To vote, register by Monday and have photo ID

If you plan on voting in the Nov. 4 general election, you need to make sure you are registered to vote.

If you are not, Monday is your last chance.

The last day to register to vote or update the information on your current “orange” voter registration certificate is Monday, Oct. 6. Check to be sure the address on your voter certificate is your current address and the name on the certificate matches, or is substantially similar, to the name on the ID you will be presenting to vote.

Current law requires that you be registered in the county you call home and have a photo identification to vote. Call the Voter Registration office at 940-626-4453 or 940-627-3656.

If you need photo identification, Election Identification Certificates (EIC) may be obtained from any Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) driver’s license office throughout the state during normal business hours, all year. Wise County’s office is located at 2000 S. Trinity in Decatur. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

DPS will offer Saturday hours at select driver’s license offices to issue EICs only Oct. 11 through Nov. 8. Those locations will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The closest office to Wise County that will offer Saturday hours is at 820 N. Loop 288 in Denton and 5816 Azle Ave. in Lake Worth.

To apply for an EIC, applicants must visit one of the locations listed above and complete an application for a Texas Election Identification Certificate (DL-14C).

To qualify for an EIC, an applicant must:

  • Bring documentation to verify U.S. citizenship and identity
  • Be eligible to vote in Texas (Bring a valid voter registration card or submit a voter registration application through the Texas Department of Public Safety.)
  • Be a Texas resident
  • Be 17 years and 10 months or older

If voters already have any of the following documents, they have an acceptable form of photo identification and are not eligible to receive an EIC:

  • Texas driver’s license – unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of voting
  • Texas personal identification card – unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of voting
  • U.S. passport book or card – unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of voting
  • Texas concealed handgun license – unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of voting
  • U.S. Military identification with photo – unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of voting
  • U.S. Citizenship Certificate or Certificate of Naturalization with photo

The EIC receipt an individual receives will include their photo and can be used for voting until the permanent card is delivered by mail.

The EIC is free to qualifying applicants and is valid for six years. There is no expiration date for an EIC for citizens 70 years of age or older. The EIC can be used for the purpose of voting in an election and may not be used as personal identification.

For more information on the requirements, exemptions and process for obtaining an EIC, visit For information on voting in Texas, visit the Secretary of State’s website:

Early voting for the Nov. 4 election is Oct. 20-31.

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Third robbery suspect arrested

A third suspect in a June robbery in Arkansas has been arrested in Texas.

Oneida Saylor

Benton, Ark., Police announced Wednesday that Oneida Saylor, 35, was arrested in Texas, although the exact location of the arrest was not available. Wise County Sheriff David Walker said the arrest was not made in Wise County.

Rodney and Stephanie Hurdsman of Paradise were arrested Monday in Shreveport, La.

All three are suspects in the June 14 robbery of the Malvern National Bank as well as other robberies in several southern states. Arrest warrants for aggravated robbery and theft of property had been issued for all three.

Saylor is Stephanie Hurdsman’s sister.

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Grand jury indicts 2 for manslaughter

Two people have been indicted by a Wise County grand jury for manslaughter as a result of separate fatality automobile accidents.

John Christopher Harvey, 52, of Sunset was indicted for manslaughter for a wreck on Feb. 4, 2013, on Texas 114 about a mile west of Paradise.

Harvey was driving a pump vac truck and had just pulled out from County Road 3241 onto Texas 114 when a car driven by Toby Baker, 39, of Boyd collided with the side of the truck. Baker died from his injuries.

According to the indictment, Harvey “recklessly caused the death of Baker by ingesting methamphetamine and driving his vehicle into a lane of travel without providing sufficient time to avoid a collision with Baker’s vehicle and failing to operate the defendant’s vehicle in a proper manner.”

The indictment also included a paragraph finding a deadly weapon – his vehicle – was used in the incident.

Court records indicate Harvey was previously convicted of possession of dangerous drugs in October 2005 and was sentenced to 90 days in county jail.

Sherri Ann Rose, 36, of Weatherford, was indicted on two counts of manslaughter in connection with a deadly wreck near Slidell on Memorial Day weekend earlier this year.

Rose was southbound on Farm Road 51 when she attempted to pass a vehicle in a no passing zone near the Wise/Denton county line. As she crested the hill, her vehicle struck two motorcycles. One of the motorcycle operators, Thomas Garcia, 53, and his passenger, Cassie Turner, 33, both of Ardmore, Okla., were killed.

Two other people on the second motorcycle were also seriously injured, as were Rose and two of her passengers.

Manslaughter is a second degree felony, punishable by two to 20 years in jail.

The grand jury met Sept. 18 and also returned the following felony indictments:

Rocky Rose, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Sean Andre Richards, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon

Shawn Nicholas Nowell, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Jose Hector Martinez Jr., assault family/household member with previous conviction

Monica Rene Martin, prohibited substance/item in correctional facility (one count); possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram (one count)

Megan Joe Houston, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (two counts); injury to a child/elderly/disabled with intent to cause bodily injury (two counts)

Marvin Sierra, assault family/household member impede breath/circulation

Boyd Carroll Stockard, assault family/household member with previous conviction (one count); assault intentionally/recklessly breath/circulation family member with previous conviction

Robert Cole II, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (one count); injury to a child/elderly/disabled with intent to cause bodily injury (two counts); abandon endanger child criminal negligence (one count)

Oscar Carrion-Barrientos, aggravated sexual assault of a child (four counts)

Colby Shayne Dalrymple, assault family/household member with previous conviction

Brian Kyle Garrett, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon

Joshua Daniel Kovatch, possession of a controlled substance – heroin, less than 1 gram

Derek Ray Joseph, unlawful possession of metal or body armor by a felon

Patrick Ray Patterson, burglary of a building

Holly Rebecca Story, burglary of a building

Kolbi Kinkade Graham, tamper/fabricate physical evidence with intent to impair

Jacob Joshua Bruggink, burglary of a building

Luis Lauro Calderon, theft of property $1,500-$20,000

Royce Dean Fulton, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, 1-4 grams

Jaqueline Beth Brown, theft of material aluminum/bronze/copper less than $20,000

Melony Hope Evans, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, 1-4 grams

John Edward Gibbon Jr., theft of material aluminum/bronze/copper less than $20,000 (two counts)

Juan Dominguez, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less then 1 gram

Alexander Dinsmore, possession of a controlled substance – lysergic acid diethylamide, less than 20 abuse units

Desmond Leon Sage, criminal mischief $1,500-$20,000

Catherine Rachel Clevinger, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, 1-4 grams

Mary Cardone, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Martin Torres Sandoval, driving while intoxicated third or more

