Agenda Briefs for Saturday, October 4, 2014

BRIDGEPORT COUNCIL TO MEET – The Bridgeport City Council will discuss community center rental fees, Halloween road closures, radio-powered utilities measurements and natural gas and water line contracts at its meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m. at 900 Thompson Street. The meeting is open to the public.

SCHOOL BOARD TRAINING SET – The Bridgeport school board will conduct its “Team of 8″ training and consider and take action on certified personnel at its meeting Monday night at 7 p.m. at 2107 15th Street.

CHICO COUNCIL MEETS TUESDAY – The Chico City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7, at City Hall. Agenda items include the Chicofest 5K route, Chicofest street closures, a lease/purchase of a backhoe, a purchase of a vehicle, a contract with the Wise County Appraisal District, various interlocal agreements with Wise County, a zoning change at 305 E. Kentucky and regular monthly reports.

P&Z COMMISSION TO MEET – Decatur’s Planning and Zoning Commission will meet 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7, in the council chamber at City Hall. Replat applications from Brenda Scott, as well as feedback from the city council regarding variance requests to the city’s sidewalk, curb and gutter ordinances, and the handling of escrowed funds for those items, are among the items to be considered.

WEATHERFORD COLLEGE BOARD TO MEET – The trustees of Weatherford College, which operates a campus in Wise County, will meet 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9, on the college’s main campus in Weatherford. Among the agenda items are reports on construction, enrollment and finances, contracts for printing, welding supplies, sonography and radiology equipment, policies and the annual evaluation of the college president, Dr. Kevin Eaton. The meeting is open to the public.

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Bridgeport Airport construction to begin Monday

The first construction phase of the Bridgeport Airport Improvement Project will begin Monday, according to a press release from the city of Bridgeport.

The project, funded by the Texas Department of Transportation through a 90/10 grant, will include a total reconstruction of the runway, taxiway and tiedown, broken into two phases.

Phase One, which should last six months, will involve the construction of a parallel taxiway and a portion of the fueling apron.

Phase Two, also expected to last six months, will involve runway construction and more work on the parallel taxiway. The runway will be extended to 5,005 feet and widened by 75 feet to accommodate bigger airplanes in the future. New lighting will also be installed.

The whole project is expected to take 366 days to complete.

The airport will be open for flight during Phase 1, but not during Phase 2.

“The city of Bridgeport sees this as an exciting development for the airport, one which will attract corporate business and leisure aircraft travel,” the press release states.

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Volleyball: Sissies fall in three

The Bridgeport Sissies challenged Springtown but couldn’t squeeze out a win Tuesday in the District 8-4A opener.

Springtown won the match 25-23, 25-17, 25-19.

“We played a competitive match but took too long to get out of rotations,” said Bridgeport coach Rebekah Cummings.

Offensively, the Sissies (5-20, 0-1) struggled to generate chances. Ally Raby and Kendall Scott led Bridgeport with three kills each. Ryhan Read, Jessica White and Sadie White added two each.

Nikki Barbour handed out four assists. Raby and Scott had three each.

Leyva served two aces and made 10 digs. Raby recorded 11 digs, and Barbour seven.

Bridgeport looked to get its first league win Friday at Lake Worth.

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Mr. and Mrs. Harry Ames Jr.

Leah Coursey and Harry Ames Jr. of Bridgeport were married July 19, 2014, at Black Creek Farms in Decatur.

Greg Ames, brother of the groom, officiated the double-ring ceremony.


Mr. and Mrs. Harry Ames Jr.

The bride is the daughter of Travis and Kay Coursey of Bridgeport.

The groom is the son of Harry Ames Sr. and Carol Terhune of Salamanca, N.Y., and the late Sharon Ames.

Escorted by her father, the bride wore a white, strapless, A-line gown in satin that featured a side drape, beaded lace appliques and a chapel train. She also donned a white headband that had white leaves, Swarovski crystals, pearls and a scalloped veil.

She carried a bouquet of white roses, black Gerber daisies and turquoise mini poms, accented with white pearls, white tulle and black feathers.

The bride’s son, Jonathan Coursey, stood beside her as she wed.

Best man was David Jackson.

Flower girl was Sophia Nelson, niece of the bride, and ringbearer was Kason Nelson, nephew of the bride.

