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Stepping Into Summer

Jul 17, 2013 11:05AM ● Published by Tyler Hicks

For kids, summer couldn’t come soon enough, but for the city, it’s a time of year that brings its own set of challenges. You might have seen the “Fight the Bite, Are You Prepared?” signs around town and also noticed that Stage 1 water restrictions are in effect. In the past couple of years, West Nile outbreaks, severe weather and water restrictions have become signs of summer. Yet this year, I feel better about facing these challenges because of what we have learned in the past and the plans we now have in place.

Fighting off mosquitoes is just as important this year as it was last year. As of this writing, one person in Texas has tested positive for the West Nile virus. Last year, the presence of the virus and the speed at which it spread caught many of us by surprise. This summer, Southlake and many other DFW cities are much better prepared to deal with a possible outbreak. In April, the city adopted a plan that contains certain action triggers, such as the number of mosquitos found in one trap, which will prompt the city to take action. We are already handing out larvae-killing briquettes to help stop the mosquitos before they have a chance to mature. I hope we don’t reach the point we did last year, but if we do, we are ready to fight back.

The tornadoes that devastated Moore, Okla., and Granbury, Tex., are a reminder that nature’s force can be devastating and heartbreaking. A tornado can change lives in an instant, which is why it is so important to be prepared. If severe weather strikes, are you ready? Do you have the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration radio that broadcasts without being connected to electricity? What about a place to ride out the storm? What if you are separated from your family? Do you have a plan that will bring everyone together in a safe place? The city’s emergency management team is a great group of employees and volunteers whose primary focus is to keep us safe, but we always need your help and cooperation.

For the third straight summer, we have found ourselves in Stage 1 water restrictions. The good news is many of the city’s water-supply projects, including the new 30-inch line, are now online. While the new line will help with distribution, low lake levels have triggered twice-a-week watering restrictions not just for Southlake, but also for all of Fort Worth’s customers. The city has made great strides with its water distribution system, but it’s important to note that water distribution is still limited by supply — and with low-lake levels, we are bound by our contract with Fort Worth to abide by water restrictions. I’m not sure how long these restrictions will last, but if the past several years are any indication, we could be following the twice-a-week watering schedule well into the fall.

The city has short- and long-term plans that address each one of these issues, and hopefully the worst thing that happens this summer will be the water restrictions already in place. The best parts of this season are still to come, including the city’s annual July 3rd Stars and Stripes celebration, concerts in the park, summer reading club, summer camps, recreation classes and much more. But should we need to need put other plans into place, we are ready to act. For more information about West Nile virus, severe weather outbreaks and water restrictions, go to CityOfSouthlake.com.

See you in Southlake.

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John Terrell, vice president of commercial development for DFW Airport, has spent countless volunteer hours in service to the City of Southlake.  He served two terms on the city council prior to becoming elected Southlake's Mayor in 2009 and again in 2012.  Married to wife Joanne and father to two Dragons, the 2012 Southlake Citizen of the Year has called Southlake home for more than 15 years.


In Print, Today, City+School John Terrell city view stepping into summer
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