Kevin Wayne Burkhart, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Sonny Dale Ruble, evading arrest/detention with vehicle

Joshua Lee Parnell, assault family/household member impede breath/circulation

Shanda Michelle Holsted, prohibited substance/item in correctional facility (one count); possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Becky Rheid Porter, theft of property $1,500-$20,000

Teena Marie Peck, tamper/fabricate physical evidence with intent to impair

Rodrigo Gallegos, credit card or debit card abuse

Christian Gallegos, credit card or debit card abuse

Colby Malachi Ellis, evading arrest/detention with a vehicle

Joe Lee Wortham Jr., unauthorized use of a vehicle

James Richard Hoover, driving while intoxicated third or more

Michael Edward Deese, driving while intoxicated third or more

Jere Collins Mikel, theft less than 10 head of livestock less than $20,000

Mary Elaine Daniels, theft less than 10 head of livestock less than $20,000

Jennifer Louise Johnson, theft less than 10 head of livestock less than $20,000

Wanda Lee Ferris, theft less than 10 head of livestock less than $20,000

Crystal Kay Smith, arson intend to damage habitat/place of worship (one count); attempted murder (one count) (See related story on page 1A.)

Crystal Rachelle York, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Ericka Dominique Sustaita, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, 1-4 grams

Melissa Freitag Sursa, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

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Program offers classes for engaged, married couples

Couples approaching marriage can build a solid foundation – and save the $60 marriage license fee – by going through an eight-hour premarital education class sponsored by the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).

“Twogether in Texas” offers premarital education to engaged couples across the state through a network of providers. Couples who complete the class can have their marriage license fee reduced by $60 and waive the 72-hour waiting period after they get their license.

“The premarital education couples get in the Twogether in Texas program can set a strong foundation for a marriage and give couples a better idea of the challenges they will face,” said Gordon Leeks, who oversees the program for HHSC commission.

The class covers conflict resolution, communication and other key aspects of marriage, Leeks said.

“The goal is to increase the well-being of all Texas children by providing voluntary marriage and relationship education skills to their parents,” he added.

There are 2,600 organizations in Texas that provide marriage education classes that qualify for the marriage license discount, including two in Wise County.

Wise Choices Pregnancy Resource Center is located at 603 N. Trinity in Decatur. Call Sue Newcomb at 940-389-5566 or visit

Wise County Christian Counseling is at 2201 S. FM 51, Ste. 500, also in Decatur. Call Beverly Ross at (940)-627-1618 or visit

Couples may also contact Jennifer Acker at The Parenting Center in Fort Worth, 817-632-5529, or Shane Scott at Walnut Creek Baptist Church in Reno, 817-221-2110,

More organizations and churches that offer the classes may be found by searching online at or calling 2-1-1.

Leeks said some providers charge a small fee to cover the costs of the classes, while others offer free classes.

Couples who complete a class get a certificate they can take to their county clerk when they apply for their marriage license. The certificate is good for one year and serves as proof that the couple is eligible for the discounted marriage license fee.

The marriage education classes and discount for a marriage license were authorized by House Bill 2685 from the 2007 Texas legislative session.

In fiscal 2014, 29,000 people statewide completed the classes.

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Revel in Wise festivals

Pioneer Days

PIONEER DAYS – Re-enactor Bob Jackson shows Luiz and Carla Perez how to make a spoon from a cow’s horn. Jackson and his wife, Jennifer, re-enacted the day-to-day life of people from the American fur-trade era Saturday at the Main Street Festival in Paradise. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Floating Along

FLOATING ALONG – Yellow ducks in a carnival game wait for patrons to spend their cash and try their luck Saturday morning at Rhome’s Fall Festival. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Sweet Tooth

SWEET TOOTH – Phillip Everhart and his son, Aaron, ask Chelby Buratovich about the prices of cotton candy. Money from the cotton candy sales went to Paradise’s project graduation. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Riding Proud

RIDING PROUD – Representing Kam Kartway (from left) are Michael Buck, Noah Rowland and Mitchell Mobley. These racers moved at a much slower pace during Rhome’s parade Saturday. Their carts normally round tracks at speeds nearing 40 mph. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Under the Hood

UNDER THE HOOD – Clay Denton of Runaway Bay looks over a Mustang entered in the Paradise Main Street Fest car show. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Giddy Up

GITTY UP – Lacee Pattengill holds her baby, Waylon, while steadying her daughter, Frankie, atop a pony Saturday at Rhome’s Fall Festival. Her son, Harrison, rides all by himself in the back. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Slow Ride

SLOW RIDE – Movement Church members ride and walk alongside their race-themed float Saturday at Rhome’s Fall Festival. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Got Talent

GOT TALENT – Laramie Dearing was the first contestant in the Division 1 youth portion of Paradise’s Main Street Festival talent show Saturday. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

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Married couple arrested for bank robbery

A Paradise couple has been arrested in connection with a June bank robbery in central Arkansas.

Rodney Hurdsman

Rodney Hurdsman, 45, and his wife, Stephanie Hurdsman, 39, were arrested Monday in Shreveport, La. The two are suspected of robbing the Malvern National Bank in Benton on June 16.

A third suspect, Stephanie’s sister, Oneida Saylor, 35, remains at large.

Arrest warrants for aggravated robbery and theft of property were issued for all three.

The Benton robbery happened around 4:15 p.m. on that Monday. Two suspects entered the bank, displayed a pistol and demanded money from a clerk. After obtaining an undisclosed amount of cash, both suspects then fled the bank on foot.

“One suspect was a white male who was wearing a mask that resembled the ‘Mario Brothers’ video game character. The other suspect was a white female suspect who was wearing dark-colored sunglasses,” according to a Benton Police Department press release.

Stephanie Hurdsman

More charges could be forthcoming, according to police.

“They are also suspects in robberies in other jurisdictions and are being sought on various other charges,” the department stated in a press release.

The Hurdsmans have an address in the 100 block of County Road 3382 south of Paradise. Both have previously spent time in the Wise County Jail.

Wise County Sheriff David Walker said Rodney Hurdsman had been in jail here on unrelated charges of misdemeanor assault and theft of property $20,000 to $100,000 from Sept. 3 until Sept. 22, when he posted bail. He failed to show up for a scheduled court date last Thursday, Sept. 25.

That same morning, a suspect matching his description entered Regions Bank in Round Rock, displayed a gun and demanded money from a clerk.

According to Wise County Jail records, Rodney Hurdsman has been arrested four different times this year, each time on burglary or theft charges apparently unrelated to the suspected bank robberies. He was indicted by a Wise County grand jury for burglary of a habitation in April and theft of property $20,000 to $100,000 in June. Those cases are pending.

