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County Budget Stories

Commissioners eye proposed budget, tax rates

Numbers are flying among county officials as they close in on a budget for fiscal year 2015.
Published Saturday, August 2, 2014

Judge suggests declining state stipend

County Judge Glenn Hughes thinks Wise County should no longer accept a state stipend for the county judge’s salary.
Published Saturday, August 2, 2014

Commissioners propose budget, tax rate

Nothing is set in stone, but Wise County’s budget for fiscal year 2015 is taking shape.
Published Wednesday, August 20, 2014

County judge’s paycheck to shrink

Almost all county employees will see a pay increase in fiscal year 2015 – all except for the county judge.
Published Saturday, August 23, 2014

Commissioners dig into budget

County commissioners have proposed an almost $70 million budget for fiscal year 2015, and Auditor Ann McCuiston hit the financial highlights in a budget workshop Thursday.
Published Saturday, August 23, 2014

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Breaking News–18-wheeler explosion causes U.S. 287 standstill

U.S. 287 is shut down in the north- and southbound lanes near McMaster New Holland in Decatur after an 18-wheeler hit a concrete divider and exploded. There are no reported injuries at this time. First responders are on the scene, and we will have updates as soon as they become available.

Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford.

Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford.

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Breaking News: Two car accidents on North Trinity Street, F.M. 1810

Two car accidents occurred at roughly the same time in Wise County Monday night.

At 5:30 p.m., two cars collided at the corner of North Trinity and Bishop Street in Decatur. A white Chevy Silverado was headed north when the front left of the vehicle collided with the front left of a black SUV traveling south. Names of those involved and injuries sustained are unknown at this time. Updates to follow.

The second collision, which also happened around 5:30 p.m., involved a tractor trailer and another vehicle. A tractor trailer was headed west on F.M. 1810 about halfway in between Decatur and Chico. The tractor trailer driver, Juan Pablo Chavez of Decatur, was experiencing a diabetic episode while he was driving west and swerved left of the center line. This caused him to hit the other truck headed east, driven by Reed Alan Riewe of Comanche. Both vehicles lost their front left axles and tires, resulting in each vehicle swerving off onto opposite sides of the road. No injuries were reported. Chavez was arrested at the scene after it was discovered that he had a warrant out for his arrest.

Two cars collided at the intersection of Trinity and Bishop Street Monday night. Messenger photo by Jake Harris.

Two cars collided at the intersection of Trinity and Bishop Street Monday night. Messenger photo by Jake Harris.


A tractor trailer collided with another truck on F.M. 1810 Monday night. Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

A tractor trailer collided with another truck on F.M. 1810 Monday night. Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

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1 injured in overturned cement truck

The driver of a cement truck was injured in a one-vehicle rollover north of Boyd Monday afternoon.

Jamey Wolf, 33, sustained lacerations to his back. Although a helicopter ambulance was called to the scene, he was transported by ground ambulance to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.

His injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.

Investigators said Wolf was southbound on Farm Road 730 when he drove off the roadway as he attempted to round a curve near County Road 4480. He drove back onto the road but overcorrected and overturned the truck.

The truck landed on its side, spun twice and skidded several yards before coming to a rest in the bar ditch on the southbound side. It dropped its load across both lanes of 730.

Boyd Fire Department, Wise County Sheriff’s deputies and medics responded to the accident, which was toned out just before 4 p.m.

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Trying to take ‘Mister’ like a man

It’s a weird moment in a man’s life when he ceases to be himself and becomes a “Mister.”

All my life, I’ve been Jimmy and everyone has called me that – until now. More and more I’m confronted with “Mr. Alford.”

It’s almost the Mr. Hyde to my Dr. Jekyll … or something like that … All I know is, I don’t see “Mr. Alford” when I look in the mirror.

I call this the “Mr.” Syndrome, which incidentally would be a great name for a super villain.

This new syndrome hit me full force the other night when I “volunteered” – or, more appropriately, was volunteered by my wife to take photos of an eighth-grade graduation.

