Deficit budget to include salary boosts

Boyd ISD trustees are facing a budget deficit for the upcoming fiscal year.

Projected revenue is $10,726,644 while proposed expenditures total $10,906,226 for a deficit of $179,582.

But they’re OK with it.

For one thing, the district’s savings of approximately $6 million could easily absorb the anticipated shortfall, which is lower than the $182,000 outstanding amount expected for the current fiscal year.

“We have a healthy fund balance for a district our size,” Superintendent Ted West said. “When you hear deficit, we all know that means we’re spending more than we’re bringing in, and one of the reasons I feel confident we can do that is because of where our fund balance is right now.”

About 78 percent of the $10,906,226 in proposed expenditures funnels into payroll – $289,000 more than was allotted last year.

Most of that increase is due to the raises approved for all Boyd ISD employees.

In May, the district completely revamped its pay scale for teachers, increasing pay grades up to 14.5 percent. The next month, trustees approved 3-percent raises for paraprofessionals, and last week granted administrator salary increases.

“Every person in this district is getting a pay raise next year, which is huge,” West said.

“And it [the budget shortfall] is worth it to take care of our own,” Trustee Jason Hammon said.

The amount balanced out some because there were about nine retirements, West added.

REVENUE

Certified property tax values were up about $30 million more than anticipated, due to mineral values.

However, West pointed out that since local revenue is up, the state’s contribution drops.

Money expected to come in, and its source, is as follows:

  • $9,301,627 – local (property taxes)
  • $1,325,017 – state (based on what programs students are enrolled in)
  • $100,000 – federal.

CHAPTER 41

As a Chapter 41, property-wealthy district, Boyd ISD is required to pay an amount based on the district’s property value and Weighted Average Daily Attendance (which takes into account the number of students enrolled, their daily attendance rate and the classes and programs they are enrolled in).

This year, the district anticipates owing $83,824, which will be taken from the state’s contribution.

“It’s not like we have to send it back to them,” West said. “They just withhold it from us.”

Board President Ernest Partin said the amount has been as high as $500,000. Implementing an open transfer policy, which allows kids who live outside the district to attend BISD schools without paying tuition, has helped.

REDUCTIONS

District officials did identify a few areas where they can cut corners.

The transportation fund shows a $67,000 decrease due to the consolidation of bus routes and eliminating a middle-of-the-day route to Bridgeport for special education services.

“We’ll have one bus that’ll go over in the morning, one bus that will go over in the afternoon,” West said. “But we felt kids that were eligible to be there for half-a-day, there’s no reason why they can’t be here a full day.”

Restructuring in library staffing yielded another $10,000 savings.

In addition, there is no money budgeted for new tech equipment or capital outlay.

“We’ve still got money in the bank if we need to do things, if we want to build something new,” West said.

—–

The budget will be presented at the board’s next meeting, Monday, Aug. 18.

“It’s a pretty lean budget,” West said. “The days of coming in a million dollars under budget are over. When we were doing those things, there was padding in those budgets so it was easy. This budget that we’re talking about for next year, that’s not in there. There’s just no way. With all of the extra things we’ve committed to with salaries, with programs, the days of coming 10 percent under budget, it’s just not happening.

“But we’re going to do everything we can to keep a lid on it.”

MORE NEW HIRES

Following the budget workshop Monday, the Boyd school board hired two additional teachers:

  • Sean Hollis, middle school coach;
  • Stephanie Calkins, fourth-grade science.

At its meeting last week, the board hired 12 other staff members.

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Boyd eyes return to playoffs

Dusty Crafton arrived last August to take over a Boyd volleyball program searching for its first playoff appearance.

A few months later, the Lady Yellowjackets not only earned a spot in the playoffs but notched the program’s first postseason win.

“We had a lot of learning to do,” Crafton recalled. “One of the rewarding aspects was, you could see the marked improvement from the beginning to the end of the season.”

Starting Early

STARTING EARLY – Britney Howard blocks a shot during a Boyd team camp Monday. The Lady Yellowjackets start practice next week. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

While last year’s success during a 28-18 campaign gives her a solid starting point, Crafton will begin her second season with the Lady Yellowjackets Monday with a mostly different cast of players.

“In some ways we’ll be ahead of the game versus last year,” Crafton said. “But graduation took a toll on us. We’re very young.”

Boyd graduated two of its top hitters – Brooklyn Scarborough and Marley McCune. Crafton said they will have to rely on some young players to step up and fill roles on the outside.

Maddie Busch returns at middle blocker to provide some hitting and defense in the middle.

