Chico City Council to vote on budget, tax rate

If you have a comment or question about the 2014-2015 fiscal year budget for the city of Chico, Tuesday’s the night to attend a council meeting.

The Chico City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget and tax rate at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 2. The city has proposed a balanced budget of $2,231,628.17 while keeping the same tax rate as the current year, 48 cents per $100 valuation.

The budget includes $543,000 for the city’s Texas Community Development Block Grant for a new water filtration system. That amount includes $269,000 in grant funding and $274,000 from local funding. The budget also includes a 4 percent cost of living increase for city employees, a new backhoe and funding for the next phase of street improvements according to the current five-year plan.

The council will adopt the budget and tax rate in the meeting following the public hearing.

Other items on Tuesday’s council agenda for consideration and action include medical insurance, amending the current fiscal year’s budget, appointment of EDC officers, seasonal hours at the park and regular department reports.

The meeting is open to the public.

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Volleyball: Petrolia sweeps Chico

Petrolia took down the Chico Lady Dragons in three games Tuesday.

Petrolia won 25-11, 25-15, 25-19.

Alli York paced Chico with seven kills. She also had eight digs.

Hannah Davis added three kills. Raven Leal and Kiley Marburger put down two kills each.

Destinee Hardee, the Lady Dragons’ libero, made 11 digs. Leal dug four shots.

Chico tried to rebound Friday at home against Prairie Valley.

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Football: Chico waits for opener against Frost

The Chico Dragons will wait a day longer than the rest of Wise County to get their season started.

The Dragons will open the year Saturday evening at Bedford’s Pennington Field against Frost.

Chico coach Stephen Carter admitted it’s tough to wait.

“We’re excited to go out and play in a nice stadium like Pennington and see what we’ve got,” Carter said.

“Saturday is important to us. We need to get off to the right start and compete.”

But with the added anticipation, Carter and his team is trying to keep the game in perspective.

“We try to treat it like any other game,” he said. “We have six weeks before district. We’ll use those six weeks to get better.”

Against the Polar Bears of Frost, the Dragons’ defense – led by the linebacking duo of Hagen and Garon Davis – will be tested by running back Alex Cruz.

“He’s a talented back,” Carter said.

The Chico coach pointed out that Frost will line Cruz up at several spots, including quarterback, just to get the ball in his hands.

“He’s one of those special kids you get the football to, however you can,” Carter said.

Offensively, the Dragons bring back Jericoe McGuire at quarterback with Crese Redman beside him at tailback. Carter wants to see the Dragons push the tempo from the opening whistle Saturday.

“With each scrimmage, we got better,” Carter said. “We had a lot of kids moving around. The second scrimmage we started with a faster pace and I was impressed. I feel good about where we are at.”

CHICO (0-0) AT FROST (0-0)

7:30 p.m. at Pennington Field

Chico: Harris Rating 184

Notable: The Dragons went 6-4 last season.

Frost: Harris Rating 156

Notable: The Polar Bears made the playoffs after going 6-6.

Harris line: Chico by 28

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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.

NISD GOES 2-4

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.

SISSIES STRUGGLE AT BREWER

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.

CHICO FALL IN FINAL

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.

PARADISE WIN TWO

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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Wise Regional performs its first therapeutic plasma exchange; Patient doing well following lifesaving procedure

John Foster of Chico was the first patient to receive a therapeutic plasma exchange at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

This lifesaving procedure “deep cleans” a patient’s plasma, the fluid that carries red and white blood cells and platelets around the body.

Lifesaving Machine

LIFESAVING MACHINE – (from left) Katherine and John Foster and nurse Lisa Lambert, RN, show off the machine used to perform a therapeutic plasma exchange on Foster last month. Messenger photo by Bob Buckel

The procedure is necessary when a patient presents with critically high protein levels in their blood. High protein levels can be caused be a variety of conditions involving the blood, nerves or kidneys.

Previously, patients had to be transferred to Dallas to have this advanced procedure.

When Foster was admitted to Wise Regional July 15, his creatinine, or protein, levels were 22 milligrams per deciliter. A typical adult has a creatinine level below 2 mg/dL.

