From Brazil to Bridgeport

Sao Paulo, Brazil is a long way from Bridgeport, Texas – but Bridgeport High School exchange student Raquel Vale says she is right at home in the Lone Star State.

The 17-year-old Brazilian student came to Bridgeport in August as a part of the high school’s foreign exchange program, where she stays with Principal Jaime Sturdivant, Sturdivant’s husband, Steve, and daughter Megan.

Right At Home

RIGHT AT HOME- Raquel Vale, holding the jersey, poses with her host family, (from left) Bridgeport High school Principal Jaime Sturdivant, her daughter Megan Sturdivant and husband Steve Sturdivant, who also teaches at the high school. “We watched the World Cup a lot to learn about where Raquel was from,” Jaime said. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“There’s been a lot of differences, but it’s been fun,” Raquel said of her stay in America so far.

Raquel will stay with the Sturdivants for the entire school year, and will then return to Brazil to graduate from high school in Sao Paulo.

“One of the stipulations of the program is that she can’t go home during the entire year because they believe that will hinder her experience,” Sturdivant said.

Sturdivant was first approached to host an exchange student two years ago, but passed because that was the year her son Jared started college at the Air Force Academy.

“But, they kept calling, and last spring, we started the process and selected our student.”

Studying is the Same Everywhere

STUDYING IS THE SAME EVERYWHERE- Megan Sturdivant and Raquel Vale go over notes for class. “In Brazil, we have 11 classes, so the workload is heavier,” Raquel said. “There’s not as much emphasis on sports at my school.” Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Raquel hit the ground running, she said. Her first day in Texas was spent shopping at Target (she had never been to one before), trying Mexican food and exploring the Fort Worth Stockyards. The next day, she started two-a-days for volleyball.

“We don’t focus that much on sports in Brazil,” Raquel said. “We mostly just study, so all that enthusiasm took some getting used to. But it’s nice how everyone just teams up and supports each other.”

Sturdivant said the biggest thing she’s taken away from hosting Raquel is that teenagers are the same no matter where they’re from.

“We got to communicate with Raquel through Facebook and Skype for a while, and her and Megan were in constant contact before she got here,” she said. “Megan had planned out concerts they wanted to attend, and they like so much of the same stuff, and that’s been an interesting thing to realize that all teenagers have the same interests.”

“And the same problems,” Raquel added.

Megan, also a junior, said having Raquel around helps her focus more on her own schooling.

“She’s really smart, so she goes home and does her homework, so it makes me think, ‘Oh, I should do my homework too,’ and it pushed me to do better,” Megan said.

Raquel said the biggest differences she’s seen so far are how spread out Bridgeport is compared to Sao Paulo, and how busy American culture is compared to Brazilian culture.

“The driving age in Brazil is 18, so it’s weird to see people younger than me behind the wheel, but I get why they have to drive – walking everywhere is hard to do here,” she said. “And the pace is so quick. Sao Paolo is the fastest-paced place in Brazil, and it’s still way more laid-back than America.”

Sao Paulo, with a population of more that 11 million people in 588 square miles, is the largest city in Brazil – quite the opposite of the stereotype of South America many Americans have.

“When I first got on the volleyball team, they were wondering if I was going to be taller or darker-skinned,” Raquel said. “One of the biggest misconceptions is that we’re all from the Amazon or something. We have public transportation and huge buildings.”

Sturdivant added that hosting Raquel wasn’t just a great experience for her family, but beneficial to other high school students, too.

“It’s a great way for the students to learn about other countries as well, and kind of break down those stereotypes, so the kids have been very accepting of her,” Sturdivant said.

Raquel, while away from home, keeps in touch with her family through Skype and Facebook and said the thing she misses the most about Brazil is her friends and family. But she’s enjoying her stay in Bridgeport.

“I like all the different foods, like Whataburger and Mexican food,” she said. “And I’ve started to finally understand football. At first I was confused, but now I know most of the rules.”

And the Sturdivants enjoy hosting Raquel. Sturdivant said they don’t know if they would host a student again, but they would be open to it since this has been such a great experience.

“We just really lucked out and we got a great exchange student that we treat like one of our own. I really do consider her a part of the family now.

“Hopefully we can keep in contact for a long time.”

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Problem Solvers take on identity theft

According to the Texas Attorney General’s Office, more than 25,000 Texans every year say they are victims of identity theft.

This year, the Bridgeport Middle School Problem Solvers group hopes to reduce that number in Wise County.

The group won third place in the middle division of the civic/cultural category at the Future Problem Solving Program International Conference in Ames, Iowa last summer, and is already hard at work on their next project.

With 25 6-8th graders taught by Paula Shepherd, the team is seeking to educate the county about identity theft, and how citizens can eliminate their risk by shredding important documents like bank statements or credit card bills.

Called Team WISE (Wise County Identity Safety Education), the group wants to set up a “Shred day” in the county to let people come and safely get rid of all of the important documents they no longer need.

“We know we won’t be able to stop all identity theft, but we can offer a service to let people know they can choose to shred their stuff, if they want,” said Emily Casper, a student in the program.

