McKinney welcomes Director-General of Taipei Economic and Cultural Offic…

Texas House Appropriations Committee adopts budget

State Representative

On Wednesday of this week, the House Appropriations Committee adopted the House Budget (House Bill 1) and moved the bill to the floor of the Texas House of Representatives for debate during the coming week.

In total, the Appropriations Committee proposed a budget that reduces spending by 3.7 percent from general revenue and 9.7 percent in total from the budget that was adopted by the Legislature in May 2009 for the current biennium. Even with the proposed reductions in spending, the Legislature has still increased funding for K-12 public education by 50 percent from the 2004-2005 levels.

The House Appropriations Committee budget priorities, as reflected in HB 1, as a percentage of proposed total spending, are as follows:

1. Education, consisting of 44.4% of the budget;
2. Health and Human Services, consisting of 32.8 % of the budget;
3. Transportation and Highways, consisting of 9.9% of the budget; and
4. Public Safety and Prisons, consisting of 6.7% of the budget.

In addition, the House will take action on budget reductions for the current biennium, as ordered by Governor Perry, Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst and Speaker Straus in the spring of 2010. The reductions ordered in 2010 were largely cuts to administrative costs of the agencies, but some services were also scaled back as a result of the cuts.

The total budget from general revenue for the session must be constitutionally balanced at no more than $77.6 billion, according to the Comptroller’s Biennial Revenue Estimate issued in January, 2011. In addition, spending from general revenue is constitutionally limited at $78.0 billion for this budget cycle.

While the budget as adopted by the House Appropriations Committee is balanced and remains within our means, there are still budget cuts that can be made and funding priorities that need to examined further.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission estimates that Texas will need to spend an additional $4 billion on Medicaid per year beginning in the 2014-2015 budget to comply with federal law as a result of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by Congress one year ago this week. Any cost efficiencies found and cuts made this year will give the Legislature additional flexibility in our budget in the future.

The Texas budget process is far from complete as there are numerous pieces of legislation that can further reduce bureaucratic costs, remove duplicative state agency functions, provide our school districts and local governments additional budget flexibilities, and reduce the level and role of government even further. These pieces of legislation coupled with a budget that prioritizes necessary government functions while eliminating unnecessary government functions will continue to keep Texas on the forefront of the national economy.

McKinney’s District 2 council race going to be fun to watch

Tracy Rath brought in a crowd to fill Brother’s Pizza on Eldorado Parkway on Monday night, and Doc Vranici’s pizza pies went fast as the candidate for the race for the District 2 city council seat in McKinney kicked off her campaign.

“We can do a better job in McKinney,” Rath said. “My passion and love for McKinney and my organizational skills will help us do better. My 20 years of volunteer work for McKinney and work in many organizations in McKinney help make me the best candidate for this council seat. We can do better.”

Rath, running against incumbent Geralyn Kever, plans to shake hands with as many neighbors as she can.

“We will be walking every block starting Saturday,” Rath said. “Come and join us at our home. I’ll be cooking breakfast, and then we will start walking. We will be going fast all the way through to the election.”

Kever has been busy working to hold her seat, meeting with voters in homes and offices.

Jury: Two life sentences in aggravated assault, drug case

Jury gives two life sentences in aggravated assault, drug case
Earlier this month Collin County prosecutors asked for, and the jury sentenced defendant Carlos Delarosa as follows: Two life sentences and a $10,000 fine on two counts of aggravated assault/family member; 60 years in prison (Texas Department of Corrections) and a $100,000 fine for possession with intent to deliver; 20 years TDC and a $10,000 fine on a third degree felony aggravated assault charge; and, two years and a $10,000 fine on an evading arrest charge. Two of the three aggravated assaults were against family members and prosecuted as first-degree felonies. Delarosa was also charged with possession with intent to deliver over 400 grams of cocaine and evading arrest.

Prosecutors Gail Leyko and Kelley Sullivan prosecuted the cases, assisted by their investigator Kenneth Moore.

“I couldn’t be prouder of Gail, Kelley, and Kenneth,” said Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis. “They put their heart and soul into working these cases. And the jury sent a strong message that Delarosa’s violent conduct won’t be tolerated in Collin County.”

The defendant was living in Plano his wife and six children, when, on the evening of April 25, 2009, Delarosa and his wife Serena, who was 7 months pregnant at the time, went out to a comedy club with Mrs. Delarosa’s brother, Robert Enriquez, and his girlfriend, Stacy Guardado.

There was drinking by all and they seemed to all be getting along that evening. After the night out, the four went back to the defendant’s house where Robert and Stacy had already planned on spending the night. Also in the house were 13 children belonging to the four adults.

Robert and Stacy went to sleep with their one-year-old daughter in the bed with them. The defendant and Serena got into an argument because one of the children wanted to have a friend spend the night. Serena ended up locking the defendant out of the house.

The defendant gained entry into the home, loaded a handgun and shot Serena in the head. He then went into the bedroom where Robert and Stacy were sleeping and shot Stacy in the face and Robert in the thigh. Delarosa then threatened to shoot Stacy Guardado’s baby.

