Strings attached: Group works to build regional youth orchestra program

Strings attached: Group works to build regional youth orchestra program

They say the difference between a violin and a fiddle is simple: you play a violin on Sunday morning and a fiddle on Saturday night.

But to play at all, first you have to learn.

Eyes and Ears

EYES AND EARS – Nine-year-old Alexia Cervantes and her fellow musicians have a year of study under their belts with the Wise County String Ensemble. Seventeen youngsters began the program last year, and organizers are looking to expand it countywide this school year. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Giving children an opportunity to learn how to play the violin is a passion for Robert and Carolyn Marlett – and they’re looking for some help to take a successful Bridgeport program countywide this fall.

The Marletts moved to the Lake Bridgeport area when Robert retired after a career as a professor of land use and management at Texas Tech University. Carolyn taught first grade in Lubbock, and then in Wise County, for more than 30 years.

Ready to Make Music

READY TO MAKE MUSIC – Some of the students in the string ensemble that began last year gathered for a studio portrait at the Messenger this week. On the front row (from left) are Alexia Cervantes, Andy Bitsko, Reece Sparks, (middle) Erick Macias, Brianna Hernandez, Shande Contreras, Maximus Uribe, (back) Harrison Wood, Dakota Whitbeck, Matthew Bitsko and Emily Wood. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

They tried to start a strings class a few years ago, consulting with a University of North Texas professor and even getting the Denton High School orchestra to come play at Bridgeport Middle School. But for some reason, the interest wasn’t there.

Last year they decided to try again – and this time, something clicked.

“We put flyers out into the elementary and intermediate schools, hoping for four to six sets of parents,” Robert said. “We had 52 show up. We were overwhelmed.”

Carolyn said the crowd at the Bridgeport Library’s Jackson room filled every seat, with people sitting on the floor and spilling out the door.

“That’s when we realized, ‘Oh, there is some interest!’” she said.

That initial meeting resulted in 17 students who bought instruments and showed up for lessons throughout the school year.

“What we said from the beginning is, get an instrument, and we’ll give you the lessons,” Robert said.

Donna Harris, owner of Harris Music on the Decatur Square, worked a deal with a supplier in Fort Worth to allow the youngsters to rent their instrument for $20 a month – with $18 going toward purchase. As a bonus, as the child grows they can change out the instrument for one that fits them better.

MASTER TEACHER – Chico resident Coleman Smith plays and teaches all over the world but enjoys bringing the youth strings program to his home turf. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Coleman Smith of Chico, a champion fiddler who teaches and performs fulltime, agreed to serve as the instructor.

“As a retired elementary teacher, I was very nervous to see how he would be able to relate to the kids and get along with them,” Carolyn said. “He has a reputation of being awesome in playing his instrument – but could he relate to the kids?

“Within 15 minutes after he had begun his lesson, I was like, ‘Whew! We’re OK.’ He’s done a really good job.”

Robert is amazed at the way the children have taken to the classical training.

“We’d have these kids come in, not knowing a thing about one of the most complicated musical instruments in the world, and within a month, they’re coming in and sitting down properly, setting up and starting to play,” he said.

Smith, who earned a degree in violin performance from Marywood University in Scranton, Pa., has been teaching fiddle, mandolin and guitar for nearly 15 years. As a performer, he has traveled the world, developing a unique style that fuses jazz, Gypsy swing, Celtic, bluegrass and western swing.

As a youngster growing up in Wise County, he was a member of the Fort Worth Youth Orchestra. This past May, one of the highlights for his students was getting to attend, and be introduced, at that group’s year-end concert at TCU’s Ed Landreth Auditorium.

“Our 17 kids, dressed in their black pants or skirts, and white shirts, sat in reserved seating, right up front, and stood when they were recognized,” Robert said. “So they’ve kind of tasted this.”

Carolyn said the way the kids have responded is wonderful. But it is the parents’ reaction that has really surprised them.

“When we took the kids in for the Youth Symphony, at different points parents came up, giving us big hugs and saying ‘I didn’t know this existed! This is wonderful. My child needs to be part of this. I’ve never heard anything like this before out of kids!’” she laughed. “They could see instantly that this is worth doing for their kids.”


A recital at the end of May in Bridgeport brought in about $300 in donations. With a few other sponsors, the program “just about broke even” last year, Robert said.

This year, they’re planning to put out flyers in both the Decatur and Bridgeport schools, looking for interest from kids in grades 2-5. Marlett said it may take as many as three classes to accommodate them all – and it will certainly take more money to keep the lessons free.

