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contents

October 2012

Vol. 22, Issue 10

cover story

58 Alex Yarbrough and Baseball add up to success

This spring, at the end of his junior year at Ole Miss, Allen’s own Alex Yarbrough was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels­—a result of determination and talent, along with years of practice. by Peggy Helmick-Richardson

feature

58

22 Mothers and daughters give back

The league focuses on community service, leadership and cultural experiences, and provides a place where mothers and daughters can work together to better their community and themselves. by NIcole Bywater

special sections

22

24 kids korner

Halloween fun for the whole family by Deborah Dove

40 interiors/outdoor spaces

Designed by history by Dawn Bluemel Oldfield

46 calendar

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65 pet page 66 people seen


contents departments civic forum 10

Remembrance Rescue Project

Allen Image publisher/editor Barbara Peavy

office administrator Carrie McCormick

by Kathleen Vaught

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11 12

Think Pink!

advertising sales

by Jeff Mues

Jill Edelman

Allen’s Community Theatre

Joy Dickschat

by Kathleen Vaught

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20

All dressed up and somewhere to go by Heather Bass

Heather Bass

16

October Chills Film Festival

Nicole Bywater

Scooby Dooby Doo!

18

Keeping Allen safer

Allen students kick off new era

library 19

ALLen Reads hosts Henry Cole by Tom Keener

20 Bootleggin’ by Tom Keener

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education 26

Deborah Dove Tom Keener Jeff Mues Dawn Bluemel Oldfield Peggy Helmick-Richardson Keith A. Taylor Marjorie Vaneskahian Kathleen Vaught

cover photo Larry Fleming

by Keith A. Taylor

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Ignorance is expensive

helping hands 34

Sprinting into fall by Marjorie Vaneskahian

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Heather Darrow

Teachers “flip” over new concept

by Heather Darrow

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contributing writers

travel 36

Fall fun in Fredericksburg by Deborah Dove

Allen Image © 2012 by Moonlight Graphics. All rights reserved. Allen Image is published by Moonlight Graphics and individually mailed free of charge to the residents of the Allen area. Subscriptions are available to residents outside the delivery area at a rate of $2.50 per issue—$30 per year. Subscription and editorial correspondence should be sent to: Allen Image, P.O. Box 132, Allen, TX 75013, 972.727.4569, fax 972.396.0807 or visit our website at www.allenimage. com.


civic forum

Everyone in America remembers where they were and what they were doing on September 11, 2001. For rescue personnel across the country, the date holds a pronounced weight due to the numbers of emergency workers lost, as well as the incalculable numbers who provided rescue efforts in the days, weeks and months that followed. About the time of the tenth anniversary of the attacks, a group of firefighters purchased elite rescue trucks that were at ground zero

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playing vital roles in the immediate post-attack rescue efforts. These trucks were decommissioned from the New York Fire Department and have now been equipped as part of the Remembrance Rescue Project to be used as living memorials to educate, honor and remember the events of 9/11 and all firefighters killed in the line of duty throughout the country every year. As a non-profit, fully volunteer organization, the Remembrance Rescue Project works with fire departments and firefighter associations across the country to host and coordinate 9/11 educational

programs, memorials and remem­ brance events. The educational efforts are especially focused toward those who were too young to fully understand the events of 9/11 and strive to keep the memories alive of those lost that day and all of the firefighters killed in the line of duty every year. Over the next few months, the Allen Fire Department and Fire Station 5, in cooperation with the Allen Firefighters Association, will serve as “home base” for Rescue 4— one of the rescue trucks that was at ground zero. Here are just a few of the upcoming events planned for our area: The Allen Americans preseason game on October 13 from 4 p.m. until game start; the Allen Eagles Varsity Football game on October 19 (times TBD); and an Allen Americans regular season game on November 2 from 4 p.m. until game start. These events and times are subject to change, so make sure to check their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ rescueremembranceTexas for detailed program information or you can visit www.AllenFire.org. If your organization would like more information on scheduling Rescue 4, please contact Ben Hardy at ben@affa3453.com or Jeremy Painkin at Jeremy@affa3453.com. v Kathleen Vaught is the senior marketing specialist for the City of Allen.


Think Pink! by Jeff Mues

In 1991, 119 women in the U.S. died of breast cancer every day. Today, that figure has reduced to 110. The small improvement over the past 20 plus years is likely the result of increased awareness, leading to early detection and more treatment options. Yet breast cancer still affects one in eight women and remains the leading cancer killer among women ages 20 to 59 with more than 1.4 million new cases diagnosed annually worldwide. While awareness is up, campaigns to educate the public and to raise support for breast care services and research are clearly needed. Allen Community Ice Rink (ACIR) is pleased to lend its support this October. In conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, ACIR is hosting the second annual Pinktoberfest Women’s Ice Hockey Tournament October 12-14. The Pinktoberfest Women’s Ice Hockey Tournament will match teams of female hockey players in two divisions—recreational and competitive—against each other. The tournament is sanctioned by USA

Hockey, with each team playing a minimum of four games. In total, there will be more than 15 fiercely competitive matches. A portion of the tournament proceeds will benefit the Breast Center at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen—a facility that provides comprehensive breast care services, including more than 8,000 screening and diagnostic procedures annually. The Breast Center is the recipient of a 2011 Susan G. Komen Grant, which provides clinical breast exams,

screening mammograms and breast health education to uninsured individuals in Collin County. In addition to the efforts to support Breast Awareness Month, the event also provides a boost to the economy. Last year two teams travelled to Allen from out of state, staying in Allen hotels, and Allen Community Ice Rink hopes to grow that number this year. All teams are provided discounts to local restaurants and retailers, encouraging entertainment dollars to be spent in Allen. In addition to the hockey com­ petition, a special Pink Pumpkin Decorating event will be held at Allen Community Ice Rink on Saturday, October 13 and the Allen Americans will again be lending their support during their October home games. To learn more, visit allenparks.org or contact Kendall Hanley, the Allen Community Ice Rink Director of Ice Hockey Programs, directly by phone at 972.912.1074 or by email at khanley@ alleneventcenter.com. v Jeff Mues is a senior marketing coordinator with the Allen Event Center and Allen Parks & Recreation Department.

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Allen’s Community Theatre kicks off their second season by Kathleen Vaught

To begin its second full season of shows, Allen’s Community Theatre (ACT) wants to remind you to “Tengo Famiglia” (support your family) and make you laugh along the way. Over the River and Through the Woods by Joe DiPietro is a comedy all about family, especially the special bond we have with our grandparents. Performances will be at The Harvest on October 12, 13, 19 and 20 at 8 p.m. Gena Graham, ACT Board President, is directing. Set in New Jersey, the play offers a glimpse into the life of Nick (played by Jeremy Stein) and both sets of his devoted grandparents. Nick is an ItalianAmerican who, even though his parents have retired and moved away, still sees his grandparents every Sunday for dinner. For Frank (played by Alex Coulonge) and Aida (played by Jayne Anderson), his maternal grandparents, and Nunzio (played by Matt Gunther) and Emma (played by Karen Jordan), on his father’s side, this routine means more than just a meal. It is the foundation of their heritage. Then the day comes when Nick must announce that he has been offered his dream job, which happens to be on the other side of the country and nearly 3,000 miles away. His grandparents don’t 1 2 w w w. a l l e n i m a g e . c o m

take the news very well and scheme ways to keep Nick around, including setting him up on a blind date with Caitlin O’Hare (Rebekah Mellilo). No matter where you’re from, ACT promises that Over the River and Through the Woods will make you laugh until you cry and reminisce about all of the special times you’ve shared with your family. The show runs Fridays and Saturdays, October 12-13 and 19-20 at The Harvest, 700 Rivercrest Drive in Allen. Curtain goes up at 8 p.m. and ticket prices are $15 adults/$10 students. To make a reservation, please contact allenscommunitytheatre@ gmail.com or visit www. AllensCommunityTheatre.net. Allen’s Community Theatre is a non-profit member of the Allen Arts Alliance and dedicated to putting the community onstage. ACT’s mission is to entertain, enjoy and spread the art of drama. They want to include anyone interested in any aspect of theatre—from building sets to performing on stage! During off-production months, there are still many ways to be involved, including improv night and beginning acting groups. ACT recently released its new donor level opportunities! Contact allenscommunitytheatre@gmail.com for more information or you may visit them at www. AllensCommunityTheatre.net or log onto www. facebook.com/Allen’sCommunityTheatre. v Kathleen Vaught is the senior marketing specialist for the City of Allen.


IN THE PAST to get a sleep study diagnosis, you had to visit your primary care physician, who would refer you to an ENT, who might suggest surgery or a sleep specialist, who would then, refer you for an “in lab” study. After all that, you would be turned to a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) device to use at night. The CPAP basically blows air down your throat to splint your airway open, in hopes of reducing snoring. Many find this mask difficult or impossible to tolerate, but now a com­ pletely new approach has entered the sleep study arena. Simple Sleep Services, located at 6101 Chapel Hill, near Willow Bend Mall, has taken this process and made it more convenient and comfortable than other sleep studies, by streamlining and making it easier on the patient. At Simple Sleep Services, the testing is done in the comfort of your own home by wearing a soft headband with a small

recording device. You take it home and sleep in your own bed. Then simply bring it back to the office and the medical director, a board-certified sleep physician, interprets the test results and contacts you with a diagnosis. The therapy and devices have been around for a while, but Simple Sleep Services is the first to streamline the process, making it an all around easier experience for the patient. In 2006, the American Association of Sleep Medicine recommended the oral device Simple Sleep Services provides as a first line therapy for snoring, mild and moderate sleep apnea and second line therapy for severe sleep apnea when patients fail or refuse a CPAP mask. Frisco residents Michael and Lesa Swimelar, decided years ago the best way to get rest was to sleep in separate rooms. Michael’s loud snoring had become such a disturbance he eventually retreated to the guest room without even being asked.

The couple knew about sleep studies and the CPAP mask, but knew this was not an option. “There was no way in the world I was going to wear a mask”, Michael said. Then they learned how Simple Sleep Services is changing the way sleep issues, such as snoring and sleep apnea, are being diagnosed and treated. “When I realized there were alternatives, I checked it out. I wanted to get my life and wife back.” The charming staff, spa like atmosphere, and innovative treatment made it an easy decision. “I was most impressed by how they included me in the process. They didn’t just want Michael’s feedback on his progress. They treated the problem as a family one”, said Lesa. Michael’s diagnosis was not apnea, but rather a bad case of snoring corrected with the oral appliance from Simple Sleep Services. For Bobby Barajas, however, it wasn’t just loud snoring, but he also suffered from sleep apnea. He woke several times in the night, and was lethargic during the day. “It has been an unbelievable experience from the first night I started using the sleep device. I had more energy during the day and a better attitude.” If you are wondering if this is an affordable solution, the answer is absolutely. Simple Sleep Services works with all private insurance companies including Blue Cross/Blue Shield, United, Aetna, Cigna, Humana and others. They are a Medicare approved facility and accept Medicare for their services. Simple Sleep Services also offers affordable and convenient payment options including interest free financing. Whether you’re looking to restore harmony in the bedroom or worried about sleep apnea, Simple Sleep Services is the streamlined solution for diagnosis and treatment. To read more success stories or set up your consultation, visit www. simplesleepservices.com or call 469685-1700. A good night’s sleep shouldn’t be work. It’s Simple.


All dressed up and somewhere to go… …the 3rd Annual Give a Dog a Home Gala

by Heather Bass What do birds, fish, cougars and dresses have in common? They will all be at the 3rd Annual Give a Dog a Home Gala being held at the Dallas World Aquarium! Join the Collin County Humane Society (non profit animal rescue organization) on October 13, at 6 p.m. and take a journey through the jungle while being served drinks and appetizers. Hear steel drums echo through the trees while jellyfish and sharks hypnotize you. Following the cocktail hour is a seated three-course dinner, live auction and award presentation to the Texas Humane Legislative Network for their work in helping to improve the care for animals in the Texas. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the Gala will go towards CCHS’s efforts to build an adoption facility in August 2015.

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Currently CCHS is dedicated to helping save dogs who are scheduled to be put to sleep at local shelters, those abused or neglected or whose families can no longer provide for them. CCHS operates through foster homes (the dogs and puppies in their program are all kept in a home until they are adopted). According to Molly Peterson, President/Director of the Collin County Humane Society, “Animal intake is at an all time high. With North Texas growing exponentially, services for the people are growing, but what about the animals?” Peterson goes on to say, “We need more facilities with the capacity to help the animals and that is what CCHS plans to do.”


