3/5: Winter storm resources and COVID-19 related updates

Reopening Texas and Lifting the State Mask Mandate

Governor Greg Abbott this week issued an Executive Order (GA-34) lifting the mask mandate in Texas and increasing capacity of all businesses and facilities in the state to 100 percent. Effective next Wednesday, all businesses of any type may open to 100% capacity. Additionally, this order ends the statewide mask mandate in Texas. Businesses may still limit capacity or implement additional safety protocols at their own discretion. If COVID-19 hospitalizations in any of the 22 hospital regions in Texas get above 15% of the hospital bed capacity in that region for seven straight days, a County Judge in that region may use COVID-19 mitigation strategies. 

Masks work to slow the spread of COVID-19. We need to follow the advice of doctors and experts and continue to keep each other safe until the CDC tells us otherwise. Continue following CDC social distancing and masking guidelines until further notice.

“Hold Harmless” Extended

On March 4th, it was announced that Texas would provide a “hold harmless” to Texas school systems for the rest of the 2020-21 academic school year only. This means funding will be made available to school systems in Texas that have seen enrollment and attendance declines because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as long as they maintain or increase current levels of on-campus attendance. You can read more about the announcement here.

State-Run COVID-19 Mobile Testing Sites

The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), in partnership with the Texas Military Department, is continuing to run COVID-19 testing locations across the state. Texans can find a testing site near them by visiting the COVID-19 Test Collection Site map.

Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Locations

Texas Health and Human Services has created a map tracking the distribution of and locations providing COVID-19 vaccines. Texans can find providers near them in the coming months by visiting the COVID-19 Vaccine Availability map. A list of vaccine hub providers can be found here. Information about vaccination distribution and availability can also be found here. Information about the vaccine can be found here.

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Updates

This week, Texas began receiving doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 single-dose vaccine. The state will receive over 200,000 doses in next week’s allocation. The Save Our Seniors program has launched in 26 counties this week, including in Dallas County. The state has allocated up to 8,000 vaccine doses for the first week of the program, which the state will use in partnership with local officials and service organizations to target Texans who are 75 years and older or homebound. 

In addition to that program, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services directed states to expand vaccine eligibility to include people who work in school and child care operations. This includes those who work in pre-primary, primary, and secondary schools, as well as Head Start and Early Head Start programs (including teachers, staff, and bus drivers) and those who work as or for licensed child care providers, including center-based and family care providers.

Winter Storm Recovery Resources

The Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM) has daily updates on the winter weather situation here. TDEM has also released a flow chart to guide those impacted by the winter storm with disaster assistance. The chart can be accessed here. On the www.tdem.texas.gov website, the home page has disaster assistance links and a “winter weather” box which opens to all the TDEM resources for individuals and locals. This includes the reporting tool, FEMA disaster assistance, the Winter Weather FAQ, Local Official Resources and Warming Centers still operating. Texans are also urged to fill out the Texas Division of Emergency Management’s Texas Individual Assistance Reporting Tool (TIART) to help the state identify damages across Texas.

On February 22, Governor Abbott announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved a total of 108 Texas counties to receive Individual Assistance. Residents in FEMA Declared Counties can visit www.disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-3362 (6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. CT, 7 days a week. On March 2, Governor Abbott requested that an additional 32 counties be added to the federal Major Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance. Additional counties will continue to be re-requested as the State of Texas continues to receive information reported from individuals who have suffered damage from the winter storm.

Governor Greg Abbott has also announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a disaster designation for 23 counties in response to severe winter weather that has impacted the state. USDA continues to review production losses in all remaining Texas counties and may make future determinations as more information becomes available. This designation makes federal assistance, such as emergency loans, available to agricultural producers who have suffered losses in designated counties, as well as in counties that are contiguous to a designated county. The request, which was made in February, can be accessed here.

