Rhome officer goes missing in Kentucky lake


Rescue squads from two counties and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources continue to search an area of Lake Cumberland, where a Rhome officer went missing Tuesday morning.
Sgt. Robin Adair, 61, went for a swim off a houseboat around 10 a.m. at the large lake near Jamestown, Ky. His wife told officials that she saw him go under but never resurface. Adair was not wearing a life preserver.
Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources spokesman David Baker said there was a strong current in that area of the lake near the dam.
Search and rescue crews have made several attempts to locate Adair.
“They’ve located an area of interest. A diver spent 17 minutes down in that area 100 feet deep and was not able to locate him,” Baker said. “Officers are doing their best to find him knowing he’s a fellow police officer. There’s a lot of empathy.
“It’s a large lake in Southern Kentucky, at the dam it’s up to 200 feet deep, which makes the search difficult.”
Adair has been in law enforcement for 25 years, spending the past nine years at Rhome.
“He was one of the guys that never met a stranger,” said Rhome Police Chief Sam Love, who worked the past two years with Adair. “He liked everyone he met and was always upbeat and happy.
“It’ll leave a big gap in the community. It’ll be hard to find someone to fill his shoes.”
Adair lived in Millsap in Parker County. Love said Adair and his wife regularly visited Lake Cumberland.
“He always talked when he retired that’s where he wanted to move,” Love said.
Adair was also a pilot and frequent skydiver, with around 100 jumps.
“He loved airplanes. You could show him a picture of a plane and he’d tell you when it was made and everything about it,” Love said.
“He had many loves in life — his wife of more than 20 years and was also an animal lover.”
Love said it was tough telling local business owners, many who adored Adair.
“He was very easy-going and cared a lot about this community,” said Frances Sturges of Big Z Travel Center. “If he worked, he’d always be out there waiting for us when we closed up.”
Masoud “Mason” Farhadi of Giant Burger said he was shocked by the loss of a friend, who he just helped with city’s National Night Out event.
“He was an awesome man — very kind,” Farhadi said. “He was family man and was respected by everyone. He always had something to say and something funny to share with others. He was just a great guy. We are all going to miss him.”

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One killed in wreck near Decatur


One person was killed and another seriously injured in a head-on collision south of Decatur Wednesday afternoon. The wreck happened on Farm Road 51 near County Road 3294, just north of Farm Road 3259 just after 2 p.m. Texas Department of Public Safety trooper Adam Lawson said a passenger car was southbound when, for an unknown reason, it veered into the northbound lane where it struck a pickup. The truck rolled over, landing upside down. The driver of the car was killed, and the driver of the pickup was taken by ground ambulance to Medical City Denton. Lawson did not release the names of those involved since officers were in the process of notifying next of kin for the deceased. More information will be posted when it is available.

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Decatur HS to add 15 minutes to school day


To make up for the time lost this week due to last Friday’s flooding, Decatur High School will add 15 minutes to the school day, starting Monday when students return.
High school students will now be dismissed at 3:50 p.m. for the remainder of the school year.
“Looking at options, this was the least disruptive,” said Decatur ISD Superintendent Judi Whitis. “This way, no planned holidays are affected.”
By adding the 15 minutes for the remaining 140 days, the district will make up 2,100 minutes. The school lost 2,275 mintues this week with the campus closed from Monday through Friday.
Whitis said the school had extra minutes built in the school calendar. Schools must provide 75,600 minutes of instruction.
Decatur ISD officials wanted to go ahead and extend the day to start recouping the minutes before any winter weather forces the district to cancel classes.
The extra time will be added at different parts of the day. Ten minutes will be added between lunches. The last three periods of the school day will also be extended by a few minutes.
Decatur High School teachers returned to campus Wednesday as restoration crews finish up their work. The crews are expected to be finished Thursday with their cleanup work, Whitis said.
A drain pipe atop the school broke free Friday, sending water cascading into the building. An area from the main entrance to near the gym was flooded. No classrooms were damaged. Some offices had water damage.
District personnel worked Friday evening to extract water from the building. Crews from Blackmon Mooring have worked the past several days to dry out the flooded areas and restore the damaged insulation and flooring.
Whitis said the district will be hiring a contractor to make sure the other drains atop the building are working correctly.

