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Year in Review: 2013 in the News

File Photo  This crash seriously injured a Melissa P.D. officer
File Photo This crash seriously injured a Melissa P.D. officer
File Photo  Former Melissa mayor David Dorman was sentenced to prison for fraud.
File Photo Former Melissa mayor David Dorman was sentenced to prison for fraud.
File Photo  Anna volunteer firefighter Andrew Fassett was laid to rest
File Photo Anna volunteer firefighter Andrew Fassett was laid to rest

The year 2013 was a busy one for the Corridor. From a former mayor pleading guilty to mail fraud in connection to a bribery scheme, to new faces in public office and, sadly, a deadly couple of months on the highway, the year proved to be one of progression, surprise and tragedy.

January:

In the spirit of Christmas, Anna-area residents opened their hearts and wallets to help those in need. The post-holiday tally showed that the spirit of giving was alive and well in Anna: a successful food drive sponsored by Brookshire’s, the Angel Tree at Texas Star Bank which transformed the bank into a virtual toy store and the area-wide toy drive brought much-needed smiles to area children.

The federal fraud case against former Melissa mayor David Dorman, who months earlier vowed to fight fraud charges levied against him, ended as he pled guilty to mail fraud in the Eastern District Court of Texas.

Anna Middle School Peer & Leadership (PALS) program students sacrificed their end-of-the-year field trip in order to send a care package to Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. Sandy Hook was, of course, the site of a horrific school shooting the month prior.

Caitlin Rice, a mother and Melissa resident, was recognized by Melissa City Council for her work in raising awareness on congenital heart defects.

Calvary Baptist Church in Anna got a new pastor as Dr. Raymond Horne came out of retirement to lead the church.

February:

Anna City Council, in a special workshop session, discussed the city’s long-term strategic plan which focused on jobs, continued housing builds and downtown revitalization.

A group of 15 Melissa High School students made a trip to aid an Ecuador orphanage. The students, known as the Ecuador Travel Group, raised almost $3,000 for the orphanage funds which were used to purchase a washer and dryer and five sets of bunk beds for the orphans.

Anna’s Slayter Creek Park Phase II continued to take shape and featured a 6,500 square foot splash pad. The project, with an estimated cost of $280,000, was approved by the city council with funding to come from a Texas department of Parks and Wildlife grant.

Melissa Police Department officer Robert Simpson was seriously injured in a vehicle crash while responding to a disturbance call in progress.

J.K. Bryant Elementary School in Anna hosted its annual Coyote Bash festival which featured games, food vendors, a silent auction and lots of fun for young and old. The festival was a fundraiser to benefit the classrooms and students for special supplies activities and field trips.

The Melissa ISD Board of Trustees and the Melissa City Council held its annual joint city meeting. The session was intended to be a catch-up of sorts, a time for both groups to apprise and update on happenings, future plans, goals and accomplishments.

March:

The Melissa ISD school board election was cancelled as both incumbents, Bruce Minchney (the board’s president) and Paul Anderson were running unopposed.

The May Anna City Council and Anna ISD board elections were cancelled as all candidates were running unopposed. On the Anna council, Lauren Lovato retained her Place 2 seat. In Place 4, Chad Barnes got the seat as councilman and Mayor Pro-tem John Geren did not file for re-election. Becky Glover in Place 6, who also was the Deputy Mayor Pro-tem, was running unopposed.

Suzie Matheny retired after 38 years of service as a postal employee in the Anna Post Office.

With increasing growth in its residential community, Melissa ISD was facing an increased need for expanded facilities for its students. With total enrollment topping 1,700 for the 2012-13 school year, and a projection of 120 additional students per year over the next five years, the Building Program Committee recommended elementary, middle and high school expansion.

The Spring Into Health Fair in Melissa provided plenty of health-related information for the entire family with a variety of health care providers, including home health services, general wellness, weight loss, heart health, blood pressure screenings, nutrition and mental health awareness. The fair was sponsored by the City of Melissa, Melissa ISD and in association with the Melissa Area Chamber of Commerce.

Anna ISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved the opening of the early Childhood Center beginning with the 2013-14 school year. The pre-K and kindergarten campus will be new home for some 200 children in the main building of the old middle school.

April:

Anna Police Chief Kenny Jenks presented to the city council the department’s 2012 annual report.

Area children kept the Easter Bunny hopping at a number of community egg hunts over the Easter weekend.