Additionally, city of Dallas residents whose homes sustained damage from the 2021 winter storm may be eligible for reimbursement for repairs made by licensed contractors. Call (214) 670-3644 or email HIPP@dallascityhall.com to find out if you’re eligible.

City of Coppell Water and Sanitary Sewer Usage Credit

The City of Coppell has announced that it will credit all residential and commercial water utility customers 2,000 gallons for both water and sanitary sewer usage due to the severe winter weather event. Additionally, the City will waive increased usage from a pipe break or leak with the submission of appropriate documentation. More information can be found here.

Tax Filing Date Moved to June 15

The Internal Revenue Service has moved the tax-filing and payment deadline for individuals and businesses in Texas to June 15 because of damage across the state caused by the severe winter storms.The extension applies to a variety of filing deadlines that fell after Feb. 11, including those for 2020 business returns, originally March 15, and quarterly payroll and excise tax returns, normally April 30. More information about the change can be found here.

TexFest Celebration in City of Carrollton

Carrollton’s annual TexFest celebration in Historic Downtown Carrollton will still be filled with craft beer, amazing food, local music artists, and more. Four sessions are available with a maximum capacity of 100 attendees per session. While entry to TEXFest is free, walk-up attendance will be on a first-come, first-served basis until the 100 person capacity per session is reached. Those who would like to guarantee admission can pre-purchase a ticket for $6 (includes souvenir beer glass!). More information can be found here.

DART 2021 Student Art Competition

DART is now accepting entries for the 2021 DART Student Art Contest.  The contest provides area students the opportunity to showcase their artistic talents to help promote the use of public transport. This year’s contest theme, “Everyday Heroes Ride DART”, gives students a chance to honor hometown heroes that have kept our community going during the pandemic.  All students (Kindergarten – High School) are eligible to participate and may submit their entries either online or via mail.  The deadline for entry submission is Tuesday, March 23, 2021.  One Best of Show winner will be selected from all K-12 entries and will have his or her artwork featured on DART buses and will receive a $1,000 cash prize from Dallas Contemporary. More information about the contest and applying can be found here.

2/26: Winter storm and COVID-19 related updates

The last week has been extremely difficult for many families across our entire state. Many of you dealt with rolling blackouts, and some of you had no power period. As we recover, we must work together to ensure everyone can bounce back as quickly as possible. Here are some links that you may find helpful:

On February 22, Governor Abbott announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved a total of 108 Texas counties to receive Individual Assistance and for Public Assistance (Emergency Protective Measures Only) in all 254 counties. Residents in FEMA Declared Counties can visit www.disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-3362 (6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. CT, 7 days a week. Additional counties will continue to be re-requested as the State of Texas continues to receive information reported from individuals who have suffered damage from the winter storm.

Texans are urged to fill out the Texas Division of Emergency Management’s Texas Individual Assistance Reporting Tool (TIART) to help the state identify damages across Texas. A full list of the governor’s weather-related announcements can be found here.

Texans are also encouraged to fill out the Individual State of Texas Assessment Tool to identify damages across the state. The survey can be accessed here.

Share your story with us

My office is collecting stories of your personal experiences from the winter storm. Your stories matter and we want to make sure they are heard. If you are still in need of assistance, please fill out and my office will reach back out to you.
Find the survey in English here.
Find the survey in Spanish here.

Requesting an Appeal of the Dallas County Vaccine Cuts

This week, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins sent a letter to Dr. John Hellerstedt at the Department of State Health Service appealing the cuts to the Dallas County allotment of vaccines. The state’s decision leaves the other North Texans who patiently waited on the list without a likely opportunity to get a shot for several weeks. Concerned residents can:

  • Request full transparency of the formula used to allocate the vaccine; 
  • Ask DSHS to restore the full allocation of vaccines to Dallas and Tarrant in week 12; 
  • Ask DSHS to make up lost shots from week 11 ASAP; 
  • Ask DSHS to keep Dallas and Tarrant counties vaccine amounts growing proportionately to match the increases in the state’s vaccine allotment.  

