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Featured Articles
» Murphy adding native plant garden to Animal Shelter
By Staff Writer | Published Yesterday | Local Government | Unrated


MURPHY (September 19, 2014) The City of Murphy is one of only 13 communities in the state of Texas awarded a grant to develop a demonstration garden and use it to show residents how to successfully landscape their homes with native and adapted plants, says Customer Service Manager Candy McQuiston.

"The grant is part of Native Garden Grants Program from Keep America Beautiful," she said. "Keep America Beautiful is partnering with Lowe’s and Keep Texas Beautiful in providing support and materials to create and maintain a native plant demonstration garden that allows us to showcase how these plants thrive in the local area."

The grant includes a $600 gift card to Lowe’s and $500 in maintenance assistance, a variety of gardening materials and additional support from Keep Texas Beautiful. The plants will all be listed in the Ladybird Johnson native plant database.

"We’re in the early stages of the project," she said. "We already know, however, that the garden will be located at the entrance to the new Murphy Animal Shelter. We’re planning to bring together gardening professionals from the Murphy Lowe’s store, the Murphy Middle School Environmental Club, Boy Scouts and the City’s Parks Department to design and install the garden. We’ll also be looking for community volunteers to be part of the entire process."

To enhance the learning experience of visitors once the garden is in place, officials will place a marker at each plant base with a QR code, allowing smart phones and mobile devices to access the plant’s characteristics, watering requirements and soil preferences online.

The Murphy Animal Shelter is located at 203 North Murphy Road, behind the Murphy Community Center (MCC) and Murphy Activities Center (MAC).

"In keeping with this theme, we’re also considering placing a rain collection barrel at the garden," she said. "The intent is to show residents that this is the kind of garden and irrigation system that is best adapted to the local area, especially as we deal with the current water situation."

Choosing the new Animal Shelter served two purposes. First, there were no specific plans to add landscaping to the project as part of the construction, and second, the close proximity of the Animal Shelter to the MCC and MAC allows for the addition of educational classes on native plants to the class schedules already in place.

"We can hold workshops for garden clubs, opportunities for scouts to earn merit badges, school outings, field trips and other water-saving and plant management programs," said McQuiston.

Volunteers are now being recruited to assist with the planning and development of the garden. Using volunteers extends the lessons inherent in the garden’s creation to homes and organizations.

"If we get enough interest, we may implement an Adopt-a-Spot program, allowing groups and organizations to care for a specific portion of the garden," she added.

To learn how individuals and organizations can become part of this program, representatives may contact McQuiston at

cmquiston@murphytx.org or call the Customer Service line (972) 468-4100.

» And the winners are…
By Marcia Jowers | Published 09/18/2014 | Smiles | Unrated

 

Each summer the UPS Store in Murphy displays the Messenger’s Vacation Photo Contest entries. The UPS staff of twelve are the judges who vote independently for their favorite photos in preset categories. Jason Duke, UPS Store owner, tallies all of the votes to determine the winners.

THANKS to everyone who shared their travels with

Messenger readers and customers of the UPS Store this year!

Kiran Kicinski visited his grandmother in Solo, Indonesia. He traveled 9963.814 miles, verified by website: freemaptools.com. No voting necessary – Kiran won the $50 prize for the

Farthest Distance traveled with a Murphy Messenger.

Christy Young submitted a photo of her daughters Morgan and Chloe at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, winning a $50 cash prize for the

Most Unique setting. Cadillac Ranch is located off historic Route 66 and features 10 Cadillac's (body styles 1949 thru 1963) which are half buried in the ground. Visitors are encouraged to spray paint or graffiti the bodies of the cars. It is rumored that the cars were buried by a wealthy Amarillo resident as a hoax back in the 1970's.

Katelyn Pryor, who experienced the trip of a lifetime touring a number of countries this summer, was chosen to have the

Funniest Photo and $50 cash prize. The expression on Katelyn’s face while a Burmese python wraps itself around her neck caught the judges’ eye! Her dad, Robert, said the snake looks like it is reading the Lynne Clash ad on the back cover. Maybe the snake is interested in re-locating from Cambodia to Murphy? YIKES!

Katarina Andiel, who went to Brazil to watch the World Soccer Cup Games, had time to climb the Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park, 2,300 feet above Rio de Janeiro and have her photo taken at the base of

Christ the Redeemer. The statue is 98 ft tall, not including its 26 ft pedestal, and its arms stretch 92 ft wide. The Judges’ Choice photo scored Kat a $50 cash prize.

