WCMessenger.com http://www.wcmessenger.com Wise County Messenger Online Edition Fri, 29 May 2015 17:04:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Lake Bridgeport closed to boat traffic http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/update/lake-bridgeport-closed-to-boat-traffic/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/update/lake-bridgeport-closed-to-boat-traffic/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 16:46:14 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=91544 The Tarrant Regional Water District closed Lake Bridgeport to boat traffic Friday morning, citing dangerous water conditions. Wakes caused by boating could potentially flood low-lying homes along the lake, and debris from the recent storms makes the water hazardous to enter. The reservoir’s spillway was opened Wednesday to discharge excess water, but the rate of discharge was increased Friday. The Wise County Sheriff’s Office warns that this may cause flooding downstream from Lake Bridgeport in Precinct 3 or along the Trinity River. Sheriff David Walker urges citizens to leave alone any barricades on flooded roadways and to not drive through water.

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Friday, May 29, 2015 http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/update/friday-may-29-2015/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/update/friday-may-29-2015/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 13:24:45 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=91535 THOUSANDS EXPECTED FOR PBR EVENT - The 12th annual J.W. Hart PBR Challenge is this weekend at the Wise County Fairgrounds in Decatur. In addition to the regular bull riding, fans will witness the Champions Challenge and the Ring of Honor: Unfinished Business. Organizers estimate thousands of visitors from across the U.S. are expected to attend. The Eighter From Decatur BBQ Challenge check in started at 8 a.m. today at the Reunion Grounds. The PBR Fan Zone featuring more than 60 merchants and bounce house for kids opens at 3 p.m. today and 9 a.m. Saturday. Tonight's events include the ABBI Bucking Futurity at 7 and weather permitting a washer tournament at 8 at the Reunion Grounds. Barbecue judging begins at 9 a.m. Saturday. The 1,000 Miles Til Home Hero 5K Run benefiting combat wounded veterans is 9 a.m. Saturday. There will be mutton busting all day on Saturday. The JW Hart PBR Challenge, World Champion Challenge and Unfinished Business begin at 7 p.m. Saturday (gates open at 5:30). Visit wcchallenger.org. The event is available on Pay-Per-View.]]>

THOUSANDS EXPECTED FOR PBR EVENT – The 12th annual J.W. Hart PBR Challenge is this weekend at the Wise County Fairgrounds in Decatur. In addition to the regular bull riding, fans will witness the Champions Challenge and the Ring of Honor: Unfinished Business. Organizers estimate thousands of visitors from across the U.S. are expected to attend. The Eighter From Decatur BBQ Challenge check in started at 8 a.m. today at the Reunion Grounds. The PBR Fan Zone featuring more than 60 merchants and bounce house for kids opens at 3 p.m. today and 9 a.m. Saturday. Tonight’s events include the ABBI Bucking Futurity at 7 and weather permitting a washer tournament at 8 at the Reunion Grounds. Barbecue judging begins at 9 a.m. Saturday. The 1,000 Miles Til Home Hero 5K Run benefiting combat wounded veterans is 9 a.m. Saturday. There will be mutton busting all day on Saturday. The JW Hart PBR Challenge, World Champion Challenge and Unfinished Business begin at 7 p.m. Saturday (gates open at 5:30). Visit wcchallenger.org. The event is available on Pay-Per-View.

ROLLOVER INJURES 1 – A Rhome woman was seriously injured Thursday morning when she rolled her sports utility vehicle on U.S. 81/287, just south of County Road 4421. Barbara L. Mallory was northbound on 287 just before 8 a.m. when her left, front tire blew out, pulling her vehicle to the left. Department of Public Safety Trooper Madison Zaragoza said Mallory overcorrected to the right, running off the east side of the road. She tried to straighten the vehicle on a strip of pavement that runs alongside the highway, but she never regained control. The vehicle rolled and landed on its side next to the railroad tracks. Mallory was trapped in the SUV and suffered multiple lacerations. She was transported to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth by Medic 1. Wise County’s Rescue 1 and East Wise Fire Department also responded.

FLOODING THREAT CONTINUES – After another rainy evening in Wise County last night and more rain in the forecast, a flash flood watch is in effect for Wise County through Saturday morning. Overnight rainfall amounts included 2.1 inches in Rhome and Alvord, 2 in Bridgeport, 1.95 in Decatur, 1.8 in Paradise and 1.7 in Cottondale. Today’s forecast includes a 30 percent chance of storms during the day, increasing to 70 percent tonight. Tomorrow’s forecast calls for a 60 percent chance of storms during the day, decreasing to 20 percent Saturday night.

SLIDELL WINS STATE – Slidell won the Class A state sweepstakes title in UIL academics with 128 points. Slidell’s Taylor Davis earned all-star cast and Caitlin Pruett honorable mention in Class A UIL one act play.

RAIN DELAY – Due to issues caused by last week’s weather, the Bridgeport City Pool will delay it’s opening until Tuesday, June 2. Due to conditions caused by the flooding at Harwood Park in Bridgeport, the concert scheduled for Saturday has been canceled.

GRADUATION DAY – Alvord, Bridgeport, Chico, Paradise and Slidell all have graduation ceremonies tonight at 7 at their respective high school gyms (the cafetorium in Slidell). Chico reminds parents to park only on the concrete areas.

HOMESCHOOL OPEN HOUSE – Decatur Public Library will hold its Homeschool Open House 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. Get a first look at the new Homeschool Collection, find out about this summer’s fun and educational events and meet other homeschooling families in our community. Call 940-393-0290 or visit www.decaturpubliclibrary.com.

PEEWEE FOOTBALL AND CHEER – Saturday is the last day to sign up for Bridgeport Peewee Football and Cheer for 2015-2016 3rd-6th graders. Sign ups are 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Bridgeport Public Library.

PARKINSON’S SUPPORT – A support group for those afflicted by Parkinson’s disease will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 2, at Weatherford College Wise County. The group is open to those who suffer from the disease and their caregivers.

BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT – Back to Summer Bash 3 on 3 tournament is today at Decatur High School. Games start at 5 p.m. Divisions include men’s, women’s and coed; boys and girls 5th-6th, 7th-8th and 9th-12th. Proceeds benefit the Decatur Basketball Program. Contact 214-354-2556 or dhseaglesbasketball@gmail.com.

BIKE BLESSING – Following the 10:50 worship service Sunday, May 31, at the First United Methodist Church in Decatur, Pastor Brian Bosworth will lead a “Blessing of the Bikes” for anyone who rides their motorcycle to church that day. A lunch ride, including a time of cruising local highways, will follow. Bikers are invited to wear their biker gear to worship.

CLOSING EARLY – The Bridgeport Municipal Court will close early at 4 p.m. June 1.

FUNERALS – Graveside service for Donald Deatherage, 69, of Bridgeport is 2 p.m. today at West Bridgeport Cemetery. Jones Family Funeral Home in Bridgeport is handling arrangements.

FUNERAL for Kenneth Maxwell, 84, of Cottondale is 2 p.m. Saturday at Hawkins Funeral Home Chapel in Bridgeport with burial at Cottondale Cemetery. Family visitation is 6-8 tonight at the funeral home.

