Water outage was planned to replace Turkey Creek water line

Water was shut off in Bridgeport almost seven hours Wednesday in a planned outage to reconstruct a water line near Turkey Creek, City Administrator Brandon Emmons said. Nobody actually lost water service, but the outage notice was issued as a precaution, Emmons explained.

The city released a statement on its Facebook page Wednesday morning stating the work should only take three hours – 9 a.m. to noon.

“We knew we had to do it during the day, and we never expected to lose pressure or any water – it just took longer than we anticipated,” Emmons said of the reconstruction. “We originally thought it would take three hours, but it ended up being more like seven.”

The notice came just a week after the city had to shut off water for about three hours to fix a blown-out water main at 16th and Irvin Street. Only a small number of citizens were affected by that particular outage.

Emmons added that the city does not expect any more issues with its water system, pointing to an incident in January that caused the city to be without water for nearly 18 hours after a transmission line near the water treatment plant broke twice in 32 hours.

“With the problems we had in January, we made sure to put in precautions to make sure that wouldn’t happen again,” he said. “So now there’s a series of valves on that line where if there is a line break, we can make sure it affects certain areas only of town and not the entire city.”

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Marching with holiday cheer

Holiday Music

HOLIDAY MUSIC – A member of Bridgeport High School’s Mighty Maroon Marching Band plays Christmas songs during Thursday night’s lighted Christmas parade. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Christmas Grettings

CHRISTMAS GREETINGS – County Judge J.D. Clark waves to the crowd from the stagecoach window in Thursday’s lighted Christmas parade in Bridgeport. Mrs. Claus shared the judge’s ride, sitting next to the driver and waving at onlookers. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Downtown Glow

DOWNTOWN GLOW – The Lights on Halsell Christmas Parade traveled through downtown Bridgeport Thursday night. The parade theme was “Frozen.” Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Waiting and Watching

WAITING AND WATCHING – Kinsley Reedes (from left), Bailey Smith, Brooklynn Johnson, Tempie Reedes and Payton Reedes play with light-up toys prior to the start of Thursday night’s Christmas parade in Bridgeport. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Sweet Treats

SWEET TREATS – A festive vendor sells cotton candy to people lined up along Halsell Street for Thursday night’s parade. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

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Basketball Briefs: Sissies beat Graham, 51-38

Abbi Hatton led a trio of Sissies in double figures with 18 points as Bridgeport took down Graham 51-38 Tuesday.

Landrie Walsh added 11 points and Bailey Thompson 10.

STRONG FINISH – Paradise’s Kaylee McConnell helps the Lady Panthers to a big win Tuesday over Tolar. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt

Hatton grabbed seven rebounds. Walsh, Lauren Stowers and Gabby Mindieta finished with five boards each.

Bridgeport moved to 8-1 on the season with the victory. But Bridgeport coach Dallas Taylor pointed out the team still has plenty to work on.

“Defense was not at its best tonight,” Taylor said. “Assignments and bad rotations forced us into foul trouble early. We did a better job of getting in passing lanes in the second half and applying ball pressures.

“This was a night of low intensity on both ends of the floor. We were able to get a win and that is always a positive.”

Bridgeport led 14-8 after the first quarter. With a 16-9 run, the Sissies extended their advantage to 30-17 at halftime.

Bridgeport held Graham to eight points in the third taking a 43-26 lead.

Bridgeport went to the Jacksboro Tournament this weekend.

L.D. BELL 57, NORTHWEST 42

L.D. Bell jumped out to a 19-9 lead and never looked back in a 57-42 win Tuesday over the Northwest Lady Texans.

The Lady Texans trailed 32-19 at halftime.

Maddie Dodgen led Northwest with eight points and eight rebounds. Equalya Smith and Alexus Brigham had seven points each. Brigham finished with eight rebounds.

ALVORD 68, NOCONA 61

Katie Claborn drained six 3-pointers as the Alvord Lady Bulldogs held off Nocona for a 68-61 win Tuesday.

Claborn finished with 28 points. Bailey Hamilton added 12 and Cierra Rangel 10.

Alvord improved to 6-3.

PARADISE 60, TOLAR 24

The Paradise Lady Panthers went on a 42-12 run in the second half Tuesday on the way to a 60-24 win over Tolar.

The Lady Panthers led 18-12 at halftime before exploding offensively in the second half.

Paradise improved to 7-1.

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Basketball: Whitesboro edges Bulls in OT

The Bridgeport Bulls fought back to tie Whitesboro at the end of regulation Tuesday – but fell in overtime.

Whitesboro outscored the Bulls 11-10 in the extra period for the 91-90 victory.

Bridgeport was down six going into the fourth quarter and tied the score at 80 with a 28-point frame.

Devonte Patterson led the Bulls with 32 points. Keenan Holdman added 24 and Caleb Smith 21.

“Defense again was an Achilles heel for us,” said Bridgeport coach Alan Green. “We have to be more disciplined in our help and rotations.

“I felt our kids played hard but our effort wasn’t focused to the area that it needed for us to ultimately be successful.”

After jumping out to a 24-15 lead, the Bulls let Whitesboro fight back with a 24-10 run to take a 39-34 halftime lead.

Whitesboro stretched the lead to 58-52 in the third.

Bridgeport took on Saginaw Friday.

