Fort Worth Stock Show Syndicate to receive Bill King Award

An organization that makes a tremendous impact on Texas 4-H and FFA youth is being honored, as the Fort Worth Stock Show Syndicate receives the coveted Bill King Award for Excellence in Agriculture during the Fort Worth Stock Show’s Livestock Appreciation Day Luncheon Jan. 23.

The Fort Worth Stock Show Syndicate was founded in 1980 by a small group of Fort Worth businessmen led by Don Weeks. The original Syndicate members went to their first sale planning on spending $13,000. However, the allure of the kids got the best of them and the group spent $20,000. The next year, they established a charitable organization, began to solicit friends and business partners for contributes, and in 1981, they bought 59 seers and paid $130,000.

The contributions grew at an astounding rate each year. In 1983, James M. “Jim Bob” Norman took on leadership of the Syndicate and advocated scholarship funding for young agricultural leaders in 4-H and FFA organizations. Norman’s term was cut short when he died from Rocky Mountain spotted fever. However, his vision lived on with the creation of the James M. Norman Scholarship Fund.

Since 1980, the Syndicate has raised nearly $60 million for youth exhibitors, provided more than $1.8 million in scholarships for 4-H and FFA members and helped more than 8,800 youths pursue their agricultural goals. At the 2019 Junior Sale of Champions, the Grand Champion Steer sold for $195,000. In all, the sale raised a record $3.96 million.

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Engaging Local Government Leaders’ Traeger Awards honors two City of Fort Worth employees

Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL), an international organization dedicated to engaging the brightest minds in local government, recently released the 2019 Traeger Award list recognizing 100 individuals for their commitment to improving local government.

Two employees from the City of Fort Worth have been included in this list, having been nominated by their peers for their impact on the organization, their influence in the community, their dedication to mentoring others and their contributions as leaders in local government.

Robert Sturns

While many in Fort Worth know Sturns as the city’s director of economic development, he’s No. 91 on the 2019 Traeger Awards list for his commitment to others — mentoring colleagues, sharing ideas and advocating for coworkers.

Under Sturns’s leadership, the Economic Development Department developed the organization’s first strategic plan, organized a record-setting Business Plan Competition (among other small-business initiatives), worked with community stakeholders to lay the foundation for Fort Worth’s iter8 Health Innovation Community, implemented numerous business diversity initiatives and contributes to revitalizing numerous areas of the city, including the South Main and Evans-Rosedale urban villages. He was also recently awarded Executive Advocate of the Year by the DFW Minority Supplier Development Council.

According to a colleague, “Everybody in town knows Robert for his work, service and community engagement. His energy is contagious and makes you want to be a better human.”

Amethyst Sloane

Sloane is the performance excellence administrator for the City of Fort Worth, and is listed as No. 8 in the 2019 Traeger Awards. She joined the City of Fort Worth five years ago and was nominated not just because she’s made such a significant difference in the organization and the community, but because she so willingly shares her journey and her lessons learned with others.

Sloane is celebrated by her colleagues as someone who “never gives up, always learns and has a genuine interest in people doing (and being) their absolute best,” all while constantly seeking out new ways for the City of Fort Worth to serve its residents.

Over the past several years, Sloane has created a citywide performance system to track key programs and services to help support the City of Fort Worth’s commitment to being a data-driven organization. This system has allowed her to work with departments to implement best practices and identify opportunities for them to collaborate with one another. She has also been active with the ELGL Road Trip and What Works Cities, and has led focus groups that resulted in the success of notable projects such as the city’s pension vote. She is a co-founder and the 2019 president of the city’s young professional employee group, and has served several years as an examiner and team lead for the Quality Texas Foundation.

Beyond her day-to-day responsibilities, Sloane has also spent seven years as an adjunct professor at Tarrant County College, sharing her passion and helping shape the next generation of government leaders.

The ELGL Traeger Awards are named after Chris Traeger, the city manager of the fictional city of Pawnee, Ind., from the television show “Parks and Recreation” who’s known for his extreme energy and commitment to improving local government.

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What did Fort Worth read in 2019?

In a year of expanded hours, removing fines and a successful Mayor’s Summer Reading program, the Fort Worth Public Library is reporting the top five most-read books for adults and youth.

