Kitchen fire doused

Kitchen fire doused

An oven inside Sweetie Pie’s Ribeyes on the Decatur Square caught fire early Saturday morning, but firefighters extinguished the flames before it caused major damage to the restaurant.


STEAMED – A Decatur firefighter keeps an eye on a recently-extinguished fire in an oven at Sweetie Pie’s restaurant on the Decatur Square early Saturday morning. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Decatur Fire Chief Mike Richardson said a next-door neighbor saw smoke and called the fire department around 1 a.m.

“When firefighters arrived, they found black smoke coming out around the door to the kitchen,” he said. “When they went inside, they saw flames around the oven.”

He explained that the oven was apparently left on. It eventually caught pine rosin, used for the restaurant’s baked potatoes, on fire, and flames spread to the adjoining space.

Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the flames. Fans were brought in to help clear out the smoke, and the restaurant was able to open later that day.

Richardson said the restaurant does not have a sprinkler system.

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Hotel in civic center expansion plans

The Decatur Civic Center could soon get a new neighbor in the form of an upscale motel.

The city council Monday approved, upon recommendation of the Economic Development Corp., moving into the next phase of the initial period study to include a Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott as part of expansion plans for the Decatur Civic Center.

Looking to the Future

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE – A conceptual artist rendering of what the Fairfield Inn and Suites would look like situated next to the Decatur Civic Center shows the new facility located east of the civic center. Submitted illustration

Initial plans for the four-story, 107-room facility show the motel being built just east of the facility, where the east parking lot is currently located. It would connect to the civic center by a covered breezeway.

Civic Center Director Lori Sherwood said the addition of the motel will open up new opportunities at the facility that are not available now.

“It’s very hard for me to book multi-day events,” she said. “… This will change my dynamics so much with my Christmas parties, with Swap Meet, things going on at the fairgrounds, there is just a lot of opportunity there.”

EDC Director Mary Poche said the EDC has been working on the project with Gatehouse Capital on the initial study since last summer.

The total cost of the motel project is estimated at $13.2 million. A third of those costs, $4.4 million, would be funded in the form of a loan by the city.

City Manager Brett Shannon said taxpayers shouldn’t feel the burden of paying off those bonds.

“We firmly believe it will be self-supporting and provide the funding necessary to make those payments so that the taxpayers of Decatur will not see an increased property tax,” he said.

The loan is expected to be paid back in eight to nine years.

Another $2.2 million would be used to remodel the existing civic center facility. Shannon said that plan includes taking out the stage area and dressing rooms, which he said have been underutilized over the years, in order to expand the Great Hall. The kitchen area will also be doubled in size.

According to an economic impact study of the motel addition and civic center expansion project as performed by Stone Hospitality and Real Estate, the total estimated economic impact on the city over the first 10 years is $54.7 million. That includes 62 jobs from construction, 23 jobs from operations and a city tax revenue impact of nearly $3.9 million.

Poche said the expansion project will help showcase what Decatur already has to offer.

“We know what we have here, and we just need to get it where others can see it,” she said. “… I really believe this is something that will push us to the point we get noticed.”

The council unanimously voted to move forward with the project.

In other business, the council approved upon second reading the city’s rewrite of the zoning ordinances and zoning change request for several lots in the South Martin Branch subdivision. It also approved an amendment to the Sand Hill and Oaklawn Cemetery rules adding wording that prohibits “cement slabs, or any other type of covering” to the list of items that may not be placed over a grave or lot.

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H2X shutters operation

After moving into its Decatur office just four months ago, H2X Hydro-Excavating Co. has closed its doors.

Although the Messenger has not yet verified if the company has filed for bankruptcy, a March 22 USA TODAY article said 60 employees were laid off when the company shut down in February.

H2X President Mike Clark could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

The company, which operated a fleet of trucks that excavate with high-pressure water rather than mechanical digging equipment, moved its national headquarters to Decatur in 2012 and secured a $200,000 incentive grant for performance from the city of Decatur’s Economic Development Corp.

