WCMessenger.com http://www.wcmessenger.com Wise County Messenger Online Edition Mon, 27 Jul 2015 17:36:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Welcome to Wise: Saturday http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/video/welcome-to-wise-saturday/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/video/welcome-to-wise-saturday/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:51:44 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93503

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Welcome to Wise: Friday http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/video/welcome-to-wise-friday/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/video/welcome-to-wise-friday/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:51:09 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93501

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Welcome to Wise: Thursday http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/video/welcome-to-wise-thursday/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/video/welcome-to-wise-thursday/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:50:32 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93499

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Welcome to Wise: Wednesday http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/video/welcome-to-wise-wednesday/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/video/welcome-to-wise-wednesday/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:49:51 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93497

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Welcome to Wise: Tuesday http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/video/welcome-to-wise-tuesday/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/video/welcome-to-wise-tuesday/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:48:59 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93495

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Welcome to Wise: Monday http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/video/welcome-to-wise-monday/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/video/welcome-to-wise-monday/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:48:22 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93493

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Monday, July 27, 2015 http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/update/monday-july-27-2015/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/update/monday-july-27-2015/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:21:06 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93490

FIRE THREATENS HOME – Fire departments from Decatur, Newark and Boyd responded to a pasture fire threatening a structure on Private Road 4379 between Decatur and Boyd Saturday morning. David Lambert said he had been raking and baling hay for the owner of the property when the hay baler caught on fire. The fire then spread to several hay bales and across the pasture, burning between two to three acres, according to Boyd VFD Captain Shane McNelly. The fire then spread to the house on the property, burning a portion of the garage before Decatur FD put it out. The owner of the property, who was not identified, said most of what burned was marginal.

WORKER INJURED AT REUNION - A carnival worker was seriously injured early Sunday morning at the Wise County Old Settlers Reunion. Decatur Police Chief Rex Hoskins said a man was helping to tear down the carnival rides around 1:30 a.m. when he fell off a platform, falling 10 feet and hitting the ground face-first. The man was taken first to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur and then flown to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. Hoskins did not have the man’s name, but he said he was a Waxahachie resident.

DIABETIC EDUCATION CLASS – A free Diabetic Education Class is today at the Boyd Community Center. An Introductory Class is at 3 p.m. followed by the Advanced Class at 4. The class is sponsored by Wise Regional Health System.

FREEDOM TEXAS – Freedom Texas will hold it’s monthly public meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday in the meeting room at Pizza Hut, 601 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 or go to freedomtexas.org.

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

DECATUR SCHOOL BOARD – The Decatur School Board tonight will consider several construction items related to the bond issue, including method of delivery for the special programs building renovation, the Rann Elementary dining hall/gym solution and the indoor multi-purpose building. The baseball/softball press box and restrooms are also on the agenda. The meeting at the DISD Administration Building, 307 S. Cates, begins with a closed session at 6 followed by the open meeting at 7.

COUNTY COMMISSIONERS TO MEET – Wise County commissioners this morning will discuss county health insurance and a possible change order for the jail roof project. Instead of meeting in the courthouse, they will meet at the Elections Administration office, 200 S. Trinity St., in Decatur. All commissioners meetings will be held at the EA’s office until the courthouse elevator repairs are complete.

GOSPEL OPRY – The monthly Gospel Opry sing-along program is 6:30 tonight in the G.C. Rann Auditorium located in the Wise County Heritage Museum at 1602 S. Trinity St., Decatur.  Admission is free, and an offering will be received toward the expenses of the museum.

FUNERALS - Service for Samuel “Sam” Nesmith of Cottondale is pending at Hawkins Funeral Home in Bridgeport.

FUNERAL for Gladys Ruth Etter Tisdale, 79, of Haslet, formerly of Runaway Bay, is 2 p.m. today at Hawkins Chapel. Family visitation is 1-2 p.m. at the funeral home.

FUNERAL for Jimmie Lou Ralls, 77, of Bridgeport is 10 a.m. today at Bible Baptist Church in Bridgeport with burial at 1:30 p.m. at Salona Cemetery in Bowie. Jones Family Funeral Home in Bridgeport is handling arrangements.

