Category Archives: family violence

Carl’s Jr. has the best burgers, fries in Rockwall


Carl’s Jr. makes the best burgers and fries we’ve tasted in Rockwall!

The all beef patty burgers are charbroiled, thick and juicy, with lots of fresh ingredients.

The premium-quality, skin-on, natural cut fries are fabulous. The coating and right amount of salt are what makes them special.

Yesterday my wife and I again enjoyed a delicious take-out lunch from Carl’s Jr., located inside the Luv’s Truck Stop on I-30 at State Hwy. 549, just East of Rockwall. Yes, a truck stop!

Most Carl’s Jr. locations are in free-standing buildings, like Chick-Fil-A or McDonald’s. But its only Dallas-area location is – fortunately for us – in this truck stop. I read in the Dallas Morning News recently that some people drive all the way from Ft. Worth to Carl’s Jr. in Rockwall because the burgers are that good! 

Their fairly new teriyaki burger is really delicious! It includes sweet teriyaki glaze, a round slice of grilled Dole pineapple, two slices of mild swiss cheese, a large slice of fresh tomato, lots of fresh lettuce and mayonnaise on a large toasted sesame seed bun. We prefer it without the mayonnaise to better taste the teriyaki sauce.

Although tomatoes and lettuce are not a big deal, what surprises me is that every time I purchase a burger from Carl’s Jr. the tomato slices and lettuce are large, fresh and not your typical squashed tomato and brown lettuce, such as I’ve encountered many times at other fast food places.

Other burgers we’ve personally enjoyed include the Big Carl – their mainstay cheeseburger – plus the Portobello Mushroom and Swiss, Western Bacon Cheeseburger and Jalapeno Burger.

If you’re really hungry, Carl’s Jr. also offers what they call the Six Dollar Burger. It isn’t really $6, but looks it. They’re huge! 

I can’t comment on how healthy their menu is. Generally we try to eat pretty healthy and sometimes organic foods. But sometimes we just break down and get a burger. Carl’s Jr. has become our favorite.

Their website does contain lots of nutritional info for those who want to read it.

Is it lunch time yet? I believe I’m ready for another today!

Young Rockwall man awaiting cheese death trial arrested for family violence


The above photo of Timothy Salahi provided by the Rockwall County Jail

The young Rockwall man currently awaiting trial on May 11 for providing the cheese heroin which killed former Rockwall-Heath High School student Paige Elliot was arrested again and sent to the Rockwall County jail earlier this month on family violence-related assault charges.

Timothy Salahi, 19, was arrested March 11 by Rockwall Police shortly after he allegedly stuck a family member in the face with his clenched fist.

According to police reports, the complainant suffered redness and swelling on the face.

After the arrest, Rockwall County District Judge Brett Hall ruled the bond on the negligent homicide case as insufficient and raised the bond from $25,000 to $50,000 for Salahi.

Police said that Salahi had two prior family violence-related charges.

It is not known whether he is still in jail, or if he posted bond and was released.

In February Salahi pled guilty to criminally negligent homicide in the death of Elliot, a state felony with a penalty of 180 days to two years of state jail time, plus a fine.

But after a plea bargain was reached between Salahi’s attorney, the Elliot family and Rockwall District Attorney’s Office, Judge Hall rejected the plea and ordered the case to trial,  stating that they had a responsibility to the public considering the serious nature of the case.

More details will be provided as we obtain them.

Rockwall County father kills self, 14-year-old son near Lake Lavon

A Rowlett man shot and killed himself after killing his 14-year-old son, who attended Williams Middle School in Rockwall, Friday night near Lake Lavon.

Police said Roberto Acevedo Jr., 38, called police after shooting his son, Justin Acevedo, before turning the gun on himself.

Police found the bodies near an abandoned vehicle at Elm Creek Park, as Acevedo had told a Collin County 911 operator.

Both bodies received one gunshot wound to the head from a 12-gauge shotgun that was found near the scene. Acevedo told dispatchers that the gun was on the ground near the bodies.

Collin County Sheriff’s Office investigators believe that the incident was a murder/suicide, but they will not give a confirmation until the Medical Examiner’s Office makes an official ruling.

Investigators found a note in the abandoned vehicle that led police to believe that Roberto Acevedo Jr. believed his son would be sent to jail and would not be able to defend himself, and that he did not want his son to go to prison.

