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  • VNA Bereavement Luncheon on July 8 in McKinney

    The next free VNA Bereavement Luncheon for residents grieving the death of a loved one will be at noon on Wednesday, July 8 at Stonebridge United Methodist Church, 1800 S. Stonebridge Drive in McKinney. VNA Bereavement Luncheons provide an opportunity for bereaved individuals to enjoy a lunch, pick up helpful grief literature and hear a practical program about the grief process.This month’s VNA Bereavement Luncheon speaker will be Lorna Bell, grief recovery specialist, who will present “Lessons Learned from the Dying.”The catered lunch will be provided at no charge and underwritten by Dignity Memorial Providers of North Texas. Bring a friend; there is no cost to attend.Reservations are required by July 6. Contact VNA Bereavement Coordinator Susan Bryan at 972-562-0140 or bryans@vnatexas.org to RSVP.

  • McKinney ISD considers new stadium as community reacts to site choice, potential scope

    A sign denoting property as its future site and a circulating post from a resident’s blog have the community wondering: Has McKinney ISD already made up its mind – and budget – on a new athletic stadium?The site, on the southeast corner of Hardin Boulevard and McKinney Ranch Parkway, is certainly decided. On it sits a sign that reads “Future site of McKinney ISD Stadium” above the district’s official logo.Curtis Rath, who in May ran against and lost to McKinney ISD school board incumbent Stephanie O’Dell for the Place 6 seat,  this week wrote on his online blog, at rathpack.me, that the district has approved a $60 million, 12,000-seat stadium for the property.His blog shows documents from the district for the “multi purpose stadium,” featuring “cost opinion and alternative development options” and dated Oct. 17, 2014. Two different options – north side and south side sites – each provides estimates for a 12,000-seat stadium to open in 2017. The south side structure is projected to cost $57.3 million; the north side, $52.4 million, according to the documents.But, district officials said the scope and cost of the new stadium are far from finalized. The cost estimates and renderings – also shown on Rath’s blog – are “no more than conceptual drawings and numbers that were necessary when considering a future site for a stadium,” said McKinney ISD spokesman Cody Cunningham.“A stadium was not approved by the board, nor was a budget for a stadium,” he added. “The District has taken no additional steps at this time other than to secure a site adequate in size for a future stadium and parking.”

  • Plano family shares love for boating

    Recent rains and flooding have put a damper on boating season, leaving Plano father John St. Clair and his family hopeful that they’ll be able to enjoy at least a few days of fun in the sun on Lake Texoma this summer.An avid boat enthusiast, St. Clair remembers his father introducing him to the boating lifestyle during the early 1970s, when the two would borrow a friend’s boat and go out on Lewisville Lake after work.“We would fish, ski and enjoy eating our dinner on the water,” he said, with an air of nostalgia. “After that summer and us trailering the boat up to Lake Texoma, my dad’s friend saw that we, dad and son, were hooked and decided to permanently loan it to us.”When St. Clair married his wife, Shelley, the pair knew they wanted to raise their family to enjoy the water as much as they did growing up.“Boating is very much a family bonding experience, if you’re enjoying it,” he said. “My wife loves it as much as I do, so there was really no decision whether or not we were going to expose our twin boys to it – that was a given.”John said Rusty and Randy, 14, were born in October and had their first boating experience the following May.

  • Hutchins BBQ to offer free food to McKinney city employees July 13

    Hutchins BBQ will host a “City of McKinney Day” on July 13, when all city employees eat for free.Restaurant staff credits McKinney’s first-responders for saving Hutchins from total destruction when it caught fire in June 2012. The restaurant was out of business for five months while it rebuilt.Co-owners Tim Hutchins and Dustin Blackwell are hosting “City of McKinney Day” as a token of their appreciation to the community.The restaurant will be open for the special day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.All firefighters, police officers and first-responders in uniform may skip any line. City employees must show their city IDs to eat free.Hutchins BBQ is at 1301 N. Tennessee St. in McKinney. For more information, call 972-548-2629.

