Year in Review: March 2013

From military woes woes because of sequestration to a Montague County law enforcement officer receiving a huge welcome home, the third month of the year included some highs, lows, and memorable moments.

The month of March started with sequestration causing a stir at military installations across the country. Although $85 billion in cuts to defense and domestic spending would cause civilian layoffs at many U.S. military installations, Sheppard Air Force Base officials say no pink slips would be issued here. In addition to civilian pay cuts, Sheppard officials say sequestration would also reduce military flying hours, supply purchases, and travel expenses that are not critical to Sheppard's cord training mission.

On March 5th, some Texomans said "nope to CSCOPE." The curriculum resource, used in the WFISD for the last several years, came under fire. Skeptics say CSCOPE is only a resource that teaches "anti-American" content and does not allow parents to see what their children are learning. Because of all the backlash, the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative started a joint review process of all CSCOPE lessons.

On March 6th, the FBI released a picture of the serial bank robber know as "the lone ranger bandit." The FBI says he's suspected of robbing the Citi Bank at Fairway and Kell in Wichita Falls in 2011. Overall, FBI officials say the "lone ranger bandit" is suspected of robbing nearly a dozen banks since January 2009.

On March 7th, a two alarm fire forces the closure of the popular Wichita Falls restaurant, Taco Casa.

Officials believe the fire started just after 6 p.m. in the ceiling of the restaurant, then spread to the convenience store on the other side of the building.

An hour later, fire crews hustled to a three-alarm fire at a home on Hamilton Boulevard. Officials say a fire started in the chimney ignited something in the flue and allowed flames to spread to the attic. Officials say at least two people were inside and made it out safely.

On March 11th, the search to find 20-year-old Young County mother, Candice Shields received statewide help. Shields disappeared in January 2011 and the Texas Rangers invited "TEXSAR"-- a statewide volunteers search and rescue team-- to help find evidence that could help officials find her remains.

A budget deficit of $203,000 and a $200,000 shortfall in its annual fundraising campaign sparked troubles for the North Texas Area United Way. Executive Director Diana Phillips submitted her resignation, causing the board of directors to extend the annual campaign to make up the shortfall and deficit.

On March 19th, Wichita Falls residents unleashed their frustrations to council members about the city's proposed dog chaining ordinance. It would only allow the chaining of a dog if the owner is outside within 50 feet of their animals. Otherwise, they could be fined up to $500. Despite opposition, councilors unanimously passed the ordinance. However, instead of having it take effect in 30 days, city leaders mandated it start in 180 days so a newly created group could help low income dog owners get their fences in compliance.

Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz brought his goals for his first term in office to Texoma. Cruz spoke during the 22nd Annual North Texas Economic Forum Lunch hosted by the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce. Other topics Cruz discussed during the sold-out event was championing fundamental tax reform, reducing the burdens that our tax codes put on working families and small businesses, and defunding and repealing the Affordable Care Act.

After being shot and spending nearly two weeks in a Fort Worth hospital, Montague County Deputy James Boyd returned home to the cheers of friends, family, colleagues, and Patriot Guard riders.

Boyd was shot on March 22nd after stopping a driver on a routine traffic stop. That driver, Colorado resident Evan Ebel, was later killed from injuries sustained during a shootout with police. Although Deputy Boyd started down the long road to recovery, he says he is thankful to be alive.

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