Wreck causes ramp closure

Wreck causes ramp closure

A highly traveled on-ramp in Decatur was closed most of Tuesday afternoon following an 18-wheeler accident that spilled hot asphalt across the road.

Decatur firefighters as well as Texas Department of Transportation and a hazmat crew worked for more than six hours to clear the on-ramp to U.S. 81/287 North from U.S. 380.

Hot Mess 2

HOT MESS – Hot asphalt, oil and diesel leaked from an 18-wheeler that overturned Tuesday when driver Frank Taylor of Benbrook attempted to exit onto U.S. 287 North from U.S. 380 in Decatur. Messenger photo by Andrew May

Fortunately, there were no serious injuries in the wreck that occurred just after 12:30 p.m.

According to investigators, Frank Taylor of Benbrook was westbound on 380 when he attempted to exit onto northbound U.S. 81/287. He lost control of the 18-wheeler, and it overturned.

Hot asphalt, oil and diesel spilled onto the roadway and into the surrounding grass.

Decatur firefighters shoveled piles of dirt onto the roadway to prevent the contents from spreading.

Speed is believed to have been a factor in the wreck.

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Like its maker, Poe’s work breaks the mold

Like its maker, Poe’s work breaks the mold

Roxie Poe pulls several still-warm, resplendent blue and brown, glass-infused jewelry pieces out of the kiln in her garage. The furnace is roughly the size of a trash can, but, given its contents, could more accurately be described as a treasure chest.

Several pieces of the Decatur resident’s work are featured in art galleries around the Metroplex.

“The best-case-scenario is I sell it,” Poe said. “The worst-case-scenario is it will linger around in my life, which isn’t too bad because I wear them.”

Surrounded

SURROUNDED – There’s no shortage of inspiration in Roxie Poe’s home. Her work, which includes paintings, pottery, drawings and prints, cover almost every surface. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The kiln is full of sculptures down to its lowest level – the culmination of more than two weeks’ work.

“Opening the kiln is like Christmas – without the disappointment of Santa not getting you what you want,” Poe said.

That disappointment is nowhere to be found, even when the glaze from a piece of pottery sticks to the shelves inside the kiln and a piece breaks off.

“Crap like this is going to happen,” Poe said. “Well, if you follow the rules all the time, then it won’t and you’ll be safe and nothing will break and you’ll never have any adventures.”

Before settling in Decatur, Poe’s life had been a series of such adventures. While earning a degree in geography, she worked as an air traffic controller. She’s moved all over the state and even spent 14 months in England as part of a mission trip. The West Texas native recently retired after teaching English and art in Alvord, and, before that, Bronte. She finished her career in Northwest ISD.

“I’m a constant experimenter,” Poe said. “I can’t seem to help it.”

Like Christmas 2

LIKE CHRISTMAS – More than two weeks of work fills the kiln to the brim. The furnace is designed to bake the pottery at up to 1,950 degrees Fahrenheit. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

A lifelong artist, Poe said her mother noticed her playing with her food as an infant. Before taking up pottery, Poe mainly worked in paint.

“I learned to do clay because I wanted a job,” Poe said. “I was a painter, but if you wanted to teach studio art, you had to know clay. I learned to do it and discovered that that’s the road to addiction.”

Poe’s garage studio is part of her home, which she designed with the help of her brother, to pursue her passion and care for her parents.

Most of the work in Poe’s house is her own. However, a large painting by her daughter, Emily, adorns one wall and an unsigned bowl from a famed Japanese potter sits on a nearby shelf.

Many of the designs feature a unique pyramid shape. These sharp lines and contours challenge the standards of the art world and convey an overall theme in Poe’s work – “If you don’t follow the rules, you get to have fun.”

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Decatur proposes new GPA rules for sophomores

Incoming Decatur High School sophomores may find themselves under the new grade-point average rules the school board recently approved for freshmen.

Back in March, trustees approved changes in the way grade-point averages are calculated. The six-point scale will be eliminated, and only advanced courses such as pre-AP, AP and dual-credit courses will carry a potential five points. Core classes – English, math, science, social studies and a foreign language – will be on the four-point scale.

The changes are designed to give students more flexibility in their schedules and allow them to take courses based on their interests rather than just to boost their GPA, administrators said in March.

