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Three Midlothian ISD Campuses In Red Tier, Eight in Yellow


We’re beginning to sound a lot like a broken record, but the COVID spread continues in Midlothian ISD and Ellis County. Today’s MISD Dashboard shows three campuses have entered the red tier: LaRue Miller (6.34%), Mt. Peak (4.99%) and J.A. Vitosky (4.98%) all elementary schools. Eight campuses are in the yellow tier, with only one campus (Heritage High School) remaining in the green.

Last week all campuses were in green when Midlothian ISD decided to cancel classes on Friday due to staffing shortages. It remains to be seen whether this current increase will lead to another shutdown.

Dolores McClatchey Elementary sent this email to parents yesterday:

Dear DME Families,

As a school, we are now in the yellow tier of the covid tier system.

We will not have before or after school clubs this week. We will also cancel our Friday LAMP time classes.

In the yellow tier, we are unable to accept visitors at DME.

We will implement no-contact check-in and check-out procedures.

Fingers crossed this wave of covid cases will pass quickly.

I will update when our tier color changes!

Thank you for supporting us and working with us as we navigate January!

Parents say they’re receiving so many emails about class exposures they can’t keep track anymore. Others are expressing frustration with the situation wondering how their children can avoid exposure with cases this high. Some are tired of being notified of exposure, and say they aren’t even reading them. Students are also frustrated with the situation as their teachers are out sick, and they often find their class combined with another class.

Ellis County COVID cases January 19

Hospitalizations Also Increased Today

Today, Ellis County reports 476 new COVID-19 cases, 31 probable cases and 445 confirmed. Positivity rate in Ellis County is 42.5%.  Number of fatalities in Ellis County increased by two for a total of 506, this is measured from the beginning of the pandemic. Hospitalizations increased again with 83 patients hospitalized in Ellis County. Fourteen patients are in the ICU and 69 patients on a MedSurg unit.

So, where’s the good news? Texas DSHS says there are some signs Omicron is beginning to slow down, although hospital capacity remains strained.

From DSHS on Facebook today:

Omicron continues to spread rapidly through Texas communities and strain hospital capacity. Some signs that the increase in spread is starting to slow.

#COVID19TX update:
⬆️50,519 new confirmed cases (7-day avg)
⬆️106 fatalities reported (7-day avg)
⬆️12,905 current hospitalizations

The risk of infection is very high. Vaccines are the safest way to teach your immune system how to protect against the virus. Be up to date on COVID vaccines for the best protection from severe illness and disruption to daily life.

COVID-19 vaccines are free of charge without ID or insurance. Find convenient and easy ways to get vaccinated, go to CovidVaccine.Texas.gov
or Vaccines.gov



Apology Accepted Dak, But Please Watch Your Language

dallas cowboy helmet painted on field
Staff photo

Following what might have been the most ridiculous play in the history of last-second plays, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott did something even more ludicrous – and potentially dangerous – in a postgame interview following their season-ending 23-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

First, the call of the quarterback draw with 14 seconds remaining and no timeouts can’t necessarily be blamed on Dak, though he could have opted to not follow through. Just because offensive coordinator Kellen Moore – a brilliant play caller for the most part – momentarily lost his mind and head coach Mike McCarthy did the same by not overriding the call, doesn’t mean Dak couldn’t have corrected the guffaw and called an audible.

But I digress. While the play is something Dak does not want to be remembered for, I’m sure he’d rather have that be part of his legacy than encouraging fans to attack officials.

Say what? Yep, you read right.

Following the game, in an interview Dak was told that angry fans were throwing objects onto the field. Initially, he responded with this comment:

“Nobody wants to succeed more than we want to succeed. I understand words and the word ‘fan,’ for fanatic. But to know everything we put into this, day-in and day-out, tried our hardest, nobody comes into the game wanting to or expecting to lose. For people to react that way when you’re supposed to be a supporter and be with us through thick and thin, that’s tough.”

However, when told it was officials at which they were throwing things, Prescott said, “Credit to them.”

