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(Special to the Mirror from the Kilgore News Herald)


The Kilgore City Council trimmed their pool of city manager candidates this week, and they're set to interview the finalists next Saturday. And among those finalists is Gladewater City Manager Sean Pate.

After one closed-door vetting session Feb. 6 failed to produce a final roster, a majority of the council members gathered for a follow-up meeting at City Hall Thursday afternoon. Following a two-and-a-half hour debate – abandoning a prior consensus to limit focus to in-state candidates – the group tasked executive headhunter Ron Holifield with lining up interviews with four Texas men and another from Florida.

Set for Saturday, Feb. 14, the interviews fall a little less than two months into the hunt for a new chief at Kilgore City Hall.

The five-member pool of finalists includes, in alphabetical order: Sean C. Pate of Gladewater, Philip A. Rodriguez of Prosper, Joshua C. Selleck of Cedar Park, Jeffrey D. Trinker of Richmond and William R. Whitson of Lynn Haven, Florida.

As of Thursday's meeting, the top-tier candidates have a mixture of experience:

Pate was hired in 2010 as Gladewater City Manager and since 2002 he has worked as a city administrator in four other Texas communities including Balcones Heights, Poteet, Clarendon and Dalworthington Gardens. He currently serves as regional president of the Texas City Management Association.  

Rodriguez has worked as project and management consultant to the city manager of Southlake since July 2014 and previously worked as the city manager and executive director of economic development for the City of Fate as well as city manager experience in Van Alstyne.

Selleck has been serving as assistant city manager for Cedar Park since January 2012. He previously worked as director of finance there from November 2009 to 2012 and in a similar capacity for Kerrville from January 2007 to July 2007.

Trinker has most recently worked as executive director of support service in Rosenberg (since June 2013) after working as assistant economic development director there from 2010 to 2013 and as a management assistant for Sugar Land from 2008 to 2010.

Whitson's most recent work experience was as executive director of the Panama City Community Redevelopment Agency in Florida from 2011-2014 with prior experience in other communities including city manager posts in East Ridge, Tennessee and Cairo, Georgia.

Kilgore Mayor Ronnie Spradlin said “We kind of argued over one candidate, whether to extend an invitation to him,” he explained. “Then you've got to see if you extend an offer to them and see if they want to be a finalist. Last time when we hired Scott (Sellers) we had someone that pulled out at the last minute and didn't want to be interviewed.”

After three years in the post, Sellers resigned as Kilgore City Manager in late-November to take a similar job in Kyle. Once again hiring Holifield's Strategic Government Resources firm to spearhead the search, council members appointed Plano Assistant City Manager Mark Israelson's to lead city hall on an interim basis during the short-term headhunting.

Working from the council's preferences for the search, Holifield's nationwide postings for applications drew 52 candidates from 17 states.

Heading into Thursday's meeting, the council members in attendance generally agreed they would be considering applicants from anywhere but with a preference for those with relevant experience in Texas.

“We want somebody that can blend into East Texas,” council member Neil Barr said. “They didn't want somebody from New York or California. It'd be good if we got somebody from an oilfield town or a town similar to Kilgore.

“We're going to look at some more resumes … (but) resumes don't tell you a whole lot.”

Spradlin said he was against automatically putting out-of-state candidates to the side.

“It doesn't hurt to look,” he said. Otherwise, “There might be some shining star that we shouldn't pass up.”

The conclusion from the Feb. 6 session was to focus on Texans, Mayor Pro Tem Harvey McClendon confirmed, and he entered Thursday's meeting in favor of in-state candidates.

However, “I'm not necessarily set in stone precluding (out-of-state),” he explained. At the least, Sellers' prior post to Kilgore was in Colorado: “Obviously we got Scott, and he did a good job.”

But in-state experience is high on the list of criteria, McClendon allowed.

“Not mandatory, but high on the list,” he said. “There's candidates from other states, but they're going to have to be top of the line to break into the top group. There's a learning curve – Texas is different. Somebody that's been here in Texas is going to fit in better.

Still, “the last time we preferred to hire someone from in-state but Scott proved to be our guy.”

Council member Lori Weatherford agreed out-of-state candidates weren't precluded from consideration Thursday, but experience in Texas is a significant boon.

