‘Rediscover Your Library’ set for Feb. 1

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Community invited to browse TCPL’s new offerings, services

As the saying goes, “There’s something for everyone at The Colony Public Library.” Never has that been more true as staff and volunteers gear up for TCPL’s “Rediscover Your Library” event from 3 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1.

During the event, the community is invited to stop by the library, located at 6800 Main St., to participate in a variety of fun activities and to see for themselves all the recent enhancements to the facility, including an improved collection, new resources and digital offerings, STEM kits, online classes, and much more.

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Recent enhancements to offerings at The Colony Public Library include a brand new website.

Over the past few years, construction on Main Street has hindered access to the library. Assistant Library Director of Operations Megan Charters said parking became particularly problematic, and students from nearby campuses who used to walk over after school could no longer cross Main Street.

“Our ‘Rediscover’ theme is about inviting everyone to come see what’s been happening during the construction,” Charters said. “Now that Main Street is widened, opened, and safe again, come back to the library and see what we’ve done!”

Those improvements include implementation of a new stock management tool called Collection HQ, which runs statistics on checkouts and holds; helps determine what’s popular and what’s not; and provides data on what other libraries of a similar size are offering in terms of authors and titles.

Collection HQ has been online for two and a half years. With data in hand, staff have been working to clear out old materials that are not being checked out and taking up visual and physical space when patrons are browsing.

“If it hasn’t circulated in four or more years, it’s a candidate for deletion,” Charters said.  “The result is a leaner but more powerful, precise collection of materials tailored specifically to the needs and interests of our community.”

The library also now boasts two new self-checkout stations. There’s one in the front and one in the back in the children’s section for parents and kids. You simply step up to it, scan your card or enter your card number, then scan your materials for checkout. Charters said you can scan about 10-inches worth of materials at one time, rather than scanning each item separately.

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“Rediscover Your Library” will also serve as a farewell event for longtime TCPL Director Joan L. Sveinsson.

“We spent the last year tagging 75,000 items in our collection with RFID tags so they could be scanned by the new system,” she said.

As is the trend in libraries around the country, TCPL has been busy enhancing its digital services as well, including a new website. The library offers downloadable magazines, books, and audiobooks, as well as electronic resources, databases, streaming movies and music, and online classes. A library staff member is always available to help patrons get the most from the new technology.

“A lot of the services also come with apps, so we can show you how to use the apps and access what you need,” Charters said. “We can show people how to download materials to their tablet or smartphone, and we want to educate patrons about other electronic resources and databases that we offer.”

Another new offering are 16 STEM kits. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The kits align with what’s being taught in schools and come in big tote bags for checkout. Each kit has a different topic. For example, one kit is about the human body and comes with a full set of x-rays that can be laid out. The stones-and-minerals kit comes with a microscope. An astronomy kit comes with a telescope. Other topics include engineering, coding, geometry, logic and puzzles, and more.

“They’re not just for kids either,” Charters said. “Adults check them out, too. They’re fun for everybody, especially families, but they’re geared towards elementary aged children.”

TCPL 3D Printer

TCPL’s MakerBot 3D Printer is available for a variety of print jobs – from trinkets to practical applications. Come by “Rediscover Your Library” on Feb. 1 to see the recent additions to TCPL’s makerspace: the new Silhouette Cameo 3 vinyl cutter and the PolyPrinter 3D printer.

Most patrons already know about the library’s MakerBot 3D printer but in recent months they have also added a Silhouette Cameo 3 vinyl cutter and a PolyPrinter 3D printer. All these devices are part of the library’s makerspace for crafts and projects, the use of which will be demonstrated during the upcoming event.

Last but not least, “Rediscover Your Library” will also honor two long-time staff members who are retiring: Library Director Joan L. Sveinsson and Circulation Supervisor Alice Collins. Sveinsson has been with the library more than 30 years.

“Joan has been an amazing mentor,” Charters said. “She’s done so much for the library and the community. She puts 150 percent into everything she does. We appreciate her so much and we’re all going to miss her.”

For more information about “Rediscover” or other library programs and services, visit www.thecolonypl.org or call 972-625-1900.

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Urban Wildlife Q&A with TCAS

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Animal Services seeks to educate community

Longtime residents of The Colony are no strangers to urban wildlife. The community boasts miles of shoreline along Lewisville Lake, with plenty of greenspace in between. Many residents in Austin Ranch also live near Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. These conditions create numerous opportunities for humans and wildlife to cross paths.

Fortunately, the City of The Colony boasts a well-prepared and highly-rated Animal Services Division that is here to help educate and assist the community when it comes to addressing urban wildlife issues.

Animal Services Manager Mark Cooper said his office has received numerous calls and emails in recent months from residents concerned about wildlife encounters in The Colony. Here’s his Q&A on the subject:

Q: What is urban wildlife? Here in The Colony, the majority of our wildlife issues consist of bobcats, coyotes and various hawks, owls and falcons. Since we have so much growth and new development within our city, including all the cities surrounding us, this has posed a serious concern for the wildlife being driven out of their natural environment. Our city in particular is a prime location for wildlife, because we have a lot of wooded area along with Lewisville Lake and in Austin Ranch near the nature preserve in Plano.

