Decatur EDC Meeting Preview

The directors of the Decatur Economic Development Corp. will meet at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Visitor’s Center, 106 S. Trinity, with a relatively short agenda. They will discuss and take action on a Walnut Place lease and amend the 2014 budget. After a public hearing, they will go into closed session to talk about two proposed projects and evaluate EDC Director Mary Poche. A return to open session will precede any final action or vote. The meeting is open to the public.

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Decker helps rescue downed pilot

A Decatur High School graduate now serving in the U.S. Navy helped rescue a pilot who crashed into the ocean in June.

Ben Decker

Ben Decker, a 2007 DHS graduate, is a member of the USS Carl Vinson Search and Rescue (SAR) team and the Red Lions of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 15. On June 4, an F/A-18E Super Hornet made an emergency crash landing in the Pacific Ocean. The pilot ejected from the aircraft prior to the aircraft impacting the water.

The Vinson’s SAR team, including Pilot LDCR Schwab, copilot LTJG Stewart, Crew Chief AWS2 Decker and rescue swimmer AWS3 Aaron Perez, was in the MH-60S Seahawk helicopter providing a routine over-watch during night flight operations of the F18 Super Hornets when they got the call of a man in the water.

With the guidance of Decker, Stewart positioned the helicopter over the F18 pilot and Perez was lowered into the water. Perez was able to get the pilot positioned in the rescue litter, then signaled Decker to hoist him up. Once the F18 pilot and Perez were both aboard, they flew back to the Vinson.

On Aug. 22, the USS Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group departed for a scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific and Middle East.

Decker is the son of Ricky and Judy Stutt of Decatur and the late James Allen Decker.

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Decatur School Board reviews needs, ponders bond

Voters in the Decatur school district might be asked to approve a bond issue next spring.

Decatur ISD Superintendent Rod Townsend gave a presentation to the board at Monday’s meeting outlining the district’s most pressing needs.

Under transportation, Townsend listed the need for about 25 buses at an estimated cost of $2.5 million – about $250,000 a year moving forward.

After several years in a row of budget tightening, with revenues and expenditures running about even, the money just isn’t there, board president Kevin Haney explained.

“With the buses, we’ve reached the end of their useful life, and we have to start putting more money into them,” he said. “That’s probably the most pressing thing is the age of our bus fleet. If we don’t have enough money rolling in to the general fund to pay the cost of those, we have to look into either raising the M&O rate or issuing bonds and raising the I&S rate to pay for that.”

The M&O, or maintenance and operations, tax rate is used to fund the day-to-day operations of the district. Because Decatur ISD is considered a property wealthy, or Chapter 41, district, funds put into this part of the budget are subject to recapture.

The I&S, or interest and sinking, portion of the tax rate is used to pay off debt. These funds are not subject to recapture by the state.

Townsend explained how raising the rate on either side would work when applied to the current year’s budget.

“If you do a TRE, tax ratification election, and you get a five-cent increase, you put it on M&O side, and you are going to generate some money,” he said. “It’s going to be about a million dollar increase, but you are going to end up paying about $491,000 of that back to the state. You’ll only be able to keep about $630,000 of it.

“If you take that same nickel and add it to the I&S side, it will raise about $1.9 million and you get to keep all of it.”

To increase the I&S tax rate would require a bond election.

Buses were one of several items “we feel we need but are going to be hard to pay for out of regular fund balance,” Townsend said. Other items include security upgrades at the middle school and high school. The high school upgrades could be quite expensive, Townsend warned.

“There’s about 44 exterior doors that at any point in time every one of them are open,” he said. “To go in there and put automatic locks and card swipe systems and then have a plan in place for students to come and go throughout the day, we will have to have some designated entry and exit points to be able to do that. It will be expensive, but how do you put a price on security if it keeps our kids safe?”

The security upgrades will also require technology upgrades, primarily in infrastructure.

Repairs to some of the older facilities in the district are another need. Townsend specifically mentioned air conditioning at the support services building and an old roof at the middle school that need to be addressed.

Because discussions are still in the early stages, a firm price for all the needs is not known, but Townsend presented an estimate of $10 million to give the board an idea of how much a bond issue might cost.

Using that figure, with a 12-year payout, the board would need to increase the I&S tax rate five cents to pay for the bond issue. Townsend pointed out a couple of times during the discussion that the board decreased the tax rate by a penny for the 2014-2015 school year.

With an average home worth around $117,000 in the district, taxpayers would see an average increase of $51.29 a year.

The next available election date would be May 9, meaning the board has until Feb. 27, 2015, to decide if it wants to call for a vote.

“I don’t think we have any choice,” board member Wade Watson said. “Unless everyone wants to start volunteering to bring every kid to school, we’ve got to have buses.”

Townsend said he could have more specific price estimates by the next school board meeting.

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Football: Well-traveled Eagles return home

Playing on the road the first three weeks of the season, the Decatur Eagles managed a pair of victories, including a 39-34 nail-biter last Friday at Iowa Park.

Decatur (2-1) now returns to the friendly confines of Eagle Stadium for homecoming and the first of three straight home games.

“It’s good to be back on our home field,” said Decatur quarterback Justin Myers. “There’s a little extra incentive with homecoming.”

Decatur takes on Carrollton Ranchview (1-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

It will be the Eagles’ first home game of the year and coach Mike Fuller’s first at Eagle Stadium.

“I’ve never coached a game here,” he said. “I’m excited about it.”

The Eagles are coming off an emotional win over Iowa Park in which they fell behind on the opening kickoff. Decatur didn’t take the lead until a score just before halftime. The Eagles also had to fend off a late Iowa Park rally.