Patricia Fisher traveled to the Galapagos Islands, volcanic islands centered at the Equator, the middle of the Earth. Her photo was taken on a pier in Ecuador (behind) a huge, aging iguana who sunned himself at this spot daily. The crusty old critter won for Pat:

Honorable Mention and a $25 cash prize.

Congratulations to our winners!

» Fall Clean & Green event set for Saturday, Oct. 11
By Staff Writer | Published 09/18/2014 | Local Government | Unrated

Three events that day help Keep Murphy Beautiful

Three major events are scheduled to take place on Saturday, Oct. 11, all of which present opportunities for residents to help keep Murphy clean and green, says Customer Service Manager Candy McQuiston.

“On that day, we will host the fall Clean & Green recycling drop-off event at the City Hall driveway,” she said. “And, second, we’ll celebrate Arbor Day by planting some trees on the City Hall campus, and third, Progressive Waste Solutions will have trucks out for curbside pickup of hazardous household waste and large electronics recycling.” The tree planting and recycling events will start at 9 a.m. and continue until noon. Curbside pickup starts at 7 a.m.

Now in its third year, the Clean & Green recycling event will once again occupy a portion of the City Hall Complex’s parking lot. A one-way in, one-way out, drive-through drop-off route will be laid out for participants to drop off their recycling at specified points along the route. The driveway at City Hall will be clearly marked and people will be stationed at specific points along the route to help.

“Along with recycling plastic grocery bags, Styrofoam, small electronics, printer cartridges, batteries, tires and light bulbs, the event also provides citizens the opportunity to shred documents,” she said.

Usable building materials will be set aside in support of Habitat for Humanity of Collin County And, items such as clothing, accessories, shoes, backpacks, toys and stuffed animals will be separated to support a project of the Murphy Middle School Environmental Club. The event is scheduled rain or shine.

And for those residents who call ahead, trucks will be out on Oct. 11 picking up hazardous household waste and large electronic items for recycling at no additional charge. Hazardous household waste, such as fertilizers, acids, solvents, cleaning solutions, paints and other dangerous or toxic materials will be picked up curbside on that morning. Also being collected curbside are large electronics for recycling like televisions and copiers.

“Only those residents who call or send an e-mail to Progressive Waste Solutions beforehand will be afforded this service,” she said. The number to call is 469-452-8000 and the e-mail address is murphy@progressivewaste.com. All requests must be made by phone or email by Oct. 10, at 4 p.m.

“The Clean & Green recycling event has become a popular attraction,” added McQuiston. “Our partners at Progressive have helped it gain lots of fans.”

» City Council Holds Regular Meeting
By Greg Goodwin | Published 09/18/2014 | Local Government | Unrated

The September 2, 2014 City Council meeting was called to order and a quorum was certified with all members present. First on the Agenda were public comments:

Shelly Bottlinger on behalf of The Exchange Club of Murphy, updated Council on current and upcoming events and Marv Williams on behalf of the Murphy Chamber of Commerce updated Council on upcoming activities.

There were three Presentation Items by Council on the Agenda.

Deputy Mayor Pro Tem, Owais Siddiqui, presented Margaret Tsai on behalf of the DFW Asian American Citizens Council a Proclamation for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month for the month of May.

Mayor, Eric Barna, presented Finance Director, Linda Truitt, and Assistant Finance Director, Steven Ventura, a Proclamation for National Payroll Week the first full week of September.

Council Member Sarah Fincanon, presented Exchange Club of Murphy members Rosie Neely and Shelly Bottlinger, and Chamber Chairman Marv Williams a Proclamation designating the month of September as Baby Safety Month.

Consent Agenda items were approved unanimously including: The August 19, 2014 Regular City Council Meeting minutes and August 26, 2014 Special City Council Meeting minutes. Previously proposed ordinances amending the Water Conservation Plan and Water Resource & Emergency Management Plan. The Interlocal Agreement with Collin County for providing Child Abuse Investigative Services, Law Enforcement Services. The Interlocal Cooperation Agreement with Collin County for the maintenance and improvements to County roads.

Also a resolution designating the City Manager, Director of Finance and Assistant Director of Finance as Investment Officers of the City of Murphy and the Investment Policies for the investment of Municipal Funds.

