Slidell Elementary School First Six Weeks Honor Roll


SECOND GRADE – Hazel Davis, Beckie Hunter, Jack McCormick

THIRD GRADE – Caroline Dinger, Kenlea Hardin, Madison McCullough, Avery Weathers


SECOND GRADE – Gisella Castillo, Paige Ewing, Rachel Gomez, Roxana Gomez, Catie Hunter, Keller Pruett, Seth Richards, Ella Seay, Isabelle Shackelford, Christian Torres, Noah Vogel, Kayden West

THIRD GRADE – Caleb Davis, Landon Davis, Martha Ibarra, Legend Juarez, Brenna Keating, Savannah Montan, Samantha Ricketts, Kaydee West

FOURTH GRADE – Jayson Ellison, Soren Sharp, Brianna Wright

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Slidell Junior/Senior High School First Six Weeks Honor Roll


Kristal Gladden, James Hunter, Novalee Polanco, Tyler Pruett, Collin Richards, Warren Johnson, Brady Vanover, Taylor Davis, Sarah Beaver, Kylie Franklin, Francisco Martinez, Nortberto Martinez, Shelby Vanover, Morgan Barnes, Jessy Goode, Tyler Maynard, Marisol Millan, Caitlin Pruett, Khristian Talamantes


Adriana DeLuna, Carley Franklin, Raven Friddle, Dylan Larkins, Alora Phillips, Shelby Seay, Ashton Champagne, Jayden Ellison, Rusty Fennell, Chloe Malone, Jerl McCasland, Maddie Meyer, Easton Vanover, Alicia Cabrera, Aurora DeLuna, Slayton Pruett, Tristyn Talamantes, Lander Allgood, Carson Franklin, Savannah Gray, Hunter Horner, Lexey Houck, Chasey Malone, Ben McCasland, Bailey Meyer, Kaitlyn Reynolds, Madison Splawn, Sydney Engle, Obed Cerda, Sierra Hargrave, Shelby Johnson, Sydney Keating, Alexis Womack, Erick Gutierrez, Kayson Roof, Amber Sylvera, Adina Zidermanis, Mason Maynard, Brittany Wright, Madyson Downs, Jason Fuller, River Koon

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Cross Country: Slidell finishes second at home

The Slidell Lady Greyhounds took second in their home meet Wednesday and their final tune-up for the District 22-A meet.

Caitlin Pruett paced the Lady Greyhounds, running 13:44 on the 3,200-meter course for second place.

Makayla Fitzgerald turned in her best time of the year, finishing in 14 minutes for fourth. Kayson Roof took eighth in 14:23. Kylie Franklin was 10th in 14:45. Sydney Keating ran 15:53 for 22nd as Slidell’s fifth runner.

Megan Garcia finished 42nd in 19:10 and Jessy Goode 49th in 21:14.

The Slidell Greyhounds finished third in the boys race.

Khristian Talamantes led Slidell with a 19:27 on the 5K course for sixth place. Shelby Vanover was seventh in 19:41. Kyler Carnes ran 20:42 for 13th, Colton Crane 21:21 for 18th, and Dustin Davis 21:28 for 19th.

Francisco Martinez finished 21st in 21:51 and Walker Gladden 26th in 23:09.

Slidell will run in the 22-A meet at 3 p.m. Wednesday in Keene.

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Fire damages restored home

A restored 90-year-old home in Slidell was severely damaged when it caught fire Monday evening.

The quick response of the Greenwood/Slidell Volunteer Fire Department limited the destruction to one bedroom and part of the house’s attic, but the other rooms have smoke and water damage, according to Fire Chief Adam North.

The house at 200 CR 2822, which is just behind the school, is owned by Katheryn Hall, who had been restoring it over the last four years. Wise County Fire Marshal Chuck Beard said she lives there “off and on” and also offices from there. She wasn’t home when it caught fire about 6 p.m.

North said an electric company had been working on the power lines across the street when the linemen smelled smoke. Trucks from WillBros T&D Services were on site.