“It takes about $4,000 for a class of 20 students, per year,” he said. “If we have three classes, that’s $12,000 to get us to next May.”

To achieve that, they’ve created a not-for-profit corporation, the Music and Arts Foundation, opened a bank account and set up a post office box. The group has been offered rehearsal space at Weatherford College’s Wise County campus, and Smith has said he’s willing to teach both beginners and advanced classes, even individual lessons, if the interest is there.

One of the Foundation’s board members, Gerre Joiner, believes strongly that it will be successful if people just know about it. That belief is echoed by fellow board members Robert Ryan and Jerry St. John of Runaway Bay.

“There’s a void in strings in this area,” said Joiner, senior adult minister at First Baptist Church in Decatur. “There are people living out here, and they grew up in an orchestra program and they know what it is. I think if we present a strong plan, support is not going to be a problem.”

Marlett said people can get in on the ground floor by donating, becoming “patrons” of what could develop into a Wise County Youth Orchestra.

Sponsorships are available at the Platinum ($1,000 and up), Gold ($500 to $1,000) and Silver ($100 to $500) levels – but any donation is needed and appreciated. All of it will go toward lessons and other costs for the kids in the program. Donors will be recognized at the youth violin ensemble spring recital.

“Our goal, regardless whether it’s Decatur or Paradise, Bridgeport or Chico or wherever – is to get these kids into a string program,” he said.

The 501(C)3 not-for-profit corporation has an account at First State Bank in Bridgeport. Donations can be mailed to the Music and Arts Program, P.O. Box 400, Bridgeport, TX 76426.

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Bridgeport City Council to talk trash at meeting

The Bridgeport City Council will consider approving an amendment to its waste collection agreement with Progressive Waste Solutions in its meeting Tuesday night. The proposed change would raise the price of waste collection 22 cents per resident and would be put into effect on Oct. 1 if approved.

There will also be a second public hearing on the proposed maximum property tax rate of $0.5875 per $100 valuation for the 2014-2105 fiscal year.

The council will also:

  • consider adopting an ordinance that would reduce the electric rate from $0.1291 per kWh to $0.1262 per kWh;
  • consider approving an agreement with Texas Department of Transportation for the airport improvement construction phase of the Bridgeport Airport;
  • consider using Court Security Fund money to purchase 17 Kimber .45 firearms from 2K Pawn and Gun for the Bridgeport Police Department; and
  • consider amending the Bridgeport Code of Ordinances to clarify the duties of the city administrator, the position currently held by Brandon Emmons.

The meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2, at City Hall, 900 Thompson St. It is open to the public.

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Prison inmates make baskets for Wise Choices

Every Friday from 1 to 5 p.m., some of the Bridgeport Women’s Pre-Parole Facility inmates get together to knit, crochet and sew – but not for themselves.

Crocheting for the Community

CROCHETING FOR THE COMMUNITY – Bridgeport Women’s Pre-Parole Facility inmate Madison Haney works on an item to be included in a baby bassinet Friday. Haney is one of several inmates involved in the Moses Basket program at the facility, which donates handmade supplies to pregnant women in need. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

They’re making blankets, sheets and other items for the facility’s Moses Basket program, an all-volunteer-led effort to supply Wise Choices with supplies to give to pregnant women in need.

It’s not just Wise Choices that benefits, however. The inmates enjoy it, too.

“I look forward to it every week – it’s like a mini-vacation,” inmate Angela Fabian said. “I learn how to crochet, and there’s music playing in the background. It’s nice.”

Other inmates said they enjoyed the simple act of charity making the baskets represents.

“I like getting out of my dorm and making the quilts so I can give back to the community,” inmate Lydia Kinchen said.

Kinchen began attending the quilting sessions on Fridays back in April, when the program started. She didn’t know how to sew when she began, but says the program gave her a new skill.

Those new skills were taught by volunteers and a handful of inmates who already knew how to sew, volunteer Pam Randall said. Since the program is still taking place in a prison, Randall said supplies were limited.

“Each girl is issued 10 pins and one needle – and we guard those with our lives,” Randall said. “There was a lot of crawling around on the ground looking for pins and needles.”

The program began after MTC Bridgeport Warden David McComis visited an MTC-owned facility in Gadsden, Fla., that had a similar program in place. McComis said he thought it would be a good idea to try at the women’s facility in Bridgeport, and when he got back, he already had volunteers willing to teach the inmates how to sew. That was in April.

