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City of Glenn Heights offers vaccines to residents

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GH COVID vaccine flyer

GLENN HEIGHTS – The City of Glenn Heights utilized its new Senior Center last week to make sure residents were taking care of their health.

The city teamed up in a coordinated effort with Parkland Hospital to offer Pfizer vaccines to all interested residents last Saturday morning.

Through the synchronized work of Glenn Heights Mayor Pro Tem Sonja A. Brown and Parkland Hospital, there were about two dozen Glenn Heights’ residents who had the chance to take advantage of the city’s partnership.

Most of those who came to the city’s Senior Center were administered a first dose of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine.  Additionally, there were also some residents who came to receiving their third dose.

It was an easy and in-an-out day and there was no appointment needed.  The Parkland Hospital staff was also on hand for questions.

State Representative (D-109) Carl O. Sherman, whose district the event was held in, spoke briefly as the morning progressed.

Only 5% of Glenn Heights Residents Are Vaccinated

“In Glenn Heights only five percent of the people are vaccinated,” Sherman said. “We need more people to be protecting their communities and their families.”

The city’s new Senior Center is currently closed due to COVID-19, but Mayor Pro Tem Brown told those in attendance the city is still taking care of their seniors every day.

“Although closed we are still making sure we take care of our seniors,” Brown said. “Covid-19 shut us down right as we were about to ramp things us, but we still provide meals and do welfare checks regularly.”

CDC unvaccinated graphic

Residents who took their first dose this past Saturday will be able to have their second dose administered in 21 days on October 2. The October 2 clinic is open to anyone wanting a first, second, or third dose.

The clinic is open to all and no registration is required. Children 12-17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

A new study from CDC’s COVID-NET shows that unvaccinated people are 17x more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than people who are fully vaccinated.

Cardoso Optimistic About the Future of Cedar Hill ISD STEM

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Jessi Cardoso headshot
Photo courtesy of Cedar Hill ISD

Ecstatic About STEM in CHISD

(CEDAR HILL, TEXAS) When Cedar Hill High School Class of 2007 Graduate Jessi Cardoso thinks about Cedar Hill ISD’s commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), he’s ecstatic.

The Senior Systems Reliability Engineer is happy, not only for his 9-year-old son, who’s a scholar at Collegiate Prep, but for all Longhorn scholars.

“I think it’s great because whenever I went to UT Dallas, we had to take some placement tests,” Cardoso said. “Tons of my college classmates were light years ahead of me. They knew how to program. They said ‘we learned all this stuff in high school’. The fact that Cedar Hill has an emphasis on STEM will set up a lot of kids for success, for sure.”

Cardoso, a first generation college graduate, said that project-based learning is something in which he thrives.

Cardoso’s journey from scholar to engineer with Thoughtspot, a Silicon Valley-based Business Intelligence Company, came about after the most tragic day in Cardoso’s life.

When Cardoso was 10 years old in 1999, he and his family were traveling to visit relatives in central Mexico.

Another driver was frustrated that the Cardosos were driving the speed limit and not exceeding it. That driver ran the Cardosos off the road. The car flipped over and ejected both Cardoso’s mother and his 2-year-old sister, Jasmine.

Jasmine died as a result of injuries in the accident, and Cardoso’s mother survived, but with serious injuries, some of which still affect her to this day.

“She sustained heavy injuries — she shattered her pelvis and titanium rods in her arms and legs, and she fractured several vertebrae,” Cardoso said. “She still doesn’t have full functioning of her left arm. (Mom) She can’t lift more than two pounds. It makes it difficult to carry pots or pans or even to do dishes.”

Cardoso and his father sustained minor injuries.

When they returned to Texas, Cardoso’s mother spent time in the hospital. As the hospital bills accumulated, the family was forced to live with relatives.

During that time, Cardoso’s uncle introduced him to computers.

“The first thing I did was say ‘I wanted to see how this thing works – I took it apart and I broke it,” Cardoso said. “My uncle said, ‘you took it apart, now put it back together and figure out how to get it to work again. In the midst of the tragedy, computers were a constant.”

Cardoso’s parents had immigrated to the Best Southwest area from Mexico, and his father worked hard to become a sous chef. They had achieved a level of stability, until the car accident created substantial financial problems.

