WCMessenger.com http://www.wcmessenger.com Wise County Messenger Online Edition Sun, 01 Feb 2015 07:07:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Five injured in head-on collision on FM 51 http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/update/five-injured-in-head-on-collision-on-fm-51/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/update/five-injured-in-head-on-collision-on-fm-51/#comments Sun, 01 Feb 2015 07:01:06 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86660 _JDS4892_JDS4848By Richard Greene
rgreene@wcmessenger.com
Five men were transported by ambulance to area hospitals following a violent head-on collision on Farm Road 51 near County Road 2320 between Decatur and Slidell Saturday night.
Dylan Lamoreaux, 21, of Weatherford and an unknown male passenger were taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth with what Department of Public Safety Trooper Beau Bridgeman agreed were serious injuries.
Guy Matlock, 69, of Weatherford; his son, Randall Matlock, 33, of Weatherford; and Jacob Byrd, 25, of Azle were taken to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur. Bridgeman said they were believed to be in stable condition.
Guy Matlock was driving a white Saturn SUV northbound on FM 51 shortly before 9:30 p.m. when it was struck by the southbound Kia passenger car driven by Lamoreaux in the northbound lane.
“The Kia was on the wrong side of the road,” Bridgeman said.
The SUV with the Matlocks and Byrd in it came to rest in the northbound ditch. Lamoreaux’ car stayed in the roadway after the collision.
Firefighters from Decatur and Slidell/Greenwood extricated the men from the vehicles in a steady rain. Multiple ambulances transported the patients from the scene.
The wreck closed FM 51 until midnight as crews cleaned up the site and troopers conducted their investigation.

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K-9 officer, suspect killed in shooting http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/k-9-officer-suspect-killed-in-shooting/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/k-9-officer-suspect-killed-in-shooting/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 21:33:02 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86655 Pepper may have only served the Wise County Sheriff’s Office for a few weeks, but his actions Wednesday are being credited for saving the lives of up to five officers.

Unfortunately, it cost him his life.

Wise County Deputy K-9 Pepper

Pepper, a K-9 officer with the department, was shot and killed by the very suspect he had tracked deep into a heavily-wooded area near the intersection of Pickett Run Road and Aujla Road near Sunset in Montague County. Officers returned fire, killing the suspect, Alan Lance Alverson, 45, of Granbury.

Among the officers Pepper possibly saved were two dog handler officers at the Wise County Sheriff’s Office, including Sgt. JT Manoushagian, and three local Texas Department of Public Safety troopers.

Wise County Sheriff David Walker said Montague County officers attempted to stop Alverson, a former Alvord resident who had outstanding warrants from both Wise and Tarrant counties, in Bowie Wednesday afternoon. Alverson fled south, eventually turning onto Pickett Run Road just north of the Wise/Montague county line. He jumped out of his car and ran into the woods to hide from officers. They had been warned that Alverson was seen with a gun.

Sheriff’s deputies who were already headed to the area to assist with the pursuit quickly went to the location where Alverson had entered the woods. Pepper, a tracking and apprehension K-9 officer, used Alverson’s scent to track him.

Alan Lance Alverson

Walker said Pepper did exactly as he was trained to do and quickly brought officers to Alverson, who was attempting to hide under a pile of leaves.

“The suspect was flushed out of the leaves, raised up, refused the commands of the officers to raise his hands and give up, pulled his hands up out of the leaves and started firing on the officers and our K-9,” Walker said.

Pepper, who was likely the closest to Alverson while still on his leash, was fatally struck with a bullet. No other officers were hit.

Walker said his department is always looking at ways to make the community safer, and Pepper’s actions were a good example.

“Many people have said within the department, along with myself, that Pepper actually could be credited with saving five officers’ lives, DPS included. He did exactly as he was supposed to do,” Walker said.

Texas Rangers responded to the scene to investigate. Alverson, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was sent to the Dallas County Medical Examiners Office for an autopsy. Pepper was taken to Texas A&M for a necropsy.

A local citizen agreed to fly Pepper to Texas A&M along with his handlers. The sheriff’s office contacted the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office, and they met the Wise County officers at the airport with a full honor guard to escort Pepper to the veterinarian clinic. The honor guard stayed by his side from the time of the necropsy to the time Pepper was cremated Friday.

The two Wise County officers involved in the shooting were placed on paid administrative leave, per department protocol, Walker explained.

“Emotionally, it’s two different things. Anyone who takes someone else’s life or is involved in that, you’ve got that end of it. And then you’ve got your partner who has been killed in the line of duty,” Walker said.

Counselors will be available for the officers and their families.

Heroes Honor

HERO’S HONOR – Yvonne Jasper of Decatur visits a memorial set up in front of the Wise County Sheriff’s Office Friday honoring Pepper. Flowers and notes were left on the hood of the K-9 vehicle. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

It takes an emotional toll on the sheriff’s office family as well. Walker said Pepper would wander through the building to visit employees. On Friday, several wiped away tears after visiting a memorial that had been set up in Pepper’s honor in front of the sheriff’s office. As of Friday afternoon, dozens of bouquets of flowers, notes, toy dogs and even a rawhide bone had been left on the hood of the K-9 officer vehicle. It also features a photo of Pepper in the window, along with a note for his end of watch on Jan. 28, 2015.

Wise County Sheriff’s employees will have more than just each other to lean on for support. Walker said he has been amazed not only by the response of the local community, but also by the outpouring of support from across the country.

“I’ve been printing every email I get for our handlers. I’ve got emails from all over the country, one from Australia, the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s office sent us an email. People have called. People have been supportive, not just of Pepper, but the entire department,” he said.

Walker added that the support his department has received is the same as if a human officer had been killed in the line of duty.

And next week, Pepper will be given the final honors that any officer killed in the line of duty would receive. A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. Wednesday at Grace Fellowship Church in Paradise. Pepper’s remains will be brought from Texas A&M by the honor guard.

Walker said the confrontation that led to the death of the K-9 officer and a suspect was completely avoidable.

“It didn’t have to happen, if Alverson had just pulled over when he was supposed to. It’s senseless,” he said.

Losing the K-9 officer is a loss for the department, but Walker knows it could have been a lot worse.

“We’re all sad that we lost Pepper, but in the same breath, we are counting our blessings that we have not only my employees that are still here to see their families, but we are thankful that the troopers are still here,” he said.

Alverson had warrants for violation of probation for assault out of Wise County and possession of a controlled substance 4-200 grams out of Tarrant County. According to a sheriff’s office press release, Alverson has been arrested 23 times dating back to 1990 with charges that include escape from custody, carrying a prohibited weapon and drug possession.

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Back in the saddle: Recovered from a brutal accident, rider sets sights on Oklahoma competition http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/back-in-the-saddle-recovered-from-a-brutal-accident-rider-sets-sights-on-oklahoma-competition/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/back-in-the-saddle-recovered-from-a-brutal-accident-rider-sets-sights-on-oklahoma-competition/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 21:30:43 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86650 Ask any parent who lets their child participate in sports, and they’ll tell you their biggest fear is seeing their child get hurt.