These kids call my wife Mrs. Alford, so they call me Mr. Alford. I know it’s a sign of respect and they are following orders, but every Mr. Alford smacked of “You’re an old man … and why are you wearing Converse? Don’t you need orthotics for your aging feet?”

And inside my head, I shriek like a little girl and cower. “I’m not getting old!”

But on the outside, I smile and nod and continue on with my business.

Maybe I need to see a doctor. This can’t be normal. Everyone ages and being called Mr. is nothing to get bent out of shape about. Right?

I know I certainly wouldn’t want to go in the opposite direction.

There are people who want to relive the glory days, sport the letterman jacket, slick back their hair and hop in a black TransAm. Personally, I think that sounds dreadful.

I’m not saying I didn’t have a happy childhood, but good Lord, please don’t make me go back. That’s when a person makes all the mistakes that shape them into the adult they were meant to be.

Woe is me if I were doomed to repeat every fumble, busted lie, and embarrassing foible.

Of course the question would also be “What if you knew then, what you know now?”

That could be fine, I guess, but really I think that would be even worse. I’m a firm believer that my life is pretty much like a 20-year old movie. The veneer of classic cinema has not yet glossed it over. When I watch it, the clothes just look awful and the hair is hilarious.

And just like that 20-year-old movie, when you try to re-watch it, it just doesn’t hold up and you end up wishing for some “Law and Order” reruns.

Think about it. Going back in time would mean you’d have to witness all the embarrassing things your friends are doing – things that, at the time, seemed just fine. You of course would seem like the most boring person ever, because you’re “responsible” or you just know that eating all that ice cream and riding the roller coaster will not end well.

The all-night bender will have lost its appeal. The lovers you chased will have the harsh light of hindsight on them. They may look good now, but you know exactly how they will look, years down the road.

I guess I’ll stick with aging, maybe not gracefully but steadily and assuredly.

That still doesn’t mean I have to enjoy being called “Mr.”

Jimmy Alford is a graphic designer, reporter and photographer for the Messenger.

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Nora EdithMae Karrer

Ben and Chrissy Karrer of Decatur announce the birth of a daughter, Nora EdithMae, on April 22, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 8 pounds and was 18 1/2 inches long.

She has one sister: Kaitlyn, 9.

Grandparents are Beth Adams and Ann and Wayne Karrer, all of San Antonio and Kevin and Stacy Daniel of Wylie.

Great-grandparents are Tom and Bobbie Amis of Era, Sue Karrer of Marion and Marty McClain of San Antonio.

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Paradise Intermediate gets new principal

Paradise Intermediate School will have new leadership next year, as school counselor Kristin Gage will take over as principal.

The school board held a special meeting Monday night to make the selection. They unanimously agreed to give her a two-year contract.

Gage has been in education for 19 years, 15 of them in PISD.

The district began searching for a new intermediate school principal earlier this month when current principal Terry McCutchen announced his resignation.

According to Superintendent Monty Chapman and McCutchen, he was leaving PISD for personal reasons and had not yet lined up another job.

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Hazel Augustine Sloas

Hazel Augustine Sloas

Hazel Augustine Sloas, 88, died Tuesday, April 22, 2014.

Graveside service is 3 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at Saginaw Cemetery with burial under the direction of Calvario Funeral Home (formerly Shannon North) in Fort Worth.

Hazel was born Jan. 15, 1926, in Winfield, Ala. to William and Mary Henderson.

She was preceded in death by her husband, T.H. Sloas, and two sons.

She is survived by a son, William “Bill” Sloas of Newark; daughters Deborah Morton and Renah Sloas, both of Newark; and numerous grandchildren.

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Paradise ISD extends teacher contracts

The Paradise school board opted to extend the contracts for all teachers, librarians, counselors and nurses during Monday night’s meeting.

The contracts were extended for one year and will be up for review again in spring 2015. The board also agreed to use Superintendent Monty Chapman as an independent contractor after his current contract ends in June.

