Challengers win big in school trustee election

Voters on both sides of the Alvord school board race stuck together as they elected two new trustees Saturday.

Charlie Matthews defeated incumbent Jeannette Ward by a 400-151 margin for place 7.

Alvord Voter Turnout

In a three-person race for place 6, Lance Thweatt garnered 396 votes to 152 for Tracy Barclay Parker. A third candidate, Lex Williams, unofficially withdrew from the race and threw his support to Thweatt.

Three voters didn’t get the memo, or Thweatt’s margin of victory would have been a single vote different from Matthews’.

Matthews said the message from voters was clear.

“The school district is tired of the turmoil,” he said. “My agenda would be to get that calmed down. If the school board is not together, the school’s not together. We just need to work on teamwork and get the school board together.”

Ward, who served two terms on the board, was philosophical after the votes were counted.

“It’s obvious the voters wanted a change,” she said. “I hope this produces the change they want.”

She noted that when she won her first term, six years ago, it was because of the same feeling.

“I have to respect the fact that they wanted change,” she said. “When I ran the first time, that’s how I got in. I hope they get back on track, come together and bring the community together.”

Thweatt said the margin of victory surprised him.

“It does give you a lot of confidence going in there,” he said. “People wanted some new ideas, new faces on the school board.”

The vast majority of voters cast their ballots early. Thweatt and Matthews both got exactly 308 early votes, while Ward got 117 and Parker got 115.

Thweatt defeated Parker 81-23 on election day, and Matthews outpolled Ward 84-21. On the absentee ballots that were mailed in, Parker won 14-7 and Ward won 13-8.

The turnout was somewhat higher than in past elections, as the community and school board have been embroiled in a battle recently over the contract of head football coach Curtis Enis.

In their last meeting prior to the election – the fifth meeting in just over a month – the board voted unanimously to renew Enis’ contract as head football coach but to relieve him of the duties of athletic director – putting that task on Superintendent Bill Branum.

Enis got a one-year contract to coach football and may be assigned other duties as needed, Branum said.

Three board members – Ward, board president Larry Nivens and board secretary Kevin Wood – had opposed action by trustees Jim Looney, John Schedcik, Vic Czerniak and Randy Hamilton to non-renew Enis’ contract.

Those efforts sparked a petition drive and drew crowds to the normally sparsely-attended meetings. They also prompted several lengthy closed-door sessions as trustees wrestled with the legalities of teachers’ contracts and the rights and responsibilities of board members.

Adding further interest was the fact that Hamilton, who resigned from the board last June, came back in April and once again took part as a voting member of the board. That was after trustees discovered a little-known clause in the Texas Constitution that stipulates an elected official still holds office until a replacement is appointed or elected.

Hamilton’s return broke the 3-3 deadlock on the board, but he was not a candidate for his old seat, which went to Thweatt.

Thweatt said he hopes the controveries are over.

“The main thing is to just try and get all that behind us and get everybody going in the same direction,” he said. “The thing with Curtis is behind us, the election is behind us – it’s time to get everybody working together, going in the right direction.”

Matthews said the focus needs to be on the classroom.

“I know there’s a lot of different ideas about things that need to be done,” he said. “My goal is just to get our kids a good education and take care of them. That’s the priority.”

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Board to meet Wednesday and canvass votes

The Alvord school board will meet at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday to canvass votes from Saturday’s election.

Two new members were elected to the board. Lance Thweatt won place 6, vacated by the resignation of Randy Hamilton last June, and Charles Neal Matthews was elected to place 7, unseating incumbent Jeannette Ward.

Wednesday’s meeting will be held at the Alvord ISD administration building, 100 Mosley Lane. It is open to the public.

The new members will be sworn in at the next regularly-scheduled meeting May 22.

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Williams steps up to top spot

Alvord’s Savannah Williams waited patiently through the first 600 meters Friday evening at Mike Myers Stadium.

Then just before the final straightaway, the Alvord junior sprinted to the front on her way to the gold medal in the Class 2A 800.

Finishing First

FINISHING FIRST – Alvord’s Savannah Williams won the Class 2A 800 Friday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“My strategy the whole time was to stay behind first and kick at the 150,” Williams said. “I did what I meant to do.”

Williams won the state title in 2:15.91, setting the school record.

“I got my goal and got the record. It’s just one big package,” Williams said.

From the starting gun, Williams settled into second place. She stayed there through the first lap, turning at 63.

“It was the best pace I’ve ever done, and it felt good. It was nice to get out there and be able to sprint the whole thing,” Williams said.

Entering the final corner, Williams made her push. She soon realized that Rogers’ Erin Williams and Blanco’s Meaghan Seales were not going to challenge her.

“At the 150 when I started kicking and she didn’t kick with me, I knew I got this,” Williams said.

Erin Williams took second in 2:17.51. Seales was third in 2:17.97.

The medal was Williams’ second straight in Austin. She finished second last year at state. She liked the gold much better.

“This is my goal. I’m so happy. This is exactly what I wanted,” Williams said.

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Law busts suspected gambling operation

Law busts suspected gambling operation

The Wise County Sheriff’s Office has seized gaming machines from an Alvord truck stop, claiming the owner was running an illegal gambling operation.

Game Over

GAME OVER – Officers load up one of 14 gaming machines seized Wednesday at the Navigator Truck Stop in Alvord. Investigators believe the machines were being used for an illegal gambling operation. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Wise County Sheriff David Walker said investigators obtained a search warrant on Wednesday afternoon and confiscated 14 machines at the Navigator Truck Stop on the south side of Alvord on U.S. 81/287. They also seized around $5,700 in cash they believe is tied to the illegal gambling operation.

Walker said investigators are working with County Attorney James Stainton to determine if charges will be filed. He said the owners could face Class A misdemeanor charges of keeping a gambling place and possession of a gambling device, equipment or paraphernalia.

According to the search warrant affidavit written by Sgt. Chad Lanier, he visited the truck stop on the afternoon of April 30 after he had twice previously warned the owner, 36-year-old Arian Yusufzai, that gambling was illegal in Texas.

Lanier said he knocked on one door inside the building and was told to go to the next door. Lanier knocked on the second door and a woman opened it. But before he could enter the room with the gaming machines, Lanier saw Yusufzai open another door to the room and tell people to hurry and leave.