DAILY REMINDER – Dane Lancaster wears a “Rising Stars” rodeo bracelet on his left wrist every day as a reminder of his goal: to be ready for roping competition by Thanksgiving. He’s practicing for that goal by slowly re-learning his riding techniques with his horse, Biscuit. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

For Diran and Kellie Lancaster of Bowie, that fear became a reality last year when their 12-year-old son, Dane, was critically injured at the Future Stars Roping competition in Shawnee, Okla.

“We were calf roping, and when Dane came out of the box, his horse tripped over the rope and swung out to the right and flipped over,” Kellie said, the memory filling her eyes with tears. “And then Dane got trampled underneath.”

What followed was a blur of ambulance rides, hospitals and cautious prognoses for the family. Dane was flown to the Intensive Care Unit at the University of Oklahoma’s trauma care center with skull and traumatic brain injuries.

“For about a week, there was a lot of uncertainty, but Diran and I just refused to believe that he was going to be taken away,” Kellie said. “And Dane doesn’t remember most of it, which I’m glad for.”

Dane spent six days on a ventilator at OU and another eight days at the hospital after that. At one point his entire left side was paralyzed and he couldn’t speak.

“The doctors called it a ‘neurological storm,’ basically where his nervous system gets so agitated and traumatized that it just doesn’t function properly,” Kellie said, struggling to finish the sentence.

After about two weeks in the hospital, Dane was transferred to Baylor Childrens’ House for rehabilitation. The entire process was marked by doctors who tried to ease Diran and Kellie into what might happen to their son.

“We were told everything from, ‘His left side will be paralyzed forever’ to ‘His speech will always be difficult, if he ever speaks again,'” Diran said. “One doctor told us we needed to start considering what nursing facility we would want to put Dane in.”

“I fired her,” said Kellie, who runs a chiropractic clinic with her husband. “We dealt with that from the get-go.

“When we first arrived at the ICU the day it happened, the doctors would try to temper our expectations. That’s when Diran stopped him and said, ‘I just want to tell you – I have no faith in man or medicine. God’s going to heal my child.'”

Get on the Horse

GET ON THE HORSE, TAKE OFF THE HAT – Since his accident last year, Dane Lancaster wears a helmet every time he rides a horse. His father, Diran, helps adjust the straps. Dane even recorded a video PSA about the necessity of wearing helmets in equestrian sports. View it at www.facebook.com/prayersfordane. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

DRIVEN TO SUCCEED

Whether the credit goes to God, doctors or a combination of the two, the bottom line is that Dane is healed today and back in the stock show arena.

Stories of his determination abound. There’s the time when, before his accident, he let two calves get away in a roping competition. That night, Diran said, Dane stayed up on their back porch in his pajamas, roping a dummy.

“He said, ‘I’m not missing two calves again,'” Diran recalled.

Or there’s the story of how Dane refused to use the wheelchair or the handicapped sticker he was sent home from the hospital with, because he didn’t want to be coddled as a handicapped person.

“This is nothing but a setback to him – he just sees it all as motivation,” Diran said.

CALM, COOL AND COLLECTED – Dane takes his horse, Biscuit, for a light trot Thursday morning. He is eager to get back in the rodeo arena. “I know when he goes back out there for real, he’s just going to be as calm as ever and not think twice about it, but I’m probably going to be a nervous wreck,” his father Diran said. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Dane was released from the hospital in August, and his recovery process has been one day at a time.

On the day I visit him and his family, he’s at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo preparing to show his Hereford heifer, Happy. He’s wearing the standard cowboy uniform – black cowboy hat, black shirt tucked into his blue jeans, with boots.

He also wears an orange wristband from the Rising Star roping competition – the next step after the Future Star competition. It’s his reminder of why he competes in the first place.

“That’s always been the goal,” he said.

His speech is deliberate and assured. Talking to him, you wouldn’t know that just six months ago, he had trouble forming words.

“The day they told us he wouldn’t be able to talk again, I just sat up all night praying, hoping that it wouldn’t be true,” Diran said.

The very next day, at physical therapy, Dane spoke his first word since his accident – “brown,” the color of his horse, Rudy – and from then on, his recovery snowballed. He stopped eating through a feeding tube and started walking, jumping and exercising.

Vision is the only thing he struggles with now, and he’s working on that.

He’s shown Happy in another competition before the Fort Worth show. But his goal has always been to get back to roping.

The wristband reminds him of that.

“We made probably about 140 trips back and forth from Bowie to Dallas for physical therapy, but it was worth it to see him improve so much,” Diran said.

Last Thanksgiving, Dane was invited to the Rising Star competition in Duncan, Okla., to be recognized. He told his dad he wanted to go back as a competitor this Thanksgiving. When he was recognized, the event organizers tried to get him to rope a cow dummy, but Dane told them no.

“He said if he was coming back, he was going to rope for good,” Diran said. “He’s very driven.”

The Lancasters are no stranger to athletics. Diran was a football player at Texas Tech and an Olympic weight lifter; Kellie did ballet. Dane won a powerlifting championship under his father’s tutelage at the age of 7. His older brother, Pierce, also powerlifted with their dad and plays high school sports.

Competition is in this family’s blood. That tenacity, as well as their faith, sustained them throughout this ordeal.

“He just loves life, and it’s a humbling place to be his mom, because I really know that God has a plan for him, and I’ve just got this backseat view of the show. He’s the most confident, at ease, I’m-gonna-do-it kind of kid I’ve ever met in my life.”

Dane has been working on roping with his left hand, another skill he can add to his repertoire. His drive to succeed is apparent, especially by the way his eyes light up when he talks about roping.

“That’s what I want to do when I grow up, is to rope professionally,” he said. “Bull riding just seems kind of crazy to me.”

Dane also wants to impact future safety measures in the arena. Since the accident, he hasn’t roped without a helmet on his head, something that sets him apart from other ropers.

“Our saying now is ‘Get on the horse, take off the hat,'” Dane said. “The hat is mostly what people think of when they think of a cowboy, but I always wear my helmet.”

Kellie said she didn’t think twice when Dane said he wanted to ride again.

“Other moms will ask me if I would let him back on a horse after all this, and my answer to that is, ‘How do you deny someone what they were born to do?’ He wears a helmet, sure, but he’s back out there,” Kellie said.

SUNDAY’S COMING

Both Diran and Kellie said their faith was the biggest thing that got them through the ordeal.

“The big phrase we kept repeating throughout all of this was ‘Sunday’s Coming,'” Diran said. The phrase comes from something his father used to say when Diran was younger. “If something bad was going on, he’d say,’ Oh, it’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming,’ in reference to Jesus being crucified on Friday and it was a bad, dark day, but He knew He was coming back on Sunday.”

They weren’t alone in their praying, either – a “Prayers for Dane Lancaster” Facebook page that Kellie updates daily with Dane’s progress currently has more than 100,000 followers.

People from all over have now been exposed to Dane’s story.

“At one point, there were more than 70 men in the ICU kneeling and praying for my son, and they didn’t have to, but they did,” Kellie said. “It was amazing. And you know, you aways see on the news, all of the bad stuff in the world, shock and awe and all that.

