Agricultural sciences: More than animals

With all the talk of a new football stadium and other athletic facility renovations in Bridgeport, it would be easy to overlook another bit of construction that may soon come to the district – a new agriculture sciences barn.

Growing Plants and a Program

GROWING PLANTS AND A PROGRAM – Pablo Rivera waters plants in the Bridgeport High School greenhouse. The agricultural science students grow their own plants and sell them in the spring to fund some of their projects. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Becky DeShazo and Cody McCauley, two teachers in the ag science department at the high school, discussed the project with the school board Monday night. A new barn would give students more room to house animals and train them for shows and would allow for bigger classroom space.

The board hasn’t made a final decision on it yet, but the construction bids should be happening sometime in the next month.

Show Pigs

SHOW PIGS – One of the pigs that the students train as part of the animal sciences class roams the pigpen at Bridgeport High School. Junior Bradie Anderson (in the background) will be showing three pigs this year at the Wise County Youth Fair. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

But ag science isn’t just about showing animals.

“Oh, we’ve got leadership FFA programs, a greenhouse where we grow our own plants and other research projects that we do as well,” DeShazo said.

She’s been at Bridgeport High School for two years and teaches floral arrangement classes, along with animal management and animal science.

McCauley, who has been teaching for seven years, handles the mechanical side of the program, with welding classes and oil field studies. He also teaches a food and agricultural resources class for freshmen. Both are extremely proud of their program as a whole, specifically Bridgeport’s FFA chapter.

“We’re well-represented at all levels of the FFA, no matter if it’s state, local or federal,” McCauley said.

Bridgeport currently has 308 members in its FFA chapter, one of the largest in Wise County. Last year, three members received their Lone Star degrees – the highest honor FFA can bestow.

The program is built around much more than preparing students for stock shows, although they do well in that category, too . Students are currently competing at several major stock shows across the state.

“We got fifth in the state for our agricultural issues presentation, which I know the kids are real proud of,” DeShazo said. “They had to research both sides of an issue and argue both sides on navigable waters in America. We all learned a lot from it.”

Another FFA team, agricultural sales, placed third in the state for its ability to successfully market different feed products to different buyers.

DeShazo said in addition to the leadership skills and animal skills being taught in the program, students can graduate with certificates in certain fields as a part of the career and technical education track.

“We had three girls become certified florists last year, and the welding track is also really popular for the kids who want to learn to go work in oil fields,” she said. Other students are working on veterinary certificates with local veterinarians.

As for the animals and the barn, students can currently hold pigs, cattle, sheep and goats on school property, but a bigger space would mean more room for more animals, like rabbits and chickens. It would also make it easier for students to learn.

“That way, the students could see with their own eyes what I’m talking about if we’re studying anatomy,” DeShazo said.

Both teachers said working with the students is the best part of their job.

“We have really great kids, and sometimes they don’t realize what they’re capable of,” DeShazo said. “Making them realize the potential they have feels great.”

Posted in Education Headlines0 Comments

Bridgeport ISD Student Spotlights for Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Mason Stokes

Mason Stokes

Grade: 1st

Parent: Stephanie Marshall

Favorite subject: Math

Activities: Building stuff, playing baseball, playing Wii racing games

“Mason has been in the two-way dual language program since kindergarten. His native language is English. After a year-and-a-half, Mason is reading, speaking and writing in Spanish. We are so proud of Mason’s hard work and dedication to learning. He is on his way to being bi-literate!” – Principal Martha Bock


Matticen Smith

Matticen Smith

Grade: 4th

Parent: Kerrie Smith

Favorite subject: Science

Activities: Watching “Girl Meets World,” playing tag and playing with her dog Keylo

“Matticen is a girl with a positive attitude and surprising maturity. She is a hard worker with a strong sense of family responsibility. I am especially impressed by her excellent manners.” – Principal Rita Lemoine


Camden Hand

Camden Hand

Grade: 6th

Parents: Brent and Stephanie Hand, Steve and Tashia Stanford

Favorite subject: Math

Activities: Playing basketball, football, baseball and golf; going to church every Sunday; hunting (especially bow hunting) and fishing

“Camden serves as the sixth grade student council president and maintains an A average in all of his classes. However, Camden is best known among our students and faculty for being a kind, supportive classmate who is uplifting in his words and actions. Camden is an outstanding representative for our campus and school district!” – Principal Travis Whisenant