Chapman recently resigned to take a job at Weatherford Independent School District, but has agreed to help the board and the next superintendent with next year’s budget, which will include planning for other big-ticket items like a wastewater treatment facility.

Non-contracted employees will see a pay raise. The board approved a 2.5 percent raise from the midpoint, which would mean a larger raise for employees on the lower end of the pay scale and a smaller raise for those on the high end.

In other business, the board:

  • adopted textbooks recommended by Patti Seckman; and
  • agreed to seek a waiver from the Texas Education Agency for an additional bad weather day due to all the ice last winter.

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Half-milers lead pack into regional meet

The 800 is considered one of the toughest challenges in track and field, testing the limits of the aerobic and anaerobic systems in athletes along with their will.

OUT IN FRONT – Decatur’s Brandon Rivera heads into the Class 3A Region II meet Saturday with the top time. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“You’ve got to be a tremendous athlete but have the desire to succeed and ability to finish when your body is screaming at you,” explains Decatur track coach David Park. “You have to have the mindset to push through and finish.”

This year, several Wise County athletes have been able to find the right balance of endurance and speed to establish themselves as state contenders heading into this weekend’s regional meets.

Three are not surprises after running the 800 on the state’s biggest stage last year – Decatur’s Brandon Rivera and Haley Dennard and Alvord’s Savannah Williams.

Williams captured the silver medal in the 2013 Class 2A final, running 2:21. She is the top returning 800 runner from last year after defending champion Crawford’s Ann Marie Dunlap chose to run the 1,600 and 3,200.

“It takes a lot of work and dedication to run the 800,” Williams said. “You have to be dedicated and work hard every day.”

Williams will run Saturday in Stephenville at the Class 2A Region II meet.

Dennard is the only area runner to top Williams this year. Dennard won the 3A Region II title last year and went on to seventh at state, running 2:22.87. Last week at the 3A 9/10 area meet, she ran 2:21 to win.

“She’s a close No. 2,” Park said about her spot in the region, heading into the 3A Region II meet Friday and Saturday at Texas A&M-Commerce.

Dennard has signed a letter of intent to run at Tarleton next year.

Rivera finished just off the medal stand at state last year, running 2:00.54 to finish fourth. Driven to bring home a title, Rivera has been unbeatable this spring, breaking two minutes at all but one race. He ran 1:56.95 to win the area title last week.

“Brandon is seeded No. 1,” Park said.

He said after last week’s win: “I hope to stay unbeaten through state.”

Slidell’s Caitlin Pruett and Northwest’s Baylee Nelson also head to regionals with shots to earn state spots.

Nelson ran 2:18.28 to finish second at the 5A 3/4 area meet Friday.

Northwest coach George Lutkenhaus said she will likely need to be around 2:15 at this weekend’s 5A Region I meet to get out.

“It’s very possible,” he said.

Pruett blew away the field at the Class A Division II 21/22 meet April 10, running 2:23.04.

“She’s in the top two out of what I’ve seen in the region,” said Slidell coach Cody Vanover.

Pruett will run at the A Region III Division II meet at Bullard High School Saturday.

Friday and Saturday

Texas Tech University
Local team: Northwest

Texas A&M-Commerce
Local teams: Decatur, Bridgeport

Tarleton State University
Local teams: Alvord, Boyd, Paradise

Abilene Christian
Local team: Chico

Bullard High School
Local team: Slidell

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A tale of two Easters

It was the worst of times, and now it is close to the best of times.

His first Easter was spent in a hospital bed connected to all kinds of hoses, lines, electrodes and machines while swaddled in a blanket that eliminated virtually any movement. He shared the bed with enough species of stuffed animals to make Noah proud.

Add to this mix the fact that he had, in his approximately five months of life, spent more time in the hospital than he had at home, and you have a good idea of a little boy’s first Easter.

That little boy is our youngest grandchild, Kinzler, and he has a condition that required him to have a tracheostomy put in to help facilitate his breathing. The idea of a child having a trach is, at best, totally overwhelming – especially in the beginning.