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Decatur HS to be closed through Friday


Decatur High School will be closed through Friday after last week’s torrential rains flooded portions of the building.
The district originally called off classes at the campus through Wednesday, but canceled the rest of the week after meeting with its restoration company Monday.
“It’s a safety precaution,” said Decatur ISD Superintendent Judi Whitis. “We want to be sure everything is dried out and get it as normal as we can before we have students back in there. We didn’t want people up there with a bunch of ceiling tiles out.”
One of the drains on top of the school collapsed during Friday’s storm sending water cascading into the building and flooding an area from the main entrance to near the gym.
“None of the classrooms were affected,” Whitis said.
She said some of the offices were flooded along with the main corridor from the front door.
Crews were at the school over the weekend starting the restoration process, getting water out of the building and drying out floors and ceiling tiles.
As far as the days missed, Whitis said the school will be researching options. Schools must provide 75,600 minutes of instruction.
“We’ll be looking to do what will be the least amount of disruption to the other campuses,” Whitis said. “We’re under the minutes requirement, we’ll be calculing the minutes and looking to build time back in the schedule at the high school. We’ll look at that before taking away any holidays.”
All other campuses held classes as normal.
“We wanted to disrupt things as little as possible,” Whitis said.
With the building closed, the Decatur volleyball team practiced Monday and Wednesday at McCarroll Middle School. The team played at Argyle Tuesday.

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Flooding closes Decatur HS through Wednesday


Decatur High School will be closed Monday through Wednesday after Friday’s torrential rains flooded portions of the building.
One of the drains on top of the school collapsed sending water cascading into the building and flooding an area from the main entrance to near the gym, according to Decatur ISD Superintendent Judi Whitis.
“None of the classrooms were affected,” Whitis said.
She said some of the offices were flooded along with the main corridor from the front door.
Crews were at the school over the weekend starting the restoration process, getting water out of the building and drying out floors and ceiling tiles.
Monday through Wednesday, no one will be allowed in the main building, Whitis said.
As far as the days missed, Whitis said the school will be researching options.
All other campuses will attend school as normal.
“We wanted to disrupt things as little as possible,” Whitis said.
The Decatur volleyball team will practice at 1 p.m. Monday and Wednesday at McCarroll Middle School. The team plays at Argyle Tuesday.
Decatur Athletic Director Mike Fuller said he is working on scheduling workouts for the football team at its practice facility.

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One killed in wreck on FM 51


A Paradise woman was killed Friday morning in a two-vehicle accident on Farm Road 51 near County Road 3170.

Amanda Rasco, 26, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The accident occurred around 7:15. Rasco’s SUV headed southbound drifted into the northbound lane, according to Department of Public Safety Trooper Lee Carson. When the driver overcorrected, the vehicle spun into the northbound lane where it was struck near the shoulder by a northbound Ford truck driven by Matthew Dueling, 45, of Springtown.

Dueling and another witness attempted CPR on Rasco. Dueling was not injured.

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Rhome resident arrested for murder


Marie Kimani

A Rhome woman has been arrested for the shooting death of her former husband last Friday night. Marie Kendale Kimani, 35, was arrested at her home in the 12600 block of Forest Lawn Rhome in the Shale Creek Neighborhood east of Rhome late Wednesday night. The home was the location where 40-year-old Jonathon Tumbo was found dead last week by officers responding to a call from Kimani about an altercation between the two. Tumbo was killed by a single gunshot wound to the chest. Officers took a statement about what happened from Kimani, who said the two were involved in a physical altercation. “Subsequent follow up investigation by WCSO investigators and related evidence was not consistent with Kimani’s account of a physical altercation,” the sheriff’s office stated in a news release. Kimani’s bond was set at $1 million, and she remained in the Wise County Jail Thursday afternoon.

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Sheriff’s deputy arrested for assault


A Wise County Sheriff’s deputy has been arrested for aggravated assault related to a domestic violence incident.

Taylor Alan Whittle

Deputy Taylor Alan Whittle of Decatur was arrested Tuesday and charged with a second degree felony of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and a third degree felony of assault family violence impeding breathing or circulation.

Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said he was made aware on Monday of a domestic violence incident involving Whittle that occurred the previous evening. Whittle was accused of assaulting and choking a family member. The deputy was also accused of committing additional offenses within the city of Decatur.

Akin said the investigation was turned over to Texas Ranger Jeremy Wallace who worked with the Decatur Police Department on the case, which led to the arrest.

Akin said Whittle has been fired.

“The Wise County Sheriff’s Office holds its employees to a high standard, and we cannot allow violations of the law or of our policies,” Akin stated in a news release. “Whittle’s employment with the Wise County Sheriff’s Office was terminated.”

The sheriff added that he is “proud of the many fine women and men who continue to wear the WCSO uniform and represent what a professional sheriff’s office should be.”

