Foli Park in Plano may close for construction; work includes trail and pier

A contract has been approved for work on improvements at Foli Park in Plano.

The $269,557.28 contract for the Foli Park project was awarded to GLI (George’s Landscaping Inc.) of Joliet by the Plano City Council.

The city has been working with Robinson Engineering of Itasca on plans for recreational improvements at Foli Park, which is on the south side of Plano just off Hale Street across from Plano Middle School.

Edward R Garcia
Edward R Garcia

Funds for the project came from the $202,000 state grant the city received in 2015, along with other funding from the city.

The development of the park will include:

• A paved half-mile walking/hiking/jogging trail.

• Installation of three exercise stations along the walking trail.

• Water fountain along a connecting path.

• A fishing pier.

• An open-air shelter with picnic benches, refuse receptacles and lighting.

• A sand volleyball court.

• Rehabilitation of existing restrooms with handicapped accessible accommodations.

• Expansion of parking lot to double capacity.

• Resurfacing of Larson Street access road to the park.

Mayor Bob Hausler said the project will begin soon, and the city has already begun some preliminary stormwater-related work in preparation for the project.

He said that it may be necessary to close the park during at least some of the construction phase. He said it might be possible to complete the project this year.

“I am excited about this project,” Hausler said. “Foli Park is one of Plano’s hidden gems.”

Susan Thanepohn is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News

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Texas man sues woman $17.31 for texting during cinema date – and gets his money

It has been described as the “first date from hell” – and it ended in a lawsuit.

A man from Texas sued a woman this week for $17.31 – the price of a cinema ticket – after she irritated him by texting during a movie.

Brandon Vezmar, 37, of Austin, claimed Crystal Cruz was “a threat to civilised society” after she used her phone to read and send text messages “at least 10-20 times in 15 minutes” during the 3D showing of “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” on Saturday.

Mr Vezmar asked Ms Cruz to stop but she refused. He suggested she step outside to use her phone, after which she left the cinema and never came back.

The 35-year-old woman also drove away in her car, in which she had driven them both, leaving him without a ride home, he said.

A few days later, he messaged her asking for the price of a ticket but she refused because “he took me out on a date”, she said.

“This is crazy,” she told the newspaper. “I’m not a bad woman. I just went out on a date.”

The case even attracted the attention of the film’s director, James Gunn, who tweeted: “Why stop at suing? She deserves jail time!”

Mr Vezmar filed the petition in the small claims court in Travis County.

The texting was a “direct violation” of the cinema’s policy and the woman “adversely” affected Mr Vezmar’s viewing experience and that of other patrons, the petition states.

“While damages sought are modest, the principle is important as defendant’s behaviour is a threat to civilised society,” it says.

The pair were reunited at the cinema on Thursday in an attempt to sort out the dispute.

“The date just didn’t work out,” she told him during the reunion, according to Inside Edition, which arranged the meeting.

She also apologised and handed him money, asking him to “just leave this alone.”

Mr Vezmar accepted the apology and said he would withdraw the lawsuit. He also said he would donate the money to charity.

 EDWARD R GARCIA

Texas Governor Signs Sandra Bland Act Into Law With Major Revisions

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the Sandra Bland Act into law Thursday to address the circumstances that led to Bland’s death in July 2015.

The new law mandates the county jails channel those with mental health and substance abuse issues to treatment and aims to make it easier for defendants to receive bond if they have a mental illness or disability, according to The Texas Tribune. The Sandra Bland Act also requires officers to receive de-escalation training and agencies to investigate jail deaths.

Bland, 28, had just moved from Chicago to start her new job in Texas when a Waller County cop stopped her for failing to signal. The encounter escalated when Bland refused to extinguish her cigarette at the officer’s request. He forcibly removed her from her vehicle and arrested her. She was locked in jail with a $5,000 bond. Three days after her arrest, she was found dead in her jail cell. Investigators ruled her death a suicide.

In April, Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, traveled to Texas to demand change in the state’s policing policies. She testified before lawmakers about the importance of the bill.

“I need this bill to move forward so that it will prove to people who say that Texas is the most awful state to live in. And to me that’s true, because Texas is a place of pain for me,” she said. “So I need you to think about what you have the power and ability to do today.”

Since the family began pushing for passage, the bill faced some “gut-wrenching” revisions that weakened it, said Bland’s sister Sharon Cooper. The state Senate stripped the bill of provisions that would require additional proof for stopping and searching vehicles, and would prohibit arrests over offenses punishable by a fine. It ultimately removed language related to police encounters and mainly focused on mental health.

“It’s a complete oversight of the root causes of why she was jailed in the first place,” Cooper told The Texas Tribune in May. She added that the bill was a “missed opportunity.”

Houston Democrat Garnet Coleman, the author of the act, praised Abbott for signing the legislation and said in a statement that the Sandra Bland Act would help prevent similar cases.

“It is time that we make progress in criminal justice reform that will keep both law enforcement and the public safe and prevent future tragedies like Sandra Bland’s,” Coleman said. “The Sandra Bland Act has many important measures that will make everyone safer.”

