McKinney TX – Annual Kiwanis pancake breakfast at First Christian Feb. 28

The McKinney Kiwanis Club Pancake breakfast will be Feb. 28
The McKinney Kiwanis Club Pancake breakfast will be Feb. 28

You are invited to bring the family and friends to the McKinney Kiwanis Club Pancake Breakfast on Feb. 28 at the First Christian Church. Open to the public – that means you

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Two Finalists named for president’s job at Collin College

Collin CollegeThe Collin College Board of Trustees released the names of finalists for the district presidency.

Dr. Neil Matkin
Dr. Neil Matkin

The two Finalists are Dr. Neil Matkin, executive vice president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System

Dr. Ric Shrubb
Dr. Ric Shrubb

and Dr. Richard “Ric” Shrubb, former president of Minnesota West Community and Technical College.

Collin College conducted a nationwide search following District President Cary A. Israel giving notice of his resignation. Forty individuals applied, and the board identified seven candidates for initial interviews with the trustees in January.

The two finalists will return to the college for second interviews with the Board of Trustees and for introductory meetings with the college community next week. The campus meetings will take place at the conference centers at the Spring Creek Campus in Plano, Central Park Campus in McKinney and Preston Ridge Campus in Frisco. For details on the search, visit http://www.collin.edu/leadership/presidentialsearch.html.

After campus interviews, feedback on the finalists will be considered during the board’s deliberations, with a final decision anticipated in February or March.

Collin College serves approximately 52,000 credit and continuing education students annually and offers more than 100 degrees and certificates in a wide range of disciplines. The only public college in the county, Collin College is a partner to business, government and industry, providing customized training and work force development.

POWERBALL: What would you do if you won $125 million?

One of three winning PowerBall tickets was sold Wednesday in Princeton, Texas.
One of three winning PowerBall tickets was sold Wednesday in Princeton, Texas, at Appletree Food Mart.

PRINCETON TX – The Appletree Food Mart (Valero gas station) at 893 E Princeton Drive on Highway 380 sold a winning Powerball ticket. The winning ticket will pay an estimated $125 million. Powerball.com announced that there were three Powerball jackpot winners Wednesday.

The store that sold the ticket will make an estimated $1 million.

The three tickets matched the winning numbers 25, 11, 54, 13 and 39, with a Powerball of 19.

The others were sold in North Carolina and Puerto Rico as Wednesday’s Powerball winners in the $564.1 million jackpot

PowerBall.com reports 5,971,077 additional players won prizes totaling more than $74.2 Million. The estimated jackpot will be reset to $40 Million.

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Behind the scenes – What can Congressman Sam Johnson’s staff assist you with in Texas and Washington D.C.?

Gabriella Pate directs the Friends of Sam Johnson.
Gabriella Pate, director, Friends of Congressman Sam Johnson.

By Brian Bearden

ALLEN, TEXAS – A full house gathered around the lunch table in Mimi’s Cafe on Wednesday to hear about what their local representative was doing in Washington, D.C.

While many in Congress race to get in front of TV cameras, Congressman Sam Johnson has his staff focus on what’s important to the people back home around the Plano office. Gabriella Pate of the Friends of Sam Johnson told the Collin County Lincoln Society what services were available from the Congressman’s office.

Pate made several suggestions if you want to get your message to your Congressional representative:

* Before your appointment with the Congressman, reach a consensus on your targeted issue

* Carefully research your issue

* Keep your group small (3-4) and designate a spokesperson

* Present your position in writing to the Congressman’s staff as a reminder of your stand on your issue so that the representative knows your key points

* Follow-up by setting a legislative liaison with your group and the staff member handling your issue. This will help you work directly with the Congressman’s office

Congressman Sam Johnson
Congressman Sam Johnson

Sam Johnson serves the Third District of Texas, which covers much of Collin County including all or part of the cities of Allen, Anna, Blue Ridge, Dallas (Collin County), Fairview, Frisco, Lavon, Lowry Crossing, Lucas, McKinney, Melissa, Murphy, New Hope, Parker, Plano, Princeton, Prosper, Richardson, St. Paul, Wylie, and portions of unincorporated land in Collin County. The Plano office is situated in Suite 170 at 1255 West 15th Street.

