WCMessenger.com http://www.wcmessenger.com Wise County Messenger Online Edition Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:02:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Meeting Previews for Wednesday, July 29, 2015 http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/meeting-previews-for-wednesday-july-29-2015/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/meeting-previews-for-wednesday-july-29-2015/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:01:59 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93562 CHICO ISD – Chico School Board will meet 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 30, to discuss repairing the middle school roof, making the baseball/softball complex ADA compliant and to discuss financial issues. The board meets in room 104 at Chico Elementary.

BRIDGEPORT ISD – Bridgeport School Board has called a special meeting Monday, Aug. 3, to workshop the district’s 2015-2016 budget. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at Bridgeport ISD’s Central Office on 2107 15th Street.

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Sailor with local ties finishes 11th http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/sailor-with-local-ties-finishes-11th/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/sailor-with-local-ties-finishes-11th/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:59:45 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93560 Jacopo Rizzi, the grandson of David and Susan Ray of Bridgeport and Mary Ray of Frisco, placed 11th in the 420 Class World Championships in Castle Bay Karatsu, Japan.

He and fellow Italian sailor Matteo Barison tallied 125 points over 12 races to garner 10th out of the 72-boat field in the open division.

It was Rizzi’s first appearance at the world championships. He and Barison have trained together for nine months.

After returning to Venice, Italy, he will return to training, upgrading to the 470 – the same class boat used in the Olympics.

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News Briefs for Wednesday, July 29, 2015 http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news-briefs/news-briefs-for-wednesday-july-29-2015/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news-briefs/news-briefs-for-wednesday-july-29-2015/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:59:08 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93558 BRIDGEPORT

CHAMBER LUNCHEON – The Bridgeport Chamber luncheon is 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 20, at the Bridgeport Community Center. Cost is $10. RSVP by noon Wednesday, Aug. 19, to donnamann@bridgeportchamber.org or call 940-683-2076.

DECATUR

FREEDOM TEXAS – Freedom Texas will meet 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30, in the meeting room at Pizza Hut, 601 S. Washburn St., in Decatur. The group educates people about the sovereignty, security and self-sufficiency of Texas and promotes its eventual independence. Call Brenda Vaughn, 940-748-2535 or go to freedomtexas.org.

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

LUNCH ‘N LISTEN – Every Tuesday Decatur Public Library will have Lunch ‘N Listen at noon in the reading garden. Bring a lunch and listen to a librarian read from a favorite book. Call 940-393-0290.

CHISHOLM TRAIL DAYS – The Chisholm Trail Days rodeo is Aug. 20-22. Sponsorships are available. Call Zane Lasater, 940-255-9375. The parade is 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22, in downtown Decatur. Throughout the day there will be live music, theatrical gunfights and kids activities. Call Decatur Main Street, 940-627-6158.

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

PARADISE

CHAMBER RAFFFLE – Paradise Chamber of Commerce is selling raffle tickets for a chest freezer and 150 pounds of meat from K-Bar Dairy, including steaks, hamburger, roasts and sausage. Tickets are $5 each and can be purchased at Paradise City Hall, Hometown Tees, K-Bar Dairy, Skin and Body Works or Mann Refrigeration. Email info@paradisetexaschamber.org.

RHOME

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.

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.

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

NUTRITION CLASS – A nutrition class for cancer patients and caregivers is 1 p.m. Friday, July 31, at the Cancer Center at Wise Regional Health System.

VETERANS BREAKFAST – The Wise County Veterans Group will hold its weekly breakfast 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, at the Decatur Civic Center. All Wise County veterans are invited to attend.

SCHOOL SUPPLIES – Wise Hope Crisis Center is holding its annual school supply drive for children whose lives have been affected by family violence. School supplies and monetary donations may be dropped off at the outreach office, 608 N. Bus 287, in Decatur. Call Jael Mares, 940-626-4585.

CASA TRAINING – Court Appointed Special Advocates for Wise and Jack Counties’ next volunteer training class starts Aug. 4. Call 940-627-7535. www.casawise.org

SUPPORT GROUP – The Alzheimer’s Support Group meets 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4, in the boardroom of Wise Regional Health System’s West Campus in Decatur. The group is for people caring for others with any type of dementia. Call Richard Sides, 940-255-0244.

SPECIAL NEEDS BASEBALL – Made 2 Thrive and Wise County Special Needs Baseball is getting ready for their fall season. Participants must be 3 or older to play. Registration is $20 through Aug. 8 and increases to $50 after the deadline. Registration forms are available at www.made2thrive.org.

RANCHERS GATHERING – Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Wise County is having a Ranchers Gathering Thursday, Aug. 13, at the First Baptist Church in Decatur. Doors open at 5:30, and cost is $10, which includes dinner. Jason Cleere, associate professor and Extension beef cattle specialist, will present “Top 10 Ways to Generate Dollars in the Cattle Business.” The agriculture trade show will have more than 20 booths. Pre-register by Aug. 12. Call the Extension office, 940-627-3341, or come by 206 S. State St.

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 they 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.