“We had a lot of bad breaks we had to overcome,” Fuller said. “We kept fighting and competing.”

The Eagles enjoyed another big game on the ground, rushing for 278 yards. Payton McAlister had 166 yards rushing with a touchdown. He also caught three touchdown passes from Myers, who finished with 223 yards on nine completions.

“We mixed it up. We had a good night rushing, but Justin also threw for four touchdowns,” Fuller said.

Defensively, Decatur allowed 351 yards to Iowa Park. But the Eagles made enough stops to get the win. The biggest was Brandon Garza’s interception at the 1-yard line with Decatur down 14-6. The Eagles followed the interception with a 14-play, 99-yard drive.

“That was huge,” Fuller said.

The Decatur defense will be tested Friday by Ranchview and its dynamic offense. Quarterback Keidrien Wadley is a true dual threat. He has thrown for 374 yards and rushed for 203. Alongside Wadley in the backfield is Davian Carter, who has 287 yards and five touchdowns.

The Wolves’ top target in the passing game is Raghib Ismail – son and namesake of the former Notre Dame and Dallas Cowboys receiver. Ismail has six touchdowns and 14 receptions for 213 yards.

“They have a lot of speed,” Garza said. “Rocket is their key player.”

Fuller said the Decatur defense will be tested by Ranchview’s speed in the skilled positions.

“Any of them can score from anywhere,” Fuller said. “They are a very explosive football team. Their strength is their speed. If we miss a tackle, we don’t have anyone that can catch them.”


7:30 p.m. at Eagle Stadium

Ranchview: Harris Rating 199

Notable: Raghib Ismail is averaging 15.2 yards per catch.

Decatur: Harris Rating 210

Notable: Payton McAlister has 479 yards rushing in 3 games.

Harris line: Decatur by 14

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Cross Country: Kyle wins Assault of Eagle Summit

Jessica Kyle left little drama to the finish of Saturday’s Assault of Eagle Summit.

The Decatur junior blazed through the tough, two-mile course in 12 minutes and 45 seconds, finishing more than 100 yards ahead of her Decatur teammates, who took second through fourth places in the 4A-and-under race.

Leading the Way

LEADING THE WAY – Decatur’s Jessica Kyle storms up one of the hills during the Assault of Eagle Summit Saturday. Kyle won the 4A-and-under two-mile race. Messenger photo by Richard Greene

Kyle led wire-to-wire, attacking the brutal hills in the final mile and pulling away from the field.

“I felt good up until the bottom of hill,” Kyle said. “It’s a tough course with all the hills. Also all the hills are at the end, which makes it worse.

“I’m just proud all my teammates were right behind me. It shows we are training hard.”

In the boys 6A/5A race, Tyler Wilson turned in the top time among 4A runners, clocking a 17:38 on the tough 5K course.

Sprinting to Finish

SPRINTING TO FINISH – Decatur’s Tyler Wilson passes a Mineral Wells runner late in the boys 5K Saturday. Messenger photo by Richard Greene

“It’s pretty good for me on this course. I’m usually in the 18s,” Wilson said. “This is one of the hardest courses in Texas. It’s good practice for Lubbock and regionals.”

Khristian Talamantes led the Slidell contigent, which ran alongside the runners from the bigger schools.

“It was a very tough course,” he said. “I started cramping up on the last hill.

“This shows us what we’ll see at regionals and state. It helps us trying to stay up with fastest runners.”

Editor’s note: There was a technical issue with the timing system for the races. We hope to publish the remaining results in the weekend edition.

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Billy John Knox

Billy John Knox

Billy John Knox, 83, a retired mechanic, died Friday, Sept. 12, 2014, in Decatur.

Funeral was Sept. 16 at Victory Baptist Church in Park Springs, with the Revs. Willie Jo Haak and Mark Autry officiating. Burial followed at Chico Cemetery.

Pallbearers were Keith Patterson, Richard Cooke, Steve Cleveland, Wayne Berg, Paul Arrington and Willie Haak.

Billy was born Nov. 14, 1930, in Bomarton to Everette and Maggie (Hayes) Knox. He married Gay Welch Feb. 4, 1950, in Clovis, N.M. Billy accepted Christ in his life at an early age, and he and Gay raised their family to love the Lord and do his work.

Billy provided for his family as a cross country truck driver. He then moved his family to Wise County in 1963 and began hauling rock, and later hauling feed for Saginaw Flakes. He was a member of Victory Baptist Church.

Billy was preceded in death by his parents; his wife of 54 years; sisters Elizabeth and Martha; and brothers R.B., Glenn and Bunk.

He is survived by his sons, Mark Knox and wife, Jean, of Chico and Michael Knox of South Carolina; daughter Mononette Wells and husband, Danny, of Chico; grandsons James and wife, Amanda, Mark and Chad; granddaughters Lisa, Stacy, Rachel, Brittany and Cheyenne; great-great-granddaughters Makenzie, Addison and Brooklyn; sisters-in-law Pat Chapman, Maida Lee Weaver and Clara Knox; and several nieces and nephews.

Memorials can be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, 322 Eighth Ave. 7th Floor New York, NY 10001.

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Niblett graduates from TSTC

Cruz Niblett

Cruz Niblett of Decatur recently received his associate of applied science degree from Texas State Technical College in Waco. He graduated with top honors in diesel equipment technology with two majors – agriculture equipment and construction equipment.

Niblett, a 2012 graduate of Decatur High School, is the son of Chet and Elaina Niblett. His grandparents are Don and Earlene Niblett and Junior and Kay Oates, all of Decatur.