Jasmine would be 25 years old, if she were alive today. Cardoso often thinks about who she would have become and what she may have accomplished.

Strong Ties to CHISD

Cardoso’s interest in computers only increased as he entered Cedar Hill High School as a freshman in 2003.

“Having a computer helped keep me out of trouble,” Cardoso said. “When my friends wanted to go out, I said ‘I just want to go home and use my computer.”

Cardoso joined scholar organizations at CHHS such as Business Professionals of America (BPA) and Technology Students Association. In the latter, just Cardoso and classmate Alex Stodola were the only members.

“Being in that club really opened a lot of opportunities for us,” Cardoso said. “When our teacher/sponsor left, both of us looked for another teacher/sponsor so we could keep it going. As far as we know, the club ended when we graduated.”

Cardoso has strong ties to CHISD. His wife, Irene Cardoso – a Cedar Hill High School Class of 2006 Graduate – teaches at Collegiate Academy and High School. They met on a Cedar Hill High School Society of Fine Arts (SOFA) field trip in high school to Scarborough Fair in Waxahachie.

But they didn’t get to know each other well until they were classmates at UT Dallas.

Cardoso’s younger brother, Richard, was born after the tragedy. He was the Collegiate High School Class of 2020 Salutatorian and now attends Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

Texas Comptroller Has Paid $285 Million In Unclaimed Property

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Unclaimed property flyer

Do You Have Unclaimed Property?

(AUSTIN) — Have you ever checked to see if you have unclaimed property? Maybe you forgot about that bank account you had in college or your late Aunt’s safe deposit box. The Texas Comptroller’s office approved and paid $285 million in unclaimed property claims during the past fiscal year, Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced today.

“I am proud to have returned nearly $2 billion dollars to Texans since becoming Comptroller, and we are continually looking for new ways to return even more,” Hegar said. “This is a testament to the hardworking folks in our Unclaimed Property Division. I encourage everyone to visit ClaimItTexas.org to see if the state is holding some of their unclaimed property.”

The Comptroller’s office has returned more than $3 billion in unclaimed property to rightful owners since Texas’ unclaimed property program began in 1962. The state is currently holding more than $6 billion in cash and other valuables through the program.

The $285 million in unclaimed property returned in fiscal 2021 represents more than 538,000 properties. These belongings include things such as forgotten utility deposits or other refunds, insurance proceeds, payroll checks, cashier’s checks, dividends, mineral royalties, dormant bank accounts and abandoned safe-deposit box contents. Businesses generally turn property over to the unclaimed property program after it has been considered dormant for one to five years.

There is generally no statute of limitations for unclaimed property the state holds, which means there’s no time limit for owners to file a claim — they can do so at any time.

For more information about the unclaimed property program, or to search for unclaimed property and begin the claims process, visit the Comptroller’s unclaimed property website, ClaimItTexas.org, or call 800-321-2274 (CASH).

Major Stargell Is Honored to Be Teaching Air Force JROTC

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Major Stargell in uniform
Photo courtesy Cedar Hill ISD

A Cadet Run, Cadet Led Program

(CEDAR HILL, TEXAS) United States Air Force Retired Major Cort Stargell is honored and delighted to be an instructor in the Cedar Hill High School Air Force JROTC Program.

He never thought he’d have the opportunity.

Stargell enlisted in the United States Air Force, upon graduation from high school in 1986, became a commissioned officer in 2001 and retired in 2013 as a Major.

Shortly after retirement, family obligations led him to rural Iowa where he ran his family’s insurance and real estate business.

He recently moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and recognized the opportunity to teach Air Force JROTC.

“I wanted to teach it before, but I had to run the family business,” Stargell said. “I saw a great opportunity to make a difference in these scholars’ lives. They will be the next generation to run our country. Our program is a cadet run, cadet led program.”

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, AFJROTC – like many extracurriculars – completed many of its programs virtually. That reduced the membership, but Stargell thinks the membership can go back to the regular level of 200 members with recruiting – both at the high school, and the district’s middle school campuses.

Performing at Country Day On The Hill

The AFJROTC is scheduled to perform at Country Day on The Hill Parade on October 9 in Cedar Hill. They will also take periodic “Curriculum in Action” field trips, including one to Houston where they will visit the NASA Johnson Space Center and the Houston Holocaust Museum.

