Western Wise County experiences a pair of power outages


Oncor crews are working to restore power to hundreds of customers in western Wise County after a pair of outages Wednesday morning.
A line down on U.S. 380 took out power to 550 customers in the Runaway Bay area around 5 a.m. Wednesday. Later in the morning more than 600 residents stretching from the west side of Bridgeport, Cottondale, Balsora and into Parker County were without power.
Oncor spokesperson Sabrina Easley said efforts to restore power were complicated by the heavy load on the system due to the frigid temperatures.
“Crews are having to got to all the fuse locations and close them up one at a time,” Easley said.
After a fuse is closed, she said there is a 30-minute delay for the load to normalize before moving to the next fuse. As of 10:45 a.m., Easley said crews had two more fuse positions to close, leaving 100 customers without power in the Runaway Bay area.
“We expect to have them back on line in the next hour,” she said.
Seven crews are working on the other outage in the western part of the county and power is expected to be restored by early afternoon.
“We’ve brought in extra resources,” Easley said. “We’re doing everything we can to get it back on.”
ERCOT issued a warning Tuesday evening about conserving usage due to the demand on the power grid with temperatures in the single digits in many parts of the state.
With cold temperatures expected Thursday morning, Easley is asking residents to conserve during the peak usage time of 7 to 8 a.m.

Update: Power was returned to Oncor customers by 4 p.m. Wednesday.


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Boyd calls election to establish municipal development district

Boyd voters will go to the poll in May to decide to create a Municipal Development District.
The Boyd City Council Tuesday night approved a resolution to add the district to the May 5 ballot along with the Place 1, Place 3 and Place 5 council races.
If approved by voters, the MDD would take the current half-cent sales tax collected for property tax relief and use it for municipal projects. A board of directors for the district would recommend how the receipts of the half-cent of sales taxes would be spent.
“The neat thing about this is there is actually money allocated for the development of our city,” said Boyd City Administrator Greg Arrington. “We are going to get several new projects going in the city.”
As possible projects, Arrington listed sidewalks, park improvements, roads and even grants to business owners to improve properties.
He did point out to the council, it would be giving up some control of revenue to a board that would make recommendations once per year. Based on this year’s total sales tax revenue of approximately $401,000, the district would have around $134,000 directed to it.
The creation of the MDD would allow the city to take advantage of increased sales tax revenue. With the current half-cent dedicated to property tax relief, the city has to reduce its property tax rate if sales taxes increased, as they did this year.
“When the alcohol sales were passed, it increased our sales tax [revenue]. But because of the resolution that was passed in 1990, everything we gained came off the ad valorem taxes,” said Boyd Mayor Rodney Holmes. “We wanted to use a little bit of that money to improve the city, improve downtown, improve the park and possibly use it for streets. This half-cent eliminated off the property tax relief and added to the MDD will allow us to be able to use that half-cent of sales tax, which probably 75 percent of it comes from people that don’t live in the city limits.”
In other business, the council tabled the amended subdivision ordinance. Arrington recommended the action to address the fees to developers.
“The fees are not in line with the area,” Arrrington said.
He said he will bring it back to the council in February.
The council also voted to put the former library building on Texas 114 and the property at 135 N. Wilson up for auction with Rene Bates Auctioneers.

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Decatur ISD to move 5th grade in fall

Decatur ISD fifth graders will not be on the district’s three elementary campuses next fall.
The district announced Monday that it will move the fifth grade to McCarroll Middle School’s sixth-grade campus on Eagle Drive. The campus will house fifth and sixth graders. The seventh and eighth grades will stay at the current campus on West Thompson Street.
Carson and Rann will become kindergarten through fourth-grade elementary campuses. Young Elementary will hold pre-kindergarten through fourth.
Decatur ISD Superintendent Judi Whitis informed the staff of the campus reconfigurations during Monday’s staff development.
“This is step one. There are many decisions to be made,” said Whitis about the move. “This is the big one with the logistics of moving, budgeting and staffing.”
Growth throughout the district played a role in the decision. Since the end of the 2016-17 school year in May, the district has added 198 students, hitting an enrollment of 3,371 last week. The district has added 20 since returning from the winter break.
“We have a golden opportunity because there is room at the sixth-grade campus. It buys us space at the elementary,” Whitis said.
Before the district opened its third elementary, Young, in the fall of 2010, fifth and sixth graders shared an intermediate school.
“Fifth and sixth grade go together well academically,” Whitis said. “There’s been an intermediate school here in the past.”
The move will also change how the campus is graded in the state accountability ratings. Its rating will be based on two grade levels instead of one.
Whitis said the announcement was met with positive feedback from the staff.
Throughout the spring, the administration plans to address staffing and scheduling for areas shared between the two campuses at McCarroll Middle School.