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Man identified in Shale Creek shooting death


Authorities Sunday released the identity of the man who died with a gunshot wound in the Shale Creek neighborhood off Texas 114 near the Wise and Denton County line Friday.
Jonathon Tumbo, 40, of Rhome was found by officers from the Wise County Sheriff’s Office with a gunshot wound to the chest when they responded to a domestic disturbance call.
Mandy Hays, justice of the peace, precinct 3, ordered an autopsy and Tumbo’s body was taken to the Dallas County Medical Examiners Office.
“The death is still under investigation,” said Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin.
A woman at the residence was uninjured. At this time no charges have been filed.
The incident occurred around 7:45 p.m. Friday on Forest Lawn Road.

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Man dies with gunshot wound in Shale Creek


A man was found dead with a gunshot wound in the Shale Creek neighborhood off Texas 114 near the Wise and Denton County line Friday when officers from the Wise County Sheriff’s Office responded to a domestic disturbance call.
Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said the deceased man was in his 40s. His identity has not been released. His body is being taken to the Dallas County Medical Examiner for an autopsy.
“We are investigating the nature of the death,” Akin said.
A woman at the residence was uninjured. At this time no charges have been filed.
The incident occurred around 7:45 p.m. on Forest Lawn Road.

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Fiery crash snarls 287


A passenger car and FedEx tractor trailer collided on U.S. 81/287 in a fiery accident early Tuesday morning that snarled northbound traffic near the Wise-Montague county line for hours.
The occupants of both vehicles escaped without injury.
The accident occurred shortly before 5 a.m. just south of County Road 1793.
A northbound passenger car driven by Christopher Buergin, 44, of Euless left the roadway and drove into the median before reentering the road and striking the FedEx truck driven by Douglas Powell, 57, of Childress, according to Department of Public Safety Trooper Bryan Keith. He said speed was likely a factor.
“Both occupants were able to exit the vehicles,” Keith said.
The passenger car came to rest in the median and caught fire. The tractor trailer traveled several hundred feet before coming to rest on fire on the shoulder.
Both vehicles were fully involved when firefighters arrived. Alvord, Sunset and Decatur firefighters worked the blaze.
The entire cab and most of the trailer of the truck was consumed by fire.
The entire northbound lane was closed. Traffic backed up for several miles to near County Road 1596.

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Back-to-school blast: Adams to open Monday


Walking the pristine hallways of Adams Middle School, staff members at every stop shared the same adjectives as they prepared for Monday’s first day.
“It’s beautiful; state-of-the-art,” said seventh-grade Texas history teacher Mary Wilson.
In the extracurricular wing, band director Alycia Bingaman offered similar praise: “It’s beautiful. There’s plenty of space for us to work with separate groups.”
But as excited as the 100 staff members of the school are to share it, the reactions of students touring the building this past week have fully captured the anticipation surrounding the opening of the middle school on U.S. 81/287 on Eagle Boulevard in Haslet.
“It’s been great seeing their faces in the cub meetings. Their faces are like the way adults look at cars,” Wilson said.
The campus, named after late Justin Mayor Leo Adams, will open for its first day of classes Monday. Adams was a founding member on the Northwest ISD school board in 1949 and the owner of Justin Lumber Co. His daughter Jeannine Adams Eaton is married to Roy Eaton, the Messenger owner and publisher and son of V.R. Eaton, the namesake of the neighboring high school.
Principal Cynthia Webber expects to welcome 1,171 sixth, seventh and eighth graders to the halls of the new campus, which will be fed by Schluter, Nance, Peterson and Curtis elementaries.
In the past several months, Webber has made her rounds through the hallways of the district’s sixth and largest middle school. The school has 200,000 square feet.
“It takes 3 minutes and 36 seconds to get from one corner to the other,” Webber said. “It’s 50,000 square feet bigger than Wilson.”
The middle school is modeled after Eaton High School that is located next door. Wilson, who has a window facing Eaton, said she will point to the school and tell her students she is preparing them for the next step.
A feature shared by Adams and Eaton will be the collaborative spaces outside classrooms in the main hall. The areas have chairs, tables and mounted television screens.
“Learning doesn’t just take place in the classroom,” Webber said. “Once the teacher sets the stage, [students] will be free to work with others. It’ll give students a chance to work on their collaborative skills.”
The main educational building has two stories throughout and includes flexible STEM classrooms, a family consumer science classroom with six kitchens, special education classrooms and a spacious library.
In the extracurricular wing is the band hall, three gyms and the cafetorium. A courtyard is between the extracurricular wing and the main building.
On the first day, Webber said 20 adult volunteers will be on hand to direct students.
A dedication of the new school is scheduled for Nov. 6.

