MAN LOSES HOME, 2 DOGS, IN FIRE – A fire destroyed a home and killed two dogs early this morning in south Wise County. The fire was first reported shortly after 2 a.m. at a home located on County Road 3791 near the intersection of CR 3690. By the time firefighters arrived more than half the home was in flames and other nearby structures were threatened. The volunteers contained the fire to the home, but it was a total loss. Within an hour nothing was left but smoldering remains and thick clouds of smoke billowing into the cold, night sky, under a low-hanging pale moon. Tommy Alley, 46, lived at the home with his two dogs, Cooee and Sheba. Alley was not home when the fire started. He thinks a candle he left burning might have started the fire, but the exact cause is unknown at this time. “Those dogs were like his family,” said Marti Wise, who lives at a nearby home on the property. “My stomach is still churning thinking about those dogs being in there.” Volunteer firefighters from the departments of Cottondale, Paradise, Salt Creek and Springtown and Wise County Medics all responded. “He lost everything,” said his brother Donny Alley. “All he’s got left are the clothes on his back.”
SWAP MEET OPENS – The Decatur Swap Meet officially began at 6 this morning at the Wise County Sheriff’s Posse Grounds on Farm Road 51 South in Decatur. The annual event, put on by the Wise County Antique Auto Club, runs 6 a.m.-6 p.m. today through Sunday. Admission is free.
REFINANCING TO SAVE NEARLY $1 MILLION – During last night’s Decatur School Board meeting, trustees learned that the district will save $987,801 as a result of refinancing a portion of its $68.6 million in bonded debt. The board had approved the refinancing measure last December. In other business, the board heard a cost estimate of $1.89 million for renovations of the district-owned building (most recently the temporary home to Weatherford College) that would become the new administration building. The cost, and the uncertainty over what the state legislature will do this session, had board members hesitant to approve the expenditure without more study. The board will meet again in two weeks to reconsider awarding a bid for the work.
WARD APPOINTED TO COUNCIL – Terre Ward was appointed to Place 4 on the Paradise City Council at the council’s meeting Thursday. Ward replaces Michael Robertson, who resigned in December. The term expires in November.
WCWC SCHOLARSHIPS – Weatherford College Wise County Thursday presented scholarships to nine students totaling $9,000 for the spring semester. Almost $100,000 in scholarship funds were raised for Wise County students at the grand opening gala for the college last year. These were the first students to receive the awards. Find complete details in the weekend edition of the Wise County Messenger.
DECATUR EDC/CHAMBER HONORS – The Decatur Economic Development Corporation and the Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual Business Appreciation Dinner Tuesday at the Decatur Civic Center. Four businesses were honored and Poco Graphite, Inc. received the “Legends Award.” Others honored included Casa Torres, Fuzzy’s and dentist Dr. Daniel Mallory. Weatherford College/Wise County received the award for best not for profit institution.
FAMILY BENEFIT – Rockin-Bluez Fest is 5 p.m. Saturday at the Wise County Heritage Museum in Decatur. Admission is $10, and all proceeds benefit the family of R.J. Rebstock, who lost his battle to cancer Feb. 6. Bikers are encouraged to ride that day in support of the fellow bikers. Donations may be sent to the family in care of Full Armor Biker Church, 1221 Alliance Blvd., Rhome, TX 76028. For information, call Moe at (940) 399-9679 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
BYA SIGN-UPS – Sign-ups for Bridgeport Youth Association spring sports including baseball, softball and soccer are 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at the community center. For more information, including fees, visit www.bridgeportyouthassoc.com or email email@example.com.
PREPARING FOR COLLEGE – Junior Parent Night is 6 p.m. Monday at the Bridgeport High School Library. All juniors and their parents are invited. Exit level TAKS testing, SAT/ACT testing and the college admission process will be discussed.
MEDICARE BENEFITS MEETING – The Bridgeport Public Library will host an informational meeting on Medicare Benefits Information and the Coverage Options Available at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26. The free meeting is presented by the Area Agency on Aging. RSVP to (940) 683-3452 or (817) 695-9122. The Bridgeport Library is located at 2159 10th Street.
RABBIT TATTOO CLINIC – A rabbit tattoo clinic is 2-4 p.m. Sunday at the Extension Office. All rabbits that will be shown at the Youth Fair must be at the clinic.
CORRECTION – The numbers in a brief yesterday about the Wise County Youth Fair sale were incorrect, according to Youth Fair Board President Evan Culpepper. He said Thursday that 19 steers and 11 hogs were put on the truck after last year’s auction.
FUNERALS – Service for Bill Maxwell, 79, of Greenwood is 10 a.m. today at First Baptist Church of Slidell with burial at 2 p.m. at Moore Memorial Gardens in Arlington. Moore Funeral Home in Arlington is handling arrangements.
FUNERAL for Laurie Helen Lutz, 55, of New Fairview is 2 p.m. today at Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home Chapel in Decatur with burial at Oaklawn Cemetery. Family visitation is 12:30-1:30 p.m. prior to the service at the funeral home.
SERVICE for Charles David Bradford, 55, of Decatur is pending at Coker-Hawkins.
SERVICE for Stella Motley, 87, of Boyd is pending at Christian-Hawkins Funeral Home in Boyd.