51 from Wise on Weatherford College dean’s list

More than 450 students – including 51 from Wise County – were named to the Weatherford College Dean’s List for the fall 2013 semester.

To be eligible for the Dean’s List, a student must be enrolled for 12 or more semester hours, have no grade lower than a C and meet the minimum grade- point average. The GPA system is based on a one-to-four rating.

Earning the honor from Wise County were:

Alvord: Trevor Hardee; Shelbi Harmon and Alexandria Talamantes.

Aurora: Victor Ramirez and Bertie Sellers.

Boyd: Derek Martin and Carolina McDowell.

Bridgeport: Ana Caldera; Torie Carter; Sharlyn Fagan; Taylor Hulsey; Danielle Mindieta and Autumn Pickett.

Chico: Hannah Avants; Karla Deamicis; Damian Delgado; Callie Fuller; Luke Plummer; James Redwine; Vanessa Saxon; Molli Umphress; Tiffany Vislosky and Kaylee Wriston.

Decatur: Rosaura Aldape; Victoria Aldape; Monica Bernard; Carissa Byrd; Steven Cao; Araceli Cruz; Sarrah Ennis; Elda Garcia; Brittany Hargrave; Sara Harris; Kasidi Heiens; Victoria Myers; Christina Overton; Brandon Pelton; Venancio Rodriguez; Liliana Torres and Omar Torres.

Sunset: Austin Gaskins and Brittani Martin.

Newark: Savannah Brooks.

Paradise: Lacy Jackson; Sara Kelly; Amber Kirkland; Carol McCutchen and William Ngetich.

Rhome: Haley McGuire, Bethlyn Prentice and Lisa Shearer.

Posted in Education Headlines0 Comments

Contracts of Chico principals, directors extended

{{{*}}}Chico ISD’s campus administrators and district directors all received contract extensions at Monday’s school board meeting.

High school principal Lisa Slaughter and elementary school principal Karen Decker received two-year contract extensions through the 2015-2016 school year. Middle school principal LaJuan Foster, who was hired to serve as interim principal last summer, received a one-year extension to remain serving as interim principal.

Maury Martin, director of special programs for the district, and athletic director Stephen Carter received an extension through the 2015-2016 school year.

The district waits until budget discussions in the summer to make any possible changes in salaries.

The board also voted to offer a contract to Pam Williams to serve as high school counselor. Superintendent Mike Jones said this will be Williams’ first counseling position after interning with counselors at Lake Travis ISD.

In other business, the board:

  • held a public hearing on the 2012-2013 Texas Academic Performance Report. The district received a 2013 accountability rating of “met standard.”
  • called an election for May 10 to fill two trustee positions. (See a related story in this issue for updated filings.)
  • hired Shannon Loyd of the San Antonio-based Loyd Law Firm to represent the district in a 2011 hail damage claim.
  • took no action on 2014-2015 salary and stipend schedules.
  • agreed to allow Glenn Gonzenbach to lease two acres of district-owned land in a rural part of the district in exchange for a 3/16 royalty rate for oil or gas production on the property.
  • awarded bids to James Wood Motors for a 1-ton, four-door pickup and a Suburban.


The school board will hold a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday for a work session on the facilities review committee report given at the January board meeting. Jones said the board will consider the prioritized items and decide what should be the next step.

Other agenda items include updates to professional contracts, a resolution to pay employees for missed instructional days due to weather and a shared services agreement with Bluebonnet Co-op for students with visual impairments.

The meeting will be held in Room 150 of Chico Elementary School.

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Dragons fall short; Valley Mills holds off Chico

{{{*}}}The Chico Dragons couldn’t slow down Valley Mills Tuesday, falling in the bi-district round of the Class A Region II playoffs.

Valley Mills scored 15 or more in each frame to hold off Chico for a 63-55 win in Glen Rose.

“We played hard the whole game,” said Chico coach Chad Woodard. “We just couldn’t hit the big shot when we needed it most. I am very proud of our kids’ effort and the way we never gave up.”

The loss ends Chico’s season at 10-14.

Chris Gilmore led the Dragons with 23 points. Marshall Anderle scored seven points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Cameron Weatherly put in six points.

Valley Mills grabbed an early 16-13 lead and led 31-25 at halftime. Chico trailed 46-39 going into the fourth quarter.

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Softball: Sissies outlast Paradise

{{{*}}}Hailey Hollingsworth’s single in the 10th inning Tuesday drove home the winning run for the Bridgeport Sissies.

Hollingsworth went 2-for-3 and drew two walks in the 5-4 victory over the Paradise Lady Panthers.

