Dancing in the streets

Dancing in the streets

Dancing in the Streets 1

The Decatur homecoming parade filled downtown streets with Eagle spirit Friday afternoon. Carson Elementary students imagine having superpowers while riding their float. The theme for the parade was “Fandom.” Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Dancing in the Streets 2

An elementary school student dances to the beat of the Decatur High School band. The Eagles were slated to take on Carrollton Ranchview in a 7:30 game Friday night. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Dancing in the Streets 3

Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Dancing in the Streets 4

Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

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EDC to move to Walnut Street

Sometime before the end of the year, the Decatur Economic Development Corp. will move its offices from the city-owned Visitors Center on Trinity Street to a rented office at 203 Walnut St., just off the northwest corner of the square.

The move is designed to provide more privacy for meetings and sensitive negotiations, out of the tourist loop.

Building owner Mark Moran will finish out a suite in the old industrial sewing building to fit the EDC’s needs. Rent will be $1,628 a month on a three-year lease. If everything goes as expected, EDC Director Mary Poche said the move could come as early as mid- to late November.

“The EDC is probably the model tenant,” City Manager Brett Shannon said. “The risk of damage to the facility is minimal, and the likelihood of getting paid every month is very high.”

Poche said the EDC’s suite will include an office for her and administrative assistant Ida Mae Burnett, as well as a spare office, a large conference room for board meetings and a smaller conference room for more intimate meetings. The rent includes the use of common spaces as well.

With the signing of the contract at Thursday’s EDC meeting, the owner’s architect will go to work designing the renovations. Work is already underway in the building, finishing out suites for other tenants.

Poche said she would like to use the third office as “kind of an incubator space” for businesses that the EDC may be trying to recruit, or for home grown businesses that are in the process of acquiring their own space.

“If there are individuals or entrepreneurs who are looking at trying to get a business going, we may be able to provide them some space for that to happen,” she said.

The city’s Main Street Program will continue to occupy the Visitors Center, which is also available for lease for community events.


With the end of the fiscal year less than two weeks away, the EDC board also approved $73,821 in budget amendments – getting those expenses in the current year and keeping them out of the upcoming fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.

Added to the current budget were:

  • $1,995 for a retail coach;
  • $2,500 to help sponsor the WC Challenger Charities PBR event;
  • $2,100 for Stansbury Public Relations;
  • $721 to Proline for a sign in the industrial park;
  • $32,000 to Avalanche Consulting for the strategic plan;
  • $2,875 to Decatur Material Corp. for window shutters;
  • $1,700 to Home Reflections to furnish Poche’s office;
  • $1,931 for additional air walls at the Decatur Civic Center;
  • $16,000 for a new dance floor for the Civic Center;
  • $5,000 for a garbage disposal for the Civic Center;
  • $5,000 for repairs to an air conditioning unit at the Civic Center; and
  • $2,000 for carpet replacement panels at the Civic Center.

In looking at finances as the fiscal year winds down, Shannon noted the EDC had a good year in 2013-14 – taking in $1,337,871 from its half-cent sales tax after budgeting for just $1.2 million.

“I’m not sure that isn’t our largest September allocation ever,” Shannon said.

The EDC currently has more than $1.4 million in its operating account and almost $950,000 in a certificate of deposit.


Board member Jay Davidson, presiding in the absence of board president Andrew Sandford, noted that Energy WorldNet, after getting fiber Internet access to its facility on U.S. 81/287 Business, is planning to build 25 additional offices.

“This had been in the works for a long time, but then he had cancelled those plans and was planning to move until we got the fiber there,” Davidson said. “They’re very excited about that, and he is actually talking about having that completed by December. That’s a very, very positive thing.”

Poche also reported she had replied to inquiries about two projects:

  • A distribution facility looking for 50 to 60 acres to build a 400,000 to 600,000 square-foot building; and
  • A manufacturer of power transmission poles, looking for 20 acres to build a $25 million plant that would employ 150 machinists and welders.

She did not send replies to several other projects that needed facilities or workforce the area cannot offer.

She’s also been working with both Weatherford College Wise County and UT-Arlington to set up workforce programs for specific businesses that may be moving to the area.

The board directed her to seek donations for the proposed “splash park” – a water play area to be built in a city park – to help meet the roughly $500,000 construction cost and get the facility up and running in time for next summer.

“Once you get a feel for how much you may be able to raise privately, then this board will have a feel for what it may need to fund,” Shannon said.

She also reported on a proposed 192-unit apartment complex that has requested close to $600,000 from the EDC for utilities, waiving about $233,000 in city impact and other fees and setting up some sort of sales tax deal as incentives for them to build.

