Water board proposes $1.58 million budget

Directors of the Wise County Water Supply District, an entity of the City of Decatur, reviewed a proposed budget of $1.58 million at their meeting Tuesday.

The district, organized as a debt retirement entity, provides water purchased from Lake Bridgeport to the city’s water treatment plant.

Decatur City Manager Brett Shannon, who handles water district business, proposed a tax rate of 12.75 cents, the same as the current year. The majority of the expenses, $785,000, are designated for debt retirement and another $570,000 goes for water purchases from Tarrant Regional Water District.

In addition to the water lines and pump stations at Lake Bridgeport, the district owns the water treatment plant, which is operated by the city.

At its Tuesday meeting the board approved $50,000 in improvements to the treatment plant, including a $25,000 contract to Kimley Horn Engineers to secure a wastewater permit for the plant.

The board will hold a public hearing on the budget and tax rate Aug. 27 at 4 p.m. at Decatur City Hall.

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TAPS seeks local park and ride location

Transportation needs exist in rural communities, but now there’s a new coalition in Wise County that is looking for local input to help identify and meet those needs.

That was the theme of the first meeting of the Wise County Transportation Coalition Tuesday at Decatur City Hall.

Jeff Davis, transportation solutions coordinator with TAPS (Texoma Area Paratransit System) Public Transit, chaired the meeting, which attracted 10 participants from the community. He explained the services TAPS provides Wise County residents, including clearing up the confusion about who could ride.

“I get this all the time: ‘I thought that was just for old or disabled people.’” he said. “And really, anybody can ride TAPS.”

He asked those in attendance to take note of the transportation needs of the community and share them at future meetings. Among the issues the coalition plans to look at is access for veterans, Weatherford College, workforce and medical.

Six TAPS buses currently serve Wise County, and TAPS Access will begin serving the area in September, providing non-emergency medical transportation for Medicaid recipients.

The TAPS service area includes Wise, Clay, Montague, Cooke, Grayson, Fannin and Collin counties. One common issue for Wise County residents is the need to travel to Denton or Tarrant counties – counties that have their own transportation systems.

Davis said it is possible, or will be soon, he hopes, to bring Wise County residents into those areas.

“One of the things that is really exciting about TAPS is our leadership has had conversations and introductions with DCTA (Denton County Transportation Authority) in Denton and The T (in Fort Worth),” he said. “Both entities are favorable about making some of these connections, but again, you have to be careful in how those jurisdictional areas are crossed over. We don’t want to jeopardize our funding, because it is so critical to the mission.”

Because TAPS is a not-for-profit entity, it relies on state funding and grants. That money comes with certain rules about coverage area and hours of service.

One of the major issues in making transportation to Denton or Tarrant counties a reality is locating a “park and ride” location in Decatur. Davis said he is looking for a local business or church that would be willing to give up a few parking spots to create such a location. The ideal location would be on U.S. 81/287, he said, but other locations around town could also work.

The bus would leave from the Decatur park and ride location and take riders to either the Intermodal Transfer Station in downtown Fort Worth, where riders could catch a ride on a different bus, or a new park and ride location near Alliance.

Davis said he was willing to make presentations to local businesses or groups about the services offered by TAPS.

The coalition, which is open to anyone with an interest in transportation issues, will meet again at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 14 at Decatur City Hall. Davis said he envisions the group meeting every other month or quarterly.

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Greene wants to reform Congress

Monday when he came to Decatur, Mark Greene was looking for a place to hold a campaign fundraiser dove hunt this fall.

Mark Greene

A few weeks ago, he spoke to the Decatur Lions’ Club. Not long after that he was back in town for Reunion, pitching washers with other Democratic candidates.

He’s on the campaign trail, working for votes as he seeks to outpoll longtime incumbent Kay Granger in November for the right to represent the 12th District in the U.S. Congress.

It’s an uphill battle, but Greene stays on message.

“I’m not one of these people who can leave something alone if I think it’s broken, and I think government is broken,” he said. “This hellish mess we call politics these days – we have a dysfunctional government.”

Greene was born in Amarillo, but his family moved to Fort Worth when he was 2. He graduated from Eastern Hills High School, served three years in the Army, started a construction business and earned a degree in journalism/public relations from UT Arlington, winding up back in construction as a contractor.

In 2000 he ran for Congress and “kind of just walked away” from his small company during the 18-month campaign. He got pursued by corporate headhunters and ended up going to work for them.

He did mostly construction- and energy-related recruiting, working with firms that deal in wind farms and high-voltage transmission systems. He spent the last couple of years in Mexico until a project he was working on got mothballed, and he returned to the U.S.

By far, political reform is his biggest issue.

“If not for that, I would be much less inclined to run,” he said. “It’s the most difficult issue to address, but every other problem we have comes back to this one.”

Greene’s talking points range from energy to water issues to immigration. But it all starts with reforming the way government does business.

“I’m not so much an issues person as an organizational person,” he said. “The machine of government needs to work, and it doesn’t right now. It’s totally broken.

“Right now, the government we have in Washington is not particularly more functional than the one in Iraq, in Afghanistan or in Somalia. It can’t legislate, it can’t regulate, it can’t govern.”

Greene said partisanship and money drive the system, and must be dealt with.

He supports a constitutional amendment to put the redistricting process into nonpartisan hands and end the gerrymandering that creates “safe” districts for career politicians.

“I used to think money was the biggest problem, but now I’m convinced that gerrymandering is the problem – whether the money was there or not,” he said.

Aside from the fact that redistricting basically costs Texas a legislative session every 10 years, with all the court fights and re-mapping that occur, Greene said having those safe districts removes the incentive for legislators in Washington, D.C. to work together.

“They draw these districts that are so uncompetitive that the representatives have no reason to reach across the aisle, to try and find some common ground where they can work together,” he said. “That’s what politics is supposed to be – the art of compromise. That just doesn’t exist.”

He also supports efforts to repeal the Citizens United decision, in which the Supreme Court struck down limits on political spending by corporations, associations and labor unions.

Without fixing those two issues, he said, it’s not likely there will be much progress in Washington.

“The patient has cancer, and a lot these other issues are broken bones and hangnails and contusions,” he said. “I want to fix the cancer. That’s No. 1.”

