Episode 001 – 1/2/20

From the halls of Podcast Mansfield Recording Studio, welcome to the inaugural episode of About Mansfield and Happy New Year to you. I’m Steve Cosio coming to you a day late because of New Year’s Day, but I’m glad that you’re here. Coming up on the show today: news, weather and sports, I will talk in-studio with former News-Mirror newspaper reporter Nicholas Sakelaris, the Mansfield events calendar and we will conclude today with your chance to win a $25 gift card to Steven’s Garden and Grill with the trivia question of the week.

Let’s take a look at the headlines that we’re covering today:
• The race for a new mayor in Mansfield has begun
• Mansfield ISD has a new superintendent
• Some new laws went into effect in Texas on January 1, we will take a look at some of the new ones that may affect you; and
• What are the best and worst Christmas songs of all time? We will give you the good, the bad and the ugly.

Your weekly weather forecast and local sports are just ahead. The news starts in 30 seconds. This is about Mansfield.

Welcome back to About Mansfield. With Mayor David Cook seeking a seat in the Texas State [edited] House, the race to fill his mayoral seat has begun. The Reverend Dr. Michael Evans of Bethlehem Baptist Church was the first to announce their candidacy. It is unknown at this time whether there will be a special election or wait until the Primary Election in May. Details on when the election, as well as the deadline to file for candidacy, will be determined at the January 13 City Council meeting.

The Mansfield ISD School Board unanimously voted in December to approve Dr. Kimberly Cantu as the district’s next Superintendent filling the seat of retired Superintendent Dr. Jim Vaszauskas. Dr. Cantu was named the lone finalist in November 2019. According to state law, the school board had to wait 21 days before offering her a contract. The MISD Board of Trustees approved her hiring and contract at the December 17 school board meeting, making Dr. Cantu the second female superintendent in the district’s history. Dr. Cantu most recently served as the district’s deputy superintendent and has worked in public education for 27 years.

A number of state laws were passed on a wide range of topics. With the new year we face new requirements around sexual harassment, property taxes, bingo and many more.

Senate Bill 212 requires employees of public, private or independent higher education institutions to report allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence or stalking against a student or employee to the institution’s Title IX coordinator. The law will also make it a Class B misdemeanor when an employee who is required to make the report fails to do so.

House Bill 492 will allow a temporary property tax exemption for a portion of the appraised value of certain property that was damaged by a governor-declared disaster area. The tax exemption is effective if a local governing body chooses to adopt it within 60 days of the governor’s disaster declaration.

House Bill 4390 amends the Business and Commerce Code by setting a deadline for when a person who conducts business in Texas or who owns or licenses computerized data with sensitive personal information has to notify individuals of a security breach. The person conducting business will have up to 60 days after the breach to report it.

House Bill 914 amends the Bingo Enabling Act by eliminating the five percent prize fee for non-cash prizes that are valued at more than $5. The bill will also require licensed authorized organizations that conduct bingo to collect the five percent fee on cash prizes and pay 50 percent of the fees collected to the Texas Commission Lottery on a quarterly basis. Counties and cities can opt in to receive prize fees as well.

And finally, Senate Bill 1264 is designed to help end surprise medical bills. Portions of the bill are already in effect, but the rest kicked in on January 1. It will require that a “health maintenance organization pay for emergency care performed by non-network physicians or providers in an amount that the organization determines is reasonable for the emergency care.” The bill also mandates that the non-network physician or provider CANNOT bill the patient and that the patient has no financial responsibility for an amount greater than the patient’s responsibility under his or her health care plan. That includes an applicable copayment, coinsurance or deductible.

In this week’s unscientific poll recently conducted by Podcast Mansfield Recording Studio participants weighed-in on their favorite and their least favorite Christmas songs of all time. The worst being Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, a novelty song recorded by Elmo and Patsy, written by Randy Brooks in 1979. And the best Christmas song of all time? O Holy Night. The music was composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem “Minuit, Chrétiens” written by wine merchant and poet Placide Cappeau. Eight years later, in 1855, minister John Sullivan Dwight translated the song into the English lyrics that we sing today. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer and O Holy Night, the worst and the favorite Christmas songs of all time.