“But if you want to believe there’s good people in the world, take a look at the rodeo family,” she said. “It’s been an amazing, humbling journey. We’re very blessed and very humbled.”

As for Dane, he is just happy to be alive and able to continue participating in the sport he loves.

“It makes me feel a little different,” was all he said about the media attention.

He doesn’t let the attention get to him – or if it does, it doesn’t show. He stays focused on his roping competition in November.

“It takes a lot of practice, and I still make sure I practice every day,” he said.

Watching his son practice his riding technique later in the week, Diran tells me one more story about Dane.

“He’s created this scenario in his head for when he’s older,” he says. “It’s the final round of the NFR Championships, and for some reason his right hand has been injured and he’s forced to rope with his left. And then he comes back and wins the championship because he learned to rope with his left hand as a result of his injury.

“So that’s his vision.”

The day when Dane wins a championship might come sooner than he thinks.

It might even be on a Sunday.

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Drug charge nets 20 years http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/drug-charge-nets-20-years/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/drug-charge-nets-20-years/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 21:28:22 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86645 Scott Burdine of Runaway Bay was sentenced to 20 years in prison at a hearing Thursday in 271st District Court in Decatur.

The 38-year-old was found guilty of possession of a controlled substance 4-200 grams by a Wise County jury Jan. 7. Burdine elected to have the court determine his punishment.

Thursday afternoon, Burdine sat in his black-and-white striped jail clothes, his hands and feet in chains, during the brief sentencing portion of the trial in front of District Judge John Fostel.

Assistant District Attorney Jay Lapham presented evidence of Burdine’s previous felony convictions, which include possession of a controlled substance 4-200 grams with intent to deliver on Jan. 7, 2008, in Wise County and another drug conviction July 1, 2008, in Johnson County. Burdine was also convicted of burglary of a building Jan. 25, 2011, in Wise County.

Because of the previous felony convictions, Burdine’s second degree charge was upgraded to a first degree felony, with a punishment range of up to 99 years in prison.

His attorney, Paul Belew, argued that Burdine has been using methamphetamine since he was 16 years old and needs help rather than a lengthy jail sentence.

“All of Mr. Burdine’s crimes stemmed from drug abuse,” Belew said. “This may be a wakeup call, and he’s asking the court for help.”

Lapham argued that Burdine has received drug treatment while in prison for the previous drug conviction and went back to using drugs after he got out of prison. He also pointed to the amount of drugs and other drug-related evidence collected at Burdine’s arrest in October of 2013.

“He’s guilty of possession of over 7 grams of methamphetamine,” Lapham said. “That’s more than recreational use. … He’s a dealer.”

Lapham asked for a minimum of 20 years – the maximum for a second degree felony.

Burdine was arrested during a traffic stop near the intersection of Farm Roads 2265 and 1655 near Alvord. During the guilt/innocence phase of the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Wise County sheriff’s officers found drug paraphernalia in the vehicle Burdine was driving and also located drugs on the ground nearby that officers believe had been thrown from the vehicle.

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Decatur School Board revises bond packages http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/decatur-school-board-revises-bond-packages/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/decatur-school-board-revises-bond-packages/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 21:27:44 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86643 Decatur school trustees whittled on possible bond packages Wednesday night until they had cut $2.6 million from previously discussed totals.

They walked into this week’s meeting with two potential propositions valued at $16,086,925 and left at 11 p.m. with two valued at $13,488,500.

“I’m hopeful that everyone can support the way we put it together,” said President Kevin Haney, addressing fellow board members. “I want everyone comfortable with how we’re packaging it.”

Earlier discussions about a bond focused on dividing it into three different packages, but at the last meeting Superintendent Rod Townsend suggested to the board that they consider just one package or two, at the most.

He presented a two-package option at this week’s meeting to kick off the discussion.

At the end of the night the consensus was to move forward with a $10 million package that includes $3.5 million for facilities, $2.7 million for transportation, $2.8 million for technology and $900,000 for security.

They also agreed that package two would have only one item – a multipurpose indoor practice facility with an estimated pricetag of $3.5 million.

They arrived at the final numbers after a lengthy discussion, the bulk of which revolved around turf at Eagle Stadium. Eventually that item was removed from the bond entirely, along with turf at the high school practice field, with the understanding that it could be installed at some point in the future using construction funds.

Early in the discussion, one of Haney’s arguments for turf was that it would eliminate the need for $810,000 in improvements at three other district locations. Those improvements wouldn’t be needed because the teams that use those facilities could use Eagle Stadium instead.

He said the installation of turf would happen eventually, “if for no other reason than water is getting scarce.

“How long are we going to water this field?” he said.

Board member Diana Mosley said she felt they were “pushing it with turf.” She explained that she was concerned some voters might reject the bond because of turf and in turn, prevent the district from being able to address other needs.

“I think we’ll be at risk of not getting the buses we need for our students,” she said. “I think there will be people concerned about how this is packaged.”

Board secretary Jeff Elder said turf at Eagle Stadium would save work at the Thompson Street field, and he felt like it would be the most bang for their buck.

At a certain point, bond advisor Jeff Robert of First Southwest suggested that something deemed controversial, like turf, could be pulled out of the bond and possibly done later with regularly budgeted construction funds. It was an idea most board members seemed to like, and they began reconfiguring the packages with that in mind.

In addition to turf, several other items were removed from the bond. Those include:

  • press box at Eagle Stadium
  • band bleachers at Eagle Stadium
  • tennis court concession stand and restrooms
  • extra work at the sixth grade campus, including a practice field, irrigation and bleachers
  • track fencing and parking lot at the high school
  • restrooms at the Thomas Street field
  • repaving at McCarroll Middle School and work on other parking lots

Townsend said any or all of these projects could be done independently of the bond with construction funds, but he said if the bond does not pass, those funds would likely be used to address the more critical transportation and security issues.

The board made a tentative plan to meet sometime next week to call the bond election. They have until Feb. 27 to do so.

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Decatur City Council makes board appointments http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/decatur-city-council-makes-board-appointments/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/decatur-city-council-makes-board-appointments/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 21:27:03 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86641 The Decatur City Council had more to do in their pre-meeting work session Monday than they did once the regular meeting started.

The work session included year-end reports on the airport, civic center, library, Main Street program, police department and human resources departments (see below).

The actual meeting saw the reappointment of Gary Cocanougher to place 9 and the appointment of Jeff Sicking to place 7 on the Decatur Hospital Authority board of directors.

Sicking is a new appointee, replacing Jay Bearden, who recently stepped down from the board.

The council also approved Mike Bowers’ request to close streets along the route of a 5K and kids 1-mile fun run event to be held Saturday, April 4, sponsored by Fit-N-Wise.

They did not make an appointment to the Wise County Appraisal District board of directors.

Afterward, Mayor Martin Woodruff called a workshop on the city’s proposed new zoning ordinance, asking councilmembers if anyone had a question or a suggestion after having a couple of weeks to look at it.