Under the old system, students entered a dual credit and an AP course on a five-point scale. If a student successfully completed the AP exam, he or she was bumped up to the six-point scale.

When the changes were approved in March, the change applied only to incoming freshman rather than students who have already started taking high school courses under the old GPA system.

Incoming juniors and seniors will continue to use the old GPA calculations, but Monday, the board considered applying the new GPA calculation to sophomores as well as incoming freshmen.

“The real advantage I see, from a curriculum standpoint, is we are going to have some sophomores who may want to get into pathways for graduation, and if they do, they are more likely to do it when they have this (new) GPA calculation in place instead of the other one where they are playing the game, choosing the courses to get the best GPA rather than pursuing their passions through those pathways,” said Judi Bell, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

The pathways she referenced stems from a new education law taking effect this fall. House Bill 5 laid out five different endorsements – or pathways – for schools to offer. Those include:

  • STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics),
  • public services,
  • business and industry,
  • arts and humanities, and
  • multidisciplinary studies.

Schools are required to offer at least one of those endorsements.

Bell explained that last year’s freshmen courses will be calculated on the old scale while this year’s sophomores will move to the new scale, creating a sort of hybrid calculation system for that class.

High school counselor Neal Hall said the GPA change might cause a few students to make schedule changes for the coming year, but he expects it won’t affect the scheduling of the majority of students.

With school scheduled to start in a month, board member Diane Mosley said she wanted to make sure parents of incoming sophomores were given information about the changes and allowed to give feedback.

“I’d like to give the community an opportunity, especially the parents of the sophomores, to be informed of those changes,” she said. ” … They are three years away from graduation and have already made some decisions. I’d like to get that out to the community before we make some decisions.”

Other board members said they liked the proposal and were ready to move forward.

“I’m fine going ahead with it,” trustee Jeff Elder said. “There will always be negatives along the way no matter what we do. … This is going to smooth some things out. It’s going to take some gamesmanship out of it. It’s going to make it easier for parents to figure it out. Plus, I’ve talked to a lot of people already, parents and teachers both, and everyone’s been really in favor of it.”

Ultimately, the board decided to have administrators write up a new policy on the new grade point average calculations applying to incoming sophomores and bring it back for board approval in a few weeks. In the meantime, the school will notify the parents of incoming sophomores in order to get their feedback.

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‘Little Branson’ show coming to Civic Center

The Little Branson Gospel Show will bring its blend of music, inspiration and laughter to the Decatur Civic Center, 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2.

Texas Praise

TEXAS PRAISE – (From left) John Webster, Joy Roberts and Cathy McCarley will perform during the Little Branson Gospel Show next month. Submitted photo

The two-hour show, with an intermission, is produced by John Webster and is designed for the entire family. It features an array of national and international recording artists.

Webster, who has been producing the show for six years, has traveled the United States, Canada, Europe and Mexico performing original songs as well as old favorites. He produced full-time in Nashville for more than 20 years and has made numerous television and radio appearances, including the Glen Campbell Theater in Branson, Mo.

John currently serves as music director at The Bay, a community church in Runaway Bay.

Featured alongside him for the Decatur show will be the Ambassadors Trio, Texas Praise, Joy Roberts, the Glory Song Quartet, Rick Roberts and Richard Griffin. Special guest will be Gena Roberts Hamilton.

All tickets are general admission and cost $15. They can be reserved by calling 855-680-8881 (toll free) or online at www.littlebransonshow.com.

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Jones takes 13th at West Texas; Rottner finishes 19th at tournament

Playing in sixth round of golf in six days, Drew Jones couldn’t mount the finish he wanted Sunday.

The Decatur junior fired a 79 in the third round of the West Texas Amateur at Wichita Falls Country Club to finish tied for 13th.

“I started the third round OK. On the 10th hole, I had a bad tee shot and followed up with another bad shot. That set the tone,” Jones explained.

Jones finished the tournament with a 6-over par 219. Kingwood’s Wes Artac won the tournament with a 7-under par 206.

“There were a lot of Division I college golfers and a couple of PGA tour players,” Jones said. “I’ll take it.”

Jones entered the West Texas Amateur just off finishing third in the Bob Estes Abilene Junior Thursday. He shot 69 in the first round Friday in Wichita Falls to put himself three shots behind Artac.

