hospitality Award at the tourism organization’s sixth annual meeting.

Fort Worth Zoo is the oldest continuous zoo site in Texas and is ranked among the top five in the nation. Each year the zoo welcomes more than 1 million visitors, with an estimated 80 percent from out of town.

“The zoo is one of the greatest attractions in Fort Worth,” said Bob Jameson, president and CEO of Visit Fort Worth. “In addition to vital missions in conservation and education, the zoo delivers a big economic impact for our city and helps build our reputation.”

Last year, the zoo opened African Savanna, the first of four new phases of exhibits made possible by the historic $100 million capital campaign, “A Wilder Vision.” Construction has already begun on phase two, Elephant Springs, which will be followed by Hunters of Africa & Asian Predators and Forests & Jungles.

Visit Fort Worth bestows the annual award on an individual or organization for significant contributions to the city’s hospitality industry. Previous honorees were Holt Hickman, the museums of the Cultural District, Leon Bridges and DFW International Airport.

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American Institute of Architects honor Ann Zadeh

District 9 Councilmember Ann Zadeh received a certificate of appreciation from the American Institute of Architects-Fort Worth for “a spirit of cooperation with, and outstanding contribution to, the organization.”

Awards were presented to students and professionals this month, a celebration of those who make possible distinctive works of architecture in our community.

“It is my honor to be recognized in this way for the collaborative spirit by which I try to encourage professionals in our city to work together in our ongoing efforts to make Fort Worth the best place to live, work and play for all our residents,” Zadeh said.

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VITA provides free income tax assistance for families

The City of Fort Worth is partnering with the United Way of Tarrant County to offer free income tax assistance for local families through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

The VITA program targets low- to middle-income families with a household income of $55,000 or less and offers free tax assistance and income tax filing. VITA also offers additional financial education training on how to manage finances by reducing debt and building assets.

All VITA volunteers are IRS-certified in tax law and must receive a score of 80 percent or higher to achieve this certification. Volunteers are also required to complete ethics training through the Volunteer Standards of Conduct.

This year, VITA sites will be located across Tarrant County.

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Funding is available to public service agencies

Is your nonprofit seeking funding for a program that benefits Fort Worth residents?

The City of Fort Worth Neighborhood Services Department invites nonprofit and social service agencies to respond to a request for proposals for public service and architectural barrier removal programs that will provide benefits to eligible households.

Proposals must be submitted by March 15 through ZoomGrants.

Learn more on the Neighborhood Services grant page.

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Hear Mayor Price’s State of the City address on Feb. 19

Mayor Betsy Price will detail her outlook for 2019 and report on the past year’s advancements at the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce’s annual Mayor’s State of the City Address and Luncheon Feb. 19 at the Fort Worth Convention Center, 1201 Houston St.

Registration begins at 11:15 a.m., lunch will be served at 11:45 a.m. and the program begins at 12:30 p.m. Purchase tickets through the Chamber website.

In addition, top Tarrant County businesses have been selected as finalists in competition for the Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Forte Awards. Winners will be announced at a reception before the State of the City address. The prestigious annual awards salute those that operate with exemplary best practices.

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TEXRail sets new daily, weekend ridership totals

Nice weather, free fares and the desire to experience TEXRail combined to set a new weekend ridership total of nearly 20,000 in two days for the new commuter rail line. With 10,477 on Saturday and 9,111 on Sunday, the total ridership of 19,588 eclipsed the previous weekend record of 18,002, which was set during the three-day holiday weekend that included Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“The number of people choosing to ride TEXRail continues to exceed our expectations,” said Trinity Metro President/CEO Paul J Ballard. “We offered complimentary fares in January because we wanted everyone to experience TEXRail, and we are delighted that so many North Texans and tourists are riding.”

Prior to this weekend, MLK Day had the highest daily ridership with 8,287 passengers. Since service began on Jan. 10, the grand total is 82,733.

Beginning Feb. 1, the local fare for TEXRail will be $2.50 one way or $5 for a local day pass, which includes all Trinity Metro bus and rail service in Tarrant County. A regional day pass is $12 and includes all Trinity Metro, Dallas Area Rapid Transit and Denton County Transportation Authority trains and buses.

Trinity Metro is the owner and operator of TEXRail, a 27-mile commuter rail line that runs from downtown Fort Worth to Dalla- Fort Worth International Airport’s Terminal B.

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Fort Worth adding a sister city in France

Mayor Jean-Paul Fournier of Nîmes, France, and a delegation will travel to Fort Worth Feb. 12-17 to sign the official document to become Fort Worth’s ninth sister city.

The official signing will take place between Mayor Betsy Price and Fournier at a ceremony at 6 p.m. Feb. 13 at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and is free and open to the public.

“Fort Worth is excited to formally welcome Nîmes as our ninth sister city. We look forward to fostering business relationships and expanding cultural exchange opportunities through this partnership,” Price said.

Price will lead a delegation to Nîmes (pronounced NEEM) Sept. 25-Oct. 4 to sign the reciprocal agreement there. Residents are encouraged to join the group on the official visit.

Fort Worth Sister Cities International launched a long-range plan to select new sister cities in countries where they can build mutually beneficial relationships through education, exchanges and commerce. In 2017, Sister Cities sent a delegation to explore the potential partnership with Nîmes, France. A delegation reciprocated with a visit in 2018 to Fort Worth and quickly moved to make the partnership official.

“We are already making plans to welcome our new French friends and share our finest Texas culture,” said Sister Cities Chairwoman of the Board Veronica Chavez Law. “Future exchanges may focus on education, economic relations and arts and culture to create understanding and respect of each other’s cultures.”

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Celebrate Valentine’s Day at your local community center

Enjoy a little sugar, spice and everything nice at an upcoming Valentine’s Day event hosted by one of Fort Worth’s community centers.

Contact a center for specific information and event prices.

Upcoming events:

Valentine’s Day Dance at Greenbriar: 6:30 p.m. Feb. 8, 2019; Greenbriar Community Center, 5200 Hemphill St.

Family Valentine’s Party at R.D. Evans Community Center: 6:30 p.m. Feb. 8, 2019; R.D. Evans Community Center, 3242 Lackland Rd..

Daddy Daughter Dance at Riverside Community Center: 7 p.m. Feb. 8, 2019; Riverside Community Center, 3700 E. Belknap.

Sweetheart Social at Hillside Community Center: 10 a.m. Feb. 12, 2019; Hillside Community Center, 1201 E. Maddox.

Sweetheart Social at Thomas Place Community Center: 10 a.m. Feb. 12, 2019; Thomas Place Community Center, 4237 Lafayette Ave.

Daddy Daughter Dance at Victory Forest Community Center: 6 p.m. Feb. 13, 2019; Victory Forest Community Center, 3427 Hemphill.

Love Muffins’ Day at Diamond Hill Community Center: 3:30 p.m. Feb. 14, 2019; Diamond Hill Community Center, 1701 NE 36th St.

Valentine’s Dance at Andrew Doc Session Community Center: 5:30 p.m. Feb. 14, 2019; Andrew Doc Session Community Center, 201 S. Sylvania.

Mother Son Date Night at Victory Forest Community Center: 6 p.m. Feb. 14, 2019; Victory Forest Community Center, 3427 Hemphill St.

Daddy Daughter Dance at Chisholm Trail Community Center: 6 p.m. Feb. 16, 2019; Chisholm Trail Community Center, 4936 McPherson Blvd.

Spring Recreation Catalog

The Spring Recreation Catalog should be available at all city community centers by the end of February. Use it to sign up for spring classes and programs, find out information about upcoming special events, and learn more about the many services offered by your nearest center.

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