None did, so the ordinance will go as is into a series of public hearings scheduled in March. Barring any major hiccups, it should be approved at the council’s final March meeting.

ANNUAL REPORTS

Annual reports from several departments gave the council a snapshot of how things went during 2014.

DECATUR MUNICIPAL AIRPORT

Airport Director Brad Burnett reviewed the highlights, which included:

  • 52 aircraft and one helicopter are based at the airport;
  • there are 48 open, closed and privately-owned hangars;
  • TxDOT estimates the airport saw more than 14,000 takeoffs and landings in 2014;
  • the airport generates approximately 45 full-time jobs;
  • fencing and crack-sealing projects were completed in 2014, along with updating hangar leases and signage;
  • fixed-base operator (FBO) Decatur Jet Center sold 17,365 gallons of aviation gas in 2014, up 4 percent from last year;
  • they sold 13,868 gallons of jet fuel, down 9.4 percent from the previous year;
  • airport revenues made up 60 percent of expenses during the year, with some state money still coming for ramp expenses;
  • Burnett said in 2015 he hopes to get a newer courtesy vehicle; install PAPI (precision approach path indicator) lights for south-to-north landing as an added safety factor (they already have them for north-to-south landing); bury power lines directly south of the runway; upgrade the airport’s minimum standards; and finish cyclone fencing the airport perimeter next to public roadways.

He also plans to get fuel tanks cleaned within the next two or three years.

A major runway rehab project that will include a complete lighting replacement and the construction of 12 new T-hangars on the north end of the airport will enter the planning stage in 2016 and begin construction in 2017. The $1.3 million project will qualify for a 90 percent grant from TxDOT.

DECATUR CIVIC CENTER

Civic Center Director Lori Sherwood reported the facility brought in $615,043 in 2014, up 8.5 percent over 2013. May, with $84,155 in bookings, was the biggest month, followed by December, with $82,057.

Sherwood hit the highlights of major events hosted at the Center, including political events, brunches, weddings and chamber events. More than 3,200 people attended events there in December.

She said weekends are booked through August, and December is already fully booked.

DECATUR PUBLIC LIBRARY

Library Director Patricia Peters reviewed programs and attendance for the council, including:

  • 108,455 items checked out;
  • 10,670 research questions answered;
  • 9.244 people who attended programs;
  • 8,442 hours of Internet/computer use; and
  • 1,333 people who used the library’s database.

The library added 4,689 new items to its collection during 2014, including books, audiobooks, DVDs, downloadable audiobooks and ebooks. That brought the library’s collection to 66,196 items available to the public.

DECATUR MAIN STREET PROGRAM

Main Street Director Frieda Haley presented photos of projects that took place in the designated area over the past year, as well as flyers and a calendar of events the program has hosted.

DECATUR POLICE DEPARTMENT

Police Chief Rex Hoskins reported on yearly activity including:

  • 8,314 citations, up from 7,921 in 2013;
  • 2,454 warnings, up from 1,957 last year;
  • 374 accidents worked, up from 321 last year.

The Decatur police made 698 arrests in 2014, down slightly from 765 last year. Public intoxication, drug offenses and driving while intoxicated (DWI) were the biggest categories.

As far as crimes reported, the Decatur PD investigated 194 thefts, 43 assaults, 11 burglaries and 6 motor vehicle thefts. Out of $592,893 in property stolen, only $71,339 was recovered.

The Human Resources Department reported the city has 112 full-time and 14 part-time employees. Changing to a different health insurance carrier was a big item in 2014, along with training, counseling and other functions.

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Rue receives extension, praise http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/rue-receives-extension-praise/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/rue-receives-extension-praise/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 21:25:05 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86637 Karen Rue will head Northwest ISD at least through June 2019.

Trustees Thursday night approved a contract extension for the superintendent, who has been with the district since July 2005.

Karen Rue

Karen Rue

Several offered glowing remarks about Rue.

“I want to sincerely thank you for your caring and energy,” said trustee Devonna Holland. “You work so tirelessly for the students, and we’re so much better for it.”

Mark Schluter added: “We are a team of eight, and you are the head of the team,”

Rue expressed gratitude to the trustees along with thanking her staff.

“It’s a joy to be part of this team,” Rue said. “It’d be difficult not to have an outstanding system with such a talented team.”

Trustees did not address compensation. Last June, Rue received a 3-percent increase as did other Northwest ISD employees. Her annual base salary, starting July 1, was $258,708.

Rue last year was named the Education Service Center Region 11’s Superintendent of the Year. In November, she was picked for the first National Connected Superintendents Summit at the White House.

Before joining Northwest, Rue served as the superintendent at Tuloso-Midway ISD and executive director of Katy ISD.

In her tenure at Northwest, the district has been one of the fastest growing in Texas, adding more than 1,400 students in recent years. The district will open a third high school next fall – V.R. Eaton. It is the second high school to open since she has been on board.

Northwest ISD voters have approved three bond packages since she joined the district in 2005, totaling $739 million.

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Alvord School Board reviews strong Academic Performance Report http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/alvord-school-board-reviews-strong-academic-performance-report/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/alvord-school-board-reviews-strong-academic-performance-report/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 21:24:33 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86635 The Alvord school board didn’t have a lot on their agenda for a 5 p.m. Thursday meeting.

Training videos on the Texas Open Meetings Act and the Texas Open Records Act took up most of the board’s time in the hour-long meeting – but before going to the movies, they reviewed the district’s 2013-2014 Academic Performance Report.

The report is a summary of test results given during the previous school year, comparing Alvord’s students to others in Region 11 as well as statewide.

The grade is now just “Met Standard” – but Alvord students outperformed both the region and the state in most categories.

“There are a couple of instances where we have some work to do,” Superintendent Bill Branum told the board, citing fourth grade math and eighth grade science.

“Other than that, if you compare what our kids did against region and state, you can see why I’m proud of our kids and proud of our teachers,” he said. “They stacked up, stood up and did a good job.”

Compared to the 75 or so other districts in Region 11, Alvord’s scores were consistently equal or higher. And scores from the North Texas region were generally better than state averages.

But Branum said the report is used as a tool, not a vehicle for self-congratulation.

“In fourth grade math, we have some work to do,” he said. “Those are our current fifth graders.

“That’s why we study this data, and apply it kid-by-kid. We give kids extra practice in the subjects they’re not as strong in, and teachers monitor it year-to-year to make sure we’re closing those gaps we identified the year before.”

The report compares last year’s scores to the previous year, in most cases showing progress from year to year.

“Rather than looking at the overall scores and just patting ourselves on the back, what we really concentrate on is plugging holes for the kids who didn’t do what we want them to do,” Branum said. “In that, you can see we’re very successful.

“Following the kids through the system is really how you know the effectiveness of your educational program.”

Data in the report also shows Alvord’s SAT and ACT test scores are at or above the desired levels, demonstrating college readiness.

