Newark cancels election, appoints new city marshal

Like Runaway Bay did earlier this week, Newark canceled its May 9 election because there are no contested races.

Seats for mayor and places 2, 4 and 5 were up for grabs, but other than incumbents Mayor Gary Van Wagner, Mark Wondolowski and Dan Sessler, nobody filed to run.

The rest of the meeting was fairly short, as the council only acted on three other items.

The council voted unanimously to appoint Code Enforcement Officer Jimmy Duvall to the office of city marshal. Prior to his swearing-in, Duvall read a report of the current citations the city issued so far in 2015, including three high grass violations, six unsightly manner citations and one animal citation.

In other business, a temporary exception to the city’s zoning ordinance was awarded by the council to property owners at 405 Killough St. so that they could build an additional brick building on the property before they build a house.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to get people to build and buy lots and make property values go up,” Council member Dan Sessler said.

The only other item the council acted on was retaining the Fletcher, Farley, Shipman and Salinas law firm as the city’s legal representatives.

The council’s next meeting is 7 p.m. Thursday, April 16, at 209 Hudson St. and is open to the public.

Follow live updates of this meeting and others on Twitter @JakeHarris4.

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Newark City Council boosts stipend to volunteer fire department

The Newark City Council increased the annual stipend for the Newark Volunteer Fire Department by $2,000 Thursday night, from $7,000 to $9,000.

Assistant Fire Chief Jerry Taylor said the department responded to a total of 584 calls last year, including 61 gas leaks, 32 grass fires and 16 structure fires.

“We’re the smallest fire department out of all in Wise County, but we’re one of the busiest because of medical calls,” Taylor said.

The council had an extra $2,000 in its budget for the fire department and wanted to give it to the department for this year. The annual stipend will still stay at $7,000.

OTHER BUSINESS

The council also:

  • unanimously approved financing from the Newark Cultural Education Facilities Finance Corp. for a YMCA Dallas benefit;
  • voted to submit a Texas Community Development Grant program application to the Texas Department of Agriculture for community development funds;
  • moved to demolish a house at 536 Wise Street within 30 days and moved to give another resident at 726 McCanne Street 90 days to fix her property to be up to code; and
  • approved a recommendation from the library to add different hours for its volunteers.

The council’s next meeting is 7 p.m. Thursday, March 19, at 209 Hudson St.

Follow live updates of this meeting and others in Wise County on Twitter @jakeharris4.

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Local students named to UNT dean’s list

The following University of North Texas students from Wise County were named to the dean’s list for the 2014 fall semester.

  • Aurora – Christian Joshua McCormack
  • Boyd – Brandon James Anderson, Ashley Pearl Montgomery
  • Chico – Angela Michelle Price
  • Decatur – Elizabeth Joy Hatter, Howard Jack Ille Jr., Brooke A. Joiner, Tiffany Kristin Lara, Samuel J. McGregor, Raymond C. McMillian, Zara Reanna Pearson, Ricardo Samano, Raye E. Stewart, Catalina Torres, Brianna M. White, Renae J. White
  • Newark – Michael Scott Cushman, Ruth Ann Alexis Edwards, Nathaniel Christopher Getty, Lindsey Hope Robinson
  • Paradise – Crystal D. Morris-Stromberg, Bailey N Roberts
  • Runaway Bay – Marcela Garza

To receive the honor, undergraduates must complete at least 12 academic hours with a grade point average of 3.5 to 3.9.

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Local students named to UNT president’s list

The following University of North Texas students from Wise County were named to the president’s list for the 2014 fall semester.

  • Boyd – Kaitlin Denise Solis, Marley B. Wright
  • Decatur – Ciara Lee Gibson, Jared M. Retamal, Jodie Renae Ross
  • Newark – Sarah Whitney Hickmon, Jennifer Michaela Smith
  • Paradise – Stephen C. Daneshjou, Wacy Ross Lusk
  • Rhome – Kathy Ann Lea, Kathy Ann Ledford, Benjamin Sterling Mazurek, Rebekah Jean Schrunk

To receive the honor, undergraduates must complete at least 12 academic hours with a 4.0 grade point average.

