Stilwell indicted for stabbing incident

A Chico man accused of stabbing another Chico resident was indicted for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by a Wise County grand jury when it met Nov. 20.

Rickey Gene Stilwell, 35, will face a second degree felony charge. Records became public this week.

Stilwell is accused of stabbing Adam Johnson, 29, on Oct. 4 at Stilwell’s home in the 1100 block of Farm Road 2952. Johnson suffered two stab wounds to the chest and a pierced lung from an object simply described as a “sharp object” in the indictment.

Two days later, when Wise County Sheriff’s investigators attempted to serve an arrest warrant, Stilwell ran out of his house. After a short chase, Stilwell was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and evading arrest.

He remains in the Wise County Jail with total bond set at $110,000.

If convicted, the charge carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison.


An Aurora city councilman was indicted for indecency with a child by sexual contact.

Cyrus Farver, 78, was arrested Sept. 4 after he allegedly brushed the breast of a female family friend under the age of 17. He was released after posting a $30,000 bond.

Indecency with a child by sexual contact is a third degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.


The grand jury also returned the following felony indictments:

George Michael Fulkerson, driving while intoxicated third or more

Laura Michelle Griggs, burglary of a habitation

Jason Wayne Hall, burglary of a habitation

Randall Craig Hillin, burglary of a habitation (one count); unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon (two counts)

Jason Wayne Hall, burglary of a habitation

Lewis Emil Holloway, forgery of a financial instrument (two counts)

J. Guadalupe Huerta, driving while intoxicated third or more

Billy Ray Stanley, credit/debit card abuse

Caleb Lyle Strickland, forgery financial instrument elderly

Richard Gerard Windmann, driving while intoxicated with child third under 15

Rusty Tyrell Johnson, burglary of a habitation

Christi Louann Williamson, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Boderick Ambimbolla Komolafe, theft of property less than $1,500 with two or more previous convictions

Hayden Hannah Bearden, driving while intoxicated third or more

David Eleazar Mendoza, credit card or debit card abuse

Amanda N. Perry, burglary of a habitation

Damon Lee Perry, burglary of a habitation

Jeffrey Clinton Pittman, driving while intoxicated third or more

Jesse Dean Reynolds, driving while intoxicated with child under 15

Tanner Lane Paddock, injury to an elderly with intent to cause bodily injury

Lalani Denise Rhodes, driving while intoxicated with child under 15 (two counts)

Angel Perez Rodriguez, driving while intoxicated third or more

Eric Nicholas Ramirez, assault family/household member impede breath/circulation (one count); prohibited substance/item in correctional facility (one count)

Jesus Segura, theft of property $1,500-$20,000

John Ross Shipman, credit card or debit card abuse

Jeffery Shayne Bridges, assault family/household member with previous conviction

Albert Josef Silbaugh, theft of property $1,500-$20,000 (two counts); possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram (one count)

John Cecil Burris, theft of material – copper, less than $20,000.

A grand jury indictment is not a ruling of guilt, but a review of evidence by an independent, 12-member panel to determine whether or not it is sufficient to bring the accused to trial.

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Basketball: Teams start district race

Most area girls basketball teams begin the battle for the postseason Tuesday with the start of district play.

Aside from Decatur and Bridgeport, who will not start District 8-4A play until January and Northwest, who started Friday, the rest begin league action Tuesday.

Alvord will play host to Poolville. Boyd takes on Bowie at home. Chico welcomes Era to town. Paradise heads to Jacksboro. Slidell takes on longtime rival Saint Jo at home.

Here’s a brief look at the Wise County teams and their respective districts:


Boyd and Paradise are off to hot starts to the regular season. Boyd entered the Chico Tournament at 7-0. Paradise, who was off this weekend, is 12-2.

But as Paradise coach Kevin Pope points out, everyone starts over Tuesday in what should be a wide-open league with Bowie, Henrietta, Holliday, Jacksboro, Nocona and City View.

“It’s going to be a dogfight,” Pope said. “There’s a couple of good teams that will be staying at home. It’s real balanced. You’ll have to play well every night.”

So far this season with a balanced scoring attack and quick defense, the Lady Panthers have been on most nights against a tough schedule.

“I’m pleased with where we are. We can still improve in several areas,” Pope said. “We did everything we could do to prepare for district.

“Our depth is good. We’ve played 11 players in every game and there’s not one that doesn’t contribute.”

Pope said the unselfishness of his team has been impressive throughout the year.

“There’s time they are almost unselfish to a fault,” he said.

Kaylee McConnell and Courtney Kerr have provided a nice scoring punch. Jett Preather leads the rebounding effort.

The Lady Yellowjackets stayed unbeaten Tuesday, rallying to beat Lake Worth. Sophomore Linsey Thorpe has been consistent down low for the Lady Yellowjackets. She and Kenzie Elkins give Boyd a pair of solid posts with Abby Harrell on the wing.