Baylie Harris, the Wise County Newcomer of the Year, will be able to help the young hitters from the setter spot. Harris handed out 632 assists last year, while also making 231 digs and serving 23 aces.

The Lady Yellowjackets will rely on their defense.

“Defense was a strength for us last year and I hope it will be again,” Crafton said. “We have a good libero.”

Senior Britney Howard returns at that spot. She made 448 digs in 2013, earning 9-2A Libero of the Year and Wise County Defensive Player of the year.

“She’s a good leader. She works hard every day,” Crafton said.

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Boyd ISD school day extended

Students in Boyd ISD will be in class 15 minutes longer each school day beginning in the fall.

This was one of several handbook changes approved by trustees Monday night, and it will allow for the addition of an advisory/tutorials period at the intermediate, middle and high schools.

Dismissals will begin with pre-K at 2:45 p.m. Other campuses will follow, with the final release set for 3:45 p.m. at the high school.

“Implementing that advisory period will be great for students who need help to get it, and students who are passing can use it as a study hall,” BHS Principal Scott Nedrow said. “It’s a win/win for everyone.”

Another change to the parent/student handbook will reduce the iPad issue fees from $45 to $30.

Fees for students who qualify for free and reduced lunches will remain the same – $20 for reduced and $10 for free.

“We didn’t spend near as much as we budgeted, so we feel like it would be appropriate to cut the parents a break,” Assistant Superintendent Barbara Stice said.

ADDITIONAL CHANGES

Other changes to the handbooks reflect items previously approved by the board.

In April, trustees implemented prerequisites for advanced courses at the middle and high schools. Students must meet minimum STAAR test scores and grade averages in similar courses before attempting an advanced class.

The school board also in April approved changes to calculating grade-point averages at the high school, beginning with this year’s freshman class. Only core course subjects, including English, foreign language, math, science and social studies, will factor into a student’s GPA.

Pre-AP, AP and dual class credits will continue to be weighted, but in a slightly different and more efficient manner. Students will have an additional 5 percent of their overall grade added on at the end of the semester for pre-AP courses. For example, if a student earned a 100 in a pre-AP course, they would be awarded a 105 at semester’s end for the class.

AP and dual credit courses will add on 10 percent of their overall score. Thus, a 100 would become a 110.

In the substitute handbook, trustees approved increasing substitute pay for paraprofessional/food service substitutes from $50 to $60.

In the employee handbook, the board also approved eliminating five sub-deduct days and adding a personal leave day.

“In sub-deduct days, rather than being docked your full daily rate, if you run out of days, we charge what it would cost to pay for your substitute,” Superintendent Ted West said.

For example, for an employee who makes $300 a day, $60 would be deducted from the day’s earning so the employee would still receive $240.

District employees receive five state sick leave days and three district days. Employees can also join the sick bank by contributing one personal leave day.

In addition, employees will be paid an incentive of $60 a day if they don’t use their personal leave days.

IN OTHER NEWS

The board also:

  • tabled action on increasing the maximum class size.
  • approved selling two tracts of delinquent tax properties – 1 acre and 2.55 acres – in Brighton Oaks. The properties did not generate any bids at an auction held earlier this month, but the district received a sealed bid paying $4,000 each, for a total of $8,000. “The sale price wouldn’t make up the difference for the back tax owed on those, but it would get the properties back on the tax roll,” West said.
  • recognized members of the FFA, who attended the state convention in Fort Worth earlier this month. Dillon Rose, Carlen Smith, Bailey Smith and Sequoia Smith earned Lone Star Degrees, the highest degree of membership the state FFA association can award. Daniel McCurdy received the state proficiency award.
  • approved a budget amendment to account for money paid by the Teacher Retirement System to the district. It was inadvertently left out of this year’s budget. “It’s always been done in the past,” district business manager Linda Ratliff said.
  • extended a contract with King, Moore, Truelove and Pharis, certified public accountants, for the annual audit. Cost is $18,900.
  • approved the district improvement plan.
  • heard a policy update on graduation plans as outlined by House Bill 5.

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Boyd ISD to outsource food service

District officials hope changes to the food service program at Boyd ISD will be more appealing for all involved – including the food served to students and the bottom line in the budget.

The school board Monday approved a bid from Aramark to provide food service for the district.

Since 2009, there has been a growing deficit in the district’s food service budget.

“We continue to lose money,” Superintedent Ted West said.

For this school year, district officials anticipated a deficit of $180,000, but a few modifications have lowered that number.

“Things have looked a little bit better the last couple of months due to the fact that we started to sell snacks,” West said. “It has helped out our bottom line a little bit.”