Guestbook attendant was Bryson Nelson, nephew of the bride. They are the children of Adam and Kristen Nelson.

A reception was held in the Black Creek Farms party barn.

Following a two-night stay at The Nest at Beaver’s Bend in Broken Bow, Okla., the couple live in Bridgeport.

The bride graduated from Bridgeport High School in 1989 and earned a bachelor’s of business administration from the University of North Texas in 1995. She works for Hulcher Services Inc.

The groom is studying information technology at UNT. He served in the Army National Guard from August 1984 to November 1999 and in the Army from November 1999 to June 2008.

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Noel Emmanuel Lopez

Roberto Lopez and Bettina Cooke of Bridgeport announce the birth of a son, Noel Emmanuel Lopez, on Sept. 29, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 9 pounds, 1 ounce and was 21 1/2 inches long.

He has one brother: Samuel Lopez, 4; and one sister: Eleora Lopez, 6.

Grandparents are Mark and Sharon Cooke and Jose and Juanita Lopez, all of Bridgeport.

Great-grandparents are Carolyn Pittman of Alvord and Don Cooke of Bridgeport.

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Rosa Carlotta Rodriguez

Paul Rodriguez and Kondle Brown of Bridgeport announce the birth of a daughter, Rosa Carlotta Rodriguez, on Sept. 25, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 8 pounds, 10 ounces and was 19 inches long.

She has one sister: Roxanne, 2.

Grandparents are Bobbie Taylor and David Coleman, Paul Joseph Rodriguez of Denton and Lisa Davila of Bridgeport.

Great-grandparents are Benny and Emily Davila of Bridgeport.

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Lily Ann Sellards

Jeremy Sellards of Bridgeport announces the birth of a daughter, Lily Ann, on Sept. 23, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 8 pounds, 13 ounces and was 20 3/4 inches long.

She has one sister: Madelyn, 4.

Grandparents are Carolyn and John Jicha of Azle, Charlie Martin of Rhome and Mike and Robin Sellards.

Great-grandparents are Lorraine Friese, Polly and Bill Jicha Sr. and Bill and Rose Sellards.

Great-great-grandparents are Blanche Hamel and Milley Leister.

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Kendon Dow Odom

Chris and Kaci Odom of Bridgeport announce the birth of a son, Kendon Dow, on Sept. 22, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 6 pounds, 11 ounces and was 19 inches long.

He has one brother: Brayden Odom, 5; and one sister: Kortnie Williams, 4.

Grandparents are Don and Kim Odom of Paradise and Rink Davis and Delaina Henderson of Bridgeport.

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2 hurt as train collides with truck

2 hurt as train collides with truck

Two people were seriously injured Monday afternoon when a Union Pacific train struck the cab of an 18-wheeler on a private driveway between Bridgeport and Paradise.


CRUSHED – The cab of the 18-wheeler reveals the damage sustained when it was struck by a train Monday afternoon. The truck driver and passenger were both flown to Metoplex hospitals. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The train was eastbound on the track, which runs parallel to Texas 114, when it collided with the truck at the driveway across the street from Don’s AC Service around 12:45. The force of the impact ripped the cab off the chassis.

The truck driver, Juan Torres Rios, 50, and a passenger, Cervando Iniguez Gonzalez, 36, of Bridgeport, were briefly pinned inside the cab.

Two helicopter ambulances were called to the scene. Air Evac Lifeteam 68 landed in a field across the street from the accident to transport one of the victims. The second victim was taken to the Paradise High School football field by ground ambulance to meet a CareFlite helicopter.

Both victims were flown to Metroplex hospitals. Their conditions were unavailable Tuesday afternoon.

No one on the train was injured.

Traffic on Texas 114 was briefly shut down while the helicopter was on the scene.

Jeff Degraff, director of media relations for Union Pacific, said the tractor trailer was approaching the crossing on the private road and “either ignored or went through” the stop sign at the crossing. Because the crossing was on private property, it did not have lights or crossing arms.

Degraff said he does not know if the train sounded its horn at the crossing. Although they are not required to blow the horn at a private crossing, if a vehicle is approaching, the train horn is typically sounded as a warning, he said.

Texas Department of Public Safety troopers responded to the scene, but once it was determined that the accident was on private property, the investigation was turned over to Union Pacific.

The locomotive sustained only minor damage and was later able to continue to its next stop in Dallas.