The Give a Dog a Home Gala will help raise money for the CCHS Adoption Facility. The building design was created by Hinajosa Architectural and Interior Design (the architectural firm that designed the SPCA of Dallas location that opened in 2011). “The CCHS facility was designed with the community and animals in mind,” says Peterson. “We wanted to move from the traditional dark and dreary shelter and evolve into a place where people want to go.” The facility will have services open to the public such as grooming, boarding, veterinarian and a dog park, which will help to bring people in to see the animals while utilizing the animal services within the facility. Peterson adds, “The 2015 start date is a goal, but without funding, we will not be able to break ground.“ CCHS is seeking sponsors for the gala and items for the live auction and silent auctions to help bring in donations to build the adoption facility. These items can be anything from gift cards to gift baskets or weekend stays at vacation homes and beyond. If you would like to attend, sponsor or donate to their cause, please visit www.CollinCountyHumaneSociety.org for more information. v Heather Bass is the CCHS fundraising coordinator.

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Snippets October Chills Film Festival All films begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays at the Allen Public Library, 300 N. Allen Drive. For information, 214.509.4905. October 2—Carrie (1976), starring Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie and Amy Irving. A mousy and abused girl with telekinetic powers gets pushed too far on one special night at her high school.

Celebrate Arbor Day Since its first observance in 1885, Arbor Day has evolved into an event celebrated across the country. It is a day for people and communities to plant trees, to care for them and to learn about their value. Trees provide shade and oxygen, protection from the wind and give us such products as chewing gum, crayons, soap, shatterproof glass, suntan lotion, cork, dyes, life-saving drugs, writing paper, syrup, perfume, pencils, firewood, building materials and much more. Not to mention, trees are beautiful! Allen celebrates Arbor Day on Saturday, October 27, from 9 a.m. to noon at Bethany Lakes Park. Festivities will include demonstrations, educational exhibits, kids’ crafts and special appearances. Attendees will also be able to bring a tree sapling home for planting. Saplings, which are very immature trees, are ideal for planting, as compared to seedlings, which are vulnerable to physical damage and disease. Supplies will be limited and are subject to availability.

October 9—The Shining (1980), starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall and Danny Lloyd. A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future. October 16—Christine (1983), starring Keith Gordon, John Stockwell and Alexandra Paul. A nerdish boy buys a strange car with an evil mind of its own and his nature starts to change to reflect it. October 23—The Dead Zone (1983), starring Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams and Tom Skerritt. A man awakens from a coma to discover he has a psychic detective ability. October 30—Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959). In this Ed Woods sci-fi classic, aliens resurrect dead humans as zombies and vampires to stop human kind from creating the Solaranite.

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The City of Allen has earned the National Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA designation every year since 2002. The exciting events of Arbor Day 2012 will help the city to achieve this designation again in 2013. To learn more, visit allenparks.org.


Snippets Keeping Allen safer Block parties, neighborhood barbecues and front yard get-togethers are not just great ways to get to know your neighbors, they are also key tools in keeping Allen safe from crime. As part of the National Night Out (NNO) program, many Allen neighborhoods have partnered with the Allen Police Department in organizing events for Tuesday, October 2. NNO events have been around for nearly 30 years and are designed to heighten crime/drug prevention awareness; generate participation in local anticrime programs; strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and send a strong message to criminals letting them know that our neighborhoods are organized and fighting back. Earlier this year, the Allen Police Department launched the Project C.L.E.A.N. initiative (Citizens and Law Enforcement in Allen Neighborhoods) to help Allen achieve its goal of “safest city in America.” Neighborhoods that have registered their event with the Allen Police Department will have the opportunity to meet officers and learn vital information on ways to “See it! Hear it! Report it!” To find out if your neighborhood has an event planned, you can check with Sergeant Jon Felty of the Community Relations Unit at jfelty@cityofallen.org. Or better yet—ask your neighbor! v

Allen students help kick-off new era for CWD To celebrate the unveiling of five new compressed natural gas (CNG) recycling trucks being deployed by Community Waste Disposal, Keep Allen Beautiful (KAB) organized a sculpture contest with Allen ISD students. The winning recycled truck sculpture, created as a team effort by Mason Kretiv and Jason Burke, was announced at the official vehicle deployment ceremony on August 15 at the Trinity River Audubon Center in Dallas. The winning student contest entry was selected by representatives of Keep America Beautiful and Keep Texas Beautiful. Student finalists received a rare, extended tour of the Trinity River Audubon Center. In addition to the tour, both students of the winning entry received tickets to an upcoming Allen Americans hockey game courtesy of CWD. CNG-fueled trucks help cut greenhouse gas emissions by about 25%, equivalent to the removal of approximately 370 diesel fueled trucks from the road every day in the DFW metroplex, and are much less expensive to operate over the truck’s lifetime. As a CWD participating city, Allen will initially have one dedicated roll-off CNG truck for commercial pickup. In the near future, Allen residents should also see a CNG side-load truck servicing area routes. If you would like to learn more about Keep Allen Beautiful programs, please visit www. KeepAllenBeautiful.com. v

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library

ALLen Reads hosts Henry Cole by Tom Keener

Kick off this year’s ALLen Reads by meeting author and illustrator Henry Cole at 2 p.m., Saturday, October 13, at the Allen Public Library. Cole’s A Nest for Celeste is one of this year’s ALLen Reads selections. In his critically acclaimed, A Nest for Celeste, Cole combines fantasy and natural history by using animal characters and a pristine physical environment to offer an enchanting story. Released in 2010, A Nest for Celeste illuminates the life and works of John James Audubon through the story of Celeste, a mouse who, while looking for a place to call home, makes friends with Audubon’s young apprentice. Amazon.com featured A Nest for Celeste as a Best Book of the Month and the Publisher’s Weekly stated, “Evocative illustrations, compelling characters, and thoughtful reflections on the nature of home combine to powerful effect.” An illustrator of more than ninety books, several of Cole’s deserve special mention. The Leprechaun’s Gold by Pamela Duncan Edwards was a New York Times bestseller, and he collaborated with Julie Andrews to illustrate Little Bo, which became a national bestseller. When asked to describe Julie Andrews, Cole enthuses, “She is Maria Von Trapp—super kind and super gracious and super lovely.” Cole’s books explore the themes of tolerance, acceptance, addressing fears, empowerment and connecting. He traces his philosophy to an aunt who visited his home when he was five. When she noticed a spider crawling on the kitchen floor, she placed it in an envelope and took it outside to give it a new home in the bushes. “She could

have killed it but elected to connect to it and permit it to have a chance at life,” Cole recalls. Learning this valuable lesson by example rather than ver­­­­b al instruction later influenced his highly acclaimed creations. A Real Bookstore will be at the library with books for purchase. Call 214.509.4911 for more information. v Tom Keener is the cultural arts manager with the Allen Public Library.

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Bootleggin’ by Tom Keener During Prohibition, when some­ one knocked at the back door in the dark of night, no one yelled out, “Who’s there?” The caller’s identity and purpose were already known. When liquor was delivered in exchange for money, silence was the unwritten code. Even though boot ­ legging and moonshine production were sometimes turbulent forces in the underground economy, they were also major sources of revenue for the grain farmer and the distiller. The recently released and critically acclaimed movie Lawless, directed by John Hillcoat and starring Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Jessica Chastian, tells the story of a massive liquor

bootlegging business during the Prohibition Era. The film is based on the book, The Wettest County in The World by Matt Bondurant. This author will speak at the Allen Public Library 7:30 pm, Thursday, October 11. In his book, Bondurant describes his grandfather and great uncles’ bootlegging business in Franklin

County, Virginia. Typical of moon­ shining operations throughout the South, the law wanted their cut of the revenue, and turf wars became bloody, even within families. Working with only small fragments of information from family members, Bondurant researched newspaper archives and court records but found he had insufficient data to write a work of nonfiction. As a novelist, he filled in the gaps. John Hillcoat, who also directed The Road and The Proposition, noted about Bondurant, “What a great writer. I loved the dialogue.” Bondurant observes about the stars, “It’s a dream cast. I’m lucky they tried to stay true to the spirit of the book and the three brothers the way that they did. It’s all been munificence piled upon me, wonderful gifts handed to me. I’m blessed in that way.” Raised in Alexandria, Virginia, Bondurant is a literature and creative writing professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. Bondurant’s other two novels are The Night Swimmer and The Third Translation. Sponsored by Bach to Books, this program is free. The Allen Public Library is located at 300 N. Allen. Dr. For information, call 214.509.4911. v Tom Keener is the cultural arts manager with the Allen Public Library.

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feature

Mothers and daughters give back by Nicole Bywater By starting a local chapter of the National Charity League, three friends are establishing a tradition of service and sisterhood. When it comes to teenage girls, you either learn to work with them, or you’re going to work against them, advises Lisa LeBlanc, mother to two girls, ages 14 and 17, and a 7-year-old son. With the goal of ‘working together’ with their daughters, Lisa joined with two of her friends, Dana Pickle and Lori Ruppman, last year to create an Allen chapter of the National Charity League, a mother-daughter service organization. The league focuses on three pillars: community service, leadership and cultural experiences, and provides a place where mothers and daughters can work together to better their community and themselves. “To be honest, when I agreed to get this chapter started, I thought I was doing it for my girls,” Lisa says of daughters, Kate and Natalie. “I think we all thought that this would be a fun activity to do with our daughters. But

we really didn’t realize that we would get to meet and work alongside so many amazing people.”

Over 2800 hours of service

In just their first year, the chapter has performed over 2800 hours of community service, assisting 12 organizations in and around Allen. “We love the philanthropy part of this and our board aims at really serving the Allen community,” says Dana, who is the chapter president and mother to 14-year-old Sarah. “We want the community to know what we’re doing and that if they need help, that’s what we’re here for.” At Allen Community Outreach, the group helps with Meals on Wheels, the food pantry, resale shop and at special events. “It’s always helpful to have groups that you can go to on a regular basis with anything you need help with,” says Marjorie Vaneskahian, ACO’s Director of Volunteer Services. “They come in and really get the job done. But I think what’s really special about them is that the moms and daughters are volunteering together. These moms are such good role models for their daughters. They’re also promoting volunteer work, which is important because these girls are our future volunteers.” At Boyd Elementary, the league collected items for the school’s holiday store, reorganized the library, hosted a week of the summer lunch program, worked with L to R: Isabella Panko, Diana Panko, Kaylie Ruppman, Lori Ruppman, Kate LeBlanc, Natalie LeBlanc, students in the Study Lisa LeBlanc, Jordon Smith, Linda Smith, Jenson Smith, Dana Pickle, Sarah Pickle, Kelsey Riegel, Suzanne Buddy program and Riegel, Hannah Riegel, Debbie Verges, Annie Allen, Mackenzie Voorhies, Kim Voorhies, Emma Voorhies helped teachers get

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their classrooms and hallways ready for the new school year. “Boyd feels very fortunate that we’re one of the first partnerships that NCL has chosen to work with,” says Susan Oliver, the school’s care coordinator. “We’re especially grateful for volunteers from outside organizations because so many of our parents are working during the day and unable to volunteer during that time.” Last fall, after finding out that some of the students were coming to school dressed in shorts during cold weather, the League hosted a blue jean drive. This year, they’re hosting a Kleenex drive because the teachers have said that Kleenex is the one school supply they always seem to run out of mid-year. It’s these jobs—both big and small— L to R: Sarah Allen, Katherine Allen, Isabella Panko, Rachel Frick, Blake Vilven, Kate done on a consistent basis that really help LeBlanc, Kaylie Ruppman, Emma Voorhies, Mackenzie Voorhies, Megan Schonberg improve the school, Susan says. “When an was,” Dana explains. “My sister and best friend in Houston organization does something, it’s not necessarily about are part of it, so Lori and I talked to Lisa about it and we the money spent or how grand the gesture is. It’s all the contacted the national office to see what the steps were to little things together that help add up to a successful start a chapter.” school year.” After finding several like-minded women, they Other philanthropic causes taken on by the group created the chapter in 2011. Following a probationary time include: The Belmont at Twin Creeks senior center, the period, the group should be officially chartered in Allen Heritage Guild, The Heard Natural Science Museum February 2013. Members must reside or attend school in and Wildlife Sanctuary, and Operation Homefront. Allen or Lovejoy, with daughters in the seventh through Members are required to work a minimum number of twelfth grade. hours, but many exceed those requirements. The organization is similar to the Young Men’s Service “Of course, there are times that you wake up early on a League, a mother-son nonprofit, which was founded in weekend and think ‘I don’t really want to get up and dig Plano in 2001. weeds at the Heard Museum,’ but then you get up and do Within NCL, mothers are known as patronesses and it and you have such a great time,” Lisa says. “Even just daughters are known as ticktockers. The nicknames are driving there with our daughters is a time that they part of a tradition that began with the League’s creation in otherwise might not be spending with you. And I don’t Los Angeles in 1925. Continuing this tradition of sisterhood think we’ve ever done a service project where they haven’t and sorority is still important to today’s chapter founders. left saying, ‘Whoa, that was so much fun.’” “We live in such a fast-paced world that sometimes The daughters nod in agreement. But in addition to you don’t have those meaningful interactions with people having fun, being part of the council has opened their eyes that you wish you could,” Lisa says. “But you get to know to the plight of those around them in need. “There are people so much better when you’re working on something people living below the poverty level right here in our you have a passion about. That’s what’s been the most community,” Natalie says. “You don’t have to pay rewarding to me.” thousands of dollars to go to Africa to help people. There’s For Dana, the league is about fulfilling a promise and plenty of work that needs to be done here at home.” showcasing the importance of giving back. “It’s always nice to think ‘Oh, my daughter and I will get out and we’ll do charity work’ but then you don’t ever Before starting their chapter, long-time friends Dana, really do it,” says Dana, mother to 14-year-old Sarah. “With Lori and Lisa knew about the National Charity League this, the dates are set up and it’s on your calendar. It allows because of other friends and family members who are you to do the things you really mean to do.” v involved with the group in various cities. “It was really Lori who pushed things along because her sister is Nicole Bywater is a freelance writer from Allen. involved in Plano and she saw what a great program it