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Carol Burnett Wirtz

Carol Burnett Wirtz, 68, a caregiver, died Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, in Newark.

Memorial service is 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24, at Aurora Baptist Church.

Carol was born Dec. 25, 1945, in Fort Worth to George and Elfrieda (vonLuternau) Burnett. She married Russell Wirtz March 25, 1972, in North Richland Hills. Carol was a caregiver and homemaker.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Russell; her son, Russell E. Wirtz; and brothers David Burnett and Robert Burnett.

Survivors include her daughters, Deborah Snipes and husband, Brian, of Robinson and Christina West and husband, Keith, of Waxahachie; grandchildren Amber, Rose, Sarah, Shannon, Joshua and Jared; great-grandchildren Elijah and Isaiah; brother George Amos Burnett and wife, Tammy, of Porter; sister Kaye Landingham of Burleson; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

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Blaze destroys family home

Blaze destroys family home

A Newark family lost their home and all their belongings in a fast-moving fire Monday morning.

The Newark Fire Department was dispatched to the 100 block of County Road 4856 just after 5:30 a.m. When they arrived, the home was already fully engulfed, but the family had escaped with no major injuries.

Total Loss

TOTAL LOSS – The framework of a mobile home in Newark continues to smoke after firefighters doused the blaze that consumed it early Monday morning. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

According to Bonnie Jaramillo, her son William, also known as Ryder, his wife Jade and their daughters, ages 4 and 3, lived in the home.

“(Jade) was in the living room, and she heard crackling,” Bonnie Jaramillo said. “She went in and got the girls out. The fire had already started in the girls’ room but not bad. She got the girls out and got out the back door.”

Wise County Fire Marshal Chuck Beard said Ryder Jaramillo was at work when the fire started. He said the fire is not suspicious, but the cause remains under investigation.

The home and all of its contents were destroyed, and a vehicle was also lost in the blaze.

Jade Jaramillo suffered a small burn to her arm and was treated on scene by Medic 3.

In addition to Newark, the Rhome and Boyd fire departments also responded.

Jade works at the Wise County Jail, and her co-workers have set up a benefit bank account for her family at First State Bank. Donations may be made at any location – Bridgeport, Chico or Paradise.

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Michael Walker

Michael Walker

Michael Walker, 51, a lumber foreman, died Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014, in Newark.

Memorial service is 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 3, at Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 14355 Morris-Dido Road, in Newark.

Michael was born Jan. 1, 1963, to Sylvester and Annie (Cole) Walker in Gary, Ind. He married Karen Brocks Feb. 10, 2007, in Chicago.

He was preceded in death by his father, Sylvester D. Walker; and his sister, Terri Walker.

Survivors include his wife, Karen Walker, of Newark; daughters Kellie Strickland and husband, Isaiah, Kenedy Brocks, Eden Grace Walker and Micah Elizabeth Walker; his mother, Annie Bell Walker; brother David E. Walker and wife, Towanna; sisters Barbara Nance and husband, Kenneth, and Sylvia Walker; niece Trisha Marie Narcisse; and other family members and friends.

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Glass artist gets State Fair recognition

Myrt Totty spends about half of her time creating art in her chosen medium – glass.

It gives her a break from hairstyling.

And hairstyling, she notes, gives her a break from art.

BIG WINNER – Myrt Totty’s glass artwork earned high praise at the State Fair of Texas, winning second in designer/craftsman competition and an honorable mention. Messenger photo by Bob Buckel

Her salon, the Hair Hut, on Farm Road 718 in Newark, is a good place to display her work, get ideas from customers and talk about her art.

“Sometimes you’ll come in and somebody has set empty liquor bottles all over my counter,” she laughs. “I wonder ‘What’s everybody thinking?'”

But those who know her know she can always use colorful, interesting glass. Maybe they’ve seen the spoon holder she made from a wine bottle, or one of her mosaics, or a marble, a dish or one of her glass flower arrangements.

