WCMessenger.com http://www.wcmessenger.com Wise County Messenger Online Edition Thu, 29 Jan 2015 00:52:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Wise County K-9 killed in the line of duty http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/update/wise-county-k-9-killed-in-the-line-of-duty-2/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/update/wise-county-k-9-killed-in-the-line-of-duty-2/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 00:52:57 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86500 RealPepper


A Wise County Sheriff’s Office K-9 was shot and killed in the line of duty Wednesday afternoon in Montague County. Sheriff David Walker said his officers were assisting Montague County Sheriff’s Office in a pursuit when Pepper, one of the department’s two dogs, was shot by the suspect.

Walker said Montague County sheriff’s deputies and Bowie police officers tried to stop a man they knew had warrants. He fled and there was a pursuit that ended in the area of Pickett Run Road and Aujla Road near Sunset. The suspect fled into a nearby wooded area, and Pepper, a tracking dog, was used to find the suspect hiding under a pile of leaves.

Walker said the suspect opened fire on the dog and officers. Officers returned fire and killed the suspect, a 44-year-old male. Walker said he has not yet been positively identified.

The sheriff said Pepper saved the life of at least five officers. No other officers were injured.

The Department of Public Safety also assisted in the pursuit.

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Heart of a Champion: Wise County Youth Fair adds special show http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/heart-of-a-champion-wise-county-youth-fair-adds-special-show/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/heart-of-a-champion-wise-county-youth-fair-adds-special-show/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:03:18 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86488 A new event has been added to the lineup at the Wise County Youth Fair this year.

A special event will be held Friday, March 6, to share the show ring experience with special needs children and adults.

From the Diamond to the Show Ring

FROM THE DIAMOND TO THE SHOW RING – The folks with Wise County Special Needs Baseball are working with 4-H and FFA representatives to plan a livestock show for special needs children and adults at this year’s Wise County Youth Fair. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Dubbed Heart of a Champion, the livestock show was the result of a brainstorming session between sisters – Shelby Bradshaw, Lyndi Luttrull and Lauryn Luttrull.

“We were on vacation on the way to Tampa, Fla.,” said Lauryn, “and we were talking about what we wanted to do in the future, our goals. Then we saw a special needs family … we talked in the past about doing something like this, so Mom made a Facebook post, and it kind of took off from there.

“We made a committee, and it blossomed like a flower.”

Shelby said last year they saw students with special needs showing at the San Antonio Livestock Show, but they were at a disadvantage because they couldn’t handle the animals alone.

“They have to have someone else with them, so we thought it would be cool to do something so they could have their own show,” she said.

The committee has been working closely with the families involved in Wise County Special Needs Baseball and anticipates reaching many people through that organization.

Although 4-H and FFA are open only to youth, the special needs baseball group encouraged the committee to open the show to all ages, just like its program.

On the day of the show, volunteers will arrive at 4 p.m. for training. Participants (youth and adult) will arrive at 4:30 and will be matched with two volunteers and their animal, either a pig, lamb, goat, rabbit or dog.

Lyndi said the participant will have time to get to know the animal and do things like brush it and prepare it for the show ring.

The participants will go into the show ring with their helpers, and the emcee, NBC news anchor Deborah Ferguson, will interact with the participants and facilitate activity in the ring.

Lyndi said as participants exit the ring, they will each receive a rosette and will have their photo taken in front of the Youth Fair backdrop. Photos will be printed on site and given to the participants as a keepsake.

After the show, a hot dog and hamburger supper will be served in the Women’s Building.

Most of the expenses associated with the show have already been covered, but volunteers are still needed. The girls said anyone can help, and it’s not necessary to have an animal project or even be in 4-H or FFA to lend a hand.

The sisters made presentations to the Decatur Lions Club and Decatur Womens’ Club looking for help.

“Even if they don’t want to be hands-on,” Lyndi said, “just sitting in the stands and clapping is more than enough.”

The girls have no idea what to expect, but Lyndi said she hopes to see some smiling faces.

“I hope they feel included in something, and they get to have experiences in something that they might not have otherwise had the opportunity to,” she said.

Shelby added that she wants the participants to have fun and relish the opportunity to connect with an animal.

The girls hope the event becomes an annual tradition and is possibly eventually tied to the sale.

“The flower has blossomed, and now we have to, like a dandelion, let the seeds spread,” Lauryn said.

The deadline for participants to register is Monday, Feb. 2. Volunteers must sign up by Monday, Feb. 23. To sign up, call the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office at 940-627-3341 or email wise-tx@tamu.edu.

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Burglars hit 2 pharmacies http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/burglars-hit-2-pharmacies/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/burglars-hit-2-pharmacies/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:02:16 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86485 Two Wise County pharmacies were burglarized in the early morning hours Tuesday.

Bridgeport Police Chief Randy Singleton said an alarm company contacted his department at 4:01 a.m. to report front glass breakage at Valu-Rite Pharmacy, located at 709 Woodrow Wilson Ray Circle. Officers responded and confirmed that a burglary had taken place.

Singleton said security cameras captured video of the break-in.

“Three people entered the store dressed in camouflage-colored jumpsuits and wore white bandannas over their faces with dark hoodies,” Singleton said.

One person remained in the vehicle, described as a white SUV.

Singleton said the smash-and-grab style burglary lasted about one minute, and certain narcotics were stolen. The burglars also left shelves and medicine bottle knocked over in addition to broken glass at the front of the store.

Rhome Police Chief Brandon Davis said his department received an alarm call at 4:33 a.m. from the Best Value Pharmacy at 400 S. Main St. in his city. Police arrived two minutes later to find a similar scene to that in Bridgeport. The suspects had broken the front glass, stolen items and quickly fled.

Davis said it appears the two burglaries on Tuesday could be connected, and it could be connected to a similar break-in at the Rhome pharmacy just 10 days earlier.

“These guys are professionals. They’ve done their homework,” Davis said.

Anyone with information on the burglaries can call the Bridgeport Police Department at 940-683-3430 or the Rhome Police Department at 817-636-2400.

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Wise Regional switches partners; Demand for access to bank account not acceptable http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/wise-regional-switches-partners-demand-for-access-to-bank-account-not-acceptable/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/wise-regional-switches-partners-demand-for-access-to-bank-account-not-acceptable/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:01:27 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86483 Last October, Wise Regional Health System made a deal to buy three nursing facilities owned by Sava Health Systems.