Water, energy and immigration reform

On water and energy issues, Greene is more moderate than many of his fellow Democrats.

He sees desalination – of brackish groundwater and, ultimately, seawater – as the most likely long-term solution. And he believes energy production and environmental issues do not have to be in conflict if government will play the role it was designed to play.

“Unlike a lot of my Democratic friends, I believe natural gas is an important energy source that we need to produce and can produce responsibly,” he said. “I don’t think we have to waste nearly the amount of water we waste, producing it, right now.”

He said the Texas Railroad Commission, as currently set up, is rubber-stamping, rather than regulating, the oil and gas industry.

“If the state of Texas would do its job in regulating this industry, there probably wouldn’t be a significant role for the federal government to play,” Greene said.

“I think we, as Democrats, are in the right place on this,” he added. “There’s a place for the average voter to say, ‘Hey, the Republicans are singing a song that I don’t like here – it’s just not that everything the oil and gas producers want to do is OK.’”

He also opposes Granger’s signature project – Fort Worth’s Trinity River Vision – which he says is not a water project at all but “an economic development project that happens to have a water feature to it.”

Greene believes it’s a waste of taxpayer money for something that is going to cost, rather than generate, water.

“If somebody’s going to throw a billion dollars at something in the Fort Worth area, I’d much rather it be to real water works, or to education, or to anything other than a private real estate, economic development project that’s not going to benefit the 682,000 constituents of the district,” he said.

As far as immigration reform and border security, he says Washington’s efforts have been a “huge, colossal failure.”

“Securing our border and establishing some kind of sound, viable immigration policy – that is the role of the federal government, one of the key things we’re supposed to do and clearly, they’re not going to address it,” he said. “It’s a serious deal. A country is hard-pressed to call itself a country if it can’t control its borders.”

He said border issues are complicated and did not just rise up overnight. In fact, the U.S. has played a role in creating the instability and crime south of our border, he said, and must play a central role in fixing it.

“We do need to control our border,” he said. “We need to know what is coming in and who is coming in, and we need to have a system to deal with that. And we need to have our visa program streamlined considerably.”

But to fix the process, you have to allocate the resources, he added – and he said Republicans dont’ want to allocate resources for anything.

“They’ll talk about everything, but they won’t pay for anything,” he said. “To put more people on the ground, to put better systems in place – these things cost money.”

He supports a guest-worker program, but not amnesty or a “special path” to citizenship for the 12-13 million undocumented immigrants currently in this country.

“But I don’t think their path should be blocked, either – assuming that we put a program in place that they can comply with and they pay their fines, go to the back of the line and all that,” he said.

The refugee crisis is another matter, he said, and one the U.S. played a key role in creating.

“Our failed drug war, our lack of attention to things going on down there, our waging proxy wars down there for 20 or 30 years, our sanctioning the overthrow of legitimate governments down there – we’ve trod heavy over Central and South America for over a century,” he said.

Now, as children and families seek to escape the violence, the U.S. cannot turn its back.

“They’re refugees,” Greene said. “They’re kids. And they’re not just coming to the United States, they’re going to Mexico, they’re going to Belize, they’re going to Costa Rica, anyplace they can go. They’re trying to get out. To sit there and suggest we throw them out without any sort of due process – that’s just inhumane.”

He said Granger “fumbled an opportunity” to show leadership on the issue.

“She’s been there long enough that she’s part of her party’s leadership,” he said. “She’s in a position to be part of the solution. She’s part of the problem.”

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Going Glock: Sheriff’s Office exchanging weapons

Going Glock: Sheriff’s Office exchanging weapons

The Wise County Sheriff’s Office is about to re-arm.

At the request of Sheriff David Walker, the department won approval Monday to trade its Sig pistols for Glocks.

Deputies to Get New Weapons

DEPUTIES TO GET NEW WEAPONS – The Wise County Sheriff’s Office will trade its Sig pistols (left) for Glocks (right) in the next few weeks, going with the 9 mm weapon instead of the heavier .357 handgun. Sheriff David Walker said the change would allow the department to get ammunition cheaper and faster. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

County commissioners approved trading 58 .357 Sigs for 70 9 mm Glocks after Walker said the cost of Sigs is on the rise, and the ammunition is hard to find.

“The cost of the pistols is high and going up, and the cost of the ammo is higher,” he said. “And there’s a lengthy delay for .357 ammo. It’s ridiculous, even ordering bulk ammo the way we do.”

He said the shift would allow the department to get cheaper ammo and faster.

“It’s not a 9 mm that you can buy off the shelf,” he said. “We’ll basically get a souped-up 9 mm round.”

Walker said the 9 mm ammunition would be delivered immediately, whereas there is sometimes a six-month delay for the .357 ammunition.

The trade will result in the department having extra pistols that can be kept on hand. Walker said they would have extra guns at the ready in case an officer’s firearm needs repair, and if an officer is involved in a shooting and his or her weapon is taken into evidence, another gun can be assigned to them.

He said the transition will be a three- to four-month process. The county’s supplier, GT Distributors, will send the Glock pistols first so officers have time to train and qualify on the new weapons, after which they can carry them on duty.

The Sig pistols will be inventoried with county Asset Manager Diana Alexander and shipped back to GT.

Walker said GT will allow the officers the option of purchasing the Sig they carried for $378. The buy-back plan is between GT and the individual officers. It does not involve the county.

“The cost continually goes up,” Walker said. “DPS is getting away from Sigs for the same reason, but I’m not sure what they’re going with. Glock has loaned us some of them … they’re not a pretty gun, but we’re not in a pretty business.”

Walker said they were concerned about the firepower of the 9 mm until a manufacturer did a demonstration with the .357 versus the 9 mm police round. He said it was “very comparable.”

He said the department will have to buy duty gear, but money is already set aside in capital expenditures.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Harry Lamance, a former Boyd police chief, asked if Walker anticipated problems acquiring 9 mm ammo down the road.

The sheriff said there were a lot of other departments also moving to the 9 mm, but it’s the best solution.

“Basically, I can buy two Glock pistols for the price of one Sig,” he said. “With us providing weapons to the guys, going down the road, it just makes sense.”