Niblett will start his career with Holt/Caterpillar in Lewisville and then move to their new facility in Little Elm when construction is completed.

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Disc golf flies into Melba Doyle Park

The sound of chains clinking and plastic discs flying will ring through the air in Decatur’s Melba Doyle Park after the installation of a disc golf course Thursday morning.

Hole in One

HOLE IN ONE-Chance Overton, Heath Taylor and Ray Petty show off their putting skills on Hole No. 5 at Melba Doyle Park’s disc golf course. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The six-hole course functions much like a regular golf course. The object is the same – the player who takes the least amount of throws to complete a round wins – and the discs function like golf clubs, complete with drivers and putters.

A DIFFERENT WAY TO GOLF – Chance Overton displays two of the discs he uses to disc golf with while Decatur Parks Board members Ray Petty and Heath Taylor install the last hole of the course at Melba Doyle Park Thursday morning. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

It’s cheaper, and perhaps even more addictive than real golf.

The disc golf course was implemented through a collaboration with the Decatur Parks Department Supervisor Ray Petty, City Manager Brett Shannon and parks board members Heath Taylor and Chance Overton.

“It started about a year ago, when a buddy and I went on vacation to New Mexico and we were looking for something to do, and the locals suggested disc golf,” Overton said. “We sucked at it at first, but we fell in love with it, and we thought it would be really cool to bring back here.”

The sport is basically golf with Frisbees instead of clubs and balls. Players stand in a tee box where they “drive” the discs to see who can get to the “hole” – a metal chain basket – in the fewest tosses.

According to the Professional Disc Golf Association’s website, the sport was formalized around the 1970s and there are more than 50,000 members registered with the PDGA. Part of the fun of the sport is its low cost, making it easier to play than regular golf.

“It’s cheap, and most places don’t even charge green fees,” Overton said. “And especially in this day and age where obesity is becoming so rampant, it’s a nice sport to be able to just go out and play whenever you can.”

Petty said the course will grow and change over the next couple of months as they figure out where to better place scoring pins.

“We still need to put in signage and concrete and pin placements and tee boxes, too,” Petty said.

Petty said the department budgeted $8,000 for the project, but he doesn’t expect the course to cost more than that. He said just $2,500 has been spent so far. Part of the fun for him was to test out the course before it was open to the public.

“We probably threw a couple hundred discs playing the course and testing it out just to see how the field would play,” Petty said. “We moved the chains around a lot and we made sure it was a pretty decent course. We wanted to make sure it was the best that it could possibly be.”

The course is now open to the public and is free. Discs can be purchased at sports stores or online for as little as $25.

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New library programs to showcase art

Bluegrass music, stained glass paintings and live audiobook readings are coming soon to the Decatur Public Library as a part of the new “Fall Fine Arts” series that will start Monday.

Library director Pat Peters said she got the idea after a similar program for adult library supporters last spring got rave reviews.

“We did a thing where we had jazz music out on the grass for the library board members and supporters, and we got a lot of good feedback from that, so we decided to start this program,” Peters said.

Peters is even a part of the series herself, performing bluegrass music alongside her husband Jeff, who plays instruments while Pat sings.

The couple both have music degrees, and put their hobby to good use in the choir at First Methodist Church in Denton and at various gospel singings around the area. Peters said she enjoys singing with her husband.

Their performance Monday, titled “Cool Music for a Warm Evening,” will feature jazz, country and bluegrass styles of music.

However, Peters said she doesn’t want the series to be all about her and her husband’s musical skills. She’s excited about the Fine Arts Series’ potential to introduce different types of art to people who otherwise might not be exposed to it.

“I knew there were a lot of people in the community who were interested in the fine arts, and I thought the library was a great venue for showcasing the arts that people don’t get anywhere else,” Peters said.

In addition to the bluegrass concert they will perform Sept. 15, there will be two more programs in the series this fall.

One, a Sept. 29 presentation from poet Beth Honeycutt and stained-glass shop Art Glass Ensembles owner Christie Wood, will focus on their collaborative partnership where poems are written about stained glass panels, and vice versa.

The last program will be a spoken-word performance from radio writer and audiobook voice actor C.J. Crittenden on Oct. 27. Crittenden, who does the voice narration for the “Stephanie Plum” detective novels, will perform spooky stories for the Halloween holiday.

“We’re hoping it sparks an interest so that we can do more programs like this,” Peters said.

The “Cool Music for a Warm Evening” event starts 6:30 p.m. Sept. 15 in the Priddy Reading Garden at the Decatur Public Library.

“Merging Visions: Stained glass, Poetry and Music” is 6:30 p.m. Sept. 29 in the Jones Meeting Room.

“Tales from the Critt: Halloween Tales from the Masters” starts at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 27 in the Jones Meeting Room. This program may contain language unsuitable for children under the age of 13.

For information, call the Decatur Public Library at 940-393-0290.

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Football: Eagles outlast Hawks in slugfest

When three of the first five plays are kickoffs, you begin to feel like whoever has the ball last will win the game.

It actually worked out that way.

But the Decatur Eagles really won Friday night’s game in Iowa Park with some hard work down in the trenches, surviving the scrappy Hawks 39-34 to bump their season record to 2-1.

“We knew it was going to be like this,” Decatur coach Mike Fuller said after the game. “They came out sky-high and pretty much threw the kitchen sink at us. They showed us just about every trick play, a lot of emotion and intensity.”

Iowa Park ran the opening kickoff back 92 yards, but the Eagles answered three plays later when quarterback Justin Myers hit Felix Guerrero on a pass play that went 68 yards.

