WCMessenger.com http://www.wcmessenger.com Wise County Messenger Online Edition Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:30:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Friday, November 21, 2014 http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/update/friday-november-21-2014/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/update/friday-november-21-2014/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:51:48 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=83734

TEEN INJURED IN WRECK – A Decatur teenager was flown to a Fort Worth hospital following a single vehicle wreck Thursday night north of Decatur. Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Beau Bridgeman said Matthew Hatzenbihler, 18, of Alvord was driving a Jeep southbound on County Road 2395 at an unsafe speed when he lost control, swerved and hit a tree about a mile north of County Road 2175. His passenger, Brittanie Martin, 18, of Decatur was taken by ground ambulance to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur where Air Evac Lifeteam 68 was standing by to transport her to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. Bridgeman said Martin’s injuries did not seem to be life-threatening. Hatzenbihler was not injured. The accident happened around 8:45 p.m. Wise County EMS and the Decatur Fire Department also responded.

LADY EAGLES PLAY IN SEMIFINAL – The Decatur Lady Eagles will take on Robinson in the 4A semifinal at the University Interscholastic League volleyball championships at 1 p.m. today at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland. With a victory, Decatur will move on to play in the state final for a second straight year at 2 p.m. Saturday. For updates on the match, follow our Twitter feed @wcmsports. Full recaps of the matches will be available at wcmsports.com.

PLAYOFF FOOTBALL – The Alvord Bulldogs and Bridgeport Bulls will play in the area round tonight. Alvord meets Crawford at 7:30 p.m. in Granbury in a Class 2A Division I matchup. Bridgeport takes on Sweetwater at 7:30 p.m. in Stephenville at Memorial Stadium at Tarleton State University. Keep up with our live blog of the action at wcmessenger.com/scores. The Boyd Yellowjackets play Shallowater at 2 p.m. Saturday at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene.

THORNBERRY TO HEAD COMMITTEE – Congressman Mac Thornberry, whose district includes the entire Texas Panhandle and the western half of Wise County, has been chosen to chair the House Armed Services Committee. Thornberry is the first Texan of either party to lead the committee, which oversees the Pentagon, all military services, and all Department of Defense agencies.

WET WEEKEND AHEAD – The National Weather Service is predicting a “100 percent chance” of thunderstorms Saturday for our area. The rain is expected to clear out by Sunday. Highs through the end of the weekend are expected to be in the mid- to upper-60s.

OFFICE CLOSED FRIDAY – The Veteran Service Office in Decatur will be closed today so staff can attend quarterly training in Dallas. The office will reopen 8 a.m. Monday.

BULLS SEND OFF RALLY – The Bridgeport Bulls football team will be traveling to Stephenville today to play the Sweetwater Mustangs. The buses will pull out of town at 3 p.m. Fans are asked to line Halsell Street as the buses go by, honk their horns and waive their signs as a show of support for the team.

SPECIAL STORY TIME – Fall Friday Fun is 10:30 a.m. today at Decatur Public Library. The special story time event is for preschoolers and families with young children. For information, visit www.decaturpubliclibrary.com or call 940-393-0290.

LITTLE DRIBBLERS – Wise County Little Dribblers registration is 1-3 p.m. Sunday at Hibbetts in Decatur. Last day to register is Nov. 29. Any children in Wise County ages pre-k through fourth grade are welcome. Registration is $65 and $30 for each additional child. Practices start the week of Jan. 5.

FUNERALS – Service for Darrell Ray Morris, 54, of Alvord is 10 a.m. today at Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home Chapel in Decatur with burial at Oaklawn Cemetery.

FUNERAL for Melvin Lester Vickers, 76, of Decatur is 11 a.m. today at Decatur Church of Christ with burial at Oaklawn Cemetery. Family visitation is one hour prior to the service. Coker-Hawkins is handling arrangements.

FUNERAL for Kathryn Mason, 25, of Decatur is 2 p.m. Sunday at First Baptist Church in Decatur. Coker-Hawkins is handling arrangements.

MEMORIAL service for John Harold Payne Sr., 60, of Azle is 2 p.m. Saturday at the home of Terry Thomas. For directions call Pat at 940-399-8583 or Sandy at 817-361-3969. Christian-Hawkins Funeral Home in Boyd is handling arrangements.

FUNERAL for W. Harrell Green, 77, of Boyd is 2 p.m. Saturday at Christian-Hawkins Funeral Home Chapel in Boyd with burial at Aurora Cemetery. Family visitation is 6-8 tonight at the funeral home.

GRAVESIDE service for Della Brooks, 81, of Chico is 11 a.m. Saturday at Chico Cemetery. Family visitation is 6-8 tonight at Jones Family Funeral Home in Bridgeport.

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Teen injured in wreck http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/update/teen-injured-in-wreck-2/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/update/teen-injured-in-wreck-2/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 04:07:27 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=83729 11.21.14 wreck

A Decatur teenager was flown to a Fort Worth hospital following a single vehicle wreck Thursday night north of Decatur. Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Beau Bridgeman said Matthew Hatzenbihler, 18, of Alvord was driving a Jeep southbound on County Road 2395 at an unsafe speed when he lost control, swerved and hit a tree about a mile north of County Road 2175. His passenger, Brittanie Martin, 18, was taken by ground ambulance to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur where Air Evac Lifeteam 68 was standing by to transport her to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. Bridgeman said Martin’s injuries did not seem to be life-threatening. The accident happened around 8:45 p.m. Wise County EMS and the Decatur Fire Department also responded.

 

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Thursday, November 20, 2014 http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/update/thursday-november-20-2014/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/update/thursday-november-20-2014/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 14:10:30 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=83722

MAINTENANCE CONTRACT TABLED – The Bridgeport City Council voted Tuesday night to table a motion to enter into a contract with USW Utilities for maintenance on the water treatment plant. The decision was made after it was discovered that the city worker who would be affected by the contract wanted to continue working for the city, citing better retirement benefits as a factor. The issue was made into a workshop item for the council’s next meeting. The council also passed an amendment to city code that will require food trucks in the area to undergo initial inspection. Read more in the weekend Wise County Messenger.

SUICIDE PREVENTION MEETING – The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention will hold a public meeting at 6 tonight at the Weatherford College Wise County lecture hall. A panel of community leaders, healthcare professionals, suicide loss survivors and a suicide prevention specialist will be on hand to answer questions. The public is invited to share their thoughts and opinions. Light refreshments will be served. Call Patti Shearin at 817-264-4611 or email patti.shearin@dshs.state.tx.us.

OFFICE CLOSED FRIDAY – The Veteran Service Office in Decatur will be closed Friday so staff can attend quarterly training in Dallas. The office will reopen 8 a.m. Monday.

BULLS SEND-OFF RALLY – The Bridgeport Bulls football team will be traveling to Stephenville Friday to play the Sweetwater Mustangs. The buses will pull out of town at 3 p.m. Fans are asked to line Halsell Street as the buses go by, honk their horns and wave signs as a show of support for the team.

MOCKINGJAY RELEASE PARTY – Decatur Public Library is hosting a “Mockingjay Part I” movie release party 4 p.m. today for teens (sixth through 12th grade). There will be Hunger Games inspired activities and snacks. For information, visit www.decaturpubliclibrary.com or call 940-393-0290.