Following months of delays, the building permit for the 12,000-square-foot facility was finally issued in January of 2014, and H2X moved into a newly constructed building 10 months later.

C.L. Gage, who built the facility for H2X east of downtown, recently received an email from Clark.

“He said the $40-a-barrel oil shut them down,” Gage said.

In the USA TODAY article, which documents the current slump of the oil and gas industry in America, reporter Trevor Hughes visited a heavy equipment auction last week in Longmont, Colo.

Several of H2X’s hydro excavator trucks were being sold, along with equipment from many other companies.

The article quotes Clark as saying he didn’t know how much his trucks sold for and wasn’t sure that he wanted to know.

“The oil and gas companies pulled in their horns really fast,” Clark told USA TODAY. “Everyone I talk to, they’re stunned at how fast everybody reacted.”

Craig Talley, owner of Talley Communications in Decatur, installed the company’s telephone system and said he is still owed money.

“They paid me for some of the work at first, but now they won’t even return my phone calls,” he said. Talley said he’s talked to several other business owners who are owed money by H2X.

Decatur EDC Director Mary Poche said the EDC’s attorney has sent a letter to Clark notifying the company that by closing it is in violation of its performance agreement.

The company received half of its $200,000 grant immediately in 2012, and they were to receive the other half when the building on Stratton Street was completed and certain employment goals were met.

Due to the delays with the building permit, Poche said the EDC board approved giving H2X the second half of its money in $25,000 increments to coincide with steps in the construction process – when the slab was poured for the building, when the steel was erected, when the building was “in the dry” and when the certificate of occupancy was issued.

The city of Decatur was in the middle of an $80,000 paving job to make sure the streets around H2X could withstand the heavy traffic of the water-laden trucks.

This work was also being paid for with an EDC grant, but Poche said the road improvements would have been made if any business had moved to that location. The work was not tied specifically to H2X or its agreement with the EDC.

While street crews were working on the paving project this week, large wreckers began arriving to haul off the H2X trucks stored at the site.

The Messenger has not been able to verify if the company’s other locations are also closed.

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Bleacher, parking lot project approved

Despite a couple of concerns, the Decatur School Board Monday approved a project to add a section of bleachers and add parking spaces at Eagle Stadium.

The bleachers will be added to the north side of the home bleachers, providing 160 seats for the band and drill team. The parking lot improvements would add spaces north of the stadium.

With the project expected to take 120 days, the board needed to make a decision at this month’s meeting in order to have the work done before football season. If the work began around April 1, it would be complete around Aug. 1.

The district received four estimates for the project, and Superintendent Rod Townsend recommended awarding the project to the company that provided the lowest estimate of $158,221: J&D Dodd Construction.

At least a couple of board members were concerned.

“If we go with the contractor you recommended, I’d like to see the penalty clause raised up substantially because we got snake bit on that last project. It’s imperative that this thing is done by football season,” board member Jeff Elder said.

He was referring to the agricultural science facility at the high school, which was also built by J&D Dodd Construction. That project ended up taking several months longer than expected.

The penalty clause includes a dollar amount penalty per day for every day the project goes past the alloted 120 days. Elder recommended the penalty be increased to $200 per day.

Board member Marsha Hafer said she was in favor of moving forward with one part of the project but not the other.

“This is just my opinion, but I’m personally more comfortable at this point in time going forward with the bleachers as opposed to everything at once,” she said.

She cited concerns over added costs for the parking work and the need to make sure the work is finished in time for football season.

The board ended up agreeing to offer the job to J&D Dodd Construction with the increased penalty of $200 per day. If the company does not agree to the contract, the board will offer the job, with the same penalty clause, to FX5.

The board also honored senior Katy Rowden for reaching the state finals in swimming all four years of high school and the ag mechanics team on its recent success.