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Welcome to Wise: Sunday http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/video/welcome-to-wise-sunday/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/video/welcome-to-wise-sunday/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 19:44:54 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93487

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Car chase ends in arrest http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/car-chase-ends-in-arrest-2/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/car-chase-ends-in-arrest-2/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 17:51:44 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93481 Decatur Police Department, Wise County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Public Safety were involved in a car chase that ended in the arrest of Israel Trey Rodriguez, 21, in Decatur Wednesday afternoon.

Finally Caught

FINALLY CAUGHT – After leading various law enforcement agencies on a car chase from Decatur to Alvord and back, Israel Trey Rodriguez was apprehended and placed in police custody. Decatur Police Detective Daniel Sandate tired to convince the irate Rodriguez to calm down. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Decatur Officer Keith Hilton responded to a call from Rodriguez’s girlfriend, who claimed the Bridgeport resident told her he was coming to her home to kill her. After Hilton arrived at the girlfriend’s home, Rodriguez pulled onto the road. Seeing Hilton, he turned his car and fled.

The various law enforcement agencies gave chase as Rodriguez headed north on U.S. 81/287 toward Alvord, before turning around and back south to Decatur. At one point during the chase, Rodriguez swerved around construction barriers on U.S. 81/287 and entered a work zone with workers present.

The chase then snaked through downtown Decatur and residential neighborhoods before ending on Business U.S. 81/287 south of Carson Elementary.

Wise County Sheriff’s Patrol Lt. Art Ferguson said officers tried to use spikes to stop the car three times during the chase, but Rodriguez managed to evade. Ferguson used his vehicle to bump Rodriguez off the road to end the chase.

Crashed Car

CRASHED CAR – Israel Trey Rodriguez’s crashed Honda sits on the side of Business U.S. 81/287, the spot where he was apprehended. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“I couldn’t let that go any further,” Ferguson explained. “I wasn’t going to let him get out there [back on U.S. 81/287] and hurt someone.”

At the scene of his arrest, Rodriguez appeared agitated and screamed at detectives, demanding they talk to him.

Rodriguez is in custody at the Wise County jail charged with evading arrest, resisting arrest, driving with an invalid license, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, making a terroristic threat against a family/household and violating parole on a June charge of interfering with an emergency call.

Bail total is set at $51,000.

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Shepherd departs Decatur; Pastor leaves legacy as he moves on http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/shepherd-departs-decatur-pastor-leaves-legacy-as-he-moves-on/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/shepherd-departs-decatur-pastor-leaves-legacy-as-he-moves-on/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 17:50:34 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93477 The word “shepherd” means a guide or caregiver, who protects a group. That definition fits Ken May during his 13 years in Decatur.

Leaving a Legacy

LEAVING A LEGACY – Pastor Ken May of Decatur’s First Baptist Church stands among fellow volunteers at Decatur Cares. After 13 years in Decatur, May has accepted another pastoral job in Stephenville. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

May is leaving to begin a new role in Stephenville. But as he leaves, former Decatur Mayor Joe Lambert points out the First Baptist Church of Decatur pastor leaves behind a legacy of community service, including time spent with W.A.R.M, Wise Choices, Decatur Cares and working as chaplain for the Decatur Police Department.

“He’s very involved outside the church,” Lambert said. “I think quite highly of him.”

Lambert worked with May and several other community members to create Decatur Cares – a summer program that provides meals for Decatur ISD students who receive free or reduced lunches during the school year.

The program’s inception was a letter from the Texas Commissioner of Agriculture to mayors around the state.

“He wanted to start a food distribution program for school districts,” Lambert recalled. “I thought that was a pretty good idea. Someone had told me that there were actually a lot of kids going hungry in the city. When school stopped for the summer, they weren’t getting the free lunches and breakfasts.”

May said the letter’s timing was perfect.

“We were working on summer feeding for a bit about six years ago,” May said. “We were doing meals at [Harmon] Park, and this little boy came up to me and told me, ‘thank you Pastor Ken, I haven’t eaten in two days.’

“I started thinking that we needed to do more to feed children and fight hunger.”

Coincidentally, Joe Lambert was beginning to put together the program that would eventually become Decatur Cares. The pairing was natural.

“We had pastors from three local churches, the Ag Extension office, and it just kept growing,” Lambert said. “We developed a menu and pursued that through Wal-Mart. They supplied a lot of the food and sold it to us at a discounted rate.