The response drew laughter, and in the moment, it might have seemed lighthearted – and I’m sure Dak has never really condoned trying to injure officials. I’ve always considered Dak to be a class act in an organization that has employed the likes of Greg Hardy, Anthony Hargrove, Adam Jones, Rolando McClain and more.

To his credit, Dak did issue an apology for his comment. Hopefully, fans listened to that as much as they did when he praised them for their horrible behavior.

And it was horrible, to say the least. Even if you believe the officials cost the Cowboys the game against the 49ers – and they didn’t – there is never a reason to be abusive to them.

First of all, it’s only a game and the officials are only doing their job to the best of their ability as fair as they can.

Do they make mistakes? Of course, they are human. But when you have 14 penalties called on your team during the course of a game, it’s a good bet that at least a dozen were accurate calls.

Let he or she who has never made a mistake at work throw the first stone. No, not really, put that rock down and take a second look at that report before you turn it in.

Second, it’s only a game. Go home, go out to dinner, start talking about next season and how the team will build from this – Cowboys fans have plenty of practice at this.

Don’t throw things at the officials. Don’t throw things at anybody, including me if you disagree with this column.

Trust me, I’ve seen first-hand how crazy fans can get. Two very memorable instances will forever be etched in my mind.

Once, while covering a youth baseball game – yes, youth – fans were so abusive to the home plate umpire that in about the fourth inning he turned and told them goodbye. He walked over, picked up his water bottle, offered them a few unkind words – though nothing as bad as the curse words and such they were spouting at him – and said he’d had enough.

The game resumed about an hour later after a replacement ump was called in. I can’t remember which team won, but I will never forget being there for a time when an official actually fought back.

Another time, during a high school hockey championship game, though this incident didn’t involve attacking an official, it did involve an attack. In the game’s final minute or two, a fan and parent with the losing team snuck over behind the bench of the winning team and got a chokehold on the coach.

Officials came to the rescue, the parent was taken into custody, and sadly, more focus was placed on his attack than on the team winning the title.

While most fans are typical folks like you and me – you didn’t see me wanting to hang the refs in effigy after Alabama lost to Georgia in the national championship game – some are literally fanatics, and not in a good way.

In 2013 a Brazilian official was beheaded by fans and his head was placed on a stake. So, obviously, it can be worse than what happened at Jerry World.
I hope – and doubt – we will ever reach that point in the United States. Still, I would discourage the sale of shishkabob’s to some sports fans.

If you think my criticism of Dak is harsh, I’m not alone. The NBA referees association came down hard on him – and that’s not even his sport.

I’m not saying send holiday cards to officials or have them over for Sunday barbecue, but maybe just give them a break. This includes fans, players and coaches, as several Cowboys, and even McCarthy himself, cast blame on the officials after the loss – not the only time that happened this season.

There will be another day and another game. Of course, not until next season for the Cowboys, but don’t blame the officials for that.

Former Ellis County Sheriff Chuck Edge Wants the County Judge Seat  

Chuck Edge signing paper
Photo credit Edge for Ellis

‘I will quit kicking the can down the road’

ELLIS COUNTY – You have likely heard his name in and around Ellis County, Chuck Edge.

Edge is running against current Ellis County Judge Todd Little for that seat in the March Primary, which is fast approaching.

Edge, out of Milford, was most recently the Ellis County Sheriff appointed in 2017 to finish the term of Johnny Brown who resigned.

He has also been in law enforcement with the City of Waxahachie among other LEO positions around the state during his long career.

He made the decision to run for Ellis County Judge because, “I am not satisfied with many things taking place in our country, our state and our county. I don’t want to see it continue and get stronger in Ellis County.  I can sit back and gripe, or I can get up and try to do something about it; I chose the latter.”

Understanding How Everything Works Together

As a former sheriff, Edge said he believes this knowledge will translate to the County Judge well because he not only understands how city governments work, but how it all must work together. He said he has a strong grasp of the budgeting process and tax revenue as well.

