ARLINGTONGluten-free picnic, benefit walk planned in ArlingtonA benefit walk and gluten-free family picnic Sept. 28 are designed to provide support for people with gluten intolerance and celiac disease and heighten public knowledge of the disorders.The Gluten Intolerance Group of North Texas will host the events from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Legacy Pavilion in Arlington’s River Legacy Parks.Picnic fare includes barbecue and all the fixings, plus tasty dishes of gluten-free foods. Games, bounce houses, a raffle and silent auction will be held in addition to the fundraising walk.For more information, go to www.northtexasgig.com or visit the group’s Facebook page. — Shirley JinkinsRotary Club readies for Scholarship Scramble golfArlington West Rotary Club’s 25th annual Scholarship Scramble will be held Oct. 1 at Waterchase Golf Club in Fort Worth. The Scholarship Scramble has raised more than $200,000 for education initiatives since its founding.This school year the proceeds will provide college scholarships to four Martin High School seniors and two Venture High School graduates, plus money and backpack supplies to send Morton Elementary School fifth-graders to Camp Grady Spruce. The club also donates books and dictionaries to Morton students, sponsors the Rotary Interact Club at Martin and supports an adoption awareness program.Golfers will play a four-person scramble and enjoy a catered barbecue during the awards presentation. The prize for a hole-in-one contest is a new car.Interested golfers can contact the tournament director Pete Piotrowski at firstname.lastname@example.org. — Shirley JinkinsTaste of Arlington set for Oct. 22 at convention centerTickets are available for the 31st annual Taste of Arlington, set for 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Oct. 22 at Arlington Convention Center, 1200 Ballpark Way. The eagerly anticipated yearly event includes all-you-can-eat selections from more than three dozen restaurants and beverage purveyors, along with live music, auctions, entertainment, a sponsor displays and a clever new theme each year, carried out in the decorations. This year’s theme is “Taste University Class of 2013,” saluting favorite alma maters.“October is football season and that galvanizes the old alumni spirit like nothing else,” event co-chairwoman Kim Lawson of Theatre Arlington said in a statement. “It will be fun seeing people showing off their old letter sweaters and other spirit items.”Kay Nash of the YMCA of Arlington is the other co-chairwoman. The Star-Telegram is presenting sponsor, and proceeds from the event benefit thousands of children. Theatre Arlington grants provides outreach life skills classes for at-risk fourth-graders at Crow and Thornton elementary schools, runs a summer theater camp for homeless and transient children, and awards scholarships for its children’s theater school.The YMCA of Arlington provides programs for over 17,000 youths, giving them the chance to learn and try new things and make new friends. Financial assistance is available for all programs.Tickets, available at Theatre Arlington and the YMCA’s family centers, are $40 in advance and patrons may buy two tickets at $35 each with a Star-Telegram Press Pass. The group rate for parties of 10 or more is $30, and tickets are $45 at the door. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $65 and include reserved table seating and a complimentary wine tasting. For more information, visit www.tasteofarlington.info.City Council OKs funds for update of sign ordinanceThe Arlington City Council has approved a $40,000 contract with consultants to help update the city’s outdated sign ordinance.The update is designed to help streamline the sign ordinance, which was written before the use of digital signs, to make it easier for businesses to comply with the rules and for the city to enforce violations, Community Development and Planning Director Jim Parajon said. The update is expected to review several types of signs, including vertical blade signs that attach to the sides of buildings, flag banners and portable signs placed on private property and in rights of way, and signs that use light-emitting diodes, or LEDs.The contractor, Boyle & Lowry of Irving, has experience in legal protections, such as freedom of speech, to help the city as it updates the ordinance, Parajon said. — Susan SchrockBEDFORDTown hall tonight takes aim against bullyingAs part of the “Journey Toward Justice” monthly town hall series, Cathedral of Hope Mid-Cities is hosting panelists at 7 tonight to discuss the issue of bullying in schools.Panelists include counselors and program specialists from the Fort Worth, Hurst-Euless-Bedford and Grapevine-Colleyville school districts.The event’s focus is to find ways for the community to create a safer environment for children when it comes to bullying.This series is offered in advance of October’s National Bullying Awareness Month and will feature excerpts from the documentary Bully.The event is free and takes place at Old Bedford School, 2400 School Lane. — Taylor PraterEULESSNo tax rate increase, but water fees to riseEuless will buy a new firetruck, replace the Texas Star Golf Course greens, add a workout video system at the Family Life Center and buy a $130,000 piece of equipment that should save the city time and money on street asphalt replacement, all as part of the $36.4 million city budget for 2013-14.Cullum Drive will also be completely