Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Mayor John Huffman Wraps Up the Winter Ice Storm

This week on Minute with the Mayor, Mayor John Huffman takes some time to thank our dedicated City staff for their response to the winter ice storm last week.

Last week was a cold one! With temperatures below freezing combined with ice and freezing rain, it’s safe to say that cabin fever was common as residents were advised to stay inside and off the icy roads.

The #ProtectSouthlake Team worked relentlessly to safeguard as many people as possible, while still keeping City offices accessible via e-services. This all-hands-on-deck effort provided a quick and efficient response throughout Southlake.

Here are just a few highlights of the amazing work of City staff:

  • Between Monday, January 30, and Thursday, February 2, more than 117 hours were spent plowing, snowing, and sanding the streets.
  • 25 tons of sand were spread throughout Southlake streets.
  • More than 20 miles were plowed to clear hot spots and intersections.
  • Community Services Staff and Councilmember Talley called more than 500 seniors for a well-being check.
  • 29 STEAR participants were called for well-being and re-registration.
  • More than 120 customer service calls came in while staff managed responses working from home.
  • The Communication teams informed us with more than 60 social media posts and even suggested things to do while we were safe at home.
  • Crews worked around the clock to ensure the safety of the City and our infrastructure.

To add, dozens of other things went on behind the scenes to help ensure all levels of the response went smoothly. Thank you to all the City Staff that protected the City and our residents last week.

To watch the full episode of Minute with the Mayor, click below.

Mayor John Huffman Tastes Where the Caribbean Meets Texas Cuisine

This week on Minute with the Mayor, Mayor John Huffman takes a trip to the Delta Hotel at Sky Creek Kitchen + Bar to taste the creations of award-winning chef, Jose Soto.

When it comes to Southlake eats, Chef Soto knows that everything is bigger in Texas, including the flavors. Each day at Sky Creek Kitchen + Bar, Chef Soto uses his culinary background and Puerto Rican heritage to shape how he sees classic Texan cuisine.

“I grew up in Puerto Rico, cooking around my family and the holidays. It was amazing to see our culture, to be surrounded by food and family, and seeing the joy and the happiness of the family around the table, it really made me do this as my career,” said Chef Soto.

Working at the Ritz-Carlton, San Juan, Chef Soto began his award-winning career at BLT restaurant and continued his path to success by learning from the Grandfather of Texas Cuisine, Chef Dean Fearing. All the training and mentorship led him to Southlake, where he is currently the Executive Chef of Sky Creek Kitchen + Bar.

Chef Soto offered the Mayor one of his signature dishes – the Flan de Coco, which is an island-inspired take on flan. Topped with Texas ruby red grapefruit, fresh mango, caramelized pineapple, Malibu rum, and a passionfruit mango-colada sauce, Chef Soto says this dish is what Sky Creek is all about. “For me, it’s one of my best sellers and also one of my dishes that I really put my heart and my passion into, everything about myself,” said Chef Soto.

Mayor Huffman got a taste and urged viewers to try it out themselves at one of the most unique fine-dining experiences in Southlake. You can also view their full menu on their website.

To watch the full episode of Minute with the Mayor, click below.

Mayor John Huffman visits the Southlake Public Library to Learn About Upcoming Programming

This week on Minute with the Mayor, Mayor John Huffman takes a step inside the wonderful world of reading with Youth Librarian Stacy Wells to learn about new programs and events by the library. 

 

As the New Year continues, events and classes held by the library are constantly being added to the queue. Wells says that classes range from child-focused classes to adult classes to get the whole family involved.

 

“I’m super excited that we just had a nutrition program, and we provided an opportunity for our community to come together and ask an expert questions,” said Wells. The Immune Boosters and Busters class was held on Wednesday, January 11, and provided a forum for adults to ask about the correlation between health and nutrition. A live demonstration and tasting occurred for participants.

 

Wells also mentioned the Accessible Art for Kids program, a sensory-friendly art program for neurodivergent children and their caregivers. Among the variety of programming, there are staples in the library, like the Summer Reading Program. Mayor Huffman noticed that more Southlake residents and families are taking advantage of our amazing library and their myriad of resources.

 

A complete list of upcoming library events can be found on the Southlake Public Library Facebook page. To watch the full episode of Minute with the Mayor, click below. 

