WCMessenger.com http://www.wcmessenger.com Wise County Messenger Online Edition Thu, 02 Jul 2015 20:27:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Thursday, July 2, 2015 http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/update/thursday-july-2-2015/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/update/thursday-july-2-2015/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 13:12:53 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=92676

1 KILLED, 1 INJURED IN HEAD-ON COLLISION – An Aurora resident was killed in a two-vehicle head-on collision on Farm Road 730 south of Decatur around 2:15 Thursday morning. Department of Public Safety Trooper Greg Reyero said a passenger car driven by Diane Davis, 69, was southbound on FM 730 when it entered the northbound lane and struck a pickup truck hauling a trailer just north of County Road 4374. Davis died at the scene. The pickup driver, Wesley Moss, 34, of Paradise was taken to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur. Wise County EMS, the Decatur Fire Department, Wise County Sheriff’s Department, Boyd police and Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Jan Morrow responded as well as DPS.

Royalty Rip Off2 INJURED IN WRECK – Two people were taken to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur Wednesday following a vehicle collision in south Wise County. Department of Public Safety Trooper Jeremy Pope said a passenger car driven by Lonny Cheney was turning southbound from Farm Road 2048 onto Farm Road 51 South near Boyd when he collided with a northbound SUV driven by Linsdsey Robison. Both vehicles sustained major damage, and Boyd Volunteer Fire Department and Wise County EMS responded. Cheney and Robison were both taken to the hospital. The accident happened around 8:40 a.m.

IT’S A WORLD RECORD – The Decatur Chamber of Commerce has received official notification from Guinness World Records that last year’s “Put Yo Money Where Yo Mouth Is” washer tournament at the Wise County Old Settlers Reunion was the largest ever recorded. Last year’s tournament drew 486 competitors.

CATCH THE PBR ACTION AGAIN – CBS Sports Network will re-air the two-hour Unfinished Business at 6 p.m. CT on Friday. The event will be shown again on CBS SN on Saturday at 9 p.m. and Sunday at midnight. The broadcast will present highlights of the J.W. Hart PBR Challenge BlueDEF Velocity Tour long round and full coverage of the championship round.

WIC OFFICE CLOSED – The Outreach Health Services-WIC office will be closed today in observance of Independence Day. The office will reopen 7 a.m. Monday. Call 940-627-5796 to schedule an appointment. For breastfeeding questions, call the 24-hour hotline at 1-800-687-1252.

PARKINSONS SUPPORT – The Parkinsons Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 7, at the home of Tommy and Pam Hudson. Call Pam at 940-389-0642 for directions. A speech therapist will be the guest speaker.

CITY OF BRIDGEPORT CLOSINGS - The City of Bridgeport offices and the Municipal Court will be closed on Friday in observance of Independence Day. The Bridgeport Library will be closed Friday and Saturday. The Bridgeport City pool will be open noon-5 p.m. Friday and noon-3 p.m. Saturday. Regular business hours will resume on Monday. If you need immediate non-emergency assistance, call 940-683-3430.

WARM CLOSING – Wise Area Relief Mission (WARM) will be closed Friday in observance of Independence Day.

COUNTY HOLIDAY CLOSINGS – Wise County Development Services will also close Friday. Wise County dumpsites (Boyd, Chico, Cottondale and Decatur locations) will close on Saturday.

BAKE SALE – A bake sale will be held 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday in front of Lowe’s Grocery Store in Chico. Proceeds will benefit the Chico Senior Citizens Center which sustained major damage from recent flooding.

4TH FEST – Runaway Bay’s annual 4th Fest is Saturday. The day’s activities will start with the Firecracker Scramble golf tournament at The Club at Runaway Bay. Registration is at 8:30 a.m. with tee off at 9. Cost is $75 per person. The patriotic-themed golf cart parade is at 5:30 p.m. Line-up begins at 5 at the city barn, and the parade will end at The Bay Church. Festivities at the church will include food, a bounce house, giant water slides, a novelty table, music and an honor guard. Fireworks over the lake will begin at dusk.

FIREWORKS OVER DECATUR – Victory Family Church, 400 U.S. 380 in Decatur, will hold its annual Fireworks over Decatur event Friday. The event will begin at 7 with food and bounce houses, and fireworks begin at dark.

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY – Due to the Independence Day holiday, no Update will be published Friday. Any breaking news will be published at WCMessenger.com throughout the weekend.

FUNERALS – Graveside service for Norman Keith Cox, 90, of Boyd is 10 a.m. Friday at Pleasant Grove No. 1 Cemetery in Decatur. Family visitation is 6-8 tonight at Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home Chapel in Decatur.

NO SERVICE is scheduled for Maxine Louise Mowell, 90, of Decatur. Coker-Hawkins is handling arrangements.

FUNERAL for Mattie Ruth Ezzell of Chico is 2 p.m. today at Hawkins Funeral Home Chapel in Bridgeport with burial at Chico Cemetery.

FUNERAL for Tommy Lee Ford, 65, of Spencer, Okla., is 10 a.m. Friday at Hawkins Chapel with burial at Jonestown Cemetery. Family visitation is 6-8 tonight at the funeral home.

VISITATION for Dr. Jerry Rowe, 63, of Paradise is 6-8 tonight at Hawkins-Bridgeport.

FUNERAL for Eleanor Burdick Kerr, 89, of Paradise is 2 p.m. Monday at Hawkins Chapel with burial at Paradise Cemetery. Family visitation is 6-8 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home.

MEMORIAL service for Flora Mae Shelton, 53, of Poolville is 2 p.m. Saturday at Grace Baptist Church in Decatur. Jones Family Funeral Home in Bridgeport is handling arrangements.