“They’re asking for a 10-year tax abatement, off-site utilities, waiving all the impact fees,” Shannon said. “Basically it sounds like they’re trying to shave about a million dollars off their project. We told them we’d look at these numbers and get back to them.”

Poche said she’s not sure if the expenditure, even if the board approved it, would fit within the confines of what the EDC is legally authorized to do.

“As a pure economic development project, I would not recommend this project,” she said.

Other projects, and an evaluation of Poche, were on the agenda for a closed session.

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Fines, fees on Decatur City Council agenda

The Decatur City Council will consider raising library fines as well as airport fees, residential and commercial water rates, and wastewater rates at its meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22, at City Hall. The council will hear departmental reports on the airport, finances, Main Street, Civic Center and library before considering a list of items that includes three EDC requests, agreements with Wise County for fire, first responder and library services and a rare closed session to evaluate City Manager Brett Shannon’s performance.

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State National to undergo name change

State National Bank, which has a branch in Decatur, has announced that it will be acquired by east Texas-based Pilgrim Bank in the first quarter of next year.

Lonnie “Bo” Pilgrim, chairman emeritus of Pilgrim Bancorporation and Pilgrim Bank, and Bert Williamson, chairman of North Central Texas Bancshares Inc., announced the agreement Sept. 11.

State National has branches in Decatur, Archer City, Electra, Holliday, Iowa Park, Windthorst, Vernon and three locations in Wichita Falls.

The Decatur branch is located at 1405 W. U.S. 380 Business.

The transaction was approved by directors of both companies, subject to the approval of the shareholders as well as the bank regulatory authorities.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to associate with North Central Texas Bancshares Inc. and expand our operations,” said Ken Pilgrim, chairman of Pilgrim Bancorporation and Pilgrim Bank. “This acquisition will expand our presence along the Highway 287 West corridor.

“We expect that their expertise and knowledge of their respective markets will enhance our franchise,” he added. “We welcome current State National Bank of Texas customers into our family.”

Williamson said his company is “pleased to join with Pilgrim Bank.

“Our customers can look forward to an expanded presence in East Texas and the Panhandle and the additional products and services that Pilgrim Bank offers.”

Pilgrim Bank was founded in 1911 and has seven banking offices in Pittsburg, Mt. Pleasant, Sulphur Springs, Wellington and Clarendon.

Upon completion of the transaction, the combined bank will have approximately $629 million in total assets, with 16 locations.

The two banks are expected to combine operations in mid-2015.

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Decatur Propane

Location: 510 E. Main, Decatur

Phone: 940-627-3188

Email: decaturpropane@yahoo.com

Website: decaturpropane.com

Owner: Stephen Alexander and Mat Meador

Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Friday

Products/services: Propane, tank sales and leases and refills

Decatur Propane

DECATUR PROPANE – Decatur Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting for Decatur Propane Sept. 16. Pictured are (from left) James Upton, Stephen Alexander, Glenn Gage and Mat Meador. Messenger photo by Leisa Gage

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Football: Rocket, Wolves blast by Eagles – Receiver spoils Decatur homecoming

Football: Rocket, Wolves blast by Eagles – Receiver spoils Decatur homecoming

In the first half Friday, the Decatur Eagles kept Carrollton Ranchview’s Raghib “Rocket” Ismail on the launching pad, limiting him to just five rushing yards and without a catch.

Wrapped Up

WRAPPED UP – Decatur quarterback Justin Myers is tripped up by a Ranchview defender during the Eagles’ 50-39 loss Friday night. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

But after halftime, the Rocket blasted off with a pair of touchdown catches and an 83-yard kickoff return to spoil the Eagles’ homecoming 50-39 at Eagle Stadium.

Ismail finished with four receptions for 89 yards and touchdowns covering 54 and 22 yards.

“I was just patient. I knew if I stayed patient things would open up,” said Ismail, the son of the former Notre Dame and Dallas Cowboys star receiver.

Ismail’s two touchdown catches were part of a 21-point third quarter for Ranchview that lifted them from a 20-13 halftime deficit and gave the Wolves a 34-20 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Ismail’s 54-yard touchdown reception came the play after reserve Ranchview running back Darion Carter was injured. After a five-minute delay Ranchview quarterback Keidren Wadley hit Ismail with the short pass in space. Ismail did the rest, running to pay dirt.

“We saw our brother go down and that ignited us,” Ismail said.

Ismail capped a 76-yard drive for Ranchview to close out the quarter with Wadley’s fourth touchdown pass of the game to give the Wolves the two-score lead.