FUNERAL for Allen Ray Young, 86, of Decatur is 10 a.m. Saturday, June 6, at the Sycamore Baptist Church with burial at Sycamore Cemetery. Family visitation is 6-8 p.m. Friday, June 5, at Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home in Decatur.

MEMORIAL for Sueann Joy Albert, 61, of Decatur is 4-8 p.m. Saturday, June 6, at her home, 2916 N. U.S. 81/287. Coker-Hawkins is handling arrangements.

GRAVESIDE service for Tommie Sue Maxey, 77, of Decatur is 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Boyd Cemetery. Family visitation is 6-8 p.m. Saturday at Coker-Hawkins.

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Rhome woman seriously injured in rollover http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/uncategorized/rhome-woman-seriously-injured-in-rollover/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/uncategorized/rhome-woman-seriously-injured-in-rollover/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 14:16:32 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=91529 Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

A Rhome woman was seriously injured Thursday morning when she rolled her sports utility vehicle on U.S. 81/287, just south of County Road 4421.
Barbara L. Mallory was northbound on 287 just before 8 a.m. when her left, front tire blew out, pulling her vehicle to the left. Department of Public Safety Trooper Madison Zaragoza said Mallory overcorrected to the right, running off the east side of the road. She tried to straighten the vehicle on a strip of pavement that runs alongside the highway, but she never regained control. The vehicle rolled and landed on its side next to the railroad tracks.
Mallory was trapped in the SUV and suffered multiple lacerations. She was transported to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth by Medic 1.
Wise County’s Rescue 1 and East Wise Fire Department also responded.

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Thursday, May 28, 2015 http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/update/thursday-may-28-2015/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/update/thursday-may-28-2015/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 13:21:42 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=91526

MARLETT CHARGED WITH MURDER – A Chico man in jail for arson has now been charged with murder. Investigators have charged Jeremy Wade Marlett, 34, in the death of Lawrence Roy Roberts, 58, of Chico. Roberts’ body was found in one of three fires on the property at 1122 Farm Road 2952 southwest of Chico last Thursday night. The positive identification was made Tuesday by the Dallas County Medical Examiners Office, which also ruled the death a homicide. According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Marlett told an investigator that he shot and killed Roberts. Marlett’s bond on the murder charge was set at $1 million.

NEW INDIGENT BURIAL POLICY APPROVED – Wise County commissioners Tuesday approved a new indigent burial policy as presented by County Judge J.D. Clark. “I think we’ve come up with a new plan that would make us very involved in who’s approved and who’s not,” he said. Under the new policy, those seeking indigent burials will apply through the Wise County Indigent Health office, and they will be required to meet the same criteria as those approved for indigent health benefits. “I think we owe it to our taxpayers and the system to do this,” Clark said. “We have no oversight right now I think we need to be involved from the get-go.” The policy was approved unanimously by commissioners. Read more in the weekend Wise County Messenger on newsstands Saturday.

DON’T TOUCH THE BARRICADES – County engineer Chad Davis is reminding citizens that barricades placed on county roads are there to keep the public safe and should not be removed. County crews have been placing barricades in various locations since May 7 due to high water and damaged roads, but many of those barricades have been ignored, moved and in some cases, stolen. It’s a Class B misdemeanor to drive around a barricade placed because water is over the road. Davis said most high-water rescues could be avoided if citizens would heed the barricade warning.

WATER BEING RELEASED - Lake Bridgeport is above conservation level and discharging water for the first time since 2010, according to the Tarrant Regional Water District. The gates were opened Wednesday afternoon when the level reached 836.2, and water will be slowly released until it gets back to 836.0, which is conservation level. The release is a flood-control measure.

FLASH FLOOD WATCH – The National Weather Service is predicting a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms today, increasing to 70 percent tonight. With rain forecast through the weekend, a flash flood watch has been issued for Wise County from tonight through Saturday morning.

CHICO NAMES ATHLETIC DIRECTOR – At Tuesday’s school board meeting, the Chico ISD Board of Trustees agreed to hire Lane Wilson as the new athletic director for the school after testimony and pleading from students and teachers during a public forum.

SLIDELL ADDS STATE MEDALS – Slidell’s Jessy Goode took third in Class A poetry at the UIL state academics meet. Obed Galindo also garnered a bronze medal in informative speaking. Caitlin Pruett finished fourth in persuasive speaking. The Slidell one-act play cast will perform Ruby’s Story today in Austin in the Class A finals.

SLEEP WELLNESS – The Wise Regional Sleep Wellness Center, on the West Campus, will have a sleep wellness class 6-7 tonight. There will be a presentation on how to sleep better and wake more rested. The class also will cover symptoms and treatments for common sleep disorders. Call Rhonda Beam, 214-980-3128.

MUSIC AND ARTS RECITAL – The Wise County Music and Arts Foundation will host a recital/fundraiser 7 tonight at the Decatur Civic Center. The event will feature the violin students currently enrolled in the program as well as an appearance by the Ginny Mac and Friends Band. Admission/donation will be received at the door. Visit www.youthviolins.org for more information about the 501 (C) 3 foundation.

FREEDOM TEXAS – Freedom Texas will hold it’s monthly public meeting at 7 tonight in the meeting room at Pizza Hut, 501 S. Washburn St., in Decatur. This is a group that educates people about the sovereignty, security and self-sufficiency of Texas and promotes its eventual independence. Anyone who wishes to learn more about these subjects is invited. For more information, contact Brenda Vaughn, 940-748-2535 or go to freedomtexas.org.

BARBECUE CHALLENGE JUDGES – Check in times for Eighter From Decatur Barbecue Challenge judges Saturday at the Wise County Reunion Grounds Pavilion are as follows: beans 9:45 a.m., chicken 10:45 a.m., ribs 12:15 p.m. and brisket 1:45 p.m. Event will take place rain or shine. All proceeds go to the Roy Young Memorial Scholarship Fund and WARM. There are a few spots for judges still available. If you are over the age of 18 and interested in judging contact Tobi Cullop at 940-627-8767 or tobi.cullop@f-s-b.com or Kelli Pyland at 940-626-9069 or kpyland1@yahoo.com. 95.9 The Ranch will be broadcasting live from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. For more information visit wcchallenger.org.

HEALTH FORUM – The Wise County Health Forum meets 9 a.m. today in the lecture hall at Weatherford College Wise County. A group photo will be taken after the meeting for the Facebook page.

FUNERALS – Service for James E. Ward, 73, of Chico is 2 p.m. today at Victory Bible Baptist Church in Park Springs with burial at Sweetwater Cemetery in Decatur. Jones Family Funeral Home in Bridgeport is handling arrangements.

GRAVESIDE service for Donald Deatherage, 69, of Bridgeport is 2 p.m. Friday at West Bridgeport Cemetery. Family visitation is 6-8 tonight at Jones Family Funeral Home.

FUNERAL for Kenneth Maxwell, 84, of Cottondale is 2 p.m. Saturday at Hawkins Funeral Home Chapel in Bridgeport with burial at Cottondale Cemetery. Family visitation is 6-8 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.