“When you work in 50 different states you realize how different the law is from state-to-state,” she explained. “The point of that discussion was we know it puts somebody behind the 8-ball to come in and not know Texas law.

“What really is amazing is how much everyone cares to get the absolute best. It's all about moving forward.”

Kilgore's next city manager, Spradlin said, is within that group and a couple of candidates stand out in his mind.

However, “It's all kind of up in the air until the personal interviews,” he said. “Going into the search for Scott, before the interview he was number four or five and in the interview he came out number one by an easy margin.

“Who you're looking at on paper is not always the same person you find when you do the interviewing. Then you have to find someone that suits the personality of the council and the community and someone whose talent and experience fits the needs of this community at this time.”

McClendon said he and his colleagues on the council dais are looking forward to next weekend.

“It's always real beneficial to meet the candidates in person. You get a much better perspective in person,” he said. “Even though we have some videos and resumes and all, getting to interact with them gives you a lot better feel for the person themselves and the fit. We're anxious.

That said, he's pleased with the job Israelson is performing for the city on a temporary basis.

“We really like Mark. He's done a great job for us, and he's well-like and respected around here already.


He's already been a good interim for us.”


A 4-hour public hearing for Southern Covenant Treatment Center was held Friday, Feb. 6, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the 300 Money Street location in Gladewater. And the reception the owners received from local residents, city council members, GISD officials and business owners was less than welcoming as they commented on the licensing of the proposed residential treatment facility for teenage boys dealing with serious behavioral issues. 
The main points and concerns expressed at the public hearing was that Gladewater wasn't against the facility and the need to treat young people with behavioral problems, the city and school simply are already overburdened and the owners were not able to answer questions to the satisfaction of those in attendance.
The facility is scheduled to house up to 32 male residents ages 13-17 who are classified as Level 3 and 4 patients by Child Protective Services. This classification lists behaviors such as frequent or unpredictable physical aggression, major self-injurious actions or difficulties that present a significant risk of harm to self or others. The mission statement’ of Southern Covenant is … ‘our mission is to promote wellness in a safe family oriented home environment while extending a helping hand to empower troubled youth. Southern Covenant, a non-profit organization, provides an atmosphere where our youth are involved in structured activities to encourage healthy life skills.

Read more about what happened at the public hear in next week's Gladewater Mirror.




By Jim Bardwell
The City of Gladewater has decided to rethink its original annexation proposal involving about 1,200 acres in the Friendship Community and offer up a smaller area – about 300 acres, which focuses more on commercial growth and cuts out most of the 200 residents who have been protesting the proposed annexation. 
The city’s Reinvestment Committee plans to make a recommendation on the newly condensed map – which only involves land directly connected to US 271 and branches out south to a portion of 135 - at its Nov. 20 public hearing.
“During the past two months, the Reinvestment Committee has had the opportunity, as has the city council, to study the defined area being proposed for annexation. There were two focuses of study. One was on the demand and cost of current city services and the future impact to these services. The other was on the current growth pattern and assisting the future growth potential of the defined area,” city manager Sean Pate stated in a press release Friday morning. 
The residents in the Friendship Community launched a comprehensive protest against the city’s effort to pull them into the city limits. They have sent out fliers, planted protests signs throughout the area, hired legal counsel to fight annexation in the courts if need be, gathered signatures on petitions and were planning to go door-to-door in and effort to rally support from Gladewater citizens and force the city council to vote no on the annexation.
Randy Koss, chairman of the anti-annexation committee, was not immediately available for comment.
Pate said also considered “was the recent creation of the Gregg County ESD 2 (GCESD2) as voted on by the western Gregg County voters on November the 4th. This new development would allow the city to work with GCESD2 to develop a service plan between the two entities for the defined area. Therefore, the committee would like for the city council to consider a redefined area for possible annexation.”
Pate said the redefined area would focus on “properties that best represent current and future growth potential in commercial, industrial and retail business. The committee feels that the city of Gladewater has a vested interest in both assisting and servicing the current and future growth within this redefined area.”
Pate added that the city has no plans to pursue “any future annexations outside of this redefined area.”
Pate said he spoke with representatives from the Friendship Community on Thursday about the revised annexation area and received a positive response.
A second and final public hearing will be held Dec. 2 at City Hall at 6 p.m. The meeting had originally been set for Dec. 18.