This week is the National Day of…
Thursday, January 2: The National Day of Run Up The Flag and See If Anyone Salutes Day
Friday January 3: National Day of Humiliation
Saturday, the fourth: National Spaghetti Day
Sunday January 5: The National Day of the Bird
Monday January 6: Cuddle Up Day. And,
Tuesday, January 7: The National Day of Old Rock. so turn on your stereo and crank up some Beatles or Rolling Stones.

Turning to weather let’s check the seven day forecast. Alexa, what is the seven day forecast for Mansfield, Texas?

ALEXA: Next seven days.
Tuesday: 57 degrees Fahrenheit and lots of sun
Wednesday: 54 degrees and lots of clouds
Thursday: 67 degrees and cloudy skies
Friday: 58 degrees and partly sunny weather
Saturday: 56 degrees and mostly sunny weather
Sunday: 66 degrees and lots of sun
Monday: 63 degrees and lots of clouds

Let’s take a look at local sports, the sports calendar.

On Thursday December 2
In men’s soccer: Lake Ridge plays in a three-day tournament at Mustang Panther Stadium in Grapevine; Legacy High School will take on their three-day tournament at Timberview High School. In women’s soccer: both Legacy and Lake Ridge will play the three-day tournament at Highland Park High School.
On Friday, December 3
In swimming and diving: both Lake Ridge and Mansfield high schools compete at Pete Ragus Center and Lubbock; men’s basketball: Friday, December 3 Lake Ridge plays at home versus South Grand Prairie, Summit plays at Mansfield High School, Legacy takes on Burleson at home. In women’s basketball: Legacy also takes on Burleson at home, Lake Ridge plays at home versus South Grand Prairie, Summit takes on Mansfield High School at Mansfield, and both boys and girls district basketball games take place at the Mansfield High gym.
On Saturday, December 4
In swimming and diving: Mansfield again competes in Lubbock
Moving ahead to Tuesday, December 7
In men’s soccer: Legacy plays at Arlington High School
In men’s basketball: Lake Ridge plays at DeSoto, Summit is at home vs Grand Prairie, Legacy at Seguin High School. In women’s basketball: Mansfield plays at South Grand Prairie High School, Summit is at home versus Grand Prairie, Legacy plays at Seguin High School. Check the Mansfield ISD website for start times.

That’s a look at news, weather and sports. I’d like to take a second to thank former newspaper reporter in Nicholas Sakelaris for interviewing me back in September regarding my recording studio and this podcast, About Mansfield, resulting in an article published in the Fort Worth Star Telegram and in the Mansfield News-Mirror back in December. After he interviewed me for the newspaper, I interviewed him for this podcast. When we return, I will talk one-on-one with Nicholas Sakelaris. We’re back in 30 seconds. You’re listening to about Mansfield.

ABOUT MANSFIELD: Welcome back to another segment of About Mansfield. I’m Steve Cosio, broadcasting from the studios of Podcast Mansfield in Mansfield, Texas and in the studio today we have a journalist who has worked with the Mansfield News-Mirror for many, many years. We’re going to talk with him about the journalism industry and where he’s headed because he’s going someplace new, so stick around for that. We welcome Nicholas Sakelaris to the studio. Nicholas, thanks for being here today.

NICHOLAS SAKELARIS: Thanks for having me. This is a really great.

AM: You’ve been with the Mansfield News-Mirror for a while. Explain what you do for them and how long you’ve been with them.

NS: Well, my first job out of college back in 2004, I worked with Bridget Cummings. She was the editor, she hired me and I worked there doing pretty much everything. I wore every hat back then in 2004 to 2007. Covering sports, news, city council, school board, all the growth of the district, all the growth in the city, all of the controversies and Big League Dreams back then, I covered all that. And that was my real introduction into being a journalist every day, pretty much lived and breathed Mansfield news, sports and everything back then. So I did that until 2007.

AM: And you mentioned you started in 2004. What schooling did you go through to prepare you to be a journalist?

NS: I went to the University of Oklahoma. I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma area and so I went to the University of Oklahoma and studied Journalism there.

AM: You’re a Sooner.

NS: Yes, yeah. Yeah. I studied there. And I worked at the student paper there at the University of Oklahoma. It was an amazing experience just to get to cover the news at the university. I felt like you were really big time when you saw your name on the front page of the paper. There was really cool.

