SHUT DOWN – The ice storm that moved in yesterday afternoon and overnight has shut down much of Wise County. All Wise County school districts have canceled classes and all activities for today as well as Victory Christian Academy, Weatherford College Wise County and the University of North Texas. Other closings include city offices in Bridgeport (including the library), Chico and New Fairview; all Wise County offices and the Wise County Appraisal District. Christmas events that have been postponed include the Decatur Parade of Lights (from Saturday to Dec. 20), the Decatur Woman’s Club Tour of Homes (from Sunday to Dec. 15), Santa’s visit to Rhome (from Saturday to Dec. 14) and Decatur’s Young Elementary Breakfast with Santa (no reschedule date). Wise Choice Pregnancy Resource Center is closed, and the open house is postponed to Dec. 12. The Youth Fair Tag In has also been moved to Dec. 14. The VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Bridgeport will also have a delayed opening of 10 a.m. today. An updated list of closures or delays is being updated as information becomes available at WCMessenger.com.
DEEP FREEZE – Temperatures began at the freezing mark yesterday and dropped throughout the day. When the freezing rain and sleet started, it quickly became slick on area roadways. No major accidents have been reported, although numerous minor accidents have, mostly people getting stuck or sliding off the road. Oncor Area Manager Sabrina Younger reports that as of 8:15 a.m., only three customers in Wise County have lost power (all in Runaway Bay). She said the colder temperatures here in Wise County actually helped because we received more sleet than freezing rain. Freezing rain is what causes most of the problems with ice build up on power lines and trees. Local weather watchers report an inch of sleet and snow in Decatur and Alvord. The sleet is expected to continue through this morning before tapering off. The temperature at 8:15 a.m. was 22 degrees, and it is not expected to get much warmer than that today. Tonight’s low could drop into the low teens with wind chill factors around zero. A slight chance of a wintery mix is in tomorrow’s forecast as the high temperature is only expected to be 20 degrees. The high Sunday is forecast to be around 32 degrees.
SHELTER OPENED – Wise County Fire Marshal Chuck Beard has opened a warming shelter at the Decatur Civic Center. It is mainly for motorists who have become stranded by the ice storm and will provide basic need items.
AUXILIARY HOLIDAY SALE – The Wise Regional Health System Decatur Auxiliary will have a post-Holiday Store sale 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today in the hospital lobby. The raffle drawing for the Choctaw Getaway – which includes a one-night stay in a luxurious room, dinner and a spa day for two – will be at 2 p.m. Tickets are $1 each or six for $5 and can be purchased from an auxiliary member or at the hospital gift shop.
EAT WITH SANTA – Breakfast with Santa is 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Bridgeport Community Center. There will be photos with Santa and arts and crafts. Tickets are $3 for adults, $2 for kids at City Hall or at the door. For more information, call 940-683-3480.
TOY DRIVE – Jorge’s Mexican Restaurant in Paradise is collecting gifts to donate to foster children in Wise and Jack counties. Bring a new and unwrapped toy to the restaurant now through Dec. 8 and receive 20 percent off your bill.
VETERANS GROUP BREAKFAST – The Wise County Veterans Group will meet for its weekly breakfast at the Decatur Civic Center 8 a.m. Saturday. They will be voting in officers for 2014. All Wise County Veterans are invited.
TOYS FOR TOTS – Cici’s Pizza in Decatur will be accepting Toys for Tots through Saturday, Dec. 14. Toys should be new and unwrapped. It’s the fourth year the location is collecting toys. For information call 940-627-6273.
SMOKED MEAT – Wise Electric Co-op will be smoking 75 briskets ($50) and 50 hams ($40). All proceeds benefit local charities. Call 940-627-2167 to place an order. Pickup is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20.
FUNERALS – Service for Clayton Jayden Palmer, the infant son of Hunter and Emily Palmer of Runaway Bay, is 3 p.m. Saturday at U-Turn World Ministries in Chico with burial at Eternal Oaks Cemetery. Family visitation is 4-6 today at Hawkins Funeral Home in Bridgeport.