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Q: What steps can residents take to protect their pets and homes from urban wildlife? The Colony Animal Services, along with Texas Parks and Wildlife, highly encourage people to NOT PANIC if they see a bobcat or coyote. These are two very skittish animals. They will simply run at the sight of humans or the slightest loud noise. If you have pets in your yard, it’s highly encouraged to use tools such as wind chimes around your home, or noise makers found at pet stores. These tools can deter wildlife from your yard. Also, please keep in mind: It is against city ordinance to allow pets to roam freely. If you have small pets, it’s best to be outside and present while they are outside.

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Coyote

Q: What should residents do if they encounter a bobcat or coyote? If you encounter a bobcat or coyote, again, don’t panic. These animals are much more afraid of you than you are of them. Just make a loud noise, such as clapping and yelling. They may not necessarily run away, but they will not come closer. If the animal does stand its ground and won’t scare off, you may be coming near its den. A protective mother will always stand her ground, but there have been no reports of either bobcats or coyotes attacking a human.

Q: What role does The Colony Animal Services play in managing urban wildlife? TCAS receives reports almost daily from residents pertaining to wildlife. Since there is little we can do to control the population and stop wildlife from coming into our neighborhoods, we simply educate our residents on the truth about bobcats and coyotes. These animals will NOT come into your yard and carry away your small child. In fact, they are very timid and can easily be scared away. Learning the behaviors of these animals is the key to understanding how to coexist with the wildlife population. Fear only makes matters worse.

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The Colony Animal Shelter boasts a 4.8-star rating on Google reviews, and is located at 4720 East Lake Highlands.

Q: What resources are available for residents wishing to learn more about how to co-exist with wildlife in a suburban setting? We often reach out to Texas Parks & Wildlife or the DFW Wildlife Coalition as resources. Both are experts on the matter and list a lot of educational material on their websites (linked above). You may also contact the latter by calling 972-234-WILD.

For more information about urban wildlife in The Colony, visit the city’s website or contact The Colony Animal Services at 972-370-9250. The Animal Shelter is located at 4720 East Lake Highlands Drive.

Three Things to Know This Week (Dec. 11-17)

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TheColonyWheelZoneThe skate park grand reopening is almost here!  Join us at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, at the new facility adjacent to the Recreation Center (5151 North Colony Blvd.) for the unveiling of The Colony Wheel Zone Bike and Skate Park! Please RSVP to Kathy Neal if you plan to attend, 972-624-3957. Refreshments will be served. For more information, call Parks & Recreation at 972-625-1106.


redcrosslogoThe City of The Colony is hosting a Red Cross Blood Drive from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12, at the City Hall Annex Building, 6804 Main St. Visit www.RedCrossBlood.org and use sponsor code “thecolony” to make an appointment. For more information, call the Community Center at 972-624-2246.


IMG_3673aCelebrate the season in your hometown! The Colony Christmas Spectacular Lightshow is underway at Central Fire Station (4900 Blair Oaks Drive) now through Jan. 7, 2018. The FREE lightshow at is choreographed to music and can be seen every evening 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5:30 to 10:50 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tune your radio to 99.9FM to enjoy the music. For more information, contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 972-625-1106.

Three Things to Know This Week (Nov. 13-19)

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Things to Know

  1. #ICYMI last Thursday, have you seen the city’s new website? We’re very proud toScreenshot-crop launch our brand new, redesigned site that we hope will not only showcase our community with a more modern design but will also increase user-friendliness across the board. For starters, it is mobile-responsive, meaning it’ll auto-format when viewing on tablets and smartphones. The Colony Police Department and The Colony Public Library also have unique pages within the site to feature their programs and services. Check it out! Same URL as before: http://www.thecolonytx.gov.

  2. The Colony Planning & Zoning Commission meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, at City Hall. View the agenda online.

  3. TCPL_EarlyLiteracyThe Colony Public Library’s Early Literacy Classes will be on hiatus in December but they’re all in full swing this week! Bring your young ones out for your choice of programs: Toddler Time for 2- to 3-year-olds at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday; Music & Movement Story Time for all ages at 10:15 a.m. Thursday; and Preschool Story Time for 3- to 5-year-olds at 10:15 a.m. Friday. Visit thecolonypl.org for more info on these and other happenings at your public library.

Three Things to Know This Week (Nov. 6-12)

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  1. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7. Locally, City Council Place 6 is on the ballot. In addition to the City Council race, several statewide propositions are on the ballot, Vote-smallas well as bond initiatives for voters in Little Elm ISD. To see a sample ballot and find your polling place by precinct, visit votedenton.com. For more info about the election, contact the City Secretary’s Office at 972-624-3106 or visit the city’s website at www.thecolonytx.gov.

