Students head to the big show

Students head to the big show

Paradise agriculture students are prepping for one of the biggest and oldest livestock shows in Texas – one that brings huge crowds, and sometimes bitter cold.

The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo has been a tradition for 118 years and promises a chance at big money for kids in grades 3-12. The show starts Jan. 16 and lasts until Feb. 7.

Ready to Win

READY TO WIN – Shelby Bradshaw (left), Reagan Taylor and Ray Edwards are among more than 40 Paradise agriculture students who will converge on the Fort Worth Stock Show in January, showing animals and vying for auction dollars as well as competing in ag mechanics and judging. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

It isn’t for the faint of heart. Paradise ag teacher Steven Bradshaw said the time commitment and discipline required for shows like Fort Worth’s are huge – but so can be the payoff.

Bradshaw will take more than 40 students back and forth as they show rabbits, cattle, sheep, goats and pigs, as well as ag mechanic and judging teams. The stock show ends with the coveted sales week where students vie for dollars. Bradshaw has had students earn from a couple hundred bucks to $20,000 from the auction.

STAYING WARM – The Fort Worth Stock show’s cold weather can be difficult for students showing swine, requiring more maintenance and attention. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Three such students are Reagan Taylor, Ray Edwards and Bradshaw’s daughter, Shelby. Taylor is taking heifers, and Edwards is showing steers, while Shelby Bradshaw will show swine. Each will compete against dozens of other students in their breed’s class.

For these students, taking part in the stock show is more than just a school project. It’s a family affair – a way of life that’s full of experiences.

“I got into it when I was 6 years old,” Taylor said. “It was a family thing. My grandparents raised cattle. I’m a part of the Texas Junior Limousin Association and that brought me to the Fort Worth Stock Show. I’ve met so many different people from that show that I’ll be friends with for the rest of my life.”

She said the sheer number of people at the Fort Worth show can be staggering – something Shelby said can be frustrating when trying to get to the arena.

“It is a challenge getting through the barns and getting around everyone,” Shelby said. “There are people all around, and the area isn’t that big. It is very difficult to get folks to move because they don’t realize pigs are coming through. Sometimes [the pigs] freak out, and it takes 20 minutes to get to the ring.

“After you do it for five or six years, you get used to it and learn how to lead them in.”

Unlike some species, big shows like the one in Fort Worth are the end of the line for pigs. It’s called terminal because bringing swine back to the herd after being around so many others can be a health hazard.

Showing pigs also requires handlers to lead them in using a stick and no other devices like halters for cattle. This means she has to train many pigs daily.

“Right now we have 13 pigs on feed. We have shown at Houston, San Antonio and will show at county and Fort Worth,” Shelby Bradshaw said. “It’s very difficult. You have to walk them every day with a stick. You have to teach them that this tap means right and this tap means left and this one means go. Eventually, they learn because they are really smart.”

She has been showing since she was 5. Her dad had an obvious influence, as did it her brother, Zack, now a county agricultural extension agent in Brownfield.

She said her first experiences at the Fort Worth Stock Show were a bit intimidating.

“The first time I competed in Fort Worth I got 19th, and it was really scary because I was really little,” Shelby said.

She said the scariness is long gone. Now the only thing she dreads is the cold. Pigs don’t like the cold. She said cold weather means constantly changing bedding and keeping heat lamps on. Since her dad is the ag teacher, it mean working with other animals, too.

“I remember a couple years ago when just my dad and I were hauling everyone’s pigs down to Fort Worth because there was an ice storm,” she said. “That week presented other problems as people couldn’t get there to help with their animals.”

Taylor said cattle can actually benefit from the cold weather.

“The cold doesn’t affect them too badly,” she noted. “It helps because they get fluffier. It’s just hard on us. Sometimes you have to grit your teeth and take the gloves off and get your hands wet.”

This is Taylor and Shelby’s senior year and their last trip to Fort Worth. They’ll still show through the summer, but that’s the end of the line. Edwards still has about five years left to show. He admits it’s a lot of work and fun.

“I’ve been showing for four years, so this year will be my fifth,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to going because it’s a lot of fun. You get to meet interesting people, and I want to kick everyone’s butt with my steers.

“I always smile and do my best not to lose my temper with my animal. These are very large animals and have a mind of their own,” he said. “They can fight you for nearly everything you do. Currently, the biggest one I have is about 1,300 pounds, and I weigh 95 pounds soaking wet.”

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Tough enough to cheer: Cheerleaders compete, look forward to new UIL status

Smiles, bruises and sore muscles define what was once considered a sideline activity, but now is entering the field as a fully-vetted University Interscholastic League sport – cheerleading.

The girls practicing routines and doing stunts always knew what it took. They’re happy it’s finally getting the recognition it deserves.