Walker also told commissioners the department will be trading in various rounds of ammunition that they don’t use to 2K Pawn in Decatur for regular 9 mm rounds that the officers will use for qualifying with their new pistols.

JAIL SECURITY

Commissioners approved an $88,171 bid from MCI for a jail security upgrade. The only other company to bid was Stanley, but it was unable at this time to offer a key component – a control room upgrade.

The Stanley bid was $30,000 less, but without the control room upgrade, the system would not operate to its highest potential.

Walker said the current system is 10 years old and is piecemealed together. Although they’ve replaced individual digital video recorders (DVRs) over time, he said a completely new system is needed.

Stanley indicated it might be able to offer the control room upgrade in the future, but Walker said he thought the county needed to move forward with the project.

“… if something happens in the jail and there’s a lawsuit, it’ll cost more than these two systems together,” he said.

The entire cost of the system will be covered by capital expenditure funds.

Commissioners also awarded annual bids for fiscal year 2015. A detailed list will run in a future edition of the Messenger.

In other business, commissioners:

  • authorized District Clerk Brenda Rowe to name Mildred Lester a deputy district clerk;
  • appointed Lynn Giddens to place 2 on the Helen Farabee Centers’ board of trustees, representing Wise and Jack counties;
  • approved an order of election for this fall as presented by Elections Administrator Lannie Noble;
  • approved amended and final plat for lots 1 and 2 in block 1 of Weatherford College addition; and
  • approved re-plat of Walnut Creek Ranchettes, lots 4A-R1 and 4A-R2 in Precinct 1.

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County Clerk Records for Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Recorded marriage licenses filed July 2014

Stephen Charles Maun of Decatur and Meghan Louise Warnock of Alvord

Lucas Shayne Scherb and Heather Amanda Johnson, both of Decatur

John Jefferson Rogers of Alvord and Carla Rene Anderson of Gun Barrel City

Che Van Rotramble and Hyeroung Lee, both of Decatur

Caleb Israel Hardin and Elizabeth Nicole Brown, both of Bridgeport

Randall Scott Batchelor and Erin Lola Marie Patrick, both of Alvord

Russell Lee Hodges of Bowie and Christin Leigh Ary of Paradise

William Thomas Whitaker and Martha Ann Paul, both of Bridgeport

Jack William Peters and Sharon Christina Hill, both of Bridgeport

Jay Nathaniel Willis and Chelsea Ann Turner, both of Decatur

Jerrick Randall Hammond and Jesusita Iglesias Behle, both of Paradise

Peter Fischer and Jill Jon Ingram, both of Paradise

Samuel Duncan Robertson of Bridgeport and Kara Elizabeth Perez of Decatur

Daniel Taylor Ward and Ashli Elizabeth Keil, both of Decatur

Mark Wilson Clark Jr. of Bridgeport and Andrea Morgan Calabretta of Runaway Bay

Marty Lynn Lampkin of Rhome and Tuesdee Lynn Rundle of Wichita Falls

Arthur Wayne Manuel of Bridgeport and Amanda Kay Largent of Chico

Gabriel Preston Cocanougher and Lacy Renee Graves, both of Decatur

Roy Lee Wilkinson Jr. of Nacogdoches and Diane Shaffer Price of Gainesville

William Chad Leito of Arlington and Kattie Gregg Foster of Decatur

Jeffery Steven Dickens and Amy Deanne Mitchell, both of Rhome

Isaac Teran and Jessica Carolina Rodriguez Reyes, both of Alvord

Justin Robert Walker and Daneyl Bara Michelle Hannah, both of Bridgeport

Ethan Lloyd Alexander and Sandra Elizabeth Garn, both of Decatur

Tony Van Vinzant and Judy Viola Shannon, both of Waxhaw, N.C.

Inocente Gonzalez Fraga and Monica Marie Hinojosa, both of Bridgeport

Jason Lee Breeland of Decatur and Miranda Dawn Hance of Marlow, Okla.

Jacob Cade Isham of Decatur and Blair Nicole Bartee of Dallas

David Lee Miley and Susan Michelle Vols, both of Paradise

Shawn Michael Ryburn of San Antonio and Kristine Amber Herron of Springtown

Gabriel Alexzander Martinez of Rhome and Tara Jolene Trigg of Keller

Harry Lee Ames Jr. and Leah Deanne Coursey, both of Bridgeport

Matthew Reid Hall and Tessa Dena Smart, both of Newcastle, Okla.

Justin Will Graves of Roanoke and Samantha Lee Coulson of Alvord

Frank Odell Hobbs and Tanya Leann Pearce, both of Bridgeport

Darryl Keith Peel of Boyd and Brenda Ann Goodwill of Burleson

William Cole Carter of Ponder and Hannah Renee Freeman of Justin

Colby Lewis McGee of Decatur and Tracy Shea Mosier of Alvord

Collen David Cook of Nocona and Haley Devawn Byers of Chico

Brett Lewis Grier of Weatherford and Molly Dawn Williams of Decatur

Tony Leroyce Leverett and Crystal Sue Perkins, both of Chico

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District Clerk Records for Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Green Tree Servicing LLC, formerly known as Conseco Finance Servicing Corp., vs. Joye E. Green, Edward K. Green

LVNV Funding LLC vs. Judy Solomon

Mignon Hudson, individually as representative of the estate of James Hudson and derivatively for Waste Gas Flares LLC vs. David Rogers and Blake Bowen

DD&L Enterprises LLC, doing business as D&I Leasing, vs. HB Solutions Inc., Ian Hymer and Richard Seeberger

Brett A. Jones vs. Robert Pennington

National Collegiate Student Loan Trust 2007-1 vs. Mathew Lunsford and James Lunsford

National Collegiate Student Loan Trust 2007-3 vs. Jeffrey Hankins and Mona Hankins

FORECLOSURES

1306 Hovey St. in Bridgeport

102 Legendary Court in Newark, Joni Fontenot and Jody Fontenot

230 County Road 4859 in Newark, Fernando Sifuentez, Josie Sifuentez

600 Pioneer Road in Rhome, Frank Lauro, Deanna Lauro, Frank Lauro

INJURY OR DAMAGE – MOTOR VEHICLE

Robert Alton Looney vs. Carl Fennell

Adam Leeper individually and as next friend of Laylah Leeper vs. Gabrielle Leeper

Karye Callaway vs. Deloris Martin

Jared Baswell vs. Bobby Venable

INJURY OR DAMAGE – OTHER

Paul Daniel and Lorie Daniel vs. United Bucking Bulls Inc, Randy Schmutz, Jimmy Ray and Jerry Nelson

TAX CASES

Northwest ISD vs. Aqua Texas Inc.