The project involves students being on one of eight committees: Scrapbook, Photography, Public Relations, Fundraising, Research, Reporters, Inspectors and Supervisors. All will work together to help put the finished project together in February.

The group is already starting to examine ways to implement their goal.

“One way we want to figure it out is if it is measurable – we were thinking about measuring it by counting how much paper was shredded and recycled, and see if we could go from there,” student Kirby Russell said.

“We’re also going to start working with the police so they don’t have to do as much work with combating identity theft,” student Zach Eubanks said.

For many of the Problem Solving students, the project is an opportunity to learn more than they can get in the average classroom.

“It helps me be creative and think outside the box – this class is more talking to people, being creative and finding out new ways to solve the problem,” student Jacob Marshall said.

For others, the joy lies in simply finding out a new way to provide a community service.

“I think it’s cool just being able to help out the community,” student Camden Hand said.

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Football: Bulls look to drop anvil on Coyotes

The Bridgeport Bulls (5-3, 2-1) return home for the last time this season on Friday to square off against the Anna Coyotes (2-6, 1-2).

“It’s a little emotional for our seniors, but I think everyone’s excited to play with that kind of intensity, knowing that it’s the last home game,” head coach Danny Henson said.

Charging Ahead

CHARGING AHEAD – Bridgeport’s Keenan Holdman fights through a tackle against Krum. The Bulls play Anna Friday. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

The Bulls have come a long way from where they were this time last year, on the cusp of an 0-10 season, but Henson said he doesn’t want his players thinking about that just yet.

“Hopefully we’re not reflecting on last season too much,” he said. “We’re just trying to focus on the remaining games a week at a time, and then we’ll start reflecting on the season.”

Bridgeport put up 41 points to win against Aubrey last week as Brazier Talley ran for 106 yards and Trey Cook threw for four touchdowns and 182 yards. Their defense held Aubrey to 14 points, and Henson said Anna’s quick offense means the defense will have to step up again.

“[Anna] brings a lot of speed – there’s some skilled kids that are really fast,” Henson said. “Their size isn’t as big as some other teams we’ve faced, but they’re fast. They’re also real good at throwing deep, so our pass defense is going to have to step up a bit.”

Anna junior running back Isaac Armijo boasts 777 yards and five rushing touchdowns on the season, as well as sophomore Daunte Rose, who has 333 yards and two touchdowns.

“We’re just going to have to play the game that we play and do a good job of driving the football down the field,” Henson said.

ANNA (2-6, 1-2) AT BRIDGEPORT (5-3, 2-1)

7:30 p.m. at Bull Memorial Stadium

Anna: Harris Rating 187

Notable: Anna junior running back Isaac Armijo boasts 777 yards and five rushing touchdowns on the season.

Bridgeport: Harris Rating 202

Notable: Brazier Talley ran for 106 yards last week against Aubrey.

Harris line: Bridgeport by 21

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Time for a change in Precinct 4

Wise County’s Precinct 4 has had a tumultuous past few years, especially when it comes to the Precinct 4 commissioner position.

The Terry Ross felony indictment seemed to be the peak of the chaos, but this November will determine if Precinct 4 wants to continue the trend. This November, voters will choose between Gaylord Kennedy, who was working for Ross when Ross was indicted, or Kristina Kemp, who has over a decade of experience in business management, financial accounting, and personnel supervision.

It’s no secret that Kristina Kemp is the first woman to run for the commissioner position in Wise County’s history, but what is pleasantly surprising is how well-received this fact has been by the voters of Precinct 4.

Perhaps it is all of her volunteer work for CASA, the Wise County Animal Shelter, and numerous other organizations that she has been helping. Perhaps it is her quick ability to learn, which, in this situation, is only aided by her experience working with budgets in the tens of millions and her experience in the construction industry.

Regardless of what it is that people find appealing about her candidacy, I hope Precinct 4 will realize the clear choice before them and elect Kristina Kemp as the next county commissioner.

Lena Wells

Editor’s Note: Kristina Kemp is the second woman to run for county commissioner. In 2006, Margaret Penney of Boonsville ran against Terry Ross and Willie Garrett in the Republican primary for the Precinct 4 commissioner post.

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Bridgeport city administrator retires after 4 years

Bridgeport City Administrator Brandon Emmons’ retirement announcement may have come as a surprise to those members of the audience who remained, but for Emmons, the career move is right on schedule.

“When I was applying for this job four-and-a-half years ago, the council asked the traditional ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ question,” Emmons said Thursday. “My answer was, ‘I see myself retiring from the city of Bridgeport.’ When I got into municipal government 20 years ago, one of the goals I had for myself was to get to a point in my career where I could step aside and do other things.”

The 44-year-old Emmons announced his retirement following an hour-long closed session at the end of a city council meeting Tuesday night. He said he would take this opportunity to explore some non-profit interests and do consulting work in Waco. Money was also a factor, he said Thursday.

“November is my deadline for full retirement benefits, so the timing was just right for me to step aside and let the new administration take over and try some new challenges.”

One of those challenges involves charity work in Namibia, Africa – a place Emmons visits frequently.