Wise County EMS, Paradise Volunteer Fire Department and the Wise County Sheriff’s Office also responded.

Crash Scene

CRASH SCENE – Monday’s accident happened on a private driveway right in front of a house. In the background, medics can be seen loading one of the patients into a helicopter. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

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Coal Miner’s Festival this Saturday

Bridgeport’s beginnings as a coal mining town will be relived this Saturday at the Coal Miner’s Heritage Festival in downtown Bridgeport.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., patrons can walk up and down Halsell Street and participate in a multitude of activities, including a chili cook-off, pumpkin patch pageant, pet parade, photography contest, live performances and a washer tournament. There will also be jump houses and pumpkin activities for the children.

Areas for college football viewing parties and Main Street merchants and food and craft vendors will also be available.

Chili cook-off participants need to register with the Chamber by 5 p.m. today. The entry fee is $50, and the Judge’s Choice winner will receive a $200 cash prize, a $50 Brookshire’s gift card and a trophy.

Pumpkin patch pageant participants will be able to register until 12:30 Saturday afternoon at the Bridgeport Stage. The entry fee is $20.

The photo contest is for adults and youth, with the youth category capping at 16 years old. There will be black-and-white and color competitions for both categories. The entry fee is $10, and participants must register by 5 p.m. today.

Entertainment will include demonstrations by various Bridgeport cheer groups, North Texas Karate and Cinco de Mayo dancers from Bridgeport Middle School.

The Coal Miner’s Heritage Festival is hosted this year by the Bridgeport Area Chamber of Commerce, the Bridgeport Historical Society and Bridgeport Main Street.

Contact the Bridgeport Area Chamber of Commerce at 940-683-2076 if you are interested in becoming a vendor.

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Building robots, building futures

Bridgeport, Texas, is a long way from Silicon Valley – but a new club at Bridgeport High School is giving students an opportunity to learn about technology and entrepreneurship.

The Bridgeport Robotics Club, led by math teacher Stuart Highlander, will compete in the upcoming Texas Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology (BEST) Robotics tournament in October. The club is currently building a robot for the competition, using materials given to them by the organization.

I Robot

I, ROBOT – Gus White and Kyle Baker make some adjustments to the wheels on the Bridgeport Robotics Club’s robot last week. The robot is designed to evade obstacles put in its place, such as prairie chickens. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

But they’re not just building robots and programming code – they’re learning how to market the robot as a product, just like any other tech start-up.

“We run it like a company,” Highlander said as he gestured around at the group of students. “I’m technically the CEO, and [Principal] Jaime Sturdivant is the president, and we have different components to the operation.”

The club was an after-school activity years ago but folded after Highlander left teaching for a 10-year hiatus working at a bank. Now he’s back, teaching math at Bridgeport High School.

When some students expressed an interest, he decided to get the club going again.

Dream Team

DREAM TEAM – Gus White, Nathaniel Strother, Lance Coe and Timmy Tamplen each work on their respective duties as members of the Bridgeport Robotics Club. White helps build the robot, Strother documents engineering changes and Coe and Tamplen handle the marketing for the robot. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Among the “components” Highlander mentioned are marketing, engineering and programming teams that will all help the club on its way to the BEST Robotics competition Oct. 18. This year’s game is “Blade Runner” – an exercise in building wind turbines while avoiding common farm obstacles, like prairie chickens.

In the actual competition, the robot will have to move along a set path through a simulated farm to avoid obstacles the judges put in its way.

The Bridgeport club will be competing against 22 other teams in the “Heart of Texas Hub,” one of 20 “regions” in Texas. They will enter the marketing, documentation, exhibit and interview and spirit and sportsmanship categories. The winner goes on to the regional competition at UT Dallas.

More than 11,000 students compete each year, according to Best’s website.

Highlander said his engineers are an interesting bunch to work with.

“They’re an eclectic team with all sorts of traits,” he said. “Academically, some are on top, some aren’t on top, but they all contribute different things to the project.”

Building Success

BUILDING SUCCESS – Gus White, Kyle Baker and Lance Coe examine the Bridgeport Robotics Club’s robot last Thursday. The team will compete against other North Texas robotics teams Oct. 18 in the Texas BEST competition. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Every day after school, in room 104, the dozen or so members of the club work in organized chaos – a robot here, a programmed calculator on wheels there, laptops everywhere. The team sometimes stays until 6, tweaking their robot.