Alvord ISD, et al vs. Mark Ashlock and Blizzard Yovonne Ashlock

Azle ISD and Wise County vs. Bradberry Water Supply

Decatur ISD and Wise County vs. Cecil Cross

Northwest ISD and Wise County vs. Kathy J. Davis

Northwest ISD vs. Anthony Gile and Ashley Gile

Northwest ISD vs. Ernesto Hurtado and Marecela D. Hurtado

Northwest ISD and Wise County vs. Ann Marie Odom

Bridgeport ISD and Wise County vs. Harriet Raven

Bridgeport ISD, et al vs. Alva Traister, et al

Northwest ISD and Wise County vs. Raymond J. Taylor

Boyd ISD, et al vs. Alta Williams and Alma Munn Revocable Living Trust

Decatur ISD, et al vs. Sheila Kay Young, et al

Chico ISD and Wise County vs. Ron Blocker

Paradie ISD and Wise County vs. Janetta Snuffer

DIVORCES FILED

Suzanne Hitchcock and Paul Allen Hitchcock

Delaine Matthews and Charles Alexander Matthews

Donald Clay Herriage and Ashley Dawn Herriage

Deborah Lee Hines and Tracy Clay Hines

Marion S. Kirk and Justin S. Kirk

Steven Lee Sharp and Jamie Christine Sharp

Adela Mancilla and Bernabe J. Mancilla

James Clarence Muncy and Elaina Muncy

Cindy Inez Clark and Jeffrey Wayne Clark

Michael Rann Zemmin and Emily Ruth Witemeyer

David Musgrave and Yolinde Anne Musgrave

Kimberly Ann Whitaker and Joseph Sean Whitaker

Austin Neal Williams and Stephanie Michele Williams

Curtis Scott Buckner and Whitney Shae Buckner

Traci Jean Brigham and David Scott Brigham

Charles Alton Evans and Phyllis Ann Evans

Erika J. Herman and Michael L. Herman

Laura Lee Naranjo and Joel Alexander Gutierrez

Toby Justin Stanley and Patricia Elaine Stanley

Veronica Moran de Martinez and Juan Martinez

Lisa Diane Blanton and Charlie Todd Blanton

Charissa McConnell and Michel Herrijgers

Celeste Rodriguez Martinez and Everardo Martinez

Maria Isabel Loera and Miguel Angel Gonzalez

Cecil Deon Tarver and Sonya Renee Tarver

Mary Marie Crowder-Morse and Michaeal Ryan Crowder-Morse

Chance McAnally and Ashley Daye McAnally

Jordan Leigh Schwarz and Aaron Louis Schwarz

Sarah Nemec and Matthew James Nemec

Paula Poweel Cooksey and James Monroe Cooksey

Charity Dawn Livesay and Matthew Lane Livesay

Tiffany Yvonne Morton and Christopher Lance Morton

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Weatherford College Wise County Dean asks county to accept proposed budget

Duane Durrett, Dean of Weatherford College Wise County (WCWC) asked commissioners Monday to accept the college’s proposed $6.2 million budget, a slight increase over last year.

Perhaps most notable about this year’s budget is the change in the calculation of the indirect costs, which comes in at $849,176. The change in calculation has resulted in a $43,656 savings for the county.

Indirect costs are based on actual institutional support and administrative costs provided by Weatherford College to the Wise County campus. The number includes 39 categories such as human resources, communications and public relations, admissions, financial aid and the learning resource center, just to name a few.

Indirect costs were previously figured according to a formula based on the number of student contact hours and the budget of the main campus. This year, it was computed by multiplying WCWC’s budgeted expenditures from last year by 15.82 percent, which represents the actual institutional support/administrative costs reported to the state during the previous fiscal year.

“They did reduce campus security, technology and learning resource center expenses,” said county Auditor Ann McCuiston. “They’ve been working with us trying to get better numbers. Our suggestion is to go ahead with this, and we’ll have discussions and see what we can do in this next year.”

This is also the first year the college’s indirect costs have been itemized, giving county officials more accurate information as to how these funds are used.

Durrett asked commissioners to consider approving the current rate for the branch campus maintenance tax – 4.6 cents. The effective rate, 4.4 cents, would raise the same amount of tax dollars as last year, applied to this year’s property values.

Commissioners took no action on Durrett’s requests and did not discuss the budget. Those talks will occur in workshops planned for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 19, and Wednesday, Aug. 20, at the Wise County Sheriff’s Office training room, 200 Rook Ramsey Dr., in Decatur.

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Shelter to cover adoption costs Saturday

The Wise County Animal Shelter will host “Empty the Shelter Day,” Saturday.

The event is designed to encourage pet adoption by sponsoring all costs.

Linda Bryan, the Shelter’s supervisor, said events like this do wonders for the shelter, where space is an expensive commodity.

“We’re considered an urgent shelter all the time,” Bryan said. “On any given day, we have as many as 25 animals come in at a time. We have 33 kennels.”

Bryan said adoption fees are covered by a group of local women deemed the “Shelter Buddies” who support the shelter year-round.

Staff and volunteers will be present at the shelter, located on Farm Road 51 South, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2 to 5 p.m.

There will also be an off-site adoption event at Tractor Supply from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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More money, fewer meetings; Weatherford College board keeps tax rate flat, cuts meeting dates in half

The Weatherford College board of trustees Monday approved a proposal to keep its property tax rate at 11.464 cents in Parker County.

With an increase in property values, that rate will bring in about $400,000 more in tax revenue than it did last year.

The rate includes 10.741 cents for maintenance and operation expenses and 0.723 cents for debt services.

Because of the increase in revenue, two public hearings will be required. Those will be held Aug. 19 and Aug. 22, and the board is expected to take a final vote on the budget and tax rate at a noon meeting Thursday, Aug. 28.

The new $54.7 million budget goes into effect Sept. 1.

