Every day on his way to work, Frank Geis drove past the empty storefronts in the Skillman-Live Oak strip shopping center.

Finally, he got tired of just looking.

So the Lakewood resident put together a deal to fill the vacant spaces west of Skillman.

“Since I live in the neighborhood, I know what kind of potential is here,” says Geis, who runs a self-named real estate development company.

“There was just no reason why that center shouldn’t have quality retail in it. There’s no reason why we have to drive to Snider Plaza or NorthPark whenever we want to go shopping.”

The first new business, Fresco’s Produce Market, is expected to open this month. The store will feature fresh fruits and vegetable in what Geis describes as a farmer’s market atmosphere.

The store will occupy about one-third of the space in the two buildings on the corner of Skillman and Oram, which have been empty since a grocery store and an auto parts store closed several years ago.

“This is just a heck of a location,” says Danny Furr, who is part of the investment group that operates Fresco’s and hopes to open a couple of other stores in the Dallas area.

“Lakewood is right there, there’s high density and a good mix of demographics. Plus, there are not a whole lot of companies serving that market.”

Plans call for the remainder of the center, which includes two other spaces in the Fresco section and a couple of storefronts, to be leased by early next year.

Geis said he is negotiating with other businesses, including several restaurants, interested in the strip center, although he said it was too early to be more specific. The center will also receive a facelift, with a new façade and landscaping.

“This is very exciting,” says neighborhood resident Maxine Aronson. “It’s just another example of how this part of East Dallas is coming back.”

Shoes Donated to Police Anti-Gang Program

The PAKT (Police and Kids Together) sports league received an early Christmas present last month with the donation of softball and volleyball shoes from the Riddell Athletic Footwear Corporation in Fort Worth.

The league, formed by the Dallas Police Department’s Northeast Operations Division and neighborhood volunteers, was established to provide youth an alternative to gangs.

Several neighborhood businesses, police officers and residents also have helped the league by coaching, providing after-game meals and playing on teams.

The softball season ended Nov. 30, but the volleyball season continues through winter. Games are played at the Harry Stone Recreation Center, 2304 Millmar.

If you are interested in providing an after-game meal or playing on a team, call Sgt. P.T. Barnum at 670-5304, Cindy Barrett at 999-1412 or J.J. Pair at 348-0000.


HELPING THE HUNGRY: Lakewood residents helped feed the homeless Halloween night by making donations to Skyline High School students who went trick-or-treating for canned food instead of candy. Volunteers put fliers on Lakewood doors a week prior to Halloween informing residents of the food drive, which benefited the North Texas Food Bank. Approximately 40 students, including member of Skyline’s Key Club, national Honor Society and Student Senate, then went door to door from 5-7 p.m. collecting more than 2,000 canned goods. Minyard’s in Lakewood sponsored the project and fed the students hot dogs after their “trick-or-treating”.

YWCA OFFERS DEAL TO NEW MEMBERS: The YWCA, 4621 Ross, is offering a “Keep Fit Kit” to people interested in becoming Y members. The kit costs $50 and is available through December. The kit includes an annual YWCA membership, one month of aerobics, unlimited use of the coed weight room and whirlpool, and a surprise gift. A “Kid Fit Kit” is available for $35.

The YWC A also is having a two-for-one Fall Fitness Friendzy during December. When you buy any fitness pass, a friend is free. One month, 6-month or year-long passes are available and include unlimited use of the coed fitness center and aerobics classes. One participant must be new to the Y. Call 826-YWCA for information.

EHRHARDT HONORED FOR EFFORTS: Rep. Harryette Ehrhardt of District 107 was honored as Freshman of the Year by the Lesbian Gay Rights Lobby for her service to the gay and lesbian community during the past legislative session. Ehrhardt’s first as a representative. As House floor leader, Ehrhardt worked to gain support for a hate crimes bill that would increase penalties for crimes committed against groups based on race, gender, or sexual orientation.

Ehrhardt also was one of five legislators to receive the Texas Outstanding Public Service (TOPS) Award. The award is presented to individuals who show leadership on consumer issues and who effectively advocate consumer concerns.

NEIGHBORHOOD RESIDENT ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY: Neighborhood resident Ernest Leonard recently announced his candidacy for the District 107 Texas House of Representatives seat occupied by Harryette Ehrhardt. Leonard, 31, an attorney with the firm Strasburger and Price, will run as a Republican, Leonard and his wife, Terrie, are members of the Santa Monica Hollywood Heights Homeowners Association.

