County hit hard by flash flooding


Strong storms brought several inches of rain to Wise County Monday night, leading to flash flooding. The flooding seemed especially bad in the Paradise and Bridgeport areas where numerous water rescues were reported where cars became flooded in high water, and the drivers often had to wait for rescue on the roof. Homes in the 600 block of Halsell Street in Bridgeport were evacuated due to flooding, according to Police Chief Steve Stanford, along with a portion of P&W Trailer Park. Several city streets in Bridgeport and county roads in the western part of Wise County were shut down due to high water, and water even covered the roadway across portions of major roads such as U.S. 380 west of Bridgeport and U.S. 81/287 and Farm Road 51 near Decatur. A few accidents were also reported with cars hydroplaning off the road. No major injuries were reported. High winds also caused structural damage to a home on County Road 2622 near Slidell.

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1 injured in wreck, vehicle fire


 

Photo courtesy of John Neal

Photo courtesy of John Neal

A single-vehicle wreck on County Road 3388 severely injured a Paradise man at 10:35 Thursday night.

Department of Public Safety Trooper Beau Bridgeman said Dylan Moore, 21, was “traveling at an unsafe rate of speed” when he lost control of his 2007 Dodge Ram pickup, leaving the road and colliding with several trees on the opposite side of a guardrail.

The vehicle caught fire. Motorists dragged Moore to safety and met an ambulance nearby at the intersection of Texas Highway 114 and Farm Road 51 North. Bridgeman said Moore was transported via ground ambulance to Wise Health System in Decatur where he was flown to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

Paradise Fire Department was on scene to put out the vehicle fire, which was fully involved when they arrived.

 

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Tuesday, March 1, Primary Election Results


Lane Akin was elected sheriff with 83 percent of the vote over Brandon Davis in the Republican primary election Tuesday. Also on the Republican ballot, Danny White beat Zane Lasater 56 percent to 44 percent in the Precinct 1 commissioner race; Harry Lamance defeated Randy Jernigan 55 percent to 45 percent for Precinct 3 commissioner, and Larry Short has apparently avoided a runoff with 55 percent of the vote in the Precinct 2 constable race. Troy Gregg received 24 percent and Mike Andrews 21 percent. On the Democratic ballot, Janet Akers-Amos ended the night with an 8-vote lead for county precinct chair over Tracy Smith, although 12 provisional ballots still remain. For full results, see the chart below. All results are unofficial until canvassed.

CANDIDATE EARLY REGULAR FINAL
PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE EARLY REGULAR FINAL
Hillary Clinton (Dem) 333 417 750
Bernie Sanders (Dem) 208 349 557
Ben Carson (Rep) 175 318 493
Ted Cruz (Rep) 1,838 3,675 5,513
John R. Kasich (Rep) 79 113 192
Marco Rubio (Rep) 513 633 1,146
Donald J. Trump (Rep) 1,287 2,199 3,486
SHERIFF EARLY REGULAR FINAL
Lane Akin (Rep) 3,192 4,972 8,164
Brandon Shawn Davis (Rep) 519 1,142 1,661
COUNTY COMMISSIONER, PRECINCT 1 EARLY REGULAR FINAL
Zane Lasater (Rep) 473 671 1,144
Danny White (Rep) 668 805 1,473
COUNTY COMMISSIONER, PRECINCT 3 EARLY REGULAR FINAL
Randy Jernigan (Rep) 296 677 973
Harray Lamance (Rep) 380 805 1,185
CONSTABLE, PRECINCT 2 EARLY REGULAR FINAL
Mike Andrews (Rep) 179 340 519
Troy Gregg (Rep) 201 376 577
Larry Short (Rep) 603 744 1,347
COUNTY PARTY CHAIR EARLY REGULAR FINAL
Janet P. Akers-Amos (Dem) 236 326 562
Tracy A. Smith (Dem) 250 304 554

 

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Fire destroys Bridgeport home


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An attic fire destroyed  an east Bridgeport home just before noon Tuesday.

The home, located at the corner of Cuba Road and Country Road 3214, immediately west of Bridgeport High School, suffered extensive damage as flames and smoke billowed out of the roof.

Homeowner Lance Larson said he wasn’t home when the fire started. He rushed home after a neighbor called.

