Secretary to take on administrator role

For more than a year, Oneta Berghoefer has held dual roles for the city of Runaway Bay as city secretary and interim city administrator.

Tuesday, the dual role became official and permanent.

Following an executive session, the city council voted to combine the city secretary and city administrator positions and appoint Berghoefer to the post.

Berghoefer has served as interim city administrator since the city’s former administrator, Greg Leveling, was fired in March 2012.

In other action out of the executive session, the council confirmed the appointment of Dawnelle Burns as the second assistant fire chief and announced Police Chief Tim Donald satisfactorily completed the three-month probation period. He was hired in April to fill a post that had been vacant since Drew Paschall resigned in February 2012.

Sgt. Rex Richie served in the interim.


  • instated a 30-percent collection service fee on municipal court fines and costs more than 60 days delinquent;
  • contracted with Municipal Recovery System to collect those outstanding warrants, citations and fines;
  • accepted a donation deed for property from the Barnett Family Revocable Trust;
  • approved a variance to the front setback requirements for a lot on Cimarron Bay that includes a severe slope from an existing building pad to the shoreline;
  • accepted a $500 bid from the Sheriff’s sale for Lot 58, Block 2, Runaway Bay Unit 6; and
  • approved the July financials, accounts payable, activity reports, journal entries and meeting minutes.

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Local officer involved in Denton County sheriff bribery investigation

The Texas Rangers are investigating a possible bribery case involving the Denton County sheriff, a former political opponent of the sheriff and a former deputy.

The former deputy, Kevin Bragg, is currently serving as a Runaway Bay police officer.

Bragg is involved in a nearly four-year legal battle with the Denton County Sheriff’s Office. The case alleges wrongdoing by former sheriff Benny Parkey. Bragg also alleges he was wrongfully terminated after acting as a whistleblower.

In the new criminal investigation, court documents suggest the new sheriff, William Travis, offered Bragg a position with the department if he would drop the current civil suit.

An affidavit contained an email allegedly from Travis to Bragg indicating possible bribery.

“If you did file a suit and you wanted to come back to work at Denton County Sheriff’s Office, a couple of things need to be done. The lawsuit has to be dropped, and I have to see a judgment reflecting this by Nov. 5, 2012,” read the email.

The former political opponent is Jesse Flores, who ran against Travis in the Republican primary last May.

Travis allegedly told Flores he would give him a job in the sheriff’s department if he dropped out of the race, according to Bragg’s account in court documents.

Last year Travis won the election with 54 percent of the vote, while Parkey, the incumbent, took 35 percent. Flores came in a distant third with 11 percent.

Local Texas Ranger Jim Holland has led the investigation into the alleged bribery.

Travis told Holland that he made no job offer to Flores in exchange for dropping out of the race. He added that the communications with Bragg were a “misunderstanding.” Flores has also denied that Travis attempted to bribe him.

The case is still under investigation.

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Council to hold 2 meetings next week

The City of Runaway Bay may soon name a second assistant fire chief.

After meeting in closed session, the council on Tuesday will consider appointing Dawnelle Burns to the post at the request of Fire Chief Brian Bernardo.

The council will also evaluate Police Chief Timothy Donald and Interim City Administrator Oneta Berghoefer in closed session before taking any necessary action.

Officials will also consider:

  • instating a collection fee on municipal court fines more than 60 days delinquent;
  • extending services with Municipal Recovery System to collect outstanding warrants, citations, capias and pro fines;
  • a bid for property sold in the Sheriff’s Sale;
  • accepting a donation deed for property from the Barnett Family Revocable Trust;
  • granting an exception to the 15-foot build line for property in the 800 block of Cimarron Bay; and
  • amendments to the 2012-2013 budget.

The meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall, is open to the public.

At another meeting Wednesday, the council will develop a water system model and plan for long-term water supply needs as part of the Regional Facility Plan for the city.

Public input is welcome. That meeting is at 4 p.m at City Hall.

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Street bid approved

Four roads in Runaway Bay will soon receive a new surface.

The city council Tuesday approved a $78,210 bid for a chip-and-seal type of resurfacing for Blue Fathom, Bay Side, Marco and Segundo drives.

No definite date has been set on when work should begin, city officials said.


The council also filled several vacancies on several boards and commissions including:

  • Planning & Zoning – Roland Ray, Laura Blackburn, Belinda Amerman, Dawnelle Burns, Hope Binkley, Carolyn Moody;
  • Parks – Darla St. John;
  • Economic Development Corp. – Aline Stack, Donald Federspiel, Jan Miranda, Jackie Ishmael;
  • Cemetery – Joyce Waynauskas, Kay Federspiel, Carol Tanksley.