“When they got up in the cherry picker, they could see smoke coming from the back of the house and called 911,” he said.

When firefighters arrived, there was heavy smoke coming from the back of the home, and it had gone into the attic.

The chief said they initiated an interior attack and were able to get a “quick knockdown,” which he said is significant, especially with a volunteer department.

“It was a great job by my guys doing a quick interior attack,” he said. “It’s very rare to save a house like this in a rural area, especially a wooden structure.”

He also gave credit to departments that provided mutual aid.

Decatur, Krum and Sanger fire departments were called to the scene, as well as Wise County medics.

Beard said there was “nothing suspicious about the fire, but the exact cause remains under investigation.”

He also complimented the Greenwood/Slidell VFD.

“They did an awesome stop on this,” he said. “They did a really good job.”

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Cross Country: Greyhounds take 2nd

The Slidell Greyhounds finished second at last week’s Ponder Invitational.

Slidell tallied 83 points, finishing behind Bridgeport.

Khristian Talamantes led the Greyhounds, taking eighth in 19:16 on the 5K course.

Shelby Vanover finished ninth in 19:20. Kyler Carnes took 18th in 20:08. Dustin Davis ran 20:28 for 20th. Colton Crane garnered 21:47 for 28th.

Francisco Martinez was 30th in 22:13, and Walker Gladden 31st in 22:36.

The Slidell girls took third with 88 points.

Caitlin Pruett finished seventh in 14:21. Kayson Roof took ninth in 14:34. Makayla Fitzgerald turned her best time of the year, 14:38, for 10th. Kylie Franklin was 27th in 16:24, and Sydney Keating 35th in 17:05.

Megan Garcia ran 18:56 for 42nd, and Taylor Davis 19:47 for 44th.

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Edwin Duaine Pruett

Edwin Duaine Pruett

Edwin Duaine Pruett, 89, of Slidell, died Sept. 9, 2014 in Denton.

Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13 at the First Baptist Church in Slidell, with arrangements under the direction of Coker Funeral of Sanger.

Edwin was born Aug. 13, 1925 in Slidell, the son of Clarance Lensie and Jewel Lorene (Higgs) Pruett. He attended and was a graduate of Slidell High School.

In August 1944, Edwin enlisted in the U.S. Army and defended his country as a member of the Company C 105th Infantry. He was discharged Nov. 2, 1946 at the rank of Corporal. He married Velma Lucille True Jan. 26, 1947 in Lewisville. They made their home in Slidell where they raised their four children and where Edwin had farmed all of his life. They also owned a dairy for approximately 25 years.

Edwin was preceded in death by his parents, wife Velma, and daughter Jean Bounds.

He is survived by daughter Ava Manolas of Chugiak, Alaska; sons Bert Pruett and Duaine Pruett, both of Slidell; brother H.R. “Tooter” Pruett; five grandchildren, Edwin Ja Bounds and Erin Belschner, both of Waxahachie, T.J. Manolas of Chugiak, Alaska, Laura Perry and Christopher Manolas, both of Eagle River, Alaska, and seven great-grandchildren.

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Cross Country: Slidell runners win home meet

The Slidell Greyhounds and Lady Greyhounds defended their home turf Saturday, winning their own cross country meet.

Caitlin Pruett won the girls’ race, completing the 3,200-meter course in 13:13.

Kylie Franklin finished third in 14:18. Kayson Roof ran 14:25 for fifth. Makayla Fitzgerald took 11th in 14:44, and Taylor Davis 31st in 16:35.

Sydney Keating finished 36th in 16:54, and Megan Garcia 43rd in 18:36.

Khristian Talamantes won the boys’ race on the 5K course in 19:11.

Shelby Vanover finished fourth in 20:11. Kyler Carnes took 10th in 21:26. Dustin Davis was 12th in 21:58, and Francisco Martinez 13th in 22:12.

Colton Crane took 14th in 22:29, and Walker Gladden 19th in 25:21.

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Bessie June Robinson

Bessie June Robinson

Bessie June Robinson, 74, a retired coach and teacher for Slidell ISD, died Friday, Aug. 29, 2014, in Decatur.