“John had the highest creatinine levels I’ve personally ever seen in more than 20 years of practice,” said Dr. Aamir Zuberi, medical director at Wise Regional’s dialysis clinics.

Initially, Foster had only presented with recurrent diarrhea, but soon after being admitted he began developing additional symptoms, including neuropathy, or numbness, in his hands and feet, as well as vision problems.

“I went to see my family doctor first because I’d been having digestive issues on and off,” Foster said. “[Dr. Richardson] sent me to Wise Regional for blood work. After the blood work, I went to the pharmacy to pick up some medicine he had prescribed.

“Before I even left the pharmacy, the lab at Wise Regional had called me to say I needed to come back and be admitted.”

Zuberi ordered emergency dialysis to filter some of the toxins from Foster’s body, but dialysis alone wouldn’t remove the proteins that were quickly clogging his system. Zuberi also performed a kidney biopsy, which led him to diagnose Foster with multiple myeloma, a condition that results in high plasma cell production.

The plasma cells produce protein, so as their numbers increase, so does protein production.

After consulting with the Critical Care Unit staff and Dr. Maddukuri, medical oncologist with The Cancer Center at Wise Regional, Zuberi decided Foster was a good candidate for Wise Regional’s first use of therapeutic plasma exchange.

Wise Regional acquired the equipment to perform TPE several years ago, and several members of the CCU staff recently underwent training to learn how to administer the treatment. Katy Anderson, RN, and Lisa Lambert, RN, both attended the training and were on duty when the decision was made to treat Foster.

Foster received a total of six plasma exchange treatments over the course of a week. Each time, his blood was removed through a catheter in his neck, filtered and simultaneously replaced with fresh, frozen plasma and human albumin – a common protein important in the growth and repair of tissue.

“During the first treatment, the waste that we filtered out of John’s blood was milky white,” Anderson said. “The process took close to four hours, and we went through three filters.

“The final treatment took about half the time, the waste was clear and we only had to use one filter.”

Foster said other than being cold during the treatment, he experienced little discomfort. After the third treatment, his symptoms had improved significantly. He went from being unable to hold a pen to being able to hold and drink from a cup. His vision also returned.

“When we saw that he was able to read the numbers on his remote control, we were all a little choked up. It was amazing to see how quickly he improved,” said Lambert.

Foster also began receiving additional treatments to eliminate the abnormal plasma cells. He was discharged July 31. He’s continuing dialysis and he and wife Katherine are confident he’ll make a full recovery.

“We trust in God, not only that he’ll heal John, but also that He gave the doctors and nurses the wisdom they needed to provide the best possible care,” said Katherine. “It’s exciting to see that this kind of technology is available so close to home.”

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Chico School Board approves lower tax rate

The Chico school board Monday approved a 2014-2015 tax rate more than 3 cents below the current rate.

The new rate is $1.22359 per $100 valuation – $1.04 for maintenance and operations and $0.18359 for debt payment. The current year’s rate is $1.2581.

The board also adopted a general fund budget of $7,418,955 for the 2014-2015 school year. While that is $170,170 less than the current year’s amended budget, it still represents a deficit of $130,963.

The budget was built with a conservative estimate of student population growth, an important number that affects the wealth per pupil calculation used to determine how much money the district must send to the state.

“Some of that depends on recapture to the state,” Superintendent Mike Jones said. “It’s all built on student counts. We based our projection on relatively flat student growth. We tried to be conservative.

“If we open with more students than we’ve estimated, we send less money back to the state. We’re cautiously optimistic we can hold that or improve that estimate.”

In other business, the board made official some changes in a couple of policies that affect participation in graduation ceremonies, after agreeing to the changes at last month’s meeting.

Beginning with the class of 2018, the school will not issue a certificate of completion to students who fail to pass all their state exams and all of the required coursework at Chico High School. Those students would also not be able to participate in graduation ceremonies.

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Football: McGuire earns Chico QB job

Jericoe McGuire will be the Chico Dragons’ quarterback once again.

Chico coach Stephen Carter named McGuire the starter Friday after the Dragons’ second scrimmage. The senior competed with sophomore Crese Redman for the job throughout the preseason.