Adult Fiction

  1. Past Tense – a Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child
  2. Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci
  3. Dark Sacred Night by Michel Connelly
  4. Holy Ghost by John Sandford
  5. The Reckoning by John Grisham

Young Adult/Teen

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  2. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
  3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  4. Archenemies by Marissa Meyer
  5. Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Youth Fiction

  1. Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 2 by Dav Pilkey
  2. Hurricane Heroes in Texas by Mary Pope Osborne
  3. Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants by Dav Pilkey
  4. Mac Undercover by Mac Barnett
  5. Art Queen by Marci Peschke

Middle-Zone Fiction

  1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway by Jeff Kinney
  2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down by Jeff Kinney
  3. Tales from a Not-So-Happy Birthday by Rachel Rene Russell
  4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown by Jeff Kinney
  5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School by Jeff Kinney

Picture Books

  1. Pigeon Needs a Bath! by Mo Willems
  2. If You Give a Dog a Donut by Laura Joffe Numeroff
  3. Llama Llama Loves to Read by Anna Dewdney
  4. Fancy Nancy: Oodles of Kittens by Jane O’Connor
  5. Llama Llama and the Bully Goat by Anna Dewdney

Adult Non-Fiction

  1. Guinness World Records
  2. Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue
  3. The New Essentials Cookbook: A Modern Guide to Better Cooking
  4. Southern Living Annual Recipes
  5. Keto: The Complete Guide to Success on the Ketogenic Diet by Maria Emmerich

Youth Non-Fiction

  1. The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary: The Next Chapter by Jeff Kinney
  2. Just Joking: Jumbo by Kelley Miller
  3. The Dinosaur Book by John Woodward
  4. Minecraft Master Builder Toolkit by Joey Davey
  5. Minecraft: Guide by Stephanie Milton

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Internationally-known author to visit, donate original artwork to Fort Worth Library

Internationally-known author and illustrator Rosemary Wells will be visiting the Fort Worth Public Library in early 2020, and the public is invited to meet her, listen to her read one of her stories, and have their books signed by the writer herself.

Wells has written and illustrated more than 130 books, and will attend a reception at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 12 at the Central Branch in downtown Fort Worth, 500 W. Third St.

She will also be donating her original sketches from one of her popular Max & Ruby books, “Max’s Bunny Business” to the Fort Worth Public Library.

Kids who attend the reception will be able to participate in a Max & Ruby-related craft project. Purchased books may also be signed.

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Tickets available for Visit Fort Worth annual meeting

Show your love for Fort Worth at the seventh annual meeting of Visit Fort Worth on Valentine’s Day.

The event will feature keynote speaker and music producer T Bone Burnett, a Fort Worth native honored with Academy and Grammy Awards. Mayor Betsy Price will receive the annual Hospitality Award for her efforts to promote the city. A new service award will recognize an outstanding employee working for a hotel, attraction or other organization that welcomes visitors.

The breakfast meeting will be at 7:30 a.m. Feb. 14 at the Omni Fort Worth, 1300 Houston St.

The event will highlight action on the Destination Master Plan, the community’s roadmap for tourism. Progress in sports, marketing, conventions, music and filmmaking are growing Fort Worth’s $9.4 billion visitor economy.

“From the new Dickies Arena to the renovated Stockyards, Fort Worth is giving visitors more reasons to see Fort Worth,” said Bob Jameson, president and CEO of Visit Fort Worth. “With consistent visitor growth, we now need to help more people stay longer and spend more.”

Major landmarks in the visitor economy lie ahead in 2020, including:

  • Beginning design work on the Fort Worth Convention Center expansion.
  • Nationally-televised sporting events at Dickies Arena.
  • Unprecedented hotel growth downtown and in the Stockyards.

The annual Hospitality Award spotlights individuals and organizations who promote Fort Worth and help grow the visitor economy. Mayor Price, serving her fifth term, has logged tens of thousands of miles selling Fort Worth for tourism and economic development.

“Our local economy has benefitted from the growth in tourism under Mayor Price’s leadership,” said Rosa Navejar, chairman of the Visit Fort Worth Board of Directors. “We want to recognize her efforts promoting Fort Worth around the world and improving our reputation as a healthy, active city.”

To secure seats at the meeting, register online by Feb. 13.

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Fort Worth is golden. Scenic City Gold, that is.

Fort Worth is one of a handful of Texas cities with Scenic City Gold status.

The Scenic City Certification Program is a project of Scenic Texas with a mission to support and recognize Texas municipalities that implement high-quality scenic standards for public roadways and public spaces, with the long-term goal of improving the image of Texas cities.

The program has identified a direct correlation between the success of a city’s economic development efforts and the visual appearance of its public space.

The Scenic City program is the first in the U.S. to incorporate a comprehensive set of model standards for design and development of public roadways and public spaces into one program. Cities apply to the program for a rigorous evaluation and scoring of existing municipal standards against the model. Those with the highest evaluation scores earn certification.

Fort Worth was last recertified Scenic City Gold in 2018, earning more than 80 percent of the possible points.

A local affiliate, Scenic Fort Worth, monitors ordinance enforcement, works to strengthen ordinances and studies the impact of annual city budgets.

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TCC, Tarleton to share space in downtown Fort Worth

Tarrant County College and Tarleton State University celebrated a 25-year partnership with the opening of shared space in downtown Fort Worth.