Yusufzai was issued another warning to turn off the machines or face criminal charges.

An hour later, Lanier and other investigators went back to the truck stop to see if Yusufzai was in compliance. They once again witnessed customers playing on the machines and saw the owner once again try to warn customers about the officers. Two customers were issued a citation for gambling, a Class C misdemeanor.

According to the affidavit, Lanier said Yusufzai asked him, “Is there anything I can do to keep the gambling going? It makes me a lot of money, and I won’t be able to keep the store open without the gambling.”

Investigators returned to the truck stop on Monday and once again found customers playing the machines. Three people were issued citations for gambling.

On Wednesday morning, Lanier sent an undercover officer to the truck stop to gamble and get paid in cash. Once he had received a credit of $15, he cashed out by receiving money from the store clerk. The officer went back Wednesday afternoon and used a marked $5 bill to play the machine. He once again cashed out at $15.

A few hours later, after the search warrant had been obtained, officers returned to load the machines onto a flatbed trailer.

As of Friday afternoon, no charges had been filed or arrests had been made in the case.

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USAO takes Hart

After two years of directing the Alvord Lady Bulldogs as the team’s floor general, Lauren Hart is heading north to continue her basketball career.

Tuesday, Hart signed her letter of intent to play at the University of Science and Arts Oklahoma in Chickasha.

Making It Official

MAKING IT OFFICIAL – Alvord’s Lauren Hart signs her letter of intent to play basketball at the University of Science and Arts Oklahoma in Chickasha. Messenger photo by Richard Greene

“They called me, and I went up for a visit and loved the school,” Hart said. “I really wanted to play, and I’m excited to get another chance.”

As a senior, Hart guided Alvord to the third round of the playoffs and earned 9-2A and All-Wise County Defensive Player of the Year honors. She averaged 9.74 points, 4.26 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 3.23 steals.

USAO assistant coach Leandra Johnson said Hart’s defense was a major reason they pursued her.

“We got her info from another coach that had seen her. We got a film and liked the way she played,” Johnson said. “She’s going to progress and help us out.

“As the assistant, I gravitate to defense. She is a very good defensive player.”

Moving on to the next level, Hart anticipates a need to get in the weight room.

“I have to get stronger,” she said. “I also need to improve my ball-handling and shooting. Everything will need to improve for the next level.”

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Alvord JV wins district title

Ryan Villareal and Keegan Branum held Brock to two runs over six innings to give the Alvord Bulldogs the title at the District 9-2A junior varsity tournament April 25.

Villareal tossed five innings and Branum one in the victory.

Alvord went 3-0 in the tournament, beating Boyd and Ponder Thursday.

District Champs

DISTRICT CHAMPS – The Alvord junior varsity baseball team beat Brock April 25 to win the District 9-2A title. Submitted photo

“I’m proud of the boys for winning,” said Alvord coach Chris Staley. “From where they came from in the beginning to the end of the year, they’ve made great strides. They are pitching better and defensively are doing a much better job.”

Before getting to the championship game, the Bulldogs needed a late rally against Ponder. Down 5-4, Conner Patterson hit a two-out, two-run single to lift Alvord to the win.

“It was a nice hit in a two-out pressure situation,” Staley said.

The Alvord junior varsity is made up of primarily freshmen and sophomores with one junior transfer. The team went 10-4-1 in district play.

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Board re-hires Enis for football job

Curtis Enis will head up the Bulldog football program for at least one more year, but his tenure as athletic director will apparently end June 30.

After a brief closed meeting Thursday night, the Alvord school board voted unanimously to renew Enis’ contract through 2015 – but only as head football coach. A separate item that called for “giving notice of intent to propose non-renewal” of the athletic director’s contract was stricken from the agenda.

Both motions were made by trustee Randy Hamilton, and both votes were unanimous.

Superintendent Bill Branum said Enis will continue to serve as AD through the end of his current contract on June 30. Branum said he will “take care of” the AD job after that.

“The agenda actions taken only leave Mr. Enis as head football coach, or an assistant if we need him in some other boys’ sport,” Branum said. “There’s no athletic director associated with his job, going forward, after June 30. He may be an assistant in track if we need him to.”

Branum said that since the AD job was separated from the head football coaching job, there was no need to provide notice of non-renewal to Enis. Branum will take care of the AD duties himself, or assign them to someone else.

“I think it’s the board’s intent that I do it,” he said.

The decision brings an apparent end to more than a month of controversy swirling around the position – although not a satisfactory end according to Matthew Dunn, who led a petition drive for Enis’ removal.

“The fact that he’s not AD doesn’t matter to us,” Dunn said Friday. “I’ve talked to a lot of people and they’re still [unhappy].”

One woman in the audience was heard to mutter, “What a joke!” and trustee Vic Czerniak handed out a prepared statement after the meeting ended.

“This entire situation should never have happened,” it said. “This town has been torn apart again by individuals that thrive on controversy, who don’t even live in this community, some faculty involvement and the kids being given false information.

“I have said publicly to many people that no one wanted or wants to see anyone lose their job,” the statement continued. “Sadly, some have seen it necessary to distort the issue and make it a ‘witch hunt’ against members of the board who are acting as representatives of the citizens.”

He ended on a hopeful note, however.

“This board can and will continue to grow with and for this community and the kids. All board members must exercise high levels of integrity, forget about their personal agendas and try to gain back the confidence and trust of the community, students and especially faculty.”

The board has met five times in the last five weeks, with most of the meeting time devoted to this issue. After they deadlocked 3-3 on non-renewing Enis’s contract March 27, Hamilton re-joined the board despite having resigned his seat last June.

A little-known provision in the Texas Constitution said that as long as the seat had not been filled, it still belonged to the elected officeholder. Hamilton’s return broke the 3-3 tie and at their April 14 meeting the board voted 4-3 to non-renew Enis’s contract.

Then, after two hours behind closed doors, they unanimously rescinded that vote.

A meeting April 21 was entirely closed to the public, and at an April 24 meeting the board voted again to table action on the contract.

Each meeting has been attended by a fairly large number of citizens, divided between Enis detractors and supporters.

With two board seats on the ballot for May 10, those on both sides are awaiting the will of the voters. Hamilton’s place 6, which is sought by Lance Thweatt and Tracy Barclay Parker, is on the ballot along with place 7, currently held by Jeannette Ward. She faces one opponent, Charles Matthews.