With each game, Alvord coach John Shelton sees his squad getting better and adapting to his up-tempo system.

Senior guard Katie Claborn is among the area’s leading scorers, averaging 18 points per game. Cierra Rangel and Brianna Ponder are adding a combined 22 points.

Shelton looks forward to getting into 11-2A play with games against Poolville and Valley View before the Christmas break.

“I like that we have the two games before Christmas,” Shelton said. “Every game will be evenly matched. The top four can beat each other.

“This district will be real competitive. Muenster is the team to beat. They’ve got a lot of size and depth. But I expect there to be four teams battling for three spots.”

The Chico Lady Dragons hope to fight their way into the race that Alvord, Collinsville, Era, Lindsay, Muenster, Poolville and Valley View.

Chico beat Bellevue 57-49 Tuesday before starting its tournament Thursday.

Alli York has paced the Lady Dragons with 11.7 points, two steals and 2.1 assists per game. Whitney Renfro is added 8.8 points. Cheyanne Hale is contributing 5.9 points and 8.1 rebounds.


Behind a huge start to the season by Caitlin Pruett, the Slidell Lady Greyhounds are 9-3 entering the weekend.

Pruett is averaging 21.3 points and 11.8 rebounds.

To go along with Pruett, the Lady Greyhounds are getting big contributions from Kayler Talamantes and Kylie Franklin on the scoreboard. Jessy Goode is helping on the boards. Kayson Roof is providing solid defense.

“We’re eight deep and that’s depth that a lot of schools don’t have,” said Slidell coach Cody Vanover. “Caitlin is so versatile that it makes it hard for teams to guard. But with Kayler and Kylie having breakout games, we’ve had four girls in double figures so far. That makes it where teams can’t just look at stopping Caitlin. We have four to five girls that can score and we can dictate what the defense does.”

Slidell is hoping to land on top of 21-A and unseat league champion Bellevue.

The league also includes Gold-Burg, Forestburg, Midway, Prairie Valley, Saint Jo and Tioga.

Slidell starts district with Saint Jo and Bellevue.

“We have those two right off the bat and can start in a hole if we don’t have a good first week,” Vanover said.

“I feel we should be in good shape. I’m cautiously optimistic.”

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Basketball: Lady Eagles crunch Graham

Shelby Drews posted a double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds, while also handing out five assists Tuesday to lead the Decatur Lady Eagles to a 54-29 win over Graham.

The Lady Eagles, ranked No. 21 in the latest 4A Texas Girls Coaches Association poll, improved to 10-1 on the season.

Macen Stripling also joined Drews with a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds. Hannah Dunning added eight points and three assists. Makayla Mayfield and Sidney Carter scored four each.

Decatur held Graham to just 11 points in the second half. The Lady Eagles outscored Graham 12-6 in the third and 16-5 in the final frame.

Decatur used a 15-8 run in the second to build a 26-18 halftime lead.

Decatur faced a big challenge Friday, heading to Bowie to face the 22nd ranked team in 3A.


Courtney Kerr scored 18 points, leading the Paradise Lady Panthers to a 60-30 victory.

Paradise ran out to a 15-5 lead and built the advantage to 29-14 at halftime. Paradise never allowed more than nine points in a quarter.

Kaylee McConnell added eight points. Jett Preather, Amber French and Kaitlyn Melvin scored six each.


The Boyd Lady Yellowjackets overcame a scoreless first quarter to rally for a 36-34 win over Lake Worth Tuesday.

Boyd moved to 7-0.

Kenzie Elkins scored 11 points and Linsey Thorpe 10.

After the slow start, Boyd hit double figures in the other three frames.


Kylie Franklin’s three straight 3-pointers to open the second half broke open the game and paced Slidell to a 69-41 win over Bryson.

Franklin finished with 20 points and seven rebounds. She was 4-for-7 from beyond the 3-point arc.

“It was 35-25 at half and Kylie hit back-to-back-to-back 3s to start the third and got us rolling,” said Slidell coach Cody Vanover.

Caitlin Pruett posted a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds. Kayler Talamantes scored 13 points with eight boards. Jessy Goode finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.


The Chico Lady Dragons fought back from an early deficit to knock off Bellevue 57-49 Tuesday.

Trailing 32-21 at halftime, Chico went on an 18-8 run in the third and won the game in the fourth with an 18-9 finishing spurt.

Alli York led Chico with 21 points. Kylie Marburger added 11. Whitney Renfro finished with 10 and Cheyanne Hale nine.

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Basketball: Panthers hold on, beat Lindsay

The Paradise Panthers jumped out to an early lead and kept pulling away for a 68-46 win over Lindsay Tuesday.