At the State Fair of Texas a couple of months ago, it’s a good bet thousands of people saw her work. The Newark resident won a second place ribbon in the Designer/Craftsman section with her flamework glass sculpture of a vase of blossoms, and an honorable mention with a fused-glass plate she calls “Saving Mother Earth.”

“With the State Fair you can only enter two pieces in a category,” she said. “This was my first time to enter, so being able to win something with both, that was exciting.

“Glass is an interesting thing,” she said.

Myrt hasn’t had a TV in 27 years. Instead, she works in her studio or her husband’s shop – and studies constantly to learn more about the technical side of glass art.

“I go to bed every night with a book,” she said. “I’m just constantly reading and taking classes.”

She’s been an artist all her life – several of her paintings adorn the walls of her house – but since 2007 she’s been working in glass, moving from one form to another as she explores the medium.

“My father was military,” she said. “When I really learned to love glass was in Europe – the stained-glass cathedrals, as a child, just fascinated me.”

She started in stained glass, creating mosaics, and her first piece placed in a competition. It hangs in a window now.

“The reason I liked mosaics so well is that you don’t have a pattern,” she said. “You have to just make it and flow as it goes.”

After several years, she “got hooked on the torch” and began creating a different type of piece – flower arrangements in glass which mimic forsythia, cherry blossoms and dogwoods on delicate copper stems. She also makes glass rings, earrings, brooches and other jewelry.

“I’m kind of AD/HD, so I like the spontaniety of it,” she said.

She has a kiln and some of her work, like the wine-bottle spoon holder and the “Mother Earth” plate, requires that heat to take form. But the patience and preparation that takes is “sometimes is a little slow” for her.

“There’s so many things you can do with glass,” she said. “Glass is just a medium that we keep pushing and every day you wake up there’s a new tool, someone has invented a new thing.”

She said most glass artists develop a technique, then teach, or make materials and tools that others can use. That provides the additional income that allows them to live off their trade – since selling art in today’s economy is at best, a hit-or-miss proposition.

But Myrt sells quite a few pieces, and creates unique pieces for customers who order them.

“A lot of artists hone in on one aspect of the field,” she said. “I’m blessed in that my husband has bought the tools and given me the support that I have been able to run the full gamut with glass. It can require a lot of equipment.”

Her husband, Don, knows where to look if a tool goes missing. Myrt scavenges his truck and uses the grinding tools and drill presses in his shop. He even bought her the sandblaster that allowed her to finish the “Mother Earth” plate.

The one thing he doesn’t have to worry about? Keeping her busy.

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Slow down on pension changes

Congress is negotiating to cut the pension benefits of some multi-employer pension plans in an effort to address estimated shortfalls at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) in the distant future.

This is being done behind closed doors and in a rush before Congress is slated to go home at the end of the week.

I urge your newspaper to publish an editorial stating this is the wrong course to take and stop all action on multi-employer pension plans until public hearings on specific legislative solutions are held in the new Congress.

Sincerely,
Carole Alvey
Newark

EDITOR’S NOTE: According to Bloomberg/Business Week, lawmakers agreed Tuesday on pension reforms as part of the $1.1 trillion spending bill to keep the federal government from shutting down. Supporters of the measure, which applies to roughly 10 million participants, say several of those funds could run out of money in the next two decades if nothing is done.

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Maudie Mae Gilmore

Maudie Mae Gilmore

Maudie Mae Gilmore, 69, a homemaker, died Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Newark.

Graveside service was Dec. 1 at Pleasant Grove No. 2 Cemetery with Chaplain Phillip Weitner officiating. Christian-Hawkins Funeral Home in Boyd handled arrangements.

Maudie was born Jan. 20, 1945, in Fort Worth to William and Maudie (Bailey) Tucker. She married Lelie Ray Gilmore and was a homemaker and a member of the Church of Christ.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Leslie Ray Gilmore; and her parents.

Survivors include her daughter, Sharon Robinson and husband, Lowell, of Boyd; sons Cody Dean Gilmore and wife, Cleta, of Denton and Leslie Ray Gilmore of Newark; granddaughters Tiffany Sloas and husband, Jason, of New Fairview, and Lindsey Hope Robinson of Newark; great-grandson Jason Sloas Jr.; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

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Early morning fire ‘suspicious’

Early morning fire ‘suspicious’

When a home that hasn’t been occupied in more than 10 days, and has no gas or electric service, catches on fire in the middle of the night, it’s suspicious.