“Additionally, the County Judge serves as the Emergency Management Director for the county, and I have extensive training and experience in the emergency manage field,” he added delving right into the issue on everyone’s mind; COVID-19.

“We are in a different time now than before,” Edge explained. “We know more about it, we have a vaccine, and some systems are already in place, that being said, we do need to make sure that factual information is passed on in a timely manner. We need to give the citizens the information and if necessary, the proper equipment so that they can make responsible decisions for themselves.”

Guided by the US Constitution & Texas Constitution

Edge, who identifies as a constitutional conservative also added “We don’t know what the future holds with regards to COVID, or government intervention into our lives, but as your County Judge, I will always go by the US constitution and the Texas constitution in making my decisions.”

He continued, “I believe I am an effective leader.  I have had success in bringing together the necessary people and gather the needed information in order to make the most informed decisions that will most benefit the citizens and visitors of Ellis County.  I have always remembered what President Truman once said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish, when you don’t care who gets the credit.”

Edge also lives in rural Ellis County. He said that while he made a career working for cities, he has always lived in the country. With that in mind he added “I understand the needs, wants, and desires of the people that live in the rural areas, and don’t want those citizens forgotten about as we continue to grow. I have seen several instances where needs of the county are treated by “kicking the can down the road. Sooner or later that is going to catch up to you and the proper fix is going to be more expensive.”

When asked what changes he is planning to make “immediately” if elected and what changes does he see down the road he concluded “Understand that “immediately” is an interesting word in this context. There is a lot that can happen between the Primary Election date of March 1st, and swearing in on January 1st of 2023,” however, he said whether it is now or later he knows for sure “I will quit kicking the can down the road.”

Lewis Cine, Local Football Player, A National Champion

Cine talking with reporter
Georgia defensive back Lewis Cine (16) during the College Football Playoff National Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind., on Monday Jan. 10, 2022. (Photo by Mackenzie Miles)

Local Graduates Collegiate Recaps

Odds are if you watched a NCAA Division I football bowl/postseason game this season, there was a player from the area participating.

Among them were three national champions, with one of those being the best defensive player on the best defense in America. Georgia junior defensive back Lewis Cine, a graduate of Trinity Christian Cedar Hill, led the Bulldogs (14-1) with 73 tackles as they marched to their first national championship since 1980.

This included seven tackles in the 33-18 victory against Alabama in the national championship game. Of those, six were solo. For the season, 43 of his tackles were solo.

Joining him on the roster, though not seeing action in the contest, were freshmen quarterback Connor Drake of Ennis and defensive back Jalen Kimber of Mansfield Timberview.

On the Alabama side, the roster included freshman linebacker Kendrick Blackshire of Duncanville.

In all, almost 90 players were on teams played in or qualified for a bowl game (some teams didn’t because of COVID).

The Cedar Hill Longhorns were the most represented with 16 alumni. Highlights included one alumnus who might soon be entering the NFL and another who could be returning to his team as a senior seeking to break a school record for a third straight season.

Not too far behind was DeSoto, with 13 former Eagles on squads that qualified and/or played in a bowl game.

Here are highlights of several area athletes on their respective college bowl teams in the 2021 season:

Cedar Hill

Zhakhari Franklin, UT-San Antonio, WR, junior – 81 catches, 1,027 yards and 12 touchdowns, breaking his own record of 694 yards on 49 catches despite missing two games in 2020. Roadrunners finished 12-2.

Charleston Rambo, Miami, WR, junior – Declared for the upcoming NFL Draft after leading the Hurricanes (7-5) with 79 catches for 1,172 yards and seven TD.

Jarrid Williams, Miami, OL, senior – Played in 12 games.

Kaegun Williams, San Diego State, RB, senior – 268 yards and two TD rushing; seven catches, 44 yards for 12-2 Aztecs.

Josh Fleeks, Baylor, WR, senior -Seven catches, 89 yards as Bears finished 12-2.

Kyland Richey, Jackson State, TE, senior – 11 catches, 138 yards as Tigers finished 11-2.