HOT SHOT – Paradise’s Cash Preather takes a shot at the top of the key in the Panthers’ win Tuesday. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt

Brayden Ford poured in 24 points. Hayden Barkely added 12 and Cash Preather eight.

Paradise opened the game with a 21-10 run and led 36-25 at halftime. The Panthers built their advantage to 54-31 in the third quarter.

Paradise moved to 6-2 on the season.


Tyler Maynard led five Slidell players in double figures Tuesday as the Greyhounds blew out Bryson 76-36.

Maynard finished with 19 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals. Khristian Talamantes scored 15 points, three assists and four steals. Colton Crane added 12 points, five boards and seven assists. Dustin Davis finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Walker Gladden chipped in 10 points and five boards.

Slidell trailed 11-10 after the first quarter. The Greyhounds then went on a 20-5 run to build a 30-16 halftime lead. Slidell used a 25-12 third quarter to take a 55-28 advantage going into the fourth.

Slidell improved to 9-2.


The Chico Dragons fell behind 27-7 in the first quarter and could never slow down Bellevue Tuesday in an 111-34 loss.

Chico fell to 3-9 on the year.

Jonathan Nabors scored 14, Cameron Weatherly six and Hagen Davis four.

Bellevue built a 54-17 halftime lead and outscored Chico 57-17 in the second half.


After finishing second at the S&S Tournament last weekend, the Boyd Yellowjackets fell to Lake Worth at home Tuesday 60-46.

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Thanks for generosity to U.S. troops

I would personally like to say thank you to the staff, students and families of Chico ISD, Alvord ISD and the facility of the Bridgeport United States Postal Service. The generous donations you raised have helped provide 1,100 stockings and eight boxes of bulk food for our troops.

I am truly blessed to live in such a wonderful community and your dedication and motivation have not gone unnoticed.

Happy holidays and God bless you.

Voncille Forgy

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City of Chico approves EDC grant to business

A gymnastics program renting space from the City of Chico will receive a $23,642 grant from the city’s Economic Development Corporation.

The grant was given city council approval at last Thursday’s meeting.

Highpoint Athletics began renting the gym in the city’s municipal complex earlier this year. They later moved to a stand-alone metal gym, also at the municipal complex.

The grant will be used to fund improvements to the facility.

“The improvements to be purchased shall be used to create and/or expand gymnastics programs for pre-kindergarten students. Said gymnastics programs shall be approved by the EDC,” according to the agreement between the EDC and Highpoint Athletics.

The company pays the city $1,100 per month in rent, according to the lease agreement, which was also approved by the council.

A public hearing was also held as part of the process of applying for the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Texas Community Development Block Grant. Since 1992, the city has received $1.9 million in TCDBG funds, primarily for water and sewer projects.

Although no members of the public spoke, the council decided to rate its top priorities as water and sewer lines and streets. Matching grants are typically awarded in amounts of around $275,000. Grant applications will be made in February.

In other business the council:

  • tabled a request by the fire department to send two members to emergency medical technician (EMT) training until they can discuss the item with the fire chief at next month’s meeting; and
  • approved a project agreement between the city and county for a paving project on Kentucky Street.

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Basketball: Lady Greyhounds shoot down Chico

To go along with post Caitlin Pruett averaging a double-double in the paint, Slidell found an added lethal offensive dimension Tuesday night with Kayler Talamantes sizzling the net on the perimeter.

Talamantes drained four 3-pointers as part of her 20-point night in the Lady Greyhounds’ 58-36 win over the Chico Lady Dragons at Chico High School gym.

Working Inside

WORKING INSIDE – Slidell’s Caitlin Pruett drives to the basket for two of her 16 points during the Lady Greyhounds’ win Tuesday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“It’s important for me to be able to do that and have that outside shot so we have different ways to score,” Talamantes said.

“We do a lot of drills and it’s helped with my shooting.”

Talamantes hit three 3-pointers in the third quarter as Slidell (6-2) built a 42-28 lead on the Lady Dragons.

“We’ve been waiting for that,” said Slidell coach Cody Vanover. “We knew she had it in her and been waiting for her to get going. She’s showing sparks of it.”

Talamantes’ big night was accompanied by another double-double from Pruett, who finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds and three steals.

Kylie Franklin added eight points and Jessy Goode seven.

Slidell jumped out to a 27-10 lead in the first half. The short-handed Lady Dragons (3-4) scored the final five points of the half to pull within 12, 27-15, at the break.

Slidell maintained the double-digit lead in the third behind Talamantes. The Lady Greyhounds broke the game wide open with an 11-0 run that included a Pruett 3-pointer in the middle of the fourth, going up 23, 53-30.

“We got rolling and our 12-point lead went to 21 just like that,” Vanover said.