OUTSIDE WISE

FORESTBURG FESTIVAL – The 35th annual Forestburg Watermelon Festival is Saturday, Aug. 8. The festival’s parade starts at 10:30 a.m. with entries lining up at 9:30 a.m. at the school. This year’s theme is “Honoring Our Community Centers.” Entries are available at the Forestburg Store, post office or by calling Buck at 940-841-0204. The festival’s salsa contest is 9 to 10 a.m. at the Atkin’s building. There will be an old-fashioned bed turning, or quilt show, where quilters talk about their creations at 11:30 a.m. 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. CAll 940-964-2483.

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2015 Volleyball Preview: Ready for next wave – Lady Eagles prepare to follow up title runs http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/2015-volleyball-preview-ready-for-next-wave-lady-eagles-prepare-to-follow-up-title-runs/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/2015-volleyball-preview-ready-for-next-wave-lady-eagles-prepare-to-follow-up-title-runs/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:56:55 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93556 Graduating seven seniors and losing one other major contributor from a state champion team might lower expectations but not for Decatur coach Claire Gay.

Entering her ninth season with the Lady Eagles, Gay said the bar remains just as high as ever for her squad.

Returning to Court

RETURNING TO COURT – The Decatur Lady Eagles start practice Monday, trying for a third straight state title. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“The standard for Decatur volleyball never changes,” Gay said. “They know that. I’m not going to let up on them. The standard is set and I’m never going to default from that. Decatur volleyball is on the map and they have to carry it on.”

The Lady Eagles graduated their top three hitters – Caroline Lowery, Makayla Mayfield and Cooper Martin – and all-state setter – Stormi Leonard – from last year’s 40-10 team that captured a second straight state crown.

While unproven on the court, Gay is confident in the next wave of talent that is ready to step forward.

“They are definitely looking forward to it and very eager to prove themselves,” Gay said. “We have seven returning players. They were kids on varsity that did a lot of learning in practices and were key to our success.

“We’ll have a learning curve and will have to figure out lineups.”

The Lady Eagles will welcome back Dylana Hutchins as a middle blocker. The senior missed a significant portion of the season after suffering an injury.

“She’s back fully healthy and really stepped forward and has been a good influence,” Gay said.

Hutchins put down 102 kills and made 44 blocks.

Decatur brings back Emily Oxford and Kelsie Worley, who filled in at middle blocker after the loss of Hutchins. Oxford had 105 kills and 104 blocks. Worley contributed 29 kills and six blocks.

Libero Maclaine Lowery returns to lead the Lady Eagles’ defense. She made 482 digs last season – second on the team.

The Lady Eagles will look for someone new to be their setter for the first time in four seasons. Presley Gibson, who had 13 assists last year, will compete for time at setter with newcomer Haley Griffin.

The work begins Monday.

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Volleyball: Old face with new surroundings – Decatur libero returns with mostly new lineup http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/volleyball-old-face-with-new-surroundings-decatur-libero-returns-with-mostly-new-lineup/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/volleyball-old-face-with-new-surroundings-decatur-libero-returns-with-mostly-new-lineup/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:56:03 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93553 Arriving for the first day of team camp Tuesday, Maclaine Lowery found herself surrounded by fresh faces.

Gone are many of the familiar teammates she celebrated with on the court after the final point of Decatur’s second straight title last November in Garland.

Familar Face

FAMILIAR FACE – Maclaine Lowery started for the Decatur Lady Eagles at libero during the run to the 2014 state title. She is back with a new cast to try to defend that title. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“It’s kind of different. It’s definitely a different dynamic,” said the junior libero. “But it’ll be a cool experience. It’s a whole new season.”

And as one of the few returning players to see action in the title match against Argyle, Lowery is looking forward to taking on an even larger, more vocal role as Decatur starts a title defense. The Lady Eagles start workouts Monday.

“Coach [Claire Gay] and I talked about being more vocal and being more supportive of people,” Lowery said.

Gay expects Lowery, along with returning varsity players and seniors Dylana Hutchins, Emily Oxford and Presley Gibson, to welcome the challenge of stepping forward as the team’s new leaders.

“They learned a lot last year and know the expectations,” Gay said. “Between [Lowery] and the other ones back they are handling that role well.”

Last year taking over as the libero, Lowery adjusted quickly to the speed of the game. In her second full season on varsity, she finished second in digs with 482. She also served at a 92 percent clip with 48 aces – fifth on the team.

“It was a big learning experience going from basically just scrimmaging to playing girls going to Division I schools,” Lowery recalled.

By the end of the season and especially in the playoffs, her play on the back row was critical in the Lady Eagles’ wins over Big Spring and Argyle. She made a team-best 18 digs in the state final against Argyle and 21 in the comeback win over Bushland.

“She’s grown up a lot in this game, especially adjusting to the speed at which this game happens,” Gay explained.

As a libero, she has to be relentless in getting to the ball. She describes her role as being the setter of the back row.

“You’re in control of the defense,” Lowery said. “You have to be vocal and stay on your feet. I love it. I love having to be everywhere.”

She especially enjoys making digs off big hits from opponents.

“Nothing is more satisfying than having a rival on the other side and digging a ball,” Lowery said.

And while some may not expect her to be making those digs again late into November, she’s not lowering her expectations.

“We’re ready to push through the adversity of having to rebuild,” Lowery said. “We have a lot of new girls that have been growing all offseason. We’re ready to go out and win titles.”

