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Karina Ramírez: Bank earns recognition for helping fund legal aid

Northstar Bank of Texas is one of 13 banks recognized this month for investing in funding of civil legal services.

The Texas Access to Justice Foundation recognized North­star Bank as part of the Texas Interest on Lawyers’ Trust accounts program during Prime Partner Bank Month in November, according to a press release. For its contribution, the bank received the Prime Partners in Justice Award.

In 1984, the Supreme Court of Texas established a mechanism for funding legal aid for low-income Texans by collecting interest on client trust accounts, the foundation said. As a Prime Partner bank, Northstar Bank voluntarily pays higher rates on IOLTA accounts that help provide legal services to the poor.

To date, the program has generated about $12 million per year without taxing the public and at no cost to lawyers or their clients. Northstar has participated in the program since its inception in 2007.

In addition to its Prime Partners in Justice Award, the foundation also launched its “I Bank on Justice” campaign highlighting lawyers, firms and bar associations that use a Prime Partner bank.

The Texas Access to Justice Foundation is the primary state-based funding source for the provision of civil legal aid in the state, serving as many as 100,000 Texans per year.

For more information, visit

A new AT&T store opened at the Rayzor Ranch Marketplace last week.

The Denton Chamber of Commerce will have a ribbon-cutting at 4 p.m. Friday at the 3,510-square-foot store, and the store’s grand-opening celebration will be from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Store hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 940-566-4676.

In October, Denton County auto dealerships sold 960 cars and 1,093 trucks, for a total of 2,053 vehicles, according to the Freeman Auto Report. So far this year, county dealerships have sold a total of 21,596 vehicles.

The Freeman Auto Report tracks new and used vehicle registrations statewide.

Liberty Tax is accepting enrollment for its tax-preparation classes at locations nationwide.

The four-week program allows students to learn personal tax-savings advantages and strategies as well as skills that could lead to future employment, according to a press release.

Interested students need to obtain a Preparer Tax Iden­ti­fication Number before the Internal Revenue Service competency exam. Students will have until the end of 2013 to pass the competency test, the release stated.

Liberty Tax Service has been providing tax preparation services since 2007.

Liberty Tax has two locations in Denton, at 216 W. University Drive and 732 Fort Worth Drive.

For more information, visit or call 1-800-658-1042



Clark Rassi of Aubrey was recently recognized at the 2012 FedEx Open American Quarter Horse Association World Championships on Nov. 16 in Oklahoma City.

Rassi bred Top Secret, a 2001 sorrel stallion, which received the third-place Get-of-Sire title. The third-place finalist received a bronze trophy and a $1,500 check, a press release said.

Rassi’s stallion was one of 14 stallion entries accepted to compete in the championship.

Earlier this month, Best Western Premier Crown Chase Inn & Suites was recognized with the M.K. Guertin Award and the Champion Customer Care Award during Best Western International’s annual convention in Las Vegas.

The Guertin Award is given to member properties that represent the vision of the Best Western’s founder with exceptional levels of service, quality, value and commitment to the brand, according to the company. The Denton hotel, which earned the award for its second year, was among 25 hotels nationally to receive the recognition.

The 74-guestroom hotel is located at 2450 Brinker Road off Interstate 35E. For more information, visit

Shady Shores resident Mary McDowell, president and CEO of OneMain/CitiFinancial, was honored last month with the American Financial Services Association’s Distinguished Service Award.

McDowell was one of two executives who received the award at the association’s 96th annual meeting in Chicago.

The award is given to individuals who have contributed significantly to the industry and helped the association advance its mission and objective nationally, according to a news release.

McDowell served as chairwoman of the association in 2010-11. She oversaw a task force to help the industry anticipate, respond to and prepare for regulatory changes under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Pro­tec­tion Act. McDowell currently serves on the association’s investment policy committee and education foundation board.

McDowell joined Citi in 1991. She served as chief financial officer for businesses in­cluding CitiFinancial, Citi­Finan­cial Mortgage Co., Citi­corp Trust Bank and the insurance business now known as Citi Assurance. She served in other positions at CitiFinancial and then became CEO of OneMain Financial in 2011, according to a news release.

The American Financial Ser­vices Association is a national trade association for the consumer credit industry, with 350 members including consumer and commercial finance companies, auto finance/leasing companies and others.

For more information, visit or


Coming up

The Lake Cities Chamber of Commerce will host its coffee meeting at 7:15 a.m. Wednes­day at the Church of Corinth, 3201A Tower Ridge Road.

For more information, e-mail Executive Director Mel­is­sa Cox at

Robert J. Grey Jr., of Hunton & Williams LLP and the executive director of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, will be the opening address speaker and CNN guest correspondent Roland S. Martin will provide the lunch address at the Dallas Bar Association’s Diversity Summit. The event will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday in the Pavilion at the Belo Mansion, 101 Ross Ave. in Dallas.

For more information and registration, visit

Libby Spears will give a talk titled “What’s Your Plan BE?” at the next Women Business Owners of Denton County luncheon, at 11 a.m. Dec. 4 at Oakmont Country Club, 1901 Oakmont Drive in Corinth.

The luncheon will start at noon, with the program following at 12:30 p.m. Cost is $20 for members and $25 for guests and non-members.

Reservations are required. To reserve a spot, visit For more information, call 940-384-9407.

KARINA RAMíREZ can be reached at 940-566-6878. Her e-mail address is