Ready to Compete

READY TO COMPETE – The Paradise High School cheer team placed second in the Celebration Christmas Classic Dec. 14 at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland. Cheerleading has been added to the list of official UIL sports for 2015. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

UIL recently decided to add game-day cheer as a school sport. Starting in the 2015 school year, it will be governed like other middle and high school athletics and will include a state championship.

While UIL competition is still several months away, the Paradise Panthers have already tested their mettle against the best area schools have to offer. The holiday season brought an element of competition at the Dec. 14 Spirit Celebration Christmas Classic at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland – a cheer competition that also collects toys for children.

The PHS cheer team placed second in the advanced high school division and was awarded best themed routine. Cheer team sponsor Leanna Thomas said it was the team’s first competition in a couple of years.

“I think [competition] is a good experience,” Thomas said. “It may be a once-in-a-lifetime thing for some of these girls. They’ve wanted to go to a real competition for a long time.”

She said the girls had prepared a 2-1/2 minute routine just for the classic – the sixth routine they’ve learned this year. Head cheerleader Makeala Beck said each routine takes weeks of practice.

“Cheer doesn’t end with football season,” Beck said.

The girls cheer during basketball games and other school events.

Like other team sports, cheerleading has its own dangers.

“During football season, we catch some passes on the sidelines, but during basketball season, we have to run to get out of the way more often,” Beck said. “We are more sore than many athletes ever are. I’d like to see them do this full-out, once, and see what they have to say.

“Just this week we’ve had teeth knocked out. We’ve had broken noses and cut faces.”

Beck received a plaque for her outstanding performance at the classic. She was one of 15 selected for the honor out of 4,000. Beck said she’s upset she won’t get to compete next year in UIL, because she’s a senior.

“We tell everybody that cheer is a sport,” Beck said. “Next year we get to prove that.”

It’s a sport that requires daily commitment and years of practice during the school year and summer.

Thomas said they have some time to work on routines in class, but the rest of their much-need practice time has to be squeezed in between extracurriculars and other sports in which the girls paricipate.

“We can only practice one day a week and we get in what we can,” Thomas said.

Haley Horne has been cheering for five years, and Taylor Phelps has been at it since she was 2. Both girls said they have to work hard to fit cheering into their already busy schedule but think cheering is well worth it.

“I used to do gymnastics, then when I was in junior high, cheer tryouts came up. I was like ‘Mom I want to do this!’ I jumped into it,” Horne said. “It takes a lot of time. You have to figure out what time you can do cheer then do stunt classes or tumbling classes. You have to work around that.”

Phelps said her mom was a cheerleader and that got her into the sport early.

“We did mommy-and-me classes when I was 2,” she said. “I went on from there and I did competition cheer until seventh grade. Then I made school cheer.”

Phelps and Horne both hope to cheer in college.

Thomas took 14 cheerleaders and one mascot to competition. Out of them, 10 will have a chance to return in 2015. Each cheerleader has three years of eligibility and has to pass a rigorous summer tryout judged by NCAA officials to join PHS cheer.

Thomas said she still hasn’t found out what the official parameters of the UIL competition will be, but she’s confident about her girls’ chances. She said their work ethic and camaraderie are strong.

“They are really a great group. Usually there is bickering and stuff, but there hasn’t been any. Everybody has different suggestions, and we work through it,” Thomas said. “Sometimes we vote on different things. Sometimes they get mad, but they get over it.

“This is the first year I’ve had a group that doesn’t fuss,” she added. “They work it out.”

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Paradise Student Spotlights for Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Paradise Elementary School


Thomas Bennington

Grade: 3rd

Parents: Ben and Karri Bennington

Favorite subject: Science

Activities: He loves to test and experiment with new ideas, work on old cars and loves anything to do with Texas A&M.

Why this student was chosen: “He represented our campus in three events for UIL. He placed in all and won two. He always has reputable character and is a great leader on our campus.” – Principal Robyn Gibson

Paradise Intermediate School


Kynlee Holt

Grade: 4th

Parents: Gary and Amie Holt

Favorite subject: Math

Activities: Jumping on her trampoline, playing with her cat, and playing basketball.

Why this student was chosen: “Kynlee is a self-motivated student who works hard and always does her best. She dedicates herself to her schoolwork and to the campus recycle team. She gets along with her classmates as well as her teachers. She always has a smile and a kind word for everyone.” – Principal Kristin Gage

Paradise Junior High


Laramie Dearing

Grade: 6th

Parents: Rodney and Venita Dearing

Favorite subject: P.E.

Activities: UIL oral reading, One Act Play and 6th grade vice president.

Activities: Basketball, volleyball, softball, rodeo (breakaway roping, team roping), singing, acting, public speaking, rodeo pageants, babysitting, 4-H, Junior FFA, giving riding lessons to little kids and volunteers at Grace Fellowship Church.