“At 11.464 cents, our tax rate is a full nickel below the state average for community college districts,” said Dr. Kevin Eaton, WC President. “We have one of the lowest tax rates in the state of Texas as it is.”

Trustees Frank Martin, Don Allen, Dr. Luke Haynes and Mac Smith voted for the proposed rate. Joel Watson voted against it, and Dr. Trev Dixon and Betty Jo Graber were absent.

The public can view a detailed proposed budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year online at www.wc.edu/wc-budget.

In other business, the board voted to cut back from 12 to six regular meetings a year in the new fiscal year. They will meet in even-numbered months with the option of called meetings when needed. Regular meetings will be Oct. 9, Dec. 11, Feb. 12, April 9, June 11 and Aug. 13.

The board also:

  • Listened to an update on the remodel of the old Allied Health Building and the Business Building. Both projects are nearing completion.
  • Approved bids for food services products and supplies for 2014-15; and
  • Authorized an interlocal cooperative contract with Education Service Center Region 20 for participation in the PACE Cooperative Purchasing Program.

In his president’s report, Eaton:

  • Gave an enrollment update noting that total enrollment for the two 2014 summer sessions was 2,878 students – down slightly from 2013. Early indications for this fall indicate similar numbers after the record-setting fall of 2013, which totaled 5,717 students at all of WC’s sites.
  • Recognized volunteers and participants for the Peach Pedal Bike Ride in July, which added about $40,000 to WC’s scholarship funds.
  • Recognized Kay Young, Dean of Workforce and Economic Development, and the Workforce and Continuing Education staff for receiving another Texas Workforce Commission Jobs and Education for Texas (JET) Grant. The $336,090 grant will be used to purchase equipment for the WC welding program. With this grant, the department is closing in on $900,000 in JET Grant funding over the past four years.
  • Presented the annual report on GED testing.

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4-Hers tout benefits of organization to county officials

County commissioners were given a glimpse of the impact 4-H is making on local kids at their July 28 meeting.

Several 4-Hers were recognized, and state scholarship winners Anne Marie Wells with Slidell Greenwood 4-H and Lacey Erwin with Bridgeport 4-H explained to commissioners what the money means to them and their families.

Wells and Erwin, along with Paradise 4-Hers Olivia Bettesworth and Monika Qualls were each awarded $18,000 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo scholarships at Texas 4-H Roundup earlier this summer.

Wells said she hopes the funds will help her family realize the goal of sending her to college without taking out student loans.

“This 4-H scholarship will lighten a huge burden on my family financially,” she said. Wells plans to attend North Central Texas College for one semester and then transfer to the University of North Texas in Denton to major in film.

Erwin said the money will also provide financial relief to her family as she goes off to school.

“4-H has taught me how to be a well-rounded person and has given me a sense of community,” she said. “I really don’t know where I’d be without it.”

Extension agent Todd Vineyard said Wise County was one of only a few counties to bring home four large scholarships.

Caitlin Pruett and Morgan Barnes, both with Slidell/Greenwood 4-H, also spoke, telling commissioners about their recent experience at 4-H Congress. Pruett said it was a great opportunity.

“I learned a lot about the legislative process and what it takes to pass a bill in Texas,” she said. “It’s something I never thought I’d learn in 4-H.”

Barnes said it was by far, “the best 4-H experience (she’s) had.”

“It was a long process, but it was fun,” she said. “We learned how to debate respectfully … We got to debate a lot of bills that other 4-Hers had submitted.”

Extension agent Chrissy Karrer said these were a few of the shining stars in Wise County 4-H and many more would be recognized at an awards banquet to be held this week.

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Boy dies in motocross accident

A 13-year-old Rhome boy died Sunday, Aug. 3, in an accident while making a practice run at River Valley Motocross park in southern Wise County, near Boyd.

Tanner David Sims

The victim, Tanner David Sims, was a student in Northwest ISD.

Wise County Sheriff David Walker said the call came in at 1:29 p.m. Sunday from the park, which operates closed-circuit tracks for the sport of motocross on County Road 4757.

“It came in as a medical call, so EMS and the fire department were dispatched and Life Flite was put on standby,” Walker said. Two deputies also went to the scene.

The sheriff said the accident happened as several bikers were making a practice run.

“The victim jumped and wrecked, then someone else jumped behind him and landed on him,” Walker said. “They transported the victim to Texas Health Azle, where he was pronounced dead.”

River Valley Motorcross has an outdoor track, a super-cross track and a kids/beginner track.

The track was closed Thursday, when it is normally open for practice, for Sims’ funeral.

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School districts hit targets; Two campuses rated ‘improvement required’

Wise County’s eight school districts all received a “met standard” rating in the state’s 2014 Accountability Summary.

The numbers were released Friday.

Only two campuses – Decatur’s McCarroll Middle School 7th and 8th grade campus, and Northwest’s Seven Hills Elementary in Newark – were rated “improvement required,” but those ratings did not prevent those districts from meeting the standard overall.

Under the old system, districts and campuses were rated unacceptable, acceptable, recognized or exemplary, based mostly on test results and a few other criteria.

With the new system, districts throughout the state are rated either “met standard” or “improvement required.”

The accountability summary analyzes whether districts and individual campuses met the state standards in four areas:

  • student achievement (target score 55) – basically, students’ scores on the STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) tests throughout the year;
  • student progress (target score 16) – students’ improvement from year-to-year in basic subject areas;
  • closing performance gaps (target score 28) – measuring to see that all ethnic and socioeconomic groups are making progress; and
  • postsecondary readiness (target score 57) – graduation rates.

Districts were also eligible to qualify for special honors called distinctions. Seven possible distinctions were available, in academic achievement for reading/English/language arts, math, science or social studies, for earning the top 25 percent in student progress or closing performance gaps, or for postsecondary readiness.

No Wise County school district earned any distinctions, and Slidell ISD, because of its size, was not eligible.

Individual results for Wise County school districts looked like this:

ALVORD ISD

All three campuses met standard.

On Index 1, for student achievement, the district earned an 86.

For student progress, the district scored 36.

On closing performance gaps, the district’s score was 41.

And in postsecondary readiness, the district’s score was 66.