Thursday’s meeting went fairly quickly, with just a few non-Enis-related items to attend to.

Those were:

  • adopting textbooks for the 2014-2015 school year;
  • tabling action on the high school roof project;
  • approving budget amendments to provide $10,500 in funding for start-up expenses for the volleyball program, which will begin in August;
  • approving an oil, gas and minerals lease with Pioneer Natural Resources, USA;
  • and transferring two teachers to different jobs: Mary Ann Leasman from 6th grade language arts to 6th grade math, and Garret Yuen from middle school coach/inclusion to elementary art.

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Alvord school board to meet again Thursday

The Alvord school board will convene again Thursday, with the contract of embattled head football coach Curtis Enis once again on the agenda.

The board deadlocked on a proposed renewal of Enis’ contract on March 27. Since then, they have met three times, each time considering what action to take on the contract of the head football coach and athletic director.

On April 14, with Randy Hamilton back on the board after resigning last June, trustees voted 4-3 to give notice of termination. But after a two-hour closed session, they voted unanimously to rescind that action.

A week later, they met in closed session for several hours but took no action.

On April 24 they met again, this time going into a 30-minute closed session before emerging to once again unanimously table action on the AD’s contract.

Thursday’s meeting will be the fifth in five weeks with those items on the agenda. This time the wording for item No. 5 is “Contract for head football coach” and item No. 6 states, “Giving notice of intent to propose non-renewal of athletic director’s contract.”

The board will also consider:

  • textbook adoptions
  • a re-roofing project on the high school building
  • budget amendment
  • an oil and gas lease with Pioneer Natural Resources
  • other personnel recommendations.

Another closed session is on the agenda, if needed. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Administration Building, 100 Mosley Lane. It’s open to the public.

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Stidham brings home gold

After a strong start, Dalton Stidham clipped the third hurdle Saturday during the Class 2A Region II 110 finals.

But the little stumble didn’t slow the Boyd senior on his way to winning the region title in 14.51.

Going for Gold

GOING FOR GOLD – Boyd’s Dalton Stidham didn’t let a little thing like hitting a hurdle slow him down, as he finished first at the 2A Regional Meet in Stephenville Saturday. Stidham’s win earned him a trip to the UIL State Track Meet in Austin. Messenger photo by Mack Thweatt

“I hit the third hurdle but kept my composure and finished the race,” Stidham said.

The win gave Stidham a spot in the University Interscholastic League track and field championships May 9-10 in Austin.

“This means a lot to me. It’s been my life’s dream since I’ve been in track to run at state.”

Along with earning a state spot and a gold medal, Stidham turned in his best time.

But he didn’t have long to celebrate. The senior was back on the track shortly after his victory in the 110s to run the 300s. He brought home a silver medal and another spot in the state meet, finishing in 39.25. Buffalo’s William Adams won in 39.09.

“It wasn’t my best race,” Stidham said. “It was good to get out. I have room to improve.

“Hopefully at state I can get on the medal stand.”

Stidham wasn’t the only Boyd athlete to win a gold medal. Sprinter Qualynn Wells won the 200 in 22.21, edging Rosebud-Lott’s Artis Johnson by 0.01 of a second.

State Bound

STATE-BOUND – Alvord’s Savannah Williams (right) keeps pace with Erin Williams of Rogers en route to a silver medal in the 800-meter run at Saturday’s Regional Track Meet in Stephenville. Williams’ second-place finish qualified her for a return trip to the state meet. Messenger photo by Mack Thweatt


Alvord’s Savannah Williams will get a second shot to bring home a medal at the University Interscholastic League track and field championships.

The Alvord junior and defending state silver medalist took second in the 800 at the Class 2A Region II meet Saturday. Williams finished in 2:22.8.

“I ran pretty good. It was windy,” Williams said. “I wanted to make sure I get a chance to run at state. I’m going to spend the next two weeks completely dedicated to working on the track to make sure I improve and do better than last year.”

Rogers’ Erin Williams edged Williams for the gold medal, running 2:21.95.

“She definitely had a good kick,” Williams said. “I will try to have a better one on May 9.”

The two set a blazing pace, completing the first lap in 68 seconds.

Alvord’s Lauren Hart took a bronze medal in the 300 hurdles, running 47-flat.

Full Speed Jacket

FULL-SPEED ‘JACKET – Boyd’s Qualynn Wells looks strong as he rounds the corner in the 200-meter event Saturday at Stephenville. Wells won gold and will compete in the UIL State Track Meet in two weeks. Messenger photo by Mack Thweatt



3200: 9. Marco Martinez, Boyd, 10:19.77

110 hurdles: 1. Dalton Stidham, Boyd, 14.51; 12. Cody Carmichael, Paradise, 15.84

400: 8. Robert Norvell, Paradise, 54.49

300 hurdles: 2. Dalton Stidham, Boyd, 39.25; 10. Austin Cozby, Boyd, 42.22

100: 13. Austin Hogan, Paradise, 11.27

200: 1. Qualynn Wells, Boyd, 22.21

4×100: 11. Boyd: Shay Dodson, Xavier Kyle, Jackson Basting, Qualynn Wells, 44.11

1600: 13. Marco Martinez, Boyd, 4:52.19; 15. David Pearson, Paradise, 5:00.08

Pole vault: 6. Zildjian Brooks, Paradise, 12-0


3200: 14. Clara Breashears, Alvord, 13:09.61

800: 2. Savannah Williams, Alvord, 2:22.8

300 hurdles: 3. Lauren Hart, Alvord, 47

4×100: 9. Paradise: Kyndall McCasland, Bailey Sides, Taylor Richards, Mikaela Beck, 51.09

100 hurdles: 10. Amber French, Paradise, 16.98

100: 9. Mikaela Beck, Paradise, 12.65

4×200: 11. Paradise: Carressa McCasland, Bailey Sides, Taylor Richards, Aliyah Read, 1:49.49

4×400: 6. Paradise, 4:11.44; 7. Alvord, 4:13.3

High jump: 15. Linsey Chancelor, Boyd, 4-8

Long jump: 4. Mikaela Beck, Paradise, 17-3.25

Shot put: 8. Lindsey Thorpe, Boyd, 35-7.25

Discus: 13. Deanna Walterscheid, Paradise, 97-9

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Tabled again: Alvord board to deal with AD after election

After meeting behind closed doors for several hours Monday, Thursday’s closed-door session of the Alvord school board didn’t last nearly as long.