Payton Pierce

Payton Pierce

Grade: 12th

Parents: Richie and Deidra Pierce

Favorite subject: Calculus

Activities: Racing, watching sports, working on cars and hunting/fishing

“Payton is an all-around exceptional student. He does well in his classes, and he also excels in his activities outside of school. Payton is an avid racer and spends most of his weekends competing. He gives 110 percent in all that he does. He is polite and friendly to everyone he meets. He is a mature young man that has set high goals for his future. I have no doubt that Payton will do whatever it takes to make those goals a reality.” – Principal Jaime Sturdivant

Posted in Education Headlines0 Comments

Basketball: Sissies move to 2-0 in district

The Bridgeport Sissies jumped on Lake Worth from the opening whistle Friday.

The Sissies (21-3, 2-0) opened the game on a 22-4 run on the way to the 55-21 victory.

“Our kids did a good job of taking a road trip and taking care of business from the start of the game,” said Bridgeport coach Dallas Taylor. “Defensive pressure and pushing the tempo kept a less talented Lake Worth on its heels.”

Landrie Walsh led the Sissies with 14 points and six rebounds. Bailey Thompson had 12 points. Abbi Hatton finished with eight rebounds and three points.

Bridgeport led 30-9 at halftime and 44-13 going to the fourth quarter.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Basketball: Bulls squish Bullfrogs

The Bridgeport Bulls put the Lake Worth Bullfrogs away early Friday night in the District 8-4A opener.

The Bulls poured in 52 first-half points on the way to an 80-43 victory.

Bridgeport (19-4, 1-0) outscored Lake Worth 32-9 in the second quarter to build a 52-17 halftime lead.

Caleb Smith led a quartet of Bulls in double figures with 21 points. Keenan Holdman added 17. Devonte Patterson had 14 and Ethan Chapman 11.

Bridgeport let off the gas in the second half and still outscored Lake Worth 28-26.

“We had a slow third quarter and need to come out with a better edge to set the tone in the second half,” said Bridgeport coach Alan Green. “Overall, it was a good way to start our district season.”

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Asset forfeiture program limited

Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced a new policy that will greatly restrict the ability of state and local police forces to use federal law to seize goods without charging an individual with a crime.

Civil asset forfeiture is a process by which authorities seize property alleged to have been involved in a crime, charge the property directly, since goods do not have the same constitutional protections as their owners, and then keep most of the proceeds for departmental use.

For years, this practice has been a major incentive for police to make false charges and seize assets without having to prove “guilt beyond a reasonable doubt” – instead only meeting the lower “preponderance of the evidence” standard of civil cases.

The recent announcement means police departments will still be permitted to make seizures under state and local laws, but they will no longer be able to use the DOJ Equitable Sharing Program to use federal law to do so.

“Civil asset forfeiture laws turn many fundamental concepts of democracy upside down, creating an assumption of ‘guilty until proven innocent,'” said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. “Before today, anyone could have their money or assets taken by police without ever being charged with a crime and with little chance of ever getting it back.

“This is a major victory for anyone who cares about due process and the rule of law.”

Seeing that this practice has been limited, I wonder if those in Wise County will get back what was stolen?

Rusty White

Posted in Letters to the Editor1 Comment

Meeting Agendas for Saturday, January 17, 2015

BRIDGEPORT SCHOOL BOARD – The Bridgeport School Board will discuss the start-up costs of a new soccer program at the high school at Monday night’s meeting. The agenda also includes reviewing price quotes for electronic signs on all four campuses, nominations for Wise County Appraisal District board of directors, a review of the district’s Energy Conservation Policy and a discussion about the construction of a new agriculture science barn at the high school. The meeting is 7 p.m. at 2107 15th Street.

CHICO SCHOOL BOARD – The Chico School Board will perform the annual superintendent evaluation and take action on his contract at Monday’s meeting. The agenda also includes a facilities review committee update, a report on the annual cost savings from ESC Region 11, nominations for Wise County Appraisal District board of directors, a monetary donation from Noel and LeAnn Ruddick for the Ryan Ruddick Memorial Scholarship Fund and other regular monthly business. The meeting is 7 p.m. in the Chico Elementary School Cafetorium, 1120 Park Road.