LITTLE DRIBBLERS – Wise County Little Dribblers registration is 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at Hibbetts in Decatur. Last day to register is Nov. 29. Any children in Wise County ages pre-k through fourth grade may participate. Registration is $65 and $30 for each additional child. Practices start the week of Jan. 5.

FREEDOM TEXAS – Freedom Texas will hold a public meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 25, 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.

WILLY WONKA – Decatur High School Theater presents Roald Dahl’s “Willy Wonka, The Musical” 7 p.m. today through Saturday in the DHS auditorium. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students and children.

SPECIAL STORY TIME – Fall Friday Fun is 10:30 a.m. Friday at Decatur Public Library. The special story time event is for preschoolers and families with young children. For information, visit www.decaturpubliclibrary.com or call 940-393-0290.

ALVORD SCHOOL BOARD – The Alvord school board will meet tonight. The agenda includes reports from principals, the superintendent and board members as well as the routine approval of bills and the tax collection report. Also due are reports on Highly Qualified Teachers and the district’s wellness policy, as well as budget amendments, student transfers and any personnel recommendations that may come forward. The meeting is 7 p.m. at the Administration Building, 100 Mosley Lane. It’s open to the public.

FUNERALS – Funeral for Terry F. Wood, 68, of Decatur is 2 p.m. today at First Baptist Church of Decatur with burial at East Bridgeport Cemetery. Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

FUNERAL for Darrell Ray Morris, 54, of Alvord is 10 a.m. Friday at Coker-Hawkins with burial at Oaklawn Cemetery. Family visitation is 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home.

FUNERAL for Melvin Lester Vickers, 76, of Decatur is 11 a.m. Friday at Decatur Church of Christ with burial at Oaklawn Cemetery. Visitation is one hour prior to the service at the church. Coker-Hawkins is handling arrangements.

GRAVESIDE service for Della Brooks, 81, of Chico is 11 a.m. Saturday at Chico Cemetery. Visitation is 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Jones Family Funeral Home in Bridgeport.

MEMORIAL service for John Harold Payne Sr., 60, of Azle is 2 p.m. Saturday at the home of Terry Thomas. For directions, call Pat, 817-399-8583; or Sandy, 817-361-3969. Christian-Hawkins Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

SERVICE is pending for William Green, 77 of Boyd at Christian-Hawkins.

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2014 Decatur Lady Eagles: A Look Back http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/uncategorized/2014-decatur-lady-eagles-a-look-back/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/uncategorized/2014-decatur-lady-eagles-a-look-back/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 19:00:09 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=83718 Decatur-Volleyball-Page

Blue-Streak

Fantastic Four
Decatur senior quartet tries to lead Lady Eagles to second crown
By Richard Greene
Published Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Read full story…

ELATED STATE
Lady Eagles claim clash of champs
By Richard Greene
Published Wednesday, November 19, 2014

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Serious power
Competitive Lowery fuels Lady Eagles
By Richard Greene
Published Wednesday, November 19, 2014

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Decatur faces Robinson for spot in finals
Rockettes beat Bellville to reach state tourney
By Richard Greene
Published Wednesday, November 19, 2014

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Lowery lifts Lady Eagles to regional finals
Hitter buries 12 kills in win
By Richard Greene
Published Saturday, November 15, 2014

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Defense spurs Lady Eagle to win
Decatur makes 52 digs in sweep
By Richard Greene
Published Saturday, November 15, 2014

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Mayfield lands at TWU
By Richard Greene
Published Saturday, November 15, 2014

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Martin joins DBU
By Richard Greene
Published Saturday, November 15, 2014

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Lady Eagles dispose of Iowa Park in 3
By Bob Buckel
Published Wednesday, November 12, 2014

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Lady Eagles ready to get back on court
Decatur meets Iowa Park in area match
By Richard Greene
Published Saturday, November 8, 2014

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Lady Eagles blast Venus in playoff opener
By Richard Greene
Published Wednesday, November 5, 2014

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Perfect again
Lady Eagles close sixth straight unbeaten run through district
By Richard Greene
Published Saturday, November 1, 2014

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Lady Eagles spike Sissies
Decatur hits .639 in 55th straight win
By Richard Greene
Published Wednesday, October 29, 2014

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Lady Eagles reach milestone
By Richard Greene
Published Saturday, October 25, 2014

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Decatur picks off Grapevine
By Richard Greene
Published Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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Saturday Sports Buffet: Family flock
Lady Eagles share variety of family relationships
By Richard Greene
Published Saturday, October 18, 2014

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Senior sweep
Lady Eagles cruise to win on Senior Night
By Richard Greene
Published Saturday, October 18, 2014

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Lady Eagles extend winning streak
By Richard Greene
Published Wednesday, October 15, 2014

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Mayfield, Decatur sweep Sissies
Lady Eagles continue district streak
By Richard Greene
Published Saturday, October 11, 2014

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Lady Eagles storm Castleberry
By Richard Greene
Published Wednesday, October 8, 2014

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Lady Eagles sweep Legacy
By Richard Greene
Published Saturday, October 4, 2014

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Lady Eagles keep district streak rolling
By Richard Greene
Published Wednesday, October 1, 2014

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No. 2 Decatur takes down Argyle in four
Pep talk fuels late surge
By Richard Greene
Published Saturday, September 27, 2014

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Lady Eagles sweep Abilene Wiley
By Richard Greene
Published Wednesday, September 24, 2014

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Eagles face pair of rivals
By Richard Greene
Published Saturday, September 20, 2014

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Covering all bases
Sophomore fills multiple roles for Lady Eagles
By Richard Greene
Published Saturday, September 13, 2014

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Lady Eagles serve up home win over Ryan
By Richard Greene
Published Saturday, September 13, 2014

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Decatur wins in 4
By Richard Greene
Published Wednesday, September 10, 2014

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Decatur rolls past Fossil Ridge
By Richard Greene
Published Saturday, September 6, 2014

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Decatur goes 3-3 in tourney
By Richard Greene
Published Wednesday, September 3, 2014

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Lady Eagles return home, slam No. 1 Brock
By Richard Greene
Published Saturday, August 30, 2014

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Decatur keeps tough schedule in perspective
By Richard Greene
Published Saturday, August 30, 2014

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Lady Eagles take second at NISD
By Richard Greene
Published Wednesday, August 27, 2014

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Lady Eagles fall to Aledo
By Richard Greene
Published Saturday, August 23, 2014

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Decatur stays atop 4A poll
By Richard Greene
Published Wednesday, August 20, 2014

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Lady Eagles battle for gold
Decatur goes 4-1 at elite tourney
By Richard Greene
Published Saturday, August 16, 2014

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Decatur heads to tough tourney
By Richard Greene
Published Wednesday, August 13, 2014
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Starting on top
Lady Eagles begin season ranked No. 1 in TGCA poll
By Richard Greene
Published Saturday, August 9, 2014

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Quarterback on court
Senior setter leads Decatur into season
By Richard Greene
Published Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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Fantastic Four: Decatur senior quartet tries to lead Lady Eagles to second crown http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/news/fantastic-four-decatur-senior-quartet-tries-to-lead-lady-eagles-to-second-crown/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/news/fantastic-four-decatur-senior-quartet-tries-to-lead-lady-eagles-to-second-crown/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:56:45 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=83679 The statistics, accolades, wins and titles tell a story of unparalleled success for the quartet of Caroline Lowery, Cooper Martin, Makayla Mayfield and Stormi Leonard.

