Klement Ford

7 is unlucky number for theft suspects

Two Fort Worth men were arrested Wednesday for stealing seven cars – and the transport that was carrying them – at a Rhome truck stop.

Jesus Montez

Rhome police officer Brody Brown said the driver of the truck had stopped to fill up with gas at Love’s in Rhome and had gone inside to pay. Brown said while it is common for truck drivers to leave their trucks running, this driver forgot to lock his door.

He came back outside to find the truck gone.

Rhome police were contacted around 9:45 p.m. After contacting the trucking company, they were able to track the truck using GPS. It appeared the truck was in North Richland Hills.

Brown said North Richland Hills police were contacted and were able to locate the truck around 11:30 p.m.

“They had already unloaded one vehicle,” Brown said.

Sergio Morales

The transport contained seven Ford vehicles, mostly pickups. They were being shipped from Mesquite to Vernon when the theft occurred.

Jesus Montez, 26, and Sergio Morales, 25, were both arrested and taken to the Wise County Jail where they were charged with theft greater than $200,000, a first-degree felony.

As of late Friday, both remained in the Wise County Jail with bond set at $100,000 each.

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Teresa Ann Evans

Teresa Ann Evans

Teresa Ann Evans, 50, a warehouse operator, died Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, in Rhome.

Visitation is 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, at Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home in Decatur.

Teresa was born Dec. 30, 1962, in Maryland to Van and Betty (Stein) Johnson. She married John Allen Evans April 17, 1980, in Riverview, Fla.

She was preceded in death by her father; son Jonathan Evans; and grandson Andrew Evans.

She is survived by her husband of 33 years, John Evans; son Chris Evans and wife, Jessica, of Canton; daughter Sharley Evans and fianc , Marcus Pendergraft, of Decatur; mother Betty Stein of Oldtown, Fla.; sisters Juanita Matthews of Oldtown, Fla., Margaret Clark of Jacksonville, Fla., and Amy English of Chiefland, Fla.; grandchildren Ashten Evans and Makayla Ann Pendergraft; and numerous nieces, nephews and friends.

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Meeting closes after councilwoman leaves

Meeting closes after councilwoman leaves

While the federal government shutdown continues, the Rhome City Council suffered a shutdown of its own Thursday night.

The meeting ended prematurely when the council lost a quorum after only getting through half the items on the agenda.

CUT SHORT – A crowded house saw Thursday night’s Rhome City Council meeting cut short when the council lost a quorum halfway through the agenda. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The meeting began with only three members present – Mayor Chris Moore was joined by council members Jo Ann Wilson, Louis Godfrey and Michelle Pittman. Council members Charles Pennington and Ronnie Moore were absent.

Just before the council arrived at the most contentious item on its agenda – the paid first responder position and an update on the park pavilion – Wilson gathered her paperwork and left, leaving the council with only two members present.

Wilson collected her belongings and headed toward the back door without a word, only to emerge moments later telling the crowd in the council chambers that the back door was locked before she exited the front door.

Wilson declined to comment on why she left the meeting early, citing “personal reasons.”

A city council must have at least three members present to hold a meeting.

Godfrey said he would make sure the items are on the agenda next month, or however long it takes, to be discussed publicly.

Last month the council voted 3-2 to approve a budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, but only if the money for the first responder position – created in May – was removed. Wilson, Moore and Pennington voted for the measure while Pittman and Godfrey voted against.

The fate of the position, which was officially abolished at the beginning of October, was once again on the agenda and up for discussion and possible action.

Dee Romines, who lives just outside city limits, had said she was planning to present the results of a petition asking the council to reinstate the first repsonder position.

Before the meeting ended early, the council and the gathered crowd of about 20 residents heard a presentation from Wise County EMS Administrator Charles Dillard.

Dillard presented information showing the average response time to emergency calls in Rhome city limits was approximately 10 minutes over the past 12 months, with the longest being 26 minutes. Records found an average of 2.58 calls per month in city limits during the times of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. over the past 12 months.

Pittman, who also serves as volunteer on the Rhome Fire Department, said the city fully appreciates the efforts and services of Wise County EMS, but said having a first repsonder within the city limits can bring the average response time from 10 minutes down to two minutes.

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Tish Peterson

Tish Peterson

Tish Peterson, 72, wife, mother and homemaker, died Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, at her home in Rhome.

Memorial service is 1 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, at Aurora Baptist Church with the Rev. Jimmy Withers officiating. Visitation is 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at Christian-Hawkins Funeral Home in Boyd.