“I really like foreign travel, and normally whenever I go to Africa it’s a week of hunting and a week of working in a village community,” Emmons said. “There’s this orphanage in Outjo I want to spend more time at, use my skills as a city administrator to help them with whatever they need.”

Then, he said, he’d like to come back and work as a consultant.

“I’d like to work with businesses that want to thrive down in Waco,” he said. “They’re all intertwined with governmental services, so they’re looking for someone who has ties with municipal government who can help them.”

Emmons, who began his tenure as Bridgeport’s city administrator in April 2010, said he is proud of what the city has accomplished in the last five years. He would love to stick around to see the new road improvement project completed – but “if you’re using an ongoing project that you’re working on as a reason not to retire, then you’re not going to get to that list. There’s always going to be another project.”

He is most proud of four years of balanced budgets, qualified audits and improved bond ratings from Standard and Poor’s. Standardizing utility billing rates is a huge accomplishment as well.

“It used to be that we would have a lot of human error with counting [water and electric] meters, because people would physically have to drive to every meter in the city and input the numbers manually,” he said. “That resulted in people getting billed for 30 days while their neighbors got billed for 28 days, and it wasn’t standardized at all.”

The city is also on track to receive the state’s “Superior Drinking Water” designation this year.

“We’ve accomplished a lot in the time I’ve been here, and I’m extremely proud of all of it, but I hope that by the time they find my replacement, it will be going so smoothly that they’ll be saying ‘Brandon who?'” Emmons said.

The council will meet behind closed doors Tuesday, starting the process to find Emmons’ successor. That could take longer than the three months’ notice Emmons gave.

“I hope they find someone by December, but realistically, it’ll probably be six to eight months before they find anyone,” Emmons said.

A statement released Thursday expressed the city’s gratitude to Emmons for the last four years of service.

“The city of Bridgeport will be forever grateful to Emmons for his years of leadership and dedication, and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” the statement said.

For his part, Emmons said he is both nervous and excited to begin this next stage of life.

“I’m lucky enough to be able to retire at a young age and pursue some things I’m passionate about, but I’m nervous and excited at the same time. We’ll see what happens.”

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125 years of Mass in Bridgeport

A Wise County church will celebrate more than a century of services Sunday.

St. John the Baptizer Catholic Church will commemorate its 125th anniversary with a countywide Mass and dinner at 3 p.m. at 1801 Irvin St. in Bridgeport.

Anniversary Celebration

ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION – Rosa Villarreal, JoAnn Mann and Margaret Smith stand in the sanctuary while Fr. Thomas Dsouza stands at the altar of St. John the Baptizer Catholic Church in Bridgeport. The four of them will join in the church’s 125th anniversary celebration Sunday at 3 p.m. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The church has seen many changes since it was started in 1889 by coal miners who brought priests from Henrietta to town once a month. Masses were celebrated in people’s homes, since a church wasn’t built yet. The first Mass was at Catherine Conner’s house.

Conner’s great-granddaughter, Margaret Smith, still attends St. John’s today.

“The altar cloth that’s hanging up in the back of the fellowship hall now was the same one used at that Mass, and I still have the chalice that they used, too,” Smith said.

Smith has been attending St. John’s for 78 years. In that time, multiple building extensions have been constructed and 22 priests have come and gone while the church’s Hispanic membership has grown significantly. One thing that hasn’t changed, she said, is the sense of community she feels there.

“I’ll talk to a lot of the visitors that come here, and they’ll say I was the first one that actually talked to them – not like other churches,” she said. “Going here, it’s not like going to a bigger church, where you don’t see the same people twice.”

Other longtime St. John’s members echoed her statement.

JoAnn Mann started attending services at St. John’s in 1970, when she was 26 years old. By that time, the church had a new building and a growing roster of parishioners.

“There’s a long history of people here, and I love them all,” Mann said. She said she likes going to the Spanish Mass the church offers on Saturday nights, even though she isn’t a native Spanish speaker.

“If you go long enough to the Spanish Mass, you learn all the parts in Spanish, and in fact, I sing better in Spanish than I do in English,” she said. “We’re all brothers and sisters in Christ.

“A hug is the same in Spanish as it is in English.”

The church’s welcoming atmosphere is not lost on visitors, office worker Luli Duran said.

“Everyone that comes in here, even the ones from Decatur, they say, ‘It feels more like a church,’ and they say that it feels like home,” she said. “That’s because we’re country people, I guess. We make it feel like home.”

The church has undergone several major renovations since it first opened. Hallway extensions for classrooms, and a larger fellowship hall, were added as the parish grew, and stained glass windows were commissioned in honor of former members who died.

The doors that lead into the church foyer are brand-new, and there is more space in the parking lot than ever before. The ever-growing facility is indicative of the church’s growth, Fr. Thomas Dsouza said.

Dsouza came to Wise County from India 17 months ago, and he said he’s continued to see more new people every Sunday.

“I’ve seen a lot more people join than normal – There’s more Spanish than English, but there’s a lot more people,” he said.