On the Individual Item Agenda: Council voted unanimously to approve the application of McBirney 544 Joint Venture, for the site plan, landscape plan, building elevations and construction plat for The Learning Center on property zoned PD 09-12-823. The facility will be at the corner of Brand Road and Village Drive, just off of FM 544.

A public hearing was held on the proposed 2014 Tax Rate of $0.5500 per $100 valuation and also on the proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2014-2015 budget. There were no public comments. Council took no action on award of a bid for the Timbers Nature Preserve Park and Trail project, asking City Staff to submit the proposed bid to the Parks & Recreation Board for feedback on the additional Alternate Plan options.

Council considered casting ballots for the election of Places 1-4 of the Board of Trustees for the Texas Municipal League Intergovernmental Risk Pool of which the City of Murphy is a member. Council discussed casting a vote for Peter Vargas for Place 4. Places 1 through 3 are uncontested with only one candidate and Council recommended no write-in selections. Council voted 6 to 1 in favor with Council Member Betty Spraggins opposed.

City Council voted unanimously to authorize City Manager James Fisher to execute a Settlement and Release Agreement with Oncor Electric Delivery Company to resolve a billing issue regarding inaccurate data with regard to the number, type and size of streetlights that receive service from Oncor.

At the August 5, 2014 Regular City Council meeting City Manager James Fisher discussed with Council a proposal to take North Murphy Road (FM 2551) off the Texas Highway System. The reason for this discussion is the City’s desire to implement measures in the Safe Routes to School funding program on North Murphy Road that are not currently allowed on State roads. These measures include enhanced crosswalks with lights, midblock crossings, colored textured pavement at crosswalks and improved signage. The City has asked for these items so that North Murphy Road will be a friendlier road for pedestrians to cross when needed. A Resolution with a Memorandum of Understanding was presented to Council and Council voted 6 to 1 in favor with Council Member Ben St. Clair opposed.

City Manager James Fisher also updated Council on the current and ongoing status of North Murphy Road. Construction continues on the center lane. Also reported was that the Animal Shelter is on target for the grand opening in October.

City Council then held a closed Executive Session. When the meeting was reconvened, Council voted unanimously to appoint Janita Susie Quinn as the new City Secretary. Ms. Quinn is scheduled to begin, Tuesday, September 16, 2014. The meeting was then adjourned.

» Murphy Middle School PTA Co-Sponsors Technology Safety Program
By Karen Chaney | Published 09/18/2014 | Education | Unrated

Murphy Middle School principal Dr. Brant Perry shares that in the years he has been an administrator the stem of discipline problems has definitely altered. He said when he began his career ninety percent of discipline problems began on the school campus, today he reports that approximately seventy percent begin outside of the school campus generally through technology/social media.

September third Murphy Middle School was the sight of a program featuring Katie Greer of KL Greer Consulting. “For over 7 years, Katie LeClerc Greer has provided Internet/technology safety training to schools, law enforcement agencies, national conferences, and community organizations throughout the country. Her unique educational and professional background has resulted in dynamic programs that appeal to all age groups…”(klgreer.com)

Heather Saenger, Murphy Middle School (MMS) PTA VP of Programs explained, “MMS partnered with 5 other PISD middle school PTAs (Otto, Armstrong, Bowman, Schimelpfenig, Rice) and 1 elementary school PTA (Hickey) to bring Katie's message of technology and internet safety to over 6,000 students in our district over this week.”

One of Greer’s points was, “Internet – it doesn’t make you stupid it just makes you stupidly more accessible to others.” She went on to list apps she detests because of various safety concerns they pose: Kik, Poof, SnapChat, Ask.fm, yikyak, Whisper, Wickr and Omegle.

Greer did a quick cross reference of sex offenders from a certain area in Boston to those on facebook and/or Instagram and found fifteen to twenty sex offenders in fifteen minutes. She stresses the importance to make yourself private on social network sites and do not talk to strangers.

She also highlighted the fact that everything we do on technology ends up somewhere. Mentioning SnapChat Greer busts the belief that you can send a photo to someone which will be automatically deleted after a certain amount of seconds. Anyone can take a screen shot of what you want to disappear and it stays in the memory of both our phones. Greer points out, “It doesn’t work the way you think it does.” Omegle is an app that Greer says, “All your children know about.” She explains, “It is like roulette. Anyone chatting will see you on your web cam and you immediately start chatting with whoever is online. They (students) think it is funny. It is super, super dangerous!”

