Maher Maso Participates in Gary Burns Fun Run

Gary Burns Fun Run benefits Frisco students

City Council member Tony Felker, Mayor Mike Simpson and Mayor Pro Tem Maher Maso greet the crowds as they walk the course at the Gary Burns Memory Walk Oct. 22.

The sixth Gary Burns Fun Run is estimated to have topped the $100,000 mark in funds raised for scholarships for Frisco ISD students and the Grants for Great Ideas program, said K. Jonas, director of the Frisco Education Foundation.

The Saturday fun run was blessed with wonderful weather and excited runners ready to take advantage of the cool temperatures. The event is named for the late assistant fire chief Gary Burns and is the major fundraiser for the Frisco Education Foundation. Contributions have almost doubled since the first run in 1999. Last year’s run generated just less than $90,000, Jonas said.

Today, the name Gary Burns is known to newer Frisco residents because of a street sign and the fun run, but for many people in Frisco, it seems only yesterday that he was a vital part of the Frisco community. He is remembered for his easygoing smile, his humor and the courage with which he faced cancer. Folks still talk about how his fellow firefighters and friends encouraged him by shaving their heads when he lost his hair to chemotherapy.

Burns was active in schools and sports and strong in his faith. He was the man in the blue Frisco Fire Department work shirt who always had a smile for visitors at the Central Fire Station and a steady hand at the scene of a fire or accident. Others remember him as the guy behind the counter at Snappy Jack convenience store and gas station. He was part of the fabric of Frisco at a time when people still knew most of their neighbors. When the first steps were taken to begin what is now called Frisco Family Services, he was there, calling on everyone to pitch in and reaching out to the community. His death was a blow to many who were touched by his life. He had long supported helping kids from Frisco achieve their best.

This year, with a bounce house, face painters, music and children running back and forth at Hall Office Park, the title sponsor of the event, it was difficult to imagine that this is the sixth fun run and that Burns has been gone for so many years.

Burns’ daughter Ashley has participated in the run. She was also awarded the Gary Burns Scholarship by FEF. She recently graduated from the University of North Texas and is currently employed by FISD.

“Fun Run makes my family’s loss much easier because the Frisco community is so supportive of keeping my dad’s memory alive,” Ashley Burns said. “Seeing that the money raised in his name from the Fun Run each year provides priceless opportunities for the young people of Frisco is very inspiring. It definitely encourages me to want to make a difference in others’ lives, but I know that I have some big shoes to fill.”

Dr. Rick Reedy, FISD superintendent, traditionally challenges faculty and staff to beat his time. This year he was busy keeping up with who beat his time – noting that his old friend and retired teacher, Latrelle Thompson, beat him. Local businessmen Kirby Chandler and Chuck Quarles offered to make cash contributions to FEF for every FISD employee or teacher who beat Reedy’s time.

Male runners are subject to a 10-second-per-year-difference handicap rule. Reedy provides a luncheon from La Hacienda Restaurant for those staff members who beat his running time.

The event sponsors, in addition to Title Sponsor Hall Office Park, were The Dallas Morning News, WFAA-Channel 8 and JACK FM, as well as many local and national sponsors. The certified 5K run attracts runners from throughout the North Texas area. Less serious athletes are welcome to join in on the 1-mile fun walk/run.

The family friendly event featured a bounce house, face painting, prizes and the famous Frisco Fire Clowns.

Several FISD faculty teams were represented Saturday.

“We always want to emphasize the fun in this run,” Jonas said. “It is a great morning for the entire community. Entire families participate from moms and dads pushing strollers to grandparents. Many of our FISD teachers enjoy pitting their skills and speed against one another and FISD students are some of our biggest supporters.”

Proceeds from the run provide funds to Frisco seniors in the form of college scholarships as well as funding for the Grants for Great Ideas Program. This program allows Frisco teachers receiving grants to expand academic enrichment in the classroom. Scholarship winners must apply and be accepted based on need, merit and teacher and community recommendations.

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Heading down the road of Tolling – Maso attempts to put the brakes on

Seeing the writing on the Wall, Maso attempted to explain what may end up happening. Maso even attempts to explain to the elected officials that TxDOT may end up trying to sell it to a private company, which is exactly what happened. His guess of between 8-15 cents per mile was spot-on: The new rate will be 14.5 cents per mile with annual increases!

“Yearly individual toll bill could be $780 to $1,170.” Frisco Council adopts 121 toll resolution

Mike Raye, McKinney Courier-Gazzette

The Frisco City Council, believing it was the only fix to a broken system, adopted a resolution calling for local control over the destiny of State Highway 121 as a toll road on Tuesday night.

Collin County commissioners in attendance said they would stand firm with Frisco, Allen, Plano and McKinney in negotiations with the Texas Department of Transportation and rescind its approval of tolls if the state failed to follow the resolution to the letter.

“We urge you to pass this tonight and allow us to get on with negotiations with TxDOT,” said Collin County Judge Ron Harris. “We will stand with the four cities if (this resolution) is not adhered to.”

Frisco – the originator of the resolution calling for a local consortium of city and county governments to administer SH 121 and its tolls, and maintain local control of revenue generated by the highway – was the last of the group of five to adopt the resolution. It was not without trepidation, however. The measure passed, 4-2, with Council Members Maher Maso and Bob Allen dissenting, the measure passed.

