Nov. 6, 2020
Here is the latest edition of Week In Review - a series of weekly messages from the Mayor and City Council to help Richardson residents and businesses keep up to date on events at City Hall. If you would like to sign up to receive this in a weekly e-mail click here.
Throughout the year the City Council or City Plan Commission will hold meetings on topics of significant interest to local neighborhoods or the community in general. Links to view all City Council or City Plan Commission meeting documents that may have topics of interest to you can be found here:
City Council | City Plan Commission
New City Holiday Events to Include Online Shoebox Parade, Santa Chat
With the annual Richardson Christmas Parade and Santa’s Village canceled this year due to the pandemic, Parks and Recreation has come up with the ideas below to provide a new kind of parade and a new way for families to interact with Santa:
- “Santa’s Village on Parade: A Virtual Shoebox Parade,” will take place via online video Dec. 12 and will benefit Network of Community Ministries. Participants will use materials from home to build a shoebox float inspired by Santa’s Village. Float entries have the opportunity to win a variety of awards and prizes, which will be announced in the video.
- “Chat with Santa,” an interactive experience, will connect families to Santa through personal, live video chats Dec. 8-10. Each live chat is five minutes long and is the perfect opportunity for children to share their holiday wishes with Santa. Families with more than one child may sign up for multiple chats. Cost is $5 per chat.
Registration deadlines, fees, rules and regulations can be found at www.cor.net/santa.
Children’s Library Card Now Available
Children checking out materials from the Richardson Library may do so with their very own, specially designed Library card. The new children’s card features the winning entry from a children’s art contest held this past summer, which depicts characters from children’s books including “The Gingerbread Man” and “Charlotte’s Web.” Parents with a photo ID who are Richardson residents and have a new or existing Library card may obtain the new card for their child at the Circulation Desk.
Watch a video posted at the Library’s Facebook page showing the card’s designer, 7-year-old Ardent Lee, when she recently saw the card for the first time.
Library Modifies Hours Beginning Nov. 9
The Library will extend its hours beginning Monday, Nov. 9 to better serve Richardson students and their families. Due to COVID-19 building capacity restrictions, only Richardson residents are allowed inside (must show proof of residency) and patrons are reminded to try to make their visits short to allow for more people to enter and check out material. Curbside services (limited to 10 items) will continue to be available three afternoons per week to serve all cardholders and residents who are not yet comfortable entering the building.
New operating hours:
- Monday-Saturday—10 a.m.-6 p.m.
- Sunday—2-6 p.m.
New curbside checkout hours:
- Monday, Wednesday and Friday—2:30-5 p.m.
The 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors are open. Access to the basement reference floor is available by appointment for Richardson residents. Seven public computers are available.
Richardson Designated a Purple Heart City
Texas representatives of the Military Order of the Purple Heart were on hand at Monday’s City Council meeting to present the Council with a metal plaque designating Richardson as a Purple Heart City. The presentation followed a reading of a “Purple Heart City” proclamation by Mayor Paul Voelker that acknowledged the contributions and sacrifices made by all members of the Armed Forces, particularly Purple Heart recipients. The City was nominated for the designation by a local Purple Heart recipient. The Purple Heart is specifically awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces who have been wounded or killed in combat.
Achieving the designation is part of the City’s ongoing support of veterans, in line with the City Council’s 2019-21 Tactics. That support, as outlined Monday by City staff, includes special benefits for veterans employed by the City, City-sponsored Veteran’s Day ceremonies and a Veterans Partnership Initiative (VPI) website. Future plans include partnering with local veterans to renovate Memorial Park and re-tooling the veterans’ oral history program at the Library.
City Council Adopts Ordinance Updating Code of Ethics
The City Council approved an ordinance Monday that amends the City’s Code of Ethics, first adopted in 2010 and last updated in 2018. The Code applies to the City Council and all City Boards and Commissions (a.k.a. “city officers”).
- Updating the definition of officers to reflect current Boards and Commissions
- Adding a subsection requiring City Council compliance with the personal financial statements and conflicts disclosure statements required under Texas local government code
- Providing the City attorney and outside legal counsel with the same subpoena power as the City Council
- Adding a new Acknowledgement section that requires that each officer receive a copy of the Code of Ethics upon their election/appointment, with the officer having to file with the City Secretary an acknowledgement that they have read it
Conducting a biannual review of the Code of Ethics is part of the City Council’s 2019-21 Tactics.
Social Media Policy Now in Effect for City Officials
The City of Richardson now has an official “social media policy for elected and appointed officials” due to a resolution passed at Monday’s City Council meeting. The policy applies to the City Council and appointed members of all City boards, committees and commissions while they hold their position.
Best practices, guidelines and conduct standards of the policy encourage public officials to keep personal and professional social media accounts separated, and require officials to be honest and accurate when posting information and to never represent themselves as a spokesperson for City-related matters unless designated to serve as a spokesperson.
