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Featured Articles
» City Council Approves Zoning Change for Murphy Manors
By Greg Goodwin | Published 11/20/2014 | Local Government | Unrated

At the Regular City Council meeting, November 4, 2014, the roll was called and City Secretary Susie Quinn certified a quorum with all present.

Marv Williams, resident, Exchange Club member and Chamber of Commerce Chairman invited all Veterans to attend the Chamber of Commerce luncheon on November 18, 2014. The first 75 Veterans to register will have their lunch paid for by the City.

Murphy resident Ray Shahan made public comments to Council stating that his open records request is taking too long to process, as almost two months should be plenty of time to know if a record exists or not. He also commented that the Deed Restrictions were not being properly filed by the home builder with Collin County. He asked Council to stop allowing permits for new home building in his neighborhood until the deeds have been properly recorded.

Fire chief Mark Lee presented Community Emergency Resource Team (CERT) graduates Adam Lipmann and Diane Weyandt their graduation certificates. On hand at the presentation were instructor Ken Pietrasiks and course coordinator Ron Hill.

There was a public hearing to consider a request by Bent Trail, LTD requesting a zoning change for Murphy Manors, approximately 10 acres located at 900 N. Murphy Road at the northeast corner of Murphy Road and McMillen Road. Murphy resident Charles Thorpe who owns the north connecting property, told Council he would prefer fencing along his property, at the rear of the proposed homes to be a maximum of six (6) feet. Murphy resident Ray Shahan commented that even with regulated fence standards, making the new homeowners responsible for fencing will create a variance of fence conditions with staggered purchases and fence construction. The developer Curt Welwood answered Council’s questions regarding fencing, setbacks, garages and the proposed fire lane. To address development specifics and details for the residential restrictions of the entire approximate 10 acres, the property must be zoned as a Planned Development District detailing uses and conditions. Council then voted unanimously to approve the zoning change with a maximum six (6) foot fence requirement. This allows the applicant to move forward with submitting final site plans, landscaping plans and construction plat for approval.

The Council then voted unanimously to approve a resolution of the City of Murphy to oppose construction of the private toll road project known as the Northeast Gateway. This resolution is in support of neighboring cities including Wylie, Sachse, Rockwall, Lavon, Josephine, Fate, Rowlett, Royse City, and Princeton that have passed resolutions opposing the toll road. Mayor Eric Barna commented that he doesn’t like to see the Power of Eminent Domain in the hands of the Texas Turnpike Corporation. Being a private corporation there are concerns with their authority and accountability.

Next on the agenda was a request by city manager James Fisher to authorize a License Agreement between the City of Murphy and the Cities of Wylie and Sachse regarding the construction of the South Maxwell Creek Parallel Trunk Sewer Line. This permits Murphy to bore under roads that are owned by the respective cities. Council voted unanimously to approve and this authorizes the city manager to execute said agreements.

Council then voted to ratify Resolution 14-R-808 regarding the power of eminent domain to acquire the necessary portions of properties for sanitary sewer line easements for the South Maxwell Creek Parallel Trunk Sewer Line. This Resolution was previously voted on and approved at the October 21, 2014 City Council meeting.

City Manager James Fisher then updated Council briefly on North Murphy Road Construction stating that the center-lane is near completion and also mentioned Christmas in the Park will be erecting a Christmas tree the same as last year.

Council then held an Executive Session. Upon reconvening into the Regular Session, Council voted to approve a resolution to authorize the use of the Power of Eminent Domain to acquire the necessary portions of property for sidewalk easements on the east side of North Murphy Road (FM 2551) just south of Murphy Municipal Complex and City Hall. The meeting was then adjourned.

» Parks and Recreation Board Considers Master Plan
By Greg Goodwin | Published 11/20/2014 | Local Government | Unrated

At the regular meeting on Nov. 10, 2014, the roll was called and a quorum certified by Kim McCranie.

City Manager James Fisher welcomed and introduced the new Director of Public Services, Bernie Parker. Coming from Keller, TX he is experienced in local government and public works as well as special events in the private sector. Mr. Fisher believes he will be a great asset to the City of Murphy.

Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Owais Siddiqui spoke to the board about the Park, Recreation & Open Space Master Plan. Mentioning that the City Council has budgeted for a community survey/questionnaire next year, he would like the Parks & Recreation (P & R) Board to have some input on the questions and direction the survey takes and help in getting the community engaged in participating in this survey. He also spoke about Murphy’s plan for future multipurpose activity fields and to consider Lacrosse as well as Cricket fields. He stated he has received community input requesting to add these facilities and he believes these would help to serve Murphy’s diverse population. Mentioned also was the desire to continue to be innovative in the programs that Murphy offers, as a possible example, Astronomy in the Park. He would like Murphy to be known not only as having great parks but great programs also.

On the individual Agenda, the Board approved the minutes from the October 13, 2014 Parks & Recreation meeting. The Board then discussed the Master Plan Goals and Objectives specific to Recreation. On August 12, 2013, the Park and Recreation Board was presented with the first draft of master plan goals and objectives for review and consideration. City Staff would like to verify they are still in line with the overall direction and vision for recreation and special events within the Parks and Recreation Department. The Board discussed a few changes in the Goals and Objectives specific to Recreation document wording, their overall list order, and a suggestion was made to determine a way to track and measure progress on these goals and objectives. No action was taken at this time.

Next on the Agenda was a discussion of the Parks & Recreation & Open Spaces Master Plan. City Manager James Fisher stated that this Master Plan document will be available to the community as a road map to see where the city is going, where we are currently, what has been accomplished and what still needs to be done as well as how we are going to get there.

Mentioned was the need for some further revision and to prioritize projects before presenting this Plan to the public and having public hearings for community input from our citizens and then be able to finalize the Plan. Decided was that the Board would review this on their own as well as discuss as a Board and address with the city staff again in January of 2015.

The Board then voted to cancel the December 8, 2015 meeting due to the approaching holidays, prior commitments and no pressing agenda items. The Board requested city staff to look into the alternative field (Lacrosse & Cricket) requirements and scheduling for future consideration and discussion.

City Manager James Fisher then updated the Board on the Christmas in the Park event with everything being on track, and the Timbers Nature Preserve development progressing well. The meeting was then adjourned.

» City Of Murphy Native Demonstration Garden
By Karen Chaney | Published 11/20/2014 | Around Town | Unrated

On a picture perfect early fall day Saturday the first of November, volunteers and City of Murphy employees joined real dirt moving shovels, not gold handled just for photo op shovels for a literal ground breaking of the City of Murphy Native Demonstration Garden.

Candy McQuiston, City of Murphy Customer Service Manager explains that the garden’s location, in front of the new Murphy Animal Shelter (209 N. Murphy Road, behind the Murphy Community Center) was chosen because, “At this time, there is no landscape included at the building.” Additional locale rationale provided by McQuiston, “The animal shelter is located in close proximity to the Murphy Community Center. This is where a variety of classes of different types are held for the public. This would afford us the opportunity to add educational classes into the current curriculum that could utilize the native plant area for teaching residents the benefits of planting native plants in their own landscapes, not only for water conservation, but also for various environmental reasons including habitats for bees, butterflies, etc. This would also provide much needed visual appeal for the new animal shelter as the current building is lacking curb appeal. The project’s success will be measured by the amount of education that can be provided to the public in the use of native plants for landscaping as well as by the amount of volunteer support that is received for the project.”

“A grant from Native Garden Grants Program from Keep America Beautiful allowed the City to partner with Lowe’s in providing support and materials to create and maintain the native plant demonstration garden. The grant included a $600 gift card to Lowe’s and $500 in maintenance assistance, a variety of gardening material and additional support from Keep Texas Beautiful.” (News Release, October 20, 2014)

Now that the City of Murphy Native Demonstration Garden has been planted volunteers are still needed. McQuiston tells how you can get involved, “Keep Murphy Beautiful plans to partner with the City of Murphy Parks Department and the Murphy Middle School Environmental Club for the ongoing maintenance of the native plant demonstration area. The Parks Department currently maintains the landscaping at the other buildings around this area and has agreed to add this to their responsibilities. We will also enlist the help of the environmental club during the fall and winter to cut back perennials and prune trees as needed in order to provide education on the proper way to maintain these kinds of plantings. We would also hope to implement Adopt a Spot Program similar to the Adopt a Street Program for the local community organizations to be involved with the maintenance and clean-up of the garden area.”