SERVICE for Charles Lee Hull Jr., 83, of Denton is pending at DeBerry Funeral Directors in Denton.

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1 killed in early morning accident http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/update/1-killed-in-early-morning-accident/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/update/1-killed-in-early-morning-accident/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 10:43:33 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=92674 A Wise County resident was killed in a two-vehicle head-on collision on Farm Road 730 south of Decatur around 2:15 Thursday morning. Department of Public Safety Trooper Greg Reyero said a passenger car was southbound on FM 730 when it entered the northbound lane and struck a pickup truck hauling a trailer. The car driver died at the scene. The pickup driver, Wesley Moss, 34, of Paradise was taken to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur. The car driver’s name is being withheld until notification of next of kin.

Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

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Driver given probation in manslaughter case http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/driver-given-probation-in-manslaughter-case/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/driver-given-probation-in-manslaughter-case/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:01:15 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=92668 The driver of a car who caused an accident that killed two motorcyclists and injured two more on Memorial Day in 2014 will not have to spend any more time in jail.

Sherrie Ann Rose, 37, of Weatherford pleaded guilty in 271st District Court in Decatur Monday afternoon to two counts of manslaughter and two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in exchange for five years deferred adjudication. Both charges are second degree felonies.

Her case was on the trial docket for next week.

The wreck happened the afternoon of May 25, 2014, on Farm Road 51 at the Wise/Denton County line. Rose was behind a vehicle traveling southbound around 50 mph in the 70 mph zone on FM 51 when she attempted to pass the vehicle in a no-passing zone.

Rose was traveling around 65 mph when she topped a hill in the northbound lane and collided with two northbound motorcycles.

The operator of the first motorcycle, Thomas Edward Garcia, 53, of Ardmore, Okla., and a passenger on his bike, Cassie Marlana Turner, 32, of Ardmore, were killed.

The operator of the second motorcycle, Dustin Bailey, 34, of Ardmore, and his passenger, Megan McCleary, 31, of Ringling, Okla., were flown to Medical Center of Plano.

A third motorcycle operator riding with the group avoided the collision.

Rose and her sister, Debra Crouch, 50, of Weatherford, were flown to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth, and Rose’s 8-year-old son, Jacob Perrine, was flown to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Rose said she had been visiting with family in Terlton, Okla., and had left earlier that day to return home to Weatherford. The motorcyclists had attended a Memorial Day event in Chico and were returning home to Oklahoma.

Rose was arrested for two counts of manslaughter June 25 of last year and posted bond two days later.

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Same-sex licenses to be available http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/same-sex-licenses-to-be-available/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/same-sex-licenses-to-be-available/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:00:37 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=92666 Wise County will issue same-sex marriage licenses, but they were not available to citizens as of press time Tuesday.

County Clerk Sherry Lemon said her office will issue the licenses in accordance with last week’s U.S. Supreme Court 5-4 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, invalidating state bans that prevent the recognition of marriages of same-sex couples.

Lemon is working with the office’s software vendor to make the forms available.

“We’re working on it and putting it into place as quickly as possible to follow the law,” Lemon said.

She explained that her office received the form for a same-sex marriage license from the Texas Department of Health Services – Vital Statistics Unit at 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

“We’re sending it to our software vendor because we enter that in a template, and the template prints the marriage license,” she said. “Our vendor had 70 other counties they were working with.”

She noted that normally when a law changes it becomes effective Sept. 1 or Jan. 1 giving offices months to prepare.

“We’ll have to test it even after we get it,” she said, referring to the electronic form.

She said her office has received phone calls inquiring about a same-sex marriage license, but no one has come in person.

Anissa Satterfield of Springtown is excited about the Supreme Court decision and plans to next year marry her partner of 10 years, Lisa Sorrels.

“I’m happy for the group of people who will benefit from this, myself included,” she said. “When I first heard about it, I sort of was waiting for the other shoe to drop because it’s been back and forth for so long. Once it sunk in, I was pretty excited.”

Satterfield, who is an investigator with the Wise County Sheriff’s Office, said besides the obvious excitement surrounding the idea of marriage, from a police officer’s standpoint, there are also legal benefits to an official union.

Sorrels is also a law enforcement officer with the Fort Worth Police Department.

“If I’m injured in the line of duty and in the hospital, Lisa can’t come into the room, and there are HIPAA laws at play, so the change will allow her to be in there where she needs to be,” Satterfield said. “And if the unthinkable happened and I was killed in the line of duty, she wouldn’t get those state benefits, but with the change of this law she gets those things.”

Satterfield noted that she and Sorrels each have two children, so by being legally married, Sorrels could also share those benefits with their kids.

She thinks a lot of the drama surrounding the decision will die down in a few weeks.

“I compare this to all the struggles we went through in our country when we were fighting for women’s rights and interracial marriages,” she said. “After everyone reveled in the glory, then it calmed down and there was some other battle to fight.

“I hope that it all kind of calms down,” she said. “We’re just regular people living regular lives. We don’t have to be all up in people’s face with it.”

Satterfield acknowledged that opinions against same-sex marriage likely won’t be changed, but they have a right to their opinion, as does she.

Satterfield and Sorrels will likely marry on June 2 of next year, which is the anniversary of their commitment ceremony six years ago.

On Sunday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued Opinion No. KP-0025 stating that county clerks retain religious freedoms that could allow for them to object to issuing same-sex marriage licenses on religious grounds.

He turned around and also noted those clerks could face litigation and fines.