Those months of work culminated Friday when the Moses Basket group presented the Wise Choices Pregnancy Center with two baskets full of essentials for babies – mattresses, sheets, blankets, washcloths, quilts, bibs and pillows.

The baskets would be used for the Wise Choice’s resource center, where pregnant women can earn points to purchase items by learning about pregnancy, said Janis Alling, Wise Choices director of community outreach.

“You may never see the baby you’ve just helped, but the parents know that you all set aside your time for them,” Alling told the inmates Friday.

MTC chaplain Phil Yoder said that while some of the women in the Moses Basket program are involved in the faith-based dorm that the facility offers, most are just there for the outreach.

“It’s gotten to the point where we have a waiting list for the program,” he said. “To see them use their time well, and take pride in it – that’s the most rewarding thing for me.”

Randall said the program is still in need of volunteers who know how to knit, sew, crochet or do needlework. To get involved, call the Bridgeport Correctional Facility at 940-683-3010.

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Football: Rams snake by Bulls in overtime

The Bridgeport Bulls started their 2014 season with a 27-20 overtime loss to the Mineral Wells Rams at Bull Memorial Stadium Friday night.

In the Air

IN THE AIR – Bridgeport’s Keenan Holdman catches a long pass from Trey Cook to score the Bulls’ first touchdown Friday in their 27-20 loss to Mineral Wells. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Penalties, fumbles and interceptions plagued the young Bulls team, which trailed the entire game until a two-point conversion by Raby Hawkins at the beginning of the fourth quarter tied the score.

Mineral Wells scored on their first drive and didn’t let up, led by senior quarterback Caleb Acosta and Max Grider. Its extra-point attempt was no good, however – a theme that would be repeated several times by both teams over the course of the night.

It took the Bulls until the second quarter to put points on the board – a 30-yard pass from Trey Cook to Keenan Holdman. That extra point didn’t go through the goalposts, either.

Bridgeport attempted an onside kick after that, and Mineral wells recovered. A personal foul penalty on Bridgeport later in the Rams’ drive got them to the 3 yard line, where sophomore Johnny Morales ran it in for a quick touchdown. The extra point was good, putting the Rams up 13-6.

An apparent touchdown was called back on the next Bulls drive, after Holdman took a short pass from Cook and scrambled to the end zone – only to have it ruled that he had stepped out of bounds at the 49. Cook threw an interception on the next play, setting up another Mineral Wells drive.

A sack and a forced fumble on two plays by Bridgeport’s Alex Cordova started a Bridgeport drive in the second half, which culminated in a one-yard touchdown on a QB sneak by Trey Cook. The extra-point attempt bounced off the goalpost to keep Mineral Wells up by one, 13-12.

Cook couldn’t capitalize on his next drive, throwing a pick to Rascellis Williams as the half ended.

The next score didn’t come until late in the third quarter, when Acosta threw a 3rd-and-24 lob to Jordan Duckett for a touchdown. Bridgeport went scoreless for the rest of the frame.

Brazier Talley and Raby Hawkins started the fourth with a touchdown run and two-point conversion, respectively, to tie the game at 20-20.

A field goal attempt by Bridgeport later in the fourth was no good, as neither team could punch anything in in regulation.

Mineral Wells started off the overtime play with a drive ending in a touchdown pass from Acosta to Braxton Allen. The game ended when Cook’s fourth-down quarterback sneak came up short.

Bridgeport head coach Danny Henson said the two biggest problems his team had were penalties and special teams.

“Mineral Wells made some clutch plays when they needed to, and we didn’t execute our kicking game that well, and we suffered for it,” he said.

“We both made mistakes with penalties – you could tell both teams had inexperienced players playing their first games tonight. But in spots, a lot of our players had some real good plays.”


Mineral Wells … 6 … 7 … 7 … 0 7 – 27
Bridgeport … 0 … 6 … 6 … 8 – 20

First Quarter

Mineral Wells – Braxton Allen pass from Caleb Acosta, Kick failed


Bridgeport – Keenan Holdman 30 pass from Trey Cook, Kick failed

Mineral Wells – Johnny Morales 3 run, Kick good


Bridgeport – Trey Cook 1 run, Kick failed

Mineral Wells – Jordan Duckett pass from Caleb Acosta, Kick good


Bridgeport – Brazier Talley run, Raby Hawkins run


Mineral Wells – Braxton Allen pass from Caleb Acosta, Kick good

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Volleyball: Lady ‘Jackets sweep Sissies

After a strong showing at the Chico Tournament over the weekend, the Boyd Yellowjackets continued to show their rapid growth on the floor Tuesday.