“I felt both quarterbacks were equal and both have handled themselves very well through the two scrimmages,” Carter said via text message Friday morning. “However, Crese Redman makes us a better football team when he is at the running back position. Both will get reps throughout the season.”

McGuire started every game under center for the Dragons last year. He passed for 1,147 yards and 16 touchdowns and added 580 yards rushing.

Redman moves back to running back, where he rushed for 696 yards and seven touchdowns as a freshman last year. He earned 7-A Offensive Newcomer of the Year.

Chico opens the season Saturday, Aug. 30 against Frost in Bedford.

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Volleyball Roundup for Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Northwest Lady Texans couldn’t stay with Arlington Lamar Tuesday.

Lamar swept Northwest (4-8) 25-12, 25-15, 25-12.

Tessa Harfield led Northwest will six kills. Camryn Berryhill added three.

Tatum Talley made 16 digs. Christine Ruybalid made eight digs, and Berryhill six.

CHICO DEF. FORESTBURG

The Chico Lady Dragons outlasted Forestburg Tuesday in five games.

Chico won 25-23, 21-25, 30-28, 24-26, 17-15.

DENTON CALVARY DEF. PARADISE

Denton Calvary swept Paradise Tuesday, 25-16, 25-23, 25-16.

Lindsay also beat Paradise in three games, 25-12, 25-16, 25-19.

Paradise fell to 1-2 on the season.

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Caleb Michale Puckett

Anna Joyce Baker and Brian Caleb Puckett of Chico announce the birth of a son, Caleb Michale Puckett, on Aug. 14, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces and was 19 inches long.

Grandparents are Janice and Shane Green, Lorinda Parsons and Dewayne Puckett.

Great-grandparent is Sue Ann Fronzel.

Great-great-grandparents are Michale Parson and Norma Holt.

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Kent Leon Partain

Kent Leon Partain

Kent Leon Partain, 63, of Chico, died Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, in Decatur.

Funeral was Aug. 19 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints with Bishop Richard Gillespie officiating. Burial followed at Oaklawn Cemetery under the direction of Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home in Decatur.

Kent was born Aug. 7, 1951, in Taft, Calif., to John Henry and Margaret Ruth (Phillips) Partain. He married Regina Mae Stinson Aug. 22, 1970, in Las Vegas. John was a supervisor for Logistics Oil and Gas and was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Regina Partain of Chico; daughter Amelia Cox and husband, Karl, of Lubbock; grandchildren Emily Cox of Lubbock and Jacob Cox of Lubbock.

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Chico City Council agrees to rent gym, reviews budget

The City of Chico’s municipal complex has proven so popular with outside renters that the city had to get a little creative to find some extra space.

Mayor J.D. Clark explained that Highpoint Athletics, a gymnastics program, began renting the gym at the facility back in the spring. Now that fall is almost here, the gym is needed by Victory Christian Academy for its athletics program. VCA has been a frequent renter of the facility in the past.

Clark said the municipal complex also includes a stand-alone metal gym that was not being regularly used. It has a concrete floor covered by carpet. While that setup would not be good for basketball or volleyball games, it turned out to be perfect for the needs of Highpoint Athletics, Clark said.

Last week, the council agreed to enter into a one-year lease agreement with the company. Highpoint will pay the city $1,100 a month to cover rent and utilities and be responsible for any maintenance or cleaning in exchange for exclusive use of the facility.

“It’s a space we had available, and a private entity is going to be able to come in and do business,” Clark said. “It really benefits both of us. It creates something new for the kids that wasn’t there before.”

The council also reviewed next year’s budget. Clark said it was prepared using the same tax rate as the current fiscal year: 48 cents per $100 valuation.

The proposed balanced budget includes revenues and expenditures of $2,231,628. One major addition to the budget is $543,000 for the city’s Texas Community Development Block Grant for a new water filtration system. That amount includes $269,000 in grant funding and $274,000 from local funding.

The budget also includes a 4 percent cost of living increase for city employees, a new backhoe and funding for the next phase of street improvements, according to the current five-year plan.

A public hearing on the budget and tax rate will be held at the Sept. 2 council meeting.