Collin County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. John Norton said there were no warrants out for the son’s arrest. He also said he does not know why the father and son were at Elm Creek Park.

RISD’s Director of Communications Sheri Fowler said the district sent a letter home to all families with students at the campus and provided additional counseling resources at school.

“Several of his close friends were very upset by the situation, but our counselors were doing their very best to comfort the students and answer any questions,” Fowler said.

“Our main concern is just being there for those students, and we were definitely prepared for that this morning.”

Rockwall Co. father, son found dead near Lake Lavon in apparent murder-suicide

Police announced yesterday that a Rockwall Co. father and his son were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide late Friday night.

Investigators found the bodies in Elm Creek Park near Lake Lavon.

Police found a note in the victims’ car, but have not released what it said.

The names of the two victims have not been released.


The names of the two victims have now been released. For an update on this blog, see the story two articles above this one dated 2/24/09:  “Rockwall County father kills self, 14-year-old son near Lake Lavon”

For additional TV and newpaper updates, visit

Mother of murdered 2001 Rockwall H.S. grad to speak about dating violence dangers

Jennifer Pankz

(Click on photo to enlarge; double-click again if image is too large)

The mother of murdered 2001 Rockwall High School graduate Jennifer Pankz will speak to the community about the dangers of dating violence, Oct. 29, 7 pm, at Rockwall ISD’s ADministration Building, room 600, 1050 Williams St/Hwy 66 (next to Helping Hands).

Rowlett resident Tanya Pankz, the former branch manager of all three First Convenience Bank locations in Rockwall, will join family violence survivor and Rockwall resident J.J. Smith, plus a law enforcement officer to speak, in hopes of preventing further injuries or deaths from occuring among local teens.

Seventy-five percent of teens have either personally experienced dating violence or know someone who has, according to a recent study by the Texas Council On Family Violence.

The presentation is also an effort to recruit volunteers to join the new Rockwall County Coalition Against Family Violence, initially organized by Smith, founder of the Lillian Smith Family Violence Foundation.

“Jen,” the daughter of Brian and Tanya Pankz of Rowlett, was murdered Dec. 27, 2002, by a boy whom she had been dating at the University of North Texas (UNT), after she told him she didn’t want to continue dating anymore because she had just learned that he was taking steroids. She had just completed her first semester in college.

The killer pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 45 years in prison, although he becomes eligible for parole after 22.5 years.

For more information, contact J.J. Smith, either by phone at 214-256-4071 or email

Rockwall ISD Superintendent pledges to help develop family, dating violence presentations

Rockwall ISD Superintendent Dr. Gene Burton pledged today in a meeting with members of the Rockwall County Coalition Against Family Violence to contribute RISD technology to help develop video and powerpoint presentations to combat family and dating violence across Rockwall County.

Dr. Burton said he agreed that public education can be of great benefit in the community to help prevent the growing problems of family and dating violence, and that he and RISD will do whatever is possible to assist.

RISD Communications Director Sheri Fowler will assist Lillian Smith members with the technology to organize the presentations.

Also discussed at the meeting were alternative options to best educate students at all grade levels, including the Expect Respect curriculum currently being used in Hunt County by the Women In Need Women’s Shelter, as well as the Love Is Not Abuse program created by the Liz Claiborne Foundation, which is being used by hundreds of school districts nationwide.

A dramatic presentation called “The Yellow Dress,” was recommended for consideration by Lillian Smith members.

Attendees at the meeting were representatives from Women In Need, Rockwall Presbyterian Hospital, RISD, the Lillian Smith Foundation, plus the incoming Rockwall County District Attorney Kenda Culpepper.

AFter the meeting, she said she was very excited to learn about the Coalition and it’s workings. She added that she is anxious to take office so she can also help prevent and reduce family violence through the courts and criminal justice system.

For more news and information about Rockwall County, please visit our website newsmagazine at

“Dating Violence Dangers” presentation made by mother of murdered 2001 Rockwall H.S. grad

The mother of murdered 2001 Rockwall High School graduate Jennifer Pankz spoke this morning about “Dating Violence Dangers” to about 25 community leaders and volunteers gathered at Presbyterian Hospital of Rockwall for a meeting of the Rockwall County  Coalition Against Family Violence.

Her mother, Rowlett resident and former First Convenience Bank of Rockwall manager Tanya Pankz, told the audience that Jennifer was killed Dec. 27, 2002, by a boy she had been dating at the University of North Texas, where she had only been a student for one semester.

