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Bridge collapse on I-35 north of Austin

SALADO, Texas (AP) — Emergency crews are responding to a reported bridge collapse along an interstate in Central Texas.

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Amazon begins Prime Now program in Dallas area

If you just have to have it now, as in one hour, you can, at least in the Dallas area, as Inc. announced Thursday it will offer Prime Now.

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Monty Bennett: Businessman, water district activist

Monty Bennett’s name will not appear on the ballot for the Tarrant Regional Water District board of directors yet he remains a powerful backstage player whose influence could shape the direction of the district’s business for years to come.

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Price appeal: Condos going up on Near Southside

Chris Brassard and Omar Diaz had apartments in mind when they built a 12-unit complex on May Street just south of West Magnolia Avenue on Fort Worth’s Near Southside. Then their leasing agent, Will Northern of Northern Realty Group, suggested they consider selling the units as condominiums.

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Texas jobless rate falls as employers add workers

Texas unemployment fell to 4.3 percent during February for the sixth straight month of declines, the Texas Workforce Commission reported Friday.

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Newsmakers - March 24, 2014

Darren K. Woods, Fort Worth Opera

Architecture & Engineering
Brian C. Haynes has been named vice president of Halff Associates Inc. As manager of the firm’s Flower Mound office, he is responsible for leading operations and expansion of the office through its civil engineering and water resources services. With more than 15 years of experience at Halff, he serves as project manager or principal-in-charge on numerous public/private engineering projects in Texas. As a representative of Halff, he serves several municipalities in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area as their city engineer. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Texas Floodplain Management Association and Texas Public Works Association. Haynes is a Certified Floodplain Manager and a Licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Texas.

Banking & Finance
Chuck Sheridan will serve as senior vice president of mortgage lending at Worthington National Bank. Sheridan has more than 25 years of experience originating and processing mortgage loans in the Fort Worth area. He served in the United States Navy and is a councilman for the city of Annetta.
Woodhaven National Bank promoted Joshua Spivey to vice president at the main office in Fort Worth and Susanna Campbell to lobby services officer and Judith Nungaray to branch operations officer at the Fossil Creek branch. Spivey, a 14-year veteran of the bank, will oversee the day-to-day operations of the Bank Secrecy Act compliance department and will maintain his current role as bank security officer. Campbell will oversee branch operations, including teller and lobby services, while coordinating personnel and overseeing new account services. Nungaray will manage operation areas to ensure compliance with bank policies and procedures in addition to regulatory requirements.
Rylander, Clay & Opitz appointed partner Kelly R. Hein Jr. to be head of the tax department. Hein brings more than 20 years of experience in public accounting to the department, and has been a partner at RCO since 2006. In addition to Hein’s certification as a public accountant, he is a Certified Valuation Analyst, with areas of expertise in estate planning, fiduciary taxation, organizational consulting, business valuation and litigation support.

Justin Brands Inc. promoted Chuck Schmalbach to chief operations officer; Lisa Lankes to chief marketing officer; Mike Fuller to senior vice president of sales; Monte Nelson to brand manager for Tony Lama Boots; and Chris Stein to brand manager for Nocona Boots.

Health Care
Bloom Health hired Joe Golden as a business development lead focusing on the Texas market.
Most recently, Golden was vice president of new business sales at Aetna in the Texas and Oklahoma regions. He also served as a senior national sales executive at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas throughout Texas and Oklahoma.