Director Chris Tribble and Parks Manager Mike Reasoner Take Over Minute with the Mayor

This week on Minute with the Mayor, get the low down on our newest beautification project for the Bicentennial Park playground!

Director of Community Services Chris Tribble and Parks Manager Mike Reasoner gave a rundown of the project, including timelines and details of what is to come.

Director Tribble mentioned that a section of the playground at Bicentennial Park will soon be replaced with artificial turf. This area has already been poured with concrete to accommodate any winter weather we may experience.

The artificial turf will allow our youngest Southlakers to play safely regardless of weather conditions. “The playground is heavily used, and with the foot traffic we’ve had to maintain, it’s just a muddy pit down here,” said Reasoner.

The project should not cause closures to the surrounding areas of the park, but there is a chance that the playground may close when the installation nears the sidewalk.

Reasoner mentioned cones, barricades, and caution tape would be used to keep safety in mind for residents. In addition to the turf installation, shade structures and planter beds will be added to the playground. A seating wall by the small slide has already been completed.

Stay tuned for updates on this project as we move forward in 2023! To watch the full episode of Minute with the Mayor, click below.

Councilmember Randy Robbins visits the DFW Adventure Park with the Southlake Carroll Target Team

3…2…1…PULL! This week, Mayor John Huffman tosses to Councilmember Randy Robbins as he visits the DFW Adventure Park with Kyle Mohon, the Head Coach for the Southlake Carroll Target Team. This award-winning group of students continues to prove their success is locked and loaded as they enter the new year with a bang.

The Southlake Carroll Target Team is a parent-run organization that strives to allow students to practice and hone their skills in trap, skeet, and other types of clay shooting in a safe and protected environment. They practice weekly at the DFW Adventure Park in Northlake, Texas.

Among all of these practice sessions, the team has also found great success with their entries in competitions. “We’re a competitive shotgun team,” said Mohon. “We were lucky enough — and I won’t say lucky — the kids were good enough that we were the state champions and we were runner-up in the national championship.”

Councilmember Robbins also participated in the fun after learning about one of their traditions on the team. “So all these sports have, you know, some interesting traditions and stuff. What would you say is one of the most interesting traditions you guys have that’s different than anybody else?” asked Councilmember Robbins.

Mohon showed some hats that had seen better days and talked about their tradition to celebrate their teammates. When members of the team shoot their first 25 or first 100 shots in a row without missing the clay, their teammates throw the marksman’s hat in the air and take aim. “It becomes the trophy that hangs on the wall after that,” said Mohon before offering for Councilmember Robbins to join in on the tradition that day.

As the evening came to a close, it was clear that the sights were set on victory for the coming season. The Southlake community is proud to support all the champions around the City. For more information about the Southlake Carroll Target Team, please visit their website.

To watch this week’s episode of Minute with the Mayor, click below:

Mayor Huffman and Special Guests Talk Shopping Small this Holiday Season

This week on Minute with the Mayor, Mayor John Huffman shows the importance of shopping small this holiday season with two special guests — Councilmember Amy Torres-Lepp and The Toy Maven Owner, Candace Williams.

“Shopping small” is a movement used to encourage customers to spend their money with local businesses that give back to the community, rather than with larger corporations. The trio spent time in the Shops of Southlake Toy Maven location discussing how the intentionality of your dollar can go farther than you think.

“We’re your friends. We’re your neighbors. We go to sporting events with the children, and when you support small businesses, you support local families.” said Councilmember Torres-Lepp.

Additionally, Mayor Huffman brought up how money spent in Southlake has financial benefits for the City as well. “Every dollar you spend here in Southlake — that’s retail dollars and tax dollars that come back to the General Fund,”  Mayor Huffman stated. The General Fund “accounts for all activity not specifically accounted for in other funds. It includes such operations as police, fire, engineering, planning, finance, and administration.”

This means that City-funded programs and projects are directly and positively impacted by consumer expenditures in Southlake.

Although there are great financial reasons to shop small, Williams said one of her favorite things about having a small business and working with the community is being able to interact face-to-face with customers and provide an experience unlike anything else. “It’s nice to watch kids come in and see the wonder on their face,” said Williams. “But when you come in here, our amazing staff will ask you questions: What is your child interested in? What do they love to do?”

This extra emphasis on customer service provides a personalized and attentive approach, making for a special memory every time.