The “win-win” arrangement, sought by Sava, allowed the Decatur-based hospital system to be the owner and reap the profits while Sava continued to lease and operate the facilities – which would qualify for a higher reimbursement rate from the state once they were owned by a public hospital.

In fact, over the last few months Wise Regional has acquired nine nursing facilities under similar arrangements, purchasing them, then leasing them back to the operators.

But Tuesday, the deal with Sava got scratched.

“Sava Health Care came in at the last minute and said they needed to have a security interest in the operating account of those three facilities,” Wise Regional Chief Executive Officer Steve Summers told his board Monday night. “Our bond counsel advised against giving them the right to do that. We would basically have to get approval from every one of our bondholders.”

At Monday’s meeting, Summers proposed an alternative to his board to allow Wise Regional to acquire five other nursing facilities from Cantex Health Care if the Sava deal got scrapped.

It did, and they did.

“We gave them [Sava] until about noon,” Summers said Tuesday afternoon. “The paperwork had to be filed this afternoon – and it was a lot of paperwork.”

Summers said he was surprised Sava stuck with the demand.

“It’s a significant amount of money they walked away from because of their bank,” he said.

The five Cantex nursing facilities Wise Regional will acquire instead are located in Gainesville, Denison, Allen, Richardson and Flower Mound. Summers said they will bring in about half as much revenue as the three Sava facilities would have.

With a little advance notice, he added, Wise Regional could have easily done better.

“If we’d known even a month earlier, we could have replaced these dollar-for-dollar,” he said. “Cantex had some other facilities we could have picked up.”

The board on Monday authorized Summers and Chief Financial Officer Todd Scroggins to take whatever action was necessary to complete the transaction with Cantex if Sava withdrew. By late afternoon, that had been done and the documents filed with the state.

In his monthly financial report, Scroggins said he had already “booked” more than $900,000 from the nursing facilities, although the cash had not yet been received.

Administrator Donna Stowers, who is overseeing the nine facilities, reported to the board that all of the management companies have been “very cooperative” as she works to integrate them into the Wise Regional system.

“We’re working on a plan for reporting nursing home information,” she said. “You’re bombarded with a lot of data, automatically.”

Stowers is looking at data from a variety of sources, while also making personal visits to each facility at least once a month – standing appointments as well as drop-in visits.

“It’s kind of been a challenge to get it all set up, but it’s exciting,” she said.


Scroggins told the board December was the biggest month in Wise Regional’s history, by several measures.

  • Gross patient charges were $54 million
  • The average inpatient census was 74 – compared to 62 at this time last year
  • There were 838 surgeries performed in December, “definitely a record.”

He said the Parkway surgery center continues to do well, netting about $275,000 for the month of December. The Bridgeport campus, in its last month as a full-service ER, lost about $279,000. It reopened as an urgent care center Jan. 2.

The hospital’s net position increased by $8.2 million during the month in spite of the higher expenses that come with the higher patient volume. Overall, the hospital has $49.9 million in cash reserves.

“On a consolidated basis, we ended the year with 104 days of cash [in reserve],” he said. “That’s reasonably respectable, although not where we budgeted. But the debt service days of coverage more than covers our bond covenants.”


LeeAnn Cummings, Wise Regional’s Director of Nursing, told the board in spite of the 20 percent increase in volume in the hospital’s medical/surgical unit, the facility is still below the national average for turnover in nurses.

Wise Regional employs 321 RNs, 62 LVNS and 173 ancillary staff – a total of 556 nursing personnel including 46 at the Parkway campus.

Cummings said staff training and education remains a major focus, including training hospital-wide on dealing with Ebola. Orientation for new nurses has been bumped up from 1 to 2 days, and staff are also getting trained for the addition to the dialysis center, which will have the ability to do peritoneal dialysis sometime in 2015.

She noted that Wise Regional had 597 babies delivered during the year, along with 25,571 visits to the Decatur Emergency Room and 5,197 visits to the ER in Bridgeport. There were 3,444 hospital admissions that came from ER visits.

The hospital performed 8,244 surgeries in 2014 compared to 7,694 in 2013.

They treated 1,364 cardiac patients, losing 67 of those. That volume was up 17 to 18 percent.


The board also:

  • voted to purchase a 3M Patient Coding System at a cost of $514,891 for software, hardware, installation and training;
  • accepted medical executive committee recommendations on new appointments;
  • heard about two upcoming events – an open house for the new Wise Regional Sleep Wellness Center on the West Campus Wednesday, Feb. 4 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the Wise Regional Health Foundation’s “Hearts for Hope” Gala Saturday, Feb. 14 at the Decatur Civic Center, benefiting the hospital’s Critical Care Unit;
  • noted that Wise Regional is currently undergoing four government audits, two of which have netted returns to the hospital and two that are ongoing with results anticipated in February;
  • approved the appointment of Marti Hines to the Wise Regional Health Foundation board of directors;
  • authorized Summers and Scroggins as signers on behalf of the Decatur Hospital Authority for both the FICA and ICSA accounts and
  • approved Scroggins as treasurer of Wise Regional Health System.
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Alvord School Board to get open meetings training http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/alvord-school-board-to-get-open-meetings-training/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/alvord-school-board-to-get-open-meetings-training/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:00:26 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86481 The Alvord ISD school board will hold training sessions on the Public Information Act and the Public Meetings Act when they meet at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Administration Building, 100 Mosley Lane.

The training is in settlement of an apparent violation of an Open Records Request by board President Vic Czerniak.

Former board member Jeannette Ward, who was voted off the board last May, had requested emails and text messages from Czerniak’s home computer and phone which were not provided in a timely manner, in accordance with the law.

School district attorney Lynn Rossi Scott, in corresponding with the Texas Attorney General’s Office and Ward, said the board had agreed to undergo the training at a public meeting.

Scott is also working to redact non-public information from Czerniak’s emails to provide for Ward, and told the AG’s office Czerniak’s cell phone had been replaced last Sept. 21 and his text messages did not transfer.

Thursday’s meeting will also include consideration of a Legislative Advocacy Resolution, a Texas Academic Performance Report, and any personnel recommendations that may come up.


In a Messenger news story Jan. 24 on last week’s Alvord school board meeting, it was stated that Ward had “expressed concern about the board’s would-be hearing of an employee grievance” that had been removed from that meeting’s agenda.

The article said Ward was concerned because the employee had met previously with board members, who would therefore not be able to make an unbiased decision in the matter.

Ward said this week that her concern was actually due to the fact that the complainant had met with board members, not the employee.