You imagine all kinds of things happening, none of which are good. His mom and dad quickly completed the training required to bring him home after receiving it, and that is when the real education began, thanks to Kinzler.

The doctors said most “trach babies” had to have a feeding tube put into their stomach since many couldn’t take a bottle. Kinzler didn’t get that message and had no trouble at all with a bottle and not too much later baby food. Now he eats just about any food he wants, along with assorted non-food items from time to time, just like any toddler.

His favorite foods seem to be of the mixed variety like mashed potatoes and gravy combined with cheese-bite crackers and maybe a couple of pieces of apple … or just about anything else that fits with his not-too-fancy or discerning palate.

The doctors said he wouldn’t be able to make sounds due to his trach, but Kinzler didn’t get that message either. It wasn’t long until he was able to “talk around his trach” and even say some words. With his “talking” and the use of a little sign language, he has absolutely no trouble communicating his desires and intentions.

Now we’re nearing the best of times.

Last week he was at the doctor for them to decide whether he was ready to have his trach removed. It was decided that although there had been marked improvement in his condition, it was still too early to remove it. He will be reevaluated around next Easter.

Disappointment was the initial reaction, but everyone immediately realized it was for the best.

So this was the second ‘trached Easter’ for Kinzler. The good thing about the situation is that if Kinzler could express his feelings, I believe he would say:

“What is wrong with everyone else? Why don’t they have a hole in their throat with a tube coming out? Why aren’t they able to stick a finger in their trach and make a sound that drives Mom up the wall?

“And what’s all the fuss about about having a trach? I’ve got one, and I’m just fine, thank you.”

We’ll make it another year, little one, and we’ll be just fine as long as you keep that nearly constant smile on your face. That’s what keeps all of us old people going.

No matter how long the Man Upstairs lets me stay around, I will never be able to teach Kinzler the types of things he has taught me in the last 17 months.

Mack Thweatt is a Messenger photographer and proofreader.

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Dianne Wilson Wheeler

Dianne Wilson Wheeler

Dianne Wilson Wheeler, 68, died Wednesday, April 16, 2014, in Fort Worth.

Funeral is 11 a.m. Saturday, April 19, at Christian-Hawkins Funeral Home in Boyd with the Rev. Johnny Wallace officiating. Burial will follow at Boyd Cemetery.

Pallbearers are Chris Hall, Bobby Sanders, Michael Sanders, Michael Parsons and Caleb Parsons.

Dianne was born July 14, 1945, in Fort Worth to Dewey and Lena (Wallace) Wilson. She was a retired employee of F&H Ribbon Co.

Dianne was preceded in death by her parents; son Scotty Wheeler; sisters Jenny Gilbert and Ina Joan Wilson; and niece Teresa Harrison.

Survivors include her daughters, Lisa Watson of Richland Hills and Charlotte Sanders and husband, Billy, of Keller; grandchildren Kristi and husband, Michael, Bobby and wife, Courtney, Justin, Michael, Felicia and Christopher; great-grandchildren Victoria, Evon, Caleb, Lily and Desiree; brother Roy Wilson and wife, Connie, of Rio Vista; sisters Freda Bennett of Boyd and Kathy Darden of Fort Worth; and other family members and friends.

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Grayson Dale Gralin Hollie

Gralin Hollie and Kaley Williamson of Decatur announce the birth of a son, Grayson Dale Gralin Hollie, on April 1, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 8 pounds, 5 ounces and was 20 1/2 inches long.

Grandparents are Harlon and Marilyn Williamson of Stephenville, Lawanda McAlister of Decatur and Charles Hollie of Fort Worth.

Great-grandmothers are Sue Williamson of Stephenville and Betty Hollie of Fort Worth.

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Softball Roundup: Lady ‘Jackets skunk Alvord

The Boyd Lady Yellowjackets made school history Saturday with a 15-0 blanking of Alvord.

The team’s 21st win is a new high mark for the program.

The playoff-bound Lady ‘Jackets moved to 21-5 and 8-2 in District 9-2A. Boyd could wrap up second place in the league with a pair of wins in their final two games. They took on Paradise Tuesday and will close the regular season at Brock Thursday.