Melissa High School senior Jackie Henger became the first Melissa High School student to participate in the National Forensic League National Speech & Debate Tournament in Alabama.

The Anna City Council said goodbye to one of its own as it accepted the resignation of long-time member Becky Glover, who had served on the council for the past five years. She relocated to Vancouver, Wash., in a work-related move.

Melissa ISD hosted the 6th Annual Special Olympics Track Meet which drew participants from 13 schools – Melissa, Anna, Bells, Bonham, Celina, Community, Denison, Gunter, Plano East Senior High, Princeton, Prosper, Sherman and Whitesboro.

The Greater Anna Chamber of Commerce hosted its 6th Annual Awards Ceremony. Donald Nutt, Brookshire’s director, was named Citizen of the Year. The awards banquet capped off a solid year for GACC as it continued to grow, adding 32 new members in 2012.

May:

Melissa ISD announced what may be a first-of-its-kind event set for August. Droid University will be an Android-based educational conference centered on the use of the Android operating system in the classrooms.

Following the direction of North Texas Municipal Water District, the City of Melissa implemented Stage 3 water conservation measures. With this move residential and business customers were allowed to use automatic sprinkler and irrigation systems once per week.

It was one for the incumbent and one for the challenger in the Melissa City Council election. Place 2 incumbent Sharon Weideman won with 187 votes edging challenger Ann Kean-Teed with 158 votes. In Place 4, challenger Jason Kaiser defeated incumbent William Farmer with 242 votes to 129 votes.

Anna ISD Superintendent Larry Johnson announced three new principal appointments effective July 1. Debbie Dumas will head the new Early Childhood Center, Rhett Box steps in as principal of the DAEP/Credit recovery Program and Gerald Springer moves up to take over as Anna Middle School principal.

An early morning head on collision on Highway 121 killed one driver and left the other driver in critical condition. Azella Alvarez of Westminster, a former City of Melissa employee, died on route via CareFlite to the Medical Center of Plano.

June:

Anna and Melissa High Schools sent off a fresh wave of graduates into the world. Anna said goodbye to its Class of 2013 on June 7, while Melissa did so the next day.

Anna police worked yet another fatal accident, the second one in less than two weeks, on State Highway 121 near FM 455. April Dawn Kenney, of Soper, Okla., died in a three-car crash when her Dodge Durango drifted into the southbound lane in heavy rain. Kenney was returning to Oklahoma after taking her husband to DFW airport for overseas deployment.

The City of Melissa received an improved Insurance Service Office (ISO) rating when its Public Protection Classification was lowered from a 3 to a 2. Of the more than 46,000 communities nationwide rated by ISO fewer than one percent are rated at 2 or better.

In June we wrote about Anna youth Emma Clifton, 10, as she traveled to Cincinnati to receive specialized treatment for Fanconi Anemia, a rare blood disorder that ultimately leads to bone marrow failure.

With a record-low turnout of only 61 voters there was no winner in Anna’s special election to fill City Council vacant place 6. None of the four candidates on the ballot received 50 percent of votes as required by the city charter. Dick Dowd was the top vote getter receiving 25 votes; in second place was Tiffany Burleson with 21 votes followed by Justin Burr with 9 votes and in last place was Rachel Alvarez with 6 votes. A runoff election will be held in July between Dick Dowd and Tiffany Burleson.

July:

Melissa’s Celebration of Freedom was a festive, fun-filled and well attended event. The parade as always was a big hit and later in the day Zadow Park was full of area residents enjoying a variety of activities.

In Anna, construction workers relocating water and sewer lines at the intersection of FM 455 and Highway 5 ruptured a 12 inch water main which spiraled into a four-day crisis with additional breaks for city crews and residents.

Former Melissa mayor David Dorman was sentenced to federal prison for his part in a bribery scheme involving land annexed from McKinney to Melissa. Dorman was sentenced to 33 months in prison, ordered to submit to forfeiture of $30,000 and issued three years of supervised probation following his prison term.

TAPS (Texoma Area Paratransit System) held an informational meeting in Anna attended by Anna, Melissa, Blue Ridge and Weston residents announcing public transportation availability for Collin county rural areas.

Anna City Council’s vacant Place 6 seat was finally filled as Dick Dowd edged out Tiffany Burleson in the runoff election with 41 votes to Burleson’s 33 votes.

August

Droid University was held at Melissa Middle School as MISD hosted the innovative Android technology conference.

