‘Backyard Tennis Club’ backhanded by city

A unique feature rises in the backyard of a home on Oak Hills Drive in Newark.

Five years ago, Roger Williams made an investment to the community when he built a first class tennis court in his backyard. Hidden from the street, he calls it the “Backyard Tennis Club.”

Backyard Tennis Brawl

BACKYARD TENNIS BRAWL – For several years Roger Williams has provided affordable tennis lessons to the community at “Backyard Tennis Club” behind his home in Newark. However, his club is under fire as the city has found it to be in violation of several ordinances. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The property is landscaped like a botanical garden. It looks like a high-price country club. Climbing rose bushes grace one entire side of the fence surrounding the court. Blossoms in a variety of colors spill over the top. He spends several hours almost every day providing lessons to children and adults in the community.

“It’s taken me years to get to this,” Williams said. “And I had the blessing of the city when I opened it. It’s been my dream to bring tennis to this area, and it’s always been my passion.

“It’s helped give kids more confidence in themselves and more self-discipline.”

He’s taught or continued to teach a bulk of the players on the boys and girls varsity teams at Northwest High School.

“When we moved to our current home, which is right next door to the Williams’, over two years ago, our children were immediately invited to join Backyard Tennis Club and within weeks had new friends and had learned a new sport,” said Robert Thornell, a neighbor and former principal at Chisholm Trail Middle School. “Many students have enjoyed the benefits of exercise and learning a lifetime activity from Coach Roger.”

But a single complaint from one neighbor might cause the “Backyard Tennis Club” to come to a sudden halt.

On July 26, Williams received a cease and desist letter from the city attorney ordering him to shut down his Backyard Tennis Club.

“The tennis enterprise being operated at your residence violates the Customary Home Occupation Ordinance,” read the letter.

It states Williams is in violation of several ordinances, and if he does not shut down he will be open to prosecution.

“I was blown away,” Williams said. “I’ve been operating for five years, and then all of a sudden they say I’m not following city ordinance.”

“It’s in violation of nine or 10 city ordinances,” said city councilman Bob Wells, who also happens to be Mr. Williams’ neighbor.

He said the lights on the court violate lighting ordinances, the noise from lessons violate noise ordinances and several more from having a home occupation operating outside in a residential area.

“You can’t have an outside business in a residential area,” Wells said. “I don’t know what kind of compromise you can have on that.

“I don’t have a problem with him giving lessons in the community, but he should have set it up in a commercial area.”

It’s all come in the wake of Williams fighting a battle with prostate cancer.

“Throughout all the treatments making we weaker, I’ve still kept coaching the kids,” Williams said. “And now I’ve had to deal with this, too.”

Williams has asked if the city would grandfather him in.

Wells said the city can’t since those ordinances were in place years before the court was built.

The city can charge up to a maximum of $2,000 per day for each ordinance violation.

The city became involved after Well’s wife, Mary Ann Wells, informed the city secretary that Williams was in violation of several ordinances.

Williams said he thinks it’s an abuse of power for the Wells’ to use city resources to shut down his tennis club. Mr. Wells contends it’s not personal, but he’s only following city law.

“It’s not personal to me because I’m not the one that made the complaint,” Mr. Wells said. “I don’t have any dog in this fight other than it’s a nuisance.”

Wells recused himself from the vote when the council recently voted 3-0 to enforce any city ordinances regarding the Backyard Tennis Club. But several residents and other neighbors have risen their voices in support of the club.

“Prohibiting the Backyard Tennis Club would be a terrible blow to our community,” Thornell said. “It offers an affordable, fun activity to many.”

Williams stressed that he’s supported youth in the community in other ways as well. Last year he had a fundraiser at his tennis court for Newark’s Heart for Park program. The event raised $2,500, that went toward replacing dilapidated playground equipment that had been removed from Delora Doughty Royal Park.

The Backyard Tennis Club has also provided affordable lessons as well as free rackets and shoes to local children from low-income families that want to take lessons.

“There’s no other venue like this in the area that is offered to kids or adults,” Williams said.