High school English teacher Jennifer Smith was honored as educator of the month and Kristy Hammons as support staff employee of the month.

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Track: Parker gets chance to run on big stage

Decatur sprinter Gunnar Parker narrowly missed advancing to the state meet last spring, finishing fourth in a tight 100 race at the 3A Region II meet.

Friday, the Decatur junior will get his shot to run at the site of the state meet during the prestigious Texas Relays at Mike Myers Stadium at the University of Texas in Austin.

Taking Center Stage

TAKING CENTER STAGE – Decatur’s Gunnar Parker will run in the 88th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays Friday. He finished fourth at regionals last year in the 100. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“It’s an amazing opportunity to run there,” Parker said. “I’m a little nervous but once I get down there and get the number on, the shakes will work out.”

Parker is one of two Decatur runners that will take part in the 88th Clyde Littlefield Relays with some of the top high school, college and pro runners. Senior Jacob Kevetter will run in the 110 hurdles race.

Northwest will send a contingent of athletes. The Texans will field 4×800 and distance medley relays. Jacob Suchors will compete in the 1,600. The Lady Texans’ Emalee Wright will run in the 100 and 100 hurdles Division II races. The Northwest girls will also field relays in the distance medley, 4×800, 4×400 and 4×100.

Parker ran an 11.08 last year at regionals in the 100. He turned in an 11.23 last week at the Double B Relays in Bridgeport.

“I’m running good. I’ve been bad getting out of the blocks and been working on correcting it,” Parker said. “I’ve been staying in the weight room getting stronger.”

Along with the 100, he ran the 200 and 4×100 at regionals last year. Parker is considering moving from the 100 to the 400 to give him a shot at making it to the state meet.

“I’ve missed it by a hair each year,” Parker said. “I hope to get there this year in the 100, 200 or 400 – whatever gets me there.”

Parker will need to be in the top nine out of prelims Friday to earn a spot in Saturday’s finals.

“I’ve never been in front of a crowd this big,” Parker said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Northwest graduate and North Texas junior standout Troy Taylor will run in the Jerry Thompson Mile Invitational. Taylor won the Conference USA Indoor title in the 3,000, running 8:35.58. He finished third in the mile at the conference indoor championships in 4:07.06. In the fall, Taylor took 145th at the NCAA Cross Country Nationals, finishing the 10K in 31:54.2.

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Soccer: Eagles set for playoffs – Team welcomes 4A bracket

Decatur senior Tyler Wilson remembers taking the field for a playoff game in 2012 against the much larger Byron Nelson.

“It was fun but we knew the first round would be it, facing a bigger school,” Wilson said.

ON LEVEL FIELD – Decatur’s Tyler Wilson and the Eagles will play the new 4A playoffs this week. It’s the first year for the UIL to crown a soccer state champion in a third division. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

For its third trip to the playoffs, the Decatur Eagles will find a more level playing field. This is the first year for the University Interscholastic League to crown a soccer champion in a third division, 4A – previously 3A.

“It’s fair now,” Wilson said.

That’s a point that Decatur coach Christopher Chance has hammered home with his team this week as they prepared for a matchup with Brownwood for a 4A Region I bi-district title. The time, date and site for the game was not set at press time Tuesday.

“The door is wide open,” Chance said. “They have a chance to make history and be the first team to win a playoff game.”

A majority of the Decatur roster will be making its postseason debut.

“We’re still growing. The majority of the team is freshmen and sophomores,” Chance said.

The Eagles had an up-and-down run through 3-4A that included a victory over league champion Hirschi and narrow losses to Springtown.

“We have to capitalize on opportunities,” Chance said. “If we do that, we’ll coast.”

The Eagles are expected to welcome back Brandon Garza this week. He’s been out with a hamstring injury.

“He’ll start on the bench. We’ll get him worked back in slowly,” Chance said.

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Soccer: Lady Eagles face first-place Wylie in bi-district

In their playoff opener, the Decatur Lady Eagles soccer team will catch District 4-4A champion Abilene Wylie.

