Special to The Dallas Examiner

DALLAS

Summer is here, and for many children in Dallas County that means long hours of inactivity, too much TV and munching unhealthy snacks.

But for hundreds of children, summer is a time of learning about nutrition, exercise and healthy choices at Camp CHAMPS, an annual program of Parkland Health and Hospital System. CHAMPS stand for Choosing Healthy Activities, Meals and Positive Self-esteem, and it provides an opportunity for children to take part in camps at various locations throughout Dallas County this summer.

“For a lot of our kids, Camp CHAMPS will be the only chance they have to participate in organized learning and exercise activities during the summer,” said Jeff Howard, Parkland Community Development Specialist. “Many of these kids would be at home on the couch, watching TV or playing video games.”

The camp seeks to get the children involved in physical activities, as well as learning about making healthy choices.

The percentage of obese children in the United States has tripled since the 1970s. Children who are obese have higher rates of chronic health conditions and diseases, such as asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, type 2 diabetes and risk factors for heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Howard emphasized that the camp, which is free and open to children 7 to 16 years of age, is a great way for girls and boys to learn about positive, healthy habits.

“I think Camp CHAMPS is an excellent program,” said Jean Lamberty, whose two grandchildren previously attended Camp CHAMPS. “Both children (ages 10 and 7 at the time) learned a lot, and the sessions on self-esteem and bullying were particularly helpful. The focus on healthy eating and benefits of exercise also left a big impression on them.”

The sessions for parents, which Lamberty attended, also provided valuable information.

“The parent group was important because we all saw that we were on the same page, we wanted our children to be healthy and to lose weight, if they needed to,” she said.

The camp is organized as a four-day camp in each of the locations. Parkland physicians, educators, social workers and dietitians are on hand to provide valuable educational activities and services. Each day during the camp is dedicated to teaching a different element of a healthy lifestyle. The campers rotate through four classes that focus on health, nutrition, self-esteem and physical exercise. Children also will be screened and evaluated by physicians and nurses for any previously undetected conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, high body mass index and high blood pressure.

“The main focus of Camp CHAMPs is to help kids learn healthy behaviors, from exercise to nutrition and life skills. They learn through different activities and games so it’s a lot of fun, as well. You can never start too early to teach kids about making good choices,” Howard said.

The camp will be held:

• June 12 to 15 at Gospel Lighthouse Church, 5525 W. Illinois Ave.

• June 19 to 22 and June 26 to 29 at J.J. Rhoads Elementary School, 4401 S. Second Ave.

• July 10 to 13 at Cardinal Farrell Community Center, 321 Calumet Ave.

• July 17 to 20 Charley Taylor Recreation Center, 601 E. Grand Prairie Road in Grand Prairie

For more information and to pre-register, contact Jeff Howard at 214-266-1120 or jeffrey.howard@phhs.org.

DALLAS

The Dallas County Commissioner’s Court voted July 5 to reduced the vehicle registration fee by $6.

Registration fees allow the county to operate the Clean Air Task Force, which cracks down on counterfeit motor vehicle inspections and provides funding for the Low-Income Vehicle Repair Assistance, Retrofit and Accelerated Retirement Program – known as “Cash for Clunkers” – designed to provide the working poor with more economical transportation while taking older, non-compliant vehicles off the road.

Dallas County originally collected the additional $6 fee to run the clean air programs, but the state has held on to approximately $30 million of the county’s share in order to certify its budget.

“The State of Texas has been stealing our residents’ $6 clean air fee that was supposed to be sent back to Dallas County to help with air quality programs,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. “Gov. Abbott vetoed funding for this clean air program in the upcoming biennial budget and has not supported legislation that stops the misappropriation. We must stand against the State’s attempts to overtax urban areas to balance the whole State’s budget.”

DALLAS

The Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center “Beat the Heat” center will offer residents a safe place to stay cool and minimize home electricity use Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the summer months. The center is located at 2922 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Drinks. Snacks and entertainment will be provided at the facility. For more information, visit www.dallasmlkcenter.com.

LANCASTER

Greater Southwest Black Chamber of Commerce will hold part one of its “Taming the Gold Bull” event with 30-year stock market investor Kevin Davis July 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the GO Federal Building, located at 3200 W. Pleasant Run Road.

The event is dedicated to teaching local residents how to be an active investor in the American stock market. The course will provide lessons including: what the stock market is and how to buy your first share, how stock is priced and valued, stock market terminology, how to identify risky assets from safer ones and how to use investment apps.

Tickets and registration will be at http://gswbcc.org.

DALLAS

Dallas Voice will present its third annual Wedding Party & EXPO – an LGBT community event – July 23 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hilton Anatole Hotel, located at 2201 N. Stemmons Freeway.

The event will celebrate LGBT love and marriage and connect couples to various businesses that could help with wedding ideas and provide wedding resources. Participants will have the opportunity to meet with many vendors from travel and honeymoon planners and decorators to clergy and venue providers.

The event is free and open to the public. General admission tickets and registration is provided at http://eventbrite.com.

DALLAS

Mr. Lee’s Karate class will hold its second annual karate demonstration July 25 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. at The Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, located at 2922 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Karate teaches focus, respect, leadership skills, discipline and self-control.

For more information, call 214-670-8363.

DALLAS

The National Center for Policy Analysis, a 501(c)(3) public policy research organization headquartered in Dallas, announced this week that its board of directors has voted to dissolve the organization effective immediately. The 34-year-old free-market think tank has made significant contributions to free-market public policy research and implementation, including Health Savings Accounts, Roth IRAs, automatic enrollment in 401ks and ongoing work in the areas of taxes, healthcare, entitlements, economic development, energy and national security.

The decision to leave the world of think tanks comes after the organization has faced significant financial challenges over the last three years.

NCPA plans to sell its proprietary analytical models, intellectual property, research archives and other assets. For additional information or to express interest in acquiring assets, contact Reagan Stewart at 214-891-3340 or reagan_stewart@sbcglobal.net.

DALLAS

The SPCA of Texas, the leading animal welfare organization in North Texas, received a grant in the amount of $840,000 from The Rees-Jones Foundation in support of the Animal Cruelty Investigations Unit and the Animal Rescue Center, empowered by PetSmart Charities Emergency Relief.

Founded in 1938, the non-profit operates two shelters, three spay/neuter clinics and an animal rescue center, all located in Dallas and Collin Counties, and maintains a team of animal cruelty investigators who respond to thousands of calls in seven North Texas counties.

SPCA will use $550,000 to support the operations of the ACI Unit and the Animal Rescue Center, and the remaining $290,000 will be used for facility improvements, operations enhancements and additional staff for the Animal Rescue Center.

The funding will provide for fencing around the property, five play yards, five dog runs, a dog washing station, three portable kennel cleaners, 50 Kuranda beds, a washer and dryer, noise reducing curtains, a portable X-ray machine, temporary workers, a foster manager and a senior behavior manager.

The SPCA of Texas is able to provide exceptional care for these rescued animals thanks to this generous grant from The Rees-Jones Foundation. Without support from foundations and donors like The Rees-Jones Foundation, the SPCA of Texas would not be able to afford the cost of the care for the animals necessary to save lives.

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