“But, numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs, in many cases on a pro-bono basis, and I will do everything I can from this office to be a public voice for those standing in defense of their rights,” he said.

As of press time Tuesday, Lemon did not have an estimated time when the license would be available in Wise County.

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Light up the night: Firework stands prep for Fourth http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/light-up-the-night-firework-stands-prep-for-fourth/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/light-up-the-night-firework-stands-prep-for-fourth/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:59:58 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=92664 With a less restrictive burn ban, workers at local firework stands anticipate greater sales than last year.

“We’re hoping to see a better year with all the rain and without the burn ban,” said Liz Hubbard, manager at Fireworks World on U.S. 81/287 south of Alvord.

High Supply

HIGH SUPPLY – The shelves of Fireworks World are full now, but manager Liz Hubbard suspects that by this weekend, they won’t be full anymore. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The rain, combined with the Fourth of July falling on a Saturday, led to higher sales than this time last year at Fireworks World. And the indoor fireworks store hasn’t even hit its biggest sales day yet the Friday before the Fourth.

“We’ll sell our shelves down pretty blank,” Hubbard said. “We’ll have empty shelves.”

Jerrell and Jan Cook operate an outdoor stand at the intersection of U.S. 380 and Farm Road 1658 in Bridgeport. The couple said that in the last few years, boat traffic for Fourth revelers traveling to Lake Bridgeport decreased dramatically. This year it seems that the boaters are finally back and ready to buy fireworks to set off over the lake.

Pick and Choose

PICK AND CHOOSE – Micah Logan, 5, points out the firework she wants while mom Kassandra and brother Blake, 9, look on. Liz Hubbard (far left) helped the family pick choose the fireworks they would take home. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Unlike at Fireworks World, the Cooks’ stand has yet to see an increase in sales compared to last year, but they suspect the big uptake is coming.

“It starts out slow, but then it will build,” Jan Cook said. “Then the last four days will be a zoo.”

The Cooks began working the stand at their current location 10 years ago, and in their best years saw lines stretching out to the road. This year they’ll have a full crew of at least 10 people manning the stand on the weekend to serve all the extra customers they’re expecting. They hope for another line out to the road.

For a stand that only opens a total of 23 days a year – 11 for the Fourth and 12 during Christmas and New Year’s – a sellout would be nice, but Jerrell Cook said they’re in the business more to make kids happy than anything.

“We will [sell a lot],” Jerrell said. “And if we don’t, we’ll still have fun.”


EXCALIBUR – The finale-style firework shoots off 24 different rounds, each with a different design and color. Fireworks World Manager Liz Hubbard said this is their best-selling firework.

PRIDE OF TEXAS – Packing a whopping 53 shots, Hubbard said customers often come back to buy more of this firework.

FOLDS OF HONOR – Buying this firework also supports troops, as $10 from each sale goes to the Folds of Honor Foundation, which provides scholarships to family members of troops killed or disabled in action.

ARTILLERY SHELLS – Jerrell Cook recommends these as they can be shot off one at a time.

MORNING GLORY – These sparklers have long wooden handles, letting smaller children have fun without the risk of being burned when the flame winds down, Cook said.

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Officials caution revelers to celebrate safely http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/officials-caution-revelers-to-celebrate-safely/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/officials-caution-revelers-to-celebrate-safely/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:58:34 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=92660 Sunny hot weather is expected to bring out people in droves to Lake Bridgeport for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Local officials are gearing up for a busy weekend on the lake and land with more people buying fireworks after a wet spring and start to the summer. They are asking everyone to exercise caution this weekend.

“Safety is the biggest concern,” said Wise County Fire Marshal Chuck Beard. “We want people to be safe and use common sense. Have fun, but be safe.”

Wise County Park is expected to be the center of activity throughout the weekend with heavier lake traffic as a result of Lake Bridgeport rising more than 20 feet in the past two months, bringing it to conservation level.

The Wise County Sheriff’s Department will be setting up camp at the park over the weekend. Sheriff David Walker said deputies will have one of the department’s crime scene trailers at the park to use as an office and establish a presence.

“We’ll have our patrol boat out and a couple of different units out,” Walker said. “We’re not going out to write a bunch of tickets. We just want to have a presence.

“With the lake full, there will be a large crowd,” he said. “There will be a big crowd at Wise County Park. Hopefully everything will go smooth.”

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens will also be patrolling Lake Bridgeport, which is expected to see heavier traffic with some Metroplex lakes closed due to flooding.

“All hands will be on deck,” said Game Warden Eddie Hood.

Hood cautioned boaters and those swimming in the lake to use life jackets. He added that jet skis must come off the water by sunset and that all persons born after Sept. 1, 1993, must complete a boaters education course to operate a vessel over 15 horsepower.

Away from the water, fire departments will be on standby to respond to incidents from fireworks, according to Beard.

During inspections of local stands, Beard said sales of fireworks have been brisk.

He reminded residents that shooting fireworks is prohibited inside the city limits in most Wise County towns. It is also illegal to shoot fireworks from a public roadway.

“In unincorporated Wise County, you have to use private property and have permission from the property owner,” Beard said. “You can’t shoot fireworks on a roadway, from cars or boats.”

He said his office will issue citations as needed.

Walker said his department has also adjusted schedules to get officers on the streets.

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Electrical fire destroys home http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/electrical-fire-destroys-home/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/electrical-fire-destroys-home/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:57:51 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=92658 Fire destroyed a home on U.S. 380 just east of the Decatur city limits around midday Saturday.

Wise County Fire Marshal Chuck Beard said it was actually the second fire at the house in a three- or four-day time frame. He said the original fire in the single-wide mobile home started Wednesday or Thursday and was discovered Friday.