Richard Moore, SMU, LB, senior – 32 tackles, five for a loss, two sacks for Mustangs (8-4).

Deven Lamp, Tulsa, DL, junior – 16 tackles, three for a loss, two sacks as Golden Hurricane went 7-6.

Xavier Ross, Oklahoma State, DT, sophomore – Three quarterback hurries for Cowboys, who were 12-2.

Kaidon Salter, Liberty, QB, freshman – 1-for-2, 39 yards, TD passing, 53 yards rushing as Flames finished 8-5.

Amarian Williams, Liberty, CB, freshman – Three tackles.
Kamdyn Benjamin, Tulsa, redshirt sophomore, wide receiver – Played in 13 games.


DeVere Levelton, SMU, DE, junior – 38 tackles, 10.5 for loss and 6.5 sacks.

LD Brown, Oklahoma State, RB, senior – 85 yards, TD rushing; five catches, 11 yards; 98-yard kickoff return for TD.

Jabbar Muhammed, Oklahoma State, CB, sophomore – 23 tackles.

Shawn Robinson, Missouri, DB, senior – 31 tackles, 3.5 for a loss, one sack and interception for Tigers (6-7).

Hyrin White, Missouri, OL, senior – played in 11 games.

Byron Hanspard, Jr., Baylor, CB, junior – One tackle.

Jerand Bradley, Texas Tech, WR, freshman – Five catches, 99 yards.

Alphie Guillory, North Texas, DB, freshman – Four tackles for the Mean Green (6-7).

Yow Kemonte, Army, CB, senior – 25 tackles for Black Knights (9-4.

Mansfield Legacy

Jalen Catalon, Arkansas, DB, sophomore – 46 tackles, two interceptions for the 9-4 Razorbacks.

Taurean Carter, Arkansas, DL, sophomore – 24 tackles, three for loss, one sack.

Ayo Adeyi, North Texas, RB, freshman – 496 yards, six TD rushing.

Enoch Jackson, North Texas, DL, freshman – 15 tackles, 1.5 sacks.

Tru Edwards, Hawaii, WR, junior – Five catches, 37 yards.

Mansfield Timberview

Terrell Tilman, Oregon, LB, freshman – six tackles for Ducks (10-4).

David Amenik, Houston, DE, senior – 30 tackles, nine for loss, four sacks for the 12-2 Cougars.

Jalen Kimber, Georgia, DB, freshman – One tackle for the Bulldogs (14-1).


Tre Siggers, SMU, RB, senior – Led Mustangs with 727, nine TD rushing; nine catches, 56 yards, TD.

Roderick Daniels, SMU, WR, freshman – 17 catches, 209 yards, TD.

Terrance Newman, SMU, DT, senior – Eight tackles

Enis Rakestraw, Jr., Missouri, DB, junior – 13 tackles.

Stacy Brown, Missouri, DB, junior – 10 tackles.

Savion Byrd, Oklahoma, OL, freshman – Played in two games for the 11-2 Sooners.

Kamaron Holloway, Army, OL, senior – Played in 11 games.

Kendrick Blackshire, Alabama, LB, freshman – Had three tackles for the Crimson Tide (13-2).

South Grand Prairie

Greg Elsworth, Iowa State, DB, senior – 60 tackles, two interceptions for Cyclones (7-6). He finished his career as a Cyclone with 259 tackles and five interceptions after transferring from Trinity Valley Community College, where he had 47 tackles and two interceptions in one season.

Ceasar Williams, Wisconsin, DB, senior – His three interceptions this season were one more than he had in all of his career (2) previously. He also had 28 tackles to help the Badgers to a 9-4 season.

Jalon Williams, Boston College, DB, freshman – Two tackles for 6-6 Eagles.

Mansfield Lake Ridge

Malik Knowles, Kansas State, WR, senior – 29 catches, 441 yards for the Wildcats (8-5).

Bryson Jackson, Baylor, LB, senior – 15 tackles.

Trejon Hogue, UTEP, DB, sophomore – 13 tackles for the Miners (7-6).

