Rhome City Council Preview

Carports are again on the agenda for the Rhome City Council, which meets Thursday. Officials will also discuss restructuring the fire department, paying off Northwest ISD for ground storage and water lines, cleaning up the city and other business. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 105 First St.

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EMS employee faces assault charge

A man whose job is to provide medical care to those in emergency situations stands accused of assaulting a Boyd man earlier this summer.

Jeff Todd Wright

Jeff Todd Wright, 40, of Rhome was arraigned Tuesday in 271st District Court on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was indicted by a Wise County grand jury July 24.

Wright is a part-time employee of Wise County EMS. He was not on duty at the time of the alleged assault on June 20.

According to the indictment, Wright assaulted Chris Williams of Boyd with his hand, which constitutes a deadly weapon.

The indictment did not provide further details, but Williams gives his account of what transpired in an affidavit filed July 24 in support of a protective order he filed against Wright.

Williams stated he arrived at the home of his ex-wife, in the 100 block of Old Chisholm Court in Rhome, the afternoon of June 20 to pick up his daughter. He was not allowed by the court to enter the property, so he waited at the street.

Wright, who is married to Williams’ ex-wife, arrived and told Williams his daughter was on vacation.

“I told him I wouldn’t leave without my daughter, so I sat down in front of Jeff’s truck in the street,” Williams states in the affidavit.

At that point, Williams said Wright got back into his truck and began to drive over him, pushing him up the driveway.

“Jeff kept pushing me up the drive as I was being dragged under the front bumper of his truck,” Williams stated. ” … I looked back over my shoulder and could see my daughter … standing at the front window and looking out of the curtain and I started screaming out very loud for her to help me.”

Williams said Wright stopped the truck and walked around to where Williams was still laying under the front bumper of the truck and started kicking him in his face and head. Wright then began to punch Williams in the face, according to the affidavit.

“At some point after Jeff stopped kicking me in the head and punching me in the face, he asked me if I wanted an ambulance and I said yes,” Williams stated in the affidavit. “Jeff called some number, and I heard him say he needed an ambulance, that I trespassed and he took me out.”

Williams said that if he tried to move, Wright would punch him in the face. When help arrived, Williams said he recalled hearing someone say that he needed to be taken to the hospital by helicopter because he might die.

The affidavit concludes by saying he was scared for his children, who were living in the home with Wright.

While a temporary protective order was issued with a hearing scheduled for July 30, nothing was on file in the district clerk’s office to indicate if a longer protective order had been issued.

In addition to the affidavit, Williams included in the court records photos taken not long after the assault which appear to show his swollen, cut and bloodied face.

According to Wise County EMS Administrator Charles Dillard, Wright is a former full-time employee of Wise County EMS who left several years ago and then began working on an “as needed” basis about six months ago. Dillard said Wright is a full-time member of the Keller Fire Department.

Dillard said that since Wright has not been convicted, he remains employed on a part-time basis with Wise County EMS.

“He hasn’t posed any issues at work,” Dillard said. ” … If he’s found guilty, that will be a violation of our code of conduct, and he would be terminated at that time.”

Wright was arrested July 30 and released on a $10,000 bond the same day, according to Wise County Jail records.

No trial date has been set.

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Bekeh Lynn Seers

Lance and Cindy Seers of Rhome announce the birth of a daughter, Bekeh Lynn, on Sept. 3, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces and was 19 inches long.

She has one brother: Zachary James, 12; and two sisters: Sarah Ann, 8, and Hannah Jean, 5.

Grandparents are Debbie and David Ricketts of Emory and Becky and Jim Aldridge of Las Vegas.

Great-grandparents are Billy Ray and Billie Jean Seers of Alba, Anita Nott of Emory and Allen and Marjorie Aldridge of Las Vegas.

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Rhome council, fire dept. work to get on same page

The Rhome fire chief will stay and the department – along with other city officials – has formulated a plan to address “problems” that have plagued it.

Days after submitting his resignation, Jason Miller called an emergency meeting Thursday to formalize his decision to remain as chief of the volunteer department.

That evening, members of the fire department and city council gathered at the fire hall to discuss ways to increase membership and open lines of communication.

Miller, who was named interim fire chief in April, said that as long as he’s served with the department, membership has held between six and nine. The number on the roster has remained at six “for a long time.”

At the meeting Thursday, Councilman Charles Pennington stepped up to serve.

Mayor Louis Godfrey said he and Councilwoman Jo Ann Wilson are working on flyers and “out doing things” to recruit members, while Councilman David Wilson is “thinking about signing up” and Councilman Ronnie Moore “might.”