“Sexting is a major issue,” Greer emphasizes, “If you receive or take one of these pictures, it is called Child Porn.” She explains the severity of this action, “The person who created the photo and the person who distributed the photo can potentially serve twenty-five years in Federal Prison. They will be a convicted felon.”

Regarding ‘Technology Tattoos’ which linger into the future she states, “Seventy-seven percent of college admissions’ staff discloses searching social networking sites for potential applicants as part of the admission process. Seventy-five percent of companies surveyed state they also run social networking searches and run the candidate’s name through Google.”

If you are interested in Katie Greer speaking at your school or organization you can reach her at

katie@klgreer.com. She also posts current technology tips on her fb page KL Greer Consulting.

Photo provided by Katie Greer

Recent Articles
» Fill the Boot drive closes yet another successful year
By Staff Writer | Published 08/6/2014 | Health & Family | Unrated

MURPHY (August 4, 2014) Final numbers are not yet in, but expressions of thanks from Murphy Fire Rescue and the cadre of firefighters who manned the Fill the Boot corner are being loudly voiced, according to Fire Chief Mark Lee.

"The boots were definitely filled," he said. "We have not counted all the coins yet because there was so many, but in terms of folding money, we collected $1,649. That alone would make this a rousing success."

Adding the coins could bring the total to a significant amount, and signal a successful return to the Fill the Boot campaign for Murphy Fire Rescue after missing the annual event in 2013.

"We had a small one-year lapse in participation, but we are still very much committed to the cause," he said. The International Association of Fire Fighters and many local firefighter associations and departments have partnered with the National Muscular Dystrophy Association in fund-raising for some 60 years, garnering millions of dollars in the fight against these neuromuscular diseases.

"We are dedicated to assisting our community, as firefighters and as residents, and so we gladly and eagerly do what we can to help," added the Chief. "And, while I have been part of these community fund-raisers and toy drives and other community-based programs for many years, I am always so very gratefully pleased to see the outpouring of generosity."

As is now becoming customary, the kindness of Murphy residents has shown through in the amount of money gathered, and in the many expressions of support the firefighters heard and saw over the three-day campaign. The funds will be combined with other firefighter companies and presented to the MDA during their Labor Day Telethon on behalf of the larger firefighting community.

"In reality, though, we only collected what the community was willing to give, so it’s a gift from the greater community," he said. The unseasonably cool weather was another positive note, giving firefighters a break from the usually oppressive heat of early August.

"All in all, we consider it a success, and we thank the MDA folks for their assistance as well," he concluded.

» Murphy Municipal Development District (MMDD) finalizes Fiscal Year 2015 budget
By Greg Goodwin | Published 08/6/2014 | Local Government | Unrated

A brief meeting was held to discuss and finalize the FY-2015 MMDD budget to be presented to Murphy City Council on August 5, 2014. The meeting was called to order and a quorum was certified. The minutes of the July 14, 2014 Joint City Council and MMDD meeting and the July 14, 2014 Budget Work Session were approved.
At this meeting, items discussed on July 14, 2014 were incorporated into the proposed FY- 2015 budget with a couple of adjustments. These were presented to the board by Kristen Roberts, Director of Economic and Community Development.
· It was noted that the Finance Department projected MMDD revenues for FY- 2015 at $883,600. This is an increase of 2.5% that is reflected across all revenue projections.
· Adjusted was the set dollar amount for Economic Incentives to
$100,000. Discussed was the possible focus of these incentives to be
Murphy Market Place.
· The Promotional Expense line item was adjusted to reflect $25,000 for
appropriate opportunities that become available during the Fiscal Year.
· It was discussed that in consideration of fees waived by the City for
yearly Murphy Chamber of Commerce events, that no additional specific
amount of funding be added at this time.

The formal reading of the City of Murphy’s Budget will be at the August 5,
2014 meeting. The first of two (2) public hearings on the budget is scheduled for August 19, 2014 with a second hearing scheduled for September 2, 2014.

Additional City Budget information can be found on the City of Murphy
website.

» City Council and Murphy Municipal Development District (MMDD) Joint Session
By Greg Goodwin | Published 08/6/2014 | Local Government | Unrated

The meeting was called to order and a quorum was certified for both City
Council and the MMDD.

