Tuesday, June 15, 2021

City Manager’s Office Intern Named Outstanding MPA Student at UNT

Just weeks before graduation, City Manager’s Office (CMO) Intern Bora Sulollari was named this year’s Outstanding Master of Public Administration (MPA) Student for the University of North Texas (UNT).

The Student of the Year award is given annually by the Department of Public Administration to the outstanding MPA student. The Outstanding Student Award includes a plaque recognizing the student’s achievements. In addition, the recipient of the Outstanding Master of Public Administration Student award receives the E. Ray Griffin Scholarship including a $1,500 award.
“Bora was an excellent student in the MPA program,” said Dr. Hee Soun Jang, associate professor and MPA program Coordinator of UNT adding that Sulollari had an “exceptional academic performance.”

“She managed exceptionally high grade-point average (GPA) during the course work in the rigorous MPA program and her performance was a direct result of her hard work and strong focus,” said Dr. Jang. “She has consistently demonstrated an ability to rise to any challenge that she must face. Her leadership and outstanding performance were evidence by the Outstanding MPA Student Award of 2021.”

Serving as an intern for the City since September 2020, Sulollari has played an integral part in the success of many projects during her time with Southlake.

“We are especially proud of Bora for receiving this award,” said Assistant City Manager Alison Ortowski, who is a former recipient of UNT’s Outstanding MPA Student Award. “She exemplifies excellence in all she does here for the City of Southlake, and there is no doubt that she displayed that same excellence during her academic career.”

The City of Southlake has a long-standing relationship with UNT’s MPA program, often selecting student interns from the school.

“We are fortunate to have student interns like Bora join our staff. It’s a great opportunity for them to get some experience working in a City Manager’s Office and we also benefit from their knowledge and skills to assist our team in accomplishing our City’s goals,” Ortowski said. “With her determination and tenacity, Bora has shown her ample abilities as part of our team. There is no doubt that she has a bright future ahead in public administration.”

Sulollari completed her MPA degree earlier this month with a 3.94 GPA. During her time at UNT, she served as president of the Public Administration Students Association.
Dr. Jang said Sulollari was “such a dedicated leader in Public Administration Student Association (PASA) during the testing time of the pandemic. She had shown a strong commitment to public service and outstanding organizational skills in leading student organization activities.”

In addition, Sulollari served as chair of Pi Alpha Alpha (PAA), the national honor society for public affairs and administration, in 2020-2021; and as a member of PAA, UMANT, ICMA and TCMA. Sulollari earned her bachelor’s degree from UNT in 2019.

Southlake Names Open-Space Park in Honor of a Carroll School Founder’s Family

Honoring a founder of the Carroll school and his family’s exceptional contributions to the community, the City has named the new open-space park in the Metairie subdivision the John R. (J.R.) and Ora Graham Shivers Park.

The Metairie development is set on 29 acres of land located at the southwest corner of the White Chapel Blvd/Dove Road intersection. The 2.75-acre parkland was dedicated to the City, offering a vast open space for park-goers to enjoy. The pet-friendly park will maintain natural vegetation with a granite path through the undergrowth and include amenities such as large stone benches, drinking fountains and pet waste-pickup stations.

J.R. Shivers was one of the first three Carroll School trustees and was instrumental in the building of the 1919 Carroll School.
“The developer proposed the name at the request of the Shivers’ family,” said Chris Tribble, City of Southlake’s director of community services. J.R. Shivers is the grandfather of Rebecca Utley, the previous landowner.

According to data collected by the Southlake Historical Society, J.R. Shivers married Ora Grace Graham in 1902. The couple lived in a log house and farmed 100 acres that straddled White Chapel Boulevard to Shady Oaks, north of Hwy. 114. In 1919, J.R. Shivers helped spearhead the building of the 1919 Carroll School, a three-room brick building on N. Carroll and Highland.

Diamonds and denim made for a dazzling night at the annual Sweethearts Dance!

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but denim is a love that never fades!

Valentine’s Day arrived early in Southlake as families celebrated love and friendship at the annual Sweetheart Dance on Saturday, February 13 at Legends Hall at The Marq Southlake. Crafts, cookie decorating, and dancing ensured that a dazzling time was had by all as Southlake’s finest arrived decked out in denim and diamonds!

While the beloved annual event looked a little different this year, Southlake Community Services employees were determined to put on a fun and safe celebration.

Masks were worn, tables were reserved for individual households, and guests rotated between fun craft activities and dancing to ensure safe social distancing. Two identical dance sessions were held during the night to allow more families to celebrate love responsibly.

