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

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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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Council announces board, commission vacancies

For Runaway Bay residents looking to become more involved in their city, there are plenty of opportunities.

At its meeting Tuesday, the city council announced places on various boards and commissions that will soon expire. The organization, number of expiring terms and current placeholders are:

  • Planning and Zoning, 4 – Belinda Amerman, Dawnelle Burns, Hope Binkly, Roland Ray
  • Cemetery Association, 4 – Carol Tanksley, Jim Davis, Joyce Waynauskus, Katherine Federspiel
  • Parks and Recreation, 3 – Charles Tisdale, Becky Melton, Jackie Ishmael
  • Economic Development Corp., 4 – Mary Allen, Adam Huitt, Aline Stack, Donald Federspiel.

The posts, which are typically appointed in June, are open to any Runaway Bay resident.

“Anyone can volunteer, and we always need more,” said City Secretary Oneta Berghoefer.

Those interested can stop by City Hall to pick up an application.

For information, call Berghoefer at 940-575-47475.


Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the council approved:

  • the purchase of a $6,149 Scag zero-turn, riding lawn mower for the water and sewer plants.
  • cancelling the May 11 election and declaring each candidate – Dan Ticer, Jerry St. John and Berry White – re-elected to office. The incumbents were the only ones who filed for the three at-large spots up for election.
  • disposing of surplus items including multiple bush hogs, tool boxes and wheelbarrow an air conditioner window unit, two gas pumps and various computers and monitors via scrap and trash; and a fifth-wheel hook-up, chain-link fencing, toolboxes, headache racks, sprayers, vending machines, a fire-proof filing cabinet, tiller weedeater, freezer, tire machine, snow cone machine, paddle boats, trailers, prisoner partitions, light bars and mowers via auction.
  • the minutes from its Feb. 19 meeting.

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‘New’ council to be declared elected

Runaway Bay citizens won’t have to wait until May 11 to determine the new makeup of their city council.

In fact, it’s not so new.

With only three candidates filing for just as many at-large spots, the council will cancel the election and declare incumbents Dan Ticer, Jerry St. John and Berry White re-elected at a meeting 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

The council will also announce expiring terms on various boards and commissions, consider a proposal to purchase a lawn mower for the water and sewer department and discuss the disposal of a number of surplus items including bush hogs, toolboxes, headache racks, a vending machine and prisoner partitions.

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

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Linzi Leigh Smalley

Dustin and Ashley Smalley of Runaway Bay announce the birth of a daughter, Linzi Leigh, on March 11, 2013, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur. She weighed 9 pounds, 12 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long.

She has a sister, Aubrey Jeanne, 2.

Grandparents are Robin and Gere Melton and Bob and Judi Conger, all of Runaway Bay, and Dan Smalley of Gatesville.

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Police chief position open, code officer created

The City of Runaway Bay will add two staff positions to the payroll following the council’s meeting Tuesday night.

After approving amendments that made a city ordinance on the police chief position uniform with a more recent personnel policy (adopted in 2010), the council approved posting the job opening.

The ordinance originally required the police chief to report to the mayor daily. Although the position is to be appointed by the council, the chief is to daily report to the city administrator (filled in the interim by Oneta Berghoefer) and to the council at its monthly meetings, as outlined in personnel policy.

The new job description also excludes the duty of serving as public safety director and eliminates required patrol hours.

The changes were discussed at a work session Feb. 13.

“It makes the two the same,” Mayor Robert Ryan said.

The position will be posted through March 22 before the selection process is initiated. Rex Richie has served in the interim since Drew Paschall resigned last year.

Later in the meeting, the council also created a part-time, contracted code compliance officer position. Because the city cannot contract past the end of the fiscal year, the position is for six months.

“That gives us time to evaluate the performance and need thereafter,” Ryan said.

The post will earn a monthly $500 salary – a $3,000 impact on this budget.

Berghoefer said she’d been in contact with someone who holds the required licenses and permits but declined to give a name.

Because the position is contracted, the city cannot stipulate the hours worked.

“They work at their own discretion,” Berghoefer said.

But the hired hand is to report to her weekly, the mayor added.


In related personnel matters, the council approved the formation of a voluntary sick-leave pool at the request of employees wanting to donate their sick days to a co-worker in need.

According to the ordinance, to use time from the pool, an employee must:

  • contribute at least one eight-hour period to the sick pool annually;
  • have exhausted all of their own approved time off;
  • be using it for personal, catastrophic ailments, not to care for a family member; and
  • not request more than 120 days a year (240 total) or one-third of the pooled time.