In other business, the council approved moving forward with plans to provide potable water to P&K Stone for office use only at its planned quarry just outside the city limits.

According to the agreement, the company would be required to pay for all of the associated costs. Earlier this year, the city agreed to sell P&K wastewater, with P&K responsible for paying the costs for the infrastructure involved to make that possible.

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Chico school board set to approve budget, tax rate Monday

The Chico school board will hold a public hearing on its proposed budget and tax rate at Monday’s meeting.

Following the public hearing, the board is expected to approve the items.

A total tax rate of $1.22359 per $100 valuation is proposed, which includes a maintenance and operations tax rate of $1.04 and debt service tax rate of $0.18359. That represents a decrease of just over three cents from last year’s rate.

Other agenda items include approval of the school vendor list, fund balance designations, policy changes, teacher appraisal calendar, designation of teacher appraisers, a student leadership course and a review of campus schedules in addition to routine items.

The meeting, which is open to the public, is at 6:30 p.m. in Room 150 at Chico Elementary School, 1120 Park Road.

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Volleyball: Paradise sweeps Chico

First-match jitters created some shaky moments for the Paradise Lady Panthers and Chico Lady Dragons Tuesday.

WORKING TOGETHER – Paradise’s Bailee Miller and Jett Preather reach for a ball during the Lady Panthers’ win. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The veteran Lady Panthers were able to handle the emotions a little better than the youthful Lady Dragons on their way to a three-game victory. Paradise won 25-22, 25-6, 25-23.

Shelby Bradshaw led the Lady Panthers with seven kills. Jett Preather added six kills. She also served three aces.

Despite the quick win, Paradise coach Susie Burt insisted that her squad, which returns four starters, must improve if they hope to get back to the playoffs this season.

“The first-game jitters got the better of us,” Burt said. “At times we played together good. Other times we were scared to death.”

Burt pointed out that ball-handling limited the Lady Panthers’ chances.

“If we had the pass right on the net we were hitting it,” the Paradise coach said. “If we got to far off the net, we struggled. If we can get the set up and execute, the ball is going to go down. We have several good hitters.”

Paradise outlasted Chico in the first game to win by three.

In the second set, Chico struggled with its service receive. Jett Preather served eight straight points in a run that included an ace and two Chico errors. Chico’s inability to get a clean pass also set up easy scoring opportunities for Bradshaw to bury two kills.

After building the 18-3 lead, Paradise went on to take the set by 19 points.

“Paradise is solid and I think the girls were intimidated a bit,” said Chico coach Missy Patterson.

“The first and third sets they stepped up adjusted and were working well together.”

Chico took a 6-3 lead in the third set on an ace by Hannah Davis. The Lady Dragons held the lead until Paradise’s Amber French and Preather put down back-to-back kills. A block kill by Reagan Taylor put Paradise ahead 12-10.

The Lady Panthers built the lead to 20-14 with a Bradshaw kill.

Chico fought back to within one at 24-23 before Bradshaw ended the match with a kill.

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Lindsey Blair Keller and Sherrod Cason Richey

Lindsey Blair Keller of Chico, daughter of Kevin Keller of Virginia Beach, Va., and Rhonda Thompson of Decatur, will marry Sherrod Cason Richey of Chico, son of Brad Richey of Chico and Jolene Anderson of Erie, Pa., Nov. 2, 2014, in Azle.

Keller Richey

Lindsey Blair Keller and Sherrod Cason Richey

Chris Wann with Community Fellowship will officiate.

The bride-elect attended Chico ISD schools and Weatherford College Wise County. She works for Venture Energy Services.

The prospective groom also attended Chico schools and works for Venture Energy Services.

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Mr. and Mrs. Roger Wilson Moore

Casey Marie Runkey of Napa, Calif., and Roger Wilson Moore of Chico were married July 19, 2014, at Vintner Golf Club in Yountville, Calif.

Moore Runkey

Mr. and Mrs. Roger Wilson Moore

The bride is the daughter of Debbie and Phil Runkey of Napa.

The groom is the son of Travis Moore of Chico and Shelley Moore of San Marcos.