Why this student was chosen: “Laramie can light up any room when she enters. You will always get a smile and a hello from her. She loves to help others whenever she can. Her mission is to lead others by the way she lives her life. She works hard at school while juggling so many extracurricular activities. Her goals in life are to be a singer/actor, professional roper and a lawyer. ” – Principal Greg Fletcher

Paradise High School


Joey Lopez

Grade: 12th

Parents: Joseph and Christie Lopez

Favorite subject: Algebra

Activities: Multi-media projects, Photoshop and other editing programs. He also enjoys visiting with others and making new friends. He is an avid video game player. Joey is an active member of FBC Paradise Youth Group. He assists with social projects such as providing meals at homeless shelters and community outreaches with his youth group.

Why this student was chosen: “It is an honor to have Joey Lopez as a student at Paradise High School. Joey was the master of ceremonies at all pep rallies this school year, and he will announce basketball and softball games. Last school year, Joey handled the sound at graduation. He is responsible for taking down and folding the school flags every day, and he works out of the office 8th period. He is always willing to do what is asked and helps out any way he can.” – Principal Mark Mathis

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Basketball: Slidell moves to 2-0 in district

The 15th-ranked Slidell Lady Greyhounds will head into the Christmas break on top of District 21-A.

The Lady Greyhounds beat Bellevue 61-50 Friday to move to 2-0 in their league and 14-3 overall.

Kayler Talamantes paced the Lady Greyhounds, hitting five 3-pointers and scoring 23 points. Jessy Goode and Caitlin Pruett tossed in 12 points each.

The Lady Greyhounds will be off until Jan. 2 when they return to action against Gold-Burg.

BOYD 51,

The Boyd Lady Yellowjackets bounced back from their rough District 9-3A opener against Bowie with a 51-42 victory over Holliday Friday.

Kenzie Elkins got the Lady Yellowjackets off to a fast start with 13 points in the first quarter. Elkins hit a pair of 3-pointers in the opening frame. She finished with a team-best 17 points.

Lindsey Thorpe added 13 points. Kayleigh Pappajohn and Alissa Gordon chipped in eight points each.


The Paradise Lady Panthers moved to 2-0 in District 9-3A with a pounding of City View Friday, 77-30.

The Lady Panthers are ranked No. 22 in the latest Texas Association of Basketball Coaches 3A poll.


The Northwest Lady Texans picked up their first District 5-6A win Friday, knocking off Keller Central 48-38.

Alexus Brigham led the Lady Texans with 16 points. Maddie Dodgen added nine points.


The Bridgeport Sissies improved to 16-2 Friday with a 76-36 victory over Mineral Wells.

The Sissies played Wichita Falls Rider Monday at the American Airlines Center.

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Basketball: Lady Panthers rally for victory

Behind 24 points from Kaylee McConnell, the Paradise Lady Panthers stormed back from a second-half deficit to pound Jacksboro 67-40 in the District 9-3A opener Tuesday.

Trailing 33-28 with five minutes left in the third quarter, Paradise went on a 19-1 run to end the frame and take a 47-34 lead. The Lady Panthers outscored Jacksboro 20-6 in the fourth quarter to extend their closing run to 39-7.

Courtney Kerr joined McConnell in double figures with 13. Aliyah Read finished with 10 points. Jett Preather had nine and Taylor Richards six.

Paradise took on City View Friday in its final game before the Christmas Break.

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Waylon Eugene Scroggins

Nicole Alley and Marti Wise of Paradise announce the birth of a son, Waylon Eugene Scroggins, on Dec. 17, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 6 pounds 15 1/8 ounces, and was 18 inches long.

He has one brother: Weston Ray Scroggins, 1.

Grandparents are Tommy Alley, Terri Alley and Wanda and Ken Levy.

Great-grandparents are Lonnie Alley and Bobby Richardson.

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Welty joins city council

Chad Welty, associate pastor at the First Baptist Church of Paradise, was appointed Monday night to fill the vacant seat on the Paradise City Council.

Chad Welty

Welty and former council member Chris Harris were the only two nominees for the post, which has been vacant since Bill Schenk opted not to seek re-election in November.

The two candidates responded to several general questions on their backgrounds and skills, put forward by council member Terrie Ward.

Harris said his priorities would be seeing that everyone gets water service, improving the city’s roads and bringing new businesses to town.

“Paradise has a lot to offer, but right now, not many businesses want to come to Paradise,” he said. “We should do everything we can to bring in other businesses and build up the tax base.”

Welty agreed.

“I think providing water, continue exploring options on providing sewer service and making the community more business-friendly would be my priorities,” he said. “Also just listening to the citizens to find what their needs are – like a park – just to make the community a more family-friendly place.”

