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The opinions of Steve Southwell, Editor of the Lewisville Texan Journal
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Opinion: Lewisville Lake gas rights leasing bad for residents

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2016/2/2 14:40:00 (1875 reads)


Last week, I wrote about how the federal Bureau of Land Management intends to lease some of the land under Lewisville Lake for natural gas development.

We were fortunate to have a reader bring this to our attention so that we could share it with you while the public protest period is still active. Two prior public comment periods went without anyone from our area weighing in because the notice given by BLM was by all but legal standards insufficient.

The BLM thinks that posting quarterly notices deep within the website of its New Mexico office constitutes informing the public. We think this situation perfectly underscores the need for local media, and why Texas law requires so many government proposals to be posted in local newspapers. Had BLM sent notice to The Lewisville Texan Journal, as a local news source, it would have received ample public comment.

Lewisville Lake is vital water supply for hundreds of thousands of people. Caution is advised for natural gas development, and any other industrial activity in the watershed. Operators must use best practices and regulators must carry a big stick. I wish I could say I trusted the Texas Railroad Commission (the state’s oil and gas regulators) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to wield the regulatory stick when warranted.

Nevertheless, the drilling won’t take place on Corps property. Railroad commission logs from nearby wells show that the horizontal drilling is around 9,000 feet below ground level. The maximum depth of Lewisville Lake is 67 feet. I’m more worried about contamination of underground aquifers which the drilling will pass through than lake contamination. The Corps of Engineers excludes hydraulic fracturing within 3,000 feet of the dam. With the proposed lease being miles from the dam, I’m not worried about any effects on it.

The reason this particular lease ought to be postponed or canceled has more to do with economics.

BLM is narrowing the prospective pool of bidders by leasing only the northeastern side of this arm of the lake, rather than leasing a similar amount of land that would stretch from shore to shore. It is setting up for a sweet deal for a single operator to bid the minimum and walk away with public minerals on the cheap.

Had BLM proposed leasing the land stretching from shore to shore, operators with existing pad sites on both sides of the lake could bid against each other for the opportunity to develop it. Too often, the taxpayers foot the bills for privatized profit and socialized risk.

If we are going to lease the land for drilling, we should at least have a better chance of getting more revenue from it.

- Rating: 8.00 (3 votes) - {$lang_ratethisnews}

FM 407 interchange tests patience

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2016/1/23 20:40:00 (2507 reads)

Open in new window
I-35E northbound service road approaching FM 407 narrows to a single lane for drivers headed north, turning left and turning right. Compounding the problem, the Garden ridge exit is closed, forcing more traffic to have to go through this intersection. - LTJ photo

By Steve Southwell

Lewisville residents were happy to finally get some connectivity beneath I-35E on FM 407 when lanes opened Dec. 31.

But, the northbound service road there is a mess. It has more traffic because the next northbound exit for Garden Ridge is closed until later this summer. Drivers needing to access that road must also traverse the this intersection.

The two lanes on the service road merge to a single lane prior to the driveway for the Valero gas station on the southeast corner. Traffic needing to turn right can’t scoot past the line waiting at the signal. So, it backs up for a long way down the service road.

AGL Constructors is aware of the backup, and has tried to speed up the work. They say they’ve tweaked traffic cameras to make the intersection more efficient.

Don't get caught driving through the Valero parking lot to cut the intersection either. Lewisville police have been at the location, and we're told that they have stopped plenty of people.

You probably will want to take Valley Ridge instead of FM 407 if you can get there that way.

The full intersection is expected to be complete this summer, but they say they hope to have turn lanes by early spring. It won’t be soon enough.

Here is a YouTube video from AGL showing the construction stages:

(2:20 in the video is about where we are now.)

- Rating: 9.00 (1 vote) - {$lang_ratethisnews}

New editor, old face takes helm at ‘The LTJ’

The Editor's Column
Posted by AdamSchrader on 2016/1/23 16:03:58 (2425 reads)

By Adam Schrader

Last week, Lewisville lost a great publication and I lost my job as its editor. For one year and six months, I served Lewisville readers by putting out a weekly publication called Neighborsgo for The Dallas Morning News.

But Lewisville will endure as many cities have through the loss of major publications and a shrinking industry. Thanks to Steve Southwell, I will endure too.

Hi, my name is Adam Schrader and I am the Interim Editor of The Lewisville Texan Journal. It is my privilege to once again put out a weekly newspaper in the area I grew up and served for many years.

I was born to Charles and Luciana Schrader of Flower Mound in 1990. I attended Heritage and Prairie Trail Elementary Schools, Briarhill Middle School and graduated from Marcus High School in 2008—when I went off to Lubbock Christian University to study music business. I wanted to be a hot producer like P. Diddy.

