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We can all get in the holiday spirit instead of stuck in traffic by using the free Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) GoPass app, available in the App Store or Google Play; making it easier to discover these holiday festivities:

Historic Downtown Carrollton features a vibrant display of holiday lights, decorations and “snow”-flocked storefronts in the town square. December 8 is the perfect time to catch St. Nick at the annual Santa on the Square event. On December 15, snap a selfie with a giant, inflatable snow globe, then browse the shops or to eat at Babe’s Chicken Dinner House, a short walk from the Green Line’s Downtown Carrollton Station (HistoricDowntownCarrollton.com)

At Christmas on the Square in Downtown Garland, 100,000 lights adorn the neighborhood and “dance” to music throughout December. The first three Saturdays of the month, Santa will be there, along with carolers, hot chocolate and free movies at the Plaza Theatre. Take the Blue Line to Downtown Garland Station to enjoy the family fun. (ChristmasOnTheSquare.com).

Bishop Arts District shows its creative flair in the awesome lights lining the streets. On December 2, ring in the season at the Poinsettia Walk –champagne with cranberry juice. Participating stores provide the beverage, and the Dallas Streetcar’s Bishop Arts stop puts visitors a few blocks from the merrymaking. (BishopArtsDistrict.com).

Dallas Zoo Lights also has a satchel-full of creativity through the end of the year with more than a million lights outlining the trees, walkways and sculptural decorations. The spectacle is on display on select evenings; check before taking the Red Line to Dallas Zoo Station (DallasZoo.com).

Downtown Irving does a knockout job of dressing up Centennial Park with beautiful lights and a series of holiday-themed displays. The Holiday Extravaganza on December 1 starts with a parade through the historic town center and finishes with a tree lighting at City Hall. The gorgeous display will be up through December 26 –served by Downtown Irving/Heritage Crossing Station on the Trinity Railway Express.

Downtown Rowlett comes to life with music, dance and festive floats at the Hometown Celebration Holiday Parade on December 8. Get there by taking the Blue Line to Downtown Rowlett Station (VillageOfRowlettDowntown.com).

The Downtown Plano Arts District is rich in holiday tradition. The festive feeling continues throughout the holidays. Take the Red Line to Downtown Plano Station (VisitPlano.com).

 

 

 

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The benefits of clean water and having plenty of safe water to drink are well known. Our bodies are made up of 70 percent water. By the time we feel thirsty, the body has lost over 1 percent of its water and one quarter of its energy capacity.

In 1969, Joseph M. Price, a medical doctor, wrote a popular book, Coronaries, Cholesterol & Chlorine, in which he linked chlorine in drinking water supplies to heart attacks. “Chlorine is the chemical catalyst that initiates damage to the arteries and buildup of cholesterol deposits. This ‘clogging’ can ultimately lead to a heart attack,” he wrote.

  • One in five Americans is exposed to water contaminated with toxic chemicals.
  • Arsenic and small amounts of radiation are commonly found in well and ground water where gas and oil fracking has occurred in the recent years.
  • Some cites in North Texas are switching to chloramines as a disinfectant rather than chlorine. EPA states that chloramines provide longer-lasting disinfection as the as the water moves through pipes to consumers.
  • Activated carbon filters do not remove chloramines. Only catalytic carbon can remove chloramines.
  • Our bodies can absorb contaminates in tap water through the skin while bathing and showering. We absorb six to 100 times more chlorine and fluoride in a shower than by drinking the same water.
  • Fluoride is not beneficial when ingested through drinking water. It affects the pineal gland in the brain, causing neurobehavioral deficits.
  • Approximately 40 percent of the lakes in America are too polluted for fishing, aquatic life or swimming.
  • Each year, 1.2 trillion gallons of untreated sewage, storm water and industrial waste are dumped into U.S. water.

Drinking purified water does a lot more than quench our thirst, it keeps our bodies in great working order. Drinking purified water keeps us young mentally and physically. It keeps skin moisturized, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and prevents memory loss as we age. Drinking purified water is good for our joints because they need moisture to remain strong and flexible, so that movements are smooth and pain-free. Drinking purified water throughout the day instead of soda or Gatorade is a great way to make sure the body gets what it needs.

Justin Patman is the owner of Nivian Water, in Richardson. For more information, call 972-778-8005 or visit NivianWater.com.

 

 

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Water is essential to life. Making sure we deliver safe, reliable water to drink and use is the number one priority at North Texas Municipal Water District. The majority of the water supply for homes and businesses comes from manmade storage reservoirs, collected from Lavon Lake, Lake Texoma, Jim Chapman Lake, Lake Tawakoni and the East Fork Water Reuse Project. Beginning in 2022, water will also come from water Bois d’Arc Lake, currently under construction.