A presentation was given by Aaron Farmer from The Retail Coach outlining the current status of the retail development study and recommendations. A demonstration of the mapping studies, showing the overall retail area that impacts Murphy indicated that the City attracts people from as far north as Lucas, as far east as eastern Wylie, as far south as Garland and on the west side, Richardson and Plano. The study so far recommends targeting retailers and developers for businesses involving Groceries, Sporting Goods, Dine-in Restaurants, Home Improvements and Clothing. A list of potential targeted businesses to attract to Murphy was presented and discussed.

A continued discussion involved the Economic Development Vision for the City of Murphy. Expressed by several Council and MMDD members was a continued desire to make Murphy a “unique” place to live and work and to look at attracting businesses, services and entertainment that will enhance that vision.

Council and MMDD then held a closed Executive Session. The regular meeting was then reconvened with no action taken. The joint regular session was then adjourned. The City Council and the MMDD then moved to separate meeting rooms for work sessions regarding Financials and FY 14-15 Budget proposals.

Discussions are ongoing with budget approval tentatively scheduled for the
end of August. Fiscal Year (FY) 14-15 budget information will be available on the City of Murphy website.

» Parks and Recreation hears Monarchs for Murphy presentation
By Greg Goodwin | Published 08/6/2014 | Local Government | Unrated

The meeting was called to order and Kim McCranie, Executive Administrative Assistant, certified a quorum.
The first item on the agenda was a call for discussion on planting wildflowers in various areas of City owned parks and open space. Rajesh Jyothiswaran- 728 Ashley Place, approached the city staff and gave a presentation to the board about Monarch butterfly migration. He said we are in the crossroad of the migration path of the Eastern Monarch. With development over the years of migration areas, migration has slowed considerably. Mr. Jyothiswaran inquired about the possibility of planting in certain Central Park areas and other open spaces, butterfly host plants to hopefully increase Murphy as a stopping point along their migration journeys. The board thought this was an idea worth investigating and requested the city staff to look into appropriate areas, care and maintenance costs as well as seasonal considerations. The board members liked the idea of “Butterfly Gardens”, and thanked Mr. Jyothiswaran for an informative presentation.
City Staff presented a Murphy Central Park Playground Shade Structure design and requested P & R Board input. The design consists of geometric canopies of various shapes and sizes suspended on metal poles. The board discussed canopy and pole colors and requested additional information from City staff about expected lifespan, replacement costs and maintenance.
Also discussed was the current state of the Murphy Central Park Learning
Center. Four (4) truckloads of mulch was donated by Raising Canes and
trucked in by Arborilogical Services. Additionally four (4) wood-grain benches have been added as well as an Owl House. The board discussed with staff possible future projects for the Boy Scouts, school field trips and future expansion.
Before deciding on a date(s) for Murphy Trail Connectivity Work Session(s), the board asked the City staff for an updated Master Trail Plan which should include new planning for trails and signage. Also City staff updates on the success of Amphitheater Concert events and the Timbers Nature Preserve projected completion date of May 2015.
The Parks and Recreation Board then approved the April 14, 2014 minutes and adjourned.

» Murphy Community Development Corporation (MCDC) holds a brief meeting
By Greg Goodwin | Published 08/6/2014 | Local Government | Unrated

The MCDC meeting was called to order and Lori Knight of the City Staff
certified a quorum. Individual agenda items were:
· The Regular Meeting Minutes for June, 16 2014 were approved.
· There was a request by City Staff to add an Event Coordinator and
amend the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 budget to include this new position as
well as add to the FY- 2015 budget to be submitted to City Council. In
2013, the City of Murphy held eight (8) community events. In 2014/2015, the City of Murphy has sixteen (16) events scheduled. This increase has necessitated the need for a dedicated staff position.
· A public hearing was held but there were no comments on the MCDC FY- 2015 budget. With minor adjustments, the board approved the FY- 2015 budget to be presented to the City Council for final approval.
· The City Staff updated the MCDC board on the Community Enhancement Grant Program. Outlined were the Approval, Program Guidelines and Application process for eligible applicants. Possible recipients include community service organization projects and community enhancement projects that enhance the quality of life for the residents of the City of Murphy. Initial grants will be in the amount of $2500. Some projects could be eligible for a larger grant with the approval of the MCDC and City Council. The first application deadline will be January 31, 2015. Additional Grant information and the Program Overview will be available on the City of Murphy Website.

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