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Tuesday

Justice has been served!


From Sondra Ortega and family to the Collin County District Attorney,

 This is about my family’s 16-month journey to the edge of hell. I won’t go into it, but the case is over now and of public record. It was a terrible experience that could have been so much worse had it not been for the professionalism of the Collin County D.A. staff.

 Our family recently had the experience of having to go through a life altering incident, that will forever leave me changed as a person and a mother.
  I was thrown into a situation that was my living nightmare as a mother, wife, and stepmother.

  I am writing this to address the outstanding service and attention that was received through it all by the Collin County Criminal Court System including District Attorney’s staff and the Court of Judge Barnett Walker
  
  Had it not been for the Collin County District Attorney's office, assistant district attorney Geeta Singletary, and Ashley Keil with their professionalism and exemplary performance in handling my case, my daughter and I could not have made it. (Geeta, you are the best of the best). 
  Your team was first of all, considerate and compassionate. And then, as the evidence was gathered and then presented, the professionalism of all was on full display.

  Mrs. Singletary and Mrs. Keil were assisted by the DA's assistant investigator Kim Eanes. This team of women far exceeded any of my expectations. The waiting for the trial seemed to be lifelong. Not knowing how long the process could take was one the hardest parts. You see the TV reports on long drawn out investigations and trial delays and hope for the best while expecting the worst.

  As the trial was underway it became clear that the professionalism of the prosecution team was evident. Kristina McClain from the Plano Police Department and Jerry Walker from the Jeff Davis County Sheriff’s Department did their job thoroughly and let nothing slip through the cracks. Evidence was thoroughly gathered and presented.  My gratitude goes out to them as well.

  When we approached the court room my daughter and I were introduced to Judge Barnett Walker. Did I mention we were scared to death! One more of the unknown fear factors. How would this court conduct a trial that put an innocent child and her family in such a dark place? How would the judge handle such a proceeding? How hard would it be on our psyche?

  Judge Walker, I will forever remember your bench with respect and gratitude in the manner you handled your court room. You Sir are the example of what our judicial system is built upon. You, your honor have given me confidence in our system and the justice the people look to you for. I am proud of you Sir, not only because I received justice but because of your integrity and honor that is exhibited from your court.
  
  I read an article written about you as the trial began. It gave me hope that you would be a fair judge. The bio on you was proven to be so true. You far exceeded any conception of what I thought a great judge would be like. In my mind and heart, you are a role model for judges.

Thank you, Judge Walker, for serving our Judicial System with honor and integrity. 

I am proud to call Collin County My Home and all the people in it!

Sincerely,
Sondra Ortega


- J.B. Blocker is a media consultant based in Collin County in North Texas. Advertise with J.B. by calling 469-334-9962.

Saturday

Great Chefs and Coffee


Romancing the Bean Series
by Caffeine Cowboy

 
Tales from the Old County
  I count among my friends and mentors some venerable and highly respected chefs and hospitality specialist.  These gentlemen are revered in the Dallas culinary community. They are iconic.
  Many learned their craft in the shadows of WWII. Swiss, Austrian, French, and German influences ignited their love of exquisite dining that they eventually brought to a booming Dallas of the 70’s. It was time of great hotels and the explosion of fine dining in downtown Dallas that brought these adventurous young chefs that changed the image of dining and brought European luxury and elegance to the table.
  I always felt that they liked me, but after the research for this story I realized that my charm my have been secondary to my devotion and accessibility to great coffees! 
Chefs Karl Hass and Klaus Curley 
  Many thanks to Chef Karl Hass and to the late great men Chef Werner Vogeli and the consummate G.M. Helmut Frenzen who as a team, made the 69th floor City Club in Dallas a legendary experience. 
  My 1st Dallas account as the Caffeine Cowboy was the City Club. I would tell people, "the closest coffee to heaven in Dallas was mine!"
  They shared pieces of their personal memories of coffee in their post war youth with me.  jb