For the distinction designation, Alvord ISD had one out of nine eligible measures in the top 25 percent.

On the system safeguards, which measure performance rates, participation rates, graduation rates and whether a district met federal limits on alternative assessments, Alvord’s score was 32 out of 32.

BOYD ISD

All four campuses met standard, and Boyd ISD had three of 10 eligible measures in the top 25 percent for the distinction designation.

In student achievement, Boyd’s score was 77.

For student progress, Boyd ISD hit 40 – tied with Northwest for the top score in Wise County.

In closing performance gaps, Boyd’s score was 39.

On postsecondary readiness, Boyd scored a 65.

Boyd ISD met the state’s indicators on 33 of 35 system safeguards.

BRIDGEPORT ISD

All four campuses met standard, and Bridgeport made the top 25 percent in two of its 10 eligible measures for distinction.

Bridgeport’s student achievement score was 73.

The district’s student progress score was 39.

In the area of closing performance gaps, Bridgeport ISD scored a 33.

And in postsecondary readiness, the score was 59.

Bridgeport hit 21 of its 28 performance rate measures and was 37-for-45 overall.

CHICO ISD

Chico met standard, landing one of its nine eligible measures for distinction designation in the top 25 percent.

On student achievement, Chico scored an 85.

For student progress, Chico’s score was a 38.

In closing performance gaps, the score was 47 – highest of the county’s school districts.

In postsecondary readiness, Chico scored a 66.

The district hit all 37 of its system safeguard indicators.

DECATUR ISD

The Decatur district had one campus – the McCarroll Middle School sixth grade campus – that was rated “improvement required.”

Overall, the district’s rating was “met standard” as it exceeded state targets in student achievement (78), student progress (38), closing performance gaps (36) and postsecondary readiness (71).

The sixth grade campus missed the state target on student progress.

Decatur ISD had two of 13 eligible postsecondary readiness measures in the top 25 percent statewide and met 44 of 51 indicators on the system safeguards.

NORTHWEST ISD

Wise County’s biggest school district, which also extends into Denton and Tarrant counties, had two campuses that showed improvement needed.

Both Seven Hills Elementary at Newark and J. Lyndal Hughes Elementary in Roanoke missed the state target on student progress.

But overall, the district hit 74 of its 75 indicators.

Northwest’s scores were 87 on student achievement – highest in the county – 40 on student progress, 45 on closing performance gaps and 73 on postsecondary readiness.

Northwest had three of 43 eligible measures in the top 25 percent.

PARADISE ISD

All four of Paradise ISD’s campuses met state standards, and in postsecondary readiness, the district had the highest score in the county.

Paradise’s student achievement score was 82.

The district earned a 37 in student progress and a 41 in closing performance gaps.

Paradise met state indicators on all 35 of its indicators but had no eligible measures in the top 25 percent for the distinction designation.

SLIDELL ISD

Slidell ISD, with one campus, met standard with a score of 85 on student achievement, 41 on closing performance gaps and 69 on postsecondary readiness.

The district was not eligible for distinction designations but hit 22 out of 22 on its system safeguards.

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Weatherford College board to meet Monday

The Weatherford College board of trustees will propose a tax rate of just under 11.5 cents in Parker County to support next year’s operations when they meet at noon Monday, Aug. 11, on the Weatherford campus.

For the current fiscal year, Wise County taxpayers paid a 4.6-cent branch campus maintenance tax, raising more than $3.5 million of the budget for the Wise County campus, which totaled just under $6 million.

WC trustees will also consider proposals on food service and supplies, an interlocal agreement with Education Service Center Region 20 for participation in a cooperative purchasing program, and hear reports on construction, enrollment, finances and investments. In addition, they are expected to set dates for meetings Aug. 19, 22 and 28 for required public hearings and adoption of the 2014-15 budget and tax rate.

The board’s meetings are open to the public.

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Grand jury indicts 20 on drug charges

A Wise County grand jury met July 24 and returned 48 felony indictments against 38 suspects. Twenty of those indictments were drug-related – 19 for methamphetamine possession.

Jordan Ray Herbert-Newman, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (three counts)

Larry Dane Boykin Jr., possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Scott Wayne Burdine, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, 4-200 grams

Michael Eugene Campbell, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Cody Barton Hale, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Gerardo Fernandez, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Joshua Martin Gonzales, tamper/fabricate physical evidence with intent to impair

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

Justin Michael Hinchcliffe, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, 1-4 grams (one count); tamper/fabricate physical evidence with intent to impair

Benjamin Joseph Hipps, possession of a controlled substance – amphetamine, 1-4 grams (one count); possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram (one count)

Michael Aaron Hothouse, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Kevin Clayton Hubbard, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Jonathan Eric Jordan, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Brett Walter Kennan, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Gustavo Adrian Lopez, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Haylee Nycole McDaniel, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram in a drug free zone

Jennifer Marie McVean, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram in a drug free zone

Clarissa Eileen Overstreet, possession of a controlled substance – amphetamine, less than 1 gram

Samuel Portillo, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Ashley Nicole Steiger, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Christopher Earl Waller, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Chance Wade Williamson, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Soren Linus Anderson, theft of property $20,000-$100,000 (two counts)

Jose Enrique Rocha, assault intentional/reckless breath/circulation family member

De Ann Lynn Shoshanah, deadly conduct discharge firearm

Wesley Wayne Wade, burglary habitation intend other felony (one count); aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (one count)

Barry Jamal Walker, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon

Matthew Warren Alexander, driving while intoxicated with child under 15 (three counts)

Jayne Michelle Anderson, burglary of a habitation

John Cecil Burris, burglary of a habitation

Lauren Rebecca Veber, burglary of a habitation

Brent Andrew McChesney, driving while intoxicated with child under 15

Sean Wayne Minor, theft of property $1,500-$20,000

Tracy Lynn Mosley, credit card or debit card abuse

Gustavo Ramirez-Garcia, driving while intoxicated third or more

Roy Don Wablington, driving while intoxicated third or more

Janet Lee Wilson, driving while intoxicated third or more

Julie Danielle Betts, burglary of a habitation.

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Commissioners talk money on Monday

The county and college budgets will be on the table for discussion at next week’s commissioners meeting.