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6 injured in wreck

Six people were transported to area hospitals following a two-vehicle wreck on Farm Road 2123 Saturday afternoon.

Department of Public Safety Trooper Patrick Garcia said that a car attempted to make a left-hand turn onto FM 2123 from County Road 3579 and crossed in front of an SUV on FM 2123. The wreck occurred around 4 p.m.

The driver of the SUV was flown by air ambulance to Denton City Medical, and the three passengers were transported by ground ambulance to the same hospital. A passenger in the car was flown to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, and the driver was transported by ground ambulance to JPS. Two other passengers in the car were uninjured.

Air Evac Lifeteam 68, PHI Air Medical, DPS, Cottondale Volunteer Fire Department, Wise County Sheriff’s Office and Wise County Emergency Medical Services and Rescue 1 responded.

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Fire destroys Aurora home

An Aurora couple’s home was destroyed by fire Thursday night.

Just after 9:30 p.m. Newark, Boyd and Rhome fire departments were called to 403 Circle Del Rio Drive.

Newark Fire Chief Jerry Taylor said when his crews arrived there was heavy fire on the back side of the house, and fire was shooting over the roof.

“We got hold of it and stopped it pretty quick,” Taylor said. He added that Newark and Boyd fire departments arrived on scene at the same time, which helped them get control of the blaze quickly.

“To have that much fire and the wind blowing like it is, it’s amazing the structure is still standing,” Taylor said.

The couple who lived in the home escaped without injury. Taylor said the residents saw smoke billowing from around the refrigerator, so they called 911 and got out of the house. Their names were not available on scene.

In addition to Newark, Boyd and Rhome fire departments, Wise County medics were called to the scene and Haslet Fire Department covered the Newark FD’s district until they cleared the scene.

Read more in the weekend Wise County Messenger.

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Chance for snow arrives Thursday afternoon

Winter could make a return to Wise County Thursday afternoon.
After a seasonably warm day Wednesday, a strong cold front will arrive in Thursday morning with 25 to 30 mph winds. Moisture will follow in the afternoon after temperatures drop in the mid to low 30s, bringing a slight chance for sleet and snow.
“The strong winds will be the main story,” said Mark Fox, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Fort Worth. “During the afternoon, a band of light snow and sleet could move through between 3 and 6 p.m. We’re not expecting much accumulation or travel problems because the system will be move through so fast.”
The wintry precipitation could cause a few issues on bridges and overpasses.
After the front arrives, temperatures will remain cool through the upcoming weekend. The high Saturday is expected to be in the high 30s.
Another round of wintry weather could hit the area Monday evening with another system arriving and low temperatures in the 20s. Fox said his office will be monitoring the developing system. The forecast currently calls for a 20 percent chance of precipitation Monday night.

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Man robs Oliver Creek Store


By Kristen Tribe

A Rhome man was arrested Sunday afternoon after robbing the Oliver Creek Store at 4880 Farm Road 2264 outside Rhome.

Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said Vincent Benavidez, 31, walked into the store around 3 p.m. and demanded the money in the cash register. He was dressed in all black, carrying a camouflage backpack. After making his demand, he reached into his backpack as if he had a weapon. The clerk turned over the cash, and Benavidez fled.

Akin said a passing motorist saw what was happening and reported a suspicious male fleeing on foot. Deputies detained Benavidez, who had the cash but no weapon. The amount of money stolen was unknown as of 7 p.m., according to Akin, but the sheriff expressed his appreciation for the actions of the passing witness.

“We can accomplish so much more with help from the good folks of Wise County,” he said.

Benavidez was arrested and charged with robbery. He was booked into the Wise County Jail, but his bond had not been set as of 7 p.m.

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1 injured in rollover

One person was injured in a rollover wreck Tuesday night on U.S. 380 between Bridgeport and Decatur. The female driver of a white pickup was eastbound on the road just west of the intersection with Farm Road 1655 when she left the roadway and then tried to steer back onto the roadway, causing the vehicle to roll several times, according to officers on the scene. The driver, whose name was not available at the scene, was trapped and had to be extricated by the Bridgeport Fire Department before she was transported by ambulance to Wise Health System in Decatur. A 5-year-old passenger who was in a car seat was not injured. The wreck happened around 6:30 p.m.

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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Fire burns home in Northwest Wise

Firefighters from Sand Flat and several surrounding departments battled a home fire in the gated community of Sunset Bay Christmas night.