“I saw the smoke from a ways out,” he said. “You just never think it’s going to be you.”

Bridgeport and Paradise Fire Departments were on scene.

More information will be posted as it’s available.

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Residence destroyed in fire


paradise fire cr33401937 Bridgeport and Paradise fire departments and Wise County Emergency Medical Services responded to a house fire on County Road 3340 between Paradise and Bridgeport around 9:30 p.m. Monday.

The resident of the home, Regina Arthur, first noticed fire coming from the ceiling. Bridgeport Chief Terry Long said the fire was in the home’s attic, and the departments were able to make an interior attack to fight it.

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Everyone inside got out safely. Arthur said some of her cats and dogs are missing.

Arthur said she doesn’t know what started the fire.

Wise County Fire Marshal Chuck Beard was called to investigate.

The fire reignited early Tuesday morning, fully engulfing the remains of the home. Bridgeport, Paradise, Cottondale and Decatur fire departments responded to put it out.

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Jones announces retirement


Chico ISD trustees voted Friday to accept the terms of Superintendent Mike Jones’ retirement agreement, effective August 31, 2016.

Jones presented the agreement at a special session, just five days after the board’s regular meeting.

Trustees G.A. Buckner, Brian Hand, Lori Clark, Bill Hand and Doug Bowyer voted in favor of the agreement, with Paul Cantrell and Mark Tate opposed.

Jones’ contract was set to expire in 2019. The board had tabled contract discussions at its previous two meetings.

Jones said he plans to continue to live in Chico, but isn’t sure what his next step will be.

“I’m going to do something, whether I’m a superintendent or I do decide to retire,” he said. “I don’t know what I’ll do exactly, but we [Jones’ family] have every intention of remaining Chico Dragons.”

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Fire destroys trailer in East Wise


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A fast-moving grass fire destroyed a mobile home on Private Road 4442 between New Fairview and Decatur Saturday afternoon in the East Wise Fire District.
The trailer at 140 PR 4442 was unoccupied, according to Wise County Assistant Fire Marshal Joe Washburn.
Firefighters from East Wise, Rhome, Decatur, Boyd and Newark fought the blaze near Coyote Trail and County Road 4421 that was reported shortly before 3 p.m. At 4:45 p.m., firefighters reported the blaze was under control.
The fire started behind the residence at 136 PR 4442, according to Washburn.
“A man was barbecuing and he said he went in to get some food and the fire was going,” Washburn said.
Washburn said the fire was accidental. No one was injured.
A steady southeast breeze at 13 mph carried flames across the dry vegetation. Firefighters stopped the grass fire around the trailer.
Washburn said humidity being at 42 percent helped firefighters get control of the fire.

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Decatur home burns


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Decatur, Bridgeport and Paradise Fire Departments battled a blaze at a home in the 1800 block of College Avenue 5:30 Friday evening.

Decatur Fire Chief Mike Richardson said firefighters found a large fire when they arrived.

“It had a head start on us,” Richardson said. “When the guys got here they had a lot of fire out back. It was in the attic. That’s always slow to put out.”

The southbound lane of College Avenue was closed from Thompson to Decatur High School as firefighters worked at the scene.

Firefighters doused the fire for more than an hour before it was extinguished, knocking in windows and spraying the home from several angles.

No one was injured. The house contained personal belongings, but was unoccupied.

Richardson said a burglary was reported at the home earlier in the day.

The fire and burglary are under investigation.

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2 hurt in motorcycle crash


Two motorcycle operators were injured in a wreck around 12:15 Saturday afternoon. The wreck happened on Farm Road 51 at the intersection with County Road 4698 near Boyd. Department of Public Safety Trooper Paul Zaragoza said a pickup had stopped to turn left onto the county road. A vehicle and four motorcycles were following him southbound on FM 51 when the last motorcycle in the line, operated by James Drayton Darby Jr., 61, of Dish failed to slow down in time. Zaragoza said Darby’s motorcycle clipped the back tire of the motorcycle in front of him, operated by Gail Elaine Clarke, 63, of Krum. Darby was thrown from his bike and rolled several times, sustaining a head injury. He was flown to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. Clarke sustained a leg injury and was taken by Wise County EMS to Wise Health System in Decatur.