But it’s friendship that powers the success of Decatur’s “Fantastic Four.”

“We’re so close. We’re best friends on and off the court,” Lowery explained. “They’re like a security blanket. We’ve played club for years. I’ve been honored to get to play with them.”

Cencter of the Action

CENTER OF THE ACTION – The Decatur senior quartet of Makayla Mayfield, Stormi Leonard, Cooper Martin and Caroline Lowery have helped the Lady Eagles to four straight district titles and a second state tournament berth. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Friday the four will don the Decatur blue and white for the Class 4A semifinal at Garland’s Curtis Culwell Center at 1 p.m. to play for a spot in the University Interscholastic League championship on Saturday – the opportunity to win a second state title.

The four know that Friday or Saturday will be their last time together on the floor.

FIRING AWAY – Senior Cooper Martin and the trio of seniors she’s been on varsity with four years will try for a second state title this weekend. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“It didn’t hit me until yesterday when Makayla tweeted out this was the last weekend of volleyball,” Leonard said. “This will be the last time we play together and put on this jersey. It’s sad to think it’ll be over. But it’s also exciting because we really want to win it again.”

The quartet first came together in fifth grade during intermediate school. Since then, they’ve been inseparable.

“We’ve been on the same club team, then played together in middle school and high school,” Mayfield said. “I’m either with them for volleyball or hanging out.”

Sometimes that spills over into the night for impromptu slumber parties.

“I’ve had them stay over on a school night,” Leonard said. “They are my family. My grandparents consider them their grandchildren. I see them more than my family.”

And like family, their relationships thrive on their vastly different personalities – ranging from goofy to intense.

“I’m the goofy outspoken one that is willing to do anything,” Leonard said.

Lowery is on the opposite end.

“I’m the serious one,” Lowery said. “People say they are scared of me off the court.”

Mayfield is the shy one in the group.

“I don’t talk much. Stormi does enough talking for all of us,” Mayfield jokes.

“The four of us keep each other accountable. We know what to say to each other and who will take it the best.”

Martin is the balance of all of the personalities.

“I’m the mix of Stormi and Caroline,” Martin explains. “It’s what helps us get along so well; we are so different.”

Decatur coach Claire Benedict-Gay agrees.

“They all bring something different,” she said. “At different times one personality is needed, and other times they need to be serious. Sometimes it’s best when nothing is said.

“With them being so different, they’ve been able to gel,” she said. “And with them being such friends off the court, it’s what kept them together and made them into a fierce group.”

After a successful middle school run, the four were identified quickly by Benedict-Gay as future cornerstones of the program. All four made the varsity as freshmen to play reserve spots behind the talented cast of seniors that included Kortney Tompkins and Joey Redwine.

“From the beginning, we knew this was a class to be reckoned with,” the Decatur coach said. “Their freshman season, they played some in different roles. But they were there and learned the system.”

Their sophomore year, the keys were handed over to the quartet to become the team leaders. They guided Decatur to its first region final before falling to Argyle.

At the end of the year, Leonard earned Wise County MVP and Martin the Offensive Player of the Year. Mayfield and Lowery earned all-county spots, and the quartet swept the superlative awards in 9-3A.

As juniors, the team was on a mission – win state. After sweeping their district, they dispatched Argyle in the playoffs in another five-set classic before taking the region title. They then cruised through the state tournament to capture the program’s first state title last November.

“It didn’t hit us what we accomplished until we saw it on TV,” Martin said. “We just did that. Then on the bus ride home, we said doing it twice would be pretty amazing.”

The Lady Eagles battled through an early schedule filled with state-contending 6A and 5A schools, finishing with a winning record. With the quartet leading the way, Decatur swept its district again, extending the program’s league winning streak to 56 games.

“It’s crazy when you think about what they’ve accomplished,” Benedict-Gay said. “They’ve never lost a district match or set. It’s hard to see them go. They’ve definitely set a high bar for the future of Decatur volleyball and will leave large shoes to fill.

“They’ve been like children. I’ve seen them grow not only through volleyball but life.”

After high school, Mayfield is headed to play at Texas Woman’s University with former Lady Eagle Redwine. Martin is going to Dallas Baptist to continue playing. Leonard is planning on playing on the next level, and Lowery has made the decision not to play in college, foregoing several opportunities.

“It’s crazy this is the last one,” Lowery said.

After four years have flown by one win at a time, the foursome has just one fantastic ending in mind – winning a second state title.

“It feels like our freshman year was last year,” Mayfield explained. “It’s crazy we’ve already spent four years playing. Hopefully we can end it on a good note.”

UIL VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS

at Curtis Culwell Center in Garland

4A SEMIFINALS

Friday, Nov. 21
Decatur vs. Robinson, 1 p.m. Argyle vs. Liberty Hill, 3 p.m.

4A FINAL

Saturday, Nov. 22
4A Final, 2 p.m.

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Warden dies in Austin wreck http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/news/warden-dies-in-austin-wreck/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/news/warden-dies-in-austin-wreck/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:55:19 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=83675 A Decatur man has been identified as the victim in a fatal wreck last week in Austin.

Jimmy Warden

The Messenger contacted the Austin Police Department last week, and it confirmed on Monday that Jimmy Warden, 44, was the driver who died in a wreck in north Austin during the early morning hours of Tuesday, Nov. 11.

According to the police department, Warden was driving a 2007 Kenworth truck northbound in the 9000 block of the U.S. 183 frontage road at the MoPac Expressway flyover when he struck the guardrail and continued northbound, striking a cement wall and then going over it, falling several feet onto U.S. 183.

The truck came to rest on the driver’s side, then caught fire.

The accident occurred at 12:20 a.m., and the roadway remained closed for about eight hours for an investigation.

The cause of the accident is unknown. Local media in Austin reported that Warden was hauling furniture, and investigators were unsure if the load shifted or if high winds might have made him lose control of the vehicle.

Funeral for Warden was Tuesday at Crossroads Church in Decatur with burial at Mountain Home Cemetery in Daisy, Okla.

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Early morning fire ‘suspicious’ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/news/early-morning-fire-suspicious/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/news/early-morning-fire-suspicious/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:54:16 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=83672 When a home that hasn’t been occupied in more than 10 days, and has no gas or electric service, catches on fire in the middle of the night, it’s suspicious.

That’s how Wise County Deputy Fire Marshal J.C. Travis characterized the fire that destroyed a house at 2207 Farm Road 718 Sunday night.

Late Night Blaze

LATE-NIGHT BLAZE – A Rhome firefighter works to contain the flames at a house on Farm Road 718 early Monday morning. The house, which was not occupied and had no gas or electric utilities, was a total loss. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The fire was reported at 2:22 a.m. and units from Rhome, Newark and Boyd responded to find the house fully involved in flames. The small, wood-frame building sits in the middle of a small RV park with several other buildings, some site-built and some RVs or mobile homes.

A detached metal shop was not affected. Neither was a car that was parked nearby, being worked on. There was a motorcycle inside a portion of the building that a neighbor apparently dragged out.

Firefighters were on the scene for a couple of hours. The fire reignited briefly on Monday morning, and firefighters were called back to the scene to knock it down again.