Slow Burn

SLOW BURN – Firefighters responded to fires at a home east of Decatur twice in two days last week. No one was injured. Messenger photo by Brian Knox

The Decatur Fire Department extinguished the fire Friday afternoon, and Beard said although the home sustained heavy heat and smoke damage, it was salvageable. He said the homeowner was advised to have the electric company cut the power to the structure.

The department received a second call around noon Saturday that the fire had rekindled. Decatur responded along with Greenwood/Slidell and Bridgeport fire departments and Wise County EMS.

The second fire resulted in the trailer being a total loss, Beard said. He said both fires were caused by electrical issues.

“There were electrical malfunctions throughout the house,” he said. “It looks like a grounding issue. The whole trailer was energized.”

The home’s occupants had been gone for about a week-and-a-half.

The home is owned by Martha Bible.

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Mr. Wood goes to Austin; Alvord grad interns at state capitol http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/mr-wood-goes-to-austin-alvord-grad-interns-at-state-capitol/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/mr-wood-goes-to-austin-alvord-grad-interns-at-state-capitol/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:57:02 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=92655 The fast-paced world of state government sounds like an overwhelming prospect for a small-town kid, but Caleb Wood of Alvord is shaking that notion.

Wood, a junior at Texas State University, was an intern during the last legislative session for state Rep. Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio), experiencing live-action politics and witnessing history in Austin.

Learning the Ropes

LEARNING THE ROPES – State Rep. Diego Bernal (from left), Alvord’s Caleb Wood and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro pose at Bernal’s district office. Submitted photo

The history major, who’s minoring in political science, said during the session he realized the legislative process is more intricate than he thought.

“The process is sometimes less straightforward than it seems,” Wood said. “You take government or political science classes and it’s straightforward. There are several steps, and a lot of work that goes into things. The bill was trying to get passed. Then it goes to a committee. Then it’s debated on the floor. Then it goes to the Senate, and they vote on it.

“Then both houses pass it, and the governor signs it. When you look at it in a classroom, you might have to do more debate and research,” he said. “If someone comes to you with a problem you didn’t see, you might have to change the entire language of a bill.”

Wood became interested in politics during his senior year at Alvord High School in 2012.

“We had a presidential election, and I was taking government at the time, too,” Wood said. “That really grew my interest in politics and how the entire process works.”

With his interest piqued, Wood eventually pursued the internship with Bernal and the experience culminated in the chance to witness the passing of two much-discussed bills – open carry and campus carry.

“The one I didn’t like being passed was campus carry,” Wood said. “I don’t agree with being able to carry a gun on campus. Young people tend to make poor decisions, and one lapse of judgment and someone can get hurt.

“That one was debated for a long time, and I was there when it passed,” he said. “It was 11:30 at night, and the debate waged on. It was heard in different committees. Several universities that don’t want this had representatives.”

Wood said that the open carry bill was similar in the way it was debated and heard in multiple committees.

“It was debated mostly with the bigger cities,” he said. “In a place like Wise County, I wouldn’t worry about it. I don’t think it has as big of an effect. It was mostly split between Democrats and Republicans.”

Though the controversial topics were usually split between parties, Wood was surprised by the amount of bipartisan cooperation he saw, and the experience only increased his already-immense interest.

“There is a lot more to it,” Wood said. “It made me want to get more involved and be there.”

The Alvord kid’s next move may be working for a senator during the next legislative session. As for running for office himself, Wood said getting to that point could take a while.

“I’m just learning as much as I can right now,” he said.

From Alvord to Austin: not a bad start for a small-town kid in the big world of politics.

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Bridgeport EDC director resigns http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/bridgeport-edc-director-resigns/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/bridgeport-edc-director-resigns/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:56:08 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=92652 Sterling Flynn, executive director of the Bridgeport Economic Development Corp., has quit.

Flynn, who started working for Bridgeport EDC last March, resigned after a little more than a year on the job. His last day was June 30.

EDC Executive Assistant Lisa Patterson forwarded the Messenger an email Flynn wrote explaining his decision to resign. In the email, Flynn said he was leaving to return to consulting work. He said he may help the EDC in the future on an as-needed basis.

The EDC board is currently preparing to look for his replacement.

“We will post out the hiring app quickly,” EDC board member Fred Meyers said.

Meyers said the board hopes to have the job application ready some time this week. Then the biggest obstacle to hiring a new director will be establishing a board quorum for interviews during the summer months.

Regardless, Meyers said the board intends to fill the vacant position as soon as possible so Bridgeport can move forward with its economic development projects.

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News Briefs for Wednesday, July 1, 2015 http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news-briefs/news-briefs-for-wednesday-july-1-2015/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news-briefs/news-briefs-for-wednesday-july-1-2015/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:55:07 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=92650 BRIDGEPORT

SUMMER FOOD PROGRAM – Bridgeport ISD is participating in the Summer Food Service Program with the Texas Department of Agriculture. The program was created to ensure that children could continue to receive nutritious meals during long school vacations. The meal program will be offered Monday through Friday, now through July 31 and is open and available to individuals 18 and younger. Meals are available Monday through Friday at Bridgeport Elementary. Breakfast is 7:30 to 8:15 a.m. Lunch is 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. You do not need to register or show proof of age, residency or income. Just show up during meal service times. Call the Child Nutrition Office at 940-683-5124.


CLASS REUNION – The Chico High School Class of 1955 will have a luncheon at Julio’s in downtown Chico 11 a.m. Saturday, July 11. Bring photos, stories and money for your own lunch. Any upper or lower classmates are also welcome to join them or stop by.