Wadley finished 13-for-20 for 225 yards. He had a pair of touchdown tosses covering 20 yards in the first half.

Decatur cut into the Ranchview two-possession lead with a scoring drive to start the final frame. Payton McAlister took it in from two yards out. McAlister finished with 46 yards on 12 carries with three touchdowns.

But it didn’t stay a one-score game long as Ismail raced down the field with the ensuing kickoff to put Ranchview up 41-26.

The Eagles cut into the lead once again with Ryan Durdon catching a pass from Justin Myers and going 49 yards for the score on the first play of the next series. Durdon caught six passes for 137 yards.

Myers finished with 256 yards passing, completing 17 of his 33 attempts.

But after the quick score, Decatur couldn’t stop Ranchview. The Wolves took three minutes off the clock and went 69 yards in seven plays for a Davion Carter 8-yard touchdown run that assured the Decatur homecoming setback.

Carter rushed for 129 yards.

Ranchview piled up 461 yards. Most of those came in the Wolves’ 37-point second half.

“It comes down to competing,” said Decatur coach Mike Fuller. “We’ve got to compete better when it gets tough.

“We weren’t getting off blocks and we missed tackles. Offensively, we dropped a bunch of passes and missed a few open people.”

The Eagles built a 20-13 halftime lead behind a balanced attack. Myers completed 9 of his 17 passes in the first half for 105 yards, spreading the ball to four different receivers.

Twice in the half, Myers converted fourth-down passes to keep scoring drives alive.

The success in the passing game opened up running lanes for Myers and company. Myers’ 23-yard scramble broke a tie at 7 and gave the Eagles the lead for the half.

McAlister opened the scoring with a 5-yard run that put Decatur up 7-0 at the end of a seven-play, 63-yard drive. The drive came after the Decatur defense forced a Ranchview fumble at the 33-yard line with Cole Vaughan making the recovery.

Decatur had its chances to break the game open in the first half but twice had to settle for Jorge Martinez field goals after drives deep into Ranchview territory. Martinez hit a 26-yarder as time expired in the first half.

Reaching Out

REACHING OUT – Decatur’s Brandon Garza knocks down a pass during the Eagles’ 50-39 loss against Ranchview Friday night. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty


Ranchview … 7 … 6 … 21 … 16 … – … 50
Decatur … 7 … 13 … 0 … 19 … – … 39


Decatur – 6:10, Payton McAlister 5 run, Jorge Martinez kick

Ranchview – 2:06, Michael Murphy 20 pass from Keidren Wadley, Mario Romero kick


Decatur – 9:29, Justin Myers 23 run, Martinez kick

Decatur – 5:08, Martinez 28 field goal

Ranchview – 2:13, Dayo Odeyingbo 20 pass from Wadley, kick failed

Decatur – 0:00, Martinez 26 field goal


Ranchview – 7:29, Wadley 16 run, Romero kick

Ranchview – 4:27 Raghib Ismail 54 pass from Wadley, Romero kick

Ranchview – 0:00 Ismail 22 pass from Wadley, Romero kick


Decatur – 8:56, McAlister 2 run, kick failed

Ranchview – 8:41, Ismail 83 kickoff return, Romero kick

Decatur – 8:24, Ryan Durdon 49 pass from Myers, Martinez kick

Ranchview – 5:28, Davian Carter 8 run, Romero kick

Decatur – 0:41, McAlister 5 run, kick blocked

Ranchview – 0:41 Wadley 90 blocked PAT return


First Downs … 20 … 20
Rushes-Yards … 42-236 … 38-209
Passing Yards … 225 … 256
Total Yards … 461 … 465
Comp-Att-Int … 17-33-0 … 13-20-0
Sacks-Yards lost … 2-8 … 4-22
Punts-Average … 2-35 … 4-30.2
Fumbles-Lost … 3-2 … 4-1
Penalties-Yards … 9-72 … 6-55


Rushing – Ranchview, Davion Carter 21-129, Raghib Ismail 2-5, Darion Carter 3-26, Keidrien Wadley 15-73, Michael Murphy 1-3. Decatur, Payton McAlister 12-46, Justin Myers 19-89, Mario Reyes 7-74.

Passing – Ranchview, Wadley 13-20-0-225. Decatur, Myers 17-33-0-256.

Receiving – Ranchview, Michael Murphy 4-74, D’Quan Waheed 1-7, Dayo Odeyingbo 1-20, Raghib Ismail 4-89, Tyreon McDade 1-15, Raquan Crawford 1-33. Decatur, McAlister 5-58, Ryan Durdon 6-137, Reyes 3-21, Tanner Shields 3-39.