Stargell said scholars and parents should know that JROTC “is not a pipeline for military recruitment” but instead a program that “develops citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community.”

“The program teaches scholars skills they can use in life – leadership, communication, teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking and time management,” Stargell said. “Some of our scholars might join the military, but it’s not the purpose of the program.”

A Career In The Air Force

Both Stargell and Master Sergeant Dannion McClendon have 27 years of experience in the Air Force.

Although born in Iowa, Stargell attended middle school and high school in Livingston – located 70 miles north of Houston.

He joined the Air Force after graduating from Livingston High in 1986 and was stationed at Altus Air Force Base in western Oklahoma. He originally thought he’d serve for four years and then work in the private sector.

Instead, Stargell made a career out of the Air Force, having served in Europe, Central America and the Middle East.

On September 11, 2001, Stargell was stationed at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama for Officer Training. The Airmen were going through a training exercise, which was immediately halted when they learned of the tragic events of September 11.

Stargell taught three years of ROTC at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Unlike JROTC, ROTC (which is taught at the university level) is a military officer training program.

Stargell served a year on a NATO Training Mission in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2010. Part of his assignment was ensuring that NATO Forces had the ability to communicate while stationed in Afghanistan.

“Serving in Afghanistan was a very eye opening experience,” Stargell said. “It was the best year of my career. The two decades prior to leading up to that point prepared me for it.”

Cedar Hill High School to Host Auto Show on October 2, Entries Are Open

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mand and kids standing by car

Prizes Awarded To Top 80 Contestants

(CEDAR HILL, TEXAS) The Cedar Hill High School Career & Technical Education (CTE) Department will sponsor the Second Annual Auto Show in the Cedar Hill High School Parking Lot from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, October 2. Registration begins at 9 a.m.

Aaron Kennedy, Cedar Hill High School Graphic Arts Teacher and the reigning CHHS Teacher of the Year, is one of the teachers coordinating the event.

“This event is a way for a large community to come together to support our career and technology scholars,” Kennedy said. “The auto show is a massive all encompassing project that requires the collaboration of many of our pathways. Scholars from Graphics, Welding, Business, Marketing, Health Care, and more will all work together for a common goal.”

“Scholars were inspired by our last show when they saw support from people of every background. This support wasn’t just from Cedar Hill, as we had entries from across the state and a few out of state entries”

The Auto Show will feature up to 500 cars, trucks and motorcycles. The inaugural Cedar Hill Auto Show, in 2019, had approximately 200 vehicles. Last year’s event was canceled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

A $20 entry fee will benefit CTE Scholar Organizations, and prizes will be presented to the Top 80 contestants.

The Auto Show is open to any car, truck or motorcycle owner.

“At the 2019 Show, we had everything from a Tractor with a V8 engine, to a Rolls Royce,” Kennedy said. “If it has an engine and drives, we want it there. “👍

Judge Little Says “Virus Is Taking Its Toll on Community”

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Ellis Count COVID numbers 9 14

Judge Little Is Recovering From COVID-19

ELLIS – Ellis County will be setting up free COVID-19 testing kiosks on September 17 according to Ellis County Judge Todd Little. Although specifics haven’t been provided as to how residents will access the kiosks.

“The virus is taking its toll on our community,” Little said. “We have made vaccines readily available and free.”

On August 27, Dr. Leigh Nordstrom, Ellis County’s Local Health Authority, reminded residents to continue with COVID precautions. She stated, ““COVID-19 is at a sharp incline in our community,” and encouraged everyone to get vaccinated. At the time we asked Judge Little if he’d like to comment on Dr. Nordstrom’s statement but were informed he was ‘out of office.’

In fact, the Judge is himself still recovering from COVID after a three week battle with the virus. Today, he said he would like to highlight how the success of new treatments has benefitted many of his colleagues and can also benefit the citizens of Ellis County.

He received the monoclonal antibodies (Regeneron) for his illness. He said, “It made a huge difference in our symptoms and recovery. It reduces hospitalizations by 75-80% of people who receive infusion.”

Hospitals In Ellis County Are Experiencing COVID-19 Spike

And hospitalization is definitely not a situation anyone wants to find themselves in for the treatment of COVID-19.