Hollingsworth also picked up the win, striking out eight, going all 10 innings in the pitcher’s circle.

Paradise’s Reagan Taylor took the hard-luck loss in 9 1/3 innings. She struck out 14.

Taylor also went 3-for-3 and drove in three runs.

Paradise led 2-0 into the fifth and 4-1 into the seventh. Bridgeport rallied for three in the seventh to tie the game. The two teams were scoreless until Bridgeport pushed across the run in the tenth.

Paradise split its first two games Thursday at the Jacksboro Tournament, beating Archer City 6-5 and falling to Millsap 11-6.


The Boyd Lady Yellowjackets’ undefeated start to the season was halted Thursday with a 5-3 loss to Whitewright at the NCTC Tournament in Gainesville.

Whitewright scored three in the third to pull off the victory.

Savannah Foster and Brittney Howard each tripled and scored runs for Boyd (7-1).

The Lady Yellowjackets opened the tournament with a 4-1 win over Bonham.

Chelsea Arlington limited Bonham to two hits in the win. She also drove in a run.


Brittany Gayler limited Chico to four runs Monday as the Alvord Lady Bulldogs opened the season with a 14-4 victory.

Both teams opened the S&S Tournament Thursday in Sadler.


The Northwest Lady Texans evened their record at 4-4 to start the season, rallying for a run in the eighth to beat Aledo Thursday at the Brewer Tournament.

Sydnee Hinkle drove in four runs for the Lady Texans, going 2-for-3 with a home run. Brianna Barnhill knocked in two runs with a double.

Northwest fell to Brewer 8-3. Haley Rhine drove in two of the Lady Texans’ runs in the loss.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Missing money rumors not true

{{{*}}}To the citizens living within the boundaries of the Chico Independent School District:

There is a rumor going around about some missing CISD funds. According to the rumor, there was $250,000 missing from the finances of the school. I was not on the school board at this time, but I’ll assure you this is not possible. There was a $250,000 accounting error made. The sum was entered in one column when it should have been placed in another. I admit this was quite a large error, but no funds were lost. The independent audit proves this. It would be really hard to hide that large of a sum.

The rumor also has it that some of our local businesses received this money. Again, I will assure you this did not happen. The businesses accused of receiving these funds have bent over backward to help our school and students in many ways – financially and through volunteering time, equipment and resources. We don’t have many businesses in Chico, therefore, let’s not try to kill the few we have with unfounded rumors.

If anyone would like to look at the audit of the finances of our school, please call Mr. Jones, superintendent of Chico ISD, at 940-644-2228. Give him a little time to look up the years you want to see. He will be glad to go over them with you.

W.E. “Bill” Hand
President, board of trustees

Posted in Letters to the Editor0 Comments

William Paul Vernon Jr.

William Paul Vernon Jr.

William Paul Vernon Jr., 86, of Chico died at home Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014.

His ashes will be buried in the Thomas Cemetery at a later date.

Paul was born April 17, 1927, in Alexandria, La., to the late Elizabeth and William Paul Vernon Sr. He

worked 10 years for the city of Fort Worth tax department and retired from the Federal Housing Administration after 20 years. He worked seven years as an independent appraiser.

He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II on a troop and supply ship in the South Pacific. When Paul returned home, he went to Fort Worth to study architectural and mechanical drafting on the GI Bill.

He met his wife, Maudene (Underwood) Vernon, in Fort Worth. They were married 64 years. Paul was a member of Pleasant View Baptist Church in Bridgeport for 28 years.

Survivors include his wife, Maudene of Chico; son David Paul Vernon of Chico; sister Ouita McCaa and husband, Buddy, of Farmers Branch; several nieces and nephews; brother Arnold Vernon of California; and brother-in-law Wayne Underwood of Kennewick, Wash.

Vernon was preceded in death by his younger brother, Charles Vernon.

His wife requests memorials be made to the Thomas Cemetery Association, c/o Debra Green, 4666 S. FM 1655, Bridgeport, TX 76426.

Posted in Obituaries0 Comments

Experience the difference for McComis

{{{*}}}I have not seen much, if any, information on the county judge candidates’ work or life experience that qualifies them for the position. Granted, we have a well-run county, and we hope that won’t change.

What happens if we have a financial disaster? If the economy worsens, who do we want running the show? Keith McComis is the only candidate with the experience to successfully navigate through troubled times.

When the Bridgeport economy tanked and tough decisions were required, Keith McComis had just been elected mayor of Bridgeport. When elected, the city was mired in debt and in danger of not being able to meet payroll. The city’s bond rating had declined to a point where borrowing money to meet obligations was out of the question.

