Safe stolen from diner

Decatur police are investigating the burglary of a local restaurant.

Chief Rex Hoskins said someone broke out a window on the south side of Yesterday’s Diner on U.S. 81/287, entered the building and stole a safe with an undetermined amount of money.

The break-in happened during the overnight hours Tuesday into Wednesday morning and was discovered around 8 a.m.

No other businesses in the area were hit.

Anyone with information should call Decatur PD at 940-393-0300.

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Football: Porcupines sting Decatur, 49-21

Football: Porcupines sting Decatur, 49-21

The Decatur Eagles jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game Friday night. But in the final 38 minutes, they found few answers on either side of the ball for the Springtown Porcupines.

Springtown piled up 547 yards of offense and made a pair of stops in the red zone on the way to a 49-21 victory over Decatur at Porcupine Stadium in both teams’ season opener.

Out of Reach

OUT OF REACH – Decatur defenders Tyler Ticknor (2) and Brandon Garza (25) let a ball past them and into the hands of Springtown’s Mateo Herrera. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“The stats show it and the scoreboard shows it; we were outplayed in every phase of the game,” said Decatur coach Mike Fuller, who made his debut on the Eagles’ sidelines. “We earned this on Monday and Tuesday. We felt sorry for ourselves not wanting to give great effort at practice.

“It is the first game. I’ve had a lot of great seasons where we lost the first game. We didn’t execute like we wanted to and it didn’t turn out the way we wanted. We have to get more competitive.”

Springtown broke open a 28-21 game at halftime with 21 unanswered in the second half.

Quarterback Kaleb Chesney threw for two of his three touchdowns in the second half, including a 55-yard connection to Dillon Springfield.

“They are a good football team. No question about that,” Fuller said.

Chesney blazed the Decatur defense for 311 yards, completing 19 of his 31 passes with an interception.

Springfield caught five passes for 95 yards. He also rushed for 106 and a touchdown.

“It was the first game. We’re going to take everything we missed tonight and learn from it,” said Decatur linebacker Cole Vaughan. “You can’t look at it as a loss. You have to look at it as a learning point.

“We’re not playing our best football yet but we have six weeks to do it.”

To start the game, it looked like Decatur would put on the offensive show, taking the two-touchdown lead. After Payton McAlister broke free for 35 yards, Eddie Martinez plunged in from the 3 for the Eagles’ first score.

Two plays later, Vaughan picked off a Chesney pass at the 35-yard line and returned it to the 24. Decatur needed just four plays from there to find pay dirt on a 1-yard run by McAlister.

McAlister ran for 148 yards on 15 carries in the first half. He finished with 190 yards on 21 carries.

The Decatur lead didn’t last long. Jared Green returned the ensuing kickoff 64 yards to the Decatur 24. Springfield then ran in from 16 yards out on a fourth-and-3 to cut the Eagles’ lead in half, 14-7.

Springtown tied the game at 14 with 8:20 left in the first half, converting again on fourth down. Ryan Snow scored on a fourth-and-goal at the 1 to finish off a 13-play, 80-yard drive for the Porcupines.

Springtown was 3-for-4 on fourth down on the night.

Decatur regained a short-lived lead, 21-14, with Justin Myers hooking up with Ryan Durdon from 23 yards out.

In his first start, Myers finished 9-for-22 for 121 yards with an interception and a touchdown.

The Eagles’ defense couldn’t make the lead hold, giving up scoring drives of 73 and 83 yards in the final 6:37 of the half. After Chesney hit Mykeal Cummings with a 34-yard pass on a third-and-10 at the Decatur 48, the Porcupines scored three plays later on a 5-yard run by Chesney. Chesney ran in the try to put Springtown up 22-21.

When Decatur was stopped at the Springtown 17 with 2:06 left in the half, the Porcupines went on the attack again, needing just eight plays to score. Chesney hit Cummings for a 25-yard touchdown with 28 seconds left in the half to put Springtown up 28-21.

Cummings caught four passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns.


SURROUNDED – Three Eagles try to bring Springtown quarterback Dillon Springfield under control in Decatur’s 49-21 loss Friday night. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty


Decatur … 14 … 7 … 0 … … … 0 – 21
Springtown … 7 … 21 … 7 … … 14 – 49


Decatur – 3:43, Eddie Martinez 3 run, Brandon Garza kick

Decatur – 2:23, Payton McAlister 1 run, Garza kick

Springtown – :59, Dillon Springfield 16 run, Mateo Herrera kick


Springtown – 8:20, Ryan Snow 1 run, Herrera kick

Decatur – 6:42, Ryan Durdon 23 pass from Justin Myers, Garza kick

Springtown – 3:32, Kaleb Chesney 5 run, Chesney run

Springtown – :28, Mykeal Cummings 25 pass from Chesney, run failed


Springtown – 8:55, Cummings 19 pass from Chesney, Herrera kick


Springtown – 10:41, Springfield 55 pass from Chesney, Herrera kick

Springtown – 9:54, Snow 1 run, Herrera kick


First Downs … 17 … 25
Rushes-Yards … 47-265 … 44-236
Passing Yards … 121 … 311
Total Yards … 386 … 547
Comp-Att-Int … 9-22-1 … 21-34-1
Sacks-Yards lost … 4-28 … 3-11
Punts-Avg … 3-31.6 … 3-20
Fumbles-Lost … 4-2 … 2-1
Penalties-Yards … 5-30 … 4-45


Rushing – Decatur, Payton McAlister 21-190, Justin Myers 17-48, Eddie Martinez 6-6, Mario Reyes 3-21. Springtown, Ryan Snow 16-61, Dillon Springfield 10-106, Dawson Hinkley 6-17, Kaleb Chesney 12-52.