Boyd swept cross-county rival Bridgeport on the road 25-13, 25-11, 25-14.

Ready and Waiting

READY AND WAITING – Bridgeport’s Sadie White watches ball during a loss to Boyd Tuesday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Senior middle blocker Maddie Busch put down 15 kills for the Lady Yellowjackets, who have won three of their last four matches to improve to 8-7 on the year.

Kayleigh Pappajohn and Morgan Abbott recorded eight kills each. Baylie Harris doled out 16 assists and Abbott nine.

Pappajohn was also tough on Bridgeport at the service line, serving up five aces.

Defensively for Boyd, Busch and Lindey Chancellor made four blocks. Britney Howard had seven digs.

Sadie White led Bridgeport with three kills. Ally Raby, Kendall Scott and Kensley Turner had two each.

Ryhan Read handed out four assists.

Mariah Levy made eight digs against Boyd’s frontline.

“Mariah Levy did a terrific job and is emerging as a great defensive leader,” said Bridgeport coach Rebekah Cummings.

Taylor Stone and Turner finished with seven digs. Read and Raby had six apiece.

Bridgeport fell to 3-13, but Cummings found some positives in her young team’s play.

“We did a good job of rebounding from our performance this weekend we just didn’t finish rallies,” she said. “We did a better job of fighting for point, we just didn’t use a lot of strategy. But we came out with more energy and we can definitely build on that, moving forward.”

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Frida Sofia Banuelos

Carlos A. Banuelos Gonzalez and Cinthya de Santiago Hernandez of Bridgeport announce the birth of a daughter, Frida Sofia Banuelos, on Aug. 24, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 8 pounds and was 17 1/2 inches long.

She has one brother: Alejandro Manuel de Santiago Hernandez, 6; and one sister: Isabella Alejandra Banuelos, 11 months.

Grandparents are Graciela Banuelos Gonzalez of McKinney and Jose Manuel de Santiago and Tomasa Hernandez, both of Mexico.

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Bridgeport School Board adopts $22 million budget

The Bridgeport school board adopted a $22,024,851 budget and a tax rate of $1.23280 per $100 valuation at its specially-called meeting Monday night.

The budget breaks down into $18,128,925 for operating expenses, $1,179,561 for food service and $2,716,365 for debt service.

The operating budget is more conservative than last year’s by $83,321, with most of the changes coming from a $629,989 fund balance transfer into the operating budget.

The district plans to spend less on teacher instruction, library costs, guidance counseling, administration, plant maintenance, security, data processing and facilities – and more on curriculum, instruction and school leadership, social, health, transportation, extracurricular, debt, contracted and shared services and government expenses.

Most of the revenue to pay for that will come from the local tax revenue, at a rate of $1.23280 per $100 valuation.

The food service portion of the budget increased by $77,335 from last year, while the money alloted for debt service increased by $25,750. The district’s $0.19280 interest and sinking fund tax will go towards that debt, while the other $1.04 will go towards district maintenance and operations.

Board vice president Charles Mauldin was not present.

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Football: Bulls hungry for win

Throughout preseason workouts, the Bridgeport Bulls have not broached the subject of 2013′s winless campaign. But as the Bulls take the field Friday for this year’s season opener, there’s no doubt they are looking to officially put last season behind them.

“We don’t talk about 2013 but it still looks over our heads,” said coach Danny Henson. “We can’t wait to get back out on the field and get a chance to get a win.”

Bridgeport opens the season at Bull Memorial Stadium at 7:30 p.m. against the Mineral Wells Rams, who are coming off a 1-9 year.

Henson said there are a lot of unknowns about both teams as they try to rebound this year.

“I think the two teams are evenly matched,” Henson said. “We don’t know a lot about Mineral Wells or the two teams they scrimmaged. They also have a new coach.”

The Rams worked three quarterbacks last week during a scrimmage against Castleberry, including senior Caleb Acosta, who threw for 1,100 yards and six touchdowns last year.

After an up-and-down scrimmage against Bowie, Henson felt his team made strides against Springtown in the final tuneup.

“We improved from the first and second scrimmage. And unlike last year, we’re healthy and are not having to make roster moves,” Henson said. “We have a chance for some consistency, and each week we’ve shown improvement.”