ST. THOMAS AQUINAS AUCTION: St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 6306 Kenwood, will sponsor a Moonlight and Magnolias auction, dance and dinner Saturday, Feb 17, at the Downtown Harvey Hotel from 6 p.m.-midnight. The church is soliciting donations of goods and services for the auction. For information, call Maureen Patton at 696-3689, Ann Brady at 823-2455 or Jane Ryan at 828-2497. Proceeds benefit St. Thomas Aquinas School.

St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School, 3741 Abrams, also is in the middle of its “Remembering…Believing…Capital Campaign”, its first in 40 years, to physically enhance its facilities. The campaign will raise money to add approximately 20,000 square feet to the school. The cost of the new construction will be $2.7-$3 million. For information, call Mary Burns at 821-8960.

NEIGHBORHOOD AUTHOR ATTENDS BENEFIT BOOK SIGNING: Advocate Community Newspapers contributing editor Jeff Siegel will be one of more than 100 authors signing their books at a Dec. 6 benefit at SMU. The event, “Authors and Autographs 1995”, benefits Dallas Can! Academy and the Press Club of Dallas Scholarship Fund. Among the writers scheduled to participate from 5-8 p.m. in the Umphry Lee Center ballroom are Channel 8 newsman Chip Moody, fitness guru Dr. Kenneth Cooper, and neighborhood resident Jim Schutze. Siegel will autograph copies of his book, “The American Detective: An Illustrated History”. Admission is free. Call 740-9988 for information.

VENDORS SOUGHT FOR FARMERS MARKET: Vendors selling fruit, vegetables and livestock (chickens, ducks and goats) are needed for the new farmers market on Bryan, between Peak and Carroll. Vendors can rent spaces for $5 a day. Tax deductible donations of money, a sound system with outside speakers, lights, a permanent sign identifying the market, and a storage building also are needed. To rent space, call Arnold Garza at 670-5880. Contact John Milligan at 828-9891 or Bob Booker at 324-3382 about donations or volunteering.

TASK FORCE TO HONOR SHERMAN: The Lakewood Chamber of Commerce recently formed a task force seeking ways to honor past president Eloise Sherman, who died this summer. Board Director John Cochran will serve as the task force chairman. Anyone interested in serving on the force should call the Chamber at 827-8921.

BUSINESS AWARD NOMINATIONS SOUGHT: The East Dallas Chamber of Commerce is soliciting its members for nominations of neighborhood businesses for the “East of Town and Best Around” 1995 Small Business Awards. Awards will be presented in the categories of growth, new business and community contribution. Nomination forms are available at the Chamber office, 718 N. Buckner, Suite 332, and at all December chamber functions. The deadline for nominations is Jan. 5. Call 321-6446 for information.

PROMOTING OUR NEIGHBORHOODS: The East Dallas Chamber of Commerce is forming a task force to rectify years of unfair negative publicity that some chamber members believe East Dallas has received and to help provide our neighborhoods with a more positive image. Neighborhood resident Bob Booker is chairing the task force. Donations are being accepted for the effort. Mail check to East Dallas Chamber of Commerce – East Dallas Task Force, 718 N. Buckner, Suite 332, Dallas 75218. For information, call the Chamber at 321-6446.

LIBRARY FRIENDS SERVE CITY: Neighborhood resident Pat Bowman, a member of Lakewood Library Friends, was appointed by City Councilman Mary Poss to serve on the Municipal Library Board. Bowman has served three years as president of the Library Friends. Betty Brown, branch manager of Lakewood Library, has been selected to serve as a resource person for other libraries interested in developing a Friends organization.

LIBRARY OPENS MINI-BOOKSTORE: The Lakewood Library, 6121 Worth, has opened a mini-bookstore. Books, videos, magazines, tapes and records that the library can’t use are on sale for 25 cents and up. The bookstore is a pilot project. Usually, branch libraries send extra materials to the central library branch Downtown to be sold. Now that our library is selling its own materials, the money goes back into its budget. For information, call 670-1376.

NEW TREES TO SPRING UP AT LIBRARY: Watch for new trees at the Lakewood Library, 6121 Worth. Pat Spillman Jr., the son of the architect who designed the library building, is a volunteer with the Parks Foundation, which offers inexpensive trees to people through neighborhood organizations. Spillman is working to plant donated trees to enhance the building his father designed.