Saturday in the second round, Jones shot 71 to remain in contention.

“I hit my driver really well,” Jones said about his first two rounds. “It’s a lot easier to score when you hit it in the fairway.”

In the third round, Jones was 1-over through seven. He then had a double bogey on the par-4 eighth hole. On the back nine, he was 5-over.

“I was worn out after nine holes,” Jones said. “It was my first time playing back to back tournaments. It was a good experience and will help me prepare for the future.”

Jones will be back in action Monday at the AJGA Junior at Southwind in Memphis, Tenn.

At the West Texas Amateur, Decatur 2013 graduate Dylan Rottner shot 224 to finish 19th. Rottner fired rounds of 76, 74 and 74.

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Graham lands chance to play at Austin College

Murphy Graham torched the nets last season for the Decatur Lady Eagles on their way to a District 9-3A title and a trip to the third round of the playoffs.

The 2014 Decatur graduate will now put her shooting touch from the outside on display at Austin College in Sherman. Graham recently inked a letter of intent to play basketball with the NCAA Division III school.

Now a Kangaroo

NOW A KANGAROO – Decatur’s Murphy Graham committed recently to play at Austin College. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“I liked the program, the players and the coaches,” Graham said. “It’s a good school academically and athletically.”

A year after a knee injury ended her junior season, Graham came back to average 12.7 points per game and grabbed 5.9 boards. She shot better than 30 percent from beyond the 3-point arc, earning her first-team 9-3A, All-Wise County, TGCA all-state and TABC all-region honors.

Her 3-point shooting helped land her the chance at the next level.

“The coach said it was my ability to shoot and score,” Graham said.

Graham is hoping to get a chance to play right away at Austin College. The Kangaroos went 14-11 last season and graduated three seniors.

She knows she will need to adapt to a faster pace.

“It’ll be a lot faster, but I like a faster game,” Graham said.

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Upcoming Sports Camps

DECATUR EAGLE FOOTBALL CAMP – Decatur football coach Mike Fuller and his staff will hold a skills camp for players between grades seven and nine from 7 to 9 p.m. July 28-31 at Eagle Stadium. The cost is $80 and $60 for each additional family member.

BOYD VOLLEYBALL CAMPS – Jennifer Pennington will hold a camp at Boyd this summer for middle school players 10 a.m. to noon July 28-30, and for high schoolers 1 to 4 p.m. on those dates. The middle school camp is $60 and high school session $75.

BRIDGEPORT VOLLEYBALL CAMP – The Bridgeport Sissies volleyball camp is slated for July 28-Aug. 1.

BRIDGEPORT ATHLETIC PHYSICALS – Physicals will be offered for $20 at the Bridgeport High School Training Room July 24. Girls are to report at 5 p.m. and boys at 6 p.m. All athletes entering grades seven, nine and 11 must have a physical before the first day of practice for their sport. Any athlete who has had a broken bone, concussion, major illness or surgery in the past 12 months must also get a physical.

BOYD ATHLETIC PHYSICALS – Physicals will be offered for $10 for Boyd middle school and high school male and female athletes from 5 to 7 p.m. July 28 at the Boyd field house.

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Jayne Elizabeth DeLong

Jayne Elizabeth DeLong, 69, a homemaker, died Monday, July 14, 2014, in Decatur.

No service will be held.

Jayne was born June 24, 1945, in Lodi, Calif., to Stewart and Margaret (Sinclair) Patrick. She was married to David McGinnis. Jayne enjoyed taking care of her home.

She was preceded in death by her parents.

Survivors include her husband of 23 years, David McGinnis of Decatur; sons Patrick Roberson and wife, Heather, of El Paso and Eric Roberson of Arlington; grandchildren Hailey, Ashgin, Katelin, Lydia and Jordon; sister Margaret Jones of California; brother John Patrick of California; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

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Douglas Delbert Elliott Jr.

Douglas Delbert Elliott Jr.

Douglas Delbert Elliott Jr., 67, a contractor who did several major renovations in downtown Decatur over the last 15 years, died Sunday, July 13, 2014, in Azle.

A wake was held July 19 in Azle.

He was born July 2, 1947.

He is survived by his wife, Carolyn Elliott; sister Rhonda McClure; brother Danny Elliott; daughters Tina Smith and Kimberly Elliott; stepchildren Randy Snow, Kim Dajani and John Dalton; and 11 grandchildren.