Second-year starting quarterback Trey Cook and the Bulls offense moved the ball against Springtown.

“He missed on some deep balls but made good decisions,” Henson said of Cook. “Our offensive line played well.”

The main thing Henson wants to see on both sides of the ball Friday is more consistent execution.

“Offensively, we’ve shown flashes of looking good. We need to be more consistent,” the Bridgeport coach said. “Defensively, we’ve made improvements but we need to be better tackling.”

With his team hungry for a win, Henson doesn’t downplay the significance of the opener.

“You are only guaranteed 10 games,” Henson said. “In football, every game is important. You work hard a long time to get ready for the season. It’s important to try to win every game.”


7:30 p.m. at Bull Memorial Stadium

Mineral Wells: Harris Rating 188

Notable: The Rams finished 1-9 in 2013.

Bridgeport: Harris Rating 192

Notable: The Bulls are coming off a winless 2013.

Harris line: Bridgeport by 4

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Volleyball Roundup for Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Boyd Lady Yellowjackets brought home second place from the Chico Tournament on Saturday.

Boyd fell to Collinsville 25-19, 25-16 in the tournament final. Maddy Busch put down 11 kills and blocked four shots in the final. Kayleigh Pappajohn added six kills.

Baylie Harris and Morgan Abbott handed out 10 assists each. Britney Howard made 15 digs.

With Howard serving six aces, Boyd beat Gold-Burg 25-5, 25-7. Busch had eight kills. Harris recorded 15 assists.

The Lady Yellowjackets took down Petrolia 25-18, 25-20. Busch finished with six kills, and Pappajohn five. Howard made 20 digs. Abbott doled out nine assists.


The Northwest Lady Texans went 2-4 at their own tournament over the weekend.

The Lady Texans fell to Boswell, 26-24, 27-29, 25-20, and Cedar Park, 25-23, 25-20 on Saturday. Friday, Arlington Lamar tripped up Northwest 25-23, 21-25, 25-17. Southlake Carroll handled the Lady Texans 25-14, 25-12.

Over the six matches, Camryn Berryhill buried 67 kills. Tessa Harfield added 45 kills.

Morgan Baker doled out 89 assists, and Analise Lucio had 56.


The Bridgeport Sissies pulled out one win in six matches during their weekend visit to the Fort Worth Brewer Tournament.

The Sissies (3-12) knocked off District 8-4A foe Castleberry in three games, 25-16, 17-25, 25-22. Kensley Turner put down nine kills and made 16 digs. Ryhan Read handed out seven assists. Mariah Leyva made 12 digs.


The Chico Lady Dragons fell in the consolation final of their tournament Saturday, losing to Forestburg 25-23, 25-27, 25-22.

In bracket play Saturday, Chico beat Prairie Valley twice, 29-27, 25-19 and 26-16, 25-16. The Lady Dragons fell to Bryson 25-15, 25-13 between the Prairie Valley matches.


The Paradise Lady Panthers went 2-3 over the weekend at the Graham Tournament.

After scoring wins over Jim Ned and Munday, Paradise lost to Jacksboro, Wichita Falls Rider and Nocona.

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Bridgeport ISD to adopt budget

A special Bridgeport school board meeting will be held Monday, Aug. 25, to adopt the district tax rate and budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

The tax rate, approved Aug. 4, is set at $1.23280 per $100 valuation. This rate is composed of a $1.04 tax for maintenance and operations and a $0.1928 interest and sinking fund tax, which would be used to make payments on bonded debt for construction and equipment.

The meeting is 7 p.m. at 2107 15th St. and is open to the public.

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Bridgeport City Council lets food trucks stay put

Mobile food truck owners who prepare their own food on-site can now stay in one place for more than three hours, after the Bridgeport City Council approved an amendment to the city code at their Tuesday night meeting.

The amendment lets mobile food operators stay in a spot more than three hours as long as they provide patrons with trash receptacles, and there are restrooms within 300 feet of the truck. It does not apply to vendors who sell prepackaged food, like ice cream trucks.

The food truck issue came to the council at its Aug. 5 meeting, when Five Boys Ranch food truck owner Ryder Holley talked about how he had to move his truck 50 feet to another spot just to comply with city code.

The original code said mobile food operators could not stay on one spot more than three hours.

The council also discussed the possible installation of a food truck park, but did not include it in the code. It will be discussed at future meetings.

Mayor Corey Lane opened Tuesday’s meeting with a statement on the unrest currently underway in Ferguson, Mo., saying that he was happy he lived in Bridgeport.

