City News Roundup
Paul Quinn College rewards high school students and more Dallas news
This roundup of Dallas news has some good and bad. On the good side, Fort Worth high school students got a nice surprise from Paul Quinn College, and DART is giving free rides to voters. On the bad side, Dallas' street repair department is a bit of a cluster.
Here's what happened in Dallas this week:
Paul Quinn surprise
On February 17, Paul Quinn College issued acceptance letters to more than 400 Fort Worth high school students, in a partnership with Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD) schools, to reimagine the admissions process for higher education. According to a release, the initial five FWISD high schools — Dunbar High School, Eastern Hills High School, O. D. Wyatt High School, Young Men’s Leadership Academy, and Young Women’s Leadership Academy — have deep roots in the African American community and have historically produced high-achieving students. Each student has a 3.0 GPA or above and was recommended by their principals.
A 2021 audit of road pavement and improvement projects in the city of Dallas done by two specific contractors between 2019 and 2021 seems to indicate that the Department of Public Works is not keeping its eye on the checkbook. An analysis by reporter Jacob Vaughn highlighted that:
- The Department of Public Works doesn't know if the work was done properly or in a timely manner
- The Department of Public Works didn't follow procedures when hiring contractors, such as evaluating their experience and financial capability
- Information on projects is not centralized or reliable
- Expenditures are not consistently verified
- There is often no documented explanation for why projects go over budget
Vaughn examined 16 random projects and found only two with documentation that could validate what was invoiced, and even in those two projects, the documentation wasn't complete. He notes that similar audits were conducted in 2015 and 2017 "that found, more or less, the same problems."
City officials and community leaders dedicated a new statue at Pike Park to honor Santos Rodriguez, a 12-year-old who was killed during a Dallas Police Department interrogation in 1973. His mother was in attendance. According to a release, the 7-foot-tall bronze sculpture created by Cedar Hill artist Seth Vandable depicts Santos smiling with open arms.
Mail-in ballot debacle
Elections departments in counties across North Texas are rejecting hundreds of mail-in ballot applications due to new state voting law SB1. The law, pushed by Texas Republicans in 2021, requires either a driver's license number or the last four digits of your social security number, and it has to match whatever you used when you originally registered.
The numbers so far:
- Dallas County: 1,623 rejected
- Tarrant County: 1,323 rejected, vs 13, 960 accepted
- Collin County: ~300 rejections, vs 6,949 accepted
County officials said that the majority of these rejections are because people didn’t provide the kind of ID required by SB1.
Find your voting location
The State of Texas organizes election information and voting locations by county, as follows:
- Collin County Election Information (Plano, Richardson, Carrollton)
- Dallas County (Addison, Carrollton, Cockrell Hill, Dallas, Farmers Branch, Garland, Glenn Heights, Highland Park, Irving, Rowlett, University Park)
- Denton County (Carrollton)
- Ellis County (Glenn Heights)
- Rockwall County (Rowlett)
Voting locations are open at various times during early voting and from 7 am-7 pm on election day, March 1. If you are in line by 7 pm on Election Day, you are to vote.
Free DART to Vote on March 1
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is providing free transportation to polling locations on March 1, the day of the Texas primary elections. Voters can ride at no charge on all DART buses, trains, the Dallas Streetcar, GoLink, Paratransit Services and the TRE between EBJ Union Station, and CentrePort/DFW Airport Station. No proof of voter registration is required. GoLink riders can use promo code VOTE22 at checkout for a complimentary Adult Local Day Pass in the GoPass app on March 1.
Texas is eligible to receive more than $60 million for electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure from the U.S. Department of Transportation in fiscal year 2022, according to Environment Texas. It's the largest sum awarded to any state. Environment Texas estimates that Texas will need 3,596 fast chargers and 51,925 Level 2 chargers by 2030 to meet anticipated demand. Level 2 chargers plug into a 240-volt outlet like a washer/dryer unit and can charge a vehicle in three to eight hours. The group is urging Texas policymakers to bring down the cost of EVs, and national policymakers to restore the electric vehicle tax credit.
Preston Road repair
A $2.2 million pavement rehabilitation of Preston Road/SH 289 above 635 is underway. It'll be both north- and southbound, and extend four miles from 635 north to the Collin County line. Work includes repairs to sections of concrete pavement in the corridor, pavement smoothing and new stripe. A release says it's expected to be done by fall 2022.
TxDOT eyes Lucas
The Texas Department of Transportation is gathering input on its plan to possibly widen and realign a seven-mile segment of the FM 1378 corridor near Lucas, Allen, Wylie, and Fairview. The segment is between Parker and East Stacy roads in Collin County.
They'll hold an in-person public meeting on Thursday February 24 6-8 pm at Lovejoy High School Cafeteria, 2350 Estates Pkwy, Lucas. Attendees can visit at any time; COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place. A virtual public meeting launches on Thursday February 24 at 6 pm and remains open through March 11 at www.keepitmovingdallas.com/FM1378.