Moore was the only member of the city council not present at Thursday’s meeting.

In January, the council met to discuss the right of a city council member to also volunteer as a member of fire department after Moore had argued that serving on both constitutes a conflict of interest.

Councilwoman Michelle Pittman, who was on the council then, was and continues to be a volunteer firefighter.

“The support is there, and it has been extended many times by Charles and others,” Godfrey said. “If you need help, let us know. We can’t help if you don’t ask for it.

“I think it’s important that we all understand that we all want to work together,” he added. “The council is behind you. I’m behind you. We just need to be better informed. If you have a problem, address it as quickly as possible.”

Godfrey said he felt recruiting and retaining volunteers for the department would be the responsibility of both the fire department and the council.

To expedite the process, Godfrey at City Hall said he will handle all applications for the fire department.

“I think it’s best that every application, they come to City Hall, they fill it out, we’ll run the background checks really fast and get this thing done … If things come back OK, I’ll get the word to you as quick as possible, there you go,” he told Miller.

“I’ll keep copies. If you guys absolutely have to have copies, then I’ll make you copies. I’ll keep the originals in my office.

“That’s the fastest way to do it,” he continued. “I think we’ve had some problems with applications being filled out then you don’t get the time to bring them to City Hall or the council getting to look at them. We can alleviate a lot of that.

“The whole idea is to fast-track, get rid of the red tape, get them on here, get them useful.”

But the bigger idea is to work together to “ensure citizens have the level of service they deserve.”

“I think the key to making this work is communication,” Pennington said. “Lets just keep an open line of communication. I think we’ll have a great relationship and move our fire department forward and grow it to make it the biggest, best we’ve ever had.”

MEMBERSHIP DRIVE

Rhome Fire Department is conducting a membership drive during the Labor Day weekend. Rhome firefighters will be at Shale Creek 5:30-7:30 p.m. Saturday. Applications will be available on site.

Those who attend can meet the volunteer firefighters and see the fire truck.

Applications are also available at the Rhome Fire Station, 261 N. School Road, over Labor Day weekend or at Rhome City Hall, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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Rhome City Council ratifies mayor’s decisions

After meeting behind closed doors for almost three hours Monday, the Rhome City Council breezed through the four action items on its agenda in less than three minutes.

The only action coming from the executive session was to proceed with a $10,000 bid for fencing presented by Public Works Director Sam Dorsett, as “advised on a TCEQ report.”

Also during the special meeting, the council ratified raises given to city employees and hires made by Mayor Louis Godfrey without prior council approval.

During the 2013-2014 fiscal year, five police officers received a raise, based on their tenure and the salaries of officers in surrounding towns, according to City Secretary Ramah Burns.

Godfrey also hired Dorsett to replace Preston Gilliam; Brandon Davis to take over as police chief, the post previously held by James Rose; and Sherrie Dast, who took over as the city’s municipal court clerk after the retirement of Sherry Taylor.

“This is just some housekeeping,” council member Jo Ann Wilson said. “Inasmuch as these were replacement hirings and in the best interest of the city … let’s ratify these.”

City attorney Walt Leonard also advised the council to clarify that “the interpretation of the ‘hiring freeze’ is for additional hires as opposed to replacing turnover.”

The council also amended a city ordinance regulating parades and processions so that city-sponsored events were not required to pull a permit.

“But they would coordinate with the police department for safety,” Wilson said.

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Saylar Kate Schroeder

Ginger Ruble and Jacob Schroeder of Rhome announce the birth of a daughter, Saylar Kate Schroeder, on Aug. 18, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 6 pounds, 15 ounces and was 18 inches long.

Grandparents are Debbie and Brad Schroeder and Dale Ruble.

Great-grandparents are Peggy Ruble, Richard Ruble, Sam and Virginia Vaughn, and Nell Langly and Harold.

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Rhome City Council approves budget, tax rate

After a long Saturday workshop and some discussion, Rhome officials are ready to move forward with a financial plan for the upcoming fiscal year.

At its meeting Thursday, the city council approved an $1,834,578 budget for 2014-2015.

It will be funded, in part, by a $0.5833 tax rate, also approved at Thursday’s meeting.

Although the overall budget has a surplus of $1,687.55, it features a deficit of $327,423.29 in the police department fund.

Stories on the budget ran in the Wednesay, Aug. 13, and Wednesday, Aug. 6, editions of the Messenger.

