New Trinity Metro ZIPZONE service promotes commuting to work

As an innovative way to help North Texans reach their destinations, Trinity Metro is providing ZIPZONE, a first mile/last mile transportation solution, in select service areas.

The first area Trinity Metro is offering the new ZIPZONE service is in the Alliance corridor. Alliance ZIPZONE is the result of a regional partnership with the Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA), allowing riders to connect with the North Texas Xpress that operates between downtown Fort Worth and Alliance and Denton. Alliance ZIPZONE replaces the Alliance Link, a first mile/last mile pilot started by Toyota. That pilot ended in January.

“When we started North Texas Xpress with DCTA in fall 2016, we knew the bus route would be a good choice for employees in the Alliance area,” said Trinity Metro President/CEO Paul Ballard. “Now we’re taking it one step further to help Alliance employees arrive at work without having to drive.”

AllianceTexas, a Hillwood development that is celebrating 30 years, is home to more than 500 companies and more than 61,000 jobs. The economic impact of AllianceTexas is estimated to exceed $7 billion.

“Providing connectivity for passengers is essential,” Ballard said. “The addition of our Alliance ZIPZONE is another incentive for employees who work in this area to leave their cars at home.”

Alliance ZIPZONE service is provided through Lyft, an on-demand transportation company. Trinity Metro passengers can conveniently use the Lyft app, entering a specific code to gain access to the first mile/last mile rides. Hours of operation are 4:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. On weekends, hours are from 5:30-7:30 a.m. and 4-7:30 p.m.

Trinity Metro is considering implementing ZIPZONE in other parts of its service areas. “It’s an attractive solution for helping riders get to their final destination,” Ballard said.

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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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TCC expands Fire Service Training Center

Tarrant County College Northwest is growing its Fire Service Training Center to expand opportunities for the next generation of first responders. On Friday, Jan. 11, at 11 a.m., the Fire Service Training Center will officially open the campus’s Fire Station 2. The event will include a ribbon cutting, remarks by TCC Chancellor Eugene Giovannini and TCC Northwest President Zarina Blankenbaker and opportunities to tour the new space.

With the addition of Fire Station 2, a two-bay structure, the College has adequate space to house all its fire trucks. The 50’x60’ station has dedicated

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TEXRail to begin service with free rides (UPDATED)

Updated 6 p.m., Friday, Jan. 4

Trinity Metro TEXRail commuter rail service will not begin passenger service as planned on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019.

Clearance has not been granted from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for TEXRail to operate along the entire 27-mile corridor.

Once full clearance has been granted, this article will be updated with the start date for passenger service and pricing information.

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New X-Team to provide faster plan review service

Starting in January 2019, Fort Worth will offer an expedited plan review service for building permit review.

The service will allow developers and others seeking a building permit to schedule a meeting with a plan review team and their design professionals within two weeks of submitting a complete set of plans, address any issues identified on the spot and potentially issue a building permit in one sitting.

It will be the responsibility of the applicant to have all design professionals in attendance to make any necessary corrections. Expedited plan review will be available for projects of all sizes, commercial and residential.

The multidisciplinary staff team providing expedited plan review service — called the X-Team — will consist of four senior plans examiners (building, electrical, mechanical/plumbing and zoning), an engineering tech II, a coordinator and a senior customer service representative. When necessary, departments such as Code Compliance-Consumer Health, Water, Fire, TPW-Stormwater and TPW-Traffic will review the plans during the two weeks prior to the scheduled meeting.

X-Team reviews can be performed on projects with final plats recorded, all engineering and infrastructure approved, appropriate zoning in place and any necessary variances or certificates of appropriateness obtained.

Applicants requesting an X-Team review will pay all associated building permit fees plus an additional fee of $1,000 per hour for the duration of the meeting, with a two-hour meeting minimum.

Applications for X-Team plan review appointments will be available beginning Jan 2, 2019.

To learn more, contact Assistant Planning and Development Director Allison Gray.

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Legends Hall Celebrates Three Years of Big Moments and World-Class Service

December 11, 2018, marks three years since Legends Hall at The Marq Southlake first opened its doors in Bicentennial Park.

To celebrate this milestone, we’d like to take a moment to share how Legends Hall has grown over the years and all the ways—both big and small—our team embodies world-class service each and every day.

Since 2015, Legends Hall has hosted over 3,000 events, including over 50 weddings and countless birthdays, graduations, banquets and more. The beautiful Traditions Ballrooms have also been home to 10 community art events and performances by local institutions such as the Fort Worth Symphony, Dallas Opera and Southlake Swing Band.

With the help of social media, our online presence has grown exponentially since we first opened—just this year we hit 2,000 likes and achieved a 4.9 rating on Facebook! We love getting online feedback from our clients and guests, but even more exciting is seeing all of the beautiful and ingenious ways our venue can be utilized.

