Guns Vs. Hammer Grand Jury Indictments

(Reported By Weatherford Democrat)

By CHRISTIN COYNE

A Parker County grand jury indicted a woman who, deputies say, shot her brother in the chest and a man who, deputies say, severely beat his mother with a hammer.

Ramona Kathalene Parker, 54, of Millsap, was arrested after deputies responding to the 1200 block of Brazos Rock Road the evening of Oct. 26 found her brother, who was in his 50s, bleeding profusely from the chest area, according to the Parker County Sheriff’s Office.

Fox reportedly told deputies that her brother had entered her trailer and begun destroying her property.

After the man left, Fox said she went to her brother’s travel trailer, located on the same property, taking a pellet rifle with her, according the sheriff’s office. Inside her brother’s residence, she reportedly shot him in the chest with the gun.

Deputies found a man laying on a couch in his travel trailer with a copious amount of blood on his person and the surrounding area, according to sheriff’s office spokeswoman Deputy Danie Huffman.

The man was transported by CareFlite to a Fort Worth hospital for his injuries.

Fox, who was indicted on a charge of aggravated assault, was released from the Parker County Jail on $15,000 bond in November.

Hammer beating case
A man accused of severely injuring his mother by beating her about the head with a large hammer was also indicted Wednesday on a charge of aggravated assault.

Jacob Dwight Farren, 30, of Cresson, was arrested hours after he reportedly called 911 and requested an ambulance, stating that a woman was bleeding to death.

His 54-year-old mother also called 911 and reported that her son had attempted to kill her with a hammer.
Farren was arrested later that night in the area after reportedly fleeing the scene in his mother’s car.

The woman told authorities that when she told her son to leave and not come back during an argument over his tax return, he came toward her, grabbed her and found a hammer on the table, Investigator James Allain wrote.

Telling her that he was going to kill her, he hit her on the head with the hammer and “then tried to gouge her eyes out with his thumbs,” the probable cause affidavit states.

The woman told the Democrat that her head injuries required 10 staples and 20 sutures.

“I’m so thankful that God has spared me,” Beverly Farren said, adding that she believes she would have passed out if she’d received one more blow to the head and likely died.

“He’s bipolar,” Farren said. “He won’t take his medication. He just snapped. It was like a different personality. He just said he had to kill me.”

Jacob Farren remained in the Parker County Jail Wednesday with bond set at $75,000.

Other recent indictments include:

• Robert Gatlin Burns, evading arrest with a vehicle.
• Ryan Edward Cox, obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.
• David Lyndon Crawford, theft of property, more than $1,500, less than $20,000.
• Gene Edwin Franks, driving while intoxicated, third or more offense.
• Jose Juan Garcia, driving while intoxicated, third or more offense.
• Jonathon Edward Gordon, driving while intoxicated, third or more offense.
• Richard Daniel Grandberry, attempt to possess a controlled substance, more than 1 gram, less than 4 grams.
• Ramon Garcia Moreno, driving while intoxicated, third or more offense.
• Teresa Renya Parker, driving while intoxicated with a child under 15 years.
• Cynthia Sue Patterson, possession of a controlled substance, less than 1 gram.
• Donald Wayne Ray, theft of service, more than $1,500, less than $20,000.
• Floyd Neal Smith, assault of a public servant.
• Scott Eugene Swoyer, burglary of a building.
• Joey Randall Williams, driving while intoxicated, third or more offense.
• Ryan Weston Hunt, leaving the scene of an accident involving injury.
• Janice Odom, injury to a child with intent to cause bodily injury.

Bob Nuttall honored with Grand Master title by friends, colleagues

QXFM had the pleasure of attending one of the most inspiring and touching ceremonies we have ever been a part of. Of course, this was in our home town, at our own courthouse, and in honor of one of Parker County’s long time residents, Bob Nuttall.

IMG_0024   IMG_0020

Things started off a bit shaky as we entered the second floor of the Parker County Courthouse; the rain was doing it’s best to delay the ceremony, causing a horrendous accident on I-20 coming into Weatherford that delayed many wanting to attend. Despite the bad weather, the show would go on, and Emcee Ed Huddleston did a marvelous job keeping control of the enormous crowd, and following through on his delievery of the ceremony as a whole; a mixture of moments reminiscing about his relationship with Bob, and jokes that hit the spot throughout.