Stephanie Hurdsman was last arrested in October of 2012 for a parole violation, according to Wise County jail records. Court records show she was convicted of theft $1,500 to $20,000 in December of 2008.

The Hurdsmans remained jailed in Louisiana Tuesday but are expected to be extradited to Arkansas soon where they will be officially charged with the Benton robbery.

Saylor is considered armed and dangerous, according to the Benton Police. Anyone coming in contact with her should call their local police or dial 911.

Anyone with information about this crime should call the Benton Police Department at 501-778-1171 or 501-315-TIPS. Individuals may also text an anonymous crime tip to CRIMES (274637) with the keyword BNPD in the body of the text or go to to leave a tip.

Detectives in Benton have been working with the FBI, Louisiana State Police, Round Rock Police Department and the Wise County Sheriff’s Office.

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Dems stump to supportive crowd

Matthew Britt, Democratic candidate for state representative (District 61), told a crowd of supporters at last Tuesday’s Empty Chair Debate that he feels it’s wrong for Republicans to shy away from such events.

The Sept. 23 debate, hosted by the Wise County Democratic Party, turned into a candidate forum since the Republican opponents did not attend. Britt expressed frustration.

“I’ve attempted multiple times to reach out and debate (state Rep. Phil King), but he has not said anything so far,” Britt said. “We get answers like, ‘I have not received it.’ We are planning on hand-delivering a letter to his office soon and see if he will accept it that way and if not, we’ll send it certified mail.

“This is something that I feel like is wrong, especially for a representative position,” Britt said.

He told the crowd that his top three concerns are water, economic problems and education.

During the question-and-answer session, someone asked how King being named chair of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) would benefit Wise County.

Britt said he didn’t think it would.

“Taking on a position like that is going to require a lot of out-of-district time and this is not the time that we need someone who is representing us to be out of the district and to be pushing a legislative agenda out of the state,” he said.

Britt also spoke about the possibility of fracking contaminating drinking water.

“There’s been a recent study that said (contamination) can come from the casing of these wells, and whether it’s the same thing or not, it’s very, very similar and related to drilling,” he said. “We have drilling here, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing.”

He said it must be done responsibly, though.


Steve Brown, Democratic candidate for Texas Railroad commissioner, was the only other statewide candidate to attend the forum.

He said one of the biggest challenges in this election is empowering communities to make a difference.

He said voters continue to elect people who don’t keep the best interests of their constituents in mind.

One of the submitted questions asked if fracking is as big of a problem as the media claims, and he said it’s a serious problem because “we’re denying problems exist.”

He said although fracking has existed for decades, one of the new aspects is that now it’s being done in people’s backyards. He said he also wants to develop a policy to address urban drilling.

It is affecting people’s health and property values, he said.

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District Clerk Records filed August 2014


Juanda’s Consulting Co. vs. Bio Care Home Health Services Inc.

Juanda’s Consulting Co. vs. Kinsman Enterprises Inc.

Targa Liquids Marketing and Trade LLC vs. West Texas LPG Pipeline Limited Partnership

Dean DeRenzo vs. 4226 Trailer Sales LLC, doing business as NRS Trailer

National Collegiate Student Loan Trust 2007-4 vs. Stormy Williams

National Collegiate Student Loan Trust 2006-3 vs. Stormy Williams

National Collegiate Student Loan Trust 2006-1 vs. Stormy Williams

National Collegiate Student Loan Trust 2005-2 vs. Stormy Williams

National Collegiate Student Loan Trust 2005-1 vs. Stormy Williams

Mark 541 Group LLC vs. Supreme Corp. of Texas

James L. McGilvray Jr., et al vs. Jenkins Salvage LLC, doing business as Young Guns Pipeline and Construction, et al

LVNC Funding LLC vs. Joe Campbell


Order for foreclosure concerning Justin and Angela Pratt

Order for foreclosure concerning Gerald and Panayoita Shaver, 457 Private Road 4476 in Decatur

Order for foreclosure concerning 502 Main St. in Newark


Boyd ISD, et al vs. B.J. and Nancy H. Pennington

Decatur ISD, et al vs. Charles and Judith Reed

Decatur ISD vs. Douglas Scott Reynolds

Bridgeport ISD, et al vs. Judy Stevens

Bridgeport ISD, et al vs. Affordable Housing of Parker County Inc.

Bridgeport ISD, et al vs. William F. Alexander

Bridgeport ISD, et al vs. Bridgeport Estates Inc.

Decatur ISD, et al vs. Joshua Townes

Paradise ISD, et al vs. Trinity Materials Inc.

Northwest ISD, et al vs. Robert A. and Cydney Walvoord

Decatur ISD and Wise County vs. Whatzit Land Co. Ltd.

Decatur ISD, et al vs. Cleva Williamson

Decatur ISD vs. George W. Gage

Decatur ISD, et al vs. Johnson Country Oaks Inc.

Bridgeport ISD, et al vs. Ralph W. Jumper

Decatur ISD, et al vs. Miller Valley Limited

Decatur ISD, et al vs. North Texas Tire and Automotive Inc.

Decatur ISD, et al vs. PVG Manufacturing Inc.

Boyd ISD, et al vs. Bryan Dolan, et al

Northwest ISD, et al vs. Hampton Minnis Property Ltd.

Wise County, et al vs. JDMI LLC

Alvord ISD, et al vs. Johnston Leasing Corp.

Bridgeport ISD, et al vs. Glenda Sue Jones


Cade Christian vs. Tamara Porras Green and Simon Porras

Cassie L. Barbee vs. Carman D. Miller

Teresa Scott Smith vs. Karen June Fischer

Marvin Porter and Terri Ridenour vs. Trius Trucking Inc. and Sarbjit Singh

Jeremy Lee Green vs. Cecil Wayne Hardee

Gary Sanders vs. Hendershot Equipment Inc. and Ronald Gene Hendershot


Martin Banuelos Jr., individually and on behalf of Martin Banuelos, Omar Banuelos, Nicolas de Jesus Banuelos and as representative of the estate of Maria Ruiz-Quezada vs. Juan Flores, doing business as 3J Trucking, and Johnny Hothouse