Funeral is 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3, at the First Baptist Church in Slidell with the Rev. Casey Johnson and Tracy Epting officiating. Burial will follow at Oaklawn Cemetery.

Pallbearers are Darrel Perkins, Darrel Perkins Jr., Zane Perkins, William Stout, Danny Taylor and Clayton Taylor. Honorary pallbearers are Strike Franklin, Ronnie Ramsey, David Caraway, Dwayne Hill, Tim Fletcher, Eric Fletcher and Angel Carrillo.

June was born Aug. 26, 1940, in Muenster to Elvin Robert and Ruby Mae (McDonald) Steadham. She married Harold Ray Robinson Aug. 13, 1969, in Decatur.

She was a wonderful wife, daughter, aunt, sister, friend, teacher and coach – wearing a lot of hats well. Though she never had children of her own, she helped raise a bunch of them in the classroom and on the basketball court.

June loved her families (biological, spiritual and educational), and they will all miss her.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her twin sister, Jane Perkins.

She is survived by her husband of 45 years, Harold Ray Robinson of Decatur; numerous nieces and nephews who held a special place in her heart; and many friends and students she had the pleasure of coaching and teaching through the years.

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Start-of-school observations

There’s a banner hanging on the fence, “Welcome Back!” The bulletin boards are decorated. Lesson plans are in the book. Groceries are stocked in the kitchens, and the floors shine like a new penny (’til you can see your reflection – Ms. Cindy sees to that).

Mothers and fathers, breathing a sigh of “Yes!” – it’s time for school. And for me … it’s what I’ve done more than half my life.

I started school in the old rock building in 1957 … first grade, no pre-K or kindergarten. I learned Dick and Jane, 2+2=4, pride in jobs well done and in being a Greyhound. I joined the ranks of Slidell basketball in fifth grade (things were different back then) and wore blue and orange, carrying on customs that are still echoing through the halls of SHS today.

I spent 12 years at Slidell as a student, and I’m beginning year 26 as an employee of Slidell (10 years in another district). This is my 48th school year start.

I cannot think of a place I’d rather be. Smiles … hugs … “Hey, I’ve missed you!” … “What did you do all summer?” (“No, I didn’t follow you on Twitter.”) … “Work hard” … “No running in the halls” … “What’s for lunch?” … “Follow through” … The list is endless, and I get to be a small part of the way our school life will carry on in 2014-2015.

Cross country runs, the bounce of basketballs on a hardwood floor (music to my ears), One-Act Play performances, UIL academic meets, ag judging trips, family and consumer science service, Beta Club students’ 90 GPA or above, student council representing their classes, ready-for-action track meets, and, of course, (30-love) tennis in the spring.

Slidell students are competitive and carry on longstanding traditions – not just in winning, but in being committed to their team and school. And in this school, they know all the little ‘Hounds look up to the Greyhounds.

So to students, teachers, parents … don’t blink … it will be over all too soon. May this year be the best year ever for our school family and community!

Go Greyhounds!

Irene Wilson

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7 injured in collision; Family hits semi on FM 51 North near Slidell

7 injured in collision; Family hits semi on FM 51 North near Slidell

Seven people were injured in a two-car wreck Saturday morning about 14 miles northeast of Decatur, just inside the Wise/Denton county line.

The wreck occurred around 10 a.m. just outside the Fossil Pointe shooting range off Farm Road 51 when a car hit a pickup that was towing a flatbed trailer.

Car vs Semi

CAR VS SEMI – Department of Public Safety Troopers examine the remains of a car involved in a wreck that injured seven Saturday morning near Slidell. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Chasity Fuhrmann, 32, of Azle, was driving her husband and three children north on F.M. 51. At the same time Anthony Hull, 33, of Krum was headed south in a pickup towing a flatbed trailer.

Hull was turning left into Fossil Pointe when Fuhrmann hit the truck he was driving, resulting in injuries for everyone involved.