The blaze was toned out shortly after 10:30 p.m. for a possible structure fire in the gated community northwest of Lake Bridgeport.

Firefighters described in radio traffic  a fully involved log cabin and a vehicle. They said they were taking a defensive attack.

More details will be posted when available.

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Fire tears through roof of home

Fire tore through the roof of a home in the 300 block of County Road 1331 between Bridgeport and Chico early Saturday morning.
Bridgeport, Decatur, Paradise and Lake Bridgeport firefighters battled the blaze in the bitter cold just west of Farm Road 1655.
The structure was fully involved when the first units from Bridgeport arrived.
“It was through the roof when we got here. It’d been going for a bit,” said Bridgeport Fire Chief Terry Long.
Firefighters were able to attack the fire from inside the home. Long said a lot of the contents in the home were going to be saved. Much of the home’s roof was destroyed by the blaze.
Kelli Weatherly, who has lived in the home for 14 years, made it out of the structure safely along with her sister.
“I was asleep and heard the smoke detector,” Weatherly said.
She did not know where or how the fire started. She said the heat in the home was stuck at 58, and she had a fire in the fireplace Friday evening.
Upon evacuating the home, Weatherly said she called for her dog, Ginger, who did not come. The dog was found and brought to safety by firefighters.

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1 killed in rollover wreck

A man was killed in a single-vehicle rollover wreck on Texas 101 north of Chico Thursday night.

Department of Public Safety Trooper Jeremy Pope said the driver was traveling southbound on 101 when he entered the northbound lanes for an unknown reason. Skid marks show the vehicle crossed back over into the southbound lane, entering a side skid and then going off the road and into the ditch. The vehicle then rolled, and the driver was ejected. He was not wearing a seat belt. The wreck was first reported around 8 p.m.

The driver, whose identity is being withheld pending notification of family members, was the vehicle’s only occupant.

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1 killed in wreck

A woman was killed in a wreck on Farm Road 2123 south of Bridgeport this morning.

Department of Public Safety Trooper Jeff Johnson said the woman was driving northbound on FM 2123 around 7:30 a.m. when her vehicle ran off the road. The driver overcorrected, and the vehicle slid across the roadway before striking a tree and a fence. The car came to rest on its side in a field.

The driver was killed. There were three young children also in the car; two were transported to Wise Health System and one was transported to Cook Children’s Medical Center.

Names have not been released pending notification of family members.

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Crash victim dies

A Bridgeport man who was in a motorcycle crash last weekend died Friday, according to Cpl. Lantz Elliott with the Department of Public Safety.

Rocky Leon Littrell, 64, died at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.

Last Sunday he and his 14-year-old grandson were westbound on Farm Road 1655 about a mile west of Alvord when the motorcycle ran off the side of the road for an unknown reason around 10:45 a.m. Helicopter ambulances were called for both Littrell and the teen. Littrell was flown to JPS, and his grandson was flown to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.

The teen suffered a compound fracture to his arm but is expected to make a full recovery, according to Elliott.

Funeral for Littrell is pending at Hawkins Funeral Home in Bridgeport.

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Newark mobile home burns

A mobile home on County Road 4845 in Newark caught fire around 2 a.m. Friday.

Newark Volunteer Fire Department Captain Ed Hawthorne said the blaze started on the front porch then moved into the living room.

Hawthorne said all occupants were reported to be out of the home by the time Newark arrived on scene. The Red Cross was called to assist the residents.

The middle section of the mobile home was a total loss, with heavy smoke damage on either side.

Rhome, Boyd, East Wise, Haslet, Briar and Eagle Mountain fire departments responded to assist Newark.

This was the fifth fire call Newark had responded to within 24 hours.

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Mobile home burns

A mobile home in Rhome caught fire Monday afternoon.

The fire, on Private Road 4732, was called in to dispatchers around 2 p.m. Rhome, East Wise, Newark, Decatur and Justin fire departments responded.

“The main thing when we first got here was we were faced with strong winds blowing heavy smoke across the road,” Rhome Fire Chief Darrell Fitch said. “There were flames coming out of the roof.”

Fitch said the cause of the fire is unknown at this time, but because the fire was hottest at the east end of the structure it appeared to have started there. There was also a shed with fire damage at the east end of the home.

The Red Cross was called to assist the family who lived in the home, two adults and four children, who were out of the house at the time of the fire.