She explained that when Jennifer tried to break up with the boy and leave the apartment – after she learned that he was taking steroids – he grabbed her in a headlock, broke her neck and then stabbed her several times. The Denton County coroner later confirmed that she died instantly when he broke her neck.

The murderer, Stephen Chartier, is now serving a 45-year prison sentence for murder, although he did escape a life sentence when he plea bargained and admitted his guilt. Consequently, he will be eligible for parole after 22.5 years.

Pankz also showed a Fox 4 news video reporting about her daughter’s murder, in which she and her husband explained how devastating it has been to family and friends. Five of her friends from high school were also in attendance, and have volunteered to speak out about the dangers of dating violence, as well.

The still-grieving mother said she’ll never forget Jennifer’s last words to her on the phone, ironically asking whether the body of domestic violence victim Lacy Peterson had been found. Lacy’s husband, Scott Peterson, was later convicted of her murder.

“Then Jennifer said she had something she had to go do, and ended her phone conversation with ‘Love ya mom.”

Pankz told the group that she later was surprised to learn that Jennifer was actually involved in a prior abusive relationship in high school, even though her daughter was raised in a loving, middle-class family “where this type of violence was not supposed to happen.”

She explained that she still does not understand why Jennifer was involved with not just one but two abusive, controlling males, but has concluded that there are just so many abusive young men that it is difficult for young women nowadays not to meet and date at least one.

“Recent research conducted in Texas reveals that over 50 percent of teens have either personally been or know someone who has been involved in dating violence,” she added.

The meeting was held to help kick off the resumed efforts of the Rockwall County Coalition Against Family Violence, spearheaded by the Lillian Smith Family Violence Foundation. The non-profit organization is devoted to increasing public education, while promoting necessary changes in schools, governments, workplaces, churches and communities to reduce and prevent domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assaults and child abuse/neglect.

Foundation founder and president J.J. Smith, a Rockwall resident and himself a survivor, introduced Pankz and told the audience after her presentation that the Foundation will commit to identifying, promoting and bringing together all of the resources across Rockwall County and other counties so that the various organizations involved will know what each other is doing in the battle against relationship violence.

Comments were made by most everyone in attendance stating that they recognized the need to work more closely together and welcomed the Lillian Smith Foundation’s efforts to help.

Included in the audience were Dr. Gene Burton, Superintendent of Rockwall ISD Schools; Sheri Fowler, RISD Director of Communications; Presbyterian Hospital’s Social Services Director Ruth Thomas and Chaplain Bob Reeves; Rockwall Co. Sheriff’s Dept. Detective Vickie Oldham; Women In Need Women’s Shelter Director Roger Robertson; Women In Need’s Rockwall client advocate Angie Glidewell; past president of the Rockwall Soroptimist’s Club Karen Straughan; community volunteer Marlyn Staggs; prominent Rockwall and Dallas “Superlawyer” and newspaper columnist John Browning; plus several Lillian Smith Foundation members.

Another meeting will be scheduled within 2-3 weeks in the evening, Smith said, so that more people can hear Tanya Pankz speak about Dating Violence Dangers.

Over 200 people have clicked on the website and blog stories, thus far, and dozens have expressed interest in attending her presentation during the evening.

Preventing family violence discussed with Rockwall city council member

A Rockwall man who witnessed his abusive father murder his mother and then commit suicide when he was a child met with a Rockwall city council member today to discuss starting a family violence prevention program for the City of Rockwall. publisher J. J. Smith, who founded the Lillian Smith Family Violence Foundation in memory of his mother and directs their public education efforts, met with City Council member Matt Scott, who is also an attorney who specializes in working with corporate human resources departments.

Both men have a particular interest in stopping family violence – which includes child abuse and sexual assaults – which is why Smith initially contacted Scott. As a City Council member, Scott has worked to make it difficult for convicted sex offenders to live in Rockwall.

Smith recommended that they utilize the free resources of the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence ( which is a national association comprised of corporations including Blue Cross of Texas/Oklahoma, Texas Health Resources and the City of Chicago, which have developed family violence programs to assist employees.

Smith agreed to obtain and provide all of the documents from the CAEPV so that Scott can review and discuss using and implementing them with other City Council members. Scott plans to contact Blue Cross of Texas to learn more about how they have designed their program.