Maid of Honor was Lindsay Mac-Lean.

Best Man was the groom’s father.

They couple had a week-long honeymoon Oahu, Hawaii. They will live in San Diego, where Roger will be stationed in June 2015. Casey will meet him there upon graduating from Syracuse University College of Law.

The bride earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California at San Diego in 2012.

The prospective groom graduated from Chico High School in 2008 and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He is stationed at Kaneohe Bay, Oahu.

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Monday night wreck results in arrest

Two automobile accidents occurred at almost exactly the same moment in Wise County Monday night.

At 5:30 p.m., two cars collided at the corner of North Trinity and Bishop Street in Decatur.

Off the Road

OFF THE ROAD – A tractor-trailer lost its front left axle and wheel after an accident Monday night on F.M. road 1810 near Chico. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Margarita Carrillo of Decatur was driving south on North Trinity in a black Kia SUV when she drifted into the opposite lane while Brett Griffin of Springtown was headed north in a white Chevy Silverado.

The front left of both vehicles collided and caused a wreck. Carrillo was taken to Wise Regional Health System via ambulance, while Griffin’s passenger, Krista Griffin, was taken to Wise Regional via private vehicle.

The second collision, which also happened around 5:30 p.m., involved a tractor-trailer and another truck.

The tractor-trailer was headed west on Farm Road 1810 about halfway between Decatur and Chico when its driver, Juan Pablo Chavez of Decatur, began to experience a diabetic episode and swerved left of the center line.

This caused him to collide with the other truck, which was headed east, driven by Reed Alan Riewe of Comanche.

Both vehicles lost their front left axles and tires, causing each to swerve off onto opposite sides of the road.

No injuries were reported. Chavez was arrested at the scene after it was discovered there was a warrant out for his arrest.

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Chico QB contest continues

The tight competition for the Chico quarterback job will go into Friday’s scrimmage with Millsap.

Chico coach Stephen Carter had hoped to name a signal-caller last week, but said the competition between Jericoe McGuire and Creese Redman remains too close to call.

“They still haven’t separated themselves,” Carter said. “Both are doing a good job. Both will get reps with the first and second teams.”

Carter said he’s been talking to his staff about the choice between the two.

“It’ll be whoever gives us the better chance to win. The offense is built to suit them both,” Carter said.

McGuire started at quarterback for the Dragons last year, passing for 1,147 yards and 16 touchdowns. He added 580 yards rushing.

Redman was the 7-A Offensive Newcomer of the Year as a running back last year. He rushed for 696 yards and seven touchdowns.

“If Jericoe is the quarterback, Creese can go back to running back,” Carter said. “If it’s Creese, Jericoe can play receiver, where he was successful as a sophomore. We’re trying to piece together what makes the team better.”

Carter said he is not setting another deadline for picking a signal caller.

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Heart of a fighter: 33-year-old battles heart disease after bout with cancer

Heart of a fighter: 33-year-old battles heart disease after bout with cancer

An enthusiast for dark images, David Ray Crunk of Chico sports a tattoo of the Grim Reaper on the left side of his chest, near his heart.

Although his mother, Judy Crunk, may teasingly describe it as morbid, she admits it’s kind of ironic considering the brushes her 33-year-old son has had with death.

Life Pack

LIFE PACK – David Ray Crunk always carries with him this bag adorned with the emblem of his favorite baseball team. The pack contains the machine that constantly pumps dobutamine to keep his heart going. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

In addition, the ink borders the traces of the very devices that have kept him alive – a port used to administer chemotherapy when he battled cancer at the age of 11, and a defibrillator that now regulates his heart after complications from the chemotherapy arose more than 20 years later.

Despite the odds, David Ray remains strong and is enjoying life as much as he can while he awaits a heart transplant.

“He’s a fighter, that’s for sure,” Judy said. “He’s never given up.”

DAVID’S BATTLE

BATTLE SCARS – David Ray Crunk has a tattoo of a grim reaper – ironically located near traces of the very devices that have kept him alive – a port used to administer chemotherapy when he battled cancer at the age of 11 and a defibrillator installed almost 22 years later to regulate his heartbeat. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

David Ray was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma in November of 1991, at the age of 11.