Distinguished Citizen

DISTINGUISHED CITIZEN – Rhome officials honored Marie Moore (third from right) with the Distinguished Citizens Award at the city council meeting Thursday. Pictured are her son and councilman Ronnie Moore; city secretary Ramah Burns; Mayor Louis Godfrey; council members David Wilson and Jo Ann Wilson; Moore; and council members Michelle Pittman and Charles Pennington. Messenger photo by Erika Pedroza

IN OTHER NEWS

The council also:

  • after an almost two-hour closed session, authorized Mayor Louis Godfrey to submit the proper information about a pavilion at Rhome Family Park to the city’s engineers. Since January, the council has been deliberating how to complete its construction.
  • appointed Renee Marks as an alternate judge;
  • modified, at the request of councilwoman Jo Ann Wilson, the community center rental form so entities that perform “appropriate community service” may use the community center free of charge.
  • recognized Marie Moore with the Distinguished Citizens Award for her longtime service to the community, especially senior citizens.
  • approved implementing a purchase order system and authorizing City Secretary Ramah Burns to explore the options. “It’s a good idea,” said councilwoman Michelle Pittman. ” … It’s a way to track your spending and manage your cash.”
  • approved selling the fire department’s skid unit for $3,500.

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Grabiel Christian Alvarez Lopez

Luis and Maria Alvarez of Rhome announce the birth of a son, Grabiel Christian Alvarez Lopez, on Aug. 10, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long.

Grandparents are Eleazar and Silvia Alvarez and Alejandro and Victoria Lopez.

Great-grandparents are Agustin and Manuela Alvarez, Manuel and Delfina Lucio, Federico and Juanita Monsivais, and Artemio and Esperanza Lopez.

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Rhome City Council to vote on budget

With the exception of the police department fund, Rhome city officials are projecting surplus budgets for the upcoming fiscal year.

The numbers were presented at a budget workshop held earlier this month.

While the PD is looking at a budget deficit of $327,423.29, the court fund has an excess of $176,000, with expenses projected at $177,130 and anticipated revenue at $355,000.

The city anticipates collecting $350,000 on warrants, up $60,000 from the amount budgeted last year.

The water and sewer fund looks to generate $942,600 while spending $918,765.99.

Fire department revenue went from $122,400 budgeted last year to $162,000.

Expenditures are tabbed at $149,951, with the biggest increase a $1,000 bump for training personnel.

In general fund expenses, the city forecasts collecting double the amount on permits – from $25,000 to $50,000.

“There’s been about five businesses that have talked to us,” City Secretary Ramah Burns said. “I believe that as much all the growth is coming out this way, that’s a fair figure.”

—–

The council will consider action on the proposed budget during its regular meeting Thursday.

In addition, they will consider retaining the $0.5833 interest and sinking and $0.4083 maintenance and operations tax rate.

The meeting will begin with a closed session discussion on potential litigation with the park pavilion/concrete and personnel.

In open session, the council will consider those matters as well as water/sewer projects; appointing an alternate judge; purchasing an order system; community center rentals; and selling a skid unit to another fire department.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

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Man charged in Reunion stabbing

A Rhome man turned himself in to Decatur Police Tuesday in connection with a July 25 stabbing at the Wise County Old Settlers Reunion.

Derry Shannon Jones Jr.

Derry Shannon Jones Jr., 42, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and booked into Wise County Jail. He was released on a $35,000 bond.

Decatur Police Detective Daniel Sandate said Jones was allegedly taking beer from people’s coolers without permission. Just before midnight, he was confronted about it by Chris Fletcher of Slidell.

According to Sandate, the two got into a fight, and Jones pulled a knife, stabbing Fletcher in the hand and grazing his torso, across his stomach and back.

There were multiple witnesses to the incident, one of whom said, “Jones did stab Fletcher and continued to sling the knife at Fletcher,” according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

Sandate said the knife was not recovered, but witnesses thought it was a pocketknife.

No medical treatment was administered at the scene, but Fletcher was later taken to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

The affidavit says Fletcher received 12 stitches in his left thumb and suffered “small abrasions on his upper abdomen and mid, left side on his back.”

Although Jones was identified the night of the incident, he fled the scene after the fight.

Sandate said after an investigation confirmed that Jones was the person involved, an arrest warrant was issued July 30, and he turned himself in Aug. 5.

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Linda Gail Smith

Linda Gail Smith

Linda Gail Smith, 63, a retired supervisor for the Tarrant County Appraisal Review Board, died Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, in Rhome.

Funeral was Aug. 8 at the First Baptist Church in Aurora with the Revs. Jimmy Withers and Phillip Weitner officiating. Burial followed at Aurora Cemetery under the direction of Christian-Hawkins Funeral Home in Boyd.

Pallbearers were Joe Best, Tim Taylor, Paul Young, Justin Thompson, Dawson Thompson and Chad Dyer. Honorary pallbearer was Cannon Green.