NEIGHBORHOOD ARTIST ILLUSTRATES OPERA: Neighborhood resident Barnaby J.F. Fitzgerald is one of six local artists selected to participate in the Dallas Opera Guild’s “Season Through in the Eyes of the Artist” program. Fitzgerald will create and donate a piece of art based on his interpretation of the opera “Elektra,” which is playing during the 1995-96 Dallas Opera season. Fitzgerald has been invited to attend a performance of “Elektra”, as well as rehearsals. His work will be displayed March 13-30 at D Art – the Dallas Visual Art Center – where it will be available for auction. For information about the opera guild or the display, call 443-1043.

CELEBRATING A MEXICAN TRADITION: Through December, the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood, features a Day of the Dead exhibit in its Gateway Gallery. Students from Dallas-area schools have created altars for display, and neighborhood resident Lillia Estrada also has contributed. The Day of the Dead is observed in Mexico Nov. 1-2. This event celebrates the connection between the living and their ancestors and calls people to remember their deceased loved ones. For information about the museum’s display, call 992-1200.

SHEPHERD CENTER RECEIVES GRANT: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently awarded a $25,000 grant to the Greater Lakewood Shepherd Center for participating in the foundation’s Faith in Action Program. With the grant, the Shepherd Center for participating in the foundation’s Faith in Action Program. With the grant, the Shepherd Center is funding Compassionate Champions, the center’s newest program. Compassionate Champions offers training and guidance to volunteers from area churches who visit nursing home residents. Volunteers will be taught support and communications skills for visits with people in nursing homes, especially the newly admitted, socially isolated and dying. The Lakewood Service League and the Catholic Foundation also have made contributions to the program.

SENIOR CITIZENS PROGRAM: The Brady Center, 4009 Elm, offers a senior citizens program weekdays from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. for those 60 and older. Breakfast is served on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and a hot lunch is served each day of the program at noon. The program is funded in part by the Dallas Area Agency on Aging and the United Way. Transportation is available for regular attendees. For information, call 826-8330.

DART LIGHT RAIL UPDATE: The DART light rail starter system is on schedule to be operational in December 1996 with rail lines connecting south Oak Cliff, west Oak Cliff, Downtown and a portion of the North Central Corridor. The North Central line extends from Park to Mockingbird and then descends beneath Central Expressway. Through April, a majority of Yale will be reconstructed from the North Central frontage road to Greenville. Construction of rail stations at Park and Lovers lanes also has begun. There will be stations at Mockingbird, Knox/Henderson and at Cityplace, as well.

NEWCOMERS LUNCHEON: The White Rock Newcomers’ Club will host a luncheon on Tuesday, Dec. 5, featuring a performance by the Richland Contemporary Chorale at the Holiday Inn, LBJ and Jupiter. Hospitality time is from 9:30-10 a.m. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m., followed by bridge and dominoes. Cost is $10. The Newcomers meet the first Tuesday of every month. Call 826-9474 or 495-2397 for reservations.

DECEMBER ROTARY CLUB MEETINGS SET: December meetings for the East Dallas Rotary Club will be held at noon at the Radisson Central Dallas Hotel, 6060 N. Central Expressway, on Dec. 5, 12, 19 and 26. Rotary International members are welcome to attend all meetings. Lunch is $11. Call 398-8312 for information.

NEW ON THE JOB: Neighborhood resident Kamal M. Ariss has joined Precept Builders Inc. as the company’s project manager in the Tenant Interior Construction Division. Ariss has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in building construction and land development from Texas A&M University. Dallas-based Precept specializes in general construction, project management services throughout the United States, Mexico, South America, Australia and Puerto Rico.

NEW BUSINESS OPENS: The Brake Shop Inc., a national franchise of automotive brake system repair shops, opened a new location recently at 3031 N. Fitzhugh, one block west of Central. The Dallas Brake Shop is owned and operated by Warren Sumner, who recently was named area developer of The Brake Shop for the South Central region of the United States.

NEIGHBORHOOD BUSINESS GROWS: Eyecon Video Productions, owned by neighborhood resident Greg Coon, is growing. The company recently expanded its office at Greenville near Lovers Lane and purchased an on-line, non-linear, digital edit system and Betacam SP camera gear. The equipment allows for easier and more flexible video editing. With the new equipment Eyecon has produced television commercials, a promotional video for a Dallas electronics firm and a news magazine for Caltex Petroleum Corp., an international oil company. Eyecon opened in 1993. For information, call 368-3932.