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2015 Volleyball Preview: Boyd looks to take next step to playoffs http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/2015-volleyball-preview-boyd-looks-to-take-next-step-to-playoffs/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/2015-volleyball-preview-boyd-looks-to-take-next-step-to-playoffs/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:55:03 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93550 Last season, the Boyd Lady ‘Jackets came as close to the playoffs as possible without actually making it to the postseason, recording an 8-6 district record.

“We tied with Holliday for fourth in the district and they had the head-to-head,” Boyd coach Dusty Crafton said.

Ready for Challenge

READY FOR CHALLENGE – Lindsay Chancellor hits the ball over the net during a team camp Monday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

This year, Crafton expects her team to make the playoffs with the return of Kayleigh Pappajohn and Morgan Abbott.

“Kayleigh plays on the left side, but she can hit from anywhere. She has really fast arms and can play all around,” Crafton said. “Morgan is our setter. We’ll probably run a 5-1 with her setting the entire time. She plays really unselfishly and works extremely hard.”

Pappajohn recorded 267 kills in 2014 to go with 226 digs, while Abbott had 403 assists and 53 aces from the line.

Boyd also returns Lindsay Chancellor, who will be the team’s only senior this season and made the Academic 9-3A team last season.

Crafton mentioned Kynzie Todd as a newcomer who could help a high-powered offense.

“The offense will be strong,” she said. “We have good size. We don’t have extremely tall girls, but we’ve got girls that are 5 feet 8 inches pretty much across the board. We have an athletic and fast group.”

The Lady Yellowjackets will have to overcome a stacked district with teams like Henrietta, Holliday and Bowie all preparing for a big year.

Boyd’s preseason begins Friday, Aug. 7, with scrimmages against Chico and Ponder before scrimmaging district rival Paradise a day later.

The Lady ‘Jackets will face Lake Worth at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 11 at home to start the official season.

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2015 Volleyball Preview: Sissies regroup with veterans returning http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/2015-volleyball-preview-sissies-regroup-with-veterans-returning/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/2015-volleyball-preview-sissies-regroup-with-veterans-returning/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:52:42 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93547 The Bridgeport Sissies struggled through 2014, playing several young players and fighting through injuries.

But with most of the team returning, the Sissies are ready to push forward from last year’s 5-27 campaign.

“We’re returning a core group,” said Bridgeport coach Rebekah Cummings. “This class of seniors were freshmen my first year here. They know they need to leave it all on the court. They want it, and it’s time to show their true ability.”

Outside hitter Kensley Turner is one of the senior returners. The three-year varsity player led the Sissies with 82 kills last year. She also made 138 digs.

“She’s a big part of our team on offense,” Cummings said.

On the front line with her Bridgeport brings back experienced players in Kendall Scott, Ally Raby and Sadie White. White had 72 kills with 12 blocks. Raby finished with 47 kills and Scott 58.

“Raby flew under the radar last year. She sets a good block from the right side and she’s worked at becoming a stronger hitter,” Cummings said. “Kendall also does a good job blocking and hitting.”

The Sissies will use a pair of setters with Nikki Barbour and Katie Hudson.

From the start of practice Monday, Cummings said a big focus will be on becoming mentally tougher.

“Last year, we got down too early and never recovered,” Cummings said. “We want to build momentum early and keep from digging an early hole.”

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2015 Volleyball Preview: Lady Panthers hope for quick rebuild http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/2015-volleyball-preview-lady-panthers-hope-for-quick-rebuild/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/2015-volleyball-preview-lady-panthers-hope-for-quick-rebuild/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:52:05 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93545 Paradise’s season ended last year in a sweep by Callisburg in the Class 3A Region II bi-district game.

With the loss of District 9-3A’s top hitter Jett Preather, blocker Reagan Taylor, first-team pick Shelby Bradshaw and honorable mention player Johnna Headley, the Lady Panthers have some big shoes to fill.

Paradise returns Madi Horne, who recorded 594 digs last season on the way to making the 9-3A team.

They also will be getting a boost from another season with 2014 honorable mention player, Amber French.

Bailey Miller rounds out the returning cast, who should make a big impact for Paradise in 2015.

According to coach Susie Burt, the biggest challenges facing the Lady Panthers will be a lack of height and a tough district.

“We’ve got a very strong district,” Burt said. “There’s no telling what it will be like, but I know it will be a hard district to get out of and get into the playoffs.”

For Paradise to have success, they will have to rely on strong fundamental play and a lack of mistakes.

“We’ll be short. We have to play good defense and capitalize on our hits,” Burt said. “I know we’ll have a scrappy team that works hard.”

Another trial that faces Paradise is a lack of continuity. To combat a limited time together, players have spent much of their summer together in tournaments.

“We’ve had a lot of girls play summer league. We’re just trying to see what we have. It may take us a while to gel,” Burt said. “I’m just hoping they’re ready to come in and work together.”

Paradise two-a-days begin at 8 a.m. Monday. The team’s first scrimmage will be at Peaster Aug. 7.

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2015 Volleyball Preview: Gaston, Lady Texans begin second year http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/2015-volleyball-preview-gaston-lady-texans-begin-second-year/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/2015-volleyball-preview-gaston-lady-texans-begin-second-year/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:51:33 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93543 In her first season with the Northwest Lady Texans, Amy Gaston spent the year laying groundwork for her expectations and goals for the program.

