Fires affected two area apartment communities in the last couple of days. I was heading out of town Thursday night when the sirens of emergency vehicles began erupting in response to this one: a three-alarm inferno at Walnut-Audelia that destroyed 20 units. No one was seriously injured.

Another fire at Park Lane and Ridgecrest reportedly was caused by improper extinguishing of so-called “smoking materials”.

Neighborhood bird photographer George Boyd was featured in the Morning News this week: This photo by Danny Fulgencio

Neighborhood bird photographer George Boyd was featured in the Morning News this week: This photo of him by Advocate photographer Danny Fulgencio

The Morning News ran a story about White Rock area resident George Boyd, an 86-year old bird and photography enthusiast who we featured in the December Advocate.

Communities Foundation of Texas announced Tuesday that it distributed $76 million in charitable grants during 2013 and the Dallas Business Journal reports that “$100,000 was granted to LifeNet Community Behavioral Healthcare to buy a building to serve the mentally ill population by providing psychiatric evaluations, clinical treatment, case management and life skills training.” LifeNet is based in the Lake Highlands area. The Advocate published a story about the foundation last year.

And finally, for us Scrooges out there, a post in the Care2 newsletter that makes a good case for opting out of gift giving. It also includes some rules, rounded up from a piece in Psychology Today, about ways to improve your gift-giving prowess.