Passing – Decatur, Myers 9-22-1-121. Springtown, Chesney 19-31-1-311, Springfield 2-3-0-27.

Receiving – Decatur, Ryan Durdon 5-95, Martinez 2-9, McAlister 1-9, Reyes 1-8. Springtown, Mateo Herrera 5-80, Jared Green 2-18, Springfield 5-95, Ricardo Reynoso 2-21, Snow 2-6, Mykeal Cummings 4-106, Jonathan Chavez 1-12.

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Volleyball: Lady Eagles return home, slam No. 1 Brock

Returning to their home court for the first time since the season opener, the Decatur Lady Eagles turned a showdown with Class 3A’s top-ranked team into a mismatch.

Behind a quick offensive attack and gritty defensive performance, Decatur swept Brock in three games Tuesday, 25-15, 25-21, 25-18.

All Out Effort

ALL-OUT EFFORT – Decatur’s Stormi Leonard dives for a ball during the Lady Eagles’ win over Brock Tuesday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“We played good. It feels good and is fun to have a home game,” said Decatur outside hitter Cooper Martin. “We fed off the crowd and everyone yelling.”

Martin put down 10 kills and made six digs. Caroline Lowery led Decatur with 13 kills on 25 hits. Makayla Mayfield added nine kills.

For the match, Decatur hit .371 (39-for-89).

“Our outside hitters played well,” said Decatur coach Claire Benedict-Gay. “Cooper played really well. Overall, we got a lot of reps at a lot of positions.”

Setter Stormi Leonard handed out 21 assists with six different players recording kills.

With their attacking offense and strong defensive effort, the Lady Eagles kept Brock from making any significant runs through the match.

“We’ve been focusing on siding out quickly,” the Decatur coach explained. “To come in and beat a quality opponent like this is good.”

Leonard made a team-high 10 digs. Mayfield finished with eight. Martin, Courtnie Roberts and Taylor Uselton added six each.

Decatur stormed out of the gates swinging. The Lady Eagles hit .458 in the first set with only two errors.

After winning the first game by 10, Decatur fended off a Brock attempt to get back in the match in the second set.

In the third set, Brock jumped out to an 8-6 lead. The set remained tight until Decatur went on a five-point run with Lowery at the service line to take an 18-12 lead.

A tip by Mayfield, followed by a Lowery kill, put Decatur at match point, 24-18. Decatur finished off the match on a Brock error.

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Volleyball: Decatur keeps tough schedule in perspective

Over the first three weeks of the season, the defending state champion Decatur Lady Eagles have tested themselves against some of the state’s best 6A and 5A programs.

Over their first 20 matches, the Lady Eagles (14-6) have played five teams that are in, or have spent time in, the 5A and 6A top 10.

“It’s been really hard, but we knew the beginning would be hard and wanted it to be,” said senior outside hitter Cooper Martin. “That is what it’s going to take to get us back to state.

“We realize if we get beat, we can still finish well and can compete with the top teams.”

The tough slate dropped the Lady Eagles from their top spot in the 4A Texas Girls Coaches Association poll. They’re ranked second now, behind Bushland.

The Lady Eagles continued their tough road Friday at the PSA Lone Star Circle of Champions Tournament in Murphy. Decatur played Allen, Prosper and Sachse in pool play. Allen is ranked fourth in 6A. Prosper was previously in the 5A poll.

“It’s probably one of the toughest tournaments in the United States, with the top 28 teams in the state,” said Decatur coach Claire Benedict-Gay.

With the tough teams on the schedule and three straight tournaments – the Adidas Texas Volleyball Invitational, Northwest ISD and now the Circle of Champions – Benedict-Gay knows it’s been a challenging few weeks.

“It’s been extremely humbling to play against the best of the best,” she explained. “When we put three tournaments in the first weeks of the season, we knew it’d be tough. It wears on you. Our starters get a lot more swings than the teams we are playing. We lost a match at Pearland because ran out of subs. Playing the big schools, numbers come into play.”

Because of the hectic schedule and a few nicks and bruises, Monday was the Lady Eagles’ first practice with all 12 players available, according to Benedict-Gay. After this weekend’s tournament, Decatur will settle into a normal schedule, playing twice per week.

“After this, it slows down,” Benedict-Gay said.