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Donald Otis Greer

Donald Otis Greer

Donald Otis Greer, 75, of Decatur, died Sunday, July 20, 2014, after a year-long battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his family.

Funeral is 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 23, at Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home in Decatur with burial at Oaklawn Cemetery.

Pallbearers are Malki Ary, Mark Ary, John Paul Ary, Jordan Harkins, Jeff Pinkerton and Wayne Broach.

Donald was born April 14, 1939, in Crosbyton to Bill and Laverne (Steddley) Greer. He married Margarett Averitt April 29, 1964, in Fairbanks, Alaska. He was a 20-year veteran of the United States Army and proudly served two tours of duty in Vietnam.

He was a lifelong member of VFW Post 10374, where he served as commander for several years.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Margarett Greer of Decatur; daughter Tammy Singleton of Newark; sons Quinn Greer and wife, Rhonda, of Alvord, and Lynn Greer and wife, Kim, of Decatur; eight grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; brothers and sisters Mattie Sermons, Bobby Greer, Beverly Jernigan, Jenny Mullane, Raymond Greer, Rickey Greer, Wesley Greer, Debra Fite and Betty Doyle; numerous nieces, nephews and many friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Jackie Greer, Pat Greer and Thomas Greer; an infant sister, Judy Greer; and lifelong friend John Calvin Webb.

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Mary Elizabeth Price-Deering

Mary Elizabeth Price-Deering

Mary Elizabeth Price-Deering, 76, a nurse’s aide and cook, died Friday, July 18, 2014, in Decatur.

Funeral was July 20 at Hawkins Funeral Home in Bridgeport with Dwight Trotter officiating. Burial followed at Jim Ned Cemetery.

Pallbearers were Ricky Walton, Nocona Skelton, Justin Skelton, Daniel Davidson, David Deering, Andrew Long, Matthew Deering, Jeremiah Long and Eric Long. Honorary pallbearer was Blake Long II.

Mary was born April 29, 1938, in Wise County to Woodrow and Birdie (Stockman) Maddux. She was married to Clyde Deering and was a nurse’s aide and cook at Sunny Hills Nursing Home.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husbands, Clyde Deering and Jimmy Price; son Perry Deering; and grandchildren Jennifer Long and Jason Bruce.

Survivors include her sons, Clyde W. Deering and wife, Carla, of Chico, Robert Deering and wife, Marsha, of Paradise, John Deering of Chico, and Gary Deering and wife, Charlene, of Paradise; daughters Elizabeth Long and husband, Blake, of Chico, Stella Davidson of Bowie, Elaine Vislosky and husband, Jay, of Chico, and Sherrie Skelton of Chico; 28 grandchildren; 37 great-grandchildren; brother Glenn Maddux and wife, Linda, of Paradise; sister Linda Byers and husband, Jurden, of Chico; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

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Jimmy Lee Ragan

Jimmy Lee Ragan, 61, longtime maintenance supervisor at Governor’s Ridge, died Sunday, July 20, 2014, in Decatur.

Graveside service is 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 23, at Green Valley Cemetery with Gerre Joiner officiating.

A memorial service for Governor’s Ridge residents will be held 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Terrace Dining Room.

Jimmy was born March 16, 1953, in Dallas to Dexter LeeRoy Ragan and Emma Edna Hampton. He married Rebecca Sue James Sept. 26, 1971, in Dallas.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother Johnny Lee Ragan; sisters Ellen Williams and Sandy Glasscock; and niece Jamie Davis.

He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Rebecca James Ragan of Decatur; son Jason Brice Ragan of Bedford; daughter Katherine Ann Ragan of Mansfield; grandchildren Faith, Raylee, Justin, Kaycee and Kody; and many friends.

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Mildred Emma McCarroll Read

Mildred Emma McCarroll Read

Mildred Emma McCarroll Read, 95, a retired school teacher, died Saturday, July 19, 2014, in Decatur.

Graveside service was July 21 at Paradise Cemetery with Gerre Joiner officiating. Burial was under the direction of Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home in Decatur.