Chima Azunna, Hawaii, DB, senior – 12 tackles for Rainbow Warriors (6-7).

Mansfield Summit

Hal Presley, Baylor, WR, freshman – One catch, 15 yards.

X’Zauvea Gadlin, Tulsa, OL, sophomore – Played in 12 games.


Kennedy Brooks, Oklahoma, RB, junior – Led Sooners (11-2) with 1,253 yards and 13 TD rushing, also catching nine passes for 73.

Midlothian Heritage

Jack Freeman, Houston, OL, sophomore – Played in 11 games.


Lorando Johnson, Baylor, DB, freshman – Four tackles and a half sack.

Red Oak

Darrius Jackson, Missouri, DB, freshman – 13 tackles.

Cedar Hill Trinity Christian

Lewis Cine, Georgia, DB, junior – Led the national champion Bulldogs with 73 tackles, including 43 solo. He also added an interception.


Zeke Brown, Baylor, DB, senior – Five tackles.

Profile: Midlothian Place 6 City Council Member Hud Hartson   

Hud Hartson headshot
Photo courtesy City of Midlothian

Focus Daily News: What elected official seat do you sit in?

Hud Hartson: Midlothian City Council, Place 6.


FDN: How long have you been in this seat?

HH: I first won this seat in November of 2020 and again in May of 2021. My current term expires in May of 2024.


FDN: What is your main goal as a city council member during this term?

HH: My priorities when I was elected were (1) to promote fiscal conservative decisions related to the growth and overall operation of our city; (2) work diligently to keep taxes low; (3) protect property rights; (4) strive for transparency and trust; and (5) help maintain our cities small town feel by protecting its historic buildings as well as promoting responsible new growth.

FDN: What made you decide to get into politics?

HH: I love Midlothian. This is where I am from, where I live and where I plan to always live. When I decided to run, I felt the next few years and elections would greatly shape how our great city would evolve. Being from Midlothian, I felt that I knew where we came from and had a vision of where we needed to go in the future.

FDN: What have been some of the surprises?

HH: I can’t say that I’ve really been surprised by anything after going to all of the council meetings the year before my first election and seeking the advice from city elders like former Mayor Maurice Osborn, former City Councilman Mike Rodgers and Ellis County Commission Paul Perry.


FDN: What have been your challenges?

HH: Balancing my work as a police officer, small business owner, my love of the outdoors and my family time. Another challenge has been accepting that when you do the right thing with the citizens best interest at heart, you are still only one vote out of seven on the council.

FDN: Where do you see the city going in the next few years and how will you contribute to that?

HH: As I stated when I was running for this seat, our city is on the verge of tremendous growth. As 1/7 of the city council my job is to represent the public, come to meetings prepared and make responsible/transparent decisions that are accountable to the voters. I’m hopeful that we can continue to stay ahead of our growth by maintaining our roads, widening other roads to prevent heavy traffic, and correcting some roadway design flaws. Midlothian has a bright future ahead of it and I hope to just play my part in that bright future as a public servant.



Midlothian Police Department Excited About New Facility

Rendering of new Midlothian Police Station

Midlothian Police Department’s New Facility Will Break Ground In November

MIDLOTHIAN – With growth there must be change.

That is for certain in the City of Midlothian.

The Midlothian Police Department is happy about the change it is seeing there. Not only did the department hire several new commanders last year, but they are also gearing up for a new police station/Public Safety Facility that will replace the current facility, a former church.

The anticipated groundbreaking for the new Public Safety Facility is November 2022 according to Midlothian Police Chief Carl Smith.

Construction is anticipated to take 18 to 20 months with a move in date roughly in the summer of 2024.

The Public Safety Facility will include the Municipal Court, Fire Rescue Administration, Emergency Management (Emergency Operations Center), Public Safety Communications (911), Code Enforcement, Health Official, Animal Control, Police Operations (Community Services Unit), and a Municipal Short-Term Holding Facility.

“The facility design isn’t finalized,” Smith said “However, a preliminary special needs study indicate that the facility could be over 64,000 square feet.”