That’s how Wise County Deputy Fire Marshal J.C. Travis characterized the fire that destroyed a house at 2207 Farm Road 718 Sunday night.

Late Night Blaze

LATE-NIGHT BLAZE – A Rhome firefighter works to contain the flames at a house on Farm Road 718 early Monday morning. The house, which was not occupied and had no gas or electric utilities, was a total loss. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The fire was reported at 2:22 a.m. and units from Rhome, Newark and Boyd responded to find the house fully involved in flames. The small, wood-frame building sits in the middle of a small RV park with several other buildings, some site-built and some RVs or mobile homes.

A detached metal shop was not affected. Neither was a car that was parked nearby, being worked on. There was a motorcycle inside a portion of the building that a neighbor apparently dragged out.

Firefighters were on the scene for a couple of hours. The fire reignited briefly on Monday morning, and firefighters were called back to the scene to knock it down again.

Travis said he is familiar with the property, having worked with the owners to try and resolve numerous code violations in the past.

The house belongs to Joe Garcia, who at the time of the fire was reported to be hospitalized in Decatur. It was feared that his wife, Tammy Garcia, might be inside the building, but Travis said Monday morning that he had located her – safe and sound in the Wise County Jail.

She had been arrested by Boyd police the previous Thursday, Nov. 13, on a charge of DWI with an open container.

There were, however, several dogs inside the house, including a couple that did not make it out.

Travis said he “has a lot of work to do” to determine a cause for the fire.

“Right now it’s a suspicious fire,” he said Monday. The house, which is on the tax rolls at about $44,000 according to Travis, is a total loss.

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Appreciates WCSO’s work

Once again, we would like to congratulate Sheriff David Walker and all of his deputies for the great job they are doing in the Newark area. Keep up the good work.

Citizens of Newark

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Officers arrest 3 for drugs, 3 others on different charges

More detailed information has been released regarding a drug investigation that led to the arrest of six people in Newark last week.

Although six people were arrested, not all were charged with drug-related crimes.

Wise County Sheriff David Walker said officers went to the home of Jackie Glenn Minshew, 62, who lives in the 200 block of County Road 4874 in Newark, on Oct. 29 to arrest him on a misdemeanor warrant. Based on information obtained at the scene, a search warrant was obtained and executed on the home. Officers found and confiscated 128 grams of methamphetamine from the house, along with other evidence.

Minshew was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance 4-200 grams, manufacturing/delivery of a controlled substance 4-200 grams, failure to maintain financial responsibility-repeat violation and resisting arrest/search/transport.

Walker said his department had received complaints about possible drug activity and people coming and going from the house frequently. That included information that Edward Michael Thomas, 44, and Shawna Marie Dyer, 37, both of Newark had visited Minshew’s home.

While at the Minshew house, officers recognized Dyer as she drove by. An officer stopped her for a defective taillight and arrested her for driving with an invalid license.

Officers also noticed Thomas walking in the area and approached him. Walker said officers noticed him digging around in his pockets and discovered he had methamphetamine in his possession. He resisted arrest and a stun gun was deployed to help subdue him. He was arrested for possession of a controlled substance less than 1 gram, resisting arrest, assault by contact and driving while license invalid.

Officers also saw another man in the area they thought might have come from Minshew’s house, Christopher Charles Peterson, 38, of Newark and knew there was a warrant out for his arrest.

Peterson was arrested on a criminal nonsupport warrant from Kentucky. He told the Messenger he is not associated with Minshew and was not coming from his home.

A deputy acting on information obtained through the drug investigation was driving on Central Avenue when he noticed a vehicle take off at a high rate of speed. The officer pulled the vehicle over and asked the driver, Jason Collin Scarff, 31, of Haslet for his license. Scarff told the officer he didn’t have his license with him. He stepped out of the car and began acting suspicious, Walker said, including locking his car behind him despite having a passenger in the vehicle. Scarff was arrested for no driver’s license.