Mildred was born Sept. 15, 1918, in Slidell to Joseph and Frances (Potter) McCarroll. She married Thomas Read Jr. July 19, 1942, in Slidell and retired from teaching after more than 35 years in the classroom. She was a member of the First Baptist Church in Decatur.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Thomas Read Jr.; and brothers Manuel McCarroll and Taylor McCarroll.

She is survived by her daughters, Dixie Hawkins of Gainesville and Emma Moore of Fort Worth; five grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Memorials can be made to the First Baptist Decatur Library.

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Wise lands more than 50 on Weatherford College dean’s list

A host of Wise County students were among the 400-plus named to the Weatherford College Dean’s List for spring 2014.

To be eligible for the Dean’s List, a student must take 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.

Wise County students earning the honor, listed by their hometowns, were:

Alvord: Trevor Hardee; Christina Overton and Maribel Vargas.

Boyd: Derek Martin; Abram Moreno and Sarah Smith.

Bridgeport: Torie Carter; Sharlyn Fagan; Alexis Garrett; Joshua Hartsell; Gabriel Huerta; Taylor Hulsey; Tina Jennings; Annbra Johnson; Alexandra Martinets; Danielle Mindieta; Martha Sanders and Garrett Wagner.

Chico: Hannah Avants; Kimberly Bible; Elizabeth Brown; Damian Delgado; Callie Fuller; Ramiro Loza; Dee McHenry; Luke Plummer; James Redwine; Molli Umphress and Tiffany Vislosky.

Decatur: Rosaura Aldape; Victoria Aldape; Amanda Byrum; Sarrah Ennis; Zachary Flaherty; Selena Galindo; Wilson Garrett; Lacy Hankins; Brittany Hargrave; Jeffrey Keller; Martha Maldonado; Rebekah McGregor; Nathan Mitchell; Mercedes Moreno; Victoria Myers; Brandon Pelton; Sonia Resma; Venancio Rodriguez; Yanet Rodriguez; Karol Saenz and Kelsey Smith.

Paradise: Kristina Kemp and William Ngetich.

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Area students make TWU dean’s lists

Texas Woman’s University has released its dean’s and chancellor’s list for the Spring 2014 semester, and 15 Wise County students made the grade.

Undergraduate students who complete at least 12 hours and achieve at least a 3.5 grade-point average are eligible for the dean’s list.

Students who earn a 4.0 GPA are named to the chancellor’s list.

Those making the lists from Wise County, and their majors, were:

Alvord: Vanessa Alberts, sociology

Boyd: Alyssa Lomerson, social work; Kristina West, nursing (4.0)

Bridgeport: Angelica Reyes, dental hygiene (4.0), Kristie Sandoval, interdisciplinary studies

Decatur: Maria Arellano, interdisciplinary studies (4.0); Kari Gage, interdisciplinary studies (4.0); Megan Maxwell, business administration/marketing; Rachel McGregor, interdisciplinary studies (4.0); Katlyn Sanders, interdisciplinary studies (4.0); Kitara Wright, communication sciences (4.0)

Justin: Cherlyn Fraser, health studies (4.0); Amanda Harris, communication sciences (4.0); Gennel Lassen, interdisciplinary studies; Julie Nolting, interdisciplinary studies (4.0); Kiara Reed, fashion merchandising; Paula Scotton, nursing (4.0): Esther Simental, dental hygiene (4.0); Nikki Vasquez, art (4.0); Erin Wages, child development (4.0); and Maggie Watkins, interdisciplinary studies (4.0)

Paradise: Taylor Blount, nutrition (4.0); Saira Fernandez, undeclared

Rhome: Bettina Davis, dance; Maritza Mauricio, business administration

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Police investigating copper thefts

The Decatur Police Department is seeking the public’s help in identifying the people responsible for recent copper thefts in town.

Theft Suspect

THEFT SUSPECT – Decatur police released this photo showing one of the suspects in the theft of copper from Wise Electric Co-op. Submitted photo

Thefts occurred at Wise Electric Co-op July 11 and July 14. Sgt. Gerald Wright said suspects cut the Co-op yard’s fence sometime between midnight and 3 a.m. on those dates. He also believes there were at least two people involved.

Wright said the suspect vehicle appears to be a recent model (’10 to ’13) Camaro. Investigators released two surveillance photos, one of a suspect walking through the parking lot and another photo that shows the suspect vehicle.