Improving Security, Safety & More

With the new facility Midlothian can improve efficiency in regard to evidence processing, improve security and safety, enjoy improved interview facilities and a dedicated Emergency Operations Center. Plans also include an improved Public Safety Communications Center, a Holding Facility with advanced security and safety functionality, advance property and evidence storage and tracking capability and a Community Interaction Room.

Smith said the current Court, Community Services, Police Administrative, Patrol Services, Property Evidence, Temporary Holding and Communications areas of operations will be demolished.

However, the current training facility will remain and continue to function as a class room, physical fitness and functional based training facility.

Current Station Used to Be First Baptist Church

Currently the Midlothian Police Department is housed in what was once Midlothian’s First Baptist Church.  The original structure was constructed in the early 1970’s.  Needless to say, it was not designed to operate as a police facility, and Smith said “it does not offer proper safety and separation for staff, victims, witness, juveniles and individuals accused of criminal acts.”

The facility also does not offer any safety during hazardous weather events and minimal safety precautions against other hazards.

The new Public Safety Facility is designed to support at least 150 full-time police officers. It’s size and design will accommodate growth for the next 25 years.

“The new facility is designed to allow more and safer interaction between officers, court staff, as well as other services offered at the facility,” Smith explained. “The advance EOC and Communications Center will accommodate and grow with advances in technology as well as offer staff operating during hazardous weather events both a safe environment to work, but is designed to operate throughout without service interruptions.”

Facilitating Relationships Between Police & The Community Via Design

The new facility will also host features designed to offer more positive interactions between police and the community.  For example, the community room is designed to provide the community with opportunities to enjoy the new campus and become acquainted with police staff.

“One of my primary goals is that the design will provide a safe, functionally advanced work environment for our staff; additionally, create opportunity for more interaction between police/fire administration and field operations to build strong relationships and allow for a high level of collaboration,” Smith concluded. “The facility’s design is also hoped to create an atmosphere that will reduced perceived barriers between police staff and our community, providing opportunity for positive interactions.”

Funds for the new Public Safety Facility were approved by voters with the passing of Proposition A in 2021 election. The funds earmarked total $46,000,000.

According to information provided to voters, the proposed new Public Safety Facility and Police Headquarters are designed to accommodate our continued fast population growth. It includes:

  • Patrol and administrative offices and work areas
  • Storm protected emergency dispatch center
  • Emergency operations command center
  • Investigations suite
  • Property and evidence management facilities
  • Holding facilities
  • Public space that separates detainees from citizens
  • Training facilities to improve police performance
  • Crime Prevention and Community Action Program spaces
  • Victims relief office
  • Chaplain’s office
  • Fire department administration offices
  • Fire marshal’s office

Free Admission: KidFilm Family Festival at Angelika Film Center

KidFilm is free this weekend

The 38th Annual KidFilm® is a free family festival presented by USA Film Festival at Angelika Film Center Dallas this weekend. All programs are free to attend. KidFilm is the oldest and largest-attended children’s film festival in the country, and features an entertaining, educational, and diverse line-up. New and classic films for both children and adults are scheduled.

This year’s festival celebrates diversity, equality, empowerment, family, friendship and community. Films feature historical figures and events, different cultures, and environmental themes. The schedule includes magical journeys celebrating courage, perseverance and self-reliance, plus important educational lessons. The program features live-action and animated films for audiences of any age.

Honorary Co-Chairs for KidFilm are USA Film Festival Board of Directors members Yvette Ostolaza, Laura Fox, David Dummer, Gail Terrell, and Megan Mitchell.

“We are so pleased to be able to offer this year’s program as an all-free-admission event thanks to support from the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture, the Texas Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and from the Festival’s Sponsors. We are honored to be able to offer this timely line-up of entertaining, educational and inspiring films,” Fox said.

KidFilm Program Highlights

New animated feature film, ‘Maya the Bee 3: The Golden Orb” (Australia/Germany) by Noel Cleary, is based on the international children’s book beloved by generations.