“We were really going, but we probably wouldn’t have been as successful if he hadn’t been involved.”

While helping Decatur Cares grow into a program that feeds 200 to 300 kids, May also was police chaplain.

When Evan Ebel, a Colorado felon, engaged authorities in a violent gunfight in front of the Wise County Sheriff’s Office in Decatur, May was contacted soon after the bullets stopped flying.

“I was called that morning to go and debrief the officers,” he said. “It’s so, so important when you have a crisis that you have people talk through it.”

It’s that same attitude, the vigilance of a caring shepherd, that keeps him in the path of those in need.

“It’s about being there when people are going through times of crisis, like sickness, illness, and surgery,” he said. “And there’s some good times too, like births, weddings, baptisms.

“It’s those critical times, their life map, when they hit those peaks or valleys that matter most. A shepherd is there to walk with them.”

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Bridgeport hires McEachern http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/bridgeport-hires-mceachern/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/bridgeport-hires-mceachern/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 17:47:58 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93474 The Bridgeport City Council voted Tuesday to officially hire Jesica McEachern as the new city administrator.

The council unanimously voted for McEachern’s appointment. Councilman Jimmy Meyers left the closed session hiring discussions early due to an onset of illness and missed the final vote.

McEachern, who previously worked as the city secretary and assistant city administrator, was offered the job in April with a three-month training period before the official announcement.

Chester Nolen served as the interim city administrator following Brandon Emmons’ retirement last December. Nolen was McEachern’s mentor during the training period.

“I think Jesica is going to do a fine job,” Nolen said. “I’ll always be around if you need my advice or want to rethink this decision,” he added jokingly to his successor.

McEachern said she felt honored to have been chosen from a pool of solid candidates.

“Bridgeport has many exciting projects underway right now,” McEachern said. “I’m really looking forward to assisting the mayor and the council to complete these projects as well as to achieve future goals.”

McEachern begins her new role Aug. 1.

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Alvord ISD hires Brown as superintendent http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/alvord-isd-hires-brown-as-superintendent/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/alvord-isd-hires-brown-as-superintendent/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 17:47:19 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93472 After weeks of interviews, the Alvord school board unanimously agreed to name Dr. Randy Brown the lone finalist for the superintendent position Thursday night.

“There were several outstanding applicants,” Board President Vic Czerniack said. “This was a very difficult choice, only because there were so many strong candidates. The second round was even harder.”

Though the number of strong candidates made the selection process challenging, Czerniack said that Brown’s philosophy and thought process allowed him to stand out.

“His ideas and logic just edged the competition,” Czerniack said. “All of the candidates were really strong and a credit to their profession.”

John Schedcik proposed the naming of Brown, and Lance Thweatt seconded before the unanimous vote was cast.

Brown was superintendent at Coahoma ISD for three years before taking the superintendent position at Snyder Aug. 22, 2011, where he stayed until applying for the Alvord job.

He has also worked at Levelland ISD (his alma mater) as a principal, and Motley County ISD.

Brown received a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern New Mexico University before earning a Masters of Education degree from Texas A&M University at Commerce.

He earned a Doctorate of Education in Education Leadership from Texas Tech University.

Brown’s wife, Andrea, is a registered nurse and the couple have two sons, Zachary, 14, and Jaxon, 8.

Alvord ISD must wait a state-mandated 21 days before the hiring becomes official.

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Property tax values take a shallow dip http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/property-tax-values-take-a-shallow-dip/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/property-tax-values-take-a-shallow-dip/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 17:46:44 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93470 Property tax values in Wise County dropped just less than 1 percent this year, according to the certified tax roll released this week.

Overall value of $7,564,187,694 was an 0.83 percent decrease from last year’s $7,627,329,457.

It’s a much different story from last year, when values increased 5.3 percent from the previous year.


The values, released each July by Wise County Chief Appraiser Mickey Hand, are used by local cities, school districts and other taxing entities to prepare next year’s budget.

Mineral values took the biggest hit with an 8.09 percent decrease due to a drop in the price of oil and gas as well as a decline in existing wells, Hand said.

And next year might be much the same story.