The Hawks scored again on a 42-yard quarterback keeper by Westyn Swenson less than two minutes later.

But the Eagles shut them out in the second quarter while scoring a couple of touchdowns of their own.

“I think we might have come out a little flat,” Fuller said. “We made a lot of silly mistakes early, but I think we settled down.”

On a cool, windy night on the new turf in the Hawks’ stadium, the Eagles battled back and took the lead 20 seconds before halftime.

They didn’t get to relax until Myers took a knee twice to kill the last minute. They never did put the Hawks away.

Payton McAlister rushed for 166 yards on 31 carries, scoring four touchdowns. Only one of those scores came on the ground.

The big sophomore caught scoring passes covering 50, 34 and 16 yards, picking his way downfield behind good blocking, breaking for daylight when he saw it, and refusing to go down on the first contact.

“He did a good job,” Fuller said.”The offensive line and Eddie Martinez coming in as a blocking back really did a good job, too.

“I really was proud of our offensive line, the way they controlled the line of scrimmage,” he added. “And we made enough plays on defense that we came out with the win.”

The Eagles were flagged five times in the second half, getting called for a late hit out of bounds, roughing the kicker on a field-goal attempt, and a couple of holding calls.

But Iowa Park earned a few flags, too, roughing Myers on a touchdown toss and celebrating a little too much after a touchdown of their own.

The game’s craziest play came when Swenson made a backward pass to running back Landon Kimbro, who did not catch it. He picked up the live ball, however, and heaved it 34 yards to Cole Oxford, who was so alone he could have called a fair catch.

He was tackled at the 1 after waiting for the ball to come down. Swenson ran it in a few plays later.

In the end, however, it was the Eagles’ strength and speed that proved unstoppable.

“We just tried to kind of mix it up a little bit, running some inside, some outside, throwing it a little bit,” Fuller said. “On a night when it’s real windy like this, it’s kind of tough to be super accurate throwing the ball.

“I’m really proud of them.”


Decatur … 6 … 13 … 6 … 14 … – … 39
Iowa Park … 14 … 0 … 6 … 14 … – … 34


Iowa Park – 11:45, Jared Biddy 92 kickoff return, Bailey Hale kick good

Decatur – 10:33, Felix Guerrero 68 pass from Justin Myers, PAT kick blocked

Iowa Park – 8:36, Westyn Swenson 42 run, Hale kick


Decatur – 9:22, Payton McAlister 1 run, PAT run failed

Decatur – 0:20, McAlister 50 pass from Myers, Brandon Garza kick


Iowa Park – 4:13, Swenson 17 run, PAT pass failed

Decatur – 1:10, McAlister 34 pass from Myers, PAT failed


Decatur – 6:44, Myers 24 run, Garza kick

Iowa Park – 4:57, Swenson 1 run, Hale kick

Decatur – 3:06, McAlister 16 pass from Myers, Garza kick

Iowa Park – 2:28, Hale 12 pass from Swenson, Hale kick


First downs … 24 … 20
Rushes-Yards … 50-278 … 41-205
Passing Yards … 223 … 146
Total Yards … 501 … 351
Comp-Att-Int … 9-18-0 … 7-14-1
Punts-Avg … 1-13 … 5-35
Fumbles-Lost … 1-1 … 0-0
Penalties-Yards … 8-64 … 5-65


Rushing: Decatur, Payton McAlister, 31-166, Justin Myers 18-80. Iowa Park, Westyn Swenson 23-94

Receiving: Decatur, McAlister 4-86, Ryan Durdon 2-27. Iowa Park, Cole Oxford 2-71

Passing: Decatur, Myers 9-18-0-223. Swenson 6-13-1-112.

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Volleyball: Covering all bases – Sophomore fills multiple roles for Lady Eagles

Before a recent match, Courtnie Roberts asked Decatur coach Claire Benedict-Gay where she was playing that day.

IN CONSTANT MOTION – Decatur sophomore Courtnie Roberts has played a variety of roles for the Lady Eagles during their 20-9 start to the season. Messenger photo illustration by Joe Duty

“During warmup, I was trying to figure out where to warm up. I asked what position am I playing today? She responded, I don’t know. Why are you asking me?” Roberts light-heartedly recalled.

Over the Lady Eagles’ 20-9 start, the sophomore has constantly been on the move, playing a variety of roles from setter, defensive specialist to multiple hitting spots. With an injury to Dylana Hutchins, Roberts added middle blocker to her resum Tuesday.

“I’m just trying to fill in holes where I’m needed,” Roberts said. “Playing time is playing time, and I’ll get it anywhere I can.”

Roberts is in her second varsity season. She was a reserve right side hitter for the Lady Eagles last year in their run to the 3A title.

“Last year playing behind Cooper [Martin] was big,” Roberts said.

That experience, along with a full year of playing setter for her club team, helped groom her for this year. On a team with several returning veterans in key spots, Benedict-Gay said Roberts’ versatility is a big asset and adds important depth.

“She allows us to have someone to throw in there who is capable of playing every position,” the Decatur coach said. “She’s been a good sport and has a good attitude. She understands her role this year.

“She was on varsity last year and has that experience on this level and was setting for her club. In high school, you create a team with the athletes you have. And her role here is to fill any spot we need.”

Moving around the floor to the different spots has been an adjustment for Roberts.

“In club, I focused on one spot – setting,” Roberts explained. “Sure, I’m not always comfortable in some positions. But being versatile is what a lot of coaches want on a higher level.”

Her move to the middle has been the toughest, given that she’s a left-handed hitter as well as the added demands of the spot.

