3 local residents charged in bank robberies

A Paradise couple arrested in September for a bank robbery in Arkansas has now been charged with two robberies of the same bank in Round Rock.

Rodney Hurdsman, 45, and his wife, Stephanie Hurdsman, 39, have been charged with aggravated robbery in connection with the robberies of the Regions Bank on July 15 and Sept. 25, according to a news release from the Round Rock Police Department. The warrants were filed last week by the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force comprised of Round Rock and Austin Police detectives.

A third Paradise resident, Kenneth Lee Ulledahl, 22, was also charged with aggravated robbery in connection with the July 15 robbery but not the Sept. 25 robbery.

“The violent takeover robbery consisted of two males rushing into the bank brandishing handguns, while demanding money,” the news release stated about the July 15 robbery.

Ulledahl and the Hurdsmans all have the same address in the 100 block of County Road 3382 near Paradise, according to Wise County Jail records.

The Hurdsmans were arrested at the Eldorado Casino in Shreveport, La., Sept. 29 and charged with aggravated robbery of the Malvern National Bank in Benton, Ark., on June 16. A third suspect, Stephanie’s sister, Oneida Saylor, 35, was arrested the following week and charged with aggravated robbery of the Arkansas bank.

Round Rock Police worked with the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force, FBI Little Rock, Wise County Sheriff’s Office and Benton Police Department to identify and charge the suspects in the robberies.

Posted in News0 Comments

Winter fishing still appeals

Texas weather might be cooling, but that doesn’t mean the action on the water is.

Lake Bridgeport’s water level is about 24 feet below conservation level, which is 2 feet lower than in July. Recent rains and continued cooler weather could equal some rise in levels. Lower lake levels has not affected fish population too much, according to a report released this summer by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Based on surveys conducted every four years, the report revealed population numbers for several species of fish – both predator and prey – are in good shape.

The 11,954-acre reservoir was originally built in 1932 on the west fork of the Trinity River. It is operated by the Tarrant Regional Water District for the primary purpose of providing a municipal and industrial water supply – but it’s also a hot spot for recreation. The habitat consists of mostly rocky areas and small patches of native submerged vegetation.

Some populations like catfish, crappie and spotted bass were abundant and stable. Largemouth bass populations are down, but fish growth is good.

Here are some tips for winter fishing:

CATFISH

  • As winter weather gets colder anglers looking for fish should start at the northern most sides of bodies of water as they tend to warm first. Species like bass and crappie will move to the warmer areas and need to feed. Murky water stays warmer than clear water, too.
  • Winter is one of the best times for targeting channel catfish and blue blue catfish as they will come together in tighter areas called “holes.” Catfish spend most of the time where conditions are most comfortable for them and where food is most readily available.
  • Using fresh bait is best. Catfish feed on shad or skipjack herring but most pan fish cut into pieces will work.

BASS

  • Bass will slow down as the weather cools, so a smart angler will slow down, too. Slowing presentation will give the fish more time to react and strike.
  • Winter bass are picky eaters, and change in the size of lures might do the trick. If bass aren’t striking small lures, larger ones are worth a try as the fish might not be willing to waste time feeding on small prey.
  • Acording to TPWD, there aren’t as many fisherman on Lake Bridgport year round as there were five or 10 years ago, but there might be even fewer as some will opt to stay snug in their beds as opposed to braving the water. That being the case, don’t be afraid to move the boat around and search the whole lake for those hot spots where bass congregate.
  • Look for warm water like the in shallow areas warmed by afternoon sunlight.
  • Don’t be afraid to use bait instead of lures. Minnows and night crawlers will work. Try to keep the bait warm and lively, though.

Sources: TPWD, discovercatfishing.com, www.bass-fishing-source.com

Posted in News0 Comments

Invasive species laws change

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recently found adult zebra mussels in Lake Bridgeport, a year after researchers discovered the invasive species’ DNA in the water.

According to www.texasinvasives.org, zebra mussels are present in Lake Texoma, Ray Roberts, Lewisville, Bridgeport, Lavon and Belton. Evidence of the mussels has also been found in Lake Ray Hubbard, Grapevine, Lake Fork, Tawakoni, the Red River below Lake Texoma, the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, and Sister Grove Creek.

In an effort to prevent the spread of the mussels, the state requires anglers and boaters to drain all water from their vessels – including live wells, bilges, motors and other receptacles – on approaching or leaving a body of water.

That law went into effect July 1, and Texas has made possession or transportation of zebra mussels a Class C misdemeanor for the first offense, punishable by a fine of up to $500. Repeat offenses can be a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and jail time up to 180 days.

One zebra mussel can produce up to 1 million larvae, invisible to the naked eye.

Posted in News0 Comments

Embracing victory

His Biggest Fans

HIS BIGGEST FANS – Newly elected county judge J.D. Clark is enveloped in a group hug by his former Bowie High School students at his election watch party Tuesday night. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Staunch Supporter

STAUNCH SUPPORTER – Joe Clark shows quiet support for his grandson, J.D. Clark, who was elected Wise County judge Tuesday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Checking Numbers

CHECKING NUMBERS – Jimmy Counts (from left), Jordan Karch and J.D. Clark check vote totals online Tuesday night. Clark won the county judge race with 83 percent of the vote. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Moment with Mom

MOMENT WITH MOM – J.D. Clark hugs his mom, Lori, as results from the final two ballot boxes are released. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Numbers Dont Lie

NUMBERS DON’T LIE – Republican J.D. Clark updates vote totals at his election watch party Tuesday night. Clark defeated his Democratic opponent Jim Stegall for the county judge post 10,364 to 2,121. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Posted in Photo Features0 Comments

Halloween scares up voters

Early voting in Wise County took a sharp upswing in the second week.