But the schedule doesn’t get any easier with matches against Fossil Ridge, Keller Chisholm Trail, Denton Ryan and Coppell coming up. The Lady Eagles will close non-district with anticipated showdowns with Abilene Wylie and Argyle at home Sept. 19 and 23.

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Sarah Gregg and Bill Vaughan

Sarah Gregg, daughter of Kerry and Carla Gregg of Decatur, will marry Bill Vaughan, son of Norman and Tracy Vaughan of Bowie, Sept. 13, 2014, in Decatur.


Sarah Gregg and Bill Vaughan

Norman Vaughan, father of the groom, will officiate.

The bride-elect graduated from Decatur High School and earned a degree in occupational therapy from Weatherford College. She works as a certified occupational therapist assistant (COTA) for Rehab Synergies.

The prospective groom graduated from Alvord High School and earned a degree in finance from Midwestern State University. He works for Bulldog Drilling LLC.

Posted in Weddings1 Comment

Perry’s conduct tough to defend

I would like to respond to the nonsensical defense of Texas Gov. Rick Perry by the Parker County Republican Party chair, Zan Prince (Letters, “Governor was just exercising his authority,” Aug. 20).

Little by little, small pieces of information continue to come to light regarding the possible guilt of our governor. Since his indictment, we have learned from Rick Perry that his vetoing public funding to the Travis County Public Integrity Unit was simply a matter of defending his high moral standards – that as a public official he was only doing what was best for the citizens and that the Travis County DA, convicted of DWI, would have to resign immediately in order to restore public trust in this duly elected office.

That’s what Prince was also saying, so I can’t help but wonder, where was the outrage from Rick Perry in 2009, when the Kaufman County DA was convicted of DWI? Not a peep was heard from Perry when the Swisher County DA was also convicted of the same offense. Could that be because these two district attorneys were Republicans?

In May, the Dallas Morning News asked Perry directly if he was involved at all with the DWI case, and twice he denied it, before stepping onto an elevator, stopping the line of questioning. This is something we now know to be false by his own admission.

The Austin American Statesman recently reported and confirmed that Austin defense attorney Mindy Montford was personally called, on her cell phone, by Rick Perry and offered the job of Travis County district attorney upon the current DA’s attempted forced resignation – prior to his veto.

It was a planned attack to kill the Public Integrity Unit, which at that time was investigating and convicting some of Perry’s largest campaign donors. What is so hard to understand? Rick Perry has veto power, but what he isn’t allowed to do is lie to the public and abuse his power.

Ms. Prince may live to regret her opprobrious and impetuous defense of her chosen leader. It is better to be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.

Tracy Smith

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tracy Smith is chair of the Wise County Democratic Party.

Posted in Letters to the Editor4 Comments

Lois Katherine Golike

Lois Katherine Golike

Lois Katherine Golike, 87, died Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, in Decatur.

A public memorial service to celebrate her life will be 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, in the parlor of the First Baptist Church of Decatur.

Lois was born Feb. 21, 1927, to the Rev. Claude and Katherine Hawkey in Waterloo, N.Y., where Rev. Hawkey pastored the Waterloo Baptist Church. The family later moved to Michigan where the Rev. Hawkey pastored other churches, and Lois enjoyed visits to her grandparents’ farm, a place she remembered with great fondness throughout her life.

In high school, Lois participated in swimming and music clubs and assembled electric motors for wartime demand, earning money for college. After graduating from Owosso High School in 1945, she attended Northwestern Bible College in Minneapolis. As part of a summer ministry team, she traveled to the Colorado mountains to teach Vacation Bible School. While in college, Lois met her future husband, and she was married to Charles (Chuck) Golike June 15, 1948, in Alton, Ill.

Lois was a strong believer in Christ. She enjoyed singing in church and community choirs and was often called upon as a soloist. Her children and many others benefited from her involvement in children’s ministries and teaching as they grew up attending Evangelical Free Church near Princeton, Minn., where Chuck and Lois owned a small farm. She also sang on Chuck’s Christian radio show when the family moved to Grand Junction, Colo.

Through relocations to Nevada and Texas, Lois’ faith enabled her to create a home, find friends, change occupations and invest in the lives of others wherever she and Chuck lived. She enjoyed membership and activities with the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and took up oil painting later in life, earning a novice blue ribbon at the North Central Texas College Art Show in Gainesville.

Lois’ husband, Charles Golike, died Jan. 23, 2014, in Decatur. She was also preceded in death by her sister, Ruth Esther Havens; and brothers Paul and Joseph Hawkey.

Lois is survived by their three children and their spouses, Daniel and wife, Terri, Gaile Thulson and husband, Mark, and Kevin and wife, Gloria; six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

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Charles Roland Sims

Charles Roland Sims

Charles Roland Sims, 89, a retired welder for American Manufacturing of Texas, died Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, in Decatur.

Funeral was Aug. 23 at First Baptist Church in Newark with Pastor Alan Six officiating. Burial followed at Dido Cemetery.