Wednesday

Recruiting a Winning Team

The Andrew Principle
Campaigning 101
jb blocker

John 1: 40  One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41 He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter)
  
  You don’t hear much about Andrew the apostle. We know he was one of the first to be chosen by Jesus along with James and John. Later in the Bible, he is the one who brings the boy to Jesus with the fish and loaves that feeds thousands. He is also at the resurrection. But Andrew is also mentioned for one other thing that has resonated throughout the ages. He took his brother Simon to meet Jesus! Simon became Peter!
  That is some really good recruiting! That is like finding Babe Ruth and introducing him to baseball. If the Babe is Peter, then Lou Gehrig might be considered to be an Andrew.

I call it ‘The Andrew Principle’.
  In campaigning for a civic office, you really need a few Peters. He or She are the one who thousands listen to. They have a network, respect, and usually access to donors.
  But Peters are hard to get to.  They are very protective of their resources and are exceptionally aware of how their good name can be used or misused.  You often have to go through others they trust just to get to them.
  Every Peter has their Andrews. They can’t be that successful without dependable trusted people in their lives. Whether those are family or friends, they are the people who can unlock the doors that lead to the Peters.

Looking for Andrew

Sunday

Brian says "Thank you McKinney".

Dear McKinney,

As I reflect on my time as Mayor of McKinney I want to say what a blessing it has been to be able to serve this great city.   
  I certainly appreciate the support of my wife and kids as the sacrifice of time was certainly theirs to allow me this opportunity. 

Tuesday

Carrollton Police Department is hiring!


- J.B. Blocker is a media consultant based in Collin County in North Texas. Advertise with J.B. by calling 469-334-9962.

The Way to Eat BBQ

  
League of Extraordinary Reviewers from the Carrollton Police Department experience Korean friends and family style dining at SSAM Korean Grill. None of these Carrollton officials had ever tried a Korean diner. We are about to fix that!
It’s the Law! Carrolton Police Officials Derick Miller (Assistant Chief), Pat Nail (Finance), Rex Redden (Chief), Jolene DeVito (Public Information Officer), John Singleton (Jail Commander), and local real estate broker Young Sung hosted by The Way Development Group (Kevin, Richard, and John). the founders and management of the Asian Center of Carrollton anchored by DFW’s first H-Mart.

Nestled in the adjoined corners of Denton, Dallas, and Collin Counties and surrounded by 6 other exploding municipalities, Carrollton is a quiet Texas city amid the stars. Carrollton is blooming again. 

BBQ is everywhere! It’s a beautiful thing. Korean Bbq that is.
Around the metro-plex more and more Asian inspired shopping centers are popping up with Pho, Sushi, and BBQ as the lead draw. More recently H-Marts have become a center point for a tour of the Orient and its distinctively different ways to feast.
We’ve been used to Chinese cuisine for a while now. When I was growing up in the Texas panhandle there was one Chinese restaurant in Amarillo and one in Pampa. I am still friends with William Ma, the owner of the Lamplighter in Pampa. Then the introduction of Beni Hana and Vietnamese Pho houses also started attracting more non-Asian regulars.
A lot of credit for legitimizing Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese dining goes to our women and men of the United States Armed Forces. But face it, the DFW community is now known for its worldwide origins and eclectic appetite for flavor voyeurism.
Only a few years ago the visual test of a popular Asian restaurant was, ‘how many Asians were eating there’. Now we are conscious of how many non-Asians are patrons. Red and Yellow, Black and White with a healthy addition of Browns and totally mixed tables of every language and dress are common at your favorite Sushi, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese eateries.
Notably, the Korean cuisine seems to have been the late bloomer in attracting visitors. That is quickly changing.