Robin Sterkel vs. DDT Management LLC, doing business as Taco Casa

Bill Lampman vs. Wise County Electric Cooperative and Horton Tree Service


James Glenn Partin and Cecilia Kay Partin

Christina Riggs and John Riggs

Rita Kaye Driver and Jackie Charles Driver

Brian Pate Cayce and Vhonda Jade Cayce

Regina Gay Barzano and August Anthony Barzano

Richard Glenn Calvery and Angelique Calvery

Dawn Rene Rogers and Steven Albert Rogers

Stephanie Lynn Barrow and Dustin Scott Barrow

Casey Lea Locke and Jeramie Neal Locke

Shayne Michael Portz and Jessica Lynn Portz

Paul Martin Givens and Rosemary Givens

Chason Lynn Duncan and Jessica Nicole Duncan

Jason Joy and Kelley Michelle Joy

Nicholas Jody Gaskill and Lisa Louise Gaskill

Rebecca Christene Harrison and Michael Chance Harrison

Wade Weldon Burton and Alba Rocio Jimenez Martinez

Stephen Randall Wolf and Andrea Marie Wolf

Ben Patrick Eden and Sarah Nicole Eden

Tiffany Elaine Goggans and Jace Brennon Goggans

Carrie Lynn Wigington and Jason Todd Wigington

Derry Shannon Jones and Stacy Ann Jones

Shauna Lynn Huston and Jordan Thomas Huston

Sandra A. Burk and Justin Erick Burk

Denise Marie Witt and Scott Douglas Witt

Michael Shane Howard and Patty Lynn Howard

Brandie Nicole Wilcox and David Glenn Harrell

Christopher Lance Chance and Linley Ann Chance

Christopher L. Plummer and Jodi V. Creager-Plummer

Alice Thomas and Jessie J. Thomas

Virginia Lee Powers and James W. Powers Jr.

Franklin Malone and Desiree Denise Malone

Karen Sue Uselton and John Allen Uselton

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County Clerk Records for Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Oscar Fernandez Luevanos and Deana Jo Sanderson, both of Paradise

Farrell Eugene Skelton Jr. and Savannah Dawn Cooper, both of Alvord

David G. Bryant and Kimberly Wise Rasbury, both of Boyd

Ubaldo Arellano Garcia of Boyd and Maria Elizabeth Perez of Springtown

Colin Alan-McFadden Gabbert of Rhome and Judith Nayeli Lira Martinez of Decatur

Kevin Ray Henson of Rhome and Kendra Darlene McGinn of Roanoke

Margarito Garcia Bocanegra and Edith Isabel Villatoro, both of Rhome

James Ryan Rayborn and Megan Joy Wampler, both of Jacksboro

William Ryan Fernandes of New Braunfels and Dalene Kay Jackson of Jasper, Ala.

Trevor Lane Neighbors and Ashlee Elissa Greenwood, both of Sunset

Juan Carlos Garrido Naranjo and Wenddy Brambila of Rhome

Casey Neal McAden and Jessica Rose Antis, both of Decatur

Joshua Kyle Schroeder and Deedra Elizabeth Moody, both of Bowie

Daniel Ray Castleberry and Trina Roberts Cupps, both of Rhome

Mark Henry Strand and Julie Monique Turner, both of Decatur

Millard Marvin Crunk and Morgan Carrol Cooper, both of Springtown

Jimmie Lee Jarvis III and Kolbey Niccole Edington, both of Runaway Bay

Miguel Angel Gonzalez-Del Rio and Claudia Hernandez Campos, both of Decatur

Bradley James Memmel Jr. and Tamara Sue Horton, both of Decatur

Thomas Jene Smith and Yvonne Crystal Smart, both of Chico

Richard Drew Mara of Paradise and Teri Lee Brown of Rhome

Pablo Fernandez Cruz and Cecilia Aldape, both of Decatur

Thomas Edward Appel Jr. and Heather Lee Frost, both of Springtown

Julian Richard O’Pry Jr. and Jenny Lynn Byers, both of Fort Worth

David Leon Smith of Denton and Crystal Kay Edwards of Bridgeport

Scotty Lynn Story and Brandi Ann Moya, both of Boyd

Cody Everett Miller and Cara Beth Haines, both of Newark

William Russell Long and Rachel Anne Huling, both of Decatur

Patrick Calvin Harris of Decatur and Dana Lynette Kirkland of Bridgeport

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Sheriff’s Office to provide Northwest SRO

A sheriff’s deputy will replace a Rhome police officer as a School Resource Officer at Northwest ISD’s Wise County campuses.

The deputy will serve three schools – Chisholm Trail Middle School and Prairie View Elementary in Rhome and Seven Hills Elementary in Newark.

Glenda Beam, NISD’s director of safety and security, said the district will pay $40,600 of the officer’s compensation package, and the county will pay $15,000 to $18,000, depending on the officer’s insurance plan.

Beam contacted Sheriff David Walker in mid-September about providing a school resource officer after the district and the city of Rhome failed to reach an agreement regarding compensation. Rhome pulled its officer from the schools Sept. 12. The Sheriff’s Office sent an officer to fill the SRO duties Sept. 15.

“They asked us to come in and help out in an an emergency situation so we could have some sort of protection in those three schools,” Walker told county commissioners Monday. “For a temporary fix, what we’ve been doing is we’ve had off-duty officers down there working, but we can’t do that long-term.”

County Judge Glenn Hughes asked Beam if the district has an alternative.

“At this point in time, we haven’t really thought of one,” she said. “We could always go to Denton County but don’t want to. We’d prefer, since (the schools) are in Wise County, to work with Wise County.”

Precinct 3 Commissioner Harry Lamance was concerned about Walker taking an officer off the street or out of the office to fill the post, but the sheriff said he had an officer interested in the SRO job. That person would likely be transferred to the school district post, and Walker would hire someone to fill the vacancy.

The new SRO would undergo on-the-job training at first and receive more specific training in the summer.

“How about the qualifications of the person going down there?” asked Lamance. “As long as they’re good folks … Them being at a school, it needs to be a humdinger in my opinion.

“If we’re doing it for any school in Wise County, then we have to do it for this school and that’s a fact,” he continued. “Now how we do it, I’m not exactly sure, but that sounds about as good as we can get.”

The motion to contract with Northwest ISD passed unanimously. The county’s share of the compensation package will likely come from a payroll contingency fund, but next fiscal year it will be included in the WCSO budget.

Under the agreement, the WCSO will also provide the officer’s vehicle from the department’s fleet.

Northwest is the fifth school district for which the WCSO is providing a school resource officer. In June of 2013, commissioners approved agreements with Alvord, Chico, Paradise and Slidell ISDs.

The Decatur, Bridgeport and Boyd school districts have SROs through their respective police departments.

Although the Boyd officer works limited hours, there is always a police presence on campus because the department is housed in the district’s old administration building.

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Football: Stocks pointing up for Wise teams

Like the ebbs and flows of the stock market, the fortunes of Wise County football teams have been up and down through the first half of the season.