Alli York led Chico with 11 points. Kiley Marburger added eight.

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Basketball: ‘Hounds outpace Dragons, 69-47

Playing for a third time in the first few weeks of the season, the Slidell Greyhounds and Chico Dragons traded baskets in a tight game until late in the first half.

The Greyhounds then started to push the tempo, forcing four of Chico’s eight second-quarter turnovers during an 11-0 run. Slidell kept pulling away for a 69-47 win over the Dragons Tuesday at Chico High School gym.

Pushing Ahead

PUSHING AHEAD – Slidell’s Khristian Talamantes throws the ball to a teammate in transition Tuesday in the win over Chico. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“We had that run at the end of second quarter that gave us some breathing room,” said Slidell coach Todd McCormick. “It was sloppy at the start, playing them for a third time. But it was a good game overall. The second half we rebounded better.”

The Greyhounds improved to 5-2.

“Overall, we’re playing well,” McCormick said. “We’re blending in well. We have a solid eight-man rotation.”

The Dragons fell to 1-6.

“We’re still learning to put a whole game together,” said Chico coach Troyce Renfro. “We had some opportunities and played a good quarter-and-a-half. We are a little turnover-prone.”

Chico turned the ball over 20 times, including 14 in the first half.

Chris Gilmore’s 3-point shooting kept the Dragons in the game early. He hit two treys in the first quarter that ended with the teams square at 13. Gilmore finished with 16 points.

The game was tied at 23 before Kristian Talamantes hit a pair of free throws for the Greyhounds that started the 11-0 run. Dustin Davis’ 3-pointer put Slidell up 32-23 and forced Renfro to call a timeout with 54 seconds left in the half.

Chico cut the 11-point halftime deficit to seven early in the third quarter.

Tyler Maynard then started to attack the basket, and Shelby Johnson hit outside shots to send Slidell on an 18-8 run. Maynard scored 12 of his game-high 22 points in the third quarter.

“We went in at half and realized what we needed to do,” Maynard said. “We had forced up a lot of 3s in the first half. I needed to get some easy baskets.”

Johnson, a freshman, came off the bench to hit two of his four 3-pointers in the third quarter to help Slidell build a 52-35 lead. He finished with 17 points.

“Shelby gave us a shot in the arm coming off the bench and hitting some big shots,” McCormick said.

Slidell hit two more 3s in the fourth quarter. For the game, Slidell went 10-for-23 from beyond the arc.

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Dragon Dads ready to encourage students

Chico Elementary has a new program to bring dads into the classroom.

Two weeks ago, the school began its Dads for Dragons program. Fathers of elementary students volunteer to visit the school once per six weeks to provide encouragement for students.

Dragon Dad

DRAGON DAD – Chico Elementary third grader Grant Barksdale looks up at his dad, Arnie, along with Principal Karen Decker in the hallway prior to class. Arnie was the first volunteer in the Dads for Dragons program at the school. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“The whole idea is to be another set of eyes and ears,” said Principal Karen Decker. “For those kids who don’t have the kind of support … it’s a huge thing.”

She said the benefits of the program were seen on the first day when the first “Dad for Dragons,” Arnie Barksdale, father of first grader Cambrie Barksdale, visited the fourth grade math classroom of Breann Cox.

“He spent an hour in my class and I had a little boy who normally doesn’t want to do anything for me, and (Barksdale) didn’t have to say a word to him,” Cox said. “Just having him as a male role model in the classroom, when they have someone come watch them, they know that they care.

“So just having his presence in my room made this little boy want to keep up with the rest of them.”

Decker said the young man just “blossomed” from the encouragement he received from Barksdale.

“The next day, the kid walked in and I said, ‘Hey, I had a dad brag on you.’ And he just swelled up with pride,” Decker said.

The dads don’t come in knowing who might need a little more encouragement – they are available to everyone, she said.

Barksdale said he was familiar with a similar program in Decatur, the Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) program. He knew it was a good way to get dads more involved in the schools.

“Usually when a parent comes to the school, it’s a mom,” he said. “To see a dad, kids are always excited.”

Decker, who previously taught at Decatur elementary schools, modeled much of the Dads for Dragons program on the Watch D.O.G.S. program because she had seen its success firsthand. When she came to Chico Elementary last year as principal, she wanted to start a similar program at her new school.

With the support of a school resource officer and initial interest from a handful of dads, the program was off and running. Decker said she has about eight dads currently volunteering for the program.

The benefits are seen not only in the students but also the dads, according to Barksdale.

“It’s a really neat thing,” he said. “For us, we drop our kids off every day at school. You know they care about our kids, but to see that – it’s kind of different. To see them interact with the kids, it’s pretty cool.”

For information about the program or to volunteer, call the elementary school at 940-644-2220.