Against Alvord, Boyd scored nine in the second inning and six in the third on 12 hits and three Alvord errors.

Payton Salmon drove in four runs and tripled, going 3-for-3. Kaytlin Bullard and Gabby Saldivar had two hits each.

Saldivar picked up the win, allowing one hit and striking out five in three innings.


The Bridgeport Sissies rallied for eight runs in the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday to beat the rival Decatur Lady Eagles 10-9.

Kensley Turner drove home the winning run on a single to left-center field that plated Shiloh Weirich.

Weirich drove in two runs. Hailey Holingsworth led the Sissies, going 4-for-5 with a double and two RBIs. Taylor Jamieson added a double.

Jenny Bradford doubled and knocked in two runs for the Lady Eagles. Brittany Roberts, Kristina Pischotta and Briana Carter finished with two hits each.


The Brock Lady Eagles plated seven runs in the top of the sixth Saturday on the way to knocking off the Paradise Lady Panthers 16-4.

Madi Horne had the Lady Panthers’ lone extra-base hit, a double. Alyssa Munoz, Bailey Higgins and Allison Rutledge drove in the three Paradise runs.

Paradise went into Tuesday’s game against Boyd in fifth place in District 9-2A. It closes the regular season against fourth-place Peaster Friday. With a victory, the Lady Panthers could force a tie for the fourth playoff spot.

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Roy Kenneth Monett

Roy Kenneth Monett

Roy Kenneth Monett, 71, died Saturday, April 12, 2014, at his home in Chico.

Visitation was April 15 at Jones Family Funeral Home in Bridgeport, and a private memorial service will be held at a later date.

Roy was born Nov. 7, 1942, in Wichita Falls to Ethel Pauline Monett. He married Sylvia Gayle Browning in Alvord Aug. 3, 1962.

He went to work at the Old Southwest Stone Rock Crusher after graduation from Chico High School and continued when it became Vulcan Materials. He worked for Chico Butane Gas for more than 20 years as a delivery driver. Roy underwent heart surgery in 1988.

He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Chico, was a Past Master Mason and a member of Masonic Lodge No. 508 in Chico.

Roy is survived by his wife; children David Brent Monett, Kelli Michele Kirbie and husband, Malcom, Kevin Bruce Monett and wife, Jan, and Eric Lance Monett, all of Chico, Kristi K. Decou and husband, David, of Lafayette, La., Kyle Ray Monett and wife, Amy, of Decatur and Joey D. Watson and wife, Ange, of Chico; grandchildren Mallori Kirbie, Dolce Decou, Bryce, Boston, Kevin N., Blake, Kindal and Wesley D. Monett, and Ashleigh Garcia; as well as many special friends.

Roy was preceded in death by his mother and mother-in-law Pauline Hodges.

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Emily Ann Tatum

Emily Ann Tatum

Emily Ann Tatum, 92, beloved mother and grandmother, died Saturday, April 5, 2014.

Funeral was April 7 at Mount Olivet Chapel in Fort Worth with burial at Boyd Cemetery.

Emily Ann Goodger was born June 18, 1921, in Boyd. She attended Texas Woman’s University. Emily was a secretary at Riverside Baptist Church and was employed by several government agencies including the Social Security Administration.

She was a loving grandmother who was afffectionately known as “Namommy” to her family. She was an accomplished baker and loved gardening, travel, entertaining and hosting family dinners.

The family would especially like to thank Prissy De Shazo, Christian Care Hospice and the staff at Lakewood Community Health Care Center for their excellent care.

Emily was preceded in death by her husband of 70 years, O.T. Tatum.

She is survived by daughters Cynthia Hippel and husband, Bill, and Patricia De Shazo and husband, James; grandchildren Dawn Ligon and husband, Grady, Leigh Ann Bourgeois and husband, Brandon, Heath Hippel and wife, Amy, and Jay Hippel and wife, Jenny; seven great-grandchildren; brother Pat Goodger; brother-in-law Don Bassham; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Memorials may be made to Christian Care Hospice.