Ed Huddleston - Master of Ceremonies

Ed Huddleston – Master of Ceremonies

Bob was not only congratulated by all of us in attendance with the press, but groups of citizens from Weatherford and Parker County, families that through the generations, have had Bob mold and fortify children into the adults they have become, and also a slew of the most notable politicians in Parker County: The Honorable Judges Jerry Buckner, Ben Akers, and Craig Towson – Weatherford Mayor Deniss Hooks.

IMG_0066

Mayor Dennis Hooks, Bob Nuttall, Pat Burleson

Each of the speakers, the afore-mentioned politicians, knows Mr. Nuttall on a personal level, and through the very emotional dialogues, recalled very personal moments that they have spent the new Grand Master. The moment that stood out most in our mind? Judge Craig Towson describing the “Bushido Code” or “The Warrior’s Way”, a Japanese tradition that described the life of a Samurai. Towson took us on a journey of past and present as he recited the english translation of the Code, and inspired us all when he said, with an attitude of certainty, that Bob Nuttall “was a walking example of all the attributes that coincide with the Warrior’s Way: Rectitude, Courage, Benevolence, Respect, Honesty, Honor, and Loyalty”.

Judge Craig Towson describe Bob as a walking Bushido Code

Judge Craig Towson describe Bob as a walking Bushido Code

In conclusion, in a speech that was both short and sweet, Nuttall’s long time instructor and friend, Pat Burleson took the podium to explain the past of Karate in the U.S. and the passion that “Bob took in being one of the first students to really devote his life to this study”.  A very energetic awarding ceremony ensued, where Burleson would initiate the changing of belts, from 9th Degree black belt to 10th Degree and Grand Master Status, solidifying Bob Nuttall’s place in the very fabric of history that is karate.

The changing of the belts ceremony video (click to watch the minute long ceremony)

IMG_0070  IMG_0075

QXFM would like to congratulate Mr. Nuttall again on not only his current achievements, but for everything he has done since starting the study of martial arts in the 1960′s; he has been a staple in the Parker County community for years, and will continue to be for years to come, as a living example of the “Bushido Code” for generations to come.

 

Gas Prices On The Rise

(Reported By Sally Sexton Weatherford Democrat)

By SALLY SEXTON

ssexton@weatherforddemocrat.com

WEATHERFORD —  A recent study of gasoline prices shows that 2012 proved to be the year with the most expensive annual statewide average on record.

The study, conducted by the AAA Texas Weekend Gas Watch, shows that gas prices have risen almost 10 cents in the Dallas/Fort Worth area compared to January of 2012, despite highs and lows throughout the year.

Jose Palacios, a clerk at SAI Mart off of Palo Pinto Street, which advertises its current regular unleaded at $3.18 per gallon, said he has noticed a rise and fall, culminating in higher prices, over the last 12 months.

“It started to get pretty high after elections,” he said.

The annual average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Texas in 2012 was $3.43, compared to the previous annual record of $3.37 in 2011. The third most expensive year for gas prices was in 2008, when the annual average was $3.13.

“What’s crazy is that when the gas goes high, people seem to buy more of it,” Moe Chehade, manager of Valero on Bowie Street, said. “We actually sell less when it’s low and I can’t figure it out.

“I’ve noticed the increase, but it doesn’t seem to bother people. If the customer needs it, they’re going to fill up, no matter what the price is.”

According to AAA, factors including major hurricanes, refinery outages and tension in the Middle East have impacted gas prices and sent markets in an upward swing for most of the year.

The highest daily Texas statewide average of the year was $3.84 on April 5-6, while the lowest daily average statewide was $3.03 on Dec. 20. Gas prices in Texas averaged $3.09 in December, the lowest monthly average of the year.

“You would think with the economy the way it is, that gas prices would be lower, but we have been increasing the last couple of weeks,” said Steven Rice, co-owner of the two Big Pantry stations in Weatherford. “I think the stock market has a lot to do with the gas prices.”

As of Friday, Big Pantry was offering its regular unleaded for $3.29.

“What happens with gas prices this year will depend  on what happens both domestically and globally,” said AAA Texas/New Mexico Representative Sarah Schimmer.  “Regardless of where gas prices go in the coming year, consumers can keep more money in their pocketbooks by keeping their car maintained to ensure maximum fuel efficiency, traveling light and combining trips.”

