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2011: A Year in Review

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ELLIS AND DALLAS COUNTY -  As the new year approaches, it’s time to take a moment to look back on the top headlines of 2011.  

Some might be happy, sad or investigating but, The Ellis County Press was thrilled to be able to bring you all the news that’s fit to serve you, our readers, while maintaining our motto, “Defending truth and freedom”  by holding your public officials accountable.

Jan. 6

Bring in the new judges, county officials take oath of office; County officials and new judges sworn in to serve Jan. 1, 2011.

Jan. 13

Murderer of infant sentenced to 65 years; Midlothian resident Ricardo Quintero was sentenced to 65 years in prison by 40th District Court Judge Bob Carroll Friday, Jan 7 for murdering the 2-year-old daughter of his girlfriend.

Jan. 20

End of Trail, early morning fire destroys restaurant; An early morning five- alarm fire destroys 1879 Chisholm Trail Grill, a longtime restaurant staple in Downtown Waxahachie, as well as other local businesses ,on Tuesday, Jan. 18.

Jan. 27

City manager fired, council reject business expansion; Lancaster city council unanimously agrees to fire City Manager Ricky Childers Monday, Jan.24 citing “poor job performance” as a reason.

Feb. 3

Councilman claims complaint ‘fruitless’; Place Three Ovilla Councilman James Wade faces criticism over a main street sewer development project for the past several years.

Feb. 10

Teacher killed in head-on collision; Students and faculty alike mourn the loss of Jr. High Teacher and Assistant Football Coach Kyle King after he was killed outside of  Forney during a head- on collision Saturday, Feb. 5. 

Feb. 17

City approves $1.5 million construction project; Ferris city council voted to begin on the city library expansion and renovation of two baseball fields at Mutz Park Monday, Feb. 7.

Feb. 24

Memorial for fallen officer unveiled; The city of Lancaster unveiled a new street sign “Craig Shaw Memorial Parkway” during a intimate ceremony Saturday, Feb. 19 for the family of the fallen officer who was shot to death by  the Dallas County Sheriff’s son, David Brown Jr., Father’s Day 2010.

March 3

Three arrested in agent murder; Federal agents arrested three men in Lancaster Monday, Feb. 28 after a gun purchase linked them to the Los Zetas drug cartel and slaying of U.S. Agent Jaime Zapata. 

March 10

FHS student charged, documents confirm student plotting to kill ex-girlfriend; 17-year-old- Red Oak resident Steve Curtis Pierot was arrested and faces two felony charges : conspiracy to commit capital murder and criminal solicitation of a minor according to the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office. 

March 17

It was 40 years ago today, Sullins taught the kids to behave; Ellis County Sheriff Office  Chief Deputy Charles Sullins retires after serving the public for more than 40 years on his 65th birthday, Friday, March 25. 

March 24

Remains of Missing Woman found, suspect charged with murder; The remains of missing Palmer resident Marion P. Parsons, 54, were found on the 4500 block of FM 879. Debra Ruth Henderson,53, of Ennis was charged with murder. 

March 31

Apartment shooting leaves 1 dead, 1 hospitalized; A Sunday morning apartment shooting in Lancaster left one dead and one hospitalized according to Lancaster Police Lt. Kelly Hooten. 

April 7

Knife attack on ECSO deputy resolved, man found guilty of aggravated assault; Bradford Craig Randle, 50,  was found guilty of aggravated assault on a public servant by an Ellis County jury on Wednesday, March 30.

April 14

Gone with the Wind, storm blows through destroying counties; Straight line winds destroyed  parts of Ellis and Dallas County during the night of Monday, April 11 including the roof being torn off Waxahachie’s Comfort Inn and Suites off Highway 287 and 77.

April 21

Councilman opposes ‘government mandates’; Waxahachie Councilman Mark Singleton responded in opposition to any kind of “government mandates” during the Monday, April 18 council meeting.