Two-year-old Jordan Cartee died as a result of being trapped in a hot car. Jordan’s father, Joshua Alan Cartee, was later arrested on charges of Injury to a Child with bond set at $100,000.

A deadly weekend in Anna claimed three lives. Known as one of the deadliest stretches of road in the area, Highway 121 near FM 455 claimed yet another victim in an early-morning head-on crash. Jonathan Dorman, the driver of a 2007 Chrysler 200 sedan, crossed over into the southbound lane of traffic and hit a 1996 Honda Civic. Dorman, who was intoxicated according to Anna Police, was injured and underwent surgery at Plano Medical Center. The driver of the Honda, Steve Clayton, died at the scene from his injuries. The investigation determined that Clayton was texting on his phone and did not see the oncoming car. Since 2009, there have been 11 deaths on Highway 121,

A violent storm that rapidly moved through Collin County claimed two victims in Anna’s extraterritorial jurisdiction. The storm blew off a farm building’s roof onto Kenny and Pamela Wiginton, who were working on the property. Pamela Wiginton died at the scene and Kenny Wiginton, who was taken to an area hospital, died the following day.

September:

Anna residents gathered in front of City Hall to mark the 12th anniversary of 9/11, now known as Patriots Day, commemorating the attack on our nation. The somber ceremony ended with a moment of silence followed by the sounding of fire bell 5-5-5, signifying that a brother has answered the last alarm paying the ultimate sacrifice.

The investigation into the death of Melissa resident Nicole Leger, who was murdered in her home in the 3000 block of Melanie Lane, continued. There has been no one charged with the crime by the Melissa Police Department and no new information has been released involving the case.

Special populations PTA came together in Anna as a group of parents felt the need to do something more for their children who are in the gifted and talented program, who receive speech services and those enrolled in special education. The new PTA, unlike traditional associations will serve children across Anna school district.

October:

Anna police shut down a marijuana drug operation in the West Crossing subdivision, pulling in weeks of investigative work in a collaborative effort with the Van Alstyne Police Department.

First National Bank of Trenton in Melissa was thinking pink with a number of fund raising projects during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Anna Police Department, joined by first responders, hosted the city’s National Night Out at Slayter Creek Park. Area residents turned out in large numbers to the community event not only to “Take a bite out of crime,” but also to enjoy the family entertainment with friends and neighbors.

Melissa ISD Superintendent Dr. Jason Smith, who had served as superintendent within the district or the past ten years, resigned to serve as full-time chief executive officer of Teacher Tube, LLC. Founded by Smith, wife Jodie and brother Adam, Teacher Tube is a national and international online educational community and content provider.

In conjunction with Fire Prevention Week, Anna City Council recognized Anna Fire Department members and employees. It was also announced that the city was awarded an ISO Class 2 rating.

A Collin County jury returned a guilty verdict against former Melissa Fire Department investigator Brad Wells finding him guilty of arson. He was sentenced to seven years probation and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.

Crowds of area residents filled Slayter Creek park in Anna for the annual Glowfest festival hosted by the Greater Anna Chamber of Commerce. The all day event featured a car show, a Kids Zone with trick or treating, vendors, music, costume contest, tethered balloon rides and the finale, the balloon glow.

November:

Anna volunteer firefighter Andrew Fassett was laid to rest on Nov. 1. Fassett passed away due to illness and was honored by Anna, Celina and Wylie fire departments. He was 29.

Collin County Adventure Camp in Anna hosted the fifth annual camp Craig Allen Halloween Costume Contest and party for special needs children.

The driveway to Sue E. Rattan Elementary School in Anna was lined with more than 100 flags and the school auditorium was packed with a standing room only crowd of as the school hosted its seventh annual Veterans Day program.

December:

The giving season was alive and well in Anna as residents opened their hearts and wallets, whether it be contributing to the Spirit of Christmas Food Drive sponsored by Brookshire’s or adopting an angel from the Angel Trees at Texas Star or Independent Banks or donating to Anna’s House, the mission center in Anna.

The weekend ice storm that hit not only Anna and Melissa but all of North Texas left residents stranded in their homes for three days. It was slipping and sliding adventure for anyone who ventured out.

While Melissa had the unfortunate task of cancelling its Christmas parade due to the severe weather Anna hosted a Centennial Celebration and Christmas extravaganza all on the same day. The all-day festival to celebrate Christmas and the 100th anniversary of Anna featured a parade with the downtown full of arts and crafts dealers, vendors and community partners.

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