We are especially thankful for the clients who are willing to share their experiences at Legends Hall, whether it’s in words, photos or both. Here’s what some of our clients have said about their big days:

“The Marq Southlake was the perfect reception venue for our August wedding!! The details of the building itself make for an absolutely beautiful reception setting. Every staff member we worked with at The Marq was professional and accommodating. They went above and beyond through the planning process, the set-up of our event and their availability to help with anything that was needed during the reception. I would highly recommend The Marq as a wedding venue!!”
— Bethany K.

“The Marq was such a fabulous place to host my daughter’s wedding reception. Not only is the space awesome and spacious but the staff is great too. We can’t say enough things about Crystal! She was more than accommodating and helpful! Crystal is on top of her game and a great asset to The Marq! The Marq is a great location and highly recommend using it for a wedding venue!”
— Taylor K.

“Incredible experience from start to finish of our event. Amity showed us so many possibilities for our event and helped us find the best fit for us. Then Crystal helped us perfect our layout and all the details prior to the event. Both were so friendly and quick to respond! On the day of our event, Stephanie and the young man (sorry, I forgot your name!) helped us at every turn. They went above and beyond to help us and it did not go unnoticed. Super impressed with everyone at the venue and we will definitely be using them in the future! Thank you all.”
— Tanya L.

We couldn’t agree more about our staff. We train banquet staff to provide exceptional customer service through Ritz Carlton training, ongoing guest speaker trainings, and monthly scenario trainings. That being said, they’re also a standout group of individuals who take ownership of what they bring to the team. Their passion for providing the best service and amenities to our clients far exceeds training.

We’re committed to being Southlake’s premier event venue, but we can’t do it alone. The key relationships we’ve created with local businesses enable us to provide a wide variety of high-quality services and amenities to our clients and guests. These businesses include but are not limited to: Braxdale Travel, Chamber of Commerce, Southlake Style, Keller Williams, American Airlines, The Distilled, Garabedian Properties, Rotary Wine Discovery and American Specialty Health.

The Southlake Senior Activity Center

With over 1,000 members, the Senior Activity Center is one of the most popular hangouts at Legends Hall. Our 10 complimentary fitness classes average about 200 attendees each week, likely thanks to our stellar instructors and wide range of classes—we offer Zumba, chair yoga, tai chi and so many more! Other Senior Activity Center programs include a variety of card and social games, art class, bingo, dances, knitting clubs and poker clubs. Can’t resist a game of Bridge? You’re in good company: the popular Monday and Wednesday Bridge programs host over 100 participants a week! The Senior Activity Center also partners with Metroport Meals on Wheels every Monday to provide approximately 100 meals to our senior community.

Here’s how the Senior Activity Center helped Veena and her husband feel at home when they first relocated to Texas:

“[At the] end of 2015, my husband and I moved to Southlake from Washington state to be close to family. Being seniors, we enrolled at the Senior Activity Center. It’s the best thing we have done. This place has eased us in; after living in WA for 30 years, The Marq has become an extended family. We like and take all the scheduled classes as per our health. We’ve liked every class we have taken. I want to say about Soheila, the Center’s coordinator: She is a pleasure. Always with a smile, helpful, informative and more. In reception, Brandon is also very nice and helpful and always has a welcome smile. Marie, who is a volunteer, is so nice as well. My husband and I are very grateful and appreciate the City’s service.”

Legends Hall has had an amazing first three years, and we owe it all to our world-class clients, guests and staff. We look forward to being the perfect place for life’s biggest moments for years to come.

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Citywide service to remember Tree of Life victims

Join your neighbors for a Jewish Communal and Citywide Night of Prayer, Remembrance and Unity at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 1 at Congregation Ahavath Sholom, 4050 S. Hulen St.

The event will allow Fort Worth to unite as a single community to mourn the loss and pray for the injured at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and together say, “Never again” to violence in our communities.

District 3 Councilmember Brian Byrd will participate in the event and will read a letter from Mayor Betsy Price.

“I believe that this is a time to show our unity, and I hope that many will come out and show support,” said Rabbi Andrew Bloom, a co-chair of the city’s Task Force on Race and Culture.

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Berkeys – Air Conditioning, Plumbing, Electrical and Compassionate Service

When you think of Berkeys, you probably think Dragon Stadium or their trucks on the road with pictures of kids on them. You might even think about the fact you need to call them for some air conditioning, heating or electrical work you’ve been putting off.

And while they’re okay with you thinking that, like most successful businesses, there’s a whole lot more to Berkeys than you might know.

When you sit down and ask Jamie Wooldridge, president of Berkeys, what makes his business so successful, he’s quick to use terms like “service, community and being a good steward of what he has.”

“We are a service-based business and our employees know that and live that,” Wooldridge says. It’s just who we are.”

Hearing the leader of a successful company talk about being a good corporate citizen isn’t earth-shattering, lots of companies say things like that. However, Berkeys backs up their words with action.