Keith made the tough decisions, and with the council’s support, the city is once again in sound financial condition. Under his stewardship, the city has gone from a serious deficit to financial stability in less than four years. While the belt was tightened, not one essential city service was cut, a street improvement plan was implemented and funded, the bond rating improved six steps and the 2013 audit was commended by the auditors.

As a construction management consultant in the private sector, Keith had a capital improvement budget of $36 million for a major manufacturing plant in East Texas. At the completion of the contract, he finished 23 percent under budget.

Life experience and decisions made during critical situations define a leader’s competence. All three candidates for county judge are good people – but if one of those critical situations arises, I want the experience of Keith McComis at the helm.

Jerry Stanfield

Posted in Letters to the Editor1 Comment

Partners in crime fighting; Chico uses unique agreement with Sheriff’s Office for police coverage

{{{*}}}Galen Wiley jokes that he’s the smallest city police department in Texas.

Luckily, he’s got plenty of backup from the Wise County Sheriff’s Office.

No Lone Wolf

NO LONE WOLF – Chico Police officer Galen Wiley drives the city’s lone patrol car. Four Wise County deputies have contracted with the city to join Wiley in providing police coverage. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Chico residents may have noticed a Chico city police car cruising around town since last October or maybe parked in front of Wiley’s store. It’s been at least a decade since the city last had its own police department.

“When Chico basically defunded their own independent police department before I got on the council, the citizens were really disappointed in that because there is a pride in having your own police department and the feeling of security. It simply wasn’t economically feasible anymore,” Mayor J.D. Clark said.

In the meantime, the city has relied on the Sheriff’s Office resident deputy program to provide police coverage, which was started by former Wise County Sheriff Phil Ryan to help small Wise County towns. In the early days of the program, a deputy would live in the city where they were assigned. Current Wise County Sheriff David Walker said the benefits are twofold: it gives a deputy the chance to earn extra money, and it provides city residents with the peace of mind knowing an officer is patrolling their neighborhoods.

Over the years since it was first implemented in Chico, the resident deputy program has been used in other towns such as Aurora and New Fairview. Decatur, Bridgeport, Runaway Bay, Boyd and Rhome have their own fully-staffed police departments.

About a year ago, Clark said the city began talking with Chief Deputy Doug Whitehead about a possible “hybrid” program that partnered a Chico police officer with resident deputies. Clark said Whitehead, a former Chico police chief, said it was time to “bring the Chico Police Department back out of the shadows.”

Wiley, a former full-time Chico police officer, maintained his certification in case the city ever decided to resurrect the department. His full-time job is owner of Wiley Hardware and Supply on the Chico Square, but he said he missed being an officer. Business is often slow in the winter months and in the current economy, so a part-time police officer position provides a welcome supplement to his income.

The Chico police car he drives was bought with his own money, and he leases it to the city for $100 a year.

“I found a car in Branson, Mo., and it had nearly all the equipment left in it,” Wiley said. “I just had to add a radio and a video camera, and it was ready to go.”

Bridgeport’s Ink’N'Stitch donated the graphics for the vehicle.

Four resident, or contract, deputies worked for the city providing coverage four nights a week prior to last October. The addition of Wiley provides the city with a fifth night of coverage and allows for more flexible scheduling, including weekends. Wiley works at his store during the day, but if something serious happens in the city such as a medical emergency or a wreck, he can respond quickly, often arriving before the fire department or medics.

It didn’t take long for Wiley to be dispatched to his first call after returning to duty last fall.

“The very first night on duty, they dispatched me to a domestic disturbance within three minutes. I just laughed to myself. I wouldn’t expect anything less,” he said.

Having officers – whether it’s deputies or a police officer – on regular patrol in the city also helps deter crime from happening in the first place.

“Preventative patrol is what law enforcement is about – to be proactive rather than reactive,” Walker said.

The good relationship between the city and the Sheriff’s Office has been key to the program’s success, Clark said, and could be a blueprint for other towns in a similar tight budget situation.

“Now Galen is able to work as a partner with the county guys, and we’ve been able to increase our police presence without jumping off into some project we can’t sustain for the long-term,” Clark said. “I think it is a good model for other communities using the resident deputy program. Instead of just jumping into ‘Let’s try to fund a full-on police department,’ maybe there are some more opportunities to do a collaboration between the city and the county.”

Whitehead continues to work in an advisory capacity with the city on security issues.

Wiley said if Chico citizens have an emergency, dial 911. For a non-emergency, call the Sheriff’s Office at 940-627-5971.

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Veterans Day added to Chico holiday schedule

{{{*}}}Patriotism was on display at Thursday’s Chico City Council meeting, even if the U.S. and Texas flags were not.