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Decatur ISD to consider calling bond election http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/decatur-isd-to-consider-calling-bond-election/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/decatur-isd-to-consider-calling-bond-election/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:59:47 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86479 After months of discussions about needs of the Decatur school district, the school board is expected to make several bond election-related decisions at tonight’s meeting.

In addition to deciding whether to call a bond election, the board must make other decisions – such as what to include and whether to include those items in one or more packages.

Among the items discussed in recent months that could be included in a bond election are the following:

  • 25 buses and other vehicles
  • security measures such as card readers at all campuses and security cameras
  • adding another four-year replacement cycle for iPads at the elementary and middle school levels and laptops at the high school, wireless network enhancements and fiber optic cable replacement
  • facility improvements district-wide including motion sensors for lighting, expanded parking at Carson, new roof and gutters at McCarroll Middle School, numerous upgrades at the Support Services building including a new roof and HVAC unit, a stand-alone gym at Rann Elementary and additional parking at the high school
  • athletic facilities such as resurfacing the high school and middle school tracks, a press box and restrooms for the baseball/softball facility, synthetic turf at Eagle Stadium and the high school track, additional tennis courts at the high school, a concession/restroom facility near the tennis courts, an indoor multipurpose practice facility and the expansion of the press box at Eagle Stadium

Wednesday’s agenda also includes the usual monthly reports and recognitions.

Anyone wishing to address the board can do so in public forum, which is also included on the meeting agenda.

The meeting will be at the DISD Administration building, 307 S. Cates, and begins with a closed session at 6 p.m. followed by the open meeting.

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Senate committee chairs bypass Estes http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/senate-committee-chairs-bypass-estes/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/senate-committee-chairs-bypass-estes/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:59:08 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86477 Last Wednesday, Jan. 21, was a notable day for Texas Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls).

Estes, whose district includes Wise County, was the only Republican senator who did not vote for the “three-fifths” rule – a measure to reduce the number of senators needed to bring bills to a vote on the Senate floor.

The rule change is designed to prevent the Democratic minority from blocking consideration of bills, something they could do when a two-thirds majority was required.

Estes told the Wichita Falls Times Record News that he did not support the rule because he “was apprehensive about its potential effect on the representation of rural districts.” He did not vote against it, but abstained.

That same day, committee assignments were announced, and for the first time in several sessions, there were no chairmanships for Estes.

The Senate did cut the number of standing committees from 18 to 14, so there were fewer chairs to go around. But new Lt. Governor Dan Patrick opted to shake things up, moving several long-serving members off of committees they had chaired and giving them new assignments.

Estes, who had chaired the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Rural Affairs and Homeland Security since 2009, no longer has a seat on that panel. It is now chaired by freshman Senator Charles Perry of Lubbock.

Estes also lost his seats on the Business and Commerce Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.

He did retain the vice-chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and was named to committees on State Affairs, Health and Human Services, and Nominations.

“I’m excited about my new committee assignments for the 84th Legislative Session,” he said in a statement released last week. “It will be an honor to serve as the vice chair of the Natural Resources Committee and as a member of the Senate Committees on State Affairs, Health and Human Services, and Nominations.”

“I am confident that these committees will present me with a great opportunity to serve my constituents in rural Texas, and I am looking forward to another successful session.”

The Agriculture, Rural Affairs and Homeland Security committee focuses on illegal immigration and border security – two of the key issues Patrick campaigned on during his run for lieutenant governor.

Estes chaired a Joint Interim Committee to Study Water Desalination – an appointment made by House Speaker Joe Strauss. That panel conducted hearings throughout the state and will help the House address water matters in the current legislative session, which opened Jan. 20.

Estes, who was first elected to the Senate in 2001, represents District 30 which includes Archer, Clay, Cooke, Erath, Grayson, Jack, Montague, Palo Pinto, Parker, Wichita, Wise, Young and parts of Collin and Denton counties.

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Weatherford College Wise County library dedication to honor Eatons http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/weatherford-college-wise-county-library-dedication-to-honor-eatons/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/weatherford-college-wise-county-library-dedication-to-honor-eatons/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:58:28 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86475 The public is invited to a dedication reception for the Roy and Jeannine Eaton Library and Research Center at the Weatherford College Wise County campus Thursday, Jan. 29.

The come-and-go reception runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

College officials said the Eaton family has dedicated a great deal of time and resources to ensure the success of WC in Wise County.

“I have come to know the Eatons as true friends of K-12 and higher education in Wise County and beyond,” said Dr. Matt Joiner, associate dean for instructional services at WCWC. “Simply stated, Weatherford College’s presence in Wise County would not have been possible without the visionary leadership of folks like Roy in the late 1990s.”

Roy was a member of the steering committee that investigated the need for a branch campus in Wise County and supported construction of the WCWC facility. The Eatons have also donated more than $50,000 for scholarships.

Roy is a longtime member of the WC Foundation board of directors.

“Roy and Jeannine Eaton have been pillars of Wise County for decades,” said Dr. Kevin Eaton, WC president. “They worked tirelessly to get the branch campus initiative on the ballot and then supported the initiative financially with a large contribution.

“I am honored to know the Eatons and extremely proud to share our last name [although they are not related]. They truly embody the philosophy of leading by example.”

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Texas Historical Commission to meet on Meridian Highway Project http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/texas-historical-commission-to-meet-on-meridian-highway-project/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/texas-historical-commission-to-meet-on-meridian-highway-project/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:57:35 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86473 The Meridian Highway was conceived in the early to mid-1920s as an important north-south corridor through the middle of Texas – a primary route for commerce as well as military traffic.

And it went through Decatur.

The Texas Historical Commission (THC) is undertaking a two-year study to document the history of the early highway which later became State Highway 2 and ultimately included parts of present-day U.S. 81 and 82, U.S. 287, 387 and 377, and Interstate 35.

THC staff, along with representatives of the preservation planning firm Hardy-Heck-Moore, Inc. will be in Decatur noon to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3, for a public outreach meeting at the Decatur Visitors Center, 106 South Trinity St.

The purpose of the meeting is to get input from interested individuals and organizations – in particular those with visual items related to the Meridian Highway, for use in a public project.

Officials will introduce the project and involve community members through discussion, a question-and-answer session and displays of maps and historical Meridian images. Those with historic photos, postcards, maps and other Meridian-related items are encouraged to bring them to the meeting, to be scanned or photographed for inclusion in the project.