Live action films include Gilles de Maistre’s enchanting “The Wolf and the Lion” (Canada/France), starring Graham Greene, Molly Kunz, and Charlie Carrick. Alexey Telnov’s fantastical “The Time Guardians” (Russia); Kenny Gage’s & Devon Downs’ action-packed “Kung Fu Girl” (China); Ngo The Chau’s adventurous “Dwarf Long Nose” (Germany) are also featured. Dennis Gansel’s epic “JimButton and the Wild 13” (Germany), based on the bestselling book by Michael Ende (“The Neverending Story”); and Bragi Thor Hinriksson’s heartwarming “Birta” (Iceland) are also scheduled.

Educational & Fun Short Films

Celebrate learning remotely in a theater setting! TEKS-based, character building, and environmentally informative short films to be presented include: four book-based films adapted for the screen by Weston Woods Studios — The Sun Is Kind of a Big Deal by Nick Seluk, Let Liberty Rise!: How America’s Schoolchildren Helped Save the Statue of Liberty by Chana Stiefel, Someone Builds the Dream by Lisa Wheeler, and We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom. Additional independently-made, educational short films include Joseph Silva’s Earth’s Ekko and Sofia Bobriseva’s Mama Canada: Outer Space.

A full schedule of KidFilm programs may be viewed online via the USA Film Festival’s website at usafilmfestival.com. Printed KidFilm flyers may also be picked up at the Angelika Film Center Dallas. Tickets for all shows are free, but tickets are required for admission. Tickets and seating are limited, available day of show only starting an hour before show time.

Theaters will not be filled, and will only be at 50% capacity. Current mask guidelines will be posted on the Angelika Film Center’s doors day of show.

For additional information, please call the USA Film Festival at 214-821-FILM (3456) or visit usafilmfestival.com. During KidFilm, please inquire in person at the KidFilm Information Desk at the theater.

COVID Hospitalizations In Ellis County Continue Rising

Ellis County COVID poster

82 COVID-19 Patients Hospitalized In Ellis County

While there are reports we may be nearing the peak of Omicron, numbers are still rising in new cases, hospitalizations, schools, etc in Ellis County. According to Covid ActNow, over the last week, Ellis County, Texas has averaged 431 new confirmed cases per day. Positivity rate continues to be high at 43%.

On Friday, Texas Department of Health and Human Services updated their dashboard and as a result, have stopped reporting the number of active cases by county. According to the data from today, 1/18/22, there are 526 new COVID-19 cases in Ellis County today. Sixty one probable cases, 465 confirmed cases. Over the last 14 days, Ellis County has reported 5,358 new cases. From 2020 when the pandemic began to today, there have been 504 fatalities from COVID-19 in Ellis County.

Ellis County reports there are 82 COVID-19 patients hospitalized. Of those, 11 are in the ICU and 71 patients are on a MedSurg unit. Across the state, there are currently over 12,300 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. (that’s the highest in 3 months)

Last week many schools in Ellis County chose to close a day or two early due to student absences and staffing shortages. The hope was the additional days would allow time for students and staff to recover, and hopefully new COVID cases would decline. However, today’s Midlothian ISD dashboard shows the opposite with 10 of 12 campuses now in the yellow tier.

The “yellow tier” means active cases at a campus are between 2-4.9% Today’s dashboard shows T.E. Baxter Elementary has 2.45%, J.R. Irvin Elementary has 2.76%, Longbranch 2.71%, Dolores McClatchey Elementary has 2.61%, LaRue Miller Elementary at 4.31%, Mt. Peak Elementary at 3.91%, J.A. Vitovsky at 3.45%, Dietrich Middle School at 2.99%, Walnut Grove Middle School at 3.47%, and Midlothian High School at 3.23%.

MISD COVID dashboard January 18

In Red Oak ISD, there are five campuses in the yellow tier.

Red Oak ISD COVID dashboard January 18

For those looking to get a COVID-19 test in Midlothian, there’s a test kiosk at the MISD Multi-purpose Stadium, appointments are required. https://book.curative.com/sites/33171

You can also check the Ellis County website for additional testing sites, the City of Ferris has been sharing their testing hours and availability on their Facebook page daily.