Linda was born Feb. 3, 1951, in Longview to Clifton Leon and Dorothy (Farrar) Nix. She married David Smith April 28, 1990, in Arlington.

She was preceded in death by her mother, Dorothy Nix; sister Rosemary Nix Green; and nephew Steven Epperson.

She is survived by her husband of 24 years, David Smith of Aurora; daughter Lydia Dyer of Fort Worth; granddaughters Rachel and Krista Dyer; her father, Clifton Leon Nix of Chandler; sisters Barbara Nix of Chandler, Donna Best of North Richland Hills, Kathy Wilder of Lindale and Cindy Reeder of Chandler; brothers Roy Nix of Troup and James Wisdom of Marshall; numerous nieces and nephews; and other family members and friends.

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Talon Lee Ryan

Christina and Justin Ryan of Rhome announce the birth of a son, Talon Lee, on July 31, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounces and was 19.5 inches long.

Grandparents are Jerry and Liz Harper and Kellie Pogue.

Great-grandparents are Nelden Brown, Virgina Harper and LeRoy and Eileen Byrne.

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Wreck sends 3 to hospital

Wreck sends 3 to hospital

Three people were injured in a two-vehicle, head-on collision near Rhome Monday.

The accident happened in a construction zone on Texas 114 about a mile east of the Denton/Wise county line around 9:40 a.m.

Major Damage

MAJOR DAMAGE – The two vehicles that collided on Texas 114 near Rhome sustained major damage. The cause of the wreck is still under investigation. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Lonny Haschel said Bambi Trotter, 39, of Rhome was eastbound when her Chevy Tahoe collided with a westbound Chevy Equinox driven by Francisco Guerrero, 34, of Euless.

Trotter’s vehicle ended up on its side in the ditch on the south side of the road, while Guerrero’s remained upright but badly damaged in the center of the roadway. Rescuers had to cut the roof off of Trotter’s vehicle to remove her and her 1-year-old son.

Air Evac Lifeteam 68 was called to the scene, and Trotter was flown to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. She was listed in serious condition Tuesday afternoon according to a hospital spokesperson.

Her son was taken to Cook Children’s Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Haschel said.

Guerrero was transported to JPS by Wise County Medic 3. He was listed in good condition Tuesday afternoon, according to the hospital spokesperson.

The cause of the wreck is still under investigation, Haschel said.

Traffic was rerouted in the area for a couple of hours while the scene was cleared.

Justin and Rhome volunteer fire departments responded along with Rhome Police, DPS troopers and the Denton County Sheriff’s Department.

Victim Transport

VICTIM TRANSPORT – Bambi Trotter, the driver of one of the two cars involved in Monday’s wreck, is wheeled to a helicopter for transport to John Peter Smith Hospital. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

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Rhome City Council eyes surplus budget

In planning for the upcoming fiscal year, the Rhome City Council is looking at a budget deficit of more than $300,000 for the court/police department.

But they plan to spend less than the projected revenue in the other accounts – general fund and fire – for an overall surplus budget.

Following a budget workshop Saturday morning, the council is looking at bringing in $2,778,866 while spending $2,753,344.

More than a quarter of those expenditures are for the court/police fund. The city expects to spend $732,423.29 for a department that should generate only $405,000.

The biggest increase is $20,000 for a “new auto loan,” which was budgeted at $25,531 this past year. The city will again pay $25,531 on the note for an already purchased Chevrolet Tahoe, and the additional $20,000 will go toward purchasing another vehicle to establish a rotation.

“I’m taking the older vehicles, and those are the only ones that are going to be in service. I’m trying to stretch these vehicles as far as I can,” Police Chief Brandon Davis said. “With that being said, we have three vehicles that are either approaching or over 200,000 miles, and 200,000 miles on a police vehicle and personal vehicle are two different things.”

In the new system, the department plans to purchase a vehicle every two years and remove the most worn vehicle from the fleet.

“At 200,000 miles, I don’t think I’d want to go down a highway at 100 miles an hour,” said Ronnie Moore. “The front end can’t be very strong.”

The budget also sets aside $10,000 – up $3,000 from last year’s budgeted amount – for vehicle repairs.

“That has increased for obvious reasons,” Mayor Louis Godfrey said. “There wasn’t really anything being done to them [the vehicles].”

There is also a line item for a $14,000 note payment for COPsync, an information-sharing law enforcement network that is expected to drastically reduce the number of man-hours used in data input.

The software “efficiently gathers information at the point of incident and immediately shares data with officers on the network.” It can also serve as a safety alert system, with a GPS-based vehicle locater and automated ticketing features.