PARADISE CITY COUNCIL – The Paradise City Council will consider whether or not to waive the Paradise Historical Society’s water deposit. The Council will hear reports from the Paradise Economic Development Corp., as well as the Planning and Zoning Commisiion, Water Department and Building Department. The council meets at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

PARADISE SCHOOL BOARD – The board will meet and hold a hearing at 6 p.m., where assistant Superintendant Patti Seckman will present reports on Texas Academic Performance Report, PEIMS Financial Standard Report, Campus Performance Objectives, Violent or Criminal Incidents Report and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Report. Following the hearing the board will have a regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. where the board will discuss a budget ammendment and a district policy update.

Posted in News0 Comments

Basketball: Sissies open district with win

The Bridgeport Sissies pushed their season record to 20-3 with a 56-40 win over Springtown on their home court Tuesday.

ON THE DRIVE – Bridgeport’s Bailey Thompson takes the ball inside for the Sissies in the win over Springtown. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt

Even more important, they went to 1-0 in district 8-4A heading into a Friday game at Lake Worth.

Getting that first district win in two seasons was a “monkey off the back,” coach Dallas Taylor said. “Now, we can just go play.”

Bridgeport point guard Bailey Thompson led all scorers with 18 points, including three 3-pointers and seven of eight free throws. Playing against the guard-oriented Lady Porcupines, Thompson was a step quicker than her Springtown counterparts.

“They’ve got some quickness,” Taylor said. “They’re more guard-oriented while we’re more post-oriented, so it was a matchup situation. Our girls did a good job of finally settling in and taking care of their business.”

It was a one-point game with Bridgeport leading 12-11 through the first quarter. Landrie Walsh put up eight of her 12 points in the second, working the baseline for layups and short jumpers to boost her team to a 31-21 halftime lead.

Gabby Mindieta, Abby Hatton and Walsh protected the paint for the Sissies, blocking several shots and winning most of the rebound battles.

Eight of Thompson’s points came in the third, as the Sissies expanded their lead to 46-30. The teams played even in the fourth, each scoring 10.

Springtown put on a press near the end of the game, but Bridgeport’s pressure was relentless from the opening tip, forcing turnovers and tie balls – three in the first quarter.

“We like pressure,” Taylor said. “That’s how we’ve always played here in Bridgeport. We like a fast-paced game.”

Springtown’s point guard, Brooklyn Dauenhauer, put up nine points. Post player Khristin Mote had 12, with many of those coming late in the game.

Elaina Peyton scored nine for Bridgeport, popping crucial 3-pointers in the second, third and fourth quarters.

Hatton added six, hitting four of seven free throws, and Mindieta scored five, including 3 at the line.

As a team, Bridgeport hit 14 of its 22 free throws.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Albert Duncan Taylor

Albert Duncan Taylor

Albert Duncan Taylor, 70, died Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, at his home in Bridgeport.

Graveside service is 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 17, at Willow Point Cemetery south of Bridgeport. Dr. Owen Sharp will officiate.

Albert was born Oct. 4, 1944, in Decatur to John Robert and Lena Elizabeth (Ewing) Taylor. He married Sherry Gale Harral Aug. 23, 1963, in Denton.

The couple moved to Bridgeport in 1973. After serving his country in the U.S. Army, he worked 27 years for the city of Bridgeport as a law enforcement officer.

He liked to repair and rebuild motors, play dominoes and go bowling. He loved listening to the oldies and dancing with Sherry.

He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Elizabeth Taylor; brother Robert Taylor; and sisters Mary Katherine Love and Betty Jean Mason.

He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Sherry Taylor of Bridgeport; son Edmond DeWayne Taylor and wife, Shawna, of Fort Worth; daughters Barbara Lynn Elliott of Bridgeport, Leslie Taylor Sparks and husband, Randy, of Brownwood and Amanda Michell Taylor of Bridgeport; grandchildren Ryan, Brianna, Patti, Harley, Blue Jean, Brittanie, Cole, Dalton, Kasie, Lacy, Dylan, Darringer, Brayden and Bella; and great-grandchildren Sawyer, Sterling, Pandora, Lilly and Chloe. He is also survived by brothers and sisters: Susie Wilson, Dorothy Nash, Jimmy Taylor, Kenneth Taylor, Charles Taylor, Tommy Taylor and Richard Taylor.

Posted in Obituaries0 Comments

Christianna Machelle Elizabeth Withrow

Jennifer Shelby Withrow of Bridgeport announces the birth of a daughter, Christianna Machelle Elizabeth Withrow, on Jan. 13, 2015, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 5 pounds 11 ounces and was 17 1/2 inches long.