The polls didn’t close until 7 p.m. Friday night, but as of 5:15 p.m., 775 voters had cast their ballots on Halloween. It was the largest single-day total by far.

The second highest turnout was just a day earlier, with 495 on Oct. 30.

“It’s been a zoo day,” Elections Administrator Jim Parker said Friday evening.

As of 5:15, 181 ballots had been cast in Bridgeport, 183 in Rhome and 411 in Decatur, and there was still one hour and 45 minutes left until the polls closed.

That brought the total through 5:15 p.m. Friday to 4,839 – a 13.25 voting percentage that doesn’t include the nearly 1,000 mail-in ballots.

“We’re way ahead of 2010,” Parker said, comparing this year’s early voting numbers to the last non-Presidential election year.

Parker said total early voters in 2010 was 4,411, which included only 268 mail-in ballots.

Here are a few highlights from this year:

  • There have been seven days with more than 400 voters.
  • The single highest voter turnout was Oct. 31 with more than 775 votes through 5:15 p.m.
  • The single lowest voter turnout day (excluding weekend voting) was Thursday, Oct. 23, with 313 votes.
  • Weekend voting included 198 ballots cast on Saturday and 81 on Sunday.

Parker offered some advice for Tuesday, when showers are predicted.

“If the weather is bad, vote early,” he said. “Don’t lollygag around because something could happen. Get in there and vote early.”

Early voting ran Oct. 20-31. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 4. Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Posted in News0 Comments

More students, more opportunities for STEM event

More students, more opportunities for STEM event

STEMania was back and bigger than ever this year at Weatherford College Wise County Thursday.

The second annual education event – where elementary students learn how science, technology, engineering and math intersect with everyday life – drew more than 800 fourth graders from Wise and Jack County schools.

Cheers and Moos

CHEERS AND MOOS – More than 800 fourth graders from Jack and Wise counties attended Weatherford College Wise County’s second annual STEMania event Thursday. This cow was used by WCWC students to teach the fourth graders how cows produce milk. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

This was an increase over last year’s event, which drew around 600 students from only Wise County.

The increase in attendees was no accident, according to Mike Endy, dean of academics.

“It’s not just about STEM,” he said. “It’s about exposing these kids to a college environment at a young age. They may be fourth graders right now, but they’re going to grow up and become college students, if they choose to do that, and we want to provide them options.”

More than 50 stations were spread out around the campus, where students could go to learn about everything from how electricity is made to how to harvest banana DNA. Some stations, like English professor Dr. Erin Sagerson’s “Frankenstein” exhibit, used humanities as a way to teach the students about science.

Crashing Brains

CRASHING BRAINS – Wise and Jack County fourth graders look on as nursing students from Weatherford College Wise County demonstrate the importance of wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle, using fake brains as props. “I’ve seen some real bad accidents that were preventable if the person had just worn a helmet, so hopefully the kids learned something today,” WCWC nursing student John Riggs said. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Sagerson, calling herself “Dr. Sagerstein,” explained Mary Shelley’s tale of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster to a rapt audience before showing the fourth graders a skeleton they could take apart and put back together.

“We were trying to come up with ways to show that there’s always overlap between STEM subjects and other subjects,” she said. “The first story we could think of was ‘Frankenstein.’ It’s a nice tie-in for the kids for Halloween, too.”

Many of the stations, including demonstrations on smoking, bicycle safety and chemistry, were staffed by WCWC’s own nursing students.

Penelope Lawyer, a third-semester nursing student who was working at the smoking health station, said she enjoyed the opportunity to positively impact the youngsters.

Just Say No

JUST SAY NO – Students line up to listen to the difference between healthy lungs and smokers’ lungs during the STEMania event at WCWC Thursday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“It’s important to get them to realize they need to not smoke – I smoked for 25 years and finally stopped right before I started this nursing program, so hopefully we can get them early,” she said.

To make their point, the nurses had the students listen to the breathing patterns of healthy lungs and then had them listen to recordings of what a smoker’s lungs sound like.

“Listening to the lungs was really cool,” said Paradise Elementary student Hugo Huerta. “It made me not want to smoke.”

Many of the students said they want to pursue careers in STEM-related fields when they grow up.

“I think I would like to do something in electricity, and make brighter lightbulbs,” Carson Elementary’s Wade Bates said.

Jayton Watson, also a student at Carson, said the cattle roping station in the parking lot inspired her to want to go into agriculture when she gets older.

“I think I might want to become a roping teacher,” she said. “It was fun being outdoors for that part of the day.”

If those students choose to pursue those dreams, Endy said the college is ready for them.

“These 800 kids will be the most people in this building at one point all year,” he said. “We built this new building as much for them, 10 years from now, as we did for ourselves. Hopefully everyone here realizes that hosting this event isn’t a waste of time, but it’s an investment in the future of the kids as much as it is for the college.”

Posted in Features, News0 Comments

IT department changes to be discussed

County Judge Glenn Hughes will present to commissioners Monday his ideas for organizational changes to the county’s Department of Information Resources.