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Chico ISD Student Spotlights for Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Chico Elementary School


Cambrie Barksdale

Grade: 1st

Parents: Arnie and Cindy Barksdale

Favorite subject: Math

Activities: 4-H, church, working with goats

Why this student was chosen: “Cambrie Barksdale is a well-mannered, thoughtful child. She is attentive of other people’s needs and is kind to those who seem to need an extra bit of encouragement. She is a well-rounded young lady with a variety of interests and a number of friends. Cambrie’s virtues often go unnoticed as she is quiet at school and does not demand a lot of attention.” – Principal Karen Decker

Chico Middle School


Hannah Buckner

Grade: 8th

Parents: Jeff and Melissa Buckner

Favorite subject: Reading

Activities: Cheerleading, 4-H, photography, one act play

Why this student was chosen: “She is a great young lady and has been outstanding in everything she has done for me. She was in the one-act play and did an outstanding job and was chosen all star cast.” – Principal Brad Bland

Chico High School


Tim Hanks

Grade: 11th

Parent: Amber Hanks

Favorite subject: Physics

Activities: Marching band

Why this student was chosen: “Tim Hanks is an outgoing, friendly, caring and responsible young man who has a positive attitude and is always willing to help others. I appreciate the person he is and what he brings to Chico High School every day.” – Principal Lisa Slaughter

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Thanks to Wise Electric

Sunday, Nov. 30, we had a power failure at Bloomoon Pet Resort at 1 p.m.

We open at 3 on Sunday and were expecting a lot of clients checking out their pets. I spotted a dead squirrel atop one of the three large transformers we have in our training yard. I called Wise Electric and asked if we could possibly get someone out quickly and have us up and running by 3.

Wise Electric heroes Brian and Jeremy arrived shortly and backed their bucket truck in close to the transformer pole. If you have seen our training yard you will know what a trick that must have been. They removed the deceased squirrel, replaced two fuses on top of the transformers, placed squirrel guards on the three transformer fuses, and had us up and running at 2:15 – one hour and 15 minutes from my call.

I watched them perform and it was not as easy as it sounds, as I type this. Thanks, Wise Electric, for saving the day – and a special thank-you to Brian and Jeremy!

Walt Partin
Bloomoon Pet Resort

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Sarge Lee Williams

Sarge Lee Williams

Sarge Lee Williams, 15, a beautiful child of God, died Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014, at home in Chico.

Memorial service is 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, at Jones Family Funeral Home in Bridgeport with Russell Scroggins officiating.

Sarge was born Aug. 29, 1999. He loved music, playing with kids and toys.

He was preceded in death by grandparents Cora and Ralph Rivet.

He is survived by his three mothers: Debbie Harless and husband, Bill, Valerie Bradish, and Leslie Maddux; brothers Tyler Hall and Bryant Evans; sisters Jennifer Earle and Victoria Brooks; grandparents Daphne Ruel, Melanie and Bobby Bradish, and Debbie Byers; great-grandmother Nelda Vincent; and numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.

Memorial donations may be made to the United Cerebral Palsy Association.

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Love in Every Stitch: Chico woman’s passion for quilting leads to national award

Love in Every Stitch: Chico woman’s passion for quilting leads to national award

Priscilla Moreland’s prize-winning quilt hung in her living room last week, the golden threads shimmering under the lights as she lovingly recalled the work that went into it.

Preserving the Art of Quilting

PRESERVING THE ART OF HAND QUILTING – Priscilla Moreland (above) smiles broadly while working with the Crazy Quilters on a recent Wednesday. She received an Award of Merit for her work from the National Quilting Association at a Colorado quilt show in September. (left) The Crazy Quilters work steadily on “Hunter’s Star,” Moreland’s latest project, which is a gift for her grandson. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

She gently traced the pattern with her fingertip, and her eyes sparkled when the conversation shifted to the history of hand quilting and the significance of the art form.

The metallic-colored threads, glittering behind her, seemed to reflect her passion for quilting. That same sparkle apparently shined at a Colorado quilt show in September, leading to a national award.

At the Silver Threads Quilt Guild Show Sept. 19-21 in Creede, Colo., Moreland, of Chico, received an Award of Merit from the National Quilting Association (NQA).

These awards can only be given by NQA-certified judges, and they are awarded to quilts that achieve recognized standards of quiltmaking excellence.

Moreland’s quilt, called “Friends – Some are Silver, Others Gold” was among 150 entries in the show. Her husband, Harold, was quick to point out that his wife’s Award of Merit was the first for the Silver Threads Guild.

Color Contemplation

COLOR CONTEMPLATION – A member of the Crazy Quilters chooses from a wide selection of thread colors. The group of women, who work to preserve the art of hand quilting, meet weekly at the First Presbyterian Church in Bridgeport. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

NQA judges give these awards at their discretion, and although they are allowed to recognize one quilt at every show with this honor, it’s not a requirement. It’s an award given to only the most deserving quilts.