Alvord School Board

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Book Blowout raises money for new library building http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/book-blowout-raises-money-for-new-library-building/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/book-blowout-raises-money-for-new-library-building/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 21:19:18 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86632 ”The Old Man and the Sea.” “Emma,” “The Da Vinci Code,” “The Sixth Sense” on VHS. The original “Jungle Book” series. Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries. An “SNL” Trivial Pursuit game. Old typewriters and scanners.

Items like this and many more are available to own at the Rhome Public Library, which has an entire garage full of books and other library resources available for purchase during the library’s “Book Blow-Out” going on through the end of March.

Patrons can buy hardcover books for donations of $1 or paperback books for 50 cents. The event is designed to free up space in the library and to raise money for a new building on Main Street.

“Our building is too small, and we have to get rid of a lot of books that we just don’t have room for anymore,” said library board member Janice Wilson.

Wilson said it will cost the library about $500,000 for a new, 4,000-square-foot building and parking lot. She added that the board voted to temporarily name the new building after whoever donates the most money.

Other upcoming events at the library include:

  • a President’s Day program, 2 to 3 p.m. Monday, Feb. 16, for third, fourth and fifth graders, and
  • Story Time programs, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. every first and third Wednesday, February through May, for preschool-age children.

To register to attend these events or to donate to the Rhome library building fund, call Wilson at 940-577-2266 or the library at 817-636-2767.

You can also bring donations to the library.

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Turner to lead Eaton Eagles; Former Springtown coach heads to new school http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/turner-to-lead-eaton-eagles-former-springtown-coach-heads-to-new-school/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/turner-to-lead-eaton-eagles-former-springtown-coach-heads-to-new-school/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 21:18:39 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86630 After 26 years of coaching, including 17 as a head football coach, Brad Turner will take on the task of building a program from the ground up.

Brad Turner

Turner, who served as an assistant last season at Graham and was previously the head football coach at Springtown, was named Thursday as the first football coach and campus athletic coordinator for V.R. Eaton High School in Northwest ISD.

The school will open this fall.

“Starting a new school at the highest level is the ultimate challenge,” Turner said. “I’ve always wanted to start a new school. I look forward to building a program brick by brick.”

Turner was one of several staff members named for the new campus this week. Diane Wilson was hired as Eaton’s first volleyball coach.

Turner will arrive at Eaton with a career record of 106-81 after stops at Lone Oak, Sulphur Springs, and Springtown. His squads have made the playoffs 13 times.

Northwest ISD Executive Athletic Director Susan Elza said after interviewing seven candidates, Turner was picked for his experience in building programs at his previous jobs.

“All along, he had his sights set on Eaton High School,” Elza said. “There’s no doubt that he’s prepared and has a solid plan to make a successful program.”

Turner said he planned to be at Northwest Friday morning to start building a staff.

“Knowing this was a possibility, I’ve got ideas in mind,” he said about staffing.

Next fall, Eaton will field junior varsity and freshman football teams. The first Eagles varsity squad will take the field in 2016 after the University Interscholastic League’s biennial realignment.

“The first thing we need to do is establish expectations and a brand for the Eaton Eagles,” Turner said. “We want to get better every day.

“Everything you do is new,” he added. “You don’t have to worry about what’s been done before. You have the opportunity to build from the ground up.”

As the campus athletic coordinator, Elza said Turner will have input on the rest of the athletics staffing as well.

Wilson will join Turner in building a first-year program in the fall as Eaton’s first volleyball coach. Wilson, who spent last season at Arlington Bowie, was at Grapevine from 1996-2014. Her teams have been to the playoffs 14 times and captured four district titles.

“It’s a new challenge and something I’ve never gotten to do. Northwest is experienced in opening schools and has a good system in place to build a program quickly,” Wilson said.

Like football, Eaton will field subvarsity volleyball squads next fall.

“That will provide a lot of instructional time without the pressure of a district title or the playoffs,” Wilson said. “We can all mature together.”

Other Eaton staff members named this week included:

  • Tami Prevett as drill team director.
  • Jenn Randall as choir teacher.
  • Paul Elder as band director.
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Moncrief brings new program to Wise http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/moncrief-brings-new-program-to-wise/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/moncrief-brings-new-program-to-wise/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 21:17:48 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86627 Moncrief Cancer Center in Fort Worth will roll into town with its cancer survivorship program in the coming months.

Dr. Keith Argenbright, director of the Moncrief center, told county commissioners Monday that the program will help patients not only heal, but also get back to work and “do what it is that they’re doing and be part of the vibrant community here.

“We’ve gotten good at detecting cancer and treating cancer, but one of the things we’re not good about is getting people back to where they were … and that is really what cancer survivorship is all about,” he said.

Some of the services offered through the program include exercise therapy, nutritional counseling, psychotherapy and genetic study.

“We’re excited to announce that we’ll be able to bring these services to Wise County through a mobile program,” he said, noting that it’s much like the mobile breast cancer screening program that Moncrief already operates locally.

Argenbright said the mobile cancer survivorship program will come to Wise County for the first time in March.

PROPERTY CONFUSION

On Monday, commissioners approved a quit-claim deed of a portion of lot 7 in Delta Ranch Estates at the request of Precinct 2 Commissioner Kevin Burns.

Burns said the property is on County Road 1271. This type of deed is a legal document giving property to the county. The property was purchased by Richard Pietila, and as part of the deal, the seller insisted part of the county road be included in the sale.

Burns told the Messenger that Pietila paid for that section of road because the deal was contingent on it being included, even though it never really belonged to the seller.

But since Pietila was being charged taxes on that portion of the property, he wanted to “give it back” to the county.

Commissioners attorney Thomas Aaberg had not seen the deed before the meeting and asked to quickly review it before it was approved. He asked why the land needed to be given back to the county when it never really belonged to the landowner anyway.

Burns said it was a paperwork issue.

“The deed was transferred to him, but it really wasn’t hers to sell,” he told the Messenger later in the week. “The legal description was there, but it had already been dedicated to the county years ago.

“It’s a screw-up in the title office,” he said.

Burns said he didn’t know if the seller had been paying property taxes on it or not.

According to the commissioner, Pietila bought the property two years ago.

“This is just paperwork to clarify that the county owns it,” he said. “It just says he no longer claims it. It’s a unique situation where we already own the road.”

He said he thinks the county has been maintaining the road since 1971.

OTHER BUSINESS

Special Projects Manager Glenn Hughes said the search for a systems administrator is going well, and three finalists were to each be interviewed a second time this week.

County Judge J.D. Clark introduced new Wise County Elections Administrator Sabra Srader. Her first day on the job was Jan. 20.

He also presented interim Elections Administrator Jim Parker with a plaque for his service to the county.

Commissioners also:

  • approved seeking bids for inmate pharmacy services;
  • approved seeking bids on pre-coat rock;
  • approved the final plat of Burks One Addition, lots 1-6, in Precinct 4;
  • accepted a $1,000 donation from Sweetwater Cemetery to the Public Works Department;
  • accepted multiple pieces of furniture donated by Devon Energy to Wise County Sheriff’s Office; and
  • approved selling a GMC four-door pickup, a pneumatic roller and a pup trailer from Precinct 2, a pneumatic roller and welder from Precinct 3 and a belly dump trailer from Precinct 4.