BOYD 42, CASTLEBERRY 39

The Boyd Yellowjackets took down Castleberry 42-39 Tuesday.

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Visiting Santa Claus

Visiting Santa Claus

Visiting Santa Claus

VISITING SANTA CLAUS – Isabella and David Duran sit on Santa’s lap Monday night at the city’s tree lighting event. The holiday festivities kicked off the Christmas season in west Wise County. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Santa Came to Town

SANTA CAME TO TOWN – Bridgeport Mayor Corey Lane welcomes Santa Claus to Bridgeport Monday night for the annual tree lighting event. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Christmas Cheer 1

CHRISTMAS CHEER – The Bridgeport third grade cheerleaders hang out with Olaf the snowman. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Christmas Cheer 2

CHRISTMAS CHEER – Cheerleaders Britain Carrillo (left) and Katelyn Lanfear try to keep warm at the city’s Santa and the Stagecoach Annual Tree Lighting Event. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

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How many citizens have been violated?

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled Wednesday that law enforcement officers must have a warrant “in hand” before they can force suspects against their will to submit to a blood alcohol content test. Not threaten to get one, or one is on the way, or you will get the maximum time if you refuse.

In the original case, an attorney cited a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that drawing a DWI suspect’s blood without a warrant violated the suspect’s constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure. The trial judge agreed, saying the blood sample was illegal and the evidence it produced was inadmissible. Prosecutors appealed, leading to Wednesday’s ruling.

In Wise county and all across Texas they have manipulated a Texas statute saying that impaired driving suspects “with two or more DWI convictions” can be required to provide a blood sample. How many in this county have been illegally forced to give blood who had no prior DWI convictions?

County cases filed before April 2013 may be affected by the ruling. How is the county going to make up for the harm they have caused? Are they going to give back the money citizens were illegally forced to pay? Are those in this county going to openly admit their illegal deeds?

Who is going to give back the jobs lost by being illegally violated? Who is going to pay back the citizens for the thousands of dollars they were forced to illegally pay the state every year to keep their driver’s licenses? Is Wise County going to pay back the citizens forced to pay illegal probation fees and bond money? How do they pay back for the days, weeks, months and years people were forced to sit in jail?

How much will this “illegal witch hunt” in Wise County wind up costing us, the taxpayers? Who is going to make those violated in Wise County whole again? How will those in power in Wise County – our supposed public servants – regain our respect and trust, after this illegal abuse of powers?

I invite one and all to Google “getmadd” and see the truth!

Rusty White
Bridgeport

Posted in Letters to the Editor2 Comments

Roger Daniel Rhodes

Roger Daniel Rhodes

Roger Daniel Rhodes, 71, of Bridgeport, died Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, in Decatur.

Funeral was Nov. 29 at Cates Street Church of Christ in Bridgeport with Sam Gafford and Scott Strother officiating. Burial was Nov. 30 at Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Plain Dealing, La., under the direction of Jones Family Funeral Home in Bridgeport.

Pallbearers were Jerry Myers, Wayne East, Eugene Compton, Tom Cook, Beaumont Brown and Richard Stothers.

Roger was born Aug. 25, 1943, in Fort Worth to Anna Merle (Fielder) and Thurman Price Rhodes. He was a retired minister. He attended Fort Worth Christian College and Brown Trail School of Preaching.

Roger married Barbara Gleason June 20, 1992, in Cleburne. He was a member of the Decatur Church of Christ, and he enjoyed watching football games, especially TCU.

Roger served as a student missionary in Nigeria in 1964-1965 and supported mission work his entire life. He served as a minister in Cottondale, Lufkin, Dallas, Alvarado, Cleburne and Itasca, as well as in Montgomery, La. He served 12 years as the minister for the Cates Street Church of Christ in Bridgeport and was currently serving as one of the ministers for the Greenwood Church of Christ.

Roger will be remembered for his dedicated, consistent and personal walk with the Lord. He was a committed and loving husband, compassionate and kind; he endeared all who knew him with his transparent friendliness and cheerful disposition. He was devoted to meeting the needs of the members of his congregation as long as he was physically able. His goal in life was to “go to heaven and to take as many people as he could with him.”

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife Donna (Smith) Rhodes; daughter Carol Jean Rhodes; brothers Royce Rhodes Sr. and Ronald Glenn Rhodes Jr.; and brother-in-law David Smith.

He is survived by his wife of 22 years, Barbara Rhodes of Bridgeport; son Ricky Douglas Rhodes and wife, Denise, of Bridgeport; sisters-in-law Charlotte Stewart of El Reno, Okla., and Debbie Tappan of Katy; grandchildren Ryder Rhodes, Zion Rhodes and Skyler Rhodes; and numerous nephews, nieces and cousins.

Memorials may be made to the mission program at the Decatur Church of Christ, P.O. Box 328, Decatur, TX 76234.

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Pauline Shannon

Pauline Shannon

Pauline Shannon, 89, of Bridgeport, died Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014, in Decatur.

Memorial service is 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, at the Paradise Church of Christ with Sam Starr officiating. Her body was donated to UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.

Pauline was born Sept. 16, 1925, in Bridgeport to Luther and Callie Fitzgerald, the youngest of 11 children. She was a Christian and attended services at Paradise Church of Christ for many years.