Following the invocation to begin the meeting, Mayor J.D. Clark turned his attention to the corner of the room to lead the council and others in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance. The only problem was, the flag wasn’t in its traditional spot. It was still in the Community Center down the hall, the site of a recent Republican candidate forum.

“They’re that way,” Clark said, turning the other direction and pointing in the general direction of the Community Center before leading both the U.S. and Texas pledges.

Later in the meeting, the council approved adding Veterans Day as an official city holiday.

Clark told council members that since several veterans are employed by the city, Veterans Day on Nov. 11 should be added to the city’s holiday schedule.

“I think it would be a nice sign of respect,” he said.

In other business:

  • Stephen Gilland presented the results of the city’s annual audit. He said the audit was clean and that the city was in “a good situation.”
  • Next month’s meeting was changed from March 4 to March 11 because it fell on the same night as the primary election.
  • Action on purchasing a heating and cooling system for city hall was tabled in order to seek more bids.
  • An election was called for three council seats.
  • The council accepted the resignation of councilmember Sue Manning. Clark read a letter from Manning, who stated she was stepping down due to health reasons.
  • Two zoning variance requests were approved, one for a mobile home on Tabor Lane and another for landscaping setback requirements at Sherman Street and Texas 101.

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Bracing for best: Despite knee injury, Anderle helps Dragons to the playoffs

Bracing for best: Despite knee injury, Anderle helps Dragons to the playoffs

{{{*}}}Before practice begins Monday, one of the Chico players bounces the ball hard off the hardwood. Marshall Anderle glides through the air, catching it in stride before slamming it home.

It’s an impressive feat for the 5-10 senior – even more impressive considering he’s jumping off one healthy leg.

Playing Tall

PLAYING TALL – Despite playing on one healthy leg, Marshall Anderle is averaging 14 points and 8.8 rebounds for the Chico Dragons. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Anderle tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the Dragons’ second football scrimmage. But instead of opting for surgery that would have taken him out of his senior year, he’s put on a brace and fought through the basketball season to help Chico make the playoffs for a second straight year.

Going into Wednesday’s second-place tiebreaker with Santo, Anderle has averaged 14 points and 8.8 rebounds during 11-A play.

“He’s done an unbelievable job,” said Chico coach Chad Woodard. “He’s just braced it up and went on. I’m proud of what he’s done. He’s got a good attitude and has been a big part of our success.”

Anderle suffered the injury midway through the scrimmage.

“A kid landed on me and tore my ACL and MCL,” Anderle recalled. “They said I could put a brace on it and try to play and have surgery after I graduated. Because it’s my senior year, I couldn’t play again if I had surgery.

“If I could tough through it, I could play.”

Anderle chose to tough his way through it and returned to play the final two football games in the fall at linebacker and receiver.

“I was scared at first about how I would do,” he said. “My first game, I got an interception and went from there.”

On the basketball court, the knee injury has not slowed him down. He has scored as many as 26 points in a game and posted eight double-doubles.

“He’s been the big guy that we don’t have,” Woodard said. “He doesn’t let it bother him. He does what he can to help the team.”

Anderle says the knee has not caused him much pain.

“Every now and then, it feels weird. It feels like it did,” he said. “It’s not really toughness. It’s just that I want to play. I love playing all the sports.”

Anderle expects to play baseball and golf and run track in the spring after basketball is over.

But for now, he’s concentrating on basketball and helping the Dragons make a playoff run. Depending on the outcome of Wednesday’s game, the Dragons will either be the second or third seed out of 11-A and open the playoffs next week.

“I love being with my team. I’d be here supporting them if I couldn’t play,” he said. “I’m thankful for my team and what they’ve done to help me.”

That includes delivering a bounce pass for a showtime dunk.

Posted in Features, Sports0 Comments

Teen dies in house fire

Teen dies in house fire

{{{*}}}Tragedy struck a family, community and school in the early-morning hours Thursday when a house fire claimed the life of a 14-year-old boy.

Nightmare Morning

NIGHTMARE MORNING – An early morning fire Thursday at a home in Chico killed 14-year-old Chris Conn, an eighth grader at Chico Middle School, and destroyed the family’s home. Johnny Hothouse suffered severe burns attempting to rescue his stepson. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The body of Chris Conn, an eighth grader at Chico Middle School, was found in the ruins of the home hours after the fire was extinguished. Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Terri Johnson said Friday afternoon the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office had confirmed Conn’s identity.