Hughes has been spearheading an effort to streamline the county’s computers and servers to make the system more efficient. In August, commissioners approved at his recommendation hiring Prince Computing Corp. to update the county’s IT system and help the county devise a five-year plan.

In other business, commissioners attorney Thomas Aaberg will explain to the court how Tuesday’s election will affect interim officer holders Hughes and Gary Potts, currently serving as Precinct 4 commissioner. It was widely believed that the winners of Tuesday’s election would take office after the votes were canvassed, but in fact, the terms to which they’re being elected don’t start until Jan. 1.

Monday’s meeting starts at 9 a.m. in the third-floor conference room of the Wise County Courthouse. It’s open to the public.

Posted in News0 Comments

New support group seeks to educate about Parkinson’s

A Wise County resident is starting a new support group for people affected by Parkinson’s disease and their families.

Pam Hudson founded the Parkinson’s Support Group of the Wise County Area after her husband, Tommy, was diagnosed with the disease and she became his primary caregiver.

She said she was looking for a place to share her experiences and learn more about the disease from people who had gone through it but couldn’t find a group in Wise County.

So, she started one.

“It’s good to have friends that you know are going through the same things,” Hudson said.

The group meets on the first Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. in the administrative conference room at Weatherford College Wise County, where they discuss everything from what medications to use to how to deal with the emotional toll of taking care of a loved one with Parkinson’s.

“It’s not a social thing,” Hudson said. “We’re just trying to keep it educational and figure out how it affects people’s lives.”

The group’s next meeting Nov. 4 will feature pharmacist Gail Walker, of Gail’s Pharmacy in Bridgeport, as guest speaker. Walker will be discussing the different medications that can help with Parkinson’s.

Hudson said another reason for the group is so people who do not have Parkinson’s can accurately understand what the disease is like. She mentioned actor Michael J. Fox’s diagnosis in 1991 as one of the only things people know about Parkinson’s, along with the “shakes” symptoms that are often the first sign of diagnosis.

“There are several symptoms, and the one symptom that I personally think is the scariest is the mind tricks it plays,” Hudson wrote in an email.

“It causes those who have it to ride an emotional roller coaster, with panic attacks, anxiety attacks, depression, sleep disorders – and it causes lifestyle changes you may not be ready for. It causes arguments and anger and verbally lashing out at those who you love the most … and the caregivers are the ones that catch the brunt of the patient’s anger.”

There is no membership fee or dress code for those who wish to attend the meetings, and Hudson said they normally do not last for more than an hour.

For information, call Pam Hudson at 940-389-0642.

Posted in News0 Comments

Election Day is Tuesday

After months of campaigning, Election Day is finally here.

Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, and by the end of the night, Wise County will have a new county judge and Precinct 4 commissioner.

Voters across the state will elect a new governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, comptroller, land commissioner, agriculture commissioner and railroad commissioner. The ballot also includes seats in the Texas and U.S. House and Senate, a host of judgeships, even Paradise school board posts.

Also on the ballot are district and county judge and clerk positions, a county court-at-law judge, county treasurer and two commissioners’ posts, along with four justice of the peace jobs. For a sample ballot, go to wcmess.com/ballot.

Local polling locations include:

  • Precinct 1-1: Decatur City Hall, 201 E. Walnut, Decatur
  • Precinct 1-2: Ag Extension building, 206 S. State, Decatur
  • Precinct 1-22: Ag Extension building, 206 S. State, Decatur
  • Precinct 1-3: First Baptist Church, Corner of Farm Road 455 and Main, Slidell
  • Precinct 1-4: Masonic Lodge, first floor, 147 CR 2640, Greenwood
  • Precinct 1-5: East Wise Fire Hall, 107 CR 4421, Blewett
  • Precinct 1-6: Community Center, East Farm Road 407, New Fairview
  • Precinct 2-7: Assumption Catholic Church, 1305 S. Deer Park, Decatur
  • Precinct 2-8: Assumption Catholic Church, 1305 S. Deer Park, Decatur
  • Precinct 2-9: Alvord City Hall, 215 W. Elm, Alvord
  • Precinct 2-10: Victory Baptist Church, 4346 N. Texas 101, Sunset (Park Springs)
  • Precinct 2-11: Crafton Baptist Church, fellowship hall, 2590 Farm Road 2127, Crafton
  • Precinct 2-12: Chico Public Library, 106 W. Jacksboro, Chico
  • Precinct 4-13: Bridgeport High School, One Maroon Drive, Bridgeport
  • Precinct 4-14: Bridgeport Lions Hall, 1107 8th St., Bridgeport
  • Precinct 4-15: Norma Coble Civic Center, 51 Runaway Bay Dr., Runaway Bay
  • Precinct 4-16: Boonsville Community Center, West on Farm Road 920 off County Road 3743, Boonsville
  • Precinct 4-17: First United Methodist Church, activity center, 301 S. Oak, Paradise
  • Precinct 2-18: Bridgeport Recreation Center, 1102 Lawdwin, Bridgeport
  • Precinct 2-19: Lake Bridgeport Fire Hall, 301 S. Main St., Lake Bridgeport
  • Precinct 3-20: Cottondale Community Center, 161 CR 3571 off Farm Road 2123, Cottondale
  • Precinct 3-23: Boyd Community Center, 420 E. Morton Ave., Boyd
  • Precinct 3-24: Newark Fire Hall, 406 Hudson St., Newark
  • Precinct 3-25: Boyd Community Center, 420 E. Morton Ave., Boyd
  • Precinct 3-27: Boyd Community Center, 420 E. Morton Ave., Boyd

—–

The most recent Appeals Court decision restored the state’s Voter ID law, meaning those wishing to cast a ballot will need to bring a photo ID with them to the polling place, along with their voter registration card.