With the latest forecast, the district stands to lose about $160,000. If the district retained the food service program, it would be looking at a deficit of about $143,000 in the upcoming school year.

However, with Aramark taking over the program, the loss is expected to be cut nearly in half to $75,000. And in five years, the district is slated to profit.

“The savings will come with the way they (Aramark) purchase groceries in bulk,” West said. “They also plan to employ marketing strategies to increase participation.”

That includes revamping the cafeterias to look like “mall food courts” complete with displayed menus and pictures of the food.

“It looks like a place you would want to go,” West said.

To further capitalize on the benefits, the district will partner with Paradise ISD.

“The two of us could partner and share resources, and that’s what would help make it so cost effective for us,” West said.

Compared to Paradise ISD, the numbers for Boyd look a little more favorable. That is largely because Boyd ISD has a food service director, Angie King.

“Ms. King will still be our food service director, but there will probably be something like an executive director from Aramark, who will be in charge of the entire program,” West said. “Paradise is without a food service director. So this person from Aramark will spend, say, 80 percent of their time working more closely with Paradise, and Paradise will be paying more of that fee. Ms. King will work hand-in-hand with that director.”

The remaining food service staff will remain intact, and employees will have the opportunity to remain a district employee.

“They would keep making the same money they were with us and be on our benefits schedule and pay into TRS (Teacher Retirement System),” West said. “Or if it was a better situation for them personally then they could become an Aramark employee.”

As an Aramark employee, an individual could draw unemployment when school is out of session for more than one week.

Although there could be some changes in hours, all procedures would have to first be approved by the board.

“Whether they’re a district employee or Aramark employee, they would still be doing the same jobs,” West said. “There is no expectation; we’re not trying to push them off to Aramark; we’re not trying to keep them with us. We want it to be an individual decision for each employee. We’ve done this with our transportation folks, and it’s worked pretty well.”

The district opted a few years ago to outsource its transportation services to Goldstar Transit.

The buses the district uses say “Boyd ISD” but Goldstar operates them, and the district pays them a fee.

“We’ve had a great relationship with GoldStar Transit in doing this same thing with our transportation, so I’m comfortable,” West said. “I think it will be successful.”

District officials also received a bid from Southwest Foods. Although Southwest proposed a guarantee of about $50,000, $25,000 less than Aramark’s bid, Southwest’s plan would raise meal prices by 50 cents.

“If we wanted to increase participation, the last thing we want to do is raise the prices,” West said. “That $75,000 (proposed by Aramark) is indicative of not raising prices.”

The contract with Aramark is a year-to-year agreement.

“I say that it’s worth giving it a run,” West said. “Lets see where we are after a year. If it looks like they’re going to turn this thing around like we anticipate them to, then we can approve them again for the next year. If not, we’re not going to sell all of our pots and pans. If we need to take it back over, we’ll take it back over, and we’ll still have a staff in place …

“As long as we do what they ask us to do, there’s no reason why we can’t get that guarantee.”

PERSONNEL

After meeting in closed session for half an hour, trustees approved changes to staffing.

At the recommendation of West, the board accepted the following resignations: Shawn Bryans, Derek King, Hillary Terry, Meagan Wilson, Misty Shephard and Toni Jenkins.

Then trustees hired the following staff members: Kelsey Wilson at the elementary school; Eden Sultemeir at the intermediate school; Jolynn Tucker and Donna Bolejack at the middle school; Patricia Ruddock as nurse for the middle and intermediate schools; Anne Murray, Rayna Glasser, Susannah Keneda, Laura Napolitano, Erica Warner and Randy Brawner at the high school; and Angela Kilcrease for the technology department.

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Upcoming Sports Camps

DECATUR EAGLE FOOTBALL CAMP – Decatur football coach Mike Fuller and his staff will hold a skills camp for players between grades seven and nine from 7 to 9 p.m. July 28-31 at Eagle Stadium. The cost is $80 and $60 for each additional family member.

BOYD VOLLEYBALL CAMPS – Jennifer Pennington will hold a camp at Boyd this summer for middle school players 10 a.m. to noon July 28-30, and for high schoolers 1 to 4 p.m. on those dates. The middle school camp is $60 and high school session $75.

BRIDGEPORT VOLLEYBALL CAMP – The Bridgeport Sissies volleyball camp is slated for July 28-Aug. 1.

BRIDGEPORT ATHLETIC PHYSICALS – Physicals will be offered for $20 at the Bridgeport High School Training Room July 24. Girls are to report at 5 p.m. and boys at 6 p.m. All athletes entering grades seven, nine and 11 must have a physical before the first day of practice for their sport. Any athlete who has had a broken bone, concussion, major illness or surgery in the past 12 months must also get a physical.