Travis said he is familiar with the property, having worked with the owners to try and resolve numerous code violations in the past.

The house belongs to Joe Garcia, who at the time of the fire was reported to be hospitalized in Decatur. It was feared that his wife, Tammy Garcia, might be inside the building, but Travis said Monday morning that he had located her – safe and sound in the Wise County Jail.

She had been arrested by Boyd police the previous Thursday, Nov. 13, on a charge of DWI with an open container.

There were, however, several dogs inside the house, including a couple that did not make it out.

Travis said he “has a lot of work to do” to determine a cause for the fire.

“Right now it’s a suspicious fire,” he said Monday. The house, which is on the tax rolls at about $44,000 according to Travis, is a total loss.

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Decatur School Board continues discussion of possible bond issue http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/news/decatur-school-board-continues-discussion-of-possible-bond-issue/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/news/decatur-school-board-continues-discussion-of-possible-bond-issue/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:53:25 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=83669 Bond talk once again took up the majority of the time at Monday’s Decatur school board meeting, as trustees continue to look at the district’s needs.

Superintendent Rod Townsend gave the board a presentation on what he sees as needs for the district. He divided them into two groups. “Package one,” as he described it, were definite needs for the district. “Package two” were items that might be considered more “wants” than “needs.”

It was clear what was the most pressing item in Townsend’s eye.

“The district is going to have to do something with transportation in the near future, so there’s about $2.5 million in transportation that will be the driving force behind this bond issue,” he said.

Transportation needs could include 25 buses as well as other, smaller vehicles.

In addition to transportation, technology items were in Package One. Items identified for a possible bond issue would address the district’s needs for the next 10 years, including refreshing its computers.

Security needs are also on the list, including card readers for all facilities that don’t currently use the technology.

“It would allow us to lock every door there and be able to track everyone coming and going and allow us to keep only the front doors open for traffic coming in and out,” Townsend said.

Only teachers would have cards, not students, Townsend said.

Security upgrades would also include more cameras outdoors and in parking areas, as well as inside buildings.

Townsend said each campus was examined to determine its facility needs. A few of the needs by campus included:

RANN ELEMENTARY – energy-efficient motion sensors for lights

CARSON ELEMENTARY – motion sensors and additional parking in front of the building to ease traffic issues

6TH GRADE CAMPUS – motion sensors, new roof and gutters

MULTIPURPOSE BUILDING – new dishwasher, public address system

MCCARROLL 7TH/8TH GRADE CAMPUS – motion sensors, repainting hallways, fixing plumbing issues, resurfacing tennis courts, restroom remodel and repair

SUPPORT SERVICES BUILDING – new roof, new air conditioning system, new windows, new exterior doors, parking lot expansion, freezer, training room, landscaping, repairing brick walls

HIGH SCHOOL – two additional tennis courts, tennis concession stand and restrooms, resurfacing high school track, adding fencing and parking areas

BASEBALL/SOFTBALL FIELD – new press boxes, restrooms

THOMPSON STREET TRACK – restrooms/concession stands, resurfacing track

DISTRICTWIDE – repave, seal and paint parking lots; field turf at high school track.

WISH LIST INCLUDES TURF

“Package two” items included a gym for Rann Elementary as well as upgrades to the sixth grade practice field, bleacher awnings and roll-up doors for batting cages at the baseball/softball facility, general infrastructure upgrades for technology, field turf at Eagle Stadium and an indoor multipurpose practice facility at the high school.

The decision of whether to call the bond election, and what to include, is still up to the school board.

“It seems to me that some bond is going to be in order even if it is just for transportation, if that is what the board ultimately decided,” board President Kevin Haney said. “If we are going to do some of these other things, I think some priority needs to be given to them … If Feb. 27 is the deadline for calling a bond, we really need to make a decision in January.”

The board decided to hold a workshop to discuss the issue at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3.

In other business the board:

  • learned that student enrollment has reached 3,010, the highest it has been all year;
  • heard an update on the new agriculture facility, which is expected to be completed next month;
  • learned that all teachers at all campuses meet the 100 percent highly qualified requirement as part of the No Child Left Behind Act;
  • honored the Decatur High School girls cross country team and the FFA Quiz team for their recent success at competitions; and
  • honored Young Elementary kindergarten teacher Donae Raymundo as educator of the month and Rann Elementary’s Michelle Hornback as support staff employee of the month.
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Paradise City Council amends water rules http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/news/paradise-city-council-amends-water-rules/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/news/paradise-city-council-amends-water-rules/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:52:54 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=83667 Paradise’s water billing issues seem to have cleared after the city council opted to change disconnection procedures.

The council met Monday night and voted to extend city office hours on day of disconnection, as well as hiring a contract employee to work two hours a month reconnecting services. The motion passed 2-1, with Brad Largent and Terre Ward voting yes and Bob Gayan voting against. Roy Steel and Bill Schneck were absent.

Water disconnection procedures came under fire at last month’s meeting after community members – and a couple of council members – had their services turned off due to billing issues in September.

Largent and Schneck both had their service disconnected. Largent said he regularly forgets to pay his water bill and needs to be reconnected, but his issue with the city’s procedures boiled down to a delay in reconnection.

“I understand that we have to turn people’s water off. The problem I have – the city has no way to turn people’s water back on until the next day,” Largent said. “I was cut off at 4:15 p.m., and if I had come up here and paid right then, my water would not have turned back on until 4 or 5 p.m. the next day.

“Twenty-four hours for someone to go without water is a long time when you have kids. I have a major problems with us turning off someone’s water and not being able to turn it back on. That’s huge.”

Largent said several Paradise citizens voiced the same concerns, including three who were at the October meeting. He said the problem is affecting several in the community, and that is why he pushed for changes.

“I wasn’t responding for myself,” he said. “It wasn’t a personal thing. Whenever people have to wait 24 hours to have services turned back on, it’s ridiculous.”

According to city records, disconnections have been an ongoing issue for several of the water department’s about 200 customers.

In a 10-month period from January to October 2014, the water department cut services to an average of about six customers – 3 percent of its customers – each month. About 4.5 percent of the city’s water customers have had services terminated more than once in that 10-month period, and 1 percent have had water shut off three times in 10 months.

The department cut no services to any customers in January or September. The absence of disconnections in September was directly related to the fact that billing materials were not delivered on time in August.

Then came October.

In the first week of October, water service was shut off to 18 customers in one day. For 16, it was restored the same day; another customer got water turned back on the following week. Of the 18 cutoffs in October, 17 were due to lack of payment. That represented 9 percent of the department’s total customers.

Disconnections

Before changing the disconnect procedure, city staff explored what nearby communities’ practices are.

ALVORD

The city charges a 10 percent late fee for delinquent bills. The late fee is waived if the due date occurs on a weekend the bill is paid. Disconnection notices are mailed the following Monday and disconnections are completed during the last week of the month, but not on Friday.

It costs $35, plus the outstanding bill amount, to reconnect services. If the customer has made all payments by 5 p.m., water is turned on that day. If not, water is turned on the following day.

BRIDGEPORT

A 5 percent late fee is charged and added to the delinquent bills the day after the due date. Disconnection date varies, depending on when the initial bills are mailed. Billing is done near the first of each month. A disconnection notice is mailed, and customers have until 6 p.m. on the day of disconnection to pay before services are interrupted.