April 28

‘You just can’t fix stupid’ county approves ban on outdoor burning; Ennis Fire Chief David Hopkins was on hand at the commissioner’s court meeting on Monday, April 25 to support the county’s 90 day burn ban passed. 

May 5

Fallen soldier honored; Residents lined the procession route to pay their respects to Waxahachie’s hometown hero, PFC Joel Ramirez, who was killed in action on Saturday, April 16 in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.

May 12

Midlothian attorney, wife plead guilty to welfare fraud; Midlothian Attorney Todd Rowland Phillippi and his wife, Melissa Rios, plead guilty to felony charges of welfare fraud on Monday, May 9. 

May 19

City-wide elections experience low voter turnout, run-off in Lancaster; Dallas and Ellis County experienced low voter turnout during the Saturday, May 14 city and school races resulting in a run-off for District 2 council seat in Lancaster.

May 26

‘Mayor must go’ citizens upset and unruly after council vote; Infuriated with council decisions, citizens of Wilmer became unruly and started chanting “Mayor must go” outside the council chambers Thursday, May 19.

June 2

Ex-boyfriend kills girlfriend, self; Neighbors were jolted by the gunshots heard at the Waxahachie neighborhood on Lake Park Avenue after a ex-boyfriend kills his 24- year-old girlfriend before killing himself on Friday, May 27.

June 9

Suspect captured in manhunt; An aggravated robbery caused a man hunt for several agencies the evening of Thursday, June 2 after three men tried robbing a woman at the Ferris Ag Barn before running away. 

June 16

Military deserter in Dallas has local ties; an 18 –year-old male arrested in Dallas Monday June, 13 in connection with stealing a motorcycle in Ferris as well as having a warrant out as a military deserter. 

June 23

Officer resigns after long battle; Ferris Police Officer Larrell D. Tolbert Jr. resigns after a legal battle with the city according to Police Chief Sam Love.

June 30

Council says ‘no’ to golf carts, Wade walks out on ethics complainant’s; A 4-1 vote denied the use of golf carts on public roadways in the city of Ovilla Monday, June 27. Councilman James Wade opposed.

July 7

House given 90-day reprieve; The continuous legal battle with Jacuita Kimbrell and the city of Ferris about her home on Wood Street draws to a close after 20 years. Kimbrell is given 90 days to get caught up on her home so the city will not condemn it. 

July 14

Proposed veterans memorial coming closer to reality, brick pavers for sale to honor those served; “The Ennis Veteran’s Memorial” is becoming closer to reality as donations come in and brick pavers become on sale to the public to help support the building of this non-profit project to honor those who serve our country.

July 21

Four county chase leads to arrest; An alleged kidnapping suspect led the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office through multiple counties Wednesday, July 13.

July 28

15-year-old murdered, three others possibly shot; Lancaster Police department investigate the possible murder of a 15-year-old male on Saturday, July 23 on the 2200 block of Prairie Drive just before midnight. 

Aug. 4

Lack of quorum to cost tax payers, Pena and Wells no shows once again; Mayor Pro Tem Hector Pena was asked to lead the city in a water task force and during the Thursday, July 7 Wilmer council meeting and has been a no show ever since.

Aug. 11

Standing room only, citizens gather to protest Public Improvement District; Crowds extended out the door of the Lancaster council chambers because of a taxing on a PID on the agenda Monday, Aug. 8.

Aug. 18

Officer recognized with ‘Life Saving Award’; Waxahachie Police Officer David Bittle was thanked with a standing ovation in the Waxahachie council chambers Monday, Aug. 15 after Coppell Police Chief Mac Tristan presented him with the “Life Saving Award” for his efforts during an incident occurring at a  motorcycle training school hosted in Coppell Tuesday, June 7. 

Aug. 25

Area gas stations charged with diluting gasoline; Two local gas stations are listed in a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Greg Abbott Thursday, Aug. 18.

Sept. 1

Fly away home, Biery resigns; Mid-Way Regional Airport Manager Andy Biery resigned effective Friday, Sept. 9 according to a news release issued by the city of Waxahachie.