BOYD ATHLETIC PHYSICALS – Physicals will be offered for $10 for Boyd middle school and high school male and female athletes from 5 to 7 p.m. July 28 at the Boyd field house.

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Kimberly Ann Oates Starnes

Kimberly Ann Oates Starnes

Kimberly Ann Oates Starnes, 55, a co-owner of Starnes Construction and MS Ranch in Boyd, died Monday, July 21, 2014, in Boyd.

Funeral is 10 a.m. Friday, July 25, at First Baptist Church in Boyd with the Rev. Mark Autry officiating. Burial will follow at Boyd Cemetery.

Visitation is 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church in Boyd.

Pallbearers will be Brian Wilson, Trey Luttrell, Troy Lackey, Jared Cate, Brent Wilson, Phillip Beyer, Toby Miller and Kevin Cate.

Kimberly was born Dec. 21, 1958, in Bridgeport to James Henry and Sylvia Louise (Findley) Oates. She married Mark Allan Starnes May 2, 1980, in Paradise.

Kimberly was preceded in death by her parents.

Survivors include her husband, Mark Starnes of Boyd; sons Ryan, Shane and Chasen Starnes, all of Boyd; granddaughter Jalynn Starnes; brothers Gaylen Oates and wife, Debra, of Paradise, Michael Oates, Pat Oates and wife, Cristi, of Bridgeport; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, family members and friends.

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Boyd Intermediate School Sixth Six Weeks Honor Roll

A HONOR ROLL

FOURTH GRADE – Madison Bowen, Sofie Horton, Noah Richardson, Reagan Shepherd, Ethan Stump, Jacob Taylor, Tristan Warnell

FIFTH GRADE – Regan Barber, Trinity Bennett, Madison Bradberry, Melanie Byrd, Kearstin Cruz, Kevin Gutierrez, Dillon Inman, Jackson Moats, Sophia Palomo, Railey Pegues, Veronica Perry, Devin Prim, Kyndal Scroggins, Zeb Souder, Naida Uribe, Ethan Wilson

SIXTH GRADE – Alex Bracey, Emma Clark, Nelly Duran

A/B HONOR ROLL

FOURTH GRADE – Edwin Alcivar, Marco Baeza, Iethan Bagwell, Coit Clamon, Ally Evans, Cy Ferguson, A. J. Fite, Nina Flack, Ogden Garcia, Haley Gaught, Autumn Hays, Kylie Hays, Ethan Henkel, Garrett Jackson, Christopher Kacala, Kylie Lacaze, Rendyn Lamance, Emylie Luttrell, O’dayin McBride, Dalton Medlock, Cullen Morrisett, Ashtyn Orr, Makynzie Pappajohn, Giselle Patino, Cole Pennington, Jayce Rasbury, Samuel Rodriguez, Fernando Salas, Brayden Shelton, Macie Troxell, Ella Wissmann, Austin Young

FIFTH GRADE – Darien Adams, Angelica Atkinson, Keeten Bagwell, Kelden Bentley, Destini Chafer, Christian Chittenden, Darrell Cordell, McKenzie Eustace, Whitt Hill, Braedon Hopkins, Carson Johnenne, Abbi Kinser, Mycaila Loya, Paden Nations, Jessie Nelson, Chayse Pappajohn, John Raynor , Chloe Rodriguez, Quinn Samuels, Andrez Segura, Bethany Sessums, J.T. Sims, Rylee Spencer, Daniel Stone, McKinzie Tyler, Crystal Valderrama, Thai Vongpathoum, Jared Widing

SIXTH GRADE – Salome Angel, Paytin Bullard, Cortney Clamon, Jessi Crohan, Hunter Doughty, James Gaught, Miranda Gorostieta, Katie Holmes, Beverly Jenkins, Ashton King, Marti Luttrell, McKenzie Martinez, Nathan Mints, Gunner Ragsdale, Rebeca Rodriguez, Clay Rodriguez, Ashlee Rogers, Levi Tate, Luchas Vonck

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Boyd Middle School Sixth Six Weeks Honor Roll

A HONOR ROLL

SEVENTH GRADE – Mia Bounds, Michaela Burman, Aubrey Cates-Parr, Mandy Crooks, Austin Eustace, Bailey Gaught, Andrew Gray, Jasmine Hammett, Abby Hays, Maile Hopkins, Christopher Karcher, Colton Lawson, John McCurdy, Hannah Palomo, Connor Richardson, Kody Risenhoover, Blake Rodgers, Caleb Rodriguez, Andrew Wallace, Ashlyn Williams