She was a hard worker but loved to play games and have fun with her family and friends. She served the people of Paradise as a member of the city council and economic development board, and was the city’s mayor pro tem. She will be missed by many.

She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers Olin, Loyd, Hubert, J.L. and Bill Fitzgerald; sisters Mary Walker, Utoka Hudson, Dona Shepherd, Della and Stella Fitzgerald; her husband, Armon Shannon; sons Joseph Weger and Marion Weger; and granddaughter Mara Ooten.

Survivors include her son, David Shannon; daughter Paula Copeland and husband, Jon; grandchildren Todd Weger, Cheryl Greiner and husband, Lou, Ryan Ooten and wife, Erin, Laura Janese and husband, Jon, Shiloh Shannon and Rob Shannon and wife, Jamie; great-grandchilden; great-great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews and friends.

Memorial donations may be made to Senior Care Center of Bridgeport.

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Winnie Mae Louise Barnhart Shepherd

Winnie Mae Louise Barnhart Shepherd

Winnie Mae Louise Barnhart Shepherd, 88, died Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, in Bridgeport.

Graveside service was Dec. 1 at Willow Point Cemetery with the Rev. Bill Cleveland officiating.

Honorary pallbearers were Micky Shepherd, Nick Shepherd, R.D. Barnhart and Kenny Shepherd.

Winnie was born May 20, 1926, in Graham to Whitt and Sudie (Jobe) Barnhart. She married Billie Joe Shepherd Jan. 5, 1946, in Graham, and they were blessed with a son, Joe (Micky) Michael Shepherd.

Winnie loved the Lord and was saved by his grace. She was a beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and had a special place in her heart for her sister, Ruby, and her niece, Judy. She had a gift for writing poetry and a love for music.

She was preceded in death by her parents; and brothers Bobby Jean Barnhart and Harvey Monroe Barnhart.

Survivors include her beloved son, Joe M. Shepherd and wife, Earlene, of Bridgeport; granddaughter Paula Shepherd of Bridgeport; grandsons Micky Shepherd and wife, Jennifer, of Colleyville, Nick Shepherd and wife, Belinda, of Abilene; great-grandchildren Madeline, Lindsey, Mason and Olivia; sister Ruby Copeland and husband, Leroy, of Azle; brother R.D. Barnhart and wife, Anice, of Graham; and numerous nieces, nephews, other family members and friends.

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Bridgeport Intermediate School 1st Six Weeks Honor Roll

A HONOR ROLL

THIRD GRADE – Augustus Arnold, Joshua Brubaker, Steven Christopher, Mia Cruz, Melody Frazier, Brandon Garcia, Kimora Gomez, Valeria Gonzalez, David Huerta, Salem Hurtado, Courtney Landers, Kristen Martinez, Rayna Mathes, Mason McAnear, Frank Medina, Jennifer Meedrano, Emma Miles, Landri Murphy, Christian Ortiz, Victoria Ortiz, Shanna Perez, Abril Rodriguez Oviedo, Gabriela Ruvalcaba, Devon Rye, Jasmine Schonerstedt, Reece Sparks, Dennison Spill, Maryssa Sutherland, Noah Taft, Ava Townsend, Jackson VanHoose, Jocelyn Vidal, Hannah Walter

FOURTH GRADE – Eric Cervantes, Shande Contreras, Crystal Cruz, Brylie Davidson, Briana Elizondo, Merari Fraga, Emily Herrera, Cole Holley, Molly Johanson, Aida Juarez, Marisol Martinez, Jadyn McCoy, Micha Medina, Mariah Monk, Greeley Neeper, Melina Owens, Rowdy Parker, Seth Phillips, Bethany Powers, Rebeka Prado, Kayli Roberts, Vanessa Rosales, Gregory Sadberry, Kevin Sandoval, Alyssa Schonerstedt, Karalyn Stotts, Kathryn Stotts, Montserrat Uribe-Baeza, Charles Walker, Raynee Walker, Jeffrey Warner, Savannah Whisenant

FIFTH GRADE – Aaron Brichetto, Blase Gaona, Jacquelyne Garcia, Mariah Garcia, Emma Godwin, Landon Gregg, Nicole Hernandez, Seguin Hernandez, Erin Holt, Blake Horton, Claire Huya, Ashley Marschall, Bristyn Miller, Syverah Monrreal, Connor Payton, Zoe Rivera, Abel Rodriguez, Samuel Rodriguez, Kyler Sparks, Emma Sutherland, Emily Tovar, Alyssa Verdugo, Elizabeth Walker, Dylan Williams