In Ellis County Hospitals as of September 14, there were 38 ICU beds occupied, 28 of those beds with COVID-19 patients. There are 137 patients hospitalized with COVID in Ellis County, accounting for roughly 70% of the patients.

Little said the County is doing what they can to ensure patients are taken care of. “We have reduced elective procedures in order to give priority to COVID patients,” Little explained. “This frees up Medical-Surgical (MedSurg) beds to be used as ICU beds. When there is an overcapacity in ICU beds, the hospitals can use MedSurg beds to treat COVID patients.”

Ellis County COVID-19 Data

 

While some residents are asking about the transparency of the COVID numbers at the Ellis County website, Little maintains the county is being as transparent as possible regarding the COVID data.

“Remember we now get our stats from DSHS the same way our citizens do,” Little explained. “DSHS no longer provides us with daily updates to the COVID statistics in our county; they stopped providing us daily breakdowns in late June.”

ellis County Trends 9 15

At one time Texas Health Trace was supplying numbers, but the county discontinued reporting from THT in June. It is unclear why Ellis County was using THT and is now using DSHS. Over the last week, Ellis County, Texas has averaged 245 new confirmed cases per day.

As for DSHS, Little said they are no longer providing the breakdown of counties and cities and how many cases in each because, “They were overwhelmed at DSHS.”

Vaccines Continue To Be Available To Everyone 12 & Up

Ellis County does have a plan to increase the vaccine uptake though, no details as of yet. Little said they have already been able to vaccinate about 80,000 people through the Vaccine Hub between February 3rd and June 4th.

The hub closed in June due to increasingly low demand – they peaked at about 2,000 vaccinations a day, but by June the Hub was seeing less than 150 a day. From that point, the Hub’s vaccines were distributed to private healthcare providers, including urgent care facilities, pharmacies, and hospitals.

“The supply of COVID-19 vaccines remains ample to any Ellis County resident who wants one,’ Little concludes. According to the latest data 50.93% of the residents in Ellis County are fully vaccinated and 60.85% over 12 years old have had at least one dose.

*The Monoclonal Antibody Therapy Center in Ferris will be open through November 15th from 10am – 4pm. 514 Mable, Ferris, TX Those interested in receiving the antibody therapy treatment can register for an appointment at mdlabtx.com

Get answers to questions or help finding a vaccine near you by phone:

Text your ZIP code to find vaccine, childcare, and free rides to clinics to
GETVAX (438829) for English
VACUNA (822862) for Spanish

Call 1-833-832-7067 (toll free) for referral to a local vaccine provider

Call center is open Monday–Friday 8:00am⁠–⁠6:00pm, and Saturday 8:00am–5:00pm.
Spanish language and other translators are available to help callers.

Call the national vaccine finder hotline toll free at 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489)

Get fully vaccinated for free and without ID, insurance, or an appointment. Go to CovidVaccine.Texas.gov to find vaccine providers near you.

EG Vines Performs at Poor David’s Pub Sept. 17

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EG Vines performs at Poor David's Pub
Photo by Nate Brown

Nashville rocker and songwriter EG Vines performs at Poor David’s Pub in Dallas Sept. 17. Vines is touring the country in support of his second album, “Through the Mirror.” Several years ago Vines left his high-powered but stressful corporate job to pursue music full time. He released his critically-acclaimed debut album, “Family Business,” in 2019.

“There’s more to say here, and I just decided I wanted to really dig in,” Vines said.

Through the Mirror

With “Through the Mirror,” Vines is delivering on his promise and proving himself to be an essential voice in music. Press materials describe the electric guitar-riddled “Through the Mirror” as “part indie rock nirvana and part reaction to an uber-politicized world.”

“It’s open-ended enough to where people can take different things from it. It’s definitely a reaction to our uber-politicized world and social media. It’s that social dilemma, people get in their hall of mirrors, and maybe they’re not looking at reality,” Vines said.

EG Vines performs at Poor David's Pub
Photo by Nate Brown

The album was recorded mostly in Nashville’s Skinny Elephant Recording with co-producer Dylan Alldredge, with Vines drawing inspiration from punk and alt-rock favorites. The artist offers his own views against biting riffs and pulsing drums. He encourages listeners to critically engage with the world around them. His storytelling is inspired by musicians and folk artists like Jason Isbell and Bob Dylan.