EIGHTH GRADE – Jacquelyn Bailey, Kristain Bowen, Kali Bunch, Cheyenne Burch, Abigail Crohan, Gabe Gauna, Randall Kelton, Cody Lawson, Macey McCune, Kristin Rasbury, Mariah Robinson, Marc Trammel, Wyatt Walker

A/B HONOR ROLL

SEVENTH GRADE – Sarah Alexander, Bobbie Bernard, Eylon Bernard, Natalie Cole, Jacklon Cozby, Melissa Crenshaw, Autumn Erdmann, Hayley Etter, Brodie Fitzgerald, Jennifer Gomez-Montes, Zachary Hill, Diamond Holden, Khloe Holden, Ashley Kosman, Tristan LeMasters, Carson Lira, Randal Long, Lucas Loya, William Lumpkin, Larrin Maxwell, Onora MCauley, Scotlan Meador, Hadley Miller, Koby Miller, Eduardo Miramontes Flores, Madison Nix, Matthew Oldham, Landyn Orr, Hannah Radke, Tyler Ried, Raegan Sanchez, Riley Tackett, Meagan Terry, Caleb Travis, Peyton Vess, Colton Williams

EIGHTH GRADE – David Anderson, Joaquin Angel, Jacquelyn Bailey, Robert Barber, Hailey Christian, Nolan Clark, Lee Crohan, Cheyenne Dodson, Hailey Dorsett, Trevor Drake, Meghan Farrell, Jacob Faust, Bethany Freeby, McKinley Furgerson, Alex Garcia, Jacob Goyne, Rebecca Jordan, Tori Kinser, Kaelin Kinsey, Raychel Larrentree-Velasquez, Justin McCarmack, Kyelynn Miller, Yesenia Moncada, Cruz Montes, Courtney Moore, Dawson Moore, Sara Renfro, Brittany Roberts, Leonel Salas-Montelongo, Kathleen Soky, Thomas Tilson, Estefani Valderrama

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Wise lands more than 50 on Weatherford College dean’s list

A host of Wise County students were among the 400-plus named to the Weatherford College Dean’s List for spring 2014.

To be eligible for the Dean’s List, a student must take 12 or more semester hours, have no grade lower than a C and meet the minimum grade-point average. The GPA system is based on a one-to-four rating.

Wise County students earning the honor, listed by their hometowns, were:

Alvord: Trevor Hardee; Christina Overton and Maribel Vargas.

Boyd: Derek Martin; Abram Moreno and Sarah Smith.

Bridgeport: Torie Carter; Sharlyn Fagan; Alexis Garrett; Joshua Hartsell; Gabriel Huerta; Taylor Hulsey; Tina Jennings; Annbra Johnson; Alexandra Martinets; Danielle Mindieta; Martha Sanders and Garrett Wagner.

Chico: Hannah Avants; Kimberly Bible; Elizabeth Brown; Damian Delgado; Callie Fuller; Ramiro Loza; Dee McHenry; Luke Plummer; James Redwine; Molli Umphress and Tiffany Vislosky.

Decatur: Rosaura Aldape; Victoria Aldape; Amanda Byrum; Sarrah Ennis; Zachary Flaherty; Selena Galindo; Wilson Garrett; Lacy Hankins; Brittany Hargrave; Jeffrey Keller; Martha Maldonado; Rebekah McGregor; Nathan Mitchell; Mercedes Moreno; Victoria Myers; Brandon Pelton; Sonia Resma; Venancio Rodriguez; Yanet Rodriguez; Karol Saenz and Kelsey Smith.

Paradise: Kristina Kemp and William Ngetich.

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Area students make TWU dean’s lists

Texas Woman’s University has released its dean’s and chancellor’s list for the Spring 2014 semester, and 15 Wise County students made the grade.

Undergraduate students who complete at least 12 hours and achieve at least a 3.5 grade-point average are eligible for the dean’s list.

Students who earn a 4.0 GPA are named to the chancellor’s list.