Acceptable forms of ID:

  • Texas driver’s license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
  • Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS
  • United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph
  • United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • United States passport

Voters who don’t have an ID when they show up at the polling place will be issued a provisional ballot, which can become official if they return with an ID within a given number of days.

Posted in News0 Comments

Sisk gets 4-year sentence for burying body

A Boyd man has been sentenced to four years in prison after Tarrant County prosecutors said he helped bury the body of a murder victim in south Wise County.

Criminals

Joseph Daniel Sisk, 24, reached a plea agreement with prosecutors Page Simpson and Kevin Boneberg a couple of weeks ago. He pleaded guilty to tampering with physical evidence, according to a news release from the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office.

Sisk’s father, William Farris Sisk Jr., 53, of Springtown, also pleaded guilty to tampering with physical evidence and was sentenced to four years in prison.

The two are accused of concealing the body of Arturo Torres. Javier Hernandez, 38, of Fort Worth pleaded guilty to Torres’ murder and received a 20-year prison sentence.

The investigation into Torres’ death began Aug. 2, 2012, when Torres’ mother went to Fort Worth Police saying she had not seen her son for several weeks. Several months later, witnesses were located who began to shed light on what had happened.

“The witnesses told police that Torres and Hernandez had gotten into an argument at a residence in the 2300 block of Irion Avenue (in Fort Worth) and that Hernandez had shot Torres,” according to the district attorney’s office news release. “Hernandez ordered another man to cut Torres’ throat and finish him off. When he refused, Hernandez strangled Torres with a coax cable.”

The Sisks had come to the house that night to buy drugs, according to the news release, and Hernandez ordered them to take the body back to their property on County Road 4698 in Wise County.

“In the early morning hours of June 26, 2012, the Sisks arrived at a dumpsite off County Road 4698 in Wise County, where they dug a hole for several hours by flashlight. Then they buried the body,” according to the statement.

According to Wise County jail records, Joseph Sisk listed a home address of 1347 CR 4698 when he was booked into jail on an unrelated charge in April of 2012.

Investigators continued to gather information and obtained a search warrant for the property on County Road 4698, a couple of miles east of Farm Road 51. On Jan. 29, 2013, a Fort Worth homicide detective working with the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s anthropology team, Wise County Sheriff’s Office and Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Mandy Hays searched the location and found human remains that were later identified as Torres.

Hernandez’ girlfriend, Rocksan Winterberg, 33, also pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and was sentenced to two years in prison.

According to the news release, Winterberg and another woman were told by Hernandez to follow Sisk’s truck back to Wise County the night the body was transported to “become a distraction” if police tried to stop the truck.

Winterberg was also later instructed to help dispose of the gun, the release stated.

Posted in News0 Comments

Trick or Treat

In Costume 2

IN COSTUME – Yucely Meza’s face paint replicates a sugar skull, a Mexican treat created and sold in the days and weeks leading up to one of the country’s most famous holidays – Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Meza, 11, attended Spooktacular in Bridgeport Saturday evening. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

ALVORD

HAUNTED HOUSE – The Alvord High School Halloween haunted house is open indefinitely Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, starting at 10:30 p.m. on the 31st and 6 p.m. on the 1st. All proceeds benefit Alvord Project Graduation.

TRUNK OR TREAT – Alvord Booster Club is hosting trunk or treat at the AHS softball field starting at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31. Pizza will be provided by the First Baptist Church of Alvord.

BRIDGEPORT

FALL FEST – The First Baptist Church of Bridgeport will have a Family Fun Fall Fest 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, at the church’s Family Life Center. There will be free food and candy, a bounce house, obstacle course, games and prizes. Wear costumes. The church is at the corner of Texas 114 and Cates Street.

COSTUME PARADE – Bridgeport Main Street’s Suit Up and Say Boo Halloween Costume parade down Halsell Street is 5 to 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31. It begins at Bridgeport Stage, 1009 Halsell St.

HALLOWEEN NIGHT – Various streets will be closed 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31, in the Oakland Heights Addition for trick-or-treating.

FEARAPHOBIA – The Fearaphobia Haunted House at 1407 Carpenter St. in Bridgeport is open 6 to 10 p.m. Thursdays and 6 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays until Nov. 1. Tickets are $15 and $10 at the door for adults and children under 12, respectively, and $10 and $5 online at www.fearaphobia.com/tickets.html. There is also a children’s haunted house for those who feel they might get too scared going on the actual tour. If the event breaks even, designer Robert Chaney plans to give the proceeds to a local charity.

CHICO

HAUNTED HOUSE – The Chico Community Volunteer Fire Department will have a haunted house 6 to 9 p.m. every Friday and Saturday in October at the Old Chico Middle School, 400 S. Hovey St. Admission for 12 and under is $3 and 13 and older is $5. All proceeds will benefit the fire department. The haunted house will also have a “kid’s hall” for smaller children.