I look forward to seeing Dr. Hellerstedt’s response soon.

State-Run COVID-19 Mobile Testing Sites

The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), in partnership with the Texas Military Department, is continuing to run COVID-19 testing locations across the state. Texans can find a testing site near them by visiting the COVID-19 Test Collection Site map.

Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Locations

Texas Health and Human Services has created a map tracking the distribution of and locations providing COVID-19 vaccines. Texans can find providers near them in the coming months by visiting the COVID-19 Vaccine Availability map. A list of vaccine hub providers can be found here. Information about vaccination distribution and availability can also be found here. Information about the vaccine can be found here.

2/19: Winter storm updates

As we finish out a week where Texans faced unprecedented winter storm conditions and millions experienced power outages and no water across the state, I share the concerns for the safety of our neighbors and communities. It is unacceptable the conditions individuals were forced to try and survive in. I am committed to working with my colleagues at the state and local level to address the problems that lead to the disastrous situation many of us found ourselves in to ensure Texas is better prepared for this kind of emergency. My office and I have compiled a list of resources that might provide relief of insight to those in need. 

Warming Centers

Many of you have been dealing with rolling blackouts and some of you have had no power period. Cities within House District 115 have opened up warming centers to help you and your family, you can find more information below: 

Carrollton
Rosemeade Recreation Center
1330 E. Rosemeade Parkway
Carrollton, TX 75007

Click here for more information from the city.

Coppell
The CORE
234 Parkway Blvd
Coppell, TX 75019

Learn more about this warming center by clicking here.

Farmers Branch
Community Recreation Center
12050 Heartside Place
Farmers Branch, TX 75234

Call 972-813-9549 to schedule transportation if you are physically unable to get to the center. Read more here.

Irving
Senter Park Recreation Center
901 Senter Road
Irving, TX 75060

For assistance, call 469-875-0644 or 469-875-0643. You can also find more details by clicking here.

Boil Notices

While residents of House District 115 are not under a current boil notice, many of our surrounding municipalities and counties are. For more information on who is under a boil notice or being asked to conserve click here.

Price Gouging 

Price gouging is illegal, and the Office of the Attorney General has authority to prosecute any business that engages in price gouging after a disaster has been declared by the governor or president. To report price gouging or other disaster scams call the Consumer Protection Hotline, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00am – 5:00pm at 1-800-621-0508 or file a complaint online here

Committee Hearing on Statewide Blackouts

The House Committees on State Affairs and Energy Resources will hold a joint public hearing to consider the factors that led to statewide electrical blackouts during the recent unprecedented weather event; the response by industry, suppliers, and grid operators; and changes necessary to avoid future power interruptions on Thursday, February, 25th at 9 am. 

You can find more information about the hearing here and watch a live video broadcast of the hearing here.

Fair Park Vaccination Site

Due to the current weather conditions, Fair Park vaccine operations will remain closed through Saturday, February 20th. Operations will resume on Sunday, February 21st from 1- 6pm. They will be providing second doses to those who were due for their second dose on or before Friday, February 12. For more information and to check for any weather related updates on Fair Park vaccine operations, please visit www.DallasCountyCovid.org.

Share your story with us 

My office is collecting stories of your personal experiences over the last week. Your stories matter and we want to make sure they are heard. If you are in need of assistance, please fill out and my office will reach back out to you.

Find the survey in English here.
Find the survey in Spanish here.

Please let my office know if you have any needs or concerns and we will be in contact with you as quickly as possible. You can find our quickest updates by following our Facebook page or our Twitter profile.

2/12: Weekly COVID-19 Update

These weekly updates will provide the latest news and information on what our community, the state, and the federal government are doing as we face an unprecedented pandemic.