And if a compromise can’t be made, there soon won’t be one at all.

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Church at center of measles outbreak

Church at center of measles outbreak

Eagle Mountain International Church, located just south of Newark in Tarrant County, is the focus of a measles outbreak reported by the Tarrant County Health Department last week.

Public health officials said a church member had recently traveled to a country where measles is common. One person contracted measles after returning from that trip, and a child relative of that person also became infected.

Don t Mess with Measles

DON’T MESS WITH MEASLES – One-year-old Brystol Berend, the daughter of Quentin and Rebecca Berend of Alvord, gets her MMR – measles, mumps, rubella – vaccination from Michelle Johns, RN at Wise Pediatrics, Dr. Leslie Hollis’ office in Decatur. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Officials announced a new case on Monday afternoon, bringing the total to 10 – all of them apparently connected to each other and to the 1,500-member church in far northwest Tarrant County. They said nearly all of those – the youngest is a 1-year-old and the oldest is 44 – who have contracted measles were not immunized.

The church is connected with Kenneth Copeland Ministries, which has its headquarters nearby at an old airfield on the northeast end of the lake.

Nancy Alto of the ministry’s staff released a statement Tuesday stating the exposure came through a visitor who attended services after going overseas.

“The congregation, staff at Kenneth Copeland Ministries, and the daycare center on property were exposed through that contact,” she said.

She went on to say KCM was “in close contact” with the Tarrant County Health Department and following their instructions on how to deal with the outbreak.

Although Copeland, in his television ministry, once condemned vaccinations, linking them to childhood autism, that is not the church’s position.

“The ministry has held free immunization clinics for employees and church members to assist them in obtaining the best medical care for their families,” Alto said. “We continue to follow up on pending and confirmed cases to help in any way we can to keep the outbreak contained.”

Russell Jones, chief epidemiologist for the Health Department, told Channel 4 news that the church’s leadership had been “very helpful” in dealing with the outbreak.

One of the church’s senior pastors warned members about exposure to the virus last week.

In a note to the congregation posted Thursday, pastor Terri Pearsons said the church was informed late Wednesday that one case of measles had been confirmed, with others pending.

According to KCM risk manager Robert Hayes, after a staff meeting at about 4 p.m., the church’s child-care facility and youth rooms were cleaned. Vaccinations were offered on Thursday morning through the health department, and the church’s sanctuary and other facilities were cleaned again. Another free vaccination clinic was held Sunday.

Pearsons explained her position on the web site.

“Some people think I am against immunizations, but that is not true,” she wrote. “Vaccinations help cut the mortality rate enormously. I believe it is wrong to be against vaccinations.”

Pearsons affirmed what several health care professionals also asserted – that the link between autism and vaccinations has been thoroughly refuted.

“Measles is a dangerous and highly contagious infectious disease with various, sometimes serious, complications,” she wrote. “Measles can be prevented by simply being immunized with the MMR vaccine – which covers measles, mumps and rubella.

“The risks associated during an outbreak really outweigh the risks of the vaccination. I strongly feel that our children and even adults of all ages need to be immunized now to stop the spread of measles and prevent those potential complications.”


There have been no reported cases of the measles in Wise County.

LeaAnne Gilley, FNP, a Family Nurse Practitioner with Clinical Care Associates in Boyd, said she has several patients who attend the church.

“We haven’t seen any cases of measles,” she said Tuesday. She cautioned against overreacting to the outbreak in Tarrant County.

“Growing up, we all got the measles,” she said. “It’s a common childhood disease – not something to go running from the stands screaming, ‘Oh my God, the measles!'”

She said the effort to vaccinate against measles began as a means of protecting against birth defects, which can be caused by rubella if it’s contracted by a woman during pregnancy.

“The measles did have a lot more serious effects in other parts of the world where there were much worse conditions – sanitation, nutrition and health care,” she said. “But here, it was something most kids got, and then they had a stronger immunity than those who get the vaccine.”

She said the virus starts out like a cold, followed by a reddish rash that spreads.