Pate, a Texas Tech grad with roots in Albuquerque, N.M., she earned a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in English and Political Science. While in college, Pate interned in the Washington, D.C. office of Congresswoman Heather Wilson who represented New Mexico’s 1st District from 1998-2009. Pate also worked in the office of the Lubbock, Texas, mayor while at Texas Tech.

After pursuing graduate studies at SMU, Pate began her career working in the District Office of Sam Johnson as a staff assistant. She became Constituent Services Coordinator for the office, where she assisted in managing Federal casework and community outreach for the office before being promoted again to her current leadership position with the Friends of Sam Johnson.

Pate said Congressman Johnson and staff can help with:

Veterans Affairs (VA)
Medicare
Social Security
IRS
Visas
Home Foreclosure
Overseas adoptions

Going to Washington D.C., and want a tour? Ask the Congressman’s office for tickets. https://samjohnson.house.gov/webforms/tourrequest/

Tour tickets from the Congressman are all free and are distributed while available on a first come, first served basis. For White House tours, the number of tickets requested can not be increased once the request for tickets is made due to White House tour policy. All requests for White House tours must be submitted no less than four weeks out from the desired tour date. Tours are also available to Mount Vernon, the Library of Congress and the Capitol.

Johnson’s office in Washington D.C., is at 2304 Rayburn HOB. 202-225-4201. The Legislative office or “shop” as the staff calls it handles correspondence with voters back in Collin County, plus “flag requests.”

Pate said Congressman Johnson has much of his time focused on tax reform.

Did you know? “Top Gun” Sam Johnson was elected to represent District 66 in the Texas State House of Representatives in 1984.

Quick links for Constituent Services

Help With A Federal Agency
Congressional Youth Advisory Council
Congressional Art Contest
Service Academy Nominations
Internships
Info for Students
Passport Assistance Center
If you need help with a passport, please visit my passport assistance section.
Legislation Sponsored by Congressman Johnson
Click here to see all of the bills that Congressman Johnson has sponsored in the 112th Congress.
Tour Requests and Visitor’s Guide
Flag Requests
Request a flag flown over the Capitol
Federal Job Postings
Help with Federal Grants
Obtaining a Federal Document
Greeting Request Form
Request a greeting from Sam on a major birthday, anniversary, or accomplishment.
Presidential Greetings
Federal Government Links

March schedule change: The Collin County Lincoln Society meets next on the third Wednesday of March after Spring Break at Mimi’s Cafe on McDermott in Allen, Texas. … Regular meetings will return to the Second Wednesday of the month in April 2015.

Notable: Congressman Allen West will be in Richardson at the Canyon Creek Baptist at 7 p.m. Thursday at 2800 Custer Parkway. …

The Lincoln Day Dinner will be Feb. 21 at Plano Centre.
The Lincoln Day Dinner will be Feb. 21 at Plano Centre.

The Lincoln Day Dinner and Silent Auction will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21 at the Plano Centre, 1800 Spring Creek Parkway. Dinner: 7:15 p.m. Speakers for the Lincoln Day Dinner will be Congressman Will Hurd, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Vice Chair Amy Clark.

 

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Local Restaurant Spotlight: Tony’s Cafe of Plano

Tony's Cafe of Plano serves breakfast all day at the corner of Spring Creek and Alma in Plano TX.
Tony’s Cafe of Plano serves breakfast all day at the corner of Spring Creek and Alma in Plano TX.

What is Tony’s Cafe known for ? Breakfast All Day

What do customers say? Best Mediterranean breakfast and lunch

Who is the cook? Tony, of course, for 26 years

What’s the special? Three eggs with sausage, bacon, potato, homemade biscuits and gravy

Of course there is coffee

Mediterranean choices? Falafels, Gyros, Kabobs and more plus vegeterian dishes

What do our readers recommend? The eggs benedict, breakfast tacos, French toast, pork chops, the omelettes, homemade soups, rosemary roasted chicken and chicken fried steak

Daily lunch specials: Tuesday spaghetti, Wednesday rosemary roasted chicken, Thursday homemade lasagna or chicken alfredo, Friday chicken fried steak

Don’t forget to try the? Baklava and cinnamon rolls

What’s new? Pastrami hash

Hours: 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday – 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

Location: 909 West Spring Creek at Alma Drive in Plano

Click to check out Tony’s Cafe of Plano menu

– Brian Bearden

Plano TX – Fire, smoke will be rising from Arbor Hills Nature Preserve through March as part of prescribed burn

Starting Monday afternoon, Plano Fire-Rescue and the Plano Parks & Recreation Department will team up for a prescribed burn at Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. The burn will be carefully controlled by the Fire Department’s Wildland Firefighters.