His passenger, Devin James Ramey, 20, of Newark was arrested for the possession of a controlled substance less than 1 gram warrants out of Tarrant County.

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Eileen Kaye Howden

Eileen Kaye Howden, 50, of Newark, died Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014, in Decatur.

No services are scheduled.

Eileen was born April 5, 1964, in Phoenix to Lawrence and Elizabeth (Nelson) Olson. She was a homemaker.

She is survived by her sister, Anna Marie Main of Newark; her companion, Charles Erwin Turrell of Newark; and other family members and friends.

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Minshew, 5 others arrested in drug case

Six people have been arrested in connection with a drug investigation that resulted in the seizure of more than 100 grams of methamphetamine from a Newark home.

Criminals

Wise County Sheriff David Walker said neighbors of Jackie Glenn Minshew, 62, who lives in the 200 block of County Road 4874, complained about possible drug activity at the home. The sheriff’s office has raided the home in the past and found methamphetamine.

Minshew was arrested in January of 2013 but returned home after he posted bond a couple of months later. He was indicted for manufacturing/delivery of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) 4-200 grams last December and is awaiting trial on that charge.

Walker said that after his release from jail, Minshew apparently was “back in business.”

“He apparently was the central hub to get meth around the Newark area,” he said.

A new investigation was started based on the recent complaints. On Wednesday, Walker said officers went to the home and arrested Minshew on a misdemeanor warrant.

Based on information Minshew provided officers, a search warrant for the home was obtained. That information led to the arrest of five other people, including some who showed up at the home while officers were there, possibly to buy drugs, Walker said.

During the search, officers were able to collect 128 grams of methamphetamine as evidence.

The five others who were arrested include:

  • Jason Collin Scarff, 31, of Haslet;
  • Devin James Ramey, 20, of Newark;
  • Edward Michael Thomas, 44, of Newark;
  • Christopher Charles Peterson, 38, of Newark; and
  • Shawna Marie Dyer, 37, of Newark.

Walker added that he filed civil seizure on the house after the previous drug arrest.

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Mary Janelle Spivey

Mary Janelle Spivey

Mary Janelle Spivey, 56, a homemaker, died Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014, in Newark.

Graveside service was Oct. 27 at Aurora Cemetery with Pastor Scott Griffen officiating.

Honorary pallbearers were Manuel Segura, T.J. Russell, Christopher Laughlin, Christopher Peterson, Little Manuel and Harold Huffman.

Mary was born Jan. 26, 1958, in Fort Worth to James and Betty (Drake) Elmore. She married Ernest Spivey March 24, 2011, in Boyd. Mary was a homemaker and a Baptist.

She was preceded in death by her parents and Mikel Spivey.

Survivors include her husband, Ernest Spivey of Newark; daughters Heather Segura and husband, Manuel, of Newark and Crystal Meguire and husband, Christopher, of Newark; grandchildren T.J. Russell, Savannah Roberts and Abigail Mendoza; nephew Christopher Micheal Laughlin; niece Erica Nicole Owens; sisters Joan Oglesby of Azle, Linda Diane Bolton of Newark and Phyllis Greear of Fort Worth; one brother; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

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Britt will help Wise County solve problems

Why would anyone in Wise or Parker counties want to vote for Phil King? He is strictly for the drilling and oil companies. They are his biggest contributers.

You have a choice and that is Matthew Britt. Matt is for the people and lives in Wise County. Matt will keep in touch with the people. Matt is very qualified to fill that seat. He is not indebted to anyone.

Vote Matthew Britt. He is for clean air and water and recycling frack water. Matthew Britt is ready to solve the long and short range problems in our great state.

Donald Drain
Newark

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Geraldine Patricia Tichinel

Geraldine Tichinel, 72, of Newark died Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014.

Memorial service is private.

Geraldine was born March 21, 1942, in Shenandoah, Penn., to Marine and Sophie Klimowivz Kubelsky.