FUNERAL for Allen Ray Young, 86, of Decatur is 10 a.m. Saturday, June 6, at Sycamore Baptist Church with burial at Sycamore Cemetery. Family visitation is 6-8 p.m. Friday, June 5, at Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home in Decatur.

SERVICES for SueAnn Albert, 61, and Tommie Sue Maxey, 77, both of Decatur are pending at Coker-Hawkins.

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Remembering the fallen; Veterans’ families connect on Memorial Day http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/remembering-the-fallen-veterans-families-connect-on-memorial-day/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/remembering-the-fallen-veterans-families-connect-on-memorial-day/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 16:14:45 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=91522 Tresa Lawson and her son, Aaron, drove seven hours from Anacoco, La., to attend Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony.

Lawson, an Army combat veteran, stood teary-eyed over a brick placed for her uncle, Michael Tolley, at the Wise County Veterans Memorial Park in Decatur. Harold Stokes of Bridgeport stood nearby. He and Tolley were in the Marine Corps together and served in Vietnam.

In Honor

IN HONOR – Wise County veteran Bob Johnson and Ret. Rear Admiral John Costas salute during the national anthem at Monday’s Memorial Day service. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

This was a personal connection that Lawson had sought for years. She had been looking for someone who knew her uncle and finally found Stokes in January.

Stokes and Tolley met at Camp Pendleton and finished “jungle training” before heading to Vietnam as part of the 7th Engineering Battalion. Stokes said upon arrival, he was sent to Charlie Company and Tolley to Bridge Company.

SOMBER REMEMBRANCE – Members of the Wise County Veterans Group post the colors at Monday’s Memorial Day service at the Wise County Veterans Memorial Park in Decatur. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“When we got split up, I told him, ‘if anything happens to you,'” Stokes said, pausing to maintain his composure, “‘I’ll name my first son after you.'”

That was in November 1967, and Tolley was fatally shot in March.

Stokes’ son, Michael Stokes of Fort Worth, was instrumental in helping Lawson make the connection with his dad.

“This,” Lawson said, referencing Stokes and his family, “was a big deal for us.”

The Lawsons and Stokes were just two families among many Monday honoring lost relatives and friends.

The Wise County Veterans Group invited Ret. Rear Admiral John Costas to speak. Costas told the crowd that Memorial Day is to remember the lost and wounded, and also those who continue to serve.

“A key component to our nation’s greatness lies in our ability to remember and honor the countless men and women who died while serving in our military,” he said. “I ask you to call to mind the lost, wounded and maimed and all those that have served our great nation.

“But I also ask you to call to mind the hundreds of thousands of men and women that are serving right now around the world defending America’s freedom.”

Costas reminded the crowd that the U.S. military is “on call” 24/7 and defending America at all times. He emphasized the importance of their presence and said that although the sacrifice of the fallen may not be completely comprehended, their histories and memories can be brought to life by retelling their stories.

Costas asked the crowd to join him in a moment of silence, then reminded them that although it is important to remember the country’s past, the nation must be diligent about its future.

“We must constantly scan the horizon to identify and respond to emerging threats,” he said. “Our nation’s security requires a renewed focus on the enduring threat in the Middle East region, as well as an increased American commitment in the Asian Pacific region.”

Costas encouraged citizens to always be proud of what the American flag represents – “freedom.”

“If you look at the red, white and blue, be reminded that each color represents the valor, vigilance and perserverance found in the heart of every United States military man and woman.”

As the crowd parted, many heading to barbecues and family gatherings, Tresa Lawson and Harold Stokes reminisced and took photos in the park, planning their next reunion and preserving a connection made through the military.

Military Connection

MILITARY CONNECTION – From left, Michael Stokes, Tresa Lawson and her son, Aaron, share stories at the Wise County Veterans Group Memorial Day service Monday. Stokes is named for Lawson’s uncle, Michael Tolley. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

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Wreck kills 2 http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/wreck-kills-2/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/wreck-kills-2/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 16:12:28 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=91515 Two people were killed Friday afternoon in a car wreck on Texas 199, one mile west of Farm Road 920 in Wise County.

Department of Public Safety Trooper Fred Thornton Jr. said a Chevrolet Malibu driven by Rush Montgomery, 27, of Mineral Wells was eastbound on 199 when he crossed the center line and hit a westbound Ford Escape driven by Pamela Hudson, 56, of Bowie.

Fatal Crash

FATAL CRASH – According to authorities, rain was a factor in a wreck that killed two in southwest Wise County Friday afternoon. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Thornton said wet roads were a factor.

“He hydroplaned and went over the center stripe, and she plowed into him,” Thornton said.

Both drivers were pronounced dead on the scene by Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Craig Johnson.

There were no passengers in either vehicle.

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Man’s death ruled homicide; Authorities find missing woman http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/mans-death-ruled-homicide-authorities-find-missing-woman/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/mans-death-ruled-homicide-authorities-find-missing-woman/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 16:11:29 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=91512 The person found dead in a fire in Chico last week has been identified, and his death has been ruled a homicide.

Lawrence Roy Roberts

Wise County Sheriff David Walker said the Dallas County Medical Examiners Office Tuesday positively identified the deceased as Chico resident Lawrence Roy Roberts, 58.

“The medical examiners office ruled it a homicide,” Walker said. “It appears Roberts was deceased before the fire. They ruled he died from a gunshot wound.”

Roberts’ body was found in a travel trailer that was destroyed by fire on the property at 1122 Farm Road 2952 southwest of Chico around 8:15 p.m. last Thursday. A pickup truck and a mobile home were also destroyed by separate fires on the property, leading investigators to suspect the fires were intentionally set.

Following a search of the Chico area Thursday night and early Friday morning, officers arrested Jeremy Wade Marlett, 34, of Chico and later charged him with arson and possession of marijuana. He remained in the Wise County Jail Tuesday with bail set at $352,500.

No murder charges have been filed, Walker said.

Investigators spoke to several people over the weekend and are continuing the arson and murder investigations.

A missing woman was also located safe Tuesday. Last Friday, a missing person’s alert was issued for Teresa Jan Rose, 41, of Chico. Walker said Rose was found at the Bridgeport Dairy Queen and is cooperating with investigators.

Walker said Rose fled after the fires started and was given a ride by a couple Thursday night on FM 2952 to Chico. Investigators want to find and talk to that couple.

To report information about the case, contact Sgt. Josh Reynolds with the Wise County Sheriff’s Office at 940-627-5971, ext. 263; or reynoldsj@sheriff.co.wise.tx.us.

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Hart’s PBR Challenge takes over Decatur http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/harts-pbr-challenge-takes-over-decatur/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/harts-pbr-challenge-takes-over-decatur/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 16:10:33 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=91509 The city of Decatur is buzzing with excitement as the PBR rolls into town this weekend for the 12th annual J.W. Hart PBR Challenge at the Wise County Fairgrounds.

This year’s event features a trifecta of action. In addition to the regular bull riding, fans will witness the Champions Challenge and the Ring of Honor: Unfinished Business.