“TxDOT has pushed hard on this because they see 121 as an asset, based on our demographics,” Maso said. With the state in control, even possibly farming out the project to private construction firms he said, there was uncertainty over how much it would cost the average commuter to drive from the Dallas North Tollway on the Frisco/Plano border to U.S. 75 in McKinney. The rate per mile could be between 8 and 15 cents per mile, translating into a yearly individual toll bill between $780 and $1,170.

“In an ideal world this council would not be supporting tolls,” said Council Member Tony Felker. “This is an imperfect world and systems are broken. The state came to us and said we need to find another way to raise the money. We have to get (this road) built.”

County Commissioner Jack Hatchell – a former chair of the Regional Transportation Council, a 40-member board made up of representatives of local governments of 16 North Central Texas counties – said, ultimately, the RTC has the authority to approve or deny toll roads in the region. Once the resolution was approved by all five entities, it would be submitted to the state for approval, after which the RTC would make the tollway designation.

“The RTC has to designate it as a toll road in its regional transportation mobility plan for it to be tolled,” he explained. “If (the RTC) can’t get agreement from TxDOT, it should not designate 121 as a toll road.”

Mayor Mike Simpson said area traffic was a problem that will only get worse, and improving 121 was the only way to ease commuter headaches. It was a problem that required immediate attention, he said.

“I hear complaints every single day about transportation,” Simpson said. “If we don’t toll; if we continue to wait, the people who are complaining now will really be upset in five years. I would rather be crucified now for making a decision than be criticized years from now for having done nothing.”

City Manager George Purefoy, the author of the resolution, which came back to Frisco with only minor revisions, said the council’s vote pleased him.

“This puts us in the best negotiating position with TxDOT,” he said.

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Maso brings Boeing CEO to McKinney Airport

Collin County: Boeing CEO urges unified economic development plan
Boeing CEO urges unified economic development plan

By JEFF BALL, Staff writer, Plano Star Courier

Collin County communities should cooperate in economic development and have a long-range strategic plan for the region, Boeing CEO Phil Condit told local representatives Monday.

“The crux of his statements was the four communities really need to look 15 to 20 years out and try to accomplish long-range goals together,” said David Pitstick, CEO of the McKinney Economic Development Corporation.

Pitstick was among a group of local economic development representatives who heard Condit speak at a luncheon at McKinney Airport.

“I thought he had some good comments about McKinney, Allen, Frisco and Plano all working together in economic development – not competing against one another,” said Robbie Clark, president and CEO of WingsPoint, who also attended the luncheon.

Condit was in the area to visit family members, including his brother-in-law, Firsco City Councilman Maher Maso, and a luncheon with him was arranged on short notice by Pitstick’s group and WingsPoint Aviation.

He met with representatives of McKinney, Plano, Allen, Frisco and Richardson.

“There is no one more qualified to comment about corporate development, relocations, and emerging airports,” said Pitstick.

Condit could not be reached for comment on the meeting, but other people who attended praised his advice.

“I thought his comments were very appropriate,” said Clark. “He talked a lot about economic development and that economic development was really a complete package – including having all the infrastructure and roads in place, and things like the arts, entertainment in the evening and nice restaurants – all go into the decision for corporate relocations.

“We went through a presentation with the changes we were planning and all the things we are doing out here,” said Clark. “He was very complimentary. He thought it was a good plan.”

The idea of Boeing bringing any of its operations to Collin County was apparently not discussed.

Condit did discuss Boeing’s selection last year of Chicago for a new corporate headquarters over Dallas and several other cities. The company’s main assembly plant is still in Seattle.

Condit cited the need of a metropolitan area to offer a balance of business, arts, and recreational opportunities.

Cost of living and transportation convenience are also key considerations, said Condit, according to people who heard his remarks.

In response to a general question, Condit said the near future of the aviation industry looks “turbulent,” but, he added, the long term will offer more stability.

The Boeing Company employs close to 187,000 people and serves customers in 145 countries. It is the largest exporter in the United States, with revenues of more than $58 billion in 2001, according to the company.

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Maso wins first council term

Mayor gets third term in Frisco. Incumbent in Wylie faces June 3 runoff

By Curtis Howell and Sandy Louey / The Dallas Morning News

Voters went to the polls Saturday to settle a variety of city council and school board races in Collin County.

The mayors of Frisco and Wylie faced familiar challengers. City council seats were up for grabs in Allen, Frisco, McKinney and Wylie. There were school board races in Allen and Wylie, and a contest for a seat on the Collin County Community College District board of trustees.

Frisco Mayor Kathy Seei , 50, handily won her race for a third term over former City Council member and accountant Jim Robel, 70. Ms. Seei could not be reached for comment when the final results were tabulated.

Earlier, Ms. Seei said the campaign had been low-key compared with past years. “There hasn’t been much hoopla and that’s fine with me. I’m glad it hasn’t been upsetting anybody.”

Mr. Robel, a CPA, had said that tax season and a recent illness left him with little time to campaign.

In the three contested Frisco council races, incumbent Place 2 council member Barbara Carpenter, 57, lost a close race to former council member and planning and zoning commission member Michael Osuna, 43.

In Place 4, the seat vacated earlier by Brett Carson, Maher Maso, 36, eked out a win over former council member Buddy Minett, 44.

Place 6 was a three-way race between John Hamilton Jr., 32, John Andrews, 57, and Mike Simpson, 59.

But Mr. Simpson won easily and avoided a runoff.

Throughout the campaign, Mr. Andrews was the only candidate who favored retaining the Frisco airport as an aviation operation. The rest of the candidates and the seated council have strongly supported buying the property and removing airport uses from the zoning.

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