Thursday, September 27, 2012

AT THE LEVITT: Last call for free concerts…and maybe to see yourself on camera

Levitt Pavilion closes its 2012 season with an X-Factor finalist, songs from the Bayou and triple-fiddle magic. A film crew working with the national Levitt Pavilions organization will also be in Arlington for all three of the Levitt’s final concerts this weekend. It’ll be a chance to show that Arlington knows how to rock, and pack the pavilion for the audience shots!

The film crew and staff members from the Levitt Pavilions also will be on hand to
interview random audience members on camera to talk about the Levitt Pavilion and
free music under the stars. The completed film will be shown all over the country
to organizations looking to add a Levitt Pavilion to their community and to potential

See you this weekend, and on camera!

It's been the season of the "music competition show artists" for the Levitt Pavilion
this fall with the winners of NBC's The Sing-Off (Pentatonix), a runner-up from
America's Got Talent (Cas Haley), and during its closing weekend, a finalist for
 The X-Factor, LeRoy Bell (pictured lower right photo). His concert is 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28. and made possible by a grant from the Arlington Cultural Tourism Council.

Bell started his musical journey by writing songs that were recorded by The Spinners,
The O'Jays, The Temptations, Rita Marley, and most notably, Elton John. He decided
it was time to reinvent himself and emerged as a singer/songwriter with his own
recording label. His first recording, an EP called Spending Time, sold more than
 15,000 copies. When The X-Factor made its U.S. debut last year, Bell found himself
in the top 10. His edgy music places him in a league of performers who cross many
demographics, illustrated by the diverse list of artists Bell has performed with,
including B.B. King, Van Morrison, Sheryl Crow, Etta James, Al Green, Erykah Badu,
LeAnne Rimes, Michael McDonald, Idina Menzel, Keb Mo, Taj Mahal, Leon Russell and
Los Lobos.

Great music begins with great songs, and great songs are what the Honey Island Swamp
Band (top photo) is all about. Their distinctive Bayou Americana sound kicks off the last weekend of free concerts for 2012 on Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m., thanks to a grant from the
Arlington Tomorrow Foundation. The Levitt Pavilion is located in downtown Arlington across the street from City Hall, 100 W. Abram St.

The band came together when Aaron Wilkinson and Chris Mulé were marooned in San
Francisco after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. After a chance encounter
with fellow New Orleans evacuees Sam Price and Garland Paul, and with no prospects
of getting home any time soon, they figured they'd better cook up something new
and quick! A few days later, they had a song list, landed a weekly gig at San
Francisco's Boom Boom Room and settled in to share a little taste of Southern culture with their
new West Coast neighbors.

Their seven-song EP debut was so well received that the band decided to make the new group their priority when they moved back to New Orleans.

Honey Island Swamp Band's music mixes timeless songs with searing guitar, mandolin
and four-part vocal harmonies, all anchored by the powerful groove of a Louisiana
stomp rhythm section. Most recently, the band was named Best Roots Rock Artist of
2011 at the Big Easy Awards, New Orleans' most prestigious arts and entertainment

When Grace, Sophia and Hulda Quebe raise their fiddles and play, audiences marvel.
When the women sing their vintage-style three-part harmony, audiences are blown
away. Add Joey McKenzie's rhythm guitar and Drew Phelps' swinging upright bass,
and the Quebe Sisters Band (pictured lower left) becomes a force of nature. They make a return visit to the Levitt to close this year's concert season at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29, sponsored
by Vandergriff Auto Group.

The Quebe Sisters Band's music has taken the Americana music scene by storm with
 a refreshing blend of western swing, vintage country, bluegrass, jazz and swing
 standards, and Texas-style fiddling. The band's performance highlights include
appearances at the Grand Ole Opry, the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, the Ryman
 Auditorium, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and the National Folk Festival.
In addition, the QSB has appeared in concert with Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder,
Merle Haggard, Asleep at the Wheel, Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers, Riders in
the Sky, and Marty Stuart.
(By: Cathy O’Neal, LP release)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Creating a shared economic prosperity for the Metroplex requires a four-T approach