The council also:

  • established a 14-day work period for police officers;
  • granted a sign permit to The Rock Church at 513 Port O Call Drive;
  • signed an interlocal agreement for cooperative purchasing;
  • OK’d the June meeting minutes, financials, accounts payable, activity reports and journal entries; and
  • approved the city’s investment policy, a routine business item.

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Community plays key role in feature film

The recent work of an independent filmmaker may one day put Runaway Bay on the map – and not just because she calls the small, charming Wise County town home.

In 13 days, beginning June 26, 32-year-old Rachel Shepherd and a crew of about 20 shot her most recent feature film in and around her hometown.

She describes “About Mom and Dad” as an ensemble drama based on a family and their relationships.

LOOKING LOCAL – Farah White of the metroplex makes her grand entrance into a wedding scene shot at The Club at Runaway Bay Wednesday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“It’s the most personal film I’ve ever written,” Shepherd said. “It is literally about my mom and dad. It’s a situation that happened in their marriage and happens in a lot of other marriages.”

They’d been married for over 20 years, she said, when they encountered a roadblock – and overcame it.

Without giving away the plot, Shepherd added: “I want people to understand marriage isn’t just bliss. People think it’s a fairytale, and sure, there are parts of it that are. But the truth is, it’s work. You have to put forth the effort. And it’s not always easy. That’s where all the drama comes from.”

But that premise wasn’t the only thing that made the film personal for Shepherd.

With the exception of a scene at DFW International Airport, and a few shots at Faith Community Hospital in Jacksboro, “About Mom and Dad” was all filmed in Wise County.

Sparked Idea

SPARKED IDEA – Crewmembers including Bret Curry, and Justin Scheidt film a wedding rehearsal scene at The Club at Runaway Bay Wednesday. The shot was one in a film written and directed by Bay resident Rachel Shepherd. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Sites included private residences in Bridgeport and Runaway Bay, The Club at Runaway Bay and Exceptional Bride in Decatur.

“Yes, everything worked out perfect; everyone was willing to open their homes,” Shepherd said. “But it was genuinely what we were looking for. The Harper family, the family in the movie, is from a small town. This area is authentically Texas. Runaway Bay is a small community that really sticks together, which is a huge theme in the movie.”

That theme played out on both sides of the camera. After Shepherd made an announcement at her church, The Bay, members of the church and community have flocked to offer to help her realize her vision.

“The local community has shown an immense amount of support for the arts and me being a resident,” said Shepherd, who has lived in Runaway Bay for two years. “There have been so many local investors. From Warrior Golf who offered us use of The Club at a discounted rate, to the Runaway Bay EDC which funded the catering through One Stop for all of the crew the entire time we’ve filmed to Darla St. John, who helped me find places to shoot and Marsha Ellison who has opened up her home to the crew and extras who were up until 2 a.m. filming at The Club and were enthusiastic about it – People have been very gracious. It’s been incredible.

“It just goes to show that I’m living in the right place. God put me here for a reason.”

In addition to that small-town spirit, the area just had the right look as well.

“The lake, space, trees, animals,” said Adrian Testolin, the film’s producer. “The script was written for this. It was not difficult at all to find locations.”

Testolin, like most of the crew, is from the Dallas area. The area’s hospitality – like the openness of its scenery – was a much-embraced change, even if some aspects took some warming up to.

“Yeah, we were a little hesitant about eating food from a gas station,” Testolin said. “But what we quickly learned is that One Stop is actually an incredible restaurant with a gas station attached to it. A hidden paradise – that’s exactly what this area, and all it has to offer, is.”

And although it was a bit disconcerting in the beginning, the crew hopes the benefits of the area’s seclusion translate onto the screen.

“Over here, everyone is away from their everyday lives and the distractions involved,” Shepherd said. “As a result, they can completely immerse themselves in the film – cast, crew, everyone. And I truly think it’s a palpable thing you can take from the screen.”

With 13 days of filming that wrapped up Thursday, Shepherd says the project is about 25 percent done.

“Now we’ll take a week off to sleep,” she laughed. “Thirteen days for a 110-page script is crazy. That would usually take about 25 days and more cameras. But we managed. Now we’ll color the film, cut the film, put it together, add in the music with the sound.”

She hopes to screen at least a rough cut to the community by the first of the new year.

“I really want to give back to a community that has given so much to me,” she said. “I could not have done this without all those who patted me on the back.”

Those who encouraged her stay true to the theme, which is apparent in both the film and life in Runaway Bay.