Construction Zone

CONSTRUCTION ZONE – Zane Lasater waves from atop a platform being built at the Wise County Fairgrounds. Precinct 2 County Commissioner Kevin Burns has spearheaded numerous improvements to the arena and fairgrounds leading up to the J.W. Hart PBR Challenge this weekend. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Organizers – Andrew Rottner, Alan Sessions, Wendell Berry Jr. and Calvin Jackson – estimate thousands of visitors from across the U.S. will venture to Wise County for what some have dubbed a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Unfinished Business will draw eight former PBR champions out of retirement to compete for a $160,000 winner-takes-all prize. Jackson cooked up the wild idea, and it required only a little coaxing to get Hart on board.

With Hart venturing back to the chute, other riders quickly followed, including Justin McBride, Ross Coleman, Chris Shivers, Mike White, Tater Porter, Cody Custer and Michael Gaffney.

The Champions Challenge will feature current PBR gold buckle-winners Guilherme Marchi, J.B. Mauney, Mike White and Renato Nunes and PRCA champions Shane Proctor and J.W. Harris.

If You Build It

IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME – Temporary bleachers tower above the regular bleachers to accommodate hundreds more PBR fans at the J.W. Hart PBR Challenge Saturday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The gates open at 5 p.m., and the action starts at 7.

The 3,500 original tickets sold out within 36 hours of going on sale. Temporary bleachers have been added to the arena for an additional 3,300 seats, all of which sold out. Recently, 900 more seats were made available but very few of those remain.

For fans that can’t get a seat, the event is available on Pay-Per-View, only the second PPV event in PBR history.

8 SECONDS – A bull rider tries his luck on the back of a beast at a previous PBR Challenge in Decatur. This is J.W. Hart’s 12th annual event. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

J.W. HART PBR CHALLENGE WEEKEND

All events are at the Wise County Fairgrounds unless otherwise noted.

Friday, May 29

  • 10 a.m. Barbecue and washer tournament registration opens
  • 3 p.m. PBR Fan Zone opens
  • 7 p.m. ABBI Bucking Futurity
  • Barbecue contestants meeting
  • 7:30 p.m. Washer tournament registration closes
  • 8 p.m. Washer tournament

Saturday, May 30

  • All day – Eighter from Decatur BBQ Challenge
  • 9 a.m. PBR Fan Zone opens
  • Hero 5K
  • 10:30 a.m. 95.9 The Ranch live remote
  • 5 p.m. Gates open for the J.W. Hart PBR Challenge
  • 7 p.m. J.W. Hart PBR Challenge, World Champion Challenge, Unfinished Business
  • 11 p.m. Bono’s after-party
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2 kids injured in wreck http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/2-kids-injured-in-wreck/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/2-kids-injured-in-wreck/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 16:08:49 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=91504 Two children were seriously injured Friday afternoon in a two-vehicle accident on Texas 114, one mile east of Boyd.

Department of Public Safety spokesperson Lonny Haschel said a 1998 Chevrolet passenger car, driven by Brandon Douglas, 27, of Boyd, was eastbound on 114 and slowed to turn into a private business. It was hit from behind by a 2013 GMC pickup driven by Doug Parr, 41, of Boyd.

Haschel said two children in the back of Douglas’ car were taken to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth by Wise County EMS. A third passenger, Melissa Douglas, 28, was not hurt.

Parr, a Wise County constable, also was uninjured.

The roadway was closed for an hour as officers investigated the crash.

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School will buy its own fueling station http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/school-will-buy-its-own-fueling-station/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/school-will-buy-its-own-fueling-station/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 16:08:20 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=91502 By the next school year, you might not see Decatur school buses filling up at local gas stations.

Last week, the school board voted to spend up to $160,000 to install an above-ground fuel tank at its transportation center for its bus fleet.

The district currently uses a card system to fill up at various gas stations, and bills are collected and paid monthly.

Having their own fuel tank would not only allow the district to make bulk purchases, thereby saving money, but also save labor costs with drivers not having to make special trips to fill up the buses.

“The cost of it is going to be around $150,000,” said Superintendent Rod Townsend. “We feel like it will be a two- to three-year payback, we might project a little longer than that just to be safe, but we think we can save in the neighborhood of $50,000 to $60,000 per year by doing this.”

The tank would hold 12,000 gallons, and two buses at a time could fill up.

A card reader system would be used, with each bus having a coded key, and each fill-up would be tracked.

In other business from the May 18 meeting, the school board:

  • voted to keep the same officers with Kevin Haney as president, Jeff Alling as vice president and Jeff Elder as secretary;
  • granted temporary hiring authority for professional teaching positions to Townsend through Sept. 4;
  • approved an easement request by Mark Duncum on the north side of the Rann property line in order to construct a retaining wall for a planned apartment complex;
  • approved a resolution related to Senate Bill 149 that would allow certain students to graduate who have not successfully passed all end of course exams;
  • honored valedictorian Holt Garner and salutatorian Stevi Perkins, members of the superintendent student advisory cabinet, members of the state-qualifying golf team and journalism students who qualified for the state competition;
  • honored Carson’s teacher of the year Becky Lyles as employee of the month and Telma Puente from McCarroll Middle School as support staff employee of the month.
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Values drop as drilling slows http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/values-drop-as-drilling-slows/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/values-drop-as-drilling-slows/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 16:07:24 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=91500 Decline in oil and gas prices put a dent in mineral values, a big part of why preliminary tax values for 2015 show a 3.62 percent decrease for Wise County.

“Mineral values are down 9.84 percent from 2014 due to lower prices and a decline in existing wells,” Wise County Chief Appraiser Mickey Hand said.

Double digit percentage losses in mineral values were felt in five of the eight local school districts and eight of the 12 cities.

The numbers could have been worse, however, without $245 million in new mineral values.

Paradise city and school district and Slidell ISD were the only entities to see increases in mineral values, due to $46 million in new wells in Paradise ISD and $58 million in new wells in Slidell ISD.

The downturn in oil and gas prices seemed to affect other areas as well, such as business personal property – which includes all business inventory, furniture, fixtures and equipment.

“BPP was down 12.06 percent due to several oil field service companies downsizing their Wise County operations,” Hand said.

An 8.75 percent dip in industrial, utility and personal (IUP) property, which includes items such as pipelines and power lines, could also be attributed at least in part to the downturn in the oil and gas sector, he added.

The city of Chico seemed to be hit particularly hard by that downturn as it lost close to 50 percent in both BPP and IUP values in addition to a 22.79 percent decrease in mineral values. That led to an overall values decrease of 22.97 percent for the city.

“The city of Chico has taken a huge hit with the reduction in equipment at several oilfield service companies,” Hand said. “Some have moved assets to South Texas while others have downsized or closed.”

Boyd ISD and the city both saw big dips in mineral values a year after big gains for both entities.

“The depletion in those 2013 new wells which in the first year is steep, coupled with depletion in existing wells, and very little 2014 new production resulted in the drop,” Hand explained.

On the positive side, real estate values increased 5.31 percent over last year, according to the preliminary numbers. The average home value for the county is now $131,800.