EG Vines

Vines describes the album as a “Rorschach test for the modern world,” delivering his messages through a wide array of subjects. Topics range from American history to what theoretical alien visitors might think when they arrive on Earth.

Songs on the new album include “Am I Dreaming,” “Good Enough,” “The Royal Diplomat,” “King of the Rat Race,” and “Them.” “Meat on My Eyes,” “Ride,” “Waiting on the Aliens,” “Peace in this World,” and “Every Star.” complete the album.

His second album contains examples of how Vines is able to take personal viewpoints, throw in droves of guitars, and add a little poetic license to craft songs fit for arenas and amphitheaters worldwide. “Through the Mirror” is available to stream or purchase online now.

Vines will appear with special guest Andrew Holmes at Poor David’s Pub, 1313 Botham Jean Blvd. (formerly S. Lamar Street) in Dallas’ Cedars neighborhood Sept. 17. Tickets to the concert range from $15-$22. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. For information, please call 214-565-1295.

Second Homicide In Less Than a Week in Cedar Hill

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John Clark mugshot

Active Investigation Of Cedar Hill Homicide on September 12

CEDAR HILL – The Cedar Hill Police were called to the 1000 block of Fieldstone Dr. early Sunday morning, September 12 to investigate a call for help. Unfortunately, what they soon discovered was a homicide.

Police arrived at the home at approximately 2 a.m., responding to the situation after dispatchers received a 911 call from a female stating she needed help. Dispatchers reported the call was accompanied by screaming and a loud banging noise.

When police arrived they attempted to make contact at the front door, but there was no answer.

Officers checked the outer portion of the residence. From the back yard they heard a male moaning behind the locked back door.

Officers then made entry into the home and found 60-year-old John Clark on the floor near the back door. He was not injured, but advised someone was shot in the master bedroom.

Cedar Hill Police checked the master bedroom and found a deceased female in the adjoining bathroom. She’s been tentatively identified as 34-year-old Nadia Yasin.

A handgun was discovered by police on the bed in the master bedroom, and they found a second handgun in the bathroom near the deceased woman.

Cedar Hill Police later revealed  the dead woman was related to Clark

Additionally, police reported “After further investigation, Clark was arrested and charged with murder,” a first degree felony. Reports by CBS DFW indicate the deceased was the stepdaughter of Clark.

The 911 call identified a woman’s voice saying “Stop it, I need help” before a gunshot was heard. Following the gunshot they heard a male voice speaking.

At the moment, we don’t know what amount Clark’s bond has been set.

Police also said the incident appeared to be an isolated case with no ongoing threat to the community.

This is an ongoing investigation with limited details.

Anyone with information related to the incident contact Detective Schar at 972-291-5181 ext 2258.

 

2021 Pumpkin Patch Adventures In DFW

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woman with child and pumpkins
Photo credit Shado Creek Farm Brittney Burnett

The cooler temps are starting to arrive, leaves are falling and pumpkins are in the stores. It’s time to start planning those fall photo ops, shop for the perfect pumpkin and have some family fun. Here’s a look at some of the area pumpkin patches and their dates, etc.

Alvarado

Country Critters Farm
Address: 3709 County Rd. 617 Alvarado, TX 76009

Admission: $12 per person, kids 2 and under are free
Seniors are $6

Dates: October 2-November 14, 2021

Pumpkin Patch begins October 2nd! They are open weekends from Oct. 2nd through Nov. 14th. Country Critters Farm is open weekdays by reservation only. Activities include: bounce houses, tractor and train playground, petting zoo, pony rides, barrel train rides, hay rides, wooden maze, duck races (ducks are $1), hay pyramid, game areas, pumpkin patch, and more!

Each paying child will get to pick a pie size pumpkin from the patch and can decorate it with markers. Plus, they’ve added corn cannons and bounce racers this year! Also they announced they will have live Texas Country music on Saturdays during Pumpkin Patch!! The farm may close due to rain, or very muddy conditions.

Sunset Hill Tree Farm

Address: 3400 County Road 206, Alvarado

Dates: Oct. 2–31, 2021; Saturday and Sunday 9am–5pm
Bring the family to explore the tree farm and pumpkin patch, and burn some energy at the bounce house and playground, scarecrow hayride, train rides, pumpkin paint, horse shoes, a climbing wall for kids and more.