Freshman Timmy Tamplen is responsible for marketing the club, which includes everything from helping build product logos to designing merchandise to sell to potential shareholders. Yes, they sell shares just like any other company ($5 a share) and will begin bringing in money once the school board approves.

“Right now, we’ve got wristbands, lanyards, stress balls, buttons, customized playing cards and koozies,” Tamplen said. “We’ve been pledging those going door-to-door, and we’ll deliver them once we get our stocks approved.”

That money will go to fund other ventures like a 3D printer, junior Lance Coe said.

“I also want to get them involved in other stuff, like computer assisted design [CAD] and things like that,” Highlander said.

Coe is on the marketing team with Tamplen, along with Keaton Harvester and junior Zane Brown.

Other team members include sophomore Nathaniel Strother, who documents every engineering move; senior Kyle Baker, who helps program the robot; junior Gus White, who helped design the robot’s wheels and forklift; and sophomore Kellen McCauley, who helps out where ever he can.

And then there’s 11-year-old Elizabeth Highlander – the head programmer. She’s Stuart Highlander’s daughter and said she has no problem working with a bunch of boys who are older than her.

“It doesn’t really bother me that I’m the youngest, since I rarely come to the meetings anyway,” she said. “I’ve been doing robotics stuff since I was 2.”

It’s clear that other members don’t mind having her around. Most of the students defer to her on important decisions.

“She’s technically the most experienced of all of us,” Coe said.

Principal Sturdivant gave Elizabeth permission to help out. The McCarroll Middle School sixth grader helped program a game for the Bridgeport club that simulates what the competition will be like in real life.

Highlander said while his daughter was the only girl in the room on the day of the Messenger interview, some of the best work the club has done in the past has been done by female students.

“The best machine we’ve ever built was made by two girls a couple of years ago,” Highlander said.

Highlander said the robotics club and encourages students to pursue what they’re good at.

“It gives kids like her an avenue to be the star and to be the problem-solver,” Highlander said. “We don’t want to coddle these kids, and that’s the great thing about this competition. It’s entirely student-run. They don’t want me making parts or building the robot. Each decision is made by the kids, and nine times out of 10, they’re right.”

That type of learning environment means that often, the students themselves become the teachers. If one displays a skill the others don’t have, for instance, that student might end up teaching the rest of the group for two weeks on how to build or program something. It’s a setup that mirrors real life, Highlander said.

“It’s a great thing for these kids because it teaches them that there are direct consequences to their actions out there on the competition floor,” he said. “What we always try to tell them is to fail well, and to fail often, and that success is often only one step away from failure.”

Many students got involved in the club after recognizing an interest in STEM subjects early on.

Baker, who helps program the robot’s forklift, said he became interested in programming during his freshman year, when he learned he could hack his school-issued Mac computer.

“Once I figured that out, I got more involved in the programming side of things, and here I am,” Baker said.

Others are hoping to use the club as experience for their future careers.

“I like working with robots because it helps me with what I want to do – I want to be a Navy pilot,” McCauley said.

It’s a long way from Silicon Valley, but it’s entirely possible some of these students will end up there someday.

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Bridgeport ISD Student Spotlights for Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Elementary School

Angelica Rose Grube

Grade: 2nd
Parents: Absalom Grube and Dawn Weyand

Favorite subject: Reading

Activities: Drawing, coloring, playing with her fuzzball and playing with her brother, Vincent

Why this student was chosen: “Angelica Rose is kind, helpful and willing to do whatever you ask of her. She is very responsible and always has a smile on her face.” – Principal Martha Bock

Intermediate School

Brooklyn Tucker

Grade: 5th
Mother: Sylvia Longoria

Favorite subject: Science

Activities: Cooking and roller skating

Why this student was chosen: “Brooklyn is helpful in all areas of the campus, always smiling and courteous. She’s dedicated to learning in and out of the classroom. She speaks English, Spanish and Italian and is passionate about cooking. She is a friend to all students and always tries to look on the bright side of life.” – Principal Jared Laaser

Middle School

Madison Andreasen

Grade: 8th
Parents: Jennifer Bynum, Ronald Andreasen

Favorite subject: English

Activities: Maroon Band, art, “Buddy” for Wise County Special Needs Baseball, student trainer for boys’ athletics, works in technology for her church (Crossroads in Decatur)