  • Frisco Mayor Maher Maso joins Collin County counterparts in touting regional cooperation

    A morning commute or shoreline drive along the lake – at least until recent rains – shows everything one needs to know about Collin County’s greatest needs. Growth is here and it’s coming, quickly – now it’s a matter of keeping pace with infrastructure.How to do that has government leaders scrambling. At least for an afternoon, they seemed to recognize the ideal approach: Join forces.Business leaders, city and state officials convened at Collin County Business Alliance’s annual Mayoral Summit on Friday in Plano. “Envisioning tomorrow, inspiring action today” was the event’s theme.“Together, we can confront some of the biggest challenges that face us in the county,” said Sanjiv Yajnik, CCBA chairman, emphasizing transportation, water and education.What’s Texas doing to confront them? For transportation, Proposition 1 – overwhelmingly passed by voters in November – is expected to funnel about $1.2 billion a year from the Rainy Day Fund into the State Highway Fund. That money, derived from oil and gas tax revenues, will be spent on non-tolled state roadways.Proposition 7, which will go to voters Nov. 3, would dedicate $2.5 billion in sales and use tax revenue to the State Highway Fund every year starting in 2017. Beginning in fall 2019, 35 percent of revenue from the sales and use tax on motor vehicles exceeding $5 billion would go to the State Highway Fund. The new revenue would go toward construction and maintenance of non-tolled roads, right-of-way purchases and payment on general obligation bonds.

  • Summer reading fun resumes Monday at Frisco Public Library

    The Frisco Public Library is closed today through Sunday, but after a one-week break leading up to the Independence Day holiday, story times, classes and other Mayor’s Summer Reading Challenge events resume Monday and continue through Aug. 2.The summer activities include babies through adults and are the most attended programs the library offers, Library Director Shelley Holley told the City Council recently. “Almost all the activities – if not all the activities—will be filled, and we do turn people away.”The events are free, but tickets are required.“We have tickets mostly just for fire code issues, since we can only have a certain amount of people in rooms at a time,” said Jennifer Cummings, library youth services manager.For example, the popular Monday Mindstretchers for elementary school students is held in the 311-seat City Council Chambers, Holley said. “We fill them up four or five times depending on the day.”Those interested in participating need to pick up tickets for one of the time slots at 9 a.m., she said. The library is located in the George A. Purefoy Municipal Center, 6101 Frisco Square Blvd.

The Leader Lewisville Lake Cities The Colony Carrollton Coppell L.E.

  • Former CHS football player shot; reported to be in fair condition at Parkland Hospital

    A former Coppell High School football player was reportedly shot Sunday evening, the Coppell Police Department reported.According to a news release from the department, Charles West was shot in the left arm around 6 p.m. Sunday evening.The Coppell Police Department reported that West was taken to Dallas' Parkland Hospital and is in fair condition.A release from the Coppell PD states officers were dispatched to Coppell Middle School East - along the 400 block of Mockingbird Lane - after receiving calls of shots being fired.Responding officers discovered a victim in the 800 block of Redcedar Way Drive, which is in the same area as CMS East.The release states detectives are currently conducting interviews of witnesses and the victim. Detectives have a person of interest but are not releasing any other information until all the interviews and line-ups are completed.

  • 66 Questions for District 6-6A: Week 5

    The first year of athletics is in the books for District 6-6A, with everything from state championships to classic games and standout individual and team performances strewn throughout.The nine schools that comprise the state’s super-sized district staged months of high-level competition from sport to sport, with players, coaches and fans reaping the rewards every Tuesday and Friday night.But the end of one chapter gives way to the start of another, and for the next few months, Star Local Media will reflect on the year that was in 6-6A’s first go-around while also looking ahead to what lies in store for the 2015-16 festivities.With that said, here’s the fifth installment of 66 Questions for District 6-6A.1. Which 6-6A school will win the most district championships in 2015-16?Jackson Long: The biggest school in the district (and the state) will have the best shot to win the most district titles in 2015-16.

  • Photos: Coppell celebrates the Fourth of July at Andy Brown Park

    Photos by Brian Maschino / Staff photosThe City of Coppell celebrated the Fourth of July with a Friday night filled with food trucks, vendors, live music and a fireworks finale set to patriotic music.The Independence Day festivities continues Saturday morning for the Spirit of Coppell parade at 9 a.m. The parade starts on Samuel Blvd., traveling north to Parkway Blvd., then turning left, proceeding to end at Town Center Blvd.

  • Flower Mound considering cultural arts options

    Flower Mound is taking steps to increase the presence of cultural arts in the town.Members of the Cultural Arts Committee plan to discuss ideas for a possible cultural arts master plan at its next meeting in August after talking about the concept last week. Sue Ridnour, director of library services, said the master plan could include focus groups that would help determine several components of cultural arts in Flower Mound. "An arts master plan would basically look at three things: assessing the existing facilities and programs for the arts in Flower Mound, determine interest for additional arts programming and look at possible partnerships and funding sources," Ridnour said. "Then, it would make short- and long-term recommendations, taking those things into consideration. This would include performing arts, as well as public art -- paintings, sculptures and other works of art in public places."Ridnour said the process may include focus groups to help out what performances residents would be interested in seeing and how far people would travel to see cultural arts in the town.Ridnour said the master plan may also include a survey of other cities that already have cultural arts to find out how they promote it and what works there. 