Harris, who has lived in Paradise 14 years, has been active in coaching youth baseball and serves on the volunteer fire department. He was on the city council for eight years and approached council member Brad Largent about the appointment when the opening came up.

“I’m very familiar with what’s going on in the city,” he said. “Paradise is my home. I want to see good things come to this town.”

Welty said several city council members approached him about seeking the appointment.

“They said there’s a need, an open spot for service here in the community,” he said. “I’ve always thought when a need arises, we ought to be servants to our community. That’s why I showed up here.”

Both men said they would be able to attend meetings on a regular basis, although council member Bob Gayan pointed out that Harris had missed several meetings when he was on the council in the past.

Harris defended his record.

“I’ve sat here when a lot of those seats were empty,” he said. “Things happen. We all have families, people are going to get sick. If you’re going to hold missing a meeting against me, you might want to look to your left and right also.”

When the vote was called, only Largent voted for Harris, while Gayan, Ward and Roy Steel all voted for Welty.

“I’ll do my best to work with you guys and serve the community, until the community decides they don’t want me,” Welty said.

He will be sworn in at the council’s January meeting.


The council held a required public hearing on applying for a Community Development Block Grant through the Texas Department of Agriculture.

City Secretary Teresa Moody reviewed the process, but the discussion eventually turned to water service – and whether the residents in the targeted area even want to go on city water.

Past grants in Paradise, totaling just shy of $1 million, have been used for a water well, water lines, planning and water storage. Moody said a water project is the only one likely to fit the city’s needs.

“Out of the remaining areas of town that do not have water service, probably the most likely to be funded is going to be Old Town,” she said. “It’s a low- to moderate-income area, and there are more senior citizens, more houses on that road than any other areas.”

Largent said the city might have a hard time getting residents of that area to connect to the city’s water system.

After a brief discussion, it was decided the city should poll the eight or so residents to determine if they want water service before spending the funds – the grant and whatever matching fund the city would have to come up with – to install the water line.

Moody said the public hearing was only the first step – that it would probably two years or more before the city actually applies for the grant.

“This is something to be thinking about, so if there is something other than that that y’all would like to see pursued, we’re going to need to know that,” she said.

Mayor Sam Starr will appoint a committee to develop a specific project that fits the community’s needs.


The council also:

  • appointed Stinnett to do disconnections for late payment as part-time employee of the water department. The late notices will say disconnections will be at 3 p.m., and City Hall will be open until 6. He will be paid an additional $50 for the task.
  • noted that election law training is in January and that Moody will attend a required Public Fund Investment Act training in April for small cities.
  • discussed repairing or replacing a malfunctioning fire hydrant. Moody said one of the contractors who is putting in the Dollar General store specializes in municipal water services and will work on the hydrant while they are in town.

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Paradise School Board hears academic improvement strategies

The Paradise school board Monday night heard strategies to improve math and writing scores, as well as ways to improve the overall performance of special education students.

Campus principals presented those plans, which are aimed at combating weaknesses in several areas, according to Assistant Superintendent Patti Seckman.

Paradise schools are applying vertical teaming – in which educators at various grade levels work together to help students acquire the academic skills they need to succeed. A key element is specialty writing projects that are assessed at an even higher level than the state’s STAAR test.

While the regular meeting was short, board members still heard an audit report from Carl Deaton, CPA, with the firm of Hankins, Eastup, Deaton, Tonn and Seay. They also reallocated $500,000 from the committed fund balance to the unassigned fund balance.

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Basketball: Boyd, Paradise go 3-1 at tourneys

District 9-3A bunkmates Paradise and Boyd had solid showings at tournaments over the weekend.

The Paradise Panthers went 3-1 at the Poolville Tournament to improve to 9-3 on the season.

Brayden Ford was named to the all-tournament team.

Boyd finished 3-1 at the Chico Tournament after losing to Eula 48-45. The Yellowjackets topped Perrin (63-17), Chico (63-40) and Forestburg (48-40).

Trace Moran earned an all-tournament selection.

The Slidell Greyhounds went 3-2 at the Lindsay Tournament. Slidell lost to Pottsboro and Lindsay before winning the final three over Ector, S&S and Dodd City.

Tyler Maynard and Khristian Talamantes made the all-tournament team.


Joe Randall tossed in 17 points to go along with six rebounds, four assists and six steals as the Alvord Bulldogs evened their record at 1-1 with an 82-55 win over the Wichita Falls Heat.

Troy Morales added 15 points and Jaylon White 12.

Alvord broke the game open with a 26-11 run in the second quarter.


Elijah Christman scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds, but it was not enough to lift the Northwest Texans past Brewer in a 67-61 overtime loss.

Darril Eyaa posted a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds.

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Meeting Agendas for Saturday, December 13, 2014

BRIDGEPORT SCHOOL BOARD – The Bridgeport school board next week will discuss textbook adoption and facility renovations, as well as the results of a districtwide soccer questionnaire. Its meeting is 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 15, at the administration building, 2107 15th Street, and is open to the public.