And it produced the same amount of action: none.

About 30 minutes in private was all it took Thursday for the board to come out and take quick, unanimous action on two agenda items – considering a contract for a head football coach, and giving notice of proposed non-renewal of the athletic director’s contract.

Both items were tabled.

There were some fireworks early in Thursday’s meeting when Linda Goodwin attempted to speak in the open forum portion of the meeting and was asked if she was going to talk about a personnel matter.

Matthew Dunn, who led a petition drive to seek the removal of head football coach and athletic director Curtis Enis, jumped to her defense.

“You can’t discriminate between positive or negative feedback in open forum, Larry,” said Matthew Dunn. “It’s a TEA rule.”

Goodwin then presented board president Larry Nivens with a document.

“Are you going to address personnel, I guess, is my question,” Nivens said.

“I’m going to address the decision of the board on that,” she said. “Not whether I’m for or against, but how you have reacted – that’s what I’m addressing.”

“If it’s a complaint against personnel, you can’t do it in public,” Nivens said.

“I’m not complaining against personnel – I’m complaining against the board,” she answered.

Nivens cited school board policy that says complaints against personnel cannot be heard in open session unless the employee agrees to it. Goodwin said she felt her right to speak was being taken away.

Nivens moved on.

“Did anyone else sign up for open forum?” he asked.

“There’s obviously no point in signing up if we can’t talk,” Dunn said. “Larry, you’re breaking the rules. One of the board members needs to say something.”

The meeting moved on and later, when they went into executive session, Goodwin spoke to the board behind closed doors.


Despite the dust-up, a little school district business got done. The board heard reports on attendance and activities at the elementary, middle school and high school campuses including positive reports on state testing that were released last week.

They voted to maintain membership in the Bluebonnet Special Education Co-op for students with visual impairments, even though Alvord ISD currently has no students who need the service.

The board also paid bills and named trustees Jeannette Ward, Kevin Wood and Jim Looney to the scholarship selection committee to review local scholarship applications for the 2014 graduating class.

They also called a meeting for Wednesday, May 14, to canvass the votes from the May 10 school board election. The time of that meeting will be determined.

Ward holds ‘seminar’ on board’s role

Under the “board reports” section on Thursday’s agenda, board member Jeannette Ward conducted a brief seminar on the role of the school board in evaluating the athletic department.

“Due to some of the recent actions and accusations by some members of the community, I’ve come to the conclusion that a training session may help some people understand the role and the authority of the board,” she said, introducing the presentation, which she had cleared in advance with Nivens and Superintendent Bill Branum. “I think it might help clarify some misconceptions.”

Ward talked about the dual roles of board members, using visual aids including photos, track medals and an audio recording of a football pep rally. She said as a parent and a business person she evaluated the athletic program based on her children’s experiences and what she observed.

Then she brought out a huge school board policy manual.

“As a board member, I evaluate the athletic department in a different way,” she said. “I pull this book out, and I look, and I look, and I look – and unfortunately, there’s nothing in there that tells me I have the authority to evaluate the athletic program as a board member.

“The sole responsibility of evaluating school employees belongs to the administration and the superintendent,” she said.

She concluded by offering to make handouts of the policies for anyone who wished to have them.

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Baseball Roundup: Rebels beat Texans

The Richland Rebels pushed across six runs in the third and another five in the fourth on the way to a 16-5 win over the Northwest Texans in five innings Tuesday.

Four Northwest pitchers – Tristen DerMargosian, Bailey Dovel, Cameron Rhodes and Elijah Christenson – allowed 16 runs, including 10 earned, on 13 hits and gave up eight walks. Christenson had the only strikeout in his his two-thirds of hitless relief. He did walk three.

The Texans tallied six hits. Cayde Ward doubled twice and scored a pair of runs. Doger Gilliland went 2-for-3 with a RBI.

Northwest closed the season Friday at home against Keller Central.


The Alvord Bulldogs dropped their final game of the season Tuesday to the Millsap Bulldogs 2-1.

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Hope thieves find another livelihood

I would like to acknowledge all the people who have been so helpful to me for the last 25 to 30 years, if not longer – especially at the house that was on the corner of 511 Proctor and Pecan in Alvord, which was used as a storage house for 25 to 30 years.

You have gone in and taken thousands of dollars worth of our things, and that’s not counting in the ’80s when I lived on 611 Denver St. When I moved from there up on Proctor Street, you continued to help yourself. I thought when we got the old house on Pecan and tore the Proctor house down, it all would stop.

What a foolish thought. You kept coming.

But just a few weeks ago, one night when you tore off the boards around the skirting on the trailer on that property, with an elderly lady inside – not that it would have mattered to you – you went to an all-time low.

Yes, you put another hardship on me, but that’s OK. I’ve replaced and repaired all the damages you’ve done to me over the years, and I’ll do it again with the Lord’s help. I can and will overcome it again. I’ve always had and still have His help.

To you people who took all the things from the storage house, you know who you are. There are two people on this earth that no one can lie to, and that’s themselves and God, because they know and God knows.

May God bless you and help you find a better way of life because it sure does hurt to be on this end. May you never have to go through it.

Grace Turlington

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Jerry Allan Taylor

Jerry Allan Taylor

Jerry Allan Taylor, 64, of Alvord, died Thursday, April 24, 2014, in Fort Worth.

Funeral is 11 a.m. Monday, April 28, at Jones Family Funeral Home in Bridgeport with Doug Moreland and Don Singleton officiating. Burial will follow at Pleasant Grove Cemetery No. 1.

Visitation will be 10 to 11 a.m. Monday, one hour prior to the service.

Pallbearers will be James Simpson, Paul Taylor, Rusty Coleman, Chris Lutenbaker, Rocky Blaylock and Terry Seville.

Jerry was born Jan. 9, 1950, in Muleshoe to Howard Truitt and Julia Belle (Faubus) Taylor. He moved to Alvord in 1969. He was a truck driver for 20 years for Sandy Hill Readi-Mix in Decatur and was a member of the Wise County Cowboy Church. His hobbies included farming and watching his grandkids play sports.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Jolene Taylor; father Howard Taylor; stepfather Pat Patterson; and grandmother Ella Faubus.