“New real estate construction for 2014 totaled $90 million, up from $79 million in 2014, the third highest year ever,” Hand said.

Real estate values increased 6.84 percent in Decatur ISD, helped by more than $32 million in new real estate construction. New Fairview’s real estate values also increased 7.26 percent with nearly $3.2 million in new construction.

The release of preliminary values allows taxing entities to use those numbers when creating next year’s budget. Certified values are usually announced in late July.

Tax Values

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Flooded with optimism: Lake Bridgeport nears normal after long drought http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/flooded-with-optimism-lake-bridgeport-nears-normal-after-long-drought/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/flooded-with-optimism-lake-bridgeport-nears-normal-after-long-drought/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 16:06:35 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=91497 A month ago, Jeanne Kennedy wondered if North Side Marina would stay open as summer approached and Lake Bridgeport appeared to be on the verge of drying up.

“I thought kinda we wouldn’t be open,” said Kennedy, one of the marina owners. “We’ve never been closed. A lot of people assumed we had no water.”

Almost Back to Normal

ALMOST BACK TO NORMAL – For Jeanne Kennedy, one of the owners of North Side Marina, the rise of Lake Bridgeport has meant a rise in business. With the lake almost full, she is expecting a busy summer. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Those fears have been flooded by optimism as Lake Bridgeport neared capacity Tuesday morning. The reservoir, which was 24 feet low a month ago, was at an elevation of 835.68 Tuesday morning. The normal lake pool level is 836 feet.

“We’re all ecstatic,” Kennedy said.

The nearly 16 inches of rain that has fallen in Wise County in May and that has flooded many county roads is now bringing people back to the nearly forgotten lake.

“We needed the rain and got it,” said Librado Fernandez, who came out to Wise County Park Tuesday morning to view the lake.

Laurie Delgado described a much different picture from the week before when the lake was 13 feet lower.

“All you could see was grass,” said Delgado pointing to the lake. “There was no water. Over there, it was like a little pond. You probably could have drove across it.”

With the lake filling up, Kennedy said the marina began buzzing again.

Casting a Line

CASTING A LINE – Gary Bruner and Jacob Romines fish along the bank of the nearly full Lake Bridgeport at Wise County Park Tuesday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“We’ve had a lot of phone calls and people coming back wanting to book spots,” she said. “We’re expecting to be busy this summer.

“Our slip renters, almost all, put their boats up last fall. Now, a lot of them are calling back about signing leases.”

Kennedy said the slew where the marina is located never dried up but was considerably low. Its fish-cleaning station was virtually on dry ground.

Boat slips that were just 6 feet deep have 25 to 30 feet of water under them now.

“We’ve taken out two flights of steps down to the slip,” Kennedy said.

While Lake Bridgeport continued to move toward its normal level, surrounding reservoirs were already at capacity or flooding. Campgrounds at several of the region’s lakes – Ray Roberts and Lewisville – were underwater and parks were closed for Memorial Day weekend.

“Bowie was closed so we came here,” said Robert Garza of Bowie, who was packing up camp Tuesday morning at Wise County Park. “[Monday] there were quite a few people here.”

With more rain in the forecast through Sunday, the lake is expected to continue rising.

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News Briefs for Wednesday, May 27, 2015 http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news-briefs/news-briefs-for-wednesday-may-27-2015/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news-briefs/news-briefs-for-wednesday-may-27-2015/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 16:05:07 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=91493 BRIDGEPORT

HELP FOR EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS – Eastside Grocery in Bridgeport is accepting donations for the earthquake victims in Nepal. (A full story ran in the May 20 Messenger.)

CLAY SHOOT – Devon Energy is hosting a sporting clay shoot Friday, May 29, at Fossil Pointe Sporting Grounds outside Decatur. Team entry is $500 for a five-person team, and all proceeds benefit the United Way. To register, call Fossil Pointe at 940-393-6402.

CLAY SHOOT – Bridgeport High School volleyball will hold a clay shoot fundraiser Friday, June 5, at Fossil Pointe. Registration is at 8 a.m., and the event starts at 9. Cost is $100 per person and includes lunch, door prizes and a raffle. Call 817-228-0512.

SUMMER BASH – Stagecoach Rehab, 2108 15th St., in Bridgeport is having Summer Bash 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 6, for children ages 4 to 12. There will be a water slide, obstacle course, food, games and prizes. The event is free.

DECATUR

ARTHUR BRADY EXHIBIT – An exhibit featuring the work of Decatur artist Arthur Brady, best-known for painting bluebonnets, opened last week and runs through June 18 at the Decatur Visitors Center. The show was put together by Decatur Main Street and the Wise County Art Association.

BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT – Back to Summer Bash 3-on-3 tournament is May 29 at Decatur High School. Games start at 5 p.m. Divisions include men’s, women’s and coed; boys and girls 5th-6th, 7th-8th and 9th-12th. Proceeds benefit the Decatur basketball program. Contact 214-354-2556 or dhseaglesbasketball@gmail.com.

GRASS BASH – The Decatur High School volleyball program will have its 5th Annual Grass Bash May 30. This is an outdoor, co-ed volleyball tournament. To register, call Coach Brandy Mayfield or Coach Claire Gay, 940-393-7200.

BBQ JUDGES NEEDED – Judges are needed for the 2nd Annual Eighter From Decatur BBQ Challenge to be held Saturday, May 30, at the Wise County Reunion Grounds. There are categories for beans, chicken, ribs and brisket. All proceeds go to the Roy Young Memorial Scholarship Fund and WARM. Contact Tobi Cullop, 940-627-8767, ortobi.cullop@f-s-b.com; or Kelli Pyland, 940.626.9069, kpyland1@yahoo.com. Visit wcchallenger.org.

VOLLEYBALL CAMP – The Decatur High School volleyball camp is June 8-11. It’s open to all girls entering second through ninth grade, and there is a discount for early registration. Call Coach Brandy Mayfield or Coach Claire Gay, 940-393-7200.

RHOME

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.

GARAGE SALE – The Rhome Library is having a garage sale June 11-13.

RUNAWAY BAY

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.

WISE COUNTY

HEALTH FORUM – The Wise County Health Forum meets 9 a.m. Thursday, May 28, in the lecture hall at Weatherford College Wise County. A group photo will be taken after the meeting for the Facebook page.

FREEDOM TEXAS – Freedom Texas will meet 7 p.m. Thursday, May 28, in the meeting room at Pizza Hut, 501 S. Washburn St., in Decatur. This is a group that educates people about the sovereignty, security and self-sufficiency of Texas and promotes its eventual independence. Anyone who wishes to learn more about these subjects is invited. Contact Brenda Vaughn, 940-748-2535. freedomtexas.org

RELAY WRAP-UP – The Relay For Life Wise County wrap-up meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 2, at the Candlewood Suites meeting room. Call Kathy Hughes, 940-255-2944.