Tish was born April 8, 1941, in Fort Worth to Thomas and Gladys (McKinney) Boyer. She was a member of the Aurora Baptist Church.

Tish was preceded in death by her parents and her mother-in-law, Thelma Peterson.

Survivors include her husband of 56 years, Tom Peterson of Rhome; daughter Stacy Boyer and husband, Eric, of Keller; son Doniell Peterson of North Richland Hills; grandsons Zach, Axel, Drey and Blayne; granddaughter Hannah; sisters Deanna Morris of Houston and Sherry Ann Wood of Bedford; brothers John Peterson of Boyd and Joe Don Peterson of Fort Worth; and other relatives and friends.

Memorials may be made to the Mission Funds at the Aurora Baptist Church or the Bethesda Church in honor of Tish.

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Council to argue fate of EMT spot, pavilion

With the beginning of October, and the start of the new fiscal year, the first responder position created earlier this year by the city of Rhome vanished after it was removed from the city budget last month.

But council members, residents and special guests will revisit the issue 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at City Hall during the regular meeting.

Last month the council voted 3-2 to approve a budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, but only if the money for the first responder position – created in May – was removed. Council members Jo Ann Wilson, Ronnie Moore and Charles Pennington voted for the measure while Michelle Pittman and Louis Godfrey voted against.

Wilson argued that the city did not have enough money to keep the position, while Pittman and Godfrey said there was more than enough money to fund it.

Mayor Chris Moore urged the council to keep the position and revisit it later if necessary. The job paid $35,000 per year, plus benefits. Supporters pointed out that the fire department provided $18,000 from its own budget to help fund it.

“The city is not in a jam,” Godfrey said. “We are doing better than we were at this time last year. The city has to grow, and us providing a first responder position during the day will help promote growth.”

Since the position was abolished, Dee Romine, who lives just outside the city limits, has started a petition to reinstate the first responder post. She plans to present that petition to the council Thursday. Romine argues that the faster response time for medical emergencies, fires, wrecks and injuries with a full-time first responder in Rhome is more than worth the cost to taxpayers.

Meanwhile, Charles Dillard, administrator of Wise County Emergency Medical Services, has been asked to give a presentation on services provided to Rhome residents. Heather McGlasson, who works with Air Evac, will also speak on the services the medical helicopter company provides residents.

Some of those in support of the full-time first responder position like to point out that the city has spent thousands on a pavilion for the Rhome Family Park that failed to pass inspection. That item will also be on Thursday’s agenda.

In late August, Darren Williams, an inspector with Countywide Field Inspection Services, failed the concrete foundation for the pavilion.

“The stage was never called for an inspection,” Williams wrote in his report. “When I got here, the stage and flat work had already been poured. Countywide did no inspection of the rebar or electrical inside of the slab and will take no responsibility for the foundation, electrical inside of the slab or flat work.”

“Why did we pay more than $8,100 for concrete, when we were given free concrete?” Godfrey asked.

Terri Troxell, chair of the Parks and Recreation Board, said her father was willing to give concrete to the city. He was also willing to build the pavilion structure on top of the concrete after it had been poured, also for little to no cost.

“The money spent needlessly on the concrete could have gone to the first responder position,” she said.

Now, with the foundation failing inspection, it is unknown when the pavilion will go up or how much it will cost, since Troxell is no longer going to build the pavilion.

Godfrey added that since the foundation failed inspection, he doesn’t feel comfortable with anything being built on it.

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Slick road leads to wreck

A 35-year-old Fort Worth man was hospitalized after a one-vehicle wreck in Wise County Saturday afternoon.

Oscar Cera was taken by ground ambulance to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth for head and neck injuries sustained in the mishap, which occurred around 5:30 p.m. on U.S. 287 in Rhome.

Saturday Wreck

SATURDAY WRECK – Oscar Cera, 35, of Fort Worth sustained head and neck injuries after the silver pickup he was driving hydroplaned and rammed into a concrete pillar Saturday in Rhome. Messenger photo by Erika Pedroza

Witnesses said Cera was driving southbound in the inside lane when his truck hydroplaned and drifted across the outside lane and shoulder of the road before striking a pillar of the Farm Road 3433 overpass. The impact caused the pickup to ricochet into the outside shoulder, where it came to rest.

A helicopter ambulance was put on standby, but it could not launch due to a storm moving through the area.