  • Lewisville hosts seventh Xtreme Response Camp

    The Lewisville Parks and Leisure department hosted the city’s seventh Xtreme Response Camp last week. The camp, which ran from June 22-26, is designed to give kids ages 11-15 a chance to experience situations that the city’s police, fire and emergency management departments handle as a part of their profession.During this year’s camp, the 19 participants were treated to vehicle extrication and water rescue simulations put on by the fire department, SWAT, K-9 unit and crime scene investigation scenarios with the police department and lessons on emergency management and safety skills taught by the emergency management department.In addition, the campers were taken to a ropes course to engage in team-building activities and were trained in CPR.The participants ended the week with a graduation ceremony and pool party Friday, which parents were encouraged to attend. The children also received their CPR certifications during the event.For the first time, the camp was organized by the parks and leisure department. In previous years, the city’s emergency management department took charge of the event, but the recent flooding forced the small unit to hand over the reins.“Our guys are dealing with the floods, so it would have been pretty difficult to deal with the national and local emergency and put on this camp,” said Falyn Westbrook, Lewisville recreation specialist and special events coordinator. “It’s a big undertaking for such a small department in a time that it’s already tight.”

  • Hickory Creek chooses new mayor

    The town of Hickory Creek has a new mayor.Lynn Clark, who has served as mayor pro tem since April, was chosen by the Town Council on Tuesday to become the new mayor of the town. Clark became Mayor Pro Tem after former Mayor John Smith resigned from the position to become the town administrator.Smith was mayor of Hickory Creek for nine years before stepping down from the role. He resigned in order to be considered for the position of town administrator, which became vacant when former town administrator and Police Chief Roger Mangum retired in December.Clark was first elected to the town council in 2007 and has served as mayor pro tem since 2010. Prior to her role on the council, Clark was one of the founding members of the town’s economic development corporation in 2003 and is now the president of that board.At the time of Smith’s resignation the town had not decided on a new permanent mayor but rather focused on Smith adjusting to his new role. Clark will finish out the current term of mayor through May of 2016.

Mesquite Rowlett Sunnyvale

  • Sunnyvale student to attend UNT journalism workshop

    Kristen Schabel, an incoming senior at Sunnyvale High School, is one of 15 Texas high school students and recent graduates selected to attend this summer’s multimedia high school journalism summer workshop at the University of North Texas (UNT).UNT’s Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism is hosting the workshop July 17-23 in collaboration with the annual Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, which is July 17-19 at the Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center in Grapevine. The theme of the conference and the summer workshop is “Bridging the Great Divide,” with focuses on social, economic, racial, cultural and political divisions in American society.Funded by a grant from the Dow Jones News Fund and led by Mayborn School faculty members, the workshop gives students who are juniors and seniors in high school or have graduated from high school just prior to the workshop experience in multimedia storytelling through news articles, online photo galleries, blogs and broadcast news packages. It is open only to Texas residents.The workshop begins with the students attending the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference from July 17-19, at which UNT faculty members will teach classes on broadcast writing and videography, news writing and social media during the weekend. Students will interview some of the conference’s speakers and attend the keynote speaker dinners Friday and Saturday with other conference participants.On July 19, the students will go to the UNT campus in Denton, where they will stay in a residence hall and spend the next four days working in teams to create multimedia feature stories. Their story assignments will be related to the conference and workshop theme. The students will also create a TV newscast and podcasts.The workshop will end with the students uploading their multimedia packages to a website. Their work will be shown at a graduation ceremony July 23 at UNT’s Willis Library.

  • Things to know in Mesquite

    STAR Transit holiday scheduleSTAR Transit will not operate its normal routes or the COMPASS service from Handby Stadium from Friday through 8 a.m. Monday, in observance of Independence Day. The Balch Springs Midtown Express will operate its regular schedule during the holiday.For more information, call 877-631-5278 or visit STARtransit.org. Scam alertThe Mesquite City Manager’s Office was notified by residents that some had been contacted by individuals soliciting funds for injured Mesquite firefighters.