Why this student was chosen: “Madison excels in advanced classes and plays clarinet for the band. However, Madison is truly special for her sweet spirit and the quality of her character. She enthusiastically donates her time to serving special needs students and adults through her role as a buddy for Wise County Special Needs Baseball. She is also genuinely kind to her peers and classmates.” – Principal Travis Whisenant

High School

Vanessa Rojas

Grade: 12th
Parents: Antonio and Isabel Rojas

Favorite subject: Pre-Calculus

Activities: Spending time with friends and family, National Honor Society, Spanish Club, student council

Why this student was chosen: “Vanessa is one of those students that everybody likes and respects. She approaches everything she does with a smile and positive attitude. She is a natural leader and a role model for all students. Vanessa is a hard worker in the classroom.” – Principal Jaime Sturdivant

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Cross Country: Bulls’ Aguillar wins race in Poolville

Bridgeport’s Eric Aguillar jumped out to an early lead and held on for the entire race last week at Poolville.

Aguillar ran a 17:20 to win the three-mile event.

“It was very exciting to watch Eric start in first place and remain in first place for three miles,” said Bridgeport coach Dayna Hudson. “He ran strong and smart throughout the course. It was a well-deserved first-place medal.”

Bridgeport finished third as a team.

Salvador Garcia took seventh in 18:24. Manual Garcia was 19th in 18:59. Kellen McCauley came in 44th in 20:24. Jose Ramirez ran 20:37 for 46th.

The Bridgeport Sissies finished second.

“The girls did a great job running a new course that none of us had ever seen before,” Hudson said. “The girls rose to the occasion again, beating every team except for Paradise.”

Diana Garcia finished seventh in 13:30. Liz Wiedemann took 18th in 14:09. Jordyn Armstrong ran 14:36 for 26th. Sheridan Shallene was 29th in 14:45. Naomi Baca garnered 32nd in 14:48 and Shelby Preston 46th in 15:39.

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Volleyball: Godley sweeps Bridgeport

The Bridgeport Sissies Friday failed to build momentum heading into Tuesday’s District 8-4A opener.

The Sissies fell in three games to Godley, 25-12, 25-10, 25-6.

“We didn’t end the preseason the way we wanted to but look forward to district play,” said Bridgeport coach Rebekah Cummings.

Bridgeport (5-19) struggled to mount an attack, putting down eight kills. Sadie White led the way with two.

Ryhan Read recorded four assists.

Kensley Turner made six digs. Mariah Leyva dug five shots, and Amellia Hurtado four.

Jessica White blocked four shots.

Bridgeport opened district play Tuesday against Springtown.

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Old Bridgeport schoolhouse gets transformed into haunted house

Old Bridgeport schoolhouse gets transformed into haunted house

Scary rednecks, hungry zombies, mad scientists and angry butchers are just a few of the scares awaiting visitors to the Fearaphobia Haunted House in Bridgeport.

Clowning Around

CLOWNING AROUND – A clown exhibit is just one stop on the haunted house tour through an old Bridgeport schoolhouse on Carpenter Street. The haunted house opened on Friday and will stay open on weekends until Nov. 1. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The haunted house started tours Friday night and is located at the old high school building at 1407 Carpenter St. Runaway Bay resident Robert Chaney put the house together once again after last year’s premiere on Halsell Street in Bridgeport.

The new location enticed Chaney because of its old, spooky feel.

“My big draw is to get people who actually went here – people that will say, ‘Oh, I went to junior high here; I went to high school here,'” Chaney, a construction engineer, said.

Up in Arms

UP IN ARMS – Haunted house designer Robert Chaney poses in the butcher’s room at Fearaphobia. Chaney purchases or makes all of the haunted house props himself. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

According to the Bridgeport Historical Society’s website, the building was erected in 1924 and served as a high school until a new high school was built in 1959.

With 90 years in one location, Chaney said he wanted to see if the schoolhouse was haunted.

“We had a paranormal investigation team come in and look around, look at the building and look at our props,” Chaney said. “They said they found a lot of stuff.”

The team told Chaney that they found spirits attached to an old coffin and an old 1800s-era piano that are being used as props, as well as the spirits of a Mexican miner and two little girls. One story Chaney said he heard about the schoolhouse was that the ghost of an old teacher would throw erasers at students who acted up in class.