A-B HONOR ROLL

THIRD GRADE – Anthony Actkinson, Anna Adolfo, Trevor Allen, Arith Alvarado, Christian Anderson, Brendan Berk, Allissa Bratton, Aislee Bynum, Eva Cain, Leslie Castaneda Ruvalcaba, Darell Cervantes, Kylena Cochran, Cody Cooper, Aaliyah DeHoyos, Juan DeHoyos, Alexander Dickerson, Hayden Dickerson, Maria del Carmen Esparza Martinez, Jocelyn Espinoza, Korbin Fox, Gabriella Friddle, Saray Garcia, Jesus Gonzalez, Jennyfer Gutierrez Garcia, Kalista Holley, Ashlynn Hoots, Travis Horne, David Iniguez, David Kranz, Nicholas Lara, Samantha Macias, Halie Marrone, Jackson McComis, Itzel Montoya, Amaury Orozco Lopez, Fatima Ortiz, Ramon Ortiz, Austyn Paddack, Daniel Perez Lopez, Ali Prado, Vidiam Ramirez Garcia, Coby Richie, Mason Romero, Maraya Ruvalcaba, Mario Salinas, Madison Schwartz, Ashlyn Smallwood, Riley Sparks, Maylee Spicer, Micheal Taylor, Colten Tollerson, Kaitlynn Torres-Ortiz, Ruby Tovar, Keenan Vick, Jacob Ward, Ashlyn Williamson

FOURTH GRADE – Ivy Adams, Cameron Anderson, Emma Cantrell, Sadee Carstens, Eddy Cervantes, Roarie Comer, Cade Cortez, Karli Davis, Hailey Dickerson, Ruben Dominguez, Yazmin Gonzalez, Vincent Grube, Alex Hamblin, Samuel Hernandez, Brianna Hernandez-Perez, Chan Horne, Galilea Huerta, Cheyenne Huffman, Alexis Juarez, Jaime Lopez, Juliana Lopez, Landen McEntire, Donna Minor-Daugherty, Kylie Monrreal, Alyana Montoya, Elijah Morman, Shawn Nelson, Payton Phillios, Felipe Reyes, Nicole Reyes, Diego Rojo, Guadalupe Rubio Rubio, Colton Rudder, Fernando Santos, Harley Sheppard, Ariel Sultz, Brian Torres, Maximus Uribe, Maria Vidal, Creed Vineyard, Zandon White, Colten Womack, Bralyn Wright

FIFTH GRADE – Nicholas Actkinson, Angelo Arriaga, Chad Bradford, Blayke Carrillo, Brianna Chavez, Chris DeLaCerda, Megaly Delgadillo, Marcus Delgado, Miguel DeLuna, Jonathon Edmundson, Andria Friddle, Ruben Gonzalez, Camden Gregg, Kolby Hamblin, Cason Jobe, Mallory Larned, Grisel Lule, Erick Macias, Taylor Marlett, Delilah Martinez, Gerardo Martinez, Mason McGuire, Moises Medina, Fernando Medrano, Jessica Mejia, Christian Mills, Brandon Mullins, Diana Ortega-Sanchez, Gabriel Perez, Brooklyn Rhodes, Isabella Ruano Ruiz De Vivar, Aislinn Rudder, Sophia Sullivan-Green, John Taylor, Kyle Teague, Hernan Uriostegui, Madison Van Hoose, Mario Velazquez, Bailey White, Zane White, Kaitlee Wilkinson, Davyn Woolridge

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Hospital to become community health clinic

Wise Regional Health System will convert its Bridgeport campus to an urgent care/ambulatory surgery center Jan. 1.

The change, which will shut down the emergency room, was discussed at Monday evening’s at a hospital board meeting and announced to employees Tuesday.

It was just a little more than two years ago, on Nov. 8, 2012, that North Texas Community Hospital in Bridgeport declared bankruptcy. The hospital, which opened in 2008, had been in default on $59.1 million in bonded debt for several years.

After submitting the only bid, Wise Regional bought the hospital in federal bankruptcy court for $20 million and took ownership March 24, 2013. It reopened May 7 as Wise Regional Bridgeport – a fully-staffed, fully-licensed inpatient hospital.

After continuing to absorb steep losses, they closed down the medical/surgical inpatient unit and the ICU last December, leaving only the ER and outpatient services in operation.

The latest move will close the ER and convert the facility to an urgent-care clinic, staffed by nurse-practitioners and operated under Wise Clinical Care Associates.

“First and foremost, we’re just looking for ways to save money,” Wise Regional CEO Steve Summers said Tuesday. “We can save about $2 million in the next 12 months by making this change, rather than just maintaining the status quo.”

Summers said in the 19 months Wise Regional has operated the Bridgeport facility, it has lost $6.2 million.

But while the move is primarily financial, Summers said he believes the facility will be a better fit as an urgent care clinic that will continue to serve the community.

“The existing ER over there is consistently seeing about 400 patients a month,” he said. “Ninety-five percent of those could be seen in an urgent-care environment. So you start looking at alternatives to that.”

He said unless the patient requests to go to Bridgeport, most of the county’s ambulance runs are already coming to the Decatur hospital. The ER patients at Bridgeport are mostly walk-ins, whose needs can be attended to more economically – for the hospital and the patient – in an urgent-care clinic rather than an ER.

The urgent-care clinic may even attract more patients to the facility.

“An ER is just a higher-cost environment than an urgent-care environment,” Summers said. “This is a practical way to take away some of the costs we’re not seeing the benefit of.”

Currently, if someone comes into the Bridgeport ER with chest pains, they will likely be transferred to Decatur, where the system’s cardiac facilities are based.

Starting in January, if that person walks into the Bridgeport urgent-care facility, they will simply call 911, Summers said – just like any clinic or doctor’s office would do.

“All this change means is that about 5 percent of those patients are going to be transferred to Decatur,” he said. “The rest can still be taken care of in the urgent-care clinic.”