—–

Commissioners’ next regular meeting is 9 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 10, in the third-floor conference room of the courthouse in Decatur.

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Hay blaze gives firefighters a full day http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/hay-blaze-gives-firefighters-a-full-day/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/hay-blaze-gives-firefighters-a-full-day/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 21:17:11 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86625 Firefighters from six different departments spent almost 12 hours Wednesday making sure a hay fire didn’t turn into a wildfire north of Chico.

Barn Damaged

BARN DAMAGED – A firefighter sprays water Wednesday on a burned area outside a barn on County Road 1650 just north of Chico. Square bales of hay stacked inside the barn caught fire from a welding spark, and it spread to the outside, igniting grass and round bales on a trailer. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Homeowner Will Robinson was welding inside his barn on County Road 1650 just before 11 a.m. when a spark caught in a stack of approximately 2,000 square bales of hay. As he worked to try and extinguish that fire, it spread under the barn’s north wall and ignited a grass fire outside the barn.

Caught in that blaze were several pieces of equipment and a trailer with about six round bales of hay stacked on it.

Once firefighters arrived at the scene just north of Chico, Robinson was able to hook up to a baler and hay rake parked in that area and drag them out of harm’s way. He suffered minor burns on one hand and was treated at the scene by Wise County EMS.

Bales Ablaze

BALES ABLAZE – Round bales of hay burn on a trailer after a fire spread from a nearby barn Wednesday. Firefighters worked most of the day to spread and extinguish the blazing hay. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The outside fire was knocked down fairly quickly, but with a little wind and warm, dry conditions, getting the hay to stop burning turned into an all-day exercise for firefighters from Chico, Bridgeport, Crafton, Alvord, Decatur and Runaway Bay.

“There were over 2,000 square bales inside the structure,” Wise County Deputy Fire Marshal J.C. Travis said. “Firefighters really couldn’t get to it because of the intense heat, so we brought in heavy equipment and literally dragged all that hay out into the pasture to the north of the building.”

Travis said firefighters created a firebreak around that area and back-burned inside it to keep the fire from spreading. He and Fire Marshal Chuck Beard were on the scene until around 9 p.m. as firefighters worked to get the blaze contained.

“With square bales being $6 to $7 a bale, we’re talking about $14,000 worth of hay and $40-$50,000 in damage to the barn,” Travis said.

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All-Wise Football: Peak Performers http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/all-wise-football-peak-performers/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/all-wise-football-peak-performers/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 21:08:35 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86621
Peak Performers

Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

MVP

Joe Randall

Joe Randall. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Joe Randall
Alvord, senior
The four-year starter for the Bulldogs fi nished his career with 4,643 yards rushing and 60 touchdowns. He rushed for 1,841 yards and 26 touchdowns as a senior, leading Alvord to the District 5-2A Division I title. He also had 75 tackles and two interceptions on defense.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Cole Vaughn

Cole Vaughan. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Cole Vaughan
Decatur, junior
The leader of the Decatur defense made plays from sideline to sideline. He fi nished with 118 tackles – 14 for losses – caused three fumbles and picked off two passes.

OFFENSIVE NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR

Keenan Holdman

Keenan Holdman. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Keenan Holdman
Bridgeport, junior
In his first season for the Bulls, Holdman turned into one of the area’s top playmakers. The 3-4A Division II Offensive Newcomer of the Year hauled in 76 passes for 1,069 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also rushed for 222 yards and four scores and an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Justin Meyers

Justin Myers. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Justin Myers
Decatur, senior
The dual-threat quarterback electrifi ed the Eagles in his lone year as a starter, throwing for 2,305 yards and 25 touchdowns with just eight interceptions. He added 1,313 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground.

ALL-PURPOSE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Emmanuel Moore

Emmanuel Moore. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Emmanuel Moore
Northwest, senior
No player made more big plays than the Texan receiver. He grabbed 93 passes for 1,291 yards and 19 touchdowns to earn a 6A all-state selection. He finished with 100 yards receiving in all seven District 5-6A games. Along with terrorizing secondaries at receiver, he was a dangerous return man. His 98-yard kickoff return spurred a Northwest comeback win in the season finale.

DEFENSIVE NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR

Abe Huerta

Abe Huerta. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Abe Huerta
Bridgeport, sophomore
The first-year safety was the second-leading tackler for the Bulls with 87 tackles. The District 3-4A Division II Defensive Newcomer of the Year picked off three passes and broke up another six.

OFFENSE

QUARTERBACK

LEADING THE WAY – Bridgeport quarterback Trey Cook guided the Bulls to the second round of the playoffs with 28 touchdown passes. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Trey Cook
Bridgeport, senior
The Bulls’ signal-caller threw for 28 touchdowns and 2,404 yards with only seven interceptions earning 3-4A first-team honors. He was also the area’s top punter, averaging 41 yards, landing 12 boots inside the 20-yard line.

Jesse Drummer
Northwest, senior
The Texans’ quarterback completed 65 percent of his attempts for 2,573 yards and 28 touchdowns, earning first-team 5-6A.

RUNNING BACKS

Tough to Stop

TOUGH TO STOP – Boyd junior Qualynn Wells rolled over defenders, running for 1,844 yards this past season. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Qualynn Wells
Boyd, junior
In his first season as Boyd’s feature back, the 4-3A Division I Offensive MVP rushed for 1,844 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Payton McAlister
Decatur, sophomore
The all-purpose back ran for 1,173 yards and 19 scores. He also caught 37 passes for 684 yards and 10 touchdowns, earning first-team 4-4A Division I.

Quentin Thorpe
Northwest, senior
The power back rushed for 1,241 yards and 18 touchdowns for the Texans, earning a second-team 5-6A spot.

WIDE RECEIVER

Syrus Moore
Northwest, sophomore
The first-year receiver provided the Texans with a second deep threat, hauling in 48 catches for 505 yards and five scores.

Ryan Durdon
Decatur, junior
Decatur’s leading receiver made 57 grabs for 900 yards, an average of 15.7 yards, with 10 touchdowns. He also had two interceptions as a defensive back.

Xavier Kyle
Boyd, junior
The first-team 4-3A Division I receiver had 43 receptions for 789 yards with six touchdowns.

Heath Walker
Alvord, senior
The Bulldogs’ deep threat made 25 catches for 503 yards with six scores, bringing balance to the Alvord power offense. His downfield blocking helped him earn first-team 5-2A Division I.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Jacob Hartsell
Decatur, senior
The all-district center dominated almost every player he faced. He graded out above 90 percent in every game with 33 pancakes and allowed just one sack.

Reece Jordan
Boyd, sophomore
The Yellowjackets’ center graded above 90 percent and helped set up an offense that averaged more than 390 yards.

Tyler Melton
Chico, junior
The Dragon lineman recorded 44 pancakes and finished with a 97 percent grade on the line, earning first-team 5-2A Division and honorable mention all-state.

Dustin Maclin
Northwest, senior
The Texans’ top lineman allowed only two sacks with 48 knockdowns and 26 pins, earning second-team 5-6A.