Reconnection costs $15, which is added to the outstanding bill. If payment is received by 6 p.m., the water is turned back on immediately. If it comes in after 6 p.m., services are restored the next day.

CHICO

A 10 percent late fee is assessed the day following the bill’s due date. If no payment – or payment arrangement with partial payment – has been rendered after 60 days, services are disconnected on the 61st day without further notice.

A $50 reconnection fee is charged and must be paid along with the original bill before services are returned. If all payments are made before 3 p.m., services are restored that day. If not, services are turned on the following day.

DECATUR

Bills are past due after the 15th of the month and a 10 percent late fee is assessed beginning the next day. Customers are allowed to be past due for two months before the disconnection process begins. Disconnected customers are charged a $50 fee.

Customers can be charged an additional $100 fee to reconnect water services, but this is not being currently enforced, according to staff reports.

Prior to the Monday night meeting, Paradise mailed out water bills on the first of each month, and payment was required by the 15th. After the 15th, a $5 late fee was charged and payment was then required by the end of the month or services were shut off.

Disconnection procedures are carried out after the first of the month. If payment was made, water could then be turned back on the following day after 3 p.m.

The reason for the 24-hour delay is that the city does not employ water service personnel, but only has a contract water district employee who serves Paradise 16 hours a month. If that contractor works more than 16 hours or after 4 p.m., the city is billed $52 per hour for a minimum of two hours.

The city does have the ability to charge a $60 reconnect fee, but has chosen to waive that fee in most instances.

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Paradise ISD board remains the same http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/news/paradise-isd-board-remains-the-same/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/news/paradise-isd-board-remains-the-same/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:51:48 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=83664 The Paradise ISD school board canvassed votes Monday from the Nov. election and confirmed all incumbents retained their places.

The election for Place 3 was the closest race in the county with Kevin Howerton edging Vann Wakefield by only a handful of votes.

Carrie Preather defeated Jim Taylor for Place 4, and Rusty Ford was unopposed for Place 5.

The board opted to not change place arrangement. They will meet next on Dec. 15.

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Agenda Brief for Wednesday, November 19, 2014 http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/news/agenda-brief-for-wednesday-november-19-2014/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/news/agenda-brief-for-wednesday-november-19-2014/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:51:17 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=83662 ALVORD SCHOOL BOARD – The Alvord school board will move its November meeting up to this Thursday, Nov. 20, due to the Thanksgiving holiday next week. The agenda includes reports from principals, the superintendent and board members as well as the routine approval of bills and the tax collection report. Also due are reports on Highly Qualified Teachers and the district’s wellness policy, as well as budget amendments, student transfers and any personnel recommendations that may come forward. The meeting is at 7 p.m. at the Administration Building, 100 Mosley Lane. It is open to the public.

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Closing in on Bridgeport stadium renovation http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/news/closing-in-on-bridgeport-stadium-renovation/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/news/closing-in-on-bridgeport-stadium-renovation/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:50:44 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=83660 Bridgeport ISD is one step closer to football stadium renovations and agriculture barn construction after the school board unanimously agreed to use the sealed proposal method of building Monday night at its meeting.

“All that means is that we’ll get an architect and an engineer to work on the plans, and then a general contractor will bid the project,” Superintendent Eddie Bland said. “And all of the details of that may be finalized at next month’s meeting, but I’m not sure.”

The board’s other action was to amend its budget to allow for the purchase of up to 100 new Mac computers. The purchase will cost $100,000 and would foster in up-to-date software like the latest version of Rosetta Stone.

Technology was a major discussion point at the night’s meeting, with school members discussing the pros and cons of iPads in the classroom, with one member bringing up the difficulty of writing a research paper on the tablet.

“Some of the English teachers at the middle school are saying how hard it is for their students to write on the iPads,” Steve Stanford said.

Other board members agreed and said that they should work to find a writing app for the desktop computers that would work for students and teachers, like Google Drive.

The board also brought up the district’s use of social media after a fake Weatherford ISD Twitter account fooled students into thinking there would be no school because of snow on Monday.

“We need to make sure our official Facebook and Twitter names are well-known on the district website to make sure we avoid any confusion,” high school Principal Jaime Sturdivant said.

The board’s next meeting is 7 p.m. Dec. 15 at 2107 15th St. and is open to the public.

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Paradise City Council to interview prospective members http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/news/paradise-city-council-to-interview-prospective-members/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/news/paradise-city-council-to-interview-prospective-members/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:50:04 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=83658 The Paradise City Council is seeking a fifth member to replace Bill Schneck.

Schneck opted not to seek reelection, and no one stepped forward to seek the seat, leaving the council a person short.

The procedure is to appoint a person from the community. Paradise has now instituted an interview process at the urging of Terre Ward.

“I think we should have a chance to know who will be on the council,” Ward said. “Granted, I know I was appointed and I respect that, but I think if vacancies are filled we should be able to ask some questions. ‘Why do you actually want to do this?’ ‘Why are you interested?’ We should and the citizens should have the opportunity to hear why.”

Council members Brad Largent and Bob Gayan agreed.

Anyone interested in the office should be present at the Dec. 15 meeting and ready to answer questions.

Some sample questions include:

  • What are some of your previous volunteer experiences and leadership roles?
  • What appeals to you about board service as a volunteer activity?
  • What skills, resources, and expertise do you have to offer and are willing to use on behalf of this organization?
  • Do you have any worries about joining?
  • What role do you see yourself playing on the board?
  • What professional or personal constraints on your time or service might you anticipate?
  • Are there any areas where you might see a conflict of interest?
  • Is there a special project or goal you would like to see the city work toward?

OTHER BUSINESS

The rest of the council’s agenda include:

  • naming Ward as the city’s new Mayor Pro Tem
  • considering changing the meeting date back Thursday. The council decided to keep it on Mondays
  • approving by a 2-1 margin a contract renewal for road repair with Wise County, with Largent voting against.
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Boyd dual-credit class prepares students for real world http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/education/education-headlines/boyd-dual-credit-class-prepares-students-for-real-world/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/education/education-headlines/boyd-dual-credit-class-prepares-students-for-real-world/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:49:38 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=83656 In Ken Mitchell’s dual-credit environmental biology class, the learning goes beyond the classroom.

Mitchell’s 15 students, who receive four hours of college credit for the class through Weatherford College, spend most of their time doing projects instead of other types of homework.

Caught Up in a Web

CAUGHT UP IN A WEB – Boyd High School seniors Anthony Spinelli, Caitlyn Ray, Richard Brown, Megan Boyd, Chandler Hammon and Christina Civis stand among the food web project their class made for Ken Mitchell’s dual-credit environmental biology class. Other students in the class not pictured are: Skylar Anderson, Cameron Clark, Taylor Pappajohn, Dillon Rose, Sofia Scott, Cailen Smith, Sequoia Smith, Alex Stone and Mason Whitt. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“There’s three things I feel they should know beyond content and that’s time management, working with others and how to solve a problem,” Mitchell said.

Right now, the students are working on an animal stamp project, where they have one sheet of paper to display information about various endangered species – without using words.