DECATUR

LIBRARY CARNIVAL – Decatur Public Library’s annual Halloween carnival is 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30. There will be Halloween games with prizes, trick-or-treating for books and seasonal crafts. This special event is for grade-schoolers and families with young children. Call 940-393-0290.

TRUCK OR TREAT – First Baptist Church, 1200 Preskitt Rd., in Decatur is having Truck or Treat 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29. There will be a hay ride, games, prizes, hot dogs and candy.

FALL FESTIVAL – Eagle Drive Baptist Church, 1301 Eagle Dr., in Decatur is having a fall festival 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29. There will be a bounce house, ponies, live music, carnival games and free food.

FALL FESTIVAL – Governor’s Ridge Fall Festival is 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30. There will be a bounce house, games and prizes, a merry-go-round, goblin walk and a hot dog supper, plus trick or treating.

TRUNK OR TREAT – Victory Family Church in Decatur is having a fall festival 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29. There will be bounces houses, food, games, vendors and trunk or treat.

TRICK OR TREAT NIGHT – Decatur City Council voted to move the city’s trick or treat observance to Thursday, Oct. 30, to avoid a conflict with the Eagles’ final home football game Oct. 31. The council agreed to designate Deer Park Road as one-way, northbound, between Eagle Drive and Preskitt Road from 5:30 to 10 p.m. on the 30th to help ease traffic problems in some of the city’s more popular trick or treating areas.

SPOOKY FRIDAY – Decatur Public Library’s Spooky Friday Fun is 10:30 a.m. Oct. 31. Librarians will build reading readiness with stories, songs and puppet play. This special storytime event is for preschoolers and families with young children. Call 940-393-0290.

FALL FUN – The Hills Nursing and Rehabilitation, 201 East Thompson, in Decatur is having a fall festival 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31. There will be indoor trick-or-treating, a bounce house, hot dogs, booths, popcorn and a cake walk. Call 940-627-2165.

RHOME

HALLOWEEN FUN – The city of Rhome is hosting Halloween in Family Park 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31. Residents are invited to wear costumes and bring candy, along with table and chairs. Call Jo Ann Wilson, 817-638-2388.

SLIDELL

FALL FESTIVAL – Slidell ISD’s annual fall festival is 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31, at the Junior/Senior High building. Doors open at 5 p.m., and ticket sales begin at 5:30 p.m. Drawings will be at 8:15 p.m.

SUNSET

TRUNK OR TREAT – A Trunk or Treat Festival is 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31, at the Sunset Fire Hall. The event is hosted by the Sunset Volunteer Fire Department, the Community Park Board and several local churches. There will be games, candy and a hay ride. The hay ride will tour the developing community park where treats will be handed out in the haunted goblin park. The Park Board will also have concessions at the fire hall.

Posted in News0 Comments

Alves wins PBR world title

Alves wins PBR world title

Silvano Alves of Decatur made bull riding history, winning his third PBR world title Sunday in Las Vegas.

The 26-year-old went 6-for-6 at the Built Ford Tough World Finals for the first time in his career, securing the event average on top of the title – 2014 PBR World Champion.

Champion

CHAMPION – Silvano Alves of Decatur holds the cup over his head after winning his third PBR world title Sunday in Las Vegas. Photo courtesy Andy Watson/Bullstockmedia.com

He’s only the second rider to ever win three titles, joining Adriano Moraes, and he’s one of only four to win the world title and the event average in the same year.

Alves, a native of Pilar do Sul, Brazil, was presented a key to the city at the Decatur Chamber of Commerce luncheon Tuesday. He greeted the crowd with a quiet, humble smile and thanked them for their support.

“I’m very happy about the three titles,” he said. “I love it here. It’s my home like in Brazil. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”

Alves lives in Decatur with his wife, Evelin, and their children, Hanyelle and Eduardo.

Although he’s only been competing in the Built Ford Tough Series for five years, he’s reached legendary status with earnings over $5 million. He was the fastest to hit the $1 million, $2 million, $3 million, $4 million and $5 million marks in the history of PBR.

To top it off, Sunday afternoon he rode Asteroid, breaking the 2012 World Champion Bull’s streak of 30 consecutive buckoffs, for 87.25 points – capping off a near-perfect performance in Las Vegas.

The exuberant Alves celebrated with friends and was dogpiled in the arena, but Tuesday he said the accolades and success are more than he ever expected.

Although he trains hard, he said his focus is to simply ride bulls. It’s an attitude that has paid off.

Decatur Proud

DECATUR PROUD – Silvano Alves holds a key to the city of Decatur that was presented to him at Tuesday’s Chamber luncheon. Decatur Mayor Martin Woodruff (left) and Decatur Chamber President Brennan Williams congratulate the three-time champion. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Alves has said the 2014 season was his most difficult. He started the year nursing a separated shoulder and was in a bit of a slump before coming back and entering the finals as the No. 3 rider, trailing leader Joao Ricardo Vieira by 511 points. It was the farthest back he had ever started a finals – but he eventually passed Vieira, who finished in second place, and ended the year in front by 1,938.06 points.

Alves led the BFTS this season with 50 rides and a riding average of 54.35 percent. He placed in the top five seven times and posted 12 top-10 finishes.

Now, it’s time to rest and relax, his wife said Tuesday.

Alves said it’s hard to put his feelings into words, but he’s simply happy.

“Just to be one of the two to win three titles,” he said, “that is very exciting.”