rebuilt, and a hike/bike trail connection from Glade Parks to the other side of Texas 121 will be designed.The city’s property tax rate will remain unchanged at 47 cents per $100 of assessed value.The budget provides increases in employees’ pay and benefits, allows for more training and testing for public safety departments and accounts for rising costs of providing city services.Responding to Trinity River Authority increases, Euless is raising water rates 19 cents per 1,000 gallons, and the wastewater charge will go up 36 cents per 1,000 gallons. The average residential water customer using 8,000 gallons a month will pay $3.07 more per month in 2014, the city said. — Terry EvansGRAPEVINEMall will offer free parking for GrapeFestGrapvine’s 27th annual GrapeFest is Thursday through Sunday, and Grapevine Mills mall will play its part by offering free parking throughout the weekend.Festival attendees can park on the southeast corner of the mall near Applebee’s. A complimentary shuttle service will carry passengers to and from the parking lot throughout the weekend.For shuttle times, visit www.grapevinetexasusa.com/grapefest. — Taylor PraterKENNEDALEKennedale is awarded Scenic City certificationKennedale is one of six Texas towns recognized as a scenic city by the Scenic City Certification Program of Scenic Texas.The five-year certification is judged by a city’s visual character, landscaping, public trails and parks, wildlife and recreation. Other Texas cities recognized are Houston, McKinney, Rockwall, Seabrook and West University Place.North Richland Hills was granted certification in 2011 and was upgraded this year in context of the new judging standards.A reception celebrating these cities will take place Oct. 9 at the Hilton hotel in Austin. Evaluations for the 2014 awards may be made starting Jan. 1.For more information, visit www.sceniccitycertification.org. — Taylor PraterMANSFIELDFestival Week will celebrate the city Organizers of Festival Week in Mansfield are inviting residents to enjoy the city’s past, present and future with seven days of fresh food, art, music and more.From Oct. 14 through 20, the festival takes place on Main and Broad streets downtown. Hot Beats and Cold Brews concerts will play Monday through Thursday. Food trucks will be scattered throughout the area.Wurst Fest hits Main Street on Friday, featuring German food, two bands and local vendors.Rounding out the week is Mansfield Music & Arts Festival on Saturday and Sunday, with Dallas headliners The Old 97’s rocking out and Fort Worth native Buddy Whittington closing Sunday night.Throughout the week, local artists will display their works, children can enjoy their own play area, classic cars will be featured, and a chili cook-off offers different styles and flavors from the area.For more information, visit www.MansfieldFestival.com. — Taylor PraterROANOKE Empty Pockets to play free show ThursdayArts Council Northeast and the city of Roanoke will host the country band Empty Pockets for a concert Thursday at Austin Street Plaza, at the corner of Oak and Austin streets. The show is part of the MasterWorks Series of free family entertainments presented several times a year.With male and female lead vocalists, the band performs new and classic country hits made famous by Hank Williams, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Patsy Cline and Miranda Lambert, plus pop favorites by Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin. — Shirley JinkinsWATAGUAEmployees to get raise under new city budgetCity employees are getting pay increases for the first time since 2010 as part of a $30.264 million budget for 2013-14.Full-time employees get a 3 percent increase across the board, while part-timers will see 9 percent increases. Police officers’ and firefighters’ paychecks increase up to 18 percent, depending on their position and time in service.The City Council left the tax rate unchanged at 59.1216 cents per $100 in assessed property value, which effectively increased the rate by 0.01 percent, said Finance Director Sandra Gibson.The average taxable value of homes in Watauga increased $320 — about 0.36 percent — from $88,275 to $88,595. The city’s portion of the tax bill for that average home will be $523.79.Gibson said that residents will not see increases in water or wastewater fees this year despite wholesale price increases. That could change next year.“During the second quarter of fiscal year 2013-14, staff will perform reviews and determine if a water and wastewater pass-through rate mechanism should be put in place,” Gibson said. “In addition, we will re-evaluate storm drain fees.” — Terry EvansRegionSanger ‘Sellabration’ includes music, foodThe city commemorates its heritage beginning Friday and running through Saturday with the 35th annual Sanger Heritage Sellabration at Lake Ray Roberts Area Elks Lodge.A barbecue cook-off begins at 2 p.m. Friday with on-site registration. Live music starts at 8:30 p.m. and runs to midnight with bands Calcutta and The Jim Bowies.The formal opening festivities of the Sellabration begin at 10 a.m. Saturday. Concerts and performances continue until 5:45 p.m., featuring school bands, cheerleaders, a Little Mr. and Miss Sanger contest, country bands, dachshund races and a dog show.Activities will take place near the Ray Roberts Marina, 1601 Marina Circle.Visit www.sangertexas.org for more details and cook-off /contest rules. — Shirley Jinkins
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