“I supported her not to be an investor, but because I love her,” Ellison said. “And hey, when she becomes famous, we’ll be famous, too.”

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Street improvements on the table

Roads in Runaway Bay may soon be getting a facelift. At its meeting Tuesday, the council will consider a proposal on street improvement projects in the city.

During the regular meeting, which begins at 1 p.m. at City Hall, the council will also appoint members to the planning and zoning commission, parks board, Eternal Oaks Cemetery board and economic development corporation after discussing the matter in closed session.

Officials will also consider a sign permit application for The Rock Church, revisions to the personnel policy and procedures manual and an interlocal agreement with Region VII Education Service Center for cooperative purchasing.

Other routine matters are also on the agenda.

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Lake community plans 4th festivities

A day-long celebration of our nation’s independence will set off Saturday in Runaway Bay.

The ninth annual Firecracker Scramble golf tournament benefiting the Runaway Bay Volunteer Fire Department begins with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. at The Club at Runaway Bay.

Registration for the four-person scramble is 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. The $50 entry fee includes green and cart fees.

Prizes will be awarded in each flight and, there will be other specialty prizes including longest putt and bulls-eye. There will be mulligans and raffles available and free food on the course.

For more information, call or email Dawnelle at 940-577-4123,; or Ronnica at 214-926-3025,; or visit

The 10th annual 4th Fest, sponsored by the Greater Runaway Bay Alliance, begins with a patriotism-themed golf cart parade at 6 p.m.

Entries are to line up at the city’s maintenance building on Runaway Drive at 5:30. The procession will start on Runaway Bay Drive before turning right onto Hastings Drive, left onto Halfmoon Way, left onto Tryall Court and right back onto Runaway Bay Drive to The Bay Church parking lot, where prizes will be awarded.

Festivities continue there with the presentation of colors by members of the Wise County Veterans Group followed by the festival. Free activities include the Bridgeport Lions Club train ride, obstacle course, bounce house, music, prizes, a cake walk and games until 8 p.m.

Raffle tickets will be sold for $5 each. There will also be a fish fry for $7 a plate.

For the 35th year, the grand finale fireworks display over the lake begins at dusk.

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Aubree Grace Simmons

Madyson Hancock and Luke Simmons of Runaway Bay announce the birth of a daughter, Aubree Grace, on June 11, 2013, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces and was 19 inches long.

Grandparents are Tammy Hastings and Alex Hastings of Runaway Bay, Adam and Dana Simmons of Weatherford, and Sandy Simmons and Pat Madland of Bridgeport.

Great-grandparents are Barba Chappell of Azle, Robert and Peggy Chappell of Azle, Dan and Sheila Hastings of Chico, Loyd and Margaret Hancock, Lendell and Jean Stowers of Retrop, Okla., and Bill and Minnie Simmons of Weatherford, Okla.

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Signage policy on city council agenda

Aside from routine business, only one item is listed on Tuesday’s Runaway Bay City Council agenda.

Officials will consider amending ordinances that eliminate changeable electronic variable message signs, signs that advertise events outside the city and detached on-premises commercial signs.

They will also review May meeting minutes, financials, accounts payable, activity reports and journal entries.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

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What privacy?

Why is it that the people who seem so concerned about their privacy and governmental snooping into their emails, etc. are the ones who post everything they know or think they know on Facebook, Twitter, etc.?

Tony Girtman
Runaway Bay

Posted in Letters to the Editor3 Comments

Communitywide cleanup planned

Runaway Bay officials are asking its citizens to CU FU PU.

The request isn’t baby babble or a martial arts move. It refers to the third annual Clean Up, Fix Up, Pride Up Day to be held in Runaway Bay Saturday, June 8.

From 8 a.m. to noon, organized groups will tackle yard maintenance and cleanup tasks in areas around town.

The Greater Runaway Bay Alliance will work the area surrounding the Norma Coble Civic Center. Another team will take on the flower beds and plants around City Hall.

A crew led by Mayor Robert Ryan will trim trees in the cemetery while another clears limbs along the stretch of U.S. 380 that runs through the town.

Two council members will make rounds pulling trailers to pick up debris and clippings from various sites, and recently-named Police Chief Timothy W. Donald will lead the cooking team who will serve hot dogs “and all the trimmings” to the day’s volunteers from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Civic Center. Participants will also receive a souvenir T-shirt.

While organizers have coordinated these projects, citizens are encouraged to CU FU PU their property.

A commercial paper shredder, Dumpster and chipper will be available for use at the Civic Center.