After two years of chemotherapy, he went into remission.

“When he was diagnosed, they only gave him a 30 percent of survival because 95 percent of his bone marrow were leukemia cells,” Judy said. “But here he is.”

For most of 22 years, David Ray lived a normal life.

“I would get dizzy every now and then, but that was it,” he said.

He graduated from Bridgeport High School in 2000 and went straight to work, finally landing a job at Wal-Mart.

It was there, more than two decades later, that the effects of the treatment he’d received as an adolescent resurfaced.

“I took him to work that afternoon,” Judy recalled. “He was telling me, ‘My chest feels funny.’ I said, ‘It’s probably because you were laying around. Just go start moving around. You’ll be all right.’”

A couple of hours later, on Nov. 9, David Ray had a heart attack.

“I was unloading a grocery truck,” he recalled. “I got halfway, and I could not breathe. It felt like my chest was caving in.”

He informed his managers who instructed him to clock out before rushing him to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He was admitted immediately and remained there for about a week.

In the months following, David Ray returned, almost routinely.

“He was going to the hospital once or twice a week,” Judy said.

After multiple tests, doctors determined the cause.

“When he was diagnosed (with cancer), they tried an experimental drug on him,” Judy said. “We don’t know if it was the regular chemo or the experimental drug that caused the complications. But the doctors are saying this is a result of that treatment.”

David Ray has had at least two other heart attacks, most recently in February.

“They didn’t think he was going to pull through that one,” Judy said. “But he did.”

HEART SUPPORT

LOVE OF FAMILY – David Ray Crunk (seated) says the support of his family including (from left) brother Greg, father David and mother Judy has helped him stay strong throughout his medical issues. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Following that heart attack, doctors sent David Ray to the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix for additional testing and treatment options. He was there three months before the options presented were no longer viable.

“They needed someone to be there with him full-time for an unknown amount of time – it could’ve been months or even years,” Judy said. “But we had nobody that could just quit their job and stay with him.”

So David Ray returned home. The following day, his father took him to a doctor’s appointment in Dallas.

“I went to get a Coke, and when I came back, they were admitting him into a room because he was having trouble breathing,” his father, David, said.

After that incident, doctors discovered his heart and, consequently, his other organs were shutting down.

“That’s when they put the defibrillator in, finally,” Judy said.

With the device, David Ray must always carry with him a backpack that contains the machine that pumps dobutamine into his right arm. The sympathomimetic drug is used in the treatment of heart failure and cardiogenic shock.

“This is serious stuff,” David Ray said.

“The medicine keeps his heart going,” his mother added. “The pill form of medicine doesn’t work on him, so he has to have his medicine through an IV.”

A home nurse visits every Monday to change the dressing and check for infections. The batteries on the machine must be changed every other day, even though the shelf life is longer.

“They don’t want to take a chance,” Judy said.

With the odds stacked against him, there’s no room for taking more risks.

THE IMPLICATIONS

Because of the condition of his heart, David Ray’s activities are limited. He can’t work, drive or lift more than 5 pounds, and he easily becomes tired.

“I can’t walk around much,” he said. “If I do, I could black out because I can’t get my heart racing.”

Once a frequenter of area amusement and water parks, he is now restricted to video games and watching television.

Even routine tasks, like haircuts and cell phone-toting, have been redefined.

“You can’t use sheers or clippers on him because the vibrations from it will detect that his heart is not beating correctly, and the defibrillator will shock him,” Judy said. “He can’t carry a cell phone on (his left) side. He can’t answer a cell phone on that side.”

Tattoos, one of David Ray’s favorite things, are out of the question.

He is also susceptible to any illness.

“We have people call us before they come over, and if they’re sick, we don’t let them come over,” his mother said. “We can’t take the chance.”

But, at the insistence of his doctors, David Ray tries to get out as much as he can.

“I like to hang out with my cousins,” he said.

A couple of weekends ago, his family took a weekend trip to San Antonio. His “packing” list included a call from his doctors to their colleagues in the area to give them a heads-up, just in case.

That has become the norm for David Ray and his family – precautions and waiting.