Hardy-Heck-Moore Inc., an Austin-based historic preservation planning and management firm, will produce a written history of the Texas section of the Meridian Highway, along with a survey of the Texas Meridian route that will include associated historic resources like auto repair garages, gas stations, diners, tourist camps, auto courts, motels, road markers, paving and traffic signs.

The effort is funded by the Texas Legislature and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) through the Transportation Enhancement Program. For information, call the THC’s History Programs Division at 512-463-5853 or visit www.thc.state.tx.us.

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Filing begins for May election http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/filing-begins-for-may-election-2/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/filing-begins-for-may-election-2/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:56:45 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86471 The filing period for the May 9 city council and school board elections opens today and runs through Friday, Feb. 27. The places on this year’s ballot and the people currently in those positions are below.


Mayor – Roy King
Place 1 – Gaylynn Wheelis
Place 2 – Clint Mercer


Place 1 – Kevin Wood
Place 2 – John Schedcik


Mayor – Rodney Scroggins
Place 2 – Tim Hammonds
Place 3 – Vince Estel
Place 4 – Mark Culpepper


Place 4 – Bill Childress
Place 5 – Trae Luttrell


Place 3 – Jimmy Myers
Place 4 – Bobby Brazier
Place 5 – Billy Fred Walker


Place 1 – Tom Talley
Place 2 – Charles Mauldin
Place 3 – Lee Snodgrass


Mayor – The mayor seat is open after J.D. Clark was elected county judge last November.
Two at-large seats – Fletta Barrett and Gary Fatheree


Place 1 – James “Pancho” Redwine
Place 2 – Mark Tate
Place 4 – The election is to fill the one-year unexpired term previously held by Donald Joe Clark. Clark’s wife, Lori Clark, was appointed to the seat last year following his death.


Place 2 – Susan Cocanougher
Place 4 – Jason Wren
Place 6 (at-large) – Randy Bowker


Place 5 – Diana Mosley
Place 6 – Kevin Haney
Place 7 – Marsha Hafer


Mayor – Gary Van Wagoner
Place 4 – Mark Wondolowski
Place 5 – Dan Sessler
Place 2 – Vacant


Place 1 – Josh Wright
Place 2 – Mark Schluter


Mayor – Vacant, for partial term ending May 2016
Three at-large seats – Ronnie Moore, David Wilson and Charles Pennington


Three at-large seats – Barry White, Dan Ticer and Jerry St. John

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Tax deadline looming http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/tax-deadline-looming/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/tax-deadline-looming/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:56:07 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86469 Mickey Hand, chief appraiser of the Wise County Appraisal District, is issuing a reminder to all property owners.

“Anyone who has not, as yet, paid their 2014 property taxes must do so by Monday, Feb. 2, to avoid having late penalties and interest charges added to their tax bills,” he said.

The deadline this year is postponed to Feb. 2 due to the fact that Feb. 1 falls on a weekend. If not paid by Feb. 2, an additional 7 percent penalty and interest charge will be added to the tax bill for the month of February.

Penalty charges continue to increase monthly to a maximum of 12 percent. Interest charges continue increasing 1 percent every month, until the delinquent tax bill is paid in full. All outstanding delinquent accounts will ultimately be turned over to a law firm for legal action, which will add another 20 percent (minimum) to the tax bill for attorney’s fees and court costs.

As a last resort, the delinquent property could be sold at public auction.

The appraisal district office, 400 East Business 380 in Decatur, is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Taxpayers are urged to come by before Feb. 2. Lines are expected to be long on deadline day with waits up to 30 or 45 minutes.

Payments may also be made with a credit card on the appraisal district’s website at www.isouthwestdata.com. Checks or money orders should be mailed to 400 East Business 380 Decatur, TX 76234. Mail-in payments must be postmarked, by the United States Postal Service, no later than Tuesday, Feb. 2, to avoid late charges.

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County approves resolution to protect water http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/county-approves-resolution-to-protect-water/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/county-approves-resolution-to-protect-water/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:55:21 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86467 Wise County commissioners approved a resolution Monday supporting legislation they believe would better protect local water.

The legislation, if passed, would allow the Wise County Water Control Improvement District No. 1 to call an election in the portions of the county not already in the district, to determine if voters wish to be annexed into it.

WCID currently serves the west side of Wise County.

“Everything west of 287 or the Burlington Northern Railroad track drains into Tarrant County water district, and the eastern side drains into Grapevine Lake and that area,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Kevin Burns said. “That side of the county is not under the control of and has no representation for landowners out there – other than commissioners court.

“It asks that an election be called to allow those citizens to be in the district that’s already on the west side and have officers on that board and have a voice in their watershed, if they choose to,” he said.

County Judge J.D. Clark said under the Texas Water Code, 50 landowners could petition for the annexation, but he doesn’t think that’s fair.

“We think that’s just fundamentally wrong,” he said. “The major landowners shouldn’t just get to decide.”

Precinct 1 Commissioner Danny White said it would actually be a protective act for the people on the east side.

“I feel like the amount of tax is well worth the protection,” he said. “All this resolution is saying is that we want it on the ballot.”

Burns said they attempted to pass this legislation last year, but it failed due to an oversight on his part.

“We got it through the House, and to the committee in the Senate and it was about to go on the floor for a vote,” he said. “But I had failed to carve out the city of Decatur, which is already in a district … those folks would have been double-taxed.

“It was just a failure on my personal part,” he said. “I didn’t research it well enough.”

Precinct 4 Commissioner Gaylord Kennedy spoke up and said the point was that it’s been in the works for several years, and this was an opportunity to push it forward again.

The resolution was unanimously approved.


Commissioners also approved a resolution opposing the removal of the county’s authority to regulate fireworks.

It states in part that “due to continued drought and the concern for public safety, such regulations are necessary to protect life and property.”

Other resolutions approved include one against the creation of a regional indigent health care system because it’s an unfunded mandate, requiring property tax increases in those counties, and it would not be efficient or responsive to local taxpayers.

They also approved a resolution in opposition to unfunded mandates.

Clark said the idea behind the resolution is that it’s easy for a state legislator to develop an idea but have no way to pay for it, expecting counties to foot the bill.

“Basically, if it’s a great idea, then you need to come up with a mechanism to have it funded as well, rather than putting it in the county’s lap,” he said.

Wise County Democratic Party Chair Tracy Smith spoke during the community forum at the beginning of the meeting in support of the resolution.

“Unfunded mandates are not a good thing for Wise County or any county at all,” she said. “I agree with this … unfunded mandates such as the elimination of property tax and replacing it with consumption tax is an unfunded mandate, and when we do this, we eliminate the ability to keep issues local.”