Grandparents are Tina Smith of Paradise and David Withrow of Bridgeport.

Great-grandparents are Shelby and Gloria Withrow of Paradise and James V. Hall of Bowie.

Great great-grandparents are Betty Withrow of Lufkin and Loretta Goulden of San Antonio.

Posted in New Arrivals0 Comments

Carlos Alexander Mendez

Carlos and Maria Mendez of Bridgeport announce the birth of a son, Carlos Alexander Mendez, on Jan. 12, 2015, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces and was 19 inches long.

He has three sisters: Alandra Mendez, 19; Alicia Mendez, 18; and Jaquiline Mendez, 6.

Posted in New Arrivals0 Comments

Travis Lewis Dale Warren

Allandra and Timothy Warren of Bridgeport announce the birth of a son, Travis Lewis Dale Warren, on Jan. 10, 2015, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces and was 21 inches long.

Grandparents are Steven and Bobbie Warren of Lake Bridgeport, and John and Shirley Herron of White Deer.

Great-grandparents include: James and Sandra Warren of Borger, Johnny Hope of Stinnett, Lawrence and Connie Wagner of Lake Bridgeport, Joe and Andra Coward of Terrell and Carlin Griffin of Arlington.

Great great-grandparents are Louetta Ball of Borger and Virginia Hope of Stinnett.

Posted in New Arrivals0 Comments

Community of forgiveness; Ministry looks to faith  to heal addiction

Community of forgiveness; Ministry looks to faith to heal addiction

On Monday and Thursday nights at the Pizza Hut off U.S. 380 in Bridgeport, a group of people meets in the restaurant’s private dining room. Most of the time they don’t even order pizza.

They’re just there to talk.

Bibles Pizza and Recovery

BIBLES, PIZZA AND RECOVERY- Walk in Faith Ministries Inc. is a faith-based, 12-step program that meets twice a week at Pizza Hut in Bridgeport. The group combines biblical principles with behavioral change philosophy to help its members stay sober. Pictured (from left) are George Rose, Walter Wilson, Kirk Green, Lloyd Kees, Chelly Cloud, James Frank Smith, Michael Scheller, Matthew Reaves, his daughter Kara Martin, David Merritt and President Al Qualls. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The smell of pizza and tomato sauce mingles with the aroma of freshly butted cigarettes that some group members discarded at the door. It feels like a family reunion as they trickle in, with hugs and smiles everywhere.

Soon, an opening prayer leads into a discussion about renewal and forgiveness, with multiple references from the Bible. People feel free to speak or stay silent. Everyone pays attention.

It sounds like a Bible study, but it’s actually a 12-step program.

“Whatever your deal is, it doesn’t matter”

Walk in Faith Ministries Inc. is a non-profit, faith-based 12-step recovery program led by Alvin Qualls. He started the program in 2011 in an effort to give people a religious alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

The name comes from 2 Corinthians 5:7 – “For we will walk by faith and not by sight.”

Qualls prefers to call Walk in Faith’s gatherings “classes” instead of “meetings” because he feels that it’s more relatable. People don’t feel threatened by the connotation of a class – classes are things you choose to attend, he said.

Meetings have a reputation for being dull, and for a lot of people who’ve gone through AA, they think of the stereotypical “Hi, my name is Joe, and I’m an alcoholic” atmosphere. Qualls wants to keep people coming back because they feel welcome.

Most people who attend Walk in Faith’s classes have to be there as a condition of their parole, but a vast majority stick around because they feel like they’ve found a community.

“I don’t care if your deal is AA, NA, overeating, obesity, gambling, whatever it is – it doesn’t matter,” Qualls said, “Our main goal is to provide Christian fellowship for people and get them out of their dependency.”

Qualls started Walk In Faith Ministries after his own run-in with the law. He was convicted of manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance in October of 2007, a crime for which he went to prison.

When he was released, he started thinking about ways to help people who had been through the same experiences.

“During the whole time I was in jail, I got saved, got my ordination and I knew that this was what I wanted to do,” he said. He admits that part of his motivation was to make sure he stayed on the right track – “Some of it was to help me stay sober” – but he also enjoys seeing others succeed at sobriety. He is adamant about using “we” rather than “I” when describing Walk in Faith’s leadership.

Qualls had only one co-worker on his board of directors when he started his ministry – Lloyd Kees, a minister who visited Qualls while he served his sentence.