Chris Conn

Wise County Fire Marshal Chuck Beard said the boy was believed to have been trapped inside a room after the house caught fire about 4 a.m. Firefighters from Chico, Decatur, Bridgeport, Lake Bridgeport and Alvord responded to the residence in the 200 block of County Road 1637 near Lake Bridgeport’s Wise County Park.

“When we got here, flames were already coming through the roof,” said Bridgeport Fire Chief Terry Long. “It’s a total loss.”

The boy’s stepfather, Johnny Hothouse, was originally taken by Wise County medics from the scene to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur but was later transported to Parkland Hospital in Dallas.

“He suffered from second- and third-degree burns to his arms, neck and face and suffered from smoke inhalation as he was attempting to pull the boy through the window and out of the burning house,” said Wise County Deputy Fire Marshal J.C. Travis.

TRAGIC ACCIDENT – A firefighter fights flames in the bitter cold. The fire was accidentally caused during the night by a space heater at the foot of the victim’s bed. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The boy’s mother, Kimberly Wrisner, and little brother, Diesel Hothouse, 2, were also transported from the scene to WRHS but were released before noon.

Beard said there were two space heaters in Conn’s room, one of which started the fire.

“The family lost everything,” he said.

Teams of firefighters spent hours taking turns encircling the burning manufactured home, attempting to control and contain the fire as flames and smoke filled the sky and snow accumulated on the frozen ground. Firefighters were working in less than 20-degree temperatures.

Across the street a neighbor stood, stunned, watching as firefighters worked.

“My son rode the bus with him every day to school,” he said, a tear frozen on his cheek in the dark, frigid morning. “He was a quiet kid.”

Counselors were on hand at Chico Middle School Thursday to talk to fellow students. Staff at the school also said he was quiet but always friendly.

“Chris was a quiet kid; he was kind of a loner. He kept to himself,” said Middle School secretary Kathy Van Hoose. “But he would always speak. He would always say, ‘What’s up?,’ every time he saw you, no matter how many times he passed you in the hallway.”

Conn is the second CMS eighth grader to die in less than three months. The class is made up of only 45 students.

On Sunday, Nov. 24, 14-year-old Dennis Caraway died suddenly from a brain tumor. The school was still grieving his death and preparing to hold a pair of fundraisers for the Caraway family this weekend when Conn died.

The Hothouse family lost not only a son, but almost everything they owned in the fire. They had no insurance. The Red Cross was contacted and will offer temporary assistance.

Conn’s funeral is pending at Jones Family Funeral Home in Bridgeport.

Posted in Features, News0 Comments

Eagles move west, Bulls east in realignment

{{{*}}}The Decatur Eagles are headed west, and the Bridgeport Bulls east.

The Big Sandy rivals were sent in opposite directions for football Monday morning when the University Interscholastic League unveiled its biennial realignment for 2014-16. It was the first realignment with a division split for the UIL’s third-largest classification in football.

While they’re in separate leagues for football, Decatur and Bridgeport will be back together for basketball.

All the Wise County schools will start competition in their new leagues in August.

The UIL released realignment for football and basketball Monday. The new leagues for the other sports will be released later.

This year’s realignment included renaming the UIL’s six classifications from 6A to A. That put six-man football and the former Class A Division II schools in their own classification, A. The former Class A Division I and A 11-man football schools are now 2A. The rest of the classifications also moved up, with the largest league now 6A.

The split for the new 4A presented a fair amount of intrigue for this year’s realignment. The split was used in the past realignment in the old 2A and Class A.

UIL athletic director Mark Cousins said the split presented a challenge because of the lack of schools in 4A. It is the smallest classification, with 186 schools in the range of 465 students and 1,059. Division I is for schools with 686 to 1,059 students. Division II is for those with 465 to 685.

“That’s the old 3A, and even before the split, it was the one class that was the biggest challenge with the number of schools and the enrollments,” Cousins said. “In that range, there are not that many schools. The question is, how large do you want those ratios? Then when you split it in half, one of the biggest concerns is travel.”

Cousins said the added travel caused by the division splits in 4A, 3A and 2A for football is a reason why the UIL is not looking to do the same in other sports.

Here’s a look at where everyone is headed as a result of the realignment.


The Decatur Eagles will play in 4A Division I’s 4-4A in Region I with Burkburnett, Wichita Falls Hirschi, Graham, Mineral Wells and Gainesville.

“It’s a good district,” said Decatur athletic director Kyle Story. “It’ll be a good competitive district for football. We’ve enjoyed our time in West Texas as we have out east.”

The Eagles could face a tough bi-district opponent with a loaded District 3-4A next to them that includes Stephenville, Brownwood and Abilene Wylie.

Bridgeport will shift east in Division II’s 3-4A with Aubrey, Celina, Krum, Anna and Bonham.