Ashley Carter, RN, director of health services for Decatur ISD, said as long as children are vaccinated, there’s nothing to worry about.

“The vaccination requirements do include measles,” she said. “We don’t let anyone in unless they’re up-to-date on their vaccinations. Our only concern would be kids who have an affidavit, a reason of conscience, which is a state form that gets filled out and notarized.”

She said she’s aware of eight students at the high school whose families have gone through the extensive process to get a state affadavit stating they are refusing vaccines on religious grounds or reasons of conscience.

“Those numbers are low at every campus,” she said. “And some have that just for certain vaccines, so they get some but not others.

“The affidavit is a big process, but if they do that, we have to let them in school.”

Sally Stokes, RN, director of infection control at Wise Regional Health System, said there is “probably no cause for worry” about the measles outbreak.

“If someone’s been vaccinated, even if they should get the measles, it would be a very mild case,” she said. “The autism side effect has proven to not be true.”

Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, said the autism argument “has been laid to rest scientifically,” although some parents still believe it and don’t vaccinate their children.

Complications from measles, on the other hand, may include pneumonia and encephalitis. Hundreds of children used to die from it every year before MMR vaccines were required in 1957, he said. As a result, he said it’s a problem when people don’t get vaccinated for it.

Measles was largely wiped out after a vaccine became widespread in the 1950s, making cases rare in the United States. Most people born in 1957 or after should have documentation of at least one dose of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine or other evidence of immunity to measles.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two doses of the vaccine – the first at 12 months and the second between ages 4 and 6.


Information provided by the Tarrant County Public Health Department


  • Measles is a highly contagious infectious viral disease that resides in the mucus in the nose and throat of infected people.
  • The virus may stay suspended in the air or on a surface for up to two hours after an infectious person has been present.
  • Symptoms generally begin about 7 to 18 days after a person is infected.


  • Anyone born in or after 1957 who has not had measles is at risk.
  • Anyone who has not been vaccinated is at risk.


  • You catch it when an infected person near you sneezes or coughs, and you breathe in the droplets or pick them up from an infected surface.
  • If one person has it, 90 percent of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected.
  • Infected people are contagious from about four days before their rash starts to four days afterward.
  • Measles is a human disease. It is not spread by any animals.


  • A typical case of measles begins with mild to moderate fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and sore throat.
  • 2-3 days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth.
  • 35 days after symptoms start, a red or reddish brown rash appears.
  • The rash usually begins on a person’s face at the hairline and spreads downward and outward to the hands and feet. When the rash appears, a person’s fever may spike to more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit. After a few days, the fever subsides and the rash fades.


  • Besides avoiding people with measles, the Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) or the Measles/Mumps/Rubella/Varicella (MMRV) vaccines are the best protection against measles.
  • These vaccines are strongly endorsed by medical and public health experts as safe and effective and are recommended for children before entering school.
  • Anyone born during or after 1957 who has not had measles or been vaccinated is at risk and should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine.
  • Two doses are recommended, especially for adults who are at higher risk, such as college students, international travelers and healthcare personnel.


  • Measles can infect anyone who is not protected and at risk.
  • It is unpleasant and the complications are dangerous.
  • Six to 20 percent of the people who get the disease will get an ear infection, diarrhea or even pneumonia.
  • One out of 1,000 with measles develop inflammation of the brain, and about one out of 1,000 will die.
  • Widespread use of the measles vaccine has led a greater than 99% reduction in measles. In the decade before the measles vaccination program began, an estimated 3 4 million people in the United States were infected each year, 400-500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized and another 1,000 developed chronic disability from measles encephalitis.
  • However, measles is still very common – even epidemic – in other parts of the world.
  • Visitors to our country and unvaccinated U.S. travelers returning from other countries can unknowingly bring measles into the United States.
  • Since the virus is highly contagious, imported cases can quickly spread, causing outbreaks or epidemics among unvaccinated people and under-vaccinated communities.
  • To protect your children, yourself and your community, it is important to be vaccinated against measles.

Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

For more information, call 817-321-4700 or visit the web site health.tarrantcounty.com

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Flash fire burns 3 children; 1 remains hospitalized

A 12-year-old boy remains in good condition at Parkland Hospital in Dallas despite serious burns sustained in a flash fire early Wednesday morning.

The boy, Damen, of Newark, received third-degree burns to his arms and second-degree burns to his face and legs. He and his friends, Richard and Lela, were playing with an aerosol can and cigarette lighter at a home in the 100 block of County Road 4858 in Newark when the can ruptured, causing a flash fire.

Officials on scene said the boy may have also been flown as a precaution due to smoke and fumes he may have inhaled.

A family friend said Damen will have to have a skin graft on his arm and will undergo three weeks of rehab.

The other two victims, both 12 years old and residents of Newark, were transported to area hospitals where they were treated and released.

Richard was treated for second-degree burns to his legs and toes at Parkland. He was released around 8 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Lela was taken by ground ambulance to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur and treated for first-degree burns to her right arm and face.

“They’re all going to be OK,” said Cindy Radford, Richard’s mother. “I thank the Lord he let us all keep our kids. Everything is on the up now.”

Initially, Newark Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to a medical call around 1:45 a.m. Dispatchers later deemed the call a confirmed structure fire after a corner of the bed caught fire. But when units arrived on the scene minutes later, the fire had been extinguished by an adult male in the home.

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Farrah Ann Elise Harper

Jeff and Tasha Harper of Newark announce the birth of a daughter, Farrah Ann Elise, on Aug. 11, 2013, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 8 pounds, 6 ounces and was 19 1/4 inches long.

She has one brother: Antonio Jaramillo, 6; and two sisters: Raelea Jaramillo, 7, and Parker Rose, 4.

Grandparents are Jerry and Liz Harper of Rhome, Corky Miller of Newark, Bobby Michel of Waurika, Okla., and Anthony and Bonnie Jaramillo of Newark.

Great-grandparents are Francis Michel of Waurika, Virginia Harper of Rhome and Neldean Brown of Euless.

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Appreciates WCSO’s work in Newark

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.

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Forrest ‘Frosty’ Glen Stoll

Forrest “Frosty” Glen Stoll

Forrest “Frosty” Glen Stoll, 55, of Newark, died July 18, 2013 in Dallas.

A memorial service will be held at Grace Church, 4740 Western Center Blvd. in Haltom City, on Saturday, July 27, at 2 p.m.

Frosty was born June 6, 1958 in Seattle, Wash. to Raymond and Pauline (Buckalew) Stoll. He was a beloved husband, devoted father and loving friend. He was a dedicated employee of American Airlines for 21 years and a member of DFW Freedom Riders.

He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Rhonda Stoll; daughter and son-in-law, Larisa and Andrew Hohman; son Joseph Stoll; parents Raymond and Pauline Stoll; sisters Crystal Brammer, and Twyla DelPozzi and husband David. He also leaves behind numerous loving friends and family.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to A Fern Norville Children’s Emergency Shelter, 4090 S. Houston St., Kaufman, TX 75147, att: Loretta.

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Parents leave child in car

As temperatures bubbled near the 100-degree mark late Tuesday, investigators with the Wise County Sheriff’s Office discovered an infant accidentally left outside in a car in Newark.

Investigators were patrolling Newark on an unrelated case when they noticed the car in the 500 block of Central Street.

“They noticed an open door on a car,” said Sheriff David Walker. “They looked a little closer, and there was a little kid in there.”

They found an 11-month-old boy inside, strapped in a car seat. They contacted the parents who were inside the house who said it was an accident. The child had been in the car for about an hour before officers found him.

“The parents had picked up the kid from daycare,” Walker said. “They went to get snow cones and pick up some groceries. When they got home and unloaded the groceries, they forgot to bring the child inside.”

Temperatures reached 99 degrees Fahrenheit that day and were still in the high 90s when investigators discovered the child about 7:30 p.m. Wise County medics were called to the scene. They found the baby uninjured. Child Protective Services was notified.