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Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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Northwest’s Rue announces retirement


After leading the Northwest ISD during a time of unprecedented, Karen Rue announced Thursday night that she will retire at the end of the year.
The Northwest ISD Superintendent announced her intention to leave her post July 31 at the district’s school board meeting.
“It has truly been an honor to be part of Northwest ISD,” Rue said in a press release. “I’m looking forward to the adventures and opportunities retirement will bring and am excited about the possibility of exploring other avenues I might want to pursue. It has been a joy to be part of the Northwest ISD family, and Northwest will continue to be my home.”
Rue joined Northwest ISD in 2005 from Tuloso-Midway ISD, where she was superintendent.
During her 11 years at Northwest, the district has grown from 8,700 to 21,000 students. The district opened two new high schools — Byron Nelson in 2009 and Eaton in 2015.
“Dr. Rue has been an inspirational leader, and we will be forever grateful for her leadership and vision,” said Josh Wright, Northwest School Board President. “We were saddened to learn of her retirement plans. She has led our future-ready vision and initiated a transformational shift in education. Understanding the importance of preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s future, she implemented initiatives to help strengthen student engagement, deepen student learning and open doors for innovation, creativity and experiential learning.”
The district will start its search for a new superintendent in February.
“As much as we hate to say goodbye, though, we know that our district’s future-ready vision will continue. The Northwest ISD Board of Trustees is committed to doing what is best for our students, parents, staff and community members. As we begin the search for a new superintendent, we are dedicated to finding the right person to continue our path of transformation and future-ready excellence,” said Wright. “We wish Dr. Rue and her family all the best.”
Rue began her 37-year career in education as a sixth-grade teacher and has since served as an elementary school teacher, assistant principal, principal and executive director.
She was recently named a finalist by the School Administrators Association for the 2016 Women in School Leadership Award.
She was named the Region XI Superintendent of the Year and is currently serving as President of the Texas Association of School Administrators.

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Fire damages Aurora home


A fire in a home on Old Base Road in Aurora produced a tall cloud of white smoke visible for more than 10 miles about 5:30 Tuesday afternoon.

Early responders drove a vehicle through a closed gate to reach the home, After the fire was knocked down, firefighters swept the house and attic to ensure it was completely out.

Wise County Fire Marshall Chuck Beard said Rhome, Newark and Boyd Fire Departments and Wise County EMS responded to the fire.

No one was injured.

More information will be posted as it is available.


 

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Man air lifted from Chico wreck


A man was air lifted from a wreck in Chico around 1:30 p.m. today.

State Trooper Paul Zaragoza said the man, driving a white passenger car, was traveling northbound on Texas 101 when he veered left from his lane for unknown reasons. An 18-wheeler was turning right from Farm Road 1810 onto southbound Texas 101, and the car ran underneath it. The car came to rest when it hit a tree off the left side of the road.

The man in the passenger car was trapped in the vehicle and had to be extricated by paramedics. He was flown by AirEvac Lifeteam 68 to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. His condition is unknown at this time.

The driver of the 18-wheeler was uninjured.

Wise County Emergency Medical Services, Wise County Rescue 1, Wise County Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Public Safety and Chico fire department responded.

No names have been released at this time.

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Fire damages Alvord home


A fire severely damaged a home on Greenwood Street in Alvord late Tuesday night.

The fire, first reported around 11:30 p.m., started in a shed behind the house.

“We have been told that there was a heat lamp back there for a dog,” Alvord Fire Chief Sam Hahn said. “By all indications we have right now, that’s probably where it started.”

The fire then moved to the attic of the home.

The occupants were able to get out safely and the Red Cross has been alerted.

Alvord, Chico and Decatur fire departments and Wise County Emergency Medical Services responded.

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Rhome rollback election results


The unofficial results of the Rhome tax rollback election are in, and the tax rate will be lowered.

There were 144 votes in total, 108 for the rollback and 36 against. The majority voted early, with 28 votes cast on election day.

The election was held to decide whether to lower Rhome’s tax from 58.33 cents per $100 valuation to 52.34 cents.

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Injured person air lifted following accident at raceway


An injured person was air lifted from Oak Hill Raceway this morning following a motorcycle crash.

