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Posted Monday, Jan. 21, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Theatre Arlington board members are reeling from the surprise announcement Monday that Executive Producer Todd Hart is resigning, but board President Beau Browne is resolved to keep the nonprofit arts group's momentum going.

Hart told the board that he is moving to Las Vegas to be closer to his family and will explore opportunities there. His parents are in declining health, and he has made two trips there in recent weeks to spend time with them, Browne said.

Although Hart will be difficult to replace for many reasons, Browne said, the board understands his decision.

"There's no doubt losing Todd's talent and leadership leaves a big hole in our theater family," Browne said in a statement. "On behalf of the Board of Directors, we wish to express our deep appreciation to him for his innumerable contributions to the theater over so many years and we wish him the very best in his move and future pursuits. He will be sorely missed by all and his absence will present the board with a considerable challenge to try to fill his shoes."

Hart has agreed to stay on through April to help with the transition. Browne said the organizational structure could change as a result of Hart's resignation. A search will be conducted to find a replacement.

Hart has served as executive producer since 2009. Prior to that, he spent two years at Casa Mañana as associate producer and an additional eight years at Theatre Arlington in many positions, including education and outreach director and business director.

"I love this theater and what it means to this community -- not just in Arlington, but in the DFW Metroplex, the state and the nation." Hart said in a statement. "Theatre Arlington has been part of my life since 1999. It, the staff, the community, the youth and the patrons will not be easy to leave. However, I want to be nearer to my family at this time and we all know there is a lot of show biz in Vegas!"

Big stage for local grad

Matthew Tejada is going to be pursuing justice in a different way and on a very big stage.

Tejada, a Martin High School graduate, recently was hired by the Environmental Protection Agency to be the director of the Office of Environmental Justice in Washington, D.C., according to the Houston Chronicle.

Tejada, 33, who also lived in Fort Worth, more recently made a name for himself as an activist in Houston where he helped organize low-income and minority communities there and across Texas to address concerns over air pollution, the newspaper reported.

Environmental justice is based on the notion that the areas where the poor live bear a disproportionate burden when it comes to pollution because they have little political clout to block industrial plants and waste sites.

His primary role, he said, will be convincing people inside and outside the agency that the idea of environmental justice should be part of many decisions.

"These are places where people fundamentally are not given an equal opportunity in this country because our society has traditionally allowed for our dirtiest, most dangerous things to pile up on their doorsteps," Tejada said. "We, as a society, need to address those problems, help those communities and ensure that we do not create new [environmental justice] areas by thoughtless planning and development."

Tejada attended the University of Texas at Austin on scholarship. He also served in the Peace Corps then graduated from Oxford University with master's and doctoral degrees.

Homeless survey

Hey baby, it's cold outside. Especially at night.

So, if you're homeless and prefer not to stay at the shelter, where do you go?

Volunteers will hit the streets in Thursday to collect info on the county's unsheltered homeless.

The Arlington Housing Authority will send folks out to survey homeless people throughout the city.

The biennial Homeless Count Night is an effort to learn more about those experiencing homelessness on any given night in Arlington and throughout Tarrant County.

The data helps officials evaluate why they are homeless so programs can be designed to help them.

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