Now as a new season starts Monday, she explains it being a totally different atmosphere.

“It’s a complete 180,” she said. “I got to spend the whole spring with them creating a culture and work ethic. It was a lot of relationship building. It’s a lot better, and we’re excited for the season.”

The Lady Texans went 15-26 last season and battled in a tough District 5-6A with a youthful roster.

A now experienced squad will try to jump back into the playoffs.

Leading the talented returning cast is Camryn Berryhill, a 5-6A first-team selection from last year after putting down 181 kills during league play.

Gaston expects Berryhill to be even better this year.

“She’s shown great growth and has really worked on the technical side to go with the emotion she brings to the floor,” Gaston said.

Gaston expects other hitters to step forward and take pressure off Berryhill.

Morgan Baker returns at setter. She handed out 285 assists and made 140 digs during league play. Analise Lucio added 158 assists and 138 digs.

The Lady Texans did lose talented middle blocker Tessa Harfield. Gaston expects to use several people in that spot this year.

“What [Harfield] brought physically is tough to replace,” Gaston said. “But we will be versatile in the middle and will see a lot of people.”

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2015 Volleyball Preview: New coach guides Lady Dragons http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/2015-volleyball-preview-new-coach-guides-lady-dragons/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/2015-volleyball-preview-new-coach-guides-lady-dragons/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:50:52 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93541 The Lady Dragons made the playoffs for the first time in three seasons last year before a bi-district loss to Collinsville.

Despite losing four seniors off of the 2014 squad, Chico is ready to push forward with eight returners from last year, including top hitter Alli York and setter Britton Petty.

Chico will have a new coach in Patrick Sluga, who replaces Missy Patterson. The new coach has already seen promise in the young group.

“Britton Petty will be a really high-skilled setter,” Sluga said. “She’s putting the time in to get better and improve her game. Setter is probably the most important position on the court so it’s nice to have that already in place.”

The coach also said that York and the other hitters have shown a lot of promise too.

“Alli York has done well and been aggressive hitting the ball,” Sluga said. “I wish I could have her for more than just this one year. They’re both going to be pivotal to team success.”

Sluga also mentioned that he has seen a myriad of girls who are working hard and should contribute greatly in 2015.

“They’re a really scrappy group,” he said. “They hustle and were aggressive.”

That fits perfectly with Sluga’s coaching style.

“We want to be aggressive,” he said. “We don’t want to just get it over the net. We want to push the tempo and be quick. We don’t want to play it safe all of the time.”

Two-a-days begin at 8 a.m. Monday and the first scrimmage will be that Friday at home.

Chico’s first game will be at 5 p.m. Aug. 11, in Valley View.

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Baseball: Pair of Dragons make Texas Sportswriters team http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/baseball-pair-of-dragons-make-texas-sportswriters-team/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/baseball-pair-of-dragons-make-texas-sportswriters-team/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:50:22 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93539 The Texas Sports Writers Association named a pair of Dragons to their 2A All-State baseball team.

Jaston McBee and Tyler Melton were each named to the squad after tremendous junior seasons and helping Chico to the second round of the playoffs.

McBee was named to the TSWA first team for the second consecutive year after hitting .463 with a .550 on-base percentage.

The center fielder, who’s most notable parlor trick is his ability to throw the ball with either hand, hit a team-leading six triples to go with three doubles and a team-high 28 base hits. As Chico’s lead off man, McBee crossed home 49 times and drove in 26 runs while stealing a team-high 35 bases.

McBee’s most memorable moment, and only home run of the season, came in a district game against Bryson when he only needed two innings to complete a cycle.

McBee was also named District 10-2A Defensive MVP for the 2015 season with his .903 fielding percentage.

Despite being the pitching ace for the Dragons with a 1.91 earned-run average, a 7-0 record on the hill and 66 strikeouts to just 13 walks, Melton made the TSWA’s second team as a first baseman for the second straight year.

The 2015 10-2A MVP and All-Wise MVP batted .525 with a .721 on-base percentage and hit seven home runs.

Also a junior, “T-Bone’s” best moment came in a road game against district rival Alvord when he battled the Bulldogs’ top two arms in Kegan Branum and Cassidy Patterson.

Melton threw a complete game with 11 strikeouts and one walk while allowing just four hits in a 6-3 Chico victory.

Melton also made the TSWA honorable mention list as a pitcher, along with Branum who made honorable mention as a short stop.

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Look, spend local; With revenue streams drying up, it’s time to keep money here http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/opinion/columns/look-spend-local-with-revenue-streams-drying-up-its-time-to-keep-money-here/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/opinion/columns/look-spend-local-with-revenue-streams-drying-up-its-time-to-keep-money-here/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:49:05 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93536 With the Internet at our fingertips and one of the biggest metropolitan areas in the nation a few miles down the road, shopping options are limitless.

Richard Greene

Richard Greene

All of us are looking for the best deal on the latest fashion or the next knickknack for our collection. That search often leads out of Wise County, but often what we are looking for is available right here at a local retailer. Even if you do pay a dollar or two more, the convenience and lack of frustration dealing with shipping or fighting traffic in the big city should be worth it.

On top of making life easier, your dollars are needed more than ever to lend a helping hand to our local entities in a changing, difficult economy.