The list of beneficiaries from the kindness of Berkeys is impressive: G.R.A.C.E. (2016 Angel of G.R.A.C.E. recipient), the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Stepping Stones Foundation, Assist The Officer (ATO) for the Dallas Police Department, Christmas toy drives, Hurricane Harvey Relief, and the list goes on.

But it goes deeper. Consider this: Berkeys employees are paid to volunteer for their community. When an employee of a competitor lost their home due to an east Texas tornado last year, Berkeys employees helped rebuild the house.

Southlake is home to Berkeys but on a personal level, Southlake is also home to Wooldridge and his family. Son John, a 2013 Carroll graduate, just graduated from the University of North Texas and daughter Julia, a 2016 Carroll graduate, just began her junior year at Baylor University. They are a tight-knit family built on faith – a faith that has been ultimately tested in ways no family deserves. When Jolene, Jamie’s wife, found out she had cancer, the first question she asked was, “How can we use this for good?”

The Wooldridges’ story is one of encouragement – one of hope. Even in the last days of Jolene’s life, their faith never waned. Jolene’s sickness played out on social media, for all to see. “The outpouring of love and support we got from social media was overwhelming,” Jamie Wooldridge said. “What we didn’t expect was the number of people that told us they were encouraged by our story. Some we’d never met. Social media gave us a chance to show the world who Jolene was and what we believe. And even now, those beliefs are stronger than ever.”

When asked how Jolene’s battle changed his life both personally and professionally, Wooldridge said, “I guess I’m more aware of the time I have and want to spend it wisely. I often remind our employees we all have 1,440 minutes in a day. And then I ask them how will they use their minutes? Personally, I think I’m more aware of others and their struggles… how God has asked us to help those less fortunate like rehabbing homes or cleaning up after a disaster. I like that.”

And if you want to know if all this personal struggle and professional good will has impacted business, the answer is yes. Berkeys’ new home, in the shadows of Dragon Stadium, is double the size of their old facility; which was double the size of the previous facility. At 52 employees a few years ago, the company now has 155 employees.

“If there’s a need, we try to fill it,” Wooldridge said. “We don’t really plan what we’re going to give.”

Berkeys’ commitment to compassionate service continues this Friday night, at the 10th Annual Carroll ISD Pink Out Game against Denton Guyer. Berkeys’ will be matching the contributions raised through the Pass the Bucket campaign. Because of this, Carroll ISD salutes Berkeys as a proud anchor partner of Dragon Nation!

Visit Berkeys.com to learn more about the other services that Berkeys provides.

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OneAddress service aims to improve customer experience through technology

Curious about the location of your nearest community center? Want to check out recent crime incidents in your neighborhood? Or learn about a new building going up down the street?

All of these tasks are easier thanks to the City of Fort Worth’s OneAddress service.

Fort Worth launched an open data program in 2016 to help make government data freely and publicly available for anyone to use. OneAddress includes several datasets:

  • Police incident information.
  • Code Compliance cases.
  • Permitting and applications.
  • City councilmember contact information.
  • Neighborhood patrol officer contact information.
  • Code Compliance officer contact information.
  • Neighborhood association meeting and contact information.

OneAddress is among a slate of improvements that go hand in hand with the concepts of citizen engagement and ease of service that city officials and staff have been emphasizing over the last several years.

Plans call for incorporating data and apps on a regular schedule with a continuous flow of data that can be accessed by anyone, without charge, online.

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Southlake Volunteers Recognized with the Presidential Volunteer Service Lifetime Achievement Award

Kiko and Dee Ekstrom were recently recognized by Southlake Sister Cities and the Southlake City Council for their longtime service to the City.

“Kiko and Dee have given thousands of hours to Southlake through their service to Southlake Sister Cities,” said City Manager Shana Yelverton. “We are so grateful for their commitment and how they have worked to establish such a strong Sister Cities program in Southlake, particularly with the city of Tome, Japan.”

Kiko and Dee with councilKiko and Dee have been involved in Southlake Sister Cities for 26 years and worked tirelessly from the beginning when they helped establish the program in 1991. The Ekstroms have served in a variety of volunteer roles with Kiko serving as the president of the Southlake Sister Cities board.  They have overseen the youth exchange programs which has connected well over 500 students from both countries and have organized numerous adult visits.

Sister Cities’ 1st Vice President Barbara Walker praised the Ekstroms role in fostering friendship and understanding  at the June 19 Council meeting saying, “These relationships are pivotal to fulfilling the goal of Sister Cities which is to create citizen ambassadors.”

The Presidential Volunteer Service Lifetime Achievement Award is given to individuals who have completed more than 4,000 hours of volunteer work in their lifetime.  A plaque commemorating Kiko and Dee’s service and lifetime achievement award will be permanently installed in Southlake’s Town Hall in the coming months.

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