Through five weeks, four of the seven Wise County teams – Bridgeport, Chico, Decatur and Northwest – are .500 or better. Alvord is 2-3. Boyd and Paradise are off to rough starts at 1-4.

But the next five weeks is when the true dividends will be paid as teams try to cash in and lock down postseason spots during league play.

Here’s a brief look at the first half of the year with notable performances and a couple of predictions about the rest of the season.

Man in Control

MAN IN CONTROL – Decatur’s Justin Myers has guided his Eagles to a 3-2 start. The signal caller threw for 252 yards and ran for 204 last week against Bridgeport. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty


In his first year as the Decatur starting quarterback, Justin Myers has been impressive, guiding the Eagles to a 3-2 start.

Myers has thrown for 954 yards, completing 59 of his 110 passes with nine touchdowns and two interceptions. He’s added a team-leading 636 yards rushing on 82 carries with seven touchdowns.

Under the brightest lights during the Battle of Big Sandy, Myers was at his best, running for 204 yards and three scores and throwing for another 252.

Cant Miss

CAN’T MISS – Northwest receiver Emmanual Moore has caught 32 passes for 476 yards in four games. He had five touchdowns last week against Fossil Ridge. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty


The senior wide receiver, a University of North Texas commitment, has been a show-stopper. Moore has 32 catches for 476 yards and eight touchdowns.

Last week in the Texans’ loss to Fossil Ridge, Moore pulled down 11 catches for 221 yards and five touchdowns.

Breaking Out

BREAKING OUT – Boyd running back Qualynn Wells breaks through tackles against Bridgeport. The Yellowjacket ran for more than 400 yards in the game. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty


In his first year as the Yellowjackets’ feature back the Boyd junior put on a performance for the ages. Carrying the ball 41 times in a 56-48, four-overtime loss, Wells rushed for 442 yards. He had 15 carries of 10 yards or more.


During last year’s injury-plagued, winless season, it would’ve been hard to buy any stock in the Bridgeport Bulls.

But five games into this year, the Bulls are 3-2 and showing some grit. The Bulls pulled off a four-overtime win in Boyd and followed up with dramatic wins over Godley and Burkburnett.

Entering 3-4A Division II play, the Bulls are one of only three teams with a winning record. Anna, Aubrey and Bonham are a combined 1-14. Bridgeport appears to be on its way from going 0-10 to becoming a playoff team.


A common theme over the first half of the season has been huge offensive numbers. Last week, Fossil Ridge and Northwest combined for 1,021 yards in the Panthers’ 52-42 win. That isn’t even the most from the county this year. Boyd and Bridgeport combined for 1,167 yards in Bridgeport’s 56-48 four-overtime win.


The Boyd Yellowjackets don’t have to look far to figure out why they are off to a 1-4 start. The Yellowjackets are minus-10 in turnovers this year after losing seven fumbles and throwing eight picks.


The Chico Dragons are 4-1 for a fourth straight season after non-district. The last three years, the Dragons came up short during district on their goal of making the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

Entering a wide-open District 5-2A Division I, the Dragons are one of the favorites to make the playoffs. With the strong running attack of Crese Redman and quarterback Jerico McGuire chewing up 266 yards per game, the Dragons should end their postseason drought.


The regular season ends Nov. 7 for all Wise County teams, but a majority will have a game the following week in the playoffs.

Alvord and Chico look to be locks in District 5-2A Division I, filled with struggling teams.

Decatur will have a tough time with Graham and Gainesville but should be able to get into the third spot in 4-4A Division I.

After Celina and Krum, no one is playing as well as Bridgeport in 3-4A Division II.

Boyd and Paradise have the toughest road to the playoffs, and both are 1-4 at this point. But only Brock and Ponder have winning records in 4-3A Division I.

Northwest has the toughest hill to climb to get into the playoffs. After a loss to Fossil Ridge last week, the Texans face defending state champion Denton Guyer this week. An 0-2 start would be a deep hole to climb out of with Keller Central, Denton Ryan and Keller still up on the schedule.

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Dem debate turns to forum

Kristina Kemp, Democratic candidate for Precinct 4 county commissioner, told a crowd of supporters Tuesday night that if elected, the county job wouldn’t pose a challenge.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a big challenge,” she said at the Empty Chair Debate, hosted by the Wise County Democratic Party. “I think if I get elected, I’m going to work hard for the people and do what I’ve always done and people are going to see that I can do the job and I’ll get re-elected.”

Q and A Time

Q&A TIME – Steve Brown, Democratic candidate for Texas Railroad commissioner, answers audience questions at the Empty Chair Debate Tuesday night at the Decatur Visitors Center. To his left is the designated empty chair, decorated with cobwebs, to represent the Republican candidates that did not attend. The event was sponsored by the Wise County Democratic Party. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Her confidence elicited an excited whoop from Party Chair Tracy Smith and cheers from the small crowd in attendance.

Kemp was one of four Democratic candidates to participate in the event at the Decatur Visitors Center.

Other candidates in attendance were Steve Brown, running for Texas Railroad commissioner; Matthew Britt, running for state representative (District 61); and Jim Stegall, county judge candidate.

Smith said last week that Republican candidates were invited to the event, but none attended. They were represented by an empty chair, strung with cobwebs.

Wise County Republican Party Chair Allen Williamson told the Messenger last week that to his knowledge, no one on the Republican ballot had been contacted about the event.

With no opposition in sight, the debate turned into a candidate forum. The audience submitted questions, and the event was moderated by Bridgeport Index reporter Charles Fennell.

An audience member asked Kemp: “If your opponent [Gaylord Kennedy] was here to debate what would you ask of him and why?”

“Why are you more qualified than me?” she replied. “And why would I ask him that – because why is he more qualified than me?

“Because he’s a man? No,” she said. “Is it because he has more business management experience than I do? No.

“Is it because he’s budgeted the millions of dollars that I’ve budgeted?” she asked. “No … so why?”

Kemp told the audience that she’s the first woman to run for county commissioner, but in fact, she’s the second.

In 2006, Margaret Penney of Boonsville ran against Terry Ross and Willie Garrett in the Republican primary for the Precinct 4 commissioner post. Penney, who received 214 votes, lost the race, and Garrett with 351 votes and Ross, who secured 461 votes in the election, landed in a runoff. Ross went on to win the position.

Kemp also spoke extensively about recycling frack water and told the audience that disposal wells cause problems and “tremendous amounts of devastation.” She said oil and gas producers are using a natural resource, adding chemicals to it and pumping it into the ground, never to be seen again.

She recognizes the importance of fracking and what the oil and gas industry means to the county, but she says there’s a better way.