Hull and his passenger, Jordan Everett, 28, of Denton, both suffered injuries. Hull was taken to a hospital in Denton, while Everett was taken to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

Fuhrmann was also taken to Wise Regional, along with her 11-year-old son, McCaleb. No further information about their condition is available at this time. Richard Fuhrmann, Chasity’s husband, was flown to John Peter Smith in Fort Worth by Air Evac, and had been discharged from the hospital as of press time.

Their daughter Victoria, 13, was flown to Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth. No information is available on her status at this time.

The youngest child, 10-year-old Micah, was transported to a hospital in Denton.

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Back to School: Slidell ISD


Slidell Elementary School

  • Angie McCormick, music/fine arts/computer coordinator, student services

Slidell Secondary

  • Brad Hullum – technology, yearbook adviser
  • Jessica Sharp – science
  • Deborah Buchanan – Spanish


Slidell ISD

Tax rate: $1.10 per $100 valuation

Administration office
No. 1 Greyhound Lane

Superintendent: Greg Enis

School board members: Tim Fletcher, Sam Dunlap, Kasi Maynard, Johnny Zuniga, Troy Fortenberry, Steve Pruett, Camille Franklin

Health Fair and Meet the Teacher Night

Elementary students
6 to 8 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 21

District Notes

Meal prices have increased for the 2015-15 school year. Breakfast is $1.25. Elementary lunch is $2.05, and secondary lunch is $2.35.

Slidell Calendar

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Pearl Naomi Cox

Pearl Naomi Cox, 93, the oldest resident of Slidell, died Monday, Aug. 4, 2014, in Decatur.

No service is planned at this time.

Pearl was born Jan. 31, 1921, in Mount Morris, Mich., to Isaac and Lola (Jessop) Smith. She married Dick Telford Cox June 20, 1942, in Kirksville, Md. Pearl was a retired nurse.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Dick Cox; four brothers; two sisters; and a grandson.

She is survived by her daughters, Sharon McFarlane of Slidell and Shirley Cox of Denton; son Lary Cox of Alvord; sister Wanda Moen of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; grandchildren Tom McFarlane, Ann Bartis, Jody Boyce, Juanita Johnson, Heath Cox and Christie Vasquez; 16 great-grandchildren; and 17 great-great-grandchildren.

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Suiting up one last time; Hounds pay tribute to fallen teammate

For one last time, Isaac Davis put on his Slidell Greyhounds basketball uniform Tuesday morning.

“I never thought I’d wear the uniform again,” said the 2014 graduate. “It was a good feeling putting it on again – but knowing it was for a funeral ate me up inside.

“It means a lot to have all my teammates here as he goes away.”

Back Together

BACK TOGETHER – Slidell basketball players gather one last time to pay their respects to fallen teammate Colton Perkins at his funeral Tuesday at Bolivar Baptist Church. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The Greyhounds, who shared so many victories and good times with each other last spring, came together in full uniform to celebrate the life of their fallen teammate, Colton Perkins.

The 17-year-old 2014 Slidell High School graduate died in an accident Friday morning on Farm Road 455 outside of Bolivar. More than 500 family members, friends and community members packed Bolivar Baptist Church Tuesday for over two hours to mourn his passing. Many were clad in pink, Perkins’ favorite color.

PAYING HIS RESPECTS – Trent Garrett took emergency leave from his post at Virginia Beach with the U.S. Navy to attend the funeral of his friend and former teammate Colton Perkins. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“He would be very impressed to see his team do this for him,” said Perkins’ cousin Mitchell Burkham. “He was pretty popular.

“He was more of a big brother to me. I didn’t want him to go. I loved him so much.”

The entire Slidell basketball team served as pallbearers, including brother Levi, who also sat during the service with the team.

Slidell basketball coach and athletic director Todd McCormick passed out the uniforms to his players. He also gave the Perkins’ family Colton’s jersey for him to be buried in.

“You could tell with the seniors when we were passing them out, they never thought they’d don those jerseys again,” McCormick said. “It was emotional.”