Moreland said it was a total shock when her name was read. She had won no other awards at the show, and she presumed the Award of Merit would be given to one of those who had placed.

“I could not believe that my name was read, that this was given to me,” she said. “I was humbled and honored … and I cried. My intention in making this quilt top was for a dear friend of mine; my intention was not to win an award.”

Moreland estimates she’s made between 60 and 70 quilts since she took up the craft 25 years ago, but “Friends” is one of her favorites and perhaps, her most complicated.

The entire thing was quilted with holographic thread, which because it’s made of mylar, is difficult to work with. It breaks and ravels easily, and Moreland said it can’t be pulled like cotton thread.

“This was the first quilt that I quilted all of it with this holographic thread … and I will probably never do that again,” she said with a broad smile. “I followed the pattern that was on the material and outlined everything. It took three years to complete.”

Despite the tedious work, Moreland emphasized that each stitch was made with love. The quilt is a gift for a friend in Colorado who was recently widowed.

“Her husband passed away three years ago, and I had quilt tops there at [our Colorado] cabin and I told her to come over and pick one,” she said.

This particular design, created by Terry Atkinson, was originally called “Fire Escape.” Moreland changed the name to represent the sentiment she wanted to share with her friend.

“I renamed it to ‘Friends – Some are Silver, Others Gold,'” she said. “When we grew up, there was a song we would sing, ‘make new friends, keep the old …,’ and that was the theme of this. When her husband passed away, there were so many changes that happened because she was single and had to make friends in a single world, but don’t forget the dear friends.”

It will be several months before the quilt reaches its final destination in Colorado, though. The national award automatically qualifies it to be shown at the NQA quilt show this summer in Little Rock, Ark.

“I called her when I received the award, and she was especially proud,” Moreland said. “She said, ‘I know that’s my quilt, but you’re welcome to have it as long as you need it.’

National Award Winner

NATIONAL AWARD WINNER – Priscilla Moreland’s quilt, “Friends – Some Are Silver, Others Gold,” won an Award of Merit from the National Quilting Association. Messenger photo by Joe Duty


For Moreland, quilting is therapeutic.

“We drink coffee in the morning, and I quilt every morning,” she said. “I try to quilt three to four hours every day.”

She was taught by her mother, Irma Shannon who lived in Runaway Bay, and all of her work is done by hand, which makes it an even greater treasure and is also a big reason she received the Award of Merit.

“The reason I received this honor is because of the quilting itself,” she said. “This usually would have been quilted every inch, but this is heavily quilted … and there aren’t many hand-quilters.”

Moreland said at the Colorado show, hers was one of only two hand-quilted pieces, and the other one was only partially done by hand.

It’s a philosophical difference, she said. Some quilters simply piece the top together and then give it to someone else to quilt with a machine, some of which are even computerized.

Moreland works to keep the art of hand-quilting alive by teaching classes, and through her membership in the Crazy Quilters and the Wise County Quilt Guild.

The Crazy Quilters is a hand-quilting club that meets weekly at the First Presbyterian Church in Bridgeport.

“We solve all the problems,” Moreland said with a laugh. “It’s almost like a substitute family.”

She said the quilters range in age from 50 to 92. About 12 to 15 women regularly attend.

“It’s very similar to the quilting bees of the ’40s,” she said. “It’s a women’s discussion group.” While quilting, Moreland said they often discuss issues facing women today, or current events.

“Because of the different ages, we have different points of view,” she said. “We also talk about design; we talk about fabrics.”

And they instruct those less experienced. She said this group was instrumental in her learning when she first started quilting.

It takes the group about a month-and-a-half to finish a quilt, and they rotate between members. Currently, the group is working on one of Moreland’s quilts. The design is called “Hunter’s Star,” and Moreland plans to give it to her grandson as a high school graduation present.

“When it’s my turn, they know there will be a lot of quilting on it, so it will take longer,” she said. “But it’s easy quilting, and that’s what we’re there for … to quilt.”

While the Crazy Quilters put their skills to use, the purpose of the Wise County Quilt Guild is to instruct, according to Moreland. They meet once a month for a business meeting and program.

For the last eight years, Moreland has also been a member of the Silver Threads Guild in Colorado. She and Harold split their time between Texas and Colorado, so May through September, she attends quilting activities in Colorado and October through April she attends groups here.

She said the Colorado guild offers numerous programs and workshops to accommodate all the tourists.

“So you’re learning a lot of different methods,” she said. “Some of them pertain to quilting and some are craft-related but still with fabrics. Both the guilds have a show every year.”