Pallbearers were Chris Gailbreath, Gentry Barnes, James Edgemon, Frank Owen, Gene Davis, Burt Lamkin, Cokey Kelley and James Newman. Honorary pallbearers were Arling Sims, Harold Dean Sims, Donald Sims, Jack Sims, James Curtis and Bill Ervin.

Charles was born July 14, 1925, in New Edinburg, Ark., to Samuel and Percilla (Langford) Sims. He served in the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific, then served in the U.S. Army, earning 10 ribbons and five medal stars. Charles also served as a police officer for 10 years.

He married Pearl Edwards Oct. 31, 1966.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Pearl; daughter Charlotte Lynn Sims; brothers Johnny Edgar, Samuel (Huckleberry) Alfred, and Lester, Vester, Lewis, Grover, C.V. and Joseph Sims; and sisters Cathlene Sims and Maxine Sims Miller.

He is survived by his sons, Charles Ray Sims and wife, Julie, of Malvern, Ark., Michael Sims and wife, Linda, of Poyen, Ark., Larry Williams of North Richland Hills and Tim Williams of Paradise; daughters Rita Sims Gailbreath and husband, Gary, of Newark, Elaine Cohen and husband, Jerry, of Fort Worth, and Sherry Hamilton and husband, Robert, of Haltom City; 14 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; brothers Arling Sims of Florida and Harold Dean Sims of Kingsland, Ark.; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

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Kylan Elijah Dooley

Bethany Cobb and Kenneth Dooley III of Decatur announce the birth of a son, Kylan Elijah Dooley, on Aug. 21, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 8 pounds, 6 ounces and was 18 3/4 inches long.

Grandparents are Karen and Cecil Dawson of Decatur, Donna Cobb of Paradise, Terraine Dooley and Steve C. Kirke of Tennessee, and Kenneth Edward Dooley Jr. of South Carolina.

Great-grandparents are Mary Jo Ann and Phillip Page of Springtown, Lorraine McHale of Tennessee and Dotty Dooley of Georgia.

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Layna Mae Taylor

Meghan and Barry Taylor of Decatur announce the birth of a daughter, Layna Mae, on Aug. 14, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces and was 18 3/4 inches long.

Grandparents are Dave and Elaine Jackson of Greenwood, Jerry and Melissa Taylor of Decatur and George and Kristin McLaughlin of Amelia, Va.

Great-grandparents are Nadine Mara of Boyd, Rodney Mote of Greenwood, Nancy Leith of Weatherford and Kathy Spivey of Murrels Inlet, S.C.

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Hot time on the trail

Shelter from the Sun

SHELTER FROM THE SUN – The bleachers provided much needed shade last weekend at the Chisholm Trail Days Rodeo at the Wise County Fairgrounds in Decatur. Cowboys and cowgirls braved 100-degree temperatures to compete in the annual event. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Cowgirls Wear TuTus

COWGIRLS WEAR TUTUS – Addie Denton, 18 months, of Cottondale is decked out in a tutu and boots for Thursday’s slack at the Wise County Fairgrounds in Decatur. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Intense Ride

INTENSE RIDE – Wade Jackson shows true grit as he holds on for a 75 in Saturday’s performance of the Chisholm Trail Days Rodeo in Decatur. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The Race is On

THE RACE IS ON – Davis King of Decatur runs hard in the barrel race at Thursday’s rodeo slack at the Wise County Fairgrounds in Decatur. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Down for the Count

DOWN FOR THE COUNT – Chad McGavin took down his steer in 6.2 seconds, and both were momentarily grounded after the run. The steer was uninjured. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

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Decatur P&Z gets more direction on sidewalk rules

It’s not black-and-white, but Planning and Zoning Commission chairman Davey Edwards did get some direction from the Decatur City Council Monday evening on the issue of sidewalks, curbs and gutters.

Exceptions are rare.

Common sense is the key.

City ordinance requires that whenever a house is built or a piece of property is developed, curbs, gutters and sidewalks must be installed, or property owners must deposit the money to build them with the city, so they can be done the next time the street is upgraded.

“Granting variances is as much art as it is science,” City Attorney Mason Woodruff said. “You first try to look at the ordinance, but sometimes it’s a round peg and it just won’t fit in a square hole. You’ve got to use common sense.

“It’s not possible to write guidelines that will account for every possible situation. That’s why you have people on the commission who have good judgment, good sense and some experience with properties.”

P&Z had two requests on the council’s agenda Monday. One asked “how best to proceed” when citizens request variances to the ordinance. The other asked how the funds are handled when citizens escrow the money with the city.

“We are seeing a lot more [variance requests] over the last year-and-a-half,” Edwards said. “We still want to do it black-and-white – here’s the ordinance. We want them to understand that we’re held to the ordinance.

“I guess we just want the council to say, ‘You’re OK, you’re doing a good job.’ It makes us feel better.”

The consensus was that P&Z is doing its job – and once in a while, that may mean granting a variance.


That’s exactly what the council did Monday, approving the P&Z’s unanimous recommendation that property owner Stephen Eckert not be required to install just over 95 feet of sidewalk along Miller Street as he re-plats and develops a property at 300 Shoemaker.