Dsouza said he’s expecting more than 400 people at the anniversary celebration Sunday, which will include a mass at 3 p.m. at St. John’s, followed by a catered meal from Dos Chiles and a presentation of some of the church’s historical artifacts, including the altar cloth and chalice from Smith.

“It should be a great celebration,” Smith said.

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If you want a bid, attend a city council meeting

There’s an old saying that “80 percent of success is just showing up.”

If that’s true, it was in full force Tuesday night when the Bridgeport City Council awarded competitive bids to two groups who were in attendance that night.

The first, Century 21’s Sue Meek, was awarded a bid to sell property on the Rutherford Ranch after her profile was evaluated by the council. Meek was one of two possible Realtors at the meeting competing for the bid, and Mayor Corey Lane took notice.

“I think anyone looking for work who shows up here deserves our attention,” Lane said. Meek’s bid was approved 3-0-1, with Councilman Jimmy Meyers abstaining. Councilman Bobby Brazier was absent.

That same principle applied to landscaping companies looking to maintain properties that have recently been turned over to the city. Cut and Grow, Butch Haas and All-Wise Garden Center were all considered for the bid, but representatives from Cut and Grow were in attendance Tuesday night. Their attendance worked in their favor, too.

“Based on the precedence of people that are here getting the bid, I say give it to Cut and Grow,” Councilman David Correll said.

Cut and Grow’s bid was approved 3-1, with Meyers dissenting.

At the end of the meeting, following a one-hour closed session, City Administrator Brandon Emmons announced his intent to retire Dec. 26.

“About two weeks ago, I met with most of the council members and announced my intent to retire,” Emmons said. “I spent the last 20 years of my life in municipal government, and I’ve had the opportunity to retire early and explore some opportunities in the private sector. My last day will be Dec. 26, and I’ll be able to explore some of my passions, such as foreign travel and nonprofit work.”

Emmons said he’s also getting married next year, and although it’s an exciting time, he’s also nervous about the career change.

“The four-and-a-half years that I’ve lived in Bridgeport have been great, and we’ve accomplished a lot,” he said. “Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be holding some special meetings to discuss how to proceed after I leave.”

The council also:

  • amended the city’s fee schedule to include a Brewer’s Self Distribution Permit and Distiller’s Agents Permit fee.
    “We don’t really need the fees now, but it’s a good idea to go ahead and start implementing them should the need ever come up,” City Secretary Jesica McEachern said.
  • amended the fiscal year 2013-14 official budget to account for actual revenues and expenses and
  • listened to a presentation from Brian Haynes of Halff Associates on the city’s road improvement project. The project would improve the city’s roads over three phases through April 2016 and cost $4,390,000. A contractor for the project should be chosen in December.

The council’s next meeting will be a special session 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28, to discuss Emmons’ replacement. The next regular meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 4. Both meetings will be at 900 Thompson St. and are open to the public.

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Bulls punch Aubrey, playoff ticket

The Bridgeport Bulls (5-3, 2-1) punched their ticket back to the playoffs with a convincing 41-14 win at Aubrey Friday night.

The Bulls used a bruising running game, deadly accurate passing and some strategic punts to keep the Chaparrals (1-7, 1-2) out of the end zone even though they moved the ball well much of the night.

After going winless last year, every victory tastes particularly sweet this year according to coach Danny Henson.

“We’re all cognizant of the turnaround,” he said after the game. “Last year was such a tough year – tough on everybody. For our kids that stuck with it and are out here playing so well, it’s just great to see.

“It makes the wins a little sweeter because of last year’s struggles.”

Quarterback Trey Cook completed 16 of 21 passes for 182 yards and four touchdowns, hitting receivers Raby Hawkins and Keenan Holdman in full stride for three 40-plus yard strikes.

Holdman opened the Bulls’ scoring with a 47-yard end-around in the first quarter, then caught TD passes of 40 and 44 yards in the third frame to ice the game.

“I thought we did a really good job of protecting the quarterback and running sharp routes, and the balls were right on target,” Henson said. “Some of those deep balls were really well-thrown.

“We also had a lot of short passes that I thought the timing was good, the accuracy was good and the routes were good,” he added. “Those were crisp.”

Hawkins scored the final touchdown on a three-yard run with just under nine minutes to play.

Bridgeport’s other touchdown came on a short pass that Brazier Talley turned into a touchdown late in the second quarter.

Talley led the Bulls on the ground with 16 carries for 102 yards.

In a game with only five flags and 20 yards in penalties, an early penalty cost Aubrey dearly when a 60-yard run was called back for illegal motion.

The Chaps were forced to punt, and two plays later Holdman went around the right side, lit the jets and sailed 47 yards to paydirt.

On the first play of the second quarter, Cook hit Hawkins in full stride for a 41-yard touchdown pass.

Aubrey battled back with a long drive that ended in a four-yard touchdown run by Phillip Wilds.

Bridgeport answered. Cook completed a 17-yard pass to Hawkins on a 4th and 3 to put the ball on the Aubrey 8, then Talley took a short pass to the end zone to make it 20-7 with 2:08 to play in the first half.

As the second half opened, the Bulls got a 19-yard gain from Holman, then on the next play Cook found him up the middle for a 40-yard touchdown as he carried a defender into the end zone.