He is survived by sons Scotty Taylor and wife, Tonya, of Sanger, and Mike Taylor of Midland; daughter Michelle Thomas and husband, Kenny, of Bridgeport; brothers Wayne Taylor and Don Taylor; and grandchildren Samantha McDaniel of Chico, Daylie Taylor of Sanger, Dusty Taylor of Callisburg, Haylea McDaniel of Decatur, Kelsey Taylor of Graham, Josh Thomas of Bridgeport and McKinley Taylor of Graham.

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Sophi Rae Talamantes

Summer Troutwine and Deven Talamantes of Alvord announce the birth of a daughter, Sophi Rae Talamantes, on April 22, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounces and was 18 inches long.

Grandparents are Angela Talamantes, Sergio Talamantes, Keith Troutwine and Lashanna Dykes.

Great-grandparents are Robin Troutwine, Steve Troutwine, Diane Hutto, Roy Hutto, Antonia and Roy Gachuzo and Arturo Talamantes.

Posted in New Arrivals0 Comments

Looking to move up a notch; Alvord’s Williams eyes return to Austin in 800

Looking to move up a notch; Alvord’s Williams eyes return to Austin in 800

The distance taxes Savannah Williams’ legs while the demanded speed over the two laps around the track burns her lungs. But the grueling test of will that plays out over 800 meters grabs at the Alvord junior’s heart.

“It’s definitely a love and hate relationship. But when it comes down to it, I love it,” Williams claims.

Eyeing Return to Austin

EYING RETURN TO AUSTIN – Alvord’s Savannah Williams claimed the silver medal last year at the state meet in the 2A 800. She will return to the regional meet this weekend looking to earn a second trip to state. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

That love for one of the sport’s greatest challenges has made her one of the state’s best, which she proved last year winning the Class 2A silver medal. It also has her heading back to regionals, aiming to return to Austin and a move to the top of the medal stand.

“That’s the ultimate goal, to bring home the gold,” Williams admits.

To get that chance at a state medal, the Alvord junior will need a top-two finish at this weekend’s Class 2A Region II meet at Tarleton State University’s Oscar Frazier Track in Stephenville. She will run in the finals Saturday.

Williams returns to Tarleton as last year’s Region II runner-up. She finished second in a career-best 2 minutes and 18 seconds. That time was nine seconds better than her District 9-2A runner-up time and seven seconds under her winning area time.

Williams went on to run a 2:21 at the state meet to earn a silver medal as a sophomore.

“She really came out of nowhere last year,” said Alvord girls track coach Rhonda Enis. “I never dreamed of her getting that far. But she kept getting better and better.”

Enis said Williams learned how to run the 800 from racing against Millsap’s state finalist Haley Younger at district and area and Crawford’s Ann Marie Dunlap, the state champion who also won last year’s Region II race.

“It helped her last year to run with some veteran 800 kids and to learn how to run it,” Enis said.

Williams also credits Chelsey Steele, the 2012 bronze medalist from Alvord, with helping her.

“She was a senior when I was a freshman. She showed me the ropes,” Williams said.

Dunlap is not running the 800 this year. She has qualified for regionals in the 1,600 and 3,200, leaving the door open for Williams.

“Savannah should be the favorite,” Enis said. “But as I always say you don’t know what you’ll need to get until you get down there. She may need to get a 2:19 to get out.”

Williams has yet to get to 2:20 this season, while rolling through invitational meets, district and area. She’s won all but one race this year. Decatur’s Haley Dennard, a 3A state qualifier last year, is the only one to beat her.

“This year, she’s been out there by herself other than the one time against Dennard,” Enis said.

Williams ran a 2:24 last week in a heavy wind at the area meet in Boyd. So far this spring, she’s rarely had a good warm day to really run hard.

Entering regionals, Williams has goals in mind.

“I want to beat the [school] record 2:17 and my PR 2:18,” Williams said. “My goal is to win.”

She expects the increased level of competition and her will to win to make her run faster.

“I hate not winning,” Williams said. “I’m competitive. I don’t even like people passing me on the highway.”

Williams enjoys doing the passing especially in the final meters of the race.

“My favorite part is the very last 200 meters when the adrenaline kicks in,” she explains. “No matter how far the girl is in front, you have to catch her.”

She hopes she’s the one everybody is trying to catch Saturday and also May 9 in Austin at the state meet.

“[Last year] was an unforgettable experience. I’m driven to go back. I want to feel that again,” Williams said.

Running Alone

RUNNING ALONE – Through the area meet, Williams has found little competition, winning all but one race this season. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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Baseball Roundup: Samples puts Bulls into three-way tie in 9-3A

The Bridgeport Bulls scored four runs in the third inning including one driven in by Alex Samples in a 5-3 victory over Gainesville Friday.

Samples finished with a pair of RBIs, going 1-for-4 as the Bulls secured a share of second place in District 9-3A with Krum and Decatur.

Jared Huff added a RBI for the Bulls.

On the mound, Samples held Gainesville to three runs – one earned – on five hits. He struck out nine and walked one.


Dillon Meadows fanned 14 and held Peaster to two hits in a complete-game 7-0 shutout against Peaster.

The Panthers (18-6-1, 7-3) moved a win away from securing the second seed in District 9-2A. Paradise took on Ponder Tuesday and will close the regular season against Millsap at home Friday.

Skylar Black homered and drove in two runs, going 3-for-3 against Peaster. Jarret Holt added two RBIs on three hits. Austin Hogan also had three hits.


Kalan Johnson drove in four runs and Tyler Melton three on two doubles as the Chico Dragons hammered Bryson 17-7 Friday.

Chico (18-5) moved to 10-3 in District 9-A. With a win Friday in the regular season finale, the Dragons will secure second place in the league.

Hagen Davis added three RBIs against Bryson. Jerico McGuire knocked in two runs.

Chase Riddles and Jaston McBree each tripled.


Brandon Hardee tripled and Anthony Spinelli doubled and scored a run as the Boyd Yellowjackets were tripped up by 9-2A champion Brock 14-1 Friday.


The Alvord Bulldogs fell to 2-9 in District 9-2A Friday with a 14-0 loss to the playoff-bound Ponder Lions.