The pool will be administered by a committee comprised of department heads and one council member appointed by the mayor, and once time is donated, it cannot be returned. City employees get 12 sick days a year.

The city will make a one-time match of the hours donated by individual employees to get the pool started.

“I’ve had experience with something similar in the past,” Ryan said. “It’s not used very often, but when it’s needed, it’s needed.”


  • Berghoefer shared a note of praise submitted through the city’s website. A man from Temple was having trouble getting in contact with his daughter, who just moved to Runaway Bay over the weekend. So he called the police department and had them check on her. He was “very impressed with the timeline in which the response was handled.” The note continued with, “You have a wonderful community and a very good police department.”
  • Councilman Neil Peters received the green light to talk with golfball manufacturers and other companies about advertising on the city’s water tower, whichlooks like a golfball atop a tee. Although no price was set, the council discussed charging $100,000 up-front to be featured on the water tower for 10 years. “I think I may be underpricing it,” Peters said. “That money would be used to rehab and repaint the water tower and add the logo.”
  • Councilmembers awarded a $6,800 contract to Basic IDIQ to install handicapped-accessible ramps at City Hall, to be paid for with funds allocated for municipal building repairs. The council postponed a decision to install ramps at the police and fire buildings pending additional research.
  • The council approved routine items – minutes from the Jan. 15 regular meeting and Feb. 13 work session; the police department’s racial profiling report, as required by the state; and the January financials, accounts payable, activity reports and journal entries.

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Marina talk dominates council session

Storm-damaged docks at the Ben Hickey Marina claimed much of the time at Tuesday’s Runaway Bay City Council meeting.

To compensate residential leaseholders who have not had access to their marina slips since microburst winds in excess of 65 miles-per-hour blew through in August, the council authorized a one-time $50 adjustment on bills that will be sent out at the end of the month.

“The way this is written out, if people want to donate their $50, then they don’t ask for a refund,” Mayor Robert Ryan said. “If they don’t want to donate $50 a month, then they do ask for a refund of one month, or $50.”

Because the council does not yet know how many tenants will choose to donate and how many will opt for the adjustment, a specified budget impact was not readily available.

“If everyone asks for an adjustment – which I’m fairly certain is not going to happen – we’re looking at a three-fourths of a cent tax rate (increase),” Ryan said. “It’s really unknown, at this point, as to how that would affect us financially.”

City officials believe the potential maximum increase is enough.

“We can’t expect the rest of the citizens of Runaway Bay to pay for the marinas,” Jerry St. John said. “For leaseholders, it’ll either be additional, higher fees to make up for that shortfall, or continue to pay the $50 fee.”

City secretary Oneta Berghoefer added that customers can cancel their lease at any time and get a pro-rated amount returned on what’s been paid.

“Nobody’s come forward to do that,” she said. “They want to hang on to their spot. We currently have a waiting list of 30 people.”

In November, the council accepted a $173,998 proposal from Basic IDIQ to repair the marina docks. However, additional work has since been identified. To fund that, the council on Tuesday approved a financing agreement with Government Capital in the amount of $65,000. It will be financed at $14,000-plus for five years.

However, the council will check to see if other parties can also be held accountable and thus help with the expense.

“There be may be some negligence on the part of the insurance company or the contractor,” Councilman Neil Peters said. “We need to look into that.” Peters said a contractor was asked to come work on the docks, and promised to do so, but said he was “too busy.”

Councilman Berry White supported efforts to collect from other parties but said the city needs to go ahead and start on the repairs.

“We can always come back and make the adjustment.” he said.

The financing agreement originally included funds to add 10 slips to the “b docks” and generate additional revenue for the city, as discussed at a work session Feb. 13. That would’ve necessitated a $150,000 loan that would, in turn, require a three-cent tax-rate increase for five years to pay off.

Given that financial burden, and taking into account the additional repairs that came with the change order along with the number of years it would take before the city realized any profit, the council decided against adding the slips.

“In light of the fact that we’re going to need funds for other capital outlay items, as well as water and sewer issues that we’ll be exposed to, hopefully within another 30 days, as a result of our water study being completed … I don’t feel like the return on those additional slips was important at this time,” Mayor Ryan said.

“For sure we’ve got to do the repairs if we’re going to operate the marina. I would hope we wouldn’t want to obligate ourselves for that additional amount of money in light of the other things that we know are coming down.”

Councilman White agreed, adding, “It would not be the prudent thing to do economically.”

Work at the marina started in the last week.

“Hopefully we’ll see that come together in the next two or three months,” Berghoefer said.

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