“I wasn’t supposed to make parole until about 2018, and he helped me change a lot,” Qualls said.

Known to all as “Brother Lloyd,” the two of them started counseling one couple in a Pizza Hut booth in early 2011. Since then, the program has grown immensely. At one point, more than 30 people were at one meeting.

“People said we wouldn’t last more than six months when we started,” Qualls said, “Now, we’re four years old.”

Qualls usually stands at the front of the room during meetings. He talks about applying Biblical principles to get clean, using the Christian-themed 12 steps, such as “I will know that my walk in faith is a process” and “Knowing that what I do and staying positive will make a difference.”

He recites Bible verses from memory. He’s shorter than average, but with his short, cropped haircut and authoritative voice, he holds the room in rapt attention. On this particular night, he’s dressed in a denim button-down shirt, jeans, cowboy boots and a bolo tie in the shape of a cross.

Kees sits at a table beside him and chimes in now and again with a Bible verse or an anecdote of his own. Tonight’s talk is about dealing with the family members – and the drinking – that go hand-in-hand with the holiday season.

“Families can be a big issue this time of year, and old friends who might have gotten you into trouble back in the day,” Qualls tells the audience. “Just because you don’t hang out with them anymore, that don’t mean they’re gone.

“And it’s tough to stay positive, you know, not everyone has good neighbors that create a positive outlook on their life. This is a festive season, so don’t let that festive season take care of you.”

Other nights, he simply talks about the leaps and bounds his ministry has made and the lives that have been impacted. He clearly believes he’s doing something monumental, even if he doesn’t outwardly show it.


Almost a third of all arrests in Texas in 2012 were drug- or alcohol-related, according to Texas’ Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Bureau.

Gary Barnes of the Wise County Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse estimates that of everyone in Wise County arrested for drugs or alcohol, around 60 to 65 percent go on to be incarcerated.

“And then a lot that get parole end up violating it, and they’re right back where they started,” Barnes said.

There are myriad reasons why people end up at Walk In Faith Ministries. Drugs and alcohol are at the top of the list, but people with child abuse/neglect, assault and battery charges aren’t hard to find. A few are there on their own because they feel being there helps them stay clean.

All say their progress would be vastly different if they had gone to another AA program.

Chelly Cloud, who has been attending Walk in Faith classes since last September, has already attended her mandated number of meetings. She has a sign-in sheet with a record of every one she’s been to.

“I don’t have to keep marking it down, but I like to, because it reminds me of how far I’ve come,” she said. “I’ve only missed three meetings since September.”

Cloud, who also helps update the Walk in Faith Facebook page, said she was attracted to the program’s forward-thinking mindset. It was more positive than other behavioral programs, she said.

“I got in trouble with CPS, for drugs,” she said. “They took my kids away, and I was court-ordered to go to [all these] classes. I did all that, but I still felt like I needed to do something for myself.

“The first time I walked through the door, I was in tears. I didn’t know what to say or what to do, I didn’t know what people were going to think of me. But everyone here has their own story, and there’s no judgment.

“We don’t dwell in the past, and I think that’s the difference between this and other AA programs.”

Other members, like James Frank Smith, who also serves on Walk in Faith’s board of directors, have been attending classes for two years.

“Other programs, they try to tell you, once an addict, always an addict, but I’m not an addict anymore,” he said. “This program focuses on the future instead of your past. If I went to AA or NA, I’d just be going to get my paper signed.”

No matter what their sins or convictions, Qualls said he welcomes everyone. Walk In Faith is non-denominational, with the only requirement being that participants “come to know that our higher power is God” – the first step in the 12-step process.

One member who wished to remain anonymous said other AA groups they attended claimed to be religious in nature but didn’t want God mentioned frequently.

“If you start to talk more about faith over there, it’s hard because you’re talking about a higher power but ignoring God – and doing everything you used to do minus the booze,” the member said. “That didn’t work for me – my behavior didn’t change at all.”

Behavioral change is one of the biggest goals of the program, Qualls said. From the looks of it, Walk In Faith Ministries is creating a positive influence in the lives of its members.

One of those, Billie Cerda, is a former addict who fulfilled her probation long ago but comes back to Walk in Faith for the community.

“I had been to AA meetings and NA meetings, and the only thing I wanted to do after an NA meeting was to go use, and all I wanted to do after an AA meeting was to go drink,” she said. “Now, the only thing I feel like doing after one of these meetings is praising God.”