Those making the lists from Wise County, and their majors, were:

Alvord: Vanessa Alberts, sociology

Boyd: Alyssa Lomerson, social work; Kristina West, nursing (4.0)

Bridgeport: Angelica Reyes, dental hygiene (4.0), Kristie Sandoval, interdisciplinary studies

Decatur: Maria Arellano, interdisciplinary studies (4.0); Kari Gage, interdisciplinary studies (4.0); Megan Maxwell, business administration/marketing; Rachel McGregor, interdisciplinary studies (4.0); Katlyn Sanders, interdisciplinary studies (4.0); Kitara Wright, communication sciences (4.0)

Justin: Cherlyn Fraser, health studies (4.0); Amanda Harris, communication sciences (4.0); Gennel Lassen, interdisciplinary studies; Julie Nolting, interdisciplinary studies (4.0); Kiara Reed, fashion merchandising; Paula Scotton, nursing (4.0): Esther Simental, dental hygiene (4.0); Nikki Vasquez, art (4.0); Erin Wages, child development (4.0); and Maggie Watkins, interdisciplinary studies (4.0)

Paradise: Taylor Blount, nutrition (4.0); Saira Fernandez, undeclared

Rhome: Bettina Davis, dance; Maritza Mauricio, business administration

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Boyd school board to begin budget talks

The Boyd school board is ready to begin its work on the school district’s financial plan for next year.

Following its regularly scheduled meeting Monday, trustees will hold a budget workshop.

During the regular meeting, the board will discuss and consider:

  • purchasing tax property in Brighton Oaks;
  • an annual contract with King, Moore, Truelove and Pharis, Certified Public Accountants;
  • establishing a maximum class size;
  • the district’s food service program;
  • the district improvement plans;
  • budget policy regarding academic achievement graduation; and
  • a budget amendment.

They will also review handbooks for students/parents, employees, custodial/maintenance personnel and substitutes.

In closed session, trustees are to discuss personnel matters and real property. If they take action, they will reconvene into the public meeting to do so.

Trustees will also review minutes, pay bills and hear reports from the superintendent, assistant superintendent, superintendent’s secretary, business manager, director of technology, principals and athletic director.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Boyd ISD Administration Board Room, 600 Knox Ave. It is open to the public.

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Variance creates needed parking

A variance granted Tuesday by the city council could help alleviate a parking issue in downtown Boyd.

The council granted a variance request for 5-foot setbacks for property at 313 E. Rock Island.

The additional space would allow for more parking around three office suites that are in the planning stage.

“One of our biggest problems in downtown and on (Texas) 114 is parking,” councilman Rodney Holmes said. “We can never have enough parking. I’m all for having as much parking as we possibly can on 114.”

City secretary Joy Patterson said she received no response to the six letters she sent to neighboring property owners.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, city officials heard from Greg Leveling of USW Utility Group about enlisting his company’s services to handle the city’s water.

They will further discuss the matter as they continue to develop next year’s budget plan.

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Brawner joins Boyd staff

Former Godley head football coach Randy Brawner is joining the Boyd coaching staff.

Brawner, who led Godley to a 9-4 season and the Class 2A Division I Region II semifinal last year, will coach the offensive line along with track at Boyd.

“He’s a good coach. I’m glad to get him,” said Boyd coach Brandon Hopkins. “He’ll help me running the offense. It’ll be a big plus.”

Brawner went 50-11 in five seasons at Godley. He was the offensive coordinator at Aledo before going to Godley.

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Merleta Hon

Merleta Hon

Merleta Hon, 90, a retired grocery store clerk, died Tuesday, July 15, 2014, in Boyd.

Memorial service is 2 p.m. Friday, July 18, at Trinity Baptist Church in Boyd with the Rev. Charles Day officiating.

Merleta was born May 25, 1924, in Winters to Homer and Eva (Taylor) Porter.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her first husband, William Day in 1959; her second husband, Frank Hon in 1976; and her brother, Billy Jack Cunningham.

She is survived by her daughter, Carol Waldrop and husband, Lee, of Boyd; son Charles Day and wife, Patsy, of Decatur; four grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; six great-great-grandchildren; stepdaughter Martha Roberts of Abilene; and other family members and friends.

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2 homes charred in separate fires

2 homes charred in separate fires

Fire ravaged two mobile homes in separate incidents early Friday morning. The blazes were reported within 30 minutes of each other.

Boyd Blaze

BOYD BLAZE – Firefighters from Boyd, Newark and Cottondale battled a house fire in the 300 block of Brighton Oaks Drive early Friday morning. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Just after 12:30 a.m., firefighters from Boyd, Newark, Cottondale and Briar responded to reports of a “fully-engulfed double-wide” in the 300 block of Brighton Oaks Drive south of Boyd.

The homeowner, Erik Harshman, and his dog escaped without injury. Harshman said he was asleep in his recliner when he awoke to a room filled with smoke.

“I felt like I was choking,” he said. “So I cupped my hands around my mouth and went to the floor to get enough fresh air. And I crawled out.”

Although the fire is under investigation, Wise County Deputy Fire Marshal J.C. Travis believes it started on the front porch.

Damage to the home was extensive, and Harshman lost most of his belongings, Travis said.