Initial reports said the victim lost consciousness for approximately five minutes following their crash. Air Evac Lifeteam 68 airlifted the injured person to John Peter Smith hospital in Fort Worth at 10:50 a.m.

Alvord fire department, Wise County Medic 1 and Wise County Rescue 1 also responded to the accident.

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Decatur High School evacuated due to threat


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Students and staff were evacuated from Decatur High School just before noon today due to a bomb threat found on a bathroom wall. According to the school’s Facebook page, students have been moved to the Carson Elementary gym. Decatur police and fire departments have been dispatched to investigate the building.
Parents wishing to pick their children up may go to the Carson Elementary gym north entrance. School employees will check IDs before checking students out. Buses will continue to run their regular route.

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Bridgeport man found not guilty of sex crime


A Wise County jury that at times was deadlocked during deliberations found Vincent Paul Martinez, 27, of Bridgeport not guilty of indecency with a child by sexual contact at the conclusion of his trial around 2:30 p.m. Thursday in 271st District Court. Martinez was accused of touching a 4-year-old victim on her genitals in the back of a vehicle. Martinez testified that he was simply tickling the little girl and that if he did make contact with the genital area, it was accidental. Among the witnesses who testified for the state were the investigator who questioned Martinez about the contact, the alleged victim’s mother and the alleged victim, who is now 5. The jury twice sent down notes saying they could not reach a unanimous verdict but was instructed by District Judge John Fostel to keep deliberating. By the time the jury began deliberating around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, the number of jurors was 11 after Martinez’ attorney expressed concerns about a juror who during a break in the trial talked to the investigator who testified. The discussion was not about the case being tried, but prosecutors and the defense attorney agreed to dismiss the juror and continue forward with the 11-person jury. Read more in the weekend Wise County Messenger.

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Hightower sentenced to 16 months for naked photos of sex offenders


Former Wise County Sheriff’s Office sergeant Chad Hightower was sentenced to 16 months in federal prison Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth. Hightower pleaded guilty in September to two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law when he admitted to taking nude photos of  sex offenders. Hightower was the sex offender registrar at the time of the incident. He was sentenced to eight months for each count, and Judge Jeffrey Cureton ruled that the sentence will run consecutively. According to court documents, Hightower must begin serving his sentence by Feb. 8. The judge also assessed a fine of $3,000. Read more in the weekend Wise County Messenger.

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Fire damages business on U.S. 81/287


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Decatur Fire Department, East Wise Fire Department and Wise County EMS responded to a large fire inside of a garage at U.S. 81/287  and Farm Road 2264 just after 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Decatur Fire Chief Mike Richardson said the fire broke out in the grease pit underneath a medium-duty truck while it was being worked on by mechanics at Earth Builders, a highway construction company.

“They were doing some cutting operation underneath it, and it lit something that got into an oil supply underneath it,” Richardson said. “That lit up. [The mechanics] did a good job with a tractor and drug that truck out of there.”

Richardson said smoke and flames were billowing out the building’s three bay doors when firefighters arrived.

“Since they drug it out, that was the only fire we had,” he said. “The guys were able to knock it out pretty fast.

“We use a foam mix in our truck so we were able to knock the oil down pretty quick.”

After the flames were put out, firefighters remained on scene to douse the grease pit and monitor the garage for flame ups.

“There’s still smoke in there,” Richardson said. “It’ll take a little while.”

Richardson said the building was still structurally sound. No one was injured.

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Fire damages Boyd home


Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

A Boyd family was displaced Saturday afternoon when their home on Dunlap Street caught fire.
Boyd Assistant Fire Chief Jason Adams said when his crew arrived, smoke was billowing from the windows and eaves of the house.
The single-story brick structure had several additions and “a couple of attics,” according to Adams, which made the fire more difficult to fight. Firefighters contained the blaze to the interior of the house. It was heavily damaged by smoke.
No one was home when the fire started.
Resident Steven Hood said he had been gone only 30 minutes when he received a call that the house was on fire. He lives there with his girlfriend and three children, ages 11, 9 and 4.
Boyd, Newark, Decatur and Cottondale fire departments were called to the scene, as well as Wise County medics.
The Red Cross was called to assist the family.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. It was first reported at 3:09 p.m.

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