New Candidate For District 13

A former Bridgeport resident has announced her candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives. Elaine Hays is seeking the Republican nomination for District 13.  The district includes 41 counties in West, Central and North Texas. The Bridgeport Index says Hays is a certified financial planner and author now based in Lubbock.

Lake Mineral Wells Burn

Park Superintendent Jody Lee announced last week that Texas Parks and Wildlife Department staff plans to conduct a prescribed burn at Lake Mineral Wells State Park and Trailway sometime during the end of August or beginning of September. The burn is expected to be conducted and completed in two to three days.

Prescribed burns are used as a management tool in state parks to improve habitat for wildlife by restoring forest and prairie habitats on the park that were historically maintained by natural fires. They also are conducted to reduce the amount of available fuels, such as leaf litter, fallen branches, understory growth and dead trees that accumulate naturally and from storm events.  By reducing the amount of available fuels, prescribed burns reduce the chance for a potentially destructive wildfire to occur. Park staff has begun preparing for the upcoming burn by clearing vegetation and other fuels from the fire breaks established around the perimeter of each area – the burn unit – that will be burned this year. Fuels and vegetation also are cleared away from utility poles, structures, signs and sensitive resources to protect them during the prescribed burns. Prescribed burns on state parks are conducted by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department personnel who have undergone training and met national wildland firefighting certification standards.

The park’s prescribed fire plan defines the conditions under which a prescribed burn may be conducted, taking into account wind speeds and direction, air temperature, relative humidity, and fuel moisture levels. The plan also guides the fire crew members in managing burns to prevent them from escaping into adjacent properties and to minimize the effect of smoke in nearby residential areas. Because specific weather conditions are required to conduct an effective and safe prescribed burn, TPWD staff cannot provide a specific date for the burn at this time. However, local emergency management officials will be notified before the prescribed fire is implemented. Lee stated that during the burn, some areas of the park would be closed to the public.  During the burn there may be smoke that reduces visibility on neighboring roads and Lee cautions travelers to reduce their speed and use their headlights when smoke is present. For more information regarding the planned burn or to request notification on the days when fires are ignited, contact the park at 940-328-1171 or by e-mail at jody.lee@tpwd.texas.gov.

Weatherford ISD

When we open our doors on Monday, August 26, we will greet more than 7,600 students this year. Over 1,000 employees at our 11 campuses are eager to begin as evidenced by the preparations our teachers have been making this week as all personnel returned to work. WISD welcomed 105 new professionals during our new teacher orientation last week that kicked off with a luncheon hosted by North Side Baptist Church and sponsored by Jerry’s GMC. I wish to offer our thanks to the many business partners who support WISD throughout the year.

I want to keep you informed regarding decisions the District has made to address overcrowding at several of our campuses. Weatherford ISD placed portable classrooms at both Austin Elementary and Curtis Elementary for the 2013-2014 school year. Each of these campuses received two portable buildings that consist of two classrooms each. The addition of the portable buildings will provide classroom space to accommodate the projected growth in student population for the next two years at these two campuses. There are also two portable buildings already in service at Wright Elementary. It is the District’s hope that these temporary structures do not become permanent solutions to overcrowding at WISD campuses. The issues that were presented in the May 11 bond election must still be addressed. Students traveling between campuses for classes, classroom space, aging infrastructure for technology, roofs, and technology devices are all significant issues. The District will need your help in determining the best way to address these needs in the coming months.

12 Year Old Boy Flown To Hospital

A 12-year-old Wise County boy was flown to Parkland Hospital with serious burns early this morning. The boy and two other juveniles were playing with an aerosol can and cigarette lighter at a home in  Newark, when the can ruptured, causing a flash fire. According to the Wise County Messenger, the boy sustained burns to the face, arms and legs. Another patient was transported by ground ambulance.  

Toddler Kidnapped Return Safely

The kidnapping of a toddler that began last night at a west Weatherford convenience store ended almost an hour later with the suspect in custody and the child recovered unharmed.

An area-wide search for the suspect began about 5:45 p.m. when the mother of a 2-year-old girl said the suspect took the child from a store in the 1100 block of Fort Worth Highway. The suspect’s name and vehicle description was broadcast to all area law enforcement agencies. Officers reportedly began trying to track the suspect through a GPS ankle monitoring device.  The Weatherford Democrat says the suspect was said to have a protective order against him, filed by the child’s mother. At 6:35 p.m. the suspect and the child were found at a store in Wise County west of Eagle Mountain Lake. Officers said the suspect did cut the monitor from his ankle. The suspect was placed into custody and the child was found safe and unharmed. Officers said the suspect had some scratches and abrasions to his face they said occurred prior to his being taken into custody. The investigation in the case is ongoing.