The complete social media policy may be found in the Nov. 2 meeting handouts posted here (Exhibit A, pgs. 85-87).
City Council Adopts Resolution Approving Atmos Rate Adjustments
The City Council adopted a resolution Monday approving rate adjustments for Atmos Gas, effective for bills issued on or after Dec. 1, 2020. Residential customers will see their monthly customer charge increase by 70 cents and the consumption charge (per cubic feet of gas, or Ccf) increase by about 9 cents. Commercial customers will see an increase of about $8 in their monthly customer charge, and about 2 cents per Ccf. The increase was determined after a review by the Atmos Cities Steering Committee (ACSC).
Richardson is an active participant in the ACSC, a coalition of 171 cities that work together to address gas rate issues and share gas costs as part of an annual “Rate Review Mechanism” agreed upon with Atmos Mid-Tex. In March, Atmos requested $141.2 million in additional revenue system-wide. The ACSC Executive Committee, as well as ACSC’s counsel and consultants, investigated the request and found that a $90 million increase was justified/applicable to ACSC members.
Custer/Renner Intersection Reduced to One Lane All Directions
Motorists are urged to avoid the intersection of Custer Parkway at Renner Road through at least Monday, Nov. 9, as crews work to repair concrete after a damaged water line was restored there this week. Currently, traffic is reduced to one lane in each direction and no left turns are being allowed.
Work on Alma Road Near Bush Turnpike to Close Various Lanes
Southbound Alma Road between Bramante Drive in Plano to just south of the Bush Turnpike in Richardson may be closed to traffic from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. beginning Nov. 10 for water utility work, with traffic detoured to southbound Custer Parkway. Work is expected to be complete by late November. Also continuing near the same area is a cable/fiber optic project that may close the right lane of northbound and southbound Alma Road between the Bush Turnpike and Renner Road from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. The work is expected to be complete by mid-December.
City’s First-Ever “Turkey Tossin’ Tournament” Nov. 21 Benefits Network
Parks and Recreation’s Corporate Recreation division is sponsoring a fun, outdoor, double elimination tournament Nov. 21 combining horseshoes, cornhole and … a rubber turkey! Compete in teams of two to toss horseshoes and bags for the chance to win medals and gift cards; then, for every three canned goods donated for Network of Community Ministries, you’ll have the opportunity to toss the turkey. The person who tosses the rubber turkey the farthest will take home a frozen turkey, just in time for Thanksgiving!
Open to ages 18 and up. Check-in begins at 9 a.m. Nov. 21 at Huffhines Tennis Center. Fee is $20 per team. Pre-registration is required and ends Nov. 18; sign up at www.cor.net/cc. Tournament will be limited to 40 teams. Note that face coverings are required of participants and social distancing will be honored, with at least six feet in between boards/pits. Equipment will be sprayed down and sanitized after each game. Spectators must wear masks and maintain social distancing with people outside of their household.
“Letters from Santa” Now Being Accepted
Richardson is continuing its holiday tradition of helping children of all ages receive a personalized letter from Santa. Each letter is addressed specifically to the individual child and sent on special stationary.
Cost per letter is $5. Sign up here. No registrations will be taken after Dec. 7 to ensure delivery before Christmas Eve. Letters will start being mailed the last week of November.
Save the Date: RWC Online Auction Begins Nov. 18
The Richardson Woman’s Club (RWC) is hosting a unique online silent auction Nov. 18-20 featuring more than 200 items in nine categories including Home Decor, Holiday, Travel, Fashion and Electronics. The auction begins at 8 a.m. Nov. 18 at www.biddingowl.com/rwc and ends at 8 p.m. Nov. 20. There is no cost to participate—you pay only for any items for which you have made the highest bid. All net proceeds benefit the group’s community outreach, which includes supporting several area nonprofits and funding scholarships for RISD high school seniors.
Purchased items may be picked up at the RWC Founder’s Hall, 2005 N. Cliffe Dr. Dates for pick-up will be posted on the auction site. If necessary, shipment may be made at buyer’s expense.
Kids’ Writing Challenge Continues
The Library is sponsoring a Kids’ Writing Challenge, entitled, “And to Think That I Saw It at the Library!” through Jan. 2, 2020. Kids in grades 1-6 may join online through Beanstack, or in person at the Library, and then:
Step 1: Look at the seven items in the display case or posted on Beanstack and Facebook
Step 2: Write a story incorporating all seven items as part of the plot
Step 3: Complete an entry form and submit the story to the Youth Services area in person or by e-mailing email@example.com
Writers will be divided into three categories (grades 1-2, 3-4 and 5-6), and winners from each category will receive a popular hardcover book. The winner will be announced by Jan. 15, 2021.