“It’s just a real messed-up situation, and I’m happy that I’m living here in Texas,” Lane said.

The council also unanimously approved a $1,000 lease agreement between the city and Robert Chaney for the use of a haunted house at 1407 Carpenter St. According to the agreement, the lease would run Aug. 25-Nov. 17. The haunted house would open Sept. 26 through Nov. 1, open 6-10 p.m. Thursdays and 6 to midnight Fridays and Saturdays.

“I think it could be a good thing for the city and a good thing for our community,” Councilman David Correll said.

Another business lobbied the council for special exceptions for sign permits at a public hearing. The new Allsup’s that is being constructed at 1603 Chico Highway wants to put up a 138-square-foot pole sign, exceeding the 100-square-foot maximum for signs. This would be allowed under the city code as long as the use of the sign “serves the general welfare and preserves the community interest.”

The council unanimously approved the exception, but not without a lengthy discussion about why the 100-square-foot limit was established in the first place.

“What’s the purpose of the 100-square-foot rule if we’re just going to keep breaking it?” Councilman Calvin Coursey asked.

The council agreed that the rule was something that they should look into in the future.


  • The council held a workshop discussing whether the Bridgeport airport should remain open during its upcoming runway construction. The FAA won’t allow it to be open for safety reasons, but some community members were worried about the effect closure would have on their businesses. The council put the item on its Sept. 9 meeting agenda.
  • A resolution opposing the proposed natural gas rate case rules being considered by the Railroad Commission passed 5-0. The proposed rules would limit cities’ abilities to review and challenge gas rate hikes.
  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield health and dental insurance, Superior Vision eye insurance and Assurant life insurance coverage purchases were approved 5-0.
  • Public hearings were held to adopt a $22,848,580 budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year and a maximum tax rate of 58.57 cents per $100 valuation for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. The next public hearing on the budget will be Sept. 2 and formal adoption of the budget will be Sept. 16.
  • The council unanimously approved entering into a contract with the Texas Department of Agriculture to reconstruct about 1,500 feet of water lines at Turkey Creek and about 1,100 feet of water lines on Cobb Street. The city will pay 20 percent of the contract, or $105,800.
  • A motion to continue advertising the sale of 225 acres of property on Rutherford Ranch until the council could solicit a real estate broker to sell the property passed 4-0, with Councilman Meyers abstaining.
  • The presentation of the 2010 annual report and analysis of racial profiling statistics for police personnel did not happen because it was removed from the agenda packet.

The council’s next regular meeting is Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. at 900 Thompson Street. It is open to the public.

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Parker Gage Bennett

Torri Gillespie and Jordan Bennett of Bridgeport announce the birth of their third child, Parker Gage, on Aug. 14, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

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

He has two brothers: Tristan, 7, and Bobby, 6.

Grandparents are Janell Cartwright of Bridgeport and Bobette Smith of Decatur.

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Aaron Gustavo Patino

Karla and Gustavo Patino of Bridgeport announce the birth of a son, Aaron Gustavo, on Aug. 7, 2014, at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine.

He weighed 9 pounds, 2 ounces and was 21 1/4 inches long.

He has one brother: Andres, 4.

Grandparents are Jaime and Arminda Enriquez of Boyd and Juan and Maria Patino of Bridgeport.

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Bridgeport board sets breakfast prices, talks renovations

There was a little less action and a lot more talk at the Bridgeport ISD board of trustees meeting Monday night.

The consent agenda, which was the only item to be acted on, passed 6-0. This included a decision to set district breakfast prices at $1.50, which would ensure that students would be able to get a meal consisting of one cup of milk, two servings of fruit, two whole grains or one whole grain and meat.

The current breakfast meal reimbursement is $1.62 for students receiving free benefits, $1.32 for reduced benefits plus 30 cents in student payment to equal $1.62, and 28 cents for full-paid students.

The board members then discussed a series of changes that could possibly be made for the upcoming school year, including athletics facilities and agricultural science facility renovations.

One such facility was the high school football stadium. In order to build bleacher additions in the stadium, the current pressbox would have to be taken down and possibly rebuilt. There was discussion about whether or not a new pressbox was even necessary, since an elevator would be required if it were bigger than 500 square feet.

Board member Tom Talley said pressboxes weren’t needed now because they aren’t used for their original function anymore.

“There’s not much of a need for pressboxes now because people don’t scout like they used to,” Talley said.

