Neil Noakes, who has served in the Fort Worth Police Department for more than 20 years, was named police chief by City Manager David Cooke on Monday.
“Chief Noakes brings many years of community-based law enforcement experience to the chief’s office, and even more important, he brings innovative leadership and a desire for genuine engagement with the residents we serve,” Cooke said. “In every position throughout his career, Chief Noakes has focused on community problem-solving, reducing crime and enhancing justice and equity for all of our residents."
Noakes has a master of science degree in criminal justice and criminology from Texas Christian University and a bachelor degree in criminal justice administration from Tarleton State University. Since March 2019, he has been deputy chief of the Fort Worth Police Department. Other positions with FWPD include commander of the North Patrol Division (2017-2019); lieutenant in the Internal Affairs Section (2015-2016); sergeant (2012-2015); corporal/detective (2008-2012); and officer (2000-2008).
Noakes is an honor graduate of Class 102 of the Fort Worth Police Academy.
“Chief Noakes is the right leader, at the right time, for the Fort Worth Police Department and the City of Fort Worth,” Mayor Betsy Price said. “Chief Noakes has proven to have a heart for servant leadership and a vision for rebuilding and strengthening relationships within our communities. He and the 2,400-plus sworn and civilian employees of the department must work with the community in a spirit of solidarity and partnership to continue to build on the foundations that Chief Kraus has laid. I look forward to voting on his appointment with the other councilmembers at our February meeting.”
Six finalists were interviewed for the chief’s job after more than 50 original candidates applied for the position.
The Fort Worth Botanic Garden and Botanical Institute of Texas welcome nationally-acclaimed artist Patrick Dougherty in February as he weaves, twists and shapes a one-of-a-kind Stickwork sculpture in the Fuller Garden.
As he has done many times before at many other locations, Dougherty will take the sticks and, aided by a team of volunteers, weave, wind and twist them into — what? who knows! A hut, a nest, a cocoon, a tower, a maze — whatever Dougherty wants it to be. One thing can be certain: The resulting creation will be as unique as the Garden and as rooted in the landscape of Fort Worth.
“We are delighted to have Patrick Dougherty bring his distinctive form of outdoor installation art to Fort Worth,” said President and Executive Director Ed Schneider. “I can’t wait to see what he creates here — it’s sure to be unexpected.”
Dougherty’s stick-based artworks have been featured in more than 300 locations around the world, from Japan to Belgium, and were described by the New York Times as “startling” and “delightful.” For the first time, he is bringing his art to Fort Worth. He will begin creating his structure on Feb. 1 and work through the month. Visitors are invited to view Dougherty and his team of volunteers as they work.
Once it is completed, the Stickwork, whatever it might be, will remain in the Garden for guests to explore for as long as it survives the wind and weather. Eventually all of Dougherty’s works return to the nature from which they came, usually lasting a year or two.
The sculpture exhibit viewing is included with the price of general admission. Members receive free entry. Winter hours are 8 am. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.
The U.S. Small Business Administration reopened the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers.
This round of the PPP continues to prioritize millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $284 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses through March 31, 2021, and by allowing certain existing PPP borrowers to apply for a Second Draw PPP loan.
Key PPP updates:
A borrower is generally eligible for a Second Draw PPP loan if the borrower:
Learn more on the Small Business Administration website.
Bolstered by new developments and creative energy, Fort Worth has been named to Travel & Leisure’s 50 Best Places to Travel in 2021. This national recognition was a top goal for Visit Fort Worth and its New York-based agency, Quinn PR.
Calling out “a walloping dose of Texas heritage – with some luxe, modern updates,” the magazine highlighted the Stockyards’ new Mule Alley and Hotel Drover, the artists’ collective Art Tooth and the city’s newest boutique property, Hotel Dryce in the Cultural District.
“When the time comes to travel again, these destinations – all right in your own backyard – are the ones to visit next,” Travel & Leisure stated.
“This is a major recognition of the visionary investment in a western renaissance as well as the young, creative Funkytown energy we see through art, music and film,” said Bob Jameson, president and CEO of Visit Fort Worth.
The listing is Fort Worth’s first time to appear on T&L’s top 50.
Visit Fort Worth’s efforts alongside public relations agency Quinn PR helped land the city in the top 20. Pitching efforts for the last five years have developed important relationships with national media.
Visit Fort Worth has focused storytelling and positioning on the city’s diverse arts scene, food and dining and major developments in tourism districts.