“The Sweetheart Dance went very well this year!” said Programs Coordinator, Gretchen Morgan. “We had some very positive reviews from our attendees this year including loving our creative layout and appreciating that food was brought to them. While we were concerned about the weather, we had a large turnout, and it was rewarding to see the event come to fruition. I want to give special thanks to our sponsors: Chick-fil-A, Ethan Allen, and CommunityMed Family Urgent Care! I am also proud of the team that made this event possible. From setting up the decorations, taking guests to their tables, to managing volunteers and getting the party started on the dancefloor, this event would not have been possible without the hard work and support of our incredible staff and volunteers.”

Safe and memorable family programming like the Sweetheart Dance is just one example of how the Southlake Community Services department enriches the quality of life for Southlake residents. Delivering remarkable experiences to our residents is simply the Southlake Way!

Stay on top of all Family Programs!

Champions Club members compete for top prizes in Fitness and Wellness BINGO!

Champions Club members kicked off 2021 with a friendly competition of Bingo!

Focused on helping members reach their fitness and wellness goals, Champions Club staff members creatively put together this competition, promising incredible raffle prizes such as Apple Air Pods, Galaxy Buds, and an Apple Watch grand prize.

To compete, members were encouraged to fill out a row of Bingo for some Champions Club swag or go all-out by competing in Black Out Bingo. To achieve black out, members had to complete 24 health and wellness goals. Activities on the bingo card included using your Champions Club Guest Pass, taking a selfie with a Champions Club staff member, and attending a group fitness class.

The competition lasted throughout the month of January, and winners were announced on Monday, February 1st. Nineteen members completed the blackout challenge. The top six winners are listed below:

  • Komal Panjabi—Apple Watch winner
  • Roxane K Henkes—Air Pods winner
  • Chuck Blumenschein—Air Pods winner
  • Heba Moussa—Galaxy Buds winner
  • Clair Unruh—Air Pods winner
  • Ira Tiffenberg—Galaxy Buds winner

After a month of challenging workouts and breaking out of their comfort zone, Champions Club members are ready to continue crushing their goals in 2021. A huge congratulations to the winners for taking on this challenge, and to Champions Club staff for leveling-up the start of the year with this amazing program!

Don’t miss out on the fun, become a Champions Club member, and start working on your wellness goals at https://www.experiencesouthlaketexas.com/444/Memberships.


Legends Hall Makes a Marq in North Texas Wedding and Events Industry

Legends Hall at The Marq Southlake is making a name for itself as the premier North Texas wedding destination. True to its world-class promise, Legends Hall recently received several top honors.

In January, Society Life magazine selected Legends Hall as the Number One Wedding and Events Venue in North East Tarrant County. This is a monumental accomplishment for Legends Hall as it vied against numerous local private and non-profit competitors. This recognition would not have been possible without the support of residents who nominated and voted for Legends Hall in a web-based survey hosted by Society Life Magazine.

When asked why she chose Legends Hall, one local bride raved:

“We chose Legends Hall for a few reasons. One HUGE benefit was the option to choose our caterer and alcohol services. This allowed us to save money and have our favorite restaurants cater our wedding. We also loved the versatility of the space, such as the option to do an outdoor or indoor ceremony, cocktail hour either in the hallway or outdoors, a bar area to keep the drink lines short, and a huge space for the actual hall. We were able to have a large wedding with a large dance floor without going above our budget!”
– Alyza Sunny, Legends Hall Bride

The honors don’t stop there! Brides of North Texas magazine recently revealed their new Spring/Summer Edition which featured an October Legends Hall Wedding. Long-time Southlake residents, the Bond family chose Legends Hall because they knew it was the perfect destination to celebrate this joyous occasion.

“The Marq was extremely helpful and communicative during the uncertain months of the pandemic leading up to our wedding. They walked us through several options and accommodations, allowing us to have our wedding the way we always envisioned, and in a safe way for our guests. Their kindness and professionalism contributed to a stress-free and fun planning process, as well as an incredible wedding weekend!”
– Jessica Bond, Southlake Resident and Legends Hall Bride

Their beautiful wedding is highlighted in this season’s magazine through the end of May.

If you’re engaged and looking for a world-class venue, tour Legends Hall during their Sip & See event on Sunday, March 7th. Enjoy light bites and drinks as you get all your planning questions answered by Legends Hall Event Specialists. Take advantage of 10% off all 2021 packages if you book now through March 31st!

Be a part of something great. Experience how grand your wedding can be at Legends Hall!

Southlake Community Services Department Welcomes New Deputy Director

There’s a new face in the Community Services Department, and his name is David Miller.

David recently joined the City of Southlake as the new Deputy Director of Community Services last month and has several years in the recreation industry. Having previously worked for the YMCA, he refined his skills in team development, strategic planning, and membership engagement.