Aubrey mounted another drive on the strong running of Wilds and Delbosque, scoring to make it 27-14 with 5:30 to play in the third.

But Cook struck right back, this time finding Holdman for a 44-yard fingertip catch and run, making it 34-14 late in the third.

Aubrey got a roll and notched a 61-yard punt that rolled out at Bridgeport’s 4 yard line – but the Bulls promptly pounded out a 96-yard drive, culminated with a 3-yard dive by Hawkins. Efrain DeLuna’s kick put the final margin on the board.

“We’re 2-1 in district and we control our own place,” Henson said. “We’ve got a chance to end our season with two wins, finish second in district – nobody’s going to beat Celina – and end up with a 7-3 record.

“Once we get in the playoffs, hopefully we can do some good there,” he added.


Bridgeport … 7 … 13 … 14 … 7 … – … 41
Aubrey … 0 … 7 … 7 … 0 … – … 14

First Quarter

Bridgeport – 3:24, Keenan Holdman 47 run, Efrain DeLuna kick


Bridgeport – 11:53, Raby Hawkins 41 pass from Trey Cook, DeLuna kick

Aubrey – 6:34, Phillip Wilds 4 run, Cesar Pe a kick

Bridgeport – 2:08, Brazier Talley 10 pass from Cook, kick failed


Bridgeport – 10:45, Holdman 40 pass from Cook, DeLuna kick

Aubrey – 5:30, Wilds 4 run, Pe a kick

Bridgeport – 2:17, Holdman 44 pass from Cook, DeLuna kick


Bridgeport – 8:44, Hawkins 3 run, DeLuna kick


First Downs … 18 … 15
Rushes-Yards … 33-219 … 46-218
Passing Yards … 182 … 37
Total Yards … 401 … 255
Comp-Att-Int … 16-21-0 … 5-15-1
Punts-Average … 2-53 … 5-32
Fumbles-Lost … 1-1 … 2-1
Penalties-Yards … 2-10 … 3-10


Rushing: Bridgeport, Brazier Talley, 16-102; Aubrey, Jon Delbosque, 16-62.

Passing: Bridgeport, Trey Cook 16-21-0-182; Aubrey, Cole Cannon, 5-15-1-37.

Receiving: Bridgeport, Keenan Holdman 6-110, Raby Hawkins 6-51; Aubrey, Tyler Willliams 3-27.

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Volleyball: Victory eludes Sissies in district

Lake Worth kept the Bridgeport Sissies winless in District 8-4A Tuesday with a three-game sweep.

Bridgeport (5-25, 0-6) fell 25-18, 25-15, 25-23.

“We played a little tense in the beginning and it was difficult to overcome as the match went on,” said Bridgeport coach Rebekah Cummings.

Jessica White and Kensley Turner put down four kills apiece for the Sissies. Sadie White added three.

Nikki Barbour doled out eight assists, and Ryhan Read five.

Defensively, Read and Ally Raby recorded seven digs each. Mariah Leyva and Turner had six apiece.

Bridgeport traveled to Decatur Friday, and will close out the season at home against Castleberry Tuesday.

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Rosellen Ruth Williams

Laura Heimcich and James R. Williams of Bridgeport announce the birth of a daughter, Rosellen Ruth Williams, on Oct. 15, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 9 pounds, 12 ounces and was 20 1/2 inches long.

Grandparents are Laura Heimcich of Bridgeport and Kathy and Lawrence Griffin of Bowie.

Great-grandparent is Linda Brown.

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Bridgeport school board pitches soccer program

The Bridgeport school board kicked around the possibility of a soccer program during Monday night’s meeting.

The discussion came toward the end of the meeting as Superintendent Eddie Bland asked the board to talk about the pros and cons of soccer in the district.

“We need to see what the numbers are on students wanting the program, especially if they’re playing other sports like baseball, basketball and softball,” he said. “Those are the ones that will be in direct conflict with soccer season.”

Other possible conflicts that came up were whether the program would be UIL-sanctioned or a club sport, and what would happen if there was demand for a girls’ team, but not a boys’ team.

“What happens with Title IX if we’ve got a bunch of girls who want to play, but not enough boys? Would we still have to have a boys’ team?” board member Scott Stowers asked.

Board member Steve Stanford suggested talking to this year’s seventh and eighth graders, since they would most likely be the first group to experience the program if it happens, given the UIL’s two-year scheduling system.

Other board members pointed out that any Bridgeport soccer program would fall to the bottom 5 percent of the teams in its division due to the district’s student population.

The board decided to conduct a survey among students to see if there was enough interest to commit to the program.

Athletics dominated the last half of the meeting as well. Baseball field renovations are scheduled to begin Oct. 28, and the board agreed to begin speaking with architects soon about construction of a new high school football stadium.

Construction on that should begin sometime this school year.

Academic facility discussions also got a lot of air time, including progress on a new agricultural sciences barn and the installation of electronic signs at all four campuses. The ag barn is still a work in progress, and signs should be going up soon.