GILMER--The Upshur County Grand Jury returned 10 indictments Thursday, including two against a Gladewater man on charges of "criminal mischief committed because of bias or prejudice" and "deadly conduct committed because of bias or prejudice."

John Wayne Black, Jr., 53, remained in Upshur County Jail under $75,000 bond on each charge, said District Attorney Billy Byrd's office.

The deadly conduct indictment alleges Black shot into a Gladewater building, with recklessness as to whether it was occupied, primarily because of his bias or prejudice against the married couple who owned it, said Byrd.

The criminal mischief indictment charges Black drove his vehicle into the same people's Gladewater home for the same reason, causing more than $20,000 but less than $100,000 in damage, Byrd said. The husband and wife were in the kitchen when Black allegedly drove the vehicle into the living room, but nobody was injured, said the prosecutor.

Black is accused of committing the offenses Aug. 1, Byrd's office said.

Of the 10 indictments Thursday, three were sealed because no arrests had been made, Byrd reported. Defendants, charges, and bond information in the other open indictments were as follows, his office said:

--Phyllis Levone Jones, 42, of Gladewater, possession of controlled substance (cocaine) on June 14, $5,000

--Amanda Christine Pettit, 25, of Fort Worth, possession of controlled substance (methamphetamine) on Sept. 2, $5,000 bond

--Daniel Wayne Wooten, II, 38, of Gilmer, theft of property (of) less than $1,500 with two or more previous convictions on Aug. 27. He remained in county jail under $10,000 bond.

--Jason Dale Neal, 43, of Longview, driving while intoxicated; subsequent offense--habitual offender on Sept. 1, $10,000 bond

--Lester Shane Browning, 43, of Avinger, unauthorized use of vehicle on Aug. 2. He remained in county jail under $40,000 bond.

The sealed indictments included one apiece for possession of controlled substance (cocaine), forgery and burglary of habitation.




AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) is informing Texans in need about federal programs such as the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) that offer nutritious meals to children and adults. Approximately 13,000 adult and child care centers and home-based day cares in Texas are serving free or reduced-priced meals through the federally-funded CACFP.

These federal funds are available to help Texas families who find themselves in difficult times financially. Assistance programs should be utilized as a temporary bridge to a better economic situation — not as an endless highway. TDA is committed to helping these families with their immediate nutritional needs to assist them in becoming food independent in the future.

Meals provided through the CACFP are funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). CACFP provides nutritious meals to children and adults enrolled in participating child care centers, day care homes and adult day care centers.

Households with children enrolled in a participating center or home who are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits; receive Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC); or who are enrolled in Early Head Start, Head Start or Even Start Programs; or who receive Food Distribution Programs on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) benefits, automatically qualify for free meals.

Households with children enrolled in a center or home that does not receive any of the above assistance may qualify for free or reduced-price meals based on household income. See the chart below for income eligibility guidelines. 

Foster children placed with a caregiver by the state or courts are eligible for free and reduced-price meals. If you have foster children living with you and wish to apply for free or reduced-price meals for your foster child, contact your child care center or day care home for assistance.

Parents or guardians who become unemployed may apply for free or reduced-price meals on behalf of their children at any time during the period of unemployment. Adults who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Food Distribution Programs on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) benefits, Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income automatically qualify for free meals.

Adults who do not receive any of the above assistance may qualify for free or reduced-price meals based on household income. See the chart below for income eligibility guidelines. 

The information provided on the application will be treated confidentially and be used only for eligibility determinations and verification of information.

USDA prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You also may write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to USDA by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339, or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

To apply for free or reduced-price meals, you may request an application from your child care center, adult day care center or day care home provider. An application for free or reduced-price meals cannot be approved unless it contains complete eligibility information as indicated on the application and instructions. Only one application is required per household, and households may apply at any time.

If your application for free or reduced-price meals is denied, you have the right to request a fair hearing from your child care center, adult day care center or day care home. Verification of the accuracy of your application for free or reduced-price meals can occur at any time.

