NBCDFW: Online fashion magazine editor recovering

NBCDFW: Lauren Scruggs update (Video)

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Trader Joe’s coming to Plano at Park and Preston

Trader Joe’s, where the employees wear Hawaiian shirts and “sale” is a four-letter word, will be opening before the summer of 2012 at Preston Road and West Park Blvd.in Plano in the old Kroger in the Preston Towne Crossing shopping center that already has REI, Snuffer’s restaurant and Vincent’s Seafood.

Trader Joe’s, the specialty retail grocery store, has plans to add a  Lower Greenville location in Dallas in the fall of 2012.


The Trader Joe’s story …

It all started in the 50s… Would you believe we started out as a small chain of convenience stores? It’s true. Way back in 1958. We were called Pronto Markets. In ’67, our founder, the original Trader Joe, changed our name (yes, to Trader Joe’s) and the way we do business.

We made the stores bigger (if you can imagine), decked the walls with cedar planks and donned our crew in cool Hawaiian shirts. Most importantly, we started putting innovative, hard-to-find, great-tasting foods in the “Trader Joe’s” name. That cut our costs and saved you money. Still does.

And that’s important, because “Value” is a concept we take very seriously. And by value we mean great everyday prices on all of our great products — no sales, no gimmicks, no clubs to join, no special cards to swipe… How do we do it?
We buy direct from suppliers whenever possible, we bargain hard to get the best price, and then pass the savings on to you.
If an item doesn’t pull its weight in our stores, it goes away to gangway for something else.
We buy in volume and contract early to get the best prices.
Most grocers charge their suppliers fees for putting an item on the shelf. This results in higher prices… so we don’t do it.
We keep our costs low — because every penny we save is a penny you save.

It’s not complicated. We just focus on what matters — great food + great prices = Value.


Trader Joe’s timeline

Why Hawaiian shirts?
Fun or fashion faux pas? It may not be runway model attire, but our Crew is unafraid to make a bold fashion statement. We wear Hawaiian shirts because we’re traders on the culinary seas, searching the world over for cool items to bring home to our customers. And when we return home, we think grocery shopping should be fun, not another chore. So just relax and leave your worries at the door. We’ll sail those seven seas, you have some fun with our finds at your neighborhood Trader Joe’s. http://www.traderjoes.com/about/general-faq.asp

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Update on Exide, Frisco zoning

The Dallas Morning News reported that Frisco’s Planning and Zoning Commission voted Tuesday to require Exide Technologies to follow current zoning laws, despite the company’s petition to be allowed to follow rules in place when the plant opened in 1964.


Rebecca Brewer, of the Frisco city attorney’s office, told the Planning and Zoning Commission it needed to ignore more than an hour of testimony from residents and plant employees that was based on emotions. Job protection and residents’ health were common themes.

Brewer said there is no evidence Exide filed permits when it opened decades ago and therefore could not have any vested rights in the property.

“What you have before you is based on the law,” Brewer said.

The commission voted 5-0 to deny the battery recycling plant’s vested-rights petition, knowing that the company probably will sue the city.

Exide officials said they will appeal the decision to the City Council.

“We continue to believe our vested-rights petition is legal and will continue to pursue our rights in regard to this petition, including legal actions as necessary,” company spokeswoman Susan Jaramillo said.

Exide’s petition argued that it should fall under the zoning laws in effect when the plant opened in 1964 — or no later than 1977, when other permits were issued. It wanted its use of the property to be grandfathered in so its applications could be processed without City Council or planning commission review.

Levels of lead measured in the air near the Frisco plant have landed a portion of the city on a list of 21 areas in the nation that violate federal standards for the toxic metal. Exide has pledged to make more than $20 million worth of improvements to reduce emissions. But it needs building permits from the city to proceed.

City officials have said Exide’s battery recycling plant is not an authorized use of the property.

Under the city’s current zoning ordinance, Exide is required to apply for a specific use permit first.

If the specific use permit is denied, the company won’t get its building permits. And without those building permits, Exide won’t be able to comply with the EPA’s new air-quality standard for lead.

Bruce Cole, executive vice president of strategy and business development at Exide Technologies, said Tuesday that he was disappointed with how the city has handled Exide’s applications.

Delaying the permits is blocking compliance and slowing air-quality improvements, he said.

Meghan Green, a member of the grassroots group Frisco Unleaded: Exide Out, said the company should be held accountable under current zoning laws.