When asked what is the best part about working in the Parks and Recreation industry, David asserted that his favorite aspect of the recreation industry is “seeing the positive impact we can have on the families and individuals in a community. Considering what we have been through as a country, we have seen families and individuals take to the outdoors like never before. Being able to provide state of the art facilities, safe parks, and opportunities for people to come together safely is very rewarding. Additionally, knowing that the work you do can truly enrich the lives of the citizens you work for is an extremely satisfying result of the hard work we do daily.”

We are excited to have such a passionate recreation professional join our team as we continue in our mission to create world-class experiences!

Southlake Senior Center and DPS collaborate on cyber safety for seniors

The Southlake Senior Activity Center may be quieter than usual lately due to COVID-19 restrictions, but that hasn’t stopped senior citizens from getting involved with the community. The Senior Center recently collaborated with the Southlake Public Safety team to produce an entertaining and educational “Slam the Scam” video.

Senior Center and DPS staff members worked together to bring attention to the seriousness of phone scams in observation of National Safer Internet Day. The senior population is increasingly targeted by phone scammers during tax time, and the tactics are getting harder to catch. You can watch the video on the SLK DPS Facebook page and in the Senior Center’s weekly E-blast to learn more about spotting phone scammers.

Here are some quick tips to help you and your loved ones fight phone fraud:

  • Never give out your social security number or credit card number on the phone
  • Do not wire money or buy gift cards for people claiming to be family members without confirming their identity first
  • Confide in a trusted friend or family member if you are unsure about a call

Be on the lookout for more cyber security tips in the following weeks as the Senior Center is also collaborating with the City’s IT department to provide “what you need to know” cyber security handouts.

Learn more about the Southlake Senior Activity Center here.

City of Southlake Earns Marketing Awards for Stars & Stripes 20th Anniversary

Kaliff Marketing Gold AwardThe City of Southlake’s annual Stars and Stripes 20th Anniversary recently received recognition, winning multiple awards from the Texas Festivals & Events Association (TFEA) for the 2019 event.

TFEA hosted the annual Kaliff Marketing Awards for events held throughout the state before the pandemic and virtually after the pandemic began from June 1, 2019, through May 31, 2020. Southlake earned the top honor, first place, in the Best Miscellaneous On-Site Décor for the City’s photo booth display, in its respective budget category. The City also was chosen for two bronze awards in the Best Event Video Promotion and Best Giveaway categories.

Stars and Stripes Photobooth

Kaliff Gold Award – Best Onsite Decor – 20th Anniversary Photo Frame

“It is our goal to create memorable experiences for our City, its residents, and visitors alike,” said Daniel Cortez, Southlake’s director of economic development and tourism. “We can bring forth these exemplary events like our signature Stars and Stripes because of our community support. We can’t thank our sponsors enough for seeing and believing in our vision for events and joining us in our efforts to help create those memories.”

The award competition, which recognizes marketing and promotion campaign excellence, highlights the TFEA’s annual summer conference. Although the meeting was postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic, the awards competition still took place with 395 submitted entries.

“The goal for festivals and events is to create memorable experiences and signature destination events that are unrivaled in their entertainment value, as well as all the other elements associated with such programs,” said TFEA Executive Director Kay Wolf.

Mayor in Giveaway Chair

Kaliff Bronze Award – Best Giveaway – 20th Anniversary Chair

TFEA is a professional trade association for festival and event planners, volunteers, and suppliers from across Texas. It is an official affiliate of the International Festivals & Events Association, the premier professional association supporting festival and event leaders worldwide.

What’s Happening on S. Carroll Avenue

Over the last few weeks, contractors have been working on S. Carroll Avenue in preparation for construction at the intersection of the southbound lanes at Zena Rucker Road and S. Carroll Avenue.

Due to the recent extension of Zena Rucker Road, traffic is expected to increase near and around the Shops of Southlake and the Park Village area.

The purpose of the S. Carroll Avenue project is to replace the current asphalt lanes with concrete. These efforts will improve mobility by ensuring that the roadway will be comprised of the same material. Concrete is more durable and sustainable than asphalt and is better for long-term use.

As of last week, crews have been on-site digging up asphalt on the surface as well as 12 inches below the surface in order to reset a firm sub-base to replace the asphalt with concrete. All the sub-base will be dug up first, and once all the sub-base has been completed, the concrete pouring process will begin.

As a part of the construction project, S. Carroll Avenue between Zena Rucker Road and La Paloma Drive has been closed until completion. Vinebrook Lane at S. Carroll Avenue is also closed, but only for four weeks.

Winding Lake Boulevard will be entrance-only from December 14 – December 18.

Construction equipment is currently stored along the closed southbound lane of S. Carroll Avenue and Cool River Drive. Driveways along Cool River Drive will not be blocked.

The entire project is expected to last two months, weather permitting.

These improvements are a part of the 2030 Master Mobility Plan with an estimated cost of $427,272.

For more information about mobility projects in Southlake and updates on mobility news, follow the Southlake Mobility Facebook page.