That spooky aura, combined with volunteer actors and many of Chaney’s graphic props, are what he hopes will scare people the most.

“The evolution of haunted houses over the last 15, 20 years, with the way the [horror] movies have become, you really have to take it over the top to get the shock factor,” Chaney said.

Chaney began doing Halloween-themed events years ago, when his wife, Lalisa, decided she wanted to throw a Halloween party, and then that morphed into a small haunted house on his property, which grew into a bigger haunted house, until finally it got so big that the Chaney family had to take their scares to downtown Bridgeport, where they set up last year.

Last year’s haunt raised money for a local charity, and Chaney said that if he breaks even this year, he hopes to donate money to local Wise County charities again.

“Last year, we probably had 1,000 to 1,500 people [visit] throughout the month, but if I can average 100 people a night and still donate to charity and then still donate gift cards to the people who help us, I’ll be happy,” Chaney said.

Chaney bought or made most of the props himself, traveling to different “haunt conventions” across the country and renovating the schoolhouse with the help of his wife and a handful of volunteers.

The haunted house opened Friday and will be open 6 to 10 p.m. Thursdays and 6 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.

Catch a glimpse of the haunted house below:

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Christmas in October; Children’s Theater Group holds auditions for play

It’s not Christmastime yet, but a few Bridgeport residents are already getting ready for the occasion.

Shelley McComis, along with Debra Underwood and Sherri Jones, are directing the newly formed Children’s Theater Group in a holiday adaptation of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.”

Auditions for the play are being held today from 10 a.m. to noon and again 2 to 4 p.m. at the Bridgeport Stage, 1009 Halsell St.

McComis said the idea for the play came from wondering why the theater wasn’t being utilized by Bridgeport youth.

“We just figured, Bridgeport’s got this great theater, and there’s lots of sporting events around the area, but if you’re someone who doesn’t do sports, then there’s not so much left to do,” McComis said. “We’re looking to start a theater group and do a play maybe two, three times a year, but right now, we’re just looking for interest.”

“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” is the story of six delinquent children who start going to the local church for the free donuts at Sunday school but soon get roped into participating in the annual Christmas pageant. It was written as a children’s book by Barbara Robinson in 1971, and it became a made-for-TV movie in 1983.

McComis said she chose the story because it was funny and had a good message. The story’s inclusive message could also be applied to the casting process that McComis is taking.

The play will need about 35 people, including cast, crew and technicians, McComis said. And, while the story’s main characters are younger children, anyone from age 6 to 18 can audition.

“There’s some adult parts in it, but we’re hoping to fill those with older kids, and just use costuming and makeup,” McComis said. “We want to get a lot more kids, kids that normally wouldn’t do theater.”

The Bridgeport Parks and Rec department agreed to help float the cost of the play, in an effort to see if the theater group would be something that the community would want.

“We’re always open to finding ways to offer more quality programming for the town,” Recreation Superintendent Chris Heasley said. “This could be a need for the community, especially if there’s a good showing at the audition, which I think there will be.”

Once a cast and crew is selected, rehearsals will be every Tuesday night starting Oct. 7, and the two performances at the Bridgeport Stage will be Dec. 13 and 14.

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Football: Blue Runaway – Eagles blast Bulls with big 3rd quarter

Football: Blue Runaway – Eagles blast Bulls with big 3rd quarter

After missing its opportunity to land knockout shots in the first half, the Decatur Eagles didn’t make the same mistake in the third quarter.

The Eagles turned an eight-point game at halftime into a 56-27 rout of the Bridgeport Bulls, putting up 21 straight points in the first seven minutes of the second half.

In the Open Field

IN THE OPEN FIELD – Bridgeport receiver Keenan Holdman breaks loose on his 80-yard jaunt to the end zone. He scored three times for the Bulls Friday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Quarterback Justin Myers scored on runs of nine and one yards and Payton McAlister added a 7-yard dash to pay dirt in the 21-point blitz in the Battle of Big Sandy.

“We had a few hiccups in the first half but still scored on four of our eight possessions,” Myers said. “We then got to rolling in the third quarter. We were more focused and came out guns ablazing.”