In Texas, we are used to boom and bust times based on the energy sector – primarily oil and gas. During a boom like we experienced a few years ago, times are good. Oil and gas workers flood the community, tossing around money in restaurants, hotels and stores, but we’re also too familiar with the bust. Spending money dries up faster than water on a hot August sidewalk, and that’s where we find ourselves today with crude oil trading at a trickle over $48 per barrel.

That decline in oil prices has led to a sharp decline in property values, along with a fall-off in sales tax receipts. Add in a rainy spring, and the revenue stream becomes murkier as cities sell less water to residents.

At this time, there’s an even greater need to keep money in the community to help cities maintain water lines, fix potholes and pay for emergency responders.

And despite what you might think, dollars spent at home with locally-owned businesses do help. Nearly three-fourths of every dollar spent with a locally-owned business stays in the community. Even spending locally with a national chain is better than going out of town with 43 cents of a dollar staying here.

Money spent locally will likely come back to you because a larger collection in sales tax could lead to lower property taxes.

As the local campaign pointed out, you can’t always purchase everything locally, you can make a difference by looking locally first. And now, a little difference is needed.

Richard Greene is the Messenger’s sports editor.

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Governor says family of woman who died in custody deserves answers http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/opinion/columns/governor-says-family-of-woman-who-died-in-custody-deserves-answers/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/opinion/columns/governor-says-family-of-woman-who-died-in-custody-deserves-answers/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:47:53 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93534 Gov. Greg Abbott on July 22 issued a statement regarding the arrest and death of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old Illinois resident who had driven to Hempstead in response to a job offer from Prairie View A&M University.

On July 10, Bland was pulled over by a state trooper, arrested and placed in the Waller County jail in Hempstead. Three days later Bland was found dead in her jail cell. Local authorities conducted an autopsy and reported suicide as the cause of death. Bland’s family ordered an independent autopsy.

“Our hearts and prayers remain with the Bland family for their tragic loss. The family deserves answers. The Texas Rangers, working in coordination with the FBI, will conduct a full and thorough investigation that will deliver those answers and work toward the ultimate goal of ensuring justice in this case,” Abbott wrote.

On July 21, Texas Department of Public Safety officials briefed state leaders on the investigation.

“DPS has been working closely with the family of Ms. Bland during this investigation and the department extends our sincere condolences for their tragic loss,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “It is important that her family has confidence in the efficacy of this investigation, which is why the Waller County Sheriff’s Office and district attorney originally requested investigative assistance from the Texas Rangers; and it’s also why DPS requested the FBI assist in this investigation.”

The DPS posted on its website the state trooper’s dash camera video from the traffic stop. Also, video footage showing activity in the jail at the time of the discovery of the body was widely broadcast.

COURT DISMISSES COERCION CHARGE

Texas’ 3rd Court of Appeals on July 24 dismissed one count of a two-count felony indictment handed down in August 2014 by a Travis County grand jury against Rick Perry for actions he took as governor in 2013.

The court threw out the count of official coercion against Perry for demanding the resignation of the head of the state’s Public Integrity Unit, Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, in the spring of 2013 after she was arrested and jailed for drunken driving. Lehmberg apologized for her actions but refused to resign. Perry then vetoed the unit’s $7.5 million in state funding.

Texans for Public Justice, an Austin-based government watchdog organization, filed the original criminal complaints against Perry. The other count, alleging abuse of power, remains pending and could be set for a court date later this year.

AG CHIEF OPPOSES RULE CHANGE

A rule change made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in late June lifted a ban on the importation of beef from northern Argentina and 14 of Brazil’s 27 states.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller recently spoke out against the federal agency’s action because, he said, those areas have a known history of foot-and-mouth disease.

“The U.S. has not suffered from a case of foot-and-mouth disease since 1929, in part because of our nation’s bans against animal and meat imports from countries dealing with the disease,” Miller stated in a July 21 news release.

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DECREASES

Texas Workforce Commission on July 17 announced Texas marked its third straight month of seasonally adjusted job growth with the addition of 16,700 nonagricultural jobs in June.

And, the state has added jobs in 56 of the last 57 months, including a total of 53,600 positions in the first half of 2015. Over the year, Texas has seen an increase of 269,900 jobs.

Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent in June, down from 4.3 percent in May, the lowest rate of unemployment for the state since July 2007, according to the agency.

GROWTH TREND CONTINUES

Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos on July 16 reported continued growth in new business formations for the first half of 2015.

Some 83,235 certificates of formation were filed between Jan. 1 and June 30 with the secretary of state’s office to form new Texas for-profit corporations, professional corporations, professional associations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships.

This is an almost 4 percent increase from the 80,039 certificates of formation filed Jan. 1 to June 30 of 2014, Cascos pointed out.

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

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United States of Anxiety http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/opinion/editorial-cartoons/united-states-of-anxiety/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/opinion/editorial-cartoons/united-states-of-anxiety/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:47:17 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93532 OpEd United States of Anxiety

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Gretchen Lucille Morse http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/deaths/obits/gretchen-lucille-morse/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/deaths/obits/gretchen-lucille-morse/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:31:05 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93529

Gretchen Lucille Morse

Gretchen Lucille Morse, 82, of Decatur died Friday, July 24, 2015, in Decatur.

Services will be held at a later date in Fresno, Calif. Service time and place will be posted at www.hawkinsfuneralhome.com.