“Great concern as we go forward,” Hand said of mineral values. “We were saved by the additional $206 million in new wells for 2015. We don’t see any new wells being drilled in 2015 and lots of oil and gas service companies are struggling or moving.”

The drop in oil and gas-related businesses seemed to also have an effect on business personal property, down 3.2 percent, and industrial/utility values, down 2.88 percent in the county.

However, certain areas of the county were helped by new oil and gas activity, including Paradise and Slidell.

Thanks to $34.3 million in new mineral values, Paradise ISD saw overall values increase 5.29 percent. Values in the city of Paradise increased 26.43 percent overall thanks to a whopping 1,143 percent increase in mineral values.

Slidell ISD added $52.3 million in new mineral values, which helped its overall values increase 11.78 percent.

If oil and gas “giveth” to the above mentioned communities, oil and gas “taketh” from a couple of others, it appears.

The community that seemed to be hit the hardest by decreased tax values was Chico. Overall values in the city of Chico dropped nearly 20 percent, and the school district saw a 2.55 percent decrease in overall values.

Hand said earlier this year when preliminary values were released that a reduction in equipment at several oilfield service companies and the movement of assets to other parts of the state were a big reason for the decrease in Chico.

Boyd schools saw values decrease 11.6 percent, due in large part to a 16.38 percent decrease in mineral values. The city of Boyd saw values decrease by 4.19 percent overall, with a 16.77 percent decrease in mineral values.

Real estate was the only area to see an increase, up 6.11 percent from last year. The county added $87.5 million in new construction in the past year.

“Real estate remains strong in most of the county, and rains helped property at Lake Bridgeport,” Hand said.

The average home value in the county increased 5.27 percent, to $131,968.

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Cabins bring themes, families together http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/cabins-bring-themes-families-together/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/cabins-bring-themes-families-together/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 17:45:41 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93467 As one of the most unusual events in the state, the Wise County Old Settlers Reunion once again featured numerous elaborately decorated cabins in celebration of the annual event in Decatur.

Fun in the Sun 1

FUN IN THE SUN – Cabins at the Wise County Old Settlers Reunion were decorated with every theme under the sun in mind. From favorite fast food restaurants to the old stars and stripes, there was no lack of creativity. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Reunion goers take pride in past awards received for the decoration of their cabins. But whether or not the patrons win awards, the theme of family is in the highest regard at the event.

Russell Shults of Dallas is a member of the Wren family, whose cabin took the Best Theme award with “Reunion Fever.”

“We had disco dancing, strobe lights and music,” Shults said. “It helped that all of the kids were dancing while the judges were coming by. That may have put us over the edge to get the award.”

The cabin has been in the Wren family since 1946, and most family members still attend Reunion.

Fun in the Sun 2

FUN IN THE SUN – Cabins at the Wise County Old Settlers Reunion were decorated with every theme under the sun in mind. From favorite fast food restaurants to the old stars and stripes, there was no lack of creativity. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“There are nine siblings,” Shults said. “We come out here and it’s a family reunion. Sam Renshaw still comes out here at 92 years old. It’s the one time when we can all get together as a family and have meaningful conversations and enjoy each other.”

The Best Name award went to the Rhine/Mueller camp and their “Whatacamp” theme that used the Whataburger orange and white stripes.

“We decorate just about every other year,” Justin West said. “This was something we talked about doing last year. We’ve been here since 1964 and last year was the 50th anniversary. We just have a great time with family and friends.”

Lana Thompson from the Fennell Camp said that winning the Most Original award this year paled in comparison to their main reason for attending.

“Family,” she said, standing in their family-tree themed camp that featured photos of the family throughout. “Every year we have easily 25 to 30 people at our camp. It’s all about being with family members.”

The county’s more than century-old summer campout will end Saturday.

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Washer tournament continues Reunion success http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/washer-tournament-continues-reunion-success/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/washer-tournament-continues-reunion-success/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 17:44:21 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93463 A year after the Decatur Chamber of Commerce’s “Put Yo Money Where Yo Mouth Is” washer tournament established the Guinness world record with 243 teams, the sixth annual tournament at the Wise County Old Settlers Reunion in Decatur continued in exciting fashion Tuesday evening.