“The only way to fix it, to me, is to recycle,” she said. “There’s no reason it can’t be done.”

Kemp said at one time that Devon recycled frack water for a six-year period, and she would like to offer tax abatements to lure companies to Wise County that provide this service.

Jim Stegall

County judge candidate Stegall started his question-and-answer session by naming his top two concerns for Wise County.

“My top two concerns are always going to be transportation and water,” he said. “I don’t care where you live on this Earth, you’ve got to get there and you have to have natural resources.”

Stegall said in response to an audience member question that he thinks additional reservoirs are not the answer to the county’s water issues.

“We know another reservoir is not going to be for Wise County,” he said. “We just don’t have the runoff for it.” He also said the permitting process for building new reservoirs is 10 to 12 years, which could pose a problem.

Stegall emphasized to the crowd that he’s qualified for the job, and he cares about the people of Wise County.

“How do you differ from your opponent?” an audience member asked.

“I think we both have Wise County’s best interest at heart,” he said. “I don’t question that … But I’m here to serve you, not start a political career. I’ve seen a lot of changes in the past that will influence the changes in the future.

“Age has nothing to do with it,” he said. “If you think young and you think about the future, and you think progressive, all things are possible,” he said. “I want to work with people, and I want to work with you and listen to you.”

Read about the comments of Texas Railroad commissioner candidate Steve Brown and state representative candidate Matthew Britt in the midweek Messenger.

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2 arrested for stealing from business

Parker County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a man and woman Wednesday for theft and burglary near the Wise/Parker county line.

Mary Daniels

A person arriving for work in the 1700 block of McVoid Road in Springtown around 9:30 a.m. saw a red 2001 Chevrolet Impala he did not recognize near a barn on the property. The property owner also arrived and found an unknown woman squatting behind the barn while an unknown male was attempting to reach the vehicle.

The property owner dialed 9-1-1 and held the pair at gunpoint until Parker County Sheriff’s deputies arrived.

The deputies determined the suspects, Mary Daniels, 38, of Boyd and Bowie Farr, 38, of Iowa Park, were in the process of stealing approximately $2,000 worth of property including a trailer ramp, fence charger, propane regulator, metal pipe and approximately 300 feet of copper wire.

When questioned by deputies, Farr said he had permission to be on the property and retrieve the materials, but the statement was quickly discredited, according to officers.

Bowie Farr

Daniels and Farr were both charged with burglary of a building, theft of materials/copper wiring and theft of property $50-$500. Farr was also booked for a burglary warrant out of Parker County and Daniels is also being held on a drug possession warrant out of Wise County. Both remained jail as of Friday afternoon.

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Commissioners meet Monday

Wise County commissioners have a full slate for their regular meeting Monday.

In addition to routine business items, they will also discuss adding additional county facilities near the courthouse and adding a school resource officer at the request of Sheriff David Walker. Randy Joy will update commissioners on the Department of Information Resources.

The meeting starts at 9 a.m. in the third-floor conference room of the courthouse in Decatur.

Prior to the start of the regular meeting, commissioners will hold two public hearings – one on archive and technology funds for the district clerk and county clerk offices and one on the Takings Impact Assessment, as related to the Private Real Property Rights Preservation Act in the Texas Government Code. A TIA has been prepared for the Wise County Development Rules and Regulations, Wise County Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance, Wise County On-Site Sewage Facilities Order and Wise County Master Thoroughfare Plan. The first hearing starts at 8:30 a.m. and the second at 8:45.

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Walker named Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Jon Walker of Bridgeport recently celebrated 25 years of service as a family medicine doctor.

Now there’s more to laud.

At its meeting Monday, the Wise Regional Health System Board of Directors recognized him as its new Chief Medical Officer.

In the new role, Walker will provide administrative support for medical staff leadership and be a resource to the medical staff and managers at the hospital for various projects or initiatives.

He will continue to work at his Bridgeport clinic two days a week, in addition to CMO duties and his duties as the Medical Director of Clinical Services for Wise Clinical Care Associates clinics.


Leon Fuqua, chief operating officer introduced Dr. Arsalla Islam of Texas Vascular Care.

Islam is a vascular, endovascular and bariatic surgeon. Her offices are on Heritage Trace Parkway in the Parkway hospital area in Fort Worth, and in Decatur.

She will provide services at both the Parkway Surgical & Cardiovascular hospital as well as Wise Regional’s main campus in Decatur.

Fuqua also mentioned that Dr. Ja’Near Anderson will provide primary care pediatric services at the new Clinical Care Pediatrics location in Bridgeport.

Anderson completed a fellowship in neonatology at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas and most recently worked as an attending physician for Newborn Intensive Care Specialist Group in Dallas.


  • Steve Summers, CEO, reported that the hospital has met to discuss a potential relationship with the Sava Senior Care organization involving their nursing homes located in Denton and Tarrant counties. Sava currently operates four homes. Administration will continue to review the possible relationship to make a recommendation at a future board meeting.
  • It was reported that the Fit-N-Wise Fit Y.O.U.T.H (Youth Obtaining Ultimate and Total Health) initiative is actively working with local school districts to educate our youth on lifelong healthy habits. The program is funded through Wise Regional at no cost to the county’s school districts. The program director is Holly Berry, a former Paradise Elementary principal.
  • Jim Eaton, chief financial officer, was recognized for his eight years of service at Wise Regional. Eaton will retire at the end of the month and will be succeeded by Todd Scroggins, Wise Regional’s administrative director of accounting services.
  • Summers also mentioned that the new Air Evac facilities have been completed. There will be an open house at 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 13.
  • In the August 2014 financial report, Scroggins said the hospital had a decrease in net position of $1.5 million. The month of August saw an increase in inpatient admissions and a slight decrease in outpatient services including a decrease in outpatient surgeries. Factors affecting the negative financials in August included several surgeon vacations and an increase in uncollectible accounts.
  • The governing board approved the recommendation from the building committee to extend a pool consultant contract with Counsilman-Hunsaker, Aquatics for Life for $75,000.

Following a closed session, the board approved several new appointments to the medical staff based on the recommendations of Wise Regional’s Medical Executive Committee.

The board accepted the medical staff’s reappointments and first-year reviews.

Medical staff recommendations for new appointments included the following practitioners:

  • Scott Campbell, anesthesia;
  • Jonathon DeVane, ER medicine;
  • Jacquiline Emmons, pathology;
  • Timothy Tye, anesthesia;
  • Christopher Villarreal, ER medicine;
  • Jason Willis, pathology; and
  • Jocelyn Zee, family med/hospitalist/NIPA.
  • The board’s next meeting is 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27, at the Administration Board Room at 609 Medical Center Drive in Decatur.