“Our football district came out to what we were predicting,” said Bridgeport athletic director Danny Henson. “We’re used to competing with Celina in scrimmages. We’ve played Krum and have an idea about them.

“We knew we’d be looking at some travel with Division II, but most of the district games are what we are used to traveling.”

For basketball, Decatur and Bridgeport will be together in 8-4A with Castleberry, Lake Worth and Springtown. The two were sent to Region I and avoided being in the same region with Dallas ISD powerhouses Dallas Madison and Lincoln, as well as Argyle.


As expected, Northwest will be in the same league next year with its district mate Byron Nelson. The two landed in 6A’s District 5 with Denton Guyer, Denton Ryan and Keller’s four schools – Keller, Central, Fossil Ridge and Timber Creek.

“It’s what we thought with the Keller schools and Byron Nelson,” said Northwest football coach Bill Patterson. “It’s going to be a tough district.”

Once again, as in the past with Euless Trinity and Southlake Carroll, Northwest will be in a district with a team coming off a state title – this time Guyer.

“We’re good about that. We’re fortunate to keep getting the state champion,” Patterson said. “But all around us are good football teams.”


Boyd and Paradise will again be linked in the same football district but will have new mates. After sharing league last year with Callisburg, Whitesboro and Pilot Point, the Wise County schools move west to Region I’s 4-3A Division I with Breckenridge, Bowie, Brock and Ponder.

“It was kind of a surprise the way it turned out,” said Boyd athletic director Brandon Hopkins. “It will be a decent district. The only drawback is the post-district travel.”

Paradise athletic director Scott Broussard also expressed excitement about the new league.

“I didn’t think that’s the way it would be,” he said. “It’s not too bad of a realignment.”

For basketball, the two got away from perennial powers Peaster, Brock and Ponder. They will be in 9-3A with Henrietta, Holliday, Jacksboro, Nocona and City View.

“Our basketball coaches are really happy,” Broussard said. “It’ll be good for the kids to play different people.”


Alvord dipped down into the new 2A Division I and landed in the same league with an old rival, Chico. The two Wise County schools will be in 5-2A with Valley View, Bells, Blue Ridge and Trenton for football.

“I thought that Chico, Valley View and us were hooked together,” said Alvord athletic director Curtis Enis. “We thought we’d go west with Olney and Archer City. We’re glad to be with Trenton, Bells and Blue Ridge. It’ll be refreshing to be with all new people.”

After competing against larger schools, Enis said it will be good to face schools their own size.

“Our kids are excited. They see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Enis said.

Chico athletic director Stephen Carter also liked the new league.

“It’s exciting to get some new faces,” he said. “We’d rather go that way for travel purposes.”

For basketball, Alvord and Chico will be with Collinsville, Era, Lindsay, Muenster, Poolville and Valley View.


Of all the area schools, Slidell saw the least amount of change in the new alignment. The Greyhounds stayed in 21-A with Bellevue, Gold-Burg, Forestburg, Midway, Prairie Valley and Saint Jo. The lone change was the addition of Tioga, who is competing in the UIL for the first time.

“We may be the only eight-team district in the region,” said Slidell athletic director Todd McCormick.


The UIL unveiled its new alignments for 2014-16 Monday. Here are the results.

4-4A I Football
Decatur, Burkburnett, Wichita Falls Hirschi, Graham, Mineral Wells, Gainesville

3-4A II Football
Bridgeport, Aubrey, Anna, Krum, Bonham, Celina

8-4A Basketball
Decatur, Bridgeport, Castleberry, Lake Worth, Springtown

5-6A Football/Basketball
Northwest, Byron Nelson, Denton Ryan, Denton Guyer, Keller, Keller Central, Fossil Ridge, Timber Creek

4-3A I Football
Boyd, Paradise, Breckenridge, Bowie, Ponder, Brock

9-3A Basketball
Henrietta, Holliday, Jacksboro, Nocona, City View

5-2A I Football
Alvord, Chico, Valley View, Bells, Blue Ridge, Trenton

11-2A I Basketball
Alvord, Chico, Collinsville, Era, Lindsay, Muenster, Poolville, Valley View

21-A Basketball
Slidell, Bellevue, Gold-Burg, Forestburg, Midway, Prairie Valley, Saint Jo, Tioga

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Dragons hang on to second

{{{*}}}The Chico Dragons held off the Perrin-Whitt Pirates Friday to stay in second place in District 11-A.

Marshall Anderle and Chris Gilmore scored 12 points each in the Dragons’ 47-41 win.