  2. It’s almost here! “American Heroes: A Salute to Veterans,” featuring a FREE performance by the legendary Oak Ridge Boys kicks off THIS Saturday at The Colony Five Star Complex! In addition to the Oak Ridge Boys, performances are  scheduled by Sammy Kershaw and Cooder Graw. This festival and fireworks event also features the American Hero Run, Veterans Memorial Ceremony, car/truck/bike show, and so much more! Visit the official festival website for all the details or call the Parks & Recreation Department at 972-625-1106. See you there on Saturday!AmericanHeroesPromo

  3. City offices, facilities, and the library will be closed Friday, Nov. 10, in observance of Veterans Day. The library will be closed Nov. 10-13.

Main Street: What’s next?

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Project to shift from reconstruction to beautification

In late July of this year, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) began the final phases of the Main Street Widening Project. After almost three years of daily, significant road construction, nearly all lanes have since opened to traffic. Some daytime-only lane closures remain for specific elements of the project, including work on sidewalks, medians, and sound walls.DSC01321

So what’s next? Whereas TxDOT has overseen the actual roadwork all these years, the City will now take on much of the finishing touches in the months ahead. Those touches include steps to ensure the end result of this project is something we can all be proud of as we enjoy smoother commutes up and down the road.

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The sound walls feature a wave design.

Residents have often asked what beautification elements would be a part of the project. For starters, custom sound walls have been installed by TxDOT next to all residential areas adjacent to Main Street. The wall panels have a wave design depicting the lakeside theme of the community. The stone pattern on the side facing the road is painted to look like real stone while the sides facing residential areas are a tan brick pattern.

Motorists may have noticed the large, open squares at the end of the existing sound walls. That’s where sculptured art panels are being inserted into the walls. TxDOT is installing the panels but the city will maintain them moving forward. Much like the wave pattern, the artwork will feature signature elements of The Colony community. One of the art panels is already installed at the intersection with Ridgepointe Drive.

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This artwork has been installed in the sound wall at the intersection of Ridgepointe and Main.

Installing new traffic signals at the major intersections has been a significant portion of the project thus far, including ongoing adjustments to the timings of the lights once traffic was fully flowing. When completed, the new signals will have illuminated street signs at each intersection, as well as decorative “clamshell” bases. The new crosswalks at each intersection have also been stamped with a plank pattern designed to look like a boardwalk.

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Decorative street lights have been installed up and down Main Street.

Much of the beautification, however, will ultimately take place in the medians. For example, residents would likely have already seen the enhanced street lights, which are different from the standard “cobra-head” lights normally installed by TxDOT.

Landscaping and irrigation will, of course, be a big part of the median work still to come. Fortunately, the design work has already been completed, and the Parks Department has been approved for just under $1 million in grant funding from the TxDOT Green Ribbon Program for installation of the first phase.

Initially, the landscaping will include about 500 trees and some native grasses. Future phases will include a wide variety of plants and additional trees along the parkways. When finished, it will look similar to the landscaping in the medians along North Colony Boulevard between Main Street and Paige Road.

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The medians along Main Street will eventually feature landscaping similar to what is currently seen along North Colony between Paige and Main Street.

Lastly, but not certainly least, the sidewalks along Main Street have been connected to the city’s trail system and widened to be more bike- and pedestrian-friendly. Northbound Main Street now features a 10-foot sidewalk between Memorial Drive and North Colony Boulevard. The 10-foot trail then cuts across to the southbound side of the road at North Colony and continues north to the city limits.

Community Services Director Pam Nelson, whose department will be overseeing much of these remaining projects, said the remaining art panels will be installed in the upcoming weeks. The first phase of irrigation and landscaping should begin in the spring of 2018.

“It’s going to take a little while to wrap up the loose ends but beautification is an essential part of the overall project,” she said. “TxDOT built the new road to improve both local and regional transportation but it’s our residents who will drive it every day. We want them to reap the rewards of their patience these past few years by not only traveling a less congested road but also enjoying a much more aesthetically pleasing view along their city’s main thoroughfare.”

Three Things to Know This Week (Oct. 30-Nov. 5)

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Things to Know

  1. We’re less than two weeks away from “American Heroes: A Salute to Veterans,” featuring a FREE performance by the legendary Oak Ridge Boys at The Colony Five Star Complex! The event also features the American Hero Run, Veterans Memorial Ceremony, car/truck/bike show, and so much more! Did we mention the fireworks? Visit the official festival website for all the details or call the Parks & Recreation Department at 972-625-1106. See you there on Saturday, Nov. 11!

  2. Early voting for the Nov. 7, 2017, City Council Election for Place 6 is underway and continues through Friday, Nov. 3. Hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Locally, early voting will be held at the City of The Colony Annex, 6804 Main St. For more locations, visit votedenton.com. For more info about the election, contact the City Secretary’s Office at 972-624-3106 or visit the city’s website at www.thecolonytx.gov. In addition to the City Council race, several statewide propositions are on the ballot, as well as bond initiatives for voters in Little Elm ISD.

  3. Last, but certainly not least, exciting news broke today as the LPGA and other event officials announced that the Volunteers of America LPGA North Dallas Classic will be at the Old American GC in The Colony next year! Organizers are planning a community-minded event for the whole family. Please see our press release for all the details.