HAT DONATIONS – Senior Care and Rehab in Decatur is seeking red hats for their ladies’ social. Call Kathy at 940-626-2800 or drop off at 701 West Bennett Road.

STEAM PROGRAM – Students in third through fifth grade are invited to join us for STEAMing Tuesday nights at Decatur Public Library. Activites will focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. Call 940-393-0920 or visit www.decaturpubliclibrary.com.

READING GARDEN – Ms. Pat will read from “The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place,” a children’s series by Maryrose Wood, at noon on Tuesdays in Decatur Public Library’s reading garden. Bring a lunch and listen. Call 940-393-0290.

PENMANSHIP CLASS – The Decatur Public Library is having a penmanship class 6 to 7:15 p.m. Mondays now through July 27. Writers of all ages are welcome, and supplies will be provided, including modern fountain pens. The class will teach American cursive and make your handwriting more legible. The class is free, but space is limited. Reserve a spot at www.decaturpubliclibrary.com or by calling 940-393-0290.

HELPING WARM – Legend Bank in Decatur is collecting food for Wise Area Relief Mission through Aug. 15.


COLLECTING FOOD – Rhome Best Value Pharmacy, 400 S. Main, in Rhome is collecting donations for Wise Area Relief Mission (WARM). Donations may be dropped off at the pharmacy 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

TEEN BOOK CLUB – Rhome Public Library’s teen book club will meet 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 14. Books include those on summer reading list requirements.

SUMMER PROGRAM – Rhome Public Library’s summer reading program continues every Thursday through July 23. Turn in your reading log and receive prizes and tickets.

NEW HOURS – The Rhome Library’s summer hours are: closed Monday, 1 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.


FIREFIGHTERS NEEDED – The Runaway Bay Volunteer Fire Department is searching for new members. Applicants must be 18 years or older and pass a background check. Call Runaway Bay Fire Chief Brian Bernardo at 940-391-9158 or City Hall at 940-575-4745.


DRIVERS NEEDED – Wise County Committee on Aging needs volunteer drivers to deliver hot meals to eligible Meals on Wheels participating seniors. Volunteers not only deliver meals but also monitor the welfare of clients on their routes. Volunteers must be licensed, insured, pass a background check and be at least 18 years old. Training and orientation is provided. WCCA has other volunteer roles as well. Call 940-627-5329.

STOCKINGS FOR SOLDIERS – Fabric in any color or length is needed for North Texas Stockings for Soldiers. It does not need to be Christmas material. Call Janice Millican, 940-627-4220.

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Football: Decatur heads to state 7-on-7 tourney http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/football-decatur-heads-to-state-7-on-7-tourney/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/football-decatur-heads-to-state-7-on-7-tourney/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:54:33 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=92648 A trip to the state 7-on-7 football tournament is an accomplishment that only one Wise County team will enjoy next weekend.

Decatur’s team will head to College Station for the July 9 and 10 tournament at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex.

Decatur earned the bid at the Celina qualifier last month.

Looking Ahead to Challenge

LOOKING AHEAD TO CHALLENGE – Decatur quarterback Jake Kemp eyes a receiver during a Wise County 7-on-7 League game in May at Springtown. Kemp and the Decatur squad will play in the state 7-on-7 championships in College Station July 9-10. Messenger photo by Richard Greene

Though the focus will be on football, Decatur coach Pat Wadlington says a tough task is getting everybody down there.

“The week leading up to the tournament is all about logistics,” Wadlington said. “Getting 20 kids and their parents to College Station with a place to lay their heads at night is the challenge. It’s a big caravan. We had a big conference call with all of the parents. It takes a lot of communication and planning.”

Because 7-on-7 is not associated with the University Interscholastic League, Wadlington said his biggest job is organization.

As for the on-the-field stuff, most of that falls on the players.

“We’re more like chaperons,” he said. “They call everything and have wrist bands with the plays on them. They know all of their own stuff and they’ve been practicing a ton. We occasionally help out, but for the most part it’s the kids who handle the strategy.”

Though 7-on-7 football doesn’t give a true indication of what a football team will be in the fall, Wadlington said that the one thing that carries over to the 11-man game is how hard teams work and compete.

“From where we started to where we are now is night and day,” he said. “The kids have worked really hard. It’s an execution of route running, catching and passing. It’s not real football, but its a measure of that part of the game.”

An Adidas sponsorship provides every team and player at the tournament with an assortment of gear, including cleats, socks, jerseys and gloves. Wadlington said that it makes the tournament memorable.

Once competition begins, the coach said that surviving the blistering heat is the biggest challenge.

“It’s survival of the fittest,” he said. “It’s one of the hottest tournaments you can play.”

Decatur will play in Division II Pool H against Childress, Falls City and Fredricksburg.

The top two teams from each of the 16 pools will enter a 32-team championship single-elimination tournament.

The other 32 teams will compete in a single-elimination consolation tournament.

The only team representing Wise County will leave everything on the field, according to Wadlington.

“I don’t know how we’ll do,” he said. “I know the kids will work hard and enjoy the experience.”

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Golf: Read ties for 26th http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/golf-read-ties-for-26th/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/golf-read-ties-for-26th/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:53:30 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=92645 The soft fairways and greens at Raveneaux Country Club in Spring made the course play long for Bridgeport’s Lexi Read and the rest of the field Monday.

Read fired an 83 on the par 71 course to tie for 26th at the U.S. Girls Junior Amateur qualifier.

Only one player, Monica Dibldox, posted a score under par at 1-under. The top five players moved on to the U.S. Girls Junior Amateur July 20-25 in Tulsa.