GOLF TOURNEY – Tee It Up Fore the Field, a four-person scramble benefiting Wise County Special Needs Baseball, is Friday, June 5, at The Club at Runaway Bay. Registration is noon and tee off is 1:30 p.m. Cost is $400 for a four-person team and $100 for individuals. There will be a meal, awards and a raffle. A silent auction is at 6 p.m. Call Jim and Ann Duffy, 817-489-3447. Register at Made2Thrive.org.

SONFLOWER CAMP – Sonflower Camp for Kids with Disabilities is June 8-10 at Joe Wheeler Park in Decatur. There will be a swim and pizza party on Friday, June 12. In case of inclement weather, camp will be at Crossroads Church in Decatur. Mark your calendars now and plan to come as a camper or as a helper. Call Andrea Duwe, 940-395-3356; or Elaine Huff, 940-627-4222.

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Basketball: Lady Greyhounds find new coach http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-lady-greyhounds-find-new-coach/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-lady-greyhounds-find-new-coach/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 16:04:28 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=91491 After 27 years of coaching boys basketball, Lance Shelton is taking his first job leading a girls team.

Shelton is heading to Slidell to take over the Lady Greyhounds program.

“It’s too good of an opportunity to pass up,” Shelton said. “Basketball is basketball are fundamentals and fundamentals. From everyone I’ve talked to the girls work just as hard as the boys. They all wished they would have made the switch earlier.”

Shelton replaces longtime Slidell coach Cody Vanover, who resigned this spring after 12 years on the job. Vanover’s team won 27 games last year and made the third round of the playoffs, falling to Dodd City in the Class A Region III quarterfinal.

Shelton, who is originally from Bowie and previously coached at Jacksboro and Lake Dallas, has spent the last 15 years at Dodd City. His Dodd City team played the Slidell Greyhounds in the opening round of the Class A Region II playoffs in 2014.

Slidell Athletic Director Todd McCormick recalled playing Shelton’s teams.

“Coaching against him and seeing his team. They were always real disciplined and fundamentally sound,” McCormick said. “He wanted to make the switch. He was the top candidate we had. It was an easy call.”

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Baseball: End of the road – Late Lindsay rally closes out Alvord http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/baseball-end-of-the-road-late-lindsay-rally-closes-out-alvord/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/baseball-end-of-the-road-late-lindsay-rally-closes-out-alvord/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 16:03:52 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=91489 Alvord’s season ended after two losses to Lindsay Friday night in Ponder.

The games themselves were polar opposites that yielded the same result. The first game was a pitcher’s duel that ended with the Knights on top 4-1. The second game saw the team with six errors pulling out an 8-7 win over their opponent whose only mistake occurred in the most crucial time.

A Tough End

A TOUGH END – Alvord was understandably emotional after a loss in Game 2 that ended the 2015 season. Making the loss even harder, the Bulldogs had a lead heading into the seventh and a two-out really ended the season. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

The series started an hour late to allow the mist and light rain to settle before taking the tarp off the mound.

Pitchers Kegan Branum of Alvord and Garrett Martin of Lindsay battled in the first inning, giving up only one hit and combining for three strikeouts.

BAD SIGN – Needing a run to tie in the bottom of the seventh inning of Game 2, Alvord’s Kegan Branum popped out to first. Branum was Alvord’s star throughout the series as a pitcher and a hitter. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, he was unable to get a lead-off hit and Alvord fell to Lindsay in two games. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Despite loading the bases on two walks and an error in the top of the second, Alvord was held scoreless after Martin struck out two and forced Alvord’s Cassidy Patterson to fly out to right field.

Branum returned the favor by striking out two and dropping the heart of Lindsay’s order in succession.

The Bulldogs scored the first run of the game in the third inning. After Branum’s single to right field he came around to score on an error by the Lindsay short stop on the next play.

Branum struck out the side in the bottom of the third to get the shut-down inning and add to an already great game.

In the fourth, an Alvord error at third base, followed by a single, a walk and a double by Lindsay’s Kyle Hermes, scored two runs for the Knights, giving them a 2-1 lead.

In the fifth, another Alvord error and a pair of sacrifice grounders got the Knights another run.

Alvord’s third error, followed by two stolen bases and a passed ball put Lindsay up 4-1, where it would stay.

“I thought we were pretty well matched,” Alvord coach Chris Staley said. “We made a few errors in that first game that made a four-run game out of what would have been a tied or one-run game. That’s really been the story all year. We don’t win when we don’t play solid defense behind our pitching. You can’t give teams four or five outs per inning this late in the season.”

For Game 2, neither offense got going until the second inning when a single, a fielder’s choice and a triple gave Lindsay the first run of the game.

That was followed by a sacrifice grounder from Lindsay’s Doug Case that scored James Fuller and put the Knights up 2-0.

Alvord responded with a second inning that featured two Lindsay errors, a walk and a Cassidy Patterson bloop single to right field that gave the Bulldogs three runs and a 3-2 lead.

Lindsay scored two in the top of the fourth to reclaim the lead until Alvord put up four runs in the bottom of the frame.

In the fourth, a walk and two errors tied the game at 4, before a Conner Parker hit a single to center that drove in two, putting the Bulldogs ahead 6-4.

Another run came that same inning when Cooper Hering hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Kory Maag and making the score 7-4.

The Knights chipped away at the Alvord lead by adding a run in the fifth.

Alvord remained ahead until the fateful seventh inning.

With one out, an error at second base opened the door for the Knights who took full advantage.

Dieter hit a double that scored a run, bringing Lindsay within a run, 7-6.

Staley then decided to have Patterson walk Lindsay’s Martin intentionally.

“Their four hole hitter is a good hitter,” Staley said. “I felt like we could use the force at third base. I felt confident with Cassidy [Patterson] on the mound that he could get the out we needed. If I had to do it over again, I’d probably do the same thing. I know you don’t like to put runners on base, but in that case I felt confident and more secure having the force at third.”

With runners at first and second after the walk, Hermes hit a line drive right into the middle of the gap in left-center field that scored two and gave the Knights an improbable 8-7 advantage, which they would hold on to for the remainder.

After the game, Staley focused on the adversity his team had to fight through to get to the third round.

“It was a roller coaster ride,” he said. “We didn’t get to play a lot of games early on with the weather. We got about four or five non-district games in and went right into district. We pretty much played .500 ball until the second half of district when we went 4-1. We swept Seymour and battled against Blue Ridge to win that series.”

The loss to Lindsay will be the last for the high school careers of Mason Clower, Patterson, Troy Morales, Kory Maag, Branum and Bryce Bull.

“They’re a good group of guys and I’m going to miss them,” Staley said about the senior class. They leave a big hole for our sophomores and juniors to fill.”