“It’s a lot of running,” she said. “I didn’t realize all the running and jumping around at the spot. The ball is also coming at a different angle.”

Her favorite spot is setting.

“I like being able to take control of the court,” Roberts said.

She hopes to take on the setting role next season after the graduation of Stormi Leonard. Roberts has tried to soak up knowledge from Leonard this year. In her limited time at setter behind Leonard, Roberts has 80 assists.

“She’s like an older sister,” Roberts said of Leonard. “She’s always there to give positive feedback.”

As a hitter, Roberts has 44 kills. She also has 124 digs on defense and 18 aces at the service line.

Roberts’ contributions in her many roles have not gone unnoticed by her teammates.

“She does a good job. I probably couldn’t get used to all the positions,” said Decatur senior and all-state hitter Makayla Mayfield. “If someone goes down or is doing bad, Courtnie steps in and does a good job.”

There’s only one spot Roberts has yet to play this season. But she hopes to get there before the season ends.

“The only one is libero,” Roberts said. “I hope to complete the cycle by the end of the year.”

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Volleyball: Lady Eagles serve up home win over Ryan

The Decatur Lady Eagles served up a victory on their home floor Tuesday – literally.

The Lady Eagles landed 11 aces and kept the Denton Ryan Lady Raiders scrambling with their work from the service line in a three-game sweep. Class 4A’s third-ranked team won 25-18, 25-12, 25-16 over the 6A opponent.

Winning Service

WINNING SERVICE – Decatur’s Caroline Lowery serve the ball during the Lady Eagles’ victory over Denton Ryan Tuesday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

On the night, Decatur served 91.9 percent with only six service errors.

“We served 92 percent which means we kept the ball in – but we were also trying to serve for points and definitely did that,” said Decatur coach Claire Benedict-Gay. “If we were not scoring aces, we wanted to make them play where we are comfortable playing.”

Makayla Mayfield and Maclaine Lowery served three aces each. Mayfield also forced several Ryan errors in service receive with her aggressive serve. She was at the line 22 times and did not have an error. Decatur scored 18 points with Mayfield at the line.

“Usually my serve is not as aggressive,” Mayfield said. “Tonight I felt confident and tried to be more aggressive.”

Along with her strong night serving, Mayfield punished Ryan at the net with 11 kills on just 23 attacks.

“Makayla stepped up. It was nice to see her play with confidence,” Benedict-Gay said. “It was one of her better matches.”

Mayfield added: “Coach has been talking with me about hitting hard. Tonight, I wanted to put the ball down as hard as I could.”

As a team, Decatur hit .303 with 44 kills. Caroline Lowery led the team with 16. Cooper Martin added 10.

Stormi Leonard dished out 39 assists.

Mayfield stepped to the service line with the first set tied at 9. Caroline Lowery’s two kills during a seven-point rally that also included a Mayfield ace put Decatur up 16-9. The Lady Eagles went on for the seven-point win.

It was another seven-point rally with Mayfield at the service line that built a 16-6 lead for Decatur in game two.

Emily Oxford ended the second set with a kill. She had five in the match to go along with three blocks.

Mayfield broke a tie at five in the third set with a kill. Decatur led the rest of way. Caroline Lowery’s final kill pushed the Lady Eagles’ lead to nine, 23-14.

Martin put an end to the match with back-to-back kills.

Defensively, the Lady Eagles were solid with 72 digs. Caroline Lowery and Martin made 15 digs each. Mayfield added 13, and Leonard 12.

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Joseph Robert Doss

Rachel Boner and Robert Doss of Decatur announce the birth of a son, Joseph Robert Doss, on Sept. 5, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces and was 19 inches long.

He has one sister: Emily Marie Doss, 1.

Grandparents are Ted Wilson of Greenwood, Cherri Wilson and Scott Huckabee of Sunset, and Dina and Mark Sanders of Bridgeport.

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Abel Romaldo Colorado

Luis and Mercedes Colorado of Decatur announce the birth of a son, Abel Romaldo Colorado, on Sept. 3, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 8 pounds, 6 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long.

He has a brother, Luis Cael, 3.

Grandparents are Abelardo and Noelia Rodriguez of Decatur, and Romaldo and Manuela Colorado of Zaragoza, Mexico.

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Southwest Swap Meet is this weekend

Classic car enthusiasts are expected to flock to Decatur this weekend for the annual Southwest Swap Meet at the Wise County Fairgrounds.

A Classic

A CLASSIC – The Southwest Swap Meet returns to Decatur Friday through Sunday, featuring a variety of classic cars and car parts. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Organizer George Tynan said around 1,800 spaces had been sold for this year’s meet, a little more than last year.

“Each year it grows a little bit,” he said. “This is our fourth year, and we hope one day to fill it all up.”

While it has been held in Decatur since 2011, the Southwest Swap Meet began in 1968 and was held at the Texas Rangers baseball stadiums in Arlington for several years until it moved to Wise County.

The meet is sponsored by a partnership of three clubs: Antique Automobile Club of America (Texas Region), Dallas Model A Ford Club of America and the Horseless Carriage Club of America (North Texas Regional Group).

Tynan said classic cars and car parts will be for sale along with other automobile-related items.

Vendors will begin setting up on Thursday, and the meet will be open to the public during daylight hours from 6:30 Friday morning to mid-afternoon Sunday. Saturday is typically the most well-attended day.

“Our estimate last year was about 6,000 to 7,000 people,” Tynan said. “If we continue to grow like we have, we will equal that number this year for sure.”

While there is a chance of rain Thursday and Friday, it could be a beautiful weekend.