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Commission appoints Parker interim elections administrator

The Wise County Elections Commission Tuesday appointed Jim Parker of Decatur as interim county elections administrator, replacing Lannie Noble, who resigned to accept the same position in Denton County.

The appointment passed 3-1 with Wise County Democratic Party Chair Tracy Smith casting the lone vote against.

Voting in favor of Parker were Republican Party Chair Allen Williamson, County Clerk Sherry Lemon and County Tax Assessor/Collector Monte Shaw.

Parker was nominated for the post by Williamson, and Smith said she had “a problem with a partisan person” being named to the position.

Parker is one of three vice chairs for the local Republican Party.

“Well, of course, he would resign,” said Williamson. “Anyone who takes that job is going to be somewhat partisan … some of them keep it quiet once the job is taken.”

Earlier in the meeting County Judge Glenn Hughes, who heads the Commission, suggested appointing Deputy Elections Administrator Karen Valenzuela to the post, and Smith threw her support behind his suggestion.

Williamson said he wanted to consider Valenzuela for the permanent post, and he wanted to appoint someone in the interim that’s not interested in the full-time job. Plus, he thinks a third person will be needed to conduct the November election, which features two contested county races, as well as a list of statewide elections, including that of governor.

“We’re two weeks away from early voting, and I don’t know that Karen and (Deputy Voter Registrar) Luis (Valdez) can do it by themselves,” Williamson said. “Maybe they can; maybe they can’t. I think they’re going to need a third hand no matter who we have as elections administrator.

“I’ve had several people contact me about the position and the application process for the permanent elections adminisitrator, and I told them we haven’t decided what that’s going to be,” he said. “I think at the end of the day Karen is who my vote would be for the permanent election administrator, but I think we need to follow along with what we’ve done in the past, which is to appoint an interim administrator that is not interested in having the full-time position.”

Shaw agreed that a third person would be needed to handle the upcoming election.

Valenzuela said she and Noble have been working to “get ahead of schedule.”

She said they’ve had people volunteer to help put ballot-by-mail packets together and to set up the electronic poll books. She also said Noble has state money available that would allow for temporary help to be hired, and he’s also acquired a quote from Hart InterCivic, the company that provides election supplies, for election day support.

Valenzuela said she had not yet considered whether she would like to have the job full time.

“At this point, my whole 110 percent has been focused on getting us through this election,” she said. “I haven’t taken time to contemplate do I want to step up into this role at this point because the most important thing at this point is to get through this election.

“I respectfully submit that that’s why I haven’t said ‘yes’ or ‘no’ at this point,” she said.

She said having an interim would free her to perform more administrative duties, but she feels more than qualified for the EA job.

Smith suggested putting Valenzuela in the interim post and “let her go ahead and try it out and see if it’s something she’s willing to do.”

But Williamson continued to disagree, saying there was no time to train outside help.

County Clerk Lemon said she was sorry they were having to make this decision at this particular time because the election is so close. Lemon, who previously ran local elections, said she knows that it takes up to a year to prepare for one, and she respects all the work that goes into it.

“I hear you say you’re OK with an interim,” she told Valenzuela, “and it would help you. This is a big election we’re going into … and I think that says a lot about your character. To help you in that case, I would recommend Jim as well. And then you apply when you’re ready.”

Smith asked Lemon if she or her staff could assist in any way with the election, but Lemon said only one person in her office has ever worked elections and that was simply calling in results. She said she didn’t feel that she had the staff to dedicate to that.

Williamson made a motion to appoint Parker, and Shaw seconded it.

Smith made a motion to appoint Valenzuela, but it died for lack of a second.

“I’m a big fan of Karen, and I think Karen is fantastic,” Williamson said. “And I think at the end of this that’s who our permanent elections administrator will be.”

Parker resigned his Republican Party post immediately after the meeting.

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Breast Cancer Awareness: Events raise awareness

Breast Cancer Awareness: Events raise awareness

Each October, countries across the world take part in Breast Cancer Awareness Month, designed to inform the public about the disease. Events are planned to educate the public on the need for early detection and the resources that are available. Wise County holds events in October and throughout the year to bring awareness to the disease and raise money for cancer research and resources for those dealing with the disease.

Dazzling Moments

DAZZLING MOMENTS – Sylvia Elenburg of Bridgeport participates in the 5th Annual Dazzle Me Pink luncheon and fashion show last April. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty


Each October, Decatur Main Street and the Wise Regional Health Foundation host Paint the Town Pink. This year’s event is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17, in downtown Decatur.

Cancer survivors will paint a pink stripe down Main Street to help raise awareness of the importance of an annual mammography. A silent auction will also be held to raise money for the Women’s Center at Wise Regional Health System.

To donate to the silent auction, call Decatur Main Street at 940-627-6158.

The event will also include a bake sale, and lunch will be available for $5 per plate. Local businesses will also have special promotions going on during the event.

Decatur Main Street’s Girls Night Out will take place 6 to 8 p.m. the night before, on Oct. 16, and several local businesses often have breast cancer awareness related themes or promotions for the evening.


The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service-Wise County will host its third Friend to Friend Staying Healthy Together event 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3, at the Bridgeport Estates meeting room, 1481 Senior Place Rd. The purpose of the event is to help educate women in rural areas on the importance of breast and cervical cancer screenings.

Women of all ages will be able to learn the importance of mammograms, pap tests and other forms of early detection of cancer and how to access financial resources and area services. The event is still being planned, but previous events have featured guest speakers, exhibits, refreshments and door prizes.

To register, call 940-627-3341.

Stepping Up

STEPPING UP – This young model proved you’re never too young to help out a worthy cause at last April’s Dazzle Me Pink fashion show. The show was part of a fundraiser for Mary’s Gift and women’s health services. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty


In 2010, the Wise Regional Health Foundation’s Dazzle Me Pink fashion show and luncheon was created to raise money for Mary’s Gift and Women’s Health Services at Wise Regional. The first event raised just over $30,000.

Last April’s show held at the Decatur Civic Center raised more than $42,000. The 2013 show raised a record $62,103.

Money is raised through table sales, a live auction, raffles and individual donations. Last spring’s event showcased spring fashions from local boutiques, and it featured several breast cancer survivors as models. Local businesses provided items for the live and silent auctions.

For information on the Wise Regional Health Foundation or Dazzle Me Pink event, call 940-626-1384.

The Wise Regional Health Foundation also puts on a fundraising clay shoot in August.


As part of the Butterfield Stage Days activities in Bridgeport each May, one night of the PRCA Rodeo is designated as Rodeo Pink. The event honors breast cancer survivors in the community with a Survivors Grand Entry at the rodeo. Local residents are also asked to wear pink on the day of the event.