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Board to meet behind closed doors

The Alvord school board will convene in a special called session at 5 p.m. Monday.

The meeting will be open to the public, but the agenda calls for the board to immediately close the doors.

Board members are scheduled to confer with the district’s attorney regarding the contract of head coach and athletic director Curtis Enis. They will also discuss those positions separately under the personnel exception to the Open Meetings Act.

Any action would have to be taken in open session, but there is no proposed action on Monday’s agenda, which calls for the board to come back into open session and adjourn.

The next regular meeting would be next Thursday, April 24.

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Lady Panthers secure area crown

The Paradise Lady Panthers last week captured their first district title on the track since 2001.

Wednesday, they added another trophy to the case.

After earning medals in all three relays, including a gold in the 4×200, the Lady Panthers captured the Class 2A 9/10 area title at Boyd’s Yellowjacket Stadium.

“I’m very proud of them,” said Paradise girls coach Johna Ford. “They’ve worked hard. It was a team effort. Even the girls who didn’t qualify gave their all and scored the points to help us.”

Mikaela Beck, who ran on a pair of qualifying relays and won the long jump said, “We’re starting a legacy.”

The 4×200 squad of Carressa McCasland, Bailey Sides, Taylor Richards and Aliya Read scored 20 points toward winning the title with its victory. The quartet ran 1:49.72, holding off Whitney, which finished in 1:49.96.

“We knew it would be a close race,” Sides said.

Read added: “We’re still undefeated.”

The Lady Panthers finished second in the 4×400 to Alvord. In the 4×100, Godley edged Paradise. Beck nearly caught Godley’s anchor leg, crossing the finish line in 51.27. Godley won the race in 51.22.

“If I’d had five more feet, I’d have caught her for sure,” Beck said. “Beating them is doable. It’s not like they smoked us.”

Beck was joined by Kyndall McCasland, Sides and Richards on the 4×100.

Beck finished second in the 100 to Grandview’s Lyric Jackson, running a 12.4. She also won the long jump with an effort of 17-1.25.

“Coming out of prelims, I was in last place,” Beck said about her long jump win. “On my first jump of finals, my mark was finally on.”

Winning Pass

WINNING PASS – Alvord’s Savannah Williams passes Paradise’s Mikaela Beck near the finish line of the 4×400 at the 2A 9/10 area meet in Boyd. Messenger photo by Mack Thweatt


Another impressive chapter was written Wednesday at the area meet in what has turned into the county’s hottest rivalry on the track this season – the girls 4×400.

In a race that was neck-and-neck into the final meters, Savannah Williams, the area 800 champion, passed Paradise’s Mikaela Beck to give the Lady Bulldogs a victory. Alvord also beat Paradise at district.

At area, Alvord’s team of Lauren Hart, Jessica Gillespie, Marissa Schedcik and Williams turned in 4:13.12. Paradise’s quartet of Bailey Sides, Aliya Read, Makala Neighbors and Beck finished in 4:13.5 for second.

Beck led Williams after the final turn as the two raced toward the finish line into a strong wind.

“When she kicked, I was worried,” Williams said. “It was brutal with the wind. I just tried to push.”

Williams’ winning quarter followed her 2:24.68 in the 800 that included a strong kick to put her at the front of the pack and back to regionals.

“I tried to be comfortable,” Williams said. “I didn’t want to lead the pack. [My kick] is what I turn to and rely on.”

Williams’ teammate Hart finished second in the 300 hurdles, running 47.77.

“I ran my best time. I’m trying to get better each week,” Hart said. “[Running in the wind] was like hitting a brick wall. I thought I was going to blow away.”


Boyd’s Qualynn Wells flew out of blocks and around the curve to win the 200 area title Wednesday on his home track.

Wells ran 22.3 to claim his team’s lone gold medal of the meet. Even with the win, he expects to be faster at regionals.

“It could’ve went better. I bet I can get down to 21,” he said.

Boyd hurdler and pole vaulter Dalton Stidham won three silver medals. He ran 15-0 in the 110 hurdles and 40.49 in the 300s. The 300 hurdles ended into the brisk wind.

“The wind was terrible,” Stidham said. “Other than that, I felt good over the hurdles.

“I’m getting to regionals and running another day. It’s my last year, and I want to see how far I can go.”

Stidham finished second in the pole vault, clearing 11 feet.

Boyd freshman Lindsey Thorpe earned a silver medal in the girls shot put with a throw of 34-2.75. It was her best throw of the season.

“Coach [Phillip] Thornton has been working with me a lot since I’ve advanced from district,” Thorpe said. “We’ve been working on kicking the door open and doing all the little things right.”

Close Finish

CLOSE FINISH – Boyd’s Marco Martinez finishes just in front of a diving David Pearson of Paradise in the 1600 Wednesday. Messenger photo by Mack Thweatt


With wind gusts above 30 mph, Alvord’s Clara Breashears and Boyd’s Marco Martinez fought their way to regional berths with third-place finishes in the 3200 races.

Breashears turned in a 13:02.48 for the bronze medal and third straight trip to the 2A Region II area meet.

“I actually like the wind,” Breashears said. “It makes me think of other things.”

In the boys race, Martinez raced out to an early lead but couldn’t hold off Whitney’s Trevor Montgomery and Keene’s Luis Tique. Martinez held on to take third in 10:34.21.

“I tried to put pressure on them early,” Martinez said. “I wasn’t surprised they caught up. I knew they were good.”