Summers said there are still a few details to be worked out to lease the space to Wise Clinical Care Associates, a subsidiary of Wise Regional.

“My expectation is, that’s not an issue,” he said. “I really feel very confident about this service.”

OCTOBER A RECORD MONTH

New Chief Financial Officer Todd Scroggins reported to the board Monday that October saw the highest gross patient charges in the hospital’s history – at $56 million.

The daily inpatient census was 75, with a net increase in assets of $436,000. The new Parkway surgery center netted $100,000, while the Bridgeport campus lost $327,000.

The hospital’s cash position increased by $1.2 million during the month.

Scroggins also reported on Medicare and the Hospital Authority’s bond portfolio.

BUILDINGS AND BUDGETS

Summers said the hospital’s building committee would meet in the next few weeks to look at some floor plans for the new Fit-‘N-Wise building.

“Once those are set, they’ll start working on the exterior plans for the facility,” he said. The fitness and therapy center will vacate the main building to make room for mechanical equipment to operate the second patient tower, which will be built next to the current one.

Scroggins also gave the board an overview of the 2015 operating budget, with net revenues projected at $212 million and a $15.7 million increase in net position after expenses – more than double this year’s net, which is projected to be about $7.5 million.

There are three key factors in that increase, he noted.

First, having a full year of service at Parkway, which opened in May this year. After startup costs with about a $3 million loss this year, he projects about a $3 million gain in 2015.

Second, he noted the cost of refinancing the hospital’s bonds – about $3 million – was in the current budget year and will not recur.

The third factor is the changeover at Bridgeport, which should provide for smaller losses and allow for more efficient use of that facility.

The hospital expects to spend $4.9 million for capital improvements next year, including $1.6 million for information systems and $2.1 million for a telemetry system for critical care.

OTHER BUSINESS

The board also:

  • approved the appointment of Scroggins as CFO, Paul Aslin as Chief Operating Officer and Jon Walker, M.D. as Chief Medical Officer of Wise Clinical Care Associates;
  • approved the purchase of a MizuhOsi ProAxis Spinal Table for Parkway Surgical and Cardiovascular Hospital at a cost of $150,960;
  • after 45-minute closed session, the board approved 12 medical staff appointments including 10 physicians, a nurse-practitioner and a physician’s assistant in anesthesia, neurology, physical medicine/rehabilitation, family medicine, surgery and emergency medicine;
  • heard from Summers that agreements with the recently-approved nursing facilities and related paperwork are in progress and are expected to be finalized soon;
  • praised both the Decatur and Bridgeport Auxiliaries for successful holiday fundraisers that will help support equipment purchases for the hospital and fund scholarships for local students;
  • got a report on physician recruitment efforts, with six new positions projected in 2015 including two already under contract for pain management and general/bariatric surgery.

The board’s next meeting is Dec. 22.

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Toy Run riders donate socks for event promotion

Toy Run riders donate socks for event promotion

The 15th Annual Wise County Toy Run is coming up Dec. 7, and event organizer Scott Gates, also known as Spirit Rider, is already starting the festivities.

Warm Tidings

WARM TIDINGS – Scott Gates carries a load of new socks into Senior Care Wednesday in Bridgeport. Gates also collects toys for the annual Toy Run that starts in Decatur and ends in Bridgeport. This year’s event is Dec. 7. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Gates visited Bridgeport Senior Care Center Monday afternoon and handed out warm socks to elderly residents as a way to promote the Toy Run.

“This is only the second year we’ve handed out socks,” he said. “It helps promote the Toy Run, and it also helps us show our appreciation for the generation that came before us.”

The residents at Senior Care received the socks with warm smiles on their faces.

“For some of these folks, it’s the most outside interaction they’ll have all year,” Gates said.

At each stop, he made sure to mention the Toy Run, which will start at 10 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, at the McCarroll Middle School parking lot in Decatur. At 12:30 p.m., a parade of riders will leave for Bridgeport’s Harwood Park with toy donations for children.

Gates said he is expecting more than 2,500 participants.

Those wishing to donate toys may do so at the McCarroll Middle School field house or at Harwood Park in Bridgeport. Gates will also personally pick up large donations.

Call him at 940-389-0200 for information.

Posted in Features, News0 Comments

U.S. foreign relations and a new reality

Re: Bob Buckel’s column “Dealing with evil” (Messenger, Nov. 22, 2014). We, as a people of the once greatest nation on earth, have failed those who came before us and those who will come behind us. You are correct about the years of this terror to come.

The honest question to be asking is, why? Does anyone really believe people in other countries just wake up one day and decide to hate us? One of the laws of nature is that “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Our government’s history of using other countries’ leaders and peoples as pawns to do our bidding is known around the world. Look into our past.

I can remember Iranian pilots being trained in Abilene for the Shah of Iran – the same Shah who was seen as a butcher of his own people. When the people of Iran stood up and rebelled against his abuse, guess what country he and his money ran to? US! Yet, knowing we supported him while he abused his own people, some still can’t understand why they took our people hostage.

Look at Iraq. We used Saddam and his armies to fight the Iranians in their 10-year war. We supplied him with money and arms to do our bidding. How many hundreds of thousands were maimed and killed on both sides of this war? Then when Saddam turned on his own people and gassed them, the world got to see, the very same week, “Rummy” shaking his hand vowing our country’s support!