Other facility updates considered were new dugouts for the high school baseball field, since the wooden support beams holding up the roofs are rotting and a new barn for the agricultural sciences department. No action was taken on any of the facility updates.

The board also:

  • heard a monthly finance report and set Aug. 25 as the meeting date for the 2014-15 budget and tax rate adoption;
  • listened to a presentation on district accountability ratings, which the district met and exceeded last year; and
  • discussed when and where to install wireless-operated electronic marquee signs at each campus. The high and middle school signs would each cost around $30,000, and the intermediate and elementary school signs would cost around $20,000.

The board’s next regular meeting will be 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 15, in the board conference room at 2107 15th Street. It is open to the public.

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Football: Bowie passes by Bulls during scrimmage

The Bridgeport Bulls’ retooled defense showed it still needs some work Saturday in its first live action against Bowie.

The Bulls gave up four touchdowns over the session – three through the air.

The defense made just two stops in the scrimmage.

Over the Top

OVER THE TOP – Bridgeport’s Grayson Mathis flips over a Bowie defender Saturday during a scrimmage at Bull Memorial Stadium. Mathis caught a touchdown pass in the scrimmage. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“The defense has a long ways to go,” said Bridgeport coach Danny Henson. “We’re trying to make decisions on a lot of kids on the bubble.”

Along with the three touchdown passes, Bowie scored once on a 10-yard run.

Offensively, Bridgeport found the end zone twice. Grayson Mathis caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Trey Cook in the Bulls’ first possession, and Raby Hawkins hauled in a scoring toss from Cook from 1-yard out later in the session.

Cook completed 14 of his 23 attempts for 130 yards with one interception.

The Bulls had some success running inside against Bowie, getting a surge up front from their offensive line.

“We executed a lot of times well,” Henson said. “There are still parts where we are lacking. The line had no major mistakes. Grayson Mathis started picking it up and running better.”

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Volleyball: Sissies win two at tourney

The Bridgeport Sissies closed the Burkburnett Tournament Saturday with a three-game win over Childress.

With five kills each from Kendall Scott and Kensley Turner, the Sissies won 25-21, 18-25, 25-22.

Mariah Leyva made 18 digs. Ryhan Read handed out 10 assists.

Bridgeport went 2-5 at the weekend tournament and is 2-7 on the season.

“I was pleased with the way the girls came together on day two after getting off to a slow start Friday,” said coach Rebekah Cummings. “I have seen a lot of growth in a short amount of time from this young team. I look forward to watching them build on it. They rallied and battled. That’s what it’s all about.”

Bridgeport lost its opener of the tournament to Childress 25-6, 25-21. Samantha Hancock put down three kills. Ally Raby had four digs.

Boyd then beat Bridgeport 25-23, 25-9. Taylor Jamieson and Sadie White recorded four kills. Read handed out seven assists, and Raby six.

The Rider junior varsity toppled Bridgeport 25-15, 25-6. Jamieson had three kills. Read doled out five assists.

Iowa Park beat the Sissies 25-14, 25-8.

Bridgeport picked up its first win 25-17, 25-23 over Electra. White put down seven kills while Turner recorded five. Leyva had 10 digs. Read set up eight assists.

Henrietta edged Bridgeport 25-13, 25-16.

The Sissies were off Tuesday. They return to action Friday at the Fort Worth Brewer Tournament.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Some don’t like being asked questions

Some time ago I started asking people on the Messenger’s online forum when, if ever, has there been an audit of all the property, money, vehicles, weapons, etc. taken from citizens by our courts and public servants. I just want to know who is accountable.

Lo and behold, now I am getting threatened with my property being searched. I told the last officer at my gate, you better make sure the warrant is legal – now get off my property! He said, “We will be back!”

Now I do not do very well with anybody attempting to threaten or trying to intimidate me, especially my tax-funded public servants! I told him the warrant better be legal, or I’ll sue! His reply was, “Do you know how many times I have heard that?” No, I don’t, but if it is being said by more and more citizens, you might want to stop and check your priorities and procedures.

I have nothing to hide. I have worked all my life and am still working 60 to 70 hours a week while raising children and grandchildren. I took my mother into my home after her stroke and cared for her for years before having to put her in a home.

Wise County would do well to put their efforts and resources toward those violating the law, instead of attempting to intimidate a 62-year-old soon-to-be great-grandfather.

