More than 160 people attended the eighth annual Gustavo Ipiña Memorial Scholarship winter party and silent auction in December, which raised more than $8,500. In May a $5,000 scholarship will be given to a Woodrow Wilson High School ESL student. Scholarship funds are raised each year in memory of Gustavo Ipiña, a native of Monterey, Mexico, who attended Woodrow Wilson High School and was killed in a road rage incident his senior year. Ipiña would have been the first in his family to attend college. Neighborhood resident Taly Haffar, who was the Dallas County assistant district attorney assigned to Ipiña’s case, founded the scholarship and organizes the fundraisers.

The Lakewood Northridge Estates Community Association (LNECA) formed as a Texas nonprofit in December. LNECA board members hope to lessen the burden of government by taking independent action in the community. Board Members hope the LNECA will soon becoming a tax-exempt 501(c)3. Differing from a neighborhood association, homeowners’ association or community development corporation, the goal of LNECA is to further charitable objectives through things such as food and clothing drives, cleaning and improving parks, and fundraising based on community needs. The LNECA board plans to publish a Northridge Estates directory to help volunteers and community members communicate, then create a website.

The Dallas Arboretum’s Chihuly exhibit, which wrapped up at the end of December, attracted more than 700,000 visitors from 71 countries, including China, New Zealand, Peru and Zimbabwe. Chihuly Nights were held 115 times, the majority of which sold out. More the 42,000 volunteer tours were given throughout the eight-month exhibit.


Woodrow Wilson High School staff members are thrilled about their new Performing Arts Building. In January director John Beaird offered tours of the state-of-the-art facility, which includes a choir room, black box theater, dressing rooms, costume and scene shop, dance studio, library and computer research center. Woodrow also hosted a musical fundraiser, and received a special visit from the Alley Cats when they toured Texas for the first time all the way from Yale University.


Jessica Barrera, a 2009 Woodrow graduate, was named 2013 Miss Texarkana in January. In 2010 she competed in the Miss Texas pageant in Arlington after being crowned Miss Rio Grande Valley. The Miss Texas contestants are judged on their interviews with a panel of judges, talent, evening gown, swimsuit and on-stage question.

Lakewood’s documentary duo Allen Mondell and Cynthia Salzman Mondell created “A Reason to Live” after their friends’ son committed suicide. The film features several young people from the area who attempted suicide, as well as the parents of suicidal teens. The Mondells’ hope is that the film will open the door to conversations about suicide and depression, and encourage teens who are considering suicide to seek help. For more information, or to order the film, visit the Mondells’ website at

East Dallas filmmaker Robert Greeson premiered his documentary “31 Days: The Beatles’ First American Tour” at Lakewood Theater. As suggested by the title, the film is about The Beatles’ first tour through the United States, including a trip to Dallas in mid-September 1964. The film blends old black-and-white footage of The Beatles performing and being interviewed, with new footage of Dallas-area Beatles experts. The film is now available online at

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