State-Run COVID-19 Mobile Testing Sites

The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), in partnership with the Texas Military Department, is continuing to run COVID-19 testing locations across the state. Texans can find a testing site near them by visiting the COVID-19 Test Collection Site map

Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Locations

Texas Health and Human Services has created a map tracking the distribution of and locations providing COVID-19 vaccines. Texans can find providers near them in the coming months by visiting the COVID-19 Vaccine Availability map. A list of vaccine hub providers can be found here. Information about vaccination distribution and availability can also be found here. Information about the vaccine can be found here

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Updates

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is establishing mass community vaccination sites in the DFW Metroplex and Houston. These federal pilot sites, which will be based at AT&T Stadium, Fair Park, and NRG Stadium, are part of a joint effort to support vaccination efforts in underserved areas. The sites will be operated by FEMA in partnership with the state of Texas through the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) and local officials. The sites are expected to be open to eligible members of the public beginning February 24. Registration details for appointments at these locations will be announced in the coming days.

Statewide COVID-19 Rental Relief Program

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) has launched the Texas Rent Relief Program — the first statewide rent and utility assistance program for qualifying households throughout Texas. This program has been created to administer the more than $1 billion allocated to Texas through the latest federal COVID-19 stimulus bill. To qualify, households must be at or below 80% of the area median income as well as meet other criteria. TDHCA will begin accepting applications for the program on Monday, February 15th, but Texans can visit TexasRentRelief.com now to learn more about qualifications, required documents, and the application process. Beginning February 15th, applicants can submit their application by calling 1-833-9TX-RENT (1-833-989-7368) or submitting it online at TexasRentRelief.com. The call center will be open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m

Irving ISD College and Careers Program

Irving ISD is now offering an 8-part virtual college and career preparation program for parents looking to help their children get into college. Information and registration can be found here.

Carrollton Cares Volunteer Awards: Nominations Now Open

The City of Carrollton’s Neighborhood Partnership Office is accepting nominations for the Volunteer of the Year Award, Youth Volunteer of the Year Award, Neighborhood Leadership Award, and Outstanding Community Organization Award. The City’s Parks & Recreation Department is also accepting nominations for the Jimmy Porter Award. The Carrollton Cares Volunteer Awards are designed to recognize individuals, organizations, and leaders who have gone above and beyond to deliver exceptional community service to the City of Carrollton and its residents in 2020. More information about Carrollton’s Volunteer Awards and the nomination process can be found here. Nominations will be accepted through Friday, February 26 by 11:30 a.m.

City of Carrollton ‘Run With Rover’ Registration Open Now

Pre-registration is now open for Carrollton Texas Parks & Recreation‘s Run for Rover! Early registration gets you a discounted rate and guarantees you a race T-shirt, race bag, and timing chip. The race will be split into four different timeslots: 8 a.m., 8:35 a.m., 9:10 a.m., and 9:45 a.m., with no more than 50 runners per timeslot. When social distancing is not possible, masks will be required. Items such as masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer will be provided to participants and spectators. Additionally, food items will be pre-packaged. Proceeds from the 5K race benefit the animals at City of Carrollton Animal Adoption Center. Details about the race and registration can be found here.

2/5: Weekly COVID-19 Update

These weekly updates will provide the latest news and information on what our community, the state, and the federal government are doing as we face an unprecedented pandemic.

Requesting a Mass Vaccination Station in Irving & Grand Prairie

Last week, I joined my colleagues in requesting that the state institute a coronavirus vaccine hub in either Irving or Grand Prairie in order to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the broader D-FW area. This week, it was announced that a vaccine hub will be opening at The Theatre at Grand Prairie, 1001 Performance Place. The site will soon be open Monday through Friday for vaccination by appointment only. More information about the letter and the new vaccine hub can be found here.

Governor Abbott’s State of the State Address 

On February 1, 2021, Governor Abbott presented his State of the State Address, speaking to current issues facing Texas. Abbott focused his address on: expanding broadband access across Texas, expanding access to telemedicine services, the Damon Allen Act, elections, and the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. A general transcript of the address can be accessed here.