The Miller Street side is well above street level and has an old stone retaining wall that would have to come out. The project would likely cost around $25,000, City Engineer Earl Smith said.

That would be the city’s expense, since the wall is in the city’s right-of-way.

“It’s not much different from the original owner putting in curb, gutter and sidewalk,” Mason Woodruff said. “From that point forward it’s our problem.”

Cary Bohn said it was the first time he’d seen the city grant a variance since he’s been on the council.

“I’ve seen the council before just follow a straight line on it,” he said. “Usually when we deny these, the big issue is safety – so I guess what we’re saying here is, this a big enough expense, a big enough burden, to not put in a sidewalk.

“I know we can’t quantify it completely, but it’s a healthy discussion to have.”

In general, Mayor Martin Woodruff said there are no written guidelines other than the ordinance itself.

“My judgement would be that the ordinance needs to be followed at all times, unless there is an unusual situation where the commission can be convinced that not enforcing the standards would be appropriate,” he said.

Planning Director Dedra Ragland brought in a chart showing all the variance requests back through 2007. In those seven years, including this year so far, the council has fielded 36 requests. Twenty-five have been approved – seven in the city’s ETJ and 17 along state highways (one was both).

Until Monday, only two had been approved that did not fit one of those categories – both in 2007.


The P&Z also wanted to know how the city handles escrowed funds. Edwards got a clear answer.

The city deposits those funds into its street improvement account and keeps track of whose money is in there, and how much. That money is earmarked for that specific project. Going forward, the city will also create a liability entry on its books, making it clear that the escrowed money does not belong to the city.

“We treat it like a water deposit, because it’s really not our money,” City Manager Brett Shannon said. “Regarding the question of somebody paying in escrow and it being used somewhere else, that’s never happened. That violates the whole spirit of escrowing funds.”

Shannon said the record includes not only the property owner’s name, but the legal description of the property. The funds are attached to the property itself.

“Whenever we do the project, we use that money,” he said. “That’s what we did on Deer Park [which was paved over the summer]. We knew we had Crossroads Church escrowed, so when we re-did the street we put in the curb and gutter.”

If a resident escrows the funds, then decides to do the project himself, he can get the funds back and build his own sidewalk.

“I think a lot of the public that comes in and they’re asking for that variance, that’s their concern – ‘If I’m going to do that, where does it go?’” Edwards said. “I think if they understood that it does go to improving their lot, they’d be more willing to take that option.”


With Public Works Director Earl Smith leaving at the end of the month, Decatur city officials were already planning to meet with engineer Jeff James at the Fort Worth firm Kimley-Horn next week. In the absence of their staff engineer, it’s likely they will look more to Kimley-Horn until a successor is found.

Now, water line breaks will be on the agenda.

Decatur crews repaired a break Aug. 12 in the 20-inch PVC water transmission line that brings raw water from Lake Bridgeport into the city’s treatment plant. It was the latest of “three or four” breaks in the last six months – in a line that is less than 10 years old.

“It seems like this raw water line has given us more problems than normal, for whatever reason, this summer,” City Manager Brett Shannon said Tuesday. “Until this last one, it was concentrated in one general area. This one was quite a bit farther west.”

Shannon said he and Smith are investigating to see where the breaks have been. The line was installed in phases and may have been put in by different contractors.

Although the city has funds built into the budget for these types of repairs, they are getting expensive.

“Most of the time, we’ve had to bring in an outside contractor with a big track hoe, just to dig it up,” he said. “It’s a big pipe, and it’s 10 or 12 feet deep in some places.

“Typically, it costs around $10,000 – not including my men’s labor,” he added. “It’s more than a slight nuisance.”

So far, the city’s water supply has not been affected – in fact, water users likely never noticed, since the city’s storage tanks were full and the plant was back up and running before they emptied.

Some of the breaks can be fixed in four or five hours, he noted, while others take 10 or 12. The recent one was fixed and covered up when workers realized they had gotten a bad clamp and had to dig it up again. The whole process took more like 20 hours.

Shannon said they’ll be asking James to look into the process, providing him with photos and other information.

“We want to have the discussion with Jeff, tell him here’s what we’re finding when we get these breaks,” he said. “Whether it’s the soil, bad pipe or whatever it is – we’d like for them to stop.”

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Woodall finds new home with a familiar mentor

One of Decatur High School’s newest teachers, Meghan Woodall, has only been in Wise County for a couple of months, but it already feels like home.

Although she graduated with a master’s degree in agriculture education in 2010, she didn’t start her teaching career until Monday after working at stock shows for the past several years. Woodall said she was waiting for the right opportunity to come along – namely, an ag teaching position at DHS.

Not only would it give her a chance to work with a successful ag program, she also gets to work with her mentor and former high school ag teacher, Jim Allsup.