After pumping the lake water into one of six water treatment plants, it gets rigorous treatment to remove sediment, bacteria and other impurities. They first clean out solid particles, and then the two-step disinfection process eliminates bacteria and viruses in the water supply and distribution system. The district uses common disinfectants such as chlorine, chloramine (chlorine plus ammonia) and ozone.

To ensure quality water, a state-certified laboratory conducts and processes hundreds of samples every day, adding up to more than 250,000 samples tested each year, to ensure drinking water meets or surpasses regulatory, health and aesthetic standards set by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Acts. They also publish results online via water quality reports.

For more information about the North Texas Municipal Water District, visit ntmwd.com.

 

 

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The Regional Transportation Council (RTC) has approved $36.74 million toward significant expansions to the growing network of bicycle/pedestrian trails in Dallas-Fort Worth to improve access to transit, jobs, school and other major destinations. This federal funding will pay for expansion of the Regional Veloweb Trail and for crucial parts of the Cotton Belt Regional Trail. With the addition of local matching funds, the investment in the trails will exceed $40 million. Both trail projects have been in the region’s Metropolitan Transportation Plan since 1996.

Ft. Worth Mayor Betsy Price says, “The regional trail provides connections to numerous major destinations and employment centers in Fort Worth, including downtown, Panther Island, the emerging Trinity Lakes mixed-use development and more.”

New construction will complete a continuous 53-mile trail southern alignment connecting Fort Worth, Arlington, Grand Prairie, Irving and Dallas. The approved section of the Fort Worth-to-Dallas trail will connect the existing Mike Lewis Trail, in Grand Prairie, to the Trinity Railway Express Centreport/DFW Airport Station, in Fort Worth, and the River Legacy Trail in Arlington, near State Highway 360. This will make it easier for area cyclists and employees to access the rail station. Employees at the new American Airlines headquarters will be able to access to the rail station by using the new trail. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings states, “The regional trail will provide a true transportation link to Dallas and surrounding communities.” All sections of the regional trail southern alignment are anticipated to be complete by 2023.

RTC also committed $8.20 million toward the engineering design of a 26-mile Cotton Belt Trail and $19.46 million toward the construction of 8.5 miles of the trail, including trail bridges over major roadways, as part of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Cotton Belt commuter rail line project yjrough Grapevine, Coppell, Carrollton, Addison, Dallas, Richardson and Plano). This regional trail will ultimately connect with the existing Cotton Belt Trail in Grapevine that currently extends westward through several cities in Tarrant County.

The Regional Transportation Council (RTC) of the North Central Texas Council of Governments has served as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for regional transportation planning in the Dallas-Fort Worth area since 1974. The MPO works in cooperation with the region’s transportation providers to address the complex transportation needs of the rapidly growing metropolitan area. The Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area includes Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Hood, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant and Wise counties. The RTC’s 44 members include local elected or appointed officials from the metropolitan area and representatives from each of the area’s transportation providers.

The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) is a voluntary association of local governments established in 1966 to assist local governments in planning for common needs, cooperating for mutual benefit and coordinating for sound regional development.

For more information, visit nctcog.org/FWtoDALTrail and nctcog.org/CottonBeltTrail.

 

 

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Many people think of the city park as simply a playground, soccer field and maybe a baseball diamond. But many urban parks maintained by the Arlington Parks and Recreation Department are more than simply picnic tables. Each Nature Crawl visits four of the 90 parks maintained by the municipal parks and recreation department. Volunteers from each park will help point out the unique features and native plants being preserved there.

The next Nature Crawl starts at 9 a.m., November 23, at the O.S. Grey Nature Area, located at 2021 West Abrams, in Arlington, including the wildflower meadow and trails, and then explores Wildscape at Veterans Park, Southwest Nature Preserve and River Legacy Park along the Trinity River. Those visiting all four nature reserves can receive discount coupons from local retailers. REI is promoting the Crawl at their stores in support of the Opt Outdoors campaign.

Arlington resident Jim Domke is coordinating the event, partly motivated by how long it took him to discover the nature areas inside Arlington. He says, “These gems are hidden away and need to be discovered. Getting out away from malls, traffic, and stop lights by going to a nature park is an easy way to simply take time and relax, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy life. It’s a great place to take the whole family for a walk after the huge Thanksgiving feast.”

Admission is free. For more information, call 817-435-2980 or visit JimDomke.com and tinyurl.com/GreenArlingtonFoundation.

 

 

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A Thanksgiving tradition since 1967, the Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot, one of the largest multi-event races in the country, will be held on November 22. Around 25,000 participants are expected to turn out to Dallas City Hall Plaza for the eight-mile race and 5K fun run. New for 2018 is a 1K Junior Trot for 6-to-11-year-olds. The Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot benefits YMCA programs that strengthen the foundation of our community.

The original Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot was held at the Old Fair Grounds back in the 1940s; but the long string of consecutive races began in 1967. 