Texas HDC Chair Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie responded to the address by saying, “The governor’s speech was notable only for what he did not say: no mention of increasing health care access to millions of uninsured Texans, no mention of policing and criminal justice reform, no mention of gun violence in the wake of El Paso and Odessa and no relief from the STAAR test. Texas House Democrats are fighting to tackle these issues and to help our state recover from COVID-19. We look forward to working with any legislators — Republican or Democrat — who will prioritize people over politics and provide real solutions for all Texans.”

Constituent and Advocacy Meetings

With the Legislative session beginning once again, I have begun meeting with local constituency groups and advocacy organizations to hear what issues are important to my constituents. This week, I had the privilege of meeting with representatives from Moms Demand Action Dallas, chiropractors from the district, Schneider Electric, and teachers from Dallas Alliance. I look forward to meeting with and hearing from more passionate individuals and groups in the coming months!

State-Run COVID-19 Mobile Testing Sites

The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), in partnership with the Texas Military Department, is continuing to run COVID-19 testing locations across the state. Texans can find a testing site near them by visiting the COVID-19 Test Collection Site map.

Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Locations

Texas Health and Human Services has created a map tracking the distribution of and locations providing COVID-19 vaccines. Texans can find providers near them in the coming months by visiting the COVID-19 Vaccine Availability map. A list of vaccine hub providers can be found here. Information about vaccination distribution and availability can also be found here. Information about the vaccine can be found here.

COVID-19 Rapid Testing for Small Business Frontline Workers

The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) has announced the expansion of the COVID-19 Rapid Testing Program for front line workers at Texas small businesses by dedicating 1 million BinaxNow Rapid Tests to the program. The COVID-19 Small Business Rapid Testing Program launched in December as a pilot program to help small businesses conduct rapid tests on employees to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Through this program, TDEM provides local Chamber of Commerce organizations with COVID-19 testing supplies that will then be allocated to local small businesses that choose to participate in the program. Chamber of Commerce organizations that wish to participate in the program will receive instructions for registering for the program directly from TDEM, or they may visit https://tdem.texas.gov/chambertesting/ for further information. 

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Updates

This week, Texas received over half a million first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and are also receiving second doses. Receivers of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine should receive a second dose of the vaccine for improved immunity from the virus. The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) has also announced the creation of the State Mobile Vaccine Pilot Program to ramp up COVID-19 vaccination efforts in underserved areas of Texas. As part of this pilot program, state mobile vaccination teams made up of Texas National Guard personnel will be deployed to five rural Texas counties — DeWitt, Marion, Real, Sherman, and Starr — to administer vaccinations to qualified Texans in those communities. Texas National Guard teams are prepared to begin vaccinations on Thursday, February 4.

People can now call Dallas County Health and Human Services to register over the phone for the COVID-19 vaccine. The number for the DCHHS Vaccine Registration Hotline is 469-749-9900. The hotline hours are Monday-Friday, 8am to 5pm. Registration assistance is available in English and Spanish.

SNAP Benefits February Extension

Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) will provide approximately $300 million in emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food benefits for the month of February as the state continues its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recipients will also continue to receive a 15 percent increase in their total benefits, which will continue monthly until June 2021. This additional 15 percent increase and the emergency allotment amount should appear in recipients’ accounts by Feb. 28. Administered by HHSC, SNAP is a federal program that provides food assistance to approximately 1.6 million eligible low-income families and individuals in Texas. Texans in need can apply for benefits, including SNAP and Medicaid, at YourTexasBenefits.com or use the Your Texas Benefits mobile app to manage their benefits.

TEA Application for Supplementary Special Education Services

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has launched an online application for the Supplementary Special Education Services (SSES) program, which allows eligible families of children with significant cognitive disabilities and complex educational needs to apply for a $1,500 online account to be used in the SSES marketplace. The goods and services in the marketplace can help families mitigate educational setbacks resulting from the disruptions to education prompted by COVID-19. These services do not reduce or eliminate the responsibilities of schools to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to all students. Priority will be given to Texas families receiving income assistance and to families that have documented financial needs. Additional program information, resources, and the application can be found here. Any program and related eligibility questions should be directed to ssesinfo@tea.texas.gov.