“It’s time to remove the lead from Frisco,” she said. “It’s a public health nuisance.”

The plant has obtained multiple permits in the past from the city without needing a specific use permit. Officials argued it shouldn’t need one now.

Brewer noted that Exide followed the city’s procedures in effect at the time of each of those permits without filing a vested-rights petition.

Exide employs 134 people at its Frisco plant, which recycles more than 6.5 million used automotive and industrial batteries a year.

More than 100 people attended Tuesday’s meeting. Plant manager Don Barar and dozens of employees attending Tuesday’s meeting wore badges reading “Save Exide — Save Frisco Jobs.”

The plant has been at odds with city officials in recent years over its lead emissions. Besides air-quality concerns, recent inspections on plant property have found contamination on the ground, though the extent is unknown.

The Environmental Protection Agency has ordered Exide to do thorough tests of soil, groundwater and Stewart Creek to identify contamination from its recycling operations.

The EPA recently approved the company’s plan, and testing at the facility will begin next week.

A separate public hearing on proposed changes to the city’s zoning ordinance that probably would affect Exide was postponed Tuesday. No action was taken by the planning commission or during the Frisco City Council meeting held immediately after the commission’s meeting.

The air-quality standard for lead strengthened tenfold in 2008 as research in recent years has shown there is no safe level of lead exposure. In children, lead can cause learning disabilities, IQ loss and behavior problems. In adults, lead exposure has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes.

A study published this month suggests a link between teenagers’ hearing loss and blood levels of at least 2 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood.

After 2-year-old’s arm was broken, day care teacher fired, charged in Rockwall

Rockwall Herald-Banner

ROCKWALL — Police arrested a former employee of the The Lighthouse Private School in connect with a 2-year-old’s broken arm earlier in December. Kristen Bissonnet said her son Lukas Smithey came home from day care Dec. 7 with his arm broken at his elbow. She was initially told her son fell.

 “One of the other teachers said they saw his [Lukas’] teacher lift him up by one arm and start shaking him,” she said. Bissonnet said the day after the incident she was called into the school to discuss her son’s arm.

 “They told me at the school that Lukas’ teacher was fired,” she said. Amy Sanders, owner of The Lighthouse Private School, confirmed with the Herald-Banner that Crowsey was fired. The school has paid all of Smithey’s medical bills thus far, Bissonnet said.


Today: Injured model ‘making remarkable strides’

Did you see Scott Stump’s story on Today.com?

By Scott Stump
While Lauren Scruggs continued to make a remarkable recovery after colliding with an airplane propeller, a large group of supporters gathered Tuesday night to raise money for her medical bills and speak about her indomitable spirit.

The 23-year-old model and fashion blogger from the Dallas area had her left hand severed, suffered shoulder and head injuries, and eventually had her left eye removed by a team of 15 doctors after accidentally walking in darkness into a still-spinning plane propeller on Dec. 3. She had been taking a trip with a pilot friend, Curt Richmond, to see Christmas lights in the Dallas area and was believed to be moving to the front of the plane to thank him when she walked into the propeller.
Click to see Today.com video

In just over three weeks since the accident, the girl affectionately known as “Lo’’ is already walking, talking, eating her favorite foods and doing numerous other activities on her own as she undergoes a painful rehabilitation process at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Her family has been regularly updating her progress on the site CaringBridge.org.

Remarkable strides’
“Lo is making remarkable strides!’’ her mother, Cheryl Scruggs, wrote on Monday. “Her spirit is incredible. She’s positive, hungry and cheery! Her appetite is very healthy, even though she is still taking lots of pain medication.’’

A benefit was held Tuesday night at Sambucca 360 in Plano, Texas, for the Lauren Scruggs Hope Fund, which has been set up by her family to help defray the cost of her medical bills. The final figure has not been tallied yet, but so far at least $10,000 was raised from the event, which featured a silent auction with items donated by local businesses.

“Lauren is doing amazingly well,’’ one female attendee told NBC News. “I call her this little spunky firecracker.’’

“Very strong,’’ another attendee said. “Always positive. You just instantly fall in love with her.’’

Scruggs spent Christmas surrounded by loved ones, including her twin sister, Brittany, who wore matching pajamas with Lauren on Christmas Eve. Brittany can literally feel her sister’s pain, according to their mother.

“Being twins, and having a bond that most never understand, Britt’s left eye has been twitching for the last 4-5 days every 30 seconds or so,’’ Cheryl Scruggs wrote on CaringBridge.org. “She knows it’s because of the deep connection she and Lo have, and God allowing her to go through this with her at the ‘twin’ level.’’