“We invite everyone to take part, whether it’s volunteering in the projects we have lined up or doing some work at their homes,” Ryan said. “It’s simply an effort to maintain the beauty of our town.”

For more information, call the effort’s coordinator, Jannie Tucknies, at 940-575-4745.

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City adopts rate-setting process

Runaway Bay this week gained better control over the gas rates charged to its citizens.

At its meeting Tuesday, the city council approved a five-year rate review mechanism (RRM) agreement with Atmos Energy.

The proposed RRM will not increase rates but will simply “set the ground rules for future rate filings.”

From 2008 through 2011, the city participated in a three-year trial run of a Rate Review Mechanism (RRM) – a systematic process that specifies how rates will be set over a certain period of time. The system was devised by Atmos Energy Mid-Tex Division and its city coalitions to avoid costly rate cases, the expenses of which are borne by customers.

In addition to controlling rates, the RRM process suspends Gas Reliability Infrastructure Program (GRIP) filings and provides a transparent process to annually review the company’s expenses and investments.

New rates would be agreed on annually by Atmos and the cities it serves. This year’s filings will be discussed in July and go into effect in October. In subsequent years, the filings would occur by March 1, with new rates going into effect June 1.

In other news:

  • Incumbents Dan Ticer, Jerry St. John and Berry White were sworn in for another term.
  • The council approved the purchase of a tractor for the mowing department.
  • Council members OK’d routine business items including the April meeting’s minutes, financials, accounts payable, journal entries and activity report.

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Tricia Deanna Deatherage Terrell and James Randall Flake

Tricia Deanna Deatherage Terrell of Runaway Bay, daughter of Doyle and Shirley Smith and Travis Deatherage of Bridgeport, will marry James Randall Flake of Runaway Bay, son of Linda Flake of Decatur, June 29, 2013, at Lake Bridgeport.

The bride-elect graduated from Bridgeport High School in 1987. She works for Dr. Stowers and Dr. Wright and Wal-Mart.

The prospective groom graduated from Boyd High School in 1987. He is employed by Texas Industries Inc. in Bridgeport.

Tricia Deanna Deatherage Terrell and James Randall Flake

Tricia Deanna Deatherage Terrell and James Randall Flake

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Council to consider rates, tractors

Incumbents Dan Ticer, Jerry St. John and Berry White will be sworn in for another term on the Runaway Bay City Council at a meeting 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

The three will join fellow council members Kay Simmons and Neil Peters and Mayor Robert Ryan to discuss the purchase of a tractor for the mowing department and entering a five-year rate review mechanism (RRM) agreement with Atmos Energy.

From 2008 through 2011, the city participated in a three-year trial run of an RRM, a systematic process that specifies how rates will be set over a period of time, avoiding costly rate case expenses which are passed on customers.

The proposed RRM will not increase rates. It simply “set the ground rules for future rate filings.”

Routine business items include reviewing the April meetings minutes, financials, accounts payable, journal entries and activity report.

The meeting is open to the public.

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Sheriff’s corporal named police chief

Wise County Sheriff’s Cpl. Timothy W. Donald will soon take the reins of another local agency.

The 20-plus year law enforcement officer was named police chief of Runaway Bay following a five-hour special called meeting of the city council Tuesday. His start date is contingent on release from his current post.

Donald, who lives in Runaway Bay, was one of 40 applicants interviewed for the job.

“We’re looking forward to him joining us in the very near future,” Mayor Robert Ryan said.

During his 12-year stint with WCSO, Donald worked in patrol, investigations, interdiction, narcotics and supervision. He graduated from the West Central Council of Governments Police Academy in 1987 and earned his Master Peace Officer license in July 2010.

The certified field training officer has garnered almost 1,500 hours in additional training through various law enforcement schools.

At Runaway Bay, he will oversee a department that includes three other full-time employees and a part-time officer. He fills a post that has been vacant since Drew Paschall resigned in February 2012.

Runaway Bay Police Sgt. Rex Richie has served in the interim.

The council also approved:

  • the purchase of 10 pagers for the city’s volunteer fire department;
  • bids of $500 and $1,000 for lots struck off to Bridgeport ISD from the Sheriff’s sale; and
  • the March meeting minutes, financials, account payable, journal and activity reports.

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Glad to have generous store

I just wanted to let everyone know how great a community store Brookshire’s is. They always go above and beyond to help the local community and the other cities in Texas.

Personally, they have helped my family by donating cases of water to a poker run we had for my husband’s uncle when he had a stroke and was hospitalized for months. Now, when the city of West has had the fertilizer plant disaster, they have gone out of their way to help me gather things to donate to the victims.

