Friday, April 08, 2011

Electric Vehicles: Now you can get a big Charge in your neighborhood

First of 70 eVgosm Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Dallas Ready to Charge

The nation’s first privately funded, comprehensive EV charging network now includes Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Interstate 45 connection with Houston is slated for 2012

NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NRG) is bringing range confidence to electric vehicle (EV) owners in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex by commencing operations at the first privately funded, eVgosm (ee-vee-go) Freedom Station in Texas, including the first high-speed direct current (DC) charger in Texas that is among the first in the nation.

NRG plans to install a total of 70 Freedom Stations in Dallas/Fort Worth and 50 in Houston by the end of 2012, with half in place by this summer.

NRG also plans to electrify the Interstate 45 corridor connecting them in 2012.
The first eVgo Freedom Station is located at the Walgreens at 5201 Belt Line Road at Montfort Drive in Dallas.
Each Freedom StationSM provides a 480 volt DC fast charger that can add 30 miles of range in as little as 10 minutes and a 240 volt Level 2 charger that can add up to 25 miles of range in an hour.

Freedom Stations are available 24/7 and include a customer service tower with a mounted camera, giving customers access to an eVgo service representative or to activate a strobe light, sirenand alert law enforcement, even from inside their vehicles. The eVgo network will also include Convenience StationsSM that offer a 240 volt Level 2 charger and are available during the retail host’s business hours.

“Inaugurating the first Freedom Station in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is a critical first step toward making electric vehicles the smart and convenient choice for Texans who want to reduce their cost of driving while contributing to cleaner air and America’s energy independence,” said David Crane, NRG President and CEO. “We’re taking a page from Southwest Airlines when they started
out 40 years ago to link the major population centers in Texas. This first station is the start of an ecosystem that will eventually give Texas EV owners the freedom to drive with range confidence throughout the region.”

“Thanks to the innovative spirit and hard work of folks at NRG and their eVgo partners, we’re closer to a day when electric cars will be a prominent feature on our roadways,” Governor Rick Perry said. “I’m proud of our efforts in Texas to foster an environment that frees the private sector to solve problems and meet challenges. Because we steer clear of crippling mandates and work to keep our
regulatory structures fair and predictable, Texas has created a favorable business climate that allows companies like NRG to provide the cutting-edge technology and products that will keep our state moving forward.”

EVs, powered by electricity generated from domestic fuels, including zero-emission wind and nuclear power in Texas, have the potential over time to reduce dramatically the ongoing transfer of American wealth to oil-producing nations. Transportation accounts for more than a quarter of America’s
greenhouse gas emissions and in most Texas cities, it is the largest single source of nitrogen oxides emissions.

“The North Central Texas Council of Governments is delighted that the first eVgo electric vehicle charging station is now operational in the Dallas/Fort Worth region with many more to come in the near future,” NCTCOG Executive Director Mike Eastland said. “In an area of 6.5 million people, air quality is always a primary concern. NRG’s eVgo network is a welcome complement to NCTCOG’s Electric Vehicles North Texas program, and we truly appreciate our public- and private-sector
partners that have been and continue to be instrumental in preparing the region for electric vehicles.

NRG will provide EV owners in eVgo cities with extremely convenient and affordable unlimited miles “home-and-away” charging plans with no upfront cost and a flat monthly fee. NRG will install and maintain the region’s charging infrastructure of home chargers and public fast charging stations conveniently located along major freeways and in key shopping and business districts.

“Electric vehicle ownership should be fun, affordable and convenient, with drivers having complete confidence that a fast charger is never more than a few miles away,” said Arun Banskota, President of NRG’s EV Services division.

NRG is working with the North Texas electricity transmission and distribution company Oncor on zone planning and site selection for the eVgo charging stations in the Metroplex to ensure accessibility and reliability.

“From our installation of more than a million and a half advanced meters to help customers better manage their electricity usage, to the construction of 850 miles of new transmission lines delivering renewable power, Oncor is a leader in making Texas the best place in America to drive plug-in vehicles,” said Jim Greer, Oncor’s Senior Vice President of Asset Management and Engineering. “By 2012, our investments will enable more than three million homes and businesses in Oncor’s service area to use electric vehicle charging technology, such as the NRG eVgo network, when renewable energy availability is highest and the cost of electricity is lowest, supported by the capabilities of Oncor’s advanced meters.”

eVgo Partners
The following companies are working with NRG to make the eVgo network a success:
• Auto Sales and Rental: Gulf States Toyota, Hertz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan North America, smart USA, VIA
• Charging Station Host: Best Buy Co., Inc., Crescent Real Estate, Gallery Furniture,
H-E-B/Central Market, Memorial City Mall, Park 'N Fly, Spec’s Family Partners, Walgreens
• Charging Technologies, Network Services and Smart Energy: AeroVironment, GE, Siemens
• Retail Electric Providers: Green Mountain Energy Company, Reliant Energy, TXU Energy
• Ready for EV (REV) Host: Huffines Communities

For more about eVgo partners, visit

Madelyn Miller is travel and automotive writer who has been able to drive the Volt and a Prius electric prototype.