At a visitation Monday, Slidell players presented the family with a signed basketball. The team also came together once last time in a huddle. As they recalled, it was usually Perkins in the center of the huddle leading the chants. At the request of Perkins’ mother Autumn, Khristian Talamantes filled that role.

“It was hard to do, but it was an honor,” Talamantes said. “He always told us to go out and give our best. He was the one to get everyone riled up. He was definitely the most spirited.

“This shows how much the team meant to everyone, that we all wanted to suit up one last time with him.”

Along with the spirit and leadership he brought to the court, the three-year starter was a skilled and versatile player. He averaged 13.2 points and 8.1 rebounds for the Class A Region III quarterfinalists. He had 27 points and 13 boards in the Greyhounds’ bi-district win over Dodd City. At the end of the season, he earned first-time selections on the 21-A and All-Wise County teams.

But his teammates and friends recalled their times off the floor together. Even while grieving, they couldn’t help but swap stories about Perkins.

“He was really fun. One of the funniest people I’ve met,” said point guard Tyler Maynard. “Every time he’d go to my house, he’d go to the fridge. He ate more than anyone I met.”

A former teammate and close friend, Trent Garrett, made an extraordinary effort to get back one last time to see Perkins. Stationed in Virginia Beach in the U.S. Navy, Garrett took emergency leave to attend the funeral.

“You usually are only allowed emergency leave for family. To me, he was family. He was no doubt the best friend I’ve ever known,” Garrett explained.

“One word to describe him: flawless. He’d walk in a room and brighten it with his smile. He was flawless.”

As Bolivar Baptist’s Rev. Dickie Amyx pointed out during the service, Perkins touched more people with his actions and smile than he ever knew.

“From the elderly to the young ones and everyone in between, he touched their lives,” Amyx said.

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Bobby Colton Perkins

Bobby Colton Perkins

Bobby Colton Perkins, a recent graduate of Slidell High School, died Friday, July 18, 2014.

Funeral was July 22 at Bolivar Baptist Church with Dickie Amyx officiating. Burial followed at Bolivar Cemetery.

Pallbearers were Hayden Crane, Tyler Maynard, Mason Maynard, Trent Garrett, Jarrett Tinsman, Khristian Talamantes, Isaac Davis, Walker Gladden, Levi Perkins, Mitchell Burkham, Shelby Vanover and Dustin Davis.

Honorary pallbearers were Todd McCormick, Casey Pierce, Cody Vanover and Dennis Stroud.

Colton was born Aug. 14, 1996, in Denton to James Robert and Autumn Lyn Perkins. He had attended Slidell schools since third grade and was working as an apprentice carpenter for Carl’s Handyman Service while waiting to start classes at North Central Texas College in the fall.

Colton was an athlete who excelled in basketball, tennis, baseball and track. Whatever he did, he did it with all that he had.

Colton was a special and unique individual who touched many lives during his short 17 years. He was an active member of the Bolivar Baptist youth group, where he accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior, prayed, played, wept with and led his peers to Christ.

His passing leaves a hole that will never be filled.

Colton is survived by his parents, James and Autumn Perkins of Slidell; the love of his life and future bride, Alexis Terry of Sanger; brother Levi James of Slidell; grandparents Vic and Monica Burkham of Slidell, Steve and Debbi Williams of Krum and Charlie and Becky Perkins of Mertzon; aunts and uncles Joe and Jennifer Jonas of Krum, Trey and Jennifer Perkins of Midland, Will Perkins of Midland, Zack and Kalyn Fichter of Justin and Shane and Brandy Morrow of Sanger; and many great-aunts and uncles, cousins and friends.

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1-vehicle wreck claims Slidell teen

A recent Slidell graduate was killed Friday morning in an accident on Farm Road 455 West in Denton County.

Bobby Colton Perkins

Bobby Colton Perkins, 17, of Decatur died at 5:15 a.m. in the 7900 block of FM 455 West between Bolivar and Sanger according to the release from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner.

Perkins was traveling eastbound on FM 455 when he lost control of his Chevrolet pickup just east of FM 2450.