Unfortunately, Moreland is usually not here for the Wise County show, but she regularly participates in the Silver Thread show, which is where she won in September.

Quilting is a constant in Moreland’s life. She moves from one quilt to the next and said completing one still leaves her feeling elated after all these years.

“It’s like giving birth,” she said. “But even after you finish the quilting, you still have to square it up, bind it. You have to do a lot to it.

“Usually by the time I’m almost finished with it, I’m already thinking about the next one.”

Moreland said her quilts are meant to be used. She makes them queen size and uses special batting for warmth, so people can use them on their beds.

“My quilts are made for a purpose,” she said. “A lot of them … you make a quilt with a specific objective in mind, like for an unborn baby or a wedding.”

After completing an intense piece like “Friends,” she often chooses a simple design for the next quilt, but she’s always contemplating patterns and color combinations and striving to try new things.

Last week she took a few moments to reflect on past works and ponder future projects, but as her eyes came to rest on the quilt in her living room she said it will always be one of her favorites.

“It was made for another person, and it was made with my friend in mind,” she said. “Every stitch was with love to her.”

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Chico adds part-time technology position

Over the past several years, Chico ISD has seen an increase in technology in the hands of teachers and students.

Monday, district Technology Director Debi Peyton received some help for the increased workload when the school board gave its approval to the hiring of a part-time technology technician.

Superintendent Mike Jones said Peyton suggested hiring Kevin Day for the position.

“Ms. Peyton expects him to work independently,” Jones said. “He would be doing some of the mundane things. She’s running around putting out fires. He can help her out with some of those things.”

Day works elsewhere full-time, so he would come to work at the school for a few hours in the evenings.

Jones said the $7,200 funding for the position would come out of supplies in the budget. Day would be paid a starting salary of $12 an hour.

The district has used high school seniors in the past to help Peyton, Jones said.

In other business, the board:

  • approved the campus attendance committees;
  • nominated Audie Morris for a vacancy on the Wise County Appraisal District board of directors;
  • received the report that all teachers meet the highly qualified criteria;
  • approved the district and campus improvement plans;
  • learned the district complies with No Child Left Behind and the Children’s Internet Protection Act; and
  • approved the district technology plan.

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Basketball Briefs: Alvord blasts Henrietta

The Alvord Lady Bulldogs improved to 5-2 Tuesday with a 79-45 win over Henrietta.

Alvord led 40-25 at halftime and broke the game open in the second half.

“We didn’t shoot the ball very well from the field, but our defensive pressure wore them down,” said Alvord coach John Shelton. “We held them to three field goals in the fourth quarter.”

Cierra Rangel led four Alvord players in double figures with 15. Katie Clayborn scored 13, Brianna Ponder 12 and Paycee Edgett 10.


The Chico Lady Dragons went on a 10-5 run in the third quarter to take the lead and held on for a 43-36 win over Perrin Tuesday.

Whitney Renfro led Chico with 16 points. Alli York and Kylie Marburger added nine each.

Chico evened its record at 3-3.


Caitlin Pruett tossed in 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as the Slidell Lady Greyhounds beat Valley View 59-47 Tuesday.

Kayler Talamantes added 18 points and five boards. Kylie Franklin scored 13 and grabbed nine rebounds.

Slidell moved to 5-2 with the victory. They play at Chico Tuesday.


The Paradise Lady Panthers jumped out to a 22-6 lead on Iowa Park and held on for an eight-point win, 42-34, Tuesday.

Paradise moved to 6-1.

The Lady Panthers went scoreless in the second quarter as Iowa Park went on a 7-0 run. But Paradise was able to get back on track in the second half.

Kaylee McConnell led Paradise with eight points. Aliyah Read, Courtney Kerr and Madi Horn scored six points each.

McConnell tossed in 14 points as the Paradise Lady Panthers crushed Pilot Point Monday 54-26.

Courtney Kerr added 10 points. Jett Preather finished with five.

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Basketball Briefs: Paradise uses fast start to beat Iowa Park, stay ubeaten

The Paradise Panthers are off to a 3-0 start with their new coach Cody Chandler after a 63-32 win over Iowa Park.

Cash Preather, Landry Norwood and Spencer Forsyth finished with 10 points each in the win. Eight different Panthers scored, including John Bridgeman with nine, Patrick Dorado and Caiden Berry with seven each.

“Two guys that didn’t score have been scoring six to 10 points a night,” Chandler said. “It’s a good luxury to have.

“This group is as unselfish as any group I’ve been around in a while. If someone is two steps ahead for a layup, they are giving up the ball. It makes it fun and exciting to watch.”

Paradise jumped on Iowa Park 14-3 in the first quarter and built a 31-8 halftime lead.

“We got after them from the start,” Chandler said.

Paradise beat Godley 64-49 Monday.