“We pray hard for good weather,” Tynan said. “The temperatures should be nice this year.”

High temperatures Saturday and Sunday are expected to be in the upper 70s to low 80s.

Admission is free. For more information, visit

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Electronic sign gets go-ahead, Decatur city budget approved

Decatur’s sign ordinance does not permit electronic message board (EMB) signs on U.S. 81/287.

But if you drive through town on those busy routes, you’ll notice some big ones.

So when car dealer Brian Green got ready to put up a new sign for his business, BMG Auto Group, he decided to go with a big sign on a pole, with a smaller electronic sign below it.

Decatur’s planning department approved the primary sign, but denied a permit for the EMB.

Monday, Green brought his request to the council – and got a variance allowing him to put up an electronic sign 42 percent larger than what is permitted in areas where EMBs are allowed.

It was only fair, the council determined.

Planning Director Dedra Ragland said her department followed the law in denying the variance – but she outlined to the council the reasons Green cited for seeking the bigger sign.

“The building is located on a very busy thoroughfare,” she said. “Larger EMBs that serve as stand-alone signs have been previously approved. The applicant has proposed an EMB that follows our rules, for the most part, and will be located below the primary sign.”

She noted visibility is limited due to a hill.

“The interpretation of the provisions of this ordinance could deprive the applicant of rights commonly enjoyed by other properties in the same zoning district,” she said. “He’s arguing that he needs this signage to be able to compete with other automobile dealerships.”

The proposed electronic sign is 9’6″ by 4’6″. Other auto dealers have much bigger signs – apparently installed before the city’s sign ordinance was in place. A pharmacy also has an electronic sign, for which it got a variance four years ago.

BMG’s sign would be smaller than any of those.

Van Miller, whose company will install the signs, said the EMB will not be a distraction.

“More important than size, what would also come into play, that it doesn’t change messages frequently,” Miller said. “Our plan for this one was not to have a bunch of moving stuff but to have static messages.

“If it’s static for a period of like, 15 seconds, then changes, you don’t have any traffic issues with people.”

Mayor Martin Woodruff said that relieved his biggest concern about the variance. The council approved it unanimously.


After months of preparing and public hearings, the city of Decatur has a budget and a tax rate for 2014-15.

The council approved both, on second reading, at Monday’s meeting.

The 70.3-cent tax rate represents an increase of 3 cents over last year’s rate, and will bring in about $170,000 more in property tax revenue. The rate includes 21.19 cents for debt service and 49.11 cents for maintenance and operations, and will raise taxes on a $100,000 home by $23.63 next year.

The budget, also approved on second and final reading Monday, proposes total revenues and expenses of $14,914,724. The water fund budget is $4,360,190 while the general fund budget is $10,554,534.

Increases in water and sewer rates will also go into effect Oct. 1.

The budget and tax rate won unanimous approval.


No council action was needed on a request by developer LaAnna Wagonseller to upgrade a water line along Business 287.

Wagonseller has been working since March to get permits to put up an 11,073 square-foot commercial building at 1515 N. Bus. 287. After a survey and moving gas and electric lines, the project hit another snag in July.

There’s not enough water pressure to allow for adequate fire protection.

“Fire Marshal Deroy Bennett observed there was inadequate fire protection because of a 6-inch water line on Business 287,” Wagonseller told the council.

She said the line provides enough water for the building, but not for fire protection – which would require 1,200 to 1,500 gallons-per-minute (gpm). Currently, the site has 432 gpm.

After about six weeks of discussions, she said Bennett and City Engineer Earl Smith arrived at a solution, “which I hope will be workable and acceptable.”

She proposes to pay for materials – an estimated $65,000 to $75,000 – to install an 8-inch water line from Old Chico Road to her property, to be looped into the 6-inch line. The city will handle the labor and, if needed, get a survey to dedicate the 15-foot right-of-way.

She has also opted to put in firewalls every 3,000 square feet and install a fire alarm system in the building. Those measures lower the water requirement to around 1,200 gpm.

Wagonseller will talk to other property owners and get their consent for the water line easement.

Mayor Woodruff said the project is going through a process that does not require council input.

“We expect property owners and developers to work with staff and come up with a solution that works,” he said. “If you come up with a solution that staff can get behind, and that is acceptable to the property owner, I’m good with it.”

The council also:

  • proclaimed September as Blood Cancer Awareness Month;
  • approved a final plat application for Bethel Cemetery Association;
  • approved a replat application for Stephen Summers and Dr. Aamir Zuberi to allow for an expansion of the dialysis center on Farm Road 51 South;
  • extended the agreement with the city’s law firm of Woodruff and Wren LLP, raising the retainer from $850 to $1,000 a month;
  • approved a 5K run route and a street closing for National Night Out.

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Football: Eagles run past Alvarado, 34-28

The Decatur duo of tailback Payton McAlister and quarterback Justin Myers carried the Eagles to their first win of the season Saturday.

Running Away

RUNNING AWAY – Decatur’s Carsen Medlin breaks into the open on his way to scoring on a punt return. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The two combined for 273 yards and four touchdowns in Decatur’s 34-28 victory over the Alvarado Indians in a rain-shortened Dale Hansen Football Classic at Waxahachie’s Stuart B. Lumpkins Stadium.

“This feels great. I wish we could’ve finished the game,” Myers said. “We were about to go score again. But we learned something and got better.”

Decatur evened its record at 1-1 and picked up its first win under head coach Mike Fuller, who praised his team’s turnaround after a loss to Springtown in the opener.