“For some reason he went off onto the shoulder and over-corrected trying to get back on the roadway,” said Department of Public Safety Trooper Kyle Bradford. “The truck went into a skid and slid into a tree. He was ejected.”

Perkins was pronounced dead at the scene.

Bradford said the roadway was wet. He added that investigators were looking into whether speed was a factor.

Perkins, who went by Colton, played basketball and ran cross country at Slidell before graduating with the Class of 2014 in May.

He was first-team 21-A and Wise County selection in basketball as a senior. He averaged 13.2 points and 8.1 rebounds in helping Slidell to the Class A Region III quarterfinals.

“Colton was a great kid and hard worker,” said Slidell boys basketball coach and athletic director Todd McCormick. “He improved so much from his sophomore to junior and even senior year. He was always in the gym. He was a great kid and comes from a great family. It’s tough. All my thoughts and prayers go out to them.”

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Joseph L. McCullough

Joseph L. (Joe) McCullough, 71, of Slidell, died peacefully in his sleep Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at his home, surrounded by his family, after courageously battling cancer for seven months.

A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. on his birthday, Friday, July 5 at the First Baptist Church of Slidell. Coker Funeral Home of Sanger is in charge of arrangements.

Joe was born July 5, 1942, in Kittanning, Pa. to O.J. McCullough and Naomi (Bell) Christy. Joe served in the U.S. Army 1959-63, then married Theresa A. Heath March 21, 1964.

He worked as a truck driver for 40 years and stayed in the trucking industry when he went to work for Kenosha – now Active, USA – delivering semi-trucks. He and his wife eventually relocated to Slidell, where he became a longtime, respected resident and friend of the community.

Joe worked for Kenosha for 28 years and retired when he was 62.

Joe was a man of few words, but he made every word count. He believed a handshake was as good as gold, and if you happened to glimpse his face when talking about his family, you saw that twinkle in his eye and you knew he loved them.

He is survived by his wife, Theresa McCullough of Slidell; children Joseph McCullough, Jr. of Muskogee, Okla., Kardi McCullough and husband, Barry, of Overland Park, Kan., Anthony McCullough and wife, Gina, of Slidell, and Mary McCullough and husband, Paul, of Denton; grandchildren Cody McCullough, Derek McCullough, Jennifer McCullough, Kyle Conley, Hannah Conley, Rachel Conley, Samuel McCullough, Alex McCullough, Madison McCullough, Nolan McCullough, Justin Lopez, Elizabeth Lopez and Marissa Lopez; great-granddaughter Alexandria; and sister Caroline Souldworth of Ohio.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother and a sister.

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Driver charged in deaths of motorcyclists

The driver who caused the Memorial Day weekend wreck that killed two motorcyclists near Slidell has been arrested and charged with manslaughter.

Sherrie Ann Rose

Sherrie Ann Rose, 36, of Weatherford was arrested Wednesday and booked into the Wise County Jail. She remained jailed Friday afternoon on two charges of manslaughter. Bond was set at $100,000 for each charge.

The wreck happened the afternoon of May 25 on Farm Road 51 at the Wise/Denton County line.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit of investigating Department of Public Safety Trooper Greg Hair, Rose told the officer she had been traveling behind a slower-moving vehicle southbound on FM 51 when she attempted to pass the vehicle in a no-passing zone. She estimated that the vehicle in front of her had been traveling around 50 mph in the 70 mph zone.

Rose estimated she was traveling around 65 mph when she topped a hill in the northbound lane and collided with two northbound motorcycles.

The operator of the first motorcycle, Thomas Edward Garcia, 53, of Ardmore, Okla., was killed instantly. A passenger on his bike, Cassie Marlana Turner, 32, of Ardmore, died shortly after her arrival at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

The operator of the second motorcycle, Dustin Bailey, 33, of Ardmore, was flown to Medical Center of Plano where he remains hospitalized for his injuries. His passenger, Megan Michelle McCleary, 30, of Ringling, Okla., was flown to Medical Center of Plano where she was treated and released later that night.

