Month in Review: February 2018

By Messenger Staff | Published Saturday, March 3, 2018

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The Battle of Big Sandy on the gridiron is over – for now.

After nearly 100 meetings, Decatur and Bridgeport called it quits. When the University Interscholastic League unveiled its latest round of realignment Feb. 1, the Eagles and Bulls did not have each other on their non-district schedules for football.

The two schools landed in different 4A divisions. Decatur is in District 4-4A Division I and Bridgeport in 3-4A Division II for football. The two schools will be in the same league for basketball – 8-4A. They will also likely remain district rivals when the UIL unveils districts for other sports.

The Eagles lead the all-time football series 64-28-6.


Two mobile homes near Chico burst into a raging inferno after catching fire around 11 p.m. Feb. 12.

Six people were displaced – five adults and one child – when the homes at 237 County Road 1637 were destroyed.

Wise County Fire Marshal Jeff Doughty said homeowner Johnny Hothouse told him the fire was started by a wood burning stove in one of the trailers, which Doughty confirmed through his investigation.

“Where I found the stove was consistent with where the fire department said the fire was when they first arrived,” Doughty said. “It wasn’t on any type of blocks or anything; the legs were just sitting on the floor.”

Hothouse and the other occupants escaped without injury, but four years ago the family wasn’t as fortunate. On Feb. 6, 2014, 14-year-old Christopher Conn, Hothouse’s stepson, was killed in a fire at the same address. According to then-fire marshal Chuck Beard, Conn was trapped in his room, which is where the fire started around 4 a.m. A space heater was to blame.


Winter returned to Wise County the morning of Feb. 21 with heavy sleet and freezing rain, causing havoc on local roadways, snapping trees and power lines and forcing the closure of most school districts.

The icy weather hit the county between rounds of rain that pelted the area during a wild week of weather. Local weather watcher Doyle Green recorded 5.49 inches of rain between Feb. 17 and the end of the month. For the entire month, 5.51 inches of rain fell, bringing an end to drought in Wise County.


Runaway Bay will feature a crowded field in the mayor’s race.

Five candidates filed to run for mayor of the city before the Feb. 16 deadline for a spot on the ballot for the May 5 election. To Current Runaway Bay Mayor John Boyd will be challenged by Jamie Griffeth, Janie Tucknies, Tim Donald and Barry White.

Runaway Bay is one of two cities in the county with a contested mayor’s race.

In Rhome, Mayor Michelle Pittman di Credico is being challenged by Jo Ann Wilson.


98 meetings in the Battle of Big Sandy between Decatur and Bridgeport. The two will not play football next year.

70 years that Sis and Sam Renshaw have been married. They will celebrate their 71st anniversary in April.

5.51 inches of rain that fell in Wise County in February. That tally followed the 0.09 inches of rain that fell in January.

60 tree trimming crews deployed by Oncor following the Feb. 21 ice storm in Wise County. Falling tree limbs and power lines left nearly 3,000 residents in the county without power for a period.

34 accidents between 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. reported to the Wise County Sheriff’s Office during the ice storm Feb. 21.


“Wow, Pat. I’m surprised your pants don’t catch on fire. I don’t care how long you’re in Cancun sunning yourself, I don’t care what it was for.” – State Senator Craig Estes, accusing opponent Pat Fallon of missing votes for his vacation during a debate.

“Your love is pretty tested when you live this long. You really have to love someone to live with them. But as you grow older, you have to rely on each other. I think it draws you closer together.”

Sis Renshaw, who’s been married to her husband, Sam, for more than 70 years.

“I didn’t like seeing my parents sad or upset. I just tried to keep fighting so I could love my family even more and see them longer.” – Chico senior basketball player Bailey Umphress on his determination to beat the childhood cancer that cost him a lung, kidney and several lymph nodes.

“I was counting off the miles, thinking of her through her life. It was very emotional. Over the years, they’ve pushed her in races. [Sunday] she was the one doing the pushing. She got me to the finish line.” – Cindy Gibson on finishing the Cowtown 50K Ultra Marathon in honor of late cousin Jackie Murphree.

“I don’t think we want to start arming teachers. They have quite a bit of responsibility already.” – Bridgeport Police Chief Steve Stanford

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