“The only words they’re allowed to have on there is the Latin term for the classification of the animal’s name, and that’s it,” Mitchell said. “It’s forcing them to think outside the box, and it’s amazing what they’re coming up with.”

Thinking outside the box is something Mitchell encourages with his other classes, too – especially when it comes to ways to teach younger children about science, like they did at the STEMania event a few weeks ago.

There, many of his students used rubber gloves and Crisco in an experiment to teach fourth graders about whale blubber.

With examples like that, it’s easy to see how Mitchell’s enthusiasm as a teacher carries over to his students. But, the 11-year Boyd ISD veteran said he didn’t originally set out to mold young minds.

“My dad was a teacher for 34 years, and after seeing what that life was like, I said to myself, ‘I’d never become a teacher,'” Mitchell said.

But a stint teaching grad school geology at Tarleton State University, while he was getting his master’s degree laid the groundwork for a teaching career. After he graduated, Mitchell went to work in environmental science for the engineering firm Carter and Burgess in Fort Worth.

After a while, he said something didn’t feel right.

“Ever since I taught at the college, I kind of felt like that’s what I wanted to do, and so I took a leap of faith and it just went from there,” Mitchell said.

Originally from Springtown, Mitchell knew he wanted to teach in a smaller school district. When he found Boyd, he was instantly hooked. He started at Boyd Middle School in 2003 and spent nine years there before moving to the high school in 2012.

He said his favorite class to teach is the senior dual-credit class because of the different projects they do. His students echo that.

“He’s very enthusiastic – it’s very easy to get enthusiastic when he’s so passionate about his work, and he makes it really easy to be creative and make each project your own,” senior Richard Brown said.

Brown said he doesn’t want to go into a scientific field at all, but Mitchell’s environmental biology class is preparing him in other ways.

“It’s helping me with my GPA and basic college credits, and I like doing all the projects,” Brown said.

Other students, like Megan Boyd, use the class as a way to prepare for future careers. Boyd wants to go into marine biology and oceanography.

“We learn stuff other than the animal kingdom and biology, but I like learning about all of it,” Boyd said. “With other classes, sometimes I have to teach myself, but Mr. Mitchell makes it really easy to understand. He’s fun, but he also knows when to tell us to get to work.”

Mitchell said he enjoys watching his students push themselves to be better.

“I have a lot of perfectionists,” Mitchell said. “They’re harder on themselves than I am. You can say, ‘Hey, good job!’ and they’ll go, ‘No, no, I could’ve done more,’ and so they incorporate that on the next project, and each one gets bigger and better.”

That’s what he hopes will happen with the students’ futures as well – bigger and better.

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Boyd ISD Student Spotlights for Wednesday, November 19, 2014 http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/education/education-headlines/boyd-isd-student-spotlights-for-wednesday-november-19-2014/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/education/education-headlines/boyd-isd-student-spotlights-for-wednesday-november-19-2014/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:48:29 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=83653 Boyd Elementary School
CASE ETTER

Case Etter

Grade: 2nd

Parents: Ronald and Jill Etter

Favorite subject: Reading and math

Activities: Sports, chess and practicing reading and math.

Why this student was chosen: “Case is extremely bright and very mature. He is a great role model for his classmates and always willing to help with anything asked. He is on the UIL chess team and a straight A Honor Roll student.” – Principal Anke Bracey

Boyd Intermediate School
GISELLE PATINO

Giselle Patino

Grade: 5th

Parents: Jorge and Susana Patino

Favorite subject: Math

Activities: Drawing and reading

Why this student was chosen: “She is one of the most caring, kind and helpful students. She’s always willing to help other students and is very patient.” – Counselor Brenda Tilson

Boyd Middle School
ERINEST SOLLEY

Erinest Solley

Grade: 7th

Parents: Mother Robin Solley; grandmother Patricia Solley

Favorite subject: Science

Activities: Plays in the Boyd Middle School band, takes care of his rabbits and dogs. He also enjoys skateboarding, writing songs and drawing.

Why this student was chosen: “Erinest is a very respectful and polite young man. He is a pleasure to have on campus.” – Principal James McDonald

Boyd High School
HANNAH WALDEN

Hannah Walden

Grade: 12th

Parents: Sam and Jennifer Dorsett

Favorite subject: English

Activities: Drum major, National Honor Society and One Act Play. In her spare time, she enjoys baking and reading.

Why this student was chosen: “Hannah is not only a great student at ‘The Boyd High School,’ who strives for excellence every day, she also leads the Green Brigade every Friday night at our football games. Hannah goes above and beyond what is asked of her, and she is a true leader at our school.” – Principal Scott Nedrow

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Education Briefs for Wednesday, November 19, 2014 http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/education/education-headlines/education-briefs-for-wednesday-november-19-2014/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/education/education-headlines/education-briefs-for-wednesday-november-19-2014/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:46:48 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=83647 ALVORD

THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY – Alvord ISD students get a week off for Thanksgiving. After early release on Friday, Nov. 21, there will be no classes the next week, Nov. 24-28. That Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 24-26, will be in-service training days for teachers.

BRIDGEPORT

THANKSGIVING BREAK – Bridgeport ISD students get a week off for Thanksgiving. There are no classes Nov. 24-28. That Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are in-service training days for teachers.

BMS GOES RED – The Bridgeport Middle School Student Council is selling RED shirts for $10 and is asking everyone to wear red on Fridays in support of men and women in the military. Proceeds from the shirt sales will be used to purchase and send goody baskets to military men and women with ties to our community.

BOYD

THANKSGIVING BREAK – Boyd ISD students get a week off for Thanksgiving. There are no classes Nov. 24-28. Teachers have staff development on that Monday and Tuesday.

CHICO

THANKSGIVING BREAK – Chico ISD students get a week off for Thanksgiving. There are no classes Nov. 24-28. Teachers have professional development days on that Monday and Tuesday.

TEXT MESSAGES – Parents who would like to receive text messages through the district’s all call notification system must “opt in” to begin the process. Text YES to 68453 to show your willingness to receive texts. For information, call Traci Umphress in the administration office, 940-644-2228, ext. 0, or visit the Chico ISD website, www.chico.k12.tx.us.

DECATUR

THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY – Decatur ISD students get a week off for Thanksgiving. There are no classes Nov. 24-28. Teachers have comp days on that Monday and Tuesday.

NORTHWEST

THANKSGIVING BREAK – Northwest ISD students get a week off for Thanksgiving. There are no classes Nov. 24-28. Teachers have staff development on that Monday and Tuesday.

PARADISE

THANKSGIVING BREAK – Paradise ISD students get a week off for Thanksgiving. There are no classes Nov. 24-28, but teachers have staff development on that Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

SLIDELL

THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY – Slidell ISD students have three days off for Thanksgiving. There will be no classes Nov. 26-28. Teachers have a comp day that Wednesday.

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Rue picked for White House summit http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/news/rue-picked-for-white-house-summit/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/news/rue-picked-for-white-house-summit/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:46:21 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=83645 Northwest ISD Superintendent Karen Rue is going to Washington.

Rue has been selected by the U.S. Department of Education as one of the nation’s top school leaders and will take part in the first-ever National Connected Superintendents Summit Wednesday at the White House.

Karen Rue

This unique conference will bring together officials from throughout America to share with one another and the Education Department promising approaches to using technology in classes.