Child care centers, day care homes and adult day care centers participating in CACFP serve nutritious meals to all participants enrolled in their facilities. To locate a center or day care home participating in CACFP, call (877) TEX-MEAL. Participating locations also will display the official "Building for the Future" poster.

Income Eligibility Guidelines
Ingresos máximos para determinar

For Determining Free and Reduced-Price Benefits
la elegibilidad para el programa de nutrición

July 1, 2014- June 30, 2015
1 de julio de 2014- 30 de junio de 2015

Household Size

Total Income



Twice Per Month

Every Two Weeks


No. of Household Members



































































































For each additional family member, add













BY PHILLIP WILLIAMS/Special Correspondent

GLADEWATER--A 16-year-old Gladewater High School football player was killed and his brother was injured when their vehicle overturned near this city as they were en route to school Wednesday morning, said Upshur County Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace Rhonda Welch.

Nikalas (Nik) Santos Reyes Wisinger was apparently killed instantly, while his brother, 18-year-old John Tristian Wisinger, was treated and released from Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview following the accident on Farm-to-Market Road 2685, said Judge Welch. She said she pronounced Nik Wisinger, a front-seat passenger in the vehicle, dead at the scene at 9:10 a.m.


John Tristian Wisinger was driving the southbound 1996 Jeep Cherokee Sport when it ran off the right side of the roadway, he overcorrected, and the vehicle overturned several times near the intersection with Scarlet Oak Road, Judge Welch said. The crash occurred at 7:54 a.m., said Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Pam Edge.

Both youths were wearing seat belts, Mrs. Edge said. The accident occurred about two miles northwest of Gladewater, Judge Welch said.

The Department of Public Safety troopers who investigated the accident, Corporal Sandy Taylor and Trooper Billy Spears, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Nik Wisinger was a junior while his brother, who suffered only minor injuries, is a senior at Gladewater High School, said Gladewater ISD superintendent J.P. Richardson. Richardson said he believed Nik played linebacker, and that John Tristian does not play football.

Richardson said the Gladewater Bears will play the Kilgore Bulldogs in Kilgore Friday night as scheduled as the Wisingers' mother wished. Meantime, a memorial fund has been set up for the family at Austin Bank in Gladewater, he said.

Gladewater High School Principal Cathy Bedair said Nic Wisinger "was always just so full of life and always had a smile on his face and just had fun."

The youth was "very intelligent, and made friends with everybody," she added. "Everybody just loved him. Didn't meet a stranger. . .(He was) very respectful, very well-behaved. Just (a) great young man."

Asked about the atmosphere at the high school Wednesday afternoon, Richardson told the Tyler Morning Telegraph, "Well, it's quiet. It's kind of (a) somber day today...Our kids are handling it, grieving, leaning on each other."

Grief counselors and youth ministers were at the school Wednesday, and "we've slowed things down today," but "we still need to stay in routine," Richardson said. "We feel that's important."

He also said the school had to give students and staff "time to grieve," and that counselors would be available the next two days. "We've just been monitoring the kids very closely," Richardson added.

Ms. Bedair said Richardson had described the atmosphere at the high school "perfectly," and she added, "You just go into mama mode, and you just want to make sure the kids are okay. And every adult here was in mom and dad mode today."

Richardson said high school students and staff members were called about 9 a.m. into the school auditorium, where head football Coach John Berry emotionally announced his player's death. The news drew a gasp from the audience of nearly 600, who "had no idea what they were doing in the auditorium," the superintendent said.

"I thought it was best that they all heard it at once," Richardson said, although it is a "big blow when you hear something of that nature at one time." The students were told to be thinking about the Wisinger family, and a student-led prayer was said before the assembly dismissed, said Richardson.

Counselors from all the school district's campuses, youth ministers and youth pastors were waiting for the students, who were told to take their time and remain in the auditorium if they needed to, the superintendent said. As the pupils exited, there were two tables where they could write notes to the Wisinger family, he added.

"We have a plan in place (for) any time (something like) this happens," the superintendent explained.

Richardson said he was meeting with school principals shortly before 8 a.m. when he received a call from emergency services concerning the accident. He said he was told he and the high school principal needed to come to the scene, and that the caller told him "it wasn't good."