Decatur Extra 1

Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Decatur Extra 2

Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Decatur Extra 3

Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Decatur Extra 4

Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

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Volleyball: Eagles face pair of rivals

Through 30 matches this season, the Decatur Lady Eagles have yet to see an opponent from their own classification.

That changed Friday with the Lady Eagles facing former playoff nemesis Abilene Wylie. The Lady Eagles (20-10) will then take on rival Argyle, who they outlasted in the playoffs last season on the way to a state title, at 6 p.m. Tuesday at home.

“We’re real excited to be playing teams we should be playing,” said Decatur senior setter Stormi Leonard Thursday. “After playing no 4A teams, the next two matches, we can show how playing tough teams has helped us. We’re excited to see someone we could see in the playoffs.”

The Lady Eagles held their own facing all 6A and 5A teams – the lone exception being the top ranked team in 3A Brock – in the pre-district schedule. Decatur won two-thirds of their matches.

Decatur is coming off a three-game sweep at the hands of 6A Coppell Tuesday.

“It was disappointing in the fact, we thought we’d be ready for it and wanted to be competitive,” Leonard said. “We were, the second and third set. The first set, we didn’t handle well.”

The Lady Eagles are focusing on the matches with Wylie and Argyle as a springboard into 8-4A play, which starts Sept. 26 in Lake Worth.

“We always try to play tough matches right before district,” said Decatur coach Claire Benedict-Gay.

Entering the two matches, the Lady Eagles know they will get a strong test from teams wanting to supplant them as state champions.

“They are both quality programs,” said Benedict-Gay. “We have to be mentally prepared. We know we have a target on our backs, and both want to knock us off. They will have a chip on their shoulder and will play us their best.”

There is significant history with both programs. Wylie ended the Lady Eagles’ playoff runs in 2010 and ’11.

In 2012, Argyle outlasted Decatur to win the 3A Region II title. Decatur returned the favor last year.

“There will be more emotion because we have a history with them,” Leonard said.

Benedict-Gay pointed out that her team will be trying to make history against Argyle Tuesday.

“We’ve never beat them here at Decatur,” she said.

Decatur will be without Dylana Hutchins at middle blocker. Courtnie Roberts will continue to see time in the middle.

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Volleyball: Coppell sweeps Lady Eagles

The Decatur Lady Eagles struggled Tuesday, falling in three games to 6A power Coppell.

The 11th-ranked team in the state’s largest classification swept Decatur, 25-12, 25-21, 25-22.

Up in the Air

UP IN THE AIR – Decatur’s Stormi Leonard and Emily Oxford jump to block a shot against Denton Ryan. After 29 matches against 6A and 5A schools, the Lady Eagles played 4A Abilene Wylie Friday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The Lady Eagles, ranked second in 4A, hit only .184 for the match, netting 34 kills on 103 attempts.

Caroline Lowery led Decatur with 10 kills. Makayla Mayfield added nine, and Cooper Martin six.

Decatur setter Stormi Leonard handed out 25 assists.

At the service line, Lowery had two aces and Leonard one.

Defensively, Lowery also led the Lady Eagles with 16 digs. Mayfield finished with 10.

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Donna Marie Kuhlman

Donna Marie Kuhlman, 69, a homemaker, died Monday, Sept. 15, 2014, in Decatur.

Services will be private.

Donna was born May 21, 1945, in Riverside, Calif., to J.C. and Juanita (Hamilton) Lovelace. She married Fred Kuhlman Jr. in Fort Worth and loved being at home, taking care of her family and their home.

She was preceded in death by her parents; granddaughter Chelsye Mitchell Brauchle; and her brother.

She is survived by her husband, Fred Kuhlman Jr. of Decatur; daughter Robin Mitchell and husband, Kelley, of Houston; son Charles Ray Cogburn of Lipan; sisters Karen Goodwin, Nita Voss and Terry Lovelace; grandchildren Cody, Cash and Cassie; and three great-grandchildren.

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Heather Emily Delano and Kristof Martin Pewitt

Heather Emily Delano of Decatur, daughter of Allen Delano of Haslet and Lucy Farris of Krum, will marry Kristof Martin Pewitt of Decatur Oct. 4, 2014, in Paradise.

Scott Johnson of Grace Fellowship Church will officiate.

The bride-elect is a 2014 graduate of North Hills Private School in Millsap. She works for Senior Care Health and Rehabilitation in Decatur.

The prospective groom graduated from Paradise High School in 2014. He works for Smith Oilfield Services in Bridgeport.

Delano Pewitt

Heather Emily Delano and Kristof Martin Pewitt

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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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