KNOCKING IT AWAY – Decatur’s Ryan Durdon flies in to swat a ball away from Bridgeport receiver Dylan Garrison during the Eagles’ win Friday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Myers turned in a stellar night running and throwing the ball. He rushed for 204 yards and three touchdowns. He also threw a pair of scores to Gunnar Parker, including a 50-yard strike barely two minutes into the game.

“We knew we were going to be able to get that first pass play and it was going to be open,” Myers said. “That got us rolling.”

Myers spent all but one possession on the sidelines in the fourth quarter after throwing for 252 yards, completing 15 of his 22 attempts.

“He did to us what he’s done to everyone else,” said Bridgeport coach Danny Henson. “He’s a good quarterback. In this era, if you have a true dual-threat quarterback they are hard to stop. The SEC couldn’t stop Johnny Manziel.”

The Decatur defense also did its part in turning a possible shootout into a one-sided affair in the second half. The Eagles held Bridgeport to a single touchdown – a 5-yard pass to Keenan Holdman from Trey Cook – after halftime. The Bulls, who had 232 yards at halftime, put up 135 in the third and fourth quarters and turned the ball over on downs three times and punted twice.

“We played great in the second half,” said Decatur linebacker Cole Vaughan. “We added five new blitzes this week and all of them worked well. We were able to contain Trey and their running game.”

Decatur coach Mike Fuller added praise for the defense, which was without some starters in the second half.

“We had some subs in but they did a good job of picking it up,” Fuller said. “We did a good job in the first half but No. 7 (Holdman) made some plays.”

Holdman caught touchdown passes of 69 and 29 yards in the first half. He also ran back a kickoff 80 yards to bring the Bulls within one, 21-20. Holdman finished with seven catches for 136 yards.

The Bulls trailed 28-20 at the break after McAlister’s second 2-yard touchdown run of the first half for the Eagles. McAlister scored three times, rushing for 56 yards.

Bridgeport twice drove inside the Decatur 10-yard line in the first half and turned the ball over on downs.

“There was the two big series in the first half where they stopped us,” Henson said. “That was a big turning point. We needed to capitalize on every possession to win a high-scoring game like this.”

Decatur jumped out to a 14-0 lead, scoring on its first two drives. Each possession took less than a minute, covering 70 and 90 yards.

Myers went 9-for-17 through the air for 164 yards in the first half. He added 125 yards rushing and an 8-yard touchdown run.

Decatur looked on the verge of breaking the game open after a Vaughan interception off a deflection at the Bulls’ 23. But the next play the Eagles gave the ball back to Bridgeport with a fumble.

Cook then connected with Holdman on a 69-yard touchdown pass. Then, after the Eagles were stopped on fourth down at their 39, Cook found Holdman again for a 29-yard touchdown.

When Efrain DeLuna’s PAT hit the upright and bounced back, the Eagles held on to a 14-13 lead.

Decatur never relinquished its lead or the jar of sand as the champions of the Battle of Big Sandy.


Bridgeport … 7 … 13 … 7 … … 0 – 27
Decatur … 14 … 14 … 2 … 1 … 7 – 56


Decatur – 9:55, Gunnar Parker 50 pass from Justin Myers, Jorge Martinez kick

Decatrur – 4:25, Payton McAlister 2 run, Martinez kick

Bridgeport – 0:00, Keenan Holdman 69 pass from Trey Cook, Efrain DeLuna kick


Bridgeport – 9:52, Holdman 29 pass from Cook, kick failed

Decatur – 7:30, Myers 8 run, Martinez kick

Bridgeport – 7:19, Holdman 80 kickoff return, DeLuna kick

Decatur – 4:37, McAlister 2 run, Martinez kick


Decatur – 9:49, McAlister 7 run, Martinez kick

Decatur – 7:51, Myers 9 run, Martinez kick

Decatur – 4:28, Myers 1 run, Martinez kick

Bridgeport – 0:41, Holdman 5 pass from Cook, DeLuna kick


Decatur – 11:43, Parker 10 pass from Myers, Martinez kick


First Downs … 16 … 26
Rushes-Yards … 33-122 … 47-344
Passing Yards … 245 … 260
Total Yards … 367 … 604
Comp-Att-Int … 20-35-1 … 16-26-0
Sacks-Yards lost … 4-17 … 0-0
Punts-Average … 3-37.3 … 3-34.6
Fumbles-Lost … 2-1 … 1-1
Penalties-Yards … 4-29 … 12-110


Rushing: Bridgeport, Grayson Mathes 13-62, Keenan Holdman 3-7, Brazier Talley 15-48, Trey Cook 4-20, Corbin Coleman 2-(minus 15). Decatur, Justin Myers 20-204, Mario Reyes 9-39, Eddie Martinez 7-15, Payton McAlister 10-56, Gunnar Parker 1-30.