The only other Wise County riders to finish in the top 10 were Fabiano Vieira in fifth and Mike Lee in seventh.

Posted in Features, News0 Comments

Grand jury indicts 29

A Wise County grand jury met Oct. 16 and returned the following felony indictments:

Darren Alan Berkley, possession of a controlled substance – methylone, 4-400 grams

Latasha Deann Berrier, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Leanne Bradley, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, 4-200 grams

Jennifer Lyn Carroll, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, 4-200 grams

Denise Anne Handy, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, 4-200 grams

Martin Gutierrez Hernandez, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Bobbi Jo Hill, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, 4-200 grams

Laura Ann Hollis, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Ronald Lynn Marlett, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon

Tyler William Mitchum, possession of a controlled substance – cocaine, 4-200 grams

Gilbert Ray Morales, possession of a controlled substance – cocaine, 4-200 grams

David Klatt Smith, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, 4-200 grams

Megan Joe Houston, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (one count); injury to a child with intent to cause bodily injury (two counts); abandon endanger child by omission

Aurelo Tabuyo, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Leslie Dawn Johnson, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (one count); injury to a child with intent to cause bodily injury (two counts); abandon endanger child

Edwian Eugene Baker, assault family/household member with previous conviction

Joshua Chase Draper, assault family/household member impede breath/circulation

Leslie Dawn Johnson, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (one count); injury to a child with intent to cause bodily injury (two counts); abandon endanger child criminal negligence (two counts)

James Pier Kimbro, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon

Chet Allen Benson, injury to a child with intent to cause bodily injury (one count); attempt to commit abandon endanger child criminal negligence (two counts) and injury to a child with intent to cause bodily injury (one count); abandon endanger child criminal negligence (two counts)

Sergio Raul Morado-Romo, assault family/household member impede breath/circulation

Jeff William Walker, injury to a child reckless bodily injury

Daniel Ches Fuller, burglary of a building (one count); credit card or debit card abuse (four counts)

Brian Jadin Crowley, burglary of a building (one count); credit card or debit card abuse (four counts) and theft of property $1,500-$20,000

Daniel Ches Fuller, theft of property $1,500-$20,000

Kyle Edwin Honeycutt, unauthorized use of a vehicle

Lakisha Nicole Roberts, fraudulent use/possession of identifying information number of items less than five

Adam Mathew Morgan, theft of property $20,000-$100,000

Richard Kent Brock, theft of property $20,000-$100,000

Latasha Deann Berrier, theft of property $20,000-$100,000

Kevin Roger Musick, forgery financial instrument

Billy London Hughes, forgery financial instrument

Posted in News0 Comments

Wise Regional takes over nursing operations

The directors of Wise Regional Health System voted Monday night to affiliate with seven nursing facilities in the area – at their request.

Hospital CEO Steve Summers said the move was requested by those facilities to allow them to qualify for a higher reimbursement rate, under new laws that make more funds available to facilities that are affiliated with a public entity.

The Decatur-based health care system will take ownership of three facilities owned by Sava Senior Care, three owned by Kindred Health Care and one, DFW Rehab, that is owned by Ken Broussard. All are within about an hour of Decatur, mostly in the Fort Worth area.

“We’ve been approached by these entities to be involved with them, to help them secure additional funding,” Summers told the board. “We’ve visited with them, vetted all that, looked at it, and we felt like it’s a reasonable approach to consider being involved with these facilities.”

Wise Regional’s Donna Stowers will oversee them and report back to the board.

“They all have quality standards in place,” she told the board. “It’s in their best interest to have the best quality they can.”

WRHS attorney Jason Wren said the Hospital Authority would actually become the owner of the skilled nursing operations.

“We’ll lease the facilities, then enter into a management agreement with the folks who are operating them now,” he said.

The board approved unanimously.

SLEEP LABS TO MERGE

The board also approved another affiliation – this one with Somnus Healthcare sleep lab.

“We’ve been in discussions for a while now,” Summers told the board. “This is an organization that’s located in Decatur.

“We have an existing lab service, and we thought we would fold in those labs together and offer one service, on the West Campus,” he added. “This way we can offer more services in one setting instead of them being split between the two different organizations.”

Summers said the short-term contract, which calls for a flat payment every month, had been looked at and vetted by the hospital’s legal staff. The sleep lab will continue to be located on the West Campus.

It was approved unanimously.

OTHER ACTION

The board also:

  • approved the purchase of a portable EEG unit for $75,419, making that service available in-house 24 hours a day rather than having to contract with a mobile service and schedule those procedures during the hours it is on campus;
  • approved the revised succession planning and development policy;
  • approved five new appointments to the medical staff;
  • approved 17 bi-annual reviews; and
  • approved three first-year reviews.

Posted in News0 Comments

Halloween Events for Saturday, October 25, 2014

ALVORD

HAUNTED HOUSE – The Alvord High School Halloween haunted house is open for a lights on tour 6 to 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25. From 7 to midnight, it will be the full haunted house experience. On Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, it will be open indefinitely, starting at 10:30 p.m. on the 31st and 6 p.m. on the 1st. All proceeds benefit Alvord Project Graduation.

BRIDGEPORT

SPOOKTACULAR – Bridgeport Parks and Recreation will host the Spooktacular Fall Festival 5:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, at Bridgeport Community Center. The free event will include a zipline, rock wall, rat race, candy, games, popcorn, cotton candy, balloon animals and face painting. There will be magic shows at 5:45 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 7:45 p.m., and a costume contest sponsored by Bridgeport Main Street at 6:15 p.m.