Facing a league champion, Decatur coach Wes Campbell’s message is simple.

“Anything can happen. Mindset plays a big role,” he said. “It’s win or go home.”

The Lady Eagles, the fourth-place team out of 3-4A, will be the underdog going into the 4A Region I bi-district tilt.

While it was rough run through 3-4A, Campbell said he saw his team improve throughout the season.

“Since the start of the season, we’ve got tremendously better,” he said. “I hope we can build on that.”

On a roster full of underclassmen, Campbell adds that the playoff game will be a good experience.

“They are excited. It’s a whole different atmosphere,” he said. “It’ll be a good experience.”

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Don’t buy DISD bond rhetoric

I’ve read with great interest the letters and articles related to the proposed bonds of DISD. I don’t know why it’s considered to be showing your “ugly side” if you oppose field turf. Even if you do it with a smile?

I “believe” that one can question and scrutinize our leaders and their decisions, proposals and actions (in fact it’s our duty as taxpaying citizens) and still love and appreciate our community and school district just as much as those who blindly follow and agree with everything they do.

Field turf was brought up again as being all great and money-saving. According to the article dated Jan. 31, turf was removed from the bond with the possibility of the board unilaterally installing turf in the future without taxpayer involvement and paying for it out of the large slush fund the district maintains. The average voter continues to be disenfranchised by leaders from the federal level to the local level in a system that’s supposed to value the vote.

I encourage the board members to do your own research on field turf. There is a ton of information on the Internet that shows water usage doesn’t necessarily decrease, maintenance costs can actually increase, the long-term costs go up astronomically, athlete injuries increase dramatically, the turf exposes all associated with its use to known carcinogens, on a 98-degree, sunny day the surface temperature has been measured as high as 199 degrees and the list goes on. Natural grass fields are the better investment.

Wow, I’m amazed by the writers lists of activities that will be held in the proposed indoor practice facility. This is the same rhetoric spewed at every school where such a facility is proposed, and it always turns out to be false.

At the rate we’re going here, it wouldn’t surprise me to hear we’ll be hosting community barn dances, weddings, chupacabra blood sacrifices, and it will be the exact location of Christ’s second coming. The bond election theme could be: “If we build it, He will come.”

We had some wintry weather here a few weeks ago, and we’ve had some rain this week and the whining started about how the spring sports can’t practice, so ‘see, we need this new practice facility.’ Well, where I went to high school, we had long hard winters that often went deep into spring. We had an indoor practice facility … it was called a gymnasium.

With all the bleachers pushed closed, it was about the size of three, full-sized basketball courts. The baseball and softball coaches had their athletes throwing and catching inside. They set up temporary batting cages for batting practice. The track coaches had their kids running and working out. Sprinting was allowed in gyms back then.

My point is Decatur High School has two gyms, and there are four gyms at the middle school campus. A total of six gyms available for indoor practice that sit idle after school this time of year. So, if the teams don’t practice or work out when bad weather occurs, it’s their own fault and not because they don’t have the facilities to do so.

Then there’s this crazy idea mentioned three times that an indoor practice facility at the high school is a high priority of people moving to any new community. I’ll bet you could poll 10,000 people and ask them to list 100 things they would want in a community they were moving to and an indoor practice facility at the local high school would not be listed once. Yet, this idea was presented as if Decatur had this facility it would be like a magnet, drawing people to Decatur from all over the country.

Then there’s this idea that because Springtown and Northwest and whoever have an indoor practice facility, then the obvious conclusion is that we have to have one, too. Well, if your neighbor puts in a pool or buys a Bugatti Veyron, do you do the same? No!

And the answer is No! for this facility as well. It’s this “keep up with the Jones” mentality that has caused school district debt statewide to increase 92 percent over the last 12 years. It’s totally unnecessary and an awful excuse to do something.