“We executed well. Early in the game we had a couple of miscues and shot ourselves in the foot,” Fuller said. “The only time we got stopped in the third quarter was on a few bad snaps. But for the most part we stayed on schedule a lot better than last week. We did a better job of dealing with adversity as a team and answering back.”

Lightning halted the action with 8:44 left to play. After an hour wait, the game was called at 7 p.m. with lightning still flashing near the stadium.

Just before play was stopped, Alvarado’s Austin Morriel trimmed a 14-point Decatur lead to six with a 3-yard touchdown run and two-point try. Morriel scored all four of the Indians’ touchdowns and finished with 146 yards on 24 carries.

McAlister and Myers offset Morriel’s work, grinding out yards behind the Eagles’ offensive line. Overall, Decatur rushed for 279. The Eagles piled up 357 total yards.

“We blocked well with our receivers and line,” Fuller said. “We mixed it up running different plays and mixed up the blocking schemes. The kids did a really great job of executing.”

Myers rushed for 152 yards on 12 carries with a pair of long touchdown runs. The signal caller, who left the lineup for a series in the first half, came back and sprinted around the right end and down the sidelines for a 55-yard touchdown to put the Eagles up 14-6.

After Alvarado missed a field goal with 2:01 left in the first half, Myers hit Gunnar Parker for a 40-yard pass. Two plays later Myers scrambled to the left and danced down the sideline before making a head-first dive into the end zone for a 38-yard touchdown that gave Decatur a 21-12 halftime lead.

“The offensive line was getting blocks,” Myers said. “They were also keying off Payton, and it was making it easier for me.

“I love having Payton in the backfield. He’s a heck of a ball carrier.”

Myers threw for 78 yards, completing 7 of his 12 attempts.

McAlister, who approached 200 yards in the opener last week, finished with 121 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 14 carries Saturday.

McAlister’s first score came after he scooped up a fumble by his teammate Carsen Medlin at the 1 and stepped into the end zone to extend Decatur’s lead to 28-12.

After Morriel’s third score, McAlister and Myers teamed to carry the ball seven times on a 61-yard drive. McAlister went the final yard for his second 1-yard touchdown.

“The offensive line was making holes and our outside running was working well,” McAlister said.

“We prepared better this week and were in better shape mentally and physically.”

A strong start by the Decatur defense paced the Eagles early. It forced a turnover – a Tyler Ticknor interception – and a pair of three-and-outs to start the game. The unit also held strong after the Eagles couldn’t come up with a loose ball on a kickoff, forcing a 28-yard field goal attempt that sailed wide for the Indians.

After the Eagles forced a second three-and-out, Medlin fielded a punt at his 40-yard line and dashed to the end zone for the game’s opening score.


Decatur … 7 … 14 … 7 … … 6 – 34
Alvarado … 0 … 12 … 8 … … 8 – 28


Decatur – 0:52, Carsen Medlin 60 punt return, Brandon Garza kick


Alvarado – 11:41, Austin Morriel 1 run, kick failed

Decatur – 7:03, Justin Myers 55 run, Garza kick

Alvarado – 4:21, Morriel 2 run, kick failed

Decatur – 0:37, Myers 38 run, Garza kick


Decatur – 8:43, Payton McAlister 1 run, Garza kick

Alvarado – 2:03, Morriel 1 run, Gabriel Morris pass from Brayden Ramsey


Decatur – 11:32, McAlister 1 run, kick failed

Alvarado – 8:44, Morriel 3 run, Morriel run


First Downs … 11 … 11
Rushes-Yards … 29-279 … 43-230
Passing Yards … 78 … 129
Total Yards … 357 … 359
Comp-Att-Int … 7-13-0 … 6-17-2
Sacks-Yards lost … 3-16 … 2-2
Punts-Average … 2-30.5 … 3-35.3
Fumbles-Lost … 3-2 … 0-0
Penalties-Yards … 3-25 … 3-25


Rushing – Decatur, Justin Myers 12-152, Payton McAlister 14-121, Carsen Medlin 1-2, Mario Reyes 2-3. Alvarado, Austin Morriel 24-136, Adrian Hendrick 12-58, Aaron Estes 2-3, Brayden Ramsey 5-23.

Passing – Decatur, Myers 7-12-0-78, Jake Kemp 0-1-0-0. Alvarado, Ramsey 6-17-2-129.

Receiving – Decatur, Ryan Durdon 2-12, Carsen Medlin 2-23, Gunnar Parker 3-49, Jacob Kevetter 1-13. Alvarado, Paul Bowman 2-78, Cres Land 1-12, Jax Isclaw 1-25, Garrett Howard 1-7, Adrian Hendrick 1-7.

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Football: Decatur tries to keep momentum

Spirits were high Monday as the Decatur Eagles returned to work following their 34-28 win over Alvarado Saturday.

The victory evened the Eagles’ record and gave them some momentum as they head to Iowa Park Friday to face an undefeated Hawks team. The game is set for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.

The Decatur players said the performance atoned for their showing in the season-opening loss to Springtown.

“None of us were pleased with how we played against Springtown,” said Decatur senior center Jacob Hartsell. “We all stepped it up and reaped what we sowed from the hard work in practice.”

Decatur coach Mike Fuller agreed that Saturday’s performance was a byproduct of a better week of workouts.

“The credit has to go to the week we had in practice,” Fuller explained. “We were focused and intent on getting better.”

Fuller added that Monday’s practice would be the team’s most important workout of the year at this point.

“We need to keep the mindset right,” he said. “There’s still a lot that we can clean up.”