Gretchen was born Dec. 22, 1932, in Sulphur, Okla., to Otto and Geneva (Carlyle) Newsom. She married George Delbert Morse Feb. 3, 1951, in Las Cruces, N.M. Gretchen was a member of Decatur Garden Club and the Wise Regional Health System Auxiliary.

She is survived by her husband of 64 years, Delbert Morse of Decatur; daughter Gay Morse Witrado and husband, Charlie, of Fresno; sons Delbert Lee Morse of Decatur, Ricky Morse and wife, Cathy, of Riverdale, Calif., Kevin Morse and wife, Leslie, of Tulare, Calif., and Keith Morse and wife, Carol, of Caruthers, Calif.; sister Sue Brock of Fresno; 14 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and nieces, nephews and friends.

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Flea population on the rise this summer http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/blogs/ag-news/flea-population-on-the-rise-this-summer/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/blogs/ag-news/flea-population-on-the-rise-this-summer/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:29:46 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93526 For some reason, we have seen rapid increases in flea populations this spring and summer.

Fleas tend to be more of an itching nuisance than a threat to human health, primarily because the worst diseases they carried have been eradicated.

The chief sources of flea infestation in the home are family pets, but once indoors, fleas thrive in floor cracks, carpets, upholstered furniture and pet bedding. Fleas, of course, are also abundant outside. Larvae burrow into the top surface of the soil.

If flea problems are occurring in the house, the yard and on the pets, all three must be treated at the same time.

Use only approved products for treating animals. Dusts are acceptable because they are generally effective longer. However, the newer products, such as Frontline and Advantage, contain an insect growth regulator that can reduce subsequent egg and larval production and can be applied directly to the animal.

Outdoors, treat areas that pets frequent. Use only approved products to thoroughly cover and saturate soil and grass areas. Make sure that application equipment is carefully calibrated to measure dosages exactly.

In the house, thoroughly vacuum or sweep carpets, rugs, furniture, cracks and crevices. Be sure to reach under furniture and along baseboards. Discard the vacuum bag afterwards.

Use a coarse spray (large droplets) in treating likely infested areas. It is always more effective to treat all carpets, furniture and baseboards at one time. After spraying, use total-release aerosol applications to reduce adult fleas.

Because flea pupae are hard to kill with insecticides, an additional follow-up treatment is usually needed seven to 10 days after the first application. When using short-residual insecticides such as pyrethrins, two or three follow-up sprays at five- to 10-day intervals may be required.

Don’t wait until fleas get out of hand. Begin your flea control program early for best results. Start a thorough sanitation program, regularly inspect pets for fleas and follow label directions on all pesticide containers.

The table below lists common flea control products.

For information, come by the Extension office, 206 S. State St., in Decatur and pick up a publication entitled “Controlling Fleas.”

Todd Vineyard is a Wise County Extension agent.

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Black spot easier to combat than rose rosette http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/blogs/gardeners-mailbag/black-spot-easier-to-combat-than-rose-rosette/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/blogs/gardeners-mailbag/black-spot-easier-to-combat-than-rose-rosette/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:29:16 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93524 Dear Neil: How can I tell the difference between black spot and rose rosette disease on our roses? My roses aren’t doing well, and they are producing far fewer flowers.

Black spot causes large brown patches on the leaves, usually surrounded by yellow haloes. It causes the plants to shed many of their leaves. Rose rosette, by comparison, stunts the plants badly. Stems may be extremely thorny, and growth is very erratic.

Some of the stalks initially will be very strong “bull canes.” Flowers will fail to open, and within a few months the plants will be mostly brown. This disease is spread by a microscopic wind-borne mite, and it has become horrific in big parts of Texas.

Black spot weakens the plants, but fungicides will usually help alleviate it.

Dear Neil: Squirrels got all of our peaches this summer. What can I do in future years to keep them away?

That’s no small challenge. Your best bet will be to make sure the tree is isolated, that is, not touching any other trees.

Trim the lowest branches up high enough that squirrels can’t reach them to climb. Have a sheet metal shop cut and crimp you a “collar” that is almost as tall as the lowest limb is from the ground, then wrap it loosely around the trunk while the tree has fruit. You can probably hold it temporarily in a cylinder form using duct tape. Remove it and store it once harvest is finished.

Dear Neil: We have had a bois d’arc tree cut down and ground out, but we are still getting sprouts. I’d like to plant grass in the area, and our son-in-law has offered to bring in a front-end loader to dig out the remaining parts of the stump, also to bring in new topsoil. Will we continue to have sprouts?

Yes, likely. Short of digging out the roots that are producing them, about the only other option is to apply a broadleafed weedkiller spray. I’ve had them come up in my yard, and one or two years of mowing did eventually get rid of them.

Dear Neil: I want to plant two new trees, but I don’t want anything that is messy like sweet gum balls, acorns or pecans. I’ve lost Japanese maples and dogwoods. I’m considering planting another type of maple. What would you suggest?

You might consider a cedar elm. Their leaves are small, and they disintegrate quickly after they fall. Their seeds are also small. While they may come up in beds, they are easily discouraged by using a layer of mulch. Don’t rule oaks out just because they produce acorns, however. That only happens to any large degree once every few years, and the trees are very dependable otherwise.