WASHING – Andrew Rottner demonstrated the combination of competition and fun that makes the “Put Yo Money Where Yo Mouth Is” tournament a thriving event. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The team of Dylan Rottner and Kyle Parker came away as champion. Colby Williams and Andrew Gage came in second, and KJ Terrell and Steven Behringer finished third.

Tournament founder Carey Williams said that it all began as a fundraiser that has gained increasing popularity.

“Washer pitching has been popular in this area for a long time,” Williams explained. “We had 64 teams the first year and we were regularly in the 80s after that, all the way up to the world-record last year.”

Few teams lacked confidence during the registration process.

Many had plans on how to be successful.

“We’re the best team out there,” Dayne Chapman said. “We’ve played every day for three weeks. We’re going to find our opponents’ weaknesses and exploit them.”

Like the Dayne & Tyler Chapman, the team of Karter Houchin and Carson Wicker was confident beforehand, despite some admitted nerves.

“We’re a little nervous,” Houchin said. “This is our second tournament and we’ve been practicing since last year. Our plan is to psych out other teams with trash talk and really get in their heads.”

Williams created the tournament as a fundraiser for the Chamber of Commerce during his time as president.

“The Chamber really had no alternative means of raising funds in July,” he said. “I thought, ‘why not start a tournament?’

“It’s been great, and it’s a very competitive tournament. It’s $50 for a team entry fee and the winners get $100 a piece, so it’s not really about the money for these teams. It’s just fun, and we appreciate everyone supporting it.”

Washing 2

WASHING – Chase Chapman demonstrated the combination of competition and fun that makes the “Put Yo Money Where Yo Mouth Is” tournament a thriving event. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

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Micinski hired by Irving ISD to lead business office http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/micinski-hired-by-irving-isd-to-lead-business-office/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/micinski-hired-by-irving-isd-to-lead-business-office/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 17:41:13 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93459 A long-time member of the central administration team at Decatur ISD is headed to Irving.

On Monday, the Irving ISD school board voted unanimously to hire Decatur Deputy Superintendent Gary Micinski to be their new chief financial officer. The Decatur School Board will consider Micinski’s resignation at Monday’s regular meeting.

Mcinski Moving

MICINSKI MOVING – Decatur ISD Deputy Superintendent Gary Micinski has accepted a job at Irving ISD to be their chief financial officer. Micinski has been at Decatur for 15 years. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

While Micinski plans to begin work at Irving next month, he said he would finish out next year’s budget at Decatur, which must be approved by Aug. 31.

He said working at Decatur ISD for the past 15 years has been a “fantastic opportunity,” and he’s been able to work with three great superintendents and a great school board during his tenure.

“I’ve been able to learn from some really good mentors,” Micinski said. “I started with J.D. Kennedy, then Gary Gindt and now Rod Townsend. I’ve been able to learn a tremendous amount. And then we’ve been blessed by a stable, good school board. We’ve been blessed with good finances, too.”

The success he’s had at the district has been a result of the business staff, most of whom he’s worked with 10 years or more, he said.

“The success or failure of any business or school is determined by staff, and the business office staff at Decatur ISD is second to none,” Micinski said.

Since he was hired in 2000, Micinski has seen the opening of Carson elementary and the multipurpose building, a new high school, Young Elementary and the transportation facility.

On a more personal level, Micinski said he is “exceptionally proud” of the education both of his kids received at Decatur. They are pursuing college degrees.

His wife, Audrey, a science teacher, plans to remain at Decatur High School for the upcoming school year.

Looking ahead, Micinski said he is moving from one financially sound district to another, where he will replace retiring associate superintendent of business services Debbie Cabrera.

“Their ship is in good shape,” he said. “It’s not like I have to come in and solve a lot of problems. She has done a fantastic job.”

Townsend described Micinski as an “exceptional employee” who is “great at what he does.”

“He’s been here so long and knows the district so well, everybody’s come to rely on him,” Townsend said. “So it’s a little uncomfortable knowing he’s not going to be here, because you lose that wealth of institutional knowledge.

“So that will be a little bit of a transition, but we will find someone good, and 15 years down the road they will have contributed hopefully as much as Gary has.”

Townsend said the job has been posted and he is already receiving applicants. He said he is looking first for someone with knowledge and experience with school finance and school accounting standards.

If he can’t find the suitable applicant from someone who has worked at a school district, the next step would be to look at auditing firms with experience with school audits.