COUNTY COMMISSIONERS – County Judge J.D. Clark will lead his first county commissioners meeting next week. Commissioners will discuss the process for hiring a new elections administrator, hear county engineer Chad Davis’ recommendation for receiving surplus bridge materials from the Department of Public Safety and will discuss maintenance offered by Tyler Technologies. Clark will also give his recommendation on the makeup of the systems coordinator hiring committee. Clark has also added to the agenda a community forum, in which citizens may share comments or observations related to county business. There is a three-minute time limit, and large groups should designate a spokesperson. The meeting is 9 a.m. Monday, Dec. 15, in the third floor conference room of the Wise County Courthouse in Decatur. This is the last regular meeting for 2014.

PARADISE CITY COUNCIL – Next week nominees for the vacant Paradise City Council seat will be interviewed, and one will be selected to serve. The process will occur during the city council’s regular meeting 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 15, at Paradise City Hall. The council will also conduct a public hearing on the submission of an application to the Texas Community Development Block Grant Program (TxCDBG) in the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Office of Rural Affairs. The council will also discuss hiring Carl Deaton to conduct the city’s annual audit.

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Basketball: Teams start district race

Most area girls basketball teams begin the battle for the postseason Tuesday with the start of district play.

Aside from Decatur and Bridgeport, who will not start District 8-4A play until January and Northwest, who started Friday, the rest begin league action Tuesday.

Alvord will play host to Poolville. Boyd takes on Bowie at home. Chico welcomes Era to town. Paradise heads to Jacksboro. Slidell takes on longtime rival Saint Jo at home.

Here’s a brief look at the Wise County teams and their respective districts:


Boyd and Paradise are off to hot starts to the regular season. Boyd entered the Chico Tournament at 7-0. Paradise, who was off this weekend, is 12-2.

But as Paradise coach Kevin Pope points out, everyone starts over Tuesday in what should be a wide-open league with Bowie, Henrietta, Holliday, Jacksboro, Nocona and City View.

“It’s going to be a dogfight,” Pope said. “There’s a couple of good teams that will be staying at home. It’s real balanced. You’ll have to play well every night.”

So far this season with a balanced scoring attack and quick defense, the Lady Panthers have been on most nights against a tough schedule.

“I’m pleased with where we are. We can still improve in several areas,” Pope said. “We did everything we could do to prepare for district.

“Our depth is good. We’ve played 11 players in every game and there’s not one that doesn’t contribute.”

Pope said the unselfishness of his team has been impressive throughout the year.

“There’s time they are almost unselfish to a fault,” he said.

Kaylee McConnell and Courtney Kerr have provided a nice scoring punch. Jett Preather leads the rebounding effort.

The Lady Yellowjackets stayed unbeaten Tuesday, rallying to beat Lake Worth. Sophomore Linsey Thorpe has been consistent down low for the Lady Yellowjackets. She and Kenzie Elkins give Boyd a pair of solid posts with Abby Harrell on the wing.


With each game, Alvord coach John Shelton sees his squad getting better and adapting to his up-tempo system.

Senior guard Katie Claborn is among the area’s leading scorers, averaging 18 points per game. Cierra Rangel and Brianna Ponder are adding a combined 22 points.

Shelton looks forward to getting into 11-2A play with games against Poolville and Valley View before the Christmas break.

“I like that we have the two games before Christmas,” Shelton said. “Every game will be evenly matched. The top four can beat each other.

“This district will be real competitive. Muenster is the team to beat. They’ve got a lot of size and depth. But I expect there to be four teams battling for three spots.”

The Chico Lady Dragons hope to fight their way into the race that Alvord, Collinsville, Era, Lindsay, Muenster, Poolville and Valley View.

Chico beat Bellevue 57-49 Tuesday before starting its tournament Thursday.

Alli York has paced the Lady Dragons with 11.7 points, two steals and 2.1 assists per game. Whitney Renfro is added 8.8 points. Cheyanne Hale is contributing 5.9 points and 8.1 rebounds.


Behind a huge start to the season by Caitlin Pruett, the Slidell Lady Greyhounds are 9-3 entering the weekend.

Pruett is averaging 21.3 points and 11.8 rebounds.

To go along with Pruett, the Lady Greyhounds are getting big contributions from Kayler Talamantes and Kylie Franklin on the scoreboard. Jessy Goode is helping on the boards. Kayson Roof is providing solid defense.

“We’re eight deep and that’s depth that a lot of schools don’t have,” said Slidell coach Cody Vanover. “Caitlin is so versatile that it makes it hard for teams to guard. But with Kayler and Kylie having breakout games, we’ve had four girls in double figures so far. That makes it where teams can’t just look at stopping Caitlin. We have four to five girls that can score and we can dictate what the defense does.”