Last week, the statewide average for a gallon of regular unleaded increased six cents to $3.13, according to AAA Texas. Motorists in Texarkana are paying the most on average at $3.19 per gallon, while drivers in El Paso are paying an average of $3.03.

AAA Texas forecasts that, following the fiscal cliff deal, prices this year will remain high, but may be cheaper than in 2012 due to increased domestic crude oil production, which is expected to remain lower than in recent years.

“There was a period where prices did go down, but I think it’s going to continue to increase now,” Palacios said.

For more information, visit the AAA Texas website, at www.AAA.com, or Facebook page, www.facebook.com/AAATexas.

Forming A Strategy

(As Reported By Brian Smith Weatherford Democrat)

By BRIAN SMITH

bsmith@weatherforddemocrat.com

WEATHERFORD — Weatherford City Council members took a step toward “stop talking and start doing” with a Strategic Plan work session Thursday evening.

Strategic Plans are used by cities as a way of setting budgetary goals. They are evaluated every so often, which helps officials during the budget process each year. Weatherford’s plan was last evaluated in 2008 right before the recession hit, Director of Management and Budget Chad Janicek said.

“This gives us an opportunity to see if the goals and priorities we adopted in 2008 still apply today,” Janicek said.

Mary Wieder with Strategic Counseling Services said a survey was given out before Christmas to council members and city department heads to find out the positives and issues the city is facing through their eyes.

 

Survey results

Council members saw customer service, the friendly nature of the town and being an upwardly mobile community the best things about living in the city. Staff members saw the rich history of the city, being close to the Metroplex, parks and new shopping opportunities as some of their favorite things.

Some of the changes both entities have seen over the last four to five years include Weatherford becoming a hub for surrounding communities and increased growth, which comes with the normal “growing pains.” Changes that need to happen, in the eyes of those surveyed, include a more aggressive attitude toward debt obligations, getting a better handle on infrastructure and looking toward the future.

Other changes identified include understanding the city’s growth and where it’s coming from, budgeting for long-term goals instead of the proverbial “wish list,” and having more family oriented businesses.

Many of the recommended changes needed to be made coincide with what were seen as issues facing the city, including the transportation and infrastructure needed, areas of the city beginning to show their age, meeting residents expectations and a need for strategic direction.

After the survey results were released, Wieder took council and staff through a Strengths, WeakNesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) Analysis.

 

Strengths

City officials saw some other positives not listed in the survey, including a “fair, competitive” tax rate, the city having a unique identity, great schools and medical services, a healthy economic climate and a “city staff that is second to none.”

“Our greatest asset as a city is our employees and staff,” Mayor Pro Tem Craig Swancy said.

The city’s tax rate, one of the lowest in the area, also forces more of a reliance on sales tax monies, which can be fickle, Janicek said.

 

Weaknesses

The reliance on sales tax monies was considered a weakness, as well as the ability to communicate with citizens, or as Mayor Dennis Hooks called it, “spreading the word.”

Infrastructure and the need to play catch up with it and aging thoroughfares were discussed by nearly all on the dais. Council member Heidi Wilder said the visual clutter on many of the highways leading in and out of town was distracting. Council member Jeff Robinson said getting a fresh set of eyes on the problem could help.

“We look to correcting Main Street and Fort Worth Highway, but sometimes we can’t see the forest through the trees,” Robinson said. “We get so used to it we don’t notice it anymore.”

While the downtown area is considered a strength, it is underutilized, Robinson said. Wieder said while driving through town, he saw an opportunity for York Street to become an antique hub north of the downtown area.

A need for consistent staff direction and getting citizens involved in the government process were seen as things that needed to be improved.  Director of Community Relations and Parks and Recreation Danielle Felts said once services and new programs are brought out they should be staffed.

“We tend to focus on the savings,” Felts said.

 

Opportunities

City Manager Jerry Blaisdell said there is a chance to maintain the historical identity of the town and absorb the fast growth going on right now with some good planning.

“A lot of cities in the area have grown and been unable to keep what got them there in the first place,” Blaisdell said. “This is our chance to get it right.”