Evyn Beasley
Alvord, senior
The anchor of the Bulldogs’ offensive line graded out at 88 percent, opening holes for a running attack that averaged 220 yards.

Keaton Vawter
Bridgeport, senior
The first-team 3-4A Division II selection was the Bulls’ most consistent lineman and kept his quarterback clean in the pocket.

Cody McElhaney
Decatur, senior
The first-team 4-4A Division I tackle made 25 pancakes and allowed one sack on the season.

DEFENSE

DEFENSIVE END

Brett Martin
Alvord, senior
In his only season at defensive end, Martin was nearly unblockable for Alvord opponents. Using his speed on the outside, he recorded four sacks, 14 tackles for losses and caused three fumbles.

Sequoia Smith
Boyd, senior
The first-team 4-3A Division I pick made 53 tackles and four sacks from his spot on the edge for the Yellowjackets.

Seth Grammar
Paradise, sophomore
The Panther defensive end made 56 tackles and four sacks, earning a second-team 4-3A Division I selection.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

Chance Pierce
Bridgeport, junior
While drawing double-teams most of the year, Pierce recorded 63 tackles and two sacks. He also forced three fumbles, earning first-team 3-4A Division II.

Anthony Ortiz
Bridgeport, junior
The first-team 3-4A Division II nose guard created havoc at the line of scrimmage. He was in on 54 tackles with a sack, while freeing up the linebackers.

Felix Guerrero
Decatur, senior
The active lineman made nine tackles for losses and 58 total tackles along with four sacks.

LINEBACKER

Austin Cratty
Northwest, senior
The first-year starter made 64 tackles, five sacks, two stops for losses and forced two fumbles.

Hagen Davis
Chico, senior
The 5-2A Division I first-team linebacker was in on nearly every tackle for the Dragons, finishing with 163 – 24 for losses. He also picked off three passes.

Regi Lane
Bridgeport, sophomore
The Bulls’ leading tackler finished with 94. He also intercepted a pass, earning first-team 3-4A Division I honors.

Making a Stop

MAKING A STOP – Decatur’s Jacob Kevetter made 91 tackles and blocked two kicks. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Jacob Kevetter
Decatur, senior
The versatile linebacker helped in coverage for the Eagles, breaking up four passes, while also making 91 tackles – 13 for losses – and three sacks. He blocked two kicks.

Troy Morales
Alvord, senior
The 5-2A Division I Defensive MVP was a dominant, physical linebacker for the Bulldogs. He made 54 solo tackles with seven stops for losses and an interception.

Adam Harkness
Boyd, junior
In his first season in the middle of the Boyd defense, Harkness made 74 tackles and a sack and earned a first-team 4-3A Division I spot.

DEFENSIVE BACK

Jackson Basting
Boyd, senior
As one of the top cover corners in the area, Basting picked off three passes and made 39 tackles. He broke up another four passes to earn second-team 4-3A Division I.

Blanket Coverage

BLANKET COVERAGE – Paradise’s Darian Sotomi was one of the area’s top defensive backs, picking off a pair of passes. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Darian Sotomi
Paradise, junior
The Panther defensive back picked off two passes and stepped up to make 42 tackles, earning a second-team 4-3A Division I spot.

Tyler Norton
Northwest, senior
The Texans’ safety broke up four passes and made 80 tackles, earning a second-team 5-6A spot.

Savieon James
Northwest, junior
As the veteran in the Northwest secondary, the cornerback broke up five passes and made 25 tackles.

Carsen Medlin
Decatur, senior
The first-team 4-4A safety broke up five passes and caused a fumble. He returned a punt for a touchdown.

HONORABLE MENTION

Alvord: Cassidy Patterson

Boyd: Clay Barnett, Matt McConnell

Bridgeport: Bronson Burks, Tyler Raby, Brazier Talley

Chico: Kalan Johnson, Jericoe McGuire, Crese Redman

Decatur: Mason Baur, Matt Cedrone, Brandon Garza, Nolan Stone, Dakota Williams

Northwest: Cade McDonald

Paradise: Hunter Anthony, Tanner Edwards, Austin Hogan, Zach Wood

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Basketball: Muenster stops Lady Bulldogs – Alvord misses chance to pull even atop 11-2A http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-muenster-stops-lady-bulldogs-alvord-misses-chance-to-pull-even-atop-11-2a/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-muenster-stops-lady-bulldogs-alvord-misses-chance-to-pull-even-atop-11-2a/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 21:02:13 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86608 Shadowed by Muenster’s Kassie Dangelmayr, then later by Claire Schneider, Alvord’s Katie Claborn never found breathing room for an open shot Tuesday.

Kept Away

KEPT AWAY – Muenster’s Bailey Klement grabs a loose ball and keeps it from Alvord’s Paycee Edgett during the Lady Hornets’ 45-37 win Tuesday at Alvord High School gym. Muenster took a two-game lead on Alvord in the 11-2A standings. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The Lady Bulldogs’ leading scorer managed only six shot attempts and finished with one point against Lady Hornets.

“The way they were D’ing up on me was tough,” Claborn admitted. “They knew where I’m supposed to be. I was fighting hard to get open.”

LOOKING FOR SPACE – Alvord’s Cierra Rangel fights through a pair of Muenster defenders for a shot Tuesday in the Lady Bulldogs’ loss. Rangel led Alvord with 12 points. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

With Claborn under wraps, the Lady Bulldogs couldn’t find enough offense, falling to Muenster for the second time in District 11-2A, 45-37 at Alvord High School gym.

Muenster (20-6, 10-0) moved two games ahead of Alvord with four games to play.

“This was a big win for us,” said Muenster coach Griffin Fields. “We talked on Monday about getting a two-game lead. It gives us some wiggle room.”

Alvord (15-13) saw its six-game district winning streak snapped, falling to 8-2.

“We wanted this one bad. Our time will come,” said Alvord post Cierra Rangel. “We’ve got to keep working. We can’t stop.”

Denying Claborn the ball, Muenster forced the other Lady Bulldogs to step up and take shots on the perimeter. The strategy worked as Alvord went 2-for-22 from outside the 3-point arc.

“That was our game plan coming in,” Fields said. “If [Claborn] makes a few early, she can score 15 in a quarter quick. Our big focus was on her and Rangel.”

Without the ability to hit shots outside, the Lady Hornets collapsed inside on Rangel. She fought for 12 points to go along with eight rebounds.

Alvord’s other post, Brianna Ponder, added seven points.

“We’ve got two kids inside that can score. We just needed to make some shots outside,” said Alvord coach John Shelton. “Someone has to step up and hit a shot.”

Along with cold shooting, the Lady Bulldogs hurt themselves with turnovers, missed free throws and by losing the battle on the glass. Alvord turned the ball over 29 times and was outrebounded 35-28. Muenster grabbed eight offensive boards. The Lady Bulldogs also went 11-for-23 at the free-throw line.

“We lost it ourselves,” Ponder said. “We needed to hit free throws and something outside. We also worked all week on blocking out. We’re just not there yet.”