Sept. 8

Duran quits as fire chief, served public for 20 years; Ferris Fire Chief Eddie Duran had been the subject of open records requests the past two months by The Ellis County Press after concerns of local citizens were voiced on the conduct of the Ferris Fire Department ultimately leading to the chief’s resignation.

Sept. 15

Fire truck accident under investigation; An accident involving a Ferris Fire Truck during the annual Sept. 11 memorial ceremonies is under investigation after Councilman Gary Ross crashed into another vehicle.

Sept. 22

Mayor resigns; Wilmer Mayor Jeff Steele resigned during the Thursday, Sept. 15 council meeting after enduring the wrath of Mayor Pro Tem Hector Pena since Pena was appointed in May.

Sept. 29

County approves tax hike, Robinson and Brown vote ‘no’; Pct. 2 Commissioner Bill Dodson makes the motion to approve a tax hike to the county on Wednesday, Sept. 21.

Oct. 6

Fire destroys chemical plant; Magnablend Inc, a chemical plant in Waxahachie burned to the ground Monday, Oct.3 with an estimated $15-$20 million loss.

Oct. 13

Tuberculosis cases spread, 221 tested positive; A second case of active tuberculosis was confirmed Friday, Oct. 7 in Ennis and health officials are currently awaiting to determine a case in Denton connected to the Ennis outbreak.

Oct. 20

Robbed at gunpoint, $50-60K stolen from residence;  A 60-year-old man was robbed at gunpoint at his residence by three men on Tuesday, Oct. 11.

Oct. 27

Officer kills burglary suspect; case under investigation; A man believed to have robbed the Wells Fargo in Cedar Hill off Highway 67 earlier in the afternoon was shot and killed by a Midlothian Police Officer after a high speed chase went through Midlothian Tuesday, Oct. 18.

Nov. 3

Bright lights in a small city; Sunday, Oct.  23 saw Bristol residents waking up to film crews as “Dances with Wolves” and “Twilight” star Graham Greene was in town filming “Chasing Shakespeare” a movie set to come out later in 2012.

Nov. 10

Bus crash leaves 1 dead, 15 injured; 20-year-old Midlothian Student Kendra Unamba was released from Ballinger Memorial Hospital after being involved in a bus crash Friday, Nov. 4.

Nov. 17

Land grab, council approves 1st phase of annexation; A 5-2 vote was all it took to fill a room of angry constituents during the Monday, Nov. 14 council meeting as the Lancaster city council approved the 1st phase of annexation to begin into the city from a three part plan.

Nov. 24

Burglary suspects caught; Ellis County Sheriff investigators along with the assistance of the Ferris Police Department arrested two suspect in connection to a string of thefts in the area Thursday, Nov. 15.

Dec. 1

Vansyckle ‘absolutely floored,’ council declares mayor violates code of ethics; After a lengthy two and a half hour question and answer session, followed by nearly an hour of closed session, council unanimously agreed Ovilla Mayor Bill Vansyckle had violated multiple codes of city ethics on Monday, Nov. 28  and would be charged at the Monday, Dec. 12 council meeting.

Dec. 8

Son shot, injuries led to hospitalization; Ellis County Sheriff Deputies arrived at the 500 block of Bigham Road on Thursday, Dec. 1 to find a 29-year-old male with a gunshot wound to the chest.

Dec. 15

Mayor pleads for forgiveness; Ovilla Mayor Bill Vansyckle pleads for forgiveness from the city and its residents Monday, Dec. 12 after he was found guilty on various ethics complaints by the city council.

Dec. 22

Publisher arrested, faces charges relating to child indecency allegations; Joseph “Joey” Glen Dauben, 30, was arrested by Texas Ranger Jason Bobo at his grandmother’s residence in Mabank Monday, Dec. 19 on three charges of sexual assault to a child and one charge of indecency with a child/sexual contact.

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