ACCIDENT PROVES FATAL — A man died Thursday night due to injuries sustained Wednesday when his van ran underneath an 18-wheeler on U.S. 287 between Alvord and Decatur. Both vehicles were traveling southbound on 287 about 11:15 a.m. when the van, driven by Austin Tolnay, 24, of Carrollton, hit the back of the truck for unknown reasons, said DPS Trooper Greg Reyero. The van lodged underneath the truck’s trailer and was drug for 1/4- to 1/2-mile before the truck stopped. The accident occurred near County Road 1170. Tolnay was extricated from the van and flown by Lifeteam to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth where he later died. The driver of the truck, Glenn Brantley of California was not injured. Tolnay had no passengers, but he was carrying animals, including fish, gerbils and hamsters. Paramedics moved the creatures from the wrecked van to other vehicles to keep them cool, but none of them appeared to be injured. They were picked up by Wise County Animal Control. Read more in the weekend Messenger on newsstands tomorrow.
BLAZE DESTROYS HOME — A mom and her three young children lost everything in a house fire in Chico late Tuesday night. Melanie Belcher and her three children escaped without injury but their home, located in the 300 block of N. Hovey Street, was a total loss. The fire started about 11 p.m. after a candle was knocked over in the one of the bedrooms. “It was accidental,” said Wise County Fire Marshal Chuck Beard. “The (12-year-old) boy was asleep in his room when the fire started. His 8-year-old sister did an amazing job of waking him up and getting him out of the house safely.” Firefighters from Chico, Alvord and Bridgeport volunteer fire departments responded and kept the fire from spreading to nearby homes. The Red Cross provided the family, which includes a year old infant, a place to stay for the night. The family rented the home and did not have renter’s insurance. “It was unusually cold [Tuesday] night for this time of year, in the low 60s,” Beard added. “One of the volunteers had to wrap a blanket around the children to keep them warm.” Check WCMessenger.com later today for more information on how to help this family.
A COOL 4TH — Mild weather marked the Fourth of July holiday in Wise County with highs in the upper 80s. Several grass fires were reported overnight, many of which were believed to be started by fireworks. As of 11 p.m., no structures were reported burned.
HOLIDAY HOURS — The Wise County tax office is open today, but many county offices remain closed for the Independence Day holiday. If you have county business, call ahead to see if that particular office is open. All of the county dumpsites (Boyd, Chico, Cottondale, Decatur and Slidell) are open regular hours today and Saturday.
SAND FLAT FUNDRAISER — The annual Sand Flat Volunteer Fire Department fundraiser is set for tomorrow at the fire station. Regular and silent auctions are on tap for the event featuring a handmade quilt and gift baskets. Donations can be made directly to the Sand Flat Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 100, Chico, TX 76431.
PRINCIPAL HIRED — Chico School Board Wednesday night hired Karen Decker as elementary school principal by unanimous vote. They also hired Tyler Raley as agricultural sciences teacher with a 5-2 vote. Board members Bill Hand and G.A. Buckner voted against the measure.
LIBRARY HOURS — Chico Public Library has reduced hours for the holiday weekend. It will be open 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today and tomorrow and will return to normal business hours Monday. Any items due on these days that are left in the drop box after hours will not be charged late fees.
SUMMER READING CLUB — The Decatur Public Library Summer Reading Club presents percussionist Mark Shelton, Tuesday, July 9, at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. The Summer Reading Club is a free program open to children of all ages. For additional information, call the library at 940-393-0290.
ICE CREAM AND SWIMMING — Bridgeport Parks and Recreation is hosting a Mom and Son Ice Cream and Pool Party 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, July 11. Tickets can be purchased at Bridgeport City Hall or Bridgeport City Pool, and they are $5. For more information, call 940-683-3480.
SHOT CLINIC — Texas Department of State Health Services is hosting an immunization clinic 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, July 9, at the First United Methodist Church in Decatur, rooms 103 and 105. Enter through the Fellowship Hall entrance at 104 S. Miller. A parent must be present with the child’s shot records. For more information, call 940-665-6397.
HORSE CLINIC — The Wise Horse Committee will host a Stock Horse Trail and Ranch Horse Pleasure Clinic with clinician Brian Sumrall 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 13. The clinic will be held at 1418 CR 4360 in Decatur. The cost is $25 and a current Coggins is required. Spots are limited. Call the Extension office at 940-627-3341 to preregister or if you have any questions.
SUMMER CLASSES — Registration for second summer session courses at Weatherford College Wise County continues through Wednesday, July 10. Classes begin the same day. Call the college at 940-627-2690 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
FUNERALS — Service for Kristopher Lee Sugg, 34, of Alvord is 10:30 a.m. today at Flatwood Baptist Church with burial at Alvord Cemetery.
GRAVESIDE service for Lenard Hodges, 51, of Alvord is 10 a.m. today at Alvord Cemetery. Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home in Decatur is handling arrangements for both of these services.
GRAVESIDE service for Kenneth Graham, 48, of Rhome is 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Oaklawn Cemetery in Decatur. Christian-Hawkins Funeral Home in Boyd is handling arrangements.