Look at Osama bin Laden. We supported, trained, armed and funded him and his followers to fight the Russians in Afghanistan, did we not? Those he recruited to attack our towers were from Saudi Arabia, not Iraq, yet we let our country be manipulated into war in Iraq, did we not?

While carrying out these wars, how many hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and their families became “collateral damage”? Can you imagine being a 9-year-old boy or girl and watching your family vaporized, while having no part in either side of these wars?

Can you imagine the hundreds of thousands who lost family members doing our bidding? Can you imagine being a supporter of our armies in these countries, then when we left, all the promises left with us and they were left to deal with those they had been helping us to fight, just like we did in Viet Nam?

The saddest truth is, our own nation’s sons and daughters are willing join the military, go and fight to defend our country against enemies our leaders and our past policies helped create. Then many don’t return, and those who do face a system and a nation that breaks its promise to care for them!

I don’t have the answers to all our problems, but I am honest enough to admit that much of the evil our country faces, our past actions and policies help create. I am also honest enough to realize those 9-year-old boys and girls in those other countries, whose families were simply collateral damage, are old enough today to seek revenge for being wronged.

They, too, believe their God supports their right to justice. That doesn’t make it right, but it’s a reality our nation and people will face for years to come.

Rusty White
Bridgeport

Posted in Letters to the Editor0 Comments

Auto mechanics students learn life skills

At a time when the price of a college education is growing – and student loan debt is growing right along with it – more and more people are turning to trade schools as a way to learn technical skills and quickly enter the workforce.

Terry Rye’s auto mechanics class at Bridgeport High School is one way students are learning life skills that can translate into employment.

Young Mechanics

YOUNG MECHANICS- Terry Rye’s senior Auto II class works on high school faculty members’ cars every Friday. Pictured are (clockwise, from center foreground) Uriel Betancourt, Abraham Galvez, Jose Hernandez, Hunter Ramsey, Juan Rivera, Ryan Dunn, instructor Terry Rye, Keaton Vawter, John Freeman, Payton Pierce, William Brannan, Brauch Walker, Leonardo Esparza, Bronson Burks, Jacob Roper, Rolando Rivera and Benito Davila. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“Every other class is pretty much sitting around just listening to your teacher,” senior Keaton Vawter said. “This time, if we’re not out there working, we’re in here learning about parts to go out there and work … It would be awesome if I could go into this for a career.”

Vawter is one of 15 seniors in Rye’s Auto Mechanics II class, and he’s not alone in his desire to enter the mechanics field.

“I’ve probably got 30 kids who will say without a doubt, they want to go into this field,” Rye said. “And that 30 doesn’t sound like a lot, but those are all freshmen and sophomores saying that. Most of my students are going to go on to four-year schools, but I think the number of kids who want to learn technical skills is just going to grow.”

Rye pointed to the new graduation requirements outlined in House Bill 5, which require students to take at least one Career and Technical Education class, as one reason why students are becoming more interested in his class.

“It’s a learned skill they can use for life,” he said. “That’s what this class is all about – teaching them life skills.”

Rye recently took some of his students to the Lone star Classics kit car dealership in Forth Worth, where they saw first-hand what it’s like to build a kit car from scratch.

“It was pretty awesome,” Vawter recalled. “I didn’t expect to see everything they actually did – they explained every single thing they have to go through to build the car.”

Now, Rye is trying to get a Cobra kit car for his students to build.

“I’ve already talked to some people in Bridgeport, and they’d be willing to donate tires and give it a paint job and everything,” he said. “But once we have the kit for them to see how it all comes together … I’d have to turn kids away from the class.”

The kit car would have another advantage besides its instructional value – it doesn’t smell like the cars the students normally work on.

“If the kids have classes after mine, if their hands are greasy or if they’ve worked on anything mechanical, they smell, and it’s hard to go into the school. But if we could get that kit car, everything’s brand-new from the ground up,” Rye said.

He will go to the school board soon to ask for approval to purchase the car. The plan is to let the students put it together by gradation time, and help pay it off by taking it to football games next season and selling raffle tickets.

Rye’s seniors already have the opportunity to work on their own cars as classwork. Routine maintenance like oil changes, tire rotations and car washes are all fair game as long as they can be done within the class period. Some teachers allow their cars to be worked on as well.

The freedom of this type of hands-on experience isn’t lost on the students.

“It’s a great class just to have fun in,” senior Payton Pierce said. “He [Rye] isn’t going to do stuff for you, but he’ll help you and let you figure it out on your own.”

Rye said he learns just as much from his students as they do from him. He hopes they will take pride in their work, especially if they start to build their kit car.

“The kids look at this car as something they’ll have forever,” he said. “They can see the car driving down the road, and they can say, ‘I might not know how to drive it, but I know how that suspension works. I built that.'”