Admission: $8 per person; free for ages 3 and younger

Canton

YesterLand Farm

15410 I-20, Canton

Dates: Open weekends from Sept. 18–Nov. 7, 2021. *They are honoring all of our military, veterans, law enforcement, fire fighters & EMT men and women during the opening weekend of our Fall Season. First responders with ID will get free admission into the farm on September 18 and 19*

Rides (including a Ferris wheel), corn mazes, plenty of photo ops (like their Texas Flag Wall), rock wall climbing, farm zoo, live entertainment and pumpkin patch. Join YesterLand for spooky-filled attractions during Spooktacular Nights on Fridays and Saturdays in October.

Admission: General admission passes at the gate begin at $27.95 and include unlimited park rides, the corn maze, pumpkin patch and farm attractions. Discount tickets are available online at $16.95. Friday & Saturday nights during the month of October they have a Fireworks Show at 8:30pm.

Cleburne

Mainstay Farm

Address: 1004 W. Bethesda Rd.

Pre-Season Sale get tickets starting September 16th @ 8am to get more than 40% OFF! https://www.mainstayfarm.com/fall-pricing. Mainstay Farm offers a wide range of activities from hay rides, mazes, pedal karts, a treehouse and more. Children 2 & under are free.

Admission: $18.95 with online purchase; $21.95 at the gate for ages 3 and older, season passes available online. Pumpkins available for purchase. Additional charge for the Texas Tubin’ Hill, a 150-foot Texas-themed inner tube slide, and Apple Cannon Blasters.

NEW Texas Big Wheel, NEW Wine Terrace, Texas Tubin’ Hill, Dipsy Doodle Coaster, Haymarket Gifts & Home Decor, Hayride, Hay Play & Jump, Pumpkin House, The Dig, Little Farmer Acres, Duck Racing, Double Wide Slide, Kiddie Trike Track, Flying Cub, Triple Decker Treehouse Fort, Farmer Hammock, Standing Teeter Totters, Pedal Kart Race Track, Up & Over Maze, In-&-Out Maze, Wooden Maze, Jumping Pillows, 100 ft. Super Chute Slide, Balancing Labyrinth, Latvian Group Swing, Yee Haa Hoops, Farmula 1 Trike Racing, Red Baron Swing, Yee Haa Express Train, Upsy Dazy Swing, Farm Animals, Sheep Racing, Live Music (Select Dates).

2021 Mainstay Farm FALL SEASON DATES:

September 24 – October 31

​Fridays: 5pm – 9pm

Saturdays: 10am – 9pm

Sundays: 11am – 6pm

Dallas

Judy and Greg Sosbee cochair Autumn at the Arboretum
Pumpkin village photo courtesy Dallas Arboretum

Autumn at the Arboretum
8525 Garland Road, Dallas, TX

Dates: September 18–October 31, 2021 Reservations available from 9am–3pm daily; garden closes at 5pm daily.

Admission: $17 adults, $12 for kids 2−12, kids 2 and younger. are free

Dallas Farmers Market
The Shed, 1010 S. Pearl Expressway, Dallas

Dates : Sept. 18—Oct. 31, 2021. Monday–Friday 10am–6pm, Saturday 9am–5pm, Sunday 10am–5pm

Shop for pumpkins at the Farmers Market and on October 16 enjoy live music and kids crafts from 9am–5pm.

Admission: None.

St. James Episcopal Church

9845 McCree Road, Dallas, Texas 75238

Pumpkin patch flyer st. James

Pumpkin Patch Hours October 2-31:
Sunday 11:30AM-7:00PM
Monday-Thursday 1:00PM-7:00PM
Friday-Saturday 10:00AM-7:00PM

During the month of October, thousands of pumpkins of every size, shape and variety will be sold in the St. James Pumpkin Patch, located at the intersection of Audelia and McCree, just north of Northwest Highway.

The Pumpkin Patch is a joint venture between St. James Episcopal Church and Southwest-based farmers engaged in planting, growing and harvesting the crop. St. James’ proceeds from pumpkin sales fund the Saint James Student Ministries, helping young people grow in faith through local outreach and national and international mission trips.