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Department honors its own

The Bridgeport Volunteer Fire Department held its annual awards banquet last weekend to honor the hard work and dedication of its members.

Annual Awards

ANNUAL AWARDS – Members of the Bridgeport Fire Department were honored at a banquet last weekend. Pictured are (bottom, from left) Alex Sessions, Dawnelle Burns, (front) David Nichols, Capt. Justin Knox, Chief Terry Long, Assistant Chief Keith Long, Robert Grothe, Assistant Chief Kenny Hudson, Jerry Beck, Aaron Steadman, (back row) Chaplain Gary Sessions, Albert Taylor, Robby Schwartz, Brandon Graybill, Kyle Bloodworth, Ricky Schwartz, Daniel Underwood and Captain Tanner Reeves. Submitted photo

Jason Hall was named Rookie of the Year, and Chief Terry Long was awarded Officer of the Year.

Firefighter of the Year was Aaron Steadman.

Steadman, along with Assistant Chief Kenny Hudson, were honored by Long with the Chief’s Award.

The department also recognized the top 10 responders. Chief Long was the top responder, going to 335 out of 553 calls received. The remaining top responders included Steadman with 235 calls; Capt. Tanner Reeves with 183; Albert Taylor, 156; Roy Martz, 154; Ricky Schwartz, 153; Jason Hall, 150; Assistant Chief Keith Long, 149; Assistant Chief Hudson, 139; and Robby Schwartz, 135.

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Changing the grade; Boyd introduces new ranking system

Starting with next year’s freshman class, Boyd High School adopted a new formula to calculate grade-point average and class ranking.

Only core course subjects, including English, foreign language, math, science and social studies, will factor into a student’s GPA.

“It got to a point where you had students picking classes to take-not because they really wanted to take them, but so they could move up in the class ranks,” said Boyd High Principal Scott Nedrow. “Now we’re making it more equitable and fair across the board for all students. It levels the playing field for everybody.”

Pre-AP, AP and dual class credits will continue to be weighted, but in a slightly different and more efficient manner. Students will have an additional 5 percent of their overall grade added on at the end of the semester for pre-AP courses. For example, if a student earned a 100 in a pre-AP course, they would be awarded a 105 at semester’s end for the class.

AP and dual credit courses will add on 10 percent of their overall score. Thus a 100 would become a 110.

“The biggest difference now is we add it on at the end of the semester, and it’s all done in the computer,” said Boyd High counselor Tara Allred. “The way we were doing it before was pretty antiquated.”

Since all current high school students are still on the old system, the school will have to juggle two grading styles for the next three years, Allred added.

She also assured the new system would not discourage students from taking electives such as art or ag classes now not included in the GPA calculation.

“A certain number of electives are required by the state,” Allred said. “Electives are still a graduation requirement.”

On Monday, the high school will hold an informational session for eighth grade students and their parents about the changes to GPA calculations and the new endorsement paths incoming freshman must choose.

The meeting is 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Boyd High School cafetorium. Eighth graders and their parents are encouraged to attend.

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Decatur finishes 4th at Robson Ranch

The Decatur Eagles finished fourth Monday at the Fossil Ridge Invitational at Robson Ranch.

The Decatur squad fired a 346. Prince of Peace won the tournament with a 319.

Drew Jones finished fourth with a round of 78. Bryce Elder shot 86, Cade Lamirand 89, Hayden Bennett 93, and Charlie Shannon 95.

Lawson Harris fired a 93, playing as an individual. Dawson Thompson hit 103.

Bridgeport took fifth with a 362.

Brayden Garrett and Brazier Talley shot 89s. Ty Reed hit 90, Blake Boyd 94, and Austin Lennard 112.

Decatur and Bridgeport will start the District 9-3A tournament April 2 at Tanglewood Golf Resort in Pottsboro. The tournament will conclude April 7 at Turtle Hill Golf Course in Muenster.

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