Rue is among exemplary local school chiefs who will be recognized for their leadership in helping transition their districts to digital learning.

“I am honored to be selected to represent the hard work and talent of NISD students and educators,” Rue said. “I look forward to collaborating and sharing with educators across the nation while at this summit. With a focus on future-ready students, we are leading a transformation in public education.”

Recently, Rue was named the Region XI Superintendent of the Year. She has served as superintendent at Northwest since 2005.

The White House summit will be followed by a series of 12 to 15 regional summits that will focus on the digital progress made by local school districts. The events will also include the unveiling of digital tools that facilitate incorporation of technology into short-term and long-range education planning.

To help spotlight the value of technology in schools, the Education Department is sponsoring a Future Ready Initiative aimed at showcasing outstanding school leadership and strategies.

Future Ready superintendents demonstrate effective use of technology in some of the following ways:

  • fostering and leading a culture of collaboration and digital citizenship;
  • transitioning schools and families to high-speed connectivity;
  • empowering educators with professional learning opportunities;
  • accelerating progress toward universal access to quality devices;
  • providing access to quality digital content;
  • creating access, equity and excellence – particularly in rural, remote and low-income districts;
  • offering digital tools to students and families to help them prepare for success in college; and
  • sharing best practices and mentoring other districts in the transition to digital learning.

In June 2013, President Obama announced the ConnectED Initiative, starting with a goal of connecting 99 percent of students to next-generation connectivity within five years. Model schools and districts across the country are using technology to create personalized learning environments; technology will play an increasingly crucial role in the future.

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News Briefs for Wednesday, November 19, 2014 http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/news-briefs/news-briefs-for-wednesday-november-19-2014/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/news-briefs/news-briefs-for-wednesday-november-19-2014/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:45:25 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=83642 ALVORD

HISTORIC PHOTOS – The Wise County Genealogical Society will scan historical photos 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4, at Alvord City Hall. Participants may bring up to five photos and are also allowed to bring a flash drive. You will take the photos home after they are scanned. The Society is working hard to provide important information to everyone about the history of Alvord.

BRIDGEPORT

CHRISTMAS PARADE – Applications for the Lights on Halsell Christmas parade are available at Bridgeport City Hall or at www.cityofbridgeport.net. The parade will be 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4, on Halsell Street in downtown Bridgeport. The parade theme this year is “Frozen.” Call 940-683-3404 or visit www.cityofbridgeport.net.

CARDS IN THE PARK – Spaces are now being reserved for the 8th Annual Christmas Cards in the Park, sponsored by Bridgeport Parks and Recreation. The holiday decor program offers businesses, civic groups or individuals a chance to share their best wishes for the season with residents and visitors. There is no charge for a space. Call 940-683-3480 or visit www.cityofbridgeport.net.

FIREFIGHTERS NEEDED – The Bridgeport Volunteer Fire Department is searching for new members. The only requirements are that any applicant must be 18 years or older, live in Bridgeport, and have a high school diploma and a clean record. Call Bridgeport Training Captain Tanner Reeves, 940-577-0930.

HOUSING PLAN – The Bridgeport Housing Authority will have a public meeting 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 6, to receive comments on its annual and five-year plan. All documents are available for review 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday at the office, 1508 Cobb St., in Bridgeport.

DECATUR

WILLY WONKA – Decatur High School Theater presents Roald Dahl’s “Willy Wonka, The Musical” 7 p.m. Nov. 20-22 in the DHS auditorium. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students and children.

SANTA COPS – The Decatur Police Department is accepting applications for the Santa Cops program now through Friday, Dec. 5. New, unwrapped toys can be dropped off at the police department through Wednesday, Dec. 17. Call Ashly DoByns, 940-393-0300.

PARADE OF LIGHTS – The 2014 Parade of Lights is Saturday, Dec. 6. Lineup begins at 5 p.m., and judging is at 5:30. The parade starts at 6:30 p.m. Entry forms may be picked up at the Decatur Chamber of Commerce, 308 W. Main St.

BEADING CLASS – The Decatur Public Library is having a holiday beading class 1 to 4 p.m. every Wednesday in November. Participants will make a holiday ornament as they learn the steps for beadweaving. The class is free, but registration is required. Call 940-393-0290, stop by the library at 1700 Farm Road 51 South, or sign up online at www.decaturpubliclibrary.com.

NEWARK

BOOK CLUB – Newark Public Library is hosting a book club for adults 3:30 to 5 p.m. every Monday. November’s selection is “Gray Mountain” by John Grisham. Call 817-489-2224.

STORY TIME – Newark Public Library is hosting preschool story time for 5- and 6-year-olds noon to 12:45 p.m. every Thursday. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Call 817-489-2224.

PARADISE

AWARDS BANQUET – The Paradise Chamber of Commerce Annual Christmas dinner and awards banquet is 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 1, at Paradise First Baptist Church. Speaker is Dr. Shirley Cothran Barret, Miss America 1975. RSVP to info@paradisetexaschamber.org.

RHOME

GINGERBREAD HOUSE – The Rhome Public Library will host Build a Gingerbread House 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 29, at the Senior Citizens Center, 261 School Rd. RSVP by Wednesday, Nov. 19, to 817-636-2767. Cost is free for children and $15 per adult.

BOOK BLOWOUT – Rhome Public Library is having a Book Blowout Sale 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday now through December. Hardback books are $1, and paperbacks are 50 cents. The library is at 265 W. BC Rhome.

WISE COUNTY

LITTLE DRIBBLERS – Wise County Little Dribblers registration is 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 23, at Hibbetts in Decatur. Last day to register is Nov. 29. Any children in Wise County ages pre-k through fourth grade are welcome. Registration is $65 and $30 for each additional child. Practices start the week of Jan. 5.

BELL RINGERS – Salvation Army bell ringing at Wal-Mart starts Friday, Nov. 28, and runs through Wednesday, Dec 24. Many volunteers are needed. The money is used to help Wise County residents in need. Call Tana at 940-627-5859 to volunteer.

HELPING SOLDIERS – North Texas Stockings for Soldiers Campaign is underway with dropoff locations in Decatur at Shear Madness Salon, Wise County Messenger, DATCU and Sister’s Grooming. Small, lightweight items that will fit in a stocking are needed. For a complete list of requested items, contact Bobby Travis at 940-453-0511, Bobby.Travis60@gmail.com; or Janice Millican at 940-627-4220, rjmillican@ymail.com.

NORTHWEST

ANGEL TREE PROGRAM – This year’s Northwest ISD Partners in Education Virtual Angel Tree has more than 780 children who need assistance this holiday season. To adopt an angel, please contact Phil Beckman at PBeckman@nisdtx.org or 817-215-0172 or go to angeltree.nisdtx.org to make an online selection. Deliver the Angel Tree items to the NISD Administration Building, 2001 Texan Drive, Fort Worth, by Friday, Dec. 5. Partners in Education is looking for volunteers to assist with sorting and distributing gifts. If you are interested in volunteering, call Phil Beckman at 817-215-0172.

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Volleyball: ELATED STATE – Lady Eagles claim clash of champs http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/sports/volleyball-elated-state-lady-eagles-claim-clash-of-champs/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/sports/volleyball-elated-state-lady-eagles-claim-clash-of-champs/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:44:53 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=83640 In the clash of defending state champions, the Decatur Lady Eagles absorbed the first body blows from Bushland and middle blocker Anna Graham.