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2 hurt in motorcycle wreck

A Bridgeport man and a 14-year-old family member were both seriously injured in a single-vehicle motorcycle wreck around 10:45 a.m. Sunday near Alvord. Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Lantz Elliott said a motorcycle operated by Rocky Leon Littrell, 64, of Bridgeport was westbound on Farm Road 1655 about a mile west of Alvord when the motorcycle ran off the side of the road for an unknown reason. Helicopter ambulances were called for both Littrell and his 14-year-old passenger. Littrell was flown to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth with possible life-threatening injuries. The 14-year-old was flown to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth with a broken arm. Elliott said the two were planning to participate in the Wise County Toy Run that started in Decatur at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Wise County EMS, Alvord Fire Department and the Wise County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the crash.

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Man killed in motorcycle wreck

A man was killed Saturday afternoon in a motorcycle wreck on Farm Road 2264.

Department of Public Safety Trooper Adam Lawson said the victim was driving westbound on FM 2264 around 5:30 p.m. when he attempted to pass another vehicle. The motorcycle driver then hit a curb and lost control. The motorcycle went off the roadway and into a fence pole.

The ID of the victim has not been released at this time.

Decatur Fire Department, Emergency Medical Services Medic 1, Rescue 1 and the Wise County Sheriff’s Office also responded.

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Fire destroys mobile home

A Briar family lost their home Wednesday night when it caught fire around 5:30 p.m.

Several fire departments were called to the scene at 139 Cedar Drive, but they were unable to save the mobile home. Boyd firefighter Sheridan Rhine said his crew could see smoke when they left the station, so they immediately called for mutual aid.

“When we arrived, there were flames shooting out the windows, doors and roof, and there was a small grass fire,” he said. “Thankfully, we had enough people to get it under control quickly.”

Scott and Ronda Hollon lived in the home with their daughter, Eva Hilburn; her boyfriend, Chaning Dodson; and the young couple’s 4-month-old daughter, Fallon. They all escaped without injury.

“We were sitting in the living room eating pizza and watching TV when we heard a pop,” she said. “I looked and the window was glowing like fire. It spread in like five minutes.”

At least one vehicle was also damaged in the blaze. Rhine said “thankfully they had enough help (at the scene) within five minutes of arriving.”

Departments called to aid Boyd VFD included Cottondale, Newark, Briar, Reno and La Junta. Wise County’s Medic 3 also responded. The Red Cross was called to assist the family.

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Wreck shuts down U.S. 81/287

A Thanksgiving night wreck shut down U.S. 81/287 southbound about a mile north of Farm Road 407 and seriously injured one person. The wreck happened around 7 p.m. Department of Public Safety Trooper Lantz Elliott said an oilfield truck and a pickup were both southbound when the driver of the pickup ran into the back of the larger truck. A helicopter was called to the scene, and the pickup driver had to be cut out of the wreckage and was then flown to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. No names were immediately available. Traffic began to move again on the southbound shoulder around 8:15 p.m. as the wreck continued to be cleared. Traffic was backed up for several miles back toward Decatur.

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November 2017 election results

The unofficial results are in for the November 2017 election.  Paradise voters chose school board and city council members, and Decatur voters approved a Wise County Water Supply District proposition. There were also seven statewide constitutional amendments on the ballot.

Wise County voting totals are as follows:

Paradise School Board

Place 3

Heath Smith — 239 votes

Kevin Howerton — 53 votes

Deidre Wise — 71 votes

Place 4

Susie Burt — 181 votes

Jody Yates — 103 votes

Jan Cosgrove — 78 votes

Place 5

Chad Cox — 148 votes

Scott Cox — 215 votes

Place 7 (unexpired term)

Kendall Williams — 82 votes

Renea Remmele — 244 votes

Mike Christensen — 46 votes


Paradise City Council


Roy Steel (ran unopposed) — 34 votes

Place 1

Amanda Black (ran unopposed) — 29 votes

Place 3

Sandy Onks (ran unopposed) — 33 votes

Place 4

Chris Harris — 19 votes

Robert Owensby — 27 votes

Place 5

Michael Robertson — 21 votes

John Ward — 26 votes


Decatur WCWSD Proposition

For — 77 votes

Against — 66 votes


State Constitutional Amendments

Proposition 1

For — 1,301 votes

Against — 306 votes

Proposition 2

For — 1,025 votes

Against — 562 votes

Proposition 3

For — 1,259 votes

Against — 340 votes

Proposition 4

For — 1,018 votes

Against — 548 votes

Proposition 5

For — 776 votes

Against — 792 votes

Proposition 6

For — 1,272 votes

Against — 323 votes

Proposition 7

For — 783 votes

Against — 797 votes


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