Upon the end of my time at LCU, an old friend and now ex-girlfriend of mine convinced me to get an internship at KCBD News Channel 11 in Lubbock, start a student newspaper and apply to graduate school in journalism. So I did.

I graduated with a master’s of journalism from the University of North Texas and have worked with The Dallas Business Journal, The Denton Record-Chronicle and the Morning News. My life hasn’t been the same since. I’ve never really looked back.

While I’m proud to have worked at the News, I’m excited for this new transition in my life. I get to cover Lewisville, a city that I love, once again on my hunt to take my career to the next level—hopefully on the national stage.

My time here may range from a couple of weeks to several months, or more. We’ll cross that bridge when the time comes. But until then, I hope to cover this city with attention and thoroughness.

This week, I’m excited for you to read stories by names you already recognize: Jennifer and Steve Southwell. Jennifer’s story about the Derby Divas, a new roller derby group in Lewisville, will inspire local women. Steve has written a great investigative piece about residents experiencing water woes.

You will continue to see their excellent writing, alongside my own name and other favorites from the community. I hope to grow the LTJ’s print and digital footprints, provide more staff-written stories and enhance our presence on social media. You may also soon see some changes from content to design—like the new formatting on the calendar—in weeks to come.

I know we’ll get through this transition together. If you have any concerns, let me know. I always welcome any feedback, story ideas and submissions you may have. Remember to follow me and the paper on Twitter at @schrader_adam and @LewisvilleTexan.

- Rating: 0.00 (0 votes) - {$lang_ratethisnews}

Website Upgraded

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2015/4/27 4:53:59 (2686 reads)

With thanks to our generous readers who have contributed donations this year, we have just finally been able to upgrade our website hosting to what we believe will be a much more reliable plan. For several hours while DNS changes get propagated and caches expire, readers may or may not be able to reach our site, depending on where you're coming from.

Hopefully at the moment, readers will not notice much of a difference. We expect there may be an issue or two over the next couple of days as we ensure that we have everything moved. We've been something like 6 years on the same old hosting plan, and we've used the same software since 2004 (with upgrades as we can, of course).

Please email if you notice anything on the website that is not working.

In the next few months, we have other updates planned, or in the works, including:

- Upgrading the Content Management System that runs our website. We're looking at Joomla and Wordpress to see which would work better. The second phase of this would be porting our existing archive of articles over to the new system.

- Upgrading our police and fire radio to provide better streaming service, and compatibility with upcoming new digital service that LPD will switch to.

- Adding a cloud server for long-term media storage and file sharing.

- Rating: 10.00 (1 vote) - {$lang_ratethisnews}

This is my procrastination post

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2015/4/4 16:50:00 (2092 reads)

Open in new windowBy Steve Southwell

So, I just got back from a week of business travel, and I don’t know if you heard, but we had a bit of an issue to deal with Wednesday, which I had not anticipated. Laundry is piled up on the floor, the yard needs to be mowed, and this beautiful sunshine has me dying to go hop in the kayak and paddle the river.

But my inbox is full of email, and many of them are about stories I need to post here as soon as I can. I have stories I’ve started to work on - even interviewed or photographed people for, and have yet to post. It’s a great source of stress to me when I can’t get it done. I’ll get to it - I hope. I’m always disappointed when I don’t.

This is my procrastination post. Ever had so much to do that you barely know where to start?

What I’ve been meaning to do since the beginning of this year is to sort of catch up our long-time readers with where things are, and where we’re trying to go with The Lewisville Texan Journal. For new readers, I’d like to briefly explain how LTJ works, and what we do. It became clear to me in reading some of the responses to Wednesday’s debacle that the nature of LTJ is not clear to many.

My name is Steve. I’m 43 years old, and I’m a full-time computer programmer who writes and maintains business applications for clients in all sorts of industries. I have an awesome wife, and two sons who are growing up to be good young men. A lifetime ago, I served in the Marine Corps, and I came back and got myself a business degree. Around 2004, I started a blog called WhosPlayin, and then around 2007, I started getting interested in local issues, and writing posts about things of interest to Lewisville. I used to post a lot of partisan stuff, but gradually have phased most of that out, and focus almost exclusively on topics of interest in our city. In 2011, we changed the name of the site to The Lewisville Texan Journal to reflect the change in focus.

I do about 95% of the work here in my spare time, and I probably spend 10-25 hours a week writing, researching, and maintaining the site. It’s a lot of work, but I do it because I believe in community engagement, and I think a city where citizens are informed is a city that excels.

Read More... | 9604 bytes more - Rating: 10.00 (2 votes) - {$lang_ratethisnews}
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