Around the State
The Dallas Examiner | 12/26/2016, 2:54 p.m.
The Dallas Examiner
The Dallas Public Library is seeking young aspiring filmmakers for its second annual Teen Film Fest, themed “What was your most significant moment of 2016?”
Youth ages 14 to 18 can submit two- to five-minute short films recorded on their cell phones by Feb. 11, 2017. All films will be screened on Feb. 25 at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young St.
“Young aspiring filmmakers often have limited opportunities to exhibit their films,” said Austin Lloyd, Dallas Public Library associate. “Filmmaking as an art form can be prohibitively expensive, but the cell phone format makes the festival accessible to less experienced filmmakers and has a low barrier to entry.”
First- through third-place winners will be announced and an honorable mention award will be presented for best film by a director under age 16.
Last year, the contest drew 30 entries, and the winner was unexpectedly offered an internship by one of the film fest attendees who was impressed with her work.
To enter the contest, students must post their videos on YouTube and send the link along with name, age and high school to firstname.lastname@example.org. A complete rules list is also available through email.
The City of Dallas unveiled a new website detailing a new proposed plan to save the Dallas Police and Fire Pension. The city’s Employee Retirement Fund is estimated to run out of money by 2027 due to poor investments and large pension withdrawals, which puts future retirements in jeopardy.
“We know that the Pension System is complicated and so is the solution,” said Elizabeth Reich, City of Dallas chief financial officer. “We believe that our plan will rebuild and restore the pension for its members, but we need the public’s help and support to make that happen.”
The website, SaveThePension.com, helps people understand the history of the DPFP history, the challenges being faced and how to contact their local state representatives to help save the pension.
According to Reich, the proposal calls for the city to incorporate about $1 billion into the pension system over the next 30 years. This year, the city will contribute $124 million to the fund.
Elements of the landmark mental health reform legislation, House Resolution 2646, Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, have been incorporated into the 21st Century Cures Act, which encourages innovation in biomedical research and development of new treatments.
“Many of us have a family member or know someone that is in need of mental health attention and we cannot ignore this issue,” said Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson at the briefing hosted by a bipartisan group of mental health leaders from the Senate and House of Representatives, Dec. 5.
“Additionally, we can all agree that the homeless remain extremely vulnerable to mental illness. However, by ignoring the homeless and their mental health care needs, they continue to fill our jails and prisons instead of receiving the proper treatment they so desperately need, [but] I strongly believe that we will finally address these areas of unmet medical needs, which are often the most pervasive issues in our health system.”
Johnson was joined by congressional leaders U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, U.S. Representative Tim Murphy, U.S. Senator John Cornyn, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, chairman of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and U.S. Representative Fred Upton. Other mental health advocate organizations such as American Occupational Therapy Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, Emergency Nurses Association, and others also accompanied her.
“I will continue to push for reforms and assistance or families and individuals in Texas affected by mental illness,” Johnson reaffirmed. “This bill provides the framework that will help us make improvements in the lives of those that suffer from a mental illness or opioid addiction. So, today I urge the Senate to pass the 21st Century Cures Act, so the bill can be signed by President Barack Obama, which will then allow patients, families and physicians to gain the treatment they deserve.”