The board also:

  • recognized all of the district’s principals and assistant principals, in keeping with Gov. Rick Perry’s declaration of October as Principal’s Month;
  • heard a monthly finance and yearly investment report; and
  • heard a report on the Gomez and Gomez Two-Way Dual Language Bilingual Program, which received high ratings for its implementation and execution.

The board’s next meeting will be 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 17, the administration building, 2107 15th St. It is open to the public.

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13-year-old struck by car

A 13-year-old boy was struck by a car in the 800 block of 17th Street in Bridgeport Sunday morning.

He was transported by ambulance to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur with apparent minor injuries, according to Bridgeport Police Sgt. Ricky Schwartz.

The accident occurred at 8:47 a.m.

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Historical societies to preview museum

The Paradise Historical Society will host a countywide historical society meeting 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, at the Sagebrush Cafe, 1020 Halsell St., in Bridgeport.

The meeting will include a presentation and a prelude visit to the soon-to-be-open Wise County Veterans Memorial Museum, The Forgotten Wars.

Col. Robert C. “Bob” Johnson, USMC-Ret., will give a presentation, and volunteers will escort small groups to and from the new museum, just a block away. Col. Johnson said this is a “sneak-peak” into what the museum will offer to Wise County citizens.

Though certain areas will be devoted to World War I and World War II, the majority of the displays will be designated to more recent wars and conflicts often forgotten in traditional museums. Donations to support the museum will be accepted during the tour. For information, contact Donna Weeden,, 940-859-3691.

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Football: Bulls look to go over .500 in district play

In their third week of district play, the Bridgeport Bulls will travel to Aubrey looking to rebound after a tough 52-6 home loss to Celina last week.

Bridgeport (4-3, 1-1) gave up 658 total yards last week against a Nathan Elliott-led offense that scored on almost every drive in the first half. Bridgeport head coach Danny Henson said the Bulls understand what’s at stake heading into the next week.

Leading the Way

LEADING THE WAY – Bridgeport receiver Keenan Holdman scored his team-leading 15th touchdown last week against Celina. The Bulls and Holdman will look to knock off Aubrey Friday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“I think the coaches and players all understand that the further we go into district play, the games become more and more do-or-die,” Henson said. “We’re 1-1, Aubrey’s 1-1 in district right now, so we’re getting prepared for them just like we would any other game. We have to get used to Aubrey’s wing-T and other formations, so that’s a lot of new things to learn for the kids.”

Aubrey (1-6, 1-1) lost their last game 17-0 to Krum. Three of their six losses this season have been shutouts, the biggest one a 47-0 rout at the hands of Pilot Point.

They boast a strong running game in fullback Phillip Wilds, who has rushed for 521 yards and seven touchdowns this season.

“Defensively, that’s who we’ve got to look out for – Wilds and their quarterback, who’s also a pretty good runner,” Henson said.

Aubrey quarterback Cole Cannon has 95 rushing yards and one touchdown on the season.

BRIDGEPORT (4-3, 1-1) AT AUBREY (1-6, 1-1)

7:30 p.m. at Chaparral Stadium

Bridgeport: Harris Rating 200

Notable: Receiver Keenan Holdman scored the Bulls’ lone touch down against Celina.

Aubrey: Harris Rating 186

Notable: Aubrey has been shut out three times so far this season, once in district play.

Harris line: Bridgeport by 14

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Volleyball: Springtown passes Sissies

The Bridgeport Sissies couldn’t get their attack going Friday, falling in three games to Springtown.

The Sissies fell 25-12, 25-6, 25-9.

“We didn’t generate enough offense to stay in the match and our defense was slow on the net and back row,” said Bridgeport Coach Rebekah Cummings. Bridgeport fell to 5-24 and 0-5 in District 9-4A.

Sadie White led the Sissies with three kills.

Nikki Barbour and Kendall Scott handed out two assists each.

Mariah Leyva made six digs. Barbour dug four shots.

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Randy Bass

Randy Bass

Randy Bass, 64, a self-employed machinist, died Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014, in Bridgeport.

Funeral is 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, at Hawkins Funeral Home in Bridgeport with the Rev. Fred Bellah officiating.

Randy was born Nov. 14, 1949, in Eldorado, Ark., to Bill and Betty (McCauley) Bass. He married Connie Bridges June 26, 1986, in Decatur.

Randy owned and operated CCR Machine.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Survivors include his wife of 30 years, Connie Bass of Bridgeport; daughter Crystal Watkins and companion, D.J. Bradley, of Bridgeport; sister Susan Zisakis and husband, Gus, of Boulder City, Nev.; brothers Richard Bass and wife, Carrie, of Perris, Calif., Ron Bass and wife, Sue, of Little River, S.C., and Jeff Bass of Mena, Calif.; mother-in-law Doris Bridges of Paradise; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, other family members and friends.

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Upcoming Halloween Events


SPOOKTACULAR – Bridgeport Parks and Recreation will host the Spooktacular Fall Festival 5:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, at Bridgeport Community Center. The free event will include a zipline, rock wall, rat race, candy, games, popcorn, cotton candy, balloon animals and face painting. There will be magic shows at 5:45 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 7:45 p.m., and a costume contest sponsored by Bridgeport Main Street at 6:15 p.m.