AM: The byline

NS: Yeah, yeah.

AM: You work there from 2004 to 2007 at the News-Mirror covering all of, and I remember the Big League Dreams was a huge, huge controversy and you covered that. I do recall seeing you many times sitting there in the back desk at the city council meetings. What stands out as, over the years that you’ve been covering Mansfield, the one mind blowing story that you’ll never forget?

NS: Well, the thing that sticks in my mind the most from that time period when I was first starting was when they were first identifying the location for Big League Dreams it was originally planned at 287 and Broad, right there where the Field House is now and where the Shops at Broad is being built. The big controversy at the time was, they were going to use some eminent domain against the resident there because they needed more land to be able to build the facility. I was the one that broke that story way back, it was 2004. The lady happened to be a widow that owned that land.

AM: That’s right!

NS: And that was a huge deal. I mean, you know, the story was, was really, it really took off after that and, you know, the city faced a lot of criticism for the decision and it was a huge controversy at the time. And it wasn’t too long after that, that they identified the new location at 360 and Heritage down the southeast part of the city. So the year after that we entered that story in a contest for community journalism and I won Journalist of the Year for that story.

AM: Wow.

NS: Yeah. So that was a huge boost early in my career.

AM: And then, wasn’t there at one point, at that same location there at the Shops at Broad or prior to the Shops at Broad, that the Center for the Performing Arts was also looking at that spot? Weren’t they?

NS: Yeah, I believe so. Projects like that really need a public component. If you look at the success that Southlake has had, because I’ve covered Southlake as well, they had their city hall there. And that’s been a big success. A big part of that. And I think they wanted to mimic that success by having a public facility whether it’s the ISD or the city, there was a possibility of that happening. The problem with that was the Shops at Broad, or whatever iteration that was, didn’t happen because of the recession at the time.

AM: In 2007, then when you left the News-Mirror you became a freelancer or where’d you go from after that?

NS: After that I actually started working for the Star Telegram, but I got a raise and I was able to go work doing the same type of work in Southlake/Colleyville/Grapevine. So, I started reporting in Southlake/Colleyville/Grapevine on the success that they’re having up there. Just pretty much doing the same type of news I did here. Yeah, I was responsible for, I was usually running around between the three. I mean, if I covered Southlake I was more doing Southlake, but if you’re doing Grapevine, you’re kind of also doing Colleyville because they share the school district. So I was covering those communities. And I did that until 2013. And then I started working at the Dallas Business Journal covering oil and gas and aviation and stuff like that. It was a big thrill to get to do that.

AM: So, as a journalist of now, 15 years What advice do you have to give to future journalists? Or journalist [sic] students?

NS: The industry is very difficult right now. You know, you just look at the newspaper industry in general. Look at newspapers, look at you know, it’s a very tough industry right now for kids or young people to get into but it is very rewarding. I think. You look at the way teachers describe the satisfaction they get from being a teacher. It’s not from, not from their paychecks. Right? So this is the feeling I got when I, when people would talk to me about how, “Wow, I didn’t know about this or your story just boosted our business and we’re doing awesome. And you know, you really helped get the word out about this controversy. You gave me a voice,” things like that. You have to live for that you’re not going to make chances are you’re not going to make a lot of money. But if you can get people to open up and you like telling stories, it’s an awesome, it can be an awesome career. If you can get in it.

AM: It’s no secret that newspapers are getting smaller. And so what is the future of journalism?

NS: My hope is that community journalism can continue. But it doesn’t appear like that’s going to be the case. It appears to me, the way things have gone. Things have become democratized, I think, to the point where everybody carries around s cell phone with a camera and can record anything can go live on their Facebook or Twitter at any time and, be, “journalists.” But that doesn’t mean that they’re, they’re going to tell both sides. And so I think it’s still important. I don’t know what the future holds. It could be, you know, just like with the About Mansfield podcast taking the place of newspaper, it could be that that, that is the future. If you can find a way to monetize it because newspapers, it’s a real struggle now to monetize make money off of ads on the Internet and on in print actually in print on the in the paper and classifieds are gone with Craigslist and so I think if you can find a way to monetize podcasts and give people something that they can listen to you on the go, which is what this is, I think that’s a good opportunity.