Qualls, for his part, believes looking back is nowhere near as powerful as looking forward.

“It’s easy to sit there and beat ourselves up about our past, and we don’t need to do that … There’s a lot of people who really desire to do right, and there’s a lot more obstacles than people think. We want to be an example to all people, not just addicts.”


Qualls doesn’t want to meet in Pizza Hut forever.

“Pizza Hut has been great sponsors to us and have been for a long period of time, and we’re very appreciative of that,” he said. “But it would be nice to have somewhere else to go, somewhere permanent.”

Currently, the group is trying to raise money for a grant to lease a building in Bridgeport, near Texas 114 – right next to Bridgeport Discount Liquor.

“That might not go over too well,” Qualls said with a laugh. “And if we don’t get that building, that’s fine. We’re just hoping to find a permanent place in Bridgeport so we can stay local.”

He sounds confident that Walk in Faith Ministries will continue to thrive. And until they do get a permanent building, they’ll keep congregating in that Pizza Hut off of U.S. 380.

One day at a time.

Posted in Features, News0 Comments

Basketball: Sweet success – Sissies rise through adversity with sights on playoffs

Basketball: Sweet success – Sissies rise through adversity with sights on playoffs

Success is not something Landrie Walsh and her fellow Bridgeport seniors take for granted.

“We’ve seen both sides. Our freshman year, we made the playoffs – and then the past two years we’ve lost every district game,” Walsh explains.

So while 19 wins in their first 23 outings is an impressive start, they are far from satisfied.

“The playoffs – that’s what pushes us,” Walsh said. “We want to go again. We want that feeling.”

Staying the Course

STAYING THE COURSE – Through the ups and downs, Bridgeport seniors Lauren Stowers, Diana Garcia, Landrie Walsh and Bailey Thompson have kept their heads up and kept working. They are now enjoying their best season, getting off to a 19-4 start. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The Sissies hoped to take the first step toward that goal Tuesday as they opened District 8-4A play at home against Springtown. But they are not looking ahead.

“We’re taking it one game at a time,” said Bailey Thompson.

Thompson and Walsh have been on the Bridgeport varsity since their freshmen year. They were part of Dallas Taylor’s first campaign as head coach in 2012. Classmates Lauren Stowers and Diana Garcia joined them as sophomores.

BACK ON THE ATTACK – Bridgeport’s Landrie Walsh takes the ball inside during the Sissies’ game against Wichita Falls Rider. She is one of four seniors for the Sissies. Submitted photo

After going 17-13 their freshman year, the program turned over their sophomore season. They were 14-18 that year with a winless run through a tough 9-3A. Last year, the Sissies had high expectations after starting the season 5-0. Then Thompson and Elaina Payton were lost for the season with knee injuries.

“We thought we’d do good last year then we had the injuries,” Thompson said.

The Sissies remained guarded after this year’s early-season success.

“When we got our first win, we were a little freaked out,” Thompson said. “It wasn’t until after a few more when we expected it.”

Bridgeport really got on a roll in late November with strong showings at the Ponder, Jacksboro and Era Tournaments.

“It was real fun our senior year, winning all our tournaments,” Thompson said.

Heading into district, two of the Sissies’ four losses are to ranked teams – Peaster and Wichita Falls Rider.

Thompson leads the team in scoring, averaging 15.9 points along with four assists and four steals. Walsh is chipping in 12.5 points and five rebounds. Stowers is adding 6.9 points and six boards. Garcia contributes 5.29 points and six steals.

“All four feed off each other,” Taylor said. “Bailey sets the tone. Diana is our energizer. Lauren is the relentless rebounder. Landrie is our rock. She’s Miss Dependable.

“They’ve learned they need each other. They are close on and off the floor.”

As Stowers points out: “If I don’t see them for a day, it’s weird.”

Taylor, who has known these seniors since elementary school, is glad to see the group experience success after fighting through adversity the past two years.

“They’ve stayed the course,” Taylor said. “They’ve come in every day and responded to the challenges – positive and negative. It’s nice to see them rewarded for all their efforts.”

A recent reward came from a young fan.

“A little girl came up to me and said, ‘I heard your team was really good,'” Thompson explained. “It made me feel good.”

The Sissies know there is still work to do to reach their goal – the playoffs. That will be a perfect exclamation mark to their careers.

“Us four seniors have got to see [the program] blossom,” Walsh said. “Our first year was building the machine. Now, we finally have the machine going. It’s a matter of keeping it going.”