WAITING GAME

Doctors at Medical City of Dallas placed David Ray on the waiting list for a new heart upon his return from Arizona in May.

As a second-tier listing and with the common blood type, his wait time may be prolonged.

“They did tell us that a heart for him will be difficult to find,” Judy said. “His blood type is O positive so the doctor said it’s the most common blood type and harder to receive a heart because there are so many other people waiting also.

All they can do is wait on a heart, visit the doctor monthly and continue to fight.

“We’re holding strong, aren’t we?” his mother asks.

David Ray nods his head slowly.

“I can’t wait to get back to work and to get to do more,” he said. “I’m ready to get this over with.”

TEAM DAVID RAY

Family members are planning to hold a dodgeball tournament fundraiser in October. Details will be posted on the Team David Ray group on Facebook.

His sister, Tiffany White, established a benefit account, and donations may be made at First State Bank in Chico, Paradise, Bridgeport or Runaway Bay.

The family has also held a garage sale, bake sale and barbecue supper.

“We’ve run out of ideas,” said Judy Crunk, David Ray’s mother. “We’ve got bills pouring in still, and we’re starting to get low on funds.”

Updates on his progress are also posted on the aforementioned Facebook page.

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Chico class of ’18 must pass exams to attend graduation

Freshman entering Chico High School in a few weeks will have a new set of rules regarding grade point average and graduation procedures.

Perhaps the biggest change is to the graduation ceremony itself.

In the past, students who passed all of their required courses at Chico High School could participate in the graduation ceremony even if they had not yet passed their state end-of-course exams. They simply received a certificate of completion rather than a diploma.

That will no longer be the case beginning with the class of 2018.

Superintendent Mike Jones told the school board last week that the testing requirements are getting tougher, and so, too, should Chico’s graduation procedure. Students must now pass the state exams in order to participate in the ceremony.

“We think kids will work harder if they’ve got some incentive to work harder,” he said. “We’re afraid this kind of sends the wrong message that if I don’t pass, I’m still going to get to go to the ceremony and walk.”

He added that it is not really fair to the students who have completed all of their requirements and earned the right to graduate and receive a diploma.

Jones said the high school will do everything it can to help students meet those requirements. For instance, students who are failing or have tardies will be required to stay at the end of the day for one-on-one instruction while others who are passing will be allowed to leave.

Another change that will affect graduation and post-graduation is an adjustment in the way the high school calculates grade point averages. In the past, grades have been calculated on a numeric basis such as 90 or 100, but beginning with the freshman class, grades will be calculated on a 4-point scale.

“The colleges are used to seeing kids from big schools show up with 4.6 and 4.5 GPAs,” Jones explained. “Our kids are showing up with a 98 or something like that. It doesn’t quite do the same for them. So we think it puts our kids in a better light when they are applying to universities.”

The district is also changing the way it calculates grade point averages to incorporate the changes required by House Bill 5.

Beginning with this year’s freshmen, all students will be required to complete a foundation plan, and then students can choose an endorsement to help them choose the rest of their courses. The law is aimed at helping prepare students not just for college, but also for careers.

Grade point averages will be based on courses taken for the foundation plan, and honors courses will continue to be weighted more (on a 5-point scale) than regular classes to encourage participation in those courses.

The graduation and grade point average changes will not affect incoming sophomores, juniors or seniors.

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Patterson finds bright spots

Chico Lady Dragons coach Missy Patterson found several bright spots from watching her team’s first action Friday in a scrimmage against Boyd.

Down the Middle

DOWN THE MIDDLE – Chico’s Kiley Marburger hits the ball between Boyd defenders Friday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Boyd outscored Chico in the scored portion of the 40-minute session, but Patterson was encouraged by the first outing.

“It was not bad. There were definitely some things that we need to work on,” Patterson said. “As far as knowing where to be, we did OK. A majority of the players were moving their feet.”

The Lady Dragons couldn’t mount many offensive attacks against Boyd.

“Hitting, right now, is our weakest point,” Patterson said. “We’ve got to improve on that.

“Our defense also needs to improve.”

The Lady Dragons open the season at 4 p.m. Tuesday in Paradise.

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