AM: Now this podcast episode has been recorded back in November of 2019. And you are, you’re starting a new journey, career wise.

NS: I’m going to be the communication specialist at CoServ, which is an electric co-op that covers some based up there in Corinth, which is south of Denton right. And I will be the communication specialist there writing about the electric industry internally and then writing about the all the good things that CoServ does in the community, also externally so kind of doing a mixture of external and internal communications as it relates electric industry, which I’ve covered extensively when I was energy reporter. And I think that, you know, that this is a great opportunity for me to have a job with benefits and being part of a team that’s working at home like I do now.

AM: And still be able to utilize your general journalism background.

NS: Yes and I’m, very excited about that. You know, when I read the job description for the job, I realized just how similar it is to what I’m doing now. It’s not really that different and, you know, I’ve wanted to stay in journalism because of like I said, the idealistic aspects of telling people stories and getting satisfaction out of that, but I think this is a good opportunity for me to continue doing that. But more benefits and stuff.

AM: Nicholas Sakelaris is our guest on About Mansfield, he’s starting a new job. Keep fighting the good fight. Appreciate you being on the show today.

NS: Thank you, Steve. I appreciate it.

AM: We’ll be right back.

Welcome back to About Mansfield. I’m Steve Cosio and it is time for the Mansfield events calendar.

Thursday January 2
All Dolled Up Camp (4-9 Years) @ Kid Create Studio
Miranda Lambert Tribute (Gunpowder and Lead) @ Fat Daddy’s
Brad Thompson @ Market Street
Brad Russell [edited] @ Dirty Job Brewing

Friday January 3
Winners Networking Circle @ Market Street
Metal Shop performs @ Fat Daddy’s
Friday Night Magic @ Oblivion Games

Saturday January 4

Resolution Restart 5K & Fun Run hosted by RunUnited
Double Vision w/ The Blackbird Mafia perform @ Fat Daddy’s
Saturday Pokemon @ Oblivion Games
Shred Only Day @ Environmental Collection Center (ECC)

Sunday January 5
Free Roll Monthly World Poker Tournament @ Fat Daddy’s
Standard Showdown @ Oblivion Games

Monday January 6
Art-tastic Camp (5-12 Years) @ Kid Create Studio
Monday Commander Pods @ Oblivion Games
Basic Computer Class @ Library Community Room
Planning and Zoning Commission meeting @ City Hall Council Chamber
Support Now Network Meeting @ Mansfield Activities Center

Tuesday January 7
Open Studio Time (18 Months-9 Years) @ Kid Create Studio
After School Pokemon @ Oblivion Games
Spanish for Beginners (18+) @ Library Community Room
English Conversation Circle @ Library Meeting Room
Story Time for Tots (18mo-3Y) @ Library Community Room

If you have an event coming up that you would like us to include on our calendar, please submit it by email at events@aboutmansfield.com. Again, that is events@aboutmansfield.com.

We appreciate and welcome all feedback about this program. Whether it’s a specific news story or feature that you heard or the show in itself, feel free to chime-in by email at comments@aboutmansfield.com or by voicemail at 817-435-2938 again by email, comments@aboutmansfield.com or by voicemail 817-435-9238. We will read or playback some of the comments in the weeks ahead.

Coming up next: the trivia question of the week for a $25 gift card to Steven’s Garden and Grill. We’re back in 30 seconds. You’re listening to About Mansfield. I’m Steve Cosio.

Welcome back to About Mansfield. It is time for the trivia question of the week. The first person to email the correct answer to trivia@aboutmansfield.com will receive a $25 gift card to Steven’s Garden and Grill located at 223 Depot Street in historic Downtown Mansfield. You can find them on the Internet at www.stevensgardenandgrill.com.


Email your answer to trivia@aboutmansfield.com and again, the first person to correctly answer the trivia question receives a $25 gift card to Steven’s Garden and Grill and thanks for the folks at Steven’s for the gift card.

Coming up next week on About Mansfield: We will talk with a local rock star. The show will be released on Wednesday, January 8. Until then Happy New Year! Thanks for listening. I’m Steve Cosio and this is About Mansfield.