He and Ms. Bedair rushed to the accident site, arriving before the youths' mother, Richardson said. Ms. Bedair drove the mother to Good Shepherd, following the ambulance which was hauling John Tristian, and the principal was at the hospital when the death was announced to the student body, the superintendent said.

After the assembly, Berry met with the varsity and junior varsity football teams and told them "let's talk about it," according to Richardson. The coach also told the players to "lean on each other" and that "your peers are going to need you," Richardson said.

He also said he had visited the Wisinger family at their home and told the family the school district would help if it could.

Ms. Bedair said high school students would gather in the gymnasium from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. today for a ceremony honoring Wisinger before they launch 68 balloons at Bear Stadium in his honor since he wore number 68 in football.

During the ceremony, a student will sing, friends of Wisinger will speak, poetry will be read, and the lights will be dimmed so students can light up their cell phones in a candelight-type effect, she said.

Richardson meantime said Gladewater ISD had received many "positive" messages from other school districts, and it was good to know people "are praying for you." He asked the public "continue to pray for our students and the faculty."
















"He's jsut fun. He was always just so full of life and always had a smile on his facdeand just had fun...very smart young man, very intelligent, and made friends wtih everybody. Everybody just loved him. Didn't meet a stranger...He just enjoyed life and had fun...very respectful, very well-behaved. Just great young man."


"He has said everything just go into mama mode and you just want to make sure the kids are ok, and every adult here was in mom and dad mode today."


2:30 to 3:30 in gym tomorrow fora meori9al ceremon;y, featuring a student singing, his friends will speak, and poem read. Dim lights and cell phones will beon like a "candlelight" ceremony.. will walk out to field and release 68 balloons--his number.







"I received a call a little before 8 o'clock thils morning" while meeting wit hprincipals. It was emergency services iforming him he needed to come to scene and bring high school principal Cathy Bedair with him. "He had told me that it wasn't god on the phone. We rushed to the scene."

They got there before the mother arrived. Bedair drove the mother to Good Shep, following the ambulance. "We have a plan in place anytime this happens."  all kids called into high school auditorium about 9 a.m. and he had Coach Berry announce it. "We had all of our staff members in there...I thought it was best that they all heard it at once."    were told "be thinking about them."  all counselors even from lower campuses and youth ministers/pastors were on hand and kids were told take their time and stay in auditorium if need be. There were two tables for kids to write a note to the family as they exited. had student-led prayer before dismissing in the auditorium.

"When ti was announced, the kids had no idea what they were doing in the auditorium" nor did the staff. There was a "gasp"  "big blow when yuou hear something of that nature at one time."  almost 600 counting staff were in there. coach Berry was emotional and football player--JV and varsity met afterwards--and he told them "let's talk about it."  gotta "lean on each other."  "Your peers are gonna need you."

lot of "positive" messages from other districts. good to know people "are praying for you."


"We've just been monitoring the kids very closely."  he visited with family at home and told them school would help if it could. memorial fund being set up at Austin Bank in G'water. Probably some type of ceremony tomorrow afternoon before JV football game at high school. students are working on it.

he played linebacker.

brother does not play football.

"Continue to pray for our students and the faculty."

minor injuries. the mother wanted the ball game played.

cpl. sandy taylor and trooper billy spears

John Tristian Wisinger, 18, of gilmer.driver. non-incapcitating injury. nothing about good shep. both wearing seat belts.

nik, who was killed was the passenger in front seat. wearing seat belt.

7:54 a.m.









Principal Cathy :Bedair.


nic is a jr.   tristan is a sr.







Nik), 7-8-98, 16 yrs. old, little confused on the address.

gladewater high school f'ball player.

his brother, believed to be 18, was driving, treated and released from an unknown hospital.

no got brother's name. Tristan Wisinger.

1-vehicle accident. inter. of 2685 (Red Rock Road) and Scarlet Oak Road.

coming down 2685 headed south. en route to school at g'water.

jeep cherokee sport.

ran off the road to right, driver overcorreted, and overturned several times. dead boy was wearing seat belt. doesn't know if brother was.

happened about 8 a.m. dead boy was in front seat.

DPS Cpl. Sandy Taylor, Trooper Billy Spears.

she pronounced boy dead at scene at 9:10.

apparently killed instantly.

about 2 miles northwest of g'water.