Passing: Bridgeport, Cook 19-33-1-224, Coleman 1-4-0-21. Decatur, Myers 15-22-0-252, Jake Kemp 1-4-0-8.

Receiving: Bridgeport, Chayton Stotts 1-14, Talley 3-4, Raby Hawkins 3-28, Holdman 7-136, Jake Simmons 2-14, Dylan Garrison 4-54. Decatur, Aaron Shetter 1-9, Tanner Shields 2-15, Ryan Durdon 4-72, Martinez 2-29, McAlister 2-56, Parker 3-66, Carsen Medlin 1-6.

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Football: Myers ‘great night’ leads Eagles to win

As the final minutes ticked off the clock Friday night, Justin Myers stood on the sidelines with a chance to reflect and take in the night.

“This is a great night,” said the Decatur senior signal caller. “This outcome is a result of all the work all week. There’s still a few things that can get better. But tonight was great.”

Myers was a big reason it was a great night for the Big Blue and Decatur in the Battle of Big Sandy. In his first start in the 95th meeting between the two rivals, Myers torched the Bulls with his arm and legs to lead Decatur to a 56-27 win over Bridgeport.

Myers ran for 204 yards and three touchdowns and added 252 yards through air, completing 15 of his 22 attempts.

“He did a great job,” said Decatur coach Mike Fuller. “He did a good job passing and made plays with his feet when he needed.”

Myers wasted no time putting his mark on the game, hitting speedster Gunnar Parker for a 50-yard touchdown on the Eagles’ first possession.

After the Decatur defense made a stop at the 10-yard line, Myers broke free for a 65-yard romp to set up a second touchdown.

“I’ve always come to this game when I was little. The Battle of Big Sandy was always a big thing,” Myers said. “I got in last year after Grayson [Muehlstein] did great things. It’s great to be a part of it.”

Myers didn’t stop there. When it looked like maybe his team was losing grip on the game as Bridgeport rallied behind a pair of plays from the dynamic Keenan Holdman, it was the steady hand of Myers completing a 26-yard pass on a third-and-8 to get the Eagles back on track. He scored on a 8-yard run on the next play.

He then put the game away in the third quarter, marching the Eagles on four straight scoring drives. He capped one with a 9-yard scoring run. His final series he threw a pair of touchdowns. The first a 47-yard strike to Payton McAlister was called back for illegal touching. The next play, Myers connected with Ryan Durdon for 33 yards. He then closed the night with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Parker.

Aside from trotting back on the field to punt twice in the fourth quarter, he spent the rest of the night on the sidelines – where he’d hoped to be.

“We put in such a good week of work, we were confident this was going to happen,” Myers said.

But he reached the sidelines only after a truly great night in the Battle of Big Sandy.

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Volleyball: Sissies sink Diamond Hill-Jarvis

Kim Luco and Jessica White turned in big offensive efforts as the Bridgeport Sissies took down Diamond Hill-Jarvis in four games Tuesday.

Luco recorded 10 kills, and White nine as the Sissies won 25-26, 20-25, 25-11, 25-14.

Bridgeport coach Rebekah Cummings praised the work of her team in the win.

“We had a lot more energy tonight and hitters took care of the ball,” Cummings said. “We didn’t give away very many points, so we were able to control the pace of the game.”

Nikki Barbour handed out 15 assists, and Ryhan Read had 13.

White served up three aces. Kensley Turner, Barbour and Read added two each.

Barbour made 12 digs. Mariah Leyva dug 11 shots.

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Ava Grace St. John

Amy St. John of Bridgeport announces the birth of a daughter, Ava Grace, on Sept. 17, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces and was 18 inches long.

Grandparents are Ashley and Kevin St. John of Bridgeport.

Great-grandparents are Kelli Cook and Jerry St. John of Bridgeport and Peggy Puckett of Ennis.

Great-great-grandmother is Nell Admire of Bridgeport.

Posted in New Arrivals0 Comments




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