Lena Wells also spoke up and said she agreed with Smith.

Read more from Monday’s commissioners meeting in the weekend Messenger.

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Georgia Mount turns 102 years old http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/georgia-mount-turns-102-years-old/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news/georgia-mount-turns-102-years-old/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:54:37 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86465 Georgia Mount can’t hear worth a lick, but she gets around just fine for someone nearly a quarter-century older than her 80-year-old neighbors at The Residences at Senior Care in Bridgeport.

FARM GIRL – Georgia Mount of Bridgeport celebrates her 102nd birthday with her daughter, Darlene Case of Decatur, at a reception hosted by The Residences at Senior Care, where she now lives. Born Jan. 22, she spent much of her life ranching and farming. Messenger photo by Ken Roselle

On Jan. 22, those fellow residents joined Georgia’s family in wishing a happy 102nd birthday to the farm wife who was born in 1913, a year before World War I started.

The daughter of Robert and Catherine Vannoy, Georgia grew up on a farm at Belcherville. Her father was also a grocer. She attended a one-room schoolhouse before graduating from high school at nearby Nocona.

Georgia married a cowboy, William Daryl “Doyle” Mount of Bellevue, in 1936 at Sunset. They raised their family on ranches farther west, finally settling on the Caprock escarpment in Floyd County.

They grew cotton and wheat, and they put in a drive-in movie theater, the Capada at Floydada, and operated Wagon Wheel Western Wear.

The Mounts had two children, David (deceased), and Darlene, now Mrs. Bennie Case of Decatur. She taught in elementary schools for 38 years.

In 1969, the couple moved their house to a farm at Vernon, and she served as Wilbarger County’s Red Cross director. Doyle died 35 years ago. Darlene brought her mother to Alvord in 1995.

Georgia has three grandkids and two step-grandchildren who are spread out across Texas and New Mexico – Bobby Case of Denton, Bryan Case of Tahoka, Julie Hallock of Las Cruces, N.M., Dane Mount of Marble Falls and Cristi Schur of Vernon – as well as a dozen great- and two great-great grandchildren. Several were able to attend their grandmother’s celebration.

At that event, Darlene praised Georgia’s caregivers for their above-and-beyond attention to her mother, mentioning The Residences’ Angie Brooks and John Miller and First Texas Home Health’s Brian Hickman and their respective staffs.

While Georgia didn’t reveal to wellwishers her secret for living a century plus two, Darlene did point out her mother’s unwavering advice on to how to keep a youthful complexion while working constantly in the West Texas sun: “Always wear a bonnet.”

Her daughter attributed her mother’s longevity to a strong faith in the Lord, her stubborness and her loving to fish at Lake Kickapoo until she was 90 years old.

“She would load her lawnmower into the car by herself and go mow the acre around our cabin without our help,” Darlene recalled. “She has been a strong woman in many ways all her life.”

Historic Occassion

HISTORIC OCCASION – Family, friends and employees of The Residences at Senior Care in Bridgeport and First Texas Home Health of Decatur gather around Georgia Mount to wish her “Happy 102nd birthday” on Jan. 22. Messenger photo by Ken Roselle

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All for one, one for all; Classmates of Ryan Ruddick will receive scholarships in his honor http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/education/education-headlines/all-for-one-one-for-all-classmates-of-ryan-ruddick-will-receive-scholarships-in-his-honor/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/education/education-headlines/all-for-one-one-for-all-classmates-of-ryan-ruddick-will-receive-scholarships-in-his-honor/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:52:55 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86461 An entire class at Chico High School and beyond will have help funding their college or continuing education this fall.

They have their kind hearts to thank for it.

Shared Bond

SHARED BOND – Ryan Ruddick’s parents Noel and LeeAnn (in back) are grateful for the love and support shown over the years by Ryan’s classmates, including (from left) Cody Caraway, Austin Martin, Heidi Spann and Marco Arredondo. The Ruddicks will be giving Ryan’s classmates scholarships in their son’s honor. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Thirteen years ago Ryan Ruddick’s parents, Noel and LeeAnn, had a decision to make. Their son, who had muscular dystrophy, was attending school at the special education coop in Bridgeport, but they considered enrolling him in kindergarten in Chico, where they lived.

How would students react to a classmate who had a disability?

“From day one, those kids accepted Ryan for who he was,” Noel said. “They could have outcast him. They could have said, ‘You’re different.’ But they never did.”

Neither Ryan nor his classmates let his disability stand in their way, even when Ryan began using a motorized wheelchair in second grade.

“He was just like the rest of us,” classmate Heidi Spann said. “We didn’t think anything of it.”

The Ruddicks said they are sure the parents of Ryan’s classmates had a lot to do, early on, with encouraging their sons and daughters to accept Ryan as part of their group. But they were impressed that as the students got older, that bond only got stronger.

Their support for Ryan was evident in many ways, including participating in the annual MDA walk to raise awareness of the disease.

“They didn’t have to get up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning to go to a MDA walk, but they did – and a great number of them did,” Noel Ruddick said.

Ryan was a very bright student, earning valedictorian honors from his graduating eighth grade class. His parents said that although he was not able to participate in athletic endeavors, he loved learning and seeing his classmates every day.

In fact, Ryan rarely missed a day of school.

“There were times his heart function was at 5 percent, and he wanted to come to school,” his dad said. “He wanted to be here.”

Just before the end of his eighth grade year, Ryan died. He was no longer with his classmates physically, but he remained in their hearts.

Classmates continued participating in the MDA walk each year in Ryan’s honor. They also helped out with a golf tournament to benefit MDA last year and will do so again this year.

Ryan’s parents have been grateful for the kindness shown by their son’s classmates over the years, and they wanted to give them something to show their gratitude. This fall a scholarship will be available for students to further their education – whether through college or some other means such as technical school.

But it won’t just be a scholarship for one or two graduating seniors. The scholarship will be available to everyone in this year’s graduating class – both those who knew Ryan and those who transferred into the district after Ryan died. It will also be available for students who may have attended school with Ryan in earlier grades, who later transferred to a different school.

In all, close to 60 students will qualify for the scholarship.

Ryan’s mother has a pretty good idea what her son would think of his classmates receiving scholarships in his honor.

“I think he would be thrilled to death,” LeeAnn Ruddick said.

The Ruddicks declined to say the total amount of money that would be included in the scholarships, preferring to keep the spotlight on the good works of Ryan’s classmates.