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Bridgeport ISD Student Spotlights for Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bridgeport Middle School

JADON MADDUX

Jadon Maddux

Grade: 7th

Parents: Aimee Burtnett, John Maddux

Favorite subject: Pre-algebra

Activities: Football, basketball, baseball, track, LINC, going to TCU games, church youth group

Why this student was chosen: “Jadon is an outstanding student, an outstanding athlete and a leader in Student Council. He also serves on our Community Problem Solvers team that placed third in international competition last year. Jadon is kind, respectful, and uplifting to his teachers and classmates. He is a wonderful representative of Bridgeport Middle School.” – Principal Travis Whisenant

Bridgeport High School

BRY WARREN

Bry Warren

Grade: 12th

Parents: Jim and Candace Warren

Favorite subject: Environmental science

Activities: Football, powerlifting, hunting, fishing, completing requirements to be an Eagle Scout

Why this student was chosen: “Bry is one of the most polite and well-mannered students at BHS. He is hardworking in the classroom and on the field. He is a student of high character in all that he does. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Bry. I have no doubt that he will go on to great things after high school.” – Principal Jaime Sturdivant

Editor’s note: The elementary and intermediate schools did not submit students for this week’s Spotlight.

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Basketball: Bulls capture Ponder tourney

The Bridgeport Bulls captured the title Saturday at the Ponder Tournament, taking down Red Oak 78-68.

Caleb Smith led the way with 27 points. Devonte Patterson added 16.

Patterson was named the MVP of the tournament for helping the Bulls to a 4-1 showing. Bridgeport improved to 4-2 on the season with a its new lineup.

“With the four victories, we’re pointing the ship in the right direction,” said Bridgeport coach Alan Green. “We obviously have a long ways to go. We’re only going to be as good as our defense. We’ve got to figure out what it takes to play good defense. But with so many new faces and this being their first time with me on the sidelines, the ship is pointing in the right direction.”

Bridgeport dropped its opening game of the tournament to Red Oak 73-72. The Bulls had a shot to win the game at the end.

The Bulls rebounded by rallying from a 10-point halftime deficit to beat Nolan Catholic 58-56.

“That second half was a turning point,” Green said. “We started figuring each other out.”

Bridgeport thumped Fort Worth Brewer 55-38.

“We played really good defense and controlled that game,” Green said.

Saturday morning, the Bulls fell behind Liberty Christian 15-4. Bridgeport erased the deficit behind 17 points from Keenan Holdman and won 81-67.

“He’d played football and scored a touchdown the night before,” Green said. “His first game out he scored 17. He brings a toughness to us.”

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Julia Ann Bellone

Julia Ann Bellone

Julia Ann Bellone, 90, of Bridgeport, died Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, at her home, surrounded by loved ones.

Funeral arrangements were pending at press time with Jones Family Funeral Home in Bridgeport.

Mrs. Bellone was born in Jersey City, N.J., and graduated from Snyder High School in Jersey City, where she participated in drama, sports, choral society, prom committee and yearbook. She was a Snyder High air raid warden and won the Palmer Method of Penmanship Award.

During World War II, she moved to Long Branch, N.J., to attend a special U.S. Army volunteer wartime nursing school program. She went on to graduate from nursing school in three years and was employed by Monmouth Memorial Hospital as an emergency room nurse for almost 20 years.

It was during this time, while roller skating, that she met the man who would become her loving friend and husband for the next 62 years – Joseph.

The couple had one child, Michael, and resided over the years in Long Branch, West Long Branch, N.J., Palmyra, Va., and recently, Bridgeport.

Mrs. Bellone was a loving wife and mother, devoting herself to her husband, home and child for more than 60 years. She worked tirelessly to ensure her family not only had the necessities of life, but also enjoyed the many blessings life had to offer.

Her hobbies and interests included cultivating, caring for and harvesting a garden, harvesting berries both in her backyard and along country roads, walking, road trips, games, cooking and cookbook collecting.

In her later years as a resident of assisted living centers, she won the hearts of her caregivers. She proudly displayed a certificate from a physical rehab program that proclaimed her the “Most Funny Patient” of the year. Mrs. Bellone and her family fondly thought of one such caregiver, Judith, as a semi-adopted daughter.

Mrs. Bellone will be missed greatly, and her family will continue to celebrate her contributions to them, this world and her preparation for the next life.

She is survived by her loving husband, Joseph; son Michael of Decatur; and grandson Ryan Joseph, who is currently attending college in Florida. Also surviving Mrs. Bellone are Michael’s wife, Karin and her children Jennifer and Jeff and grandchildren Colin, Daisy, Joshua, Justin, Teagan and Quinn.

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City of Bridgeport delays wastewater contract, nixes food truck inspections

The Bridgeport City Council Tuesday delayed action related to its agreement with U.S. Water (USW) Utility Group.

A proposed amendment to the city’s agreement with the company would expand USW’s professional services to include the city’s wastewater treatment plant, but it was tabled after a city worker expressed concern about the issue.

City Councilman David Correll asked that the amendment be made into a workshop item to be discussed at the next meeting.

“My first concern is with the displaced employee,” he said.

The amendment should be on the council’s Dec. 2 agenda.

FOOD TRUCKS

Food truck regulations popped up again this week when the council voted to amend its Mobile Food Vendor Solicitation Code. The new amendment eliminates the need for local food truck vendors to get a health inspection by the city.

The decision was based on the fact that the state performs health inspections when it issues operating permits, and the city cannot currently afford to pay a health services employee to inspect food truck units.