Getting started

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kids korner

Halloween fun for the whole family By Deborah Dove

Yesterland Farm

15410 I-20, Canton (near Trade Days) or visit yesterlandfarm.com October through November 11—Have some old-fashioned family fun at this Canton farm where picking a pumpkin is only the beginning. The admission fee of $10 per person includes a three-acre corn maze, wagon train rides, a giant slide, a petting zoo with a donkey, goats, rabbits, pigs, ponies, llama and more, rubber duck races, dress the scarecrow relays,and a mini Western play town. There’s even a pumpkin launcher and corn cannon. Pack a picnic to enjoy under the picnic pavilion or purchase traditional fair-type goodies such as fresh roasted corn, sausage on a stick, hot dogs, kettle corn, fresh squeezed lemonade, old-fashioned soda (sarsaparilla anyone?) and deep fried marshmallows with chocolate sauce. There is also an assortment of small carnival type rides that cost about $2 each (or unlimited rides $15) as well as pony rides for $5. Pumpkins are priced at 50 cents per pound. During October the farm is open from 10-10 on Saturdays and noon to 6 on Sundays, so bring the older kids (plus flashlights and glow sticks) for after dark fun in the flashlight maze.

Trek or Treat/Fall Family Festival at Watters Creek

Watters Creek at Bethany & I-75 in Allen or www.watterscreek.com October 27—This family-friendly event kicks off at 8 a.m. with the third annual Trek-or-Treat 5K run or walk followed by lots of family fun, including hay rides, trick or treating and a showing of the movie Despicable Me on a huge outdoor screen on the Village green at dusk (bring a blanket). At 2 p.m. the Allen High Noon Lions will hold their 2012 Duck Derby, where 3,000 numbered plastic ducks (can be “adopted” for a fee that benefits local charities) are placed in the Watters Creek waterway for a chance to win $100,000. Ducks can be adopted for $5 each or in packages (a quack pack is $20 for five ducks) on the Watters Creek website.

Celina’s Big Orange Pumpkin Farm

5518 County Road #126, Celina (visit www.bigorangepumpkinfarm. com for directions) Daily throughout October (hours: M-F 9-6; Sat. 10-6 and Sun. 12-6)—This perennial fall favorite gives kids a taste of the country and provides parents with great photo opportunities. The weekday admission fee of $8 per person includes a small pumpkin you choose from the pumpkin patch (a real one with pumpkin vines and green pumpkins still on the vine), feed for the farm animals in the petting zoo, a hay ride and other farm activities such as a new 2-acre hay maze, spider hay bale to climb and a goat bridge. Weekend rates are the same but include a hot dog instead of a small pumpkin. Larger pumpkins are also available for purchase.

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Pumpkins on the Prairie

Southeast corner of Main and Teel in Frisco (Grace Avenue United Methodist Church) September 9 through October 28—Pick out the perfect pumpkin then let the kids enjoy the bounce house, a hay maze, hay rides, tattoos and games in the “kids’ patch.” Special events are held throughout the month on weekends, including Movie Nights on October 12 (The Great Pumpkin) and 26 (movie TBD) plus face painting and pumpkin launching with a catapult every weekend. Parking, admission and games are free.

Family Night Camp-Out and Movie Bethany Lakes Park (register at Joe Farmer, Don Rodenbaugh Natatorium or online at www.cityofallen.org) Saturday, October 27 at 3 p.m. thru Sunday, October 28 at 9 a.m.— Families can experience the fun of camping out without leaving Allen as they camp out under the stars at Bethany Lakes Park and enjoy tradition camp activities, trick or treating from tent to tent and the park’s amenities such as the playground, ponds and trails. At dusk, families can head to the amphitheater for a movie. Cost is $5 per person with a $30 family cap.

Halloween at the Heard

Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary, 1 Nature Place, McKinney October 20, 6-10 p.m.—Kids can arrive in costume, watch a movie on the outdoor amphitheater stage, walk through the outdoor Animals of the World exhibit, trick or treat with the dinosaurs along the Dinosaurs Live trail featuring huge animatronic dinosaurs and take a trail detour through the Haunted Forest… if they dare! Cost is $15/adults and $10/kids 3-12.

Legends of McKinney Ghost Walk

Chestnut Square Historic Village and downtown McKinney Square October 20 and 27, 6-10 p.m.—The perfect Halloween activity for families with elementary aged children who enjoy ghost stories but aren’t ready for a gory haunted house, the Ghost Walk is a selfguided tour of haunted sites in the downtown and Chestnut Square areas. A booklet with a summary of each site and map is provided and storytellers at each site tell the haunted stories related to that site every 15 minutes. Because it’s self-guided, you can take a break from the chills to enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants on the square. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door ($5 for kids 3-12) and can be purchased at Chestnut Square, the McKinney Performing Arts Center or online at www.chestnutsquare.org. Trolley tours of Finch Park are also available for an additional fee.


education

Teachers “flip” over new concept by Keith A. Taylor

Physics teacher Katie Lanier talks to a flipped class at Allen High School. During a typical Allen High School physics class with Katie Lanier, she rarely stands at the front of the room and she never lectures—unless she’s relaying school announcements or dress-code reminders. Most of the class time, she is talking to individual students or small groups of students, reviewing homework, answering questions and providing motivation. That’s because Lanier’s class has “flipped.” “It’s really improved my interaction with the students,” Lanier said of classroom flipping. “It gives me more time to understand where the students are struggling and where I need to concentrate my lessons.” Those lessons usually arrive over

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a student’s smart-phone, laptop or home PC. That’s the whole idea behind the “flipped” concept: students watch digitally pre-recorded lectures assigned as homework, then “homework” is done in class under the watchful eye of the instructor. “The entire concept has been around for a few years,” said Lisa Casto, Allen ISD’s director of staff development and curriculum. “However, teachers at the high school started using it three years ago.” Although it’s often viewed as a response to the increasing use of technology, Casto said the idea’s strengths are readily visible. “By using video, they can start, stop and go back as much as they need

to understand the lesson. Then, they have the teacher right there in the classroom to go over homework as it’s done.” As with all new ideas, classroom flipping has raised some parent and student concerns, but Casto said the Allen High staff works closely with all concerned to address issues. “Students like the flip,” Casto stated. “If they do have a problem, it usually comes from sometimes having to be the center of attention.” She explained that flipping often places students in situations where they have to answer questions and interact in groups in ways they have never done before. “We’ve done a good job training


students to sit and be quiet while a teacher stands at the front of the class and lectures,” she said. “Flipping turns that model on its head and gets the students involved after they’ve been taught for years to be passive. That can be uncomfortable for some kids. I think as time goes on and flipping becomes more common, that will be less of a problem.” Flipping is not just for advancedlevel students. All levels can benefit. “It works well for all students,” she said. “Anytime a student can interact with peers and instructors, it can only help them understand lessons and make progress in the classroom.” Parents also are kept up-to-date so they can feel comfortable with the concept. “Our chemistry staff went so far as to make a video for their parents,” Casto shared. With the concept growing across the country, some districts have purchased and installed specific technology to implement the concept. That did not happen in Allen ISD. “We decided to go with existing technology,” Casto related. The district also has made sure the technology required for the flipping concept is available to all. “When flipping first started, I think the idea was that kids would watch the lecture videos on laptops or home PCs,” she explained. “Now, it seems as if every student has a smart phone or pad. I would say about 90 percent of the students use their smart phone for flipping.” After its modest start, the concept has exploded at the high school with more than 30 teachers using the concept and Allen ISD has become recognized as a regional leader in flipped classrooms. “The concept is concentrated in our math and science departments,” Casto commented, “As a matter of fact, all of our science classes are flipped now. “Some ELA (English-Language Arts) teachers would argue that

they’ve been flipping longer than other classes because of assigned outside reading,” she said. Some history and English classes also use the technique and Casto expects that number to grow. In July, Allen ISD hosted a gathering of teachers and admini­ strators from more than a dozen regional districts to learn about flipping and exchange best practices to improve instruction at the first Flipped Classroom Conference.

“We had about 350 teachers and administrators here for the conference,” she explained. “We had requests from all over the state and we had to turn some down.” The conference originated under the auspices of the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) Visioning Institute. Thirty-five Texas superintendents came together to create vision for public education through the institute. Allen ISD was designated as the

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expert institution on flipped class­ rooms and hosted the conference featuring Jonathon Bergmann, one of the pioneers of the flipped concept. Bergmann is a 25-year veteran of high school science instruction and received the Presidential Award for excellence for Math and Science Teaching in 2002 and was named a semi-finalist as Colorado Teacher of the Year in 2010. He is the lead technology facilitator for the Joseph Sears School in Kenilworth, Illinois. He also tours the country to teach the flipped classroom concept at conferences and workshops. “After the conference, we developed a website as a resource for teachers using the flipped concept, Casto shared. “Mr. Bergmann con­ tinues to monitor the site and provides feedback on the ideas and comments posted there.” Lanier emphasizes that no matter what techniques are used; the final result has to be a successful student. “Overall, the flipping has improved

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Allen ISD math teacher Dewey O’Neill speaks before regional colleagues at the Flipped Classroom Conference. the classroom environment for students and teachers,” she concluded. “Grades are better, understanding is improved and students are more engaged in meaningful activity. The idea is to make

the concepts clear. If flipping makes that more effective, we all win.” v Keith Taylor is a public relations specialist for Allen ISD.


IGNORANCE IS

EXPENSIVE

Energy classes can help companies save thousands

by Heather Darrow

Bert Wank

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Psst. Check this out. You can save thousands of dollars. They say if it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true. However, this time education may just prove them wrong. One Collin County business spent approximately $1 million annually on electricity. The building manager usually adjusted the air conditioning the night before events. After using data from a Smart Grid meter, he learned that it only takes four hours to cool his building. According to Jonathan Shapiro, CEO and founder of the Texas Institute, a nonprofit research center focused on advanced energy tech­ nology and policy research, that adjustment could save the company $200-300,000 each year. “People who manage the expenses are not aware of best ways to manage and use the electricity they are buying,” said Shapiro. “We need to educate people about electricity. How do you take advantage of technology? For people responsible for energy in buildings, it is pretty complicated. If you are a city and the electricity bill is $5 million per year, are you prepared?” Shapiro asked. Collin College is offering unique classes to help solve this challenge. The State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) awarded the college a $133,626 grant to develop a new industryrecognized energy certification. The college partnered with the Texas Institute and developed six classes that culminate in a Smart Grid Management certification targeted to


new and current commercial and residential energy sector employees. According to Natalie Greenwell, Collin College director for the Center of Workforce and Economic Development, the just-in-time certifi­ cation has the potential to develop more employees for high-tech jobs and serve as a benchmark for additional energy programs. “We are meeting a current and future economic need with this certification. Collin College will be able to share the class curriculum with programs across the state and nation,” Greenwell said.

More energy jobs Shapiro says being green is good, but having a job is more important. He adds that according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics jobs like energy managers, energy engineers and energy technicians will be needed in the near future. “This is a field with an aging workforce that is not embracing the

On the left—new Smart Grid Meter; on the right—old technology new technology. The current electricians won’t be able to work on buildings because they are not being trained on where the future is going. The people who come to these classes will learn technology and how they can apply the data to make their

organizations more efficient and use this knowledge to develop better products,” Shapiro said. “I signed up for the classes because in this growing field of Smart Grid you never learn enough, and I wanted to be able to network locally,” said Bert

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Photo: Nick Young

Jonathan Shapiro Wank, founder and CEO of infiniRel Corporation, a real-time energy analytics company.