The two budgets – one for the county and one for Weatherford College Wise County – were presented to commissioners in a special meeting July 31. Commissioners will meet at 9 a.m. in the third-floor conference room of the courthouse in Decatur. It’s open to the public.

Commissioners will also discuss:

  • purchasing new duty weapons for sheriff’s deputies with the option for officers to purchase their old duty weapon for personal use;
  • entering into a professional services agreement for assistance in the roof replacement project at the Wise County Sheriff’s Office and Jail; and
  • discuss the reporting requirements for the County Transportation Infrastructure Fund Grant Program.

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Transportation Coalition to meet Tuesday

The first meeting of the Wise County Transportation Coalition is 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 12, at Decatur City Hall.

Organizers said the meeting is for all who may be stakeholders in improving public transportation services.

The intent is to see if there is enough interest in forming a coalition of Wise County stakeholders on this subject. The coalition would then meet regularly to discuss transportation issues in the county.

The agenda includes a review of local transportation needs such as veterans access, access for the disabled, Weatherford College access, Workforce access and medical access.

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All over the map: Wise County cities continue to see mixed sales tax results

The numbers appear almost contradictory.

Two Wise County cities – Bridgeport and New Fairview – are short of last year’s sales tax numbers by a combined $157,590.

But the county’s 10 other sales-tax-collecting cities are up by a combined $136,744 – ranging from $23 in Lake Bridgeport to more than $60,000 in Newark.

Altogether, Wise County’s dozen cities are $20,846 below last year through eight months of 2014.

But the county, which collects a half-cent tax on sales within its boundaries, is $159,104 ahead for 2014 over 2013.

Go figure.

For the calendar year, the city of Bridgeport is down $134,953 compared to last year. The city of New Fairview is off $22,637.

Every other Wise County city is up for the year.

Percentage-wise, the biggest gainer is Newark with an 88.7 percent jump. But Aurora is up 27.2 percent and Chico and Alvord are both up more than 16 percent. Runaway Bay is up almost 15 percent, and Paradise is up 5.4 percent.

Boyd’s increase is modest at 2.78 percent, while Rhome is up nearly 1.5 percent, and Decatur and Lake Bridgeport both have increases of less than a half-percent.

It’s hard to make sense of those kinds of numbers, other than to say that the economic recovery continues in most places – but gets a little spotty in Wise County.

State Comptroller Susan Combs said this week state sales tax revenue in July totaled $2.34 billion – up 6.3 percent compared to July 2013.

She attributed the growth to strength in both business and consumer spending.

“The increase was led by remittances from the construction, services and oil and natural gas-related sectors, as well as from retail trade and restaurants,” she said. “Fiscal year-to-date, state sales tax collections are now up 5.3 percent.”

The August sales tax figures represent monthly sales made in July as well as April, May and June sales by businesses that report tax quarterly.

Winnser and Losers

CUTLINE

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Water suppliers watching use, rates

Water suppliers watching use, rates

Rainfall in July was up, temperatures were down and water use continued to shrink as residents buy into the need to conserve water.

That scenario presents cities and utility districts with some unique challenges.

Looking for the Big Ones

LOOKING FOR THE BIG ONES – A fisherman plies the waters just below the dam at Lake Bridgeport, surrounded by the circles of turbulence created by aerators put in to improve water quality around the water intakes placed in the deepest part of the lake. Messenger photo by Bob Buckel

For Walnut Creek Special Utility District, the biggest challenge is getting the water it needs to serve its 6,000 or so customers.

The Springtown-based utility is currently working on a project with Brazos Electric to move its intake structure about 150 feet further out in the lake, into deeper water.

“If the lake gets another two or three feet low, the existing pump station probably won’t be able to pick up water,” General Manager Jerry Holsomback said. “There’s plenty of water in the lake. We just have to get out further.”

Several Metroplex cities, including Fort Worth, have announced plans to raise rates, as the success of conservation efforts has put them in a financial hole.

Tarrant Regional Water District, meanwhile, has just announced another 12.5-cent hike in raw water costs to its customers – everyone who draws water out of Lake Bridgeport.

Holsomback said Walnut Creek isn’t planning on adjusting rates anytime soon.

“It’ll probably be the first of the year when we do our budgeting that we’ll look at maybe raising it a little,” he said. “We’re doing OK for now.”

He said water use is down about 10 percent – welcome relief for a utility that is operating at close to capacity.

BRIDGEPORT TO HOLD THE LINE

In Bridgeport, City Administrator Brandon Emmons said water use is down about 8 percent – something he attributed to both conservation and the cooler, wetter summer – but the city has no plans to raise water rates for its customers.

“This has not had a significant impact on our operations,” he said. “When our revenues are reduced from lower than normal water sales, our expenses are also reduced proportionately. A large portion of our water rates are comprised of a combination of wholesale costs and treatment expenses.”

Emmons said the city has adjusted its projected expenses as a result of the increased TRWD price for raw water.

“We will not be increasing our retail water rates this year as a result of the increased costs associated with providing water to our customers,” he said. “We have achieved increased operational efficiencies that will offset these new expenses.”

DECATUR LOOKING AT A RATE HIKE

In Decatur, fixed expenses and the increased cost of raw water will prompt another rate increase in this year’s budget.

It’s not so much because of lower use – although Decatur’s raw water use has been down every month this year compared to 2013 – but because of increases in raw water and electricity costs.

The city had been paying just over 97 cents per thousand gallons for raw water out of Lake Bridgeport until May – about $45,000 month. The city council approved an $8,000-a-month bump in the city’s payment to Wise County Water Supply District for June, July, August and September, and will budget an addition $4,000 a month for fiscal 2014-15, which begins in October.

On top of that, electricity costs are going up just more than 8 percent – another $51,000 hit.

City Manager Brett Shannon said the water fund has to balance income and expenses. It’s not run to make a profit, but it can’t operate at a deficit for long.

“The hardest part, for everybody – we get in a drought and you ask people to conserve water, and they do that, and then you raise the rates,” he said. “That rubs some people the wrong way. But if it’s taking this many dollars to provide the service, and we’re only getting this many dollars, we can’t do that.”

Lake Bridgeport remains about 41 percent full, a little more than 22 feet below its normal conservation level.