Curtis to open
Adams Middle School is one of two new Northwest ISD campuses to open Monday.
Lizzie Curtis Elementary on Belle Prairie Trail in Fort Worth will hold its first classes for students at the south end of the district.

New bus service
Reliant begins as Northwest’s new transportation service provider.
Information about the routes was sent in a personalized email to families that registered for busing during the enrollment process. The routes can also be online at www.nisdtx.org/news/what_s_new/2018busroutes.

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Back to school blast: Boyd returns to class


The summer break will end Tuesday for Boyd ISD students. Classes resume at 8 a.m.
The district has implemented several security measures for the start of the new year. The only entrance for the buildings will be the front doors on each campus.
The district is working to install the equipment for visitors to use during the school day to be buzzed in, along with alarms on doors all exterior doors.
“We’ll be training students, staff and teachers. All exterior doors, besides the front door, will be emergency exits,” said Boyd ISD Superintendent Ted West.
The district’s school resource officer Jason Morris will begin his duty Tuesday. The district worked a contract with the city in the spring to add an officer to provide coverage to the entire district.
“He’s already started and will be a visible fixture in our district,” West said.
After tomorrow, Northwest will be the only district in the county to not start school.

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Fire damages Cottondale home


A pre-dawn fire near Cottondale Saturday heavily damaged a home. Multiple fire departments, including Cottondale, Boyd, Salt Creek and Paradise, responded to the call of a mobile home on fire in the 400 block of County Road 3579 around 5 a.m. Firefighters arrived and reported flames showing from the roof. The home’s occupants were able to escape and were not injured. The American Red Cross was called to the scene to assist them.

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Pilot dies in plane crash


The pilot of a single-engine Cessna 172 died after crashing into a field in Rhome Thursday night, according to Department of Public Safety spokesman Lonny Haschel.

Three other passengers suffered unknown injuries.

The pilot was identified as Curtis Moore, 63, of Rhome. An adult male passenger, identified as Brentley Smith, 35, of Azle, was flown by medical helicopter to Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth.

A juvenile passenger was flown to Cook Children’s in Fort Worth. Another juvenile was taken to Cook Children’s by ground ambulance.

Haschel said the FAA will be conducting an investigation into the crash.

Mallory Schuring, who lives on County Road 4421 near the crash site, said she did not witness the crash, but heard medical helicopters flying overhead around 8 p.m.

“I haven’t ever heard or seen anything like this,” Schuring said.

Lynn Lunsford, Mid-States Public Affairs Manager with the Federal Aviation Administration, said the plane took off from Rhome Meadows Airport and crashed shortly after. He added FAA investigators were on their way to the crash site Friday morning, and the National Transportation Safety Board has been notified.

NTSB will be in charge of the investigation.

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Motorcyclist air flighted after crash in Newark


NEWARK — A motorcyclist was air flighted to John Peter Smith Hospital, Wednesday, after an accident on Farm Market 718 in Newark.

First responders evacuate a motorcyclist to John Peter Smith Hospital, Wednesday afternoon. (Messenger photo by Joe Duty)

Assistant Chief of the Newark Fire Department Ed Hawthorne said due to the nature of the injuries sustained during the crash the motorcyclist involved would need to be medically evacuated.

The crash happened along FM 718 in Newark at around 4:15 p.m. Hawthorne said only one vehicle was involved in the crash.

The identity of the motorcyclist was not made available.

 

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Parts of Grasslands torched


  A massive fire torched more than 500 acres of the LBJ National Grasslands Friday.
Firefighters from more than 20 fire departments, including 10 Wise County departments, battled the intense blaze centered around County Road 2391 near Hopewell Baptist Church close to Alvord.
Flames hurled several feet in the air and covered the sky with black smoke.
Around 6:15 p.m., Wise County Emergency Management Coordinator Cody Powell said it was “20 percent” contained.
“We keep having spot fires jumping in front of it,” Powell said.
“It’s very difficult [to fight] due to the vegetation.”
Temperatures in the mid 90s, steady breeze and humidity levels in the low 20s pushed flames over crisp, overgrown vegetation. The Keetch-Byram Drought Index average for Wise County Friday was 730. The index measures the wildfire potential by taking into account the soil moisture. The scale goes to 800.
The fire jumped across Old Decatur Road, but the forward progress to the north was stymied.
Powell was unsure if any structures had been lost at the time of his last update before press time.
The large Barclay’s Salvage yard with approximately 1,000 vehicles was ignited in the blaze. Loud pops could be heard throughout the area.
A steady stream of resourced poured in from across the region. Firefighters from Montague and Denton counties and Texas and U.S. Forest Services joined the Wise County firefighters battling the blaze on the ground. The Denton County Wildland Task Force, Denton County Structural Task Force and North Tarrant Task Force also responded.
A helicopter and single-engine air tanker assisted from the air, dumping water and fire retardant.
One firefighter was transported to the hospital for heat exhaustion, and multiple homes were evacuated.
“The biggest thing we need is for everyone to stay out of the area. It is not safe,” Powell said.
Department of Public Safety troopers and Wise County Sheriff’s Office deputies helped secure the scene. Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Wardens also responded.
“They are staged to evacuate livestock if needed,” Powell said.
Melvin Castleberry with the American Red Cross said no shelters were needed as of 5 p.m. Food, drinks and ice was being brought in from a variety of volunteers to Hopewell Baptist Church for firefighters.