I know some are just trying to do their job, and unfortunately, they got the brunt of my anger due to me feeling abused. After I calmed down, I made three different phone calls, even though I feel it is an abuse of power to let even one of them come without a warrant to look at my place.

I had a captain call me today, saying I left a message that I needed to talk to him. I said, no, I called and left messages for an officer. I guess by the fact he did not return my calls, he has realized I am not a party to any wrongdoing, and the matter is closed.

Due to all this “unwarranted” attention, sadly I am being forced to research my options with the FBI as to how to protect my home, family and civil rights. Some birthday present!

Rusty White

Posted in Letters to the Editor0 Comments

Porfirio Fraga-Solis

Porfirio Fraga-Solis

Porfirio Fraga-Solis, 54, of Bridgeport, died Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, in Decatur.

Mass of Christian burial was Aug. 19 at St. John The Baptizer Catholic Church with Father Thomas Dsouza officiating. Burial was at Mexican Cemetery in Bridgeport under the direction of Hawkins Funeral Home in Bridgeport.

Pallbearers were Isidro Fraga, Rene Rodriguez, Miguel Rodriguez, Cesar Salinas, Cesar Salinas, Carlos Davila, Juan Jose Fraga, Saul Fraga, Jose Rosas and Javier Fraga.

Porfirio was born June 9, 1960, in Zaragoza, Coahuila, to Alberto Fraga and Juana S. de Fraga. He married Guadalupe Rosas Feb. 16, 1985, in Decatur and worked as an oilfield roustabout.

He was preceded in death by his brother, Victor Alberto; and sister Celia Edelina.

Survivors include his wife of 29 years, Guadalupe Fraga of Bridgeport; sons Julio Blas Fraga of Bridgeport and Isidro Fraga and wife, Claudia Reyes, of Louisiana; daughters Juanita Yadira Salinas and husband, Cesar, of Sanger, Gabriela Rodriguez and husband, Rene, of Pleasanton, Guadalupe Fraga and Yasmin Fraga, both of Bridgeport; grandchildren Kassandra, Cesar, Monica, Samuel, Isidro, Brisa, Miguel, Maria, Meredith, Natalie and Mia; his parents; brothers and sisters, Maria Adelita Mendoza, Juan Jose Fraga, Marta Alicia Rangel, Yesenia Davila, Jesus Humberto Fraga, Leticia Leyva, Aracely Rosas and Saul Fraga; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Posted in Obituaries0 Comments

Bridgeport City Council to take action on food trucks Tuesday

The Bridgeport City Council will consider adopting an ordinance in its meeting Tuesday that would amend the city code to make it easier to operate food trucks within the city limits.

The issue was brought up at the council’s last meeting by Ryder Holley, who took issue with the fact that he had to move his Five Boys Ranch food truck every three hours just to comply with city ordinances.

Another item left over from last week’s meeting, Ken Kilpatrick’s sign ordinance amendment, will be discussed in a public hearing. Kilpatrick is asking the council to allow him to set up a pole sign at 1603 Chico Highway that would exceed the maximum gross surface area permitted.

The council will also:

  • hold its first public hearing on the proposed tax rate of $0.5875 per $100 valuation;
  • hold a public hearing to adopt the 2014-2015 fiscal year budget;
  • hear a presentation on the analysis of racial profiling statistics for police;
  • discuss the possibility of closing Bridgeport Municipal Airport during the runway extension project;
  • consider purchasing health and dental insurance from Blue Cross Blue Shield, vision insurance from Superior Vision and life insurance from Assurant;
  • consider adopting a resolution opposing the proposed rules on natural gas rates being considered by the Railroad Commission;
  • discuss the sale of approximately 225 acres in the Grunder and BBB & CRR surveys;
  • consider awarding a bid and entering into a contract for water line improvements with the 2013 Texas Community Development Block Grant Project No. 713050; and
  • consider approving a lease agreement between the city and Robert Chaney for a haunted house.

The meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 19, in Bridgeport City Hall, 900 Thompson St. It is open to the public.

Posted in News0 Comments

Bridgeport ISD trustees to discuss renovations

The Bridgeport ISD Board of Trustees will discuss baseball dugouts and football field and agriculture science animal barn renovations at its meeting Monday.

In addition to facility renovations, the board will also:

  • hear a monthly finance report;
  • go over the budget for the upcoming fiscal year;
  • review updated Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) policies;
  • discuss each campus’s electronic message boards; and
  • hear a superintendent’s report.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the conference room at 2107 15th St. and is open to the public.

Posted in News0 Comments




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