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Update for Wednesday, May 22, 2024


FATAL WRECK — A wreck near Paradise Tuesday involved a fatality, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Details of the wreck have not been released, but it happened just after 1 p.m. at the intersection of Farm Road 51 and Texas 114. Initial reports indicated the wreck involved an 18-wheeler and a Pontiac sedan. Traffic in the area was shut down for several hours while the wreck scene was investigated and cleared. More information will be posted at wcmessenger.com when available.

SPENDING SURGES IN SHERIFF’S RACE — Candidate Cary Mellema spent $44,152 in the past two months in his bid for Wise County Sheriff, thanks in part to a $10,000 contribution from a conservative political action committee, according to information in campaign finance reports that were due Monday, eight days before the May 28 Republican Primary runoff election. In the same time period, candidate Craig Johnson reported $7,814.13 in campaign expenditures. Mellema’s single-largest donation was the $10,000 contribution on April 19 from the Texas Conservative Project PAC of Austin. Campaign finance reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission show that the PAC is funded by a $180,000 contribution by Tim Dunn of Midland and a $180,000 contribution by Farris Wilks of Cisco. Johnson’s largest contribution was a $5,000 donation from Sheriff Lane Akin. Read more online here.

PARADISE HIRES INTERIM CITY ADMINISTRATOR — The Paradise City Council unanimously approved the hiring of Harrison Willeford as the city’s interim city administrator at its meeting Monday. Willeford is currently director of administrative services for the Town of Northlake, previously working as the human resources coordinator and administrative intern for the municipality. Before working for Northlake, Willeford was an officer in the United States Marine Corps. His contract will not exceed six months or $60,000, both of which the council previously approved in a March meeting.

RUSSELL LEAVES BRIDGEPORT FOR PONDER — After two campaigns with the Bridgeport Bulls, basketball coach Ryan Russell will take over a new program next season. On Monday, Ponder athletic director Marcus Schulz announced Russell as the new coach of the Lions via Facebook. Russell will fill the vacancy at Ponder following the departure of former coach JD Sullivan. Hired in May 2022, Russell led the Bulls to an 18-49 overall record in two seasons. Bridgeport missed the playoffs in both campaigns, finishing sixth in 2023 and losing the District 8-4A fourth-seed tiebreaker game to Castleberry in 2024, 46-34. Aside from boys basketball, newly-hired Bridgeport athletic director Aaron Cupp is also looking to fill two other head coaching positions, as the Bulls and Sissies’ soccer programs are currently without leaders. All three jobs remain posted on the district’s website. Read more online here.

EARLY VOTING CONTINUES — Another 1,118 ballots were cast yesterday during early voting for next Tuesday’s Republican Primary runoff election. Early voting continues 7 a.m.-7 p.m. today at the four early voting locations: Wise County Fairgrounds (Women’s Building) in Decatur, Alvord City Hall, Boyd Community Center, and Bridgeport Community Center.

SEVERE STORMS POSSIBLE TODAY — Today’s forecast includes a 70 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 1 p.m. Some of the storms could be severe. Large hail, damaging wind and possibly a tornado are possible with the storms, according to the National Weather Service. Locally heavy rain may lead to flooding. Wise County is included in a flood watch from 10 a.m. through late Thursday.

NO EMERGENCY — Storm sirens sounded around Decatur just before 8 a.m., but the Decatur Police Department said the sirens were accidentally set off and there was no emergency.

GRADUATION DAY IN DECATUR — Decatur High School will hold its graduation ceremony 8 tonight at the University of North Texas Coliseum in Denton. If you can’t attend in person, a livestream of the ceremony will be available on the district’s YouTube page or by using the following shortcut: wcmess.com/dhsgrad24.

MEMORIAL DAY PROGRAM — The Wise County Veterans Group will present a Memorial Day Program 11 a.m. Monday at the Wise County Veterans Park, 405 N. Trinity St. in Decatur.

BHS CLASS OF ‘69 REUNION — The Bridgeport High School Class of 1969 will hold a class reunion 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 8 at the Bridgeport High School Commons Area, 1 Maroon Drive. Lunch will be provided to classmates and spouse/significant other. RSVP to Garon Red Harvick at 214-542-7789.

BRIDGEPORT SCHOOL BOARD — The Bridgeport School Board will hold a special meeting noon today to consider the approval of a new Bridgeport High School principal.

FUNERALS — Service for Johny E. McDuff, 87, of Paradise is 10 a.m. Friday at Hawkins Funeral Home in Bridgeport with burial at Paradise Cemetery. Family visitation is 6-8 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home.

SERVICE for Frank H. Coleman Jr., 84, of Bridgeport is 5-7 p.m. Saturday at Bridgeport Country Club. Hawkins-Bridgeport is handling arrangements.

GRAVESIDE service for Janet Cottle, 78, of Paradise is 1 p.m. May 31 at Paradise Cemetery. Hudson & Torres Family Funeral Home in Bridgeport is handling arrangements.

GRAVESIDE service for Laura Ann Berry, 84, of Chico is 10 a.m. May 29 at Bourland Cemetery in Keller. Visitation is 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at Hudson & Torres.

FUNERAL mass for Margaret “Marge” Richey, 89, of Bridgeport is 1 p.m. Tuesday at St. John’s Catholic Church in Bridgeport.

GRAVESIDE service for John B. Johnston is 11 a.m. Saturday at Wilson Prairie Cemetery.

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