Looking to the Future

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE – New ag teacher Meghan Woodall gives her classes a tour of Decatur High School’s ag facility during the first day of classes Monday. The tour included the new barn under construction, which is scheduled to be completed around the end of October. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

As a freshman at Calallen High School in Corpus Christi, Woodall was a student in Allsup’s intro to ag class. She also worked with him through FFA both her freshman and sophomore years before Allsup left Calallen for a job in Decatur.

She now finds herself teaching the very class Allsup once taught her.

After graduating high school in 2005, Woodall attended Texas A&M University. It was there that the mentorship between the two really began.

“Throughout college, he was my right-hand man to call on,” Woodall said, adding that she’d often email him to get his feedback on projects she was working on.

After college, Woodall began an internship in the livestock office of the San Antonio Stock Show, and that led to a full-time position in the horse show. Allsup would introduce her to Decatur FFA students when they would attend the show. It gave Woodall the opportunity to see both the success of the program and how much support it received from the community.

Those factors, plus Decatur’s rural atmosphere, drew her to her new home.

“The city life might be for some people, but I grew up in a suburban-type area outside of Corpus, so I wanted a more rural environment,” she said. “The interactions and the connections are a little bit different when you are in a smaller town.

“Definitely the success Mr. Allsup has seen inspired me, and then just knowing how much the community wraps around the program, that’s important as an ag teacher to have that support.”

Her interaction with students participating in area leadership camp this summer gave her even more peace of mind that she had found the right place.

“To get to meet the kids and see the kids take on their leadership roles and working as a team, that was really inspiring to me,” she said. “It also kind of reinforced that Decatur was where I wanted to be and needed to be.”

Allsup said he’s wanted to teach with his former student for a long time.

“When I called her and said Decatur has an opening, she turned around 30 minutes later and said she had her application in,” Allsup said.

He believes her experience working in the industry will bring a level of expertise to the ag program, which includes teacher Joey Brooke in addition to Woodall and Allsup.

The trio should make a good team, Woodall said.

“Mr. Brooke is our shop and ag mechanics guru, Mr. Allsup is the horticulture guy for sure, and then my background is in animal science,” she said.

After 25 years of teaching, Allsup knows not all of his students will enter an agriculture-related career, but they can all learn important lessons nonetheless.

“If they can come in here and learn about leadership and work ethic, then we’ve done our job,” he said.

As of this school year, he can witness firsthand how those lessons students learned in high school can carry into their careers.

And he’ll still be there to offer any advice to his former student and fellow teacher.

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Wheelchair athlete brings home gold medals

Last year, Decatur resident Laura Jeanne went to Tampa, Fla. to compete as a novice in the 33rd National Veterans Wheelchair Games. Last week, the competition was in Philadelphia.

Jeanne medaled in all five events she entered – including archery.

Gold Silver and Guns

GOLD, SILVER AND GUNS – Laura Jeanne poses at her home with her three gold medals, two silver medals and her air pistol. Jeanne won gold in the air pistol, archery and bowling events and silver in the air rifle and javelin events last week at the 34th annual Veterans Wheelchair Games. Messenger Photo by Jake Harris

“Archery was awesome,” Jeanne said. “I was the only one in my class, but I got a score of 528, and a perfect score is 720. Last year, I only got a 325. So, I’m proud of that improvement.”

Jeanne, a former Army helicopter pilot and Texas State Guard member who fought in Desert Storm, was confined to a wheelchair in 2009 after a horse training accident paralyzed her from the waist down.

But it hasn’t slowed her down.

In addition to archery, Jeanne got gold medals in bowling, carding a 309 over three games, and air pistol – an event offered for the first time at the 34th Games.

“That was the best I’ve ever bowled in my life,” Jeanne said.

She also took silver in air rifle and javelin.

Archery is Jeanne’s favorite event. She even has a range set up on her property so that she can shoot her bow and arrow at home.

“This time of year I get up at dawn to go train,” she said. “It’s too hot in the afternoons.”

Jeane’s pistol shooting also improved at this year’s games. It was an event she had never entered before.

“I almost dropped out of it because I was doing horrible in training when we left, and this was the first year they were offering it, and none of us knew anything about it,” Jeanne said.

Her coach told her to try anyway, and had her practice on air rifle targets, which are smaller than air pistol targets. That ended up working to Jeanne’s advantage when she won the gold medal in that event.

“Last year I didn’t have any competition because I was a novice. This year I had competition, so I’m prouder of the medals,” Jeanne said.

Her coach and recreational therapist, Donna Geron, is also glowing from the wins.

“For her to do this well this year, I’m real proud of her,” Geron said.

Geron, who coaches Jeanne in air rifle, air pistol and bowling, said they started training at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth two months before the games.

“They’ve been really accommodating over there to let us use their facilities to train,” Geron said.

Jeanne doesn’t start training for the 35th games until next May, but she’ll stay busy practicing bowling and perfecting her other skills on her own.

She’s also preparing for the Valor Games this October in San Antonio – an event held four times a year and open for any veteran or public service employee with a disability.

“They let in active duty, veterans, public service officials, anyone like that who suffers from an injury,” Jeanne said. “And it doesn’t have to be physical. It could be PTSD, amputees, anything like that. It’s not just wheelchair games.”