Slidell is hoping to land on top of 21-A and unseat league champion Bellevue.

The league also includes Gold-Burg, Forestburg, Midway, Prairie Valley, Saint Jo and Tioga.

Slidell starts district with Saint Jo and Bellevue.

“We have those two right off the bat and can start in a hole if we don’t have a good first week,” Vanover said.

“I feel we should be in good shape. I’m cautiously optimistic.”

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Basketball: Lady Eagles crunch Graham

Shelby Drews posted a double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds, while also handing out five assists Tuesday to lead the Decatur Lady Eagles to a 54-29 win over Graham.

The Lady Eagles, ranked No. 21 in the latest 4A Texas Girls Coaches Association poll, improved to 10-1 on the season.

Macen Stripling also joined Drews with a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds. Hannah Dunning added eight points and three assists. Makayla Mayfield and Sidney Carter scored four each.

Decatur held Graham to just 11 points in the second half. The Lady Eagles outscored Graham 12-6 in the third and 16-5 in the final frame.

Decatur used a 15-8 run in the second to build a 26-18 halftime lead.

Decatur faced a big challenge Friday, heading to Bowie to face the 22nd ranked team in 3A.


Courtney Kerr scored 18 points, leading the Paradise Lady Panthers to a 60-30 victory.

Paradise ran out to a 15-5 lead and built the advantage to 29-14 at halftime. Paradise never allowed more than nine points in a quarter.

Kaylee McConnell added eight points. Jett Preather, Amber French and Kaitlyn Melvin scored six each.


The Boyd Lady Yellowjackets overcame a scoreless first quarter to rally for a 36-34 win over Lake Worth Tuesday.

Boyd moved to 7-0.

Kenzie Elkins scored 11 points and Linsey Thorpe 10.

After the slow start, Boyd hit double figures in the other three frames.


Kylie Franklin’s three straight 3-pointers to open the second half broke open the game and paced Slidell to a 69-41 win over Bryson.

Franklin finished with 20 points and seven rebounds. She was 4-for-7 from beyond the 3-point arc.

“It was 35-25 at half and Kylie hit back-to-back-to-back 3s to start the third and got us rolling,” said Slidell coach Cody Vanover.

Caitlin Pruett posted a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds. Kayler Talamantes scored 13 points with eight boards. Jessy Goode finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.


The Chico Lady Dragons fought back from an early deficit to knock off Bellevue 57-49 Tuesday.

Trailing 32-21 at halftime, Chico went on an 18-8 run in the third and won the game in the fourth with an 18-9 finishing spurt.

Alli York led Chico with 21 points. Kylie Marburger added 11. Whitney Renfro finished with 10 and Cheyanne Hale nine.

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Basketball: Panthers hold on, beat Lindsay

The Paradise Panthers jumped out to an early lead and kept pulling away for a 68-46 win over Lindsay Tuesday.

HOT SHOT – Paradise’s Cash Preather takes a shot at the top of the key in the Panthers’ win Tuesday. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt

Brayden Ford poured in 24 points. Hayden Barkely added 12 and Cash Preather eight.

Paradise opened the game with a 21-10 run and led 36-25 at halftime. The Panthers built their advantage to 54-31 in the third quarter.

Paradise moved to 6-2 on the season.


Tyler Maynard led five Slidell players in double figures Tuesday as the Greyhounds blew out Bryson 76-36.

Maynard finished with 19 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals. Khristian Talamantes scored 15 points, three assists and four steals. Colton Crane added 12 points, five boards and seven assists. Dustin Davis finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Walker Gladden chipped in 10 points and five boards.

Slidell trailed 11-10 after the first quarter. The Greyhounds then went on a 20-5 run to build a 30-16 halftime lead. Slidell used a 25-12 third quarter to take a 55-28 advantage going into the fourth.

Slidell improved to 9-2.


The Chico Dragons fell behind 27-7 in the first quarter and could never slow down Bellevue Tuesday in an 111-34 loss.

Chico fell to 3-9 on the year.

Jonathan Nabors scored 14, Cameron Weatherly six and Hagen Davis four.

Bellevue built a 54-17 halftime lead and outscored Chico 57-17 in the second half.


After finishing second at the S&S Tournament last weekend, the Boyd Yellowjackets fell to Lake Worth at home Tuesday 60-46.

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Imanell McDaniel

Imanell McDaniel 75, of Paradise, died Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014, in Paradise.

Memorial service is 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 15, at George J. Carroll and Son Funeral Home in Gainesville with Pastor Mike Langdon officiating. A reception will follow at the First United Methodist Church in Gainesville.