Following improvements to TCC’s Trinity River West Fork Building, Tarleton is providing upper-level classes on the fifth floor, continuing a longstanding commitment by both schools to provide an affordable, innovative and accessible education for students who want more than an associate degree. Tarleton invested $2 million toward the upgrades.

“Four-year and graduate degrees provide additional opportunities for students to fill the highly skilled, high-demand professions that now make up a greater share of our North Texas labor market,” said Tarleton President James Hurley. “Working with TCC, we offer specific, major-related transfer pathways that make it more convenient for students to complete their undergraduate degree in programs offered at our location in the Fort Worth Medical District as well as our new, permanent Fort Worth campus along Chisholm Trail Parkway.”

Located in the Richard C. Schaffer Building on Enderly Place since the 1990s and the Hickman Building on Camp Bowie Boulevard for 10 years, Tarleton moved into the first building of its planned campus in southwest Fort Worth this summer. Tarleton started with eight students on West Myrtle Street in 1978 and now serves close to 2,000 students in Fort Worth.

Last year, 20 percent of Tarleton’s transfer students came from TCC, making it one of the university’s top academic partners — a partnership that includes dual admission, transfer pathways, a financial aid consortium and use of space at Tarleton’s locations in Fort Worth.

“We greatly value our relationship with Tarleton and believe this new milestone in our partnership will bring Tarrant County residents greater opportunities to fulfill their academic dreams,” said TCC Chancellor Eugene Giovannini.

Currently, Tarleton is using the shared space at TCC’s Trinity River Campus to offer undergraduate degree completion programs through its College of Health Sciences and Human Services, including a bachelor’s in social work and the registered nurse to bachelor’s in nursing.

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Fort Worth notifying some water customers of data security incident

Approximately 3,000 Fort Worth water customers are being notified that their credit card information may have been compromised when they made a recent online water bill payment.

The incident involves payments entered between Aug. 27, 2019, and Oct., 23, 2019. The data that may be affected includes cardholder’s name, credit card billing address, credit card number, card type, credit card security code (CVV) and card expiration date.

Impacted credit cardholders are being offered one-year of free credit monitoring by CentralSquare, Fort Worth’s vendor for the Click2Gov software that powers the H2Online payment system.

Customers set up for recurring payments by credit card are not impacted, unless they logged in and entered a different credit card number between those dates. Customers set up for recurring payments by credit card or bank draft, or who paid by phone or in person are not impacted.

CentralSquare determined that an unauthorized party inserted code into the software to capture personal payment card information from customers who logged into the system and made a credit card payment.

Fort Worth immediately worked with Central Square to have the malicious code removed and initiated an expanded security review. Subsequently, the city replaced the server supporting the Click2Gov system and is monitoring the software for any code changes.

Additionally, the water utility is working to complete the previously planned migration of the online-payment system from Click2Gov to Paymentus. Paymentus has a standalone system which does not require the city’s server to act as a host, and it incorporates enhanced security features. The anticipated date for switching to the new payment platform is March 1, 2020.

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Fort Worth Animal Shelter, Humane Society of North Texas join for Mega Adoption Event

For the second year in a row, the Fort Worth Animal Shelter is partnering with the Humane Society of North Texas to host the largest shelter pet adoption event in Fort Worth. The Mega Adoption Event is made possible by a generous grant from the Petco Foundation.

More than 500 amazing pets — dogs, cats, rabbits and a few other soft and fuzzy pets — will be under one roof at the Will Rogers Coliseum, Cattle Barn 1, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 7-8. Admission is free.

The adoption fee for all pets is $10. All the adoptable pets have been spayed/neutered, received rabies and core vaccinations (age appropriate), microchipping, a free initial vet visit (with a participating local vet) and 30-day pet insurance.

“What makes this event so special is that it’s a family event,” said Dr. Tim Morton, Code Compliance assistant director overseeing the Fort Worth Animal Shelter. “During the first year’s adoption event we saw families looking for, and making the decision together, on who would be the best for them.”

It’s a pet lovers dream to have hundreds and hundreds of dogs and cats in one single location – knowing each of these pets deserve an incredible life with their own family. The Mega Adoption Event has been hosted twice – December 2018 and June 2019, where a total of 1,829 shelter pets were adopted.

The goal of this upcoming event is to have these pets in their new homes for the holidays. They certainly deserve a second chance.

View the available pets at the Fort Worth Animal Shelter and the Humane Society of North Texas.

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Worth Heights Community Center to close temporarily

Worth Heights Community Center, 3551 New York Ave., will be closed to the public to undergo renovations beginning Dec. 2 and will reopen late spring 2020.

Worth Heights programming has moved to Southside Community Center, 959 E. Rosedale Ave. To learn more about current programming, call 817-392-8722.

Updates to the facility include accessibility improvements, a commercial kitchen and expanded office space for Community Action Partners services.

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