Read started on No. 10 and battled on a string of long par 4s.

“The course was playing long after five inches of rain,” Read said. “Bogey was pretty much par on the par 4s and 5s for me.”

After making the turn, Read started to find some momentum. She parred holes one and three and birdied the par-3 No. 4.

“I started making some par putts and had some par 3s that I was able to take advantage of,” she explained.

Read finished the front nine 5-over par and nine shots back of the final qualifier Greta Bruner of Conroe.

“It was a great learning experience for me,” Read said.

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Golf: Paradise golfer wins stop http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/golf-paradise-golfer-wins-stop/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/golf-paradise-golfer-wins-stop/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:52:59 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=92643 Brandon McCutchen fired a 78 Monday at Nocona Hills to win the stop at North Texas Junior Golf Tour by two strokes.

McCutchen held off Paradise teammate Colton Horton for the win. Horton finished with an 80 in the 15-18 class. Bradley Field was third with an 82. Sam Cole shot 88 and Lane Hopson 112.

In the girls 15-18 division, Chloe Polk shot 103. Angel Rhudy fired 110 and Kalyn Crow 116.

Dakota Counts picked up the top award in the boys 12-14 class with a 99. Caleb Bennett took second with a 104.

Over nine holes in the 9-11 division, Collin Moody shot 37. Eric Hudson recorded a 44 and Johnathan Stone 51.

Blake Davis shot 47 in the 8-and-under.

The next tournament on the tour is July 8 at Twisted Oaks in Bowie.

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Swimming: Trio takes first at Oklahoma meet http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/swimming-trio-takes-first-at-oklahoma-meet/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/swimming-trio-takes-first-at-oklahoma-meet/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:52:28 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=92641 Lizey and Milly Rowden and Jonathan Scoggins brought home first-place finishes for the Fit-N-Wise Muscle Swim team over the weekend.

The Muscle Swim squad took 16 swimmers to the Oklahoma Summer Splash in Edmond, Okla. Nine swimmers – Trey Berry, Allie Blevins, Zach Levesque, Shaylee Mann, Ethan Miles, Jennifer Morehart, Lizey and Milly Rowden and Scoggins – made their Level 2 championship times.

Lizey Rowden won the 100 backstroke in the 13-14 class, swimming 1:17.61. She placed second in the 50 backstroke in 35.69, third in the 50 freestyle in 29.66 and fourth in the 200 backstroke in 2:44.49.

Milly Rowden took first in the 200 backstroke in 2:47.61. She finished third in 50 backstroke in 36.28 and seventh in the 50 freestyle in 32.68. She swam 1:16.69 in the 100 backstroke meeting the Level 2 time.

Scoggins grabbed the top spot in the 200 backstroke in 3:31.76. He was sixth in the 50 backstroke in 47.22 and 100 backstroke in 1:37.65. He finished eighth in the 50 breaststroke in 1:00.13.

Trey Berry was second in the 15-16 200 freestyle in 2:28.31 and seventh in the 50 breaststroke in 41.02.

Allie Blevins took third in the 50 breaststroke in 44.06. She garnered fifth in the 50 backstroke in 39.21 and 100 breaststroke in 1:39.08. Blevins was sixth in the 400 freestyle in 5:16.59 and 50 butterfly in 36.3 and seventh in the 50 freestyle in 32.23.

Gabriel Rueda grabbed third in the 100 backstroke in 1:38.4 and 50 backstroke in 44.33. He was fourth in the 100 breaststroke in 2:02.01. Rueda was fifth in the 100 freestyle in 1:21.07, 200 freestyle in 3:03.15, 200 individual medley in 3:36.5 and seventh in the 50 freestyle in 36.7.

Dylan Mann took third in the 50 freestyle in 42.95 and 200 freestyle in 3:53.11. He was fifth in the 100 freestyle in 1:39.52, sixth in the 50 backstroke in 56.35 and seventh in the 100 backstroke in 2:05.05.

Luke Tribe garnered third in the 100 breaststroke in 1:55.68. He was fourth in the 100 backstroke in 1:40.33, sixth in the 50 backstroke in 45.55 and seventh in the 100 freestyle in 1:23.08 and 200 freestyle in 3:06.16.


Michael Berry – 50 breaststroke, 6th, 44.30

Olivia Harrison – 200 freestyle, 6th, 4:04.67

Zach Levesque – 50 backstroke, 8th, 38.78; 50 breastroke, 8th, 44.96; 50 freestyle, 30.46; 100 freestyle, 1:10.12

Shaylee Mann – 50 freestyle, 35.55; 400 freestyle, 8th, 6:38.65; 50 backstroke, 42.31; 100 backstroke, 8th, 1:33.91; 100 butterfly, 4th, 1:42.12

Ethan Miles – 50 freestyle, 8th, 27.83; 50 backstroke, 5th, 34.11; 50 butterfly, 6th, 31.32; 100 backstroke, 1:15.17

Jennifer Morehart – 50 backstroke, 38.07; 200 individual medley, 3:03.73

Jacob Rivera – 50 breaststroke, 5th, 1:09.94; 100 breaststroke, 7th, 2:29.04

Riley Scoggins – 50 breaststroke, 8th, 43.74

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Upcoming Sports Camp http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/upcoming-sports-camp/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/upcoming-sports-camp/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:51:42 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=92639 DECATUR BASKETBALL – The Decatur Lady Eagles Basketball Camp is July 13 through July 16. For girls entering second through fifth grade, camp is 10 a.m. to noon and registration is $60. Sixth- through ninth-grade camp is 1 to 3 p.m., and registration is $65. Each additional sibling attending camp gets a $10 discount.