The truth is, what we have here is people making excuses to try and justify an unneeded expense, and in the end, they just don’t make sense or hold water.

Nice try; we’re not going to be fooled.

Tad Billmire

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Rann Elementary School Fourth Six Weeks Honor Roll


SECOND GRADE – Clayton Fiderlick, Cale Cartwright, Aranza Torres, Jazmin Morales, Nolan Sewell, Lane Hesteande, Hallie Washburn, Madeleine Holland, Riley Fothergill, Hendrix Smith, Madison Schwabe, Mia Fogle

THIRD GRADE – Cade Braziel, Zachary Blum, Julian Reyes, Emma Reeves, Keaton Houchin, Estevan Fernandez, Treasure Sifford, Morgan Call, Jacob Lara, Haley Gilbert, Je-Min Song, Nayeli Gamino, Kannon Moseley, Kash Ravenstein, Ian Strine, Stryker Redwine, Elizabeth Pack, Emma Stephen, Katherine Stroud, Ashlynn Pinkerton, Edith Gonzales and Alexis Sanders.

FOURTH GRADE – Landri Chapman, Austin Morehart, Hannah Smith, Ivy Gardner, Taylee Dickey, Isaac Wren, Tyler Pyland and Miranda Mares.

FIFTH GRADE – Anna Renaud, Callie Moseley, Matthew Thomas, Liam Magnuson, Catcher Gasperson, Danielle Navarrete, Chloe Atchley, Avery Miller, Cody Hughes, Jacie Stone, Jimmy Gamino, Mack Rieger, Grace Lowery, James Lewis, Julyssa Cantu, Clay Harris, Jentry Lamirand, Maggie Hamm, Elizabeth Collins, Cade Hays, Karter Houchin, Michael McNiel, Danner Holmes, Cale Laaser, Rachel Bowker, Sienna Kostelecky, Kassity Cannon and Jessica Shipman.


SECOND GRADE – Jonathan Chavarria, Alexa Placek, Brody Kelley, Lynette Aldape, Reese Christian, Boden Portales, Kennedy Hafer, Manuel Carrillo, Kaley Girouard, Julie Stone, Natalie Myers, Mayra Hernandez, Alina Lara, Layne West, Wiley Stone, Roger Bautista, Miley Roberts, Lanie Wilbanks, Carson Casey, Yadira Rosales, Abby Ary, Jadyn Veal, Parker Deaton, Madi Moreland and Tianna Gieger.

THIRD GRADE – Eli Erwin, Makenzie Engebretson, Karmyn Lowell, Samuel Andrade, Hayden Glennon, Drew Gam, Jacob Whitley, Alondra Gamboa, Abby Mosley, Jayden Geiger, Stella Harrington, Ismael Garcia, Jake Dunn, Tyler Hale, Ethan Lorenz, Jose Lopez, Nicolas Vasquez, Caitlin Mountain\, Luis Romo, Jahir Reyes, Adrian Vargas, Nick Scott and Sadie Garcia.

FOURTH GRADE – Danielle Andrade, Jett Cartwright, Ryder Holland, Haylie Ogle, Briana Caldera, Emily Collins, Morgan Goss, Mikayla Baker, Iker Ramirez, Shawn Dubois, Jacob Haynes, Kaiya Read, Jasmine Bravo, Maritza Estrada, Malayna McDaniel, Gus Robertson, Evelyn Vasquez, Paker Howard, Marshall Smith, Rubi Lopez, Cynthia Reyes, Madi Whitley and Jaden Sukova.

FIFTH GRADE – Michael Rich, Diego Gonzalez, Jatziry Aguirre, Davy Addington, Tyler Burns, Luis Torres, Karina Munoz, Carla Baez, Micah Burrows, Carlos Gamboa, Luis Romo, Riley Christian, Alicia Cruz, Wesley Hornback, Jose Bermudez, Alondra Inguanzo, Pedro Gamboa, Scott Miller, Trinity Joiner, Eric Hudson, Allyson Milligan, Henill Patel, Alejandra Lopez, Preston Myers, Ericka Dusek, Diya Patel, Jennifer Ramirez, Dylan Forman, Breanna Stover, Shane Tobias, Avery Thompson, Carter Sanders and Ty Woods.