Here in the heavily Asian influenced DFW we see Korean BBQ everywhere. In fact, there are more BBQ restaurants within a mile radius of Highway 190 (the George Bush) and Old Denton Road than there are in Caldwell County the Texas Capital of BBQ.  Is that a slap on Texas BBQ fans? Are they anything alike?
Yes. And No!
Family and friends style service for Korean BBQ has three basic elements. Fresh assorted meats, rice, and a variety of sides. Most meals begin with a broth and of course, each diner has their own bowl of a bean influenced rice. Large individual plates are not used. Diners don’t fill their plates. Instead, a small side plate and that bowl of rice sit before you and each diner samples the banchan a bite or two at a time.
Out comes the big word for you to know. We call them sides. Koreans say Banchan!

Banchan (Hangul: 반찬; Hanja: 飯饌; lit. "rice/food+sidedish"; English pronunciation: /ˈbɑːntʃɑːn/; also spelled panch'an) refers to small dishes of food served along with cooked rice in Korean cuisine.

The next key word is Kimchi. I left you the wiki link that really covers the range of variations.

Thursday

You Will Like Mike

Find out why you want him to represent you.
jbblocker
Mike Hennefer for Carrollton City Council

  Mike Hennefer is a grown-up boy scout. No, make that an Eagle Scout. He has lived his whole life with a heart of gold. He is a man of the people. A champion for all. He has led when he needed to and served when the call came.
  He has never smoked, drank alcohol, or used an illegal drug.
  Vali will tell you. She knows Mike better than he does.  Vali met Mike when they were 12 years old. She’s the tigress and he is the loveable panda who can't turn down an opportunity to lift people's spirits and come to the rescue. 
He just can't help it. 
  I am sitting across from the two and am being entertained by a 43 year marriage between a pair that would always rather be together than apart.
 
  When Mike Hennefer met this gangly girl with pin curls, for some reason, a thought, a voice, a premonition told him “that’s your wife!”
  Vali was struck by the handsome blonde boy that everyone liked.
  Throughout their childhood, the two were around each other more than weekly with their youth groups and various church activities.
  When they were 16, Mike made his move. “You are going to be my girl!”
  Vali’s answer was, “Good luck with that!”
  
  With a driver’s license in hand Mike would pick Vali up every weekday morning for early Bible Study before school. They would do this throughout high school.
“Mike was the class president his Freshman, Sophomore, and Senior years. He was the star athlete, captain of the varsity football team, and student body president.”

  Mike and Vali sit close enough to be able to lean into each other often as we talk. He’s the funny one. It’s one of his ways of being optimistic. She is practical and sensible and centered. This is what best friends for life sound like. I am enjoying it.
  Before us are two albums. Mike’s and Vali’s
  Each are filled with letters, cards, notes, scraps of paper, and envelopes with many, many postmarks.
  After graduation Mike took up his Mormon mission service and was directed to South Florida and Puerto Rico.  Over the next two years, they wrote weekly journals to each other. Humor, sadness, love, lots of love, growing pains, and future hopes and dreams are poured into the pages.
  This is their diary of young love preserved and cherished. We should all be so lucky.

Friday

Chef Ewald Scholz: Meeting a Legend


On March 31st, Chef Ewald Scholz saw his 86th birthday. With that, his pain and suffering of the past two years ended. His son Brian was able to be with him. Throughout this last great battle, even through the sickness of chemotherapy the pain in his bones and muscles were at times blinding. But he added a step to his gait and made his rounds. He would leave chemo to attend a chef's luncheon and stand straight and true as if he hadn't anything but joy and love.
Many didn't realize the struggle because he masked it so bravely. The great man was driven by a need to squeeze out every opportunity to pass on his spirit to the culinary world of Dallas. A world he gave all to.


Meeting a Legend 
 by J.B. Blocker
  Ewald Scholz brought elegance to the madness of perfection. Ask anyone. Perfectionist is always mentioned with his name. 

  He is energized and driven by the soul of hospitality. The great chef is 'Front of House', 'Back of House', and all points in between. He proved to be a mentor and guide from a young age. No detail escaped him. He lived his historic culinary carrier with a whip and a rose. I have seen it in the many ways. 
  He has traveled the world of cuisine like Marco Polo and then presented what he has learned with thoughtful elegance. He has influenced thousands and charmed thousands more.