“Thank goodness the door on the car was open and the baby wasn’t out there any longer,” Walker said. “It could have resulted in a terrible tragedy.”

The case is under investigation, and Walker said child neglect charges could be filed.

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Flo Murphy

Flo Murphy

Flo Murphy, 90, a retired nurse’s aide, died Wednesday, July 10, 2013, in Newark.

Graveside service is 10:30 a.m. Monday, July 15, at Boyd Cemetery with the Rev. Jerri Lynn officiating. Visitation is 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Christian-Hawkins Funeral Home in Boyd.

Pallbearers are John Jackson, Duane Bailey, Jerry Hall and Ryan Harrison.

Flo was born Aug. 12, 1922, in Centerville, Penn., to Earnest and Rosa (Bellhoulse) Price.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her grandson, Bobby Dale Phillips and her stepdaughter, Kathy Castleman.

Survivors include her daughter, Bonnie Bailey and husband, Duane, of Fort Worth; sons Andy Krebs and Raymund Robert, both vof New York; stepsons Alvie Phillips of Rowlett and Tommy Phillips of Houston; stepdaughters Nancy Cone of Georgia and Edna Van Vleet of East Texas; granddaughter Kelly Jackson and husband, John; grandson David Lummus; great-grandchildren Ashley and Jeremy; special friend Geno Chadwick; other family members and a host of friends.

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Fire devours home

Fire devours home

Joe and Debra Garcia of Newark had just left for Fort Worth when their single-wide trailer was destroyed by fire Saturday morning.

The home in the 200 block of County Road 4877 was devoured by a blaze that started on the front porch about 11:30 a.m., according to County Fire Marshal Chuck Beard.

Total Loss

TOTAL LOSS – Tarrant County firefighters douse hot spots on a burned trailer home in Newark Saturday. Newark Fire Chief James Edgemon said the front porch was “almost gone” when they arrived, but his crew put the fire out and kept it from spreading to neighboring trailers. Messenger photo by Kristen Tribe

Although the Garcias had just left, Debra’s sister, Teresa Huckabee, and her teenage son, Hunter Huckabee, were at the house when the fire started. They were watching television and “heard some popping and cracking on the front porch. They opened the door, and the fire was outside,” said Beard.

Initial reports indicated oxygen bottles in the home were exploding as the fire spread, but Beard said he did not find evidence of that.

Teresa and Hunter exited the house through a back door and were not injured. There were two dogs inside the home, one of which perished in the blaze.

Red Cross was called to the scene to meet the needs of the family. Hunter lived in the trailer with the Garcias, and his mother lived in a trailer behind them, which was not damaged. The trailer homes on either side of the burned structure are also occupied by relatives.

Newark, Rhome, Boyd and Tarrant County fire departments responded to the fire, as well as Wise County medics. The fire was declared accidental by Beard.

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Donald and Jeneva Brackeen

Donald and Jeneva Brackeen of Newark will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary June 13, 2013.

Donald and the former Jeneva Bramlet were married June 13, 1953.


Donald and Jeneva Brackeen

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Woman narrowly avoids injury

Woman narrowly avoids injury

A Newark woman escaped injury Friday morning after hitting an 18-wheeler on U.S. 287 right at the Rhome city limits.

Michele Hodges left her Chisholm Springs home heading to work, but didn’t get far. At the U.S. 287 and FM 4843 intersection she turned, but didn’t see a northbound rock hauler.

CRASH COURSE – Michele Hodges sits in her white Honda Accord while emergency responders take down her information Friday morning following her Collision with a rock hauler on U.S. 287 near Rhome. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Hodges’ white Honda hit the rear half of the semi’s trailer and was spun around into a nearby ditch.

“There wasn’t anything the semi truck driver could do,” said Greg Hair, Department of Public Safety Trooper.

Luckily for Hodges, the closest thing to injury she sustained was a spilled protein shake. No other injuries were reported.

Also on scene were Rhome emergency responders, Rhome Police Chief James Rose and a Sheriff’s deputy.