He said his goal is to have someone working in the district by the first of September.

“We want to move as quickly as possible, but we want to make sure we are really thorough and do a good job making the selection for the next person,” the superintendent said.

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Man arrested for online solicitation of child http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/man-arrested-for-online-solicitation-of-child/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/man-arrested-for-online-solicitation-of-child/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 17:40:05 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93456 A Wise County resident was among 16 men caught in an undercover child sex sting in Johnson County recently.

Lance Cee Morgan, 46, of Rhome has been charged with online solicitation of a minor, according to the Office of the Attorney General.

The OAG’s Child Exploitation Unit, the Johnson County Special Crimes Unit and Sheriff’s Office, and the Cleburne and Burleson police departments worked a joint sting operation in which undercover officers posed as underage children as they chatted online with possible offenders who were seeking to have sex with children.

When the offenders came to meet who they believed were children in Johnson County, they were met by the officers and arrested instead. The sting was July 13 through 16.

“The operation was a success in that we arrested 16 individuals that were coming into our community with the intent of raping our children,” said Adam King, commander with the Stop The Offender Program (STOP) Special Crimes Unit in Johnson County. “These men came here soliciting sex with these children and they were arrested immediately upon entering our take-down areas.”

David Maxwell, director of law enforcement for the OAG, called it “the most successful operation we’ve ever done in our history.”

“The online predators are a scourge on our society,” he said. “People don’t realize that the sexual assault of children has such a pervasive effect on society.

“I’ve been working for the state for 43 years, most as a Texas Ranger working homicides, and I will tell you in that capacity, I saw so many offenses that were committed by people who had that (sexual assaults) in their early lives.”

Johnson County District Attorney Dale Hanna said the men ranged in age from 21 to 67. Morgan was the second oldest arrested.

Hanna said some of the men were carrying drugs, and some had guns with them.

“I would expect the sentences some of these people get would be stiff sentences, as they should be,” Hanna said. “We expect to proceed with these cases pretty quickly as the interest of justice requires and take a pretty strong stance on these things.”

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Man arrested for intoxication manslaughter http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/man-arrested-for-intoxication-manslaughter/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/man-arrested-for-intoxication-manslaughter/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 17:39:15 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93454 A Boyd resident was arrested Thursday in connection with a fatal wreck in Azle in May.

Daniel Scott Norfleet, 57, was served with a warrant from the Azle Police Department and charged with intoxication manslaughter. He was released from the Wise County Jail after posting $25,000 bond the same day.

According to information published in the Azle News, Norfleet was driving a pickup that crashed in the 500 block of Northwest Parkway in Azle the evening of May 12.

Norfleet was westbound on the service road when the pickup struck and knocked down a street sign before crashing into a telephone pole.

A passenger in the truck, David Lawrence Johnson, 64, of Springtown, was killed. Norfleet was injured and taken to a Fort Worth hospital.

The News story said the police report listed speed and alcohol as factors that may have contributed to causing the accident.

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Boyd to return money to county; Work starts on new budget http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/boyd-to-return-money-to-county-work-starts-on-new-budget/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/boyd-to-return-money-to-county-work-starts-on-new-budget/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 17:38:41 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93452 The city of Boyd will return $23,800 to Wise County that it received to operate its library in 2014.

City Administrator Greg Arrington told the city council of the agreement to return the funds at Tuesday’s meeting.

Arrington said the money was given to the city to operate a library that was not in use. A January 2014 ice storm collapsed the roof at the Raymond Jordan Boyd Public Library building on Texas 114.

“The county gives the city the funds to run a library available for county use,” Arrington said. “The city didn’t have a library. It’s only right to return that money.”

In the preliminary budget presented Tuesday, Arrington had money alloted for a library in 2015-16. The city had moved the library to the community center as a temporary location.

Arrington said the library was going to close, but a date had not been determined.

In the recent survey, dedicating funds for a new library lagged behind many other capital projects, including street repairs, drainage, sidewalks and water filtering process.

Tuesday the city council authorized the sale of the former library building in its current dilapidated state, along with the site of the former Hovey Street water tower.

“The roof has fallen in [at the library] and the cost to repair is more than it’s worth,” said Boyd Mayor Rod Bill Scroggins.