The global significance of energy efficiency Currently, Bert is in Germany creating optimization algorithms for biogas plants, which he says he can apply as easily as adding an application to a smart phone. Bert says power plants are like cars. When cars get poor gas mileage, they may need a tune up. Likewise, when a power plant’s production is off, it may need a maintenance cycle, which he states can be dramatically enhanced with automation. “Humans contin­u ously learn. Our product—PowerBrain ™ engines— have the embedded ability to learn from each other. If you tune a machine into the latest knowledge, it can share

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with its neighboring partner, but that can only work with the limited information that is available. Still, this machine can move on this infor­­­­ mation rapidly without waiting on humans where in the worst case scenario the information could be wrong or too late.” Bert says he is saving one power plant up to $100,000 per megawatt hour per year, in part by providing longer run time. He envisions a future in which energy information is shared amongst American, European and Asian power plants, just as best practices are shared between other industry groups that value safety and reliability. According to Bert, we know what happens when we don’t have enough energy. The lights go out. He notes that the same thing can happen if we have too much energy,

and he sees that as a distinct possibility in the future. “If each factory decides to get its own energy through biogas or whatever energy source is available, they will still connect to the grid, and we can over produce energy. Having too much or too little energy will trip safety breakers, but how do machines know how to handle the fluctuation if they don’t communicate efficiently with each other? We need to look at what is happening now. Is the sun shining? Do I have a full dam? What does it cost me to buy energy this moment on the open market? How much you need to produce might change in a second. If you know the risk factor of a power plant is high because the water pipes are freezing and that information was shared, then you could auto­ matically inform other plants to stand by and shorten the response time and ultimately keep the lights on.” Bert believes a consumer and industry-wide energy awareness is the first step in a more energy efficient future. “When we ramp up to 2020 energy independence, I think the revolution will come from the industry, but we need to have the tools from the Smart Grid theme. The certification gives a level of confidence that prospects have the knowledge and tools to build value that is sustainable. It also provides a level of acceptable knowledge that shortens the learning curve in big systems. I have not come across Smart Grid certification anywhere. This certification will help shape the future.” Registration for Smart Grid certification classes will be available mid-November. For more information, contact Natalie Greenwell, director for the Center of Workforce & Economic Development at ngreenwell@collin. edu or visit the website at www.collin. edu/cwed. v Heather Darrow is a public information writer for Collin College.


helping hands

Sprinting into fall by Marjorie Vaneskahian

FallFest FunRun It’s always busy in the fall at Allen Community Outreach, but this October we’ll be moving even faster! Saturday, October 20, is the date of the 3rd Annual FallFest 5K and 10K Walk/ Run. Supporters from Allen, Fairview, Lucas and all across the area will be at The Village at Fairview walking, jogging and running to benefit local families. Not long after last year’s FunRun, a family came to ACO and reminded us why events like these are so vital. With funds from local fundraising events, grants and community support, the family that came to us last fall with a stack of unpaid bills and their eviction notice, was given some relief and guidance. Our caseworker gave some financial assistance, worked with their landlord to help keep them in their home, and made sure their small children didn’t sleep in a cold house one more night. They attended a

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financial/budgeting class to help them get back on their feet. Since that family came in a year ago, there have been many more through ACO’s doors. Register for the FallFest FunRun and join the cause and the community! Cost is $30 per person for pre-registration, $90 for a family of 4. Awards are given in age categories. Go to GetMeRegistered. com or acocares.org for information. All this is made possible by sponsors of the event.

Holiday Food Drive Each fall ACO volunteers from schools, businesses, churches, clubs and groups to families and individuals begin working together to collect nonperishable food items for the holidays. A list of much needed holiday groceries is available at acocares.org and at the ACO Food Pantry. Beginning October 15, ACO will be accepting donations of holiday foods and grocery store gift cards needed to fill

hundreds of boxes for families to prepare their own family dinners this Thanksgiving and Christmas. Imagine a Thanksgiving without a table of traditional favorites to share with a gathering of family and friends. So many of us take these days for granted, but more than 200 families that live here in Allen would not have a Helpcelebration or food in their pantry to feed their children if it were not for the generous donations from our community. ACO depends on local church groups to distribute our “shopping lists” to their members. And we couldn’t do it without the thousands of pounds of canned goods, stuffing mixes and holiday favorites that are brought to school by Allen and Lovejoy ISD students who collect for ACO’s Holiday Food Drive. Businesses pitch in as do civic groups, neighborhoods and individuals. Food will be accepted at the ACO Food Pantry, ACO Main Lobby Offices and the ACO Resale Shops October 15 through November 15. The real work begins November 15-17 as all of the food is sorted and boxed for both Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner. Volunteers will work for three days to complete the process and all will be distributed to families on November 19, just in time to thaw the turkey and fix the trimmings for Thanksgiving the following Thursday. The Christmas Dinner Boxes will be distributed to families in December through the ACO Food Pantry. Allen Community Outreach also is joining First United Methodist Church of Allen for the first annual Thanksgiving Day Family Dinner to be served at the church, located at 601 S.


Greenville Ave. The dinner is open to Allen, Lucas and Fairview families who are clients of ACO who will be given tickets to attend. Hot fresh meals will also be delivered to homebound Meals-On-Wheels clients across Collin County. For more info see acocares.org or fumcallen.org.

Christmas Adoption Program and Toys For Our Tots Drive Many area families are carefully getting by with their monthly bills and responsi­ bilities, but have no extra funds to provide their children with Christmas gifts, toys, winter clothing and other basic needs. Families who struggle daily to make ends meet have the added stress that holidays bring. Beginning this month, families needing help this holiday season have a place to go—thanks to you! ACO families can fill out “wish lists” for their children, teens and seniors—listing the items they need most and the toys and gifts they’d like to have from Santa. Next month, generous donors can “adopt” these girls and boys, young and old, and shop for items on the wish lists. ACO is asking these donors to purchase items on their list like clothing, shoes and other essentials. The day after Thanksgiving, November 23, will be the kick off for the annual ACO Toys For Our Tots Drive with collection locations at Allen Fire Stations, ACO offices and other designated drop-off spots around town. For a complete list check acocares.org. Toys will be accepted until December 14. The following week those toys will be matched with the gifts purchased through the Christmas Adoption Program and will be bagged for delivery. Parents can pick up the bags for their children, teens and seniors the

week of Christmas. Those much needed socks and shoes, winter coats and necessities, as well a special gift or toys, will all be included in the bags for the parents to take home and wrap up

for Christmas. Even wrapping paper and tape is included. Get involved this fall, whether you race, gather food, serve others on Thanksgiving Day, adopt a child for Christmas or donate to the ACO Toys For Our Tots Drive. ACO is the best place to be during the holidays—not because of the many families we see through our doors that are facing crisis and despair, but because of the incredibly generous com­ munity where we live. For more information about our events and programs, donations or for volunteer information please email Marjorie@acocares.org, call 972.727.9131 or come by the Allen Community Outreach Center, located at 801 E. Main Street in Allen. v Marjorie B. Vaneskahian is the ACO director of volunteers services/Food Pantry.

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travel

Fall fun in Fredericksburg by Deborah Dove

Nestled amongst rolling green hills and surrounded by peach orchards, shade trees and fields of wildflowers, about 70 miles west of Austin and northwest of San Antonio, lies the quaint Germanic town of Fredericksburg—arguably the crown jewel of the Texas Hill Country. Accolades for this charming town abound; it has been touted as one of the best small towns in the south, the Hill Country’s unofficial food and wine capital and a “mini-Napa with fine restaurants, shopping and bedand-breakfasts.” While Fredericksburg offers a wealth of activities and attractions year round, things kick up a notch in October with Oktoberfest October 5-7 (oompah music, arts and crafts, a kids’ fun area, chicken dances plus German food and “bier”) and the Fredericksburg Food and Wine Fest on October 27 (lots of food, wine tastings, music and a Grape Toss). Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a girls’ weekend or a fall break trip with the family, Fredericksburg definitely offers some­ thing for everyone.

Romantic Getaway Fredericksburg is one of my favorite anniversary weekend getaway spots, largely due to the surfeit of romantic bed and breakfast inns, great restaurants, a wealth of unique and quaint shops along Main Street and Wine Road 290, a stretch of country road that links eleven local wineries that offer tours and tastings. Set the tone for romance at one of the hundreds of bed and breakfasts in town. Several of my favorites (so far) include the Magnolia House Bed and Breakfast—a 1923 arts and crafts style house in town that offers romantic rooms, outdoor porches and a delicious two-course breakfast, and Rose Hill Manor, a beautiful inn just outside of town and near a number of the wineries with spacious, beautifully furnished rooms and stunning views of the Pedernales River Valley.

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Be sure and dine at Austin’s, the inn’s romantic, European-style restaurant that wows diners with a set four-course menu with optional wine pairings. Peruse the quaint shops along Main Street with your sweetheart, which offer eclectic house furnishings and décor, antiques, art, fashion and more. Outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs will enjoy exploring the nearby Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site, with memorabilia from LBJ’s presidency and a nature trail that winds past wildlife such as bison, deer and longhorn cattle and the National Museum of the Pacific War. However it’s the wineries that attract most couples to Fredericksburg. Often compared to Sonoma or Napa, there are fourteen wineries and vineyards in the Fredericksburg area with dozens more within an hour ’s drive. Visit www.wineroad290.com to map out your own self-guided tour and find out about upcoming

events, or take advantage of a guided wine tour. Go swanky and tour three area wineries by limousine on a wine tour offered by Fredericksburg Limo and Wine Tours ($99 per person includes tasting fees) or tour the Hill Country Wine Trail aboard the Hill Country Express’ 14-passenger bus, which

offers mini tours (two premier wineries for $79/person) or longer tours at three wineries ($99/person includes tastings, a fruit and cheese tray and bottled water). Texas Wine Tours offers a five hour “long tour” that includes tastings at five of the area’s best wineries plus lunch for $149/person; a three hour

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“short tour” that includes three wineries for $99; and the Connoisseur Wine Tour ($199/person) of three vineyards that includes onsite barrel tastings, winery operations tours, food pairings to enjoy with the wines, wine tasting tips and a logo glass from each winery. In the evening, unwind with dinner together at one of over 70 restaurants in the area or enjoy live music at the Rockbox Theater, Hondo’s on Main, the outdoor biergarten at Auslander’s, or go boot scootin’ at the famed Luckenback Dance Hall.

Girls Weekend If you’re spending a weekend with the girls, a B&B fits the bill. The Inn on Barons Creek, which offers modern but sumptuous accom­ modations with a heated salt water pool and a full service spa, all within walking distance of downtown Main Street. You can also book a boarding house style room at the Fredericksburg Bed and Brew (also downtown), an “adult retreat” over the oldest and most acclaimed brewpub in Texas (but beware, it can be noisy). Shopping along Main Street is a big draw when you’re with the girls, but Wildseed Farms, the largest

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working wildflower farm in the US, is also worth a visit. Explore over 200 acres of wildflowers with walking trails and butterfly gardens, watch the workers, create your own bouquet in the Pick Your Own Fields, and buy wildflower seeds. Then head over to the Fredericksburg Herb Farm for an afternoon of pampering at Nature’s Spa, lunch at the tea room, perusing the gardens and shopping for products produced at the farm such as glycerin soap, aroma candles, bath products and more at the Poet’s Haus gift shop. Wine tours are also fun with the girls (see above), as is lunch at the Peach Tree Tea Room which offers soups, quiche, sandwiches and the like in an original German limestone former residence.

Family Fun There’s plenty of family fun to be had in Fredericksburg and the surrounding area plus family friendly hotels (Inn on Barons Creek and Best Western are good choices) and houses or cottages to rent (see www. fbglodging.com/accomodations/). Kids will love exploring Enchanted Rock State Park, which is estimated to be over a billion years old and features

pink granite domes and boulders that are perfect for climbing. The main rock is a huge, pink granite exfoliation dome that rises 425 feet above ground and covers 640 acres, making it one of the largest batholiths (underground rock for­ mation uncovered by erosion) in the United States. Climbing to the top of the summit is an exhilarating experience that offers spectacular views, particularly at sunset, not to mention a healthy sense of accom­ plishment and is easy enough for a five year old Millions of Mexican free-tail bats make their summer home in Central Texas, and the best place to view their nightly emergence is at Old Tunnel State Park (nicknamed Bat Cave). Located 10.5 miles south of Highway 290 on Old San Antonio Road. This abandoned railroad tunnel is home to millions of bats every May through October and offers free viewing on the upper deck and lower viewing with educational presentations for $5/ person. Call 866.978.2287 for bat emergence times. For more information visit www. visitfredericksburgtx.com. v Deborah Dove is a freelance writer from Allen.