The Veterans Wheelchair Games is put on annually by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Paralyzed Veterans of America. The Valor Games are run by the VA and Paralyzed Veterans of America.

Jeanne said she would eventually like to enter archery competitions that aren’t just restricted to wheelchair athletes.

“I want to find stuff that’s outside the VA, something around here, to keep me busy,” Jeanne said.

Jeanne uses the donation money in a VA fund in order to attend the Wheelchair Games. Next year, they will be held in Dallas, so she doesn’t expect costs to be too high – she only has to pay for a hotel.

She said she anticipates each new Wheelchair Games like she anticipates Christmas – excitement that the day will come, then relief when it’s over, especially when the event is held in a big city like Philadelphia.

“You have to wait a whole year for something so big that you’re so excited for, but at the end, you wouldn’t want it more than once a year, because it’s such a big event,” Jeanne said. “I like it here – it’s quiet. I don’t know how people live in the city.”

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Decatur to hold budget hearing

The public will have a chance to learn details and offer feedback on the 2014-2015 school year budget at Decatur Wednesday.

The school district will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget and tax rate at a meeting 5:30 p.m. Aug. 27 at the DISD Administration Building, 307 S. Cates St. Following the hearing, the board will vote to adopt the budget and tax rate.

The district is proposing a total tax rate of $1.29 per $100 valuation for the 2014-2015 school year. That includes a $1.04 maintenance and operations tax rate and $0.25 for debt service. It represents a one-cent decrease from the current year’s tax rate.

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Singer earns top album recognition

In the world of gospel music, Joy Roberts of Decatur is no stranger to awards.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR – Joy Roberts of Decatur picked up the Album of the Year award for her CD, “Choices” at the recent ICGMA awards ceremony in West Plains, Mo. Submitted photo

In 2012 she earned the International Country Gospel Music Association’s Horizon award as its most promising rising star. Last year she was named the ICGMA’s Female Vocalist of the Year.

So what was left for this year? How about Album of the Year?

That’s the award Roberts captured at the group’s annual three-day music event Aug. 7-9 in West Plains, Mo.

The album, titled “Choices,” was recorded in January in Nashville. One song off the album, “Straight and Narrow,” was released in June to 1,000 radio stations nationwide. It debuted at No. 44 on the Nashville Power Source chart and has since climbed to No. 15.

Roberts was honored at the 58th annual celebration of the ICGMA at the West Plains Civic Center. Three days of comedy and music culminates in the awards ceremony.

Joy’s roots in gospel and country music are deep. She grew up singing at family gatherings and church while perfecting her horsemanship. As a young wife and mother, she was invited to the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo to compete in the “Ranch Girls Barrel Race” for 16 years.

After losing her children’s father when they were 9 and 7, she spent the next several years trying to provide all she could to help them through various school and sports activities. They both went to college on rodeo scholarships.

In the meantime, she met and married Cotton Roberts, who helped with her daughters’ rodeo activities. For years, Cotton and Joy ministered at roping events, bull ridings, churches and any other place they could. Now they own and operate two businesses in Decatur – New Frontier Insurance and Cowgirl Auto Sales.

In addition to solo appearances, Roberts also sings with Texas Praise and is a regular on “The Little Branson Show” at the Decatur Civic Center.

Her CDs are available at David’s Western Wear as well as on her website,

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Football: Eagles eager for opener

Football: Eagles eager for opener

After a month of practices and two scrimmages, the Decatur Eagles will tee up the football for real Friday night.

The Eagles open the era under new head coach Mike Fuller at Springtown at 7:30 p.m.

Ready for Debut

READY FOR DEBUT – Justin Myers throws a pass against Princeton. The senior will start at quarterback against Springtown for the first time. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Decatur, coming off a 9-4 season that included a trip to the third round of the playoffs, wants to get off on the right foot against the Porcupines.

“This is important. It sets the tempo for how the rest of the season is going to go,” said Decatur senior center Jacob Hartsell.

Fuller, who enters the season with a record of 109-49 in 14 seasons split at Coppell and Colleyville Heritage, longs for a win to start his Decatur tenure. But he is also keeping the game in perspective.

“We want to try to win. But we don’t want to put too much stock in this first game,” Fuller said. “You do everything you can to win it, but we’re hoping to build and improve by the time we get to that first district game.”

Over the past month, Fuller has seen steady growth on both sides of the ball. The Eagles took a big leap forward between their first scrimmage against Kennedale and Thursday’s showing against Princeton.

But Fuller is quick to point out that there is still plenty of room for improvement.

“Three weeks in, obviously you wouldn’t expect us to be where we’ll be in weeks five or six,” Fuller said. “I have a good feel for what the guys can do.”

Offensively, the Eagles head into the opener unsettled up front after the loss of guard Rickey Roberts for the season. Graham Cowdrey and Terry Hogan are working at the spot.

“The offensive line is having to cope and guys are stepping up,” Hartsell said. “It hurts, but we’re going to overcome it.”