Posted in Features, Sports0 Comments

Basketball: Bulls, Eagles start 8-4A run

During strong non-district campaigns, the Bridgeport Bulls and Decatur Eagles turned heads and earned state rankings.

Friday, the two begin playing for what matters – the 8-4A title and a trip to the postseason.

LEADING THE CHARGE – Bridgeport’s Caleb Smith and Devonte Patterson are averaging a combined 40 points per game for the Bulls, entering Friday’s 8-4A opener. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

“Everything rises up two notches in district,” said Bridgeport coach Alan Green. “We have to make sure we’re ready.”

Bridgeport opens district at Lake Worth. Decatur plays host to Castleberry. Springtown – the fifth team – has the first open date in the quick eight-game slate that wraps up Feb. 17.

Decatur rolled to an 8-0 finish on the way to their third district title in four years last year. Coach Drew Coffman expects this league to be more competitive.

“It’s a good district with good teams,” Coffman said. “The teams that get out have a good chance to win playoff games. In years past it’s not been as strong. Last year, we won every game by double figures. This year, it will be a dogfight each game.”

Bridgeport enters district at 18-4 and ranked No. 7 in 4A. The Bulls hammered Alvarado Monday 77-37.

Behind Devonte Patterson’s 22.8 points and 8.3 rebounds, the Bulls are averaging 55.8 points per game. Caleb Smith is chipping in 18.4.

Ethan Chapman, who is shooting 31 percent from behind the 3-point arc and averaging nine points, is keeping teams from collapsing on Patterson inside.

Green feels his team is still improving.

“We’ve shown spurts of being a real good team,” Green said. “We’ve had our ups and downs. As a coach, you guard against peaking too early. The challenge is to keep going and improving. We have to make sure we prepare the right way and get ready for our opponents.

“The key for us is focus on preparation and making sure there are no loose ends. On the court, we need to take care of the ball and value each possession.”

Decatur lost to St. Mark’s Monday, falling to 15-8 on the year. Decatur started the season replacing seven seniors.

“I’m proud of what we’ve done in non-district,” Coffman said. “We went out and played a rough schedule with Ponder, Peaster, Denton Ryan and St. Mark’s. We played good people and fared well.”

Freshman Mason Hix and sophomore Parker Hicks have grown into major cogs for the Eagles along with guards Cade Lamirand and Aaron Shetter. Holt Garner lit up St. Mark’s for 23 points Monday, hitting seven 3-pointers.

Before Monday’s loss, the Eagles had won three straight.

Coffman expects his young team to be ready for Friday.

“We need to go out and play the best we can each time out,” he said. “If we play the best we can, it’ll take care of itself.

“We stress on a daily basis playing together and sharing the basketball. We’ve improved on that lately. Defensively, we played good, but we need to keep that intensity.”

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Moveline Niblett Riley

Moveline Niblett Riley

Moveline Niblett Riley, 85, died Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, in Bridgeport.

Funeral is 11 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 14, at the First Baptist Church in Boyd with burial at Keeter Cemetery. The Rev. Mark Autry will officiate with the Revs. Brandon Autry and Willie Haak assisting.

Pallbearers are Dwayne Bos- well, Brad Carter, Matthew Jackson, Riley Carter, Kade Erwin and Gavin Erwin. Honorary pallbearer is Major Jason Boswell.

Moveline was born July 10, 1929, in Mineral Wells to William and Ruby (Phillips) Niblett. She married Jack Riley April 29, 1948, in Fort Worth. She was a homemaker.

Jack preceded her in death Dec. 24, 2013.

Moveline loved to garden and can and was known to make the best sweet pickles and plum jelly in the world. She was an avid seamstress and quilter and enjoyed teaching others about sewing and quilting.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Jack Riley.

She is survived by her son, Mike Riley and wife, Donna, of Sanger; daughters Connie Boswell and husband, Walt, of Peyton, Colo., Gay Jackson of Hurst and Julie Autry and husband, Mark, of Boyd; brother Alvin Niblett and wife, Patricia, of Boyd; sister Shannon Martin of Azle; 12 grandchildren; 23 great-grandchildren; and nieces, nephews and friends.

Posted in Obituaries0 Comments

Library fines, water signs ring in 2015 for council

The first thing the Bridgeport City Council voted on in 2015 was library fines – specifically, library fine forgiveness.