For MarketPlace Your Health

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interiors/outdoor spaces

Designed by… by Dawn Bluemel Oldfield

history

Long listed as one of Texas’ fastest growing communities, McKinney is reputed for its master-planned communities and top-rated schools. Yet, it is McKinney’s history that differentiates it from many other suburbs. McKinney’s greatest treasure is its historic district. Downtown McKinney is a destination all its own, vibrant with a plethora of shops and dining establishments. Surrounding neighborhoods add a sense of charm to the city. A drive along the treelined streets of McKinney’s historic neighborhoods unveils homes that represent some of the finest architectural styles. Each structure is unique, offering the beauty and craftsmanship of the past, every detail telling a story of its time in history. One such treasure is the home of Jane and Robert Mitchell. Traditional white columns, stained glass windows, welcoming wrap around porches on both the

first and second stories, and pots of greenery offer lovely curb appeal. Classic touches reflect the home’s history, yet a giant Humpty Dumpty perched on the railing of the second story suggests the owners approach decorating with a light-hearted touch. A petite woman with a warm smile and an authentic sense of style, Jane Mitchell greets me at the door accompanied by her eightlegged alarm system, Mac and Tosh. The Mitchell home is cozy and personal, easily finding a balance between the past and the present; with a touch of both the traditional and whimsical. As you enter the foyer a carousel horse seems to prance carefree in front of a pair of colorful stained glass windows. Beautiful, detailed millwork defines most of the interior, and transom windows highlight doors linking rooms. Jane says, “The stained glass windows in the foyer are dear to my heart. They came from the First Baptist

“Whatever your passion is…put it in your house. Those little things help make it more you.” – Nancy Arbuckle

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Church in Mineral Wells, once home to me. All the millwork is original to the home and has never been painted. The hardwood floors throughout the house are also original, including the Brazilian rosewood on the porch.” Upstairs in the spacious master suite, shades of blue and white create a tranquil respite for the homeowners. Across the hall a guest room adorned with Jane’s collection of vintage quilts and an antique day bed creates a cozy retreat for guests. A door leading to the second story porch offers the perfect place to relax with a book and cup of tea. Tucked away on the “hidden” third story is the grandchildren’s hide-a-way. Vintage toys have a well-loved look. When asked if they were family treasures, Jane answers with a smile and slight shrug, “If you mean family heirlooms, no they aren’t. I grew up poor and we didn’t have money for toys and luxuries. I guess I have a passion for small things and children’s toys. I love that I can have them now and share them with my grandchildren.” If they could talk, the walls of the stately prairie style home have quite a tale to tell. Jane shares, “The house was built in 1896 by W.T. Brooke, a McKinney

Left: Jane and Robert Mitchell’s historic home.

Above: stained glass windows and carousel in the foyer.

Right: Venetian tiled fireplace.

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merchant. While he was wealthy, he was also very frugal, and he told his wife she could have only two fancy things in the house. Both are still in use today. One is the Venetian tile fireplace in the front room. Once the ladies parlor, it is now my husband’s office and the other is a china cabinet now located in the kitchen.” Jane continues, “Sometime in the early 1900s John

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Jonathan “Book” Wilson purchased the home. A prominent family, they lived here for many years. Upon his death he bequeathed the house to his daughter, Bopeep—yes that was her given name—who lived here for over 65 years. She sold it to Melvin and Dari Fain sometime in the 1970s. Bopeep was known to be an eccentric woman, and the story is that the criteria for the Fain’s to buy the home rested on their young son. If he could successfully slide down the banister, the house was theirs! “Melvin Fain was a skilled and successful architect and he and his wife made many changes and upgrades to the home,” Jane adds. “Originally the house had five bedrooms. The Fains converted a couple of the smaller ones, creating luxurious his and hers bathrooms off the master bedroom. His artful architectural touches added to the home’s traditional look, yet accommodate today’s contemporary lifestyle. Originally coal burning, the four fireplaces in the house were


converted to gas and make the home naturally cozy, adding a lot of warmth during cold winter months. Each retains their original hearth, blending period details with modern comfort.” Jane and her husband purchased the home from the Fains in 2010, decorating the home by incorporating collections from their travels and her thrift store finds, to

create calm, uncluttered, history rich spaces. The first project they tackled was to enlarge and remodel the outdated kitchen. Jane shares, “We removed the wall that separated the dining room and kitchen to create an open area. The challenge in that was relocating the built-in china cabinet that was one of the “fancy things” original to the house. It fit perfectly on one of the walls in the re-designed space.” Even with modern appliances, the cheery red kitchen has a historically inspired look. An apron-front farmhouse sink adds instant charm under a large window, offering an unobstructed view of the lush backyard and guest cottage. New cabinets are chock full of storage. They blend in with the older part of the house, giving a simple, yet sophisticated, look. A large granite island anchors the space. Salvaged and repurposed light fixtures spotlight the kitchen work areas and dining room table, including one that is reputed to have come out of the John Chisholm

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ranch in New Mexico. Eye-catching details throughout the property add charm, yet didn’t cost a fortune. A selfproclaimed flea-market aficionado, Jane enthuses, “Thrift stores, estate sales, and craft fairs are the best places to

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find one-of-a-kind items! Mixing antiques with contemporary pieces creates a beautiful, functional environment.” Jane delights in finding interesting and useful ways to use her discoveries. Her pretty vintage and artisan pieces set the stage for a classic, yet casual style that has an endearing charm that transcends time. Visit the Mitchell home during the “Timeless Treasures” fundraiser for the Samaritan Inn, October 5 and 6. Two homes, built a century apart, will be on tour. Each home will feature furniture and home décor chosen from the Friends of the Inn store. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Inn. Visit www. thesamaritaninn.org for more information. v Dawn Bluemel Oldfield is a freelance writer.


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OCTOBER

McKinney Repertory Theatre presents And Then There Were None, Oct. 5, 6, 12 & 13, 8 pm, Oct. 14, 2 pm, McKinney Performing Arts Center, 111 N. Tennessee St., McKinney. Based on Agatha Christie’s famous novel. For more information and tickets contact www.mckinneytexas.org. Wish 100 Bicycle Rally, 8 am, Downtown McKinney. 60-mile ride through McKinney and surrounding communities. Funds raised will help make wishes come true for children battling lifethreatening medical conditions through Make-A-Wish Foundation® of North Texas. For further details, visit www. downtownmckinney.org or call McKinney Main Street at 972.547.2660. Cottonwood Art Festival, 10 am-7 pm, Sat. & 10 am5 pm, Sun., Cottonwood Park, 1321 W. Beltline Road, Richardson. Featuring works from the nation’s top visual artists. Now in its 43rd year, it’s rated the fifth best art festival in the U.S. This is a rain or shine event. Visit www. cottonwoodartfestival.com for more details.

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Allen’s Community Theatre kicks off their second season with Over the River and Through the Woods, thru the 20th, at 8 pm, The Harvest, 700 Rivercrest Drive in Allen. For information and tickets, visit www. allenscommunitytheatre.net. Give a Dog a Home Gala presented by Collin County Humane Society, 6 pm, Dallas World Aquarium, 1801 North Griffin St., Dallas. A cocktail hour with live steel drum music playing in the background, served appetizers, drink and a silent auction will kick off the event prior to dinner. All guests must pre-register for the event. Seating is limited. For more information or reservations, please visit www.collincountyhumanesociety.org.

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Autumn Overture with the Allen Philharmonic, 8 pm, Performing Arts Center at Allen High School, 300 Rivercrest Blvd. Gold Medalist Coleman Itzkoff, Grand Prize winner of the Montgomery County Young Texas Artist’s Music Competition, performs Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme. Visit www.allenphilharmonic.org for tickets and information.

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Tucker Hill Pumpkinville—Your Patch to Porch Destination, 7216 Percy Drive, McKinney, through the 31st. Tucker Hill and McKinney Christian Academy provide a pumpkin patch and extras—a hay maze, badminton, pumpkin decorating and photo vignettes. Weekends extras—hay ride, bake sale, “Sip ‘n Stroll Horticulture Tours,” pumpkin container gardening ideas, Concert featuring E-Flat Porch Band, magic shows, storytellers and pumpkin carving. Proceeds from the patch benefit MCA. For details visit www.tuckerhilltx.com.

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9th Annual Lone Star Storytelling Festival, 7:15 pm on Fri. & various showtimes 10:30 am-7:15 pm on Sat., Frisco Public Library, George A. Purefoy Municipal Center, Frisco. Don’t miss the chance to support your library and see professional storytellers Andy Offutt Irwin, Motoko, Antonio Rocha and Barbara McBride-Smith. While at the festival, check out the Frisco Public Library’s free Open House and sample its many offerings. Visit www. lonestarstories.org for more information. ACO Annual Fall Fest 5K and 10K Walk/Run, registration at 7:30 am, race begins at 8 am, in The Village at Fairview­—the fountain between Gloria’s and Purple Cow. Benefitting ACO. Awards given in all age categories. For details visit www.acocares.org.

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Scare on the Square 2012, 4-6 pm, Downtown McKinney. Trick-or-treaters enjoy hayrides, treats and a safe, secure family fun Halloween event. Historic Downtown is closed off for trick-or-treaters to cross the street safely, going shop to shop for goodies. Visit www.downtownmckinney. com for futher information.

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OCTOBER 1-31 Food Drive Contest. Bring your canned/packaged food to McDermott Chiropractic in West Allen to help support ACO’s Food Pantry through the Holidays. Drop off & sign up to win a free onehour massage. For more info: 214-547-1336 or www. mcdermottchiro.com. 13 Plano International Festival, 11 am-5 pm, Haggard Park, 901 E. 15th St., Plano. Enjoy ethnic cuisine and multicultural music and dance performances. Browse cultural displays and original works of art by local artists. A parade of flags, international fashion show and naturalization ceremony. Admission and parking are free. For more info: 214.495.7838 or www. planointernationalfestival.org. 20 UMW Fall Bazaar, 9 am-4 pm, Fellowhip Hall, First United Methodist Church, , 601 S. Greenville Ave., Allen. 60+ vendors offering everything from candles, leather goods and hand-crafted jewelry to baby items and handcrafted wood writing pens and much more. For more info: VLY0108@tx.rr.com.

“Share the Harvest” Fall Festival, 10 am-4 pm, Jacob’s Reward Farm, 4308 Church Lane, Parker. Begin and end your holiday shopping here, dozens of local hand crafters offer their wares— jewelry, knitted items, fused glass art, metalwork, leatherwork, homegrown honey, soap and more. Farm animals, storytelling, refreshments and face painting. Bring canned goods for charity. Free admission and parking. For more info: www.jacobsreward.com.

27 Casey Sledge will be performing, 7 pm, Allen Train Depot Museum, 100 E. Main St. $5.00 donation suggested, coffee and desserts available at a nominal price. For more info: twiceasfar@yahoo.com 28 Festival of Hymns and Anthems, 4 pm, Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, 821 S. Greenville Ave, Allen. Featuring Christ the Servant Choirs and Handbells and Resurrection Lutheran Church Choirs. For more info: www.christtheservant. com. Allen Image x October 2012

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CITY OF ALLEN Allen Event Center

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Tickets on sale now through Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com), charge by phone at 800.745.3000 or at the Allen Event Center Box Office. For more information, visit www. alleneventcenter.com. Allen Americans Hockey vs. Texas Brahmas (Preseason) Allen Americans Hockey vs. Arizona Sundogs Allen Americans Hockey vs. Arizona Sundogs Allen Americans Hockey vs. Tulsa Oilers

Parks and Recreation Events 6&20 Saturday Night Rec and Roll, Joe Farmer Recreation Center offers fun and safe social program for students grades 3-6. Gym games and dancing with music provided by a DJ, dodge ball, pool table tennis, theme nights and contests with prize giveaways. Supervision provided & concessions available. Party Packs $12— includes a $5 concession credit for only $4 (20% savings). An identification card (one-

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time $5 fee) is required to participate and must be purchased at JFRC anytime before 5:30 pm on the day of the event. 12

Dance for Adults with Disabilities (Halloween Theme), Recreation Hall, 7-10 pm. Live music, snacks and a photo mailed to each participant’s home. For complete information or to get on the email distribution list, email tharben@ cityofallen.org or call 214.509.4707. 12-14Pinktoberfest Women’s Hockey Tournament, Allen Community Ice Rink. Female hockey players in two divisions, recreational and competitive, against each other in a tournament. Sanctioned by USA Hockey and supports the efforts of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 13 Community Garage Sale, 7 am-noon, Joe Farmer Recreation Center. Communitywide garage sale. Browsing is free! Making extra money selling items you were thinking of throwing away. (Each space is 17’ X 10’. Vendors must provide their own tables and chairs). For more information, call 214.509.4750 or visit allenparks.org.

27-28Family Night Camp Out and Movie. Families are invited to camp out under the stars and enjoy an evening full of night time fun. After setting up camp, enjoy your own picnic, play in the park, trick or treat from tent to tent and then join us in the amphitheater for a movie in the park starting at dusk. Popcorn will be provided during the movie to all those staying the night. Families may begin setting up tents as early as 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. For more info: 214.509.4750 for more details. For more info: 972.912.1097 or www.AllenParks.org.

Adult Athletic Leagues For more info: www.allenparks.org or call Athletic Information Hotline: 214.509.4810. Tennis—Registration is open; first session begins October 10. Men’s Basketball—Format: 8 game season + single-elimination tournament. Play begins Oct. 2. Co-Rec Indoor Volleyball—Format: 8 game season + single-elimination tournament. Play begins Oct. 1.