The Panthers used a 24-10 run in the second quarter to build a 39-23 lead.

Brayden Ford paced the Panthers with 12 points. Norwood added 11 and Forsyth 10.


The Chico Dragons used a 21-7 run in the second quarter to pull away in a 65-35 win over Perrin Tuesday.

It was the Dragons’ first win of the season as they improved to 1-5.

Chico also outscored Perrin 25-6 in the third to take a 58-23 lead.

Jonathon Neighbors led the Dragons with 16. Chris Gilmore added 15.

Colleyville Heritage 58, Northwest 52 OT

Colleyville Heritage outscored Northwest 11-6 in the extra period for a 58-52 win Tuesday afternoon.

Elijah Christman led Northwest with 15.


Tyler Maynard recorded a triple double to lead the Slidell Greyhounds to a 77-36 win over Valley View Tuesday.

Maynard finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Khristian Talamantes added 15 points and Dustin Davis 12.

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Caleb Asher Rayner

Tim and Lydia Rayner of Chico announce the birth of a son, Caleb Asher Rayner, on Nov. 21, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces and was 18 1/2 inches long.

He has one brother: Ian Rayner, 2.

Grandparents are Carl and Debra Rayner of Elk City, Kan., and Bert and Aleta Jackson of Cherryvale, Kan.

Great-grandmother is Joan Newkirk of Elk City.

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Turkey time

Turkey Time 1

Chico Elementary School students celebrated Thanksgiving Friday, dressing as pilgrims and Native Americans. Belinda Bowyer’s kindergartners Chevy Crawford and Joseph LaCombe feasted on a smorgasbord of food, including rolls, pies, corn and, even though the holiday is often called “Turkey Day,” they also munched on fried chicken. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Turkey Time 2

Landen Durham feasted on a smorgasbord of food, including rolls, pies, corn and, even though the holiday is often called “Turkey Day,” they also munched on fried chicken. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

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Della Lee Brooks

Della Lee Brooks

Della Lee Brooks, 81, of Chico, died Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014, in Decatur.

Graveside service is 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, at Chico Cemetery with Pastor Ed Edington officiating. Della was born Oct. 29, 1933, in Barnsdall, Okla., to Leo Lindsay and Esther (Crow) Hill. She was a member of the VFW Women’s Auxiliary and loved to bake and crochet. She encouraged others and was a good friend to many.

She was preceded in death by her parents; an infant son; and grandson Brent Lemond.

Della is survived by her husband, Cecil Brooks of Bridgeport; daughter Rhonda Wilson and husband, Ron, of Whitehouse; sisters Vivian Welch of Pawhuska, Okla., and Wanda Weigart of Chico; grandchildren Ryon and Dustin Wilson; great-grandchildren Abigail and Gavyn Wilson; nephews Bradley, Kendall and Gregory North; niece Sherry Welch; and numerous great-nephews and nieces.

Memorials may be made to

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Lela Fay Griffis Duck

Lela Fay Griffis Duck

Lela Fay Griffis Duck, 94, of Chico died Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014, in Bridgeport.

Funeral was Nov. 16 at the First Baptist Church in Chico with the Rev. Sam Caldwell officiating. Burial followed at Pleasant Grove No. 3 Cemetery.

Pallbearers were Rickey Denney, Stan Denney, Michael Duck, Willie Wilson, Dr. Jason Tibbels and Alex Plese.

Lela was born Jan. 25, 1920, at home in Crafton to C.W. “Charley” and Gertie Stockard Griffis. She remembered her parents telling her how everything was covered with ice that day.

“They could hear the galloping hooves of the doctor’s horse on the ice long before he arrived at their home,” she said.

Lela grew up in Crafton and attended school there. She married K.H. “Kinnie” Duck in Decatur Oct. 28, 1942, at Decatur Baptist College.

Lela came to know the Lord Sept. 1, 1952, in Park Springs where she lived and attended Park Springs Baptist Church. She joined the First Baptist Church in Chico on Oct. 5, 1963, and remained a member there. She was a homemaker most of her life, but as a young woman she worked in a florist shop in Lubbock and in the cafeteria at Harris Hospital in Fort Worth. She enjoyed cooking, working in her yard and vegetable garden, and sewing.

Lela was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; sisters Elsie Griffis, Reba Richey, Oleta Bender, Nelba Ruth Culverhouse and Genell Hopkins; brothers Horace and James Carol Griffis; and sister-in-law Leona Duck Powers, who she loved as a sister.

She is survived by her children, Lana and Gary Handshumaker of Alvord, Darla and Danny Hartsell of Bridgeport, Benny and Linda Duck of Bridgeport, and Bobby and Beverly Duck of Decatur; 11 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; 10 great-great-grandchildren; her best friend, Ruby Partin of Chico; and other relatives and friends.

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