Chico (9-11) moved to 5-2 in the district, a game ahead of Santo. The Dragons were off Tuesday and could wrap up second place by beating league leader and fifth-ranked Poolville Friday. If the Dragons lose and Santo beats Ranger Tuesday, the two teams would be tied for second.

“We’d have a playoff game like last year,” said Chico coach Chad Woodard. “We’re in the playoffs now. Hopefully we can take care of business.”

The Dragons found a way to take care of Perrin-Whitt Friday, holding a slim lead the entire way. Chico led 11-8 after the first quarter and 18-12 at halftime. The Dragons owned a 33-25 lead going into the final frame.

“We were able to find a way to win,” Woodard said. “We shot the ball poorly from the field and found ourselves in foul trouble. We need to keep shooting and gain some confidence in our shot.”

Kalen Johnson finished with nine points, three assists and three steals for the Dragons. Anderle snagged eight boards. Gilmore made three steals.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Chico FFA takes Fort Worth by storm

This year Chico FFA and Jr. FFA members placed better than ever at the 2014 Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.

Making History

MAKING HISTORY – Chico FFA and Junior FFA members were honored with the Herdsman Award, which is given to the team that best embraces the fundamentals and rules of animal care and showmanship. Submitted photo

Not only did they place within the top 10 of their classes, but they also won the Herdsman Award. The Herdsman Award is given to the team who best embraces the fundamentals of animal care and adheres to the rules and regulations of the show. Show officials said it was the best display of herdsmanship they had seen in many, many years.

The weekend of the junior heifer show, Chico FFA and Jr. FFA excelled. Beefmaster heifers placed in their classes as follows: Macie Moss, second; Hagen Davis, third; Garon Davis, fourth; China Brattis, fourth; Brianna Martin, fifth; Amber Huff, sixth; Matti Umphress, seventh; Katie Tate, seventh; Hunter Garcia, seventh; Nick Hood, seventh; Devon Wilson, 10th; and Taylor Hood, 12th.

Red Angus heifers placed as follows: Emily McDaniel, fourth; and Macy McDaniel, fourth.

Santa Gertrudis heifers placed as follows: Jimmy Schuetz, second; Kenyon Hedrick, third; Will Jones, fourth; Austin Collins, fifth; Katie Jones, sixth; and Calli Gordon, eighth.

Other kids exhibiting Santa Gertrudis included McKayla Hedrick, Kayla Clampitt, Chance Kittrell, Cody Caraway, Elliott Mercer and Stephanie Beard.

Chico FFA is led by ag science teachers Shane Hedrick and Tyler Raley.

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Chico City Council to consider resignation

{{{*}}}The Chico City Council might have one less member after next Tuesday’s meeting.

The council agenda for Tuesday, Feb. 4, includes acting on the resignation of a council member. Although the agenda didn’t specify which council member was resigning, Mayor J.D. Clark said Friday Sue Manning is expected to resign due to health reasons.

“She’s been an incredible servant for the community, and I will miss her input on the council,” Clark said in a message Friday, adding that she has “been a strong advocate for Chico.”

The resignation is expected to take effect immediately.

Clark said he will suggest the council wait to see how May election filings shape up before making a decision on how to fill the open seat. The council will call an election for three other council seats currently held by Karen Garrison, Aracely Cuevas and Louise Gossett.

Other agenda items include approving the annual audit, rescheduling next month’s council meeting, repairing or replacing the heating and cooling system at city hall, adding Veterans Day to the city holiday schedule, an owner-requested zoning variance and regular department monthly reports.

The meeting is at 7 p.m. at Chico City Hall.

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Girls Basketball: Slidell routs Gold-Burg

{{{*}}}The Slidell Lady Greyhounds inched closer to locking up the second playoff seed out of District 21-A Division II Tuesday.

Behind 25 points from Caitlin Pruett, the Lady Greyhounds pounded Gold-Burg 51-27.

“It wasn’t a real crisp performance for us, but it’s a win,” said Slidell coach Cody Vanover. “We need to beat Prairie Valley on Tuesday to secure second place.”

The Lady Greyhounds (14-7, 8-2) trail first-place Saint Jo by a game, heading into the regular season finale.

Slidell started slow against Gold-Burg, but came alive in the second quarter with a 19-8 run. Slidell led 27-12 at the break.

The Lady Greyhounds put the game away with a 12-5 closing spurt.

Kylie Franklin scored eight points, and Kayler Talamantes seven.


Santo, ranked seventh in Class A, rolled past Chico Tuesday 68-16.

Santo opened the game on a 20-4 run and led 43-8 at halftime.

Chico looked to rebound Friday at home against Perrin-Whitt in its season finale.