A third motorcycle operator riding with the group avoided the collision.

Rose and her sister, Debra Crouch, 49, of Weatherford, were flown to Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth, and Rose’s 7-year-old son, Jacob Perrine, was flown to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.

According to the affidavit, Rose said she had been visiting with family in Terlton, Okla., and had left earlier that day to return home to Weatherford. The motorcyclists had attended a Memorial Day event in Chico and were returning home to Oklahoma.

The affidavit also states that the motorcycle driven by Bailey had been reported stolen in Houston in January of 2013.

Manslaughter is a second-degree felony. If convicted, the punishment range is two to 20 years in jail.

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Something worth crying about

What can I say? I’m a crier. Not a whiny, sniveling one or a loud, wailing crier or a hollering howler … but a quiet, lip-quivering, eyes fill up and spill over, run down my cheek, try to wipe it away before anybody sees crier.

I cry for lots of reasons. Tears fall at the miracle of birth and the separation of death. I weep at sad movies and romantic flicks and feel-good stories. I cry when “we” win a close game or experience defeat; I am moved by valiant efforts.

I’ve been known to laugh until I cry uncontrollably, and if you make me mad enough, tears can fall at the same time I talk through gritted teeth. I am misty eyed at the sweet kindness of children … yep, I cry for lots of reasons.

I guess last Friday was no exception, the last day of the school year (not for me, I work year-round).

I’m always a bit melancholy at the end of the year. Can’t exactly put my finger on the feeling, a bit of sadness mixed with lightness. I’m happy for the change of pace during the summer break, but this year is gone and so too some of the teachers and students who won’t be back.

So amidst awards assemblies, cleaning out lockers, dismantling bulletin boards and setting up lost-and-found, there are moments of “see you later,” “be back soon,” and “can’t believe it’s summer.”

You see, I love school … the teachers, the kids, the staff. I enjoy what I do and look forward to the challenges each day brings. And of course, there’s the monetary benefit. But the real reason I work at a school is for riches money can’t buy.

Friday, on a Post-it note size square of paper with LaQuinta Inn at the top, was a note from a second grader named Izzy, a heart drawn with these words:

“Thanks for evrethind” (She marked through the ‘d’ and wrote the’ g’ above the word).

There is wealth of all kinds in this life, but the words of a kid written on a small square of paper are a treasure for sure.

Yep, I cried!

Irene Wilson

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These transitions are big stuff

”Hey, Mimi. You got any money?” She met me when I came in the cafeteria.

“Not in here … right this minute … besides, you can’t buy anything,” I told her.

She’s in the fifth grade, and they aren’t allowed to use the snack bar in the cafeteria; just grades 6-12 have that privilege.

“Oh, but we can this last week of school since we’ll be in sixth grade next year.”

She grinned from ear to ear. So here it was … she’s big stuff now; almost sixth grade, snack bar and all. I got her a dollar, and she hurried to the snack bar to spend my money.

In a few minutes, the bell rang, signaling lunch was over. (If you’re a kid, teacher or staff member you have to learn to eat quickly.) She came by my table and handed me an unopened bag of Doritos and a Gatorade with only one sip missing.

“Don’t eat my chips or drink my Gatorade,” she instructed.

I laughed and told my table of lunch buddies, “She didn’t want anything … just wanted to be able to go up there and make a purchase.”

Coach Vanover told us that today second grade was allowed to get off the rocks of the playground and venture onto the grass. Big stuff they are, going to be in third grade, and now they can get on the grass. But they didn’t stay long … came back to the rocks and began to play on the swings and slides.

Rites of passage … the changing of social status … the time that comes along and we make a transition from one stage to another. Big stuff we are …

Tuesday I watched kindergarten graduate. They counted by fives and tens, sang their ABC’s and each student told us one thing they learned this year – things like “how to raise baby chicks,” “coloring nicely in the lines,” “learning vowel sounds” and “how to read,” “knowing how to make bubbles and duck tails” – important lessons to allow their rite of passage to first grade.