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County answers call to feed the hungry http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/opinion/columns/county-answers-call-to-feed-the-hungry/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/opinion/columns/county-answers-call-to-feed-the-hungry/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:50:32 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=92636 When I walked into Wise Area Relief Mission (WARM) June 9, the shelves looked depressing.

I know inanimate objects can’t actually be depressed, but if they could, those shelves would be. After all, the purpose of those shelves is to hold food that will one day be distributed to the people of Wise County who really need it.

They held little to no food that day.

Racey Burden

Racey Burden

WARM Director Ren Ashmore pointed out it wasn’t really the fault of anyone in particular that the shelves were bare and empty boxes stood stacked to the ceiling. It just happens sometimes, and the volunteers of WARM try to make do.

This time around, they didn’t have to make do for long.

It felt like almost immediately after my story on WARM’s lack of food hit the newsstands, local businesses began food drives.

Legend Bank in Decatur, Rhome Best Value Pharmacy, Wise County Title Co., Wild West Mounted Shooters, Faith Baptist Church in Aurora, Decatur and Paradise rodeo teams, Crossroads Church in Decatur, Renewal Fellowship Church in Boyd, Pearman Insurance Agency, Karl Klement, Boot Camp Academy 101 Fitness Studio and countless citizens, all jumped in to help. And those are just the groups I found that announced their drives on Facebook or in the Messenger’s Update.

I walked into Wal-Mart in Decatur Tuesday, and they still have donation boxes set up at the end of every check-out aisle so shoppers can easily give food to WARM.

If you walked into the food pantry today, you would see the shelves are full thanks to the generous donations of people all over this county. I talked again with Ashmore, who told me she wasn’t surprised by the response. After all, during my first visit, she’d said, “when we need, the county always provides.”

And provide it has.

“The response has been incredible,” Ashmore said. Peanut butter is the only food still needed.

If you’d like to donate, drop by WARM at 300 N. Trinity Street in Decatur. WARM will take your peanut butter, but they won’t turn down any other donations either.

Racey Burden is a Messenger reporter.

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Officials react to decision on federal health care law http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/opinion/columns/officials-react-to-decision-on-federal-health-care-law/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/opinion/columns/officials-react-to-decision-on-federal-health-care-law/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:49:45 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=92634 Pursuant to a 6-3 decision by the United States Supreme Court on June 25, health insurance policies will stay on course for Texans who secured coverage through a federally facilitated exchange under the U.S. Affordable Care Act.

The high court, in ruling against the plaintiffs in the case King v. Burwell, upheld the constitutionality of a federal tax credit that pays a portion of the cost of a policy.

After the decision was announced, Gov. Greg Abbott said, “The Supreme Court abandoned the Constitution to resuscitate a failing healthcare law. Today’s action underscores why it is now more important than ever to ensure we elect a president who will repeal Obamacare and enact real healthcare reforms.”

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also reacted, saying, “I am extremely disappointed that the Supreme Court of the United States has once again sided with President Obama’s disastrous healthcare legislation.”

And Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said, “This is unfortunate news for the millions of Americans who have experienced firsthand the devastating effects Obamacare has had on their families and businesses.”

Stacey Pogue of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, an independent Austin-based research organization, said, “This ruling means that the 832,000 Texans whose subsidies pay 75 percent of the cost of their premiums on average will continue to have access to affordable health insurance.” Currently, Pogue said, some 3 million Texans are “potentially eligible for federal Marketplace coverage.”

In March, when the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in King v. Burwell, various news sources reported national enrollment in “Obamacare” totaled 11.7 million people. In his June 26 address welcoming the high court’s decision, President Obama said 16 million Americans who were uninsured before now have health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.


The U.S. Supreme Court on June 26 ruled 5-4 in Obergefell v. Hodges, invalidating state bans that prevent the recognition of marriages of same-sex couples.

Gov. Abbott reacted, saying, “Despite the Supreme Court’s rulings, Texans’ fundamental right to religious liberty remains protected. No Texan is required by the Supreme Court’s decision to act contrary to his or her religious beliefs regarding marriage.”

Lt. Gov. Patrick said, “The Supreme Court, as it has in the past, is making law. I do not believe that is what the Constitution intended or allows. In my view, this is a clear violation of the separation of powers.”

On June 28, Attorney General Paxton posted Opinion No. KP-0025, Re: Rights of government officials involved with issuing same-sex marriage licenses and conducting same-sex wedding ceremonies.

Paxton’s summary of the opinion says: “County clerks and their employees retain religious freedoms that may provide accommodation of their religious objections to issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Justices of the peace and judges also may claim that the government is forcing them to conduct same-sex wedding ceremonies over their religious objections, particularly when other authorized individuals have no objection to conducting such ceremonies, is not the least restrictive means of furthering any compelling governmental interest in ensuring that such ceremonies occur. Importantly, the strength of any particular religious accommodation claim depends on the particular facts of each case.”

In contrast, state Rep. Celia Israel (D-Austin) cheered. In a June 26 statement, she said, in part, that she is “relieved the Supreme Court struck down discriminatory laws out of step with most Texans, noting that same-sex couples want to get married to make a lifetime commitment to the person they love and to protect their families.”

State Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) said, “We have come so far in a relatively short period of time on the issue of same-sex marriage. But those in control of Texas refuse to join the 21st century. They have already declared their intent to continue to fight on the wrong side of history. Their fight is futile because this ruling affirms the fundamental American ideal of equality under the law.”