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Monday, April 04, 2011

The last picture my camera ever took

Spent a long weekend in Cabo at the Starwood properties. While at the gorgeous The Westin Resort & Spa, Los Cabos I took zillions of pictures from different angles or the pools, flowers, beach and architecture. The first night when I saw the hotel lit up, I had to get a picture. I took this picture and realized I wanted to get closer.

I took a step forward without looking down.

If I had, I would have seen the reflection pool.

So I stepped right into the pool.

The staff fished me out quickly and wrapped me and my stuff in towels. The camera died. Any suggestions for what to do with a wet camera? The battery still charges.


Edited by Madelyn Miller

APRIL 5-17, 2011

Years before “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance” turned ballroom dancing into must-see TV, one sizzling show was setting stages ablaze around the globe. BURN THE FLOOR, the electrifying Latin and Ballroom dance spectacular that has thrilled audiences in more than 30 countries, brings the fire and passion of their live performance to the Music Hall at Fair Park stage in Dallas for two weeks only, Tuesday, April 5 through Sunday, April 17, 2011


BURN THE FLOOR is coming to North Texas, direct from Broadway. Brought by Dallas Summer Musicals, Inc. (DSM), presented by Comerica Bank, the tour features “So You Think You Can Dance” alums Anya Garnis, Pasha Kovalev, Robbie Kmetoni, Janette Manrara and Karen Hauer. All five have been seen on TV’s “So You Think You Can Dance,” in the US (Anya & Pasha, Top 10 Finalists and Season 7 All Stars; Janette Manrara and Karen Hauer, Top 10 Finalists) and Australia (Robbie Kmetoni, 2010 Winner). Also featured is Vonzell Solomon as the show’s female vocalist. Vonzell was the second runner-up in the 4th season of “American Idol.”
Tickets are on sale now at The Box Office, 542 Preston Royal Shopping Center, or any Ticketmaster outlet. Tickets, priced from $15-$75, are also available by calling 1-800-982-ARTS, or online at For groups of 15 or more, call 214-426-GROUP.

With BURN THE FLOOR, you will feel, live on stage, all the passion, drama and sizzling excitement of 20 gorgeous champion dancers in a true theatrical experience, a performance with a grace and athleticism that The New York Times calls "Dazzling!" The Times (London) calls it “the summer’s hottest ticket”!

From Harlem's hot nights at The Savoy, where dances such as the Lindy, Foxtrot and Charleston were born, to the Latin Quarter where the Cha-Cha, Rumba and Salsa steamed up the stage, BURN THE FLOOR takes audiences on a journey through the passionate drama of dance.
The elegance of the Viennese Waltz, the exuberance of the Jive, the intensity of the Paso Doble - audiences will experience them all, as well as the Tango, Samba, Mambo, Quickstep and Swing.
BURN THE FLOOR is directed and choreographed by Jason Gilkison.

Featured Dancers:

ANYA GARNIS (Dancer). Original Burn the Floor Broadway & West End cast member. On the TV show “SYTYCD,” Anya was handed a first-class ticket on the “Hot Tamale Train,” and her career has been sizzling ever since. Guest dancer on “Dancing with the Stars,” “Superstars of Dance” and the Academy Awards. Born in Latvia, she has been a ballroom superstar for the last ten years. “SYTYCD” season 7 as an All-Star professional this summer.

PASHA KOVALEV (Dancer). Original Burn the Floor Broadway & West End cast member. Born in Siberia, Russia, Pasha started dancing at age 8. Following a successful career in ballroom competition, he has appeared on many TV shows including “So You Think You Can Dance”, “Dancing with the Stars”, and “Superstars of Dance”. “SYTYCD” season 7 as an All-Star professional this summer.