The Great Pumpkin

THE GREAT PUMPKIN – Piles of pumpkins can be found at farmer’s markets, produce stands and grocery stores around the county. Some families transform them into jack-o-lanterns, while others choose to enjoy their natural beauty. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

FALL FEST – The First Baptist Church of Bridgeport will have a Family Fun Fall Fest 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, at the church’s Family Life Center. There will be free food and candy, a bounce house, obstacle course, games and prizes. Wear costumes. The church is at the corner of Texas 114 and Cates Street.

COSTUME PARADE – Bridgeport Main Street’s Suit Up and Say Boo Halloween Costume parade down Halsell Street is 5 to 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31. It begins at Bridgeport Stage, 1009 Halsell St. The street will be closed from 4:45 to 6 p.m. for the event.

HALLOWEEN NIGHT – Various streets will be closed 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31, in the Oakland Heights Addition for trick-or-treating.

FEARAPHOBIA – The Fearaphobia Haunted House at 1407 Carpenter St. in Bridgeport is open 6 to 10 p.m. Thursdays and 6 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays until Nov. 1. Tickets are $15 and $10 at the door for adults and children under 12, respectively, and $10 and $5 online at There will also be a children’s haunted house for those who feel they might get too scared going on the actual tour. If the event breaks even, designer Robert Chaney plans to give the proceeds to a local charity.


HAUNTED HOUSE – The Chico Community Volunteer Fire Department will have a haunted house 6 to 9 p.m. every Friday and Saturday in October at the Old Chico Middle School, 400 S. Hovey St. Admission for 12 and under is $3 and 13 and older is $5. All proceeds will benefit the fire department. The haunted house will also have a “kid’s hall” for smaller children.


SPOOKY TALES – Decatur Public Library is hosting Tales from the Critt, a Halloween-themed spoken word program with audiobook ace C.J. Critt, 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27. A veteran of Broadway and a staff writer at Radio Disney as well as the original voice of America’s favorite bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum, Critt will channel the voices of various mystery and suspense authors she has recorded in her 20-year career with Recorded Books and Harper Audio, and will treat the audience to some classic spooky fare and a lively question-and-answer session. Suggested age is 13 and up.

TRICK OR TREAT NIGHT – Decatur City Council voted to move the city’s trick-or-treat observance to Thursday, Oct. 30, to avoid a conflict with the Eagles’ final home football game Oct. 31. The council agreed to designate Deer Park Road as one-way, northbound, between Eagle Drive and Preskitt Road from 5:30 to 10 p.m. on the 30th to help ease traffic problems in some of the city’s more popular trick or treating areas.

FALL FESTIVAL – Gover-nor’s Ridge Fall Festival is 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30. There will be a bounce house, games and prizes, a merry-go-round, goblin walk and a hot dog supper, plus trick or treating.

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Meeting Previews for Saturday, October 18, 2014


BOYD ISD – The Boyd School Board meets 6:30 p.m. Monday and plans to discuss approving a Boyd High School field trip to the FFA National Convention in Louisville Kentucky as well as construction plans for a show animal project facility. The board will also consider softball field renovations.


LICENSING LIQUOR – The Bridgeport City Council will discuss adding alcohol beverage licenses and fees to the city’s code of ordinances at its meeting Tuesday night. It will also discuss fiscal year 2013-14 budget adjustments; award a city landscaping bid to either All Wise Garden Butch Haas, or Cut and Grow; and consider a proposal for a real estate broker to sell Rutherford Ranch. The meeting is at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 900 Thompson St. and is open to the public.

SOCCER, ANYONE? – The Bridgeport School Board will discuss adding a soccer program to the high school at its meeting Monday night. The board will also hear reports on the dual-language program and the district’s Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) score. It will also continue earlier discussions about possible facility renovations. These include Bull Memorial Stadium and baseball dugout renovations, as well as the building of an agriculture science barn. The meeting is at 7 p.m. at 2107 15th St. and is open to the public.


PARADISE COUNCIL – The Paradise City Council meets 6 p.m. Monday to discuss street closures for the Jingle Run and a church-sponsored autumn event. The council will also decide whether or not to purchase a building and discuss road repair and the Wise County Appraisal District’s contract for billing and collection services.

PISD MEETING – The Paradise School Board will meet 6:30 p.m. Monday and plans to set a date to canvass the Nov. 4 election results and for the employee appreciation dinner. The board will also consider the district’s contract with Wise County Appraisal District for collections.

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Football: Bobcats scathe Bulls

It was rough going for the Bridgeport Bulls Friday night against Celina in their second District 3-4A II matchup of the season. The Bobcats held the Bulls to just 6 points, forcing Bridgeport to punt on 5 of 6 first half possessions.

Celina, on the other hand, scored on all but one of their possessions in the first half, where they scored a majority of their 52 points.

Running Room

RUNNING ROOM – Celina’s Jarren Alexander tries to escape Bridgeport’s Jacobe Martinez and other Bulls in the Bobcat victory Friday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Bridgeport didn’t score until receiver Keenan Holdman caught a 25 yard pass from Trey Cook to make the score 35-6 late into the second quarter.