Honors & Awards
Recipients of the 2013 First Tee of Fort Worth Leadership Awards are Don Armstrong, Martha Campos, Paul Campos, John Clay, Bruce Devlin, Kathy Farr, Zach Garsek, Roger Neely, Craig Nicholson and Ron Norman. The awards are presented annually by The First Tee of Fort Worth Junior Advisory Committee to individuals who have contributed significantly to its program, golf in general and/or the Fort Worth Community.
Margaret Dempsey, director of psychology at the Child Study Center, is a recipient of the WPS 65th Anniversary Unlocking Potential Awards in the individual category.
Freese and Nichols Inc. and Burns & McDonnell, both of Fort Worth, earned a National Recognition Award for exemplary engineering achievement in the American Council of Engineering Companies’ 48th annual Engineering Excellence Awards. Freese and Nichols won for leading the Ward County, Texas, Water Supply Project for the Colorado River Municipal Water District, while Burns & McDonnell was recognized for designing a new central utility plant for Parkland Hospital in Dallas.
The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce’s economic development video received a Platinum Award in the Video Production/Corporate Image category of the AVA Digital awards competition. The promotional video was produced and unveiled in October 2013 and spotlights Fort Worth’s business, people, culture and lifestyle amenities. There were nearly 2,100 entries from throughout the United States, Canada and several other countries in the 2014 competition.
The Association of School Business Officials International awarded the Westlake Academy its Meritorious Budget Award for excellence in budget presentation.

McDonald Sanders PC added two associate attorneys, Raegan A. Koesler and Ryan J. Damiano. Koesler’s practice focuses on oil and gas title and transactional matters involving fee, state and federal lands in Texas and New Mexico. Damiano has a civil litigation practice that focuses on personal injury, oil and gas, business torts and contractual disputes.

Nonprofit Organizations
Stephanie Books has been named program director for CASA of Tarrant County. She has been with CASA since 1994 and also served 12 years as victim services supervisor for the Arlington Police Department, where she was instrumental in establishing its Crisis Response Team. A Licensed Clinical Social Worker, she also served as the coordinator for Fort Worth Independent School District’s Family Resource Center, a school-based health clinic.
Lighthouse for the Blind of Fort Worth added three new staff members. Mark Schulz is the head of industrial operations and will oversee the everyday functionality of the machine shop and manufacturing floor. Kevin Higgins, former volunteer Braille teacher for the Lighthouse, is the new vision rehabilitation specialist. He will continue to teach Braille and also facilitate support groups, conduct independent living assessments and teach independent living skills training. Bettina Dolinsek, a Certified Cross-Fit Trainer, has joined as the Lighthouse’s first wellness specialist. She will develop and implement a wellness program to help the blind of Tarrant County maintain good health through fitness, exercise and nutrition. She also teaches exercise classes at the Lighthouse for the community and employees.

Tae Kim is an account executive at Fort Worth-based Consuro Managed Technology. Kim will work out of the firm’s Dallas office. Kim was most recently a senior discovery consultant for an international discovery and data management company and was a sales executive with Iron Mountain.

Tourism, Entertainment & Leisure
Clint Hill – has been promoted to regional director for Hawaiian Falls. He oversees operations of water parks in Garland, The Colony, Mansfield and Roanoke, and the new Adventure Park in White Settlement. Hill joined the company in 2005 as an emergency medical technician.

Send newsmakers to Betty Dillard at

Theater techies bring lights, cameras, action to Cowtown
More than 5,000 theatrical designers and technicians will fill the Fort Worth Convention Center March 26-29 for the United States Institute for Theatre Technology’s 54th Annual Conference & Stage Expo.
This is the first time USITT has hosted its conference in Fort Worth since 1996. More than 200 workshops and educational sessions will be offered and more than 250 companies are expected to participate.
Keynote speaker will be Jaston Williams of Greater Tuna, Texas fame and special guests include Saturday Night Live and Wicked set designer Eugene Lee and Oscar-winning costumer Ann Roth.
Darren K. Woods, general director of the Fort Worth Opera, will receive this year’s Thomas DeGaetani Award on opening night of the conference.
“Since arriving in Fort Worth in 2001, Mr. Woods’ leadership and artistic vision have revitalized the Fort Worth Opera. His work has contributed to the art culture of Fort Worth and aided in the economic impact of tourism,” Vice President for Conferences David W. Will wrote in his nomination.
Last year, Opera News named Woods one of opera’s top 25 influencers. In 2011, he was appointed vice chairman of the board of OPERA America, the national service organization for opera.

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