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Hospital to discuss new facility

The Decatur Hospital Authority Board Monday will discuss the floor plan for a new fitness/sports medicine/physical therapy complex at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

They will also consider the budget and appointment of a construction manager.

Other new business on the table is the renewal of Aetna as the health insurance provider for WRHS employees, as well as a resolution for formation of Texas Licensed Ambulatory Surgery Center.

The board will also consider new appointments, bi-annual reappointment reviews and first year reviews.

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Baseball: Front and Center – Hicks emerges as Eagles leader

Baseball: Front and Center – Hicks emerges as Eagles leader

Last season, Decatur junior Michael Hicks didn’t get that much playing time.

Even when catching, he was often replaced in the lineup by a designated hitter.

But after dedicating his offseason to the game and becoming a better all-around player, Hicks is now one of the top players in Wise County and a leader for the Eagles.

Hard Hitter

HARD HITTER- Michael Hicks is performing well in the middle of the Eagles’ lineup. He currently has a .375 batting average with two home runs and a .500 on-base percentage this season. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

“It’s been a pretty good start so far,” Hicks said. “We’ve still got a lot of games ahead of us.

“It’s been decent. I’ve been trying to get some cuts in, continuing to work on my skill. On and off the field, working at practice and on my own with lessons and things like that,” he said.

READY TO LEAD – Michael Hicks has emerged as a leader on offense and defense for the Eagles. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Hicks also said his summer team has lessons throughout the year that he has attended and gained experience from.

Decatur coach Brian Tickell said that Hicks’ coachability makes him that much better.

“Michael’s a great kid,” Tickell said. “He works really hard and he’s coachable, and I think those things typically lead to success. He had a great offseason. He’s bigger and stronger, and that’s given him some confidence.

“He’s taken a lot of cuts which has also given him confidence. He’s seeing the ball really well and being patient at the plate. He’s hitting fastballs and fighting off curve balls.”

The work has paid off.

Hicks has a .375 batting average with two doubles, two home runs, 7 RBI and a .500 on-base percentage so far this season.

Michael is now working in the middle of the lineup where he likes getting the opportunity to drive in runs and getting a good look at pitchers before his turn at the plate.

He is also excelling behind the plate defensively.

His passion for catching ties in with his desire to lead his team.

“I like getting to touch the ball every at-bat,” Hicks said. “Out in the field you can get a little bored and start losing focus. When you’re behind the plate, you’re in control of the game. You set the tempo for everybody. I like that. I like being a leader.”

As a catcher, one of Hicks’ duties is to have a complete understanding of his pitching rotation.

Hicks says pitcher Clayton Egle has a good breaking ball and solid control, while Jaxon Terrell has been looking strong this season as well.

Hicks’ summer league teammate Mason Bower also has some good craft, according to his catcher.

As for his team as a whole, the Eagles are currently 5-5-1 and are hoping to continue a three-game win streak.

Like all teams in the area, the Eagles have missed games and practices due to weather and Hicks thinks more success will come with more opportunites to get on the field and practice.

“We’ve got a pretty good team this year,” Hicks said. “We’re pretty young, but we’ve got good leaders. We need to work on our skill.

“We haven’t been on the field as much as we would have liked, but hopefully we can continue working and do something special in the playoffs.”

Before the playoffs arrive, the Eagles must navigate a new district that only features one school, Bridgeport, that Decatur is familiar with.

After his high-school career, Hicks hopes to play ball in college and thinks that he may get quality looks from scouts during his summer league. Right now he is focused on the season ahead and continuing his success.