Rudolph Run Registration—Registration is open. Cost: Elf Run (1 Mile) - $15; Rudolph Run (5K) - $20 pre-registered or $25 day of race. Event date: Dec. 1.

ALLEN PUBLIC LIBRARY Chidlren Baby and Me: Pre-walkers with adult, Tue. & Thu, 10:15 am. Fun Ones: 1-year-olds with adult, Mon. & Wed., 10 am; and Tue. 6:30 pm. Together Time: 2 & 3 year-olds with adult, Tue. & Thu., 11:15 am; Wed. 10:45 am. All by Myself: 4 & 5 year-olds, Wed. 11:30 am. Family Storytime: 2-6 year-olds & family, Mon. 11:15 am; Thu. 7 pm. 3

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Children’s Programs beTween the Lines Book Club, 4 pm, Children’s Program room. Grades 4th-6th. Come by the children’s desk to borrow your copy of this month’s book (while supplies last). Globetrotter’s Book Club, 4 pm, Children’s Program room. Space is limited. Just Dads & Kids Racetracks Craft Program, 10:30 am. Ages 3-6. Space is limited. Kids Explore Books, 4 pm, Children’s Program room. Grades 2nd-3rd. Space is limited. Made by Me—Spider Project, 4 pm. Ages 9-12 (Not a craft program for the little ones). Monthly program to learn and practice basic techniques to make fun and unique art and/or craft projects.

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Noontime Pageturners Book Club, noon, Allen Public Library, Adult Program Room. The Scent Of Rain And Lightning by Nancy Pickard. Bring lunch and a friend and join us for a lively discussion! Please note meeting day is now Wednesday. Mom’s Night Out Bookclub, 7 pm, Upstairs Program Room.Registration required. Be one of the first 5 to register and receive a free copy of the book! Moms come and join in a discussion of The Grief Of Others by Leah Hager Cohen. For more info: 214.509.4905.

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Concert by the Creek, Ken Savage & the Best Kept Secret, 7-10 pm. Concert by the Creek, Keith Mitchell, 7-10 pm. Concert by the Creek, Classic Steel, 7-10 pm. Movie Night, Despicable Me, 9 pm. For more info: www.watterscreek.com.

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Bird Walk at the Connemara Meadow Preserve, 8-11 am, Allen. Bring your binoculars and field guides if you have them, and learn what to watch for in habits, characteristics and calls from Gailon and Rodney, both with Prairie and Timbers Audubon Society. All ages are Allen Image x October 2012

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welcome. We recommend wearing long pants, closed-toed shoes, sunscreen, and insect repellent. Habitat Walk, 9 am, Connemara Meadow Preserve. Astronomy Walk, 9-11 pm, Connemara Meadow Preserve, Join Clyde Camp for an Astronomy walk. Meet at the Suncreek Park circular parking lot at 9 pm sharp and walk to the Meadow the back way. Open House, 1 pm, Connemara Meadow Preserve, join us to wander (and wonder) at the Meadow by hiking the trails, watching the flora and fauna. Enter at Wooded Gate on East side of Alma, south of Bethany. For more info: www.connemaraconservancy. org.

CLUBS & ORGANIZATIONS Support Group? Wanted: Anyone interested in starting a support group for Trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder?) Please contact Megan at trichhelpallen@ gmail.com. City of Allen offers a variety of affordable recreational classes and programs. Register at Joe Farmer Rec Center, 214.509.4750 or Rodenbaugh Natatorium, 214.509.4770. For more info: www.allenparks.org. Allen Early Childhood PTA, support for parents and caregivers of preschoolers. A new calendar each month with fun activities for all. Activities—play groups, park days, lunch with friends, field trips, Mom’s Night Out, Dads and Kids, and other great events. Come play with us! For more info: www.aecpta.com or information@aecpta.com. MOMS Club of Allen. New group for moms and their children who live within the borders of Allen, Fairview and Lucas. Monthly playgroups, kid field trips and local business tours, special events, Mom’s Night Out, and more. For more info: http://momsclubofallentx. weekly.com or momsclubofallentx@gmail.com Baylor Health Care System offers support groups, medical information and events. For more info: www.BaylorHealth.com. Plano Bicycle Association, club rides, social activities, monthly meetings, newsletters. For more info: Chris Mathews, 972.964.2869 or www.planobicycle.org. Heart Link Women’s Networking group. Industry specific, women only business networking. Monthly meetings—days and locations vary. For more info: http://75002. TheHeartLinkNetwork.com. Urban Explorers, laid back, fun, diverse social group with meetups throughout Dallas area. Something for everyone! For more info: www.meetup.com/ getoutandabout. Divorce Care, 13-week courses—biblical teaching for recovering from divorce. For more info: Kim Tedford: 214.544.8050 ext. 109, ktedford@creekwoodumc.org or www. creekwoodumc.org.

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Texas Health Presbyterian, a variety of events. For more info: www.texashealth.org. American Cancer Society, Road to Recovery needs volunteers to drive cancer patients to appointments. If you have a car and can spare time 9-5, you can help. For more info: Debbie Moen, 972.712.5711. MOMS Club McKinney Central, support group for stay-at-home moms. Play groups, daytime activities, Mom’s Night Out, holiday parties, babysitting co-op, etc. Monthly bus. meeting. For more info: MckinneyMoms@yahoo.com. Kids Helping Kids, bring new or gently-used toys to Kids Pediatric Dentistry, donate to kids in the area. Receive chance to win prize. For more info: 972.727.0011 or www. kidspediatricdentistry.com. Every Monday-Friday The Shores AA Group, noon, Raceway Profesional Building, 200 W. Boyd, Suite C (Adjacent to Dayrise Recovery), Allen. Open AA discussion group. Everyone welcome. For more info: 469.854.9593. Every Monday Ericsson Village Toastmasters Club, 12-1 pm, Ericsson, 6300 Legacy, Plano. Guests welcome For more info: Per Treven, 972.583.8273 or per.treven@ericsson.com. Allen Toastmasters’ Club, 6:30 pm, Allen Train Depot, 100 E. Main, Allen.Guests welcome. For more info: Joe Nave at 214.566.3100. Allen Symphony Chorus rehearsals, 7-9 pm, choir room at First UMC. For more info: Henry@ WealthManagementGroupLLC.com Fit and Funky Fit Club, 7:30 pm, Unlimited Success Martial Arts, 604 W. Bethany, Ste. 208, Allen. Work out to p90x, Insanity, etc. Free. For more info: fitandfunky@att.net. Preston Persuaders Toastmasters, 7:15 pm, Custer Road United Methodist Church, Rm B2, 6601 Custer Road, Plano. For more info: Ed Meissner, 469-323-0538 or Todd Richardson, 214.497.4495 or www. prestonpersuaders.org. Every Monday, Thursday & Saturday Allen AA meets, 601 S. Greenville. For more info: 972-359-7383. Second Monday The MOB (Men of Business), 11:30 am-1 pm, TopGolf USA, Allen for male bonding and networking over lunch. $20 chamber members; $25 non-members/general public. For more info: www.allenfairviewchamber. com. McKinney Childcare Association, nonprofit org. of state-listed, reg. and lic. home childcare providers McKinney area, 7 pm, locations vary. For more info: Alice Lang, 972.346.2280 or www.mckinneyareadaycareassociation.org.


Collin County Early Childhood PTA, 9:45 am, Parkway Hills Baptist Church, 2700 Dallas Pkwy., Plano. Nursery res. required. For more info: Suzanne Judkins, 972.712.3634. Sons of Confederate Veterans, William H. L. Wells Camp, No. 1588, 7 pm, Tino’s Too Restaurant, 2205 Ave. K, Plano. Speakers, school programs, etc. Open to anyone interested. For more info: Lloyd Campbell, 972.442.5982. McKinney Ladies Association (SRLA), 7 pm, location varies. See website for outreach project of the month. For more info: www.mckinneyladies.org Heard Museum Collin County Hobby Beekeepers, 7 pm, Heard Craig Center, McKinney. For more info: 972.562.5566 or www. northtexasbeekeepers.org. American Association of University Women-Plano/Collin County Branch, 6:45 pm, 2nd Floor Conservatory, Senior Living Center, 6401 Ohio Dr., Plano. Open to anyone with bachelors or assoc. degree interested in helping women. For more info: Carol, 972.862.3460 or www. aauwplanocollin.org. Third Monday Plano Amateur Radio Klub, 7 pm, all welcome. For more info: www.K5PRK.net.

Allen Retired Educators, 10:45 am, Patrizio’s Restaurant, 101 Fairview Station Pkwy, Village of Fairview, Stacy Rd. and Hwy. 75. Anyone with a heart for education is welcome. For more info: Jerri Caldronia, at jlcaldronia@ suddenlink.net. Collin County Aggie Moms, 7 pm, Texas A&M Ext. Center, Coit between Bush Tollway & Campbell. For more info: 972.382.3124 or www. collincountymoms.aggienetwork.com Breast Cancer Support Group for patients, family & friends, noon, N. Central Medical Center, 4500 Medical Center Dr., McKinney. For more info: Kelly Finley Brown, 972.540.4984. Fourth Monday Texas Democratic Women of Collin County meets at 6:45 pm, Collin College, Frisco campus, Rm F148. For more info: www.tdwcc.org or Barb Walters, 214.477.5183. Allen Seniors Genealogy Club, 1 pm, Allen Seniors Center. Must be a member of ASRC. For more info: www.asgconline.com or Richard Henry, 972.390.7402. Plano Photography Club, 7 pm, Grace Presbyterian Church, 4300 W. Park Blvd., Plano. Visitors welcome. For more info: www.planophotographyclub. com.

Legacy 4-H Club (Allen and Lucas), 7 pm, Lovejoy High School, Lucas. For more info: kathrin_esposito@asus.com or 214.616.2460. Every Tuesday Allen/Fairview Chamber of Commerce Tuesday Morning Live networking breakfast, 7:30 am, 5th Street Pizza, 111 Central Expwy., #102, (Inside Stacy Furniture). $1 member/$7 non-mem. 1st visit free. For more info: 972.727.5585. Toastmasters Creative Expressions, 11:15 am-12:30 pm. Raytheon, McKinney. Guests welcome. Take Off Pounds Sensibly, 6:15-8 pm, Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, 750 W. Lucas Road, Lucas. For more info: 1.800.YEA.TOPS or www.tops. org. Allen Serenity Al-Anon Family Group, 7 pm, 1st United Methodist Church, Wesley House, 601 S. Greenville. Offers strength and hope to friends & family of alcoholics. For more info: 214.363.0461 or www.al-anon. alateen.org. 2ChangeU Toastmasters, 7-8:45 pm, Custer Rd. United Methodist Church, Rm B5, 6601 Custer Rd., Plano. Visitors welcome. For more info: www.2changeu.org.

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Every Tuesday & Thursday Volunteer Master Gardeners offer landscaping & gardening advice, 9 am4 pm. Texas A&M’s Co-op Extension, 825 N. McDonald #150, McKinney. For more info: 972.548.4232 or 972.424.1460. First Tuesday Heard Museum Native Plant Society meeting, 7:30 pm, One Nature Place, McKinney. For more info: 972.562.5566. First and Third Tuesday Allen Lions Club, 7 pm, Twin Creeks Golf Club, 501 Twin Creeks Drive. For more info: kevin_carlson@sbcglobal.net. Common Threads of Allen, 7pm, A Real Bookstore, 113 Praire Rd., Village at Fairview. Share needlework projects, learn new techniques, make friends. For more info: contact Debi Maige at 214.704.0994 or debik@verizon.net. Second Tuesday Blackland Prairie Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists, 7 to 9 pm, Heard Museum, 1 Nature Place, McKinney. Visitors welcome. For more info: www.bptmn.org or email info@ bptmn.org. Allen Senior Citizens Luncheon, 11:30 am, St. Jude Catholic Church, 1515 N. Greenville. For more info: 214.509.4820. Allen Democrats, 6:30 pm, Reel Thing Catfish Cafe, 600 E. Main St., Allen. For more info: Deborah Angell Smith 214.893.3643.

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Collin County Archaeology Society, 7 pm, Texas Star Bank, McKinney. For more info: archaeology@netzero.net. Collin County ADD/LD Parent Support Group of Collin County, 7-9 pm, parlor, First United Methodist Church, 601 S. Greenville Ave., Allen. For more info: Shirli Salter, sscaroline@aol.com. Plano Pacers run at Schimelpfenig Library parking lot, 5024 Custer, in Plano, 7 pm. For more info: www.planopacers.org. Newcomer Friends of Greater Plano, 9:30 am refreshments, 10 am meeting, SMU in Plano, 5228 Tennyson Parkway, Plano. Come enjoy Gayle Brink’s spirited review of Paula Deen’s memoir, It Ain’t All About the Cookin’. Guests welcome! For more info: www.newcomerfriends.org. Third Tuesday McKinney Area Newcomers’ Club, Welcomes new residents, 9:30 am, Trinity Presbyterian Church, 5871 W. Virginia Pkwy., McKinney. Speakers, prizes and refreshments each month. For more info: www.mckinneynewcomers.com. Allen-Frisco-Plano Autism Spectrum Parents Group provides support & resources for parents of children with autism & related developmental disabilities. Join online group at http:// health.groups.yahoo.com/group/ autismparentsupport. Daughters of the American Revolution, NSDAR, The General Bernardo de Galvez Chapter meets Aug.-May. For more info:txshawm@sbcglobal.net.