Muenster ended the first half on a 14-3 run, taking a 27-17 lead. Bailey Klement scored seven of her 12 points during the run.

Mady Burnett joined her in double figures with 12.

The Lady Hornets stretched the lead to 14, 31-17, on Katie Pagel’s putback just more than two minutes in the second half. Muenster led 36-23 going into the fourth.

Alvord started the final frame with a 9-0 run, pulling within four with Reagan Guthrie’s free throw with 5:18 left.

But after staying within four until the final two minutes, but could not hit a shot to draw closer. Muenster went 4-for-6 at the line down the stretch to preserve the win.

Alvord looked to rebound Friday, heading to Chico. The Lady Bulldogs face Collinsville Tuesday before ending 11-2A play against Era and Lindsay.

“We have to keep fighting and finish out strong,” Claborn said.

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Softball: Boyd pair inks with NCTC http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/softball-boyd-pair-inks-with-nctc/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/softball-boyd-pair-inks-with-nctc/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 20:51:37 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86604 For the past three years, Savannah Foster and Chandler Hammond helped power the Boyd Lady Yellowjackets’ potent offense.

The catcher and first baseman will stay together after high school. Foster and Hammond signed letters of intent Thursday to play at North Central Texas College in Gainesville.

Staying Together 1

STAYING TOGETHER – Boyd senior Chandler Hammond signed to play softball at North Central Texas College Thursday. Messenger photo by Richard Greene

Staying Together 2

STAYING TOGETHER – Boyd senior Savannah Foster signed to play softball at North Central Texas College Thursday. Messenger photo by Richard Greene

“It’s great. There’s two other girls we play select with that are also going there,” Hammond said.

Both Foster and Hammond head into their senior years at Boyd as three-year starters.

Foster, a three-time district defensive MVP, owned a .980 fielding percentage last season and threw out 11 of 14 base runners attempting to steal. She also picked off another six runners. At the plate, Foster hit .460 from the leadoff spot with 28 RBIs, two homers, six triple and 17 doubles on the way to earning Texas Girls Coaches Association all-state honors.

“She changes the way teams game plan offensively with what she does behind the plate,” said Boyd coach Brandon Hopkins. “At the plate, she can hit for power or lay down bunts and beat them out with her speed.

“If she was five or six inches taller, she’s be a Division I player.”

Foster talked with a few schools but felt NCTC was the right choice for her.

“When we played a tournament there last year I fell in love with it,” she said.

“This is like a dream come true. Since I was 8-years-old I wanted this. It’s too good to be true.”

Foster hopes to stay at catcher at NCTC but said she is willing to change spots.

“It doesn’t matter where I play. I’m blessed to have this opportunity.”

Hammond provided pop to the Boyd lineup from the left side. The first baseman drove in 35 runs and hit .443 with a home run.

“She’s got a great stick from the left side,” Hopkins said. “She hits to all parts of the field with lots of power.”

Hammond said she had her mind set on NCTC before receiving an offer.

“I like that it’s a small campus. I like the coach and the team,” she said.

Foster and Hammond both expressed relief to have their signing done before the Lady Yellowjackets start the season Feb. 19-21 at the Brock Tournament.

“It’s a big stress off our shoulders. It’ll make our senior year even more fun,” Foster said.

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Basketball: Lady Eagles blast Lake Worth http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-lady-eagles-blast-lake-worth/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-lady-eagles-blast-lake-worth/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 20:50:13 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86600 Decatur opened the game with a 12-1 run Tuesday and never looked back in a 58-15 win over Lake Worth.

The 8-4A-leading Lady Eagles (18-6) moved to 5-0 in the conference.

Decatur led 26-4 at halftime and then outscored Lake Worth 16-7 in the third quarter.

Macen Stripling led a trio of Lady Eagles in double figures with 24 points and five rebounds.

Makayla Mayfield chipped in 10 points with seven assists and five steals. Hannah Dunning scored 10 points with five boards. Jasmyne Tate put in eight points with four rebounds and three assists.

Decatur had an open date Friday. The Lady Eagles return to action Tuesday at Castleberry.

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Basketball: Lady Dragons torch Collinsville http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-lady-dragons-torch-collinsville/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-lady-dragons-torch-collinsville/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 20:49:39 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86598 The Chico Lady Dragons went on a 22-5 run in the second quarter Tuesday night and rolled to a 62-42 win over the Collinsville Lady Pirates.

Alli York finished with 21 points. Whitney Renfro added 18 and Cheyanne Hale eight.

Chico improved to 3-7 in District 11-2A.

The Lady Dragons jumped on Collinsville 18-9 in the first quarter and expanded their lead to 40-14 at halftime. Collinsville outscored Chico 25-22 after halftime but still fell way short.

Chico took on second-place Alvord Friday at home. It will face district leader Muenster Tuesday.

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Basketball: Dragons sink shots, Pirates http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-dragons-sink-shots-pirates/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-dragons-sink-shots-pirates/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 20:49:09 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86596 The Chico Dragons picked up their second win in District 11-2A Tuesday night, sinking Collinsville 47-40.

Chico closed the game with a 13-6 run to win the game that was tied at 34 entering the fourth quarter.

Chico moved to 2-6 in district.

Cameron Weatherly paced the Dragons with 17 points. Jonathan Nabors added 12 and Hagen Davis eight.

Chico pulled ahead 22-17 at halftime. Collinsville used a 17-12 spurt in the third to tie the game.

The Dragons looked for a second straight win at home Friday against rival Alvord. Chico faces the tall task of slowing down second-ranked and 11-2A leader Muenster Tuesday.

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Basketball: Indians top Paradise http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-indians-top-paradise/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-indians-top-paradise/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 20:48:36 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86594 The Nocona Indians snapped the Paradise Panthers’ four-game winning streak in District 9-3A Tuesday.

The league-leading Indians took down the Panthers 58-47.

Nocona improved to 7-1. Paradise fell to 4-4, fifth place in the district.

Paradise looked to rebound at home Friday against Bowie, who moved into second place with a win Tuesday. The Panthers face third-place Holliday on Tuesday.

HENRIETTA 58, BOYD 56

The Boyd Yellowjackets couldn’t rally past Henrietta Tuesday, falling 58-56.

The loss was the fifth straight for the Yellowjackets, who fell to 2-6 in 9-3A.

Henrietta took control of the fourth playoff spot in the district with the win, moving to 5-3.

Boyd hoped to end its skid Friday at Jacksboro.

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Basketball: Hounds fall short http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-hounds-fall-short/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-hounds-fall-short/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 20:47:59 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86592 The Slidell Greyhounds suffered their second straight loss Tuesday night.

Forestburg outlasted Slidell in overtime 66-64.

The Greyhounds fought back from a 13-point deficit to take the lead early in the fourth quarter. The game was tied at 51 at the end of regulation.

Forestburg outscored Slidell 15-13 in the extra period.

Forestburg hit eight 3-pointers in the game. The Longhorns led 34-27 at halftime.

Khristian Talamantes led Slidell with 24 points. Tyler Maynard had 22 points and 11 rebounds.

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