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Multiple departments battle massive fire


Fifteen fire departments with help from firefighters from Montague and Denton County departments, Texas and U.S. Forest Services are battling a massive grass fire off County Road 2391 near Alvord.
One firefighter was transported to the hospital for heat exhaustion, and multiple homes have been evacuated.
“The biggest thing we need is for everyone to stay out of the area. It is not safe,” said Wise County Emergency Management Coordinator Cody Powell.
Powell said a salvage yard in the area is on fire.
“Air assets are on scene,” Powell said.

The Red Cross is providing food for 100 people. They said there is no need for a shelter yet.

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Decatur ISD trustees OK price for bistro


Decatur High School’s bistro will become a reality later this fall.
Decatur ISD trustees approved the guaranteed maximum price (GMP) of $423,932 from builders Steele and Freeman Monday for construction of the facility in the high school library.
In the 6-0 vote for moving ahead with the project that’s been discussed for the past several months, trustees acknowledged that there will be additional costs — architectural fees and furniture.
“We are making good progress on the project,” said Decatur ISD School Board President Cheri Boyd. “What we have now, I feel comfortable with. There are other numbers we have to wait on. After we see those, we can go from there.”
Working with district officials and the architect Claycomb Associates, Steele and Freeman cut nearly $250,000 off the estimate of $670,000 given to the board June 18. They were given a goal of $460,000 to get the project under.
George DeJohn of Claycomb said the front counter and condiment counter were changed to cut costs. The district also cut the number of ovens from two to one.
Shelly Laaser, Director of Child Nutrition, said the district will move a freezer from the administration building to the bistro to trim costs.
While trimming the cost, Michael Freeman of Steele and Freeman, said there will be room to add everything that was cut in the future.
“The bistro is needed. We just need to make sure we’re transparent with the numbers,” said trustee Wade Watson. “The $423,932 is not the complete cost.”
Construction on the bistro and delivery and installation of the equipment will not be complete until sometime in the November.
The high school will have a closed campus during lunch in the fall. Decatur ISD Superintendent Judi Whitis said Laaser has prepared a schedule with three lunch periods at the high school. The district has increased the seating capacity of the cafeteria to 440 students to help at the start of the year.
In other business, the district hired Shane Conklin as the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
Conklin is currently Director of Student and Staff Services at Coppell ISD. Conklin previously led the Human Resources Department at Granbury. He also held administrative positions at Northwest, Crowley and White Settlement.
“He has 14 years experience and has been a principal at all levels along with being a director of second education and HR director,” Whitis said. “We’re very excited to have him.”
Conklin is the second assistant superintendent named in the past two weeks. The district elevated Steve White to assistant superintendent for operations.

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Fire destroys home in Chico


Three people were rescued from a house fire Friday afternoon in Chico.

The home was located on Weatherford St. across from the Lowe’s Market. Ubaldo Garcia with the Chico Volunteer Fire Department said a mother, infant and toddler were trapped in the house when they arrived.

“When we got here the house was partially engulfed,” Garcia said. “We tried to make access in the back, and the mother finally located us. We tore the air conditioning unit down and got them out.”

Wise County Emergency Management Coordinator Cody Powell said the fire started around noon. He added the home to the left of the house that caught fire was evacuated as a precaution and crews were inspecting it.

Powell advised residents to avoid the area as crews work to contain the blaze and clean up the scene. He said it could take hours and Weatherford St. would be shut down indefinitely.

Pablo Lara helped rescue the children trapped inside the home. He said he heard yelling and started smashing windows to get them out.

Garcia said it is unclear what started the fire. He said crews were checking nearby structures to ensure they are safe, as the fence of a neighboring structure caught fire.

Firefighters from Chico, Crafton, Bridgeport, Lake Bridgeport and Alvord battled the blaze in temperatures hovering around 97 degrees.

Wise County is currently under a 90-day burn ban and in a severe drought.

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