“We have several properties that are not being utilized, so we’ll get bids to sell them.”

While the council authorized him to seek bids for the two properties, Arrington said it may be up to six weeks before he could get the process started.

He is currently working on his first budget as city administrator. He presented the first draft of a $2.107 million budget to the council Tuesday. The preliminary budget showed a $25,144 surplus.

Of that budget $1.430 million was for the general fund and $676,875 for water/wastewater.

“I appreciated the process and the questions,” Arrington said. “It was like a workshop. There were a lot of things we discussed. The two big discussions were the mowing and remodeling of the park bathrooms.

“The funding requests were based on the survey. We tripled the amount for roads and there’s a 100 percent increase for code enforcement.”

The initial planning has $45,000 for street repairs and drainage.

Other expenses of note: $50,634 for a police vehicle; $20,000 for street repair equipment; $65,000 for purchasing and repairing water and sewer generators; and $10,000 for repairs and maintenance at the city park.

“For the first look, it looks good,” Scroggins said. “The numbers are still in the air.”

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Bridgeport declines ordinance amendment http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/bridgeport-declines-ordinance-amendment/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/bridgeport-declines-ordinance-amendment/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 17:38:00 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=93450 Bridgeport City Council considered voting for an amendment to the city zoning ordinances on non-conforming buildings and structures at its meeting Tuesday, before ultimately deferring action.

The majority of discussion about the amendment concerned Section 12, and its “Restoration of damaged buildings” clause.

The ordinance currently states that any non-conforming building damaged or partially destroyed by fire, flood, earthquake, wind, explosion or other calamity cannot be restored to the same non-conforming conditions if cost of restoration exceeds 75 percent of the replacement cost of the building at the time the damage was sustained.

The ordinance also states the non-conforming structure must be repaired with 12 months of sustaining damages or the building must be rebuilt to conform to all regulations, effectively making it a new building.

City Attorney Rob Allibon and City Administrator Jesica McEachern proposed changing this section to read that a non-conforming building must be repaired within six months of receiving damage, and the cost to repair the structure could not exceed 50 percent of the replacement cost.

“We are trying to tighten the noose around property ownership and it scares the crap out of me,” Mayor Corey Lane said.

Lane opposed the amendment on the grounds that property destroyed by a natural calamity incurs damage through no fault of its owners.

Lane argued that owners of buildings that were conforming when they were built and were later destroyed by natural disasters should not be punished if they wish to rebuild the original building for its original purpose, even if that building does not fit updated code.

Councilman Jimmy Meyers expressed concern that if the amendment didn’t go through, it would be easier for “slums” to spring up in Bridgeport and property values would fall.

“If you want to be protective of your property [value], move to Decatur,” Meyers said.

McEachern explained that the purpose of the amendment was simply to make sure buildings within Bridgeport city limits fit code.

The council ultimately decided to have Allibon change the wording and present it at a later date for further discussion.

In other action, the council:

  • Approved an ordinance that requires all tires stored outdoors to be blocked from public view by a wall 6 to 8 feet tall, voting 5-0.
  • Approved final plats and preliminary plats of the Fair Oaks Addition, voting 5-0.
  • Approved renewals and five-year extensions to the contracts and leases of four hangars at Bridgeport Municipal Airport, voting 5-0.
  • Adopted an ordinance to raise the city’s speed limit in non-posted areas to 30 miles per hour, keeping in accordance with state statutes. The vote ended 4-1, with Meyers opposing.
  • Adopted an ordinance to post a 25 mile per hour speed limit in the 1200 block of Wells Fargo Boulevard, the 2100 to 2200 block of Stonegate Boulevard, the 1200 block of Stonegate Court, the 2200 block of Wells Fargo Court and the 1300 block of Shirley Street. The council approved the ordinance 4-1, with Meyers opposing.
  • Agreed to a settlement with the Texas Railroad Commission to pay for a gas line broken during renovations on 11th Street in January. The city will pay the commission $2,250 for repairs, which Allibon said was half of the original fine. The council voted 5-0 to approve the settlement.
  • Approved the first payment of $88,760.76 to PaveCon Public Works for work completed on the Halsell Street Sidewalk Reconstruction and the Street Capital Improvement Project in the month of May. The council voted 4-1 to approve the first pay installment, with David Correll opposing.
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