TRWD has not released water from the lake since last June, and having only one 100-degree day in July certainly helped slow the drop in water level.

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Sales tax ‘holiday’ is this weekend

Texas’ annual sales tax “holiday” is this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 8-10.

State law exempts most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced under $100 from sales tax, saving shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend during the weekend.

State Comptroller Susan Combs estimates that this year, shoppers will save an estimated $82.7 million in state and local sales taxes over the weekend.

The tax holiday weekend has been an annual event since 1999.

All sales of qualifying items made during the holiday period qualify for the exemption, including items sold online, by telephone or mail. Layaway plans can be used again this year to take advantage of the sales tax holiday.

The exemption applies to each eligible item that sells for less than $100, regardless of how many items are sold at the same time. For example, if a customer purchases two shirts for $80 each, both items qualify for the exemption even though the total purchase is more than $100.

The exemption does not apply to the first $99.99 of an eligible item that sells for more than $99.99. For example, if someone buys a pair of pants that costs $110, sales tax is due on the entire $110.

The exemption also does not apply to special clothing or footwear primarily designed for athletic activity. Golf cleats and football pads are examples. Tennis shoes, jogging suits and swimsuits, however, are commonly worn for non-athletic activity and thus qualify.

The sales tax holiday does not include rental of clothing or footwear; nor does it apply to alteration or cleaning services performed on clothes and shoes.

Additionally, tax is due on sales of accessories, including jewelry, handbags, purses, briefcases, luggage, umbrellas, wallets, watches and similar items.

Backpacks priced under $100, sold for use by elementary and secondary students, are exempt during the sales tax holiday. This includes backpacks with wheels, provided they can also be worn on the back like a traditional backpack.

The exemption does not include items that are reasonably defined as luggage, briefcases, athletic/duffle/gym bags, computer bags, purses or framed backpacks.

Texas families also get a sales tax break on most school supplies priced at less than $100 purchased for use by a student in an elementary or secondary school.

School supplies that qualify for the exemption (if priced less than $100) are:

  • binders
  • book bags
  • calculators
  • cellophane tape
  • blackboard chalk
  • compasses
  • composition books
  • crayons
  • erasers
  • folders; expandable, pocket, plastic, and manila
  • glue, paste and paste sticks
  • highlighters
  • index cards
  • index card boxes
  • legal pads
  • lunch boxes
  • markers (including dry erase markers)
  • notebooks
  • paper; loose leaf ruled notebook paper, copy paper, graph paper, tracing paper, manila paper, colored paper, poster board and construction paper
  • pencil boxes and other school supply boxes
  • pencil sharpeners
  • pencils
  • pens
  • protractors
  • rulers
  • scissors
  • writing tablets

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Back to work: Wise teams hit the field running

Back to work: Wise teams hit the field running

After months of waiting, Wise County high schools hit the practice field all day Monday to assess talent and get in shape for the upcoming season.

Early to Work

EARLY TO WORK – Paradise players warm up shortly after sunrise Monday morning on the first day of practice for all Wise County teams. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Monday was the first day the University Interscholastic League (UIL) allowed schools to start practicing. Teams that did not participate in spring football – schools below the new 5A level – took the field in shorts and helmets. Teams aren’t allowed to work out in full pads until Friday.

But even without full equipment, coaches and kids were glad to be back at work.

“It’s fun. It’s something the kids get excited for,” said Paradise coach Scott Broussard. “They’ve worked really hard in off-season. This is what we’ve worked five to eight months for.”

Joining the Ranks

JOINING THE RANKS – A dog sprinted with Paradise players during conditioning drills Monday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

A big part of the first day is teaching.

“Our primary focus today was to just start the process of learning and getting in shape,” said Bridgeport coach Danny Henson. “But we had a good first day today, and we’re just focused on getting ready for that first game.”

Henson will be working with a relatively young squad this year, most of whom experienced playing time as a result of the injuries that plagued last year’s 0-10 team.

Snap To It

SNAP TO IT – Decatur quarterbacks catch snaps during the Eagles’ first practice. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The Alvord Bulldogs were up-and-at-’em bright and early Monday morning as head coach Pete Hart focused on offense. He said his team looked “a little tired” at first, but they’re on their way to getting in good shape.

“I have a rule – I don’t blow my whistle at all,” Hart said. “Only time I do is to signal that practice is over or to tell them to get on the line and start running. They see my whistle come up, they quit loafing.”

Hart was named Alvord’s head coach three weeks ago.

Broussard and the Panthers were also on the field early Monday.

Getting a Grip

GETTING A GRIP – Bridgeport’s Raby Hawkins pulls in a pass during the Bulls’ first practice. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“The kids are working hard,” Broussard said. “I’m impressed with their work ethic.”

He added that the team showed a much better grasp of the offense and defense than last year.

At Chico, more than 50 players took part in the first workouts. Coach Stephen Carter said the team was busy learning a new run-oriented offense.

Taking a Break

TAKING A BREAK – Chico players catch their breath between practice sessions Tuesday morning. More than 50 players turned out for the team’s first workouts. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Decatur and Boyd were among the last teams to take the field for practice. Decatur Eagles head coach Mike Fuller started his session in the afternoon, around 4:30.

“Right now we’re just focusing on seeing what everyone can do and get in shape,” Fuller said.

HOPPING TO START – Alvord quarterback Cassidy Patterson goes through an agility drill at practice Monday. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt

Fuller became Decatur’s head coach in March and is looking to implement an entirely new offense and defense this season.

“I’m pleased with the effort. Everyone has a good attitude,” Fuller added. “We have a lot of questions to answer and a long ways to go.”

Decatur will hold an intersquad scrimmage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The Meet the Eagle Night will not be held with the scrimmage.

In Boyd, Hopkins said the numbers were down as 50 players turned out. He said the school has several smaller classes around a junior class that has 23 players.

“There’s 27 in the three other classes,” Hopkins said. “The sophomore class has only 60 kids and there’s not a ton of kids in the freshman class. We have eight seniors.

“We don’t have much depth. We looked good. We’re just having a problem number-wise.”

He added that much of the first workouts were focused on pace – just playing faster.

“We want to play a lot faster and practice faster,” Hopkins said. “We have great kids, and they’re buying into it.”

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