TRUCK OR TREAT – Yesterday’s Texas, 305 U.S. 380, in Bridgeport is hosting Truck or Treat 6 to 8 p.m Saturday, Oct. 25. Registration for antique and classic cars and motorcycles is 4 to 6 p.m. Prizes will be awarded for the car show and best costume. There will be candy and games.

FALL FEST – The First Baptist Church of Bridgeport will have a Family Fun Fall Fest 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, at the church’s Family Life Center. There will be free food and candy, a bounce house, obstacle course, games and prizes. Wear costumes. The church is at the corner of Texas 114 and Cates Street.

COSTUME PARADE – Bridgeport Main Street’s Suit Up and Say Boo Halloween Costume parade down Halsell Street is 5 to 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31. It begins at Bridgeport Stage, 1009 Halsell St. The street will be closed from 4:45 to 6 p.m. for the event.

HALLOWEEN NIGHT – Various streets will be closed 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31, in the Oakland Heights Addition for trick-or-treating.

FEARAPHOBIA – The Fearaphobia Haunted House at 1407 Carpenter St. in Bridgeport is open 6 to 10 p.m. Thursdays and 6 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays until Nov. 1. Tickets are $15 and $10 at the door for adults and children under 12, respectively, and $10 and $5 online at www.fearaphobia.com/tickets.html. There is also a children’s haunted house for those who feel they might get too scared going on the actual tour. If the event breaks even, designer Robert Chaney plans to give the proceeds to a local charity.

CHICO

HAUNTED HOUSE – The Chico Community Volunteer Fire Department will have a haunted house 6 to 9 p.m. every Friday and Saturday in October at the Old Chico Middle School, 400 S. Hovey St. Admission for 12 and under is $3 and 13 and older is $5. All proceeds will benefit the fire department. The haunted house will also have a “kid’s hall” for smaller children.

DECATUR

FALL FESTIVAL – Cornerstone Baptist Church, 701 W. Hale St., in Decatur will have a fall festival 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25. There will be games, a hay ride, candy and free food.

TRUCK OR TREAT – Pleasant Grove Cowboy Church is having Truck or Treat 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25. The church is located at 4789 S. Farm Road 730 near Decatur. There will be a bounce house, hot dogs and lots of candy. Call 940-627-2860.

TRUNK OR TREAT – The First United Methodist Church of Decatur is hosting Trunk or Treat 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26. The church is located at 104 S. Miller. There will be games, food, dunking booths and bounce houses. Call 940-627-3362.

SPOOKY TALES – Decatur Public Library is hosting Tales from the Critt, a Halloween-themed spoken word program with audiobook ace C.J. Critt, 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27. A veteran of Broadway and a staff writer at Radio Disney as well as the original voice of America’s favorite bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum, Critt will channel the voices of various mystery and suspense authors she has recorded in her 20-year career with Recorded Books and Harper Audio, and will treat the audience to some classic spooky fare and a lively question-and-answer session. Suggested age is 13 and up.

FALL FESTIVAL – Senior Care, 701 W. Bennett Rd., in Decatur is having its 5th Annual Fall Festival 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28. Wear costumes for trick-or-treating. There will be music, a bounce house, games, cotton candy, hot dogs and face painting.

TRUCK OR TREAT – First Baptist Church, 1200 Preskitt Rd., in Decatur is having Truck or Treat 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29. There will be a hay ride, games, prizes, hot dogs and candy.

TRUNK OR TREAT – Victory Family Church is having a fall festival 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29. There will be bounces houses, food, games, vendors and trunk or treat.

TRICK OR TREAT NIGHT – Decatur City Council voted to move the city’s trick or treat observance to Thursday, Oct. 30, to avoid a conflict with the Eagles’ final home football game Oct. 31. The council agreed to designate Deer Park Road as one-way, northbound, between Eagle Drive and Preskitt Road from 5:30 to 10 p.m. on the 30th to help ease traffic problems in some of the city’s more popular trick or treating areas.

FALL FESTIVAL – Governor’s Ridge Fall Festival is 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30. There will be a bounce house, games and prizes, a merry-go-round, goblin walk and a hot dog supper, plus trick or treating.

FALL FUN – The Hills Nursing and Rehabilitation, 201 East Thompson, in Decatur is having a fall festival 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31. There will be indoor trick-or-treating, a bounce house, hot dogs, booths, popcorn and a cake walk. Call 940-627-2165.

RHOME

HALLOWEEN FUN – The city of Rhome is hosting Halloween in Family Park 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31. Residents are invited to wear costumes and bring candy, along with table and chairs. Call Jo Ann Wilson, 817-638-2388.

SUNSET

FALL FESTIVAL – The County Line Cowboy Church fall festival is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25. The church is located at 890 N. U.S. 81/287 in Sunset. Mutton bustin’ is at noon, and there will be a bounce house, face painting, a silent auction and horseshoes. Call 940-845-2020.

Posted in News0 Comments

Meeting Previews for Saturday, October 25, 2014

WISE REGIONAL ACQUISITIONS – At their 6 p.m. meeting Monday, Oct. 27, the directors of Wise Regional Health System will consider acquiring six nursing facilities and a rehab facility, including sublease, operations and management agreements. Three are nursing facilities operated by Sava Senior Care, three are Kindred nursing facilities and one is DFW Rehab, owned by Ken Broussard. Also on the agenda are several equipment purchases, appointments including medical staff appointments, reappointments and reviews and items to set up a hospital sleep lab with Somnus Healthcare and approve a succession plan for the hospital. The meeting, held in the board room at the West Campus, is open to the public.