Dallas County Emergency Housing Assistance Program

Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) is accepting pre-applications for an emergency housing assistance program for residents who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program, funded through the CARES Act, allows up to $1,500 in mortgage, rental, and utility assistance per month, for up to six months. Eligibility requirements include: must reside outside the city of Dallas but within Dallas County, must be 18 years of age or older, must not currently be receiving housing assistance through another entity, must have experienced a negative economic impact from COVID-19, and household income must be less than 80% of the Area Median Income. DCHHS processes applications through a lottery system. To complete the pre-screening application, visit the Dallas County website here.

TWC Adult Education Classes Resource

The Texas Workforce Commission and Texas A&M’s Center for the Advancement of Literacy and Learning are offering a free database where individual can locate adult education and literacy courses and training centers across Texas. Adult education courses can provide the training and skills for the modern workforce. The database can be accessed here.

City of Coppell Arts Center Art Classes

In partnership with Art House, the Coppell Arts Center is excited to announce new classes for children! Let them exercise their imagination and develop fine motor skills with a one-hour art class, designed for ages 7-10. February classes include “Watercolor Heart with Hug” on February 11 and “Banana Painting” on February 25. For adults, the center is hosting two hour art sessions. The adult class this month is “Glass Mug Painting”on February 24.

City of Carrollton ‘Run With Rover’ Registration

Pre-registration is now open for Carrollton Texas Parks & Recreation‘s Run for Rover! Early registration gets you a discounted rate and guarantees you a race T-shirt, race bag, and timing chip. This year’s race will operate differently to maximize safety while still having fun. The race will be split into four different timeslots: 8 a.m., 8:35 a.m., 9:10 a.m., and 9:45 a.m., with no more than 50 runners per timeslot. When social distancing is not possible, masks will be required. Items such as masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer will be provided to participants and spectators. Additionally, food items will be pre-packaged. Proceeds from the 5K race benefit the animals at City of Carrollton Animal Adoption Center. Details about the race and registration can be found here.

1/22: Weekly COVID-19 Update

These weekly updates will provide the latest news and information on what our community, the state, and the federal government are doing as we face an unprecedented pandemic.

Continuing to Submit Bills this Session 

The state legislature is open again and ready to do its job serving the people of Texas! My staff and I have been busy over the last few months getting ready our proposed legislation that we know will help Texans. We will continue to file bills throughout the session, and I will begin to sponsor, co-author, and co-sponsor my colleagues’ legislation as well. You can find all the bills I have authored this session here.

Recent Bill Filings

Within the last week, our office filed two more bills regarding health care and prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ couples in the adoption process. 

  • HB 1145: Relating to utilization review requirements for a health care service provided by a network physician or provider
  • HB 1149: Relating to the protection of the rights of conscience for child welfare services providers

Calling for an End to Confederate Heroes Day

This week, I joined my colleague Representative Jarvis Johnson and others in calling for the abolishment of Confederate Heroes Day as an official state holiday. January 19, one day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, was made Confeder Heroes Day to honor the births of multiple non-Texan Confederate leaders in 1931. Representative J. Johnson has filed HB 36 for this legislative session to call for the abolishment of the holiday. More information about the history of Confederate Heroes Day and the abolishment attempt can be found here.

First Case of U.K. COVID-19 Variant in Dallas County

Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) has announced the first known case in Dallas County of the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7, the same variant discovered in the United Kingdom. This is the third case identified within the State of Texas to date. First identified in the United Kingdom this past September, the B.1.1.7 variant appears to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, and may lead to an increase in cases. It’s more important than ever to wear your mask around anyone you don’t live with, to maintain six foot distance from other masked individuals, wash your hands frequently, avoid crowds, and forgo get-togethers. This variant does not appear to cause symptoms that are more serious, and current scientific evidence is that the currently approved vaccines are expected to be effective against this variant.