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Boys Basketball: Santo extinguishes Dragons

{{{*}}}The Chico Dragons lost their grip on second place in District 11-A Tuesday.

Santo started the game on a 20-7 run on its way to a 56-44 victory.

Marshall Anderle, Chris Gilmore and Kalan Johnson scored 11 points each.


The Slidell Greyhounds rebounded from the loss to Bellevue in a big way Tuesday.

The Greyhounds went on a 41-5 run from the middle of the second quarter into the fourth in a 60-33 victory over Gold-Burg.

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Boys basketball: Class A Roundup


The Chico Dragons took a big step toward wrapping up second place in District 11-A Friday.

Behind 21 points from Marshall Anderle, the Dragons knocked off Ranger 60-46. Chico (8-10) moved to 4-1 in the league with three games left.

Fighting Through Traffic

FIGHTING THROUGH TRAFFIC – Chico’s Marshall Anderle works his way to the basket during the Dragons’ win over Ranger Friday. Messenger photo by Mack Thweatt

Anderle attacked Ranger inside and helped the Dragons to an early 20-12 lead. Chico built the advantage to 35-21 at halftime.

“Marshall played big for us,” said Chico coach Chad Woodard. “Shots were not falling from the outside, and he was able to find a way to score down low.

“We played well enough to win, but we have to cut down our turnovers.”

Chris Gilmore added 10 points and four assists. Ivan Segura finished with nine points, six rebounds and three assists.

Chico returned to action Tuesday at Santo and will play Perrin-Whitt at home Friday.


Bellevue seized control of the District 21-A Division II race Friday, holding off the second-place Slidell Greyhounds.

Bellevue, which moved to 8-0 in the league, outscored Slidell 23-18 in the final frame to pick up the win.

“It was a good game played by both teams,” said Slidell coach Todd McCormick. “They outrebounded us and that was the difference in the game.”

Slidell (21-7) fell to 6-2 in the district with three games left after Tuesday’s game at Gold-Burg.

Friday’s game was tight throughout. Bellevue led 48-45 going into the fourth quarter.

Isaac Davis led Slidell with 35 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and four steals. Tyler Maynard added 13 points, and Khristian Talamantes 10 points and nine assists.

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Girls Basketball: Ranger pushes aside Lady Dragons

{{{*}}}The Chico Lady Dragons failed to rally from a slow start Friday, falling to Ranger 54-44.

Ranger jumped out to an 18-11 lead in the first quarter and built the advantage to 33-21 at halftime.

Leaning In

LEANING IN – Chico’s Corey Tate gets inside a Ranger defender Friday in the Lady Dragons’ loss. Messenger photo by Mack Thweatt

Corey Tate led Chico with 20 points. Allison York finished with 13.

Slidell 43, Bellevue 30

The Slidell Lady Greyhounds combined to hit 15 of their 18 free throws Friday in a 43-30 victory over Bellevue.

The Lady Greyhounds held Bellevue to 11 points in the first half, taking a 17-11 lead. Slidell led 29-20 going into the fourth quarter.

Slidell hit six of its final seven free throws to add to its lead down the stretch.

Slidell (14-7) moved to 8-2 in District 21-A Division II.

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Duo burglarizes Chico shop, tosses tools

{{{*}}}A man and woman were arrested Wednesday afternoon after leading officers on a chase north of Chico.

Brian Brooks

About 2 p.m. Wes Fowler returned home to the 400 block of County Road 1480 and discovered a couple taking tools from his shop.

Sheriff David Walker said as Fowler approached, the duo began throwing tools back inside the shop before jumping into their Mitsubishi SUV and taking off.

Fowler called 911 and began following the suspects – Brian Brooks, 40, of Azle and Jennifer Buell, 18, of Paradise. Wise County Sheriff’s Deputy Steven Yancey and Sgt. Cavin Riggs finally stopped the vehicle on Farm Road 2265 near an entrance to the LBJ National Grasslands.

Inside the SUV they discovered tools taken from the homeowner, as well as other items.

“We still have a camera and other tools that haven’t been matched up with other burglaries,” said Walker.

Jennifer Buell

He said Brooks claims some of the tools are his, but investigators have not yet verified this.

Walker said although Fowler didn’t know the suspects, Buell was acquainted with Randy Maddox, who works for Fowler and lives on the property. Maddox lives in an apartment inside the shop, and Buell told investigators she was planning to move in with him. She said Brooks was helping move her belongings.

When they arrived, no one was home and for unknown reasons, they began loading items into their vehicle.

Brooks and Buell were both charged with burglary of a building. They were both released from Wise County Jail on $5,000 bond.

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