Eisemann Center: RSO Nov. 7 Features In-person, Live Streaming Options
The Richardson Symphony Orchestra will present the second concert of its new season at 8 p.m. Nov. 7 in the Eisemann Center’s Hill Performance Hall. Tickets are $15-$60, and a livestream option is also being offered for $30.
The concert will include “Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5” by Villa-Lobos, featuring soprano Molly Fillmore; Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez,” with Celil Refik Kaya on guitar; Ravel’s “Le Tombeau de Couperin;” and “Suite No. 2 for Small Orchestra,” by Stravinsky. Numerous safety measures are in place for audience and orchestra; check the Eisemann Center’s website (www.eisemanncenter.com) for tickets and more information. (Click here for livestream information.)
“Choir of Man” Livestream Canceled
Due to the current month-long lockdown in England caused by the pandemic, the Nov. 19 livestream performance by The Choir of Man is being postponed to 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23. All ticketholders are being notified by e-mail and phone of the rescheduled date and given all options available to them including a full refund of their ticket price and service fees if they are unable to transfer to the new date.
For more information, patrons may call the Ticket Office at 972-744-4650 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Party Like It’s 1776” at RCT’s Outdoor Porchlight Theatre Nov. 7
Enjoy a sing-a-long under the stars when Repertory Company Theatre’s Porchlight Cabaret Outdoor Theatre Series presents, “Party Like It’s 1776” Nov. 7. The show begins at 8 p.m. on RCT’s “twilight patio” and includes selections from “Hamilton” and other patriotic songs from Broadway musicals. Café table seating is available (limit of two persons per table).
Tickets are $20 and may be purchased by calling the box office. Limited concessions will be available and CDC protocols will be strictly observed. Masks will be required for patrons to go inside for restrooms.
RTC Theatre of the Imagination Posts Episode 8: “Rinse the Blood Off My Toga”
The classic Wayne and Shuster comedy, “Rinse the Blood Off My Toga,” is featured in the latest episode of Richardson Theatre Centre’s online “Theatre of the Imagination” audio series. It is the eighth episode of the Centre’s new “old time radio” series, which includes local talent performing theatrical vignettes ranging from classic radio mysteries to original dramas, comedies and supernatural thrillers, each complete with a pre-show song and authentic commercials.
Episodes are posted to YouTube and Facebook and are available 24/7, free of charge.
Reuse Halloween Pumpkins, Gourds through Composting
If you’ve never tried composting, post-Halloween is a great time to start, with plenty of leaves on the ground and leftover carved pumpkins, both good ingredients for a compost bin or pile. A large amount of space is not required; a composting bin can be as small as three feet wide. Materials to place inside include “browns” (brown leaves/grass, cardboard, newspaper) and “greens” (plant-based food scraps, green leaves/grass) in a 2:1 ratio.
If you live in an apartment and don’t have yard materials for a compost bin, or a way to use the compost once it’s created, you can still collect food scraps to help create compost elsewhere for local farmers and gardeners—click here and here for programs that offer local drop-off locations (one is at CityLine) as well as pick-up service.
The City of Richardson supports composting and mulching (both can decrease the amount of trash the City sends to the landfill by 20-30 percent), and encourages both through its “Make Mulch Not Trash” lawn care initiative and its partnerships with Texas A&M’s AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Pure and the Dallas County Master Gardeners Association.
View free composting classes and how-to-compost videos online from AgriLife Extension’s Water University.
November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month; Senior Fees Waived
In recognition of National Adopt a Senior Pet Month, the Richardson Animal Shelter is waiving adoption fees for all pets ages 7 and older during November. Normally, adoption fees for adult pets are $25 for dogs and $15 for cats.
The ASPCA and Petfinder.com sponsor the month to highlight the benefits of senior pets, which include less physical demands, such as pulling on leashes and jumping, and the need for less supervision and training.
Visits to the Shelter are by appointment only; more information is available at the Shelter’s website.
Animal Shelter Pet of the Week
Come meet Layla! She is still a ball of energy for an 8-year-old, spayed, pit bull terrier mix. She is an absolute sweetheart who would do best in a home with larger dogs. Layla is fully vaccinated and loves to play and run around. Layla and all of our adult pets who are 7 years and older are FREE to adopt! If you are interested in Layla, please call the Shelter at 972-744-4480 to schedule an appointment to see her.
The Richardson Police Department has joined the Richardson Animal Shelter in promoting our wonderful pets and supporting our efforts to find each pet their forever home! Officer Quiasua has joined our efforts to spread awareness about our pets and has even adopted from us in the past! Please support the Richardson Police Department by checking out their Instagram (www.instagram.com/richardsontx_pd/) and leaving a kind and supportive comment.
For information about other animals available for adoption, visit the Animal Shelter’s web page here.
City Council Links
To read previous Week in Reviews,