Thursday evening eighth grade marched across the stage and shared a glimpse of their past nine years at Slidell … lost library books, overdue papers, basketball games won and lost, review sheets and tests, STAAR and sweat, friendships forged … moving on … headed to high school. Big stuff they are …

Friday, “Pomp and Circumstance” echoed in the halls of Slidell. Seniors completing this phase of their education took center stage. We heard well-spoken young men and women give speeches and share collective memories … future hopes and dreams.

A slide show revealed some of those photos only a mother and father can love, a few tears fell. Scholarships were awarded, certificates bestowed.

Seniors – big stuff headed out into the world, toward the snack bar, off the rocks and onto the grass. Good luck to the graduating class of 2014.

And thank you, Slidell faculty and staff for a wonderful and successful year!

Irene Wilson

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Crash kills 2, injures 5

Crash kills 2, injures 5

Two people were killed and five more sent to area hospitals when a car collided with a pair of motorcycles near Slidell Sunday afternoon.

The accident happened at 5:45 p.m. on Farm Road 51 at the Wise/Denton County line.

Tending to the Injured

TENDING TO THE INJURED – Medics and fire department personnel work on one of the injured from Sunday’s wreck near Slidell while a CareFlite helicopter comes in for a landing to take another of the injured to a Metroplex hospital. Four helicopters total were called to the scene. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Jodi Liukkonen said she had been traveling behind three motorcycles headed north on 51 when she suddenly saw a car directly in front of her.

“I saw that car in my lane, and I went to the right,” she said. “As I’m going off the road, I see her hit the bikes, which flew up in the air. It all happened so quickly. I called 911.”

Liukkonen said it appeared the passenger car’s driver was attempting to pass in a no-passing zone when the collision occurred at the crest of a hill.

Sgt. Lonny Haschel, media spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said the car made a direct hit on at least one motorcycle riding closest to the center line of the roadway. That motorcycle operator, Thomas Garcia, 53, of Ardmore, Okla., was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger, Cassie Turner, 33, of Ardmore was taken by ground ambulance to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur where she died about an hour-and-a-half after the wreck.

A second motorcycle was riding beside Garcia’s bike and was also struck. Haschel said that bike’s operator, Dustin Bailey, 33, of Ardmore, and his passenger, Megan McCleary, 30, of Ringling, Okla., were also seriously injured.

Two helicopters were dispatched to the location to take Bailey and McCleary to Medical Center of Plano. Bailey was listed in stable condition Tuesday afternoon, and McCleary had been treated and released, according to a hospital spokesperson.

A third motorcyclist riding with the group took evasive action and avoided being hit.

The driver of the car that was southbound in the northbound lane was identified as Sherrie Rose, 32, of Weatherford. She and a front-seat passenger, Debra Crouch, 49, of Weatherford, were flown to Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth where they were listed in stable condition late Monday, Haschel said.

A hospital spokesperson said Tuesday afternoon that Crouch was in fair condition while they no longer listed Rose as a patient.

The fourth and final helicopter that responded to the scene took a back-seat passenger, 6-year-old Jacob Perrine of Weatherford, to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth. Perrine could be seen clutching his stuffed teddy bear as he was wheeled through the debris field to the waiting helicopter.

He was also in stable condition late Monday.

Haschel said there was no indication drugs or alcohol played a part in the wreck, although the investigation is still in the early stages. No charges have been filed.

According to television station KXII in Ardmore, the motorcyclists had been to a Memorial Day rally in Chico and were returning home when the accident happened.

Farm Road 51 was completely shut down until just after 8 p.m. as traffic was rerouted down County Line Road and County Road 2825.

Multiple law enforcement agencies and fire departments responded, including the Greenwood/Slidell and Sanger fire departments, Denton and Wise County Sheriff’s officers and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers.

Medical personnel that responded included Wise County Medic 1 and 4, Wise County Rescue 1, Air Evac Lifeteam 68 helicopter and three CareFlite helicopters. Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home also came to the scene to pick up Garcia, whose funeral arrangements are pending at Craddock Funeral Home in Ardmore.

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