Texas Railroad Commission Chair David Porter in a June 24 news release called for enhanced safety measures after visiting South Texas oil and gas facilities and pipeline rights of way near the U.S./Mexico border.

Porter said commission staff and inspectors who want to carry firearms for self-protection on pipeline inspection duty in South Texas “have the opportunity to obtain their concealed handgun license in a timely manner.”

He called for (1) use of the buddy system to ensure personnel are not alone in potentially dangerous areas and (2) the purchase of cell phone boosters for inspector vehicles in remote areas close to the border.

Ed Sterling is member services director for the Texas Press Association.

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Learn from Nazi history http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/opinion/letters/learn-from-nazi-history/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/opinion/letters/learn-from-nazi-history/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:49:12 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=92632 Pride of Dixie.

In the days of legally sanctioned slavery across the South, it should have been regarded by poor and working class whites the way so many on the right currently see illegal immigration: as a threat to their jobs and livelihoods.

It’s a simple matter of supply and demand. The presence of cheap, African labor meant that poor, unskilled whites had to compete with actual slave wages. Critical examination shows that poor and working class whites of the day had no logical reason to favor preserving slavery.

But they did. They took pride in it and fought tooth and nail to defend it. Why?

Because the southern planter aristocracy tricked their lower classes into embracing that barbaric institution. Then, as now, the poor were sold a dream of upward mobility. For the vast majority, this dream could never, and would never, happen.

Still, they toiled in hope that someday they might buy a slave or two and parlay their meager holdings into a better living. Furthermore, Bible verses were invoked to justify the system. Through phrenology and other now-discredited pseudosciences, even the worst-off whites could feel superior by virtue of race.

And the ruse worked. The vast majority of southern whites bought these lies, hook, line and sinker. They wrapped their identities around this supposedly inherent racial superiority.

Instead of rallying with blacks to secure a better living, southern whites became part of the system against them. Many still are. Anyone’s white ancestors didn’t have to own slaves to be part of a social system that maintained the inhumane status quo of their time.

Similar lies regarding the superiority of one race over others were perpetuated in Germany leading up to World War II. The populace bought into this, and while the Nazis’ crimes against humanity were far more heinous, they weren’t perpetuated for 200 years either. Nor did Germany’s crimes continue in watered down form for another century after a war to supposedly end them, as happened with the Jim Crow Laws.

See, in understanding these conflicts, one must realize that the average soldier in any force doesn’t fight for a cause he feels is unjust. Surely, when asked, German foot soldiers in World War II would honestly feel their causes to be noble ones.

In similar fashion, the majority of men who rallied to the Rebel flag doubtlessly did so in defense of their cherished way of life. However, camps such as Auschwitz showed us the true, terrifying cause of the German command in those days. In similar fashion, the real reasons the South fought were another matter entirely.

They bought into the lies put forth by their ruling classes. What’s more, the longer a lie is repeated, the harder it becomes to debunk among the populace. Hence, the history behind that flag is one of treason, aristocratic deception of the masses, oligarchic dominance of money over democracy, and the subjugation of an entire race. Those are the sins of the South.

To this day, the Germans are rightfully ashamed of the sins of the Third Reich. After the war, their people moved forward, casting aside the militaristic and racist national identity of the Nazi years. Germany has since forged a new identity and become a world leader in terms of economy and social policy.

But while Nazi imagery is banned in Germany, the Confederate battle flag is a source of great pride for many, pitched as “heritage, not hate.” This pitch continues in spite of all history and evidence to the contrary. One can’t deny it’s a racist symbol when modern white supremacists in Europe use it as a stand-in for banned swastikas and Nazi flags. The Rebel flag is so racist it’s a backup for other, outlawed racist imagery.

Meanwhile, year after year, southern states rank worst in the nation in education, healthcare, teen birth rate, living wages – nearly every measure of quality of life. The caricature of the backward, southern redneck persists, and counterproductively, it has become a source of pride itself.

Of course, banning the Stars and Bars is not the answer; that would violate freedom of speech. There is another lesson here. Germany provides us a powerful example of how shame in atrocities can be used constructively: when it prompts soul searching and critical examination of national policy, values and even identity.

Instead, southerners have allowed their pride to blind their reason. Stop taking pride in this shameful past, and stop trying to whitewash history. If all of us could honestly see how and why these monstrous historical events happened, we as a populace could rethink the flawed values that set the stage for them. That would be the first baby step toward seeing the South move forward and forge a new identity, debunking the caricature once and for all.

Angelou del Angel
formerly of Bridgeport

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Same-sex marriage goes against nature http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/opinion/letters/same-sex-marriage-goes-against-nature/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/opinion/letters/same-sex-marriage-goes-against-nature/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:48:28 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=92630 America was founded on right and wrong. Our ancestors came to the new world looking for the best way to live and to teach their children by way of the Bible for answers. They endured many hardships and learned much more than they expected.

They learned from reading the Bible themselves. They learned from watching the American Indian’s accomplishments and even the fowls, fish and animals. All creatures, human or otherwise, mated with the opposite sex to replenish the world. This has been like this from the beginning of time and no higher court in the world can make it different.

Common sense tells you same-sex marriages can’t be right if all creatures – human, fish, fowl and animals – have it right by being drawn to the opposite sex to replenish the world with their offspring.

Question: how did these humans who wish to marry same-sex mates get in this world if not from opposite sex partners? Another question is what will the world become if all creatures become same sex?

M.E. Reynolds

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Marriage Ruling http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/opinion/editorial-cartoons/marriage-ruling/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/opinion/editorial-cartoons/marriage-ruling/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:47:54 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=92628 OpEd Marriage Ruling

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