Rhome Police Officer Brody Brown said the driver’s injuries were not life-threatening. Cera was the only occupant of the truck, and there were no other vehicles involved.

Rhome police and volunteer firefighters as well as Wise County medics responded to the accident.

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Urges Rhome residents to stand up

On Sept. 12, the city council of Rhome decided that the lives of its residents are not even worth $35,000 a year, when they voted to eliminate the paid first responder position.

I urge each and every resident and business of Rhome to take a stand and speak up. You can make your voice heard by signing the petition located at Big Z and Tater Junction.

I also encourage you to attend the next council meeting to be held 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at Rhome City Hall, and let the council know how important, necessary and beneficial this position is to the residents of Rhome, whom they represent. Thank you.

Dee Romine

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Law raids suspected marijuana dealer’s home

Rhome Police and Wise County Sheriff’s Office found drugs, money and a stolen firearm when they searched an alleged teenage drug-dealer’s home in Rhome Thursday afternoon.

Oscar Cerda

Police were searching for 17-year-old Oscar Cerda at his home in the 200 block of East 2nd Street. The Northwest High School senior was not there, but the county’s drug-sniffing dog led officers to a stash of marijuana, $2,300 cash, a stolen handgun and packaging materials in his bedroom.

Rhome Police Officer Brody Brown had been watching the house for several weeks.

“There was always a lot of traffic coming in and out of the home, which is unusual,” Brown said. “I’d made a couple of traffic stops on people leaving the home who were in possession of marijuana.”

Brown gathered enough evidence for probable cause and executed a search warrant at the house with the help of the Wise County Sheriff’s Office.

Sniffed Out

SNIFFED OUT – Sheriff’s Deputy Jay-T Manoushagian, Alcor and Rhome Police Officer Brody Brown served a search warrant at an alleged teenage drug dealer’s house in Rhome Thursday afternoon. Alcor alerted on cash, a stolen firearm and marijuana during the search. Submitted photo

“When we got there, we found five people, one of them being a juvenile, smoking marijuana in the backyard,” Brown said.

Cerda was not home, but they arrested the four adults, including Cerda’s brother, Hector, 20, of Justin; Brandon Chaney, 18, of Justin; Allen Cole and Allen Marsburger, all for possession of paraphernalia, and transported them to the Wise County Jail.

Police are still searching for Oscar Cerda who faces multiple charges including distribution and unlawful possession of a firearm.

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Petition started to reinstate EMS job

A petition has started requesting the Rhome City Council reinstate the EMS/first responder position.

The position, which had just been created five months earlier, was cut during approval of the city’s budget on Sept. 12 by a 3-2 vote.

Mayor Chris Moore urged the council to allow the position to remain for a year before cutting it. But the majority voted to de-fund it, saying the city could not afford it. The job will officially come to an end on Oct. 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year.

Dee Romine hopes she can convince the council to change their mind and reinstate the position.

“I’m concerned about the well-being of the citizens in Rhome,” she said. “I’m trying to get the first responder position back.

“I live just outside city limits, and whenever we’ve had calls out here, the first people to arrive at the scene were the Rhome Volunteer Fire Department… The first responder can respond to calls within 5 minutes compared to about 10 minutes for Wise County Medics. That can be the difference between life and death.”

The city created the position earlier this year because the fire department had trouble finding volunteers who were in town during normal working hours. Several emergency calls had gone unanswered by the local volunteer fire department.

It cost the city $35,000 plus benefits, out of a $2.65 million budget, and $18,000 had been relocated from the fire department budget to cover the newly-salaried position.

“I am starting this petition on behalf of city and county residents,” Romine said. “We don’t have any volunteers in town during the day without the paid position… and I am deeply concerned about the health and welfare of the citizens of Rhome.”

She also said the first responder position helped the city’s ISO rating.

Romine plans to present the petition to the city council at the next regular meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at Rhome City Hall.

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Cornbread, gunslingers: 27th annual Pioneer Days festival and parade

Rhome native “Cornbread” O’Neill, former bit actor in several John Wayne films, will premiere on the streets of his hometown this weekend.

The 73-year-old “Cornbread” will serve as grand marshal when the parade for the Rhome Pioneer Days Festival takes to Main Street 10 a.m. Saturday.

Fire and Steam

FIRE AND STEAM – An old-fashioned blacksmith heats up during last year’s Pioneer Days in Rhome. This year’s event runs Friday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and all day Saturday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The 27th annual Rhome Pioneer Days Parade and Festival starts Friday at 6 p.m. with vendors and live music by Robert MacArthur on the main stage in front of City Hall. But the event really gets going with the parade Saturday morning.