“I just try to keep the same routine throughout the game,” he said. “I try to approach every at-bat the same way. I want to set myself up to get the best opportunity I can.”

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Baseball: Eagles sweep games Thursday at tourney

The Decatur Eagles won both of their games Thursday at their tournament.

Making a Strong Pitch

MAKING A STRONG PITCH – Decatur’s Clayton Egle unleashes a pitch during the Eagles victory over Princeton Tuesday. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt

The first was a 2-1, eight-inning, walk-off victory over Graham in which Clayton Egle pitched an entire game with 10 strikeouts and only one walk.

Decatur took a one-run lead in the bottom of the fifth, but Graham responded in the top of the seventh, getting a desperation run to keep the game alive.

After another masterful inning from Egle in the top of the eighth, Decatur managed to score in the bottom to get the win.

Later that day, the Eagles rode a 5-run first inning all the way to a 6-3 victory over Borger.

Eagle pitcher Bryce Elder threw five innings, striking out eight while walking none, and Asa Johnson went 3 for 3 at the plate, driving in two of Decatur’s six runs.

Thursday morning

Graham … 000 … 001 … 0 … – … 1 … 2 … 3
Decatur … 000 … 010 … 01 … – … 2 … 5 … 3

W: Clayton Egle 8 IP, 10 K, 1 BB, 0 ER. L: Danny Key

Graham: Skeeter Buchanan 1-4; Jim Bob Perry 1-3

Decatur: Michael Hicks 2-3; Derek Potts 1-3; Clayton Egle 1-4

Thursday afternoon

Borger … 100 … 1 10 0 … 3 … – … 15 … 0 … 3
Decatur … 510 … 000 … X … – … 6 … 8 … 2

W: Bryce Elder 5 IP, 8 K, 0 BB, 3 ER. SV: Jesus Gam 2 IP, 0 ER. L: Hillyer 6 IP, 1 K, 3 BB, 5 ER

Borger: Guinn 2-4; Hillyer 1-4, RBI.

Decatur: Asa Johnson 3-3, 2 RBI; Jesus Gam 2-3; Ben Crofford 2-3

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Softball: Decatur cruises in 8-4A opener

The Decatur Lady Eagles crushed the Lake Worth Lady Bullfrogs in the District 8-4A opener Tuesday.

The Lady Eagles won in four innings, 17-0.

Brittany Roberts went 3-for-4, belting a grand slam for four of her six RBIs.

Teryn Trull and Jenny Bradford had three hits each. Trull doubled twice and knocked in a run. Bradford doubled and had two RBIs. Caitlin Butler pushed across two runs.

Butler earned the win in the circle, striking out seven in four hitless innings.


Brooke Vidal held Tioga to just three hits in three innings Tuesday as Chico won 15-0.

She struck out six.

At the plate, Brooke Vidal doubled and had a RBI. Jorden Vidal drove in two runs with a triple.


Reagan Taylor was too much for City View at the plate and in the pitching circle Tuesday.

Taylor homered, doubled and drove in three runs in the 12-2 win that pushed the Lady Panthers to 3-0 in District 9-3A. She also struck out seven and allowed two runs – none earned – on two hits in five innings of work.

Jett Preather went 2-for-4 and knocked in four runs.


The Alvord Lady Bulldogs committed 10 errors Thursday in an 11-2 loss to Argyle at the NCTC Tournament.

“It was one of those games where we couldn’t do much right,” said Alvord coach Tony Brazeal.


Rival Byron Nelson handled the Northwest Lady Texans 7-2 Tuesday.

Tuesday DerMargosian finished 2-for-3 and scored a run for the Lady Texans.

Shelby Hodo and Brie Wrobel doubled.

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Name That Book

Name That Book

Name That Book 1

Students at Rann Elementary in Decatur took part in an annual literary competition Friday which involves answering questions based on a series of books the students have read. Previously known as “Battle of the Books,” this year’s competition featured a game show format with host Cale Laaser and was called “Name That Book.” Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Name That Book 2

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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Daniel David Harber

Daniel David Harber, 69, of Decatur died Tuesday, March 17, 2015, in Decatur.