Imanell was born May 12, 1939, in Hibbitt to C.D. and Marie (Mitchell) Bacon. She was 70-year resident of Cooke County, graduating from Callisburg High School in 1957. At age 19, she went to work at First State Bank as a teller and later worked at Tyler and Simpson for 20 years before going to work at the Cooke County Clerk’s office. She spent 22 years as property manager at Grayhill Apartments.

Imanell retired from Tierra Properties in 2010 and moved to Paradise to be close to her grandchildren.

She was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church for many years, and after moving to Paradise, she joined the Paradise United Methodist Church. She filled her time with gardening, shopping, traveling and enjoying her family, especially her grandchildren.

Imanell began a five-year fight with ovarian cancer in 2009 and inspired many with her strength and positive attitude. She will be remembered as a beloved and cherished grandmother, sister and friend.

She was preceded in death by her parents; and a brother, Dwayne Bacon.

Imanell is survived by her daughter, Rhonda Greer, and husband, Shane, of Callisburg; daughter Sheila Hooker and husband, Jake, of Paradise; grandsons Mack and Marshall Hooker of Paradise and Shane Greer Jr. of Callisburg; sister Sherley Riley and brother-in-law, Bill, of Gainesville; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Memorials may be made to Hibbitt Cemetery Association in Gainesville or Choice Cancer Center in Decatur.

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Olan Pewitt Jr.

Olan "Sonny" Pewitt Jr.

Olan “Sonny” Pewitt Jr.

Olan “Sonny” Pewitt Jr., 71, a retired machinist, died Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, in Paradise.

Funeral was Dec. 12 at Hawkins Funeral Home in Bridgeport with the Rev. Patti Mahaffey officiating. She was assisted by Brenda Marlett. Burial followed at Cottondale Cemetery.

Pallbearers were Mike Pewitt, Calvin Pewitt, Jeff Pewitt, Kerry Marlett, Trent Murphy and Ryan Murphy. Honorary pallbearers were Ed Black, David Garrison, Steve Limke, Gene Lester, James Hotopp and Earl Bernard.

Sonny was born May 6, 1943, in Denver to Olan Sr. and Murial (McKown) Pewitt. He married Eunice Lee Murphy May 28, 1977, in Lake Bridgeport.

After graduating from Paradise High School, he earned his associate’s degree from Tarrant County Junior College and worked as a machinist at General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin, retiring after 40 years of service.

Sonny and Eunice moved back to Paradise in 1998 after living in Fort Worth for several years. He was an active member of the Paradise United Methodist Church where he taught Sunday school. He was also a member of the Paradise Historical Society and a volunteer at South Wise Food Bank. He was a member of the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers Union #776.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Olan Pewitt Sr. and Murial Pewitt Robinson; and his stepfather, John W. Robinson.

Survivors include his wife of 37 years, Eunice Pewitt of Paradise; son Sonny Pewitt III and wife, Sherri, of Azle; daughter Sheila Kay Roberts and husband, Mikel, of Paradise; grandchildren Chris, Joshua and Ashley Pewitt, and Aaron, Peyton and Mikaylee Roberts; great-grandson Talent Tucker; brothers James, Ernie, David and Paul Pewitt, all of Bridgeport, and Jerry Pewitt of Paradise; sisters Kathy Pelham and Mary Archer of Mineral Wells; stepbrother George Robinson of Tyler; stepsister LaJauna Gibbs of Chandler; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, other family members and friends.

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Basketball: Lady Panthers move to 11-2

The Paradise Lady Panthers went 4-1 on their trip to Fairfield over the weekend.

The Lady Panthers picked up wins over Buffalo, Sanger, Muenster and Houston Stafford. Paradise’s lone setback came against 4A Diboll 53-41.

“We played good. We lost to Diboll by 12 and were down by four with three minutes to go,” said Paradise coach Kevin Pope. “We beat state-ranked Buffalo, Muenster and Santo.”

Paradise beat Buffalo 58-39 with 12 points from Courtney Kerr and eight from Amber French.

Kerr also had 12 points in the loss to Diboll.

Paradise outlasted Sanger 58-57 with Kerr scoring 17 and Jett Preather eight.

Kerr put in 19 and Kaylee McConnell 11 in the 49-44 win over Muenster.

McConnell tossed in 22 and Kerr 11 in the 42-36 win over Houston Stafford.

Paradise played host to Springtown Tuesday.

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Basketball Briefs: Sissies beat Graham, 51-38

Abbi Hatton led a trio of Sissies in double figures with 18 points as Bridgeport took down Graham 51-38 Tuesday.

Landrie Walsh added 11 points and Bailey Thompson 10.

STRONG FINISH – Paradise’s Kaylee McConnell helps the Lady Panthers to a big win Tuesday over Tolar. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt

Hatton grabbed seven rebounds. Walsh, Lauren Stowers and Gabby Mindieta finished with five boards each.