Fourth Tuesday Allen/Fairview Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon and speaker, 11:30 am-1 pm. $20 member/$25 guest. For more info: www.allenfairviewchamber. com. Heard Museum Prairie & Timbers Audubon Society meets at 7 pm, One Nature Place, McKinney. For more info: 972.562.5566. Porcelain Art Guild of North Texas, meets at 9:30 am, Carriage House, 306 N. Church St., McKinney. Open to anyone, beginner to expert, interested in china painting and porcelain art. For more info: Gayle Harry 214.509.0787. Every Wednesday Toastmasters SpeakUp Allen, “Become the Speaker and Leader you can be”, 7 pm, 5th Street Pizza inside Stacy’s Furniture, McDermott & Hwy. 75, 1223 W. McDermott, Allen. For more info: Marlene Byndon, 816.456.6803.

Allen Sunrise Rotary Club, 7 am, Twin Creeks Hospital, 1001 Raintree Circle. For more info: 972.673.8221 or www.asrotary. org. McKinney Chess on the Square, 4-7pm, Downtown McKinney Performing Arts Center. Open play & lessons. Chess promotes creativity, imagination and strategic thinking. For more info, 214.620.0527 or mckinneychess.org.


Allen Rotary Club, Noon, Courtyard by Marriot, 210 East Stacy Rd. For more info: www.allenrotary.org. First Wednesday Art History Brown Bag Series, 12:30-1:30 pm, Heard-Craig Carriage Hosue, 205 W. Hunt St., McKinney. Lectures presented by Annie Royer. Bring lunch and enjoy. For more info: 972.569.6909 or www. headcraig.org. Allen Heritage Guild, Allen Heritage Center, 100 E. Main St, 6:30 pm. For more info: 972.740.8017 or www. allenheritageguild.org. Collin County Master Gardeners Assoc. guided tour of Myers Park, 10 am, 7117 County Rd. 166, McKinney. Res. requested. For more info: 972.548.4232 or go to mgcollin@ ag.tamu.edu. Second Wednesday Collin County Genealogical Society, 7 pm, Haggard Library, 2501 Coit Rd, Plano. Sept.-June. For more info: ccgs.programs@gmail.com. VFW Post 2195, 7:30 pm, Cottonwood Creek Baptist Church, 1015 Hwy. 121, Allen. For more info: Larry Nordgaard, 972.727.9956 or www.vfw2195.org. Every Thursday Community Bible Study, (September 13, 2012 to May 9, 2013), 9:30– 11:30 am, Community North Baptist Church, 2500 Community Avenue, McKinney. Bible study for women and children. Studying Luke. Registration required. For more info: katpf@att.nett or mckinneyallen.cbsclass.org. Allen Kiwanis Club, Noon, Twin Creeks Clubhouse, 501 Twin Creeks Blvd. Visitors welcome. For more info: Sandy McNair, 214.548.5483 or www.allenkiwanis.org. NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness of Collin County), Recovery support group for adults living with mental illness. Led by trained individuals. Free, 6:30-8:30 pm, Custer Road UMC, 6601 Custer Rd., Plano. For more info: 214.509.0085 or www.namicco. org. Weight Watchers, 12:15 and 6 pm, First United Methodist Church, 600 S. Greenville Ave., Allen. Enter at the south entrance, second floor. Speak Up! Frisco Toastmasters Club, 7-7:30 pm social, 7:30-8:30 meeting. U of D-Frisco campus, Frisco Chamber, 6843 W. Main St. For more info: http://speakupfrisco.freetoasthost. ws. Sweet Adelines, NoteAbly North Texas Chorus, 7 pm, Grace Evangelical Free Church, 2005 Estates Pkwy, Allen. Women of Allen & surrounding area invited. For more info: nntsing4fun@yahoo.com. Allen Classic Cars, 7-10 pm, 103-111 N. Central, parking lot of Chipotle and Stacy Furniture.

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First Thursday W.I.S.E. (Women in Support of Enterprise), 11:30 am. Location varies. Networking & discussion of women’s issues. Fun & informative meeting for women in Allen & surrounding areas. $20 member/$25 guest. Payment expected unless reservation cancelled 48 hrs. in advance. For more info: www.allenchamber.com North Dallas Newcomers, 11 am, Canyon Creek Country Club, 625 W. Lookout Dr., Richardson. Cindy Renee & Co. will have you dancing in the aisles in their fun highenergy show. We love to have new members join the many fun activities that this group offers. Guests are welcome. For more info: www.northdallasnewcomers. net. Allen Garden Club, meets 7 pm, monthly gardening talks by area experts, Allen Heritage Center, 100 E. Main Street. For more info: Denise Webre, 972.390.8536 or www.allengardenclub.org. Second Thursday McKinney Area Republican Co-Ed Club, 7 pm, Collin County GOP Headquarters, 8416 Stacey Rd., #100, McKinney. Location sometimes varies. For more info: collincountyconservativerepublicans.com. Lovejoy Preschool PTA, an organization for families with infants, preschoolers and kindergarteners in Lovejoy ISD, . Creekwood United Methodist Church, 261 Country Club Road, Fairview. Lunch is provided free of charge and babysitting is available for nominal fee. A list of speakers is available on website or on our meetup.com site. For more info: www.lovejoypa.org, meetup. com/Lovejoy-Preschool-PTA/. Legal Aid Clinic, 6 pm, First United Methodist Church. For more info: www.lanwt.org or 1.888.529.5277. Osteoporosis Support Group, 6:30 pm, Presbyterian Hospital of Allen, Community Education Rm-Medical Office Bldg. 2. For more info: 972.747.6036. PSA:NAMI [National Alliance on Mental Illness] of Collin County, 7:30 pm, Custer Road UM Church, 6601 Custer Road, Plano. Enter at the SE end, room B2. Peer support group,B6, and Family support group,B1, meet from 6:30-7:20. For more info: www.namicco.org. First and Third Thursday Allen’s Community Theatre hosts Improv, 102 S. Allen Dr. For more info: allenscommunitytheatre@gmail. com. Second and Fourth Thursday Allen Area Patriots, 7-8:45 pm, New Heritage Church, 8 Prestige Circle, Allen. Local Tea Party presents speakers, enlightening and motivating citizens to participate in the political process. For more info: www.AllenAreaPatriots.com.

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Allen High Noon Lions Club, 5th Street Pizza (inside Stacy Furniture), 111 Central Expwy. S. For more info: Tony Pritchard, 214.293.1598. Third Thursday Live @ 5 Business After Hours, 5-6:30 pm at various member businesses. Free. For more info: www.allenfairviewchamber. com. Allen Quilters’ Guild, 6:30 pm, First Presbyterian Church, 605 S. Greenville. For more info: www.allenquilters.org. Knights of Columbus, 7:30 pm, St. Jude Catholic Church, 1515 N. Greenville, Allen. For more info: Steve Nagy, 469.569.3357 or www.stjudekofc.org. Collin County Republican Men’s Club, 7 pm, locations vary. For more info: www.ccrmc.org. Cancer Support Ministry, 7 pm, First Baptist Church Allen, 201 E. McDermott, Rm E101. Our goal is simple—to support you any way we can. For more info: James Craver, 972.727.8241. Allen/McKinney Area Mothers of Multiples, new & expectant moms’ forum, 7 pm, First Christian Church, 1800 W. Hunt, McKinney. For more info: www.amamom.org or 972.260.9330. Breast Cancer Support Group, 6:30 pm, Presbyterian Hospital of Allen, 1105 Central Expwy. N., Community Education Room-Med.Office Bldg. 2. For more info: 972.747.6036. Fourth Thursday Voyagers Social Club of McKinney, 10 am, Heard-Craig Hall Gallery, 306 N. Church St., McKinney. Social club open to women in McKinney and surrounding areas. Meet new people and enjoy social activities. For more info: voyagersofmckinney@gmail. com. Every Other Thursday North Texas Referral Group, 11:45 am, Friday’s (121 & Preston by the mall). Beginning April 1. For more info: www.ntrg.info. Every Friday Allen Senior Rec Center Dances, 1-3 pm. Ages 50+. Members free/Non-member Allen resident $3. Non-Allen residents $24/annually. Allen resident annual membership/$5. For more info: 214.509.4820. McKinney Chess Club meets 2-5 pm, Senior Center, 1400 South College Street, McKinney.Adults 50+(Free). For more info: 972.547.7491. Every Other Friday MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), nondenominational support group for moms with kids birth to 5 years, 9:30-11:45 am, First Baptist Church in Allen. Childcare provided. For more info: 972.727.8241.

First & Third Friday Classic 55+ Game Night, 6:30 pm, First Baptist Church Allen, 201 E. McDermott, Rm E104. Snacks, fellowship and games (dominoes, Skip Bo etc.). Open to the community, no reservations are required. For more info: 972.727.8241 or Eddie Huckabee at huckgolf@hotmail.com.. Every Saturday McKinney Chess Club meets 10:30 am-1:30 pm, McKinney Public Library, 101 E Hunt St. Any age. Free. For more info: 972.547.7491. Second Saturday Heard Museum Nature Photography Club meeting. 1:30 pm, Heard Museum, One Nature Place, McKinney. For more info: 972.562.5566. Department 56 Village Collectors Club meets in the Plano/North Dallas area to share ideas. For more info: www.bigd56ers.com. Vrooman’s Regiment, Children of the American Revolution, service organization to teach children to serve their local community. For more info: 972.396.8010. Third Saturday Allen Folk Music Society, 7-10 pm, The Blue House, 102 S. Allen Drive, Allen. Musicians aged 15-100. Bring snacks to share. For more info: www.twiceasfar.com. Fourth Saturday The North Texas Unit of the Herb Society of America, 10:30 am, North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northaven Rd, Dallas. Garden talks and programs by local experts are open to the public. For more info: Beth DiGioia, 972.658.6852 or www.northtexashsa.org. American Sewing Guild, 10 am-noon, Christ United Methodist Church, 3101 Coit Rd (at Parker), in Plano. For more info: Jane Johnson, 972.841.6854 or www.planoasg.org. Last Saturday Plano Pacers run at Bob Woodruff Park on San Gabriel Rd., Plano, 8 am. For more info: Bob Wilmot, 972.678.2244, or www.planopacers.org. Every Sunday Fit and Funky Fit Club, 7:30 pm, Unlimited Success Martial Arts, 604 W. Bethany #208, Allen. Work out live to p90x, Insanity, etc. Free. For more info: fitandfunky@att.net. First Sunday Scleroderma Support Group, 3 pm, Allen Presbyterian Hospital, Conference Rm 1. For more info: 972.396.9400 or www. scleroderma.org.

Please keep us informed of any local activities or events of general interest to our readers by fax to the Allen Image at 972.396.0807 or email to contact@ allenimage.com.


For Your Health

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For Your Health

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For Your Health

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by Peggy Helmick-Richardson


cover story Baseball is a numbers game. Players, coaches and diehard fans can readily rattle off the statistics of a player, team or league because those numbers determine the winners. Those elite few with the outstanding numbers are the ones who have a shot at making the big league. Consistently achieving the numbers necessary to rise through the ranks to the professional level requires determination and talent, along with years of practice. When these are reinforced with the love, admiration and support from family, friends, coaches and teammates, the chance for success increases exponentially. With his amazing skills on the baseball field, and bolstered by a growing list of supporters and fans, Allen’s own Alex Yarbrough proves the numbers theory true once again. This spring, at the end of his junior year at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), Alex was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels to play on its Low A team, the Cedar Rapids Kernels in Iowa. On August 31, prior to the end of his first season, the Angels announced Alex had been advanced to their Double A Arkansas Travelers in North Little Rock. How this all came to pass is an equation for accomplishment.