Red Cross of Tarrant County was called to assist.

Secondary Fire

SECONDARY FIRE – A grass fire at the corner of Coyote Trail and Ridge Trail spread to an adjacent mobile home and completely gutted the double-wide. It was not occupied. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Just before 1 a.m., firefighters from East Wise were dispatched to reports of a grass fire at the intersection of Coyote Trail and Ridge Trail in New Fairview. However, the flames spread quickly and clipped a vacant double-wide in the 100 block of Ridge Trail.

Rhome, Decatur and Paradise fire departments were called in to assist.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Wise County Fire Marshal Chuck Beard said the home is a total loss.

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Boyd City Council to discuss budget

Planning for the 2014-2015 budget will soon begin in the city of Boyd.

The council will wrap up its meeting Tuesday discussing the financial plan for the upcoming fiscal year.

Officials will begin the meeting with a closed session to discuss pending or threatened litigation and real estate.

The council will convene into open session to consider taking action on those matters before holding a public hearing to consider granting a variance request for 5-foot setbacks for property at 313 E. Rock Island.

Greg Leveling of USW Utility Group will also talk to the council about water and wastewater operation.

The council will also review minutes and invoices, and hear reports from the police, public works, parks and library departments.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Boyd Community Center, 420 E. Morton Ave. It is open to the public.

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Remington Gage Erskine

Hubert and Leticha Erskine of Boyd announce the birth of a son, Remington Gage, on July 8, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 6 pounds, 5 ounces and was 18 inches long.

He has two brothers: Jeron, 2, and Eddie, 1; and two sisters, Acelee, 7, and Stephanie, 21.

Grandparents are Crissy Wisener of Boyd and Sharry Blanton of Azle.

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Coach for all seasons; Hopkins leads teams to playoffs in fall, spring

For Boyd’s Brandon Hopkins there truly is no offseason.

While serving as athletic director at his alma mater, he is the head coach of the Boyd football and softball teams. He also assists the girls basketball team and track squad.

“I do stay busy – but that’s why I do the job. I like to coach kids and help make kids better,” Hopkins said. “Coaching here to me is not a job. It’s part of my life. And I’ve never thought of it as a 9-to-5 job.”

Juggling a Busy Schedule

JUGGLING A BUSY SCHEDULE – Boyd athletic director Brandon Hopkins stayed busy this year coaching the Yellowjacket football team and Lady Yellowjacket softball team to the playoffs. He also served as an assistant for the girls basketball team that made the playoffs. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Hopkins’ tireless work ethic rubbed off on his teams this past year. His Yellowjackets football team took third place in District 5-2A to advance to the playoffs. The Boyd softball team set a school record for wins with 25 and made it into the second round of the playoffs. The Boyd girls basketball team also advanced to the postseason with him on the bench assisting Lynn Cranfill.

For his hard work and success in 2013-14, Hopkins earned the Wise County Coach of the Year honors.

Green and gold are the only school colors Hopkins has ever worn, going all the way through school at Boyd. He earned second team all-state his senior year on the football field, catching 35 passes for 700 yards.

He also excelled on the baseball diamond, earning a chance to pitch at Cooke County College in Gainesville. After a year-and-a-half playing baseball, he finished college at the University of North Texas.

When he graduated, he was quickly hired by his high school coach, J.G. Cartwright. The interview process didn’t take long in 1997.

“I knew everything about him,” Cartwright said in 2012. “I knew he was intelligent and the type of coach he’d develop into.”

Hopkins spent 15 years on the sidelines with Cartwright. He took over as offensive coordinator for the Yellowjackets in 2001 and called plays for Boyd’s state championship team in 2004.

When Cartwright decided to retire in 2012, he recommended Hopkins to replace him. The Boyd school board agreed with the recommendation and hired him as the head football coach and athletic director.

“That meant a lot,” Hopkins said about Cartwright’s blessing. “We were so close, and he knew I’d do a good job.”

Under Hopkins, the Yellowjackets have carried on the same success. Boyd went 7-5 in Hopkins’ first season at the helm, advancing to the area round of the Class 2A Division I playoffs.

In 2013, the Yellowjackets faced a lot of adversity due to injuries.

“We didn’t play one full game with all our starters,” Hopkins said. “We fought the injury bug and concussions. We had our top receiver go down the first game and then lost another top receiver.”

But despite the injuries and an 0-4 start with losses to Gunter, Palmer, Godley and Sanger, the Yellowjackets turned things around in District 5-2A play. Boyd won four of its first five district games to earn a playoff spot.

