Category Archives: Plano

Fall activities: A 2020 guide to pumpkin patches and haunted houses in the Dallas-Fort Worth area

Photo: Courtesy Town of Little Elm

Fall activities: A 2020 guide to pumpkin patches and haunted houses in the Dallas-Fort Worth area:

Autumn at the Arboretum: Through Nov. 1; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily; 8525 Garland Road, Dallas; 214-369-0874

www.dallasarboretum.org/events-activities/autumn-at-the-arboretum/

Storybook Ranch: Through Nov. 1; Thu.-Sun. 10 a.m.-sundown; 3701 South Custer Road, McKinney; 972-369-0874

;www.storybookranch.org

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Local eatery gives food away…all the time

InFrettaStorefront-editItalian restaurant InFretta in Irving held their first drive-thru food giveaway at that location on April 18 in their parking lot. The original location in Plano, which has been open for a year-and-a-half, has been doing the food giveaway every week for weeks.

InFretta partnered with Mama Pita Mediterranean Grill in Plano, Big Guy’s Chicken and Rice in Dallas, and Chameli in Richardson, each sending volunteers to set up, tear down and hand out food to the folks who drove through.

1 Solar Solution also partnered with InFretta, contributing funds for the food. Founder and CEO, Ali Samana, was at the event, handing food to people.

“1 Solar Solution is committed to supporting the local communities that we live and work in. We believe in sponsoring as many events and programs that we can, including local events like this one,” said Samana.

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Irving Mayor Rick Stopfer (R) chats with an Irving Police Officer

Even Irving Mayor Rick Stopfer came by to chat with everyone and there was an Irving police presence to make sure everything and everyone was safe.

The food giveaway included all kinds of fried rice and pasta, with dessert being ice cream that was donated by Ked’s Artesian Ice Cream and Treats out of Plano.

InFretta owner Ram Mehta said he was continuing the work of his mother, who passed away a few years ago. He grew up in India, and his mother believed heavily in charity and generosity. Following in his mom’s footsteps, InFretta regularly donates pizzas to Children’s Hospital.

There has been a sign on the front door since the business opened that says anyone who is homeless or hungry and cannot afford food can come in and get a free meal.

InFrettaFreeFoodSign“We’ve been giving food to the people who need it since the day we opened this location about seven months ago. The Plano location has been open a year and a half, and we do the same there. It’s just that people are not aware of it,” Mehta said. “Those customers will be treated just like any paying customer. It’s also all over our social media: Free pizza or pasta. If you can’t afford it, no questions asked and no judgement.”

The event provided 4,000 meals to give away.

“We already have 1,800 meals spoken for. Some of our volunteers are delivering them to churches and others that requested food. If the number of meals goes over 4,000, nobody’s going to go hungry. We’ll make more. No problem,” said Mehta.

Several businesses partnered up with Mehta, donating money, food and volunteers.

“I partnered up with Ram and his team because he was doing something to give back to the community, and we thought we’d support him and try to stand with him and see how we can make him stronger, as well as take care of the people in the community,” said Zaid Beyan, Co-Owner of Sara’s Market and Bakery in Richardson.

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InFretta Owner Ram Mehta delivers food to a customer

“There are a lot of people out here that are hurting and are looking for a meal. Nobody here should be looking for a meal. We are all in this together, and there are a lot of people out there looking for food, and the least we can do is give back. Even if it’s something small, it goes a long way,” Beyan said.

Representative of the Dallas Halal Buzz and the Dallas Buzz Facebook pages, Ali Siraj, said, “We promote mostly the Indian and Pakistani restaurants that open up in the area because they usually don’t get that much exposure. We are here volunteering for him, as we always do. We create and promote all the events with him and are pleased to be out here volunteering today.”

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Ice cream was a favorite!

One customer, who preferred to remain anonymous, drove up with her three children to get meals. “This is helping us very much,” she said. “I have been laid off from work and we have been eating the same things every day. It will be nice to have a change, especially with good food like this.”

InFretta plans to have another event like this very soon. For more information, call the Plano store at (214) 618-5431 or visit https://www.in-fretta.com/index.html.

Boutique retail and more: What’s in store for Plano’s Collin Creek Mall if a developer’s plan is approved

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A developer’s plans to revamp Plano’s struggling Collin Creek Mall would fill out the property with a broad base of housing units, tear down the existing anchor stores and remake the main body of the mall into a boutique retail destination, according to documents filed with the city and an interview with the developer.

The concept plan, submitted to the city on Dec. 27, offers the public its first look at what Farmers Branch-based developer Centurion American plans to do with the properties it purchased last month. Parking lots surrounding the mall’s main structure would be filled in with two 15-story office buildings, a movie theater, a hotel and music venue and a mix of housing units and city park space, plans show.

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Plano ISD officials weigh budgetary options after 2018-19 student enrollment comes in lower than expected

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Graphic: Plano ISD, Community Impact Newspaper

When Plano ISD budgets for each upcoming school year, the process is informed by an array of informed estimates: How many students are going to return from last year? How large is the incoming kindergarten class? How do enrollment numbers affect the funding the district receives from the state?

When those estimates are incorrect, it can throw the budget off by millions of dollars, as was the case this school year when hundreds fewer students enrolled in Plano ISD schools than district staff had expected.

Demographic studies suggested the district could expect 188 fewer students to enroll this year than in 2017-18, a continuation of an ongoing trend in which the kindergarten classes coming in are smaller than graduating classes going out. However, the actual decline was four-and-a-half times as large, according to a district report presented in October to trustees.

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‘We’ve got to play by Plano’s rules’: Latest buyer linked to Collin Creek Mall calls for few, if any, apartments

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(Cassidy Ritter/Community Impact Newspaper)

A new developer has positioned himself as the frontrunner to purchase and revamp Plano’s ailing Collin Creek Mall into a mixed-use district—but unlike a number of similar projects in the area, the prospective buyer’s plans are not expected to include traditional apartment units.

Farmers Branch-based real estate firm Centurion American has part of the mall under contract and is participating in negotiations to acquire the Sears, Macy’s and Amazing Jake’s anchor store properties, the firm’s President and CEO Mehrdad Moayedi told Community Impact Newspaper on Monday.

Parts of the plan—particularly its residential components, which feature hundreds of town houses and condominiums instead of apartments—were designed with local political realities in mind, Moayedi said.

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Capital One to lay off 286 employees from Plano office by Oct. 1

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A Capital One spokesperson said the layoffs are tied to a May 8 announcement that Capital One had sold off approximately $17 billion worth of first and second lien mortgages to DLJ Mortgage Capital.

“Strong market demand enabled us to negotiate and sign this complex transaction more quickly than we thought possible,” Capital One CFO R. Scott Blackley said in a company news release.

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Plano-area children’s advocates hail improvements to CPS retention, turn focus to foster care system

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Designed by Breanna Flores/Community Impact Newspaper

Since then, conditions for CPS investigators have improved across the board, a fact acknowledged by children’s advocacy groups that have been pushing for reform and supported by data tracked by the state. Salaries are one-third higher, turnover rates are down, and caseworker responses to reports of abuse or neglect are more timely than their recent lows in 2016.

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