Four days before Christmas, the creator of LoLo Magazine who once worked as a stylist on “Gossip Girl’’ hit more milestones in her recovery. She was able to make her own scrambled eggs, dress herself, brush her teeth, comb her hair and shower on her own, her mother wrote.

Candy cane case appealed to U.S. Supreme Court

Right before Christmas, Liberty Institute filed a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court in Morgan v. Swanson, (known nationwide as the “candy cane” case), asking the Court to hold government officials accountable for violating students’ First Amendment rights.

Liberty Institute filed the petition on behalf of Plano ISD students. Liberty argues that the students were banned by school officials in 2003 from distributing candy cane pens, pencils and other gifts containing religious messages to classmates during non-curricular activities and after school. Liberty calls it “a clear violation of their constitutional rights to free speech and free exercise of religion.”

“Every school official knows that engaging in religious viewpoint discrimination against students is unconstitutional,” said Kelly Shackelford, Esq., president/CEO of Liberty Institute. “Saying that school officials can engage in such religious discrimination without any responsibility is not the law and would send exactly the wrong message to millions of school children and their families.”

The petition asks The Supreme Court to review a deeply divided en banc decision of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which narrowly granted two school officials, Lynn Swanson, Principal of Thomas Elementary School, and Jackie Bombchill, Principal of Rasor Elementary School, qualified immunity, despite numerous constitutional violations.

While recognizing that the school officials violated the Constitution, a majority of the court determined that the law, however, was not clearly established enough to hold them responsible. In July 2010, a unanimous panel of the Fifth Circuit denied the school officials qualified immunity, recognizing that the law prohibiting viewpoint discrimination is clearly established and also rejected the school officials’ argument that elementary school students have no First Amendment rights.

Former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, who will argue what Liberty calls the “Obamacare” lawsuit in the Supreme Court in March, serves as co-counsel with Liberty Institute and argued the case alongside former U.S. Solicitor General Kenneth Starr [now president of Baylor] at the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in September. Clement also co-wrote the petition for review to The Supreme Court.

After eight years in litigation, the candy cane case has come to symbolize what many call “the war on Christmas.” Since 2003, the case has affected change throughout the nation, reshaping school district policies, influencing changes to state law, evoking questions about religious expression in schools and forcing the examination of student’s First Amendment rights. By taking the case, the U.S. Supreme Court would likely clarify the law nationwide, which affects over 40 million students.

Liberty Institute is a non-profit legal firm that works to restore and defend religious freedoms in schools, churches and the public arena. Visit http://www.libertyinstitute.org/ or http://www.CandyCaneCase.com for more information.

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Deerfield, Gordons turn on the lights for Christmas

Looking for Christmas lights? Try the sparkling Deerfield neighborhood in Plano. One house to look for among the many decorated for the holidays is the Gordon Lights “Welcome Christmas” home display at 4665 Quincy Lane off  Ohio Drive, just north of Legacy and east of Preston Road. Once on Quincy, turn on your radio to 95.7 FM.

Gordon Lights collects money, gift cards and other donations on behalf of Operation Homefront and raised $5,000 last year. To see the light shows with music, click on http://gordonlights.com

To see the Deerfield neighborhood in lights and on video, please click on http://deerfieldplano.org,

Better yet, load up the family and drive over to Deerfield but go see the lights before the weekend because the neighborhood attracts big lines of cars during the holidays.

Message from the Gordons
“GordonLights, of course with the help of all its very generous visitors, raised over $5,000 in 2010 for Operation Homefront! Thank you very much for participating in this donation-raiser. When added to the amounts raised in previous years, that brings our grand total to over $17,000 dollars raised to date.

Let’s see what we can accomplish together this year!”

Warmest Regards,
Fabian and Ellen Gordon

By the numbers …
Putting on a show like this can be pretty involved and require lots of parts. Here are some statistics about our show you may find just a tad interesting:
Number of lights (total): Over 125,000
Number of lights (LED-based): About 95,000
Number of lights (all others): About 26,000
Number of LOR channels: Over 4,200 in use
Number of DMX Universes: About 64 (32,640 channels)
Number of extension cords: Over 1,600
Amount of wire used (all inclusive): Over 115,000 ft (roughly 21.8 miles)
Power consumption (EVERYTHING ON): 186 Amps

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