If you have information related to this incident, call Decatur Police Department at 940-627-1500 or call Wright at 940-393-0310.

While copper thefts in town might be a rare occurrence, Wise County Sheriff David Walker said copper thefts are common at oilfield sites around the county. The thefts typically increase along with the price of copper. Currently, copper sells for about $3.20 a pound.

“At the oilfield sites, they’ll tie on to a breaker box with chains and wherever it breaks loose, they’ll strip the wire,” Walker said. “If you do that four or five times, you might get several hundred pounds.”

Many businesses who buy or recycle metal now require, in some instances, the buyer to provide a copy of their driver’s license to keep on file. Purchases can also be included on a database that can be searched by law enforcement who are trying to track down those responsible for copper thefts.

Walker said local businesses who deal in buying or selling copper have cooperated with law enforcement.

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Decatur EDC setting short-term, long-term goals

The Decatur Economic Development Corp. is awaiting final results from the recently-completed community survey that is expected to drive its planning for the next several years.

But director Mary Poche isn’t exactly sitting on her hands.

Poche , who joined the EDC in January, is busy developing her first budget, working with board members and city staff to set short-term and long-term goals – all while fielding a flurry of inquiries from companies looking for a place to go and grow.

The Decatur EDC has a sizeable pool of money to help companies looking to move to the city, but the choice of locations for an industrial employer is extremely limited.

In the past month, Poche said her office has fielded inquiries from nine companies looking for a place to move.

“Typically in the summer, in economic development, it’s pretty slow,” she told her board Thursday during their monthly meeting. “I don’t know what’s going on, but it’s pretty unusual.”

All of the projects said they specifically want to be in the D/FW Metroplex area. All would create jobs and boost the tax base – and all are looking for buildings that simply do not exist.

Poche fielded inquiries from a business process solutions center, a plastics manufacturing facility, a rubber mixing facility, an equipment manufacturer from Asia, a couple of food processors and an aircraft manufacturer.

She did not respond to any of those because Decatur could not meet their needs.

There were two, however, she said she plans to try and contact.

One, a flight training facility, will make a $20 million capital investment and hire 30 workers, and they need a 4,000-foot runway – something the city has.

“I’m going to talk with Brad [Burnett, the city's airport director],” she said. “I think there might be something we can do with our facility.”

Another project, a fabricated sheet metal production company, is searching for a 50,000 square-foot existing building.

“The thing that intrigued me about this one is, we have the labor pool for it,” Poche said.

OFFICE NOT IDEAL FOR EDC

Poche and the board also talked about moving the EDC to a different location. It is currently housed in the Decatur Visitors Center at 106 S. Trinity – a historic building that once was the city’s Post Office.

“While this is a great public building, it is a visitors’ center,” she said. “To be able to hold any type of private conversation or private meeting is virtually impossible.”

The walls in Poche’s office do not go all the way to the ceiling, and conversations there and in the large back room where the board meets are audible throughout the building.

She also cited security concerns, noting she has on several occasions been on the phone when someone she didn’t know walked all the way into her office.

“To run an economic development organization the way you need to, you have private businesses come in and you’ve got people walking in and out, coming to use the restroom and such – it’s just not a good environment for that,” she said.

“People like to come in here and see the mural up front and they walk through here and ooh and ah, and I think that’s great,” she said. “It’s just that I’ve got a meeting going on.”

She also noted that the big back room is utilized only about 5 to 10 percent of the time – a waste of a unique and beautiful space.

“We’d like to have a more professional, business-like environment where we could hold private conversations and have private meetings,” she said.

Any type of move is out of reach in the upcoming budget year, but the board said they would ask the city to look at what might be done to make the facility more functional for the EDC.

BUDGET TAKING SHAPE

The EDC is in good financial shape, with the sales tax funding its operations holding up strong through 10 months of the fiscal year.

As of July 16, the EDC had $1,392,354 in its operating account and $949,085 in a certificate of deposit. Sales tax receipts for July were $111,615, and for the fiscal year to date total $1,103,691.

“You had budgeted $1.2 million, so you’re within $96,000 of your budget with two months to go,” city manager Brett Shannon reported. “That’s a really nice-looking thing.”

He noted the city had just received its second-larged July sales tax allocation ever, $334,846.