ROBBIE KMETONI (Dancer). Original Burn the Floor West End cast member. Robbie won season 3 of “So You Think You Can Dance” (Australia) at only 19. Specializing in Contemporary, Robbie is a versatile dancer having studied a wide variety of different styles, including Ballet, Jazz and Hip Hop with Brent Street, Sydney Dance Company and Alvin Ailey. He has made numerous television appearances and performed at dance festivals across Australia and in the U.S. Robbie is thrilled to be making his professional touring debut with Jason Gilkison and Burn the Floor on the West End and U.S. tour.

JANETTE MANRARA (Dancer). Original Burn the Floor West End cast member. Janette began musical theatre at age 12 and formal dance training at 19, studying Ballroom, Ballet, Pointe, Jazz and Hip Hop & Salsa. Janette was a finalist from season 5 “So You Think You Can Dance” and toured with finalists. Appeared on the “82nd Annual Academy Awards” and danced with Jennifer Lopez on the “SYTYCD” finale. She is a principal dancer on Fox’s “Glee” and Glee Live Tour.

KAREN HAUER (Dancer). Original Burn the Floor Broadway & West End cast member. Born in Venezuela, Karen began to dance shortly after arriving in NYC at 8 years old. She attended LaGuardia HS of the Performing Arts. 2008 World Mambo Champion. “SYTYCD” (U.S.) top 12.

Featured Vocalist:

VONZELL SOLOMON (Vocalist), better known as "Baby V," is an international singer, songwriter, producer, recording artist, model and actress. She was the second runner-up in the 4th season of the FOX Television series “American Idol.” Following her amazing performances on “Idol,” she launched her own record label, Melodic Records. Vonzell is presently putting the finishing touches on her highly anticipated sophomore CD release. She is thrilled to be making her US Tour debut with this fabulous show, Burn the Floor! /
For more information about the show, visit

The following shows are also part of the DSM 2011 season at the Music Hall at Fair Park. Pick A Packs that include any three DSM shows are still available, starting as low as $36. For more information, please visit

9 TO 5: THE MUSICAL, May 18-29, 2011. This musical is the most fun you will have all season, with its hilarious story of friendship and revenge in the Rolodex era. The new musical comedy, direct from Broadway, is based on the hit movie and features Dolly Parton’s original hit title song along with her new Tony® Award and Grammy® nominated score.

STOMP, June 7-12, 2011. This one-week special returns to the Music Hall at Fair Park with new surprises! Explosive, provocative, sophisticated, sexy, and utterly unique, STOMP appeals to audiences of all ages.

MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT, June 14-26, 2011. The second coming of Broadway’s #1 Musical Comedy Smash, called “A No-Holds-Barred Smash Hit” by The New Yorker. The funniest show on earth is back to taunt Dallas for a second time. Winner of the 2005 Tony® Award for Best Musical, SPAMALOT, the musical comedy sensation lovingly ripped off from the film classic “Monty Python and The Holy Grail,” now returns to spread laughter and cheer throughout the kingdom.

GUYS AND DOLLS, July 19-31, 2011. Big League Productions is proud to announce a sparkling new production of the timeless Broadway classic, GUYS AND DOLLS. Set in Damon Runyon’s mythical New York City, this oddball romantic comedy—considered by many to be the perfect musical comedy—soars with the spirit of Broadway as it introduces us to the cast of vivid characters who have become legends in the canon. The New York Times calls it “The show that defines Broadway dazzle!”

WEST SIDE STORY, October 4-23, 2011, is also the 2011 State Fair of Texas musical. More than fifty years ago one musical changed theater forever. Now it's back, and mesmerizing audiences once again. From the first note to the final breath, West Side Story soars as the greatest love story of all time. Directed by David Saint, using Tony Award-winning librettist Arthur Laurents’ Broadway direction, West Side Story remains as powerful, poignant and timely as ever. The new Broadway cast album of West Side Story recently won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album. The Bernstein and Sondheim score is considered to be one of Broadway's finest and features such classics of the American musical theatre as "Something's Coming," "Tonight," "America," "I Feel Pretty" and "Somewhere."

“So exciting IT MAKES YOU ACHE WITH PLEASURE” –John Lahr, The New Yorker

Season sponsors for Dallas Summer Musicals, presented by Comerica Bank, are The Dallas Morning News, WFAA TV Channel 8, American Airlines, and Texas Instruments. For more information about Dallas Summer Musicals, presented by Comerica Bank, visit their website at or call (214) 421-5678.

Madelyn Miller has loved dance since she took ballet lessons at age 5. Now she prefers watching to dancing.
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