“It’s gonna be a great day of family fun,” said parks and recreations chair Terri Troxell. “We’ve got a lot of things going to make the people laugh and bring everyone together for a day.”

The festival will feature approximately 40 vendors as well as gunfighters, stagecoach rides, food, games, a bounce house, a slide and a raffle giving away an outdoor grill, 40-inch flat-screen television and more.

The Boyd High School Marching Band and the Decatur Eagle Dolls will perform. Texas Motor Speedway will have NASCAR vehicles on display, and of course the Antique Tractor Club will also have an exhibit.

Onward Tractor

ONWARD TRACTOR – Antique tractors will be featured on the parade starting at 10 a.m. Saturday on Main Street in Rhome for the 27th Pioneer Days Festival and Parade. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Other events on the main stage include the infamous Ugly Woman Contest and karaoke following the parade.

Justin Williams and Phillip Kelley will take the main stage from 7 to 10 p.m. to close out the festival with a street dance.

“It’s just two guys playing acoustic guitars, but they draw a big crowd and get the audience involved,” said Troxell. “We hope everyone can make it out. We’re going to have a real fun time.”

The event is organized by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.

For more information or to acquire a vendor space, call city hall at 817-636-2462 or Troxell at 817-223-6172.

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3 trapped in slippery wreck

Rhome volunteer firefighters and Wise County medics worked quickly to free three injured people trapped inside a pickup after it wrecked Thursday night near the intersection of US 81/287 and Texas 114 West.

Quick Response

QUICK RESPONSE – Rhome Volunteer Fire Department and Wise County Medics responded quick to free three trapped and injured patients after a vehicle rolled in the rain Thursday night near the intersection of U.S. 287 and Texas 114 West. Messenger photo by Brandon Evans

The southbound truck went into a skid on the roadway slick with rain and oil, veered across an on-ramp and rolled into the median where it came to rest on its side, said Rhome police officer Chance Garrett.

“They had just gone under the 114 overpass when the driver lost control,” Garrett said. “It hasn’t rained for awhile and the oil on the road mixed with the heavy rain and made it very slick.”

Driver Doug Acklie, 46, of Paradise, was transported by ground ambulance to Texas Health Harris Methodist in Fort Worth. He lost consciousness during the extrication. The helicopter amublance, Life Team 68, could not fly due to the stormy conditions.

Passengers Kathy Acklie, 42, and Taylor Acklie, 20, were both taken to Wise Regional.

Firefighters had to pry out the front windshield to pull out the driver and passenger, and remove the back window as well to free the backseat passenger. As they were working, the vehicle was perched precariously on its side, unstable in the pouring rain, as traffic continued to blur by on the nearby highway.

“If it wasn’t for the valiant efforts of the Rhome Volunteer Fire Department working with the Wise County Medics it could have been a lot worse,” Garrett said.

The family was on their way to pick up a daughter from the airport. All three patients were in stable condition by the time they left the scene.

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Decision will hurt Rhome residents

On Thursday, Sept. 13, the mighty city council voted to do away with the paid first responder position in the city of Rhome. This decision affects not only our city but our entire community.

I know a lot of people are not aware of what goes on in the city, but let me advise you that this decision is really going to hurt the city.

One, no business will be interested in coming to Rhome without a paid responder because of insurance cost on them.

Two, the county is growing in leaps and bounds, and there are times that the county does not have an ambulance within a five- to 10-minute window to get anyone in the community who needs help. That can be the difference between life and death.

Three, now that there will be no paid responder in our city/community, the city will be left unprotected during the day because the person who held that position will now have to go outside the city for a job, and the other members of the fire department also work outside the city.

So once again the city council of Rhome has really not considered the consequences of their actions. I feel as if some of the city council do not want the city to grow or to come into the 21st century.

I feel like the personal agendas of some of the council are getting in the way of what is best for our town. Personal agendas, personal grudges have no place in city politics. What needs to be considered is what is best for the city – but until more citizens start to care about the town they live in, it will remain the same because the same council members will be re-elected, and that is a tragedy within itself.

I advise all citizens of Rhome to take an interest in what this council is doing – who is doing what to try to help the city grow and who is trying to gain their personal agendas at the cost of our safety.