“The kids overcame a lot,” Hopkins said. “The kids stepped up and made plays. Considering all the injuries, it was a good year.”

Boyd quarterback Clay Barnett credited Hopkins for helping to guide the team to the playoffs.

“He’s a good coach. He’s quiet at times but knows how to get his point across and make people work,” Barnett said.

Van Alstyne made it a brief playoff stay for the Yellowjackets, handing them a 35-8 loss in bi-district. But Hopkins didn’t have long to dwell on the loss. He was helping out the girls basketball team the next day.

It was the first of many days on the court with the Lady Yellowjackets, who made the playoffs.

And as basketball went into February, Hopkins found himself doing double duty, helping with practice in the gym, then heading to the softball field.

He took over the softball program 17 years ago and has taken the Lady Yellowjackets to the playoffs most years. This year, with a roster full of veterans, the team turned in their best season ever, going 25-8 and reaching the area round.

Working with a talented team, Boyd all-state catcher Savannah Foster said the skipper pressed the right buttons.

“He’s a good coach. He doesn’t say much, but if we do something wrong he says what we need to do to fix it,” Foster said. “He definitely wants to see all his athletes do well. You can see he enjoys coaching.”

While balancing all his duties, Boyd athletes never feel Hopkins sells any of them short.

“He does a good job staying on top of everything,” Foster said.

Barnett added: “He handles it all well. He’s always there and focused on what he’s doing.”

As a head coach of boys’ and girls’ sports, Hopkins said he gets an opportunity few athletic directors get.

“It’s an interesting dynamic. There’s not many ADs who switch over and coach two girls sports,” he said. “I have just as much interest in the girls side as the boys side.”

Coaching all the sports means long hours throughout the year, especially in the spring with extra maintenance on the softball field.

Even his summers are full, with workouts and 7-on-7 tournaments

“I take the week of Fourth of July off,” he claims.

“You’ve got to enjoy what you’re doing. I’m not in it for the money. It has to mean a lot to you.”

But he doesn’t claim all the credit for the success of his Boyd teams this past year.

“I have a great family and a wife that helps tremendously,” Hopkins said. “You’ve also got to have good coaches around you. All our coaches do their part.”

One day, Hopkins expects to slow down a bit. But that won’t be anytime soon.

“When you know you can help, why not help?” Hopkins said. “If there’s a need, I’m going to do it.”

That’s the Boyd way – the only way he knows.

“It’s a blue-collar town. It’s not glitz and glamour. It’s all about hard work,” Hopkins said. “We try not to take the easy route. If it’s easy, everyone would do it.”

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Trio earns TSWA recognition

Boyd catcher Savannah Foster received her second state recognition after a stellar junior season.

The Boyd backstop earned honorable mention over the weekend on the Texas Sportswriters Association’s Class 2A softball team.

Foster, who made the Texas Girls Coaches Association team and was the 9-2A Defensive Player of the Year for a third time, batted .460 from the leadoff spot with 28 RBIs, two homers, six triples and 17 doubles. She owned a .980 fielding percentage and threw out 11 of 14 base runners attempting to steal. She also picked off another six runners.

Foster’s battery mate Chelsea Arlington also received honorable mention. Arlington went 14-6 with a 4.30 ERA in the circle for Boyd. At the plate, she hit .443 with three home runs and 57 RBIs.

Northwest outfielder Tuesday Dermargosian earned honorable mention for the 5A squad. The speedy outfielder batted .567 and scored 23 runs.

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Mavine Hardage Meason

Mavine Hardage Meason

Mavine Hardage Meason, 68, a deli operator, died Thursday, June 26, 2014, in Boyd.

Funeral is noon Saturday, June 28, at Hawkins Funeral Home in Bridgeport with Pastor Allan Lobaugh officiating. Burial will follow at Anetta Cemetery.

Pallbearers are Calvin Hunter, Kevin Parsley, Ronnie Blackwell, Jason Peninger, Jerry Mullings and Tanner Floyd.

Mavine was born June 1, 1946, in Gurdon, Ark., to Dayton and Jessie Mae (Smith) Hardage. She married Kenneth Meason Sept. 7, 1964, in Marietta, Okla.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Kenneth; and two sisters.

Survivors include her daughters, Sherry Sexton of Azle and Debra Meason and husband, John, of Lakeside; sons Kenny Meason and wife, Vonica, of Arizona, Mike Meason of Azle, Brian Meason and wife, Allison, of Springtown and Rusty Meason and wife, Suzanne, of Saginaw; 18 grandchildren; sisters Martha Frame of Boyd, Linda Jenkins of Boyd and Beverly Harvey of Azle; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

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