The council also OK’d an increase of $2,000 for a total of $3,000 for uniforms.

“What we’re moving to is the vest carriers where they come in to work at the office, they can take their vest off,” Davis said.

Davis also requested an increase of $4,000 – up from $1,000 – for training that includes management, a chief’s course, a field training officer, bike school, etc.

Allotments for equipment repair also increased from $1,000 to $5,000, while money budgeted for equipment itself jumped $1,498 to $10,000.

In addition, anticipated improvements budgeted at $20,000 to the police station will come from the general fund.

This will remove and replace insulation in the ceiling that has been “contaminated with cat urine.”

Savings made in the department include reductions in gas and utilities.

With a couple of months left in the current fiscal year, the department has spent $32,126.22 of the budgeted $35,000 amount for gas. However the police chief believes his department will stay under the $31,200 allotted for next year.

“I don’t think there is any reason why we would go over $31,000, especially since the vehicles are no longer take-home vehicles and there is going to be a required two hours of foot time per shift,” Davis said.

More on the budget for the city of Rhome will be included in an upcoming issue.

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Info sought on burglaries

Wise County Sheriff’s Office investigators are looking for information leading to the arrest of suspects responsible for a burglary on July 30 off Joy Road in Rhome.

The suspects knocked to see if anyone was home and then kicked in the door. Security cameras recorded the suspect vehicle pulling into the driveway and also recorded suspects crossing the property to the garage.

To view surveillance videos of the suspects, visit wcmess.com/burglaryvid and wcmess.com/burglaryvid2.

The incident is similar to a burglary July 22 on Saddlebrook Court in New Fairview. The suspects in that burglary were described as two large black males driving a blue sedan type vehicle. Area residents described the same people knocking on doors in the area to see if anyone was home. If a homeowner answered the door, the suspects asked if they needed their lawn mowed.

It is not known if the two burglaries are related.

To report information about either burglary or the individuals responsible, contact Wise County Crime Stoppers at 800-643-TIPS or 940-627-TIPS (8477) 24 hours a day. A reward of up to $1,500 may be given for tips leading to an arrest.

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Tanner Sims

Tanner Sims

Tanner Sims, 13, of Rhome, died Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014, in Azle.

Funeral is 11 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 7, at Lucas Funeral Home in Keller with cremation to follow.

Visitation is 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.

Tanner was born Oct. 17, 2000, in Fort Worth.

He was preceded in death by grandparents Lowell and Beverly Davis.

Survivors include his parents, Jim and Tamara Sims; brother Chaz Sims; grandparents Jim and D’Lane Sims; and buddies Benelli, Remi and Zain. He is also survived by numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. He was a friend to many and will be missed by all.

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Anthony Ozil Cordero

Salome Cordero and Karen Sanchez of Rhome announce the birth of a son, Anthony Ozil Cordero, on July 28, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 8 pounds, 12 ounces and was 20 inches long.

He has one brother: Alex Chavarria, 2.

Grandparents are Charles Hudgins, Maria Hudgins, Belen Cordero and Julian Cordero.

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Ryker Ross McNair

Tyler and Lydia McNair of Rhome announce the birth of a son, Ryker Ross, on July 25, 2014 at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 8 pounds, 5 ounces and was 19 1/4 inches long.

He has two brothers: Brayden, 6, and Wesley, 3.

Grandparents are Vern and Kim McNair of Rhome, Rick and Heather Cressy of Hopkinton, N.H., and Jerry and Betsy Voth of Middletown, Ind.

Great-grandparents are Sue Ann Clements-Pendley, Jone Spence and Donald Syphers.

Great-great-grandparents are Decatur and Anna Bell Clements.

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Juaquin Guillermo Gonzalez

Christina and Ruperto Gonzalez of Rhome announce the birth of a son, Juaquin Guillermo, on July 23, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 8 pounds, 12 ounces and was 20 inches long.

He has two brothers: Erik Isaak, 11, and Ruperto Jr., 5; and one sister: Addy, 7.

Grandparents are Aurora and Armando Martinez of Bridgeport and Adelaida and Conrrado Gonzalez of Jerez, Zacatecas, Mexico.

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Courtney Massie and Brandon Ford

Courtney Massie of Rhome, daughter of Andrea Davis of Rhome and Greg Massie of Denton, will marry Brandon Ford of Rhome, son of Trina and Sean Ford of Chico, Oct. 3, 2015, in Bowie.

Massie Engagement

Courtney Massie and Brandon Ford

The bride-elect attended Decatur High School. She works for Wise Electric Co-op.

The prospective groom also attended DHS. He works for Cash America.

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