Man on the Mound

MAN ON THE MOUND – Kegan Branum pitched in Game 1 of Alvord’s playoff series against Lindsay. Branum also returned to the hill for the final couple outs of the seventh inning, relieving Cassidy Patterson. The Bulldogs lost the series to Lindsay in two games. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

GAME 1
LINDSAY 4, ALVORD 1

Alvord … 001 … 000 … 0 … 1 … 2 … 3
Lindsay … 000 … 211 … X … 4 … 2 … 3

WP: Garrett Martin, LP: Kegan Branum

2B: Lindsay, Kyle Hermes

RBI: Alvord, Mason Clower; Lindsay, Andy Dieter, Kyle Hermes, Dawson Anderle

GAME 2
LINDSAY 8, ALVORD 7

Lindsay … 020 … 210 … 3 … 8 … 9 … 6
Alvord … 030 … 400 … 0 … 7 … 2 … 1

WP: Kyle Hermes, LP: Cassidy Patterson

3B: Lindsay, James Fuller

2B: Lindsay, Kyle Hermes, Andy Dieter

RBI: Lindsay, James Fuller, Doug Case, Andy Dieter 2, Kyle Hermes 2; Alvord, Ryan Bartholomew, Cassidy Patterson, Conner Parker 2, Cooper Hering

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Softball: Paradise’s Taylor earns 9-3A MVP honor http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/softball-paradises-taylor-earns-9-3a-mvp-honor/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/softball-paradises-taylor-earns-9-3a-mvp-honor/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 16:02:00 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=91484 Reagan Taylor powered the Paradise Lady Panthers to the District 9-3A title with her bat and her performance in the pitching circle.

For her efforts, she was named the league’s MVP.

LEADING THE WAY – Reagan Taylor led the Lady Panthers in pitching, hitting and just about every other category to capture the District MVP award for District 9-3A. Taylor’s amazing senior year led Paradise to the second round of the playoffs. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

She was one of eight Paradise players to earn all-district honors. Boyd, the third-place team in the league, landed six on the 9-3A squad.

Boyd’s Chelsea Arlington was selected as the Offensive MVP for her impressive 2015.

Arlington batted .465, led her team in RBIs (37) and home runs (5), while striking out only seven times in 82 plate appearances.

Boyd’s Savannah Foster and Paradise’s Jett Preather were named Co-Defensive MVPs.

Jett Preather was Taylor’s reliable backstop throughout the season, and Foster, the Lady Yellowjacket’s catcher, received Defensive MVP for the fourth straight season.

Foster finished the season with a .979 fielding percentage and threw out six of the 13 batters who attempted to steal against her.

Karen Essig was named the Coach of the Year for leading Paradise to the league title and into the second round.

Boyd came away with four first-team selections that included: senior first baseman Chandler Hammond, junior third baseman Payton Salmon, senior shortstop Britney Howard and freshman outfielder Kristin Rasbury.

Hammond led the team in batting average (.471) and doubles (15), while boasting a .987 fielding percentage.

Salmon hit .424 and drove in 21 runs while scoring 29 runs.

Howard hit .420 on the season with 19 RBIs, seven doubles, a triple and a homer.

In her first high school season, Rasbury gathered an on-base percentage of .460 and stole 12 bases.

She also played several positions on the field, proving to be one of the more versatile players in the district.

Paradise’s Randa Taylor was selected to the first team for her work at first base.

Taylor’s teammates Bailey Higgins and Allie Rutledge also made the first team.

2015 DISTRICT 9-3A SOFTBALL TEAM

District MVP: Reagan Taylor, Paradise

Offensive MVP: Chelsea Arlington, Boyd

Defensive MVP: Savannah Foster, Boyd; Jett Preather, Paradise

Newcomer of the Year: Taylor McCarty, Bowie

Pitcher of the Year: Jennifer Wright, Holliday

Utility Player of the Year: Courtney Brady, Bowie

Coach of the Year: Karen Essig, Paradise

FIRST TEAM

Pitcher: Kagan Campbell, Henrietta; Alex Cave, City View

Catcher: Andrea Wilson, City View; Maddie Brown, Henrietta

First Base: Chandler Hammon, Boyd; Randa Taylor, Paradise

Second Base: Bailey Higgins, Paradise; Henslee Ogle, Bowie

Third Base: Payton Salmon, Boyd; Emily Dyes, Holliday

Short Stop: Britney Howard, Boyd; Beka Hardin, Holliday

Outfield: Kristin Rasbury, Boyd; Petie Wolsey, Bowie; Miami Robertson, Holliday; Allie Rutledge, Paradise; Kori Huard, City View; Hallie Thomas, Henrietta

SECOND TEAM

Pitcher: Kelbie Throckmorton, Bowie; Kelsee Trainham, Holliday

Catcher: Landri Allen, Holliday; Jayde Brezina, Bowie

First Base: Callie Melton, Bowie; Taylor Bennett, Henrietta

Second Base: Katelyn Walker, Nocona; Zoie Parkey, Henrietta

Third Base: Brooklyn Davis, Paradise; Karlie Pepper, Nocona

Short Stop: Katie Newberry, Henrietta; Mady Williams, City View

Outfield: Tristin Hopson, Bowie; Addy Cook, Bowie; Jordan Harwell, Henrietta; Katie Folkening, Holliday; Kenlie Folkening, Holliday; Kenlie Beddingfield, Holliday; Alexa Rushin, Jacksboro; Kailey Thomas, Paradise; Shelby Barclay, Paradise

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Baseball: Meyers, Black lead Panthers honorees http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/baseball-meyers-black-lead-panthers-honorees/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/baseball-meyers-black-lead-panthers-honorees/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 16:00:53 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=91481 After injuries knocked out several veteran arms for the Paradise Panthers, Bryson Meyers stepped forward to serve as the team’s ace on the way to a playoff spot.

The sophomore earned a 9-3A first-team selection for his efforts.

Meyers was one of five Paradise players to earn an all-district selection. Three Boyd players made the second team.

League champion Bowie earned a pair of superlative awards. Chandler Dean took the District MVP. Cooper Cantwell garnered Pitcher of the Year.

Nocona’s Jaxon Phips took Offensive MVP. Henrietta’s Cody Fletcher was the Defensive MVP. Weston Max of Henrietta was the league’s top newcomer.

Joining Meyers on the first team was his battery mate Skylar Black. The Paradise catcher was a unanimous selection. Third baseman Austin Hogan, outfielder John Bridgeman and designated hitter Dillon Meadows joined the first team for Paradise.

Boyd first baseman Colton Bruce, outfielder Tyler Kemp, designated hitter Cameron Clark and utility player Clay Barnett made the second team.

2015 DISTRICT 9-3A BASEBALL TEAM

District MVP: Chandler Dean, Bowie

Offensive MVP: Jaxon Phips, Nocona

Defensive MVP: Cody Fletcher, Henrietta

Newcomer of the Year: Weston Max, Henrietta

Pitcher of the Year: Cooper Cantwell, Bowie

FIRST TEAM

Pitcher: Bryson Meyers, Paradise; Tyler Munden, Holliday

Catcher: Skylar Black, Paradise

First base: Dylan Slade, Bowie

Second base: Cody Bentley

Third base: Austin Hogan, Paradise

Shortstop: Chase Duncan, Holliday

Outfield: Kameron Hill, Nocona; John Bridgeman, Paradise; Bailey Broyles, Holliday; Carter Shackelford, Bowie

Utility: Tyler Pippin, Jacksboro

Designated hitter: Dillon Meadows, Paradise

SECOND TEAM

Pitchers: Chase Thompson. Jacksboro; Caden Robenson, Henrietta

Catcher: Hunter Drennan, Jacksboro

First base: Colton Bruce, Boyd

Second base: Colton Shank, Holliday

Third base: Trace Hardee, Bowie

Shortstop: Jeremy James, Nocona

Outfield: Robert Hawkins, Nocona; Laytan Workman-Stewart, Henrietta; Barrett Brooks, Bowie; Tyler Kemp, Boyd

Utility: Clay Barnett, Boyd

Designated hitter: Cameron Clark, Boyd

Honorable mention

Paradise: Sam Robinson

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A tale of two bonds http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/opinion/columns/a-tale-of-two-bonds/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/opinion/columns/a-tale-of-two-bonds/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 15:59:13 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=91478 In many ways, the two local school bond packages on the May 9 ballot were very similar.