Travel is an economic driver for the city. Before COVID-19, Fort Worth’s hospitality industry employed more than 24,000 and supported local businesses with a $2.6 billion economic impact.
There will be a prescribed burn of the BRIT prairie at 2 p.m. Jan. 13. The prairie is at the corner of Trail Drive and University Drive.
The event represents multiple organizations collaborating for numerous scientific, educational and community benefits.
“This burn serves many purposes, but from our perspective, the most important is changing cultural mindsets toward acceptance of prescribed burning in Fort Worth parks, urban areas, Dallas-Fort Worth and throughout the state,” said Daniel Price, natural resource manager with the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge.
The Fort Worth Fire Department will be on scene to ensure safety of the participants. The FWFD wildland team has traveled nationally to respond to wildfires on the West Coast. The highly trained team will use this prescribed burn as a way to educate the attending organizations on the role they play in wildland management and the importance of regulating and managing wildlife refuge locally.
For the Fort Worth Botanic Garden/Botanical Research Institute of Texas (FWBG|BRIT), the prescribed burn represents an opportunity for scientists and educators who will use resulting data for research and teaching.
“The science initiatives that drive a prescribed burn will allow our program designers to use collected plant and soil data, along with photos and videos, to create new, exceptional educational programming,” said Tracy Friday, vice president for education with FWBG|BRIT. Friday said that the prescribed burn also gives students and teachers the chance to view the event through an environmental STEM -- science, technology, engineering and mathematics -- lens.
Other partners involved in the planned prescribed burn are U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, Texas A&M Forest Service and the Texas Prescribed Fire Council.
Both Price and Friday agreed that the prescribed burn will help inform naturalists, researchers, educators and others. “The most important thing to remember is that ecological impacts from prescribed burning are not accomplished by just one burn,” Price said. “It will take multiple burns and perhaps a decade or more before any positive ecological changes are made.”
The event will be livestreamed on the Fort Worth Fire Department Facebook page beginning at 2 p.m. Wednesday. FWBG|BRIT will launch a watch party of that feed.
Dennis Shingleton announced he will not seek a sixth term as District 7 councilmember.
Shingleton, 74, was elected in 2011. Shingleton played an active leadership role serving as mayor pro tem and on several city committees, including the Fort Worth Sports Authority and Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee. Before representing District 7 as a councilmember, Shingleton served on the City Planning Commission for nine years and chaired it for five years.
“It has been an incredible honor and privilege to serve the residents of District 7 and all of Fort Worth,” Shingleton said. “Together, working alongside residents and businesses from all parts of the community, we have made incredible strides and built a stronger Fort Worth with opportunity for all.”
Throughout his tenure on City Council, Shingleton was known for his common-sense approach and ability to bring people together to find solutions for even the most difficult issues. During his 10 years on the Council, Shingleton advocated for fiscal responsibility, strategic growth and economic development through several role, including chairing both the Texas Motor Speedway and Trinity River Vision Tax Increment Finance districts.
Shingleton helped cut property tax rates without impacting critical city services, supporting efforts that resulted in lowering the city’s tax rate 12 cents in four years. Shingleton played an active role in stabilizing the city’s pension fund, protecting both city employees and taxpayers.
A steadfast supporter of the business community and neighborhoods, Shingleton was able to balance the demands of rapid growth that Fort Worth experienced as the 13th largest city in the nation and one of the fastest growing big cities in the nation. Most notably, Shingleton played an integral role in an unprecedented public-private partnership that resulted in the construction of Dickies Arena. Shingleton continued to oversee the operations of the world-class multipurpose arena, serving on the board of directors. In bringing the arena online, Shingleton shepherded the reconstruction of Montgomery Street as the entryway to Fort Worth’s world-renowned Cultural District.
As a previous neighborhood association president, Shingleton recognizes the importance of strengthening diverse and vibrant neighborhoods. From advocating for additional parks to improving infrastructure in and around neighborhoods, Shingleton prioritized public safety and supported efforts to ensure safer communities.
“It is my hope the next District 7 Councilmember brings a fresh perspective and a passion for service, strengthening our neighborhoods and serving the residents of Fort Worth,” Shingleton said. “District 7 is incredibly diverse with active and engaged residents and businesses. The next representative has an extraordinary opportunity to continue supporting our community and everything that makes Fort Worth an incredible place to live and work.”
Beyond City Hall, Shingleton was an active member of the community, volunteering his time in several capacities. A retired U.S. Army Colonel, Shingleton served as a member of the NAS/JRB Regional Coordination Committee. Shingleton remains the assistant tournament chair for the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial, leading efforts to host the event as the first PGA tournament to return to the schedule in 2020.