Against Alvarado, the Eagles imposed their will with a powerful ground attack. Decatur chewed up 279 yards rushing. Quarterback Justin Myers gained 152 yards and Payton McAlister 121.

“We had great blocking up front from our offensive line,” Myers said. “It’s awesome to play behind this line.”

Fuller said the line and receivers did a good job of holding their blocks for McAlister and Myers to make plays. He added that the Eagles made enough plays through the air to keep Alvarado from stacking the box against the run.

Iowa Park enters the game Friday unbeaten with wins over Burkburnett (21-14) and Cache, Okla. (38-12). The Hawks piled up 261 yards on the ground against Cache. Bowie Franks led the attack with 95 yards, and Kelly Houston added 84.

“The thing that stands out about them when you watch them on film is that they play really hard every play,” Fuller said. “I’m really impressed. They also do a lot of different things, so it’s hard to get a bead on them.”

Fuller said defensively, the Hawks mix it up between three- and four-man fronts.

“Iowa Park is a good team,” Hartsell said. “We’ve got to get up and ready to play. We want to keep the momentum going and keep the streak going.”


7:30 p.m. at Hawk Stadium

Decatur: Harris Rating 210

Notable: The Eagles piled up 279 yards rushing last week against Alvarado.

Iowa Park: Harris Rating 204

Notable: The Hawks scored wins over Burkburnett and Cache, Okla., to start the year.

Harris line: Decatur by 7

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Roller Hockey: Storming Europe

Roller Hockey: Storming Europe

Long practices and years of preparation have led up to this moment.

Two Wise County roller hockey players will strap on their skates, don their pads and head into the rink for an international battle that only takes place every two years.

Team USA

TEAM USA – Decatur Skate players Celeste Chavanna of Decatur and Janae Jones of Bowie have been tapped to join the U.S. Lady’s Roller Hockey Team. They will compete later this year in France, along with about a dozen other players from around the nation. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Celeste Chavanna, 17, of Decatur and Janae Jones, 16, of Bowie will join Team USA at the 2014 Ladies Rink Hockey World Championship Oct. 25 to Nov. 1 in Tourcoing, France.

BACK TO BACK – Jenae Jones (left) and Celest Chavanna competed in national roller hockey competition in Nebraska, where they also tried out for Team USA. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Both compete in the Decatur rink hockey league at Decatur Skate. Decatur Skate owner and Team USA Lady Roller Hockey coach Don Allen has taken numerous local players to national and international competitions and won several titles – including 17 consecutive ladies national championships and gold medals at the national tournament.

In July, Jones and Chavanna were competing in the National Roller Hockey Championships in Nebraska when they tried out for Team USA.

They earned spots on a 13-woman roster to face off against teams from Germany, Brazil, Japan, Spain, France and Canada, among many others.

For Chavanna, this could be a path to the Olympics. Roller hockey was a demonstration sport during the Summer Olympics in 1992 but is not an official medaling sport. Chavanna said some are trying to change that.

She started playing when she was 10 years old and plays forward. Allen said Chavanna has played in three national competitions in the ladies’ division and about half a dozen in national youth divisions.

She said she started working toward being a part of Team USA a year ago.

“It takes training, like any other sport. You get out there and do shooting drills,” Chavanna said. “I started practicing in 2013 and worked all through summer and the school year until nationals.”

National competition isn’t new to the Chavanna family. Her older brother, Alex, competed and went on to join the 2013 Team USA men’s team.

“It’s kind of like my family is taking over the USA team,” Chavanna said. “My younger brother is going to try out in a couple years, too.”

Only turning 16 today, Jones has been playing for about three years and thought she was too young to be selected for Team USA. She will one of three alternates.

“I knew the chances were slim that I would be chosen, based on sheer numbers and skill of the women that were there,” Jones said. “You have to be 14 to try out. The oldest player is 41.”

When she got the call, Jones said it was a feeling she will never forget.

“I was so excited, I cried right on the phone with him,” Jones said.

After the Team USA tryouts, Allen told Jones the first thing she had to get was a new pair of hockey skates.

“I was skating at Nationals in the first pair of skates I ever had,” Jones said. “I had won them at a raffle at the Bowie rink, Pop’s Skateland. They are well worn and the boot is starting to fall apart – not to mention they aren’t even hockey skates.”

Allen said the amount of commitment needed is tremendous and getting to play at that level is impressive.

“It’s not easy. You have to get through a selection championship and then we take the best from all over the country,” he said. “We had 20 try out this year. We take two goalies and the top eight of the rest.

“Some people play their whole lives and never make Team USA.”

Prior to competing in France, the team will train in England with some club teams. Currently, Allen and the team train in California Friday through Sunday.

Allen said most of the travel expenses for regular competition is covered by fundraising, but playing in Europe will likely have to be paid for out-of-pocket by the players’ families.

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Volleyball: Decatur wins in 4

Caroline Lowery, Makayla Mayfield and Cooper Martin all finished in double figures with kills Friday as the Decatur Lady Eagles beat Chisholm Trail in four games.

Decatur won 25-8, 25-12, 23-25, 25-8.

Lowery led Decatur with 18 kills. Mayfield added 13, and Martin 12.

Setter Stormi Leonard had five kills to go along with her 32 assists.

The Lady Eagles were lethal at the service line with 12 aces. Lowery recorded six. Martin and Mayfield added three each.

Defensively, Courtnie Roberts and Martin blocked four shots. Emily Oxford netted three blocks.

Leonard finished with 15 digs. Mayfield had 13, Lowery 12, Martin nine and Mac-Laine Lowery six.

Decatur returned to the court at home Tuesday against Denton Ryan.

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