The Dallas-Fort Worth region is one of about 40 mega-metropolitan areas worldwide that dominate both human creativity and planetary economics. Though these regions hold only 18 percent of the world’s population, they generate two-thirds of its economic activity and produce 90 percent of its technological innovations.
The modern age has morphed into a global village led by mega-regions coveting a slice of the economic pie. North Texas has done well in this competition—so far. But many regional leaders predict that a far more collaborative approach will be needed as world competition heats up.
For the past year, Richard Florida (pictured left) and his Creative Class Group have partnered with UT Arlington to examine the region’s assets and challenges. The effort engaged representatives from the School of Architecture, the College of Education and Health Professions, and the School of Urban and Public Affairs, with input from major chambers of commerce, local elected officials, Vision North Texas, the North Texas Commission, and civic groups.
Dr. Florida, a visiting distinguished research scholar at UT Arlington and author of the urban development classics The Rise of the Creative Class, The Great Reset, and The Rise of the Creative Class Revisited believes the future economy will increasingly be dominated by knowledge, creativity, and innovation.
“Think of it as the 4Ts,” he says. “The regions that prosper are those with the best performances in technology, tolerance, talent, and territorial assets because they attract creative workers.”
Beyond the 4Ts, creative workers generally favor five attributes in the locations where they live: basic services, opportunity, values, leadership, and aesthetics. In short, a sense of place matters. But Florida cautions that catch phrases won’t get the job done. Decisions must be based on data.
“We’re compiling a wide array of leading indicators and data-driven analysis that can help to inform a broad conversation about the path toward a sustainable, shared prosperity.”
The data shows plenty of strengths—and some significant weaknesses.
On the positive side, the region weathered the housing market downturn better than most areas, and five-year employment growth is strong. Residents are diverse, relatively young (median age 28), and robustly entrepreneurial.
Challenges include a pronounced auto dependency, with its accompanying sprawl, and moderate human capital. Among regions with populations exceeding a million people, Dallas-Fort Worth ranks 27th in percentage of workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher. The region also lags in arts and recreation employment, which attracts creative class residents who become sources of entrepreneurial activity.
“The data we’ve collected are an X-ray of the region—its industry, talent clusters, and more,” Florida says. “We have found that the region overall has done extremely well. It has a high rate of business creation and stable employment. And a big international airport adds enormous value.”
 Steven Pedigo, visiting distinguished research scholar
Steven Pedigo, a UT Arlington visiting distinguished research scholar and the Creative Class Group’s research director, sees a sea change in concepts of ownership.
“The focus on consumption has been that people buy cars and houses,” he says. “But knowledge-based-economy residents tend to spend money in different ways. People will spend money for experiences—food, music, sports, travel, and art. The region needs to adjust to this reality.”
Florida believes that the sprawling tendencies of the Metroplex likely will change. Technology, innovation, and capital access matter, but much of the built environment is unoccupied and inefficient. With the University’s assistance, he and his team will study North Texas for another year. Then it will be up to the region to develop an action plan.
“It has to be the private and public sectors working together,” he says. “It will require participation by regional chambers of commerce, and universities will have to be a main driver. The most effective economic development is private-sector driven.”
(Reprinted from UTA’s Inquiry Magazine)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Scams appear convincing. That’s why they often work. Be wary, avoid becoming a victim

By: Cheryel Carpenter, APD release
The Arlington Police Department’s Economic Crimes Unit recently received a fraud report involving a money wiring scam. The victim was swindled out of more than $30,000, which was part of his life savings.
You may wonder, ‘how this could happen?’ The suspects took advantage of the victim by making the scam convincing and personal. The Arlington Police Department wants to make you aware of this scam so you won’t fall victim to this type of fraud.
It all started with a simple phone call. The caller was from a man who identified himself as his grandson. The suspect pleaded to the grandfather to help him get out of jail. He stated that his lawyer would contact him shortly to discuss where he could wire bail money.
Because the caller knew specific names, the grandfather believed his grandson needed his financial help.
Shortly after, a man who identified himself as an attorney from another city contacted the grandfather. The man claiming to be a lawyer said that the grandson was involved in an accident and he would need a certain amount of money wired to him in order to bail him out of a county jail. The attorney made the information so believable that the victim immediately went to a money wiring business location and sent the criminals the money.
The following day, the victim received another telephone call from the attorney stating that the other person involved in the vehicle accident wanted to file suit against his grandson. The victim was assured that his grandson would not be sued if he paid a settlement. The victim wanted to help his grandson so he went to his bank and wired the large amount from his account to the location provided.
The next day, the grandfather’s daughter called him after noticing a substantial amount of money missing from his bank account. The grandfather told her about the phone calls he received. She informed him that his grandson was okay and he was neither in jail nor involved in an auto accident. The victim immediately contacted our department to make a police report.
Unfortunately, there are people out there who want to take advantage of your compassion. In this case, the grandfather was victimized and the suspect got the money he requested.
Before you wire money, the Arlington Police Department suggests you do the following:
  • Always verify and confirm who is on the other end of the phone or computer before you send funds.
  • Always confirm the legitimacy of the information through family members
  • Be suspicious of anyone asking for large sums of money