No services will be held.

Daniel was born Jan. 9, 1946, in Hoxie, Ark., to David and Vina (Robins) Harber.

He’s survived by his sister-in-law, Jessene Harber of Decatur; nephew James L. Harber Jr. of Decatur; niece Tish Harber DeLeon of San Antonio; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

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Ralph Motsenbocker

Ralph Motsenbocker

Ralph Motsenbocker, 88, of Decatur died Wednesday, March 18, 2015, in Denton.

Funeral is 2 p.m. Sunday, March 22, at Grace Baptist Church with Dr. Van Gardner officiating. Burial will follow at Paradise Cemetery.

Visitation is 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home in Decatur.

Pallbearers are Jay Harmon, Ralph Hunt, Zach Motsenbocker, Roger Sage, Dick Belt and Bryan Shobar. Honorary pallbearers are David Saling and Davis Hunt.

Ralph was born Sept. 5, 1926, in Paradise to John and Ollie (Holt) Motsenbocker. He married Ernesteen (Teen) Davis May 21, 1946, in Wichita Falls and was a school superintendent. He worked for the Idalou school district for thirty-six years before retirement and was a member of Grace Baptist Church.

Ralph had an extraordinary zest for life and loved spending all his free time with the love of his life, Teen, and his family. He enjoyed water and boating activities and was an avid gardener. During his 36 years as an educator, he made countless positive influences on students, parents and other teachers, many of who considered him their role model.

Ralph was preceded in death by his wife, Teen. They had been married 66 years.

He’s survived by daughter Kim Saling and husband, David, of Decatur; son Kirk Motsenbocker and wife, Cheryl, of Flower Mound; grandsons Zachary Motsenbocker and Ralph Hunt; granddaughters Ashlyn Motsenbocker and Alesha Shobar and husband, Bryan; great-grandson Davis Hunt; great-granddaughter Vivienne Shobar; sisters Lavonne Singleton of Bridgeport and Oleta Nix of Round Rock; and numerous nieces, cousins and friends.

Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society Wise County Unit, PO Box 428, Decatur, TX 76234 or Amen X-Press 501(c)(3) at 3519 S. Murvil St., Decatur, TX 76234.

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Arden River Hunt

Terick and Monique Hunt of Decatur announce the birth of a son, Arden River Hunt, on March 17, 2015, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 6 pounds, 2 ounces and was 19 inches long.

He has one sister: Ava Rain Hunt, 18 months.

Grandparents are Terry and Vennetta Hendrix of Keller and Debbie and Russ Riggs of Aitkin, Minn.

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Abel Alfredo Inguanzo

David and Delfina Inguanzo of Decatur announce the birth of a son, Abel Alfredo Inguanzo, on March 15, 2015, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 8 pounds, 7 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long.

He has one brother: David Inguanzo, 9.

He has one sister: Vivian Iliana Inguanzo, 18.

Grandparents are David and Amelia Inguanzo of Jerez Zacatecas, Mexico, and Florentino and Fausta Dorado of Decatur.

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Mason Grant White

Kimberly and Eric White of Decatur announce the birth their third son, Mason Grant White, on March 12, 2015, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 7 pounds, 13 ounces and was 20 1/2 inches long.

His brothers are Garrett, 7; and Landon, 4.

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Maddison Rose Snowden

Jacob and Sally Snowden of Decatur announce the birth of a daughter, Maddison Rose Snowden, on March 11, 2015, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 6 pounds and was 19 1/2 inches long.

She has one sister: Katelynn Snowden, 4.

Grandparents are Chuck and Karen Snowden of Haslet.

Great-grandparents are Virginia Hoggins of Bridgeport, Georgia Snowden of Camden, Ohio, and Glena Jones of West Alexandria, Ohio.

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