Rodeo Pink fundraisers raise money that stays in Wise County for the awareness and prevention of breast cancer.


Relay For Life of Wise County is held each spring to raise funds and awareness to save lives from all types of cancer. The relay takes place at the McCarroll Middle School track in Decatur. Local teams take turns walking or running around the track all night. Because cancer never sleeps, each team is asked to have one participant on the track at all times.

The teams raise money for the American Cancer Society in the months leading up to the event. Money is used for cancer research and for programs serving those with cancer.

Among those programs is Reach to Recovery. Through face-to-face visits or by phone, volunteers give support for people recently diagnosed with breast cancer or facing a possible breast cancer diagnosis. The volunteers are breast cancer survivors who give patients and family members an opportunity to express feelings, talk about fears and concerns and ask questions.


Susan G. Komen North Texas will hold its 6th Annual Ride for the Cure event Saturday, Oct. 25, at a new location: Tate Farms in Rockwall (13502 Farm Road 548).

Previous rides have been held at the LBJ National Grasslands near Decatur.

This horse-riding event features new activities – an obstacle course on horseback, horsemanship clinics, a trail ride and live entertainment. Check-in opens at 7 a.m.

Registration is $25 for youth riders (ages 12 to 17) and $35 for adult riders (18-plus), and you must raise at least $250 by Oct. 25 to be eligible to participate in the horse portions of the event. Each registered rider will receive a rider bag, a commemorative T-shirt, as well as breakfast and lunch. A variety of awards will be presented, including recognition of the top money raising riders.

Of the net proceeds raised from this event and other Susan G. Komen North Texas events, 75 percent is invested in local breast health programs that provide breast health education, screening, treatment and patient programs for medically underserved men and women, and 25 percent is invested in national breast cancer research.

Earlier this year, $500,000 in grants were awarded to four organizations that provide breast cancer screenings to underserved women in the North Texas area, including Wise County.


In 2005, several Wise County women saw the need for financial assistance to underserved women in our county. With their financial support, along with the support of other community members, the Mary’s Gift program was created at Wise Regional Health System.

Mary’s Gift was established to reach those women and men who do not qualify for indigent care. The program provides free mammograms for low-income, uninsured or underinsured Wise County residents. It is funded by the Wise Regional Health Foundation and funded by community donations and annual fundraisers. Big fundraisers each year include the Dazzle Me Pink fashion show and luncheon in April, Rodeo Pink at the Butterfield Stage Days and Rodeo in Bridgeport in May, a clay shoot tournament in August and Paint the Town Pink on the Decatur Square in October.

Mary’s Gift Days are held the fourth Wednesday of each month at the Imaging Center at Wise Regional. Call 940-626-1384 for an appointment or go to to fill out an application.

Upcoming 2014 Mary’s Gift Days:

  • Oct. 22
  • Oct. 29
  • Nov. 19
  • Dec. 17

Mary’s Gift is funded by donors, and all contributions are tax deductible. Contributions can be sent to:

WRHF – Mary’s Gift
2000 South FM 51
Decatur, TX 76234

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UTGCD manager resigns

Dr. Bob Patterson has resigned as general manager of the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District.

His resignation was accepted at a Sept. 15 board meeting, and Board President Tracy Mesler has temporarily assumed the GM duties.

To apply for the position, call 817-523-5200 or visit UTGCD serves Wise, Parker and Hood counties.

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Constitution Day

Constitution day 1

D.A. Sharpe donned stars and stripes to kick off the Constitution Day celebration Wednesday at the Wise County Veterans Memorial Park in Decatur. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Constitution day 2

Liz Dudley of Decatur intently follows along as the U.S. Constitution is read aloud. This was the fourth year the John B. Denton Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution sponsored the public reading. Many elected officials and citizens, young and old, are recruited to read assigned sections of the document. It takes about an hour-and-a-half. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Constitution day 3

Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

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‘Battle’ leads fight against hunger

‘Battle’ leads fight against hunger

Among the grudge matches that make up the Battle of Big Sandy, perhaps the one that does the most good for the community is the annual food drive competition between Bridgeport and Decatur.

Stocking Up

STOCKING UP – Volunteers Jordan Null and Gary Swindell pack boxes to give to families in need at Wise Area Relief Mission Friday. The annual Big Sandy Food drive will stock some of the near empty shelves. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The beneficiary of those donations is Wise Area Relief Mission (WARM), a food pantry that serves the entire county.

Since 2011, the two school districts have combined to collect more than 34 1/2 tons of food for WARM. Bridgeport defeated their longtime rival last year, out-collecting Decatur 12,896 pounds to 11,969 pounds. The biggest year was 2012 when the schools combined to gather 25,693 pounds of food.

The results of this year’s competition will be announced at halftime of the varsity football game between the two schools this coming Friday.

WARM Executive Director Ren Ashmore admits to being a little nervous about how much food will be collected.

“I haven’t gotten a lot of good feedback yet on the food drive,” she said Thursday. “Typically this far into it, they’d be calling us to come pick it up – and they haven’t.”

It’s not too late to donate. The food drive continues through Tuesday, and then the weighing begins.

People often ask Ashmore about the types of food donations that are needed. That changes week to week, she said, depending on what items are sent from the Tarrant Area Food Bank.

Perhaps the biggest need at the moment is volunteers. Ashmore said WARM recently lost a volunteer who worked a couple of days a week, when she went back to school full time.

“Some days it’s just the two of us,” Ashmore said, including Office Manager Angie Gardiner.

She said many of their long time volunteers can no longer offer their time.

“So many people have either had to go back to work or work two jobs just to survive anymore,” she said. “We used to get stay-at-home moms or somebody that is retired or semi-retired.

” … The regular volunteers who have been coming for years and years are elderly and/or disabled, so they are very limited,” in the physical aspects of the work.

One immediate need is someone who can commit to picking up donations from Wal-Mart each Wednesday and Friday morning. WARM can provide a van, but the volunteer would need to be able to lift boxes that can weigh up to 50 or 60 pounds.

Even if you are not able to lift much weight, Ashmore said they still need help with things such as paperwork or sorting and shelving items that come into the pantry.

The number of people WARM serves seems to steadily increase. Comparing the numbers from Jan. 1 to Aug. 31 from this year to last year, WARM has served 100 more families this year.

The needs are still great, and Ashmore hopes the community can step up any way they can – whether by volunteering their time to serve or donating food.

Not to mention, bragging rights are on the line.

WARM is located at 300 N. Trinity in Decatur, open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Call 940-626-4676.

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