100: 1. Lyric Jackson, Grandview, 12.0; 2. Mikaela Beck, Paradise, 12.4; 8. Carressa McCasland, Paradise, 13.6

200: 1. Lyric Jackson, Grandview, 26-0; 4. Aliya Read, Paradise, 26.9; 6. Olivia Singleton, Boyd, 27.6

400: 1. Sarah Rattan, Peaster, 59.85; 5. Caitlyn Lynch, Alvord, 1:05.16

800: 1. Savannah Williams, Alvord, 2:24.68; 6. Makala Neighbors, Paradise, 2:36.98

1600: 1. Pamela Marquez, Keene, 5:31.23; 5. Brooklyn Mitchum, Alvord, 5:47.76; 6. April Coursey, Paradise, 6:02.21; 7. Jessica Colbert, Boyd, 6:07.2; 8. Angela Powers, Paradise, 6:13.66

3200: 1. Mayte Arredondo, Whitney, 12:00.49; 3. Clara Breashears, Alvord, 13:02.48; 5. Brianna Smith, Paradise, 13:29.08; 6. Emily Corbin, Paradise, 13:55.58; 8. Jessica Colbert, Boyd, 14:28.32

100 hurdles: 1. Jordan Nash, Grandview, 15.2; 4. Amber French, Paradise, 16.7; 5. Linsey Chancelor, Boyd, 17.6; 6. Stormi Lamb, Paradise, 17.9; 7. Kyndall McCasland, Paradise, 18.4

300 hurdles: 1. Jordan Nash, Grandview, 46.46; 2. Lauren Hart, Alvord, 47.77; 4. Bailee Luttrell, Boyd, 49.72

4×100: 1. Godley 51.22; 2. Paradise: Kyndall McCasland, Bailey Sides, Taylor Richards, Mikaela Beck, 51.27; 5. Alvord: Katie Claborn, Brianna Ponder, Emily Edge, Marissa Schedcik, 53.53; 7. Boyd: Amber Montgomery, Taylor Ragsdale, Olivia Singleton, Bailee Luttrell, 53.89

4×200: 1. Paradise: Carressa McCasland, Bailey Sides, Taylor Richards, Aliya Read, 1;49.72; 4. Alvord: Lauren Hart, Marissa Schedcik, Jessica Gillespie, Savannah Williams, 1:50.99; 7. Boyd: Bailee Harris, Amber Montgomery, Kyndal Crisman, Olivia Singleton, 1:56.01

4×400: 1. Alvord: Lauren Hart, Jessica Gillespie, Marissa Schedcik, Savannah Williams, 4:13.12; 2. Paradise: Bailey Sides, Aliya Read, Makala Neighbors, Mikaela Beck, 4:13.5

High jump: 1. Ashlyn Ellis, Grandview, 5-4; 3. Linsey Chancelor, Boyd, 5-0; 6. Brianna Ponder, Alvord, 4-10

Pole vault: 1. Reagan Mabery, Tolar, 11-0; 5. Jade Moore, Boyd, 8-6; 6. Carlen Smith, Boyd, 8-0; 6. Haley Rector, Paradise, 8-0

Long jump: 1. Mikaela Beck, Paradise, 17-1.25; 4. Brianna Ponder, Alvord, 16-2.75; 5. Bailey Sides, Paradise, 15-5

Triple jump: 1. Jaci Smith, Godley, 35-2; 3. Taylor Richards, Paradise, 33-5.5; 4. Brianna Ponder, Alvord, 33-4.75; 8. Emily Edge, Alvord, 31-11

Shot put: 1. Hailee Rutledge, Peaster, 36-2.25; 2. Lindsey Thorpe, Boyd, 34-2.75; 4. Kaely Beaver, Alvord, 33-4.75

Discus: 1. Sierra Romero, Grandview, 116-6; 3. Deanna Walterscheid, Paradise, 103-1; 5. Lindsey Thorpe, Boyd, 101-1


100: 1. Pearce Flemins, Maypearl, 10.7; 4. Austin Hogan, Paradise, 11.2; 5. Joe Randall, Alvord, 11.3; 6. Luke Gage, Paradise, 11.31; 7. Kristoff Pewitt, Paradise, 11.32

200: 1. Qualynn Wells, Boyd, 22.3; 4. Austin Hogan, Paradise, 23; 8. Cash Preather, Paradise, 23.8

400: 1. Zachary Williams, Godley, 49.98; 4. Robert Norvell, Paradise, 53.65; 5. Joseph Tate, Boyd, 55.4

800: 1. Colt Jones, Tolar, 2:03.81; 8. Colby Dial, Paradise, 2:16.25

1600: 1. Trevor Montgomery, Whitney, 4:42.97; 4. Marco Martinez, Boyd, 4:52.81; 5. David Pearson, Paradise, 4:52.87; 8. Omar Martinez, Boyd, 5:04.07

3200: 1. Trevor Montgomery, Whitney, 10:24.82; 3. Marco Martinez, Boyd, 10:34.21; 5. David Pearson, Paradise, 10:42.48; 7. Omar Martinez, Boyd, 11:08.18; 8. Aaron Hammett, Boyd, 11:09.32

110 hurdles: 1. Ben Thomes, Grandview, 14.6; 2. Dalton Stidham, Boyd, 15; 3. Cody Carmichael, Paradise, 15.4; 6. Brett Martin, Alvord, 16.5

300 hurdles: 1. Ben Thomes, Grandview, 39.96; 2. Dalton Stidham, Boyd, 40.49; 4. Austin Cozby, Boyd, 42.57; 5. Cody Carmichael, Paradise, 43.45; 7. Bryce Miller, Paradise, 44.72

4×100: 1. Maypearl 43.78; 3. Boyd: Shay Dodson, Xavier Kyle, Jackson Basting, Qualynn Wells, 44.27; 5. Paradise: Austin Hogan, Luke Gage, Nick Loney, Robert Norvell, 44.85

4×200: 1. Tolar 1:33.53; 5. Alvord: Brett Martin, Heath Walker, Jonathan Musgrave, Joe Randall, 1:36.82

4×400: 1. Godley 3:29.52; 4. Boyd: Joseph Tate, Shay Dodson, Austin Cozby, Dalton Stidham, 3:32.96; 7. Alvord: Logan Watkins, Heath Walker, Andrew Nichols, Josh Malone, 3:46.31

High jump: 1. Trenton Wallace, Grandview, 6-4; 6. Austin Cozby, Boyd, 5-10; 7. Colby Dial, Paradise, 5-10

Pole vault: 1. Trae Jones, Rio Vista, 11-0; 2. Dalton Stidham, Boyd, 11-0; 3. Zildjian Brooks, Paradise, 11-0

Long jump: 1. Walker Shelter, Tolar, 21-7.75

Triple jump: 1. Garrett Winston, Tolar, 44-11; 4. Cash Preather, Paradise, 41-3.5; 5. Tanner Valentine, Paradise, 40-2.75; 8. Xavier Kyle, Boyd, 37-3.75

Shot put: 1. Tavaris Owens, Whitney, 53-1; 5. Taylor Edwards, Paradise, 43-3.5

Discus: 1. Kendell Wimberly, Whitney, 160-06; 6. Sequoia Smith, Boyd, 119-0; 7. Blake Brown, Paradise, 116-3

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Tatum Shae Meador

Justin and Naudia Meador of Alvord announce the birth of a daughter, Tatum Shae, on April 16, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 7 pounds and was 19 1/4 inches long.