Next time you are in the grocery store make sure you thank them.

Crystal Holt
Runaway Bay

Posted in Letters to the Editor0 Comments

Council may name new police chief

Runaway Bay may have a police chief following a pair of meetings next Tuesday.

The city council will meet in a special session at 9 that morning to interview candidates for the job, which has been vacant since Drew Paschall resigned in February 2012.

Runaway Bay Police Sgt. Rex Richie has served in the interim.

During its regularly scheduled meeting at 7 that evening, councilmembers will break into executive session before considering an appointment to the position in open session.

Other agenda items for consideration include purchasing pagers for the fire department; bids on property seized for non-payment of taxes in Bridgeport ISD; and the March meeting minutes and financials, accounts payable, journal and activity reports.

Both meetings are at City Hall, 101 Runaway Bay Dr., and are open to the public.

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Chuck Tanner

Chuck Tanner

Chuck Tanner

Chuck “General” Tanner, 74, a retired U.S. Air Force chief master sergeant, died Wednesday, April 3, 2013, in Runaway Bay.

Graveside service is 2:15 p.m. Monday, April 8, at DFW National Cemetery in Grand Prairie. Visitation is 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday at Hawkins Funeral Home in Bridgeport.

Bro. Guy Orbison Jr. will officiate, and pallbearers will be the DFW Cemetery Honor Guard.

Chuck was born June 2, 1938, to Chalmer and Gertrude (Cornelius) Tanner in Coleman County, Ala. He married Anita Beth Balch June 15, 1994, in Lake Tahoe, Calif., and worked 10 years as a starter at South Padre Island Golf Club during the Texas winter seasons.

Chuck also worked for two years at the Pro Shop at Runaway Bay and two years as a substitute teacher in Fort Worth ISD. He worked nine years in civil service, including a year with the CIA and retired from the military after 30 years in the Air Force as a chief master sergeant.

Chuck is survived by his wife of 18 years, Beth Tanner of Runaway Bay; daughter Karen Beth Goad of Coppell; granddaughter Katie Anne Goad of Coppell; brother Rick Tanner and wife, Sheila, of Runaway Bay; other family members and a host of friends.

Memorials may be made to the Intern Program, Church of Christ, P.O. Box 633, Durango, CO 81302 or to a charity of your choice.

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Billie Marie Horn

Billie Marie Horn

Billie Marie Horn

Billie Marie Horn, 77, of Runaway Bay, died Friday, March 29, 2013, in Decatur.

Funeral is 2 p.m. Monday, April 1, at the First United Methodist Church in Bridgeport with the Rev. David Rucker officiating. Burial will follow at Eternal Oaks Cemetery in Runaway Bay.

Visitation will begin one hour prior to the service at Jones Family Funeral Home in Bridgeport. Pallbearers are Corey Horn, Johnathan Angell, J.R. Moody, Alan Green, Jeremy Widon and Chris Tackel.

Billie was born April 28, 1935, in Amarillo to William Adam and Vestal Marie (Pierson) Goetz. She married Kenneth Earl Horn Dec. 28, 1956, in Clovis, N.M. The couple moved to Wise County in 1968.

Billie was a real estate broker for 42 years, many of those years in the Bridgeport area. She was a member of the National, Texas and Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors. She was also a member of the First United Methodist Church of Bridgeport.

She is survived by sons David Horn of Runaway Bay and Ronny Horn and wife, Debbie, of Wizard Wells; daughters Tish Tackel and husband, Chris, of Bridgeport, Rena Parris and husband, Odie, of Jackson, Calif., and Cindy Horn of Runaway Bay; sister Dolores Jones of Euless; grandson Ricky Baumgarte of Elk Grove, Calif., Corey Horn of Runaway Bay and Johnathan Angell of Fort Worth; granddaughters Shelly Moody of Bridgeport, Kristy Green of Runaway Bay, Joy Widon of Arlington, Erica Angell of Dallas and Shayla Doyle of Elk Grove; and 19 great-grandchildren.

Billie was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, son Randy Gordon Horn and grandson Colby Lynn Horn.

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Lillian Rose Loper

Casey Loper and Victoria Prescott of Runaway Bay announce the birth of a daughter, Lillian Rose Loper, on March 20, 2013, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur. She weighed 6 pounds, 15 ounces and was 19 1/4 inches long.

Grandparents are Topper and Priscilla Loper and Michael and Renae Leathers.

Great-grandparents are Jim and Barbara Barrow and Rosie Loper.

Great-great-grandmother is Hazel Matthews.

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