But the Lady Eagles (39-10) quickly got off the canvas after dropping the first set, making adjustments and beginning to land their own punches. Behind the clutch hitting of Caroline Lowery and Makayla Mayfield, they took the final three sets and the Class 4A Region I Final at Western Texas College’s The Coliseum in Snyder.

Decatur won 19-25, 25-20, 25-16, 25-17.

Jumping for Joy

JUMPING FOR JOY – Decatur libero Maclaine Lowery jumps in celebration after the Lady Eagles beat No. 2 Bushland in four games Saturday in the 4A Region I final at The Coliseum in Snyder. Decatur will take on Robinson in the 4A semifinal at 1 p.m. Friday in Garland. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“They came out with fire, and we were a little nervous because we knew it was only one game to state,” said Lowery, who was named the 4A Region I tournament MVP after putting down 16 kills in the final. “We worried too much about what they were doing [in the first set] instead of what we needed to do. After that, we started to play our game.”

Decatur returns to the University Interscholastic League volleyball championships at Curtis Culwell Center in Garland for a second straight year. They will take on Robinson in the 4A semifinal at 1 p.m.

“This has been on my mind the whole year,” said setter Stormi Leonard, who dished out 42 assists, earning a spot on the all-region team. “To make it back my senior season is all that I wanted.”

Argyle and Liberty Hill will play in the other state semifinal.

ON THE ATTACK – Decatur’s Caroline Lowery hits the ball during the Lady Eagles’ win over Bushland in the 4A Region I final. She was named the MVP of the regional tournament. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“It’s easier to get to the top of the mountain. It’s hard to stay there,” said Decatur coach Claire Benedict-Gay. “Setting up the preseason matches I did – and we were struggling mentally through them – but they were necessary for us to get where we wanted to be. We knew this team was in our region.”

Bushland (37-5), last year’s 2A champions, had the Lady Eagles on the ropes early behind Graham, who buried 17 kills from the middle of the floor.

“Their middle blocker was phenomenal. That’s something we’ve not seen,” Leonard said. “That’s not the game we play, and it’s something we’re not used to.”

Decatur also struggled to handle Bushland’s serving and to get a good pass to get into its offense.

“They served very well. That’s something we work on is siding out quickly,” Benedict-Gay said. “They kept us out of our system that first set. We finally settled down and started passing better and were able to run our entire offense.”

Bushland took the lead 13-12 on the first of two Decatur service errors in the opening set. That started a 6-0 run for the Lady Falcons.

Bushland captured the set on another Decatur service error.

After dropping their first set in a while, Decatur rebounded quickly.

“From our tough preseason, we played some really tough teams that pushed us ,and we knew what it was like to be in the situation – to be down and have to come back,” Lowery said.

Mayfield put Decatur up 6-3 with a big swing in the second set. The Lady Eagles then got their two middles, Courtnie Roberts and Emily Oxford, involved in the offense, putting down kills around another from Mayfield to put Decatur up 10-4.

“Making sure all our hitters were available was big for us,” Benedict-Gay said. “When they had to defend everyone, it left some 1-on-1s and some open shots.”

Mayfield finished the second set with a kill.

Decatur jumped out to a 5-0 lead in set three and took a 16-7 advantage on a Mayfield kill that bounced off a Bushland defender and nearly made it into the stands.

Mayfield finished the set with one of her 18 kills.

With a state berth in sight, Decatur took a 12-6 lead in set four on a Roberts block. A Roberts kill made it 19-10.

Lowery increased the lead to 23-16. Two Bushland hitting errors closed the match – and sent the Lady Eagles back to state.

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Volleyball: Serious power – Competitive Lowery fuels Lady Eagles http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/sports/volleyball-serious-power-competitive-lowery-fuels-lady-eagles/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2014/sports/volleyball-serious-power-competitive-lowery-fuels-lady-eagles/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:43:58 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=83636 In the Class 4A Region I semifinal, Caroline Lowery swung her powerful arm and spiked the ball off a Big Spring player, who took several seconds before being able to get off the court.

The Decatur senior’s fury unleashed on a volleyball can be a terrifying sight to even her teammates.

“She gave me a concussion my sophomore year during a drill,” Decatur setter Stormi Leonard recalled. “I had a pad up as a blocker and the ball went by it and I took the hardest hit straight in the face.”

Destructive Force

DESTRUCTIVE FORCE – Decatur’s Caroline Lowery blasts a ball over Big Springs defenders during the Class 4A Region semifinal. Lowery put down 12 kills in the win. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Lowery’s power and skill has turned her into one of the state’s top hitters. Entering Friday’s Class 4A semifinal against Robinson, she has a team-high 471 kills, averaging 3.9 per set. Her hitting percentage on 1,107 attempts is .319.

“She’s had a great year and been a great leader,” said Decatur coach Claire Benedict-Gay.

Lowery generates her jaw-dropping power despite being far from the tallest player on the floor. Instead of relying on height, she uses strength.

“I go to the gym and JRobs and work out,” Lowery said. “I’m always working the muscles in my legs.”

Another Honor

ANOTHER HONOR – Decatur’s Caroline Lowery accepts the Class 4A Region I tournament MVP award. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Benedict-Gay added: “She’s just strong. She works out in the gym and our offseason program. But she also plays a lot of volleyball.”

On top of that raw strength is a competitive drive to be the best that she credits her father Chris, a former football player at Oklahoma State, with giving her.

“He’s always been part of the reason. He’s pushed me – but I wanted to be like him,” Lowery said.

That competitiveness doesn’t stop when she steps off the volleyball court.

“I’ve always been competitive. I hate losing so much,” Lowery said. “That’s why in training I work so hard. My goal is to win everything.”

That strong desire to win gives her a near-stoic and intimidating demeanor between the lines, in sharp contrast to some of her light-hearted teammates.

“I don’t laugh for smile,” Lowery said. “Some of it is to intimidate the other team.”

Sometimes that intimidation carries over off the floor.

“People say they are scared of me off the floor,” Lowery admits.

While her demeanor intimidates some, her coach identifies with it.

“It is almost scary at times. She’s just extremely competitive,” Benedict-Gay said. “I appreciate it. I was that way when I played.”

While her ability to kill the ball has helped the Lady Eagles become a terrifying force, Lowery has turned into a complete player. She has a team-high 87 aces from the service line, and her 426 digs are second on the team.

Last year for part of the season, Lowery fought through a shoulder injury and wasn’t available to hit. She only played on the back row.

“It killed me, especially when we played Argyle at a tournament,” Lowery said. “I knew I could help. I hate sitting out more than anything.”

But after the state tournament this weekend, Lowery plans to stop playing volleyball. Despite inquiries from scouts about playing on the next level, she has decided not to pursue any college volleyball opportunities.

She plans to go to Oklahoma State, like her father.

“I could go somewhere else, but I don’t want to go to a college that I don’t want to just for volleyball,” Lowery said. “I want to study abroad.”

While she admits there’s a little burnout after playing club volleyball for many years, Lowery knows it will be a tough transition.

“It’s a huge part of my life,” she said. “It hasn’t hit me yet.”

But she could have at least two matches to take her own shots at anyone on the other side of the net.

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