The law goes into effect on Sept. 1.

 EDWARD R GARCIA

Texas police save puppy from hot car at Walmart, owner arrested

Police officers near Austin rescued an 8-week-old puppy from a locked car in a Wal-Mart parking lot this weekend, according to a report from the Manor Police Department.

A witness called the police after seeing a blonde puppy sitting inside a car that was not running.

When police arrived, they said they could hear the puppy crying and panting. Officers reached through a partially opened sunroof and used a tire iron to hit the unlock button and open the door and remove little Annabelle.

Officers gave water and air-conditioning to the overheated puppy, who they reported to be infested with fleas and had several lesions on her body.

The owner Chandler Bullen, 20, returned to his car from the store and officers asked him why he left the animal.

“I did not want to waste gas,” replied Bullen.

 

EDWARD R GARCIA

 

 

 

Mixed Martial Arts hopeful Arnold Allen could lose licence after drunken brawl at Christmas party

One of the world’s leading Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) prospects has been spared jail after he ‘ran amok’ at a Christmas party, assaulting the venue’s owner and six women.

 

The incident happened when a number of parties – including one for Specsavers’ staff and another with people dressed as Oompa Loompas – took place at All Manor of Events in Henley, near Ipswich, on the night of December 23 and 24.

The burgeoning career of professional fighter Arnold Allen, of Old Kirton Road, Trimley St Martin, now hangs in the balance after he pleaded guilty to affray, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Allen is facing the possibility of having his licence taken away by his sport’s governing body.

He may also have a problem travelling to fight in the US due to his conviction, which could also cause issues with his training camps in Canada where he spends a number of months each year.

Arnold Allen in the ring. Picture: DOLLY CLEW/CAGE WARRIORS
Arnold Allen in the ring. Picture: DOLLY CLEW/CAGE WARRIORS

Sentencing the 23-year-old, Recorder Richard Christie QC acknowledged Allen, who was drunk, had originally stepped in to protect his girlfriend after she had been in an altercation with another woman.

However, the judge said: “After that you went wild.”

Allen was said by one witness to have been ‘windmilling’ his left arm about while having his right arm around his girlfriend.

While imposing a five-month prison term, suspended for 12 months, on Allen Recorder Christie told him: “You essentially ran amok.

Arnold Allen celebrating a win in Berlin in 2015. Picture: JOSH HEDGES/ZUFFA LLC/GETTY IMAGES                                                     Arnold Allen celebrating a win in Berlin in 2015.
“Part of your training is self-control and knowing when not to exert more force than is necessary, and that’s plainly something you have done on this occasion.

“Your whole career has been [put] on a knife-edge as a result of this.”

Previously prosecutor Michael Crimp said a series of parties were taking place at the venue, including an Oompa Lumpa party with some people dressed in character.

At around midnight a fight broke out. The origin of it was not clear.

Allen’s girlfriend had become involved. People intervened and Allen’s partner was taken to one side by a wall.

Mr Crimp said Allen later told police he believed his girlfriend was being manhandled and he went across due to his concern for her.

Andrew Hayward-Farmer, the owner of All Manor of Events, had been attempting to break up the original melee.

The court was told he already had occasion to speak to Allen earlier in the evening because of his poor behaviour.

After Mr Hayward-Farmer took Allen’s girlfriend to one side, the MMA fighter came up and punched him to the left-hand side of his face, causing him to fall to the floor.

Mr Hayward-Farmer got up and went towards a gate intending to close it, but Allen chased after him kicking his legs from under him.

Mr Hayward-Farmer landed on his back. Allen bent over him and delivered at least two punches to the owner.

As others came over to intervene Allen assaulted six women by punching and lashing out as he flailed away, the court heard.

Part of Mr Hayward-Farmer’s victim personal statement was read out in court.

In it he stated the incident had ruined Christmas for him as it happened on Christmas Eve.

It had also made Mr Hayward-Farmer uneasy about leaving his home, as well as having an impact on his wife – who was also present at the time.

Richard Conley, representing Allen, handed three references to the judge on his client’s behalf – including a ‘glowing’ one from a female Metropolitan Police inspector who trains with Allen.

Mr Conley said Allen was not used to alcohol as he abstains as part of his training regime.

Referring to his client’s consumption of alcohol that evening, the barrister told the court: “It had a marked affect on his behaviour, but more importantly a marked affect on his perceptions. It’s a matter of very deep regret that he’s before this court today.”

It was said Allen, who had no previous convictions, was genuinely remorseful and deeply ashamed.

Mr Conley added: “He’s gone into complete protection mode. He’s abandoned all other considerations. His only consideration was to come to the aid of his girlfriend.”

In addition to his suspended jail term Allen was ordered to pay a total of £3,250 compensation to his victims. He must also undertake 150 hours’ unpaid work and was made subject to a one-month home curfew from 9pm to 7am.

EDWARD R GARCIA