And yet, the end result was very different.

Nearly 75 percent of voters in the Decatur school district approved Proposition 1, while just over 61 percent approved Proposition 2.

The numbers were almost completely opposite in Chico, as six out of 10 votes went against the bond’s passage.

Brian Knox

Brian Knox

Many of the items in both schools’ bond packages were nearly the same. Both included money for security upgrades districtwide, including the installation of cameras and card reader systems on doors. Money in both bonds would have provided motion sensor lighting as a way to save on energy costs. Older buildings would receive new roofs and HVAC units. New buses were also included in both bonds.

Both also included money to build something completely new.

In Decatur’s case, it was a $3.5 million indoor, multipurpose practice facility. Chico’s new construction would have been a $2.1 million ag facility to replace the current aging facility and relocate it closer to the high school.

If there could be single items that could have sunk the two bonds, these two would probably have been it. In Decatur’s case, the board decided to make the practice facility a stand-alone item in Proposition 2.

I’m thinking Chico may now be wishing it had placed its ag facility in a separate proposition as well.

Probably the most common complaint heard about the Chico bond, as with most bonds, is that it included some “wants” instead of needs.

I think the ag facility can be used as an example. The need for a new ag facility seems to be legitimate, but the $2.1 million price tag probably seemed more like a “want” for many voters.

It probably didn’t help that Decatur, a much larger school in terms of student population, just recently built its own ag facility, which includes not only a place to house animals but also a show arena, a room to store feed, another room to wash and clip animals, a couple of small storage rooms and a classroom, at a cost of $810,000.

Chico’s bond problems seemed to start from the very night the election was called.

The vote to call the bond election passed by a narrow margin, 4-3. If you are a voter who is “on the fence” about the decision, seeing that nearly half the board did not want to call the bond doesn’t move the needle into the “for” range.

Another challenge facing Chico was the fact that the bond was expected to raise the tax rate 11 cents. That’s a pretty hefty increase, no matter what district you are in. By comparison, Decatur’s voters were looking at about a 4-cent increase.

In many ways, Chico finds itself in much the same position Decatur ISD was in 2009 after a bond issue to address improvements to existing facilities failed. After that election, the district had to prioritize the needs and address what it could with existing funds.

Perhaps if Chico can pay for some of the most pressing improvements with available funds, the district might be able to come back to the voters with a smaller bond package that won’t require more than a 10-cent increase in the tax rate.

It’s also possible voters might support a bond package that includes a new ag facility.

When the estimates for Decatur’s new ag facility came in higher than expected, two factors seemed to help push that project forward.

First, the district worked with the low bidder and architects to scale down the project until it fit their budget.

And second, supporters of the ag program made it a point to speak out in support of a new facility. Parents of ag students or former students spoke at several board meetings leading up to the approval of the project, each describing in detail the exact needs for the facility.

Public support for a project – whether it is paid for with or without a bond – is key to its success.

Vocal support by Chico ag students and parents for a new ag facility could be critical for making that project a reality.

Whether that is part of another bond package or not remains to be seen.

Brian Knox is the Messenger’s special projects manager.

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Abbott, Patrick, Straus announce tax relief compromise http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/opinion/columns/abbott-patrick-straus-announce-tax-relief-compromise/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/opinion/columns/abbott-patrick-straus-announce-tax-relief-compromise/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 15:58:20 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=91476 Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus on May 21 jointly announced a $3.8 billion tax relief package for Texas businesses and homeowners.

According to the announcement, the agreement reached by Patrick and Straus on a tax proposal, along with additional legislation, includes:

1. A 25 percent permanent reduction in the business margins tax;

2. A $10,000 increase in the homestead exemption, beginning in 2015, subject to passage of a constitutional amendment adopted in the November election; and

3. SB 1760, legislation requiring a 60 percent vote of the governing body of any taxing unit wishing to adopt an increase in property taxes that exceeds the effective tax rate.

“Texas leaders have come together to advance conservative principles that will improve the lives of Texans and continue to make Texas the model for doing business,” Abbott said. “Every dollar businesses and homeowners pay in taxes is a dollar that could be invested in new jobs, higher wages and stimulating the Texas economy.”

Meanwhile, the passage of a state budget for fiscal years 2016 and 2017, the Legislature’s primary task, is in its final stages. The buzz around the Capitol before Memorial Day weekend was that with tax relief resolved, an agreement on the budget that will satisfy the governor’s expectations will soon follow.

UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS REPORTED

Texas Workforce Commission on May 22 reported Texas has added an estimated 287,000 seasonally adjusted jobs over the past year including a modest gain in April with the addition of 1,200 positions during the month.

The state unemployment rate remained steady at 4.2 percent in April, down a full percentage point from 5.2 percent a year ago. Texas continues to trend well below the national unemployment rate of 5.4 percent.

Job gains for April were led by the leisure and hospitality industry, which added 6,900 positions. The information industry enjoyed its largest monthly gain for the industry since June 2000 with the addition of 3,400 jobs in April. Other services gained 2,800 jobs during the month followed by trade, transportation and utilities, which expanded by 2,100 positions.

“We know that there are still folks who are looking for good-paying jobs in our state, and we encourage them to take advantage of the many resources made available through Texas Workforce Solutions,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton. “Through our Workforce Solutions offices around the state, we have staff that can help steer job seekers to employment and training opportunities. With more than 260,000 available jobs currently posted on WorkInTexas.com, job seekers have good options here in Texas.”

LEGISLATORS AGREE ON E-CIG BILL

SB 97 by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen) would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. The Senate concurred with House amendments on May 18, allowing the legislation to proceed to the governor’s office for a final signature.

According to the Senate news service, House provisions added to the bill would strengthen online sales restrictions and the penalty for selling e-cigarettes to minors would be a fine of up to $500, the same as selling tobacco products to a minor. If Gov. Abbott signs the bill into law, it will take effect Oct. 1.

E-cigarettes vaporize a liquid containing nicotine that is inhaled by the user. Hinojosa expressed concern that use of “vaping” products is growing among younger Texans, saying, “We now have many minors using e-cigs in school because they think that it is a way to avoid smoking tobacco cigarettes.”

A 2014 survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Federal Drug Administration shows e-cigarette use increasing from 4.5 percent to 13.4 percent of high school students and 1.1 percent to 3.9 percent of middle school students in a single year.

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

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