  • Rockwall County businessman Justin Holland seeks to replace state Rep. Scott Turner, who plans to retire

    With state Rep. Scott Turner, R-Frisco, not planning to seek another term, the race to replace the Tea Party Republican has begun.Rockwall County businessman, Justin Holland announced on Thursday his plans to seek Turner's State House District 33 seat, which covers portions of Collin County and all of Rockwall County.Holland, a former mayor pro tem serving his third term on the Heath City Council, leads a large, independent real estate agency with almost 40 agents."Texas is the center of innovative new legislative ideas to lower taxes on business and limit damaging regulation. Like Rep. Turner, I will continue to build upon the 'Texas Miracle' and make sure Collin and Rockwall Counties continue to lead the way in making Texas a model for the country," Holland said in a press release.Holland said he supports limited government and cutting government regulations that needlessly limit job creation and prosperity.He is strongly pro-life, a vocal opponent of Obamacare, and is a lifelong defender of the 2nd Amendment, according to the press release.

  • Parks and rec time: Heritage Trail opening marks celebratory month

    July is celebrated across the U.S. as National Parks and Recreation Month. This July is special for the national association as it celebrates its 30th anniversary, and it’s also special for Mesquite.In addition to highlighting several parks and activities, the city will officially open its Heritage Trail on July 25.“The trail has already had a tremendous impact on our community,” said Chris Keheley, assistant city manager. “ I’m looking forward to officially celebrating the completion of this project and encouraging more people to enjoy this great community amenity.”The city will host a grand opening from 9-11 a.m. that will feature a short ribbon-cutting presentation with dignitaries from Dallas County and the city of Garland expected to participate.According to Jessica Larson, Mesquite city marketing specialist, officials are still ironing out details, but there will be activities and entertainment for the whole family throughout the grand opening.“We really want to celebrate. This is our largest amenity. It is 4.25 miles long with misting stations, water fountains with drinking bowls for dogs, picnic tables and metal artwork at each of the trail heads or at the major intersections it crosses,” Larson said.

  • Teen falls victim to synthetic drug: Police remind public of K2 dangers

    A synthetic drug’s potentially fatal impact was felt in Mesquite recently as Daniel Kyle Tompkins, 17, A Mesquite teenager died June 21 after ingesting what’s commonly known as K2 on June 21 at a residence located in the 2300 block of Northview Drive.According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), K2, or “Spice,” is a mixture of herbs and spices typically sprayed with a synthetic compound chemically similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The drug is commonly purchased at head shops, tobacco shops, various retail outlets and online.According to Mesquite Police Lt. Brian Parrish, Tompkins got the drug from a friend who purchased it online. The DEA says purchasing such drugs online can be especially dangerous because it is not usually known where the products come from or how much chemical is on the organic material.“Unfortunately, it is just like many other drugs that you typically have to have prescriptions for - it has found it has way onto the Internet,” said Jeff Goodfred, crime prevention officer. “It is completely illegal in Texas to possess or use it.”Goodfred said the drug simulates effects similar to those of marijuana, but with some added side effects such as increased heart rate, seizures, increased blood pressure and hallucinations.“We are mostly concerned about the person’s health,” Goofred said. “When we get a call and determine they used it, then it becomes a medical issue.”

  • Christmas drive in July: Sharing Life aims to gather more bikes for holiday need

    A simple Google search for bikes at Christmas will pull up hundreds of various organizations that give bikes to children in need during the winter holidays. One of those organizations is Mesquite-based Sharing Life Community Outreach, which serves southeastern Dallas County.Each year Sharing Life holds a Christmas fair to allow its clients to shop for their kids and fulfill their Christmas wish lists. Bikes are always near the top of the lists.“On a good year we probably have 100 bikes to give away. Since we serve 1,200 to 1,300 kids during the event, that’s less than 10 percent,” said Teresa Jackson, Sharing Life executive director. “We never have anywhere close to enough bikes.”In an effort to collect more bikes this year, Sharing Life began its Christmas in July campaign this week.Jackson said that in the past she’s been approached by various business leaders who’ve asked if Sharing Life can do anything during the summer to get people to purchase bikes, so she decided this was going to be the year.“This campaign is really focused heavy on the business community,” she said. “A lot of businesses have some type of drive or charity they look to help, either with their customers’ support or amongst themselves. This will give them something they can use as a month-long emphasis.”