Bridgeport moved to 8-1 on the season with the victory. But Bridgeport coach Dallas Taylor pointed out the team still has plenty to work on.

“Defense was not at its best tonight,” Taylor said. “Assignments and bad rotations forced us into foul trouble early. We did a better job of getting in passing lanes in the second half and applying ball pressures.

“This was a night of low intensity on both ends of the floor. We were able to get a win and that is always a positive.”

Bridgeport led 14-8 after the first quarter. With a 16-9 run, the Sissies extended their advantage to 30-17 at halftime.

Bridgeport held Graham to eight points in the third taking a 43-26 lead.

Bridgeport went to the Jacksboro Tournament this weekend.


L.D. Bell jumped out to a 19-9 lead and never looked back in a 57-42 win Tuesday over the Northwest Lady Texans.

The Lady Texans trailed 32-19 at halftime.

Maddie Dodgen led Northwest with eight points and eight rebounds. Equalya Smith and Alexus Brigham had seven points each. Brigham finished with eight rebounds.


Katie Claborn drained six 3-pointers as the Alvord Lady Bulldogs held off Nocona for a 68-61 win Tuesday.

Claborn finished with 28 points. Bailey Hamilton added 12 and Cierra Rangel 10.

Alvord improved to 6-3.


The Paradise Lady Panthers went on a 42-12 run in the second half Tuesday on the way to a 60-24 win over Tolar.

The Lady Panthers led 18-12 at halftime before exploding offensively in the second half.

Paradise improved to 7-1.

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Volleyball: Preather named league’s top hitter

With her consistent and powerful hitting on the outside, Paradise senior Jett Preather helped the Lady Panthers to a playoff spot out of District 9-3A.

For her efforts, she was named the league’s top hitter. She was one of five Lady Panthers to receive 9-3A honors. Three Boyd players also made all-district.

Boyd senior libero Britney Howard earned Defensive MVP. She made 501 digs and served 44 aces.

Paradise senior Reagan Taylor took Blocker of the Year.

Paradise’s Shelby Bradshaw and Madi Horne were first-team selections along with Boyd’s Maddie Busch. Busch led Boyd with 361 kills and 128 blocks.

Paradise’s Emily Corbin and Boyd’s Baylie Harris made the second team. Harris handed out 450 assists and served 72 aces.

Paradise’s Johnna Headley and Amber French and Boyd’s Kayleigh Pappajohn and Morgan Abbott received honorable mention.

Boyd’s Howard, Kendal Brewer, Linsey Chancellor and Lindsey Kosman made the all-academic squad.

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Blake Ryan Harmon

Meranda and Brian Harmon of Paradise announce the birth of a son, Blake Ryan Harmon, on Nov. 24, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 7 pounds 5 ounces and was 19 inches long.

He has one sister: Reese, and one brother: Chase.

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Read named Citizen of the Year; Hometown Tees is Business of the Year

Read named Citizen of the Year; Hometown Tees is Business of the Year

Paradise Chamber of Commerce President Dollie Wall met Gay Read with a big hug, a smile and two awards Monday night.

Surprised, Read held the plaques naming her as Paradise’s Citizen of the Year and her company, Hometown Tees, as Business of the Year.

Time to Celebrate

TIME TO CELEBRATE – Gay Read (right) is Paradise’s 2014 Citizen of the year and her company Hometown Tees is Business of the year. Dollie Wall (left) presented the awards Monday night. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Read was honored during the Paradise Chamber of Commerce’s annual Christmas dinner at Paradise’s First Baptist Church.

She said she had no idea she was up for any awards that night – let alone both Business and Citizen of the Year.

“I was amazed. I was totally shocked,” Read said. “I am very pleased, and it’s quite an honor. It’s very exciting.”

Both awards were chosen by popular vote, cast by chamber members. Wall said it’s not often a business owner is honored with the awards simultaneously.

Both Read and Wall have been members of the Chamber since it began in 2008. Wall said picking Read for Citizen of the Year was an easy choice.

“I think it’s wonderful. She gives so much of herself to the community,” Wall said. “Nobody else could have beat her.”

Read has lived in Paradise nearly all her life, venturing to Fort Worth for a year before deciding she’d better get back home.

“I was born in Cottondale. My friends and family are here,” Read said. “I dearly love the people and this little town.”

She said the town has changed very little, but the school has grown tremendously.

Read worked at Messenger Hallmark for 21 years before she retired. In 2002, she opened Hometown Tees with her daughter, Kelly Read. Together they offer screen printing, custom bling and embroidery for clothes, letterman patches, uniforms and custom promotional products.

For more information on Hometown Tees, go to

Read was also recognized for her new role with the chamber as an ambassador. In this position she will help develop the community and grow businesses and the chamber. She will take on that new role in January with other newly selected ambassadors and chamber directors.

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