Justin Myers will make his first start at quarterback for the Eagles and will be throwing to a completely new set of receivers that include Ryan Durdon, Payton McAlister and Gunnar Parker.

“We’re coming together,” Durdon said. “We have things we need to fix, but the effort is there.”

Defensively, the Eagles will be tested by Springtown and its pair of big-play threats – running back Ryan Snow, who ran for 1,154 yards last year, and receiver Dillon Springfield, who also might line up at quarterback.

Springfield, who had 681 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns in 2013, has shared time at quarterback with Caleb Chesney and Tyler Hickman this fall.

“No matter where [Springfield] plays, he’s scary,” Fuller said.


7:30 p.m. at Porcupine Stadium

Decatur: Harris Rating 212

Notable: Eagles play first game under new coach Mike Fuller.

Springtown: Harris Rating 198

Notable: The Porcupines went 6-6 last year and made the area round of playoffs.

Harris line: Decatur by 11

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Volleyball: Lady Eagles take second at NISD

Playing larger 5A and 6A schools, the 4A Decatur Lady Eagles went 6-2 over the weekend at the Northwest ISD Tournament.

The strong showing was not enough to keep the defending state champion atop the 4A rankings. Decatur (13-6) fell to second in the Texas Girls Coaches Association poll released Monday. Bushland ascended to the top of the rankings.

Decatur brought home second in the silver bracket of the event after a loss to Rockwall Heath Saturday, 25-19, 25-12.

The Lady Eagles beat Frisco Wakeland, 25-18, 25-23, and Midway 23-25, 25-21, 25-17, to reach the bracket final.

A tight 25-21, 20-25, 25-23 loss Friday to Prosper sent Decatur to the silver bracket.

Decatur started the tournament with four straight wins. The Lady Eagles beat Hereford, 25-18, 20-25, 25-13. The Lady Eagles swept Birdville 25-18, 25-16, and Lamar 25-20, 25-20.

Caroline Lowery put down 81 kills over the course of the tournament. Makayla Mayfield recorded 67 kills, and Cooper Martin 50.

Setter Stormi Leonard doled out 194 assists.

Maclaine Lowery and Mayfield served up six aces each. Courtnie Roberts and Caroline Lowery recorded five aces.

Defensively, Mayfield made 82 digs. Caroline Lowery had 74, and Leonard 62.

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Cross Country: Decatur runners win 5A titles at Friday Night Invite

The Decatur boys and girls cross country teams opened the season with victories at the Friday Night Hawk Invitational.

“It was a great night,” said Decatur coach David Park. “Everyone competed well.”

Jessica Kyle held off teammate Georgina Palomo to win the 5A race and lead the Lady Eagles to the division title. Kyle finished the two-mile course in 12:31. Palomo was second in 12:34.

The Decatur girls placed six runners in the top 10. Paolo Palomo ran 13:01 for fifth place. Elizabeth Culpepper finished seventh in 13:07. Nicole Neighbors ran 13:11 for eighth. Lluvia Ramos took ninth in 13:14.

Hope Fuller came in 12th in 13:46, and Nancy Torres 14th in 14:02.

For the Decatur boys, Parker Cullop finished second in 10:42 on the two-mile course to lead the Eagles to victory. Tyler Wilson took sixth in 11:17. Hunter Helm crossed the finish line in 11:49. Charles Doubrava came in 11th in 11:52. Bryse Hoyt ran 11:157 for 12th.

Joaquin Aldape took 16th in 12:02, Wyatt Allsbrooks 22nd in 12:21, and Cason Lowe 30th in 12:41.

“That’s how we’ve got to run. We’ve got to run tight,” Park said.

Decatur will head to Denton’s North Lakes Park Saturday to run in the tough Marcus I Invitational.

“It’s the toughest competition we’ll see all year,” Park said. “You go out and see where you’re at.”

The Decatur girls will run in the 6A 5K race. The Decatur boys will also compete in the 5K in the 6A division.

The races start at 7 a.m.

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Frankie Louise Douglas

Frankie Louise Douglas

Frankie Louise Douglas, 89, of Decatur, died Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, surrounded by all her girls.

Graveside service is 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27, at Gooseneck Cemetery in Graham.

Frankie was born June 16, 1925, in Bunger, to Gertrude and Frank Sharp. She married Billy Bob Douglas Feb. 25, 1950, in Bunger. She attended the Church of Christ.

She was preceded in death by her parents; sisters Nola Sharp, Marie Steadham and Mary Dell Crosthwait; and her husband, who died in 2008.

She is survived by her daughters and beloved sons-in-law Janet Fiel and husband, Larry, Julie McDonald and husband, Jim, Jackie Irick and husband, J.W., and Jerri Wilson and Alton Hendrickson; grandchildren Jeannie, Jodi, Mark, Kevin, Matt, Bonnie and Robert; great-grandchildren Kiran, Talya, Ian, Luke, Cohen, Landry, Charlotte and Sophie; and close friend of the family, Pablo Rivas.

Memorials may be made to the charity of your choice.

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