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Karina Ramírez: Two North Texas banks announce acquisitions

Two banks recently announced new acquisitions during the past month.

Northstar Bank of Texas said earlier this week that it acquired Austin-based Treaty Oak Bank. All Treaty Oak locations will become North Texas Banks by Nov. 5, a news release said.

Ron Simpson, president of Treaty Oak Bank, said in a statement he considered the merger an asset to his customers, especially since the conversion would add more resources, products and services to his present markets.

Northstar Bank also acquired five Central Texas locations — four in Austin and one in Marble Falls, according to its website.

The acquisition will add an additional 40 employees to Northstar.

Northstar Bank now has 10 locations in North Texas with assets of more than $1 billion, a news release said.

Earlier this month, Independent Bank Group, the McKinney-based holding company for Independent Bank, announced it has completed the acquisition of United Community Bank, a Highland Village-based bank.

The acquisition expands the bank group’s presence to 22 North Texas locations, a news release said. It also increased the group’s holdings to more than 330 employees at 31 banking locations and two-full service mortgage offices with combined assets of more than $1.6 billion, a news release said.

David Brooks, chairman and CEO of Independent Bank Group, said in a news release that he was excited to add a community bank that shares his bank’s commitment to customer service.

“We purchased the bank, and have all the signage already completed,” said Eileen Ponce, marketing director with Independent Bank Group.

Ponce said Friday that the actual conversion to the bank’s products would take place the weekend of Nov. 30.

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Owners of The Tomato Pizza restaurant announced Thursday on its Face­book page that they would close their business at 303 Bolivar St. in Sanger.

“It is with great regret The Tomato announces the time has come to cease operation and close our doors,” co-owner Robert “Ski” Slusarski wrote. “We would like to thank all of our old and new friends for the encouragement and patronage you have shown us over the past eighteen months.”

Becki and “Ski” Slusarski opened The Tomato in Sanger two years ago after many years in Denton.

In the summer of 2007, the restaurant was evicted from its Fry Street location when a new developer took over the building. After the restaurant’s closing, the Fry Street building was destroyed by arson, leaving an empty lot for many years.

According to the posts, the restaurant was not open on Friday and its final day of business was Saturday.

The owners could not be reached for additional comment.



Leigh Hilton, a Denton attorney, was recently certified as an accredited estate planner by the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils.

The accreditation is provided as a graduate level specialization in estate planning, a news release said.

Hilton has more than 15 years of legal experience in the practice areas of estate planning, elder law and probate.

Hilton was born in Dallas but grew up in Denton. She earned her bachelor’s from the University of North Texas, graduating with honors in 1989. She earned her law degree at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, graduating summa cum laude in 1992.

The National Association of Estate Planners & Councils is a national organization of professional estate planners and affiliated local estate planning councils focused on establishing and monitoring the highest professional and educational standards. NAEPC fosters public awareness of the quality services rendered by professionals who meet these standards, its website said.

DATCU’s Melanie Vest, senior vice president and financial officer, was recently chosen as one of the 2012 Women to Watch by the Credit Union Times, a print magazine that covers news related to the credit union industry.

“The list is far from complete, but we thought this Women to Watch focus report would be a good start to showcase those who choose to champion the credit union mission every day,” officials with the magazine said in their annual report.

Vest was listed under the category “The Driven” for her competitive spirit.

The 2012 Women to Watch list appeared in the Oct. 3 edition of the publication.

Dee Leggett, vice president of program development for the Denton County Transportation Authority, was named to the Mass Transit Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 List for 2012. The list honors professionals younger than 40 for their contributions to the public transit industry.

The honorees were nominated by their peers, magazine officials said. They were also judged based on their job commitment, industry involvement and contribution as well as achievement in their position, a news release said.

Leggett joins fellow DCTA staff member Jarod Varner, vice president of transit operations, who was recognized in the magazine’s 2011 list.

The Top 40 Under 40 list appeared in the September/October edition of the magazine.


Coming up

This year, More Fun Comics is participating in Halloween ComicFest 2012, whose goal is to reach out to individuals who are unfamiliar with comics and the local comic book shop, according to its website.

On Wednesday, the downtown Hickory Street store will be offering free comics for everyone who comes in costume and takes part in the nationwide Halloween Comic­Fest costume contest.

The store also will have Halloween and horror-related comics and pop-culture merchandise.

Additionally, neighbor Atomic Candy will be giving out candy to anyone who visits the store in a costume, More Fun Comics owner Tim Stoltzfus said in a news release.

More Fun Comics and Games is located at 103 W. Hickory St., while Atomic Candy is at 105 W. Hickory St.

For more information, visit or

Dr. Charles Lowery, president and CEO of the Lowery Institute for Excellence Inc., a nonprofit training and consulting organization, will be the featured speaker at the 10th annual Denton Prayer Break­fast scheduled for 6:45 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, at the University of North Texas Gateway Center, 801 North Texas Blvd.

The purpose of the event is to support community leaders, elected officials, school administrators, teachers and the residents of Denton, according to its website.

Cost for an individual ticket is $25 and table sponsorship is $300 for a table of eight. Tickets can be purchased at Northstar Bank, 400 N. Carroll Blvd., First State Bank, 400 W. Oak St., or DATCU, 225 W. Mulberry St.

Deadline is Monday. Tickets will not be sold at the door.

For more information, e-mail Judy Willis at or Everrette New­land at


Karina Ramírez can be reached at 940-566-6878. Her e-mail address is