The council also:

  • amended the FY 2014-15 budget to allow for the $129,857 needed to fund the search for Brandon Emmons’ replacement as city administrator and to fund a new street maintenance worker position;
  • refunded its Series 2005 Certificates of Obligations (COs) for total debt service savings of almost $160,000;
  • amended the “Bulky Waste Pickup” section of the city code to correct the monthly rate from $2.75 to $3.75;
  • approved a lease-purchase agreement with Government Capital Corp. for a new 2014 GapVax MC1007 Sewer Cleaning Truck, to be financed at an annual rate of $54,580.13 for seven years; and
  • officially entered into an agreement with Strategic Government Resources to provide an interim city administrator.

The council’s next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2, at 900 Thompson St. and is open to the public.

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Bridgeport student council to serve lunches for Thanksgiving

Some Bridgeport Middle School students will spend their Thanksgiving break serving others.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Bridgeport Middle School Student Council will serve free sack lunches 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily Nov. 24-26 at Harwood Park. A few students from other schools will also be helping the group.

“It’s just grown bigger and bigger every year,” eighth grade teacher and event coordinator Larry Owens said.

The students fed more than 350 people last year and are expecting to serve more than 500 lunches this year.

“The most rewarding part about it is just knowing that we’re doing something for the community,” Owens said.

The student council is still seeking donations of some grocery items including cases of water, Capri Suns, individual bags of chips and homemade baked items. Donations can be dropped off at Bridgeport Middle School. For information, call Owens at 817-821-3857.

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Football: Mustangs stampede Bulls 46-14

Football: Mustangs stampede Bulls 46-14

The Bridgeport Bulls (8-4, 4-2) ended their season with a whimper at Tarleton State University’s Memorial Stadium Friday night, as the Sweetwater Mustangs won the area title 46-14.

Running Away with the Game

RUNNING AWAY WITH THE GAME – Jacob Roberts (4) tries to stop Isaiah McGee (5) from running into the end zone. McGee had 141 yards receiving and picked up two touchdowns for Sweetwater. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“I told the guys that, you know, any time you make the playoffs, you’re going to either go to the championship, or you’re going to run into somebody that’s going to give you a tough game, and that’s what happened tonight,” head coach Danny Henson said. “But I thought we prepared for it as best we could, and I’m proud of the guys for their hard work this season.”

The Mustangs ran out of the gates early, scoring on a 20-yard touchdown reception from Kaegan Jeffrey to Michael Lawrence and sealed the deal with a two-point conversion. Sweetwater converted for two on all but one of their scoring plays and managed to score on every single one of their drives in the first half. Jeffrey would go on to have five touchdown passes and throw for almost 300 yards.

“They just overwhelmed us with their speed – their quarterback has a great arm, and they’ve been doing that to teams all year,” Henson said.

Bridgeport fought back on a Hail Mary from Trey Cook to Keenan Holdman late in the first, but by that point, the Mustangs were already up 24-7. Bridgeport’s only other score would come midway through the third quarter when second string QB Corbin Coleman passed to Hayden Sutherland from 14 yards out.

Trey Cook ended the night with a touchdown play and 69 yards of passing, and lead rusher Brazier Talley managed 126 yards.

For Sweetwater, T.C. Huitt rushed for 63 yards and one touchdown.

SWEETWATER 46, BRIDGEPORT 14

Sweetwater … 24 … 22 … 0 … … 0-46
Bridgeport … 7 … 0 … 7 … … 0-14

FIRST QUARTER

Sweetwater- 9:13- Michael Lawrence 20 pass from Kaegan Jeffrey, Max Gomez pass from Isaiah McGee 2 point conversion

Sweetwater- 7:30- Isaiah McGee 80 pass from Kaegan Jeffrey, Adrian Vizzera pass from Jeffrey 2 point conversion

Sweetwater- :57- Gomez 12 pass from Jeffrey, Gomez 2 point conversion

Bridgeport- :42- Keenan Holdman 61 pass from Trey Cook, DeLuna kick

SECOND QUARTER

Sweetwater- 10:13-T.C. Huitt 16 run, Lawrence pass from Jeffrey 2 point conversion

Sweetwater- 6:16- McGee 18 pass from Jeffrey, Jeffrey 2 point conversion

Sweetwater- 2:07- Gomez 34 pass from Jeffrey, kick no good

THIRD QUARTER

Bridgeport- 5:34-Hayden Sutherland 14 pass from Corbin Coleman, DeLuna kick

SWEETWATER … BRIDGEPORT

First Downs … 23 … 6
Rushes-Yards … 167 … 120
Passing Yards … 318 … 104
Total Yards … 485 … 224
Punts-Average … 4 … 5
Penalties-Yards … 6-50 … 3-15

INDIVIDUALS

Passing: Sweetwater – Jeffrey, 16-20-283, 5 TDs, Gomez, 5-7-35; Bridgeport – Cook, 2-12-69, 1 TD, Corbin Coleman, 4-5-35, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: Sweetwater – T.C. Huitt, 8-63, 1 TD, Jeffrey 7-48; Bridgeport – Brazier Talley, 14-126, Grayson Mathes, 9-39

Receiving: Sweetwater – McGee, 6-141, 2 TDs, Lawrence 6-78, 1 TD, Gomez 2-41 1TD; Bridgeport – Holdman 1-61, 1 TD, Dylan Garrison 3-21

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