The Basic Math Born in 1991 in Irving, Alex moved to Allen with his parents Bill and Jeanie in 1994. “From the time he could walk, he always had something in his hand that resembled a ball,” Jeanie, an invest­ ment banker, recollects. “Growing up, instead of watching kid shows, he wanted to watch ESPN Sports Center all the time. He played soccer and a little basketball but he naturally gravitated to baseball.” So, when Alex turned five, the Yarbroughs began exploring baseball opportunities for him. Because his August 3 birthday meant waiting another year before he would be eligible to play with the Allen Sports Association, his parents opted to enroll him in the Plano Sports Authority program. Since Alex attended Our Redeemer Lutheran School in Dallas and so many of his friends, as well as Bill and Jeanie’s, were associated with his baseball activities, he remained with the PSA program. When he was 10 years old, Alex graduated to a spot on the select Plano Yankees team. Raised in a “family of baseball lovers,” Jeanie took her son’s interest in the sport in stride. “My younger brother played through junior college; he was a pitcher for McLennan Junior College the year they won the Junior College World Series in the ‘80s,” she points out. “And Alex’s Grandpa is a retired Army Colonel and a big Cardinals fan. My dad knows every statistic for Alex and keeps them all in his head.” Bill admits that for him baseball wasn’t “the original idea.” Instead, he first aspired to instill his interest in tennis and music in Alex. “From an early age we went to classical guitar recitals and had subscriptions to the symphony,” the accountant recalls, noting that his first degree was in music. “All that stuff had to end when we got into baseball. Alex enjoyed the recitals and symphonies, but he was

just a fan and didn’t want to play an instrument.” Noting that his own experience with baseball stopped in his Little League years, Bill continues, “I became interested when I saw the ability Alex had. From my music background, I thought ‘What would a musician do?’ And so we took things slow every day and then built them up.” Bill took his responsibility as a “baseball parent” to heart, noting “I was there to hit ground balls to him and throw to him and take him to batting cages.” “I always saw my role as a mediator between Bill and Alex—a mama role,” Jeanie laughs. “I tried to take a different view of it to make sure his head stayed on right. And Bill did a wonderful job managing his baseball career. With the scholarships and talking to schools and going on official visits—Bill did a tremendous job managing that.”

Adding to the Equation At 13, Alex advanced to the highly competitive Dallas Mustangs, giving him the rare opportunity to play on a team for 15-year-olds. He continued to play with the Mustangs until he graduated from Allen High School. His final year, the Mustangs qualified as a runner-up in the Connie Mack World Series. After completing fifth grade, Alex transferred to the Allen school system. Although he played other sports in school, he didn’t play baseball for AISD until his freshman year when he landed a varsity spot on the Allen High School team. For his first two years, Alex played his preferred second base; in his junior and senior year he filled the vacant shortstop position. “We had a guy named Brian Johns who played shortstop who was two years older than me. So when he graduated, I played shortstop,” Alex ex­­ plains. “He played for Vanderbilt his last two years and he plays professional now with the Red Sox organization.” Allen Image x October 2012

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Lettering all four years at Allen High School, Alex also earned several very special recognitions. He was named the 2006 District 8, Class 5A Newcomer of the Year his

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freshman year and District Defensive Player of the Year for both 2008 and 2009. His senior year, he was also named a third team All-State selection, hitting .457 with four home runs and

33 runs batted in. His high school career average came to .376 with 5 home runs, 23 doubles and 12 triples. Both his prowess on the baseball field and high SAT scores landed Alex the scholarships necessary to attend a college of his choice. “I wanted to go some­where in the Southeastern Conference because it is known as the best baseball conference for colleges competition-wise and talent level,” Alex points out. “Obviously I thought about going to school in Texas, but none of the big base­­ ball schools showed much interest.” Recalling the moment he put the University of Mississippi on his A-list, Alex shares, “The first time I saw Ole Miss, Dad and I were coming back from baseball camp in Alabama. We loved it! That summer I got to play in front of their recruiting coordinator quite a bit and they made an offer in July into my senior year at Allen High School. We were excited to get the offer and it worked out well.” For his major, Alex opted for marketing. “I’ve always enjoyed advertising and public relations type stuff,” he states. “If baseball doesn’t work out for me, that is probably what I would like to get into.” Alex’s parents were also pleased with his choice of schools, especially since access to the games was readily available. “I think it worked out smashingly. We could watch him at home games on-line and just hook it up to our television,” Bill explains. Jeanie succinctly sums up the other advantages of sending Alex to Ole Miss: “The fans are tremendous, Oxford is a great town, they made a nice scholarship offer and it wasn’t so far away from home.” Another significant plus—Ole Miss also placed Alex as a second baseman starter on the team beginning his freshman year. “I went there as an undersized middle infielder,” Alex reminisces. “When I showed up the first day I was smaller than the rest of the team.” When quizzed as to a specific play


for Ole Miss that he was most proud of, Alex recalls, “I hit a three-run homer against Mississippi State. It gave us the lead at the bottom of the seventh inning.” At the end of his sophomore year at Ole Miss, Alex was selected to play on the summer Cotuit League on Cape Cod. “It is considered the premier league for college kids,” Jeanie notes. “It is designed to get the men in tune to play minor league baseball and get used to what it is like.” “Cotuit also helped him a lot with exposure to representatives from the pro teams,” Bill adds. By the end of his junior year, Alex had racked up a significant number of accolades and awards. He made both the 1st Team All Southeast Conference and All Southeast Conference Defensive Team in 2012. In addition, he received 2012 1st Team All America Awards from Baseball America, Perfect Game, the American Baseball Coaches Association, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. At the end of his junior year at Ole Miss, Alex was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the fourth round as the 147th overall pick.

out. “The Angels have been very good to Alex so I’m happy about him being in the or­­ganization.” Jeanie concludes, “The whole draft process and his experience in Cedar Rapids and the host family he lives with has all gone very well. We get the feeling he is well cared for.” What was it about Alex that attracted the Angels? “The main reason I got drafted was because of my hitting,” Alex avers. “I hit .350 my soph­­ o­ more year and my junior

year I finished second in the con­ ference for my batting average—I hit .380 that year.” Although encour­aging a student’s choice to leave college a year before graduation seems contrary to what most parents would do, the exception is made for those hoping to make the leap into professional baseball. Jeanie ex­­ plains, “At a four-year college you become draft eligible as a junior, and if Alex had stayed (at Ole Miss) he would have remained

Advanced Math Alex confesses that his selection by the Angels came as a surprise. “Going into the draft, you fill out question­ n aires and have meetings with all the teams,” he explains. “And if you had asked me then which team I thought I was going to be drafted by, it wouldn’t have been the Angels. I had gotten much more interest from some of the other teams.” Bill concurs. “In the final months leading up to the draft day, we were getting daily reports about which teams were interested and the Angels were not even mentioned. When the Angels picked him, I was completely surprised! “It has been a wonderful situation,” this baseball father points Allen Image x October 2012

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eligible, but would have had little to no draft negotiating power as a senior. So you want to get drafted as a junior because you get more money as a signing bonus.” Bill also points out that once Alex decides to leave professional baseball, the major league teams will cover his college expenses for one year so he can eventually complete his final year at Ole Miss if he chooses to. With the Cedar Rapid Kernels since June 13, Alex quickly discovered that life as a pro baseball player is far more frenetic. “The college season is 56 games plus post season, but here it is 140 games plus post season,” he points out. “You practice two days a week and then have four games during the week for college, and here we are playing a game almost every single day with just a few days off.” On the day he explained this, Alex also noted

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that the Kernels had just completed day 37 of a 38-day game stretch. He continues, “Here they are more focused on developing the players and making sure they continue to get better. The goal for everyone playing on these teams is to make it to a major league team.” Alex then found himself on the road for a different reason with his last-minute shift up to the Arkansas Travelers, where he played the last five games of the season.

Supporting the equation During his early, developing years, a number of coaches had a significant impact on Alex both as a person and a baseball player. “Alex has had the good fortune to be with the right coach and the right team for his development every time,” Bill observes. President and founder of the not-


for-profit Dallas Mustangs Baseball Club, Sam Carpenter recalls, “Alex first came to us for pitching and hitting lessons when he was probably 12 years old, and we look for talented players.” Estimating that 20 Dallas Mustangs

Baseball Club players have made it to the major leagues since the organization was founded in 1986, Sam points out that members come from around the Dallas-Ft. Worth region. He continues, “Alex is very quiet, but still waters run deep. He’s a gifted athlete and his determination to succeed is what separates him from a lot of people.” Comparing him to Texas Rangers second base­­­­man Ian Kinsler, Carpenter explains, “Alex is an offensive second baseman. Historically they have not been known as great hitters, but that has started to change in the last decade and Alex has a good chance of being one of those who can hit.” He adds that Alex’s ability to switch hit success­ f ully provides him wirh “a terrific advantage.” Paul Pool, Alex’s Allen High School baseball coach con­c urs. “When he tried out as a freshman you could tell he was special. He had the best swing I had ever seen for a kid his age. And he switch hit, which is a big plus in baseball.” For the uninitiated, Pool simplifies

switch-hitting by explaining, “If you have a right-handed pitcher on the mound, you hit left-handed and if you have a left-handed pitcher on the mound, you hit right-handed.” Moving to Rapid City, South Dakota, in 2010, Pool now teaches at a local high school and is head coach for the Post 320 Stars, an American League baseball program. Prior to this, he had been the head baseball coach for 13 of the 15 years he had been at Allen High School. During that time, Pool had nine players drafted in the major leagues and he was named district coach of the year twice and the Dallas Morning News Coach of the Year once. “We had summer baseball camps that we put on at the high school and Alex came in either the seventh or eighth grade.” Pool recalls. “We watched him go through the camp, and I thought then, ‘This boy can play!’” Because of Alex’s obvious talent, the Allen High School coaches opted to place him on the varsity team in his freshman year. “That is very rare at the 5-A level,” Pool emphasizes. One character­ istic that impressed

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Pool is Alex’s tenacity. “He knew he needed to be able to run faster to play at the Division 1 level so he and his dad spent hours, and even got Coach Garza to help with his running,” he points out. “He continued to work because he had the desire to succeed and put in what was necessary to do well.” Although he admits to being a loyal Rangers fan, Pool laughs, “I couldn’t be happier for a kid to get the opportunity that he is getting. It is exciting to see where he goes and hopefully he will make it to the big league.” Paul Coe, Allen High School’s current head baseball coach, is entering his ninth year at the school. Prior to that he coached five years at Ereckson Middle School and one year at the Lowery Freshman Center. The assistant baseball coach at the high school when Alex was a student there, Coe states, “Of course, he has a God-given ability that he took and did a lot with. But also, his work ethic is tops and his attitude is fantastic, and that’s what made him what he is. Even in failure, he had a great attitude.” Like the other coaches, he also emphasizes that Alex’s skill as a switch hitter is a strong asset. “It’s not that common,” he asserts, “and it’s not that common to be as good at it as he is.” Coe continues, “It is exciting to see all the hard work paying off for him. He’s the kind of kid you want to see your kid grow up to be—not just the baseball part, but also the character.” He also agrees that Alex’s choice

to sign with the Angels at the end of his junior year at Ole Miss was “a great decision!” Coe main­tains, “You will have time to go back and finish school later, but if you go back to college for your senior year, then the major league holds the leverage. This

was the right time for Alex to do this since he had just had a great year and was drafted so highly.” Discussing those who have supported Alex’s baseball career through the years would be incom­ plete without including one of his biggest fans—his fifth grade teacher Carrie DeWaters. Until relocating to Denver four years ago, Carrie lived in Allen and taught at Anderson Elementary School for seven years. Prior to that she was a teacher at Our Redeemer Lutheran School in Dallas, where she had Alex as a student. “I knew then that he wasn’t just a good kid; he was an incredible kid,” she declares. She rattles off the list of characteristics she observed in him as her student and continues to see in him as a friend: “His academics, his athleticism, his wit, his integrity and high morals…and he’s kind and compassionate to everybody.” Because of her admiration for Alex and the later friendship she developed with his parents, Carrie continues to carefully follow Alex’s adventures in baseball. “As happy and proud of him as I am, I have to admit I’m not surprised,” she declares. “I knew all that potential in him when he was in the fifth grade!” Where does Alex see himself in 10 years? “If everything goes the way I want it to, I’ll be in the major league somewhere,” he predicts. “A lot of things would have to go right for me and there are a lot of people who don’t make it the minor leagues. But hopefully, I will continue to get better as a player and we’ll see what happens.” And do his parents have any regrets as to the sacrifices required for Alex to have made it this far? “No!” Bill responds with his own mathematical allegory. “The things we’ve given up were made up for with a success by a degree of magnitude we never considered.” v Peggy Helmick-Richardson is a freelance writer.

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pet page

“Dixie”

This is Dixie and she is a beautiful 1-1/2-year-old liver bloodhound. Her previous owners couldn’t keep her in their yard, so they turned her over to animal control. Dixie gets along well with all dogs and is curious about cats. She loves kids of all ages, but because of her size, a home with older children would be best. She is also very active and loves to run and play.

Dixie is looking for her forever home! Dixie’s perfect forever home would be one that has a big yard and maybe another younger dog for her to play with. She is not particularly fond of the crate, but since she still likes to chew on odd things, her foster mom crates her when she is away. She would do best in a home where she wouldn’t be left alone all day. Dixie is a big goofy girl and a total lover. She is also housetrained! If you have the perfect home for Dixie, start the approval process at http://www. collincountyhumanesociety.org/adoptionapplication.html. Allen Image x October 2012

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Allen Image October 2012  

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