From Feb. 7-14, the Bridgeport Public Library will let patrons donate canned goods to have a portion of their fines removed. For every two, 16-ounce canned goods or 32 ounces of dried goods worth up to $10, the library will forgive $1 in fines.

The food collected will go to Bridgeport area food banks, such as Loaves and Fishes at the First United Methodist Church and the food pantry at the First Baptist Church.

Fines are 10 cents per item, per day they are late, except for movies. Those are $1 per item, per day.

“We have no idea on the exact amount of fines people owe, but this would give us an opportunity to help replenish local food banks,” Bridgeport librarian Cindy Macon said.

The motion passed 5-0.

Tuesday’s meeting also marked the first one since 2010 that Brandon Emmons was not sitting in the city administrator seat. That duty went to Chester Nolen, who took over as interim city administrator shortly after Emmons announced his retirement in October.

The council spent an hour in closed session discussing the city administrator position. No action was taken.

The council also:

  • approved an agreement with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to display “Superior Public Water System” signs in the city. Bridgeport recently received a “Superior Public Water” rating from the state.
  • held a workshop item discussion on the Halsell Street Sidewalk Improvement Project that is set to begin this month. The project will enhance curbs and completely renovate the sidewalk on Halsell Street. However, no action was taken on awarding a bid for the project, as was originally stated on the agenda. That action will be moved to the council’s next meeting after more information is available.

The council’s next meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 20, at 900 Thompson St. and is open to the public.

Posted in News0 Comments

Basketball: Sissies rally for victory

The Bridgeport Sissies fought back from a 13-point deficit in the first half Tuesday to clip the Princeton Lady Panthers.

The Sissies outscored Princeton 18-12 in the final frame to pick up the 47-46 victory.

“Our kids did a good job of playing possession basketball on both ends of the floor to claw their way back and give themselves an opportunity to win,” said Bridgeport coach Dallas Taylor. “I was proud of our efforts and the way our kids came out and responded after halftime.”

The Sissies improved to 18-3. Bridgeport played its final non-district game Friday at Wichita Falls Hirschi and will start District 8-4A play Tuesday at home against Springtown.

Gabby Mindieta led the Sissies with 12 points and eight rebounds. Landrie Walsh and Bailey Thompson chipped in nine points each.

Princeton went on an 11-2 run to open the second quarter to take a 22-9 lead.

“It was a slow start full of foul trouble, lack of defense and missed offensive opportunities,” Taylor said.

Bridgeport was down 25-16 at halftime. The Sissies were down 34-29 going to the fourth quarter.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Basketball: Smith explodes in Bulls victory

Caleb Smith torched Godley for 41 points Tuesday, leading the Bridgeport Bulls to an 81-69 victory.

Smith was one of three Bulls in double figures in the victory that improved Bridgeport to 17-4 on the season.

Keenan Holdman added 15 points and Ethan Chapman 11.

Bridgeport coach Alan Green heaped praise on Smith and Holdman after the game.

“They did a great job of attacking the offensive glass and being aggressive on defense and forcing turnovers,” Green said. “We need that kind of effort they gave from everyone every night.”

Bridgeport led throughout, getting out to a 22-16 lead in the opening quarter. The lead grew to 62-50 going into the final frame.

Bridgeport was off Friday. The Bulls close non-district Monday at home against Alvarado before their 8-4A opener Jan. 16 at Lake Worth.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Sofia Renota

Armando Trejo and Cecilia Martinez of Bridgeport announce the birth of a daughter, Sofia Renota, on Jan. 2, 2015, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long.

Grandparents are Antonio Trejo and Josefo Aguilar of San Luis Potos , Mexico.

Great-grandparents are Juan Aguilar and Susana Gonzales of San Luis Potos , Mexico.

Posted in New Arrivals0 Comments

Leonna Fay Gober

Joshua and Kimberly Gober of Bridgeport announce the birth of a daughter, Leonna Fay Gober, on Jan. 2, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 7 pounds, 13 ounces and was 19 inches long.

She has one sister: Ily Simmons.

Grandparents are Dewayne Robbins of Bridgeport, Rickie Bowen of Lawn and Jimmy and Tawnya Hawthorne of Wizard Wells.

Great-grandparents are Richard and Carolyn Gober of Bridgeport, Fornham Nadin of Bridgeport, Brenda Robbins of Bridgeport and Eric and Elaine Harris of Rice.

Posted in New Arrivals0 Comments




Recover password | Create an Account