McQuiton gratefully says, “We appreciate everyone who took time out of there busy Saturday to come out and help. The Native Plant Society of Texas (Collin County Chapter) helped with the design and recommendation of plants (as a courtesy). Here is a list of what has been planted in this garden: Desert Willow, Mexican Plum, Eisenhardtia, Possum Haw Holly, Maxmilian Sunflower, Turks Cap, Button Brush, Giant Coneflower, Obedient Plant, Frog Fruit, Coral Honeysuckle, Texas Sage, Four-Nerve Daisy, Skull Cap, Verbena, Dwarf Ruellia, Yarrow, Wine Cups, Yucca, Agave, Bear Grass, Wedelia, Penstemon, Greg’s Blue Mistflower, Gregg’s Salvia, Mealy Blue Sage, Coneflowers and Blue eyed grass.

» A gift that will make a difference – A donation to the Kyle Kucauskas Scholarship Foundation
By Staff Writer | Published 11/20/2014 | Education | Unrated

Sergeant Kyle Kucauskas worked for the Murphy Police Department for over 10 years serving as a patrolman, detective and sergeant. He also served as the city’s Crime Prevention Officer when the department was housed in a trailer behind what is now the Murphy Community Center. In addition to his regular duties, Sgt. Kyle was instrumental in the establishment of the Volunteers in Policing (VIP) and Citizens on Patrol (COP) programs in Murphy. Kyle passed away in March 2013. He was known as a person to always go the extra mile for his family, his friends, his coworkers, his department, and the citizens of Murphy.

In his honor, a scholarship foundation has been established to further the education of high school seniors who wish to enter the field of law enforcement. During Maize Days, the one mile Fun Run has been renamed “The Mile for Kyle” in honor of his service to the city. A portion of the proceeds from that race will be donated to the scholarship foundation. However, we can still use your help.

If you would like to make a contribution to this worthy cause to honor Kyle, please send a check, made out to ”Kyle Kucauskas Scholarship Foundation” and mail it to the Murphy Police Department, 206 N. Murphy Road, Murphy, TX 75094. If you wish to arrange for an alternate donation method, please contact John Daugherty at

john@pentexadvisors.com. We will try to accommodate your request. At this time, we are working on tax-exempt status with the IRS. Therefore, if you wish to delay your donation until 2015, in order to take advantage of the deduction, we certainly understand. Thank you for your support. If you would like to make a donation as a gift in someone’s name, please let us know and we will notify that person in writing.

» Burglar Alarms: Dangerously Funny
By Staff Writer | Published 11/20/2014 | Smiles | Unrated

Burglar alarms may be hazardous to your health, even if you’re not a home invader. Just ask Murphy resident Diana Estill, whose newly released humor book, Idiots and Children, documents her unexpected 3:00 a.m. encounter with Murphy PD. The officers’ visit, instigated by a lightning strike and a faulty alarm system, ignites a story that is both cautionary and hilarious.

“When Lightning Strikes, You’d Better Answer” is one of twenty-four humor essays included in

Idiots and Children: Slightly Off-Kilter Tales of Family, Food, and Firearms. In this latest collection of stories, Estill also takes on gun toting Target shoppers (“If you feel unsafe enough to pack a shotgun for your trip to purchase pork rinds, then maybe you ought to stay home and shoot your own snacks.”), would-be Mars travelers, Food Network hosts, and other pop culture subjects.

Idiots and Children

(Corncob Press), Estill’s fifth book of humor essays, is available now in eBook and paperback formats from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, and other online retailers. To read a sample chapter or learn more, visit http://idiotsandchildren.com.

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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