Grand Prairie Pumpkin Patch

Woods United Pumpkin flyer
Woods UMC

1350 Bardin Rd., Grand Prairie, TX 75052

Pumpkins arrive Sept 2nd🎃
Craft Fair is Saturday Oct 2nd
Come out and see the pumpkins, and the craft fair!!
Pumpkin patch starts Oct 1 and goes through the month of October

Grapevine, TX

Hall’s Pumpkin Farm & Corn Maze

Dates: Opening Friday, October 1st at 3:00 pm for the 2021 season CASH ONLY!

Admission: $15 for adults and kids ages 12 and older; $10 for kids ages 4–11; ages 3 and younger are free. Hayrides are available for additional fee.

New this year… closed on Mondays and Tuesdays With the exception of Columbus Day which is Monday October 11th-we will be open from 11:00 am – 8:00 pm

Navigate the corn maze with two acres of towering corn stalks, some standing 9 ft. tall, go for an old fashioned hayride, or find the perfect pumpkin for your front porch.

Midlothian

Shadow Creek Pumpkin Farm
1530 Indian Creek Drive
Midlothian, TX 76065
(469) 612-3331

Shadow Creek Pumpkin Farm
Shadow Creek Pumpkin Farm Photo by Brittney Burnett

Dates: FALL 2021 – October 2 – October 31, 2021 – Saturdays (10am-6pm) and Sundays (1pm-6pm)

Admission: tickets can be bought online at www.shadowcreekpumpkinfarm.com or in person on operating days. Pet Day is Sunday, October 31

UNLIMITED FALL FUN Daily Admission Bracelets are $12 per person (2 and under free – Seniors 55+, Veterans and First Responders $10), and include UNLIMITED adventures throughout the park!

Fun includes hay rides, corn maze adventures, giant jump pad, barnyard and animal interaction area, vintage farm equipment, hay hill slides, game area including pumpkin tic tac toe, corn hole and washers, tractor seesaws and of course, pumpkins!

 

Unemployment Scams Accelerate as Pandemic Continues Upward Trend

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Photo courtesy Steve Baker.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges to the world. Add to these employment scams.

A recent study by the Better Business Bureau found that, with millions unemployed in the United States and Canada, job scammers have a ready market of those looking for work. Not surprisingly, complaints and reported losses increased during the pandemic, and with more people currently wanting to work from home, the door is open to even more scams.

The BBB reports that an estimated 14 million people are exposed to employment scams every year, with $2 billion in direct losses annually. Job scams have long been a staple of scam operations. While they were once commonly found in classified ads claiming people could work at home doing such things as stuffing envelopes or assembling goods, along with making promises to provide jobs such as working for the Postal Service, those scams are now far less common.

Now, a new generation of scammers advertise jobs on the web and social media, or reach out to those who have posted resumes on job boards. Along with these changes come an increased risk of identity theft. They also have resulted in a big increase in scams that involve reshipping goods purchased with stolen credit cards.

Other common scams promise jobs but provide victims with counterfeit checks, asking them to send money to a supposed third party for equipment to perform the job.

“Job Scams are a serious problem, and we urge job seekers to exercise extra care when applying for jobs. However, the best way to combat this or any other scam is through awareness and education. Simply knowing how these scams work could prevent you or someone you know from falling victim” said Monica Horton, BBB Spokesperson, BBB of North Central Texas.

Identity Theft Continues With More Younger People Falling Victim

The BBB study examines how common these frauds are, who they are most likely to affect, how they operate and how to avoid them. Of particular concern is the risk of identity theft, jobs that require reshipping goods purchased with stolen credit cards or helping scammers in other ways, and scams that involve fake checks.

“Scammers are like rabbits, they keep expanding – and they’re successful, or else they wouldn’t keep doing it,” said Steve Baker, author of the study for the BBB and a retiree from the Federal Trade Commission.

The study shows the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) about employment scams saw a 27% increase between 2018 and 2020, with projected losses in 2021 expected to be more than $62.3 million. Nationwide complaints in 2020 were almost 17,000.

While many might think it’s older Americans who lose the most, it’s actually those between the ages of 25-34 (28.2%) and 35-44 (21%), the study shows. Those over 65 were shown to lose more money on average, however, $2,299.

“More and more younger people are falling for them. They’re putting more information out there,” Baker said.

Women accounted for 66.7% of complaints. There is no evidence, however, that they are targeted more by scammers.