FIRE ALERT – You may see a lot of smoke in the park. The burn will only be conducted under ideal weather conditions. If the weather changes today, the burn will be postponed.

The prescribed burns at the city’s Arbor Hills Nature Preserve will take place throughout February and March between noon and 6 p.m.

Kym Hughes, Superintendent of Natural Resources for the Plano Parks Department, said: “The burns are the most effective and efficient way to conserve the endangered blackland prairie ecosystem as the fire not only gets rid of accumulated thatch, it also helps reduce woody plant invasion, stimulates the growth of many native grasses and wildflowers, and exposes bare soil so the area can be successfully planted with prairie grass and prairie flower seeds. Prescribed fire will help to maintain the viability and health of the blackland prairie ecosystem in Arbor Hills.”

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve consists of three ecological areas:

Blackland prairie,
upland forests
and riparian zones.

Management of the Blackland prairie areas has consisted of large tractor mowing twice a year. This has resulted in a thick layer of thatch that reduces the amount of exposed soil necessary for prairie grass and flower seeds to germinate and perpetuate their species. It also allows invasive plant species to come in and take over the natural prairie ecosystems.

While benefitting the park property, Capt. Peggy Harrell of Plano Fire-Rescue stated that the burns in Plano will also provide real-life training opportunities for the city’s Wildland firefighters who have been trained in wildfire suppression meeting the National Wildfire Coordinating Group’s standards.

The park will remain open to the public during the burns but the concrete trail on the west side of the nature preserve will be closed.

The burns will take place on a Monday through Friday schedule between noon and 6 p.m. to minimize the impact of the public’s use of the park.

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McKinney TX: Celebrate Valentine’s with movies, dinner, wine

Spend Valentine’s weekend in McKinney’s charming historic downtown
If you are looking for something unique to do this Valentine’s Day, make plans now to fall in love with Historic Downtown McKinney as the city hosts several romantic themed events in honor of the holiday.

The McKinney Performing Arts Center (MPAC) will show classic romantic films in the restored theater of the historic Collin County Courthouse all weekend long.

Choose from “Sleepless in Seattle” on Friday, Feb. 13 at 8 p.m., or on Valentine’s Day attend a 2 p.m. matinee of “Casablanca” or “West Side Story” at 8 p.m. A cash bar will be offered at evening movies.

Celebrate before the screenings: Get shot by Cupid’s arrow during a moonlit stroll around the charming historic downtown or pop into a cozy café, savor a meal in a gourmet restaurant or grab a drink at a pub or winery.

General admission movie tickets are $8 and available for purchase online, at MPAC, 111 N. Tennessee St. or by calling MPAC’s Emerson Ticket Office at 214-544-4630.

Collin County Farm Museum offering workshops

The Collin County Farm Museum has a whole new line-up of workshops and classes for adults and kids, running now through summer 2015. Some are free, some require a small fee – all of them are informative and a load of fun.

Museum Coordinator Jennifer Rogers has set up more than three dozen classes that span working with leather, rug-making, book-binding, soap-making, tool-making, painting, farming – even a class on how to learn an antique tractor or our 1911 Ford Model T.

Go ahead: Try to find driving lessons like that anywhere else.

The catch is … well, there is no catch. It’s all part of the efforts of staff and volunteers at the museum  to stay in touch with the county’s rural history.

But you need to register early.  Classes can fill up quickly, or be cancelled if they don’t meet minimum enrollment requirements six business days prior to the start of the session.

If you want to keep track of what’s going on out the museum, we’ve got class postings on our Community Calendar, or you can ‘Like’ the museum’s Facebook page for effortless updates and news about other special programs and events.

For registration information, go here — http://www.collincountytx.gov/myers/Pages/farm_museum.aspx — or download the latest copy of the museum’s history magazine, Bucolica at http://www.collincountytx.gov/myers/Pages/bucolica_magazine.aspx.

The museum is situated on the grounds of Myers Park & Event Center, 7117 County Road 166, in McKinney. 972-548-4792.

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