LIVE & LOCAL

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Star Local Media Blogosphere

  • Frisco's Jack Anderson, Plano East's Anthony Hines highlight 2017 Scout 300 rankings

    On Tuesday, Scout unveiled its 300-player national football prospect rankings for the Class of 2017.The list featured several Metroplex standouts, including a pair of players ranked among the best in the country at their respective positions in Frisco junior center Jack Anderson and Plano East junior linebacker Anthony Hines III.Both prospects have logged plenty of time under the national limelight and garnered no shortage of attention from Division I programs. Anderson -- a 6-foot-4.5, 285-pound lineman -- has picked up offers from more than 40 schools, while Hines (6-2.5, 218) boasts one of the lengthiest offer ledgers of any prospect in recent history with nearly 75 schools extending scholarships the linebacker's way.Hines and Anderson have each already accepted invitations to play in the 2017 Under Armour All-America Game.Below is a rundown of the prospects from Star Local Media markets that were named to the 2017 Scout 300.30. Jack Anderson (Frisco, OL)

  • From the Beach to the Stars: (Mr.) Big week of shows

    Three shows in four days to close out a week may be overkill to some, but for me it’s just an average summer week. Though this time I had never seen any of the artists before – well, I guess one I have seen with his day-job band, but not solo like this. I keep telling myself I’ll slow down, or be more choosey, but sometimes the deal is too sweet.Wednesday, June 24 – Brian Wilson, RodriguezWhen I walked into Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie it was like I had just been there – oh yeah, I had just been there on Monday for Whitesnake. For this show, the tone was settled down quite a bit. Gone was the standing thong of screaming fans, instead the audience was replaced by a mostly seated crowd of rabid sing-a-longers. I honestly don’t think I have seen as many people sing along at a show as they did to each one of The Beach Boys songs Brian Wilson played.It was remarkable. Also worth noting was the fact that in some spots, you could find a group with 3 or 4 generations – all enjoying and singing along. That is the impact The Beach Boys had on the ’60s, and beyond. Maybe other bands have passed them in popularity over the years, but rarely do you see family unity that strong at a concert.Starting off the show, Wilson roared through 13 songs of The Beach Boys before hitting a lull. And by lull, I don’t mean any negativity; “One Kind of Love” is a fine song, it was just the first of five songs from Wilson’s solo career and the spot where a few mellower songs were thrown in to the set. But I understand putting together a setlist of greatest hits cannot be easy. So far, “Heroes and Villains,” “California Girls,” “Shut Down,” “Little Deuce Coupe,” “I Get Around,” and “Surfer Girl” had all been played. And that was only part of the hits parade.But this was not just about the songs; this show was to celebrate the music Wilson has gifted us over his career. Wilson may no longer be able to hit some of the notes he did when he was younger, but that’s where one of his 11 band mates can step in. Al Jardine – the only other original member of The Beach Boys on the tour – filled his role as guitarist and vocalist to perfection. As did Jardine’s son, Matt, who picked up the falsetto portions of the vocals; like on “Don’t Worry Baby” and “She Knows Me Too Well.”

  • Upcoming classes through summer and fall

    The Genealogy Center at Haggard Library again has some interesting genealogy classes for the summer months. Now is the time all you teachers can attend. The classes are not overwhelming and you will always enjoy them and learn something.The first is on how to use Daughters of the American Revolution records for those wanting to join the lineage society. It is on Thursday, July 9, from 9:30 a.m. until 11 p.m. featuring guest speaker July Avedikian.Continuing from the last 11 months (no class in December), Joanne Corney hosts the free Legacy Users Group that meets every fourth Tuesday in the Genealogy Center program room. It always begins at 1:30 but those wishing to help set up the tables and chairs with Joanne can come earlier. The classes aim for topics the attendees want to hear and learn, and are not rigidly programed. She and the attendees share information, research tips, and webinars from 1:30-3:30. The next hour and a half, 3:30-5 p.m. is for those wanting one-on-one help. Anyone is welcome at the later class. Bring your laptop or thumb drive with your Legacy Family Tree information on it and she will access it from her computer. Again, help from attendees is always welcome.The next class on August 5 from 9:30-11 a.m. features topics on obituaries, society columns, news, and how to locate and use newspapers to find your family. One of the librarians will teach this class.Then, on October 16, the Genealogy Center will host another Genealogy Lock-In from 12 p.m. until 11 p.m. I don’t know all the particulars yet, but it will feature ongoing webinars, informative classes, and one-on-one assistance.October is a busy month for genealogy education

Community Updates

Hugs Cafe Rocks the Square

Hugs Cafe is a nonprofit organization that provides food service training for adults with special needs.  They are currently raising funds to open a cafe downtown McKinney in September.  Join them on Saturday, July 11, at the McKinney Performing Arts Center for a concert featuring The Tyler Rogers Band and Rhythm & Beards.  Concert begins at 5:30 and is open to the public.  Concert is free with a donation to Hugs Cafe.  This kicks off the Go Fund Me Crowd Funding Campaign.  Patrons a encouraged to come and go during the night.  A raffle will be held for some wonderful prizes.

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