Entry fees vary. For details and registration, visit TheTrot.com.

 

 

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Here in North Texas, growing things can be difficult. Some of us struggle with black clay soil, while others have sandy soil. Construction debris and compaction, as well as buildup of chemicals in the soil can also cause plant stress. This can present challenges to having healthy soil that can grow healthy plants. For good plant nutrition, a diverse and rich soil life is vital. Probiotics has become a buzzword associated with good health by maintaining biodiversity in our human gut flora. The soil is very similar, and there are several systems working together unseen by the eye that keep plants nourished and protected.

Healthy soil is a living material, filled with beneficial microorganisms, including bacteria, algae, fungi and protozoa. These microorganisms keep soil healthy, decompose organic matter, replenish soil nutrients, form humus, promote root growth, increase nutrient uptake and also break down herbicides and pesticides. Macro-organisms such as earthworms love organic matter, too. They do a great job of aerating the soil and providing castings (rich waste).

We can help those essential microbes in our soil by adding rich organic matter. For gardens, compost can by spread on top or worked into the soil. On lawns, this can be done by mulching leaves and grass clippings when possible. Top dressing with organic compost is another option. We can spread compost ourselves or hire a professional. It’s a natural process; organic matter provides food for the microorganisms in the soil that release nutrients like nitrogen into a usable form.

Adding organic matter is one of the best things to keep soil healthy in the garden and landscape. It loosens compacted soil, adds nutrients to the soil and retains water so we can water less. Compost has the unique ability to improve soil physically, nutritionally and biologically. Lawns can benefit greatly from a top dressing with organic compost, especially after a core aeration. Stressed trees respond well to compost application, too. Feeding the soil will create a better plant root environment for healthy plants.

 

 

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EarthXFilm has launched Strike Out Straws, in which individuals and businesses can pledge to stop using single-use plastic straws. People can take the pledge online at earthxfilm.org/strike-out-straws-pledge/#pledge. EarthXFilm has also partnered with vendors to provide discounts on reusable or biodegradable paper straw alternatives to plastic straws.

Single-use plastic straws are consistently among Ocean Conservancy’s top 10 items of beach litter. According to the Plastic Pollution Coalition, an organization working to eliminate plastic pollution and its adverse impact on the environment and wildlife, more than 300 million pounds of plastic are produced each year, and an estimated 5 trillion non-biodegradable plastic particles are already bobbing throughout the oceans. It is estimated that 1 million sea birds, 100,000 mammals and countless fish are killed every year due to ingesting plastic or getting entangled in plastic pollution.

Australian scientists Denise Hardesty and Chris Wilcox estimate, using trash collected on U.S. coastlines during cleanups over five years, that there are nearly 7.5 million plastic straws lying around America’s shorelines” They further estimated that 437 million to 8.3 billion plastic straws litter the entire world’s coastlines.

EarthXFilm’s Strike Out Straws goal is to eliminate 1 million straws by April 2019. Dallas area restaurants and hotels that have taken the Strike Out Straws pledge include Al Biernat’s Oak Lawn and North locations, Alinea Restaurant, Cindi’s New York Deli & Restaurant, Houlihan’s, The Keg Steakhouse + Bar, Embassy Suites by Hilton Denton Convention Center, and Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. People can further create awareness by simply requesting, “No straw, please” at bars and restaurants.

 

 

 

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The 2018 Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) Sustainability Summit will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., November 9, with a theme of partnerships that cement relationships and cooperative efforts to reach sustainability goals in schools, businesses and communities. The keynote speakers Marianella Franklin, chief sustainability officer for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and Kevin Wilhelm, CEO of Sustainable Business Consulting.

“As DCCCD moves forward with its goals for sustainability inspired by 17 guidelines suggested by the United Nations, we want to focus on goal number 17, partnerships,” says Georgeann Moss, district executive director of sustainability and outreach initiatives. “One person can’t do it all, but one person or one organization can pick one sustainability project or goal and make it their call to action.”

Admission is free. Location: Richland College, 12800 Abrams Rd., Dallas. To register, visit dcccd.edu/SustainabilitySummit by Nov. 5.

 

 

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The fifth AURORA, a public biennial exhibition focused on light, video and sound art, will take place around the Dallas City Hall and throughout the city on November 3. This series of artistic exhibits will engage the public, urge audiences to think about the direction our world might take and actively participate in its creation. The convergence of art, architecture and innovation is timed to emphasize Dallas as an international contemporary art destination.

With local, national and international participation, four prestigious guest curators— Danielle Avram (Dallas), Justine Ludwig (NYC), DooEun Choi (NYC) and Nadim Samman (Berlin) bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in institution-level public art and international exhibitions.

For more information, visit DallasAurora.com.

 

 

For more stories like this read Natural Awakenings Dallas-Ft Worth magazine at NADallas.com