They were also thankful for the support of the Chico community, particularly the employees of the Ruddicks’ business, Got-To-Go Solutions.

“Ryan was raised in our business, so all of our employees were very acquainted with him,” LeeAnn Ruddick said. “Every year for Christmas the past few years, our employees have given us money to go to the scholarship fund as our Christmas gift, which has been really nice.”

In his valedictory address during the middle school completion ceremony – two weeks before his death in May of 2011 – Ryan encouraged his classmates to be serious about their education and keep their eyes on the goal.

“Grab the education being offered to you with enthusiasm,” he told his classmates.

With the gift of a scholarship in Ryan’s honor, his classmates now have a little extra incentive to act on one of Ryan’s final pieces of advice.

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Education Briefs for Wednesday, January 28, 2015 http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/education/education-headlines/education-briefs-for-wednesday-january-28-2015/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/education/education-headlines/education-briefs-for-wednesday-january-28-2015/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:51:53 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86458 BRIDGEPORT

UIL ACADEMICS – The following Bridgeport High school students earned medals at the Brock UIL Academics Meet last weekend: Dawson Smith (3rd place in poetry); Yanet Ortiz (4th place in poetry); Vanity Johnson (3rd place in editorial) and Regi Lane (8th place in social studies).


MIDDLE SCHOOL YEARBOOKS – Yearbooks now cost $30, up last week from $25. Order forms can be picked up in the office or in Mrs. Bourgeois’ room. You may also order online at www.yearbookordercenter.com for an additional $3.50 by entering the order number 12846.


FFA CHAPTER SHOW – The Decatur FFA Chapter Show is Saturday, Feb. 7, at the Decatur FFA Project Center. The show will include heifers, lambs, goats, steers and pigs and is open to all members of Decatur FFA. Registration is 9 to 9:30 a.m. (weight cards due by 9:30), and the show starts at 10. Cost is $10 per entry. Showmanship will be followed by the respective species show, as well as a celebrity showmanship contest. Dustin Burke will serve as judge. Call Jim Allsup, 940-393-7286; Joey Brooke, 940-393-7297; or Meghan Woodall, 940-393-7285.


PARADISE WINNER – Paradise fifth grader Lauren Moon won the grand champion award for most creative goat costume at the Fort Worth Stock Show. It is the second consecutive year for her to win this award. To see a list of Paradise 4-H winners from the Fort Worth Stock show, go to wcmess.com/Showwinners.

FINANCIAL AID – Paradise High School is hosting its annual financial aid night on Monday, Feb. 2, in the PHS Library. Go to wcmess.com/Financial for details.


STATE RECOGNITION – The following Northwest High School students placed in the Texas Music Educators Association’s All-State ensembles: Sebastian Davis (8th chair Tenor 2), Chas Tackett (7th chair Tenor 1), Benjamin Drinkwater (1st chair Bass Trombone), and Cynthia Kaniki (2nd chair Alto 2). This recognition is the highest honor a Texas high school musician can receive. The students will perform at the annual TMEA Convention in San Antonio in February.

STEM PRESENTS – Students in the Academy of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics will present their elementary school design projects at the sixth annual Community Reveal on Thursday. Presentations begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Student Union at Northwest High School

CINDERELLA – Northwest High School fine arts will perform Rogers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” 7 p.m. Feb. 5-7 and 2 p.m. Feb. 8 at the Vernon Solomon Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $7 for students, children and seniors, $10 for adults and free for NISD employees and NISD Gold Card members.

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Chico ISD Student Spotlights for Wednesday, January 28, 2015 http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/education/education-headlines/chico-isd-student-spotlights-for-wednesday-january-28-2015/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/education/education-headlines/chico-isd-student-spotlights-for-wednesday-january-28-2015/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:51:05 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86456 CHICO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Manuel Ibarra

Manuel Ibarra

Grade: 4th

Parents: Manuel and Mayela Ibarra

Favorite subject: Science

Activities: Playing games on his iPhone, reading, playing with siblings

“Manuel is a super student! He works very hard and takes pride in his work. He is also a great friend to everyone and has a huge heart! We are very lucky to have Manuel at Chico Elementary.” – Principal Karen Decker


Logan Hastings

Logan Hastings

Grade: 7th

Parents: Dan and Sheila Hastings

Favorite subject: Science, history and athletics

Activities: Helping Mr. Bland with his cows, playing football with Coach Carter, powerlifting, working with his brother in the shop, playing basketball with friends

“Logan has never been in my office for a discipline problem. He is always willing to do his part and help whereever needed. He is an example of a Chico Dragon.” – Principal Brad Bland


Whitney Renfro

Whitney Renfro

Grade: 10th

Parents: Troyce and Becky Renfro

Favorite subject: Math

Activities: Cross country, basketball, track, cheerleading and reading

“Whitney Renfro is an awesome young lady who gives her best at everything she attempts. She sets high standards and works hard to obtain her goals. She is always friendly and willing to give a helping hand whereever needed. She is dependable and trustworthy, and we are so lucky at Chico High School to have a student such as Whitney who inspires us all to be a person of good character.” – Principal Lisa Slaughter

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News Briefs for Wednesday, January 28, 2015 http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news-briefs/news-briefs-for-wednesday-january-28-2015/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/news-briefs/news-briefs-for-wednesday-january-28-2015/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:49:42 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86451 BRIDGEPORT

PLANNING SEMINARS – Jones Family Funeral Home is hosting Advanced Planning Seminars dealing with a variety of key topics for seniors 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29. The seminars will feature attorney Bill Clary, who will discuss wills, estate plans, powers of attorney and living wills; Medicaid specialist Larry Pearce, who will cover recent changes to federal guidelines for Medicaid; and prearrangement specialist Leon Stone, who will talk about funeral plans and how to alleviate financial and emotional burdens in a time of loss. There will be refreshments and door prizes. To reserve a seat and take-home materials, call 940-683-1704.

FIREFIGHTERS NEEDED – The Bridgeport Volunteer Fire Department is searching for new members. Applicants 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.


BASEBALL SIGN-UPS – Decatur Baseball League 2015 spring sign-up is at Decatur City Hall 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 1. Teams include T-ball, coach pitch, 8U, 10U, 12U and 14U. Bring your child and his birth certificate. Uniform fitting is at sign-up. Call Eric, 940-389-4768; or Annie, 817-223-4928.

POLICE ACADEMY – The Decatur Police Department will host a Citizens Police Academy class beginning Tuesday, Feb. 3. Register for the class at www.decaturtx.org/236/Citizens-Police-Academy or call Sgt. Delvon Campbell, 940-393-0300.