Swancy said he envisions a time where cars are heading here much “like Fredericksburg on any weekend,” in the future. Hooks said having a citizens’ survey and asking them for opinions could be done as part of the Strategic Plan process. “We need to try and think forward, more outside of the box,” Hooks said.

Promotion of First Monday Trade Days, Chandor Gardens and other city entities OFFERS a huge opportunity for growth. Blaisdell said expansion and promotion of the Farmers Market and use of the First Monday Trade Days Park for outdoor concert or convention space would also be beneficial.

Upgrading standards on roads and utility infrastructure is important to maintain growth prudently in the eyes of Swancy.

“The standards we used 20 years ago don’t apply today because of all the growth,” Swancy said.

 

Threats

Doing everything that needs to be done and keeping cost of living under control in the city Is seen as a threat by Hooks. Losing identifiable green space and the city’s unique identity because of development from the east is also a threat.

The city is also in need of a new comprehensive plan, which is 13 years old, Swancy said.

Overall, city officials said becoming more proactive instead of reactive is important if the city wants to grow and still maintain its identity.

After the analysis, council and staff members evaluated all the ideas and ranked what they considered the biggest needs. Wieder said he would need about a month to go over the data, which he would then present at a future council meeting.

Business Boom, Hudson Oaks 2013

(Reported By The Weatherford Democrat)

By BRIAN SMITH

HUDSON OAKS — After a successful 2012 where the city began work on projects to improve their branding and marketing, work on bringing business to the city as well as improving water capacity is paramount in 2013, city officials said.

City Administrator Sheri Campbell-Husband said work on the Splash Mountain Wild West Water Park has started and company officials are still confident on a Memorial Day Weekend grand opening for the 14-acre facility, located adjacent to the Cinema 10 Theater complex. Work on the park was delayed for a time because of funding issues, which caused some to question whether the park was still on track.

A ceremonial ground breaking is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8.

“We’re hoping to capitalize on what kind of business and activity the water park will bring it our city,” Campbell-Husband said.

Assistant City Administrator Patrick Lawler said utility work will finish up this week with dirt work on the park to begin soon.
Implementing the city’s Comprehensive Plan will also be a goal for 2013. The plan, which was approved last February, is a flexible guideline. Campbell-Husband said a retreat is also planned for work on the city’s Strategic Plan, which is used to focus on a group’s goals and can be very helpful for planning come budget time.

City officials spent a good chunk of 2012 working on improving their marketing and branding. A new logo, which will be finalized later this year, will be combined with median improvements on U.S. Highway 180 designed to create a more modern look. Once finalized, the new logo will be placed on city stationery and street signs throughout town.

Work on the medians, which will include two large “Welcome to” signs at the ends of town along with new landscaping, began in November and should be finished later this spring.  Holes for the irrigation system in the medians have been put in recently. The area from I-20 Exit 414 to Lakeshore Drive on the east end of town began in late November while work on the western end of the highway commenced in early December with few, if any, lane closures.

Lawler said work on the second median at Oak Ridge Drive is ongoing with concrete work being put in presently and landscaping work to follow. Work is progressing well, Lawler said, with last week’s weather issues causing very minor delays.

City officials are also planning on construction of the Red Eagle Water Plant in 2013. Lawler said design work on the plant is ongoing with construction expected to commence sometime this summer.

Hospital CEO Says His Goodbyes

(Reported By The Weatherford Democrat)

By CHRISTIN COYNE

After two years on the job, Weatherford Regional Medical Center’s chief executive officer has left.

According to a statement released by the hospital Friday, former CEO Cory Countryman’s last day with the hospital was Wednesday.

Countryman left to accept a position with another company in Dallas, according to hospital Marketing Manager Emily Lewis. Countryman had been with WRMC since December 2010.

Community Health System’s Barry Schneider, described by Lewis as an experienced hospital executive, will serve as the interim CEO as the company searches for permanent replacement.

A spokesperson who responded to questions was unable to say when Countryman informed the hospital of his decision to leave his position.

“Our hospital has a firm foundation for providing excellent patient care that will continue,” said Dennis Clayton, chairman of the Board of Trustees for WRMC. “We wish Cory much success in his new position.”

The hospital looks forward to naming a new CEO as soon as possible, Lewis said.

Neither Schneider nor Countryman returned messages left Friday seeking comment.