Shingleton will retire alongside his wife, Cindy, in Fort Worth, where they have called home for more than 30 years. They have three children and 12 grandchildren.
Due to the ongoing public health emergency and limits on large gatherings, B.A.S.S. officials moved the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic and Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo from late March to June 11-13.
“Our team will be working with the Fort Worth Sports Commission and Visit Fort Worth to make this historic trip to Texas an incredible and memorable event,” said B.A.S.S. Chairman Chase Anderson. We are so appreciative of Fort Worth officials and our hosts at Visit Fort Worth for working with us during these unprecedented times to reschedule this exciting event and ensure we have an outstanding Classic.”
For more than 50 years, the iconic Bassmaster Classic has been the premier tournament in sportfishing. Recent Classics held in Birmingham, Ala., and Knoxville, Tenn., have drawn record-breaking crowds of 122,814 and 153,809 fans, respectively, to Classic Week events, including the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo.
“Hosting the Bassmaster Classic later this spring will bring jobs and much-needed business to our local economy,” said Jason Sands, director of the Fort Worth Sports Commission. “We are looking forward to hosting anglers and the thousands of outdoor enthusiasts and Bassmaster fans this world-class sporting event attracts.”
The move from an early spring tournament to June is a throwback to previous events. From its inaugural outing in 1971 until 1983, the Bassmaster Classic was held in the fall. The Super Bowl of Bass Fishing became a summer event in 1984 but shifted to February and March in 2006, the first season of the Bassmaster Elite Series.
Residents may submit questions for the six Fort Worth police chief finalists until Jan. 13, ahead of a community meeting at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Fort Worth Convention Center Ballroom, 1201 Houston St.
Send comments for city management and questions for the candidates via FWConnection.
The six police chief finalists were selected from a pool of more than 50 applicants. Strategic Government Resources conducted a national search for the new police chief. Learn more about the candidates.
At the Jan. 14 community meeting, there will be plenty of room for social distancing, and COVID-19 protocols will be in place. The meeting will also be carried live on FWTV, the city’s website and social media.
Mayor Betsy Price, Fort Worth’s longest-serving mayor, announced Tuesday that she will not seek re-election.
Price said deciding not to seek re-election was a difficult decision, but she said she intends to spend more time with her grandchildren. She said she will remain active in community affairs – she is sometimes called the Energizer Bunny for her seemingly endless energy – but did not mention any particular roles she hopes to fill.
View Price’s news conference announcing her decision.
Price, a Fort Worth native, was elected in 2011 as the 44th mayor. In 2019, she was re-elected to a historic fifth term; when she steps down this summer, she will be the longest-serving mayor of Fort Worth, the 13th largest U.S. city.
Since taking office, Price has initiated a broad agenda that emphasizes economic development, stronger education, public safety, improved mobility and efficiency at City Hall.
Price and the City Council have lowered the city’s tax rate by 12 cents since 2012. Even with lower taxes, she worked to close a $45 million city budget gap in 2011 and delivered a balanced budget that continued to provide essential services to residents.
In addition, she secured the city’s pension fund without state intervention, and worked to improve productivity at City Hall to realize savings in processes, time and money— all while boosting customer service levels.
Price made significant strides along the path toward her vision of a healthy and engaged city. Fort Wort is the largest U.S. city to be certified by the Blue Zones Project, an international wellness initiative. FitWorth is another citywide wellness program she fostered.
During her tenure, Price worked closely with local school districts to ensure companies can draw on well-trained personnel in the future. She believes Fort Worth’s economy is linked to well-prepared young people who are ready to enter the workplace. Read Fort Worth is an initiative that pushes for every third-grade student to read on grade level by 2025.
Price said she is particularly proud of the way younger residents have stepped up through Steer Fort Worth and other programs to become the city’s future leaders.
Fort Worth’s 45th mayor will be elected on May 1. Campaign filing for municipal elections begins Jan. 13.
Residents can meet the finalists for Fort Worth police chief at a community meeting at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Fort Worth Convention Center Ballroom, 1201 Houston St.
The six finalists were selected from a pool of more than 50 applicants. Strategic Government Resources conducted a national search for the new police chief.
Learn more about the candidates.
At the community meeting, there will be plenty of room for social distancing, and COVID-19 protocols will be in place. The meeting will also be carried live on FWTV, the city’s website and social media.
Residents may submit comments for city management and questions for candidates via FWConnection until Jan. 13.
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