She is survived by sons Robert and Christopher Popish; daughters Marion Row, Lorraine Richards and Michelle Popish Jones; grandchildren Christopher, Thomas and Tabitha Popish, Matthew and Spencer Row, Ashton and Colton Richards and Nicole Zapata; great-grandchildren Cal-el, Zoie, Remmy and Jadyn; and the love of her life and best friend, Roger Williamson.

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Family escapes fire with lives, little else

Family escapes fire with lives, little else

A fire Sunday night has left a Newark family with next to nothing.

Kim Ballard said she and her husband, Freddie, had put their grandkids to bed and were outside smoking a cigarette before going to bed themselves when they began hearing a popping sound just before 11.

They first thought someone was trying to break in to a house next door, but Kim quickly realized it was coming from their home at 536 Wise St.

“When I opened the door, it was just smoke,” Kim said. “I started screaming, ‘It’s a fire!'”

Picking Up the Pieces

PICKING UP THE PIECES – Kim Ballard looks at family photos pulled from her home following Sunday night’s fire. She lived in the home with her husband and two grandchildren. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

She and Freddie ran inside to get their 8-year-old grandson and 11-year-old granddaughter, who live with them. Kim threw a wet towel over their faces and hurried them out the front door and across the street.

Meanwhile, Freddie began attempting to put the flames out himself with a garden hose, but with the house already filled with smoke, he couldn’t stay inside more than 30 seconds at a time because he could not breathe.

“I told my husband, ‘We have got to stop. We’re going to kill ourselves,'” Kim said.

Four minutes after the fire was reported, the Newark Volunteer Fire Department arrived and reported seeing flames coming out of the roof and a bedroom window. Boyd, Rhome and Haslet fire departments also responded to provide mutual aid.

Wise County Deputy Fire Marshal J.C. Travis said firefighters initially had a difficult time accessing the fire because it had traveled into the attic space, allowing flames to spread from one end of the home to the other.

The fire also spread along a breezeway into a shed next to the home, damaging the shed and destroying a riding lawnmower. A vehicle parked next to the home was damaged by radiant heat.

Firefighters battled the blaze for an hour-and-a-half before bringing it under control. By then, the home and its contents had been destroyed.

Travis investigated the fire and determined it originated in a wall where an addition connected to the original structure. The original mobile home wiring was aluminum, and the added room used copper wiring. The two elements don’t mix, and he believes the fire had been “cooking” for a while before it was noticed.

On Monday morning, Kim flipped through a badly-burned photo album next to a small pile of charred items in the driveway of their home. Pictures of smiling family members were now rimmed in black.

Although the home had been insured previously, it was not covered at the time of the fire. Kim explained that flood damage in one of the rooms a few years back resulted in increased premiums the family could no longer afford.

A series of setbacks over the past several years had also made things tight around the household. Freddie had a heart attack, resulting in quadruple-bypass surgery and requiring an early retirement. Likewise, Kim had been diagnosed with a brain tumor, which also meant surgery and a retirement from teaching.

She was scheduled for another doctor’s visit Tuesday to set up a second brain surgery.

Their two grandkids, who attend Seven Hills Elementary, lost all their school supplies and new school clothes just a little more than 24 hours before the start of a new school year.

Red Cross came to the home early Monday morning and provided the family with a change of clothes, snacks and a voucher for a motel stay in order to meet their immediate needs. Help moving forward, however, was less certain.

“I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where to go from here,” Kim said as she began to sob.

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Debra Rena Patterson

Debra Rena Patterson

Debra Rena Patterson, 55, a homemaker, died Friday, Aug. 22, 2014, in Newark.

Graveside service was Aug. 25 at Aurora Cemetery, and a celebration of Debra’s life was held that evening at Christian-Hawkins Funeral Home in Boyd.

Debra was born Dec. 3, 1958, in Kilgore to Bob and Gwendola “Faye” (Meredith) Bullard. She married Gary Patterson June 25, 2000, in Barbados.

She was preceded in death by her parents.

She is survived by her husband, Gary Patterson of Manchester, N.J.; sister Pixie Leva Rippy of Newark; brother Derek Newman of Lebanon, Mo.; and other family members and friends.

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