The defendant’s oldest son walked into the area and the defendant pointed the gun at him. The defendant ultimately fled and several of the people inside the home called 911.

All of the victims survived, including Serena’s baby who had to be delivered by emergency C-section at 30 weeks.

A short time later, Plano police located the defendant and a high-speed chase ensued. Delarosa ultimately crashed and Plano police officers rescued the defendant from his burning car. Officers at the scene of the crash recovered the firearm used in the shootings and discovered that it had jammed. Upon searching the house with a warrant, detectives discovered a kilo of cocaine inside of a toolbox located in the garage.

District Attorney Willis said: “The Plano Police Department did an excellent job on this case.”

Willis added that the main officers involved in the case were Detective Brian Pfaning, Detective Larry Bartek, Detective Carlos Harwell, Officer Bradley Hutton, Officer Kenneth Foale, Officer Jason Moses, Officer Chris Sanders, Officer Matt Quillin, Officer Brian Kailbourne, and CSI Susan Smith. This jury trial was conducted before the Honorable Chris Oldner of the 416th District Court.

Social Media: Is your marketing approach like a Leaf Rake or a Leaf Blower?

By J.R. Atkins

Marketing to prospective clients has changed greatly with the proliferation of online tools such as websites, email and most recently, social media. Prospects can turn to so many sources for information about you, your company, and your products or services. A recent day of yard work prompted me to explain the shift in marketing to a colleague as being “more like using a leaf blower then a rake.”

The Leaf Rake Approach

Prior to the proliferation of on-line tools, I collected contact information from prospects such as their name, address, phone number and fax number and stored them on 3×5 cards. In the early 90’s I started using ACT, a Contact and Customer Relationship Management system, or CRM, to keep up with prospect information and to schedule phone calls, meetings, and direct mail campaigns. Armed with this information, I could mail, call, and fax prospects about my products and services. This shows the emphasis on collecting contact information, much like raking leaves into a pile.

The Leaf Blower Approach

Today, I take a different approach that is more like a leaf blower. As I meet prospective clients, I connect with them on-line via email and or social media. I have shifted from collecting and hoarding data, to giving and sharing data. In other words I blow information into the wind and wait for those who are interested to reach out to me.

Social Media is a great tool for “Leaf Blower” marketing. Once a connection is made via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, a blog or YouTube, the prospect get’s to choose if they would like to follow you and if so, they can choose their preferred method of communication. Some prospects will discard the information you share, others will collect it and save it for the future, and some will find if valuable and share it with others, while some will act on it by reaching our my email, social media or phone. The main idea is that the prospects who are interested in you and the content you publish will “follow you” and when they are ready to buy, they will reach out to you.

Yet, there is a key point with this approach. It requires the marketer to publish content that is interesting, valuable and giving in nature. This kind of content will be shared with others and your message will take on the viral affect where it gets passed around to others very rapidly.

When using the “leaf blower” methodology, your goal is to draw prospects to you by “blowing out the information” and letting those that are interested come to you.

You probably need both

To be effective in my yard work, I need both a leaf rake and leaf blower to get the job done. In business, we need both approaches to market effectively. We should use the leaf blower approach to share good content through a website, email newsletter, LinkedIn, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, a Blog and a YouTube Channel. Then, we can identify those prospects that have an interest in our content and target them with direct mail, email blast and direct selling content and methods.

By using both approaches we can continue to grow our business while allowing the prospect to connect with us in the way that works best for them. My hope for you is that you “rake in the money while blowing away the competition.”

March Events

3/9/11 Social Media Club of Dallas Presents SXSWi Pre-Party & Chris Treadaway

3/11/11 Chicago Symphony Orchestra – Mendelssohn’s Elijah

3/12/11 Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade

3/13/11 The American Choral Directors Biennial National Conference
3/13/11 SXSWi – South by Southwest Interactive

3/16/11 AIGA DFW Presents Local App Developer Success Story

3/23/11 Digital Dallas – A SXSW Recap

3/25/11 DFW AMA – How Next Gen Network Capabilities are Game Changers for Telecom Marketers

3/28/11 Dallas iPhone Developers/Entrepreneurs Meetup

3/29/11 Social Media & Your Career @ Career Jump Start

Funeral home adds Starbucks

Steve Blow writes in The Dallas Morning News about the local funeral business offering Starbucks and WiFi for the grieving:
People have joked for years that you can’t turn around without seeing a Starbucks.

But let’s be fair. Funeral homes never had Starbucks. Until now.

Talk about coffee to go.

At Turrentine Jackson Morrow Funeral Home, it’s now possible to pay your respects to the dead …


The story is also on WBAP 820-AM Thursday morning after an early-morning interview with morning host Hal Jay:

Street sweeper killed in crash with two racing Mustangs in McKinney

View more videos at:

A street sweeper was killed in a collision around 2 a.m. Monday in the 4300 block of South Lake Forest Drive when two racing Ford(a blue 1993 and a gray 2003) Mustangs driving south ran into a street sweeper as it turned into the Wal-Mart parking lot.
– Frank Heinz, NBCDFW

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