Poche summarized the areas in her proposed budget that showed the biggest differences from last year.

Plans include moving executive assistant Ida Mae Burnett into more of a business retention and expansion role, while splitting up administrative duties.

“Business retention and expansion is such an important part of the overall economic development program that to just leave it idle, or try to work on it catch-as-catch-can, is really a detriment to the organization,” Poche said.

The board also discussed the status of Project Walter – Karl Klement’s new Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep dealership – which is on hold while the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) firms up plans for the Farm Road 1810 project on U.S. 287/81 North.

“They’ve held their hearing, and gotten a lot of feedback,” Shannon said. “I don’t have a feel at this point for how long TxDOT will spend going through all that feedback, the environmental studies and all the other hoops they have to jump through.

“Hopefully within a year we might know which alternative they’re leaning towards.

“Realistically, it could be as long as five years before there’s actually dirt moving on the project.”

But, he added, once they decide on a design, the city and Klement should be able to go ahead and move forward.

The EDC is contributing some funding to extend water lines to the site.

The steering committee for the EDC’s strategic plan will hold its final meeting Aug. 5 at the Civic Center, looking at results of the survey and recommendations from Avalanche Consulting.

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Jones ties for third at tourney; Decatur High School junior earns AJGA exemption

Drew Jones continued his hot streak through the summer, posting another top-10 finish.

SEARCHING FOR BIRDIES – Decatur’s Drew Jones hits a shot from the fairway during the Bob Estes Junior Tournament in Abilene Thursday. Jones finished tied for third. Photo courtesy Tommy Metthe/Abilene Reporter-News

The Decatur junior followed up his second-place finish at the Texas-Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament and the sixth-place showing at the Byron Nelson Junior Championship with a tie for third Thursday at the American Junior Golf Association’s Bob Estes Abilene Junior event.

Jones shot a 3-under par 172 in the rain-shortened 45-hole event. Heavy rains washed out half of Thursday’s third round. After an eight-hour delay, Jones shot a 36 on the final nine holes.

“Today was really wet. You had to be careful where you placed the ball,” Jones said. “I kept three putting and even had a four putt.”

Jones tied Fernando Lopez Butron and Carson Seals for third. Jose Cervantes of Jalisco, Mexico, won the tournament with a 9-under par 166. McClure Meissner of San Antonio was second with a 169.

The third-place finish gives Jones an exemption into any AJGA event.

“I’m happy where I finished and got the exemption,” Jones said. “In the back of my head I know I could’ve been better.”

Jones opened the tournament with a 1-under 69. In the second round, he shot a 67.

He said he drove the ball well throughout the tournament and just needed to make a few more putts.

“I played good. The putting was the only thing in my game that was struggling,” Jones said.

He added that he thought he was close to “turning on the switch” and putting together a complete round.

“I’ve still got things to work on,” Jones said.

But he was back on the course Friday for the first of three rounds at the West Texas Amateur at Wichita Falls Country Club.

“I’ve never done back-to-back tournaments. I think it’ll be easier,” Jones said. “I’ve got a lot of confidence going into the tournament.”

Jones finished tied for fifth at the University Interscholastic League Class 3A tournament in the spring. The University of Texas commitment has qualified for state twice.

He won the 9-3A district title and finished second at the Class 3A Region II tournament.

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Staley plays in all-star game

Decatur graduate and Eagle standout Joe Staley started at catcher Wednesday in the Frontier League All-Star game in Sauget, Ill.

Staley, a 2010 draft pick by the San Francisco Giants, is in his first season with independent league squad Florence Freedom in Kentucky. He made the all-star event after hitting .281 with seven home runs and 32 RBIs in the team’s first 49 games.

Staley went 0-for-2 in the all-star game. He also participated in the home run derby.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

County needs to set a better example

Every morning in the wee hours I see the sprinklers running at the Wise County Courthouse.

There are several sprinklers broken and the water from them runs off into the street, down through the Post Office parking lot, and is gone.

The sprinklers run every day, regardless of whether we’ve had rain or not. It’s such a waste of water that we can’t afford.

I’m very concerned about the drought conditions we’re having and therefore our water table level. I don’t understand why someone hasn’t done something about repairing the broken sprinklers and programming them to run only when necessary.

John Green
Decatur

Posted in Letters to the Editor0 Comments

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