FEMA Opens Drive-Thru COVID Test Site Near Choctaw Stadium

COVId-19 Test Site

New Arlington COVID-19 Test Site Opens Tomorrow

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the State of Texas, Tarrant County and the City of Arlington announce a partnership to open a temporary drive-thru COVID-19 test site near Choctaw Stadium.

The testing site is opening on Wednesday, Jan. 19 for a three-week period in response to the rise of COVID-19 cases and the surge of Omicron transmission, which is driving an increase in demand for testing countywide. The site, which will operate seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Tuesday, Feb. 8, will be located in Texas Rangers’ Sienna Lot M at 1205 Pennant Drive, Arlington, Texas 76011. The testing site can only be accessed by entering southbound on AT&T Way.

“The Omicron variant has brought a pandemic high of illness that has triggered a demand for testing unlike anything we’ve seen in our journey with COVID thus far. We know testing is a critical tool in developing plans to mitigate the spread and the community is understandably concerned about appointment availability and wait times,” said Tarrant County Commissioner Devan Allen. “We have been working diligently to increase capacity throughout the county and I want to thank everyone who has helped stand up this new FEMA surge testing site near Choctaw Stadium so quickly.”

About the Drive-Thru Test Site

Testing is free and open to all ages. No insurance information will be collected.
Each individual seeking a test is asked to pre-register online to provide contact information for results and to select an appointment time slot. Multiple people in the same vehicle can receive a test during the same time slot.

A QR code will be provided for each person receiving a test and must be shown at the test site as appointment confirmation. On-site registration is possible, but pre-registration is highly recommended to reduce waiting times.

Results will be available between 24 to 36 hours. To register, visit: ineedacovid19test.com and then select Texas and then Choctaw Stadium, Parking Lot M, 1205 Pennant Drive, Arlington.

The test is a self-collected shallow nasal swab test. Individuals will swab the inside of their nose with direction from on-site staff. Parents or legal guardians will need to swab small children. Anyone under 18 years of age will need a parent or guardian to register them online and their consent to receive testing.

Tarrant County and the City of Arlington thank the Texas Rangers for providing the parking lot for this temporary COVID-19 testing site.

Midlothian ISD Welcomes Jennifer Ellison as Chief of Staff

Jennifer Ellison headshot
Photo courtesy Midlothian ISD

Jennifer Ellison returns to her alma mater as the Midlothian ISD Chief of Staff. The district is thrilled to welcome a former MISD graduate back home as a district leader.

“Ms. Ellison is a strong leader, and her passion is educating students and giving them opportunities to succeed,” Dr. Jo Ann Fey, Superintendent of Schools, said. “In this role, she will foster the unlimited potential of our students and staff members and help them achieve their educational and professional goals.”

Ms. Ellison has over twenty years of progressive experience in public, K-12 school districts and institutions of higher education, beginning her career as a middle school teacher and coach in Arlington, Lancaster, and Bryan ISD and later becoming an Assistant Principal in Arlington ISD. She also served as the Dean of Instruction at South Grand Prairie High School and Chancellor at the Grand Prairie Collegiate Institute. Ellison joined Southwest ISD in 2017 where she served as the Executive Director of Secondary Curriculum and the Gear Up Coordinator collaborating with University of Texas. Most recently she has had the role of the Director of High School Programs at Palo Alto College.


“I am excited to join the district that was integral in giving me a strong foundation to go out into the world and become a successful, productive leader in education,” Ms. Ellison said. “There is no better way to show my appreciation than serving the community that served me. (I was in MHS class of 1991!) I look forward to empowering and supporting others to provide a world-class experience for our most precious commodities, our children.”

Ms. Ellison earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington, her master’s degree in education from the University of North Texas, and she is currently pursuing her doctorate in learning technologies from the University of Texas at Austin. She holds her Texas teaching certificate and her Texas principal certificate.


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