“I just think they reach out more,” Baker said. “Scammers don’t care where or who you are.”

54% Victims Are Unemployed

Also among the victims in the study, 54% were unemployed, 25% had full time jobs, 50% were looking for full time jobs, 28% were seeking flexible jobs, 10% wanted part time, and 32% did the work but were never paid.

Several folks in the Metroplex shared their stories about being scammed:

Teneisha Ewing was among those looking for a job from home.

“I was reached by email stating my resume’ was forwarded to them and wanted to set up an interview with me. They made it seem like I got the job and stated that I needed to get gift cards and sent them to vendors so my equipment would be mailed to me after they sent a fraudulent check for over $3,000 to get the gift cards.”

Baker explained, “Anyone who sends you a check and wants you to send money to someone else, it’s almost always a scam. The bank will usually cover you for the initial amount when you deposit it, but when it comes back bad, the bank wants their damn money back.

“And anyone who wants you to receive goods and send them on, it’s almost guaranteed to be a scam. They don’t pay either, plus you might have the FBI at your door.

“I actually talked to a guy in Dallas who got caught in one of these. He did this for the better part of a month and never got paid. I don’t think he knew what he was involved in.”

Katrina Bankhead was simply hoping for a loan to help her in a challenging time.

“I applied for a loan and was for $250. They said it would be deposited on the next day. Well, it never was deposited, and the next day I noticed someone used my card info to order electronic stuff. Every time I called them to see what was going on I was told someone would call me back. They never did. So now I have to have my bank do an investigation on the charge and wait for a new card.”

The study showed that many of the scammers targeted their victims using the website indeed.com (32%), while a distant second was Linkedin.com (7%), followed by Facebook (6%), Careerbuilder (5%), with Zip recruiter and Craigslist came in at 3% each.
Bogus interviews are also prevalent, the study discovered. For example, victims are often contacted by email or text message. They report that they have applied for several jobs online, and thus often believe that the contact is a result of those efforts. They then often have a cursory interview online.

The BBB Institute report found that these were often done on Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet. But many victims stated that even when they did video conferences, they often could not see the face of a real person.

Asking For Personal Information

Often the “employer” asks for a variety of personal information. One of the riskiest types of data to provide, of course, is bank account information, supposedly so that the scam employer can directly deposit the new employee’s pay.

The report revealed the largest number of victims believed that they were being hired by Amazon and Walmart. Amazon states that it posts all job opportunities at Amazon jobs and doesn’t require anyone to purchase equipment or pay initiation fees. It has warnings about job scams using its name. Any customer who receives a questionable email, call or text from a person impersonating an Amazon employee should report them to Amazon customer service.

Almost all Walmart complaints involved mystery shopping scams. Walmart reports that all jobs it has available can be checked out at its website. They advise the public to only trust emails that are from walmart.com; wal-mart.com, or samsclub.com.
Other job scams to be on the lookout for include:

  • Secret shopper scams.
  • Car wrap scams, getting paid to put wraps on your car advertising products and companies.
  • Nanny, or caregiver scams.
  • Small business scams, such as painters and photographers believing they’ve been hired only to receive a fake check.

How do scammers regularly get away with what they do?

Baker stated several reasons.

“First, scammers are really good. This is what they do for a living. They have an answer for everything, they’ve thought of every angle,” he said. “They are like a magician. There’s a catch, and as long as people don’t know how it’s done they can keep doing it. Once the trick is revealed, it’s obvious how it’s done.”

Scammers can be stopped, however. It starts by helping each other be on the lookout.

“Talk to friends, family, maybe you can really help them. I think we can do a lot and make
a difference,” Baker said. “These people do get get caught. I think more criminal enforcement and working together will definitely help.”

BBB scam flyer

BBB recommendations found in the study include:

  • Job boards posting resumes for job seekers make extra efforts to screen out job scams.
  • Banks should enhance efforts to warn their customers about fake check scams.
  • Employers should post all jobs online so people can check to see if offers are really being made by the employer.
  • More efforts can be made to warn the public that job scams are common and on ways to avoid them.

And, Baker added, “A lot more people should complain. Don’t be embarrassed, be mad,” he said. “Get this stuff into the database so they can be found and caught.

“I had a scam rip me off a few years ago. Believe me, they can get anybody.”

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