So, citizens of Rhome, I pray that none of us pay for the actions of some of the council members. When you call 911 and no one comes for at least 10 minutes or longer and you’re watching your house burn or a loved one slip away due to no immediate medical help, you can call your local city council members and thank them – especially the ones with their own personal agendas who left this city unprotected.

A very concerned citizen,

T.P. Mallory

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Council removes new EMS position

Less than five months into a newly created, paid full-time Emergency Medical Service/first responder position for the city of Rhome, Robert Pratt found his position unceremoniously cut during approval of the city’s budget Thursday night.

By a 3-2 vote, Rhome City Council removed the paid EMS/first responder position.

Council member Jo Ann Wilson argued that the city’s budget wouldn’t stretch that far.

“I recommend the EMS position be eliminated because we can’t afford it, not because Robert (Pratt) isn’t doing a good job,” she said.

Wilson made a motion the city adopt the budget minus the position. Council members Charles Pennington and Ronnie Moore also voted for the proposal. Louis Godfrey and Michelle Pittman voted against.

The council just approved creation of the position earlier this year, and Pratt, Rhome’s fire chief, was hired in May. The position was created to help the city respond to emergency calls during weekdays. The position cost the city $35,000 plus benefits out of the $2.65 million budget.

Godfrey argued that there was plenty of money in the city budget to pay for the position, noting that $18,000 had been relocated from the fire department budget to cover the salaried position.

“It was only going to cost the city $21,000 per year to keep Robert in the position,” he said. “This city is not in a jam, we are doing better than we were last year.”

He noted that the city collected $25,000 more in sales tax revenue than it had budgeted for last year.

“In budget workshops, this was the budget we’d all put together and were all happy about,” Louis added.

Mayor Chris Moore urged the council to keep the position longer.

“Every department has been cutting back,” Moore said. “But we’ve put a lot of work into this, and it needs to stay in place for at least a year. We can look at it later.”

“We’ve just got a lot of other things we need to take care of first, such as street repairs,” Wilson said.

Pennington agreed.

“I don’t think the money is there for it,” he said. “I’ve said that since the beginning.”

But Godfrey felt like it was taking a step backward in protecting citizens by removing the position.

“Some citizen might pay with their life because of this decision,” Godfrey said.

The position was created earlier this year to deal with the problem of lack of first responder coverage during the day Monday through Friday in city limits. During the year before the position was created, the fire department had more than 25 missed calls. But since the creation of the position, the city has missed no calls and has improved average response time, which Pratt said is good for the city’s ISO rating.

“Our response time has dropped to about three-and-a-half to four minutes on average per call since I’ve been on duty,” Pratt said. “The nearest ambulance, if it’s in-house in Boyd, is still 8 minutes away.

“I think they should have least given it a year to see how it is going,” Pratt added. “I think they are compromising the safety and well-being of the citizens of Rhome. They probably set the city back five years.”

Pratt has volunteered for the city’s fire department since 1980. He’s unsure if he’ll continue to serve as chief. His paid position with the city expires on Oct. 1, when the new fiscal year begins.

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Zeriah Nicole Vasquez

Felescia Gonzalez and Juan Vasquez of Rhome announce the birth of a daughter, Zeriah Nicole Vasquez, on Aug. 30, 2013, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

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

Grandparents are Jesus and Melissa Gonzalez and Jorge and Veronica Vasquez, all of Rhome.

Great-grandparents are Dawayne and Rene Taylor, Betty Taylor and Gloria Gonzalez, all of Decatur.

Great-great-grandparent is Ola Taylor of Decatur.

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Charlie Rose Alaniz

Samuel and Emily Alaniz of Rhome announce the birth of a daughter, Charlie Rose, on Aug. 29, 2013, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 8 pounds, 3 ounces and was 19 inches long.

Grandparents are Susie Cantrell of Henrietta and Edward and Rosa Alaniz of Vernon.

Great-grandparents are Emogene Jones of Bowie and Rosita Alaniz of Vernon.

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Marah Lynn Studebaker and Roger Eugene Haak

Marah Lynn Studebaker of Rhome, daughter of Mike and Jenni Studebaker of Bowie, will marry Roger Eugene Haak of Rhome, son of Terry and Billy Bullard of Jacksboro and William and Starla Haak of Alvord, Oct. 19. 2013, at First Baptist Church in Alvord.

Bill Cleveland will officiate the double-ring ceremony.

The bride-elect graduated from Bowie High School in 2010 and is studying paramedicine at Tarrant County College.

The prospective groom graduated from Alvord High School in 2004. He is a delivery driver for Multi-Chem in New Fairview.