Dear Neil: I have two Japanese aralias (fatsias) in my front flower bed. They were shaded by a huge oak tree, but unfortunately, we had to have the oak taken out. Now the aralias are looking terrible. Will they gradually acclimate, or should I move them? If so, when?

Fatsias are actually closely related to English ivy, and like their cousin, they must have shade. I would suggest moving them late this coming winter. Hopefully they can survive until then.

Dear Neil: How can I keep my crape myrtles blooming all summer? I see some that look terrific, but others that fade quickly.

Relative to the ones you describe as “terrific,” it’s possible you’re seeing a different batch every week or two. Any given round of crape myrtle blooms will last 10 to 14 days, at which point the petals will be shed. If the plants are left to grow on their own without being topped in the winter (never a good plan), it’s nothing uncommon for them to phase back into bloom two or three more times per summer. Keep them growing vigorously by watering deeply and by applying a high-nitrogen fertilizer.

Dear Neil: How can I kill nutgrass? I have it in my lawn, and sprays haven’t done any good.

The products Image and Sedgehammer are both quite effective, even if they’re slow to show results. They enter the nutsedge (not a true grass) through its roots and kill it out gradually. Treatment must be made in the summer, and you must follow the application with a thorough watering.

Dear Neil: My St. Augustine produces seed heads each summer. I do not mow for several weeks during that time, leaving them in place to produce seeds for my lawn. Is there a trick to getting the seeds to sprout?

I’ve never seen St. Augustine seeds germinate. Even if they did, you wouldn’t want them. You need to propagate St. Augustine by sprigs or sod.

Dear Neil: My vitex tree has deformed leaves, and it only produced 5 percent of its normal flower count. Could leafhoppers be the cause?

Perhaps, but it could also be due to a broadleafed weedkiller spray nearby or a weed-and-feed fertilizer applied too close to it. It’s hard to know how to advise you without seeing it.

Have a question you’d like Neil to consider? Mail it to him in care of the Wise County Messenger, P.O. Box 149, Decatur, TX 76234 or email him at mailbag@sperrygardens.com. Neil regrets that he cannot reply to questions individually.

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Cowboy up! There are lessons to be learned riding horseback http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/blogs/life-matters/cowboy-up-there-are-lessons-to-be-learned-riding-horseback/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/blogs/life-matters/cowboy-up-there-are-lessons-to-be-learned-riding-horseback/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:28:43 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93522 My granddaughter had her first horseback ride on July 4, and I was there to see it and capture it in photos. It was really special when she got to take a ride, first with her mama and then with her daddy.

Best of all was when she road with her great-grandpa (now known as Big Grandpa), my dad. Dad said this was his last horse ride. He’ll be 80 this year, and his horse is in his mid-20’s and is showing his age. I got a lump in my throat watching that ride and remembering 50-plus years of rides with Dad.

I didn’t ride that day; I was too busy with the camera. I did get to ride a few days later when I took my boys on a “guy trip” to Colorado. We rode for an hour in the Garden of the Gods just outside Colorado Springs.

I won’t talk about how the folks there looked at me, weighed me and then brought me out a Clydesdale to ride. Some things are better left unmentioned.

Actually, I felt a little like John Wayne in the original “True Grit.” Compared to me atop old Dan, it looked like everyone else was riding sheep.

I was thinking about that horseback ride yesterday, and I started pondering horseback riding as a metaphor for life. I’ve ridden a lot of horses in my lifetime, and there are lessons to be learned from each.

More than likely, my first horse was a rocking horse. I managed to generate a lot of motion on that horse, but I never really went anywhere. That’s OK when you’re a toddler, but no grownup wants to spend any significant time on a rocking horse. However, we sometimes find ourselves busy – constantly moving, but never really making any progress.

Along the way, I had a few rides on the storefront motorized horse. That was a special treat that didn’t happen very often. I sat still, used no energy of my own, never went anywhere and someone else had to pay for it. Again, OK for a little kid, but I haven’t found a lot of people in my adult life who are willing to put down their money for my entertainment.

I also spent some time on a stick horse. That could be fun, and I could pretty much go anywhere I wanted until I ran out of energy. Stick horse riding is an independent enterprise, even in a group. I wonder how many opportunities in life I have missed because I was determined to do it all myself.

And then there is the long line of genuine horses that have carried me many a mile. I’ve been able to benefit from strength beyond myself to go places and accomplish tasks I never could have gone or done independently. A horse and rider working together is a powerful partnership.

There is much more I could say, but I’m out of space. I’m thinking about unpacking this some more in a future podcast.

For now, I’ll just say, “Cowboy Up!” Your life matters to God.

Dr. Gerry Lewis, author, blogger, church consultant and leadership coach, serves as executive director of the Harvest Baptist Association in Decatur.

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Pixels doesn’t one-up Sandler’s reputation http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/blogs/movie-man/pixels-doesnt-one-up-sandlers-reputation/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/blogs/movie-man/pixels-doesnt-one-up-sandlers-reputation/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:28:09 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93520 Critics are tearing apart the latest Adam Sandler movie, and “Pixels,” despite a cool premise, could not even win the week.

Pundits wonder if the end has arrived for Sandler, who has not had a Sandler-esque hit in years.