WILDFIRE PROTECTION PLAN – The Decatur City Council will consider approving a community wildfire protection plan when it meets 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27, at City Hall, 201 E. Walnut. The plan is an agreement between the Decatur Fire Department and the Texas Forest Service. Also on the council agenda are approval of a performance agreement between the city’s Economic Development Corp. and Energy WorldNet, an interlocal agreement with Wise County for road repairs and maintenance, and a request from the Decatur High School junior class to hold a 5K run Nov. 8 as a fundraiser for the prom. A workshop with department reports begins at 5:30, and it’s all open to the public.

SHORT AGENDA FOR ALVORD – The Alvord school board will hear principals’ reports, pay the bills and not much else when they meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the school district’s Administration Building, 100 Mosley Lane. The only two regular agenda items are to consider a contract for property tax collection and assessment services with Wise County Appraisal District and consider regulating substitute teachers. The meeting is open to the public.

Posted in News0 Comments

Early voting available this weekend

If your work week schedule doesn’t allow you to vote early Monday-through-Friday for the Nov. 4 general election, you’re in luck this year.

Early voting will take place 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and, for the first time, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at Decatur City Hall. Early voters should take note that this location will be used in place of Wal-Mart, which has been used for several years as a Saturday early voting location.

If a busy weekend keeps you away from the polls, don’t fret. Early voting continues with extended hours 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday at three locations around the county:

  • Decatur City Hall, 201 E. Walnut St.;
  • Rhome City Hall, 105 1st St.; and
  • Bridgeport Law Enforcement Center, 1000 Thompson St.

Anyone registered to vote in Wise County can cast a ballot at any of these locations. Voters should bring a photo ID, along with their voter registration card.

Through the first five days of early voting at the three locations mentioned above, 1,913 votes had been cast. That included 1,043 in Decatur, 467 in Bridgeport and 403 in Rhome.

Interim Elections Administrator Jim Parker said as of Friday, his office had received 758 mail-in ballots.

Posted in News0 Comments

Injured rider identified

The most seriously injured rider from last weekend’s motorcycle accident in Rhome is Gary Hayes, 58, of Utah.

Hayes flown Sunday morning from the accident scene on the U.S. 81/287 service road, between Pioneer Road and Texas 114, to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.

He’s listed in critical condition.

The second rider, Ronald Arthur Lourenco, 67, was treated and released from JPS. The two motorcycles collided as Hayes attempted to change lanes and enter the highway.

Lourenco was identified in the original news story Oct. 22. Hayes’ name was just released Friday by the Rhome Police Department.

Posted in News0 Comments

Early voting off to mediocre start

Early voting for the Nov. 4 general election started Monday and drew more than 400 people to the Wise County polls.

PROUD TO VOTE – A poll worker hands out stickers to every person that casts a ballot. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Interim Elections Administrator Jim Parker said 443 people cast ballots, which does not include limited or provisional ballots.

The breakdown is as follows:

  • 234 – Decatur City Hall, 201 E. Walnut
  • 112 – Bridgeport Law Enforcement Center, 1000 Thompson St.
  • 97 – Rhome City Hall, 105 1st St.

Parker said 46 people voted Monday in the Paradise school board election.

“In 2012, the last real big race with a presidential race, we had 1,000 [voters] on the first day,” he said. “So we’re running about half.”

He said traffic was slow Tuesday with 351 voters. Seventy-six cast ballots in Rhome, 86 in Bridgeport and 189 in Decatur.

Twelve people voted in the Paradise school board election Tuesday.

Early voting at all three locations continues 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Oct. 24 and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 27-31.

This weekend, Decatur City Hall will be open for early voting 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 4, polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at precinct polling locations throughout the county.

Posted in News0 Comments

Man arrested for arson, assault

A Decatur man was arrested Wednesday morning on felony charges stemming from a trailer fire Oct. 4.

Johnny Leon Moore III

Johnny Leon Moore III, 45, of Decatur was arrested by the Wise County Sheriff’s Office fugitive apprehension unit in connection with the fire at 3222 N. U.S. 81/287, according to the Wise County Fire Marshal’s Office.

Moore was charged with arson causing bodily injury, a first degree felony, and aggravated assault causes serious bodily injury, a second degree felony. He remains in the Wise County Jail with a $100,000 bond for each charge.

Patricia K. Woods, 40, suffered burns on her lower extremities in the fire, and remains hospitalized at Parkland in Dallas.

Woods and Moore were purchasing the trailer from the owner of Brushy Creek RV Park, off U.S. 81/287 just behind the roadside rest area northwest of Decatur. They had lived there about three weeks.

After the fire broke out, Moore reportedly took Woods in a private vehicle to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur, where she was treated and later transferred by helicopter to Parkland.

The Decatur Fire Department was called at 11:18 a.m. the day of the fire, and when they arrived at the location, the RV was fully engulfed. They extinguished the fire and stayed on the scene until 1:25 p.m. – but the RV and contents were a total loss.

Posted in News0 Comments

Login

Username:

Password:


Recover password | Create an Account