She has one sister: Tensley, 20 months.

Grandparents are Ricky and Debra Meador of Alvord, Kenny Batchelor of Bossier City, La., and Latonne Batchelor of Alvord.

Great-grandparents are Phyllis Parker of Alvord, Evelyn Meador of Decatur, MaryAnn Hodges of Alvord, Royce and Donna Hodges of Alvord, Billy and Mary Miller of DeKalb and Roger and Mary Batchelor of Midland.

Great-great-grandparents are Ed Hardee of Decatur and Edna Hamilton of Bowie.

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Alvord school board non-renews AD, then rescinds

It took the Alvord school board just 11 minutes Monday to OK a roof replacement, approve a joint election agreement with the city of Alvord, appoint election judges and vote to non-renew the contract of its athletic director.

But that last item became the topic of a closed-door session that lasted two hours and 24 minutes, while a crowd of around 50 citizens, students and district employees stood and sat out in the hallway.

When they came back into open session, the board quickly – and unanimously – rescinded the motion on the athletic director’s contract and voted to table it until their next meeting, which should be April 24.

If the discussion that took place in the open is any indication, the closed session was probably a lively one.

Board president Larry Nivens kicked things off by stating that the agenda item to “consider renewal or giving notice of proposed non-renewal of athletic director’s contract” was worded that way on the advice of the district’s attorney. It was not, he said, stated the way board members Vic Czerniak and John Schedcik had requested it.

“Mr. Czerniak and Mr. Schedcik requested this meeting for that item specifically,” he said. “That is not their wording. That is the wording of our attorney because that meets the legal requirement if we’re going to pursue non-renewal. That’s why it’s listed that way.”

A brief discussion followed in which Czerniak wondered if all contracts would now have to be considered individually.

“Is that going to be standard verbiage from now on, for all contracts?” he asked.

“If it’s a proposed non-renewal, yes,” Nivens answered.

Board member Jeannette Ward attempted to clarify the issue.

“If we propose another non-renewal, then it has to be individualized,” she said. “But to renew you don’t have to individualize.”

Superintendent Bill Branum said contracts had to be considered individually “only if there’s a possibility that the board is going to propose non-renewal of someone.”

But when Czerniak made a motion that “the contract for the athletic director not be renewed,” Ward called a point of order, asking for the board to go into closed session “to hear a complaint or charge against an officer or employee” and citing the law.

But Schedcik quickly seconded Czerniak’s motion. Board member Kevin Wood called another point of order.

“Mr. President, according to our attorney, this is a notice of proposed non-renewal,” he said. “We’re not voting on non-renewal; we’re voting on a notice of proposed non-renewal.”

Czerniak insisted on a vote on his motion, just as he worded it.

“We are voting on non-renewal,” he said. “That was the motion that was seconded. We have to vote on the motion. You had an opportunity to say that before it was seconded.”

“I’m sitting here trying to listen to what’s going on back and forth,” Wood said. “I just know this is what the attorney said, this is the way it has to be worded. I don’t know what the problem is in saying proposed non-renewal.”

Finally, Nivens called for the vote, and the motion passed, 4-3.

Prior to the vote, Branum pointed out that a district is required to give notice to an employee whose contract is being non-renewed. The employee then has 15 days to respond and can request a hearing before the board.

“We have a motion and a second,” Nivens said. “But I would reiterate that our attorney said this is not in the best interest of the district to pursue it in this manner. But we have a motion to not renew the contract of the athletic director.”

After the vote, Nivens looked at the superintendent.

“Anything else, Mr. Branum?” he asked.

“Well, yeah,” Branum replied. “We need to go into closed session because you guys have got to say why you’re doing it. The employee’s got to have notice and an opportunity to respond.”

After the two-hour-and-24-minute closed session, the board opened the doors at 7:35.

It was Czerniak who quickly moved to “rescind the motion to not renew the contract of the athletic director.”

Wood followed with a motion to table the agenda item until the board’s next meeting.

Both measures were approved unanimously, without discussion.

Several board members stayed around to explain their action to Matthew Dunn, who had brought petitions calling for Enis’ dismissal to the previous meeting and had served as a spokesman for those seeking the coach’s ouster.

“The motion was made, the motion was seconded,” he said. “It was voted on. You called the vote, the vote was done. How’d it get rescinded?”

“It was voted on again,” Nivens said.

Czerniak explained that “there was a motion to rescind the previous motion.”

“So when are they going to re-vote on this? When are we going to get this renewal thing ironed out? When do you plan on putting it back on the agenda?” Dunn asked.

Nivens noted the agenda for the next meeting had not been set but said it would “probably” be on that one.

“The next meeting will be the fourth Thursday of the month?” Dunn asked. “OK, here we go again.”


The special called meeting, which started at 5 p.m., was the first one since last June to have seven members present.

Place 6 trustee Randy Hamilton, who resigned from the board June 3, 2013, was back in attendance and there was no debate over his presence.

An earlier communication indicated Hamilton could still exercise the duties of his office because no replacement was ever named. It cited the Texas Constitution, article 16, section 17 which states that “all officers within this State shall continue to perform the duties of their offices until their successors shall be duly qualified.”

A 1996 Attorney General opinion backed that up, stating, “an officer whose resignation has been effected but whose successor has not been appointed retains the position as a ‘de jure’ officer.”

Hamilton’s return is only until the May 10 election, as his place is on the ballot along with that of Place 7 trustee Jeannette Ward.

Lance Thweatt, Lex Williams and Tracy Parker are seeking Place 6, although Williams announced last week that he wishes to withdraw and throw his support to Thweatt.

Charles Matthews is contesting Ward’s run for re-election.

Hamilton’s return promised to break a stalemate in the controversy over the contract of Alvord ISD athletic director and head football coach Curtis Enis. At its March 27 meeting, the board deadlocked 3-3 on a proposed renewal of Enis’ contract.

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