ABOUT THE FILM

Terrible advance buzz stuck to “Pixels,” and it showed at the box office where, in a slower summer week, the film could not capture the top slot – almost unheard of for a Sandler movie.

The film should have attracted a huge swathe of early video gamers and their kids, but it simply did not. Here’s another example of a promising-looking movie crashing.

Still, don’t weep for Sandler. He has two movies coming out this year – “Hotel Transylvania 2″ on Sept. 25 and “The Ridiculous Six” (a Western comedy, due Dec. 11), plus one in 2016.

THE PLOT

As a boy, Brenner (Sandler as an adult) shows a natural affinity in the booming hobby of video games. He’s so good, he sets records on machines and heads to the 1982 Championships where he plays Donkey Kong against cocky Eddie (Peter Dinklage). Sandler loses, and it spins him as an adult into a menial job.

Back in ’82, a videotape of the contest was shot into space. Aliens discover it, think it’s a declaration of war and recreate the characters from the games – Pac-Man, Centipede, Galaga and Space Invaders, to name a few – sending them to attack Earth.

Since the original games have long been out of action and/or redesigned, only Sandler and his childhood buddies Cooper (Kevin James, now the U.S. president) and loser Ludlow (Josh Gad) can beat the invading forces.

The aliens win the first two outings, so the earthlings must win the next three or face invasion. Reluctantly, they recruit Sandler’s childhood nemesis Dinklage. Americans win twice, but the final game is Donkey Kong – Sandler’s Achilles’ heel.

WHAT WORKS

The visuals are super and, if you’re old enough, it’s good fun to pick out some old school video characters in backgrounds. They are aided by some nice 3-D.

Dinklage, hamming it up as needed, has the meatiest part.

What helps “Pixels” most is its occasionally spot-on humor. There are some funny lines in the movie, and while admittedly many miss, the ones that hit are sometimes pretty good.

There’s also a soundtrack that has some nice classic rock, including songs by Cheap Trick, Queen, Loverboy and Tears for Fears.

BEST SCENE

Whenever the aliens want to communicate with Earth, they manipulate TV/radio personalities from 1982 to “speak” for them. That includes President Ronald Reagan, Mr. Roarke and Tattoo from TV’s “Fantasy Island,” and, best of all, early ’80s singing duo Hall and Oates.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK

Sandler seems to be sleepwalking through this movie. He displays very little emotion, and his effort is almost embarrassing.

Lots of times, jokes miss terribly; it’s painful to hear and see.

The film, made by veteran Chris Columbus, is sometimes almost amateurish, especially early on. “Pixels” is very uneven and clunks along with a final battle that is really forgettable and a letdown.

The acting is a big part of the problem. James (a guy the Movie Man likes) is quite poor. And it’s sad – painful — to see talent like Sean Bean and Brian Cox in such worthless parts.

THE RATING

There’s enough cussing in “Pixels” to make a parent seeing the movie with an 8-year-old wince. A boy gets pixilated and sucked up into a spaceship; that might scare little ones. But, otherwise, the PG-13 is fine.

SUMMING UP

Sandler movies are seldom great. In fact, they’re often not very good at all. “Pixels” is typical Sandler – borderline profane, sometimes witty, sometimes dumb, occasionally funny.

NEXT UP

“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”

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Enjoying Texas produce in summer recipes http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/blogs/wisenotes/enjoying-texas-produce-in-summer-recipes/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/blogs/wisenotes/enjoying-texas-produce-in-summer-recipes/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:27:39 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93518 How fortunate for us that Texas is one of the largest producers of fresh fruits and vegetables, which makes our choices almost endless. This fact is important because of their high nutritional value.

According to the 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines, fruits and vegetables are major sources of nutrients that are under-consumed in the United States, including folate, magnesium, potassium, fiber and vitamins A, C and K.

According to the Texas Department of Agriculture, more than 60 commercial fruit and vegetable crops are grown in the Lone Star State, from apples to zucchini and everything in between. The Texas red grapefruit is the official state fruit and the sweet onion is the official vegetable.

Blackberries may not be the state’s official fruit, but this summer is a prime time to pick fresh berries. Berries are the crown jewels of summer, the gems that inspire pies, parfaits, cobblers, ice cream treats and whipped cream wonders. Best of all, berries deliver super-healthy antioxidants that help fight disease.

I hope you try out the following recipe, courtesy of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s, Dinner Tonight – Taste of Texas showcase.

BLACKBERRY CHILI CHICKEN

Blackberries are not just for desserts. This savory recipe is perfect for chicken or try it on pork tenderloin.

Ingredients:

  • Chili-black berry sauce: 4 tsp.
  • 1 medium shallot or sweet onion diced
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobe sauce (canned), diced
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. mint leaves, minced

Chicken breasts:

  • 12 oz. chicken tenderloins boneless, skinless
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place tenderloins on a baking sheet and sprinkle 2 teaspoons of olive oil, salt and pepper on chicken. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until internal temperature has reached 165 degrees F.

While chicken is cooking in the oven, heat a three-quart saucepan on medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and the diced shallots. Saut for three to four minutes or until soft. Add blackberries, chipotle pepper, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove sauce from heat and let cool for five minutes. Serve the sauce over the chicken and top with mint leaves.

Servings per 3-oz. serving: 4

Cook time: 30 minutes

Tanya Davis is a Wise County Extension agent.

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