Rose said that particular intersection can be dangerous for drivers, as both north and southbound traffic crests hills while cross traffic from FM 4843 flows onto the highway.

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Joe Edmond Underwood

Joe Edmond Underwood

Joe Edmond Underwood

Joe Edmond Underwood, 55, owner/operator of a feed store, died Tuesday, May 28, 2013, in Newark.

Graveside service was June 4 at Bluebonnet Hills Memorial Park in Colleyville with the Rev. Gary Sessions officiating. Arrangements were under the direction of Christian-Hawkins Funeral Home in Boyd.

Joe was born Jan. 24, 1958, to Albert and Ruby (Anderson) Underwood in Fort Worth. He served his country in the U.S. Army.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Ruby Underwood; and his brother, Albert Underwood II.

Survivors include his father, Albert Underwood of Newark; brother Gary Underwood and wife, Sherry, of Newark; sister Naomi Landry and husband, David, of Suwanee, Ga.; nephews Gary Underwood II of Saginaw, and Christopher Landry and Michael Landry, both of Suwanee; niece Stacy Chalmers; other relatives; and a host of friends.

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John Amberg Martinez

Eddie and Rachel Martinez of Newark announce the birth of a son, John Amberg, on May 10, 2013, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur. He weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces and was 18 1/2 inches long.

Grandparents are David and Michelle Dahl of Newark and Amelia Martinez of Decatur.

Great-grandmother is Claudette Ferguson of Newark.

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Man fires shots amid crime spree

A Newark man was arrested early Sunday morning after going on a “rampage” with a gun in his neighborhood.

Officers responded to the 400 block of Country Living Drive in Newark just before midnight Saturday after a complaint about a man with a gun. Upon arrival, they reported hearing gunfire.

Kenneth Carl Carlton Jr.

Kenneth Carl Carlton Jr.

The suspect, Kenneth Carl Carlton Jr., 38, still had the gun when he approached officers, according to Captain Kevin Benton with the Wise County Sheriff’s Department. They were able to convince Carlton to put down his weapon.

He became uncooperative when officers tried to place him under arrest, however, and they had to use a stun gun to subdue him. After medics were called to the scene to check Carlton out, he was taken to Wise County Jail.

Witnesses told officers that Carlton walked out of his home and began shooting.

“He shot the windows out of a car and shot toward a couple of houses. He went into one house and held a gun to a lady’s head,” Benton said.

Carlton had already come back outside when officers arrived on the scene.

Another neighbor said he began running away and said gravel hit him from the bullets hitting the ground right behind him, Benton said.

At least one home sustained damage from bullets, but no one was injured.

Benton said it does not appear that he was targeting any specific neighbor and does not know what set Carlton off.

“I think he went on some kind of rant,” Benton said. “I would have to say at this point, officers don’t know what precipitated it.”

Benton added that Carlton denied being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Carlton has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated kidnapping, burglary of a habitation with the intent to commit another felony, and deadly conduct. He remained jailed Tuesday with bond set at $200,000.

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Thomas Russell Whittington

Thomas Russell Whittington

Thomas Russell Whittington

Thomas Russell Whittington, 61, a machinist, died Sunday, May 12, 2013, in Newark.

Funeral is 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 15, at Christian-Hawkins Funeral Home in Boyd with Mike Boaldin officiating. Burial is private.

Thomas was born April 28, 1952, in Fort Worth to Winfred and Edna (Pool) Whittington. He was a member of the First Baptist Church in Newark, and he loved to fish, hunt, cook and garden.

Thomas was preceded in death by his parents and his infant sister, Tommie Ruth Whittington.

Survivors include his daughter, Marcey Inman Martin of New Fairview; son Tory McNeely of Granbury; sisters Gayle Melton and husband, Don, and Wendy Cromer and husband, Keith, all of Newark; numerous nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews; friend Mike Todd of Newark; other family members; and a host of friends.

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Mr. and Mrs. Steven Lynn Cromer

Davina Lara Conejo and Steven Lynn Cromer of Newark were married Feb. 22, 2013, in Boyd. Wise County Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Mandy L. Hays officiated.