State-Run COVID-19 Mobile Testing Sites

The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), in partnership with the Texas Military Department, is continuing to run COVID-19 testing locations across the state. Texans can find a testing site near them by visiting the COVID-19 Test Collection Site map.

Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Locations

Texas Health and Human Services has created a map tracking the distribution of and locations providing COVID-19 vaccines. Texans can find providers near them in the coming months by visiting the COVID-19 Vaccine Availability map. A list of vaccine hub providers can be found here. Information about vaccination distribution and availability can also be found here. Information about the vaccine can be found here.

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Updates

In the past week, Texas became the first state to administer 1 million doses of vaccine, and vaccine has been administered to residents of all 254 counties. The state of Texas will receive 333,650 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine next week. The Texas Department of State Health Services will ship those doses to 260 providers across Texas, including the 79 vaccine hubs. The state is also ordering about 500,000 doses intended as the second dose for people first vaccinated a few weeks ago.

People can now call Dallas County Health and Human Services to register over the phone for the COVID-19 vaccine. The number for the DCHHS Vaccine Registration Hotline is 469-749-9900. The hotline hours are Monday-Friday, 8am to 5pm. Registration assistance is available in English and Spanish.

Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Loans Changes

The U.S. Small Business Administration, as part of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), has reopened the “First Draw” PPP for small businesses. Other changes impact eligibility for initial PPP loans, the loan forgiveness process, and the tax treatment of PPP loans. More information about the “first” and “second” draw PPP loans can be found here.

Connect Dallas Requesting Community Feedback

Connect Dallas, the City’s Strategic Mobility Plan, is entering its final development stage and the City of Dallas wants your feedback on the draft plan. The deadline to submit feedback is February 5, 2021.  Review the draft plan and take the survey here.

DART 2021 Student Art Competition

DART is now accepting entries for the 2021 DART Student Art Contest.  The contest provides area students the opportunity to showcase their artistic talents to help promote the use of public transport. This year’s contest theme, “Everyday Heroes Ride DART”, gives students a chance to honor hometown heroes that have kept our community going during the pandemic.  All students (Kindergarten – High School) are eligible to participate and may submit their entries either online or via mail.  The deadline for entry submission is Tuesday, March 23, 2021.  One Best of Show winner will be selected from all K-12 entries and will have his or her artwork featured on DART buses and will receive a $1,000 cash prize from Dallas Contemporary. More information about the contest and applying can be found here.

City of Carrollton Jimmy Porter Award Nominations

The City of Carrollton Parks & Recreation Department is seeking nominations for their annual Jimmy Porter Award. Jimmy Porter (1900-1984) was a beloved resident who shared his love of baseball with generations of Carrollton kids through coaching. The coach only had one rule: everybody gets to play. His legacy is honored through the naming of Jimmy Porter Park and the Carrollton Texas Parks & Recreation’s Jimmy Porter Award, which honors an outstanding volunteer from any of the recognized Carrollton youth sport leagues. More information and the nomination form can be found here.

City of Carrollton ‘Run With Rover’ Registration Now Open

Pre-registration is now open for Carrollton Texas Parks & Recreation‘s Run for Rover! Early registration gets you a discounted rate and guarantees you a race T-shirt, race bag, and timing chip. This year’s race will operate differently to maximize safety while still having fun. The race will be split into four different timeslots: 8 a.m., 8:35 a.m., 9:10 a.m., and 9:45 a.m., with no more than 50 runners per timeslot. When social distancing is not possible, masks will be required. Items such as masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer will be provided to participants and spectators. Additionally, food items will be pre-packaged. Proceeds from the 5K race benefit the animals at City of Carrollton Animal Adoption Center. Details about the race and registration can be found here.

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