Monday, May 29, 2023

Support the Carroll Education Foundation with Delicious Treats!

This week on Minute with the Mayor, Mayor John Huffman chats with guests Karl Chester and Alexandra Martin of the Carroll Education Foundation about their upcoming Culinary Casino Royale Event benefiting Carroll ISD!

This year, philanthropy looks slightly different as the Carroll Education Foundation (CEF) sells tickets for live and silent auctions with a twist. At the April 22 event, CEF will host a culinary celebration to fund teachers spanning the district’s 11 campuses.

“At CEF, we believe that a great education begins and ends with great teachers. So, our mission is simple — we fund teachers,” said Martin, the Executive Director.

This event, which features 18 Southlake chefs, is the perfect recipe to make your tastebuds happy while you try good eats and support the CEF. Chef Raj Thomas of the Westin made a surprise appearance with his special dish for the Casino Royale — shrimp ceviche with fresh shrimp, pico de gallo, avocado smash, chipotle crema, and fresh cilantro sprouts. This dish will be just one of the flavorful dishes on the menu for eventgoers to enjoy.

Tickets for the event are selling out quickly, so snag yours before it is too late!

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

Where Are They Now? Minute with the Mayor Checks In with Odyssey of the Mind

This week, Mayor John Huffman gets an update from Noor Mithwani, President of the Southlake Odyssey of the Mind Board, about their incredible successes since coming on the show in August.

In August 2022, Mayor John Huffman met with Noor Mithwani in the STEAM Lab at Carroll High to discuss the Odyssey of the Mind program and the yearly international competition. CISD has participated in Odyssey of the Mind for over a decade. Many schools nationwide and worldwide participate yearly in fun challenges encouraging team building, critical thinking skills, and having fun with peers

The last time we checked in with them, the Odyssey of the Mind group began its season, and they were looking for students to join. Mithwani says, “We started with 26 teams participating in our regional tournament at Carroll High School in Southlake. From then on, we have brought home 21 trophies — nine in first place, eight in second place, and four in third place.”

Twenty teams from CISD have advanced to the state tournament, where they will compete for one of two spots in the World Finals. Congratulations to the talented students in the Odyssey of the Mind program.

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

Mayor John Huffman Says a Hee-Haw Hello with Buck Gieseke

This week on Minute with the Mayor, Mayor John Huffman talks with Buck Gieseke from Leadership Southlake about their life-changing project at Loving Long Ears Donkey Therapy and Sanctuary.

Each year, the Southlake Chamber of Commerce works to involve residents and others in a learning and professional development opportunity known as Leadership Southlake. This program encourages the acquisition of partnerships, business connections, volunteerism, and more; however, a cornerstone of Leadership Southlake is its dedication to community advocacy.

During this program cycle, the Leadership Southlake class voted on what philanthropy was the most deserving – donkeys! “Last summer, due to the intense heat, Loving Long Ears lost two donkeys because they were not able to transport them to the needed veterinarian care, so we determined that our project this year was going to be to raise money for a horse, or in this case – donkey, trailer,” said Gieseke.

Loving Long Ears is a local donkey sanctuary that saves donkeys from slaughter and neglect and allows them to recover in a safe and stable environment. This rescue is owned by Jules and Rick Peterson and is home to six gorgeous and loving creatures. With the donation of this trailer from the Leadership Southlake team, they hope to bring in more donkeys and expand the sanctuary eventually.

“It’s very easy to fall in love with these amazing creatures…I’ve noticed that all of them have very individual personalities,” remarked Gieseke as Daisy the donkey photobombed the set.

Mayor Huffman agreed and urged residents to contact Loving Long Ears for a chance to spend some time with their amazing donkeys. You can check out the Loving Long Ears Facebook page for more information about their rescue and upcoming events.

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

Gear Up for the Fit City Challenge 2023 with Mayor John Huffman!

The Fit City Challenge is right around the corner, and we are in it to win. Mayor John Huffman chats with Jake Coldren, our Fitness and Performance Supervisor, about our expanded fitness classes, new equipment, and a plethora of options for wellness.

Last year was the first year of the Fit City Challenge. The Cities of Southlake and Keller competed in a head-to-head competition, encouraging residents to focus on wellness for 45 days.

Even though the City of Keller came out on top, our cities have decided to rematch this year! As this fun fitness challenge approaches, our City promotes wellness in some amazing ways.

“So here at Champions Club, we’ve expanded our fitness programming to offer over 60 classes a week… We’re super excited to always add some new stuff in. This time around, we aimed at our cardio section. So over here, as part of our Asset Replacement Plan, we’ve replaced all of our ellipticals and our AMTs or adaptive motion trainers,” said Coldren.

There are also other ways to focus on wellness in Southlake! You can hike and reconnect with nature at the Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve, explore our beautiful walking trails at our parks, or dip in the pool for non-traditional workouts.

Mayor Huffman mentioned that this year will be bigger and better than ever, so stay tuned this month for details about registration and more!

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

Mayor John Huffman Spends Time with Local Volunteers Serving Southlake’s First Responders

This week on Minute with the Mayor, Mayor John Huffman meets with members of the Fire Rehab Team about their essential volunteer work that has spanned close to two decades.

In an emergency, firefighters are often the first to show up. They wake up each day to serve their community while putting their lives on the line, but they need support too. Volunteers Paul Simon and Kristine Kemp show how the Southlake Fire Rehab Team dedicates itself to helping some of our bravest as they are on the scene and connecting the community in times of need.

The pair relayed that when Southlake Firefighters are dispatched to a call for an extended period, the Fire Rehab Team provides support services to recoup, recharge, and get back to what they do best – saving lives!

The team provides water, refreshments, cooling towels, and much more. “Fire Rehab’s been around for a long time now. For nearly 20 years, we’ve been providing services for the department and expanding as we go along. I believe we started with a pickup truck and a trailer, and then we moved along to get a Fire Rehab vehicle…,” said Simon.

The benefits of the team go far beyond just helping Southlake Fire, though. Kemp said, “I think for me, probably the biggest personal impact has been being on the ground when we’ve got families in our community who go through an unbelievable tragedy. Many families have fled with literally the clothes on their backs, and they have nothing. And so, because I’ve been a Fire Rehab Volunteer, I’ve connected the community with those needs….”

Mayor Huffman commented that the work of these volunteers pours into the community and makes Southlake one of a kind. Many volunteers get involved through work at the Southlake Citizens Academy, which occurs yearly. For more information about volunteering with the Department of Public Safety, visit their volunteer page here.

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

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.