The bride is the daughter of Jo Anne Bowman of Paradise, Calif., and Demecio Conejo Jr. of Olivehurst, Calif.

The groom is the son of Keith and Wendy Cromer of Newark. He is the grandson of the late Mr. and Mrs. W.F. Whittington and the late Mr. and Mrs. H.L. Cromer, all of Newark.

Mr. and Mrs. Steven Lynn Cromer

Mr. and Mrs. Steven Lynn Cromer

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Thomas Edward Romero VI

Nina Crawford and Thomas Romero of Newark announce the birth of a son, Thomas Edward Romero VI, on April 23, 2013, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur. He weighed 9 pounds, 7 ounces and was 20 inches long.

He has three brothers: Thomas Romero III, 4; Thomas Romero IV, 2; and Thomas Romero V, 1; and three sisters: Katheryn Romero, 12; Kandace Romero, 11; and Kassi Romero, 19.

Grandparents are Thomas and Myoka Tuggle of Newark.

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Landyn Ryder Bothwell

Thomas Lee and Lauren Bothwell of Newark announce the birth of a son, Landyn Ryder, on April 18, 2013, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur. He weighed 6 pounds, 6 ounces and was 17 3/4 inches long.

He has a brother, Brennon, 6, and a sister, Hayden, 2.

Grandparents are Kim and Freddie Ballard.

Great-grandparents are Connie and Bill McPherson.

Great-great-grandparent is Earl Huffstetler.

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City not joining West Nile Virus program

Next month marks the beginning of West Nile season.

After suffering through an unprecedented number of West Nile Virus cases in the Dallas-Fort Worth region last year, Tarrant County is attempting to expand its surveillance and response plan.

Since a small portion of Newark is in Tarrant County, it was one of the cities asked to take part in an interlocal agreement and join the program. But due to the city’s small staff, the city council voted 4-0 against it Thursday night.

“We don’t have enough personnel to do it,” said city secretary Diane Rasor. “To take part you must have employees out at certain times of the day just to capture mosquitoes.”

Even though Newark is not participating in the program, the city can still benefit from it thanks to nearby larger municipalities taking part in identifying and responding to West Nile Virus carrying mosquitoes.

Nationwide, 2012 had more reported human cases of West Nile than any year since 2003, with 33 percent of those occurring in Texas.

Ninety-two percent of the cases reported in Texas last year were in north Texas, including more than 750 in the D/FW area. And Texas reported more cases by far than any other state.

Last year most of the confirmed cases occurred from May to October, peaking in August and October.

Even with so many cases last year, it’s hard to predict when and where the mosquito-borne will strike hardest this year.

West Nile Virus is “disturbingly unpredictable, disagreeable and difficult to control” the Centers for Disease Control reported last September.

In 2013, it is predicted the season will peak between July and October.


  • The council voted to cancel the upcoming May election due to only one candidate running for council. There are two seats open for election.
  • Council approved hiring Ronnie Sellers to work in public works. Sellers worked for the city years ago but left in 2004 to pursue a job in the oilfield.
  • With Laura Pixler stepping down, the council had to appoint a new member to serve as liaison to the library board. The council voted to have all four members each serve quarterly on the board over the next year.

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Johnny Wayne Dixon

Johnny Wayne Dixon, 60, of Newark died Saturday, March 23, 2013, after a long battle with cancer.

Johnny Wayne was born in Houston to Josephine and Chancy Dixon. He was a truck driver for 35 years and loved his dogs.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Josephine North, stepfather E.L. North, father Chancy Dixon, and brother T.J. Eilers.

Johnny is survived by son Allen Wayne Dixon; brothers Jerry Dixon, A.C. Ebarb, Logan Ebarb, Carl Ebarb, Bobby Ebarb and James Ebarb; and sisters Kathy Wilson, Sherry Carpenter, Margie Calvert and Maurine Bannister.

Johnny will be remembered and missed by all whom he touched in his life.

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