Marah Lynn Studebaker and Roger Eugene Haak

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Hazel Ruth Hanna

Rick and Jamie Hanna of Rhome announce the birth of a daughter, Hazel Ruth, on Aug. 22, 2013, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces and was 20 1/4 inches long.

She has one brother: Noah, 6; and one sister, Alexis, 8.

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Ella Mae Culver

Kris and Amanda Culver of Rhome announce the birth of a daughter, Ella Mae, on Aug. 22, 2013, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long.

Grandparents are Mike Ferren of Rhome, Kim Ferren of Carrollton, Phillip Culver of Jetmore, Kan., and Debi Phythian of Garden City, Kan.

Great-grandparents are Jim and Beverly Ferren of Centerville, Iowa, and Kathy Reed of Winnemucca, Nev.

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Suspect attempts getaway with car full of children

A man wanted on outstanding warrants from Tarrant County attempted to outrun law enforcement Sunday night while he had four children in his vehicle.

Octavio Fernandez

Octavio Fernandez, 31, of Fort Worth, was northbound on U.S. 287 between Decatur and Rhome. A 911 call at 9 p.m. reported a potential domestic disturbance occurring inside the man’s traveling vehicle.

Wise County sheriff’s deputies responded, and Rhome police officer Chance Garrett, who was in the area, assisted with the stop.

Fernandez initially pulled over for officers, but then decided to take off.

Wise County Sheriff David Walker said Garrett acted quickly, shooting out one of the tires on the suspect’s vehicle when he attempted to drive away. His actions might have saved lives, considering the dangers of a high-speed chase and the fact that there were children on board.

Fernandez, who had traffic warrants out of Fort Worth, racked up a host of additional charges during his ill-advised getaway attempt.

He was charged with one count of attempting to evade arrest or detention with a vehicle, one count of assault to cause bodily injury to family member and four counts of endangering a child. As of Tuesday afternoon, he remained in Wise County Jail with bond set at more than $100,000.

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Where the future begins

Chisholm Trail Middle School cheerleaders and members of the Northwest High School Sidekicks drill team greeted students and parents at last week’s Meet the Teacher nights at Seven Hills Elementary School in Newark.

Michelle Pawski

Principal Michelle Pawski tailored the event to align with the school’s theme this year – “Your future begins here.”

It’s just as true for Pawski as it is for the students. The 23-year educator was named to her first principal’s job by the Northwest school board Aug. 1.

“It’s been wonderful,” she said. “I could not ask for a better community. Everyone has been so welcoming. This is an exciting place to be.”

Pawski has worked in NISD for 13 years, serving last year as assistant principal at Sendera Ranch Elementary in Haslet.

Before transitioning into administration, Pawski was a campus instructional teacher at Sendera for two years and at Nance Elementary in Fort Worth for six years.

“I really feel at home at Seven Hills,” Pawski said. “When I was at the other elementary schools, we did a lot of partnering with Seven Hills, so I feel like I’ve known Seven Hills. It’s a great community to plug into. It’s a close, spirited community that pulls together for the kids of its school.”

She joined the district as a fourth-grade teacher at Haslet Elementary in 2001. Prior to a career in NISD, she worked in Weatherford and Huntsville school districts.

Pawski earned a master’s degree in elementary education/reading from the University of North Texas and has a bachelor’s degree in teaching from Sam Houston State University.

“I’ve been blessed with a variety of opportunities,” she said. “I did my student teaching in first grade, and I’ve taught up to sixth grade. I’ve taught in schools that have 95 percent and above on free and reduced lunch up to the upper-level schools with barely 15 percent on such plans and limited diversity.”

The range in experience is a strength she brings to the position.

“I feel I have a lot of assets to bring to get Seven Hills to the next level,” she said. “I want to build on the success that’s already in place to move forward.”

She specifically named the school’s instructional core and the systems in place to help meet the needs of students.

But before she looks to bring about any major changes, she first wants to take a step back and do an inventory of what Seven Hills has to offer.

“Right now, I’m mostly focusing on seeing the lay of the land,” Pawski said. “The school has made great gains in the last few years, so I need to see what’s working, take stock of what we have, look at our goals and see where we can make improvements.

“The theme will drive what we do,” she continued. “It’s all about getting these kids future ready – some for jobs that haven’t even been created yet. We’re teaching them to be innovative, invent different ways to do things that are already being done.

“We’ll start with getting to know the kids, teachers and community.”

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