The Bulls’ score wouldn’t change after that, but the Bobcats kept at it.

Celina quarterback Nathan Elliott threw for 388 yards and five touchdowns, not letting up until the third quarter, when both of Celina’s touchdowns were scored on runs from Jarren Alexander and Trace Young. The team would go on to earn 658 yards on the night, 270 of which were rushing yards. “It was going to be difficult to try to win in that game, just because their running game is so powerful, and you can’t really match up with their lineman,” Bridgeport head coach Danny Henson said. “They’re good. They were able to completely shut down our offense, and we weren’t able to run or throw effectively.”

The Bulls managed to pull together 121 yards on offense, but failure to convert on downs and a few interceptions doomed them in the end.

Henson said he is still optimistic about the rest of district play, though.

“We’ve got three games left, and the chance to get second place in our district and go 7-3, and those are great things, especially considering where we came from to start this season,” Henson said.


Celina … 14 … 21 … 14 … 3 … – … 52
Bridgeport … 0 … 6 … 0 … 0 … – … 6


Celina – 3:18, Nathan Elliott 17 pass to Chase Marler; Eduardo Paulino kick.

Celina – 1:47, Elliott 27 pass to Braydon Watson; Paulino kick.


Celina – 11:43, Elliott 79 pass to Jarren Alexander; Paulino kick.

Celina – 5:03, Elliott 20 pass to Watson; Paulino kick.

Celina – :50, Elliott 15 pass to Trace Young; Paulino kick.

Bridgeport – :14, Trey Cook 25 pass to Keenan Holdman; Luna kick no good.


Celina – 10:55, Alexander 8 run; Paulino kick.

Celina – 3:16, Young 42 run; Paulino kick.


Celina – 7:15, Paulino field goal.


First Downs … 29 … 7
Rushes-Yards … 52-270 … 18-11
Passing Yards … 388 … 110
Total Yards … 658 … 121
Punts-Average … 0-0 … 6-34.5
Fumbles-Lost … 3-0 … 1-0
Penalties-Yards … 7-58 … 3-15


Rushing: Celina, Alexander, 14-80, Young, 6-56; Bridgeport, Grayson Mathes 6-14, Brazier Talley 7-10.

Passing: Celina, Elliott, 25-32 388; Bridgeport, Cook 8-24-2 80.

Receiving: Celina, Marler 6-121; Bridgeport, Holdman 4-43.

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Bridgeport looks to stay undefeated in district play

After waiting for more than two hours for a third-quarter lightning delay to end, the Bridgeport Bulls went back on the field to win their first District 3-4A Division II game against the Krum Bobcats 32-13 last Friday.

UP FOR GRABS – Bridgeport defensive back Seth Keener breaks up a pass intended for a Krum receiver. Keener would go on to intercept another pass, leading to a scoring drive for the Bulls. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

The Bulls led the Bobcats 24-6 before the start of the delay, with Krum only scoring one more time before the end of the game, which wasn’t over until well after midnight. Bridgeport head coach Danny Henson said the result was worth the wait.

“It’s kind of a bad situation, especially for the team that’s ahead, because you’ve got everything to lose,” Henson said. “Our [district] rules are that if you kick off the third quarter, and there’s more than a 15-point differential, you don’t come back the next day, you either wait and finish it that night or you call it and make that team the winner. And there has to be a consensus between both coaches for any decision to happen, and we both talked and decided we wanted to play a four-quarter game.

I was happy to get the win, and that’s where we wanted to be to start off district.”

The Bulls had 365 all-purpose yards last week, aided by a Trey Cook-Keenan Holdman tandem that brought in two touchdowns, as well as Cook’s touchdown passes to Raby Hawkins and Dillon Garrison. The Bulls also went 4-4 on two-point conversions after each score.

This week, the Bulls will face some other Bobcats, this time from Celina, who are also undefeated in district play.

“They’re a tough team to prepare for – they’ve got a real high-power defense, they come down hard on receivers,” Henson said.

Celina spent last Friday night beating Anna 49-13 at home. Quarterback Nathan Elliot threw for 252 yards and two touchdowns, while running back Jarren Alexander led the team in rushing yards last week with 188 yards and four touchdowns. Alexander has 514 yards and 6 touchdowns on the season.

Offensively, Celina has outscored its opponents 235-136 despite losing two games. That’s a testament to the defense Henson mentioned.

Henson added that while last week’s win against Krum gave the team momentum heading into this Friday, the Bulls are still preparing for a hard-fought game.

“We’re coming off a win, but so are they, and we’ve got to get out there every day and keep working at it,” Henson said.

CELINA (4-2, 1-0) AT BRIDGEPORT (4-2, 1-0)

7:30 p.m. at Bull Memorial Stadium

Celina: Harris Rating 235

Notable: Jarren Alexander has 514 yards and six touchdowns for the Bobcats.

Bridgeport: Harris Rating 207

Notable: Trey Cook has thrown 18 TDs and just 4 interceptions.

Harris line: Celina by 21

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