While there are many places to choose from to spend your holiday dollars, please consider shopping locally. For a full list of businesses in Southlake, visit our Southlake Business Database. 

To watch this week’s episode of Minute with the Mayor, click below.

Mayor John Huffman Talks Technology with the Founders of Dragons Helping Seniors

It’s all about customer service on this week’s Minute with the Mayor. Mayor John Huffman met with the founders of Dragons Helping Seniors, Sam Karidis-Schneider, Payton McKillips, and Max Keating about their amazing community service group and their efforts to help seniors navigate in a tech savvy world.

“Dragons Helping Seniors is an organization where we go and pair up with the seniors and help them on a one-on-one basis so that we can actually teach them and help them adapt in the new changing technological world,” said Karidis-Schneider.

Seniors can come to White’s Chapel Church every Wednesday and receive help with their phones, iPads, androids, laptops and other devices.

The electronics list may be long, but this group seems to have a good handle on it.

“Any technology you can imagine, we’ve probably helped them with, and it’s really just been a great experience for all of us involved,” McKillips said.

Not only do the students get to connect with seniors by helping them with their electronics, they also learn more about their clients.

“I think one of my coolest things is just being able to hear their life stories while I’m helping them with their technology and just hear about everything they’ve accomplished in their life,” Keating explained.

Mayor John Huffman could not agree more.

“You’re helping them, and they are helping you. It really seems like an amazing opportunity for everyone,” said Mayor Huffman.

For more information about Dragons Helping Seniors follow them on Facebook or Instagram. You can also contact them via email at dragonsforseniors@gmail.com.

Southlake Historical Society Presents: Ghosts of Southlake’s Past

The spirit of Halloween may be about ghosts, goblins, candy, and things that go bump in the night, but the Southlake Historical Society has a different take on this year’s spooky season.

On this week’s Minute with the Mayor, SHS member Tamara McMillan spoke with Mayor John Huffman about the organization’s plans to educate the public on the real-life spirits of Southlake by hosting their annual event, Ghosts of Southlake’s Past.

The event will be held in Hood Cemetery located on Coventry Lane near east Peytonville Avenue in the Coventry Manor subdivision on Saturday, November 12, at 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.

“We have several cemeteries in the area that people don’t know about,” said McMillan. “There are many people buried here who actually were really putting the community together; there are also a lot of unmarked graves because in those times, very often, people really weren’t able to mark their graves.” “We really want to educate people about what happened here.”

Reenactors will tell the story of the people who are buried.

“This year, we have some good stories, we have a horse thief, we have a confederate soldier, and we have an unmarked grave with a mother and her daughter telling their story about how they got here,” she said.

“It’s a great way to end Spooky Season,” said, Mayor John Huffman.

Tickets for this event are required and can be purchased online at Tickets to the City or www.southlakehistory.org. A limited number of tickets will be available the night of the event. The tour will be held rain or shine. Participants should be a small flashlight, wear comfortable shoes and dress weather conditions.

Mayor Huffman wishes Senior Director of Planning and Development Services Ken Baker Farewell

Goodbyes are never easy, but sometimes they are necessary. The Senior Director of Planning and Development Services, Ken Baker, retired from the City of Southlake this week. Mayor John Huffman sent him off with a memorable farewell on this week’s Minute with the Mayor.

“The man is an encyclopedia of knowledge, and it makes our jobs as councilmembers so much easier because he can dig back in the memory banks and think through and help us talk through and analyze cases based on what prior councils have done and what prior councils have said. It’s invaluable as a councilmember and as a mayor,” said Mayor John Huffman.

Huffman also noted that Baker’s career at Southlake has left an impact on those around him.

“It’s really hard as mayor to try to encapsulate and describe the career of a man like Ken Baker and how much he means to the City, to the City staff, to the City Council, and to me and my predecessors,” he said. “He has made such an incredible impact on the community we live in.”

Baker has worked for the City of Southlake for 23 years. During his tenure, he has overseen several major projects and received numerous awards and accolades.

“His fingerprints are everywhere, from Town Square to every development on every corner,” Huffman said.

Huffman also mentioned the legacy that Baker will leave behind. “Your legacy will be here forever in the buildings and the developments and the parks we all enjoy,” said Huffman.

Congratulations Ken Baker, we will miss you on #TeamSouthlake.