LITERACY CLASSES – Decatur Public Library Early Literacy Classes have resumed. Join children’s librarian, Ms. Kristin, for a variety of storytime classes designed to foster your child’s love of learning. Visit www.decaturpubliclibrary.com or call 940-393-0290 to find out which classes are best for your family.

GET CERTIFIED – Lifeguard certification classes will be held at Fit-N-Wise in Decatur. For schedules and registration, go to wiseaquatics.com or call Kim Emery, 940-627-2708, ext. 2607.

DADDY-DAUGHTER DANCE – Sponsors are being sought for the ninth annual Decatur Junior Woman’s Club Daddy Daughter Dance Feb. 7 at the Decatur Civic Center. This year’s dance will take place at two different times: ages 1 to 9 will be 4 to 6 p.m. and ages 10 to 15 will be 7 to 9 p.m. Call Shelby Carpenter at 940-389-2000 or email shel5252@yahoo.com.

T.O.P.S. – Take Off Pounds Sensibly (T.O.P.S.) open house is 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 10, at Grace Baptist Church, southside basement, in Decatur. T.O.P.S. is a “no diets” support group for weight loss management. There will be salads, desserts and door prizes. Call Glenda Longmire, 940-627-5116.

GLITZY GIRLS – The second annual Glitzy Girls Trailer Park is Saturday, April 11, on the Decatur Square, and they are seeking vendors. Call 940-577-3487 or email toollady1@aol.com.


CHAMBER LUNCHEON – The Paradise Chamber of Commerce luncheon is noon Monday, Feb. 2, at Paradise City Hall. RSVP via email to info@paradisetexaschamber.org.

GOLF TOURNAMENT – The Paradise Chamber of Commerce is seeking sponosors for its first golf tournament Saturday, May 16. Call Deborah Mann, 940-393-1434.


BOOK BLOWOUT – The Rhome Public Library is having a book sale through the end of March. Hardbacks are $1, and paperbacks are 50 cents. The library is open 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

LIBRARY STORY TIME – The Rhome Public Library will host story time 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. every first and third Wednesday, February through May, for preschool-age children. Children will make Valentine cards Feb. 4, and there will be a patriotism display Feb. 18. Register to attend by calling 817-636-2767.

PRESIDENT’S DAY – The Rhome Public Library will have a President’s Day program 2 to 3 p.m. Monday, Feb. 16, for third, fourth and fifth graders. Register to attend by calling 817-636-2767.


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


IMMUNIZATION/FLU CLINIC – The Texas Department of State Health Services will conduct an immunization/flu clinic 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 10, at the First Baptist Church, 1200 Preskitt Rd. in Decatur. Cost is $10 per child or $20 per family, and the children must be VFC eligible. Parents should bring their shot records.

BERRY FUNDRAISER – Legend Bank’s Relay for Life Team, Carolyn’s Cookie Monsters, will sell chocolate dipped strawberries for Valentine’s Day Friday, Feb. 13, at the Decatur and Alvord locations. Cost is $20 per dozen. Both locations are taking pre-orders now and will have some to sell on the 13th as well. Proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society.

HEART HEALTH – Wise Regional Health System’s Heart Health Expo is Friday, Feb. 13, at the Decatur Civic Center. Booths will be open 10 a.m. to noon. Health screenings will also be conducted during this time. A heart-healthy nutrition presentation and recipe demonstration is noon to 1 p.m. A light lunch will be provided. Call Alyssa Yancey, 940-626-3850.

VALENTINE GALA – Wise Regional Health Foundation’s Hearts for Hope Gala is 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, at the Decatur Civic Center. Proceeds benefit the WRHS Critical Care Unit for purchase of a new Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy machine, which is a blood purification therapy unit. The evening will include live music, dinner and dancing. Seating is limited. Cost is $50 per ticket or $300 for a table of eight. Call Michelle Stone, 940-626-1384.

SOCIAL GROUP – Fit-N-Wise Pediatric Therapy, 1721 S. FM 51, in Decatur is hosting a social group for youth 5 to 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 16, for ages 6 to 12, who struggle with social interaction with peers. Speech pathologists and occupational and physical therapists will facilitate a language-rich environment. Call 940-627-6927.

HEALTH FORUM – The Wise County Health Forum meets 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, at Weatherford College Wise County.

GOLF ASSOCIATION – The Oil Belt Senior Men’s Golf Association opens its 2015 season on March 9. Men 50 years of age or older are invited to join the association, which is beginning it’s 24th year. The initial enrollment fee is $20, and play is handicap. Members play approximately three to four times per month, if desired, rotating play on different golf courses in the area. There is a nominal fee each time you play. Call T.S. Ferguson, 940-389-9879.

FEEL GOOD – Cosmetologists will give a free workshop to cancer patients noon to 2 p.m. Friday, March 13, in the board room at Wise Regional Health System’s Cancer Center, 2010 S. Ben Merritt Dr., in Decatur. Participants will learn how to look good and feel better about the skin and hair changes that cancer treatment can cause. Lunch is provided, and reservations are required. Call Laura Tanner, 940-626-2300.

HEALTH FAIR – The 8th Annual Wise County Health Fair is 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 28, at the Decatur Civic Center. The theme for this year’s event is Heroes for Health. Vendors are being registered now. Contact Dena Silvers, 940-627-5080, silvers@embarqmail.com.

GOLF TOURNAMENT – The Wise Area Business Women’s Network Annual Golf Tournament Fundraiser is Saturday, March 28, at the Bridgeport Country Club. For an entry form, contact Beth Landers at landers0@msn.com or 901-270-1018.

RELAY FOR LIFE – Relay for Life of Wise County is 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. April 24-25, 2015, at McCarroll Middle School track on Thompson Street in Decatur. The annual American Cancer Society event raises funds for cancer research and education. Visit www.relayforlife.org/wisecotx or call Kathy Odell, 940-255-2944.

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Swimming: 4-for-4 – Decatur’s Rowden wins 4th district gold in 50 http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/swimming-4-for-4-decaturs-rowden-wins-4th-district-gold-in-50/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/swimming-4-for-4-decaturs-rowden-wins-4th-district-gold-in-50/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:49:01 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86449 Decatur’s Katey Rowden finished undefeated in the 50 freestyle at the district level Saturday.

GOLDEN SMILE – Decatur’s Katey Rowden receives a gold medal after winning the 50 freestyle district title for a fourth time. The senior was named the girls swimmer of the year. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Rowden flew through the pool at the Grapevine-Colleyville ISD Swim Center at the 6-5A meet in 25.41 to claim her fourth straight district gold medal in the event.

“It’s an awesome feeling. It was good to finish it off,” Rowden said.

It was one of two individual gold medals for the Decatur senior, who was named the meet’s top girl swimmer. She also won the 100 butterfly to bring her final tally of district individual gold medals to seven.

“That’s all God,” Rowden said. “I couldn’t do it without him.”

Rowden advances to the 5A Region II meet Feb. 6-7 as she tries for a fourth straight trip to the state meet.

“That’s what I’m shooting for – to get to state and, Lord willing, do good at state,” Rowden said.

In the 50 freestyle Saturday, Rowden put the race away before the turn with a powerful start. She ended up finishing more than a second-and-half ahead of Denton’s Delia Breedlove.

In the 100 butterfly, Rowden was even more impressive, winning by almost four seconds, finishing in 1:01.15.

She turned in a 28-second second split.

“My turns have got so much better and I felt strong my second 50,” Rowden said. “It helped my teammates were there cheering for me.”

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Basketball: Lady Texans move into second http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-lady-texans-move-into-second/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-lady-texans-move-into-second/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:48:02 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86446 After starting District 5-6A with a pair of losses, the Northwest Lady Texans looked to be fighting an uphill battle to get into the playoff race.

But now, with five games left in the regular season including Tuesday’s night’s game with Keller Central, the Lady Texans are tied for second place in the league with a firm grip on a postseason berth.

They knocked off Denton Guyer 43-39 Friday to pull even with them in the league standings. The two entered Tuesday a game ahead of Fossil Ridge and Denton Ryan.

“It was a big win,” said Northwest coach Rusty Johnson. “It followed Tuesday’s overtime win against Fossil Ridge and has us 2-0 to start the second round.”

After the win over Guyer, the Lady Texans have won seven of their last eight games with the only setback coming against 5-6A leader Keller.

“It’s really just the girls coming together collectively to play as a team at both ends of the floor, and getting tougher,” Johnson said.

Johnson points to the defense for playing a big part in the turnaround during 5-6A play. The Lady Texans shut out two opponents – Fossil Ridge and Ryan – in overtime to record wins in the recent streak.

Friday, the Lady Texans held Guyer to just five points in the final frame as they put together a 12-5 closing run to rally and get the win.

“We have some really good guards and enough shooting to compete on most nights,” Johnson said. “What had been lacking was the defensive toughness it takes to win at this level. We are short and I think we kind of used that as a reason for not getting it done at times early in the year. Our girls have now bought into the toughness and physicality it takes to win games.”

Alexus Brigham continued her recent tear against Guyer, pouring in 18 points. She went 8-for-9 from the free-throw line and 2-for-3 on the perimeter.

“Alexus has been tremendous the last four games,” Johnson said. “Her practices have been really good and that has carried over to the games. She is beginning to show more verbal leadership and certainly showing the way on the floor.

“While her offense has been really good, her defense has been tremendous. She is really getting it done on both ends.”

Maddie Dodgen and Bre Hardin had eight points each against Guyer. Equalya Smith and Dodgen pulled down five rebounds apiece.

Johnson points out that it’s been a team effort during the recent run.

“We are getting tremendous amounts of contributions from others,” Johnson said. “We have some girls who get little press because they don’t put up big numbers but are instrumental to the success right now. We have some kids doing a lot of small things that add up.

“They are working really well together right now as a team and playing hard. They are all very unselfish and understanding of their role and are doing it to the best of their abilities and with a ‘whatever it takes to win’ attitude.”

With five important games left, Johnson said his team is not getting caught up in playoff talk.

“The girls’ motivation is to win the next game,” Johnson said. “I’m blessed as a coach to have such a special group of girls and getting to watch them grow as a team. They are still extremely motivated to finish the next five games off with their best effort and we will then go from there.”

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Basketball: Eagles push Hounds off top http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-eagles-push-hounds-off-top/ http://www.wcmessenger.com/2015/sports/basketball-eagles-push-hounds-off-top/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:47:22 +0000 http://www.wcmessenger.com/?p=86444 With his long reach, Layne Morris kept grabbing offensive rebounds and creating second-chance opportunities for the Bellevue Eagles Friday.

Morris pulled down nine of his 20 boards on the offensive end, helping the Eagles with 15 second-chance points in a 66-60 victory over the Slidell Greyhounds at Slidell High School gym.

Knocked from Top

KNOCKED FROM TOP – Slidell senior guard Tyler Maynard tries to get off a shot inside during the Greyhounds’ 66-60 loss to Bellevue Friday. Maynard finished with a game-high 32 points. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“Offensive rebounds were the difference,” said Slidell coach Todd McCormick. “They also hit some shots early in the fourth quarter that were key. We also had some turnovers right before the half. But we played hard and fought hard.”

Bellevue took over sole possession of first place in 21-A after taking the matchup of the league’s two unbeaten teams. It was also Bellevue’s fifth straight win over Slidell.

Along with grabbing 20 boards, including 15 in the first half as Bellevue snatched the lead, Morris put in 17 points. He was one of four Eagles in double figures. Jakob Watkins led Bellevue with 20 points.

Watkins drained a 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter and a 12-4 run that put the Eagles up 61-47 with five minutes left.

Slidell staged a late rally, scoring the game’s final seven points and cutting Bellevue’s lead to six with 25 seconds left. But the Greyhounds couldn’t get closer.

“They can shoot the ball well and have a bunch of playmakers,” said Slidell guard Tyler Maynard. “We got rattled a little. But I like our toughness. We showed signs of coming back.”

Maynard, who played most of the game with three fouls, scored a game-high 32 points.

The Slidell senior kept attacking the rim in the first quarter, tossing in 10 points. He scored eight during a 12-0 run that put the Greyhounds in front 12-4 midway through the opening frame.

Slidell held a five-point edge, 17-12, going into the second quarter.

But that lead disappeared late in the first half. Bellevue ended the half on a 15-5 run, taking a 35-28 lead on Watkins’ putback just before the buzzer.

“That was the turning point,” McCormick said. “The kids did a good job of getting to the free-throw line and then it stopped.”

Maynard’s six points in the first 1:40 of the third brought Slidell within one, at 35-34. But Bellevue responded with a 7-0 run, and the Greyhounds never got closer than five the rest of the way.

Colton Crane joined Maynard in double figures with 10. Khristian Talamantes added eight.

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